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Terri -:- First Flight -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 21:43:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Livable Shade of Green -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:47:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Note for Dear Bobby -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:42:59 (EDT)

Terri -:- A Cautious Outlook -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:40:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Three Billion New Capitalists' -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:21:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- Blockbuster Drugs Are So Last Century -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 16:57:47 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Stock Market Riddle -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 14:51:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Moonlighting Sure Pays Off at A.I.G. -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 14:50:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Profits, Not Jobs, on the Rebound -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 13:31:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Were the Good Old Days That Good? -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 13:25:42 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Interest rate increases -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 11:17:17 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Interest rate increases -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 12:38:53 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Sho Yano and nature v nurture -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 06:28:03 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- How Marilyn Vos Savant Invests? -:- Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 05:52:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- About Despair and Hope in South Africa -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 15:44:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Oriole Gathering Material for Nest -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 14:55:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Next Heavyweight Champion of Banks -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 13:54:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Schools That Train Real Estate Agents -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 13:35:25 (EDT)

///emma -:- Flaws in Heart Devices Pose High Risks -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 11:57:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Drug Lobby Got a Victory in Trade Pact -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 11:47:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bond Maven Consults His Crystal Ball -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 10:20:23 (EDT)

Terri -:- Black-throated Blue Warbler -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:58:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Baltimore Oriole Perching -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:56:09 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Where are the savings? -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:11:34 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Where are the savings? -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 20:43:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- Energy Companies -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:04:08 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Costs MATTER! -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:08:17 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Effectiveness MATTERS! -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 20:26:24 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: Effectiveness MATTERS! -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 06:34:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- Protecting Asset Values -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 18:58:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Are We More Shock Resistant? -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 18:57:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Japanese Master Enlightened the West -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 15:37:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Mao Myth Thrives -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 14:35:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Labor Standards in Central America -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 14:33:56 (EDT)

Terri -:- Amending Duration -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:56:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Germany Looks Forward to World Cup -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:44:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- Follow the Leapin' Leprechaun -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:29:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Foreign Suitors Nothing New in U.S. Oil -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 10:31:09 (EDT)
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P Krugman -:- Re: Foreign Suitors Nothing New in U.S. Oil -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 12:17:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Conventional Wisdom Not Always Right -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 10:22:21 (EDT)
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j9 -:- Re: Conventional Wisdom Not Always Right -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 22:40:34 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Conventional Wisdom Not Always Right -:- Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 13:33:57 (EDT)

Yann -:- Chapters 6 and 7... -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 04:12:03 (EDT)
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Bobby -:- Re: Chapters 6 and 7... -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:01:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- Arithmetic of Mutual Fund Investing -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 21:54:24 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Sector Investing -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 07:40:53 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Sector Investing -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 17:25:04 (EDT)
___ Johnny5 -:- Buffet looking to buy utilities -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:12:39 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Buffet looking to buy utilities -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:46:01 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Buffet looking to buy utilities -:- Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:52:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 18:23:05 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Sector Stock Index Returns -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 18:27:24 (EDT)

Terri -:- India and China -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 17:42:28 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- 'If only....' -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 15:39:23 (EDT)

Terri -:- Noticing Britain -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 14:27:42 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Bergy Bits in the Fog -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 12:21:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Brazilians Streaming Into U.S. -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 11:47:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- G.M. Retirees, a Growing Sense of Unease -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 09:59:31 (EDT)

Setanta -:- G8 debt write-off: Who pays? -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 09:30:25 (EDT)
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Jennifer -:- Re: G8 debt write-off: Who pays? -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 12:44:37 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: G8 debt write-off: Who pays? -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 13:13:01 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: G8 debt write-off: Who pays? -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 14:35:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 07:31:32 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Promoting democracy with CAFTA -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 04:35:46 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias Norm -:- Quenching America’s Thirst for Oil -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 11:53:09 (EDT)
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Jennifer -:- Re: Quenching America’s Thirst for Oil -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 14:20:53 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Quenching the world -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:49:08 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Quenching the world -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 19:43:46 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- Stay the course -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 04:32:29 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Stay the course -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 05:59:28 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Stay the course -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 15:43:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- Name Goods in China, Brand X Elsewhere -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:47:30 (EDT)

Terri -:- Robust Growth and Low Inflation -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:32:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Ireland: The End of the Rainbow -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:24:08 (EDT)

Terri -:- Male Baltimore Oriole Feeding Chick -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:20:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- Looking Back -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 07:30:29 (EDT)

Terri -:- China's and India's Development -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 17:45:17 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: China's and India's Development -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 11:52:35 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Siyofika nini la' siyakhona -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 19:47:08 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- When will we arrive at our destination? -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 20:40:25 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: China's and India's Development -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 13:59:16 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: China's and India's Development -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 19:24:11 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: China's and India's Development -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 12:56:52 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: China's and India's Development -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 14:19:08 (EDT)

Terri -:- America and China -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 17:12:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Unlikely Hero: The 'Polish Plumber' -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 16:43:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Yesterday's Special: Good, Cheap Dining -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 16:00:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- Selasphorus Hummingbird -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 15:57:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- An Energy Producer Utility Consumer Bill -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 15:41:57 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Scrushy & friends bleeding middle-class -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 13:37:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Roll Over, Godzilla: Korea Rules -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:53:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Know Your Numbers, Improve Your Odds -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:51:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's Debut as Auto Exporter -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 09:25:56 (EDT)
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Free Trade or Faire Trade? -:- Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:07:07 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:47:33 (EDT)
___ So easy -:- Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 11:38:32 (EDT)
____ Pancho Villa alias Easy like a Sunday... -:- Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter -:- Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:37:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Google at $300 a Share -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 05:59:19 (EDT)

Terri -:- Scarlet Tanager Feeding -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:12:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Relative Value -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 12:55:59 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Shiller is getting shriller... -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 10:48:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's Quest for Energy Control -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 10:13:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's Brawn Unsettles Japanese -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 10:12:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Low Rates Could Be Around Long Term -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 09:23:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- False Data on Student Performance -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 09:01:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- America Giveth, America Taketh Away -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 08:58:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Yellow-breasted Chat -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:49:48 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rate Cycles -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:39:13 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- The big squeeze -:- Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 01:40:32 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- New ways to wager the dollar -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 23:04:06 (EDT)

Terri -:- Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Flight -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 19:44:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- Race to Alaska Before It Melts -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 16:32:21 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Emma - why the fed model is not reliable -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 16:17:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Beijing: The Olympics Haven't Begun -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 16:04:22 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Why housing matters more than the stock markets -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 15:47:01 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Welcome back Johnny5 -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 18:26:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Endangered Species Act Faces Challenges -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:54:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Home Prices are Hot but Inflation Cool -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:01:26 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Blast from the past -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 12:08:14 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Blast from the past -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:52:02 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Blast from the present -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:01:56 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Housing boom or bubble? -:- Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:02:43 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Oil or US treasuries, oil or US...... -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 11:43:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Grounded in the Dust of Rural India -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 10:36:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- How a Painter Found Inspiration in Cloth -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:58:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Innovative Cézanne and Pissarro -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:39:59 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Harvard Nutrition Source -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:17:30 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Precious Metals -:- Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:13:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- Yellow-breasted Chat -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:57:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- As Serious as a Heart Attack -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:49:59 (EDT)
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David E.. -:- Are saturated fats really bad? -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 17:12:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chevron Criticizes Rival Suitor -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:47:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Educating Girls -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:37:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- An Oil Exploration and Refining Puzzle -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 15:52:14 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: An Oil Exploration and Refining Puzzle -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:49:31 (EDT)

Terri -:- Reason to be Bullish -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 14:06:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- Shifting Gears, and Funds, Into Equities -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 13:51:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Flight -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 11:27:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- Brazil to Copy AIDS Drug -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 11:22:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Teenagers and Their Plastic -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 11:21:01 (EDT)

Terri -:- Following Markets -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:39:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Next Wave From China: Exporting Cars -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:17:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Life in Energy, After Enron -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:14:52 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Running out of places -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 13:03:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Another Flaw is Found in Heart Units -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:13:36 (EDT)

Terri -:- House Wren Feeding Mate -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 07:08:16 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Bush energy policy to kill hermit thrush -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:59:20 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Energy Policy -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 07:12:01 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Above article from BBC -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:01:04 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Our last energy policy -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:24:48 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Blowing smoke -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:41:48 (EDT)

Terri -:- Hermit Thrush -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:10:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:41:09 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Market Patterns -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 08:47:57 (EDT)
_ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Huh? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:48:13 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Huh? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:55:03 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Huh? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:19:34 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Huh I? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:52:28 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Huh I? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:56:42 (EDT)
____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Huh I? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:28:41 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Huh I? -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 06:59:37 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- My house, my rules, my business? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:05:39 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias 'inXS' -:- Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart ' -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:33:57 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart ' -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:35:16 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart ' -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:01:15 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart ' -:- Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 00:44:58 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart ' -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:07:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Sector Stock Indexes -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:14:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Poland's Plea to Europe: Get Along -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 14:29:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cutting Here, but Hiring Over There -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 12:23:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- Hermit Thrush -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 12:16:26 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- 'From Bubble to Bubble' -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 12:07:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bonds and Stocks -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 11:12:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- Unocal Deal: A Lot More Than Money -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 09:39:52 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- No, No, No, No, No!!! -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 11:10:05 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: No, No, No, No, No!!! -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 15:17:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- We Are All French Now? -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 09:29:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Black Swan Vocalizing -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 07:24:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Fund Safety -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 07:23:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Durations -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 06:00:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- House Wren Feeding Mate -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:49:23 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Moderate Duration Bond Funds -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:48:41 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Housing and Portfolio Protection -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:34:59 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Housing and Portfolio Protection -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 11:15:34 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Housing and Portfolio Protection -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 13:56:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates and Housing Prices -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 15:21:52 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Good article in Barrons -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:52:18 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Good article in Barrons -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:59:04 (EDT)
___ Peter Weis -:- Re: Good article in Barrons -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 20:21:30 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Good article in Barrons -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 21:19:30 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Good article in Barrons -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 00:25:40 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Good article in Barrons -:- Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 16:19:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Finding Value in a Bubbly Period -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 13:23:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Paris, Romancing the Deal -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 11:59:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Brazil's Right to Save Lives -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:40:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Green Tinge Is Attracting Seed Money -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:19:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Changes in Lung Cancer Treatments -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:17:01 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Choice for the Heart -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:13:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chinese Oil Giant in Takeover Bid -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 09:44:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Are Collectibles the New Real Estate? -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 09:39:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Green Heron Landing -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 09:29:57 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Stock Market Valuations -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 07:30:15 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- International Bull Market -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 06:11:18 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: International Bull Market -:- Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:31:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- International Stock Price Adjustment -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 19:49:08 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 19:38:15 (EDT)
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Terri -:- National Index Returns - Domestic -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 19:44:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Europeans Clash With Tony Blair -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 17:49:35 (EDT)
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Pancho Villa alias Vil. Pre-Pareto -:- Re: Blair's Gods? -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 18:54:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Market Stability -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 14:09:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- Writing Is Only the Beginning -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 13:49:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- Black Swan Vocalizing -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 12:04:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hot 2005 for New York Offices -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 10:50:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- Foreign Auto Makers, Settled in South -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 10:40:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Bids for Maytag and Status -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 10:24:18 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Portfolio Comparisons -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 09:48:43 (EDT)

Terri -:- Transparent and Simple Investing -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 07:31:02 (EDT)

Terri -:- Dollar and Euro -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 07:24:24 (EDT)

Terri -:- Conservative Bond Funds -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 05:58:44 (EDT)

Terri -:- Portfolio Diversification is a Success -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 05:47:44 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 19:04:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 18:56:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Public Broadcasting Monitoring -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 17:16:18 (EDT)
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byron -:- Re: Public Broadcasting Monitoring -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 23:24:12 (EDT)
__ Sid Bachrach -:- Re: Public Broadcasting Monitoring -:- Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 23:22:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Conjuring an Imaginary Friend -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 16:44:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Europe and America -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 15:50:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- House Wren in Nest Hole -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 15:42:37 (EDT)

Terri -:- Green Heron Landing -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 15:27:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cardinal Jaime Sin of the Philippines -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 14:42:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Dial-Up Internet Going Going Going -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 13:14:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Euro Tumbles Into Void of Rifts -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 13:10:24 (EDT)

Marko -:- Notice to Krugman: Do Research -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 11:57:49 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sweden Lowers Interest Rates -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:59:33 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Noticing Sweden -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 12:05:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chug Milk, Shed Pounds? Not So Fast -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:53:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Outsourced All the Way -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:41:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bearishness and Simple Investing -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:17:20 (EDT)

Terri -:- Female Belted Kingfisher -:- Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 05:48:23 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates Up or Down -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 18:42:58 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Humans confound economists -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 14:03:30 (EDT)

Terri -:- Projecting Projecting -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 11:23:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Flawed Implants: Disclosure and Delay -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 10:01:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Defective Heart Devices -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 09:32:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Great Egret in Flight -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 06:04:34 (EDT)

Terri -:- What if There is a Housing Bubble? -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 05:56:09 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: What if There is a Housing Bubble? -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 11:44:00 (EDT)

jack -:- public education -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 00:11:19 (EDT)

Terri -:- Portfolios and a Housing Slowdown -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 18:19:46 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Portfolios and a Housing Slowdown -:- Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 11:55:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Looking Long Term? Get Your Glasses -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 15:22:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Romp Through Fanciful Theories -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 14:48:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- Living With Social Security -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 14:47:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- Currency Value and Inflation -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 13:34:10 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Construction Employment -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 10:44:44 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- The correlated economy -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 13:18:16 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Currency -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 10:29:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Dollar and Bonds -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 17:45:16 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The Dollar and Bonds -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 13:10:40 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Dollar -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 15:37:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Guidant Recalls Heart Devices -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 11:43:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Everything Bad Is Good for You' -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 11:39:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- It's Getting Cheaper to Tap the Sun -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 11:17:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Censoring 'Sesame Street' -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 10:14:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- Tufted Titmouse Stashing a Seed -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 07:20:22 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Tufted Titmouse Stashing a Seed -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 16:50:48 (EDT)

Terri -:- Portfolio Planning -:- Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 06:41:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Common Grackle -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:46:15 (EDT)

Terri -:- Tufted Titmouse -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:38:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Hedging the Dollar -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:30:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- Ben Bernanke -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 16:41:55 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Ben Bernanke -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:00:00 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Ben Bernanke -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:21:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Disneyland in China and Ecology -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 14:44:05 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- The two-'armed' but one-handed country -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 14:19:07 (EDT)

Terri -:- World Stock and Bond Markets -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 13:45:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Globalization: It's Not Just Wages -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 12:19:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- Thailand Relies Heavily on a Pickup -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 11:58:32 (EDT)

Terri -:- In Come the Waves: Housing -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 10:58:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- As Toyota Goes ... -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 10:00:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Aid Initiative for Poor Nations? -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 09:59:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Super-REIT -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 09:53:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- U.S. Bank Buys Stake in China -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 09:50:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Credit Extention and Housing -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 06:04:54 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Credit Extension and Housing -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 07:16:39 (EDT)

byron -:- Downing ST Memo -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 23:20:57 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- A 'conumdrum' -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 19:30:31 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Sorry, meant 'conundrum' -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 19:32:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Renegade Retools Retail -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 15:45:36 (EDT)

Terri -:- Fixed- and Adjusted-Rate Mortgages -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 15:30:31 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Fixed- and Adjusted-Rate Mortgages -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 18:53:02 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Fixed- and Adjusted-Rate Mortgages -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 21:42:47 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Death of a pyramid -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:39:47 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Death of a pyramid -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 21:44:08 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Death of a pyramid -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 11:22:46 (EDT)
___ Dorian -:- Re: Death of a pyramid -:- Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 05:30:42 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Whoops! -:- Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 11:24:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Global Warming and ExxonMobil -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:05:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Trillion-Dollar Bet -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 10:32:24 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The Trillion-Dollar Bet -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 18:16:26 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: The Trillion-Dollar Bet -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 22:32:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- Continuing to be Modestly Bullish -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 10:08:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's AIDS Effort -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 09:49:15 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Inflation is Lessening -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 09:45:06 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Inflation is Lessening -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 14:36:02 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Inflation is Lessening -:- Thurs, Jun 16, 2005 at 16:18:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Demand for Natural Gas -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 18:40:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Stock Index Returns -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 16:02:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Medicare Drug Benefit Choices Widen -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 11:52:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- G.M. Board Wants Cut in Benefits -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 11:49:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- Squelching Public Broadcasting -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 11:22:56 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- It's all about harnessing energy..... -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 11:13:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's Stock Market -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 10:44:40 (EDT)

Terri -:- Producer and Consumer Prices -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 10:33:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- Blue Jay Feeding Chick -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 06:03:56 (EDT)

Terri -:- Market Patterns -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 05:55:22 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Market Patterns -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 21:46:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 21:22:36 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 21:17:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Morgan Stanley's Choices -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 16:12:40 (EDT)

Terri -:- Low Long Term Interest Rates -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 14:45:04 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Low Long Term Interest Rates -:- Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 12:39:39 (EDT)

Auros -:- Is HaloScan down? -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 14:27:24 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Is HaloScan down? -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 17:02:37 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Bobby -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 20:17:15 (EDT)
___ Bobby -:- Re: Bobby -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 20:42:01 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Wonderful -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 20:51:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Fashion Enclave Lets Out Its Seams -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 14:09:20 (EDT)

David E.. -:- Cox for SEC Head -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 10:31:11 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Cox for SEC Head -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 15:11:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- A First Step on African Aid -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 10:25:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Experiments With Patented Drugs -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 10:20:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Genetically Altered Rice in China -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 10:09:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Male Baltimore Oriole Feeding Chicks -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 08:02:41 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias 'Norm' -:- I'm 'Sen' -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 20:25:12 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- 'Uninsured Nation' -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 19:09:00 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- In a nutshell -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 14:22:57 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: In a nutshell -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 14:34:49 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: In a nutshell -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 14:32:18 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: In a nutshell -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 16:25:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cervantes, Multicultural Dreamer -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 13:48:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Signs of a Spring Slowdown -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 13:37:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mexico Labor Case and Mattel -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 09:57:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- What? You Don't Trust The Company? -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 09:45:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Heart Drug Intended for One Race -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 09:37:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Life as a Landlord -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 09:21:15 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Live8 concert hijacked -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 08:56:22 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- 35% of Fannie Mae loans are...... -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 18:49:43 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Musical chairs -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 19:25:27 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Musical chairs -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 20:17:10 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Musical chairs -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 22:49:30 (EDT)
____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Musical chairs -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 08:52:01 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Musical chairs -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 11:44:54 (EDT)
______ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Musical chairs -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 20:32:00 (EDT)
_______ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Musical chairs -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 20:37:10 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- correction -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 19:28:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Great Egret Eating Fish -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 18:29:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Doing Nails for a Living, With a Hammer -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 16:48:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Real Estate, the Global Obsession -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 16:09:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Social Security and Age -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 14:23:25 (EDT)
_
Auros -:- Ignorance of '83 in the NYT Age article. -:- Tues, Jun 14, 2005 at 14:26:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- Angela Whitiker's Climb -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 14:18:59 (EDT)

poyetas -:- looking for an answer -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 13:41:02 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Ghosts from the past -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 00:55:44 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: looking for an answer -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 15:55:58 (EDT)
__ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: looking for an answer -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 20:43:39 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: looking for an answer -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 11:54:19 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: looking for an answer -:- Mon, Jun 13, 2005 at 12:20:17 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Mr Bubble -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 12:18:33 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Mr Bubble -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 16:13:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Anthony Appiah: The Great Experiment -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 09:10:01 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'The Ethics of Identity' -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 07:57:45 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- On 'The Ethics of Identity' -:- Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 08:26:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Fighting Malaria In Africa? -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 15:33:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Poor Little Rich Country -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 14:40:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Tax Shelter Clients -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 09:47:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Pension-Shortfall Winners and Losers -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 09:43:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Searching for a Reason to Buy Google -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 09:41:06 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- What You Don't See Can('t) Hurt You -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 08:34:34 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: What You Don't See Can('t) Hurt You -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 11:48:15 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: What You Don't See Can('t) Hurt You -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 22:29:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- Nominal and Real Investment Returns -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 08:28:48 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Isn't fraud a crime? -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 18:50:50 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Isn't fraud a crime? -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 09:31:43 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- I feel better -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 09:46:32 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: I feel better -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 11:23:49 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Moral Values -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 20:27:50 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Moral Values -:- Sat, Jun 11, 2005 at 02:59:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Blow to Canada's Health System -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 16:14:13 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- 'Losing our Country' -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 11:52:58 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: 'Losing our Country' -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 12:15:47 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: 'Losing our Country' -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 14:34:58 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: 'Losing our Country' -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 17:23:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mortgage Rates Defy Fed -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 10:59:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Lucrative Drug, Danger and the F.D.A. -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 10:57:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Weighs Modest Currency Change -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 10:35:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Modern French Revolution Strikes Havas -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 10:34:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Do China and U.S. Face Same Woes? -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 09:54:06 (EDT)

Terri -:- Great Blue Heron Preening -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 06:09:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Green Heron Fleeing Hungry Chicks -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 05:48:13 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Watch For Birds -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 05:54:23 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Being Green -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 09:35:11 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias Green-Go! -:- Global Green Trade -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 21:04:26 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Global Green Trade -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 04:13:43 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Global Green Trade -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 05:35:52 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Global Green Trade -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 05:55:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Issues of Shareholder Control -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 20:49:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- For Retirees, One Home Is Not Enough -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 13:52:58 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- International Savings -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 12:12:29 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Revenue and Saving from Oil Production -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 12:59:41 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Liquidity and Bonds -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 11:59:35 (EDT)

Terri -:- Monetary Policy -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 11:32:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Appetite for Stocks Slackening in China -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 10:18:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- (White) House Party for Lobbyists -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 09:53:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Europe's Latest Economic Scapegoat -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 09:43:38 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Europe's Latest Economic Scapegoat -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 12:24:27 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Europe's Latest Economic Scapegoat -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 13:06:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Disappearance of James Duesenberry -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 09:40:18 (EDT)

Terri -:- Male Blackburnian Warbler -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 07:29:08 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Howard Dean -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 23:50:14 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Howard Dean -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 07:01:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates and an Economic Downturn -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 20:52:34 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Interest Rates and an Economic Downturn -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 23:38:40 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Interest Rates and an Economic Downturn -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 05:54:40 (EDT)
___ David E.. -:- Adjust for Inflation -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 19:14:16 (EDT)
____ David E.. -:- Re: Adjust for Inflation -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 01:17:16 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Adjust for Inflation -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 09:33:40 (EDT)
______ David E.. -:- Re: Adjust for Inflation -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 10:54:50 (EDT)
_______ Terri -:- Re: Adjust for Inflation -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 13:43:09 (EDT)
________ David E.. -:- Re: Adjust for Inflation -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 15:40:06 (EDT)
_________ Terri -:- Re: Adjust for Inflation -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 16:28:23 (EDT)
__________ Terri -:- Re: Adjust for Inflation -:- Fri, Jun 10, 2005 at 17:17:59 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Interest Rates and an Economic Downturn -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 07:20:28 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: Interest Rates and an Economic Downturn -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 05:59:53 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Interest Rates and an Economic Downturn -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 09:48:27 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Interest Rates and an Economic Downturn -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 07:22:01 (EDT)

Emma -:- Think Like a Neanderthal -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 20:22:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Arms Fiascoes Lead to Pentagon Alarm -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 11:44:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- At Pfizer, the Isolation Increases -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 10:56:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Crumbs for Africa -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 10:25:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bangalore: Hot and Hotter -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 10:22:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 09:42:38 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 06:08:45 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 13:07:57 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 08:46:52 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Income Distribution -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 07:39:15 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: A good start? -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 08:20:55 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: A good start? -:- Thurs, Jun 09, 2005 at 06:49:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Eastern Bluebird -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 07:23:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- Robin and Chicks Contemplate Statue -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 07:21:30 (EDT)

Yann -:- Economists' new world order -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 06:50:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Safe Bond Funds -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 06:05:30 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Fund Refuge -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 05:50:32 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Heal(ey) and Steel -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 20:24:05 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Education, growth and taxes -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 19:04:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 18:15:31 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 18:20:38 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- 'The market for 'Lem...Textiles' ' (Part I?) -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 16:09:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Bush Economy -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 15:47:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Crushing Upward Mobility -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 15:45:42 (EDT)

Terri -:- Slowing in Britain -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 14:35:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Golf and Rich and Poor -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 13:52:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Aid for Africa -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 11:57:57 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Oh the story is so much more complicated -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 12:21:09 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Oh the story is so much more complicated -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 13:16:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- False Sales Make a Better Bottom Line -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 11:26:14 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Being 'whip-sawed' ? -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 10:44:56 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Being 'whip-sawed' ? -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 11:52:01 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- 'Why should we worry?' -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 20:13:48 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: 'Why should we worry?' -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 20:45:39 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: 'Why should we worry?' -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 12:53:10 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: 'Why should we worry?' -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 16:35:19 (EDT)
____ jimsim -:- Re: 'Why should we worry?' -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 23:47:38 (EDT)
_____ Jennifer -:- Re: 'Why should we worry?' -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 11:24:40 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Re: 'Why should we worry?' -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 14:38:20 (EDT)
_______ Jennifer -:- Re: 'Why should we worry?' -:- Wed, Jun 08, 2005 at 15:51:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Black, White or Gray -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 10:25:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Textile Manufacture in China -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 10:20:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Britain Showing Signs of a Slowdown -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 10:17:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- Low Long Term Interest Rates -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 10:10:19 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Cautiously Bullish -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 09:53:43 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Cautiously Bullish -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 11:15:26 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Cautiously Bullish -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 11:24:57 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: Cautiously Bullish -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 11:35:08 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Cautiously Bullish -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 13:43:57 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Cautiously Bullish -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 17:29:46 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- I respectfully disagree -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 20:34:16 (EDT)
_______ Terri -:- Re: I respectfully disagree -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 22:03:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- Value and Value -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 06:06:58 (EDT)

Terri -:- Black-and-white Warbler Preening -:- Tues, Jun 07, 2005 at 05:51:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Women Find Their Place in the Field -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 20:35:28 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- It pays to be a corporate crook.... -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 15:57:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- What Are Mergers Good For? -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 15:20:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hydie Sumner Wants Her Job Back -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:53:56 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Physics vs economics -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:49:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Believing in 'Gold' -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:07:30 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Believing in 'Gold' -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 13:33:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- On Hedge Funds -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:04:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Mobility Myth -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 11:34:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Faster Web Speeds Lower Prices in Japan -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:42:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Financial Aid Rules for College Change -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 09:52:27 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Dividend Income -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 20:45:34 (EDT)

Terri -:- Eastern Phoebe -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 19:38:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- See a Bubble? -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 14:32:26 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: See a Bubble? -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 11:57:29 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: See a Bubble? -:- Mon, Jun 06, 2005 at 14:49:47 (EDT)

Emma -:- Another Drink? Sure. China Is Paying. -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 13:21:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hunger for Energy Transforms India -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 12:52:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 12:45:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Old Nantucket Warily Meets the New -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 09:46:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- Eastern Kingbird Feeding Young -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 08:21:50 (EDT)

Terri -:- Chestnut-sided Warbler -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 08:10:48 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Fund Returns -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 07:44:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- Realistic Portfolio Returns -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 06:37:56 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Realistic Portfolio Returns -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 13:30:45 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Realistic Portfolio Returns -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 18:53:31 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: Realistic Portfolio Returns -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 12:49:49 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Realistic Portfolio Returns -:- Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 18:41:51 (EDT)

Terri -:- Returns We Can Expect -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 17:33:37 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Returns We Can Expect -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 17:44:36 (EDT)

David E.. -:- Lower Withdrawal Rates -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 15:12:35 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Lower Withdrawal Rates -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 17:53:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Critique of the Health Care System -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 13:29:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Kenya, a Woman Called Charity -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 10:36:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- Peet's Coffee and Tea -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 10:21:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan Squeezes for Energy Efficiency -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 09:38:41 (EDT)

Terri -:- Improving Values -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 05:44:17 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Diversity and Protection of Portfolios -:- Sat, Jun 04, 2005 at 06:39:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- Meet the Flippers -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 15:51:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Price of Gold -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 11:25:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Work Race to the Top -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 11:23:05 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- A Race to the Bottom -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 18:00:58 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: A Race to the Bottom -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 21:08:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- AIDS, Pregnancy and Poverty in Africa -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 11:05:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- India's Economy Tracks the Monsoon -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 11:04:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Car Makers Still Trailing Japanese -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 10:15:47 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Request on info on Credit Default Swaps -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 08:42:12 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Request on info on Credit Default Swaps -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 11:43:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Caution in Europe -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 05:55:51 (EDT)

Terri -:- A New SEC Chief -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 05:51:21 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: A New SEC Chief -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 05:52:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Opposition to Doubling Aid for Africa -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 05:39:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Protecting the Environment in Chile -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 05:30:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Living on a 'Ferry' -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 05:28:29 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- It's a matter of survival -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 21:23:59 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: It's a matter of survival -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 21:52:42 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: It's a matter of survival -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 21:56:15 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: It's a matter of survival -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 22:50:15 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: It's a matter of survival -:- Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 05:26:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- French Rail Workers Strike -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 19:43:04 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Stock Markets -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 19:41:09 (EDT)

nikekr -:- The social security non-crisis -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 16:49:59 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond and Currency Surprises -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 14:32:17 (EDT)

Terri -:- The European Constitution -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 14:10:47 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Sugar Industry and Lobby -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 11:59:31 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Long Term Bond Market -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 10:19:02 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Comparing Values -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 10:39:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Heart Device Sold Despite Flaw -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 09:55:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Anger in Europe -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 09:44:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Europe -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 07:31:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stock Patterns -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 06:15:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Teaching and Tutoring -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 05:58:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Communications Industry Unions -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 05:55:32 (EDT)

Matt -:- Hey! -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 05:00:50 (EDT)

Will -:- solving the new inequality -:- Thurs, Jun 02, 2005 at 03:25:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- The French Non -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 21:45:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Women Find Their Place in the Field -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 15:29:21 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates and Housing -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 15:02:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- He Talks of Black Britain -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 12:16:08 (EDT)

Terri -:- Utilities and Materials -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 12:14:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Six-Figure Rootless Life -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 11:58:23 (EDT)

Terri -:- Notice Bond Yields -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 10:13:50 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- And, the Dollar -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 11:55:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Aiding Africa as World Bank Policy -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:49:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan's Unemployment Rate Falls -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:46:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Brazilian Interest Rates and Growth -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:45:08 (EDT)

Will -:- For Richer -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 07:33:56 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: For Richer -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:16:10 (EDT)
_ Will -:- Re: For Richer -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 07:53:39 (EDT)
__ Setanta -:- Re: For Richer -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 10:46:20 (EDT)

Terri -:- Our Dear Paul Krugman -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 07:30:46 (EDT)
_
Will -:- Re: Our Dear Paul Krugman -:- Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 07:36:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 22:02:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Watching New Love -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 19:44:59 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 18:55:00 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 18:59:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- Drug Makers Still Withhold Data -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 18:25:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Paul Krugman Responds to a Lout -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 15:40:22 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- The Lout Responds -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 15:48:17 (EDT)
__ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: The Lout Responds -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 19:25:39 (EDT)

Gregory Kaplan -:- Economic hot topics? -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 14:23:23 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Economic hot topics? -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 14:34:47 (EDT)

Emma -:- Britain: Aid for Arts and Ethnicity -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 12:40:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Central America: A Battle Over Trade -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 11:51:10 (EDT)

Setanta -:- A prediction of Ireland c.2021 -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 11:26:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Amazon at Risk -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 10:53:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- Middleman Now Rich Man in Real Estate -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 10:38:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Diamond Polishing in Dynamic China -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 10:35:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- After the Vote, No Signs of Collapse -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 10:26:32 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Memories of a polio epidemic -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 09:53:19 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Memories of a polio epidemic -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 10:27:57 (EDT)

Setanta -:- The Capitol Flinches at Gun Safety -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 05:42:18 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- China says 'NON' -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 21:59:10 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- El nuevo orden de los economistas -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 14:46:19 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: El nuevo orden de los economistas -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 16:19:41 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Untranslated version -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 19:05:25 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 20:36:01 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 21:44:29 (EDT)
_____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Dear Pete -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 15:12:18 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Absolutely no problem -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 22:36:10 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Dear Pete -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 18:29:03 (EDT)
_____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 23:01:18 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 07:28:12 (EDT)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 22:54:56 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Lending standards will tighten -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 13:36:58 (EDT)

Terri -:- Yellow Warbler Taking Flight -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 12:04:48 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Palm Warbler Taking Flight -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 12:05:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hear a Pop? Watch Out -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 11:46:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- Exercises in Determining Value -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 10:59:38 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Beyond housing -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 21:24:35 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Education -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 21:36:17 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Education -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 12:44:12 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Education -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 13:15:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Belted Kingfisher Taking Flight -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 19:08:48 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Yellow-billed Cuckoo -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 20:02:50 (EDT)

Terri -:- 'Non' to Constitution -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 18:52:12 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: 'Non' to Constitution -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 21:44:08 (EDT)
__ Yann -:- Re: 'Non' to Constitution -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 04:59:59 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: 'Non' to Constitution -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 10:42:02 (EDT)
_______ Yann -:- Re: E unum pluribus -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 05:46:03 (EDT)
________ Pancho Villa -:- Re: E unum pluribus -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 08:29:29 (EDT)
____ Setanta -:- Re: 'Non' to Constitution -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 12:33:04 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: 'Non' to Constitution -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 13:00:35 (EDT)
______ Pancho Villa -:- Re: E unum pluribus -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 14:24:26 (EDT)
_______ Yann -:- Re: E unum pluribus -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 05:46:03 (EDT)
________ Pancho Villa -:- Re: E unum pluribus -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 08:29:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Class Antagonism in the Black Community -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 18:15:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- The China Scapegoat -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 16:13:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- How Should We Value REITs? -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 16:01:29 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: How Should We Value REITs? -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 17:50:58 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Thinking of Value -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 16:24:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman Replies to a Bully -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 15:40:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mozambique: Africa's Rising Star -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 14:07:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Forecasting Federal Reserve Policy -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 14:03:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Gaining Health Insurance? -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 13:50:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- When the Appraised Numbers Don't Match -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 13:32:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- Is There a Bubble In Florida -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 12:57:33 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- It's amazing -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 14:16:13 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: It's amazing -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 15:30:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- When the Joneses Wear Jeans -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 12:55:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Poverty in Brazil Endures -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 12:31:39 (EDT)

jan -:- ricardian theory -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 07:25:25 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: ricardian theory -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 01:07:11 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: ricardian theory -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 10:57:17 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Interesting piece by Paul Krugman -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 13:32:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- My Crow -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 18:40:34 (EDT)
_
j9 -:- Re: My Crow -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 18:19:35 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Ovenbird for j9 -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 19:07:40 (EDT)

Terri -:- Portfolios -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 17:31:19 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 20:27:19 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 10:51:51 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 11:51:17 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 12:28:16 (EDT)
___ PKnewbie -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 11:01:26 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 11:26:31 (EDT)
_____ PKnewbie -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 12:57:46 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 13:27:36 (EDT)
_______ PKnewbie -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 10:01:15 (EDT)
________ Terri -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 11:07:16 (EDT)
_________ PKnewbie -:- Re: Portfolios -:- Mon, May 30, 2005 at 14:29:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- Stay Thin, Live Longer -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 17:19:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- 15 Years on the Bottom Rung -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 15:29:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Surge in G.E. Business in India -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 14:06:31 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Surge in G.E. Business in India -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 12:14:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Where's the Boeuf? -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 14:03:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hedge Funds Are Stumbling but... -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 14:00:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Spread of AIDS in India -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:59:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Crescent of Water Is Slowly Sinking -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:58:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Relax? Not if You're FedEx -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:57:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Unwanted-Job Myth -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:57:04 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Major Immigration Surgery -:- Sun, May 29, 2005 at 19:18:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- Urging Chinese Shift on Currency -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:56:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- Her Gift to Japanese Women -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:55:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Janus Funds: Everybody Loves a Loser -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:54:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Is Your House Overvalued? -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:53:23 (EDT)

Bobby -:- New Forum -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 12:16:38 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: New Forum -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:46:56 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: New Forum -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 13:49:58 (EDT)
___ Bobby -:- Re: New Forum -:- Tues, May 31, 2005 at 00:27:56 (EDT)


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Subject: First Flight
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 21:43:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4529&u=182|144|... Adult Baltimore Oriole Looks on as Chick Takes First Flight New York City--Central Park, North Woods.

Subject: A Livable Shade of Green
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:47:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/03/opinion/03kristof.html?incamp=article_popular_1 A Livable Shade of Green By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF PORTLAND, Ore. When President Bush travels to the Group of 8 summit meeting this week, he'll stiff Tony Blair and other leaders who are appealing for firm action on global warming. 'Kyoto would have wrecked our economy,' Mr. Bush told a Danish interviewer recently, referring to the accord to curb carbon emissions. Maybe that was a plausible argument a few years ago, but now the city of Portland is proving it flat wrong. Newly released data show that Portland, America's environmental laboratory, has achieved stunning reductions in carbon emissions. It has reduced emissions below the levels of 1990, the benchmark for the Kyoto accord, while booming economically. What's more, officials in Portland insist that the campaign to cut carbon emissions has entailed no significant economic price, and on the contrary has brought the city huge benefits: less tax money spent on energy, more convenient transportation, a greener city, and expertise in energy efficiency that is helping local businesses win contracts worldwide. 'People have looked at it the wrong way, as a drain,' said Mayor Tom Potter, who himself drives a Prius hybrid. 'Actually it's something that attracts people. ... It's economical; it makes sense in dollars.' I've been torn about what to do about global warming. But the evidence is growing that climate change is a real threat: I was bowled over when I visited the Arctic and talked to Eskimos who described sea ice disappearing, permafrost melting and visits by robins, for which they have no word in the local language. In the past, economic models tended to discourage aggressive action on greenhouse gases, because they indicated that the cost of curbing carbon emissions could be extraordinarily high, amounting to perhaps 3 percent of G.N.P. That's where Portland's experience is so crucial. It confirms the suggestions of some economists that we can take initial steps against global warming without economic disruptions. Then in a decade or two, we can decide whether to proceed with other, costlier steps. In 1993, Portland became the first local government in the United States to adopt a strategy to deal with climate change. The latest data, released a few weeks ago, show the results: Greenhouse gas emissions last year in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, dropped below the level of 1990, and per capita emissions were down 13 percent. This was achieved partly by a major increase in public transit, including two light rail lines and a streetcar system. The city has also built 750 miles of bicycle paths, and the number of people commuting by foot or on bicycle has increased 10 percent. Portland offers all city employees either a $25-per-month bus pass or car pool parking. Private businesses are told that if they provide employees with subsidized parking, they should also subsidize bus commutes. The city has also offered financial incentives and technical assistance to anyone constructing a 'green building' with built-in energy efficiency. Then there are innumerable little steps, such as encouraging people to weatherize their homes. Portland also replaced the bulbs in the city's traffic lights with light-emitting diodes, which reduce electricity use by 80 percent and save the city almost $500,000 a year. 'Portland's efforts refute the thesis that you can't make progress without huge economic harm,' says Erik Sten, a city commissioner. 'It actually goes all the other way - to the extent Portland has been successful, the things that we were doing that happened to reduce emissions were the things that made our city livable and hence desirable.' Mr. Sten added that Portland's officials were able to curb carbon emissions only because the steps they took were intrinsically popular and cheap, serving other purposes like reducing traffic congestion or saving on electrical costs. 'I haven't seen that much willingness even among our environmentalists,' he said, 'to do huge masochistic things to save the planet.' So as he heads to the summit meeting, Mr. Bush should get a briefing on Portland's experience (a full report is at www.sustainableportland.org) and accept that we don't need to surrender to global warming. Perhaps eventually we will face hard trade-offs. But for now Portland shows that we can help our planet without 'wrecking' our economy - indeed, at no significant cost at all. At the Group of 8, that should be a no-brainer.

Subject: Note for Dear Bobby
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:42:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear Bobby, Please try to leave the last 50 or so posts for us when you clean the message board. Thank you so much.

Subject: A Cautious Outlook
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:40:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This theme for me these coming months will be increasing caution for the year has gone well so far, but we can not know whether to expect a slowing is economic growth now that the Federal Reserve has been raising short term interest rates for a full year. There is no other major central bank that is raising rates and several are lowering. The most important aspect then of growth will be low long term interest rates. The danger as everyone knows, would be a failing housing market. The idea then is a cautious value emphasis, and a watch on bonds. The most positive aspect is that every major stock market but our is positive in domestic currency for the year so far, many making fine gains. As for the Vanguard GNMA Bond Fund as a defense, remember as I finally understand the duration will increase if long term interest rates increase but this will not happen with other investment-grade bond funds.

Subject: 'Three Billion New Capitalists'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:21:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/03/books/review/03BLODGET.html?pagewanted=all 'Three Billion New Capitalists': Consider the Outsource By HENRY BLODGET IF you've managed to ignore the alarm bells on the outlook for American economic leadership -- and you enjoy dreaming -- don't read Clyde Prestowitz's ''Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East.'' It argues that the United States faces such serious fiscal and competitive challenges that we may be headed not only for a declining standard of living but for a 1930's-style depression with a capital D. Here's the story. In the golden age, 1950-73, we had it all -- low-cost manufacturing, rising wages, technological dominance, a highly educated and motivated work force, a trade surplus. Until 1971, our reserve currency was backed by gold, forcing us to be responsible. We had control over our economic destiny. Since then, bit by bit, we've lost much of our strength and are in danger of losing the rest. Our first problem is the surge in competitiveness on the part of the rest of the world, especially China and India, a trend Thomas L. Friedman analyzes in detail in ''The World Is Flat.'' Even if the playing field were level -- which it isn't -- we would not be able to compete with the combination of low-cost labor, talent and fire in the belly of these two behemoths. Our second problem is that we still think we're living in the golden age. In fact, we suffer from a misguided sense of superiority, profligate spending habits, a weak education system, mammoth debts, a ballooning trade deficit and a religious devotion to free-trade theories developed before the Industrial Revolution. Each of these issues could consume a book, but Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute and a trade negotiator in the Reagan administration, packs them into one. The heart of the question, as he sees it, is that we are not defending the jewel in our economic crown -- our technology and manufacturing capabilities -- but are instead waxing poetic about the virtues of free trade while more practical countries walk off with our loot. This, he contends, will lead to the gutting of our economy, with well-paid skilled jobs replaced by low-paid menial ones, and an America in hock to the world's next economic leaders. Globalization, of course, is nothing new. The ''hollowing out'' debate hinges on whether the United States can replace the jobs it loses with equal or better ones. Capitalism is fueled by Schumpeter's creative destruction -- new forever displacing old -- and this country has thrived through transitions from agriculture to manufacturing to automation to outsourcing to services. Free-trade advocates argue that globalization is just the latest phase of a continuing evolution. Trade hawks like Prestowitz argue that now is different because of the sheer size of India and China and our inadequate response to the new situation. Globalization has always been a touchy subject (after all, Americans lose jobs when companies move production and services overseas) -- so touchy that most popular discussion of it is inflammatory or inane or both. Last year, John Kerry branded corporations and executives who send jobs offshore ''Benedict Arnold companies and C.E.O.'s,'' and a White House adviser, N. Gregory Mankiw, provoked many a storm by suggesting that offshoring was actually beneficial because, among other things, it lowers prices and makes labor available for new opportunities. Mankiw may have been impolitic, but Kerry was just pandering. If the choice is go offshore or go out of business, a chief executive doesn't have a choice. Prestowitz acknowledges that many companies can't survive today without offshoring, but argues that we often abandon industries we could continue to dominate and so lose the ability to lead the next wave of innovation. He lays the blame on government, not the private sector. ''Whether it recognizes the fact or not,'' he declares, ''the United States has a de facto economic strategy, and right now it is to send the country's most important industries overseas.'' He observes, moreover, that the benefits of offshoring go beyond cost: ''You do save money,'' a senior manager at the semiconductor equipment maker KLA-Tencor says about sending work to India. ''But pretty soon, you realize the work is getting done faster and better, and you start sending more and more of it. You also start sending more advanced work and then have to figure out what, if anything, you really don't want to send.'' The work is getting done faster and better, Prestowitz argues, because Indians are not only hungrier than we are, but better educated. China, India, Japan and Europe all churn out more science and engineering degrees than we do. Worse -- and downright embarrassing -- is the state of American education. Globally, our 12th-graders rank only in the 10th percentile in math (that's 10th percentile, not 10th). Our students also rank first in their assessment of their own performance: we're not only poorly prepared, we have delusions of grandeur. One common argument against the hollowing-out theory is that we can afford to lose jobs in low-tech manufacturing because we retain our high-tech design and manufacturing capabilities. Prestowitz counters that China's and India's incentives and resources are so compelling that the high-tech work is leaving, too. Another argument is that a revaluation of the yuan will curb imports and stimulate exports, thus repairing the trade deficit. In fact, Prestowitz asserts, our manufacturing capacity has been so gutted that we can't export our way out, even if the dollar's value drops to zero. The only path is to cut spending. But Prestowitz risks sounding like Chicken Little when he pronounces the globalization of today more than just another ''gale of creative destruction'' to which our economy will eventually adapt. Manufacturing has long been declining as a percentage of the United States economy, but the jobs lost have been more than offset by growth in services (in health care, financial services, law, retailing, and so on). Prestowitz points out that services are now being offshored, too, but not (yet) at a rate threatening our main growth industries. The McKinsey Global Institute, for example, reports that while 24 million Americans switch jobs each year, only 3 million jobs are estimated to go offshore by 2015. The critical question, still to be satisfactorily answered, is whether offshoring produces net economic gain or loss. Prestowitz deconstructs an oft-cited McKinsey study concluding that each $1 of spending sent offshore results in an overall gain in the gross domestic product of $1.12 to $1.14. He points out the study relies on data suggesting that 69 percent of displaced workers found jobs at an average of 97 percent of their former pay. This leaves 31 percent who didn't find new jobs. Not only that, ''if employers took McKinsey's advice to increase their offshoring,'' he says, the gain would quickly become a loss. In America's boom time, government-business cooperation was considered anathema to free-market principles -- ''Politicians shouldn't pick winners and losers!'' In Prestowitz's view, the laissez-faire trade theories of the 19th century have no place in 2005; since he holds that many of our successes have resulted from public-private collaboration, most of his proposals for maintaining American competitiveness boil down to government taking a more active role. Pay teachers more. Help workers move between jobs by offering wage insurance and portable health coverage. Reduce oil consumption by providing incentives for efficient cars (and include S.U.V.'s in mileage regulations). Tax spending, not saving. Help strategic industries with federal loan guarantees and grants. Call ''a new Bretton Woods Conference'' to set steps for reducing the role of the dollar in the world economy and so defuse the trade-deficit bomb. Whatever you think about offshoring, most of these ideas are no-brainers.

Subject: Blockbuster Drugs Are So Last Century
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 16:57:47 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/03/business/yourmoney/03drug.html?pagewanted=all Blockbuster Drugs Are So Last Century By ALEX BERENSON INDIANAPOLIS DRUG companies do an awful job of finding new medicines. They rely too much on billion-dollar blockbuster drugs that are both overmarketed and overprescribed. And they have been too slow to disclose side effects of popular medicines. Typical complaints from drug industry critics, right? Well, yes. Only this time they come from executives at Eli Lilly, the sixth-largest American drug maker and the company that invented Prozac. From this placid Midwestern city, well removed from the Boston-to-Washington corridor that is the core of the pharmaceutical industry, Lilly is ambitiously rethinking the way drugs are discovered and sold. In a speech to shareholders in April, Sidney Taurel, Lilly's chief executive, presented the company's new strategy in a pithy phrase: 'the right dose of the right drug to the right patient at the right time.' In other words, Lilly sees its future not in blockbuster medicines like Prozac that are meant for tens of millions of patients, but rather in drugs that are aimed at smaller groups and can be developed more quickly and cheaply, possibly with fewer side effects. There is no guarantee, of course, that Lilly will succeed. And some Wall Street analysts complain about the recent track record of the company, saying that it has habitually overpromised the potential of its drugs and taken one-time charges that distort its reported profits. In the last year, Lilly's stock has fallen 21 percent, while shares in the average big drug maker have been flat. Still, since late 2001, Lilly's labs have produced five truly new drugs, including treatments for osteoporosis, depression and lung cancer. The total exceeds that of many of its much-larger competitors. And at a time when the drug industry seems adrift, that Lilly has any vision at all for the future is striking. 'The challenge for us as an industry, as a company, is to move more from a blockbuster model to a targeted model,' Mr. Taurel said at Lilly's headquarters here recently. 'We need a better value proposition than today.' For five years, drug companies have struggled to bring new medicines to market. But Lilly executives say they believe that the drought is not permanent. Advances in understanding the ways that cells and genes work will soon lead to important new drugs, said Peter Johnson, executive director of corporate strategy. Moreover, Lilly expects that drug makers without breakthrough medicines that are either the first or the best in their categories will face increasing pressure from insurers to cut prices or lose coverage. If that vision is correct, the industry's winners will be companies that invest heavily in research and differentiate themselves by focusing on a few diseases instead of on building size and cutting costs through mergers, as Pfizer has done. Lilly, which spends nearly 20 percent of its sales on research, compared with about 16 percent for the average drug company, may be well positioned for the future. 'We do not believe that size pays off for anybody, especially size acquired in an acquisition,' Mr. Taurel said. But if Lilly is wrong about the industry's direction, or if its research efforts fail, it could wind up like Merck, the third-biggest American drug company, which has also adamantly opposed mergers and bet instead on its labs. After its own eight-year drought of major new drugs, Merck has had a 65 percent decline in its stock price since 2000, and its chief executive was forced out in May. Mr. Johnson acknowledges that Lilly's strategy is risky. 'You can't make a discovery operation invent what you want them to invent,' he said. So Lilly is seeking to improve its odds and to cut research costs by changing the way it develops drugs, said Dr. Steven M. Paul, president of the company's laboratories. Bringing a drug to market cost more than $900 million on average in 2003, compared with $230 million in 1987, according to estimates from Lilly and industry groups. But the public's willingness to accept side effects is shrinking, and some drug-safety experts and lawmakers want even larger and longer clinical trials for new drugs, increasing development costs. If nothing changes, Lilly expects that by 2010, the cost of finding a single new drug may reach $2 billion by 2010, an unsustainable amount, Dr. Paul said. 'We've got to do something to reduce the costs,' he added. The biggest expense in drug development comes not from early-stage research, he said, but from the failure of drugs after they have left the labs and been tested in humans. A drug that has moved into first-stage human clinical trials now has only about an 8 percent chance of reaching the market. Even in late-stage trials, about half of all drugs fail, often because they do not prove better than existing treatments. To change that, Lilly is focusing its research efforts on finding biomarkers - genes or other cellular signals that will indicate which patients are most likely to respond to a given drug. Other drug makers are also searching for biomarkers, but Lilly executives are the most vocal in expressing their belief that this area of research will fundamentally change the way drugs are developed. Using biomarkers should make drugs more effective and reduce side effects, Dr. Paul said. If all goes as planned, the company will know sooner whether its drugs are working, and will develop fewer drugs that fail in clinical trials. The company may even be able to use shorter, smaller clinical trials because its drugs will demonstrate their effectiveness more quickly. To improve its chances further, Lilly has focused its research efforts on four types of diseases: diabetes, cancer, mental illness and some heart ailments. In each category, it has had a history of successful drugs. The company hopes to reduce the cost of new development to about $700 million a drug by 2010. Because Lilly now spends about $2.7 billion annually on research, that figure would imply that the company could develop as many as four new drugs a year, compared with just one a year if current trends do not change. Among the company's most promising drugs in development are ruboxistaurin, for diabetes complications; arzoxifene, for the prevention of osteoporosis and breast cancer; and enzastaurin, for brain tumors and other cancers. The flip side of Lilly's plan is that drugs it develops may be used more narrowly than current treatments. For example, the company may find that a diabetes drug works best in patients under 40 with a specific genetic marker, and enroll only those patients in its clinical trials. While doctors can legally prescribe any medicine for any reason once it is on the market, insurers would probably balk at covering the drug for diabetics over 40 or for patients without the genetic marker. 'The old model was, one size fits a whole lot of people,' said Mr. Johnson, Lilly's strategist. Last month, Lilly's vision of targeted therapies gained some ground - albeit at another company. The Food and Drug Administration approved BiDil, a heart drug from NitroMed that is intended for use by African-Americans. The approval, based on a clinical trial that enrolled only black patients, was the first ever for a drug meant for one racial group. While race can be a crude characterization of groups, it can serve as an effective biomarker, scientists said. Lilly's road map may look appealing. But some analysts question whether the company is as different from the rest of the industry as it would like to believe. While it professes to see a future of narrowly marketed medicines, Lilly is more dependent than any other major drug maker on a single blockbuster drug: Zyprexa, its treatment for schizophrenia and manic depression. Zyprexa accounted for about $4.4 billion in sales last year, 30 percent of the company's total sales. And while Lilly executives say they want to avoid marketing its drugs too heavily or in anything less than a forthright way, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia are investigating its marketing practices for Zyprexa and Prozac. Last month, Lilly said it would pay $690 million to settle 8,000 lawsuits that contended that Zyprexa could cause obesity and diabetes and that the company had not properly disclosed that risk. Lilly says that it acted properly in marketing Zyprexa and that is cooperating with the federal investigation. Still, the controversy has hurt Zyprexa sales, which fell 8 percent in the United States last year. Some of Lilly's newest drugs have been commercial disappointments. The company and analysts hoped that annual sales of Xigris, a treatment introduced in late 2001 for a blood infection called sepsis, could reach $1 billion; Xigris's sales were $200 million last year. Sales of Strattera, for attention deficit disorder, slowed after a report in December that the drug can cause a rare but serious form of liver damage. Michael Krensavage, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates who rates Lilly shares as underperform, said that Lilly's emphasis on targeted therapies might be a defensive response to the industry's recent inability to produce blockbusters. Rather than targeted treatments, 'drug companies would hope to produce a medicine that works for everybody,' Mr. Krensavage said. 'That's certainly the goal.' Mr. Krensavage also criticized Lilly's accounting, noting that the company has taken one-time charges in each of the last three years that have muddied its financial results. Lilly said its accounting complied with all federal rules. Despite the company's recent stumbles with Zyprexa, other analysts say Lilly is well positioned, and they praise Mr. Taurel for looking for innovative ways to lower the cost of drug development. 'Sidney has a better concept of what's happening outside his four walls and is far better in reflecting that in how the company runs on a day-to-day basis than any of his peers,' said Richard Evans, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. Mr. Taurel acknowledged Lilly's dependence on Zyprexa and the fact that some new drugs had not met expectations. But he said the transition to targeted therapies would take years, if not decades. With earnings last year of $3.1 billion, before one-time charges, and no major patent expirations before 2011, Lilly can afford to make long-term bets, he said. 'Our model needs to evolve,' he said. 'For the industry and for Lilly.'

Subject: A Stock Market Riddle
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 14:51:58 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/03/business/yourmoney/03stra.html A Stock Market Riddle May Have an Easy Answer By MARK HULBERT IT is hard to argue with the notion that investors often price some stocks too high and others too low. But if new research is correct, this seemingly banal truth may also explain a long-running mystery: why small-capitalization value stocks tend to beat large-cap growth stocks. There is a long record of such outperformance. Since 1926, researchers have found, the closer a stock is to the small end of the size spectrum, the better its performance, on average. The same is true for stocks on the value end of the value-versus-growth spectrum, as measured by the ratio of price to book value. For years, researchers haven't been able to agree on why these factors have had such a big effect on returns. Some theorists argue that small-cap stocks and value stocks must be riskier than large-cap and growth shares. The greater risk, they say, accounts for the long-term outperformance. Others find this argument hard to swallow, saying the typical value stock is less risky than the typical growth issue. Still others say the performance differences are essentially accidental - so there is nothing to explain. The debate should be of interest to investors outside the academic world. After all, unless the basis for the long-term advantages of small-cap and value stocks is clear, investing in them may be especially dangerous. Those involved in the new research say they have found at least a partial answer to the puzzle in something so basic that past studies all but overlooked it. All that is needed for the size and value advantages to exist, they contend, is for some stocks to be overpriced and others to be priced too cheaply. Several researchers have been involved in this line of study. One is Robert D. Arnott, editor of the Financial Analysts Journal and chairman of Research Affiliates, a research and asset management firm based in Pasadena, Calif. An article by Mr. Arnott outlining this research appeared in the March-April issue of that journal. His argument is based largely on simple logic: By definition, an overvalued stock has a larger market capitalization than would otherwise be the case. Its price-to-book ratio is also higher, and thus it is closer to the growth end of the growth-value spectrum. Portfolios of large growth stocks will contain a disproportionate number of overvalued issues, and should, on average, lag behind the market. The opposite is the case for undervalued stocks. So small-cap value portfolios will have more than their share of them and should beat the market in the long term. Notice that this argument does not depend on anyone being able to identify the particular undervalued or overvalued companies. Nor does it depend on a specific definition of fair value. All that is required is that some stocks are overvalued and some undervalued. Only the most diehard believer in market efficiency would deny this precondition. In addition to showing that investors should favor small-cap and value stocks, this new research also suggests that index funds could improve long-term performance by changing the ways they divide their assets. Currently, almost all index funds use an allocation method known as cap weighting, in which a stock's weight in an index is a function of its market capitalization. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, for example, uses such a system. According to Jack Treynor, a father of modern portfolio theory and a veteran of more than two dozen mutual fund families' boards, 'an index fund that is cap-weighted inherently invests more money in overpriced stocks than it does in underpriced stocks.' That, in turn, cuts long-term returns. So how should an index fund divide its assets? One way is to give equal weight to each stock. Consider again the S.& P. 500. According to S.& P. data, an equal-weighted 500 index would have outperformed the cap-weighted version by 1.3 percentage points a year, on average, since the beginning of 1990. One index fund that uses the equal-weighted system is Rydex S.& P. Equal Weight, an exchange-traded fund. Mr. Arnott has created a method that, in back testing, has performed even better than equal weighting. In this approach, called fundamental indexing, a stock's weight is a function of variables like income, sales, dividends and book value. A new fund, Pimco Fundamental Index TR Plus, is based on one of Mr. Arnott's fundamental indexes. These alternative weighting methods have their detractors. One is George U. Sauter, chief investment officer at the Vanguard Group. He contends that if the market is defined as the total value of all stocks, only a cap-weighted index can be a true reflection of it, and equal-weighted and fundamental indexes will be skewed toward the small-cap and value ends of the spectrum. And that, he said, could lead the performance of such indexes to diverge significantly from the market as a whole, a problem often called tracking error. Mr. Arnott says the tracking-error argument isn't a good reason to avoid fundamental indexes. Because 'cap-weighted indexes have significantly lower returns than they should,' he said, investors may welcome a method that achieves better results From his perspective, 'tracking error relative to cap-weighted indexes is a good thing.'

Subject: Moonlighting Sure Pays Off at A.I.G.
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 14:50:31 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/03/business/yourmoney/03gret.html Moonlighting Sure Pays Off at A.I.G. By Gretchen Morgenson EVEN the most jaded observer of outsized executive pay may have been amazed when the American International Group, the embattled insurance giant, drew back the curtain on what its top managers received from their association with C. V. Starr, a private offshore company that sells insurance policies for A.I.G. And all that, mind you, came on top of what they were paid for their A.I.G. day jobs. C. V. Starr mostly sells and services policies underwritten by A.I.G. It began operations in 1970 when what is now A.I.G. decided to place several small, not very profitable insurance agencies into a separate company. A.I.G. pays commissions to C. V. Starr for placing business with it, and over the years the little agency has grown into a profit machine. More recently, however, the company has become a governance nightmare for A.I.G. That's because it has been run by a raft of A.I.G. executives who also invested in it, creating the potential for major conflicts. A.I.G. now says that it is unwinding relationships with C. V. Starr and Starr International, another offshore company set up by A.I.G., and that its executives are no longer officers or directors of the companies. Last week, investors learned for the first time just how big the benefits of the C. V. Starr association have been for A.I.G. executives. Maurice R. Greenberg, the former A.I.G. chief executive, received a salary of $380,000 and directors' fees of $100,000 in 2004 from C. V. Starr, and a bonus of $2.6 million, which was at least partially paid by C. V. Starr. He also received $2.8 million last year in cash dividends generated by his investment in C. V. Starr shares. That investment grew in value last year by $8.8 million; the total value of his stake in C. V. Starr was $121.4 million as of the end of 2004. He paid $1.2 million for this stake, according to the proxy. This was on top of what A.I.G. gave him: $9 million in salary and bonus, 375,000 stock options and perks valued at $300,000. And from Starr International last year, he received $10.1 million in long-term compensation and $50,000 in directors' fees. Altogether in 2004, he received a total of $34.1 million from A.I.G., C. V. Starr and Starr International. Almost half of that - 43 percent - was disclosed for the first time last week. Mr. Greenberg, through a spokesman, declined to comment. Other A.I.G. executives also received nice chunks of C. V. Starr change last year. Martin J. Sullivan, A.I.G.'s chief executive, received salary, bonus and long-term compensation of $5.8 million. Wearing his C. V. Starr hat, he earned as much as $300,000 in salary, bonus and directors' fees and $400,000 more in cash dividends. His C. V. Starr shares, for which he paid $337,500, rose in value by $2.5 million last year, to a total value of $10.1 million. Nice work if you can get it. And part time, apparently. The services to C. V. Starr and Starr International rendered by A.I.G. executives 'are not considered to detract materially from the business time of these individuals available for A.I.G. matters,' last year's proxy said. Brian Foley, a specialist in executive compensation in White Plains, said: 'Given that the individuals named were supposedly full time at A.I.G. and were in fact very well paid by A.I.G., one would have to conclude that with respect to the Starr entities, they had one of the best part-time gigs there's ever been.' Ed Matthews, president of C. V. Starr and a former vice chairman of A.I.G., said that C. V. Starr's results reflect earnings from its agency business (it booked revenue of approximately $400 million last year), gains and dividends on its 40 million A.I.G. shares and profits from a large portfolio that invests in hedge funds, real estate and private companies. He said the relationship with Starr was very profitable to A.I.G. Asked why the C. V. Starr pay to A.I.G. executives was not disclosed to shareholders, Mr. Matthews said it was not deemed material. 'It was a private investment company,' he said, 'and it was hard to segregate the exact amount that came from the insurance agency, from A.I.G. shares and from private investments.' Why did directors make so much money if they did so little? 'It wasn't always this way,' he said. C. V. Starr's relationship with A.I.G. is the subject of a lawsuit by the Louisiana pension fund contending that C. V. Starr and its investors and officers benefited from the company's affiliation with A.I.G. at the expense of A.I.G. shareholders. Current A.I.G. executives received salaries, bonuses and directors' fees from C. V. Starr of as much as $3.7 million last year. They also received $4.4 million in dividends from C. V. Starr and saw their stakes rise by $29 million, to a total value of $176 million at the end of 2004. WHILE investors are just learning about these numbers, A.I.G. said the compensation committee of its board was told about the pay in the past. Interestingly, A.I.G.'s outside directors earn base pay of $40,000 a year while most of the A.I.G. executives on the Starr boards received $150,000 in directors' fees last year. A.I.G. directors do earn an additional $1,500 for each meeting they attend. A.I.G.'s spokesman, Chris Winans, said shareholders were not hurt by the executives' association with C. V. Starr. In fact, the shareholders benefited, he said; the pay received by A.I.G. executives from the Starr companies did not cost A.I.G. anything. But now it will. Mr. Matthews said that he is in the process of selling C. V. Starr's agencies to A.I.G. and that C. V. Starr plans to buy A.I.G. executives' stakes. If it does not, A.I.G. has guaranteed that it will pay the value of those C. V. Starr stakes - $176 million at last count. Mr. Winans said that such a payout was unlikely. He also said A.I.G. would probably start paying these executives what C. V. Starr had been giving them - proving again how good it is to be king.

Subject: Profits, Not Jobs, on the Rebound
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 13:31:35 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/03/business/03valley.html?pagewanted=all Profits, Not Jobs, on the Rebound in Silicon Valley By JOHN MARKOFF and MATT RICHTEL SAN JOSE, Calif. - Things are looking up at Wyse Technology, a venerable maker of computer terminals. Unless, that is, you happen to want to work for the company here in Silicon Valley. Responding to booming demand in Asia and in Europe, Wyse is adding new development teams in India and China and expanding its worldwide work force to about 380, from 260. Its profits are recorded here - but almost none of its new jobs. Amid widespread signs of economic recovery in the region, Wyse is emblematic of its economy, in which demand, sales and profits are rising quickly while job growth continues to stagnate. In the last three years, profits at the seven largest companies in Silicon Valley by market value have increased by an average of more than 500 percent while Santa Clara County employment has declined to 767,600, from 787,200. During the previous economic recovery, between 1995 and 1997, the county, which is the heart of Silicon Valley, added more than 82,800 jobs. Changes in technology and business strategy are raising fundamental questions about the future of the valley, the nation's high technology heartland. In part, the change is driven by the very automation that Silicon Valley has largely made possible, allowing companies to create more value with fewer workers. Some economists are wondering if a larger transformation is at work - accelerating a trend in which the region's big employers keep a brain trust of creative people and engineers here but hire workers for lower-level tasks elsewhere. 'What has changed is that Silicon Valley has continued to move up the value chain,' said AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of the School of Information Management and Systems and professor of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley. That has meant that just as low-skilled manufacturing jobs fled the region starting in the 1970's, now software jobs are also leaving. The phenomenon is only the latest twist in the region's boom-and-bust history, marked by repeated cycles of innovation and renewal over the last five decades. Industries based on personal computing, hand-held devices and electronic commerce have emerged and thrived here, and each brought waves of new jobs. Now, almost everyone agrees that Silicon Valley is coming back, and employment there grew from March to May, but the area still has about 10,000 fewer jobs than there were a year ago. The increase in profits 'has been very dramatic, but there's no job growth,' said Doug Henton, president of Collaborative Economics, a regional consulting company. Some former technology workers have given up on the sector - or moved out of the Bay Area altogether. Catherine Haley, 32, went to work in 1997 as a project manager and a Web designer for technology companies in the area, but after quitting the consulting firm KPMG in 2002, she found it extremely difficult to find a full-time job. In 2004, after working in piecemeal assignments for two years, she gave up on the job market and nearly moved back to Boston. Instead, she decided to pursue her passion - art - and is now majority owner of a gallery in San Francisco. She does not miss fighting for work, she said, partly because the high-tech economy has lost its charm. 'Unfortunately, the number of interesting projects and companies out there has really come down,' she said. In some cases, as at Wyse, the job growth in the sector is taking place elsewhere - in lower-cost, higher-growth markets. A new management team, installed as part of a buyout of the company that was completed in April, is leading a restructuring that includes adding 100 workers in India and 35 in Beijing so far this year. At the start of the year the company had 90 percent of its work force in Silicon Valley; now the figure is 48 percent, and only 15 percent of its engineering talent remains here, largely because of the technology development teams it is building in India and China. 'It was pretty clear that growth was going to come first in Asia,' said John Kish, Wyse's chief executive. 'We had the desire to get engineering teams to those markets as quickly as we could.' Stephen Levy, director for the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, said the growth of employment outside Silicon Valley was 'not a nefarious plot,' but a logical development. 'Companies are going where there are customers and, in some cases, where it's cheaper to produce,' he said. Hoping to keep costs low, Electronic Arts, the video game maker based just north of here in Redwood City, already has development studios in Vancouver, Montreal, London, Chicago and Orlando, Fla. It is debating how much of its work in the future it can move to lower-cost regions, said Jeff Brown, a company spokesman. 'We will always have a presence here because there is a core of talent,' he said. 'But there is strong pressure to figure out exactly which jobs it is essential to keep in California.' The issue is not just outsourcing, though, but also big leaps in productivity. Cisco, the behemoth maker of Internet equipment, now has annual sales of $680,000 per employee, compared to $480,000 in 2001. One key measure, known as value added per employee, rose 3.7 percent in 2004, to $222,000 in economic value per worker. That compares with $85,000 per worker in the rest of the country, according to data reported by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a regional economic research group. By a number of other measures, companies are watching profits and sales rise. An analysis published in April by The San Jose Mercury News found that the top 100 public companies in the region had revenues of $336 billion in 2004, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year. Mr. Henton said that measure, while not entirely indicative of what is going on because it includes worldwide sales, gives a good sense of the growth here. 'It's a clear recovery,' Mr. Levy said. 'It's a high-productivity jobless recovery.' In the past, much of the job growth has come from investment by venture capitalists in start-up companies. That engine is starting to rev up again, with venture capitalists putting $7.4 billion into 724 Silicon Valley companies in 2004, according to the National Venture Capital Association. That is up 17 percent from 2003, but still far below the $34 billion invested in 2000, at the peak of the phenomenon. Also, newer start-ups are under pressure from their venture-capital investors to outsource work to lower-cost regions, said Cynthia Kroll, a senior regional economist at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She added that the venture capitalists, burned as the last cycle turned downward, are much more closely watching how start-ups spend money, including how they hire. 'That would be slowing growth of employment,' Ms. Kroll said. The venture capitalists are being highly selective, said Margot Heiligman, 39, who is doing consulting work for technology companies but is in the market for a full-time job. Ms. Heiligman moved to San Francisco last November when her husband took a trumpeter position with the city's symphony orchestra. Ms. Heiligman previously oversaw the internal technology department for the New York law firm of Proskauer Rose and spent six years as director of business development for Swisscom, a telecommunications company in Bern, Switzerland. She is eager to find work at a start-up company, but has found that the venture backers of such companies are very selective, hiring acquaintances or people who have worked at companies they know well. 'I'm finding it pretty closed,' she said of the job market. 'It's making New York look like an easy place' to find a job.

Subject: Were the Good Old Days That Good?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 13:25:42 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/03/business/yourmoney/03standard.html?pagewanted=all Were the Good Old Days That Good? By LOUIS UCHITELLE TOM RATH, the protagonist in Sloan Wilson's 1955 novel, 'The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,' certainly had his share of troubles: the stressful conformity, the constant striving for success, the superficial suburban friendships, the war experiences he kept hidden from his wife. It all ate away at him. But Tom, like most Americans in the first three decades after World War II, took a rising standard of living for granted. When he needed more income to make ends meet, he simply landed a better-paying job. Indeed, at parties throughout suburbia, Mr. Wilson wrote, 'the public celebration of increases in salary was common.' And Tom didn't fret about medical bills, job security or the quality of public schools for his three children. Fast forward to Tom and Marie DeSisto in 2005. They are real people in their early 50's, living in a three-bedroom condominium in Newton, Mass. Ask them if their standard of living is rising and they say yes, indeed, it is - but not in the Rath family's sense of the word. The DeSistos' income made a U-turn last year, but they manage to live within its limits, even eking out money for extras. And that success lifts their spirits. 'We are not really into boats and cars,' Mrs. DeSisto said, 'but we are traveling more.' Pushed into early retirement last year by his employer, Verizon, Mr. DeSisto's salary plummeted from more than $100,000 as a manager to $36,000 as a first-year math teacher at Newton High School. His wife, on the other hand, has just been promoted to director of nursing in the Framingham public schools. Her salary rose by nearly $4,000, to $67,000 a year, but she is also adding eight working days a year to handle the additional responsibilities. While the Raths moved up in income, home size and leisure time, the DeSistos sold their four-bedroom colonial home in Newton, pocketing a profit while cutting their property taxes and maintenance costs. 'We planned carefully,' Mrs. DeSisto said, 'and we downsized successfully.' So, did the Raths, that quintessential 1950's family, enjoy a higher standard of living than middle-class families like the DeSistos do today? In other words, can it be that living standards are actually slipping in America? No economist, demographer or historian would make that case. Living standards, after all, almost never go backward, at least not in a material sense. Indeed, the economy today is growing, consumer spending is plentiful and new technologies - from the Internet to laparoscopic surgery - make life better than ever, as they do in every generation. BUT for the DeSistos and their contemporaries, the trajectory is no longer the steadily upward line that the Rath family enjoyed. Instead, the line appears to be climbing erratically. That is certainly true of the traditional measures of standard of living. After 20 years of very small gains, the rate of improvement surged from 1995 to 2000 - only to fall back toward zero over the last four years, a reversal that puzzles analysts. 'When you talk about living standards, you have to focus on people in the middle,' said Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University. 'A lot of the goodies that we think of as raising living standards have gone to the people at the top at the expense of the broad mass of Americans in the middle.' Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that federal subsidies in the form of tax credits, mainly the earned income tax credit, are raising living standards for low-income families by more than many people realize. Those subsidies have risen by about $2,000 since President Bush took office in 2001, to just over $3,000 a year for a married couple with two children and a family income of $27,300, Mr. Hassett estimates. 'The standard income numbers don't capture what is happening to people at the bottom,' he said. 'So you have to look at their consumption, not their income, to gauge standard of living. And consumption has significantly outperformed income.' While income and consumption are the chief measures of a nation's standard of living, other, more subtle indicators also play an important role - and several of them are not doing so well. Life expectancy in the United States, while still rising, has fallen behind that in France, Germany and Japan. Home ownership is at a record high for the population as a whole, but it has dropped since the 1970's for some groups - working families with children, for example, according to the Center for Housing Policy. In overwhelming numbers, Americans say they are satisfied with their standard of living, a Gallup poll reports. But 25 percent of the nation's families also worry all or most of time that they won't be able to pay their bills. That is up from 21 percent in the late 1990's. And in many cases, public services are not holding their own. 'Thirty years ago a lot of public goods were free, and now they are fee-based,' said Michael Hout, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley. 'Even the Grand Canyon charges, and many public schools are engaged in fund-raising. So public goods that contribute to living standards are more dependent today on family income.' The good news for the nation is that productivity - a measure of output per worker that is the bedrock on which income and living standards are built - is rising. When it goes up, so does the revenue from the sale of the additional goods and services that each worker produces. In theory, some of that revenue feeds back into the income of the workers, financing improvements in their standard of living. That symbiotic relationship worked very well for Tom Rath. From the late 1940's through 1973, productivity grew at an annual rate of nearly 3 percent, and incomes rose almost as briskly. Then came a horrific slowdown: productivity fell back to an annual growth rate of less than 1.5 percent from the mid-1970's to the mid-90's, and median income hardly rose at all. The revival that started in 1995 brought productivity growth back to its old rate of increase, and for five years incomes also rose smartly. What happened next is tough for economists to explain. The productivity growth rate has stayed strong - rising at an average annual rate of just under 3 percent since 1995, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But starting in 2000, median income, adjusted for inflation, has grown more slowly every year - and this year the increase is almost imperceptible. 'There is no question that a huge gap has opened up between productivity and living standards,' said Jared Bernstein, a senior labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute. Not since World War II have productivity and income diverged so sharply, yet that phenomenon barely registers in public opinion surveys. Nearly 9 in 10 people surveyed by Gallup say they are satisfied with their standard of living, a higher proportion than in the 1960's. In answering that question, however, those surveyed make no comparisons with the past, said Lydia Saad, a senior editor at Gallup, 'so they don't know whether they are falling behind on some treadmill of life.' Richard A. Easterlin, an economic historian at the University of Southern California, has a different take. Satisfaction is always relative, he says. If a family's debt rises, that is not a negative as long as other people's debt is increasing at roughly the same pace. The parity helps to explain why consumption has risen 40 percent faster than income since 2001, and why people are able to focus on the amenities they acquire - the cellphones, the bigger homes, the cars and the digital cameras - without feeling weighed down by rising debt or by income that is rising more slowly. TOM RATH'S generation, having experienced the Depression, expected more hard times after World War II. When the economy boomed instead, the aspirations of his generation rose and so, eventually, did their sense of well-being. All of that changed in the 1980's, when globalization infected public attitudes and people told pollsters that they expected their children's living standards to decline. That shift in expectations soon gave way to a new norm. In the age of layoffs, tens of thousands of families have done what the DeSistos have done: adjusted to a decline in income after a job loss. The DeSisto family's income is still more than twice the national median of nearly $53,000, and Mrs. DeSisto's eight additional days of work are not really eight additional days, as she sees it. 'I always worked those extra days,' she said. 'I just didn't get paid for them in my old job as supervisor of nurses.' While the glass may be half full in the eyes of many beholders, living standards certainly are not improving for everyone. Productivity, as it rises, throws off more and more income, which is then distributed to capital in the form of profits, and to labor in higher wages, more paid hours and benefits. Labor's share, which has historically represented 60 to 65 percent of the total, has fallen in the last five years to the low end of that range. But for Mr. Gordon at Northwestern, that is only part of the story. Capital's share, he says, has increasingly found its way to upper-income families as stock options, dividends, special bonuses and the like. 'We had much less income inequality in the first couple of decades after World War II because of strong unions, restricted trade and a decline in immigration,' Mr. Gordon said. 'Then all three reversed, which means that the income from productivity falls to the bottom line and for the time being stays there.' To him and others, living standards cannot be truly rising if the improvement is so unevenly distributed; in addition, they say, earning a living has become increasingly stressful. Job security, which Tom Rath took for granted, has deteriorated. 'People talk of the new economy and of reinventing themselves in the workplace, and in that sense most of us are less secure,' said Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton University economist who shared a Nobel in economics for his contributions to behavioral economics. People approaching the age of 65 face a different uncertainty: smaller retirement incomes than their parents enjoyed. That is happening as the nation shifts from a system of fixed monthly pensions to 401(k)-type accounts, in which people save what they can for their own retirement. In the process, retirement income is falling from 93 percent of preretirement pay for today's retirees to 80 percent, on average, for the next generation, according to an Urban Institute projection. Some retirees cannot afford the pension hit, and they continue to work. The portion of the 65-and-over population that is employed has risen to 14 percent from less than 12 percent in 1995, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The option to retire is slipping away, and that damages living standards. 'People who have a choice experience a greater standard of living,' said Richard T. Curtin, director of the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers. 'They are not constrained from choosing what they prefer.' Choosing not to work is no longer an option for many families who need two incomes to pay what they consider basic expenses. Two of those expenses - health care and education - have risen faster than incomes, says Elizabeth Warren, a bankruptcy specialist at Harvard Law School and co-author of 'The Two-Income Trap.' 'Half of all people who file for personal bankruptcy do so in the aftermath of a serious medical problem,' she said, noting that the number of Americans without health insurance has increased in recent years. As for education, the rising cost is mostly in the purchase of expensive homes in upscale areas known to have good public schools. 'A generation ago,' Ms. Warren said, 'the majority of American parents believed they could buy whatever home they could afford and send their kids to a good school down the street.' There is a problem with this argument. The quality of public school education, measured by test scores, is in fact holding up quite well, on average. The National Assessment of Education Progress, a federally sponsored testing program that started in the 1960's, periodically measures the skills and achievements of students at the ages of 9, 13 and 17. Scores have risen slightly since the early 1980's, on average, but so, too, has the disparity in school performance. 'The variation is extraordinary across school districts and even across schools in the same district,' said Richard Murnane, an economist at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, 'so when you ask about how good the schools are, the measure of central tendency is less interesting than the variation around the average.' HEALTH problems also undermine living standards. Life expectancy at birth is one symptom. At 69.7 years in the late 1950's, life expectancy in the United States was slightly ahead of that of Germany and France, and well ahead of Japan's. Now Japan is far ahead at 80.5 years, compared with 78.5 in France, 77.5 in Germany and 76.5 in the United States. Infant mortality, at more than six deaths per thousand live births, similarly trails the rates in France, Germany and Japan, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Height, too, is no longer an American hallmark. Average height has been stuck at less than 6 feet for a decade or more while Europeans have grown passed that mark, suggesting that they are somehow healthier. Obesity is now a distinguishing feature. The percentage of obese American adults has doubled in the last 15 years, to 30 percent, said Kenneth E. Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy management at Emory University's School of Public Health. The way we live makes that happen, he argues: the lack of exercise, the marketing of foods high in sugar and fat, the over-large portions. As a result, weight-related illnesses - diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma - have risen sharply. 'Once you are sick, we are doing a better job in treatment,' Dr. Thorpe said. 'The pace of technological development has probably accelerated since 1980 more than in previous generations. That's the good news. The bad news is that we have larger shares of the population who are sick.' For Dr. Thorpe, the much better treatment is clearly a big improvement in standard of living - offset, however, by the big increase in the incidence of illness. He estimated that the additional health care cost resulting from the decline in healthiness would total $70 billion this year. 'You can't have a rising standard of living,' he said, 'if you have people getting less healthy.' The Rath family had no such misfortune. In Sloan Wilson's hands, the man in the gray flannel suit enjoyed an ever more prosperous life - a happy ending that many middle-class families can't seem to match today.

Subject: Interest rate increases
From: Poyetas
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 11:17:17 (EDT)
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How sensitive is the housing bubble to interest rate changes? If the fed keeps raising interest rates, when will the bubble burst? Bond yields are already being pushed lower due to liability matching on behalf of the credit institutions. Interest rate increases will push these yields even further down. If the housing bubble does not drop, there will be a double effect on bond yields.

Subject: Re: Interest rate increases
From: Terri
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 12:38:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Federal Reserve will be most sensitive to the housing market and likely stop raising short term interest rates if housing prices show signs of a decline. But, obviously the Fed is not worried just now so rates are likely to slowly climb again. If long term rates continue to remain low however, there may be no danger to the housing market other than flat pricing for a time.

Subject: Sho Yano and nature v nurture
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 06:28:03 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Chopin by age 3 - gives strong weight to nature. http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/s/sh/sho_yano.htm Sho Yano (born c. 1990, is a Japanese American and Korean American boy who at the age of 12 held the title of world's highest recorded IQ with a figure so high that it was unmeasurable. He reportedly played Chopin on the piano at age 3. After scoring 1500 out of 1600 on the SAT at age 8, he entered Loyola University at age 9, graduating summa cum laude at age 12, and now attends the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago in the MSTP (Medical Scientist Training Program) program designed to earn a combined MD and PhD.

Subject: How Marilyn Vos Savant Invests?
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 03, 2005 at 05:52:41 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

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Now Terri, if she went from pennies to millions in five years trading stocks, she was not indexing but definitely market timing at very risky levels. Do you have any more information about her investment career or current financial investment decisions? http://www.bookrags.com/biography-marilyn-vos-savant/ Bored with college, vos Savant left Washington University after two years and launched a career in stocks, real estate, and investment. Her real interest had always been in becoming a writer, but she realized that she first needed to establish a financial base with which to support herself. Within five years her personal investments afforded her....

Subject: About Despair and Hope in South Africa
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 15:44:09 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/movies/MoviesFeatures/02eber.html Film About Despair in South Africa, and School That Offers Hope By RICHARD SANDOMIR Charlie Ebersol's need to tell the story of the Ithuteng Trust school in Soweto - where traumatized and violent teenagers learn to overcome their young lives' horrors - began with a visit to the South African township two years ago and has produced a new documentary, 'Ithuteng (Never Stop Learning).' 'I have a great life, and I felt I had a responsibility to tell this story,' said Mr. Ebersol, 22, who was a film major at the University of Notre Dame and graduated in May. The documentary, which was honored in May as best humanitarian film at the MountainFilm festival in Telluride, Colo., is a raw but inspiring journey into the lives of teenagers ravaged by abuse, crime and AIDS. All were recruited by Jacqueline Maarohanye, a fiercely devoted teacher known as 'Mama Jackey' who set up the school in 1999. Although some students board there, most come from their own schools around Johannesburg for after-hours and Saturday programs that combine academics, culture, sports, peer counseling, therapeutic dramatizations of the teenagers' own lives and outings to a maximum-security prison. Mr. Ebersol, who now lives in Los Angeles and recently completed a stint as a production assistant on the film 'Yours, Mine and Ours,' produced the documentary with a friend, Kip Kroeger, also 22, with whom he had made music videos. They hired Mr. Ebersol's brother, Willie, 18 and a student at the University of Southern California, to direct a 17-day shooting schedule in the summer of 2003 because they admired a short student film he had made on a classmate's dating problems. 'I should have been intimidated, but I wasn't,' Willie Ebersol said. 'He came back from South Africa, gave me a blanket as a gift and asked me to direct.' The students provided brutally candid narratives of their lives to the young American filmmakers, none more than Lebo, a girl who described being raped twice and contracting H.I.V. 'They poured out their lives and didn't hold back,' Mr. Kroeger, a North Carolina State University graduate, said in a telephone interview. 'It sears right into you. Here's a girl you met two hours and ago she's telling us about being raped? How can she sit there and tell us that?' In another scene from the film, an orphan named Dineo, who is described as having been sexually abused by her foster father, the head of an anti-abuse charity, confronts an older girl whose behavior toward her had made her want to give up the program. 'I thought you were a bad person,' Dineo says to the older girl. 'I hated you so much, but now I'm going to be your mother and you're going to be my mother.' While they embraced, Mama Jackey tried to hold back her tears. 'Here are these kids, who are not taught about love, teaching each other to love,' Charlie Ebersol said in an interview. 'They will learn to love and share it because Mama said you have a chance now, you have a way to dream.' Although the film does not yet have a distributor, it is winning notice beyond the award. Oprah Winfrey had already known about Ithuteng (pronounced IT-uh-teng) and Mama Jackey, but it was watching a DVD of the documentary during a flight to Johannesburg in June that prompted her to donate a total of $1.14 million to the school, said Gayle King, editor at large of O, the Oprah Magazine. When Ms. King told Charlie Ebersol of the donation, she said: 'He was incoherent with joy. He said, 'Oh, my God, Gayle, I was just trying to raise $10,000 to keep Mama's electricity on.' 'Ms. Winfrey's gift was the largest to the school so far, but it has received support from numerous groups, including the National Basketball Association, which built a reading center there, and from Dikembe Mutombo, the Congolese player for the Houston Rockets, who donated $150,000 to build two dormitories. Kathy Behrens, a senior vice president of the N.B.A., said: 'I was with Charlie when he first showed the film to Mama. It was very emotional for her. It was very hard for her to watch Lebo, who had died of AIDS.' The lessons of Ithuteng resonated with unexpected power for the Ebersol brothers. Until last year, theirs had been a charmed life, as the older sons of Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Universal Sports and the retired actress Susan Saint James. Dick Ebersol bankrolled the film for about $90,000, after Charlie Ebersol and Mr. Kroeger began raising money on their own. Their father gave them guidance on the documentary and helped find film veterans to help his sons in Soweto. Their mother helped edit the film. But last Nov. 28, a private jet carrying Dick, Charlie and the youngest Ebersol son, Teddy, crashed after takeoff in Montrose, Colo., near the family's winter home in Telluride. Teddy, 14, was killed; Charlie suffered a broken wrist, and eye and back injuries; Dick broke several ribs, his sternum, his pelvis, his coccyx and several vertebrae. 'I walked off the plane with my father in my arms, and my brother behind me,' Charlie Ebersol recalled. 'I said, 'Oh, God, how can I get through this without my father, and then I had to find Ted. In talking to God, I said: 'How can you empower me, and take away my father's power? I need him.' ' He said the openness of the students at Ithuteng helped him deal with his grief. 'Mama believes you must cry yourself dry,' he said of Ms. Maarohanye, 'and that people shouldn't prevent you from crying. Willie and I employed what Mama taught us in the context of real tragedy.' Willie Ebersol said: 'South Africa taught me that I can talk about what's eating me up inside. We learned from the kids that it's O.K. to be sad. If you've been raped, it's O.K. to say you've been raped. You don't bury your grief if you speak about it. You open up.' The film also underwent a transformation after the crash, becoming more overtly emotional with additional music to underscore the painful pasts and altered lives of the students. 'We had a fear of exploiting the emotion,' Mr. Kroeger said of their initial framing of the material. 'But after the crash, we realized we weren't tapping into our emotions. We had to make changes.' Now, Charlie Ebersol said, the film 'represents our trying to find hope in the face of loss.'

Subject: Oriole Gathering Material for Nest
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 14:55:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5414&u=4|74|... Baltimore Oriole Gathering Material for Nest New York City--Central Park, Belvedere Castle.

Subject: The Next Heavyweight Champion of Banks
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 13:54:34 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/business/02bank.html The Next Heavyweight Champion of Banks By JULIE CRESWELL This is a tale of two really, really big banks. Both are heavyweights in financial services with trillions of dollars in assets and billions in market capitalizations. Both offer a cornucopia of products and services to consumers and large corporate customers. Both have exhibited voracious appetites in recent years, gobbling up competitors to establish themselves as megabanks with coast-to-coast and even international reach. On the surface, the two financial giants, Citigroup and Bank of America, have business models that appear to be very similar. But there are significant differences. While Citigroup chased after the higher-fee businesses from corporations in the late 1990's, Bank of America focused on the more staid, boring business of serving retail customers. That bet seems to have paid off. Today, Bank of America's operating margins, return on capital and sales growth are all better than Citigroup's. Investors have taken notice, helping to send Bank of America's shares up 11.4 percent in the last year while Citigroup's shares have climbed 4 percent. While it is still the nation's largest bank with $1.48 trillion in assets and a $240 billion market value, Citigroup these days seems stuck. Since taking the reins in 2002, Citigroup's chief executive, Charles O. Prince, has spent a great deal of his time apologizing to regulators around the world and settling lawsuits relating to Citigroup's dealings with corporate highfliers like Enron and WorldCom. He is also undoing some of what his predecessor, the Wall Street swashbuckler Sanford I. Weill, cobbled together. This year, Citigroup sold its Travelers Life and Annuity business to MetLife for $11.5 billion, and last week, it unloaded its asset management unit to Legg Mason in an asset swap valued at $3.7 billion. Citigroup declined to comment for this article. Bank of America, from its base in North Carolina, is acting like the Citigroup of old. In the last week or so, it made a $2.5 billion investment to take a 9 percent stake in one of China's biggest banks and, on Thursday, further bolstered its retail presence by agreeing to buy the MBNA Corporation in a $35 billion deal that would make it the nation's largest issuer of credit cards. When the deal closes later this year, Bank of America's assets will top $1.27 trillion and its market cap could reach $213.6 billion. Some on Wall Street are fascinated by the role reversal. 'Citigroup has been so traumatized by the events of the last five years that it is no more the wild-eyed risk taker,' said Richard X. Bove, an analyst at Punk Ziegel & Company. 'We're seeing one company shrink while the other expands. It's only a matter of time before Bank of America is bigger than Citigroup.' The current woes at Citigroup can be attributed in part to the kill-or-be-killed culture it encouraged among its troops along with the strategic path it chose years ago. At no time was that culture more evident than when Mr. Weill orchestrated the $70 billion takeover of Citicorp in 1998 by the Travelers Group, well before the law preventing such a move was formally repealed. Without a doubt, Citigroup is a powerhouse in credit cards and home lending. But not so long ago, a great deal of its focus centered on bolstering growth by seeking closer relationships with large corporations. In exchange for cheap loans, Citigroup hoped to earn higher fees from companies for equity underwriting and advisory work. But in the aftermath of the stock market collapse in 2001, Citigroup, more so than any other bank, has faced greater regulatory scrutiny and investor wrath. It has agreed to the multibillion-dollar fines and settlements to end regulatory investigations and shareholder lawsuits. Even if Mr. Prince wanted to make an acquisition, he probably could not. Earlier this year the Federal Reserve warned the bank against deal-making until it institutes improved internal control systems. And even though Citigroup continues to win underwriting or advisory work, it is not as if investors are rewarding the bank. As its earnings momentum has slowed, its stock has lagged investment banks like Goldman Sachs as well as retail banks like Wachovia and Wells Fargo. 'The market has begun to recognize that Citigroup's business model as it was articulated under Sandy Weill simply doesn't do it,' said Roy Smith, a professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. 'It exposes the bank to too much risk of litigation and prosecution and volatility in trading.' By contrast, Bank of America's focus on the retail customer is looking pretty smart these days. It, too, grew out of a series of acquisitions orchestrated by its strong-willed former chief executive, Hugh McColl Jr. Among the most notable was the $60 billion combination in 1998 of NationsBank and BankAmerica. Many analysts speculated that Mr. McColl's successor, Kenneth D. Lewis, would take the bank more in the direction of investment banking when he took over in 2001. Many thought he would go after Merrill Lynch, or more recently, Morgan Stanley. Instead, Mr. Lewis further entrenched the bank, making bigger and bigger bets on the consumer. In 2003, Bank of America bought FleetBoston for $47 billion, giving it a huge branch network in the Northeast. Mr. Lewis surprised investors again with Thursday's decision to buy MBNA, the big credit card company. In an interview after announcing the MBNA deal, Mr. Lewis noted that consumer and small-business activities would now make up about 55 percent of Bank of America's pretax earnings. 'But that's not to say we don't like the investment banking business either. Late last year we started to invest about $675 million to build up our global investment bank. The difference between us and others is that we're not acquiring an investment bank.' The MBNA deal will make Bank of America the largest credit card issuer with a 20 percent market share. The bank hopes to cross-sell other financial products like mortgages or home-equity lines to MBNA's customers. That is not to say that Bank of America does not face risks in growing on the backs of consumers. While home lending and credit cards have been highly profitable for banks in recent years, rising interest rates could start to curb investor appetite for debt. The battle between these behemoths is far from over. Certain Wall Street investment banking businesses are picking up nicely and a lean and mean Citigroup could certainly be in a position to take advantage of that. Once it finishes atoning for its past, Citigroup could yet come back swinging.

Subject: Schools That Train Real Estate Agents
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 13:35:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/realestate/02school.html?pagewanted=all Schools That Train Real Estate Agents Are Booming, Too By LOUISE STORY The Institute of Florida Real Estate Careers, based in Orlando, has 11 centers around the state but has still had to place students on its waiting list this year. 'The numbers are off the charts because of the really aggressive real estate market,' the school's president, Richard Fryer, said. As the real estate market booms, there has been a parallel boom in the real estate education industry. Hundreds of thousands of people have entered real estate in the last four years, hoping to grab a share of the big money moving in the industry. All of them had to take real estate courses to obtain state licenses. About $800 million was spent last year on real estate education, estimated Stefan Swanepoel, chief executive of RealtyU, a private company that provides course materials for the schools. Although he did not have specific figures from prior years, he said spending on real estate courses had risen significantly in the last few years. 'It is one of the few industries out there where you can be almost guaranteed that if you pass the license exam, you'll get a job,' said Ginny Shipe, chief executive of the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers, an industry association based in Chicago. But even as the schools are making money, not all agents are finding real estate an easy path. While the number of properties on the market has soared, the most experienced brokers, with the deepest roots in their communities, are getting the majority of the listings. Many new agents drop out within a year of entering the field, state real estate commissioners said. In Florida, Mr. Fryer said, about half of all people who obtain their real estate licenses do not renew them. Mr. Fryer and officials at other schools say they warn their students that real estate requires long hours and hard work, often with low base salaries to start. New agents say they found they had much to learn about the practical aspects of selling a house once on the job. 'People think it's easy to sell real estate,' said Jone R. Sienkiewicz, executive director of the Real Estate Educators Association, a trade group of real estate schools. But, she said, 'You have to put a lot of time into it, and have a big Rolodex.' State real estate commissions report that they have been seeing steadily increasing numbers of people taking the license exams. In California, about 3,000 people a month took the sales agent license test from 1997 to 2000. Numbers began to climb in 2001, and, in May of this year, 14,662 people took the exam. Only about half of those who take the test pass it, said Tom Pool, a spokesman for the California Department of Real Estate. 'There's no indication that the trend's going to slow down,' Mr. Pool said. From May 2004 to this May, California data shows, the number of licensed agents climbed by 39,831. That is just over 3,300 a month. The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, a group of officials from state real estate commissions, found that in 2004 there were at least 1.26 million sales agents, the typical starting position in real estate, with active licenses in the United States up from at least 980,000 four years ago. In New York State, there are currently about 80,000 active sales agents, up from about 57,000 in 2000, roughly a 42 percent increase, according to an annual survey by the licensing association. Rural states are also seeing a steep rise in real estate licenses. From 2000 to 2004, the number of active licensed sales agents in Idaho climbed about 46 percent. For schools that offer real estate classes, the upturn is good news. The sales agent courses at Mr. Fryer's schools in Florida cost $399, an amount typical for such classes. The course is 63 hours - the number of hours required by Florida - and covers basic real estate principles. Students can also take an additional exam-preparation course over a weekend for $169 and a math review for $49, the school's Web site says. Enrollment in prelicense courses is up 30 percent from last year, Mr. Fryer said, and the school is adding two more class locations to accommodate its 15,000 students. In many states, schools that did not already offer introductory real estate courses have applied for state licenses to teach the courses. In the last two years, California has licensed 34 additional schools to offer real estate classes, bringing the total to 115 programs, not including colleges and community colleges in the state, Mr. Poole said. Web sites for schools and online programs emphasize their pass rates for state exams, often offering money back if a student fails. Joe McClary, who manages online and correspondent course education certification for the real estate licensing association, said that the largest online real estate schools were increasing revenue by 40 percent to 60 percent a year. Real estate school officials said students only demand courses that meet the minimum requirement for hours set by the states. Some said state legislatures should make the requirements steeper. 'We only train what the requirements are,' Mr. Swanepoel of RealtyU said. 'The skill which an agent needs to sell a house is definitely much more than a license.' Several new sales agents agreed that their real estate courses should have been more in depth. The course 'does not teach you how to go to work,' said Kim Galloway, 47, a new sales agent in Winter Park, Fla., who took a course at a local real estate school. 'I didn't know how to write a contract, do the paperwork.' Some universities offer real estate courses as part of degree programs, as well as in continuing education programs. But those courses often center more on the practice of real estate than on the material needed to pass the state exams. 'The fact is that the licensing exam has virtually nothing to do with the practice of real estate,' said Susanne E. Cannon, an associate professor of finance and director of the Real Estate Center at DePaul University in Chicago. The exam, Ms. Cannon said, focuses on real estate laws and ethics rules. 'If you think about it from the state's perspective, this is the one chance they get to kind of put you on notice,' she said. 'The bad news is that they really aren't testing on all the things that might be useful in the business.' Some states have raised the standards for obtaining licenses. Connecticut doubled the length of required courses to 60 hours from 30 last fall, because a lot of students were not passing the licensing exam, said Richard M. Hurlburt, the director of the licensing division in the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Vermont, the one state that traditionally has not required agents to take real estate courses, will require those entering the field to take 40 hours of classes, beginning next year. Many legislatures are hesitant to increase requirements because it could make it more difficult for minorities and less-wealthy people to enter real estate, said Wayne J. Thorburn, president of the licensing association and administrator of the Texas Real Estate Commission. Schools and real estate commissioners predicted that the number of new agents - and courses being offered - would fall when the housing market slows. 'When the market adjusts, the numbers are going to adjust,' Mr. Fryer said. 'The people who are on the bottom half of the earning scale are going to suffer, and they'll find something else to do. But that's a normal ebb and tide in our business.'

Subject: Flaws in Heart Devices Pose High Risks
From: ///emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 11:57:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/business/02device.html F.D.A. Says Flaws in Heart Devices Pose High Risks By BARRY MEIER The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that potential electrical flaws in some heart devices made by the Guidant Corporation, including one flaw that the company did not tell doctors about for years, posed a risk of serious injury or death to patients. In its announcement, the F.D.A. designated three models recently recalled by Guidant as 'Class I' actions, the highest risk level. It also designated eight other models as 'Class II' recalls, or those posing a less serious risk. F.D.A. officials also said the agency was continuing its investigation into how the company assessed and disclosed those product dangers. In the past, such inquiries have led, in some cases, to actions ranging from consent decrees to civil fines to criminal inquiries. Effectively, yesterday's decision by the F.D.A. is a rebuke to Guidant. The F.D.A.'s review of Guidant's actions will likely last several weeks, an agency official said. But the inquiry may inject another element of uncertainty into Johnson & Johnson's planned $25.4 billion merger with Guidant, the nation's second-largest maker of implantable heart devices. Yesterday, a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson, which is based in New Brunswick, N.J., said the company had nothing to add to a statement it had made two weeks ago about the Guidant merger. At that time, Johnson & Johnson said it planned to complete the deal in the third quarter but described the product problems reported by Guidant as 'serious matters.' In a statement, Guidant, based in Indianapolis, said it believed that F.D.A. actions to classify its previously announced recalls would help doctors and patients get more information about the affected devices. 'Guidant works diligently to create the most reliable products and services, enhance patient outcomes and limit adverse events to patients,' Ronald W. Dollens, the chief executive, said in a statement. In interviews in May, another Guidant executive had defended the company's decision not to alert physicians earlier that one defibrillator model could abruptly short-circuit, saying that Guidant had not viewed the risk as significant enough to merit such communication. In recent weeks, Guidant has recalled or issued alerts about 11 models of defibrillators, which are devices that emit an electrical shock intended to jolt a chaotically beating heart back into normal rhythm. In a Class I recall, there is a reasonable probability that a malfunctioning medical device will cause serious health consequences or death. In a Class II recall, the probability of a device's flaw causing a serious health risk is remote. The F.D.A. designated as Class I recalls recent Guidant actions involving three models - the Ventak Prizm 2 DR Model 1861, the Contak Renewal and the Contak Renewal 2. Some units, because of manufacturing flaws, have unexpectedly short-circuited, rendering them useless. In two known cases, patient deaths have been associated with the flaw. The affected Prizm 2 DR units are those made on or before April 16, 2002. The affected Contak Renewal and Contak Renewal 2 units are those made on or before August 26, 2004. In each case, Guidant made changes to correct the electrical flaw in newer units. But in the case of the Prizm 2 DR units, Guidant did not tell doctors for years that the unit had repeatedly short-circuited and kept selling potentially flawed units out of inventory after it had started selling an improved version. The agency did not issue recommendations about whether heart patients should undergo surgery to have devices replaced, but instead urged all patients who have not yet done so to contact their doctors to discuss the benefits and risks. 'Malfunctions in these devices can lead to serious consequences, and it's important for patients to call their doctor,' said Dr. Daniel G. Schultz, the director of the F.D.A.'s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a statement. 'However, it's also important to understand that in most cases, these defibrillators work well and save lives.' In trading on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, Guidant closed at $65.73 a share, down $1.57, or 2.33 percent. From a practical standpoint, Guidant had already treated its recent recalls of the three models as a Class I action by issuing news releases about the problem and sending letters to doctors with lists of patients who received the device. A manufacturer conducting a Class I recall must attempt to alert as many affected parties as possible. But a former associate F.D.A. chief counsel in the 1970's, William W. Vodra, said that the agency's continuing review of how Guidant treated patient risks posed by devices like the Prizm 2 DR could have a far more significant impact than how a recall is classified. Such reviews can potentially lead to consent orders, fines or even criminal investigations, said Mr. Vodra, who is now a lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C. A Guidant spokesman, Steven Tragash, declined to comment when asked whether Guidant had received any subpoenas or information requests from any governmental agency related to the company's defibrillators. Tim Ulatowski, the compliance director at the agency's device center, said yesterday that the F.D.A. is examining both the circumstances and timing surrounding Guidant's disclosures of flaws in the affected Prizm DR 2 and Contak Renewal units. He said the inquiry is likely to be completed in weeks rather than months. In March, a 21-year-old college student with a genetic heart disease died of cardiac arrest, and it was later determined that the Prizm 2 DR implanted in him had short-circuited at some point. His doctors subsequently learned from Guidant officials that the model had repeatedly failed. They said they were told by a top Guidant medical officer that the company did not plan to issue an alert. Guidant eventually issued that alert in late May as the device's problem was being publicized in other forums. The agency is also likely to look at how Guidant presented the risks posed by the device when it did so. Along with the three Class I recalls, the F.D.A. classified Guidant actions involving eight other company models as Class II recalls. The models affected by that action are Ventak Prizm AVT, the Vitality AVT, the Renewal AVT, the Contak Renewal 3, the Contak Renewal 4, the Renewal 3 AVT, the Renewal 4 AVT and the Renewal RF.

Subject: Drug Lobby Got a Victory in Trade Pact
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 11:47:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/business/worldbusiness/02drug.html?pagewanted=all Drug Lobby Got a Victory in Trade Pact Vote By STEPHANIE SAUL The sidewalk between the drug industry's headquarters in Washington and the United States trade representative's office has been taking a pounding from the wingtips of industry lobbyists. The work of these drug industry courtiers, who represent what is arguably Washington's biggest and wealthiest lobby, appears to have succeeded in the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The agreement would extend the monopolies of drug makers and, critics say, lead to higher drug prices for the mostly impoverished people of the six Latin American countries it covers. The accord cleared the Senate on Thursday but faces a difficult floor vote in the House of Representatives this month. The agreement's pharmaceutical provisions are a sideshow in the Congressional debate, eclipsed by concerns of the textile and sugar industries and the labor unions that their interests would not be protected. In contrast, the agreement's pharmaceutical provisions, which provide five years of market exclusivity to brand-name drugs, have been front and center in Guatemala, where poor AIDS patients have marched in the streets to protest. The six countries affected by the pact 'understand that the net effect of these pharmaceutical provisions will be to raise the price of medicine,' said Frederick M. Abbott, a professor of international law at Florida State University. 'The way they have to view it is that they're getting something out of the agreement that will give them a net trade benefit.' The problem with such an analysis, Professor Abbott said, is that the textile employers and agricultural producers gain, but the economic benefits may never flow down to the people who cannot afford medicines. According to Representative Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, the trade agreement is an example of how the pharmaceutical lobby rarely loses on trade issues, often by quietly working behind the scenes. 'A voter walking down the street would never think of the pharmaceutical industry's influence in another country through the U.S. trade representative,' said Mr. Brown, who has criticized how the industry and other corporate interests shaped the trade accord. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry association, is the single biggest influence group at the trade office, according to a new analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, a government watchdog group. The analysis is based on the sheer number of reports, 59, filed by lobbyists for the group since 1998. The reports do not have to disclose how many individual contacts the lobbyists made. The industry's primary interest at the trade office is protecting its intellectual property, which Peter R. Dolan, the chief executive of Bristol-Myers Squibb, recently called the 'lifeblood' of the industry. Like movies and software, pharmaceuticals require a lot of time, money and creativity to develop, yet they are fairly simple to replicate. The industry association estimates that intellectual property infringement in 21 countries costs its members $7 billion a year. Therein lies the problem for drug makers, and the reason they are fighting a global war to protect their patents. In defending their efforts to extend intellectual property protection abroad, industry officials point out that pharmaceutical companies subsidize treatment for millions of people in developing countries. Bristol-Myers, for example, has invested $150 million to set up AIDS clinics and other charitable programs in Africa, a figure that does not include the low-cost drugs the company distributes there. The industry association also argues that extending its patent protections worldwide will result in greater access to medications by encouraging drug makers to enter those markets. 'It provides certainty for companies to be able to market and sell their medicines in those particular markets,' said Mark Grayson, a spokesman for the trade association. The certainty, according to Professor Abbott of Florida State, results from the agreement's 'highly restrictive market exclusivity rules which allow the originator companies to block any registration.' One of the most contentious provisions in the trade pact is a requirement that gives brand-name manufacturers market exclusivity for five years after a drug is registered in the countries, even if the 20-year patent has expired. A similar five-year period exists in the United States, but the trade agreement would require countries to enforce the five-year period even if the exclusivity period in the United States has already expired. During that period, manufacturers who ultimately wanted to register a generic equivalent to the drug in that country would be barred from using the animal and human test data submitted for the drug's approval, a provision that critics say could delay the approval of generics beyond the five-year period. By protecting marketing exclusivity, the industry says, the trade agreement would also spur innovation and encourage pharmaceutical companies to register drugs in the small countries, ultimately helping deliver those drugs to the needy. It is a philosophical argument that the United States trade representative's office has embraced. 'Trade rules that protect innovation and research foster a system that produces the types of medicines American health consumers and health consumers around the world use and need to fight diseases,' said Richard Mills, a spokesman for the trade office. Former Representative Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, was sworn in to the cabinet-level trade post that runs the trade office in May. The issue of intellectual property protection for pharmaceuticals has been highlighted in the last week with the Brazilian government's threat to break Abbott Laboratories' patent for the AIDS drug Kaletra by authorizing one of its domestic drug manufacturers to make a copy at roughly half the cost. The Brazilian government currently buys Kaletra for about 180,000 citizens with AIDS. Abbott Laboratories charges Brazil $2,500 a patient annually. That represents a special price break from the company, which charges $6,000 to $7,000 for the drug in other developed countries, according to figures supplied by the company. Despite the special deal his government is getting, Brazil's president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, wants the drug cheaper. If President Lula goes through with his threat, he would invoke rarely used 'compulsory licensing' provisions of a 1994 World Trade Organization agreement on intellectual property. The agreement forced countries to adopt American-style patent rules for pharmaceuticals, but allowed flexibility in cases of overriding public health issues by giving countries the right to order compulsory licenses. Citing the Brazilian example, Representative Pete Stark, a California Democrat, referring to the industry trade group, said, 'My guess is that Pharma's worry is that one of these countries will say, ' To hell with you,' and start making their own drugs.' Critics of the trade agreement say it sets up barriers to compulsory licensing in the countries it covers - the Dominican Republic as well as Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. The combined gross domestic product of the six countries amounts to a third of the annual revenues of major drug makers. The pharmaceutical industry has also been successful in influencing trade 'priority lists' and 'watch lists' issued by the trade representative in recent years, according to the Center for Public Integrity analysis, released this week. Inclusion on the trade watch lists constitutes the first salvo in a trade war. Last year, the pharmaceutical trade group requested action against 38 countries for infringing on American patents, producing counterfeit drugs and releasing confidential test data. Of those, 31 found their way onto some level of the trade watch list, according to the center's analysis. The report for 2005, released in May, again showed the extent of the industry's influence. Of 41 companies recommended for inclusion by the industry, 32 made it onto one of the trade lists, the center said. The trade representative's office disputes the analysis, however, saying the office complies with exact pharmaceutical industry requests involving the priority and watch lists only about half the time. The 59 reports filed by lobbyists for the pharmaceutical association do not count dozens of reports filed by individual companies. The analysis revealed that Pfizer lobbyists had filed reports about lobbying the trade office 32 times during the same period; Bristol-Myers, 27 times; and Wyeth, 19 times. Over all, the various representatives of the pharmaceutical association and its individual companies filed 289 reports of lobbying at the trade representative's office since 1998, making pharmaceuticals the fourth-largest lobbying interest group, behind miscellaneous manufacturing, business associations and agriculture, according to the center's analysis. Mr. Grayson said extensive lobbying efforts by his industry were a good sign. 'If we're not doing a lot, we're not doing our job,' Mr. Grayson said.

Subject: Bond Maven Consults His Crystal Ball
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 10:20:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/business/02interview.html A Bond Maven Consults His Crystal Ball By RIVA D. ATLAS WILLIAM H. GROSS, the chief investment officer at the Pacific Investment Management Company, known as Pimco, is probably the biggest single influence on the direction of bond prices after Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman. Mr. Gross manages the $85 billion Pimco Total Return bond fund, the third-largest mutual fund in America. He has a hand in investing more than $500 billion in bond portfolios managed by Pimco, which is based in Newport Beach, Calif. Mr. Gross had been bearish on the prospects for government bonds until March of this year, when he reversed course and started buying Treasuries after concluding that the growth of the economy was slowing. Even with the Federal Reserve's quarter-point increase in interest rates on Thursday, Mr. Gross said that he was convinced the Fed could begin lowering rates as early as next year. Last week, over breakfast at the Morningstar investment conference in Chicago, Mr. Gross discussed what a continuation of low interest rates means for investors. Following are excerpts from that conversation: Q. Your forecast is for yields on 10-year Treasury notes to be in the range of 3 percent to 4.5 percent. A. Believe it or not, that's a three-to-five-year forecast. We are expecting inflation at 1 to 2 percent, down from 2.8 percent. That ultimately is positive for bonds. There are two dominant reasons. Asian labor has been arbitraged by U.S. corporations hoping to contain wages here at home. The next big piece is the expectation that Asians will continue to buy into our markets. The Chinese and Japanese have been huge buyers of Treasuries and the demand from them is partly responsible for the artificially depressed yields we see today. Q. If your forecast is right, what would burst the housing bubble? A. If interest rates stay low, there's no reason there has to be a disaster in housing. But if housing prices stop going up, which would be my forecast, that makes a substantial difference. Individuals have banked on that appreciation every year. You should come to a point where owners of houses realize we're in never-never land and stop buying on a speculative basis. Markets many times fall of their own weight. That's what happened with the Nasdaq in 2000. Q. What does your forecast mean for investors? A. In this new world in which inflation is 1 to 2 percent, returns on all assets, from stocks to bonds to hedge funds and private equity, will be low. A lot of investors will throw up their hands and say, why are we pursuing this seemingly endless struggle to produce double-digit returns when it can't be done? We might as well buy Treasuries and sleep well. If yields are going lower, today's 4 percent rate on Treasuries will look attractive 12 months from now. Q: What is the outlook for corporate bonds? A: If inflation comes down it means that profits will come down, too, and corporate cash flow may not be as plentiful. That is not an ideal environment to own a corporate bond. That doesn't mean there can't be an attractive situation. In May we were buyers of three to four billion dollars of auto finance bonds. Q. You run the largest bond mutual fund. A. You pin a little badge of pride to your chest. Q. Is it a problem for you to invest that much money? A. It's not. The bond market is $24 trillion, so our $500 billion in total assets is about 2 percent of the whole pie. There have been innovations in derivatives. The mortgage market is so large, and then there's international markets. The European bond market is probably 4 to 5 times deeper than the U.S. Treasury market. I will say this. One reason why rates are doing what they are doing has to be in part self-reinforcing behavior on the part of Pimco. When Pimco at $500 billion turns from bearish to bullish, even if we move in a measured way, we probably move that market 10 basis points. You look in the mirror and say, Can that be true? Q. I hear you do yoga to relax from the pressures of managing money. A. I get in around 5:30. After three hours on the trading desk, I walk across the street and do an hour's worth of yoga. It's not a meditative thing, but more of an exercise thing. It does clear the cobwebs, and that's what you need in this business.

Subject: Black-throated Blue Warbler
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:58:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4785&u=133|11|... Black-throated Blue Warbler New York City--Central Park, Hallet Sanctuary.

Subject: Baltimore Oriole Perching
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:56:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4428&u=75|42|... Baltimore Oriole New York City--Central Park, North Woods.

Subject: Where are the savings?
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:11:34 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
These numbers are VERY concerning to me Terri - that the average household with two working adults in thier 50's has around only 30K is very troubling to me. Notice how they try to sugar coat it at the end saying workers who were at the same job for 30 years have 150K - but most people I know have changed jobs 3 times at least. Some 4 or 5. http://www.sptimes.com/2005/07/01/news_pf/Business/Boomers__gift__Penalt.shtml ....In the Employee Benefits Research Institute's annual retirement confidence survey this year, about 40 percent of workers 45 and older reported they had saved less than $25,000. The institute's statistics show about 10 percent of workers 21 to 64 have an IRA as their only retirement savings plan, 22 percent have only a workplace account such as a 401(k) and 9 percent have both. The rest have neither. Other retirement research produces similarly grim numbers. Fidelity Investments says the typical working household of adults 41 to 54 (prime boomer years) has saved $30,000 toward retirement and 14 percent haven't saved anything. Of course, some boomers do have substantial IRAs and 401(k)s. Workers in their 50s who had spent 20 to 30 years at the same company had an average 401(k) balance of about $157,000 at the end of 2003, according to the research institute.

Subject: Re: Where are the savings?
From: Terri
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 20:43:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The lack of saving in baby boom households will either be largely made up by accumulated home equity or retirement accounts or social security will be the sole recourse. I do not know how worrisome the problem may be, for demographic issues in economics are hard to clearly discern. We will follow the matter.

Subject: Energy Companies
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:04:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
ExxonMobil and Chevron and ConocoPhillips by the way are so large and powerful that they in effect can become proxies for the entire Vanguard Energy Index. The top 3 companies will often have such weight in sector indexes.

Subject: Costs MATTER!
From: Johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:08:17 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
XOM has a ZERO expense ratio and gets you the same returns as VDE it seems.

Subject: Effectiveness MATTERS!
From: Pancho Villa
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 20:26:24 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Total Real Effectiveness of an Economy = x * millions of tons of carbon equivalent / GDP '(GDP = f(population))'

Subject: Re: Effectiveness MATTERS!
From: Jennifer
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 06:34:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well done as always. We can continue to wish for more conservation and efficiency, but we may have to wait a while for a friendlier political environment.

Subject: Protecting Asset Values
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 18:58:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thinking of resilience and protection, Alan Greenspan according to Alan Blinder has spoken at times at Fed meetings of protecting asset values, not manipulating asset value just protecting against shocks or the effects of shocks. So, I would guess the Fed will try to raise a few more times but will be cautious not just of slowing growth but of signs the housing market has cooled. What the Fed will wish for when it finally happens is only a levelling of housing or real estate prices rather than a decline. Families will have to find another asset to build wealth with if housing prices level off for an extended period. The alternative again will be stocks, so I am thinking Siegel has the edge on stocks if the Fed is protective of asset values. Notice Britain is my advice to myself.

Subject: Are We More Shock Resistant?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 18:57:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Alan Greenspan has been arguing for some time that our economy in particular had grown increasingly shock resistant or resilient since 1980. Investors seem to believe the same and have bid up asset prices correspondingly. Jeremy Siegel makes just this case for stock market investors, while his buddy Robert Shiller argues it is not so. Then, what of Alan Greenspan's sense that modern economies become more resilient to shocks? Inflation was controlled roughly but from then on from 1981. We managed a strong dollar to 1985 and a weak dollar after. We managed 1987 without a recession or even a negative stock market year. What of 1990, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000...? Do resources move faster in the wake of economic shocks? Of course, if America is resilient who is Japan not? The strong Yen from 1985 may have hurt the Japanese economy for the last 15 years. How could that be?

Subject: A Japanese Master Enlightened the West
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 15:37:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/arts/design/01john.html?pagewanted=all How a Japanese Master Enlightened the West By KEN JOHNSON WASHINGTON — Legend has it that mid-19th century French artists discovered the wonders of the Japanese woodcut when they examined papers used to wrap imported Japanese ceramics. Today, looking at the prints of Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai, the greatest of Japanese woodcut printmakers, it is hard to fathom that their works could have been viewed as the equivalents of our funny pages. And it is easy to see how Modernists from Manet to Bonnard could find in the lucidity and technical and formal economy of those Japanese artists inspirational guides for escaping the suffocating conventions of Beaux Arts and Victorian painting. Now an exhibition at the Phillips Collection here illustrates the influence of Japanese prints on early European and American Modernists. 'East Meets West: Hiroshige at the Phillips Collection' interweaves the print series that made Hiroshige famous - 'The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido' - with paintings from the museum's collection by famous artists like Cézanne, Whistler and Braque, as well as by artists of less sturdy repute like Augustus Tack, Ernest Lawson and Maurice Prendergast. It is not a great show as a whole because many of the European and American paintings are of indifferent quality, especially seen next to Hiroshige's work. But it is, nevertheless, an instructive and illuminating one. And it does offer a rare chance to see a complete set of 'The Fifty-Three Stations' in pristine condition. It is on loan from a private Japanese collection. Published around 1833-34, the series is made up of 55 views along the Tokaido Road, the eastern coastal highway that connected Edo - now Tokyo - and Kyoto. There is one print for each of 53 established post-stops and villages along the way and one each depicting bridges at the start and at the end of the journey. Going by the works drawn from the Phillips Collection, it appears that what Western artists took from Hiroshige and other Japanese printmakers was mainly formal: compositions that appear cropped or leave much empty space in central areas, that emphasize flat design rather than illusory depth and that simplify detail in favor of clear shapes, patterns and linear rhythms. For the Impressionists, these qualities served the realization of the canvas as a kind of hypersensitve retinal screen that registered visual sensation with an almost photographic lack of visual and compositional discrimination. With Post-Impressionists like van Gogh and Cézanne, there is a shift from the rendering of visual sensation to a self-reflexive interest in the grammar of picture-making. This is not contrary to Japanese tradition, which evolved not by increasing its ability to imitate nature but by the increasing refinement of traditional conventions of representation. Part of what is so wonderful in Hiroshige is how he gently nudged the schematic abstraction of his fine, prehensile cartoon outlining and flat colors in the direction of naturalism, achieving with pellucid economy naturalistic effects of light and weather and specific descriptions of natural features of the landscape. In a sense East and West met as they were going in opposite directions: the East toward greater naturalism and the West toward greater abstraction. Hiroshige's work was a last great flowering of traditional Japanese printmaking. When Japan was forced to open itself to trade with the West in 1853, an influx of Western art and photography rendered Japanese styles of representation obsolete. Meanwhile, Western Modernism took what it needed from the East and sailed on into uncharted realms of abstraction. Because the Western works in the Phillips Collection are collectively so dull by comparision, the exhibition's main effect is simply to highlight how great Hiroshige is. The experience is visceral: each time you shift your gaze from one of the Western paintings - whether it is a Bonnard, a Prendergast or a Kokoschka - back to one of Hiroshige's perfect, glowing jewels, you feel a kind of physical relief and a rush of pleasure. It would be different had the West been better represented - Manet, Cassatt, van Gogh and Vuillard are among the missing - but in the presence of inferior competition, the Hiroshiges really shine. In focusing on the Hiroshige prints, you discover something that the Modernist preoccupation with form and abstraction overlooks: how terrifically entertaining they are. Hiroshige was not a mandarin composing pictures for purely aesthetic contemplation by the cultivated few. He was an enormously popular artist. Images from the Tokaido were produced and sold in such numbers - over 10,000 in some cases - that many of the blocks wore out and had to be recut to keep up with demand. Reasons for that popularity are easy to see. Hiroshige was a wonderfully skillful, witty and generous caricaturist. Almost all the tiny people that populate his landscapes are delightfully particularized in their bodies and their gestures; and though the series features no main protagonists, as illustrations for a novel would, he gives each of his little people a vivid sense of purposeful humanity: the man running after his hat that was blown off by the wind; the women trying to drag prospective customers off the street and into the inns where they work; the men lounging in tea houses; the travelers struggling up and down a mountain slope under a driving rain. Moreover, Hiroshige conjures the feelings of going on journeys. His prints literally depict all kinds of people in transit and they describe all kinds of places along the way, but they are more than just 19th-century scenic postcards. In almost every print, Hiroshige uses formal devices to enhance a sense of movement through and into space. As paths zigzag from near to far, the eye follows where they lead and the mind wonders where they go beyond the frame of the picture. In many images, bridges sweep across the space of the picture making you think about where the people crossing came from and where they are going. And bridges often lead into villages so that you feel what the weary traveler feels upon arriving at his destination: anticipation of warmth, food and relaxation. Sometimes destinations are far away, like the castle town at the foot of a distant mountain range that beckons the party of travelers resting in the foreground after crossing a river. There is nothing religious about Hiroshige's imagery, but there is a subliminal sense of travel as a kind of spiritual pilgrimage. Hardly any of the Western paintings in the Phillips Collection show convey that adventurous feeling of traveling through or into the picture. Ernest Lawson made Impressionist-style pictures of bridges, but leading as they do only into illegible accretions of paint, they are not bridges you feel an urge to cross. Nor does Cézanne's view of Mont Sainte-Victoire inspire a desire to hike into his world; his patchy brushwork blocks imaginative entry like a wall and directs our attention rather to the construction of the picture. An exception among the Western pictures is a wonderful early painting by Paul Gauguin in which we look down from a high grassy knoll to bathers at the edge of a river and a fisherman farther away on a spit of land. You feel as though you could climb down there yourself to go for a swim or spend a few hours loafing with your own rod and reel. That dimension of pictorial and psychic travel was left undeveloped by Western Modernist painting, which has tended to try to arrest the eye and the mind in the empirical here and now. But Hiroshige's kind of narrative did not die out. It flourishes in comic books, graphic novels and animated films that Eastern and Western artists continue to churn out in great volumes, transporting minds all over the world.

Subject: The Mao Myth Thrives
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 14:35:11 (EDT)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/international/asia/01yenan.html The Mao Myth Thrives, but Don't Mention Its Dark Side By HOWARD W. FRENCH YENAN, China - Horribly outnumbered, poorly armed and constantly under attack, 80,000 Communist fighters set out on foot from a base in China's southeastern Jiangxi Province in October 1934 hoping above all to avoid getting wiped out by their Nationalist enemies. One year and 5,000 miles later, after countless acts of extraordinary courage along the way, the 6,000 survivors of the Long March, led by Mao Zedong, limped into this dusty town in the arid yellow hills of northern Shaanxi Province. Last year, nearly four million Chinese, from backpacking college students to busloads of middle-aged workers on company excursions, followed in their wake - as tourists, not revolutionaries. Without much else to work with, this modest city, all but bypassed by the industrial revolution sweeping China, enthusiastically promotes some of the most resonant founding myths of the country's Communist republic. These days, eager visitors crowd the revolutionary museum here to look admiringly at large black and white photographs of the last stages of the Long March, to buy Mao trinkets or to pose for pictures in front of the rustic cave dwellings that served as residences for Mao and other top leaders from 1935 to 1947, when this city was the Communists' main base. Marxist ideology is said to have little relevance in today's China. But all over this city, people can be overheard trading admiring stories about the heroism of Mao's army or celebrating the spirit of Yenan, as much a name for that 12-year period as for the city itself. Whether they lived through it, or more likely know of it through popular culture, many Chinese still recall the era fondly as a time of great idealism, of selfless volunteers arriving by the tens of thousands to join the movement, and of Mao's supposedly enlightened leadership before such well-known and monumental tragedies as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, which killed tens of millions of people. 'We have always loved Mao,' said Zhao Shiwei, 43, a provincial trade official who had come from far away Guangdong Province and was posing merrily with a group of colleagues in gray People's Liberation Army uniforms from the era. 'He led the nation to success and founded the new China, and he will always occupy a great place in our hearts.' Chinese historians in the academy, like their counterparts abroad, have steadily chipped away at Mao's myth, and the falling chunks have inevitably included many details about Yenan. Far from the idyll celebrated here, the historians say, Mao waged a campaign of political terror against youthful dissenters, perfecting methods of purging real and imagined foes that would be used on a vast scale later. He sold opium to raise money for his army, and it was here that he created his suffocating cult of personality. 'Mao: The Unknown Story,' a heavily researched book published recently by Jung Chang, a Chinese writer who lives in Britain, goes so far as to say that the most legendary act of bravery of the entire Long March, the crossing of the Dadu bridge, while enemy gunners took aim from the opposite bank, was fiction. In China, that is the equivalent of saying Washington never led his troops across the Delaware. That is not all. Far from committed Communists, Ms. Chang writes, many of the marchers were press-ganged captives, and Mao is said to have been carried throughout much of the Long March on a litter by porters, as he read at his leisure. And although Mao's troops were decimated, not a single senior party member was killed or even seriously wounded. 'You can't say the Long March was a military victory,' said Yang Kuisong, a historian at Beijing University. 'It was not about fighting battles. It was a process of running away.' Ordinary Chinese have been carefully shielded from views like this of their late leader, however. Mao's importance to the party he founded remains paramount, even as the founding ideology, Marxism, fades. For ordinary Chinese, history textbooks emphasize the devotion to the common man and heroism of the early Communists, even teaching that Mao's armies, not the Americans, defeated the Japanese invaders. The television and film industries have cranked out hundreds of movies reinforcing the Mao legend. Writing that strongly challenges the chairman or his place in history simply cannot be published in China. Sitting outside the town's Revolutionary Museum, where a huge bronze of Mao looms over a parking lot filling with tour buses, a 33-year-old man named Chen affected boredom when approached by a stranger, saying Mao's history was most relevant to people over 40. 'We didn't have to suffer the same difficulties that they did,' Mr. Chen said. 'You always hear about the great sacrifices that Mao's generation made in all the movies and TV shows. It's got to be true, right?' In the date tree garden by the old Revolutionary Headquarters, where Mao presided over early meetings of the Central Committee, a group of fresh college graduates from Xian were curious about a foreigner's impression of Mao. 'In China, nobody hates Mao Zedong,' one of the students said in prelude. 'This trip is like a souvenir for us. We could have gone anywhere, but we chose here.' Told of the dark side of Mao's record known to historians but not to most Chinese, some of the students grew defensive. 'What do you expect us to do, drag him from his grave and flog him,' one asked. 'The emperors of the past are regarded as great if they moved the country forward, no matter how much the people suffered. With Mao it is the same.' Others, however, grew pensive. 'You might say that China is a very different country in the way it deals with history,' said one young woman. 'But you must understand, foreigners have much more information than we do. There's no real freedom to discuss these kinds of things here.'

Subject: Labor Standards in Central America
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 14:33:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/business/worldbusiness/01labor.html Report Criticizes Labor Standards in Central America By JUAN FORERO BOGOTÁ, Colombia - As the White House lobbied Congress to win support for a Central American trade pact, the United States Labor Department tried for more than a year to block the release of reports that harshly criticized labor standards in the region. The reports, by a labor advocacy group, the International Labor Rights Fund, were commissioned by the Labor Department, and concluded that working conditions in five Central American nations and the Dominican Republic were dismal, and that enforcement of labor laws was weak. In a statement Thursday, the Labor Department called the findings biased and flawed. Dirk Fillpot, a spokesman for the department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs, said the study was 'rife with unsubstantiated and unverifiable claims, questionable statistical data, and biased statements of findings and conclusions.' The Labor Department's condemnation drew a quick rebuke from Senator Byron L. Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat. 'The reports describe labor conditions that would be harmful, not helpful, for passage of Cafta,' he said, referring to the Central American Free Trade Agreement. 'So they decided to deep-six it.' The Associated Press first reported the developments Wednesday. The Senate voted to approve the trade pact on Thursday. Representative Sander Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said the Labor Department should have permitted lawmakers to review the reports and make up their own minds. The Labor Rights Fund concluded in nearly 400 pages that while there were some adequate labor laws in Central America, there were systematic barriers to enforcing those laws. Recordkeeping is shoddy, giving workers little chance to make claims against employers, the reports said, and sanctions for violations are weak. The fund also found problems ranging from discrimination against labor organizers to inadequate measures against child labor. El Salvador, for instance, the study found that it was not uncommon for foreign companies to close shop and leave without paying workers. The study also noted a failure to maintain safety, citing two accidents at a textile plant in 2002 in which 560 workers were overcome by fumes in chlorine spills. The ensuing investigations were shoddy, the study found. Though the Labor Rights Fund has been critical of labor standards in developing countries, the Labor Department nonetheless chose it to conduct the studies. The contract was worth $937,000. 'We transparently and in good faith put in a proposal,' said Bama Athreya, deputy director of the Labor Rights Fund. But after the reports were submitted in early 2004, the Labor Department held them in secrecy, preventing their release to Congress and forbidding the fund to publish them, Mr. Levin, the Michigan representative, said. Mr. Levin repeatedly requested that the reports be released, and the Labor Department released them in April. A central argument in the reports - that enforcement of labor standards in Central America is often nonexistent - is an important point of contention. Opponents of Cafta say the United States should not trade with countries where worker rights are violated, while supporters say Cafta will help put teeth into enforcement efforts.

Subject: Amending Duration
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:56:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is an addition to the duration discussion that I had missed. Though I noticed that the Vanguard GNMA Bond Fund has duration swings, I had not considered the swings significant. But, they are significant. GNMA duration will fall as mortgage rates fall and rise as rates rise. So, a 2 year duration with a rise in mortgage rates could be a 4 year duration. People tend to refinance when rates fall and pay mortgages for the full term when rates rise. This is the reason for the extra yield of GNMA bonds which are government insured.

Subject: Germany Looks Forward to World Cup
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:44:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/business/worldbusiness/01soccer.html Germany Looks Forward to World Cup and Fans' Money By MARK LANDLER FRANKFURT - There was drama both on and off the soccer field here Wednesday night as Brazil trounced Argentina, 4 to 1, in the final game of the Confederations Cup, a warm-up for the World Cup. Moments after the match began, a sudden thunderstorm dropped heavy rain on Frankfurt's newly completed stadium, tearing a hole in its retractable roof and showering the grass with water. It was a rare glitch in an otherwise smooth tournament, and Germans did not let it temper their excitement for the World Cup, which is to be played here next summer. Germany is well ahead of schedule in its preparations, prompting economists to forecast that the tournament, the world's largest sporting event, will deliver an invigorating kick to one of Europe's most torpid economies. With one million foreign tourists and two million Germans expected at the games, the World Cup could generate 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in additional consumer spending in 2006, according to economists. That would be good news for hotels, restaurants, shops, airlines and taxis - which have all struggled in recent years as Germans have reduced their consumption. 'The spending comes at the right time,' said Marco Bargel, the chief economist of Deutsche Postbank, one of Germany's leading retail banks. 'Unlike with the Olympics, where it is highly concentrated, the impact will be felt all over the country.' Germany is investing about 6 billion euros ($7.2 billion) to build or refurbish 12 stadiums in Berlin, Munich and other cities, as well as fixing roads, train stations and other transportation links. Among the showcase projects is an ultramodern train station in Berlin, just north of the German Parliament and Chancellery. Munich's new stadium - with its futuristic translucent roof that looks like a quilted eggshell - has won lavish praise from architecture critics. All told, the $12 billion in World Cup-related spending could raise the growth of Germany's gross domestic product by three-tenths of a percentage point next year, according to Mr. Bargel. That is significant in an economy that grows at barely 1 percent a year. It is also projected to create more than 30,000 jobs. Then there is the potential impact of a successful tournament on the mood of German consumers. While that is notoriously difficult to measure, some economists say that a good World Cup - especially one in which the German team plays well - could be a tonic for the country. 'It's a way to say to the German people, 'You're not as badly off as you think you are,' ' said Markus Kurscheidt, an expert in sports economics at Ruhr University in Bochum. 'If that happens, and consumer sentiment rises, then the World Cup could have a major impact.' France, he said, benefited from an economic afterglow in 1998, when it played host to, and won, the World Cup. Such intangible factors aside, Mr. Kurscheidt is skeptical of grand claims about the long-term benefits of these events. The Dentsu Institute in Japan forecast that the 2002 World Cup tournament, which was split between Japan and South Korea, would generate $25 billion in cumulative economic benefits over time. The real figure, he said, is probably a fraction of that. Mammoth sporting events also have a way of saddling their organizers with debt. Greece is struggling with a persistent state deficit, thanks in part to the huge cost overruns of the Athens Olympics. German cities like Leipzig may also end up with a hangover. Leipzig spent $100 million on a new stadium, but does not have a big-league soccer club to use the arena afterward. Berlin's 1930's-era Olympic Stadium was overhauled for close to $300 million, a sum the state will almost certainly not recoup. For all the excitement, German companies have been slow to attach their names to the World Cup. There are only 3 of them among the 15 major sponsors: Adidas-Salomon, the athletic-shoe maker with longstanding ties to soccer; Deutsche Telekom; and Continental, a tire manufacturer. Frankfurt's arena has been plastered with billboards for Emirates, the carrier in Dubai that is the official airline of the World Cup, and Hyundai of Korea, the official car. Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis has claimed the beer concession, rankling many in this beer-loving country. Germans also complain that they have not been able to buy tickets for the games; more than half of the three million tickets have been put aside by FIFA, soccer's governing body, for sponsors. Still, the postgame mood in Frankfurt was upbeat. Anheuser-Busch handed out bottles of 'Bud' - not using its full name, Budweiser, because of a trademark dispute with another Budweiser beer, made in the Czech Republic. The fans were even philosophical about the leaky roof. 'I don't mean to sound Panglossian,' said one, Thomas Schwingeler, referring to the foolishly optimistic Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire's 'Candide.' 'But I'm glad it happened today and not next year, when the world will be watching.'

Subject: Follow the Leapin' Leprechaun
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:29:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/opinion/01friedman.html Follow the Leapin' Leprechaun By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Dublin There is a huge debate roiling in Europe today over which economic model to follow: the Franco-German shorter-workweek-six-weeks'-vacation-never-fire-anyone-but-high-unemployment social model or the less protected but more innovative, high-employment Anglo-Saxon model preferred by Britain, Ireland and Eastern Europe. It is obvious to me that the Irish-British model is the way of the future, and the only question is when Germany and France will face reality: either they become Ireland or they become museums. That is their real choice over the next few years - it's either the leprechaun way or the Louvre. Because I am convinced of that, I am also convinced that the German and French political systems will experience real shocks in the coming years as both nations are asked to work harder and embrace either more outsourcing or more young Muslim and Eastern European immigrants to remain competitive. As an Irish public relations executive in Dublin remarked to me: 'How would you like to be the French leader who tells the French people they have to follow Ireland?' Or even worse, Tony Blair! Just how ugly things could get was demonstrated the other day when Mr. Blair told his E.U. colleagues at the European Parliament that they had to modernize or perish. 'Pro-Chirac French [parliamentarians] skulked at the back of the hall,' The Times of London reported. But Jean Quatremer, the veteran Brussels correspondent for the French left-wing newspaper Libération, was quoted by The Times as saying: 'For a long time we have been talking about the French social model, as opposed to the horrible Anglo-Saxon model, but we now see that it is our model that is a horror.' Given that Ireland received more foreign direct investment from the U.S. in 2003 than China received from the U.S., the Germans and French may want to take a few tips from the Celtic Tiger. One of the first reforms Ireland instituted was to make it easier to fire people, without having to pay years of severance. Sounds brutal, I know. But the easier it is to fire people, the more willing companies are to hire people. Harry Kraemer Jr., the former C.E.O. of Baxter International, a medical equipment maker that has made several investments in Ireland, explained that 'the energy level, the work ethic, the tax optimization and the flexibility of the labor supply' all made Ireland infinitely more attractive to invest in than France or Germany, where it was enormously costly to let go even one worker. The Irish, he added, had the self-confidence that if they kept their labor laws flexible some jobs would go, but new jobs would keep coming - and that is exactly what has happened. Ireland is 'playing offense,' Mr. Kraemer said, while Germany and France are 'playing defense,' and the more they try to protect every old job, the fewer new ones they attract. But Ireland has started to play offense in a lot of other ways as well. It initially focused on attracting investments from U.S. high-tech companies by offering them a flexible, educated work force and low corporate taxes. But now, explained Ireland's minister of education, Mary Hanafin, the country has started a campaign to double the number of Ph.D.'s it graduates in science and engineering by 2010, and it has set up various funds to get global companies, and just brainy people, to come to Ireland to do research. Ireland is now actively recruiting Chinese scientists in particular. 'It is good for our own quality students to be mixing with quality students from abroad,' Ms. Hanafin said. 'Industry will go where the major research goes.' The goal, added the minister for enterprise and trade, Micheal Martin, is to generate more homegrown Irish companies and not just work for others. His ministry recently set up an Enterprise Ireland fund to identify 'high-potential Irish start-up companies and give them mentoring and support,' and to also nurture mid-size Irish companies into multinationals. And by the way, because of all the tax revenue and employment the global companies are generating in Ireland, Dublin has been able to increase spending on health care, schools and infrastructure. 'You can only do this if you have the income to do it,' Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney said. 'You can't have social inclusion without economic success. ... This is how you create the real social Europe.' Germany and France are trying to protect their welfare capitalism with defense. Ireland is generating its own sustainable model of social capitalism by playing offense. I'll bet on the offense.

Subject: Foreign Suitors Nothing New in U.S. Oil
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 10:31:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/business/worldbusiness/01unocal.html?pagewanted=all Foreign Suitors Nothing New in U.S. Oil Patch By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO Members of Congress opposed to a Chinese bid to take over the California-based energy company Unocal built broader support yesterday for their campaign to block the deal on the ground that it could threaten national and energy security in the United States. But China is not the first foreign country to seek American energy assets. Indeed, oil industry analysts say that the effort by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation to outbid Chevron for Unocal appears to pose less risk of generating domestic shortages or other energy-security headaches than other foreign acquisitions that have been approved by the government. For more than two decades, the United States has not blocked acquisitions of energy properties by Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, France, Norway and Brazil, among others. Some of those deals, particularly Venezuela's purchase of Citgo, involve access to oil supplies vulnerable to disruption because they feed refineries and thousands of American gasoline stations. By contrast, Unocal has few strategic oil assets in the United States. The company, based in El Segundo, Calif., does not have refineries or gasoline stations, having sold them eight years ago. In fact, the real prizes - more than half of Unocal's production and reserves - that Chevron and the Chinese are after lie in Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Thailand. 'The assets involved in the Unocal transaction are not of the scale or geographic location to make them of critical importance to U.S. energy security,' said Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy in Houston. 'Many of the important Unocal assets are actually located in Asia, and the energy produced there would never flow to the United States.' Still, the bid has prompted strong debate in Washington. Yesterday, Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, a Democrat of Michigan, won House passage of her amendment to the annual appropriations bill prohibiting the Treasury Department from recommending the sale of Unocal to Cnooc. And last night, the House approved, by a vote of 398 to 15, a resolution stating that Chinese ownership of Unocal would 'threaten to impair the national security of the United States' and that approval by Unocal's board of the bid should result in a 'thorough review' by President Bush. The resolution was presented by Representative Richard W. Pombo, Republican of California, whose district includes Unocal's headquarters. In his resolution, Mr. Pombo cited concerns about oil exploration technologies that have 'dual use' in commercial and military applications. 'We cannot afford to have a major U.S. energy supplier controlled by the Communist Chinese,' Mr. Pombo said on the House floor. 'If we allow this sale to go forward we are taking a huge risk.' But Representative Jim Moran, a Virginia Republican, said blocking the Chinese bid was a dangerous move. 'They are holding a financial guillotine over the neck of our economy, and they will drop that if we do things like this that are not well considered,' Mr. Moran said on the House floor. 'If we don't let them invest in western firms, what are they going to do? They are going to invest in Iran or Sudan and make those governments much stronger than they are today.' Earlier this week, 41 members of Congress signed a letter to President Bush expressing their concern about the Cnooc bid. The Congressional debate so far seems to neglect the fact that only one-third of Unocal's production and one-quarter of its reserves are in the United States. And its combined oil and natural gas production is only 1 percent of total United States consumption of the two fuels. It has modest production in Texas and Alaska and is involved in costly and tough-to-develop oil projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Foreign companies in the United States, however, currently own 28 percent of American refining capacity, up from 15 percent in 1983, according to the Energy Information Administration, a part of the Energy Department. Nearly 14 percent of American crude oil was produced by foreign companies in 2003, up from 13 percent 20 years ago. Foreign firms doubled their share of natural gas production in that period, to 12 percent, the Energy Department said. United States securities regulators on Wednesday gave final clearance to Chevron's offer, leaving Cnooc just six weeks to convince Unocal's board that its own bid for Unocal is superior. Chevron says it will move to call a shareholder vote in August. Peter J. Robertson, Chevron's vice chairman, said in an interview last week that Chevron believed that Cnooc might 'strategically focus' Unocal's oil and natural gas assets toward China, potentially restricting supply to the rest of Asia. Since oil prices are determined by global supply and demand, China's acute needs could affect prices everywhere. But analysts say any lost Unocal production would be too small to shift prices much - or cause any global oil shock. Unocal's production and reserves in the United States could not be easily redirected. For decades the United States government has restricted exports of crude oil from the 48 continental states, since the United States must import well over half of its oil from abroad. Then, from 1973 to 1995, it restricted exports of Alaskan crude oil. Declining production on the North Slope of Alaska and a public outcry against exporting any American oil have discouraged oil companies, including the British giant BP, from sending much Alaskan crude abroad since then, Energy Department officials said. Some of those opposed to a Cnooc deal, including executives at Chevron, have said China should be prevented from buying the American company because the Chinese do not 'play fair' on oil deals and because the Chinese government is backing Cnooc's bid with low-interest loans. 'You don't enter China unless it is on terms favorable to the Chinese,' said Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, an energy consultancy in Washington. 'Chinese companies are clearly advantaged.' While potential for oil in China is not on the world scale of countries in the Middle East or around the Caspian Sea, several companies, including Chevron, have been operating in China for many years. According to BizChina, a Chinese newspaper, China's oil industry has attracted more than $7 billion in foreign investments since 1982. Indeed, Chevron is a partner with the Chinese in two medium-size deals with Cnooc. Buying a majority stake in a Chinese company, however, would be difficult, if not impossible. While no major oil company has tried, Cnooc is 70 percent owned by the Chinese government, which has shown no interest in selling. Some of the United States' long-time energy partners have more restrictive access to their markets than China does. Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Mexico, or Pemex, does not allow outside foreign investment in Mexico's oil sector. Despite that, Shell Oil's American subsidiary was allowed to sell 50 percent of its 215,900-barrel-a-day refinery in Deer Park, Tex., to Pemex in 1993. Shell still operates the facility with Mexican involvement. One of the most delicate links in the energy chain right now are the refineries. A fire, accident or government decision to restrict supply to an American-based refinery could affect gasoline or other fuel prices fairly quickly. One of the biggest foreign owners of refining assets is Petróleos de Venezuela, the state oil company of Venezuela, which acquired the American oil company Citgo in the 1980's. Today it owns six American refineries and sells gasoline at more than 13,000 gasoline stations, making it the fourth-largest supplier of gasoline in the United States. Since early last century, Venezuela had been one of the United States' most reliable energy suppliers, though those ties have frayed since Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998. Mr. Chávez's anti-American politics and close ties to the Cuban leader Fidel Castro have irked the Bush administration, and Mr. Chávez has been steadily making investment terms worse in Venezuela for foreign companies. Three years ago, oil workers staged a strike trying to force Mr. Chávez from office. Citgo struggled for several weeks to obtain the crude oil it needed from Venezuela to feed its American refineries. Creditors lowered Citgo's credit ratings, creating a cash squeeze for the company. The uncertainty contributed to soaring gasoline prices, which rose 37 cents a gallon in the United States during the three-month strike, according to government figures. 'When it comes to national security, exploration and production assets are immaterial compared to refining assets,' said Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst with Oppenheimer & Company, a brokerage firm that recommends both Unocal and Chevron stock, which Mr. Gheit also owns in his account. 'If anything happened to refining capacity anywhere, the impact would be global and almost immediate.' The reason is that refining capacity is tight, especially in the United States, which does not have enough capacity to meet domestic gasoline demand and has no plans to build any large new plants despite increasing gasoline demand. Saudi Refining, a unit of Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company, formed a 50-50 joint venture in 1988 with three Texaco refineries called Star Enterprises, later renamed Motiva Enterprises. Today, the Saudis still control half of the venture, which includes Texaco gasoline stations in the Eastern United States. Despite restrictions on foreign investment at home, the Russian company Lukoil bought Getty Petroleum Marketing's 1,300 gasoline stations in 2000 on the East Coast, including some in the New York area. Lukoil executives have said that Lukoil might eventually buy an American oil refinery.

Subject: Re: Foreign Suitors Nothing New in U.S. Oil
From: P Krugman
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 12:17:05 (EDT)
Email Address: krugman@nytimes.com

Message:
Just because you read it in the NYT does not, repeat, NOT, make it true.

Subject: Conventional Wisdom Not Always Right
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 10:22:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/business/01norris.html Conventional Wisdom Not Always Right By Floyd Norris WITH the year half over, the world's financial markets appear to be well on the way to demonstrating a great investment truth: When virtually everyone expects something to happen, it won't. This year's conventional wisdom concerned the dollar. It would fall under the weight of fiscal irresponsibility and rising trade deficits. So where are we now? The dollar is up against every major currency in 2005. At the end of 2003, the sure bet was supposed to be that long-term interest rates would rise in 2004. They did not, and this year they are down in Japan and Europe as well as the United States. Alas, successful investing is not as easy as taking a poll and then betting against the majority. It may turn out that both the interest rate and currency forecasts were just premature, not wrong. Still, with that kind of record, it is worth asking what is the current conventional wisdom. There are, I think, two main parts. But in this case, they may be mutually exclusive. The question may be which will prove false first. The first area of growing consensus among the chattering class is that there is a housing bubble in the United States, or at least in many areas, and that it is going to burst. Even the bulls see signs of excess. Robert Toll, the chief executive of Toll Brothers, a home builder, says 'the speculating investor will be blown away from the market and then we'll continue on the trend' of steadily rising home prices. The second area of consensus is that China is a growth engine that is on its way to dominating the world in virtually everything as this becomes the Chinese century. China's success these days is intimately tied to the American housing boom. It takes in dollars from selling stuff cheap, and recycles them into Treasuries, holding down interest rates and stimulating American consumption, which gives China more dollars to invest. It is quite true that house prices are higher relative to income than they used to be, but it is not clear what will change that. If China stays strong, the housing bubble may get bigger. On the other hand, if the bubble bursts, that could damage the American economy and slow growth in China. The odds may be that little will change for some time to come. China will keep growing and will keep its currency pegged to the dollar, despite pressure from Washington. If so, those who think the American housing market is about to tumble may look as foolish a year from now as the dollar bears look now. Just because something is overpriced does not mean it will correct anytime soon.

Subject: Re: Conventional Wisdom Not Always Right
From: j9
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 22:40:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
And just because there is a cyclical bull, it does not mean we are out of a secular bear. I think the fundamentals are weak and must correct sometime. The only question is when and how much. The only protection is diversification, and even that may not help much.

Subject: Re: Conventional Wisdom Not Always Right
From: Emma
To: j9
Date Posted: Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 13:33:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I keep all of the notes I find here on Vanguard bond funds in mind, for these funds can be quite valuable diversifiers.

Subject: Chapters 6 and 7...
From: Yann
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 04:12:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
by Krugman and Wells (macroeconomics textbook) are available at http://www.worthpublishers.com/krugmanwellsnew/pdf/KRUGMAN_WELLS_MACRO_CHAPTER06.pdf and http://www.worthpublishers.com/krugmanwellsnew/pdf/KRUGMAN_WELLS_MACRO_CHAPTER07.pdf Don't find them in the 'Economic theory' section...

Subject: Re: Chapters 6 and 7...
From: Bobby
To: Yann
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 13:01:52 (EDT)
Email Address: robert@pkarchive.org

Message:
Thanks, Yann!

Subject: Arithmetic of Mutual Fund Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 21:54:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.vanguard.com/bogle_site/sp20050524.htm Indeed, this is a fine speech by John Bogle and well worth reading and I will read it again this evening. I can never imagine being let down by Bogle's wisodm in investing, and I agree with him completely on the insulating effect of bond funds on a portfolio in the worst of times. These days I hear people mention using CDs, but have no idea why. Understand how to use constant duration bond funds and there will never be a reason for a CD. It is fine to be cautious in investing, but we need to be sensible, and as I am forever telling friends knowing bond funds is what caution can be about.

Subject: Sector Investing
From: Johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 07:40:53 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Utilities and Energy have the best gains of the vangaurd funds YTD - will these sectors have the momentum to carry them through the next 6 months Terri? Or are you eyeing other sectors for these next 6 months? AS always I have my core in XOM which tracks vangaurd energy VDE almost perfectly.

Subject: Re: Sector Investing
From: Terri
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 17:25:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Traders, especially those who work in teams, are only concerned with sector and market movement and try to follow as they can. Investors who do not trade, or do not index only, have little other choice than to ask where there is relative value and buy there. Who can possibly know whether energy or utility indexes will be strong these 6 months? But, we can ask are they decent relative values? Health care? Finance?

Subject: Buffet looking to buy utilities
From: Johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 19:12:39 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Thanks so much dear sweet Terri. Buffet who is down this year on betting against the dollar but I believe still up long term since he shorted in 2002 has said he will be buying utilities and energy - so he must see value there. VPU is vangaurds utility index and VDE their energy one. Buffet did buy cable companies and I see recently that monopoly type power has been extended through legal means care of the recent supreme court decision on cable companies - however: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/050701/01commerce.htm Arnold Kling, former economist at the Federal Reserve and Freddie Mac, coauthor of the EconLog blog: 'The cable TV decision does not change my view of the technology, which is that the last-mile fight is going to be won by wireless. I don't know of any Vanguard ETF that tracks wireless - do you? Yes indeed no one can predict the timing of when things will move, so to rephrase my question - what sectors do you see as the most undervalued? Utility like Buffet? As always I am long XOM.

Subject: Re: Buffet looking to buy utilities
From: Terri
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:46:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting. Vanguard has only an Information Technology fund. Wireless to my understanding will generally be controlled by the telephone companies, largely Verizon. But, I will read and ask. I am thinking for a while.

Subject: Re: Buffet looking to buy utilities
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jul 01, 2005 at 21:52:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Oh, of course, there is a Telecommunications fund.

Subject: Vanguard Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 18:23:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Returns 12/31/04 to 6/30/05 S&P Index is -0.9 Large Cap Growth Index is -1.5 Large Cap Value Index is 1.3 Mid Cap Index is 4.0 Small Cap Index is 0.9 Small Cap Value Index is 1.7 Europe Index is -0.7 Pacific Index is -3.4 Energy is 22.7 Health Care is 5.4 Precious Metals 5.6 REIT Index is 6.2 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 0.8 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 7.7

Subject: Sector Stock Index Returns
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 18:27:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Indexes 12/31/04 - 6/30/05 Energy 21.7 Financials -1.6 Health Care 4.2 Info Tech -5.8 Materials -7.5 REITs 6.3 Telecoms -2.1 Utilities 14.2

Subject: India and China
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 17:42:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Should we question the stability of growth in China, we have a fine check in India. Both economies are growing similarly, with China somewhat fater becasue there is a better infrastructure base in China. Right now India is robust which might give us confidence about China.

Subject: 'If only....'
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 15:39:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If only ... By Tom Engelhardt The price of a barrel of crude oil has broken the $60 mark; a Chinese state-controlled oil company has made an $18.5 billion bid for American oil firm Unocal - the company that fought to put a projected $1.9 billion natural gas pipeline through Taliban Afghanistan and hired as its consultant Zalmay Khalilzad, the outgoing Afghan ambassador and soon to be envoy to Iraq; world energy consumption, according to last week's British Financial Times, surged 4.3% last year (the biggest rise since 1984), oil use by 3.4% (the biggest rise since 1978). In the meantime, Exxon - which just had the impudence to hire Philip Cooney after he was accused of doctoring government reports on climate change and resigned as chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality ('The cynical way to look at this,' commented Kert Davies, US research director for Greenpeace, 'is that ExxonMobil has removed its sleeper cell from the White House and extracted him back to the mother ship.') - has quietly issued a report, The Outlook for Energy: A 2030 View, predicting that the moment of 'peak oil' is only a five-year hop-skip-and-a-pump away; 'Oil Shockwave,' a 'war game' recently conducted by top ex-government officials in Washington, including two former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, found the US 'all but powerless to protect the American economy in the face of a catastrophic disruption of oil markets', which was all too easy for them to imagine ('The participants concluded almost unanimously they must press the president to invest quickly in promising technologies to reduce dependence on overseas oil ...'); and oil tycoon Boone Pickens, chairman of the billion-dollar hedge fund BP Capital Management, is having the time of his life. Over the past five years, he claims, his bet that oil prices would rise has 'made him more money ... than he earned in the preceding half century hunting for riches in petroleum deposits and companies', and he is predicting that prices will only go higher with much more 'pain at the pump'. Ah, the good life. And if you don't quite recognize the new look of this fast-shifting energy landscape, then how are you going to feel if the Age of Petroleum turns out to be drawing - more rapidly than most people imagine - to a close? Imagine where we might be today, energy-wise, if Americans - and American legislators - had taken then-president Jimmy Carter's famed 1979 'moral equivalent of war' speech on energy conservation seriously, but rejected his Carter Doctrine and the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force that went with it - both of which set us on our present path to war(s) in the Middle East. Here's part of what Carter said to the American people on television that long-ago night: 'Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 - never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. 'The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s, for I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade - a saving of over 4-1/2 million barrels of imported oil per day ... To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation's history to develop America's own alternative sources of fuel - from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun ... I'm proposing a bold conservation program to involve every state, county, and city and every average American in our energy battle. 'This effort will permit you to build conservation into your homes and your lives at a cost you can afford ...' Well, it never happened. Tom Engelhardt is editor of Tomdispatch and the author of The End of Victory Cultur

Subject: Noticing Britain
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 14:27:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The country of most interest to me at this time is Britain, for the British economy is slowing as housing has slowed. Britain is lowering short term interest rates and we will find if that supports demand. I am optimistic. Also, we should not the British stock market is up 8.0% in Pounds and 1.5% in dollars. I believe our asset values will selectively hold even if the economy begins to slow convincingly, but right now we are growing nicely. The sense I have is that value stocks and bonds will hold if an American growth slowdown.

Subject: Bergy Bits in the Fog
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 12:21:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Found at: http://www.rismedia.com/index.php/article/articleprint/10818/-1/1/ Global Analysis: The Trouble with Bubbles is that the Economy Suffers When They Pop Publishing date: 06/29/05 By Allister Heath The Business, London RISMEDIA, June 29 – (KRT) – Even in America, a country where every man and his dog seem to have caught the property bug and become part-time real estate speculators, paying $90m (£49.5m, E73.8m) for a modest three-bedroom farmhouse seems a little over the top. But that is exactly what a wealthy industrialist is believed to have done last week, setting a new record for an American home. Admittedly, also included in the price is a two-bedroom caretaker's house, two guest houses, a fully stocked man-made pond and a lap pool, and a 40-acre estate right in the middle of the Hamptons with ocean views, but it is still an astonishingly steep price for a house. It is not surprising, therefore, that a growing number of economists are convinced that many large cities in the US are in the midst of an irrational property bubble of which last week's transaction was just the most egregious example. They fear that the entire global economy could grind to a halt if and when it finally bursts. Charles Kindleberger, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, defined a financial bubble as a series of price increases that are so large as to make an asset loose all relationship to fundamentals before ultimately suffering a price implosion. That is a description which seems all too appropriate for the property markets of many of America's big cities, as well as of many other European, Asian and Latin American markets; British and Australian homeowners, whose bubble is at a more advanced stage, are praying that the dreaded implosion doesn't materialise. The ever-louder warning would be ominous enough if housing were the only sector where prices have soared ahead of fundamentals. But in an important report out this weekend, Bear Stearns is warning that China, hedge funds and nanotechnology are three other areas which are already or may soon succumb to bubbleonomics and where a meltdown is likely to occur. What is most surprising about this is that it comes barely five years after the collapse of the previous bubble, that of internet stocks, and after investors and commentators promised themselves never again to fall for overvalued, faddish assets. Investors with short memories should recall what happened to TheStreet.com share index, an equally weighted index of 20 active internet stocks. The index was set at 200 on its founding on September 30, 1998. It rose to 1350.16 on March 10, 2000 before plunging to 121.74 on May 31, 2002 and even lower subsequently. Jeremy Siegel, a professor at Wharton, calculates that there was a nearly seven fold rise followed by a greater than 90 percent fall in the index; that the market value of these stocks exceeded $1 trillion at the market high; and that over this time period, seven of the 20 stocks fell more than 99 percent from their peak price. And as the box below explains, there have been plenty of similar bubbles in history, from tulips in the 17th century to the shares of bowling companies in the 19th. 'Five years ago, it was the equity bubble. Today, it's the property bubble. For America, these are not isolated events. As night follows day, one bubble has spawned the next -- with profound implications for the US economy and financial markets', says Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley. One central reason for the US property bubble is that Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, was desperate to cushion the blow from the fallout of the previous, dot.com bubble and to prevent a Japanese-style deflation. The Fed slashed interest rates by 5.5 points and ensured that the real federal funds was lower than inflation for three years, between 2002 and 2004, allowing over-leveraged individuals and companies to mend their balance sheets by remortgaging; even today, under some measures, real interest rates are little different from zero, even though they have gradually increased from 1 percent to 3 percent today and are likely to rise again on Thursday. With the cost of borrowing overnight almost free in real terms, investors were able to buy longer-term bonds, which pay higher yields, and make huge amounts of money. The result was an artificially high demand for fixed income securities, a bubble in the bond market and long-term interest rates that have remained far too low (yields and bond prices are inversely related). It also spawned a massive remortgaging binge and a surge in the demand for property, triggering yet another bubble, as well as a huge increase in debt. The problem now, says Roach, is that the consequences of normalising interest rates become more and more severe as the property bubble gets ever worse. The resulting moral hazard dilemma -- the assumption that the Fed will not dare hike rates too high because of the dire consequences that would result -- reinforces the belief that low interest rates are here to stay, further fuelling the bubble until a random event triggers an implosion. This analysis of the domestic causes of the US bubble is reinforced by Bear Stearns this weekend by its London economists David Brown and Steve Barrow, who emphasise Asia's role. 'There has been a wall of money piling into assets such as real estate, fixed income and commodities. The link between the downward pressure on the dollar, fast reserve growth in Asia and asset price inflation is a pretty irresistible one', they argue. The dollar has recovered against many western currencies but remains under pressure against the renminbi, which is hugely under-valued in its 8.28 to the greenback peg. As long as pressure of an imminent revaluation remains, and that Asian countries want to prevent the dollar from falling again, local central banks will continue buying greenbacks and accumulating ever larger stocks of foreign exchange reserves. Because these reserves are then either recycled directly into government bonds, which pushes down long-term interest rates and hence fuels mortgage lending; or deposited with banks, who then lend to hedge funds, the end result is once again higher asset prices. Part of the problem, Bear Stearns believes, is that traditional loan demand has remained depressed, in Europe and Japan because of weak growth and in the US because firms have been busy rebuilding balance sheets -- with the exception of housing-related loans. Much bank lending has gone instead to hedge funds, many of which are based in the Caribbean, helping to inflate prices of government bonds, corporate credit and commodities. 'Ironically, some policymakers, especially in Europe, blame the hedge funds for inflating the bubbles, but it is excessive liquidity driven by central banks that is really to blame', Bear Stearns argues. Francois Trahan, Kurt Walters and Caroline Portny, also of Bear Stearns, argue that the typical bubble follows a standard pattern. The first phase is characterised by ample financial liquidity with the amount of money in circulation reaching a peak three years before the speculative peak. The excess liquidity boosts consumer and business spending and hence economic growth, as well as personal wealth. Usually, price pressures start to build at this stage, though some argue that globalisation means that modern inflation tends to be visible more in asset markets or commodities, rather than consumer prices, at least as long as it remains relatively modest. All of this is accompanied by a bull market. Short-term interest rates (such as those on commercial paper) tend to hit their cycle lows about 10 months before the start of recession before starting an upwards march. The first sign that things are going sour is a widening of yield spreads, with the rates payable on riskier bonds rising relative to the safer ones, signaling that investors' tolerance for risk is waning. At the same time, liquidity is squeezed by a flattening of the yield curve as the difference between short-term and long-term rates narrows. Wholesale price rises typically peak a few months past the start of the bubble-induced recession. The subsequent pattern is deflation as wholesale prices fall; for the first few months after the start of the recession, short-term interest rates continue to increase before they eventually plummet. About a month or two before the start of the recession, business activity starts to slow; eventually, this slowdown turns into a sharp drop. There are four different types of bubble depending on the assets involved, according to Trahan, Walters and Portny: life-changing innovations (such as railways or the internet); scarcity-driven (such as tulips or rare commodities); theme-driven (at various times junk bonds, conglomerates or property); and government-caused (such as the South Sea Bubble monopoly). Of course, bubbles tend to be triggered by excess liquidity, which is always the fault of the monetary authorities. There are strong similarities between US-Chinese trade and the dot.com explosion of the last 1990s. 'If you think of China as a corporation, the current operating environment bears an eerie resemblance to that which surrounded many technology and telecommunications companies during the US technology bubble of the late 1990s', the Bear Stearns economists say. Dot.com companies emerged from nowhere, booking huge revenues by selling products to businesses on credit and enjoying a huge rise in profits, net worth and share prices. This induced financial institutions and the markets to provide funding to the dot.coms, allowing them to continue to offer their customers the means to buy even more on credit. Eventually, people began to notice that the smaller companies at the end of the chain would never make any money, and hence that the sums they owed the dot.com giants would never be paid back. The dot.com giants began to see their customers fail; they were soon faced with an avalanche of defaults, forcing them to take massive write-offs; those stupid enough to have invested in the dot.coms were wiped out. It was a classic Ponzi scheme. Today, Chinese companies are selling their goods to the US but -- just as during the 1990s dot.com era -- the only way America is able to afford to buy them is because China is simultaneously lending the US economy the means to do so. China's massive forex intervention and accumulation of government bonds is having the side-effect of financing the US current account deficit, which has hit an annualised 6.4 percent of GDP. In other words, America is trading IOUs for Chinese goods. Meanwhile, China's banks are providing cheap money for companies to boost capacity to satisfy foreign demand; but this demand only exists because China created in the first place. Because of government intervention, a false market has been created which is distorting the workings of the global economy and preventing a market led-readjustment. The mother of all bubbles remains the US housing market, however. Prices have increased by over 50 percent in the past 5 years, and by 12.5 percent in the past year alone; 42 percent of first-time buyers and 25 percent of all buyers made no deposit on their purchase last year. Floating rate mortgages, which are much cheaper that the traditional, 30-year fixed rates, account for roughly 35 percent of all new mortgages, compared to just 15 percent a year ago. Most worrying is the rise of interest-only loans, which accounted for 31 percent of new mortgages in 2004, up from only 1.5 percent in 2001. Unlike in the UK, this is going hand in hand with an over-supply of new homes: new household formation is running at roughly 1.3m a year while housing starts are over 2m a year, so the boom is not due to population growth, says Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics. David Rosenberg, economist at Merrill Lynch, says more than half of the 52 largest US cities are overheating, defined as housing prices significantly outstripping personal income gains. Almost one-third of the cities are deemed white hot: prices in Miami have jumped 85 percent since the start of 2001 and 21 percent in the first quarter of 2005, the Merrill report found. The problem is that the overheated 'metro bubbles' make up such a large chunk of America's GDP that a house price collapse -- even if limited to those areas -- could prove very damaging. Rosenberg believes a drop in house price inflation to 0 percent would cut GDP growth by 0.4 points this year and by 1.1 points next year; boost the savings ratio from 1.8 percent to 2.4 percent and cut corporate earnings. A 10 percent collapse would trigger a recession. There have been plenty of bubbles over the past five centuries, but with the exception of the equity boom of the 1920s, none that could wreak as much devastation as the current three -- if they pop. Bubblenomics has always been a mad science; but the huge sums involved today are truly frightening. It is lucky for Greenspan that he will be retiring next year: if the housing, hedge funds and Chinese bubbles turn nasty, his reputation will take a battering. Copyright © 2005, The Business, London Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

Subject: Brazilians Streaming Into U.S.
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 11:47:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/30/international/americas/30brazil.html?pagewanted=all Brazilians Streaming Into U.S. Through Mexican Border By LARRY ROHTER BRAÚNAS, Brazil - For years, Jaider de Andrade, a 35-year-old farm worker, talked about going to the United States to look for work, and early in March he finally agreed to a trafficker's offer to fly him to Mexico and have him guided across the border there. By month's end, though, he was back home here again, in a coffin. 'His dream had always been for us to have a little house of our own, but he never could make enough here to get ahead,' his widow, Nilce Aparecida Moreira da Silva, said at the couple's homestead. 'He knew there was some risk, but he wasn't nervous, because he saw that so many other people from around here had gone and done well in the United States.' Encouraged by highly organized groups of smugglers offering relatively cheap packages, Brazilians recently have been migrating in record numbers to the United States. With direct entry to the United States tougher than in the past, more often than not their route of choice is through Mexico, which in recent years has stopped requiring entry visas of Brazilians. During just two days in late April, Border Patrol agents in south Texas detained 232 Brazilians who had entered the United States illegally. All told, more than 12,000 Brazilians have been apprehended trying to cross the United States-Mexican border this year, exceeding the number detained in all of 2004 and pushing Brazilians to the top of the category known as 'other than Mexicans.' Mexico, facing growing complaints from Washington, is now contemplating restoring visa formalities for Brazilians. That in turn has led to a fever among potential migrants here in the vast heartland of south-central Brazil to obtain a passport and head for Mexico before the door there starts swinging shut. At the Federal Police office in Governador Valadares, the main city in this fertile region of rolling hills, the line of people seeking passports each day stretches around the block. Those waiting one afternoon did not want to talk with a reporter about their travel plans, but the Federal Police delegate for the region, Rui Antônio da Silva, estimated that 90 percent were headed for the United States via the Mexican route. 'We believe that just in this region there are about 30 gangs that offer this service to people,' he said. 'It's a very lucrative business, and a lot of people are involved.' Mr. da Silva said that last year his office issued an average of about 45 passports a day. Since January the number has jumped to a daily average of 140. A few minutes later, an assistant came into his office. 'The numbers just don't stop growing,' she said. 'We hit a new record today, more than 200 passports.' American authorities say that many of the trafficking gangs use travel agencies as fronts. Governador Valadares, a pleasant city of 250,000 in the sprawling inland state of Minas Gerais, which is the source of the majority of the Brazilians apprehended on the Mexican border, now has more than 100 such firms, up from 40 just a couple of years ago. People here who have been approached by trafficking rings said that the going rate at the moment for door-to-door transport to Boston, the preferred destination of illegal Brazilian immigrants, is about $10,500. That is more than two years' income for the average Brazilian, but effectively 30 percent less than a year ago, because the American dollar is weaker now. Brazilian officials and residents of this region said that unlike smuggling situations in many places, migrants do not pay in advance and do not pay at all if they fail to reach the United States, which greatly reduces the financial risk to potential migrants. Mr. de Andrade's widow said her husband had offered a small parcel of land he owned as collateral. After he died, in an automobile accident in northern Mexico, the smuggler returned the land. The accelerating outflow of people has come as a surprise to Brazilians and a blow to their self-image. This nation of 180 million has, after all, traditionally attracted millions of immigrants from Europe and Asia and prides itself on its social mobility. 'Just look at who our president is,' Teresa Sales, the author of 'Brazilians Far From Home' and a professor of sociology at the University of Campinas, said, referring to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former lathe operator. 'In the past, even when things were going badly no one would have imagined leaving the country, because of the expectation of rising socially.' Not only that, but Brazil's economy has been doing well recently. Furthermore, many of those leaving are not poor peasants, but young people more educated than the general population, including architects, engineers and other professionals. 'What we have to accept that this flow has to do with lack of opportunity, not with poverty or unemployment,' said Ana Cristina Braga Martes, a specialist in immigration issues at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, a leading research institution. 'It's mainly the lower middle class from prosperous states, not the poor, who are going, and it's because they can't earn a fair wage here and have bought into the idea of the American dream.' One sure sign that 'making America' has entered the popular imagination is that in March, Brazil's largest television network began broadcasting a soap opera called 'America,' which follows a young woman's efforts to get to the United States through Mexico and to adjust to life in Florida. Experts disagree about whether it is encouraging Brazilians to head north, but more than 40 million people are watching nightly. In an effort to discourage the flow, Brazilian priests in Massachusetts have recently published a letter on the Internet alerting illegal immigrants to the dangers they may confront on their way to the United States. 'When they don't die, the migrants are subjected to violence or raped, and experience humiliating situations like sleeping in cemeteries, walking for miles and miles through the desert or drinking water from sewers,' their document warns. Since the 1960's, Governador Valadares has sent a stream of immigrants to Boston and nearby cities, but the stream has been growing larger. Mayor José Bonifácio Mourão estimates that 40,000 people from his city have emigrated to the United States. 'Almost every family, including mine, has relatives in the United States,' he said. But American authorities report increases in illegal immigration from all of Brazil's southern, more prosperous states. 'It is as if we have infected other regions with the migratory virus,' said Weber Soares, a research specialist in immigration issues at the Vale do Rio Doce University in Governador Valadares. The Brazilian government estimates that between 1.5 million and three million Brazilians are living abroad, most in the United States or Japan. Last year, according to a congressional estimate, the emigrants sent nearly $6 billion in remittances back to Brazil, or about the same amount earned by Brazil's leading export product, soybeans. Until a few years ago most Brazilians living illegally in the United State went as tourists and simply overstayed their visas. But that changed when the United States tightened visa requirements after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Mexico changed its visa policy. 'We started because it was something the business community asked for and to deter the mafia falsifying visas around our consulates,' the Mexican ambassador to Brazil, Cecília Soto, said in a telephone interview from Brasília. 'But it has become a problem these last couple of years, and we have seen that the mafias of human traffickers in both countries are clearly working together.' She said Mexico planned to send an official delegation soon to discuss immigration problems. Many here maintain that any effort to crack down on trafficking schemes is bound to fail. The smuggling rings will not be eliminated, the argument goes, but only be driven deeper underground. 'Nothing indicates that this flow will diminish, despite the efforts to scare people into not going,' Mayor Mourão said. 'The incentives to go up there to the U.S. are still high. If anything, the tendency is for the flow to increase.'

Subject: G.M. Retirees, a Growing Sense of Unease
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 09:59:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/30/business/30auto.html For G.M. Retirees, a Growing Sense of Unease By DANNY HAKIM and JEREMY W. PETERS DETROIT - The Buick plant in Flint, Mich., where Elvia Reeves used to work has been demolished, but her health care benefits are as strong as ever. For now, that is. She and many of the nearly half million American retirees of General Motors are increasingly worried about the future of their medical benefits as the automaker presses the United Automobile Workers union to agree to deep cuts in health care benefits. At the same time, the legal rights of G.M. - or that of any other company - to cut benefits for retirees as well as the rights of the retirees' former union to negotiate for them are a matter of debate. 'Everything we worked to build up, they're trying to tear down,' said Ms. Reeves, 72, whose seven different prescription drugs, for high blood pressure and arthritis, cost her only $35. On Wednesday, she and other Flint-area retirees gathered at their old union local, No. 599, to buy tickets for a pig roast next month, but the possible cuts in benefits were on everyone's mind. As a U.A.W. cookbook came up for sale to raise money for the local, one of nearly 100 attendees yelled, 'Is there a recipe in there for how to roast a C.E.O. of G.M?' The outcome of the unusual talks this summer between G.M. and the U.A.W., coming at the halfway point of their four-year labor pact, remains to be seen. The talks, prompted by a sharp decline in G.M.'s earnings, are expected to continue into July. In a meeting in early June, a top U.A.W. official in Detroit told local union leaders that the company had threatened to cut health care benefits with or without the union's approval today, to coincide with a teleconference of G.M.'s board. But people close to the talks said they did not expect G.M. to hold to its ultimatum; G.M. officials have recently dismissed talk of a deadline. 'We're not on deadlines,' Edd Snyder, a G.M. spokesman, said this week. 'We're not dealing with deadlines, if you will. We're not talking about deadlines, we're talking about talking and having discussions.' The U.A.W.'s president, Ron Gettelfinger, said in a recent interview that he would not be pushed into a corner by G.M., but was willing to give some modest ground within the terms of the contract. He has also said that he will not accept an unchecked assault on retiree benefits. G.M. is seeking steep cuts in health care benefits and has focused on retirees because they generate the majority of its costs. In 2004, retirees accounted for about 70 percent of G.M.'s total health care bill, or $3.6 billion of its $5.2 billion health care costs. G.M.'s hourly workers and retirees pay no monthly premiums or deductibles. Retirees make co-payments for visits to the doctor and a $5 co-payment for each prescription, with total payments far below the norm. Unlike G.M., about 40 percent of United States companies with more than 5,000 employees offer no retiree health benefits, according to a recent report by the Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, an investment research and management adviser. The burden of retiree benefits will grow for G.M. as its work force continues to shrink, G.M. says. The company, which had half a million active workers in the late 1970's, has 111,000 today and is striving to cut another 25,000 hourly jobs by the end of 2008. That has left G.M. with two and a half retirees for every active worker, a ratio that continues to rise. Earlier this month, Rick Wagoner, G.M.'s chairman and chief executive, threatened to cut the company's health spending with or without the union's support. Mr. Gettelfinger, however, has said the union will not reopen its contract, which does not expire until 2007. Brian Johnson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in another recent report that G.M. had wiggle room within its U.A.W. contract to cut benefits for retirees. He also noted that unions had been limited by courts in their ability to negotiate for retirees, and that workers could not legally strike over cuts in the health benefits for retired workers. But Leonard Page, a former legal counsel for the National Labor Relations Board who also served for 30 years on the U.A.W.'s legal staff, said the retirees would have a solid legal claim to pursue against G.M. 'The retirees, a group of them, would obviously sue and claim that this is a lifetime benefit,' he said. Mr. Johnson, who has a law degree but is not a practicing lawyer, said circuit courts had split on the rights of retirees. 'If it goes to the Supreme Court, it would likely be resolved against the retirees,' he said. In Flint on Wednesday, Stan Marshall, a 76-year-old retiree, said: 'I'll work with the devil if it protects our benefits. If they think they're just going to take our benefits we've fought for over the years, they're going to have one hell of a fight.' When Floyd Laetz started as an office manager in 1929, he was making 35 cents an hour. Those were the days before he had a union-backed job and health insurance. Now, at age 92, his five prescriptions, mainly for his heart, cost him $25 every three months. He has been retired since 1971. 'Darn it, we've got good benefits here at General Motors,' he said, adding that he could stand some cuts but was worried about the effect of cuts on retirees not as financially secure as he is. Frank Molina, 76, worked for G.M. for nearly 34 years before retiring in 1981. His first job was putting tires on 1947 Buicks for 97 cents an hour. 'Back then, it was beautiful,' he said. 'We had a good union in there, good company people. Everyone got along. You did your work, they did theirs.' He worked for the Buick division of G.M. at a plant outside the Local 599 union hall in Flint back when there were so many Buick plants in the area, it was called Buick City. Now, 'I don't think Buick will be here much longer,' Mr. Molina said. 'I'd give it another three to six years.'

Subject: G8 debt write-off: Who pays?
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 09:30:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Last night, U2 were amazing. The band proved again why they are the world's greatest live act and Bono, the consummate showman, was extraordinary. As usual, he spoke of the poor, the third world and debt. Whether you like that part of his personality or not, is it not better that a rock star uses his fame to focus attention on something meaningful, rather than simply hanging out in his crib, buying Ferraris? As Bono knows, the story of third world debt is a complex one and is more a tale of international finance than simply one of old-style exploitation. It begins at a time when, like today, the prices of oil and gold were soaring. Just to put today's price increases in context, the price of oil is up nearly 30 per cent in the past four weeks, while the price of gold has increased by $10.80 or 2.53 per cent to $437.70 per ounce in the past ten days. The saga begins back in the mid-1970s when Walter Wriston, longtime chief executive of Citibank - the bank that was most involved in lending to the third world - was asked whether lending to the third world was risky. He responded that “countries never go bust'‘. Around the same time, the American comedienne Bette Midler demanded that she be paid $600,000 for a European tour in South African gold krugerrands because she felt that in a time of uncertainty, gold was the only asset worth holding. As things turned out, the banker was wrong, the joker was right. Had Midler held on to her gold, she would have seen the price rocket to $653,000 in January 1980,up from $43 per ounce in 1973. In contrast, countries did go bust. In 1982, Mexico defaulted. Brazil and Argentina followed and by 1984, the third world was stuck in the debt quagmire that it remains in to this day. The common factor between Midler's gold and Wriston's third-world debt was oil. On October 3, 1973, the decision of Opec leaders to restrict oil production changed everything. The price of a barrel of oil rose from $2 per barrel to $10.50, inflation in Europe and the US took off and the price of gold rose dramatically as people went back to hoarding the precious metal as a hedge. By the mid-1980s, gold prices had fallen back steeply as inflation abated. However, the impact of the other great monetary shock (third world debt) that was sparked by the 1973 oil shock remains with us to this day. One of the main themes of the global economic story from 1945-1973 was the rapid accumulation of wealth in the US and Europe. Trade, investment and growth rates all soared, people's savings grew and Harold McMillan's “you've never had it so good'‘ comments would have been as apt in the early 1970s as they were in the late 1950s. This all changed in October 1973 when the music stopped, the feel good factor disappeared and the world plunged into recession. More than anything else, the oil shock constituted the largest single peace time transfer of wealth ever seen. Rich, oil-consuming countries transferred billions of dollars literally overnight to relatively poor oil-producing Arab countries. One of the biggest problems for the Arabs was what to do with all the cash. They had little choice but to put billions of dollars on deposit with the world's biggest banks. The headache then for the banks was what to do with all the money. The mid-1970s recession in the US and western Europe meant nobody in the ‘rich world' wanted to spend or invest, so the international banking system's biggest and most reliable clients weren't interested. Japan was hurting and the Asian Tigers were still very much developing countries. Traditional investment banking business had dried up and, unlike today, there was no global housing bubble to fund. The only place the cash could possibly be put to work was in the third world. Within a matter of months, Brazil, Argentina, Honduras and Mexico were awash with Arab dollars. By 1975, African countries such as Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mozambique and Tanzania had easy access to what appeared to be cheap credit. Another huge lender was Russia which, as an oil producer, benefited enormously from Opec's actions and, as a superpower, lent money to prop up communist countries around the globe. The assumption that “countries don't go bust'' was based on the understanding that the World Bank and IMF would not let their darlings in the third world go under. Private investment bankers believed that, if the worst came to pass, the IMF, financed by western taxpayers' money, would bail out the likes of Congo, Uganda and Angola. Bankers turned a blind eye to the sort of ludicrous projects that were often financed by this African credit bonanza. A mountain of debt built up. Typically, poor countries based their ability to pay on revenue from the sale of commodities such as sugar, rubber, diamonds, wood etc. Therefore, countries had to increase production of commodities in order to service their debts. The more supply, the lower the price. So when the world went into its second oil-inspired recession in 1980-81, there were far too many commodities out there that nobody wanted to buy. The price of rubber, cocoa, sugar etc collapsed while at the same time - due to huge budget deficits in the US associated with the doctrine of Reaganomics - American interest rates and the dollar skyrocketed. Third-world countries couldn't pay their bills and began to default, led by Mexico in 1982. The banks, particularly Citibank, took huge hits because most of these loans had to be written off, yet the Arabs still had to be paid interest on their deposits. So the banks refused to have anything more to do with the African and Latin American delinquents. By 1988, without as much as a cent flowing into the developing countries, the situation was precarious. Democratic movements in Latin America were in jeopardy due to lack of cash and American commercial interests were threatened. Nicholas Brady, Ronald Reagan's finance adviser, came up with an ingenious rescue plan. The old loans were re-examined. Part of the banks' original principle would be written off and the remainder would be paid by the issue of new 30-year bonds called Brady bonds. The countries would have a five-year grace period to get back on their feet and those countries that started paying off some of the old interest would be allowed borrow again. Initially, because of the risk associated with former defaulters, the interest on the bonds was very high. However, as the country adopted economic policies sanctioned by the IMF and monitored by investment banks, the risk fell and consequently so did the interest rate. The price of the bond would rise accordingly. Investors bought these new bonds. This solved the banks' dilemma because, despite losing huge amounts on their initial loans, at least the books were now clean and the developing world's debts became someone else's problem. The investors were happy as long as the countries did what the IMF said, and the countries were happy because they now had access to new finance. It is assumed that, even in the event of debt forgiveness for some of the poorest countries, the Brady bond blueprint will be used inmost places. This assumption has created its own market in pre-Brady deal debts. For example, Sudan has $30 billion of outstanding debt that has yet to be renegotiated. Today an investor can buy $1 of Sudanese debt for 2 cents - a 98 per cent discount. If Sudan begins to pay back its debts, the investor is sure to see the price of Sudanese debt jump to at least ten cents. This is a huge killing. Similarly, the debts of Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Chad, Cuba and Mozambique and many more are all being traded despite still being technically in default. Thousands of investors have taken this bet and are owners of third-world debt. This scattered ownership structure makes Bono's job very difficult because it is no longer in the gift of the G8 leaders, meeting in Edinburgh next week, alone to solve the third world's debt problem. The debt holders believe that it is their right, based on international law, to be repaid. Therefore, the G8 cannot just write off debts without cutting a deal with debt holders, in the main, powerful investment banks. Bono has to persuade the G8 to cough up the billions of dollars to repay the investors. By coughing up, George W is going to have to persuade US taxpayers to dip into their pockets to bail out African countries. With the US in a selfish mood, Bono has his work cut out. If he pulls this off, he deserves our thanks and admiration.

Subject: Re: G8 debt write-off: Who pays?
From: Jennifer
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 12:44:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/wholestory.aspx-qqqt=DAVID MACWILLAMS-qqqs=commentandanalysis-qqqsectionid=3-qqqc=5.2.0.0-qqqn=1-qqqx=1.asp June 26, 2005 G8 debt write-off: Who pays? By David McWilliams Reference to article....

Subject: Re: G8 debt write-off: Who pays?
From: Mik
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 13:13:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hmm I think there is a few bits of confusion about the types of debt, who gave loans and who pays. When we talk of private banks making loans in foreign countries, those loans are not held against government and even where government gives guarantees, those guarantees are not looked upon as solid. Debt write-off refers to the issue of developed governments giving loans to developing governments. Whether through the IMF or direct. There was an age where giving out these loans had actually less to do with development and more to do with allegiance. Don't forget we come out of an era where there was a cold war to rule full continents. As a classic example, the USA loaned over 7 billion dollars to Ethiopia in the 70's at a time when neighbouring Somalia had just turned communist and Ethiopia was being courted by the Soviets. The investment went bad and the Soviets got Ethiopia's allegiance. Ethiopia turned to full communism and America's loans went bad. Now that the world has changed, Ethiopia's new government still faces that loan. We can state that many of these loans should not have been given to dictators or brutal governments in the first place, but the times were different and we were fighting a very real war that cost a tremendous amount of money.

Subject: Re: G8 debt write-off: Who pays?
From: Jennifer
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 14:35:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I thought that the debt write-off was for government rather than private loans. Thank you.

Subject: Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 07:31:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The most reliable and simple way to invest is to use the ideas of John Bogle and index and save and buy more shares forever. For the large majority of investors this puts other methods or lack of method to shame. Nonetheless knowledge and intelligence can help in investing and there are those minority who are successful beyond indexing. What I do find however is that the moment investment ideas come up that are wildly expensive and complex, we should turn elsewhere.

Subject: Promoting democracy with CAFTA
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 04:35:46 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Big Business just gets more and more powerful under this administration it seems. http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/shaiken1 As the United States Congress begins to debate the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), a titanic struggle between the forces of free trade and protectionism promises to unfold. But that debate should not be allowed to mask the truth behind this treaty: the DR-CAFTA is more a pleading of special interests than a free-trade deal. It manages simultaneously to fleece the people of six poor countries and to put US workers in harm’s way. To be sure, expanded trade holds great promise for promoting development and democracy. But the trade rules inscribed in DR-CAFTA promote profits for a few at the expense of the well being of the many. Ironically, the pact even limits market competition to protect powerful special interests, undercutting the core principles of free trade. Consider pharmaceuticals. For American drug companies, this agreement extends the time period during which brand-name pharmaceuticals have exclusive access to markets, postponing the entry of generic drugs and thus limiting competition. For Central Americans, the cost of drugs will soar, straining budgets and gutting health care. The result may be a death sentence for many. In agriculture, small farmers would be placed on a collision course with US agro-business and their heavily subsidized farm exports. The US exported paddy rice, for example, at a price almost 20% lower than the cost of production in 2003, making it impossible for Central Americans to compete. As for labor rights, the agreement makes a devil’s bargain: it opens trade while locking in a status quo that is appalling. Workers face everything from rampant discrimination against older people (those over 35) to physical abuse, lack of bathroom breaks, no overtime pay, and poverty wages. In principle, workers can seek remedies by joining a union and bargaining collectively. But this option is all but foreclosed, because union membership or organizing can lead to dismissal, blacklisting, violence, or worse. In Guatemala, the largest economy, less than 3% of workers are unionized and their unions are marginal. The DR-CAFTA pays lip service to international labor standards as enshrined in the International Labor Organization’s core labor rights, but promptly throws them overboard. Instead, countries are committed only to enforcing their own labor laws, which often seem designed to prevent workers from joining a union. Moreover, enforcement of the rights that do exist is trapped somewhere between ineptitude and corruption. As if this were not bad enough, the agreement jettisons everything we’ve learned over the last 30 years or so about international pressure and labor law reform. The stronger provisions of previous trade agreements, such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), have been dumped. Although trade with Central America represents only about 1.5% of total US trade, the outcome of the debate on DR-CAFTA will shape US trade policy – which sets the tone for other rich countries’ stance in trade talks – for years to come. A trade agreement such as this puts US and Central American workers in the same labor market. If the whip is cracked in Tegucigalpa today, workers in Charlotte will feel it tomorrow. If Salvadorans’ wages are squeezed, they won’t be buying many products made in Los Angeles — unless, of course, they wind up moving there. The anemic labor standards enshrined in this agreement encourage firms to compete by taking the low road, a route that puts them on a collision course with China’s rock-bottom wages. They could just as easily take the high road: much evidence indicates that workers who are rewarded rather than victimized can contribute to greater competitiveness for firms in the long run. It is hypocritical to promote democracy and then sign a trade agreement that denies workers the basic democratic right to organize and join unions. Without this right, elections may not add up to democracy. The checks and balances that unions provide are essential in the workplace, but they are even more important in sustaining fledgling democratic regimes. The issue is not free trade versus protectionism, but “smart trade” versus “polarizing trade.” Smart trade creates balanced development, while polarizing trade rewards a small circle of winners at the expense of the many. Smart trade requires two key provisions: core labor rights, backed up by tough enforcement, and a development fund targeting infrastructure and education to boost competitiveness. DR-CAFTA does neither. Instead, it condemns Central America to carry its dismal past far into the future. Rejecting it opens the possibility for freer markets and faster income growth in Central America, as well as healthier democracies.

Subject: Quenching America’s Thirst for Oil
From: Pancho Villa alias Norm
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 11:53:09 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Quenching America’s Thirst for Oil The United States consumes a quarter of the world’s oil, compared to 8% for China. Even with high Chinese growth expected in coming years, the world will not run out of oil anytime soon. Over a trillion barrels of proven reserves exist, and more is likely to be found. But two-thirds of those proven reserves are in the Persian Gulf, and are thus vulnerable to disruption. In the past, rising prices had a strong effect on US oil consumption. Since the price spikes of the 1970’s, US oil consumption per dollar of GDP has fallen by half, which also reflects the general economic shift away from industrial manufacturing to less energy-intensive production. After all, it requires a lot less energy to create a software program than it does to produce a ton of steel. In the early 1980’s, energy costs accounted for 14% of America’s economy. Today, they account for 7%. Adjusted for inflation, oil prices would have to reach $80 per barrel (or $3.12 per gallon of gasoline) to reach the real level recorded in March 1981. According to the US government, if there are no supply disruptions, and the American economy grows at an annual rate of 3%, the price of a barrel of oil will decline to $25 (in 2003 dollars) in 2010 and then rise to $30 in 2025. The energy intensiveness of the economy will continue to decline at an average annual rate of 1.6%, as efficiency gains and structural shifts offset part of the overall growth in demand. Nonetheless, dependency on oil will grow at an annual rate of 1.5%, from 20 million barrels per day in 2003 to 27.9 million in 2025. The American political system has difficulty in agreeing on a coherent energy policy. But over the next decade, the politics of energy in the US may gradually change. Some observers detect a new “Geo-Green” coalition of conservative foreign-policy hawks, who worry about America’s dependence on Persian Gulf oil, and liberal environmentalists. In the hawks’ view, the real energy problem is not the absence of petroleum reserves, but the fact that they are concentrated in a vulnerable area. The answer is to curb America’s thirst for oil rather than increasing imports. Greens argue that even if energy supplies are abundant, the ability of the environment to support current rates of consumption is limited. The middle of the range of scenarios considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that atmospheric CO2 concentrations will reach nearly three times their pre-industrial level in 2100. While the Bush Administration remains skeptical about the science behind such projections, some state and local governments are enacting measures to cut CO2 emissions. More importantly, companies such as General Electric are committing to green goals that go well beyond government regulations. A recent report by the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy exemplifies the new coalition. While President Bush argues that technological advances in hydrogen fuels and fuel cells will curb oil imports in the long run, such measures require major changes in transportation infrastructure that will require decades to complete. The commission suggests policies that could be implemented sooner. For example, in recent testimony before Congress, James Woolsey, a commission member and former CIA director, urged the use of hybrid gasoline/electric vehicles that could charge their batteries overnight with cheap off-peak electricity; energy efficient ethanol made from cellulose; and a ten-mile-per-gallon increase in fuel-efficiency requirements. He argued that this agenda could cut gasoline consumption significantly in a matter of years rather than decades. It would also avoid the need for dramatic increases in gasoline or carbon taxes, which are broadly accepted in Europe and Japan, but remain the kiss of death for American politicians. But US government policies are unlikely to change Americans’ energy consumption significantly in the next few years. Even if a new administration were to enact new policies after Bush leaves office in 2008, there would still be a lag prior to any effect on actual consumption. In the next few years, market forces are likely to be more important than government policies in influencing consumption patterns. But over the next decade, the combination of markets and policies could make a big difference. For example, between 1978 and 1987, government regulations produced an improvement of 40% in the fuel efficiency of new American-made cars. In a surprise-free world, the Bush administration is probably right that America’s thirst for oil will grow by 1.5% annually over the next two decades. But political disruption in the Persian Gulf or a new terrorist attack in the US would drive up oil prices rapidly, and the political climate in America might also change quickly. The probability of such events is not negligible. Energy independence may be impossible for a country that consumes a quarter of the world’s oil but has only 3% of its reserves. Even so, a major decline in America’s thirst for oil is not out of the question in the longer term. Joseph S. Nye is a professor at Harvard and author of Soft Power: The Means of Success in World Politics. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1429353/posts

Subject: Re: Quenching America’s Thirst for Oil
From: Jennifer
To: Pancho Villa alias Norm
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 14:20:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pancho, how do you read or interpret this essay? Does the relative optimism I find here seem warranted? Am I reading porperly to be optimistic?

Subject: Re: Quenching the world
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:49:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The following in the Wall Street Journal article seems to agree with recent articles quoting geologists now at universities who worked for years in the oil industry who state that we have reached or are about to reach in the next five years peak global oil production. If one were trying to get a handle on oil production in the near future, I can't think of a better source than the geologists who have looked at the data and have run the numbers and who understand how the proven oil reserves are reported by those who own the reserves. A Cartel and Its Snakeoil The Saudis claim to have huge oil reserves. Do they really? BY WILLIAM TUCKER Tuesday, June 28, 2005 12:01 a.m. In 1956, Shell Oil geologist M. King Hubbert discovered a grand illusion in the American oil industry. For tax purposes, he noted, American oil companies regularly delayed the declaration of new oil reserves by years and even decades. The result was a false impression that new oil was being found all the time. In fact, discoveries had peaked in 1936. Based on this observation, Mr. Hubbert predicted that American oil production would peak in 1969. He was wrong by one year. We briefly produced 10 million barrels a day in 1970 but have never hit that level since. Even with the addition of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, American production has slipped to eight million barrels a day--which is why we import 60% of our oil. Across the oil industry, the uneasy feeling is growing that world production may be approaching its own 'Hubbert's Peak.' The last major field yielding more than a million barrels a day was found in Mexico in 1976. New discoveries peaked in 1960, and production outside the Middle East reached its high point in 1997. Meanwhile world demand continues to accelerate by 3% a year. Indonesia, once a major exporter, now imports its oil. Before an uneasy feeling grows into full-blown pessimism, however, one must consider the supposedly vast oil resources lying beneath Saudi Arabia. The Saudis possess 25% of the world's proven reserves. They routinely proclaim that, for at least the next 50 years, they could easily double their current output of 10 million barrels a day. But is this true? Matthew R. Simmons, a Texas investment banker with a Harvard Business School degree and 20 years' experience in oil, has his doubts. In 'Twilight in the Desert,' Mr. Simmons argues that the Saudis may be deceiving the world and themselves. If only half of his claims prove to be true, we could be in for some nasty surprises. First, Mr. Simmons notes, all Saudi claims exist behind a veil of secrecy. In 1982, the Saudi government took complete control of Aramco (the Arabian American Oil Co.) after four decades of co-ownership with a consortium of major oil companies. Since then Aramco has never released field-by-field figures for its oil production. In fact, no OPEC member is very forthcoming. The cartel sets production quotas according to a country's reserves, so each member has reason to exaggerate. Meanwhile, OPEC nations are constantly cheating one another by overproducing, so none wants to publish official statistics. As a result, the world's most reliable source for OPEC production is a little company called Petrologistics, located over a grocery store in Geneva. Conrad Gerber, the principal, claims to have spies in every OPEC port. For all we know, Mr. Gerber is making up his numbers, but everyone--including the Paris-based International Energy Agency--takes him seriously, since OPEC produces nothing better. The Saudis, for their part, obviously enjoy their role as producer of last resort and feel content to let everyone think that they have things under control. Yet as Mr. Simmons observes: 'History has frequently shown that once secrecy envelops the culture of either a company or a country, those most surprised when the truth comes out are often the insiders who created the secrets in the first place.' Mr. Simmons became suspicious of Saudi claims after taking a guided tour of Aramco facilities in 2003. To penetrate the veil, he turned to the electronic library of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, which regularly publishes technical papers by field geologists. After downloading and studying more than 200 reports by Aramco personnel, Mr. Simmons came up with his own portrait of Saudi Arabia's oil resources. It is not a pretty picture. Almost 90% of Saudi production comes from six giant fields, all of them discovered before 1967. The 'king' of this grouping--the 2000-square-mile Ghawar field near the Persian Gulf--is the largest oil field in the world. But if Saudi geology follows the pattern found elsewhere, it is unlikely that any new fields lie nearby. Indeed, Aramco has prospected extensively outside the Ghawar region but found nothing of significance. In particular, the Arab D stratum--the source rock of the Ghawar field--has long since eroded in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. The six major fields, having all produced at or near capacity for almost 40 years, are showing signs of age. All require extensive water injection to maintain their current flow. Based on these observations, Mr. Simmons doubts that Aramco can increase its output to anywhere near the level it claims. In fact, he believes that Saudi production may have already peaked. Is he right? Mr. Simmons's critics say that, by relying on technical papers, he has biased his survey, since geologists like to concentrate on problem wells the way that doctors focus on sick patients. Still, the experience in America and the rest of the world shows that oil fields don't last forever. Prudhoe Bay, which was producing 1.2 million barrels a day five years after being brought on line in 1976, is now down to less than 400,000. The mystery of Saudi oil capacity bears an eerie resemblance to Saddam Hussein's apparent belief that his scientists had developed weapons of mass destruction. Who are the deceivers and who is the deceived? No one yet knows the answers. But at least Matthew Simmons is asking the questions. Mr. Tucker is an associate at the American Enterprise Institute. You can buy 'Twilight in the Desert' from the OpinionJournal bookstore.

Subject: Re: Quenching the world
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 19:43:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though I can not know how severe an oil problem might develop in the coming decades, especially since we do not appear to be attending enough to conservation and efficiency, I have been using energy and utility companies as prime investments. I do not however have a sense from reading whether we are not in much better energy shape than might be supposed.

Subject: Stay the course
From: Johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 04:32:29 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Terri are you holding VDE or VGENX? Bogle's recent speech just posted to his page: http://www.vanguard.com/bogle_site/sp20050524.htm No matter what happens with OIL - investors should stay the course no? It seems you are sector investing with utilities and reits and energy Terri - isn't this market timing? Buy the total stock and total bond funds and just sit back and stay the course no?

Subject: Re: Stay the course
From: Terri
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 05:59:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you so much. I will read the John Bogle speech this morning. I could not admire Bogle more, but I do not follow his advice completely, and do time markets thinking I am not bad at it. But, Bogle always has my thoughts and I do not wish to be arrogant ever in investing. Holding the total stock and bond market indexes for decades has been superb as a strategy, so when I depart I do so with considerable care but I have done so at times. I never use initials in investing, only names, so later I will look up VDE and VGENX.

Subject: Re: Stay the course
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 15:43:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
VDE = Vanguard Energy Index, VGENX = Vanguard Energy Fund.

Subject: Name Goods in China, Brand X Elsewhere
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:47:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/29/business/worldbusiness/29brands.html?pagewanted=all Name Goods in China but Brand X Elsewhere By DAVID BARBOZA SHANGHAI - Never heard of brand names like Great Wall, Hisense, Konka, Amoi and Panda? Outside China, few have. That may change someday, but in the meantime, some Chinese companies are taking a shortcut and adopting widely known names to make their presence felt abroad. China's leaders have been quietly encouraging Chinese companies for years to set up overseas operations, acquire foreign assets and transform themselves into multinational corporations - in other words, to make themselves more competitive in a world increasingly dominated by Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. Now, it seems, Chinese companies have gotten the message. This year, Lenovo - the Chinese computer maker - acquired I.B.M.'s personal computer business. Haier, one of China's biggest companies, made a bid last week for the Maytag Corporation. And in the same week, in the biggest move of all, one of China's state-owned oil giants made a hostile $18.5 billion bid for the Unocal Corporation, one of the world's largest oil companies. Yet many of the companies seem to be acting partly out of desperation, as more foreign brands line the shelves of retailers in China. 'Chinese companies are now facing serious foreign competition at home,' said Marshall W. Meyers, a professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 'So they have to do something. They've got to grow to global scale.' The fact is, despite restrictions on foreign competition here, few powerful brands have emerged in China over the last two decades. And now that some of those restrictions are being lifted as part of China's ascension into the World Trade Organization, some of China's biggest companies are being forced to adopt global strategies. With its I.B.M. computer purchase, Lenovo, a major Chinese computer maker but virtually unknown outside of China, is suddenly the world's third-largest computer maker after Dell and Hewlett-Packard. TCL, another Chinese company, became the world's biggest television set maker last year after it acquired the television set business of Thomson of France, which also owned the old RCA brand. And then there was the bid last week by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation for Unocal, an offer that touched off a Wall Street-style takeover battle with the American oil company Chevron. Experts say that whether these deals succeed or not, they are symbolic of China's rapid economic rise, and its global ambitions. 'The Chinese government has been preparing the top 100 to 150 companies to go overseas and expand,' said Jack J. T. Huang, a chairman of the China practice at the law firm of Jones Day. 'The government wants to use this as a testing ground, to see how well the companies stand up to international competition.' Dozens of Chinese companies stand in waiting, and are not shy about their global ambitions. 'The future goal of the company is to make the name Great Wall known across the world,' said Liu Rengang, a spokesman for the state-controlled Great Wall Computer Group. A spokesman for Ningbo Bird, a big cellphone maker, sounded equally ambitious: 'Our future goal is to become one of the top three cellphone manufacturers in the world.' Earlier this month, the Ministry of Commerce issued a report that said that even though China's exports were dominated by consumer products, there were few famous Chinese brands involved in the export trade. Most goods are being shipped abroad with foreign brand labels. To rectify the situation, the ministry called on Chinese companies to start exporting their own 'famous brands.' Every region was ordered to produce its own famous brands. 'We need to cultivate a group of independent famous brands that have international influence,' the report stated. 'Each industry needs to have its own famous brand for export.' The memo reads like a Communist Party document from a state planning commission. But the thinking behind the effort seems to be simple: imitate the foreigners. Japanese and Korean companies like Toyota, Sony and Samsung made the moves from national to global brands successfully. But it took years. Analysts say Chinese companies do not have that luxury because the rapid pace of globalization means that markets are now quickly won and lost. 'Chinese companies don't have that much choice but to acquire overseas companies,' said Joe Chang, a China specialist at McKinsey & Company. 'Very few companies can build organically any more. If they wait 10 to 15 years, they could be dead.' By acquiring well-known brand names, experts say, Chinese companies are hoping to get access to global distribution networks, sophisticated research and development and recognizable brand names. 'What these companies are looking for is to build up capabilities,' said Oded Shenkar, a professor of management at Ohio State University and author of 'The Chinese Century.' 'This is a shortcut. They don't have billions of dollars to invest in the growth. But here in one fell swoop, you're acquiring a venerable brand name.' One advantage some Chinese companies have is that they have worked for years as joint venture partners or suppliers for some of the world's biggest corporations, giving the Chinese an eye into the process of making premium-priced products. And the amount of manufacturing done in China is astounding. According to C.L.S.A., an investment bank, 80 percent of the world's clocks and watches, 50 percent of its cameras, 30 percent of its microwave ovens, a quarter of its washing machines, and a fifth of the world's refrigerators are now 'Made in China.' 'Japanese and Korean companies initially came to the U.S. with a low-end product image,' said Douglas Beal, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group. 'It took a long time to take Japanese brand names and turn them into high-end products. Sony now commands a premium because it's Sony. But 20 years ago they couldn't do that.' The hurdles, however, are steep. The most serious problem facing Chinese companies, analysts say, is a lack of international experience and weak marketing and management structures. That, experts say, is precisely why some big Chinese companies are bidding for Western icons like I.B.M., Maytag, RCA and even MG Rover, the English carmaker that has been pursued by at least three Chinese automakers in the last year. And this is why after acquiring I.B.M.'s personal computer business this year, Lenovo asked the I.B.M. managers to stay on and run the entire company from New York. 'The most valuable asset we have acquired through I.B.M.'s PC business is its world-class management team and their extensive international experience,' Liu Chuanzhi, the chairman of Lenovo said in an interview last December. But can Lenovo run I.B.M.'s PC business? Can Haier, the appliance giant, manage Maytag? Analysts are skeptical because, they say, most mergers fail. 'It's very difficult to make overseas acquisitions,' said Gavin Geminder, a partner at KPMG, the global advisory firm. 'Chinese companies have the same issues, and they probably have less-qualified management teams.' Chan Chun, a professor of finance at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, said Chinese companies had also struggled to manage their finances in a corporate environment. 'In terms of managing for shareholder value, they are weak,' he said. 'They lack international experience and have poor financial controls.' But no one expects that to slow China deal making. In fact, largely unnoticed earlier this month was a $1.4 billion bid by China Mobile, one of the giant state-owned telecom companies, for control of a Pakistani telecom company. China Mobile lost out on the deal, but its bid is notable. And many of the Chinese companies are sparing no expense to hire Western lawyers and advisers. Lenovo used McKinsey and Weil Gotshal & Manges. Haier is teaming up with the Blackstone Group and Bain Capital to acquire Maytag. And Cnooc has hired Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and a team of lobbyists to make its pitch for Unocal. The Chinese companies are also backed by state-owned banks, private equity funds and company war chests. Cnooc's bid for Unocal, for instance, is backed by a $6 billion loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest Chinese state-owned bank, and another $7 billion in loans is coming from its parent company at rates considerably below what market financing costs. 'There's probably a lot more deals to come,' said Robert Morse, the chief executive for Citigroup corporate and investment banking in Asia. 'Liquidity is at an all-time high for Chinese companies looking to fund overseas acquisitions.' And being the world's low-cost factory floor is no longer the country's singular ambition, analysts say. That is perhaps why China Entrepreneur Magazine recently devoted a cover story to the question, 'Should China Buy Wal-Mart?' Xiang Bing, the dean of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, wrote that if Chinese investors could pool their resources, they could acquire a controlling stake in the ultimate global retail brand: Wal-Mart Stores. That, he surmised, was one way a country with few global brands but lots of goods could move up the value chain.

Subject: Robust Growth and Low Inflation
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:32:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that our growth for the first quarter was 3.8% which is quite healthy, especially coming with a core inflation rate of 2%.There are worries all over, but the American economy is growing well with little inflation. The Federal Reserve has room to tighten and prepare to reverse policy when needed. We should be well pleased.

Subject: Ireland: The End of the Rainbow
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:24:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/29/opinion/29friedman.html The End of the Rainbow By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Dublin Here's something you probably didn't know: Ireland today is the richest country in the European Union after Luxembourg. Yes, the country that for hundreds of years was best known for emigration, tragic poets, famines, civil wars and leprechauns today has a per capita G.D.P. higher than that of Germany, France and Britain. How Ireland went from the sick man of Europe to the rich man in less than a generation is an amazing story. It tells you a lot about Europe today: all the innovation is happening on the periphery by those countries embracing globalization in their own ways - Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe - while those following the French-German social model are suffering high unemployment and low growth. Ireland's turnaround began in the late 1960's when the government made secondary education free, enabling a lot more working-class kids to get a high school or technical degree. As a result, when Ireland joined the E.U. in 1973, it was able to draw on a much more educated work force. By the mid-1980's, though, Ireland had reaped the initial benefits of E.U. membership - subsidies to build better infrastructure and a big market to sell into. But it still did not have enough competitive products to sell, because of years of protectionism and fiscal mismanagement. The country was going broke, and most college grads were emigrating. 'We went on a borrowing, spending and taxing spree, and that nearly drove us under,' said Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney. 'It was because we nearly went under that we got the courage to change.' And change Ireland did. In a quite unusual development, the government, the main trade unions, farmers and industrialists came together and agreed on a program of fiscal austerity, slashing corporate taxes to 12.5 percent, far below the rest of Europe, moderating wages and prices, and aggressively courting foreign investment. In 1996, Ireland made college education basically free, creating an even more educated work force. The results have been phenomenal. Today, 9 out of 10 of the world's top pharmaceutical companies have operations here, as do 16 of the top 20 medical device companies and 7 out of the top 10 software designers. Last year, Ireland got more foreign direct investment from America than from China. And overall government tax receipts are way up. 'We set up in Ireland in 1990,' Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computer, explained to me via e-mail. 'What attracted us? [A] well-educated work force - and good universities close by. [Also,] Ireland has an industrial and tax policy which is consistently very supportive of businesses, independent of which political party is in power. I believe this is because there are enough people who remember the very bad times to de-politicize economic development. [Ireland also has] very good transportation and logistics and a good location - easy to move products to major markets in Europe quickly.' Finally, added Mr. Dell, 'they're competitive, want to succeed, hungry and know how to win. ... Our factory is in Limerick, but we also have several thousand sales and technical people outside of Dublin. The talent in Ireland has proven to be a wonderful resource for us. ... Fun fact: We are Ireland's largest exporter.' Intel opened its first chip factory in Ireland in 1993. James Jarrett, an Intel vice president, said Intel was attracted by Ireland's large pool of young educated men and women, low corporate taxes and other incentives that saved Intel roughly a billion dollars over 10 years. National health care didn't hurt, either. 'We have 4,700 employees there now in four factories, and we are even doing some high-end chip designing in Shannon with Irish engineers,' he said. In 1990, Ireland's total work force was 1.1 million. This year it will hit two million, with no unemployment and 200,000 foreign workers (including 50,000 Chinese). Others are taking notes. Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said: 'I've met the premier of China five times in the last two years.' Ireland's advice is very simple: Make high school and college education free; make your corporate taxes low, simple and transparent; actively seek out global companies; open your economy to competition; speak English; keep your fiscal house in order; and build a consensus around the whole package with labor and management - then hang in there, because there will be bumps in the road - and you, too, can become one of the richest countries in Europe. 'It wasn't a miracle, we didn't find gold,' said Mary Harney. 'It was the right domestic policies and embracing globalization.'

Subject: Male Baltimore Oriole Feeding Chick
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 09:20:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5487&u=4|25|... Male Baltimore Oriole Feeding Chick New York City-Central Park.

Subject: Looking Back
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 07:30:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
These months of a flat overall American stock market have given valuations a chance to improve since earnings are positive. I take this as a helpful period, and am rather pleased with how selected value sectors have done and of course there are long term bond funds which have been terrific.

Subject: China's and India's Development
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 17:45:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
China is accomplishing what not long ago economists first corrected lamented and then recognized and brightened, China is developing a remarkable better life for 1.4 billion people. Why development did not close the gulf between richer and poorer economies for almost the entire 20th century was not clear, but then China and India began to show the most hopeful development. Life for 2.4 billion people could be more promising than imagined only 15 years ago. With no exception African friends iterate that they look in hope to the development pattern set in Asia, and I do as well.

Subject: Re: China's and India's Development
From: Mik
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 11:52:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Ahh but do you know that as a proportion of population size, both China and India see 4 and 5 times more 'Aid' money than Africa? A disproportionally higher amount of assistance goes to China and India than to Africa. Let me give you the example: Just recently the US and UK were proude to anounce 25 billion US$ in aid money to Africa.... over 10 years. That would make it approximately 2.5 billion US$ per year. In India the transport sector sees more than 2.5 billion US$ in aid per year. In other words, the aid money dedicated to building roads in India is more than the entire African continent gets. The same story goes for China. So why is India and China so lucky to receive all this money? Is it perhaps because African governments can't get their act together? But China has a communist government with dictatorship style management. Oh but China shows excellent economic growth, yet in 2003 the fastest growing countries in the world were Mozambique and Uganda at 12% and 10% GDP growth respectively. In essence, Africa has already been showing good governance, good economic management and even good growth. So whay does India and China still receive 4 to 5 times more aid money that the entire African continent?

Subject: Siyofika nini la' siyakhona
From: Pancho Villa
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 19:47:08 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:

Subject: When will we arrive at our destination?
From: Jennifer
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 20:40:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Re: China's and India's Development
From: Terri
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 13:59:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you, I will look at the question of how foreign aid is allocated. I did not know and am surprised that we have extended any foreign aid to China in particular. That we extend aid to India is less surprising, but I was not aware of this either. Time to look at the issue.

Subject: Re: China's and India's Development
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 19:24:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting questions which I simply can not answer, unless foreign aid is tied to trade potential and there is thought to be more trade potential in China and India than Africa. But, I do not know any of the answers.

Subject: Re: China's and India's Development
From: Mik
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 12:56:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is an interesting document by the OECD about 'tied aid'. And although aid should not be tied, the document found that it is indeed very tied. Also there is a problem with the definition of 'aid'. The International Development Association (IDA) is a section of the World Bank that funds most of the world bank's projects. As the name states - it is not a bank nor a loaning organization, but rather an association of funders working primarily in aid. However, they often do look for some sort of repayment (normally 3% over 90 years) where a country can repay. So perhaps the IDA favours countries that can do some sort of repayment, yet even those repayment terms should be regarded as 'aid' money. As you can see the issue is a whole lot more complicated. I personally believe that aid is being tied to investment opportunities. If a country shows great promise for investors, they get their respective governments to provide some 'aid' money as a sweetener to the overall deal. Kind of like 'We'll provide some aid money uplifting the nearby community and you in turn allow us to operate under favourable conditions.' Under that premise, I can now understand how China and India receive so much aid.

Subject: Re: China's and India's Development
From: Terri
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 14:19:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
All you write is sensible, but I can find no evidence that America has extended aid to China for a decade. We do however give export credit to American exporters to China. The point you make is nonetheless sound. The major aid receivers are Egypt and Israel by the way.

Subject: America and China
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 17:12:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting that the price for Unocal is 18 billion dollars, while the market value of Google is 84 billion. That we are dependent on China is no more than saying China is dependent on us, and I find this mutual need, mutual relationship quite promising. I do not know whether China should be allowed to buy Unocal, but I find the ever increasing strategic, economic and cultural ties between the countries benign.

Subject: Unlikely Hero: The 'Polish Plumber'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 16:43:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/international/europe/26poland.html?pagewanted=all Unlikely Hero in Europe's Spat: The 'Polish Plumber' By ELAINE SCIOLINO PARIS - Blond, buffed and blow-dried, a come-hither half-smile on his face, the man in the travel ad grips the tools of his trade as he beckons visitors to Poland. 'I'm staying in Poland,' the man says, a set of strategically placed pipes in one hand, a metal-cutter in the other. 'Lots of you should come.' He is the 'Polish plumber,' a mythical figure who became a central actor in the debate in France over the European Union constitution, which was roundly rejected by French voters last month. Portrayed as a predator who would move to France and steal jobs by working for less pay, this 'plumber' has come to personify French fears about the future. Now the Polish Tourism Bureau is using the character to try to allay French fears and attract visitors at the same time. 'With all the bad publicity about the 'Polish plumber,' we thought why not have a sense of humor and make him work for us?' Krzysztof Turowski, the creator of an ad on the bureau's Web site, said in a telephone interview from Warsaw. 'We picked someone handsome and clean with a sexy look in his eyes - to get the French to come to our beautiful country.' Next week the tourist office will offer Paris a firsthand look at Piotr Adamski, the 21-year-old model, who will also pose at the Eiffel Tower in the same green overalls and Stanley Kowalski T-shirt he wore in the ad. Mr. Adamski has become such an overnight sensation that even Poland's former president, Lech Walesa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Solidarity labor movement, offered him advice for his Paris trip. 'I suggest that he ask the French why the heck for so many years they encouraged Poles to build capitalism when as it turns out they are Communists themselves,' Mr. Walesa, an electrician by trade, said in an interview published Friday in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. He added, 'Piotr probably won't have the chance to say this, so he should at least publicize Poland well in Paris.' The ad campaign blends humor with a more serious message. At a moment when France is suffering from an unemployment rate of more than 10 percent, and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is waging what he calls a 100-day battle to combat it, it is an effort to assure the French that Polish workers have no intention of stealing their jobs. Even if they wanted to, they could not. Under the treaty that allowed Poland and nine other countries to join the European Union last year, older members of the union can restrict access to their labor markets for up to seven years. Only Britain, Ireland and Sweden have allowed in workers from the new members. But labor has always been one of Poland's most important exports. In a sense, the 'Polish plumber' is much more than that, because in most cases he is also an electrician and sometimes even a mason, carpenter, painter and roofer as well. 'It's ridiculous, truly bizarre to say Polish plumbers are dangerous for France,' said Wieslaw Zieba, 55, who has worked in France as a plumber and electrician for 25 years. 'Some of the things that have been said by political figures border on the xenophobic. This is a country that desperately needs more plumbers. But it's not a noble profession that everyone wants to follow. You have to clean up after flooding and unblock toilets.' Indeed, according to the French plumbing union, there is a shortage of 6,000 plumbers, and there are only about 150 Polish plumbers in France. When Mr. Zieba first came to Paris, he said, he had no friends, knew no French and slept in the Metro. He now has dual Polish-French citizenship and runs a thriving business that also does masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. But the fear of cheap imported labor in France is so profound that it has dominated the discourse about the troubled French economy. The term 'Polish plumber' was coined in March by Philippe de Villiers, the head of the right-wing Movement for France party, in response to a European Union proposal known as the Bolkestein directive, which would make it easier for workers to live in other member countries and receive the same salaries and benefits as if they had never left home. The thinking behind the directive was that if goods could move freely across the borders of European Union countries, why not services? The directive 'will permit a Polish plumber to come to work in France with a salary and social protection of his country of origin,' Mr. de Villiers said. He also expressed worries about the 'Latvian mason' and the 'Estonian gardener.' At a news conference in April, Frits Bolkestein, a former Dutch member of the European Commission, used the term himself, saying he was looking forward to the arrival of 'Polish plumbers to do work, because it is difficult to find an electrician or a plumber where I live in the north of France.' He said he hoped that 'Czech nannies' and 'Slovenian accountants' would find work in France as well. The next week, a band of rogue electricians from the state-owned utility EDF cut off the power supply to his country home in the village of Ramousies (population 248). Opponents of the European Union constitution, meanwhile, urged voters to reject the document, arguing falsely that it would facilitate the invasion of the Polish plumber. The issue became so serious that Poland's president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, brought it up during an official visit to France just days before the referendum. 'I know that the argument about the Polish plumber is very often used, or exploited, in France, but I must tell you that this is really exaggerated,' he said. 'It's not true that low-wage workers from the new members of the European Union have flooded the other countries.' Meanwhile, Mr. Adamski, the model, is getting used to his newfound fame, boasting that he spent several days installing the hot and cold water faucets in his Warsaw apartment. 'I'm very pleased to be the postcard for my country,' he said in a telephone interview from Warsaw. But for a real-life Polish plumber like Mr. Zieba, who is 5 feet 4, wears old jeans and hides his belly under a multipocketed work vest, plumbers just do not look like that. Mr. Zieba noted that in the ad, Mr. Adamski is carrying the wrong cutter for the plastic and metal pipes he is holding. 'He's too lacquered, too handsome and too clean to be on a work site,' Mr. Zieba said of Mr. Adamski. 'He looks like something out of an X-rated fantasy film about women who are waiting for the plumber to come.' But then, he added, 'I wasn't so bad when I was his age.'

Subject: Yesterday's Special: Good, Cheap Dining
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 16:00:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/nyregion/26restaurant.html?pagewanted=all Yesterday's Special: Good, Cheap Dining By JENNIFER STEINHAUER and JO CRAVEN McGINTY There was a restaurant in Greenwich Village called Le Zoo, and it was good, and it was cheap, and now, like so many others of its kind, it is gone. It was not the sort of place that drew tourists clutching their Zagats, but it swelled each night with young hipsters and people from the neighborhood, who sipped red wine at the bar and ate $6.50 trout salad and $13 salmon at the crammed-together tables, and yes, smoked. But last year a new restaurant, the Spotted Pig, arose in Le Zoo's spot on West 11th Street, and it quickly became a destination for patrons with deeper pockets and expense accounts. Pub classics like sautéed veal kidneys are $18, and desserts are $6, not $4. The average bottle of wine is $30. Restaurants like Le Zoo - small, with a decent and inexpensive wine list, a memorable special, a total bill for two of $50 - used to be easy to recognize, the high-quality neighborhood places that were one of New York's pleasures. But now, in Manhattan, they are increasingly becoming a memory. In interviews, several restaurateurs confirmed what many New York diners have long suspected: it is becoming impossible to serve innovative and high-quality food at reasonable prices in Manhattan. Melissa O'Donnell, formerly one of the chefs at Le Zoo and now the owner of Salt in SoHo - where the entrées are 30 percent higher than at Le Zoo - said one more rent increase could be the end of her restaurant. 'I'm from Manhattan, my client base is here, I have been working in downtown Manhattan since I went to cooking school,' she said. 'This is my home. But I think my type of place here is going to be a thing of the past.' To get a rough gauge of how much more diners now have to pay, The New York Times compared the average price of a 1994 meal in Manhattan restaurants given one star in the newspaper's restaurant reviews with last year's average. In 1994, the average one-star meal cost $33; it now costs a little more than $50, pushing it outside many people's weekend budgets. That is a 51 percent increase, and even after adjusting for inflation, it represents an 18 percent increase. Prices, which provide a snapshot of city dining, were taken from the Zagat Guides for 1994 and 2004. The analysis of prices did not try to measure Greek diners, corner Chinese restaurants or chicken spots, no matter how sublime their wings. There remain many satisfying and inexpensive restaurants in what is arguably the nation's greatest food city - restaurants filled with patrons who are not seeking a memorable dining experience each and every night that they disdain their stoves. But the high-quality bistros, trattorias and American comfort-food outposts, where diners flocked for a good meal, quite possibly served on a tablecloth, have greatly increased their prices, or moved outside Manhattan. The new hotbeds of affordable innovative cuisine are increasingly in places like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, or Astoria in Queens, having been pushed out by higher rents in Greenwich Village and Chelsea. Increasingly rare in Manhattan are places like Mary's, which a few years ago sold fillet of striped bass for $13.50 in a noisy, happy spot on Bedford Street, and is now a private townhouse. Or Spartina on Greenwich Street, where locals filled the tables, dined on $11.50 plates of black linguine with calamari, and dreaded uptown interlopers. Reflecting the endless transformation of Lower Manhattan, Spartina was replaced with the Harrison, a far more expensive hot spot where the peeky toe crab salad alone is $15 and local denizens press up against Upper East Side investment bankers and Upper West Side moms in search of a big night out. Order a salad, an entrée, a glass of wine or two and dessert, and by the time you've paid the check, you have easily spent $150 for two. Even at the restaurants reviewed in The Times's '$25 and Under' column, the analysis showed, a couple that does not choose carefully may, together, spend well over $50 for an appetizer, entrée and dessert - and that is if they drink only tap water. Last year, Times critics searching for meals of distinction for the $25 column traveled to Brooklyn more than twice as often as they did in 1994. Ethnic fare that even 10 years ago was generally considered inexpensive if seductive has also gone upscale in Manhattan. Consider Devi, an Indian place on East 18th Street where the cheapest entree hovers around $15, and Onera, ostensibly an Upper West Side neighborhood Greek spot were appetizers range from $8 to $11. To some degree, the price increases reflect Manhattan's increasingly concentrated wealth, and the food fetishes of those who are willing to spend it. The higher checks often include a $10 bottle of water, frothy cocktails and organic produce, driven by both their availability and the consumer's demand for them. But more significant, restaurateurs have been forced to pass on the costs of the febrile real estate market. Restaurant leases have more than tripled in many neighborhoods, which has greatly raised prices on even the most prosaic of hash. 'You can't just be a neighborhood restaurant anymore,' said Robert K. Futterman, who owns his own real estate firm. 'You have to be a destination for people from other neighborhoods if you are going to make the rents.' Price increases in the Times analysis were most extreme in the high and lower end of the fine dining scale, which suggest that increased food costs alone do not drive the increases. At two-star restaurants, price increases matched the rate of inflation, and at three-star restaurants, increases were below the rate of inflation, suggesting that their owners had less flexibility to raise their prices. Menu prices also seem to be holding steady among the great middle, those restaurants that serve decent but forgettable food, get scant attention from the food press and stick to basic food without flair. Such restaurants have always lined the main avenues on the Upper East Side and Columbus Avenue, and their numbers are growing, according to Tim Zagat, the guidebook publisher. Mr. Zagat estimated that only about 10 or 15 restaurants north of 50th Street on the East and West Sides rise above that crowd. The affordable high-quality restaurants that were once so common in Manhattan are not quite dodos, but rather like kakapos, ground parrots that are endangered on the island of their birth. Like the kakapo, they have been transported from their natural habitat to other terrain. In the restaurants' case, that place is Brooklyn. In 2003, this dawned on the chef Frank Falcinelli, of Moomba fame, when he scoured his own neighborhood, Greenwich Village, for a spot to open an Italian restaurant. He knew the lease was up at Grange Hall, his neighbor on Commerce Street, but said the landlord demanded $23,000 a month. Next, he looked in the East Village, searching in vain for 1,000 square feet for $3,500 a month. 'I was like, where can I get space, light and a basement and all the clientele I want?' he said. 'People that are my age, 39, and really smart 30-year-olds, and the I-have-no-choice artists and producers and directors. The choices were Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.' Carroll Gardens it was, and for less than half the price of the East Village, he said, he found an old blacksmith shop to serve up inventive Italian food for $2 to $14. It is called Frankies 457 Court Street Spuntino, and he compares its cuisine to Bar Patti in Greenwich Village, where three courses run well over $50. 'The quality of the one-star restaurants in Manhattan are going down to the ground because they can't afford it anymore,' Mr. Falcinelli said. 'The average restaurant profit is 10 cents on the dollar. And when too many paper towels get wasted, it is four cents. I don't have any regrets.'

Subject: Selasphorus Hummingbird
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 15:57:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4925&exhibition=11&pass=public&size=default&lang=eng Selasphorus Hummingbird New York City--Central Park, Strawberry Fields.

Subject: An Energy Producer Utility Consumer Bill
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 15:41:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There will soon be an energy bill passed, and close attention should be given to the provisions of the bill for investment purposes, both energy producers and utility consumers will be much effected. A rule I always follow in investing is know what is coming from Congress.

Subject: Scrushy & friends bleeding middle-class
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 13:37:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
HealthSouth CEO was just found 'not guilty' of a $3 billion dollar stock fraud case. Investment banking giant UBS figured heavily in helping HealthSouth hide its troubles and continued to recommend HealthSouth stock as it did Enron stock up until troubles at these two companies finally made front page news. Not that this had much to do with the jury finding Scrushy not guilty, but for UBS and many others it certainly seems to have made a difference (with regard to enforcement and prosecution) how you handle your political contributions and who you hire for influential effect. Bush Donor Profile Joseph J. Grano Occupation: Chair & CEO Employer: UBS Wealth Management USA Home: New York, NY Ex-Green Berets Captain Joseph Grano worked 16 years at Merrill Lynch (see Stanley O’Neal) before becoming president of PaineWebber in 1994. After Switzerland’s UBS Warburg acquired PaineWebber in 2000, it named Grano head of its new UBS Wealth Management USA arm (see James MacGilvray). UBS’ trans-Atlantic acquisition was made possible by then-Senate Banking Committee Chair Phil Gramm, who pushed through legislation to repeal a post-Depression ban on combining banking, brokerage and insurance operations. UBS then took care of Gramm, naming him a vice chair after he left the Senate in 2002. Gramm, who gave $612,000 of his Senate war chest to Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2002, has promoted a complex UBS deal in which the Texas state pension fund would take out life insurance policies on state workers. UBS’ relations with George W. Bush date back to 1987, when investment bank Stephens, Inc. (see Warren Stephens) convinced UBS to invest $25 million to keep Bush’s Harken Energy afloat. UBS has weathered many recent corporate scandals. UBS broker Chung Wu was fired hours after he advised clients to sell Enron stock in August 2001, with management quickly notifying clients that, “Mr. Wu’s statements are contrary to UBS PaineWebber’s current recommendation concerning Enron.” After Enron collapsed, UBS bought up its energy trading unit and twin skyscrapers. UBS and nine other big Wall Street firms agreed in 2002 to pay a record $1.4 billion to settle charges that their researchers promoted stocks of companies that kicked back lucrative underwriting contracts. UBS fired two brokers and disciplined nine others in 2003 for “market-timing” violations, when they allowed big investors to conduct rapid-fire mutual fund trades at the expense of regular investors. Congress is probing UBS’s role at HealthSouth, which committed a $4.6 billion accounting fraud. UBS advised HealthSouth on $2 billion worth of deals and heavily promoted its stock after the accounting scandal broke. A lawsuit by HealthSouth investors alleged in 2004 that the company had told UBS bankers about its fraud as early as 1999. The U.S. Federal Reserve fined UBS $100 million in 2004 for violating a currency-exchange contract that prohibited providing U.S. currency to such U.S.-sanctioned countries as Cuba, Libya, and Iran. George W. Bush’s administration reportedly considered Grano for a top economic post in 2002, when it axed Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Economic Advisor Lawrence Lindsey. President Bush appointed Grano in 2002 as chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (see Tom Ridge). Four other Pioneers (see Richard Davidson, Archie Dunham, Erle Nye and Steven Burd) sit on advisory councils for the Department of Homeland Security, which has a $30 billion budget. Grano was one of the investors who sold a majority stake in the Maryland Jockey Club racetrack in 2002. The terms of sale entitle Grano and other influential sellers to a cut of any future track earnings from slot machines, the Baltimore Sun reported, if Maryland legalizes slots.

Subject: Roll Over, Godzilla: Korea Rules
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:53:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/international/asia/28wave.html?pagewanted=all Roll Over, Godzilla: Korea Rules By NORIMITSU ONISHI TAIPEI, Taiwan - Here in one of the first corners of Asia hit by the 'Korean Wave' of cultural exports, a television series about a royal cook, 'A Jewel in the Palace,' proved so popular that it is now used to advertise South Korea on the Taipei subway. A huge hit in Mongolia, the drama also fueled a boom in tourists from Hong Kong visiting South Korea. A weepy love story, 'Winter Sonata,' became the rage in Uzbekistan after driving the Japanese into a frenzy last year. In Thailand and Malaysia, people devoured 'A Tale of Autumn,' and Vietnamese were glued to 'Lovers in Paris.' In China, South Korean dramas are sold, and pirated, everywhere, and the young adopt the clothing and hairstyles made cool by South Korean stars. South Korea, historically more worried about fending off cultural domination by China and Japan than spreading its own culture abroad, is emerging as the pop culture leader of Asia. From well-packaged television dramas to slick movies, from pop music to online games, South Korean companies and stars are increasingly defining what the disparate people in East Asia watch, listen to and play. The size of South Korea's entertainment industry, which began attracting heavy government investment only in the late 1990's, jumped from $8.5 billion in 1999 to $43.5 billion in 2003. In 2003, South Korea exported $650 million in cultural products; the amount was so insignificant before 1998 that the government could not provide figures. But the figures tell only part of the story. The booming South Korean presence on television and in the movies has spurred Asians to buy up South Korean goods and to travel to South Korea, traditionally not a popular tourist destination. The images that Asians traditionally have associated with the country - violent student marches, the demilitarized zone, division - have given way to trendy entertainers and cutting-edge technology. Candy Hsieh, 22, who was browsing through shelves of South Korean dramas at a video store here, said her parents became fans and visited South Korea last year. 'I used to think that Korea was a feudalistic, male-centered society,' Ms. Hsieh said. 'Now I don't have the same image as I had before. It seems like an open society, democratic.' South Korea's entertainment industry was born for business and political reasons in the late 1990's. Increasingly rich Asians were thought to be receptive to new sources of entertainment. What is more, South Korea, which long banned cultural imports from Japan, its former colonial ruler, was preparing to lift restrictions starting in 1998. Seoul was worried about the onslaught of Japanese music, videos and dramas, already popular on the black market. So in 1998 the Culture Ministry, armed with a substantial budget increase, carried out its first five-year plan to build up the domestic industry. The ministry encouraged colleges to open culture industry departments, providing equipment and scholarships. The number of such departments has risen from almost zero to more than 300. In 2002, the ministry opened the Korea Culture and Content Agency to encourage exports. By the time almost all restrictions on Japanese culture were lifted in January 2004, the Korean Wave - a term coined in China - had washed across Asia. To South Koreans like Kim Hyun Kyung, a director at Cheil Communications, an advertising agency in Seoul, feeling the reach of their culture for the first time was surprising. In 2001, during a trip to Los Angeles, she met a Chinese woman who brightened up when she learned that she was Korean. 'She was a big fan of Kim Hee Sun,' Ms. Kim said, referring to a South Korean actress who is now more popular in China than at home. 'She was happy that I had the same last name as she did. We were meeting for the first time, but she had a favorable image of Korea.' South Korean dramas and music have started edging out American and Japanese ones in Taiwan, which caught the Korean Wave early this decade. Five years ago, Gala TV here paid $1,000 for one hour of a South Korean drama, compared with $15,000 to $20,000 for a Japanese one, said the network's vice president, Lai Tsung Pi. Now, a South Korean drama commands $7,000 to $15,000; a Japanese, $6,000 to $12,000. 'Korean dramas are considered more emotionally powerful, and their actors are willing to come here to promote them,' Mr. Lai said. 'Because of the Korean dramas, Taiwanese people have become more willing to buy their products.' Sales of South Korean consumer goods and cars have risen sharply here in the last five years as well. The number of Taiwanese going to South Korea rose from 108,831 in 2000 to 298,325 last year, even though the overall number of Taiwanese traveling abroad fell during that period. South Korea has also begun wielding the non-economic side of its new soft power. The official Korean Overseas Information Service last year gave 'Winter Sonata' to Egyptian television, paying for the Arabic subtitles. The goal was to generate positive feelings in the Arab world toward the 3,200 South Korean soldiers stationed in northern Iraq. There have been unintended effects too. Copies of South Korean dramas and music are being increasingly smuggled from China into North Korea. One popular drama in the Communist North was 'All In,' the true story of a South Korean gambler who went to Las Vegas with only $18 and became a millionaire. North Korean women began copying the hairstyle of its lead actress, Song Hae Kyo, prompting the authorities there to crack down on 'untidy' hair, said Kim Yang Rae, director general of the Korean Foundation for Asian Culture Exchange. In mid-June, a 20-year-old North Korean soldier, Yi Yong Su, defected across the demilitarized zone into the town of Chorwon in central South Korea. The private said he had grown to admire and yearn for South Korea after watching its television programs, South Korean military officials told reporters. But the worry of a possible backlash - Taiwan, for instance, is considering levying a 20 percent tariff on Korean programs - impelled the Culture Ministry two years ago to form the cultural exchange foundation, to prevent Southeast Asian countries from feeling that they are regarded only as markets. 'We've never had this experience of seeing our culture spread outside our country,' Mr. Kim said about Korea's modern history. 'I'm very proud, but also very cautious.' At the New Fantasy Travel agency here, about 80 percent of travelers to South Korea pick television theme tours, visiting spots where their favorites dramas were filmed, said the general manager, Louis Wang. Mr. Wang himself is not a huge fan. But his children, who are, now feel closer to South Korea than to the country that considers Taiwan a renegade province. 'They've been learning the lifestyle of Koreans, their fashion and their food,' Mr. Wang said. 'So now they're more familiar with Korea's lifestyle than China's.'

Subject: Know Your Numbers, Improve Your Odds
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:51:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/health/nutrition/28brod.html?pagewanted=all Know Your Numbers and Improve Your Odds By JANE E. BRODY Over the last 40 years, heart specialists have learned a lot about the way cholesterol behaves in the body, much to the benefit of Americans destined to suffer heart attacks or strokes - at least half of the population. As knowledge has grown, the goals of treatment have changed, with lifesaving effects. And now they are changing again. At first, pioneers bent on preventing cardiovascular disease focused only on a person's total blood cholesterol level. A level of 240 milligrams per deciliter of blood serum was considered 'normal' just a few decades ago. Then research, like the Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts, showed that at least half of heart attack victims had cholesterol levels of 240 or below. Today, the goal for total cholesterol is 200 or less, preferably 180 if you want to remain heart-healthy. Cholesterol is not soluble in water and thus requires substances called lipoproteins to carry it in blood. As the chemistry and physiology of cholesterol became better understood through the work of scientists like Dr. Michael S. Brown and Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, who shared a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1985, attention shifted to low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or L.D.L., the so-called bad cholesterol. When L.D.L. is oxidized, it becomes glued to the lining of arteries that feed the heart, brain and tissues throughout the body, setting the stage for a heart attack, stroke or peripheral vascular disease. A Sliding Scale of Safety Based on current recommendations, people otherwise at low risk for heart disease should have an L.D.L. level of less than 130. For someone known to be at high risk or who already has heart disease, the desirable level of L.D.L. is much lower, well below 100. The statin drugs have revolutionized the treatment of elevated L.D.L. These drugs are especially effective combined with a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise. But the statins don't do much for the newest, and perhaps more important, focus of concern about cholesterol. It is the level of high-density lipoproteins, or H.D.L., a reverse carrier of cholesterol. H.D.L., often referred to as the good cholesterol, acts like an arterial Roto-Rooter, clearing cholesterol from blood vessels and routing it to the liver for elimination from the body. Unlike L.D.L., which should be a low as possible, the higher the blood level of H.D.L., the better, even if it means raising your total cholesterol level above 200. Low levels of H.D.L. - below about 40 milligrams for men and 50 for women - are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. People with 'longevity syndrome,' who live into their 90's without evidence of heart disease, typically have very high levels of H.D.L. There is considerable evidence linking an increased risk of heart disease and stroke more strongly to low H.D.L. levels than to high L.D.L. levels. For every one-milligram rise in H.D.L., the risk for developing cardiovascular disease falls by 2 to 3 percent. An H.D.L. level of 60 milligrams or higher helps to protect against this major killer. In addition to enabling the body to get rid of unwanted cholesterol, H.D.L. acts in several other protective ways: as an antioxidant deterring the harmful oxidation of L.D.L., and as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping to repair what is now considered a major player in blood vessel disease. And it has anticlotting properties, which can help keep blood clots from blocking arteries. Dr. Mark E. McGovern, chief medical officer at Kos Pharmaceuticals, regards H.D.L. as the most important new lipid treatment target. 'The need for drugs to increase H.D.L. is compelling and urgent,' Dr. McGovern wrote in the April issue of Postgraduate Medicine. Raising Good Cholesterol Statins do raise H.D.L. levels a little, perhaps 5 to 10 percent, but rarely enough to protect someone with low H.D.L. Other drugs now in use do a better job. Most effective are the niacin-based medications (but not niacin sold as a vitamin). These high-dose prescriptions come in immediate-release form to be taken two to four times a day and in extended-release form taken once a day. Niacin can raise H.D.L. levels by 15 to 30 percent, and it is especially effective at increasing the larger H.D.L. particles that do the best job of cleansing arteries. The other prescription drugs that can raise H.D.L.'s are fibrates, most often used to lower blood levels of artery-damaging fats called triglycerides. The fibrates, including gemfibrozil (Lopid) and fenofibrate (Tricor and Lofibra), raise H.D.L. by 10 to 15 percent. Developing more effective drugs to raise H.D.L. is an important goal. Meanwhile, some doctors are prescribing statins in combination with a niacin or fibrate. This is not ideal, since combining statins with fibrates greatly increases the risk of muscle damage, a rare but potentially serious complication of statins. Statins with niacin may cause liver problems. But you do not have to wait for the development of safer drugs to improve your cholesterol profile. Changes in the way you live can help to raise H.D.L. Regular aerobic exercise is a good place to start. But for it to result in a significant benefit in H.D.L., about 1,200 calories a week should be expended on activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or lap swimming. For most people, that means walking briskly for three miles four times a week. Duration of exercise, not intensity, confers the greatest benefit. If you are overweight, losing weight can raise your H.D.L. level. And if you are a smoker, quitting all forms of tobacco can increase your H.D.L. by 15 to 20 percent. Dr. Peter P. Toth of the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Peoria says certain dietary measures also help. A Mediterranean-style diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and legumes, is strongly linked to high blood levels of H.D.L. So is eating more fish (and taking fish oil supplements) and consuming fewer refined carbohydrates. A low-fat diet is not necessarily helpful. It may even lower H.D.L. levels if carbohydrates fill in the caloric gap. But the kinds of fats consumed can make a big difference. Most helpful are the monounsaturated fats found in canola, olive, avocado, nut and seed oils; nuts and avocados. These can improve H.D.L. without raising L.D.L. But if you replace saturated fats with polyunsaturates like corn, safflower and soybean oils, both L.D.L. and H.D.L. levels are likely to fall. Avoiding trans fats, formed when unsaturated oils are partly hydrogenated, is also important. These are found in many processed foods, especially snacks and packaged bakery items that contain added fats. Trans fats raise harmful L.D.L. and lower beneficial H.D.L. Another helpful dietary measure is to increase the soluble fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and oats. In addition, alcohol consumed in moderation, helps to raise H.D.L.'s. Consuming one or two drinks a day can increase H.D.L. levels significantly. Beyond that amount, alcohol can have harmful effects on the heart and increase cancer risk.

Subject: China's Debut as Auto Exporter
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 09:25:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/business/worldbusiness/28yuan.html?pagewanted=all China's Debut as Auto Exporter Signals Growing Challenge to U.S. By KEITH BRADSHER GUANGZHOU, China - A line of Chinese-made cars began rolling onto a ship here Friday, bound for Europe. The cars, made at a gleaming new Honda factory on the outskirts of this sprawling city near Hong Kong, signal the latest move by China to follow Japan and South Korea in building itself into a global competitor in one of the cornerstones of the industrial economy. China's debut as an auto exporter, small as it may be for now, foretells a broader challenge to a half-century of American economic and political ascendance. The nation's manufacturing companies are building wealth at a remarkable rate, using some of that money to buy assets abroad. And China has been scouring the world to acquire energy resources, with the bid to buy an American oil company only the latest overture. Indeed, fierce domestic competition and a faster accumulation of financial assets are laying the groundwork for the arc of China's rise to be far greater than Japan's. 'It's going to be like the Arabs in the 70's and the Japanese in the 80's - we were worried they'd buy everything,' said William Belchere, the chief Asia economist for Macquarie Securities in Hong Kong. But unlike those previous challenges, which soon faded, 'longer term,' he added, China will 'be a much bigger force.' China's economy has risen rapidly with foreign expertise and investment. The Guangzhou airport here has a terminal designed by an American company, boarding gates supplied by a Danish company, and an air traffic control tower engineered by a company from Singapore. The resulting bilateral corporate tango - in contrast to the confrontations reminiscent of the 1980's and early 1990's when Japanese capital poured into the United States - means that China has many American corporate comrades, who have a stake in helping generate its growth. China, economists and Asia experts say, does not face some of the inherent limitations that ultimately stymied Japan and led to economic stagnation there over the last 14 years. With its giant population, China is developing a large and diverse economy, creating an almost Darwinian competition for a domestic market that has extremely low-cost companies ready to export inexpensive goods around the globe. 'The economy is much more flexible, adaptable than Japan's,' said Liang Hong, an economist in Hong Kong for Goldman Sachs. 'Being a continental economy is an advantage because it has competition within.' To be sure, China is still at an earlier stage of development than was Japan when its economic rise became a national obsession in the United States. In the 1980's and early 1990's, Japanese companies claimed a sizable chunk of the American car market and purchased Rockefeller Center and the Pebble Beach golf course. The bid by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation for Unocal has raised worries among some politicians in Washington. That $18.5 billion bid comes as America's trade deficit with China is ratcheting ever higher and the dollar is getting support from rising inflows of Chinese capital, which also helps support low interest rates. More disconcerting to others in Washington is China's growing ability to finance any political and military ambitions. China has missiles with nuclear weapons that intelligence experts describe as already able to hit not just Hawaii but probably California. Beijing also remains chilly toward American entreaties to put more pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. In contrast, Japan's military dependence on the United States made it more willing to accept a steep appreciation in the yen in 1985 that hobbled Japanese exporters. So far, China has put off Bush administration demands to let its yuan appreciate. But China's economic rise also faces many obstacles. Its banks have huge portfolios of nonperforming loans that have not yet become a crippling problem because of rapid growth, but that could, as in Japan, make a recession someday even harder to combat. Banks suffering from fraud and political pressures have frequently made poor decisions on which borrowers should receive loans, so that China requires more investment for each dollar of economic growth than many rivals. Xu Xiaonian, an economist at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, said that China and Japan shared weak traditions of corporate governance, shareholder rights and the rule of law, and this has hurt efficiency. 'Efficiency rules the game and will decide who wins the game, and not how fast a country grows,' he said. China also has a one-party political system that has not changed nearly as quickly as its economy over the last quarter-century, and a population that will soon start to age rapidly because of the 'one child' policy. The Asian Development Bank forecasts that from 2015 to 2030, China's labor force will drop to 813 million from 842 million, as India's rises. The big question is how smoothly China will make the transition from central planning to capitalism. One of the best places to see the scope of China's challenge to the West, including China's economic strengths and its political weaknesses, is here in Guangzhou, a city of 12.2 million that is often compared to Los Angeles. At the new Honda factory, a tall fence of yellow wire mesh encloses a long section of the assembly line, where white robots poke and crane their long, vulture-like heads into gray, half-completed car bodies to perform 2,100 of the 3,000 welds needed to assemble each car. Workers in white uniforms and gray caps complete the rest of the welds, working as quickly as workers in American factories - but earning roughly $1.50 an hour in wages and benefits, compared with $55 an hour for General Motors and Ford factories in the United States. 'Our export activities are based on the synergy of China's competitive advantage and Honda's global network,' said Atsuyoshi Hyogo, the chairman of the Honda subsidiary here. As G.M. and Ford struggle with high health care costs for unionized work forces with an average age of nearly 50 in the United States, most of the Honda workers here appear to be in their 20's. They are unlikely to go to the doctor very often and when they do, doctors here charge less than $5 for an office visit and administering a few stitches. At a long hall in downtown Guangzhou, it quickly becomes apparent why the Honda workers are young and the pay is low. Rows of young men and women sit in plastic chairs watching two huge television screens covered with Chinese characters and numbers. While it resembles an off-track betting parlor in Hong Kong, 100 miles down the Pearl River, this is really the city's main government-run employment center. Some of the employers are hiring dozens of workers at a time, but one of the columns on each screen shows a requirement that would be illegal to list in the United States: the age range for acceptable applicants, most often 20 to 35. The official average unemployment rate in China's cities is 4.2 percent. But that excludes China's vast army of rural adults with little or no work to do, an army estimated as high as 150 million people. Millions move to the cities each year, an immense migration that slowed increases in Chinese industrial wages until the last year or two, when the Chinese economy has grown so rapidly that employers have begun bidding up workers' wages anyway. The plight of these migrants seems to be improving, and as it improves they may become even more attractive job applicants for multinationals looking for workers. 'People who came here looking for jobs used to be dirty and wearing bad clothes, but now they are coming in suits and ties,' said Zhang Jieming, the director of the Guangzhou Bureau of Labor and Social Security. One question is how China can retain the political stability it has shown for most of the last three decades while moving toward more democratic processes that the Communist Party has long claimed as its goal. A neighborhood election here on Saturday suggested that the path to political pluralism may be long. Gathered in a junior high school classroom were 45 representatives elected by 5,400 neighborhood residents. Only the representatives, not the general public, were allowed to vote for the next level of government, a seven-member council. Liu Yonghong, the director of the council and a Communist Party member, was re-elected, 44 to 1, defeating a nonparty member. Chen Xuangu, the deputy director and also a party member, turned back his opponent, also not a party member, by 40 to 5. The winners may not be in a hurry for change. 'If we have stability,' said Li Weijie, the director general of the municipal bureau of civil affairs, 'we can have successful development.'

Subject: Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter
From: Free Trade or Faire Trade?
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:07:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It is all fine and well to trade with anyone, but what happens when we are fueling a communist system that just doesn't seem to become more open and seems to undermine our economic growth? Are we not shooting ourselves in the foot? If China was showing good signs towards a free market system with all the attributes such as unions and free speech I would not argue what is going on. But China's idea of unions is a farce and the people cannot uplift their incomes and are destined to remain under paid workers driving the great Chinese machine into the international arena AND we are paying for this. The US needs to charge a duty on all Chinese goods. Perhaps start off with a minimal duty of say 2% and incrementally raise the duty with every political impasse. If China shows positive signs towards fair trade, then lower the duty. I am outraged that Microsoft is working with the Chinese government on specialised software for controlling freedom of speech on the internet. How low will a company go to ensure they stay in a market? It is ridiculous that we are being shafted by the Chinese and they are not letting up. What is the real economic cost of cheap Chinese goods when we are fueling a communist regime that just won't shows signs of fairness. Whether it is fairness to their own people or fairness in the market.

Subject: Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter
From: Pancho Villa
To: Free Trade or Faire Trade?
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 11:47:33 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Free Trade! Fair Trade? That depends on you, it's your wallet

Subject: Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter
From: So easy
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 11:38:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Ahh yes the easy cop-out - 'well it's your wallet.' My wallet will dictate that I will always tend to go for what is cheaper. So I fuel the race to the bottom. But using the same argument why does government implement environmental restrictions that cause prices to go up? If it was up to 'my wallet', the environmental impact would not even feature as a decision, it would be price, price, price. Government implements those environmental restrictions because it is a responsible thing to do. And the same goes for fair trade. Government does have a role in ensuring responsible progress and avoiding the race to the bottom.

Subject: Re: China's Debut as Auto Exporter
From: Pancho Villa alias Easy like a Sunday...
To: So easy
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 29, 2005 at 12:37:40 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Guy de Jonquières FT Tuesday June 28 2005 '...While China's regime is clearly authoritarian, so is Saudi Arabia's. The latter is governed by a repressive feudal monarchy with an appalling human rights record. It is linked to the export of terrorism. It is so far from being a free market economy that it has still not qualified to join the WTO. Yet Washington not only tolerates Saudi leaders, it cossets them. The US needs to keep the Saudi regime sweet because of its oil. But to assume, as American Chine-bashers implicitly do, that the US does not need China and can bend it to its own will is self-delusion. The two countries are deeply interdependent(!). China's need for US exports and inward investment is mirrored by its importance as a prime source of funding for the US budget and CA deficits....'

Subject: Google at $300 a Share
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 05:59:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/technology/28google.html At $300 a Share, Google Looks Pricey and Still Irresistible By GARY RIVLIN SAN FRANCISCO - David Edwards, a financial analyst with American Technology Research, wants to believe in Google. But how do you embrace a stock that has more than tripled in 10 months and cracked the $300-a-share barrier so quickly since going public that much of its growth potential seems already built into the price? In early May, when Google was trading for $236, Mr. Edwards sent a note to clients of his firm, a group that includes wealthy individuals and money managers, recommending that they buy Google stock. But Mr. Edwards, who has been analyzing publicly traded stocks for seven years, acknowledges that Google has him flummoxed now that it has sprinted past $300, to close at $304.10 on Monday, up $6.85. As the stock continues to climb as if it is 1999 all over again, many of his counterparts, including those working for more prominent investment banks, continue to recommend the stock. Heath P. Terry, for instance, an analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston, predicted back in February, when Google was trading at just over $200 a share, that the stock would hit $275 within the year. When three months later the stock crossed $277, Mr. Terry raised his target price to $350, prompting several others to follow suit in the Wall Street equivalent of 'can you top this?' Mr. Edwards, too, says he believes in Google's long-term prospects, but he describes himself as stumped about the advice he should give clients in the short term. 'It seems like everyone has jumped on the price-raising bandwagon, which has left me sitting here and scratching my head,' he said. He does not have the conviction to advise clients to buy the stock, nor is he pessimistic enough to advise them to sell. 'Let's just say if I was owning Google stock right now, I'd be selling some,' he said. Few if any are suggesting that the torrid rise in Google's share price signals an industrywide bubble as in the late 1990's. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., had more than $3 billion in revenue last year, almost all from its advertising business, and its profits have increased more than sevenfold since July 2004. By contrast, most of the dot-coms that flamed out so spectacularly in 2000 and 2001 never turned a profit, if they even had much in the way of revenue. Yet even some of those who were bullish on Google when it went public in August, at $85 a share, wonder if investors have forgotten some of the lessons of the 1990's. Until recently, John Tinker, an analyst with ThinkEquity, a San Francisco-based investment bank specializing in growth companies, had set the highest price target on Google. Yet even Mr. Tinker uses the 'B' word - bubble - when describing the market's giddy embrace of Google, even as he has a price target of $330 on Google. 'The good news is this is a one-stock bubble,' Mr. Tinker said. 'Remember, in 1998, everything went up. That's a huge difference this time.' At the close of trading on Monday, the cumulative worth of all shares of Google stock added up to $84.47 billion. That gives Google a market capitalization of nearly the combined worth of the other two publicly traded giants created by the Internet: eBay, worth $45.37 billion, and Yahoo, worth $49.83 billion. Comparisons are also being made between Google and Time Warner, another company deriving the bulk of its revenue from advertising. Time Warner had a market capitalization of $79.19 billion at the close of the market on Monday, below Google's though it posted first-quarter revenue eight times that of Google, and profits about three times as large. The increase in the share price has been good for Google's two founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. They each have about 36 million shares, according to a proxy filed in early April and updated Yahoo Finance data. At Monday's closing price, that would give each about $11 billion in stock, excluding options. In addition, they have each made more than $500 million by selling a fraction of their shares (about 4.5 percent apiece) since Google went public. Any number of theories might explain the most recent run-up in Google's stock, which has risen 67 percent since April 1. Those range from data suggesting that Internet advertising revenue is rising by as much as 40 percent a year - a trend sure to benefit Google - to a herd mentality among mutual fund managers ready to declare that resistance is futile: to post the kind of returns that would put them in the upper echelons of performance tables, they need to own shares in Google. 'This is where you can say this is like 1998,' Mr. Tinker said. 'Institutions realize they can't afford not to be in, whatever the price.' Google executives, especially its two founders, were outspoken before its public offering in insisting that the company would not play by established Wall Street rules, unnerving any number of institutional investors. But, according to Vickers Stock Research, 38 percent of Google's shares were held by mutual funds and other professionally run pools of money in May, compared with 35 percent one month earlier. 'There's been a waving of the white flag,' Mr. Tinker said. 'People felt left behind.' Still, by comparison, 72 percent of mutual funds and other professional pools own Yahoo shares. Mr. Terry of Credit Suisse thinks that even at its current price, Google is still worth buying, noting the company's aggressive moves to extend its core search business. On Monday, for example, it announced a new bit of software called the Google Video Viewer, complementing its effort to encourage users to submit their own video to its database and adding a 'search within the video' feature. John Battelle, the author of a book on Google called 'The Search,' to be published in September by Portfolio Hardcover, says it is only natural that people want to believe in Google. Those who wanted to believe that the Internet could make them rich might have learned a hard lesson in 2000 and 2001, but that did not mean the dream entirely died. 'If you really believe in something, you're looking for a place where you can prove you were right the first time,' he said. 'And Google is such a place.'

Subject: Scarlet Tanager Feeding
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:12:16 (EDT)
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http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3268&u=75|309|... Scarlet Tanager Feeding New York City--Inwood Park.

Subject: Relative Value
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 12:55:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The question I always ask myself when reading Shiller is not whether there is logic to the arguments, for there always is, but how to find relative value in assets no matter the projected return. There is a reason regulated public utilities have performed so well these last 5 years. There was where relative value could be found among other sectors.

Subject: Shiller is getting shriller...
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 10:48:23 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

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On stock market fantasies of governments Plans that rely on high returns, as even governments seem to be making, are not advisable ROBERT J SHILLER Historically, the stock market has performed well. In his celebrated 2002 book, Stocks for the Long Run, Jeremy Siegel shows that the American stock market returned 6.9% a year in real terms between 1802 and 2001. Though the return varied by decade, even turning negative in some decades, it performed fairly consistently on the whole. This 6.9% annual average return has since been referred to as ‘Siegel’s constant,’ as if Siegel had discovered a new law of nature. The idea that stocks will perform well in the future has many promoters today, especially among those trying to sell investments in stocks. In the United States, President George W Bush’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security cited Siegel for its claim that the government should encourage people to invest in stocks. Bush has been travelling the country, promoting a plan to introduce personal retirement accounts invested in stocks and bonds. The plan assumes a 6.5% real return for stocks—only slightly below Siegel’s constant—in future decades. But most people don’t believe the stock market will perform so well in the future. Siegel himself recently projected only a 6% average real return for US stocks over the next four decades. Others have lower expectations. I have been conducting surveys of US investors under the auspices of the Yale School of Management, asking what percentage change they expect for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The expected one-year increase in the Dow for 2005 averages 4.8% for institutional investors and 4.3% for individual investors. • The Bush government is promoting a market-based personal retirement plan • Its assumption of an annual real 6.5% yield in the future appears suspect • Statistics on past stock market performance mislead due to selection bias On closer inspection, the idea that the market will yield a real 6.9% a year in the future appears suspect. Think about it: investing in the stock market at 6.9% a year and reinvesting any dividends means that, in a tax-free account, the real value of the investment will double every 10 years. At that rate, a 20-year-old who, in 1960, invested $4,000 a year in a tax-free account in the US stock market, would have one million dollars today, at age 65. Should we expect to be able to do that in the future? Obviously, most people didn’t invest this way in 1960. But could most people have? If so, how would the economy, with the labour and material resources at its disposal, provide the large houses, luxury cars and high-end services that millionaires expect? It is natural to suppose that it could not. In fact, statistics on past stock market performance mislead because of what statisticians call “selection bias.” This occurs when the sample from which a statistic is derived is not representative of all the data. Several kinds of selection bias must be considered when we look at Siegel’s constant. The most fundamental problem is that, in examining stock market investments, we are selecting an economic activity because it was a consistent success in the past. We are trying to extrapolate the past experience of a small fraction of the world population that we have chosen to examine because they made a lot of money. Of course, if one looks at many different investment strategies and many different countries, one can find something that performed spectacularly in the past, even if there is no strategy that can be expected to do so well in the future. The US had one of the world’s most successful stock markets in the 20th century. Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, and Mike Staunton wrote in their book, Triumph of the Optimists, that of 15 countries that have advanced economies today, the US stock market ranked fourth in its rate of return between 1900 and 2000, behind Australia, Sweden and South Africa. The geometric average real return of the US stock market was 6.7%, but the median geometric real return for the other countries was only 4.7%. But even this comparison involves a selection bias. Countries with more successful markets are more likely to have complete data on both, prices and dividends, for 100 years. A study by Philippe Jorion and William Goetzmann found 39 countries with reliable stock price data—though not dividend data—for a good part of the 20th century. Their sample included countries in Latin America and Asian countries beyond Japan. They found that the median real stock price appreciation from 1920 to 1996 for all these countries was only 0.8%, compared to 4.3% for the US. The US was actually ranked first among the 39 countries. Of course, even looking at these countries entails selection bias, for it excludes countries without price data for much of the 20th century, notably China and Russia, where communist revolutions terminated the stock markets, resulting in -100% returns for investors. The particular problems that prevented us from observing the returns on these stock markets will never be repeated, but it is wrong to assume problems of that scale will not recur. There is also the selection bias that we infer from looking at the 20th century, the most successful in terms of economic growth in human history. The 21st century will be different in ways that we cannot fathom today. Of course, investing in stocks is not a bad thing. Indeed, the stock market is an important component of any modern economy. But we should not make plans that rely on high returns, as many (including some governments) appear to be doing. The writer is professor of economics at Yale University. http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=93442

Subject: China's Quest for Energy Control
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 10:13:44 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/business/worldbusiness/27energy.html?pagewanted=all China's Costly Quest for Energy Control By JOSEPH KAHN BEIJING - From the dusty plains of East Africa to the shores of the Caspian Sea, China is seeking to loosen the grip of the United States on world energy resources and secure the fuel it needs to keep its economy in overdrive. Its energy deal-making has cost tens of billions of dollars and has dominated China's foreign policymaking for the past two years. At times it has put China in direct competition with American policy goals, especially in Iran and Sudan, whose leaderships are among the least favored by the United States government. Now Washington has the chance to shape China's frenetic quest. The China National Offshore Oil Corporation, known as CNOOC, has offered $18.5 billion for the American oil company Unocal. If its bid is successful, Beijing will have a greater stake in the global oil markets, in the same way that Japanese and European oil companies work closely with major American companies around the world. If the bid were rejected by the United States on national security grounds, as some members of Congress have publicly advocated, China could be motivated to build more ties to rogue states and step up its courtship of major oil producers in Africa and Latin America that in the past have looked mainly to the United States market. 'Like other big countries, China naturally wants to share proven oil reserves,' said He Jun, an energy consultant in Beijing who advises Chinese oil companies. 'But if the West treats China as a threat, it will inevitably have to find its own path to meet its energy needs.' The energy issue touches all of the hot buttons in China's realm, from its need to modernize its economy to its tensions with Japan, Taiwan and the West. Already, Beijing is leaving few holes untapped. Since becoming China's top leader in late 2002, President Hu Jintao has traveled to Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa on missions focused largely on securing energy supplies that will not pass through American or European companies before reaching China. Later this month, he will make his third trip to Russia as president to continue a lobbying campaign for a pipeline to ferry Siberian crude to Daqing, China's northeastern oil hub. China hopes the pipeline will reduce its reliance on American-dominated markets for Middle East oil. As was the case with Japan in the 1930's, China's relations with the outside world are being transformed by energy needs, generating fears that it will compete with the United States for resources. Chinese analysts say the United States should approve the Unocal deal and work with China to make energy a common cause, before it becomes a source of tension. 'Relations between China and the United States are mostly stable, but the energy problem is the most serious threat,' said Chen Fengying, a senior strategist at the government-backed China Contemporary International Relations Institute in Beijing. 'We talk about terrorism and Taiwan,' Ms. Chen said, 'but there is nowhere near enough attention to energy.' Just a decade ago China exported more oil than it imported, but last year it passed Japan to become the world's second-largest importer, after the United States. Its booming but grossly inefficient economy consumes three times as much energy per dollar of output than the world average, and oil use has surged along with the country's auto industry, sprawling cities and new network of superhighways built on the American model. Unlike Japan and European nations, which are also big oil importers, China does not have a strategic alliance with the United States. Beijing has grown increasingly wary of depending heavily on imports when its companies do not control major reserves abroad and its navy does not patrol the sea lanes through which those supplies must pass to reach Chinese ports. Some foreign economists have criticized China for paying a hefty premium to control energy reserves abroad when it could pay market prices and have oil delivered to its door. But China's leaders are wary of entrusting their economic growth, and perhaps the longevity of the Communist Party, to American oil companies and the Pentagon. 'A popular saying abroad is that oil is just a commodity that anyone who has money can buy,' Mr. He said. 'But this saying is most popular in the countries that already control the supplies.' Shortages of imported oil could threaten China in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. The United States, which has said it would defend Taiwan if the Chinese were to attack it, could potentially block shipping in the East China Sea, crippling Chinese trade. Partly for that reason, China has scrambled to diversify its oil and gas imports and transport routes, pursuing oil deals with Russia and Central Asian nations and signing a preliminary, $70 billion commitment to buy Iranian oil and natural gas. All of these supplies could be delivered overland if expensive pipelines that Beijing favors are built. More generally, China has sent CNOOC and its two bigger state-controlled oil companies, Sinopec and PetroChina, on a worldwide shopping spree to secure rights to proven reserves. This effort has already created diplomatic complications for Washington. For example, China opposed moves to punish its oil partner Sudan for atrocities in Darfur and blocked efforts to bring the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program before the United Nations Security Council. Determined to improve ties with Russia, China recently settled a long-festering border dispute on terms widely seen as favorable to Moscow. Russia, in turn, has promised to greatly increase oil shipments to China by rail and has revived discussion of a pipeline to Daqing after earlier arguing that the project made little economic sense. Oil is one factor that has plagued relations between China and Japan, which have jostled for control of natural gas deposits in disputed waters of the East China Sea. Talks about the issue have stalled, and a Chinese submarine incursion in that area contributed to a downward spiral in diplomatic ties this spring. In public, Chinese officials portray their country as a relatively minor player in global energy markets that seeks cooperative ventures with any country or major company on commercial terms. But privately, Chinese officials and analysts say oil is treated as a strategic crisis. They have sounded the alarm about Western and particularly American domination of oil supplies and influence over the major oil-exporting nations, including Saudi Arabia and now Iraq, which has made China dependent on what many here refer to as American economic and military hegemony. Beijing this year began construction of a American-style strategic oil reserve on the coast of Zhejiang province. The first phase includes 52 tanks that can each hold 25 million gallons of gasoline. Ultimately, officials aim to create a reserve large enough to allow China's economy and military to function for at least three months without imported oil. It has also imposed tough new fuel-economy standards on cars, put some industries on notice that they will have to become less wasteful users of energy, and backed an aggressive search for new coal, oil and gas supplies on Chinese territory to slow the growth in imports. Ma Kai, China's top economic and energy planner, told officials in a closed conference recently that the United States was better positioned to withstand the current rise in oil prices because its major oil companies make enormous profits to offset the losses to the American economy. Importing countries with a smaller stake in global energy trading, like China, have nothing to soften the blow of the huge losses they suffer when prices rise, Mr. Ma said, according to a Chinese energy expert who attended the session and asked to remain anonymous. This expert said Chinese leaders were well aware that they are paying inflated prices for foreign assets. Proposed pipelines connecting China to Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia and a Chinese-backed pipeline project in Brazil will cost the country dearly, pushing the price of oil from those sources to double or triple spot-market prices. CNOOC's bid for Unocal, which would be financed primarily by loans from state-run banks and the company's state-owned parent, offers a substantial premium for the company's assets. But the extra cost is worth it for the sake of political security, many Chinese argue. In that sense, the CNOOC offer might be seen in a different light than some other high-profile overseas acquisitions by leading Chinese companies. TCL's purchase of Thompson's television unit, Lenovo's takeover of I.B.M.'s laptop computer line and Haier's proposed purchase of Maytag are all driven primarily by commercial concerns. Whether Chinese companies paid a good price for those assets has been debated, but the motivations for purchasing consumer product lines stem mainly from a desire for global brand names and marketing skills, rather than politics, local analysts said. That may be less true of CNOOC's bid. 'The CNOOC arrangement has both commercial and political factors involved,' said Mr. He, the energy consultant. 'Some of the commercial terms, frankly speaking, are questionable. But the political factors are very clear and straightforward.' Wenran Jiang, an expert in Chinese foreign policy at the University of Alberta, said many in the West viewed the Unocal offer as part of China's coordinated assault on foreign markets, a sign of economic vigor. In China, he said, the energy quest is seen as a belated, disorganized, even desperate rush to meet basic security needs. 'They feel threatened, with their back in a corner, forced to pay high prices to Western companies,' Mr. Jiang said. 'For them, this is a matter of the survival of the regime.'

Subject: China's Brawn Unsettles Japanese
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 10:12:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/business/worldbusiness/27rivals.html?pagewanted=all China's Economic Brawn Unsettles Japanese By JAMES BROOKE TOKYO - As politicians in Washington watch the Chinese bid for a big American oil and gas company play out, the reaction in Japan to the swelling economic muscle of China provides an early warning sign of the mixed emotions that China evokes as it rises on the global stage. In the last five years, the Chinese economic boom overshadowed the political risks for the Japanese. But in May, export growth to China stalled. New polls of Japanese investors show a growing reluctance to make further investments in China. The immediate catalyst for the changed attitude was a wave of anti-Japanese protests in Chinese cities in April. But those protests, tolerated by China's leaders, sent out a broader message: China would not object if its people, or its business executives, demonstrated their nationalism on the streets or in corporate boardrooms. It was a stark reminder to investors and politicians around the world of China's willingness to play the nationalist card. And it amounted to a bucket of cold water for many Japanese investors who had assumed that they were secure in China because they were providing jobs and quality products. The protests involving the two Asian powers had been fueled by deep disputes over World War II narratives in Japanese textbooks, territorial arguments and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to a shrine to Japanese war dead. Robert A. Feldman, managing director of Morgan Stanley Japan, echoing fears that executives of Japanese companies rarely express publicly, said: 'People are scared; they don't know where the Chinese are going with this.' . The Japanese, Mr. Feldman said, 'don't see a way out of the political mess,' adding, 'They are looking for alternatives.' In two surveys, separated by six months, the percentage of Japanese companies planning to expand operations in China dropped sharply, to just under 55 percent in late May, from 86 percent last December, according to the Japan External Trade Organization, the country's trade and investment promotion agency. The agency polled 414 Japanese companies operating in China last month, and a similar number late last year. Although only 10 percent of the companies said that business had suffered from the protests, largely in reduced sales and tarnished brands, 36 percent said they were worried about future effects, and 45 percent said the business risk of operating in China had increased. 'The psychological impact the anti-Japan movement had on Japanese firms was far from small,' Osamu Watanabe, chairman of the agency, said at a China-Japan investment conference in Beijing recently. Reassuring Japanese investors will be crucial for China to invigorate the economy and create jobs in less prosperous areas that are inland from the booming coastline. As China grows, Japan, the world's second-largest economy, will need powerful friends. In 2050, according to a new Goldman Sachs forecast, the Japanese economy will not be much larger than it is today, but China's is expected to be 30 times as large as now, or 6 times the size of Japan's. The forecast said that the world ranking of economies in 2050 would start with China, followed by the United States, then India. For some Japanese investors, the anti-Japanese protests catalyzed sentiment to diversify away from China to Southeast Asia. 'It was a trigger,' said Hiroyuki Maeda, executive vice president of the Uniden Corporation, a leading maker of cordless phones. After a strike with nationalist overtones halted production for three days in mid-April at its plant in Shenzhen, officials of Uniden decided to accelerate a plan to open a factory in the Philippines this summer. In coming years, the Shenzhen payroll is planned to drop to 10,000, from 17,000 today, and China's share of Uniden's production to fall to about a third from 100 percent today. The shift is prompted by a variety of reasons. Labor costs on the Chinese coast are no longer lower than in the Philippines. Uniden, which exports more than 80 percent of its phones to the United States, selling largely to Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City, is worried about calls in Congress to impose retaliatory tariffs on Chinese goods if Beijing does now allow an upward revaluation of its currency. 'Personally, I am much more worried about the U.S.-China relationship than the Japan-China relationship,' Mr. Maeda said. 'The case of a new tariff against Chinese imports is most scary for us.' In the United States, the unsolicited bid on Wednesday by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, a state-controlled company, for Unocal raised new concerns about China's economic power as it continues its shift toward a market economy. In Japan, though, some say that it is only the small fish who are nervous. 'Most big companies are not worried about this situation,' said Hiroshi Kadota, China director for the Keidanren, Japan's powerful business association. Referring to the chilliness between the leaders of China and Japan, he added: 'In the political sphere, there are many problems. But I don't think the economic relationship will be harmed.' Japanese carmakers have $5 billion invested in China, about 20 percent of the total invested by foreign automakers. Honda's joint-venture auto company in China announced Friday that it had started exporting cars made there to Europe, a first for a Japanese auto brand. Other big companies, though, have begun to hedge their bets in China, balancing their investments there with others elsewhere in Asia. For example, Canon, the world's largest copier maker, is planning to spend about $45 million to build a factory in Vietnam. 'It is necessary for Japan to pursue a China-plus-one policy,' Mr. Watanabe told reporters here on Thursday. 'A company should invest not only in China but also one other place. I think the latest demonstrations gave a very good lesson to the companies as to the importance of a China-plus-one policy.' And to the Japanese, India represents an ever more fashionable business destination. 'Visa requests have gone up since political relations between Japan and China have worsened,' Atul Razdan, spokesman for India's embassy here, said. 'They are looking at India as an option. We welcome them.' Mixing business with geopolitics, Prime Minister Koizumi visited India late in April. 'Investment is increasing into India,' Yoriko Kawaguchi, the prime minister's assistant for foreign affairs, said in an interview after meeting with Japanese business leaders in Shanghai. 'Politically, as China grows more, we look to India more.' With China now Japan's largest trading partner and destination for foreign investment, Chinese authorities are eager to reassure Japanese investors, Ms. Kawaguchi said. 'Chinese authorities are interested in keeping Japanese business in China,' she said, adding that she did not think Japanese executives were stopping their investments in China. Holding out the prospect of another olive branch, the Japanese are expected to ease travel policies soon, making China's entire population of 1.3 billion potentially eligible for Japan tourist visas. This would more than triple the size of the previous pool, which was restricted to several large cities and coastal provinces. But from the Japanese side, the boom in cross-China Sea tourism has halted. Japan Airlines is planning to increase flights to China by 5 percent. But after watching traffic on its China routes jump by 52 percent in the first quarter of this year, the carrier said that growth slowed in April to a 12.5 percent pace. In May, traffic fell 12 percent, as 15,000 Japanese tourists canceled their China trips. 'In the July-through-September period,' said Geoffrey Tudor, Japan Airlines' international spokesman, 'we think that tourism to China from Japan will be 50 percent below previous estimates.. People who may have been thinking about traveling to China are planning trips to other destinations.' Along with tourism, the growth in Japanese exports to China is slowing. Last year, these exports recorded the sixth straight year of growth, jumping 29 percent, to $74 billion. But in the first five months of this year, exports were up only 5.9 percent, compared with the similar period last year. In April, exports of Japanese steel were down 18 percent, and exports of construction machinery down 47 percent. In May, exports over all fell, by 0.1 percent. Some market watchers speculate that Chinese companies are holding back on making purchases overseas, gambling that the Beijing authorities will strengthen the currency, the yuan, later this summer. A slowdown with China could spell an overall economic slowdown this year for Japan, whose economy is only expected to grow about 1.5 percent in 2005. 'We were once Asia's growth engine,' Ms. Kawaguchi said, harking back to the 1970's and 80's. 'Now it is China. One day it will be India.'

Subject: Low Rates Could Be Around Long Term
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 09:23:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/business/27fed.html Low Rates Could Be Around for Long Term By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve officials, who meet this week, are beginning to suspect that the perplexing decline in long-term interest rates is more than a temporary aberration. The possibility has major implications for the economy, and it creates new puzzles for Fed officials on how they should respond. On Thursday, the Fed is all but certain to raise the federal funds rate on overnight loans between banks by another quarter point, to 3.25 percent. That would be the ninth increase in the last year, and the central bank is expected to signal that it will continue to raise overnight rates at a 'measured' pace. But the real debate at the meeting is expected to be about the unexpected decline of long-term interest rates, which have kept mortgage rates at their lowest level in decades and fueled what many analysts fear is a bubble in housing prices. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said in February that the low long-term rates were a 'conundrum' but might simply be a 'short-term aberration.' But Mr. Greenspan and other senior officials are now suggesting that the change is more enduring. The debate is over why the change has occurred, and different theories lead to sharply disparate conclusions about the best way to respond. 'My sense is that people think this could be the new reality, that this could be fundamental, that it could be long-lasting,' said Laurence H. Meyer, a former Fed governor and now vice chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, a forecasting firm. Mr. Greenspan, testifying before Congress earlier this month, described the trend as profoundly important and 'clearly international in origin.' 'How we integrate it into the basic underlying monetary policy structure is something we're spending a considerable amount of time on,' he added. The term premium - the added payment that investors demand to cover the uncertainty of holding long-term bonds - has shrunk to almost nothing. Investors appear to assume that the overnight rate will be about 3.75 percent by the end of this year. But the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds remains about 4 percent. One school of thought holds that low bond yields are a harbinger of slowing economic growth, which would reduce demand for credit in the future. Another school holds that global investors have lower inflation expectations than in the past, which reduces the risk of holding long-term bonds. If either theory is correct, the Federal Reserve would have less need to fend off inflation and could stop raising short-term rates at a much lower level than in the past - perhaps below 4 percent. But yet another theory holds that long-term interest rates may have been depressed by other factors, including a 'savings glut' around the world and efforts by Asian central banks to keep the value of their currencies down by buying United States Treasury securities. If that is true, the flood of foreign money into the country could be diluting the Fed's effort to prevent inflation. That would imply that the Fed needs to raise rates more than many investors are expecting. Mr. Greenspan, testifying before Congress on June 20, was skeptical about theories based on low inflation expectations or on an impending slowdown. 'A narrow gap between short- and long-term rates is often misread as though we're about to tilt into a recession,' he said. 'If that is the case, then the hypothesis that it is a weak economy which has been driving down interest rates is probably not correct.' He also expressed concern that low long-term rates had contributed to 'froth' and might be feeding inflationary pressures. 'And that's something which, needless to say, we are focusing on very extensively.' Other officials have been more optimistic. William Poole, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, has argued several times that long-term rates are mostly driven by investors' expectations of long-term inflation. Even though the Fed has raised short-term rates, Mr. Poole said in a speech on June 14, investors have had no reason over the last year to expect higher long-term inflation. 'Economic surprises have been minimal over the past year, and there has been no reason for significant revision in expected future short-term interest rates,' Mr. Poole said. Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, suggested on June 20 that there may be less uncertainty about inflation than in the past. 'It's important to keep in mind that the term premium shouldn't be expected to behave in the way it's behaved in postwar cycles in which inflation was unsteady,' Mr. Lacker said. 'The most likely explanation for the low rates,' he said, is that 'inflation is low and that inflation expectations are low.' Wall Street economists are as divided as Fed officials about the proper interpretation. James Glassman, a senior economist at J.P. Morgan, contends that long-term interest rates reflect the deflationary effects of globalization. 'If you think of this in economic terms, East Asia and Nafta have been annexed to the United States. It looks like an economy that has far more excess capacity. Overnight, decisions by the Chinese government are releasing huge numbers of Chinese laborers. That means more excess capacity and a longer time to get back to full employment.' By that interpretation, the Fed could stop raising short-term rates once they reach 3.75 percent. But others predict that the Fed will continue to worry about inflationary pressures, the United States' soaring level of foreign indebtedness and the dangers of a housing bubble. Mr. Greenspan, asked by lawmakers to specify a 'neutral' Fed funds rate - one that would try to neither speed nor slow the economy - has periodically remarked that people would know it when they saw it. But in his most recent testimony, he added a twist: people would know it because 'we will observe a certain degree of balance which we have not seen before' in the economy.

Subject: False Data on Student Performance
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 09:01:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/opinion/27mon4.html False Data on Student Performance Americans often can't find reliable information about how the schools in their state compare with schools elsewhere. The No Child Left Behind Act was supposed to change that by requiring states to file clear and accurate statistical information with the Education Department. The news so far is less than encouraging. Many states have chosen to manipulate data to provide overly optimistic appraisals of their schools' performance. A distressing example emerged last week in a study of graduation rates by the Education Trust, a nonpartisan foundation in Washington. For the second year in a row, the Education Trust has found that many states are cooking the books on graduation rates - using unorthodox calculation methods or ignoring students who drop out. Some states submitted no graduation data at all. The generally accepted way to calculate graduation rates is to track students from the day they enter high school until the day they receive a regular diploma, as opposed to passing the G.E.D. Under this system, students who leave without graduating are reasonably counted as nongraduates. But many of the states are using other, deceptive techniques. Some calculate the percentage of dropouts based on the number of students in a given senior class who graduate. Those who left school in grades 9, 10 or 11 disappear, and the graduation rates reported by many of the states are grossly inflated. The secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, says she is concerned about accuracy. But Congress itself needs to take up this issue and force the states to use accurate methods of calculation when it reauthorizes No Child Left Behind in 2007. Until changes are made at the federal level, student performance data in the United States won't be worth the paper it's printed on.

Subject: America Giveth, America Taketh Away
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 08:58:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/opinion/27mon3.html America Giveth, America Taketh Away In the battle against AIDS, the Bush administration is both savior and scoundrel. Washington is the single largest financier of AIDS programs in poor countries. But the administration uses its muscle to extinguish necessary and successful programs it finds politically objectionable, and to carry out ineffective ideological crusades. First the good news. Washington's financing for AIDS treatment does not go as far as it could because American programs have been buying only expensive brand-name drugs, a sop to the pharmaceutical lobby. Administration officials have said that without approval from the Food and Drug Administration, they can't be sure that generics are safe and effective, even though the World Health Organization has endorsed many of them and AIDS programs around the world use them with excellent results. It's not a question of science: the drugs cannot be used in the United States because they would violate patents, so the F.D.A. never examined them. Until now. Last week, the F.D.A. approved for overseas use two Indian-made generic versions of nevirapine, a standard ingredient in the triple cocktail, and a generic version of efavirenz, another widely used antiretroviral. That brings the number of approved generic antiretrovirals to seven. While none are yet in use in Washington's overseas programs, the approvals will eventually allow four times as many lives to be saved for the same amount of money. Also last week, however, the administration was on a moral crusade that could lead to a significant rise in AIDS cases in Russia, China, elsewhere in Asia and in the former East bloc. In these places, drug users who inject are a prime risk group for AIDS, and the gateway through which the epidemic will spread into the general population. As many as a third of new AIDS infections outside sub-Saharan Africa are in drug users; in Russia, Unaids estimates that injecting drug users are 80 percent of the infected. Needle exchange programs can help control this part of the epidemic. But at a Unaids policy meeting this month, a Bush administration official asked that all references to needle exchange be dropped from the group's governing policy paper. Unaids doesn't control much money, but it sets world policy on how to fight AIDS, and usually operates by consensus to give its recommendations more force. Although America is virtually alone in its opposition to needle exchange, its clout as the largest Unaids donor means it might be able to win a vote this week in the group's program coordination board. If Unaids could no longer work on needle exchange, nations would lose a valuable source of technical help. And a lack of consensus could keep countries from starting needle exchanges. American law already forbids United States money from financing needle exchange programs. For Washington to decide that it wants to stop everyone else from doing that as well is a breathtakingly dangerous step.

Subject: Yellow-breasted Chat
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:49:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4964&exhibition=4&pass=public&size=default&lang=eng Yellow-breasted Chat New York City, Central Park--Strawberry Fields.

Subject: Interest Rate Cycles
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:39:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Federal Reserve will raise short term interest rates another 25 basis points this week, while the European Central Bank considers lowering rates during the summer. The Bank of England and central banks of Canada and Sweden are in an interest rate lowering cycle. So, the dollar which is strong and has made up more than a year of relative declines is likely to stay strong at least until the interest rate cycle changes in America.

Subject: The big squeeze
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 27, 2005 at 01:40:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Industry feels pinch from rising oil prices >By Dan Roberts in New York, Bertrand Benoit in Berlin and David Turner in Tokyo >Published: June 26 2005 22:48 | Last updated: June 26 2005 22:48 >> Energy prices appear to have reached a tipping point for many industrial users as the hectic pace of energy inflation outstrips the capacity of companies to pass on higher costs to consumers. US, European and Asian stock markets all fell last week as oil reached $60 per barrel and corporate leaders around the world issued a series of high-profile profit warnings. Shares in energy-intensive companies such as manufacturing and transport were hardest hit. Yet even those companies that have previously minimised the pain by passing on price increases to their customers are finding it harder to do so. FedEx, for example, the US delivery group that has been a leading beneficiary of booming global trade, broke its winning streak by warning that this quarter's earnings would be hit by jet fuel costs despite an automatic surcharge for customers. And the metals industry, enjoying its best growth for years, is squeezed between the high cost of energy-related inputs such as electricity and coal and slowing demand from leading customers. Complaints from US industry will have a particular urgency this week as Congress considers an energy bill that many claim should help ease pressure on oil, electricity and natural gas prices. John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, is leading the lobbying by arguing that current problems will get far worse if policymakers do not respond soon. Andrew Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical, is particularly concerned that high energy costs in the US are making its manufacturing industries permanently uncompetitive. “In the past two years, the chemical industry's natural gas costs, alone, have increased by over $10bn at a cost of $50bn in sales lost to foreign competition,” he said. “And, since the first natural gas spike in 2000, more than 100,000 jobs one-tenth of the US chemical industry workforce have disappeared.” But across the Pacific few rival Japanese companies are immune from energy problems either. Asahi Kasei, one of Japan's largest chemical manufacturers, warned its variable costs were increasing by Y3bn ($27.5m) for every Y1,000 per kl rise in the price of naphtha, an oil product. Despite this, it has no plans to reduce the capacity of its plants or move them to China perhaps because many of the same cost pressures exist across Asia. Few companies, wherever they are, can escape rising energy prices entirely, and most will eventually look to pass costs on. Vimal Shah, chief executive officer of Bidco, a Kenyan manufacturer of cooking oils and soaps, has seen its energy and transport costs rise 20 per cent. He says: “You cannot scale back, it's not only our company that is affected, everyone is affected across the board, so in terms of competitiveness we are not better or worse off. Ultimately, it's the consumer who pays, and the consumer is going to have to spend more money.”

Subject: New ways to wager the dollar
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 23:04:06 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Holding XOM and VTRIX. But if Pete and Warren are right - these currency funds may be a good investment soon. Why do they wait to open these funds after all the big moves have been made - reactionary? http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/0,,SB111973826050669598,00.html New Ways to Wager on the Dollar By CRAIG KARMIN Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL June 26, 2005 Mutual funds have never been a particularly good way for small investors to play the foreign-exchange markets. Perhaps that was just as well -- currency movements can be notoriously unpredictable. But the fund companies' thinking has changed. The dollar's big drop since early 2002 has attracted fresh attention to currency markets at a time when existing alternatives for benefiting from strengthening foreign currencies -- mainly international stock or bond funds -- offer only indirect plays on the dollar. In the past few months, three mutual fund companies have introduced funds that allow investors to benefit from gains in foreign currencies against the dollar, including the Merk Hard Currency Fund. Two of these fund companies -- Rydex Investments and ProFund Advisors -- also offer products that reward investors when the dollar rallies, as it has been doing for most of this year. The U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, is up nearly 10% this year, while the euro has fallen 11% this year against the greenback. The new currency funds join Franklin Templeton's Hard Currency Fund, an actively managed fund that was established in 1989 and, until recently, was essentially the only game in town. 'Currency is one of the most traded investments out there,' says Michael Sapir, chairman and chief executive of ProFund Advisors. 'But it's been low profile for most investors.' Other fund companies may soon enter the currency arena. Goldman Sachs Asset Management is in the early stages of launching the Goldman Sachs Global Currency Fund, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It will also be an actively managed fund and require an minimum initial investment of $1,000. Managers of these funds maintain that even if currency movements are difficult to predict in the short term, the long-term picture is clearer because major currencies tend to move in multiyear cycles. 'History shows the dollar moves in long-term trends relative to its economic fundamentals,' says David Reilly, director of portfolio strategy at Rydex. The dollar, for instance, enjoyed a broad rally from 1995 to 2001, and then saw declines from 2002 to 2004. The dollar's recent rally has split the currency analyst community: some see it as merely an extended pause in a longer-term bear market, while others think the dollar's worst days may be behind it. For Andrew Clark, a senior research analyst at Lipper, these conflicting views among professional analysts underscore why currency funds are not appropriate as a core holding. 'They're too speculative,' he says. That doesn't mean these funds can't be beneficial as a means to diversify a portfolio. Studies show that rises and falls in currency funds have little or no correlation with the movements of major stock and bond indexes. That means currency funds are less likely to move consistently in the same direction as other funds, which means foreign-currency funds should lower an overall portfolio's risk. Currency funds, Mr. Clark adds, charge about the same fees as international stock and bond funds and less than many emerging market funds. Although some analysts say an international bond fund that does not hedge its currency position can provide similar diversification, Mr. Clark has his doubts. For one thing, most funds don't reveal how much they hedge, so the funds' exposure to foreign currency movements is unclear. Moreover, bond funds respond in large part to interest rates. 'So if interest rates are going up,' says Mr. Clark, 'the bond fund could fall and undermine any gain from currency movements.' Currency funds held little appeal in the late 1990s when the dollar was strong and the stock market was booming. In 1997, Fidelity Investments shut down its currency funds. Things changed this year as the dollar's three-year slump -- it fell more than 50% against the euro at one point -- was grabbing headlines and encouraged some fund companies to test the waters with currency funds. Merk Hard Currency Fund is for investors who think the dollar has further to fall in the years ahead. The fund requires a $2,500 minimum to invest directly and currently holds just four currencies: the euro, Swiss franc, Australian dollar and British pound. It also keeps 20% of its assets in gold, which typically moves in the opposite direction of the dollar. Axel Merk, president of Merk Investments, argues that the record U.S. trade deficit will balloon further, and over time this will reassert pressure on the dollar. His fund will hold only currencies from countries that do not regularly intervene to weaken their currency versus the dollar, which means he excludes the Japanese yen as well as most other Asian currencies. This puts him at odds with Templeton's fund, where the portfolio managers reason that because the U.S. trade imbalances are largely with Asia, these currencies are poised for the biggest gains versus the dollar. Their recent track record has been solid, with a five-year cumulative total return of 36%. But Templeton was caught off guard by the strength of the dollar's recent rebound, joining many currency speculators who have lost money this year. The fund, which requires a minimum investment of $1,000, is down 4.5% year to date. ProFund Advisors, by contrast, offers investors the choice of betting whether a basket of currencies will rise or fall versus the dollar. While the funds were launched in February at a time when few analysts were predicting a dollar rebound, the Rising U.S. Dollar Fund has attracted assets of $82 million, compared with only $12 million in the Falling U.S. Dollar Fund. A $15,000 minimum investment is needed to open a ProFund account directly. But that money can be invested in either currency fund or any of the other dozens of mutual funds. Rydex's Strengthening Dollar Fund and Weakening Dollar Fund both employ the same premise of investing in a basket of currencies but with a twist: the funds offer double the return of the dollar indexes on a daily basis by using derivatives. So if an investor has $1,000 in the fund and the index rises 5% for the day, the investor enjoys a gain of 10%, or in this case $100. This also means double the losses when the indexes fall. Rydex also requires a minimum of $25,000 to open an account with the fund company, though that money can be invested in any of Rydex's nearly 50 mutual funds, not only in the currency funds.

Subject: Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Flight
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 19:44:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4811&u=17|29|... Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Flight New York City--Central Park--Wildflower Meadow.

Subject: Race to Alaska Before It Melts
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 16:32:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/travel/26alaska.html?pagewanted=all The Race to Alaska Before It Melts By TIMOTHY EGAN THEY stood and gawked at the great blue mass of shrinking ice. Behold: a frozen landscape giving it up to a midnight sunset. The scene at the receding edge of the Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska was part festive gathering, part nature tour with an apocalyptic edge. Dressed in tank tops and shorts - beachwear, in fact - on this freakishly warm day in early June, people moved ever closer to the rope line near the glacier as it shied away, practically groaning and melting before their eyes. A product of the late ice age, the glacier looked old and tired on this hot day. There was a sense of loss, some people said, at watching this giant recoil. There were oohs and aahs but also more hushed tones, expressions of fear that the big land was somehow diminished, a little less wild. Just a few years ago, the spot where these tourists stood, on dry ground marked by Park Service signs, had been under ice. Alaska is changing by the hour. From the far north, where higher seas are swamping native villages, to the tundra around Fairbanks, where melting permafrost is forcing some roads and structures to buckle in what looks like a cartoon version of a hangover, to the rivers of ice receding from inlets, warmer temperatures are remaking the Last Frontier State. That transformation was particularly apparent at the visitor center here, where rangers were putting the finishing touches on a display that sought to explain the changing landscape of the country's northernmost state. The sign said, 'Glimpses of an Ice Age past. Laboratory of climate change today,' and it explained how the Exit Glacier has been shrinking over the years, and what scientists are learning as the state heats up. Out in the fjords, kayakers paddled into bays newly opened by other receding glaciers. They came to see the ice, a tour guide explained, to paddle around something that had been moving toward a tidewater destiny for thousands of years. And many of them were in a hurry. Glacial pace, in Alaska, no longer means slow. 'Things are melting pretty fast around here,' said Jim Ireland, the chief ranger for Kenai Fjords. Climate change, he said, 'has become one of the major new themes for this park.' In ambition, in the scale of its scenic extremes, in the pure size and wonder of its fish and wildlife, Alaska has never been anything less than flamboyant. It is, after all, more than two times the size of Texas, with a shoreline, more than 33,000 miles, that exceeds that of all other states combined. And as Alaska morphs through a period of warmer weather, it is doing so with characteristic extravagance. The old Alaska, the Alaska of forbidden expanses and adrenaline-surging encounters with brawnier ends of the food chain, still exists of course. But a larger drama - of this land losing some of its icy inheritance - is playing out as well. The sea-level edge of the Exit Glacier, just outside the town of Seward and one of the most visited bodies of ice in the north, has receded by nearly 1,000 feet over the last 10 years, park rangers say. In Prince William Sound and farther south in Glacier Bay National Park, where the cruise ship industry does a thriving business based on active walls of ice, many glaciers have pulled their toes out of the water and shriveled up the valleys. This process has created another attraction: the instant landscape. Take away the ice, add rain and sunshine to the debris left behind and, presto, Stage 1 of creation. To some visitors who fear that global warming is to blame for the accelerated pace of change, there is a sense of urgency in their travel planning. They seem to be fearful that if they don't get to Alaska soon, they will never see the full glory of the state's frozen magnificence. 'One of the things we hear a lot from people is that they want to see Alaska before it's gone,' said Hugh Rose, a tour guide, geologist and photographer who lives in Fairbanks. 'The melting, the warmer temperatures, the changing patterns of wildlife and the land - they've become huge topics of conversation among guides and our clients.' Of course, Alaska is not going anywhere, at least not right away. About 4 percent of the state is ice. One glacier, the Malaspina, is larger than Rhode Island, and another, the Harding Icefield, which feeds the Exit Glacier, is nearly half that size. If all of Alaska's glaciers were joined in one mass, it would be bigger than 10 of the states. But the Great Land is definitely getting warmer. Last year was abnormally hot in the usually wet and cool southeastern part of the state, where cruise ships ply the Inside Passage. Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome and Juneau all posted their warmest summers on record. More wildfires burned in 2004 than any other year on file. And by early May of this year, the woods were ablaze on the Kenai Peninsula, and the preternaturally quirky residents of Homer were gardening in cutoffs - at a time when snow was still falling in Detroit and Boston. This year, Mr. Rose noticed something odd during the annual spring birding trek he leads to the Copper River Delta, famous for its rich, high-priced wild salmon runs. He takes people to the delta to watch masses of western sandpipers that have migrated north from winter havens in Central and South America. The birds, and people who pay to watch them, have brought an infusion of tourism cash to the fishing village of Cordova, which highlights the migration with an annual shorebird festival. The event has traditionally been held on the second weekend in May; last year it was moved to the first weekend of the month. 'There used to be 100,000 birds on the second weekend in May,' said Mr. Rose. 'Now you'll miss most of them if you don't arrive earlier.' The question of exactly how much warmer Alaska is than 'normal' - and whether it is part of human-caused changes in the temperature brought on by increased greenhouse gases or something natural and cyclical - can start a decent bar fight in any fishing harbor. 'It is probable the last decade was warmer than any other' since records have been kept, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment reported on Nov. 24, 2004. The study is a project of nations including Denmark, Canada and the United States. The Bush Administration, which has been cautious about blaming global warming for any Alaskan changes, cites rising spring temperatures, loss of sea and glacial ice, melting permafrost and conversion of some parts of the soggy tundra into brushy wetlands among the changes taking place. But to many Alaskans, global warming is not an abstraction or a theory. At least four native villages in the far north may have to move inland or to higher ground to avoid being swept away by erosion from the sea - a consequence, the villagers say, of early-melting sea ice that contributes to shore erosion. The melting ice may also affect polar bears, and whales, who live off the sea life beneath the ice. None of this has deterred people from coming to Alaska. If anything, say many guides and tour operators, warming temperatures have brought more people, and the Alaska Travel Industry Association is projecting a strong year, surpassing last year's 1.45 million visitors. And while travel industry officials say they are not exactly marketing the warmer temperatures around a 'See Alaska Now' campaign, they say some travelers are driven by concern about the fate of the Great Land in a warmer world. 'Our clients are really interested in this,' said John Page, who runs Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking Company in Seward. 'Everyone wants to know: Is the ice retreating because of global warming? How's this going to change Alaska?' For tourists, it can mean a thrill at seeing a landscape more dynamic than any place on earth - global warming on hyperspeed! - or disappointment that something so wild and massive is, well, shrinking. Both reactions were evident at Portage Lake, about 50 miles south of Anchorage. Tour buses packed the parking lot of the big, well-staffed Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. This is where people come by the thousands to see Portage Glacier, one of the most accessible of Alaska's frozen attractions. Except, you can no longer see Portage Glacier from the visitor center. It has disappeared. The most persistent question to rangers at the station was: Dude, where did Portage Glacier go? A display inside showed that just 11 years ago, the glacier descended down to the end of the lake. But now it is around a distant corner and at the back of the lake, completely out of sight from the center. A video featured a Forest Service scientist, Kristine Crossen, who explained that the glacier had been retreating about 165 feet a year. 'We have good evidence that the climate is warming in Alaska,' she says. Visitors were perplexed. Gordon Middleton drove up to Portage Lake in his camper, from his home in Anacortes, Wash. He is retired from a life on factory floors and fishing boats. For him, ice is the draw. 'I've been watching glaciers so long I'm called the Ice Man by some of my friends,' said Mr. Middleton. He aimed his camera across the lake from a roadside perch and zoomed in, looking for Portage Glacier. 'It's supposed to be ... there,' he said, pointing to a shoreline of rocky moraine, the detritus left behind by retreating ice. 'But I don't see anything.' Virtually every visitor center built around a glacier or a blue wall hugging a mountain cliff has its landmarks to warmer temperatures. Just outside of Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier, which is about 12 miles in length, has gradually pulled away from near the parking lot and up the lake. It is still a prime visitor site for people who are bused from cruise ships in port. But for some cruise passengers who have seen the glacier before, the changes are stunning. 'I saw the Mendenhall Glacier 25 years ago, and it has really pulled back since then,' said Mark Stringer, who is from Arizona and was visiting Alaska by cruise ship. 'But you know, this is a dynamic process. It's a blip in time. We don't know what's going to happen.' In Glacier Bay National Park, the ice has been shrinking since at least the time of Capt. George Vancouver's visit, more than 200 years ago. What are now bays filled with whale-watching kayakers and iceberg-viewing cruise passengers were full of glaciers in the late 1700's, officials say. And what was once bare rock at the edge of the ice to Captain Vancouver's crew is now part of a lush rain forest. But the pace of ice age retreat has greatly accelerated in recent years. Government photos show that Muir Glacier, one of the park's prime attractions, has receded by more than five miles in the last 30 years. 'The big story around here is the retreat of Muir Glacier,' said Dave Nemeth, the park's chief of concessions. 'But all around the park, there are constant changes going on.' For many amateur photographers on a first visit to Alaska, the money shot is a glacier calving into the water. And with these tidewater glaciers disappearing from places like Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords, it has prompted some urgent travel advisories for people to hurry before those shots disappear. 'If you ever wanted to take an Alaskan cruise to see glaciers, do it sooner rather than later for the best views,' wrote Bob Martin, who runs a Web site called the Inquisitive Traveler. But people in the cruise ship industry say it is hard to gauge exactly how many visitors are coming to Alaska now out of a sense of concern that Alaska is melting away. 'We know glaciers are one of the top five reasons why people travel to Alaska,' said Noel DeChambeau, a marketing director at Holland America, the cruise line company. 'They want to see natural wonders. And I don't get a sense that the natural wonders are going away any time soon.' But Mr. DeChambeau did note that Holland America's overland trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which Congress and President Bush plan to open to oil drilling, sold out early this year. Other tour operators also report a surge of interest in travel within the Arctic Circle. 'Some people are clueless or they say, 'Cool - your summers are getting longer,' ' said Mr. Rose, the Fairbanks guide who leads tours to the Arctic. 'But for every one of them, we get a client genuinely concerned that Alaska is changing too quickly, and they want to see it while they can.' In the town of Seward, which seems to have a disproportionate number of people who dine with baseball hats emblazoned with a fishing hook and the slogan 'Bite Me,' residents are of two minds about the warming weather. Up at Exit Glacier, a man who told everyone his name was Pete and said he lived in Seward was holding forth, telling people that just five years ago he could reach out and touch the glacier from where he stood, a good 300 yards from the edge of the ice now. Meanwhile, back in town, tour guides were doing a brisk business during a week when people were wearing Hawaiian shirts and lathering on the sunscreen. 'I've lived here 22 years, and the changes I've seen are tremendous,' said Mr. Page, the Seward kayaking guide. 'The summers are much warmer and sunnier. We see things like white-sided dolphins, which don't normally appear in these waters. It certainly has not hurt business. But on a planetary level, I'm concerned.' Other Alaskans are trying to take the long view - enjoying the rush of visitors to see a land shaking off much of its frozen past. 'I'm 64 years old so I'm not too worried it's all going to melt in my time,' said Charlie Clements, who runs the Blue Heron B & B, in Gustavus, just outside Glacier Bay National Park. 'But I have noticed a lot of changes. We aren't getting as much snow. And the summers, they've been really warm.' His bed-and-breakfast, which is planted in one of the wettest places on the planet, within miles of some of the world's biggest glaciers, now has an added feature: a sunroom. It is no longer a joke.

Subject: Emma - why the fed model is not reliable
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 16:17:29 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
SHAME SHAME on the NYTIMES for promoting warm fuzzies at the cost of investor losses. http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_02/gharris091302.html Then I realized all of the analyst like to look at predicted earnings yield. And whose earnings predictions are they counting on? Usually they rely on a company called First Call to make the earnings estimates. First Call merely averages together all of the predictions of the sell-side analysts who cover each stock. Then the earnings for all of those companies are added up to get the indices earnings estimates. The problem is that the estimates have been higher than the actual earnings for every quarter since I can remember! Of course they are, people like Henry Blodget were making the estimates! Just getting rid of Henry Blodget doesn't change the incentive structures, the incentives haven't changed. Are people going to make important capital allocation decisions based on these liars? This is completely irresponsible. The Fed Model is really just an elaborate way to say 'look the analysts are collectively predicting 15% earnings growth in perpetuity so you should buy into this great investment known as the S&P 500.' http://www.inv.com/6v54.htm The illogical nominal/real comparison of bond yields/stock earnings yields, according to the paper, leads to a major statistical problem. The econometric Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model will fail to falsify the null hypothesis of no difference from random effects. This is, indeed, what the paper shows on Table 2. Using the Fed Model and (1955-2001) 10 year rolling average real earnings to forecast future 10 year rolling average real S&P 500 returns – the study found that the model has an adjusted R-Squared of only .014 and no statistical significance in the independent variables. Compare this with the alternative low P/E model, where the adjusted R-Squared is .296; and the independent P/E variable is statistically significant. An R-Squared of one means the model fits the data perfectly. The reason for the low performance of the Fed model is not the problem nominal/real, as we have shown, but the model’s specification. The study tests the statement, in difference form: future real stock market returns = f(E/P -Interest Rates). In all but extreme cases, there is no reason to suppose that future stock market returns should depend on present interest rates in any form, whether real or nominal. The equivalent bond market statement would be that future bond market returns depend on present interest rates. The Random Walk model is not a long-term model. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=381480 The 'Fed Model' has become a very popular yardstick for judging whether the U.S. stock market is fairly valued. The Fed Model compares the stock market's earnings yield (E/P) to the yield on long-term government bonds. In contrast, traditional methods evaluate the stock market purely on its own without regard to the level of interest rates. My goal is to examine the theoretical soundness, and empirical power for forecasting stock returns, of both the 'Fed Model' and the 'Traditional Model'. The logic most often cited in support of the Fed Model is that stocks should yield less and cost more when bond yields are low, as stocks and bonds are competing assets. Unfortunately, this reasoning compares a real number to a nominal number, ignoring the fact that over the long-term companies' nominal earnings should, and generally do, move in tandem with inflation. In other words, while it is a very popular metric, there are serious theoretical flaws in the Fed Model. Empirical results support this conclusion. The crucible for testing a valuation indicator is how well it forecasts long-term returns, and the Fed Model fails this test, while the Traditional Model has strong forecasting power. Long-term expected real stock returns are low when starting P/Es are high and vice versa, regardless of starting nominal interest rates. I also examine the usefulness of the Fed Model for explaining how investors set stock market P/Es. That is, does the market contemporaneously set P/Es higher when interest rates are lower? Note the difference between testing whether the Fed Model makes economic sense, and thus forecasts future long-term returns, versus testing whether it explains how investors set current P/Es. If investors consistently confuse the real and nominal, high P/Es will indeed be contemporaneously explained by low nominal interest rates, but these high P/Es lead to low future returns regardless. I confirm that investors have indeed historically required a higher stock market P/E when nominal interest rates have been lower and vice versa. In addition, I show that this relationship is somewhat more complicated than described by the simple Fed Model, varying systematically with perceptions of long-term stock and bond market risk. This addition of perceived risk to the Fed Model also fully explains the previously puzzling fact that stocks 'out yielded' bonds for the first half of the 20th century, but have 'under yielded' bonds for the last 40 years. Finally, I note that as of the writing of this paper, the stock market's P/E (based on trend earnings) is still very high versus history. A major underpinning of bullish pundits' defense of this high valuation is the Fed Model I discredit. Sadly, the Fed Model perhaps offers a contemporaneous explanation of why P/Es are high, but no true solace for long-term investors.

Subject: Beijing: The Olympics Haven't Begun
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 16:04:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/travel/26beijing.html?n=Top/Features/Travel/Destinations/Asia/China/Beijing&pagewanted=all The Olympics Haven't Begun, but the Party Has By ANDREW YANG IN the last decade - and especially since 2001, when Beijing was announced as the host of the 2008 Summer Olympics - growth in the Chinese capital has taken off at warp speed. Today, Beijing seems light-years away from the days when armies of workers in Communist garb rode the streets in throngs of bicycles. These days, the prevailing image of the city seems to be rush-hour gridlock on wide boulevards clogged with jet-black Audis. Cranes are scattered in clusters around the city, at huge construction sites where buildings by world-class architects like Rem Koolhaas and Swiss firm of Herzog & de Meuron - as well as drab, high-rise towers - will eventually rise amid a gray palette of sky. 'I was there when China won the bid,' said Francis Acquarone, 31, a Montreal native who has lived in the city for nearly seven years. 'Everyone was text-messaging each other, and talking about going down to Tiananmen. People were like, 'I love China.' ' An unplanned rally by more than 100,000 people formed in Tiananmen Square, the first spontaneous gathering of people since the protests of 1989. 'All the leaders come out onto the balcony of Tiananmen and saluted the crowd,' Mr. Acquarone said. 'And it was all just unbelievable.' The rush to get the city ready for the Olympic Games is creating not just stadiums and new housing. Nightclubs, bars and art galleries have also begun to spring up - some in the very shadow of proposed developments, and thus with a decidedly limited life span. Some of the more popular destinations include Houhai Lake, a bit north of the Forbidden City; Factory 798, an art district in a converted compound of industrial buildings in the northeast Dashanzi area; and the Sanlitun neighborhood of the Chaoyang district, home to a row of rowdy bars that have been popular since the late 1990's. These areas have largely been developed without state control, and with a surprising amount of freedom from government interference. The development of Houhai (pronounced ho high) has been particularly striking in recent years, since the opening of a bar called No Name, for its lack of a proper title. 'I remember one summer, 20 or 30 bars all opened up in Houhai,' Mr. Acquarone said. He was sitting in Alfa, 6 Xingfu Yicun, Chaoyang, (86-10) 6413-0086, a lounge with a modern décor and a cool minimalist patio, having icy mojitos with his girlfriend, Elissa Park, 30, and Henry Wood, 31, a business partner in an event promotions company, 010 Productions. Alfa is just a few blocks away from Sanlitun, which over the last few years has begun to resemble the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, or the meatpacking district in New York, though with a more aggressive cast to its night life. In fact, patrons are often practically dragged into the bars by street peddlers employed by the bar owners to bring in customers. Sanlitun, named for the main street of the area, used to be divided into north and south sections. Last summer, the southern side of the street was demolished to make way for apartment units - or at least that's the official explanation. 'I think the narrow alleys and outdoor tables got kind of rowdy,' Mr. Acquarone said. 'And I don't think the authorities liked it much, so they just tore it down. They said they were building apartments, but now there's nothing.' Lately, more discreet places have started popping up in adjacent alleys and streets. Among them is Alfa and Club Mix, inside North Gate of Workers' Stadium, Gongti North Road, (86-10) 6530-2889, which attracts a crowd that is more chic. It comes to dance to the different D.J.'s and drink cocktails like Chivas Regal with green tea. Mr. Acquarone's company often organize rowdy parties, like a twice-yearly fetish party - partygoers come dressed in suggestive costumes - and raves at the Great Wall of China, in collaboration with other promoters. 'Despite the conditions, people are fairly respectful of the environment,' said Mr. Wood, who is British and has lived in Beijing for six years. For the last few years, most of 010 Productions' parties have taken place in the Factory 798 district, which is fast becoming a internationally recognized art district. In the 1950's, large factory buildings were built in this rather rough industrial area, designed by East German architects with a Bauhaus influence. The main spaces have been turned into sprawling art galleries and social clubs. Smaller adjacent houses, which were once used as a cafeteria or barracks, have now been taken over as cafes and bookstores. The complex began housing artists' studios as early as 2000. By 2002 to 2003, it had slowly become discovered, and galleries and clubs began to open, renting space directly from the state-owned company that controls the complex. Within the main building of Factory 798, at 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang, there are such galleries as the Factory 798 Space, (86-10) 6438-4862, the Beijing-Tokyo Art Project, (86-10) 8457-3245, as well as restaurants and clubs like Vibes, (86-10) 6437-8082 and the At Café, (86-10) 6438-7264. Recently, White Space Beijing, a gallery, (86-10) 8456 2054, and As One, (86-10) 8456-0437, a cavernous bar with bright orange chairs, have opened in the adjacent Factory 797. The area, also called the Dashanzi art district, is the first cultural district in Beijing to have commercial galleries. But it was slow to ferment. Shortly after the area gained momentum, the SARS epidemic of 2003 led to a drop in public gatherings. For Zhao Ying, 34, who had opened Vibes in April 2003, one of the first clubs in Factory 798, the start was not fortuitous. 'We closed down for nearly two months, and then we started again,' she said one night this spring as she played host to an Indian-themed party. 'It was really difficult.' Once the area gained momentum, early meetings between the local government and local artists led to a proposal submitted by Ms. Zhao and some of the factory's artists to permit the factory to remain - at least for the time being. 'We let the government understand that in order for Beijing to be an international city, they need an area for art,' said Ms. Zhao, as women in Indian garb filled the bilevel space. From a caged D.J. booth, Aqua's 'Barbie Girl' thumped through the space. The day before I met Ms. Zhao at Vibes, I strolled through the grounds of the complex, which is now home to more than 50 galleries, not including the fashion and design studios that have popped up. One could wander the complex for days, lost in its almost labyrinthine network of courtyards, side streets and main corridors. There were small pockets of buzzing activity all over. Several young girls had assembled for a photo shoot on a side street along a row of old brick houses. A group of girls held a blanket while another changed her clothes. 'It's for a Beijing fashion magazine,' said one of the assistants. At the Yan Club, 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang, (86-10) 8457-3506, another popular spot in the complex that's has its own building, a French art buyer was completing a transaction as I arrived. The large space, filled with white walls and black furniture, functions as an art gallery during the day and a nightclub during the evenings. 'Last week, we hosted a party for Mercedes-Benz,' explained Sunny Dong, 31, a petite, fashionable woman who is the project manager for the club. 'But during the days, it's mostly foreigners who come in to buy art.' Looking through the windows of the many buildings in Factory 798, all sorts of production could be seen. Perhaps, in the original spirit of the factory space, people were busy making and creating things, though no longer motivated by industry, but by culture. The plight of Factory 798, and its uncertain future, is just one variable that promotes its growth - an attitude that seems to be, 'We never know what will happen tomorrow, so let's do it today.' After all, the complex came to be populated because of the migration of the city's Central Academy of Fine Art from the center of the city - its campus was demolished to make way for a retail center - to a location near Dashanzi in 2001. Artists flocked to Factory 798 for its cheap spaces and proximity to the campus. 'In the city, every day it seems like a new place is opening up,' Ms. Zhao said. 'The rhythm of things is moving much quickly - everything is moving much faster.'

Subject: Why housing matters more than the stock markets
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 15:47:01 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Pete, How long can the american CONSUMER buoy the world after thier HOME ATM quits? I have read on diehards.org board that publicaly traded REIT companies are using Interest Only to buy rental properties!! http://www.freddiemac.com/news/finance/commentary/sp-comm_082203.html While home equity gains have been significant, the loss in stock market wealth has also been substantial. The Wilshire 5000, a broad measure of U.S. stock values, fell from its March 2000 peak of $14.3 trillion to $7.8 trillion by September 2002, a loss of $6.5 trillion. Why have the gains in home equity wealth had a more powerful effect on consumer spending than the loss of stock market wealth? The answer lies in two facts. First, families view gains in home equity wealth as more 'permanent,' whereas gains (or losses) in stock market wealth are seen as more 'transitory.' ....Second, home equity wealth is more broadly held across the United States than is stock market wealth. The U.S. homeownership rate stood at 68 percent in the second quarter of 2003, while only 52 percent of American families hold stock either directly or indirectly. Further, homeowners comprised a wide cross section of demographic groups. Thus, when a rise in home values generates home equity wealth, both lower- and higher-income families gain. In fact, about three-quarters of all stock market wealth is held by the highest decile (top 10 percent) of income earners in the United States, and almost none by families whose earnings fall in the lowest third of the income distribution. Home equity wealth is more evenly distributed, with lower-, middle- and higher-income families benefiting from a general rise in home equity, as shown in Exhibit 2 ....Empirical research has verified that the home equity 'wealth effect' has a greater effect on consumption than do stock market moves. Based on estimates for 1984-2000 for the United States, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) study found that each one-dollar increase in housing wealth led to a 7-cent increase in consumption, whereas a one — dollar increase in stock wealth only caused a 4.5-cent increase. Research staff at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has also found stronger marginal propensities to consume arising from housing wealth. As reported by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, the effect on personal consumption expenditures generated from realized capital gains on home sales to be about 10 to 15 cents on the dollar, compared with a general 'wealth effect' of 3 to 5 cents incorporating all components of household wealth. The IMF's latest World Economic Outlook has also reported larger wealth effects from home value changes than from comparable stock equity movements.

Subject: Welcome back Johnny5
From: Pete Weis
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 18:26:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'How long can the american CONSUMER buoy the world after thier HOME ATM quits?' Answer - a New York minute.

Subject: Endangered Species Act Faces Challenges
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:54:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/politics/26species.html?pagewanted=all Endangered Species Act Faces Broad New Challenges By FELICITY BARRINGER WASHINGTON - More than three decades after the Endangered Species Act gave the federal government tools and a mandate to protect animals, insects and plants threatened with extinction, the landmark law is facing the most intense efforts ever by the White House, Congress, landowners and industry to limit its reach. More than any time in the law's 32-year history, the obligations it imposes on government and, indirectly, on landowners are being challenged in the courts, reworked in the agencies responsible for enforcing it and re-examined in Congress. In some cases, the challenges are broad and sweeping, as when the Bush administration, in a legal battle over the best way to protect endangered salmon, declared Western dams to be as much a part of the landscape as the rivers they control. In others, the actions are deep in the realm of regulatory bureaucracy, as when a White House appointee at the Interior Department sought to influence scientific recommendations involving the sage grouse, a bird whose habitat includes areas of likely oil and gas deposits. Some environmentalists readily concede that the law has long overemphasized the stick and provided fewer carrots for private interests than it might. But some of them also fear that the law's defects will be used as a justification for a wholesale evisceration. 'There's an alignment of the planets of people against the Endangered Species Act in Congress, in the White House and in the agencies,' said Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, a lobbying group based in Washington. On the opposite side, Robert D. Thornton, a lawyer for developers and Indian tribes in Southern California, has argued for years that the government goes too far to protect threatened species and curtails people's ability to use their own land. 'I've raised a child and sent him through college waiting for Congress to amend the Endangered Species Act,' he said. 'But I do think that a lot of forces are joining now.' The Endangered Species Act of 1973 set out a goal that, polls show, is still widely admired: ensuring that species facing extinction be saved and robust populations be restored. Currently 1,264 species are considered threatened or endangered. Some, like the bighorn sheep of the Southern California mountains, have obvious popular appeal and a constituency, while others, like the Kretschmarr Cave mold beetle in South Texas, are an acquired taste. But in the past 30 years lawsuits from all sides have proliferated. And more private land, particularly in the West, has been designated critical habitat for species, potentially subjecting it to federal controls that could limit construction, logging, fishing and other activities. A 'critical habitat' designation gives the federal government no direct authority to regulate private land use, but it does require federal agencies to take the issue into account when making regulatory decisions about private development. The conflicts are becoming sharper as the needs of newly recognized endangered species are interfering more often with the demands of exurban development. Western governors, who convened in San Diego last year in a mini-summit on the act, are also weighing in with Congress, for the most part seeking to explore new means of species conservation while clarifying - or limiting - local and state government obligations under the law. And Representative Richard W. Pombo, the Republican chairman of the House Resources Committee, whose district near the Central Valley of California was the epicenter of a battle over the delta smelt, is preparing legislation that is likely to curb how much land or water can be defined as critical habitat. Mr. Pombo, who attended the gathering in San Diego, said in an interview that there was some common ground on the critical-habitat issue. But, he added, consensus will be harder to find on proposals he is considering that would change how the agencies weigh available science. Even without Congressional rewriting, the federal agencies involved have taken a different attitude in the past four years, sometimes raising the bar of scientific proof and giving more weight than before to the economic impact of Endangered Species Act decisions. In one instance, a top aide to Craig Manson, the assistant interior secretary who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, edited the scientific assessment of the sage grouse's status, playing down accounts of its range and population declines. The edited assessment and the original document prepared by scientists were sent to an expert panel, which recommended against listing the grouse as endangered; the Interior Department did not list it. In the case of the salmon, a federal district judge in Portland, Ore., last month rejected the Bush administration's interpretation of its obligation to endangered fish, including its argument that dams should be considered part of the landscape. Noah Greenwald, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the Interior Department under President Bush has been much less aggressive than under President Bill Clinton in putting species on the endangered list. Under Mr. Clinton, he said, the Interior Department agreed to place a species on the list in 88 percent of the instances in which it made a decision. Under Mr. Bush, the figure is 52 percent, according to Mr. Greenwald's analysis of federal data. The Bush administration has expanded on the Clinton administration's reluctance to delineate critical habitat. The administration includes a statement in all documents on the subject saying that the designation of critical habitat 'provides little real conservation benefit, is driven by litigation rather than biology, forces designations to be made before complete scientific information is available' and 'imposes huge social and economic costs.' Economic analyses, which the law allows for in decisions on territory, are now the leading reason for reducing the size of species' critical habitat, according to a report by the National Wildlife Federation. In 2003, the report says, lands proposed as critical habitat by biologists were reduced by one-third; 69 percent of those reductions were based on economic factors, up from fewer than 1 percent in 2001. Territory can also be removed from proposed critical habitat if higher-ranking officials believe a species does not need it. Mr. Manson, the assistant interior secretary, said in an interview that the interior secretary has discretion to make such decisions, and that guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget are followed in performing economic analyses. The National Wildlife Federation argues that the administration assigns little economic benefit to habitat designations, to which Mr. Manson responded: 'The National Wildlife Federation and other groups have a different view of what ought to count as benefits. That's a legitimate policy difference.' Environmental groups argue that the land-use provisions of the law have been working, because federal data shows that 68 percent of listed species whose statuses are known have stable or recovering populations. Even so, some environmentalists indicate gingerly that some of their number may have overreached or, more precisely, over-sued. 'Litigation is a hammer, but not every problem is a nail,' said Michael Bean, a co-director of the Center for Conservation Incentives at Environmental Defense. 'The good news about litigation has been that it has forced the government to take seriously its obligations.' Environmentalists have had considerable success in the courts, most memorably in 1978, when the Supreme Court blocked - temporarily - construction of the Tellico Dam in Tennessee to preserve a tiny fish, the snail darter. This month, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging enforcement of the law, in a dispute involving six endangered species of small insects that live in caves in Texas, including the Kretschmarr Cave mold beetle. Developers said the property would be worth $60 million if development were not limited by the Endangered Species Act. And in the desert around Palm Springs, Calif., the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is suing the government because more than half the tribe's 31,000 acres fall into an area the Fish and Wildlife Service says is critical to the conservation of the endangered bighorn sheep. The sheep's numbers in the area were down to about 280 when they were listed as endangered in 1998. A recent count put the number above 700. The tribe says the designation creates 'an economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars' by complicating plans to develop resort condominiums and a golf course near tribal land. There have been compromises on habitats. In hundreds of areas, the various groups with an interest have cooperated on 'habitat conservation plans' to help species on the brink. Such plans, like one around Tucson regarding the endangered pygmy owl, have been promoted by the Clinton and Bush administrations. But the plans do not tend to flourish where litigation is rife. And Steven P. Quarles, an industry lawyer with the Washington firm of Crowell & Moring, said that until there was a legislative compromise that Senate moderates could support, 'what we'll see is a chipping away at the act by federal rules and guidances from the executive branch, and litigation from both sides.'

Subject: Home Prices are Hot but Inflation Cool
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:01:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/business/yourmoney/26view.html?ex=1277438400&en=a2f81e2f687108da&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss How Home Prices Can Be Hot but Inflation Cool By DANIEL GROSS ANYBODY who has bought or sold a home recently - or who has picked up a newspaper - knows that housing prices are rising rapidly. The National Association of Realtors projects that the median sales price of an existing home will rise 8.8 percent this year, after climbing 8.3 percent in 2004. Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government agency that collects, mixes and distills data into the Consumer Price Index, says the increase in housing costs has been muted. The index, the broadest measure of inflation for consumer activity, shows that housing costs rose just 0.1 percent in May and 3 percent in the last 12 months. That begs a question: When housing is the biggest single expenditure for most Americans, and when half of the nation is fretting about a housing bubble and the other half is logging on to CondoFlip.com, how can inflation remain tame? The answer has to do with the occasionally strange way the government produces the numbers that define our economic life - numbers on which vast sums are wagered every day. Until 1983, the bureau measured housing inflation by looking at what it cost to buy and own homes, considering factors like house prices, mortgage interest costs and property taxes. But given the shifts in interest rates and housing prices, those measures could show big bounces from month to month. Besides, homes are a strange hybrid of a consumable good and a long-term investment. As part of a long-running evaluation, the bureau wanted to 'separate out the investment component from the consumption component' of the housing market, said Patrick C. Jackman, an economist at the bureau. In other words, a home isn't just where you hang your hat or an investment in the future (or, in the case of visitors to CondoFlip.com, for two days). It's something that is consumed, the way potato chips, gasoline or a barber's skills are. So the bureau decided to track a measure that represents only the consumption of housing: rent. And rents had much to recommend themselves as a long-term inflationary yardstick - they don't jump significantly from month to month - and as a proxy for home prices. Over time, after all, rents correlated very closely to home prices. 'It's important to separate the decision that people make about housing as an investment and housing as a consumption of services,' said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley. Especially when you're trying to measure inflation. Consider the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index: it cost three times as much to buy it in 2000 than it did in 1992. But that climb didn't signify rampant inflation in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is trying to measure consumer price inflation, not asset price inflation. So, for the past 22 years, it has measured inflation in the cost of housing in a rather indirect way. As part of its Consumer Expenditure Survey, the bureau collects information from thousands of Americans about how much they pay for rent. But because renters are only a small part of the population, it also tries to measure how much homeowners are essentially paying themselves in rent. To determine the so-called owners' equivalent rent, it asks homeowners how much they would have to pay to rent the house in which they live. That figure constitutes about 23.2 percent of the Consumer Price Index, by far its largest component. Food is 14.3 percent and transportation is 17.4 percent, for example. But there are a few problems with using owners' equivalent rent as a measure of inflation for shelter costs. First, rent and home prices have become decoupled over the last several years, as Richard J. Rosen, an economist who is an adviser to the Chicago Federal Reserve, has observed. In the last 12 months, owners' equivalent rent has risen only by 2.3 percent, while housing prices have risen by a much larger amount. 'Of course, some of this decoupling has been a response to the low mortgage rates,' Mr. Rosen said, adding that it was an open question whether it signaled an enduring disconnection between rents and home prices. Second, years of falling interest rates and the vast expansion of the mortgage industry have changed the historical dynamics between renting and owning. From 1994 to 2004, the percentage of home-owning households rose to 69.2 percent from 64.2 percent, according to the Census Bureau. What's the point of measuring rents if fewer and fewer people are actually renting? Finally, shifts in Americans' relative desire to own rather than rent can play havoc with inflation measures. Rising home prices - and rising interest in owning homes - have helped to keep housing rents in check in recent years. So even though the rampant housing market is forcing home buyers to cough up more of their income for the same amount of shelter, the comparatively soft rental market is holding down inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. CONVERSELY, when housing prices fall, a trend that most people would deem anti-inflationary, and renting becomes more attractive than owning, the index might process the information as evidence that inflation is on the rise. 'We got a great deal of criticism that we were overstating inflation in the early 1990's, because housing prices were declining and rents were going up steadily,' Mr. Jackman said. The housing market today is a polarizing force. On one side are those who are convinced that the market is a bubble about to pop. On the other side are those who believe that we are in the midst of a long-term boom. But at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mr. Jackman notes, 'We're pretty much conditioned to be in the middle.'

Subject: Blast from the past
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 12:08:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
In a world of Dow 36,000, where should NASDAQ be? By James K. Glassman Published 03/06/2000 Ever since Kevin Hassett and I wrote our book on stock-valuation, Dow 36,000 (Times Books), people have been asking me, 'Okay, but what about the NASDAQ?' Tech investors want to know how to apply our valuation methods to Internet high-fliers. In Dow 36,000, we argue that traditional analysis has undervalued stocks -- dramatically. In fact, given historic corporate earnings growth of 5.5 percent and long-term Treasury interest rates in the 6-percent range, we think that the PRP (Perfectly Reasonable Price) for the 30 stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average is 100 times earnings. That's right: a P/E ratio of 100, or more than three times the current level. (By the way, a P/E ratio is the number of dollars it takes to buy a dollar's worth of a company's earnings. In the past, P/E ratios have averaged about 17.) Thanks to the work of Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel and others, we now know that over the long-term - 15 years or more - stocks are not riskier than bonds. Therefore, we conclude that stocks should not carry a 'risk premium' - that is, an extra return beyond the return of the Treasury bond. Our calculations show that, with a zero risk premium, the Dow should be priced at 36,000, with a P/E of about 100. That means that bargains abound not just among the blue-chip stocks of the New York Stock Exchange but among the companies listed on the tech-heavy NASDAQ as well. For example, Microsoft may already be the world's most valuable corporation, but it looks to me like a bargain at 60 times earnings. Biotech behemoth Amgen doesn't look too shabby at a P/E ratio of 72. Now, what about companies with P/E ratios above 100? Should investors avoid them? Not at all. When we were writing our book, Cisco Systems, the Internet infrastructure giant, was trading at $64 a share and carried a P/E ratio of 85. Recently, it traded at $125 with a P/E well above 100. With some fairly modest growth assumptions, we calculated that the PRP for Cisco is $291 - or more than twice its current price. Still, while I love Cisco and have no hesitation owning it at today's prices, it is generally a good idea to shy away from companies with triple-digit P/E ratios - especially now, with so many terrific companies carrying P/Es far lower. One of many examples is Hewlett-Packard (like Cisco, a member of the Glassman Technology Top Thirty, or GTTT), at a P/E of 40. What about companies that have yet to make a profit? Again, proceed with caution, but don't toss such firms out entirely. Another GTTT stock that I love (and, by the way, own myself) is Digex, with no earnings but fabulous growth prospects as an applications service provider, offering a platform with a wide variety of software to corporations. As for the NASDAQ Composite Index itself: It's risen by a factor of four in barely two years. Can it continue to rise at a rapid pace? Yes, indeed - though ultimately NASDAQ shares and the market as a whole (as represented by the Dow) will probably rise at roughly the same rate over the next five years. Don't expect NASDAQ 36,000 before Dow 36,000.

Subject: Re: Blast from the past
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:52:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It's sad that so many people bought into this Dow 36,000 stuff. Microsoft as we know roughly halved and has remained at that level since. Cisco dropped over 90% and has rebounded to less than a third of its peak in March of 2000 (haven't checked its stock price in a while). As for his favorite, Digex (which he owned), we have the following from Richards Asset Management, LLC 4th qtr 2003 report: 'Last quarter I mentioned that we had two arbitrage positions waiting to close. Both did so during the quarter. For one, our annualized return was a profitable if uninspiring 12.55%. Typically I would like to see 20 % annualized returns on these transactions. Much more interesting was our second arbitrage position. We made a substantial investment in Digex, a nearly bankrupt Internet service company, which was being acquired by MCI, a bankrupt communications company. With all this bankruptcy in the air, one might wonder where the money was coming from to fund the deal – or indeed why any deal was taking place at all. MCI already owned roughly 66% of Digex, so it was looking to purchase the portion it did not already own. The two companies had been both customer and vendor to each other, and each had monetary claims against the other. Given the precarious financial condition of both parties, it made sense for MCI simply to purchase the remainder of Digex, extinguishing any remaining issues. In order to conduct this acquisition at the least cost to itself via a “short-form” merger, MCI had to purchase enough stock to raise its ownership of Digex to 90%. This meant that about 18 million of the 24 or so million shares still outstanding had to be tendered to MCI. According to the SEC filings, one large shareholder owned 6 million shares of Digex. I assumed that MCI would not have gone forward with this offer if it had not already secured the blessing of that shareholder. MCI also had had to go to the bankruptcy court for permission to spend money on the deal, which was granted. The deal, it seemed to me, was certain to go through. Accordingly, we purchased a large amount of Digex stock. The offer price was 80 cents a share, and most of our stock was purchased at about 77.5 cents. This was going to give us a 3% return in roughly a month, or 36% annualized (uncompounded), well above my 20% threshold.'

Subject: Blast from the present
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 13:01:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From Realty Times: March 3, 2005 Why NAR's David Lereah Believes The Housing Boom Is Far From Over Housing is going strong at least through the end of the decade, predicts David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, and his infectious enthusiasm is as strong as his theory. He believes it so strongly he wrote a book about it. While promoting his new book Are You Missing The Real Estate Boom?: Why Home Values And Other Real Estate Investments Will Climb Through The End Of The Decade - And How To Profit From Them, Doubleday, on a recent nationwide tour, Lereah is aware of the real estate bubble theorists who predict that what comes up must eventually come down. Real estate has been on a bull run the last five years, particularly when interest rates hit a 40-year low several times. Relaxed credit terms allowed more people to buy. Baby boomers reached their economic success point, enabling them to drive second home purchases to new levels. These are a few reasons real estate homeownership has reached the 68 percentile, an all-time record. But nothing lasts. New home sales tumbled 9.2 percent in a colder-than-normal January, says the National Association of Home Builders. U.S. home prices increased 11 percent last year, says the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, but the last quarter slowed to an annualized rate of 6.77 percent, showing a slowdown. A Gallup poll for Experian recently found that 21 percent of consumers reported reducing their spending in response to rising interest rates. And so on..... Lereah is unshaken, and says it is natural for real estate to take a rest stop, but that doesn't mean it won't continue to climb, just not at perhaps the same frantic rate. 'I believe that in years to come,' he says, 'historians will see the beginning of the 21st century as the 'golden age' of real estate.' Like other experts, Lereah wants to start any discussion of real estate booms and busts by redefining what a boom is. 'It's a healthy real estate expansion,' he says. 'You can have a downturn and still be in a boom period. A three percent drop in home sales is still the second best year on record.' So what makes Lereah so confident the boom is far from over? Six reasons: There's a lean supply of homes -- a 4.3-month supply when the benchmark is 6.0 months. Mortgage rates are still low and will continue to be low for the next several years. Even as they rise, they won't rise high enough or fast enough, to kill a real estate expansion. Demographics are creating demand. Retirees are staying in their homes, which creates demand. Boomers are buying second homes, bigger homes, or scaling down to more luxurious smaller homes. Immigration is at record levels creating demand from resident aliens who have now earned enough to put down on a home. Echo boomers, the next largest population wave are entering the homebuying market as first-time home buyers. 'All the stars are in alignment for population growth and demand for housing,' says Lereah. Technology has lowered the cost of homebuying, including improving the approval process through automated underwriting, the range of loan products offered, and the search process for homes via the Internet. Minority assistance programs started in 1992 by HUD and Fannie Mae, etc., have improved the moral-suasion of purchasing a home instead of renting. The uncertainty created by the terrorist attacks on Sept.11, 2001, has changed the flow of funds from stocks into real estate, creating unprecedented property liquidity. 'A home is no longer a place to live,' notes Lereah, 'but a place to invest.' Written by Blanche Evans

Subject: Housing boom or bubble?
From: Mik
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 28, 2005 at 10:02:43 (EDT)
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Message:
I'm concerned about all these repeated statements about a 'housing boom', it is in my mind a blast from the past in that it sounds so much like the same kind of flawed excitement over IT stocks before the bubble burst. The previous article even make the statement, 'Retirees are staying in their homes, which creates demand.' How in the hell does it create demand when retirees stay at home? I can imagine it decreasing supply but not increasing demand. Also the statement about how the interest rates are low is very stale now. That is more like an excuse for house prices to go up (and make up for any gains on decreased interest rates). How about we look at some fundamentals: in San Diego (and many US cities) the repayment of the average house is 4 times more than what is affordable by the average income. It is all nice and well to say, 'invest, invest' - but look at how the perceived supply and demand has risen so far beyond basic cost and affordability - this is definately a sign of a bubble - not a healthy boom. What is fueling this bubble when housing is actually not becoming affordable to the avergae Joe? Well the article correctly pointed out quite a few concepts: richer investors who got their fingers burnt in the stock markets may prefer to invest in something they can see and touch; foreigners who come in with money. The article talks about how Immigration is at record levels, yes but thanks to the latest restrictions on immigration, that will change dramatically. Perhaps immigration may well be the one factor that results in a large slump in house purchasing and finally burst this bubble.

Subject: Oil or US treasuries, oil or US......
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 11:43:29 (EDT)
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Message:
From The San Francisco Chronicle: China on global hunt to quench its thirst for oil - Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer Sunday, June 26, 2005 Move over, Big Oil. There's a new oilman on the world stage -- China. China's takeover bid for Unocal Corp. makes clear to sticker-shocked Americans that the 1.3 billion Chinese people are demanding an ever-larger supply of the world's energy to fuel their booming economy and are willing to get it wherever necessary. From Central Asia to Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and even Canada, Chinese firms are pumping oil and natural gas in many areas that the United States was counting on to meet its own record-high demand. 'We need to supply our people, and like every country we need to buy oil from around the world,' said Zhou Dadi, director general of the Energy Research Institute, the central government's main policy agency on the subject. 'This is part of globalization. It is a strategy of sustainable development. It is part of a historical process.' While China's supply network does not yet rival the global clout of U.S.- based oil corporations, the shift raises concerns of politicians and analysts in the United States and Southeast Asia who see China as a future global giant motivated by the same powerful self-interest as American Big Oil. China's thirst for energy has been a major factor driving up the international price of oil. Light, sweet crude closed at $59.84 a barrel Friday, the fourth record-high day in a row and a sign that American motorists will feel increasing pain at the pump in coming months. Chinese petroleum imports are expected to rise by about 8 percent this year -- accounting for about one-third the total worldwide consumption increase, as it has in recent years. Because China's domestic oil production is in a long-term decline, its imports are expected to surpass the U.S. import levels within two decades. U.S. officials have been increasingly uneasy as China has signed major deals with Iran, Sudan, Burma and Venezuela, all countries that have strained relations with the United States. While the Bush administration tries to build international pressure against Iran over its nuclear aspirations, China has signed a $70 billion long- term oil and gas supply deal with the Tehran government. China has also signed agreements to develop heavy oil reserves in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has emerged as one of Washington's most vocal opponents. Even in Canada, the top U.S. oil supplier, Chinese firms have signed three deals this year to tap Alberta's vast oil-sands reserves and to join a pipeline venture to bring crude to the Pacific coast, where it can be shipped to China. In many of these new deals, the webs of alliances and rivalries are overlapping. CNOOC Ltd., the 70 percent state-owned company that last week offered $18.5 billion for Unocal, is scheduled to begin imports of liquefied natural gas next year from Australia, in a project that CNOOC co-owns with Chevron, its rival suitor for Unocal. CNOOC also is involved with Chevron in offshore oil production in the Bohai Bay of northeast China. Western energy analysts in Beijing say that as the government-owned Chinese oil firms scour the globe for deals, they often have a leg up on the likes of Chevron and ExxonMobil, which are privately owned. Because about 80 percent of the world's oil reserves are in the hands of governments, which usually prefer to deal with other state-owned enterprises, Chinese firms can gain favor, said Gavin Thompson, China country manager for Wood Mackenzie, a British energy consulting firm. Although Chinese companies cannot offer the same high-tech methods for exploration, drilling and extraction as the U.S. majors, they gain a negotiating edge by being willing to assume unprofitable side deals that function basically as development aid. In 2003 and 2004, for example, the Chinese firm Sinopec signed a series of deals with Saudi Arabia to develop natural gas fields. Sinopec's investment, which ultimately could be worth $4 billion, commits the firm to a wide variety of welfare-state activities, such as building sewage treatment plants and schools. Some analysts say this broad brush has served Beijing's foreign policy needs rather than the companies' bottom line. 'China's acquisition strategy is that it can go anywhere and buy almost anything,' Thompson said. 'But as a consequence, its asset portfolio has become quite random and scattered.' Throughout East Asia, even close allies of Beijing show nervousness about its energy appetites. China has been wrangling with Japan over natural gas reserves in the East China Sea, and with Vietnam over suspected oil deposits near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, setting off worries that such conflicts could turn violent. 'Throughout all of East Asia, there is a rising new concern about energy security,' said Chin Kin Wah, deputy director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, a government-backed think tank in Singapore. 'From Russia to China down to Indonesia, there is a new generation of possible conflicts.' Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sounded a warning at a Kuala Lumpur energy conference June 14: 'As governments and companies continue to pour in more and more money to secure additional oil and gas assets, some of these assets may also, unfortunately, lead to various geopolitical maneuverings, disputes and conflicts.' Chinese officials say that no matter how rich and powerful their country becomes, their need for oil will never turn into U.S.-style gunboat diplomacy. 'You must realize that China will never be expansionist for the reason of oil,' said Xie Feng, a deputy director-general for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is in charge of North American relations. 'It will never act like a superpower. 'It might become a regional power. In all its history over the past thousands of years, China has never sent troops abroad, to have colonies, to seize resources. This is not part of the Chinese character. You must understand our culture. We are not like that.'
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-- China's expanding oil interests Chinese energy firms CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC and PetroChina have spent billions of dollars on oil and gas production deals around the world during the past two years. Examples include: Angola: China made wide-ranging aid and trade deals, including Sinopec's purchase of a 50 percent interest in offshore oil fields. Sudan: CNPC expanded oil production in southern oil fields, where Chinese production is scheduled to reach 500,000 barrels per day in August. Iran: Chinese firms signed numerous contracts to co-produce oil and natural gas. Iran is China's largest single source of foreign oil, providing 13 percent of China's total annual imports. Saudi Arabia: Sinopec reached agreement to explore and develop natural gas and oil in the Rub al-Khali desert and to build and operate social-welfare projects for the population of nearby cities. Central Asia: CNPC and Sinopec purchased major shares in oil ventures in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Construction is under way on a 1,860- mile oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to western China. Burma: CNOOC and Sinopec started large-scale oil development, following in the footsteps of CNPC, which had entered natural gas production a decade ago. Chinese and Burmese officials are negotiating to build oil and natural gas pipelines from northern Burma into southwest China. Indonesia: PetroChina and CNOOC purchased large stakes in Indonesian oil and gas fields. Liquefied natural gas shipments from the Tangguh field to southern China are expected to start in 2007. Australia: CNOOC purchased a stake in the North West Shelf liquefied natural gas project, co-operated by Chevron. CNOOC is in talks with Chevron for a share of the huge Gorgon LNG project. Venezuela: The two countries signed wide-ranging agreements for production of heavy oil in Venezuela's Orinoco Basin. Brazil: CNPC signed a deal with state oil firm Petrobras to cooperate on refining, pipelines and exploration and oil production projects. Sinopec Corp signed a preliminary deal to build a $1.3 billion gas pipeline. Canada: PetroChina, Sinopec and CNOOC signed deals for shares of Alberta's oil sands and for a pipeline to export crude oil extracted from there to the Pacific coast and then via tanker to China. United States: CNOOC is bidding $18.5 billion to buy Unocal.

Subject: Grounded in the Dust of Rural India
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 10:36:15 (EDT)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/international/asia/25kumar.html?ei=5070&en=c37152cd19286da5&ex=1119844800&pagewanted=all A Vision of Stars, Grounded in the Dust of Rural India By SOMINI SENGUPTA PATNA, India ANUPAM KUMAR, 17, is the eldest son of a scooter-rickshaw driver. He lives in a three-room house made of bricks and mortar and a hot tin roof, where water rarely comes out of the tap and the electricity is off more than on, along a narrow unpaved alley here in one of India's most destitute corners. Anupam is good at math. He has taught himself practically everything he knows, and when he grows up he wants to investigate whether there is life in outer space. He wants to work at NASA. 'It's becoming very important to explore other planets because this planet is becoming too polluted,' he said with deadly seriousness. Next door to his house, pigs rifled through a pile of garbage on an empty lot. His mother, Sudha Devi, a savvy woman with a 6th-grade education, cooled him with a palm-frond fan. His father, Srikrishna Jaiswal, who made it through 10th grade, flashed a bemused smile. 'He has high-level aims,' he said. 'I'm not so concerned about reaching the peak,' Anupam clarified. 'I'm more interested in doing something good for the world.' For now, Anupam's sole obsession is to gain admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology, or I.I.T., a network of seven elite colleges established shortly after Indian independence in 1947 that produces an annual crop of tech wizards and corporate titans. It is difficult to overstate the difficulty of getting in. Of 198,059 Indians who took the rigorous admissions tests in 2005, 3,890 got in, an acceptance rate of under 2 percent. (Harvard accepts 10 percent.) Anupam does not know anyone who has attended the institutes, nor do his parents. But they all know this: If he makes it, it would change his family's fortunes forever. 'I feel a lot of pressure,' he said. 'It's from inside.' A VOICE in his head, he says, tells him he must do something to rescue his family from want, and that he must do it very soon. No wonder, then, that Anupam's mother forces him to wash his hair with henna, a traditional Indian hair-dying technique: At 17, Anupam is going gray. In Anupam's story lies a glimpse of the aspirations of boys and girls in India today, a country that arguably offers greater opportunities than it did for their parents, but one that is also more competitive and a great deal more stressful. More than half of India's one billion people are under 25, and for all but the most privileged, adolescence in this country can be a Darwinian juggernaut. To be average, or even slightly above average, is to be left behind. Nowhere is that more true than here in Bihar, India's iconic left-behind state, making the drive to get out all the more fierce. 'For average students, they have no scope,' said Anand Kumar, 33, who runs a one-man I.I.T.-preparatory academy here. 'The new generation feels more pressure than my generation.' At 7 on a recent morning, with the sun already blistering, Mr. Kumar, drenched in sweat, drilled a gaggle of nearly 600 students, almost all boys, in calculus. 'Find the domain of the following function,' he repeated into a scratchy microphone. His young charges, packed tightly under a tin-roofed compound, furiously scribbled in their notebooks. He resembled a revival tent preacher in a small American town. Every week Mr. Kumar, who is not related to Anupam, tutors more than 2,000 youngsters, each paying just under $100 for a yearlong math session. Thirty others, the most gifted and neediest, he teaches free in an intensive seven-month course that includes room and board. He has received death threats - he suspects from competitors who resent his low fees - and on a recent day two policemen and two private guards stood sentry. The intensity of competition can reveal itself in extreme ways. Mr. Kumar recalls how a neighbor, under enormous pressure from his family, failed the entrance exam and took his own life; he was 18. A former student, the son of a poor peasant, sank into a crippling depression after failing the exam last year. Moni Kumari Gupta, 17, is one of the rare girls in Mr. Kumar's program. She, too, wants to do space research, also at NASA. The I.I.T. exam that Moni plans to take is still 10 months away, and yet she rises at 4:30 a.m. and studies 13 hours a day, seven days a week, with short breaks only for meals and a brisk morning walk. Her father, Sunil Kumar, gives her pep talks: 'Face the competition,' he tells her. 'Don't be demoralized.' Disappointment stems from the depth of desire, piled on this generation by those with even fewer opportunities in the past. Before Anupam was born, his father had wanted to teach. His mother had wanted her husband to do anything other than ply a rickshaw, become a rickshaw-wallah. But Patna offered few options, and the children came quickly, two boys and a girl. Sudha Devi told her husband, ' 'At least our children will do something big.' ' At home, the television could be blaring, the music could be on, the lights could have gone out, but Anupam would be studying, his father said. 'How he concentrates, how he focuses his mind, I really don't know,' Mr. Jaiswal mused. At family parties, Anupam would be found in a quiet corner, his head in a book. Relatives warned Sudha Devi, 'He will go mad.' Anupam's education has been spotty, as it is for many in a country where public education is often in disarray. He enrolled in a small neighborhood private school, then a government school in ninth grade. But most days, like many children, he skipped school and studied at home because he figured it would be more rigorous. Every now and then, a math tutor, impressed by his gumption, gave him tips. Anupam says he was first drawn to the mysteries of space at 9 because of a television serial, 'Captain Vyom,' in which an astronaut ranges across outer space in pursuit of bad guys. He recalls telling his mother about his interest in life in outer space, and he remembers her matter-of-fact encouragement: They haven't discovered it yet, he recalls her saying, but you can explore. 'He says there's something called research,' is how his mother describes it today. 'He wants to be a research-wallah.' IN the spring of 2004, studying by himself, Anupam failed the I.I.T. entrance exam; it is virtually unheard of for anyone to make it on his own. Then, under Mr. Kumar's tutelage, he devoted himself with the intensity of a monk. On May 22, Anupam took the exam again, a grueling six hours of math, chemistry, and physics. He was not nervous either before or after, his mother said. The week before results were published, Anupam bubbled with optimism. He was sure he would be among the top scorers, he said. His mother beamed at this. To a visitor, she referred to her son as Anupam-ji, an honorific usually reserved for elders. Buoyed by his optimism, Anupam said that after graduation, he would install a proper roof, then dig a borehole so water could be drawn right at home. As soon as possible, he would like his father to stop driving a rickshaw. [On June 16, sitting at his tutor's house, Anupam learned the results. He made it into the institutes, with a rank of 2,299. Classes start in mid-July.]

Subject: How a Painter Found Inspiration in Cloth
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:58:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/arts/design/24smit.html?pagewanted=all How a Renowned Painter Found Inspiration in Cloth By ROBERTA SMITH 'Matisse: The Fabric of Dreams - His Art and His Textiles,' the languidly titled, often patchy, yet vision-altering exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has some great moments, and not all are due to the art of Henri Matisse. Quite a few of the show's visual fireworks are ignited by the splendid assortment of textiles and garments from around the world that Matisse collected and kept close by throughout his long, prolific life. In a phrase evoking gratitude and heavy use, he called his collection 'my working library.' This show, which originated at the Royal Academy in London last winter, displays parts of Matisse's library for the first time, along with examples of Matisse's art. Textiles had been visible in photographs of Matisse's casbahlike apartments and studios, and in the backgrounds of his paintings, especially those made in Nice in the 1920's and 30's. But until the British writer Hilary Spurling started researching her monumental Matisse biography in the early 1990's, few people knew that any survived. As she interviewed Matisse's descendants, they came to light, sometimes out of trunks unopened since the artist's death in Nice in 1954. Ms. Spurling convinced Ann Dumas, an independent art historian associated with the Royal Academy, that the textiles merited an exhibition. The Met collaborated, along with the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, the small village in northern France where the artist was born in 1869 in a two-room weaver's cottage belonging to his grandmother. The rest, as they say, is history, but one that is only beginning to be written. The chance to examine the raw data before it is digested may reshape your notions of Matisse's art and its sources. It forces the backgrounds of his paintings to the foreground and exposes what has been hiding in plain sight. It argues persuasively that textiles were fundamental to Matisse's formidably decorative art, with its saturated colors, positive-negative ambiguities, pulsating patterns, distillations from nature and the sense of folded structure and ironed-out space that was his answer to Cubism. And some of the most interesting fruits of Ms. Spurling's research, condensed into one of the catalog's accessible, to-the-point essays, reveal the crucial role of textiles in Matisse's early years. In nine galleries, 80 of the artist's paintings, prints, drawings and painted paper cutouts, plus one monumental white felt robe designed for a Diaghilev ballet, skim the years from 1890 to 1952. Juxtaposed with these works are about 25 textiles and garments that Matisse once owned: European cottons; Javanese, Moroccan and Japanese silks; African Kuba cloths, with geometric designs and pile surfaces, which Matisse called 'my velvets'; and several North African pierced cotton window coverings that are in effect reverse cutouts. The displays also include a kind of glorious high altar of 16 silks and printed cottons, layered and reaching to the ceiling. More space and more extensive labels for these textiles would have been nice, but the concentration of colors and patterns provides visceral evidence of Matisse's debt. He achieved this kind of unadulterated visual power only during his most radical phases: in the big, flat paintings of 1911-17, none of which are represented here, and in the colored-paper cutouts that along with the 'velvets' dominate the show's final gallery. The show is missing several important works, and to compensate, the Met has nearly doubled its size with additions of paintings and so many prints and drawings that they feel like filler. It takes only a few notebook sketches of models in Romanian blouses, along with three examples of the actual garments, to get the idea. But nearby are two relatively unknown paintings of Romanian blouse-wearers. One, titled 'The Dream,' shows a curled-up, slumbering figure and may be a response to Picasso's painting of the same name. But dreams had little to do with it. Matisse's interest in textiles didn't begin during his 1906 trip to Morocco as a typical European attraction to the exotic. It was hard-wired into him as a descendent of generations of weavers, who was raised among weavers in Bohain-en-Vermandois, which in the 1880's and 90's was a center of production of fancy silks for the Parisian fashion houses. His hard-working parents ran a thriving hardware store, with his mother in charge of the house-paints counter. Bohain was a competitive environment. The weavers were self-employed craftsmen. Innovations of pattern, design and color were matters of pride and survival. In many ways their aesthetic ideas were more advanced than those of the academy in nearby St. Quentin, where Matisse first studied art. Proof positive of this comes in the show's fifth gallery in an 1890's sample book of Bohain silk. An elegant, Mondrianesque design of wide vertical stripes and thin horizontal bands executed in six different color combinations, known to weavers as 'color ways,' emits a searing radiance. Matisse may have referred to Cézanne as 'a god,' but he first encountered some of the salient characteristics of his own art in textile form. He was rendering, interpolating or transforming things he saw, and to see these things for ourselves is like watching his mind work. In the first gallery, we watch him learn from an indigo resist-dyed English cotton that he bought in 1903 and, judging from photographs, rarely let out of his sight. The fabric and its blue-on-white motif of repeating flower baskets and garlanded arabesques permutate through four still life paintings from 1903 to 1916. The textile appears as a roughly sketched background detail in the 1903 'Guitarist,' and as part of a diaphanous Impressionist-Fauvist reverie in the unfinished 'Still Life With Blue Tablecloth' of 1905-6, where it seems to have been more powdered than painted across a darker ground. But an identically titled work from 1909 gets to the point: the cloth dominates the picture plane and overwhelms the shrinking still life with its wavelike turbulence. The denouement here should be Matisse's breakthrough 'Harmony in Red' of 1908, in which the flower baskets and arabesques hang like a hallucinated veil in front of a red dining room. The Hermitage declined to lend this painting, but it is well worth looking up. Yet the resist-dyed fabric itself exerts a force that the paintings lack, especially in the flurry of light blue brush strokes (created by applying resist midway in the dyeing process) on top of the original darker blue, more realistic motifs. Once more the fabric seems to hold the key to the most radical parts of Matisse's future. It is almost possible to think that Matisse spent much of his career trying to make something as casually great as this talisman, and only rarely succeeded. In this context, the mustier, more realistic odalisques of the 1920's suggest that Matisse was simply zeroing in on his fabrics to get a closer look. If so, the scrutiny worked. As reproductions in the catalog reveal, the Egyptian cotton-appliquéd curtain, which depicts a rosette with framing leaves in tones of red and brown on a pale ground, is quoted almost verbatim in Matisse's 1948 painting 'Window With Egyptian Curtain,' owned by the Phillips Collection in Washington. Unfortunately, it is not in the show, but the curtain triggers a larger thought about works that are: the late cutouts are appliqués made of paper. This is not a definitive show, but maybe it doesn't have to be. Part of its achievement may be to remind us that exhaustiveness is not as important as a bold new idea. And ultimately, the show is less about art than about the artistic process, the way artists scour their environments and hoard motifs and inspiration even before they are artists. Matisse's textiles were basic to his development of painting as a unified, all-over, forward-pressing surface. They functioned as a kind of multipurpose emblem of the artificial nature of painting - a pliant, portable picture plane that could be used to close off real space while intimating abstraction. They were almost always ahead of him. At the end of his career, he said, 'Even if I could have done, when I was young, what I am doing now - and it is what I dreamed of then - I wouldn't have dared.' We can only take him at his word.

Subject: Innovative Cézanne and Pissarro
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:39:59 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/arts/design/24cott.html?pagewanted=all The Innovative Odd Couple of Cézanne and Pissarro By HOLLAND COTTER Wedding bells are ringing again at the Museum of Modern Art. Two years ago, Matisse and Picasso got hitched there; Picasso and Braque before that. And on Sunday, when 'Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro' opens, a third, less conspicuously glamorous couple will begin a summerlong honeymoon on the museum's sixth floor. The exhibition isn't an instant grabber, a full-choir-and-orchestra affair, the way 'Matisse Picasso' was. It's a lieder recital, not an opera. It's as much about subtleties of language - how artists work out, inflect and share ideas - as it is about sonority. And once you have adjusted your sense of scale and remembered how to concentrate, deep-running Schubertian pleasures will start to flow. Matisse and Picasso are protean figures; we admire them as we admire obviously great things. But of all the early French modernist stars, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro are the ones I love, which is a different emotion: sharp and personal, not public or history-bound. I leave the museum and find myself seeking them out in my head. I love Cézanne for his crankiness, which guarded an isolated soul; I love Pissarro for his kindness, which seems to have been completely unguarded and unconditional. I love both for being workaholic rebels with high causes - revolution, simplicity - and for being rebels to the end, the very end. I love their art: Cézanne's transparent palisades of stained-glass green and blue; Pissarro's woods and fields, light-dusted and virginal. Maybe more than anything, I love how they loved each other, with an affection alternately paternal, brotherly and collegial, competitive but protective. Thanks to Pissarro, a hazardously high-flying young Cézanne made it to earth without a crash. Thanks to Cézanne, Pissarro took flight in ways he might otherwise not have. For a decade or so in the mid-19th century, they often worked side by side, exchanging telepathic vibes, the way close couples can. Those years are the focus of the exhibition - humanly scaled at 80 paintings - organized by Joachim Pissarro, a curator in the department of painting and sculpture at the Modern, and a great-grandson of Camille Pissarro. Both artists had origins outside the French cultural mainstream. Pissarro, born on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, was the child of an émigré Jewish businessman. He was educated in France; but only after returning to St. Thomas, then spending two years in Venezuela, did he settle in Europe for good to become, against his father's wishes, a painter. Cézanne was from Provence in the south of France, and he also chafed under family expectations. Packed off to Paris to study law, he took painting classes instead at a walk-in studio school, where the other students mocked his provincial gaucheries. There he met Pissarro, who was nine years his senior and did not mock him, and they became friends. They made a striking odd couple. Cézanne was a furious misfit with the face of a hobbit, the mind of a scholar and the mouth of a stevedore. Pissarro was grave, patient, but radically anti-authoritarian. When asked what he thought was the best way to advance French art, he said, 'Burn down the Louvre.' He wasn't kidding. He was a yippie who happened to look like a monk. What they shared was ambition and elevation of purpose. As unorthodox painters, they had little chance of success in the state-sponsored salons. So they did what they wanted to do: they followed the path of greatest resistance. They turned exclusion into independence, and independence into a moral imperative that they could not, would not shirk. Paradoxically, the biggest initial difference between them was their art, as demonstrated by two amazing 1866 paintings in the show's first gallery, where the installation feels a bit jumpy. (It soon settles down.) Pissarro's 'Banks of the Marne in Winter' may not look so daring now, but it was a breakthrough for him. It pulled him out of a soft-focus Corot bag and put him somewhere else, where the paint handling is cool, the composition stripped down to field, hill, and sky. The plein air plainness of Daubigny is here; so is the future geometry of Mondrian. The corresponding 1866 painting by Cézanne, a near-life-size portrait of his father, is a world away: spookily claustrophobic, its paint buttered on with a knife. Cézanne père perches on an unstable chintz-covered chair made of what looks like melting wax mixed with blood. A politically conservative banker, he is shown holding a leftist newspaper that he would ordinarily not have been caught dead reading. A still life by his errant son hangs above his head. This is portraiture as a passive-aggressive act of revenge. The artists learned from their dissimilarities. Cézanne began to do more landscapes and to experiment with geometry. Pissarro took up a painting knife and went a little wild. They became a kind of two-man collective, exchanging information and rotating roles. In 1871, in Louveciennes, Cézanne borrowed an Impressionist-style landscape that Pissarro, one of the founders of Impressionism, had recently completed. He copied it, but with significant alterations. The basic image, of autumn trees lining a road, is intact. But Pissarro's fine-grained paint handling is simplified, and his naturalistic details - leaves on trees, ruts in roads - ignored. On Cézanne's part, there's a major boiling-down process going on. It continues into the decade, with the years around 1875 marking the culmination of their effort to define an innovative, increasingly conceptual form of painting, in which a traditional grammar of drawn outlines, tonal volumes and perspectival depth - in a word, realism - gives way to a new logic of color and light. A gallery of landscape paintings at the center of the show is devoted to this high moment, their own private Woodstock. It's a room of rigorous, fanatically concentrated beauty. Paintings of woodland scenes line one wall, with alternating pictures by each artist. They are like windows onto a sun-dappled Eden, an unbroken curtain of green seen by two sets of eyes that have become one. And yet not one. At this point of apparent mutual absorption, the painters also assert their individuality, which has never disappeared. Pissarro's 'Climbing Path, L'Hermitage, Pontoise' (1875) is a spinach-and-watercress cloud of stippled foliage, with village rooftops half hidden behind. It's Impressionistic. Cézanne's 'Landscape, Auvers-sur-Oise' of a year earlier is not. It's virtually the same scene, but with trees cut back and the buildings brought into sharp focus and stacked up like blocks. Two 1877 paintings of an orchard in the village of Pontoise present further contrasts. Pissarro's grove of trees is a mirage, dotted into existence with all-over flicks of paint, while Cézanne's is made of large chunks of color puttied into place. The exhibition is installed in a way that lets you examine this surface activity fairly closely, as the artists might have done, looking over each other's shoulders. So you can really see what's happening: Pissarro's embroidery, Cézanne's brick-and-mortar. In the late 1870's, the bond between the artists began to loosen. And when Pissarro had a short but serious fling with Neo-Impressionism, Cézanne, ever ready to feel betrayed, shut the door on the friendship, without, however, shutting the door on Pissarro's early art, from which he continued to learn. His interest is documented in a magnificent pairing of pictures at the end of the show. They are woodland scenes. One is by Pissarro - 'Die Schoene Muellerin' in paint - and dates from 1879; the other is by Cézanne from 1894. Together they are absorbed in a spousal conversation, one that needs few words. Everything the artists have given each other, and love about each other, is right there, visible. Such linkings of paintings across time in the show will give art historians lots to mull over and disagree with. And some visitors will doubtless complain about the very pairing of Cézanne and Pissarro, see it as an opportunistic upgrading of a lesser, I would say badly undervalued reputation - Pissarro's - on the back of a greater. Well, we're all addicted to the ranking game. But where 'Matisse Picasso' exploited it, this exhibition does not. That final pairing pretty clearly says: Here is the past; it is Pissarro. Here is the future; it is Cézanne. At the same time, the story leading up to this is more nuanced. At certain places along the way, Pissarro was the future, and we have Cézanne because of him. This thinking reflects a modern scholarship that understands history, not as a lineup of singular events and personalities, but as patterns of relationships that persist over time, strengthening and weakening and strengthening again. The relationships can feel distant and chilly: Matisse and Picasso eyeing each other gigantically from afar. Or they can feel immediate, in-the-now as the wedding of toughness and gentleness, impetuosity and restraint that was the Cézanne-Pissarro alliance. For a few years two artists put idea over ego, experiment over truth, said 'I do' and 'I don't know' in the same breath, and I love them for all of that.

Subject: Harvard Nutrition Source
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:17:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/ Harvard Nutrition Source is excellent.

Subject: Precious Metals
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 26, 2005 at 09:13:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The market for gold or gold stocks as an investment is quite small, so sharp swings in price can be readily generated. I doubt the value of all gold stocks is equal to that of Pfizer, or much more than half Pfizer. I would not be surprised if gold prices were to surge or not surge, but that there will be any fundamental reason such as properly hedging against inflation is doubtful. There is an awful lot of oil money floating about, and a fair portion of this has to be in hedge funds. A later hedge against a weaker dollar? Inflation however will not likely be the issue. In any event, the Vanguard Precious Metals Fund is worth paying attention to now and again.

Subject: Yellow-breasted Chat
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:57:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4964&exhibition=4&pass=public&size=default&lang=eng Yellow-breasted Chat New York City, Central Park--Strawberry Fields.

Subject: As Serious as a Heart Attack
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:49:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/opinion/25sat3.html?ex=1119844800&en=9918f028d93f1b6c&ei=5070 As Serious as a Heart Attack Most people who pay attention to their diets know that partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat that clogs the arteries and reduces the 'good' cholesterol that helps unclog them. Beginning next year, companies must disclose trans-fat amounts on food labels. But it is already clear that the Food and Drug Administration is going to have to do more to protect the public from heart-threatening fats. One problem, detailed in a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is that some companies that don't use trans fat nevertheless use other dangerous oils. Other companies, searching for trans-fat alternatives, are turning to unhealthy fats. The most popular is palm oil, a saturated fat that is widely believed to promote heart disease and whose main distinction is that it is less harmful than trans fat. Some companies that make products with palm oil, including Newman's Own Organics popcorn and cookies, emphasize on their packages that their products are trans-fat free and note the relative advantage of palm oil over trans fat. But all this does is create the false impression that palm oil is good for you. The F.D.A. should act quickly to stop labels that could mislead consumers. The agency should also encourage the use of healthier alternatives like certain safflower and sunflower oils and promising new blends. The ultimate aim, however, should be to end the widespread use of partially hydrogenated oils. As things now stand, the F.D.A. acknowledges that trans fats are unhealthy at any level, and yet maintains that the partially hydrogenated oils that contain them are basically safe. The agency can't have it both ways. Public health would be greatly improved if the F.D.A. prohibited their use.

Subject: Are saturated fats really bad?
From: David E..
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 17:12:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This article has only one uncontroverted point. Everybody agrees that partially hydrogentated oils are very bad. Many, myself included, believe that saturated fats are OK, especially if the other choice is polyunsaturated oil. Polyunsaturated oils are prone to oxidation, plus many of them are unbalanced sources of Omega6. Excess omega6 will offset omega3's putting the body's eicosanoid balance into a inflamation mode. Which happens to be the most current explanation of the cause of heart disease.

Subject: Chevron Criticizes Rival Suitor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:47:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/worldbusiness/25unocal.html Chevron Criticizes Rival Suitor By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO and ANDREW ROSS SORKIN A top executive at Chevron yesterday sharply criticized the $18.5 billion bid by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation for Unocal, calling it an inferior combination that would end up producing less oil and natural gas than a Chevron acquisition and would turn Unocal into a company 'strategically focused on China.' The executive, Peter Robertson, Chevron's vice chairman, also accused the Chinese of not competing fairly. 'Clearly, this is not a commercial competition,' Mr. Robertson said. 'We are competing with the Chinese government, and I think that is wrong.' Even so, Chevron - despite an ostensibly lower bid - may well hold a stronger position than the Chinese company in the unfolding takeover battle. Mr. Robertson said yesterday that Chevron believes that it is under no immediate pressure to improve its offer, even though the bid by the Chinese company is sharply higher than Chevron's offer and is all cash. The Chinese offer 'is not a knock-out blow,' Mr. Robertson said. 'We are going to win this one. I am convinced of it.' On Wednesday, the Chinese company, that nation's third-largest state-owned oil company, known as CNOOC, made an audacious move to woo Unocal away from Chevron. On the heels of other moves by Chinese companies to take over American companies, the struggle for Unocal has quickly been elevated into a test of Chinese-American strategic and economic relations far beyond a standard corporate deal. Already, more than 40 members of Congress have signed a joint letter to President Bush, urging the administration to conduct a thorough review of the Chinese bid. Meanwhile, some prominent industry executives have warned against political meddling in a commercial deal. Lee R. Raymond, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, said on Thursday that it would be a 'big mistake' for Congress to interfere with a bid by CNOOC, saying intervention could backfire on American companies seeking to do business abroad. But for all the political attention the bid by CNOOC is receiving, it may never overcome a number of basic business obstacles that stand in the way. Chevron's ability to hold the line rests in large part on a provision in the merger agreement it signed with Unocal in April that gives Chevron the right to call a shareholder vote on its offer before Unocal can allow its shareholders to consider any other deal. Chevron is expected to call such a vote of Unocal shareholders in August. A spokesman for CNOOC said the company made its decision to bid for Unocal 'based solely on shareholder- value considerations.' Analysts agreed with Mr. Robertson that the Chinese bid was not high enough to dissuade Chevron. 'The Chinese could have discouraged Chevron from chasing them, but they kept their bid within striking distance,' said Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Company, a brokerage firm. Mr. Gheit owns both Unocal and Chevron shares and the firm is recommending both stocks. Indeed, CNOOC is more likely to be pressed to raise its offer at least once to try to derail approval of Chevron's offer. The other factor in Chevron's favor is time. Chevron could complete a deal almost immediately after approval from shareholders. The Chinese company, on the other hand, could not hope to complete a deal until at least six months after Unocal shareholders rejected the Chevron offer. And even that time frame might be considered optimistic, given the prospect of a government review over national security issues that have been raised by this deal. Unocal shareholders would also have to face the risk that if they voted down the Chevron deal, at that point there would technically be no other deal on the table. CNOOC is under no legal obligation to make its bid. As a result, some expect that CNOOC might, as a gesture of good faith and transparency, put $18.5 million in an escrow account as a sign that it will guarantee to come through with an offer. Unocal said on Thursday that it would begin talks with CNOOC. Executives briefed on the discussions said that while Unocal's executives would prefer to do a deal with Chevron, they hope to play off one competitor against the other, thereby securing an even higher price for the company. Bankers have also been trying to rustle up other energy companies that could put Unocal at the center of a full-blown bidding war. Yet while Eni of Italy had been interested in Unocal in the spring, it ultimately did not make a bid. New bidders like Total of France, which has nearly $10 billion in cash, are not likely to emerge, those close to the negotiations said. Chevron is offering Unocal shareholders a combination of 0.7725 share of Chevron stock and $16.25 in cash. Based on Chevron's closing price yesterday of $56.69, that offer is currently worth about $60 a share. CNOOC's offer is $67 a share in cash. In explaining their reasons for putting the company up for sale earlier this year, Unocal executives explained that the company had reached the limits of its ability to develop large-scale energy assets on its own. Yesterday, Mr. Robertson contended that Chevron had more technology to develop those assets. He said Chevron and Unocal were currently jointly producing complicated discoveries in the Caspian Sea and others in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico that would bear more fruit if the technical skill of the two companies were combined. CNOOC has no deepwater operations. Mr. Robertson also said that the Chinese company might choose to steer natural gas produced in Unocal fields in Indonesia to the Chinese market as liquefied natural gas, rather than into the broader Asian liquefied gas market. A spokesman for CNOOC said the company planned to develop the oil and gas properties in the Gulf of Mexico fully and to increase production there and elsewhere. The spokesman, who also reiterated the company's vow to maintain energy supplies to the United States, said that it would retain more Unocal employees than Chevron would. Mr. Robertson rejected that claim. 'I will not sit here and tell you there will be no job cuts,' he said. 'But not much of the synergy in this merger comes from cutting people.' He noted that Unocal had a very small headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., and that most of Unocal's employees in the United States worked in Houston, where Chevron has a large operation. 'We need all of those people,' he said.

Subject: Educating Girls
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:37:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/opinion/25sat2.html Educating Girls The wish list of the world's poorest families is long. They need to grow more crops and start more businesses. They need to have smaller families, healthier and better educated children and safer pregnancies and births. They need to fight AIDS and protect women and children from domestic violence. There is one program that will help achieve these goals and more: educating girls. When officials of the richest countries meet next month at the Group of 8 summit, they should strongly consider a large investment in schooling for girls. Worldwide, 58 million school-age girls are deprived of education. In rural Africa, about 70 percent of girls do not finish primary school. In some countries, a girl is 20 percent less likely to start school than her brother is. Girls benefit tremendously from education, and so do the societies around them. But, especially in rural or traditional societies, parents need daughters to help in the house. They are often afraid to send girls on unsafe walks to faraway schools. Perhaps most important, in many places girls become part of their husband's family when they marry, so parents of an educated girl do not reap the benefits of her higher income and skills. These cultures have a saying: educating your daughter is like watering your neighbor's garden. Since parents in many places must pay for school fees, books and uniforms, they often send only their boys. But countries have begun to notice that educating women provides amazing social benefits, from better health to a better economy. They have begun programs to encourage girls to start and stay in school. The most direct way is to make education cheaper - nations that have eliminated school fees have had their schools flooded with girls. In Uganda, attendance soared from 2.5 million to 6.5 million children, most of them girls, after fees were abolished in 1997. Other nations give cash payments or bags of wheat to families for attending school. In other places, building schools in each community so students can travel less is the solution. The Save the Children charity recently ranked Bolivia as the country that has made the most improvement in girls' education. In 1995, Bolivia instituted sweeping reforms, with special attention to rural girls. Families received cash incentives. Schools got more teachers who speak indigenous languages, and revamped schedules to provide vacations during harvests. Bolivia has since closed the gender gap and the number of students completing primary school rose to 78 percent from 10 percent. Three years ago, rich countries and organizations promised countries with similarly thoughtful and transparent plans that money would be no obstacle. Nearly 40 countries have such plans, but sadly, the money hasn't materialized. Since attracting girls means hiring more teachers, poor governments are unwilling to get started until they know they can rely on the money to pay salaries. Next month's meeting of the G-8 can fix this. Some $5 billion in new money a year is needed to help meet the goal of universal education. So far, the Bush administration has been resisting calls to commit more money to Africa. But Laura Bush is a passionate advocate of girls' education. She should convince her husband that there are few better bargains.

Subject: An Oil Exploration and Refining Puzzle
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 15:52:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
American oil producers are acting surprisingly as though price increases are too temporary to warrant meaningful investment in exploration or refining. Thus, I am wondering about the possibility of a different regulatory balance and investment incentives though investment incentives would appear absurd given current astonishing profitability.

Subject: Re: An Oil Exploration and Refining Puzzle
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 16:49:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
As Emma's post 'Life $ Energy after Enron' stated - there isn't much out their in expected exploration finds. This is something a number of geologists who have worked in the oil industry (one of them now a Princeton geologist who was featured in a NYT's article recently) have been saying. These geologists are telling us that all of the major oil fields to be found throughout the world are known and are being tapped. The field in the Alaskan wildlife reserve which may open by 2008 if they get going now won't actually make much difference in the overall global demand for oil out there. I have seen a number of reports by geologists from the oil industry and at universities that state we will see peak global oil production between now and 2010. I have yet to see a report by any geologist who refutes this although I have read statements by so called transportation experts and energy investment 'experts' who refute this. I don't know about others, but I'm paying more attention to the geologists who have run the numbers and have looked at the data. We each can make our own conclusions about the reasons why these other more removed 'experts' claim that oil is 'overpriced' and will eventually settle out at around $35-$40 per barrel. Certainly bullish outlooks for the stock markets are counting on cheaper oil or at least oil which does not go much higher. From what I'm reading I believe in 5 years or so we will probably look back at $60 per barrel as amazingly cheap oil. Without a doubt there is a very feverish scramble to lock up the rights to what is left of global oil. If oil companies believed there were any major oil deposits out there untapped and undiscovered they would be using plenty of their large profits to explore. The fact that they aren't is very revealing.

Subject: Reason to be Bullish
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 14:06:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The yield on the long term Treasury bond is 3.91%, while the dividend on the Vanguard Value Index is 2.45%. That means if capital gains on value stocks are 1.5% a year for the coming decade, an investor would be better served with stocks. Remember too that stocks are tax advantaged. Dividends are completely stable in a downward direction but will surely increase; capital gains on the index of less than 1% a year then would be enough for stocks to be the choice. There is reason to be bullish.

Subject: Shifting Gears, and Funds, Into Equities
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 13:51:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/25values.html Shifting Gears, and Funds, Into Equities By CONRADE de AENLLE ALAN GREENSPAN says he does not understand why yields on government bonds are so low. He is not alone. Market watchers who try to determine the relative valuations of stocks and bonds are puzzled, too. When they crunch the numbers, many find that with yields near the lowest point in more than a year, bonds are at one of their most overvalued extremes in decades. The discrepancy is compelling tactical allocators - fund managers who shift assets between equities and bonds to try to outperform more static balanced portfolios - to shovel money aggressively into stocks. There is little nuance in the way Mellon Capital Management has positioned the $40 billion it has in tactical asset allocation portfolios; it is 100 percent in equities, said Thomas F. Loeb, the firm's chief executive. Mr. Loeb, who also manages the Vanguard Asset Allocation fund, has been moving money in one direction, then back again, since 1973. He said he found this to be one of only seven occasions in which the stock market has been so cheap, relative to bonds. Several of the others were near the ends of bear markets - December 1974, May 1980, December 2002 - and all produced double-digit gains over the next 12 months, with an average return of 24.9 percent. Mr. Loeb is confident of a similar result this time. 'We expect quite a gain in equities,' he said. 'When pricing gets out of whack, as it is now, you get a windfall gain - if you're positioned correctly - when things snap back.' He does not care why valuations get out of whack, he added, only that they do. And he is not interested in picking the right securities, either. He loads up on futures contracts, liquid instruments that allow big stakes to be taken cheaply and quickly. Mellon's analysts value stocks using a formula that assigns a theoretical present value to all future corporate dividends, then they compare the result with the yield on corporate bonds, Mr. Loeb said. He noted - while declining to be specific - that other numbers are plugged in, mainly relating to accounting for risk. Mellon's method is a conceptual cousin of the so-called Fed model, which compares the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds with the earnings yield - the inverse of the price-earnings ratio - of the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. Using the Fed model, stocks are deemed undervalued when the earnings yield, calculated using analysts' estimates of operating earnings over the next 12 months, is above the bond yield. The reasoning is that it costs less to buy the same chunk of returns. Where does the Fed model - which, incidentally, has only a tenuous relationship with the Federal Reserve - say we stand now? With an estimated forward price-earnings ratio of about 15, the S.& P. 500's earnings yield is 6.7 percent, far greater than the 4.1 percent yield on the 10-year bond. By the reckoning of Thomson Financial, the stock market has been undervalued by 20 percent or more since late 2001 and is about 35 percent undervalued now. Contrast that with the spring of 2000, when the model showed stocks more than 70 percent overvalued - just about right, as it turned out. The Fed model and other allocation tools have their critics, who say earnings estimates do not always pan out, and sometimes they are off by a wide margin. Another drawback is that it is difficult to know, except in hindsight, how much at variance valuations can become. Before stocks become 70 percent overvalued, they are 40, 50, 60 percent overvalued. But investors who shift money too early - something Mr. Loeb concedes he does - can be secure that the day of reckoning for the overvalued market has only been postponed, not canceled. At least it has worked that way for 30-plus years. There is no way to be certain how asset allocation formulas will respond to rare events, like a threat to the financial system. Still, the Fed model probably would have yanked investors out of equities before the 1929 crash. While it probably would have moved them back in too early - stocks went from cheap to very cheap to ridiculously cheap before recovering in the mid-1930's - many investors broken by the crash waited a generation before trying stocks again. Investors could do worse than to employ a system that is easy to use, demands discipline, forces them to put fear and greed aside, and buy low and sell high.

Subject: Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Flight
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 11:27:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4811&u=17|29|... Ruby-crowned Kinglet in Flight New York City--Central Park--Wildflower Meadow.

Subject: Brazil to Copy AIDS Drug
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 11:22:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/health/25drug.html Brazil to Copy AIDS Drug Made by Abbott By TODD BENSON SÃO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil announced late Friday that it would start copying an AIDS drug made by the American pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories to provide a cheaper version for its AIDS treatment program, becoming the first country to break the patent of an antiretroviral medicine. The Brazilian government, which provides free AIDS treatment to all who need it, estimates that it will save about 130 million reais a year, or about $55 million, by making a generic version of the drug, called Kaletra. The government contends that it can make the drug for 68 cents a pill, almost half the $1.17 that it is paying Abbott for the medication. The country's health minister, Humberto Costa, said late Friday that the government decided to break the patent after Abbott refused to lower its price voluntarily or allow Brazil to make a cheaper version of the drug. Abbott, which is based in Abbott Park, Ill., now has 10 days to present a counteroffer before Brazil officially breaks the patent. If it does not, Mr. Costa said Brazil would pay the company a 3 percent royalty on the generic version of the drug, as required by the World Trade Organization. Abbott criticized the move, arguing that Brazil already receives the drug at the lowest price in the world outside of humanitarian programs in Africa. 'The Brazilian government does not have a legal basis to issue a compulsory license for Kaletra on the grounds of public interest or national emergency,' it said. Still, the company did not say how it would respond to Brazil's decision, saying only that it remained willing to work with the government to find a 'mutually agreeable solution.' The decision could strain relations between the left-leaning government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the Bush administration, which has been pressing Brazil in trade talks to step up its protection of intellectual property rights. Several members of Congress have already asked the United States trade representative, Rob Portman, to retaliate by applying trade sanctions. Brazil is also negotiating with two other pharmaceutical giants, Gilead Sciences and Merck, to get them to lower the price on two widely used antiretroviral drugs, Tenofovir and Efavirenz. Brazil already legally makes copycat versions of several AIDS drugs, and has successfully forced international pharmaceutical companies to lower prices in the past by threatening to break patents. But the government argues that the high cost of newer antiretroviral medicines like those made by Abbott threatens to jeopardize its widely praised AIDS program.

Subject: Teenagers and Their Plastic
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 11:21:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/25credit.html?pagewanted=all Teenagers and Their Plastic, the Rites of Passage By JENNIFER ALSEVER Teenagers are a fickle bunch: first they wanted credit cards of their own and now it seems they don't. That is not to say they avoid all plastic. These days, their wallets are full of other cards, including debit cards, which draw money from banking accounts, and a wealth of prepaid cards that store a certain cash value that can be tapped with a swipe of the card. Just 15 percent of teenagers surveyed this spring said that they were interested in obtaining a credit card in their own name, down from 34 percent surveyed in 2000, according to a survey of 2,000 teenagers conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, a market research firm in Northbrook, Ill. The portion who have credit cards in their name also declined, to 9 percent of teenagers from 11 percent in 2000. Children under the age of 18 cannot legally apply for their own credit cards, but parents can co-sign for them. The lack of enthusiasm may stem in part from these new forms of plastic as well as from the influx of financial planning classes geared toward youth and the well-publicized stories of college students drowning in debt, said Rob Callender, trends director for Teenage Research Unlimited. The average college undergraduate has $2,169 in credit card debt, according to a 2005 report by the student lender Nellie Mae. 'I wouldn't be surprised if this data shows they've learned from mistakes of the past and they aren't willing to make the same mistakes in the future,' Mr. Callender said. 'This group of teens has a great head on their shoulders. They're driven. They're motivated. They're savvy.' They are also experienced shoppers who wield increasing influence in America's discretionary spending. In 2004, the nation's 33 million teenagers, ages 12 to 19, accounted for $169 billion in spending - not including spending on their behalf or family purchases they may have influenced, according to Teenage Research Unlimited. Much of that money bought clothing, snacks, shoes, CD's, video games, MP3 players, computer equipment and cellphones. The spending has not gone unnoticed by card companies and banks. MasterCard has recently introduced a prepaid card called MyPlash, a reloadable debit card that can be stocked with a limited amount of cash. The card has pictures of music celebrities like Clay Aiken, appealing to young consumers. Visa also has prepaid cards, including a Hilary Duff Visa and the Visa Buxx card tailored to preteenagers. Card companies emphasize that the cards are not credit cards and so can better prepare youth for the day they sign up for their own credit card. 'It requires teens to live within a budget,' said Rhonda Bentz, spokeswoman for Visa USA in San Francisco. She said parents could limit spending and easily monitor where money goes, while still ensuring that their children have money when traveling or in case of emergencies. 'Doling out cash is more antiquated,' said Jenifer Lippincott of Weston, Mass., who automatically transfers weekly allowances into checking accounts for her two daughters, ages 14 and 16, who pay for most entertainment with their debit cards. Ms. Lippincott said the system required her children to keep track of their balances and left a neat audit trail of spending. And, given the current climate of repeated data corruption and fears of identity theft, she is happy her teenagers are opting for alternatives to credit cards. 'When I hear about these things, my immediate reaction is phew,' said Ms. Lippincott, who also wrote the book, 'Seven Things Your Teenager Won't Tell You (And How to Talk About Them Anyway)' published by Ballantine Books this year. 'With debit cards, you are really getting the best of both worlds. The teen can have the experience of having a credit card without the liability.' She said her 16-year-old, Anabel, got her debit card at age 15, and her youngest daughter, Tess, got her card even younger, at 13. Tess, now 14, said she liked her card because her money was always easily accessible for movies or eating out. Plus, she said, 'it makes me feel more grown up.' Not everyone views prepaid and debit cards for teenagers so positively. 'It's the last frontier for credit card companies trying to expand their markets,' said Jim Tehan, spokesman for Myvesta.org, a Rockville, Md., nonprofit consumer education organization. 'They're looking younger and younger because if they can get that first card in their hands, they're a customer for life.' A MasterCard spokeswoman, Barbara Coleman, disputed that assertion. 'We don't market to kids,' she said, adding that MYplash was aimed at fans of the celebrity pictured on the front of the card. Still, she said, parents could use the cards to teach children about managing finances. Critics, however, worry about teenagers developing bad habits, especially when it comes to accumulating debt. 'The money is just abstract,' said James A. Roberts, a marketing professor at Baylor University in Waco, Tex., who has spent 10 years studying credit card behavior. People who use credit cards tend to spend more, are less price-sensitive and overestimate their wealth, he said. For years, card companies have been criticized for aggressive pitches to college students and offers of free T-shirts and other perks for opening accounts. Some colleges banned card companies from campuses because of concern that students would pile up heavy debts. Ben Martin saw the college credit card problem firsthand, as media manager at the College of Saint Rose in Albany. He decided then that at his household, credit cards would be forbidden entirely. His two daughters, now 18 and 25, can qualify on their own for credit, but they still do not have cards. 'They needed to learn that money isn't ephemeral. It's real,' Mr. Marvin said. 'They needed to get the feel of money going into their hands and out of their hands. With credit cards, it's too easy.' Mr. Marvin's youngest daughter, Johanna, now a freshman at Butler University in Indianapolis, said she did not mind her parents' rule. 'I would not be responsible enough to handle it, knowing when to use it, when to not, paying the bills,' she said. 'I try to keep cash on me. You never know when you're going to need it.' Credit cards have not disappeared from teenage life entirely. At 15, Emily Merkel of Portland, Ore., was not old enough to drive a car, but she was charging clothes, dinners and online music to her own credit card, a birthday gift from her parents with few spending restrictions beyond the card's $1,000 limit. 'There aren't many rules, I guess,' said Ms. Merkel, now 16. 'Just don't spend money you don't have. Pay your bill every month.' Ms. Merkel sometimes keeps a note in her purse with her card balance, so she knows what she is spending. The monthly bill arrives addressed to her mother, who hands it to Ms. Merkel to pay with her allowance from a checking account. She said she was glad to have the early training before going off to college. She said that credit card payments were easy to make using the Internet. 'I have never overspent,' Ms. Merkel said. 'There are people I know who have abused a credit card. But I find it really helpful. I'm not a big cash person. If I have cash, I'm tempted to spend it.' And at some high schools, credit cards still remain cool. 'Having a credit card in high school was about proving yourself, your image,' said Jessie Evangelista of Cherrytown, N.Y., who obtained her own card in ninth grade as a reward for earning good grades. Now 19, she is a freshman at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt.

Subject: Following Markets
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:39:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Markets can seldom be predicted with any of the accuracy analysts like to regularly claim but there are patterns to markets that can help us prepare portfolios intelligently. What Vanguard and Morgan Stanley funds and indexes allow us to do is follow broad world markets and sectors, and look for patterns. Markets change in character with time, but historical patterns given us present confidence and help us identify what may come. I find these data sources superb.

Subject: Next Wave From China: Exporting Cars
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:17:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/worldbusiness/25honda.html?pagewanted=all Next Wave From China: Exporting Cars to the West By KEITH BRADSHER XINSHA, China - Honda Motor began loading cars onto a ship here on Friday for export to Europe in China's debut as a volume exporter of cars to the industrialized world. The shipment follows DaimlerChrysler's disclosure two months ago at the Shanghai Auto Show that it was negotiating to build a factory near Beijing to make small cars for export to North America. It comes at the end of a week when the Haier Group's bid for Maytag and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation's bid for Unocal have fed Western concerns about China's rapid economic rise. Automakers from around the globe, including General Motors, Ford Motor and Toyota Motor, are racing to build factories in China even as the rest of the world faces severe overcapacity in car manufacturing, raising the prospect that more factories may someday have to close in Western countries as Chinese exports grow. China's swift development has already alarmed leaders of the United Automobile Workers and other Western labor unions, who say their members cannot compete with workers earning $100 a month in coastal Chinese provinces and who would earn half that at auto factories being built in inland provinces. Following a path already blazed by Korea and Japan, China has built a large auto industry with increasingly high quality over the last decade while protecting its home market behind steep trade barriers. China still imposes a tariff of close to 30 percent on imported family vehicles, compared with American tariffs of 2.5 percent on imported cars, minivans and sport utility vehicles and 25 percent on pickup trucks. What distinguishes China from its Asian rivals, however, is that China decided much earlier in its automotive development to welcome multinational companies - although only through joint ventures with Chinese manufacturers, who are rapidly learning the latest manufacturing and engineering techniques from their partners. Particularly impressive, auto analysts said, has been the swift improvement in the quality of cars produced in China. Hironori Kanayama, president of the Honda subsidiary producing the cars here, exhorted employees at a ship-loading ceremony here to improve quality further. 'Our market is overseas,' he said. 'Our competitors are strong international automakers; we have to exceed them. Our only way out is to make products equal to or exceeding those made in Japan.' During a brief interview, Mr. Kanayama conceded that the quality of cars assembled here was slightly worse than that of identical models made in Japan, but said that the difference was quite small and narrowing. Honda tried to play up Friday's shipment for Chinese audiences without feeding fears overseas of China's economic might. Honda paid to fly in scores of Chinese journalists for the ceremony but did little to alert Western journalists, and only three showed up. Honda employees began driving 150 Jazz wagons onto the Panamanian-registered Liberty Ace on Friday at a dock on the outskirts of Guangzhou, 80 miles northwest of Hong Kong. The ship was already carrying 5,000 cars from manufacturers in Japan, and will carry all of the cars to Ghent, Belgium. The first batch of Chinese-built Jazzes will then be trucked to German showrooms. Chinese-made and Japanese-made Jazzes will be sold interchangeably and for the same price at Honda dealerships, first in Germany, then in Italy, and eventually across Europe as Honda tests customer reaction. Slightly smaller than a Civic, the Jazz is sold in Asia and Europe but not the United States, where the market for small cars is limited. Honda executives said they had no immediate plans to start building any larger models for export. The cars being exported were assembled at a new Honda factory here that was built just to supply the European market. By agreeing to export all the cars, Honda won the right to own 65 percent of the factory while its local partners own the rest. China has a 50 percent cap on foreign investment in car factories that supply the domestic market. During a short press tour of the factory on Friday, it was apparent that Honda had invested in robots where they were needed for quality and safety reasons, in the welding of the automobile bodies. But the factory otherwise relied heavily on manual labor, which is very cheap, with workers pushing carts bearing partly completed bodies and auto parts in places where a larger factory in a Western country would probably have a conveyor belt. At Honda's huge factory in Marysville, Ohio, nearby suppliers deliver seats and other parts to the assembly line every few minutes, minimizing the need to keep costly inventory on hand. But briefly visible during the press tour here was a large hall full of stacks of spare parts and a couple of hundred gray car seats wrapped in plastic. Honda is still importing many of the parts used here, as was evident from stacks of wooden boxes stamped 'Made in Japan' near the welding line. Atsuyoshi Hyogo, the chairman of the Honda subsidiary here, said the company was rapidly increasing its reliance on locally made parts. The world's biggest auto parts companies have all built factories in China and plan to build more, initially to supply the local market but increasingly to supply assembly plants in industrialized countries as well. The journey from the factory to the port captures the swift and continuing industrialization of China. Close to the factory, the road passes miles of banana plantations, together with rows of single-story concrete barracks with corrugated steel roofs for the workers. Farther along are huge factories producing concrete and other industrial materials, with workers in hard hats clambering over the rising steel skeletons of more factories not yet completed. The Liberty Ace had tied up between a modern dock, with the latest giant cranes using steel talons to load 40-foot steel containers onto a barge, and an aging bulk cargo dock, the cranes equipped with steel buckets for unloading coal, but standing idle and with some rust showing Friday afternoon. Chinese and multinational automakers in China already export, but until now these shipments have been made on an extremely small scale. A Ford joint venture in China ships 1,000 vans a year to the Philippines. A G.M. joint venture ships up to 2,000 very small cars to Southeast Asia. Purely domestic Chinese automakers are starting to export. Brilliance Automotive has announced plans to export up to 2,000 Zhonghua sedans to Germany later this year, and Chery is laying plans to try to start selling cars in the United States in 2007 or 2008. But Honda's effort is much greater: its factory here is scheduled to export 10,000 cars during the rest of this year and reach 50,000 a year within five years. Robert A. Lutz, G.M.'s vice chairman, predicted at the Shanghai Auto Show that Chinese manufacturers would learn to export in large quantities on their own. 'We're rapidly approaching that point - I wouldn't venture to say which one it will be,' he told several journalists, later adding, 'One or more Chinese brands exported to other regions of the globe and selling successfully I would describe as a sure thing in the next five years.'

Subject: Life in Energy, After Enron
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:14:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/25interview.html Life in Energy, After Enron By JAD MOUAWAD Bruce A. Williamson joined Dynegy as president and chief executive in 2002 at the worst possible time. The previous year, Dynegy, which is based in Houston, had scrapped plans to buy Enron, shortly before Enron sought bankruptcy protection. Mr. Williamson was brought in from Duke Energy to overhaul Dynegy, sell unprofitable assets and settle shareholder suits as well as government investigations. Dynegy recently hired Credit Suisse First Boston to find a buyer for its $3 billion natural gas transmission business. The next step may be a sale of what is left. During a recent visit to New York, he discussed the company's future. Following are excerpts from that conversation. Q. How is the sale of the natural gas business going? A. We're running a standard process - strategic alternatives is the euphemism for that. We are well along the process and we'll probably have a conclusion ... let's say the first week of July or the last week of June. Q. What's the selling point? A. When I joined Dynegy in October of '02 - I tease myself, when I was crazy enough to walk through the door - a lot of people focused on where the stock price was. It had fallen to less than $1. Our debt was trading at 20 cents on the dollar. If you owned the sovereign debt of Saddam Hussein right now, you'd get 20 cents on the dollar. Q. You're in good company! A. Today, almost all the debt is back at par. We had businesses in trading, in marketing, in broadband communications, in Europe, in communications as far as China. What we have done is very systematically sell those off, shut down offices and concentrate on the two businesses that looked like we had a competitive advantage. Q. There is speculation that NRG Energy was interested in buying Dynegy. Have they approached you? A. Well, we don't comment every time there's a speculation in the trade press. But NRG and Dynegy are partners in California. We have a 50-50 joint venture in all our California assets, so we talk a lot to each other and we have a good relation. Q. Do you think there will still be an independent Dynegy by the end of the year? A. We don't need to do anything. But now we can consider strategic opportunities. Now there are things we can do if they are right for our investors. Q. Do you have a timetable for that? A. No timetable, other than we think it's the right thing to do for the sector. Q. Being in Houston, four years after Enron, is the energy business regaining confidence? A. I guess your question is, broadly, the reaction to Enron? Q. Yes. What's the mood like? A. If you're in the oil upstream exploration and production, there's a lot of money coming in. The biggest concern the upstream companies have is where to go from there. What do they do with the money? They're running out of places they want to go to explore. The power merchants, and that includes ourselves and Reliant, El Paso, Calpine, Duke, are all recovering and have all been inwardly focused for the past two and a half years. I think broadly in the community in Houston, it goes in waves. Enron sort of dies down and then something rears its head up and washes it back in the news. The Enron movie came out at the River Oaks Theater, literally a few blocks from where Ken Lay lives, and that was quite an event. One person - a board member that I will keep nameless - told me he hadn't been to a movie like this since he was 12 and went to see 'Hopalong Cassidy.' Someone would come on the screen and people would boo and hiss and throw popcorn.

Subject: Running out of places
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 13:03:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'They're running out of places they want to go to explore.' Jimmy Carter was a President uniquely equipped to get us through the energy crisis which is developing. We are now heading down a road with a dead end.

Subject: Another Flaw is Found in Heart Units
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 10:13:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/25guidant.html?pagewanted=all Guidant Says Flaw Is Found in More Types of Heart Units By BARRY MEIER The Guidant Corporation, already under scrutiny for delaying disclosures about flawed products, urged doctors yesterday to stop implanting its most sophisticated heart devices because of a fault that might cause some of the 40,000 units already implanted not to work properly. The move could have significant financial consequences for Guidant because it affects, for now, sales of many of the company's heart devices in the fastest-growing part of the market: advanced defibrillators that also act as pacemakers for both sides of the heart. Yesterday, the company's stock fell $4.70, or 6.85 percent, to $63.90 as investors grew nervous over the fate of Johnson & Johnson's plan to acquire Guidant for $25.4 billion. Analysts said they thought Johnson & Johnson would probably cut that price. They also said the deal's planned closing in the third quarter of this year might be delayed. They added that the products involved in yesterday's move appeared to account for a substantial percentage of Guidant's defibrillator sales. Both Johnson & Johnson and Guidant had no comment and declined to make their top executives available for interviews. The flaw at issue in yesterday's announcement involves a magnetic switch that becomes stuck in the off position. For patients, the flaw poses less of a risk than some defects affecting other Guidant devices, doctors said. However, they said users would have to see physicians so they could disable the problem component. As proposed partners, Johnson & Johnson and Guidant have provided very different case studies of corporate responses to product problems. Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, N.J., withdrew all bottles of its pain reliever, Tylenol, from store shelves in 1982 after reports of product tampering. The company won praise at the time for its quick response. Guidant's problems began in late May, when it was disclosed that the company, based in Indianapolis, had not told doctors for three years that one type of its defibrillators had repeatedly failed because of an electrical defect. A defibrillator emits an electrical jolt that shocks a chaotically beating heart back into rhythm. Since then, the device maker has been buffeted by bad publicity because it has been forced to make repeated announcements about other device-related defects. Late last week, under pressure from the Food and Drug Administration, Guidant recalled 50,000 defibrillators, with thousands of them at risk of potentially short-circuiting just when needed to produce a life-saving shock. 'One thing that distinguishes this recall from others is the time gap from when it was discovered and when it was disclosed,' said Alexander Arrow, an industry analyst with Lazard. 'It points to a corporate response that looks inappropriate, so that it potentially has more staying power on the reputational level.' Yesterday's announcement by Guidant affects several models: the Contak Renewal 3; Contak Renewal 4; Contak Renewal 3 and 4 AVT; and the Renewal RF. The company said it had received four reports of flawed switches among the 40,000 units implanted. However, the financial impact on Guidant could be substantial, at least in the short term, because the affected models appear to involve many of the company's advanced defibrillators. The use of such devices, which cost about $25,000 each, is growing rapidly in part because Medicare has greatly increased the number of older patients for whom it will pay for such devices. The units are used in patients who are at risk of cardiac arrest and have other heart problems. Dr. Eric N. Prystowsky, a heart specialist at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis and a Guidant consultant, said company officials alerted him late Thursday about yesterday's announcement and told him they would pull back all affected units that had not been implanted, a number the company put at 6,000. As a result, he said, he would be using other companies' units for the moment. The company did not say how it planned to fix the problem, when it expected to do so or how it would fix units already implanted in patients. If a significant change must be made in the way units are made, the change could require F.D.A. approval before Guidant could make new units. Dr. Prystowsky said that until the problem was fixed, Guidant technicians might have to be on hand when patients were prepared for surgery so the technicians could deal with the affected magnetic switch. Guidant does not break out its sales by model types, but last year, defibrillator sales accounted for nearly 50 percent of its revenue of $3.8 billion. Analysts said they thought the types of models involved in yesterday's alert, which are known as cardiac resynchronization therapy, or C.R.T., devices, made up 40 percent to 50 percent of its defibrillator sales. C.R.T. devices are the fastest-growing part of the defibrillator market, which is expanding 20 percent annually. Guidant's heart device division was a major attraction to Johnson & Johnson, which wants to expand its presence in the device business. Joanne Wuensch, an industry analyst with Harris Nesbitt, said she believed that the financial effect of the latest alert on Guidant would be relatively short-lived. But she said she thought Johnson & Johnson would soon cut the price it was offering for Guidant. As it stands, that deal is valued at $76 a share to Guidant holders. 'We estimate it is going to be about $68 a share, or about 10 percent down,' she said. Mr. Arrow, the Lazard analyst, also downgraded Guidant on Monday. Johnson & Johnson did not respond to a request to interview its chief executive, William C. Weldon. Guidant declined a request to interview its chief executive, Ronald W. Dollens. Guidant also would not say what percentage of its defibrillator sales were affected by the faulty switch. While Guidant's shares sank yesterday, shares of its two rivals, Medtronic and St. Jude Medical, both rose, apparently in anticipation that their market share would increase, at least in the short term. A Guidant spokeswoman said the company was 'ramping up' manufacture of two other C.R.T. models, the Contak Renewal 1 and Contak Renewal 2. Dr. Prystowsky said he thought the company had moved quickly yesterday to halt implants of any further devices with the flawed switch, given the controversy after it did not alert doctors to an electrical flaw in one model. In that case, a college student who had been implanted with one of the flawed units died in March, three years after Guidant discovered and fixed the problem. 'They said we have heard everyone loud and clear,' he said. 'We are willing to take the economic hit.'

Subject: House Wren Feeding Mate
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 07:08:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5508&u=4|1|... House Wren Feeding Mate New York City--Central Park, Maintenance Field.

Subject: Bush energy policy to kill hermit thrush
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:59:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bush energy plan: Policy or payback? Houston is home to some Bush's biggest financial supporters By Greg Palast in Houston A new power plant every week for 20 years, new nukes, drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge - is this an energy policy, or a payback for President Bush's big campaign contributors? From the moment George W Bush announced he was running for president, $50m came in from Texas-based energy companies. But they are hundreds of millions of dollars better off from his time as governor of Texas - and because of decisions taken in the first months of his presidency. Worst polluter When it comes to pollution, Texas is champ, the number one state in emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals. A visit to the city of Houston is enough to confirm that status. A 24 km (15 mile) wide forest of smokestacks stands on the edge of Houston, a place famous for pumping out pollution, profits and the political donations which put George Bush into the White House. Power traders are accused of profiteering during the California energy crisis There a mile long cloud of black smoke, with flames 60 metres (200 ft) high erupts out of a Houston cracking plant as a ruined batch of ethylene and other toxic chemicals is burned off after a hydrogen line snapped. Such accidents are common on this side of Houston, where poisonous smoke rains on local neighbourhoods. And it is not just visible emissions locals have to worry about. Suspicions aroused LaNell Anderson lived in the shadow of the Houston smoke stacks - her mother and father both died young, victims of bone cancer and lung disease, which made Ms Anderson suspicious. She started taking air samples after an ethylene leak caused the local high school running team to collapse on the track. Lab analysis of her bucket samples has found carcinogens in the air that are way above legal limits. She has since found that local cancer cases are twice the normal rate. Against regulations Driving around the area it is possible to smell hydrogen sulphide in the air, a contravention of regulations. 'They're not supposed to be releasing anything, these are outside chemical impacts, that's not supposed to happen its supposed to stop at the fence,' she says. So how do the polluters get away with it? Ms Anderson has her own theory about 'vending machine governance, where the lobbyists put the money in and out comes slacker regulation.' Centre for petrochemicals Texas is the centre of America's petrochemical industry - home to the nation's biggest refinery, Exxon's plant in Baytown. Mr Bush is axing funding for anti-pollution enforcement Ms Anderson has Exxon in her sights, 'they're the largest emitter in Harris County and they have the worst attitude of any corporation I've ever witnessed,' she said. Exxon would not accept her assessment and neither would George W Bush. As Texas governor, Mr Bush quietly set up a committee led by Exxon, with other big oil and chemical companies, to advise him what to do about the state's deadly air pollution. Regulators wanted compulsory cuts in emissions of up to 50% - this 'secret' committee instead proposed making the cuts voluntary. Mr Bush duly steered the polluters plan through the state legislature. Huge donations Texas anti-corruption law made it illegal to donate money to Mr Bush as governor whilst such legislation was under consideration. But that month, Mr Bush declared for his candidacy for president - making the $150,000 donated by committee members and their representatives completely legal. The bill passed and pollution did go down - by just 3% - saving the companies hundreds of millions of dollars compared to the compulsory cut. And there has been a bonus for chemical industry donors since Mr Bush became president. The BBC's Newsnight programme learnt he is quietly restricting public access to estimates of the number of people who will burn or die in the event of a catastrophic explosion near these plants. Biggest funders A walk through downtown Houston takes you past the headquarters of some of Mr Bush's biggest campaign fund donors. The El Paso Corporation, which gave $750,000 to the Republican campaign, is now under investigation for manipulating the California power market. Other big contributors include Dynegy, which gave $300,000 and Reliant, which gave $600,000. And the Enron Corporation, America's number one power trading company, has given more money than any other to Mr Bush's political campaigns. William S Farish, president of W S Farish and Co, gave $140,000. Mr Bush subsequently made him ambassador to Great Britain. Under investigation Investigations are proceeding into profiteering by power traders during the California energy crisis and blackouts. Biggest industry donators to Bush campaign Enron $1.8m Exxon $1.2m Koch Industries $970,000 Southern $900,000 BP Amoco $800,000 El Paso Energy $787,000 Chevron Oil Corp $780,000 Reliant Energy $642,000 Texas Utilities $635,000 The state of California has accused the El Paso Corporation and Dynegy of deliberately restricting the flow of natural gas through the pipeline from Texas creating an artificial shortage which caused prices to go up ten-fold. President Clinton ordered an end to speculation in energy prices in California, which bit into the profits of El Paso, Reliant, Enron and Dynegy. Between them the four companies gave $3.5m to Mr Bush and the Republicans. Three days after his inauguration Mr Bush swept away Mr Clinton's anti-speculation orders. Profits for these four power traders are now up $220m in the first quarter. And protection against pollution is set to weaken further, the BBC's Newsnight programme has discovered that deep in Mr Bush's new budget, the million-dollar fund for civil enforcement to deter pollution will be axed. In the future law enforcement will be left to locals.

Subject: Energy Policy
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 07:12:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you for these important articles. I read each several times. You know much about the energy field, and I am learning from you.

Subject: Above article from BBC
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:01:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Our last energy policy
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:24:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Published on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 by CommonDreams.org Carter Tried To Stop Bush's Energy Disasters - 28 Years Ago by Thom Hartmann In his recent news conference, George Bush Jr. suggested that our nation's 'problem' with high gasoline prices was caused by the lack of a national energy policy, and tried to blame it all on Bill Clinton. First, Junior said, 'This is a problem that's been a long time in coming. We haven't had an energy policy in this country.' This was followed by, 'That's exactly what I've been saying to the American people -- 10 years ago if we'd had an energy strategy, we would be able to diversify away from foreign dependence. And -- but we haven't done that. And now we find ourselves in the fix we're in.' As is so often the case, Bush was lying. Consider President Jimmy Carter's April 18, 1977 speech. Since it was given nearly three decades ago, when many of the reporters in Bush's White House were children, it's understandable that they don't remember it. But it's inexcusable that Bush and the mainstream media (which, after all, has the ability to do research) would completely ignore it. It was the speech that established the strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the modern solar power industry, led to the insulation of millions of American homes, and established America's first national energy policy. 'With the exception of preventing war,' said Jimmy Carter, a man of peace, 'this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes.' He added: 'It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century. 'We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren. 'We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.' Carter bluntly pointed out that: 'The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation.' He called the new energy policy he was proposing, '[T]he 'moral equivalent of war' -- except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.' When Carter had become president three months earlier, the nation was still recovering from the 'oil shock' of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, and scientists were realizing our nation was just then hitting the point of domestic peak oil production predicted more than a decade earlier by scientist M. King Hubbert. (The rest of the world is hitting the Hubbert Peak right now.) As Carter noted in his speech, 'The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last five years. Our nation's independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained.' Hubbert had predicted that the peak of oil production for the USA would come in the 1970s, and it did, hitting us with a shock. 'The world has not prepared for the future,' said Jimmy Carter. 'During the 1950s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940s. During the 1960s, we used twice as much as during the 1950s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of mankind's previous history.' Hubbert said we must begin to conserve. Carter agreed. 'Ours is the most wasteful nation on earth,' he said, a point that is still true. 'We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden.' Carter directly challenged the fossil fuel and automobile industries. 'One choice,' he said, 'is to continue doing what we have been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years. 'Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would continue to carry only one person -- the driver -- while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our houses, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste. 'We can continue using scarce oil and natural gas to generate electricity, and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process.' But that would be unpatriotic, anti-American, and essentially wrong. Who but a traitor sold out to special interests, or an idiot, would countenance such insanity? The year 1977 was a turning point for America. If we didn't make clear and rapid progress, we would face painful times ahead. The Saudis would have their fingers around our necks. We'd face war in the Middle East to secure future oil supplies. 'Now we have a choice,' Carter said. 'But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs.' Failure to act in the 1970s and 1980s would inevitably lead to a time when the only way to maintain our lifestyle would be to rape our planet and seize control of oil-rich nations in the Middle East. If we didn't begin to develop alternatives like solar power, and dramatically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, then, Carter said, even our cherished personal freedoms would be at risk. If we continued to simply follow past policies that enriched the oil industry and the Saudis, instead of becoming energy independent, Carter said, 'We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment.' If we failed to develop alternative sources of renewable energy and conserve what we have, the alternative could be nasty. As Carter pointed out: 'We will have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip-mine and burn more coal, and drill more offshore wells than we will need if we begin to conserve now. Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country. 'If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions.' Carter's speech drew a strong reaction from the Saudis and the oil industry. Think tanks soon emerged - many whose names are today familiar - to suggest there was really no energy problem, and they led the charge to establish a permanent right-wing media in the US. Within two years, Saudi citizen and oil baron Salem bin Laden's sole US representative, James Bath, would funnel cash into the failing business of the son of the CIA's former director, political up-and-comer George H. W. Bush. With that money from the representative of Osama Bin Laden's half-brother, George Bush Jr. was able to keep afloat his Arbusto ('shrub' in Spanish) Oil Company. And he would be in the pocket of the bin Laden and Saudi interests for the rest of his life. But Carter was incorruptible. 'We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly,' he said. 'They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.' But that would be wrong. It would be un-American. It would lead to future oil shocks, and the probable death of American soldiers in Middle Eastern oil wars. Instead of caving in to the Saudis and the oil industry, Carter said: 'There should be only one test for this program: whether it will help our country.' Two years later, as the bin Laden family's sole US representative was bailing out George Bush Junior's failing oil business, Jimmy Carter gave another speech on energy, further refining his national energy policy. He had already started the national strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the gasohol and solar power industries, and helped insulate millions of homes and offices. But he wanted to go a step further. 'I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States,' Carter said on July 15, 1979. 'Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s...' In addition, we needed to immediately begin to develop a long-range strategy to move beyond fossil fuel. Therefore, Carter said, 'I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.' But then came the Iran/Contra October Surprise, when the Reagan/Bush campaign allegedly promised the oil-rich mullahs of Iran that they'd sell them missiles and other weapons if only they'd keep our hostages until after the 1980 Carter/Reagan presidential election campaign was over. The result was that Carter, who had been leading in the polls over Reagan/Bush, steadily dropped in popularity as the hostage crisis dragged out, and lost the election. The hostages were released the very minute that Reagan put his hand on the Bible to take his oath of office. The hostages freed, the Reagan/Bush administration quickly began illegally delivering missiles to Iran. And Ronald Reagan's first official acts of office included removing Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the roof of the White House, and reversing most of Carter's conservation and alternative energy policies. Today, despite the best efforts of the Bushies, the bin Ladens, and the rest of the oil industry, Carter's few surviving initiatives have borne fruit. It is now more economical to build power generating stations using wind than using coal, oil, gas, or nuclear. When amortized over the life of a typical mortgage, installing solar power in a house in most parts of the US is cheaper than drawing power from the grid. (Shell and British Petroleum are among the world's largest manufacturers of solar photovoltaic panels, which can now even be used as roofing shingles.) And hybrid cars that get 50-70 miles to the gallon are increasingly commonplace on our nation's highways. Instead of taking a strong stand to make America energy independent, Bush kisses a Saudi crown prince, then holds hands with him as they walk into Bush's hobby ranch in Texas. Our young men and women are daily dying in Iraq - a country with the world's second largest store of underground oil. And we live in fear that another 15 Saudis may hijack more planes to fly into our nation's capitol or into nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, Bush brings us an energy bill that includes eight billion dollars in welfare payments to the oil business, just as the nation's oil companies report the highest profits in the entire history of the industry. Americans struggle to pay for gasoline, while the Bush administration refuses to increase fleet efficiency standards, stop the $100,000 tax break for buying Hummers, or maintain and build Amtrak. George Bush Jr. is arguably right that gas prices are spiking because we don't have an energy policy. But instead of blaming Clinton, he should be pointing to the Reagan/Bush administration, and to his own abysmal failures over the past four years. Thom Hartmann's bestselling book on peak oil is titled 'The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, published by Random House/Three Rivers Press. His articles archive is at www.thomhartmann.com/commondreams.shtml.

Subject: Blowing smoke
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:41:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From Business Week: Bush Is Blowing Smoke on Energy Hitting all the points in a noted GOP pollster's playbook, the President's plan is driven by politics not policy. Worse, it won't cut oil dependency • Oil: Small Biz Takes a Big Hit On Apr. 27, President Bush made an impassioned plea for an energy plan that would wean the U.S. from imported fuels. 'Our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the American people,' he declared in a speech to a gathering of small-business owners and entrepreneurs in Washington. What the country needs is 'a national strategy,' Bush said. 'And the most important component of our strategy is to recognize the transformational power of technology. By harnessing the power of technology, we're going to be able to grow our economy, protect our environment, and achieve greater energy independence.' Powerful sentiments, indeed. But the words are largely hollow. Sadly, the plan Bush proposed would do little to increase existing supplies of oil, gas, or electricity, or decrease domestic demand for energy -- the two steps that would really make a difference. Charges Frank O'Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch, a Washington-based environmental group: 'The new Presidential energy plan seems mainly to be a public-relations stunt aimed at trying to reverse some of the latest polls, which show a growing public discontent with high gas prices -- and the President.' LOW PRIORITY. Of course, environmentalists such as O'Donnell can usually be counted on to bash GOP policies. But in this case the criticism is deserved. Plenty of evidence indicates that the White House's sudden interest in energy policy is driven far more by politics than substantive policymaking. To understand why, recall the last Presidential election. Democratic candidate John Kerry struck a nerve when he called for reducing American dependence on Middle Eastern oil, saying that 'we should rely in American ingenuity and not the Saudi Royal family.' Yet, Kerry failed to turn energy into a significant policy issue in the race. And the White House learned a lesson: You can score political points by talking about energy policy -- without ever needing to follow through. It has been widely reported that Vice-President Dick Cheney privately told top Washington energy-policy wonks after the 2004 election that the Administration would put the issue low on its priority list for 2005. 'RETAKE THIS ISSUE.' That was before oil prices soared, however, and the Republicans started taking a beating, as higher gasoline and home-heating costs made Americans angry and anxious. President Bush's approval ratings dropped, and GOP strategists cited rising fuel costs as the primary rub. In a strongly worded report to his party in late winter, Republican pollster Frank Luntz warned: 'Right now, the Democrats are exhibiting perfect pitch when it come to their energy message.... You need to retake this issue now before the next spike at the pump and before the next surge in our home-heating bills.' Luntz recommended that Republicans hammer hard on four themes: energy independence, national security, the power of innovation and new technology, and the importance of balancing new supplies with conservation. 'The energy debate is ripe for partisan picking,' he wrote. 'Americans loathe the idea of being reliant on the Middle East for our energy needs -- and they were waiting for someone to tell them so.' LAUNDRY LIST. Kerry's remark about not relying on the Saudis was his 'single best line at the convention, and it continues to resonate even today,' Luntz observed. And in a recent interview with BusinessWeek, Luntz added that if the Administration 'stays silent [on energy], it loses.' Luntz's memo is a powerful political document, and the White House took his advice to heart. On Mar. 9, Bush gave a speech hitting all of Luntz's themes. The President called for new technology to reduce America's dependence on imported oil and to increase conservation, and, along the way, to boost national security. Then in his Apr. 27 speech, he repeated the grand ideals -- and offered concrete initiatives. 'For the sake of this country, for the sake of a growing economy, and for the sake of national security, we've got to do what it takes to expand our independence,' the President said. Here's what Bush offered as policies needed to meet this ambitious goal: • Provide federal risk insurance for nuclear plant builders, so that they don't bear the costs of delays in licensing new plants. • Encourage building of new refineries on closed military bases and ease regulatory 'burdens' to speed construction. • Drill for more oil and gas at home, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). • Spend $1.7 billion over five years to develop hydrogen-powered cars. • Expand the tax credits for hybrid cars to clean-diesel vehicles as well. • Give the feds more power to site new liquefied natural gas terminals (LNG). • Promote clean coal and nuclear power around the world. Nothing is wrong with any of these ideas, although there's widespread -- and legitimate -- opposition to drilling in the ANWR. Even many environmental groups now reluctantly agree that clean-coal plants and advanced nuclear reactors are part of the solution to tomorrow's energy problems. Additional refining capacity would prevent the spot shortages that, in the past, have sent gasoline prices soaring in parts of the country. REALITY AVOIDANCE. More LNG ports would bring additional natural gas to the nation. Clean-diesel cars would increase the average mileage of America's cars. And if anyone ever figures out how to actually produce enough hydrogen, fuel-cell cars do offer advantages. But while the speech's rhetoric was lofty and inspiring, the President's proposals don't match up with the problems they purport to solve. They carefully avoid the politically difficult steps that actually would take America farther down the path of energy independence. Take nuclear power. Safer new designs promise a reliable, relatively inexpensive source of electricity that doesn't contribute to global warming. But potential licensing delays aren't the big hurdle. In fact, the industry is already preparing applications seeking approval for new designs, so that when a good business case for new plants exists, utilities will be ready to go. MORE MILEAGE NEEDED. A much bigger problem: not having a place to put the radioactive waste. 'We won't have a new generation of nuclear plants unless the government keeps its 50-year old promise of waste disposal,' said John W. Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon (EXC ), a major nuclear utility, in a recent speech. But the waste issue is a political hot potato, so Bush steered clear of it. The truth is, what he did propose will do little to spur the development of new nuclear plants. Similarly, Bush avoided the politically difficult -- but crucial -- steps on all the other issues, too. For example, energy experts agree the single-most effective way to cut oil dependency is to make cars and trucks -- which account for more than 60% of America's oil consumption -- more fuel-efficient. 'You have to start with higher miles per gallon,' says Robert E. Ebel, chairman of the energy program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington (D.C.) think tank. That means mandating higher fuel economy standards or taking similar politically courageous steps. Extending tax credits for diesel cars is mere tinkering around the edges. And hydrogen-powered fuel-cell cars are largely a pipedream for now. FOLLOWING A SCRIPT? Want to take a real step to prevent gasoline shortages and keep a lid on energy prices? Easing regulations on refineries may sound good. But the Administration could make things truly easier for refineries by requiring that the nation use just one blend of fuel, instead of the current dozens that various states require. Of course, that wouldn't be a hit in many of the red states, which currently don't use the cleanest-burning fuels. It would be a bold step that would make a real difference, however. Want to increase supplies of oil and gas? Instead of drilling in the ANWR or adding a few LNG ports, Bush could open up areas like the Gulf coast of Florida or the Rocky Mountains, which has a 60-year supply of natural gas, to exploration and drilling. But that wouldn't be popular in Florida, where his brother Jeb is governor, or in some of the Western states that are strong Bush country. The President's failure to propose any meaningful solutions, while claiming to 'do the right thing for America' makes it hard not to conclude that the Administration's main goal is not energy independence, but rather improving its standing the polls. Indeed, what's most striking about Bush's Apr. 27 speech is how closely it follows the script written by Luntz earlier this year. A few examples: • The pollster recommended emphasizing that the nation's energy problem 'has been years in the making, and it will take years to solve.' On Apr. 27, Bush said: 'This problem did not develop overnight, and it's not going to be fixed overnight.' • Luntz wrote that in advocating drilling in the ANWR, the Administration should say that 'using modern techniques, only a very small area will actually be impacted by the development.' In his speech, Bush echoed that, saying: 'Because of the advances in technology, we can reach the oil deposits with almost no impact on land or local wildlife.' • The pollster stressed that Republicans should have a positive message, appealing 'to American ideals of invention and innovation' and tapping 'into feelings of American exceptionalism and ingenuity to seal the deal with the swing voters.' Any surprise, then, that Bush emphasized in his address that 'technology has radically changed the way we live and work'? He added: 'Our country is on the doorstep of incredible technological advances that will make energy more abundant and more affordable for our citizens.' Stirring words. Americans can only hope the President is right. But the goals of energy efficiency and independence won't be spurred by anything this Administration is currently proposing.

Subject: Hermit Thrush
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:10:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3798&u=85|254|... Hermit Thrush New York City--Central Park, Azalea Pond.

Subject: Vanguard Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:41:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship3.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Returns 12/31/04 to 6/24/05 S&P Index is -0.9 Large Cap Growth Index is -1.6 Large Cap Value Index is 1.3 Mid Cap Index is 2.9 Small Cap Index is -0.7 Small Cap Value Index is 0.2 Europe Index is -0.7 Pacific Index is -2.9 Energy is 23.0 Health Care is 5.3 REIT Index is 5.3 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 0.6 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 7.6

Subject: Market Patterns
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 08:47:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Studying market patterns even a little teaches us how to invest with considerable success. Bullish or bearish, the idea is to save and invest for the future and that is what I do. Knowing Vanguard has helped my family and me wonderfully, so I study Vanguard returns.

Subject: Re: Huh?
From: Pancho Villa
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:48:13 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
What do all these numbers mean?

Subject: Re: Huh?
From: Terri
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:55:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
They give a quick glance at how the markets have fared so far, Pancho. They tell us what to expect to an extent, but especially how to read the economy more clearly. I find them especially useful, as all your articles are useful and appreciated. We are passing through a difficult period to understand economically. Thanks, Pancho.

Subject: Re: Huh?
From: Pancho Villa
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:19:34 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Dear Terry, Whom do you trust more? a) Humans that make and have the ability to'plastify' 'numbers' or b) (in a very simplified manner) 'numbers'?

Subject: Re: Huh I?
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:52:28 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
But first af all, what is the 'essence' of all the 'numbers'?

Subject: Re: Huh I?
From: Terri
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:56:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The numbers are as snapshots, though a little more cloudy in telling us what has happened.

Subject: Re: Huh I?
From: Pancho Villa
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:28:41 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Who made the snapshots? (Because there obvisously has to be someone behind the camera, right?)

Subject: Re: Huh I?
From: Terri
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 06:59:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Vanguard sets out a history of market performance for us that is easy to access and can be clearly understood. Morgan Stanley also presents a history of market performance that is useful. I read the New York Times and gain many ideas on the global economy and on specific sectors and companies. This has helped my family and me invest through the years with lovely results.

Subject: My house, my rules, my business?
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:05:39 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
China's currency is its own business SAMUEL BRITTA(I)N Western statesmen have every duty to remind Chinese leaders of their still appalling human rights record - from the Tiananmen Square massacre to the occupation of Tibet and the continued veneration of Chairman Mao, who has been exposed as a killer on the level of Hitler and Stalin. Unfortunately, they have gone quiet on these issues and have instead lectured the Chinese on the need to revalue the renminbi. It is not as if China were making a mess of its economy. On the contrary, it has a higher growth rate than any country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. And, far from appealing for handouts from the west, it is one of the main sources of the financial inflows sustaining the US economy. My 'hands off the renminbi' view rests on general political economy grounds. Chinese economic policymakers may or may not be right in pegging their currency against the dollar and accumulating massive reserves. Some China watchers can find technical grounds to justify it, while others regard it as a diversion of resources that should be used to boost the living standards of ordinary Chinese. There is, in fact, a strong general case for allowing major currencies to float. But until the Chinese feel ready for this leap into freedom, any currency change would probably do more harm than good. There is a high chance that a moderate increase in the renminbi parity would sooner or later be felt to be inadequate; and if the markets had seen the renminbi soar once they would know that it could soar again. A compromise sometimes suggested is a widening of the margins around the present or a new parity. This would not help if the margins were modest. For it would not take long for the market rates to come up against the ceiling or floor. But if the margins were extremely wide - like the 15 per cent on either side that surrounds the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which theoretically still exists - the system would be a farce. The history of the international currency system since the breakdown of Bretton Woods, when US President Richard Nixon severed the dollar's link with gold in 1971, provides a mine of evidence. After a period of unwilling floating, the main western countries tried to rebuild a system of 'fixed but adjustable' exchange rates in the Smithsonian Agreement of 1973. But it did not take long before the dykes fell in, following another shift of sentiment against the dollar. Since then, critics of US policy have switched between arguing that the dollar is too strong and too weak -and indeed it has shown large fluctuations. What the critics have not discussed is whether the movement of the dollar has been a safety valve that prevented far worse ills from besetting the world economy. The view that the dollar was too high led to the Plaza Accord of 1985, which was associated with a fall in the US currency. Whether this was due to the Plaza or the continuation of a trend, is still disputed by monetary historians. In any case, within a year and a half the worry changed to one that the dollar was falling too much and the Louvre Accord tried to shore it up. Around that time we saw the rebirth of schemes for target exchange rates with wider margins and easier parity revisions. But these were all swept away, following the Wall Street crash of 1987 and subsequent bickering among the summit countries. The currency crises that affected sterling in its period inside the ERM, and the euro strains now apparent, should be a caution about setting up another fixed rate system. The renminbi issue is one aspect of the imbalances that are claimed to exist in the world economy. There is an international surplus of attempted savings that accounts for the supposed 'puzzle' of low long-term bond rates. But within this overall savings glut, the English speaking countries, and especially the US and UK, save very little by historical standards, while east Asian countries and perhaps the eurozone save too much. A resolution of these imbalances would involve currency changes but who knows what they should be? Who would have thought that the British economy would have prospered for so long with a rate for sterling regarded as too high by most currency economists? If the savings behaviour at the root of these imbalances were to change, the currency corrections would take care of themselves. But if a partial stab were attempted - for instance, a move by the US and the UK alone to increase savings - then the results would all too likely be a depressive influence in the world economy too severe to be handled by bond rate changes. Meanwhile, the Chinese should be left to continue liberalising their financial system until they feel able to float the currency. www.samuelbrittan.co.uk

Subject: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart '
From: Pancho Villa alias 'inXS'
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:33:57 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE Greenspan and Snow warn on China trade bars By Andrew Balls and Scott Heiser in Washington Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, and John Snow, Treasury secretary, yesterday warned Congress against erecting barriers to trade with China, saying this would do nothing to help US manufacturers but would hurt US consumers. Imposing a tariff on Chinese imports would simply mean that the US imported the same goods from other low-cost economies in Asia and elsewhere, Mr Greenspan said. 'Few, if any, American jobs would be protected,' he told the Senate finance committee. But, he said, tariffs would raise the overall cost of goods for US households and risked setting off protectionist reactions abroad. 'A return to protectionism would threaten the continuation of much of the extraordinary growth in living standards worldwide, but especially in the United States, that is due importantly to the post-world war two opening of global markets,' he said. Policy should instead aim to help people who lost jobs in declining US industries, through retraining and unemployment insurance. Mr Greenspan and Mr Snow, the US government's top economic policymakers, appeared at a combative session of the committee, at which lawmakers from both parties expressed frustration at China's failure to adjust its currency and at what they said was the administration's inaction. Senators cited complaints from US manufacturers about the currency peg, as well as concern about China's poor enforcement of intellectual property rights. Mr Greenspan and Mr Snow both said greater currency flexibility was in China's own interests, to allow it to use monetary policy to manage its economy rather than keep the peg. The Treasury has privately told Beijing it must revalue its currency by at least 10 per cent, to help the administration resist Congress's demands for tariffs. Mr Snow repeated the administration's call for an immediate revaluation, as part of a global effort to reduce trade imbalances that would require other Asian economies to allow their currencies to rise against the dollar. 'I cannot overstate my firm belief that resorting to isolationist trade policies would be ineffective, disruptive to markets and damaging to America's special role as the world's leading advocate for open markets and fair trade,' he said. Mr Greenspan said the focus on the US's bilateral trade deficit with China was wrong-headed. 'Some observers mistakenly believe that a marked increase in the exchange value of the Chinese renmiribi relative to the US dollar would significantly increase manufacturing activity and jobs in the United States,' he said. 'I am aware of no credible evidence that supports such a conclusion.'

Subject: Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart '
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa alias 'inXS'
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:35:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I have been very critical of our present fed chairman, but in this regard (tariffs on Chinese goods) he is right on. Can't imagine any fed chairman who wouldn't see it this way. However, kudo's to Kerry for hammering Greenspan for his support for Bush's tax cuts and fiscal policies.

Subject: Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart '
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:01:15 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
My dearest Pete, 'However, kudo's to Kerry for hammering Greenspan for his support for Bush's tax cuts and fiscal policies.' May say is 'No comment'? (He, he)

Subject: Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart '
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 00:44:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
No. Just an unrelated observation.

Subject: Re: Yes Alan...'Never tears us apart '
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 21:07:38 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Sorry to have forgotten the 'I' between the 'may' and 'say'

Subject: Vanguard Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:14:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship3.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Indexes 12/31/04 - 6/24/05 Energy 22.5 Financials -2.4 Health Care 4.3 Info Tech -5.5 Materials -7.5 REITs 5.3 Telecoms -3.3 Utilities 12.5

Subject: Poland's Plea to Europe: Get Along
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 14:29:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/international/europe/24poland.html?pagewanted=all Poland's Plea to Europe: Can We All Get Along? By RICHARD BERNSTEIN WARSAW - The quip making the rounds of Warsaw in these days of European crisis is that joining the European Union was good for Poland, but it does not seem to have been very good for the European Union. Indeed, Poland has become a symbol of the risks that many in the richer countries to the west of here believe to be posed by an ever bigger and more integrated Europe - Polish plumbers driving down wages, a ruthlessly competitive Europe stripped of its social welfare benefits. Poland in this sense falls on one side of a new European divide, between the rich countries beginning to see an ever-expanding Europe as a danger to their well-being and still enthusiastic poorer countries wondering if the club they were invited to join is still willing to live up to its vision. 'The unification of Europe still faces the challenge of a kind of Rio Grande, between rich and poor countries, and if we want to build a unified Europe, we have to get rid of that border,' said Bronislaw Geremek, a former Polish foreign minister who is now a member of the European Parliament. He said he was astonished that the richer countries would be so avidly pinching pennies just at the time that eight poorer new members have joined the club. As if to demonstrate the country's European commitment, the Polish press has widely reported an 11th-hour effort to save the failed Brussels summit meeting a week ago. Prime Minister Marek Belka, who was soon joined by the seven other former East Bloc members, offered to cut some of Poland's subsidies in exchange for an overall budget agreement, an effort that was rejected by the British and the French. 'It was very embarrassing for them,' Poland's current foreign minister, Adam Daniel Rotfeld, said in an interview, meaning the countries whose arguments about money caused the collapse of the summit. 'Suddenly they realized that the new countries are much more attached to the E.U.'s values than the old founders of the E.U.' 'For Poland, political union and the very existence of the E.U. as a new political entity is more important than money,' Mr. Rotfeld said. From the point of view of the Poles, the rich countries have engaged in a narrow-minded, defeatist act of national selfishness, and they have done so just when the European Union's enlargement to 25 members last year promised to complete the revolution that began with the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1991. 'National egoism won,' President Aleksander Kwasniewski said in the wake of the collapse of the Brussels summit meeting. To be sure, Poland has many practical reasons to like the European Union, which gives the nation status, infrastructure investment funds and agricultural subsidies - though lower than those received by the older members. That does not mean that the union is universally popular. Critics include right-wing populist parties that portray the organization as sapping Polish independence and eroding its identity. The mayor of Warsaw, Lech Kaczynski, who is a leading candidate for president, echoed some of the arguments made by French and Dutch voters against the European constitution, contending that it would bring about what he has called 'de facto liquidation of national states.' Still, polls showed 70 percent of Poles in favor of the constitution and strong majorities generally favoring the European project. With their long history of wars, division and conquest from outside, Poles have come to see European Union membership as a kind of guarantee of national security. In many ways the Polish attitude shows how much this country has embraced Europe since formally becoming a member of the European Union a bit more than a year ago. Earlier than that, voting in a national referendum, the Poles came within a whisker of rejecting membership altogether. Polish farmers, who are about 30 percent of the population, were worried that they would not be able to compete with more modern farms in the West whose products would be able to enter the Polish market duty-free, and they were upset that the agricultural subsidies they would receive would start out at only 25 percent of those given to farmers in the West, with parity to be achieved only after a decade. But as things have turned out, Polish farm exports have risen nearly 40 percent in the first year of membership even as Polish business has proved competitive in general. The Polish growth rate in 2004 was 5.3 percent, one of the highest in the European Union, according to the Polish Central Statistical Office. A year after membership, the Poles have not forgotten that after 50 years of Soviet domination, the main promise of their revolution of 1989, which was the first major blow in the collapse of the Soviet Union, was to re-establish the country's historic identity as a part of Europe. A major event in this sense was the prominent role Poland played in the democratic revolution in Ukraine half a year ago. 'Imposing a European interest in Ukraine was a great success of Polish foreign policy,' said Aleksander Smolar, president of the Batory Foundation, a private group that promotes democratic development in Eastern Europe. 'That represented a change of the perception that Ukraine was an internal affair of Russia. Poland from right to left was very proud that they were speaking on behalf of Europe.' Poland is inclined to support closer Europe-wide cooperation in foreign and security policy, as France and Germany, but not Britain, have long advocated, 'We do not consider Europe to be a common market only,' Mr. Rotfeld said. While enjoying their new farm subsidies, the Poles favor opening the European Union to the free movement of service industries, from plumbing contractors to advertising agencies. Unlike most of the countries of Western Europe, Poland also ardently wants the European Union's enlargement to continue, especially to include this country's eastern neighbors, Ukraine and, eventually, Belarus. Blair Issues a Warning International Herald Tribune BRUSSELS, June 23 - The European Union can escape its budget and constitutional crises only if it embraces new members through enlargement and modernizes its economies to confront the challenges of globalization, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain said Thursday. Mr. Blair sent a stark warning in a speech at the European Parliament that European Union member countries, if they act otherwise, faced failure on a grand scale, risking deep economic stagnation and a retreat into nationalism and xenophobia. 'We have to renew,' he said, as he urged the union to welcome new members like Turkey and Croatia and to modernize economically to confront the competitive challenges of China and India. Mr. Blair used his speech, marking the start of Britain's term in the European union's rotating presidency, to respond to critics like President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany, who blame Mr. Blair for the rancorous collapse of the European Union's summit meeting last week.

Subject: Cutting Here, but Hiring Over There
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 12:23:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/technology/24blue.html Cutting Here, but Hiring Over There By STEVE LOHR Even as it proceeds with layoffs of up to 13,000 workers in Europe and the United States, I.B.M. plans to increase its payroll in India this year by more than 14,000 workers, according to an internal company document. Those numbers are telling evidence of the continuing globalization of work and the migration of some skilled jobs to low-wage countries like India. And I.B.M., the world's largest information technology company, is something of a corporate laboratory that highlights the trend. Its actions inform the worries and policy debate that surround the rise of a global labor force in science, engineering and other fields that require advanced education. To critics, I.B.M. is a leading example of the corporate strategy of shopping the globe for the cheapest labor in a single-minded pursuit of profits, to the detriment of wages, benefits and job security here and in other developed countries. The company announced last month that it would cut 10,000 to 13,000 jobs, about a quarter of them in the United States and the bulk of the rest in Western Europe. 'I.B.M. is really pushing this offshore outsourcing to relentlessly cut costs and to export skilled jobs abroad,' said Marcus Courtney, president of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, or WashTech, a group that seeks to unionize such workers. 'The winners are the richest corporations in the world, and American workers lose.' WashTech, based in Washington State, gave the I.B.M. document on Indian employment to The New York Times. It is labeled 'I.B.M. Confidential' and dated April 2005. An I.B.M. employee concerned about the shifting of jobs abroad provided the document to WashTech. I.B.M. declined to comment on the document or the numbers in it, other than to say that there are many documents, charts and projections generated within the company. But in an interview, Robert W. Moffat, an I.B.M. senior vice president, explained that the buildup in India was attributable to surging demand for technology services in the thriving Indian economy and the opportunity to tap the many skilled Indian software engineers to work on projects around the world. Lower trade barriers and cheaper telecommunications and computing ability help allow a distant labor force to work on technology projects, he said. Mr. Moffat said I.B.M. was making the shift from a classic multinational corporation with separate businesses in many different countries to a truly worldwide company whose work can be divided and parceled out to the most efficient locations. Cost is part of the calculation, Mr. Moffat noted, but typically not the most important consideration. 'People who say this is simply labor arbitrage don't get it,' he said. 'It's mostly about skills.' And Mr. Moffat said that I.B.M. was hiring people around the world, including many in the United States, in new businesses that the company has marked for growth, even as it trims elsewhere. The company's overall employment in the United States has held steady for the last few years, at about 130,000. To foster growth, I.B.M. is increasingly trying to help its client companies use information technology rather than just selling them the hardware and software. So I.B.M. researchers and programmers are more and more being put to work for customers, redesigning and automating tasks like procurement, accounting and customer service. Yet those advanced services projects will be broken into pieces, with different experts in different countries handling a slice. This emerging globalization of operations, Mr. Moffat noted, does lead to a global labor market in certain fields. 'You are no longer competing just with the guy down the street, but also with people around the world,' he said. Such competition, however, can become particularly harsh for workers in the West when they are competing against well-educated workers in low-wage countries like India. An experienced software programmer in the United States earning $75,000 a year can often be replaced by an Indian programmer who earns $15,000 or so. Most economic studies, including one last week by the McKinsey Global Institute, a research group, have concluded that the offshore outsourcing of work will not have a huge effect on American jobs as a whole. But looking at job numbers alone, said Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and a professor at Columbia University, understates the potential problem. 'What worries me is that it could have an enormous effect on wages, and that could have a wrenching impact on society,' said Professor Stiglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank. The fact that globalization anxiety about jobs and wages does not extend to executive ranks has stirred resentment among workers. 'Maybe the shareholders should look offshore for competitive executives who would collect less pay and fewer benefits,' said Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the Alliance@IBM, a union-affiliated group that has 6,500 dues-paying members at I.B.M. 'In all this talk of global competitiveness, the burden all falls on the workers.' Education and retraining, most experts agree, is a major part of the answer for helping skilled workers adjust and find new jobs to replace those lost to global competition. For its part, I.B.M. says it spends more than $700 million on training its employees for new jobs within the company, and for those laid off it offers severance packages that include career counseling and reimbursement for retraining. Even some champions of globalization say the corporate winners should do more to ease the transition of the losers. 'The wealth creation clearly has some fallout, and there is a responsibility for it,' said Diana Farrell, director of the McKinsey Global Institute. By one calculation, the cost of softening the blow might not be all that high. For every dollar invested offshore, American companies save 58 cents, McKinsey estimates. And 4 or 5 percent of those savings could pay for a theoretical wage insurance program that would cover 70 percent of the income lost between an old job and a new one, as well as subsidized health care coverage, McKinsey said.

Subject: Hermit Thrush
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 12:16:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3798&u=85|254|... Hermit Thrush New York City--Central Park, Azalea Pond.

Subject: 'From Bubble to Bubble'
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 12:07:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Global: From Bubble to Bubble Stephen Roach (New York) It seems like yesterday. But it’s only been a little over five years since we were going through the same drill that is playing out today -- bemoaning the excesses of an asset bubble and hunkering down for the inevitable post-bubble shakeout. Five years ago, it was the equity bubble. Today, it’s the property bubble. These are not isolated events. As night follows day, one bubble has spawned the next. And we have the Federal Reserve to thank for this grand continuum and the cumulative toll it is taking on the US economy. Sadly, as America lurches from bubble to bubble, the endgame is looking all the more treacherous. The debate has an eerie sense of déjà vu. Today, there are those who dispute the very existence of a US property bubble. Similarly, five years ago, there were many who argued that US equities were not over-valued -- that, in fact, they were fairly valued on the basis of the powerful earnings potential of a high-productivity growth New Economy. Today, we hear tales of a “fundamentally-driven” housing boom -- supported by increased homeownership, immigration, low unemployment, and, of course, low interest rates. And there are those who repeatedly caution against characterizing property as a broad asset class -- especially in the context of fragmented real estate markets that are always distinguished by their “local” idiosyncrasies. This is rubbish -- five years ago and, again, today. In March 2000, not all stocks had risen to dot-com excesses. But enough of them did to take the overall S&P 500 index down by 49% in the bubble carnage that followed over the next two and a half years. Today, nationwide US house-price inflation is at a 25-year high in real terms. That doesn’t mean every home in the country has hit bubble-like valuations. But in the first quarter of 2005, double-digit house-price inflation was evident in 23 states plus the District of Columbia. In 25 of the top 100 metropolitan areas, the rate of home price appreciation was at least 20%. Investors -- not owners -- are currently accounting for 11.5% of newly-originated conventional mortgage loans; that’s up from a 2% low in late 1995. And mortgage financing has shifted dramatically in recent years into exotic and risky floating rate obligations such as interest-only and negative-amortization loans; moreover, as Tom Lawler of Fannie Mae notes, this shift into floating-rate borrowing cannot be explained by the factors that traditionally drive such trends -- the level of mortgage rates and yield curve spreads. Something else must at work. That something else is a bubble. Residential property has become the asset of choice for investors in a low-return world awash in liquidity. As The Economist has long stressed, this property bubble is global in scope -- by their reckoning, “the biggest financial bubble in history” (see the Special Report in their 18 June 2005 issue, “The Global Housing Boom”). The worldwide scope of this asset bubble makes it tempting to dismiss America’s problem as part of a broader, more powerful trend. Again, I would argue this is nonsense. The US is very much in control of its own destiny insofar as coping with the excesses in asset markets. In that important respect, America’s equity and property bubbles have one key ingredient in common: The principal blame for both bubbles, in my view, lies with the Federal Reserve. Unlike most other major central banks, the Greenspan Fed has long maintained that asset markets are not within the purview of its policy mandate. The Bank of England, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and, belatedly, the Bank of Japan all believe differently. Ottmar Issing of the European Central Bank has argued that asset markets pose one of the greatest challenges for modern-day monetary policy -- that central banks must now weigh “the risks associated with asset-price inflation and subsequent deflation (see Issing’s 18 February 2004 editorial feature in the Wall Street Journal, “Money and Credit”). America’s Federal Reserve sees it differently. But it wasn’t always that way. Long ago, when America’s Asset Economy was in its infancy, Alan Greenspan worried about “irrational exuberance.” But he quickly changed his mind and went on to champion the equity culture spawned by the New Economy. In my view, that was a policy blunder of monumental proportions. The rest is history -- and a sad history at that. By electing to condone the greatest equity bubble since the late 1920s, the Fed has been snared in a low real interest rate trap -- in effect, locking itself in to a serial bubble-blowing strategy. To counter post-equity bubble aftershocks, the Fed slashed its policy rate by 550 basis points to 1% -- vowing that it had learned the tough lessons of Japan (see the now-seminal research report by the Fed’s research staff, “Preventing Deflation: Lessons From Japan's Experience in the 1990s” by Alan Ahearne; Joseph Gagnon; Jane Haltmaier; Steve Kamin, et. al., June 2002). And then in the face of a full-blown deflation scare -- a classic and predictable symptom of a post-bubble shakeout -- the Fed maintained an uber-accomodative policy stance that is still in place today. It pushed the real federal funds rate into negative territory for three years (2002-04) before finally taking it up to the zero threshold, where it remains today. Bubble after bubble has since percolated to the surface during this period of extraordinary monetary accommodation -- especially in a multitude of fixed income products (i.e., Treasuries, investment-grade corporates, high-yield bonds, emerging market debt, and a host of credit instruments). With overnight money basically free in real terms, the “carry trade” was a no-brainer -- investors and speculators alike could pocket the spread anywhere on the yield curve. This created an artificial demand for fixed income securities that was quick to take on bubble-like implications of its own. Out of this same mania, the property bubble was borne. Behavioral economics tells us the American consumer should have been decimated once the equity bubble popped in 2000 -- the pain of loss should have been far greater than the ecstasy of gain. But US households never skipped a beat. House price inflation took over where the equity bubble left off, and the Fed’s post-bubble rescue plan facilitated the greatest bonanza of them all -- a massive wave of home mortgage refinancing that became a powerful supplement for an income-short US consumer. The home became the cash machine -- the manna from heaven that drew its sustenance from rock-bottom interest rates. And it became contagious -- as most bubbles do. The more consumers succeeded in extracting purchasing power from their assets, the greater the demand for the asset. Once borne out of a legitimate effort at post-bubble life-style defense, the asset-based consumption mindset took on a life of its own. Like the carry trade in fixed income, this phenomenon created an artificial demand for the underlying asset. We now call it a property bubble. Dangers cumulate as one bubble follows another. That’s because debt invariably enters the equation. And that has certainly been the case in recent years. Not only does the outstanding volume of household sector indebtedness now stand at a record of nearly 90% of GDP, but this ratio has soared by 20 percentage points over the past five years (2000-04) -- equal to the rise that took place over the preceding 15 years (1985-99). Moreover, household sector debt-service burdens are at historic highs when scaled by disposable personal income -- truly astonishing in a climate of rock-bottom interest rates. That means it wouldn’t take much of a back-up in rates to put a real squeeze on the over-extended American consumer. Moreover, given the low “teaser” rates that have lured increasingly large numbers of homeowners into floating rate mortgages in recent years -- the ARM share of newly originated mortgage loans recently hit 40% -- there are new risks to this debt binge; it is quite conceivable that “automatic resets” will push mortgage interest payments up sharply in the not-so-distant future, even if market interest rates don’t budge. (Note: The increasingly popular option ARMs -- basically negative amortization loans -- are especially vulnerable to payment shock; see the 20 June 2005 Fitch Ratings report, “Option ARM Risks and Criteria”). Here as well, history screams out the warning that has gone unheeded -- debt bubbles and asset bubbles go hand in hand. The exit strategy has always been the most problematic aspect of this scenario. Not only is that true of overly-indebted borrowers, but it’s also true of central banks. The Fed prides itself in having learned the lessons of Japan. But, in fact, the game-plan is woefully incomplete. Yes, the US central bank learned that it pays to move quickly once a bubble bursts. But then what? Unfortunately, there was nothing further to learn from the Bank of Japan other than it’s very tough to wean a post-bubble, deflation-prone economy from low nominal interest rates. Some 16 years after the Japanese bubble popped, the BOJ is still stuck with its policy rate at zero. Five years after the US equity bubble popped and the Fed is not a whole lot better off, with its policy rate still hovering around zero in real terms. As bubble follows bubble, the consequences of normalizing interest rates become more and more severe -- not just for the US but also for a US-centric world that now believes the American consumer is “too big to fail.” The resulting moral hazard dilemma only reinforces the belief that low interest rates are here to stay. In the meantime, asset and debt bubbles keep feeding on themselves. This is a sad and depressing tale -- especially for the world’s unquestioned economic leader. Alas, bubbles and imbalances are one and the same. Even Alan Greenspan has finally admitted that the property-based equity extraction of an asset economy pushes income-based saving rates lower and lower -- thereby reducing national saving and resulting in an ever-wider current account deficit (see his 4 February 2005 speech, “Current Account”). One of the great mysteries of asset bubbles is what causes them to pop. Yale professor Robert Shiller has long argued that asset bubbles invariably implode under their own weight (see Irrational Exuberance, Princeton University Press, first edition, 2000). Another possibility in the current climate is the inevitability of a US current account adjustment -- a rebalancing that entails mounting pressure on the dollar and US real interest rates. Such an outcome could very well put the US on a collision course with ever-expanding asset bubbles. We all hope for the benign endgame. But the bigger the bubble and its associated imbalances, the less likely that becomes. Don’t kid yourself. America’s property bubble didn’t just appear out of thin air. It is traceable directly to the equity bubble of the Roaring 1990s -- and to a central bank that remains steeped in denial. The real lesson of Japan is that there may well be no easy way out.

Subject: Bonds and Stocks
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 11:12:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We should notice closely the relation between bonds and stocks when there are sharp short term movements. This may help us anticipate longer term relations during market swings. Bonds have tended to strengthen when stocks weaken for quite a while. This is encouraging.

Subject: Unocal Deal: A Lot More Than Money
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 09:39:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/business/worldbusiness/24china.html?pagewanted=all Unocal Deal: A Lot More Than Money Is at Issue By LESLIE WAYNE and DAVID BARBOZA The battle for Unocal, the large independent American oil company, is shaping into as much a test of Chinese-American strategic and economic relations as it is a boardroom showdown. Most takeover battles can be settled by price - the highest bidder wins. But judging by the sharp reaction yesterday in Washington, that may not be the case with Unocal. Just a day after the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or CNOOC, one of China's largest state-controlled oil companies, made an unsolicited bid of $18.5 billion for Unocal, senators and representatives, as well as lawyers, bankers and lobbyists, are taking jabs at what may become one of the thorniest strategic business challenges facing the administration. At issue is whether CNOOC can buy Unocal, which in April agreed to a $16.4 billion merger deal with Chevron, the American energy giant. The unexpected foreign bid for Unocal comes at a time when oil prices are hitting $60 a barrel, energy reserves are gaining more value, and the United States is concerned about its own oil and gas resources. At the same time, the administration needs to work with China on trade and currency issues, even as concerns are increasing about the growing economic power of China. 'It does raise questions about how much of the country we are willing to sell to a Communist country that we might be fighting someday,' said Michael O'Hanlon, an international military specialist at the Brookings Institution. But he added, 'I'd be surprised if we really fall on our sword to prevent the sale.' CNOOC's bid is also forcing Unocal shareholders to weigh the higher price that the Chinese are willing to pay against the risks that the deal faces in Washington. On top of that, there is the possible backlash that might arise from selling a potentially strategic American asset to China. Unocal said that it had received permission from Chevron to hold discussions with CNOOC. The question is how - if Unocal decides to switch from Chevron to CNOOC - the politics will play out in Washington, where critics are already speaking out and where the deal would be subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. The panel, a federal multiagency group, can prevent any foreign investment on the grounds of national security. For years, the government has placed restrictions on the extent of foreign ownership in a variety of industries, from airlines to the media to military contractors. In the past, these restrictions have mostly affected developed countries like Japan and Britain. 'This is a remarkable arrival of China into the world of global big business deals and international investing,' said Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr., a former trade negotiator in the Reagan administration and president of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington. 'And it does raise the issue of whether this gives influence or some kind of potential importance to a government that may not always be friendly to us.' In Washington, CNOOC is already laying the groundwork. It has hired Public Strategies, a public relations firm whose vice chairman, Mark McKinnon, led President Bush's media campaign in the 2004 election. The company has also lined up some of the nation's savviest financial advisers - among them Goldman Sachs and J. P. Morgan - as well as such well-connected legal and lobbying firms as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Davis Polk & Wardell. Many in Washington said that the deal, on its merits, might gain approval from the foreign investment committee. In any case, the committee would not review the case until a formal deal is completed. In recent deals involving China, the committee's responses have been mixed. In 2003, a negative review by the foreign investment committee caused Hutchison Whampoa, which is based in Hong Kong, to withdraw a bid for Global Crossing, the telecommunications carrier that later filed for bankruptcy. But this year, the committee permitted the $1.75 billion sale of I.B.M.'s personal computer business to Lenovo of China. 'The national security argument is a fair one,' said William A. Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council and a former trade official in the Clinton administration. 'When you talk about energy supplies, and the market is tight, there is a national security issue. You are going to have a lot of people pounding the table.' CNOOC is already trying to play down any concerns that the transaction could hurt the American oil and gas markets. It is stressing that 70 percent of Unocal's oil and gas reserves are in Asia and that its American reserves amount to only about 1 percent of America's oil consumption, with none of it now supplying the military. Unocal also has a pipeline hooked up to American strategic oil reserves, as well as a rare-earth mine, the only one in the United States. CNOOC has said it will consider selling these assets, if that is necessary to close the deal. In addition, CNOOC has promised not to take supplies from Unocal's oil and gas reserves in the United States and sell them outside the country. It also said it would retain 'substantially all' of the American employees. In Washington, two Republican congressmen, Richard W. Pombo, chairman of the House Committee on Resources, and Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote to President Bush last week, saying that 'such an acquisition raises many concerns about U.S. jobs, energy production and energy security.' 'We fear that American companies will find it increasingly difficult to compete against China's state-owned and/or controlled energy companies, given their mandates to supply China's ever-growing demand for energy, which will increasingly need to come from foreign sources,' the letter said. For China, which is scouring the world for oil, gas and minerals to help power its economy, the deal is important. That puts the administration in an awkward position as it tries to negotiate a variety of trade frictions and geopolitical debates. 'The deal has got the administration over a barrel,' said Michael R. Wessel, a member of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a group established by Congress. Not only is the administration trying to work out trade issues with China over textiles, currency and a number of other matters, it is also increasingly relying on China to play a more aggressive role in containing North Korea. 'We want the Chinese to invest part of their dollars in our economic system,' Mr. Wessel said, 'yet we have to worry about the impact of this transaction on our national security. Everyone is concerned about the migration of jobs and research and development to China. Now we have oil hitting $60 a barrel. China is going to be on the center of our radar screen.' For CNOOC, an offshore oil company, Unocal offers huge gas reserves in 14 countries. It has Asia's largest storehouse of liquefied natural gas. A combined company would go from a Chinese offshore oil producer with high expenses, as it searches for oil around China, to a diversified oil and gas company with global reserves. Oil industry analysts offered mixed views about a potential deal. 'There are a lot of people in Washington who are really torn,' said Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, an oil consultant in Washington. 'They believe in open markets and don't want to exacerbate matters with China. Yet, do you want a Chinese company that doesn't play by American rules to take advantage of American rules and get an American company?'

Subject: No, No, No, No, No!!!
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 11:10:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
China needs to behave and buy only our treasuries with their surplus dollars - nothing more!!! Miami condo investors demand nothing less!!!

Subject: Re: No, No, No, No, No!!!
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 15:17:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well said :)

Subject: We Are All French Now?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 09:29:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/opinion/24friedman.html We Are All French Now? By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Ah, those French. How silly can they be? The European Union wants to consolidate its integration and France, trying to protect its own 35-hour workweek and other welfare benefits, rejects the E.U. constitution. What a bunch of antiglobalist Gaullist Luddites! Yo, Jacques, what world do you think you're livin' in, pal? Get with the program! It's called Anglo-American capitalism, mon ami. Lordy, it is fun poking fun at France. But wait ...wait ... what is that noise I hear coming from the U.S. Congress? Is that ... is that members of the U.S. Congress - many of them Democrats - threatening to reject Cafta, the Central American Free Trade Agreement? Is that members of the U.S. Congress afraid to endorse a free-trade agreement, signed over a year ago, with El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic? Mon Dieu! I am afraid it is. And for many of the same reasons France has resisted more integration: a protectionist fear of competition in a world without walls. Yes, we are all Frenchmen now. Well, not quite. But that is where we are heading in the U.S. if we let the combination of the sugar lobby, which wants to block more imports from Central America; the A.F.L.-C.I.O., which doesn't like any free trade agreements; and Democrats who just want to defeat Cafta so they can make President Bush a lame duck have their way and block Cafta ratification. I understand Democrats want to stick it to Mr. Bush, but could they please defeat him on a policy he is wrong about (there are plenty) and not on expanding free trade in this hemisphere, which he is right about. The French economic instinct is not one we want to start emulating now, just as the global playing field is being flattened, bringing in more competitors from Poland to China to India. This is a time to play to our strengths of openness, flexibility and willingness to embrace creative destruction, and lead on free trade. The McKinsey Global Institute just published a study of how both Germany and France have suffered, compared with the U.S., by trying to put up walls against outsourcing and offshoring. It noted: 'A new competitive dynamic is emerging: early movers in offshoring improve their cost position and boost their market share, creating new jobs in the process. Companies who resist the trend will see increasingly unfavorable cost positions that erode market share and eventually end in job destruction. This is why adopting protectionist policies to stop companies from offshoring would be a mistake. Offshoring is a powerful way for companies to reduce their costs and improve the quality and kinds of products they offer consumers, allowing them to invest in the next generation of technology and create the jobs of tomorrow.' Cafta is critical for enabling U.S. and Central American textile firms to compete with China. U.S. firms specialize in the more sophisticated work of making dyes, designing patterns and manufacturing specialized yarns, threads and fabrics, and the Cafta countries specialize in the labor-intensive sewing. Because the Cafta countries are right next door, U.S. retailers can respond quickly to changes in the marketplace, which far-off Chinese factories cannot do as easily. That's also why, explains Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, that a shirt that says 'Made in Honduras' might contain 60 percent U.S. content, while a similar shirt that says 'Made in China' most likely would have none. Finally, there is geopolitics. In the 1980's, we were worried Central America was going to go communist. Now we are worried it is going to go capitalist? We spent billions fighting communism there. Now we have a chance to help consolidate these fragile democracies by locking in a trading relationship with the U.S. that is critical for their development. Shame on us if we balk. But President Bush needs to spend some political capital and sell this deal in these terms. 'The administration has to get out and connect the dots for people,' said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a thoughtful new book on foreign policy, 'The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course.' 'Otherwise the vocal minority will trump the interests of the majority. We should not assume that this backlash [against free trade] that is going around is just a French malaise or Dutch elm disease. It could happen here.' But if we think we can indulge protectionism and not worry about the geopolitical spillovers in our own backyard, that is a real illusion. 'The world is not Las Vegas,' added Mr. Haass. 'What happens there will not stay there.'

Subject: Black Swan Vocalizing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 07:24:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3550&u=207|266|... Black Swan Vocalizing Jamaica Bay NWR East Pond, New York.

Subject: Bond Fund Safety
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 07:23:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember that the beauty of a bond fund with a fairly constant duration is that the portfolio is always being structured anew during a time of rising interest rates, so a 2 year duration portfolio will make up a 2% loss in price from a 1 percentage point increase in interest rates in less than 2 years. There is actually more safety than I need, so I opt for higher yields or dividends from stocks.

Subject: Durations
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 06:00:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember that a Vanguard short term bond fund will have a duration about 2 years, intermediate bond funds have about a 5 years duration, while long term is about 10 years. These durations are generally highly stable. A 1 percentage point change in interest rates will change the price of a short term bond fund by about 2%, while the yield of the fund will slowly increase by 1 percentage point, which is highly conservative for any portfolio.

Subject: House Wren Feeding Mate
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:49:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5508&u=4|1|... House Wren Feeding Mate New York City--Central Park, Maintenance Field.

Subject: Moderate Duration Bond Funds
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:48:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What I plan to do is increase the proportion of my portfolio in Vanguard moderate duration investment-grade bond funds as I judge conditions warrant. There will be my increasingly additional protection as necessary. I do not believe bond funds will be a problem in a housing price slump, but I am not worried about bond funds as a protection to any economic slowing. So far the international bull market in value stocks however continues.

Subject: Housing and Portfolio Protection
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:34:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Again, if Robert Shiller is correct and housing prices can readily fall from 10% to 30% in nominal terms, we must focus on portfolio security. A decline in housing prices in more than just a local market or so will pressure growth and cause the Federal Reserve to try to compensate by lowering short term interest rates. This process is what can be followed in Australia, Britain and Sweden. What we find so far is that value stocks and bond funds will be protective. So far.

Subject: Re: Housing and Portfolio Protection
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 11:15:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
How can a large drop in housing not impact consumer spending when so much spending is supported by the housing market? How can this not affect the profits of global companies when we have a global consumer so dependent on the global housing boom?

Subject: Re: Housing and Portfolio Protection
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 13:56:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Those countries where there has been a slowing of housing have not yet had stock market problems. We must watch.

Subject: Interest Rates and Housing Prices
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 15:21:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though there may be a housing bubble that is extensive in America and extends to several other countries, there is no reason to suppose an end to the bubble will result in sharp price declines. Prices in housing may prove to be more dependent on long term interest rate changes than on any absolute level. So, if interest rates were to stay low there might be a sustained period of flat housing prices rather than a deflation. Housing prices do not seem to have nearly the same potential volatility as technology stock prices in 2000, if interest rates stay low.

Subject: Good article in Barrons
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:52:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'The Bubble's New Home' by Jonathan Laing is a summary of Robert's Shiller's extensive work on the housing markets. The article was in a format which I could not copy and paste, but a search in google will find it. 'In Shiller's view, a real price decline of 50% in US home prices over the next decade isn't beyond the realm of possibility' is a quote from the article. He says this is not as 'catastrophic' as it might seem because this also includes inflation. Paul Krugman while in Asia recently, said he expected something like a 50% overall real estate drop in the US, although I don't remember that he gave a timetable for it. Sir John Templeton (Templeton Funds) who lived through the 30's real estate bust has said he expects a similar downturn in the coming years to the 30's - he's certainly on the extreme low end of real estate bust predictions. The thing to remember is that since the largest boom has occured in the Northeast, Washington DC area, Florida and West Coast, those areas would be expected to have a greater than average downturn. Warren Buffet when asked on CNBC today whether he thought there was a real estate bubble and, if he did, is it a danger to the economy, stated 'probably' to both questions. Remember Buffet is the master of understatements - when asked in the late 90's why he didn't invest in hightech, he stated 'I don't understand it'. We know now that he understood it much better than the so called hightech investing 'experts' and knew it was heavily overvalued. Terri, my own experience has seen housing prices in the Northeast drop 20-30% in just 2-3 years (late 80's). The early 90's saw similar drops in California. Remember Trump going bankrupt and all the savings and loans which went under? 'Shiller's data show a housing bubble of extraordinary dimension' is another quote from this article. What really concerns me are these incredibly easy lending standards and proliferation of interest only loans and Shiller is quoted about this in the article. Finally as Paul Krugman as well as a federal reserve official (forgot his name) pointed out - what else is out there to replace the housing boost to the economy? How can the end to the housing boom not have a significant negative effect on the economy when it is presently providing the primary support?

Subject: Re: Good article in Barrons
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:59:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pete, I hope you are using Gmail. With Gmail we have endless storage space and the use of Google to search for back articles. So we can build libraries by mailing what we wish to ourselves. I love Gmail. Soon, I will walk over to the library a few yards away and read the article on the views of Shiller.

Subject: Re: Good article in Barrons
From: Peter Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 20:21:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It's a pdf file. There is probably a way to save it to word and then convert or renanme to allow a copy and paste. But the web location is www.leavittbrothers.com/pdfs/housingbubble.pdf

Subject: Re: Good article in Barrons
From: Terri
To: Peter Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 21:19:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Then Shiller is arguing that interest rates will in the end make no difference if there is a housing bubble, and he also argues that it was not the key factor to the current increase in housing prices. Well, I can agree with his argument for pronounced housing price changes have in the past seemed poorly correlated with interest rates. Back to thinking....

Subject: Re: Good article in Barrons
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 00:25:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I don't believe Shiller is saying that mortgage rates if they were to increase would not have a downward impact on housing - certainly no one would say that. Higher mortgage rates clearly reduce the number of buyers for any given house. What Shiller is saying - mortgage rates don't HAVE to increase to set off a housing decline. He is saying that a booming housing market can begin to decline simply 'from its own weight'. he points to the popularity of interest only loans as a demonstration of how house prices have become unaffordable utilizing traditional lending instruments and of the high level of speculation in the housing market. Moreover, Shiller is saying that there is much more to the housing boom than simply low interest rates and those other factors can disappear even if interest rates remain low.

Subject: Re: Good article in Barrons
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Jun 24, 2005 at 16:19:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed with all. So, we keep thinking safety safety safety.

Subject: Finding Value in a Bubbly Period
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 13:23:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is discussion of a housing bubble in America each day and has been for months; indeed there is much agreement that there is a housing bubble. The problem may be limited to local markets or national, and may even be international. Also, since housing provides for many jobs in an economy an end to a robust housing market could easily cause a recession. Still, I am willing to concede there is a housing bubble and go right on investing. What matters in investing is finding assets that are properly priced, and that was possible in 1999 and is possible in 2005.

Subject: In Paris, Romancing the Deal
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 11:59:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/23/garden/23paris.html?pagewanted=all In Paris, Romancing the Deal By DEBORAH BALDWIN ROBYNN ROCKSTAD-REX had a large house in Seattle. But after her husband died two years ago she ached for a little piece of Paris. 'It's the one city,' she said, 'where I could smile again.' She found herself hunched over the computer scouring real estate listings until all hours. 'It was an obsession for a while,' she said. A place of one's own in the city of light: it may sound like one of those impossible dreams, brought down to earth by the rude realities of doing business in a country where notoriously slow-moving bureaucracies can give apartment hunting a nightmarish hue. But this quest ended happily. Working with a firm called Paris Real Estate Finders - one of several such services to have sprung up in recent years - Ms. Rockstad-Rex located a pied-à-terre near Montmartre within two weeks. Taking possession took several months, but Finders held her hand the whole time, and Ms. Rockstad-Rex suggested it was actually kind of fun. Paris, that fantasy destination for so many expats and luxury goods connoisseurs, has become an unlikely destination for Americans hoping to acquire second homes. The prospective buyers are so plentiful, in fact, that they have spawned a cottage industry of local fixers who specialize in ushering Americans through the 7 percent transfer fee, codified inheritance rules, requisite 'notaire' and other bewildering rituals of French real estate. A strong euro has scared away some buyers, but others have clearly decided that it's a sign to buy in. Though the euro has sagged a bit in recent months, many economists see it bouncing back, indicating that now may be the time to buy. Some buyers are also motivated by prices below those in New York and a conviction that they can only go up. 'Let's say there are worse investments you can make,' said Ms. Rockstad-Rex, asserting that her apartment has appreciated 50 percent since she bought it in 2003. Of course, when the alternative is investing in municipal bonds, who wouldn't prefer a private hideaway stocked with French armoires and raw-milk Camembert? Douglas C. Gaddis, and his partner, Dr. Gary Begin, found themselves lusting over photographs in real estate agency windows during regular trips to Paris. Last year, armed with listings from Paris Real Estate Finders' electronic database, they zeroed in on a one-bedroom in an 1890's building designed by Charles Plumet, and bought it based on photographs alone, like a mail-order bride. The couple, who live outside Washington, flew to Paris to renovate, hiring a contractor 'who came up the stairs with an air-powered jackhammer,' Mr. Gaddis said with awe. The investment all told was about $340,000, he said. That's not so bad considering where prices sit in Washington and New York. The average cost of a square foot in an older building in the fashionable Sixth Arrondissement in the third quarter of 2004 was 655 euros, or about $800, compared with $942 in Greenwich Village, an equivalent New York neighborhood. For those with the means, renovation à l'Americaine can be a fait accompli. Alon and Betsy Kasha, an American couple who develop and sell properties (abkasha.com), put their pieds-à-terre on the market as finished luxury products complete with two-year warranties. Along with such authentic touches as herringbone parquet, they note, Americans want creature comforts like shower stalls and washer-dryers. Ms. Kasha, formerly in the marketing department at Cartier, supplies décor, mixing flea-market finds and contemporary French furniture. Their turn-key apartments, situated in the fashionable Sixth and Seventh Arrondissements near monuments like the Eiffel Tower and stores like Armani, are aimed squarely at well-heeled Americans who associate the good life with France and do not worry over currency fluctuations. The apartments have asking prices of roughly $400,000 to $1 million and 'are like a collection,' Mr. Kasha said. 'We're treating this as fashion,' he explained. As he and other interested parties like to point out, Paris appears to be a more solid investment than, say, gold. In the third quarter of 2000 the average apartment in the Sixth Arrondissement was 460 euros a square foot, in contrast to the 655 four years later. 'It's a really good investment right now,' said Sharon Lagerberg, who bought a place near Montmartre in October with her husband, Dr. Steven Lagerberg. It cost 432,000 euros and has 'already gone up 50,000 euros,' she said. Bilingual and versed in currency trading, mortgage rates and property taxes, services like Paris Real Estate Finders feed the fantasies of Americans locked in their Dilbertian cubicles by sending them links to Web pages lush with descriptive prose and seductive photographs. In true American spirit, they offer efficiency, too. No more slogging from listing to listing in a city where each microneighborhood has its own microagency. No more translating phrases like 'poutres exposés' ('exposed beams'). Doing business in a foreign language is only one of the challenges. Closings are typically two-hour rituals that can include a dramatic reading of a 30-page property transfer document. It's 'a holdover from the Revolution, when people with limited education began buying houses,' explained Dr. Edward Wheatley, an American professor who bought an apartment in an Art Deco building with his wife, Mary Mackay, through Paris Real Estate Finders (parisrealestatefinders.com). There are no official French statistics on the number of Americans who buy apartments in Paris, though real estate agents said there has been an uptick this year. The average buyer, said Olivier de Ripert, a real estate agent, is a hotel-weary 50-something who visits often and longs for a retirement haven, preferably near a good pâtisserie. Mr. de Ripert, who serves what is widely considered to be the most desirable neighborhood among wealthy Americans, Île-St.-Louis, said he started seeing more American noses pressed to his window after the November elections. More recently, politics seemed less relevant to clients than a chance to move some of their money overseas, he said. Michele Imhoff, a French banker who has been helping Americans line up mortgages in Paris since 1991, said the same thing. 'Now Americans do want to diversify their portfolios and investments, and the best way to do it is buying something in Europe.' Ms. Imhoff, the manager of the United States representative office of the Banque Transatlantique in Washington, said she provides free advice - plus mortgage applications and the like translated into English - to any client with one or more accounts. For information, call (202) 429-1909. For some buyers the fluctuating euro (trading this week for about $1.20), continues to have a chilling effect, said Darrell Halverson, who runs Paris Real Estate Finders with his wife, Stephanie Freedman. But with French mortgage rates still around 3 percent and the market 'marching up steadily, 1 percent a month for 40 months,' he noted, many 'are poised and ready to leap.' Toward that end, Finders has compiled not only a sophisticated database of listings but also a rapid response mechanism that can shoot the right ones to browsers who fill out a short questionnaire at the company's Web site. The firm charges about 2.5 percent of the selling price for help with various aspects of finding and financing a property. They deal with one client at a time and say they had more business last year than they could handle. Rival services include Abodes Abroad (abodesabroad.net). Other self-taught go-betweens include Adrian Leeds, an American who publishes a subscription online newsletter (frenchpropertyinsider.com) and organizes sales seminars in Paris and the United States (a two-hour consultation is $250). Rental income sounds like easy money, but that's not always the case. Though French co-ops are more laissez-faire than their New York counterparts - no grueling interviews with board members - they don't necessarily welcome strangers coming in and out of buildings. And absentee owners often find themselves giving a hunk of the income to other fixers to safeguard the plumbing and keep track of the keys. Many buyers have an exaggerated idea of how much rental income can be generated, said Marianne Le Berre, a French architect who helps people find and fix up apartments. 'After you deduct fees and taxes on renting, it's 2 percent,' she said. But for those who have found their dream pied-à-terre, economic cycles, the bureaucracy and taxes are beside the point. It's satisfying to know 'you can negotiate your way through a different legal and cultural system to make a home for yourself in another country,' Dr. Wheatley said. Right now he and his wife are busy preparing to move from Clinton, N.Y., to Chicago. But they say they are delighted to know that one day, when the rat race ends, 'the place is going to be there when we can use it more freely.'

Subject: Brazil's Right to Save Lives
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:40:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/23/opinion/23thu3.html Brazil's Right to Save Lives Brazil has the best anti-AIDS program of any developing country. It has a model prevention effort and was the first poor country to provide free AIDS treatment to all who need it, a program countries around the world are now beginning to emulate. It has been able to afford this because Brazilian labs make copycat versions of expensive brand-name drugs. Brazil can freely copy any drug commercialized before 1997, when the country began to respect patents on medicines, a requirement for joining the World Trade Organization. But newer AIDS medicines are still imported and are expensive, and Brazil is spending two-thirds of its antiretroviral budget on just three of these drugs. The government is now contemplating measures that would allow Brazilian labs to copy these drugs. Brazil's health ministry has asked the manufacturers of the drugs to voluntarily license Brazil to make copies. They have refused, and Brazil is threatening to break the patents and pay the holders a reasonable royalty, as W.T.O. rules require. Right-wing groups in the United States and pharmaceutical manufacturers are calling this theft, and several members of Congress have asked the United States trade representative to apply trade sanctions. American trade officials have refrained, but they have criticized Brazil's threat to seize patents. While property rights deserve respect and should not be carelessly violated, what Brazil is doing is legal and deserves Washington's support. Brazil's opponents argue that the country has no real AIDS emergency. Drug companies note that they offer Brazil drugs at deep discounts and say that Brazil can afford them. But the World Trade Organization rules are clear: they encourage all members to use the flexibilities in the intellectual property rules to promote access to medicine for all. Countries need not wait for an emergency, and Brazil isn't even a tough call. Brazil's free universal treatment program, an indispensable weapon against the AIDS epidemic, locks Brazil's government into buying lifelong daily medicines for 170,000 people, and that number is rising. Brazil has the right to make sure it can continue to meet this burden by getting medicines at the cheapest possible price. Breaking patents should be reserved for when it is clearly necessary to protect public health. But these rights have been underused. Only a handful of countries have used W.T.O. rules to break patents on medicines. Countries are intimidated, mainly by the United States. Health ministers who propose making copycat drugs are usually silenced by influential local business sectors afraid of trade retaliation. The American trade representative should make a public statement that the United States will not retaliate against Brazil for exercising its right to save lives.

Subject: Green Tinge Is Attracting Seed Money
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:19:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/business/22clean.html?pagewanted=all Green Tinge Is Attracting Seed Money to Ventures By GARY RIVLIN SAN FRANCISCO - Ira Ehrenpreis may be a kind of prophet advocating investments in alternative energy companies, but don't accuse him of being noble. In recent months Mr. Ehrenpreis, a venture capitalist at Technology Partners in Palo Alto, Calif., has been asked any number of times to speak to audiences about 'clean tech,' a term that encompasses such things as solar energy, water purification systems and alternative automotive fuels. He begins and ends every speech the same way: with a slide that stresses that to the extent his motivations are tinged green, it has to do with the color of money. In Silicon Valley these days, more venture capitalists are following Mr. Ehrenpreis's lead. They are driven in part by the high price of oil, which hovered around $59 a barrel on Tuesday, and the vast unmet demand for electricity in China and India. 'The reason we're allocating dollars to this sector is we think we can deliver attractive returns,' said Mr. Ehrenpreis, who also serves as co-chairman of the advisory board of the Cleantech Venture Network. 'It's not because we want to do great things for the environment or great things for the world,' though he adds that that is a 'great byproduct.' That message is resonating with venture capitalists and individual investors in the Valley, where growing rich through doing good is considered the ideal. Top venture firms on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif., are beginning to show serious interest in the alternative energy sector, though that typically means venturing outside their core expertise. They hope to capitalize on the growing worldwide demand for energy at a time of rising energy costs, and they see potential for huge profits in technology that can address challenges like climate change and dwindling natural resources. 'This is an area where we've been seeing a lot of quiet investing going on,' said Mark G. Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association. 'People are saying so far it's more talk than action, but I think there's been a lot of sub rosa action.' This month two of the area's top firms, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Mohr Davidow Ventures, made large investments in solar energy companies. One, Miasolé, based in San Jose, raised $16 million in a fund-raising round led by Kleiner Perkins. The other, Nanosolar of Palo Alto, raised $20 million from investors led by Mohr Davidow. On Tuesday, Energy Innovations, a company building advanced solar panels that use mirrors to track the sun and capture energy on storage cells, announced that it raised $16.5 million in venture capital in a round also led by Mohr Davidow. Energy Innovations, based in Pasadena, Calif., was founded five years ago by Bill Gross, a pioneer of Internet advertising in the mid-1990's. Mr. Gross gained fame in the dot-com era when the company he founded, Idealab, a privately held 'incubator' of Internet start-ups, burned through $800 million in eight months. 'I've had four years of conversations with V.C.'s on both coasts,' said Andrew Beebe, president of Energy Innovations, 'and I think we've seen a real change in terms of interest level and an understanding of this area.' He said that in recent months he had spoken with roughly a dozen venture capitalists, and half of them proved willing to talk deal terms. The field is 'starting to get big and grow rapidly,' said Sunil Paul, a founder of Brightmail, an antispam company that was acquired by Symantec last June for $370 million. Mr. Paul, an active investor in start-ups, has used his personal fortune to help finance three alternative energy companies. He was an early investor in Nanosolar, along with Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google. In February, more than 100 venture capitalists attended a conference on clean technologies in Palm Springs, sponsored by Clean Edge Inc., a consulting group based in Oakland, Calif. And it is a poorly kept secret within venture circles that at least two venture firms are trying to raise money for new funds that will focus exclusively on energy investments. This attention by some of the Valley's highest-profile investors heartens Nancy C. Floyd, a founder partner of Nth Power, a San Francisco-based venture firm that specializes in clean-tech investments. It took Ms. Floyd and her partner more than three years to raise their first fund, a relatively modest $63 million, which they started investing in 1997. Back then, Ms. Floyd said, it was very difficult to find a venture firm willing to invest with her firm on a deal, as venture capitalists tend to do on deals larger than a few million dollars. 'Energy had always had a very small core audience among venture capitalists,' Ms. Floyd said. 'It's only the last six months to a year we're seeing some of the generalist firms form teams around this and write checks in this area.' Interest from a broad array of companies, she believes, will help the entire sector. For one thing, big companies with expertise in, say, networking design or nanotechnology could provide invaluable expertise if they work with the right energy start-up. Still, clean energy's share of the total venture pool remains tiny, according to data provided by Ms. Floyd's firm and Clean Edge, though it has doubled over the last four years. Mr. Paul, for one, noted that clean tech might need a success like a Yahoo or a Netscape 'before every venture firm decides they need to be in this sector.' Clean tech represented a 1.2 percent share of the total dollar amount of venture capital invested in 2000. In 2004, the $520 million that venture capitalists invested accounted for a 2.6 percent share of the overall venture pie. 'We're in a situation where we still have more deals than capital,' Ms. Floyd said. Mr. Ehrenpreis and Technology Partners, considered trailblazers in clean tech, began to focus more closely on these start-ups starting about five years ago. One reason was their reluctance to follow the rest of the venture capital industry, which at the time was shoveling tens of billions of dollars into dot-coms and telecommunications companies. A second was what they saw as the underfinancing of innovation in energy, given the potential markets. 'When you're talking about energy, when you're talking about water, you're talking about the largest markets in the world,' Mr. Ehrenpreis said. His firm now devotes roughly half its resources to alternative energy start-ups. The rest is being invested in life sciences companies. Similarly, Erik Straser, a partner at Mohr Davidow, spotted the great size of those potential markets and over the last three years decided to devote a large share of his time to exploring the clean-tech field. In addition to investing in Nanosolar and Energy Innovations, he and his partners have put money into a start-up that is using fuel-cell technologies to develop a portable, self-sustaining power plant. 'You look at all the development that's going on in China and India right now, and you realize that two-fifths of the world's population is going through the kind of industrialization that one-fifth the world's population experienced in the 20th century,' Mr. Straser said. 'The size of the opportunity here is immeasurable.' He pointed to Energy Innovations as an example of a company with a huge potential market. 'If they can execute on their vision, they'll be a cash register stuck on open,' Mr. Straser said. Not every venture capitalist, though, is convinced that the energy sector is thick with companies with huge money-making potential. Vinod Khosla, the prominent Kleiner Perkins partner, is bullish on the clean-tech field - so much so that he stepped down as a full partner at Kleiner last year in part to devote more time to investing his own money in alternative energy companies. While he has already made four such investments over the last four years, he also doubts that very many clean-tech firms have huge payout potential. 'I have the sense that there are a lot more niche-sized start-ups out there than big ones,' Mr. Khosla said, 'but some great opportunities do exist.' While the federal government has scaled back investment in clean technologies, states are playing an increasingly important role, said Ron Pernick, co-founder of Clean Edge, the consulting group. Nearly 20 states have set goals for the percentage of energy supply that must come from clean sources, Mr. Pernick said, and some states, including California and Connecticut, are setting aside money to be invested in promising alternative energy companies. Not since the days of the Carter administration, when the federal government was more involved, have venture capitalists been this excited about alternative energy, said Mr. Heesen of the venture capital association. And that time, he said, it 'proved to be disastrous.' Today's landscape is radically different from that of the late 1970's, of course. Years of experimentation in fuel cells and solar energy as well as breakthroughs in other fields, from nanotechnology to semiconductors, have been great boons to innovation in clean tech. But on the other hand, many firms just venturing into this field have no more experience today than they did 30 years ago.

Subject: Changes in Lung Cancer Treatments
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:17:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/23/health/23cancer.html?pagewanted=all Studies Lead to Big Changes in Lung Cancer Treatments By DENISE GRADY For the first time in decades, doctors have begun making major changes in the treatment of lung cancer, based on research proving that chemotherapy can significantly lengthen life for many patients for whom it was previously thought to be useless. The shift in care applies to about 50,000 people a year in the United States who have early cases of the most common form of the disease, non-small-cell lung cancer, and whose tumors are removed by surgery. Many of these patients, who just a few years ago would have been treated with surgery alone, are now being given chemotherapy as well, just as it is routinely given after surgery for breast or colon cancer. The new approach has brightened a picture that was often bleak. 'The benefit is at least as good, and maybe better than in the other cancers,' said Dr. John Minna, a lung cancer expert and research director at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He said new discoveries were helping to eliminate doctors' 'nihilistic' attitudes about chemotherapy for lung cancer. 'The standard of care has changed,' said Dr. Christopher G. Azzoli, a lung cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. A major impetus for the change came a year ago, when two studies presented at a cancer conference showed marked increases in survival in patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy, meaning the drugs were given after surgery. In one study of 482 patients in Canada and the United States, led by Dr. Timothy Winton, a surgeon from the University of Alberta, 69 percent of patients who had surgery and chemotherapy were still alive five years later, as compared with 54 percent who had just surgery. The patients were given a combination of two drugs, cisplatin and vinorelbine, once a week for 16 weeks. In the world of lung cancer research, a survival difference of 15 percentage points is enormous. Over all, the patients given chemotherapy lived 94 months, versus 73 months in those who had only surgery - also a huge difference in a field in which a treatment is hailed as a success if it gives patients even three or four extra months. A second study, also announced at the conference last year, had similar findings, and so did a third, presented just a month ago at the annual meeting of the same cancer group, the American Society of Clinical Oncology. At major medical centers, doctors quickly began to put the results into practice. 'The findings were so stunning from these studies a year ago that they began to change the standard of care,' said Dr. Pasi Janne, a lung cancer specialist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. 'Over the last year, the number of patients we've had referred here for adjuvant chemotherapy has gone up steadily.' But some doctors hesitated to make changes, Dr. Winton said, wanting first to see the studies published in a medical journal, which would mean the data had stood up to the scrutiny of editors and expert reviewers. Now, his study has become the first of the three to pass that test. It is being published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, along with an editorial by Dr. Katherine M. S. Pisters, a lung cancer specialist at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Pisters wrote that Dr. Winton's results were 'astonishing,' had 'tremendous implications' and would end the controversy that had existed about whether chemotherapy could help people with lung cancer. 'There was a remarkable improvement in survival,' she said in a telephone interview, adding that lung cancer experts had never seen anything like it before. 'No question, the debate is over.' Patients in the study did suffer from side effects, including lowered blood counts, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, nerve damage and constipation. Generally, the reactions were not severe, though two patients (0.8 percent) died from toxic effects - not an unexpected finding with the powerful drugs used to treat cancer. Dr. Pisters said that the oncology society and the American College of Chest Physicians were both rewriting their formal guidelines to say chemotherapy should be given after surgery for early-stage lung tumors like the ones in the studies. She and Dr. Azzoli said that although medical oncologists, the cancer doctors who prescribe chemotherapy, knew about the lung-cancer findings, surgeons and internists may not have heard about or accepted them. Dr. Azzoli said: 'We also want the surgeons to be aware of this data, because they are the ones who need to refer patients to the medical oncologists. Until this point, they would not necessarily refer people. Now, they have to.' Worldwide, lung cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death, with more than a million new cases and a million deaths every year. In the United States, it is expected to kill 163,510 people this year - more than breast, prostate and colon cancer and leukemia combined. Nearly all the cases are caused by smoking. From 80 percent to 85 percent of lung cancers are the type that Dr. Winton studied, non-small-cell cancers. His findings apply to 25 percent to 30 percent of newly diagnosed cases, those that can be removed surgically and are at an early point in the disease classified as Stage IB or Stage II. With surgery alone, five-year survival ranges from 23 percent to 67 percent, depending on the size of the tumor and how much it has begun to spread, according to Dr. Pisters. From the 1960's through the mid-1990's, efforts to better the odds with chemotherapy failed. Not only did the drugs not help, they sometimes hurt, actually shortening patients' lives instead of extending them. And so for many years, patients with early tumors were advised to have surgery and no other treatment. Many relapsed and died. Chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer cannot cure it. But new chemotherapy drugs were being introduced, along with better medicines for side effects like nausea and low blood counts. Dr. Winton began his study in 1994. It was paid for by the governments of Canada and the United States, and by GlaxoSmithKline, which makes vinorelbine. Dr. Winton said the company did not control the data in any way. The two drugs fight cancer in different ways. Dr. Winton said, 'It's a collective attack on two different components of cell division and growth that has made this doublet effective in this disease.' Thomas Blowers, 69, a retired research director for public schools in Edmonton, Alberta, had surgery to remove two-thirds of his right lung five years ago, followed by chemotherapy as part of the study. He suspected the treatment helped him, because he knew other people with lung cancer who did not enter the study and, he said, 'they don't live very long at all.' 'I'm still alive,' Mr. Blowers said. 'I say any day you're breathing in and out is a good day.' Other drug combinations can also be used, Dr. Pisters said, as long as one is a platinum-based drug like cisplatin or carboplatin.

Subject: A Choice for the Heart
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:13:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/23/business/23device.html?pagewanted=all A Choice for the Heart By BARRY MEIER It seemed like a good idea to both doctors and federal officials. Since the government was paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year for hip and knee replacements for Medicare patients, why not create a database showing how competing products performed, a group of orthopedic surgeons suggested last year. To do so, just a few pieces of information - the make and model of the device - would need to be added to the claim forms that doctors or hospitals file with Medicare. Such a database would also serve as an early warning system to show when a device is repeatedly failing. But a top Medicare official, Dr. Steve Phurrough, said the surgeons' proposal had not gone far. One reason is that it would require an overhaul of Medicare forms and computer software. But there is an even more significant roadblock: Congress, while allowing Medicare to spend billions of tax dollars on medical devices, effectively bars it from collecting data showing how well competing products work. 'We would like to have the authority to collect that data,' said Dr. Phurrough, who is the director of the coverage and analysis group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 'But that data is not necessary for payment.' The incident underscores an issue at the heart of the recent recall of tens of thousands of defibrillators by the Guidant Corporation. Even as the use of expensive devices like artificial knees and defibrillators expands rapidly, patients and doctors get less information about products that are implanted in bodies than consumers get on the safety and performance of cars. Medical experts have long complained about the lack of data showing how competing drugs compare in both safety and effectiveness. But the amount of information available on prescription drugs is impressive when compared with the murky world of medical devices. The data vacuum, experts said, reflects the scattershot methods used by both government and industry to collect basic information about device failures. Manufacturers do not regularly disclose why products are failing and there is no way to tell accurately how many implanted devices break down while in use. In addition, both regulators and manufacturers do not disclose all the data they do gather. The Food and Drug Administration requires makers of defibrillators and pacemakers, for example, to report detailed product performance annually, but it does not make those reports public. A doctor's decision to use a particular manufacturer's artificial hip or pacemaker is often based on subjective factors. Often, physicians will choose the makers' devices on which they were trained or ones they are used to using. 'Frankly, we have little information on which one of these devices perform better than others,' said Dr. Robert H. Haralson III, a top official of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a group whose members met last year with Medicare officials. Dr. Robert Hauser, a cardiologist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, agreed. 'We are flying blind,' said Dr. Hauser, who voluntarily maintains a database where several hospitals report problems with pacemakers and defibrillators. The overriding problem with gauging device performance is that few studies are conducted that follow patients over time to learn how long a product lasts or what flaws show up repeatedly. Doctors and hospitals place in patient records the name of each prescribed drug, enabling researchers to analyze records and detect if a medication is causing problems. Such reviews helped bring to light the heart problems associated with the drug Vioxx. But implants of devices like hips and defibrillators are recorded as procedures. Because they do not include the make or model of the device, such reviews are all but impossible. As a result, doctors often rely on reports issued by manufacturers called product performance reviews to assess devices. In such reports, data about a model of defibrillator, say, is presented in terms of its 'survival' rate. That number is derived from the number of units implanted, reduced by the number removed for any reason. A defibrillator emits an electrical jolt to restore a chaotically beating heart to normal rhythm. Such reports, experts said, suffer from numerous problems. Frequently, doctors do not send failed devices back to a manufacturer unless a patient death or injury is involved, and even then they may not do so. In addition, heart devices are typically not examined after a patient dies to see if its possible failure might have contributed to the death. Such reviews do not require an autopsy. 'The weak point is the fact that this is a passive system that does not mandate that physicians return all devices or report them to F.D.A. so it is the minority of devices that are returned,' said Dr. N. A. Mark Estes, a professor of medicine at Tufts University. Manufacturers' product reports can also mask serious problems. The reason is simple: while defibrillator makers, for example, provide broad measures of device performance, most companies do not provide doctors with detailed breakdowns of the various ways in which a particular model is failing. Such detailed data, as the recent recall by Guidant shows, is critical because not all product failures are equal. Instead, different types of failures can have different consequences for patients. For example, when defibrillator batteries fail, patients are typically alerted by a beeping sound, allowing them time to see a doctor. But the type of failure affecting the recalled Guidant model, the Ventak Prizm 2 DR, involved something far more significant - a short circuit that could occur, without warning, when the unit was charging to deliver a potentially life-saving shock. Some physicians say that if manufacturers were forced to publicly disclose more of the safety data they collected, the device industry would be spurred to produce better products. 'Public reporting of malfunctions and malfunction rates would force industry to improve their safety,' said Dr. William H. Maisel, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Under little-known F.D.A. requirements, however, makers of pacemakers and defibrillators must report highly detailed product performance data to the agency once a year. But most physicians do not know that the agency collects the data because the F.D.A. has chosen not to make it public. For example, under F.D.A. rules, a defibrillator producer must report to the agency not only how many of its units have failed each year, but also must describe all the failure mechanisms involved. An F.D.A. spokeswoman, Julie Zawisza, said that she believed that the reports, which manufacturers filed for each model approved, were probably available under the Freedom of Information Act but did not say why the agency did not make the data public automatically. Officials of one major device manufacturer, Medtronic Inc., said the performance data provided by the company to the F.D.A. was more detailed than it put in its reports. Unlike some manufacturers, Medtronic provides doctors with data on product failures in two broad categories: battery depletions and electrical failures. Guidant and St. Jude Medical, the third major manufacturer of heart devices, do not separate electrical failures from battery problems in their reports about product 'survival' rates. Tim Samsel, vice president for regulatory affairs at Medtronic's cardiac rhythm management division, said that the company, in its confidential F.D.A. reports, would break down the category of electrical failures even further, such as by listing the specific components that have failed or the way products are failing electrically, like short-circuiting. 'For F.D.A, we do break it down more,' Mr. Samsel said. Asked why Medtronic did not simply place that same data in its product performance reports, a company spokesman, Robert Clark, said, 'The information we provide to F.D.A. for an annual report is not the way physicians want the information presented to them.' Some doctors, however, appear to want more information. Dr. Maisel of Brigham and Women's Hospital said he thought that if Medicare collected data on the performance of defibrillators, cardiologists would know far more about the relative safety and quality of those devices. In January, Medicare expanded by one-third the number of people who could qualify for defibrillator implants, extending coverage to about 500,000 patients. As part of that initiative, the program is asking doctors and hospitals to fill out special forms to make sure that the right patients are getting the costly units and so that Medicare can tell how many people are benefiting. As part of the form, the agency is asking doctors for a raft of patient data, but the forms do not ask for the device's make or model.

Subject: Chinese Oil Giant in Takeover Bid
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 09:44:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/23/business/worldbusiness/23unocal.html Chinese Oil Giant in Takeover Bid for U.S. Corporation By DAVID BARBOZA and ANDREW ROSS SORKIN SHANGHAI - One of China's largest state-controlled oil companies made a $18.5 billion unsolicited bid Thursday for Unocal, signaling the first big takeover battle by a Chinese company for an American corporation. The bold bid, by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation ( CNOOC), may be a watershed in Chinese corporate behavior, and it demonstrates the increasing influence on Asia of Wall Street's bare-knuckled takeover tactics. The offer is also the latest symbol of China's growing economic power and of the soaring ambitions of its corporate giants, particularly when it comes to the energy resources it needs desperately to continue feeding its rapid growth. CNOOC's bid, which comes two months after Unocal agreed to be sold to Chevron, the American energy giant, for $16.4 billion, is expected to incite a potentially costly bidding war over the California-based Unocal, a large independent oil company. CNOOC said its offer represents a premium of about $1.5 billion over the value of Unocal's deal with Chevron after a $500 million breakup fee. Moreover, the effort is likely to provoke a fierce debate in Washington about the nation's trade policies with China and the role of the two governments in the growing trend of deal making between companies in the countries. This week, a consortium of investors led by the Haier Group, one of China's biggest companies, moved to acquire the Maytag Corporation, the American appliance maker, for about $1.3 billion, surpassing a bid from a group of American investors. Last month, Lenovo, China's largest computer maker, completed its $1.75 billion deal for I.B.M.'s personal computer business, creating the world's third-largest computer maker after Dell and Hewlett-Packard. After years of attracting billions in foreign investment and virtually turning itself into the world's largest factory floor, China appears to be nurturing the growth of its own corporate giants into beacons of capitalism. China wants to be a player on the world stage, and it is eager to have its own energy resources, its own multinational corporations and its own dazzling corporate names. And some of China's biggest companies are now on the hunt, trying to snap up global treasures. 'If there's an asset up for sale anywhere in the world, people are looking to China, particularly if there's a manufacturing element involved,' said Colin Banfield, who runs the mergers and acquisitions practice at Credit Suisse First Boston in Asia. 'And if these two deals go through this year, no one is going to doubt the credibility of the Chinese corporates when it comes to M & A.' The deal making and bidding wars are all the more remarkable because they involve Chinese companies taking on American multinationals in a series of transactions certain to be a boon for Western lawyers and investment bankers, many of whom have been betting hundreds of millions of dollars on China's rise. Indeed, CNOOC is being advised by an army of bankers from Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan Chase and N M Rothschild & Sons of Britain. In a response, Unocal said in a statement that its board would evaluate the offer, but that its recommendation of the deal with Chevron 'remains in effect.' CNOOC's bid faces an uphill battle, with hurdles that probably rise above those usually confronting a corporate bidder. Already, lawmakers in Washington are questioning whether the Bush administration should intervene to block the bid for Unocal, which was founded in 1890 as the Union Oil Company of California. Two Republican representatives from California, Richard W. Pombo and Duncan Hunter, wrote a letter last week to President Bush, after speculation concerning the deal arose, urging that the transaction be scrutinized on the grounds of national security. They wrote: 'As the world energy landscape shifts, we believe that it is critical to understand the implications for American interests and most especially, the threat posed by China's governmental pursuit of world energy resources. The United States increasingly needs to view meeting its energy requirements within the context of our foreign policy, national security and economic security agenda.' Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said at a meeting of the National Petroleum Council late Wednesday that the government's review of the deal would be 'truly a complex matter,' according to Reuters. In Beijing, Liu Jianchao, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Tuesday that 'this is a corporate issue,' according to Bloomberg News. 'I can't comment on this individual case,' Mr. Liu said, 'but I can say we encourage the U.S. to allow normal trade relations to take place without political interference.' TCL, a Chinese company that began by making cassette tapes in 1981, is suddenly the world's biggest television set maker, after its acquisition last July of the television business of Thomson of France, which owned the old RCA brand. Chinese companies still have a long way to go to become global giants that can compete head-to-head with Toyota, Siemens or General Electric. Most of the China deals are small in value - about $1 billion to $2 billion - when compared with big American or European deals. Whether CNOOC's bid will succeed on it merits is unclear. It is interested in Unocal, once known for its 76 brand, less for its exploration and production in North America than for its huge reserves in Asia. Twenty-seven percent of Unocal's proven oil reserves and 73 percent of its proven natural gas reserves are in Asia, according to Merrill Lynch. To succeed, CNOOC will have to persuade Unocal's shareholders to vote against their deal with Chevron. The new deal would then face a shareholder vote. Even though CNOOC's offer is worth $1.5 billion more than Chevron's, some shareholders could still decide that the regulatory review process and the time required to complete a deal with CNOOC would pose too great a risk, given the size of the offer. Chevron, which could raise its bid to counter CNOOC, is racing to complete its deal and submit it to a shareholder vote as early as August. The company made no specific comment on the Chinese offer. CNOOC's all-cash offer values Unocal at $67 a share. Chevron's cash and stock offer values Unocal at $61.26 a share, based on Chevron's closing price on Wednesday of $58.27 a share. Shares of Unocal jumped 2.2 percent, to $64.85, as investors anticipated CNOOC's higher bid. In CNOOC's letter to Unocal, it went to great lengths to say that its bid was friendly, despite being unsolicited. 'This friendly, all-cash proposal is a superior offer for Unocal shareholders,' wrote CNOOC's chairman and chief executive, Fu Chengyu. Trying to assuage concerns of some in Washington, CNOOC pledged to continue Unocal's practice of selling all of the oil and gas produced in the United States back to customers in the United States. The company also said it would retain substantially all of Unocal's employees in the United States.

Subject: Are Collectibles the New Real Estate?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 09:39:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/23/business/23scene.html Are Collectibles the New Real Estate? By ALAN KRUEGER EVERYDAY it seems that another collectible is sold for a record price. Consider three widely publicized sales in the last month. Babe Ruth's contract, which sent him from the Red Sox to the Yankees in 1919, went for nearly $1 million. A 1913 Liberty Head nickel went for $4.15 million, up from $3 million a year earlier. And a 1918 upside-down biplane stamp sold for $525,000, more than three times its pre-auction estimated price. Are collectibles a sound financial investment? If the past is any guide, the answer is no. Historically, collectibles have yielded a much lower return than stocks and carried more risk. Benjamin J. Burton of Lehman Brothers and Joyce P. Jacobsen of Wesleyan University conducted an exhaustive summary of studies that estimated the financial return from investing in collectibles in an article published in The Journal of Economic Perspectives in 1999. They examined the payoff from holding several kinds of collectibles, including art, wine, antiques, ceramics, coins, stamps, books and Beanie Babies. Measuring the return from investing in collectibles is difficult because the items that are sold each year are not identical and some items are rarely sold. Three methods have been used to estimate the return. One involves tracking the prices of objects sold on multiple occasions. Another follows the prices of a portfolio of similar but not identical items each year. And a third tries to adjust statistically for the characteristics of items that are sold at different times - for example, a large Picasso should sell for more than a smaller one, other things being equal. Despite the methodological differences, according to Mr. Burton and Ms. Jacobsen, the results from the various methods all support the same conclusion: 'The majority of collectibles yield lower financial returns than stocks, and studies that include a measure of variability over time uniformly find that collectibles embody more risk than most other financial assets.' For example, using information on repeat sales of paintings , William J. Baumol of New York University estimated that the compound rate of return was just 0.6 percent a year after accounting for inflation, more than 8 percentage points below the rate of return from stocks. The actual return on holding collectibles may be even lower than most studies indicate because they do not take account of storage and insurance costs, commissions on sales and the risk that it may be difficult to find a buyer. And that does not even take into consideration the products that are manufactured and sold as collectibles from the outset. To be sure, there have been periods when artwork and other collectibles yielded a higher return than stocks, but those periods tended to be brief and hard to predict. The resale price of Beanie Babies, for instance, grew at an astonishing rate of 140 percent a year from 1994 to 1999 - and has since crashed. The return on collectibles is inherently volatile because demand depends mainly on buyers' whims and current fads, not on fundamentals. For example, the fundamental value of the biplane stamp is just 24 cents, not enough to mail a letter; the rest of its value comes from consumers' tastes. And it is true that Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees for $100,000 - which translates to $1.2 million in today's dollars - making the $1 million price tag his contract just fetched sound like a bargain. But the original contract came with Babe Ruth! Looking across all types of collectibles, Mr. Burton and Ms. Jacobsen find that collectibles tend to yield a higher return when the stock market does poorly (Beanie Babies notwithstanding). Still, collectibles do not provide as good a hedge against stock market risk as bonds or money market accounts, which probably explains why virtually all hedge funds and mutual funds have shied away from investing in collectibles. So why has the price of some prestigious collectibles surged lately? One possibility is that the news media has just played up some extreme, eye-catching cases. Given the high price volatility and wide variety of collectibles, it would be surprising if some prominent items did not rise sharply in value every year. Another possibility, however, is that we are in one of those infrequent periods when the price of collectibles is surging. Scott Mitchell, a numismatist at Stack's Coins in New York, said that over the last five years there has been an increase in both the sales volume and price of rare coins, because of publicity about some high-profile sales like the Liberty Head nickel and a desire by investors to move funds from stocks to rare coins. Still, the average collector and investor would be wise to recognize that collectibles have historically been a poor investment but a good hobby. 'The most important thing I have found out,' said William Gunn of Lawton-Wellington Collectibles Inc. in West Palm Beach, Fla., who has sold sports memorabilia for 27 years, 'is that many people are more interested in the sizzle than the steak when they buy collectibles; they like the story more than the item.' Presumably the joy that buyers derive from owning and displaying collectibles is why people buy them despite their poor financial return. This is unlikely to change. Mr. Gunn added that he advises customers, 'Buy stocks and bonds to make money; buy memorabilia for the pride and pleasure of ownership.' That sounds like sound advice to me, despite the hype given to a few recent record-breaking sales. Alan B. Krueger (www.krueger.princeton.edu) is the Bendheim professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University.

Subject: Green Heron Landing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 09:29:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5496&u=4|1|... Green Heron Landing New York City--Central Park, Turtle Pond.

Subject: Stock Market Valuations
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 07:30:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What gives me most encouragement is the broad strength of international stock markets and the gradual increase in prices that allows for valuations to remain reasonable. I am most cautious in portfolio but pleased.

Subject: International Bull Market
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 06:11:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
When domestic stock markets are viewed internationally, there is much to be encouraged about. There is a gradual stable continuation of the bull market that began in October 2002. I am encouraged.

Subject: Re: International Bull Market
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Thurs, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:31:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Whether stock market investors realize it or not, like it or not, the global economy is strongly tied to the global housing market. World consumption is strongly tied to the global housing markets. Employment is strongly tied to the global housing markets. Corporate profits are strongly tied to the global housing markets. IMO, this means the global stock markets are strongly tied to the global housing markets. In addition, at this moment (6/23 AM) Congress is grilling Greenspan and Snow on pressuring China to unpeg its currency from the US dollar. For once, I agree with Greenspan. Placing 27-28% across-the-board tariffs on Chinese goods would be a dangerous step. I can't think of a more likely scenario (short of a nuclear incident on US soil which I hope is extremely unlikely) which would tank world markets steeply and suddenly. It could create havoc in financial markets and cause a stampede for the exits in both the stock and bond markets. Let's hope sanity rules. If our economy is as healthy as Greenspan and others are saying, why do we have so many members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, pressing for global trading armegedon? I can go into the global competion for natural resources such as oil and natural gas. The Chinese move to purchase Unocal is a precursor of a feverish competition for natural resources growing by the day. The rising costs of energy and raw materials will have a long term negative affect on the profits of S&P corporations and the discretionary portion of consumer paychecks. Although others here are more trustful of Wall Street and corporate accounting, I don't believe much has changed with regard to this since the late 90's. Now I realize most folks don't agree with me on this. But my first three points are difficult to disagree with. I just see the last two and a half years as a bull rally in the midst of a much longer bear market. In fact, the slowdown in the rally over the last year, set against global economic difficulties, seems to lend support for this view.

Subject: International Stock Price Adjustment
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 19:49:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that every major international market is positive in domestic currency terms, and many are already above 10% returns for the years so far. International returns in dollars are mostly positive even with the strong dollar run. What is happening is that stocks in international markets are adjusting to changes in currency values.

Subject: National Index Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 19:38:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 6/22/05 Australia 8.4 Canada 7.1 Denmark 9.4 France 1.2 Germany -2.7 Hong Kong 2.6 Japan -4.5 Netherlands 2.2 Norway 10.6 Sweden -0.5 Switzerland 0.6 UK 1.3

Subject: National Index Returns - Domestic
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 19:44:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 6/22/05 Australia 9.0 Canada 10.4 Denmark 22.7 France 13.3 Germany 9.0 Hong Kong 2.6 Japan 1.4 Netherlands 14.5 Norway 18.6 Sweden 14.7 Switzerland 12.5 UK 7.9

Subject: Europeans Clash With Tony Blair
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 17:49:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/international/europe/22cnd-europe.html Europeans Clash With Tony Blair Over Union's Future By GRAHAM BOWLEY - International Herald Tribune BRUSSELS - The president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, put himself on collision course with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain today by casting doubt on whether the European Union could move forward with changes in the budget process or further expansion. As Mr. Blair prepared to address the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, when he will propose a way out of the European Union's current crisis, Mr. Barroso and other European leaders made new accusations against Mr. Blair, saying he was responsible for the breakdown of the European Union summit meeting last week. Mr. Blair, who has become increasingly isolated since the summit meeting, assumes the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1, and he is expected to use his speech on Thursday to outline his priorities for the European Union, including stewarding the opening of membership negotiations with Turkey on Oct. 3. But speaking after the 25-member commission had met to come up with its own proposals for lifting the European Union out of its current gloom, Mr. Barroso made his most cautious remarks to date about the prospects for Turkey gaining membership. Referring to referendums in France and the Netherlands in which voters rejected the European constitution, he said the European Union could not ignore 'the signal that was sent by the electorate regarding Turkey.' The comments reflect similar sentiments expressed by European governments since the referendums, but they are the strongest to date from the commission in Brussels. He also rejected Mr. Blair's call for an immediate fundamental rethinking of how the European Union spends its money, including reductions in farm subsidies, which largely benefit France, as a condition for striking a deal on a new financial package for 2007-13. Instead, he called for an immediate agreement before any debate to avoid 'paralysis' in the union. He said Britain should respect an agreement struck in 2002 by all European Union leaders, including Mr. Blair, which fixes farm spending until 2012. In France today, President Jacques Chirac said at his weekly cabinet meeting: 'France did everything, with its partners, to arrive at an agreement. Unfortunately, British intransigence did not allow one to be reached.' Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg's prime minister and the departing European Union president, used a speech to the European Parliament today to outline the ways in which Britain, in his view, had blocked a budget compromise. 'The disagreement at the summit has meant that after the uncertainty regarding the constitution there is a deep crisis, one not exclusively budgetary or financial in nature,' he said. 'Britain wasn't prepared to adjust sufficiently its rebate and lighten the burden on Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.' Mr. Barroso, offering some room for compromise to Mr. Blair, said European governments could agree a review clause in the budget to reappraise spending, including farm spending, in 2008. But the British government has made clear that it will only accept a clause that explicitly refers to spending on agriculture, and to the deal struck in 2002, a step France is likely to resist. In an attempt to close the gap between the European Union and European citizens that is also blamed for the referendum defeats, Mr. Barroso said the commission would begin a grand tour of European nations to talk to national parliaments and people about the future of the union.

Subject: Re: Blair's Gods?
From: Pancho Villa alias Vil. Pre-Pareto
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 18:54:27 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.' John Maynard Keynes

Subject: Bond Market Stability
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 14:09:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice how again and again the long term Treasury bond settles at 4% in yield. The stability of long term bonds month after month has been as startling as the low interest rates.

Subject: Writing Is Only the Beginning
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 13:49:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/books/22jane.html?pagewanted=all For This Author, Writing Is Only the Beginning By EDWARD WYATT ETNA, N.H. - Slouched on a sofa in a faded T-shirt and jeans, a tousle of dyed-auburn hair trending gray at the roots, Janet Evanovich looks less like the chief of a budding media empire than a mother trying hard to be her daughter's best friend. And there, next to her, is the daughter, Alexandra, whose dyed platinum-blond hair befits her stint as a freelance graphics designer for a heavy-metal band's fan site and her love for her red Ducati motorcycle, looking nothing like a corporate marketing guru. Yet the two women are all of those things - best friends, metalheads and meticulous businesswomen. Together with Janet's son and husband, both named Peter, who handle everything from investments to the packing of signed books for shipment to stores, they make up the family enterprise known as Evanovich Inc. And they have transformed Ms. Evanovich, 62, from a failing romance writer who once burned a box of rejection letters on her curb into a mini-industry whose success is beginning to emulate the sprawling domains of authorial heavyweights like James Patterson. Last year, she sold an estimated one million books in hardcover and three million more paperbacks, earning more than $3 million in royalties from the paperbacks and several million more in advances and royalties on the hardcovers. The empire now includes two continuing mystery series: one featuring the sharp-elbowed bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, published by St. Martin's Press, whose latest installment, 'Eleven on Top' went on sale June 21, and a second, published by HarperCollins, which began last fall with 'Metro Girl.' While her success speaks to her tenacity and devotion to family, it owes as much to marketing prowess. When fans, impatient for her next novel, began asking her to recommend other writers like her, Ms. Evanovich hired one instead. Thus began a separate line of paperback romance-thrillers with Charlotte Hughes as co-author and St. Martin's as publisher. Four books in that series became best sellers. And rather than risk having a previous publisher reissue her romance novels from more than a decade ago, Ms. Evanovich bought back the rights from Bantam, an imprint of Random House Inc., and resold them to HarperCollins, which has begun publishing them in a revised and updated format. Ms. Evanovich acknowledges that her strategy is little different than it might be for selling toothpaste. 'When you're trying to expand your business, it's about real estate in the stores,' she said in an interview at her hilltop home in rural western New Hampshire, and more products in more categories mean more shelf space. But while her relentless self-promotion has attracted more fans, it has also created some tensions. Michael Morrison, the president of HarperMorrow, the HarperCollins division that published 'Metro Girl,' said the interplay of multiple publishers and product lines is not ideal. 'I'm a believer that a publisher and an author should have one primary relationship,' he said. The sales of 'Metro Girl' did not match Ms. Evanovich's previous best sellers, but Mr. Morrison said that over all he was pleased with her work. 'It's much easier to work with an author and orchestrate a publishing career if you have all of the books under one house,' he said. But Ms. Evanovich does not apologize for flooding the market with a new book every two to three months, nor for her calculated efforts to send her new novels straight to the top of the best-seller lists. It has now become a rite of summer: each of the last five books in the numerical series featuring Stephanie Plum - from 'Hot Six' in 2000 through 'Ten Big Ones' last year - was No. 1 on The New York Times's hardcover best-seller list its first week on sale. Last fall, 'Metro Girl' also had its debut at No. 1. To put that feat in perspective, long-running series by James Patterson and Sue Grafton cannot match that current streak of immediate No. 1's. Ms. Evanovich plots her first week of promotion to include book signings at big stores that report their sales to publications that publish best-seller lists. As in past years, the publication of the new Stephanie Plum novel will include a Stephanie Plum Daze festival in Trenton, the setting for the novels. Featuring live music, food, a character dress-up contest and historical-society tours of Trenton sites mentioned in the series, a festival on June 25 is expected to attract several thousand fans. Barnes & Noble will be there selling books. She does not simply plan an event and expect people to show up, however. Evanovich Inc. constantly reminds its audience of a coming book, using its Internet site and a snail-mail newsletter, television commercials and radio spots. Ms. Evanovich oversees the design of book covers and the production of advertisements; she recently fired the agency that was devising commercials for 'Eleven on Top' and enlisted her family and publisher to come up with a new pitch. Behind the marketing machinations is Alexandra, 32, who writes the newsletter and illustrates both it and the Web site, www.evanovich.com. Until recently, she also managed the online store that sells hats, mugs and other paraphernalia, but its growth forced the family to outsource the job to a company in Florida. The task of running Evanovich Inc. has grown so rapidly that last year the family decided it needed office space away from their hilltop home, where all four family members live at least some of the time. Ms. Evanovich's son, Peter, 35, who manages the finances, oversaw the purchase of a $480,000 fixer-upper ranch-style house in Hanover near the Dartmouth campus for office space. Other recent family acquisitions include a $6.2 million waterside estate in Naples, Fla., and twin $1.6 million Boston condominiums - one for Mom, one for daughter - overlooking Boston Common. Ms. Evanovich's husband of 40 years, the elder Peter, applies his Ph.D. in mathematics to the study of her contracts and the sales and distribution information generated by publishers and bookstores. 'I feel like I never would have been a success and gotten published without my family,' Ms. Evanovich said. Throughout the years collecting rejection slips, and even as she began to earn a few thousand dollars per book for her early romances, 'they never said, 'Why don't we go on vacation like other families?' ' She added, 'They just told me, 'You take your time and write.' ' The fans clearly love it. According to Nielsen BookScan, they bought nearly 300,000 copies of 'Ten Big Ones' and 175,000 copies of 'Metro Girl' from traditional book outlets. Ms. Evanovich's publishers say the numbers are far higher, perhaps twice as much, because a large portion her fans buy their books at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and other stores that are not counted by BookScan. Clearly, her sales are big, though still well short of the levels reached by the likes of Nora Roberts, Mr. Patterson and John Grisham. The critics have sometimes been less than enthusiastic. Writing in The New York Times, Janet Maslin said Ms. Evanovich's works were 'the mystery-novel equivalent of comfort food.' And more than once, her writing has been called formulaic. Ms. Evanovich does not deny that; she simply wonders what is wrong with it. 'I'm a writer, but this is a business,' she said. 'You have to look at it in the way you would look at any business. You have to have honesty to the product. You have to meet consumer expectations. You give them value for their money and give them a product that they need. I don't see anything wrong with all these things. And I don't think it's a bad thing to meet consumers' expectations.'

Subject: Black Swan Vocalizing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 12:04:38 (EDT)
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Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3550&u=207|266|... Black Swan Vocalizing Jamaica Bay NWR East Pond, New York.

Subject: Hot 2005 for New York Offices
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 10:50:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/business/22prop.html?pagewanted=all A Hot 2005 for Offices So Far By JOHN HOLUSHA The demand by investors seeking to acquire office space in Manhattan remains intense, especially for properties in Midtown. With the first half of the year almost over, the dollar value of sales of commercial property is on a pace for the best year ever, exceeding even the record level of 2004, when $15.1 billion worth of buildings changed hands. A majority of commercial property in Manhattan is office space. 'A banner year used to be in the $10 billion range,' said Scott Latham, an executive director of Cushman & Wakefield, a brokerage and services company. 'Last year, we were 50 percent above that.' The company estimates that $12.67 billion of property was sold through mid-June. If current trends continue, 2005 will far exceed last year's total. Office rents in Midtown Manhattan have recovered almost to the peak levels of early 2001, providing some rationale for the lofty sales prices. In recent years, real estate executives have talked about the incongruity of the exceptionally high sales prices for office buildings and the soft rental rates for space within such buildings. Leasing income would seem to be the fundamental economic underpinning for purchases. 'The leasing market started to turn in November 2003, and 2004 was a very strong year,' said John Powers, co-chairman for the tristate region at CB Richard Ellis. 'For the year to date, we are still ahead of the five-year average' of square feet leased, he said. Although the pace of office leasing has slowed in recent weeks, some brokers describe this as a period of adjustment after the hot market of last year and the first quarter of this one. 'The market is pausing to digest,' said Mitchell S. Steir, the chief executive of Studley, a brokerage company that mostly represents tenants. 'It is the rational follow-up to a period of peak activity.' Real estate executives say low interest rates and an increased appetite for real estate among institutional investors like pension funds are driving the demand for commercial and residential properties in crucial markets like Manhattan and Washington. 'Ten years ago, real estate was a stepchild for institutional investors, who were mostly interested in stock and bonds,' said Paul E. Pariser, a founder of Taconic Investment Partners, which owns, among other properties, 111 Eighth Avenue, which covers the block between 15th and 16th Streets. 'Now funds that allocated 3 percent to real estate have moved to 8 percent, and those that were at 5 percent have moved to 12 percent,' Mr. Pariser said. 'Those are big dollars. When you add three percentage points at a $100 billion institution, that's $3 billion.' Peter Hauspurg, the chairman of Eastern Consolidated Properties, a sales brokerage firm, said: 'There is a tremendous amount of capital chasing real estate assets. History says that we are three years overdue for a correction in pricing, but there is no sign of it.' Indeed, in April, a group of pension funds and Tishman Speyer Properties agreed to pay $1.72 billion for the MetLife Building, the 2.8-million-square-foot tower that rises above Grand Central Terminal. It is said to be the highest price ever paid for a single building. Even though institutions have become an important factor in real estate investing, many executives say private investors with access to cheap debt still dominate in Manhattan. 'Last year, 68 percent of the sales volume went to private investors,' Mr. Latham said. Part of the reason, he said, is that private investors are willing to take on more debt to make a purchase than are institutions, which tend to have stricter rules about financing acquisitions. 'A private investor can finance 80 percent of a deal, compared to 60 to 65 percent for institutions,' Mr. Latham said. At the Toy Center, the connected buildings at 200 Fifth Avenue and 1107 Broadway that have housed offices and showrooms for toy manufacturers, the competition to acquire the property was fierce. 'When we went to sell the Toy Center, we had over 20 real bids, which is a remarkable number by historic criteria,' said Anthony E. Malkin, president of W&M Properties, a large investor. Mr. Malkin said most of the bidders were individuals based in New York. 'This market is being driven by entrepreneurial capital with access to high levels of debt,' he said. The Toy Center was sold for $355 million to the Chetrit Group. There has been speculation that the buildings, which face Madison Square Park, will be converted into residential condominiums, but Chetrit has declined to disclose its intentions. Leasing brokers say that in Midtown, concessions packages - periods of free rent and contributions toward interior construction - shrank as the vacancy rate dropped to 10.3 percent in May from 12.3 percent a year earlier, increasing the effective rent. According to a Studley study, the average effective rent in Midtown by the end of last year was $66.27 a square foot, which was still 11 percent below the high of $74.54 set in early 2001. The effective rent as calculated by Studley includes operating expenses, real estate taxes and the cost of electrical power, making it higher than the nominal base rent. Barry M. Gosin, the chief executive of Newmark & Company Real Estate, said, 'The market is being pulled up from the top,' with some prospective tenants willing to pay very high prices for space that meets their needs. 'Financial institutions like hedge funds have set the bar very high in prime buildings in the Plaza District,' an area north of Grand Central. Because these companies were willing to pay high rents for the space they wanted, other landlords lifted their asking prices as well. But if the Midtown leasing market is finally recovering from the slump after the Sept. 11 attacks, the downtown market is not. The vacancy rate there was 16.3 percent in May, compared with 15.2 percent a year earlier, according to CB Richard Ellis. The rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center is expected to be completed early next year, but no tenants have yet signed up for its 1.7 million square feet. 'Downtown is basically stagnant, although the conversion of office buildings to residential use will eventually be good for the area,' Mr. Gosin said. He noted that the gap between the Midtown rental rates and those downtown has widened, as few office tenants have taken space downtown. 'The difference used to be something like $15 to $20 a square foot,' he said. 'Now, it is more like $30 a square foot.' Some real estate executives said the decision by the investment banking company Goldman Sachs, the only firm that had committed to building a new office tower near Ground Zero, to suspend its plans was discouraging other tenants from looking for space downtown. 'Unfortunately for the city, the impact of Goldman will be far-reaching,' Mr. Steir of Studley said.

Subject: Foreign Auto Makers, Settled in South
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 10:40:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/automobiles/22auto.html?pagewanted=all Foreign Makers, Settled in South, Pace Car Industry By MICHELINE MAYNARD HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - By most accounts, the United States auto industry is in deep trouble. But don't tell that to the newest workers here in Alabama, where foreign carmakers are redefining the auto industry in America. Automakers from overseas first began building manufacturing plants in this country in the 1970's, largely as a defensive response to protectionist threats. But even as General Motors and Ford have been announcing thousands of job cuts, the foreign automakers are aggressively building new factories and expanding plants they opened not long ago. In Alabama alone, Mercedes-Benz has doubled the size of its plant outside Tuscaloosa in the last year, while Honda has done the same at its factory in Lincoln. A new plant from the Korean automaker, Hyundai, opened just last month in Montgomery. And Toyota is adding 300 more workers here at its two-year-old plant in Huntsville to produce powerful engines for the big pickup trucks that will be made in a factory opening next year in Texas. In other industries, American manufacturers have been some of the most avid investors abroad. But in the case of the auto industry, the competition has been brought right to Detroit's doorstep as the strongest foreign companies are moving to states eager for their investments, most of them in the Deep South, and hiring workers seeking the stability that home-grown companies can no longer offer. As a result, a quarter of all cars and trucks built in the United States are now made in factories owned by foreign automakers producing foreign brands, up from 18 percent in 2000. The assembly plants alone employ nearly 60,000 people, and that number continues to grow. The employment at the American companies still dwarfs that of the newcomers. Automakers in Detroit employ four times the hourly workers - 250,000 - but that number is continuing to fall. Already, G.M. has announced that it plans to cut 25,000 of those workers by 2008. Union jobs at the Big Three plants pay a dollar or two more an hour - about $26 an hour compared with $24 or $25 an hour for the nonunion jobs at the foreign plants. But compensation at the American automakers swells to an average of $55 an hour when health care, cost of living and other benefits are counted, compared with $48 an hour, on average, at Toyota. Toyota gets more out of its workers. Its plants operate at about 107 percent of the manufacturing capacity, meaning that they are constantly running on overtime, according to Harbour & Associates, a consulting firm that tracks manufacturing. By contrast, G.M.'s plants are operating at only 75 percent of their capacity, Harbour found. For David Herring, who grew up in Pontiac, Mich., outside of Detroit, his new job at Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville is a return to the industry that employed his uncle and other family members, but that he had originally decided to avoid. He earned a football scholarship to the University of North Alabama and then became a social worker. The job wore him down, he said, and he saw opportunity and stability at Toyota. 'Basically, auto country is moving down south,' said Mr. Herring, 29, who met Toyota's president on his first day on the job. He added, 'Fate brought me here.' For the most part, the first wave of foreign-owned plants were farther north, in places like Ohio and Kentucky, while the newest factories are concentrated in the Deep South. The state of Alabama has been particularly generous in wooing auto companies. In 1993, it provided $258 million in incentives and tax breaks to land its first foreign automaker, Mercedes. The state has spent hundreds of millions since to attract the Honda, Hyundai and Toyota plants. But what may have clinched the deals was the state's laws - similar to those on the books throughout much of the South - that do not require workers to join unions even if their plants are organized. 'The auto industry has found a welcome down here,' said Johnny L. Mathis, a business development manager with Qore Property Sciences, a company that has prepared the construction sites for many of the new auto factories and parts plants. Since 2000, the Big Three automakers have lost eight points of market share just to their Japanese competition. Detroit now holds 57 percent of the American car market, while foreign automakers have 43 percent. Among the companies adding jobs, no company is courted more than Toyota, the world's richest car company, which is gaining strength even as G.M. falters. Beyond expanding its engine plant here, where its ultimate investment will be $450 million, Toyota is building a $1 billion factory in San Antonio - set to open next year with 4,000 workers. And company officials are looking at even more places, including Arkansas, to build additional factories. Toyota's impact on the nation's economy has been powerful. A study by the Center for Automotive Research, which has yet to be published, estimates that Toyota's investments in the United States had led to 386,600 American jobs as of last year - including jobs at suppliers and in surrounding communities. That includes the 29,000 assembly workers at Toyota's plants, plus another 74,000 people employed by the automaker in its California headquarters, design and engineering centers and at its dealerships. And those figures do not include Toyota's expansion plans. In Texas alone, the study estimates, Toyota will help create another 9,000 jobs. The impact helps explain why 'states are falling all over themselves to land a car company,' said James T. Bolte, a Toyota vice president in charge of the Alabama plant. In a state where the average wage is $31,000 a year, according to the Commerce Department, Toyota's workers earn $45,000 on average, with overtime, plus a benefits package valued by the company at $10,000. Workers receive medical, dental and life insurance coverage; a traditional pension plan and a 401(k) plan; an allowance for child care; and an annual cash bonus, which was $3,850 a worker last year. Prospective employees are lining up to apply for jobs at the new factories. About 30,000 people vied for the 2,000 additional jobs at the gleaming white Mercedes plant west of Birmingham, where its workers dress in royal blue shirts that bear the company's three-pointed star logo on the right shoulder and their names on the left. For Tammy Young, 36, the sprawling Mercedes factory was a prize after being laid off at U.S. Steel's big Birmingham operation, where she worked for nine years. In between, she held a temporary job at the Honda plant and worked at a dairy store. The factory has just begun building the new R-class, a luxury station wagon, which will sell for about $50,000. It joins a new version of the M-class sport utility, the original vehicle produced here, whose sales are up 66 percent since it was updated last spring. Toyota, which opened its plant with 150 workers in 2003, had 9,000 applications for those positions, even though jobs in an engine plant lack the allure and glamour of building cars at places like Mercedes. The process of getting a job at Toyota is rigorous, meant to weed out those not meant for the repetitive, sometimes hot work inside the plant, which sits on 200 acres surrounded by cotton fields. After interviews, job seekers had to complete five weeks of pre-employment training at a center, which is run and paid for by the state, across the road from Alabama A&M University. The drill included exercises to see if they could work on teams and hours spent on a practice assembly line. None of the applicants were paid. Anyone who was late or missed a training session was instantly cut. The few successful applicants went through nine weeks more training inside the engine plant, including two hours a day in a fully equipped gym where they ran on treadmills and lifted weights to build endurance. Unlike plants run by Detroit automakers, where a worker can spend 30 years screwing on the same parts, everyone on the Toyota line is taught to do every type of assembly job, so they can switch positions when needed to keep production flowing. 'It was hard,' Mr. Herring said, 'but it all had a purpose.' To many, the purpose is the stability of a job at Toyota, which earned $4.8 billion in 2004, as the Detroit companies struggled. Jewal Fossett II, 31, was encouraged to apply by his father, who had bounced from one Ford job to another. The younger Mr. Fossett, who previously worked for MCI, said he had one reason for applying: 'I have my own family to raise.' Noralyn Lassiter, 22, said she gave up her job as a customer service representative at DirecTV, where she spent days at a desk 'on a headset.' Now, she will stand for hours a day at a workstation, redolent with the faintly acrid smell of engine coolant. But, she said, 'It's hard to find a job that you can stick with a long time.' Lately, at least some Toyota officials in Japan have expressed concern that the automaker's rapid growth could cause political problems, with one senior executive proposing that the company might raise prices or temper its expansion to give G.M. and Ford a break. But, Mr. Bolte, the Toyota executive, is doubtful that the company is planning to retreat. 'I haven't heard anybody say, 'Slow down,' ' he said.

Subject: China Bids for Maytag and Status
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 10:24:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/business/worldbusiness/22maytag.html From China, a New Bid for Maytag and Status By DAVID BARBOZA SHANGHAI - The move by the Haier Group, a Chinese manufacturing colossus, to acquire the Maytag Corporation could transform Haier into one of the world's most powerful appliance makers and give the company a greater foothold in America and Europe. In addition, analysts say, the purchase would be another big step in China's transition to capitalism. A consortium of investors led by Haier, China's biggest appliance company, offered about $1.3 billion for Maytag, the troubled home appliance maker. The bid, announced by Maytag officials late Monday, comes a month after the company agreed to be acquired by another investor group, led by Ripplewood Holdings of New York, for $1.13 billion. The move by Haier and a group of investors that includes the Blackstone Group and Bain Capital could touch off a fierce battle for Maytag. The takeover bid also comes as the Chinese government is pushing big companies here to make bold overseas acquisitions in the hope of turning them into multinational corporations with global brands. For instance, the Lenovo Group's purchase of I.B.M.'s personal computer division closed just last month. The acquisition, for $1.75 billion, was one of the largest by a Chinese company of a foreign entity so far. And CNOOC, the Chinese offshore oil and gas producer, will consider making an $18 billion bid for Unocal at a board meeting Wednesday. Unocal agreed in April to be acquired by Chevron for $16.4 billion, and a bid from CNOOC might ignite a takeover war. 'Chinese companies are growing bigger, and their managers have such great ambitions that they want to take a big step and jump to the next level,' said Hu Zuohao, a professor of marketing at Tsinghua University in Beijing. 'They're no longer satisfied with the domestic market.' A takeover of Maytag, the third-biggest American appliance maker behind Whirlpool and G.E., would unite an American household name with a rising power in the world of washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers and oven ranges. But such an acquisition would not be without challenges: the companies sought by Chinese corporations tend to have well-known brand names that are slipping into decline, like Maytag. The maker of Hoover vacuum cleaners, Amana appliances and Magic Chef ovens, Maytag is entertaining takeover bids as it struggles with higher costs and lower profit in recent years. Representatives of Maytag, based in Newton, Iowa, were not immediately available for comment Tuesday. A spokesman for Haier, based in the northeastern Chinese city of Qingdao, declined to comment. In 1999, Maytag's stock hovered around $70 a share on strong profit. On Tuesday, Maytag traded at $16.06 a share, and that price reflects sharp recent gains on takeover speculation. Maytag, which has more than 20,000 employees and had sales of about $4.7 billion last year, is still one of the world's biggest appliance makers, after Electrolux, based in Sweden, Whirlpool and G.E. Haier is also a consumer goods goliath. The company is still largely government-owned, but has a publicly listed division. It has branched out in recent years to computers, home furnishing and cellphones. Last year, Haier had $12 billion in revenue and 30 overseas factories, including a refrigerator factory in its own industrial park in Camden, S.C., according to the company's Web site. The company, which has about 50,000 employees, is also a favorite of the Beijing government. In 1997, the government named Haier one of six companies it hoped to transform into one of the world's top 500 companies by 2010. Its longtime chief executive, Zhang Ruimin, has even fashioned himself as a Chinese version of John F. Welch Jr., the hard-driving former chief of G.E. Mr. Zhang is the first businessman named to the Communist Party's elite ruling committee, the Central Committee. While Haier's ownership structure and finances are opaque, its status as one of China's few brand-name companies is clear. The air-conditioners, refrigerators and other goods it makes are in millions of homes here. Haier's profit margins, however, have recently thinned in some areas, analysts say. If its takeover bid succeeds, Haier could face big challenges in combining its operations with those of the struggling Maytag, whose first-quarter earnings fell 80 percent, to $7.7 million. 'The companies that are sold to Chinese buyers are usually those who have been in financial trouble for a long period, meaning the managers in their own countries can't fix the problems,' Mr. Hu at Tsinghua University said. 'At this point, Chinese managers might not be experienced enough to tackle these kinds of problems.' For its part, Maytag shareholders face a new decision, after the company agreed last week to be acquired by Ripplewood for $14 a share. Late Monday, Maytag said in a news release that a group led by Haier had offered shareholders $16 a share. In the statement, Maytag's lead director, Howard Clark, said: 'We continue to support the Ripplewood transaction; however, we also believe that it is incumbent on us to pursue this possibility of achieving a higher price for our stockholders.'

Subject: Portfolio Comparisons
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 09:48:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Holding long term bonds could well be tricky, but there is no reason, holding an immediately liquid long term bond fund with a 10 year duration is far less of a problem. A bond fund with an intermediate 5 year duration should offer no difficulty no matter the movement of interest rates. Again, there are comparisons worth making. If the long term Treasury yield is 4.05%, the Vanguard Utility Index has a dividend yield of 3.31% and has been relatively attractive for quite a while though a little pricey now. Still matching a 3.3% dividend against a 4.05% interest rate for 10 years when we might expect capital gains from the stock basket is interesting at least.

Subject: Transparent and Simple Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 07:31:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
For the older investor there are constant important warnings about the housing market, and I would include real estate in general, warnings about bonds, and a stock maket not recovered from the bear market begun more than 5 years ago. But, saving must be invested. What a difficult time to properly protect a portfolio. But, we must keep in mind transparent and simple investing is critical so I still find Vanguard an important even critical choice.

Subject: Dollar and Euro
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 07:24:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Unless the Euro is again found an alternative value store to the dollar diversification of assets in terms of currency becomes quite a bit more difficult. I am puzzled about the alternatives, especially for central bankers in Asia.

Subject: Conservative Bond Funds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 05:58:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There has never been a time when a diversified conservative portfolio strikes me as so important, with the emphasis on conservative. So, I can find no reason to avoid moderate controlled duration investment-grade bond funds. But, I find nonetheless considerable suspicion of the bond market and of bond funds.

Subject: Portfolio Diversification is a Success
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 05:47:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Since January 2000, the Vanguard Long Term Investment-Grade Bond Fund has returned more than 11% annually. The duration of the Vanguard fund is steadily about 10 years. We are in the midst of one of the strongest bull markets in long term bonds since 1945. The extent to which bonds have been a superior investment to stocks since January 2000 is without equal since 1945. The S&P Stock Index has lost about about 2% annually since January 2000.

Subject: Vanguard Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 19:04:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship3.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Returns 12/31/04 to 6/21/05 S&P Index is 0.9 Large Cap Growth Index is 0.2 Large Cap Value Index is 2.9 Mid Cap Index is 4.2 Small Cap Index is 1.6 Small Cap Value Index is 1.9 Europe Index is 0.2 Pacific Index is -1.8 Energy is 22.9 Health Care is 6.6 REIT Index is 6.0 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 0.3 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 6.1

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 18:56:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship3.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Indexes 12/31/04 - 6/21/05 Energy 23.1 Financials -1.5 Health Care 5.7 Info Tech -3.5 Materials -4.3 REITs 6.0 Telecoms -2.3 Utilities 12.3

Subject: Public Broadcasting Monitoring
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 17:16:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/politics/21broadcast.html?ex=1119499200&en=af89120270895e61&ei=5070 Public Broadcasting Monitor Had Worked at Center Founded by Conservatives By STEPHEN LABATON WASHINGTON - A researcher retained secretly by the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to monitor the 'Now' program with Bill Moyers for political objectivity last year, worked for 20 years at a journalism center founded by the American Conservative Union and a conservative columnist, an official at the journalism center said on Monday. The decision by the chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, to retain the researcher, Fred Mann, without the knowledge of the corporation's board, to report on the political leanings of the guests of 'Now' is one of several issues under investigation by the corporation's inspector general. At the request of two Democratic lawmakers, investigators are examining whether Mr. Tomlinson has violated any rules as he has sought, he says, to ensure that public television and radio provide greater program balance. His critics, including some lawmakers and executives of public broadcasting, say he has sought to tilt the corporation, which provides $400 million to radio and television stations and producers, toward a conservative agenda. One of Mr. Tomlinson's Democratic critics, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, called on him to resign on Monday. 'As a result of your recent attempts to inject partisan politics into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, I am writing to urge you to step down as chairman,' Mr. Lautenberg wrote. 'Your conduct has undermined the C.P.B. and its mission of quality public broadcasting free of political interference. Under current circumstances, with investigations of your conduct pending, it is hardly possible for you to effectively carry out your duties as chairman of the C.P.B.' Mr. Tomlinson issued a statement saying he would not resign. 'While I respect Senator Lautenberg's strongly held views on this subject, I see no reason to step down from the chairmanship,' he said. 'I am confident that the inspector general's report will conclude that all of my actions were taken in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations.' On Monday the board interviewed candidates for the position of president. The vacancy was created by the resignation of Kathleen Cox, who stepped down in April after the board did not renew her contract. Mr. Tomlinson has said his top choice for the job is Patricia Harrison, an assistant secretary of state and a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. He has said that Ms. Harrison would have strong credibility with the White House and with Republicans in Congress, some of whom are threatening to cut the corporation's budget substantially. Public television and radio stations have opposed that choice, saying it would further inject politics into public broadcasting at precisely the wrong time. The three Democratic and independent members of the board oppose her selection, board members said, as do some Congressional Democrats. Until last year, Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, which for the last few years has been run by the Young America's Foundation. The foundation describes itself on its Web site as 'the principal outreach organization of the conservative movement' and as being committed to the ideas of 'individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values.' The Young America's Foundation shares some top officials with its politically active counterpart, Young Americans for Freedom, although the two are separate entities. The National Journalism Center was founded in 1977 by the American Conservative Union and M. Stanton Evans, a syndicated columnist. Mark LaRochelle, a top official at the National Journalism Center, said Mr. Mann told him last year that he was working on the Moyers project for the broadcasting corporation. He said Mr. Mann had run the alumni relations, job bank and internship program at the center, where he got to know Mr. Tomlinson. While Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, he helped place interns in the Washington bureau of Reader's Digest. The editor in chief of Reader's Digest at the time was Mr. Tomlinson, and its top editor in its Washington bureau was a friend of Mr. Tomlinson's, William Schulz. In April, Mr. Tomlinson persuaded the board of the corporation to appoint Mr. Schulz to be one of two ombudsmen to monitor public radio and television for objectivity. There was no response on Monday to voice messages and e-mail messages left for Mr. Mann. Mr. Moyers has been a source of agitation for Mr. Tomlinson and other conservatives. They say that 'Now' under Mr. Moyers (who left the show last year and was replaced by David Brancaccio) was consistently critical of Republicans and the Bush administration. Last week Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, said that in response to a request, Mr. Tomlinson sent data from Mr. Mann's reports. Mr. Dorgan said that data concluded in one episode of 'Now' that Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, was a 'liberal' because he questioned the White House policy on Iraq and that a second 'Now' segment on financial waste at the Pentagon was 'anti-Defense.' Mr. Hagel is known as a mainstream conservative member of the Senate and a maverick who has at times been critical of the Bush administration. The inspector general at the corporation is now looking at steps taken by Mr. Tomlinson to ensure what he calls greater balance in programming, including his decision to approve $14,170 in payments to Mr. Mann without the knowledge of the corporation's board.

Subject: Re: Public Broadcasting Monitoring
From: byron
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 23:24:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This bunch in this Administration is doing just what they accuse other countries of doing. pitiful

Subject: Re: Public Broadcasting Monitoring
From: Sid Bachrach
To: byron
Date Posted: Wed, Jun 22, 2005 at 23:22:34 (EDT)
Email Address: sidbc26@juno.com

Message:
PBS and NPR have operated much like Pravda and Tass during the Soviet years. On both PBS and NPR, only the antiAmerican voice can be heard. Usually NPR and PBS promote the views of loonies like Bill Moyers and the dry as dust Charlie Rose. Charlie Rose could put a raging fire to sleep in about one minute. On domestic issues, NPR and PBS promote the nonsense that America is still stuck in the great depression and we could solve out problems if only we let the Washington Post editorial board rule the country.

Subject: Conjuring an Imaginary Friend
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 16:44:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/books/21icar.html Conjuring an Imaginary Friend in the Search for an Authentic Self By FELICIA R. LEE Talk about a good day. At the age of 18, Helen Oyeyemi signed the contract for her first novel, 'The Icarus Girl,' the same August day two years ago that she was accepted at Cambridge University. The book, about an 8-year-old girl with an eerie imaginary friend, attracted gleaming reviews and buzz in Britain after its initial publication in January. Ms. Oyeyemi was called 'astonishing' in a review in The London Sunday Telegraph and 'extraordinary' by The Financial Times, which said she could claim a place among Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe and Ben Okri, all English-language Nigerian-born writers. Now, the soft-spoken 20-year-old Ms. Oyeyemi is looking forward to the American release of 'The Icarus Girl,' which is being released today in the United States by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. 'I guess I don't really believe it's happening,' she said of her splashy debut during a recent interview in New York. She recalled obsessively writing 'The Icarus Girl' at her parent's computer on weekends, after school and in the middle of the night. She likened it to being in love. She rushed the first 20 pages off to an agent whose name she plucked from a directory of agents. A native Nigerian who moved with her family to London when she was 4, Ms. Oyeyemi is the youngest writer ever signed by Alexandra Pringle, the editor in chief at her British publisher, Bloomsbury. Ms. Oyeyemi's age is on the far side of tender even for a first-time novelist, but both Ms. Pringle and Ms. Talese insisted that it was her talent, not her age, that got her published. Ms. Oyeyemi is currently a political and social science major at Cambridge. 'It came really, really easily,' she said of her story, which tells of Jessamy Harrison, the troubled, precocious daughter of a Nigerian mother and a British father in London. Imaginative and lonely, Jess conjures up a nasty little invisible friend named TillyTilly while on a trip to Nigeria. 'But I think it came easy because I didn't think it was a novel,' said Ms. Oyeyemi, a tall woman with huge eyes, a shy manner and long dark braids. 'It was just kind of a story that kept getting longer,' she continued, 'so I didn't get scared or anything.' A book project was also a handy way to duck studying for her final exams and homework before getting into Cambridge, she joked. Without giving away too much of the plot, TillyTilly soon lands Jess in big trouble. The result is a dark novel that plays with magic realism, African myth and that strange mix of innocence and intuition about the adult world that is the province of the very young, especially a child like Jess who straddles the boundaries of two societies. Ms. Oyeyemi, who says she was a literary, smart, smart-mouthed child with an imaginary friend named Chimmy, is confronting the usual first-novel speculation about how much of 'The Icarus Girl' is autobiographical. She insists it sprang mostly from her head, with its genesis in a story about TillyTilly that she wrote at 13. But like Jess, Ms. Oyeyemi said she knows well what it feels like to be an outsider, to fight despair, to seek an authentic self. She attempted suicide at 15 by mixing pills, she said, and despite attending multicultural schools, for a long time, she never read black writers, and all the characters in her stories were white. The default cultural category was white, she said. 'We didn't understand that we could be in the stories,' she said of herself and her other classmates of color. 'Or that people like us could be in the stories.' 'I never got particularly good marks for the stories I wrote,' she continued. 'And I read them over. And I started to see that in a fundamental sense they weren't true. Not only were they just not very good technically in terms of the writing, but there was something missing.' Only when Nigeria came into her stories did things ring true, she recalled. She met Nigeria, so to speak, through the novel 'Yoruba Girl Dancing,' by Simi Bedford, about a Nigerian girl in London dealing with assimilation issues. Ms. Oyeyemi, the eldest of three children, came with her parents to London because her father, now a special education teacher, was studying social sciences at Middlesex University. The family returned to Nigeria every summer. Jess, she said, 'represents this kind of new-breed kid, the immigrant diasporic kid of any race who is painfully conscious of a need for some name that she can call herself with some authority.' 'The Icarus Girl' has sold 20,000 copies in Britain, where sales of over 3,000 are considered respectable for a first-time novelist, Ms. Pringle said. Doubleday's first run is 35,000 copies, a measure of the publisher's high expectations. Ms. Oyeyemi said she was working on a second novel, about Afro-Cuban mythology and the pantheon of gods that African slaves brought to the new world. Two plays that she wrote and staged while at Cambridge, 'Juniper's Whitening' and 'Victimese,' published by Methuen, will be released in the United States in September. Heady stuff. But Ms. Oyeyemi said she intended to keep studying political science, both because she is intrigued by politics and because it seems a good fallback position. 'It's quite good to have a separate arena, I think, because I could quite easily get a bit weird about writing,' she said in her earnest way. 'It's quite easy with this one to keep it in perspective,' she added. 'I'll just try to get better.'

Subject: Europe and America
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 15:50:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
With Sweden acting to cut interest rates to stimulate demand, there is little reason to expect interest rates through Europe to rise any time soon and there may be cuts in other currencies as well. Sweden has weak employment growth, but France is also weak and Germany has weaker employment growth and Italy weaker still. Low interest rates in Europe should limit any further loss in value of the dollar for some time. So, I still can not argue myself out of thinking bond funds will hold through a downturn in the American economy. Bond funds of fairly constant duration seem to be a fine portfolio protector still.

Subject: House Wren in Nest Hole
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 15:42:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5494&u=4|0|... House Wren in Nest Hole New York City--Central Park, Maintenance Field.

Subject: Green Heron Landing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 15:27:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5496&u=4|1|... Green Heron Landing New York City--Central Park, Turtle Pond.

Subject: Cardinal Jaime Sin of the Philippines
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 14:42:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/obituaries/21sin.html Cardinal Jaime Sin, a Champion of the Poor in the Philippines, Is Dead at 76 By MICHELLE O'DONNELL Cardinal Jaime L. Sin, the powerful Roman Catholic archbishop of Manila who used his influence to champion the rights of the poor and rally the widespread popular resistance that brought down the presidencies of Ferdinand E. Marcos and Joseph Estrada, died early today in Manila, a spokesman for the cardinal said. He was 76. A brother, Dr. Ramon Sin, said that the cardinal, who stepped down from the archdiocese in 2003 in poor health, died of renal failure, he told a television station in Manila. Cardinal Sin led the nearly 40 million Catholics in the Philippines for almost three decades, through political upheaval that brought martial law, repressive dictatorship and democratic rule. A round-faced, bespectacled man, he was known for his sense of humor that included poking fun of his own name. But it was through his withering and unwavering public criticism of the Marcos regime in the 1980's that Cardinal Sin became an international figure. At a time when reform-minded clergy in other developing countries were targets of assassination, Cardinal Sin tirelessly used his pulpit first as bishop, then archbishop, to attack Mr. Marcos' martial law, corruption and policies that oppressed the poor. Yet unlike Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, a contemporary who also worked to empower the poor and was fatally shot as he delivered a homily in 1980, Cardinal Sin seemed insulated from personal harm. 'If you compare him to Romero, he spoke out as much as Romero did,' said the Rev. Paul L. Locatelli, the president of Santa Clara University. 'He saw justice as making sure that the poor had a voice.' Beginning in the 1970's, Cardinal Sin, a moderate, was among the leaders who publicly pressured Mr. Marcos to end the martial law that he had imposed in 1972 out of concern that leftist radicals would overthrow the government. For his part, Cardinal Sin had pledged to rein in Marxist priests and nuns in the ranks of the clergy. They had angered the government for, among other things, reporting to Amnesty International the military's systematic killing of villagers, and they concerned Cardinal Sin because they preached the gospel in Marxist terms. At first, he was careful not to attack the First Family as he assailed the regime's policies. As the Marcos regime wore on, his opposition became more strident, despite the lifting of martial law in 1981. Often, he used his famous sense of humor to deliver thinly veiled jokes that devastated the Marcos's power and style. In a joke he told about the 'mining industry,' a wealthy and powerful woman - not unlike Imelda R. Marcos, the country's flamboyant first lady - pointed to things and proclaimed: 'That's mine! And that's mine!' But after senator Benigno S. Aquino, Mr. Marcos's leading political opponent was assassinated in 1983, it was the cardinal's unwavering support of the senator's widow, Corazon Aquino, in her campaign to overthrow Mr. Marcos, that showed his power as a popular kingmaker. After Mrs. Aquino returned to the Philippines from self-imposed exile to mount her campaign, she was barred from equal access to the media. Cardinal Sin's regular radio addresses on the Catholic radio station calling for the people to support her became a critical tool to rally millions to her side. After her election in 1986, he became known in Manila as the 'unseen general' who handed down on earth orders from above. Jaime Lachica Sin was born on Aug. 31, 1928 on the Philippine island of Panay to Chinese parents. The 14th of 16 children, he was sent away at a young age to become a priest. Over his long career, he said his actions in the public sphere were not driven by politics, but 'a moral dimension.' In 1986, he he called on Filipinos to surround the police and military headquarters in Manila to protect then-military Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos, who had broken with Mr. Marcos, and they did. The mostly peaceful revolt that followed, ousting Mr. Marcos, who was accused of corruption and rights violations, became known as the 'people power' revolution. He stepped down as head of the Manila Archdiocese, which he served for nearly three decades, after reaching retirement age of 75. Declining health forced him to curtail his appearances. During his long career, the cardinal was not without his critics. He staunchly opposed artificial means of birth control, which some critics said left the country overpopulated and mired in poverty. The nation is among the world's poorest. In 2003, it was estimated that 40 percent of the population survives on less than $1 a day. Under the cardinal's tenure, the church was shaken by accusations of sexual misconduct by some of its priests, according to The Associated Press. Two years ago, Catholic bishops apologized for grave cases of sexual misconduct by priests and pledged to act on complaints. The cardinal was a popular figure at protests throughout his career. He directed street protests that ledto Mr. Estrada's ouster in January 2001, and spoke forcefully at them. 'Mr. President, how could have done this to us?' he asked. 'The poor trusted you and you betrayed them, the businessmen trusted you and you lied to them. The first lady married you and you have betrayed that vow and used many women.' After Mr. Estrada's ousters, his followers, many of them impoverished, denounced the cardinal and other politicians who forced Mr. Estrada from power, and stormed the presidential palace in May 2001 in riots that killed six people . Cardinal Sin apologized to the poor shortly thereafter,The A.P. reported. He said that the church had neglected them and made them easy prey for selfish and powerful politicians. 'You and I lived dangerously together through five presidents now,' he told Filipinos when he resigned in 2003, according to Japanese news agency. 'Honestly, I was always a reluctant political archbishop.'

Subject: Dial-Up Internet Going Going Going
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 13:14:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/technology/21broad.html Dial-Up Internet Going the Way of Rotary Phones By KEN BELSON For years, Michelle Phillips, a real estate agent in Indianapolis, drove to her office at odd hours just to check her e-mail messages and search Web sites on her company's high-speed Internet lines because her dial-up connection at home was too slow. 'At home, I can do laundry, take a shower and wash dishes while the computer is logging onto the Internet,' she said with a laugh. Now she can pocket the gas money. This month, she signed up for a promotional offer from SBC Communications: introductory broadband service for $14.95 a month, or nearly $10 less than what she paid for a dial-up account with AOL. To qualify, she had to sign a one-year contract and have an SBC phone line. Ms. Phillips is among the seven million Americans expected to drop their slow Internet connections this year for high-speed lines, which are as much as 100 times as fast and are always on. As recently as six months ago, a majority of Americans were using dial-up connections at home. In the first quarter of this year, broadband connections for the first time overtook dial-up. SBC's deep discount - $5 below its lowest previous offer, and among the cheapest on the market - is just the latest strategy in the broadband wars. More people are dropping dial-up connections from services like AOL, MSN and EarthLink because so much Internet content - music, videos, retail sites - now requires high-speed connections for performance. A record 630,000 Internet viewers, for instance, visited MSNBC.com to watch NBC's coverage of the Michael Jackson verdict last week. For broadband sellers, getting those users as they convert to either a digital subscriber line or cable modem connection is crucial because they are harder to recruit once they sign up with a broadband provider and they are likely to order new services, like television plans. 'If I'm a dial-up person and I'm a moderate-to-heavy user of the Internet, I'm going to look at the aggravation,' said Jim Andrew, a consultant at Adventis, which advises telecommunications firms. 'Now, everyone wants to have faster performance.' Last year, 36 million American homes, or 52 percent of all households with Internet access, used dial-up services, according to SG Cowen, the brokerage firm. That percentage is expected to drop to 40 percent at the end of this year. At the same time, cable and phone companies are expected to add 8 million broadband subscribers this year, bringing their total to 38.7 million. In grabbing new subscribers, the competitors are taking different tacks. Cable providers are chasing customers by making broadband service part of package deals with their traditional TV plans and new digital phone services. Phone companies like SBC and Verizon are hoping lower prices and extra services will drive in converts. SBC also offers its broadband subscribers commercial-free Internet radio, music videos and premium television and movie clips, as well as online security software. The company also plans to start selling television programming over its broadband lines this year. Cable companies, of course, offer a similar array of free services to woo customers. They say their broadband customers get faster and more reliable connections and that those features justify the higher prices they typically charge. They do offer some discounts if subscribers also order TV and digital phone services. But those discounts cannot beat the prices offered by phone companies like SBC and Verizon for their digital subscriber lines, or D.S.L., services. They also market satellite television services that are generally cheaper than comparable cable television packages, and sell discounted wireless phone plans, too. The strategy is paying off. Though cable companies provide nearly 60 percent of all home broadband connections, the phone companies are catching up. In the first quarter of this year, D.S.L. providers signed up a record 1.38 million subscribers, while cable companies added 1.19 million new broadband customers, according to the Leichtman Research Group. Price is a significant factor in the shift. According to a survey by Goldman Sachs, when broadband connections are priced below $29 a month - closer to the average cost of dial-up service which is around $20 - twice as many consumers sign up. Verizon currently sells its broadband service for $29.95 a month, $10 to $15 cheaper than broadband from Comcast, Time Warner and other cable companies. BellSouth, Qwest Communications and smaller D.S.L. providers are not far behind. But it is unclear whether the phone companies can make money selling deeply discounted broadband lines and, if prices continue falling, how dial-up providers can withstand the assault. Edward M. Cholerton, vice president in charge of consumer broadband marketing at SBC, says his company can afford to sell broadband for $14.95 a month because applications are processed online, not through call centers or retail outlets. Customers also install their own D.S.L. modems; those who want a technician to visit pay up to $200. SBC's super-low offer is temporary; the company has not said how long it will last. But Mr. Cholerton said it was unlikely that SBC or any other broadband provider could afford to cut prices much further. 'The real reason you have to get down to the $15 range is to attract more price-sensitive consumers,' he said. But 'we're probably running out of room' to make deeper cuts. Besides, if prices were lowered too far, he said, existing SBC customers who pay more would get upset. The price cuts have made waves at dial-up providers. EarthLink, the second-largest dial-up provider after AOL, says its premium dial-up business is shrinking by about as much as 15 percent a year, and SBC's discounts may accelerate that decline. Still, the company's own cut-rate dial-up service called PeoplePC has been growing briskly. At the same time, EarthLink is trying to persuade its customers to upgrade to its broadband lines, which are leased from phone and cable companies. EarthLink has 1.5 million broadband subscribers, representing nearly 30 percent of its customers. Prompted by SBC, it has unveiled promotional discounts, too. 'You will see EarthLink try and get the dial-up folks to fall off the fence and get broadband,' said Garry Betty, EarthLink's chief executive. Despite compelling reasons to switch to broadband, dial-up lines will always have a place in American homes, Mr. Betty said. Customers in rural areas where broadband is not available will continue to log on via a dial-up connection; other people may prefer the simplicity of dial-up. 'Some analysts predict our demise,' he said. But for some pockets of the country, 'dial-up is going to be the only offer around for some time.'

Subject: Euro Tumbles Into Void of Rifts
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 13:10:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/business/worldbusiness/21euro.html Euro Tumbles Into Void Left by Continent's Rifts By MARK LANDLER FRANKFURT - As European leaders bicker over money and the future of their union, the main victim is proving to be the euro, their sturdy but still sensitive young progeny. The six-year-old currency fell sharply in trading against the dollar on Monday in the aftermath of the failure of the European Union summit meeting Friday. It was the latest tumble for the euro, which has swooned since France voted against the European constitution last month, throwing Europe into political turmoil and raising questions about the long-term stability of its monetary union. The euro has fallen 3 percent against the dollar since the French referendum, and more than 10 percent from its peak at the end of 2004. On Monday, it traded at $1.214 in New York, a decline of 1.1 percent from Friday. Monday's decline was hastened by new rumors that the European Central Bank was considering a cut in interest rates to try to resuscitate the Continent's languishing economies. In this jittery environment, analysts said, traders are seizing on anything as further evidence of the euro's weakness. 'We're in the eye of a storm,' said Nicolas Sobczak, senior European economist at Goldman Sachs in Paris. The convergence of negative factors has shifted the dynamics of the currency market. The euro usually trades up and down in response to the dollar and the American economy, analysts say. Its rise over the last year is generally viewed as a barometer of the dollar's weakness, rather than the euro's intrinsic strength. Now, however, the euro is being driven mainly by European events - few of them positive. It rose slightly on Friday when the United States reported its current-account deficit, but promptly resumed its slide after the summit meeting's attempt to hammer out a budget ended in acrimony on Friday. 'We're in a very pessimistic mood,' said Michael Schubert, a currency analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. 'It's a herd instinct. Everybody is looking for factors against the euro and in favor of the dollar.' He and other analysts expect the euro to regain traction eventually, and make up some of the ground lost against the dollar, which remains burdened by an enormous current- account deficit in the United States, $195 billion in the first quarter. Mr. Sobczak of Goldman predicted that after a further decline to $1.15, the euro would rebound to somewhere between $1.25 and $1.30. Still, he said, the fallout from Europe's political strife had been more severe than analysts expected. 'We didn't think it would affect the euro that much, and that sentiment would turn so bad.' Adding to the uncertainty are strident voices in Europe declaring that the euro is a failure, and should be scrapped. While those calls have so far been limited to populist leaders in Italy, perhaps the most economically fragile country in the euro zone, they are sowing unrest about the currency's stability. With 10 new countries in Central Europe applying to adopt the euro, analysts said the currency was at a delicate moment in its development. These countries remain generally enthusiastic about the euro, but a drumbeat of negative publicity could weaken their resolve, particularly in places like the Czech Republic, which has already said it was in no hurry to convert its currency. 'If the 'no' vote, and the rancor over the budget, starts to undermine this vision of Europe and the euro, you could see the new countries reappraising the process,' said David Abramson, the head of European research at BCA Research in Montreal. 'Then what does the euro become?' Mr. Abramson said he was particularly concerned about Italy, which has diverged radically from its neighbors in economic performance. With a damaging loss of competitiveness against Asian and even European countries, its exports have dried up and its economy has fallen into recession. Historically, Italy would have reacted by devaluing its old currency, the lira. Deprived of that opportunity by its membership in the euro zone, Italy faces a painful adjustment that some analysts fear could stir political unrest and turn even more people against the euro. Greece and Spain face similar losses of competitiveness, which could hobble their future growth. Europe's generally anemic performance has enormously complicated the task of the European Central Bank. It faces mounting political pressure to cut interest rates. And though its president, Jean-Claude Trichet, insists it will hold the line, bank watchers sense a weakening in its resolve. 'You can't separate the political crisis from the rumors about a rate cut,' said Jörg Krämer, chief economist at the HVB Group in Munich. 'A rate cut is perceived as something that would help the political crisis. It may ease the situation.' To currency traders, rumors of a cut are yet more evidence of Europe's - and therefore the euro's - weakness. But to European exporters, a weaker euro would be a welcome reprieve, even if fleeting, because it would reduce the cost of their goods in the United States and other markets. Indeed, far from lamenting the recent decline in the euro, politicians in France and Germany seem comforted by it. 'The exchange rate has reached a level that is more in line with reality,' Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin of France said in a speech last week in Paris.

Subject: Notice to Krugman: Do Research
From: Marko
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 11:57:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul Krugmans oped in the NYTimes about Ohio's 'republican' scandal is funny... since everyone he mentioned are DEMOCRATS.

Subject: Sweden Lowers Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:59:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, well. Sweden just cut short term interest rates by 50 basis points to 1.5%, and indicated she may well go lower. Though Sweden has grown well for several years, there has been a slowing recently and employment growth has become a problem. I am much encouraged by this reversal of central bank policy.

Subject: Noticing Sweden
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 12:05:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sweden has had intelligent fiscal and monetary policy, and an openness to trade, for the last 15 years, and the effects on living standards, the look of country, and the markets have been encouraging. Sweden has a generous public pension system that is partly state invested and partly private, and an enviable inclusive health care system.

Subject: Chug Milk, Shed Pounds? Not So Fast
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:53:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/business/media/21adco.html?pagewanted=all Chug Milk, Shed Pounds? Not So Fast By MELANIE WARNER WANT to lose weight? Eat more dairy products. That is the message the milk industry and sellers of yogurt and cheese have been promoting recently in TV and print ads. But now a group of physicians is challenging the scientific validity of the claim, arguing that it is based primarily on the clinical research of one scientist who is financed by the Dairy Council, the nutrition marketing arm of the dairy industry, and General Mills, which makes Yoplait yogurt. The group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, has filed petitions with the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration claiming that the association between dairy products and weight loss is false and misleading. Michelle Rusk, a senior staff lawyer in the commission's division of advertising practices, said she could not comment on possible investigations, but she noted that national ads featuring health or weight loss claims are of particular interest to the agency. The International Dairy Foods Association, a trade group for dairy companies, says it has full confidence in the science supporting its claims. 'We are extremely conservative and careful in the claims we suggest,' said Susan Ruland, a spokeswoman for the International Dairy Foods Association. 'We spent years looking at what was going on in the science and what was fair to say.' Mary Beth Thorsgard, a spokeswoman at General Mills, said an advertising industry self-regulatory body - the national advertising division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus - approved Yoplait's weight loss claim last year. In Yoplait television commercials, consumers are told that eating three servings a day of Yoplait Light yogurt may help them squeeze into that 'itsy bitsy, teeny weeney, yellow polka- dot bikini.' 'We feel solid on the science behind our claim,' Ms. Thorsgard said. Ms. Ruland called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which filed the complaint, a 'radical, fringe organization that promotes vegetarianism.' Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the physicians committee, says his group does advocate 'a plant-based diet' and has long believed that milk is not healthy, but he says these facts should not detract from the substance of the group's petition. Other groups also share concerns about the milk industry's ad campaigns. Science cited by General Mills includes an eight-page roster of research studies, which is listed on the National Dairy Council's Web site. But most of the studies have either been done on animals or are observational studies in which scientists take data that has been collected from a large and uncontrolled group of people and try to draw conclusions. Most scientists say that these types of studies are less reliable than clinical trials where control groups are used. Many of these observational studies seem to suggest that people who eat high levels of dairy gain less weight than people who eat little of it. But Dr. Barnard says that the findings can be subject to what is known in science as a 'confounding effect.' 'People who are health-conscious think they should be drinking milk and eating yogurt, whereas people who are not health-conscious might be drinking Dr Pepper and Mountain Dew,' he said. 'It's because people are health-conscious that they weigh less, not because they're drinking milk.' Dr. Barnard points out that this was the case in many of the observational studies that seemed to reveal that women who were on hormone replacement therapy had fewer heart attacks. 'When you did randomized clinical trials, the women on H.R.T. did not have lower heart disease risk,' he said. The two published clinical trials listed on the Dairy Council's Web site were led by Michael B. Zemel, the director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Zemel has disclosed that these studies were financed either by the National Dairy Council or General Mills, but he says they had no say over the results. 'I will take money for my research from anyone who wants to give it to me, with only one caveat: they can't control the outcome, what I say or the publication of the research,' Dr. Zemel said. According to the physicians committee, Dr. Zemel has received $1.68 million in research grants from the National Dairy Council and at least $275,000 from General Mills for research on yogurt and calcium-fortified cereals. Dr. Zemel does not dispute the figures. Dr. Zemel also acknowledges that he receives royalties from General Mills and Dairy Management Inc., a trade group for dairy farmers, for the license to use his findings, which were patented in 2002, and link dairy consumption and weight control. Dr. Zemel says he receives approximately $50,000 a year in license fees from General Mills and Dairy Management, with additional fees going to the university's Nutrition Institute. 'It's a nice amount of money to have, but it hasn't changed my life in any way,' he said. 'I'm still driving a '99 Miata.' Dr. Zemel's studies do not say that simply chugging more milk will help a person shed pounds. His research has been done on people eating 500 fewer calories a day than they would normally and his conclusion is that dairy can aid in weight loss and body fat reduction if someone is already cutting calories. This caveat can be found in the fine print of ads for Dannon's Light 'n Fit nonfat yogurt ('Slim down with yogurt') and Kraft's various cheese products ('Burn more fat'), but David Schardt, a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food advocacy group that is also critical of the dairy-weight loss ads, says such nuances are often lost on consumers. 'The TV ads for Yoplait depict thin models and the message that's conveyed is that milk is helping to keep them slim,' Mr. Schardt said. 'I think that's sending the wrong message.' Additionally, Dr. Zemel says that if you are already getting enough calcium, anywhere from 900 to 1,200 milligrams, adding more dairy will probably not do anything for weight loss. This detail is not mentioned in the ads. The physicians committee petitions illustrate the perils of promoting the health benefits of products. In a recent settlement with the trade commission, PepsiCo agreed to stop making claims that drinking Tropicana orange juice could significantly lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. For several years, Tropicana ran a series of ads under its 'Heart Healthy' campaign telling consumers that drinking two or three cups of orange juice a day could lower blood pressure by 10 points, raise HDL cholesterol by 21 percent and improve the HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio by 16 percent. In its ruling, the agency concluded that the claims were not supported by 'competent and reliable scientific evidence.' Unlike the physicians committee, many scientists do consider milk and other dairy products to be nutritious foods, at least for people who are not lactose intolerant and they encourage people to work them into a healthy diet. But whether they help with weight is another matter. Susan Barr, a professor of nutrition at the University of British Columbia and a member of the International Dairy Foods Association scientific advisory board, says the jury is still out. 'More studies need to be done to try and confirm this,' Professor Barr said.

Subject: Outsourced All the Way
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:41:57 (EDT)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/business/worldbusiness/21outsource.html?pagewanted=all Outsourced All the Way By MATT RICHTEL SAN FRANCISCO - Philip Chigos and Mary Domenico are busy building a children's pajama business. They are refining patterns, picking fabrics and turning the basement of their two-bedroom apartment into an office. Then there is the critical step of finding the right seamstresses in China. Instead of looking for garment workers in this city, they plan to have their wares manufactured by low-cost workers overseas. In doing so, they've become micro-outsourcers, adopting a tactic of major American corporations, which are increasingly sending production work abroad. A growing number of mom-and-pop operations, outsourcing experts say, are braving a host of potential complications and turning to places like Sri Lanka, China, Mexico and Eastern Europe to make clothes, jewelry, trinkets and even software programs. 'We'd love it to say 'made in the U.S.A.' and use American textiles and production,' Mr. Chigos said of his product. But, he said, the cost of that would be 4 to 10 times what was planned. 'We didn't want to sell our pajamas for $120.' The ability of Mr. Chigos, 26, and Ms. Domenico, 25, to reach across borders has as much to do with technology as it does with the globalization of the labor market. Computers, the Internet and modern telecommunications already make it possible for start-ups to market their goods to customers anywhere in the country. That infrastructure also enables even the smallest entrepreneurs to find workers tens of thousands of miles away in countries they will never visit and in factories they will never inspect. They can communicate with those factories cheaply via e-mail and phone, transmit images and design specifications and track inventory. 'It's easier to find people out there on the other side, to monitor them and keep in touch with them,' said Ashok Deo Bardhan, an economist at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, whose field is outsourcing. One result of easy access to cheap manufacturing, he said, is that more American entrepreneurs may be able to turn an idea into a product. The situation 'vastly increases the scope of inventors and designers in the West,' Mr. Bardhan said. Just how much work American companies, big and small, send offshore is difficult to measure, and experts have differing views of the effect of outsourcing on economic growth and job loss. But even as that debate simmers, many of the smallest entrepreneurs are quickly turning to low-cost labor abroad to get their businesses off the ground. Thousands of Web sites have sprung up recently hawking factories in places like Bursa, Turkey, to potential customers like Mr. Chigos. Outsourcing is 'happening at every level, from manufacturing of steel to make cars to software to computer chips to a little lady who make scarves,' said Ally Young, who researches outsourcing trends for Gartner, a market research firm. Any job can be sent overseas, she added, 'if it can be digitized and you don't need face-to-face interaction, like a haircut.' Even that constraint may be disappearing. Ben Trowbridge, a Dallas consultant to major American companies that hire offshore labor, said that he recently received a request from a psychologist who wanted to hire counselors in India to make follow-up phone calls to his patients. Offshoring for small entrepreneurs, however, can be rough. Taking advantage of cheap labor means having to navigate language and time-zone differences, complex import regulations and shipping fees and unanticipated problems like the Asian bird flu. And, of course, there are always nagging worries about workmanship and anxiety among some entrepreneurs that the factory they engaged may be a brutal sweatshop. Beverly A. Lengquist, a real estate agent in Santa Cruz, Calif., ran into many of those problems when she hired a factory in Sri Lanka in 2004 to sew 8,000 decorative cloth covers for water bottles. After encouragement from friends who liked her cute designs, Ms. Lengquist, 42, turned to the Internet to find a manufacturer. She searched on Google for terms like 'overseas fulfillment' and 'manufacturing' and quickly found many prospective partners in Indonesia, Bali and Sri Lanka. She settled on a Sri Lankan company, she said, because it worked with big American textile firms and came highly recommended by an acquaintance with manufacturing experience. She initially negotiated with the factory owner by e-mail and then met him when he was visiting New York; he promised that he could fill the order quickly. Ms. Lengquist, a horse owner, needed to have the 8,000 bottle holders (which she calls 'Bcozies') to sell at the Kentucky Derby in May 2004. But unexpected problems quickly arose. For instance, the holders were decorated with marabou feathers. But United States customs would not allow feathers originating in Asia to be imported because of the Avian flu. So Ms. Lengquist had to buy the feathers in the United States and ship them to Sri Lanka. To pay her Sri Lankan manufacturer, she wired the company $13,000, an amount she thought covered shipping costs as well as manufacturing. Then the shipper demanded $4,000 more, which she ultimately paid, but that was not the only problem. When she opened the shipment of holders on her kitchen floor, she found that half of them were too small to fit around water bottles. Frustrated by the problems, Ms. Lengquist has since decided to use a manufacturing company in Ohio instead. The Sri Lankan company could not be reached for comment. 'The problem had to do with language and culture,' Ms. Lengquist said. The manufacturer, she said, did try hard to accommodate her requests, but 'just didn't understand the water bottle concept.' She has sold nearly all the holders, which are priced from $10 to $20, through her Web site, bcozy.com, or through retailers. Demand remains strong. She said she recently received an order for 150,000, but she said she could not fulfill an order of that size and the purchaser - whom she declined to name - could not agree on a price. For some small entrepreneurs like Todd J. Collins, 32, the operator of Irealtymanager.com, a Web site that focuses on property management, outsourcing has been relatively easy. In 2001, Mr. Collins, who is based in Washington, came up with an idea to sell software that would help apartment owners manage their properties. He turned to Macrotech, a company in Bridgeport, Conn., that hires computer scientists and engineers in Bucharest, Romania, and in Pune, India, a city near Mumbai. The head of the Bucharest office, Alex Anitei, 27, said that for three years he had worked for many entrepreneurs like Mr. Collins, doing piecemeal software work, including projects as small as building online address books. E-mail, instant messaging and Internet-based phone services, Mr. Anitei said, allow him to stay in constant contact with clients on other continents. He said he and his staff of six programmers, who work in a three-room apartment in Bucharest, charge hourly rates of $15 to $25 - one-third to one-15th the cost of American software counterparts. Still, Manish Chowdhary, the president of Macrotech, said the use of offshore labor was not always efficient for the smallest businesses. The big cost savings from outsourcing, he said, are realized over time and by placing large manufacturing orders; if the project is very small, the time and expense of finding an overseas contractor and setting up communications simply may not be justifiable. Mr. Chigos and Ms. Domenico, though, see foreign workers as crucial to their nascent enterprise. Without them, they said, they would not be able to sell their pajamas for less than $50. Mr. Chigos, a former commercial real estate agent, found information on the Internet about a trade show for overseas manufacturers that took place in Las Vegas in February. At that conference, he found eight prospective manufacturers, seven in China and one in Mexico, that could make the pajamas designed by Ms. Domenico, a 2001 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. He and Ms. Domenico have sent designs to six of the companies, including the Suqian Pajama Clothes-making Company and the China Worldbest Group Company, and are waiting to receive samples and final price quotes. Ms. Domenico said she was not sure of the location of Suqian City, which is in Jiangsu Province. 'I feel like I'm supposed to know that,' she said, laughing. Once the business is up and running, they hope to hire a freight management company in Richmond, Calif., to receive the shipments, check the merchandise's quality, then send it along to customers. Their business is a virtual one; they have no manufacturing, storefront or warehouse. They plan to market the clothes on the Internet and through boutique retailers. 'With the technology available today, we'll never touch the product,' Mr. Chigos said. Both, however, are concerned about the pitfalls of dealing with a far-flung manufacturer. In her youth, Ms. Domenico did volunteer work for Amnesty International, and she worries that the couple may wind up working with a sweatshop. 'It's my biggest fear,' she said. 'People in the U.S. won't work for 50 cents an hour,' Mr. Chigos countered. 'We also recognize that there are people around the world who are happy to work for 50 cents.'

Subject: Bearishness and Simple Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 10:17:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem with bears, even when they happen to be correct, is they spread fear but never allow for a reasonable recourse. Since American markets have been bullish for most of the last century, bears have generally been wrong. Now being wrong is fine, but not offering sensible investment ideas becomes simply fear-mongering. There may be a bubble in housing, even a global bubble, and the deflating of any such bubble will be a distinct problem for housing is such a prime creator of economic demand, but there have to be simple ways for investors to take account of such possible bubbles and still invest responsibility without having to place blind faith in exotic market hedges which few can afford.

Subject: Female Belted Kingfisher
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Jun 21, 2005 at 05:48:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3661&u=87|267|... Female Belted Kingfisher New York City--Central Park, The Pool.

Subject: Interest Rates Up or Down
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 18:42:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There will be in time a slowdown in housing demand, how serious a slowdown I can not tell, but I find no reason to believe even a housing caused recession will change the principles of economics. A marked decline in economic growth will result in a decline in long term interest rates no matter what the Federal Reserve does, but the Fed would respond by lowering short term rates. There is ample room for short term rates to be lowered, and there will soon be more room, so the Fed is not without recourse to stimulating the economy. Suppose however as housing demand slows, there is a fall in international demand for dollar securities. Well, the dollar would fall but what about long term interest rates? The question becomes, will a fall in international demand for American securities raise interest rates while the economy is slowing so forcing up long term interest rates? The answer, I argue, is no. Long term interest rates are driven by expectations of inflation, and as such expectations are lower there will be significant demand for American bonds if only from domestic sources. A slowing of domestic growth or recession would then add to the attractiveness of bonds.

Subject: Humans confound economists
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 14:03:30 (EDT)
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Message:
From the Independent Online: Stephen King: Regime change happens in economies, too - and it's human beings who are to blame 20 June 2005 Every so often, economists and policy makers think they've found out how to conduct macroeconomic policy correctly. At the end of the 19th century, the Gold Standard proved to be rather popular. There are those who still dream of its return. But there are also those that believe that the reintroduction of the Gold Standard after the First World War was an unmitigated disaster. The UK's decision to return to the Standard in 1925 certainly didn't help Winston Churchill's reputation. And America's decision to loosen monetary policy at the time in order to prevent the dollar and gold from rising against a profoundly weak sterling helped fuel the run up in stock prices that gave way to the Wall Street Crash. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Gold Standard was re-born in a different guise: the Bretton Woods exchange rate system. This time, the dollar was the anchor of the system although, because the dollar was still convertible into gold at a fixed rate, the Gold Standard philosophy was still, implicitly, being embraced. But policy makers in the 1950s and 1960s thought they had learnt from the mistakes of earlier decades. They had their new tools of Keynesian demand management - particularly fiscal policy - that could be used to regulate the domestic economic cycle and ensure that unemployment would never again get out of hand. And, unlike the Gold Standard, the Bretton Woods system was designed to allow the occasional realignment of exchange rates. In reality, though, the system was, to say the least, a little inflexible. Countries didn't mind the occasional revaluation - that was a sign of virility - but they certainly didn't like the idea of a sudden devaluation. Devaluation was an indignity. It indicated a lack of economic potency that doubtless brought back to leaders' minds their first few humiliating fumblings with the opposite sex when, even if the mind was willing, the body was limply less than able. As a result, currency adjustments didn't happen very often and countries simply protected their economic interests through the copious use of capital controls. Eventually, balance of payments disequilibria blew the system apart, leaving countries cast adrift without any kind of nominal anchor against inflation. And so monetarism was born. As Bretton Woods reached its natural, if somewhat painful, conclusion, policy makers were already searching for other options. The proponents of monetarism launched a blistering attack on the conventional wisdoms that grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. Using the 'fooling all the people all of the time' adage, they argued that policy makers simply couldn't lift output permanently above its long-term, supply-constrained, ceiling and that attempts to do so would lead only to higher inflation. It didn't take long before the monetarists ended up with the strangest of bedfellows. As the late Lord Callaghan famously said in 1976: 'We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy.' Of course, not everyone was seduced by monetarism - at least, not directly. Continental Europe preferred to construct a European version of Bretton Woods, with the Exchange Rate Mechanism being formed in 1979 following the earlier failure of the European Monetary Snake. Nevertheless, European countries eventually found themselves pursuing a 'monetarism by proxy' policy via the Bundesbank, which emerged as the natural forerunner of the European Central Bank. Monetarism itself eventually proved to be a disappointment. No one quite knew how to control the money supply and, even if they did, any confidence to be had in a predictable relationship between money supply and, say, nominal GDP was swiftly undermined. The truth is that monetarism over-simplified the ways in which an economy operated and, by doing so, allowed its own credibility slowly to be diminished. Yet the legacy of monetarism is still with us. And so, for that matter, are the legacies of the Gold Standard and of Bretton Woods. All three approaches attempt to stabilise some sort of nominal objective - either the domestic rate of inflation or, via the exchange rate, the external rate of inflation. And most countries these days run their macroeconomic policies with either the internal or external price objective in mind. If it's the Bank of England or the European Central Bank, it's explicitly the internal objective, through the use of an inflation target. If it's the Federal Reserve, it's implicitly the internal objective: there's no specific inflation target but the control of inflation takes priority over the Federal Reserve's other objectives. And if it's the Chinese or other countries within a modern day dollar bloc, it's the external objective that matters. The lesson from these earlier periods, though, is that regimes designed to achieve economic stability don't last. But why do they go wrong? Too often, it's because we refuse to behave in the manner the regime requires of us. In the 1920s, countries simply didn't - or couldn't - accept the rigours associated with a fixed currency: in the UK, the 1926 General Strike was a sign that the population simply didn't support the regime. In the 1960s, the full employment 'guarantee' led to a belief that wages and prices could be set at any level: the government could always hit its full employment target through the use of fiscal policy or, if push came to shove, devaluation. And, in the 1980s, the belief that monetarism worked led, in some cases, to a serious mis-reading of economic conditions: the most obvious example was Nigel Lawson's failure to spot the overheating of the UK economy at a time when inflation itself was, by earlier standards, relatively low. So if economic regimes fail, what are the risks associated with today's arrangements? If there's a problem with inflation targeting, it lies with the inevitable loss of focus on the balance sheet positions of different sectors within an economy. I've often argued that the need to hit a precise inflation target will sometimes lead a central bank to cut interest rates to levels which encourage excessive borrowing in certain parts of an economy. In recent years, for example, unusually high levels of corporate saving both in the UK and the US (see charts) have led to excessive consumer borrowing, encouraged by low interest rates and rapid house price gains. Without that consumer borrowing, inflation might have been too low. This approach leads to inconsistencies that simply cannot be sustained. Consumers borrow not only because interest rates are low but also because the anticipated gains on their main asset - their house - are high. If either of these changes, the willingness to borrow may be sharply curtailed. In the process, the economy as a whole simply runs out of puff. And, by doing so, once again inflation is in danger of being too low rather than too high. I'm not sure what will replace inflation targeting. History, though, suggests that the search for successful macroeconomic regimes is seemingly endless. All regimes break down because we collectively seem to spot their weaknesses and behave in ways that undermine the ambitions of our policymakers. In the 1920s, it was resistance to real exchange rate adjustment. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was a willingness to negotiate silly wage increases. And, at the turn of the century, it may be our willingness to take on absurd amounts of debt, in the false belief that inflation targeting regimes have made our assets - dare I say it - as safe as houses. Stephen King is managing director of economics at HSBC

Subject: Projecting Projecting
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 11:23:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/business/yourmoney/19stra.html Well, if the difficulty is projecting for 5 years then the difficulty can be readily simplified. When information technology stocks were doubling in value in 1999, while medical technology stocks were flat though valuations on health care issues were far more favorable, there was a simple choice for an investor who had chosen not to try to freely trade markets. The problem can be simplified even further. Why decide whether Pfizer or Roche is a preferred technology holding when a health care index can be bought or the Vanguard Health Care Fund? So too, I do not find energy or public utility issues to have been difficult choices in 2000. Nor do I find even long term bonds to have been a difficult choice in 2000. Always the matter of choice can be simplified by indexing.

Subject: Flawed Implants: Disclosure and Delay
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 10:01:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/14/business/14device.html?fta=y&pagewanted=all Flawed Implants: Disclosure and Delay By BARRY MEIER Even as sales of pacemakers and other widely used heart devices soar, exceeding $8 billion a year, uniform standards do not exist among manufacturers about when, or even if, to notify doctors and patients when the devices have flaws. The recent death of a 21-year-old student with an implanted defibrillator made by the Guidant Corporation has thrown a spotlight on the issue, increasing calls that device makers adopt such guidelines. Guidant did not tell doctors for three years that the device might short-circuit when needed. This year, Medtronic alerted doctors about a problem in a defibrillator. Such devices shock a chaotically beating heart back into normal rhythm. Cardiologists and other experts said the episodes underscored a broader issue - that each maker of critical heart devices decides on its own whether to disclose a product flaw. Along with patient safety issues, manufacturers may also consider potential loss of business to competitors and legal liability. 'Having this being an entirely in-house decision by a manufacturer is not the way to go,' said Dr. Anne B. Curtis, the president of the Heart Rhythm Society, a group that represents doctors who treat heart problems. Dr. Curtis, who is the chief of the division of cardiology at the University of South Florida, said the organization was likely to set up a task force soon to try to develop industrywide guidelines on physician alerts. An executive from Medtronic acknowledged that each manufacturer decided when to publicize a problem. 'You have to make judgment calls, and there is no hard-and-fast rule,' said Dr. Susan Alpert, the chief quality and regulatory officer at Medtronic, which is based in Minneapolis. 'Different companies might come out differently.' Several medical experts said it was difficult to monitor how heart devices performed because the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates such products, does not adequately collect data about them after they are approved. In addition, doctors and hospitals, for a variety of reasons, do not notify the F.D.A. about all device-related problems. A similar push a decade ago by physicians for notification standards failed because of a lack of industry and government support, said one doctor involved. But since then, both the use of implanted heart devices and public financing of them have rapidly expanded. Last year, combined sales of pacemakers and defibrillators exceeded $8.3 billion, according to one estimate. In January, Medicare expanded by one-third the number of people who could qualify for defibrillator implants, extending coverage to about 500,000 patients. Under F.D.A. rules, producers of medical devices must report product problems and inform the agency when they decide to recall a product or alert physicians about an issue. But the agency gives manufacturers discretion over how to judge the seriousness of a problem. Different companies - as the recent incidents involving Guidant and Medtronic suggest - may come to different conclusions about what needs to be disclosed to doctors. Guidant, which is based in Indianapolis, has come under fire from physicians and others for its decision not to tell doctors that one of its defibrillator models had a design flaw that made it prone to short-circuiting. The company said it had made all the required reports to the F.D.A.; the agency is now reviewing how Guidant handled the episode. Guidant discovered the design flaw in early 2002 after it received two reports of failures and moved to fix it in new copies of the device, the Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861. The company has said it received 25 reports of short-circuiting in 37,000 units with the older design. But even after Guidant executives learned in March about another case, one involving the death of the 21-year-old college student in whom the device failed, they did not inform doctors. Executives of Guidant, which agreed in December to be purchased by Johnson & Johnson for $25.4 billion, have defended their actions, saying that the model is highly reliable and that replacing it would unnecessarily expose patients to surgical risks. Two of the company's outside medical consultants said in recent interviews that Guidant executives did not alert them about the problem until the executives realized it was going to be publicized. One of the consultants, Dr. Eric N. Prystowsky of St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, said that while the risks posed by the Guidant unit are low, they represent the type of risk that doctors need to know about. And while he said he understood a company's concerns about causing unnecessary operations, a decision about surgery was really one to be made by a doctor and a patient, not a manufacturer. 'You are not my father,' he said. 'You are not my mother. You are just a company selling products. You have to let me make those decisions.' In the case of Medtronic, it discovered in early 2003 through internal testing that the type of battery used to power a popular defibrillator model might deplete faster than the five to six years it was expected to last. The company changed the battery's design and began producing new units with it, said Rob Clark, a Medtronic spokesman. By then, Medtronic had produced some 87,000 units, known as the Marquis, with the old battery. In April 2004 the first depleted one came back to the company, Mr. Clark said. By last January, eight other devices were returned. Additional testing showed that the problem would accelerate during the second half of the battery's life and affect 0.2 percent to 1.5 percent of the units. In February, Medtronic both contacted the F.D.A. and issued an alert to physicians. An F.D.A. filing in March reported that a hospital notified Medtronic about a patient death involving the device's possible failure. Mr. Clark, the company spokesman, said that Medtronic was aware of the report but stood by its position that the battery problem had not caused any patient harm. He declined to elaborate. Whatever the case, several doctors said in recent interviews that they were pleased with how Medtronic handled the issue. Doctors and others first called for guidelines on physician alerts in the mid-1990's, after an episode involving a pacemaker wire or 'lead' made by a company called Telectronics Pacing Systems. The lead is the part of a pacemaker that is threaded into the heart and carries the electrical signal that regulates its beating. In some patients, however, the Telectronic lead, because of its shape, ended up puncturing the heart. Several patients died and dozens were seriously injured. But several patients also died during replacement surgery in the rush to remove the devices after the problem became known. In the wake of the problem, a conference of doctors, hospital executives and others held in 1995 in Canada recommended the creation of a national advisory board of medical experts for manufacturers to consult about which problems to publicize. Under the proposal, the group would also help doctors better determine which patients were most at risk, thus limiting the number of unnecessary surgeries, said Dr. Bernard S. Goldman, a professor of surgery at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Center in Toronto, who was involved in the effort. The conference also called for increased postmarket studies of heart devices. 'We suggested that there be a national advisory committee to whom manufacturers could go to get the best possible advice instead of hiding behind their statistics, their lawyers and their shareholders,' Dr. Goldman said. Although companies and regulators were initially enthusiastic about the idea, that interest soon faded, he added. For his part, Dr. Prystowsky, the Guidant consultant, said he believed that any voluntary new initiatives on guidelines would work only if companies understood that a failure to play by them carried a price. 'If this is going to have any effect, it has to have some teeth in it,' Dr. Prystowsky said. 'It is not like they are breaking the law. But they have to understand that you will lose the trust of your customers and basically lose your customer.'

Subject: Defective Heart Devices
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 09:32:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/20/business/20device.html?pagewanted=all Defective Heart Devices Force Some Scary Medical Decisions By BARRY MEIER For Pam Alexson, the decision whether to have a potentially defective heart device removed and replaced was easy. Ms. Alexson, a former nurse in Rehoboth, Mass., who expects to undergo surgery tomorrow, has the same Guidant Corporation defibrillator that failed in a college student who died in March, as well as the same type of genetic heart disease that killed him. But another heart patient with that Guidant unit, Douglas Parsons, said he was holding back, not because he did not want the device out, but because his history of infection pointed to a bigger risk from surgery . 'I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard spot,' said Mr. Parsons, a 62-year-old retired high school teacher in Oneonta, N.Y. 'I would like to have it removed but I can't take that risk.' In coming weeks, thousands of patients and their doctors will be weighing competing risks as a result of Guidant's decision last week, after urging by the Food and Drug Administration, to recall about 29,000 defibrillators that can potentially short-circuit when they are needed. Defibrillators emit an electrical jolt to restore rhythm to a chaotically beating heart. Each assessment on surgery, doctors say, will be a personal one, based on a patient's age and health, how dependent the patient is on the device and the patient's attitudes toward risk. Already, however, some patients like Ms. Alexson and Mr. Parsons are sharing a similar emotion: a sense of betrayal that Guidant did not disclose the problem earlier so that some people might have been spared the tough choice they now face. Guidant did not tell doctors for over three years about the electrical flaw in one model, the Ventak Prizm 2 DR Model 1861, that it has recalled. It also kept selling older versions of it after developing a version not prone to short-circuiting. The problems may soon take another toll on Guidant. Johnson & Johnson, which agreed in December to buy Guidant for $25.4 billion, is trying to determine, among other things, whether the issue could materially hurt Guidant's business, said several people involved in the acquisition talks. Under the terms of the deal, such a determination could allow Johnson & Johnson to pay less for Guidant or walk away, although these people said that scuttling the deal was a far less likely outcome. A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson declined to comment yesterday. Phone calls and e-mail messages to Guidant were not returned yesterday. On Friday, Guidant announced that it was recalling the Prizm 2 DR and two other models, the Contak Renewal and the Contak Renewal 2, because they could also potentially short-circuit. While problems with the Prizm 2 DR became known last month, the announcement about the Renewal models was the first indication that they had also repeatedly short-circuited. Several people with Guidant units said that when they heard about the troubled implants they reached into their wallets and pulled out a card that identifies the make and model of the device they carry inside. For those who found a match, the feeling was quick and sinking. 'My first reaction was a little bit of panic,' Mr. Parsons said. The surgery to replace a defibrillator, which is the size of a pager and is implanted under the skin of the upper chest near the shoulder, takes an hour, and many people go home immediately afterwards. Full recovery takes about 7 to 10 days. But like any surgical procedure, the surgery carries a risk of infection. About 17,000 people, 13,900 of them in the United States, are still implanted with the affected Prizm 2 DR devices, which are those made before April 2002, when Guidant fixed the problem. Another 11,900 people, 6,700 of them in this country, still have the affected Renewal devices, made before last August. The Renewal devices - more complex defibrillators intended for patients with severe heart failure - have pacemaker functions for both sides of the heart. It is not uncommon for medical devices already implanted in people - products like artificial hips, breast implants and pacemakers - to be recalled. Such recalls reflect an acknowledgement by a company and the F.D.A. that a device poses either a new type of risk or an increased level of a known one. At times, a company might issue a recommendation about what to do, but ultimately patients and doctors must decide whether or not to take them out. Doctors hardly make uniform decisions about whether to take out a problem heart device, said Dr. William H. Maisel, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has studied how physicians react to recalls. And many doctors are just now sorting out what to do regarding the Guidant units. Dr. Jeffrey Rottman, a professor of cardiology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said that one important factor in the replacement decision is whether a patient has already experienced cardiac arrest, as opposed to receiving a defibrillator as a precautionary measure. Along with a patient's age and medical history, another important issue is how each patient views risk. 'Some people think they are going to win the lottery, and some people think they are going to be struck by lightning,' he said. Nancy Hanner, a retired real estate agent who lives in Skaneateles, N.Y., is a lottery type. Ms. Hanner, who received a Prizm 2 DR in 2001 as a precautionary measure, says she never worries about her health and does not feel like taking time off to have the unit replaced until she has to. Defibrillators need to be replaced every five or six years because their batteries drain. Her heart problem has also never caused the defibrillator to fire. 'I've just joined a golf and tennis club, and I don't want to give it up' to have an operation, she said. Ms. Alexson, the former nurse, faces a far different situation. She has a genetic heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that can cause sudden cardiac arrest, and she received her defibrillator in 2001 to protect her against the condition. But reports about the March death of a 21-year-old college student, Joshua Oukrop, whose Prizm 2 DR failed, have been enough to destroy her trust both in the device and in Guidant, she said. While Guidant has offered patients a free replacement unit, Ms. Alexson plans to get one made by a competitor, Medtronic Inc., and battle out the financial issues later. 'I can't trust these people who sit around in their offices and decide whether I'm going to live or die,' she said In recent days, people like Ms. Alexson with the affected Guidant devices have been scrambling to get information about them from the company and from patient advocacy groups and Web sites that deal with defibrillator-related issues. (Some patients interviewed for this article were contacted through such forums.) Mr. Parsons said that after receiving a defibrillator several years ago, he developed a staph infection on the device and its electrical leads, and as a result he had to undergo emergency open-heart surgery. Since hearing about the Prizm 2 DR problem, he has been discussing the pros and cons of replacing it with his doctor. They have decided that given the last infection, the surgical risks outweigh those posed by the device. But Mr. Parsons has another problem. Along with the defibrillator's shock, he is also dependent on its pacemaker function. And if that fails, he worries that he might not get to a hospital in time for treatment. 'If it does short-circuit, I am pacemaker-dependent, so it would put me in grave distress,' he said.

Subject: Great Egret in Flight
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 06:04:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3191&exhibition=3&u=433|11|... Great Egret in Flight New York City Central Park-Turtle Pond.

Subject: What if There is a Housing Bubble?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 05:56:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There have been steady and growing series of articles and discussions on a supposed American and global housing bubble. Robert Shiller is interviewed and referred to continually, and Shiller though usually bearish on investment is always worth listening to and reading. Nonetheless we have to invest for a secure future, and bearish though we may be we have to find investments that do not involve timing markets but that will carry us through a continuation of the boom in housing or a end of the boom. I do not know why even a bubble in housing should make us shy from well valued stocks and bond funds.

Subject: Re: What if There is a Housing Bubble?
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 11:44:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Here's an article by those alarmist crazies at THE ECONOMIST: After the fall Jun 16th 2005 From The Economist print edition Soaring house prices have given a huge boost to the world economy. What happens when they drop? PERHAPS the best evidence that America's house prices have reached dangerous levels is the fact that house-buying mania has been plastered on the front of virtually every American newspaper and magazine over the past month. Such bubble-talk hardly comes as a surprise to our readers. We have been warning for some time that the price of housing was rising at an alarming rate all around the globe, including in America. Now that others have noticed as well, the day of reckoning is closer at hand. It is not going to be pretty. How the current housing boom ends could decide the course of the entire world economy over the next few years. This boom is unprecedented in terms of both the number of countries involved and the record size of house-price gains. Measured by the increase in asset values over the past five years, the global housing boom is the biggest financial bubble in history (see article). The bigger the boom, the bigger the eventual bust. Throughout history, financial bubbles—whether in houses, equities or tulip bulbs—have continued to inflate for longer than rational folk believed possible. In many countries around the globe, house prices are already at record levels in relation to rents and incomes. But, as demonstrated by dotcom shares at the end of the 1990s, some prices could yet rise even higher. It is impossible to predict when prices will turn. Yet turn they will. Prices are already sliding in Australia and Britain. America's housing market may be a year or so behind. Many people protest that house prices are less vulnerable to a meltdown. Houses, they argue, are not paper wealth like shares; you can live in them. Houses cannot be sold as quickly as shares, making a price crash less likely. It is true that house prices do not plummet like a brick. They tend to drift downwards, more like a brick with a parachute attached. But when they land, it still hurts. And there is a troubling similarity between the house-price boom and the dotcom bubble: investors have been buying houses even though rents will not cover their interest payments, purely in the expectation of large capital gains—just as investors bought shares in profitless firms in the late 1990s, simply because prices were rising. Homes as cash machines One other big difference between houses and shares is more cause for concern than comfort: people are much more likely to borrow to buy a house than to buy shares. In most countries, the recent surge in house prices has gone hand-in-hand with a much larger jump in household debt than in previous booms. Not only are new buyers taking out bigger mortgages, but existing owners have increased their mortgages to turn capital gains into cash which they can spend. As a result of such borrowing, housing booms tend to be more dangerous than stockmarket bubbles, and are often followed by periods of prolonged economic weakness. A study by the IMF found that output losses after house-price busts in rich countries have, on average, been twice as large as those after stockmarket crashes, and usually result in a recession. The economic damage this time could be worse than in the past because house prices are more likely to fall in nominal, not just real terms. Not only do houses in many countries look more overvalued than at previous peaks, but with inflation so low, prices would have to stay flat for at least a decade to bring real prices back to long-run average values. Most important of all, in many countries this house-price boom has been driven far more by investors than in the past, and if prices start to dip, they are more likely to sell than owner-occupiers. In America this could mean the first fall in average house prices since the Great Depression. Owners who have been using their home like an ATM to extract cash, or who were relying on rising house prices to provide them with a comfortable pension, will suddenly realise that they need to start saving the old-fashioned way—by spending less of their income. The Fed frets The lesson from recent experience in Australia, Britain and the Netherlands is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, a big rise in interest rates is not necessary to make house prices falter. This is bad news for America. Even if prices there initially just flatten rather than fall, this will hurt consumer spending as the impulse to borrow against capital gains disappears. It is by encouraging such borrowing that rising house prices have given a bigger boost to America's economy than elsewhere. Two-fifths of all American jobs created since 2001 have been in housing-related sectors such as construction, real-estate lending and broking. If house prices actually fall, this boost will turn into a substantial drag. No wonder that the Federal Reserve is starting, belatedly, to fret about house prices. By holding interest rates low for so long after equities crashed, the Fed helped to inflate house prices. This prevented a deep recession, but it may have merely delayed the needed economic adjustments. Ideally, the Fed should have tried to cool the housing boom by raising interest rates sooner and by giving clear verbal warnings to buyers, as Britain's and Australia's central banks have done. Even now some stern words from Alan Greenspan, the Fed's chairman, could restrain more house-price inflation. Of course, by the time American prices begin to fall, probably sometime next year, they will not be Mr Greenspan's headache. He will have retired and someone else will be in his job. If weaker house prices push the economy towards recession, the awkward truth is that America's policymakers will have much less room to manoeuvre than they did after the stockmarket bubble burst. Short-term interest rates of only 3% leave less scope for cuts. In 2000, America had a budget surplus. Today it has a large deficit, ruling out big tax cuts. The whole world economy is at risk. The IMF has warned that, just as the upswing in house prices has been a global phenomenon, so any downturn is likely to be synchronised, and thus the effects of it will be shared widely. The housing boom was fun while it lasted, but the biggest increase in wealth in history was largely an illusion.

Subject: public education
From: jack
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 00:11:19 (EDT)
Email Address: jjlwmd@yahoo.com

Message:
I have a request for information for an upcoming essay I'm writing for a philosophy class. I am looking for sources that address the reasons and justifications for social financing of public education. Specifically I'm looking for anything that deals with the characterization of public education as a form of investment, or forced investment through taxation, in human capital. Any book or article, or both, will do. Thanks for any help anyone can give me, Jack

Subject: Portfolios and a Housing Slowdown
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 18:19:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Housing has been the main growth driver of the economy from 2002. Then, asking what effect a slowing of housing growth might have on investments is obviously in order. Would a slowing in housing adversely effect stocks or bonds? Since economic growth has been so dependent on housing, we would expect a slowing in demand for housing to slow the economy significantly. The Federal Reserve would have to counter the demand decline to prevent a likely recession. This would likely mean a sharp decline in cyclical stocks and a moderate decline in defensive stocks from consumer staples to utilities, as in a typical economic slowing. Since the Fed would reverse policy and begin to lower short term interest rates and since a slowing economy would mean less inflation pressure, investment-grade bond funds would be fine protective investments. There is no reason a diversified portfolio of conservative stocks and bond funds would not hold through a housing slowdown.

Subject: Re: Portfolios and a Housing Slowdown
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Jun 20, 2005 at 11:55:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If you are talking housing decline bringing about a recession, you have to think about how this would affect the dollar. Remember we have been borrowing heavily to deal with our large, prolonged 'twin' deficits. This has flooded the world with dollars without an equal runnup in US production. A lot of the dollars have been cycled into the US housing market. Any sought of housing bust and global economic slowdown would reduce the demand for dollar denominated assets and or products. This would stagnate the flow of dollars throughout the global economy. I'm not an economist, but it seems to me that a lot of dollars 'sitting around' doing nothing is not a good thing for the dollar. So in the first place, there isn't a lot of room to lower rates from their present level and any potential collapsing of the dollar (as Paul Volker warns) would force rates higher no matter what the Fed wished to do. This of course would sink the housing market more deeply and so on.... If we have a record level of debt built up, and poor job and wage growth, and what job growth we do have is heavily related to the housing boom, then there is nothing the Fed can do to replace it at this point.

Subject: Looking Long Term? Get Your Glasses
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 15:22:33 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/business/yourmoney/19stra.html Looking Long Term? Get Your Glasses By MARK HULBERT MANY investors couldn't care less about the long term and focus instead on what a stock is likely to do over the next quarter - or just the next week. But even when they do try to consider factors that will affect a company's long-term profitability, they still don't see very far. In fact, a recent academic study has found that few investors can focus on events more than five years ahead, even when those events are very predictable and almost certainly will have a big impact on a company's earnings. The study, 'Attention, Demographics and the Stock Market,' was conducted by Stefano DellaVigna, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, and Joshua M. Pollet, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A copy is at www.nber.org/papers/w11211. The study is attracting much interest because researchers for many years couldn't figure out how to disentangle the attention span of investors from other factors that could also explain their behaviors. How, for example, to interpret why investors are unimpressed with a company's announcement of a new research and development effort that it says will lead to higher profits in 10 years? It may be an indication that investors' horizons do not extend that far. But, just as easily, it may be evidence that investors doubt that the research will lead to higher profits. Professor DellaVigna and Professor Pollet solved this problem by focusing on industries whose profitability depends heavily on the age distribution of the population. Bicycle makers are a good example. Analyzing historical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the professors found that people in their late 30's or early 40's bought bicycles at nearly twice the rate of the overall population, in large part because they were buying them for their children. By contrast, consumers under 27 or over 55 bought bicycles at rates far below the national average. The professors focused on two dozen age-sensitive industries - from toy and beer makers to nursing home operators and funeral homes - from January 1935 through December 2003. For each industry, they built a model of the year-by-year changes in demand caused by shifts in the age distribution of the population. On average, they found that when their model predicted a one percentage point increase in demand for an industry's goods or services, its profits that year were 5 to 10 percent higher. If investors conformed to the completely rational, fully informed ideal described in an economics textbook, they would immediately take into account the long-term effects of a changing population. The stock prices of age-sensitive companies would thus be bid up or down soon after major changes in the country's birth rate, for example, even if the changes' effect on companies' earnings was not felt for several decades. The professors found, however, that virtually no investors conformed to this ideal. Instead, the study found that the price of a stock began to change only about five years before shifts in age distribution started to have big effects on that company's earnings. In other words, most investors tend to ignore events that are scheduled to happen more than five years into the future. They are like drivers who ignore warning signs about slippery pavement just around the bend, and instead wait until nearly the last second to apply the brakes. Finance theorists may object to the professors' conclusion on the grounds that competition should eliminate the greater profitability of age-sensitive companies. In the bicycle industry, for example, there were many years after the end of the baby boom when new companies could have joined the fray, catering to the increased demand from middle-age baby boomers. Presumably, that new competition would take away some or all of the extra profit that existing bicycle makers would have enjoyed otherwise. But over the 68 years studied, competition did not eliminate the extra profitability in age-sensitive industries. One reason, the professors suspect, is the entry barriers to at least some of them. Pointing to the beer industry, they said that despite the opening of many microbreweries in recent years, advertising costs have made it very difficult to compete nationally with the largest companies. The professors also said that venture capitalists and corporate executives themselves might suffer from short attention spans and not anticipate the profit opportunities of more than a few years into the future. The findings may seem to contradict conclusions of other research into demographics and the stock market. As reported in this column, James M. Poterba, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently found only modest statistical support at best for the notion that the aging of baby boomers would cause overall equity returns to be lower over the next several decades. But Professor Poterba sees no contradiction between his research and this new study, because it focuses only on specific age-sensitive industries, not on the stock market as a whole. The new research points to a potentially profitable strategy: invest in the stocks of companies that, in six or seven years, are projected to be the biggest beneficiaries of demographic trends. If the future conforms to the past, you will be able to sell those stocks profitably once more myopic investors discover the trends for themselves.

Subject: A Romp Through Fanciful Theories
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 14:48:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/business/yourmoney/19shelf.html?pagewanted=all A Romp Through Theories More Fanciful Than Freaky By ROGER LOWENSTEIN THIS book has no unifying theme.' Thus do Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, authors of 'Freakonomics,' the talk-show host's dream best seller, appear to damn their own creation. Their modesty may be a trifle disingenuous. It would be more accurate to say that the book has no unifying subject. Indeed, their clever juxtapositions, the way they consistently mine illuminating truths by contrasting seemingly unrelated topics, is what makes 'Freakonomics' (William Morrow) a romp of a read. The authors show the dangers in the crack trade by pointing out that the fatality rate for street dealers is greater than that of inmates on death row in Texas; they demonstrate the power of information, and the way the Internet has eroded the pricing power of automobile dealers, by recounting how a quite unrelated network (the Ku Klux Klan) was done in by an infiltrator who broadcast the group's secrets. The book is only barely about economics, freakish or otherwise, and even when the authors venture into a standard tutorial, such as one about how supply and demand influence wages, they do so with delightful and unexpected curveballs. Thus, they observe, 'The typical prostitute earns more than the typical architect.' This is less surprising than it might appear. Working conditions limit the supply of prostitutes and, as for demand, the authors mischievously observe that 'an architect is more likely to hire a prostitute than vice versa.' Their protestation notwithstanding, 'Freakonomics' does have a unifying theme, which is the power of incentives to explain, and perhaps to predict, behavior. The authors clearly tilt against the one-dimensional theory, so dear to orthodox economists, that people are always motivated solely by maximizing their wealth. Rather, they side with the up-and-coming behavioralist school, which sees people's motivations as more nuanced and polydimensional. But you won't find any academic-sounding discourses here. Thus, the authors relate the experience of day-care centers in Haifa, Israel, that tried to discourage parents from picking up their children late by charging offenders the equivalent of a $3 penalty. The response was prompt: lateness increased! Apparently, parents felt less guilty if they were paying for their tardiness. Similarly, the example of a bagel distributor who tried to do business on the honor system shows that while greed surely motivates most people, it is by no means the only motivator. The book has an even more powerful leitmotif: to understand how incentives work, one has to distinguish between cause and effect. This requires more than the economics profession's favorite props - spreadsheets, computers and data. It requires someone to think, intelligently, about what the data are saying. The authors note, for instance, that the fact that cities with high murder rates have more police officers does not mean that the officers are causing murders. This prepares us for other, less intuitive examples. For instance, the presence of books in a household seems to be an effect of educated and motivated parents, and thus a good predictor of how their children will perform in school. The presence of books is not, however, a cause; therefore (alas), requiring children to read will not necessarily enhance their test scores. The authors are hard on experts in virtually every field - sociology, criminology, political analysis - for misreading data. They are equally tough on news-media aye-sayers for parroting the conventional wisdom so glibly. While all the world was congratulating Rudolph W. Giuliani for reducing violent crime, in particular by cracking down on turnstile jumpers, the authors demonstrate that Hizzoner probably had little to do with it. (Crime rates in New York and other cities had begun falling before he was elected mayor.) The experts simply missed a deeper, longer-running cause: the legalization of abortion in 1973, which led to fewer unwanted babies and, by the early 1990's, to fewer career criminals. The authors' diverse opinions are, in general, well founded, but when they write, 'The typical parenting expert, like experts in other fields, is prone to sound exceedingly sure of himself,' they run the risk of sounding, well, exceedingly sure of themselves. They also tilt the scales by paying more attention to those who err than to those who get it right. (They emphasize the many wrongheaded explanations for the drop in crime but play down the fact that newspaper articles correctly cited the rise in incarceration rates as a major factor.) Moreover, one should not forget that many if not most pieces of conventional wisdom are apt to be true. Mr. Levitt and Mr. Dubner try to demolish the common perception that money leads to success in politics by arguing that, in fact, success attracts money, not vice versa. Their evidence is that when big-spending politicians run for re-election against repeat opponents, the results usually mirror those of the previous election, even when the winning candidate spends less or when the losing candidate spends more. This is cute to a fault. It overlooks the power of money to introduce a new politician (say, Jon Corzine) to the public in the first place - money that is no longer necessary when he runs for re-election. The authors' conclusion, that 'the amount of money spent by the candidates hardly matters at all,' violates the expert wisdom, but it also violates common sense. ONE other criticism relates to the awkward co-authorship of this book, which is subtitled 'A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.' As the subtitle suggests, the material for the book is largely the fruit of the 'rogue economist' (Mr. Levitt). Mr. Dubner, who had written two previous best sellers, entered the picture when he profiled Mr. Levitt in The New York Times Magazine. So far, so good. However, each chapter begins with an italicized excerpt from the article, so 'Freakonomics' periodically switches from the first-person plural to a third-person description, in general quite laudatory, of Mr. Levitt. Given that Mr. Levitt is a co-author, it is rather jarring to read, 'Levitt is considered a demigod, one of the most creative people in economics and maybe in all social science.' These quibbles aside, 'Freakonomics' is a splendid book, full of unlikely but arresting historical details that distinguish the authors from the run of pop social scientists. Readers may even find themselves developing a dose of skepticism about the world - no bad thing.

Subject: Living With Social Security
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 14:47:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/national/19retire.html?pagewanted=all Living With Social Security: Small Dreams and Safety Nets By JOHN LELAND and JODI WILGOREN GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Barbara Amberg used her Social Security checks to fly to New York and see Christo's 'Gates' in Central Park. Shirley Malone lives on hers in subsidized public housing, sometimes washing her clothes in dish detergent to save money. For Joseph Cohen, a businessman who lost his business, Social Security is the safety net he never thought he would need. 'We're talking about a fortunate guy who had assets to put away,' Mr. Cohen said. 'But without Social Security I would be in bad shape.' As Congressional Republicans struggle to break a partisan impasse over President Bush's plan to reinvent Social Security and shore up its finances, 32 million older Americans are living the realities of the nation's biggest social program. Any changes will not affect people like Mrs. Amberg, Ms. Malone or Mr. Cohen, who are already collecting their benefits. But in the details of their daily lives, set out in in-depth interviews, these Grand Rapids residents afford a nuanced working model of Social Security - the bumps it cushions and those it does not, the dreams it fosters or leaves out of reach. For many, it is the bedrock of their existence. Americans appear to overestimate how much money they will be able to put aside for retirement. A New York Times/CBS News Poll found that only 20 percent of Americans who are not yet retired expect Social Security to be their major source of income when they stop working. But 39 percent of retirees in the same survey said that Social Security was their major source of income. Nearly all Americans over 65 collect benefits. The Social Security Administration says that about a third depend on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income; another third get half to 90 percent of their money from the program; and a third rely on it for less than half. About 13 million would fall below the poverty line without Social Security unless they found other sources. Each of these situations plays out in Grand Rapids, a riverfront city of 197,000, where mansions built by the city's Dutch industrial elite gaze across town at concrete grids of public housing. In different neighborhoods, Social Security is an antipoverty program, a middle-class pension, a widow's survivor benefit, a disability check. For some, retirement has brought trophy homes and donations to charity; for others, bathroom sinks mended with adhesive tape and prescriptions unfilled for lack of money. Two brothers, the Wards, capture the range in benefits. Norman, a former heroin addict who shuffled among low-paying jobs, gets $502 a month, while Luther and his wife, who had steady careers at the local school district, collect a combined $2,400. Reeling from layoffs and plant closings and with a strong evangelical Christian strain, Grand Rapids is tossup political territory, and opinions are varied about Mr. Bush's efforts to give Americans more say in how some of their Social Security payments are invested - with the possibility of higher rewards and higher risk. Some people, like Bill Post, who helped invent the Pop-Tart and saved dutifully, support Mr. Bush's proposals to create individual investment accounts within Social Security. 'That's not a big risk,' Mr. Post said, 'that's a good opportunity.' But others, like James Townsend, who worked as a forklift operator, defend the traditional program. 'If they hadn't had Social Security, I wouldn't have saved that money,' he said. 'If I'd had extra money, I'd have spent it. I wouldn't have anything at all.' Here as elsewhere, Social Security has paid back some more generously than others. Created to protect the most vulnerable, it redistributes money from rich people to poor people, and from men to women, who often have no pension or assets. But as family structures have evolved from the one-earner nuclear model of the 1930's, the program has not always kept up. It rewards married couples more than single people, and couples with one stay-at-home spouse more than those in which both spouses worked. Groups with shorter life expectancies, like African-Americans, receive fewer benefits than those who live longer. Economists describe retirement as a three-legged stool supported by savings, pension and Social Security. But as companies have moved away from traditional pensions, and more Americans approach retirement with inadequate savings, many, like Mr. Townsend, are adding a fourth leg: work. Just four decades ago, 3 in 10 Americans over age 65 lived in poverty; after changes in Social Security benefits, that figure is now less than 1 in 10, below the poverty rate for the general population. The Urban Institute, a policy research group, recently found that working couples earning average incomes, if they retired today, would have benefits worth the equivalent of $439,000 in a 401(k) plan, more than double what they would have had in 1960, accounting for inflation. But retirees here do not measure their benefits by such calculations. Social Security is a car payment, cable television, a tithe, the freedom to volunteer in town, the dignity of a first-ever savings account. Budgeting Down to the Penny Nearly a third of Americans collecting Social Security benefits are single women. Many, like Shirley Malone, who is divorced and lives in subsidized housing behind a shopping center here, would fall into poverty without them. A thickset woman who moves painfully from a car accident two decades ago, Ms. Malone, 69, gets $700 a month from Social Security and a $212 stipend from a volunteer program for low-income seniors helping out in the schools. She has no savings. 'When I was young, I heard all these stories about the golden years,' she said. 'What happened to them?' Each month Ms. Malone gathers her bills before the Social Security check comes. She pays $40 a month for car insurance, more than $100 for prescription drugs, $52 for basic cable television, $122 for supplemental health insurance, plus her rent, which is set at 30 percent of her income. When she is finished writing checks, she said, there is no money left. She has had to put off dental work and getting hearing aids because she cannot afford them. 'I'm contemplating every month getting rid of my cable, but what else do I have?' she said. 'There's no such thing as splurging. I even don't give my grandchildren presents.' None of this was planned. 'My head was younger than the rest of me,' she said. 'I always thought I'd be able to work.' Ms. Malone married before she turned 18 and did not work until her children were teenagers. When her marriage ended, she said, she came away with nothing but the children. She had a high school education and no work experience. She took a job as a cashier at a car wash, on her feet sometimes for 10 hours at a time. When she retired at 62, after 11 years, she felt lost. 'The worst part was that I wasn't busy enough,' she said. 'All the sudden, here I am all alone. My grandkids were all grown up; they didn't need me anymore.' She added, 'I never thought I'd feel completely worthless.' Though she still has 'blue' days, working with children has made her feel useful. Social Security has been a bureaucratic maze as well as a lifeline for Ms. Malone. For years she did not realize that she could collect before turning 65, or that she could collect on her former husband's benefits. She deals with a variety of health problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and recurring pain throughout her body, for which she can tolerate only Tylenol, which gives her no relief. Osteoporosis, she said, is shrinking her to nothing. Still, she is happier now than she has been since her children were young. The income from Social Security and the volunteer stipend are secure, if small. She feels she has earned the benefit. 'We're not getting anything we didn't work for all our lives,' she said. 'There's a lot of us like this.' But mainly, it is the children of Knapp Charter Academy, the ones who call her Grandma Shirley, that fill her life. At her hallway desk, she smiled as she dispensed stickers or helped a student with her reading exercises. 'I didn't have a lot of money to start with, so I don't feel I came down,' Ms. Malone said. At the school, she wore a bulky sweatshirt promoting the volunteer program. She has resisted entreaties from her son to live with him. 'The check is a lifesaver,' she said of the stipend that allows her to live independently. But if the program lost financing and could not pay her, she said, she would work in the school anyway. 'They're my therapy,' she said. 'There's nothing like feeling useful.' A Full Schedule, in Comfort Barbara Amberg, who was born into privilege and married pedigree, represents the other edge of Social Security. Like 1 in 10 of the program's recipients, she relies on it for less than a fifth of her income, which is $50,000 to $100,000 a year. Hers is a retirement of comfort and choices without concern for costs, shown in scrapbooks that brim with the photographs and memorabilia of a busy traveler. There is her annual summer pilgrimage to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, and yearly visits to her children in San Antonio, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles. Group trips to art museums in Chicago and Detroit. A four-day, $1,850 package tour to see 'The Gates' in February. All courtesy of Social Security. 'It pays for extras,' Mrs. Amberg, a widow who just turned 80, said of the $924 monthly check. 'Mostly I use it for trips.' If Mrs. Amberg does not exactly need Social Security, Social Security has always needed people like her. The original architects of the Depression-era program enlisted the crucial backing of the better-off by selling it as a broad-based insurance program rather than a poor people's stipend. Indeed, when asked about shrinking benefits to richer recipients to preserve payments to the poor, Mrs. Amberg was ambivalent, saying, 'Somehow I have that feeling you have put in your amount, you should get back what you are owed.' She is open to the idea of raising the $90,000 cap on income subject to payroll taxes, or the age of eligibility. But despite her own windfall from booming stocks like Wal-Mart and Eli Lilly, she remains skeptical of Mr. Bush's desire to divert some of Social Security to individual accounts. 'I know it has to be tinkered with, I just don't think you should change the concept,' she said. 'Who knows if they can get any extra money out of the market? I just think that's such a foolish idea.' Mrs. Amberg, who had a $7-an-hour part-time job at the Pooh's Corner children's bookstore for 15 years, has always used dividends from her family trust funds to pay for routine expenses, like a weekly $20 blow-dry at the beauty shop and $45 monthly dues at the health club. While she does not spend extravagantly - 'I sort of have it in my head that I'm not going to buy a $500 dress' - neither does she worry about the price of her season tickets to Grand Rapids' symphony, opera and two major theaters. She owns a spacious condominium here and a four-bedroom cottage on Lake Michigan. She has given nearly half a million dollars in pretax bequests to her four grandchildren since 1991, and signs over at least $5,000 in stock each year to a church. And she maintains her $342-a-month membership in the Kent Country Club, where she and her daughter had wedding receptions, though three hip replacements have halted her golf game. 'I think I would feel lost without that,' she said. Mrs. Amberg and her late husband, David, a lawyer, both descended from old Grand Rapids families whose homes are among the jewels of the Heritage Hill historic district, an enclave built between 1848 and 1920 by the city's lumber barons and furniture moguls. Their nest egg was layered by inheritance, which also sent their children to Princeton, Tufts and Boston University. They never felt pressure to save. Hair coiffed, lipstick fresh, ears adorned with gold, Mrs. Amberg is a genteel visage sipping chardonnay before dinner one weeknight at the Victorian mansion of the Women's City Club, where her mother and grandmother were members before her. She grew up on a family compound - 'like the Kennedys' - with an Italianate building at its center housing a squash court and a 50-foot lap pool. Her late husband's family helped settle Grand Rapids in 1834. Mrs. Amberg's days overflow with activity: two book groups, three bridge foursomes, lectures, reading on a radio station for the blind, serving as treasurer of the local Smith College alumnae club. One week in April, she was out every night. 'I think you have to work at it when you're a woman alone,' she said. 'You just don't expect people to call you or to make up things to do, you have to make things happen.' Several widows are among her closest friends, but Mrs. Amberg is careful to keep up with couples. 'So if you want to entertain, you can still find a few men to come to your party,' she said. 'But if you have a cocktail party, they're the ones who can't stand up. The men have to sit down.' Not Mrs. Amberg. She is at the gym every Wednesday morning for senior aerobics, strutting to a Sinatra soundtrack, though she ducks out when stretching starts. 'I can't get down on the floor and then get back up again, so I leave,' she said. If she goes a little slower these days, she still goes. In May, she visited Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece in western Pennsylvania. To celebrate her 80th birthday, her family joined her for a weekend in New York. There are Social Security checks to spend, scrapbooks yet to fill. Back on the Job at 74 Between Social Security and a small pension, James Townsend thought he had enough to retire. But 10 years after he began collecting his checks, he greeted a recent sunny spring afternoon with a familiar ritual: he put on his uniform and went to work. From 4 p.m. to midnight eight nights a month, Mr. Townsend, 74, works as a security guard at a retirement community at the edge of town. As he made his rounds that evening, Mr. Townsend poked behind the furnace and paced a solitary, hourlong circuit of the carpeted hallways, empty except for a woman leaving the exercise area. 'I've been lucky, I've never seen any strange people,' he said. Mr. Townsend had not expected to be working at this age. When he retired at 64 from his job as a forklift operator in an auto parts plant, he believed he could live on his pension of about $200 a month and his and his wife's Social Security checks, which added up to almost $1,100. The Townsends' home here, a neat ranch house in a neighborhood that he calls 'the inner city, but not the ghetto,' was paid off, and Mr. Townsend thought he could cut back on a few activities or entertainment. 'I just wanted to stop working in a factory, waking up every morning at the crack of dawn,' he said. 'I had put in a lot of hard time at the factory. It was a relief to stop working.' But for the Townsends, two small changes were enough to upset his plans. Mr. Townsend's old car gave out, and he bought a new 1999 Dodge Intrepid, with payments of $327.55 a month. At the same time, his doctor found he had high levels of cholesterol. Medication ran to $99 a month. 'That's when things really tightened on me,' he said. 'I had to cut back on everything, even my tithes and offerings at church.' So Mr. Townsend went looking for a job again. Almost five million Americans over age 65 worked last year, up from fewer than three million two decades ago. The rise counters a half-century trend toward earlier retirement. In 1950, nearly half of men over 65 were still working. By 2000, only 17 percent were. Some retirees miss the purposefulness of work; some need the money. Mr. Townsend straddled both categories. He could use the money, but he also had no hobbies to occupy his time; work, he said, has kept him active. A native of Carbondale, Ill., Mr. Townsend moved to Grand Rapids to work in the factories here, and his finances have followed the unsteady rhythms of production: good in boom years, fragile when the demand for auto parts or office furniture slowed. In his first seven years here, he was laid off for part of every year. His house, where he has lived for 40 years, sits on a block of weathered homes in a largely African-American section southeast of downtown. When he goes out at night, it is to a sports bar in a mixed neighborhood to the north. 'But my preacher don't know it,' he said. When his car payments put the crunch on him, he called his network of friends, who told him about a part-time opening at the retirement community. The added income of about $340 every two weeks covered his car payments and cholesterol medicine. With his part-time job and his pension, the Townsends earn more than $2,000 a month, about as much as they did before his retirement, and without the threat of having all their income wiped out by layoff or strike. Social Security, which supplies the biggest share of their income, provides both stability and freedom. 'I enjoy the way I work now,' he said. 'I work 4 days and then I'm off for 10. What kind of job is that? It's not like the other work I did. I hustled when I was in the factory.' With his job, he said, he has enough money to take his wife to dinner. He is looking into supplemental health insurance, which would cost $200 or more a month to protect him against medical catastrophe. He hopes that Social Security will continue as is. He doubts he could have done as well on his own managing for retirement. 'I feel it's scare tactics now,' he added. 'If the government would stop using that money for other things like this war, the thing would go on and on and on.' From the Pop-Tart, a Good Life With a $75,000 pension, Social Security, ample savings and a series of real estate investments, Bill Post could be the model for retirement planning in the pre-401(k) era. A son of immigrants from the Netherlands whom poor people called poor, Mr. Post went to work at the local Keebler plant on his 16th birthday, putting pans in ovens for 38 cents an hour, and left the company 41 years later as a senior vice president with a $92,000 salary. He then embarked on a second career as a $30,000-a-year consultant for Kellogg, the company for which he had helped develop the Pop-Tart. Now, he carves wooden Santa Claus statues in a basement workshop under an old sign that says 'Nooitgedacht' - Dutch for, as Mr. Post put it, 'Never woulda thought.' He never would have thought a cranberry Jaguar convertible would sit in his garage. Hardly could have imagined retiring at 57 to a custom-built dream home, never mind selling it later for $1.1 million. 'I would never have ever thought that we would have such a good life,' Mr. Post, 77, said. He also never considered depending on Social Security. He and his wife of 57 years, Florence, avoided debt by spending frugally with the future in mind. When his company provided executives with a financial consultant as a perk, Mr. Post recalled, 'he came back and said, 'I never met a guy like you: you're living within your income.' ' The Posts are among 7.5 million of today's retirees, 29 percent, who collect private pensions, a middle-class staple that is fast disappearing. They also have income from bonds and interest payments on two private loans, but the only stocks they own are Kellogg shares he received as bonuses. 'No gambling,' Mr. Post explained. 'I can't see the principal shrink; worked too hard for our money.' It is people like Mr. Post who in future generations, under Mr. Bush's proposals, could see their guaranteed benefits become much less generous than currently promised. 'I would be for less benefits,' Mr. Post said, if that would promote the health of the program. Likewise, he supports Mr. Bush's vision of individual accounts, saying, 'I know there are better investments than what's happening.' Mr. Post, who dropped out of college to become personnel manager of Keebler's bakery in Grand Rapids at 21, was running the plant in 1963 when Kellogg came looking for a partner to develop a toaster pastry. He quickly green-lighted the idea despite the challenge of hoisting a huge piece of machinery to create the top layer and adapting an air clutch to squirt dollops of filling. 'I was just the guy who said we'd do it,' said Mr. Post, who still stocks his pantry with his favorite flavor, frosted strawberry. As he climbed the ladder from cookie baker to corporate officer, Mr. Post's biggest boon was real estate. In 1971, the Posts bought a 100-foot parcel on Glen Lake in northern Michigan for $16,000, building an A-frame bungalow for weekend getaways. They traded up twice to bigger lake properties, and after 18 years in their dream house, sold it to buy a 5,000-square foot, $415,000 home in a Grand Rapids suburb Mr. Post grew up thinking of as 'where the big shots lived.' It is at once an homage to their affluence and their humble roots. They added a large master suite and furnished it with an antique wooden night table, bed and dresser they bought years ago for $10. Mrs. Post weaves patchwork rugs out of remnants; the couple eats off dinnerware with a French pattern by Quimper Faïence that dates from 1690 and sells for $95 a plate. 'What's enough?' Mr. Post asked one afternoon relaxing on the expansive deck. 'You know what enough is? A little more than you got.' Rather than revel in their bounty, though, the Posts, who read Scripture aloud after breakfast, glory in giving their money away: $1,400 a month to Thornapple Covenant Church (plus an extra $1,000 on Thanksgiving and Easter); $2,500 a year to Gideon's, the Bible distributors; a recent $5,000 to a school for disabled adults; $2,000 here and $2,000 there for missionaries to Thailand or India. 'He's opened up the floodgates for us,' Mr. Post said, referring to God's New Testament promise to reward those who tithe. 'We give, and he opens up floodgates, and we give more.' Without a calculator, Mrs. Post balances their three checkbooks - one for their $2,000-a-month Social Security checks, which includes her spousal benefits; the others for the pension and interest. One afternoon, she spent hours stuck on a $2,000 mistake in her favor. The next morning, a fund-raiser for an evangelical broadcaster came to pitch the Posts for contributions of as much as $10,000. Mr. Post chuckled at the numbers, noting, 'I was a cookie baker all my life.' He and his wife had agreed the night before to give $500, and upped it before breakfast to $1,000. When Mrs. Post pulled out the checkbook, though, she whispered, 'How about two?' and that is what she wrote. 'The mistake I had made,' she explained later. 'I just felt that was the Lord telling me, you have extra money in here, you should give it.' A Significant Savings Depleted Joseph Cohen, 89, was a millionaire once, with a stake in a family clothing business and the intention of working forever. When the company collapsed in 1980, Mr. Cohen, then 64, had a few outside investments, a house and an asset he never expected to need: Social Security. On a crisp Michigan morning, Mr. Cohen was having coffee and doughnuts with other retirees in the apartment complex where he now lives alone, near a cordon of strip malls and big-box retailers by the airport. He has a crown of white hair, a metallic Chicago accent and a manner that is both genial and cranky. When he had his business, he said, he never thought about Social Security or retirement. 'I assumed we'd be taking a month off and going to Florida. We used to do that.' Mr. Cohen belongs to the uncounted but substantial population of Americans who reach retirement age with less money than they planned, reliant on Social Security in ways they do not expect. 'People who end up with less assets than they thought - that's almost all of us,' said Alicia H. Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, who served in the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration. 'People have business reversals, or they lose money in the stock market, or they have medical expenses they can't afford. Anyone who ever worked for Enron or WorldCom knows how it feels to look in their retirement account and see there's nothing left.' Mr. Cohen now lives mostly on the $1,800 he receives each month from Social Security, plus income from bonds he bought after he sold his house - about $1,000 to $1,200 a month. He does not own stock, a home or life insurance. Compared with most retirees, Mr. Cohen is doing well. He flies first class to see his children in New Jersey and Seattle, still has valuable art in his living room and has contributed money toward his grandchildren's education. Because he did not have to work, he volunteered extensively in his synagogue, the public schools and the local civil rights movement. By his lights he did not retire until last year, when a small stroke forced him to stop volunteering. But last year, when one of Mr. Cohen's bonds matured, and he replaced it with one that pays dividends of about $100 less a month, he felt the loss. 'I got clobbered,' he said. 'It doesn't sound like much, but it means you have $25 a week less to spend.' Mr. Cohen opposes individual investment accounts, because of the volatility of the stock market and the cost of managing the accounts. 'We're living in a society with an age group that haven't been through the Depression and aren't cognizant of what can happen,' he said. 'How do you know that won't happen tomorrow? I often wonder what happened to all the people who used to work for me.' Mr. Cohen said he had spent a lot of his retirement savings on care for his wife, who died in 1993, and son Robert, who died of an inoperable brain lesion in 2001. His wife went from doctor to doctor - 'all stupid S.O.B.'s,' Mr. Cohen said - before amyloidosis, a plasma cell disorder, was diagnosed. She died after three years of treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Insurance paid for some of this care but not all. 'I've never gone back and seen how much it cost at Mayo's,' he said. 'Word of honor, you never go over expenses and think about whether to get this treatment or this. You just do it.' Lately his own health has been giving him problems. In April, while spending Passover with his daughter in New Jersey, he underwent an M.R.I. for pain in his back, and a ruptured disk was diagnosed. He has not been back to Grand Rapids. Mr. Cohen can remember when he was like many young workers now, who do not think Social Security will be around when they retire. When the program was enacted, the same year he finished high school, he put little faith in it. 'It was introduced without a lot of people knowing what it was going to do,' he said. 'If someone had said, 'Here's this program that's going to take care of you,' I'd say, 'Yeah, wait and see.' ' Now it is the anchor of a retirement that Mr. Cohen has come to accept. 'It's not as much as I'd like to have,' he said, 'but I'm not worried.' Brothers, Side by Side Again Social Security was never intended as a family reunification initiative, but Luther and Norman Ward show how far its safety net can stretch. For years, Luther, a school janitor and truant officer, hardly spoke to his brother Norman, a heroin addict, because 'when he came to see me it was with a hand out.' Now they sit side by side every Sunday in church. The Social Security check that lets Norman, for the first time in his life, keep a small savings account, also allows Luther to offer hand-me-down furniture and the occasional covered dish without worry that his brother's needs will overwhelm his own. Just as Social Security frees baby boomers from the financial - and emotional - burden of dependent parents, it has built a bridge between these formerly estranged brothers, who passed a recent afternoon feeding ducks at the Grand River like boys. 'I save every month; I refuse to get broke,' Norman, 77, said. 'I love my brother and I wouldn't want to hurt him.' The Wards, two of six sons of a steelworker and a laundress, embody Social Security's dual identity, as a return on an investment for people like Luther, 71, who play by the rules, and as an insurance policy that keeps even those who led largely unproductive lives from suffering on the street. For Luther and his wife, Diane, a retired teacher, Social Security is one component of a relaxed retirement - their monthly checks totaling about $2,400 provide 36 percent of their income, the rest coming from their solid school district pensions. Without it, Luther said, 'I'd probably have a part-time job.' For Norman, who gets $502 plus $96 in state and federal supplements for the poorest recipients, Social Security is a savior - his only other income is the occasional bounty when one of his six numbers hits in the Michigan Daily Pick Three. Without it, Norman said, 'I'd probably be dead now.' Luther did decades of double duty as a janitor and truant officer, raising five children over two marriages. He took the second school district job to cover child support for the four children from his first marriage, and ended up with combined wages of $60,000. After selling off his mutual funds a few years ago, he keeps his savings, about $14,000, in the credit union earning 2 percent, and strongly opposes Mr. Bush's proposal to turn part of Social Security into individual accounts. 'At my age, I'm not thinking about 10 years it coming back,' he said of the stock market. Norman, who never made it past 10th grade, got hooked on heroin while in the Army. Back home, slurping cough syrup when he could not afford heroin, he got and lost jobs at General Motors, Steelcase, a forklift factory, a meat warehouse and, his favorite, as a bellhop at the old Rowe Hotel downtown, for $12 a week plus tips. He did time twice, in 1961 and 1991, after pleading guilty to drug possession, and checked himself into rehab half a dozen times. He cared for his parents in their final years and inherited their house, but the $56,000 it sold for quickly disappeared into drugs. 'When I blew that money, I got scared,' Norman recalled. 'I used to take the cover and pull it over my head because I hate to see daylight come.' Nowadays, in his one-bedroom at the Ransom Towers downtown, Norman is showered and with his bed made by 7 a.m., though he spends most days watching hours of back-to-back courtroom reality shows from a raggedy lounge chair. He pays his $170 rent, $45 cable, $25 telephone, $20 church dues and $13 for air-conditioning in summer weeks in advance. Food stamps, $112 a month, fill his cupboards with canned vegetables and Special K. The nine pills he swallows daily for diabetes and high blood pressure cost him $3 for brand names, $1 for generics, under Medicaid. Magic Shaving Powder, $1.25 a can, keeps his head bald. Still he has enough extra that at times he is like an A.T.M., handing out two $20's and a $10 to various neighbors one Sunday before leaving for church. 'I don't want your reason, I just want it back,' he said of his no-interest, no-information approach. 'If they ask for it, they need it.' Across town, Luther said he and Diane 'never take out a loan we can't pay back in a year's time,' so they are setting aside $1,000 a month to cover the $11,000 home equity line of credit that pays for remodeling the kitchen this summer. They travel every other year to see her relatives in the Netherlands or his son, an Air Force officer stationed in Belgium, and the basement is lined with posters from the musicals they frequent here and in Toronto. For Luther's 70th birthday, Diane booked a suite at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Seven or eight years ago, Norman asked Luther to pick him up on the way to Grace Christian Reformed Church. He called for a ride again the next Saturday. 'Then he said, 'I don't want to call you anymore, just pick me up every Sunday,' ' recalled Luther, who is a deacon. 'He already knew the minister because he had borrowed money from the minister.' On Tuesdays, too, Luther swings by Norman's building for their weekly run to a food warehouse to stock the church pantry. 'First time in my life I ever enjoyed it,' Norman said as he piled up potatoes and set aside a box of chocolate cookies for himself, never mind the diabetes. 'Doing something and not looking for nothing.'

Subject: Currency Value and Inflation
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 13:34:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The dollar has strengthened significantly against the Euro and other European currencies, and has this year held value at least against Asian and Latin American currencies. There is currently no inflation pressure from a weakening dollar. Food prices respond fairly quickly to a change in the value of the dollar, so there is no reason an increase in food prices would currently be driven by dollar weakness. There is however a limited increase in food prices driven by energy cost increases, and this bears notice.

Subject: Construction Employment
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 10:44:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What dollar support has done is provide a steady demand for American bonds from Treasury to mortgage bond packages. The demand has countered the Federal Reserve short term interest rate increases of the last year and kept construction in particular, and employment to an extent, and consumer demand robust. This Federal Reserve cycle has been quite unique, and though there are important worries about housing and real estate price increases the employment creation associated with construction has been all the more important in a difficult job creation period.

Subject: The correlated economy
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 13:18:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There are many of us who talk about the importance of investing in uncorrelated assets and diversification. Yet we have a very correlated economy with almost total dependence on the housing sector.

Subject: Currency
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 10:29:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The dollar has largely largely been supported by foreign central banks as China, Japan, Korea, Brazil and South Africa in holding domestic currency values in place. A limited mix of currency speculation against the Euro is likely to continue as the prospects for European Union are less clear. A decline in the Euro has quickly given us a fairly robust dollar, but the domestic and trade deficits are there and growing faster than our economy can grow and there will in time be more pressure against the dollar.

Subject: The Dollar and Bonds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 17:45:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is interesting is that political events in Europe could send the dollar value higher for some while, and provoke a poorer trade balance for us. But, the political turmoil in Europe may prove to be a problem for us at the time that we were moaning about a weakening dollar. Reading currency movements is difficult. The guess then is dollar strength will continue to help the American bond market.

Subject: Re: The Dollar and Bonds
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 13:10:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'What is interesting is that political events in Europe could send the dollar value higher for some while, and provoke a poorer trade balance for us.' This is an important issue for a company like Boeing and US auto manufacturers with models that compete with Europe, etc. But the bigger issue for the dollar is how it's purhasing power of food, energy, and commodities is doing. And regardless of how it's doing vs the euro, how might the overall dollar droppage affect inflation down the road. As a consumer, I'm much less concerned with how much a vacation in Europe will cost me than what my weekly food bill is or what it costs me to fill my gas tank each week, or my winter heating bills, insurance, etc. This will affect how much I need to cut back on new purchases such as a new laptop, printer, upgrade to software, bigscreen tv, new kitchen appliance, etc. Heck, my scrimping might even affect some of those companies which make up those index funds - maybe even some with the tag of 'value'. Yet, if my paycheck doesn't quite buy me all I want, I can just put it on Visa and pay for it LATER. There's always equity loans. Trouble is - the higher visa payments or equity loan payments mean that more is taken from my paycheck. But then again I can borrow even more to make up for the additional amount which comes out of my paycheck. This could go on for quite a long time - there are lots of 'experts' who say it can and will. I can always sell my house eventually, pay off my debts and what is left over will be a small fortune to help with my retirement - ya, that's how I'll do it!!!! Sorry, didn't mean for this to sound too sarcastic, but I believe this is the way most of us (not you Terri) are thinking.

Subject: The Dollar
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 15:37:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
For the time the dollar seems all too secure because of the lack of unity among the European Union countries and chronic political-economic wavering in Japan, but the dollar is weak according to intrinsic fundamentals and we should not forget this. Positions against the dollar have lost recently, but they will win in time for we are not settling our debt accumulation to any meaningful degree. Still, this shows why we need to think long term unless we are forever trading.

Subject: Guidant Recalls Heart Devices
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 11:43:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/18/business/18guidant.html?pagewanted=all Citing Flaws, Maker Recalls Heart Devices By BARRY MEIER The Guidant Corporation said yesterday that it was recalling about 29,000 implanted heart devices because of flaws that might cause them to short-circuit when they are supposed to deliver a potentially life-saving shock. The recall, which comes at the urging of the Food and Drug Administration, involves three models of defibrillators made by Guidant. In the case of one model, the Ventak Prizm 2 DR Model 1861, Guidant did not tell doctors for more than three years that it was prone to electrical failure because of a design flaw. The company also disclosed yesterday for the first time that two other Guidant units had also repeatedly short-circuited. The company said it was aware of two recent deaths involving the units at issue. It is not clear how much the recalls may cost Guidant. While the action is technically a recall, it will be up to patients and their doctors to decide whether to undergo surgery to replace the affected devices. Such decisions are typically based on the age and health of a patient and the physician's assessment of a device's risk. The recall comes as F.D.A. officials continue their review of Guidant's handling of issues surrounding the products, particularly the Prizm 2 DR. The other models are the Contak Renewal and Contak Renewal 2, which are more complex defibrillators intended for patients with severe heart failure. The F.D.A. urged affected patients to contact their doctors but did not take a position on whether the devices should be replaced. Defibrillators are surgically implanted in the chest under the skin. If the heart is beating chaotically, the defibrillator emits an electrical jolt in an effort to restore it to normal rhythm. In a statement yesterday, Ronald W. Dollens, chief executive of Guidant, said the company was taking the actions because it wanted to share information about problems 'in a small subset of Guidant devices.' Guidant said it would provide free replacements for the devices, which can cost up to $25,000. 'We will work with physicians as they decide how best to treat their patients,' Mr. Dollens added. But yesterday's disclosure that Guidant also knew that other popular company models beside the Prizm 2 were prone to short-circuiting raises further questions about how the company handled such issues. An F.D.A. official also questioned whether Guidant had acted properly when it recently rushed out a letter to doctors notifying them that the Prizm 2 had short-circuited in over 25 known cases, including the March death of a 21-year-old student. The company took the action late last month when it became aware that problems with the device, which date back to 2002, were going to be publicized in other forums. Tim Ulatowski, the director of the agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said Guidant should have treated the matter as a recall at that time. Johnson & Johnson, which announced a plan in December to acquire Guidant for $25.4 billion largely to gain its cardiac device unit, issued a statement yesterday saying that while it continued to work to complete the deal, it was concerned about the developments. Last year, Guidant had $3.8 billion in sales, about half from implantable defibrillators. 'The events reported by Guidant are serious matters, and Johnson & Johnson is engaged in discussions with Guidant to help the company understand the issues,' the statement read. In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Guidant fell 84 cents a share to close at $72.46 a share. Guidant has said it does not recommend that doctors replace the Prizm 2 model because it is reliable and because the additional surgery poses extra risks. In April 2002, the company changed the way it manufactured the device to eliminate the electrical flaw. It has said it has not received similar complaints about devices made after that date. About 17,000 devices made before April 2002 are still implanted in patients, 13,900 of them in this country. In the case of the Contak Renewal and Renewal 2 models, Guidant also urged that physicians closely follow how well the device is functioning, but did not make a recommendation one way or the other regarding replacement. Along with a defibrillator, the units have pacemaker functions that regulate beating for both sides of the heart. The company said that internal testing showed that the failure rate of Renewal products might increase over time from a current rate of 0.09 percent to a range of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent. About 11,900 Renewal products are still implanted in patients worldwide, about 6,700 of them in this country. In February, another defibrillator maker, Medtronic, notified doctors that the battery used in one of its models was draining far faster than expected. It said the problem could become worse over time and affect 0.2 percent to 1.5 percent of its units. About 13,000, or 15 percent, of the 87,000 patients implanted with the device have had it replaced. In many respects, the issues and Guidant's actions in the cases of the Prizm 2 and Renewal models parallel each other. After the March death of a college student, Joshua Oukrop, doctors in Minnesota learned from Guidant that the Prizm 2 defibrillator they had implanted in him in 2001 had a history of electrical failures related to a design flaw. The physicians, who had been treating Mr. Oukrop for a genetic heart disease that put him at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, said they urged Guidant at that time to notify other doctors. But company officials said they did not plan to do so because they did not see the problem as significant. The company did send a letter to doctors about the device in late May just as The New York Times was publishing an article about the Prizm 2. In the aftermath, the F.D.A. began reviewing Guidant's handling of the matter. It was during that process that agency officials began to look at the Renewal devices, said Mr. Ulatowski, the F.D.A. official. 'We always inquire whether a problem caused by a design problem in one product might exist in other products,' he said. Mr. Ulatowski added that Guidant, through a filing, had notified the F.D.A. about manufacturing changes it made last August to correct a short-circuiting problem in the Renewal models. However, only during recent reviews did the agency become aware of the scope of the problem. While Guidant previously received 14 reports of electrical failures in Renewal devices produced before August, it received a report on May 30 of the death of a patient who had been implanted with a unit that failed in a similar way. It also appears that Guidant may have continued to sell older Renewal models in its inventory after improved versions were available, as it had done with the Prizm 2 defibrillator. Yesterday, Guidant officials declined to comment about the issue. Since the controversy over the Prizm 2 began, Guidant has insisted that it made all required reports to the F.D.A. about device problems. But under agency guidelines, the company was also required to undertake an internal assessment of the patient risks posed by the device's electrical problems once it discovered them. Such an analysis must include an evaluation of how frequently the flaw is likely to occur, its danger and whether doctors and patients would become aware of it as a result of mechanisms in the device, like a beep that indicates the battery is dying. Mr. Ulatowski, the F.D.A. official, said the agency was still reviewing Guidant records. 'We are taking a very careful look at the events that occurred and what decisions were made or were not made,' he said. Guidant has acknowledged that because the flaws involved a short-circuiting of a device while it was charging to deliver a high-voltage shock, it could occur unpredictably. A group that represents doctors treating heart patients, the Heart Rhythm Society, is expected to soon set up a task force to press for standards governing device makers' notifications of doctors about problems with implanted heart units. In his statement yesterday, Mr. Dollens, the Guidant chief executive, said he supported that effort. In addition to the Prizm 2 and the two Renewal models, Guidant said yesterday that it was recalling 21,000 other defibrillators that had a programming error that might affect device performance. The company said patients could have the device reprogrammed during their next regular doctor's visit. Guidant said the affected units were the Prizm AVT, Vitality AVT, Renewal 3 AVT and Renewal 4 AVT.

Subject: 'Everything Bad Is Good for You'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 11:39:57 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/books/review/22KIRNL.html?ei=5070&en=f62d6eedd50797e8&ex=1119758400&emc=eta1&pagewanted=all May 22, 2005 'Everything Bad Is Good for You': The Couch Potato Path to a Higher I.Q. By WALTER KIRN To people over a certain age the idea that popular culture is in decline is a comforting one, which may explain its deep appeal. If today's TV shows are worse than yesterday's, and if new diversions like video games are inferior to their earlier counterparts, whatever those might be (Scrabble? Monopoly?), then there's no harm in paying them no attention. To a 40-year-old who's busy with work and family, the belief that he isn't missing anything by not mastering ''SimCity'' or by letting his 10-year-old program the new iPod is a blessed solace. If the new tricks are stupid tricks, then old dogs don't need to learn them. They can go on comfortably sleeping by the fire. The old dogs won't be able to rest as easily, though, once they've read ''Everything Bad Is Good for You,'' Steven Johnson's elegant polemic about the supposed mental benefits of everything from watching reality television to whiling the night away playing ''Grand Theft Auto.'' Johnson, a cross-disciplinary thinker who has written about neuroscience, media studies and computer technology, wants to convince us that pop culture is not the intellectual tranquilizer that its sound-alike critics have made it out to be but a potent promoter of cerebral fitness. The Xbox and ''The Apprentice,'' he contends, are pumping up their audiences' brains by accustoming them to ever-increasing levels of complexity, nuance and ambiguity that work on brain cells much as crunches do on the abdominal muscles. The depressing corollary to his thesis is that if a person isn't doing these exercises -- perhaps because he's too busy raising children who engage in them compulsively -- he's getting flabby from the neck up. Johnson's argument isn't strictly scientific, relying on hypotheses and tests, but more observational and impressionistic. It's persuasive anyhow. When he compares contemporary hit crime dramas like ''The Sopranos'' and ''24'' -- with their elaborate, multilevel plotlines, teeming casts of characters and open-ended narrative structures -- with popular numbskull clunkers of yore like ''Starsky and Hutch,'' which were mostly about cool cars and pretty hair, it's almost impossible not to agree with him that television drama has grown up and perhaps even achieved a kind of brilliance that probably rubs off on its viewers. About the fact-filled dialogue on shows like ''E.R.'' and ''The West Wing,'' he writes: ''It rushes by, the words accelerating in sync with the high speed tracking shots . . . but the truly remarkable thing about the dialogue is not purely a matter of speed; it's the willingness to immerse the audience in information that most viewers won't understand.'' As a child of ''Kojak'' -- a series that taught me nothing except a peculiar, tough-sounding ethnic accent with which I could entertain my buddies -- I don't like to think that merely by watching TV today's teenagers are boosting their I.Q.'s (for that, I had to plow through ''Moby-Dick''; or so my teachers told me). I'm afraid I have to cede the point, however, because I've seen ''24'' as well, which is to ''Kojak'' what playing the video game ''Doom'' is to zoning out in front of ''Captain Kangaroo.'' Johnson posits a number of mental mechanisms that are toned and strengthened by the labor of figuring out the rules of high-end video games and parsing the story structures of subtle TV shows. Playing physiologist, he asserts that the games address the dopamine system by doling out neurochemical rewards whenever a player advances to a new level or deciphers a new puzzle. These little squirts of feel-good brain juice aggravate a craving for further challenges, until the Baby Einstein at the joystick has worked himself into an ecstasy of problem-solving that, Johnson tells us, will serve him well in later life (though he's vague about exactly how). Johnson calls the relevant intellectual skills ''probing'' and ''telescoping,'' and defines them as the ability to find order in bewildering symbolic territory. Wandering through labyrinths full of monsters keeps a person on his toes, that is, and this is good preparation for modern life -- perhaps because modern life so closely resembles a labyrinth full of monsters. So far, so good. But when Johnson purports to discern a silver lining in programs like ''Joe Millionaire'' and ''The Apprentice,'' he has to resort to trickier tactics. After reminding us that his argument doesn't depend on the content of the shows being particularly interesting but relates instead to the intricacies of their formats, he suggests that reality TV engages viewers' ''emotional intelligience'' by confronting them with a staged array of rapidly shifting social situations and densely interlocking human relationships. When an ''Apprentice'' team leader chews out an underling who is well liked by other contestants, it lights up an ancient corner of our brains responsible for assuring our survival as members of communities and tribes. Our minds run a series of lightning calculations having to do with tones of voice, facial expressions, ethical principles and psychological verities as we weigh the chances that the team leader will implode or the underling will revolt. And what will the Donald think? That's a factor, too. Though I side with Johnson in his contention that emotional intelligience is an authentic, important competency, and while I'll admit that ''The Apprentice'' delivers up enough half-baked strife and intrigue to absorb our inner office-politicians, I'm not sure why such a regimen is good for people except in the sense that it isn't actually harmful. As elsewhere in the book, Johnson's contrarian contempt for the knee-jerk vilification of pop culture seems to push him further than may be warranted into defending and elevating artifacts that are neither here nor there. My grandmother's love of lurid true-crime magazines, with their blow-by-blow re-creations of small-town rapes, roused her emotional intelligence, too, telling her to avoid dark parking lots and pockmarked men with certain styles of mustaches, but, really, what of it? Stimulation is not a virtue all by itself. Johnson seems to feel it is, though. In temperament, he's like a cerebral Jack La Lanne. He admires exertion for its own sake -- in this case, neurological exertion. The faster the synapses fire the better, no matter to what end, even if the body supporting them is growing sluggish and obese and the spirit animating them is chronically neglecting its family members in order to TiVo ''The Simpsons.'' Johnson is a cool and neutral thinker, concerned with process rather than purpose, but the provocative title of his book, by alluding to some unheralded moral dimension in the consumption of today's pop culture, is mischievously misleading -- a way to snag the attention of the squares who refuse to acknowledge the benefits of doing anything other than reading the Holy Bible by candlelight. Considered purely on its own terms, Johnson's thesis holds up despite these quibbles. Our own internal computers are indeed speeding up, and part of the credit for this must surely go to the brute sophistication of our new entertainments, which tax the brain as ''Kojak'' never did. The old dogs may grump about cultural illiteracy and the erosion of traditional values, but the new dogs have talents, aptitudes and skills that we, as we drowse by the fire, can only dream of. Their sheer agility may not bring them wisdom, but our plodding didn't either, let's be fair.

Subject: It's Getting Cheaper to Tap the Sun
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 11:17:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/18/business/18solar.html?pagewanted=all It's Getting Cheaper to Tap the Sun By BARRY REHFELD Annette Benedict gave a party to celebrate the installation of solar panels on the roof of her Bronx home over a year ago. John Sunde bought three systems in three years for the two Long Island homes he owns - two for the Brentwood house he lived in and a third for a Hampton Bays home he lives in now. Susan Ferraro and her husband, Nick, featured their new network in the sales ad for their summer home on Shelter Island, N.Y., earlier this year. Excitement over residential solar energy may not be running this high everywhere, but providing homes with electricity and heat from the sun is getting more buzz than it has in decades. In the 70's it seemed that buyers of solar systems were mostly isolated tree huggers who somehow had a small fortune to spend on panels, but now urban and suburban homeowners are looking to the sun hitting their roofs for relief from rising electricity and heating costs. Higher utility bills, though, are just the stick. The carrot is the falling cost of solar systems that are lighter and more efficient and feature new designs, like solar panels that double as window awnings. Standardized installations and economies of scale for equipment production have helped drive costs lower. In moving toward the energy mainstream, solar expenses have dropped to around $8 a watt, from roughly $100 three decades ago; the cost is even less if a system is installed as part of a new home's construction. In either case, that puts the price of a system that can reduce electric bills significantly - like a three-kilowatt system - in the $20,000 range. That's still a lot of money, but buyers may be able to get a lot of it back immediately, through government incentives. And with energy prices rising, the payback period for the rest is getting steadily shorter. State programs developed in the last few years are making it possible for homeowners to cut the cost of a system by more than half, to less than $4 a watt. These programs include rebates, tax refunds and access to utility grids, enabling homeowners to sell excess electricity back to power companies. 'Oil prices give people a reason to look, but then it's all about the incentives,' says Gary Minick, president of Go Solar, in Riverhead, N.Y., who has been installing systems for 26 years. 'I get eight calls a week now. I'm all booked.' While incentives can be found across the country, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tend to give good deals. Forty states allow selling excess power back to utilities, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, and 19 offer rebates. Typically, California led the charge when one of its utilities opened its grid to homeowners over a decade ago. Within a few years, New York was establishing itself as an East Coast solar beachhead. Now more than 700 New York homeowners have solar energy systems hooked up to utilities. New York has also licensed some 50 solar equipment installers. 'We've building for the long term,' said Adele Ferranti, who works for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which regulates solar installations. 'We haven't had one failure for anything installed by the people we certify.' On Long Island, Mr. Sunde's systems are working smoothly, and he expects them to keep doing so over their guaranteed 25-year life. A staunch environmentalist who had dreamed of owning solar panels since he was a boy, he now has more power than he needs. He couldn't have done it without the incentives. With rebates and tax refunds, he chopped nearly 75 percent off the $115,000 bill, bringing the cost down to $30,000. With about 7.5 kilowatts for each house, he wound up paying about $2 a watt. He did so well because Long Island kicked off New York's incentive programs with rebates of up to $6 a watt. Now it's in line with the rest of the state, offering $4, while the newer New Jersey program, is the most generous in the New York metropolitan area, with incentives of $5.50 a watt. Exactly how much electricity a system provides and how long it takes for an installation to pay for itself, though, depends on many factors besides costs and incentives. Also important is the amount of shade at a house, the pitch of a roof (25 degrees is good, and typical for the Northeast except in areas that get heavy snow), and the direction the roof faces. An additional factor is the amount of sunshine received, which depends on both latitude and average number of days with cloud cover. In Mr. Sunde's case, his new home has the edge over the old because its roof faces south. Over all, he calculates the payback period at a bit over 15 years. 'It's worth it,' he said. 'There's nothing to break. No moving parts. When I've saved as much as it cost me in the first place, I'll have free electricity.' Irene Pletka has two different solar energy systems at her Sag Harbor, N.Y., summer house. Copper tubing panels are used to heat her swimming pool, while silicon panels provide all the electricity for her home. The copper panels for the pool's heating are alongside the roof deck, and the silicon modules providing electricity are attached like awnings above a bank of first-floor windows to keep out the summer sun. Copper trumps silicon for heating. For one thing, it warms water directly, where silicon panels must first convert solar energy to electricity. While there are no rebates or tax breaks for thermal heating systems in New York, her $2,500 pool system will still pay for itself in about two seasons. 'You're also not limited the way you are with oil,' she said, 'thinking about swimming too early or late in the season because of the fuel you may use up.' A big challenge for solar heating comes during the winter, for the simple reason that the sun is around the least when it is needed the most. It is also difficult to heat interior space; hot air cannot be stored the way water can. Brian Flanagan, though, had special reasons for installing a solar heating system in the Brooklyn house he bought last year. The building had a boiler with only enough capacity to heat the commercial space he rented out on the ground floor; the upstairs was too big, with too many windows, to heat in the winter. Buying a small boiler and installing a roof-top solar unit with vacuum tubes (which do not lose heat the way copper tubes do) - plus large hot water storage tanks to save heat for a cloudy day - would, he reasoned, be more economical in the long run. The package cost $33,000 compared with $20,000 for a separate large boiler for his living space. But with lower heating bills, he expects the system to pay for itself in eight years. 'I'm no longer a slave to oil prices,' he said. 'I pay a fifth of what my tenant pays.' It's still too early, though, to tell if the added expense of solar equipment makes a home more valuable. Based on Susan Ferraro's experience selling her vacation home, the answer just might be: not yet. 'We thought it very pioneering, and we put it in our ads, thinking people would think it was as exciting as we thought it was,' she said of her year-old system. 'But it never even came up, even with the people who bought the house.' Some things will never change, though, like what got everyone interested in solar energy in the first place. 'I read about it in a Sierra Club magazine,' Annette Benedict said of her decision to install solar equipment. 'It made sense. It was good for the environment.' And good for her: she bought a piano with her rebate.

Subject: Censoring 'Sesame Street'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 10:14:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/18/arts/television/18broa.html?pagewanted=all Official Had Aide Send Data to White House By STEPHEN LABATON WASHINGTON - E-mail messages obtained by investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting show that its chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, extensively consulted a White House official shortly before she joined the corporation about creating an ombudsman's office to monitor the balance and objectivity of public television and radio programs. Mr. Tomlinson said in an interview three months ago that he did not think he had instructed a subordinate to send material on the ombudsman project to Mary C. Andrews at her White House office in her final days as director of global communications, a political appointment. But the e-mail messages show that a month before the interview, he directed Kathleen Cox, then president of the corporation, to send material to Ms. Andrews at her White House e-mail address. They show that Ms. Andrews worked on a variety of ombudsman issues before joining the corporation, while still on the White House payroll. And they show that the White House instructed the corporation on Ms. Andrews's job title in her new post. A senior corporation executive who is concerned about its direction under Mr. Tomlinson provided copies of the e-mail messages to The New York Times. Fearing retribution, the executive insisted on anonymity as a condition for providing the copies. The e-mail messages are part of the evidence being collected in a broad inquiry by the inspector general of the corporation into whether Mr. Tomlinson violated any rules that require that the corporation act as a buffer between politics and programming. Investigators are examining the role played by the White House in the creation of the ombudsman's office at the corporation, an