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Mik -:- Thoughts on Niger -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:41:18 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: Thoughts on Niger -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:43:21 (EDT)

Terri -:- An Investor's Puzzle -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 14:42:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Philosopher of Optimism Endures -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:41:41 (EDT)

Setanta -:- A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:25:51 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:55:08 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:53:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Ads Using the Everyday Woman -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:07:30 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bonds -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:33:40 (EDT)
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David E.. -:- Re: Bonds -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:31:06 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Bonds -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:44:17 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Bonds -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 13:16:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Dear Bobby -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:22:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- When Doctors Advise Investors -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 09:56:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- Doctors' Links With Investor Matchmakers -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 09:56:01 (EDT)

Jon Wesley -:- Donald Luskin Krugman truth squad -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 15:44:46 (EDT)
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Jennifer -:- Re: Donald Luskin Krugman truth squad -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:41:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- Gene-Altered Rice and the Farm Belt -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 15:18:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- One Hundred Years of Uncertainty -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 14:32:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- Comes a Quest to Save the Tiger -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 12:08:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Long Arm of Einstein -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 11:52:03 (EDT)
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Mik -:- And Newton? -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 13:57:37 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: And Newton? -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 14:20:55 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Sorry Emma -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 15:21:39 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Sorry Emma -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 16:28:38 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Sorry Emma -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 16:31:04 (EDT)
______ Mik -:- Niger -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 14:53:25 (EDT)
_______ Emma -:- Re: Niger -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:44:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Gossip Turns Out to Serve a Purpose -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 11:51:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Spyware and Cookies -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 07:22:01 (EDT)

Emma -:- Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 15:37:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Death Tax? Double Tax? It's No Tax -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 14:22:57 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- CBO and OMB - who gonna pay da tax? -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 19:57:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Immigrant Women Line Up for Day Labor -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 08:43:41 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Re: Immigrant Women Line Up for Day Labor -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 12:59:07 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- I don't understand Kudlow -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 05:11:37 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Noyce on Cspan -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 13:07:06 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: I don't understand Kudlow -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 08:47:06 (EDT)

byron -:- investing -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 23:30:03 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 05:47:12 (EDT)
__ John C. -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 12:43:25 (EDT)
___ Johnny5 -:- Utilities and Durables -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 20:06:17 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Utilities and Durables -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 21:19:19 (EDT)
_____ Johnny5 -:- Oh no!! -:- Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 01:18:44 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 14:37:19 (EDT)
____ John C. -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 17:00:38 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 14:47:48 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 05:55:21 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 06:00:53 (EDT)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 07:15:43 (EDT)
_____ byron -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 16:41:50 (EDT)
______ Britney -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 19:46:48 (EDT)
_______ Dorian -:- Re: investing -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 04:44:50 (EDT)
________ Terri -:- Re: investing -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 05:45:15 (EDT)
_________ Emma -:- Re: investing -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:20:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- A Selective Housing Bubble -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 15:15:57 (EDT)
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Poyetas -:- Re: A Selective Housing Bubble -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 04:39:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Federal Reserve Policy -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 15:05:20 (EDT)

E,mma -:- Under Pressure -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 13:13:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Meanwhile, People Starve -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 10:01:30 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Functioning Democracy in Africa -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 09:36:42 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Functioning Democracy in Africa -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:19:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- Arithmetic of Mutual Fund Investing -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 07:47:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Paradise and Money Lost -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 07:22:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Dear Bobby -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:19:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:03:29 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:06:58 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:08:28 (EDT)
___ Dorian -:- Re: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win -:- Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 02:10:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- More Africans Enter U.S. -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 14:19:41 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Dollar Problem -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 11:32:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Racial and Ethnic Minorities Gain -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 06:00:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Assess Your Area's Real Estate Bubble -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 05:59:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Errors Cited in Assessing Climate Data -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 05:56:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Léopold Senghor -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 19:48:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- African Creativity -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 19:46:51 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: African vs North American Native Creativity -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 11:59:38 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Going on the road -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 12:19:58 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: Going on the road -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:05:08 (EDT)
_ Jennifer -:- Re: Going on the road -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:00:57 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Going on the road -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 12:55:53 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Going on the road -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 12:57:37 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Not leaving -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 14:26:14 (EDT)
____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Not leaving -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 15:04:03 (EDT)
_____ Dorian -:- Re: Not leaving -:- Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 06:36:32 (EDT)

Terri -:- Yes, I worry. -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 11:00:31 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: Yes, I worry. -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 11:58:58 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Yes, I worry. -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:02:53 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Yes, I worry. -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:35:35 (EDT)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: Yes, I worry. -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 16:14:27 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Yes, I worry. -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 17:04:49 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- The path of least (human?) resistance -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 19:03:38 (EDT)
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Jennifer -:- Re: The path of least (human?) resistance -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:01:36 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: The path of least (human?) resistance -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 20:16:00 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- IBA: (International Basket Association) -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 18:37:57 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- The 'Hoffa-Stern(-Democrats) alliance'? -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 18:20:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Jared Diamond -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:38:09 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: Jared Diamond -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:49:07 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Jared Diamond -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 20:30:11 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 11:42:03 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:04:02 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- Re: Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 14:02:28 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 19:54:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Afro-Pop Duo Unexpectedly on the Rise -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:29:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Brazilian Director Changes the Recipe -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 16:24:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Entrenched Epidemic -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:31:42 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Button Pushing -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:41:45 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Button Pushing -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:37:55 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Entrenched Epidemic -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:32:43 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Entrenched Epidemic -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:11:59 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Entrenched Epidemic -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:34:03 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: Entrenched Epidemic -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 16:58:19 (EDT)

Terri -:- Still Growing -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:14:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Quest to Banish Fat in Tasty Ways -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:48:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- America's Summer of Discontent -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:29:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Essays in Search of Happy Endings -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:02:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- Loand, Loans, Loans -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 06:16:00 (EDT)

Terri -:- Fixed and Adjustable Debt -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 06:15:08 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- A Reagan era conservative's view -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:44:28 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Scotty just died - who inspires now? -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 14:54:12 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Scotty just died - who inspires now? -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 19:52:13 (EDT)
__ Setanta -:- Re: Scotty just died - who inspires now? -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 05:16:35 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Oh NO !! -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:04:52 (EDT)
___ Johnny5 -:- Tim Allen busted for cocaine -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:15:23 (EDT)

Terri -:- International Stocks -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:04:01 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Vtrix -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 14:48:44 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Vtrix -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 15:30:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- He Created a Mirror for Black America -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 12:07:03 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Emma quick take a look -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 10:00:07 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Emma quick take a look -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:17:09 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Emma quick take a look -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 13:50:39 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Emma quick take a look -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:28:56 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Emma quick take a look -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:28:04 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- What did buddha say? -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:25:59 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- Re: What did buddha say? -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:14:13 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: What did buddha say? -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:58:30 (EDT)
_ Setanta -:- Re: He Created a Mirror for Black America -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 12:36:28 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Teddy Roosevelt -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 15:13:44 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: He Created a Mirror for Black America -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:11:33 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: He Created a Mirror for Black America -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:14:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stocks -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 11:09:23 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Dean Baker on Pensions from 2003 -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 10:53:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Amid Boston Glut, Office Projects Shift -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 05:53:26 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- 1031 Tenant in Common -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 10:45:41 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- 'My Heart Will Go On' ...Glen -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 03:59:34 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: 'My Heart Will Go On' ...Glen -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 05:52:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Melanoma Is Epidemic. Or Is It? -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 17:21:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Number of Unsold Houses Grows -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 15:43:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- G.M. Thrives in China -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 14:56:45 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in China -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 22:03:12 (EDT)
_ Bambitroll -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in China -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 09:03:02 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in China -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:16:37 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in China -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 22:07:06 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in China -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:53:49 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in China -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:25:05 (EDT)
______ Mik -:- G.M. Thrives in Africa -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:55:04 (EDT)
_______ Emma -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in Africa -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:30:12 (EDT)
________ Mik -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in Africa -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:25:45 (EDT)
_________ Emma -:- Re: G.M. Thrives in Africa -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:55:36 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Saudis face troubled future -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 10:56:55 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: Saudis face troubled future -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:24:51 (EDT)
_ Setanta -:- Re: Saudis face troubled future -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 10:59:41 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Saudis face troubled future -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:28:40 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Saudis face troubled future -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 11:45:44 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- Nuclear gonna kill kids -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 14:35:18 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- Re: Nuclear gonna kill kids -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:01:06 (EDT)
______ Johnny5 -:- PBMR offers much hope -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:11:16 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Housing & the worldwide consumer -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 08:57:15 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: Housing & the worldwide consumer -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:34:02 (EDT)

Lilia Mallik -:- consumerism -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 19:56:19 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: consumerism -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:41:05 (EDT)
__ jimsum -:- Co-operatives -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 21:07:23 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Co-operatives -:- Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:49:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Niger's Nomads Agonize as Livestock Die -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 15:26:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Niger's Anguish Is Reflected -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:03:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hope for Hungry Niger Children -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 12:29:54 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Fantastic Story -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:55:33 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- For you.... -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 15:07:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Melting Mountain Majesties -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 12:24:58 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Bush says there aint no global warming -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 15:54:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Productivity Is the Issue of the Hour -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 11:07:11 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- OIL -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 10:54:47 (EDT)
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Bambitroll -:- Re: OIL -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 08:56:41 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: OIL -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 22:17:13 (EDT)
_ Dorian -:- Re: OIL -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 05:27:01 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: OIL -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:36:03 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- What the Fed should do? -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 10:14:06 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Worry About Inflation and Growth -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 10:39:02 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Who cares about inflation? -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 09:25:09 (EDT)
___ Johnny5 -:- Dean Baker on Cspan -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 10:50:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Was Someone Squeezing Treasuries? -:- Sun, Aug 07, 2005 at 15:13:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Asset Values -:- Sun, Aug 07, 2005 at 08:05:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- F.C.C. Eases High-Speed Access Rules -:- Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 15:53:59 (EDT)
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Mik -:- And Canada does the exact opposite -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 11:57:28 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: And Canada does the exact opposite -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 18:55:56 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: And Canada does the exact opposite -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 19:47:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- Land of the Midnight Tee Time -:- Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 11:52:25 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Diversify -:- Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 10:05:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Employment -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 19:34:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Bond Market -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 11:08:36 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: The Bond Market -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 14:22:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Too Much Pork and Too Little Sugar -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 10:56:21 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Play the Republican game -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:49:41 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Play the Republican game -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 18:57:40 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Asset Allocator's Nightmare -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 10:51:00 (EDT)
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David E.. -:- Is it a nightmare -:- Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 18:42:38 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Re: Asset Allocator's Nightmare -:- Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 10:00:01 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- The correlation problem -:- Sun, Aug 07, 2005 at 13:29:11 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: The correlation problem -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 06:17:57 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: The correlation problem -:- Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:38:54 (EDT)
_____ Poyetas -:- Re: The correlation problem -:- Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 09:02:00 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: The correlation problem -:- Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:04:37 (EDT)

Terri -:- Employment and Interest Rates -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 09:05:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- New Face of Hunger, Without Old Excuses -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 05:44:25 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Growing Strength -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 17:36:10 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Growing Strength -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 20:13:11 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Growing Strength -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 10:59:56 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Growing Strength -:- Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 14:24:19 (EDT)

Terri -:- Direction for the Federal Reserve -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 16:15:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Booming Mumbai's Frailties -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 15:08:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- What About Our Savings? -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 14:32:21 (EDT)

Terri -:- Foreign Relations -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 14:08:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Political Force in Global Art -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 11:22:43 (EDT)

Mik -:- -:-
China, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the IMF
-:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 11:09:20 (EDT) > -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 11:09:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mexicans at Home Abroad -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 10:32:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Housing Boom Echoes in All Corners -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 09:13:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- No Way to Treat a Dragon -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 05:46:54 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- 'For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!' -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 18:38:26 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: 'For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!' -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 19:07:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Feeding Europe, Starving at Home -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 15:03:38 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Go out and watch this movie -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 09:29:11 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Go out and watch this movie -:- Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 10:38:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Fed Has Done Its Job -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 11:08:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Blue Collars in the Boardroom -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 11:01:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- Jared Diamond -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 10:29:13 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: Jared Diamond -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 18:04:47 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Terrific -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 20:17:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- Can You Hear Me Now? -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:57:39 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: Can You Hear Me Now? -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 18:43:48 (EDT)

David E.. -:- How Long can yield curve be inverted? -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 08:04:46 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: How Long can yield curve be inverted? -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:58:35 (EDT)

Setanta -:- States of welfare -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 07:40:24 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: States of welfare -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:33:02 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: States of welfare -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:35:15 (EDT)
___ Setanta -:- Re: States of welfare -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 11:50:09 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: States of welfare -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 15:01:56 (EDT)

Terri -:- Asia and Interest Rates -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 06:04:07 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: Asia and Interest Rates -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 07:20:00 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Asia and Interest Rates -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 07:29:35 (EDT)

Terri -:- Currency and Interest Rates -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 05:59:47 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Currency and Interest Rates -:- Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 10:35:48 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- For Pete - Alby Mangles - Adventure Bound -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 19:31:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Your Body Is Younger Than You Think -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 12:55:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- From Hiroshima's Shadow, Renewal -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:12:12 (EDT)
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Pancho Villa -:- Re: Hiroshima Mon Amour ? -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 19:03:07 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Hiroshima Mon Amour ? -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 19:08:15 (EDT)

Terri -:- Increasing Economic Growth -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 10:33:46 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Increasing Economic Growth -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:54:45 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Alan Greenspan -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 10:39:06 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Alan Greenspan -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:58:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- A New Kind of Birdsong -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:59:14 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Susan Polgar Chess Champ get crushed by Johnny5 -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 02:31:59 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Where to Now? -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:38:20 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- The Caribbean -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 22:20:17 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: The Caribbean -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 05:53:25 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The Caribbean -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 07:29:35 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Pancho -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 09:34:43 (EDT)
_____ Pancho Villa -:- Re:Emma -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:34:23 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Pancho & Bobby -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:51:55 (EDT)
_______ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Pete & Bobby -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 17:39:58 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: The Caribbean -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 05:58:37 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: The Caribbean -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 06:08:24 (EDT)
_____ Jennifer -:- Re: The Caribbean -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 07:25:56 (EDT)
______ johnny5 -:- Dead Calm -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:24:44 (EDT)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Thanks all, but..... -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:44:57 (EDT)
________ Terri -:- Re: Thanks all, but..... -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 12:00:27 (EDT)
_________ Pete Weis -:- Re: Thanks all, but..... -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:38:26 (EDT)
__________ Emma -:- Re: Thanks all, but..... -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 15:43:40 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Sorry! -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 23:21:03 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Watching the Bond Market -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 19:05:33 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: Summertime -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 19:26:33 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Rats!!! -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:41:46 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: Rats!!! -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 21:41:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- Federal Reserve Assurances -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 17:43:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Why ane Long Term Interest Rates Rising? -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 17:16:03 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:24:55 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:40:07 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Cycles and timing -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:00:03 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Thank you.... -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 16:43:06 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Thank you Terri -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:13:32 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Thank you Pete -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:26:29 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Thanks Jennifer -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 21:19:04 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Cycles and timing -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 15:41:47 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Cycles and timing -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:25:17 (EDT)

Terri -:- Relative Values -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 09:46:08 (EDT)

Terri -:- Responsibility -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 05:54:13 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: Responsibility -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 07:26:35 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- rise and fall of police states -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:25:54 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Responsibility -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:52:26 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Responsibility -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 15:40:05 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- gold or cash -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:25:30 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: gold or cash -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:56:29 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Responsibility -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 16:20:41 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Responsibility -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:28:08 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Responsibility -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 21:58:00 (EDT)
_______ johnny5 -:- Gold and texas tea -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:25:07 (EDT)
________ Pete Weis -:- Re: Gold and texas tea -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:52:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Who Needs Education Schools? -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 18:52:26 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- As you sow, so you shall reap? -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 17:49:37 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: As you sow, so you shall reap? -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 18:36:59 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: As you sow, so you shall reap? -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 21:14:11 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Greenspan on Crisis -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 22:01:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Cows Are Thriving -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:24:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Housing and Economic Growth -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:18:30 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Housing and Economic Growth -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 10:26:34 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- More borrowing needed to close gap -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 12:06:56 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession (Part II) -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 09:12:40 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 12:29:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Dreams Suspended by Segregation -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 07:38:50 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Tuskegee Study also source of HATE and PAIN -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 14:04:14 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Dreams suspended by Desegregation -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:48:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Debunking the Concept of 'Race' -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 07:20:02 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Can't we all move forward -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:59:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Wall Street Wrecked United's Pension -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 06:36:45 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Wall Street Wrecked United's Pension -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:18:23 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- Re: Wall Street Wrecked United's Pension -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 17:47:38 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Fight or Flight - Rambo Style -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 14:25:46 (EDT)

Terri -:- Notes on Economic Growth -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 18:20:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- China Goes to College - In a Big Way -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 16:05:54 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- New York City -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 15:35:55 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- New caterpillar says Beef - its whats for dinner -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 12:31:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- In China, a Musical Star Is Waiting -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 11:39:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Graft Is Threatening Latin America -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 09:51:49 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Hayek On Tyrants and dumb voters -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 12:38:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Stocks -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 09:49:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Suggestions of Strength in Economy -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 09:14:17 (EDT)

Terri -:- Economic Growth -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 17:42:30 (EDT)
_
Abner -:- Re: Economic Growth -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 22:06:54 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Economic Growth -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 23:01:24 (EDT)
___ Abner -:- Re: Economic Growth -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 10:09:11 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Digging deeper -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 01:51:21 (EDT)
_____ Abner -:- Re: Digging deeper -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 18:18:34 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Digging deeper -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 20:52:36 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Actual vs projected -:- Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 11:56:15 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Coming soon to your neighborhood -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 12:26:01 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Greenspan Arrested!! -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 13:57:22 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Greenspan Arrested!! -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 14:54:42 (EDT)

Abner -:- GDP Growth in 2nd Quarter -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 09:57:00 (EDT)
_
AJ -:- Re: GDP Growth in 2nd Quarter -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 10:17:48 (EDT)
__ AJ -:- Re: GDP Growth in 2nd Quarter -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 10:22:28 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- An important question -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 10:47:06 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- many personalities -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 13:54:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Stocks -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 09:25:56 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: European Stocks -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 12:14:51 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: European Stocks -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 14:33:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- Laying A Foundation For Human History -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 09:20:33 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Bill Gates on Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 09:21:29 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Splitting hairs -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 13:00:55 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Splitting hairs -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 13:16:52 (EDT)
____ Ben -:- Re: Splitting hairs -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 02:55:55 (EDT)
____ Ben -:- Re: Splitting hairs -:- Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 02:54:52 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: Splitting hairs -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 14:14:48 (EDT)
_____ johnny5 -:- White Hunter - Black heart -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 12:05:23 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Splitting hairs -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 15:16:20 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Domesticated humans -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 13:51:05 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- Re: Domesticated humans -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 14:16:21 (EDT)
______ johnny5 -:- Sean Connery - Zardoz -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 12:07:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- How to Get Rich -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 08:56:22 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 09:02:00 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Question on Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 05:48:19 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Question on Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 07:22:47 (EDT)
_ RL -:- Re: Question on Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 07:18:31 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Question on Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 07:24:54 (EDT)
___ RL -:- Re: Question on Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 07:59:25 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Question on Jared Diamond -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 09:00:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 20:02:01 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Jared Diamond -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 20:04:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Know the Bond Market -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 17:07:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- How to Get Rich -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 12:44:22 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Jared Diamond.... -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 19:17:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 12:16:40 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 17:08:18 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 17:15:08 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 18:33:53 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 18:58:45 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- Re: Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 19:26:55 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: Why Did Human History Unfold Differently -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 19:59:40 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Minimum credit card payment... -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 11:57:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Surge in Chinese Art Sales -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 11:56:43 (EDT)

Terri -:- Notice European Stocks -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 11:17:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Entrepreneurs Cater to Immigrants' Needs -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 10:59:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Popular Herb Has No Effect on Colds -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 10:29:22 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Jared Diamond -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 09:02:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Slowing Cheetahs' Fast Disappearance -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 06:08:08 (EDT)

Yann -:- Hey Bobby! -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 06:03:39 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Hey Bobby! -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 15:26:58 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stability or Else? -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 17:45:25 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- interest rates on the rise -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 17:53:57 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: interest rates on the rise -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:50:12 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: interest rates on the rise -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 15:01:29 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: interest rates on the rise -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 17:13:29 (EDT)

Mik -:- Toyota, Moving Northward -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 17:18:28 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Let me in -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:55:08 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Let me in -:- Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 13:51:10 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Re: Let me in -:- Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 11:57:46 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- O' Canada -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 17:44:02 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: O' Canada -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 17:49:48 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- AYn rand -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:50:46 (EDT)

Terri -:- Chinese Stability -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:33:52 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Chinese Stability -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:38:33 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Chinese Stability -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:42:20 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Chinese Stability -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:50:54 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- An International Bull Stock Market -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 15:36:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Learning From Lance -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 14:30:00 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Learning From Lance -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 05:29:56 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Hayek On Tyrants and dumb voters -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 01:22:40 (EDT)
_ Mik -:- Re: Learning From Lance -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:35:23 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Learning From Lance -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:43:36 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Learning from Jurek -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 01:26:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Extra Ingredient in Nonstick Pans? -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 14:06:30 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: An Extra Ingredient in Nonstick Pans? -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:33:48 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: An Extra Ingredient in Nonstick Pans? -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:39:15 (EDT)

Terri -:- China's Currency -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 12:47:20 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: China's Currency -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:17:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Training Musicians, Not Stars, in China -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 12:07:44 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: Training Musicians, Not Stars, in China -:- Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 07:29:57 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- While US housing booms -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 10:52:28 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: While US housing booms -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 05:23:13 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: While US housing booms -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 11:59:19 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:34:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- Little to Teach China About Stability -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 05:56:13 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Much for the chinese to learn -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 17:54:27 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- I disagree -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 16:27:18 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: I disagree -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 17:17:29 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Engineered Society killing childrens smarts -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 02:17:34 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Funds -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 15:50:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 15:22:38 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 15:42:12 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 16:46:37 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 20:52:28 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Woolworth is dead? -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 16:03:30 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- WOW -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:04:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Water Reveals Its Secrets -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 14:23:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Two Exercises -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 13:07:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Eritrean Struggles -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 12:59:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Rides the Wind -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 11:48:14 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: China Rides the Wind -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 12:33:12 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: China Rides the Wind -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 13:01:08 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Loss of infrastructure -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 01:30:23 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Loss of infrastructure -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 11:23:37 (EDT)
_____ johnny5 -:- The french -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:58:12 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Re: The french -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:01:14 (EDT)
_______ johnny5 -:- Re: The french -:- Thurs, Jul 28, 2005 at 01:32:57 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Interesting employment observations -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 11:42:46 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Our biggest long term problem -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 10:49:08 (EDT)

Emms -:- South Africa Restores Land and Water -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 09:18:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Magic Pill for Dieting? -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 09:04:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Eating Properly -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 15:54:10 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Follow the money -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 00:04:46 (EDT)
__ Setanta -:- Re: Follow the money -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 06:43:42 (EDT)
___ David E.. -:- Another take on health -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 13:14:10 (EDT)
____ Setanta -:- Re: Another take on health -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 05:54:06 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Watch out for soy too -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 00:37:17 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- There is No Problem -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 12:07:04 (EDT)
______ johnny5 -:- Absolutely misinformed -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:58:36 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Another take on health -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 17:24:08 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Food Food Food -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 17:28:49 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Food Food Food -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 17:33:50 (EDT)

Terri -:- Mortgages -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 15:41:44 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- CEO turnover -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 00:07:51 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Housing Bubble -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 13:57:35 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The Housing Bubble -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 10:35:50 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Pockets of bubbles -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 00:46:00 (EDT)
___ Setanta -:- Re: Pockets of bubbles -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 09:26:02 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Supply and demand -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:31:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Klee-esque Spirit of Visionary -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 13:12:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Editors Tackle Taboos With Girlish Glee -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 09:45:37 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Editors Tackle Taboos With Girlish Glee -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 10:35:31 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Editors Tackle Taboos With Girlish Glee -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 13:13:38 (EDT)

Setanta -:- 'Filthy' computer games -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 09:32:06 (EDT)
_
RL -:- Re: 'Filthy' computer games -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 07:43:25 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Are we scaring ourselves to death? -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 09:28:00 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Are we scaring ourselves to death? -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 13:18:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Way We Eat: Bleu-Plate Special -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 13:55:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 10:07:25 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 11:37:52 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Running for the exits -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 00:16:47 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Running for the exits -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 12:22:31 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Re: Running for the exits -:- Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 01:06:57 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Running for the exits -:- Tues, Jul 26, 2005 at 16:44:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Greenspan Era Taught People to Gamble -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 09:58:01 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Good article -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 11:45:28 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Good article -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 06:21:15 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Looking into the future -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 11:14:05 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Looking into the future -:- Mon, Jul 25, 2005 at 15:43:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Who's Afraid of China Inc.? -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 09:48:51 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Internal Deficit -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 09:20:08 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Where is There a Housing Substitute? -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 10:04:56 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- 19th century America -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 14:14:44 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: 19th century America -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 17:12:12 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: 19th century America -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 17:15:16 (EDT)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: 19th century America -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 17:28:50 (EDT)
_____ Jennifer -:- Re: 19th century America -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 17:54:54 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- To understand what's... -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 11:52:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Where Does Our Income Go? -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 09:39:56 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Whether or not.... -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 11:57:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- China and the U.S. Embark -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 08:26:27 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Analysts or Economists -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 09:12:14 (EDT)

Terri -:- Housing Speculation -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 22:22:29 (EDT)

Terri -:- What are Dollar Reserves Worth? -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 17:54:26 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Affect on China's reserves and on the dollar -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 23:23:42 (EDT)
_ Jennifer -:- Re: What are Dollar Reserves Worth? -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 21:21:43 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: What are Dollar Reserves Worth? -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 22:24:59 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: What are Dollar Reserves Worth? -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 11:38:19 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Flooding the world with US$ -:- Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 15:47:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Where Can We Go From Here? -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 17:35:40 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Housing Housing -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 17:46:53 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Housing Housing -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 21:49:55 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Whoops! -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 00:48:23 (EDT)

DYlan -:- wow! -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 16:07:34 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: wow! -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 17:38:08 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: wow! -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 19:24:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Is There a Debt Problem? -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 15:23:34 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Yes and..... -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 00:53:02 (EDT)

Terri -:- Chinese and American Investment -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 14:56:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- Perriconology -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 14:22:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Don't Get Fresh With Me! -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 13:34:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Vanishing -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 12:49:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Peg is Inherently Unstable -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 11:45:54 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Another terrorist attack prevented -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 11:11:11 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- There Will be More Unity -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 11:21:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Currency Effect -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 10:05:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Internal and External Deficits -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 07:26:02 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Dollar and the Yuan -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 05:57:23 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: The Dollar and the Yuan -:- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 02:20:47 (EDT)
_ Ari -:- Re: The Dollar and the Yuan -:- Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 07:18:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Weight-Loss Theory is Losing Strength -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 17:21:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 16:29:01 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 16:20:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Dollar and Bond Yields -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 11:46:21 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- What Will be the Effect? -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 15:31:54 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: What Will be the Effect? -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 15:52:36 (EDT)

Terri -:- Dollars and Yuan -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 09:16:22 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Dollars and Yuan -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 10:03:58 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Dollars and Yuan -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 10:12:02 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Excellent comments Terri -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 10:30:22 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- The major benefit -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 10:34:56 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: The major benefit -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 10:37:53 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Watching the REIT Index -:- Thurs, Jul 21, 2005 at 06:00:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:33:34 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:26:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- Real Estate -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 15:53:20 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Real Estate -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 19:31:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Has an Ancient Mariner -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 15:44:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Urban Migrants -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 13:47:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Growth Cycle and Employment -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 10:42:58 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stephen Roach -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 07:13:42 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Stephen Roach -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 11:55:32 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Stephen Roach -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 12:07:54 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- What? -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 12:32:48 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: What? -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 14:22:17 (EDT)
_ Jennifer -:- Re: Stephen Roach -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 11:38:56 (EDT)

Terri -:- Earnings -:- Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 06:00:38 (EDT)

rlkinnard -:- new article by krugman -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 16:55:05 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: new article by krugman -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 17:03:06 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Trading poll number points -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 12:06:47 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- When bills come due -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 10:54:29 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Inflation Convergence -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 06:53:05 (EDT)

Yann -:- Chapters 9 and 10 -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 04:18:25 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Chapters 9 and 10 -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 16:50:38 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- BBC article on oil reserves -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 13:47:28 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: BBC article on oil reserves -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 05:37:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- Housing Lending Standards -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 09:32:15 (EDT)

Mik -:- China to Support the regime of Zimbabwe -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 09:29:16 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Bobby -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 19:04:05 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Note to Bobby -:- Tues, Jul 19, 2005 at 05:39:27 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: China to Support the regime of Zimbabwe -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 09:37:29 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: China to Support the regime of Zimbabwe -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 15:25:25 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: China to Support the regime of Zimbabwe -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 16:24:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Should Interest Rates Still Be Raised? -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 09:28:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- As China Raises Its Arts Profile -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 08:01:31 (EDT)

Terri -:- Value and Growth -:- Sun, Jul 17, 2005 at 17:52:09 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- NYT's on Mortgages -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 20:40:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Love With Harry, Over and Over Again -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 18:09:14 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: In Love With Harry, Over and Over Again -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 19:12:15 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Employment and Housing -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:47:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- Denver's Cautionary Housing Tale -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 15:08:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Harry Potter Works His Magic Again -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 12:58:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- China and America -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 12:12:05 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Research and Creativity -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 05:48:37 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Research and Creativity -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:52:05 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- A Chinese Currency Value Increase -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 16:39:37 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- The dollar and Yen -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 17:53:56 (EDT)

Terri -:- Inflation Appears to be Easing -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 16:28:52 (EDT)

Aden -:- We Need a National Television Network -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 05:23:31 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:35:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Great Egret in Flight -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 16:26:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- A More Promising Labor Market -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 12:57:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Compensation for a Strong Dollar -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 11:55:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Economic Stability -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 11:54:19 (EDT)

Terri -:- Robust Markets -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 11:53:24 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard's REIT Index -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 10:19:01 (EDT)

Mik -:- Welcome back from your vacation Emma -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 08:35:03 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Welcome back from your vacation Emma -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 09:18:07 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Puzzle regarding reported jobs no.s -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:37:53 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Puzzle regarding reported jobs no.s -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 08:30:36 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Puzzle regarding reported jobs no.s -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 11:45:17 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Puzzle regarding reported jobs no.s -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 13:30:16 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Puzzle regarding reported jobs no.s -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:02:09 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Puzzle regarding reported jobs no.s -:- Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:54:21 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- What I'm missing? -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 11:51:46 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Puzzle regarding reported jobs no.s -:- Thurs, Jul 14, 2005 at 09:13:44 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Correction! -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 21:34:35 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- A paradox? -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 21:44:07 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Stocks -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 12:29:06 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 11:58:22 (EDT)

Yann -:- Chapter 8... -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 07:20:42 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Chapter 8... -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:38:11 (EDT)

Mik -:- Krugman appears to be speculating -:- Tues, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:20:21 (EDT)
_
Poyetas -:- Re: Krugman appears to be speculating -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:46:40 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Krugman appears to be speculating -:- Mon, Jul 18, 2005 at 09:25:21 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Krugman appears to be speculating -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 10:53:39 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- I agree with your principle -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 18:44:20 (EDT)
___ RL -:- Re: I agree with your principle -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 07:46:02 (EDT)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: I agree with your principle -:- Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 13:31:51 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: I agree with your principle -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:02:18 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- The five-year effort is less than ... -:- Tues, Jul 12, 2005 at 04:14:32 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: The five-year effort is less than ... -:- Tues, Jul 12, 2005 at 05:21:32 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: The five-year effort is less than ... -:- Tues, Jul 12, 2005 at 05:59:27 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The five-year effort is less than ... -:- Tues, Jul 12, 2005 at 07:22:44 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Stock Markets are Broadly Strong -:- Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 18:06:02 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Jared Diamond -:- Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 17:55:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- Wood-thrush Fledgling -:- Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 12:51:21 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Interest Rates, Dollars, and Oil -:- Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 12:30:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 06:47:44 (EDT)

Terri -:- Mallard Duckling Makes a Big Splash -:- Sun, Jul 10, 2005 at 17:57:33 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- New York City -:- Sun, Jul 10, 2005 at 16:43:15 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: New York City -:- Tues, Jul 12, 2005 at 16:37:04 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: New York City -:- Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:03:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Ireland's Garbage Secrets Come to Light -:- Sat, Jul 09, 2005 at 18:41:43 (EDT)

Terri -:- Cedar Waxwing -:- Sat, Jul 09, 2005 at 17:33:03 (EDT)

Terri -:- Recently Fledged House Wren -:- Sat, Jul 09, 2005 at 17:05:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Boom in Jobs, Not Just Houses -:- Sat, Jul 09, 2005 at 16:47:44 (EDT)

Terri -:- We Have a Bull Market -:- Fri, Jul 08, 2005 at 18:02:49 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: We Have a Bull Market -:- Sun, Jul 10, 2005 at 12:22:30 (EDT)
_ Kruggy -:- Re: We Have a Bull Market -:- Sat, Jul 09, 2005 at 14:48:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Economic Pattern -:- Fri, Jul 08, 2005 at 10:49:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- Eastern Kingbird Building a Nest -:- Fri, Jul 08, 2005 at 07:49:14 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- 51st State -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 21:03:46 (EDT)

Terri -:- Brown Thrasher -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 10:31:55 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Loving London and Crows -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 09:04:14 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Loving London and Crows -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 09:43:27 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Loving London and Crows -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 11:32:44 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Loving London and Crows -:- Fri, Jul 08, 2005 at 06:07:39 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Political will, not just aid -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 07:30:03 (EDT)

Terri -:- With Love for All -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 07:28:53 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: With Love for All -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 07:32:28 (EDT)

Setanta -:- London bomb attacks -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 06:02:00 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: London bomb attacks -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 06:16:40 (EDT)
__ Setanta -:- Re: London bomb attacks -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 06:33:00 (EDT)
___ Setanta -:- Re: London bomb attacks -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 07:27:12 (EDT)

Stephanie -:- Right On -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 01:14:37 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Indexes -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 22:01:21 (EDT)

Terri -:- A Strong Strong Dollar -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 18:01:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns - Dollars -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 17:25:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns - Domestic -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 17:20:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Prothonotary Warbler in Flight -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 15:45:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Basics for Keeping Bones Healthy -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 13:06:21 (EDT)

Terri -:- Common Grackle Feeding Moth to Fledgling -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 12:43:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- F.D.A. Says Yes, but Insurers Say No -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 12:34:35 (EDT)

Terri -:- House Wren Chicks In Their Nest -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 10:37:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- Life at the Top in America is Longer -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 10:04:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Around Ruined Zimbabwe -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 10:02:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Africa Tackles Graft -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 09:59:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Forget Lonely. Life Is Healthy at Top. -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 09:50:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Saving the Structure of Aging Bones -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 07:31:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Quantum Physics Can Teach Biologists -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 06:00:14 (EDT)

Terri -:- A Slowing in Housing -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 05:59:06 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: A Slowing in Housing -:- Wed, Jul 06, 2005 at 07:29:42 (EDT)

Terri -:- Britain and Australia and Housing -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 21:37:56 (EDT)
_
MikeM -:- Re: Britain and Australia and Housing -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 01:07:11 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Britain and Australia and Housing -:- Thurs, Jul 07, 2005 at 06:14:04 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Floyd Scrips died out - Remember Baby Sitting CoOp -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 18:02:08 (EDT)

Emma -:- Energy-Rich Nations Raising Prices -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 17:14:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Could Hedge Funds Spoil the Party? -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 16:38:23 (EDT)

Terri -:- Germans lLay Foundations for Property Boom -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 12:56:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- In India, Prosperity Is Spreading -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 11:58:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Healing the World by Curing the Poor -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 11:50:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chevron Ruffles an Asian Partner -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 09:56:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Germany, the Jobless Work -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 09:53:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hole in the Housing Bubble -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 09:48:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Room With No View -:- Mon, Jul 04, 2005 at 18:39:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Dr. Johnson's Revolution -:- Mon, Jul 04, 2005 at 16:15:37 (EDT)

Mik -:- Who is borrowing to Zimbabwe? -:- Mon, Jul 04, 2005 at 16:07:45 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Who is borrowing to Zimbabwe? -:- Tues, Jul 05, 2005 at 06:15:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Island, A House, A Family, Summer -:- Mon, Jul 04, 2005 at 14:02:36 (EDT)

Terri -:- Spotted Sandpiper -:- Mon, Jul 04, 2005 at 12:54:51 (EDT)

Terri -:- Immature Summer Tanager -:- Mon, Jul 04, 2005 at 08:35:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Thurs, Jun 30, 2005 at 18:23:05 (EDT)


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Subject: Thoughts on Niger
From: Mik
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:41:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Emma, I don't know much about Niger as my expertise is in English and Portuguese speaking Africa. My first thought (which could be wrong) on the principle of 'Functioning Democracy' in Africa is unfortunately very cynical (here we go again - but I will end off with a positive example this time). Most 'democracies' in Africa are NOT true functioning democracies. Not even South Africa which saw open and fair elections with a change of president. Africa is (in general) still run by tribes. And people vote in their tribal leaders. For this reason, no matter how bad the leader may be, he will still be voted in because he represents the majority tribe. In Uganda we saw something interesting. The majority tribe is located in the North of the country and are Idi Amin supporters (that is how Idi Amin came to power in the first place). There are two more tribes in the South and the people in the south realised that by coming together they are a majority. So they vote for Museveni (who is the current president of Uganda). They will always vote for Museveni because he will represent their tribes (and they don't want to be ruled by any other tribal leader). Luckily a lot of these leaders are behaving themselves due to international pressure. But they slip up every so often as it appears in Niger. In South Africa, the majority tribe is the Xhosa and the most feared tribe is the Zulu. The Zulu tribe has their own political representation, but the remaining tribes vote along with the Xhosa tribe for the ANC. And we can be sure that the ANC will remain in power for as long as the population of Xhosas is the largest (which appears to be forever). We hope that with time and improved education, tribal links will diminish and more pure democracy will flourish. Now for the positive side: There is one country in Africa that is truly democratic. In fact it is the oldest democracy in Africa and actually the most succesful country in Africa.... Botswana. This country with a mere 1.4 million people has only one tribe. So competing politicians are evaluated on their political strength, not tribal relation. For a country that is almost entirely desert, has to import most of its water and import all its electricity, they are not only per capita the richest but the most progressive country in Africa. They are actually the true model for Africa's future. So when done properly, democracy works well.

Subject: Re: Thoughts on Niger
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:43:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
An excellent response to articles on Niger. I am thinking and talking about the points your have made, and I did find the response this morning but it is always helpful to check for I might have missed. Excellent.

Subject: An Investor's Puzzle
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 14:42:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is an investor's puzzle I am well aware of but sort of wish to wish away. Inflation leaving out energy is no problem, but with energy there is a problem. So too, corporate profits are fine including energy but not fine otherwise. If we have an economy driven by housing, we increasingly have an energy company driven stock market.

Subject: Philosopher of Optimism Endures
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:41:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/17/books/17wils.html Philosopher of Optimism Endures Negative Deluge By BRAD SPURGEON GORRAN HAVEN, Britain - Any intellectual who divides opinion as much as Colin Wilson has for almost 50 years must be onto something, even if it is only whether humans should be pessimistic or optimistic. Mr. Wilson, who turned 74 in June and whose autobiography, 'Dreaming to Some Purpose,' recently appeared in paperback from Arrow, describes in the first chapter how he made his own choice. The son of working-class parents from Leicester - his father was in the boot and shoe trade - he was forced to quit school and go to work at 16, even though his ambition was to become 'Einstein's successor.' After a stint in a wool factory, he found a job as a laboratory assistant, but he was still in despair and decided to kill himself. On the verge of swallowing hydrocyanic acid, he had an insight: there were two Colin Wilsons, one an idiotic, self-pitying teenager and the other a thinking man, his real self. The idiot, he realized, would kill them both. 'In that moment,' he wrote, 'I glimpsed the marvelous, immense richness of reality, extending to distant horizons.' Achieving such moments of optimistic insight has been his goal and subject matter ever since, through more than 100 books, from his first success, 'The Outsider,' published in 1956, when he was declared a major existentialist thinker at 24, to the autobiography. In an interview last month at his home of nearly 50 years on the Cornish coast, Mr. Wilson was as optimistic as ever, even though his autobiography and his life's work have come under strong attack in some quarters. 'What I wanted to do was to try to create a philosophy upon a completely new foundation,' he said, sitting in his living room along with a parrot, two dogs and part of his collection of 30,000 books and as many records. 'Whereas in the past optimism had been regarded as rather shallow - because 'oh well, it's just your temperament, you happen to be just a cheerful sort of person' - what I wanted to do was to establish that in fact it is the pessimists who are allowing all kinds of errors to creep into their work.' He includes in that category writers like Hemingway and philosophers like Sartre. In books on sex, crime, psychology and the occult, and in more than a dozen novels, Mr. Wilson has explored how pessimism can rob ordinary people of their powers. 'If you asked me what is the basis of all my work,' he said, 'it's the feeling there's something basically wrong with human beings. Human beings are like grandfather clocks driven by watch springs. Our powers appear to be taken away from us by something.' The critics, particularly in Britain, have alternately called him a genius and a fool. His autobiography, published in hardcover last year, has received mixed reviews. Though lauded by some, the attacks on it and Mr. Wilson have been as virulent as those he provoked in the 1950's after he became a popular culture name with the publication of 'The Outsider.' That book dealt with alienation in thinkers, artists and men of action like T. E. Lawrence, van Gogh, Camus and Nietzsche, and caught the mood of the age. Critics, including Cyril Connolly and Philip Toynbee, hailed Mr. Wilson as a British version of the French existentialists. His fans ranged from Muammar el-Qaddafi to Groucho Marx, who asked his British publisher to send a copy of his own autobiography to three people in Britain: Winston Churchill, Somerset Maugham and Colin Wilson. 'The Outsider' was translated into dozens of languages and sold millions of copies. It has never been out of print. The Times of London called Mr. Wilson and John Osborne - another young working-class man, whose play 'Look Back in Anger' opened about the same time 'The Outsider' was published - 'angry young men.' That name was passed on to others of their generation, including Kingsley Amis, Alan Sillitoe and even Doris Lessing. But fame brought its own problems for Wilson. His sometimes tumultuous early personal life became fodder for gossip columnists. He was still married to his first wife while living with his future second wife, Joy. His publisher, Victor Gollancz, urged him to leave the spotlight, and he and Joy moved to Cornwall. But the publicity had done its damage. His second book, 'Religion and the Rebel,' was panned and his career looked dead. Mr. Wilson said the episode had actually saved him as a writer, however. 'Too much success gets you resting on your laurels and creates a kind of quicksand that you can't get out of,' he said. 'So I was relieved to get out of London.' He said his books were probably heading for condemnation in Britain anyway. 'I'm basically a writer of ideas, and the English aren't interested in ideas,' he said. 'The English, I'm afraid, are totally brainless. If you're a writer of ideas like Sartre or Foucault or Derrida, then the general French public know your name, whereas here in England, their equivalent in the world of philosophy wouldn't be known.' He never lost belief in the importance of his work in trying to find out how to harness human beings' full powers and wipe out gloom. 'Sartre's 'man is a useless passion,' and Camus's feeling that life is absurd, and so on, basically meant that philosophy itself had turned really pretty dark,' he said. 'I could see that there was a basic fallacy in Sartre and Camus and all of these existentialists, Heidegger and so on. The basic fallacy lay in their failure to understand the actual foundation of the problem.' That foundation, he said, is that human perception is intentional; the pessimists themselves paint their world black. Mr. Wilson has spent much of his life researching how to achieve those moments of well-being that bring insight, what the American psychologist Abraham Maslow called 'peak experiences.' Those moments can come only through effort, concentration or focus, and refusing to lose one's vital energies through pessimism. 'What it means basically is that you're able to focus until you suddenly experience that sense that everything is good,' Mr. Wilson said. 'We go around leaking energy in the same way that someone who has slashed their wrists would go around leaking blood. 'Once you can actually get over that and recognize that this is not necessary, suddenly you begin to see the possibility of achieving a state of mind, a kind of steady focus, which means that you see things as extremely good.' If harnessed by everyone, this could lead to the next step in human evolution, a kind of Superman. 'The problem with human beings so far is that they are met with so many setbacks that they are quite easily defeatable, particularly in the modern age when they've got too separated from their roots,' he said. Over the last year, he has been forced to test his own powers in this area. 'When I was pretty sure that the autobiography was going to be a great success, and when it, on the contrary, got viciously attacked,' Mr. Wilson said, 'well, I know I'm not wrong. Obviously the times are out of joint.' Though 'Dreaming to Some Purpose' was warmly received in The Independent on Sunday and The Spectator and was praised by the novelist Philip Pullman, the autobiography - and Mr. Wilson - received a barrage of negative profiles and reviews in The Sunday Times and The Observer. These made fun of the book's more eccentric parts, like his avowed fetish for women's panties. As a measure of the passions that Mr. Wilson provokes, Robert Meadley, an essayist, wrote 'The Odyssey of a Dogged Optimist' (Savoy, 2004), a 188-page book defending him. 'If you think a man's a fool and his books are a waste of time, how long does it take to say so?' Mr. Meadley wrote, questioning the space the newspapers gave to the attacks. Part of Mr. Meadley's conclusion is that the British intellectual establishment still felt threatened by Mr. Wilson, a self-educated outsider from the working class. 'One of my main problems as far as the public is concerned is that I've always been interested in too many things,' Mr. Wilson said, 'and if they can't typecast you as a writer on this or that, then I'm afraid you tend not to be understood at all.'

Subject: A new brand of populism in Germany
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:25:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dublin in the summer of 1905 felt like a very British city. Yes, you were in Ireland, but British rule in Ireland, and particularly Dublin, would have felt very secure. Had anyone suggested that, within little more than a decade, there would be a bloody rising, leading to a war of independence and culminating in the Free State, you would probably have laughed off their forecast as the deluded dream of extreme nationalists. In the summer of 2005, anyone suggesting that Europe in general, and Germany in particular, might revisit the path that led to the rise of Hitler, could be similarly dismissed. Yet, on closer inspection, remarkable trends have emerged in Europe over the past few months which indicate that populism could resurface quite easily. In France and the Netherlands, the No votes to the European constitution were a warning, but the recent political developments in Germany - where a populist protest party formed three weeks ago is registering 12 per cent at the polls - are much more telling. Germany votes on September 16.Until a few weeks ago, it was expected that this would result in either the centre-right or the centre-left winning, but from nowhere, a party with the loose description of Der Linkspar, or Left Party, has elbowed its way into the reckoning. The Linkspar is the brainchild of the former leader of the East German communist party, Gregor Gysi, and the former firebrand of the Social Democrat Party, Oskar Lafontaine. Both are eloquent orators and are using ordinary Germans' main fears - unemployment and foreigners - to galvanise voters. Neither man has a clear agenda, but their platform is a hodge-podge of issues designed to push plenty of old-fashioned populist buttons. All the usual suspects are in the mix, from the far-left favourite of higher taxes on business, to the far-right gem of blaming foreigners for stealing German jobs one day, to banning foreign speculators from taking over German companies the next. Last week, it was a defence of Iran's right to develop nuclear weapons against the US/Israeli alliance in the Middle East, and an adoption of the slogans of the anti-globalisation movements. Despite the strong impression that the Linkspartie is making it up as it goes along, Europe's most educated electorate is responding. Why? An unexpected place to start explaining why Germans would support a mix of protectionism at home and anti-Americanism abroad is China. China is changing the economic landscape for everyone, but it is threatening Germany more than any other country in Europe. The reason is that Germany is the world's pre-eminent exporter of manufactured goods. Despite years of high costs, Germany has managed to retain its dominance across a variety of areas. This means Germany has much to lose from China's emergence as the workshop of the world. But, unlike the US, which has an enormous trade and current account deficit that prompts regular China-bashing from political and corporate leaders, Germany's trade account is in enormous surplus, so the threat from China is not well signposted or understood. This opacity is the nub of Germany's problem, even though China's threat to Germany is being felt in the more politically sensitive arena of unemployment. In contrast, the US feels Chinese competition in the virtual world of current account deficits and currency fluctuations, which may send regular readers of the Financial Times into delirium, but does not determine elections. Unemployment, on the other hand – particularly if it stands at over five million voters as it does in Germany - affects the very soul of the nation. But why does China have a more significant impact on German unemployment than it does on American joblessness? And why does that lead to anti-American, rather than anti-Chinese political sentiment in Germany? This is the conundrum. German jobs do not necessarily get exported to China directly. The mechanism is more circuitous. Due to the opportunities that globalisation gives to transnational corporations, every time they make corporate decisions, they are factoring the cost in China into their calculations. It is impossible for any civilised society to compete with Chinese rates of pay that start at 50 cent an hour, so the German worker is priced out of the manufacturing market for new jobs. But those in existing jobs are protected by strong labour laws so, in the short term, it is those without jobs (the unemployed and young workers trying to come into the labour force for the first time) who suffer twice as much. The reason this same process has not led to a rise in American unemployment is that the US has replaced manufacturing jobs with service jobs, and its service economy is driven by its credit bubble, which has been fuelled, as in Ireland, by its housing boom. In Germany, there is no housing boom. In fact, house prices have hardly budged for ten years. Without a housing boom, you get no credit bubble; with no credit bubble, there is no consumer spending; without consumer spending, there are no service jobs; and with fewer jobs, a country will never have political consensus. So far, so explicable, but why has German political anger that results from the economic conundrum been directed at America, rather than China? There are many reasons for this. Possibly because China is remote, it is difficult to articulate what form anti-Chinese protests might take. Another possibility is that those who respond to the Linkspart's anti-American rhetoric can't actually see the full picture. It is also possible that anti-globalisation, because it is primarily a vehicle for anti-Americanism, offers a readymade cocktail of easily-recognised villains, which might be confused if the Chinese were thrown in. My own hunch is that being anti-American is simply easier. The leaders of the Linkspar are part of the long continental leftist tradition of anti-Americanism. Whatever the reasons, the Linkspar is tapping into German fears that the world is changing too rapidly and that this change is threatening their country. It is easy to see why the cosmopolitan elite of the political and corporate world does not fear this threat, for it is benefiting from it. But in Germany, France, Italy and Holland, the man on the street is worried. If your livelihood were to be outsourced to Beijing, wouldn't you feel the same way? The election in Germany should be examined closely to see what happens when a nation feels economically threatened. Not for the first time, Germany is being hypnotised by populists with listenable and potent rhetoric. http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/Articles/view.asp?CategoryID=-1&CategoryName=&ArticleID=294

Subject: Re: A new brand of populism in Germany
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:55:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Germany needs a housing boom! Now.

Subject: Re: A new brand of populism in Germany
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:53:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The column seems extreme in pessimism. What do you make of the situation?

Subject: Ads Using the Everyday Woman
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 11:07:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/17/business/media/17adco.html For Everyday Products, Ads Using the Everyday Woman By STUART ELLIOTT Madison Avenue is increasingly interested in using everyday women in advertising instead of just waifish supermodels. The change comes after the Dove line of personal-care products sold by Unilever introduced what it called a 'campaign for real beauty,' which presents women in advertisements as they are rather than as some believe they ought to be. If the fad becomes a trend and shows legs, so to speak, it has the potential to fundamentally change decades of image-making on Madison Avenue. But that is a big if indeed. There have been many previous instances of ads that showed so-called real women in place of professional models, which receded as the allure of glamour again reared its beautiful head. This week, Nike is introducing a humorous print and online campaign for exercise gear, frankly glorifying body parts that until now were almost never seen in ads, much less celebrated. One ad, which begins boldly, 'My butt is big,' features an oversize photograph of the derrière in question. Another Nike ad declares, 'I have thunder thighs,' while a third asserts: 'My shoulders aren't dainty or proportional to my hips. Some say they are like a man's. I say, leave men out of it.' The Nike ads, by Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., are arriving days after the Chicken of the Sea brand of tuna introduced a television commercial showing a gorgeous young woman being ogled by the men in her office. She can escape their wolfish ways only in the elevator, which she enters alone, then breathes a sigh of relief - revealing that she really has a more-than-ample stomach, which she had been holding in. The Nike campaign was in the works, executives say, well before the much-publicized arrival last month of Dove print and outdoor ads showing six women, none of them models, sizes 4 to 12, smiling in their underwear. (The first of the Dove 'real beauty' ads, showing older, wrinkled women, started appearing last fall.) The Chicken of the Sea commercial is adapted from a spot that its parent, Thai Union Frozen Products, began running in Asia in 2001. Even so, the arrival of all the ads at the same time suggests that change may be in the air. 'We've gotten tired of airbrushed pictures none of us can relate to or recognize,' said Linda Kaplan Thaler, one of the most prominent women in advertising, whose agency, the Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, was not involved in creating any of the campaigns. Advertisers are 'loosening the reins,' said Ms. Kaplan Thaler, who is chief executive and chief creative officer at her agency, which is owned by the Publicis Groupe, in recognition of the reality that 'women are the majority of consumers and are buying most of the products.' But those facts have been evident for years. Why the new style of ads now? One reason, said Nathan Coyle, senior strategist at Brain Reserve in New York, a consulting company, is the advent of reality television. 'Your neighbors, everyday people, are the new celebrities,' Mr. Coyle said, which feeds the desire for marketers 'to shift from depicting women who are unattainable to women who are attainable.' Kelly Simmons, president of a brand consulting company in Philadelphia named Bubble, offered another reason: the aging of the baby-boom generation - the 76 million Americans born from 1946 to 1964 - who have long set the pace for marketers and advertising agencies. The first baby boomers will start turning 60 on Jan. 1. 'There's no question baby boomers feel better about their bodies,' Ms. Simmons said, 'and are determined to age beautifully,' adding, 'It feels there are real voices of women coming through' in the Dove and Nike ads. 'I applaud the trend.' Nancy Monsarrat, United States director for advertising at Nike in Beaverton, Ore., said that in addition to the different attitudes about body image among boomer women, 'younger women have a different perspective' from that of their counterparts a decade or two ago. 'They're more personally independent about who they can and should be,' Ms. Monsarrat said, which is also reflected in the campaign's approach. 'One of the things we've noticed is if you go to an exercise class, if you go to a marathon, active women come in a lot of shapes and sizes,' she added. 'This can be a great celebration of that.' Fitness and health are also the focus of the Chicken of the Sea commercial, said John Signorino, the company's president and chief executive, in San Diego. He imported the spot to the United States after consumers - including, he said, his wife - received overseas versions of it from friends by e-mail. 'It's an effort to show consumers, in an attention-getting way, that tuna, and Chicken of the Sea, fit into a healthy lifestyle,' Mr. Signorino said. The commercial is being shown, or soon will be, on networks like ABC, CBS, HGTV and Oxygen, he added, and will be circulated through e-mail. The spot is adapted from the original version created by an agency in Bangkok named Chaiyo. Ms. Monsarrat said the Nike campaign, which is also scheduled to appear on a Web site (www.nikewomen.com), is in keeping with her company's efforts, dating back more than a decade, to address issues about women's self-images in a positive way, without stereotypes. She cited campaigns that carried themes like 'This is not a goddess' and 'If you let me play,' all of which were intended, she said, to be 'honest in how we communicate with our target consumer.' Nike was not alone in the 1990's in running ads meant to question the conventional wisdom about images of women in advertising. In 1997, the Body Shop gained international attention for a campaign carrying the theme 'Love your body,' which featured a Rubenesque plastic doll named Ruby. The print ads and posters showed the voluptuous, even zaftig, Ruby reclining on a sofa under this headline: 'There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do.' And since 1997, the Advertising Women of New York club has presented awards to campaigns that its members deem to be breaking ground by portraying women in realistic, nonstereotypical ways. In addition to Nike, winners of such awards have included Adidas, Avon, Gatorade, John Hancock and Reebok. The waxing and waning of so-called real women in advertising comes as marketers and agencies embrace the idea, then revert to traditional images when they believe it is time for a new direction as consumers lose interest. 'Advertising sometimes starts trends and sometimes it follows trends,' Ms. Kaplan Thaler said. Even if they do not turn up in ads, 'real women have always been here, are here and continue to be here,' she added. 'I'm always happy to see advertising that does not dictate a norm none of us can achieve.' Still, said Ms. Simmons of Bubble, who studies sex issues in marketing, more remains to be done before the stereotypes are banished. 'The emphasis is still on women's bodies' in the new ads, Ms. Simmons said. 'It's not like we're looking at their irises.'

Subject: Bonds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:33:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that amazingly the long term Treasury bond is below 4.25% in yield again. There is a steady demand for long term bonds, as though inflation is simply not going to be a concern. This has to be a sign investors are confident the Federal Reserve is well ahead of any price problem that might arise.

Subject: Re: Bonds
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:31:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
-Another possible viewpoint on why 10 year bonds are priced so low - The steady stream of demand for bonds mostly comes from China and Japan. Whose demand is driven by the need to keep the yen and the remimbi priced low. It has been suggested that the Chinese will do everything in their power to keep the remimbi priced low until the Chinese 2008 Olympics are over. When trouble strikes it will come quickly. Keep your powder dry and diversify to protect against both the possibilities of inflation or deflation.

Subject: Re: Bonds
From: Emma
To: David E..
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:44:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is an apt comment; agreed. There are 2 more articles on the danger of the housing bubble in the Wall Street Journal today. Paul Krugman is not alone in worrying.

Subject: Re: Bonds
From: Terri
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 13:16:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
David, I too think there will be little movement in the value of the Yuan till at least the Olympics. Whether the dollar can hold against other currencies till then is not clear however, nor is it clear bonds can hold. I just do not have a sense of this, so I think value value value with every purchase.

Subject: Dear Bobby
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:22:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear Bobby, Please save a set of posts if possible when you store part of the message board. Thanks lots :)

Subject: When Doctors Advise Investors
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 09:56:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/17/opinion/17wed2.html When Doctors Advise Investors It's getting harder and harder to disentangle the medical profession from financial conflicts of interest. The familiar concern has involved doctors who take money from pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies for consulting or research. Such ties inevitably call into question how objective such doctors can be in conducting research, offering advice to government agencies or prescribing drugs for patients. It is never wholly clear whether the doctor is focused on the medical needs of patients or has one eye on the prospects of a financial patron. Now, as described yesterday in an article by Stephanie Saul and Jenny Anderson in The Times, there is an additional concern: doctors who are paid to give advice to investment firms. The worry here is not that doctors will somehow shortchange their patients, but that their advice to financial firms may distort the markets, offering sophisticated investors the kind of insider information that the ordinary investor can't get. With little notice or alarm, this form of financial consulting has expanded rapidly. An article on June 1 in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that almost 10 percent of the nation's 700,000 doctors had entered into formal consulting relations with the investment industry. The percentage of doctors from academic medical centers, where much of the clinical research of interest to investors takes place, was thought to be considerably higher. The financial firms seeking advice include hedge funds, venture capital firms, investment bankers and stockbrokers, among others. They are assisted by specialized companies that enroll doctors and link them with information-hungry financial firms. A doctor is typically paid on an hourly basis - at rates ranging from $200 to more than $1,000 per hour - for consulting that can be done by telephone or face to face. This kind of consulting looks like a recipe for trouble. The information most prized by investors is some hint as to how an experimental drug is performing in ongoing clinical trials or informed guidance about problems that may trouble the Food and Drug Administration. Although the doctors are routinely warned not to reveal confidential or proprietary information, it is a virtual certainty that when the scope of consulting is so large, there will be disclosures, even if they are inadvertent. The best antidote would be a pledge of abstinence backed by the ethical guidelines of medical societies. Any doctor who has inside information about clinical trials or the F.D.A.'s thinking should not do consulting work for investment firms.

Subject: Doctors' Links With Investor Matchmakers
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 09:56:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/16/business/16research.html?ex=1281844800&en=93361cff80b4cbe8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss Doctors' Links With Investor Matchmakers Raise Concerns By STEPHANIE SAUL and JENNY ANDERSON At first, the calls seemed innocuous. Investment companies were offering Dr. Ronald B. Natale $200 or $300 for 15 minutes, asking that he discuss general trends in lung cancer, sometimes over the telephone. But Dr. Natale became suspicious as the money offers kept growing, just before he was to present the case for Iressa, a new lung cancer drug, to a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel in September 2002. Dr. Natale's access to research data on Iressa made him an attractive source for investment researchers seeking inside information. 'Wow, they were offering $1,000, $1,500, for 30 minutes of my time,' said Dr. Natale, a prominent researcher at Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. He said he routinely turned down offers to speak to investors. While Dr. Natale has qualms, other doctors apparently do not. Nearly 10 percent of the nation's 700,000 doctors have signed up as consultants with a new segment of the investment industry - companies that act as the Match.com of the investment world, according to an article in The Journal of the American Medical Association. For a fee, they arrange conversations between investors and leading professionals, experts or even employees of major companies. Matching investors with doctors can raise particularly troubling questions. Physicians frequently serve as clinical researchers for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, testing new drugs. Inside knowledge about those tests, before it is publicly available, could be worth millions. The Securities and Exchange Commission has now begun looking at whether doctors, participating in clinical trials, are accepting money to talk to analysts and investors about the confidential results. Such a breach, under some circumstances, could be construed as a violation of insider trading law. Among the businesses that have emerged as matchmakers is Gerson Lehrman Group of New York. Founded in 1998, Gerson is the industry leader in connecting investors with specialists in fields ranging from Turkish cement to underwire brassieres. Gerson's 150,000 specialists include 60,000 physicians. Another company, Leerink Swann & Company of Boston, has a subsidiary that advertises a network of more than 11,500 medical professionals, including physicians, willing to talk to investors. The idea is fairly new, but the business model has already come under scrutiny. Even though the companies prohibit panelists from violating confidences or revealing proprietary information, such conversations carry the risk that participants will betray secrets. 'The frequency of physician contact, this matrix or extraordinary network of physicians that were at the disposal of investment firms, is a setup for trouble,' said Dr. Eric J. Topol of the Cleveland Clinic, who co-wrote the JAMA article, which appeared in June, exploring the growing relationships between physicians and investment companies. Dr. Topol has firsthand knowledge of the problem. Last year, he gave up his own $12,000-a-year position on a hedge fund advisory panel after concluding it created the appearance of impropriety. Dr. Topol was stung by implications that his expertise helped the fund short Merck before the company's decision to withdraw Vioxx last September. But Dr. Topol had written about the cardiovascular problems associated with Vioxx and similar cox-2 painkillers well before he joined the hedge fund in 2003. Dr. Topol, the Cleveland Clinic's chief of cardiology, also ended his relationship with several companies in the health care and pharmaceutical businesses. 'If you weigh the liabilities and the jeopardy against the limited upside, it does not come out in favor of these relationships,' said Dr. Topol, whose article cited various ways doctors earned money as consultants and advisers to industry. Investment houses and research analysts often sponsor dinners where paid panels of physicians give their thoughts about pharmaceutical developments. Investment analysts attend medical society meetings, where they mingle with practicing physicians. Hedge funds hire physicians to sit on advisory panels. 'We do this all the time,' said Jami Rubin, a pharmaceutical industry analyst with Morgan Stanley, who said her company frequently relied on physicians for advice. 'We pay them for their time. Sometimes they do conference calls. Sometimes they prepare slide shows.' Ms. Rubin said she used doctors as educators to 'explain how drugs work, their mechanism of action, potential shortfalls, positives, negatives, speculation on the issues that the F.D.A. might have.' 'I don't think there's any issue about that whatsoever,' she said. Concerns about whether investment companies could get inside word about clinical research has prompted some precautions. The F.D.A., which regulates clinical trials, does not have authority over investment transactions. But last year the agency took steps to increase information-sharing with the S.E.C. In a statement last week, the F.D.A. said that any activity that raised questions about the integrity of clinical research could render the results useless for supporting new drug applications. A recent article in The Seattle Times indicated that it had found 26 instances in which doctors had given up confidential information to analysts. Several medical societies have taken steps to protect scientific papers submitted by their members. The American Society of Clinical Oncologists, for example, gives its members advance copies of research papers presented at its meetings; the copies are covered in shrink-wrap and accompanied by a warning that they are only for educational use. Members are barred from trading on information in the abstracts until after it is publicly available. The Biotechnology Industry Organization, which includes companies whose fate can turn on one clinical trial, is reviewing whether additional regulation is necessary. 'Ultimately our companies are the most likely to be victimized by this kind of conduct,' said the association's chief executive, Jim Greenwood. Mr. Greenwood said that one of the organization's member companies, Isis Pharmaceuticals, complained three years ago to UBS. That was after a UBS analyst issued a report contending that a lung cancer drug had failed a Phase 3 clinical trial, citing 'recent conversations with investigators involved in the trial.' Shares of Isis tumbled 20 percent the day of the report. A UBS spokesman, Mark Hengel, declined to comment on whether doctors involved in the trial were surveyed, but said: 'UBS research notes are highly regarded. The information is sourced and broadly disseminated to our client base.' Some firms like Gerson Lehrman do not supply investment advice, but simply serve as a go-between. Gerson Lehrman was started by Mark Gerson, a Yale Law School graduate and a former teacher, and Thomas Lehrman, to publish books about major changes in industries. The business evolved when hedge fund managers said they did not have the time to read books but preferred access to the list of experts the authors had used. So now the business works like this: hedge funds or mutual funds pay Gerson Lehrman an annual subscription fee, in the range of $120,000 a year, per sector. Gerson pays its specialists at a rate set by the specialist. Portfolio mangers, for example, submit to Gerson a project they are working on and Gerson scours its database for the best specialists, then contacts them to check their availability and ability to participate. Each is sent a disclosure form requiring them not to disclose material nonpublic information, trade secrets or breach any previously confidentiality agreements. Gerson Lehrman and Leerink Swann declined to comment for this article. But a letter from Mark Gerson, chief executive of Gerson Lehrman, said: 'Before participating in our network, all physicians and scientists sign a contract that explicitly states they must not violate any of their confidentiality agreements, must check if they are unsure what those confidentiality obligations are and will be paid for time allocated to a project if they must discontinue it out of any related concerns.' Last week, according to people close to the company, Gerson Lehrman started to offer compliance officers from hedge funds and mutual funds the ability to submit a 'blacklist' of ticker symbols of companies owned by the fund. That way, if a fund owns a particular company's stock, Gerson can block the fund's analysts from requesting experts linked to that company. According to Dr. Topol, Gerson Lehrman has built its network over the Internet, sending out e-mail messages to large physician groups, hoping they will enroll. 'Most physicians have been targets of e-mails,' he said. One member of Gerson Lehrman's physician panel, Dr. Eric Scott Sills of Atlanta, said he had participated in telephone conferences for Gerson Lehrman five or six times in the last 18 months. Dr. Sills, an infertility specialist who also conducts clinical research, said he was never told exactly what company the callers were representing. 'They've never asked about present research projects going on at our center in Atlanta and never asked me to share preliminary data sets with them,' he said. Dr. Natale of Cedars-Sinai said that as a clinical researcher he was uncomfortable with taking fees to consult for the investment community. 'I really don't want to have to think about whether it's ethical or unethical, what information I cannot share, what's confidential and what's not confidential,' he said, explaining why he turns down such offers. Clinical trials of drugs are usually double-blind, meaning that neither the physicians nor the patients know which patients are getting the experimental drug and which are receiving sugar pills. Large trials often have many sites with small numbers of patients. 'It's not common for one investigator to have the full picture,' said Dr. Elliott Sigal, director of global research for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Some are concerned, however, that important information could unintentionally slip out. 'Obviously, they're not trying to get any physician to provide inside information,' Dr. Topol said of companies like Gerson Lehrman. 'But invariably, even without awareness and even without intent, that can happen.' And the appearance of impropriety by itself is a problem, said Dr. Catherine De Angelis, the editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association. The advice Dr. De Angelis said she gave Dr. Topol last year could apply more broadly. 'Whatever you're making from just being a consultant, just give it up,' she said. 'It's not worth our integrity. Even though you know you're not doing anything wrong. It's the perception.'

Subject: Donald Luskin Krugman truth squad
From: Jon Wesley
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 15:44:46 (EDT)
Email Address: familyguyantiflag@yahoo.com

Message:
I don't know if this has been brought up before, because I am new here, but can anyone give me information on whether this guy from the National Review Online is actually factual in his so called 'debunking' of Paul Krugman's work? I have read examples of his stuff, and some of it is BS but is there any info that anyone else can give me? Thanks very much.

Subject: Re: Donald Luskin Krugman truth squad
From: Jennifer
To: Jon Wesley
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:41:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
These sources are never worth a glance.

Subject: Gene-Altered Rice and the Farm Belt
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 15:18:10 (EDT)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/16/business/16biorice.html Can Gene-Altered Rice Rescue the Farm Belt? By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO WATSON, Mo. - Like an expectant father, Jason Garst stood in calf-deep water and studied the three-foot-high rice plants growing in a flooded field here. It was a curious sight in northwest Missouri, where the growing season is considered to be too short for rice. Mr. Garst, a sixth-generation farmer, is hoping at least one of the 12 varieties on his test plot will sprout this fall. If one does, he will start growing rice plants that have been genetically engineered to produce proteins found in human milk, saliva and tears. Once converted into a powder form, those proteins would be used in granola bars and drinks to help infants in developing countries avoid death from diarrhea. 'I know in my heart that this will be better than anything else we are doing,' said Mr. Garst, 35, who also farms soybeans and potatoes. The rice project is backed by a private company called Ventria Bioscience but also has the support of the state and a local university, which are hoping to reverse the long decline in the area's farm economy. But the project has run into opposition from environmental groups and even the beer giant Anheuser-Busch amid fears about the health effects of genetically engineered crops, making Mr. Garst's little rice paddy a piece of a larger battlefield. The economic and academic ambitions of the Missouri project make it unique, but the arguments echo those heard in similar disputes in Europe and, increasingly, in the United States. Critics of Ventria's plans are concerned that the gene-altered rice could contaminate regular rice crops and pose a health risk to consumers, scaring off buyers. Ventria and its academic partner in the project, Northwest Missouri State University, say they can control the potential for contamination. And they say the risks are minimal when balanced against the potential for the special rice to help cut the costs of drugs and save lives. The debate has a certain urgency in the Farm Belt because it highlights the challenge facing much of the region's economy: finding new products that will reduce farmers' reliance on commodity crops. As equipment has become more efficient and foreign competition has stiffened, farms have consolidated and profit margins have shrunk, forcing farmers to plant ever more acres to squeeze out a living. The genetic engineering work that Ventria and other companies are doing can add value to products like rice, offering farmers a more stable income that does not rely on steep government subsidies. 'There is no question that this represents a chance to transform the economy of the region,' said Mark Drabenstott, director of the Center for the Study of Rural America at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. 'For regions like northwest Missouri, there is not a long list of economic alternatives.' Despite opposition, Ventria's plans to grow genetically engineered rice - eventually to commercial scale - are going forward. The company began growing rice in North Carolina this summer after getting approval from the Agriculture Department. Once Ventria decides where it will grow rice in Missouri, it will have to apply for a permit from the department, a process expected to take two to three months. Dean L. Hubbard, president of Northwest Missouri State, persuaded Ventria last year to move its operations from Sacramento to new buildings planned for the Northwest campus in Maryville, about 90 miles north of Kansas City. Seeking a way to reverse the area's slide in population, Dr. Hubbard teamed up with Melvin D. Booth, a Northwest Missouri alumnus who previously ran two large biotechnology companies. The two approached Ventria about making it part of the university's plan to form joint ventures with young biopharmaceutical companies. Ventria was already considering similar offers from universities in Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina, but Scott E. Deeter, Ventria's chief executive, agreed to visit the university last August. Mr. Deeter said that on the ride from the Kansas City airport, he was intrigued when Dr. Hubbard described the university's program to heat and cool the campus using bio-fuel derived from paper and wood chips. At the meeting, Mr. Garst presented him with a research paper he had prepared on what it would take to grow rice in northern Missouri. 'It was very impressive,' said Ning Huang, Ventria's vice president for research and development, who was there. Finally it came down to whether Ventria scientists would agree to move to Maryville, population 10,000, from California. Next year 13 will move, including Dr. Huang. Under the agreement reached last November, Ventria will pay farmers more than double what they make on their most profitable crop, and pay Northwest Missouri $500 an acre for crops grown on university land. The university is spending about $10 million to help build a production and teaching complex, and the state is kicking in another $10 million. Atchison County, Mo., where Mr. Garst's farmland is, has lost more than 1,000 people, or 14 percent of its population, since 1990. The town of Watson, once a thriving rural hub with three grocery stores and an opera house, has just over 100 people and no place to buy a soda. Most buildings have been boarded up. 'To reverse the population slide, you have to make it profitable to farm,' Dr. Hubbard said. 'My dream is that 10 years from now, this rural economy has been transformed, that it is vibrant again and people are renovating their downtowns.' The fate of Mr. Garst's experimental rice plot has loomed larger since Ventria encountered resistance to planting its rice in the southern part of the state, where rice has traditionally been grown. When the company was considering Missouri as a place to grow its rice, it talked to Anheuser-Busch, which uses Missouri rice in its beer. Mr. Deeter said Anheuser-Busch initially did not raise any opposition to the project. But when Ventria tried to plant rice in southern Missouri this spring, the beer maker threatened not to buy any rice grown in the state. The company feared a consumer backlash if people thought gene-altered rice could end up in their bottles of Bud. For Missouri's farm economy, the risk of growing pharmaceutical rice is high. More than half of Missouri's rice is sent abroad, to the European Union and Caribbean countries that are especially sensitive about genetically modified products. 'We are still having to make statements to our customers that the rice we export is not genetically modified,' said Carl Brothers, the vice president for marketing at Riceland Foods, which markets more than half of Missouri's rice. 'We are concerned longer term that if Ventria and others get involved that will get harder to say.' The two companies reached a truce in April: Ventria agreed not to grow genetically modified rice within 120 miles of commercial rice crops. 'We can continue to purchase rice grown and processed in Missouri as long as Ventria's growing areas remain sufficiently far from commercial rice production,' said Francine Katz, a spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch. That deal suddenly made four test plots in the northern part of the state, including Mr. Garst's, all the more important, since Ventria's agreement with Northwest Missouri State calls for the company to grow 70 percent of its rice in the state. To prove to its customers that it would have a diverse supply base, Ventria must grow in at least one other location in North America, and is also searching for a growing area in the Southern Hemisphere to be able to produce year-round. In June, Ventria planted 70 acres of genetically modified rice in North Carolina. There, environmentalists continue to attack the company, saying the rice poses a threat to other crops and the human food chain. Ventria's rice fields are just a few miles from a rice-seed-screening research center and are also close to two wildlife refuges with large populations of migrant birds and swans that environmentalists contend could transport Ventria's rice seeds into wild areas. Storms and floods, environmentalists say, could also lead to rice contamination. 'Just washing away in a big rain- storm is enough,' said Margaret Mellon, director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington. Scientists at Ventria, which is yet to make any money from its bio-rice, say rice is among the safest crops for genetic engineering. Rice stalks pollinate themselves, so the altered genes, which are synthetic versions of human genes, cannot be easily transferred to plants in other fields. And Ventria requires farmers to employ a 'closed system,' using dedicated equipment and a production process where the seed is ground into a powder before it leaves the farm. But critics say that there is no way to guarantee that the farmers will follow all the government regulations and Ventria's rules, and that they are worried about the risk of contamination because it would be hard to detect. 'We simply wouldn't know if a contamination event took place,' said Craig Culp, a spokesman for the Center for Food Safety, in Washington. Dr. Hubbard acknowledged that there are risks, but he said he believed that they were minimal. Federal regulations have been tested before, most notably in 2002, when drug-producing corn made by ProdiGene began sprouting in soybean fields near its Iowa and Nebraska sites. The Agriculture Department seized 500,000 bushels of soybeans and assessed the company nearly $3 million in fines and disposal costs. Earlier, in 2000, a gene-altered variety of corn that was approved for animal feed but not for human consumption was found in taco shells and other grocery items, prompting recalls. Mr. Garst is a modern breed of farmer with a master's degree and a healthy interest in science. And he himself has done whatever he can to wring more from his commodity crops, even trying out a $300,000 tractor that steers automatically using a global-positioning satellite to till straighter rows. 'Obviously, you will not see pharmaceutical crops from here to Kansas City,' he said of Ventria's project. 'But there will be pockets in this area where you will see development. If you keep two more farmers in this area it is huge - there are four of us now.'

Subject: One Hundred Years of Uncertainty
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 14:32:51 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/opinion/08greene.html?ex=1270612800&en=c87d6bab356df279&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland One Hundred Years of Uncertainty By BRIAN GREENE JUST about a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein began writing a paper that secured his place in the pantheon of humankind's greatest thinkers. With his discovery of special relativity, Einstein upended the familiar, thousands-year-old conception of space and time. To be sure, even a century later, not everyone has fully embraced Einstein's discovery. Nevertheless, say 'Einstein' and most everyone thinks 'relativity.' What is less widely appreciated, however, is that physicists call 1905 Einstein's 'miracle year' not because of the discovery of relativity alone, but because in that year Einstein achieved the unimaginable, writing four papers that each resulted in deep and formative changes to our understanding of the universe. One of these papers - not on relativity - garnered him the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics. It also began a transformation in physics that Einstein found so disquieting that he spent the last 30 years of his life in a determined effort to repudiate it. Two of the four 1905 papers were indeed on relativity. The first, completed in June, laid out the foundations of his new view of space and time, showing that distances and durations are not absolute, as everyone since Newton had thought, but instead are affected by one's motion. Clocks moving relative to one another tick off time at different rates; yardsticks moving relative to one another measure different lengths. You don't perceive this because the speeds of everyday life are too slow for the effects to be noticeable. If you could move near the speed of light, the effects would be obvious. The second relativity paper, completed in September, is a three-page addendum to the first, which derived his most famous result, E = mc2, an equation as short as it is powerful. It told the world that matter can be converted into energy - and a lot of it - since the speed of light squared (c2) is a huge number. We've witnessed this equation's consequences in the devastating might of nuclear weapons and the tantalizing promise of nuclear energy. The third paper, completed in May, conclusively established the existence of atoms - an idea discussed in various forms for millenniums - by showing that the numerous microscopic collisions they'd generate would account for the observed, though previously unexplained, jittery motion of impurities suspended in liquids. With these three papers, our view of space, time and matter was permanently changed. Yet, it is the remaining 1905 paper, written in March, whose legacy is arguably the most profound. In this work, Einstein went against the grain of conventional wisdom and argued that light, at its most elementary level, is not a wave, as everyone had thought, but actually a stream of tiny packets or bundles of energy that have since come to be known as photons. This might sound like a largely technical advance, updating one description of light to another. But through subsequent research that amplified and extended Einstein's argument (see Figures 1 through 3), scientists revealed a mathematically precise and thoroughly startling picture of reality called quantum mechanics. Before the discovery of quantum mechanics, the framework of physics was this: If you tell me how things are now, I can then use the laws of physics to calculate, and hence predict, how things will be later. You tell me the velocity of a baseball as it leaves Derek Jeter's bat, and I can use the laws of physics to calculate where it will land a handful of seconds later. You tell me the height of a building from which a flowerpot has fallen, and I can use the laws of physics to calculate the speed of impact when it hits the ground. You tell me the positions of the Earth and the Moon, and I can use the laws of physics to calculate the date of the first solar eclipse in the 25th century. What's important is that in these and all other examples, the accuracy of my predictions depends solely on the accuracy of the information you give me. Even laws that differ substantially in detail - from the classical laws of Newton to the relativistic laws of Einstein - fit squarely within this framework. Quantum mechanics does not merely challenge the previous laws of physics. Quantum mechanics challenges this centuries-old framework of physics itself. According to quantum mechanics, physics cannot make definite predictions. Instead, even if you give me the most precise description possible of how things are now, we learn from quantum mechanics that the most physics can do is predict the probability that things will turn out one way, or another, or another way still. The reason we have for so long been unaware that the universe evolves probabilistically is that for the relatively large, everyday objects we typically encounter - baseballs, flowerpots, the Moon - quantum mechanics shows that the probabilities become highly skewed, hugely favoring one outcome and effectively suppressing all others. A typical quantum calculation reveals that if you tell me the velocity of something as large as a baseball, there is more than a 99.99999999999999 (or so) percent likelihood that it will land at the location I can figure out using the laws of Newton or, for even better accuracy, the laws of Einstein. With such a skewed probability, the quantum reasoning goes, we have long overlooked the tiny chance that the baseball can (and, on extraordinarily rare occasions, will) land somewhere completely different. When it comes to small objects like molecules, atoms and subatomic particles, though, the quantum probabilities are typically not skewed. For the motion of an electron zipping around the nucleus of an atom, for example, a quantum calculation lays out odds that are all roughly comparable that the electron will be in a variety of different locations - a 13 percent chance, say, that the electron will be here, a 19 percent chance that it will be there, an 11 percent chance that it will be in a third place, and so on. Crucially, these predictions can be tested. Take an enormous sample of identically prepared atoms, measure the electron's position in each, and tally up the number of times you find the electron at one location or another. According to the pre-quantum framework, identical starting conditions should yield identical outcomes; we should find the electron to be at the same place in each measurement. But if quantum mechanics is right, in 13 percent of our measurements we should find the electron here, in 19 percent we should find it there, in 11 percent we should find it in that third place. And, to fantastic precision, we do. Faced with a mountain of supporting data, Einstein couldn't argue with the success of quantum mechanics. But to him, even though his own Nobel Prize-winning work was a catalyst for the quantum revolution, the theory was anathema. Commentators over the decades have focused on Einstein's refusal to accept the probabilistic framework of quantum mechanics, a position summarized in his frequent comment that 'God does not play dice with the universe.' Einstein, radical thinker that he was, still believed in the sanctity of a universe that evolved in a fully definite, fully predictable manner. If, as quantum mechanics asserted, the best you can ever do is predict probabilities, Einstein countered that he'd 'rather be a cobbler, or even an employee in a gaming house, than a physicist.' This emphasis, however, partly obscures a larger point. It wasn't the mere reliance on probabilistic predictions that so troubled Einstein. Unlike many of his colleagues, Einstein believed that a fundamental physical theory was much more than the sum total of its predictions - it was a mathematical reflection of an underlying reality. And the reality entailed by quantum mechanics was a reality Einstein couldn't accept. An example: Imagine you shoot an electron from here and a few seconds later it's detected by your equipment over there. What path did the electron follow during the passage from you to the detector? The answer according to quantum mechanics? There is no answer. The very idea that an electron, or a photon, or any other particle, travels along a single, definite trajectory from here to there is a quaint version of reality that quantum mechanics declares outmoded. Instead, the proponents of quantum theory claimed, reality consists of a haze of all possibilities - all trajectories - mutually commingling and simultaneously unfolding. And why don't we see this? According to the quantum doctrine, when we make a measurement or perform an observation, we force the myriad possibilities to ante up, snap out of the haze and settle on a single outcome. But between observations - when we are not looking - reality consists entirely of jostling possibilities. Quantum reality, in other words, remains ambiguous until measured. The reality of common perception is thus merely a definitive-looking veneer obscuring the internal workings of a highly uncertain cosmos. Which is where Einstein drew a line in the sand. A universe of this sort offended him; he could not accept, as he put it, that 'the Old One' would so profoundly incorporate a hidden element of happenstance in the nature of reality. Einstein quipped to his quantum colleagues, 'Do you really think the Moon is not there when you're not looking?' and set himself the Herculean task of reworking the laws of physics to resurrect conventional reality. Einstein waged a two-front assault on the problem. He sought an internal chink in the quantum framework that would establish it as a mere steppingstone on the path to a deeper and more complete description of the universe. At the same time, he sought a grander synthesis of nature's laws - what he called a 'unified theory' - that he believed would reveal the probabilities of quantum mechanics to be no more profound than the probabilities offered in weather forecasts, probabilities that simply reflect an incomplete knowledge of an underlying, definite reality. In 1935, through a disarmingly simple mathematical analysis, Einstein (with two colleagues) established a beachhead on the first front. He proved that quantum mechanics is either an incomplete theory or, if it is complete, the universe is - in Einstein's words - 'spooky.' Why 'spooky?' Because the theory would allow certain widely separated particles to correlate their behaviors perfectly (somewhat as if a pair of widely separated dice would always come up the same number when tossed at distant casinos). Since such 'spooky' behavior would border on nuttiness, Einstein thought he'd made clear that quantum theory couldn't yet be considered a complete description of reality. The nimble quantum proponents, however, would have nothing of it. They insisted that quantum theory made predictions - albeit statistical predictions - that were consistently born out by experiment. By the precepts of the scientific method, they argued, the theory was established. They maintained that searching beyond the theory's predictions for a glimpse of a reality behind the quantum equations betrayed a foolhardy intellectual greediness. Nevertheless, for the remaining decades of his life, Einstein could not give up the quest, exclaiming at one point, 'I have thought a hundred times more about quantum problems than I have about relativity.' He turned exclusively to his second line of attack and became absorbed with the prospect of finding the unified theory, a preoccupation that resulted in his losing touch with mainstream physics. By the 1940's, the once dapper young iconoclast had grown into a wizened old man of science who was widely viewed as a revolutionary thinker of a bygone era. By the early 1950's, Einstein realized he was losing the battle. But the memories of his earlier success with relativity - 'the years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alternations of confidence and exhaustion and the final emergence into the light' - urged him onward. Maybe the intense light of discovery that had so brilliantly illuminated his path as a young man would shine once again. While lying in a bed in Princeton Hospital in mid-April 1955, Einstein asked for the pad of paper on which he had been scribbling equations in the desperate hope that in his final hours the truth would come to him. It didn't. Was Einstein misguided? Must we accept that there is a fuzzy, probabilistic quantum arena lying just beneath the definitive experiences of everyday reality? As of today, we still don't have a final answer. Fifty years after Einstein's death, however, the scales have certainly tipped farther in this direction. Decades of painstaking experimentation have confirmed quantum theory's predictions beyond the slightest doubt. Moreover, in a shocking scientific twist, some of the more recent of these experiments have shown that Einstein's 'spooky' processes do in fact take place (particles many miles apart have been shown capable of correlating their behavior). It's a stunning finding, and one that reaffirms Einstein's uncanny ability to unearth features of nature so mind-boggling that even he couldn't accept what he'd found. Finally, there has been tremendous progress over the last 20 years toward a unified theory with the discovery and development of superstring theory. So far, though, superstring theory embraces quantum theory without change, and has thus not revealed the definitive reality Einstein so passionately sought. With the passage of time and quantum mechanics' unassailable successes, debate about the theory's meaning has quieted. The majority of physicists have simply stopped worrying about quantum mechanics' meaning, even as they employ its mathematics to make the most precise predictions in the history of science. Others prefer reformulations of quantum mechanics that claim to restore some features of conventional reality at the expense of additional - and, some have argued, more troubling - deviations (like the notion that there are parallel universes). Yet others investigate hypothesized modifications to the theory's equations that don't spoil its successful predictions but try to bring it closer to common experience. Over the 25 years since I first learned quantum mechanics, I've at various times subscribed to each of these perspectives. My shifting attitude, however, reflects that I'm still unsettled. Were Einstein to interrogate me today about quantum reality, I'd have to admit that deep inside I harbor many of the doubts that gnawed at him for decades. Can it really be that the solid world of experience and perception, in which a single, definite reality appears to unfold with dependable certainty, rests on the shifting sands of quantum probabilities? Well, yes. Probably. The evidence is compelling and tangible. Although we have yet to fully lay bare quantum mechanics' grand lesson for the underlying nature of the universe, I like to think even Einstein would be impressed that in the 50 years since his death our facility with quantum mechanics has matured from a mathematical understanding of the subatomic realm to precision control. Today's technological wizardry (computers, M.R.I.'s, smart bombs) exists only because research in applied quantum physics has resulted in techniques for manipulating the motion of electrons - probabilities and all - through mazes of ultramicroscopic circuitry. Advances hovering on the horizon, like nanoscience and quantum computers, offer the promise of even more spectacular transformations. So the next time you use your cellphone or laptop, pause for a moment. Recognize that even these commonplace devices rely on our greatest, yet most puzzling, scientific achievement and - as things now stand - tap into humankind's most supreme assault on the idea that reality is what we think it is. Brian Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia, is the author of 'The Elegant Universe,'' and, most recently, 'The Fabric of the Cosmos.'

Subject: Comes a Quest to Save the Tiger
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 12:08:58 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/16/science/16conv.html From a Childhood Ambition Comes a Quest to Save the Tiger By CLAUDIA DREIFUS In the 1960's, when Ullas Karanth was a teenager in India, he read books by naturalists who were researching the tigers of Asia. 'Someday, I'll study tigers, too,' he told himself. But in a country still emerging from colonial rule, there was no such profession as wildlife biologist. And so Ullas Karanth took up engineering, which he detested, only to give it up and become a farmer, bringing him closer to the wilderness and the tigers. By the 1980's, he had established himself as a kind of amateur biologist gathering information on the animals of the Nagarahole reserve near to his farm. That work eventually led to an opportunity to study in the United States and later to become a protégé of the pioneering tiger expert George Schaller. Today Dr. Karanth is himself a leading tiger researcher and the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's India Program, which is based in Bangalore. Dr. Karanth, 57, was in New York on a recent summer afternoon to attend a conference at the Bronx Zoo, a subsidiary of the conservation society, on the future of tigers in the wild. In a break in the proceedings, he spoke of his favorite feline. Q. Do we know how many wild tigers still exist in India? A. We don't. The government claims that there are over 3,000. But that figure is based on a flawed counting method that officials developed for themselves. There are preservation groups who claim the number is more like 1,000. It's probably not that low. At the Wildlife Conservation Society, we won't guess. What we will say, based on scientific data, is that there are only about 115,000 square miles of forest still left in the country where tigers can thrive and breed. In most of that territory, there's been a tremendous tiger decline due to habitat degradation by local people and development activities like mines, dams and roads, and the poaching of tiger prey. We believe that if India is to have tigers, these wildlife reserves must be rigorously protected. Q. Is the killing of tigers for use in traditional Chinese medicine contributing to their disappearance? A. That's part of it. The fact that the parts of one dead tiger are worth something like $5,000 certainly encourages poachers. Actually the biggest threat to tiger survival is habitat destruction and the uncontrolled hunting of tiger-prey species. We have plenty of forest areas where there should be tigers, but their numbers are low there because the prey species have been hunted out by local people. So it turns out that if you want to protect tigers, you also need to protect the deer. In India, wildlife conservation has an unusual history. Tigers were very much in decline until the 1970's, when Indira Gandhi came to power. She was an autocrat. But she was also a very keen naturalist, and she had complete control over the nation's politics. Mrs. Gandhi told her minions that there would be no more destruction of important wildlife areas and she enforced that order. She put in strong laws, stopped uncontrolled hunting and logging in the reserves. And thanks to her cracking of the whip, the tiger came back. That recovery continued until the 1990's, when Indian politics became very fragmented. The leaders we've had since are excellent on economic development, but none have shown much interest in conservation. Q. You've spent decades observing tiger behavior. What do you find most interesting about them? A. The way nature has designed them. They are built to take down prey four to five times their own size. If I went into the forest, it would be hard for me to get within striking range of a deer. This huge cat does it effortlessly. It can grab onto something that weighs about a ton, wrestles it down and kill it, all very safely and quietly. Q. Have you ever gotten emotionally involved with the animals you were observing? A. Objective scientists aren't supposed to, but I have. During the early 1990's, I was putting radio collars on tigers and leopards at Nagarahole reserve in southern India and then tracking their behavior. With time, this one leopard got really quite habituated to me. For two years, I'd follow him at night. I had a little laboratory in the middle of the forest, and this leopard used to come around at midnight frequently and I'd hear his call. Even half asleep, I'd turn on my receiver and when I'd pick up his signals, I felt, oh, O.K., there's my leopard. But one morning, his signal read as if he was lying inactive somewhere in the forest and I really got worried. When I finally located him, he was strung up like a lynching victim. The leopard had walked into a snare some poacher had set up for deer. Yes, I know, leopards have high mortality rates, and I'm not supposed to feel emotion. But when this happens to a creature you know, you can't be coldblooded. Incidents like this happen every day and their toll on animal life is cumulative. The killers are usually local people trying to get some protein. However, this is one reason I feel negatively toward the 'sustainable use' concept that one hears so much in development circles. Q. What's wrong with the concept of sustainable use and the idea of financing projects for local people to make money from the forests, and in turn protect the animals? A. It's naïve. People and tigers have never coexisted harmoniously. They compete for land, protein, resources. In a country like India where there are so many people and so little land, sustainable development is actually a recipe for wiping out the protected areas. If you want tigers, you can't have people sweeping through the reserves cutting down trees, gathering forest products, hunting for protein and creating gardens that fragment the natural areas. Moreover, you definitely should not be paying forestry officials - charged with protecting wildlife - to do rural economic development. If you do it, their mission drifts toward development and the wildlife conservation part gets lost. To protect wildlife, you have to do the harder thing, which is set aside some areas where human activities are reduced or eliminated. At present, about 5 percent of the country is designated as protected. But I estimate that 75 percent of that 'protected' land has been compromised by human activity. This needs to be halted. Q. Do you think the Indian tiger can be saved? A. Certainly. If there's the will. One thing that gives us a head start: India actually has more wild tigers than our neighbors. We won't need to reintroduce them. Also, tigers reproduce easily; they are not like pandas. Also, I believe that there are aspects of Indian culture that can be mobilized for conservation. If you look at the Hindu religion, there's real guilt associated with the killing of an animal. So if you are protecting a park and you catch a poacher, this sense of guilt puts the enforcement officials at an advantage. Another thing, at the core of our religion is the belief that man is a part of nature. This supports the idea that wild animals have a right to survive. I've talked with farmers whose crops have been raided by elephants, and they really hated them. But when you asked, 'Don't elephants and tigers have the right to exist?' they always said yes. All these factors make me optimistic.

Subject: The Long Arm of Einstein
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 11:52:03 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/16/science/16gps.html The Long Arm of Einstein Guides My Steering Wheel By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS I was driving in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and relying on a global positioning system receiver attached to my hand-held organizer, which was verbally guiding me through a maze of freeways and unfamiliar streets. I had plenty of time stopped in traffic jams to ponder the scientific breakthroughs that made this technology possible. What I thought about were not the triumphs of Silicon Valley and microchips. I thought about Albert Einstein. The United Nations and several other international organizations have designated 2005 as the World Year of Physics in honor of Einstein's 'miracle year' in 1905, when he wrote five seminal papers that changed the way we think about the world. But his greatest achievement occurred a decade later, when he finished his general theory of relativity. Einstein revolutionized our understanding of space, time and the nature of gravity. He described a universe in which matter and energy could curve space, which in turn would affect the dynamics of matter and energy, which then could affect the geometry of space, and so on. It took more than three decades to develop the first direct terrestrial experimental tests of his esoteric ideas. But, esoteric or not, without general relativity, I couldn't precisely navigate through Los Angeles. Global positioning systems rely on careful measurement differences between signals sent from several satellites thousands of miles apart. The time differences between the signals sent to the device in my car must be measured to an accuracy of about a billionth of a second to distinguish my position to within a few feet. But general relativity predicts that the relative clicking of clocks changes depending on their position in a gravitational field. Satellites located high above Earth are moving in a gravitational field that is slightly weaker than what we experience on the ground. As a result, their internal clocks tick at a different rate than those on Earth. The effect is extremely small, but it is comparable to the accuracy needed to distinguish the position of objects on the scale that is otherwise possible with needed by global positioning devices. Without correcting for it, the systems would give results that are ever so slightly off. Einstein didn't develop general relativity because he wanted to find a better way to track his own position. He wanted to address fundamental questions about the universe, and even if he had been so inclined he probably could not have foreseen in 1915 the technology that makes G.P.S. measurements possible today. This is a timely example of the cross-germination of fundamental scientific investigation and modern technological innovation than this. The insights that Einstein's theories have given us about the basic workings of the cosmos, on scales as large as the visible universe itself, and going back to the earliest moments of the Big Bang, are invaluable to our understanding of nature and themselves should justify the support we provide for continuing research in general relativity and cosmology. But in a time when many areas of fundamental research are facing drastic budget threats in favor of more targeted programs with short-term goals, it is worth remembering that even the most esoteric scientific ideas can ultimately affect one's daily life. It is something worth thinking about the next time you are caught in a traffic jam. Lawrence M. Krauss is director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University. His new book,'Hiding in the Mirror,' will appear this fall.

Subject: And Newton?
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 13:57:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I know this is the year where we are to give respect to Einstein for what he did, but I do think it is somewhat unfair to give this much credit to Einstein for the GPS technology and no where as much to Newton or Doppler. The error correction due to Einstein's theory of relativity is ever so slight (as the author points out). The error could be about 2 feet (if that) where as the overall error from a GPS is in excess of 4 feet. Meaning that Einstein's contribution to the GPS is negligable. Sorry for being so cynical. Without Newton on the other hand, the GPS system would not even be up in the space let alone measuring where we are. We use Newton's laws of gravity (not Einstein's) to get the rocket/satelite into space. The orbit and angle for broadcasting signals are decided using Newtonian physics/mechanics. And after moving from the genius of what Newton left us, let's not forget Doppler who worked out that frequecy changes based on movement. By measuring the Doppler effect we can figure out the movement of the satelite and the movement of the car. Yes Einstein's theories apply well to Cosmology (better than Newtonian and Doppler), but perhaps Lawrence Krauss has a bias towards Einstein.

Subject: Re: And Newton?
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 14:20:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Of course you are right, but remember that Newton's mathematics is not set aside by Einstein's except in extreme circumstances. Newton is simple subsumed, and Doppler gave Einstein ideas on special relativity effects. Listen to a train whistle as the tone changes and think of relativity of motion with only light speed constant.

Subject: Sorry Emma
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 15:21:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
You are right. I've just overly cynical lately. I've gota starting being more positive.

Subject: Re: Sorry Emma
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 16:28:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
No, you are always making me think of interesting possibilities. I am still working on applying Jared Diamond.

Subject: Re: Sorry Emma
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 16:31:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice the Niger post from Sunday. 'Meanwhile, People Starve.'

Subject: Niger
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 14:53:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I made a posting in reply to you Niger article. But it appears to have been pushed off the board. Did you my response?

Subject: Re: Niger
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:44:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent, posted above.

Subject: Gossip Turns Out to Serve a Purpose
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 11:51:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/16/science/16goss.html Have You Heard? Gossip Turns Out to Serve a Purpose By BENEDICT CAREY Juicy gossip moves so quickly - He did what? She has pictures? - that few people have time to cover their ears, even if they wanted to. 'I heard a lot in the hallway, on the way to class,' said Mady Miraglia, 35, a high school history teacher in Los Gatos, Calif., speaking about a previous job, where she got a running commentary from fellow teachers on the sexual peccadilloes and classroom struggles of her colleagues. 'To be honest, it made me feel better as a teacher to hear others being put down,' she said. 'I was out there on my own, I had no sense of how I was doing in class, and the gossip gave me some connection. And I felt like it gave me status, knowing information, being on the inside.' Gossip has long been dismissed by researchers as little more than background noise, blather with no useful function. But some investigators now say that gossip should be central to any study of group interaction. People find it irresistible for good reason: Gossip not only helps clarify and enforce the rules that keep people working well together, studies suggest, but it circulates crucial information about the behavior of others that cannot be published in an office manual. As often as it sullies reputations, psychologists say, gossip offers a foothold for newcomers in a group and a safety net for group members who feel in danger of falling out. 'There has been a tendency to denigrate gossip as sloppy and unreliable' and unworthy of serious study, said David Sloan Wilson, a professor of biology and anthropology at the State University of New York at Binghamton and the author of 'Darwin's Cathedral,' a book on evolution and group behavior. 'But gossip appears to be a very sophisticated, multifunctional interaction which is important in policing behaviors in a group and defining group membership.' When two or more people huddle to share inside information about another person who is absent, they are often spreading important news, and enacting a mutually protective ritual that may have evolved from early grooming behaviors, some biologists argue. Long-term studies of Pacific Islanders, American middle-school children and residents of rural Newfoundland and Mexico, among others, have confirmed that the content and frequency of gossip are universal: people devote anywhere from a fifth to two-thirds or more of their daily conversation to gossip, and men appear to be just as eager for the skinny as women. Sneaking, lying and cheating among friends or acquaintances make for the most savory material, of course, and most people pass on their best nuggets to at least two other people, surveys find. This grapevine branches out through almost every social group and it functions, in part, to keep people from straying too far outside the group's rules, written and unwritten, social scientists find. In one recent experiment, Dr. Wilson led a team of researchers who asked a group of 195 men and women to rate their approval or disapproval of several situations in which people talked behind the back of a neighbor. In one, a rancher complained to other ranchers that his neighbor had neglected to fix a fence, allowing cattle to wander and freeload. The report was accurate, and the students did not disapprove of the gossip. But men in particular, the researchers found, strongly objected if the rancher chose to keep mum about the fence incident. 'Plain and simple he should have told about the problem to warn other ranchers,' wrote one study participant, expressing a common sentiment that, in this case, a failure to gossip put the group at risk. 'We're told we're not supposed to gossip, that our reputation plummets, but in this context there may be an expectation that you should gossip: you're obligated to tell, like an informal version of the honor code at military academies,' Dr. Wilson said. This rule-enforcing dynamic is hardly confined to the lab. For 18 months, Kevin Kniffin, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, tracked the social interactions of a university crew team, about 50 men and women who rowed together in groups of four or eight. Dr. Kniffin said he was still analyzing his research notes. But a preliminary finding, he said, was that gossip levels peaked when the team included a slacker, a young man who regularly missed practices or showed up late. Fellow crew members joked about the slacker's sex life behind his back and made cruel cracks about his character and manhood, in part because the man's shortcoming reflected badly on the entire team. 'As soon as this guy left the team, the people were back to talking about radio, food, politics, weather, those sorts of things,' Dr. Kniffin said. 'There was very little negative gossip.' Given this protective group function, gossiping too little may be at least as risky as gossiping too much, some psychologists say. After all, scuttlebutt is the most highly valued social currency there is. While humor and story telling can warm any occasion, a good scoop spreads through a room like an illicit and irresistible drug, passed along in nods and crooked smiles, in discreet walks out to the balcony, the corridor, the powder room. Knowing that your boss is cheating on his wife, or that a sister-in-law has a drinking problem or a rival has benefited from a secret trust fund may be enormously important, and in many cases change a person's behavior for the better. 'We all know people who are not calibrated to the social world at all, who if they participated in gossip sessions would learn a whole lot of stuff they need to know and can't learn anywhere else, like how reliable people are, how trustworthy,' said Sarah Wert, a psychologist at Yale. 'Not participating in gossip at some level can be unhealthy, and abnormal.' Talking out of school may also buffer against low-grade depressive moods. In one recent study, Dr. Wert had 84 college students write about a time in their lives when they felt particularly alienated socially, and also about a memory of being warmly accepted. After finishing the task, Dr. Wert prompted the participants to gossip with a friend about a mutual acquaintance, as she filmed the exchanges. Those who rated their self-esteem highly showed a clear pattern: they spread good gossip when they felt accepted and a more derogatory brand when they felt marginalized. The gossip may involve putting someone else down to feel better by comparison. Or it may simply be a way to connect with someone else and share insecurities. But the end result, she said, is often a healthy relief of social and professional anxiety. Ms. Miraglia, the high school teacher, said that in her previous job she found it especially comforting to hear about more senior teachers' struggle to control difficult students. 'It was my first job, and I felt overwhelmed, and to hear someone say, 'There's no control in that class' about another teacher, that helped build my confidence,' she said. She said she also heard about teachers who made inappropriate comments to students about sex, a clear violation of school policy and professional standards. Adept gossipers usually sense which kinds of discreet talk are most likely to win acceptance from a particular group. For example, a closely knit corporate team with clear values - working late hours, for instance - will tend to embrace a person who gripes in private about a colleague who leaves early and shun one who complains about the late nights. By contrast, a widely dispersed sales force may lap up gossip about colleagues, but take it lightly, allowing members to work however they please, said Eric K. Foster, a scholar at the Institute for Survey Research at Temple University in Philadelphia, who recently published an analysis of gossip research. It is harder to judge how gossip will move through groups that are split into factions, like companies with divisions that are entirely independent, Dr. Foster said. 'In these situations, it is the person who gravitates into a intermediate position, making connections between the factions, who controls the gossip flow and holds a lot of power,' he said. Such people can mask devious intentions, spread false rumors and manipulate others for years, as anyone who has worked in an organization for a long time knows. But to the extent that healthy gossip has evolved to protect social groups, it will also ultimately expose many of those who cheat and betray. Any particularly nasty gossip has an author or authors, after all, and any functioning gossip network builds up a memory. So do the people who are tuned in to the network. In one 2004 study, psychologists had college students in Ohio fill out questionnaires, asking about the best gossip they had heard in the last week, the last month and the last year. The students then explained in writing what they learned by hearing the stories. Among the life lessons: 'Infidelity will eventually catch up with you,' 'Cheerful people are not necessarily happy people' and 'Just because someone says they have pictures of something doesn't mean they do.' None of which they had learned in class.

Subject: Spyware and Cookies
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 07:22:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/15/business/media/15adcol.html Spyware Heats Up the Debate Over Cookies By BOB TEDESCHI INTERNET users are taking back control of their computers, and online marketers and publishers are not pleased with the results. But they don't quite know what to do about their conundrum - if it is a conundrum, since they can't even agree on that. Until recently, Internet businesses could track their users freely, using what are known as cookies, tiny text files they embed on the user's hard drive. Now, with the proliferation of antispyware programs that can delete unwanted cookies, they often cannot tell who has been to their Web site before or what they have seen. And this erosion of control over a tool for gaining insight into consumer behavior has many of them fretting. 'Cookies are critical from a business perspective,' said Lorraine Ross, vice president for sales at USAToday.com. 'They help us do things like track our profitability per unique visitor, for instance. But if you don't know how many people are coming in, you don't really have a handle on whether your profitability is improving or not.' It isn't necessarily just corporate America that is threatened by the anticookie fervor, Ms. Ross said - the deleters stand to suffer, too. For example, cookies help a computer limit how many times a user sees annoying ads like a floating, animated message. Such 'frequency caps,' to use industry parlance, are common among publishers. 'So cookies are a really good thing for managing the user's experience,' she said. Last year, though, Ms. Ross said executives at the company debated how effective their frequency limits were, since a growing number of Internet users were deleting cookies and possibly seeing lots of animated ads. Ms. Ross said that like most established companies, USAToday.com did not use its cookies to identify its users. 'But the user's paranoia is understandable, given the history,' she said. Cookies first got a bad name in 1999, when DoubleClick announced that it would use them to identify Internet users and analyze both their offline purchasing patterns and online surfing habits for the purpose of showing them more relevant online ads. That plan died a loud, painful death after privacy advocates objected strenuously, and marketers and publishers have since taken a much more cautious approach. Even so, privacy advocates deplore cookies and, as software programs like Webroot Spy Sweeper and McAfee AntiSpyware have come on the market, surfers by the millions are apparently knocking the cookies out of service as fast as the programs can be installed. This spring, the online consulting firm Jupiter Research published a report saying that nearly 40 percent of Internet users surveyed regularly erased them. 'I don't think cookies should be out there at all,' said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group based in Washington, 'but the good news here is that consumers are at least becoming more sophisticated about the appropriate use of cookies.' Eric Peterson, the analyst who wrote the Jupiter report, pointed out that most of the deleted files were so-called third-party cookies placed on the computer by a company other than the one operating the site the user was visiting. Most publishers rely on outside companies like DoubleClick and Atlas to send ads to the user's computer and track the effectiveness of campaigns. Antispyware programs often leave in place first-party cookies, which can save users the inconvenience of having to log in to a news site each time they visit, but remove third-party cookies, the main target of users' ire. Some people say they think that total anonymity is the way to go. The threat to the bottom line is real. Mr. Peterson said cookies not only helped sites measure overall profitability, but were critical in measuring the effectiveness of individual advertising campaigns. Marketers, for instance, could conceivably pay a Web site to deliver ads to 100,000 people, but only reach about 60,000 because so many of them were being counted twice. 'If you're O.K. with getting your ads to half as many people, and not really being sure how effective your campaign was, well then you can happily put your head in the sand,' Mr. Peterson said. 'Most people tell us they want data more accurate than that.' But are that many people really blocking cookies? Some executives aren't so sure. 'When I talk to publishers, nobody says the problem is as big as the press suggests,' said Greg Stuart, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry trade group. 'So our role should be to get to some factual basis.' Mr. Stuart said his organization was planning its own research into the issue because, he said, much of the recent research 'involves asking consumers about what they did, which isn't always a good indicator of their behavior.' Another doubter is Peter Naylor, senior vice president for sales at iVillage, a network of women's sites. 'I don't think the problem is real, based on what we're seeing, or more importantly not seeing,' he said. Mr. Naylor said he had not conducted tests or surveys to determine if his company's visitors were deleting or blocking cookies, 'but nothing has changed dramatically enough to raise a red flag.' 'And I've heard literally nothing about it from advertisers,' he added. Among those companies fielding the most calls about cookie deletion are advertising technology businesses like Atlas. Young-Bean Song, the director of analytics for Atlas, said that even if the cookie deletion rates were as high as 40 percent, publishers and marketers could still rely on the data from the 60 percent remaining of a site's users to gauge the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and other important statistics. Perhaps because executives cannot agree on the scope of the problem, solutions have been slow to emerge. Mr. Stuart of the Interactive Advertising Bureau said that if the issue turned out to be as big as some suspect, his organization was likely to embark on an ad campaign to convince online users that cookies were not harmful. Already, Internet companies are trying to accommodate Web users in practical ways. In May, WebTrends, a site that had helped online businesses analyze advertising and Web site data by using third-party cookies, began offering its clients the ability to offer first-party cookies without losing the data associated with the old third-party ones. Greg Drew, WebTrends' chief executive, said some users still blocked cookies altogether, so the solution was not completely effective. Still, he said, many clients had flocked to the service. In the meantime, Ms. Ross of USAToday.com said the real solution was to overcome consumer hostility toward what she regards as a legitimate business practice that makes life easier for everyone. That may be a long shot, but she is hopeful. 'We have to think about long-term answers,' she said. 'We need to have users love their cookies, for the right reasons.'

Subject: Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 15:37:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/fashion/sundaystyles/14PHILLY.html Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough By JESSICA PRESSLER PHILADELPHIA WEARING a Paul Green School of Rock T-shirt, his bangs plastered to his forehead in the summer heat, Laris Kreslins pulled in front of a handsome brownstone on Rittenhouse Square, the priciest neighborhood in the city, and hopped out of his car. 'We're going to show you what a real Philly apartment looks like,' he said, unlocking the door to reveal a spacious one-bedroom flat sparsely decorated with CD's and copies of music magazines. 'As you can see, it has hardwood floors, lots of light and very high ceilings,' he said. Then Mr. Kreslins paused and delivered what he knew would be the kicker: 'Rent is $800 a month. Heat and electricity included.' Mr. Kreslins isn't selling real estate. He's selling Philadelphia. The publisher of Arthur, a free arts and culture magazine, Mr. Kreslins, 30, lived in a tiny apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, before leaving New York two years ago and ending up in Philadelphia, where he and his girlfriend, Kendra Gaeta, 30, another Brooklynite, bought a four-bedroom house close to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in March and promptly started a Web site, movetophilly.com. The site, designed to lure 20- and 30-something singles and couples to the city, features a sultry caricature of Patti LaBelle, a longtime resident, who entreats visitors to e-mail for the kind of tour Mr. Kreslins was recently holding, taking visitors to a thrift store, a Polish butcher and his friend Brendan's apartment. Philadelphians occasionally refer to their city - somewhat deprecatingly - as the 'sixth borough' of New York, and with almost 8,000 commuters making the 75-minute train ride between the cities each weekday, the label seems not far off the mark. But Mr. Kreslins and Ms. Gaeta are a new breed of Philadelphia-bound commuters, those who come from New York by train or the popular Chinatown bus for a weekend and then come back, with a U-Haul, to stay. They are the first wave of what could be called Philadelphia's Brooklynization. Hard numbers assessing exactly how many new residents are from New York are not available, but real estate brokers are noting an influx of prospective buyers and renters from the city; club owners and restaurant employees have spotted newcomers, on both sides of the bar; and 'everyone knows someone who's moved here from New York,' said Paul Levy, the executive director of the Center City District, a business improvement group, and himself a former Brooklyn resident. Attracted by a thriving arts and music scene here and a cost of living that is 37 percent lower than New York's, according to city figures, a significant number of youngish artists, musicians, restaurateurs and designers are leaving New York City and heading down the turnpike for the same reasons they once moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan. 'We got priced out of Manhattan, and we moved to Brooklyn,' said John Schmersal, 32, of the three-member band Enon; two of them migrated here in January. 'Then we got priced out of Brooklyn. Now we're in Philadelphia.' On a recent Friday night Mr. Schmersal and his girlfriend, Toko Yasuda, were huddled at the bar at the Khyber, a smoky rock institution in the nightclub-heavy Old City neighborhood, a Colonial area of narrow streets bordering the Delaware River east of City Hall, to see Love as Laughter, a New York City band. 'We like going to shows here,' Mr. Schmersal said. 'In New York there are so many people, it's impossible to even get in to see hot bands.' Much less be in a band. 'For years I was willing to sacrifice quality of life for artistic fulfillment - you know, you find a circle of artists and you scrape by,' said Anna Neighbor, a 27-year-old bass player and Williamsburg exile, between sips of Yuengling lager at a bar in the Northern Liberties neighborhood, an artists' enclave north of City Hall. In January Ms. Neighbor and her husband, Daniel Matz, and Jason McNeely, all members of the indie rock band Windsor for the Derby, decided to leave Brooklyn. Ms. Neighbor and Mr. Matz discovered Fishtown, a gentrifying blue-collar neighborhood adjacent to Northern Liberties, where, in the last five years, youthful faces with bed head have made their way among the traditionally Irish Catholic residents. They found a three-bedroom row house for $170,000. 'New York is mythologically all about vibrancy and creativity, but it's hard to work a 40-hour week and come home and be Jackson Pollock,' said Mr. Matz, 32, a guitarist. He said that by living in Philadelphia he could support himself teaching public school and devote the rest of his time to his band. A few blocks away from Ms. Neighbor's house live Laura Watt, a 38-year-old painter, and her husband, Clark Thompson, 38, a financial services technician who left his Manhattan-based bank for one in Philadelphia a year ago. They settled in a three-level condominium in a new housing development called Rag Flats in Fishtown with their two children, Gus and Lydia. At $439,000 it was pricier than any of the block's three-story row houses, but with three bedrooms, each with an outdoor deck; solar heat and electricity; a rooftop with spectacular views; and a dumbwaiter going down to the kitchen, they thought it was worth it. 'Philadelphia reminds me a lot of what Brooklyn used to be like,' said Ms. Watt, who had lived in Brooklyn and Westchester County for 15 years. Fifteen or 20 years ago, the idea of Philadelphia as a place to go for quality life would have been laughable to many people, even to Philadelphians. Sandwiched between New York and Washington, Philadelphia was a flyover city - trainover really - a place where a mayor had ordered the bombing of a neighborhood and where Eagles fans reveled in booing their own team, its chief popular exports cheese steaks and 'Rocky.' While Philadelphia's rich cultural history, like its art museum, its symphony orchestra and its Colonial architecture, gave the city establishment credentials, it did not produce much of an avant-garde. 'The Philadelphia market was really provincial,' said Steven Lowy, who opened a gallery in Philadelphia in 1984 but fled back to Manhattan three years later. Lately the city has stepped up its efforts to woo people back, in part by trying to position Center City as 'young and hip and cool,' said Meryl Levitz, the president of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation, who regularly holds lunches at which she tells the New York media, 'We're closer than the Hamptons!' The campaign had a boost last month when Forbes magazine named Philadelphia No. 12 on its list of best cities for singles (out of 40), a jump from No. 15 a year ago. In 2004 tourists in Philadelphia numbered 25.5 million, an increase of 41 percent in the last five years, and though the city had been losing residents - especially young ones - steadily since the 1950's, when it had 2.07 million people, the population of the city, the nation's fifth-largest, has leveled off at 1.5 million in the last four years. A government plan to provide the city with free wireless Internet access has as yet gone unrealized, but the national publicity surrounding it has given Philadelphia a progressive image, as has a marketing campaign by the tourism bureau, started in 2003 to attract gay tourists. That tagline was 'Get your history straight and your nightlife gay.' 'There's a big gay clientele coming down here,' said Michael McCann, a real estate agent with Prudential Fox and Roach, who also said he has seen a 'significant increase' in buyers from Manhattan and has worked with 'a ton' of 'single people and couples between 28 and 43' from Brooklyn. Often they move to start the kind of business they had in New York. Danuta Mieloch, 39, an owner of Rescue Rittenhouse Spa, who administered body scrubs to celebrities at Paul Labrecque on the Upper East Side before moving to Philadelphia to start her own place, is an example. Jose Garces, 33, a former chef at Chicama and Pipa in Gramercy Park, will open Amada, a tapas restaurant in Old City, in September. Matthew Izzo, 35, and his business partner, Mark Ax, 35, defected from New York design firms to start their own home and design boutiques, the Matthew Izzo shops. 'It's just so much more workable here,' Mr. Izzo said. 'It's smaller and more manageable.' And Lindsay Berman, 27, who left a marketing job at the Showtime network in Manhattan, is waiting tables part time at Jones, a 70's throwback diner in Center City, while she gets her T-shirt line, Dirty Old Shirt, off the ground. Not that everyone is committed for life. Some 'can't give up their Brooklyn phone numbers,' said Heather Murphy Monteith, a dancer who runs a disco for toddlers. She has noticed 718 and 917 area codes popping up on the contact sheets. Some keep more than just their digits: Mitzi Wong, 36, a buyer for the Philadelphia-based trend mecca Anthropologie, bought a 'Jane Austen-like' row house in Society Hill, the historic Philadelphia neighborhood, but she is keeping her East Village apartment for weekends. Lee Daniels, a native Philadelphian and producer of the film 'Monster's Ball,' rents in Harlem but bought a luxury apartment on the Delaware riverfront. 'So many people are moving here,' Mr. Daniels said. 'People just fall in love with it.' Many of the things that were once deterring about Philadelphia have also been turned around. The recent lifting of archaic building ordinances and a 10-year tax abatement on new construction means that blighted factories and brownstones are now being converted, many into luxury apartments, and new buildings are going up in place of weed-filled lots. Bring-your-own restaurants, born out of Pennsylvania's Puritan liquor restrictions, have become a charming hallmark of Center City. Philadelphia still has its share of urban blight: It ranks higher than New York in homelessness, crime and poverty. It maintains a high position in the Men's Health list of America's Fattest Cities each year, and, as New Yorkers often complain, you would be hard-pressed to find much open after 2 a.m. But the renaissance in real estate and restaurants has aligned with the city's music scene, which runs the gamut of cool. In a recent conversation Nick Sylvester, who covers Philadelphia music for The Village Voice and Pitchfork Media, an online music magazine, mentions diverse acts like the indie rockers Dr. Dog and Man Man, Beanie Sigel's State Property crew, and D.J.'s Diplo and Dave Pianka. 'Philly's decidedly anti-scene, and that appeals to a lot of musicians that move there,' he said. 'They can actually do their own thing.' There are art shows of international renown, like the Salvador Dalí show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the spring, and shows by quirky collectives like Space 1026 in Chinatown, which recently housed an installation made with Cheez-Its. All of which has collided with a peculiar cultural moment in which uncool is the new cool, in which blue-collar scrappiness and a surfeit of fried-meat specialties now seems endearingly kitschy. At least one developer is banking on the hope that Philadelphia's appeal is not just a fleeting fad. On a vast tract of land in Northern Liberties, an area once notable for hate crimes and heroin availability, a 50-year-old former shopping center developer named Bart Blatstein is building a $100 million development. Scheduled for completion in 2007, it will have 1,000 apartments, half a million square feet of ground-floor retail space and 100,000 square feet of industrial-chic office space, all of which Mr. Blatstein says will be offered at reduced rents to 'edgy, creative types.' The project is seeking New Yorkers. (Mr. Blatstein's company, Tower Properties, plans to advertise both in The Village Voice and on New York's Craigslist.) 'We want it to be a cross between Williamsburg and SoHo,' he said. But Mr. Lowy, of Portico gallery in SoHo, is skeptical about the long-run chances for young artists: 'The quality of life is pretty good but many of those artists probably won't stay. Can you get an art dealer to come to your studio when you're in Philly? Sure, you have time to make more art, but there's no one to buy it.'

Subject: Death Tax? Double Tax? It's No Tax
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 14:22:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/business/yourmoney/14view.html Death Tax? Double Tax? For Most, It's No Tax By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON WHEN Congress comes back from its summer recess, one of the first things Senate Republicans will try to do, again, is kill the estate tax. Perhaps no other tax has so many passionate, persevering and politically organized opponents as the estate tax, or 'death tax,' as they have branded it. As Michael J. Graetz and Ian Shapiro of Yale recount in 'Death by a Thousand Cuts' (Princeton University Press), their entertaining account of the repeal movement, opponents of the estate tax have already achieved a remarkable political feat by building broad public support for abolishing a tax that currently affects only 2 percent of all estates. But repeal would be costly - more than $70 billion a year, once it was complete - and many of the populist arguments in favor of repeal are misleading. If estate or inheritance taxes were frozen at today's levels, they would have almost no impact on family farmers and most small-business owners. And while opponents contend that the estate tax is a 'double tax,' many of the earnings that are subject to it were never taxed in the first place. The tax opponents, many of whom began as political neophytes more than 20 years ago, lead a powerful coalition of small-business owners, farmers, trade associations and corporate lobbying groups like the American Council on Capital Formation. Killing the estate tax is one of President Bush's top priorities, and the House of Representatives has already passed a repeal measure four different times. But Senate Republicans, despite attempts to cut a deal with conservative Democrats before the summer recess, have been stalled on the issue. Unable to muster the 60 votes they need to overcome a Democratic filibuster, Senate leaders are now vowing to push for full repeal as soon as they come back in September. Hoping to pressure Democrats from conservative farming states just before Congress adjourned, two business-backed advocacy groups spent about $500,000 on television ads last month in states including Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas and Louisiana. The ads, produced by the American Family Business Institute and the Free Enterprise Fund - the first an advocacy group dedicated to abolishing the estate tax, the second an advocacy group aimed at a wider range of tax cuts - focused on images of soldiers fighting on D-Day in World War II. 'The I.R.S. hits this greatest generation with an unjust double tax, the death tax,' the narrator intoned in an ad aimed at North Dakota. Viewers are urged to 'tell Kent Conrad,' the state's Democratic senator, to 'change his vote.' But despite the populist rhetoric and oft-repeated horror stories about families being forced to sell their farms in order to pay estate taxes, the battle is over a very large amount of money held by a very small number of families. A report last month by the Congressional Budget Office found that in 2000 only 2 percent of all estates - about 52,000 - were subject to any estate tax. At that point, taxes were imposed only on estates worth $675,000 or more. The limit rose to $1.5 million in 2004, and if that limit had been in effect in 2000, only 13,771 estates - fewer than 1 percent - would have been subject to the tax. All but 740 of them would have had enough in liquid assets to cover estate tax liabilities, the office estimated. At the moment, taxes are imposed only on estates worth more than $1.5 million. Under Mr. Bush's tax cut of 2001, the estate tax is set to shrink steadily over this decade and disappear in 2010. But the 2001 bill called for the estate tax to reappear in full force in 2011. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that full repeal would cost $290 billion over the next 10 years, but that calculation understates the true cost because full repeal would not occur until 2011. Once the estate tax was fully repealed, the Treasury would lose more than $70 billion a year in today's dollars. Over the first 10 years of full repeal, the cost would total more than $700 billion, plus interest. Assuming that the government is still running an annual deficit in 2011, which is more likely than not, the total 10-year cost would be close to $1 trillion. A compromise being floated by Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, could be almost as expensive. Indeed, because of a strange wrinkle, the compromise could end up being far more generous to many heirs than outright repeal. Mr. Kyl's proposal called for excluding estate taxes on all property up to $3.5 million and taxing anything above that amount at 15 percent - the same rate now charged on capital gains. Under current law, estate tax rates range up to about 45 percent. As a practical matter, Mr. Kyl's approach would eliminate the estate tax for more than 99 percent of all families and greatly reduce taxes for the few who owed anything at all. If the $3.5 million exclusion were in effect in 2000, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, only 3,676 estates - about 0.15 percent of all estates - would have had to pay any tax. But the proposed compromise also comes with an important twist that could make it more expensive than the $53 billion a year estimated by Congressional tax scorers. The twist is that the proposal would retain a big tax break that is supposed to disappear along with the estate tax. That break is known as the 'stepped-up basis,' and it means that an heir does not owe any capital gains taxes on any increase in value of property during the life of the person who died. A mansion that appreciated to $10 million from $1 million, for example, would not be subject to any capital gains taxes on that profit if an heir sold it. For many families with estates worth less than $3.5 million, that could amount to a double tax break. A person could build up wealth for years, yet avoid paying taxes because the gains were all 'unrealized.' His children could then inherit the property, sell it and avoid both the capital gains and estate taxes. The added cost of retaining a stepped-up basis may be only partially reflected in the official cost estimates of Mr. Kyl's proposal, because it is difficult to estimate when people will sell inherited property. But the American Family Business Institute has said that a very high percentage of heirs sell or restructure their holdings within five years. That's why it is misleading for opponents of the estate tax to claim that it is a double tax on earnings that have already been taxed once. In many cases, that's not true. 'A lot of assets that passed through very large estates have never been taxed and never will be,' said Mr. Graetz of Yale. 'It's a very big issue.' For thousands of single-digit millionaires, that could be a very good deal indeed.

Subject: CBO and OMB - who gonna pay da tax?
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 19:57:33 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Congressional Budget Office Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin , Congressional Budget Office Watched on cspan today - taxes are going to have to be paid by someone going forward 10 years, there is just no way around it. Elephants seem they want the poor man to pay, Donkey Spratt said wait, maybe the rich man needs to pay. I am all for it, let the rich man pay some more, kudlow and friends don't like the death tax, but I remember oliver stone's gordon gecko saying how too much wealth is controlled by idiot sons and widows.

Subject: Immigrant Women Line Up for Day Labor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 08:43:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/15/nyregion/15labor.html Invisible to Most, Immigrant Women Line Up for Day Labor By NINA BERNSTEIN The women are not noticed by the weekday morning crowds that rush past Eighth Avenue and 37th Street, in the heart of Manhattan's fashion district. They arrive in twos and threes after 8 a.m., shrinking against the buildings on both sides of the avenue, until scores of them are waiting, small, dark-haired Mexicans, Ecuadoreans, Hondurans. By noon they have vanished. In swift, discreet sidewalk negotiations, perhaps half have been hired for a day's work at the minimum wage or less in some of the neighborhood's last struggling garment factories. The rest have given up until tomorrow. A few miles away in Williamsburg, commuters on the busy Brooklyn-Queens Expressway are equally oblivious to the similar scene unfolding on an overpass above them. There, the work at stake is $8-an-hour housecleaning, and those vying for a day's scrubbing, mainly for Hasidic homemakers, stand in a crude ascending hierarchy of employer preference: Mexican and Central American women in their 30's at the back, Polish immigrant women in their 50's and 60's in the middle, and young Polish students with a command of English at the head of the line. At a time when male day laborers have become the most public and contentious face of economic immigration to the United States, these two rare female shape-ups have doubled in size almost unobserved in recent years. Their growth reflects a larger overlooked reality: Women make up 44 percent of the nation's low-wage immigrant work force, and worldwide, studies show, more and more women are migrating for work. Often invisible and undercounted, experts say, female economic migrants are an increasing presence, especially in big cities like New York, where the demand is not for men to pick lettuce or process poultry, but for women to pick up the scraps of a collapsed manufacturing sector, or to serve in the vast underground economy of domestic service. Although more women across the country are showing up in day-labor hiring halls, often run by grass-roots labor groups, experts say that these two female shape-ups may well be the only significant ones of their kind in the nation - places where women are willing to put their personal safety in jeopardy for a few hours of work. 'What else is there to do if you have nothing to eat?' asked Rosario Jocha, 49, still standing on Eighth Avenue at 11 a.m. on a recent Wednesday. She said she had recently grabbed a day's work cutting threads from jackets even when the employer, a Chinese immigrant subcontractor, insisted he could not pay more than $5.75 an hour, 25 cents below the state minimum wage. 'I've been here 11 years, and I still haven't found a stable, steady job.' At both locations, some of the women waiting for work had been in the country as little as a few months; others, like Ms. Jocha, a Queens resident from Ecuador, were old-timers who spoke of better jobs lost when small-business employers could not pay rising rent. On Eighth Avenue, merchants said that 100 to 150 women regularly sought work six mornings a week year round - double or triple the number when the intersection first emerged as an informal female hiring site about six years ago. Yet May Chen, a vice president of Unite, the garment workers' union, whose headquarters is only a dozen blocks away, said she was unaware of the shape-up's existence until she was asked about it for this article. And Aaron Adams, a veteran garment center landlord who passes by every day, said he had assumed the women standing there 'were just shooting the breeze.' Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a sociologist who has written extensively about the feminization of migration, said she was not surprised. 'The space that these women occupy, the public spaces in the city, are just like fleeting moments,' she said. 'They don't really have a place in the city that's visible, so it's easy to ignore them.' Even the discussion of legal guest worker proposals in Congress centers on male migrants, she said. But though nationally men account for about two-thirds of labor migration among illegal immigrants, primarily because of agricultural demand, she said, global patterns indicate that women are easily half the immigrant workers flowing to large metropolitan areas like New York. Ms. Parreñas and other researchers find that women who migrate for work are likely to be single mothers supporting children in their native countries. Compared with their male counterparts, they earn less, despite higher levels of education, according to a 2002 study of the United States' low-wage immigrant work force by the Urban Institute, a research group in Washington, which estimated that two million foreign-born women made less than the minimum wage. Yet women are also more likely to remain in America, and they send home a higher proportion of their earnings. Unvarnished lessons in global supply, demand and division play out at both New York hiring sites. 'We never talk to the Latinas - sometimes they agree to work for less,' said Teresa, a 53-year-old Polish widow who, like many of the 60 women waiting for cleaning work near Marcy and Division Avenues in Williamsburg on a recent Friday morning, would give only her first name. At the other end of the curved concrete abutment, Maria, 35, from Ecuador, gave a shrug. 'They pay them more,' she complained, as a woman in Hasidic dress passed by the Spanish-speaking group and selected a tall young Polish woman. 'It's just that they're white.' Even among the Poles, immigration complicates the pecking order. Some older women won green cards after years as live-in maids for sponsors, and boast in broken English of children in college. Other women lack papers, or shuttle on temporary work visas between their struggling families in rural Poland and spartan, overpriced rooms in Brooklyn. And in summer, just when demand declines because of employer vacations, they now face growing numbers of young Polish women working illegally on tourist visas while living rent-free with Brooklyn relatives. 'They don't want babushkas,' complained Zofia, a 50-year-old mother of five, as a young Hasidic man led Justyne, a 24-year-old Polish student, to his S.U.V. Not all employers had the same preferences, however, and most, like Rifky Kohn, 28, a pregnant mother of four, were on foot. At midday, with the Sabbath approaching, she gladly hired a Polish woman in her late 60's. 'She looks more experienced,' explained Mrs. Kohn. Rosa Yumbla, who supports four children in Ecuador, recently skipped a day on the overpass to address a national conference of day labor organizers at New York University Law School. She spoke at the urging of the Latin American Workers Project, an advocacy group in Brooklyn. 'We suffer the changing weather throughout the year, the heat of the sun and cold in winter, because where we wait to be picked up is on the corner,' Ms. Yumbla said in Spanish to an audience that included the mayor's commissioner for immigrant affairs. 'Help us secure a space where we can be safer.' For now, the women depend on one another and their own instincts for safety. On a recent Wednesday, when a man on Eighth Avenue approached a young Mexican woman with a vague description of a part-time job in a store at the Port Authority, an older woman drew close and signaled disapproval. The man, who gave his name as Victor Miranda and his age as 55, then turned to Josefa Limas, 32, who arrived from Puebla, Mexico, only six months ago. She, too, shook her head. 'Sometimes they'll just end up taking you somewhere else,' she said, describing another woman's close call the previous day. 'An Indian man took her to an elevator and wouldn't let her out. He came over and tried to grab her. She pressed an emergency button and got away.' Still, the pressure to take chances can be strong. Nellie, 32, who shares a room in the Bronx, pulled out a picture of the three children she left four years ago with her sister in rural Ecuador, in an effort to earn money for the heart operation needed by her son, the youngest. 'The little I make here I send to him,' she said. 'Many times I just want to go to be with him, but I don't have the money to do so. It gives me a desperate feeling.' On this day she counted herself lucky: she had been called back for a second day's work at $6 an hour, she said. And leaving the line, she melted into the crowd.

Subject: Re: Immigrant Women Line Up for Day Labor
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 12:59:07 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'Compared with their male counterparts, they earn less, despite higher levels of education, according to a 2002 study of the United States' low-wage immigrant work force by the Urban Institute,' How said, higher education should be rewarded - they are supposed to be coming to a more fair country than they left no?

Subject: I don't understand Kudlow
From: Poyetas
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 05:11:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Based on what I've been seeing, everyone on this forum should have their own talkshow because they are twice as informed as everyone who does have a talkshow and debates Krugman. What in the world is Larry Kudlow talking about?? 1. 'the expansion of homeownership among the middle, lower-middle and lower-income classes is one of the great benefits and boons of this economic prosperity.' - People are just re-mortgaging their homes, that is no net increase in home ownership. 'But they are looking at stocks vs. real estate and saying, well, at least I am going to be able to hold my investment' - Your investment will hold as long as the housing market holds because the economy is 85% housing! Your putting all your eggs in one basket. ITS A HIGHLY CORRELATED ECONOMY!! 'Just real quick, I think it is an investment-led recovery, particularly capital investment' - Ummmmm, haven't we learned anything from the 1990's?? I've said this before...Money (with a view to profit) does not create solutions, money does not increase creativity. They are mutually exclusive. Invest in things that foster creative thoughts by all means, but don't expect to make returns off something as spontanious and irrational as human ingenuity. You will always lose!

Subject: Noyce on Cspan
From: Johnny5
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 13:07:06 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'but don't expect to make returns off something as spontanious and irrational as human ingenuity. You will always lose! ' HAHA - I just watched a special on the father of silicon valley, Noyce - he said he always liked ideas that were new and untested and hated the tried and true. Bill Gates is a slave to innovation. RE kudlow's claim - I have seen in inner city palm beach county, several homes that were very ugly and slum looking have been remodeled and renovated and the areas are looking better. True those people are under more debt load now, but their neighborhoods sure look pretty - I guess what do you think is more important - looking pretty or sustainable finances - now remember IMAGE is A LOT here in america. My carpentar redneck friend probably put it best, he was sick and tired of the women he saw read homes and garden and then to follow the latest fashion rip up a perfectly good kitchen to put in the latest corian countertops and make her husband have to work a second job to pay for it - HAHA! I think krugman is not so much about IMAGE as fundamentals - he would probably buy his daughters the 20 dollar jeans at kmart - but kudlow is gonna get his daughters the 300 dollar jeans because like he says - it looks better. HAHA!

Subject: Re: I don't understand Kudlow
From: Emma
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 08:47:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is an excellent way to handle rebuttal. Nice points. 'Invest in things that foster creative thoughts by all means, but don't expect to make returns off something as spontanious and irrational as human ingenuity.' Nicely expressed.

Subject: investing
From: byron
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 23:30:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
My daughter has a small amount in vanguard indext 500. She just started working a new job and i am trying to get her to start investing for her eventual retirement. Should she continue in the 500 indext or mix it up in some other vanguard funds? I know vanguard is touted quite a bit on this forum and the advise from you all is pretty sound. Byron

Subject: Re: investing
From: Terri
To: byron
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 05:47:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Byron Vanguard has switched all it indexes but the S&P to the Morgan Stanley constructions which are superior to the old indexes in construction. The S&P however is so popular that it has not been switched. John Bogle suggested years ago that the index of choice be broader than the S&P. So, I do not use the S&P. The Vanguard LargeCap Index is closest to the S&P but includes more midcap companies. Then there is the Total Stock Market Index which includes midcap and smallcap. There is the MidCap Index and value and growth in both large and small cap. I have leaned to value and midcap indexes, and much prefer the SmallCap Value index to the complete smallcap or growth smallcap. When building in the beginning I find no reason not to use a single index as LargeCap or Total Stock Market. I will add....

Subject: Re: investing
From: John C.
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 12:43:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Vanguard has switched all it indexes but the S&P to the Morgan Stanley constructions which are superior to the old indexes in construction' can you explain why they are better. I've heard arguments both ways, but would like your rational.

Subject: Utilities and Durables
From: Johnny5
To: John C.
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 20:06:17 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I hold xom and vtrix, pete weis and warren buffet has said worry for the dollar, I share their concern. There are india and china funds like IIF that have done well recently and maybe not have a currency fall like ours. Between the 2 china scares me more with her state controlled companies and opaque banks and poor loans. Also you want to remember buffet was recently looking at buying utility companies, jim rogers on fox money hour also said to buy utilities - also Joe Kernan and the Brain on CNBC said GE may buy utilities - you may ask - who so many talking about utilities - well 70 year old laws have been changed and now big companies can buy small utilities - so they all are thinking this is probably gonna bring a lot of buyout offers for utilities from the big companies. I know terri has commented on healthcare and utilities and vangaurd has ETF's - so you may want to look there. Just last week I listened at old Peter Lynch Advice and bought some VDC - vanguard consumer durables - I hear discretionary spending is about to get very tight according to the congressional budget office. Stick with vanguard and thier ETF's and you should be A OK.

Subject: Re: Utilities and Durables
From: Terri
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 21:19:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Use the full name to avoid being confused. What you bought was the Consumer Staples Index, not consumer durables. Staples are razor blades and such, where durables are furniture and such.

Subject: Oh no!!
From: Johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 16, 2005 at 01:18:44 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Oh no - what am I to do Terri? I thought vanguard had a durables ETF - where am I to invest for durables? No vangaurd fund or ETF seems to have over 15% consumer durables - now I have a big hole in my diversification Terri. Oh this is very troublesome news - are there any etf's that can help me fill my durables need?

Subject: Re: investing
From: Emma
To: John C.
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 14:37:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The MSCI family are the finest indexes I know of. They are weighted for active shares only, so market capitalizations are better reflected. Because they reflect only active shares and are broader they are less volatile on movement of the largest companies. The indexes change less often, so there is less portfolio adjustment and cost and tax consequence. Changes in the indexes are made well after market closes, so are harder to gauge by speculators. Vanguard has made an excellent switch and has completely secure long term contracts that allow use of exchange traded funds for all the MSCI family.

Subject: Re: investing
From: John C.
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 17:00:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Because they reflect only active shares and are broader they are less volatile on movement of the largest companies' actually float adjusted indices by definition are more volatile than a full cap weighted counterpart; in this case that fact is irrelevant since we are talking about the style metrics used to categorize stocks, i.e. Barra uses the price/book ratio as its only metric, and MSCI uses multiple metrics to come up with a more liberal policy in categorizing stocks as value vs. growth, small vs. large, etc. In that case, Barra would be more 'volatile' in stock turnover. With that said, it doesn't necessarily mean going forward that MSCI funds will out perform Russell or Barra (Vanguard admits this point) rather they feel that the steps MSCI takes to construct an index is more appropriate.

Subject: Re: investing
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 14:47:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Superior after cost performance by MSCI to other index families. I love the Vanguard-MSCI family choice, though I want a Vanguard-MSCI Europe value index. We are so lucky to have Vanguard, and if you think other mutual fund families are a problem look to Europe, Japan, and Australia and feel even more fortunate.

Subject: Re: investing
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 05:55:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Emma posted these excellent articles below: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/business/13nocera.html Pro Tells Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win By Joseph Nocera http://www.vanguard.com/bogle_site/sp20050524.htm The Arithmetic of Mutual Fund Investing is More Important Than Ever Remarks by John C. Bogle Founder and Former Chairman, The Vanguard Group American Association of Individual Investors Philadelphia Chapter

Subject: Re: investing
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 06:00:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName I have loved the Vanguard Health Care Fund for long term investing, but Vanguard closes funds from time to time so they do not become too large and this fund is closed at present. There is the Vanguard Health Care Index however.

Subject: Re: investing
From: Jennifer
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 07:15:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The reason for Vanguard is that is the company giving individual investors a real chance to come close to the sort of institutional returns we always hear advertised but never can come close to with high cost companies. Indexing or low cost management works wonderfully when we save and invest continually.

Subject: Re: investing
From: byron
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 16:41:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks for your inputs and i will pass this info on to her.

Subject: Re: investing
From: Britney
To: byron
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 19:46:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is good advice. My parents started using Vanguard in the early 1980s and we followed and have never had a regret. We index and use Health Care and Energy, but we also have bought individual company shares over the years when we thought the values right and just put the shares away. We use Vanguard for all our financial transactions.

Subject: Re: investing
From: Dorian
To: Britney
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 04:44:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We use Vanguard for all our financial transactions. What is a good investment brokerage to use to purchase stocks, mutual funds, etc.? Dorian

Subject: Re: investing
From: Terri
To: Dorian
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 05:45:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Vanguard serves as a mutual fund company, as a discount brokerage, and as a commercial bank. Financial planning or advising services are also available.

Subject: Re: investing
From: Emma
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:20:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Vanguard has all the services an investor needs.

Subject: A Selective Housing Bubble
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 15:15:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
When we refer to a housing bubble, we are referring to speculative housing prices in select areas such as San Francisco or New York or Los Angeles or Miami, or what Paul Krugman has called the 'Zoned Zones' in which development prospects are reasonably limited. In the 'Flatlands' of Topeka or Minneapolis, housing prices have risen but development is simpler and there is no necessary bubble. I would not care to see the Fed worry about Miami and limit growth in Minneapolis.

Subject: Re: A Selective Housing Bubble
From: Poyetas
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 04:39:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
My thoughts exactly Terri, Furthurmore, as previously mentioned, an interest rate hike will only deflate the bubble faster or even make it burst, which is the last thing the economy needs at the moment. The bubble is unsustainable but the aim should be to gradually reduce it rather than kill it. The problem is, who is going to pick up the slack? I've said this before, we need a new area of growth that is going to drive the economy for the next 10 years. IT is a facilitator but not an end itself. However, creativity is something that this administration demonstratibly lacks.

Subject: Federal Reserve Policy
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 15:05:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The legislative purpose of the Federal reserve is to balance a tendency to inflation with as robust a labor market as possible. Inflation refers to general price increases rather than to rising asset prices. There is no provision for the Fed to try to control specific asset prices. There is especially no reason for the Fed to try to lower housing prices in San Francisco with no regard to employment in Chicago. Risking a possible recession to control selectively rising asset prices, makes little sense.

Subject: Under Pressure
From: E,mma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 13:13:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/magazine/14CRYOVAC.html Under Pressure By AMANDA HESSER A few weeks ago at Per Se, Thomas Keller's four-star restaurant in New York City, a waiter set a salad of diced watermelon and hearts of peach palm in front of me. ''This is watermelon that has been Cryovacked,'' he explained. ''It's something new we're doing. I think you will like it.'' This was a watershed moment on two accounts. First, because Keller had indeed managed to make something as mundane as watermelon taste different -- it had the crisp density of a McIntosh apple. But also because American dining has reached the level of sophistication at which a waiter will assume that a diner knows what ''Cryovacked'' is, and that this knowledge will enhance the experience of tasting diced watermelon. That won't be assumed here. ''Cryovacking'' is an industry term for putting food in a plastic bag and vacuum-packing it. Sometimes the food is then cooked in the bag. Other times, the pressure of the packing process is used to infuse flavors into ingredients. The watermelon, for instance, was vacuum-packed with 20 pounds of pressure per square centimeter, to compact the fruit's cells and concentrate its flavor. It had the texture of meat. Just the thing for backyard picnics. Cryovacking, which is more often called sous vide (French for ''under vacuum''), is poised to change the way restaurant chefs cook -- and like the Wolf stove and the immersion blender, it will probably trickle down to the home kitchen someday. Cryovacking has also given great momentum to the scientific cooking revolution of the last five years. Chefs have begun using techniques developed for industrial food production and advances in science to manipulate the chemical make-up of proteins, starches and fats to create new textures and flavors -- everything from fried mayonnaise to hot gelatins. Ferran Adriá is often seen as the hero of this movement. From his tiny restaurant, El Bulli, in Rosas, Spain, Adriá has sought to reform diners' expectations of ingredients like caviar (his might look just like osetra but is made of squid ink and calcium chloride) and to invent new flavors and textures (carrot juice frothed to a texture he calls ''air''). But the man who helped Keller master the technique that would compress watermelon and poach lobster with exquisite results, who taught Wylie Dufresne how to ''flash pickle'' water chestnuts with honey and sherry vinegar and who is having a greater impact on how people cook than anyone since Escoffier is not even a chef. Bruno Goussault, 63, is both a scientist and an economist. He has been training chefs like Fabio Trabocchi at the Ritz-Carlton and Michel Richard at Citronelle, both in Washington, Dan Barber at Blue Hill in New York and Daniel Boulud at Daniel, also in New York, not only how to use sous vide but also to understand the science behind it. Where Escoffier organized the way chefs cook, dividing the professional kitchen into stations (sauces, cold foods, sautéing, pastry), Goussault has reprogrammed their approach to temperature, technique and taste -- their fundamental understanding of cooking. At Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, the intense heat and scrape of pans against the stove is giving way to an almost placid atmosphere, the barely audible hum of water baths that run 24 hours a day. Dufresne, the chef at the innovative Manhattan restaurant WD-50, calls Goussault's contribution to cooking ''monumental.'' The advancements he has made are on par with the invention of the food processor and the gas stove, Thomas Keller says, and they will be around forever. ''With the Cuisinart,'' Keller says, ''there was no one that came with it. You got the book inside. With sous vide, the technology is so complex and there are so many variables. The thing that comes with sous vide is Bruno.'' When I met Goussault this past June, he was working at the American office of Cuisine Solutions, a food manufacturer in Alexandria, Va. He had on a blue checked shirt and a tie dotted with tiny bunnies. Goussault wanted to show me around the Cuisine Solutions plant, so we dressed in lab coats, booties, shower caps and masks, as if we were preparing for surgery, then headed into the damp, cold world of a food factory. In one room, a row of square steel vats was set on a platform. Inside one of the vats, hundreds of lamb shanks, sealed in vacuum-packed plastic bags, were submerged in water, cooking. There was no scent of food, nor the kind of steam and heat we normally associate with cooking. ''When you cook at home, you have a lot of flavor in your apartment,'' Goussault explained. ''And when you cook sous vide, all that flavor is inside the bag.'' The sous vide bag works as a hermetic seal, keeping in both juices and aroma; and by cooking in water, you get better heat transfer than you would in, say, an oven. Goussault began working more intensively with Cuisine Solutions' American operations in 1998. The company, which now grosses $50 million a year, prepares food for the Super Bowl, Costco, the first-class cabins on Air France and American Airlines, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and large hotel chains like Westin and Hyatt. Much of that food is cooked sous vide. When you order braised short ribs at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix, what you are served was actually cooked for 42 hours in Virginia and then simply reheated in the bag and garnished in Phoenix. Until recently, Goussault's most significant work had been on this scale. He developed the sous vide process for a number of hotels and food companies in France, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the U.S., enabling them to produce higher quality foods without preservatives. And in Norway, Chile and Africa, he designed fish-processing factories, where line-caught fish are cleaned and cooked (some of them before the fish can go into rigor mortis, and therefore before enzymes begin breaking down the flesh), yielding better quality fish with a longer shelf life. Goussault, who logged more than 120,000 miles on airplanes last year, has more plans yet: he hopes to take sous vide to the Niger River basin between Mali and Niger, where farmers from surrounding regions take their cattle. He would build feedlots, using the local abundance of cottonseed for feed. After slaughtering, the meat could be cooked, sous vide of course, using solar power. Goussault designed the production line at Cuisine Solutions for 130,000 meals a day. Like most food factories, it is very cold, with large refrigerated rooms that decrease the risk of bacteria. Long conveyor grills sear hundreds of chicken breasts at a time; steel tumblers the size of jet engines are filled with ingredients, then pressurized, a process that forces seasonings to penetrate the foods more deeply. This is Goussault's real domain. He is as much an engineer as a scientist -- as pleased with his invention of nonslip doilies for French train tables as he is with his cooking techniques. For decades, food was poached in sturdy plastic bags at traditional temperatures, simmering or boiling. Goussault discovered that keeping the temperature as low as possible and later cooling the food in several stages yielded a wildly different -- and tastier -- result. A piece of fish, for instance, can be cooked at about 130 degrees -- a hot bath, essentially -- for 30 minutes, then cooled, successively, at room temperature, in cold water, then in ice water, before being reheated and served. Cooking in bags at such low temperatures was long considered a recipe for botulism, but Goussault has debunked this fear, proving that the long cooking times followed by proper cooling kill bacteria with the same effectiveness as higher temperatures, also stabilizing the food so it can be stored longer before serving. Higher temperatures, Goussault argues, do irreparable damage to food. The cell walls in the food burst, making it impossible for the food to reabsorb the liquid it loses. Roasting a chicken at 350 degrees until its internal temperature reaches 180 degrees (as the U.S.D.A. recommends) causes the breast meat to dry out and juices to accumulate in the bottom of the pan. Tradition has it that cooks use those lost juices to make a gravy, which is later reapplied to the dry meat. All of which, come to think of it, doesn't make much sense. Low temperatures make for extremely succulent food because there is virtually no loss of natural juices. All of the gravy is reabsorbed by the meat, intensifying its flavor and allowing it to retain its structural integrity. As Goussault explains, ''You have the expansion, you have a little purge and during the chilling system -- if you have a good chilling system -- you can absorb this exudation.'' There's nothing more romantic to a chef than absorbing exudation. Vacuum-packing foods provides a number of other advantages. The hermetic seal created in a sous vide bag traps flavor that would otherwise be lost. Carrots simmered in water, for instance, bleed off much of their flavor. As Yannick Alléno, the chef at Le Meurice, a two-star restaurant in Paris, points out, ''You would almost be better off drinking the water.'' The atmospheric pressure created during the vacuum-packing process also promotes osmosis among the contents of the bag, so sous vide has become an important tool for marinating and curing foods and infusing oils with spices and herbs. As a result, chefs don't need to use as much seasoning, either. When they are marinating a food with an expensive aromatic like truffles, this can make all the difference. After the tour, we sat down in a small test kitchen above the factory floor to taste some of the company's products -- a lamb shank that had been cooked for 36 hours, scallops and the like. Goussault ate with relish, washing it down with red wine. When he is at home in Paris, he likes to grill steaks and roast lamb, but for now those primitive techniques were far from view. Goussault instructed the chef in the kitchen to drop an egg into a thermal circulator, sous vide's ''oven'' -- a circulating water bath whose temperature can be adjusted to within a tenth of a degree. It was set at 64.5 degrees Celsius (about 148 degrees Fahrenheit), which he calculated as the perfect egg-cooking temperature. Chefs, Goussault said, ''need people like me to regulate and to push the creativity to the next place.'' He quantifies what chefs aim to do intuitively. Some need less help than others. ''I was in Joël's kitchen,'' Goussault said, referring to Joël Robuchon, one of France's most revered chefs, ''and he was cooking eggs, so I tested the temperature; I put in my probe, and it was 64.5. I asked him how he knew this, and he just said that was how he liked it best.'' After 45 minutes, the chef removed the egg from the water and Goussault cracked it over his plate. I had never seen an egg like this: the whites and yolk, cooked to precisely the same consistency, spilled out like a wobbly custard, and Goussault, using a spoon, began pulling the whites from the yolk. The yolk was bright and creamy and stood up like a marshmallow. ''You see, you see!'' Goussault said. ''It's all about the temperature.'' Sous Vide has been around since the late 1960's, when food-grade plastic films and vacuum packing were mastered by French and American engineers and later manufactured under the aegis of the Cryovac division of the W. R. Grace Company. Originally, vacuum-packing was used to seal and pasteurize industrial foods for a longer shelf life. In 1974, Pierre Troisgros, a three-star chef in Roanne, France, decided to look for a new way to cook his foie gras, which shed 30 to 50 percent of its original weight in cooking. He enlisted Georges Pralus, a chef, to help. Pralus had the idea of wrapping the foie gras in layers of plastic before they cooked it and, after a number of experiments, they had their breakthrough: the foie gras lost only 5 percent of its weight -- an enormous savings. Pralus, now widely known as the father of sous vide, eventually worked with Cryovac to open his own school, Culinary Innovation, where he taught the technique. Over the years, thousands of chefs from around the world have come to study with him. Goussault, as it happens, was working along the same lines, but at an industrial level. In 1974, Goussault worked on a study that was presented on the sous vide cooking of beef shoulder at an international frozen-foods conference in Strasbourg, France. They found that cooking the beef sous vide extended its shelf life to 60 days. France, however, would not change its food-safety laws regarding perishability until the 1990's. ''The thing I write today is the same thing I wrote 34 years ago,'' Goussault says, laughing, ''but nobody listened. Now, a few people listen.'' Today Goussault is friends with Pralus and even invests in his school, although they teach different approaches (Pralus cooks sous vide at higher temperatures), and they continue to subtly disparage each other's work. ''He might have done the research,'' Pralus said of Goussault, ''but I was the first one who did sous vide for restaurants, who made it a culinary endeavor.'' Without Pralus, sous vide might never have reached the temples of cuisine. Smiling, Goussault said: ''Pralus calls himself the pope of sous vide. He tells people he invented sous vide, but it's not true. But I let him say that because it makes him feel better. So after he said he was the pope, I said I was the sous-pope.'' Chefs say that Pralus is the artist, Goussault the scientist. It just happens that the artistry in sous vide can be extremely dangerous from a food-safety perspective, which is why the two began collaborating in 1980, when executives at Cryovac asked Goussault to add a scientific basis to Pralus's training. ''They asked me to give it the right system because Georges Pralus is completely undisciplined,'' Goussault explained. He has been the man behind the curtain all along. Goussault became a scientist almost as a last resort. He had previously studied in a seminary (an experiment that ended, he said, ''because I was not able to respect the vow of chastity''), lived in a commune, earned degrees in economics, agriculture and psychology and spent time in Niger before settling in Paris in 1970 as a scientist in food-safety laboratories. In the 1980's, a project with SNCF, France's national train system, gave him the opportunity to work with Joel Robuchon to create a menu for its first-class service between Paris and Strasbourg. Robuchon, concerned about the fragility of high-quality food, knew there was no way to assemble fresh ingredients at 100 miles per hour. With Goussault, he developed a menu based on foods that could be prepared sous vide and simply reheated on the train. In 1991, Goussault started his own consulting company, the Centre de Recherche et d'Études Pour l'Alimentation, where he now trains chefs like Michel Bras and Alain Ducasse in everything from the use of carrageenan and seaweed extracts to sous vide. Goussault's team of seven engineers also develops products for companies like Nestlé, and it tests equipment for manufacturers, like a new oven that can go from 200 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees in less than three minutes. Even though many chefs in France use sous vide in their restaurants, it had long been considered a technique suitable only to chains and factories. The fact that some old-guard French chefs like Alain Senderens, Paul Bocuse and Joël Robuchon have signature lines of sous vide convenience foods in supermarkets has not helped to remove the stigma. A television news report in the mid-90's revealed that the French restaurant chain Chez Margot was cooking some of its entrées sous vide; it went bankrupt soon after. ''Joël Robuchon is the only chef who openly admits he uses it,'' Goussault said. ''One member of Le Club des Cents'' -- an esteemed gastronomy club -- ''said that any chef who uses sous vide is a fraud.'' Indeed, when I interviewed Senderens recently, he initially denied using sous vide in his kitchen at Lucas Carton, his three-star restaurant in Paris. But when I mentioned that the cooks at Le Meurice, a nearby up-and-coming restaurant, were using sous vide to prepare more than 50 items on the menu, Senderens suddenly remembered that he does use sous vide at Lucas Carton -- but only for the chicken with truffles. Even in America, where there are fewer such prejudices, sous vide has taken more than two decades to gain acceptance. In 1988, just when Cuisine Solutions, then called Vie de France, and a few chain restaurants were gearing up their sous vide operations, The Washington Post published an article questioning the safety of sous vide and other food-storage techniques like modified-atmosphere packaging, which were new at the time. Although sous vide was legal to use, the Food and Drug Administration has always warned of its potential dangers in restaurants. Still, sous vide is part of the F.D.A.'s Food Code, and any manufacturer who wants to use it can get permission by applying to the U.S.D.A. Chipotle, a burrito chain backed by McDonald's, now cooks all its braised pork sous vide. There may be hope for airline food yet. n high-end restaurants, sous vide began as a rarefied curiosity. Sous vide machines cost $3,000 to $6,000; thermal circulators start at $1,200; and staff training by Goussault runs $2,000 a day for a minimum of four days. David Bouley, who learned from Pralus, was one of the first American chefs to use sous vide at his restaurant, then called Bouley Bakery. Shea Gallante, the chef at Cru in New York City, who then worked for Bouley, admitted, ''At the time, no one was really sure how it worked.'' Thomas Keller, who has done work with Cuisine Solutions for a sous vide product line, has had Goussault train the kitchen staff at both the French Laundry, his signature restaurant in Yountville, Calif., and Per Se, in New York. Two years ago, Michael Anthony at Blue Hill contacted Goussault to learn more about the technique. Since then, word about Goussault has spread among American chefs. Recently, Fabio Trabocchi invited Goussault to spend four days training his team at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. Sous vide has reached the stage where the art must now catch up to the science. While industrial food companies use sous vide primarily for braising -- where all of the ingredients are in the bag -- chefs are beginning to see it as a way to prepare and manipulate individual ingredients, sometimes without even cooking them. And, naturally, they are using much higher quality ingredients, so the results are quite different from what you might get, say, on American Airlines. If you go to Cru and order Gallante's Wagyu beef, it will be unlike any piece of beef from a saute pan or broiler. Instead of a brownish rim and increasing redness toward the center, it will be evenly rare from the outer edge all the way through. At Per Se and the French Laundry, cooks are using sous vide to compress peaches, cucumbers and tomatoes. They've found that compressing celery has the same effect as blanching it and therefore saves them a step. ''Pineapple is extraordinary,'' Keller says. They're also using it to infuse oils and slow-cook pig's head. Chefs have found less lofty ways to employ the technique as well. At CityZen, in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, they make ice cream bases in sous vide. ''There's no putting your sugar and egg and cream in a pan and stirring,'' says Eric Ziebold, the chef. His pastry chef blends the ingredients, seals them in a bag and cooks it in water. ''More than anything, the vegetables and the proteins taste remarkably more like themselves,'' Dan Barber, the chef and owner of Blue Hill, wrote in an e-mail message. ''When it comes to things like artichokes, steaming and boiling and braising are fine, but there's a great loss of liquid as it cooks -- which is another way of saying a great loss of flavor because the juice of the artichoke itself, while mostly water, is very flavorful. Sous vide eliminates this loss, and hence the sensation that you're tasting a true artichoke -- not just a delicious artichoke, but an artichoke the way it was intended to taste.'' Much is made of the artistry of chefs, but running a restaurant kitchen well often has more to do with control and consistency. And in large kitchens or multiple restaurants, those things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Alléno, the chef at Le Meurice, oversees 72 cooks; Daniel Boulud has a staff of 65 to 70 among his three New York restaurants. Most cooking relies on the cook's ability to judge doneness based on sight and feel. With sous vide, it is all about precise times and temperatures. ''You can have your restaurant 6,000 miles away,'' Ziebold says, ''and you don't have to worry about the cooks at your restaurant in D.C. getting the duck right because they're cooking it sous vide and they know the temperature.'' Every year, Janos Kiss, the corporate executive chef for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, prepares a dinner for more than 5,000 people on Super Bowl weekend. It used to take 20 chefs four days to cook the dinner. Now, with sous vide, they do it with six chefs in two days. In the long run, sous vide's great contribution may well be this consistency. A chef with a restaurant empire, like Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, may finally be able to guarantee that the lobster with wasabi-pepper sauce at Nobu in London is every bit as good as the one at Nobu in New York. It may spell the end to bad wedding food. And if it catches on at companies from Stouffer's to Whole Foods, it could forever alter the state of convenience food. In the meantime, all the attention being paid to temperature and laboratory precision has pushed chefs in more creative directions. When Grant Achatz built his new restaurant Alinea in Chicago, thermal circulators from PolyScience, a laboratory-equipment manufacturer, were part of the kitchen design. To these, he has added a 40,000-r.p.m. homogenizer (what Philip Preston, the president of PolyScience, calls a ''coffee grinder on steroids'') -- for making the world's most emulsified vinaigrettes and confections like carrot pudding made with carrot juice, cocoa butter and grapeseed oil -- and an entirely new mechanism they're calling the Antigriddle, which has a surface that chills to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit), allowing you to freeze food in the same way you would saute it. A dollop of sour cream becomes brittle on the bottom and stays at room temperature on top. For all chefs' forward thinking, though, top kitchens still run on frat-house principles. So sous vide also comes in handy for hazing new cooks. At WD-50, Dufresne said, ''I've seen virtually every kind of personal belonging end up in one of these bags.'' Veteran cooks are known to take a new cook's clothing from his locker and put it through the sous vide machine, compressing his jeans and shirt to the size of hockey pucks. In late July, Goussault went to Citronelle in Washington for a follow-up training session with Michel Richard's head cooks, David Deshaies and Cedric Maupillier. They were having trouble with the salmon and sweetbreads done sous vide. The salmon had a perfect silky texture but was too fragile and, they worried, undercooked. And the sweetbreads were losing too much liquid. Goussault is often called in to help chefs perfect their technique. ''My job is to repeat, repeat, repeat,'' he says. He unpacked his briefcase, removing a laptop, a box of batteries, a jumble of wires and a number of handheld monitors that, when hooked up to the foods with probes, can record their minute-to-minute temperature arc during the cooking process. The large stoves around the kitchen were mostly unoccupied. Two thermal circulators sat poised on a steel countertop, humming like Jacuzzis. Deshaies dropped two pieces of salmon in ice water that contained 10 percent salt, then set a timer for 10 minutes. Salt, according to Goussault, ''modifies the osmotic pressure in the cells,'' meaning it prevents the albumen, that white substance, ghastly to chefs, that gathers on the surface of fish, from leaching out of the salmon when it cooks. They sealed the salmon in sous vide and inserted probes. It now looked as if the salmon had a heart monitor. For meats and fish, there is a window of doneness between 52 degrees Celsius (about 125 degrees Fahrenheit) and 62 degrees Celsius (about 144 degrees Fahrenheit). Below 52, you risk bacteria. Above 62, you begin denaturing proteins. Goussault then put one piece of salmon in a thermal circulator set at 56 degrees Celsius and one set at 53 degrees Celsius to see if they could raise the final internal temperature to 54 and 50 degrees respectively without changing the texture they had achieved in the piece they had cooked to 47 degrees. Food cooking in a thermal circulator looks a bit like an animated version of a Damien Hirst sculpture -- abstract animal parts suspended in a vibrating liquid. Standing over his cutting board, Deshaies said, ''Some chefs the other day, they said to me: 'What? So you put it in the plastic and put it in the water and that's it?' '' He shook his head. ''It's not so easy.'' It takes practice to get the sous vide machine to seal correctly. Foods must be chilled before sealing, otherwise the pressure inside the machine will cause them to cook during the sealing process. The pressure must also be calibrated for every type of food, so the food stays compact but firm. Once the food is sealed, its proper cooking temperature and internal temperature must be determined. Citronelle's lamb loin, for instance, is first infused with garlic in a sous vide pouch, then it is sauteed, chilled, resealed in sous vide and cooked in a thermal circulator at 60 degrees Celsius until its internal temperature reaches 56 degrees. It is then cooled at room temperature, in cold water, then further cooled in ice water, then chilled until an order comes in, at which point it is reheated in a warm water bath, still in its sous vide bag. As Barber at Blue Hill explained: ''If you're patient, and you try different temperatures and different times, at some point you'll achieve a taste from the product that's better than it's ever tasted before. I'm not exaggerating. That's happened to me with nearly everything, almost never the first time I try it, but over time and with experimentation, that's the reward.'' After 40 minutes or so, the pieces of salmon registered at 50 degrees and 54 degrees. Each was removed from the hot water, and cooled systematically. It was time to taste. On three plates, Deshaies lined up the pieces of salmon, including the one cooked the day before to 47 degrees. All three pieces were pink all the way through and glistening with moisture, a consistency unlike that of any piece of salmon cooked in an oven. The piece cooked to 54 degrees was dismissed as ''airplane food.'' Deshaies and Maupillier preferred the fish they had cooked to 47 degrees, a temperature that Goussault insisted was unsafe. The salmon cooked to 50 degrees was a good compromise, moist and delicate, but without any signs of rawness. Goussault seemed tense. He had recently done a similar experiment with Thomas Keller's team at the French Laundry, and he now explained that Keller had also preferred the 47 degree salmon. ''Like us!'' Deshaies said. ''But his sous-chef feels the difference between 47 and 50 is too little and 50 is safer,'' Goussault said. He then added: ''His is different. He does it with olive oil. Delicious.'' For Deshaies, it was suddenly no longer about science. He shot a concerned look at Richard. ''We can do that, too,'' he said.

Subject: Meanwhile, People Starve
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 10:01:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/opinion/14sun2.html Meanwhile, People Starve Were it not for Hilary Andersson, a BBC television journalist, Niger's starving people would very likely be getting as little attention as the starving citizens of nearby Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. Her wrenching report from Niger, where more than three million people are now in danger of starving to death, set off a worldwide aid effort that a year of United Nations warnings could not. Had attention been paid sooner, lives could have been saved, at one-eightieth - that's right, one-eightieth - what it will cost today. And easy, affordable steps that could prevent such scenes elsewhere, like a proposed United Nations $500 million emergency response fund, haven't been taken. Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, has long lived at the mercy of an unforgiving climate, and the destruction of last year's crops through drought and crop-eating locusts is the main cause of its present plight. The usual contributors to famine elsewhere, like war, dictatorship or crackpot economic theories, are notably absent. Niger's government is democratically elected and President Mamadou Tandja's orthodox budget-balancing and market-opening policies are regularly praised by Western leaders and international lenders. Regrettably, Mr. Tandja has an unhealthy tendency to take that orthodoxy too far, to his people's detriment. In April, with the famine already gathering force, he imposed food tax increases as part of a budget-balancing package. Amid widespread protests, he later backed off. But in an interview with the BBC last week, he insisted that his people 'look well-fed' and that reports to the contrary were 'false propaganda' being spread by aid agencies to attract funding. For the historically minded, his bizarre insensitivity to his people's suffering evokes parallels with Ireland's deadly famine of more than a century and a half ago, where the rigid laissez-faire ideology of the ruling British authorities made the bad problem of a failed potato crop needlessly worse. Then, locally grown grains were sold abroad for profit while millions of Irish peasants were allowed to starve. Today, market stalls in Maradi, a major trading center of Niger, are piled high with food for the few who can afford it, while elsewhere in the same city thousands of starving and desperate people jostle for scarce relief supplies. The Nobel Prize-winning economist, Amartya Sen, has taught, rightly, that 'no famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy.' Functioning is the key word; leaders who are truly accountable to their people have strong incentives to take timely preventive action. Mr. Tandja, whom President Bush hailed at the White House this June as an exemplary democrat, clearly needs a refresher course in humane economics and accountable democracy.

Subject: Functioning Democracy in Africa
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 09:36:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Emma, I don't know much about Niger as my expertise is in English and Portuguese speaking Africa. My first thought (which could be wrong) on the principle of 'Functioning Democracy' in Africa is unfortunately very cynical (here we go again - but I will end off with a positive example this time). Most 'democracies' in Africa are NOT true functioning democracies. Not even South Africa which saw open and fair elections with a change of president. Africa is (in general) still run by tribes. And people vote in their tribal leaders. For this reason, no matter how bad the leader may be, he will still be voted in because he represents the majority tribe. In Uganda we saw something interesting. The majority tribe is located in the North of the country and are Idi Amin supporters (that is how Idi Amin came to power in the first place). There are two more tribes in the South and the people in the south realised that by coming together they are a majority. So they vote for Museveni (who is the current president of Uganda). They will always vote for Museveni because he will represent their tribes (and they don't want to be ruled by any other tribal leader). Luckily a lot of these leaders are behaving themselves due to international pressure. But they slip up every so often as it appears in Niger. In South Africa, the majority tribe is the Xhosa and the most feared tribe is the Zulu. The Zulu tribe has their own political representation, but the remaining tribes vote along with the Xhosa tribe for the ANC. And we can be sure that the ANC will remain in power for as long as the population of Xhosas is the largest (which appears to be forever). We hope that with time and improved education, tribal links will diminish and more pure democracy will flourish. Now for the positive side: There is one country in Africa that is truly democratic. In fact it is the oldest democracy in Africa and actually the most succesful country in Africa.... Botswana. This country with a mere 1.4 million people has only one tribe. So competing politicians are evaluated on their political strength, not tribal relation. For a country that is almost entirely desert, has to import most of its water and import all its electricity, they are not only per capita the richest but the most progressive country in Africa. They are actually the true model for Africa's future. So when done properly, democracy works well.

Subject: Re: Functioning Democracy in Africa
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:19:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent analysis. These comments are most important; I will discuss them further today. By the way, we should watch for adverse effects from rising oil prices in southern Africa.

Subject: Arithmetic of Mutual Fund Investing
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 07:47:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.vanguard.com/bogle_site/sp20050524.htm The Arithmetic of Mutual Fund Investing is More Important Than Ever Remarks by John C. Bogle Founder and Former Chairman, The Vanguard Group American Association of Individual Investors Philadelphia Chapter It's a delight for me to meet once again with the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Association of Individual Investors. These are clearly troubled times in our markets, in our nation, and around our globe, but their place in history is yet unknown. It is a curious coincidence that my two previous visits with you happened to come at crucial inflection points in stock prices—the first near a market low that preceded a huge upsurge; the second immediately before a market high that preceded one of the two biggest declines in the past seventy years.* It was on September 27, 1988, when I first visited with you. The stock market was still suffering the aftershock of its stunning one-day decline of 22 percent on 'Black Monday,' October 19, 1987. I urged you to ignore a story that had just appeared in TIME magazine with the headline, 'Buy Stocks? No Way!' that described the stock market of the day as 'a dangerous game.' Then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at a level of 2,080; stocks were selling at 12 times earnings; and it took no brilliance at all to urge you to continue to own stocks and 'stay the course.' On November 23, 1999, I met with you again. Then, the stock market bubble was approaching its peak, which it reached only a few months later. The Dow was at 11,000, stocks were selling at an astonishing 32 times earnings, and again it took no brainpower to forecast that stock returns over the decade ahead would likely average no more than 7 percent per year. While in 1988 I had urged you 'not to get carried away with pessimism,' in 1999 I urged you 'not to get carried away with optimism.' In both cases, I suggested that a carefully balanced asset allocation between stocks and bonds would enable you to 'stay the course' no matter what might lie ahead. What to Do Today? Despite the 'tradition' of my two prior visits, I do not see today's stock market as having reached an inflection point. It is neither at the bargain basement extreme we witnessed in 1988, nor at the bubble-bursting extreme it reached before the 2000 high. The Dow was to ease upward to 11,700, then drop to 7,290, and recover to today's level of 10,460. With stocks now selling at about 20 times earnings, price-earnings ratios seem high, but not alarmingly so. Importantly, based on the methodology said to be used by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, stocks seem quite fairly valued when compared to bonds, the principal investment alternative. The 'Fed Model' compares the relationship of the current earnings yield on stocks (the reciprocal of the p/e ratio; a p/e of 20 represents an earnings yield of 5 percent) with the interest rate on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond. Today, the earnings yield of 5 percent is almost 20 percent above the bond yield of 4.1 percent, while in 1988 it was slightly lower. In late 1999, however, the earnings yield of 3.4 percent was only about half of the bond yield of 6.3 percent. The higher apparent equity premium today might suggest that stocks today are substantially more attractive than they were in 1988. However, I simply don't believe that, for at least three reasons: One, corporate earnings may be under pressure over the next few years, raising P/Es and reducing the earnings yield. Two, bond yields may, and I believe will, rise, though when the rise may come and how much it may be is totally problematical. And three, we live in an especially uncertain world, facing threats of unbridled deficits in our federal budget and our balance of payments, national disunity, and the ever-present threats of terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and global warming. To me, these concerns do not require that you abandon your own investment policy; but I would urge you to (as I do personally) lean toward the conservative side.' The Simple Arithmetic of Financial Market Returns What lies ahead for stocks and bonds? As we look to the future, the most important thing to remember is that in the long run what drives the returns on financial investments are the relentless rules of humble arithmetic: For stocks, the investment return is driven by a simple combination of the initial dividend yield on stocks plus the rate of future earnings growth, the fundamental factors of investment that have accounted for 10 percentage points—5 percent dividends and 5 percent earnings growth—of the 10.2 percent of the long run return on stocks—nearly 100 percent. In the short-run, however, it is not investment, but speculation that calls the tune. When the price-earnings ratio rose from 16 times to 32 times during the 1990s—a 100 percent increase—that change in investor sentiment alone added fully 7 percent per year to the investment return of 10 ½ percent in that glorious decade of speculation, bringing the total return to a robust 17.8 percent. But with today's dividend yield of a meager 2 percent and future earnings growth assumed to be equal to the long-term average of 5 percent, we might be looking at future annual stock returns of only about 7 percent. (If the p/e multiple rises from 20 times to, say, 22 times, add a percentage point, if the p/e declines to 18 times, subtract one point; two points if it declines to 16 times.) Yes, I realize that the long-term return on stocks has averaged much more than that, but that 10 percent annual historical return was buttressed by a 5 percent dividend. So today's dividend yield of about 2 percent results in a dead-weight loss of 3 percentage points a year in the potential return. While the investment fundamentals of earnings and dividends drive historical stock returns over the long-run, past returns on bonds tell us nothing about the future. But the bond arithmetic is even easier and more reliable. The present bond yield tells us nearly all that we need to know, for the best single predictor of the future returns on bonds is today's bond yield. With the 10-year Treasury a hair over 4 percent and long-term corporates at about 6 percent, let's assume (perhaps generously) a future return on bonds of about 5 percent on a diversified corporate/government bond portfolio. While no one can be certain, it seems reasonable, then, to expect stocks to deliver a return of 7 percent more or less over the coming decade, representing a 2 percentage point equity premium over the roughly 5 percent that bonds are likely to deliver. After a two-decade run in which (a) stocks delivered 13 percent (even including the disappointing returns of the past five years), largely because of the extra one percentage point arising from the higher dividend yield; and the 4 percentage points that came from p/e expansion; and (b) bonds delivered a return of about 8 percent (which was, after all, the bond yield at the outset), these returns may seem disappointing. Nonetheless, this simple but compelling arithmetic is what we must deal with in establishing reasonable expectations regarding future returns in the financial markets—returns that, in my judgment are almost certain to be well below the returns of the 1980s and 1990s, when we literally 'never had it so good.' The Simple Arithmetic of the CMH Sadly, when we describe our rational expectations for future returns in the financial markets, we are implicitly concealing the central fact of investing. As a group, investors never—never!—enjoy the gross return that the markets deliver. Investors earn the net return, after all of the costs of our system of financial intermediation. Thus, just as gambling in the casino is a zero-sum game before the croupiers rake in their share (I'm told that this is called 'vigorish,' or 'the vig') and a loser's game thereafter, so beating the stock and bond markets is a zero-sum game before intermediation costs, and a loser's game thereafter. The reality is that the mutual fund croupiers rake huge sums off the stock market table. Just consider the annual costs incurred by the investor in the average equity fund: (1) Management fee 0.9 percent, plus other expenses 0.6, for a total expense ratio of 1.5 percent. (2) Hidden portfolio transaction costs of at least 0.8 percent (the average fund turns its portfolio over at an astonishing 100 percent per year, meaning that a $5 billion dollar fund sells $5 billion of stocks every year and reinvests the proceeds in another $5 billion, $10 billion in all). (3) Sales commissions on load funds, about 0.7 percent (a 5 percent commission, spread out over, say, seven years). Total: 3 percent per year.** Most of you are likely familiar with the EMH—the Efficient Market Hypothesis—that suggests that most stocks are fairly valued, most of the time. But the relentless rules of humble arithmetic remind us of something both more certain and more profound than the EMH. I call it the CMH—the Cost Matters Hypothesis—the iron rule that investors as a group must always lose to the stock market by the amount of the costs they incur. The Simple Arithmetic of Fund Expenses and Taxes When we examine the record of the past two decades, the relentless rules of humble arithmetic have clearly proven dangerous to the wealth of most families who have entrusted the responsibility for overseeing their hard-earned assets to mutual funds. That humble arithmetic—gross return, minus cost, equals net return—has destroyed their wealth in almost precisely the measure that our CMH suggests. Investors have learned, and learned the hard way, that in mutual funds it's not that 'you get what you pay for.' It's that, almost tautologically, 'you get what you don't pay for.' Let's look at the record. Over the past 20 years, a simple, low-cost, no-load stock market index fund delivered an annual return of 12.8 percent—just a hair short of the 13.0 percent return of the market itself. During the same period the average equity mutual fund delivered a return of just 10.0 percent, less than 80 percent of the market's annual return. It is no accident that this shortfall of 2.8 percentage points per year, arose largely from those estimated annual costs of about 3.0 percent presented moments ago. Compounded over that long period, each $1 invested in the index fund grew by $10.12—the magic of compounding returns—while each $1 in the average find grew by just $5.73, not 80 percent of the market's return, but a shriveled-up 57 percent—a victim of the tyranny of compounding costs. The magic, alas, is overwhelmed by the tyranny. (The fund industry, of course, focuses on the former and is tight-lipped about the latter.) And that's before taxes. Because of the shocking tax inefficiency engendered by its astonishingly high (100-percent-plus) portfolio turnover, the average managed equity fund cost its taxable investors another 2.2 percentage points in taxes, producing not 57 percent of the market's annual return, but only 41 percent. With the index fund relinquishing only 0.9 points in taxes, the gap between the equity fund and the index fund rises from 2.8 to 4.1 percentage points per year. The average fund deferred almost no gains during this period; the index fund deferred nearly all. (Deferred taxes may be the ultimate example of how you get what you don't pay for.) But the arithmetic gets even worse. For the wealth accumulated in the index fund and the average equity fund should be measured not only in nominal dollars, but in real dollars. When we reduce both returns by the inflation rate of 3.0 percent, the real annual return drops to 8.9 percent for the index fund and to 4.8 percent for the equity fund. That obviously leaves the 4.1 percentage-point gap unchanged. But the compounding of those lower annual returns further widens the cumulative gap. Over the past twenty years, the cumulative profit of each $1 initially invested in the managed fund came to just $1.55 in real terms, after taxes and costs, only 34 percent of the real profit of $4.50 on the index fund. The index fund actually increased your capital by 190 percent! The Simple Arithmetic of Income Expropriation The impact of costs and taxes on mutual fund total returns, however, substantially understates their profound impact on investors. While funds are inordinately tax-inefficient when it comes to capital gains, they are remarkably—and perversely—tax-efficient when it comes to dividend income. Why? Because about 85 percent of the yield of the average equity fund is 'taxed,' as it were, by mutual fund fees and expenses, leaving only 15 percent of the dividend income to be distributed to equity fund investors and taxed by our federal and local governments. Shocking as that may sound, the mathematical reality is that when we deduct equity fund expense ratio of 1.5 percent from today's 1.8 percent dividend yield on stocks, all that remains is a puny net dividend yield of 0.3 percent for the fund owner. There are two simple ways to avoid this confiscation of your income. One way is to do your equity fishing in the low-cost pond. The ten percent of funds with the lowest expense ratios (averaging 0.3 percent) consume 'only' 20 percent of income. (Conversely, the highest-cost ten percent, with expense ratios averaging 2.5 percent, actually consumes 225 percent of those funds' income.) The other way is to own a low-cost stock market index fund, whose costs of as little as 0.1 percent consume a mere 7 percent of its income, leaving 93 percent for you. In the case of bond funds, of course, income is a much more significant factor. A bond fund's net yield typically accounts for about 100 percent of its long-run return. Yet the expense ratio of the average bond fund (0.8 percent) consumes almost 20 percent of its gross yield of 4.5 percent, reducing it to a net yield of 3.8 percent. Further, these numbers substantially understate the confiscatory nature of costs, for most bond funds carry hefty sales commissions. If you pay a 4 ½ percent front-end load to acquire a bond fund, it eats up more than 100 percent of your first year's net income. The way to maximize your income in bond funds is to rely on the same simple arithmetic as in stock funds: either own only low-cost bond funds, where 7 percent of the yield is consumed by expenses, leaving 93 percent for you (and buy no-load funds rather than paying that hefty 4 ½ percent load for the privilege of having your income depleted); or, better yet, own a no-load bond index fund, where, after the deduction of only about 1/10 of 1 percent for expenses, 97 percent of the income goes to you. While today we don't read much about money market funds, the same simple arithmetic applies. The high cost funds eat up 38 percent of your income, and the low cost funds consume just 8 percent. (While there are no indexed money market funds, it's fair to say that almost all money market funds are virtual index funds. Commodity-like, they almost uniformly earn the average returns in the money markets, and deliver returns to investors that are largely differentiated by their costs.) Yet investors in high cost money market funds seem perfectly happy to accept a 1.6 percent yield when a 2.4 percent yield—fully 50% higher—lies there for the taking. But only for those who are willing to do the simple arithmetic. The Simple Arithmetic of Hedge Funds When the outlook for returns on stocks and bonds is as subdued as I have suggested today, it's especially tempting to reach for higher returns by seeking out other kinds of investments. Yet looking for 'something better' than stocks and bonds implies that there is something better. Is there? Today's 'big new idea' for gaining extra returns is 'alternative investments,' although, in fact these alternatives are just stocks and bonds of a different character and mix, boxed in a different and more expensive package. But I wonder if their popularity isn't simply the inevitable reaction of investors (and brokers) who, after one of history's great bear markets, want to buy (or sell!) something new. Hedge funds, of course, are the talk of the town. But please don't forget that many individual hedge funds are taking risks, often hidden, that would send chills up and down one's spine. (Think of the failure of Long-Term Capital Management; think of the 700 hedge funds that reportedly folded last year.) Further, when hundreds of billions of dollars flow into hedge funds, their managers chase an increasingly limited supply of market inefficiencies, and the value to be added by hedging strategies is apt to get arbitraged away. As yesterday's successful managers are flooded with money, their growth virtually precludes their repeating past achievements in the future. What is more, those past achievements of hedge funds have been overrated. A recent study showed that the average hedge fund earned a return of about 9.3 percent per year in 1995-2003, slightly less than the stock market return of 9.4 percent, and more relevantly, less than the 10.1 percent return on a conservative stock/bond balanced fund (which happened to be slightly less volatile). As to the future, simple arithmetic again can help us in evaluating potential hedge und returns. If the stock market were to deliver a 7 percent return in the future, the investor, in a low-expense, tax-efficient index fund, would likely realize a net after-tax return of about 6.2 percent. Even if we grudgingly assume that a hedge fund were to earn 10 percent—no mean task in the tough environment ahead—it would deliver only 4.8 percent, only two-thirds of the net return on the simple index fund. Why? Because the managers would take 2.8 percent (1 percent plus 20 percent of the total return), and taxes (for an investor in the 33 percent tax bracket) could come to an additional 2.4 percentage points, a total reduction of 5.2 percentage points in the 10 percent gross return. The risk of selecting the right hedge fund is huge, and while the popular hedge-fund-of-hedge-funds diversify that risk, they are even more costly. The simple arithmetic of hedge funds—even if you are lucky enough to pick a winner—suggest that their high costs and high taxes will result in inadequate net returns to their investors. My conclusion: nearly all individual investors should join me in resisting succumbing to the siren song of these over-rated hedge fund temptresses. The Simple Arithmetic of Exchange-Traded Funds There's another investment product that has recently caught the eye of the fanciful investing public: the exchange-traded fund, or ETF. These funds are generally low-cost index funds that can be traded in the stock market just like regular stocks. As one advertisement for the Standard and Poor's 500 ETF (the 'Spider', in the lingo of the financial community) says, 'Now you can trade the S & P 500 all day long, in real time.' Leaving totally aside for the moment the question of why anyone in his right mind would want to do that, the simple arithmetic of investing suggests that most investors should ignore this so-called opportunity. As you must know, I love index funds that track the S&P 500 and total stock market. But not as trading vehicles; as vehicles for owning the stock market at low cost and high tax efficiency and holding it, well, forever. But most investors in ETFs seem to be following, not my advice, but the advice in the Spider ad. The share turnover of Spiders during the past year came to a cool 4,536 percent, meaning that the average share was apparently held for a period of less than one day! But as suitable as ETFs may be for long-term investors, they are totally unsuitable for rapid fire traders. Why? Because of costs. Let's take a look at the simple arithmetic of ETFs, and make a few highly conservative assumptions: 1) an investor buys, and later sells 100 shares of the Spider (approximately $12,000; with its bargain basement expense ratio of 0.11 percent (other ETFs can be three or four times as costly to operate). 2) he pays a minimum commission of $35 for each transaction (lower if done electronically, higher if done over the phone); 3) he goes in and out of the Spider (a) twice a year (turnover 200 percent), (b) five times a year (500 percent), or (c) once a month (1200 percent, but still a far cry from the 4,000-plus percent average turnover). The investor's total annual costs, respectively, would then take 1.3 percent, 3.0 percent, and 7.1 percent from his annual return—repeated over time, a large dent! If the investor can successfully time these trades, he may be able to make up these deficits; if not, which is much more likely, he will lose even more than those costs. Only long-term holders are certain to benefit from the glitteringly low expenses of most ETFs. The traders that ETF sponsors appeal to in their ads are destined to be playing a loser's game, all because of the relentless rules of the humble arithmetic of the markets. Simple Arithmetic—Wrapping Up Whether we look at future market returns in the financial markets, or the Cost Matters Hypothesis, or the real world of fund expenses and taxes, or maximizing income, or the superficial appeal of hedge funds and the foolishness of trading ETFs, we are left with one certain conclusion: investors who ignore costs are courting failure; investors who control costs are maximizing their chances of success. The long-term differences in the wealth they accumulate will be truly staggering. Why? Because for the former group, the magic of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs; for the latter group, the magic of compounding returns stands almost on its own. When the arithmetic of investing suggests lower returns in the financial markets in the years ahead, the ability to capture the fair share (up to almost 100 percent) that you deserve will be more important than ever. Low cost funds—and of course index funds—are the best way to get your fair share. But don't take my word for it. Ask Warren Buffett. Ask his mentor, Benjamin Graham. Ask Jack Meyer, the remarkably successful wizard who tripled the Harvard Endowment Fund from $8 billion to $27 billion. Here's what Mr. Meyer had to say: 'Most people think they can find managers who can outperform, but most people are wrong. 85 percent to 90 percent of managers fail to match their benchmarks. Because managers have fees and incur transaction costs, you know that in the aggregate they are deleting value. The investment business is a giant scam.' When asked, 'can private investors draw any lessons from what Harvard does?' Mr. Meyer answered: 'Yes.' He then recounted the lessons. 'First, get diversified. Come up with a portfolio that covers a lot of asset classes. Second, you want to keep your fees low.' That means avoiding the most hyped but expensive funds, in favor of low-cost index funds. No doubt about it. And finally, invest for the long term.' In a sense, Mr. Meyer is simply stating the obvious: the all-market index fund and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fund are far better ways to invest than searching through a seemingly-endless list of the products of the marketing-driven, asset-gathering machine that today's mutual fund industry has become. A small minority of managed equity funds may approach that simple ideal, and certainly some few will surpass it. But the odds in favor of success, as I've shown you this evening, are terrible. If that's not enough, ask any economist who's won the Nobel Prize. And if that's not enough, just use your common sense to think through what I've just said. Successful investing is pretty simple. Just do a few simple things right, and avoid making stupid mistakes. Such as thinking that you know more than the market does; investing on impulse, buying on tips, believing that past success repeats itself in the future; and letting your emotions overwhelm your reason. Four Essential Rules Let me close with four essential rules that wise investors, whatever strategy they pursue, should follow: First, pare costs to the bone. Realize that in investing you get what you don't pay for. Whatever future returns the stock and bond markets are generous enough to deliver, few investors will succeed in capturing 100% of those returns, simply because of the high costs of investing—all those commissions, management fees, investment expenses, yes, even taxes. Second, diversify. Own American business and hold on to it. Not one company or industry, but a broadly diversified portfolio of lots of companies and industries. Buy such a portfolio, never sell, and hold it forever. No one knows what stocks will do tomorrow, or even what they'll do over the next decade, but over the long pull the dividends and earnings growth of American business will be reflected in rising stock prices. Third, don't forget to allocate your assets prudently between stocks and bonds. As the years roll on, we have more wealth at stake, less time to recoup losses, and begin to rely on our investments to provide income. Each of these critical factors suggests that, as investors age, we should own even larger bond portions. (A rule of thumb: begin with the idea that your bond percentage should roughly be equal to your age.) Fourth, don't do something, just stand there. Stay the course. Once you get your costs down, your stocks and bonds diversified, and your stock/bond balance right. Not only expenses, but emotions, are the investor's greatest enemy. It may take courage and wisdom, but 'Stay the Course' remains the name of the game. Thank you. * The speeches I gave to AAII on those two dates are included in my 2001 book, John Bogle on Investing, The First Fifty Years. ** I've used the unweighted average expense ratio, higher than the asset-weighted ratio of 1.1 percent. But I've ignored out-of-pocket costs, penalties on early redemption of fund shares, and opportunity cost. (Most equity funds are about 95 percent invested in stocks, thus diluting the market's long-term return premium.)

Subject: Paradise and Money Lost
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 07:22:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/business/yourmoney/14hedge.html Paradise and Money Lost By JULIE CRESWELL ON Feb. 24, Ronald S. Kochman hurried out of the elevator onto the 17th floor of an office tower in West Palm Beach, Fla., that KL Group, a hedge fund advisory firm, called home. Normally bustling with activity, the place was eerily quiet that morning as Mr. Kochman strode past the elegant conference rooms toward his destination: the corner office of Won Sok Lee, one of the firm's principals. Two days earlier, Securities and Exchange Commission officials had unexpectedly visited KL's offices, demanding to see documents. Now some employees were reporting that Mr. Lee was missing - along with nearly all the money in the firm's accounts. Mr. Kochman, a prominent trust and estate lawyer in the Palm Beach area, had much to lose. Not only had he sunk his savings, about $4 million, into the funds, but he had also put his reputation on the line by urging his own clients to invest with KL, where he had become a principal early last year. So when someone with keys to Mr. Lee's office asked him why he wanted to go in that morning, a tearful Mr. Kochman collapsed on his knees and said, 'It's gone. It's all gone,' according to a person who witnessed the event. 'The money is missing and Won has jumped ship.' Today, the S.E.C., the Justice Department and a court-appointed receiver are still trying to unravel what happened. Investigators now say they believe that more than $200 million of investors' money has vanished, possibly making this one of the largest hedge fund frauds ever. In March, the S.E.C. sued Mr. Lee and two brothers, John and Yung Bae Kim, accusing them of securities fraud. While the funds' managers blinded investors with records showing supposedly dazzling returns, the money was actually being frittered away in bad trades or simply stolen, according to the court-appointed receiver, the law firm Lewis Tein. Mr. Lee and Yung Kim have disappeared, and John Kim, who is cooperating with the investigation, denies any knowledge of wrongdoing. 'These guys were slick. They would have given Barnum & Bailey a run for their money,' said Guy A. Lewis, a partner at Lewis Tein and a former United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida who, in the early 1990's, helped to prosecute Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama. 'This wasn't just a straight fraud. It was hocus-pocus, smoke and mirrors.' THIS much is known: Three years ago, Mr. Lee and the Kim brothers opened a hedge fund advisory business in Palm Beach, one of the nation's wealthiest enclaves. Driving flashy cars and living lavish lifestyles, the three principals - all Korean-born Americans in their mid-30's - befriended the right people, who provided them with access to society functions and introductions to their wealthy clients. The aura of success and exclusivity around the firm was so strong that investors often begged to be let into its funds, some of which were said to have astounding annualized returns of 125 percent for several years. Among the funds' 225 investors were some of Palm Beach's elite, including Jerome Fisher, the founder of the Nine West shoe store chain; Carlos Morrison, an heir to the Fisher Body automotive fortune; and golf pros Nick Price and Raymond Floyd, according to people who have seen lists of investors. While Palm Beach is still abuzz about the collapse of KL, few investors want to acknowledge that they were caught up in the frenzy. Donald J. Trump, who owns several properties in the area, said in an interview that he had been contacted about investing in the fund but didn't because he thought the returns were too good to be true. 'These guys duped a lot of people down in Palm Beach, smart people with lots of money,' Mr. Trump said. 'These people feel they were conned, and they're embarrassed. They just don't want to talk about it.' The investigation has been hampered by a web of more than 30 domestic bank accounts - and more overseas - where money was moved around quickly. Individual, hedge fund and proprietary trading accounts were intermingled at the firm, and false bank statements were rampant, according to the receiver. 'There has been a tremendous amount of money lost,' said Scott A. Masel, the S.E.C.'s head counsel in Miami investigating KL. 'We might be looking at something akin to a Ponzi scheme, but the records make it difficult to pin down exactly what happened here.' What's clear is that scores of well-heeled investors missed signs that things were not quite right at KL. It turns out, for example, that the fund's principals had little experience in the securities industry. And there was never a formal independent audit to verify whether the remarkable returns reported by the funds were real. 'Even if the guy running the hedge fund has a sterling 20-year reputation on Wall Street, a sophisticated investor who's going to put $20 million in that fund wants to see those safeguards in place,' said Lewis N. Brown, the counsel for a Palm Beach accounting firm that performed some accounting services for one of the smaller KL hedge funds. 'That didn't happen here.' THE story of KL starts in a San Francisco apartment in the late 1990's, where John Kim and Mr. Lee were caught up in a major fad: day-trading of technology stocks. From what can be pieced together about their background through public records and interviews with former colleagues, the two had virtually no experience trading stocks. (Calls to Mr. Kim's lawyers were not returned. Yung Kim and Mr. Lee could not be reached.) Mr. Lee grew up in Las Vegas - where his father now works as a marketing executive at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino - and earned a law degree at Tulane University in 1996. He worked as an associate in the gambling department at a Las Vegas law firm, and, in the late 1990's, in the tax department at a San Diego law firm. John Kim and Yung Kim grew up in a Virginia suburb of Washington. John, who is also known as Jung Kim and is the older of the two, told colleagues that he had graduated from George Washington University and then operated a coffee importing business in South Korea, but that the government took it away and deported him because it was so successful. Mr. Kim bragged to others that he had a vast Wall Street background, often evoking his time in the mergers and acquisitions department at Merrill Lynch, according to former colleagues. (Merrill Lynch said it had no records that Mr. Kim had ever worked there.) The NASD, a regulator that licenses securities professionals, says it has no records that any of the firm's original three principals had the necessary licenses to trade stocks for clients, which a Wall Street brokerage firm would require. Such licenses, however, are not needed to run a hedge fund. Whatever their credentials, Mr. Kim and Mr. Lee rode the tech boom, reporting strong returns to friends and associates. Soon they began attracting outside investors. Eventually, they moved their operation to an office in Irvine, Calif., where they hired a number of young, fairly inexperienced people to trade the principals' own money, or proprietary accounts, while Mr. Kim focused on trading clients' and hedge fund assets. Mr. Lee handled back-office duties and Yung Kim served as the firm's chief financial officer. In August 2002, John Kim and a childhood friend, Rob Melley, decided to open an East Coast branch of KL in the Palm Beach area. But within a couple of months, the two friends had a falling-out after Mr. Kim became frustrated over what he felt was the slow pace of the Palm Beach expansion, according to a former employee who did not want to be identified because of continuing investigations. Mr. Melley walked away from the venture, although his father, James, who was also very close to Mr. Kim, remained a KL investor, according to the former employee. Calls to Rob Melley's residence and to James Melley's lawyers were not returned. Through James Melley, Mr. Kim and his partners met the man who would play a crucial role in giving them entry to the Palm Beach scene: Ronald Kochman. Since the late 1990's, Mr. Kochman had built a lucrative trusts-and-estates practice, counting a number of Palm Beach's movers and shakers as clients. 'Kochman had one of the pre-eminent practices down here,' said Richard Rampell, an accountant who worked with Mr. Kochman on several occasions. 'In the last couple of years, he probated two estates that were well into nine or even 10 figures. He was the envy of a lot of lawyers.' Mr. Kochman would not comment for this article. According to investigators and KL employees, Mr. Kochman became increasingly involved with the firm and formed a close friendship with Mr. Kim, who made him one of its principals. Mr. Kochman, these people said, believed that there were greater riches to be reaped if KL were sold to a large Wall Street firm, as Mr. Kim indicated it eventually would be. They said Mr. Kochman planned to downsize his trusts-and-estates business in order to play an even bigger role at KL. Trusting his new friends, Mr. Kochman provided introductions to his clients and friends and was responsible for bringing in many of KL's investors, according to investigators. His role has now become a focal point among investigators and lawyers representing some of the clients that he put into the fund. Gary Klein, a former S.E.C. branch chief whose firm, Klein & Sallah, represents 65 investors who lost at least $90 million in KL, said that a number of them were also clients of Mr. Kochman's law practice. 'That was clearly a breach of fiduciary duty if Kochman was a principal at KL and didn't disclose it,' Mr. Klein said. Mr. Kochman's lawyer would not comment on whether his client had recommended his own clients to the fund. 'I think Mr. Kochman believed that there might be a future for him' at KL, said his lawyer, Morris Weinberg Jr. 'This looked like a wonderful opportunity that, obviously, didn't work out.' NOT that it was all that difficult for KL to persuade investors to jump into the funds with both feet. Its main fund reported strong returns of 70 percent in 2003 and 40 percent in 2004, according to statements given to investors. The lifestyle of the funds' original three principals also supported the picture of a business doing well. The young men drove flashy cars: Maseratis, Porsche 911's and Mercedes SL 500's. (The firm's personal masseuse drove a Jaguar X-Type that was provided by KL.) End-of-year holiday parties were held in Las Vegas, where Mr. Kim and Mr. Lee were high-rolling VIP's at several casinos. The crown jewel was KL's luxurious offices in the new Esperante building in downtown West Palm Beach. The large sunlit offices were filled with gorgeous desks designed by Dakota Jackson and a conference table that had to be hoisted 17 floors through the building's elevator shaft. Some walls were covered in a gray suede fabric, and in the corner of Mr. Kim's office was a $6,000 massage chair. The trading floor had large flat-panel televisions scattered throughout. It all was a great way to impress clients, who were ushered in to watch the main attraction: Mr. Kim. From his captain's chair, he traded frenetically, surrounded by 20 computer screens. But like so many things at KL, not all was what it seemed. There were, for instance, the many faces of Mr. Kim himself. To KL's investors, he was charismatic and respectful. Several older men who invested in the fund are said by former employees to have treated him like a son. Inside KL, though, Mr. Kim's moods swung sharply. At times, he was extremely patient and friendly with the young traders, going to their homes for poker games. Some employees, however, describe Mr. Kim as an egotistical bully who would have fits of rage. And Mr. Kim may not have been as successful an investor as he wanted people to believe. In fact, a former KL trader said that Mr. Kim did not make any money at all in his trading activities. In KL offering letters, Mr. Kim claimed to have developed a proprietary technical analysis system called 'SmartCharts' that involved short-selling stocks that were making highs in the market - betting that those stocks would lose value. 'Essentially, John was constantly trading against the trend,' recalled the trader, who also did not want to be identified because of his involvement in continuing regulatory investigations. 'The strongest stocks in the fall of 2004 were stocks he was selling short.' Those shorted stocks included those of eBay, Yahoo and Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry wireless device, this trader said. The trader said Mr. Kim often traded ahead of a company's quarterly earnings report - a bet on whether the company would miss, meet or beat Wall Street's expectations. The firm's proprietary traders weren't faring very well, either. A majority of the young, inexperienced traders were not making enough money from their bets in the market to earn a commission. Instead, they were receiving a $1,500 draw each month that they were expected to pay back, according to the receiver. Based on the receiver's investigation so far, it appears that any trading profits the firm recorded during 2003 or 2004 were promptly stolen by the defendants in the securities fraud case, according to Michael R. Tein, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner at Lewis Tein. As losses mounted late last year, the house of cards holding up KL began to collapse. Last fall, a number of investors started to clamor for an independent audit of KL's funds. 'We told them, 'We have to have audits done on this thing,' ' said a person who invested in one of KL's funds in early 2004 but did not want to be identified because he did not want to be associated with the scandal. 'They kept promising they would do it, but kept putting it off.' The investor said he was even offered 'big incentives' in a meeting late last year with John Kim and Mr. Kochman to bring in new investors. 'I told them when you give me a confirmed, certified audit, I'll consider doing something for you,' the investor said. Certain investors who were receiving daily and weekly updates on the performance of KL's funds realized that they were starting to lose money. Between the losses and the lack of a certified audit, at least two large KL investors filled out withdrawal slips so that they could remove about $10 million from the funds by the end of the year, according to a former employee. Fearing that investors would redeem more money from the funds - money the funds may not have had, according to investigators - the firm's principals raced to stop the outflows. One of their biggest investors who was ready to bolt late last year was a local eye surgeon, Dr. Salomon E. Melgen. By last fall, Dr. Melgen intended to withdraw some of the $12.3 million investment that he and a holding company he controlled had already given to John Kim to manage, according to a lawsuit he filed against the advisory firm and its principals. (Mr. Melgen's lawyer said he would not comment for this article.) Instead, in October, John Kim and Mr. Lee signed a document that guaranteed that Dr. Melgen's $12.3 million would be repaid at the end of January 2005, according to the document. The money was to be set aside in a separate account and traded only by John Kim. Dr. Melgen had invested an additional $7 million in one of KL's funds and put $1 million in a separate account under an agreement that would allow Mr. Kim to use an airplane owned by Dr. Melgen. Within four months of Dr. Melgen's receiving the signed guarantee, his $20 million investment had disappeared, according to the lawsuit. In late February, regulators from the S.E.C. entered KL's California and Palm Beach offices simultaneously, demanding to see documents. Mr. Kim avoided the regulators in West Palm Beach, saying he couldn't be bothered during trading hours, a former employee said. In California, though, regulators met with both Mr. Lee and Yung Kim, S.E.C. documents show. After the meeting, investigators said, Mr. Lee walked out of the office, leaving a half-eaten bag of cookies on his desk. The next morning he went to the airport and bought a one-way ticket for South Korea, using frequent-flier miles, the investigators said. The day after that, Yung Kim disappeared as well. A few days after the S.E.C. appeared on KL's doorstep, John Kim invited about 30 employees to his home. As the employees listened in shock, he said that the company was under investigation and that his brother and Mr. Lee were missing. He said nothing about missing funds. 'John put his arms around me, apologized profusely about what was happening and told me he didn't know anything,' said Al Farinelli, the firm's controller. 'He said his brother was responsible for everything.' John Kim's assets have been frozen by the S.E.C., but he agreed to cooperate with investigators in exchange for being granted access to enough money to pay for eye surgery for his young daughter earlier this year, according to the S.E.C. Mr. Kim has said that, based on his knowledge of his own trading activity, the hedge fund was profitable, according to testimony he provided to regulators in March. If losses did occur, he said, he had no idea whether they were a result of trading screens that had been doctored, or if Mr. Lee and Yung Kim had lost any profits in their own trading activities. Some KL investors say they believe him. 'I think John Kim is a victim in all of this. So is Ron Kochman,' said a female investor who didn't want to be identified but who was friendly with Mr. Kim and his family as well as with Mr. Lee. When asked if she held Mr. Kim responsible for losses she incurred, the investor said, 'I'm the only one responsible for deciding to be in the fund.' LAWYERS at Lewis Tein said they had fielded calls from investors who were eager to give Mr. Kim money again because they believed he could make it back for them. But several people who once called Mr. Kim a friend said they are skeptical of Mr. Kim's claims. 'We're reviewing documents, e-mails and trading records and some of what we've seen so far may not support Mr. Kim's position,' said David B. Rosemberg, a lawyer at Lewis Tein. Other people said they were bothered by a last-minute trip that Mr. Kim made to South Korea in December, when he bought a $650,000 home in Seoul. Furthermore, the S.E.C. said this spring that at least $20 million of investor funds were diverted for the personal use of KL's principals, including Mr. Kim. Investigators said they believe that the fancy cars and even some of Mr. Kim's mortgage payments came directly from KL's coffers. Will the whole story of KL ever be known? Investigators are poring over documents and statements, trying to put together what happened, but that will take months, and even then a clear picture may not emerge. As for the millions lost by investors, it is unlikely that much will be recouped, according to lawyers involved in the case. But people searching for a bigger lesson from the story of KL might find it in a sign at the firm's opulent West Palm Beach offices. It lists KL's 36 trading principles. No. 26? Greed kills.

Subject: Dear Bobby
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:19:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear Bobby, when you clean the message board can you leave us a set of recent posts again. Thanks for all always :)

Subject: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:03:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/business/13nocera.html Pro Tells Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win By Joseph Nocera WHEN I started out on this new book,' David F. Swensen was saying the other day, 'I thought I was going to take what we do at Yale and make it accessible to the individual investor.' Oh, lucky day! Mr. Swensen, the chief investment officer of the Yale endowment - and to my mind, the best manager of institutional money in the United States - was going to show you and me how to invest the way he does. To his surprise, however, the book Mr. Swensen eventually wrote, 'Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment,' published this last Tuesday, turned out to be the opposite of what he intended. Its title notwithstanding, it doesn't show the little guy how to invest like Yale. Instead, it shows why the little guy will never be able to invest the way Yale does. For all the 'democratization' that has taken place in the world of personal investing the deck is still stacked against the individual. That was Mr. Swensen's fundamental discovery. And his willingness to change course and turn 'Unconventional Success' into a polemic aimed primarily at mutual fund companies, but also at other Wall Street types who fleece the little guy, is to his everlasting credit. After all, he could have told us to buy stocks in companies whose products we buy at the supermarket, like a certain investment genius of a previous era. Any regrets about that advice, Peter Lynch? A YALE graduate and a protégé of the Nobel laureate James Tobin, David Swensen took over the Yale endowment in 1985, at the tender age of 31, after a brief stint on Wall Street. Within a few years, he had turned it into the best-run, most influential institutional fund in the country - the fund that every other institution wants to emulate. His track record is astounding: over the last two decades, Yale has generated average annual returns of 16.1 percent, a number no one else can touch. The fund itself has grown in that time to over $15 billion from $1.3 billion, even though it now spends over $550 million a year to help cover Yale's operating budget. Even more impressive, though, is the way Mr. Swensen and his Yale colleagues have gone about generating those returns. When Mr. Swensen first took over, Yale's portfolio held stocks and bonds, period. Like most institutional portfolios of that time, 'it was neither diversified nor particularly equity-oriented,' Mr. Swensen recalled. Today, the endowment has barely 5 percent in bond holdings. 'The other 95 percent,' he said, 'are in places that we think will provide 'equity like' returns.' Which is not to say it is all in equities. On the contrary, the Yale portfolio is extraordinarily diversified, which both lifts returns and protects against disaster. At the end of the 2004 fiscal year, Yale had a mere 15 percent of its assets in domestic equities, and another 15 percent in foreign stocks. It had 15 percent in private equity, and 18 percent in 'real assets,' which includes investments in timber and energy. But its biggest percentage, 26 percent, was in something called 'absolute return.' That is a category invented by Mr. Swensen in 1990. It means hedge funds. Before Mr. Swensen arrived on the scene, hedge fund investors were almost exclusively rich people. But he quickly realized that the best hedge fund managers were extremely skilled, and he began putting Yale's money in a variety of hedge funds. Eventually, other institutions realized that Yale was making money in good markets and bad ones, and they raced to copy Mr. Swensen's model. If you want to understand why hedge funds are exploding these days, a big reason is that every big institutional investor in the country is trying to do what Yale does. His new book has given Mr. Swensen a greater appreciation of the enormous advantages he has as an institutional money manager, starting with the obvious fact that he has a staff that spends full-time researching investment possibilities. Thus, he takes it as a given that individuals shouldn't pick stocks themselves. 'I see every day how competitive the markets are, and how tough. So the idea that you can do this yourself, that's out the window.' But as he looked around at the alternatives for individuals, he found himself horrified by what he saw - especially at the $8 trillion mutual fund industry, which is the primary means through which individuals invest in the market. Although his prose tends to be on the academic side, his sense of outrage comes through on every page of 'Unconventional Success.' What is it about mutual funds Mr. Swensen finds offensive? Just about everything. He hates the way the loads and all the hidden fees mean that the investor is always behind the eight ball. (When I asked him about hedge fund fees, which are much higher, Mr. Swensen replied: 'I don't mind paying a lot for actual performance. Besides, when we negotiate fees, it's sophisticated investor versus fund manager. It's a fair fight.') He thinks that it is criminal for fund companies to allow popular funds to balloon in size, making it nearly impossible for the manager to beat the market. He hates the way the industry pushes exactly the wrong fund at the wrong time - Internet-oriented funds at the height of the bubble, for instance. (He has one example of a Schwab advertisement during the bubble that is simply devastating.) He notes, as others have before, that the vast majority of actively managed funds underperform. He uses 'invidious,' 'investor-damaging' and 'dirty scheme' to describe the general behavior of the industry. Even the mutual fund monitoring companies don't help even the odds. Mr. Swensen absolutely skewers Morningstar, the company that has built its reputation rating mutual funds. His data shows that, like Moody's belatedly downgrading a corporate bond, Morningstar downgrades this or that poorly performing mutual fund only after the damage has been done. His core point, though, is that the for-profit fund industry has a fundamental conflict between its desire for corporate profits and its fiduciary duty to its investors. And the profit motive wins out every time. So does Mr. Swensen offer any hope at all? Some. He thinks we'd all be better off sticking with index funds, instead of trying to beat the market. He thinks we should get our index funds from Vanguard, with its rock-bottom fees. (As a not-for-profit company, Vanguard also doesn't have the central conflict of interest.) We should have a diversified portfolio of index funds, for the same reason Yale does. We should be disciplined in our approach, especially in rebalancing our portfolio to stick to our diversification targets. Of course, this invariably means paring back on winners and increasing our investment in laggards. But as sensible, and, in truth, not particularly unconventional, as this advice is, how many of us will actually follow it? Human beings simply aren't hard-wired to be good investors. Think about it: how many of us, really, have the fortitude to pare back our winners and buy more of our losers? Most of us do just the opposite. Heck, so do most mutual fund managers, which is why they can't beat the market either. There is a reason we as a culture have accorded hero-like status to great investors like Warren E. Buffett and Peter Lynch. For all the cultural reinforcement we get that investing is something anybody ought to be able to master, we know in our bones it's not true. Mr. Buffett and Mr. Lynch are like great athletes, who have the skill and the emotional makeup to do something well that the rest of us can only dream about. That describes David Swensen, too. What he has to say is worth listening to. But will we ever truly hear it?

Subject: Re: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:06:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that Vanguard index funds become the alternative investments. I will read this book in the next couple of days, even though a Yalie od all people wrote it :) I will then deny reading it however.

Subject: Re: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 18:08:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Oh, Bobby is a Yalie. But, we forgive Bobby.

Subject: Re: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win
From: Dorian
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14, 2005 at 02:10:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A very good article Emma. I look forward to your report on the book. Might very well order it from my library. Thanks, Dorian

Subject: More Africans Enter U.S.
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 14:19:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/21/nyregion/21africa.html?ex=1124596800&en=575a695f2433d525&ei=5070&emc=eta1 February 21, 2005 More Africans Enter U.S. Than in Days of Slavery By SAM ROBERTS For the first time, more blacks are coming to the United States from Africa than during the slave trade. Since 1990, according to immigration figures, more have arrived voluntarily than the total who disembarked in chains before the United States outlawed international slave trafficking in 1807. More have been coming here annually - about 50,000 legal immigrants - than in any of the peak years of the middle passage across the Atlantic, and more have migrated here from Africa since 1990 than in nearly the entire preceding two centuries. New York State draws the most; Nigeria and Ghana are among the top 20 sources of immigrants to New York City. But many have moved to metropolitan Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Houston. Pockets of refugees, especially Somalis, have found havens in Minnesota, Maine and Oregon. The movement is still a trickle compared with the number of newcomers from Latin America and Asia, but it is already redefining what it means to be African-American. The steady decline in the percentage of African-Americans with ancestors who suffered directly through the middle passage and Jim Crow is also shaping the debate over affirmative action, diversity programs and other initiatives intended to redress the legacy of slavery. In Africa, the flow is contributing to a brain drain. But at the same time, African-born residents of the United States are sharing their relative prosperity here by sending more than $1 billion annually back to their families and friends. 'Basically, people are coming to reclaim the wealth that's been taken from their countries,' said Howard Dodson, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem, which has just inaugurated an exhibition, Web site and book, titled 'In Motion,' to commemorate the African diaspora. The influx has other potential implications, from recalibrating the largely monolithic way white America views blacks to raising concerns that American-born blacks will again be left behind. 'Historically, every immigrant group has jumped over American-born blacks,' said Eric Foner, the Columbia University historian. 'The final irony would be if African immigrants did, too.' The flow from Africa began in the 1970's, mostly with refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia, and escalated in the 1990's, when the number of black residents of the United States born in sub-Saharan Africa nearly tripled. Combined with the much larger flow of Caribbean blacks, the recent arrivals from Africa accounted for about 25 percent of black population growth in the United States over all during the decade. Nationally, the proportion of blacks who are foreign born rose to about 7.3 percent from 4.9 percent in the 1990's. In New York City, about 1 in 3 blacks are foreign born. According to the census, the proportion of black people living in the United States who describe themselves as African-born, while still small, more than doubled in the 1990's, to 1.7 percent from about 0.8 percent, for a total estimated conservatively at more than 600,000. About 1.7 million United States residents identify their ancestry as sub-Saharan. Those numbers reflect only legal immigrants, who have been arriving at the rate of about 50,000 a year, first mostly as refugees and students and more recently through family reunification and diversity visas. Many speak English, were raised in large cities and capitalist economies, live in families headed by married couples and are generally more highly educated and have higher-paying jobs than American-born blacks. There is no official count of the many others who entered the country illegally or have overstayed their visas and who are likely to be less well off. Kim Nichols, co-executive director of the African Services Committee, which directs newcomers to health care, housing and other services in the New York region, estimates that the number of illegal African immigrants dwarfs the legal ones. 'We think it's a multiple of at least four,' she said. Africans' reasons for coming echo the aspirations of earlier immigrants. 'Senegal became too small,' said Marie Lopy, who arrived as a student in 1996, worked as a bookkeeper in a restaurant and earned an associate degree in biology from the City University of New York. After winning a place in an American immigration lottery that his secretary had entered for him in 1994, Daouda Ndiaye recalls being persuaded by his six children to leave Senegal, where he was working as a financial manager. 'I said, 'I'm 45, I'd have to build a whole new life, I'd have to go to school to learn English,' ' he recalled. 'They said, 'We want you to go and we want you to send for us because there's more opportunity in the U.S. than here.' ' His wife and two of his children have joined him in the United States, where he has worked as a sporting goods store manager and is now a translator. That the latest movement of black Africans arriving voluntarily surpasses the total who disembarked in chains before the United States outlawed international slave trafficking is a bit of a statistical anomaly. That total, most historians now agree, was about 500,000, with an annual peak of perhaps 30,000, compared with the millions overall who were sold into slavery from Africa. Many died aboard ship. Most were transported to the Caribbean and Brazil, where they were vulnerable to indigenous diseases and to the rigors of raising sugar cane, which was harder to cultivate than cotton or rice, the predominant crops on plantations in the United States, where the slave population was better able to survive and reproduce. Moreover, black Africans represented a much higher proportion of the population then than they do today. In 1800, about 20 percent of the 5 million or so people in the United States were black. Among nearly 300 million Americans today, about 13 percent are black. Still, with Europe increasingly inhospitable and much of Africa still suffering from the ravages of drought and the AIDS epidemic and the vagaries of economic mismanagement, the number migrating to the United States is growing - despite the reluctance of some Africans to come face to face with the effects of centuries of enduring discrimination. In the 1960's, 28,954 legal immigrants were admitted from all of Africa, a figure that rose geometrically to 80,779 in the 1970's, 176,893 in the 1980's and 354,939 in the 1990's. In 2002, 60,269 were admitted, including 8,291 from Nigeria, 7,574 from Ethiopia, 4,537 from Somalia, 4,256 from Ghana and 3,207 from Kenya. To many Americans, the most visible signs of the movement are the proliferation of African churches, mosques, hair-braiding salons, street vendors and supermarket deliverymen, the controversy over female genital mutilation and the election last year of Barack Obama, son of a native Kenyan, to the United States Senate from Illinois. Especially in New York City, the shooting deaths of two unarmed African immigrants, Amadou Diallo from Guinea in 1999 and Ousmane Zongo from Burkina Faso in 2003, come to mind. Immigrants arrive with their own perceptions and expectations, from countries where blacks constitute a majority at every level of society, only to discover that whether they are professors or peddlers, they may be lumped together here by whites and even by American-born blacks. 'You have the positive impact that race is not seen to be an absolute definer of people's opportunities,' Kathleen Newland, director of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group, said, 'but that begs the larger question of what does it mean to have a black skin in the United States.' Agba Mangalabou, who arrived from Togo in 2002, recalls his surprise when he moved here from Europe. 'In Germany, everyone knew I was African,' he said. 'Here, nobody knows if I'm African or American.' Ms. Lopy, who now works as a medical interpreter for the African Services Committee, describes herself as 'African, first and foremost,' though the identity of her children will depend on whom she marries and where. 'I'll raise them to be African-something,' she said, 'but ultimately they'll define it for themselves.' Sylviane A. Diouf, a historian and researcher at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center and Dr. Dodson's co-author of 'In Motion,' said that Americans have a more positive view of immigrants in general than they do of American-born blacks. Referring to African immigrants, she said: 'They are better educated, they're here to work, to prosper, they're more compliant and don't pose a threat.' Dr. Dodson added, 'They're not politically mobilized as yet and not as closely tied to the African-American agenda.' While the ancestors of most Caribbean-born blacks were enslaved, and slavery also victimized the forbears of many African-born blacks, the growing proportion of immigrants may further complicate the debate over programs envisioned to redress the legacies of slavery. 'I think there is a legitimate set of specific claims by persons born in the United States that don't necessarily apply to Caribbean or African populations that have come here subsequently,' Dr. Dodson said. 'African-born and Caribbean-born brothers and sisters have realized that the police don't discriminate on the basis of nationality - ask Amadou Diallo,' said Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr., who teaches at Harvard Law School and has warned colleges and universities that admitting mostly foreign-born blacks to meet the goals of affirmative action is insufficient. 'Whether you are from Brazil or from Cuba, you are still products of slavery,' he continued. 'But the threshold is that people of African descent who were born and raised and suffered in America have to be the first among equals.' French-speaking Haitians do not necessarily mix with English-speaking West Indians, much less with Africans, and competition for jobs has been another source of tension. 'The Africans tend to be quite industrious and entrepreneurial and often take advantage of opportunities that might have been here for others before,' said Kim Nichols of the African Services Committee. 'We're talking about very profoundly different cultures,' Kathleen Newland said. Analyses by the Department of City Planning, and by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research, in Albany found recent immigrants often segregated from other blacks. The census found Nigerian clusters in Flatlands and Canarsie in Brooklyn and Ghanaians in Morris Heights and High Bridge in the Bronx. 'As with European ethnics at the turn of the century,' Joseph J. Salvo, the director of the population division of the Department of City Planning, and Arun Peter Lobo, the deputy director, wrote recently, 'ethnicity has been a powerful force in shaping black residential settlement in New York.' Immigration may also shift some of the nation's focus from racial distinctions to ethnic ones. 'Certainly, South Africa showed us that minority status does not necessarily correlate to one's position in society, but rather that power and its uses are the issues,' said Samuel K. Roberts of Columbia, a history professor who is also on the faculty of the university's Institute for Research in African-American Studies. 'That being said, increasingly distinguishing between black Americans and black Africans may produce conditions in which we will be less prone to think of a fictional construct of 'race' as the distinguishing factor among all of us in North America.' How long might those distinctions last? 'I guess one of the questions will have to be what happens in the next generation or two,' said Professor Foner of Columbia. 'In America, marriage is the great solvent. Are they going to melt into the African-American population? Most likely yes.'

Subject: The Dollar Problem
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 11:32:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem is the dollar is overvalued from a trade perspective, but growth in Europe and Japan and elsewhere is still highly dependent on exports demand from America and decline in the value of the dollar will be at least somewhat resisted. China has increased the value of the Yuan by 2%, which will have a minimal effect on trade, and she is not likely to be successfully pressured from here. So, the dollar should lose value but how? Currency traders have just not attacked the dollar so far. They might well regret attacking the dollar dearly.

Subject: Racial and Ethnic Minorities Gain
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 06:00:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/12/national/12census.html Racial and Ethnic Minorities Gain in the Nation as a Whole By ROBERT PEAR WASHINGTON -The nation as a whole is moving in the direction of its two most populous states, California and Texas, where members of racial and ethnic minorities account for more than half the population, the Census Bureau said Thursday. Non-Hispanic whites now make up two-thirds of the nation's total population, the bureau said, but that proportion will dip to one-half by 2050, according to the agency's latest projections. In a new report, estimating population levels as of July 1, 2004, the Census Bureau said Texas had a minority population of 11.3 million, accounting for 50.2 percent of its total population of 22.5 million. Texas is the fourth state in which minority groups, taken together, account for a majority of the population. But no one racial or ethnic group by itself accounts for a majority of the total population there. Steven H. Murdock, the state demographer for Texas, said, 'In some sense, Texas is a preview of what the nation will become in the long run.' 'Our future in Texas is increasingly tied to our minority populations,' Mr. Murdock said. If their education and skills continue to lag, he added, the state will be less competitive in the global economy. Members of racial and ethnic minorities also make up more than half the population in Hawaii (77 percent) and New Mexico (56.5 percent). In California, state officials said minorities had accounted for more than half of the population since 1998, and the Census Bureau said they now made up 55.5 percent of the total. Minorities accounted for about 40 percent of the population in each of five other states: Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York and Arizona. New York had the largest black population, 3.5 million, while California had the largest Hispanic population (12.4 million) and the largest Asian population (4.8 million). Mr. Murdock said immigration accounted for half of the recent increase in Texas's minority population, while half was because of the excess of births over deaths. Hispanic women, who are having children at a rate of 3 per woman, had a significantly higher fertility rate than blacks, with an average of 2.3, and non-Hispanic whites, with an average of 1.9, Mr. Murdock said. In the four-year interval from the last census, in April 2000, to July 2004, the bureau reported, the total population of the United States grew 4.3 percent, to 293.7 million, and the black population increased by 5.7 percent, to 39.2 million. But, it said, the Asian population increased 16.2 percent, to 14 million, and the Hispanic population rose 17 percent, to 41.3 million. Hispanics can be of any race. In the same four-year period, the bureau said, the non-Hispanic white population grew 1.1 percent, to 197.8 million, while the rest of the nation - the 'minority population' - grew 11.6 percent, to 95.8 million. Cecilia Muñoz, a vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights group, said: 'This great diversity and constant demographic change make us a dynamic country. They do not cause unrest or commotion. They are part of a process that's intrinsically American.' Ms. Muñoz said 'the political strength of Latinos takes a while to catch up with our demographic strength,' in part because one-third of the Latino population is under the age of 18 and many Hispanics are not citizens. Among counties, the Census Bureau said, Los Angeles had the largest Hispanic population, 4.6 million, and the largest Asian population, 1.4 million. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for just 30 percent of the county's total population of 9.9 million. Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, had the largest black population, 1.4 million. The Census Bureau figures show that Hispanics account for 36 percent of the total population in the nation's five largest counties: 9.1 million of the 25.4 million people who live in Los Angeles, Cook County, Harris County, Tex. (Houston), Maricopa County, Ariz. (Phoenix) and Orange County, Calif. In Texas, as in many other states, said Mr. Murdock, a professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio, 'the white population is growing very slowly, while other racial and ethnic groups are growing quite rapidly.' Officials in California and Texas said Hispanics had fanned out across their states, while the black population tended to be more concentrated in urban areas. Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in four of the five largest cities in Texas, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and El Paso, Mr. Murdock said. But, he said, they also account for much of the population growth in rural counties.

Subject: Assess Your Area's Real Estate Bubble
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 05:59:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/realestate/13froth.html Do Try This at Home: Assess Your Area's Real Estate Bubble By DAMON DARLIN For the first time since the residential real estate marathon began 13 years ago, parts of the country are showing signs of exhaustion. But if you rely on the experts to declare that a particular area's bubble has popped, you may have waited too long. So how can a homeowner tell if a market is about to go bust? This may be one of those rare occasions when professionals parsing data are at a disadvantage to regular people watching the market. That's because the main driver of today's market is consumer psychology. Home prices go up as long as people expect them to go up. When they stop believing, prices fall - and no economist in Washington can get wind of that faster than someone chatting over knockwurst at a neighborhood block party. 'Economists looking at the macrodata will be the last to know,' said Richard A. Brown, chief economist at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. What you will learn from the professionals who are dutifully crunching numbers is that prices are not falling significantly in any of the hot markets, but in a dozen or so cities in the Northeast and in California, they are near the peak. In Boston, for example, the time that homes are sitting on the market has stretched to 46 days from 39 days a year ago. An analysis of price appreciation, done for The New York Times by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, shows that the price appreciation in cities including New York City; Austin, Tex.; Philadelphia; and Providence, R.I., are decelerating. Appreciation in Detroit and Denver has already slowed to a crawl. 'It's taking a lot longer to sell a home,' says Karl A. Martone, a Re/Max Properties agent in Providence, where homes now sit on the market an average of 65 days, up from 14 days a year ago. The region has almost six months of inventory, which is up 35 percent from a year ago. Vicki Doran, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Providence, says: 'It's switching to a buyer's market. Last year buyers had to snap things up. Now they can shop around.' Even a few markets in hard-charging California - San Diego, Orange County and Santa Cruz - are part of the trend, according to data from the first three months of the year. Data for the second quarter to be released by the government on Sept. 1 may confirm the trend. But already Christopher Thornberg, senior forecaster at UCLA Anderson Forecast, a service of the University of California, Los Angeles, says California has 'peaked and is already coming down the back side.' On Tuesday, David A. Lereah, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said that the housing market was 'probably close to a peak right now.' Take a look at the hot San Diego condo market. In Park Place, one of the many sleek towers of condominiums recently slung up around Petco Park, a one-bedroom condo is offered for $719,000. Someone buying it would expect to make mortgage payments of about $3,775 a month, plus monthly maintenance fees. But someone really wanting to live in the high-rise, with hardwood floors, granite countertops and city views for a lot less, could rent a nearly identical unit in the same building for $2,400 a month. That is clear evidence prices have to move down. You are more apt to see that the price of residential property no longer is connected to its underlying value than a person looking only at spreadsheets of sales data. Prices in overheated markets must, by definition, come back down to the mean. Knowing which way the market is headed before buying or selling is extremely important to anyone who wants to protect the wealth tied up in a house. And it certainly matters to anyone who is thinking of buying because it never makes much sense to buy at the top of the market. 'The turning point is pretty important,' Mr. Brown said, 'because the trend will play out for years.' The trouble is, economists have been wrong before when they try to call the market. Three years ago, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, said that it would be only a matter of months before prices began to fall. Prognosticators at the research firm Economy.com declared that the peak was last summer. Celia Chen, the firm's director for housing economics, is now saying that it will come this year. 'The timing is always difficult with these things,' admits Ian Morris, chief United States economist at HSBC Securities U.S.A., who made the same call, repeatedly. John Karevoll, an analyst with DataQuick Information Systems, which provides real estate data to lenders, said: 'We've been told for years that the peak is just around the corner. The economists have so much egg on their faces.' Don't be too hard on them. It's the nature of their science. N. Gregory Mankiw, the Harvard University professor and former head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, made one of the most famous miscalls. In 1989 he wrote a paper arguing that the aging of the baby boomers was going to undermine the housing market in the 1990's and 2000's. Whoops. Though it appears the shift is now at hand, the end of the bubble will not look anything like the crash in the stock market after the technology bubble. The stock market turns frenetic when investors scramble to get out and prices fall sharply. In housing, however, a collapse is signaled by a sharp drop in activity as people hold off buying. Houses stay on the market longer. Inventories grow. Only then will prices fall, slowly. Economists say prices will lag a slowdown in the market by four to six months. Some of the data on where a local market is headed is available on the Internet (links are at nytimes.com/business). In other cases, your real estate agent is your best friend. He or she has access to a storehouse of raw data from the local Multiple Listing Service. Here are some indicators to look at: Market activity How many homes are sold compared with the month before is the earliest indicator, but it is notorious for false positives. But if the number of homes sold starts to drop, perk up. Every county tracks this and makes it available to the public. Inventory Some of the most crucial pieces of information are held closely by real estate agents. The number of houses on the market is one of them. The national average is 4.3 months; 6 months is closer to normal, the National Association of Realtors says. When it grows, there is trouble coming. Time on the market Agents control access to this information, and be warned: they know how to manipulate it. A house that has been languishing can be taken off and put back to look like a fresh listing. But you'll still be able to see the average time stretching as a clear signal of cooling. Prices It's what you care about most. But month-to-month comparisons are nearly useless as an indicator because sales of a few houses on either end of the market can skew the figures. DataQuick at www.dqnews.com has some data and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight issues quarterly reports. Failed to sell The super-secret indicator among agents is the number of houses that are quietly taken off the market - usually because they are priced too high. Wheedle the number out of them and you'll have a strong indicator of market health. Price-to-rent ratio This is a wonderful measure that gets at the intrinsic value of a property, but it's a tricky tool for the layman. Rent data include everything from studios to four-bedroom penthouses, making a comparison with single-family homes difficult. Some of the rent data can be found at www.realfacts. com. Loan quality The popularity of interest-only mortgages could become one of the best indicators of a fragile market, several economists say. Mr. Thornberg of UCLA Anderson says it's a sign that lenders are scraping the bottom of the barrel. 'We are close to running out of shills,' he says. Risk The PMI Group of Walnut Creek, Calif., a provider of data to the mortgage industry, estimates how much prices could drop using an econometric model. It publishes the list of at-risk cities at www.pmigroup.com. Popular sentiment To judge from the media, the housing bubble may have peaked in June. According to a Nexis search of magazines and newspapers, that month was the peak, with 312 references to 'housing bubble,' almost six times that of a year earlier. It fell 24 percent in July. Of course, there is one constant: real estate agent sentiment. Most of them will never tire of saying it's a great time to buy. Despite the signs of a slowdown, Mr. Martone, the Providence real estate agent, says prices are holding and he still does not have enough properties to sell. He says, 'I am the eternal optimist.'

Subject: Errors Cited in Assessing Climate Data
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 05:56:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/12/science/earth/12climate.long.html Errors Cited in Assessing Climate Data By ANDREW C. REVKIN Some scientists who question whether human-caused global warming poses a threat have long pointed to records that showed the atmosphere's lowest layer, the troposphere, had not warmed over the last two decades and had cooled in the tropics. Now two independent studies have found errors in the complicated calculations used to generate the old temperature records, which involved stitching together data from thousands of weather balloons lofted around the world and a series of short-lived weather satellites. A third study shows that when the errors are taken into account, the troposphere actually got warmer. Moreover, that warming trend largely agrees with the warmer surface temperatures that have been recorded and conforms to predictions in recent computer models. The three papers were published yesterday in the online edition of the journal Science. The scientists who developed the original troposphere temperature records from satellite data, John R. Christy and Roy W. Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, conceded yesterday that they had made a mistake but said that their revised calculations still produced a warming rate too small to be a concern. 'Our view hasn't changed,' Dr. Christy said. 'We still have this modest warming.' Other climate experts, however, said that the new studies were very significant, effectively resolving a puzzle that had been used by opponents of curbs on heat-trapping greenhouse gases. “These papers should lay to rest once and for all the claims by John Christy and other global warming skeptics that a disagreement between tropospheric and surface temperature trends means that there are problems with surface temperature records or with climate models,” said Alan Robock, a meteorologist at Rutgers University. The findings will be featured in a report on temperature trends in the lower atmosphere that is the first product to emerge from the Bush administration's 10-year program intended to resolve uncertainties in climate science. Several scientists involved in the new studies said that the government climate program, by forcing everyone involved to meet five times, had helped generate the new findings. 'It felt like a boxing ring on occasion,' said Peter W. Thorne, an expert on the weather balloon data at the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research in Britain and an author of one of the studies. Temperatures at thousands of places across the surface of the earth have been measured for generations. But far fewer measurements have been made of temperatures in the air from the surface through the troposphere, which extends up about five miles. Until recently Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer were the only scientists who had plowed through vast volumes of data from weather satellites to see if they could indirectly deduce the temperature of several layers within the troposphere. They and other scientists have also tried to analyze temperature readings gathered by some 700 weather balloons lofted twice a day around the world. But each of those efforts has been fraught with complexities and uncertainties. The satellites' orbits shift and sink over time, their instruments are affected by sunlight and darkness, and data from a succession of satellites has to be calibrated to account for eccentricities of sensitive instruments. Starting around 2001, the satellite data and methods of Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer were re-examined by Carl A. Mears and Frank J. Wentz, scientists at Remote Sensing Systems, a company in Santa Rosa, Calif., that does satellite data analysis for NASA. They and several other teams have since found more significant warming trends than the original estimate. But the new paper, by Dr. Mears and Dr. Wentz, identifies a fresh error in the original calculations that, more firmly than ever, showed warming in the troposphere, particularly in the tropics. The error, in a calculation used to adjust for the drift of the satellites, was disclosed to the University of Alabama scientists at one of the government-run meetings this year, Dr. Christy said. The new analysis of data from weather balloons examined just one possible source of error, the direct heating of the instruments by the sun. It found that when data were examined in a way that accounted for that effect, the temperature record produced a warming, particularly in the tropics, again putting the data in line with theory. 'Things being debated now are details about the models,' said Steven Sherwood, the lead author of the paper on the balloon data and an atmospheric physicist at Yale. 'Nobody is debating any more that significant climate changes are coming.'

Subject: Léopold Senghor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 19:48:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://carpe.umd.edu/congo_basin_news/news_article.asp?article=98 December 21, 2001 Léopold Senghor: Senegal's Poet of Négritude By ALBIN KREBS - New York Times Léopold Sédar Senghor, a poet, professor, philosopher and statesman who became the first president of Senegal when it gained independence from France, died yesterday at his home in Normandy. Mr. Senghor, one of the central figures in the political upheaval that led to freedom for France's African colonies, was 95. His life was a blend of African and European experiences. In World War II, he fought in an all-African French Army unit and spent two years in a Nazi camp after being captured. In 1984, he became the first black member of the French Academy. In between, he served as an always eloquent, often critical spokesman for the cause and culture of Africa. 'I wear European clothing,' he once said, 'and the Americans dance to jazz which derives from our African rhythms: civilization in the 20th century is universal. No people can get along without others.' The current president of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, announced the death to a summit meeting of West African nations in Dakar, Senegal. President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali, speaking for the 15 leaders there, hailed Mr. Senghor as a 'great politician and great African.' President Jacques Chirac of France yesterday mourned Mr. Senghor as a historic figure for Africa. 'Poetry has lost one of its masters, Senegal a statesman, Africa a visionary and France a friend,' he said in a statement. Mr. Senghor's career was studded with paradoxes. He was a Roman Catholic who led a predominantly Muslim nation, a sophisticated scholar who drew his primary support from peasants and a poet who wielded political power with great skill. Among African leaders, Mr. Senghor was the chief theoretician of négritude, or 'blackness,' his definition for the common culture and spiritual heritage of the black peoples of Africa. In one of his earliest poems, 'Totem,' he wrote: I must hide in the intimate depths of my veins The Ancestor storm-dark skinned, shot with lightning and thunder And my guardian animal, I must hide him Lest I smash through the boom of scandal. He is my faithful blood and demands fidelity Protecting my naked pride against Myself and all the insolence of lucky races. Mr. Senghor was also an eloquent diplomat, who on the one hand deftly criticized the colonial policies of Portugal and South Africa, while on the other scolding some developing nations for what he considered their hypocrisy. At the United Nations in 1961, for instance, he noted the double standards applied by some nations newly rid of colonialism. 'We have denounced the imperialism of the great powers only to secrete a miniature imperialism toward our neighbors,' he said then. 'We have demanded disarmament from the great powers only to transform our countries into arsenals. We proclaim our neutralism, but we do not always base it upon a policy of neutrality.' Mr. Senghor was born Oct. 9, 1906, in the small Senegalese coastal town of Joal. His father was a prosperous peanut planter and trader who had 20 children. His mother, a Roman Catholic, had him educated at a nearby Catholic mission and seminary and nurtured Mr. Senghor's first ambition - to become, as he recalled many years later, 'a teaching priest to work toward the intellectual emancipation of my race.' When he turned 20, however, Mr. Senghor abandoned his calling to the priesthood and transferred to secondary school in Dakar. In 1928 he won a partial scholarship that permitted him to study at the Lycèe Louis-le-Grand at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he formed a lifelong friendship with Georges Pompidou, who was later to become prime minister and then president of France. During his Sorbonne years, Mr. Senghor said, he also discovered 'the unmistakable imprint of African art on modern painting, sculpture, music and literature,' which confirmed his belief in Africa's contribution to 'the civilization of the universal.' In his studies in philosophy, Mr. Senghor originated, with Aimé Césaire of Martinique and Léon G. Damas of French Guiana, the concept of négritude, in part as a proud protest against French rule and the policy of assimilation. Négritude retained a respect for French, European and Western poetry and political thought, but Mr. Senghor as a young scholar emphasized the importance of his African heritage and urged his compatriots to 'assimilate, not be assimilated.' His love poems over the years reflected themes of négritude, dealing as they did with what he saw as the 'soullessness' of Western civilization - 'No mother's breast. Legs in nylon.' - and he maintained that only African culture has preserved a mystic means of reviving 'the world that has died of machines and cannons.' Further, Mr. Senghor believed, the African culture gained strength from its closeness to nature and its people's ancestors, while Western culture was out of step with the world's ancient and natural rhythms. In his poetry, Mr. Senghor could sound like Walt Whitman or Robinson Jeffers. His poems carried a tone of optimism, often of exuberant celebration, according to critics like Clive Wake and John Reed, who translated his collected poems. At the Sorbonne, Mr. Senghor was recognized as one of the most brilliant students, and upon his graduation in 1935 achieved the distinction of becoming the first African agrégé, the highest-ranked teacher in the French school system. He taught French to French children in Tours. In 1939, while teaching at another school near Paris, he was drafted into the French Army, serving in an all-African unit until 1940, when he was captured by the Germans. During the two years he spent in Nazi prison camps, he wrote some of his best poems, collected in 1945 in a volume titled 'Chantes d'Ombre.' Mr. Senghor returned to teaching and writing after the war, and in 1945 became deputy for Senegal to the French Constituent Assembly. A year later, he was elected one of Senegal's two deputies to the National Assembly. Sitting in the legislature for the Socialist Party, he soon decided that only an African party could adequately represent African needs. Having founded the Senegalese Democratic Bloc in 1948, he ran as that party's candidate in 1951 and defeated the Socialist candidate for the National Assembly. By the mid-1950's, the French Parliament had embarked on a policy aimed at giving a large measure of self-government to the African colonies. Mr. Senghor opposed the policy, believing that it would result in a proliferation of small, weak nations. Instead, Mr. Senghor favored a federal unity between French Equatorial Africa and the French colonies of West Africa. Later, he successfully appealed to President Charles de Gaulle of France for independence, and Senegal became a republic in 1960. Mr. Senghor was elected its first president. Late in 1962, he repulsed an attempted coup led by a longtime protégé, Prime Minister Mamadou Dia, ordering his old friend imprisoned for life. From then on, he tolerated no challenge to his generally moderate, pro-Western policies. Mr. Senghor won re-election to the presidency in 1963, 1968 and 1973, and remained president until his retirement in 1980. The first African president voluntarily to resign power, he handed the office to his chosen successor, Abdou Diouf. As president, Mr. Senghor faced problems common among the emerging nations of Africa. His country was poor, its resources mostly limited to fishing, peanut farming and the mining of phosphates. He devoted himself to modernizing agriculture, with limited success, and tried to combat the corruption and inefficiency that had become endemic under French rule. In foreign policy he was a neutralist, while at home he advocated a special form of 'African socialism,' which he said should be devoid of both atheism and excessive materialism. In contrast to African leaders who fell under the sway of the Soviets in the cold war, he emphasized his disapproval of a 'dictatorship of the proletariat.' In 1946, Mr. Senghor married Ginette Éboué, the daughter of a Guyanese who was a prominent colonial official in Africa. They had two children before divorcing nine years later. He later married Colette Hubert, a Frenchwoman from Normandy, where he spent much of his time after retirement. The couple had one son, Philippe, who died in an accident in the 1980's.

Subject: African Creativity
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 19:46:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/29/arts/design/29cott.html?ex=1124510400&en=aa0134a7ffd551eb&ei=5070&emc=eta1 April 29, 2005 African Creativity, More About the Momentary Than the Monumental By HOLLAND COTTER ''Resonance From the Past'' at the Museum for African Art is what is known as a collection show, meaning in this case roughly 90 sculptures, along with a few bead and fabric pieces, from the African holdings of the New Orleans Museum of Art. They make a savory anthology, with plenty of textbook staples and some surprises tucked in. Like many anthologies, though, this one is about browsing, rather than about a productive sorting and synthesizing of information. And given the radical thinking coming out of the still-marginalized field of African art history, and the many stories still waiting to be told, it can't help seeming, despite its manifold beauties, like a missed opportunity to shape and present fresh research. My visit coincided with an event at which such research was being presented: a stimulating symposium of young scholars of African art, organized by Susan Vogel at Columbia University, where she teaches. None of the speakers focused on the kind of ''classical'' sculpture in the collection. Several argued against the standard academic equation of art and objects, and specifically the equation of African art with a canon of museum-vetted sculptures. Instead, they talked about African art as mutable, ephemeral, time-based, kinetic, contingent and defined by fluid situations rather than by single, solid things. Equivalents of contemporary Western forms like conceptual art, process art, performance art, installation art, body art and sound art have been practiced in Africa for centuries. And any comprehensive study of African art is, by necessity, multidisciplinary, with art historians and anthropologists heading a list that also includes musicologists, folklorists, linguists, dance historians, architectural historians and scholars of religion, aesthetics, ethnology and philosophy. Visions of this fusion were dancing in my head as I traveled from Columbia to the Museum for African Art. So I wasn't surprised that the word exciting repeatedly came to mind as I walked through a show for which I'd had only mild expectations. Piece after piece, no matter how familiar the form, made me slow my pace. Every encounter was a contact high. I wasn't seeing just objects. I was seeing a network of ideas. Heightened receptivity is not, I hasten to say, a prerequisite for appreciating a show that has, on its own terms, much to offer. The New Orleans museum's African collection is a fine and representative one, as befits a city with a 70 percent African-American population. (The museum is in the process of expanding its African galleries, which is why the collection is on the road.) And the curator, Frank Herreman, former deputy director of exhibitions at the Museum for African Art, has chosen well, from a Kota reliquary guardian figure (a modernist icon) and a Ciwara crest mask (its form now a logo for an African airline) to pieces notable for their rarity. Among these is an elegant wooden door carved by a Baule artist from Ivory Coast with a low-relief image of a large fish devouring a smaller one, a cautionary emblem of misused power. Immaculately preserved, the door must stand in for a whole range of Baule architectural art that had ceased production by the time of Ivorian independence in 1960. The artist's name we don't know. And until fairly recently, anonymity was assumed to be standard in African art. Not necessarily so. In many cultures, individual artists were and are revered; sometimes their fame was widespread. The Yoruba court sculptor Olowe of Ise (circa 1875-1938) is one of the best known in the West, and New Orleans has a splendid example of his work: a palace veranda post carved in the form of an armed and mounted warrior. It is one of the collection's most accessible sculptures, both because of its unmysterious function, documented in 1930 photographs, and a naturalistic style comparable to some in the West. And indeed, cross-cultural links, and specifically trans-Atlantic links, crop up throughout the show. One may be detected in a memorial staff attributed to the 19th-century Yoruba-born artist Akati Akpele Kendo. It is crowned by a miniature vignette in wrought iron of a top-hatted court official surrounded by twisty-looking animals and a table arrayed with liquor jars. If you wanted to locate stylistic sources for drawings by the African-American artist Bill Traylor (1854-1947), you might start here. And an elaborate Yoruba masquerade costume on display, about halfway into the show, anticipates the strutting, swooping exhibitionism of New Orleans Mardi Gras attire. Made from layers of boldly patterned textiles and panels of bright beadwork, the costume, when danced, was meant to embody an ancestral spirit. ''When danced'' is an important qualification. As festive as it looks in the museum, in an African context the costume needed more than good lighting to come to life. It needed a body, movement, drums, songs and a responsive crowd that believed in art's power to bridge the divine and human worlds and to turn flesh into spirit, and back again. Without all or some of this, it was just cloth and beads, a fragment of something bigger waiting to happen. Sculptures come with comparable requirements. A wooden power figure, or nkisi, from Congo has a meticulously carved, sensationally expressive head but a sketchy, genderless block of a body. In fact, once the figure was in use, the body would have been concealed under layers of materials -- animal skins, feathers, leaves -- applied to ignite the object's spiritual potential, an activation further intensified through singing and praying. The final product would be a kind of psychic smart bomb, lethal to evil. But in the museum, stripped of vivifying substances, deprived of songs, prayers and touch, it is not that. It's an intriguing sculpture, but it is also, to quote the art historian Wyatt MacGaffey in the show's catalog, ''powerless, a relic of another time, another place, another way of life.'' These realities bring us to the conceptual dimension of African art, which, the symposium suggested, is its primary one. It is certainly the dimension least compatible with object-based art history. That discipline has little room for the art of body painting, as described by Sarah Adams; or for the abstract Yoruba assemblages, all gesture and placement, described by David T. Doris; or for the transfer of figurative traditions from sculpture to photographs to the Internet, as described by Till Förster. None of this material has obvious museum or market potential. Its ephemeral quality even reinforces a common perception that apart from a century or two of ''tribal'' sculpture, Africa lacks any significant body of preservable, displayable art. So, by extension, it lacks an art history. In this argument, much hinges on how you describe history and art. At the Columbia symposium, Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie seemed to speak for at least some of his colleagues when he talked of art history not as a fixed body of objects but as an ever-shifting system of knowledge embodied in different forms in different ways at different times. Some forms stay the same but change their meanings; others become obsolete so that new forms can be invented, a dynamic seriously impeded by the creation of inviolable canons of objects and values. None of these ideas, abstract as they may sound, should be difficult for Western audiences to grasp. Western art in the 20th century produced just two great, self-challenging innovations. In the first half of the century, it was abstraction (minimalism was one of several offshoots), which freed art from images and made it a universe unto itself. The great invention of the second half was conceptualism. It freed art from forms and made it a way of existing in the world. Africa fully absorbed its own versions of all of this well before the 20th century. The West, by contrast, has never fully absorbed or been fully comfortable with any of it. That's why our major art museums and our major art history departments, when they do turn their attention to African art, often don't know what they are looking at, or want to know. (For good reason. To apply the kind of thinking emerging from African art to Western art, as should be happening, would change art history as we know it.) But certain scholars do know what they are looking at. So do certain museums. And to them it is thrilling, utterly. The Museum for African Art is one of those museums. And even when an exhibition is conceptually conservative, like this one, the material is choice, and the atmosphere bracing and expansive. So pay a visit. Browse a marvelous African collection. And start looking hard at what you don't see.

Subject: Re: African vs North American Native Creativity
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 11:59:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This has been a pet interest of mine: collecting African art (although I give most of it away). Understanding African art and its materials has raised some noval concepts that I suppose may link back to Jared Diamond. What I have found interesting is that African art has changed significantly over time. You can clearly see western influence, whether they are making toy cars, chess boards or coffins shaped like aeroplanes. To some degree African art has become comercialised - hey they want to get paid for their work. But to another degree, the art reflects a changing culture. Hey all cultures change over time.... or do they? I noticed that the Native American culture is just a series of variations on the same theme. Certain symbols have certain meanings, but Native art holds true to that limited set of symbols. I hate to say this but it appears as though the Native American art is simply remaining stagnant. Repeat the same thing enough times and it will become boring. I can understand why the Native American children would rather do something different and appealing. I then found out that the Government of Canada supports Native Americans in 'rebuilding their true culture' in a form of attempting to protect what's left of their culture after many years of ravage. It is this protection that, in my mind, allows the elders to repeat their art form and remain stagnant. In comparing the African and Native American art, I must ask, 'Are 'we' doing the right thing by supporting the Native Americans in remaining in their time warp? Are we not actually doing a dis-service?' This is obviously a very sensitive issue and in the same way Jared Diamond challanges us to face the issue - I am asking the simply question: Should we not step away from the Native American culture in an attempt to allow them to face all of the world's influences in a bid to save their culture? Comments?

Subject: Going on the road
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 12:19:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Saying goodby to our house tomorrow. Losing internet sometime today. I've truely enjoyed this site - thanks to everyone and especially Bobby. Will catch up with the Unofficial Paul Krugman site periodically while stopping at motels which have internet as we head East. We are completely out of debt!!! Comstock Partners, Inc. The Potential Crisis at Fannie Mae August 11, 2005 We have no proprietary information about Fannie Mae, but what is publicly known is scary enough. As you may recall, last December the SEC required Fannie to restate prior financial statements while the Office of Federal Oversight (OFHEO) accused the company of widespread accounting regularities that resulted in false and misleading statements. Significantly, the questionable practices included the way Fannie accounted for their huge amount of derivatives. On Tuesday, a company press release gave some alarming hints on how extensive the problem may be. The press release stated that in order to accomplish the restatements, “we have to obtain and validate market values for a large volume of transactions including all of our derivatives, commitments and securities at multiple points in time over the restatement period. To illustrate the breadth of this undertaking, we estimate we will need to record over one million lines of journal entries, determine hundreds of thousands of commitment prices and securities values, and verify some 20,000 derivative prices…” “…This year we expect that over 30 percent of our employees will spend over half their time on it, and many more are involved. In addition we are bringing some 1,500 consultants on board by year’s end to help with the restatement…Altogether, we project devoting six to eight million labor hours to the restatement. We are also investing over $100 million in technology projects to enhance or create new systems related to accounting and reporting…we do not believe the restatement will be completed until sometime during the second half of 2006…” It seems to us that anybody reading that press release should be shocked by what appears to be the paucity of knowledge about what is going on at a company of such great size and importance to the U.S. economy. About 18 months ago Fed Chairman Greenspan stated that problems at both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had the potential to bring down the financial system. He stated at the time that, “…Most of the concerns associated with systemic risks stem from the size of the balance sheets that these GSEs (government-sponsored enterprises) maintain…”. He added that the immense size of their holdings and the need to keep growing to satisfy their shareholders made them increasingly vulnerable. The White House, too, in its 2003 budget report, expressed their concerns. They stated that although both GSEs tries to limit their risks through various risk-management methods, these techniques “do not eliminate all the risk associated with funding long-term, mostly fixed-rate assets that have uncertain payment streams… Furthermore, the hedging transactions transform credit or interest rate risk into counterparty risk (the risk that a counterparty of a hedging transaction fails to honor the contract). Thus the GSEs management of counterparty risk is of increasing importance”. Now it appears that Fannie Mae’s internal controls have been so weak that no one actually knows what the risks are or what the auditors will find—and we won’t know for at least another year. For a company as important to the U.S. as Fannie Mae, this is a national problem with widespread potential for developing into a dangerous financial crisis.

Subject: Re: Going on the road
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:05:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I am happy for you, but so sad for us.

Subject: Re: Going on the road
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:00:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pete, whatever will we do without you. I did not guess you were leaving your home. Yes, this is our sad loss. We will think of you.

Subject: Re: Going on the road
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 12:55:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I am terribly saddened. You will be missed so much. Please try to look to us.

Subject: Re: Going on the road
From: Emma
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 12:57:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Each day I have looked for your notes. I only hope you will settle soon and find us again. This is surely losing a friend. I had no idea you would leave.

Subject: Not leaving
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 14:26:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
will check in from time to time! Take care all!!

Subject: Re: Not leaving
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 15:04:03 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Dear Pete, hasta luego amigo and hear you soon

Subject: Re: Not leaving
From: Dorian
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 13, 2005 at 06:36:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear Pete, Although I rarely post here I visit this site every day. And to be perfectly honest, the first thing I do is scan through the posts to read yours. Thanks so much for your valuable insight, your choice of articles to share and all your many other contributions. I wish you the best and hope to keep up with you through you travels. Dorian

Subject: Yes, I worry.
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 11:00:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul Krugman's articles have been excellent and increasingly worrisome. Yes, I worry :)

Subject: Re: Yes, I worry.
From: Mik
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 11:58:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hhmm I have come to learn something different about what makes the US economy move forward. When I think back to my economics class, we learnt about the cycle of money and the opposite cycle of input. I think you remember it: person works for factory, factory makes product, person buys product, and so the cycle goes. What is missing in that cycle is the sales and marketing component. In other words, the price of the product partly covers the manufacture cost and partly covers the marketing/sales cost. In essence we can take the 'Factory component' in the economic cycle and split it into two: factory and sales/marketing. Now, I have also come to understand that far more money can be made out of sales and marketing than can be made out of the factory. For example, a shirt is made in Indonesia for a measly $2 but will sell in the US for, say, $20. The increase in price (from $2 to $20) goes to the Sales and Marketing. In essence, Sales and Marketing can make in excess of 900% markup. Now tell me, what kind of business do you want to be involved in: manufacture or in Sales/Marketing? It is no coincidence that the biggest company in the world (Wal Mart) is a Sales and Marketing company. It is no coincidence that sending factories overseas is alright.... so long as the sales and marketing is done right here. So to respond to the question made by Paul Krugman's Russian neighbour, America has become rich and powerful not because it makes stuff but because there is far more money in just selling the stuff that others make. Of course there is warped side to this. What will the jobs of the future be? Clerks for Wal Mart or McDonalds? or perhaps owners of your own store? But I think you get the picture.

Subject: Re: Yes, I worry.
From: Terri
To: Mik
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:02:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I do understand. Ah, Mik, you must be Pete for us.

Subject: Re: Yes, I worry.
From: Mik
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:35:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Huh? Pete?

Subject: Re: Yes, I worry.
From: Poyetas
To: Mik
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 16:14:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Disaster will be dictated by two interrelated events. How quickly the fed raises interest rates, thus killing the housing bubble and what industry will be there to absorb all those being laid off construction. Government debt will soar in the absence of tax revenues from a depressed economy. America will become increasingly reliant on foreign capital to keep going unless a new growth (real growth) industry is found.

Subject: Re: Yes, I worry.
From: Emma
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 17:04:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well summarized, what I would like to have seena dn would like to see now is using Federal revenue sgaring with the states to foster infra-structure development. Paul Krugman suggested this many times from 2001 on. Imagine what we could do with a fully wired high speed Internet network as exists in the Nordic countries and South Korea and increasingly Canada and Japan. We need the energy grids made more reliable. Transportation has been provided for. Schools need to be built and renovated. Research labs developed....

Subject: The path of least (human?) resistance
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 19:03:38 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
This is how tne real estate bubble will end From Mr Bruce Steinberg. Sir, It was fascinating to learn how Meg Whitman, eBay president and chief executive, looks 'for markets where there is price and information inefficiency' yet declares 'real estate is pretty darn efficient' ('From Netscape to the Next Big Thing'. Comment & Analysis, August 5) in the face of a much ballyhooed real estate bubble. In 2001, the Nobel prize for economics was awarded to George Akerlof, Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz for their work on how asymmetrical information influences economic markets. Their theory, first described by Akerlof in the 1970s in an essay entitled 'The Market for Lemons' ('lemons' being a colloquialism for bad used cars), explains how when one party in a market has more information than the other, this unequal information can lead to adverse selection and ultimately the collapse of an entire market. Oversimplified, bad products and services chase out buyers seeking good products and services and both buyers and sellers of good products and services suffer. The full theory can be applied to the efficiency of labour markets as well as the collapse of the IT bubble. For the former, workers out of work tend to stay that way because potential employers assume those workers are not good enough for a job and tend to offer insufficient pay to attract the best candidates. However, in the case of permanent recruitment services, staffing services as well as temporary employees bring more information to the 'buyer' to enable the potential employer to make a more reasonable job offer than they would offer an unknown candidate. Perhaps the success of job boards can be partially attributed to their providing more labour market information to all parties involved in the employment process. The theory can also be used to explain how the IT equity bubble burst. Early in the dotcom era, the casual observer or investor viewed all IT companies as more or less identical although in reality their profit potential varied greatly - only insiders knew which were which. Low-profit but over-valued companies tended to follow the path of least resistance to fund their financial expansion by issuing more of their own shares and hence attracted more attention in the early developmental stage of the sector. Although seasoned investors and experienced venture capitalists may have known they were backing shaky high-tech and dotcom companies and knew it was a bubble, they believed they could ride the wave, profit wildly and get out in time. Eventually all investors became more educated, realised the valuations were not based on any profit potential, dumped their shares and prices plummeted. In the current real estate environment, ultimately there will not be enough inexperienced buyers and real estate speculators - those who do not know the true value of the property they are purchasing - to go around. The educated will ultimately regain control of the market and the current bull real estate market, which at times looks similar to a Ponzi scheme, will end. Then Ms Whitman may reconsider her view of price efficiencies in the real estate sector. Isn't it nice to see a practical application to economic theory? Bruce Steinberg, Economic and Employment Consultant, Alexandria, VA 22309, US
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Meg Whitman, eBay president and chief executive: 'I look back and say, 'What were we thinking?' We quit two jobs, moved to California, put the children in new schools. I didn't think it was going to be anything like it turned out. I thought eBay could be a great collectibles website for the US. I thought this could be a small, quite profitable company. 'We began to understand that what worked in collectibles would work in other markets as well What eBay does is make inefficient markets efficient. 'The business model is very powerful. We were able to move globally far faster than land-based companies can. The remarkable thing about eBay is that it's instantly local: 98 per cent of our content is user-generated. 'The other thing I wasn't expecting was the way the market empowered small businesses. That was a big surprise. I thought this would be the home of big business. But it has levelled the playing field, and made small businesses as accessible as big ones. That was an 'a-ha' moment. 'Some categories didn't work the way we thought they would. We look for markets where there is price and information inefficiency. It turns out that real estate is pretty darn efficient. 'I am startled by the ubiquity of the internet today. It is one of the fastest-growing technologies ever. It's just remarkable. It has changed the way we communicate, the way we play. E-mail has changed the way business is conducted. 'The timing may finally be right now for mobile access. We thought it was important to have mobile access to eBay and the net five years ago, but nobody used it. That could be changing because of the growing power of mobile phones. In countries like China and India, you may see a shift to primary access to the internet coming through mobile handsets. Moving to 100 per cent broadband penetration will also make a huge difference. You will see an always-on internet that changes the way people behave. 'There is still room for new internet leaders to be created. Of the five biggest internet companies 10 years from now, I can imagine that two or three of the existing leaders will stay on, but that two will be companies that haven't even been bom yet. The internet is an incredibly dynamic environment. You have to respond really fast.'

Subject: Re: The path of least (human?) resistance
From: Jennifer
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:01:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear dear Pete is leaving.

Subject: Re: The path of least (human?) resistance
From: Terri
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 20:16:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Fascinating article, as usual but possibly more so.

Subject: IBA: (International Basket Association)
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 18:37:57 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
China names currencies in its basket By Richard McGregor in Beijing China has disclosed the four leading currencies in the trade-weighted basket used to manage the remninbi following its decision in late July to end its decade-old peg to the US dollar and introduce a managed float. The currencies - the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the Korean won - were chosen because they represent the economies of China's largest trading partners, said Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank. Mr Zhou did not reveal the relative weightings of the currencies in the basket, and analysts differed about the weight allocated to the dollar, with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 per cent. Other currencies included in the basket, but with smaller weightings, include the Canadian, Australian and Singapore dollars, the Thai baht. the British pound and the Malaysian ringgit, ail currencies of significant trading partners for China. Mr Zhou's announcement yesterday in Shanghai. where the central bank is upgrading its office to improve oversight of the city's expanding finance industry, coincided with the release of a series of reforms to deepen China's foreign exchange markets. The PBoC, in a series of announcements this week, has said it will expand the onshore currency swaps and renminbi futures markets with the issue of new trading licences to local banks. Stephen Green, of Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai, said the expansion of trading would not result in an immediate increase in volatility of the currency, as the new entrants needed time to get approval for products and win customers' confidence. 'But the introduction of such hedging tools is a necessary step before bringing in more flexibility in China's forex rate,' he said. Since China abandoned the peg last month and revalued the renminbi by 2.1 per cent, the currency has fluctuated only marginally in daily trading, closing slightly stronger yesterday at RmbS.lO to one US dollar, compared with the Rmb8.ll rate announced on July 21. The composition of the currency basket is unlikely to have any immediate impact on China's STllbn (€575bn. £396bn) in foreign exchange reserves, which are mostly in US dollars. The inclusion of two Asian currencies in the basket is a reflection of the bank's expectation that regional trade, now- overwhelmingly denominated in' US dollars, will increasingly be conducted in local currencies.
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-- Yuan shift fuels talk of loosening Gulf-dollar peg (Reuters) 3 August 2005 RIYADH — China’s revaluation of the yuan is fuelling debate in Gulf Arab states about the wisdom of fixing their currencies to a weak US dollar while trading links with Asia and Europe continue to grow. Oil giant Saudi Arabia and most of its neighbours have pegged their currencies to the dollar for years, a policy which helped anchor their young and fragile economies through the turbulence of low crude prices in the late 1980s and the 1990s. Officials insist they want to preserve a link, which has served them well in the past — at least until the planned monetary union of six Gulf Arab states in 2010 — and few analysts expect any quick change. But the weakness in recent years of the dollar and the growth in Asian and European imports have cut into the purchasing power of the Gulf countries, whose export earnings from oil are also denominated in dollars. The value of Gulf Arab imports from China, which were negligible just a decade ago, grew last year to $14.5 billion, or 8.5 per cent of total imports. While record oil prices may mask the impact of costlier goods, economists say the case for linking to a basket of currencies instead of the dollar — just like China — is gaining ground. ”There is a gathering debate about this,” said Daniel Hanna, an economist with Standard Chartered bank in Dubai. “The majority of the Gulf trade is with Asia and the European Union. You can make a case that the currency peg should reflect that better, especially since China will be their fastest growing partner,” he said. One vocal advocate of swift change, National Commercial Bank senior economist Nahed Taher, says Saudi Arabia cannot afford to wait until 2010 to loosen ties between the riyal SAR and the dollar, which have been fixed since 1987. Taher has called for a managed float of the riyal against a basket of currencies, within a 5 per cent band, arguing that costlier imports are partly responsible for pushing annual inflation up to 6 per cent for the last two years. Other economists dispute Taher’s figures, and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency says inflation is less than 1 per cent. But with oil prices set to remain high for the foreseeable future and the region witnessing its fastest growth since the 1970s oil boom, policy makers in the Gulf may chafe at the limited room for manoeuvre, which a tight currency peg imposes. Hanna said Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in particular are already suffering inflationary pressure, which would be easier to tackle with a more flexible monetary policy. Barriers to change: The six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates — control more than half of global oil reserves. Supporters of the dollar link say that since oil is priced in dollars, any change would introduce a new foreign exchange risk for governments who depend for nearly all their revenues on crude exports. Although most GCC states have informally linked their currencies to the dollar for years, they only formalised that step as a group in 2002 when Kuwait switched to the dollar from a basket of currencies. Abandoning their joint position could undermine credibility of the GCC’s goal of monetary union within five years. “We’ve just agreed to a formal peg ... It is too soon after that to change,” said Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg, director of the GCC Secretariat’s economic integration department. “There is a realisation that we are losing because of pegging to the dollar but there is also a feeling that this (reluctance to change so soon) is a big obstacle —as well as the issue of foreign exchange risk.” Aluwaisheg said Gulf officials have discussed informally whether any change should happen before 2010, but that no formal proposals have been presented by any of the six countries. Expressing his personal view, Aluwaisheg said he believed the time had come to start thinking about changing the peg “even before the unification of the currency”. “But obviously if it is done, it has to be done jointly. The whole idea of dollar peg is to have irrevocable cross exchange rates between the six Gulf currencies before they are unified.” Abandoning the dollar peg, which helped curb double-digit inflation in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, for a basket of currencies was not without risk, he added. Any change may be a remote prospect for now. Central bank governors talk openly about the post-2010 options for their unified currency — either fully or partially floating or pegged to the dollar, the euro or a basket of currencies. But they insist the dollar peg stays until then. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s deputy central bank governor Mohammad AlJasser denied a British newspaper report that Gulf countries were reviewing the dollar link. Hanna said big changes are unlikely before the new currency is born but some fine-tuning may occur before then if the dollar slips further. Kuwait, for example, quietly tweaked the rate on its dinar in January in a move, which drew little attention. “By no means are we saying that this will change tomorrow,” Hanna said. “The dollar peg has done wonders”. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/business/2005/August/business_August52.xml§ion=business&col=

Subject: The 'Hoffa-Stern(-Democrats) alliance'?
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 18:20:24 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
JAGDISH BHAGWATI An opportunity for Democrats to denounce protectionism Trade liberalisation, a powerful source of prosperity in both rich and poor countries, may not be led by the US today but it cannot proceed without it. While US leadership for freeing trade was manifest in the post-war period, it has been steadily eroded, as is evident from the record of votes in the Congress on recent trade initiatives. The great American free trade machine is sputtering. Not only did President Bill Clinton nearly lose the vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement, but he could not get renewal of fast-track authority - which would have allowed him more easily to negotiate new free trade deals. Just last month, the Central American Free Trade Agreement was passed by only a one-vote majority. At the cancerous core of this erosion of America's commitment to freer trade is the Democratic party. The number of Democrats voting for trade liberalisation has dwindled steadily over the past decade. Astonishingly, only 15 Democrats voted for Cafta. An irritated Democratic leadership declared war on the treacherous 15, vowing to destroy them at the next election. The underlying explanation is the stranglehold that unions, fearful of globalisation, have steadily acquired over the Democratic party. Yet, the recent split in America's labour movement offers an opportunity for the Democrats to break out of this straitjacket, without endangering working-class support, and to return America to a vigorous commitment to free trade. A crack in the protectionist door is finally in view. Two weeks ago, confronting a crisis over a decline in union membership to just 8 per cent of the private workforce, the AFL-CIO, the national labour federation, split. Unions representing nearly 40 per cent of the membership left the federation and have founded their own Change to Win Coalition. The split reflected a basic difference of opinion between the incumbents, led by John Sweeney, AFL-CIO president , and the dissidents, led by Andrew Stern of the Service Employees International Union, over the appropriate strategy to reinvigorate the labour movement. The dissident unions favoured a return to the conventional 'micro' strategy that would focus on the use of dues primarily to unionise more workers. The AFL-CIO wanted, instead, a continuation of the current 'macro' strategy to focus mainly on political activity. The dissidents are clearly right insofar as dwindling or stagnant membership cannot but weaken the ability of unions to function effectively through bargaining power in the workplace. But they are wrong in thinking that politics is not important. Domestic politics is critical. If the right to strike, for example, is crippled by restrictions on sympathetic strikes and by protecting the ability to hire replacement workers, then unions are likely to turn into paper tigers, making membership less attractive. But international politics is an altogether different matter. That is where the AFL-CIO has dug a huge hole with much effort and cash, and pushed the Democratic party firmly into it. Terrified that trade with countries with lower wages and labour standards will produce more paupers in America by lowering US wages, and will even reduce American labour standards, the AFL-CIO has long embraced the view that workers' only salvation is to raise the cost of production of competing industries abroad by requiring them to have the same labour standards as the US. In short, there must be a 'level playing field'. What is more natural, then, for the AFL-CIO than to take its agenda into the trade arena, use the vocabulary of 'fair trade' and assert that it is unfair to have to compete with countries with lower standards, and then steadily to convert the Democratic party, its political ally, to that position? In this process, the AFL-CIO has also been able to exploit the fact that altruism, as against the self-interest of reducing the competitive ability of rival producers abroad, can also be cited as a rationale for asking for higher labour standards abroad. Again, the AFL-CIO has never been able to meet objections of those such as myself who have argued that policy instruments other than trade or other sanctions are better used for altruistic reasons; and that trade sanctions are likely even to be counterproductive. The political campaign of the AFL-CIO and some of its allies such as Lori Wallach, the trade chief of Ralph Nader's group, The Public Citizen, has also used the astonishing argument that freeing trade without raising labour standards in the poor countries will harm these countries and their poor, so that making trade liberalisation contingent on the raising of labour standards abroad is good for them, too. You do not have to be a psychiatrist to see why it is comforting if, as a sadist, I flog you because it gives me great pleasure, yet can convince myself that it is good for you too. The Democratic party, the natural ally of the AFL-CIO, has therefore become its natural target and victim. Protectionism, masked as the creation of a level playing field and 'safeguarding our jobs' by putting ever-increasing labour standards into successive bilateral free trade agreements, for instance, has become the party's modus operand!. And where such maximalist demands are not met, as in the recent vote on Cafta, the Democrats have overwhelmingly voted against the proposed trade liberalisation. This is self-destructive to both the Democrats and the US. There is widespread opposition to these demands by the majority of democratic developing countries - among them India and Brazil - because they are seen as motivated by protectionist considerations. The demands make the US appear unilateralist: 'You raise your standards the way we want them or else,' they seem to say. They are also considered hypocritical as the US conformity to labour standards leaves a lot to be desired, as is evident from reports from groups including Human Rights Watch. The Democratic party is set into a protectionist mode when it comes to helping the poor countries trade their way out of poverty. The AFL-CIO split, therefore, offers a chance for the Democrats to shake themselves out of a predicament in which they could embrace free trade only by losing their precious constituency of organised labour. Now, with the labour movement itself raising questions about the AFL-CIO strategy, they can confront the federation and tell them to focus on domestic policies to secure legislation to protect the workers at the workplace but get out of international politics and let the party get on with freeing trade. Tony Blair, the British prime minister, managed to get the Labour party out of the destructive (but not the constructive) agendas of the British trade unions. It is time for the Democratic leadership to do the same. The writer, university professor of economics and law at Columbia University, is the author of In Defense of Globalization. He is finishing a new book: Terrified by Trade: The Paradox of Protectionism in the United States. FT Thursday August 11 2005

Subject: Jared Diamond
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:38:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is necessary is to think back to Jared Diamond and ask whether any of his geographic observations related to Latin America or Africa, for instance, today. What can be explained apart from culture about the ways in which people live through the world?

Subject: Re: Jared Diamond
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:49:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I'm not sure what you mean. Are you referring to the development of people?

Subject: Re: Jared Diamond
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 20:30:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I will follow up, but I mean that we can try to determine whether Diamond's geographic framework can explain contemporary development patterns in southern Africa. A framework rather apart from cultural analysis at least to begin with.

Subject: Re: Jared Diamond
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 11:42:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Whoa, that's deep. I'm sure the geography has affected 'contemporary culture' in Southern Africa, but 'development patterns'? I don't know. You gona have me thinking about that the whole weekend.... damn ;-)

Subject: Re: Jared Diamond
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:04:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We should remember that South Africa lies below the Tropic of Capricorn, and has a similar geography to southern Europe and similar economic potentials. Each geographic region of Africa has distinct geographic potentials and difficulties to overcome. I will add as there is time, but I too am thinking.

Subject: Re: Jared Diamond
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 14:02:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
That's a tough one. If we look at 'contemporary times' or more like in the last 50 or so years, the history of the region has been greatly affected by colonisation and by communism (more than Geography). Many developing countries went from decolonisation direct to either full blown communism or dictatorships sponsored by either the West or the East and their reign of tyranny was ignored as the West/East were simply looking for allegiance. South Africa avoided all that. South Africa was allowed to be a 'self governing' colony in the early 1900's (along with Australia, New Zealand and Canada). Then in 1950, at the time the decolonisation trend began, South Africa got independance and remaind under apartheid rule until 1992. It was only in 1980 that the West started slowly implementing sanctions, but from the early 1900's right through to 1994, SA did not endure any revolution or economic stranglhold from an emperialist power. By the time of change of govenment in 1994, Communism was over. In the ruling Party of South Africa (the ANC), over 50% of their leadership are members of the South African Communist Party. But today, the communist party has no teeth (and no backing). So they had no choice but to switch to market economics and proper democracy. In essence there is a direct link between the fall of the Berlin wall and the changes in South Africa. Apartheid became not only a crime against humanity but a good way to keep communism out. Well the fall of communism lead to the fall of apartheid. The ironic twist, when South Africa achieved full democracy with majority rule, Yugoslavia looked to South Africa and decided to do the same. South Africa has more religious, cultural and regional diveristy than Yugoslavia. Hey if it worked in South Africa, why not in Yugoslavia.... well why not... because Yugoslavia didn't have Mandela... that's why not. Look at the stark difference and similarity between the two. One is in Africa, one is in Europe. Both have wide diversity, both have tremendous economic problems, yet only one survived to grow out of the upheavel. The solution - GOOD LEADERSHIP.... now why hasn't Jared Diamond addressed this issue? No matter if you are in Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, UK, China, Canada or the USA. Good leaders make a difference. If your country is blessed with the right people coming to power at the right time.... you are lucky. Now how about Jared Diamond trying to put emphasis on why some countries have conducive environments to good leadership and why some are don't? I don't know the answer to this question... but I believe it is very pertinent. Okay enough... I'm off on my weekend... have a good one Emma.

Subject: Re: Jared Diamond
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 19:54:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent, but first we go back to geography then we look to culture. Wherein does South Africa, below the Tropic of Capricorn differ from Nigeria in geography?

Subject: Afro-Pop Duo Unexpectedly on the Rise
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:29:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/11/arts/music/11note.html Afro-Pop Duo Unexpectedly on the Rise By KELEFA SANNEH They are the kinds of rock stars who wear their sunglasses everywhere, onstage and off. If you arrange to meet them at 4 o'clock in the afternoon in a Midtown hotel, they will be wearing sunglasses there, too. Like many canny celebrities, Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia - famous throughout West Africa and lately a fixture on the French pop charts - have found a way to capitalize on their sense of style: They have a deal with Alain Mikli, the French designer of glasses, and wear a sleek, aluminum model of his. But their fashion isn't simply fashion: for many years, the duo now known as Amadou & Mariam were famous throughout West Africa simply as the Blind Couple From Mali. On Aug. 2, Nonesuch Records issued an American version of 'Dimanche à Bamako,' the duo's lovely, fizzy collaboration with the mischievous European producer Manu Chao, which has already been discovered by a surprising number of European listeners: the French have bought more than 100,000 copies alone. Now American listeners have a chance to hear one of the year's most unexpected rock 'n' roll success stories: a nimble, playful CD that nods toward everything from indie-rock to dance music. This week the duo made a rare promotional trip to the United States, which ended with a pair of rapturously received concerts at Joe's Pub on Tuesday night. Sometime after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, they began the final encore with 'La Réalité,' an exuberant Afro-disco track that gives Mr. Bagayoko space to wind his guitar lines around a refrain borrowed from the eccentric reggae producer Lee Perry; from the noise in the crowd, even the two singers onstage must have known that people were dancing. (The duo plans to return to New York next month, for the CMJ Music Marathon.) Growing up, Mr. Bagayoko, 50, and Ms. Doumbia, 47, feasted on imports. They heard soul and funk and lots of French music, but what seemed to make the biggest impression were blues and rock, some of which they'd get from friends who visited Europe. Comfortably sunglassed in his Midtown hotel, Mr. Bagayoko switched from the French he speaks (and sings in) to rattle off the names: 'John Lee Hooker, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd.' Ms. Doumbia jumped in: 'Jimi Hendrix.' In a sense, the duo's music is a celebration of a kind of musical exchange that has swiftly - and, perhaps, happily - become obsolete. These days, a young fan in Mali doesn't have to import Led Zeppelin records from overseas. The country's musicians produce plenty of their own CD's, and thanks to a younger generation of listeners and musicians, Mali now has one of Africa's richest hip-hop scenes. 'They listen to much less rock 'n' roll,' Mr. Bagayoko said with a rueful smile. Mr. Bagayoko started playing guitar in the 1960's, and in 1974 he joined Les Ambassadeurs du Motel, one of the country's most popular groups - its ranks included another leading musician, Salif Keita - which played a wide range of genres. Oddly enough, though, what drew Mr. Bagayoko to rock 'n' roll was a sense of cultural pride: both he and Ms. Doumbia are proud of their Bambara ethnicity, and they say that traditional Bambara music is much closer to the blues than it is to other kinds of West African pop. In the 1980's, the duo resettled in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast, and began releasing a series of cassettes and then a series of CD's, while developing their graceful but surprisingly muscular style: a chanted refrain might give way to a chugging guitar riff; a percussionist pounding a djembe might be joined by one of Mr. Bagayoko's serpentine solos. By the time the group released 'Wati' (Universal France), in 2002, Mr. Chao was hooked, and when he asked to work with the duo, they agreed, although not without trepidation about the more chaotic sound that he helped them achieve. 'We had a feeling it would be a success in France and Europe,' Mr. Bagayoko said. 'But we were worried that it would be too strong for Africans. So it was a pleasant surprise when people in Mali liked it, too.' Amadou & Mariam often write simple lyrics full of general - even vague - pleas for peace and harmony, though the music turns these familiar themes into giddy daydreams. It would seem that Mr. Chao nudged the duo toward something slightly quirkier: he helped write and sing the impressionistic lyrics of songs like 'Sénégal Fast-Food' and 'Camions Sauvage,' a light-hearted tirade against dangerous truck drivers. The two are clearly happy with 'Dimanche à Bamako,' and with the success it has brought them, which did not come by accident. In Bamako as elsewhere, pop stars tend to be hustlers, too, and with Amadou & Mariam, you get the appealing sense that they've figured out clever ways to acknowledge all their different audiences at once. Their previous album, 'Wati,' included 'Ilbiwan,' a grand and seemingly deeply felt tribute to the Moors of northern Mali. Mr. Bagayoko said it goes down especially well at certain concerts. 'When we play that song,' he explained, 'the Moors stand, they dance.' He smiled slyly, and Ms. Doumbia smiled, too. 'And they give us money.' Ah. Mightn't it be time, then, for a similar song about the proud - and, let's hope, generous - people of America? Ms. Doumbia chuckled. 'It's coming soon,' she said.

Subject: Brazilian Director Changes the Recipe
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 16:24:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/09/movies/09cons.html?ex=1281240000&en=b8caef78d7596ad2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss Brazilian Director Changes the Recipe for the Film of a Le Carré Novel By CHARLES McGRATH Mike Newell, perhaps best known for 'Four Weddings and a Funeral,' was supposed to direct 'The Constant Gardener,' a new film based on the John le Carré thriller of the same title, which opens on Aug. 26. But then Mr. Newell signed on to make 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,' the fourth installment in the Hogwarts saga, and Simon Channing Williams, the producer of 'The Constant Gardener,' decided he might have a class problem. 'It suddenly occurred to me that we had been going down the wrong track,' Mr. Channing Williams said recently in an interview at his London office. 'Here we had a middle-class author, a middle-class director, a middle-class producer and a middle-class actor,' he explained, referring to Mr. Le Carré, Mr. Newell, himself and Ralph Fiennes, who had already been cast in the lead. He added that this was perhaps an opportunity to think outside class boundaries. 'The Constant Gardener' is in part the story of a man who, like the original scheme for the movie, is in danger of suffocating within the British class system: Justin Quayle, the title character, is an Old Etonian who works as a pen-pushing midlevel diplomat at the British High Commission in Kenya and is concerned mostly with tending his flower garden and keeping up appearances. But the book is also the story of Quayle's liberation, through a love affair and marriage and, eventually, as he tries to solve the mystery of his wife's murder, through immersion in Kenya itself. Kenya is more than a setting, in fact; it's practically a character. Once Mr. Channing Williams realized that, he said, his thinking led him inevitably to Fernando Meirelles, the Brazilian director who was nominated for an Academy Award for 'City of God,' his film about rivalry among child gangs in the slums of Rio. 'Fernando is not interested in the British class structure,' Mr. Channing Williams said. 'What he brings to this is his innate understanding of human nature.' After the success of 'City of God,' Mr. Meirelles found himself much in demand. He was even offered 'Collateral,' the Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx thriller. But he is not a fan of big studio movies and he turned all his suitors down. He did agree to meet with Mr. Channing Williams, however, because he is a great admirer of the director Mike Leigh, and Mr. Channing Williams has produced a number of Mr. Leigh's films. Mr. Channing Williams gave Mr. Meirelles the 'Constant Gardener' script, and Mr. Meirelles, who as it happens had just been visiting Kenya himself, signed on virtually overnight. Right away he started tinkering with Jeffrey Caine's screenplay. 'When John le Carré wrote the story, the story's seen through a British point of view,' Mr. Meirelles said in an interview in New York in June. 'And I think when I read the story, I put myself on the Kenyan side because, really, I come from Brazil.' Among other things, Mr. Meirelles wrote several new African characters into the story, not all of whom survived the cutting process. What does remain is a remarkable sense of place: a vivid evocation of the Kenyan landscape and cityscape in one of Nairobi's most down-and-out neighborhoods, through which sewage flows in open, rag-cluttered trenches; and tracking shots of Kibera, Nairobi's sprawling, tin-roofed shantytown, which are as enthralling as they are disturbing. 'As you know, there's a lot of slums in Brazil,' Mr. Meirelles said. 'But compared to the slums in Kenya, the Brazilian ones are really Beverly Hills.' In Kenya, he said: 'They don't have water, they don't have electricity, they don't have cement - it's all dirt. And they cook with fire. Can you imagine? A million people living there and everyone cooking with fire in the middle of the city? It's the poorest place I've ever seen in my life.' Though Mr. Meirelles had never made a film outside Brazil before, Mr. Channing Williams said he wasn't worried and pointed out that 'at a certain level, filmmaking is just filmmaking.' Mr. Meirelles said much the same thing, adding that the main difference between 'The Constant Gardener' and other films he had worked on was that 'the wine is better; you travel first class.' The only thing that made him nervous, he said, was meeting Ralph Fiennes. 'I said to myself: 'Well, what am I going to say to Ralph Fiennes?' ' But Mr. Fiennes immediately understood his point of view in telling the story, Mr. Mereilles said, and they got along just fine. He also enjoyed working with Rachel Weisz, who plays Tessa, Quayle's wife, and brings some sensuous immediacy to a role that in the novel is perhaps overly idealized. 'I think I was very lucky with this,' Mr. Meirelles said of both actors. 'Not only because they're good actors but because of their commitment. I was not expecting that level of commitment with stars.' Mr. Meirelles, who before he got into feature filmmaking had shot by his count more than a thousand 30-second commercials for Brazilian television, is used to working quickly and with a small crew, and he occasionally felt oppressed by the sheer scale of the 'Constant Gardener' production. 'You know, I just wanted to go places and shoot something with a hand-held camera,' he said, recalling that his favorite moments were when he stole away with a cameraman, a soundman, his director of photography, César Charlone, and one or two of the actors. One such scene takes place when Tessa and her friend Arnold Bluhm, an African doctor, simply walk through Kibera, as Kenyan life throngs around them. 'No security, no production, nobody,' Mr. Meirelles said. 'Just five people walking around, and we improvised some very good lines.'

Subject: Entrenched Epidemic
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:31:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/11/international/africa/11women.html Entrenched Epidemic: Wife-Beatings in Africa By SHARON LaFRANIERE LAGOS, Nigeria - It was a typical husband-wife argument. She wanted to visit her parents. He wanted her to stay home. So they settled it in what some here say is an all-too-typical fashion, Rosalynn Isimeto-Osibuamhe recalled of the incident in December 2001. Her husband, Emmanuel, followed her out the door. Then he beat her unconscious, she says, and left her lying in the street near their apartment. Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe, then 31 and in the fifth year of her marriage, had broken an unwritten rule in this part of the world: she had defied her husband. Surveys throughout sub-Saharan Africa show that many men - and women, too - consider such disobedience ample justification for a beating. Not Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe. A university graduate and founder of a French school, she packed her clothes and walked out as soon as she got back from the hospital. So far, although her resolve sometimes wavers and she does not want a divorce, she has not gone back. 'He doesn't believe I have any rights of my own,' she said in an interview outside her French classroom. 'If I say no, he beats me. I said: 'Wow. That is not what I want in life.' ' Women suffer from violence in every society. In few places, however, is the abuse more entrenched, and accepted, than in sub-Saharan Africa. One in three Nigerian women reported having been physically abused by a male partner, according to the latest study, conducted in 1993. The wife of the deputy governor of a northern Nigerian province told reporters last year that her husband beat her incessantly, in part because she watched television movies. One of President Olusegun Obasanjo's appointees to a national anticorruption commission was allegedly killed by her husband in 2000, two days after she asked the state police commissioner to protect her. 'It is like it is a normal thing for women to be treated by their husbands as punching bags,' Obong Rita Akpan, until last month Nigeria's minister for women's affairs, said in an interview here. 'The Nigerian man thinks that a woman is his inferior. Right from childhood, right from infancy, the boy is preferred to the girl. Even when they marry out of love, they still think the woman is below them and they do whatever they want.' In Zambia, nearly half of women surveyed said a male partner had beaten them, according to a 2004 study financed by the United States - the highest percentage of nine developing nations surveyed on three continents. In South Africa, researchers for the Medical Research Council estimated last year that a male partner kills a girlfriend or spouse every six hours - the highest mortality rate from domestic violence ever reported, they say. In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, domestic violence accounts for more than 6 in 10 murder cases in court, a United Nations report concluded last year. Yet most women remain silent about the abuse, women's rights organizations say. A World Health Organization study has found that while more than a third of Namibian women reported enduring physical or sexual abuse by a male partner, often resulting in injury, six in seven victims had either kept it to themselves or confided only in a friend or relative. Help is typically not easy to find. Nigeria, Africa's largest nation with nearly 130 million people, has only two shelters for battered women, both opened in the last four years. The United States, by contrast, has about 1,200 such havens. Moreover, many women say wifely transgression justify beatings. About half of women interviewed in Zambia in 2001 and 2002 said husbands had a right to beat wives who argue with them, burn the dinner, go out without the husband's permission, neglect the children or refuse sex. To Kenny Adebayo, a 30-year-old driver in Lagos, the issue is clear-cut. 'If you tell your wife she puts too much salt in the dinner, and every day, every day, every day there is too much salt, one day you will get emotional and hurt her,' he said. 'We men in Africa hate disrespect.' Nigeria's penal code, in force in the Muslim-dominated north, specifically allows husbands to discipline their wives - just as it allows parents and teachers to discipline children - as long as they do not inflict grievous harm. Assault laws could apply, but the police typically see wife-beating as an exception. Domestic violence bills have been proposed in six of Nigeria's three dozen provinces but adopted in just two. Women's rights activists say that the prevalence of abuse is emblematic of the low status of women in sub-Saharan Africa. Typically less educated, they work longer hours and transport three times as much weight as men, hauling firewood, water and sacks of corn on their heads. Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe does not fit that standard profile. Articulate, with a fashionable haircut and a sociology book in her bag, she speaks in a confident, even assertive tone of voice. Her diary is full of plans for various projects she hopes to undertake. 'I am an organizer,' she said in a series of interviews. 'I am a leader.' But that did not save her from a seemingly endless string of beatings during her eight-year marriage to her husband, Emmanuel. By Nigerian standards, Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe said, her parents were progressive. Her father occasionally beat her mother, but he also encouraged his daughter, the oldest of seven children, to pursue her studies and, later, her careers as a marketing executive, French teacher and host of a French educational television show. She was only about 16 when she met Emmanuel. Like her, he went on to graduate from a university, specializing in accounting. Slim and handsome, he slapped her only once during their long courtship, she said. She thought it was an aberration. It wasn't. Now 35, Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe says that Emmanuel beat her more than 60 times after she married him in 1997. He beat her, she says, while she was pregnant with their son, now 6. He threw a lantern at her. He held a knife to her head, she said, while a friend pleaded with him not to kill her. Emmanuel Osibuamhe, 36, now says he was wrong to beat his wife. But in a two-hour interview in his office, which doubles as barber shop, he insisted that she drove him to it by deliberately provoking him. Pacing the floor in freshly pressed pants, polished shoes and yellow shirt, he grew increasingly agitated as he recalled how she challenged his authority. 'You can't imagine yourself beating your wife?' he said. 'You can't imagine yourself being pushed to that level? But some people just push you over the edge, and you do things that you are not supposed to do.' 'For God's sake,' he added. 'You are the head of the home as the man. You must have a home that is submissive to you.' To him, that means accepting that he is the head of the household and makes the final decisions. It also means that all property be in his name and that his wife ask his permission before she visits her family, he said. When Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe eventually sought help, others only seemed to support her husband's view. She went to the police. 'They told me I am not a small girl,' she recalled. 'If I don't want to be married, I should get divorced.' She told her father-in-law. He advised her that 'beating is normal.' She told her local pastor, who counseled her that 'I shouldn't make him so angry,' telling her 'whatever my husband says, I should submit.' She found support, finally, at Project Alert on Violence Against Women, a nonprofit organization that runs one of Nigeria's two shelters. She lived at the shelter for weeks. She titled her statement detailing the violence 'A Cry for Help.' Briget Osekwe, the senior program officer, said the group's files contained 200 cases like Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe's. Even some women who are economically independent like Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe, she said, are loath to divorce their husbands for fear of social disgrace. 'In this society, a woman must do everything she can to make her marriage work,' said Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, who set up Project Alert in 1999. 'If it fails, the woman gets the blame.' Since she moved out, Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe said, her husband has hit her a dozen times, once knocking her to the floor of their church. She is torn over whether it is possible for him to change. She worries about how she will raise her son, now living with his grandparents, should she divorce. 'Should I stay because of the baby and then get killed?' she asked. But at another point she asked a reporter to make sure that in any account of her story, her last name would be hyphenated to include his. Her diary is filled with notes on how his views are wrong. 'Marriage to you: A slavery relationship!' she wrote this January. She has now found a new outlet as the creator and host of a local television show on domestic violence. After the first program was broadcast, she said, she was deluged with calls from women like herself. She hopes to pursue their cause through a little foundation she has formed called 'Happy Family.' 'An African man believes his wife is like a piece of property, is like a car, is like a shoe, is like something for him to trample on,' Ms. Isimeto-Osibuamhe said. 'Our men need education.' So do 'our mothers, our fathers, our sons,' she added. 'The whole society needs to be overhauled.'

Subject: Button Pushing
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:41:45 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Dear Emma, thank you so much for posting this important topic - I was worried in your previous reply to MIC you would restrain yourself and self censor to the detriment of us all. Always fire away Emma, if a person is too insecure to bear your most mild of slings and arrows, they are probably too insecure for the great melting pot anyways - either you let others push your buttons and give them control or you do not - I am glad to see like the woman in the article - you are not going to let that be a concern. As always though there is a happy medium, too much slings and arrows and too little are both extremes. I long for the day when violence is stamped out of this world and the people it breeds no longer walk our planet. Hate and violence are taught. This is a great thing for the people in that part of the world - thank you so much for posting it and giving the rest of us hope.

Subject: Re: Button Pushing
From: Emma
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:37:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you for a remarkably kind comment. We are passing through a period in which we must think more deeply about violence in many guises. I can too easily be discouraged even by thinking about the subject. Thank you so much, as always. You have a sensitive way about you.

Subject: Re: Entrenched Epidemic
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:32:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We must end such practices everywhere.

Subject: Re: Entrenched Epidemic
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:11:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Huh... were we pushing each other's buttons? There is actually an interesting concept in this form of violence. Did you know it is actually relatively new. Like in only the last 15 years have we seen a rapid rise in violence towards women in Africa. There are two sides to this coin: 1. On the one side men have always culturally been regarded as having the absolute word in the relationship. 2. African women are being more and more exposed to images of liberated women, paricularly from the Western world. And of course women like these images. When you have a culture that was quite well set in its ways and all of a sudden, men are faced with a growing challange to the 'word' we have a perfect recipe for disaster. This is a kind of tacit influence of the west bringing in good and bad change into Africa. Good in that it is simply wrong that women have been subservient for so long, bad in that it is having a violent reaction. Now comes the question... now that this phenomena has started to occur partly due to our involvement, do we now, as foreigners, impose ourselves into African culture and implement changes such as teaching young boys that women are equal to men in every way? Careful this is a loaded question.

Subject: Re: Entrenched Epidemic
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:34:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There are issues of human rights that must be considered to transcend culture. South Africa now has among the world's strongest Constitutional affirmations of ethnic and gender equality. South Africa must be a model. The rest I have to consider carefully.

Subject: Re: Entrenched Epidemic
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 16:58:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
No argument from me... I agree 100%.

Subject: Still Growing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:14:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sure, this is what a sound bull market is all about; making gradual gains testing every negative premise. We are now almost 3 years into this global bull market. Notice the nice consumer spending report. We are holding well.

Subject: Quest to Banish Fat in Tasty Ways
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:48:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/11/business/11food.html Science's Quest to Banish Fat in Tasty Ways By MELANIE WARNER Low-fat fried chicken may seem like a contradiction in terms, but not to Stephen Kelleher. On a recent summer morning, he hovered over a whirling assembly line as a waterfall of gray liquid cascaded over slabs of breaded chicken. Then the magic began. During the bath in the liquid solution, which consisted of water and protein molecules extracted from a slurry of chicken or fish tissue, a thin, imperceptible shield formed around the meat. When the chicken was submerged in oil, the coating blocked fat from being absorbed from the fryer. Voilà! The chicken contained 50 percent less fat than a typical piece of fried chicken. Just another day in the strange world of food scientists. Mr. Kelleher, the founder of Proteus Industries in Gloucester, Mass., is one of many chemists who work, often in secret, in a little-understood part of the $550 billion processed-food industry. These are the people who ultimately put food together, and their mission is critical: developing foods that let consumers have their cake and eat it, too. With two-thirds of Americans considered overweight and yet many professing a desire to eat healthier, every major food producer and food-ingredient company has ordered its scientists to find the holy grail: products that either have less bad stuff - fat, white flour, sugar and salt - or more good stuff like whole grains, fiber and fish oil. Some of these food additives are natural and some are not. But even those that are natural hardly evoke images of a country harvest. Fat-repellent coatings, after all, do not grow on trees. Coming soon to your grocery store, for example, could be salty corn chips cooked in oil but that are marketed as healthy because the addition of chemically modified starches make them high in fiber. Labeled simply as 'modified cornstarch,' this additive cannot be broken down until it reaches the colon, much like the natural fiber found in fruit and vegetables. Also coming soon: bread containing microscopic capsules of fish oil, enabling food companies to contend that the bread is 'heart-healthy' because of the cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Some nutritionists question whether all this alchemy will further confuse consumers about the basics of good nutrition. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, maintains that the best way to get fish oil into your diet will always be to eat fish. 'What this does is to turn food into medicine,' said Professor Nestle. 'Omega-3's occur naturally in food like fish, chicken and eggs, and plants to a lesser extent. Why do we need to get it from bread?' One reason may be that products that can be marketed as healthier often generate higher sales and fatter profits for food companies. PepsiCo, for instance, reports that sales of its healthier 'Smart Spot' items - products like Baked Lay's potato crisps, Tropicana orange juice, Diet Pepsi and Quaker oatmeal - are growing at double the pace of other products. Foods labeled as healthy also present a show of good faith to administration officials, members of Congress, consumer groups and trial lawyers, who all monitor the food industry's response to the nation's obesity problem. Ingredient companies today sell $4 billion worth of additives to the food industry a year and are responsible for many of the common properties of processed food. Additives, for instance, keep the fruit in yogurt suspended, not plopped at the bottom. They make sure that chicken dinners do not come out of the microwave hot around the edges and cold in the middle, and they allow many foods to stay in warehouses or on supermarket shelves for up to nine months without spoiling. Tate & Lyle of London, one of the largest food-ingredient companies in the world, makes the popular sweetener Splenda. It recently started selling a whole-grain 'cracker system' composed of Splenda and hydrolyzed wheat protein, an additive that has been manipulated - either chemically or through enzymes - to give the softness of white flour without adding carbohydrates. Other ingredient companies are focusing on what they can add to food to make it healthier. Both Cargill, the commodities giant that has a large food-ingredient business, and National Starch Food Innovation, the food arm of National Starch and Chemical based in Bridgewater, N.J., and itself a unit of the giant Imperial Chemical Industries of Britain, have seized upon the fact that the average American consumes less than half the fiber each day that the government recommends. Nutritionists consider fiber beneficial because it prompts slower, steady digestion, preventing spikes in blood sugar and insulin. It has also been shown to lessen the risk of colon cancer. The most obvious way to get more fiber into the diet is to increase consumption of whole and unprocessed fruit, vegetables and beans. But food companies say that many Americans are unwilling to make significant changes in their eating choices to do this, and food companies are more than willing to fill in the gaps. Rather than simply add a fiber like bran to foods, which can produce a coarse consistency that some dislike, Cargill and National Starch are selling something called resistant starch. They start with starch that has been extracted from either tapioca or corn and then modify it through a patented process - Cargill uses chemicals and National Starch uses enzymes - so that it will resist digestion in a way that mimics naturally occurring fiber. Judy Marlett, a fiber expert and former nutrition professor at the University of Wisconsin, explains that when starch is modified to be resistant, the molecular structure changes. The bonds between glucose molecules are covered up so that digestive enzymes cannot get to them. As a result, resistant starch, like natural fiber, is not digested until it reaches the lower intestine, where bacteria are finally able to break it down. Dorothy Peterson, a starch specialist for Cargill, says that the company is marketing resistant starch as an additive for products including bread, muffins, pasta and corn chips, allowing companies to increase the fiber content by several grams a serving. 'It's a simple way to do fiber addition,' Ms. Peterson said. 'We've gotten a tremendous amount of interest from customers.' One corporate customer already using National Starch's Hi-maize resistant starch is Sara Lee, which has added it to several products in its Delightful line of low-calorie bread. Listed on the label as cornstarch, it adds just under a gram of fiber for each two-slice serving. Dannon is using a similar product, resistant maltodextrin, in its Light 'n' Fit With Fiber yogurt, which has three grams of fiber a serving. Omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown to protect against heart disease and are essential for brain development in infants, is another ingredient that food companies are clamoring over. Last September, the F.D.A. approved the health claim for omega-3 that it may reduce the risk of heart disease. The best source of omega-3's is the oil in fish. But fish oil is, well, fishy, and is not a natural fit for inclusion in the likes of bread, muffins and cereal bars. To deal with this, National Starch recently perfected technology that encapsulates fish oil, so it can be added to foods without an unappealing taste or smell. A specially modified cornstarch and a vegetable protein, usually soy, are mixed with water and fish oil and then cycled through machines that evaporate the water. In the process, the starch and protein molecules attach themselves to the droplets of fish oil, forming a shield. The concoction emerges from the machines as a beige powder. Jim Zallie, a food scientist and National Starch group vice president, says that a company in Seattle is testing the product for its bread. The label on the bread, he says, is unlikely to advertise the fish oil content, but simply cite the presence of omega-3's. Kellogg has signed a 15-year licensing deal with Martek Biosciences, a company that sells omega-3 fatty acids derived from algae, which have a milder smell and do not necessarily need to be encapsulated. Kellogg declined to comment on the deal or when the algae-based omega-3's might appear in its products. Kerry Ingredients, a Wisconsin-based subsidiary of the Kerry Group, a European food giant, is doing similar encapsulation with fiber, also to avoid the unseemly taste and texture issues. Without encapsulation, the ground-up soybean hulls the company is using as fiber make food taste a bit like sawdust. But guar gum, which comes from the seeds of the guar plant and is used widely in food as an inexpensive thickener and stabilizer, is even more problematic. Kerry Ingredients is using guar, which has a neutral flavor, as a fiber source, 'but it's the consistency of mucus,' said Jack Maegli, a food scientist who heads research and development for new products at Kerry Ingredients. 'If you eat too much of it, it invokes the gag reflex. I know it sounds unpleasant, and it is unpleasant. That's why we encapsulate it.' The problem, Professor Nestle said, is that ingredients that are extracted from their natural sources are never as good as the real thing. She cited plant sterols, another seemingly healthy ingredient popping up in various foods. Extracted from soybeans using a chemical solvent, plant sterols are promoted for their cholesterol-reducing benefits and have been added to yogurt, orange juice and cereal. But, Professor Nestle said: 'No way do plant sterols replace whole fruits or vegetables, or even beans for that matter. The evidence is pretty clear that foods work, but single nutrients don't.' Food companies insist that, unlike their critics, they are pragmatists. They say their consumer research shows that convenience and taste still outrank nutrition as the top priority for most people and that consumers have no intention of giving up their favorite foods. That is good news for the industry. If Americans stopped eating large quantities of fried chicken, sweetened breakfast cereal, cookies and snack chips, the financial health of many companies would suffer. And that is why food scientists like Mr. Kelleher of Proteus Industries keep searching for the perfect recipe for low-fat chicken. Pat Verduin, head of research and development at ConAgra Foods, which sells fried chicken and fish to restaurants and schools through its food-service operations, says that other companies have tried other coatings using a pectin-based solution, which leads to a gummy texture and oil that pools unevenly on the surface of the product. 'I think what Proteus is doing is novel,' Ms. Verduin said, adding that ConAgra is looking at the technology. 'They may be on to something.'

Subject: America's Summer of Discontent
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:29:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/11/opinion/11thu1.html America's Summer of Discontent Yesterday, Unocal shareholders agreed to be bought by Chevron for about $18 billion in the biggest oil acquisition in years. The deal brought to a final close a sad hostile takeover fight in which a Chinese government-owned company, Cnooc, was effectively blocked from the game by a hostile United States Congress. When analysts and economic historians look back, this summer may well prove to be the turning point in Chinese-American relations, the time when America chose short-range paranoia over rational behavior. From the dozen or so proposals in Congress for across-the-board tariffs against Chinese imports to the Pentagon's rumblings about Chinese military buildups, the rhetoric from Washington keeps escalating. America seems to be on the run, fueled by the false perception that China's rapid economic rise poses an inevitable threat to the United States. By repeatedly demonizing China, Washington risks creating the hostility it fears. The Chinese economic surge has been awesome. If America is going to respond to it reasonably, its leaders - and the public - will have to acknowledge the obvious: China is no longer a second-level economic power that can be bullied around. America's financial stability rests in no small way on the continued Chinese purchase of the government's debt. And in foreign affairs, China's concerns will have to be part of almost every calculation. Congress had the power to insert a clause in the energy bill that would make it all but impossible for the Chinese to buy Unocal. But Congress cannot stop China's thirst for oil. Its energy consumption has increased phenomenally, up 65 percent between 2002 and 2004. It is now the second-largest oil market in the world, behind the United States. Among the places it has been shopping are Iran and Sudan. Those oil-market relationships have already created considerable problems for the United States. Part of the reason it was so hard for America and Britain to get the humanitarian crisis in Darfur onto the United Nations' Security Council agenda last year was because China resisted calls to pressure the Sudanese government. Similarly, any attempt to impose United Nations economic sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program now risks running into opposition from Beijing. The scheduled visit of China's president, Hu Jintao, to Washington next month is a chance to put Chinese-American relations on a sounder footing. President Bush should seize the opportunity to muzzle the anti-China crowd who are putting flashy sound bites ahead of America's greater global interests.

Subject: Essays in Search of Happy Endings
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:02:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/10/education/10education.html Essays in Search of Happy Endings By MICHAEL WINERIP LOS ANGELES LAST spring, not long after a ninth-grade girl was murdered in a drive-by shooting in front of Locke High School, Liza Levine, an English teacher, assigned an essay about what it was like being a student at Locke. Teachers rarely know the full story behind their students, and this is particularly so at Locke, in South Central, one of the city's poorest and toughest areas. 'So much goes on away from school,' says Ms. Levine, who loses students to homelessness, pregnancy, work, drugs and jail. She never knows which ones will make it through. Most don't. The ninth grade at Locke four years ago had 979 students; in June, 322 graduated. The 657 who disappeared? Much of current education reform is aimed at developing a formula to accurately calculate their disappearance; creating programs and new schools to prevent their disappearance, and punishing schools that lose them. But those who disappeared are teenagers and remain elusive, even when you can ask them why. Ms. Levine's favorite 'Day in the Life' essay was by Lesly Castillo, 15, who was repeating ninth grade, and, the teacher feared, on the verge of dropping out. The teacher liked the quiet honesty of the essay. Ms. Levine usually has three or four students in each class who cannot read and more who do not focus, but says, 'I can count on Lesly to be cognitively all there.' Being physically all there is another matter. From Lesly's tattoos, Ms. Levine suspected she was a gang member. Lesly has a history of skipping, and has been taken to court by school officials for truancy. When she missed a few days early in the semester, Ms. Levine called home. Lesly's mother came in immediately. The parents are Mexican immigrants who do not speak English, common at Locke, where two-thirds of the students are Hispanic, the rest black. Her father works nights for a demolition company removing asbestos, and her mother is a housewife. Lesly's younger brother and sister get A's in elementary school. 'Lesly has two responsive parents,' Ms. Levine says. 'That's a big part of the battle. I told her mom, she's the kind of kid who can graduate, go to college.' Lesly's attendance improved, which gave Ms. Levine hope. Her midterm grade was C. Then she disappeared the week the class was preparing for the final on 'Lord of the Flies,' returning in time to try and bluff her way through. 'I gave her a mercy D,' Ms. Levine says. 'Was it right to pass her? Probably not. But the course teaches them to write for the state test and she has the capability. If I gave her an F, it would have just put her five credits further behind.' A Day in the Life. English, Period 3. Every morning I wake up around 6:30 ... and I tune in the oldies radio station ... My little brother runs to the bathroom first and he takes forever in there so me and my little sister just have to wait ... I wake up arguing with my mom for any reason, so I just can't wait to get to school, just not to be home any more. Once I'm in school I can't be there anymore. I get bored and sometimes that just makes me want to go back home. When I get to first period it's boring throughout until third period, but not all the times, only sometimes when the lesson is hard to understand or sometimes it's just hard to concentrate in school when you have problems and you're thinking about when it's your next court date or after a whole day in court ... Or just thinking of a way to stay safe when you walk home. Locke is one of the city's lowest performing schools, although the principal, Dr. Frank Wells, who is starting his second year, and several teachers say there have been gains in recent years. A new after-school program and night school give failing students the chance to make up credits; a second algebra class a day was added to help students pass the state test; a college-prep support program for midlevel students is credited with adding 100 graduates this year. 'Six seniors are going to Ivy League colleges,' Dr. Wells says. Even at Locke, the motivated find opportunity. As with many city schools, a major obstacle to improving Locke is the exodus of veteran teachers. A quarter of Locke's teachers last year were new; three-quarters had been at Locke five years or less. The principal is constantly filling vacancies. Lesly's summer school English course was taught by Ammarin Vacharaprusadee, 23 - or Mr. V - a recent college graduate, dispatched to Room 226 at the last minute. 'They just gave me the key the first day and said take the class,' he says. 'They didn't give me a curriculum. No books. I'm making it up as I go.' Several of the 23 students had their heads down much of the class. A few slept. They were supposed to do a half-hour of silent reading and write about it, but only a handful brought books. The rest, including Lesly, were allowed to write an essay on why it's important to bring your book. 'If I write, 'I ain't got it; that's why I don't got it,' is that worth points?' asked one of three boys who taunted the young teacher the entire two hours. Lesly arrived that day in late July having turned in only 5 of 11 assignments. In an hour she handed in the missing six, and Mr. V quickly gave her credit in his grade book. 'I was getting a failure and Mr. V said that boosted it to an A,' she says. Mr. V acknowledged that he barely skimmed the dozens of papers handed in that day. 'As long as they're turned in they get credit,' he says. THIS is why veterans like Ms. Levine, 47, who started at Locke in 2001, are so important. 'She's mastered her craft,' says Dr. Wells, the principal, 'and I love her heart.' Ms. Levine made a dozen home visits last year. When they read Elie Wiesel's 'Night,' she took the class to the Holocaust museum in Los Angeles. When they read 'Romeo and Juliet,' they translated it into modern speech. When a senior with a baby hadn't arrived to take the AP English test, Ms. Levine raced to the girl's home, dropped the baby off at day care and delivered the girl on time. But it is hard to hold the Ms. Levines. At urban schools a major exodus comes by the fourth year, and Ms. Levine recently decided to leave, for a suburban job. 'I'm racked with guilt,' she says. 'But you burn out. There's always this feeling that something else bad is going to happen to the kids that's out of your control.' She was angry after hearing why Lesly missed the week before finals. 'I called the house,' Ms. Levine says. 'She told me she'd gone to live with her boyfriend. She said, 'Don't worry, Miss, I'm not with him anymore, he's 24.' I said, 'Lesly, that's statutory rape, he can go to jail.' ' And Lesly? 'Didn't say anything,' Ms. Levine says. After fourth period is lunch and I like to kick back and just chill and talk about the problems we have and to find a way to fix them. We only get to kick it for a little while because sometimes we get searched just in case we have any type of weapons or drugs. Then the bell rings to go onto fifth period ... My friends have that class and we just make fun of the teacher. At the end of the school day my mom picks me up and I go home and just talk on the phone until my dad gets home and starts ripping on me, then we all just start arguing over using the phone. Then around 5:30 me and my mom leave to go to the park to work out ... When I get home I take a look at my caller ID ... My boyfriend calls or just one of my friends calls to tell me about a new problem we have on our backs. Or I also receive calls from homies telling me that one of the homegirls or homeboys got shot or killed or just simply put in jail. Not long ago my homie Caprice, rest in peace, got shot and killed by the police ... It was all over the news. The Castillos came from Mexico when Lesly was 4. As they struggled up the ladder, they moved eight times in 11 years. Her dad, Ramon, wanted to own a house, and the area he could afford was South Central. It is a small immaculate home on a street bordered by a freeway and junkyard. He says he hopes to sell for a profit, then move away, so his younger children do not have Lesly's troubles. 'Everything I do in this country is for my family,' he says. In eighth grade, Lesly says: 'My parents were real strict, they wouldn't let me go out. So I went out during school. I had a schedule. Monday I went to school. Tuesday to Thursday I didn't. Friday they gave tests; I went a half day and left after lunch.' Lesly looks mature for her age and liked the attention of older boys, even if they were gang members. 'I was 13 they were 18, then like 20, 23, 24.' She now attributes much of her trouble to her relationship with the 24-year-old gang leader. At one point, she was sent to court for truancy, another time for a fight when she kicked a girl's eye shut. She had her gang name tattooed in inch-high letters on her left breast. 'My dad wouldn't talk to me,' Lesly says. 'He kept saying why did you do it? You have a family, why do you need them?' Why did she? 'I don't know,' Lesly says. 'I guess I was just hanging with the wrong people, doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.' Moving in with the 24-year-old was a turning point. It was miserable, she says. He was lazy, wasn't around much, spent most of the time at the house of another girl he'd gotten pregnant. After a week, she returned home. Recently, through a mutual friend, he sent back her love letters and photos. She tore them up. 'He has no power over me,' she says. 'He can't force me to go back to him.' I also have to go to counseling. Counseling is mostly given to you by court or your parents sign you up ... It's when you do bad in school or at home and in counseling they try to help you ... Personally I think it doesn't work. When I get home I take a shower. I like to draw ...and listen to some oldies and start to worry on what you have done bad and the consequences. I also think on how to do things right and not to get caught doing bad things. I also try to find a way to stay out of probation, house arrest or do things right so I won't get locked up. After I get tired I put everything away and I go to sleep. The guidance counselor told Lesly that she still does not have enough credits for 10th grade. Lesly says this fall she will go to after-school from 3:30 to 5 and night school from 5 to 8 to make up the credits. But Ms. Levine says it is a bad sign that Lesly dropped her second summer course, algebra. 'I hope she'll make it,' Ms. Levine says. 'But I'm too much of a realist. I don't think so.' Lesly's father, too, is guarded. He says he sees small signs of change, but wants to see the grades. Lesly herself is not sure. 'Sometimes I think I can,' she says, 'but I may not. I've been in ninth grade so many years. Ninth grade! What's hard about ninth grade? I think it's that I haven't been to school so much.' The only person Lesly is allowed out with now is Stephanie Zamora, her best friend since seventh grade. Stephanie is in 11th grade with a B average and has plans for college. Stephanie takes Lesly to her church. Her boyfriend is a senior who plans to join the Marines. 'My boyfriend treats me right,' she tells Lesly. 'He tries to help me in school. He shows me he cares about me. He's a serious person.' 'So serious,' Lesly says. 'He cracks a little joke,' Stephanie says. 'Only with you,' Lesly says. 'Lesly's problem is she goes for the easy stuff,' Stephanie says. 'I do.' 'She just thinks about the right now,' Stephanie says. 'Yeah,' Lesly says. 'I'm still worried she'll go back to this guy.' 'I'm not going back to him,' Lesly says.

Subject: Loand, Loans, Loans
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 06:16:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This evening, I happened to hear a radio ad, in a book store of all places, for 500,000 dollars in mortgage or home financing for 14 dollars a month. No more was mentioned, just 14 dollars a month for 500,000 dollars in loans. Since there was during the Red Sox game, I am sure it must be so :) Huh.

Subject: Fixed and Adjustable Debt
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 06:15:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I am wondering however how much middle class debt is long term fixed rate debt, how much variable or adjustable rate debt. In western Europe by the way there is almost no long term fixed rate mortgage debt, so inflation in Europe would bring no middle class debt relief. I expect by now there would be less relief here than we might guess even with fixed rate mortgages.

Subject: A Reagan era conservative's view
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:44:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
August 9, 2005 Good News! Soon You'll No Longer Need an Expensive College Education to Work in the US Watching the Economy Crumble By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS The US continues its descent into the Third World, but you would never know it from news reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July payroll jobs release. The media gives a bare bones jobs report that is misleading. The public heard that 207,000 jobs were created in July. If not a reassuring figure, at least it is not a disturbing one. On the surface things look to be pretty much OK. It is when you look into the composition of these jobs that the concern arises. Of the new jobs, 26,000 (about 13%) are tax-supported government jobs. That leaves 181,000 private sector jobs. Of these private sector jobs, 177,000, or 98%, are in the domestic service sector. Here is the breakdown of the major categories: • 30,000 food servers and bar tenders; • 28,000 health care and social assistance: • 12,000 real estate; • 6,000 credit intermediation; • 8,000 transit and ground passenger transportation; • 50,000 retail trade; and • 8,000 wholesale trade. (There were 7,000 construction jobs, most of which were filled by Mexicans immigrants.) Not a single one of these jobs produces a tradable good or service that can be exported or serve as an import substitute to help reduce the massive and growing US trade deficit. The US economy is employing people to sell things, to move people around, and to serve them fast food and alcoholic beverages. The items may have an American brand name, but they are mainly made off shore. For example, 70% of Wal-Mart’s goods are made in China. Where are the jobs for the 65,000 engineers the US graduates each year? Where are the jobs for the physics, chemistry, and math majors? Who needs a university degree to wait tables and serve drinks, to build houses, to work as hospital orderlies, bus drivers, and sales clerks? In the 21st century job growth in the US economy has consistently reflected that of a Third World country--low productivity domestic services jobs. This goes on month after month and no one catches on--least of all the economists and the policymakers. Economists assume that every high productivity, high paying job that is shipped out of the country is a net gain for America. We are getting things cheaper, they say. Perhaps, for a while, until the dollar goes. What the cheaper goods argument overlooks are the reductions in the productivity and pay of employed Americans and in the manufacturing, technical, and scientific capability of the US economy. What is the point of higher education when the job opportunities in the economy do not require it? These questions are too difficult for economists, politicians, and newscasters. Instead, we hear that “last month the US economy created 207,000 jobs.” Television has an inexhaustible supply of optimistic economists. Last weekend CNN had John Rutledge (erroneously billed as the person who drafted President Reagan’s economic program) explaining that the strength of the US economy was “mom and pop businesses.” The college student with whom I was watching the program broke out laughing. What mom and pop businesses? Everything that used to be mom and pop businesses has been replaced with chains and discount retailers. Auto parts stores are chains, pharmacies are chains, restaurants are chains. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes, have destroyed hardware stores, clothing stores, appliance stores, building supply stores, gardening shops, whatever--you name it. Just try starting a small business today. Most gasoline station/convenience stores seem to be the property of immigrant ethnic groups who acquired them with the aid of a taxpayer-financed US government loan. Today a mom and pop business is a cleaning service that employs Mexicans, a pool service, a lawn service, or a limo service. In recent years the US economy has been kept afloat by low interest rates. The low interest rates have fueled a real estate boom. As housing prices rise, people refinance their mortgages, take equity out of their homes and spend the money, thus keeping the consumer economy going. The massive American trade and budget deficits are covered by the willingness of Asian countries, principally Japan and China, to hold US government bonds and to continue to acquire ownership of America’s real assets in exchange for their penetration of US markets. This game will not go on forever. When it stops, what is left to drive the US economy? Paul Craig Roberts has held a number of academic appointments and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. His graduate economics education was at the University of Virginia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

Subject: Scotty just died - who inspires now?
From: Johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 14:54:12 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Pete if you ever watched star trek, james doohan was scotty, he got a lot of kids excited to go into engineering education and go work for NASA and such. I turn on TV shows today though and it is stuff like everybody loves raymond or bart simpson and stuff like that. But when I was a kid it was about science and spaceships and all those neat things. Now the man that played scotty just died recently - who do the kids look to now? Is this just a trend in american society? Didn't britain us to have lots of good science stuff on the BBC - dr.who, blakes 7, etc etc - is the stuff hitting the young impressionable minds overseas the science fiction stuff or comedy?

Subject: Re: Scotty just died - who inspires now?
From: Pancho Villa
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 19:52:13 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
GWB to Scotty: 'Could you still be able to beam me back to earth, Scotty?'

Subject: Re: Scotty just died - who inspires now?
From: Setanta
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 05:16:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
i suspect it is similar to the crap churned out in the US; teen programs like OC, Smallville and MTV Cribs. the day of the gallant heroes fixing warp coils and conduit tubes are at an end. and with it the imagination necessary fuel innovation. teens are more interested in the pretty people and their rich lifestyles.

Subject: Oh NO !!
From: Mik
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:04:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If kids are going to turn to 'Home Improvements' (that comedy show) for their inspiration to become DIY types we are in trouble. Even worse kids will be looking up to Parris Hilton and Jessica Simpson for their inspiration.... that's it we are going to hell in a hand basket.

Subject: Tim Allen busted for cocaine
From: Johnny5
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:15:23 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/entertainers/actors/tim-allen/ 2 Oct 1978 Tim Allen is arrested with 1.4 pounds of cocaine at Kalamazoo Airport in Michigan. After testifying against his partner, Allen serves only 2.5 years for felony drug possession. Otherwise, it would have been a life sentence. Tim later becomes a comic, ultimately landing the starring role in the ABC television sitcom Home Improvement. 26 Nov 1979 Tim Allen pleads no contest to the drug charge and receives 3-7 years. He ultimately serves 28 months in the Sandstone Federal Correctional Institution.

Subject: International Stocks
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:04:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html This Morgan Stanley website is great. As far as I know there is no site like this from a European company. Every developed country stock market is positive in domestic currency and most are up over 10%. Japan as always is relatively weak in yen and negative in dollars. Ireland and Portugal are also weak. The Europe Index is up over 16% in domestic currency and 6% in dollars.

Subject: Vtrix
From: Johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 14:48:44 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Thank you so much sweet Terri for putting me onto Vanguards VTRIX.

Subject: Re: Vtrix
From: Terri
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 15:30:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you for ExxonMobil. Wish I properly understood why American oil companies need a 20 billion dollar subsidy for exploration.

Subject: He Created a Mirror for Black America
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 12:07:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/10/arts/design/10john.html He Created a Mirror for Black America By FELICIA R. LEE For generations of black Americans, Ebony and Jet were much more than magazines. The publishing empire founded by John H. Johnson in 1942, which made him both rich and one of the most powerful black Americans, chronicled black possibilities, achievements and positive images. They fed a hunger for information and good feelings during the many decades when black people seldom saw themselves reflected in the larger culture except in the most stereotypical ways. Mr. Johnson, who died two days ago in Chicago at 87, was an iconic figure among black Americans, not only because of his business success but also because of his ability to showcase the sweeping range of black America, said business executives, academics and journalists interviewed yesterday. Many recalled sitting down with an issue of Ebony and thumbing through the photographs of movie stars, sports figures and ordinary black Americans and being thrilled finally to see people who looked like themselves. 'John Johnson's genius was that he could define the collective unconscious of the African-American people and put it into print,' said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. Ellis Cose, a black former Chicagoan who is a contributing editor at Newsweek and the author of several books on social issues, said he was even thrilled when walking past the Ebony building on South Michigan Avenue, a high-rise emblem of black entrepreneurship. 'The whole enterprise was astounding,' he said. And years later, when he interviewed Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa, Mr. Cose said that Mr. Tutu told him that he, too, had been inspired by Ebony during the dark years of apartheid. Indeed, the two magazines were not just celebrations of black success, as embodied by Mr. Johnson himself, but were also forums for the airing of black concerns, issues and politics, said Aldon Morris, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University. Those issues included everything from interracial dating to voting rights to school desegregation. 'The first thing to remember is that the Johnson Publishing Company was founded during the era of Jim Crow segregation,' Mr. Morris said. 'Beyond being oppressed and at the bottom of the society, it was an era of lynching and an era when black people did not have due process under law.' 'There were very few successful black businesses,' Mr. Morris continued. 'Everyone could identify with a black man at the height of oppression, in the 1940's, who would not give up his dream.' It said something about Mr. Johnson's place in American life that he had honorary degrees from both the historically black Howard University and from Harvard, and that he was comfortable with celebrities like the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the comedian Bill Cosby. Ebony magazine was equally populist. It printed everything from recipes to articles on black history (long before black studies became an academic discipline) and had articles on glamorous movie stars, quiet black scientists, bachelors and bachelorettes, beauty queens and politicians. It showcased the family of Jackie Robinson as well as documenting the 1963 March on Washington. The weekly, pocket-size Jet Magazine featured a female centerfold but also first published the now famous open-coffin photograph of the bloated, battered body of Emmett Till, the black teen-ager from Chicago who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 for supposedly whistling at a white woman. It helped galvanize black opposition to such oppression and violence. 'He had an absolutely total clarity of vision,' said Phillip Dixon, chairman of the journalism department at Howard. 'He knew what his magazines were supposed to be and who the magazine was supposed to be for. It was clear to him that there was a hunger among African-Americans to see ourselves as whole people - not caricatures, not stereotypes, not stick figures, but whole people who loved their families, who kept their homes well, who longed to own things.' Mr. Johnson was also a philanthropist who shared his strategies for success. In 1982, he become the first African-American on Forbes magazine's list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. Two years ago, Mr. Johnson donated $4 million to Howard University's school of communications, which was then named the John H. Johnson School of Communications. 'I knew him as a philanthropist and someone deeply committed to higher education,' said H. Patrick Swygert, the president of Howard. 'He is part of a history of entrepreneurs within the African-American community. He's part of a tradition of success and giving back. He wasn't the first black publisher, but he was truly national in reach and scope. Ebony and Jet took on a role of celebration and certification, with something generated by us.' The magazines also provided jobs to scores of black journalists who were not hired in significant numbers by mainstream publications until the late 1960's, said Pamela Newkirk, an associate professor of journalism at New York University and the author of 'Within the Veil,' a history of blacks and journalism. The success of Ebony also helped pave the way for black publications that came in its wake - everything from Essence to Black Enterprise. Earl Graves, the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise, said Mr. Johnson was unusually generous with his time and ideas. 'He was ahead of his time,' Mr. Graves said yesterday. 'He showed African-Americans how they could be part of the landscape of this country.' The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a close friend, said, 'He survived and built a business that changed the face of American journalism and put a human face on black Americans.'

Subject: Emma quick take a look
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 10:00:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Emma, I was dumb struck when I logged into one of my favourite news magazine sites and saw the title of their latest magazine take a look: www.fm.co.za As it turns out, the word 'nigger' is only an insult here in North America and is not seen in any such insulting way in Africa. Hence the reason they decided to be daring with their magazine cover. I guess it is the old statement of a rose will still smell as sweat by any other name.

Subject: Re: Emma quick take a look
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:17:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is a word that I have never used and will never use for any reason.

Subject: Re: Emma quick take a look
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 13:50:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I read the article thoroughly, but the magazine should not have used such a headline. There was no call for it. The article was interesting beyond the sad headline.

Subject: Re: Emma quick take a look
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:28:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Believe me, it's not something I go looking for. I just couldn't believe the audacity of this very upstanding magazine to go use that word. It is obvious that they know that the word has a different level of connotation between countries and they know they can get away with it.

Subject: Re: Emma quick take a look
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:28:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Mik, you are a gem. I know what you mean and I do understand. I am shy of what can be hurtful always as are you. I am thinking of a post myself that may be too rough. Still, the magazine must promote itself in other ways.

Subject: What did buddha say?
From: Johnny5
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:25:59 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Those that take offense do more damage than those they assume to give it. I have been called cracker, mestizo, speedy gonzales (my favorite) and hoalie in moving between various cultures - my grandfather was from mexico so I guess that is the reason for the many names - hehe. I could let this give offense or no - it was always my personal choice. When i was younger other people's inescurities and self doubts were a concern - but there comes a time when you have to grab the klingon by his forehead and spit in his drink and get over all the silly insensitivities. Some of my friends took great offense at similar slurs - some of them are sitting in jail now hating life - when they could be out here chatting it up and having a great time with you and emma and the rest like me.

Subject: Re: What did buddha say?
From: Mik
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:14:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Very well said.

Subject: Re: What did buddha say?
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:58:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I do understand. There will be no name calling here.

Subject: Re: He Created a Mirror for Black America
From: Setanta
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 12:36:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A truly inspiring story of empowerment. its a pity that the political correctness endemic in society now has overtaken much of his laudible goals. even the name African-American is a mis-nomer. a friend of mine tells an interesting story. while he was coach of the American 'Eagles' (the US international rugby team) his coaching assistant was a white south african. the south african (who's family had been in SA for as long as people had been in the US) considered himself an African American, much to the confusion of the players. technically he was absolutely correct, he had become an American citizen a few years previously. he thought he had more right to be called an african american than negros who had lived in the US for generations. as uncomfortable as this makes us feel, there is a certain logic to it. the Home Secretary in the UK is embarking on the same route, trying to start referring to 'british asians' and 'british indians'. fortunately, the people to whom these labels will be applied to are appalled and outraged. they insist in being called british, and this irishman supports them 100%!!! technically i'd should called an american/danish/scottish irishman.

Subject: Teddy Roosevelt
From: Johnny5
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 15:13:44 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Said there was no place in america for hyphenated americans. Divided we fall.

Subject: Re: He Created a Mirror for Black America
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:11:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent comment. I am completely content with African American or for me Irish American, but I wonder if we are not more secure in being American than a British Indian may be in being British. I do not know. Indians and Japanese I know seem to prefer Asian American. Latino or Latina is common.

Subject: Re: He Created a Mirror for Black America
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 13:14:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is important is that we all feel we belong.

Subject: Stocks
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 11:09:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice, another rising interest rate scare passes and stocks begin the climb again. European stocks are booming.

Subject: Dean Baker on Pensions from 2003
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 10:53:44 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Dean Baker has been called the Cassandra of our day - the ancient seer who no one believed. http://inthesetimes.com/comments.php?id=185_0_1_0_C Bursting Bubbles Why the economy will go from bad to worse By Dean Baker | 5.9.03 print | email | comment Where is the best place to go for good advice about the stock market and the economy? The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune? If it is late 1999 and the stock market is soaring to record highs, the correct answer is In These Times. In December 1999, when the economic and political establishment was singing the praises of the “new economy” and promising an era of unparalleled prosperity, In These Times ran “After the Fall,” a cover story by Dean Baker, which explained that a stock market crash was inevitable. Baker also warned of some of the consequences of the crash—downsized 401(k) retirement plans, a funding crisis for defined-benefit pension plans, shriveling endowments for universities and foundations, and a recession pushing the unemployment rate up past 6 percent. During the ’90s boom, Baker was one of the few economists who clearly identified the stock market bubble. But no one in a position of power was willing to listen, even though the main thrust of the argument rested on basic arithmetic. Remarkably, the same “experts” who led the nation into the bubble are still dominating public debate on the economy. So In These Times is willing to break with the conventional wisdom again. In the first of a special two-part series on the economy, Baker explains how related bubbles in the property and currency markets have yet to burst, and how that prospect could severely hamper our quality of life for years to come.
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Subject: Amid Boston Glut, Office Projects Shift
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 05:53:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/10/realestate/10boston.html? Amid Boston Glut, Office Projects Shift to Condos By SUSAN DIESENHOUSE BOSTON - Construction activity is brisk among the downtown high-rises here. But with occupancy poor in the office market for the fifth consecutive year, the activity is centered on developing luxury condominiums in new and existing buildings rather than producing new office space. Last spring, two projects once planned as office space won city approval to be built as luxury condos instead, and more such conversions are expected. In addition, over the last year, about two million square feet of existing office space has been pulled out of the market and is being renovated, mostly for luxury housing and hotels, said Gilbert Dailey, a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield of Massachusetts Inc. One building under construction is the 96-unit Folio Boston at 80 Broad Street. After a year of marketing, 62 units are under contract and the rest are on sale for $700,000 to $1.2 million, said the developer, Michael Rauseo, president of the Suffolk Companies, who in 2001 intended to build office space on the lower floors and about 35 condos above. The preference for residential projects reflects an office market with 16.6 percent of its space available for lease or sublease, only a slight improvement from the 20-year high of 19.7 percent reached in the third quarter of 2004. As for average asking rents, they are about half the peak reached in 2000. This poor performance is a result of weak demand, and is segmenting the office market between premium upper floors and those below. By the end of June, 13.9 percent of space above the 15th floor was available at an average asking rent of $42.62 a square foot. On lower floors, an additional 800,000 square feet brought the availability rate to 16.6 percent with asking rents of $32.49, said Debra J. Gould, a principal at Spaulding & Slye Colliers International, a real estate developer, investor and broker. 'We're seeing a greater-than-usual spread in rents,' she said. For the first time in many years, small to midsize professional firms can find 20,000-square-foot high-rise floors with expansive views. But big corporations that once filled sprawling 60,000-square-foot low-rise floors with clerical and administrative workers have moved these back-office operations to lower-cost sites, have adopted technology that enables them to further cut the number of employees or they need less space because of consolidation. So far this year, major financial tenants seeking to sublet their space have put 1.7 million square feet back on the downtown Boston market, which has a total of 56 million square feet. Manulife Financial, which acquired John Hancock, released 725,622 square feet of space; Bank of America, which purchased Fleet Bank, released 245,082 square feet. Despite lackluster leasing and growth prospects, commercial properties here are achieving record sale prices. Well-leased properties fetch $350 to $605 a square foot. But even those with, or anticipating, high vacancies are commanding solid prices. Last fall, 330 Stuart Street, a building that is about 80 percent vacant, sold for $267 a square foot. Earlier this year, One Faneuil Square, a retail and office building that was totally vacant, sold for about $450 a square foot, brokers said. 'Landlords who can't find tenants are selling,' said Jonathan G. Sloan, co-chief executive of Century Bank, a regional community lender with $1.8 billion in assets. With investors spurning securities markets, they are bidding up commercial property prices. But 'high sale prices reflect activity in financial markets, not the value of real estate,' Mr. Sloan said. 'The state economy is at a questionable turning point. The labor force has been reduced. Businesses aren't investing in capital plant. The growing companies are nonoffice users like health care, education and biotechnology. Where will the office growth come from? If there's more outsourcing, we're in for rough straits.' The discrepancies between real estate fundamentals and commercial property values also worry William F. McCall Jr., president of McCall & Almy, real estate advisers. A landlord who in 2000 could net $25 a square foot for an office building now nets about $15 a square foot because of vacancies, lower rents and higher tax and operating expenses. Buyers paying high prices, therefore, are settling for annual returns around 6 percent rather than the 10 percent they may have realized five years ago, he said. 'They'll stop buying offices when they find higher returns elsewhere,' Mr. McCall said. 'The big question: Is there an office market bubble here?' But the lure for residential developers is strong: condominiums sell for $750 to $1,500 a square foot. Such a prospect presumably moved Rose Associates of New York to change direction after spending four years planning to build the 214,000-square-foot Two Financial Center. In April, it won city approval to instead put up a $110 million 162-unit condominium. Rose declined requests for an interview.

Subject: 1031 Tenant in Common
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 10:45:41 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Emma I have been looking around at some 1031 TIC investments, most of the TIC people I have talked too have some office property in california or texas with about 7.5% rates. I have talked so some people in texas that are looking at some oil and gas interests for the exchange, but I already hold so much XOM I wanted to diversify. They are telling me it is getting very hard to find good properties anymore, florida only has about 1-3% cap rates. Japanese guys came over here and bought office buildings and paid too much in the past. I don't want to repeat thier mistake - thanks for the article.

Subject: 'My Heart Will Go On' ...Glen
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 03:59:34 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
http://www.harpers.org/TheIcebergCometh.html

Subject: Re: 'My Heart Will Go On' ...Glen
From: Emma
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 05:52:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Now I prefer classical, but my sister loves jazz. Your tastes are happily eclectic.

Subject: Melanoma Is Epidemic. Or Is It?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 17:21:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/09/health/09skin.html?pagewanted=print Melanoma Is Epidemic. Or Is It? By GINA KOLATA The nation is in the grip of what looks like a terrifying melanoma epidemic: melanoma is being diagnosed at more than double the rate it was in 1986, increasing faster than any other major cancer. But why the numbers are increasing is a contentious subject, so touchy that one dermatologist called it 'the third rail of dermatology.' Many dermatologists argue that melanoma, the most deadly of the skin cancers, is in fact becoming more common. And they recommend regular skin cancer screening as the best way to save lives. But some specialists say that what the numbers represent is not an epidemic of skin cancer but an epidemic of skin cancer screening, and a new study lends support to this view. In the study, published in the current issue of The British Medical Journal, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch of the Department of Veterans Affairs in White River Junction, Vt., and Dartmouth Medical School and his colleagues analyzed melanoma's changing incidence and death rate over time. The researchers used Medicare data to track the swift rise in melanoma cases since 1986 and data compiled by the National Cancer Institute to track the death rate and the number of people with early and late-stage disease. They found that since 1986, skin biopsies have risen by 250 percent, a figure nearly the same as the rise in the incidence of early stage melanoma. But there was no change in the melanoma death rate. And the incidence of advanced disease also did not change, the researchers found. Dr. Welch and two colleagues, Dr. Steven Woloshin and Dr. Lisa M. Schwartz, argue that if there was really an epidemic of melanoma - for example, if something in the environment was causing people to get the skin cancer, scientists should see increases in cancers at all stages. This is what happened with lung cancer caused by smoking, and with other cancers caused by toxic substances. The fact that the increase was seen only in very early stage disease was a tip-off that the epidemic might be less than it seemed, Dr. Welch said. And that, he says, leads to a difficult question. The point of screening for melanoma is to reduce the death toll from the cancer. But if screening has not altered the number of patients with advanced disease or lowered the death rate, what is its benefit? 'That's the million dollar question,' Dr. Welch said. 'It certainly raises questions about whether we're doing any good.' The researchers hastened to add that people who notice suspicious moles or spots should not hesitate to see a doctor. But skin cancer screening, they said, is directed at healthy people who have no reason to suspect that anything is wrong. The federal Preventative Services Task Force, which makes screening recommendations, has said that there was insufficient evidence to recommend either for or against skin screening. But the American Cancer Society recommends regular skin screening, as does the American Academy of Dermatology, which sponsors Melanoma Mondays and free skin screening clinics that see more than 200,00 people a year. Speaking for the dermatology academy, one of its past presidents, Dr. Darrell Rigel, a dermatologist in New York, said it only made sense to look for melanomas and remove them before they spread. 'As dermatologists, we see people die every day from melanoma,' he said. 'And there's another thing we know with melanoma that's very clear. The earlier you find it and treat it, the better the survival.' More and more people are having skin biopsies, Dr. Rigel said, but he questioned Dr. Welch's conclusion that the biopsies were leading to excessive diagnoses of melanoma. 'I would say the inverse is more likely,' Dr. Rigel said. 'There are more melanomas and therefore more biopsies.' At the American Cancer Society, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, an oncologist, said his group reviewed the same data as Dr. Welch and came to a different conclusion. Screening, he said, appears to be saving lives. As evidence Dr. Lichtenfeld pointed to a trend in the data indicating that the death rate from the disease rose slightly year by year until about a decade ago. That is consistent with an increase in serious cases of melanoma. Now, he said, 'there has been a suggestion in the data that the death rates in the Medicare age group are going down,' an effect that would be expected if screening was working. He added, 'We agree that some of the melanomas are biologically indolent, but we also feel that when we look at the trend in the data and the suggestion of decreased mortality that there has been a benefit from increased surveillance for the disease.' Dr. Welch disagrees. He said the cancer society was 'taking tiny, tiny differences' in death rates from year to year and 'putting a huge microscope on it.' In fact, he said, the death rate has been basically flat since 1986, although it bounces around slightly from year to year as a result of statistical fluctuations. 'We don't disagree about the data,' Dr. Welch said. 'We disagree about the interpretation. We are not arguing that there is zero change in disease burden. We are arguing that most of the newly diagnosed cases are the result of increased screening.' In a 1997 article, two dermatologists, Dr. Robert Swerlick and Dr. Suephy Chen of Emory University and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, wrote that while some people might be saved by screening, there also are risks from a melanoma diagnosis. 'After a patient has received the diagnosis of melanoma, obtaining insurance can be extremely difficult,' they wrote. 'The diagnosis of melanoma also results in heightened scrutiny of all first-degree relatives and family members of the patient, and if increased surveillance leads to increased diagnosis, this process may also put them at risk for the diagnosis of melanoma.' Others who study cancer screening said that Dr. Welch's arguments were convincing and that he had raised issues about the national melanoma epidemic that could not easily be dismissed. Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director of the Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health, said that, of course, the ideal way to know if a screening program works is to do a randomized clinical trial, assigning some people to screening and not others, then seeing if the screening saved lives. Absent such a study, he said, he finds Dr. Welch's paper convincing. 'It's doesn't look like our melanoma awareness campaigns have made an impact on mortality or on late-stage disease,' Dr. Kramer said. Dr. Russell Harris, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina and a member of the Preventive Services Task Force, said the new paper 'should certainly make us worry about screening.' That also is the view of Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman, emeritus director of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in New York. Dermatologists have gone too far, he said, with screening clinics, removing innocuous moles and diagnosing melanoma too freely. It makes sense for a doctor to look at your skin during a regular physical exam, Dr. Ackerman said, but screening programs have led to an excessive zeal for skin biopsies and for diagnosing melanoma. 'There has been a mania for taking off these moles that are of no consequence,' Dr. Ackerman said. 'We're talking about billions and billions of dollars being spent, based on hype.' While there may be questions about screening programs, Dr. Swerlick said that few in his field wanted to discussion their merits. He and Dr. Chen tried to open the debate themselves a few years ago but were met with hostility or disdain, he said. 'My colleagues in private practice know what we have written and they can't imagine that it could be correct,' Dr. Swerlick said. 'This is a very touchy subject,' he added. And he appreciates why. 'Many well-intentioned people have focused their clinical careers on this,' he said, 'and I can understand how unnerving it might be to be faced with the prospect that their efforts have been directed toward something ineffectual.' For his part, Dr. Welch says that early detection 'is a double-edged sword and people need to remember that.' A few people might be saved because a cancer is found early, he said, but many, many more will be thrown into the medical mill when there is nothing wrong with them. 'People should realize that is the price we pay for screening,' Dr. Welch said, and although screening is widely promoted, 'we ought to know whether it helps.'

Subject: Number of Unsold Houses Grows
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 15:43:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/realestate/07lizo.html Number of Unsold Houses Grows By VALERIE COTSALAS THE number of homes for sale on Long Island and in Queens in June was 22 percent higher this year compared with the same time last year, signaling, some say, that prices have been raised too high for many buyers. The numbers come from the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, a network of about 2,300 real estate offices in Long Island and Queens. The service also reports that median home sale prices are still rising in Nassau and Suffolk, but at a slower rate. 'A lot of people are trying to cash in on the boom before it goes away,' said Irwin Kellner, the Weller professor of economics at Hofstra University and chief economist for North Fork Bank. With more people putting homes on the market at ever higher prices, the supply is starting to outpace demand, Mr. Kellner said. 'I think I see the beginnings of a cooling for the housing boom right now on Long Island,' he said. Real estate brokers have encountered both edgy sellers and savvier buyers, saying that news reports on the real estate market have added to the uncertainty and anxiety on both sides. Brokers also say that more older homeowners are trying to cash in on the equity in their homes and fatten their retirement nest egg. Evelyn Atanas, the owner of Atanas Realty in Williston Park, said many homeowners she has encountered are worried about housing prices leveling off. 'The sellers are very nervous,' Ms. Atanas said. 'I had people in today who were saying: 'What should I do? Should I sell? Should I rent?' ' Kathy Anastasio of Anastasio Associates in Huntington said that she still sees a lot of buyers, but that lately sellers slightly outnumber them. 'We have some people trying to cash in, but we also have more sellers because they're asking more than they should, more than it will appraise for, more than it will actually sell for,' Ms. Anastasio said. Ms. Anastasio, who specializes in the Huntington market in Suffolk County, said there were 762 more homes for sale in the Town of Huntington during the first six months of 2005 than during the same period last year, while the number of homes sold during that time declined by 184, according to numbers from the Multiple Listing Service. Sharon Topper, of Topper Realty in Long Beach, said that unsold houses are accumulating because sellers are holding out for a high offer, and because there are so many hesitant buyers. 'I have a lot of people sitting in high-priced rentals who sold their homes,' Ms. Topper said. 'They're sitting in $4,000-a-month rentals waiting for the bubble to burst.' Homes are still selling at all-time highs in Long Beach, Ms. Topper said, especially condos and co-ops with ocean views, but 'a lot of houses are $100,000 overpriced, and people are sitting and waiting on those.' The median sale price for a home, according to the Long Island Board of Realtors, in both Suffolk and Nassau Counties rose 10.5 percent, to $436,000 in June, compared with the same month last year. That was less than the previous year's increase in prices, which was 12.4 percent. 'They're beginning to slow down, though 10 percent is nothing to sneeze at,' Mr. Kellner said of the change in home price increases. Lost in the Multiple Listing Service reports is data on the very expensive houses on the East End, where many real estate offices are not members of the services. Brokers say that demand and prices on the East End are still very strong and that there is no excess inventory. 'In the village of Southampton, there's not a whole lot' of homes at the high end, according to Dottie Herman, chief executive of Prudential Douglas Elliman. Numbers in the luxury market can be deceiving, she added, if not tempered with knowledge of the yearly trends. Suffolk Research Service, a firm that tracks East End real estate transactions, reports that in Southampton, for example, 12 percent fewer homes were sold in the first six months of 2005 than in the same period last year. That's down from a 39.5 percent increase in sales in the first six months of 2004. But Ms. Herman said that the important sales numbers for the Southampton market turn up in September and October, after homeowners have collected their summer seasonal rents and decide to sell their homes. 'Over the summer, my offices have all done well,' Ms. Herman said of her firm's East End business. 'And the high end is still very strong.' Academics who study real estate trends across the country note that while there may be a surplus of homes on the market, they may not be in the kinds of places people want or can afford. That appears to be the case in Long Island. 'If you look for a town house or a condo or anything on Long Island, there's not enough supply,' said Clifford Sondock, president of the Jericho-based Land Use Institute, a real estate and planning think tank. He said that between the start of 2000 through November 2004, new home construction on Long Island had declined by 68 percent. Nationwide, he said, there was an increase of 18 percent. 'In order to maintain a level average home price in any market, you need to build at least four new homes per thousand people' each year, Mr. Sondock said. But fewer than two homes per thousand people are built each year on Long Island, he said, largely because of zoning regulations that restrict builders to producing single-family homes. In areas like Houston and Las Vegas, relaxed zoning has resulted in up to 60 percent increases in new construction. 'The problem with a restrictive market like Long Island is the builders produce what the political system will allow,' Mr. Sondock said. 'So if there's a demand for town homes, which are more dense, but the political system doesn't allow more density, the builders will produce single-family homes instead.'

Subject: G.M. Thrives in China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 14:56:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/09/automobiles/09mini.html G.M. Thrives in China With Small, Thrifty Vans BY KEITH BRADSHER LIUZHOU, China - In this obscure corner of southern China, General Motors seems to have hit on a hot new formula: $5,000 minivans that get 43 miles to the gallon in city driving. That combination of advantages has captivated Chinese buyers, propelling G.M. into the leading spot in this nascent car market. Compact and utilitarian, these vehicles, called Wuling Sunshine minivans, hardly fit the big-is-better image of G.M., known in the United States for producing some of the largest gas guzzlers on the market, like Hummers. The minivans, which G.M. builds in a joint venture with a Chinese partner, have a quarter the horsepower of American minivans, weak acceleration and a top speed of 81 miles an hour. The seats are only a third the thickness of seats in Western models but look plush compared with some Chinese cars. Their development was led by an American, Philip F. Murtaugh, a native of Ohio and a maverick executive who was willing to zig while the rest of G.M. was zagging. Mr. Murtaugh was able to create in China the kind of innovative environment that G.M. has struggled for decades to achieve in its American operations. But whether G.M. can duplicate elsewhere its achievements in China or even keep its pace here is unclear. In what may be a telling sign of the corporate culture at G.M., Mr. Murtaugh's success in China led not to promotion but to his departure from the company. G.M. declined to discuss personnel matters, but both it and Mr. Murtaugh said he resigned and was not dismissed. A soft-spoken man in a company known for autocratic leaders, Mr. Murtaugh ran the China operations for more than nine years from his base in Shanghai, repeatedly making some of the best calls in the industry. Now he finds himself unemployed and living in a small community in rural Kentucky. His resignation in March, at the age of 49, came shortly after senior company executives reorganized management to give more power to Detroit executives to oversee design, engineering and various manufacturing disciplines all over the world, including operations in China. The shift was supposed to allow greater coordination between the growing Chinese operations and the rest of G.M.'s businesses. Other G.M. regional executives had already been more under Detroit's control and did not leave the company. For years, G.M. has linked its fortunes in the United States to the sale of big vehicles, like Chevrolet Suburbans, only to find oil prices soaring and many Americans nervous about paying more than $50 for a tank of gas. But here in China, Mr. Murtaugh's G.M. was the only multinational automaker that spotted the potential in the late 1990's for building lots of small, inexpensive, fuel-sipping cars, minivans and pickup trucks. 'It is impressive, and it is strategically very smart,' said Michael Dunne, president of Automotive Resources Asia, a consulting firm based in Beijing and Bangkok. The utilitarian minivans and pickups are mainly purchased in China by small-business owners in towns and smaller cities, who drive them both to carry supplies for their businesses and to transport their families. Gasoline in China is slightly cheaper than in the United States, as the government is gradually passing on price increases to consumers. The minivans have been a big hit, helping G.M. sell more than 170,000 very small vehicles - automobile types not available in the United States - and to pass Volkswagen this year in sales in a market that VW has dominated for two decades. They have helped turn China into G.M.'s biggest center of automotive profit - in contrast to losses in manufacturing operations in the United States - and its second-largest market in terms of the number of vehicles sold, after the United States. In the important market for larger cars, those not made by the Wuling joint venture, Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are gaining on Volkswagen and, to a lesser extent, G.M. Such slippage is a familiar experience for G.M. at home. It has repeatedly failed to halt a slide in its domestic market share that began in the 1960's, and has faced the humiliation of seeing its bonds downgraded to junk status this spring. G.M.'s success in China shows that the company, the world's largest automaker, can still summon the energy and innovation occasionally to take command of a big market. The Chinese government has also encouraged a shift toward more efficient models through stringent fuel-economy regulations, even as Congress has opted for more subsidies for oil production and a limit on hybrid car subsidies. G.M.'s reward came in the first half of this year, when demand for the utilitarian vehicle market in China soared in response to steep gasoline prices and rising prosperity among peasants and small-business owners. G.M.'s sales of spartan minivans and pickups and of very small cars have climbed faster than those of its rivals, to 172,368 in the first half of this year, up 48.7 percent from the period a year earlier. Its Asian and Pacific division - just 5 percent of worldwide sales - is increasingly dominated by the fortunes of its China business. The division earned $176 million in the second quarter, even as overall automotive operations lost $948 million amid heavy losses in North America. The factory here now runs day and night, six days a week. 'When the employees stop for lunch, the maintenance people run in,' said Yao Zuo Ping, the chief of manufacturing. Mr. Murtaugh played a central role in 1996 in setting up the company's main operation in China, a 50-50 joint venture with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, or S.A.I.C. Instead of following the usual G.M. career track of bouncing through assignments around the world every couple of years, he stayed on to run the operation for nearly a decade. In the late 90's, he noticed that millions of small-business owners and affluent peasants were not yet prosperous enough to afford the latest Western models but were saving enough to acquire more frugal vehicles selling for less than $5,000. 'Essentially, it is his baby,' said Stephen Small, the joint venture's G.M.-appointed chief financial officer. Mr. Murtaugh never learned to speak Chinese, but he was instrumental in setting up the Liuzhou joint venture, which is 34 percent owned by G.M., 50.1 percent by S.A.I.C. and the rest by the Liuzhou Wuling Automotive Company. His personal skills and ability to explain the latest ways to run a factory, often borrowed from Japanese automakers, made a deep impression with executives here, as did his regular visits. 'Murtaugh himself was actually paying a lot of attention to our facility here,' said Shen Yang, the president of the joint venture and a leading executive at the factory for more than a decade before G.M. invested here. To build the cars, G.M. helped gut and rebuild a former tractor factory in ways that could become a model for automobile production in China for years to come. Long white halls erected in 1958 during Mao's Great Leap Forward still stand here, the paint peeling in places, the wood window frames warped and the windowpanes cracked and broken. Inside, however, is a factory that combines old and new management techniques. Small, plastic racks of parts delivered several times or more a day have replaced large bins of parts delivered to the assembly line in big shipments every few days. This way, the factory can keep low inventories and order quick design changes, if necessary, from nearby suppliers. The assembly process has only one robot, for sealing windshields, relying mostly on workers earning $60 a month, above average for this impoverished region. That comes after G.M.'s experience in Shanghai, where it installed four dozen robots for its first assembly line only to find them much costlier and less flexible than people; G.M.'s second assembly line there was built with only four robots. 'Low cost doesn't just mean low wages, it means low investment,' Mr. Small said. Worker safety in most Chinese factories is abysmal by Western standards. But workers at the factory here wear safety glasses, and the equipment has automatic cutoffs to prevent workers from losing fingers. Mr. Murtaugh said in a telephone interview from his home, now in Cadiz, Ky., that he made safety suggestions at the start of his first visit to the factory in 1999. 'We got about 20 paces inside the stamping plant and I said to Shen Yang, 'How many eye surgeries and finger amputations do you perform every year?' ' Before the joint venture began to be set up in 1999, Wuling did not even have procedures for handling workers' suggestions. Now, the workers are given extensive information about the performance of their units and encouraged to submit suggestions. The factory received 4,000 suggestions from its 5,000 employees last year, and as many suggestions again in the first five months of this year. Zhou Libo, a 28-year-old worker who welds minivan underbodies and has worked here for 10 years, said that until the last several years, 'We made a lot of parts that were not good quality and had to be thrown away.' Mr. Murtaugh's departure was widely seen within the automotive industry as linked to moves by G.M. that limited his autonomy. Last summer, the company transferred executives from Singapore to an office just down the street from Mr. Murtaugh's in Shanghai, a shift that made closer supervision possible. Mr. Shen, the president of the joint venture here, becomes visibly emotional when he mentions Mr. Murtaugh's surprise departure. 'I have a very good relationship with Mr. Murtaugh, he is my friend, and seeing him leave is very hard on me,' Mr. Shen said, his voice catching slightly. 'He was both a teacher and a friend.' Mr. Murtaugh said that he was playing a little golf now, but found himself with many idle hours. 'I'm looking for work,' he said, and then joked, 'do you have a deck that needs painting?'

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in China
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 22:03:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Guess what? These are just the type of vehicles which will be selling here in the US when gas climbs to $3-4 bucks a gallon and beyond and many American consumers are in such debt that they will be attracted to a vehicle which goes for $10,000 or less. The only problem it will be built in China even if it is GM!

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in China
From: Bambitroll
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 09:03:02 (EDT)
Email Address: juan@btcorp.org

Message:
To understand the importance of the Chinese economy in the world, here is a very good article from the economist here in the economy section: http://btcorp.dyndns.org/Truth/TruthIndex.htm Bambitroll. http://bambitroll.blogspot.com/

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in China
From: Mik
To: Bambitroll
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:16:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I don't mean to sound insulting, but your blog doesn't put any new perspective on the China issues. It pretty much repeats and exaggerates what many people have known for a long while. You may want to do some research into the growth of the South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). The combined investment into this region more than doubles that of China. And this is recent. We have a whole new spin and China has their own new worries. Without the US component, China would be in a trade deficit (Krugman) in other words, for all of its glorious economic rise, China is hopelessly fixed to US trade and its workers are becoming expensive in comparison to its neighbouring countries. China has to continue funding US bonds in order to keep that cycle of trade going. At the same time, next door to China we are seeing the rise of a whole new power.... now what's going to happen?

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in China
From: Pete Weis
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 22:07:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, maybe those GM minivans will be built in Bangladesh.

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in China
From: Mik
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:53:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Actually GM has just invested short of 1 Billion US$ to build Hummers in Africa.....

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in China
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:25:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is most interesting, and possibly a breakthrough. Where is the investment? South Africa?

Subject: G.M. Thrives in Africa
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 11:55:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yep - I read it in that now 'notorious' magazine. Also GM makes a whole series of cars in South Africa such as Opel. Interesting that we don't have Opel in this country. The full investment package by GM including factory extensions to other car models and then the Hummer factory. Today, South Africa is the world's second largest manufacturer of new car parts. Here is the GM- Hummer Story: GM to produce Hummer H3 in South Africa Associated Press Comment on this story Send this story to a friend Get Home Delivery DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. said Wednesday it will build a version of the Hummer H3 in South Africa starting next year, marking the first time a Hummer has been built outside the United States. GM said it is investing $100 million to develop and produce the mid-size H3 at its Struandale facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. GM said it eventually could produce 10,000 of the vehicles in South Africa, solely for export to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The H3 is expected to go on sale in South Africa in mid-2007, GM said. The Struandale facility currently produces Opel and Isuzu products. A GM plant in Shreveport, La., will continue to produce a version of the H3 destined for the North American market and some markets in Europe and the Middle East. GM has been losing ground in the U.S. market this year but has said it will meet or exceed its targets in other worldwide markets. GM shares rose 56 cents to $29.60 in midday trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. On the Net: General Motors Corp.: http://www.gm.com

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in Africa
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 14:30:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If only South Africa could be the engine and model for southern Africa. Africa needs South Africa so dearly. Do not worry about the magazine. we can be critical when we need to be.

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in Africa
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:25:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Actually South Africa is fuelling the economic boom in Africa. Did you know that South Africa has since the end of sanctions in 1992 invested so heavily into Africa that today it contributes 5% to the GDP of the entire English and Portuguese speaking African countries stretching right up to Ethiopia. That is far more than any other country or economic block of countries contributes to Africa. I think there is a lot we don't know about Africa. I think a lot of people think nothing comes out of Africa and nothing is happening in Africa. If I say to you, 'Ethiopia.' What do you picture? Deserts and starving people? Images from the famine of the 1980's? Yet when I landed in Addis Ababa I was stumped to see forests, a bustling city with highrise buildings. Things do move in Africa and economies are growing. Just that wealth in Africa has become a bit too distorted for me. The end of the cold war has drastically changed Africa. No longer will dictators get money in exchange for allegiance. We now have the chance to say, 'Either get your act together or we will want nothing to do with you.' But alas, Zimbabwe will be the litmus test on weather we are to face a new form of cold war with China.

Subject: Re: G.M. Thrives in Africa
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 15:55:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed completely. We want more.

Subject: Saudis face troubled future
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 10:56:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Armenians were the first Christians. In the third century the country officially declared itself Christian. Despite a deep and violent schism between Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) Christianity in the 11th century,many of our present-day religious rituals and holy days are Armenian in origin. One of the most symbolic Armenian rites was to locate all churches on the site of a freshwater well, and this tradition continues in Catholic countries of the Mediterranean. Water was the symbol of life, and by linking the church with water, religious leaders reiterated the central, powerful position of the church. This placed the church at the heart of community life not only spiritually but commercially. For close to 2,000 years, water was the world's most valuable commodity places with water blossomed, places without water died. Today, oil is the new water. As in the ancient church, he who controls oil puts himself at the centre of the global economy. Sometimes we fail to appreciate the enormous power of oil. It is crucial to everything we take for granted. Modern life is based on oil, and after the humanmind, oil is the world's primary resource.This makes Saudi Arabia the world's oil well a prized asset. Last week, the man who ruled the country for 23 years died, causing the price of oil to move above $62 a barrel. Over the coming years, the future of the global economy will be increasingly tied up with the fortunes of this secretive kingdom, its royal family and its extreme form of Islam. The new ruler, King Abdullah Azziz, and the other ruling senior princes are worried.To the north, in Iraq, a government dominated by Shia Muslims is emerging chaotically. To the north-west, in Syria, a friendly government is being vilified for its continued meddling in Lebanon. At home, two historic rounds of municipal elections indicate that some ordinary Saudis quite like democracy, though others are thought still to prefer a theocracy led by Osama bin Laden.To compound it all, the price of oil is too high for Saudi taste, and looks like going higher. There is one unifying feature of all these events: the Saudis have little ability to control them. This is what really worries the senior princes and what they discuss late at night as their cronies and relatives slump in the sumptuous cushions around them. When we think of Saudi Arabia we always look at it from our western perspective, which amounts to little more than ‘they have oil, keep them sweet'. For us, Saudi Arabia is oil and oil is Saudi Arabia. The Saudi perspective on Saudi Arabia is notably different: oil is a blessing, rather than the kingdom's sole reason for existing. The Saudi leadership's role in the Arab world, and a similar role in the Islamic world, are the crucial indicators, as seen from the vantage point of Riyadh. Despite so-called Arab unity, leadership of the fractious Arab world can be a tiresome burden, especially when most countries seem to want Saudi cash in return for any support they provide. And leadership in the Islamic world is bound up with Saudi Arabia's custodianship of the two holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina. Managing these centres of Islam and the pilgrimages to them is crucial to the legitimacy that is conferred on the Saudi royal family in return. So the Saudi/Arab/Islamic view of Saudi Arabia is considerably different and more complex than the western image of the place. As a result, the next generation of Saudi leaders has its work cut out. Because all the main ruling princes are well into their seventies and eighties, even this week's smooth transition sheds little light on the longer term. Meanwhile, the challenges are becoming more problematic and the pressures more acute. In terms of foreign policy, from a Saudi perspective the Cold War was a golden era. The United States gave security guarantees in return for a friendly oil-exporting policy. Communism was the enemy; Islam was the protection from both Moscow and unwanted American interference. The collapse of the SovietUnion, and, more recently, the disastrous US occupation of Iraq, are, to Riyadh, unwelcome trends. In the good old days, Saudi Arabia preserved its Islamic legitimacy at home by indulging the religious establishment and its strict Wahabi version of Islam. Youths imbued with Islamic fanaticism could be exported to Afghanistan, Bosnia or Chechnya. Those that returned and did not want to settle down to normal lives could be recruited into the religious police. This template for domestic stability collapsed after September 11, 2001. Regionally, Riyadh dominated the Gulf Cooperation Council that formed a bloc against the twin Persian Gulf threats of Iran and Iraq. Further afield, the Saudis could support both the Syrians and the Arafat-led Palestinians against Israel, while also telling Washington that Riyadh was really working for Middle East peace. Post-Afghanistan, post-Iraq, post-Arafat, Saudi Arabia does not feel comfortable. Washington seems intent on allow-ing the growth of a Shia Muslim belt to the north, implicitly threatening the Sunni kingdom's leadership role in Islam. Closer to home, the Gulf states no longer accept Saudi leadership. Abu Dhabi, the lead emirate of the UAE, has reopened a vexatious oil-related border dispute. Other states,most notably Kuwait and Qatar, have developed their own direct links to Washington. And on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the Americans, to quote US president George Bush, are demanding that “Arab states establish normal ties with Israel” a prospect that gives Riyadh heartburn. In reality, the Saudis are not even beginning to try to sell the notion to their domestic or wider Islamic constituencies. Of course, $60 per barrel for oil means there are no short-term revenue problems, but this price level is accelerating the emergence of alternative technologies, which is another nightmare for the Saudis. They want stable prices that keep the rest of us addicted to their oil, rather than high prices that cause us to explore other energy options. However, surging demand from China means that they have to pump out more oil than ever just to keep prices where they are. All this is compounded by the uncomfortable but nagging reminder that at some stage in the next generation, oil will begin to run out. It is clear that the world economy needs a stable Saudi Arabia more than ever but far from clear whether Saudi Arabia's next generation of leaders will be able to deliver this. Like the ancient Armenians whose Christian star shone brightly, then dimmed and can now be only faintly discerned in intricate religious ritual, the golden age of Saudi Arabia may be coming to a close.

Subject: Re: Saudis face troubled future
From: Emma
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:24:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Here I must disagree. This is truly a wonderful time for the Saudis. They are energy rich in a different way than other energy rich countries in that they need little energy for themselves and export almost all they produce. They have ample reserves, despite the questioners. They have the complete protection of the United States. Saudi Arabia has some social problems, but there is absolutely no danger to the state, and a future of immense promise.

Subject: Re: Saudis face troubled future
From: Setanta
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 10:59:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
People are barely blinking as oil has jumped from $57 to $64 over the past few days. It only seems like yesterday that $35 oil was the critical level and prices above $40 'could not be sustained for long before settling in a $30-$35 per barrel range' according to BP. It seems that its not only oil that has enjoyed this huge price hike - the price of most US stocks and houses has exploded during the past few months of June and July. Is this a co-incidence? I hear, despite the oil price, sales of gas gussling monster trucks like the Ford F150 pickup are now near all time highs in the US with one sold every second. I have to wonder what world forecasters like Pimco's Bill Gross and the bond market are in, still betting on a deflationary recession!

Subject: Re: Saudis face troubled future
From: Emma
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:28:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terrific questions to consider. I have noticed that betting against Bill Gross has long been the way to prosper. What Gross says and does however even if meant to be the same can change in a moment. Even if the housing market is already slowing, growth should be fine for the rest of the year. Also, look to Europe's stock markets which are booming.

Subject: Re: Saudis face troubled future
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 11:45:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It was a Saudi Prince who made the quote, 'The iron age did not come to an end because of a lack of iron. So too the oil age won't come to an end because of a lack of oil.' Those are very deep words. All Saudis know very well that their neigbouring cousins in Yemen (who have no oil) are of the same tribal group and exact same religious background, yet the Yemenese are dirt poor and run down. All Saudis face the strong reminder that without oil, they would be no different than Yemen. But are the Saudis open-minded enough to drastically do something about it? Let me put forward to you this argument: The end of the oil age is a given. Hybrid motor cars will dramatically decrease our dependancy on oil, and the economic perfection of the fuel cell in, say, about 5 years will result in the final nails in the oil-age-coffin within 30 years. Nuclear power will gain vast prevelence in within, say, 10 years. Only jet aircrafts will still be relient on oil (and that amount will add up to a fraction of what is currently used). Demand will dramatically decrease and the price of oil will plummet (making air travel cheap again). So here is the question: How do you picture the geo-political and economic environment that WILL develop within the next 30 years?

Subject: Nuclear gonna kill kids
From: Johnny5
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 14:35:18 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I agree, nuclear seems the only serious strategy. However a chain in society is only as strong as the weakest link and there are lots of weak links, an oil refinery getting fouled up by a dumb employee does some damage - but not like a nuclear plant will. What was it Jared Diamond was saying about sustainable living?? http://www.lutins.org/nukes.html This is for the history of nuclear lies and coverups - childrens teeth were found with radiation in them, how sad. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/content/business/epaper/2005/08/09/m1a_fplnuke_0809.html Just recently FPL in florida was found to be dumping nuclear waste into the community. We need better controls and monitoring, but that takes money, and the money is going to wars and building roads, not tighter nuclear control.

Subject: Re: Nuclear gonna kill kids
From: Mik
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:01:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Holy cow, You Americans need to sort out your nuclear issues. Nuclear power plants are now found throughout the world n(even in Africa). We have progressed as a society in our knowledge of safe nuclear energy and developed a whole new concept in nuclear power safety through the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor. Here's some info for you: The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) is based on a simple design, with passive safety features that require no human intervention, and that cannot be bypassed or rendered ineffective in any way. In all existing power reactors, safety objectives are achieved by means of custom-engineered, active safety systems. In contrast, the PBMR is inherently safe as a result of the design, the materials used, the fuel, and the physics involved. This means that, should a worst-case scenario occur, no human intervention is required in the short or medium term. Nuclear accidents are principally driven by the residual power (decay heat) generated by the fuel after the chain reaction, caused by radioactive decay of fission products, is stopped. If this decay heat is not removed, it will heat up the nuclear fuel until its fission product retention capability is degraded and its radioactivity is released. In 'conventional' reactors, the heat removal is achieved by active cooling systems (such as pumps) and relies on the presence of the heat transfer fluid (e.g. water). Because of the potential for failure in these systems, they are duplicated to provide redundancy. Other systems, such as a containment building, are provided to mitigate the consequences of failure and provide a further barrier to radioactive release. In the PBMR, the removal of the decay heat is achieved by radiation, conduction and convection, independent of the reactor coolant conditions. The combination of the very low-power density of the core (1/30th of the power density of a Pressurized Water Reactor), and the temperature resistance of fuel in billions of independent particles to high-temperature, underpins the superior safety characteristics of this type of reactor. The helium, which is used to transfer heat from the core to the power-generating gas turbines, is chemically inert. It cannot combine with other chemicals, it is non-combustible and it produces little radioactivity when passed through the core. Since air cannot enter the primary circuit, oxygen cannot get into the high temperature core to corrode the graphite used in the reactor.

Subject: PBMR offers much hope
From: Johnny5
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 16:11:16 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Bush could have put this in his energy bill, instead we get the same old politics and taking care of his friends. What power does an oil man and his friends have in a world of pebble bed nuclear reactors? Oil has been key policy in a lot of our military/political decisions - that culture is entrenched, and will have to be rooted out for new things to take hold - all good things come to those who wait - hehe.

Subject: Housing & the worldwide consumer
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 08:57:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From The Guardian: Are consumers living on borrowed time? With last week's interest rate cut came a series of bad-debt warnings. Is this just the beginning, asks Heather Stewart Sunday August 7, 2005 Observer As if to underline the urgency of the Bank of England's first cut in interest rates for two years last week, Britain's lenders have issued a string of warnings that their debt-ridden customers are beginning to struggle. Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and Lloyds-TSB all tempered strong financial results by admitting that bad debts had increased, while HSBC said Britain had become its 'most difficult credit market'. Britain's consumers, who have got used to watching the price of their home shoot up by double-digit percentages, and flashing their credit cards to tide themselves over, are showing signs of fatigue. As a result, GDP growth has slowed sharply since the beginning of the year. News that house repossessions had hit their highest level since 2001, and personal insolvencies were up 36.5 per cent on a year ago, provided further evidence that some consumers are overstretched. The question Bank-watchers are now asking is whether the soggy retail climate is a short-term blip or the beginning of a long-awaited readjustment in the British economy. And whether Thursday's decision, which took rates to 4.5 per cent, will be enough to nudge consumers back on course. In a poll carried out by news agency Reuters after Thursday's decision, 70 per cent of economists said that they expected at least one more cut. The MPC itself warned that 'although there are some signs of a pickup in consumer spending, downside risks remain in the near term'. Danny Gabay, a former Bank of England economist at consultancy Fathom, falls firmly into the doves' camp. He believes one or two rate reductions will not change the fact that some households have simply borrowed too much. 'The consensus view is that there's nothing fundamentally wrong, and all the Bank of England is doing is easing the burden slightly. The more negative view is that this particular horse has already bolted: banks have overextended credit, because it was too cheap, and certain sections of the population have taken on too much debt. 'If the process that is under way is one of balance sheet readjustment, then this is just the end of the beginning. We feel that the consumer retrenchment could be more serious than people expect.' He believes there is a chance that rates could fall as low as 2 per cent by the end of next year to offset that retrenchment. Roger Bootle, economic adviser to Deloitte and Touche, has long predicted that rates could be at 3.5 per cent by the middle of 2006, with another reduction before the end of this year. He said that with demand falling away, the Bank could safely continue cutting rates, and allowing the pound to depreciate, without fear of sparking inflation or reigniting the housing market boom. 'Reductions in rates will not cause house price inflation to re-accelerate, because excessively high interest rates were not the problem in the first place,' he said. 'The problem is that house prices are too high in relation to earnings. This means that investors face unfavourable prospects for immediate capital gains while first time buyers face difficulty in amassing the necessary deposit. Lower interest rates will make little difference to these two problems.' However, not everyone believes it is inevitable that consumers will face a reckoning in the coming months, forcing rates lower. Malcolm Barr, chief UK economist at JP Morgan, believes GDP growth will pick up later this year as the global economy improves and the cheaper pound boosts businesses. He is predicting that the next move in rates, in 2006, will be up. 'In the next six months we will see a stabilisation period,' he says. 'The global economy is doing better, the UK labour market will stabilise. It won't feel good, but it will feel better. Then we are going to get to a point where the MPC feels uncomfortable with rates at 4.5 per cent.' Not all the recent news has been bad. Retail sales picked up slightly in June, contradicting the dire warnings of retailers; and surveys have suggested that the service sector remains resilient. Meanwhile, early pessimistic estimates of manufacturing output in the second quarter of the year were revised up slightly on Friday. Certainly, the Bank's statement after it announced its decision suggests it is pinning its hopes on a revival over the next few months. 'Looking further ahead,' it said, 'the rise in equity prices and the recent fall in the exchange rate should boost activity.' Few experts were willing to criticise the Bank's decision last week: growth has been so 'subdued' since the beginning of the year, as the MPC put it, that it had little option but to move - and with a 5-4 vote for no-change in July, the committee had carefully signalled to the markets what it planned to do. But John Butler, chief UK economist at HSBC, said the Bank might yet have to make more rate cuts than it expects, because a quarter-point reduction in borrowing costs is a blunt instrument when consumers are seriously over-borrowed, and businesses are unwilling to invest. In the Eighties, Edward Heath derided the then Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, as a 'one club golfer', whose only tool for managing the economy was interest rates. The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee is a team of one club golfers, which some analysts argue is inevitably struggling to deal with the consequences of the long-running housing boom. 'What you hope to do when you're a central bank and you've had a bubble like this is to execute a soft landing and hope something comes along and means you don't have to rely on credit growth to sustain the economy into the future,' says Graham Turner of GFC Economics. The problem for the Bank this year has been that that something - which it hoped would be exports, or business investment - has failed to materialise. Analysts say the decline in sterling could shift the focus back to Britain's beleaguered manufacturers - but for the time being, exporters continue to suffer and business investment remains weak. Not for the first time since the MPC was born, it has been left relying on the great British shopper.

Subject: Re: Housing & the worldwide consumer
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:34:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Britain should be watched carefully, but economies do not suddenly falter and Britain is growing and has already begun to lower interest rates. British stocks are holding well. The hope then is the action of the Bank of England will take effect before a serious slowing.

Subject: consumerism
From: Lilia Mallik
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 19:56:19 (EDT)
Email Address: lilia.mallik@gmail.com

Message:
Paul, Consumerism can be used to raise economic growth, employment stability, and savings rates. Any consumer should reduce consumption in order to raise their savings. This has a compound effect because these consumers tend to be less likely to be the targets for a society that far too eager to sell their products. Savings also will eventually lead to greater unearned income, lower debt payments, and lower debt interest payments. The consumer should aim to support business cultures that allow them to raise their own savings rates. For example, the consumer should aim to regulate the food industry so that they can improve their diet. The consumer should also support business cultures that aim to do some social good. The consumer should also aim to support good people. The consumer should also try to provide some measure of job stability to people by providing some sort of regular outlay for an particular organization. The consumer also needs to support business cultures that support their own empowerment, education, and family. Consumers should also consider getting involved in the political process if they face major problems. Consumers need to be more careful with media consumption. They should support better, educational, informative media. The consumer should aim to be less exploitive on media and to be less dependent on media. Consumer need to contribute and support media while being mindful of their own media power. Media consumers also need an outlet for their own media power. Please let me know if you have any feedback. I like reading your work. Sincerely, Lilia Mallik lm9740.tripod.com

Subject: Re: consumerism
From: Emma
To: Lilia Mallik
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:41:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Quite an interesting comment, that asks considable thought. The question is how to realistically form consumer coalitions, but then we can foster more competition.

Subject: Co-operatives
From: jimsum
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 21:07:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is an excellent business model that has been time-tested; co-operatives. I lived in a student housing co-op while in University. It really was built, owned and operated by students. It housed 1000 occupants in various buildings, and the board of directors of this multi-million dollar company was composed entirely of student residents. I also happen to belong to a co-op that sells recreation and outdoor equipment. This co-op really doesn't look or operate much differently than any other retail outlet, but the goods are high-quality and a good value. The employees also tend to be well treated. In both these cases, the market wasn't supplying what some consumers wanted. However, instead of whining about it, those people went out and did it better. If there are any co-ops near you, check them out and support them if you can. There's no reason everything has to be stamped with a logo, wrapped in cellophane, and bought from a skid in the big box store.

Subject: Re: Co-operatives
From: Emma
To: jimsum
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 11, 2005 at 09:49:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed, but co-ops are hard hard to come by.

Subject: Niger's Nomads Agonize as Livestock Die
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 15:26:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/international/africa/06cnd-niger.html Niger's Nomads Agonize as Livestock Die By MICHAEL WINES ZOURARE, Niger - With his black burnoose and piercing tan eyes set in angular, leathery features, Ali Yougouda is the very picture of a Tuareg, a stoic nomad who juggles two wives, 10 children and life on the Sahara's fringes without breaking a sweat. Until he talks about his herd. In May, he was tending 68 head of cattle and sheep. Today he has 18 cows and bulls. He is devastated, bereft. 'The first two died of pneumonia,' he said, crouching beneath a tree in this remote mud-hut village. 'Then the rest started to die slowly, from hunger, because all they could find in their stomachs was sand. The last one died two weeks ago.' Mr. Yougouda, 40, epitomizes another side of Niger's hunger crisis: the devastation it has wrought on this nation's legendary nomads and herders. Mr. Yougouda's Tuareg tribe, known as the Kel Ouawar-Gadabeji, has suffered hunger and privation from the scattered rains that reduced last autumn's harvest and the food stocks that normally see them through the long dry season. But the hundreds of tribespeople in this village have so far survived. Not so their livestock, which the herdsmen have pushed farther and farther afield in search of green pastures. Weak from the trek, their stomachs filled with grit from pulling the few tufts of grass from the sandy earth, thousands of the animals have simply lain down to die in recent months. The carcasses of long-curve-horned cattle dot the landscape on the sole path to the village, an hour's bone-cracking journey via four-by-four from the nearest dirt road. The losses not only threaten the centuries-old tradition of the Tuareg and other nomads like the Fulani, also known as the Peulh. It is a personal blow, even a humiliation, for a people who regard their animals almost as kin. 'We treat them like brothers and sisters,' said Amadou Abou, the elder brother of the village chief here. 'We're inseparable. It's a tragedy because we have lost what is most dear to us - an animal, a brother.' A handful of international charities, including Oxfam and CARE International, are rushing to the nomads' aid with food, money and more livestock. But the nomads, scattered across Niger's vast rural stretches, are not easy to find, much less to reach. 'The situation is extremely grave for the Tuareg, because they live from their cattle,' said Illiassou Adamou, who heads CARE's office in Maradi, just south of one of the worst-hit areas. 'When you lose a bovine, it takes five years to raise another to replace it. When you lose cattle this year, even if the situation is good next year, it's still a critical situation.' While rains are somewhat better, the past months' dry spell is still snuffing out the livelihoods of thousands of herders across Niger, especially around Dakoro, a regional center where 40,000 people live, and where rains have been spotty for two years straight. The Tuareg and Fulani, in their flowing burnooses and conical, feathered hats, have ranged across the area for centuries with their cattle, sheep, donkeys and goats, following rain and fresh grass in the lands just below the Sahara. They seldom eat their charges, preferring to live off their milk and to sell them for money to buy the sorghum and millet that anchor their diets. The reduced rains have dealt these nomads a triple whammy. The grains on which they rely have skyrocketed in price. The postharvest leavings of sorghum and millet plants - on which their herds rely - became equally scarce. The grasslands that supplement the animals' diets also shrank. And what forage and crops remained was seized upon last autumn by swarms of locusts that descended in clouds and, the nomads say, denuded the landscape. Those nomads who drove their herds south toward Nigeria, where rains were better, often suffered few losses. Those who chased rumors of rain in the north, around Dakoro, were just as frequently wiped out. 'Survive? Did we survive?' asked Mr. Abou, the chief's thin, balding elder brother. 'The remnants of plants and the livestock we had, that's how we survived.' When money ran out to buy cheap foodfrom the more urban south, he said, tribespeople resorted to boiling leaves and roots plucked out of the ground. Mr. Yougouda, the black-robed herdsman, lost all 30 of his sheep and 20 of his 38 cows after months of roaming in a futile hunt for green pastures. 'Sometimes we had to pull the cow up, because he had given up,' he said. Some would call him lucky. In Bargas, perhaps 20 miles east of Zourare, Souley Gorba, 28, took 100 sheep, 70 cows and 20 goats to hunt for pasture last October. He returned in June with 11 animals. 'I went south, all the way to Saboumachi' - about 50 miles - 'and I stayed there five months,' Mr. Gorba said. 'Then I realized that it was every bit as bad as where I had come from.' By February, he said, his herd was growing sick from hunger. He began selling cows to raise money to feed the rest - and saw prices plummet in June to $25 a head from hundreds of dollars per head. In a sense, the Tuareg and Fulani are used to this: the Sahel region of central Africa, just south of the Sahara, suffers a cyclical drought that thins herds and reduces food stocks roughly every 10 years. The worst in memory came in 1984, when a crop failure led to a food and forage shortfall that made headlines the next year, and briefly put African hunger atop the list of global priorities. This summer, Oxfam is giving thousands of herders vouchers for food and other vital goods in exchange for needed work like collecting animal carcasses and cutting trenches in fields to prevent erosion, until the hunger crisis eases. The charity also is buying up weakened animals for slaughter at nearly triple the market price. That not only frees up scarce pasture for stronger animals, but helps slow the steep drop in prices for cattle - and gives hungry families enough money to buy 220 pounds of millet. CARE takes another tack, giving groups of herders new cattle - two females and a male - which are passed on to other herders as they produce calves. Mr. Amadou of CARE calls the latest crisis a temporary blow for the nomads, who he says will roam Niger 'as long as the world exists.' Some may, but the Fulani nomad, Mr. Gorba, may not be one of them. After losing nearly 200 head of livestock, he and his wife rented land from a farmer this year and began learning how to grow millet. The loss of his animals, he said, is a grief that equals the loss of his parents, and the loss of his heritage is an ache inside him. 'It is my great worry that I will not be able to get enough animals to have a herd again,' he said Friday, standing in the shade of a mud wall at a market set up by Oxfam to trade vouchers for food and other essentials. 'I haven't any idea how to do it.' But 'I can't miss the life of a nomad,' he said, 'because I will never give it up. I will be sedentary. But in my heart, I will be a nomad.'

Subject: Niger's Anguish Is Reflected
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:03:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/05/international/africa/05niger.html Niger's Anguish Is Reflected in Its Dying Children By MICHAEL WINES ELKOKIYA, Niger - At sunset Wednesday, in an unmarked grave in a cemetery rimmed by millet fields, the men of this mud-walled village buried Baby Boy Saminou, the latest casualty of the hunger ravaging 3.6 million farmers and herders in this destitute nation. At 16 months, he was little bigger than some newborns, with the matchstick limbs and skeletal ribs of the severely malnourished. He had died three hours earlier in the intensive care unit of a field hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, where 30 others like him still lie with their mothers on metal cots. One in five is dying - the result, many say, of a belated response by the outside world to a disaster predicted in detail nine months ago. Niger's latest hunger problem, like Baby Boy Saminou's tragedy, is more complex than it first appears. As aid begins to trickle into some of the nearly 4,000 villages across southern Niger that need help - the vanguard of a flood of food brought forth by television images of shrunken babies - the rich world's response to Niger's worst nutrition crisis since the 1985 famine is, in fact, proving too late for many. Unseen on television, however, are the shrunken infants who die all but unnoticed even in so-called normal years. Of each 1,000 children born alive in this, the world's second-poorest nation, a staggering 262 fail to reach their fifth birthdays. Five of Baby Boy Saminou's seven brothers and sisters were among them. The longest-surviving of those who died reached 4 years of age. Asked what killed the last three, Saminou's father, Saidou Ida, said simply, 'Malnutrition.' International aid officials and charity workers here say that the world's dilatory reaction to Niger's woes is hard to excuse. Some of them also say that Niger's miseries this year are merely a worsened version of its perennial ones - and that until Niger addresses its problems of primitive farming, primitive health care and primitive social conditions, infants will continue to die unnoticed in numbers that dwarf any hunger emergency. 'That is the bigger question that both Niger and the international community, everyone, needs to answer,' Marcus Prior, the West Africa spokesman for the World Food Program, said in an interview in Maradi, the regional city where little Saminou died. 'We feel that we've tried to raise awareness. But at the same time, this is something that's a recurring problem.' That it is a perennial problem, Mr. Prior and others stress, in no way minimizes the urgency of Niger's current disaster - erratic rainfall and severe food shortages in the agricultural and herding belts where many of Niger's 11 million to 12 million people live. Together, they are pushing the death rate for small children even higher than Niger's customary one-in-four level, and killing off the livestock upon which the nation's nomads depend. How many people need aid depends on the yardstick used. About 1.2 million of Niger's 3.6 million rural farmers and herders are described as 'extremely vulnerable' to food shortages and in need of food aid, according to an assessment of Niger's crisis conducted four months ago by the United Nations, major charities and Niger's government. Of those, about 874,000 urgently need free food, the latest assessment concluded late last month, and that number could rise until the harvest is completed in October. But that does not mean that nearly 900,000 people will starve; the vast bulk of the hungry will somehow survive. Most of those who do die will be young children. But even among those, most will not die of starvation. 'Children will likely die from malnourishment, but a substantial proportion is probably dying from conditions related to poor water quality, or other non-food-related problems,' FEWS Net, a famine warning service financed with United States assistance, reported late last month. Much of this disaster was suspected last November, when experts monitoring Niger's farms found a 220,000-ton shortfall - about 7.5 percent of the normal crop - in the harvest of grains, especially the millet that is the staple of most people's diet. Among others, the United Nations World Food Program and Doctors Without Borders sounded alarms, and Niger's government, with World Food Program approval, quickly asked donors to give Niger 71,000 tons of food aid and $3 million for the 400,000 most vulnerable farmers and herders. By May, it had received fewer than 7,000 tons of food and one $323,000 donation, from Luxembourg. 'I think everyone knew that a crisis was going on,' said Johanne Sekkenes, the Niger mission head of Doctors Without Borders, in an interview in Niamey, the capital. 'But the answer given at the time, from governments and international agencies in Niger, was that the ongoing, normal development programs should be reinforced.' Niger's government ruled out both free food aid and health care to hungry families, preferring to sell surplus millet at subsidized prices in an effort to force the price of scarce millet down. But millet prices skyrocketed, forcing families to sell cattle and other goods to buy food. The charity has angrily accused governments of allowing children to die, albeit not intentionally, so that the free market in grain would not be disrupted. Others say that Niger is on a steady course toward future disasters, free aid or not. Even with huge numbers of dying children, the average woman bears seven babies, and the population is growing at a rate that by 2026 will double the number of people on a land that already is straining its capacity. Moreover, Niger has few of the modern tools that might enable it to feed itself, meaning that charities must make up a food shortage virtually every year. 'You've seen the kind of tools people use to farm,' Mr. Prior said. 'You've seen the lack of irrigation and the total dependency on what falls from the sky. I doubt you've seen any fertilizer or modern technology being used.' When the rainy season arrived in June, bringing malaria and other diseases with it, children weakened by lack of food began to fall ill and die in numbers even greater than in normal years. Doctors Without Borders has treated more than 14,000 children at six centers this year, more than double the 2004 total. It has nearly 5,000 under treatment today. Admissions at its centers rose by a quarter from mid-July to August. Among the newcomers was Baby Boy Saminou, whose 40-year-old mother, Mariama, brought him to the charity's Maradi hospital Wednesday from her village of about 2,500, down a rutted road 15 miles away. The boy was receiving free food, and had visited the Doctors Without Borders clinic five days earlier with a mouth infection. But his condition worsened last weekend. 'I didn't even have time to talk to her, the baby was so bad,' Chantelle Umtoni, 34, the chief of the intensive care ward, said as she watched the mother and child from her desk Wednesday afternoon. 'He has severe anemia. He has severe malaria. He was dehydrated - completely dry. And he had heart failure.' Indeed, doctors restarted his heart as they plugged bags of blood and intravenous fluid into him and clapped an oxygen mask on his face to assist his labored breathing. Dr. Umtoni said she gave the boy a 50-50 chance of living. Dire as they are, such cases are not unusual. 'We average 30, 35 children every day,' she said. 'All of them are malnourished, severely malnourished. That's already a severe disease by itself. Add atop that malaria and anemia, and they come in a bit too late.' Mariama sat by her child, draped in the same brilliant orange-and-green cloth she wore, and watched him as she toted up her family. Of eight children, five were dead. The two survivors, she said, are 15 and 17 years old. As she spoke, a nurse, Boraka Abdou, put a stethoscope to the baby's chest, listened, then summoned Dr. Umtoni. She listened intently. Then, wordlessly, the two removed his oxygen mask and catheters. Mariama stared at her dead child, impassive, then covered him in a red scarf. An hour later, she was home, having ridden the 15 miles with her baby in her arms, tears running down her face. Outside her compound, she gave the dead child to her mother-in-law, who washed its face. Then she sat on a wooden bowl used to grind millet and wailed, inconsolable. Women, hearing the news, came to grieve with her. The two women bathed Baby Boy Saminou and wrapped him in a white T-shirt for a traditional Islamic burial. The village chief, Moussa Djidji, said that at least 10 of the village's children had died since January.

Subject: Hope for Hungry Niger Children
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 12:29:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/international/africa/08niger.html Hope for Hungry Children, Arriving in a Foil Packet By MICHAEL WINES MARADI, Niger - In the crowd of riotously dressed mothers clasping wailing, naked infants at a Doctors Without Borders feeding center just west of here, Taorey Asama, at 27 months, stands out for a heart-rending reason: she looks like a normal baby. Many of the others have the skeletal frames and baggy skin of children with severe malnutrition. The good news is that a month ago, so did Taorey. 'When she came here, she was all small and curled up,' said her mother, Henda, 30. 'It's Plumpy'nut that's made her like this. She's immense!' Never heard of Plumpy'nut? Come to Maradi, a bustling crossroads where the number of malnourished children exceeds even the flocks of motor scooters flitting down its dirt streets. At this epicenter of Niger's latest hunger crisis, Plumpy'nut is saving lives, perhaps including Taorey's. Plumpy'nut, which comes in a silvery foil package the size of two grasping baby-size hands, is 500 calories of fortified peanut butter, a beige paste about as thick as mashed potatoes and stuffed with milk, vitamins and minerals. But that is akin to calling a 1945 Mouton Rothschild fortified grape juice. Since the packets came into the hands of relief organizations during the Darfur crisis in Sudan, they have been revolutionizing emergency care for severely malnourished children who are old enough to take solid food, by taking care out of crowded field hospitals and straight into mothers' homes. The prescription given to mothers here is simple: give one baby two packets of Plumpy'nut each day. Watch him wolf them down. Wait for him to grow. Which he will, almost immediately: badly malnourished babies can gain one to two pounds a week eating Plumpy'nut. 'This product, it's beyond opinion - it's documented, it's scientific fact,' Dr. Milton Tectonidis, a Paris-based nutrition specialist for Doctors Without Borders, said in an interview here. 'We've seen it working. With this one product, we can treat three-quarters of children on an outpatient basis. Before, we had to hospitalize them all and give them fortified milk.' Traditional malnutrition therapy hospitalizes the tots, nursing them to health with steady infusions of vitamin-laced milk. Then they are sent home with powdered milk formula to complete their recovery. It works well, but milk is costly, must be mixed from water and is prone to spoiling. And when mothers prepare the formula with the dirty water all too common in impoverished villages, babies get sick. In comparison, Plumpy'nut - the name melds the words 'plump' and 'peanut' - costs less than the milk formula, has a two-year shelf life and need not be mixed with anything. Its sealed packaging and thick consistency make it a poor home for disease-causing germs that thrive in milk. Perhaps most revolutionary, however, is that mothers, not doctors, can give it to their toddlers. That not only reduces costs, but also frees the doctors to treat the sickest children, who often suffer not just from malnutrition, but also from diseases like malaria or dysentery. The usual course of treatment is four weeks of Plumpy'nut, costing about $20, along with grain-based food like Unimix, a vitamin-packed flour that can be made into the porridge many Africans eat. But some children return to health in as little as two weeks. The product is the brainchild of a French scientist, André Briend, who had labored in vain for years to concoct a ready-to-eat nutrition supplement, until serendipity - a bottle of the popular Nutella breakfast spread on his kitchen table - led him to try a paste instead using candy bars and other kinds of food. Later, Nutriset, a French company that specializes in making food supplements for relief work, began packaging the formula under the name Plumpy'nut. For three months, Doctors Without Borders has been handing out week-long supplies of Plumpy'nut, 14 foil packets in a black plastic grocery sack, at its five outpatient feeding centers in Maradi and 21 centers elsewhere in Niger. Not everyone gets it: newcomer babies are weighed and measured, and only those whose weight is dramatically below normal for their height qualify. Those who are too ill for outpatient care go to a nearby field hospital. About 700 babies are being treated in Maradi, and about 130 more arrive for screening each day, of which perhaps 80 are accepted and given an ankle bracelet - their ticket, so to speak, good for a weekly trip to the center for more foil packs, bags of grain and cooking oil. Across the area of hunger in Niger, about 5,000 children spread across 32 feeding centers are being given the packets. Theodore Bitangi, a 33-year-old nurse who oversees the Maradi feeding centers, says that the program is growing almost as rapidly as its patients. 'When they come in, the state they're in, they look like embryos. They're so small sometimes,' he said. 'And after taking Plumpy'nut, they look like real babies.' Mothers who have been feeding the paste to their babies would hardly disagree. 'As soon as I got him home, he started eating it - every day, aggressively,' Idrissa, 24, who has no last name, said of her 2-year-old son. 'And after three days, I could see a big difference. The change was abrupt.' Her son, who refused to open his eyes before starting the Plumpy'nut regimen one week ago, has added fat under his sagging skin and, when his packet is finished, cries for another. 'I don't know how to express it,' Idrissa said. 'I'm so happy.' Raham, 45, who has no last name, walks an hour each way to the clinic from her village, Madata, to pick up a weekly bag of Plumpy'nut for her year-old son, Safia Ibrahim. 'It's no problem to walk that far,' she said, 'because it's for the health of my baby. And there's nothing to eat in our village.' One of the virtues of Plumpy'nut is that it can be made almost anywhere with local materials and a slurry of vitamins and minerals prepared by Nutriset. Versions of the same product are being manufactured in Malawi and in Niger's capital, Niamey, and Nutriset has welcomed the notion of local partners - from charities to women's groups - who might make Plumpy'nut under license or even as franchisees. Which raises a question: if Plumpy'nut is good enough to give malnourished children in food emergencies, why not give it to the countless thousands of children in Niger who are hungry when the world's attention is directed elsewhere? The United Nations reports that 150,000 children under age 5 in Niger are severely malnourished, and another 650,000 moderately malnourished - all together, about one in five. Malnutrition is a factor in 60 percent of deaths of children younger than 5 - and in Niger, more than a quarter of all children never reach their fifth birthday. Fourteen packets a week times 150,000 children times 4 weeks is a lot of Plumpy'nut. But then, says Dr. Tectonidis, it is not the mathematics, or even the nutrition science, that is the hard part. It is keeping the world's eyes focused on solving Niger's everyday hunger problem once the television coverage of this crisis has ended. 'We know what's needed in terms of malnutrition,' he said. 'It's just the will that's lacking.'

Subject: Fantastic Story
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:55:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks Emma.

Subject: For you....
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 15:07:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This was especially for you. A stunning story.

Subject: Melting Mountain Majesties
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 12:24:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/international/europe/08glacier.html Melting Mountain Majesties: Warming in Austrian Alps By RICHARD BERNSTEIN KAISER-FRANZ-JOSEFS-HÖHE, Austria - The jagged peak of the 11,361-foot mountain known as the Johannisberg looms against the sky at the end of a stunningly beautiful valley here in the Austrian Alps, and the Pasterze, Austria's biggest glacier, extends slowly downward and away from it for five miles. The glacier is broad and grand, like the river of ice it is, and yet something about it is visibly not right, and you can tell right away what it is from the steep cable car that was built a bit more than 40 years ago to take tourists from the heights above down to the glacier itself. 'When it was built, it went right down to the glacier,' recalled Erhard Trojer, owner of the Hotel Lärchenhof in the nearby ski resort village of Heiligenblut. But now, if you stand at the bottom of the cable car line and look down at the tourists disporting themselves on the glacier, it is as though you are looking at them from an airplane. 'It's going down from four to eight meters a year,' or about 13 to 26 feet, said Mr. Trojer, who grew up in this valley. 'In the early 1960's, they used to have a ski race every spring from the top of the Grossglockner to the bottom of the glacier.' The Grossglockner, which looms above the Pasterze, is, at 12,460 feet, Austria's highest mountain. 'They can't do it anymore,' Mr. Trojer said a bit sadly. 'It's warmed up, and there isn't enough snow.' Austria's glaciers - there are 925 of them - are shrinking fast, and as they shrink, this part of the world is slowly losing one of its many attractions, those rivers of ice that, figuratively and almost literally, reflect the grandeur of the mountains around them. This is not happening only in Austria, of course. It's a worldwide phenomenon. One Chinese expert on glaciers, Yao Tandong, director of the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has said that the glaciers in the Himalayas shrink annually by an amount equivalent to all the water in the Yellow River, Agence France-Presse has reported. In Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, some ski resorts - Ischgl, about 100 miles west of here, is one example - are so eager to retain the glaciers that they are covering them with vast sheets of white, sun-reflecting insulation in order to save them. All kinds of hazards are being predicted as consequences of the glacial shrinkage, among them the possibility that desert towns in China's Xinjiang Province, which depend on seasonal glacial melting, will lose their underground water supplies. Two European geologists, Andrea Hampel of the University of Bern and Ralf Hetzel of the University of Münster, wrote in the journal Nature earlier this year that the retreat of glaciers could cause an increase in the number of earthquakes. Other scientists have warned that lakes forming in the back of glaciers because of melting ice could burst through cracks in the glaciers and cause tsunami-like devastation to towns down below. 'The problem is that the permafrost is going away,' Hans-Erwin Minor, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, said in a telephone interview. 'And there will be instabilities in the mountains, debris flows, mud flows, erosion of loose material.' Mr. Minor and other scientists attribute the speed of Pasterze's slow disappearance to the same global warming that is melting the polar ice caps. But they say that even without the impact of human activity the glacier would probably be shrinking anyway, as glaciers have always done in response to the earth's long cycles of relative warmth and cold. 'If you go back in history, there have been very large temperature changes,' Mr. Minor said. 'And now we are having a temperature change most likely influenced by man, and that accelerates the shrinkage. It's definitely the case that human action has an influence.' The Pasterze is Austria's best-known glacier, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, who drive, motorcycle or bicycle over the Grossglocknerstrasse, an amazing mountain road open only in summer, that was built in the early 1930's to attract tourists to this region. On a recent Thursday, there were so many visitors that the immense multistoried parking garage at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe (Emperor Franz Joseph's Heights) was full, and people in cars on the road below had to wait up to an hour for a space. Standing at the bottom of the tram and looking across the valley, a visitor can see a sort of divide, perhaps 150 yards above the valley floor, marking the highest point of the glacier's bed. A line demarcates the moss-covered rocky mountain above from a steeply slanted, crumbled moraine below. The swift, stone-colored stream emanating from the glacier's edge flows past. The glacier records show that Pasterze reached its greatest extent in the middle of the 19th century and has been retreating ever since. At the moment it is 1.5 miles shorter than it was 150 or so years ago. A bit over four decades ago, when the tram was built to bring visitors to the glacier, it was almost 500 feet higher than it is now, which is why the people scrambling around on top of it look so small from the tram bottom now. 'Normally the snow on the glacier should be there until the middle of July,' said Bernhard Pichler, who trained as a geologist and now works for the tourist office in Heiligenblut, a few miles away at the end of the Grossglocknerstrasse. 'If there is enough snow,' he continued, 'the sun can melt some of it without reduction of the glacier, but we used to get five to seven meters of snow each winter and now we only get about three, and now the snow melts away by the beginning to middle of May.'

Subject: Bush says there aint no global warming
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 15:54:59 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
and I don't believe him - HAHA! How BUSH thinks: intuition over intellect http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-chait5aug05,0,6079158.column How BUSH thinks: intuition over intellect By Jonathan Chait The Los Angeles Times August 5, 2005 AS SOMEBODY WHO doesn't have the slightest feeling one way or another about baseball star Rafael Palmeiro, I have to say that it seems pretty clear Palmeiro has used STEROIDS. Palmeiro recently tested positive for steroid use. And then there's former teammate Jose Canseco's allegation that he and Palmeiro both used STEROIDS, which is impossible to verify but would seem to explain why Palmeiro's annual home run total nearly doubled after Canseco joined him on the Texas Rangers. None of this is ironclad proof, but it seems the simplest way to reconcile the available data. President BUSH, though, doesn't see it this way at all. When asked about Palmeiro's positive steroid test, BUSH — who knew Palmeiro when the president owned the Rangers — replied, 'Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him. He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the Klieg lights and say he didn't use STEROIDS, and I believe him.' This statement perfectly crystallizes BUSH's thinking. Facts don't matter to him. What matters is how he feels about the person in question. In 2001, for instance, BUSH met with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, and the two hit it off. As BUSH later told Peggy Noonan, Putin recounted to him a story involving a cross given to him by his mother. 'I said to him, 'You know, I found that story very interesting. You see, President Putin, I think you judge a person on something other than just politics. I think it's important for me and for you to look for the depth of a person's soul and character. I was touched by the fact your mother gave you the cross.' ' BUSH publicly testified of Putin, 'I was able to get a sense of his soul.' Personally, I put less weight on the fact that Putin got a cross from his mother, and more on the fact that Putin has smothered Russian democracy by outlawing opposition parties, shut down any remotely skeptical media outlet and subjected his critics to political show trials. Yet this sort of evidence has had barely any effect on BUSH. Two years later, he was still praising Putin's desire for 'a country in which democracy and freedom and rule of law thrive.' BUSH is even apt to apply this particular brand of illogic to his own character. In one of the 2000 presidential debates, Al Gore pointed out that BUSH as governor of Texas opposed a measure to expand children's healthcare and instead used the money for a tax cut. The debate moderator then asked BUSH, 'Are those numbers correct? Are his charges correct?' To which BUSH replied, 'If he's trying to allege that I'm a hardhearted person and I don't care about children, he's absolutely wrong.' The style of BUSH's reply is telling. Gore was trying to make a point about BUSH's moral priorities by establishing a series of facts about BUSH's behavior. Rather than deny having chosen tax cuts over children's healthcare, or explain his rationale for having done so, BUSH changed the subject to more comfortable ground: judging people's hearts. He asked the audience to intuit, based on the way he carries himself, that he is a warmhearted person, and thus to reject out of hand any facts that might clash with this impression. The point isn't just that BUSH refuses to engage with facts he finds inconvenient. (Many fail that test.) It's that BUSH rejects reason itself. Reason is a process by which we draw our broader conclusions from an accumulation of specific evidence. When the evidence changes ('Hey, this Putin guy seems to be squelching dissent'), our conclusions can also ('Perhaps he doesn't love democracy as much as he said he did!'). BUSH, on the other hand, arrives at his beliefs through intuition. His supporters marvel at the unshakeable certainty of his convictions. Well, no wonder.

Subject: Productivity Is the Issue of the Hour
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 11:07:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/business/08fed.html Productivity Is the Issue of the Hour for the Fed By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - Ten years ago, Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, broke with conventional wisdom and correctly recognized that the United States had entered an era of faster growth in productivity. It was a huge shift that allowed the Fed to encourage faster economic growth and increased prosperity without significant inflation. But as Mr. Greenspan prepares to retire, probably by early January, the Federal Reserve faces a slowdown from the torrid pace of productivity in the past several years. As shown by the big jump in jobs during July, up 207,000 from June, and the more than 1.3 million jobs added this year, the pool of unemployed workers is dwindling and wages are rising faster than productivity. The big question for the Federal Reserve is whether the lull is simply a return to the average pace since 1995 or a return to the doldrums that prevailed from the early 1970's to the early 1990's. With economic growth strong and labor costs rising, Fed officials are all but certain to raise short-term interest rates on Tuesday to 3.5 percent and to increase them again to at least 4 percent by the end of the year as they grope toward a neutral monetary policy. The issue of productivity growth lies behind much of the debate. If output climbs more slowly than labor costs, companies will be under pressure to raise prices. If output rises in line with labor costs, whether because of new technology or new ways of doing business, wages and employment can rise without contributing to inflation. Productivity growth has slowed sharply in the last year, but Fed officials and most outside specialists said this was to be expected. Productivity often surges in the early part of an economic recovery, as companies rush to meet higher demand but are still too nervous to add workers, and then slows as employment picks up. The issue for Fed officials is the long-term trend. From about 1973 to 1995, productivity rose an average of 1.5 percent a year. But the pace nearly doubled after 1995, to almost 3 percent, as major advances in technology spurred big drops in the cost of computing power and companies invested heavily in information technology. Productivity growth shot up to 4 percent a year from 2001 through 2004. Employers shaken by the recession of 2001 and then uncertainties tied to terrorism and war sought and found ways to increase production without hiring workers. And because many companies overspent on technology in the 1990's, they were able to generate new efficiencies without additional investment in the years that followed. The superheated productivity, which caused anemic job growth for three years, appears to be ending. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hourly wages for nonfarm businesses climbed at an annual rate of 10.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004 - the biggest jump in almost five years - and by 6.3 percent in the first three months of this year. Unit labor costs, or the cost of labor for a given amount of output, went down in 2001 and 2002 but have climbed sharply since the middle of last year. So far, productivity has remained strong - 4 percent in 2004, for the third year in a row, and 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2005. Fed economists say they believe the normal rate of productivity growth in the new era is about 2.5 percent. But Mr. Greenspan recently cautioned that predictions were difficult, because the pace of productivity growth depends heavily on the pace of technological innovation. 'Over the past decade, the U.S. economy has benefited from a remarkable acceleration of productivity,' Mr. Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee last month. 'But experience suggests that such rapid advances are unlikely to be maintained in an economy that has reached the cutting edge of technology.' Mr. Greenspan and other Fed officials have noted that there are some possible red flags. One measure of technological innovation is the drop in prices for computing power and communications. Those declines have been much smaller in recent years than they were in the boom years of the late 90's. According to the Commerce Department Bureau of Economic Analysis, which prepares the government's growth statistics, technology prices are falling much slower now than in the 1990's. Prices for computer equipment, adjusted for increases in processing power, plunged by more than 23 percent a year from 1995 through 1999. But since 2000, the declines have slowed to about 10 percent - roughly where they were before the big productivity boom. A similar pattern holds for prices on a broader array of information and communications technology. 'The rate of technical change, which is the most difficult thing to measure, seems to be slowing from the unprecedented pace of a few years ago,' said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com. The issue is important to future productivity, because many analysts say they believe that plunging technology prices were responsible - along with the dot-com stock market bubble - for a big part of the huge investment in such equipment during the 1990's. Mr. Zandi added that investment in technology, though strong, was not as strong as it was when the productivity boom took off. As a share of gross domestic product, investment in equipment and software has slipped from about 9 percent in the late 1990's to 8 percent today. But in a paper published last December by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a trio of economists predicted that technology would keep productivity growth about 2.6 percent. Dale Jorgenson, a professor at Harvard and a co-author of the study, said last week, 'We are experiencing productivity growth that is very high by historic standards, and there is nothing on the horizon to slow it down,' The biggest risk, he cautioned, is not that innovation will slow down but that the United States is too dependent on foreign capital for its investments. 'Productivity is zooming along because of the investment, but we are not financing much of this ourselves,' he said.

Subject: OIL
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 10:54:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
As oil hits another record high today it's being and has been blamed on things like the death of the head of the Saudi family or the lack of refineries or yada, yada, yada... But you rarely hear the real reason - worldwide demand is rising while the Earth has less and less to give and we've been lied to with regard to this. All of the 'optimistic' economic and stockmarket forecasts out there not only don't see oil going higher but many try to sell the idea that it is going lower.

Subject: Re: OIL
From: Bambitroll
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 08:56:41 (EDT)
Email Address: juan@btcorp.org

Message:
In today's situation, with our appetite for oil vs our ability to produce enough, the outlook is pretty bleak. I just read a very good book about that! Have a look here: http://btcorp.dyndns.org/Books/Reviews.htm Bambitroll. http://bambitroll.blogspot.com/

Subject: Re: OIL
From: Pete Weis
To: Bambitroll
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 22:17:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Good recommendation. Future economics, IMO, will be more and more about diminishing resources and less and less about comparative advantage!

Subject: Re: OIL
From: Dorian
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 05:27:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
<> I remember listening to the radio (NPR) about a year ago when an analyst argued that the price of oil would level off, that the rise was a temporary phenomenon, etc. by pointing to the price of oil futures. He stated that oil futures several years out were in the $35.00 range. I thought to myself: ths sounds awfully wrong. I wish I knew how to short oil futures. We are constantly faced with the choice of trusting our common sense or believing, against our better judgement, the stories spun in the press.

Subject: Re: OIL
From: Emma
To: Dorian
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:36:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent point, for now common sense has it widely and not just on the price of oil. With common sense we might be a lot more secure right now :)

Subject: What the Fed should do?
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 10:14:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
While I agree with almost everything Stephen Cecchetti says with regard to the effects of the housing boom on consumption and GDP, I wonder if he underestimates the downward effect of higher interest rates (with so much of the housing market in the US on ARMS, interest only, and reverse mortgages with early teaser rates) on consumption. I also wonder if he underestimates the dangers of the unraveling of easy credit as mortgage defaults inevitably increase with higher rates. And what about all the interest rate swaps involved with over-the-counter derivative contracts? He could be right about urging the Fed to continue raising rates to reign in the housing market, but this horse is pretty spooky and has some pretty shakey legs. From the Financial Times: Why the Federal Reserve must raise interest rates By Stephen Cecchetti Sun Aug 7, 2:25 PM ET When housing markets boom, homeowners get rich. And the rich drive fancy cars, have expensive flat-screen televisions and go on nice holidays. At least that is the way people think it is supposed to work. But we all need somewhere to live so, while the above may be true for some, it cannot work for all of us at the same time. Economy-wide consumption should not respond to changes in property values. That the impact has been large is a problem for everyone, especially for monetary policymakers. As the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets tomorrow morning, housing should be at the centre of the discussion. Alan Greenspan, the chairman, and his colleagues are in a bind because of the strategy they have followed over the past five years. It now looks as if their overdue reaction to the housing boom will require them to raise interest rates well beyond the 4 per cent or so that most people now expect. The story starts with the internet boom of the late 1990s. At the time, Fed policymakers concluded that since it was so difficult to identify bubbles as they are inflating, it is best to wait and clean up the mess after the crash. In 2001, that is what they did. The FOMC lowered the short-term interest rate from 6 per cent to 1 per cent. The predictable result was a housing boom. The value of residential housing in the US is 55 per cent higher today than it was only five years ago. Since household consumption reacts quickly and strongly to increases in property wealth, a recession was nearly averted. Fed policy replaced the internet bubble with a housing bubble. The problem is that equity and property are very different. When stock prices rise, it signals improved future profitability. Faster growth means higher incomes and more resources to devote to current (and future) consumption. Housing is different. We all have to live somewhere. When housing prices rise it does not signal any increase in the quantity of economy-wide output. While someone with a bigger house could move into a smaller one, for each person trading down and taking wealth out of their home, someone is trading up and putting wealth in. A rise in property prices means people are consuming more housing, not that they are wealthier. This logic is clear. Even so, when economists look at individuals they see a large effect - an increase in housing wealth has about twice the impact on consumption of an equivalent increase in stock market wealth. For the US economy, the $6,500bn increase in housing wealth since 2000 amounts to a $200bn rise in consumption - enough to push GDP up 1.5 per cent and drive the household savings rate to zero. Much of this added consumption has been financed by increased borrowing. This means that as interest rates rise, an increasing portion of household incomes will have to be devoted to repaying the $4,000bn in additional debt incurred during the first half of this decade. Low interest rates have encouraged borrowing from the future. And the more we borrow, the larger the debt and the bigger the adjustment. The most troubling aspect of this is the Fed's reaction. The minutes tell us that the FOMC spent a portion of their June meeting discussing housing, concluding that since there is no way to know if there is a housing bubble, there is nothing to be done. These conclusions bear an eerie resemblance to comments made at the height of the internet bubble in the late 1990s. These statements reveal that policymakers are taking the wrong approach. Consumption should not react to increases in housing wealth. Household spending levels are simply unsustainable and something has to be done. The policy prescription is simple: raise interest rates. Higher interest rates both make borrowing more expensive, reducing household demand, and raise returns on alternative assets for yield-chasing financial institutions. Hopefully, the Fed can emulate its colleagues at the Reserve Bank of Australia. After three years of nearly 20 per cent annual increases, housing prices have been nearly flat for the past 18 months. A series of interest rate increases, coupled with strong public statements, seems to have done the job. While Australian growth has fallen from 4 per cent to less than 2 per cent, it appears the worst is over. Following this lead, the FOMC should (1) increase interest rates at the coming meeting; (2) signal that they are far from done; and (3) warn people that the best we can hope for is that housing prices stop rising, but that there is a real risk of collapse. The writer is professor of international economics and finance, International Business School, Brandeis University

Subject: Worry About Inflation and Growth
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 10:39:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Federal Reserve should concern itself only about the prospect of general inflation, which is most unlikely, and not asset prices. The Fed will however raise rates by another quarter of a percent at this meeting and continue to raise rates until the economy shows signs of slowing.

Subject: Who cares about inflation?
From: Poyetas
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 09:25:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I agree with Terri...but, The housing bubble is the result of an imperfect market. I don't think the article is 100% correct in its view on stocks but the point is that perhaps the transmission mechanism of lower interest rates does not have the desired effect when personal saving rates are already extremely low.

Subject: Dean Baker on Cspan
From: Johnny5
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 10:50:39 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.cepr.net/pages/housing_bubble.htm I watched him on Cspan yesterday talking about the housing bubble, he had some very troublesome numbers. http://www.cepr.net/publications/yes_housing_bubble.htm Housing: Alan Greenspan’s Second Bubble By Dean Baker* Survivors of the recent stock market crash should rightly be worried that a sharp drop in housing prices could deliver a second major blow to their retirement dreams. The fact that there has been an unprecedented run-up in home prices over the last eight years creates the possibility for an unprecedented decline in the years ahead - just as the spurt in the NASDAQ at the end of the nineties created the basis for its plunge after March of 2000. The basic facts are striking. According to the government's House Price Index (HPI), the increase in the sale price of an average house has exceeded the overall rate of inflation by more than 40 percentage points over the last eight years. In the past, house prices had largely kept pace with the overall rate of inflation. It important to recognize what this index shows - the HPI tracks the change in price for the same home. This means that the rise in this index is not being driven by better quality homes, it is being driven by homes of the same quality costing more. Also, it is important to remember that the HPI is measuring housing sale prices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has an index that measures the rental prices of owner occupied housing. The fact that this rental index has not risen anywhere near as rapidly as the HPI (and is now rising less rapidly than the overall rate of inflation), is convincing evidence that there is a housing bubble. If there were some underlying factor driving up the demand for housing, then it should lead to comparable increases in home sale prices and rental prices, as it always did in the past. Instead, people are willing to pay more for owning a home, but not in general willing to pay more for rent, at least relative to rate of inflation. This suggests a bubble waiting to pop. While the federal government has played an active in role in trying to promote homeownership in recent years, this is not a new policy, and the initiatives of the last decade have not been especially large. For example, the $200 million annual appropriation provided for in the American Dream Down Payment Act, will be sufficient to provide $15,000 down payments for 13,000 home buyers each year, approximately 0.17 percent of the homes purchased annually. This policy is not likely to have much of an impact on the overall housing market. The secondary market in mortgages has indeed grown in the last ten years, but this market was already huge twenty years ago. Furthermore, competition may have been successful in driving mortgage fees down over the last twenty years, but the full chart (CHART 4) from Ms. Croke's column would show that mortgage fees, like mortgage interest rates, have just now fallen back to their levels of the mid-sixties, not exactly the basis for an unprecedented boom in home prices. It is questionable whether the economy has become less volatile as claimed; the recent slump has produced the most prolonged period of job loss since the Great Depression. However, it is reasonable to believe that homeownership would be more valuable in a period of great volatility, since the safety of homeownership might be seen as especially appealing if stocks and other assets pose great risks. The fact that people are borrowing against their homes at a rapid rate (more than $750 billion in 2003) is more evidence of an unsustainable bubble. The ratio of mortgage debt to home equity is at record highs. This fact is especially scary given that equity values may be inflated by as much as 20 to 30 percent as a result of the housing bubble, and that the nation's demographics (with the baby boomers approaching retirement) suggest that many homeowners should have largely paid off their mortgages. The market is responding to the housing bubble exactly as economic theory would predict. New homes are being built at record rate, far faster than can be supported by population and income growth. At the moment, this has mostly affected the rental market, leading to record vacancy rates and falling rental prices. However, as home prices continue to rise, many potential homebuyers will opt to rent, especially when interest rates rise. And vacant rental units can be put up for sale. The end result will be a loss of $2 to $3 trillion in housing wealth, and a downturn that is even worse than the fallout from the stock market crash.

Subject: Was Someone Squeezing Treasuries?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 07, 2005 at 15:13:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/business/yourmoney/07gret.html Was Someone Squeezing Treasuries? By Gretchen Morgenson A STORM swept through the United States Treasury market in June, creating big losses at banks and brokerage firms and bringing back memories of the infamous short squeeze by Salomon Brothers in 1991 that ultimately brought the firm to its knees. The recent turmoil is a troubling sign that the pools of capital at hedge funds and investment firms have grown so enormous that they can easily swamp the government securities market, one of the world's deepest, most liquid and heavily used financial markets. The upheaval also involved a short squeeze - financial-speak for what happens to short-sellers when they are forced to stanch their losses in a buying spree that sends prices higher and higher. Back in 1991, remember, a trader at Salomon Brothers propelled the price of Treasury securities skyward by illegally buying more than the firm's allotted share at auction. That squeeze created significant losses for many other players in the market and enraged regulators. The government punished the trader, Paul W. Mozer, and the firm, which paid $290 million in fines and penalties to settle the matter. John H. Gutfreund, Salomon Brothers' chief executive at the time, resigned as a result of the mess. This time around, the market upheaval centered on a 10-year Treasury security issued in February 2002 that pays an interest rate of 4.875 percent. The notes generated about $25 billion for the government when they were issued, but the amount of bonds changing hands regularly, known as the float, is significantly smaller than that. It's not known who was behind the recent short squeeze and there is no indication that the activity was illegal. But by far and away the largest holder of the 10-year Treasury in question, and therefore the one that would benefit the most from the action, is the Pacific Investment Management Company, or Pimco, the $500 billion money management firm specializing in fixed-income investments and overseen by William H. Gross. As of June, according to data from Bloomberg News, Pimco held more than 45 percent of the outstanding 10-year security in its various funds. Pimco's percent of the daily float was unknown but would have been far larger. James M. Keller, a managing director at Pimco and director of its government/derivatives desk, said that the company as a policy does not comment on its trades. This particular 10-year note was also the security underlying a Treasury futures contract that expired in June. Such contracts are crucial hedging vehicles for investors and traders in mortgage-backed securities, corporate bonds and other fixed-income investments. Problems began emerging in late May, when traders who had sold the 10-year note short suddenly found that they could no longer go into the open market and borrow the securities for delivery to their purchasers. If sellers of a security cannot deliver it to buyers, the trades cannot settle. In Wall Street parlance, this is called a 'fail.' ACCORDING to traders, beginning in late May and extending into June, billions of dollars of the 10-year Treasury were failing each day. It was clear that one or more holders of the securities had stopped lending them, setting up what appeared to be a perfect short squeeze. As sellers scrambled to buy back the securities to cover their short positions, the price of the Treasury rose, creating losses for anyone who still had a short position. Holders of securities often agree to lend them, for a fee, to traders who are short the security. If no securities are available to be borrowed, anyone who is short the security must pay the amount of the coupon or interest rate to the people who have bought them. So, those who were short this particular Treasury were losing twice: once on the coupon, and again as the security's price rose. The June turmoil was not limited to the Treasury market, however. It also created problems for the throngs of traders at brokerage firms, hedge funds and banks that use the futures market to hedge their positions in other fixed-income securities. At one point, positions taken by investors in the Treasury futures contract that had the unborrowable 10-year note as its underlying security reached $200 billion. Under the terms of a futures contract, any trader who has sold one must supply the underlying security to the contract's owner when it expires. If a trader fails to make the delivery, he or she may face a penalty from the Chicago Board of Trade, where Treasury futures change hands. The disruption of the Treasury market in June seemed to have prompted the Chicago Board of Trade to institute limits on the number of Treasury futures contracts a trader can buy or sell in the last 10 trading days of its cycle. For example, traders in the futures contract that corresponds to a 10-year Treasury will be limited to 50,000 contracts. The limits, announced on June 29, go into effect with the December contracts. The last limit on the 10-year Treasury was 7,500 contracts; it was in place from 1990 to 1992. Officials at the Chicago Board of Trade declined to discuss why the changes were made. But a notice explaining the new limits said the exchange's action furthered its 'interest in providing deep, liquid and transparent markets and underscores our commitment to protecting the integrity of these contracts.' And last week, Treasury officials discussed the problem of large capital pools possibly overwhelming the government securities market. In a meeting last Tuesday of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Bond Market Association, which meets with Treasury officials four times a year to discuss matters relating to the financial markets, Timothy S. Bitsberger, assistant secretary for financial markets at the Treasury, said it was considering creating a securities lending facility to provide an extra supply of Treasuries in emergencies when large numbers of settlement failures occur. According to the minutes of the meeting, some people in attendance expressed support for the lending facility. Others, the minutes reported, were opposed. As is customary, the minutes did not identify which members were for or against the emergency lending facility. The advisory committee's members are executives at brokerage firms, banks and hedge funds. One member is Mr. Keller, the Pimco managing director. He declined to discuss his view on the emergency lending facility. In an interview on Friday, Mr. Bitsberger said that a proposal outlining how an emergency facility would work could emerge in the next six months. He said the Treasury is concerned that, as fails increase, some market participants may re-examine their reliance on government securities. There is no doubt that supply and demand in the government securities market is becoming increasingly imbalanced. And such imbalances almost guarantee greater volatility in Treasuries and, therefore, interest rates. From 1981 to 2004, according to government figures, Treasury securities outstanding grew 8 percent each year, on average, while annual trading volume increased 16 percent, on average. And from 2000 to 2004, Treasuries outstanding increased 4 percent a year, on average, while average trading volume rocketed 22 percent. The futures contract expiring in September is based on a Treasury issue that is even smaller - $19.5 billion - than the $25 billion 10-year underlying the expired June contract. In other words, fasten your seat belt. More gyrations in this market almost certainly lie ahead.

Subject: Asset Values
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 07, 2005 at 08:05:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
After reading the interesting article on asset allocation difficulties several times, I find that even if I agree to the premise that all asset classes are overvalued there is no reason to change an investment approach that emphasizes finding value and gradually diversifying as value is found in different assets. If all asset classes are overvalued, not all assets are overvalued and some assets are more protected than others against market declines. Besides, if assets we have long owned that are overvalued are to lose some value that may be acceptable in avoiding selling all our assets as they appreciate and become expensive. The need then is the same as ever, patiently look for fairly valued assets.

Subject: F.C.C. Eases High-Speed Access Rules
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 15:53:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/06/technology/06tele.html F.C.C. Eases High-Speed Access Rules By STEPHEN LABATON WASHINGTON - Federal regulators on Friday eased rules governing high-speed Internet services offered by phone companies, saying they hope it will speed Internet growth. Handing a significant regulatory victory to the Bell companies, the Federal Communications Commission said the carriers no longer had to provide rival Internet service providers with access to their lines at reduced rates. The commission said the move would foster competition by putting phone companies on an even footing with cable companies and other sellers of Internet service and would provide more incentive for phone companies to upgrade their networks and offerings. The change, however, was criticized by consumer groups, which asserted that it could lead instead to higher prices and reduced competition from independent suppliers. The decision is the latest in a series of victories by the Bell companies in their regulatory march over competitors that had tried, under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, to gain a stronger industry foothold through the low-cost use of the extensive Bell telephone network. Under the Bush administration, the Bells have prevailed in the regulatory battle. As they have been relieved of their obligations to offer low-cost access to their phone lines, they have pushed aside competition from local carriers as well as long-distance companies like MCI and AT&T. Still, the Bell companies have complained that they face far greater regulation than cable companies in areas where they compete - including high-speed Internet access and, increasingly, television service - and the commission's decision on Friday aimed to reduce some of those differences. The rule change was the first major action under the commission's new chairman, Kevin J. Martin, since his appointment by President Bush in March. It was approved with unusual unanimity by the four members after Mr. Martin fashioned a compromise with the agency's two Democrats that limited some of the impact of the ruling on other areas. The compromise set a one-year transition before the new rules take effect. It also required the telephone companies to continue their contributions to universal service funds, which pay for phone and Internet services in underserved areas. Critics of the deregulatory action taken on high-speed Internet service - by making new distinctions between such service from ordinary telephone service - had raised concerns that it threatened to undermine the financing of the universal service funds. The commission on Friday imposed a nine-month moratorium on any changes to the contribution rates to allow time to devise a new set of contribution rules. In a companion decision, the agency adopted a measure requiring providers of Internet-based telephone service, like conventional phone companies, to make their systems accessible to law-enforcement authorities to monitor suspected terrorists and criminals. The measure, which sets an 18-month transition period, was enacted over the objections of some Internet phone companies, which have said the regulations will impose burdensome costs. The commission also adopted a policy statement that, while not enforceable as a rule, commits the agency to promote unfettered public access to the Internet - so that no provider can, for example, block certain sites for commercial reasons. The decision to relax the rules mandating access for rival Internet services was hailed by the Bell companies, which have been pressing for the changes for months. Their cause got a boost five weeks ago when the United States Supreme Court ruled that cable companies do not have to allow rivals to offer high-speed Internet access over their systems. That decision, a victory for the commission, prompted the agency to move with unusual alacrity so that the cable rules would also apply to the phone companies' technology for high-speed Internet service, known as digital subscriber line, or D.S.L. 'The order that we adopt today is a momentous one,' Mr. Martin said. 'It ends the regulatory inequities that currently exist between cable and telephone companies in their provision of broadband Internet services. As I have said on numerous occasions, leveling the playing field between these providers has been one of my highest priorities.' His prediction that the decision would lead to increased competition and lower prices was sharply disputed by some consumer groups. 'The Federal Communications Commission continues down the wrong path on deregulation, allowing giant phone companies to tighten their stranglehold on competition, stifle innovation and reach even deeper into the pockets of consumers,' said Gene Kimmelman, public policy director at Consumers Union. 'Consumers will be forced to pay higher prices for Internet access.' Executives at the Bell companies offered a different perspective. 'The benefits of this ruling will ripple across our communities by encouraging greater investment in and a wider rollout of broadband networks,' said James C. Smith, a senior vice president at SBC Communications. 'Discarding decades-old requirements and regulatory assumptions that are out of sync with today's competitive broadband marketplace will also spur more innovative products and services for consumers.' Susanne A. Guyer, a senior vice president of Verizon, said the decision 'will help accelerate deployment of broadband networks, enabling greater choice and increased access for consumers.'

Subject: And Canada does the exact opposite
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 11:57:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
CRTC rules against big phone companies Last Updated Fri, 13 May 2005 09:08:11 EDT CBC News OTTAWA - The CRTC ruled against the big telephone companies on Thursday, saying it will regulate internet-based phone service the same as any other local phone service. In a decision issued on Thursday, Canada's telecom regulator told dominant local phone service providers such as Bell and Telus that they cannot offer internet-based phone services below cost. 'This decision will further the goal of building sustainable competition in local telephone markets,' the regulator said in a prepared statement. 'Under this decision, incumbent local exchange carriers – those with market power – cannot price their local VoIP services below cost to stifle competition.' Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology allows phone calls to be made over high-speed internet lines. VoIP costs less to operate because it doesn't require expensive wires and switching equipment. The CRTC restricts the established phone giants in order to boost competition and protect consumers. It regulates prices and makes them share their infrastructures with competitors. New companies entering the VoIP market can set prices as low as they want, said the CRTC. 'We hope to create conditions that will allow new entrants to establish a foothold in the local telephone services market,' said CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen. Bell and Telus have both announced plans to appeal Thursday's decision, calling it disappointing. 'Telus believes this is the wrong decision at the wrong time, because it fails to fully unleash the power of the internet,' said Janet Yale, executive VP of corporate affairs at Telus. 'The commission has misunderstood this new competitive paradigm in what may turn out to be an historic mistake with significant consequences,' said Lawson Hunter, executive VP at Bell. A number of non-telephone companies are moving ahead with VoIP services, including Alberta's Shaw Cable and Ontario's Rogers Cable. Cable and other companies will be allowed to offer internet-based local phone service at a cheaper rate.

Subject: Re: And Canada does the exact opposite
From: Terri
To: Mik
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 18:55:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Smart smart Canada. What a disgrace, as we fall behind!

Subject: Re: And Canada does the exact opposite
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 19:47:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This Administration has limited competition in internet usage as well as in broadcasting.

Subject: Land of the Midnight Tee Time
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 11:52:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/travel/07norway.html Golf in the Land of the Midnight Tee Time By JEFF Z. KLEIN IT was going to be a tough chip shot: 50 yards onto a tiny green with the ocean right behind, the sun hanging just above the horizon and casting a bright gold glow on the water. One o'clock in the morning, and the sun is in my eyes. I should have been asleep. I was at Lofoten Golf Links in Norway, the fourth or fifth northernmost golf course in the world, during the summer solstice last June. I'd just traveled for 26 hours straight: the flight from Newark to Oslo, then another to the northern city of Bodo, a quick dash to catch the coastal steamer for the six-hour passage to Svolvaer, the port town in the breathtakingly beautiful Lofoten islands, then a 45-minute drive to Hov, a farmstead on a single-lane road surrounded by ocean and snow-capped peaks. I was 95 miles above the Arctic Circle and exhausted. But the midnight sun was out, the temperature was a soothing 60 degrees, and a lush golf course was at my disposal, so why sleep? 'This time of year, you get spectacular bursts of energy,' said Frode J. Hov, the course's founder and managing director, who grew up in this place. 'At 2 a.m. you suddenly decide you want to paint the walls, so you do, then three hours later you realize that you have to finish the whole room, and you wonder, 'What was I thinking?' ' It may have been 1 in the morning, but I was not the only golfer on the course. Two local boys of about 18 were searching for a ball in the heather on No. 3. 'I play every day,' one said. 'This is the best time - midnight or later.' On No. 5, an Australian named Ian trotted over to introduce himself. 'I work here at the shop,' he said, 'and after I close at 12:30 or so, I come out and play nine holes. It's kind of ridiculous really, but I've worked here three summers now, and this is where I've learned to play golf.' But 90 minutes later, I was the only soul on the course. The mountains were standing out clearly in the Arctic three-quarters light, the Norwegian Sea was lapping against the rocks, sparrows and gulls were chirping and calling as if it was dawn, and just off a white sand beach less than half a mile away, a small red house stood alone in a deep green field of turf. Lofoten Golf Links stands on Frode Hov's family land. The idea to open a course here first occurred to a family friend and was embraced by Frode's father and by Frode himself, who thought about it further as a student of tourism at Lillehammer College in the mid-90's. Many found the idea quixotic - there were very few golfers and courses then in Norway and Scandinavia in general, and the game was almost entirely unknown in the north. Frode's father died before he could start work on the course, but his grandfather, a fisherman like so many of the older generation in Lofoten, had given his blessing. ' 'As long as it makes money,' he told me,' Frode recalled. 'He was a fisherman, so he knew what the important thing was.' In April 1998 work finally began on the seaside fields that would become the course. Using very little construction equipment, Frode and his associates went at it, right up to opening day on July 14. The result is a nine-hole course of just 2,172 yards - par 31, with four par-4's and five par-3's - incorporating all the natural features of the rocky headland and only rudimentarily manicured. The architect, a Sweden-based Englishman named Jeremy Turner, placed tees on promontories, fairways on narrow isthmuses and postage-stamp greens bare centimeters from sandy beaches. He left thick stands of gorse and clover everywhere. It's the kind of golf course the Scots might have made hundreds of years ago. The next morning, the wind was up out of the south. Huge clouds poured over the tops of the mountains. Greens I could hit with a seven-iron the night before now required a five-wood to reach. I played with Chris and Yvonne, a Dutch couple. Chris sliced his shot into the ocean. I hit mine onto the beach. Yvonne lost balls in the gorse, in a brook, in a lawn of enormous daffodils, in the rocks, on a waterside strand of old mollusk shells. 'I am hitting the ball in silly places,' she said. In the afternoon, I played with Frode. 'When the sun comes out for a whole day,' he said, 'the grass just explodes. It grows like a couple of inches just in a few hours.' On No. 2, he pointed to some rocks and shrub-covered peat marked off by four little white out-of-bounds stakes. 'That's a Viking grave,' he said casually. 'There are a couple more over on No. 8. 'When my grandfather, and his father, used to plow this land,' he continued, 'they'd sometimes turn up skeletons and some artifacts - a Viking sword, a gold ring, the foundations of a house, the outlines of a Viking ship.' Hov, Frode said, comes from an Old Norse word meaning sacred place of offering. What did he think of people playing golf where Viking bones rest? 'They'd probably think it's fun,' he said. 'They were Vikings.' The day drizzled on, gray and chilly and wet. Others came into the clubhouse from Sweden, from a Norwegian town on the mainland about 180 miles to the north, from Lofoten itself. Paal-Tore, a midfielder for the local soccer team, clomped in. He is one of 450 dues-paying members of the Lofoten Golf Links and like many of them, his expectations have been warped by having this golf course form their entire experience of the game. 'I had a good shot on 5,' he said, 'and it was six inches short.' Well done, I said. 'No, no,' he said. 'It was six inches short, and it rolled into the water.' Lofoten, one of only a half-dozen Norwegian courses north of the Arctic Circle (two, in Tromso and Narvik, are both 18 holes and set in the woods rather than on the water; another, at North Cape, is a muddy six-hole course at the most northerly point in continental Europe), plays host to between 2,000 and 3,000 nonmember rounds each season, mid-April to mid-October. From May 23 through July 24, the sun doesn't set at all, and it is light all night till the beginning of August. Late May to early August is the season of 'midnattgolf,' when, supposedly, you can circle the course 16 times in 24 hours, as a South African guest claimed to have done in 2001. The 100-mile-long chain is first glimpsed as a massive sheet of mountains rising 3,000 feet out of the sea - the so-called Lofoten Wall - but as boats approach, the mountains part into innumerable fiords, bays and coves. In the main town, Svolvaer, a perfect harbor is set against towering mountains, and the last few years have seen the appearance of waterfront condos, a popular coffeehouse and several restaurants. A 10-minute boat ride from Svolvaer takes you to the island of Skrova, population roughly 300 - most of which is involved in Norway's whaling industry. Whaling is legal in Norway, which puts a veterinarian on every whaleboat to monitor the humane hunting of the minke whale and ensure that the quota - 790 this year - is not exceeded. In August, when most of Europe is on vacation, Lofoten's narrow roads fill with camping Germans, Swedes and Norwegians who fish, scuba dive, hike, climb or just relax. Beaches, coves, cute but sturdy fishing boats and tidy farmhouses appear and disappear in bright light or foggy mists, each island linked by spectacular bridges that soar over surging tidal straits. Along the way beautiful fishing villages hug the fiords, and in the middle of the islands, in the town of Borg, site of the largest Viking manor house ever unearthed, a museum recreates the Norse world of a thousand years ago. A FOG rolled in from the sea. Frode and I were tromping down the second fairway, through a patch of little white flowers that in July produce the northern delicacy of Arctic cloudberries. 'People have gotten into fights over picking cloudberries on other people's land,' he said. 'You go over to your neighbor's land to pick his berries in the fog so he can't see you. Then you sneak back to your land. And you run into him sneaking back from picking your cloudberries.' Later the clouds were high, leaving everything gray but perfect for golf. 'Two years ago I played in a midnight sun tournament in Tromso,' said Kenneth, a Svolvaer hotel manager, before teeing off on No. 3. 'You were supposed to play four rounds of 18 holes in 24 hours. It was exhausting. I don't even remember playing the last round.' He and Arne, a Svolvaer insurance man, kept score closely. They knew all the rules, made sure to count all penalty strokes and handed in their scorecard at the end of the round. There were no mulligans, no gimme putts. 'It's for our handicap,' Kenneth said. All the golfers from Lofoten kept score like this, and often their first question to me was 'What's your handicap?' In Scandinavia, the golf boom of the 90's was handled more formally than it was in the United States, explained the Lofoten club pro, Van MacDougall, an expatriate Canadian who has lived in Sweden and Norway for the last 30 years. Beginning golfers have to earn a 'green card' in order to play at many courses; that involves passing a basic golfing test as well as a written test on the rules. 'As a result,' Van said, 'most Scandinavians don't play golf the casual way you're used to playing. Especially up here - they're all competing with each other, keeping an eye on each other, all the time. You've got to remember it's still new to them, but they've come a really long way in a short time.' On the par-3 fourth hole, I put my tee shot into a brook, but after a drop I got down for a bogey four. 'FEE-reh,' I said in my best approximation of the Norwegian word for four. Kenneth and Arne had a brief conversation in their native language. 'Did you lose your ball in the brook?' Kenneth asked. Yes, I answered. 'Then that should be a five?' he said. He explained the rule. I changed my score to a five. At 1 a.m., the light was like late afternoon. The wild North Atlantic surged around a little 19th-century navigation cairn on the rocks off the shore. I was out with Ian, who'd just wrecked an excellent round by losing two balls in a row. 'Every time something goes wrong like this,' he said, 'you look up and see what's around you, and you say, 'Right, what was I upset about?' ' The next day it rained too steadily to go out on the course. Finally at 2 a.m., I went to bed in my room at the Lofoten clubhouse. But as I lay there awaiting sleep, the room suddenly went bright gold. Outside, the wind had blown the clouds away, and the sky was turquoise, the sunlight turning the mountainsides yellow and pink and green. I went out and stood on the road. The only sounds came from the oystercatcher birds, calling above the steady rush of the waves. In Norway, June 23 is Midsummer Day, when families gather to light evening bonfires, have barbecues and revel in the long, warm days and nights that offset the dark northern winters, which, for now, seem so far away. Across Lofoten fires were burning, black smoke curling up into the sky. The Hov family and various golf course workers set up a seven-foot-tall pyramid of driftwood and scrap on Hov's little white-sand beach. The workers huddled under umbrellas and poured wine and jibed one another about their various nationalities. Neighbors came with beer and wine and a Frisbee. Hot dogs and whale steaks were cooked on the grill. Someone brought out a guitar, and people gathered round to sing the tunes they knew, from Bob Dylan and Lou Reed to A-Ha and even Wig Wam, a Kiss-like band of thickset Norwegians that represented the country in the 2005 Eurovision song contest. At 11:30 the party was winding down, and since my plane wasn't leaving till 5:45 a.m. and the rain was letting up, we drew the logical conclusion, a bit tipsy as we were: there would be one more round of midnight golf. In a few minutes we were headed to the first tee, high on a rock overlooking the sea: myself, Ian, Van and Per-Christian, a young course worker who'd grown up a couple of miles down the road. Ian's girlfriend, Ursula, an Irishwoman and a fine golfer herself, was walking the course with us, carrying a box of zinfandel and a wine glass for moral support. The banter was thick and fast - these were good friends in a remote place united by their enjoyment of golf. The moon was full, though we couldn't see it, making the high tide even higher. Sometimes we had to roll up our cuffs as the ocean ran across the little isthmuses that connect the fairways to the greens. Per-Christian looked up and said, 'It feels like it's going to rain.' How did he know? 'When you live here all your life, you can sort of sense these things,' he said sagely. 'Also, I felt some drops a minute ago.' We made our way across the course in the drizzle. Ursula kept offering us sips of wine as reward for good shots and as fortification after bad ones. I sliced a tee shot into the ocean and muttered darkly. Van said don't worry; just take a look around you and try to remember what you see. I looked around. The sea was swelling against the shore. The snow-capped mountaintops were shrouded in mist. The gulls were drifting slowly above the deep green fairway. And the golfers were standing together, laughing at a joke someone told in the wee-hours light of Lofoten.

Subject: Diversify
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 10:05:11 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
With buffet short the dollar, china not able to buy oil with thier dollars, and with this following article, I have very little faith in the dollar or dollar based assets long term. Pete keeps warning people. We can't time the market - but long term who would disagree and why? http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20050802-0023-economy-gulf-currency.html By Dominic Evans REUTERS 12:23 a.m. August 2, 2005 RIYADH – China's revaluation of the yuan is fuelling debate in Gulf Arab states about the wisdom of fixing their currencies to a weak U.S. dollar while trading links with Asia and Europe continue to grow. Oil giant Saudi Arabia and most of its neighbours have pegged their currencies to the dollar for years, a policy which helped anchor their young and fragile economies through the turbulence of low crude prices in the late 1980s and the 1990s. Officials insist they want to preserve a link which has served them well in the past – at least until the planned monetary union of six Gulf Arab states in 2010 – and few analysts expect any quick change. But the weakness in recent years of the dollar and the growth in Asian and European imports have cut into the purchasing power of the Gulf countries, whose export earnings from oil are also denominated in dollars. The value of Gulf Arab imports from China, which were negligible just a decade ago, grew last year to $14.5 billion, or 8.5 percent of total imports. While record oil prices may mask the impact of costlier goods, economists say the case for linking to a basket of currencies instead of the dollar – just like China – is gaining ground. 'There is a gathering debate about this,' said Daniel Hanna, an economist with Standard Chartered bank in Dubai. 'The majority of the Gulf trade is with Asia and the European Union. You can make a case that the currency peg should reflect that better, especially since China will be their fastest growing partner,' he said. One vocal advocate of swift change, National Commercial Bank senior economist Nahed Taher, says Saudi Arabia cannot afford to wait until 2010 to loosen ties between the riyal (SAR-) and the dollar which have been fixed since 1987. Taher has called for a managed float of the riyal against a basket of currencies, within a 5 percent band, arguing that costlier imports are partly responsible for pushing annual inflation up to 6 percent for the last two years. Other economists dispute Taher's figures, and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency says inflation is less than 1 percent. But with oil prices set to remain high for the foreseeable future and the region witnessing its fastest growth since the 1970s oil boom, policy makers in the Gulf may chafe at the limited room for manoeuvre which a tight currency peg imposes. Hanna said Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in particular are already suffering inflationary pressure which would be easier to tackle with a more flexible monetary policy. BARRIERS TO CHANGE The six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – control more than half of global oil reserves. Supporters of the dollar link say that since oil is priced in dollars, any change would introduce a new foreign exchange risk for governments who depend for nearly all their revenues on crude exports. Regional politics also make any early move unlikely. Although most GCC states have informally linked their currencies to the dollar for years, they only formalised that step as a group in 2002 when Kuwait switched to the dollar from a basket of currencies. Abandoning their joint position could undermine credibility of the GCC's goal of monetary union within five years. 'We've just agreed to a formal peg ... It is too soon after that to change,' said Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg, director of the GCC Secretariat's economic integration department. 'There is a realisation that we are losing because of pegging to the dollar but there is also a feeling that this (reluctance to change so soon) is a big obstacle – as well as the issue of foreign exchange risk.' Aluwaisheg said Gulf officials have discussed informally whether any change should happen before 2010, but that no formal proposals have been presented by any of the six countries. Expressing his personal view, Aluwaisheg said he believed the time had come to start thinking about changing the peg 'even before the unification of the currency.' 'But obviously if it is done, it has to be done jointly. The whole idea of dollar peg is to have irrevocable cross exchange rates between the six Gulf currencies before they are unified.' Abandoning the dollar peg, which helped curb double-digit inflation in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, for a basket of currencies was not without risk, he added. Any change may be a remote prospect for now. Central bank governors talk openly about the post-2010 options for their unified currency – either fully or partially floating or pegged to the dollar, the euro or a basket of currencies. But they insist the dollar peg stays until then. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia's deputy central bank governor Mohammad Al-Jasser denied a British newspaper report that Gulf countries were reviewing the dollar link. Hanna said big changes are unlikely before the new currency is born but some fine-tuning may occur before then if the dollar slips further. Kuwait, for example, quietly tweaked the rate on its dinar in January in a move which drew little attention. 'By no means are we saying that this will change tomorrow,' Hanna said.

Subject: Employment
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 19:34:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Unemployment has been worse than shown by the 5% rate but the participation rate will increase if growth stays at 3.5% or better with moderate or slowing productivity. Since we can expect a meaningful stimulus from the Congressional bills just passed, growth could be beyond 3.5% if the Federal Reserve continues to raise short term rates only moderately. An interesting policy mix coming.

Subject: The Bond Market
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 11:08:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The tremendous bull market in bonds may have finally ended. The labor market really has improved, and long term bond prices are building in the improvement. So much for international central bank or hedge fund support for long term bonds.

Subject: Re: The Bond Market
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 14:22:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Foreign central banks or none, from the time the labor market began to firm in quality of work offered and wages long term interest rates have increased. I would guess lots of hedge fund position have been resolved and we are back to being able to take the bond market for the economic indicator Robert Rubin found. Just as Bill Gross and Stephen Roach found a bull market for bonds developing, the bull market appears to have turned.

Subject: Too Much Pork and Too Little Sugar
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 10:56:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/05/opinion/05friedman.html Too Much Pork and Too Little Sugar By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Wow, I am so relieved that Congress has finally agreed on an energy bill. Now that's out of the way, maybe Congress will focus on solving our energy problem. Sorry to be so cynical, but an energy bill that doesn't enjoin our auto companies to sharply improve their mileage standards is just not serious. This bill is what the energy expert Gal Luft calls 'the sum of all lobbies.' While it contains some useful provisions, it also contains massive pork slabs dished out to the vested interests who need them least - like oil companies - and has no overarching strategy to deal with the new world. And the world has changed in the past few years. First, the global economic playing field is being leveled, and millions of people who were out of the game - from China, India and the former Soviet empire - are now walking onto the field, each dreaming of a house, a car, a toaster and a microwave. As they move from low-energy to high-energy consumers, they are becoming steadily rising competitors with us for oil. Second, we are in a war. It is a war against open societies mounted by Islamo-fascists, who are nurtured by mosques, charities and madrasas preaching an intolerant brand of Islam and financed by medieval regimes sustained by our oil purchases. Yes, we are financing both sides in the war on terrorism: our soldiers and the fascist terrorists. George Bush's failure, on the morning after 9/11, to call on Americans to accept a gasoline tax to curb our oil imports was one of the greatest wasted opportunities in U.S. history. Does the energy bill begin to remedy that? Hardly. It doesn't really touch the auto companies, which have used most of the technological advances of the last two decades to make our cars bigger and faster, rather than more fuel-efficient. Congress even rejected the idea of rating tires for fuel efficiency, which might have encouraged consumers to buy the most fuel-efficient treads. The White House? It blocked an amendment that would have required the president to find ways to cut oil use by one million barrels a day by 2015 - on the grounds that it might have required imposing better fuel economy on our carmakers. We need a strategic approach to energy. We need to redesign work so more people work at home instead of driving in; we need to reconfigure our cars and mass transit; we need a broader definition of what we think of as fuel. And we need a tax policy that both entices, and compels, U.S. firms to be innovative with green energy solutions. This is going to be a huge global industry - as China and India become high-impact consumers - and we should lead it. Many technologies that could make a difference are already here - from hybrid engines to ethanol. All that is needed is a gasoline tax of $2 a gallon to get consumers and Detroit to change their behavior and adopt them. As Representative Edward Markey noted, auto fuel economy peaked at 26.5 miles per gallon in 1986, and 'we've been going backward every since' - even though we have the technology to change that right now. 'This is not rocket science,' he rightly noted. 'It's auto mechanics.' It's also imagination. 'During the 1973 Arab oil embargo Brazil was importing almost 80 percent of its fuel supply,' notes Mr. Luft, director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. 'Within three decades it cut its dependence by more than half. ... During that period the Brazilians invested massively in a sugar-based ethanol industry to the degree that about a third of the fuel they use in their vehicles is domestically grown. They also created a fleet that can accommodate this fuel.' Half the new cars sold this year in Brazil will run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol. 'Bringing hydrocarbons and carbohydrates to live happily together in the same fuel tank,' he added, 'has not only made Brazil close to energy independence, but has also insulated the Brazilian economy from the harming impact of the current spike in oil prices.' The new energy bill includes support for corn-based ethanol, but, bowing to the dictates of the U.S. corn and sugar lobbies (which oppose sugar imports), it ignores Brazilian-style sugar-based ethanol, even though it takes much less energy to make and produces more energy than corn-based ethanol. We are ready to import oil from Saudi Arabia but not sugar from Brazil. The sum of all lobbies. ... It seems as though only a big crisis will force our country to override all the cynical lobbies and change our energy usage. I thought 9/11 was that crisis. It sure was for me, but not, it seems, for this White House, Congress or many Americans. Do we really have to wait for something bigger in order to get smarter?

Subject: Play the Republican game
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:49:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting that the theory of Supply-Side economics introduces the concept of how reducing taxes pays for itself (Krugman). The US has among the lowest gas-taxes around. So by increasing tax on gas would go contrary to the current administration's economic agenda. They do appear to hold firm to the supply-side theory by not increasing the gas tax as a means of using economics to curb reliance on gas. There is some irony in this concept though. For all the millions and millions of cars consuming millions and millions of gallons of gas every day, the government does make tax revenue from America's big thirsty car engines. By getting people to use more efficient engines (particularly hybrid engines) we could see a dramatic drop in gas consumption and a dramatic drop in gas-tax revenue (well beyond any revenue increases from increased gas tax). Hhhmm at what stage does one out-do the other. ie: Option 1: increase gas-tax - people switch to more efficient engines and we have a drastic drop in gas-tax revenue. For a government that desperately needs all the tax revenue it can get to fund that huge deficit - not a good idea. Option 2: keep the gas-tax low - invent methods of keep gas prices low (subsidise the oil companies) and keep the status-quo of cheap energy driving an economy forward while providing huge sums of money in gas-tax; and... well fight a war over an oil rich country, put in a half-hearted attempt to address Kyoto. Right now, in my mind, I can understand that energy policy and the budget deficit are closely interlinked. I can also see the irony, the need to keep that tax money coming in. Why not play the Republican anti-tax card and campaign for NO TAX ON GAS. Hey if the Republican party is so committed to reducing tax, then they should remove tax on gas. Very hypothetically speaking - if they do remove tax on gas then 'Option 1' no longer becomes an issue and the government will be far more free to look at the environmental and security issues related to gasoline. In this way a policy towards gas consumption will be severed from any hidden agendas of raising tax funding and the need to keep the Global status-quo. So here is the secret for you - instead of lobbying for increasing fuel tax to curb the usage of large cars - rather lobby for NO TAX ON GAS - after all that is the ultimate goal of the Republicans - just beat them at their own game.

Subject: Re: Play the Republican game
From: Terri
To: Mik
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 18:57:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Wonderful :)

Subject: Asset Allocator's Nightmare
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 10:51:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
August 05, 2005 An Asset Allocator's Nightmare by Doug Wakefield In April of this year I attended a conference hosted by Altegris in La Jolla, California. With the wealth of investment experience and expertise, for my 20 years in the business, it was by far the best investment conference I have ever attended. The first speaker, Mark Finn of Vantage Consulting Group, has been advising Fortune 500 companies for over 30 years. At the end of his talk, he said something very interesting. He stated that the current environment was an 'asset allocator's nightmare'. One of the reasons that his words caught my attention was that I had come across a piece by Jeremy Grantham (principal of GMO, a global investment firm managing in excess of $74 billion that has worked with institutions since the 1970's) where he voiced similar apprehensions. In Grantham's third quarter 2004 letter to the investment committee, he has a section titled 'The Nightmare for Asset Allocators: What on Earth Can We Do to Prevent Losses?' In his 7 year forecast, speaking about 'every equity and fixed income asset class,' he notes 'there has never been a more broadly overpriced mix of assets.' While one may not be familiar with these men and their careers, anyone looking at market charts over the last two years can easily see why these men, and others like them, are concerned. The charts and tables presented in this piece make it painfully clear that this is beyond a doubt an asset allocator's nightmare. Before we look at what is actually happening, let's stop and review how this is supposed to work theoretically. The world of modern finance refers to diversification as the use of non-correlating assets. The College of Financial Planning's Investment Planning textbook teaches that, 'Diversification and the reduction in unsystematic risk require that assets' returns not be highly positively correlated. When there is a highly positive correlation, there is no risk reduction. When the returns are perfectly negatively, risk is erased. This indicates that combining these assets whose returns fluctuate exactly in opposite directions has the effect on the portfolio of completely erasing risk.' 2 In short, assets that move in step with each other have more potential risk than assets that move in opposite directions from each other. My purpose here is only to say that true diversification can be useful in reducing certain types of risk. Our common sense and life experiences tell us as much. We have all heard the old saying, 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket.' We all agree that if we have five people each carrying a basket with one egg, we have less chance of all of them getting broken than if we had one person carrying all five eggs in one basket. The problem is that the current situation appears to be more like 5 people running a race with their legs tied together on a rainy day after the staying up all night at a keg party. It would be an understatement to say that the last 24 months have produced many positive results. Indeed, the effect is that bullish sentiment has grown to historical lengths. A closer look at these euphoric charts should leave us more concerned for what will happen in the next 24 months. A cursory look reveals that all of these markets are moving in the same direction. This convergence essentially reduces the benefits of diversification. For example, how is it that the price of commodities has gone up and the price of the 30-year government bond has gone up as well? This is inconsistent. As the price of commodities (stuff) goes up, people usually demand a higher yield to offset inflation, causing the price of bonds to go down. How can gas and oil prices go up so much, and retail stocks, a sign of consumer spending, rise sharply too? If health care goes up and insurance costs climb, how does the consumer have more money to spend on retail products, much less a purchase as large as a house? Why are small caps, large caps, the Russian stock market, the German stock market, the Singapore stock markets, and the Mexico stock market all up so strong? How can all of these non-correlating markets move up together? More importantly, is this sustainable? Before we address this conundrum, let's look at one more troubling aspect of our current market situation. If we look at 20-year periods on the S&P 500 from 1919 to the present, we notice that the highest average 20-year return was 13.4. However, if the average Price to Earnings ratio (P/E) was 19, the average return was only 3.2%, and I assure the reader that there were some years of heavy losses in those 20-year timeframes. 3 The current average P/E, obtained from the S&P 500's website, is 20.7. 4 Decile S&P 500 Decile Avg. Avg. Begin P/E Avg. End P/E 1 3.2% 19 9 5 6.7% 14 14 10 13.4% 10 29 Current - Crestmont 26 ??? Current - S&P 20.70 ??? As an aside, in speaking with Ed Easterling, founder of www.crestmontresearch.com and author of Unexpected Returns: Understanding Secular Stock Market Cycles, he thought it important that the reader understand that these P/E ratios are based on trailing earnings, which is the original way P/Es were calculated. The powers that be have since changed the P/E calculation. The calculations of the Leading Economic Indicators and the Consumer Price Index and many other government and market supplied numbers have been changed as well. But that is another topic that I will address as a separate issue on another day. For now, let us look at the price changes in the previously mentioned indices and see where we stand today. Index/Asset Price 7/28/03 Price 7/28/05 % Change $CRB/Commodities 234.71 312.0 32.9 $USB/30 Govt. Bond 105.86 115.31 8.9 $XOI/ Oil 463.11 942.85 103.6 RTH/Retail 80.45 102.72 27.7 $HMO/Health Care 792.73 1479.14 86.6 IYR/Real Estate 43.25 67.8 56.8 $SML/Small Cap 231.31 352.90 52.6 $SPX/Large Cap 989.28 1234.18 24.8 $RTSI/Russian 459.84 779.18 69.4 $DAX/Germany 3411.37 4886.50 43.2 $STI/Singapore 1580.88 2352.56 48.8 $IXX/Mexico 7240.57 14409.7 99.0 Price data collected through www.stockcharts.com So as you can see from these numbers, with the exception of the 30-year government bond, over the last 2 years all of these indices have exceeded the highest 20-year average returns of the S&P 500. To see what has caused all of these indices to move in step with stellar returns for the last two year, we need look no further than the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve. We are floating on a sea of liquidity. From June 28, 2003 to July 18, 2005 the money supply, as measured by M3, has grown by $836 billion dollars from $8.913 trillion to $9.749 trillion. 6 From the indices presented here and the GDP and other numbers coming from the government, one would think that we have, once again, inflated our way to victory. As for the debt that has been created along the way, (don't worry) we'll inflate that away too. However, oddly, since the first Federal Funds Rate increase was announced on June 30, 2004 and in spite of its inflationary monetary polices, the 30-year government bond is up from 105.61 to 115.31. This is what we would expect to see if the Fed had cut interest rates or kept money supply growth to a minimum. As we are all aware, the Federal Reserve has raised its rate from 1% to 3.25%. When government bonds go up almost 10% in an environment where the Fed Funds Rate is increasing, this does not bode well for future economic prospects. The predominant theme in history has been that when an economy has grown weaker, bonds prices have gone up. When inflation concerns are tame and business prospects are bleak, we see a flight to the safety and returns of the government bond. When the economy picks up, business prospects expand, and inflation heats up, bond prices fall. So while the stock market churns out high returns, the bond market does not seem the least concerned with inflation or a stronger economy. Once again, something is wrong. So based on our common sense, modern financial theory, and decades of price history on the S&P 500, we know that the real world is screaming a story far different than pretty pie charts of average annual returns produced to give investors a false sense of security. Coloring the eggs differently will not make investment portfolio returns safer. A lot of eggs are about to be broken.

Subject: Is it a nightmare
From: David E..
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 18:42:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If I read this right, the nighmare is that everything is fully priced. So unless I missed something, that is not the nightmare that I have. My asset allocation nightmare is that the asset correlation for all of my asset classes moves to one- and the market goes down big time. That is this asset allocator's nightmare. I didnt see any reason in the article to think that all asset classes will move in unison, all of them by the same amount, so I think I will sleep well tonight.

Subject: Re: Asset Allocator's Nightmare
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 10:00:01 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
great read Pete, I have asian friends telling me they are buying lots of japanese real estate and gold to diversify away from us dollar and dollar denominated assets.

Subject: The correlation problem
From: Pete Weis
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Aug 07, 2005 at 13:29:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We have a highly 'correlated' economy!!

Subject: Re: The correlation problem
From: Poyetas
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 06:17:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Increasing bond prices due to china and the convex effect caused by the housing bubble. Bond prices need to fall, but the article is correct. Something is definetely not right. If this huge increase in money supply has driven the housing bubble then that means that Krugman is right. Its a question of time before the s*** hits the fan.

Subject: Re: The correlation problem
From: Emma
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 09, 2005 at 12:38:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Should housing slow significantly and especially if housing prices begin to fall, bonds will be an excellent investment. Notice the slowing of housing in Britain and Australia and the Netherlands, and the strong stock markets as well.

Subject: Re: The correlation problem
From: Poyetas
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 09:02:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The housing bubble will fall as interest rates rise. This means that bond prices will also go down, unless the chinese somehow increase their current appetite for US Treasuries. This is unlikely as an increase in interest rates will attract capital flows and the dollar will see a subsequent rise in value. The chinese will not need to keep on buying US treasuries to keep the dollar overvalued. The trade deficit will increase and unless someone picks up the slack, who's gonna buy all those t-bills?

Subject: Re: The correlation problem
From: Terri
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 13:04:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I am thinking about your interesting comment.

Subject: Employment and Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 09:05:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, job creation was fairly robust last month and labor costs are rising faster than inflation. We can be sure the Federal reserve will continue to raise rates for some while. The bond market will be interesting to watch today.

Subject: New Face of Hunger, Without Old Excuses
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 05:44:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/weekinreview/31polgreen.html New Face of Hunger, Without the Old Excuses By LYDIA POLGREEN THE pictures are wrenching. A nomad holds an infant aloft, its gaunt head lolling dangerously, its matchstick limbs akimbo. A father asks God to forgive him for weeping publicly; he has just buried his son. A child in an emergency clinic awakens from a hunger-induced stupor only to moan and weep from the pain of his starvation-induced skin sores. These images of victims of a food crisis in the vast, landlocked West African nation of Niger, captured by a BBC television correspondent and shown around the world, look like something the world has seen before - the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980's. That catastrophe prompted an extraordinary outpouring of generosity, along with a vow that the world would never again stand by as millions went hungry. Yet here it is again, far smaller in scale, yet replete with images of stick-thin children with hunger-swollen bellies clinging to bony, flat-breasted mothers. Once again there is the question: what causes these calamities that invariably afflict the world's poorest corners? The immediate cause is certainly known. Locust swarms and poor rains last year wiped out much of the nation's harvest and caused grain prices to triple. But when misfortunes strike other countries, they can help their people, with planning, with resources and by seeking aid from abroad. So what has gone so terribly wrong in Niger? For decades famine was seen largely as a consequence of bad political leadership. Food scarcity in Ethiopia in the 1980's had natural causes, but its transformation into a deadly famine came to be understood as mostly man-made, the result of a Stalinist regime's collectivist ideology and its pursuit of victory over insurgents without regard to the well-being of its people. It seemed a neat illustration of the development the economist Amartya Sen's dictum: 'No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy.' But that does not explain Niger's problem. Niger is a democracy. It has been one since 1999, when it made the transition to multiparty democracy and constitutional rule after a decade of turmoil. It has also made, in part at least, the painful transition from a centralized, state-run economy to a market-driven one, earning praise and ultimately relief from about half of its estimated $1.6 billion in foreign debt from the World Bank. Yet Niger still earns a horrifically high score on the index of human misery compiled by the United Nations Development Program, which lists it as the second least developed nation in the world, just ahead of Sierra Leone. More than 25 percent of its children die before their fifth birthdays. Those who survive go on to scrape a meager existence from a harsh, arid savanna that is just barely suitable for farming and cattle grazing, yet must feed 12 million people. Cyclical droughts and chronic hunger are a way of life. Life expectancy tops out at 46 years. Nor is Niger alone in its troubles. Of the 25 countries at the bottom of the development list, all but two are in Africa. Niger's food crisis - it is not, despite news reports, a famine yet - is not even the worst on the continent. Similar problems, involving even larger numbers, exist in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Darfur and elsewhere. Far from ignoring or playing down its troubles, Niger's government, in cooperation with international aid agencies, sounded the alarm back in November. It provided subsidized grain and other aid from its own stocks, and has apparently made every effort to avert disaster. The world simply failed to respond, leaving the government unable to mount a sufficient aid campaign. 'The world has not noticed,' said Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to the Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general. 'When you get a crisis of this kind in a little known, landlocked country, which is Francophone and hard to reach, the inability to mobilize and galvanize sufficient support in a timely way is huge.' Of $16 million requested by the United Nations in an appeal for aid, less than a third had been received until about a week ago, when images of starving children began appearing on television. Food distribution is well under way, but precious time was lost, Mr. Malloch Brown said. Niger and its neighbors are textbook cases of what the Columbia University economist Jeffrey D. Sachs calls 'the poverty trap.' 'When poverty is extreme,' Mr. Sachs wrote in his recent book, 'The End of Poverty,' 'the poor do not have the ability - by themselves - to get out of the mess.' The new prescription he advocates for such countries, as he described it in a telephone interview, is a large infusion of aid directed to basic needs like growing more food, providing access to clean drinking water and preventing diseases like malaria. If farmers in Niger got better seeds and fertilizers, he said, they would grow more crops, preventing food shortages in the first place. Children who had safe drinking water would not suffer from diarrhea or its deadly complications, malnourishment and dehydration. Fighting malaria, which debilitates as well as kills, would increase productivity. Good roads would allow rural populations to send produce to market in flush times and let their government and aid agencies know who is in trouble in bad times. Niger may be a democracy, but its government is weak and its tiny budget is almost entirely dependent on foreign aid. It may have a free press, but if literacy is at 17 percent and few can afford radios or televisions, how can a free press safeguard against famine? It may have elections, but if the government has put itself at the mercy of international donors in return for promises of aid, can it be held to account when the world does not live up to its end of the bargain? In the end, the way out of misery for countries like Niger is neither democracy nor increased aid alone, but a blend of the two, said Stephen Devereux, an expert on famine at the University of Sussex in Britain. Mr. Sen's phrase about famine and poverty is often misquoted to leave out the word 'functioning.' Helping young democracies become functioning nations is probably the only way to inoculate countries like Niger against catastrophe. 'Niger appears to have done everything it could,' Mr. Devereux said. 'We have to ask ourselves, what do international donors owe Niger in return? If you accept the situation that a country is so poor that it will be dependent on assistance for a long time, the responsibility for preventing famine is shared.'

Subject: Growing Strength
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 17:36:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The bills just passed by Congress will have a stimulus effect of some strength in the coming year. We will likely have strong growth even with continued Fed rate increases.

Subject: Re: Growing Strength
From: Terri
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 20:13:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dean Baker, who is sharp, tells us that the labor market is really tightening and labor costs rising. Also, productivity is slowing. This is not a happy combination for the Fed. Look out.

Subject: Re: Growing Strength
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 10:59:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
As US manufacturing and hightech continues layoffs. The job market continues to be heavily dependent on housing. Labor costs for residential housing construction are heading higher has new construction remains high. The chief economist for Merrill Lynch states that 40% of the job market is directly related to housing presently. Many of the remaining jobs are indirectly related to housing. When it comes to jobs and consumption we have increasingly become a one sector economy. We must look behind the numbers!!!

Subject: Re: Growing Strength
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Aug 05, 2005 at 14:24:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed, but there is no sign housing will not carry us further. Housing has large job impacts, and we are seeing that fully now.

Subject: Direction for the Federal Reserve
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 16:15:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Evaluating a new Fed chair we need to decide whether Alan Greenspan has served well and why that might have been. Greenspan has for me long had a fine sense of the near term direction of the economy and been flexible about responding to what was taken for the direction. The strong sense I have is that a coming chair will take a more mechnical approach to setting monetary policy, adopting a narrow inflation range as a guide. Then, I would imagine there are a range of candidates who would be similar. I prefer flexibility, but would be content with Ben Bernanke.

Subject: Booming Mumbai's Frailties
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 15:08:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/03/international/asia/03flood.html Torrential Rain Reveals Booming Mumbai's Frailties By SOMINI SENGUPTA NEW DELHI - The monsoon season this year brought India the mantle of a would-be world power with nuclear weapons in its arsenal and a friend in George W. Bush. Then came the revenge of the real. Fluke rains a week ago submerged Mumbai, the country's financial and entertainment capital, and unearthed the sorry state of the urban infrastructure that Mumbaikars already know too well. Cattle carcasses floated in ponds that suddenly materialized on city roads. Commuters died in their cars. Shanties were swept away. Residents of first-floor apartments lost all their worldly possessions. Even a week later, when the rains had subsided and many commuter trains returned to near normal service, the streets of this always hustling, always harried coastal city remained eerily quiet. People simply stayed home. On July 26, Mumbai, or Bombay as it is also known, received a record downpour of more than 30 inches in a 24-hour period. Rains came again on Monday, flights in and out of the city were curtailed, and though the death toll varied from account to account, the numbers were still staggering: 962 people had died across the state, according to officials Tuesday evening, among them 406 in Mumbai. Estimates of losses varied widely, from $700 million to $2.8 billion, in industry, agriculture and infrastructure combined. A week into the disaster, it became clear that nature alone could not be blamed, and anger began to boil among the citizenry. Why did the downpour cause such a calamity? The storm drain system, much of it built a century ago, has been clogged with garbage. The shanties of the poor, as well as the trash of the rich, have blocked gutters and creeks. Mangrove swamps, which act as nature's bathtub during the rainy season, have been built over. A river that once allowed storm water to be carried down to the Arabian Sea has since been pinched by the construction of a new road that is to connect a northern suburb to midtown Mumbai. Called Mithi, or Sweet, River, it once spawned oyster beds; now it swims with feces. 'The past has caught up with us, about which little can be done,' Gerson D'Cunha, a former advertising executive and the founder of a civic group called Agni, or Fire, said by telephone. 'It is bad weather that has caused part of the tragedy, but it is bad government policy that has compounded bad weather.' For years, environmentalists and civic activists have been screaming about what they regard as the unchecked development of the city, greased by spiraling land prices. Now they are saying they hope their city officials will take note and begin to make amends. Government officials came under fire, too, for how they responded to the disaster. Why were streets not cleared for emergency vehicles? people asked. Why did relief not reach the neediest much sooner? What would happen, a former municipal commissioner, Jamshed Kanga, wondered aloud, if Mumbai were to be hit by even a moderate earthquake? More than half of the city - not only its beggars, but its maids and security guards and washerwomen - live in slums. 'You have a tragedy of this scale and you realize how the infrastructure is totally damaged,' Mr. Kanga said. 'Naturally it does a tremendous amount of damage to the reputation of the city.' Mumbai's ambitions to become a world-class city like Shanghai, as it was once suggested, or Dubai, as it was suggested before that, fell under a wet blanket. That it happened in India's iconic city of strivers, and not in some destitute corner, only highlight the bricks-and-mortar challenge - or rather, sewage and storm-drain challenge - that faces a country keen for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The Maharashtra State chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, said Tuesday that the scale of the disaster did not allow government relief to reach everyone on time, but that government workers were today going door to door to provide rice and kerosene to all affected families. 'It was unprecedented,' he said, according to a Reuters report. 'What could any government do?' 'We will look into the urban development issue, but this is not the time to do it,' Mr. Deshmukh added. 'Our priority now is rescue, relief and rehabilitation.' Mumbai being what it is, however, there were optimists. Mr. Kanga said he hoped that disaster could be converted to blessing and that building laws would be made stricter and infrastructure repaired. A member of Parliament from Mumbai, Milind Deora, seized on it as an opportunity to devolve power to city officials who would be accountable to citizens; currently, a state-appointed municipal commissioner is technically responsible for the city. Bittu Sahgal, editor of the magazine Sanctuary Asia, said the sheer scale of the devastation from the flood perhaps would prompt a review of urban development plans that had effectively destroyed Mumbai ecological assets, the very assets that could have prevented waterlogging. 'We've got 25,000 flamingos; we've got a 103 kilometer national park with free-ranging leopards; we've got a seascape that is among the most beautiful in world,' Mr. Sahgal said. 'These assets should be defended. Decisions are in hands of people who don't have ecological foresight or hindsight. This has been a rude awakening.' Kiran Nagarkar, who counts himself as a Mumbaikar who likes to grouse about Mumbaikars, said he had witnessed a spirit of practical camaraderie and not that of a 'besieged city.' 'I don't think even on our worst days, we don't breast-beat - 'Poor us, what's happening to us,' ' said Mr. Nagarkar, a novelist and playwright. 'It's more 'Can I lend a hand?' and 'Let me get home.' It's very matter of fact, practical and helpful.'

Subject: What About Our Savings?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 14:32:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What if John Bogle is right and long term gains by mutual fund investors from the bull market onset for stocks and bonds in 1982 have been much below the gains of our total stock market index. Well, household savings since 1982 have fallen steadily to the point where they are about 0 now. That leaves our houses as an even more important saving vehicle than they might otherwise be considered. But, we have taken quite a bit of equity from our houses during the startling price increase we are experiencing. Where then are our savings to come from when prices finally do level off?

Subject: Foreign Relations
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 14:08:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If we expect China to take up the international concerns we have, then we need to look more closely at working with her resource needs. Otherwise China will fend for herself and work with governments we wish to limit. We need to deepen our relationship with China.

Subject: Political Force in Global Art
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 11:22:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/arts/design/04essa.html London Sees Political Force in Global Art By ALAN RIDING PARIS - It was purely coincidental, but between the London bombings of July 7 and the failed bombings of July 21, a Commission on African and Asian Heritage appointed by London's mayor issued its first report, 'Delivering Shared Heritage,' which recommended ways of recognizing and integrating the contribution of black and Asian minorities to the life, culture and history of the city. Two years in the making, the report evidently made no mention of terrorism. The only nod to the crisis was when the report was officially presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum on July 18. Standing before a diverse audience in understandably somber mood, the mayor, Ken Livingstone, asked for one minute's silence to remember those killed or wounded on July 7. Yet the fact that three British-born Asian Muslims and one Jamaican-born Muslim convert were identified as last month's terrorist bombers has given an urgency to the report and to the continuing debate about the place of minorities in British society. It is a question increasingly faced throughout Europe, most critically in France, Germany and the Netherlands. This is where questions of history and heritage are interwoven with those of identity. A significant African and Asian population has lived in London since the late 18th century. And for two centuries, blacks and Asians have been present in politics, law, culture and the armed forces. But until recently, their contribution, like that of African-Americans, was not acknowledged in school textbooks or museums. The report highlights the perils of this lack. When a community's heritage is denied, ignored or overshadowed, it warned, 'the outcome can be debilitating, leading to disaffection and disillusionment, a sense of disenfranchisement and contributing to socio-economic decline.' And it added: 'In London, this has been the untold part of the story that urgently needs to be addressed.' Until the mid-1960's, Britain viewed much of the world through the prism of empire. While institutions like the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert boast remarkable collections of African and Asian art, much of these are the fruits of the colonial era. Today, these two museums go out of their way to link their shows to minorities living in Britain, but the commission says that more must be done. In a statement quoted by the report, Jack Lohman, director of the Museum of London Group, took a radical stance. 'Many museums were born out of the pain of conquest,' he said. 'I feel that there is a need for the museum community to acknowledge that pain. Museums that present the culture of the world need to acknowledge the story by which those collections were acquired. An apology for this pain is necessary.' The report dwelled on more practical suggestions. It proposed that museums hire more African and Asian staff and use minority experts to interpret collections. It noted that, instead of being 'showhorned' into festivals like Black History Month, African and Asian programming should be sustained year round. It also said that museums should explore their collections for long-buried material related to African and Asian heritage. To oversee these and other changes, it recommended creation of a Heritage Diversity Task Force. In this, Mr. Livingstone has found an unlikely ally in the Arts Council England, a government-financed body, which earlier this year announced that performing arts groups would have to introduce affirmative action programs if they were to continue to receive subsidies. Immigration to Western Europe rose rapidly from the 1960's on, so that the original immigrants now have children and grandchildren born in Europe. And while the first wave of immigrants came from former colonies, they now also come from everywhere in the third world. In all cases, then, the fundamental issue is how European societies adjust to them and how they adjust to the European way of life. Britain's laissez-faire tradition led to multiculturalism; that is, immigrants and their children were reconstituted as largely self-contained communities. At one level, they were accepted as 'different Britons' and, as such, were represented in politics and culture. But social inclusion was not a priority. But even that has now changed. Partly as a result of 9/11, partly because of right-wing newspaper campaigns against 'welfare-abusing' asylum seekers, attitudes in Britain have hardened. And even at a government level, the new philosophy is that if immigrants want to settle in Britain, they should become 'real Britons,' that is, speak the language, accept the values and swear loyalty. The Mayor's Commission on African and Asian Heritage, however, represents a third - arguably more realistic - position: if minorities are to feel British, they must also see themselves mirrored in British society. In Mr. Livingstone's words, they must 'see their achievements, contributions and historical presence reflected in our museums, archives, galleries and school textbooks.' In London, they are certainly highly visible. At present, 29 percent of the city's population comes from African, Caribbean, Asian and other minority groups. They are also the fastest-growing sector of the population: by 2015, city officials have calculated, they will account for 80 percent of the increase in the working-age population. And, logically, these 'new Londoners' must be made to feel at home. For some Britons, it is true, this all represents political correctness gone mad. Yet, while it may do nothing to dismantle terrorist cells, 'soft power' of this kind may help change attitudes - among white Britons as well as minorities, whether British-born or immigrant. Indeed, it could be argued that political differences become more manageable if a cultural dialogue is under way. In an intensely cosmopolitan city like London, it is one key to coexistence.

Subject:
From: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win98; en-US; rv:1.7.5) Gecko/20041107 Firefox/1.0
To: Mik
Date Posted: All
Email Address: NA

Message:
29 July 2005 SA, Zimbabwe and the IMF A CHOICE OF STRINGS By Tony Hawkins and Sven Lünsche SA looks set to attach strict political and economic conditions to any support for Zimbabwe Any financial assistance package by SA to Zimbabwe is set come with economic and political conditions attached and will be paid directly to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), senior government sources have told the Financial Mail. Amid growing criticism of SA's proposed balance of payments support to Harare, the sources also indicate that government is seeking backing from the Zimbabwe opposition MDC for the financial rescue package. Other safeguards that SA looks set to include are phased payment of the support package to ensure Zimbabwe complies with the conditions. Apart from helping with its IMF arrears, SA could also come to Zimbabwe's assistance directly by providing humanitarian and agricultural aid. SA's position is that if there is any financial assistance it will be given in the interests of restoring political normality and stability and aiding the country's economic recovery. The SA government is especially anxious that the ruling Zanu-PF and the MDC restart their staggered talks. Furthermore, to break the political impasse SA is likely to put pressure on Zanu-PF to resume talks, which collapsed after a referendum in 2000, about drafting a new constitution . SA president Thabo Mbeki said on Sunday that Zimbabwe's threatened expulsion from the IMF could create further 'economic chaos' in the country, 'which would not be in SA's interests'. Mbeki said SA could take 'some financial responsibility for Zimbabwe's IMF debt'. Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF stand at almost US$300m, of which SA could 'pay enough to avert Zimbabwe's immediate expulsion', says a senior financial official. Head of government communications information services, Joel Netshitenzhe, says negotiations between national treasury, the SA Reserve Bank and their Zimbabwean counterparts were continuing to finalise the terms of a loan. 'The loan needs to benefit all Zimbabweans and there should be consensus about it from all parties in the country,' he says. Zimbabwe's expulsion - to be discussed at the August 16 meeting of the IMF's executive board - has been on the agenda for the past 18 months, but following visits by its teams to Harare, the IMF decided to delay the decision because of promises by the government to reform its economic policies and repay its arrears After the IMF's most recent Article IV mission to Harare in May, there were clear signs that the fund had lost patience. The full report is unlikely to be published until September, but the mission's brief statement at the end of its visit was the harshest assessment to date, leaving the impression that the fund's patience has run out. Accordingly, the stage is set for Zimbabwe to be expelled next month - unless it can repay some of the arrears and unless it takes steps to convince the executive board that it is serious about economic reform. A senior SA government source says direct talks between SA and the IMF were continuing 'and the IMF could give Zimbabwe a negotiated grace period until September'. By paying at least some of the arrears that period could be further extended . It is not a done deal, though, because President Robert Mugabe insists that he will not accept loans - from anyone - with strings attached. SA's insistence on attaching economic and political conditions could force Mugabe to withdraw his request. The latest economic numbers - showing a net outflow of foreign currency on the current account of US$33m in the first half of the year - suggest that Mugabe must either bite the bullet and accept SA's terms, or find another funder, which is why he is in China this week. Zimbabwe said last week it was exploring alternative lines of credit with China and Malaysia and this week Mugabe met his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to seek financial and diplomatic support. Mugabe hopes that China will block discussions at the UN about his country's clean-up campaign, which has left 700 000 Zimbabweans homeless. What's attractive to Mugabe is that China has promised help and to not interfere in 'internal affairs'. No official details about the talks have been released, but over the past few years China has already supplied buses and civilian and military aircraft to Mugabe's government. The Chinese connection is all the more intriguing because of the extent to which Beijing is challenging SA's economic hegemony in Sub-Saharan Africa and because there could be a direct clash of interests in respect of platinum mines in Zimbabwe. Though China will not attach conditions, if it makes a loan it will want something in return, such as a pledge over future Zimbabwe exports or assets. One particular asset of interest to the Chinese is Zimbabwe's rich platinum resources - the world's second-largest deposits after SA's - mostly controlled by two SA companies: Impala Platinum and Anglo American. In other words, if Mbeki's conditions are too harsh - which seems improbable given the SA president's track record on Zimbabwe - he could have some irate SA mining companies and shareholders on his doorstep, whose Zimbabwe platinum investments could be threatened by China. All of which suggests Pretoria will make the loan, though on its own this may not be enough to ensure Zimbabwe retains its IMF membership. In raising interest rates by 20 percentage points and devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar 39% last week and 65% since mid-May, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, has sent a signal to Washington that he is heeding IMF advice. These policy moves, plus a partial SA payment of the arrears, ought to be enough to justify the board giving Zimbabwe the benefit of the doubt for another six months at least. But with an overall balance of payments deficit of US$750m projected for 2005, inflation set to surge above 200% later in the year, government spending and borrowing out of control, and GDP set to decline at least 5%-6%, Zimbabwe's economy needs much more than credit lines from abroad to turn it around.

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Subject: Mexicans at Home Abroad
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 10:32:26 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/business/worldbusiness/04retire.html Mexicans at Home Abroad By EDUARDO PORTER and ELISABETH MALKIN In recent decades, millions of working-age Mexicans have entered the United States. Most of them have come illegally, taking jobs on the bottom rungs of the American labor market. While much of the attention remains on the persistent inflow of illegal workers, a new question is beginning to worry some analysts and policy makers on both sides of the border: What will happen when the 10 million Mexicans living in the United States become too old to work? Will they retire in the United States or will they return to Mexico? As they age, the choices these old-timers make could fray the social fabric on both sides of the border. Mexico is not prepared to receive them back. With a rapidly aging population living in Mexico and virtually no public system of social security or health insurance, Mexico could hardly cope with millions of returning immigrants who spent their working lives in the United States. 'If we add to the dynamic of aging the return of Mexicans who don't have coverage,' said Rodolfo Tuirán, a respected demographer who is under secretary of social development in the Mexican government, 'then we are talking about a significant problem.' But the United States is also unprepared to deal with millions of poor, aging immigrants, eking out a living without recourse to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or most other forms of federal assistance. In 2003, an estimated 710,000 Mexicans over 60 lived in the United States, 63 percent more than a decade earlier, the National Population Council of Mexico concluded, based on Census Bureau figures. About a quarter lived under the poverty line, a far greater share than the 10 percent of the overall elderly population who are poor. Those numbers are expected to swell for the current generation of illegal immigrants. Unlike earlier migrants - many of them now legal residents in the United States - today's illegal immigrants are likely to see Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid as little more than mirages. While most have paid taxes over their working lives to these programs, under current law they are not entitled to any benefits. 'If all these people that came here are going to stay, then there is a question of what will be the social cost,' said Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington. 'If they're only here for their working life, it's a bargain.' Immigration policy, however, might be unwittingly contributing to an increase in the number of older Mexicans staying in the United States, as increasingly tight border controls encourage illegal immigrants to settle here rather than risk keeping families in Mexico and shuttling back and forth across the border. Consider Angelita Sánchez de Valdez, who stepped into a rickety boat to cross the Rio Grande more than half a century ago, entering the United States illegally to join her husband and start a new life as a migrant farm worker. Today, Ms. Sánchez, an 83-year-old widow, is an American citizen and Mexico, she said, 'is a little bit forgotten.' Living with her daughter and son-in-law in Donna, Tex., a parched town 10 miles from the border, Ms. Sánchez receives $453 a month from Social Security plus $81 in Supplemental Security Income, intended to improve the incomes of the poor. With no private insurance and no savings, she relies on her daughter's good will, and on Medicaid to pay for prescription drugs and medical bills not covered by Medicare. Given the nature of the movements across the border, there are no definitive statistics on return flows of older migrants to Mexico. But as the number of older immigrants starts adding up, 35 years after the flow of illegal workers across the border started to swell, the trickle of returning old-timers is gathering momentum. An official survey of Mexican residents in 1990 found only 11,500 over 50 who had been living in the United States in 1985. By 2000, the number of Mexicans older than 50 who had been in the United States five years earlier rose to 27,900, according to the National Population Council. One draw pulling Mexicans back home is affordability. 'In little Mexico the money seems like a lot,' said Roselino Sebastián Castañeda, 72, who returned nine years ago to his hometown in Tierra Caliente, Guerrero, after 35 years shuttling from California to Texas to Louisiana to Colorado to Montana. He knows he could never afford to live in the United States on the $350 a month he collects from Social Security, the half of his benefit not swallowed by child support for a daughter in Arizona. But in Mexico, he said, 'if I stop drinking and stop partying I can live on that.' Another draw is property. Almost half of Mexican immigrants over 50 own property in Mexico, according to a survey by the Pew Hispanic Center. The decision can come down simply to the nebulous yet powerful tug of nostalgia. Family ties are perhaps the most powerful forces. But they can pull either way: the probability of return is much higher for the 58 percent of immigrants over 50 who left spouses back in Mexico than for the 24 percent who have spouses in the United States, according to data from the Mexican Migration Project, a survey series run by researchers at Princeton University and the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico. Ms. Sánchez stayed in the United States because she could not bear to leave her children and grandchildren. 'In the beginning I really tried to convince my old man to return,' she said. 'But I got used to it. Now I've got to stay here because all my family is here.' Mr. Sebastián Castañeda, on the other hand, returned to Mexico to care for his mother, who is now 96. 'That's why I don't go back' to the United States, he said. Francisco Franco Álvarez spent 30 years in California making bricks, landscaping and tending Los Angeles's sewers. He left his wife, Silvina Barba Tejeda, behind at their home in Valle de Guadalupe, Jalisco, a small rural town in western Mexico. But he returned every winter on what his daughters Silvina and María Adela joke was the annual visit to conceive. There were 16 pregnancies, 4 miscarriages and 12 children. But 22 years ago, at age 62, he decided it was time to return home. 'An old man alone is like an old dog all alone,' he said. The 10 surviving children were long gone from the nest: 4 in Mexico and 6 in the United States. He and his wife could live on $500 a month from Social Security, plus $381 from a union pension. They owned a house, partially built with money he sent back every month from his jobs in the United States. And Mr. Franco, now 84, had had enough of America. 'The pace of life there bothered me a lot,' Mr. Franco said from his perch at the threshold of an old stable and inn, where he holds court with a group of elderly men. 'Over there it's a country of slaves.' He took a swig from a mix of arnica and tequila, apparently a balm for sore throats. 'Here you can live for years,' he said. 'If I lived there I would have died.' Sitting next to Mr. Franco, Máximo Álvarez Gutiérrez, 65, sees things from the opposite perspective. He also left for the United States 45 years ago. He picked peaches in Fresno and bused tables in Los Angeles. He sent money home every month for his wife, and bought a four-bedroom house on a cobbled street. But rather than returning to live in Mexico, Mr. Álvarez brought his wife, María, to the United States six years ago. They now live in a room above the garage at the home of one of their daughters in Bellflower, Calif., southeast of downtown Los Angeles. And their house in Valle de Guadalupe lies empty for much of the year. 'I've always liked living in the United States,' said Mr. Álvarez, who is applying to become an American citizen. 'I've been there for 45 years. It's a whole life.' Most illegal immigrants in the United States have yet to reach the age in which it becomes all but impossible to lug another sack of cement across construction sites or race up and down a ladder picking peaches from a tree. When they do, their choices are likely to be different from those of the current crop of elderly. For starters, unlike most old-timers today, they will probably remain illegal. In the 1960's and 1970's, becoming a legal immigrant was relatively simple: having a child in the United States was often all it took. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 allowed another 2.3 million illegal immigrants from Mexico to become legal American residents, eligible for benefits like Social Security. But the situation is no longer so easy. In the last 10 years, crossing the border has become much more difficult as immigration restrictions have been tightened. These days, even if an illegal immigrant were entitled to obtain legal residence - say, through an adult citizen son or daughter - the immigrant would be barred officially from the United States for 10 years before being allowed to live here legally. At the same time, the continuous fortification of the southern border might have the unintended consequence of encouraging aging immigrants to stay. Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology at Princeton University who heads the Mexican Migration Project, says that tougher border controls are changing the nature of illegal immigration. Unwilling to face the border patrol and the desert crossing more often than is absolutely necessary, illegal immigrants are returning home less than they used to. Instead, they are bringing their wives and children to the United States, becoming more settled in their new land. 'Before, immigration was largely male,' Mr. Massey said. 'The vast majority would return to Mexico and they often left their families on the Mexican side of border. The militarization of the border transformed a single male migration into a family migration. That makes retirement to Mexico much more problematic.'

Subject: Housing Boom Echoes in All Corners
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 09:13:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/nyregion/04housing.html Housing Boom Echoes in All Corners of the City By JENNIFER STEINHAUER It may not replace the Empire State Building or the MetroCard, but the most fitting symbol of New York City today could be the knotty plywood wall enclosing a housing construction site. From Bensonhurst to Morrisania to Flushing, new homes are going up faster now than they have in more than 30 years. In 2004, the city approved the construction of 25,208 housing units, more than in any year since 1972, and that number is expected to be surpassed this year. Already, officials have authorized 15,870 permits. Looked at another way, the city has 38 percent of the region's population but accounts for half of its new housing starts. Much of that development is being fueled by private money, a phenomenon not seen since the 1970's. The mushrooming of housing development is an outgrowth of the city's decade-long population boom, low interest rates, government programs and a slide in crime, housing experts and city officials say. It has affected every borough and most neighborhoods, reshaping their physical form, ethnic makeup and collective memories. Throughout Brooklyn, in areas where single- and two-family homes have dominated for generations, six-story buildings are rising on every other block along some stretches, and their apartments are quickly being sold, often to first-time buyers. Large tracts of Queens, once home to factories and power plants, are being readied for apartment complexes to keep pace with the growth in immigration. In East New York, Brooklyn, once known for its crack trade and killings, single-family homes are rising for the first time in a generation. On Washington Avenue in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, where chop shops and abandoned lots of rubble and weeds once stood alone, a concrete mixer rumbles daily in front of a new eight-story building, complete with a limestone facade. 'Development is a beautiful thing,' said Gertrude Sowell, who mulled the housing rising around her from her stoop in the South Bronx, where she has lived for 45 years. 'The Bronx had to be revived. The soul was just dead, and everywhere you walked there were abandoned buildings and despair.' This new generation of homeowners has had a tremendous impact on the city's economy. In the fiscal year ended July 1, New York City took in $2.2 billion in real estate transfer taxes, generated in large part from the sale of existing real estate but also from new homes. By comparison, in the 2000 fiscal year, the city took in a $875 million. Those taxes, as well as other revenue that comes with new construction, have been a key element of the city's recovery from a fiscal crisis. While Manhattan's new buildings may get the ink, the real action is in the city's four other boroughs. 'This is my first apartment in New York,' said Grigoriy Goldfedib, who arrived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, from Russia six years ago and now is president of a two-year-old condominium building on 65th Street. He is one of the increasing number of immigrants who have been buying up condos around the neighborhood. Streets once cluttered with Italian delis and pastry shops now feature sushi outposts and Russian videos stores. The city's foreign-born population increased to 2.9 million in 2000 from 2.1 million in 1990, accelerating the housing boom. Newcomers and native New Yorkers are settling into neighborhoods that the city and developers had written off a decade ago as unworthy of investment. 'Housing is being built where 20 years ago people would not live,' Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a telephone interview. 'Other cities in other states have just not enjoyed this kind of boom. Each block is much more diverse than people realize. There is a cooperation and a spirit that we are here together and we're going to live together.' In many cases, complaints about a lack of housing have been replaced with fears of overdevelopment. Neighbors from Bay Ridge to Throgs Neck have flooded the Bloomberg administration with requests to limit the number of apartment buildings being built in their midst, saying that they intrude on the indigenous look of blocks, create overcrowded schools and subway stations and even lower water pressure. And the Bloomberg administration has undertaken the largest rezoning program since 1961, prohibiting new apartment buildings on blocks where they look out of character and rezoning former manufacturing areas to allow for residential development. 'We needed to channel growth directed to areas that can handle it,' said Amanda M. Burden, head of the Department of City Planning, noting that the city had rezoned areas with extensive public transportation and infrastructure for more housing, such as downtown Brooklyn and Flushing and Jamaica in Queens. 'At the same time,' she said, 'we have to preserve our neighborhoods, because they are the city's crown jewels.' So far, 30 neighborhoods have been rezoned - some 'up,' to accommodate new housing, and others 'down' and many more areas will be similarly rezoned soon. At the same time, people charge that developers are cutting corners on safety to get buildings up fast. This battle came into focus last month when the wall of a supermarket that was being demolished to make way for a luxury high-rise apartment building collapsed on the Upper West Side, injuring several people, including a baby. But fights over what neighborhoods should look and feel like at times feel like grace notes in the cacophonous symphony of churning concrete mixers, whirling backhoes and asphalt trucks that signal the rise of yet another dozen units of housing. 'You can go anywhere in the city and lots are being developed and there is housing construction on them,' said Joseph J. Salvo, director of the City Planning Department's population division. 'These are life-changing events for many neighborhoods.' Crime Falls, Demand Rises During the 1990's, as the city's population began to rise, the need for housing became more acute. At the same time, the plummeting crime rate made neighborhoods where there had been little or no investment for years appear more attractive. When Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, he sought to entice private developers with low-interest loans and tax abatements, and by streamlining the processes within the Department of Buildings to make it easier to build. But coupled with the rezoning movement, market-rate buildings began to follow the government subsidized buildings in neighborhoods where such development would have been inconceivable 10 years ago. The high demand pushed up housing prices in the city's best neighborhoods. Further, as Wall Street profits have boomed, many families that once would have fled the city have stayed put. And people who could no longer afford the Upper West Side and Park Slope were willing to move to Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and parts of the South Bronx. 'We think there is a demand for people not making six figures,' said Ron Moelis, a principal of L & M Equity Participants who develops housing around the city. 'There is a big gap of people who want to get into homeownership and have incomes too high for low-income and have nothing to buy.' With trepidation, his company developed a large apartment building on Madison Avenue between 117th Street and 118th Streets that began selling co-ops in 2002. The opening prices were $140,000 to $300,000; they now sell for more than double those prices, Mr. Moelis said. New Units in South Bronx On a recent steaming hot day, a steady stream of women pulling laundry baskets and toddlers walked into Taino Plaza, a new seven-story apartment building on 164th Street in the Melrose section of the Bronx complete with security cameras and attractive red awnings. The building, put up by L & M, is one of a handful of low-price rental apartment buildings rising in the area. Poor New Yorkers, many looking to get out of housing projects and dilapidated apartment buildings, were quick to move in, paying $750 to $975 a month for a two-bedroom unit. 'I like it here a lot,' said Alicia Baptiste, who moved in seven months ago after years on White Plains Road, where she used to fend off petty criminals and drug dealers. 'It's really quiet, you don't hear loud noises, you don't see people hanging around the lobby.' On East 165th Street, Gertrude Sowell and Mary Logan sat on folding chairs in front of their own buildings, for years the only residential spot for blocks. They have regarded the two large apartment buildings that have risen around the corner on Washington Avenue with anticipation and suspicion. 'I have mixed feelings,' said Ms. Sowell, who hopes that new residents will result in desperately needed services, like supermarkets. 'We hope the people who go into those apartments are good neighbors.' In Morrisania, which not long ago remained a stubborn symbol of the Bronx that once burned, new housing has brought hope. 'People tend to be happier when the community they live in is improving,' said John Dudley, the district manager for the community board there for 15 years. 'People are assuming a new level of responsibility for the community.' Like dozens of other neighborhoods in the city, Flushing has seen its ethnic fabric rewoven as new housing has gone up to accommodate a surge of Asian newcomers. Since 2000, 1,746 new housing permits have been issued. At the far end of Main Street, right near the Queens Botanical Garden, one-bedroom units are for sale at $290,000 in a building that went up last month, and two-bedroom units will be offered for $420,000. At College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, adjacent to the Flushing River and the Van Wyck Expressway, on the site of 14-acre brownfield, a developer has plans to build a 3.2 million-square-foot center, with retail stores and 1,000 apartments. A municipal parking lot on Union Street will be rezoned, too, to accommodate more housing, someof it for older New Yorkers. Some of the newest apartments are quickly inhabited by people from other parts of New York, but in other cases illegal occupancy underlies some of the buying. 'We have many cases of three families in a one-family house,' said Chuck Apelian, vice chairman of Community Board 7 in Flushing. 'People pool their money, hold six jobs, work extensive hours and with 40-year mortgages and low interest rates, it is almost like paying rent. I tell people: 'Save your money. There will be foreclosures in the future.' ' A New Start in Bensonhurst At Montes Deli and Catering on Avenue O in Bensonhurst, Chinese businessmen line up behind Italian-American housewives and teenagers with rosary beads tattooed on their ankles, all in search of the same thing: 'Eggplant parm.' The neighborhood, which has become increasingly Chinese and Russian, has shed much of its racial and ethnic tensions, it seems, perhaps in large part because newcomers have no sense of the area's troubled past. Mr. Goldfedib, who is 39, was unfamiliar with the story of Yusuf K. Hawkins, the black teenager gunned down in the streets of Bensonhurst by white teenagers in 1989. 'I never heard about that,' he said. But racial tensions have been replaced by conflicts between developers and residents, who chafe at the new buildings that appear to be going up on nearly every block. Roughly 1,000 new permits have been issued in Bensonhurst and Gravesend since 2000, accounting for more than 30 percent of new permits in Brooklyn. 'Everything that can be bad about this is bad,' said George Gifford, who has been fighting development on his block on West Fifth Street in Bensonhurst. The shortage of parking makes him loath to drive his relatives anywhere anymore. 'I have told my daughter she may have to give up her job in Marine Park because I can't give up my parking space on a Saturday night,' he said. Mr. Gifford and others argue that many of the developers are playing fast and loose with the city's building laws, have damaged property and taken safety risks. And as soon as new housing goes up, people move in. Lucy Lee, 35, lived in Chinatown after immigrating a decade ago and recently settled in Bensonhurst. 'In Chinatown, you can speak your own language and get around all right,' she said. 'But this is a better lifestyle and you can - what's that word? - assimilate.' Her main complaint? 'It's becoming too crowded with condos.'

Subject: No Way to Treat a Dragon
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 05:46:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/opinion/04thur1.html No Way to Treat a Dragon Facing crippling delays imposed by Congress, Cnooc, a state-controlled Chinese oil company, has now withdrawn its $18.5 billion bid for Unocal, conceding the prize to Chevron. That's a victory for Congressional China bashers, who continually blame China for economic woes that are largely of America's making. They successfully raised the specter of national security to justify their interference in the takeover contest. But their victory is a loss for the United States' global interests, and it sets a dangerous precedent of dealing with China by demonizing the Chinese. That approach, in turn, risks turning China, an emerging superpower, into an aggressive opponent rather than simply a global competitor. Losing Unocal, an oil company based in California, won't stop China from slaking its oil thirst somewhere else, any more than keeping the company under American ownership will quench ours. Unocal is small potatoes as oil companies go. But thwarting China may drive it even further in the direction of securing its energy from countries that really do pose a threat to America, like Iran, and from repressive regimes like the ones in Sudan and Myanmar. The United States would prefer that China cooperate with America's policy goals in such places, rather than striking oil deals that could strengthen the current rulers. Denying China a shot at Unocal also invites retaliation. Analysts expect any blowback to be narrowly focused - for instance, an airplane order might be directed to Airbus, the European consortium, rather than to Boeing. But, of course, Boeing would not be likely to think that a lost sale was a legitimate price to pay for keeping Cnooc away from Unocal, and angry politicians from the affected region would probably demand action against China. So the way has been paved for tit-for-tat retaliation. That could be a precursor to escalation, which, in turn, could be the catalyst for a serious economic clash. Congress has already spent the summer considering half a dozen proposals for across-the-board tariffs against Chinese imports. The Bush administration is also trying to forcibly stem the flow of Chinese textiles into the United States. Because China and the United States are co-dependent - Americans buy the exports to keep the Chinese economy humming, and China buys Treasury debt to finance American deficits - it's generally assumed that government and business leaders in each country will always, in the end, act rationally to avoid self-destruction. But an ongoing policy of brinksmanship is itself irrational. The Congressional hysteria over the Cnooc bid demonstrates that only too well. It is a sad example of self-interested pandering for votes and contributions - with little regard for the dangerous dynamic it could set in motion.

Subject: 'For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!'
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 18:38:26 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

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http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,363663,00.html SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH AFRICAN ECONOMICS EXPERT 'For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!' The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. The avid proponent of globalization spoke with SPIEGEL about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem. Horst Friedrichs Economist James Shikwati: 'Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.' SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa... Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop. SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty. Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor. SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox? Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid. SPIEGEL: Even in a country like Kenya, people are starving to death each year. Someone has got to help them. Shikwati: But it has to be the Kenyans themselves who help these people. When there's a drought in a region of Kenya, our corrupt politicians reflexively cry out for more help. This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program -- which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated. It's only natural that they willingly accept the plea for more help. And it's not uncommon that they demand a little more money than the respective African government originally requested. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, several thousands tons of corn are shipped to Africa ... SPIEGEL: ... corn that predominantly comes from highly-subsidized European and American farmers ... AFP Ruandan President Kagame has over a million deaths on his conscience, says Shikwati. Shikwati: ... and at some point, this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unsrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle. SPIEGEL: If the World Food Program didn't do anything, the people would starve. Shikwati: I don't think so. In such a case, the Kenyans, for a change, would be forced to initiate trade relations with Uganda or Tanzania, and buy their food there. This type of trade is vital for Africa. It would force us to improve our own infrastructure, while making national borders -- drawn by the Europeans by the way -- more permeable. It would also force us to establish laws favoring market economy. SPIEGEL: Would Africa actually be able to solve these problems on its own? Shikwati: Of course. Hunger should not be a problem in most of the countries south of the Sahara. In addition, there are vast natural resources: oil, gold, diamonds. Africa is always only portrayed as a continent of suffering, but most figures are vastly exaggerated. In the industrial nations, there's a sense that Africa would go under without development aid. But believe me, Africa existed before you Europeans came along. And we didn't do all that poorly either. SPIEGEL: But AIDS didn't exist at that time. NEWSLETTER Sign up for Spiegel Online's daily newsletter and get the best of Der Spiegel's and Spiegel Online's international coverage in your In-Box everyday. Shikwati: If one were to believe all the horrorifying reports, then all Kenyans should actually be dead by now. But now, tests are being carried out everywhere, and it turns out that the figures were vastly exaggerated. It's not three million Kenyans that are infected. All of the sudden, it's only about one million. Malaria is just as much of a problem, but people rarely talk about that. SPIEGEL: And why's that? Shikwati: AIDS is big business, maybe Africa's biggest business. There's nothing else that can generate as much aid money as shocking figures on AIDS. AIDS is a political disease here, and we should be very skeptical. SPIEGEL: The Americans and Europeans have frozen funds previously pledged to Kenya. The country is too corrupt, they say. Shikwati: I am afraid, though, that the money will still be transfered before long. After all, it has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, the Europeans' devastating urge to do good can no longer be countered with reason. It makes no sense whatsoever that directly after the new Kenyan government was elected -- a leadership change that ended the dictatorship of Daniel arap Mois -- the faucets were suddenly opened and streams of money poured into the country. SPIEGEL: Such aid is usually earmarked for a specific objective, though. Shikwati: That doesn't change anything. Millions of dollars earmarked for the fight against AIDS are still stashed away in Kenyan bank accounts and have not been spent. Our politicians were overwhelmed with money, and they try to siphon off as much as possible. The late tyrant of the Central African Republic, Jean Bedel Bokassa, cynically summed it up by saying: 'The French government pays for everything in our country. We ask the French for money. We get it, and then we waste it.' DPA Former Central African Republic leader Jean-Bedel Bokassa: 'We ask the French for money. We get it, and then we waste it.' SPIEGEL: In the West, there are many compassionate citizens wanting to help Africa. Each year, they donate money and pack their old clothes into collection bags ... Shikwati: ... and they flood our markets with that stuff. We can buy these donated clothes cheaply at our so-called Mitumba markets. There are Germans who spend a few dollars to get used Bayern Munich or Werder Bremen jerseys, in other words, clothes that that some German kids sent to Africa for a good cause. After buying these jerseys, they auction them off at Ebay and send them back to Germany -- for three times the price. That's insanity ... SPIEGEL: ... and hopefully an exception. Shikwati: Why do we get these mountains of clothes? No one is freezing here. Instead, our tailors lose their livlihoods. They're in the same position as our farmers. No one in the low-wage world of Africa can be cost-efficient enough to keep pace with donated products. In 1997, 137,000 workers were employed in Nigeria's textile industry. By 2003, the figure had dropped to 57,000. The results are the same in all other areas where overwhelming helpfulness and fragile African markets collide. INTERACTIVE MAP Click here to load our interactive African development aid map. SPIEGEL: Following World War II, Germany only managed to get back on its feet because the Americans poured money into the country through the Marshall Plan. Wouldn't that qualify as successful development aid? Shikwati: In Germany's case, only the destroyed infrastructure had to be repaired. Despite the economic crisis of the Weimar Republic, Germany was a highly- industrialized country before the war. The damages created by the tsunami in Thailand can also be fixed with a little money and some reconstruction aid. Africa, however, must take the first steps into modernity on its own. There must be a change in mentality. We have to stop perceiving ourselves as beggars. These days, Africans only perceive themselves as victims. On the other hand, no one can really picture an African as a businessman. In order to change the current situation, it would be helpful if the aid organizations were to pull out. SPIEGEL: If they did that, many jobs would be immediately lost ... AFP Congolese line up for a United Nations food delivery in 2002. Shikwati: ... jobs that were created artificially in the first place and that distort reality. Jobs with foreign aid organizations are, of course, quite popular, and they can be very selective in choosing the best people. When an aid organization needs a driver, dozens apply for the job. And because it's unacceptable that the aid worker's chauffeur only speaks his own tribal language, an applicant is needed who also speaks English fluently -- and, ideally, one who is also well mannered. So you end up with some African biochemist driving an aid worker around, distributing European food, and forcing local farmers out of their jobs. That's just crazy! SPIEGEL: The German government takes pride in precisely monitoring the recipients of its funds. Shikwati: And what's the result? A disaster. The German government threw money right at Rwanda's president Paul Kagame. This is a man who has the deaths of a million people on his conscience -- people that his army killed in the neighboring country of Congo. SPIEGEL: What are the Germans supposed to do? Shikwati: If they really want to fight poverty, they should completely halt development aid and give Africa the opportunity to ensure its own survival. Currently, Africa is like a child that immediately cries for its babysitter when something goes wrong. Africa should stand on its own two feet. Interview conducted by Thilo Thielke Translated from the German by Patrick Kessler Give a man a fire and he stays warm for the night, teach a man to set himself on fire and he stays warm for the rest of his life - hehe.

Subject: Re: 'For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!'
From: Mik
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 19:07:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Quite the eye opener hey? It is interesting that I had a similar theory on aid to Kenya only. The corrupt government of Daniel arap Mois was at one stage relying on foreign aid. Instead of implementing government programs for improved farming etc, he let the Christian agencies move in and feed his people. When I realised the direct link and the potential strength of that link I became 'very anti' the Christian associations that advertise on TV. I mean think about it - we adopt a child by giving money. They send us photos of the children (and a little story) we are helping BUT where does it stop? Why aren't the parents able to look after their own children - are we not making a bad situation worse? I believe yes. Although the situation for Kenya is much different than for other countries. Kenya had an amazing infrastructure and very good population development. Daniel arap Mois started getting way out of hand in his corruption and the aid agencies who at first glance saw the amazing characteristics of Kenya (relative to other African countries) wanted to get involved in assisting the country. As the country degraded so the aid agancies wanted to get more and more involved and slowly but surely Daniel arap Mois handed over more and more to the aid agencies so that he could concentrate on his 'personal development'. As a classic example the Mombasa to Nairobi highway is a vital life line to the country (and to the central countries of Uganda and Rwanda). Daniel arap Mois and his family own a trucking company and make some good money out of freight on this road. His trucks are the most notoriously overloaded trucks contributing 'heavily' towards the rapid degradation of the road surface. The police are told not to stop the trucks (hey they belong to the president). So this is the beginnng (and the end) of the police accepting bribes for other overloaded trucks. As the road is so vital to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, many aid agencies including the EU have fixed that road so many times in a desperate attempt to keep the life line going. So now not only do we have a case of the corrupt leader allowing aid agencies to take over for his incompetence, but also abusing the the situation. Amazingly enough Daniel arap Mois is still alive and well (although no longer president) and still corrupting the system.

Subject: Feeding Europe, Starving at Home
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 15:03:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://movies2.nytimes.com/2005/08/03/movies/03darw.html Feeding Europe, Starving at Home By A. O. SCOTT 'Darwin's Nightmare,' Hubert Sauper's harrowing, indispensable documentary, is framed by the arrival and departure of an enormous Soviet-made cargo plane at an airstrip outside Mwanza, Tanzania. The plane, with its crew of burly Russians and Ukrainians, will leave Mwanza for Europe carrying 55 tons of processed fish caught by Lake Victoria fisherman and filleted at a local factory. Though Mr. Sauper's investigation of the economy and ecology around the lake ranges far and wide - he talks to preachers and prostitutes, to street children and former soldiers - he keeps coming back to a simple question. What do the planes bring to Africa? The answers vary. The factory managers say the planes' cavernous holds are empty when they land. One of the Russians, made uncomfortable by the question, mutters something vague about 'equipment.' Some of his colleagues, and several ordinary Mwanzans, are more forthright: the planes, while they occasionally bring humanitarian food and medical aid, more often bring the weapons that fuel the continent's endless and destructive wars. In any case, they leave behind a scene of misery and devastation that 'Darwin's Nightmare' presents as the agonized human face of globalization. While the flesh of millions of Nile perch is stripped, cleaned and flash-frozen for export to wealthy countries, millions of people in the Tanzanian interior live on the brink of famine. Some of them will eat fried fish heads, which are processed in vast open-air pits infested with maggots and scavenging birds. Along the shores of the lake, homeless children fight over scraps of food and get high from the fumes of melting plastic-foam containers used to pack the fish. In the encampments where the fishermen live, AIDS is rampant and the afflicted walk back to their villages to die. The Nile perch itself haunts the film's infernal landscape like a monstrous metaphor. An alien species introduced into Lake Victoria sometime in the 1960's, it has devoured every other kind of fish in the lake, even feeding on its own young as it grows to almost grotesque dimensions, and destroying an ancient and diverse ecosystem. To some, its prevalence is a boon, since the perch provides an exportable resource that has brought development money from the World Bank and the European Union. The survival of nearly everyone in the film is connected to the fish: the prostitutes who keep company with the pilots in the hotel bars; the displaced farmers who handle the rotting carcasses; the night watchman, armed with a bow and a few poison-tipped arrows, who guards a fish-related research institute. He is paid $1 a day and found the job after his predecessor was murdered. Filming with a skeleton crew - basically himself and another camera operator - Mr. Sauper has produced an extraordinary work of visual journalism, a richly illustrated report on a distant catastrophe that is also one of the central stories of our time. Rather than use voice-over or talking-head expert interviews, he allows the dimensions of the story to emerge through one-on-one conversation and acutely observed visual detail. But 'Darwin's Nightmare' is also a work of art. Given the gravity of Mr. Sauper's subject, and the rigorous pessimism of his inquiry, it may seem a bit silly to compliment him for his eye. There are images here that have the terrifying sublimity of a painting by El Greco or Hieronymus Bosch: rows of huge, rotting fish heads sticking out of the ground; children turning garbage into makeshift toys. At other moments, you are struck by the natural loveliness of the lake and its surrounding hills, or by the handsome, high-cheekboned faces of many of the Tanzanians. The beauty, though, is not really beside the point; it is an integral part of the movie's ethical vision, which in its tenderness and its angry sense of apocalypse seems to owe less to modern ideologies than to the prophetic rage of William Blake, who glimpsed heaven and hell at an earlier phase of capitalist development. Mr. Sauper's movie is clearly aimed at the political conscience of Western audiences, and its implicit critique of some of our assumptions about the shape and direction of the global economy deserves to be taken seriously. But its reach extends far beyond questions of policy and political economy, and it turns the fugitive, mundane facts that are any documentary's raw materials into the stuff of tragedy and prophecy.

Subject: Go out and watch this movie
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 09:29:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This a very well made movie. The movie crew don't narrate or speak in the movie. They let all the talking be done by the locals (and the Russian pilots). A very simple documentary with some very powerful images. The movie also allows us to hear what goes through the minds of the locals. Some of it is creepy and some of it is enlightening. All very tragic. Watch this movie!!

Subject: Re: Go out and watch this movie
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Aug 04, 2005 at 10:38:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I agree completely. I was discussing your criticisms of Jared Diamond's framework last night, and though friends were sympathetic I think we are too wedded to cultural frameworks in analysis so I lean more strongly to geography. I will have more to say. Also, the aid issue needs to be balanced according to political context. Agreed.

Subject: The Fed Has Done Its Job
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 11:08:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Looking through the data again, inflation appears to have peaked for the cycle at a level lower than an Fed tightening cycle since at least 1975. Inflaion is not an issue, especially inflation due to wage and benefit increases. The Fed will keep raising rates, but the Fed has already done its job.

Subject: Blue Collars in the Boardroom
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 11:01:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/03/business/worldbusiness/03worker.html Making a Place for Blue Collars in the Boardroom By BRIAN ELLSWORTH PUERTO ORDAZ, Venezuela - For 20 years, Pedro Gómez felt like he was just part of the machinery at his job at Aluminio del Caroní, a state-owned aluminum company in an industrial zone where the Caroní and Orinoco Rivers converge in southeastern Venezuela. Mr. Gómez, 51, a casting table operator who shovels molten aluminum down a channel from an industrial oven into a cast that makes 12-foot billets, says management never listened to his complaints about corrupt contractors or bad equipment. But things have changed. Management is now heeding his request for a new casting table, he said, and will even allow him to help determine the company's 2006 budget. This April, he was permitted to vote along with the company's other 2,700 workers to elect some of Alcasa's 19 managers and 2 of its 5 corporate directors. Most of the candidates were drawn from the rank and file. 'The managers and the workers are running this business together,' Mr. Gómez said above the din of rumbling forklifts and humming industrial fans, sweat dripping down his face from the heat of the casting house. 'It gives us new motivation to work hard.' While worker-managed businesses have been the dream of the world's socialists, in Venezuela they may become a reality. Using tottering companies as the entry point, Venezuela is offering financial incentives in exchange for carrying out 'co-management,' in which workers are decision makers, in some cases even owners, of businesses across the country. The plan essentially casts the state in the role of rescuer. Four state-owned companies - another aluminum plant besides Alcasa, a coal plant and a power plant - have begun the programs. But incentives like cheap credit and debt write-downs from the government have also enticed more than 100 private, small and medium-size companies to adopt worker management models. Twenty-three of those have agreed to hand over between 10 percent and 49 percent of their shares to employees. Driving the campaign is President Hugo Chávez, who has promised to reverse the historical dominance of Venezuela's $64 billion oil industry over the economy by revitalizing sectors like textiles and paper, reducing reliance on imports and creating jobs at the same time - a task he says he believes is best left to workers. The worker management campaign comes as Mr. Chávez has embraced socialism in a political project that promises to roll back the free-market policies begun in Latin America throughout the 1990's. 'This is a new organizational culture,' says Alcasa's president, Carlos Lanz, 62, a Marxist former guerrilla with no background in aluminum who most recently developed educational programs in rural Venezuela. 'The workers are operating as a collective rather than receiving orders from a group of experts.' Despite the enthusiasm of Alcasa's workers, the company's balance sheet leaves little room for optimism. Alcasa has lost money for years, posting $90 million in red ink in 2004, and this year's budget indicates the company could lose as much as $59 million as outdated technology and foreign competition continue to take a toll. A planned $650 million investment by the Swiss commodities trading company Glencore, aimed at doubling Alcasa's output, was suspended. Instead, the company announced last month the government would provide financing. Critics say state involvement in co-managed businesses will likely create uncompetitive enterprises, much like the sluggish state-owned companies that survived throughout the 1970's and 1980's on government subsidies. It is also unlikely to bring about the diversification from oil President Chávez is seeking. 'Since the discovery of oil in Venezuela, businesses have lived from the transfer of oil revenue, but have never produced sustainable economic activity that didn't depend on oil,' said Orlando Ochoa, an opposition sympathizer and economist who is a professor at Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas. 'Chávez is now insisting that co-management can resolve this problem, which is simply naïve.' Indeed, one business from which worker management is notably absent is Venezuela's most profitable company, Petróleos de Venezuela, the state oil giant known as Pdvsa (pronounced pey-dey-VEY-sah), which is still run by corporate executives who removed the two union representatives from the company's board this year. Nonetheless, Pdvsa's character has changed. After a strike in 2002 aimed at ousting President Chávez from power, the company fired almost 20,000 mostly midlevel finance and planning employees and hired more than 15,000 field workers, adding a greater rank-and-file presence. Since the program began this year, the government has spent at least $25 million to revive bankrupt and failing private enterprises. President Chávez has said he would expropriate as many as 700 bankrupt companies and others that are working below capacity. For instance, the government is preparing to inject around $8 million into Hilandería del Tinaquillo, a textile mill that wove cotton into yarn and cloth until it shut its doors in 1992, felled by cheaper imports. Joseph Mishkin, the Venezuelan owner of the textile plant, is negotiating a joint venture with the government. 'I've been looking for a way to revive that plant for 10 years,' said Mr. Mishkin, 'and I'm willing to work with anyone that can help make that happen.' But the plan has its critics. One of the most vocal is Teodoro Petkoff, a former planning minister and guerrilla who fought alongside Mr. Lanz, but has criticized many of Mr. Chávez's economic goals as unrealistic. 'Co-management is a potentially fertile idea,' Mr. Petkoff wrote in Tal Cual, the newspaper he edits. 'But if it is applied in the Tinaquillo style or with the utopian delirium of Alcasa, the result will be a terrible fiasco.' Here at Alcasa, in the industrial city of Puerto Ordaz in Venezuela's sweltering southeastern savannah, Mr. Lanz speaks more comfortably about Latin American currents of Marxism than about aluminum production. Mr. Lanz served seven years in jail for the 1976 abduction of the American glass industry executive, William F. Niehaus, who was held for three and a half years. After weeks of accusations by Mr. Chávez in February that the Bush administration was preparing to invade Venezuela, Mr. Lanz invited military reserves to the factory to prepare workers for an American invasion. But workers also point to changes in the workplace that they say will make the company run smoother. 'I worked here for 15 years and never knew anything about how much the company was producing or what we were spending our money on,' said Johnny Viera, 35, a maintenance worker in Alcasa's stamping plant. Mr. Viera and his 300 co-workers participate in roundtables that make recommendations to management, a process that recently allowed him to quickly purchase $5,000 worth of tools. It is too soon to say what the outcome of the worker management program will be, but workers seem optimistic. 'This is the workers' opportunity to improve this company's performance,' said Estalin Orta, 42, a recently elected manager of Alcasa's casting plant, chatting in an air-conditioned office above the din of the manufacturing operations below. 'And we've started at a company that has had serious financial problems - so no one can say we took the easy road.'

Subject: Jared Diamond
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 10:29:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Repeatedly Jared Diamond's work is taken as 'pop science.' This is absurd unless what is meant is that Diamond is a simple and clear and wonderfull engaging writer. Diamond's work shows the painstaking attention to layering of observation on observation that characterize the finst of evolutionary biologists from Charles Darwin on. Darwin was also a wonderfully clear and engaging writer. Look to Diamond and Ernst Mayr his teacher on birds and you will find presicely the same anecdotal research that he uses through 'Collapse' and 'Guns, Germs, and Steel.' We have a master scientist at hand, who has set down for us a brilliant robust framework for historical research that will be expaned for decades.

Subject: Re: Jared Diamond
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 18:04:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I have been thinking quite bit about the paper by Jared and I have some reservations on a few of his themes of why some civilisations advanced against others: 1. Infectious Disease 2. Centralised organisation 3. Domestication of animals (that contribute to development) 4. East west spread of domesticated fauna and flora I am by no means a specialist in this field (and I didn't see if you made a response to my previous post on this topic - we had a holiday in Canada) but here are my observations on the top themes: 1. Infectious Disease I find it amazing that Native Americans did not quickly adapt to the foreign diseases perhaps it is all about timing – but I have a very big flaw in Jared’s theory. His theory evolves out of the close villages and towns of Europe leading to outbreaks spreading quickly and then humans becoming immune. Yet today, the immune system of the average African is much the same as that of the European. The African’s lifestyle is much the same in this respect of close villages resulting in a quick out break and spread. Yet, it is amazing that 10% of all modern day Europeans are resistant to HIV/AIDS (according to the leading study on the disease). Why is it that the biggest plague of modern times, which is far more prevalent in Africa than Europe – and where the human bodies of African and Europeans appear to have similar immune systems, we still find that 10% of Europeans have a natural resistance to this disease. Perhaps there is an explanation but this seems to fly in the face of Jared’s theory. 2. Centralised Organisation This seems to be a bit of a revolving issue. A centralized organization lead to the quick down fall of the Chinese – so that was too centralized. Yet and uncentralised system, lead to the lack of development in North American and Australian natives. Yet the Africans were far more developed in centralizing their authority than what Jared appears to illustrate. Entire regions in Africa fell under central powers broken by geographic features such as large rivers or mountain ranges much in the same way as Europe. Again, knowing the African situation, to me, flies in the face of Jared’s theory. 3. Domestication of Animals I did a little enquiring on this topic and was startled to find that all animals can be domesticated. Even Lions have been domesticated and Rhinos could in deed be turned into horses with enough effort. I don’t know where he got the concept of “a rapid growth rate; a willingness to breed in captivity; a tractable disposition; a social structure involving submissive behavior towards dominant animals and humans; and lack of a tendency to panic when fenced in.” Have you not been to a zoo? All it takes is to capture the animal as a baby and then go through successive breeding of the animal. As I have now come to learn, African elephants can and have in deed been domesticated. The concept that the Indians succeeded in domesticating the Elephant flies in the face of Jared’s theory. 4. East west spread of domesticated fauna and flora This one is probably the most difficult for me to accept. Moving plants and animals north and south does not make that big a difference. Hey there are chicken farms in Canada and Chicken farms in Texas. The animals have got an amazing ability to adapt to change in climate and to a lesser degree so too do plants. Besides the climate from the South, say, Zambia to the North, say, Ethiopia is not so vast that a series of domesticated plants and animals could not sustain the move – after all they have been moved this distance in modern times. But going back to pre-historic times, the east west movement along the longitude of, say, Ivory coast on west Africa to Kenya in east Africa did not occur. Why? Here is probably the biggest puzzler – coffee originated in Ethiopia Africa and was traded eastwards, literally around the globe to South America where the Europeans first found it. Here is a plant that has traveled east and south around the globe, yet it never traveled west to the west coast of Africa or up to Europe. Co-incidence perhaps. But again it places a serious flaw in the theory. Every concept may not be perfect and still holds true. But when I see this many flaws, you have to pardon me if I act a little skeptical.

Subject: Terrific
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 20:17:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting responses throughout. I am tired, but will think carefully of each point made on each topic. Terrific.

Subject: Can You Hear Me Now?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:57:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/03/opinion/03friedman.html Calling All Luddites By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN I've been thinking of running for high office on a one-issue platform: I promise, if elected, that within four years America will have cellphone service as good as Ghana's. If re-elected, I promise that in eight years America will have cellphone service as good as Japan's, provided Japan agrees not to forge ahead on wireless technology. My campaign bumper sticker: 'Can You Hear Me Now?' I began thinking about this after watching the Japanese use cellphones and laptops to get on the Internet from speeding bullet trains and subways deep underground. But the last straw was when I couldn't get cellphone service while visiting I.B.M.'s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. But don't worry - Congress is on the case. It dropped everything last week to pass a bill to protect gun makers from shooting victims' lawsuits. The fact that the U.S. has fallen to 16th in the world in broadband connectivity aroused no interest. Look, I don't even like cellphones, but this is not about gadgets. The world is moving to an Internet-based platform for commerce, education, innovation and entertainment. Wealth and productivity will go to those countries or companies that get more of their innovators, educators, students, workers and suppliers connected to this platform via computers, phones and P.D.A.'s. A new generation of politicians is waking up to this issue. For instance, Andrew Rasiej is running in New York City's Democratic primary for public advocate on a platform calling for wireless (Wi-Fi) and cellphone Internet access from every home, business and school in the city. If, God forbid, a London-like attack happens in a New York subway, don't trying calling 911. Your phone won't work down there. No wireless infrastructure. This ain't Tokyo, pal. At the City Hall subway stop this morning, Mr. Rasiej plans to show how one makes a 911 call from the subway. He will have one aide with a tin can in the subway send a message to another aide holding a tin can connected by a string. Then the message will be passed by tin can and string up to Mr. Rasiej on the street, who will call 911 with his cellphone. 'That is how you say something if you see something today in a New York subway - tin cans connected to someone with a cellphone on the street,' said Mr. Rasiej, a 47-year-old entrepreneur who founded an educational-technology nonprofit. Mr. Rasiej wants to see New York follow Philadelphia, which decided it wouldn't wait for private companies to provide connectivity to all. Instead, Philly made it a city-led project - like sewers and electricity. The whole city will be a 'hot zone,' where any resident anywhere with a computer, cellphone or P.D.A. will have cheap high-speed Wi-Fi access to the Internet. Mr. Rasiej argues that we can't trust the telecom companies to make sure that everyone is connected because new technologies, like free Internet telephony, threaten their business models. 'We can't trust the traditional politicians to be the engines of change for how people connect to their government and each other,' he said. By the way, he added, 'If New York City goes wireless, the whole country goes wireless.' Mr. Rasiej is also promoting civic photo-blogging - having people use their cellphones to take pictures of potholes or crime, and then, using Google maps, e-mailing the pictures and precise locations to City Hall. Message: In U.S. politics, the party that most quickly absorbs the latest technology often dominates. F.D.R. dominated radio and the fireside chat; J.F.K., televised debates; Republicans, direct mail and then talk radio, and now Karl Rove's networked voter databases. The technological model coming next - which Howard Dean accidentally uncovered but never fully developed - will revolve around the power of networks and blogging. The public official or candidate will no longer just be the one who talks to the many or tries to listen to the many. Rather, he or she will be a hub of connectivity for the many to work with the many - creating networks of public advocates to identify and solve problems and get behind politicians who get it. 'One elected official by himself can't solve the problems of eight million people,' Mr. Rasiej argued, 'but eight million people networked together can solve one city's problems. They can spot and offer solutions better and faster than any bureaucrat. ... The party that stakes out this new frontier will be the majority party in the 21st century. And the Democrats better understand something - their base right now is the most disconnected from the network.' Can you hear me now?

Subject: Re: Can You Hear Me Now?
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 18:43:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
My theory as to why the USA is behind the rest of the world in cell phones: 2 things: 1. Law on phone numbers 2. Profiteering 1. You have a home line that you pay a fixed rate no matter who you phone within the first 3 digits of the dialing code. Cell phones came onto the market in Europa with a unique first 3 digits dialing code and everyone knew that if they were dialing a number starting with the unique 3 digit code, they would be billed extra for phoning a cell phone. In the US (and Canada) they started cell phones with the 3 digit code that is the same as any other 3 digit code in your area. In essence, you don’t know if you are dialing another fixed line or a cell phone. Who is going to pay for the special cell phone costs – the user. The fact that the users pays for incoming calls has, in my mind, become a big resistance on getting a cell phone and opening up a mass market. This is changing with special deals on incoming calls and I now see the introduction of special 3 digit codes for cell phones in some areas. 2. With all the ‘buzz’ on cell phones in Europe, the Europeans kicked off an amazing market and “everyone” wants to be part of it. With “everyone” joining in and a quick up start in cell phone signal providers coming up from nowhere competing against land line companies (that used to be traditionally government owned) the race was on to provide a seriously viable alternative to the land line. With ‘everyone’ jumping in, supply increases and prices drop. Typical supply and demand economics at play giving us the best deal. Then companies manufacturing electronic gadgets such as Siemens, B&O, Alcatel among many others wanting to get into the cell phone manufacturing game started making phones and offering special deals. Their phones could be used anywhere on any cell phone signal provider’s network and the market was huge. Again a large supply resulted in lowering the price. Last year’s stock would then be sold on special discounted sales and again give us the consumer the same benefits we get from clothing stores, mark-down prices and great choice. All the true factors of good economics being put to good use and giving us the benefit. All a huge lesson learnt by the big phone companies of the US wanting to ensure that the same does NOT happen in the US. So when cell phones were first introduced, the Americans opted to use a unique frequency band that European phones could not log into (we don’t have Alcatel, Siemens or B&O phones among so many other makes). Now we have an exclusive market for phones adapted to the US system. Then the supply of phones that were allowed in were controlled so as to ensure a full sell-out of phones and no mark-down sales or special deals. The collusion or natural slow movement between the relatively few US phone companies (that were traditionally also land line companies) ensured that new phone technologies such as internet access (which has been available in Africa for over 5 years now) would not be introduced until a sizeable profit has been made. But this is not a pessimistic posting. In fact I am glad to see that technology is beating the US companies. The Europeans introduced the Tri-band phones that can be used in the US and Europe. As all cell phones become Tri-band, we will soon see all of Europe’s (and Asia’s) greatest makes slowly surfacing into our market even as ‘after market”. I soon expect to see old generation “mark-down” phones being sold here in the States. I bought a Samsung Tri-band with a Camera for $30 brand new in Africa. It is an older generation of phone but when I bought it – it was among the more advanced phones on the market and it works in the US. So I anticipate seeing the emergence of a market for importers. As for the Cell phone signal companies – Virgin Mobile (in Canada) has probably kicked off something amazing with their cheap and nasty network offering some amazing services at no cost. If others copy Virgin Mobile, we may soon see a quick movement by the cell phone signal companies offering the same as Europe. In essence I predict we will be able to go into an average store and buy a funky yet simple phone with a couple cool features (not all the latest feature per se) for a minor $20. Then go to a cell phone provider and get a ‘zooty’ pay-as-you go card for cheap. Not pay for incoming calls and have access to services such as free voice mail, free text messaging and who knows perhaps even free web access. And no two or three year contracts with hidden clauses where they up your charges and you have to pay.

Subject: How Long can yield curve be inverted?
From: David E..
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 08:04:46 (EDT)
Email Address: daveellis_39@hotmail.com

Message:
Greg Ip(WSJ) on Brad De Long's blog thinks the fed will continue to raise short term rates until long term rates will put a lid on inflation. http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/08/greg_ip_reads_t.html

Subject: Re: How Long can yield curve be inverted?
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:58:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I do not welcome the prospect of higher long term interest rates. Darn.

Subject: States of welfare
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 07:40:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/ click on 'states of welfare' to the right of the 'war letters' article. quite an illuminating illustration!

Subject: Re: States of welfare
From: Emma
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:33:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you, for I would miss such an illustration were it not for you though because of you I regularly look to the Irish press and often the BBC or Guardian. This war is sad beyond my words. You are a gem.

Subject: Re: States of welfare
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 09:35:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice I copied and posted you comments about integration in Ireland on the 2 recent PK column message threads. That Ireland is working so hard on integration is truly inspiring.

Subject: Re: States of welfare
From: Setanta
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 11:50:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
emma, i did notice. i always feel that my comments are too parochial. i try not to slip into the same 'ireland is great' vein. i wouldn't be a supporter of the party in government but i have to say they really have surprised me. i look around the city and am gobsmacked. things are so much better now than they ever were. i do feel, and try at all costs to avoid, to give the impression that i am preaching to the american readers. i am certainly very supportive of america (i suppose having a mother who hails from NY helps!) and have learnt ten times more from reading your articles and comments, terri's posts on investing, paul and pete's sharp economic insight, auros' demolition of conservative comments and all the others!

Subject: Re: States of welfare
From: Emma
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 15:01:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
How kind your are, and the sense is completely shared. So, we both have New York mothers :)

Subject: Asia and Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 06:04:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The most immediate problem for housing may be in the process of developing immediately, if in fact China is beginning to diversify its currency holdings. Other Asian central banks as well will surely diversify currency holding from the dollar.

Subject: Re: Asia and Interest Rates
From: Jennifer
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 07:20:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Likely there is and will continue to be less international demand for long term Treasury debt as Asian and other central banks slowly limit dollar holdings.

Subject: Re: Asia and Interest Rates
From: Jennifer
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 07:29:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If the Federal Reserve governors wish higher long term rates, the guess is they will have the wish. We should be worried. Inflation, by the way, seems to me of no concern in this cycle, but I am not a member of the Fed :)

Subject: Currency and Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 05:59:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We should notice that China is very slowly letting the yaun rise against the dollar, and long term interest rates are slowly rising. This could be a problem for our mortgage market, and we had best watch interest rates.

Subject: Re: Currency and Interest Rates
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 10:35:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Higher rates and tighter credit will be very tough on the real estate market and the US consumer. The key is whether or not the higher yuan and Asian currencies will make US goods, which are becoming cheaper for them, more attractive to Asians? Will Asians spend more and save less and will they spend it on US products beyond Boeing aircraft?

Subject: For Pete - Alby Mangles - Adventure Bound
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 19:31:46 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.albymangels.com/ http://members.ozemail.com.au/~alcalder/alby.htm Alby showed many films in the prisons and brought his sailing travels to many tortured souls who could never have seen the world if it wasn't for alby's camera. I watched many of his travels. He had great fun and did amazing things - and although his adventure spirit brought him many friends, it cost him many too. Pete the old sailors you meet that have already lived the life you are about to embark on - what do they tell you are the negatives to be concerned with? Remember one of the posters here just said American types aren't viewed so positively around the world anymore - probably alby got away with stuff back in his day because he was more respected than he would be today in similar situations. My parents went all over the world care of the US military in the 60's and 70's - coming off the ww2 generation they were embraced with kindness and love in most places - I don't think that is true today. However I read about Sheik Horn and perhaps you will be embraced by the many cultures you journey into - nothing can ever replace my many travels all over. G.I. gets upgraded to sheik Antonio Castaneda, Associated Press August 1, 2005 SHEIK0801 QAYYARAH, IRAQ -- Sheik Horn floats around the room in white robe and headdress, exchanging pleasantries with dozens of village leaders. But he's the only sheik with blond streaks in his mustache -- and the only one who attended country singer Toby Keith's recent concert in Baghdad with fellow U.S. soldiers. Officially, he's Army Staff Sgt. Dale L. Horn, but to residents of the 37 villages and towns that he patrols, he's known as the American sheik. Sheiks, or village elders, are known as the real power in rural Iraq. Horn's ascension to the esteemed position came through dry humor and the military's need to clamp down on rocket attacks. Late last year, a full-blown battle between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces had erupted, and U.S. commanders assigned a unit to stop rocket and mortar attacks that regularly hit their base. Horn, 25, who had been trained to operate radars for a field artillery unit, was thrust into a job that largely hinged on coaxing locals into divulging information about insurgents. Horn, a native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., acknowledged he had little interest in the region before being deployed. But a local sheik friendly to U.S. forces, Dr. Muhammad Ismail Ahmed, explained the inner workings of rural Iraqi society on one of Horn's first Humvee patrols. Horn says he was intrigued, and started making a point of stopping by all the villages, all but one dominated by Sunni Arabs, to talk to people about their life and security problems. Moreover, he pressed for development projects in the area: He said that he helped funnel $136,000 worth of aid into the area. Part of that paid for delivery of clean water to 30 villages during the broiling summer months. 'They saw that we were interested in them, instead of just taking care of the bases,' Horn said. Muhammad, Horn's mentor, eventually suggested during a meeting of village leaders that Horn be named a sheik. The sheiks approved by voice vote, Horn said. Some sheiks later gave him five sheep and a postage stamp of land, fulfilling some of the requirements for sheikdom. But what may have originally started as a joke among village elders has sprouted into something serious enough for 100 to 200 village leaders to meet with Horn each month to discuss security issues. Horn doesn't take his responsibilities lightly. He lately has been prodding the Iraqi Education Ministry to pay local teachers, and he closely follows a water pipeline project that he hopes will ensure the steady flow of clean water to his villages. To Horn's commanders, his success justifies his unorthodox approach: No rockets have hit their base in the last half year. 'He has developed a great relationship with local leaders,' said Lt. Col. Bradley Becker, who commands the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment. 'They love him. They're not going to let anyone shoot at Sheik Horn.' http://www.startribune.com/stories/484/5535992.html

Subject: Your Body Is Younger Than You Think
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 12:55:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/science/02cell.html?incamp=article_popular Your Body Is Younger Than You Think By NICHOLAS WADE Whatever your age, your body is many years younger. In fact, even if you're middle aged, most of you may be just 10 years old or less. This heartening truth, which arises from the fact that most of the body's tissues are under constant renewal, has been underlined by a novel method of estimating the age of human cells. Its inventor, Jonas Frisen, believes the average age of all the cells in an adult's body may turn out to be as young as 7 to 10 years. But Dr. Frisen, a stem cell biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has also discovered a fact that explains why people behave their birth age, not the physical age of their cells: a few of the body's cell types endure from birth to death without renewal, and this special minority includes some or all of the cells of the cerebral cortex. It was a dispute over whether the cortex ever makes any new cells that got Dr. Frisen looking for a new way of figuring out how old human cells really are. Existing techniques depend on tagging DNA with chemicals but are far from perfect. Wondering if some natural tag might already be in place, Dr. Frisen recalled that the nuclear weapons tested above ground until 1963 had injected a pulse of radioactive carbon 14 into the atmosphere. Breathed in by plants worldwide and eaten by animals and people, the carbon 14 gets incorporated into the DNA of cells each time the cell divides and the DNA is duplicated. Most molecules in a cell are constantly being replaced but the DNA is not. All the carbon 14 in a cell's DNA is acquired on the cell's birth date, the day its parent cell divided. Hence the extent of carbon 14 enrichment could be used to figure out the cell's age, Dr. Frisen surmised. In practice, the method has to be performed on tissues, not individual cells, because not enough carbon 14 gets into any single cell to signal its age. Dr. Frisen then worked out a scale for converting carbon 14 enrichment into calendar dates by measuring the carbon 14 incorporated into individual tree rings in Swedish pine trees. Having validated the method with various tests, he and his colleagues have reported in the July 15 issue of Cell the results of their first tests with a few body tissues. Cells from the muscles of the ribs, taken from people in their late 30's, have an average age of 15.1 years, they say. The epithelial cells that line the surface of the gut have a rough life and are known by other methods to last only five days. Ignoring these surface cells, the average age of those in the main body of the gut is 15.9 years, Dr. Frisen found. The Karolinska team then turned to the brain, the renewal of whose cells has been a matter of much contention. Prevailing belief, by and large, is that the brain does not generate new neurons after its structure is complete, except in two specific regions, the olfactory bulb that mediates the sense of smell, and the hippocampus, where initial memories of faces and places are laid down. This consensus view was challenged a few years ago by Elizabeth Gould of Princeton, who reported finding new neurons in the cerebral cortex, along with the elegant idea that each day's memories might be recorded in the neurons generated that day. Dr. Frisen's method will enable all regions of the brain to be dated to see if any new neurons are generated. So far he has tested only cells from the visual cortex. He finds these are exactly the same age as the individual, showing that new neurons are not generated after birth in this region of the cerebral cortex, or at least not in significant numbers. Cells of the cerebellum are slightly younger than those of the cortex, which fits with the idea that the cerebellum continues developing after birth. Another contentious issue is whether the heart generates new muscle cells after birth. The conventional view that it does not has recently been challenged by Dr. Piero Anversa of the New York Medical College in Valhalla. Dr. Frisen has found the heart as a whole is generating new cells, but he has not yet measured the turnover rate of the heart's muscle cells. Although people may think of their body as a fairly permanent structure, most of it is in a state of constant flux as old cells are discarded and new ones generated in their place. Each kind of tissue has its own turnover time, depending in part on the workload endured by its cells. The cells lining the stomach, as mentioned, last only five days. The red blood cells, bruised and battered after traveling nearly 1,000 miles through the maze of the body's circulatory system, last only 120 days or so on average before being dispatched to their graveyard in the spleen. The epidermis, or surface layer of the skin, is recycled every two weeks or so. The reason for the quick replacement is that 'this is the body's saran wrap, and it can be easily damaged by scratching, solvents, wear and tear,' said Elaine Fuchs, an expert on the skin's stem cells at the Rockefeller University. As for the liver, the detoxifier of all the natural plant poisons and drugs that pass a person's lips, its life on the chemical-warfare front is quite short. An adult human liver probably has a turnover time of 300 to 500 days, said Markus Grompe, an expert on the liver's stem cells at the Oregon Health & Science University. Other tissues have lifetimes measured in years, not days, but are still far from permanent. Even the bones endure nonstop makeover. The entire human skeleton is thought to be replaced every 10 years or so in adults, as twin construction crews of bone-dissolving and bone-rebuilding cells combine to remodel it. About the only pieces of the body that last a lifetime, on present evidence, seem to be the neurons of the cerebral cortex, the inner lens cells of the eye and perhaps the muscle cells of the heart. The inner lens cells form in the embryo and then lapse into such inertness for the rest of their owner's lifetime that they dispense altogether with their nucleus and other cellular organelles. But if the body remains so perpetually youthful and vigorous, and so eminently capable of renewing its tissues, why doesn't the regeneration continue forever? Some experts believe the root cause is that the DNA accumulates mutations and its information is gradually degraded. Others blame the DNA of the mitochondria, which lack the repair mechanisms available for the chromosomes. A third theory is that the stem cells that are the source of new cells in each tissue eventually grow feeble with age. 'The notion that stem cells themselves age and become less capable of generating progeny is gaining increasing support,' Dr. Frisen said. He hopes to see if the rate of a tissue's regeneration slows as a person ages, which might point to the stem cells as being what one unwetted heel was to Achilles, the single impediment to immortality.

Subject: From Hiroshima's Shadow, Renewal
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:12:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/science/02conv.html From Hiroshima's Shadow, Turning Radiation Into Renewal By CLAUDIA DREIFUS On a gorgeous sunny day very near a major anniversary of the testing of the first atomic bomb at Almagordo, N.M., Dr. Ritsuko Komaki, chief of thoracic radiation oncology at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, sat in a Manhattan living room, drinking tea and talking about nuclear weaponry. 'It's been six decades since the first atomic bomb,' said Dr. Komaki, 61. 'People don't anymore really connect to what that means. They can't imagine what it was like for humans to be under such a thing. The atomic bomb, it was never an ordinary weapon. And the one that was used on my city was small compared to what are in silos now.' Dr. Komaki knows exactly what an atomic bomb can do. Her family comes from Hiroshima. A dozen of her relatives died in the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of that city and from its aftereffects. In fact, her entire childhood was lived in the shadow of the bomb. It's one reason she became a radiation oncologist. 'Because of my background, I was interested in radiation,' she said. 'I had a curiosity about it. I like that in my work, we use radiation to kill cancer cells and that we make radiation have a different meaning from what it had at Hiroshima.' Q. Where was your family on Aug. 6, 1945? A. We were outside of Osaka, where my father was working. I was a baby. But the family, they came from Hiroshima. So a majority of the family was there. The day after the A-bomb, my father went into Hiroshima to search for his mother and siblings. My father was exposed to the radioactive 'black rain.' He found that some of our relatives had died in the bombing. My grandmother had survived, though she had every side effect of total body radiation: her hair fell off, nose bleeding, diarrhea. Also, my 19-year-old aunt worked outside of the city and when she came home, she saw this incredible scene: all these people dying in the street, burned, some of them trying to jump into the river to get rid of the heat. We moved to back to Hiroshima when I was 4. And as a child, I could see what had happened in the city. At my school, so many of the children were orphans. They'd been sent away from Hiroshima, and when they came back, the parents had died under the bomb. Q. Were the aftereffects of the bombing frightening to witness? A. Well, you saw things: people walking about with terrible scars and burns. The bombing wasn't much talked about, though. There was a tremendous amount of sickness in my family, and, I presume, in most others. Over the years, a dozen family members died of various cancers. You were always hearing about people getting leukemia and dying. When I was 11, my friend Sadako died from a radiation-related leukemia. At my school, I was the president of the students and I organized a fund-raising campaign so that we could build a memorial to her and to all the children who died because of the bomb. The statue now stands in Peace Park in Hiroshima. This was one of the first times the bomb was openly discussed. Q. Why was there so little discussion of an event so traumatic? A. That's not what Japanese people do. Japanese people try to avoid unpleasant subjects. This tendency is a problem even now with ordinary cancer patients in Japan. They often do not go for help because they want to avoid unpleasantness. I think that when it came to the atomic bomb, a lot of people were ashamed about Pearl Harbor and who had started this war. They didn't want to discuss that, and they also didn't want to create hatred for the United States by saying, 'They shouldn't have dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.' There was more a tendency to say, 'Well, Japan started the Second World War - so maybe we were supposed to get this punishment.' Q. Do you find it ironic that you, a child who grew up in the shadow of the atomic bomb, work with radiation every day? A. Maybe it is natural. I was always curious about radiation and its relation to all the cancer I saw as a child. When Sadako died, I vowed to become a doctor to take care of people with cancer. But when I got to medical school, I encountered something unexpected: patients who'd been treated with radiation for cancers of the voice box and cervix were sometimes cured by it. I began to read more. This was the 1970's. At the time, some of the chemotherapies were not as good as they are now. I could see that radiation therapy was less harmful and that some patients became cancer-free. That stunned me and forced me to change my thinking. I wish other Japanese doctors would change too. A friend developed a big lump around the neck. He was told by his Japanese surgeon that the only treatment was chemotherapy followed by surgery and that he would only have six months to live. He came to my husband and I at M. D. Anderson and we treated him with radiation. He's still alive, seven years later. Q. Your husband is James Cox, the head of radiation oncology at M. D. Anderson. How did your family react to your marrying an American? A. My father did not want me to. He had bad memories of the war. But my husband didn't have anything to do with the atomic bomb. So once they met Jim, there were no questions. They really liked him and felt he was the right person for me. Q. As a team, you and your husband have pioneered new treatments for lung cancer using radiation. What are some of these therapies? A. Well you know, for many years, there weren't many cures for lung cancer. And for a lot of these patients, they were smokers and their lung function was so poor that they couldn't have surgery, which made us think that radiation treatment might be a good alternative. What we developed were techniques for giving higher doses of radiation therapy that were confined to the tumor itself and that will not damage surrounding tissue. We developed together several new protocols in this area. The most common is called three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, and it's a chemo-radiation combination that is used for a lung cancer that has already spread into the lymph nodes. With it, we've been able to increase the survival of our patients from 5 percent to better than 25 percent. And next year, we have the proton beam therapy machine going at M. D. Anderson, and with it we can do even more precise and effective treatments. The protons hit only the diseased tissue and nothing else. Q. Returning to the atomic bomb, one often hears that its use saved the lives of thousands of Americans who would have been killed if the Japanese mainland had to be invaded. How do you answer that? A. There were other ways to do that. I still wonder why they decided to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There might have been a better way to stop the war. The people who decided to drop the bomb, I'm not sure they knew its power. The people who made the bomb were physicists. They understood the blast side of it, but not the long-term effects. That's why, even today, we have to get across to people that a nuclear device is not just another bomb. It's vastly more ominous and terrible. I do have fears - especially with all this terrorism and the Iraq war. I think what it might be like if somebody decided to drop nuclear weapons and how many people could be killed. I would like to give the message to the next generation that this terrible thing should never happen again.

Subject: Re: Hiroshima Mon Amour ?
From: Pancho Villa
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 19:03:07 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:

Subject: Re: Hiroshima Mon Amour ?
From: Emma
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 19:08:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A stunning film.

Subject: Increasing Economic Growth
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 10:33:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We are steadily finding that Alan Greenspan was right yet again. The economy has certainly added to its growth dynamic since the beginning of spring. We are likely to finish the year strongly, and lead the developed nations in growth. This is promising, for the Fed raises will have less slowing impact.

Subject: Re: Increasing Economic Growth
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:54:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'the Fed raises will have less slowing impact.' and our 3 month treasuries will yield ever higher!!!

Subject: Alan Greenspan
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 10:39:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Frankly, we can criticize Greenspan all we wish, and we should, but I will be most unhappy to see him leave the Federal reserve unless Ben Bernanke is chosen to lead and even then I will have regrets. Greenspan has a really good sense of near term economic direction.

Subject: Re: Alan Greenspan
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:58:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Ben Bernanke will be good for Permanent Portfolio & VGPMX! But does he deserve the label, 'Helicopter Man' - we shall see if he becomes the new Fed chair.

Subject: A New Kind of Birdsong
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:59:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/science/02wing.html? A New Kind of Birdsong: Music on the Wing in the Forests of Ecuador By CARL ZIMMER Richard Prum, a Yale ornithologist, was hiking through an Ecuadorean forest 18 years ago when he had one of the strangest experiences an ornithologist can have. He watched a bird sing with its wings. Dr. Prum was observing a male club-winged manakin. The tiny red-headed bird was hopping acrobatically from branch to branch in order to attract female manakins. And from time to time, the male would wave its wings over its back. Each time the manakin produced a loud, clear tone that sounded as if it came from a violin. 'I was just utterly stunned,' Dr. Prum said. 'There's literally no bird in the world that does anything that prepares you for it. It's totally unique.' Ever since, Dr. Prum has wondered how the club-winged manakin managed this feat. Now he and a former student, Kimberly Bostwick of Cornell University, believe they have solved the mystery. Club-winged manakins rake their feathers back and forth over one another, using an acoustic trick that allows crickets to sing. While the technique is common among insects, it has never been documented before in vertebrates. The noise-making skill of manakins first came to the attention of naturalists in the 1800's. The club-winged manakin belongs to the manakin family (Pipridae), which includes about 40 species, many of which have peculiarly shaped feathers that allowed them to make sounds. In many species the males use the noises during their courtship displays. 'Some of them pop like a firecracker, and there a couple that make whooshing noises in flight,' Dr. Prum said. Charles Darwin was fascinated by manakins. He believed they were a compelling example of how females could cause evolutionary change simply by the influence of their mating preferences - a process he called sexual selection. If female birds had a preference for males with large tails, for example, males with larger tails would be more successful at reproducing. Darwin argued that the peacock's tail had evolved this way. On the other hand, if females were attracted to noisy males, the males would evolve adaptations that made them noisier - as in the case of manakins. Biologists have documented the effect of sexual selection in a wide range of animals. Dr. Prum has dedicated much of his career to studying it in manakins. His research shows that wing sounds evolved independently in many manakin lineages. 'Mechanical sounds probably evolved a bunch of times in manakins,' Dr. Prum said. The club-winged manakin, with its unique ability to produce musical sounds, was the most extreme example of sexual selection in manakins. Dr. Bostwick began to study how manakins make their various noises in 1995, when she joined Dr. Prum's lab as a graduate student. In 1997, she traveled to South America to film the birds. On that trip, she saw her first live club-winged manakin. 'I was just blown away by what an odd, odd thing it was,' she said. When Dr. Bostwick returned home, she played her films in slow motion to analyze the manakin wing movements. But the club-wing manakin moved so quickly that its wings were nothing but a blur. 'How that motion created that sound was a black box,' Dr. Bostwick said. Over the next few years, this ornithological black box continued to puzzle Dr. Bostwick and Dr. Prum. Dr. Bostwick found a few clues by poring over the preserved club-winged manakins Dr. Prum had brought back from his 1987 trip. She noticed that one feather on each wing had a peculiar feature: its central vane had a series of ridges - seven on average. The club-winged manakin's wing muscles were also remarkably large. 'They were like little Popeyes, with big bulging muscles,' Dr. Bostwick said. The clues began to come together in 2002 when Dr. Bostwick returned to Ecuador with a new digital camera that could record 1,000 frames a second, over 30 times faster than her previous model. She made new films of the club-winged manakin, and when she returned home she found that she could finally see what the bird's wings were doing. It turns out that when the bird raises its wings over its back, it shakes them back and forth over 100 times a second. This alone would be a remarkable accomplishment for a bird. Hummingbirds typically flap their wings only 50 times a second. But the club-winged manakin's fast shaking alone could not produce the bird's sounds. Its wings produce tones at a frequency of around 1,400 cycles a second - about 14 times faster than it shakes its wings. 'We had to have some kind of frequency multiplier,' Dr. Prum said. Dr. Bostwick traveled to New York to study the manakin collection at the American Museum of Natural History. 'I spent a lot of time playing with the feathers,' she said. She noticed that next to the strangely ridged feather was another feather with a stiff, curved tip. She realized that each time a manakin shook its wings, its tip rakes across the ridges of the neighboring feather like a spoon moving across a washboard. Each time it hit a ridge, the tip produced a sound. The tip would strike each ridge twice - once as the feathers collided and once as they moved apart again. Dr. Bostwick realized that this raking movement allowed a wing to produce 14 sounds during each shake. As a result, a bird could shaking its wings 100 times a second could produce a sound with a frequency of 1,400 cycles a second. 'All the questions that hadn't made any sense just clicked into place,' Dr. Bostwick said. This sort of spoon-and-washboard anatomy is unknown in any other vertebrate, but it is well known in insects. Crickets, for example, have ridges on their wings that act like a pick and file when the insects rub their wings together. 'The convergence is simply stunning,' said Dr. Ronald Hoy, a Cornell expert on insect sounds. Dr. Bostwick and Dr. Prum reported their findings in the July 29 issue of the journal Science. The ornithologists plan to test their hypothesis with new experiments. On her next trip to Ecuador, Dr. Bostwick hopes to catch a male club-winged manakin and clip off the raking tip on each wing (a harmless procedure). 'I should be able to completely silence the bird,' she predicted. Dr. Bostwick argues that the new research underscores just how powerful sexual selection can be. The mating preferences of female birds can produce not only the peacock's tail or the rooster's crow, but also feathers with microscopic adaptations that let them sing like crickets. 'Darwin would have loved it if he had known,' Dr. Bostwick said.

Subject: Susan Polgar Chess Champ get crushed by Johnny5
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 02:31:59 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Johnny5 send commies back across to russia after he kick thier butt hard Bobby Fischer Style!! HAHA - no Susan had far too strong the end game for johnny5, but he did make her work for the win - she inspire many girls to come out and play - even if johnny5 can beat most of them a bishop short. I know the liberal ladies here take lots of joy in her example - she a great ambassador for chess. She beat the record - last count I heard when I left was 330 games. She had to win 80% of them for it to count but there was only one draw and no losses when johnny5 left at 2am. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/accent/content/accent/epaper/2005/08/01/a1d_grandmaster_web_0801.html Chess player Susan Polgar is queen of her game By Mark Schwed Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Monday, August 01, 2005 It sounds like something out of a Frankenstein movie. Laszlo Polgar, who has devoted his professional life to the study of the mind, boldly declares to the world that he can turn any healthy baby into a genius. He will test his theory with his firstborn child, a girl. She will not attend public school — Laszlo believes they are factories for mediocrity. Instead, he will home-school her in his modest apartment in communist Hungary. He will teach her discipline, critical thinking, logic, math, science, English, literature, history. She will learn to speak seven languages fluently and, in time, will grow up to be a mental heavyweight. An Einstein in a skirt. The end product of this experiment is sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Palm Beach Gardens. Laszlo's girl, Susan Polgar, now 36, a single mother of two boys, is wearing a delicately cut lavender jacket and smart black slacks. Her candy-apple-red toenails stick out from soft pink sandals. She is beautiful. But it is her brain that stuns all comers. She is one of the smartest women — no, make that people — on the planet. She is in South Florida to test her mettle. Today, she will attempt to set a Guinness World Record at The Gardens mall by playing 350 chess matches. Simultaneously. As the first woman in the world to attain the World Chess Federation title of grandmaster, a term reserved for only the highest-ranked top-flight players, she is up to the task. Yet it will take up to 20 hours. She will walk from chessboard to chessboard, size up the opponents' positions, make her move and go on to the next player. When she is asked about the possibility of defeat, she arches her left eyebrow like Star Trek's Spock. 'I try to avoid losing as much as possible,' she says in her soft Hungarian accent. 'One can lose by making a silly mistake. That is upsetting. Or one can lose by being outplayed. It's no fun to lose either way. But if I do lose one of the matches, I look at it this way: I really made their day.' Whether she succeeds now is not important. Although her life has been one monumental struggle stacked upon another, she has already proved her father correct. It is possible to grow a child prodigy. Polgar's father, a psychologist and author of the book Bring Up Genius!, and mother, a Ukrainian foreign-language teacher named Klara, have since raised three daughters, all quite brilliant. The youngest, the raven-haired Sophia, was blessed with the most talent. But chess doesn't interest her. The middle sister, Judit, won the right to be called a grandmaster — after her sister did but at a younger age, 15, which is also a few months younger than when Bobby Fischer, the god of the chess world, was named one. At 29, Judit is regarded as the best woman chess player in history and still has a shot at winning the world championship — the Super Bowl of chess. But it is Susan, a grandmaster at 21, the five-time Chess Olympiad champion and four-time women's world champion, who made it all possible. She is the Rosa Parks of chess, taking women from the back of the bus of what had always been a man's game. It was as easy as driving through a brick wall. Winning games at age 4 1/2 Her crash-course in discrimination and the male ego began at the age of 4 1/2 when her father brought her into the smoke-filled chess parlor near her home. Chess can be a brutal game — 'the most violent of all sports,' according to champion Garry Kasparov. Machismo has ruled the game for thousands of years. So when little Susan walked in, the men laughed at this silly girl who wanted to take them on. In short order, the laughing stopped, and the excuses started flowing. 'I'm not feeling well,' they'd say after Polgar pulverized them. Polgar once said that she never beat a healthy man. They all had some ailment to explain why they had been defeated by a mere woman. But as the bodies piled up, it was no longer an embarrassment to be one of the victims of her fiercely aggressive style of play. It is a club with many members, almost exclusively male. At the age of 17, when she became the first woman ever to qualify for what was then called the Men's World Championship, the World Chess Federation said she couldn't play because she was a woman. Eventually, due to Susan's tenacity and the embarrassing press, the federation buckled and changed its policy. 'I'm very proud of that,' Polgar says. 'They had to change the name to eliminate the word Men's.' When she was 19, she and her sisters traveled to Greece to represent Hungary in the Women's Olympiad. They played as a team and defeated the Soviets for the first time in history. They became national heroes. When she became a grandmaster at the age of 21, there were 500 grandmasters in the world — 499 men and 1 woman. Now, there are 1,000. Ten of them are women. In 1994, Polgar married an American computer programmer and moved to Queens in New York City. When she became pregnant with her first child, the chess federation refused to allow her to postpone defense of her title as women's world champion. So she took the federation to court. She won the suit but had already lost her title because she couldn't play the match. 'She is so different than any other chess player I've known,' says Paul Truong, former captain of the Olympiad team and her friend for 21 years. 'I've been in chess for 36 years. I've known all the top players in the world. She just doesn't act like she's god.' But she does draw a crowd. On July 4, Polgar made a three-day trip to Mexico for an exhibition. 'On the first day, she was giving an exhibition for 35 people, but 1,000 showed up,' Truong says. 'The next day, 5,000 people showed up. The next day, there were 25,000 people. They had to have police protection for her. It was like going to a rock concert.' Too much time lost Polgar may be a rock star in the chess world, but she is resigned to the fact that she will never become the world chess champion. After taking years off for her pregnancies and to raise her boys, she lost too much ground to make up in the grueling world of high-level competitive chess. Still, she proved her point that women are just as good as men. Yes, there are physical differences. Women have menstrual cramps (she once fainted during a match), and they get pregnant. 'There are disadvantages,' she explains, 'but that doesn't mean women are less capable.' To ensure that women continue to play on the championship level, she has formed the Susan Polgar Foundation, designed to encourage girls to take up the game of kings. She operates a chess club in Queens, and sponsors national and international tournaments. The first one, which took place last year in Fort Lauderdale, involved 3,000 competitors and 34 state champions. The girls played chess — then donned tiaras for fun. Even in the macho world of chess, girls will be girls. Polgar has written three World Champion's Guide to Chess books (Random House) and created a series of Winning Chess DVDs that teach children how to play the game. She has a Web site (susanpolgar.com), writes frequent columns (chesscafe.com) and tours the world, promoting chess. Just like her father, she believes genius is not innate. It is earned, through hard work. 'I do believe children should be challenged in early childhood more than they are now,' says Polgar, now divorced. 'People attacked my father, said we didn't play enough as children. But children really need and crave food for the mind. They feel good about themselves when they accomplish things. Watching TV and playing video games is not very positive. It's a matter of discipline of the parent. 'It's easy to switch on the TV to entertain your children. But you'll pay for it later.' Like father, like daughter. Chess promoter Now, her master plan has evolved again. She wants chess to go Hollywood, from nerdsville to cool town. She wants chess all over TV, just like poker. 'I have had this dream for many years,' she says. 'Who ever thought poker could be televised?' Like a female version of public-relations whiz P.T. Barnum, she knows that to accomplish this, the game must change for the cameras. It must be fast-paced, action-packed, with hip music and expert commentary. It must have glitz, glamour and Hollywood dazzle. Call her Grandmaster Flash. 'I want to play Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna, Julia Roberts,' she says. 'They all play chess.' To make it fair, she will play blindfolded. Already, one show has been produced and aired. But plans are in the works for a series of shows next year, including a match between two former world leaders, Mikhail Gorbachev and Jimmy Carter. There is no question there is an audience for it. There are 700 million chess players worldwide, 45 million in the United States. 'And it's a more positive message than poker,' she says. She is comfortable with her place in history as the first woman grandmaster and the unofficial ambassador of chess. 'There were obstacles to overcome being a pioneer,' she says. 'But I can use myself better for chess for the next generation of players. I paved the way for my sister,' who, Polgar says, 'is arguably the strongest woman player ever.' It is true that Susan's record may be eclipsed by her younger sister, but there is one thing you should know. In all of Susan and Judit's head-to-head matches, Susan says, 'She never beat me.' Grandmaster Susan Polgar's Chess Challenge starts at 10 a.m. today at The Gardens mall, 3101 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens. For details, go to www.bocachess.com

Subject: Where to Now?
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:38:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The choices were simple in 1999 and 2000, for we understood if we cared to where the excess was and had ample chance to sell technology for parts of the stock market that had been turned from by investors. Also, there was the bond market with the Federal Reserve in a tightening cycle and much higher interest rate levels than now. Now, the real estate sector seems excessively priced while stocks and bonds are moderately expensive. Where to now?

Subject: The Caribbean
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 22:20:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Buy a sailboat. Read Michener's epic Caribbean in preparation - this could be a great adventure! Picking the right boat is the big decision to be made.

Subject: Re: The Caribbean
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 05:53:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The dream of sailing to the Caribbean is exciting, but please know that we would be more than just sad not to have your daily comments to read and argue about. I have never sailed, but I urge that you think ever so carefully about such a winter sail. Sailing to the Caribbean can I believe be tough and somewhat dangerous. I would be afraid and find adventure that is tamer, besides we not not lose you then.

Subject: Re: The Caribbean
From: Pancho Villa
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 07:29:35 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'Sailing to the Caribbean can I believe be tough and somewhat dangerous.' Do You remember what happened to Sam Malone?

Subject: Pancho
From: Emma
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 09:34:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pancho, you are always prized and looked forward to with pleasure :)

Subject: Re:Emma
From: Pancho Villa
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:34:23 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Thank you dearest Emma for this very flattering response;)

Subject: Pancho & Bobby
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:51:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Poncho. You along with Bobby are probably the only two regular posters on this board who really understand the economic issues which we discuss. I look forward to your comments although my ability to decipher them is not always up to the task (which is my failing)! Anyway, I enjoy this board and thanks to Bobby for making it possible!

Subject: Re: Pete & Bobby
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 17:39:58 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Dear Pete, Pete Wise, thank you for all the wisdom you shared, and I'm sure, still will share with all of us through your postings on this board And indeed, a special thank to Bobby, who gives us all the possibility and opportunity to exchange views and opinions on this 'internationally' impregnated board

Subject: Re: The Caribbean
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 05:58:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Please think ever so carefully. There are so many safer ways to adventure and learn than sailing to the Caribbean. The more I think of such a plan, the more dangerous it seems. Think of your lovely lake.

Subject: Re: The Caribbean
From: Terri
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 06:08:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pete, I agree. Your plan is alarming mostly because sailing the Atlantic and Caribbean is dangerous but also because we would lose you. There are other ways to live an exciting retired life. Please do consider again.

Subject: Re: The Caribbean
From: Jennifer
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 07:25:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pete, please do reconsider. What will we do if you are lost? We missed you terribly last time, and would miss you even more this time. I am once look for your comments each day. Sailing in the Caribbean strikes me as well as the others as more dangerous than exciting. Please find a tamer pursuit, with a computer close.

Subject: Dead Calm
From: johnny5
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:24:44 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
JOhnny5 no longer going back there - he got very cold shoulder from many caribbean types - I remember watching a movie about Pete Weis and his wife that starred the actress Rachel Ward - her crazy boyfriend and pete weis were on this island - and Pete and wife went missing and rachel ward and her friend stole thier boat - later pete and wife were found cut up in a box on the island. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101345/ This made for TV movie is based on one of my favorite books, by the same name, and out of all the true crime books I have ever read, I still feel at odds as to whether the person being tried was guilty of murder or assisting a murderer or not. As other people have already said, it is a story of two very different couples who sailed to an island looking for adventure/escape. The younger couple consists of a hard man in his 30s running from the law, and a girl in her late 20s, who is totally dedicated to aiding his escape and usually going along with whatever he wanted. The older couple are in their 40s, upper middle class, attractive, and their yacht, the 'Sea Wind' is a marvel, designed for a couple who would want to exist very comfortably for long periods at different ports. The younger couple were annoying to the older couple, lacking in supplies and begging at times, always needy. They brought along annoying dogs, were always running out of supplies. Although the older man Mac is not fearful of them, the woman really is, and desperate to leave. They have quite a few clashes, despite Jennifer's(the younger woman)attempts to make peace and be friends. Then one day Buck, the younger man, tells Jennifer that the older couple have 'disappeared' - he thinks they got lost fishing and are gone. According to Jennifer, she was not with him the whole day and heard nothing. They sail back to Hawaii on the 'Sea Wind assuming they are dead, and are eventually arrested. The rest of the movie revolves around Jennifer - was she an innocent who believed her boyfriend's Buck's story and heard nothing, or was she a part of the murders, or an assistant? The character Jennifer is very baffling, lying to achieve certain desires and totally truthful in other areas. Even acting at times like she didn't care what her attorney Bugliosi did or didn't do. She is a complex character, sentimental but sensible, wonderful at chess but deluded in judging character. So did Jennifer help commit these murders or know about them? Read the book/watch the movie. I still can't figure it out. I wish this were on video, so I could see it again. I thought it was well-cast with Richard Crenna as Bugliosi, James Garner and Deidre Hall play the older couple, and Hart Bochner and Rachel Ward play Buck and Jennifer. The only problem I have is that I didn't think Ward was quite right for the cuddly, spacy, cautious Jennifer. I don't know who I would liked to see cast, but is was not her. All in all, a 9 out of 10. Of Course go watch the classic DEAD CALM with billy zane and Tom cruise ex wife - you not want that happening to your wife eh?

Subject: Thanks all, but.....
From: Pete Weis
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:44:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
thousands of folks sail the Caribbean every year. I owned a small (26 ft) boat which I sailed along the New England coast during the spring thru the fall. We've have owned a larger boat on Puget Sound. Maine, where I have sailed a lot in the past is actually more difficult than the Bahamas because of the fog and rock ledges which often extend from shore for quite some distance. Back then I had to use charts and dead reckoning, now it's GPS, radar, and both combined on a chart display at the helm. We intend to take it slow, always avoiding areas in seasons where weather patterns bring rough conditions, but sailing in a boat which can take on rough conditions. With today's electronics we can stay connected to the internet via satelite with providers like GlobalStar, but access time will be somewhat more limited. But there are also plenty of internet cafes in the Caribbean. If you have done much sailing, you know that it is not nearly as dangerous as driving on today's crowded highways. If you could be a time bandit and bring a 19th century sailor suddenly into the present, sit him in the passenger seat of a honda civic, and drive 70-80 miles and hour down the Santa Monica freeway or the Mass Pike, he would likely leave his finger indentations on your dashboard! It's all a matter of what your used to. And Johnny, I know the story about the couple on Palmyra - very sad. But at this time we have no intentions of sailing to some remote island with little to no resources. Funny story: Almost 20 years ago, I was anchored in Cape Porpoise harbor Maine. It was a beautiful morning and I stood on the cockpit seat with one hand holding a cup of coffee and my free arm resting on the boom - kind of a 'wow this is great' pose. Now my boat was that little 26 footer I mentioned. It was a Contessa 26 (a Swedish folkboat design built in Great Britian). This may ring a bell with some, since this is the same model boat which a young Tanya Aebi sailed alone around the world and chronicled in her great book 'Maiden Voyage'. Anyway, the Kennebunkport tourist boat pulls into Cape Porpoise and the speaker is blaring out all the historical sites and it's crackerbox, jammed full of tourists. Then the skipper who is on the speaker spies my little boat and says the following - 'and folks that little boat anchored right there in the harbor has sailed around the world!!!'. I can hear all the people oowing and awing and they're taking pictures and at that moment I'm having a Walter Mitty moment, with goose bumps up and down my arms as I sip on my coffee. That was the best cup of coffee, I ever had in my life!

Subject: Re: Thanks all, but.....
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 12:00:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Then I understand you are highly skilled as a sailor. I am pleased, and should have guessed, but I know so little of sailing. Still, you must keep up with us so we can follow you about.

Subject: Re: Thanks all, but.....
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 14:38:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I wouldn't refer to us as highly skilled sailors, ready to cross oceans. But we have some experience and it wouldn't hurt us to take some larger boat cruising clinics before we buy the boat. Anyway, it's kind of a cruising community on the East Coast with less experienced sailors cruising with more experience folks and learning along the way. I'll need to to be, to some extent, a HVAC mechanic, diesel mechanic, plumbing, electrical, etc. It's a new challenge and we're looking forward to it. We understand that some days will be sublime and others will be a grind, but we intend to spend more time off the boat exploring places we pull into. I'll have to improve on my fishing skills, because it will be the source of much of our diet - on a boat the best and often only fresh food will come from the sea.

Subject: Re: Thanks all, but.....
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 15:43:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
All I wish for is that you are both happy on sea or shore. Keep the darn computer link up however.

Subject: Sorry!
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 23:21:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I take your question seriously. These are difficult times to invest and secure a decent retirement when we reach that point. For the time being most of our (my wife and I) 'nest egg' is in 3 month treasuries (3.4% presently but probably headed higher) with some investment in energy companies, Permanent Portfolio, and precious metals investments such as VGPMX (probably the best precious metals fund out there) and healthcare stocks. But our investment choices are not what most folks would want. I just think that the traditional 'balanced portfolio' (60% stocks, 35% bonds, 5% cash equivalents) or some variation of this will simply lose money in the coming nears. I think you must hedge against the fall in the dollar in some way and target certain sectors which should still do relatively well even in hard times and above all seek safety (3 month treasuries). In this way we hope to do somewhat better than we would if we only had treasuries. In the end all the old timers (Russell, Templeton, Buffet, etc.) are saying stocks will get much cheaper down the road when dividends will be much higher than they are now. The key is having cash when stocks finally get cheap again (probably when the S&P gets below 10x earnings as it has in the past). The same thing goes for real estate - it will swing from extremely expensive to relatively cheap when credit gets much, much tighter and rates higher. Patience is the supreme virtue in this instance!

Subject: Watching the Bond Market
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 19:05:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Right, interest rates are my biggest worry. This market does not frighten me at all as long as long term rates stay low, but high rates will threaten housing and that has been the economic driver since 2001. There is a reason the stock market has been so halting even while making gradual gains. So I stay with value and think 'caution.'

Subject: Re: Summertime
From: Pancho Villa
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 19:26:33 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Bush appoints Bolton to UN during Senate recess By Caroline Daniel and Holly Yeager in Washington John Bolton, the man who famously said it would make no difference if the United Nations secretariat lost 10 floors, became US ambassador to the UN on Monday in a controversial recess appointment that ended five months of delay. The appointment, made during the August break for Congress, represented a snub to the Senate, bypassing Democratic opposition. A vote on Mr Bolton's nomination was blocked twice by Democrats amid concern at his alleged disdain for international institutions and fears he skewed intelligence on Iraq during his time at the State Department.

Subject: Rats!!!
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:41:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I was hoping Bulldawg Bolton would end up as presidential spokesman. Now wouldn't that help CNN's ratings? Imagine the press grilling Bolton and Bolton's reactions? All kidding aside, Bolton should do as good a job at the UN as he did analyzing the intelligence that got us into Iraq. Now with that comment I'm in total agreement with many conservatives.

Subject: Re: Rats!!!
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 21:41:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We had better keep a sense of humor these days, folks.

Subject: Federal Reserve Assurances
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 17:43:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is a sense of confidence expressed repeatedly by Federal Reserve executives from Alan Greenspan on that growth imbalances notwithstanding the Fed need not worry about reviving the economy should growth falter. I hope this is so, but I really do not want to see higher long term interest rates begin to limit growth in the housing market. Were I a Fed executive I would be quite assuring, but rather anxious. This has been a cycle unlike any we have experienced, for housing has been so dominant. What takes the place of housing, or is that of no concern since a slowing in housing will leave enough secondary work on home projects to keep us growing nicely? Then too, vehicle sales have never slowed meaningfully this cycle. Investment however has not been what I would have wished.

Subject: Why ane Long Term Interest Rates Rising?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 17:16:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Why are long term interest rate slowly rising? Inflation does not seem to be the issue. We appear to be past the peak core inflation reading for this cycle, a core Consumer Price Index reading that is the lowest peak of any cycle since at least 1975. Labor costs are all too limited. No, inflation would not seem the problem. I suspect either hedge funds are unwinding positions or marginally less buying of dollar assets by central banks. Why does this worry me?

Subject: Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:24:55 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
World turning its back on Brand America By Kevin Allison in New York The US is increasingly viewed as a 'culture-free zone' inhabited by arrogant and unfriendly people, according to study of 25 countries' brand reputations. The findings, published online today, will add to concerns that anti-Americanism is hurting companies whose products are considered to be distinctly 'American'. The Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index found that although US foreign policy remained a key driver of hostility, dissatisfaction with the world's sole superpower might run deeper. 'The US is still recognised as a leading place to do business, the home of desirable brands and popular culture,' said Simon Anholt, author of the survey. 'But its governance, its cultural heritage and its people are no longer widely respected or admired by the world.' Keith Reinhard, president of Business for Diplomatic Action, a group of business leaders dedicated to improving the US's image overseas, said help from the private sector was needed to repair Brand America. 'Right now the US government is not a credible messenger,' said Mr Reinhard, chairman of DDB Worldwide, the advertising group. 'We must work to build bridges of understanding and co-operation and respect through business-to-business activities.' Such initiatives could include lobbying for less stringent visa requirements for foreign students entering the US, increased cultural exchanges between US businesses and their foreign counterparts, and courses in diplomacy and foreign languages at business schools. The US ranked llth in the Brands Index, which asks people around the world to rate 25 countries according to their cultural, political and investment potential and other criteria. Australia received the highest overall score, with respondents expressing 'an almost universal admiration of its people, landscapes and living and working environment', according to the report. Although the US received high marks for its popular culture, it ranked last in cultural heritage, a measure of a country's 'wisdom, intelligence, and integrity', according to Mr Anholt. That the world takes a dim view of the US people will surprise most Americans themselves: the study's American respondents consistently placed the US at the top of all six categories polled. FT Monday August 1 2005

Subject: Re: Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index
From: Jennifer
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:40:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pancho, you are always interesting to read as well even when you are gently mysterious.

Subject: Cycles and timing
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:00:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From The New Zealand Herald: Brent Sheather: Don't be too sure that stocks are a long-term winner 30.07.05 There is no shortage of information on investing in the sharemarket for mum and dad contemplating equities as a home for their savings. Trouble is that much of it, for one reason or another, is dead wrong. Take past performance as an example many people think that it's the bottom line as far as picking what's going to do well in the future. Technical analysis or charting is all about discerning the future from the past and extrapolating trends. Financial planners all over the world pay to get performance statistics for hundreds of thousands of managed funds investing in various asset classes - New Zealand shares, US shares, global shares, emerging markets, property and bonds - because mum and dad want to know, as one local Italian investor puts it, what's a going a good? Remember back in 1999/2000 trying to sell NZ shares to clients was hopeless. All they wanted was international shares with a bit of technology if you were really up with the play. Buying past performance is popular and easy to do but the odds are stacked against such a strategy because, as common sense tells us, it's already gone up. These thoughts and several other good ones are argued in a paper entitled What Did We Learn From the Great Stock Market Bubble for a forthcoming issue of the US Financial Analysts Journal. The author is Clifford Asness, of AQR Capital Management of the US. Asness is a frequent contributor to the Analysts Journal and the Journal of Portfolio Management. He has a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and, prior to co-founding AQR Capital, was a research director of Goldman Sachs. He has also lectured at Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). AQR manages US$13.5 billion ($19.9 billion) and is based in Greenwich, Connecticut. The paper, to be published next month, is a breath of fresh air and should be compulsory reading for would-be stockbrokers and financial planners even though the reality of working in the investment industry is often such that profitability depends on perpetuating the myths rather than embracing the facts. For example, refusing to sell what's hot based on past performance is generally not a great career move. Asness' gems are written from the perspective of what we have or should have learned from the Great Stockmarket Bubble of 1998/2000 and, in so doing, he summarises much of the most important, recent research on sharemarket investing. Long-term average stock returns are a poor forecaster of the future That this truth doesn't get much airplay is due to the fact that it materially threatens the economics of the savings industry. Managed fund salespeople need historic high-equity returns to continue to make their fees look reasonable but the truth is that high historic returns don't mean high future returns. Asness uses the example of investors, back in 1999, calculating the return on US stocks from 1946 to 1999. That analysis would have showed an average historic return of 8.4 per cent per annum above inflation. Great historic performance so everyone piles in, but then, over the next five years, the annualised return was actually negative 5 per cent pa. Asness says: 'The main point is that after periods of strong returns, trailing average returns are higher, and since these periods almost always come with increases in valuation, future expected returns are actually lower ... ' Higher prices today means lower expected returns tomorrow This point is related to the one above and an understanding of it is critical for anyone investing in shares or property. Asness looks at the valuation of the US sharemarket for every 10-year period between 1927 and 2004 and sorts each of these into six categories according to their average price-earnings ratio then calculates the return in the following 10 years. His data shows that buying shares at high prices generally means lower returns in the future. More common sense. The sort of sense that also tells us that shares aren't guaranteed to outperform houses or bonds or cash for that matter if share prices are too high. Asness says: 'Next consider the hallowed property of equity returns; that stocks never lose if held for the long term. Well, if a decade is your idea of the long term, then this is only true when prices start out at or below average. When they start out expensive, there are decades where stocks not only lost to inflation but lose big.' So there goes 'hold for the long term and you'll be okay', out the window along with 'buying last year's winners'. We can also see the sense of this point if we go back to that economic formula which says returns = dividend yield plus the growth rate of earnings. When prices are high (like now) dividends are low (2 per cent) and, thus, future returns are likely to be lower than at times when dividends are higher. What this also suggests is that all that good advice saying 'time in the market' is more important than 'timing' are, well, wrong. If you buy in at a time when prices are high even 10 years may not be long enough to beat inflation. Next week more of Asness' revelations including 'why dividends are good', 'earnings don't grow at 10 per cent a year' and 'why international diversification is not a waste of time'. * Brent Sheather is a Whakatane-based investment adviser.

Subject: Thank you....
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 16:43:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pete, know every word you post is appreciated. You do all that is possible to be polite to everyone. There are those who do not understand. No matter. All you do is always cared for.

Subject: Thank you Terri
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:13:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Thank you Pete
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:26:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Same for me. Please try not to worry about those who are not grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Subject: Thanks Jennifer
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 21:19:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Honestly, if you are refering to my being called a 'whack job', I thought that was pretty funny. Abner is probably a decent fellow but we live, as many have said, in a polarized world. I think we train ourselves to think in a certain way and we tend to reject opposite opinions out of hand. Certainly I'm guilty of that at times. But more people than ever seem to have an anger (for what ever reason)down deep inside and civility has disappeared. Perhaps it's these radio talk shows (Savage Nation?) which stir up the anger and sometimes downright hatred for those with a different view. The other day a conservative on TV who was being interviewed was critizing liberals for being too tolerant as if it were evil. I thought - tolerance is exactly the one virtue which we don't have enough of in this world. We just had suicide bombers in Great Britain kill a bunch of innocent people, including children, because they can't tolerate the British 'immoral' culture. We had a leading conservative televangelist claim that 911 (just after it occured) was God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuals and women's rights. We just had an election decided, atleast in part, because conservatives were able to use the issue of gay marriage against 'liberal' Democrats - despite an administration having gotten us into a prolonged war in Iraq for reasons which turned out to be false. Go figure - it's the world we live in and we'll just have to hope for better times, more tolerance, and less killing.

Subject: Re: Cycles and timing
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 15:41:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We should always read Cliff Asness, and discuss what he has to tell us. Thank you so much for this.

Subject: Re: Cycles and timing
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:25:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Clifford Asness is an excellent investor and analyst, and especially honest. We need to read this article.

Subject: Relative Values
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 09:46:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Markets do not predict the future but they contain lots of information to give us a fine sense of the present and hints of what can come. There were many hints of what would in time happen to technology stocks from 1998 to 2000, and there were investors who used the hints to look away from speculative excdess and to relative market value. There are and will be such hints in markets now. There are and will be protective stances that can be adopted even as we continue to invest. Relative values are there for us.

Subject: Responsibility
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 05:54:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Economists or analysts who are deeply concerned with the economy may in time prove right or wrong, but they are serving us poorly to continually express worries but never suggest how we can personally protect ourselves. We are almost 3 years into a global bull market in stocks, bonds and real estate. We need to have a steady stream of ideas for personally coping with a possible return to difficulties in any of the markets. But, I find no such responsible discussion.

Subject: Re: Responsibility
From: Jennifer
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 07:26:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Raising taxes or cutting social benefit programs enough to bring the deficit to the point at which it grows only as fast as the economy, is not possible with this Congressional majority heading toward an election in just over a year. The President has committed to not raising taxes. So, we must be realistic and understand how the economy is progressing with the policy we have and adopt portfolios that take account of this. We can be cautious, even pessimistic, but we need to know how to provide for ourselves for pessimism that is warranted in years is too abstract for us to act on individually now.

Subject: rise and fall of police states
From: johnny5
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:25:54 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
The lesser political pill you take today may save a stalin type from coming to power no? Never does this seem to occur to the people, instead things just keep spiraling out of control until a very hard person and gubbment must come in to fix things. History bears this out many times.

Subject: Re: Responsibility
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 11:52:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Certainly it's not the job of economists to tell people how to invest, but they can warn folks that the markets, in general, can be poor places to invest at given times as did Robert Shiller in his book 'Irrational Exuberance'. The following is a response in April of 2000 to a couple of Paul Krugman op-eds which suggested that the government should step up regulation of the markets to protect investor interests. We know now after Enron, Worldcom, etc that the SEC was asleep at the switch and by early 2000 margin buying in the stock market had become dangerous not only to investors but also the economy. But if your an economist who dares to challenge Wall Street hungry for more cash, get ready for a backlash: THE IRRATIONAL ECONOMIST SYNOPSIS: Wanniski criticizes Krugman's belief that stock markets are irrational right now To: Paul Krugman, NYTimes From: Jude Wanniski Re: The Crazy Stock Market When I turned to your column last Wednesday, Dr. Krugman, I had hoped you would devote it to the previous day’s dizzy NASDAQ drop of 575 points and sharp 500-point rebound. You did not disappoint me. I automatically assumed you would inform your readers that this crazy day on Wall Street was further evidence that the market is comprised of dopes and retards who don’t know the correct prices of financial assets. As you put it: 'If you are one of the people who, despite all the evidence, retain some lingering illusions about the rationality of financial markets, yesterday should have cured you. And yesterday’s events also proved that worries about the growing practice of buying stock on margin – in effect, borrowing in order to speculate – are completely justified.' The case is now CLOSED, you wrote, which means the government should 1) place greater limits on margin buying and 2) favor companies that have earnings over companies that are attracting capital on the sheer speculation that someday they might have earnings. Inasmuch as brick and mortar Old Economy companies have earnings and high-tech Internet companies of the New Economy do not, we can see you favor the status quo. Your last line is another in a long series of assertions you have been making about the inefficiency of the market in setting prices and allocating capital: 'When things are going well there is a strong tendency to suppose that financial markets can take care of themselves. Well, they can’t.' Your belief that government wise men can do a better job than the market of setting prices and allocating capital takes more than a small step in the direction of the Soviet system. You see that, don’t you, Professor? The very idea of central planning was to eliminate the volatility of the marketplace, which led to crashes, depressions and wars. Since you took your leave of academia in January to write this twice-weekly column for the Times, you have practically boasted that you do not understand why financial markets move as they do. Now, you have declared yourself a follower of Robert Shiller, whose 'important new book, ‘Irrational Exuberance’,' you say proves that the 'excess volatility' of the markets shows there is little rational connection between prices and 'any possible rational forecast of prospective profits.' Logically, this suggests that either you and Shiller are rational and markets are not, or markets are rational and you and Shiller do not understand them. Let me try and help you out. The Wall Street market is like a giant computer, Professor, one that links the judgements of everyone who is in the market, and may at any moment choose to get out, and everyone who is not in the market, but who at any moment may choose to get in it. If you have been to a racetrack, you have noticed the tote board, which changes constantly prior to a race, as the bettors place their bets. At a horse race, betting volatility increases not only when news comes to all the players at once that there has been a change of jockeys or post positions or a scratch of one of the favorites. It also occurs as bettors watch the changing odds on the tote board before placing their bets. Where one person might look at a financial asset and refuse to make a bet when the odds on the board are 5-to-1, that bet might be made if the odds went to 10-to-1. Others, seeing no chance of a profit when the odds are 10-to-1, may give it a closer look if the odds suddenly drop to 5-to-1. It takes all kinds of people to make the market, which is especially interesting as the universe of players on Wall Street, where the betting windows never really close. In the races on Wall Street, the same kind of analysis and 'play' occurs. This is why it is nonsensical for Shiller to pin the blame on 'speculators' for the 1987 market crash, because, as you say, 'the only reason any significant number of investors gave for selling stocks was – surprise! – that prices were falling.' When I put forward my argument that the 1929 crash had been caused by the increased chances of passage of the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act, any number of economists insisted this could not have been the case, because none of the sellers mentioned it at the time. I argued that even a small number of careful analysts could tip the entire market into a decline, by getting out when they had intended to stay in. You certainly can observe the dizzy swings that occur in prices when there is an unfounded rumor that takes hold among traders. In any event, I finally was told that the original E.F. (Bud) Hutton had written in his biography that the tariff act’s progress spooked him and he got out of the market at the right time. If you don’t believe surprise passage of a high protective tariff could throw a monkey wrench into global trade and the value of financial assets attached to those trades, you would of course assume the market was high because of irrational exuberance; eventually the speculative 'bubble' burst with no real news of prospective profits. I don’t know your opinion on why 1929 happened, but I assume you are with John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman in attributing it to irrationality. As for October 1987 crash, I think it can be well documented that the broad market was suddenly surprised by the decision of the Fed and the Treasury to allow a dollar devaluation – thus breaking the Louvre Accord of February 1987. Because the capital gains tax had not been indexed to protect against inflation, any weakening of the dollar would cause dramatic increases in the effective tax on capital. Right? If you don’t believe the markets care about capital gains tax and inflation when assessing prospective earnings, you will of course buy into Shiller’s bubble theory. As to the role of margin debt, I think you and Shiller should pause and consider that a shareholder’s debt can’t possibly have an effect on the price of a share. For every dollar of debt, there is a dollar of savings. If I choose to borrow against my assets to buy shares on Wall Street, believing the shares are undervalued relative to the interest I have to pay on the debt incurred, I have to find someone willing to sell me those shares, someone who believes the better play is to lend the money at interest. The value of equities cannot in any way cause 'inflation,' nor can the size of debt. For every dollar I have earned – or borrowed from someone else who has earned it – there has been something produced at the value of a dollar. Only when the Federal Reserve forces a new dollar into the banking system, with no palpable demand for it, can there be an inflation. Why is NASDAQ swinging around so crazily then? I have been advising Polyconomics’ clients for more than a year to expect crazy swings, because the Internet stocks are like newborn babies. Any little change in the weather can threaten their very lives. The brick-and-mortar companies are able to withstand the occasional flu bug, because they have hard assets that can be collateralized. The market knows these new kids can grow up to be as big as Gulliver among the Lilliputians, but little bits of news about taxation of the Internet or threats to patent laws can cause stocks to fall sharply in the morning and rebound in the afternoon. Hey, John Crudele, the financial columnist of the NYPost, last week wrote of suspicions that the Clinton Treasury and White House had inside information on what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was up to, and they whispered it to pals on Wall Street at just the moment the NASDAQ was bottoming out. It was no coincidence that the rebound began when Gene Sperling, who chairs the National Economic Council at the White House, confidently told reporters that everything was going to be okay. Maybe yes, maybe no. But instead of telling your readers the market is plain nuts and the government should step in to fix it, you should spend a little more time thinking about the New Economy and how it can grow mightily or how it might be strangled in its cradle. And think back a hundred years. In 1900, the buggy-whip manufacturers had high earnings and the auto manufacturers were still dreaming about them. What are you doing with the buggy whips?

Subject: Re: Responsibility
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 15:40:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you, Pete. I understand, but there is not enough sound guidance given and I worry about this problem for all of us.

Subject: gold or cash
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:25:30 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
some say deflation and hold cash, some say inflation and hold gold, as hedge funds unwind - credit unravels, does the money supply go up or down? when has it went down in the past? In the 30's and oil shocks of the 70's how did the investor do that held dividend paying resource or commodity stocks?

Subject: Re: gold or cash
From: Pete Weis
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:56:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The new economics says to avoid deflation at almost all costs. The dollar will fall. That doesn't mean that assets like stocks and real estate won't deflate. But it does mean that a gallon of milk will cost much more.

Subject: Re: Responsibility
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 16:20:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It's difficult to get specific information which is competent and honest (where the broker/financial advisor doesn't have conflicts). But if we had listened to Paul Krugman and Robert Shiller with regard to their general advice in early 2000, we would have gotten out of the stock markets and into cash and boosted our investments in bond funds ( because, hopefully, we would have anticipated trouble ahead in the economy with the possibility of a stock crash and realized, at the very least, the Fed would not be raising rates). So if we had taken their advice we would have locked in much of the gains (minus the taxes) which we had accrued in the 80's & 90's. Oh, well - hindsight. The question is - are we listening to them now? Because now we can take their 'general' advice and use some foresight!!!!

Subject: Re: Responsibility
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 20:28:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This time may be harder, for there are no obvious retreats.

Subject: Re: Responsibility
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 21:58:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
At this time, my wife and I are buying a lot of 3 month treasuries (at around 3.4%). We will be buying more Permanent Portfolio and more VGPMX - over time the dollar will head lower (possibly much lower if folks like Paul Volker are correct). Like Johnny we have a lot of oil stock even though I think oil companies have an unholy alliance with this administration and government led conservation is what is needed most when it comes to energy policy. But this is the hand we are dealt. Oil is going higher and the current account with it (until the US consumer finally packs it in or Volker's financial crisis hits)- there is much less in oil reserves out there than is being reported. I have to believe our government knows this - heck its been in the NYT's and BBC (oh that's right - those are 'liberal' news outlets and they're simply not to believed). We have a government which will wait for the crisis and then try to figure a way to sell it to the American people as the fault of the 'liberals'. Oh, and we've just sold our house - got an amount I would never have dreamed of 5 years ago. We are absolutely debt free. We are going to buy a used sailboat, probably this next spring, somewhere in New England, and head to the Caribbean for the winter. Don't expect to buy another house for some years - we'll see. Prices on used liveaboard sailboats have been coming down - guess everyone is investing in real estate instead. The sailboat may not sell for much when it comes time to sell - don't care - my wife and I don't want to leave this world wishing we had done something we only dreamed about.

Subject: Gold and texas tea
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 08:25:07 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I owned some gold funds until this last year and had a serious warren buffet type fundamental think about my investments, and I am arguing with folks over at siliconinvestor who keep telling me to buy gold now. China will buy gold, and I say OK, I have a navy ship that needs lots of oil to make planes fly and make tanks go - and right now it seems we already not letting chinese buy that oil for thier tanks and planes with green paper - yet you gonna have me believe we gonna give up the black gold for the yellow kind? Yellow gold will not make tanks go or planes fly to keep your military going - so I ask them OK chinese by some miracle dump all their green paper and get the entire worlds supply of gold shiny metal, then they come to buy UNOCAL with lots of gold tonnage and told NOPE - thats a national security risk and george bush type gives them the finger - what good is GOLD even if you cant buy the stuff you need to make tanks and planes go with it? What did the people who grew this country need, lots of land, water, wood, roads, canals, crops, beef, steel, oil, people - etc etc - could america have become third world to first world without GOLD? I think so, now of course if everyone gives GOLD much importance then you have to think about that - but when we went to IRAQ we did not do like that movie THREE KINGS and send troops to protect art, and antiques and gold, we sent them to protect oil refineries. That shows what national governments truly value. ENERGY. Again I will recall 50's korea where the service man had a gold watch and the local economy was in shambles and he wanted to buy some nookie - his seargeant and him left the base - he didn't have his american paycheck yet and all he had on his body was the watch - they go into local pawnshop and the owner tells him look around - I got gold everywhere - gold forks, gold lighters, gold gold gold, everyone bring me thier gold. When the economy collapse everyone bring in their gold to buy my can openers and matches and soap and such. The american soldier was stressing bad for some nookie, he had not had any in awhile so he lit up a joe camel cigarette and the shop owner said OH my friend - now you have something of value - he said for one cigarette you can get all the good nookie you want - hehe. Seems local hookers valued nicotine more than shiny metal - go figure. Mogambo says buy gold, many say buy gold,I did buy gold for a few years but not now - I can see the logic of buying commodities, but if I have all the oil or food in the world and china has all the gold in the world and they come to me for food and oil I cant or wont spare - even if they offer me all the gold in the universe - I will not give up my oil or food. When you are on your sailboat Pete - will the engine need OIL to run - or gold? Remember that movie WATERWORLD - OIL made the exxon valdez economy work and SAND was the barter token of choice. And people killed for just one cup of clean water.

Subject: Re: Gold and texas tea
From: Pete Weis
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Aug 02, 2005 at 11:52:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Johnny. Our gold investments are rather small compared to our total portfolio and are meant as a hedge against dollar devaluation. I don't expect any governments to be buying gold in the future and you're right - China would have much more interested in buying up the rights to oil reserves. It's really the citizens, in countries where the local currency is tanking, who will have an interest in trading currency for gold investment. It will, IMO, likely turn into a speculative thing eventually - at which time it will be good to get out.

Subject: Who Needs Education Schools?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 18:52:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/education/edlife/hartocollis31.html?ei=5070&en=49c5aa8ef3f581bf&ex=1122955200&pagewanted=print Who Needs Education Schools? BY ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS THE whistle-stop town of Emporia, Kan. (population 27,000), has two claims to fame: William Allen White, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor and confidant of Theodore Roosevelt, and turning out teachers. Emporia State University was established as a 'normal' school - dedicated solely to the training of teachers - in 1863, two years after Kansas became a state. The esteem in which teaching is held there can be seen in the one-room schoolhouse maintained as a kind of shrine at the edge of campus. The National Teachers Hall of Fame is in Emporia, and tourists come to see the dollhouse models of classrooms from the early 17th century onward and to read the plaques of inductees - 70, so far. 'Teacher education on this campus is one of the more rigorous majors,' says Teresa Mehring, dean of the teachers' college, pulling out the ACT scores of entering students to prove a point that most education deans would be hard-pressed to make and defend. A visit to classes suggests that raw material is not the only difference. The Emporia State curriculum is heavy on traditional courses like 'Using Children's Literature in the Elementary Classroom' and 'Reading for the Elementary Teacher.' The college's plain-spoken mission statement: 'To develop the professional: critical thinker, creative planner and effective practitioner.' If Emporia State is a throwback to an earlier time, when preparing teachers for the classroom was a high calling, it is also a reminder of how many teachers' colleges have strayed from the central mission of the normal school. For decades, education schools have gravitated from the practical side of teaching, seduced by large ideas like 'building a caring learning community and culture' and 'advocating for social justice,' to borrow from the literature of the Hunter College School of Education, part of the City University of New York. With the ambition of producing educators rather than technicians, in the words of Hunter's acting dean, Shirley Cohen, schools have embraced a theoretical approach. But critics say that ill prepares teachers to function effectively in the classroom. Attrition statistics tell the dismal story: 14 percent of teachers leave the classroom in the first year, nearly half by the fifth year. Today, education schools face pressure to improve from all directions. A flurry of new studies challenges their ideological bias and low admissions standards. Critics now question their very existence, with competition from fast-track routes to certification threatening their long-held monopoly on training teachers. The soul-searching has accelerated with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which demands a 'highly qualified' teacher - state certified, with a bachelor's degree and proven knowledge of subject - in every classroom by the end of this coming school year. In fact, No Child Left Behind, with its emphasis on standards and hard data, has placed national policy in direct conflict with the prevailing approach of many colleges, where the John Dewey tradition of progressive education holds sway, marked by a deep antipathy toward testing. Some analysts are now calling for teachers' colleges to follow the Emporia State model - 'to give them a lot of practical experience so they're not shocked when they come into the classroom,' says Diane Ravitch, the education historian, who is working on a book entitled 'Forgotten Heroes of American Education: The Great Tradition of Teaching Teachers.' She adds: 'There is a disconnect of professors of education just not being capable of equipping future teachers with the practicalities to be successful. And if teachers are not successful, they will not be retained; they will either move to a different district that is not as difficult or leave teaching altogether.' The idea of 'preparing excellent teachers who are excellent in their subject,' she says, has been overtaken by other concerns - 'professors wanting to be respected in the university, and teachers' colleges wanting to become places where research is done and to be agents of transformational change.' 'At the end of the day, what would principals and parents value most?' just what do education schools teach? in a report published last year that put many educators on the defensive, researchers found that top education schools were not equipping their students to deal with the standards movement - nor giving them an understanding, going back to classical sources like Plato and Aristotle, of what constitutes an educated person. David M. Steiner, co-author of the report, is director of arts education at the National Endowment for the Arts and on leave as department chairman in educational administration, training and policy studies at Boston University. With his associate Susan D. Rozen, he reviewed the curriculums of 16 teachers' colleges, 14 of them among the nation's best, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Since there is little data on which educational approach translates into effective teaching, they looked for a balance in material. Instead, they found little effort to present opposing schools of thought. The general posture of education schools, they concluded, was countercultural, instilling mistrust of the system that teachers work in. Among the texts most often assigned were Jonathan Kozol's 'Savage Inequalities,' an indictment of schooling in poor urban neighborhoods, and writings by Paulo Freire, who advocates education to achieve political liberation. Theories of how children learn, like the multiple learning styles advocated by Howard Gardner of Harvard, were more likely to be taught than what children should learn, like the Core Knowledge curriculum advanced by E. D. Hirsch, a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. Finally, Dr. Steiner wrote, prospective teachers were not being taught methods that would help their students do well on standardized tests. Most texts used to teach reading had been written by proponents of whole language methods, and there was only fleeting exposure to the kinds of scripted, phonics-based curriculums, like Open Court, that are increasingly being adopted in the nation's schools. 'There is a vision here,' Dr. Steiner said in an interview, 'and it's all just one vision. It is a synthesis of what we call the progressivist vision and the constructivist vision' - that is, the theory that it is better for children to construct knowledge than to receive it. But, he added, 'The counterview has an equal and much longer tradition - the responsibility to engage the student, but to engage the student as the authority.' To suggestions that his report was itself ideological, and conservative, Dr. Steiner says he's actually an old-fashioned liberal. On Aug. 15, Dr. Steiner will step directly into the fray, as new dean of education at Hunter College. At Hunter, he says, he hopes to prepare teachers who 'are scholars of their craft,' both proficient in methods and curriculum and able to think in a sophisticated way. Given all the sound and fury, there is surprisingly little disagreement with that. 'One of the biggest dangers we face is preparing teachers who know theory and know nothing about practice,' acknowledges Arthur Levine, president of Teachers College at Columbia, one of the leading avatars of progressive education. Historians note that Dewey himself had such concerns in the 1920's. But, Dr. Levine says, that is not what happens at strong - and philosophically diverse - education schools like Stanford, the University of Virginia, Alverno College in Milwaukee and Emporia State. 'They have a clarity of mission,' says Dr. Levine, who is conducting a two-year study on the quality of education schools that will be published in November. 'They know what they're trying to do. Their definition of success is tied to student learning in classes taught by those teachers.' It used to be that if you wanted to become a teacher, you went to an education school. Now a growing movement holds that these schools have become irrelevant, especially in urban areas. Alternative programs to certification are now offered in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Organizations like Teach for America, a Peace Corps model that puts new college graduates in troubled schools for two-year stints, and the New York City Teaching Fellows, which promotes teaching as a second career, are taking it upon themselves to train teachers. Recruits with no experience are given a quick and dirty version of education school - a few weeks of classroom management, learning theory, literacy (the teaching of reading and writing), diversity training - then placed in the classroom, with coaching from mentors. People who enter through such routes are not exempt from state requirements, like a master's degree in education in New York; the advantage is they can teach and study for the degree at the same time. Commercial organizations are also getting into the act. Harold O. Levy, the former New York City schools chancellor who helped found the Teaching Fellows, has developed an online teaching college for Kaplan Inc., the test-prep company. Similarly, David Levin, co-founder and superintendent of the KIPP schools, a network of 38 charter schools from Houston to the South Bronx, is working on a teacher-training program meant to produce the kind of teachers he needs in his schools. 'That would be our dream, to credential our own teachers,' says Mr. Levin, who adds that he has found 'a sizable gap between what people are learning in schools of education and what they need in public schools.' Where education schools fall short, he argues, is in conveying the skills you might learn in business school: how to manage time, how to build motivation and evaluation into every lesson. 'You need whatever the theory is, and you need to put it into practice,' he says. 'There needs to be immediate feedback on that practice.' There is consensus that apprenticeship along the lines of medical school - students learn the science of medicine in the classroom, then practice it in a hospital, supervised by faculty doctors - is a better model than traditional student teaching, which is often done for a semester or less and is loosely supervised, if at all, by university faculty. At Emporia State, undergraduates spend their entire senior year in surrounding school districts, including Olathe, Topeka and Kansas City. They are assigned to observe or teach classes during regular school hours. They take college classes after hours in the districts they are assigned to, not on campus. By the second semester, they are expected to function as head teachers. Supervising professors know the curriculum of those districts as well as any district employee. 'I know Olathe's program inside out,' says Tara Azwell, a professor who until recently supervised students there. 'I could step into any classroom and teach it.' Ms. Azwell says medical training is a good analogy for what Emporia State interns go through. 'They get no sleep,' she says. 'They're working 24 hours a day. There are those who have no money because they can't work a job, so they're not eating. They're in a classroom 8 to 4 every day. They really think they're going to die.' Education schools are expected to do some things 'that it's absurd to expect them to do,' says Dr. Levine. One is to send teachers into the world 'as a fully formed product,' as if they needed no further mentoring, he says, and another is 'to change the population of people applying to become teachers.' The most prestigious programs - Bank Street College of Education, Columbia, Harvard - attract the best students, but most teachers do not come from these. For at least a decade, students who intend to major in education have had among the lowest SAT scores of all college-bound seniors - in 2004, they ranked 19th of 22 intended majors, two points in combined verbal and math scores below those who planned to major in agriculture. Even 'undecided' ranked higher. And according to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, those who leave the profession during their first few years have higher scores than those who stay. An institute report also shows that the weaker the undergraduate college, the more likely its students will end up teaching as a career. Over the last six years, prodded by federal requirements to publish test results, teachers' colleges have begun screening students before or soon after admission for the ability to pass state certification exams. These exams are notoriously easy, says Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, a policy institute; as a result, many education schools now have passing rates near 100 percent. But those rates say little about the quality of their programs. Hunter, for instance, has a 98 percent passing rate on the state's required Liberal Arts and Sciences Test, but students must register for the test their first semester and are not allowed to continue if they fail it. The City University of New York, which produces a third of the city's teachers, hopes to attract a higher caliber of student by starting a Teacher Academy modeled after its successful Honors College, which uses free tuition and other perks to try to lure students who might go to Ivy League universities. The academy will open in fall 2006 with 300 freshmen majoring in mathematics and science, subjects that are short of teachers. Students will take education courses and spend 1,000 hours over four years - as opposed to the usual 250 or less - in public school classrooms learning methods, observing and teaching. The academy is an experiment in 'reforming' the education of teachers at CUNY, says Selma Botman, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. 'What we thought about is why teachers are leaving teaching, why the retention rate is not as strong as we would like it, and given the fact that CUNY educates so many teachers, how can we educate and train teachers so they stay in teaching?' Among the historically intractable problems in retaining teachers are low status and low pay, says Anthony Carnevale, a senior fellow at the National Center on Education and the Economy. Because the public sector will never pay as much as the private, he says, and because unions have resisted extra pay for high-demand skills like math teaching, the gap in ability between teachers and other white-collar professionals will become bigger, not smaller. In Mr. Carnevale's bleak picture, learning will no longer be an act of discovery but a process of drilling in predetermined principles of success. Teachers will become part of a docile force of assembly-line workers, trained to execute someone else's plans, with little room for serendipity. Some teachers complain that this is already happening in urban systems, including New York's. In this model, education schools will have to compensate for a meager talent pool by idiot-proofing teacher training. 'You tie their teaching methods to standards so that in a very aggressive way they learn to teach to the results of those tests, like a soldier,' Mr. Carnevale says. 'The voluntary military didn't always get the best of human capital. But what you did was make the training so rigorous it didn't matter.' To Mr. Carnevale, Emporia State is an aberration. People choose to teach in states like Kansas, Maine or North Dakota because they have fewer economic opportunities than do people who live in New York or Chicago, he says. 'You've got an economic development problem in Kansas,' he says, 'so you have these vestiges of talent in states that have no jobs for college graduates.' This recalls an earlier era in the profession, when talented women and minorities became teachers because they had few other options. Emporia State officials confirm the demographic forces. Most students, says Dean Mehring, are women who are the first generation in their families to get a college education. Most come from small agricultural towns in western Kansas, where job opportunities are limited. They are women like Jan Alexander, who grew up in Ulysses. Her brother, Brian, lives in Ulysses and works at County Feeders, which boasts that it is the biggest feedlot in the world. Ms. Alexander, a top student at Emporia State, has been to New York several times and dreams of moving there to teach some day. If she does leave Kansas, she will be the exception. About 80 percent of students remain close to home. Emporia State classes strive to balance the theoretical with the practical. Professors not only talk about the theories behind reading, writing and literature, but also demonstrate in painstaking detail how to teach specific lessons. In an introductory reading class last spring, Professor Azwell urged her students to listen to the language of children's literature. Her enthusiasm for the books she had selected, and was passing out to her students, was contagious. Of 'The Ghost-Eye Tree,' she said, 'It's a great scary story for little kids.' Of 'Flossie and the Fox,' she said, 'I love this one because it uses wonderful dialect. One character speaks Southern dialect, and the other one speaks very literary language, so the contrast is great.' She tells her students what a professor once told her: that a teacher should know at least 300 children's books intimately and be able to pick the right book for the right child at the right moment. Ms. Azwell says she believes in whole language, the system of teaching children to read by exposure to literature, but she does not reject phonics. The politics of teaching reading, she says, has turned whole language into a caricature of how she learned to teach reading. 'To me, phonics was never not part of whole language,' she said. 'I was taught all the language cuing systems: graphophonics, sound-symbol relationships; semantic, the meaning system; syntactic, the language structure system. So phonics is an integral part of that.' How do Kansas schoolchildren fare? Its eighth graders rank above average in reading and math nationally, and fourth graders rank second in the nation in math. While Emporia State teaches the children of farmers, Lehman College in the Bronx, part of CUNY, teaches the children of immigrants. A majority of its education students, says the dean, Annette Digby, are part time and already teaching on a temporary or fast-track license, without going through education school. One undergraduate course, 'The Teaching Profession: Birth to Grade Six,' is described in the catalog as a 'study of the professional lives of teachers and the diverse roles they assume in urban schools.' A graduate course, 'Ethics and Professionalism in Childhood Teaching,' is a 'study of the childhood teaching profession, its multiple historical, philosophical and social foundations.' Even the description of Lehman's basic reading course for undergraduates, 'Understanding and Documenting Young Children's Literacy Development and Concepts of the World Around Them,' has a theoretical tone. In one of the last sessions of the school year, a mix of graduate and undergraduate students sat in small groups at hexagonal tables, the way they had been taught to seat children in the classroom, for a seminar on how to apply what they had learned and solve the problems that came up during student teaching. In perfect teacher script, Prof. Christy Folsom had written the day's agenda on the chalkboard: '1. Quiet write. 2. Share. 3. Go over portfolio. Questions.' Dr. Folsom is a popular faculty member known for a down-to-earth manner and skill at teaching lesson plans. The mood was relaxed and trusting. She asked her students to write and then talk about their best and worst experiences in the class, and in education school. Sharon Gallagher, a 33-year-old Irish immigrant, was working as a waitress and bartender while attending Lehman for a bachelor's degree in history with an education minor. As one of her best experiences, she described how she had learned the psychological differences between third and first graders. She had been taught a system of behavior management, using color-coded warning cards, in a third-grade class and had tried to apply the same system to first graders. But when she gave warning cards to the first graders, they started to cry. She realized that positive reinforcement worked better at that age than punishment. When it came to discussing the weaknesses of education school, Ms. Gallagher and her tablemates, Melissa Noble and Carmen Pucillo, fellow seniors who also planned careers as teachers, were unanimous. 'I didn't feel I learned a lot about literacy,' Ms. Gallagher said. 'Especially balanced literacy,' Ms. Noble interjected, referring to the latest curriculum shift in the New York City school system. 'I was like, 'O.K., what do I do?' ' Ms. Pucillo was baffled by pedagogical questions like when children should stop inventing spelling and spell by the rules. 'I just didn't get the answer,' she said. 'I actually bought a book and started reading on my own,' Ms. Gallagher said. Ms. Noble said she, too, had bought a book, 'Guided Reading,' by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, which had been recommended by the 'cooperating teacher' she worked with as a student teacher. At Lehman, the primary course in teaching reading is integrated with teaching social studies. 'We got more focused on social studies than we did literacy,' Ms. Noble said. Dr. Folsom acknowledged that reading and writing instruction was a weakness at Lehman and said that beginning in the fall, social studies and literacy will be offered as separate courses. While Dr. Folsom's class was focused on practical skills, 'Ethics and Professionalism in Childhood Teaching' exemplified the research-and-theory wing of education. On this day, teams of students were presenting their final projects, a 45-minute report on 'an issue or dilemma facing the teaching profession.' They had been asked to conduct what the professor called 'in-depth research,' using at least two Internet sources and two journals. One team of three students had chosen the topic of violence in schools, including a widely publicized incident in which police officers were called to a class in St. Petersburg, Fla., because a 5-year-old girl was having a temper tantrum. The group screened a news videotape of the girl being put in handcuffs and of her mother defending her behavior. They then talked about it. As an African-American sensitive to discrimination, one student, Tarsheen Jackson, said, 'I thought it was a bit much for all those officers to come in.' On the other hand, she continued: 'I don't think children will learn a lesson if their parents are talking up for them.' Another student in the audience, Sarah Perone, spoke up: 'I think if I saw my 5-year-old getting arrested by four police officers, I might be a little bit defensive also.' Aliex Ross, the professor, skirted the issue of handcuffing a child. 'Look at the power and control the child gained by throwing a tantrum,' Dr. Ross said instead. 'As professionals, we know there's a lot more to the story.' The next presentation was called 'Balanced Curriculum' - the coordination of standards and testing with students' abilities and needs. The team began by asking, 'What is a balanced curriculum?' They invited the audience to make suggestions. ('An equal amount of time distributed between all subjects' was one.) Then they revealed that they had looked for the answer in the dictionary. 'We decided to look up 'balance' and 'curriculum' because 'balanced curriculum' is not in the dictionary,' Karen Dhillon, one presenter, told the class. Ms. Dhillon recited the dictionary definitions of both words - equilibrium and harmony, for the word 'balance'- then stacked plastic blocks on a toy scale. She tried repeatedly to balance the blocks, without success, as she commented on how hard it was to maintain a balanced curriculum. Both presentations got A's. 'They're all going to be fabulous teachers,' Dr. Ross said later. 'They're really reflective. That's what really makes a competent educator, is someone who really reflects on their practice.' After class, Ms. Dhillon was less upbeat. She had come into teaching through Teach for America, and had been teaching math for two years at Middle School 399 in the Bronx while working toward her master's, and found it demoralizing. Though she did not mention it, only 9 percent of students at M.S. 399 meet city standards in math. She said she had trouble teaching the new math curriculum imposed by the city and had resorted to lying to her superiors, pretending she was using it. She looked embarrassed by this bit of subterfuge. 'But I'm leaving teaching,' she blurted. 'I just don't love it.' In June, not long after that conversation, she earned her master's in education. By then it was already too late. Anemona Hartocollis is a Times reporter and the author of 'Seven Days of Possibilities: One Teacher, 24 Kids and the Music That Changed Their Lives Forever.'

Subject: As you sow, so you shall reap?
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 17:49:37 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Inviting the avoidable J BRADFORD DELONG MAY BE it is excessive skittishness, or perhaps it is the result of global financial volatility in recent years — crises in Mexico in 1994-95, East Asia in 1997-98, Russia in 1998, and then in Brazil, Turkey, and Argentina — but we economists are more concerned about monetary affairs and possible future disasters than we have been in many decades. This month, the Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) was the latest to worry aloud about the financial risks that the world seems to be building into its future. “[A]ll the countries hit by financial crisis... experience[d] a very sharp slowdown,” the BIS says of the recent past. It then cites “global current account imbalances,” particularly “the US external deficit,” describing it as “unprecedented for a reserve currency country to have a current account deficit of such magnitude.” In short, the world has become “increasingly prone to financial turbulence.” The BIS hints at the possibility of a financial crisis that, with the US at its centre, would dwarf by at least an order of magnitude all crises that have occurred since 1933. Yet, in response to this risk, the BIS issues the standard textbook recommendations. Countries whose policies and economies are out of balance should change their policies, thereby restoring balance: “deficit countries should reduce the rate of growth of domestic spending below that of domestic production. Allowing their currencies to depreciate in real terms would make their products more competitive, and also provide an incentive for production to shift out of non-tradables into tradables.” This is economists’ polite code for the message that the US must gradually cut its budget deficit, while other countries — like China and Japan — must gradually let the value of the dollar fall and that of their own currencies rise. So the BIS proposes nothing new or particularly attention-grabbing. But if we turn to America’s government, we see an enormous pretence that the current budget deficit is not a problem. As Stan Collender, a noted observer of the US federal budget, has commented, “No one with federal budget responsibilities actually seems to be interested in the budget.” This is not “because the budget committees are too busy....[T]he House and Senate...are not doing much of anything...[because] they don’t want to.” Within the Bush administration, director of the office of management and budget Josh Bolten “has been virtually invisible,” while “the president and vice-president...avoid talking publicly about the budget.” Let us be clear on this point: it is not that politicians who wish to take the lead on fiscal consolidation are failing to gain traction; it is that there are no politicians — at least none with any agenda-setting influence — who are even trying to steer the US towards adopting a more responsible fiscal policy. This is a grotesque failure of leadership. Governments that pursue policies — whether US fiscal laxity or China’s just-removed exchange-rate peg — that create unsustainable imbalances do so for what they regard as important political reasons. Appeals to them to change their policies, and thus contribute to the common global good of financial stability, are fruitless unless others are seen to change their policies, act responsibly, and so contribute to the common good as well. International policy coordination requires a leader, a first mover. But, while the US, as the world’s largest economy, is best suited for this role, it has so far failed to play its part. Treasury secretary John Snow has spent almost no public time on the budget, but a lot of public time on China. Republican political operatives care far less about national savings than they do about manufacturing-sector job losses. “So what else is new?” you may ask — and with good reason. The list of issues on which the Bush administration has failed to lead is a long one, and failure to take steps to diminish the risks of future financial catastrophe cannot rank very high. The entire Bush administration has been a succession of leadership failures, so why harp on its poor financial management? From a purely practical point of view, one reason is that ensuring global financial stability is an issue on which real progress can be made relatively easily. The Bush administration may not care that deficit reduction is the right policy for America, but it might care far more if the issue were framed as a prerequisite for policy changes abroad that diminish pressure from imports on domestic manufacturing employment. (The author, professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, was assistant US treasury secretary during the Clinton administration) http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1180534.cms

Subject: Re: As you sow, so you shall reap?
From: Terri
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 18:36:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
An excellent essay, leaving us with no particular recouse however for at least through the election in 2006 there will be no meaningful budget tightening. Besides, the majority in Congress would not opt for austerity during a Fed tightening sequence. Then, we must hope all is well for another 18 months. What I do not see is an reason there should be a crisis in the near term, so I am optimistic for a while.

Subject: Re: As you sow, so you shall reap?
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 21:14:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We'll be saying there is no 'crisis in the near term' right up until the crisis finally happens!

Subject: Greenspan on Crisis
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 22:01:53 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Didn't he say that we wouldn't know we were over the cliff until we started to fall? Or we wouldn't know we were in a bubble until it was already too late? I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said. Alan Greenspan The Fact that our economical models at The Fed, the best in the world, have been wrong for fourteen straight quarters, does not mean they will not be right in the fifteenth quarter. Alan Greenspan

Subject: The Cows Are Thriving
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:24:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/nyregion/31vets.html The Cows Are Thriving. Now How About Their Doctors? By PETER NORLANDER LOWVILLE, N.Y. - On a recent Friday afternoon, in a county where cows outnumber people by more than two to one, Dr. Mark J. Thomas picked up three liters of intravenous fluid from his roving office: the back of a 2002 Ford pickup truck. His patient at the Hilltop Farm was a sick 12-year-old cow, one of more than 60,000 dairy cattle that he and the five other veterinarians at the Countryside Veterinary Clinic provide care for in this rural upstate area. 'You need to cover every emergency call,' Dr. Thomas said, as he prepared to thrust a large needle into the jugular vein in the cow's neck in order to administer the fluid. For Dr. Thomas, who works 10-hour days five days a week and is either on duty or on call every weekend, the calls do not stop. 'There's always work to do,' he said. Recently, he recruited two young veterinarians to help in his practice. But Dr. Thomas, 34, would love to have added another vet. As it is, he says he is lucky that his practice can provide emergency care and health visits to meet the needs of most of the 250 dairy farms in Lewis County, as well as other farms in northern Oneida and southern Jefferson Counties, in central New York. His situation is not uncommon. Though the country's veterinary schools produce about 2,500 veterinarians every year, the majority are choosing to devote their practice to the care of small animals, which provides a more lucrative, comfortable lifestyle than that of the rural vet, whose job often requires treating animals on farms rather than in an office. And the hours are long, with a day starting before the sun comes up and ending long after it sets. If trends continue, there will not be enough veterinarians to care for the animals that end up on the country's dining tables, according to a continuing study by researchers at Kansas State University. In 2007, the shortage of such veterinarians is predicted to be 656 and will continue to grow significantly in the following years. With heightened worries about potential terrorist threats to the country's food supply and concerns about animal-borne diseases, the lack of animal doctors is alarming, the researchers said. 'Our increasingly global food supply system requires more inspections and certifications for food exiting and entering our borders,' said one of the researchers, Dr. Bruce Prince, a professor of management at Kansas State University and one of the authors of the study. In 2003, Congress approved a bill that would provide academic loan repayment for veterinarians working in underserved areas, but has not provided funds for the program. At Hilltop Farm, which has more than 300 head of cattle, Dr. Thomas spent a half-hour with the sick cow, which was dehydrated and had an infection, and pumped a hydrated mixture of cow meal into its stomach. After he finished with the cow, which is kept in a different pen from the healthy dairy cows, Dr. Thomas scrubbed the manure off his knee-high rubber boots with soap and a high-pressure hose, to prevent the spread of diseases, before he moved along to the next farm. In addition to emergency calls, private practice veterinarians are at the front lines of protecting human health from threats that originate as animal diseases, including avian flu, monkeypox and hantavirus, according to Dr. Daryl V. Nydam, a veterinarian and an epidemiologist with the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. 'The shortage of appropriately trained veterinarians is really key,' he said. 'We can't do it as we did 20 years ago.' The romantic notion of a veterinarian capable of treating 'All Creatures Great and Small,' depicted in James Herriot's 1972 book, is growing out of fashion as veterinary students are forced to specialize. To a large extent, the rural or suburban background of aspiring veterinarians will determine their path. 'As far back as I can remember, I just always wanted to be a veterinarian for dogs and cats,' said Elizabeth Lutz, 23, who grew up in Seaford on Long Island, and is entering her third year at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall. Ms. Lutz, who is working this summer at Mid Island Animal Hospital in Hicksville on Long Island, said her exposure growing up was almost exclusively to small animals. 'I've grown up my entire life with one or two dogs, tortoises, parakeets, gerbils, hamsters, and fish, and almost any injured or unwanted animal except for snakes and cats,' she said. But for Dr. Deanna Fuller, who graduated from the veterinary college at Ohio State and recently began working with Dr. Thomas at Countryside, growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Ohio made her want to work with big animals. 'I love being outside and being in the barn every day,' Dr. Fuller said as she helped Dr. Thomas adjust a milk harvesting system at the 200-head Hanno Farm. She added that 'it can be a big challenge to go into this industry' for those who did not grow up on a farm or were not prepared for the odors, flies and the inevitability of stepping in cow manure. Dr. Thomas, who with his wife, Tracey, has three young daughters, remembers working 12-hour days and 70-hour weeks when he joined the Countryside practice eight years ago. But as the size of farms grew, some of the work of large-animal vets was passed on to nonveterinarian farm staff members. Dr. Thomas teaches farmers and farmhands how to give a cow follow-up treatment, including intravenous fluids or stomach pumps, that once required a follow-up visit. He does much of his teaching in Spanish, as many of the farmhands are immigrants. Dr. Thomas and the other veterinarians play an important role in a place where dairy-related industries are the largest employer. Cream cheese produced in Lowville is sold in the United States, Israel, and South America. The Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese processing plant, which is next door to the Countryside clinic, buys much of the milk produced in Lewis County. When he returned to the vacant parking lot at Countryside, Dr. Thomas removed his rubber boots and coveralls, restocked supplies in the back of his truck and, as the sun began to set in Lowville around 8:30 p.m., finally headed home.

Subject: Housing and Economic Growth
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:18:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though housing has been most important for growth in the economic cycle, we should not forget commercial real estate, and vehicles along with other lerge ticket consumer items. Also, health care, utilities, and financial service sectors have been growing well. We are not wholly depending on housing for economic growth, and the economy may be able to continue to grow reasonably as long as housing does not simply stop growing as opposed to moderating. We will find whether this happens in Britain, Australia and the Netherlands.

Subject: Re: Housing and Economic Growth
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 10:26:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From The Financial Times: Slowing UK economy may force rates cut By Friederike Tiesenhausen Cave, Economics Reporter Published: July 31 2005 20:27 | Last updated: July 31 2005 20:27 The Bank of England will this week cut interest rates, investors and economists believe, exactly a year since it last raised the cost of borrowing to cool the housing market. Expectations have grown amid mounting evidence that the economy has slowed sharply, producing four quarters of weak growth and sluggish consumer spending and plunging the manufacturing sector back into recession. Financial markets have priced in a 25 basis points cut which would take rates to 4.5 per cent, marking the first change since last August when the Bank raised its main rate to 4.75 per cent. The move, which would come at the MPC's 100th meeting since the Bank was given independence over monetary policy in 1997, would also mark a turn in the British interest rate cycle after two years of rate tightening. It would intensify pressure on the European Central Bank, which is also publishing its August interest rate decision on Thursday, to take similar action to stimulate the economy. However, the ECB is expected to keep its main rate on hold. A Reuters poll of 47 economists found that 43 thought the Bank would cut interest rates this week. Yields on short-sterling contracts have also fallen sharply over the past month. Most respondents said rates would stay at 4.5 per cent throughout the year but financial markets have already priced in another cut to 4.25 per cent by December. City economists divide into three factions. The largest camp argues the Bank will ease interest rates on Thursday and may make a further cut a few months later but that the economy will recover without the need for further more aggressive reductions. Another smaller camp thinks the weakness in consumer spending is going to persist for some time and that more sustained interest rate cuts will be necessary. The smallest camp believes no rates cuts are necessary because the UK economy is likely to shrug off the weakness in consumer spending in the second half of the year.

Subject: More borrowing needed to close gap
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 12:06:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
JUL 27, 2005 washingtonpost.com Pay Lags Behind Inflation Overall Economy Keeps Growing, Commerce Dept. Says By Nell Henderson Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, July 30, 2005; D01 Workers' pay and benefits rose more slowly than inflation in the second quarter, even as the U.S. economy expanded at a healthy pace, the government reported yesterday. Employers' costs for wages, salaries and benefits rose 0.7 percent in the quarter, the same pace as in the first quarter and the smallest gain in six years, the Labor Department said. Meanwhile, rising energy costs helped push consumer prices up at an annual 3.3 percent rate in the second quarter, while the economy grew at a 3.4 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said in a separate report. Together, the reports portrayed an economy that continues to produce more goods and services even while workers' pay gains are getting smaller, nearly four years after the end of the most recent recession. Businesses are holding down the growth of their labor costs through new technologies and management practices. 'The economy's doing fine, except if you figure in working families,' said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank focused on labor issues. 'We're posting great numbers in aggregate demand, yet the lousiest on record for wage growth.' Stock prices fell after the reports were released, as many investors worried that the inflation figures might prompt the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates more aggressively in coming months to tamp down price pressures. The 3.3 percent increase in prices in the second quarter compares with a 2.3 percent rise in the first quarter. But Federal Reserve officials favor a Commerce Department measure of inflation that excludes food and energy prices. That price index rose at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the second quarter, down from 2.4 percent in the first quarter and within the Fed's comfort zone. Fed policymakers also follow labor costs closely for signs of inflationary pressures. The Labor Department's employment cost index report showed no cause for such concern. Over the past year, that index -- a measure that includes wages, salaries and employers' contributions to pensions, health insurance and other benefits -- rose 3.2 percent, the smallest increase in nearly six years. The slowdown partly reflects subdued growth in wages and salaries. They rose 2.4 percent in the year that ended in June -- the smallest gain since the government began collecting such information in early 1982. But it also reflects sharply reduced growth in benefit costs, as many employers have cut their pension contributions and shifted more health insurance expenses to their employees, analysts said. Many companies have also trimmed their benefit expenses by using more contract labor. Benefit costs rose 5.1 percent in the year that ended in June, the smallest yearly increase since late 2002. Benefit costs rose just 0.8 percent in the second quarter, down from a 1.2 percent advance in the first quarter. Wages and salaries rose 0.6 percent in the spring, same as in the winter. Economic growth slowed a bit in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department's first estimate of the increase in gross domestic product, or the value of all goods and services produced in the United States. The expansion at a 3.4 percent annual rate in the spring followed a 3.8 percent annual rate in the winter. The GDP figures are adjusted for inflation. The first estimate is based on incomplete data and is subject to revision. The Commerce Department also released revisions of its GDP figures for the past three years, showing that the recovery from the 2001 recession was slightly weaker than previously reported while inflation was slightly higher. For example, the economy grew 4.2 percent last year, according to the new figures, down from the 4.4 percent that previously was thought. Some economists believe economic growth is picking up now, propelled by strong consumer spending on autos and real estate, as well as rising business investment in equipment and software. Others, however, worry that rising oil prices will dampen spending over time. Fed officials estimate that higher energy costs will shave about 0.75 percentage points off the economy's growth this year. Growth also could be dampened in coming months if rising interest rates cool the red-hot housing market, as some analysts expect.

Subject: Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession (Part II)
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 09:12:40 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Michael Lind: Explode the myths of global competition In today's global economy, any job can be performed anywhere. In order to compete in a global labour market, all students in advanced industrial countries need to be highly trained in science and mathematics. In order to compete in the global economy, the advanced industrial nations must downsize generous welfare states. The above represents something like the conventional wisdom about the global economy, the future job market and the welfare state. There is only one problem: every assertion in the preceding paragraph is wrong. Let us start with the first assertion: 'In today's global economy, any job can be performed anywhere.' This is false or, at best, only a half-truth. All economies, even very open ones, have both a traded sector that is exposed to foreign competition and a non-traded sector that is insulated from it. Manufacturing and agriculture tend to be in the traded sector. A growing number of services, from accounting to telephone operations, have been outsourced as well. But according to a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute, only about 11 per cent of the world's service sector jobs can be performed remotely. Most services, such as home construction and hospital care, must by their very nature be provided by workers in the same location as their customers. In advanced industrial economies, the number of workers in the traded sector exposed to foreign competition tends to diminish over time. When an industry in the traded sector outsources, unemployed workers tend to get new jobs in the non-traded domestic service sector. Workers in the non-traded service sector, such as nurses, may face competition from immigrants for jobs in the national labour market but they are not competing with foreign workers in a global labour market. This brings us to the second misconception: 'In order to compete in a global labour market, all students in advanced industrial countries need to be highly trained in science and mathematics.' This, too, is false. According to the US labour department, the 10 fastest-growing occupations in the US in 2002-2012 are the following: 'medical assistants; networks systems and data communications analysts; physician assistants; social and human service assistants; home health aides; medical records and health information technicians; physical therapist aides; computer software engineers, applications; computer software engineers, systems software; physical therapist assistants.' The future job outlook in other industrial democracies with service economies and ageing populations is similar. It is true that four out of 10 of the fastest-growing occupations require proficiency with computers. But many of these jobs are vulnerable either to outsourcing or advances in automation. By contrast, the work of medical assistants, home health aides and physical therapists cannot be outsourced or performed by machines, barring radical advances in robotics. In the foreseeable future, nurses will outnumber computer technicians in the US and similar countries. It is absurd to tell the nurses of tomorrow that, in addition to being literate and numerate, they need to study trigonometry in order to compete with Indian and Chinese rivals. If particular nations can benefit disproportionately from technological progress, then it may be wise for governments to promote education and employment in scientific and technical fields. But scientists and engineers will never be more than a minority of the workforce in any country, and it is highly misleading to suggest otherwise. The third misconception about global competitiveness is this: 'In order to compete in the global economy, the advanced industrial nations must downsize generous welfare states.' The premise is that generous welfare states prevent high-wage countries from competing with low-wage countries such as China and India in traded-sector industries. But scaling back or abolishing the welfare state would do nothing to make the workers in a rich nation's traded sector better able to compete with labour costs in the developing world, unless workers were willing to work for Indian or Chinese wages. Far from being handicapped by big government, the countries with the world's biggest welfare states are flourishing in the global economy. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, the most competitive economies in the world are, in order, Finland, the US, Sweden, Taiwan, Denmark and Norway. Government consumes around half of gross domestic product in all of these countries, apart from Taiwan and the US, where the combined federal-state share of GDP is slightly more than 30 per cent. (The US government share of GDP is much higher when tax deductions and exemptions for public purposes are counted.) What is more, on a per capita basis from 1990 to 2002, Sweden and Finland had the same 2 per cent growth rate as the US. The truth is that the scale and scope of national welfare states is far less constrained by the global economy than many believe. Whether a country has a generous or stingy welfare state depends chiefly on its internal politics and traditions. It is time, then, to replace the conventional wisdom. In the 21st century, most workers in advanced industrial nations will work in the non-traded domestic service sector. Most will not compete with workers in other countries. And a generous welfare state need not be a hindrance to competitiveness. These statements are not as familiar as the platitudes that make up the conventional wisdom. But they happen to be true. The writer is Whitehead senior fellow at the New America Foundation FT Thursday July 28 2005

Subject: Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession
From: Terri
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 12:29:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting essay for us to think about.

Subject: Dreams Suspended by Segregation
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 07:38:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/education/31school.html A New Hope for Dreams Suspended by Segregation By MICHAEL JANOFSKY FARMVILLE, Va. - Warren Brown was about to enter first grade in 1959 when officials chained up the public schools in Prince Edward County rather than allow black children to sit beside white children in a classroom. Without the resources to send him away, his mother kept him at home for four years, until she found a local church offering classes to black children. Mr. Brown graduated from high school in 1972, winning basketball scholarships from three colleges, only to turn them down because he feared the academics would have been too challenging. 'I didn't get a proper foundation,' he said. 'If you're not prepared, what good is the school going to do for you?' This fall, however, Mr. Brown, at the age of 51, plans to go to college to study criminal justice. Five decades after Virginia ignored the actions of Prince Edward County and other locales that shut down their public schools in support of segregation, the state is making a rare effort to confront its racist past, in effect apologizing and offering reparations in the form of scholarships. With a $1 million donation from the billionaire media investor John Kluge and a matching amount from the state, Virginia is providing up to $5,500 a year for any state resident, like Mr. Brown, who was denied a proper education when public schools shut down. So far, more than 80 people have been approved for the scholarships, and the number is expected to rise. Several thousand are potentially eligible, many of them now well into their 60's. Rita Moseley, 58, was about to go into the sixth grade when the schools were closed. Her mother sent her more than 120 miles away to Blacksburg, Va., to live with an elderly woman and her daughter - 'total strangers,' she said - just to attend a public school willing to accept black children. Currently a secretary in the high school she would have been barred from attending, she plans to use her scholarship to study business management. 'A lot of us still feel hurt, anger and bitterness,' Ms. Moseley said. 'I've talked with grown people, now 50, 60 years old. Some have been able to move on. Some haven't. Some are still trying to figure it all out.' And many, she said sadly, will never have the chance. Most of the applicants who have come forward still live here in Prince Edward County, deep in the Bible belt of southern Virginia, where an important chapter of America's struggle with civil rights played out. A 1951 lawsuit challenging segregation was consolidated with four others to become the 1954 landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, which said separate but equal education for blacks and whites was unconstitutional. Officials here largely ignored the decision, emboldened by state law passed in 1956 known as 'massive resistance' that created a voucher program to allow white children to attend private schools. The Farmville Herald, the local newspaper, said in a March 20, 1959, editorial, describing efforts by outsiders to enforce Brown, 'It is all part of the diabolical Communist plan to disrupt American life and reduce the white race to impotency.' In June 1959, the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors withdrew all financial support of public schools as a way to close them and skirt the order of the Brown decision. Intended for black children, it was a decision that affected white families as well. Even with the state vouchers, not all of them could afford tuition at the private schools, which makes whites eligible for the scholarships as well. Over the next few years, opposition to the county's segregationist policies gained strength, leading to a Supreme Court decision, Griffin v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County, in 1964, in which the court declared that every American child had a Constitutional right to a public school education. That ruling forced local officials to reopen their schools for all children. In the void, however, lives were shattered, families were split, dreams died. While local leaders tried to maintain quality education for whites, black families were left to fend for themselves. Some shipped their children to relatives and strangers in distant counties and states so they could attend public schools or learn from tutors. Others kept their children at home, even if it meant years without instruction. On a recent night, five black children of the 1950's, all of them now well into middle age, met at a reporter's request to share their memories and contemplate what the Brown scholarships mean. They talked about lives that could have been and lives that yet may be, now that the state has officially recognized their disrupted pasts. While they did not seem bitter, many of their words rang with sadness and pain for what was denied them and for the psychological damage of a second-class status imposed upon them by the times. Mr. Brown, now a deputy sheriff who works in the Prince Edward Middle School as a resource officer, has grappled with his anger for years, trying to keep it in proper context. 'You've got to find a way to move on,' he said. 'The anger is something you're going to have with you as long as you live. It's never going to go away. You just have to deal with it.' The group had mixed views on whether they could ever forgive the state for what happened, scholarships notwithstanding. Barbara Spring, 53, a retired firefighter, said she sat at home for four years after the schools closed. She said the scholarships enabled state officials to deal with their guilt. 'It's a way to make up for what took place, and, in part, that's good,' Ms. Spring said. 'I believe in education, but it will never heal the wounds and scars of the past.' Leola Bailey, 52, who lost two years of school before she found classes to attend in a local church, agreed. 'I feel like it's never too late to learn,' Ms. Bailey said. 'They have apologized for what they have done, but I don't know if they really mean it. I think they're doing it just to say they've done something.' But Alda Boothe, 55, a lab technician whose parents sent her to live with relatives during the years the schools were closed, was more willing to let it go. It was unfair, she said, to blame contemporary elected officials for the sins of their predecessors. Ms. Moseley, too, is willing to forgive, saying she does not feel as bitter as others. 'I'm the kind of person who thinks it's never too late,' she said. 'To do it now is better than not having done anything at all.' Even so, images of rejection still haunt her after several decades. 'I lived behind one of those schools; they were closed with chains,' she said. 'I looked at it every day of my life. If I close my eyes, I can still see those doors chained up.' The idea for the scholarships began on Feb. 18, 2003, a day the General Assembly was debating a resolution to express 'profound regret' for the Prince Edward school closings and the state's unwillingness at the time to get involved. But the scholarships were not a lawmaker's concept; they came from Ken Woodley, the current editor of The Farmville Herald, who was all too familiar with his newspaper's past and, as a white man, felt ashamed of it. Contemplating the resolution, Mr. Woodley decided the people of his community deserved something more tangible. 'At the end of the day, it's just a piece of paper, and it doesn't empower anybody to do anything,' he said in an interview at his office, one room away from the yellowed, bound volumes of old Heralds that promoted segregation. 'It doesn't give back anything that was taken away.' Mr. Woodley started a one-man campaign to create scholarships for those affected by the school closings. He wrote columns and called state lawmakers. He lobbied for additional support from Gov. Mark Warner and a handful of his predecessors. Later, he found sponsors in the State House and Senate, and by last year, bills were passed and signed by Mr. Warner, who announced the first scholarship recipients in June. 'We can't rewrite history, and we shouldn't,' said Mr. Woodley, who began working at The Herald in 1979 as a reporter. 'But we can make history, and it needs to be made. The scholarships are a piece of goodness in a world that wasn't there before. As an educational opportunity, they're a chance to give back as best we can and teach a lesson that we can never do anything like we did again.'

Subject: Tuskegee Study also source of HATE and PAIN
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 14:04:14 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I had one sister that moved beyond her daily beatings because of her color - one that did not - have to break that cycle. Victimization doesn't help her anymore at this point. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/may01/501RA25.htm Knowledge of the Tuskegee syphilis study continues to limit participation of blacks in medical research Blacks and other ethnic minorities have long been underrepresented in medical research studies, leading the National Institutes of Health to mandate their inclusion in all studies they fund. However, the ongoing distrust of blacks in medical research studies remains a barrier to their participation and is linked to their awareness of the U.S. government-sponsored Tuskegee Study of the natural history of syphilis among black men, according to a recent study. Black men who had syphilis and participated in the Tuskegee Study, which began in 1932, were told that they were being treated, when in reality they received little or no treatment. This practice continued even after it was discovered that syphilis could be treated effectively with penicillin, notes Vickie L. Shavers, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University. In a study supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS09597), Dr. Shavers and her colleagues surveyed adults in Detroit in 1998 and 1999 about their knowledge of the Tuskegee Study and its impact on their willingness to participate in research studies. Overall, 81 percent of blacks and 28 percent of whites had prior knowledge of the Tuskegee Study. Over half (51 percent) of blacks said that their knowledge of the Tuskegee Study played a role in their reluctance to participate in clinical trials due to lack of trust in such trials; 48 percent reported that knowledge of the study had not changed their trust; and 1 percent reported that they had more trust in medical researchers. Among white respondents who knew about the study, 17 percent said they had less trust in medical researchers as a result of the study, 83 percent had no change in their level of trust, and none had more trust. These findings confirm that distrust arising from knowledge of the Tuskegee Study negatively affects the willingness of many blacks to participate in medical research studies. To include more minorities in clinical studies, medical researchers should discuss past misuse of minority participants in research, their commitment to ethical research practices, and safeguards they are using to protect participants in their particular study. See 'Knowledge of the Tuskegee Study and its impact on the willingness to participate in medical research studies,' by Dr. Shavers, Charles F. Lynch, and Leon F. Burmeister, in the December 2000 Journal of the National Medical Association 92(12), pp. 563-572. A lot of bad things were done to many, but you have to move on no? - blaming people today for others actions in the past seems silly to me but as the study shows it is a very real problem in our society.

Subject: Dreams suspended by Desegregation
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 13:48:16 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'In the void, however, lives were shattered, families were split, dreams died. While local leaders tried to maintain quality education for whites, black families were left to fend for themselves. Some shipped their children to relatives and strangers in distant counties and states so they could attend public schools or learn from tutors. Others kept their children at home, even if it meant years without instruction.' My 2 sisters were young 8 and 9 year old white girls in palm beach county during desegregation (we had a mexican grandfather on dads side and half indian grandmother on moms so really mixed mutts - hehe) - they were sent to what had formerly been an all black school in west palm beach - they were beat up almost daily because they looked white - also some of thier cuban friends were also beat up because they were a different color too - one sister went to the hospital once - at that point my dad had enough and sent them to live with the grandparents 2 states away in a small rural town with a monoculture that was not 'cosmopolitan' like the big city - he was in the military and could not get transferred - it was hard on everyone involved but my sisters were able to go to school then without getting beat up and sent to the hospital for their color. It did affect her though and she takes medicine to deal with her feelings and hurt today. The other sister it doesn't haunt at all - 2 little girls at the same place and same time with completely different outcomes. That was very bad policy practiced back then on many fronts, the solution was traumatic and forced and hurt a lot of children from all sides of the city. I am here in palm beach today, many decades later, I have rode around and looked at the city schools and communities and such - it seems the mexicans and haitians and cubans are not mixing in the great melting pot but entrenching into seperate areas and culture.

Subject: Debunking the Concept of 'Race'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 07:20:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/30/opinion/30sat4.html?incamp=article_popular_3 Debunking the Concept of 'Race' Black Americans who explore their family histories typically hit a dead end in the early 19th century, when black Americans who were slaves were not listed in the census by name. Now some black Americans are trying to fill in the gap with genetic screening tests that purport to tell descendants exactly where in Africa their ancestors came from. But, like most people, those who think of themselves as African-American will need to search well beyond Africa to find all of their origins. This point came through with resounding clarity recently at Pennsylvania State University, where about 90 students took complex genetic screening tests that compared their samples with those of four regional groups. Many of these students thought of themselves as '100 percent' white or black or something else, but only a tiny fraction of them, as it turned out, actually fell into that category. Most learned instead that they shared genetic markers with people of different skin colors. Ostensibly 'black' subjects, for example, found that as much as half of their genetic material came from Europe, with some coming from Asia as well. One 'white' student learned that 14 percent of his DNA came from Africa - and 6 percent from East Asia. The student told The Daily Collegian, the student newspaper, earlier this year: 'When I got my results I was like, there's no way they were mine. I thought it was just an example of what the test was supposed to look like. Then I was like, Oh my God, that's me.' Prof. Samuel Richards, who teaches a course in race and ethnic relations at Penn State, uses the test results to shake students out of rigid and received notions about the biological basis of identity. By showing students that they aren't what they think they are, he shows them that race and ethnicity are more fluid and complex than most of us think. The goal is to make students less prejudiced and more open to a deeper discussion of humanity. If the genetic testing fad pushes things in this direction, it will have served an important purpose in a world that too often thinks of racial labels as absolute - and the last word when it comes to human identity.

Subject: Can't we all move f