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Emma -:- Forced Marsh -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 14:02:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Taste for Brazilian Frugality -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 14:00:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- David Swensen -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 13:18:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- Time to Connect the Dots -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 13:11:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Heeding Health Warnings -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 09:34:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- For Survivors of Cancer -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 06:12:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 05:57:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Implant Program for Heart Device -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 05:50:49 (EDT)

Terri -:- Why I am Optimistic -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 15:23:48 (EDT)

Terri -:- International Bull Market -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 15:22:39 (EDT)

Douglas -:- NYT columnists -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 10:13:38 (EDT)
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Erica -:- I posted part of PK's column -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 16:34:12 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: NYT columnists -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 13:45:50 (EDT)

Erica -:- What do you all think about this? -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 08:05:50 (EDT)
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Erica -:- I found this on another site -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 08:09:06 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: I found this on another site -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 14:07:28 (EDT)
___ Erica -:- Re: I found this on another site -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 16:28:46 (EDT)
____ Erica -:- Nevermind, Maureen and Ron are trolls -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 16:58:14 (EDT)

RL -:- Suggestions -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 05:49:47 (EDT)
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Dorian -:- Re: Suggestions -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 02:10:31 (EDT)

byron -:- krugman's columns -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 23:52:24 (EDT)
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jwood -:- Re: krugman's columns -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 10:40:04 (EDT)
_ Aniruddha G. Kulkarni -:- Re: krugman's columns -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 23:51:03 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- La folie des grandeurs (Part e^X) -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 18:17:23 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: La folie des grandeurs (Part e^X) -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 08:59:31 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: La folie des grandeurs (Part e^X) -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 09:39:28 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- CASINO GAMBLING : CLICK HERE -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 18:05:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Celebrating Shaw, a Serious Optimist -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 14:24:49 (EDT)

Norman Bauman -:- Krugman NYT columns are free legally -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 13:26:43 (EDT)
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Dorian -:- Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 02:06:43 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 09:36:27 (EDT)
___ Jeff in China -:- Re: Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 11:44:55 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 14:07:24 (EDT)
_ Mik -:- Re: Krugman NYT columns are free legally -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:24:17 (EDT)
__ Norman Bauman -:- Re: Krugman NYT columns are free legally -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 20:38:13 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Krugman NYT columns are free legally -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 12:02:52 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Loving Libraries -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 14:15:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- Integrating Schools by Income -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 12:43:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- At Google, Workers Are Placing Bets -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:34:23 (EDT)

Tina Eden -:- Times password -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:21:55 (EDT)

C Selby -:- Krugman -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 09:37:07 (EDT)
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Emma -:- TimesSelect -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:16:43 (EDT)
__ Erica -:- Re: Bobby, there may be another way -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:30:55 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Excerpts -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:37:39 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: Excerpts -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:22:52 (EDT)
_____ Erica -:- Re:It's not plagarism -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 07:52:05 (EDT)
_____ derek -:- Re: Excerpts -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 17:23:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Is It Better to Buy or Rent? -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 08:35:36 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: Is It Better to Buy or Rent? -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:41:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Many More People Are House Poor -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 06:42:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Miami's Model for Condo Sales Spreads -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 06:40:43 (EDT)

tom -:- times select -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 04:22:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hard Bigotry of No Expectations -:- Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 14:58:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Many More People Are House Poor -:- Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 14:04:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Miami's Model for Condo Sales Spreads -:- Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 14:01:10 (EDT)

Ron Shawger -:- fees? -:- Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 10:29:37 (EDT)
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Erica -:- You're hilarious Ron -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:59:56 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: You're hilarious Ron -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 12:02:01 (EDT)

Maureen D. -:- Krugman Skating on Thin Ice -:- Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 09:57:24 (EDT)
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Anybody -:- Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 12:55:21 (EDT)
__ Maureen -:- Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 15:44:47 (EDT)
___ Norman Bauman -:- Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 21:28:36 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:19:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- There is Much More to Come -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 17:02:06 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Inflation -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 09:02:19 (EDT)
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d -:- Exclusions- -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 11:57:26 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Exclusions- -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 14:55:40 (EDT)
___ David E.. -:- Re: Exclusions- -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 01:41:20 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Exclusions- -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 08:47:42 (EDT)
_____ David E.. -:- Down then up -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:53:16 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Down then up -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 11:17:19 (EDT)
______ Dorian -:- Re: Pete's whereabouts -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 05:43:17 (EDT)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Pete's whereabouts -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 10:31:36 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Inflation -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 09:28:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Big Uneasy -:- Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 17:39:24 (EDT)
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Rich -:- Re: The Big Uneasy -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 12:42:36 (EDT)
__ bill -:- Re: The Big Uneasy -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 15:41:17 (EDT)
___ David E.. -:- Re: The Big Uneasy -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 17:42:34 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: The Big Uneasy -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 17:59:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Desire to Draw -:- Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 14:14:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Place Where Hungry Are Fed, Hunger -:- Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 13:48:04 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Little friday humour -:- Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 12:08:10 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Censored... in the name of the Lord -:- Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 11:39:42 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Rita is climate change's smoking gun -:- Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 11:29:10 (EDT)

HJ -:- What is oligarchy? -:- Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 08:17:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Schröder and Germany -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:45:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Faulty Levees -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:31:20 (EDT)
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Aeneas -:- Re: Faulty Levees -:- Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 15:55:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- The World is Round -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:27:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Zadie Smith's Culture Warriors -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:06:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mississippi River and Risks of Harvest -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 11:43:32 (EDT)

anon -:- this retro site needs an RSS feed -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 08:00:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Design Shortcomings Seen in New Orleans -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 07:10:57 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Time to start talking about Global Warming -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 11:46:57 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Time to start talking about Global Warming -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:36:21 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Time to start talking about Global Warming -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:56:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- Almost Before We Spoke, We Swore -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 06:31:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Message: I Can't -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 05:55:09 (EDT)

xristim -:- Thank you! -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 19:15:14 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: Thank you! -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 21:30:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- Decision Could Be Costly to Germany -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 15:39:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bird and Bees -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 15:36:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Egyptian Comedy Promotes Peace -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:47:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi Hunter -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:42:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- French Lesson: Taunts on Race -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:11:33 (EDT)
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Setanta -:- Re: French Lesson: Taunts on Race -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:34:20 (EDT)

Mik -:- World economy to maintain swift growth -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:21:02 (EDT)

Henry James -:- Katrina is worse than Chernobyl -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:13:12 (EDT)
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HJ -:- Katrina is worse than Chernobyl -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:20:43 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Katrina is worse than Chernobyl -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:57:36 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Speaking of the A.E.I... -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:18:47 (EDT)
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Poyetas -:- Re: Speaking of the A.E.I... -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 05:17:25 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Speaking of the A.E.I... -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:13:29 (EDT)
_ Aeneas -:- Re: Speaking of the A.E.I... -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 17:05:31 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Speaking of the A.E.I... -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 16:32:03 (EDT)
_ Poyetas -:- Any ideas??? Would love to hear feadback! -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 14:30:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- New Soaring Force in American Ballet -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:05:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Waterlogged Halo -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:43:23 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Friedmans 'The World is Flat' -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 05:55:16 (EDT)
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Yann -:- Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat' -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 04:06:29 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat' -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:23:32 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat' -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:55:52 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat' -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:48:57 (EDT)

Yann -:- Stiglitz and the 'Black Tsunami' -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 02:45:56 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Lessons From the Black Tsunami -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 06:36:06 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 19:26:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 19:25:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 12:05:37 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:56:13 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 10:22:22 (EDT)
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Yann -:- From France (in French!) -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 04:04:12 (EDT)
_ Poyetas -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 05:26:03 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:20:41 (EDT)
__ Bobby -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:55:55 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 13:21:47 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 15:28:26 (EDT)
_____ Jennifer -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 17:21:15 (EDT)
______ Setanta -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:10:12 (EDT)
_______ Ari -:- Re: Happy birthday Bobby! -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 16:26:54 (EDT)
________ Bobby -:- Thank you for the happy birthday wishes, everyone! -:- Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:30:23 (EDT)

David -:- why are you allowing this? -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 20:42:40 (EDT)
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rlk -:- Re: why are you allowing this? -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 15:31:06 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Risk management & growth uncertainty -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 17:24:00 (EDT)

Mik -:- Paul Krugman's latest statement -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 16:57:46 (EDT)
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Erica -:- Ever hear of the Southern Strategy??? -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:54:22 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- True or not - is not the issue -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:41:43 (EDT)
___ Erica -:- I am beginning to wonder if you have one -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 11:17:47 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: I am beginning to wonder if you have one -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 16:46:36 (EDT)
_____ Erica -:- Sorry Mik, but your premise has no merit -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:50:31 (EDT)
_ rlk -:- Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 15:28:55 (EDT)
_ RL -:- Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 04:49:16 (EDT)
_ David E.. -:- Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 17:42:41 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:38:33 (EDT)
___ David E.. -:- Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement -:- Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 17:31:05 (EDT)
____ Erica -:- Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:53:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- How You Line Up for Mickey -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 15:41:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Congress, Buried in Turkey's Sand -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 15:37:42 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Don’t blame the savers -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 05:49:59 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Re: Don’t blame the savers -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 12:00:08 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Don’t blame the savers -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 16:33:36 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: Don’t blame the savers -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 04:55:21 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: Don’t blame the savers -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:31:02 (EDT)

Mike -:- NY Times -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 23:56:25 (EDT)
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Larry -:- Re: NY Times -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 14:16:11 (EDT)
_ Ted Compton -:- Re: NY Times -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 13:05:26 (EDT)
__ RL -:- Re: NY Times -:- Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 04:52:36 (EDT)
_ Yann -:- Re: NY Times -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 04:18:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Class Matters': Money Changes Things -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 13:33:38 (EDT)
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Emma -:- 'Class Matters': Series of Articles -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 16:27:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- What Really Happened at Bayou -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 07:18:39 (EDT)
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John C -:- Re: What Really Happened at Bayou -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 11:19:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- Summer of My Discontent -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 07:17:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Poor Planning and Corruption Hobble Iraq -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 07:04:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- In the Amazon, Where A Sister Was Slain -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:51:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Healthier Amazon Jungle -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:50:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- Premium for Basic Medicare Increasing -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:31:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Still Eating Our Lunch -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:28:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mixed Messages in Soweto -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:27:11 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Re: Mixed Messages in Soweto -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 17:10:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- The 6 Percent Solution: Real Estate -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:25:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bright Spot in Germany's Economy? -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:21:29 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Greenspan's dilemma -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 05:04:22 (EDT)

Dory -:- We need anwers! -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 12:40:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Market McDonald's Missed -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 08:05:48 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- 2 Fast 2 Furious (part II) -:- Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 20:23:47 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Mik why don't they answer? -:- Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 01:53:46 (EDT)
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Mik -:- Sorry I was away -:- Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 12:51:00 (EDT)
_ David E... -:- A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 00:34:48 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 17:31:57 (EDT)
___ John C -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 19:02:45 (EDT)
__ John C -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 10:13:31 (EDT)
___ David E.. -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 13:21:42 (EDT)
____ John C -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 19:01:09 (EDT)
_____ David E.. -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 22:55:37 (EDT)
______ John C -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 11:16:44 (EDT)
___ David E... -:- Re: A conservative portfolio -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 13:14:45 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Mik why don't they answer? -:- Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 14:15:22 (EDT)
__ John C. -:- Re: Mik why don't they answer? -:- Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 14:32:09 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Boom, shake the room -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 18:22:27 (EDT)
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Jennifer -:- Re: Boom, shake the room -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 20:14:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars 10 year] -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 11:50:58 (EDT)

Terri -:- Returns [Domestic Currency 10 year] -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 11:50:14 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars 5 year] -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 10:40:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency 5 year] -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 10:40:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Modern, Multicultural Makeover -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:55:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- How Curious George Escaped the Nazis -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:53:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Does Organic Imply Grazing? -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:35:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Blacks Hit Hardest by Costlier Mortgages -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:29:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- You See Office Tower. Investors a Condo. -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:26:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Best Nation for Business -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 08:19:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:36:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Is a Hedge Fund Shakeout Coming Soon? -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:35:22 (EDT)
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Johnny5 -:- Where will you flee? -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:26:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Singapore and Katrina -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:18:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Lost U.N. Summit Meeting -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:10:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Congress Finesses the Storm -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:53:49 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Chinese vow to cut trade surplus -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:54:01 (EDT)

Setanta -:- EU governments take fuel action -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:51:45 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Surprise decline in US trade gap -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:45:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan's Growth Rate Up Sharply -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 10:18:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Big Push From Small Colleges -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 09:45:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Matisse the Master' -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:58:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Henry Adams and the Making of America' -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:45:07 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:38:40 (EDT)
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Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars-Dividends] -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 10:03:51 (EDT)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:34:29 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Returns [Domestic Currency-Dividends] -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 10:04:49 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:26:21 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:25:31 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Language and economic development -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:01:30 (EDT)

Setanta -:- We need to go nuclear -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:59:09 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Mankind on a collision course -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:56:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Internet Entrepreneurs Draw in China -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:33:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Synchronizing the Present and Past -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:24:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Theatre of Fish': The Codless Seas -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:12:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Where Poverty Drove Zapatistas -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 05:51:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Real Inventory -:- Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 05:48:03 (EDT)

David E.. -:- Plunge Protection Teams -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 21:44:06 (EDT)
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Jesse -:- What is the Meaning For Us? -:- Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 16:39:21 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- Re: What is the Meaning For Us? -:- Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 13:37:05 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Gideons Knot -:- Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:23:21 (EDT)
_ David E.. -:- The Missing Link -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 21:45:40 (EDT)

Mik -:- What really cripples Africa -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 16:35:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Disney Takes Exception to China's Rules -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 12:14:08 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Master of the Golden Halo -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:47:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- For Mali Villagers, France Is Workplace -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:26:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Chinese, Too, May Be Worth Copying -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:24:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Georgia's New Poll Tax -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:07:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Does the Truth Lie Within? -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 05:24:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Shameful Proclamation -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 17:32:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- On Oil Supply, Opinions Aren't Scarce -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:35:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- The New Prize: Alternative Fuels -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:27:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Rail Line to Tibet Is a Marvel -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:26:01 (EDT)

E,mma -:- Soweto Sees Signs of Prosperity -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:24:49 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Soweto Sees Signs of Prosperity -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 14:03:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Chinese, Too, May Be Worth Copying -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 07:37:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hope When Illness Seems Hopeless -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 06:22:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Workers but With the Wrong Job Skills -:- Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 11:40:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- Harlem School Introduces Swiss Chard -:- Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 09:25:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- How Does Their Garden Grow? -:- Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 09:23:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- How to Assure the Very Rich -:- Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 09:15:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan's Banks Try Something New -:- Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 09:13:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Wheat Rust Appears in Africa -:- Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 09:02:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hong Kong Disneyland -:- Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 08:59:49 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Things that make you go 'Hmmm' -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 20:16:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chinese University Topic From Closet -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 13:45:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Outsider, Out of the Shadows -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 09:05:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- Menu Keeps Chef's Health in Mind -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 07:14:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Tutor Half a World Away -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 06:00:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Tiptoeing Across the Border -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 05:57:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Toyota Hopes to Push Its Hybrids -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 05:55:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Economic Growth, Lots of Company -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 05:51:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Parental Supervision Required -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 05:49:52 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Houses in the Air -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 18:21:00 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Houses in the Air -:- Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 17:50:02 (EDT)
_ Jennifer -:- Re: Houses in the Air -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 19:49:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Guns, Germs and Steel' -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 15:13:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- An Off-Kilter Expansion -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 14:47:09 (EDT)

Mik -:- Jared Diamond and National Geographic -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 14:17:14 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Jared Diamond and National Geographic -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 15:24:33 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Jared Diamond and National Geographic -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 17:03:46 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Jared Diamond and National Geographic -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 17:42:47 (EDT)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: Jared Diamond and National Geographic -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 19:53:10 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- Re: Jared Diamond and National Geographic -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 14:05:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Through Shakespeare, Lessons -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 11:34:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bring Out Your Pork -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 09:04:13 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Where does innovation come from?? -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 08:38:52 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Where does innovation come from?? -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 08:56:19 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Where does innovation come from?? -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 13:11:43 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Where does innovation come from?? -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 13:52:11 (EDT)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: Where does innovation come from?? -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 05:19:59 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- Re: Where does innovation come from?? -:- Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:55:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- It's Not a 'Blame Game' -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 06:09:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Asia, Low Fuel Prices and Subsidies? -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 06:02:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why Japan Seems Content -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 05:56:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Europe, High-Tech Flood Control -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 05:54:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Force of Time and an Inconstant Earth -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 05:52:43 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Invasion of the Isolationists -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 16:32:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Winfrey Calls for Apology -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 13:52:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Light on a Secret of the Olive Tree -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 12:53:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 12:35:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Deceit of the Raven -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 11:56:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Minds of Their Own: Birds Gain Respect -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 11:55:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Haunted by Hesitation -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 09:45:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- Abroad and Home -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 09:43:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Stuff Happens -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 06:51:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Redemption in the Bayou -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 06:06:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Failure of Leadership -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 06:03:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Larger Shame -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 06:01:54 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Getting too much of a good thing? -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 20:04:23 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Getting too much of a good thing? -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 05:54:24 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Getting too much of a good thing? -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 16:30:50 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: Getting too much of a good thing? -:- Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 16:32:59 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- An answer from Brad -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 19:38:44 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias Kylie -:- It's a question of obsession -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 19:26:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 19:03:29 (EDT)

Request for Bobby -:- Request for Bobby -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 16:18:49 (EDT)
_
Maureen -:- Re: Request for Bobby -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 16:30:12 (EDT)

Zev -:- Op-Ed article a while ago -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 14:06:45 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Op-Ed article a while ago -:- Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 14:12:41 (EDT)

Maureen -:- The Great Fulminator -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 13:34:53 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: The Great Fulminator -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 14:20:32 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- You evil devil! -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 17:34:30 (EDT)
__ Maureen -:- Re: The Great Fulminator -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 16:05:41 (EDT)
___ Maureen -:- Re: The Great Fulminator -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 11:03:46 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Sorry above post is from me not Maureen -:- Thurs, Sep 08, 2005 at 11:04:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- International Growth -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 10:59:42 (EDT)
_
Random Desi -:- Re: International Growth -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 16:14:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Real Estate Investment Trusts -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 09:49:44 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Eyes wide open -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 17:49:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- Federal Reserve Policy -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 09:48:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Housing and Economic Growth -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 09:36:49 (EDT)

Terri -:- International Bull Market -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 09:28:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- National Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 09:06:51 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 08:57:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- Back to School, Thinking Globally -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 08:37:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- Katrina and the Gas Pump -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 06:12:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Larger Shame -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 05:56:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- Poverty Increases, Again -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 05:55:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Build a Country, Build a Schoolhouse -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 14:15:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- If You Can Make It Here ... -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 11:47:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Chinese Painter's New Triumph -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 11:40:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Fortress of Monoglot Nation -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 10:30:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Dollar for You, and $431 for Me -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 09:56:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- Working Hard at Nothing All Day -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 08:14:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Exploiting the Gender Gap -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 06:58:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Poor Make 2¢ for Each Dollar to Rich -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 06:36:16 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- The greatest evil -:- Tues, Sep 06, 2005 at 12:06:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Prologue, and Maybe the Coda -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 09:55:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Connect The Dots. Find the Fees. -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 08:07:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Is a Hedge Fund Shakeout Coming Soon? -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 07:47:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Matisse Filled Age With Vibrant Colors -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 07:17:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Matisse the Master' -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 07:14:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- What Happens to a Race Deferred -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 06:28:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- What It Means to Lose New Orleans -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 06:25:22 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: What It Means to Lose New Orleans -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 05:59:00 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: What It Means to Lose New Orleans -:- Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 06:09:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Southern Populism -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 17:38:23 (EDT)

David E.. -:- Hedge Funds - Manager talks about risks -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 11:47:52 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Hedge Funds - Manager talks about risks -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 07:48:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Much of the Netherlands -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 11:12:11 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: Much of the Netherlands -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 05:37:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Every Stroke, Life's Fierce Pageant -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 10:57:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Wal-Mart Workers Are Finding a Voice -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 10:43:50 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- James Maynard Galbraith -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 09:44:34 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: James Maynard Galbraith -:- Sun, Sep 04, 2005 at 09:31:13 (EDT)
_ David E.. -:- and from the NRO -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 12:00:20 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- The wound Katrina reopened -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 08:49:31 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Bury them before they bury us -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 10:20:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Economy Raised on Pork -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 07:21:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Katrina's Assault on Washington -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 07:04:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Law Professor Is a Donkey -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 06:56:42 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- The Money Quote -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 12:06:46 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: Law Professor Is a Donkey -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 09:32:58 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Walter Mosley - forget the labels -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 10:23:56 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Pondering -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 22:56:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Light Saber to Tired Old Teaching -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 06:53:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Bra Wars -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 06:48:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Gazing at Breached Levees -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 13:00:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- Banished Whistle-Blowers -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 09:48:13 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Bad Science and Bush -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 14:58:27 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Bad Science and Bush -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 15:13:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Life in the Bottom 80 Percent -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 09:22:19 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- title s/b 'life in the bottom 95%' -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 18:17:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Man-Made Disaster -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 09:10:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Scientific Savvy? In U.S., Not Much -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 09:04:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Conservation? It's Such a 70's Idea -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 08:54:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Mississippi River Delta -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 06:53:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- They Saw It Coming -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 06:44:20 (EDT)
_
Dorian -:- ..and did nothing -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 07:23:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Intricate Flood Protection Disputed -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 17:00:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Curing Health Costs: Let the Sick Suffer -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 13:56:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Make Phone Calls Without a Telephone -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 12:32:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan's Post Offices -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 10:54:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 10:53:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Guns Yield to Words, Lots of Words -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 09:16:01 (EDT)

Emma -:- Kick-Back Cuisine in a Stylish City -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 07:04:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Turnaround Specialist -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 05:54:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Quest to Save a Tree -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 05:42:48 (EDT)

Mik -:- Question for Johnny5 -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 13:35:50 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- David Hume -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 03:14:20 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- You missed one big issue - Health -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 11:08:24 (EDT)
___ Johnny5 -:- Culture of Life -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 23:07:08 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: Culture of Life -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 11:18:35 (EDT)
_____ Johnny5 -:- More human than human -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 14:12:19 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- Missing text -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 23:10:00 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: You missed one big issue - Health -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 13:37:08 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: You missed one big issue - Health -:- Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 11:32:19 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: David Hume -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 05:57:26 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: David Hume -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 14:03:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Damage to Economy Is Deep and Wide -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 10:25:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- Europeans Are Seeking Safety in Bonds -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 09:57:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Bangalore, India, a Cuddle With Baby -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 09:36:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Pervasive Corruption in Russia -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 09:31:47 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'The First Poets' -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 09:08:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Geography Complicates Levee Repair -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 07:07:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- New Orleans in Peril -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 05:48:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- U.S. Poverty Rate Was Up Last Year -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 05:36:42 (EDT)

Yann -:- For Bobby -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 03:06:09 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: For Bobby -:- Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 14:21:44 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- Growth and Interest Rates -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 16:54:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Feeding Europe, Starving at Home -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 15:33:03 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- More Than One Way to Catch Nile Perch -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 19:14:59 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: More Than One Way to Catch Nile Perch -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 10:20:47 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Am I splitting hairs? -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 14:34:07 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Am I splitting hairs? -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 17:43:14 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Am I splitting hairs? -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 18:38:45 (EDT)

Mik -:- A little humour to break the ice -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 13:53:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- Nature's Revenge -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 09:28:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Left Behind, Way Behind -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 08:57:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Destroying the National Parks -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 08:47:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Haitian Slum's Anger -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 07:08:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- As France Shops for Bears -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 06:15:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Media Executives Court China -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 06:12:41 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Media Executives Court China -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 13:31:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- China to Tax Large Engine Vehicles -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 05:53:49 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Europe has had this for a long while -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 13:22:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Health Factory -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 05:51:35 (EDT)

Maureen -:- Real Economists and Good News -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 22:22:31 (EDT)
_
Poyetas -:- Re: Real Economists and Good News -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 10:43:58 (EDT)
__ Maureen -:- Re: Real Economists and Good News -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 14:01:00 (EDT)
_ Johnny5 -:- No flames - nice and cool -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 08:07:38 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: No flames - nice and cool -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 13:19:10 (EDT)
_ Pancho Villa -:- In the year 2525... -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 03:46:46 (EDT)
__ Dorian -:- Re: In the year 2525... -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 17:48:18 (EDT)
___ Dorian -:- Re: In the year 2525...Ooops -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 17:51:45 (EDT)
____ Mik -:- Re: In the year 2525...Ooops -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 13:33:29 (EDT)
_____ Bobby -:- Re: In the year 2525...Ooops -:- Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 19:52:01 (EDT)
______ Pancho Villa -:- Re: In the year 2525...Ooops -:- Thurs, Sep 01, 2005 at 15:03:56 (EDT)

Mik -:- KPMG settles tax case with $456 mln fine -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 17:46:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Pay Attention to Canada -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 13:19:32 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Canadians mad with the US? -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 14:38:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- More Than One Way to Catch Nile Perch -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 11:38:16 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: More Than One Way to Catch Nile Perch -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 14:16:38 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: More Than One Way to Catch Nile Perch -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 14:45:36 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: More Than One Way to Catch Nile Perch -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 15:00:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Health Grants to Uganda Halted -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 09:46:21 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Health Grants to Uganda Halted -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 10:03:53 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Health Grants to Uganda Halted -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 10:42:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hedge Fund Falls Off Face of Earth -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 09:33:15 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- A mug's game: Nafta(-lina) -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 07:13:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Beijing's Power is Less Than it Seems -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 07:06:12 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Beijing's Power is Less Than it Seems -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 10:59:13 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Beijing's Power is Less Than it Seems -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 14:39:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'The First Poets': Starting With Orpheus -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 06:09:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Poor in Africa Make Their Safety Nets -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 05:49:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cellphones Catapult Rural Africa -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 05:48:31 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Cellphones Catapult Rural Africa -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 10:22:51 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Cellphones Catapult Rural Africa -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 13:43:46 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Ah the beauty of the internet -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 17:21:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Honda Civic GX: Clean, Green -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 16:23:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Turning Supermarkets Into Restaurants -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 09:34:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- It's Just More Fun Being a Growth Stock -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 09:27:38 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Holy mackerel! -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 02:25:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Uneven Fight Against Inflation -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 08:16:02 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: An Uneven Fight Against Inflation -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 13:51:00 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: An Uneven Fight Against Inflation -:- Tues, Aug 30, 2005 at 14:36:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Past Lingers in Changing Vietnam -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 07:48:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- Beijing's Quest for 2008: Become Livable -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 06:24:09 (EDT)

Dorian -:- Replacements for oil -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 05:58:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Power Plays -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 05:10:08 (EDT)

Emma -:- Apple, Digital Music's Angel? -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 18:52:18 (EDT)

To the Editor -:- For Bobby -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 14:15:07 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Peter Principle -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 17:34:03 (EDT)
__ Maureen Dowd -:- Re: Peter Principle -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 18:54:09 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: Peter Principle -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 04:16:25 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- Lowest common denomination -:- Mon, Aug 29, 2005 at 04:55:01 (EDT)

Maureen Dowd -:- Serial liar -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 11:22:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- California Accuses Drug Companies -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 10:38:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Touch of 'Indian-ness' Amid the Glass -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 08:51:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Technology Levels the Playing Field -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 06:02:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Easy Credit in Mortgages May Backfire -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 05:21:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Yes, He's Swiss, but Not Neutral -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 05:20:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Doctrine Was Not to Have One -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 05:19:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Energy Prices Vex Americans -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 05:18:15 (EDT)

Leeson -:- hmmmm -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 13:52:27 (EDT)

Linda Hirshman -:- Bernard Goldberg and Paul Krugman -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 12:54:13 (EDT)
_
Maureen Dowd -:- Re: Bernard Goldberg and Paul Krugman -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 16:31:12 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Ma Do Truth Squad -:- Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 16:42:39 (EDT)
__ To the Editor -:- For Bobby -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 14:17:08 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Great British Investment Puzzle -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 11:54:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Yes, He's Swiss, but Not Neutral -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 11:19:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Easy Credit in Mortgages May Backfire -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 10:11:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Grass Stays Greener at Boise State -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 09:45:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Strong Demand for Midrange Rentals -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 07:14:32 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- CAMPOS DO JORDAO -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 06:36:11 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: CAMPOS DO JORDAO -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 09:07:19 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: CAMPOS DO JACKSON HOLE -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 09:47:20 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: CAMPOS DO JACKSON HOLE -:- Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 20:51:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Doll That Can Recognize Voices -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 06:13:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- Alone in Illness, Seeking Steady Arm -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 06:08:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- California Design's Endless Summer -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 05:56:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Google Gets Better. What's Up With That? -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 05:55:39 (EDT)

LI HUAFANG -:- Need an authorization -:- Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 00:18:41 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias de Toffol Davide -:- Who's 'Gonna fly now' ? -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 19:47:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Google to Offer Messaging and Voice -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 19:39:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Connecticut Investigates Hedge Fund -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 11:12:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- Rents Head Up -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 09:02:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Other Brain Also Deals With Many Woes -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 07:02:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan's Encounter With the West -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 06:12:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Defense of the Welfare State -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 05:54:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- French Wrestle With Political Illusion -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 05:53:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 05:51:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Fresh Gets Invited to the Cool Table -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 13:25:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Belfast Is Ready for the Party -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 10:58:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mutiny by Slaves Off South Africa -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 10:48:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Food for Niger -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 09:46:29 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Food for Niger -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 13:34:52 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Food for Niger -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 14:33:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Europe Says It Needs Chinese Textiles -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 09:25:22 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Europe Says It Needs Chinese Textiles -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 17:46:09 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Europe Says It Needs Chinese Textiles -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 05:01:12 (EDT)
___ RL -:- Re: Europe Says It Needs Chinese Textiles -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 08:47:46 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Europe Says It Needs Chinese Textiles -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 09:05:18 (EDT)
_____ RL -:- Re: Europe Says It Needs Chinese Textiles -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 11:31:08 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: Europe Says It Needs Chinese Textiles -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 12:36:50 (EDT)
_______ Mik -:- Whoa -:- Thurs, Aug 25, 2005 at 16:55:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Practicing Medicine Without a Swagger -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 07:20:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- It's Google's Turn as the Villain -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 07:12:31 (EDT)

Yann -:- Chapter 12 and its appendix -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 07:02:14 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Asset Values -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 06:24:44 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Asset Values -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 09:18:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Land of 74,000 Protests (Little Fixed) -:- Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 06:20:46 (EDT)

Mik -:- US obesity rate is up -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 17:59:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- If the Contrarians Are at the Gate -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 13:21:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weeny Miscalculation -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 11:58:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan's Spending Habit Roils Plan -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 11:16:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- A World Where Down Means Up -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 10:55:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Ups the Ante in Its Bid for Oil -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 10:47:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Grasping the Depth of Time -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 10:27:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Elephants Follow Own Evolutionary Path -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 10:11:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Punishment for Merck -:- Tues, Aug 23, 2005 at 10:08:26 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- C9H13N for the economy -:- Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 16:37:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- And They Call This Advice? -:- Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 10:49:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Big Developer Is Counting on Rural Chic -:- Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 10:14:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Google Has Plenty of Projects in Mind -:- Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 10:04:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- Travels With My Florida Parrot T-Shirt -:- Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 08:54:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Trade Pact Divides Central Americans -:- Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 05:54:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Promises, Promises -:- Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 05:48:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- G.M. Troubled but Not By Bankruptcy -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 19:43:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Earnings Slow, Dividends Pick Up Slack -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 19:40:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Safety Net Was Pulled Away -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 19:26:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Oil Prices Soar, Time to Bail Out? -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 17:25:42 (EDT)

Kely Alfaro -:- Paul Krugman quiero traerte a Perú -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 15:55:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Be Warned: Mr. Bubble's Worried Again -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 09:12:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Breaking Point -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 08:26:46 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- The double whammy -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 11:45:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Foolishness on Fuel -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 08:08:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Productivity Is Up. Or Down. -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:35:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- At Dow Jones, It's All About Family -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:31:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Falling Costs of Big-Screen TV's -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:23:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Price of Oil -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 21:33:05 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The Price of Oil -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 00:54:42 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Oil -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:07:17 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Oil -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 11:10:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- South Korea Now Calls for More Babies -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 17:53:46 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Ayn Rand types - Take Note -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:15:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Endangered Species Act Upheld -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 17:46:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Museums of Native American Art -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 15:27:39 (EDT)

Britney -:- Exciting -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 15:21:53 (EDT)
_
John C -:- Re: Exciting -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 17:35:31 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Shhh - you will make the voices angry -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:48:19 (EDT)
_ Maureen Dowd -:- Re: Exciting -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 17:27:35 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Stop that - flames are my job -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 08:08:07 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- The Danger of Deficits -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:56:45 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Hwy Billls instead of water bills -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 06:24:23 (EDT)
_ Britney -:- The Problem of Deficits -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 14:01:37 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- With no responsibility, no fault -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:54:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why Am I Not Surprised or Impressed? -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:25:43 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Pete is Smarter than Tice -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:34:04 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Why Am I Not Surprised or Impressed? -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:42:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cheap Rivals Chip Away at a Cornerstone -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:09:48 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- LIve Baby Live -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 08:57:00 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: LIve Baby Live -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:04:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Giving African Art What It Is Due -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 08:31:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- Brazil Seeks to Cut Cost of AIDS Drug -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 07:12:01 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Crocodile Blood - Aids Proof -:- Sun, Aug 21, 2005 at 07:43:56 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- The power 'TRIP' -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 19:32:45 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: The power 'TRIP' -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:08:07 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: The power 'TRIP' -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 07:04:16 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- 10 yr Manipulation?? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 15:07:05 (EDT)

tf -:- Paul K at cooper union on 8/19/05? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 14:28:23 (EDT)
_
john haskell -:- Re: Paul K at cooper union on 8/19/05? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 15:47:39 (EDT)
__ john haskell -:- Re: Paul K at cooper union on 8/19/05? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 15:57:04 (EDT)
___ tf -:- Re: Paul K at cooper union on 8/19/05? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 16:25:13 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Understanding the housing bubble -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 10:07:06 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Understanding the housing bubble -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 11:46:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Feeding More for Less in Niger -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 09:31:12 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Feeding More for Less in Niger -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 12:58:54 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Feeding More for Less in Niger -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 13:21:42 (EDT)

Terri -:- Will the Economy Slow? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 07:30:46 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Will the Economy Slow? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 11:51:25 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Will the Economy Slow? -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 12:10:00 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Will the Economy Slow? -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 14:57:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Sleep at Home and Invest in Stock Market -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 05:59:47 (EDT)

Emma -:- Pressure on Price Controls in China -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 05:23:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Great Engine of China Is Low on Fuel -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 05:15:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Country Bound by the Great Wall -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 05:12:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Sound and the Fury -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 14:09:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Exquisite Path to an Elusive Past -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:51:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Niger: A New Face of Hunger -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 08:53:23 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Hope for Hungry Children -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 08:58:13 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Nomads Agonize as Livestock Die -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:01:51 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Anguish Is Reflected in Its Children -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:06:38 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Meanwhile, People Starve -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:09:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- Many Going to College Are Not Ready -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 08:50:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Oil and Indonesia's Economic Stability -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 06:07:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Productivity Is the Issue of the Hour -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 05:59:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Productivity and Investment -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 05:56:10 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa aka David -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 08:38:07 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa alias El Gringo -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:03:13 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:19:08 (EDT)
____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 10:49:00 (EDT)
_____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 10:52:24 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 14:11:39 (EDT)
_______ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 15:45:25 (EDT)
________ Terri -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 18:30:39 (EDT)
_________ Emma -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 19:09:03 (EDT)
__________ Pancho Villa alias The Peasant -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 19:33:53 (EDT)
___________ Setanta -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 05:59:38 (EDT)
____________ Terri -:- Re: The Production Function -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 07:22:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- Another Methane Move -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 05:54:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Productivity -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 05:40:18 (EDT)

Mik -:- Thoughts on Niger -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:41:18 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Thoughts on Niger -:- Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 15:43:21 (EDT)
__ RL -:- Re: Thoughts on Niger -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 07:25:00 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Thoughts on Niger -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 19:08:11 (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)
_
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)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 08:22:44 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 06:05:20 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 04:47:59 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:24:00 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 09:52:50 (EDT)
_____ Poyetas -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 10:58:46 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 12:41:22 (EDT)
_______ Emma -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 15:09:28 (EDT)
________ Emma -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 20:42:35 (EDT)
_________ Setanta -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 05:59:14 (EDT)
__________ Emma -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 06:01:50 (EDT)
___________ Setanta -:- Re: A new brand of populism in Germany -:- Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 09:10:52 (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)
_
Johnny5 -:- Cayman Purchasing -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 06:16:48 (EDT)
_ 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)
_
Johnny5 -:- Devilish Details -:- Thurs, Aug 18, 2005 at 17:53:18 (EDT)
_ 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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
Terri -:- Re: investing -:- Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 05:47:12 (EDT)
__________ Dorian -:- Re: investing -:- Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 06:23:54 (EDT)


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Subject: Forced Marsh
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 14:02:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/27/opinion/27young.html?ex=1285473600&en=65acea7096b85743&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 27, 2005 Forced Marsh By ROBERT S. YOUNG and DAVID M. BUSH IN the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, there has been much talk of rebuilding Louisiana's coastal wetlands and barrier islands. This proposal, which could cost an estimated $15 billion, has been advocated by Louisiana scientists, engineers, politicians and environmentalists alike, who explain that the state is suffering the highest rate of land loss in the nation and imply that restoring this land would reduce the damage from future storms. As coastal scientists, we are excited to see the idea of wetlands restoration so widely discussed. Yet we think the Louisiana plan is ill conceived. When a major storm tears apart any coastal area, people tend to take on an attitude that we can win this 'war' with the weather if we spend enough money. Sadly, then, hurricanes often bequeath gigantic urban renewal projects. Destroyed houses are replaced by bigger ones that lack even the protection of dunes that were eroded by the storm. Within a few years, more property than ever stands at risk. Now we are being told that we should spend billions not just on rebuilding houses and roads but on re-engineering the environment as well. Louisiana's coastal scientists, engineers and politicians suggest that without this coastal restoration project, all other efforts will be endangered. But it's not that simple, for several reasons. First, many people - scientists and otherwise - have insinuated that if we had begun wetlands restoration in the Mississippi Delta years ago, it would have reduced the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the coast. This is highly unlikely. Storm surge waters approached the coast from the east, pushed into Lake Pontchartrain by the counterclockwise flow of the hurricane's winds; the natural wetlands that used to exist downriver from the city would have done little to mitigate the damage. Second, some have suggested that rebuilding the Louisiana barrier islands would protect the delta region in future storms. But just look what happened elsewhere: Hurricane Katrina's storm surge quickly inundated the barrier islands of the Gulf Islands National Seashore off Mississippi, which are far more robust and vegetated than the Louisiana islands ever were, on its way to devastating the state's shoreline. Let's face it, even if reconstructed, the Louisiana islands would be little more than a speed bump to a storm the size of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, none of the restoration plans address the root causes of wetland loss: man-made alterations to the Mississippi River that reduce the amount of sediment flowing into the marshes, the saltwater allowed in by navigation canals cut through the delta, and a lowering of ground levels throughout the region brought on by natural and industrial activities. We are being sold a giant engineering project intended to fix problems caused by engineering projects elsewhere on the river and in the delta. We find it paradoxical that many of the people calling for wetland restoration are also calling for higher levees to protect populated areas, since the levees, which prevent flooding and thus the natural addition of sediment to the marshes, are a big reason the wetlands are disappearing. And even if we could rebuild these wetlands, maintaining them at a time of rising ocean levels is probably untenable. We would be creating our own little Holland, with a need for ever-more expensive construction and maintenance far into the future. Last, if the government is going to spend $15 billion on restoration, let's put all the country's wetlands on the table. We seriously doubt that any objective scientific cost-benefit review would find that spending all that money in Louisiana makes sense. We believe there are many concerned and honest advocates for the project to restore coastal Louisiana. But their effort should not be mislabeled as 'storm protection,' and we shouldn't allow our emotional response to a natural disaster to cloud our long-term thinking about the best way to spend our money on repairing America's coastal regions. Robert S. Young and David M. Bush are professors of geology at, respectively, Western Carolina University and the University of West Georgia.

Subject: Taste for Brazilian Frugality
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 14:00:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/27/business/worldbusiness/27beer.html?ex=1285473600&en=b0ce4b735cb523bd&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 27, 2005 Belgian Brewer Acquires a Taste for Brazilian Frugality By PAUL MELLER BRUSSELS - John F. Brock, the chief executive of InBev, the world's biggest producer of beer, has been brushing up on his Brazilian. 'Loosely translated, jinga means effortless flair,' he said last week in an interview in his office in Leuven, near Brussels. Holding up a bottle of Brahma, a beer brand that Interbrew acquired a year ago when it bought AmBev, Brazil's biggest brewer, he said he intended to sell Brahma around the world on the strength of its jinga. But AmBev's influence in last year's deal that created InBev is less about the effortless flair of Brazilian dance, style and soccer and more about the unglamorous task of cutting costs. The old Interbrew prided itself on its marketing savvy and its focus on local markets. It called itself the world's local brewer. AmBev, on the other hand, which still functions under its old name and has its shares listed on the Brazilian stock exchange, is known in the beer industry for being obsessive about efficiency. 'The sales force there all drive gray cars because it is the cheapest color,' said Concepción Moreno, an analyst at the Belgian stock broker Petercam who visited AmBev's headquarters in Brazil last week. 'The chief executive and the chief financial officer share the same desk, paper and phone calls are rationed. Cost-cutting is a way of life, not a one-off activity.' Although Interbrew has economic and voting control over AmBev, the deal was 'almost a merger of equals,' Mr. Brock said. A marketing man to the core, he added, 'Hopefully we can combine the best of both companies.' Some analysts go a step further and describe last year's deal of 9.2 billion euros, or $11.1 billion at the current conversion rate, as a reverse takeover. InBev is centralizing much of the power that Interbrew handed to local management teams around the world, Mr. Brock said. AmBev managers have been moved into major positions at InBev's headquarters in Leuven, including Felipe Dutra, AmBev's top financial manager, as InBev's chief financial officer, and Juan Vergara, AmBev's head of Latin American operations, as head of purchasing for InBev. 'It's being dubbed the 'AmBevization' of Interbrew,' Ms. Moreno said. 'When the deal was first announced, I thought the Europeans, with their reputation for being well organized, would teach the Latin Americans, but it is quite the opposite.' Mr. Brock played down the impression that the Brazilians were taking over. The reason there are more AmBev staff at InBev headquarters than Interbrew people moved to Brazil is because of language. 'English is the working language here at InBev,' Mr. Brock said, adding, 'It's easier to move into that environment than into a Portuguese-speaking one.' Nevertheless, zero-based budgeting, AmBev's term for ruthless cost-cutting, has already been applied in Canada - where InBev sells Budweiser in a licensing agreement with its maker, Anheuser-Busch, as well as brands including Labatt. Europe and Russia are next in line, followed by Korea and Ukraine. By the end of 2007 InBev aims to cut costs by 300 million euros, or $361 million, in addition to the 280 million euros, or $337 million, it hopes to save through the takeover. Like the United States, Europe poses a challenge to brewers because beer consumption here is in decline. Shrinking populations and shifting consumption to other drinks like wine and spirits have forced brewers to think creatively. Beck's, a quintessentially German beer, has been given two brand extensions in an attempt to reach younger drinkers: Beck's Gold - darker in color, less bitter taste - and Beck's Green, also less bitter with a lemony taste. Beer purists may frown, but Mr. Brock said he believed such moves were essential. 'Look at what is working in the spirits industry: Vodkas with flavors, new packaging. There is a consensus in the drinks industry that consumers are seeking more variety,' he said. Mature markets in the developed world represent a third of InBev's activities. Most business takes place in Russia, China, eastern Europe, and now, with AmBev on board, Latin America. Brazil is the fourth-largest beer market in the world, and AmBev controls more than 60 percent of sales there. Exposure to some of the fastest-growing markets in the world is a mixed blessing, though. Returns on investment are slow in coming and there is greater risk. 'Many Belgians who bought InBev stock at the beginning are disappointed because they are not seeing the benefits in the price of their shares yet,' Ms. Moreno said. But foreign investors are looking more closely at the stock, she said. Investors with shares in brewers like Heineken and Anheuser-Busch are taking a closer look at InBev now, because it is not so dependent on sales in these mature markets, she said. Mr. Brock said he was aiming to achieve the highest profit margin in the business. 'We looked at Anheuser-Busch, with their strong record of cost-efficiency in the United States, and calculated that they must have a profit margin of 29 percent, so we set our target at 30 percent by the end of 2007,' he said. The company will still look for acquisition targets in developing markets it already occupies, especially in Russia, where Mr. Brock said brewing capacity was having trouble keeping up with demand. But InBev is also looking at new markets, he said. The company has no presence in Mexico, Vietnam or Thailand, three of the biggest emerging beer markets. 'They are on our list of markets we will enter in time,' Mr. Brock said. Perhaps with the help of the superefficient Brazilians, those moves may come sooner rather than later.

Subject: David Swensen
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 13:18:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
September 6, 2005 Yale Manager Blasts Industry By TOM LAURICELLA - WALL STREET JOURNAL WSJ: You had hoped to give small investors a road map for beating the market based on Yale's approach to investing. What happened? Mr. Swensen: I found when I started down that path that individuals just don't have the same set of investment opportunities available to them that we do here at Yale. In fact, the evidence showed me that the mutual-fund industry has completely failed to provide reasonable active-management returns to individuals. WSJ: To say that it completely failed -- that's a pretty harsh statement to make. Mr. Swensen: I think the evidence is there. The crux of the failure is with the for-profit management of funds for individuals. Mutual-fund managers have a fiduciary responsibility to investors. Obviously, if they are operating in a for-profit mode, they have a profit motive. When you put the profit motive up against fiduciary responsibility, that fiduciary responsibility loses and profits win. WSJ: But the investment managers that Yale hires -- or any other institutional investor hires -- are out to make money. Mr. Swensen: But there it's a fair fight. In the context of Yale, you've got a sophisticated institutional investor on the one hand and a for-profit provider of investment services on the other hand. And we can go toe-to-toe and end up with a fair result. If you look at Yale's history over the last 20 years, we have excellent results in terms of active-management returns. The problem in the mutual-fund industry is that you've got a sophisticated provider of investment services on the one hand and, on the other, you have an unsophisticated consumer. That imbalance leads to behaviors that line the pockets of mutual-fund managers and at the expense of the individual investor. WSJ: What is some of the evidence that you believe shows that mutual funds have failed small investors? Mr. Swensen: The data I cite in the book was put together and analyzed by Rob Arnott (chairman of manager Research Affiliates LLC). He adjusts for survivorship bias, an incredibly important phenomenon. If you don't do that, you are going to get a false picture of what the world looks like. WSJ: So if you look at the regular data on fund performance, you're not seeing the whole story? Mr. Swensen: You're not seeing the losers that disappear. They could disappear because they go out of business or because cynical managers of mutual funds will take poorly performing funds and merge them into better-performing funds, and so the record of the poor performer disappears. The picture that you get if you just look at the survivors is dominated by the winners -- but of course investor dollars were invested with the losers that disappeared. And if you look at the aggregate results of the mutual-fund industry on an after-fee, after-tax basis and adjust it for survivorship bias, the probability that you are going to end up with market-beating returns is de minimus. According to (Mr. Arnott's data), the 10-year after-tax shortfall for mutual funds is 4.5% per year relative to what you would have gotten if you had put your money in an index fund. That doesn't even take into account the fees for advice ... which takes you from a de minimus probability to a virtual certainty that you will end up losing relative to the market. WSJ: What keeps funds from living up to their promise? Mr. Swensen: So many of the behaviors that lead to high-quality investment performance diminish (managers') profits. For example, size is the enemy of performance. If you limit assets under management, you have a much better chance of beating the market. But asset gathering improves profits. So what happens? Almost invariably, managers are out there gathering assets, trying to increase profits, and it comes at the expense of generating investment returns. Concentration is another important factor in generating high levels of incremental returns. We have managers in Yale's portfolio that will hold three or four or five stocks, or maybe eight or 10 stocks. You have to have an enormous amount of conviction, and you have to really believe that you have got an edge to make those kinds of concentrated bets. But it's not sensible for a mutual fund to do that from a business perspective because the volatility of the results relative to the market will be way too great, and the manager of the mutual fund will likely not be able to amass the same level of assets they would if they pursued a much more diversified strategy. It also doesn't scale. If you are trying to run a concentrated portfolio and have a huge amount of assets under management, you just can't do it. One of the best managers out there has had as few as three securities and never more than 10. If you're Fidelity Magellan, with $50 billion or $60 billion, there's no way you can just put three stocks in the portfolio. As we're going down the laundry list of reasons why mutual funds fail, you have to talk about the turnover in the portfolios. A very significant portion of assets in mutual funds are taxable, and the overwhelming majority of mutual-fund assets appear to be managed with complete indifference to the tax consequences. It's probably not criminal, but it should be. WSJ: But there are portfolio managers who practice a very low-turnover, high-conviction style of managing mutual funds. Mr. Swensen: Southeastern Asset Management (manager of Longleaf Partners Funds) is one, and there are probably a handful of others. But that brings us to the second set of problems, which has to do with the way that individuals behave. I looked at the results of three years before and three years after the technology-stock bubble. If you looked at the stated investment returns, they went up for three years and went down for three years. So the results over the six-year period were basically zero -- no harm, no foul. Then you look at the cash flows. Because people chased performance, the overwhelming fund flows occurred in '99 and 2000. So individuals bought in right at the top and ended up suffering in the downturn. There was massive wealth destruction. Even though Southeastern does a wonderful job of managing ... they suffered substantial withdrawals in '99 and 2000 because investors were disenchanted with the low turnover, concentrated, steady-as-she-goes strategy. WSJ: You have issue with fees charges by funds as well. Mr. Swensen: Not only the investment-management fees but the 12b-1 fees, which are completely at odds with investor interests. You are out there charging fees for marketing and distribution, and so you are charging the investor for adding assets under management -- which ultimately hurts the investor's prospective returns. It's a very sweet deal for the mutual-fund industry, and it's terrible for the investor. WSJ: The fund industry says without these fees, it couldn't attract investors. Mr. Swensen: That was the argument when the SEC allowed them quite a number of years ago. I thought it was a specious argument and viewed it without merit then, and it certainly doesn't have merit now. WSJ: Some of these fees go to compensate financial advisers. Those folks are providing a service, so don't they need to be paid? Mr. Swensen: The amount that people pay for financial advice relative to the quality of what they get is totally out of whack. WSJ: For individuals, given the way the fund industry operates, you argue that they should be focusing on the not-for-profit companies and index funds such as Vanguard Group and TIAA-CREF. (Mr. Swensen is on the board of TIAA, but isn't directly responsible for mutual funds, which fall under CREF.) What does that get you? Mr. Swensen: Well it doesn't give you much to talk about at cocktail parties! It gets you a well-diversified equity-oriented portfolio that ought to be good for all seasons. WSJ: When it comes to diversifying a portfolio, you have somewhat unconventional asset-allocation recommendations. Mr. Swensen: When I arrived here 20 years ago, we had a pretty typical institutional portfolio, maybe two-thirds in domestic stocks and another big chunk in domestic bonds and a smattering of alternatives. And if you apply the principle of diversification and the notion of the equity orientation to these portfolios...they fail the test of diversification because there is a huge chunk in domestic equities, and they generally fail the test of equity orientation because there is too much in fixed income and cash. Currently at Yale, we've got a half a dozen asset classes with weights ranging between 5% and 25%. And I identify a half dozen asset classes that individuals ought to have in their portfolio. Traditional bonds, inflation-indexed bonds, domestic equities, foreign-developed equities, emerging-market equities and real-estate securities. WSJ: You argue investors should have just 30% in domestic stocks. But most people think 'I'm a super-long-term investor, so I'm going to be loaded to the gills with domestic stocks or just stocks.' Mr. Swensen: There are lots of ways you can produce equity-like returns without exposure to domestic stocks. So the foreign equities and foreign emerging equities and the real-estate positions ought to produce returns that are not dissimilar from those of U.S. stocks over reasonably long periods of time. It's important to point out that one size doesn't fit all and individual circumstance could lead an individual to hold a portfolio that would differ from the one that we're talking about right here. WSJ: If you like index funds, where do exchange-traded funds fit in? Mr. Swensen: To the extent that ETFs are focused on index management -- with the provision that the indexes are well-structured indexes -- I think they are absolutely great. It's another low-cost, even more tax-sensitive investment that people can use to implement a sensible asset allocation. But as they have grown in popularity, the waters have been polluted by a variety of ETFs that have essentially active-management components and poor fee structures. So it's a circumstance where buyers need to beware. WSJ: Most average investors think an index is an index. What should they be on the lookout for? Mr. Swensen: The S&P 500 is a well-structured index because it has relative low turnover and the low turnover leads to reasonable tax characteristics. But the Russell 2000, which consists of stocks ranked by market capitalization...as defined once a year, has ridiculous characteristics. The turnover is extraordinarily high. In a market that you expect will rise over time, it will have very poor tax consequences. It's very widespread and used a lot but ridiculously, poorly constructed.

Subject: Time to Connect the Dots
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 13:11:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/28/opinion/28wed1.html September 28, 2005 Time to Connect the Dots Along with ruined homes and upended trees, the recent hurricanes left behind a revived debate about global warming. While some environmentalists point to the wreckage as a kind of retribution for America's failure to control greenhouse gas emissions, right-wing talk show hosts repeat, over and over, that even if global warming did exist, there is no proof it had anything to do with Rita and Katrina. In a way, they're all right. It is impossible to link Katrina or Rita, or any particular hurricane, specifically to global warming. This does not mean that President Bush and the rest of us should not be connecting the dots. These are natural disasters - but with human fingerprints. Hurricanes derive their strength from warm ocean waters. Ocean temperatures have been rising over the last 100 years, along with atmospheric temperatures. Hurricanes have therefore become bigger and more destructive and are likely to grow even more violent in the future. This cycle cannot be reversed any time soon. But one thing humans can do is to reduce their own contribution to global warming by controlling industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The alarm bells have been ringing for a long time, but Katrina and Rita should serve as yet another warning to an administration that has belittled the science of global warming. The emerging hurricane problem is size, not quantity. The scientists who have studied the issue have not detected any increase in the number of hurricanes. Yet these same scientists - in research reports appearing in reputable journals like Science, Nature and The Journal of Climate - have detected increases of up to 70 percent in hurricane intensity, a measure that combines the power of a hurricane and its duration. There has been a commensurate increase in damage, mainly because more and more people have stubbornly put themselves at risk by moving to low-lying coastal areas. But the hurricanes' added strength has clearly contributed to the ever-higher toll in lives and property damage. Being cautious folk, the scientists point out that cyclical lulls and surges in hurricane activity may also have something to do with stronger storms. But even if they are completely wrong in linking warming to intensity, which seems unlikely, global warming will have other undesirable consequences, including a significant rise in sea level. In the last century, sea level rose 4 to 8 inches around the world, and most scientists expect a further rise of 2 to 3 feet in this century. According to one government study, a 20-inch rise in sea level by 2100 could put 3,500 square miles of the southern coast of the United States underwater - rendering efforts to restore the Everglades and the Louisiana coastline essentially pointless. A large-scale breakup of the polar ice sheets would, of course, make matters much worse. Dikes could protect some regions, like Manhattan and the Netherlands, but most coastlines would be inundated. Humanity cannot avoid a warmer Earth and some rise in sea level, largely because of the gases we have already deposited in the atmosphere. But the worst outcomes may be avoided if the world takes concerted action to stabilize industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. This, of course, presupposes aggressive leadership from the United States, which produces more than a quarter of these emissions. But this is a role that Mr. Bush has shown no appetite for at all.

Subject: In Heeding Health Warnings
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 09:34:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/27/health/27cons.html?ex=1285473600&en=eba5e4d4fc481c0a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 27, 2005 In Heeding Health Warnings, Memory Can Be Tricky By DEBORAH FRANKLIN In briefing consumers on health risks, public health campaigns often rely on a catchy strategy: they list the myths about a behavior or product, then follow up those misconceptions with the truth. Check any Internet search engine and you will find 'myths and facts' on health topics like abortion, acne, vaccines and weight loss. But new research suggests that even the sharpest consumer can be tripped up by these warnings because of a flaw in the way we remember what we read or are told. As time passes, the studies show, people remember the health information they were given. But they forget which part was myth, and which was the truth. Experts say consumers and doctors need to be aware of this problem so they can make sure that quirks of memory do not harm anyone's health. 'Here's what happens,' said Ian Skurnik, a psychologist and assistant professor of marketing at the University of Toronto, who worked with colleagues from the University of Michigan to study the phenomenon. 'You notice that your grandmother has been taking useless medical treatments, and you're worried,' he said. 'You tell her, 'You know, Granny, shark cartilage doesn't help your arthritis.' You tell her three times to make sure she understands, and she seems to.' He continued, 'But a few days later you talk to her again and find the warnings have had precisely the opposite effect of what you intended.' This common problem arises, Dr. Skurnik said, because in laying down a memory trace, the human brain seems to encode the memory of the claim separately from its context - who said it, when and other particulars, including the important fact that the claim is not true. The detailed memory of the experience of learning the information begins to fade almost immediately, and the contextual clues fade faster than the core claim. 'Long after you've forgotten the context, the claim will still seem vaguely familiar,' Dr. Skurnik said. That is when a well-documented effect that Dr. Skurnik calls 'the illusion of truth' kicks in. Numerous studies over the last few decades have shown that unless people have some countervailing context or information to grab hold of, they tend to regard information that seems familiar as true. To test the power of that effect related to health claims, Dr. Skurnik and colleagues gave 64 volunteers a few dozen bits of unrelated medical information that they were unlikely to have heard before, like 'Corn chips contain twice as much fat as potato chips' and 'Aspirin destroys tooth enamel.' The researchers arbitrarily labeled half the statements false and half as true. Each item was read aloud and simultaneously presented on a computer screen at least once, but half the items appeared three times within the list. Half the volunteers were college students ages 18 to 25. The others were healthy adults, ages 71 to 86. Thirty minutes after the volunteers had seen the information, the researchers showed them another list of items that contained all the previous statements, with some new items mixed in. They were asked to identify which statements were false, which were true and which were new. The same kind of quiz was repeated three days later. The results, published in the March 2005 issue of The Journal of Consumer Research, showed that the older adults were much more likely than the younger ones to misremember the false statements as true, an effect that was exacerbated three days later. What's more, having seen a statement three times in the initial list helped the younger people remember it correctly, but made things worse for the older volunteers. 'Even quite elderly people remain good detectors of information that's new, versus something they have seen before,' Dr. Skurnik said. 'But in this case, that ability worked against them.' The repetition of a warning underscored its familiarity. The implications of the findings are not limited to older people, Dr. Skurnik said. In a follow-up study not yet published, he and his colleagues presented college-age volunteers with a health information pamphlet from the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called 'Is It a Flu Shot Fact or Myth?' In boldface type, the pamphlet contained eight statements about the flu vaccine - six labeled false, one true and one 'maybe.' Each statement was followed by a sentence or two of explanation in smaller type. 'Immediately after reading the flier, participants made few mistakes in recalling whether a particular statement from the flyer was described as a fact or myth, and there was no difference in the type of mistake,' the researchers reported. 'However,' the researchers continued, 'after a half an hour, participants were much more likely to misremember a fact as a myth.' 'I think the message to physicians from this study and others is that even if you have lots to tell your patient in an office visit, you have to tell them several ways and over time to make sure they understand,' said Dr. Joanne Schwartzberg, who oversees the health literacy program of the American Medical Association. Dr. Schwartzberg advises patients never to worry about saying to a doctor: ' 'Wait a minute, I need a little more time to see if I've got that right. When I go home, you want me to do this; is that right?' ' Putting complicated health instructions in your own words and repeating them aloud should help anchor the information accurately in your memory. But Dr. Skurnik said, 'Don't trust your memory.' Office visits are often time-pressured, anxiety-provoking, and packed with new and technical information - exactly the conditions most likely to jumble a memory of what was said. Whenever possible, get written information from the doctor, he said, and take a notebook to appointments to jot down instructions. It can also help to take along a friend or family member. Patients under the intense stress of a new diagnosis may be those most likely to scan headlines and sift through Web pages in search of information. Print out what you read online, Dr. Skurnik suggested, so that you can go back later and identify the source of the information, as well as the particulars. And doctors, he said, would do well to make sure that anything they hand out is written in simple, direct factual language. 'It's not enough to ensure that people get good information from credible sources,' Dr. Skurnik said. 'You also have to make sure that they'll be able to recall whether it's true or false later on.'

Subject: For Survivors of Cancer
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 06:12:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/health/article-page.html?res=9406EFDB163BF935A35754C0A9629C8B63&fta=y July 6, 2004 For Survivors of Cancer, All Calories Are Not Equal By JANE E. BRODY After her third battle with cancer, Diana Dyer decided she needed something more than surgery and chemotherapy to keep the disease at bay. During treatment, she ate whatever she could tolerate to get the calories her body needed. But afterward, her goal was to use diet to minimize the risk of recurrence. She searched the scientific literature for guidance and developed a plan based, she recognized, on ''very little clinical science'' but on the best science available. She increased her exercise; reduced her alcohol intake; avoided saturated fats in animal foods and the trans and hydrogenated fats in processed foods; switched to olive and canola oils; gave up red meats and poultry but ate more soy foods, fatty fish and eggs, rich in omega-3 fatty acids; doubled her fiber intake through whole grains, legumes and nine or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables; replaced diet sodas with tomato and orange juice, and green tea; stuck to low-fat dairy products; and added nuts and flax seeds to her diet. She describes her plan, including what to do when eating out, in a book, ''A Dietitian's Cancer Story'' (Swan Press, $15.95), and offers two weeks of menus and recipes on her Web site, www.cancerrd.com. Part of the sales of the book benefit the American Institute for Cancer Research. The book can be ordered through the institute at (800)843-8114. Also helpful on the subject is the American Cancer Society's publication ''Nutrition for the Person With Cancer: A Guide for Patients and Families,'' available by calling (800)ACS-2345. Will Ms. Dyer's approach help keep her free of cancer? So far she has been healthy. And the diet will lower her risk of heart disease. A diagnosis of cancer is a wake-up call for many people. Hoping to maximize their chances of survival, however, many patients turn to strange diets, supplements and herbal remedies with little or no scientific evidence to establish their worth. Some may be harmful. To help health care providers and their patients make the best choices based on the best available evidence, three years ago the American Cancer Society published in the journal CA a guide on nutrition during and after cancer treatment. It was designed to help the more than 1.2 million people who each year receive cancer diagnoses and the more than nine million Americans who have thus far survived cancer. The article is online (caonline.amcancersoc.org) or can be found in the May/June 2001 issue. In addition to the nutritional advantages gained from the suggested dietary measures, making improvements in living habits has important psychological benefits by helping patients regain a sense of control over their lives. During Treatment Current approaches to cancer treatment -- surgery, radiation and chemotherapy -- may not only change a person's nutritional needs but also interfere with the ability to consume, digest, absorb and assimilate food. In most cases, cancer treatment increases a person's caloric needs while making it more challenging to meet them. Small, frequent meals and snacks and foods that are easy to chew, swallow, digest and absorb -- and that are appealing -- are recommended, even if they are high in calories or fat. This is not a time to try to lose weight or worry about how healthful foods might be. Meeting one's caloric needs is the primary goal; during treatment, it is often helpful to add beverages like Ensure or Boost as temporary aids. Cancer patients are also urged to engage in light, regular physical activity to counter fatigue; to stimulate appetite and digestion; to prevent constipation; to maintain energy and muscle mass; to provide relaxation; and to reduce stress. But the cancer society's experts warn against consuming high levels of certain supplements that may do more harm than good. Folic acid, for example, can interfere with the action of some chemotherapeutic drugs, like methotrexate, that act as folic acid antagonists. And high doses of antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, which patients sometimes take in hope of protecting normal cells, may reduce the effectiveness of therapies that work by causing oxidative damage to cancer cells. The experts recommend as a prudent approach during treatment ''not to exceed the upper limits of the Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin supplements and to avoid other nutritional supplements that contain antioxidant compounds.'' Cancer treatment often suppresses immune responses, and so it is also important to pay particular attention to food safety. Do not eat raw fish or undercooked meats and poultry or drink unpasteurized juices; rinse all fruits and vegetables; and protect foods eaten uncooked from the drippings or utensils used on raw meats, poultry and seafood. Once active treatment ends, the goal is to rebuild muscle strength and correct problems like anemia that may have been caused by treatment. Again, this is not a time to diet; the emphasis should be on eating healthful foods. Although daily exercise may not prevent recurrence or slow the progression of cancer, the experts note that it can ''reduce anxiety and depression, improve mood, improve self-esteem and reduce symptoms of fatigue, nausea, pain and diarrhea.'' Eating for Good Health The cancer society experts say, ''There is no evidence to support fasting as a healthy practice during cancer treatment or beyond.'' Vegetarian diets and macrobiotic diets based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, fermented soy products, nuts, seeds and teas ''can be consistent with a healthy diet'' as long as consumers are careful to take in enough calories and essential nutrients. But the experts found ''no data to support the claim that a macrobiotic diet reduces cancer incidence or recurrence'' any more than the less restricted regimen the society recommends, which includes animal protein foods in moderation. Although a one-a-day type of multivitamin-mineral supplement can help compensate for nutrient shortfalls, the experts advise against doses above the recommended intake for any nutrient. ''There is no evidence that any nutritional supplement can reproduce the apparent benefits of a diet high in vegetables and fruits,'' the experts say. Alcohol is best avoided or consumed in moderation -- at most a drink a day for women, two for men -- since it is associated with an increased risk of breast, lung and digestive cancers. Purple grape juice helps protect against heart disease. Teas are all right for cancer survivors, as long as they are made from plants that are ordinarily used for foods or beverages. Caffeine is all right, too; it has no link to cancer. The jury is still out on the benefits and risks of estrogen-rich soy foods for survivors of breast and prostate cancers, though they are not believed to be hazardous when consumed in moderation, say, at one meal a day. But breast cancer survivors should avoid supplements of soy concentrates and isoflavones. High-fat diets, in general, are not advisable for cancer survivors, or for anyone. In place of animal-derived fats and polyunsaturates, some experts recommend monounsaturates like olive and canola oils and the fats in avocados, nuts and fish, which have been associated with protection against cancer and heart disease. Foods high in sugars may have no adverse effect on cancer, but they have limited nutrient value and often supplant more healthful foods. As Ms. Dyer discovered, until there is evidence to the contrary, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains rich in potentially protective fiber and phytochemicals should be the goal for all cancer survivors. In fact, for everyone.

Subject: Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 05:57:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/27/health/27canc.html?ex=1285473600&en=faa02f09bd83a2bc&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 27, 2005 Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? (Not So Fast) By GINA KOLATA Leslie Michelson does not have prostate cancer, but as chief executive officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation he knows all too well how bad the disease is. So Mr. Michelson, 54, changed his diet. He used to avoid cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and brussels sprouts, hating their taste. Now he has them three or four times a week. He rarely ate fish, but now has it three times a week. He eats tomato sauce at least twice a week. 'I'm persuaded that with prostate cancer, diet makes a difference,' he said. Mr. Michelson is one of a growing number of people worried about cancer - because it is in their families or because they have seen friends suffer with the disease - who are turning to diets for protection. Cancer patients, doctors say, almost always ask what to eat to reduce their chances of dying from the disease. The diet messages are everywhere: the National Cancer Institute has an 'Eat 5 to 9 a Day for Better Health' program, the numbers referring to servings of fruits and vegetables, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation has a detailed anticancer diet. Yet despite the often adamant advice, scientists say they really do not know whether dietary changes will make a difference. And there lies a quandary for today's medicine. It is turning out to be much more difficult than anyone expected to discover if diet affects cancer risk. Hypotheses abound, but convincing evidence remains elusive. Most of the proposed dietary changes are unlikely to be harmful - less meat, more fish, more fruits and vegetables and less fat. And these changes in diet may help protect against heart disease, even if they have no effect on cancer. So should people who are worried about cancer be told to follow these guidelines anyway, because they may work and will probably not hurt? Or should the people be told that the evidence just is not there, so they should not deceive themselves? Dr. Barnett Kramer, deputy director in the office of disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health, said: 'Over time, the messages on diet and cancer have been ratcheted up until they are almost co-equal with the smoking messages. I think a lot of the public is completely unaware that the strength of the message is not matched by the strength of the evidence.' But Dr. Arthur Schatzkin, chief of the nutritional epidemiology branch in the National Cancer Institute division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, said people wanted answers, even if they are not are not definitive. 'It is not enough to say that, well, this is complicated science and maybe in seven or eight years we will have new methods in place' that might resolve the issues, Dr. Schatzkin said. 'We have a responsibility to give the best advice we can while pointing out where the evidence is uncertain and how we're working to improve the science.' That, however, is little consolation to cancer patients and family members who are terrified that cancer might strike them next. And there are more and more. As the population ages, the number of cancer patients is soaring. From 1997 to 2004, the number of Americans with cancer jumped, to 9.6 million from 9.4 million. Cancer strikes one in two men and one in three women in their lifetimes. Most people want some sort of control, a way to prevent the disease from ever striking them or, if it does strike, to keep it from recurring. Many think of diet as a strategy. Cassindy Chao, 36, of Oakland, Calif., said cancer runs in her family. Her mother has ovarian cancer and her grandmother died of the disease. 'I am absolutely frantic about it,' she said. Ms. Chao has made substantial changes in her diet, for example, drinking carrot juice, loading up on green and leafy vegetables and switching to organic meats. 'Some people might want to wait for the evidence, but I've noticed it takes a while,' Ms. Chao said. 'I'm not going to wait.' Dr. Tim E. Byers, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, was convinced that up to 20 percent of cancers were being caused by diet and he wanted to be part of the exciting new research that would prove it. 'I felt we were really on the cusp of important new discoveries about food and how the right choice of foods would improve cancer risk,' Dr. Byers sad. That was 25 years ago, when the evidence was pointing to diet. For example, cross-country comparisons of cancer rates suggested a dietary influence. 'For prostate cancer, if you look around the world, there might be 50-fold or greater differences in rates; they're huge,' said Dr. Meier Stampfer, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. 'There are also big differences, many-fold differences, around the world for breast cancer and colon cancer.' And when people move from low risk countries to high risk countries, they or their children acquire the cancer rates of their new countries. At the same time, some cancers were inexplicably becoming more common or, just as inexplicably, fading away in the United States. In 1930, for instance, stomach cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death in women and the leading cause in men. Now, Dr. Stampfer says, stomach cancer is not even listed in the American Cancer Society's 10 leading cancers. 'So people think, 'What's happened in the past 70 years to make that change?' ' he said. 'Diet comes to mind.' There were also differences in diets in countries where cancer rates were high and in those with low rates. With breast cancer, for example, researchers could draw a straight line directly relating the amount of fat in the diet to the rate of breast cancer in the population. 'People looked at it and said, 'Here it is - fat causes breast cancer,' ' Dr. Stampfer said. Next came studies that compared the diets of people who developed cancer to the diets of those who did not. Those studies, Dr. Schatzkin said, tended to show that dietary fiber protected against colon cancer, that fruits and vegetables protected against colon and other cancers and that a low-fat diet protected against breast cancer. There were, of course, a few nagging questions. For example, people who had cancer might remember their diets differently. 'Whenever people get cancer, the first thing they ask is, 'Why me?' ' Dr. Stampfer said. 'And then they try to answer that question.' If colon cancer patients heard that fiber protected against colon cancer, for example, they might recall eating less fiber than people without cancer. Dr. Stampfer said evidence from one of his studies indicated that was occurring, at least with fat and breast cancer. But, he said, when he published a paper saying so, 'a lot of people didn't believe it.' The best studies are the hardest to conduct: prospective studies that that follow healthy people for years instead of looking backward and relying on memory. Even better - and harder and more expensive - are studies that randomly assign people to follow a particular diet or not. But those more difficult studies were well worth doing, researchers said. And as more studies started, scientists hoped for definitive evidence that diet affected cancer. The Fiber Theory But as the results from those studies have begun to roll in, many researchers say they are taken aback. The findings, they say, are not what they expected. Fat in the diet, the studies found, made no difference for breast cancer. 'For fat and breast cancer, almost all of the prospective studies were null,' Dr. Schatzkin said. Fiber, in the form of fruits and vegetables, seemed to have a weak effect or no effect on colon cancer. The more definitive randomized controlled trials were disappointing, too, with one exception. A study reported in May found that women with early stage breast cancer who followed a low-fat diet had a 20 percent lower risk of recurrence. Even so, the effects were just marginally statistically significant. The study's principal investigator, Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of the Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center, said it needed to be repeated before scientists would be convinced. Nonetheless, the study contrasted sharply with those preceding it. Several involved beta carotene and antioxidant vitamins like C and E, substances that scientists thought were the protective agent in fruits and vegetables. The idea was that antioxidants could mop up free radicals in the body, which left unchecked could damage DNA, causing cancer. Beta carotene was of special interest. People who ate lots of fruits and vegetables had more beta carotene in their blood, and the more beta carotene in the blood, the lower the cancer risk. But a four-year study that asked whether beta carotene, with or without vitamins C and E, could protect against colon polyps, from which most colon cancers start, found no effect. People who took either beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E or all three had virtually identical rates of new polyps compared to participants taking dummy pills. Another study, of 22,000 doctors randomly assigned to take beta carotene or a placebo, looked for an effect on any and all cancers. It found nothing. Two more, involving current and former smokers, found that those taking beta carotene actually had slightly higher lung cancer rates than those taking placebos. Studies of fiber and colon cancer were similarly disappointing. The fiber hypothesis had enormous appeal. Carcinogens from food can end up in stool. But when people eat a lot of fiber, their stool is bulkier and so carcinogens would be diluted. Bulkier stool is also excreted faster, reducing the time that the colon is in contact with cancer-causing substances. Fiber also binds bile acids in the bowel, substances that can damage the colon and, possibly, result in cancer. And the intestines metabolize fiber into short-chain fatty acids that seemed protective against cancer. Adding to the case for fiber was the fact that when researchers fed rodents carcinogens, the animals were protected against colon cancer if they also ate a lot of fiber. Based on these indications, the cancer institute financed two studies on high-fiber diets and colon polyps. In one, 2,079 people were randomly assigned to eat low-fat high-fiber diets or to follow their usual diets. In the other, 1,429 people were assigned to eat high-fiber bran cereals or wheat bran fiber or to eat cereal and bars that looked and tasted the same but that were low on fiber. Fiber, the studies found, had no effect. 'We had high expectations and good rationale,' Dr. Schatzkin said. But, he said, 'we got absolutely null results.' Now, the largest randomized study ever of diet and cancer is nearing completion, involving 48,835 middle-age and elderly women. The women were randomly assigned to follow a low-fat diet with five servings a day of fruits and vegetables and two of grains or to follow their usual diet. The question was whether the experimental diet could prevent breast cancer. The study is part of the Women's Health Initiative, a large federal project. When it began, the dietary fat hypothesis was ascendant. But after it was under way, other, less definitive studies failed to find any association between dietary fat and breast cancer. The Women's Health Initiative diet study's results should be ready early next year, said its principle investigator, Ross L. Prentice, a biostatistics professor at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. And if it fails to find an effect? Dr. Prentice said he would still wonder. Maybe what matters is diet earlier in life, he said, or maybe the women in the study did not stick to their diets. Others say they suspect they were simply na�ve about the cross-country comparisons that persuaded them in the first place. 'People drew inferences that were in retrospect overenthusiastic,' Dr. Stampfer said. 'You could plot G.N.P. against cancer and get a very similar graph, or telephone poles. Any marker of Western civilization gives you the same relationship.' Because of the striking differences in daily life between people in countries with high cancer rates and those in countries with low rates, diet may have nothing to do with the incidence of the disease, Dr. Schatzkin said. Or diet may play a large role but the questionnaires used to measure what people were eating might have been inadequate to find it. 'That's the problem.' Dr. Schatzkin said. 'We just don't know.' As for Dr. Byers, who once had such high hopes for the diet and cancer hypotheses, he says he is sadder now, but wiser. 'The progress has been different than I would have predicted,' Dr. Byers said. Specific food can affect general health, he added, but as for a major role in cancer, he doubts it. He now believes that it is the amount of food people eat, not specific foods or types of foods, that may make a difference. 'I think the truth may be that particular food choices are not as important as I thought they were,' Dr. Byers said. Individual Approaches Meanwhile, patients and those worried about cancer are adopting their own idiosyncratic dietary paths. Many know that the evidence is not solid, but they would rather take a chance that their diets will make a difference than wait helplessly for their fates to play out. That is the view of John Napolitano, a New York graphic designer and marketer. Three years ago, when he was 55, Mr. Napolitano found out that he had prostate cancer and that it had spread to his bones. Now, hoping to slow its progress, he avoids sugar and fat and almost never eats meat. He eats natural and organic foods. He drinks lots of water and green tea. He starts each day by whipping up a smoothie with a protein supplement and flaxseed. 'My diet is very different now than what it was three years ago,' Mr. Napolitano said, adding that thinks that his new diet helped. 'Until recently, I was totally symptom free,' he said. 'I can't endorse anything I'm doing, but I've never had nausea, never had constipation' from his treatments. Dr. Brad Efron, a professor of statistics at Stanford, has a different dietary approach. He does not have prostate cancer, but he had a couple of scares and he has friends who have it. So he is taking selenium, a trace mineral found in plants. A study that randomly assigned people to take selenium or not to see whether it protected against skin cancer found that it had no effect on that cancer, but that the men taking it had only a third as many prostate cancers. Now, the National Cancer Institute is conducting a study on whether selenium protects against prostate cancer. Dr. Efron chose not to wait. He even published a statistical analysis concluding that the prostate effect was likely to be real. 'One of my colleagues said, 'Why do you think something that people thought would work on skin cancer has anything to do with you?' ' he said. 'There's always a leap of faith. But I'm scared of prostate cancer and I wanted psychological reassurance.'

Subject: Implant Program for Heart Device
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 05:50:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/27/business/27heart.html?ex=1285473600&en=cdf55577e90d70d4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 27, 2005 Implant Program for Heart Device Was a Sales Spur By BARRY MEIER By January, about 80 cardiologists nationwide completed an evaluation run by the Guidant Corporation of one of its products, an improved electrical component, known as a lead, that connects an implanted cardiac device to the heart. In exchange for implanting the lead in three patients and completing five survey forms, each physician received $1,000 from Guidant. 'The primary purpose of the study was to get feedback on how well the system worked,' said Dr. Wayne O. Adkisson, a cardiologist in Portsmouth, Va., who took part. The program did generate feedback. But internal Guidant documents and e-mail messages provided to The New York Times suggest that the initiative also had another apparent goal - increasing sales of the company's most sophisticated and expensive heart devices. Those devices are advanced pacemakers called cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, or C.R.T.'s. They cost about $29,000 each. The program proved so successful in increasing Guidant C.R.T. sales that when the survey ended in January, company executives sent around congratulatory e-mail messages, the records show. 'It generated 300 implants,' one January e-mail message stated. 'Let's say that just 25% were incremental ... that yields >$2 million in new sales with physicians who are not necessarily Guidant friendly. We paid each physician who completed all five surveys $1,000 so our total cost was $80,000.' In a statement, Guidant said that it ran surveys like the lead evaluation to generate data on how doctors use company products so that it could improve future models. Critics of the industry have long charged that some companies have used research studies to mask what are really marketing efforts that provide financial incentives to doctors to get them to use a new drug. Now, the Guidant documents and recent interviews suggest that the line between research and product promotion may also be blurring where heart devices are concerned. A C.R.T. regulates the beating of one side of the heart independently from the other. The Guidant lead was intended to be easier to use and to reduce the chronic hiccupping that some implant patients develop when a lead from a C.R.T. is placed too close to a nerve. The Guidant records indicate that many doctors approached by the company to take part in its lead study were not those who regularly implanted its heart devices, but rather those more apt to use the units of competitors. Though the agreement signed by doctors taking part in the lead evaluation did not explicitly require them to implant a Guidant C.R.T. along with the lead, they effectively had to do so because of software-related issues. One Guidant document is a chart that indicates that, on average, the monthly number of company C.R.T.'s implanted by physicians taking part nearly doubled during the survey period that began last September. A person professing to be a Guidant employee provided the documents to The Times. The Times provided Guidant either with copies or text from the documents. Guidant, while declining to confirm the records, did not dispute their authenticity. 'In order to respond best to the needs of patients and preferences of physicians, Guidant has sometimes utilized market research and evaluation programs of our F.D.A.-approved and -cleared products,' said Guidant. The disclosure of the records comes amid a growing controversy over how heart device manufacturers release data about product failures to doctors and patients. Since late May, Guidant has recalled tens of thousands of heart devices, and some units implanted during the survey were probably among the models affected. The two other major heart device companies, Medtronic Inc. and St. Jude Medical, also said they run product evaluation programs. All three companies said their payments to doctors for taking part in such surveys reflected reasonable compensation for a physician's time. 'Any payments made in connection with such surveys are in modest amounts,' Medtronic said in a statement. A number of physicians who participated in the Guidant evaluation said their involvement in such reviews did not influence which company's units they implanted. Still, the Guidant survey and ones like it raise questions about what doctors tell patients about any added payments they may be receiving in connection with a heart product's use, several experts said. Several doctors who took part in the Guidant survey said that they did not tell their patients about the payments they received. It is illegal under federal law in certain circumstances to provide financial benefits to doctors to induce them to use a product or service. In its statement, Guidant said that all of its research and evaluation programs 'are intended to comply with applicable laws.' Product evaluation surveys like the Guidant one are far less rigorous than a traditional clinical study of a drug or a medical device in their purpose, scientific rigor and oversight. But several heart specialists suggested in interviews that heart device makers may also be using formal post-marketing studies of devices that the Food and Drug Administration has already approved - to increase sales as they battle for market share. There is little question that many post-marketing studies of heart devices like defibrillators and pacemakers have yielded crucial data, including those that have shown patients implanted with defibrillators survive longer than patients who are treated only with drugs. A defibrillator sends out an electrical charge intended to interrupt a chaotic and often fatal type of heart rhythm. A pacemaker regulates a heart that is beating too fast or too slowly. But other post-marketing studies may yield far less data. Consider, for example, a study that St. Jude Medical is currently running. It began recruiting doctors and medical centers last October to participate in a study intended to follow for two years the health outcomes of 5,000 patients implanted with either a defibrillator or a C.R.T. with a defibrillator made by St. Jude Medical. A copy of the study's protocol shows that St. Jude Medical will pay $2,000 to doctors or medical centers for every patient. Of that amount, a doctor will get $500 when a device is implanted, with the remainder paid over a two-year period when a physician submits patient data. According to the protocol, the study, which is technically called an outcomes registry, will yield data on how different types of heart patients implanted with the St. Jude Medical devices fare over time. The Times asked four cardiologists not involved in the study to review the protocol. Two of the doctors said that the study might provide St. Jude Medical with some useful data about its device. But the other two doctors said they saw little value in it. One, Dr. Robert Rea, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, said, 'The amount of information that can be gleaned from these kind of trials is relatively limited.' St. Jude Medical, which is based in St. Paul, said it believed that the study would produce valuable information. 'We also hope that some of the analyses from the registry will lead to additional product advancements and help us to define specific test hypotheses for future prospective, randomized clinical studies,' the company said in a statement. The company also said in its statement that study data would be given to Medicare and to the F.D.A., the latter to fulfill post-marketing study obligations imposed by the F.D.A. In order to get reimbursement, Medicare now requires doctors to submit data to a national registry it operates when they implant a defibrillator. There is nothing to suggest that doctors implanting heart devices, either in connection with clinical studies or product surveys, are doing so unnecessarily. And several doctors, including those not involved in the evaluation of the new Guidant lead, said that the component offered potential benefits. At issue is the way that electricity is conducted from an advanced pacemaker - a C.R.T. - into the heart. A C.R.T. has three leads. Each carries electrical impulses, which cycle at various rates, like, say, 60 beats a minute. But if the wire put on the heart's left ventricle is positioned too close to a nerve, the regular electrical impulse it emits can set off involuntary hiccupping. While relatively rare, the problem may require added surgery, which poses risks for the patient. The Guidant lead allows the pulsing position to be changed electronically. Dr. Marc J. Girsky, a cardiologist in Los Angeles who took part in the Guidant survey, said he believed that one purpose was to collect data on the various tests and methods that different doctors used to implant the new lead so that a uniform technique might be developed. 'It is not clear what the established technique would be,' Dr. Girsky said. Some physicians like Dr. Girsky who took part in the survey, which was known by the acronym MERITS, often used Guidant devices. But many other doctors involved did not, company records indicate. Along with the January e-mail message that refers to 'physicians who are not necessarily Guidant friendly' - an industry euphemism for doctors who are not regular customers - another Guidant e-mail message that month stated that the program was 'targeted at our 'B' customers.' A spreadsheet also shows that some doctors had implanted few, if any, Guidant C.R.T.'s before September of last year. Dr. Adkisson, the cardiologist in Virginia, was one of them. In a recent interview, he said that about 90 percent of the devices he used in recent years were Medtronic units, and that one of the two hospitals where he practiced had a contract with that company. Still, when approached by a Guidant sales representative last fall about becoming involved in the lead survey, he said he agreed because he liked doing research. 'I thought there was enough legitimacy to it to say it was O.K.,' Dr. Adkisson said. Doctors filled out one form when the survey started, one form after each of three implants and one form at the end of the survey. The questionnaires sought technical data about the lead's use as well as a doctor's subjective impressions. Dr. Adkisson said that it took him about 10 minutes to fill out each form. As technical data from the survey came into Guidant, company officials projected the impact of C.R.T.'s used by doctors in the survey on revenue, the documents indicate. C.R.T.'s are the fastest-growing and most profitable segment of the heart device industry. Both Ronald W. Dollens, the chief executive of Guidant, and J. Frederick McCoy Jr., the head of its cardiac implant unit, did not respond to written questions related to their awareness of the program In its statement, Guidant said that the data collected from the lead survey was already being put to good use. 'In an effort to be responsive to our physician customers, we take feedback from physicians regarding post-market products very seriously,' the company stated. 'Data collected were aggregated and provided to more than 30 Guidant product development engineers in June 2005.' Dr. Adkisson said last week that he had yet to see it.

Subject: Why I am Optimistic
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 15:23:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Precisely 15 of the 22 major international stock market are up over 18% in domestic currency. The strength of the dollar has been easily offset by gains in international stock prices, and there is no sign of stock market effect in countries in which real estate markets have cooled.

Subject: International Bull Market
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 15:22:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Again, while analysts fret there is a wide and deep international bull market in stocks. Every major international stock market is positive and almost all are up over 10% and many are up over 20% in domestic currencies for the year. The only markets below 10% are Ireland and Portugal, with large companies restructuring, and America, with large companies lagging.

Subject: NYT columnists
From: Douglas
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 10:13:38 (EDT)
Email Address: douglas.hinton@gmail.com

Message:
I afraid if we cave into the NYT payment demand other newspapers will follow, therefore I won't subscribe. Maybe there's another way to read Krugman's columns. There must be other newspapers we can access that carry NYT colunists. I know the International Hearld Tribune carries them, but they have the same payment scheme as the NYT. Does anyone know of other newspapers? Douglas

Subject: I posted part of PK's column
From: Erica
To: Douglas
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 16:34:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Uh, I just posted Krugman's latest a few posts down the thread. And I also heard that you might be able to get it from truthout.org. But I read it from Dailykos.

Subject: Re: NYT columnists
From: Terri
To: Douglas
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 13:45:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The way to access the New York Times is through your city or school library site. There should be access to the New York Times almost everywhere. I can gain complete access at any time though our city library.

Subject: What do you all think about this?
From: Erica
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 08:05:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There are a lot of Brownies. As Time magazine puts it in its latest issue, ''Bush has gone further than most presidents to put political stalwarts in some of the most important government jobs you've never heard of.'' Time offers a couple of fresh examples, such as the former editor of a Wall Street medical-industry newsletter who now holds a crucial position at the Food and Drug Administration. A tipster urged me to look for Brownies among regional administrators for the General Services Administration, which oversees federal property and leases. There are several potential ways a position at G.S.A. could be abused. For example, an official might give a particular businessman an inside track in the purchase of government property -- the charge against David Safavian, who was recently arrested -- or give a particular landlord an inside track in renting space to federal agencies. Some of the regional administrators at G.S.A. are longtime professionals. But the regional administrator for the Northeast and Caribbean region, which includes New York, has no obvious qualifications other than being the daughter of the chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State. The regional administrator for the Southwest, appointed in 2002 after a failed bid for his father's Congressional seat, is Scott Armey, the son of Dick Armey, the former House majority leader. (Time has a five page article about Are there other Mike Browns? Anyone read it yet?) Jack Abramoff is a lobbyist who was paid huge sums by clients such as casino-owning Indian tribes and sweatshop operators on Saipan. Two Degrees of Jack Abramoff is inspired by the remarkable centrality of Mr. Abramoff, who was indicted last month on charges of fraud, in Washington's power structure. The goal isn't to find important political players who were chummy with Mr. Abramoff -- that's too easy. Instead, you have to find people linked by employment. One degree of Jack Abramoff is someone who actually worked for the lobbyist. Two degrees is a powerful Washington figure who hired someone who formerly worked for Mr. Abramoff, or who had one of his own former employees go to work for Mr. Abramoff. Grover Norquist, the powerful antitax lobbyist, is a one-degree man. Mr. Norquist was Mr. Abramoff's campaign manager when he ran for chairman of the College Republican National Committee, then became his executive director. And don't dismiss this as kid stuff: as Franklin Foer explains in The New Republic, the college Republican organization pays serious salaries and has been a steppingstone for the likes of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. Mr. Rove, by the way, is a two-degree man. He hired Susan Ralston, Mr. Abramoff's personal assistant, as his own personal assistant. For those unfamiliar with what that means, Ms. Ralston became Mr. Rove's gatekeeper -- the person who determined who got to see the great man. Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, is also a two-degree man. Tony Rudy, who worked for Mr. DeLay in several capacities, left to work for Mr. Abramoff. Finally, somebody should be considered a two-degree man on account of the recently arrested Mr. Safavian, who worked for both Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Norquist, then went first to the G.S.A. and on to the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he oversaw procurement policy. But I'm not sure who gets credit for hiring Mr. Safavian. Mr Krugman concludes: Something is rotten in the state of the U.S. government. And the lesson of Hurricane Katrina is that a culture of cronyism and corruption can have lethal consequences. I also heard that you may be able to link to Truthout.org for Paul's column. Anyone know if this is true?

Subject: I found this on another site
From: Erica
To: Erica
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 08:09:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
They actually printed it in whole. I took out a couple of paragraphs. But I am posting it so it can be discussed.

Subject: Re: I found this on another site
From: Mik
To: Erica
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 14:07:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Now why don't we hear from Ron Shawger or Maureen on this article?

Subject: Re: I found this on another site
From: Erica
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 16:28:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Mik, who is Ron and Maureen?

Subject: Nevermind, Maureen and Ron are trolls
From: Erica
To: Erica
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 16:58:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I read down the post and discovered the answer for myself. They are trolls, who for reasons of mental illness or known only to them, continue to post on a website dedicated to a man they so obviously hate. Is 'Krugman Hatred' a mental disease? I think that maybe much like 'conservatism' it is.

Subject: Suggestions
From: RL
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 05:49:47 (EDT)
Email Address: rafaelloring@yahoo.es

Message:
Hi bobby, I am afraid this forum will suffer greatly from NYT policy changes. Could I suggest some changes in the message board so this could still be a hot spot for comment & debate?. IMO the problem with the message board is that discussions go way down the board rapidly(specially due to Emma's prodigality of which I am very thankful by the way)and they get lost too soon. In other blogs I have seen boards working differently: as someone posts a message this goes all the way up to the beginning of the board. This ensures that debates can go on as long as they are alive, something that Haloscan board permitted here. It is possible to make changes in the message board so it works this way? thanks, RL

Subject: Re: Suggestions
From: Dorian
To: RL
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 02:10:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is a good idea. I second the motion. Dorian

Subject: krugman's columns
From: byron
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 23:52:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I guess we can't read Pauls columns on this site now. The neo cons have managed to stop this also. What a bummer. Do we have to pay now to read his columns?

Subject: Re: krugman's columns
From: jwood
To: byron
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 10:40:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I guess we can't read Pauls columns on this site now. The neo cons have managed to stop this also. What a bummer. Do we have to pay now to read his columns?
---
Ridiculous statements like this only give ammunition to the other side. The neocons had nothing to do with the Times finally deciding to charge for part of their newspaper's content. They are a business, it was a business decision, and their choice to make. If you don't understand that, you don't understand the democracy that you're trying to defend. There is more than enough to blame on the neocons without fabricating arguments and facts.

Subject: Re: krugman's columns
From: Aniruddha G. Kulkarni
To: byron
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 23:51:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I guess we can't read Pauls columns on this site now. The neo cons have managed to stop this also. What a bummer. Do we have to pay now to read his columns?
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Indeed. I wrote sometime ago on Delong's website that The Economist is jealous of Paul Krugman because his columns are free to read.....I retract it.....

Subject: La folie des grandeurs (Part e^X)
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 18:17:23 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Costs rising on Bush's plans From Iraq to Katrina, the president's plans are putting strain on the federal budget. By Linda Feldmann WASHINGTON – Former President Clinton grumbles that he governed in 'small times.' The nation wasn't at war, and the economy roared ahead. President Bush has no such complaint. This weekend alone was all about 'big-time' events: the second massive storm in a month to hit the Gulf Coast, and the largest demonstration against the Iraq war since the US-led invasion 2-1/2 years ago. Mr. Bush missed seeing tens of thousands of protesters streaming past the White House because he was positioned at the US Northern Command headquarters in Colorado, from which he monitored the federal response to hurricane Rita. If nothing else, Bush's nearly five years in office have been marked by 'bigness.' A stream of historic events - some of the president's own making, some not - have resulted in massive federal spending. On top of that, add the agenda he brought to the table on that first Inauguration Day that seems to be growing only larger. Some items, like Social Security and tax reform, have been delayed, but nothing has been removed from the wish list altogether. Even immigration reform, controversial within Bush's own party, is still on the table. 'He is trying to have a very significant presidency at virtually any cost,' says Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. 'The cost includes the Republicans' reputation for fiscal conservatism. That's dead - and it may be dead for a generation.' When hurricane Katrina hit in late August, wreaking devastation along the Gulf Coast, Bush promised to do 'whatever it takes' to rebuild; Congress has obliged by approving all spending proposed thus far. The White House insists that this spending will be paid for by cuts elsewhere in the budget, but officials have yet to suggest specifics. Bush does not have the excuse of a Congress controlled by the opposing party, forcing his hand by passing big-spending legislation, analysts say. When the Republican-controlled Congress passed a massive highway bill this summer that will cost $286 billion over six years - at many billions of dollars over Bush's stated limit - he signed the legislation anyway. Now suggestions that the bill's 'pork' - such as a $223 million bridge in Alaska connecting two isolated areas - be sliced out have been rejected by the Republican congressional leadership. The White House, too, has rejected a proposal to delay implementation of the extensive new prescription0drug plan for seniors that will take effect in January. Deficit hawks have begun filling the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal with Katrina-induced outrage over Bush and other elected Republicans' spending habits. 'George W. Bush is a big spender,' wrote Peggy Noonan, President Reagan's former speechwriter, on Sept. 22. 'He has never vetoed a spending bill. When Congress serves up a big slab of fat, crackling pork, Mr. Bush responds with one big question: Got any barbecue sauce?' Former Club for Growth head Stephen Moore, in a Sept. 19 column called 'Welcome to the GOP's New Deal,' complains that 'both parties are now willing and eager to spend tax dollars as if they were passing out goody-bags to grabby four-year-olds at a birthday party.' Mr. Moore also refers to an 'enraged' grass roots of the party over the ballooning deficit. But as long as the president's job approval rating hovers in the low 40s, his political advisers can argue that he has preserved the support of his base, at least. Historically, the image of Republicans as the party of small government has not tended to play out in practice. 'Republicans rhetorically oppose big spending, but have seldom opposed it in practice,' says Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California formerly involved in Republican politics. 'Ronald Reagan came to office hinting he might eliminate cabinet departments and ended up adding one: the Department of Veterans Affairs. Republicans are no strangers to big government.' Eventually, politicians will feel some pressure to address the deficit because the economic consequences will be painful, but in the short run there will be more pressure to spend on disaster relief, Professor Pitney adds. At heart, Bush's pledge to do 'whatever it takes' in the wake of Katrina may be linked to his party's broader goal of expanding outreach to minorities. In Louisiana, poor African-Americans who did not evacuate were particularly hard hit by the storm. Since becoming chairman of the Republican Party in February, Ken Mehlman had been traveling the country, addressing black and Hispanic audiences. This represents a continuation of a longstanding plan to boost the party's minority ranks, an effort that bore some fruit in the 2004 elections. Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, has also kept his eye on minority politics, even amid the latest crises. He has been bringing groups of lawmakers into the White House to promote the administration's proposal for a temporary guest worker program. The plan is controversial, because it would grant temporary legal status to illegal workers. But the White House reportedly argues that such a program could build support among Hispanics in this country, now the largest minority group. http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0926/p01s01-usec.html

Subject: Re: La folie des grandeurs (Part e^X)
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 08:59:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
''George W. Bush is a big spender,' wrote Peggy Noonan, President Reagan's former speechwriter, on Sept. 22. 'He has never vetoed a spending bill. When Congress serves up a big slab of fat, crackling pork, Mr. Bush responds with one big question: Got any barbecue sauce?'' George W is merely carrying on the Reagan tradition - I believe the federal deficit increased something like 8 fold during the Reagan years. Even with the large payroll tax hikes under Reagan, much of which were spent on defense (the 600 ship Navy, etc.), the deficit soared!! Reagan had a love affair with Congress and gave them all their 'pork' as long as they gave him all of his defense spending. George W is a big spender without question, but to hear Reagan administration folks try to label him such is a bit ironic.

Subject: Re: La folie des grandeurs (Part e^X)
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 09:39:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed. We are in deficit trouble, but there is no reason the trouble will appear for years to come. We cannot know about timing.

Subject: CASINO GAMBLING : CLICK HERE
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 18:05:31 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
PHILIP VERLEGER America surfers as Bush's gamble fails to pay off After his 1964 landslide election, President Lyndon Johnson gambled that the US economy could support a war and his Great Society programme. He lost. The expenditures exceeded economic capacity. Shortages occurred, prices rose, and a 15-year inflationary spiral began. Within two years, the Federal Reserve had to intervene by raising interest rates. Economic growth stopped and harsh economic conditions brought an end to Johnson's dreams. Forty years later, another president from Texas made another wager: betting the US could fight a war, reduce taxes and avoid conserving energy. He also lost. Over the next two years, President George W. Bush will see inflation return and the Federal Reserve Board act to offset his profligate energy and fiscal policies. Johnson's hope that the US economy could sustain the Vietnam war and domestic economic expansion ended when US industry failed to meet military and civilian demands. Unfinished aeroplanes sat waiting for galleys and other gear needed to complete them. Homes stood unfinished as builders waited for lumber, plumbing and other finishings. Prices rose. The Federal Reserve took matters into its own hands when Congress refused to reduce the growing deficit. In 1969, as they made way for the incoming Nixon administration, Johnson's departing economic advisers noted ruefully: 'In the absence of a full measure of timely fiscal restraint, an undue share of the burden of dampening the excessive expansion fell on monetary policy.' Today, President Bush is in a similar situation. He and his advisers also gambled, although in a different game. Johnson tried to provide guns and butter without raising taxes. George Bush tried to serve up large tax cuts without reducing spending or addressing the nation's rapacious thirst for motor fuels, particularly gasoline. The Bush wager failed when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed a large part of the US Gulf coast. The storm put additional strain on an economy operating near capacity, while simultaneously closing part of the nation's petroleum refining and natural gas industries. The extensive damage has forced the government to enact large spending increases to rebuild communities and support displaced individuals. This is a classic Keynesian stimulus package. Given the state of the business cycle, inflation can be expected to rise even without offsetting reductions in government outlays. The huge rebuilding requirements will send prices up and create shortages for materials, capital equipment and critical labour resources. Home builders already report a wide scarcity of plywood. The loss of natural gas supplies adds to inflationary pressures. Katrina and Rita destroyed perhaps 5 per cent of the nation's natural gas supply, causing large price increases. Heating bills could double this winter. Furthermore, the cost of goods manufactured using natural gas, such as PVC pipe, will climb sharply even before rebuilding efforts boost demand. The economic stimulus will also put pressure on petroleum markets. The economic spur from reconstruction will heighten gasoline and diesel demand. But the increase cannot be met because of storm damage to US refineries. Thus, Katrina and Rita will leave a legacy of much higher gasoline and diesel prices in 2006. These price hikes could have been avoided had we pursued a programme to limit increases in motor fuel consumption. Here, too, George Bush made a bet. Efforts to tighten fuel economy standards for new vehicles were rejected when his energy programme was introduced and Congress refused to change it. The president declined to push a gasoline tax following 9/11. He wagered that an already stretched refining industry could meet mounting gasoline demand, which is largely linked to American affinity for large SUVs and trucks. The president and his advisers understood that the higher demand would require US refineries to operate at maximum capacity. They knew no new refineries were being built. They also knew no new offshore facilities capable of meeting EPA standards had been constructed. Not until this summer, after months of the industry operating flat out, did they realise new capacity was necessary. The president lost this gamble as well when the two hurricanes hit the Gulf coast, taking a severe toll on the refining industry. It may take a year or more to bring it back to its pre-Katrina state. Until then, supply will be lower and prices much higher. Although the calculations are hard to believe, econometric models suggest retail gasoline prices might need to double by next summer to maintain market balance. The price rise will add to inflation. There is only one end to this scenario: higher interest rates. A vigilant Federal Reserve Board will have to boost rates to suppress demand, just as during the Johnson administration. The pressure for higher rates will be even greater given the forthcoming retirement of Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman. His replacement will need to convince financial markets that the Board remains determined to keep inflation in check. The consequences will be a slowdown or worse. As the rebuilding effort slows, high interest rates and high gasoline prices may pull the economy into recession. Like President Johnson, President Bush took a chance and lost. The writer is a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics FT Monday September 26 2005

Subject: Celebrating Shaw, a Serious Optimist
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 14:24:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/16/theater/newsandfeatures/16shaw.html?ex=1284523200&en=4278b5a0c2b56bc7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 16, 2005 Celebrating Shaw, a Serious Optimist By BEN BRANTLEY THE old man is never going to shut up, so we might as well let him into the conversation once again. After all, it's not as if the subjects that raise middle-class hackles have changed so very much in the 55 years since George Bernard Shaw died, leaving mountains of plays (more than 50, and their prefaces and postscripts) and essays and pamphlets and treatises and letters and reviews to rumble on in an ardent and exasperated eternity. Consider intelligent design, the God-incorporating alternative to Darwinism that is such a hot-button topic among scientists, theologians, educators and anxious parents of schoolchildren these days. Now, the Irish-born Shaw - whose exceptionally long and fecund career as a center of London theatrical and political life is being celebrated beginning tomorrow in a festival of talks, readings and performances at the New York Public Library, titled 'Man or Superman?' - devoted rivers of ink to expounding his personal variation on the theory of natural selection. It was called creative evolution, a name that sounds a lot like intelligent design, don't you think? Still, proponents of that theory probably don't want to hitch their wagons to Shaw's venerable star. While he had some problems with the biological randomness of Darwin, Shaw also pretty much eliminated God from the equation of how human life develops. Creative evolution, put forth in jovial but dead serious dramatic terms in Shaw's play 'Man and Superman' (published in 1903; first performed in 1905), is based on an ever upwardly striving phenomenon called the life force, which propels us away from our inconvenient bodily impulses and toward a state of pure cerebration. The life force, by the way, is transmitted by rare, world-shaking men of genius, 'selected by Nature to carry on the work of building up an intellectual consciousness of her instinctive purpose.' In other words, men like Jesus, Julius Caesar, John Bunyan, Napoleon, Goethe, Wagner and - but, of course - George Bernard Shaw. Shakespeare, by the way, almost doesn't qualify by Shavian standards (too pessimistic), but for a while there it looked as if Hitler and Stalin might. Here is Shaw's alter ego in 'Man and Superman,' an asexual variation on that immortal rake Don Juan, on why he thinks religion is 'a mere excuse for laziness': 'It had set up a God who looked at the world and saw that it was good, against the instinct in me that looked through my eyes at the world and saw that it could be improved.' And improvement of the species - which involved setting fire to rotting, imprisoning conventions and throwing cold water on smug faces - was always the first purpose of Shaw's plays. 'It should be clear now that Shaw is a terrorist,' wrote Bertolt Brecht, who knew from guerrilla theater. The critic Kenneth Tynan described Shaw as 'the demolition expert.' New York City felt its first full blast of Shavian dynamite a century ago, when 'Mrs. Warren's Profession' opened on Oct. 30, 1905, at the Garrick Theater. (Its centenary is the occasion for the festival at the library, which features a reading of the play, starring Dana Ivey, on Oct. 24.) Up to that point, Shaw's plays, which had been seldom staged in London, had been enjoying cautious but intrigued acceptance in the United States. His 'Devil's Disciple' (1897), set during the American Revolution, had been a popular vehicle for the matinee idol Richard Mansfield, affording Shaw his first taste of commercial success. And 'Man and Superman,' which had opened earlier in 1905, aroused enough excitement to have its script placed on the restricted list by the New York Public Library, lest it infect young minds with its unorthodox views of God and matrimony. 'Illuminated Gangrene' But the slings and arrows of Superman were but feathers compared to the full-frontal assault of Mrs. Warren, whose profession was prostitution. Ladies of the evening had walked Broadway's stages before, but they had previously always paid for their trade with either their lives or orgies of Magdalenish repentance. Mrs. Warren made no apology for her métier, which she pragmatically saw as a product and necessity of her time and civilization. Even worse, one of her former clients turned out to be a clergyman, who didn't act very penitent, either, just muddled and embarrassed. And the play dared to flirt with the possibility of incest between Mrs. Warren's daughter and men who may or may not have been her father or brother. Having run for one night in New Haven, where it was immediately banned, 'Mrs. Warren's Profession' opened on Broadway to a sold-out audience (whose members had paid as much as $40 per scalped ticket), with 2,000 to 3,000 people turned away at the door. The police closed down the show, citing the entire cast for 'disorderly conduct.' 'Shaw's Play Unfit; The Critics Unanimous,' announced the headline of an article in The New York Times, which featured the subhead, 'A Performance About as Elevating as a Post-Mortem.' Another newspaper, The American, described the play as 'illuminated gangrene.' As Shaw, with the satisfaction of a man who always understood that no publicity was bad publicity, later wrote of the press coverage, 'They infected each other with their hysteria until they were for all practical purposes indecently mad.' Provocateur Par Excellence Within the sound and fury, though, cooler critical voices were leveling charges that, to an artist, were far more damning: 'Mrs. Warren's Profession' was a bore. 'Little more than a tract on the social evil,' wrote the critic in The New York Sun. When the play was restaged a year later (its producer and cast had been acquitted of disorderly conduct), it came and went quietly, and Theater Magazine dismissed it with a contemptuous yawn as 'a dull, uninteresting play.' This progression from titillated fascination to watch-checking ennui is not entirely atypical of first-time Shaw readers and theatergoers. Shaw was cutting a calculated, irresistibly dangerous figure as a firebrand critic, polemicist and soapbox orator long before his plays were first produced in London. It was a fire-breathing persona, stoked over seven decades, that expected, nay demanded, to be caricatured: 'the Celebrated G.B.S.,' as he put it, 'about as real as a pantomime ostrich.' So fierce and inventive a self-publicist that Donald Trump looks like a piker by comparison, Shaw guaranteed that this zoo creature of a reputation would always precede his actual works. And thus it has been, even to this day. However tame early scandal-making plays like 'Widowers' Houses' (1892), 'The Philanderer' (1893), 'Man and Superman' and 'Mrs. Warren's Profession' may seem today, they still give off a faint whiff of notoriety, like a cloud of dried powder from an ancient courtesan's face. No one expects to be shocked by Shaw anymore, but there's always the hope that he'll once again prove himself the provocateur par excellence, as well as a master practitioner of flashing wit. The opening minutes of any decent Shaw production confirm this promise. The dialogue is so fleet, so barbed, so sure of itself in its rippling musicality; the characters so brisk and ornery. You feel as if you've found yourself in a room with the greatest conversationalist of all time. But then the talk continues, and continues, and continues without cease, demonstrating Shaw's first rule to producers of his plays: 'There must never be a moment of silence from the rise of the curtain to its fall.' And suddenly the experience seems to have become less like having tea with a charming epigrammist than being locked in a padded cell with a mad lecturer. Man Versus His Environment But often, just as you're about to scream for deliverance, you're hooked again by a U-turn in sentiment or argument or character. An animated lecture becomes, if only temporarily, a breathing work of art. It's the exhilarating effect of a writer's own intelligence turning on itself, giving rise, as the Bloomsbury critic Desmond MacCarthy wrote, to the dizzying sensation of witnessing a conflict 'between two religions in one mind.' Shaw, in his preface to 'Mrs. Warren's Profession,' might have stated a bit tediously that drama is 'no mere setting up of the camera to nature,' but 'the presentation in parable of the conflict between Man's will and his environment.' But it's when something like spontaneous nature - dares one call it the life force? - creeps in under the barbed wire of parable that Shaw becomes exciting. That was certainly my impression when I saw 'Mrs. Warren's Profession' in London a few years ago. The director, Sir Peter Hall, had taken pains to remind the audience that this was once a work of scalding relevance, with Shavian quotes and historical notes projected on a drop curtain. Even with a vivacious Brenda Blethyn in the title role, what followed looked like a shooting gallery of corrupt societal archetypes. But in the midst of the painted cardboard was an unmistakably blooming presence, a vibrant, faintly outrageous character. Her name was Vivie Warren, the grown daughter of Mrs. Warren, who abruptly learns of her mother's past and goes through upheavals of moral reckoning. As played by Rebecca Hall, the daughter of Sir Peter, in her professional debut, Vivie pulsed with the sense of a mind discovering its own purpose. As Vivie recoiled from, accepted and finally rejected her mother and all she stood for, she came to seem like a cobweb-clearing breeze in a stale, close room. Embodied by Ms. Hall with both the first-blush freshness and judgmental absolutism of youth, Vivie became Shaw's iconoclastic spirit made formidable but definitely human flesh. Here was a cousin to one of Shaw's literary heroines, the Nora who slammed the door in Ibsen's 'Doll's House.' Woman, Hear Her Roar It is indeed often a woman who provides the oxygen in Shaw's hermetically sealed worlds of words. Shavian heroes tend to be passive prigs, but his Mephistophelean men have been incarnated with deliciously dry elegance by a cavalcade of notable actors: Charles Laughton, Robert Morley, Philip Bosco and David Warren as Andrew Undershaft, the Jesuitical arms merchant in 'Major Barbara'; Maurice Evans and Laurence Olivier as the blissfully cynical General Burgoyne in 'The Devil's Disciple'; and, of course, Leslie Howard, Rex Harrison and Peter O'Toole in 'Pygmalion' and its handsome musical offspring, 'My Fair Lady.' But it is the self-assertive, protofeminist, sexually predatory Woman, who earns her capital W, who is most responsible for wrenching Shaw's plays off the speaker's podium. 'No male writer born in the 19th century outside Norway and Sweden did more to knock Woman off her pedestal and plant her on the solid earth than I,' said Shaw, with a respectful nod to Ibsen and Strindberg. That solid earth, however, is usually on a mountaintop. Shaw regarded the sexual vitality of women - nature's vehicles, after all, for passing on the life force - with a mix of adoration and terror that made them monumental. Like his own Henry Higgins with Eliza Doolittle, Shaw couldn't quite control his female characters once he set them on their paths to glory. Played by the right performers, they vibrate, radiate and crush the mere men in their paths. Hence actresses have gravitated hungrily to Eliza, from Mrs. Patrick Campbell (for whom Shaw wrote the part) to Lynn Fontanne and Wendy Hiller. The serenely, sagely passive-aggressive title character of 'Candida' has been catnip for actresses of a certain age, including Peggy Wood, Katherine Cornell, Olivia de Havilland and Joanne Woodward. Then, of course, there is that paragon of theatrical incandescence, Saint Joan, who has been taken up by Sybil Thorndike, Cornell, Uta Hagen, Siobhan McKenna and Lynn Redgrave. Joan is not, to tell the truth, a favorite of mine. There's not much variety in her, since all she has to do is glow and speak bluntly. A luminous, transcendent rebuke to the worldly, short-sighted figures who debate her fate and condemn her, Joan embodies what G. K. Chesterton saw as Shaw's greatest attribute, 'a serious optimism - even a tragic optimism.' Art as Corrective That willed optimism, in a world that older offered little reason for hope as Shaw grew older, may be endearing. But its corollary was an insistence on art as corrective that limited Shaw even more than his compulsive chattiness. He was impatient with the man who he conceded was the greatest English playwright after himself. 'The truth is,' he wrote, 'the world was to Shakespeare a great 'stage of fools' on which he was utterly bewildered. He could see no sort of sense in living.' Shakespeare's pessimism, he concluded disapprovingly, 'is only his wounded humanity.' Yet at the beginning of the 21st century, a time of stunted optimism, the Shaw play that seems to speak most eloquently to audiences is the one he wrote when his faith in humanity was at its lowest. That's 'Heartbreak House' (published, 1919; first produced, 1920), Shaw's despairing account of a suicidal Europe on the brink of World War I. Intended as a homage to Chekhov, it turns into a strangely surreal portrait of a group of illusion-swapping, illusion-shattering aristocrats marking time in a country house on the eve of their own extinction. They do not so much live in their home, as one character says, as haunt it, and what they haunt is 'this soul's prison we call England.' When bombs fall at the play's end, in a ravishing spectacle of light, they are greeted with relief and exultation. The characters in 'Heartbreak House' are typically Shavian in their wit and jeweled speechifying. But for once, there is no redemption in words. And while Shaw wrote brilliantly articulate letters throughout his life, none, perhaps, are as moving as one in which he recognized that there were some subjects that language cannot accommodate. 'I can't be sympathetic; these things simply make me furious,' he wrote to Campbell, on hearing that her son had been killed in 1918 by the last shell from a German battery. 'Oh, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, DAMN DAMN! And oh, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear, dearest!'

Subject: Krugman NYT columns are free legally
From: Norman Bauman
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 13:26:43 (EDT)
Email Address: nbauman@escape.com

Message:
If you're in New York City, you can easily read Krugman's columns on-line free. Go to the New York Public Library web site http://www.nypl.org/ Go to the Gale newspaper collection http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/nysl_me_tnypl?db=SP02 Type in the barcode on your library card (you need a library card) Go to the Advanced Search tab (which I prefer) Select 'Krugman' for author and 'New York Times' for newspaper. This will list all of Krugman's columns, although a day or two late. Today (Monday), it listed the Friday column. Click on 'Full Text' and you get: Krugman, Paul. 'The Big Uneasy.(Editorial Desk).' The New York Times (Sept 23, 2005): A19(L). Custom Newspapers. Thomson Gale. New York Public Library. 26 September 2005 . Full Text : COPYRIGHT 2005 The New York Times Company Although Hurricane Katrina drowned much of New Orleans, the damage to America's economic infrastructure actually fell short of early predictions. Of course, Rita may make up for that. But Katrina did more than physical damage; it was a blow to our self-image as a nation. Maybe people will quickly forget the horrible scenes from the Superdome, and the frustration of wondering why no help had arrived, once cable TV returns to nonstop coverage of missing white women. But my guess is that Katrina's shock to our sense of ourselves will persist for years. You should even be able to click on that long url and go directly to the column -- after you type in your NYPL library card bar code. http://find.galegroup.com/itx/infomark.do?&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=SPN.SP02&docId=A136529155&source=gale&srcprod=SP02&userGroupName=nysl_me_tnypl&version=1.0 Actually it's only 'free' in the sense that libraries are free. You're paying for it, with your tax money, the NYPL is paying for it, New York State is paying for it, and the NYT is getting paid for it, from Gale Thompson, so the NYT has no complaints. Take advantage of it. It's yours. This should also work for library cards from any other cities that subscribe to this standard library package. (The only problem is that I haven't been able to find the NYT Magazine articles in this database.) My apologies if those URLs have glitches. I'll leave it to you to philosophize about the benefits of government. Norman

Subject: Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library
From: Dorian
To: Norman Bauman
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 02:06:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I have access to the Gale database but I cannot figure out how to use it. I've followed your instructions,i.e, put Krugman in the 'author' search and New York Times in the journal. I've even limited it by 'after August 1st'. But when I check 'full text' I get nothing. When I leave it unchecked, I get a million references but no Krugman columns. Any further advice? Apparently I have access to the same database as you, I just can't seem to get the same results. I suppose I could go to my library and ask the reference librarian to guide me through it. In fact, that's probably the best idea, now that I think of it. Thanks for the suggestion. Dorian PSMP0003844493

Subject: Re: Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library
From: Emma
To: Dorian
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 09:36:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Once you have traced through the path to TimesSelect through the public library simply log on and all the New York Times and TimesSelect resources are there for us. Bookmark the path and there will be no problem from then.

Subject: Re: Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library
From: Jeff in China
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 11:44:55 (EDT)
Email Address: harpedc@hotmail.com

Message:
I did a search to find you guys, this is my first post but I've been around all week. I live overseas and am not inclined to pay for the NYT Select. Why don't you guys discreetly collect email addresses of people interested in Paul's articles and quietly forward them? I certainly wouldn't mind getting certain spam from this site. I left mine.

Subject: Re: Re/ accessing Krugman's columns from library
From: Terri
To: Jeff in China
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 14:07:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Simply get a library card from your home city, and log on to the NYTimes site from the library access. Ask someone in your family to register you at the library.

Subject: Re: Krugman NYT columns are free legally
From: Mik
To: Norman Bauman
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:24:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Oh fudge... and there I was thinking I could get his articles.... uhmm anyone have a NY library card number they'd be prepared to share with a Torontonian?

Subject: Re: Krugman NYT columns are free legally
From: Norman Bauman
To: Mik
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 20:38:13 (EDT)
Email Address: nbauman@escape.com

Message:
The Toronto Public Library has Thompson Gale publications for its patrons on its web site. See if they have the NYT. Ask your librarian.

The Kansas City Star has Krugman's columns, but only one a week. I couldn't find any newspaper on Google News that carries every one of Krugman's columns and is free on line.


Subject: Re: Krugman NYT columns are free legally
From: Mik
To: Norman Bauman
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 12:02:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I was just thinking about that. Very good idea. Thanks.

Subject: Loving Libraries
From: Emma
To: Norman Bauman
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 14:15:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you so much. Libraries are truly precious, and being able to access the library from home or office is wonderful. I have our library site bookmarked. NYTimes magazine articles should generally be readable directly from the NYTimes website.

Subject: Integrating Schools by Income
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 12:43:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/education/25raleigh.html?ex=1285300800&en=ffa874e3998a590a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 25, 2005 Integrating Schools by Income Is Cited as a Success in Raleigh By ALAN FINDER RALEIGH, N.C. - Over the last decade, black and Hispanic students here in Wake County have made such dramatic strides in standardized reading and math tests that it has caught the attention of education experts around the country. School officials in Wake County, which includes Raleigh and its sprawling suburbs, have tried many tactics to improve student performance. Teachers get state bonuses when their schools make significant progress in standardized tests, and the district uses sophisticated data gathering to identify, and respond to, students' weaknesses. But the prime reason for the students' dramatic improvement, officials and parents say, is that the district has made a concerted effort to integrate the schools economically. Since 2000, school officials have used income as a prime factor in assigning students to schools, with the goal of limiting the proportion of low-income students in any school to no more than 40 percent. The effort is the most ambitious in the country to create economically diverse public schools, and it is the most successful, according to several independent experts. La Crosse, Wis.; St. Lucie County, Fla.; San Francisco; Cambridge, Mass.; and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., have adopted economic integration plans. In Wake County, only 40 percent of black students in grades three through eight scored at grade level on state tests a decade ago. Last spring, 80 percent did. Hispanic students have made similar strides. Overall, 91 percent of students in those grades scored at grade level in the spring, up from 79 percent 10 years ago. Some of the strategies used in Wake County could be replicated across the country, the experts said, but they also cautioned that unusual circumstances have helped make the politically delicate task of economic integration possible here. The school district is countywide, which makes it far easier to combine students from the city and suburbs. The county has a 30-year history of busing students for racial integration, and many parents and students are accustomed to long bus rides to distant schools. The local economy is robust, and the district is growing rapidly. And corporate leaders and newspaper editorial pages here have firmly supported economic diversity in the schools. Some experts said the academic results in Wake County were particularly significant because they bolstered research that showed low-income students did best when they attended middle-class schools. 'Low-income students who have an opportunity to go to middle-class schools are surrounded by peers who have bigger dreams and who are more academically engaged,' said Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who has written about economic integration in schools. 'They are surrounded by parents who are more likely to be active in the school. And they are taught by teachers who more likely are highly qualified than the teachers in low-income schools.' To achieve a balance of low- and middle-income children in every school, the Wake County school district encourages and sometimes requires students to attend schools far from home. Suburban students are drawn to magnet schools in the city. Low-income children from the city are bused to middle-class schools in the suburbs. Some parents chafe at the length of their children's bus rides or at what they see as social engineering. But the test results are hard to dispute, proponents of economic integration say, as is the broad appeal of the school district, which has been growing by 5,000 students a year. 'What I say to parents is, 'Here is what you should hold me accountable for: at the end of that bus ride, are we providing a quality education for your child?' ' Bill McNeal, the school superintendent, said. Asked how parents respond, Mr. McNeal said, 'They are coming back, and they are bringing their friends.' Not everyone supports the strategy, of course. Some parents deeply oppose mandatory assignments to schools. Every winter, the district, using a complicated formula, develops a list of students who will be reassigned to new schools for the following academic year, and nearly every year some parents object vehemently. 'Kids are bused all over creation, and they say it's for economic diversity, but really it's a proxy for race,' said Cynthia Matson, who is white and middle class. She is the president and a founder of Assignment By Choice, an advocacy group promoting parental choice. The organization wants parents to be responsible for selecting schools, and it objects to restrictions that, in certain circumstances, make it difficult for some middle-class children to get into magnet schools. 'If a parent wants their kid bused, then let them make the choice,' Mrs. Matson said. 'But don't force parents to have their kids bused across town to go to a school that they don't want to go to.' Supporters of economic integration contend that the county offers parents many choices but that the school district needs the discretion to assign some children to schools to avoid large concentrations of poor children. 'I believe in choice as much as anyone,' Mr. McNeal said. 'However, I can't let choice erode our ability to provide quality programs and quality teaching.' The board of education had two motives when it decided to make economic integration a main element in the district's strategy: board members feared that the county's three-decade effort to integrate public schools racially would be found unconstitutional if challenged in the federal courts, and they took note of numerous studies that showed the academic benefits of economically diversifying schools. 'There is a lot of evidence that it's just sound educational policy, sound public policy, to try to avoid concentrations of low-achieving students,' said John H. Gilbert, a professor emeritus at North Carolina State University in Raleigh who served for 16 years on the county school board and voted for the plan. 'They do much better and advantaged students are not hurt by it if you follow policies that avoid concentrating low-achievement students.' One sign of the success of the Wake County plan, Mr. Gilbert said, is that residential property values in Raleigh have remained high, as have those in the suburbs. 'The economy is really saying something about the effort in the city,' he said. About 27 percent of the county's students are low-income, a proportion that has increased slightly in recent years. While many are black and Hispanic, about 15 percent of the low-income students are white. Moreover, more than 40 percent of the district's black students are working- and middle-class, and not poor. Wake County has used many strategies to limit the proportion of low-income students in schools to 40 percent. For example, magnet schools lure many suburban parents to the city. Betty Trevino lives in Fuquay-Varina, a town in southern Wake County. Ms. Trevino drives her son, Eric, 5, to and from the Joyner Elementary School, where he goes to kindergarten. Students are taught in English and Spanish, and global themes are emphasized at the school, which is north of downtown Raleigh, more than 20 miles from the Trevinos' home. With traffic, the trip takes 45 minutes each way. 'I think it works,' she said of her drive halfway across the county, 'because it's such a good school.' Many low-income children are bused to suburban schools. While some of their parents are unhappy with the length of the rides, some also said they were happy with their child's school. 'I think it's ridiculous,' LaToya Mangum said of the 55 minutes that her son Gabriel, 7, spends riding a bus to the northern reaches of Wake County, where he is in second grade. On the other hand, she said, 'So far, I do like the school.' The neighborhood school has been redefined, with complex logistics and attendance maps that can resemble madly gerrymandered Congressional districts. The Swift Creek Elementary School, in southwest Raleigh near the city line, draws most of its students from within two miles of the school, in both the city and suburbs. But students also come to Swift Creek from four widely scattered areas in low-income sections of south and southeastern Raleigh; some live 6 to 8 miles from the school, while others are as far as 12 miles away. Ela Browder lives in Cary, an affluent, sprawling suburb, but each morning she puts her 6-year-old son, Michael, on a bus for a short ride across the city line to Swift Creek. 'We're very happy with the school,' Ms. Browder said. 'The children are very enriched by it. I think it's the best of both worlds.' Of the county's 139 elementary, middle and high schools, all but 22 are within the 40 percent guideline, according to the district's data. Some are only a few percentage points above the guideline, while others are significantly higher. The overwhelming majority of the 120,000 children in the district go either to a local school or a school of their choice, officials said. Slightly more than 85 percent of students attend a school within five miles of home and another 12 percent or so voluntarily attend magnet or year-round schools. Although the figures can be calculated many ways, Mr. McNeal says about 2.5 percent - or about 3,000 children - are assigned to schools for economic balance or to accommodate the district's growth by filling new schools or easing overcrowding in existing ones. Most of those bused for economic diversity tend to be low-income, he said, mirroring the pattern of busing for racial integration in which black students were sent to white schools. A school board election will take place in October. While the board has continued to endorse economic integration, some supporters worry that that could change one day. 'It's not easy and it can be very contentious in the community,' said Walter C. Sherlin, who retired two years ago as an associate superintendent. 'Is it worth doing? Look at 91 percent at or above grade level. Look at 139 schools, all of them successful. I think the answer is obvious.'

Subject: At Google, Workers Are Placing Bets
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:34:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/26/business/26google.html?ex=1285387200&en=c171e8934faa7fc1&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 26, 2005 At Google, the Workers Are Placing Their Bets By IAN AUSTEN Like all search engines, Google helps people sort through information from the past. But a new service, being used inside the company, tries to forecast the future. Google has created a predictive market system, basically a way for its employees to bet on the likelihood of possible events. Such markets have long been used to predict world events, like election results. Intrade, part of the Trade Exchange Network, allows people to bet on elections, stock market indexes and even the weather, for example. In Google's system, employees can bet on how the company will perform in the future, forecasting things like product introduction dates and new office openings. It was devised under a program that allows engineers to spend one day a week on a project of their choice. To help develop the system, Google consulted Hal R. Varian, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Varian (who also writes the Economic Scene column for The New York Times) said that the final product was not entirely what he anticipated. 'I was a little surprised,' Professor Varian said. 'I expected this to be accurate because there's a lot of literature and experience with these systems. But this has been even better than I expected.' Google has not offered precise data on the system's accuracy, but a chart posted on the company's blog last week showed that, in the words of its accompanying entry, prices set for events through employees' wagering were a 'pretty close' indication of the probability of events. The market is based on the idea that a price established for an event will reflect bettors' consensus of the likelihood that it will happen. Thus, something priced at 20 cents should happen 20 percent of the time. The system accepts bets in 10-cent increments up to a dollar (no actual money is involved). On its blog, Google compares the market to its search engine software. 'Our search engine works well because it aggregates information dispersed across the Web, and our internal predictive markets are based on the same principle: Googlers from across the company contribute knowledge and opinions which are aggregated into a forecast by the market,' the blog said. Professor Varian, who has consulted with Google on other projects, attributes the higher-than-expected levels of accuracy to the large number of employees participating. In general, the higher the number of bettors in such systems, the better the predictions. There is one issue, however, for which Google's market offers no prediction. 'It's a fun thing,' said Professor Varian. 'Now one of the things we're thinking about is what to do with it.'

Subject: Times password
From: Tina Eden
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:21:55 (EDT)
Email Address: tinamh23@hotmail.com

Message:
Hi Bobby and thanks for doing all you can to keep this site going. Is it possible to simply cut and paste PK's columns in the usual place so we can continue reading and commenting as before? People cut and paste articles for one another all the time and send them via emails...is a website so much different? Tina Eden

Subject: Krugman
From: C Selby
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 09:37:07 (EDT)
Email Address: wolf10539@netscape.net

Message:
Well - I guess I'll get my Krugman articles from the newspaper from now on. Can't believe we are supposed to pay to read an article.

Subject: TimesSelect
From: Emma
To: C Selby
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:16:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Those who subscribe to the New York Times have free access to all of TimesSelect, otherwise a subscription may well be called for.

Subject: Re: Bobby, there may be another way
From: Erica
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:30:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bobby, Over at DKos, a diarist took excerts of PK's column (very large passages, almost the whole thing) and made comments on them between the passages. It was all done in the name of blogging. It would seem to me that in your column section, which you could change to blog section, you could almost do the same thing. I mean people use huge chunks of newspaper articles all the time in order to comment on them. So why can't you do the same thing? I mean, you could leave out say a paragraph or two, and technically you wouldn't be posting the whole article. But I would imagine that if you purchase the article, it's yours. And if you wish to blog on it and share it with your readers, who's to say that's wrong? I mean, how can you intelligently discuss something that your readers are unaware of????? If it worked over at Dailykos, why won't that work here?

Subject: Excerpts
From: Emma
To: Erica
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:37:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excerpts from the restricted sections of the Wall Street Journal and Economist and Financial Times and New Yorker and New York Review of Books... are readily used.

Subject: Re: Excerpts
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:22:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
When you copy from one source it is called plagiarism. When you copy from a few sources it is called research.... go figure. Now for people like me living in Canada... coming across his articles won't be as easy. And I'm not particularly prepared to pay for the entire NY Times just to read his article.

Subject: Re:It's not plagarism
From: Erica
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 07:52:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It's not plagarism unless you claim the work is yours. You can blog the column by excerpting huge chunks of it.

Subject: Re: Excerpts
From: derek
To: Mik
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 17:23:07 (EDT)
Email Address: zandor2020@yahoo.com

Message:
I do not have the money to read only krugman so this will be the end. any success with the library access for those who live far away from new york? Krugman has been an oasis of sanity during the last few years of moronic cognitive dissoance supporting the chimp in chief.

Subject: Is It Better to Buy or Rent?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 08:35:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/realestate/25cov.html?ex=1285300800&en=64f665177066bc85&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 25, 2005 Is It Better to Buy or Rent? By DAVID LEONHARDT THE thought has occurred to just about everybody who owns a home in a hot housing market: maybe it's time to cash out. The hard part is figuring out how to do so. Only a few families can actually pick up their life in, say, California and move it to Nebraska. The other option - renting - has long been derided as the equivalent of throwing money away. But renting might deserve another look right now. After five years in which rents have barely budged while house prices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and elsewhere have doubled, renting has become a surprisingly smart option for many people who never would have considered it before. Owning a home often ties up hundreds of thousands of dollars that might be invested more safely and more lucratively elsewhere over the next decade. And while real estate brokers may hate to acknowledge it, home ownership involves its own versions of throwing money away, like property taxes and the costs of borrowing. Add it all up - which The New York Times did, in an analysis of the major costs and benefits of owning and renting, including tax breaks - and owning a home today is more expensive than renting in much of the Northeast, Florida and California. Only if prices rise well above their already lofty levels will home ownership turn out to be the good deal that it is widely assumed to be. In the Bay Area of California, a typical family that buys a $1 million house - which is average in some towns - will spend about $5,000 a month to live there, according to the Times analysis. The family could rent a similar house for about $2,500, real estate records show, and could pay part of that bill with the interest earned by the money that was not used for a down payment. This gaping difference helped persuade Eloise Christensen to sell her century-old Victorian cottage in downtown Larkspur, Calif., for $1.05 million this year. Now she rents a two-story house in Stinson Beach for $2,400 a month. From her living room, she can sip tea and watch the waves from the Pacific Ocean. 'It just seems out of control,' said Ms. Christensen, 43, a massage therapist and graphic designer. 'It didn't seem to me that the market was going to be able to sustain these high prices.' There are obviously benefits to home ownership beyond the financial, like peace of mind and a feeling of stability. Owners cannot have their home yanked away by a landlord who has decided to move back in. Owners can also change the color of their living room walls or fix a draft seeping through their windows without asking permission. Surrounding her Larkspur cottage, Ms. Christensen had built a garden with rosemary, lavender and boxwood hedges to complement the pear and fig trees already there. She is not doing anything like that in Stinson Beach. Combine these benefits with the transaction costs of a house sale, and renting probably does not make sense for most people who already own their home and feel settled in it. But the calculation can look quite different for those who are considering a move anyway or who do not yet own a home. At the very least, renters in boom markets, who often lament that they are wasting money, should know that their choice has as powerful an economic rationale as buying does right now. 'I am a proponent of buying,' said Tchaka Owen, 37, a loan officer and licensed real-estate agent in Miami who is renting a two-bedroom apartment overlooking the bay there. 'But you can get so much more for your money, renting instead of buying. We're paying half the amount we would be paying if we owned this place.' In Manhattan, 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom apartments on the Upper East Side now rent for about $3,700 a month. Buying a similar apartment costs around $1.1 million, which can translate into monthly payments of $6,000 or so. To determine the cost of renting, the Times analysis added monthly rent and renters' insurance. For owning, the analysis included typical costs for home insurance, major repairs, property taxes and mortgage payments, as well as the tax deductions they create. Renters were given credit for a small return - about 4 percent, after taxes - on the money they could have invested in bonds or stocks instead of spending it on a down payment and closing costs. Buyers received credit for the portion of the mortgage they were paying off, as opposed to the interest costs. When the net costs of owning are less than those of renting, as is the case in Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis and much of the middle of the country, the argument for buying becomes overwhelming. So long as home prices do not fall sharply, home buyers in these places will do much better than renters. But when owning is more expensive every month, buyers are betting entirely on price appreciation. For new home buyers, prices in New York would need to rise roughly another 13 percent over the next five years for the average buyer to do better than the average renter over that span. In Northern California, where the gap between house prices and rents is largest, home values would need to go up about 19 percent by 2010. Over the next decade, the break-even increase is about 25 percent in New York and 40 percent in California. Such increases have been easily achieved in the recent past. But even economists who do not consider the real estate market to be in a bubble predict that price gains will slow. Other forecasters argue that values will fall, as they did on the coasts in the early 1990's, or be stuck near their current levels for years to come. No matter who is right, the buy-versus-rent debate is a closer call than it has been in years. 'If you believe you'll be moving in the next four or five years, I'd rent,' said Thomas Z. Lys, an accounting professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University . 'If you're a long-termer, I still would buy.' The single biggest misconception about home ownership, some brokers and economists say, might revolve around tax deductions. Many people seem to believe that buying a home can actually save them money because the interest on their mortgage is tax deductible. But all that deduction does is reduce the cost of borrowing the money - a cost that would not exist if the family were not buying the home. Families spend about six years in a house, on average, according to the National Association of Realtors. In that time, the interest on a $600,000 mortgage would add up to about $120,000, even at today's low rates and even after the tax deduction, according to National City Corporation, a large lender. 'Don't be buying a house because you think you're saving on the taxes,' said Frank Borges LLosa, owner of FranklyRealty.com, a brokerage in Arlington, Va. 'You'll save even more by not buying and renting.' Mr. LLosa added: 'I'm not saying not to buy. I'm saying don't buy just for the tax reasons.' Many homeowners also do not receive the full deductions from home ownership. In the Northeast and California, homeowners now have so many deductions that some must pay the alternative minimum tax. This tax effectively wipes out part of their property-tax deduction, further cutting into the benefits of home ownership. Other homeowners do not itemize their deductions or, if they do so, end up with total deductions only a little larger than the standard deduction that the government offers to all taxpayers, even renters. 'A lot of people hugely overvalue the mortgage deduction,' said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal group in Washington, 'because they compare it to no deduction instead of comparing it to the standard deduction.' Mr. Baker is one of the avant garde renters. He and his wife sold their condominium in Washington last year for $445,000 and now rent a similar one nearby for $2,200 a month. The Times analysis made a number of assumptions favorable to buyers, like giving them full credit for the deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes, noted Mark Zandi, chief economist of Economy .com, a research company. Still, the monthly costs of buying were more expensive than those for renting in any market where the price of a typical house was more than 20 times larger than the annual rent to live in it. In the Bay Area, this 'rent ratio' exceeds 33. In New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Miami, it is just above 25. A typical four-bedroom house in Brookline, Mass., for example, costs about $1.2 million to buy and $4,500 a month to rent, according to Chobee Hoy Associates Real Estate, a brokerage there. At 20, Washington is right near the cutoff. But renters who live in apartment buildings, like Mr. Baker, often get an extra benefit: some portion of their utilities bill is typically covered by the building's owner. Mr. Owen, the loan officer in Miami, and his girlfriend, Polly Thompson, pay $1,700 a month for a top-floor apartment that has views of both the city's skyline and the Atlantic Ocean. After talking to brokers, he said he thought that the apartment would sell for close to $650,000, giving it a rent ratio of more than 30. 'It's obvious,' he said, 'that renting is such a better deal.' But to many people, the psychological benefits of buying are almost impossible to overcome. Owning makes them feel that they have achieved the American dream, or it gives them the secure sense that, if nothing else, they have a tangible asset where they can sleep at night. Those are nice feelings, indeed. The question is how much they are worth to you.

Subject: Re: Is It Better to Buy or Rent?
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:41:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Fantastic article... thanks. Say uhmm.. you wouldn't by any slight chance be able to post Krugman's articles (from the NY libary) in the future?

Subject: Many More People Are House Poor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 06:42:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/realestate/25sacrifice.html September 25, 2005 With Higher Prices, Many More People Are House Poor By PATRICK O'GILFOIL HEALY BECAUSE of the nationwide surge in housing prices, many middle-income families just can't afford the average house price anymore. But they are buying anyway, and making due by cutting household budgets and tightening belts in myriad ways. They are forgoing that long-planned vacation to Europe. They are bypassing their favorite Thai restaurant and cooking dinner at home. People are clipping coupons, shopping at discount supermarkets and pulling their children out of private schools. 'It's stressful,' said David Gentry, a pharmaceutical salesman who recently obtained a loan to buy a $695,000 town house near San Francisco. 'I wonder, How do I qualify for this money? Are they stupid? It's not like I'm the president of Hewlett Packard. We're just trying to make ends meet.' The family had been renting an apartment from Mr. Gentry's father-in-law, paying a pittance in rent, before they bought. Now, Mr. Gentry said, housing costs eat up about half his take-home pay, meaning he and his wife can no longer afford a $600-a-month preschool for their 17-month-old and 4-year-old sons. The family moved into their town house condo overlooking the Pacific this May, and began paying a $4,100 monthly mortgage. To cover it, Mr. Gentry pared down contributions to his 401(k) account, and his wife, who now stays home with the children, is planning to return to work.'It's out of control,' Mr. Gentry said. 'We're penny-pinching things we would have normally not thought twice about. We're making it happen, but for how long?' Bankers suggest that families spend 25 to 30 percent of their gross income on housing, but many people, especially on the coasts, easily exceed that level. The burden of housing prices is the most pronounced in California, where 40 percent of homeowners spend more than 30 percent of their income to cover their mortgage costs, according to 2003 census data, the most recent numbers available. About 30 percent of all Americans spend that much. In the 1970's, an average family spent half its income on its mortgage, health care, insurance, taxes and car payments, according to Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who writes about consumer spending. Today, families spend about 75 percent of their incomes on those essentials, largely because of higher housing costs. One in 10 Americans spends more than half their income on housing costs, and those rates are higher in hot markets. Across the country, the median price of a single-family home has climbed 29 percent in two years, rising to $218,600 this year from $170,000 in 2003, according to the National Association of Realtors. At the same time, median family incomes rose 8 percent. The association's Housing Affordability Index dropped over the same time period, falling 15 percent in the last two years. Right now, it ranks the Midwest as the most affordable part of the country, and the West as the least. In the expensive markets, some people spend 50 to 75 percent of their monthly salaries on home payments. 'Most people out there would say they spent too much, across the board,' said Rick Harper, a credit counselor in San Francisco. For now, Americans seem to be staying aloft, spending less elsewhere and making the mortgage their first priority. Though foreclosures have jumped recently in areas like Massachusetts, Philadelphia and Chicago, a June survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the most recent available, found that foreclosure and delinquency rates had actually dropped 7 percentage points from 2004. But Ms. Warren, the Harvard author, said Americans have put themselves in a precarious spot. They have overspent and taken out adjustable-rate and interest-only mortgages, gambling that housing values will rise while interest rates and the job market hold steady. 'People think homeownership is the ultimate stability,' Ms. Warren said. 'Today, it has become the cement life raft. The home itself is sinking the family.' The surge in prices is not limited to hot zones like California, where the median home price is $540,900, or New York City, where the median price is $700,000. It has struck people in Pasadena, Md. (median home value: about $170,000), where Julie Judy's family recently bought a $275,000 home. They now scrape by on a budget that leaves them $100 to spare each month. Ms. Judy and her husband, Michael, both in their early 30's, began looking for a new home big enough to give their 3-year-old son space to play and grow. They hoped for something in the $150,000 range, but quickly learned that even wrecks cost $200,000. 'When they said the payment's going to be $1,800, I said, 'Oh my God,' ' Ms. Judy said. 'It kills me. It kills me.' The family cut out some comforts, forgoing a pool table, big-screen television and new furniture for their basement. They opted not to install a telephone line, and only use cellphones. They traded their Ford Expedition for a Dodge Caravan for a net savings of eight miles per gallon and $120 in monthly gasoline costs. And they cut up their credit cards. 'If we can't pay cash for it,' Ms. Judy wrote in an e-mail message, 'we won't buy it.' In San Mateo, Calif., the burdens of first-time homeownership have plucked Chris Cavigioli right out of the sky. Last November, Mr. Cavigioli, 43, who markets semiconductors, and his new wife, Kari, began searching for a $600,000 house where they would have enough room to start a family. They found nothing that even came close. So the couple raised their price ceiling beyond San Mateo's median of $656,095, then raised it again, and settled on a home for around $875,000. In a standard 30-year mortgage, the $875,000 house would cost an additional $1,445 every month, or an extra $17,340 a year, when compared with what their payments would have been for a $600,000 house. For the Cavigiolis, the pricier house has meant more dinners at home, where Mr. Cavigioli exposes his carnivorous wife to his vegetarian cooking. There have been fewer trips to see relatives living in Asia and Boston. And Mr. Cavigioli, who flies Cessna Skyhawks in his free time, had to give up lessons and put off pursuing his pilot's license. 'That's something that's going to have to wait for a rainy day,' he said. For now, 'We're living on faith.' One hundred miles away, in a rough-edged Sacramento neighborhood, Yaseen Nazir and his wife are dealing with the consequences of waiting too long to join the parade. The couple, who are technology consultants, stayed in their $900 rental while prices soared, then this year decided to buy a home. 'I thought, realistically, it would have been nice to get something for around $100,000, but you can't even buy a trailer for $100,000,' Mr. Nazir said. 'We were hoping for around $300,000, but there's nothing to find. We tried everything. We just said, It's now or never. It just keeps going up.' Eventually, the couple bought a four-bedroom house for $445,000. Most mortgage experts recommend that people's homes cost no more than three times their annual salary. By that standard, the Nazirs were $100,000 over budget. They had signed up to spend more than half their monthly income on their home. So now, they are cutting costs everywhere they can. They endured the summer without air-conditioning. They eat at their parents' houses. They read books beneath Wal-Mart lamps and lounge on 'pleather' couches left over from Mr. Nazir's days as a computer-science major at the University of California, Davis. The couple have moved in, but they cannot afford to make the newly built house feel like their own. They have yet to put up a fence in their backyard or pour concrete for the patio. And they gave up their weekends skiing and jettisoned the overnight trips to Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles. They gave up going to their favorite $25-a-plate Persian and Moroccan restaurants. For lunch, Mr. Nazir forgoes trips out with co-workers and eats 'cans of tuna and microwaveable stuff' at his desk. 'We basically decided, How many days can we starve?' Mr. Nazir said. 'When can we go to the thrift store? It's tough times.' In markets where house prices have risen rapidly, they are not unusual. 'They're overbuying, and there are extreme choices that need to be made,' said Patricia Lynch, a credit counselor with ClearPoint Financial Solutions in Baltimore. 'People can get very creative.' A 58-year-old woman in Fresno, Calif., said she is dedicating more than half her teacher's salary to the mortgage on her $230,000 house, and is so financially strapped that she has cut back on tithes to her Catholic parish. Credit counselors say their clients are piling their day-to-day debts onto credit cards, draining their contributions to retirement accounts and selling their housewares at resale shops to make their mortgages. One of Ms. Lynch's clients cut her phone lines and Internet access. Another sold off $300,000 in antiques, rugs and crystal baubles. 'She's liquidating,' Ms. Lynch said. 'She's using that money to pay off debt.'

Subject: Miami's Model for Condo Sales Spreads
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 06:40:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/realestate/25miami.html September 25, 2005 Miami's Model for Condo Sales Spreads to Las Vegas and New York By ANNA BAHNEY MIAMI has long been known for models of the lean and leggy variety, but more recently, with the appearance of tall, slender buildings along Biscayne Bay, yet another model is emerging from the backdrop of pink sunsets and blue water. The so-called Miami Model describes the way some of these apartments are being sold, a method that is changing the way real estate development is done in Florida and beyond. It results in churning apartments more often and more quickly and giving more of the transaction fees to developers. With an in-house sales team that charges a fee, a developer sells a unit to an investor who in turn sells to a buyer who may or may not ultimately use the condo. This flip before closing has become an integral part of the condo market in places like South Florida and Las Vegas. Now developers and marketers in New York - who never like to think they follow any other city's lead - are flirting with the model. 'It is a market that is more evolved than our market here in the city,' said Christopher Mathieson, a managing partner at JC DeNiro and Associates, a real estate agency in Manhattan. 'They are selling like crazy in Miami. Las Vegas has taken the Miami Model and run with it.' Mr. Mathieson has three projects in Manhattan that are going to use this model; two will be coming to market in the spring and he will be doing some sales in the fall for the third. Many real estate professionals don't think this sales model can work in Manhattan because the price to invest in New York is so high, but Mr. Mathieson said he is convinced it can. In Miami, which has led the country in sales of preconstruction condos, 60,000 units are planned in the next five years and about 19,700 are under construction in Dade County right now. While 'flipping' has become a dirty word in Florida, developers find it appealing, and profitable, to control the flip, rather than to leave all those profits to others. For buyers - investors or users - it may help to protect the flow of properties to the market. One Miami, an 896-unit condominium developed by the Related Companies, is nearing the end of its resale program, in which about half of the buyers are reselling, through the developer, apartments that don't yet exist. 'The first person purchased two and half years ago,' said Valeria Lugo, a sales associate with Related Cervera Realty Services, who works at the building. 'Then eight months to a year later, we offer the option to sell their unit and they can assign the contract to another buyer.' The percentages vary depending on the developer, but at One Miami there is a 6 percent commission to the sales agent and a 0.25 percent fee for the transfer, which goes to the developer. Developer's fees can range from 0.25 to 10 percent. 'They don't have to do the resale through us,' Ms. Lugo said. 'But we do a lot of advertising and marketing.' Before developers decided to be the focus for resales, speculators would close on a condo and sell it immediately, or before closing, flip the contract with the help of an outside broker. Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, the president of Related Cervera Realty Services, said that she had been using this model for about seven years. 'In the old days it would take a couple of years to sell all the units,' Mrs. Cervera Lamadrid said. 'But now it can take a couple of weeks or a couple of months.' Jack Winston, an analyst with Goodkin Consulting, a real estate consulting firm in South Florida, said that the Miami Model works best when a developer has several parts to its organization, including a sales arm, and when there are multiple projects at various stages. 'Related is the best example in the country,' Mr. Winston said. 'With Related Cervera Realty there is an in-house sales office. They are constantly opening new projects, so they can move buyers to another project that is coming out of the ground. They also create a reputation and a following with buyers because each time they have done this - with the combination of Related and Related Cervera - the investors have made money.' Mr. Winston sees the long-term effect of this kind of sales strategy by developers as a bit of a Ponzi scheme, though. People coming in on the preconstruction phase are making money so long as other people are coming in. 'The scheme falls apart when you don't have enough people to get the money to pay to the last guy back,' Mr. Winston said. 'What happens when you don't get enough investors to come in and play? There certainly aren't enough real buyers.' Ms. Lugo said the resale apartments at One Miami are being sold at a 35 to 40 percent increase over the preconstruction price, with two-bedroom apartments now between $450,000 and $600,000 and three-bedrooms from $650,000 to $1.2 million. At another Related building, Plaza on Brickell, resales began on July 1 after it sold out in the summer of 2004, and about 200 of the 1,000 units are currently available again. Ms. Lugo said she expected another 10 percent of the units to come into the resale program before the sales are closed. 'There is no one taking a loss from doing resales,' said Carlo Gambino, a managing partner of Carson Realty Group in Miami. For the developers, Mr. Gambino said, instead of losing out on an opportunity to generate more revenue, they are taking part in it. The initial buyer is making a profit on the value of the full price of the property based on a 20 percent investment. Even the second buyer, he said, will get a better price than if the first buyer had to account for closing costs. 'I don't see any party that will suffer from it,' he said. He hasn't: Mr. Gambino made a 300 percent profit on his 20 percent down payment at One Miami through the resale program. A similar scenario is playing out in Las Vegas, where more than 90 condo projects with about 67,000 units are in the planning stages and at least 19 are under construction. At the Panorama Towers, developed by Sasson Hallier Properties, resales on the first of three towers will begin in December. Prices for that are not determined yet, but pre-construction condos in the third tower are $450,000 to $1.5 million. 'We went down to Miami and saw that this is a great way to protect the value of the building,' said Paul Scaringe, the vice president of sales for Panorama Towers. 'With this program you can control the amount of inventory that is out there at any given time, supply and demand will dictate the pricing.' Bradley F. Hunter, director of the South Florida region for Metrostudy, a residential real estate market research firm in West Palm Beach, said this model began when investors increased the price gain in new construction by paying any price, figuring it would go up. Developers began to restrict investors from flipping the contracts, only to find the day after closing that high numbers of units were on the market, with the investor rather than the developer making the profit. 'That pushed this resale activity,' Mr. Hunter said. 'Then developers said, why should we leave that money sitting on the table? And they started their own resale programs.' Developers in South Florida are typically expected to sell half the units in a development before receiving financing for the project. With preconstruction buyers putting 10 percent down to reserve a condo and another 10 percent down, which can be used for construction costs, about the time building starts, it might seem that the Florida market is insulated from froth because projects have buyers before they are built. Mr. Hunter disagreed. 'Those 50 percent who have bought preconstruction are investors,' he said. 'They are perpetuating the froth and in a way disguising it. The developer can say, 'I'm sold out.' Really? Are you sold out to people who are going to move in? Or people who are going to immediately put those on the market?' 'There is phantom supply,' Mr. Hunter added. 'It is not visible to the naked eye. That is why developers have to be very cautious.' In New York they often are. Real estate developers and marketers have their own established methods and ideas about the way real estate development is done in other parts of the country. 'In Miami you can do what you want,' said Michael Shvo, president of Shvo Marketing, a real estate firm in Manhattan. 'It's the Wild West. So is Las Vegas.' Elan Padeh, the chief executive and president of the Developers Group, a Brooklyn-based real estate firm, said that developers would love to move buyers' contracts with the fluidity of those in Miami. 'If they were doing this much development in New York, there would be even more if they could do that,' he said. Both marketers sang the praises of the New York State attorney general, Eliot Spitzer - whose office must examine all condo offering plans - as well as state regulations that keep buyers' down payments in escrow, rather than allowing developers to use them for construction costs. But with the distinctly Miami-influenced financing plan by Frank J. Sciame, the developer behind the Santiago Calatrava building planned at 80 South Street, in which he is taking down-payments starting at $7 million before securing financing for 10 town houses ranging from $29 million to $59 million each, there are indications that the approach to new development in New York may be changing. With regard to the Miami Model of controlled resales, Bruce D. Friedberg, a lawyer specializing in real estate, said he was surprised it was not done more often in New York, explaining that usually the opposite is the rule, with developers strongly restricting resales of the condos until as much as a year after closing. Mr. Friedberg saw the effects of a resale program when he had some 35 clients who were among the initial purchasers at the Chelsea Mercantile, a renovated warehouse condominium on the West Side of Manhattan developed by Rockrose Developments, in 1999. The initial offering plan, dated May 20, 1999, said that the 354 units would sell out at $251.45 million. By the time the 11th amendment was submitted to the attorney general's office that November, the sell-out price was $307.61 million. 'The demand was unbelievable,' Kevin P. Singleton, senior vice president at Rockrose Development, said of the Chelsea Mercantile project. In one of the amendments, the developer offered to take back the contract and split the market price with the initial buyer. For example, a buyer who had purchased for $1 million could, through this amendment, assign the contract to the developer and split the profit on the apartment, which was going for $1.5 million, leaving $250,000 each for the developer and the first buyer. By keeping an ear to the track, Mr. Singleton said, his firm knew even a year after initial sales that they would still have a line around the block if units were available. 'We could have sold 10 times the number of units we had,' he said. 'Filing an amendment is the only requirement. There is a limited downside for the developer.' Brad Maione, the spokesman for the attorney general's office, said in an e-mail message that the office takes no official position on the merits of particular provisions in an offering plan. Assigning the contract can be beneficial, he said, because it allows buyers who are unable to close or no longer interested in buying to find a substitute purchaser and not loose their down payments. It is certainly not as easy to institute a resale program as in other cities, but with large-scale condo development planned for West Chelsea, and areas like the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront in Brooklyn, investors moving from one preconstruction project to another could become more common in New York. It will if Mr. Mathieson has anything to do with it. 'You're inviting more people, including investors, to take on the risk until the end user gets to the building,' he said. 'The end user wants a product they can look at. The investor is there to take the risk.'

Subject: times select
From: tom
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 04:22:33 (EDT)
Email Address: tom@tom.com

Message:
it's possible to complain. write to the public editor at the times (public@nytimes.com), saying that it's short-sighted and narrow minded, at least in this country) to severely restrict the audience for well-informed left-wing voices. the paper has some public responsibility as well as one to its shareholders -

Subject: Hard Bigotry of No Expectations
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 14:58:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/opinion/25sun1.html September 25, 2005 Hard Bigotry of No Expectations Throughout his campaigns in 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush talked about 'the soft bigotry of low expectations': the mind-set that tolerates poor school performance and dead-end careers for minority students on the presumption that they are incapable of doing better. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said recently that this phrase attracted her to Mr. Bush more than anything else. It was, indeed, a brilliant encapsulation of so much of what is wrong with American education. But while Mr. Bush has been worrying about low expectations in schools, he's been ratcheting the bar downward himself on almost everything else. The president's recent schedule of nonstop disaster-scene photo-ops is reminiscent of the principal of a failing school who believes he's doing a great job because he makes it a point to drop in on every class play and teacher retirement party. And if there ever was an exhibit of the misguided conviction that for some people very little is good enough, it's the current administration spin that the proposed Iraqi constitution is fine because the founding fathers didn't give women equal rights either. The lack of expectations is evident even in areas where the president is supposed to be deeply engaged. The Treasury Department's hollowed-out leadership structure suggests an administration that is happy to coast along with a gentleman's C for handling the nation's finances. But it has been most graphically, and tragically, on display in Iraq and in the response to Hurricane Katrina. Four years after 9/11, Katrina showed the world that performance standards for the Department of Homeland Security were so low that it was not required to create real plans to respond to real disasters. Only a president with no expectation that the federal government should step up after a crisis could have stripped the Federal Emergency Management Agency bare, appointed as its director a political crony who could not even adequately represent the breeders of Arabian horses, and announced that the director was doing a splendid job while bodies floated in the floodwaters. Only a president who does not expect the government to help provide decent housing for the truly needy in normal times could leave seven of the top jobs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development vacant and then, after disaster struck, offer small-bore solutions to enormous problems. Substandard wages, an easing of affirmative action regulation and a housing lottery that will help a tiny sliver of people apparently are considered good enough for poor families along the Gulf Coast left homeless by Katrina. In Iraq, the elimination of expectations is on display in the disastrous political process. Among other things, the constitution drafted under American supervision does not provide for the rights of women and minorities and enshrines one religion as the fundamental source of law. Administration officials excuse this poor excuse for a constitution by saying it also refers to democratic values. But it makes them secondary to Islamic law and never actually defines them. Our founding fathers had higher expectations: they made the split of church and state fundamental, and spelled out what they meant by democracy and the rule of law. It's true that the United States Constitution once allowed slavery, denied women the right to vote and granted property rights only to white men. But it's offensive for the administration to use that as an excuse for the failings of the Iraqi constitution. The bar on democracy has been raised since 1787. We don't agree that the 218-year-old standard is good enough for Iraq. Since his failure to notice the Katrina disaster, Mr. Bush has stopped bragging that he doesn't read or watch the news. If he's paying attention now, he should get a message from the outrage over Katrina and shrinking support for his policies in Iraq: The American public has much higher expectations than he does for the president and his government.

Subject: Many More People Are House Poor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 14:04:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/realestate/25sacrifice.html September 25, 2005 With Higher Prices, Many More People Are House Poor By PATRICK O'GILFOIL HEALY BECAUSE of the nationwide surge in housing prices, many middle-income families just can't afford the average house price anymore. But they are buying anyway, and making due by cutting household budgets and tightening belts in myriad ways. They are forgoing that long-planned vacation to Europe. They are bypassing their favorite Thai restaurant and cooking dinner at home. People are clipping coupons, shopping at discount supermarkets and pulling their children out of private schools. 'It's stressful,' said David Gentry, a pharmaceutical salesman who recently obtained a loan to buy a $695,000 town house near San Francisco. 'I wonder, How do I qualify for this money? Are they stupid? It's not like I'm the president of Hewlett Packard. We're just trying to make ends meet.' The family had been renting an apartment from Mr. Gentry's father-in-law, paying a pittance in rent, before they bought. Now, Mr. Gentry said, housing costs eat up about half his take-home pay, meaning he and his wife can no longer afford a $600-a-month preschool for their 17-month-old and 4-year-old sons. The family moved into their town house condo overlooking the Pacific this May, and began paying a $4,100 monthly mortgage. To cover it, Mr. Gentry pared down contributions to his 401(k) account, and his wife, who now stays home with the children, is planning to return to work.'It's out of control,' Mr. Gentry said. 'We're penny-pinching things we would have normally not thought twice about. We're making it happen, but for how long?' Bankers suggest that families spend 25 to 30 percent of their gross income on housing, but many people, especially on the coasts, easily exceed that level. The burden of housing prices is the most pronounced in California, where 40 percent of homeowners spend more than 30 percent of their income to cover their mortgage costs, according to 2003 census data, the most recent numbers available. About 30 percent of all Americans spend that much. In the 1970's, an average family spent half its income on its mortgage, health care, insurance, taxes and car payments, according to Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who writes about consumer spending. Today, families spend about 75 percent of their incomes on those essentials, largely because of higher housing costs. One in 10 Americans spends more than half their income on housing costs, and those rates are higher in hot markets. Across the country, the median price of a single-family home has climbed 29 percent in two years, rising to $218,600 this year from $170,000 in 2003, according to the National Association of Realtors. At the same time, median family incomes rose 8 percent. The association's Housing Affordability Index dropped over the same time period, falling 15 percent in the last two years. Right now, it ranks the Midwest as the most affordable part of the country, and the West as the least. In the expensive markets, some people spend 50 to 75 percent of their monthly salaries on home payments. 'Most people out there would say they spent too much, across the board,' said Rick Harper, a credit counselor in San Francisco. For now, Americans seem to be staying aloft, spending less elsewhere and making the mortgage their first priority. Though foreclosures have jumped recently in areas like Massachusetts, Philadelphia and Chicago, a June survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the most recent available, found that foreclosure and delinquency rates had actually dropped 7 percentage points from 2004. But Ms. Warren, the Harvard author, said Americans have put themselves in a precarious spot. They have overspent and taken out adjustable-rate and interest-only mortgages, gambling that housing values will rise while interest rates and the job market hold steady. 'People think homeownership is the ultimate stability,' Ms. Warren said. 'Today, it has become the cement life raft. The home itself is sinking the family.' The surge in prices is not limited to hot zones like California, where the median home price is $540,900, or New York City, where the median price is $700,000. It has struck people in Pasadena, Md. (median home value: about $170,000), where Julie Judy's family recently bought a $275,000 home. They now scrape by on a budget that leaves them $100 to spare each month. Ms. Judy and her husband, Michael, both in their early 30's, began looking for a new home big enough to give their 3-year-old son space to play and grow. They hoped for something in the $150,000 range, but quickly learned that even wrecks cost $200,000. 'When they said the payment's going to be $1,800, I said, 'Oh my God,' ' Ms. Judy said. 'It kills me. It kills me.' The family cut out some comforts, forgoing a pool table, big-screen television and new furniture for their basement. They opted not to install a telephone line, and only use cellphones. They traded their Ford Expedition for a Dodge Caravan for a net savings of eight miles per gallon and $120 in monthly gasoline costs. And they cut up their credit cards. 'If we can't pay cash for it,' Ms. Judy wrote in an e-mail message, 'we won't buy it.' In San Mateo, Calif., the burdens of first-time homeownership have plucked Chris Cavigioli right out of the sky. Last November, Mr. Cavigioli, 43, who markets semiconductors, and his new wife, Kari, began searching for a $600,000 house where they would have enough room to start a family. They found nothing that even came close. So the couple raised their price ceiling beyond San Mateo's median of $656,095, then raised it again, and settled on a home for around $875,000. In a standard 30-year mortgage, the $875,000 house would cost an additional $1,445 every month, or an extra $17,340 a year, when compared with what their payments would have been for a $600,000 house. For the Cavigiolis, the pricier house has meant more dinners at home, where Mr. Cavigioli exposes his carnivorous wife to his vegetarian cooking. There have been fewer trips to see relatives living in Asia and Boston. And Mr. Cavigioli, who flies Cessna Skyhawks in his free time, had to give up lessons and put off pursuing his pilot's license. 'That's something that's going to have to wait for a rainy day,' he said. For now, 'We're living on faith.' One hundred miles away, in a rough-edged Sacramento neighborhood, Yaseen Nazir and his wife are dealing with the consequences of waiting too long to join the parade. The couple, who are technology consultants, stayed in their $900 rental while prices soared, then this year decided to buy a home. 'I thought, realistically, it would have been nice to get something for around $100,000, but you can't even buy a trailer for $100,000,' Mr. Nazir said. 'We were hoping for around $300,000, but there's nothing to find. We tried everything. We just said, It's now or never. It just keeps going up.' Eventually, the couple bought a four-bedroom house for $445,000. Most mortgage experts recommend that people's homes cost no more than three times their annual salary. By that standard, the Nazirs were $100,000 over budget. They had signed up to spend more than half their monthly income on their home. So now, they are cutting costs everywhere they can. They endured the summer without air-conditioning. They eat at their parents' houses. They read books beneath Wal-Mart lamps and lounge on 'pleather' couches left over from Mr. Nazir's days as a computer-science major at the University of California, Davis. The couple have moved in, but they cannot afford to make the newly built house feel like their own. They have yet to put up a fence in their backyard or pour concrete for the patio. And they gave up their weekends skiing and jettisoned the overnight trips to Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles. They gave up going to their favorite $25-a-plate Persian and Moroccan restaurants. For lunch, Mr. Nazir forgoes trips out with co-workers and eats 'cans of tuna and microwaveable stuff' at his desk. 'We basically decided, How many days can we starve?' Mr. Nazir said. 'When can we go to the thrift store? It's tough times.' In markets where house prices have risen rapidly, they are not unusual. 'They're overbuying, and there are extreme choices that need to be made,' said Patricia Lynch, a credit counselor with ClearPoint Financial Solutions in Baltimore. 'People can get very creative.' A 58-year-old woman in Fresno, Calif., said she is dedicating more than half her teacher's salary to the mortgage on her $230,000 house, and is so financially strapped that she has cut back on tithes to her Catholic parish. Credit counselors say their clients are piling their day-to-day debts onto credit cards, draining their contributions to retirement accounts and selling their housewares at resale shops to make their mortgages. One of Ms. Lynch's clients cut her phone lines and Internet access. Another sold off $300,000 in antiques, rugs and crystal baubles. 'She's liquidating,' Ms. Lynch said. 'She's using that money to pay off debt.'

Subject: Miami's Model for Condo Sales Spreads
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 14:01:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/realestate/25miami.html September 25, 2005 Miami's Model for Condo Sales Spreads to Las Vegas and New York By ANNA BAHNEY MIAMI has long been known for models of the lean and leggy variety, but more recently, with the appearance of tall, slender buildings along Biscayne Bay, yet another model is emerging from the backdrop of pink sunsets and blue water. The so-called Miami Model describes the way some of these apartments are being sold, a method that is changing the way real estate development is done in Florida and beyond. It results in churning apartments more often and more quickly and giving more of the transaction fees to developers. With an in-house sales team that charges a fee, a developer sells a unit to an investor who in turn sells to a buyer who may or may not ultimately use the condo. This flip before closing has become an integral part of the condo market in places like South Florida and Las Vegas. Now developers and marketers in New York - who never like to think they follow any other city's lead - are flirting with the model. 'It is a market that is more evolved than our market here in the city,' said Christopher Mathieson, a managing partner at JC DeNiro and Associates, a real estate agency in Manhattan. 'They are selling like crazy in Miami. Las Vegas has taken the Miami Model and run with it.' Mr. Mathieson has three projects in Manhattan that are going to use this model; two will be coming to market in the spring and he will be doing some sales in the fall for the third. Many real estate professionals don't think this sales model can work in Manhattan because the price to invest in New York is so high, but Mr. Mathieson said he is convinced it can. In Miami, which has led the country in sales of preconstruction condos, 60,000 units are planned in the next five years and about 19,700 are under construction in Dade County right now. While 'flipping' has become a dirty word in Florida, developers find it appealing, and profitable, to control the flip, rather than to leave all those profits to others. For buyers - investors or users - it may help to protect the flow of properties to the market. One Miami, an 896-unit condominium developed by the Related Companies, is nearing the end of its resale program, in which about half of the buyers are reselling, through the developer, apartments that don't yet exist. 'The first person purchased two and half years ago,' said Valeria Lugo, a sales associate with Related Cervera Realty Services, who works at the building. 'Then eight months to a year later, we offer the option to sell their unit and they can assign the contract to another buyer.' The percentages vary depending on the developer, but at One Miami there is a 6 percent commission to the sales agent and a 0.25 percent fee for the transfer, which goes to the developer. Developer's fees can range from 0.25 to 10 percent. 'They don't have to do the resale through us,' Ms. Lugo said. 'But we do a lot of advertising and marketing.' Before developers decided to be the focus for resales, speculators would close on a condo and sell it immediately, or before closing, flip the contract with the help of an outside broker. Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, the president of Related Cervera Realty Services, said that she had been using this model for about seven years. 'In the old days it would take a couple of years to sell all the units,' Mrs. Cervera Lamadrid said. 'But now it can take a couple of weeks or a couple of months.' Jack Winston, an analyst with Goodkin Consulting, a real estate consulting firm in South Florida, said that the Miami Model works best when a developer has several parts to its organization, including a sales arm, and when there are multiple projects at various stages. 'Related is the best example in the country,' Mr. Winston said. 'With Related Cervera Realty there is an in-house sales office. They are constantly opening new projects, so they can move buyers to another project that is coming out of the ground. They also create a reputation and a following with buyers because each time they have done this - with the combination of Related and Related Cervera - the investors have made money.' Mr. Winston sees the long-term effect of this kind of sales strategy by developers as a bit of a Ponzi scheme, though. People coming in on the preconstruction phase are making money so long as other people are coming in. 'The scheme falls apart when you don't have enough people to get the money to pay to the last guy back,' Mr. Winston said. 'What happens when you don't get enough investors to come in and play? There certainly aren't enough real buyers.' Ms. Lugo said the resale apartments at One Miami are being sold at a 35 to 40 percent increase over the preconstruction price, with two-bedroom apartments now between $450,000 and $600,000 and three-bedrooms from $650,000 to $1.2 million. At another Related building, Plaza on Brickell, resales began on July 1 after it sold out in the summer of 2004, and about 200 of the 1,000 units are currently available again. Ms. Lugo said she expected another 10 percent of the units to come into the resale program before the sales are closed. 'There is no one taking a loss from doing resales,' said Carlo Gambino, a managing partner of Carson Realty Group in Miami. For the developers, Mr. Gambino said, instead of losing out on an opportunity to generate more revenue, they are taking part in it. The initial buyer is making a profit on the value of the full price of the property based on a 20 percent investment. Even the second buyer, he said, will get a better price than if the first buyer had to account for closing costs. 'I don't see any party that will suffer from it,' he said. He hasn't: Mr. Gambino made a 300 percent profit on his 20 percent down payment at One Miami through the resale program. A similar scenario is playing out in Las Vegas, where more than 90 condo projects with about 67,000 units are in the planning stages and at least 19 are under construction. At the Panorama Towers, developed by Sasson Hallier Properties, resales on the first of three towers will begin in December. Prices for that are not determined yet, but pre-construction condos in the third tower are $450,000 to $1.5 million. 'We went down to Miami and saw that this is a great way to protect the value of the building,' said Paul Scaringe, the vice president of sales for Panorama Towers. 'With this program you can control the amount of inventory that is out there at any given time, supply and demand will dictate the pricing.' Bradley F. Hunter, director of the South Florida region for Metrostudy, a residential real estate market research firm in West Palm Beach, said this model began when investors increased the price gain in new construction by paying any price, figuring it would go up. Developers began to restrict investors from flipping the contracts, only to find the day after closing that high numbers of units were on the market, with the investor rather than the developer making the profit. 'That pushed this resale activity,' Mr. Hunter said. 'Then developers said, why should we leave that money sitting on the table? And they started their own resale programs.' Developers in South Florida are typically expected to sell half the units in a development before receiving financing for the project. With preconstruction buyers putting 10 percent down to reserve a condo and another 10 percent down, which can be used for construction costs, about the time building starts, it might seem that the Florida market is insulated from froth because projects have buyers before they are built. Mr. Hunter disagreed. 'Those 50 percent who have bought preconstruction are investors,' he said. 'They are perpetuating the froth and in a way disguising it. The developer can say, 'I'm sold out.' Really? Are you sold out to people who are going to move in? Or people who are going to immediately put those on the market?' 'There is phantom supply,' Mr. Hunter added. 'It is not visible to the naked eye. That is why developers have to be very cautious.' In New York they often are. Real estate developers and marketers have their own established methods and ideas about the way real estate development is done in other parts of the country. 'In Miami you can do what you want,' said Michael Shvo, president of Shvo Marketing, a real estate firm in Manhattan. 'It's the Wild West. So is Las Vegas.' Elan Padeh, the chief executive and president of the Developers Group, a Brooklyn-based real estate firm, said that developers would love to move buyers' contracts with the fluidity of those in Miami. 'If they were doing this much development in New York, there would be even more if they could do that,' he said. Both marketers sang the praises of the New York State attorney general, Eliot Spitzer - whose office must examine all condo offering plans - as well as state regulations that keep buyers' down payments in escrow, rather than allowing developers to use them for construction costs. But with the distinctly Miami-influenced financing plan by Frank J. Sciame, the developer behind the Santiago Calatrava building planned at 80 South Street, in which he is taking down-payments starting at $7 million before securing financing for 10 town houses ranging from $29 million to $59 million each, there are indications that the approach to new development in New York may be changing. With regard to the Miami Model of controlled resales, Bruce D. Friedberg, a lawyer specializing in real estate, said he was surprised it was not done more often in New York, explaining that usually the opposite is the rule, with developers strongly restricting resales of the condos until as much as a year after closing. Mr. Friedberg saw the effects of a resale program when he had some 35 clients who were among the initial purchasers at the Chelsea Mercantile, a renovated warehouse condominium on the West Side of Manhattan developed by Rockrose Developments, in 1999. The initial offering plan, dated May 20, 1999, said that the 354 units would sell out at $251.45 million. By the time the 11th amendment was submitted to the attorney general's office that November, the sell-out price was $307.61 million. 'The demand was unbelievable,' Kevin P. Singleton, senior vice president at Rockrose Development, said of the Chelsea Mercantile project. In one of the amendments, the developer offered to take back the contract and split the market price with the initial buyer. For example, a buyer who had purchased for $1 million could, through this amendment, assign the contract to the developer and split the profit on the apartment, which was going for $1.5 million, leaving $250,000 each for the developer and the first buyer. By keeping an ear to the track, Mr. Singleton said, his firm knew even a year after initial sales that they would still have a line around the block if units were available. 'We could have sold 10 times the number of units we had,' he said. 'Filing an amendment is the only requirement. There is a limited downside for the developer.' Brad Maione, the spokesman for the attorney general's office, said in an e-mail message that the office takes no official position on the merits of particular provisions in an offering plan. Assigning the contract can be beneficial, he said, because it allows buyers who are unable to close or no longer interested in buying to find a substitute purchaser and not loose their down payments. It is certainly not as easy to institute a resale program as in other cities, but with large-scale condo development planned for West Chelsea, and areas like the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront in Brooklyn, investors moving from one preconstruction project to another could become more common in New York. It will if Mr. Mathieson has anything to do with it. 'You're inviting more people, including investors, to take on the risk until the end user gets to the building,' he said. 'The end user wants a product they can look at. The investor is there to take the risk.'

Subject: fees?
From: Ron Shawger
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 10:29:37 (EDT)
Email Address: RShawger@wi.rr.com

Message:
In recognizing that the NY Times is instituting a fee to read many of their columnists I only recently discovered that it was the reader who was to pay them, not they who would pay the reader. to read Krugman, the former Enron advisor and actually have to pay for it the 'raping' of Enron seems only to be repeated by the 'raping' of anyone foolish enough to pay fof the priveladge to read an author, supposed economics professor, who spends much of his articles just making things up. He has from time to time had to 'go on the record' correcting his many mistakes about literal numbers but much of the time he writes one set of thoughts only to later write another set of thoughts they totally contradict the former.

Subject: You're hilarious Ron
From: Erica
To: Ron Shawger
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:59:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I liked your post. What were you going for? An idiot? A moron? A troll? Anyway, good stuff. I liked the whole I'm pretending I don't like the fees but not for the reasons you think I don't like them. That was just quality posting. Keep them coming!

Subject: Re: You're hilarious Ron
From: Mik
To: Erica
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 12:02:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I love the part about him 'being an Enron advisor'. That's right associate him with the Enron scandal... hahahaha. Erica is right you are hilarious. Maureen you have a partner. And I suppose both you and Maureen still believe in the WMD theory too?

Subject: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice
From: Maureen D.
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 25, 2005 at 09:57:24 (EDT)
Email Address: liberties@nytimes.com

Message:
Our Public Editor, Byron Calame, has called for enforcement of the NYTimes 'corrections policy' by Paul Krugman. Either Kruggy complies, or he's OUT: 'Meanwhile, in the opinion section of The Times, the corrections policy of Gail Collins, the editor of the editorial page, is not being fully enforced. As I have written on my Web journal, Paul Krugman has not been required to correct, in the paper, recent acknowledged factual errors in his column about the 2000 election in Florida. 'The Times has long been a trailblazer in its commitment to correcting errors [which might explain why Judith Miller is still in jail- ED.] . This is no time to let those standards slip – even when well-known critics and columnists are involved.'

Subject: Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice
From: Anybody
To: Maureen D.
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 12:55:21 (EDT)
Email Address: anywhere@nytimes.com

Message:
this message is obviously a fake.

Subject: Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice
From: Maureen
To: Anybody
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 15:44:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Go read the Public Editor's column in Sunday's NYT, and you will see that the post is NOT a fake. The Time's own ombudsman basicaaly characterized Krugman as little more than a lying sack of crap.

Subject: Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice
From: Norman Bauman
To: Maureen
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 21:28:36 (EDT)
Email Address: nbauman@escape.com

Message:
Go read the Public Editor's column in Sunday's NYT, and you will see that the post is NOT a fake. The Time's own ombudsman basicaaly characterized Krugman as little more than a lying sack of crap.
---
I do not believe that your name actually is Maureen D. liberties@nytimes.com.

Furthermore, I do not believe that Krugman will be 'OUT' if he doesn't apologize. I have had several exchanges with the old Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, and the new Public Editor, Byron Calame.

Okrent told me, and others, that the columnists in the New York Times, such as Thomas Friedman (and his fake T-shirt story), operate by different rules and could not be held accountable for getting their facts wrong because they were writing opinion. http://www.thismodernworld.com/weblog/mtarchives/week_2004_03_07.html#001384

Now Calame has decided to go after the NYT's most prominent liberal columnist, with what I think is simply his own personal and politically-influenced disagreement with Krugman's conclusions.

I wrote to Okrent about a news story (not a column) that violated the NYT's personal attack rules much more clearly than the Geraldo story that Calame used in his last column. Okrent was on his famous long summer vacation, so his assistant handled my complaint. He forwarded it to the responsible editor, and they ignored him. I followed up and they continued to ignore him. That should give you an idea of the Public Editor's power in the NYT hierarchy. If he bugs them, they ignore him, and nothing happens.

That's probably what will happen if Krugman continues to ignore Calame, which is probably the best thing for Krugman to do. I met Calame, and he seemed like a reasonable guy, and I thought he would be a great choice for the Public Editor (certainly compared to Okrent, which is a low bar), but apparently he fooled me and underneath he's just a right wing nut. His columns on Geraldo and Krugman were simply repeating the complaints of the well-organized right-wing media attack machine, which is usually picking on trivial objections the way the creationists pick on trivial objections to the theory of evolution.

OTOH, I'm beginning to suspect that the NYT appointed a Public Editor not to uphold professional journalistic standards, but as a sop to the right-wing attack squads. There's precedent for that -- during the Vietnam War, the managing editor, A.M. Rosenthal, launched a camaign to get rid of liberal reporters who were reporting bad news (i.e. the truth) about Vietnam (as documented in Gay Talese's book about the NYT, The Kingdom and the Power).

OTOH, Krugman is phenominally popular at the NYT, as you could tell from their 'Most-forwarded' list. (Why do you think I paid $50?) They can't get rid of Krugman the way Rosenthal got rid of their anonymous reporters. The NYT readers are quite liberal, and he represents their views, and even in business terms, the NYT is responsible to its readers, not the right-wing blogosphere nuts.


Subject: Re: Krugman Skating on Thin Ice
From: Mik
To: Maureen
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 16:19:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I'm confused. Here is Krugman's correction to that article. What are you refering to? SYNOPSIS: This is a correction from Paul Krugman, published in The New York Times. It is regarding parts of three columns: What They Did Last Fall (8.19.05), Don't Prettify Our History (8.22.05), and Summer of Our Discontent (8.26.05), which discuss the topic of the stolen 2000 election In describing the results of the ballot study by the group led by the Miami Herald, I relied on the Herald’s own report, which listed only three hypothetical statewide recounts, two of which went to Al Gore. There was, however, a fourth recount, which would have gone to George W. Bush. In this case, the two stricter-standard recounts went to Mr. Bush. The later study, by a group including the New York Times, used two methods to count ballots: relying on the judgment of a majority of those examining each ballot, or requiring unanimity. Mr. Gore “won” all six hypothetical recounts on the majority basis. He lost one – in this case, the one using the loosest standard – on the unanimity basis. None of this has any bearing on my original point, which was not that the outcome would have been different if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened - the Florida Supreme Court had not, in fact, called for a full statewide manual recount - but that the recorded vote was so close that, when you combine that fact with the effects of vote suppression and ballot design, it becomes reasonably clear that the voters of Florida, as well as those of the United States as a whole, tried to choose Mr. Gore. Originally published in The New York Times, 9.2.05

Subject: There is Much More to Come
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 17:02:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though we cannot use the text of the New York Times Select articles, we can use the rest of the New York Times for discussion as always. The loss is regretted, but there is much much more left.

Subject: Inflation
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 09:02:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From 'A Nasty Whiff of Inflation' 9/22/05 in The Economist: 'Stephen Roach, the chief economist at Morgan Stanley, worked at the Fed in the 1970s under the then chairman, Arthur Burns. He remembers the dangers of core inflation. When oil prices surged in 1973-74, Burns asked the Fed's economists to strip out energy from the consumer-price index (CPI) to get a less distorted measure. When food prices then rose sharply, they stripped those out too—followed by used cars, children's toys, jewellery, housing and so on, until around half the CPI basket was excluded because it was supposedly “distorted” by exogenous forces. As a result, the Fed failed to spot the breadth of emerging inflationary pressures throughout the economy.'

Subject: Exclusions-
From: d
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 11:57:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The biggest exclusion of all is the price of homes. I own TIPS, they are a partial defense against inflation, not a complete one. What a conundrum, how to protect against inflation.

Subject: Re: Exclusions-
From: Terri
To: d
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 14:55:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Should the need be to protect against inflation, and I can understand that it may be, then stocks will be the preferred protection. I would much prefer Vanguard's value stock index to any sort of bonds if significant inflation is to recur. There are several Vanguard stock fund as well that I much prefer and would prefer if inflation is to be an issue.

Subject: Re: Exclusions-
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 01:41:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
But that is too easy. They protect against inflation, but don't protect during deflation. During deflation a bond is the thing to have. You have to decide how much of each you need.

Subject: Re: Exclusions-
From: Pete Weis
To: David E..
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 08:47:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Deflation is possible if the US consumer really starts to fade. But with the flood of dollars worldwide and increasing fiscal deficits in the US can the dollar hold up? The current account would begin to disappear with the fading consumer, but the US government will become the borrower and spender of last resort even as tax revenues decline and the fiscal deficit gets larger. I like to view inflation as a declining dollar, so it's a matter of deciding what does well relative to a declining dollar. Stocks and bond funds (which trade bonds) do poorly, in general, during economic slowdowns and a declining dollar.

Subject: Down then up
From: David E..
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 11:53:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There could be a yo-yo effect. First big time inflation, dollar drops like a yo-yo. Then deflation, dollar pops back up. Get ready for the two step. Planning a portfolio to provide deflation and inflation insurance is tough. Especially if the insurance is only planned to cost less than 20% of returns. Luck is required.

Subject: Re: Down then up
From: Pete Weis
To: David E..
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 11:17:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Could be a wild ride!!! These are definitely different times than almost any of us have experienced in our lifetimes!!!!

Subject: Re: Pete's whereabouts
From: Dorian
To: David E..
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 05:43:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hi Pete, Nice to see you here. You should keep us posted occasionally on your whereabouts. Regards, Dorian

Subject: Re: Pete's whereabouts
From: Pete Weis
To: Dorian
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 10:31:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
New England. Looking for a boat. While the housing market is still holding up, the boating market (atleast relatively large sailboats) seems to be slumping. I see the same boats on the market month after month and the prices dropping - the weird part of it - it makes me want to hold off to see how low they might go. If the housing market begins to slump will potential home buyers end up with the same buying hesitation? Then again maybe I'm just a weird contrarian. It probably has something to do with all the fascination with the housing markets and vacation homes as opposed to boats. Presently, I'm in a buyers market and boat brokers are calling me and telling me how frustrated their sellers are and asking what needs to be added or improved on their boat to get it sold. Anyway, when it comes to boats, I'm more of a 'Chevy' guy but my wife is more of a 'Mercedes' person and so I think we'll wait a little and see what happens.

Subject: Re: Inflation
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 09:28:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting, but there is no evidence now that general inflation is becoming a problem. The Federal Reserve is tightening short term interest rates and labor costs are all too contained. The problem may be that some of the price increases that are present are effecting classes of households differently, but the bond market is telling us that general inflation is not a problem.

Subject: The Big Uneasy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 17:39:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://select.nytimes.com/2005/09/23/opinion/23krugman.html September 23, 2005 The Big Uneasy By PAUL KRUGMAN Although Hurricane Katrina drowned much of New Orleans, the damage to America's economic infrastructure actually fell short of early predictions. Of course, Rita may make up for that. But Katrina did more than physical damage; it was a blow to our self-image as a nation. Maybe people will quickly forget the horrible scenes from the Superdome, and the frustration of wondering why no help had arrived, once cable TV returns to nonstop coverage of missing white women. But my guess is that Katrina's shock to our sense of ourselves will persist for years. America's current state of mind reminds me of the demoralized mood of late 1979, when a confluence of events - double-digit inflation, gas lines and the Iranian hostage crisis - led to a national crisis of confidence. Start with economic confidence. The available measures say that consumer confidence, which was already declining before Katrina hit, has now fallen off a cliff. One well-respected survey, from the University of Michigan, says that consumer sentiment is at its lowest level since George Bush the elder was president and 'America: What Went Wrong?' was a national best seller. It's true that gasoline prices have receded from their post-Katrina peaks. But even if Rita spares the refineries, a full recovery of economic confidence seems unlikely. For one thing, it looks as if we're in for a long, cold winter: natural gas and fuel oil are still near their price peaks. And most families were already struggling even before Katrina. A few weeks ago, the Census Bureau reported that in 2004, while Washington and Wall Street were hailing a 'Bush boom,' poverty increased, and median family income failed to keep up with inflation. It's safe to assume that most families did even worse this year. Then there's the war in Iraq, which is rapidly becoming impossible to spin positively: the purple fingers have come and gone, and there are no more corners to turn. As a result, views that people like Howard Dean were once derided for are becoming the majority opinion. Most Americans say the war was a mistake; a majority say the administration deliberately misled the country into war; almost 4 in 10 say Iraq will turn into another Vietnam. And many people are outraged by the war's cost. The general public doesn't closely follow economists' arguments about the risks of budget deficits, or try to decide between competing budget projections. But people do know that there's a big deficit, that politicians keep calling for cuts in spending and that rebuilding after Katrina will cost a lot of money. They resent the idea that large sums are being spent in a faraway country, where we're waging a war whose purpose seems increasingly obscure. Finally, fragmentary evidence - like a sharp drop in the fraction of Americans who approve of President Bush's performance in handling terrorism and the failure of large crowds to show up for the Pentagon's 'America Supports You' march and country music concert - suggests that the confluence of Katrina and the fourth anniversary of 9/11 has caused something to snap in public perceptions about the 'war on terror.' In the early months after 9/11, America's self-confidence actually seemed to have been bolstered by the attack: the Taliban were quickly overthrown, and President Bush looked like an effective leader. The positive perception of what happened after 9/11 has, needless to say, been a mainstay of Mr. Bush's political stature. But now that more time has elapsed since 9/11 than the whole stretch from Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, people are losing faith. Osama, it turns out, could both run and hide. It's obvious from the evening news that Al Qaeda and violent Islamic extremism in general are flourishing. And the hapless response to Katrina, which should have been easier to deal with than a terrorist attack, has shown that our leaders have done virtually nothing to make us safer. And here's the important point: these blows to our national self-image are mutually reinforcing. The sense that we're caught in an unwinnable war reinforces the sense that the economy is getting worse, and vice versa. So we're having a crisis of confidence. It's the kind of crisis that opens the door for dramatic political changes - possibly, but not necessarily, in a good direction. But who will provide leadership, now that Mr. Bush is damaged goods?

Subject: Re: The Big Uneasy
From: Rich
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 12:42:36 (EDT)
Email Address: rmynick@comcast.net

Message:
I'm glad this PK article was posted here. But does anyone know if the PKarchive will no longer be posting Mr. Krugman's articles regularly in the 'Columns' section (now that the NYT is forcing readers to cough up cash for 'Times Select')?

Subject: Re: The Big Uneasy
From: bill
To: Rich
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 15:41:17 (EDT)
Email Address: billcstosine@mchsi.com

Message:
PKarchive will no longer be posting Mr. Krugman's articles, but they are still easy enough to find elsewhere on the web for free. Just do a google groups search for the title of the latest column (put it in quotes) and the word Krugman (not in quots), i.e. 'The Big Easy' and Krugman - http://groups.google.com/grphp?hl=en&tab=wg&q= and you can come up with pages like this usually sometime during the first day they appear. Someone - usually a different person every time - is always going to be posting columns: http://snipurl.com/hx3v I don't know how The Times is going to force these pages to go away.

Subject: Re: The Big Uneasy
From: David E..
To: bill
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 17:42:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It will be easy. The Wall Street Journal does it all the time. Start lawsuits for violation of copyright. The WSJ doesn't sell its opinion columns, only the NYTimes does. The search for profit centers creates strange results. Maybe the library computer will have the columns.

Subject: Re: The Big Uneasy
From: Emma
To: David E..
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 17:59:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
As long as the New York Times articles and editorials as left for us, all will be well.

Subject: The Desire to Draw
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 14:14:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/16/arts/design/16cott.html?ex=1284523200&en=88b956b56a278f8b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 16, 2005 The Desire to Draw, Sometimes a Compulsion By HOLLAND COTTER Every now and then contemporary art delivers a little surprise, which is why I love it. The American Folk Art Museum just opened an 'emerging talent' show, its first, titled 'Obsessive Drawing.' Frankly, the idea sounded like a sop thrown to a Babes-in-Chelsealand art moment. But 'emerging,' as it turns out, is relative. One of the five artists being introduced, Eugene Andolsek, is 83. A former railroad employee, he lives in a senior citizens' home in Crabtree, Pa., and stopped painting two years ago because of failing eyesight. He has never shown before. He doesn't even consider his sumptuously patterned, labor-intensive colored-ink drawings to be art, and seems to disapprove of anyone who does. The thing is, the work is really good, rich and solid, but also trippy and full of little elegancies, which makes it look very now. But why, if Mr. Andolsek wasn't thinking art, or audience, did he do what he did for so long, drawing thousands of pictures over 50 years? Because he wanted to, and because he had to, which in his case are more or less the same thing. The act of drawing and painting, he has said, helped to ease a debilitating anxiety that had dogged him all his life. Once he started a drawing, the anxiety lifted. Relief arrived as a state of entrancement. One minute he'd be sitting at his kitchen table with sheets of graph paper and a pen filled with ink. The next, he'd be aware that hours had passed, and he'd done a drawing. What was the mechanism responsible? He's not sure, but it worked for a creative half century. The other artists in the exhibition, which has been organized by Brooke Anderson, director and curator of the museum's Contemporary Center, are similarly, if differently, driven to art. So 'obsessive,' too, is relative. It can describe pathological behavior - art as a motor constantly running, a habit, a twitch - or therapy for such behavior. It can indicate an aesthetic style, a 'look,' defined by, say, repetition of forms or motifs, or by excruciatingly micromanaged details. By such standards, all sorts of artists, from the Boucicault Master to Picasso, fall into the obsessive camp. But the show is talking, directly or by implication, about something else: in a word, abnormality, art as a symptom of psychological disorder, the Outsider phenomenon. Debates about the ethics and efficacy of Outsider Art as a category, with an aura of exceptionalism and exoticism, are old by now. For many observers the matter boils down to whether the art in question is interesting to look at and think about even without the support of biographical data. For much of the historical work that now constitutes an Outsider canon, the answer is yes, as it is for the work in this spare, tidy show. The installation actually opens with the canon, or selections from it, in a salon-style hanging of work by figures from the past like Madge Gill, Consuelo González Amezcua, A. G. Rizzoli and Adolph Wolfi, with a few Pennsylvania German Fraktur pictures mixed in to distinguish obsessive from merely intricate or busy. The binding element, though, in old work and new, is drawing itself, expressive or notational. In Mr. Andolsek's abstract pictures, done on sheets of graph paper the size of placemats, lines are so meticulously executed that they look machine-tooled. Often thick and black, they define patterns - baroque swags, space-filling grids, jazzy zigzags - and enclose color. The overall impression of locked-in, airtight harmony brings work of the late Al Held to mind, though certain pictures with compositional asymmetries also resemble cut pieces of printed cloth, swatches from a grand continuous fabric. Abstract drawings by Hiroyuki Doi, a Japanese artist born in 1946, are also products of trancelike concentration, but their method is free-form and incremental. Each design is built up from countless small-to-tiny black ink circles drawn in dense, foamlike clusters, with the clusters coalescing into larger forms that suggest mountains, galactic clouds or fleshy mounds. Mr. Doi's drawings evoke a whole lineage of cumulative circle-intensive art, led by Yayoi Kusama and Atsuko Tanaka. And to this he adds a specific personal motivation. According to a wall text, he regards his pictures as exercises in cosmic and personal rejuvenation that he feels compelled to perform. The work of Martin Thompson, a street artist from Wellington, New Zealand, is based on mathematical calculation. He draws intricate, digital-looking patterns on graph paper by filling in individual squares with colored ink. He then hand-copies the design, square by square, onto a second sheet of paper, but in reverse, from positive to negative. This emphasis on the laborious performances of repetitive sequences is reminiscent of certain conceptual art of the 1960's and 70's. But Mr. Thompson's physical immersion in his work, which extends to making surgically precise cut-and-paste corrections, connects the realm of detached ideas to that of extreme handcrafting. Charles Benefiel, who was born in 1967, and lives in New York and New Mexico, is the only artist in the exhibition to have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which he controls in part through his art. His Minimalist-looking drawings are, like Mr. Thompson's, grounded in numerical calculation, but have a critical dimension. To Mr. Benefiel, numbers, by which people are routinely identified and tracked, add up to a dehumanizing force. And both to warm up his world view and symbolically dodge computational surveillance, he has invented a mathematically based private language of dots, circles and dashes that correspond to spoken sounds and musical notes. His art consists of strings of these forms written horizontally across sheets of paper, with results that look like Agnes Martin drawings made of fine beadwork. The British-born artist Chris Hipkiss is the show's only figurative artist and contributes its most spectacular work, a 35-foot-long pencil-drawn narrative titled 'Lonely Europe Arm Yourself.' The panorama seems to depict the aftermath of environmental destruction, which has left behind only fortress walls, factory smokestacks, grotesquely sexualized trees and squadrons of transgendered figures in dominatrix attire. The terrain is like a nuked version of Stanley Spencer's Cookham; the figures like Henry Darger's Vivian girls grown up to be avenging punk-Valkyries. And the work, dated 1994-95, is right in synch with a trend for fantasy narrative in the mainstream art world today. At the same time, though, it stands apart from that trend and that world, though in ways hard to define. Maybe it is just that in addition to formal brilliance and conceptual ambition, there is something unguarded about Mr. Hipkiss's art, and that of his 'emerging' colleagues. Much of their work conveys, through content or form, a sense of exposed privacy. This is art that can neither be expressively tempered, nor politically corrected, nor marketably slotted by that great vetting, veneering machine called the art industry. So it stays volatile, radioactive, problematically hot. Is this why our mainstream institutions are so reluctant to exhibit it? Because they're afraid of it, afraid of its unpredictablity, afraid of how its intense singularity will react with, clash with, even infect other art? I don't have an answer, but it is questions like this that keep my passion - crazy, I know - for contemporary art alight.

Subject: In Place Where Hungry Are Fed, Hunger
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 13:48:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/22/international/africa/22niger.html?ex=1285041600&en=9be0fc0627db213f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 22, 2005 In Place Where the Hungry Are Fed, Farmers May Starve By NATASHA C. BURLEY NIAMEY, Niger - The images coming out of this impoverished, West African nation have been unrelentingly grim: hungry children with stick-thin arms and swollen bellies, mothers carrying babies hundreds of miles to look for food after a poor harvest and high prices put local staples out of reach. A few months ago, those images prompted a torrent of food aid from Western donors. But now, after a season of good rains, Niger's farmers are producing a bumper crop of millet, the national staple. This should be a cause for rejoicing, yet in one of the twists that mark life in the world's poorest countries, the aid that was intended to save lives could ruin the harvest for many of Niger's farmers by driving down prices. The newly harvested millet and the donated food will reach market stalls at the same time, and with prices depressed, poor farming families may be forced to sell crops normally set aside for their own use and use the money to pay off debts. The effect would be a new cycle of hunger and poverty. Dr. Edward Clay of the Overseas Development Institute, an independent research organization in London, said by e-mail that because the donated food was delayed, 'there is a real risk that late arrival will disrupt recovery in Niger and distort agricultural trade within West Africa.' Millet is grown by almost all of the nation's farmers, but the crop has become one of the factors that work against the people of Niger and in favor of malnutrition and hunger. A distant cousin of corn, it is a hardy crop but provides almost no protein or other nutrients essential for the diets of children, and requires hours of daily pounding to be made edible. Amadou Hassane, a millet farmer north of Niamey, has begun harvesting some of the millet in his fields for his family. 'It is wonderful to be able to give millet to my wife to pound,' he said, proudly fiddling with his tall stalks. 'This year promises to be plentiful, and we're grateful.' But he said he would sell much of his harvest to repay debts incurred to buy seedlings after last year's drought devastated his millet plants and left him with nothing to sell. 'I'll keep no more than half of my harvest as stock for myself, and sell the rest to pay back my debts,' he said. 'I badly need cash.' Since he, and most other farmers in the muddy village of Fala, borrowed money, he will have to sell a greater proportion of his harvest if prices are low. To survive the lean season - the period after household stocks are gone and before the new harvest - Mr. Hassane engaged in a sort of futures market, borrowing against his next harvest so he could buy seed. Sani Laoualy, a researcher with the government program that provides information about agricultural markets, said millet began arriving in markets in noticeable quantities in the first two weeks of September, and prices were beginning to fall. 'Over all, prices fell 14 percent between the 7th of September and the 14th of September,' he said, adding that in some areas in the east of the country, millet prices were nearly on par with normal years. But, he warned, 'prices will fall rapidly over the next six weeks.' The World Food Program in Niamey concluded its first round of food distributions on Thursday, according to Marcus Prior, the West Africa spokesman for the food program. Those areas, however, in the humid southeast of Niger, also have the most promising harvests, and hundreds of acres of millet fields are currently being harvested. Tensions are rising among donors as various officials and organizations have called for distributions to cease, for fear of depressing prices for local farmers. Thirty thousand tons of food, to be trucked up from neighboring Benin and from Togo, has yet to reach Niger, but Gian Carlo Cirri, the World Food Program representative in Niger, insisted that all distribution could be done by Oct. 15. 'Harvests do not happen in one day, and we have time,' he said. If the distribution network, likened by Mr. Cirri to a cruise ship on auto-pilot and difficult to stop, is unable to give out all the food by then, plans are being made by the government of Niger and the United Nations to replenish the national cereal stock. Most international aid organizations have been resisting the World Food Program's decision to continue distributions until mid-October because of the impact on local markets, although Doctors Without Borders wants them to continue because so many people have yet to be fed. 'People responsible for the distributions have a responsibility to monitor prices and be prepared to stop giving out food if prices fall too low,' insisted Jeremy Lester, a senior European Union official in Niger. 'This is an emergency response to a chronic problem,' Mr. Lester said, referring to the distribution of food aid. 'And as these responses go, they often create as many problems as they solve: the poorest will have to continue to sell cheap and buy dear.' Faster U.S. Aid Unlikely A Bush administration proposal that sought to deliver a portion of American food aid more quickly and at lower cost to starving people around the world appears headed for defeat in Congress, though there is still a narrow chance a scaled-down version will survive in the Senate. The administration asked for authority to use a quarter of the $1.2 billion food aid budget provided to the Agency for International Development to buy corn, wheat and other commodities in the developing countries facing hunger crises, or in neighboring countries, rather than from American producers. Now, the government must buy the food in American markets and send most of it on American-flagged ships. Officials at the Agency for International Development said that having the flexibility to buy the food for an African crisis in Africa would make it possible to respond in some cases in weeks instead of months, feed more people with the same amount of money and potentially save thousands of lives. Andrew S. Natsios, administrator of the agency, said the government would be able to buy twice as much food for the same money in some situations because of the savings on transportation. 'You can't eat transportation,' he said. But the change was dropped from the Senate's version of the agriculture appropriations bill expected to be voted on this week, though there is a chance part of the proposal will be restored. The provision was not in the House version, passed in June. The measure ran into fierce opposition from an array of agricultural and shipping interests with stakes in the program. And an alliance of nonprofit groups that receive food aid money also opposed using the program's core financing to buy food in developing countries. Rather, they favored a $100 million pilot program that would only go forward if Congress appropriated extra money for food aid, which they say is indefensibly short of money. A range of agricultural and development economists have long said such a policy option is sensible, so long as it is used wisely. But it is not always the best course, especially where there is a widespread shortage of food and purchasing locally would drive up prices, making food even less affordable. But researchers and aid workers say it can be useful when there is a surplus in a different part of an afflicted nation or in a nearby country.

Subject: Little friday humour
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 12:08:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
seeing as its 1704(gmt) on a friday evening, i thought i'd inject a little humour to cheer everyone up for the weekend. for those of you unfortunate to be located 3000-6000 miles west of here, enjoy the next 5-8 hours of your working day! Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: 'Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in an accident' 'OH NO!' the President exclaims. 'That's terrible!' His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the president sits, head in hands Finally, the President looks up and asks.......... 'How many is a Brazillion??!'

Subject: Censored... in the name of the Lord
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 11:39:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What are decent-minded, US Christian conservatives to do if they want to watch a film without upsetting their sensibilities? Now they can watch their favourite movie stripped of any sex and violence, says Andrew Gumbel A few years ago, it dawned on American food manufacturers there was an intriguing hole in the market to fill: vegetarians who wanted to eat hamburgers while remaining vegetarian, or vegans who had a craving for egg salad. Today, the supermarkets are filled with bean curd-based meatless burgers and eggless egg salads, and they are hot sellers. As with food, so it is with films. What are decent-minded middle-American Christian conservatives to do if they abhor sex, bad language, illicit drug use and gut-spilling violence but still have an urge to see Saving Private Ryan? Or Goodfellas? Or The Amityville Horror? The beginnings of an answer came a few years ago with the advent of CleanFlicks, a kitchen-sized Utah company that decided to offer videos and DVD for rental - after they had been edited to remove all content likely to be offensive to the local Mormon population. Today, that kitchen-sized enterprise has turned into a veritable industry, spanning numerous states and attracting the attention of both lawyers and politicians all the way to Washington. CleanFlicks is going from strength to strength, offering its services on a monthly subscription basis much like the wildly successful mainstream company Netflix. And a second, even more sophisticated, company called ClearPlay, also based in Utah, has sprung up. ClearPlay doesn't edit the films as such, but rather offers a series of filters so individual consumers can decide how much sex or violence they want to tolerate. Fancy seeing A Mighty Wind, the gentle Christopher Guest satire spoofing folk music, but without the 'revealing clothing'? No problem. Want to see a gritty urban drama like the recently released Crash, which examines racism in Los Angeles, but without the 'implied premarital sex'? Just press the appropriate button on your DVD menu and you can relax in the knowledge that all suggestions of illicit nookie have been purged ahead of time. The service has not only proved popular in conservative states such as Utah. There is some evidence it appeals to a much broader range of movie consumers, particularly families concerned about the content Hollywood is throwing at their children, even at a tender age. The sanitising companies have even set to work on Shrek and Shrek II, finding the animated smash hits replete with squirm-inducing sexual innuendo and language that may not be cursing as such but is still too salty for their puritan tastes. The film industry, as might be expected, has not reacted well. Starting three years ago, when CleanFlicks started making its first serious commercial inroads, the Directors Guild and the Writers Guild have been railing at what they see as a straightforward infringement of intellectual property. For while their work is modified and edited all the time - for broadcast on television or on commercial plane flights, for example - the difference is that these modifications are done with their permission, through formal licensing agreements. CleanFlicks and ClearPlay don't ask for permission from anyone, arguing instead that their adjustments and amendments fall under the category of 'fair use'. The two sides quickly fell into a predictable legal dispute, which dragged on until earlier this year when the Bush administration itself decided to get involved and passed the Family Movie Act, which sanctioned what the sanitisers were doing and was signed into law explicitly to make the legal challenge from the Hollywood bigwigs - among them Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and a host of other first-rank directors - vanish into the judicial ether. As far as the White House was concerned, the law was an easy way of appealing to the Republican Party's fundamentalist Christian base and bashing one of its favourite targets - Hollywood's free-speech liberals. Quite a few Democrats jumped on board as well, partly because of a perceived need to defer to the conservative 'family values' agenda and partly because the Bill also embraced a handful of anti-piracy provisions that the film industry was keen to see entered into law. From a cultural point of view, though, the debate has left several questions unanswered. One, if people really don't like watching films where characters behave badly, drink alcohol, have sex or slice each other with carving knives, why don't they simply avoid them altogether? Two, aren't they conflating the very different issues of protecting children from Hollywood inanity and mauling the work of genuine film artists who have a specific vision to express, and a specific way to express it? And three, if Christian fundamentalists are really so sensitive about entertainment products featuring distinctly non-Christian behaviour, how come the Bible Belt watches television shows like Desperate Housewives - about a group of bored, drug-addled, adulterous suburban women - more avidly than any other region in the country? The hypocrisies of excessive puritanism have been an irresistible spectator sport for centuries, not just in the United States, and the advent of the DVD profanity police is no exception. Part of the fun of visiting the ClearPlay website, over and above the intriguing categories available for censorship (what, one wonders, qualifies as a 'non-graphic injury/wound'?), is seeing where the content police were forced to give up. The site's listing for Crash, for example, includes this line: 'Filter settings not available: ethnic and social slurs'. In a film preoccupied to the point of obsession with racist attitudes and behaviour, one would think not. But surely someone somewhere will still take offence? The CleanFlicks site is even funnier when it delves into the technical minutiae of censorship. The list of profanities the company says it systematically excises includes 'the B-words, the H-word when not referring to the place, the D-word, the S-word, the F-word etc . . . ' It also includes references to deity (G-word and JC-words etc), only when these words are used in a 'non-religious context'. One could spend an afternoon figuring out what all these forbidden terms are. The criteria for violence are intriguing, not least because the puritan right wing in the US has clearly had much less of a problem over the years with blood and guts than it has, say, with teenage kissing. (Pain being a much less problematic category for them than pleasure.) Sure enough, CleanFlicks tells us it doesn't edit all violence - 'only the graphic depictions of decapitation, impalements, dismemberment, excessive blood, gore etc'. The founder of CleanFlicks, Ray Lines, first had the idea for his business in the late 1990s, when he prepared a sanitised version of Titanic for his Mormon neighbours minus the relatively brief moments of nudity and sex. Soon he was taking it upon himself to decide all kinds of sensitive cultural questions. He once told The New York Times about Schindler's List, the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama: 'Every teenager in America should see it. But I don't think my daughters should see naked old men running around in circles.' ClearPlay, meanwhile, is the brainchild of Lee and Matt Jarman, two brothers from the heavily Mormon town of Orem, who developed the software that enables them to place filters on commercial DVDs. Copyright lawyers and entertainment executives tend to have fewer problems with their operation, because the DVD that arrives in the consumer's hands is intact, and it is up to each individual viewer how to edit the content, much as they might on their own - albeit more crudely - with the fast-forward button on their remote. CleanFlicks, on the other hand, not only modifies the films without permission, but then makes money on the basis of those modifications. Without the Family Movie Act, it seems likely the company would have fallen foul of the law and lost its legal battle with the Directors Guild. Despite the passing of the Act, the judge indicated his displeasure at the video companies' behaviour by ordering them to meet their own costs even as he threw out the case against them. It's 'Kill Bill' without the killing TROY Brad Pitt has been summoned to kill his enemy. He raises his sword, runs towards him, and then . . . er, not much. CleanFlicks cuts away to another shot. 'The point we would make here is that you still see the guy dies, you still see that Brad Pitt killed him, and so you don't really take away from the story of what's going on,' explains company founder Ray Lines. GOSFORD PARK The refined world portrayed in Robert Altman's film is even more buttoned-up after ClearPlay has done its work on Julian Fellowes' screenplay. When one valet, describing his master, says: 'He thinks he's God almighty. They all do,' the first sentence is cut out, leaving: 'They all do.' The result? A rather cryptic comment which makes no sense. BRAVEHEART Foul language is muted rather than skipped in this stirring tale of Scottish nationalism, while close-ups of bodily contact and battle wounds are kept in. But the famous mooning scene, involving Mel Gibson's bottom and the English army, is skipped altogether and most of the battle is cut. William Wallace would be turning in his grave! SAVING PRIVATE RYAN The notorious 24-minute opening scene involving D-Day death and gore on the Normandy beaches is made far more palatable, as is the generally brutal depiction of battle throughout. Despite director Steven Spielberg's insistence that these images are critical in showing the sacrifice of troops and the true nature of warfare, CleanFlicks finds them too much to take. THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS For an action flick, the edited version of The Matrix Revolutions doesn't contain much action. Viewers expecting foul-mouthed threats and a cut-throat fight between good and evil are more likely to be entertained by such dastardly warnings as: 'The only way you're getting through this door is over my big dead (muted word)!' THE GODFATHER In the sanitised version of The Godfather, Sonny Corleone (played by James Caan) does not die in a hail of bullets pounding relentlessly into his car. He just . . . well, he's sort of there one minute and gone the next. And the notoriously gory horse's head bit? Eighteen seconds is cut from one of the most famous scenes in recent cinema history.

Subject: Rita is climate change's smoking gun
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 11:29:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
SUPER-POWERFUL hurricanes now hitting the United States are the 'smoking gun' of global warming, one of world's leading scientists believes. The growing violence of storms such as Katrina, which wrecked New Orleans, and Rita, now threatening Texas, is very probably caused by climate change, said Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea, he said. 'The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming.' In a series of outspoken comments - a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration, Sir John hit out at neoconservatives in the US who still deny the reality of climate change. Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita he said: 'If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation.' As he spoke, more than a million people were fleeing north away from the coast of Texas as Rita, one of the most intense storms on record, roared through the Gulf of Mexico. It will probably make landfall tonight or early tomorrow near Houston, America's fourth largest city and the centre of its oil industry. Highways leading inland from Houston were clogged with traffic for up to 100 miles north. There are real fears that Houston could suffer as badly from Rita just as New Orleans suffered from Hurricane Katrina less than a month ago. Asked what conclusion the Bush administration should draw from two hurricanes of such high intensity hitting the US in quick succession, Sir John said: 'If what looks like is going to be a horrible mess causes the extreme sceptics about climate change in the US to reconsider their opinion, that would be an extremely valuable outcome.' Asked about characterising them as 'loonies,' he said: 'There are a group of people in various parts of the world . . . who simply don't want to accept human activities can change climate and are changing the climate.' 'I'd liken them to the people who denied that smoking causes lung cancer.' With his comments, Sir John becomes the third of the leaders of Britain's scientific establishment to attack the US over the Bush government's determination to cast doubt on global warming as a real phenomenon. There is a growing international campaign for the Bush administration to recognise the worsening climate change problems now being visited upon the earth. Sir John's comments follow and support recent research, much of it from America itself, showing that hurricanes are getting more violent and suggesting climate change is the cause. A paper by US researchers, last week in the US journal Science, showed that storms of the intensity of Hurricane Katrina have become almost twice as common in the past 35 years. Although the overall frequency of tropical storms worldwide has remained broadly level since 1970, the number of extreme category 4 and 5 events has sharply risen. In the 1970s, there was an average of about 10 category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year but, since 1990, they have nearly doubled to an average of about 18 a year. During the same period, sea surface temperatures, among the key drivers of hurricane intensity, have increased by an average of 0.5C (0.9F). Sir John said: 'Increasingly it looks like a smoking gun. It's a fair conclusion to draw that global warming, caused to a substantial extent by people, is driving increased sea surface temperatures and increasing the violence of hurricanes.' Earlier this year another scientist Sir David King cited the evidence of hurricane Catarina, the first and only hurricane recorded in the South Atlantic, which struck southern Brazil in March 2004, where the textbooks say they should not form as further evidence of climate change. Clearly the Bush administration believes politically these storms can wreak havoc on his second term in office. As a result they have opened the flood gates on Federal funding to head off criticism. When President Bush promised last week that the US would spend hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild the Gulf Coast it was the latest step in the remarkable conversion of the Republican Party from the party of fiscal prudence into the progenitors of the next New Deal and Great Society combined. The rhetoric, it is true, has been all about the virtues of small government. But since 2000 the Republican controlled Congress and White House have been on a spending binge that would make any self-respecting banana republic blush. Stripping out the public spending that is mandated, such as on pensions, in the last four years, federal spending has increased by more than it did in the previous 17 years.

Subject: What is oligarchy?
From: HJ
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 23, 2005 at 08:17:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
$200K check most certainly looks like a terrific opportunity for somebody who already has a healthy family, a house and a job. But what about stressed, sick, homeless and jobless refugees? What will happen if they will get such checks as a disaster relief? In fact, this is exactly what neoliberal enthusiast Lansdsburg suggests as an idea of 'small government' hurricane aid effort. The answer is, this approach will turn the refugees into an oligrachy. A tiny majority of well-connected thugs will find ways to pocket almost all the funds and 'globalize' them, export into foreign banks and investments. This will be a perfectly smart way to protect themselves against inflation, law enforcement and curiosity of those who are less lucky. As for the rest, they will remain where they are or worse. Sounds familiar? Yes, this is how poverty is reproduced in the 3rd world 'banana republics'. This is also how Katrina victims are likely to be robbed - although concrete implementation of the scam will be much more sophisticated. 1. Steven E.Landsburg. Hurricane Relief? Or a 200K Check? I'd take the check, and so would most of Katrina's victims: http://slate.msn.com/id/2126715/fr/rss http://inplainview.monitor.us.tt

Subject: Schröder and Germany
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:45:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://select.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/international/europe/21globalist.html September 21, 2005 Schröder and Germany - Can both prevail? By ROGER COHEN International Herald Tribune BERLIN In politics as in life, it is important to distinguish between a brilliant performance and a victory. But whether Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, is capable of that remains unclear. I'm inclined to indulge Schröder in his giddy swagger after an extraordinary come-from-behind rally in the German election that left his Social Democratic Party, or SPD, less than a percentage point behind Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, or CDU. After suffering the naysayers for months, he felt inclined to gloat. Fair enough. Still, Schröder's televised mocking of Merkel, who did after all stake a claim to succeed him by getting more votes, was something to behold. In a voice laced with contempt, the chancellor tormented his cornered-in-victory rival: 'Do you really, honestly, believe that in the current circumstances my party would accept an offer from Ms. Merkel to hold talks in which she says she wants to become chancellor?' he said, relishing each word as if it were a succulent truffle. 'Come on, we must not take leave of our senses.' If that was remarkable from a man whose party had just seen its vote share plunge to 34.3 percent from 38.5 percent in 2002, so was Merkel's reaction. Or rather, her nonreaction: All Merkel could offer to Germany and the world was the stunned, coy, awkward visage of an amateur politician taken aback by a pro's onslaught. So there you have it - the braggadocio of a chancellor who lost his gamble that an early election would consolidate his power and the bewilderment of an opponent undermined so completely in a Pyrrhic victory that she resembles an emptied vessel. The hanging chads of Palm Beach County are beginning to look quaint compared with Germany's electoral agony. But hold on a second. This is Germany, not Florida. This is the land where bad history dictates that stability, and particularly institutional stability, is prized above all. Is Schröder not playing with fire by insisting he has a mandate to remain chancellor even if his party has fewer seats than Merkel's in the Bundestag? I doubt that the chancellor is putting the Federal Republic at risk. We are a long way from Weimar. The Constitution demands that Schröder stay on until another chancellor is elected, and Merkel does not yet have the parliamentary votes to stake a claim. There's nothing illegal about Schröder's maneuver. What he is doing is playing hardball - and damn the consequences for a stagnant Germany and a Europe in a search of direction. The decent gesture is not part of Schröder's lexicon right now. If precedent suggests that the head of the largest party should form the government, damn precedent! He wants his resurgence to be recognized. With what? The head of Merkel, it seems. Joschka Fischer, the Green foreign minister, said Monday that Merkel 'will not become chancellor.' Fischer knows Schröder's thinking. The current Red-Green government seems to be saying the price of a grand SPD-CDU coalition is Merkel's departure. Fischer and Schröder have been around long enough to know that the young wolves of Merkel's party, not least the rising state premiers Christian Wulff and Roland Koch, would shed no tears if she exited as suddenly as she emerged from East Germany's ruins. But that is not about to happen. For the moment the CDU is rallying around its leader, who has said, quite accurately, that 'We have emerged as the strongest party' and, less accurately, that she has 'a clear mandate to govern.' Merkel, in fact, has no clear mandate, and certainly not for the center-right government of free-market, bureaucracy-slashing reformers she sought. The departure back to university life of Paul Kirchhof, the flat-tax proponent whom she had picked to be her finance minister, symbolized the death of this idea. He went with a whimper. Indeed, the truth is that Germany is leaning left. The SPD, the new Left Party and the Greens have over 50 percent of the vote between them. It is only because the ex-Communists and assorted gauchistes of the Left Party are considered unacceptable by the SPD that Germany is not about to go for a latter-day Popular Front. In short, heady days have descended on Berlin, the headiest since the government moved back here from Bonn six years ago. There is no fever on the capital's leafy streets, but there is anxiety. That anxiety is justified. The institutions of the republic are hardly functioning, and unclear majorities and inertia are the result. Before the election, the paralysis lay in the impasse produced by a lower house, the Bundestag, and an upper house, the Bundesrat, dominated by different parties. Now it lies in an electoral result so little conducive to governance that new elections may prove necessary. 'There is a whiff of the Fourth Republic about Germany today,' said Karl Kaiser, a political scientist. He was referring to the French republic that collapsed in 1958 when its ineffective governments were replaced by the strong presidency conceived by Charles de Gaulle for the Fifth Republic. Institutional reform may well prove necessary in Germany, too, but first the country needs a government. By Oct. 18, Parliament must assemble to pick a chancellor. Merkel is still the marginal favorite - she may be able to cajole Fischer's Greens into joining the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats after all - but Germany's political waters have not been so muddy since the Republic's foundation in 1949. Schröder needs to think hard about that. The country he leads is not Luxembourg, Belgium or even Spain. It's Germany, the continent's mother lode, the nation that still stirs some unease in the collective European subconscious. Prudence and statesmanship are therefore at a premium, the kind that recognize that even a brilliant comeback is still a defeat if more votes and more parliamentary seats go to your opponent. The Berlin Republic, of which Schröder is the first and so far the only chancellor, is not ready for some Germanic rerun of Florida 2000.

Subject: Faulty Levees
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:31:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/22/opinion/22thur2.html?ex=1285041600&en=68ec75ddeb726e32&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 22, 2005 Faulty Levees The official explanation for the collapse of some of the flood walls protecting New Orleans has been that Hurricane Katrina simply overwhelmed the system. But reports yesterday in both The Washington Post and The New York Times suggested that Katrina might not have been as powerful as advertised and that the real culprit was the system itself - flood walls so poorly constructed that they were easily breached. This points a finger at either the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversaw the design and construction of the flood walls, or Congress, which appears to have underfinanced the projects, or both. Corps officials have said all along that the system was not designed to protect the city from hurricanes larger than Category 3, and corps spokesmen continue to insist that Katrina was a Category 4 hurricane when it hit the Gulf Coast. But federal meteorologists now say that New Orleans did not get the full brunt of the storm, whose strongest winds passed dozens of miles east of the city. What's more, sustained winds over Lake Ponchartrain reached only 95 miles per hour, even less than the winds of 111 to 130 miles per hour in a Category 3 storm. Other research, meanwhile, has turned up serious weaknesses in the thinner and less stable flood walls built along the city's canal system beginning in the 1960's. The failure of these walls - particularly along 17th Street and London Avenue - led to much of the devastation. Here again the research seems to contradict the official version, which is that extraordinary surges reached the top of or even 'overtopped' the flood walls, causing some sections to collapse. Yet Louisiana State University researchers doubt the water ever got that high. Even if it had, they argue, it would have been contained by properly constructed flood walls - essentially concrete slabs that resemble the sound barriers found beside highways. A detailed analysis of the storm and of the city's defenses will take months. It is not clear, for instance, whether the flood walls' weaknesses were the result of faulty engineering and shoddy workmanship on the corps' part or whether they resulted from Congress's unwillingness over the years to provide enough money and leadership to do the job properly. What is clear is that whatever investigation Congress undertakes, either on its own or with outside counsel, it must meet high standards of diligence and spare no one, including those in Congress.

Subject: Re: Faulty Levees
From: Aeneas
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 24, 2005 at 15:55:14 (EDT)
Email Address: aeneas_50@yahoo.com

Message:
It isinteresting to write about engineering handbooks and standards. They are meaningless unless you review the actual design of the levies. The designer needed to know what category storm to build toward then the designer would have used the handbook and some sense to design the levies. If the design were 'good' which is a big 'if' and a degree of freedom which creates risk the levie would break then the design has to be build with sufficient materials and workmanship to achieve the design. Another degree of risk introduced and looking at the pork nature of the Corps of Engineers looms pretty large. Then the levies have to be 'maintained'. Another root cause of failure. But, if all the causes of engineering implementation were covered for a cat 3; a cat 4 would very likely over come the levies. The big issue is why were there no plans to react forcefully and quickly with materials on hand for a levie breech? If you design something with faiulure risk there must be a plan and assets to overcome the failure with minimum damage to the poor black neighborhood the levies were protecting. Massive failure of the Corps!

Subject: The World is Round
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:27:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18154 August 11, 2005 The World is Round By John Gray - New York Review of Books The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century By Thomas L. Friedman 1. The belief that a process of globalization is underway which is bringing about a fundamental change in human affairs is not new. Marx and Engels expressed it in 1848, when they wrote in a justly celebrated passage in The Communist Manifesto: All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with his sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind. The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country.... It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image. Marx and Engels had no doubt that they were witnessing the emergence of a global market—a worldwide system of production and consumption that disregarded national and cultural boundaries. They welcomed this development, not only for the increasing wealth it produced but also because they believed it enabled humanity to overcome the divisions of the past. In the global marketplace nationalism and religion were destined to be dwindling forces. There would be many convulsions—wars, revolutions, and counterrevolutions—before the Communist order was securely established; but when global capitalism had completed its work a new era in the life of humankind would begin. The centrally planned economies that were constructed to embody Marx's vision of communism have nearly all been swept away, and the mass political movements that Marxism once inspired are no more. Yet Marx's view of globalization lives on, and nowhere more vigorously than in the writings of Thomas Friedman. Like Marx, Friedman believes that globalization is in the end compatible with only one economic system; and like Marx he believes that this sys-tem enables humanity to leave war, tyranny, and poverty behind. To his credit Friedman recognizes the parallels between his view and that of Marx. He cites an illuminating conversation at Harvard in which the communitarian political theorist Michael Sandel alerted him to the fact that the process of global 'flattening' he examines in his new book was first identified by Marx, quoting at length from The Communist Manifesto—including the passage cited above—and praising Marx for his prescience. This acknowledgment of the parallels between his view of globalization and Marx's theory of history is welcome and useful. Friedman has emerged as the most powerful contemporary publicist of neoliberal ideas. Neoliberals have a wide variety of views on political and social matters, ranging from the highly conservative standpoint of Friedrich Hayek to the more rigorously libertarian position of Milton Friedman; but they are at one in seeing the free market as the fountainhead of human freedom. Though in some of his writings he shows a concern for the casualties of deregulated markets, Thomas Friedman is a passionate missionary for this neoliberal faith. In his view the free market brings with it most of the ingredients that make for a free and humanly fulfilling society, and he has propagated this creed indefatigably in his books and in columns in The New York Times. Friedman's views have been highly influential, shaping the thinking of presidents and informing American policy on a number of issues, and it may be instructive to note the matters in which he shares Marx's blind spots. Because they were on opposite sides of the cold war it is often assumed that neoliberalism and Marxism are fundamentally antagonistic systems of ideas. In fact they belong to the same style of thinking, and share many of the same disabling limitations. For Marxists and neoliberals alike it is technological advance that fuels economic development, and economic forces that shape society. Politics and culture are secondary phenomena, sometimes capable of retarding human progress; but in the last analysis they cannot prevail against advancing technology and growing productivity. Friedman is unequivocal in endorsing this reductive philosophy. He writes that he is often asked if he is a technological determinist, and with the innocent enthusiasm that is a redeeming feature of his prose style he declares resoundingly: 'This is a legitimate question, so let me try to answer it directly: I am a technological determinist! Guilty as charged.' (The italics are Friedman's.) Technological determinism may contain a kernel of truth but it suggests a misleadingly simple view of history. This is well illustrated in Friedman's account of the demise of the Soviet Union. Acknowledging that there 'was no single cause,' he goes on: To some degree the termites just ate away at the foundations of the Soviet Union, which were already weakened by the system's own internal contradictions and inefficiencies; to some degree the Reagan administration's military buildup in Europe forced the Kremlin to bankrupt itself paying for warheads; and to some degree Mikhail Gorbachev's hapless efforts to reform something that was unreformable brought communism to an end. But if I had to point to one factor as first among equals, it was the information revolution that began in the early- to mid-1980s. Totalitarian systems depend on a monopoly of information and force, and too much information started to slip through the Iron Curtain, thanks to the spread of fax machines, telephones, and other modern tools of communication. What is striking in this otherwise unexceptionable list is what it leaves out. There is no mention of the role of Solidarity and the Catholic Church in making Poland the first post-Communist country, or of the powerful independence movements that developed in the Baltic nations during the Eighties. Most strikingly, there is no mention of the war in Afghanistan. By any account strategic defeat at the hands of Western-armed Islamist forces in that country (including some that formed the organization which was later to become al-Qaeda) was a defining moment in the decline of Soviet power. If Friedman ignores these events, it may be because they attest to the persistent power of religion and nationalism— forces that in his simple, deterministic worldview should be withering away. It is an irony of history that a view of the world falsified by the Communist collapse should have been adopted, in some of its most misleading aspects, by the victors in the cold war. Neoliberals, such as Friedman, have reproduced the weakest features of Marx's thought—its consistent underestimation of nationalist and religious movements and its unidirectional view of history. They have failed to absorb Marx's insights into the anarchic and self-destructive qualities of capitalism. Marx viewed the unfettered market as a revolutionary force, and understood that its expansion throughout the world was bound to be disruptive and violent. As capitalism spreads, it turns society upside down, destroying entire industries, ways of life, and regimes. This can hardly be expected to be a peaceful process, and in fact it has been accompanied by major conflicts and social upheavals. The expansion of European capitalism in the nineteenth century involved the Opium Wars, genocide in the Belgian Congo, the Great Game in Central Asia, and many other forms of imperial conquest and rivalry. The seeming triumph of global capitalism at the end of the twentieth century followed two world wars, the cold war, and savage neocolonial conflicts. Over the past two hundred years, the spread of capitalism and industrialization has gone hand in hand with war and revolution. It is a fact that would not have surprised Marx. Why do Friedman and other neoliberals believe things will be any different in the twenty-first century? Part of the answer lies in an ambiguity in the idea of globalization. In current discussion two different notions are commonly conflated: the belief that we are living in a period of rapid and continuous technological innovation, which has the effect of linking up events and activities throughout the world more widely and quickly than before; and the belief that this process is leading to a single worldwide economic system. The first is an empirical proposition and plainly true, the second a groundless ideological assertion. Like Marx, Friedman elides the two. 2. In The World Is Flat, Friedman tells us that globalization has three phases: the first from 1492 to around 1800, in which countries and governments opened up trade with the New World and which was driven by military expansion and the amount of horse-power and wind power countries could employ; the second from 1800 to 2000, in which global integration was driven by multinational companies, steam engines, and railways; and the third, in which individuals are the driving force and the defining technology is a worldwide fiber-optic network. In each of these phases, he tells us, technology is the driving force: globalization is a byproduct of technologi-cal development. Here Friedman deviates from the standard view among contemporary economists, who see globalization largely as the result of policies of deregulation. Here he is closer to Marx—and to the realities of history. In any longer perspective what we are witnessing today is only the most recent phase of worldwide industrialization. In the nineteenth century the world was shrunk by the advent of the telegraph; today it is shrinking again as a consequence of the Internet. Contrary to Friedman, however, the increasing facility of communication does not signify a quantum shift in human affairs. The uses of petroleum and electricity changed human life more deeply than any of the new information technologies have done. Even so, they did not end war and tyranny and usher in a new era of peace and plenty. Like other technological innovations, they were used for a variety of purposes, and became part of the normal conflicts of history. It is necessary to distinguish between globalization—the ongoing process of worldwide industrialization—and the various economic systems in which this process has occurred. Globalization did not stop when Lenin came to power in Russia. It went on—actively accelerated by Stalin's policies of agricultural collectivization. Nor was globalization in any way slowed by the dirigiste regimes that developed in Asia —first in Japan in the Meiji era and later in the militarist period, then after World War II in Korea and Taiwan. All these regimes were vehicles through which globalization continued its advance. Worldwide industrialization continued when the liberal international economic order fell apart after World War I, and it will carry on if the global economic regime that was established after the fall of communism falls apart in its turn. There is no systematic connection between globalization and the free market. It is no more essentially friendly to liberal capitalism than to central planning or East Asian dirigisme. Driven by technological changes that occur in many regimes, the process of globalization is more powerful than any of them. This is a truth that Friedman—as an avowed technological determinist—should accept readily enough. If he does not, it is because it shows how baseless are the utopian hopes he attaches to a process that abounds in conflicts and contradictions. Globalization makes the world smaller. It may also make it—or sections of it—richer. It does not make it more peaceful, or more liberal. Least of all does it make it flat. Friedman's by now famous discovery of the world's flatness came to him when he was talking to Nandan Nilekani, CEO of one of India's leading new high-technology companies, Infosys Technologies, at its campus in Bangalore. The Indian entrepreneur remarked to Friedman: 'Tom, the playing field is being leveled.' The observation is commonplace, but it hit Friedman with the force of a revelation. 'What Nandan is saying, I thought, is that the playing field is being flattened.... Flattened? Flattened? My God, he's telling me the world is flat!' Five hundred years ago, Columbus 'returned safely to prove definitively that the world was round.' As a matter of fact it was not Columbus who provided the proof but the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, whose ship circled the globe in a three-year voyage from 1519 to 1522. Regardless, Friedman sees himself as a latter-day Columbus who has discovered that the world is no longer round: 'I scribbled four words down in my notebook: 'The world is flat.'' The metaphor of a flat world is worked relentlessly throughout this overlong book, but it is not its incessant repetition that is most troublesome. It is Friedman's failure to recognize that in many ways, some of them not difficult to observe, the world is becoming distinctly less flat. While he acknowledges the existence of an 'unflat' world composed of people without access to the benefits of new technology, he never connects the growth of this netherworld of the relatively poor with the advance of globalization. At times his failure to connect is almost comic. Recalling his visit to the Infosys headquarters in Bangalore, Friedman writes: The Infosys campus is reached by a pockmarked road, with sacred cows, horse-drawn carts, and motorized rickshaws all jostling alongside our vans. Once you enter the gates of Infosys, though, you are in a different world. A massive resort-size swimming pool nests amid boulders and manicured lawns, adjacent to a huge putting green. There are multiple restaurants and a fabulous health club. Friedman notes in passing that the Infosys campus has its own power supply. He does not ask why this is necessary, or comment on the widening difference in standards of life in the region that it represents. Yet it is only by decoupling itself from its local environment that Infosys is able to compete effectively in global markets. Infosys demonstrates that globalization does have the effect of leveling some inequalities in world markets, but the success of the company has been achieved by using services and infrastructure that the society around it lacks. As it levels some inequalities, globalization raises others. Friedman tells us that he is in favor of what he calls 'compassionate flatism,' which seems to mean a range of centrist or social-democratic policies designed to enhance job mobility while preserving economic security, such as portable personal pensions. In an American setting these may be useful proposals, and it is strange that in the countries that have been most exposed to the disruptive effects of globalization Friedman appears to favor neoliberal policies of the most conventional kind. He describes the fall of the Berlin Wall as a 'world-flattening event,' and cites Russia as one of the countries that has most benefited from the new flat world. There can be no doubt that the Soviet collapse represented an advance for human freedom. Yet since then Russia has suffered rising levels of absolute poverty and large increases in inequality of wealth, and it seems clear that the economic 'shock therapy' administered on Western advice just after the Communist collapse contributed to these developments. Price decontrol wiped out small family savings, and by limiting the benefits of privatizing government industries to a small number of insiders produced a marked concentration of wealth. As a result, large parts of the Russian population have been excluded from the benefits of the global market. Other policies could likely have avoided or mitigated this outcome. In view of the Soviet inheritance, the process of transition was bound to be prolonged and difficult. Attempting it in the space of a few years was folly, and shock therapy resulted in the impoverishment of many millions of people. It also fueled a backlash against the West. Socioeconomic change on the scale that occurred in post-Communist Russia tends to produce a political aftershock, and the emergence of Vladimir Putin can be seen as an unintended consequence of Western-sponsored free market policies. In some contexts free market policies continue, but Putin has reasserted political control of the economy as a whole, reined in the political activities of the oligarchs, and demonstrated a degree of independence from Western influences. As a result his quasi-authoritarian regime seems to possess a popular legitimacy that Yeltsin's lacked, and there is no discernible prospect of Western-style 'democratic capitalism.' Globalization has no inherent tendency to promote the free market or liberal democracy. Neither does it augur an end to nationalism or great-power rivalries. Describing a long conversation with the CEO of a small Indian game company in Bangalore, Friedman recounts the entrepreneur concluding: 'India is going to be a superpower and we are going to rule.' Friedman replies: 'Rule whom?' Friedman's response suggests that the present phase of globalization is tending to make imbalances of power between states irrelevant. In fact what it is doing is creating new great powers, and this is one of the reasons it has been embraced in China and India. Neoliberals interpret globalization as being driven by a search for greater productivity, and view nationalism as a kind of cultural backwardness that acts mainly to slow this process. Yet the economic takeoff in both England and the US occurred against the background of a strong sense of nationality, and nationalist resistance to Western power was a powerful stimulus of economic development in Meiji Japan. Nationalism fueled the rapid growth of capitalism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and is doing the same in China and India at the present time. In both countries globalization is being embraced not only because of the prosperity it makes possible, but also for the opportunity it creates to challenge Western hegemony. As China and India become great powers they will demand recognition of their distinctive cultures and values, and international institutions will have to be reshaped to reflect the legitimacy of a variety of economic and political models. At that point the universal claims of the United States and other Western nations will be fundamentally challenged, and the global balance of power will shift. 3. In The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999), Friedman focused on the tension between the 'Lexus' forces of global economic integration and the 'Olive Tree' forces of cultural identity, and in The World Is Flat he tells us that after September 11 he spent much of his time traveling in the Arab and Muslim worlds and lost track of globalization. Actually it was not globalization he lost sight of but rather the forces of identity that shape it. Friedman writes that the nation-state is 'the biggest source of friction' in global markets. In fact nationalist resistance to globalization is more prominent in advanced countries such as France, Holland, and the US than in emerging economies. Friedman himself expresses concern about the impact of outsourcing on American employment, and there has been a steady drift toward greater protectionism in the Bush administration's trade policies. American nationalism may already be acting as a brake on globalization. In the fast-industrializing countries of Asia, nationalism is one of globalization's driving forces. Rising nationalism is part of the process of globalization, and so too are intensifying geopolitical rivalries. Just as it did when the Great Game was played out in the decades leading up to the First World War, ongoing industrialization is setting off a scramble for natural resources. The US, Russia, China, India, Japan, and the countries of the European Union are all of them involved in attempts to secure energy supplies, and their field of competition ranges from Central Asia through the Persian Gulf to Africa and parts of Latin America. The coming century could be marked by recurrent resource wars, as the great powers struggle for control of the planet's hydrocarbons. Moreover, worldwide industrialization appears to be coming up against serious environmental limits. An increasing number of expert observers believe global oil reserves may be peaking, and there is a consensus among climate scientists that the worldwide shift to an energy-intensive industrial lifestyle is contributing to global warming. If these fears are well founded the next phase of globalization could encompass upheavals as large as any in the twentieth century. It would be wrong to suggest that Friedman is oblivious of these risks. In an interesting aside, he writes: Islamo-Leninism, in many ways, emerged from the same historical context as the European radical ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Fascism and Marxism-Leninism grew out of the rapid industrialization and modernization of Germany and Central Europe, where communities living in tightly bonded villages and extended families suddenly got shattered. Again, Friedman recognizes that many of the innovations of the current phase of globalization are reproduced in al-Qaeda. In the past two decades some of the most advanced global corporations have ceased to be top-heavy bureaucracies, and become streamlined networks of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Al-Qaeda has emulated this change, operating as a network of autonomous cells rather than the highly centralized organizations of revolutionary parties in the past. Perhaps most interestingly, Friedman acknowledges that America's dependency on imported oil exposes it to attack, and urges American energy independence: If President Bush made energy independence his moon shot, in one fell swoop he would dry up revenue for terrorism, force Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia on the path of reform—which they will never do with $50-a-barrel oil—strengthen the dollar, and improve his own standing in Europe by doing something huge to reduce global warming. Friedman's advocacy of American energy independence illustrates the error of a unidirectional view of history. Energy autarchy may be a sensible policy, but it signifies a retreat from globalization. The Lexus and the Olive Tree trumpeted the arrival of a harmoniously integrated world. Since then the US has suffered terrorist attack and become mired in an intractable insurgency in Iraq. Against this background the prospect of severing one of the crucial supply chains that link the US with the world is beginning to look extremely tempting. As he has done in previous books Friedman has expressed a powerful larger mood, and in this respect The World Is Flat may prove a prescient guide to future American policy. Yet while greater energy independence may be an American national interest the notion that it would force recalcitrant countries onto a path of neoliberal reform is wishful thinking. A large drop in the oil price would surely destabilize the rentier economies of the Gulf and Central Asia, from Saudi Arabia to Turkmenistan, and in some countries could lead to the establishment of democratic rule. However, in a number of cases the chief beneficiary would likely be fundamentalism. Does Friedman really believe that democracy in Saudi Arabia would produce a liberal, pro-Western regime? In this and other countries, American energy independence could well further the advance of radical Islam. As it has done in the past, globalization is throwing up dilemmas that have no satisfactory solution. That does not mean they cannot be more or less intelligently managed, but what is needed is the opposite of the utopian imagination. In a curious twist, the utopian mind has migrated from left to right, and from the academy to the airport bookshop. In the nineteenth century it was political activists and radical social theorists such as Marx who held out the promise that new technology was creating a new world. Today some business gurus have a similar message. There are many books announcing a global economic transformation and suggesting that governments can be reengineered to adapt to it in much the same way as corporations. The World Is Flat is an outstanding example of this genre. Unfortunately the problems of globalization are more intractable than those of corporate life. States cannot be phased out like bankrupt firms, and large shifts in wealth and power tend to be fiercely contested. Globalization is a revolutionary change, but it is also a continuation of the conflicts of the past. In some important respects it is leveling the playing field, as Friedman's Indian interlocutor noted, and to that extent it is a force for human advance. At the same time it is inflaming nationalist and religious passions and triggering a struggle for natural resources. In Friedman's sub-Marxian, neoliberal worldview these conflicts are recognized only as forms of friction —grit in the workings of an unstoppable machine. In truth they are integral to the process itself, whose future course cannot be known. We would be better off accepting this fact, and doing what we can to cope with it.

Subject: Zadie Smith's Culture Warriors
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:06:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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

Subject: Mississippi River and Risks of Harvest
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 11:43:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/opinion/21wed4.html?ex=1284955200&en=003352221d242dfb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 21, 2005 Katrina, the Mississippi River and the Risks of the Coming Harvest By VERLYN KLINKENBORG In 1953, a young documentary filmmaker named Charles Dee Sharp traveled down the Mississippi River, shooting still photographs for a film he never made. One of Sharp's pictures - recently published by the Center for American Places in a book called 'The Mississippi River in 1953' - is a color shot of rows of new red cornpickers awaiting shipment in Moline, Ill. Behind them the surface of the river looks like a sheet of mercury. Those cornpickers, long since antiquated, could harvest only two rows of corn - in the cob - at a time. They were scaled to much smaller farms and lower yields than you find in the Midwest these days, where fields are now harvested by enormous combines that shell the corn as they pick it. Those old pickers - so bright and new in 1953 - are a visual reminder of the vital, complex connection between America's agricultural heartland and the Mississippi River. In a good year, like 2004, the Mississippi smoothly ferries some 60 percent of the corn and soybeans bound for export downriver to the Port of New Orleans. And in a year like 2005 - well, there has never been a year like 2005. There has been serious drought along the river's tributaries, the Missouri and the Ohio, and that has resulted in low water along the main stem of the river as well. Industrial traffic has been slowed considerably, and portions of the Ohio have been temporarily closed. And then came Katrina, which essentially disabled the Lower Mississippi for shipping, halting the southward movement of grain for export and other farm products and the northward movement of farm inputs like fertilizer and fuel. Last week, the Coast Guard began lifting some restrictions on navigation on the Mississippi well above New Orleans. But navigation aids have been torn out of the river further south, and power has not yet been fully restored to the grain-handling facilities along the river. What this means for farmers is yet another year of crisis, and possibly one of the worst in a long time. In an ordinary year, a drop in corn production - like the 12 percent slump forecast for Illinois this year - would mean better prices in commodity markets, but a real loss on the farm. But farmers in the Midwest, where the harvest is just beginning, are going to be looking at an unexpected glut of grain with nowhere to go. Each week some 35 million bushels of export corn moves through New Orleans. That has come to a complete stop. Americans tend to think of farmers as producers, but they are also enormous consumers of fuel and petroleum-based chemicals. They will be paying much higher prices for those products, like the rest of us, for some time to come. This fall is going to see a big drop in farm revenue and a big increase in farm expenses, at a time when the federal government is trying hard to curb farmers' appetite for subsidies. Once again, any movement toward limiting federal price supports will be overwhelmed by emergency funds needed to cover losses. Katrina has reminded all of us, all too vividly, that the Mississippi is a complex chain of dams, locks, cutoffs, ports, channels, levees and navigational markers, rather than a natural river. And when the river system comes to a halt, compromising the well-being of every farm or business that lies economically upstream of the actual water itself, the only real concern must be to get the system going again. Yet the system is so complex that it is easy to lose sight of the hidden hydraulic system of the river itself. We tend to think of the Mississippi as breadth and depth and flow, the qualities that float those long chains of grain barges downriver. Sometimes - only rarely - the surface traffic stops. But the river never does, and it carries with it, especially in spring, the outwash of all those fields along all those tributaries. The traffic in grain is carefully regulated and monitored. The traffic in topsoil and all the chemicals that have been applied to it on Midwestern farms is not. The result is an oxygen-deficient dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. This year that zone, which can grow to the size of New Jersey, began to appear in March instead of June. There has been some speculation that Katrina's turbulence may have stirred the gulf enough to help break up the dead zone. But in the long run it will make no difference. Beneath the surface economy of the Mississippi River, there is an agricultural economy that is steadily eating away at those same farm fields and steadily killing the gulf.

Subject: this retro site needs an RSS feed
From: anon
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 08:00:33 (EDT)
Email Address: none@yahoo.com

Message:
this retro site needs an RSS feed!!!!!!!!!!

Subject: Design Shortcomings Seen in New Orleans
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 07:10:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/national/nationalspecial/21walls.html?ex=1284955200&en=d49930639f5dde06&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 21, 2005 Design Shortcomings Seen in New Orleans Flood Walls By CHRISTOPHER DREW and ANDREW C. REVKIN NEW ORLEANS - Along the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, great earthen levees were ample to hold off much of the surging water propelled by Hurricane Katrina. But concrete flood walls installed over the last several decades along the drainage and barge canals cutting into New Orleans were built in a way that by Army Corps of Engineers standards left them potentially unstable in a flood, according to government documents and interviews. The walls collapsed in several places during the storm. A corps engineering manual cautions that such flood walls 'rarely exceed' seven feet because they can lose stability as waters rise. But some of the New Orleans canal walls rose as high as 11 feet above dirt berms in which they were anchored. As a result of federal budget constraints, the walls were never tested for their ability to withstand the cascades of lake water that rushed up to, or over, their tops as storm waves pulsed through the canals on Aug. 29, corps and local officials say. Hurricane Katrina was the first serious test of the flood walls, said Stevan Spencer, chief engineer for the Orleans Levee District, and it 'just overwhelmed the system.' Since the storm, corps officials have said that there is a simple explanation for the devastation: Hurricane Katrina was a Category 4 storm and Congress authorized a flood control system to handle only a Category 3 storm. 'Anything above that, all bets are off,' said Al Naomi, a senior project manager in the corps's New Orleans district. But federal meteorologists say that New Orleans did not get the full brunt of the storm, because its strongest winds passed dozens of miles east of the city. While a formal analysis of the storm's strength and surges will take months, the National Hurricane Center said the sustained winds over Lake Pontchartrain reached only 95 miles per hour, while Category 3 storms are defined by sustained winds of 111 to 130 m.p.h. This raises a series of questions about how the walls that failed were designed and constructed, as well as whether the soil in some spots was too weak to hold them. Investigations by federal engineers and outside experts are just now beginning. One factor could be height, said Robert G. Bea, a former corps engineer and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is part of a National Science Foundation inquiry into the flood controls failures. The higher the wall, Professor Bea said, the greater the risk it could tip under the ever greater pressure of rising waters. The 2000 edition of the Army Corps of Engineers manual 'Design and Construction of Levees' says that the height of flood walls built on levees is an important factor in their ability to withstand a flood. For that reason, the manual says walls like those used in New Orleans 'rarely exceed' seven feet. But on two of the three canals where breaks occurred - the 17th Street and London Avenue canals - the concrete sections rise 11 feet above the dirt berms. Each wall resembles a row of teeth set in a jaw. Individual slabs are anchored to a continuous steel sheet buried in the dirt, giving the wall its strength. Above a short foundation, the slabs are linked only by rubbery gaskets that allow the concrete to expand and contract without cracking. Hassan S. Mashriqui, an engineering professor at Louisiana State University and an expert on storm surges, said the segmented nature of the walls could be an additional problem, since any weak point could cause a catastrophic failure. 'Since they're not tied together you get a little bit of a gap and that's what water needs to make it fail,' Dr. Mashriqui said. Other questions surround the walls' design, known as an 'I-wall' for its slim cross section that fits easily into densely developed areas. The corps manual for flood control construction suggests a different design for walls higher than seven feet - walls shaped like an inverted T, with the horizontal section buried in the dirt for extra stability. But that option was never considered, corps engineers said, because 'T walls' were more expensive, required a broad base of dense soil for support and were not necessarily stronger. The corps and local levee authorities also never tested whether the chosen I-wall design could survive if water flowed over the top and cascaded onto dirt embankments below. Corps officials said they were proscribed from considering stronger wall designs for the canals both by the tight quarters and by federal law, which requires that they seek and study only the level of flood control authorized by Congress. 'Our hands are tied as to looking at higher-level events,' Mr. Naomi said. Mr. Naomi said that the recommendations in the flood control engineering manual were 'general guidance,' and that conditions at a particular site could justify deviations. He defended the walls, saying: 'The flood walls have functioned over the years very successfully and without incident. The design works. It has worked in other locales. And will likely continue to be used as long as you do not subject it to pressures that it was not designed to handle.' The broken walls, which were long seen as a second choice to earthen levees, are testament to 40 years of fiscal and political compromises made by elected officials, from local levee boards to Congress and several presidential administrations, as they balanced costs and environmental concerns with the need to protect a city that lies largely below sea level and is still subsiding. Ever since Hurricane Betsy flooded parts of New Orleans in 1965, the federal government has financed a hurricane defense system designed to guard against an equivalent storm. But as the threat of a more intense hurricane became better understood in recent years, government financing for flood prevention in New Orleans did not keep pace with a growing alarm among many local residents, scientists and even the corps's own engineers. Standing next to the shattered remains of one of the concrete walls last week, Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, a New Orleans councilwoman, said, 'In my opinion, they were playing Russian roulette with people's lives.' 'Do you realize that if those walls had held, we'd have just had a little cleaning job?' said Ms. Hedge-Morrell, whose district between downtown and the lakefront was covered with 10 feet of water from the breaks of flood walls. 'We would not have this massive loss of life and destruction.' On Tuesday, streams of dump trucks hurriedly dumped loads of gravel into the breaches in New Orleans's flood defenses, in case Hurricane Rita shifts toward here later this week. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a surge from Lake Pontchartrain poured into the main parts of the city through breaks on the walls lining the 17th Street and London Avenue canals, which normally carry runoff pumped out of the city into the lake. A separate surge from the Gulf of Mexico overwhelmed the walls along the Industrial Canal, inundating the Lower Ninth Ward. Officials say that break may have been caused by a barge that broke loose from its moorings. When the hurricane hit, the only earthen levees that failed in a way that produced substantial flooding were on the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a man-made ship canal east of the city. These levees, which were not as high as those on the river or Lake Pontchartrain, let in the floodwaters that ravaged eastern New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish. A surge from Lake Pontchartrain was the catastrophic situation that the corps had been guarding against since Hurricane Betsy 40 years ago. Initially, the corps wanted to build a giant barrier to keep water from the Gulf of Mexico from reaching Lake Pontchartrain and flooding the canals. That project was delayed by lawsuits from environmental groups that contended the corps had failed to study ecological effects. By the late 1970's, the corps abandoned that approach and began raising levees along the lake and the Mississippi and adding flood walls on the canals. In the mid-1990's, engineering professors at Louisiana State began publicizing computer models that showed how a Category 5 storm could kill tens of thousands of people and flood the French Quarter. Corps officials in Louisiana pushed local officials to help seek more money from Congress, both to finish existing upgrades and to start bolstering the city against bigger threats. Joseph Suhayda, who was one of the Louisiana State professors, said corps officials privately urged him to 'raise the consciousness' about the dire threats. But upgrading the flood control system never became a major priority for corps officials in Washington, local and federal officials say. Corps veterans said it was not surprising that federal engineers did not issue more vocal warnings. 'I don't think it was culturally in the system for the corps to say 'this is crazy,' ' said William F. Marcuson III, the former director of the Waterways Experiment Station for the corps in Vicksburg, Miss., and president-elect of the American Society of Civil Engineers. 'The corps works for Congress,' Mr. Marcuson said, 'and when the boss says design for a Category 3 storm, culturally the corps is not going to go back and say this is wrong.' Investigations into how the walls failed are just now beginning. Col. Richard Wagenaar, commander of the corps district in New Orleans, said the soil behind the flood walls could have been weakened after they were topped by the storm surge, or the walls could have simply given way as the water - and the pressure - mounted against them. Indeed, as several engineers said, while a dirt levee of similar height might eventually be topped as well, and possibly eroded, only the walls were vulnerable to a sudden collapse. The determination of how the walls fell will bear on how officials decide to remake the flood control system. Max Hearn, executive director of the Orleans Levee District, said that if the federal government was now ready to pay for Category 5 protection, it seemed unlikely that the flood wall system could be upgraded to that level. But Mr. Hearn said the only answer might be the construction of flood gates designed to limit a hurricane surge in Lake Pontchartrain - the same idea that was considered and dropped in the 1970's.

Subject: Time to start talking about Global Warming
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 11:46:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Considering that the US has been hit by a HUGE hurricane and another HUGE hurricane is on its way, isn't this the time to talk about global warming? We all know that hurricanes are generated by warm water and warm air. Shouldn't we be able to draw a direct line between global warming and the rapid frequency and verocity of the recent hurricanes to global warming? Perhaps not to global warming but at least a link to bubble of heat over the USA caused by the incredible increase in CO2 emmissions. This may be a good time to revisit the Kyoto agreement that the US refuses to acknowledge.

Subject: Re: Time to start talking about Global Warming
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:36:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Time to start bulding infrastructure, as well as talking seriously about global warming.

Subject: Re: Time to start talking about Global Warming
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:56:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I read your original posting - ironically enough I do quite a bit of work on infrastructure including flood control. I recently worked on flood control in Jamaica and I worked on the Mozambique floods a few years back and I got a huge lesson on the engineering for freak storms. There is going to be a lot of discussion on whether the infrastructure was good enough to sustain the ravage of the Hurricane. Be careful what you read - some of it may well be true and most will not be accurate. Many engineers who are trying to push their own agendas will come out pointing to all the flaws (looking for more money to do bigger projects). Let me tell you now... ALL infrastructure in the USA and through out the world is not designed to withstand extreme storms which may have already passed over the area in their respective history. Whether is it roads in the mid-west, bridges in California or levees in Florida. All have been under-designed. The reason is simple - what exactly do we design them to withstand and what are the odds of that exact storm coming around? Normally when the odds are more than 1 in 100 years, we don't design to withstand those kinds of events. This is a norm only because it is so much more expensive to justify the cost. Sounds weird I know - especially when we are looking at figures of 200 Billion US$. I don't know all the logic and cost analysis behind the design decisions in the greater Mississippi area but I can well imagine that to really fortify and maintain the entire area would ring up a huge bill. When compared the economic development over a period of more than 100 years, we can see that 200 Billion US$ is a relatively small cost. Also from what I hear, they did already design above the 100 year threshold and it still wasn't good enough. The unfortunate part is that some engineers predicted this situation and are now pointing fingers. In fact many engineers have predicted many disasters all over the world - most of these disasters have not happened. So do we fund every engineers pet project just in case it may happen? Now having said this I chuckle and shake my head thinking 'I must be the fool' as Rita comes barreling in. Now what are the odds or two hurricanes coming around? Geez. Then I ask the next logical question, 'Global Warming?'

Subject: Almost Before We Spoke, We Swore
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 06:31:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/20/science/20curs.html September 20, 2005 Almost Before We Spoke, We Swore By NATALIE ANGIER Incensed by what it sees as a virtual pandemic of verbal vulgarity issuing from the diverse likes of Howard Stern, Bono of U2 and Robert Novak, the United States Senate is poised to consider a bill that would sharply increase the penalty for obscenity on the air. By raising the fines that would be levied against offending broadcasters some fifteenfold, to a fee of about $500,000 per crudity broadcast, and by threatening to revoke the licenses of repeat polluters, the Senate seeks to return to the public square the gentler tenor of yesteryear, when seldom were heard any scurrilous words, and famous guys were not foul mouthed all day. Yet researchers who study the evolution of language and the psychology of swearing say that they have no idea what mystic model of linguistic gentility the critics might have in mind. Cursing, they say, is a human universal. Every language, dialect or patois ever studied, living or dead, spoken by millions or by a small tribe, turns out to have its share of forbidden speech, some variant on comedian George Carlin's famous list of the seven dirty words that are not supposed to be uttered on radio or television. Young children will memorize the illicit inventory long before they can grasp its sense, said John McWhorter, a scholar of linguistics at the Manhattan Institute and the author of 'The Power of Babel,' and literary giants have always constructed their art on its spine. 'The Jacobean dramatist Ben Jonson peppered his plays with fackings and 'peremptorie Asses,' and Shakespeare could hardly quill a stanza without inserting profanities of the day like 'zounds' or 'sblood' - offensive contractions of 'God's wounds' and 'God's blood' - or some wondrous sexual pun. The title 'Much Ado About Nothing,' Dr. McWhorter said, is a word play on 'Much Ado About an O Thing,' the O thing being a reference to female genitalia. Even the quintessential Good Book abounds in naughty passages like the men in II Kings 18:27 who, as the comparatively tame King James translation puts it, 'eat their own dung, and drink their own piss.' In fact, said Guy Deutscher, a linguist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and the author of 'The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention,' the earliest writings, which date from 5,000 years ago, include their share of off-color descriptions of the human form and its ever-colorful functions. And the written record is merely a reflection of an oral tradition that Dr. Deutscher and many other psychologists and evolutionary linguists suspect dates from the rise of the human larynx, if not before. Some researchers are so impressed by the depth and power of strong language that they are using it as a peephole into the architecture of the brain, as a means of probing the tangled, cryptic bonds between the newer, 'higher' regions of the brain in charge of intellect, reason and planning, and the older, more 'bestial' neural neighborhoods that give birth to our emotions. Researchers point out that cursing is often an amalgam of raw, spontaneous feeling and targeted, gimlet-eyed cunning. When one person curses at another, they say, the curser rarely spews obscenities and insults at random, but rather will assess the object of his wrath, and adjust the content of the 'uncontrollable' outburst accordingly. Because cursing calls on the thinking and feeling pathways of the brain in roughly equal measure and with handily assessable fervor, scientists say that by studying the neural circuitry behind it they are gaining new insights into how the different domains of the brain communicate - and all for the sake of a well-venomed retort. Other investigators have examined the physiology of cursing, how our senses and reflexes react to the sound or sight of an obscene word. They have determined that hearing a curse elicits a literal rise out of people. When electrodermal wires are placed on people's arms and fingertips to study their skin conductance patterns and the subjects then hear a few obscenities spoken clearly and firmly, participants show signs of instant arousal. Their skin conductance patterns spike, the hairs on their arms rise, their pulse quickens, and their breathing becomes shallow. Interestingly, said Kate Burridge, a professor of linguistics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, a similar reaction occurs among university students and others who pride themselves on being educated when they listen to bad grammar or slang expressions that they regard as irritating, illiterate or déclassé. 'People can feel very passionate about language,' she said, 'as though it were a cherished artifact that must be protected at all cost against the depravities of barbarians and lexical aliens.' Dr. Burridge and a colleague at Monash, Keith Allan, are the authors of 'Forbidden Words: Taboo and the Censoring of Language,' which will be published early next year by the Cambridge University Press. Researchers have also found that obscenities can get under one's goosebumped skin and then refuse to budge. In one study, scientists started with the familiar Stroop test, in which subjects are flashed a series of words written in different colors and are asked to react by calling out the colors of the words rather than the words themselves. If the subjects see the word 'chair' written in yellow letters, they are supposed to say 'yellow.' The researchers then inserted a number of obscenities and vulgarities in the standard lineup. Charting participants' immediate and delayed responses, the researchers found that, first of all, people needed significantly more time to trill out the colors of the curse words than they did for neutral terms like chair. The experience of seeing titillating text obviously distracted the participants from the color-coding task at hand. Yet those risqué interpolations left their mark. In subsequent memory quizzes, not only were participants much better at recalling the naughty words than they were the neutrals, but that superior recall also applied to the tints of the tainted words, as well as to their sense. Yes, it is tough to toil in the shadow of trash. When researchers in another study asked participants to quickly scan lists of words that included obscenities and then to recall as many of the words as possible, the subjects were, once again, best at rehashing the curses - and worst at summoning up whatever unobjectionable entries happened to precede or follow the bad bits. Yet as much as bad language can deliver a jolt, it can help wash away stress and anger. In some settings, the free flow of foul language may signal not hostility or social pathology, but harmony and tranquillity. 'Studies show that if you're with a group of close friends, the more relaxed you are, the more you swear,' Dr. Burridge said. 'It's a way of saying: 'I'm so comfortable here I can let off steam. I can say whatever I like.' ' Evidence also suggests that cursing can be an effective means of venting aggression and thereby forestalling physical violence. With the help of a small army of students and volunteers, Timothy B. Jay, a professor of psychology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams and the author of 'Cursing in America' and 'Why We Curse,' has explored the dynamics of cursing in great detail. The investigators have found, among other things, that men generally curse more than women, unless said women are in a sorority, and that university provosts swear more than librarians or the staff members of the university day care center. Regardless of who is cursing or what the provocation may be, Dr. Jay said, the rationale for the eruption is often the same. 'Time and again, people have told me that cursing is a coping mechanism for them, a way of reducing stress,' he said in a telephone interview. 'It's a form of anger management that is often underappreciated.' Indeed, chimpanzees engage in what appears to be a kind of cursing match as a means of venting aggression and avoiding a potentially dangerous physical clash. Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University in Atlanta, said that when chimpanzees were angry 'they will grunt or spit or make an abrupt, upsweeping gesture that, if a human were to do it, you'd recognize it as aggressive.' Such behaviors are threat gestures, Professor de Waal said, and they are all a good sign. 'A chimpanzee who is really gearing up for a fight doesn't waste time with gestures, but just goes ahead and attacks,' he added. By the same token, he said, nothing is more deadly than a person who is too enraged for expletives - who cleanly and quietly picks up a gun and starts shooting. Researchers have also examined how words attain the status of forbidden speech and how the evolution of coarse language affects the smoother sheets of civil discourse stacked above it. They have found that what counts as taboo language in a given culture is often a mirror into that culture's fears and fixations. 'In some cultures, swear words are drawn mainly from sex and bodily functions, whereas in others, they're drawn mainly from the domain of religion,' Dr. Deutscher said. In societies where the purity and honor of women is of paramount importance, he said, 'it's not surprising that many swear words are variations on the 'son of a whore' theme or refer graphically to the genitalia of the person's mother or sisters.' The very concept of a swear word or an oath originates from the profound importance that ancient cultures placed on swearing by the name of a god or gods. In ancient Babylon, swearing by the name of a god was meant to give absolute certainty against lying, Dr. Deutscher said, 'and people believed that swearing falsely by a god would bring the terrible wrath of that god upon them.' A warning against any abuse of the sacred oath is reflected in the biblical commandment that one must not 'take the Lord's name in vain,' and even today courtroom witnesses swear on the Bible that they are telling the whole truth and nothing but. Among Christians, the stricture against taking the Lord's name in vain extended to casual allusions to God's son or the son's corporeal sufferings - no mention of the blood or the wounds or the body, and that goes for clever contractions, too. Nowadays, the phrase, 'Oh, golly!' may be considered almost comically wholesome, but it was not always so. 'Golly' is a compaction of 'God's body' and, thus, was once a profanity. Yet neither biblical commandment nor the most zealous Victorian censor can elide from the human mind its hand-wringing over the unruly human body, its chronic, embarrassing demands and its sad decay. Discomfort over body functions never sleeps, Dr. Burridge said, and the need for an ever-fresh selection of euphemisms about dirty subjects has long served as an impressive engine of linguistic invention. Once a word becomes too closely associated with a specific body function, she said, once it becomes too evocative of what should not be evoked, it starts to enter the realm of the taboo and must be replaced by a new, gauzier euphemism. For example, the word 'toilet' stems from the French word for 'little towel' and was originally a pleasantly indirect way of referring to the place where the chamber pot or its equivalent resides. But toilet has since come to mean the porcelain fixture itself, and so sounds too blunt to use in polite company. Instead, you ask your tuxedoed waiter for directions to the ladies' room or the restroom or, if you must, the bathroom. Similarly, the word 'coffin' originally meant an ordinary box, but once it became associated with death, that was it for a 'shoe coffin' or 'thinking outside the coffin.' The taboo sense of a word, Dr. Burridge said, 'always drives out any other senses it might have had.' Scientists have lately sought to map the neural topography of forbidden speech by studying Tourette's patients who suffer from coprolalia, the pathological and uncontrollable urge to curse. Tourette's syndrome is a neurological disorder of unknown origin characterized predominantly by chronic motor and vocal tics, a constant grimacing or pushing of one's glasses up the bridge of one's nose or emitting a stream of small yips or grunts. Just a small percentage of Tourette's patients have coprolalia - estimates range from 8 to 30 percent - and patient advocates are dismayed by popular portrayals of Tourette's as a humorous and invariably scatological condition. But for those who do have coprolalia, said Dr. Carlos Singer, director of the division of movement disorders at the University of Miami School of Medicine, the symptom is often the most devastating and humiliating aspect of their condition. Not only can it be shocking to people to hear a loud volley of expletives erupt for no apparent reason, sometimes from the mouth of a child or young teenager, but the curses can also be provocative and personal, florid slurs against the race, sexual identity or body size of a passer-by, for example, or deliberate and repeated lewd references to an old lover's name while in the arms of a current partner or spouse. Reporting in The Archives of General Psychiatry, Dr. David A. Silbersweig, a director of neuropsychiatry and neuroimaging at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and his colleagues described their use of PET scans to measure cerebral blood flow and identify which regions of the brain are galvanized in Tourette's patients during episodes of tics and coprolalia. They found strong activation of the basal ganglia, a quartet of neuron clusters deep in the forebrain at roughly the level of the mid-forehead, that are known to help coordinate body movement along with activation of crucial regions of the left rear forebrain that participate in comprehending and generating speech, most notably Broca's area. The researchers also saw arousal of neural circuits that interact with the limbic system, the wishbone-shape throne of human emotions, and, significantly, of the 'executive' realms of the brain, where decisions to act or desist from acting may be carried out: the neural source, scientists said, of whatever conscience, civility or free will humans can claim. That the brain's executive overseer is ablaze in an outburst of coprolalia, Dr. Silbersweig said, demonstrates how complex an act the urge to speak the unspeakable may be, and not only in the case of Tourette's. The person is gripped by a desire to curse, to voice something wildly inappropriate. Higher-order linguistic circuits are tapped, to contrive the content of the curse. The brain's impulse control center struggles to short-circuit the collusion between limbic system urge and neocortical craft, and it may succeed for a time. Yet the urge mounts, until at last the speech pathways fire, the verboten is spoken, and archaic and refined brains alike must shoulder the blame.

Subject: Message: I Can't
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 05:55:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://select.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/opinion/21dowd.html September 21, 2005 Message: I Can't By MAUREEN DOWD WASHINGTON The president won't be happy until he dons a yellow slicker and actually takes the place of Anderson Cooper, violently blown about by Rita as he talks into a camera lens lashed with water, hanging onto a mailbox as he's hit by a flying pig in a squall, sucked up by a waterspout in the eye of the storm over the Dry Tortugas. Then maybe he'll go back to the White House and do his job instead of running down to the Gulf Coast for silly disaster-ops every other day. There's nothing more pathetic than watching someone who's out of touch feign being in touch. On his fifth sodden pilgrimage of penitence to the devastation he took so long to comprehend, W. desperately tried to show concern. He said he had spent some 'quality time' at a Chevron plant in Pascagoula and nattered about trash removal, infrastructure assessment teams and the 'can-do spirit.' 'We look forward to hearing your vision so we can more better do our job,' he said at a briefing in Gulfport, Miss., urging local officials to 'think bold,' while they still need to think mold. Mr. Bush should stop posing in shirtsleeves and get back to the Oval Office. He has more hacks and cronies he's trying to put into important jobs, and he needs to ride herd on that. The announcement that a veterinarian, Norris Alderson, who has no experience on women's health issues, would head the F.D.A.'s Office of Women's Health ran into so much flak from appalled women that the F.D.A. may have already reneged on it. No morning-after pill, thanks to the antediluvian administration, but there may be hope for a morning-after horse pill. Mr. Bush made a frownie over Brownie, but didn't learn much. He's once more trying to appoint a nothingburger to a position of real consequence in homeland security. The choice of Julie Myers, a 36-year-old lawyer with virtually no immigration, customs or law enforcement experience, to head the roiling Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency with its $4 billion budget and 22,000 staffers, has caused some alarm, according to The Washington Post. Ms. Myers's main credentials seem to be that she worked briefly for the semidisgraced homeland security director, Michael Chertoff, when he was at the Justice Department. She just married Mr. Chertoff's chief of staff, John Wood, and she's the niece of Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a former associate for Ken Starr, the young woman does have impeachment experience, in case the forensic war on terrorism requires the analysis of stains on dresses. Julie makes Brownie look like Giuliani. I'll sleep better tonight, knowing that when she gets back from her honeymoon, Julie will be patrolling the frontier. As if the Veterinarian and the Niece were not bad enough, there was also the Accused. David Safavian, the White House procurement official involved in Katrina relief efforts, was arrested on Monday, accused by the F.B.I. of lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into the seamy case of 'Casino Jack' Abramoff, the Republican operative who has broken new ground in giving lobbying a bad name. Democrats say the fact that Mr. Safavian's wife is a top lawyer for the Republican congressman who's leading the whitewash of the White House blundering on Katrina does not give them confidence. Just as he has stonewalled other inquiries, Mr. Bush is trying to paper over his Katrina mistakes by appointing his homeland security adviser, Frances Townsend, to investigate how the feds fumbled the response. Mr. Bush's 'Who's Your Daddy?' bravura - blowing off the world on global warming and the allies on the Iraq invasion - has been slapped back by Mother Nature, which refuses to be fooled by spin. When Donald Rumsfeld came out yesterday to castigate the gloom-and-doomers and talk about the inroads American forces had made against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, he could not so easily recast reality. In Afghanistan, the U.S.'s handpicked puppet president is still battling warlords and a revivified Taliban, and the export of poppies for the heroin trade is once more thriving. Iraq is worse, with more than 1,900 American troops killed. Five more died yesterday, as well as four security men connected to the U.S. embassy office in Mosul, all to fashion a theocratic-leaning regime aligned with Iran. In Basra, two journalists who have done work for The Times have been killed in the last two months. The more the president echoes his dad's 'Message: I care,' the more the world hears 'Message: I can't.'

Subject: Thank you!
From: xristim
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 19:15:14 (EDT)
Email Address: xristim@pacbell.net

Message:
I'm 71, surviving in 'genteel poverty' on Social Security -- I'm an avid Krugman fan and was distraught to be reduced to choosing: Pay the Times and give up feeding the backyard squirrels, or pay up. I'm am SOOOOOOOO grateful to you! Gadflying gadflying.blog.com

Subject: Re: Thank you!
From: Emma
To: xristim
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 21:30:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We are indeed fortunate to have this website! Paul Krugman's words will not be lost to any of us.

Subject: Decision Could Be Costly to Germany
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 15:39:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://select.nytimes.com/iht/2005/09/19/international/IHT-19globalist.html September 19, 2005 Compromise Decision Could Prove to Be Costly to Germany By ROGER COHEN - International Herald Tribune Germany fudged. Torn between the evident need to revive an economy unable to create employment and a fierce attachment to the welfare system that makes job-creation so difficult, it may choose to give Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic leader, a limited mandate for reform. That seemed to be the cloudy message contained in an election result so close that both Merkel and Gerhard Schröder, the Social Democratic chancellor, claimed they had enough support to form a government. Just when it can least afford it, Germany has entered a period of muddled political maneuvering. Despite Schröder's claims, Merkel appeared to be the winner, albeit a weak one. She seemed to have edged out Schröder, but so narrowly that the reformist center-right coalition she had hoped for looks unattainable. Instead, her Christian Democratic Partyj, or CDU, may be forced into a 'grand coalition' with the Social Democrats, or SPD, an arrangement she has called a recipe for 'standstill.' With almost five million unemployed and close to zero growth, standstill is the last thing Europe's largest economy needs. But a bitter ideological dispute playing out across Europe, and between Europe and the United States, has taken on a particular virulence here. It pits free-market reformers, or so-called neo-Liberals, against the defenders of Europe's social welfare system. Images from New Orleans of an America divided by class and race have sharpened the debate. Merkel, raised in Communist East Germany, drawn to the United States and a more deregulated economy, campaigned on an explicit free-market platform. Strip away bureaucracy, she said. Lower non-wage labor costs. Make it easier for small companies to hire and fire. Change Germany's risk-shy mentality. 'I learned in the middle of my life that change can also be opportunity,' she said on the eve of the election, referring to the fall of the Berlin Wall and her sudden political emergence. 'Now I would like to give Germans faith in the idea that change can be stimulating and provide new chances.' Germans listened. They seemed intrigued. But when it came to the vote, they hesitated. Merkel seemed too cold, too remote, too extreme, to reassure them. The country was not ready for a woman cast by the left as a latter-day Margaret Thatcher flanked by a flat-tax loony as economic adviser. Nor was it enthused by Merkel's vision of a more Atlanticist Germany, its alliance with the United States invigorated once more. For Merkel, the approximately 35 percent of the vote won by the CDU amounts to a sharp personal setback. Whether she will be able to recover is an open question. Opinion polls had given the CDU over 40 percent. In the end, the party won less than the 38.5 percent it gained in the 2002 election. 'We have not achieved our goal of a conservative-liberal government,' she acknowledged, while insisting she has a mandate to form a coalition. That mandate exists: Hers is almost certainly the largest party, ahead of Schröder's SPD, whose vote share fell sharply to about 34 percent from 38.5 percent. The chancellor called an early election with the professed aim of demonstrating he had the support to govern with vigor. In this aim he was rebuked. But Merkel stumbled in her hour of opportunity. Her failure to garner a center-right majority will feel particularly bitter because the business-friendly Free Democrats, her favored partners, did well, advancing to over 10 percent of the vote, from 7.4 in 2002. The Free Democrats advanced to over 10 percent of the vote, from 7.4 in 2002, a result hailed by its leader, Guido Westerwelle, as the 'big victory of the election.' It was hard to argue with that assessment. The party's performance suggests that a strong reformist current exists in Germany, one that considers Schroder's seven-year failure to dent an unemployment rate of over 11 percent unacceptable. Almost equally strong, however, is the view that any dismantling of the so-called social market economy that has served Germany since World War II would be a disaster. For many Germans, the unemployment benefits that can make it as attractive not to work as to work amount to a constitutionally guaranteed birthright. The roughly 8 percent of the vote gained by the new Left Party, made up of disgruntled former Social Democrats and former East German communists, illustrates how powerful such thinking remains. The idea that the state has to look after people so that they can live decently without working remains entrenched,' said Wolfgang Stock, a political scientist close to the Christian Democrats. So what now? Merkel appears to head the strongest party, but it will be difficult for her to avoid a partnership with the SPD that she disdains. If a grand coalition is formed, any radical reform of the German economy can be safely ruled out. So, too, would any rapid rapprochement with Washington, of the kind Merkel had outlined. A more palatable alternative for Merkel might be to seek to lure the Greens into a coalition with the FDP. That would provide a majority, but the differences of view between the parties - on the environment and the eventual admission of Turkey into the European Union - are probably too large to bridge. Schröder, meanwhile, seems to believe he may yet survive. 'Nobody except me is able to govern this country,' he declared. That seems a far-fetched claim. In theory, a coalition with the Greens and Left Party would give him a majority, but Schröder would have to swallow awfully hard to ally with ex-Communists and Social Democrat renegades whose views he has denounced. The fact is Schröder can scarcely continue with any dignity. As for Merkel, she is a weakened figure within her party. Some of the men frustrated by her rise, like Roland Koch, the state premier of Hesse, may not hesitate to undermine her in the coming months. That she will be chancellor appears likely. But the prospects are remote that the first woman to sit where Bismarck once sat will be able to govern with the decisiveness Germany needs. The great German fudge of Sept. 18 could prove costly.

Subject: Bird and Bees
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 15:36:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/20/science/20obse.html September 20, 2005 Birds and Bees By HENRY FOUNTAIN The Great Chorale of the Avian World The typical songbird is a solo artist, content to warble alone in a tree or on a wire. Some species, however, do the George Jones-Tammy Wynette duet thing, and there are even a few that sing in groups. But nothing quite matches the performance of the plain-tailed wren of Ecuador and Peru, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of the avian world. Biologists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland report that groups of the birds sing four-part songs, the males and females trading phrases with split-second timing for up to two minutes. 'I think this is the most complex song in a nonhuman animal,' said Peter J. Slater, a professor of natural history and, along with Nigel I. Mann and Kimberly A. Dingess, author of a paper about the bird published in the journal Biology Letters. The plain-tailed wren is one of 28 species of a genus that the researchers are studying as part of a project on the evolution of singing patterns. Some species sing duets, with overlapping parts. 'But we came across this really quite extraordinary one,' Dr. Slater said, on an Ecuadorean volcano. 'You get out of the car in the morning, and the whole hillside is ringing with these birds.' The researchers teased the wrens out of their bamboo thickets and watched and recorded. They sang in groups of up to seven, the songs following an A-B-C-D pattern, with males singing the A and C phrases and females the B and D. The phrases follow in rapid succession with no overlapping, so that in effect it sounds like a single song. (A sample, in wav format.) What makes the performance even more remarkable, Dr. Slater said, is that birds of each sex synchronize their parts. The males, for example, have 15 to 20 different A phrases they can sing. Yet two or more males in a group will sing the same phrase in almost perfect synchrony. Dr. Slater said several reasons were possible for this pattern. One involves reproduction. Since these are tropical birds, they do not use external factors like changing day length to know when to breed. So coordinating song like this may help synchronize reproduction, by stimulating hormones in the birds at the same time. But the birds also probably use their chorusing for defense. 'If you put a loudspeaker in the middle of these birds, they all gather around it and sing like mad,' Dr. Slater said. 'It must be very intimidating for an intruding wren.' All the Buzz Charles Darwin is best known for the theory of evolution, but he did much other scientific work as well. Through repeated observations of bees, for example, he proposed that bees outside the nest learn foraging tips by watching others. Since Darwin's time, scientists have learned that a great deal of information about foraging is communicated within the hive, through a 'waggle dance' in which a bee tells hive mates where to find a food source, and outside the hive through the use of scent marks. But what of Darwin's original hypothesis? Bradley D. Worden and Daniel R. Papaj of the University of Arizona decided to test it, but they took the idea a step further. They wanted to see whether bees could learn about foraging from bees that were not from the same hive. They tested their idea with bumblebees, which have an advantage of having small hives, often with fewer than 100 workers. With so few foraging bees, the scientists thought it might be more likely that the insects would go outside the hive for information and help. Bees that had never fed on flowers were allowed to watch as unrelated bees (and in other experiments, artificial ones) foraged among orange or green flowers. In most cases, they chose the same color flowers that had been picked by the bees they watched. The results were published in the journal Biology Letters. This kind of social learning, the researchers suggest, might be important to bees in one colony by providing them with information about food sources discovered by another.

Subject: Egyptian Comedy Promotes Peace
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:47:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/20/international/africa/20movie.html September 20, 2005 No Joke: Egyptian Comedy Promotes Peace With Israel By MICHAEL SLACKMAN CAIRO - Egyptian movie audiences are not accustomed to laughing about the Arab conflict with Israel, or to seeing Israeli diplomats portrayed as regular folks living next door. But in Egypt's box office hit, 'The Embassy Is in the Building,' the director, Amro Arafa, uses comedy to try to get Egyptian audiences to consider a most serious point: that peace with Israel is in Egypt's own interest. 'We have signed peace with this country,' a state security agent says during a pivotal scene in the movie. 'This is our country's policy, and it is for our interest. Do you want to be against the country's interests?' The security man, who spoke about the need for 'peaceful coexistence with them,' was talking to a character played by Adel Imam, Egypt's most famous comic actor, arguably one of the only actors in Egypt who could pull off such a movie and still keep the audience laughing. 'The Embassy Is in the Building,' which is still in theaters, was the second biggest hit at the box office this year among Egyptian-made movies, bringing in nearly $3 million. It is a wry look at Egyptian society with a main character who lives in Dubai and has a taste for beautiful married women. He gets fired after having an affair with his boss's wife, and returns home to Egypt only to find that the Israeli ambassador, David Cohen, has moved into his building. The movie pokes fun at leftists still clinging to pan-Arab nationalism and takes a swipe at a nationalist poet, Amal Donqol, who wrote a poem saying Egypt and Israel could never have normal relations. It spoofs Islamists as goofy men with beards and guns, and it lampoons the Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera. But this is not just a movie aiming to make people laugh - according to critics, political observers and the director - but an effort, however ham-handed, to use the Egyptian cinema to make people at least entertain the notion that peace with Israel is good for Egypt, even while Israel may itself remain an object of hate. 'We do not have a problem with the Israelis or the Jews; we have a problem with the Israeli government,' said Mr. Arafa, the film's director, repeating a semantic distinction that was once popular among Egyptians but was dropped altogether after the second intifada heated up in 2000. 'This is the first time that a movie deals directly with this problem, 'Why we hate the Israeli government.' ' For an outsider, it might be difficult to walk away from this movie with the impression it is any kind of olive branch. Throughout the film, there is strong anti-Israeli language. And it ends with the death of a cute, heroic Palestinian boy at the hands of Israelis and an angry protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Egypt. The protesters are shouting: 'Down with the Israeli occupation! 'Down with murderers of children! 'Down to enemies of peace! 'Down with the settlements!' But consider how the movie is perceived by at least some people who have lived through the chaos and hatred that have consumed the region for so long. 'When I look at it after clearing the dust, I can see a few good things,' said Jacob Setti, press attaché of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. 'It is the first film I see that deals with the Israeli Embassy as an ordinary thing. It is in Cairo, functioning, working like any other place. Another point is that it deals with the Israeli ambassador as someone who is doing his work and speaking Arabic, as many of them do. The third issue is even the film admits that there is a good level of relationship between both governments, and I think that in the future we will see a development in this relationship.' Tarek el Shenawy, a leading film critic in two popular Egyptian weekly newspapers, said the last protest scene reflected a new perspective, because the protesters neither called for the embassy to leave Cairo nor demanded the end of relations with Israel. 'The film carries a message from the government: Do not hate Israel, do not love Israel, just forget about it,' he said. The two-hour film also stems from a broader change in a society that had long been frozen in economic, political and social terms, analysts said. About a year ago, Egyptians began to hold demonstrations in the street - not focused on Israel, but domestic issues. In the past the government did not allow any demonstrations critical of the president or his policies. The domestic-oriented protest marches may not have sparked a widespread opposition movement, but they have signaled a shift in focus for the minority that does speak out - from foreign affairs to domestic affairs. The first multicandidate campaign for president, which ended earlier this month, was criticized for being brief - only 19 days - but the opposition candidates traveled the country talking about domestic issues, with the topic of Israel rarely coming up during the race. 'The more democratic space we have, the more focused we would be on our domestic problems,' said Wahid Abdel Meguid, a political analyst and deputy director of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. 'Arab governments used the struggle with Israel as an excuse for political oppression, as an excuse for their failure to run the country.' Whether Mr. Imam can make people laugh is not in doubt. But on the question of whether his comedy can help promote a more moderate view toward relations with Israel, the jury is still out. 'I loved the movie,' said Reem Abdel Nasser, 19, as she left the theater last week. 'It deals with all the problems and issues we are concerned and confused about. And he presents a diplomatic solution for the Israeli-Arab problem which I agree with. We have to live with them. We do not have to be friends, but we do not have to be enemies. We should just live together.' But that is not what her father came away with. 'The movie is a reminder for people to wake up and understand Israel,' said her father, Gamal Abdel Nasser. 'It is a very difficult problem to solve, and the only way to solve it is by force. Whichever was taken by force should be restored only by force.'

Subject: Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi Hunter
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:42:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/20/international/europe/20cnd-wiesenthal.html September 20, 2005 Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi Hunter, Dies at 96 By RALPH BLUMENTHAL Simon Wiesenthal, the death camp survivor who dedicated the rest of his life to tracking down fugitive Nazi war criminals, died today at his home in Vienna. He was 96. His death was announced by Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. After hairbreadth escapes from death, two suicide attempts and his liberation by American forces in Austria in 1945, Mr. Wiesenthal abandoned his profession as an architectural engineer and took on a new calling: memorializing the six million of his fellow Jews and perhaps five million other noncombatants who were systematically murdered by the Nazis, and bringing their killers to justice. His results were checkered: claims that he flushed out nearly 1,100 war criminals were sometimes wrong or disputed. But his role as a stubborn sleuth on the trail of history's archfiends helped keep the spotlight on a hideous past that he said too much of the world was disposed to forget. 'To young people here, I am the last,' he told an interviewer in Vienna in 1993. 'I'm the one who can still speak. After me, it's history.' From the cramped three-room office of his Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna, Mr. Wiesenthal spent years collecting and disbursing tips on war criminals through a network of informers, government agents, journalists and even former Nazis. He recounted these efforts in a memoir published in 1967, 'The Murderers Among Us,' and a second volume, 'Justice, Not Vengeance,' in 1989. With a grave and tenacious manner, undercurrents of humor and a flair for gaining attention, he was lionized in 1989 in an HBO movie 'Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story,' based on his memoirs and starring Ben Kingsley. A character modeled on him was played by Sir Laurence Olivier in the 1978 film 'The Boys from Brazil' (though Mr. Wiesenthal was mortified by his depiction as a bumbler). And he served as a consultant for yet another thriller, 'The Odessa File.' Dozens of nations and institutions honored him: the list of his awards, typed single-space, takes up nearly an entire dense page. But one prize that eluded him, to his great disappointment, was the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Wiesenthal, a bulky figure with a clipped mustache who sometimes laughed that people mistakenly saw him as harmless, pressed his searches despite vilification and threats of death and kidnapping made against him, his wife, Cyla, and their daughter, Pauline. In 1982 his house in Vienna was damaged by a firebomb, but he escaped unharmed. (German and Austrian neo-Nazis were charged, and one went to jail.) Yet he rejected entreaties to move, insisting that there was a symbolic purpose in doing his work from a longtime redoubt of Nazism and anti-Semitism where, he once said, his efforts were 'unhappily tolerated.' Calling himself 'the bad conscience of the Nazis,' he vowed to continue his efforts 'until the day I die.' His goal, he said, was not vengeance but ensuring that Nazi crimes 'are brought to light so the new generation knows about them, so it should not happen again.' It was a matter of pride and satisfaction, he said in 1995, as he approached his 87th birthday, that old Nazis who get into quarrels threaten one another with a vow to go to Simon Wiesenthal. He wrote grippingly of the German killing industry, cataloging a list of property sent to Berlin from the Treblinka death camp between October 1942 and August 1943: 'Twenty-five freight cars of women's hair, 248 freight cars of clothing, 100 freight cars of shoes,' along with 400,000 gold watches, 145,000 kilograms of gold wedding rings and 4,000 karats of diamonds 'over 2 karats.' Of the 700,000 people known to have been taken to Treblinka, he wrote in the 1960's, 'about 40 are now alive.' He suggested that train stations in Europe should get plaques reading: 'Between 1942 and 1945 trains passed through here every day with the sole purpose of taking human beings to their annihilation.' In recent years he also spoke out in favor of war crimes trials for genocide in the former Yugoslavia, and lent his name to a Holocaust study center and Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. 'Survivors should be like seismographs,' Mr. Wiesenthal wrote. 'They should sense danger before others do, identify its outlines and reveal them. They are not entitled to be wrong a second time or regard as harmless something that might lead to catastrophe.' Sometimes he taught his lessons with an acerbic wit. Failing to sway a Jewish lawyer who persisted in defending the right of neo-Nazis to march even through a Jewish neighborhood, Mr. Wiesenthal offered a final rebuke: 'A Jew may be stupid, but it's not obligatory.' Once, in West Germany, he related, he defused a harangue by a speaker who accused him of dining on Nazis for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 'You are mistaken,' he replied. 'I don't eat pork.' He became embroiled in Austrian politics, feuding bitterly with the Socialist chancellor, Bruno Kreisky. He was also assailed for siding with Kurt Waldheim, the former United Nations secretary general and Austrian president who concealed his wartime service with a German intelligence unit implicated in atrocities in the Balkans. Critics challenged Mr. Wiesenthal's claims to have played a role in the seizure of Adolf Eichmann, who directed the transport of European Jews to Hitler's death camps and was kidnapped by the Israelis from Argentina in 1960, then tried, convicted and hanged. He also promulgated many false sightings in the bungled hunt for Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz death camp doctor who fled to South America and drowned in Brazil in 1979. Serge Klarsfeld, a Paris lawyer who with his German-born wife, Beate, was instrumental in tracking down the Nazi Gestapo leader Klaus Barbie in Bolivia, called Mr. Wiesenthal an egomaniac and faulted him for not supporting their anti-Nazi demonstrations in South America and Europe. But Mr. Klarsfeld credited him with blazing the trail by his early and often lonely quest for justice after the war. Mr. Wiesenthal was credited with a crucial role in many other cases. His investigations in São Paulo led to the arrests of Franz Stangl, former commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps in Poland, who was extradited to West Germany in 1967 and died three years later while serving a life sentence, and Gustav Franz Wagner, a former deputy commandant at Sobibor, who died during extradition proceedings in 1980. He was instrumental in the arrest and extradition from Argentina of Josef Schwammberger, an SS officer convicted in the killings of prisoners and slave laborers at camps in Poland and sentenced to life in prison in Germany in 1992. Mr. Wiesenthal tracked down Karl Silberbauer, at the time a Vienna police officer, who had been the Gestapo aide responsible for arresting Anne Frank and her family in their secret annex in Amsterdam, a feat of sleuthing that buttressed the credibility of Anne's diary in the face of neo-Nazi claims that it was fabricated. He unmasked Hermine Braunsteiner-Ryan, a whip-wielding guard at the Maidanek death camp who was living in Queens and who was sentenced to life in West Germany. And he put a reporter for The New York Times on the trail of Valerian D. Trifa, a leader of the fascist Iron Guard in Bucharest who fomented a massacre of the Jews, later found refuge in Michigan as archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in the United States and was deported in 1984, to Portugal, where he died three years later. Mr. Wiesenthal penetrated veils of secrecy shrouding the Nazi euthanasia program and doctors who conspired in killing 'useless eaters.' He also traced the escape routes of SS criminals and other Nazis, documenting the underground network known from its German initials as Odessa. And as much as tracking down fugitive Nazis himself, he took it as his mission to goad governments around the world not to drop their pursuit and prosecution of war criminals. But his efforts in the hunt for Eichmann and Mengele, two of Nazi Germany's most heinous criminals, were disputed. He often claimed to have placed Eichmann in Buenos Aires as early as 1953, and later to have turned over crucial photos of Eichmann to Israeli agents. But Isser Harel, the Israeli Mossad chief who masterminded Eichmann's abduction, vehemently contradicted Mr. Wiesenthal, denying that any such meeting with agents took place and crediting the success to information supplied by a West German prosecutor, Fritz Bauer. Subsequent accounts lent credence to Mr. Harel's version. In the case of Mengele, wanted for grisly pseudomedical experiments on twins and other helpless subjects at Auschwitz, Mr. Wiesenthal had a shrewd insight in 1964. He urged West German authorities to monitor a close associate of the Mengele family, Hans Sedlmeier, in Günzburg, a Bavarian town where the Mengele family had its farm-machinery business. Mr. Sedlmeier had indeed been in regular contact with the fugitive in Paraguay and Brazil. But he also had friends on the local police force and, tipped off to a search, concealed letters and other evidence that would have led to Mengele. The crucial lead evaporated, not to be re-examined for more than 20 years, by which time Mengele was already dead. Over the years, Mr. Wiesenthal publicized a host of detailed and spurious 'sightings' of Mengele in Paraguay, Egypt, Spain and a tiny Greek island, Kythnos. Benjamin Varon, former Israeli ambassador to Paraguay, publicly suggested that Mr. Wiesenthal might have been embellishing to coax money from contributors. His comments, in a Jewish magazine, Midstream, in 1983, provoked a rebuke from Mr. Wiesenthal's supporters, who accused him of 'profaning' Mr. Wiesenthal's 'sacred mission.' Although he continued to voice suspicions of fakery for years after a body was authoritatively identified as Mengele's in 1985, Mr. Wiesenthal eventually acknowledged the truth of the scientific findings that Mengele had indeed drowned and was dead. But clearly Simon Wiesenthal haunted his quarry. One of Mengele's fanatical Nazi protectors in Brazil, Wolfgang Gerhard, told of dreams in which he hitched the Nazi-hunter to an automobile and dragged him to his death. One of the most rancorous episodes in Mr. Wiesenthal's postwar career pitted him against Chancellor Kreisky, who was also Jewish and whom Mr. Wiesenthal accused in the 1970's of pursuing a politically expedient alliance with former Nazis to strengthen his Socialist Party. Mr. Kreisky fired back with intimations that Mr. Wiesenthal had collaborated with the Gestapo, a charge that Mr. Wiesenthal labeled ludicrous, and that was never backed up. That fracas was followed a decade later by Mr. Wiesenthal's dispute with the World Jewish Congress over the Waldheim affair. In early 1986, when the former secretary general ran as the conservative party candidate for president, the Jewish Congress investigated his wartime record, uncovering evidence that he had not sat out most of the war, as he had always claimed. Instead he had apparently served as a lieutenant with a German Army intelligence and propaganda unit that had carried out deportations and atrocities in the Balkans, and had initialed reports of 'severe' measures to be taken against captives. From the outset Mr. Wiesenthal took issue with the accusations, but not for reasons of politics, he asserted. 'The truth was simpler,' he wrote in his book, 'Justice, Not Vengeance.' 'I was not prepared to attack Kurt Waldheim as a Nazi or a war criminal because from all I knew about him and from all that emerged from the documents, he had been neither a Nazi nor a war criminal.' In 1993 Eli M. Rosenbaum, former general counsel of the World Jewish Congress and later director of the Justice Department Office of Special Investigations, a Nazi-hunting task force, linked Mr. Wiesenthal to a Waldheim cover-up. In a book, 'Betrayal' (St. Martin's), Mr. Rosenbaum and a co-author, William Hoffer, wrote that Mr. Wiesenthal, acting on an Israeli request, had discovered Mr. Waldheim's secret in French-held war archives as far back as 1979 but for political or other reasons misled the Israelis. When evidence of Mr. Waldheim's true record began to emerge, according to the book, Mr. Wiesenthal allied himself with Mr. Waldheim to save his own reputation. For his part, Mr. Wiesenthal contended that he had correctly informed the Israelis that Mr. Waldheim had not been a member of the Nazi Party or the SS and that the World Jewish Congress was unfairly trying for its own purposes to brand Mr. Waldheim a war criminal. While he faulted Mr. Waldheim's credibility, Mr. Wiesenthal defended his own conduct. In a world where people believe in Jewish conspiracies, he told an interviewer, 'accusations from Jewish sources must be able to stand up to all tests of credibility.' Although a reviewer for The New York Times took issue with 'Betrayal' for appearing to equate Mr. Wiesenthal and Mr. Waldheim in villainy, its documentation was widely praised, winning a jacket endorsement from Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and writer. But Mr. Wiesenthal was never one for backing down. Castigated once as a meddler by an Austrian justice minister, he freely acknowledged that no one had appointed him 'the lawyer for six million dead people.' 'No such appointment exists,' he went on. 'But I've worked for over 20 years for the memory of these people, and I believe I've earned the right to speak for them.' Simon Wiesenthal was born on Dec. 31, 1908, in Buczacz, Galicia, which was then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later became part of Ukraine. His father, Hans, was a commodities wholesaler and Austrian Army officer who died in combat in 1915. In Buczacz, Jews endured murderous pogroms by the Cossacks, and in one such assault young Simon was slashed by a marauder's saber. In high school the boy fell in love with a classmate, Cyla Müller, a distant relation of Sigmund Freud; though teenagers, they were considered betrothed. Mr. Wiesenthal wanted to study at the Polytechnic Institute in Lvov but was denied admission because of a quota on Jewish students. Instead he attended the Technical University of Prague, where in 1932 he received a degree in architectural engineering. In 1936 he and Cyla married, and he took a job in an architectural office in Lvov. Three years later, when Germany and Russia partitioned Poland, the Red Army overran Lvov, purging Jews. Mr. Wiesenthal's stepfather was arrested and died in prison and his stepbrother was shot. Mr. Wiesenthal was reduced to working as a mechanic in a bedspring factory. Only by bribing a Soviet secret police commissar, he wrote, was he able to save himself, his wife and mother from deportation to Siberia. In July 1941, Mr. Wiesenthal recounted, after the invading Germans replaced the Russians, he and other Jews were lined up in a courtyard to be shot. After about half the group had been executed, the soldiers withdrew for a church service and he was spared. He was then held in the Janowska concentration camp outside Lvov before he and his wife were sent to a forced labor camp serving the repair shop for Lvov's Eastern Railroad. In 1942, as the Germans began to implement their 'final solution' by exterminating Jews, Mr. Wiesenthal's mother was transported to the Belzec death camp, where she was killed. In all, Mr. Wiesenthal and his wife lost 89 family members to the German liquidation. With false papers provided by the Polish underground in return for railroad charts that partisans needed for sabotage, Cyla Wiesenthal was spirited out of the labor camp in 1942 as a Pole. She hid in Warsaw, narrowly escaping incineration in a German flamethrower assault, and was sent to the Rhineland as a forced laborer making machine guns for the Germans. With the connivance of an official, Mr. Wiesenthal himself escaped the labor camp in October 1943. But the following June he was recaptured and sent back to the Janowska camp where, he related, he slit his wrists with a contraband razor blade. Revived by the Gestapo for interrogation, he tried to hang himself but was too weak. With the Red Army advancing on the retreating Germans, the SS guards moved their last remaining 34 prisoners westward, picking up new prisoners on the march. Few survived the trek, with stops at the camps in Plasgow, Gross-Rosen and Buchenwald and ending at Mauthausen in Austria. There Mr. Wiesenthal, weighing 97 pounds, was liberated by Americans on May 5, 1945. Almost as soon as he could stand, he began collecting evidence on the atrocities for the War Crimes Section of the United States Army. He also served the Office of Strategic Services and the Army's Counterintelligence Corps, and headed the Jewish Central Committee of the United States occupation zone in partitioned Austria. By the end of 1945 he and his wife had found each other, and the following year their daughter, Pauline, was born. The Wiesenthals were married for 67 years before Mrs. Wiesenthal died on Nov. 10, 2003. Also in 1946, after supplying evidence for war crimes trials in the American zone, Mr. Wiesenthal and 30 volunteers founded the Jewish Historical Documentation center in Linz, Austria, to collect evidence for future trials. But the developing cold war dulled interest in Nazi-hunting - both the Americans and the Russians were secretly recruiting Nazi scientists and spymasters. In 1954 the Linz office was closed and its files conveyed to the Holocaust archives of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. But after the successful seizure of Adolf Eichmann, for which Mr. Wiesenthal was quick to claim credit , he reopened his Jewish documentation center, this time in Vienna, and focused on an array of notorious Nazi fugitives. In November 1977, Mr. Wiesenthal lent his name to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based institute for Holocaust remembrance. With an attached Museum of Tolerance and offices around the world, the center investigates and reports on anti-Semitism and bigotry worldwide. In 1981 the center produced a documentary, 'Genocide,' narrated by Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles. The next year the film won the Academy Award for best documentary. According to a biography distributed by the center, Mr. Wiesenthal and his wife lived in a modest house in Vienna where he spent his time 'answering letters, studying books and files and working on his stamp collection.' His books include 'Concentration Camp Mauthausen' (1946), 'I Hunted Eichmann' (1961), 'The Sunflower' (1970) and 'Sails of Hope: The Secret Mission of Christopher Columbus' (1973), in which he concluded that the voyage in 1492 was in part an effort to find a homeland for Europe's persecuted Jews. He was often asked why he had become a searcher of Nazi criminals instead of resuming a profitable career in architecture. He gave one questioner this response: 'You're a religious man. You believe in God and life after death. I also believe. When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask us, 'What have you done?' there will be many answers. You will say, 'I became a jeweler.' Another will say, 'I smuggled coffee and American cigarettes.' Still another will say, 'I built houses,' but I will say, 'I didn't forget you.' '

Subject: French Lesson: Taunts on Race
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:11:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/international/europe/21letter.html September 21, 2005 French Lesson: Taunts on Race Can Boomerang By JOHN TAGLIABUE PARIS - The French news media were captivated by Hurricane Katrina, pointing out how the American government's faltering response brought into plain view the sad lot of black Americans. But this time the French, who have long criticized America's racism, could not overlook the parallels at home. 'It is true that the devastations of Katrina have cruelly shed light on the wounds of America, ghettoization, poverty, criminality, racial and territorial tensions,' Le Figaro, the conservative daily, said in an editorial on Sept. 8. 'In France, those in disagreement ran to pelt the 'American model' and the neoconservative president. But have they just looked at the state of their own country?' Only four days before, a fire had swept an apartment in south Paris, killing 12 people, most of them black. And just days before that, 17 black people died in a single blaze. Since April, 48 people, most of them children and all of them black, have died in four separate fires in Paris. In neighborhoods like Château Rouge, filled with the hundreds of thousands of nonwhite immigrants, some Arabs but mainly blacks, whom France has absorbed over the years from former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean, you feel the anger. 'It could be a coincidence,' said Sissouo Cheickh, bitterly, 'but one question the French have to answer is: of 48 people who died, why were 48 black?' Mr. Cheickh, 28, got a university degree in France, but rather than working for someone else and running into what he and other young blacks say is France's low glass ceiling, he decided to start his own business. Six months ago he scraped together some money and opened a store. 'You see these fabrics? All from Africa, from my family,' said Mr. Cheickh, who came from Mali, as he gestured toward colorful rolls of cloth. France has long boasted of itself as the cradle of human rights and a bulwark against racism. It regularly denounced racism in the United States, and the road from Harlem to Paris was wide, inviting talented American blacks like the dancer Josephine Baker, musicians like Sidney Bechet and writers like Richard Wright and James Baldwin. But French insistence on the equality of man leaves them in a bind, their black critics say, perpetuating the fiction of a society without minorities. The census in France does not list people by race. Hence, while blacks are thought to number about 1.5 million, of a total population of 59 million, no one really knows the exact number, which is estimated to be far higher. There are virtually no black people in corporate France, and blacks have almost no political representation. No black person sits in the National Assembly or in a regional parliament, and only a smattering are found in city councils. The European Union finances programs for minorities but not in France, because of its refusal to recognize minorities. So, today, blacks are not much on the French agenda. After the recent fires, the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, proposed a program of affirmative action and a requirement that résumés conceal a person's ethnic or racial identity. But the rest of the cabinet, including the minister for equal opportunity, rejected the ideas, saying they offended the fundamental principle of equality. 'The French like to say, 'Blacks are a social problem, not racial,' ' said Gaston Kelman, 52, a native of Cameroon who has written widely on France's black population. 'So our institutions have no means to overcome it.' Until recently, virtually all blacks were on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Gradually, however, a younger generation is, like Mr. Cheickh, gaining education, starting businesses and gradually giving birth to a black middle class. They feel the discrimination they say is rampant in French society and are beginning to resist. After graduating with a degree in economics and data processing, Claude Vuaki tried his hand at several jobs before deciding to start his own business. Together with his wife, Kibé, he opened a beauty salon in central Paris. But Mr. Vuaki's search for start-up capital was typical of the black experience. 'They said right off, no loan, no money,' said Mr. Vuaki, 52. He and his wife managed to gather some family savings and self-financed their shop. Now the business is so successful that they plan a second shop, in Nice or Cannes. Mrs. Vuaki travels regularly to the United States to study African-American hairstyles. Still, Mr. Vuaki remains one of a relatively small minority. Most blacks are employed in menial jobs, in construction or transportation. What encourages people like Mr. Vuaki is that the glass ceiling often felt by young blacks who get an education is not discouraging them, but increasingly prompting them to strike out on their own. 'A lot of people I know want to create something of their own,' he said, often in landscaping, construction and delivery services. Still, Mr. Kelman said this slight opening is not inhibiting many young Africans with an education to strike off for Britain, Canada and the United States, where they think they will find greater opportunities. Asked whether the French people are racist, Mr. Kelman replied: 'It's a racism of nuance. Every Frenchman would immediately say, 'One of my closest friends is black.' ' Mr. Kelman said government housing and employment policies create an 'institutionalized ghetto-building.' He described with a laugh a typical job interview for a black candidate. When the boss realizes the candidate is black, he begins praising the sights and sounds of Africa he discovered on his last vacation there: the broad beaches, beautiful greenery, vast sky. Needless to say, the candidate doesn't get the job. In the schools, white pupils are typically encouraged to continue studying while black children are often steered toward vocational studies. The influence of African-Americans, through television, films and sports, is everywhere. Some young blacks turn to Afrocentrism, Mr. Kelman said, others to rappers and others to black Muslim groups. What they don't turn to is mainstream French society. 'We're at an impasse,' Mr. Kelman said.

Subject: Re: French Lesson: Taunts on Race
From: Setanta
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 12:34:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'It could be a coincidence,' said Sissouo Cheickh, bitterly, 'but one question the French have to answer is: of 48 people who died, why were 48 black?' am i right in assuming that there were only 48 deaths from house/apartment fires in paris during the period, and all of them black? or is it that of the apartment fires that made the headlines due to the race of the victims all were black? racism/xenophobia exists in every nation. look at the irrational hatred between catholics and protestants in northern ireland. i think it is a throwback to our tribal days when outsiders were viewed with suspicion until they were assessed as posing no threat. it is pack behaviour at its simplest. i think its an uncomfortably embarrassing remnant of a survival mechanism, now as defunct as the appendix. education is the key to combatting this scourge of society.

Subject: World economy to maintain swift growth
From: Mik
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:21:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
World economy to maintain swift growth, says IMF Reuters WASHINGTON — The world economy is set to grow a swift 4,3% this year and next — above the 3,9% average of the past decade — despite higher oil prices and a battering from Hurricane Katrina, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today. In its twice-annual World Economic Outlook, the IMF downgraded its forecast for global growth in 2006 from the 4,4% expected in April but retained this year’s projection. 'The world economy has proved tremendously resilient over the last few years,' IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan said. 'Disease, natural disasters and soaring oil prices have only caused minor blips in an overall picture of healthy growth,' he added. Still, it warned that risks were rising, fueled by widening world current account imbalances, growth distortions across regions and lingering concerns about limited crude production capacity that kept oil prices high. Crude oil prices hit record levels above $70 a barrel last month, more than double the levels at the start of last year. The fund said global inflation had picked up slightly on the higher oil prices, but remained at moderate levels. Core inflation in industrialised nations appeared generally contained, the fund said, adding that price expectations were well-anchored, although the impact from higher oil prices would bear careful monitoring. The IMF said financial market conditions remained benign, amid low borrowing costs, high equity prices and strong corporate balance sheets. Emerging markets’ financing conditions were favorable, it said, reflecting strong economic fundamentals and an increased presence of long-term investors and search for yields. The IMF trimmed its 2005 forecast for the world’s largest economy, the United States, to 3,5% from the 3,6% it envisioned in April, and reduced its forecast for 2006 to 3,3% from 3,6%. It said the direct toll on US growth from Hurricane Katrina would be moderate and wouldn’t weigh long on growth. But the IMF was critical of Washington’s 'unambitious' plan to cut the US budget gap in half by the time President George W. Bush leaves office in early 2009. The US budget deficit hit a record $412bn last year. While recent tax receipt data suggests the shortfall has been narrowing, the potential cost of cleaning up Katrina’s devastation - which some lawmakers say could hit $200bn - has led analysts to raise their deficit forecasts. Japan’s economy looked poised for a good recovery with the IMF forecasting growth more than a percentage point faster in 2005 than forecast five months ago. However, it urged the Bank of Japan to retain its zero interest rate policy for now. The fund forecast Japanese gross domestic product would grow 2% this year and next. In April, it had projected growth of just 0,8%. The global lender said its outlook for the euro zone remained somber, blaming weak domestic demand, a lack of structural reform and rising fiscal deficits. It said growth will be lower than expected next year and the European Central Bank should be ready to cut interest rates if the economy falters again. It also cautioned China that it may need to tighten monetary policy if investment growth intensifies and fears are reignited about economic overheating. The fund said 2005 Chinese growth was now poised to reach 9%, up from 8,5% predicted in April. In 2006, Chinese growth was likely to reach 8,2%, up from the IMF’s April outlook of 8%. In Africa, the economic expansion continues to be underpinned by strong global demand, structural reform, better domestic macroeconomic policies and fewer wars, the fund said, but added that growth would slow to 4,8% this year from 5,4% in 2004.

Subject: Katrina is worse than Chernobyl
From: Henry James
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:13:12 (EDT)
Email Address: occuserpens@yahoo.com

Message:
This blog entry can be of interest inplainview.monitor.us.tt

Subject: Katrina is worse than Chernobyl
From: HJ
To: Henry James
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:20:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Here is the link, it did not show in the post for some reason: http://inplainview.monitor.us.tt
In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster sent tectonic waves all over the world. Soviet authorities were rightly faulted for the inadequate disaster relief effort and secrecy that endangered health and well-being of people in the USSR and all over the world. Politically, Chernobyl hugely undermined the trust in Gorbachev's reforms (perestroika) and nuclear power industry. In fact, media hype over Chernobyl could have contributed the split of USSR in 1991! Also, looking backwards, we find certain little-known developments. For example, IAEA experts came to the conclusion that reactor design, not operational error was the main cause of the accident /1/. Most importantly, now negative impression of the Soviet disaster management appears to be largely the media creation (in fact, much blamed Soviet secretiveness over Chernobyl is nothing compared to what is going on around Iraq).
In Chernobyl, pretty much everything that could go wrong, happened when the reactor exploded. Wiki does not mention any particular blunders after that. Actually, highly centralized planned Soviet system of the time most certainly helped rather than blocked the relief effort.
In comparison to Chernobyl, Katrina is a larger scale disaster, it wiped out the whole New Orleans and other areas, it is more than 116K evacuated from the Chernobyl area. In addition, now it appears that Katrina disaster can be largely man-made /2/. Experts believe that the design of New Orleans levees was essentially wrong. The hurricane impact was not as bad as described initially and with proper design and construction, the consequences would be not nearly as serious as what happened.
This makes Katrina a real systemic failure:
-- Wrong infrastructure design. What is worse, it is not high tech like in Chernobyl, just low tech irrigation engineering.
-- Underinvestment and corruption in infrastructure design, construction and maintenance.
-- Slow and mismanaged disaster relief.
-- Without racism and 3rd world poverty, hurricane impact would be much less serious. Poor and alienated cannot evacuate by themselves, they need heavy policing to prevent looting, crime, riots, etc. They are more likely to abuse the assistance they get.
-- Corporate profiteering. We already have quite obvious gas prices manipulation related to Katrina. But one can only shudder at the prospective of what is going to happen to the huge reconstruction contracts. Remember the Iraqi situation?
-- What will be the budget impact? Money-wise, the $200B price of Katrina is equivalent to another war. But GOP is still dreaming about absorbing these costs within their tax-cutting schemes.
A few things are for sure. Katrina problems will not go away. Unfortunately, there are all grounds to believe that with time they will only get worse. Also, if Katrina does not prove that Republican 'small government' (aka everybody is by himself) ideology is a disaster, then nothing can.

Subject: Re: Katrina is worse than Chernobyl
From: Mik
To: HJ
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 16:57:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Spooky to think of the political nuances. Now you gona have me thinking about this one long and hard.....

Subject: Speaking of the A.E.I...
From: Poyetas
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:18:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Check this out: tax cuts paying for themselves? http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000039&sid=ai2iE.j8vxno&refer=columnist_hassett I have my own theory on this but would love to hear comments...

Subject: Re: Speaking of the A.E.I...
From: Poyetas
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 05:17:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Kevin Hassett's observation that the tax revenues currently anticipated by Congressional Budget Office for 2006 are about the same as those it anticipated for 2006 back in 1999 -- even though tax rates have been slashed since then? - Luskin The question is....what were the growth rates predicted by the CBO in the 1999 report. Does anyone have any information that could shed some light on the issue?

Subject: Re: Speaking of the A.E.I...
From: Terri
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:13:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sorry, this is absolute supply side rubbish as all comments by these particular folks are. Were it not for the tax cuts we would have a structural budget surplus or balance even with the added spending for defense and Gulf Coast reconstruction.

Subject: Re: Speaking of the A.E.I...
From: Aeneas
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 17:05:31 (EDT)
Email Address: aeneas_50@yahoo.com

Message:
Tax cuts along with demand side stimulus from massive deficit spending and monetary stimulus from negative real interest rates cause the issue to be muddy. Suppose the tax cuts went with fiscal and monetary restraint? Would you see growth? What we have is the dollar supported by the Japanese and Chinese who have no place to put all of theirs. What happens with consumer demand faltering? Growth comes from demand as Say's Law implies. Or, if we kept taxes high and someone like the Chinese keep selling below real long term (to their economic future) cost; would supply create demand and show as growth???

Subject: Re: Speaking of the A.E.I...
From: Terri
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 16:32:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Possibly there might be enough growth for a tax cut to pay for itself because growth has increased income enough to raise more revenue than was lost in the cut. This has never happened, however, and such growth is almost certainly not going to happen in a developed economy. Tax cuts may be needed, but they will not pay for themselves.

Subject: Any ideas??? Would love to hear feadback!
From: Poyetas
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 14:30:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: New Soaring Force in American Ballet
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:05:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/20/arts/dance/20ball.html September 20, 2005 The New Soaring Force in American Ballet: Hispanics By ERIKA KINETZ MIAMI BEACH - Hispanic dancers have long graced American stages, but their presence, which was once notable, is fast becoming the norm - a fact that was evident at the 10th annual International Ballet Festival here this weekend. It's hard not to think that today's crop of top Latin stars will eventually have an effect on American ballet. In some ways, they already have. Pedro Pablo Peña, the artistic director of the festival, emphasized that the event, which featured companies from 10 countries plus Puerto Rico, was devoted to dance, period, and not to Hispanic dance. Still, as with ballet itself these days, the festival had a decidedly Spanish accent. 'It used to be the Russians,' Kevin McKenzie, the artistic director of American Ballet Theater, said in a phone interview last week. 'Now it's the Latin community.' Nearly half of the principal dancers at Ballet Theater and at the Boston Ballet are from Latin America or Spain. Four of the 12 foreign dancers at the New York City Ballet are from Latin America or Spain; one is from Puerto Rico. Principal dancers from Latin America and Spain now outnumber those from former Soviet-bloc countries at the Boston Ballet and the Royal Ballet, and are neck and neck at the San Francisco Ballet. At the Washington Ballet almost 20 percent of the dancers are from Latin America or Puerto Rico. 'We jokingly call them the Latin mafia,' said Septime Webre, the artistic director, who is half Cuban. 'Rehearsals are frequently bilingual.' In part, the changing demographics of the nation's ballet companies are a reflection of the changing demographics of the nation. Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States, at 14 percent, and the Census Bureau predicts that by 2050, they will constitute 24 percent of the total population. There are efforts afoot to capitalize on these changes. American Ballet Theater advertised its April performances in Los Angeles on Spanish-language television for the first time, with spots featuring Paloma Herrera, Herman Cornejo and Angel Corella. The Boston Ballet is planning a program of dances intended for a Hispanic audience in 2007. The frisson that has long surrounded Russian stars may be starting to attach itself to Latin names. Victoria Morgan, the Cincinnati Ballet's artistic director, has signed a number of new arrivals from Cuba. 'I knew the training would be good,' she said. Adiarys Almeida, Cervilio Amador and Gema Díaz, who all defected in 2003, still dance in the company. Training, especially Cuban training, has been a key driver of the latinization of ballet. The Cuban school emerged from the Sociedad Pro Arte Musical, a concert society in Havana that started offering ballet classes in 1931 - largely as a money-making scheme, said Celida P. Villalon, who helped run Pro Arte's ballet school from 1941 to 1959. 'They did it mostly because they were in a fix because of the Depression,' she said. The three Alonsos who went on to form the Ballet Nacional de Cuba - Fernando, his wife, Alicia, and his brother Alberto - all studied there. After taking power, Fidel Castro underwrote a crackerjack network of state-sponsored ballet academies that is still going strong. Ballet schools were formed in Brazil and Argentina in the 1920's. Spanish ballet came later. The Spanish government didn't create a classical ballet company until 1979. Victor Ullate, an alumnus of Maurice Béjart's company, was its first director. Mr. Ullate, who trained Tamara Rojo of the Royal Ballet and Angel Corella of American Ballet Theater, among others, opened his own school in 1983, which has helped fuel the ascension of Spanish ballet dancers in the last 20 years. But there are other factors besides education, like the squishy question of culture. 'Columbians, Venezuelans, Brazilians, dance is really in their blood,' said Mikko Nissinen, the artistic director of the Boston Ballet. 'Maybe a little more than somewhere else, a little more than in Finland.' (He would know. He was born in Helsinki.) There were no Finns onstage in Miami this weekend, but the dancers from Latin America lived up to their bravura reputation, sometimes at the expense of good technique. Silvina Perillo, a principal with the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, did a startling and quite precise series of triple fouettés that was a notable exception. Economics has also played a part in the diffusion of Latin American dancers around the globe. Dancers react to poverty and political instability the same way everyone else does: if they can, they leave. In the last few years, many have, especially from Cuba, but also from other Latin American countries. 'In the 60's, Argentine dancers stayed home,' Agustina Llumá, the editor of Balletin Dance, an Argentine dance magazine, said. 'Now, the opportunities - the companies and the money at home - are not so great.' This is not, of course, to suggest that the United States is all milk and honey. Take the festival, which was energetically attended but fraught with complication. The Cubans had it worst: Alihaydée Carreño, who recently left the Ballet Nacional de Cuba to dance in the Dominican Republic, did not get a visa to attend. Daniel Sarabia, a member of the corps at the Boston Ballet, had a fractured foot, and Ms. Almeida, a senior soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet, didn't show because of a swollen Achilles tendon. Then, on Saturday night, Rolando Sarabia, who defected in July and had knee surgery seven months ago, hurt his toe. At Sunday's closing matinee, he and Lia Cirio, a member of the corps at the Boston Ballet, gave an uninspired rendition of the Nutcracker pas de deux. The audience cheered anyway. They seemed happy to see Mr. Sarabia. This is not just art, after all; it's also politics.

Subject: Waterlogged Halo
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:43:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://select.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/opinion/21friedman.html September 21, 2005 Bush's Waterlogged Halo By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Following President Bush's speech in New Orleans, many U.S. papers carried the same basic headline: 'Bush Rules Out Raising Taxes for Gulf Relief.' The president is planning to rely on 'spending cuts' instead to pay for rebuilding New Orleans. Yeah, right - and if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Biloxi I'd like to sell you. The underlying message of all these stories is that the Bush team sees no reason to change course in response to Katrina. I beg to differ. Katrina deprived the Bush team of the energy source that propelled it forward for the last four years: 9/11 and the halo over the presidency that came with it. The events of 9/11 created a deference in the U.S. public, and media, for the administration, which exploited it to the hilt to push an uncompassionate conservative agenda on tax cuts and runaway spending, on which it never could have gotten elected. That deference is over. If Mr. Bush wants to make anything of his second term, he'll have to do his own Nixon-to-China turnaround, reframe the debate and recast the priorities of his presidency. He seems to think that by offering to spend billions of dollars to rebuild one city, New Orleans, he'll get his leadership halo back. Wrong. Just throwing more borrowed money at New Orleans is not leadership. Mr. Bush needs to frame a new agenda for rebuilding all our cities and strengthening the nation as a whole. And what should be the centerpiece of a policy of American renewal is blindingly obvious: making a quest for energy independence the moon shot of our generation. The president should have done that on the morning of Sept. 12, 2001. The country was ready. But the president whiffed. Katrina - nature's 9/11 - has given him a rare do-over. Imagine - I know it is a stretch - that the president announced tomorrow that he wanted an immediate 50-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax - the 'American Renewal Tax,' to be used to rebuild New Orleans, pay down the deficit, fund tax breaks for Americans to convert their cars to hybrid technology or biofuels, fund a Manhattan Project to develop alternatives for energy independence, and subsidize mass transit systems for our major cities. And imagine if he tied this to an appeal to young people to go into science, math and engineering for the great national purpose of making us the greenest nation on the planet, to help liberate us from dependence on the worst regimes in the world for our oil and to help ease the global warming that is heating up the oceans, making our hurricanes more intense and our lowlands more vulnerable. America's kids are hungry to be challenged for some larger purpose, which has been utterly absent in this presidency. Americans will change their long-term energy habits, and companies will develop green products, only if they are certain the price of gasoline will not go back down. A gasoline tax (Americans have already shown they'll tolerate higher prices) and stronger regulation would force U.S. companies to innovate in what is going to be one of the most important global industries in the 21st century: green technologies. By coddling our auto and industrial companies when it comes to mileage standards and the environment, all the Bush team is doing is ensuring that they will be dinosaurs and that Chinese, Japanese and Indian companies will take the lead in green technologies - because they have to and ours don't. Look what Jeff Immelt, the C.E.O. of G.E., said: 'America should strive to make energy and environmental practices a national core competency and by doing so, create exports in jobs. ... America is the leading consumer of energy. However, we are not the technical leader. Europe today is the major force for environmental innovation. European governments have encouraged their companies to invest [in] and produce clean power technologies. The same is true for nuclear power. ... And government policy that encourages this with subsidies and other incentives is giving European companies a leg up. While Europe has been a driver for innovation, China promises to be its market.' Setting the goal of energy independence, along with a gasoline tax, could help to solve so many of our problems today - from the deficit to climate change and national security. And Americans would pay it if they thought the extra money was going to renew America, not Iran, and not just New Orleans. And if the Texas-oilman president became the energy-independence president - now, that would snap heads and make this a truly relevant presidency. No way, you say. Probably right. But either Mr. Bush does a Nixon-to-China or his next three years are going to be a Bush-to-Nowhere.

Subject: Friedmans 'The World is Flat'
From: Poyetas
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 05:55:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hi there, I just wanted to raise an interesting point mentioned in Thomas Friedman's 'The World is Flat', which is an excellent book, by the way. In it he mentions a 2004 report from the Heritage Foundation that states: 'American companies that produce at home and abroad, for both the American market and China's, generate more than 21% of US economic output, produce 56 percent of US exports, and employ three-fifths of all manufacturing employes, about 9 million workers...if GM builds a factory offshore in Shanghai, it also ends up creating jobs in America by exporting a lot of goods and services to its ownfactory in China and benefiting from lower parts costs in China for its factories in America'. So the manufacturing jobs that are lost to China is compensated for by the creation of jobs to service China. HUH??? Did I miss something here? Isn't China supposed to be a cheaper platform for EVERYTHING?? Is Friedman saying that globalisation actually INCREASES employment? How does the study then account for the massive current account deficits? Something doesn't seem to fit here....

Subject: Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat'
From: Yann
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 04:06:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
About the (maybe wrong) idea of a flat world, see below. A New Vocabulary for Trade by Jagdish N. Bhagwati Wall Street Journal - August 4, 2005 Metaphors matter. They define how one sees reality, as when the phenomenon of skilled emigration turns into the problem of 'brain drain,' evoking the image of a leaky faucet that few can regard with equanimity. The phenomenon of globalization has prompted competing metaphors. The prolific Thomas Friedman talks everywhere, and writes in his latest best seller, of globalization being marked by a 'flat world.' Writing almost a decade earlier in the New Republic, I advanced an alternative -- and less demotic -- metaphor, that globalization was characterized by 'kaleidoscopic comparative advantage.' Let me explain why the two metaphors diverge dramatically and carry startlingly different policy implications -- and why Mr. Friedman gets it wrong. 'Geography Is History' One cannot but be aware that countries face intensified competition in the world economy -- a phenomenon that forced itself on our attention long before China and India began to loom large in fevered imaginations. Interest rates are less far apart than earlier: A continual opening and global integration of financial markets has occurred. Multinationals now consider many alternative locations for final assembly and to manufacture components, so their know-how becomes available, in effect, to several likely locations. Access to knowledge is more diffused than ever before: Student enrollments in foreign countries have grown, better educational institutions have opened in some developing countries, and the need for skilled professionals has led to shifts in immigration policies to draw them in to countries that have excess demand for their skills. Producers in distant places can now access markets thanks to the Internet, to the point where many talk melodramatically of the 'death of distance,' and I say, with tongue partly in cheek, that 'geography is history.' Yet it is wrong to infer from this that the world has gone 'flat,' and that there is no comparative advantage left. The notion of a flat world is as wrong metaphorically now as it was when Copernicus showed it to be literally wrong. To be more precise than his metaphor, Mr. Friedman has on his mind not the world but a large fraction of it -- India and China. He believes that the gradient which the citizens of these countries had to climb to get to our shores and out-compete us has now disappeared, giving way to a level playing field that we ignore at our peril. But he takes too literally his friends in Bangalore. They flex their muscles on IT the way Popeye does on spinach, and tell him that some Indians can now do anything that the Americans can do. But it is a leap to translate this into the proposition that several Indians will now do everything that the Americans do. Then again, we have Intel Chairman Craig Barrett talking about 300 million Indians and Chinese professionals who will hurtle down the flat road. And Clyde Prestowitz, in his latest book, carries the argument to its logical conclusion with the American nightmare that there will be three billion Indians and Chinese capitalists soon down that road. In truth, the flat road is not flat at all. Take the supply of educated manpower in India. Of the numbers in the age cohort for college education, only about 6% make it to college. Of these, only two-thirds graduate, and just a small fraction can read English. Of these, a further fraction can speak it; and of these, a smaller fraction still can speak it in a way which you and I can understand. The truth of the matter, therefore, is that even for the call-answer and back-office services, the numbers who will compete are only a very small fraction of the numbers being thrown about. India's huge size and the dazzle of the few Institutes of Technology are totally misleading. The road is not flat; the gradient becomes steep as wages rise for those who can manage while others cannot qualify. Again, just think back on why China has not managed to break into IT the way it has on a range of manufactures, while India has. Surely, that has to do with the fact that India is democratic and hence IT can flourish. By contrast, the CP (the Communist Party) is not compatible with the PC: Authoritarian regimes are fearful of IT -- a gigantic pothole in the road! Such fears of a flat road were rampant when many thought that Japan would be a fearsome Godzilla, trampling over our activities all around. But then it turned out that the Japanese were real klutzes in the financial sector. They still are. And remember that while the Chinese and Indians have lower wages, we have better infrastructure, stronger venture capital markets, an ability to attract talent from around the world, and a culture of inventiveness. Comparative advantage persists; the road is simply not flat. The flat road metaphor is, therefore, both inapt and mistakenly alarming. The real problem in the increasingly globalized economy is rather that most producers in traded activities -- an expanding set because services have become steadily more tradeable -- face intensified competition. A specific producer here will find rival suppliers stealing up on him from somewhere, whether Portugal, Brazil or Malaysia, indeed from sources which may not include India and China. In consequence, almost no producer is truly relaxed. I was at a Parents' Day at my daughter's camp in 1991 in Vermont and talked to a father producing chips in Silicon Valley. He lamented, as did Bill Clinton soon after, that competition from Japan and South Korea was fierce (and wicked). So I turned to another dad listening in on us and asked him what he did. 'I grow mushrooms,' he said. 'Ah, you must be happier,' I remarked. He replied, tearing at his hair: 'Oh no, Taiwan is killing me!' * * * Gone are Adam Smith's days, when no one in Haifa lost sleep because Edinburgh could grow oranges in greenhouses: The cost differences would be substantial. Comparative advantage was 'thick,' shielded by big buffers. This is no longer so: not predictably from India and China, but almost certainly from somewhere. Hence I use the metaphor: 'kaleidoscopic comparative advantage.' Today, you have it; but in our state of knife-edge equilibrium, you may lose it tomorrow and regain it the day after. Boeing might win today, Airbus tomorrow, and then Boeing may be back in play again. It is as if the design of trade patterns that you see now gives way to another, as if a kaleidoscope had turned. In this situation of flux and change, we see the Friedman metaphor turned on its head. Faced with fierce competition, firms and unions often seek to iron out whatever differences they can so that the cost conditions for foreign rivals are brought closer to what they are for oneself. Producer interests, including labor, lobby to narrow (if not equalize) as far as politically possible the cost advantages that accrue to rivals from differences in all sorts of domestic policies and institutions. They try, through political agitation, to shield themselves. Hence the massive demand for 'fair trade,' a seductive phrase that has become a principal ally of protectionism. So you see demands for enhanced labor and environmental standards in trade treaties, not as altruism but as a way to reduce the competitiveness of rivals. This game cannot be played in the multilateral trade negotiations because countries like India and Brazil see through it. But it can be played when smaller fry are involved in bilateral Free Trade Agreements: A hegemonic power like the U.S., captured in turn by fearful lobbies seeking to flatten the world, can get the minnows to do almost anything that it wants. The real answer cannot be to seek to flatten the world, as this flies in the face of commonsense and good economic sense as well. Except for a few universal principles, diversity of labor and environmental standards is legitimate. Forcing convergence with our standards is simply an act of high-handedness by a 'selfish hegemon' pretending to be an 'altruistic hegemon.' But even if plans to flatten the world thus were to succeed, they cannot but leave out the vast numbers of bumps and gradients that cannot be steamrolled: The world cannot be flattened, frankly. And so the proper response to flux is to manage it. What does this imply? Evidently, we must strengthen the Adjustment Assistance Programs, which we have done from 1962 when they were introduced at the time of the Kennedy Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. They must be rapidly enlarged, especially to include service workers. A Facelift for Clint Eastwood? But that is not enough. We also need to ensure that when a radiologist in Boston loses his work to one in Bombay, he is able to retrain for the new skilled medical jobs that arise daily as new problems arrive: e.g. the obesity epidemic and the associated diabetes outbreak. In fact, new medical employment will multiply in cosmetic surgery with an aging population as nose jobs, silicon transplants and chin tucks capture the female half and spread to the male half as well. (I have a bet that even Clint Eastwood's wrinkles will be erased some day by a facelift!) The radiologist may be able to find for himself the training to get new jobs closest to his skills; but it is clear that more aged radiologists will need more assistance, and that professional societies such as the American Medical Association could assist in this task by defining optimal transition paths from the old to the new jobs. Yet it is not enough to say that we must educate our people to stay ahead of the curve. Yes, that is important: But it is also necessary to look at the content of the education. In a world of kaleidoscopic flux, an American aeronautical engineer at Boeing may well find that the industry has suddenly lost to Airbus, and that he must move into automobile engineering, where the Honda and Toyota transplants may be expanding. It is important that his training provide a larger share of general engineering skills and less of specialized ones. And thus, instead of succumbing to the panic of the 'flat world' metaphor, we need to embrace the kaleidoscopic metaphor of flux, and redefine our institutional and policy responses to make the best use of the opportunities today in the globalized world. Mr. Bhagwati, University Professor of Economics and Law at Columbia, and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author of 'In Defense of Globalization' (Oxford, 2004).

Subject: Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat'
From: Terri
To: Yann
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:23:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting article.

Subject: Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat'
From: Pete Weis
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:55:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Globalization may create more 'global' employment, but (in the short term) a loss in manufacturing jobs as well as some service jobs for nations with high wages to the countries with equal labor quality but lower wages. I suppose the idea is - eventually the US economy will 'naturally' shift its production focus to products and services which take advantage of a global employment boom and higher consumption from abroad (whenever that happens). But I agree with you that wage growth and employment in the US are presently being slowed by labor competition from overseas. As for the current account - it has multiple causes. A loss of our manufacturing base is one cause. Simply overspending and undersaving by US consumers is another - we have more cars than ever and bigger houses filled with more baubles than ever and we keep seeking more. Our dependency on imported oil is yet another factor in the growing current account.

Subject: Re: Friedmans 'The World is Flat'
From: Emma
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 08:48:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Never ever ever take anything from Heritage or American Enterprise foundations... too seriously, or seriously at all. Always question these groups. There is however a case for trade and there is a case for setting up a Coca Cola operation in another country and servicing the operation from America. This is done repeatedly.

Subject: Stiglitz and the 'Black Tsunami'
From: Yann
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 02:45:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.project-syndicate.org/print_commentary/stiglitz62/English

Subject: Lessons From the Black Tsunami
From: Emma
To: Yann
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 06:36:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.project-syndicate.org/print_commentary/stiglitz62/English Lessons From the Black Tsunami Joseph E. Stiglitz The world has been horrified at America’s response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in New Orleans. Four years after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, and with billions of dollars allegedly spent on “preparedness” for another emergency, America has shown the world that it was not prepared – even for an event that came with ample warning. The difference between the Tsunami in Asia last December and what is coming to be called the Black Tsunami in America – because it brought so much devastation to the poor, mostly black, people of Louisiana – is striking. The Asian disaster showed the ability of those affected to overcome long-standing rifts, as Aceh rebels put down their arms in common cause with the rest of Indonesia. By contrast, the disaster in New Orleans – and elsewhere along America’s Gulf Coast – exposed and aggravated such rifts. The Bush administration’s response to the hurricane confirmed the suspicion among blacks that, while they might send their boys to fight America’s wars, they had not only been left behind in America’s prosperity, but that there was neither understanding nor concern when they needed it most. An evacuation was ordered, but no means to do so were provided for the poor. When help came, it was, as one New York Times columnist noted, like the Titanic: the rich and powerful got out first. I was in Thailand right after the Tsunami, and I saw that country’s impressive response. The Thais flew consular and embassy officials to the affected areas, aware of the sense of helplessness among those stranded far from home. America kept foreign officials from coming to the aid of their nationals in New Orleans – embarrassed, perhaps, at what they would see. Even the richest country in the world has limited resources. If it gives tax cuts to the rich, it will have less to spend on repairing levees; if it deploys the National Guard and reserves to fight a hopeless war in Iraq, there will be fewer resources at home to cope with a domestic crisis. Choices must be made, and choices matter. Shortsighted politicians like Bush often skimp on long-term investments in favor of short-term advantage. He recently signed a lavish infrastructure bill that included, among other payoffs to political supporters, an infamous bridge to nowhere in Alaska. Money that could have been used to save thousands of lives was spent to win votes. Seldom do the “chickens come home to roost” as quickly as they have in recent years – an ill-conceived war, attempted on the cheap, has not brought peace to the Middle East. Now America has had to pay the price for ignoring loud warnings about the weakened levees of New Orleans. Clearly, nothing could have spared New Orleans completely from Katrina’s impact, but the devastation could certainly have been lessened. Markets, for all their virtues, often do not work well in a crisis. Indeed, the market mechanism is often revolting to behold in emergencies. The market did not respond to the need for evacuation by sending in huge convoys of buses to get people out; in some places, it did respond by tripling hotel prices in neighboring areas, which, while reflecting the marked change in supply and demand, is reviled as price gouging. Such behavior is so odious because it brings little allocative benefit – no significant increase in supply in the short run – and carries a huge distributive cost, as those with resources take advantage of those without. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has emphasized that most famines are associated not with a shortage of food, but the failure to get food to the people who need it, largely because they lack purchasing power. America, the richest country in the world, clearly had the resources to evacuate New Orleans. Bush simply forgot the poor – the tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands, who simply did not have the resources to pay for their own evacuation. When you’re poor, you don’t have a credit card, and most of the stranded were especially strapped for funds because it was the end of the month. But even if they had had the money, it is not obvious that markets would have responded quickly enough to provide the needed supply; in times of crisis, they often simply don’t. That’s one of the reasons why the military does not use a price system to allocate resources. Last January, after the tsunami, in response to widespread calls for an early warning system, I observed that the world had been given an early warning on global warming. The rest of the world has begun to take heed, but Bush, having ignored warnings about Al Qaeda’s plans prior to September 11, 2001, and having not only ignored the warnings about New Orleans levees, but actually gutted funding to shore them, has not led America to do likewise. Scientists increasingly believe that global warming will be accompanied by larger climatic disturbances. Recent evidence is at least consistent with that hypothesis. Perhaps Bush had hoped that the consequences of global warming would be felt long after he left office – and would be felt more by poor, low-lying, tropical countries like Bangladesh than by a rich country astride the temperate zones. Yet there is perhaps a silver lining in the clouds over New Orleans. Perhaps America, and especially Bush, will be persuaded to join the rest of the world in the fight against poverty and to protect our planet’s environment. In facing and planning for disasters, whether natural or man-made, we must do more than hope and pray for the best. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at Columbia University.

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 19:26:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 9/20/05 Australia 16.8 Canada 23.7 Denmark 18.4 France 9.3 Germany 5.2 Hong Kong 10.4 Japan 8.3 Netherlands 6.9 Norway 34.0 Sweden 6.5 Switzerland 9.2 UK 8.1

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 19:25:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 9/20/05 Australia 18.9 Canada 20.7 Denmark 32.6 France 22.1 Germany 17.5 Hong Kong 10.3 Japan 17.8 Netherlands 19.4 Norway 41.5 Sweden 22.9 Switzerland 22.6 UK 15.0

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 12:05:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/04 - 9/19/05 Energy 47.0 Financials -0.3 Health Care 7.7 Info Tech -0.3 Materials -4.4 REITs 9.9 Telecoms 0.4 Utilities 21.7

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:56:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Returns 12/31/04 to 9/19/05 S&P Index is 2.8 Large Cap Growth Index is 1.8 Large Cap Value Index is 5.8 Mid Cap Index is 9.5 Small Cap Index is 5.7 Small Cap Value Index is 5.5 Europe Index is 7.0 Pacific Index is 8.2 Energy is 49.1 Health Care is 12.0 Precious Metals 30.7 REIT Index is 9.8 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 1.9 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 4.7

Subject: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 10:22:22 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:

Subject: From France (in French!)
From: Yann
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 04:04:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bon anniversaire, Bobby. Et MERCI pour le temps et l'énergie dépensés.

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Poyetas
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 05:26:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
And to join the bandwagon...HAPPY BDAY BOBBY!! You've given us all such a great gift with this message board, what could we possibly get you?

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Emma
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:20:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Happy Birthday! We Love You Both :)

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Bobby
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:55:55 (EDT)
Email Address: robert@pkarchive.org

Message:
Thank you, both!

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Mik
To: Bobby
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 13:21:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Wow - you guys know each other? Bobby, happy birthday and thank you for such a cool board. cheers.

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Terri
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 15:28:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Happy birthday, Dear Bobby :) Lovely.

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Jennifer
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 17:21:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hey, Bobby, happy birthday :)

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Setanta
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:10:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bobby, happy birthday, hope you got a nice cake with lots of candles! (keep up the good work!)

Subject: Re: Happy birthday Bobby!
From: Ari
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 16:26:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Love all you do, and have the happiest of birthdays and unbirthdays.

Subject: Thank you for the happy birthday wishes, everyone!
From: Bobby
To: Ari
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 22, 2005 at 14:30:23 (EDT)
Email Address: robert@pkarchive.org

Message:
Thank you for the happy birthday wishes, everyone!

Subject: why are you allowing this?
From: David
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 20:42:40 (EDT)
Email Address: DavidM1384'@aol.com

Message:
The Times is now charging 7 dollars a month to read your article online...that is too bad. I guess you are worth the revenue, but it smacks of commercialism at it's sleeziest.

Subject: Re: why are you allowing this?
From: rlk
To: David
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 15:31:06 (EDT)
Email Address: nozdrev1@yahoo.com

Message:
come on; the ny times is out to make money and krugman, as a columnist is getting paid to help them make money. that is capitalism for good or bad.

Subject: Risk management & growth uncertainty
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 17:24:00 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
STEPHEN CECCHETTI Greenspan must be sensitive to growth uncertainty A month ago, the US economy looked to be on course. Inflation was edging up but still well within Federal Reserve policymakers' comfort range. With real growth steady at just above 3.5 per cent, output was near its target level as well. Then the storm hit. With Hurricane Katrina came not only loss of life and destruction of property but a significant increase in uncertainty. While the Federal Open Market Committee is poised to raise interest rates at its meeting tomorrow, it is now hard to say what the autumn will bring. What will be the impact of recent energy price increases on the national economy? Will consumer confidence hold up? And what about the property price bubble? In the past, these sorts of uncertainties have led Alan Greenspan and his colleagues to ease, not tighten policy. Today, that means pausing to wait for more information. Among Mr Greenspan's most significant accomplishments is his success in transforming central bankers into the risk managers of the economic and financial system. This means that, first and foremost, monetary policymakers make sure nothing really bad happens. For example, when faced with the very real possibility of deflation in June 2003, the FOMC reduced its target federal funds rate to 1 per cent and kept it there for a full year. The small risk of a severe economic collapse elicited a very forceful policy response. Another hallmark of Mr Greenspan's tenure at the Fed has been gradualism. The biggest interest rate move has been 0.5 percentage point and a more typical change has been half that. By moving in a series of small steps, policymakers keep their options open. Returning to the present circumstance, it now appears that Katrina's impact on the national US economy will be relatively small. Oil prices have returned to their pre-storm level and transport bottlenecks are disappearing. Nevertheless, there are significant risks left for the Fed to manage. First, it seems almost certain that the dramatic increase in energy prices over the past year will finally eat into non-energy household consumption. American petrol prices have risen from just over $2 a gallon in early July to $3 a gallon today. The rule of thumb is that a one cent increase takes about $1bn out of disposable income. With households saving a mere $25bn out of $10,300bn in income, it is impossible to see how Americans can absorb this $100bn increase in fuel costs without reducing consumption. Rising winter heating bills will make matters worse. This brings us to the second risk: that the recent decline in consumer confidence will be sustained. When people lose faith in the future strength of the economy, their pessimism can be self-fulfilling. Fearing calamity, they might increase their saving and drive down current consumption. While good in the longer term, in the short run such a move will slow aggregate economic activity. With housing, the Fed has been walking a tightrope for some time. It is no exaggeration to say that the past three years of American prosperity have been supported by the housing boom. While it is hard to predict what might trigger a correction, the consensus is that one will eventually come. The only hope is that when prices start to fall, the slide will be gradual. And when the boom ends, consumption growth will surely slow. The right policy response to all this is very tricky. Considering energy price increases in isolation would imply raising interest rates to combat incipient inflationary pressure. Adding the fiscal stimulus that the US Congress is enacting to rebuild Now Orleans and the Gulf coast provides a further case for tighter monetary policy. Before Hurricane Katrina, the risks were primarily on the inflation side. Now, the biggest question mark is growth, so a pause in the steady upward march of interest rates would make sense. In fact, the logic of Mr Greenspan's risk management approach demands it. After all, an increase in uncertainty means the odds of a bad growth outcome have gone up. Since inflation is not an immediate concern, that means keeping interest rates low. Not only are higher interest rates imprudent in the current economic environment but by raising them the Fed also runs the risk of appearing callous. So, while the pause is not coming this week, Mr Greenspan and his colleagues must strike an uncharacteristically conciliatory tone in their coming public statements. This will prepare everyone for the possibility that their interest rate target will not change when they meet on November 1. Good risk management demands it. The writer is professor of economics at Brandeis University's International Business School FT Monday September 19 2005

Subject: Paul Krugman's latest statement
From: Mik
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 16:57:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Oyi... Krugman's latest article includes the statement, 'Under George W. Bush - who, like Mr. Reagan, isn't personally racist but relies on the support of racists - the anti-government right has reached a new pinnacle of power.' Ouch... that is very controversial. Who exactly are the 'racists' that Bush relies on. I think this kind of statement (whether true or not) is guaranteed to inflame way too many people. Krugman should be carefuly about his political remarks. He is after all an economics expert and I would prefer it if he stuck to economics issues and leave the political hot potatoes to others. This kind of statement will do little in building Krugman's economics credibility among some conservatives. Where we could have conservatives actually listen to the economic sense Krugman puts forward we may have them neglecting him altogether based on his political statements. This article is definately an article contributing to the divide among liberals and conservatives. Don't forget, conservatives (particularly voters) are in the majority in the USA. Shocking them with these kinds of statements won't get them to switch sides. I'm afraid it will do the opposite and we really need more liberal voters.

Subject: Ever hear of the Southern Strategy???
From: Erica
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 09:54:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
PK was clearly referencing the Southern Strategy. In the 60's, Dems voted for Civil Rights. When that happened, Democrats in the South switched sides becoming Republicans. The whispers I am sure, and in some locales, they probably didn't even whisper it, was Democrats are nigger lovers. It's harsh, but true. Republicans used race to divide people and to get them to vote against their economic interest. Today, that still holds true. I have said to my Republican, Southern sister-in-law that she is voting based on race but not on common sense. As a person who has lived for 8 years in the south and the rest of my life in the midwest, I can attest to the fact that racism is alive and well in the South. Someone said that Bush is hardly a racist. Well we don't know that, we can't say for sure and unless you are black and living in this country, you have no idea what blacks experience. And my husband works with a Right wing Christian Republican who said and I quote, 'The niggers got what they deserved.' (In New Orleans) People need to wake up in this country. The Republican party is full of racist bigots. And who the hell are white people to tell black people what they should and shouldn't feel about racism. PK was right that Bush relied on racists to get him into office. Just because you all can't deal with it doesn't mean it's not true.

Subject: True or not - is not the issue
From: Mik
To: Erica
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 10:41:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Whether or not Bush relied on racists is not the issue. There are many Republican supporters (if not the majority) who are not racists but they are voting for a system that is getting progressively worse. The problem is that the Republicans are able to convince the majority of Americans that they are doing what is best. Floating words of racism only fuels more anger. What about those Republicans who are not racist and who firmly believe in the open principles of the Republican Party. They will resent a cloud of racism being placed over their actions and they will fight back. If you haven't noticed, the Republicans are better than the Democrats at throwing dirt. PK has just given them another huge lump of dirt to throw. If one is to throw accusations of racism, you better be prepared to be very specific (as to who is a racist) with very clear evidence of the racist actions. Talking about 'hear-say' statements of the 'Right wing Christian Republican' or about some 'hear-say' whispers will get you no where and only be thrown back in your face. I am a firm believer that the Republicans got the upper hand simply because the Democrats lack the discipline to stay on message and keep that message clear, concise and factual. In my opinion PK's latest statement only does harm to the liberal cause and gives more fuel to the right wing cause. And then you sit back and wonder, 'How come did the majority of Floridians (and Americans) vote for Bush? How did they get away with the fact that WMD was a lie, unemployment has increased, the rich have become significantly richer under the tax breaks, the country is in outrageous debt and there is no actual plan to get out of this situation.' Liberals need to start improving their discipline and working more as a team rather than a bunch of radical statements that give more and more fuel to the Republican cause. PK was doing incredible good with cutting through the economic crap of the right wing. That is is the part he should play if we are ever going to turn this tide.

Subject: I am beginning to wonder if you have one
From: Erica
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 11:17:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I guess I don't understand what you are saying Mik. You are saying that even if it's true, PK shouldn't say it. On one hand you say Dems don't stay on message on the other hand you are telling PK to shut up even if what he's saying is the truth. In case you haven't noticed, the truth is all Democrats have right now. And you say: What about those Republicans who are not racist and who firmly believe in the open principles of the Republican Party Yes, what about those Republicans who know that their party is filled with racists and sit back and do nothing about it? Actually, thank God for them. They are the reason 90 percent of black voters vote for Democrats. Also, you say Floridians voted for Bush. Well I am afraid you would have to go a long way to actually prove to me that Florida or Ohio voted for Bush. I happen to think the election was stolen, but that's a whole new topic. Even black leaders are now saying that we need to have an honest dialogue about race in this country. Parsing our words hardly seems honest. On one hand you say you think Republicans are better at getting out their message and on the other hand you are telling PK not to rock the boat. No wonder Democrats have a reputation of being pussies. We need to speak truth to power and censoring one of most prominent columnist, tying his hands behind his back so as not to upset the Republicans makes little sense. Republicans aren't going to vote Democrat, no matter what we do. But you know who will? Blacks. And we need to address issues that affect them and we need to do that often.

Subject: Re: I am beginning to wonder if you have one
From: Mik
To: Erica
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 16:46:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
No you missed the point. Go back to my original message. Making a blanket statement such as 'Bush is backed by racists' is not only a flawed statement but also lacks any form of solid proof. As I stated before, if Fox news has to ask PK, 'Be more specific, who exactly are you calling a racist? Dick Chenney? Condoleeza Rice? Donald Rumsfeld?...?' We have no proof that anyone specific is a racist. Hence the statement is flawed and PK looks like a fool, particularly in the eyes of the right wing. This kind of statement should not have been made even if there is an element of truth to it. It should not have been made by an economics specialist who's economic fundamentals can now be discredited by his political views. Especially when it is so important that those economic fundamentals prove such a big role in undermining the stupidity of the right-wing-supply-side economists. You made a statement that, 'Republicans aren't going to vote Democrat, no matter what we do.' Well I hate to break this to you - with or without the Black vote - so long as Republican supporters have faith in the Republican party - The Republican Party will continue to rule. The only way to break that faith is to present bold clear facts about mis-rule and get the swing vote to work. By presenting hear-say statements like, 'Bush is supported by racists' not only shows an in ability to remain disciplined, but worst of all is easy ammunition for the Republicans to ensure that the swing vote stay on their side.

Subject: Sorry Mik, but your premise has no merit
From: Erica
To: Mik
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:50:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sorry Mik, your statement doesn't wash:so long as Republican supporters have faith in the Republican party - The Republican Party will continue to rule In fact, Dems have more registered voters than Rebublicans. And as I have said before, I doubt the validity of the 2000 and 2004 elections. And if Krugman was asked about the racists comment he would just say 'The southern strategy' And it is true because just recently the head of the RNC apologized publicly for that very strategy, even though they will continue to use it and we all know it. Your whole theory that Democrats shouldn't say controversial things because it doesn't help us win elections is completely debunked when you look at the horrible things Republicans say about Democrats. We have been demonized by them. Their horrible rhetoric actually managed to make Kerry, a war hero, look like a sissy, while Bush the deserter came out on top. So I am just not buying your theory. Also, here's some interesting things about the 2004 election: In order to believe that George Bush won the November 2, 2004 presidential election, you must also believe all of the following extremely improbable or outright impossible things.(1) 1) A big turnout and a highly energized and motivated electorate favored the GOP instead of the Democrats for the first time in history.(2) 2) Even though first-time voters, lapsed voters (those who didn’t vote in 2000), and undecideds went for John Kerry by big margins, and Bush lost people who voted for him in the cliffhanger 2000 election, Bush still received a 3.5 million vote surplus nationally.(3) 3) The fact that Bush far exceeded the 85% of registered Florida Republicans’ votes that he got in 2000, receiving in 2004 more than 100% of the registered Republican votes in 47 out of 67 Florida counties, 200% of registered Republicans in 15 counties, and over 300% of registered Republicans in 4 counties, merely shows Floridians’ enthusiasm for Bush. He managed to do this despite the fact that his share of the crossover votes by registered Democrats in Florida did not increase over 2000 and he lost ground among registered Independents, dropping 15 points.(4) 4) The fact that Bush got more votes than registered voters, and the fact that by stark contrast participation rates in many Democratic strongholds in Ohio and Florida fell to as low as 8%, do not indicate a rigged election.(5) 5) Bush won re-election despite approval ratings below 50% - the first time in history this has happened. Truman has been cited as having also done this, but Truman’s polling numbers were trailing so much behind his challenger, Thomas Dewey, pollsters stopped surveying two months before the 1948 elections, thus missing the late surge of support for Truman. Unlike Truman, Bush’s support was clearly eroding on the eve of the election.(6) 6) Harris' last-minute polling indicating a Kerry victory was wrong (even though Harris was exactly on the mark in their 2000 election final poll).(7) 7) The “challenger rule” - an incumbent’s final results won’t be better than his final polling - was wrong;(8) 8) On election day the early-day voters picked up by early exit polls (showing Kerry with a wide lead) were heavily Democratic instead of the traditional pattern of early voters being mainly Republican. 9) The fact that Bush “won” Ohio by 51-48%, but this was not matched by the court-supervised hand count of the 147,400 absentee and provisional ballots in which Kerry received 54.46% of the vote doesn’t cast any suspicion upon the official tally.(9) 10) Florida computer programmer Clinton Curtis (a life-long registered Republican) must be lying when he said in a sworn affidavit that his employers at Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) and Tom Feeney (general counsel and lobbyist for YEI, GOP state legislator and Jeb Bush’s 1994 running mate for Florida Lt. Governor) asked him in 2000 to create a computer program to undetectably alter vote totals. Curtis, under the initial impression that he was creating this software in order to forestall possible fraud, handed over the program to his employer Mrs. Li Woan Yang, and was told: “You don’t understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in south Florida.” (Boldface in original).(10) 11) Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell’s declaration in a August 14, 2003 letter to GOP fundraisers that he was 'committed to helping Ohio to deliver its electoral votes to the president next year' and the fact that Diebold is one of the three major suppliers of the electronic voting machines in Ohio and nationally, didn’t result in any fraud by Diebold. 12) There was no fraud in Cuyahoga County Ohio where they admitted counting the votes in secret before bringing them out in public to count.. 13) CNN reported at 9 p.m. EST on election evening that Kerry was leading by 3 points in the national exit polls based on well over 13,000 respondents. Several hours later at 1:36 a.m. CNN reported that the exit polls, now based on a few hundred more - 13,531 respondents - were showing Bush leading by 2 points, a 5-point swing. In other words, a swing of 5 percentage points from a tiny increase in the number of respondents somehow occurred despite it being mathematically impossible.(11) 14) Exit polls in the November 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections, paid for in part by the Bush administration, were right, but exit polls in the U.S., where exit polling was invented, were very wrong.(12) 15) The National Election Pool’s exit polls (13) were so far off that since their inception twenty years ago, they have never been this wrong, more wrong than statistical probability indicates is possible. 16) In every single instance where exit polls were wrong the discrepancy favored Bush, even though statistical probability tells us that any survey errors should show up in both directions. Half a century of polling and centuries of mathematics must be wrong.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement
From: rlk
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 15:28:55 (EDT)
Email Address: nozdrev1@yahoo.com

Message:
I agree that it is hard to really say that Bush acts upon racism. The US has never had a serious labor party, unlike all of the advanced European countries. This exceptionalism has been noted for a long time, and I, for one am not sure that it is due to racism. God, Bush is not very competent; i hardly think that his response to the hurricane was anything out of the ordinary or should be associated with racism. and why is the us so conservative: perhaps heterogeniety has something to do with it; we do not feel that we should be supporting our neighbors; there is probably something to be said for krugman along those lines.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement
From: RL
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 04:49:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
totally agree. It was unnecessarily inflammatory there but hey! also says Bush is not racist I think is the best compliment he ever said of him ;)

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement
From: David E..
To: Mik
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 17:42:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The republicans have a strategy that has worked. Why not point out how repugnant the strategy is? Why do republican candidates go to Bob Jones University? Why does Barbara Bush think that Katrina evacuees are better off in Houston? If it isn't racism, it's class distinctions. Why can't the democrats point out how radical the republicans are? There is a big difference between a democrat and republican then. But if we don't make those distinctions, the subtle remaining distinctions won't get anybody elected. The republicans will attack Paul on this one, but their attacks will not do any explaining why so Bob Jones University is so important. And their silence on why will speak loudly to those who do not hate negroes.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement
From: Mik
To: David E..
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:38:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I agree, but don't go around calling anyone racist. I asked the distinct question, 'Who exactly is the racist supporting Bush?' Can you see the problem now? If Krugman was asked by Fox TV to be more specific, he would open himself up to being discrdited, no matter what his answer is. Rather focus purely on the Republican bad strategy using factual statements.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement
From: David E..
To: Mik
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 21, 2005 at 17:31:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I don't get your premise. Krugman never said Reagan or Bush was a racist. He said the republican party relies on racist support. Don't let Fox TV distort what he said, ask right back why do republican presidents start their campaigns with a visit to a racist college. There is no good answer to that question. Ask what does Barbara Bush mean by 'underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them'. Why should we help them cover up their pandering to the racists? Why can't we pin their hides to the wall? Do you think they cut us any slack?

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's latest statement
From: Erica
To: David E..
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 10:53:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Nicely said David.

Subject: How You Line Up for Mickey
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 15:41:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/weekinreview/18fountain.html September 18, 2005 The Ultimate Body Language: How You Line Up for Mickey By HENRY FOUNTAIN HONG KONG DISNEYLAND, the second Disney foray into Asia, is known to some in the theme park business as Disney Lite. At a little more than 300 acres, it's far smaller than Disney parks in the United States, Japan and France, with fewer of the elaborate signature rides. But in one area, at least, the Hong Kong park more than holds its own: the lines. In several weeks of trial runs leading up to the official opening last week, parkgoers complained of waits of over two hours for some attractions. One visitor said that in 12 hours at the park, he went on all of four rides. While many problems were no doubt attributable to the newness of the place and its employees - the first few weeks being the worst time to visit any theme park - the waits led some Hong Kong officials to urge Disney to reduce the planned number of daily customers, currently 30,000. And the delays sparked cultural complaints in Internet discussion groups, with some Hong Kong residents saying the problems were made worse by pushing and shoving by mainland Chinese visitors unaccustomed to orderly waiting. There are, in fact, cultural differences in how people behave while in line, according to social scientists and park designers. Those differences have even led to physical changes in so-called queuing areas at some parks. Rongrong Zhou, an assistant professor of marketing at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the differences went beyond a Hong Kong-mainland split. Ms. Zhou, who has studied the psychology of queuing in Hong Kong, although not at theme parks, said there was a tendency among Asians and others in more collective cultures to compare their situation with those around them. This may make it more likely that they will remain in a line even if it is excessively long. Ms. Zhou said this finding was rooted in a somewhat paradoxical observation: that it is the people behind a person in line, rather than in front, that determines the person's behavior. 'The likelihood of people giving up and leaving the queue is lower when they see more people behind them,' Ms. Zhou said. 'You feel like you are in a better position than the others behind you.' By contrast, she said, Americans and others in more individualistic societies make fewer 'social comparisons' of this sort. They don't necessarily feel better that more people are behind them, but feel bad if too many people are in front of them. Lines in these cultures tend to be more self-limiting. In a place like Hong Kong, however, the lines may just grow and grow. 'The longer the line, people think the service is more worthwhile to get,' Ms. Zhou said. Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said that in the first few weeks of the Hong Kong park's operation, officials have noticed more specific differences between Hong Kong visitors and those from the mainland. About 25 percent of Hong Kong residents, Mr. Rasulo said, had already visited a Disney theme park. As a result, he said, they 'seem a little more respectful.' Visitors from mainland China, where only 1 percent have visited a Disney park, are still trying to figure out how lines work. 'They are not as impulsive' as some of their peers in Europe, he said, but they also are not as patient as the Japanese. Europeans, Mr. Rasulo added, 'have very different attitudes about how they wait for things.' At the Disneyland Resort Paris, while British visitors are orderly, French and Italians 'never saw a line they couldn't be in front of.' After the French park opened, Mr. Rasulo said, the company made the lines narrower by moving handrails closer together to try to prevent people from pushing ahead of others. He said the Peter Pan attraction at the Paris park was so popular that it is the only Peter Pan ride in all of Disney's parks to have Fastpass, which allows people to come back at a specific time and is an effective way to control pushy crowds. Peter Alexander, a former Disney and Universal Studios theme park designer who at one time was director of project management for Tokyo Disneyland, said that most cultures are tolerant of waiting, though some more than others. The Japanese, said Mr. Alexander, who is now president of Totally Fun Company, a park design firm in Tampa, Fla., are among the most patient. 'They are very Eastern mystical in their ignoring everybody else, and that's why they are able to deal with long lines,' he said. And forget cutting in line at Tokyo Disneyland, where people spread out large mats along the parade route to reserve their spot hours beforehand. No one, Mr. Rasulo said, steps on the mats, and children wait patiently there with their parents until the parade begins. 'The only place where I have been consistently advised that people can't stand to wait in line is the Middle East,' Mr. Alexander said. The solution at theme parks in that region, he said, is to increase ride capacity so that little or no waiting is necessary. The other parks where people don't have to wait in line are the ones that are failures, Mr. Alexander said. He described one, Walibi Schtroumpf, a Smurf-themed park in eastern France, that attracted less than half of its projected two million visitors a year. 'You don't wait in line at Walibi Schtroumpf,' Mr. Alexander said, 'because there's nobody there.'

Subject: A Congress, Buried in Turkey's Sand
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 15:37:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/19/international/europe/19patara.html September 19, 2005 A Congress, Buried in Turkey's Sand By RICHARD BERNSTEIN PATARA, Turkey - Alexander the Great was here, and so was Saint Paul, on his way to Ephesus. Centuries later, the drafters of the American Constitution took the ancient Lycian League, which was based here, as an early example - in fact, it was history's earliest example - of the form of republican government they envisaged as well. The Lycian League was mentioned twice in the Federalist Papers, once by Alexander Hamilton, once by James Madison, so it could safely be said that it entered into the history of the formation of the United States. Now, after literally centuries of neglect, teams of Turkish and German archaeologists have been working under the hot sun of this small Mediterranean seacoast town, uncovering some of its treasures. Among them, liberated from the many hundreds of truckloads of sand that covered it, is the actual parliament building where the elected representatives of the Lycian League met. It has rows of stone seats arranged in a semicircle, like the chambers of the American Congress. Its stone-vaulted main entrances are intact, and so is the thronelike perch where the elected Lyciarch, the effective president of the League, sat. The discovery has excited the archaeologists, and some others as well. 'It blew my mind to find out that the parliament building of the first federation in history, which served as an inspiration for the framers our own Constitution, was being excavated 15 minutes from my house on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey,' said Stephen J. Solarz, the former congressman from Brooklyn. Like a few hundred other foreigners who are attracted to this relatively undiscovered spot of turquoise waters, rocky coves and cerulean skies, Mr. Solarz and his wife, Nina, built a house in town nearby and spend a couple of months of the year there. They have become informal patrons of the archaeological project, and hope to persuade the United States Congress to sponsor a celebration here in 2007, the 220th anniversary of the framing of the American Constitution. But other things make Patara important besides the inadvertent role it played in the creation of the United States. It is often said of Turkey that it has more Greek ruins than Greece. But Patara is a Greek ruin, a Roman one and a Byzantine one as well, which is what makes the site, buried in sand for centuries, an important newcomer to the Turkish archaeological scene, likely to take its place alongside Troy, Pergamon or Ephesus as one of the most important ones. 'It's very exciting,' said Fahri Isik, a professor of archaeology from Akdeniz University in Antalya who is in charge of the dig. In fact, Mr. Isik is hopeful that further excavations will not only increase knowledge of the Lycian League but also help illuminate what are often referred to as the 'dark ages,' of early Mediterranean history, the 12th to the 8th centuries B.C., about which very little is known. 'It's nice to have beautiful buildings,' he said, drinking mint tea a few hundred yards from the ancient Patara parliament, 'but we hope that we'll be able to learn some new things as well.' Mentioned in the 'Iliad,' Patara was a port city that was used by the Persians in the fifth century B.C. during the Persian Wars, written about by Thucydides. One of the archaeological expedition's major findings so far is the impressive ruins of an ancient lighthouse, which guided ships crossing the wine-dark sea to its harbor two millennia ago. The Lycian League itself had some 23 known city-states as members, which sent one, two or three representatives, depending on the city's size, to the newly uncovered parliament, or Bouleuterion, as it was called. Inscriptions uncovered at the site provide the names of the various Lyciarchs who sat in special seats about midway up the semicircular chamber. Later, it was a province in the Roman Empire. An inscription uncovered by archaeologists at the ruins of an immense granary, which has also been dug out of the sand in recent times, indicates that the Emperor Hadrian and his wife, Sabine, visited Patara in the spring of 131 A.D. It ceased being a federation in the fourth century A.D., when it was taken over by the Byzantines. 'The whole of international life was here, both in the Roman times and in the time of the Lycian Federation,' said Joachim Ganzert, a professor of Architecture History from Hanover University who, with a team of German students, worked all summer in Patara. 'It will have a similar importance to Ephesus and Pergamon, but the work here has only been going on for 15 years,' he said. 'In Pergamon, they recently celebrated the 110th anniversary of the start of the excavation.' Though Patara has been visited by archaeologists for 200 or more years, a serious, painstaking excavation of the site started only recently, partly because it is an especially difficult place, afflicted with shifting sands, vegetation that runs riot in the fall rainy season and water that seeps in from the nearby Mediterranean. Money is also needed, most urgently to preserve the many stone inscriptions that, no longer buried by sand, face the danger of erosion. But now trucks go to and from Patara, carrying sand away - 5,000 truckloads from the lighthouse alone - and cranes lift immense carved stone blocks out of the ruins so they can be labeled, studied and eventually put back into place in reconstructions of the ancient buildings. 'You couldn't see anything here in the 1980's, only the tops of a few stones,' Gül Isin, an archaeologist from Akdeniz University who serves as a sort of aide-de-camp to Mr. Isik. The town itself, with just a few modest guesthouses, is largely isolated from the package-tour hustle-bustle of the nearby Turkish coast, even though it is home to a pristine white-sand beach, itself a protected nesting ground for sea turtles. 'But we've made a lot of progress,' Ms. Isin said. An impressive necropolis, a Roman bath, a large semicircular theater, a broad main avenue leading to the agora, or market square, a Byzantine basilica (one of 22 churches that were once in Patara) and a fortified wall have been largely rescued from the sand and scrub brush so far. Of course, there is also the parliament building, linking this dusty place to the United States, 7,000 miles and 1,800 years into the future.

Subject: Don’t blame the savers
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 05:49:59 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Don’t blame the savers Sep 16th 2005 From The Economist Global Agenda Some economists argue that the imbalances in the world economy can be blamed, in part, on a glut of savings from developing countries gushing into American assets. New reports from the IMF and the World Bank say the problem lies elsewhere AMERICAN conservatives are fond of prescribing personal responsibility as a cure for the financial ills of the poor. There is a certain amount of pleasure, therefore, in seeing America’s fiscal profligacy chided for contributing to the imbalances that currently threaten the health of the world economy. That is precisely the verdict of the newly released chapter on savings and investment in the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook. The document highlights the danger posed by the world economy’s heavy dependence on ravenous American consumers to snap up exports from the rest of the world. To be sure, it is hard to be too gloomy. Though Europe has been sluggish and the global economy hasn’t quite lived up to last year’s lively pace of growth, world GDP is still growing at an above-average clip. Even Japan, stuck in an economic quagmire for the past decade, has begun looking perky. But dark clouds have been gathering on the horizon for some time. Emerging-market economies, particularly in Asia, are running high current-account surpluses, keeping their economic fires stoked with a steady stream of exports, especially to America. In mirror image, America’s current-account deficits have soared past 5% of GDP. Household savings have dwindled to negligible levels as Americans have run down assets and taken on debt to keep the spending binge going. Yet if the American consumer falters, as things stand now, the rest of the world will tumble too. Moreover, economists are increasingly worried that America’s economic health (and by extension the world’s) rests on a housing market that looks decidedly bubbly. When the bubble bursts, they fear, the whole thing could come crashing down. But if economists are agreed that America’s debt levels are dangerous, they cannot agree on whom to blame. Economists with little time for the Bush administration point the finger at the government’s profligate budget deficits—predicted to be roughly $330 billion in 2005—which run down national savings. The administration’s supporters prefer to point to spendthrift consumers and the frothy housing market, and argue that a “global savings glut” is pouring excess capital from abroad, particularly Asia, into America’s financial markets. This, they say, is why long-term interest rates have remained low even as the Federal Reserve has progressively tightened monetary policy. America is not the only country where savings have fallen. Worldwide savings began declining in the late 1990s, hitting bottom in 2002. They have recovered only modestly since then. The drop is mainly due to industrial countries, where savings and investment have been on a downward trend since the 1970s, thanks to a sharp decline in personal savings that an increase in corporate savings failed to offset. Savings in emerging markets and oil-producing countries have risen over that period, but not enough to reverse the trend. So why the sudden talk of a savings glut? And even if there is a surplus, why is it flowing the “wrong way”—from the developing world, where returns on capital should be higher, to more mature economies like America? The IMF report offers an explanation. What the world is suffering from is not so much a savings glut as an investment deficit, in both rich and poor countries. In emerging markets and oil-exporting nations, still feeling the lingering effects of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, demand for capital has failed to keep up with supply. Scrimping consumers have instead sent their money to the West. The IMF’s figures suggest that this is not as irrational as it seems. Though in theory returns on capital should be much higher in the developing world, where economies remain labour-intensive, in practice the story is more complicated. Emerging markets saw a return on aggregate capital of 13.3% over the 1994-2003 period, compared with 7.8% in the G7 group of industrialised nations. But investments in emerging markets are riskier, because their economies tend to be more volatile and their institutions weaker. Moreover, the return on aggregate capital may not be a good guide to the returns that investors can actually expect. Growth could be concentrated in smaller firms that are harder to invest in, for instance, or the data could be unreliable. Indeed, the IMF’s analysis suggests that the internal rate of return on invested capital in publicly traded firms in emerging markets has been very poor over the past decade, even before currency risk is taken into account. But investment has fallen in the rich world too: the rivers of capital have flowed not directly into businesses but into markets for consumer and government credit, where they are presumably doing little to increase the recipient economy’s ability to repay the loans in the future. That means consumer retrenchment when interest rates rise or the bills come due, which will hurt emerging markets if they do not work harder to generate domestic demand, instead of relying on exports for growth. A better way to crunch the numbers So what is the cure? Lower savings rates in emerging markets? That would be a disaster, according to a new report from the World Bank, “Where is the Wealth of Nations?”. Many developing countries, says the Bank, are already saving too little, if you do the figures right. Traditionally, national saving is calculated as simply national income minus consumption. But this, the Bank argues, ignores important underlying changes in the productive capacity of the society. Should education, for example, be counted as consumption, or as an investment in human capital that will enable the nation to produce more in future years? On the flip side, every dollar earned by selling finite natural resources like oil or diamonds represents an incremental decrease in the country’s ability to generate wealth in coming years. If you account for things like this, says the Bank, a lot of developing countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, are running down wealth at a fast pace—though in Asia, even with those adjustments, savings rates are still high. Like the World Bank, the IMF does not think lower savings rates in developing countries are the answer. It identifies several other things that could make a difference: higher national savings in the United States, an investment recovery in Asia, and an increase in real GDP growth in Japan and Europe. Easy to say, difficult to pull off. Raising interest rates would, the IMF concedes, have only a limited effect on America’s savings rate. Balancing the budget would do more, but there seems to be little political will to tell Americans they must pay for their government programmes. Across the Atlantic, European governments are finding it hard to make the kind of structural reforms that could boost their sluggish growth rates, and the European Central Bank has remained unwilling to provide monetary stimulus by cutting rates. Nor has Japan’s government, despite the signs of fledgling recovery, yet found a formula for boosting its long-term growth rate. It is easier to diagnose the illness than effect a cure. http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4400014

Subject: Re: Don’t blame the savers
From: Emma
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 12:00:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is an especially important essay asking us to reconsider how wealth is generated. Worth lots of thought.

Subject: Re: Don’t blame the savers
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 16:33:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is one topic the essay mentioned but did not explore further: The statement, 'That means consumer retrenchment when interest rates rise or the bills come due, which will hurt emerging markets if they do not work harder to generate domestic demand, instead of relying on exports for growth.' I believe there is tremendous room for improving the domestic demand for products in developing countries if only they apply good economic principles internally. I firmly believe that wealth is way too concentrated among too few in all developing countries. A re-distribution program needs to be implemented within all countries. Unfortunately the idea of wealth re-distribution raises concerns of Marxist or Che Gevara style economic ideas, and we all know those ideas are a disaster. South Africa is implementing what may in fact be the blue print for good economics and good wealth distribution. They implemented laws of affirmative action requiring companies to employ 'previously disadvantaged' or poor people. Companies of different sizes have certain quotas to fill or face tax penalties. The idea was at first received with much hatred. But as time went by, most companies have come to realise the benefits of employing 'cheaper' labour and training the labour. Within a period of about 7 years, the economically active population grew from 6 million to 10 million. This in turn has broadened the economic base of the country and creates a snow ball effect. In essence it is good sense to forcibly make poor people richer so that they can buy your products. Uhmmm if memory serves me, this is what Henry Ford once said, 'I want to pay my people enough so that they can afford my cars.' The trick is how do you generate domestic demand? Well... how creative are you? How much time and effort are you willing to put into studying a particular market to find all its problems and suggest solutions?... particularly when those solutions may become political hot-potatoes? The World Bank and the IMF have been actively working on this... and there has already been much success.... but still a long way to go.

Subject: Re: Don’t blame the savers
From: Poyetas
To: Mik
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 04:55:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Wow, The IMF and World Bank are actually doing something POSITIVE for a change!! Very interesting report. I agree completely. The question is: will this increased domestic demand be a substitute for exports or just a compliment? If it just compliments existing exports, the USA is gonna lose out, big time.

Subject: Re: Don’t blame the savers
From: Mik
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 11:31:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is an organization called the Monitor Group. They undertook an economic study into a series of Developing Countries. They then made an interesting statement, 'Before a developing country can become internationally competitive it must become domestically competitive.' This is a profound statement. In other words the domestic economies must be put right, first. We need to get good economics working and proper supply and demand working in most developing countries. With the correct systems in place, the domestic demand will sore. If not in place, they will remaining processing batch plants for foreigners. In the long run it will hurt everyone.

Subject: NY Times
From: Mike
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 23:56:25 (EDT)
Email Address: arnold4@pacbell.net

Message:
NY Times to charge to get net access to op-ed columnists. There goes the neighborhood.

Subject: Re: NY Times
From: Larry
To: Mike
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 14:16:11 (EDT)
Email Address: theorist1@hotmail.com

Message:
I was suprised, but not shocked, to find out that I can no longer read Paul Krugman, at the NY Times site, for free!! Is there any other site that posts his columns? I hope they gave Paul a raise, or at least a kick-back from the new subscribers. Sorry, but I won't be one of them.

Subject: Re: NY Times
From: Ted Compton
To: Mike
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 13:05:26 (EDT)
Email Address: TedCompton@cox.net

Message:
What a stroke of genius! Not only will this raise revenue for The Times, it should reduce the spread of criticism of the administration in the Op/Ed columns but not the more controlled news articles. When other newspapers follow, I can get all the opinion I need from my local Knight Ridder paper.

Subject: Re: NY Times
From: RL
To: Ted Compton
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 20, 2005 at 04:52:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Re: NY Times
From: Yann
To: Mike
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 04:18:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yes Mike, what a pity! Economists will reply: 'There is no free lunch'! Fortunately PK's columns are available on the site, for the moment...

Subject: 'Class Matters': Money Changes Things
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 13:33:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/books/review/18wolfe.html September 18, 2005 'Class Matters': Money Changes Everything By ALAN WOLFE If Horatio Alger were writing today, his heroine would be a woman named Angela Whitiker. Whitiker first came to the attention of New York Times readers in 1993, when the reporter Isabel Wilkerson wrote about her son Nicholas, then 10, and his struggle to avoid the gangs of urban Chicago. Twelve years later, Wilkerson returned to the Whitiker family as part of the paper's series on class in America, now published in book form as 'Class Matters.' Nicholas, it turns out, failed to do much with his life. But his mother succeeded beyond almost anyone's dreams, including her own. Thirty-eight, with six kids and an additional stepchild, she left behind the notorious Robert Taylor Homes of her past to earn $83,000 a year as a registered nurse. Her income, impressive as it sounds, leaves little over for luxury, but she is confident that at least some of her children will have a head start in securing a position in the middle class. Jeff Martinelli's life went in the other direction. Bypassing college for a well-paying job at Kaiser Aluminum as a 20-year-old, Martinelli stayed with the company for nearly 30 years, until the Spokane, Wash., plant where he worked closed down in 2001. Without a college credential, he did not have much chance of finding comparable work, and ended up exterminating bugs in people's homes at half the $60,000 salary he earned at Kaiser. Although he feels lucky to have a job at all, he knows that his son, Caleb, is unlikely to taste the joys of middle-class status that his father once knew. Class (and with it, race) will always be with us; not even the most Candide-like economist could deny that your chances of surviving Hurricane Katrina depended on whether you had sufficient financial resources to own a car. True, some will always move up as others move down, although in recent years Americans, who pride themselves on their upward mobility, have experienced a considerable amount of the downward variety. 'Class Matters' aims to do what novelists like Dreiser and Fitzgerald and satirists like Veblen once did: to get us thinking about the ways in which money and social status influence who we are. So the stories told here bring the lives of actual people to bear on statistics and social science theorizing. Anthony DePalma recounts the intertwined tale of two immigrants, John Zannikos and Juan Manuel Peralta. They shared more than a first name; both arrived illegally in the United States, spoke little English and were determined to make a better life for themselves than they would have had in Greece or Mexico. But Zannikos came in 1953, at the start of the long postwar boom, while Peralta crossed the border in 1990 in a more difficult economy. Peralta worked in one of Zannikos's diners until his temper got the better of him. 'To him,' DePalma writes, 'jobs are interchangeable - just as he is to the jobs. If he cannot find work as a grillman, he will bus tables. Or wash dishes. If not at one diner, then at another.' Karl Marx told us that society would split into two classes; today we have as many as there are yogurts. Consider the many flavors of the rich. Only in America - more properly only on 'nature's ultimate gated community,' as Geraldine Fabrikant describes Nantucket - can old-money aristocrats become objects of sympathy. It may not be an American tragedy to witness a tycoon buying up the six-bedroom manse you inherited from your grandparents to make space for his wine cellar, but in such ways do the ultrarich differ from the merely rich. You cannot tell the richer class from the middle class by what its members wear, drive or eat. Godiva chocolates are available to the financially strapped secretary on her way to that naturally ungated community called Staten Island. The cruise ship, yesterday's supreme status symbol, features onboard climbing walls for children whose parents sign up to shop at the discount outlets in the Virgin Islands. The actual class markers are those you rarely see; there are 9,000 personal chefs in America these days, compared with 400 a decade ago. Some class mobility in America is neither up nor down but sideways. Peter T. Kilborn relates the travails of Kathy Link, whom he found in Alpharetta, Ga., about to move her family to Charlotte, N. C. Alpharetta cannot escape the realities of class; its $400,000 homes are too expensive for telephone repairmen and assistant supermarket managers. But it is also classless in a particularly exurban way. Kathy, an 'executive Gypsy,' sits in the same traffic jams as all the other wanderers from soccer matches to tennis lessons. The first substantive article featured in both the original New York Times series and in 'Class Matters' is the most poignant: Janny Scott's story of three heart attacks. Jean Miele, a well-to-do architect, survived his relatively successfully; 'time is muscle,' heart surgeons say, and Miele, rushed to a world-class hospital, saved the one and preserved the other. Will Wilson, an office worker for Consolidated Edison, received angioplasty and a stent, but only after originally being taken to a hospital that offered neither. Ewa Rynczak Gora, an immigrant from Poland working as a maid, was the unluckiest of the three; after neglecting her own health, she was not well served by visits to emergency rooms and treatments forgone because medical insurance would not cover them. Even before the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 offered stupendous breaks to the very rich, the United States was already transforming itself into a society in which merit counts - and in which merit is determined by what your parents earned and where your grandparents came from. Back when Americans still had a sense of shame, we called such morally arbitrary advantages unfair, sometimes even unjust. Now we ignore them in favor of debates about gay marriage or stem cells. 'Class Matters' seeks to change that and I, for one, hope it does. If its stories of unearned breaks and unwarranted misfortune do not make your blood boil, you probably left your social conscience on the ferry to Nantucket. Alan Wolfe is the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

Subject: 'Class Matters': Series of Articles
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 16:27:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/books/review/18wolfe.html September 18, 2005 'Class Matters': Money Changes Everything • Day 1: Overview • Day 2: Health • Day 3: Marriage • Day 4: Religion • Day 5: Education • Day 6: Immigration • Day 7: New Status Markers • Day 8: The 'Relo' Class • Day 9: The Hyper-Rich • Day 10: Class and Culture • Day 11: Up From the Projects [Superb series....]

Subject: What Really Happened at Bayou
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 07:18:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/17/business/17bayou.html?ex=1284609600&en=3ed7f281e683b8f5&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 17, 2005 What Really Happened at Bayou By GRETCHEN MORGENSON 'If there is a hell I will be there for eternity.' So reads a passage in the six-page 'suicide note and confession' written by Daniel E. Marino, chief financial officer of the Bayou Group, a hedge fund firm in Stamford, Conn., that was accused by federal prosecutors on Sept. 1 of conducting a $300 million fraud. The note, whose contents were confirmed by two officials who have seen it, answers in sometimes gripping detail the questions that have consumed Bayou's investors since the fund's problems exploded into view one month ago. Mr. Marino never followed through on his suicide threat, but the letter was recovered by local authorities last month. Of course, his account of years of deceit at Bayou is only one side of the story and some of the details remain unconfirmed, but prosecutors and law enforcement officials appear to be treating his letter as a crucial road map in their investigation. Indeed, the civil suit filed by the United States attorney against Bayou this month closely tracks the letter's details. Mr. Marino's narrative starts on the last trading day of December 1998, more than three years after Bayou was founded by Samuel Israel III, a scion of a commodity-trading family that is well known to Wall Street. On that final day of a tumultuous year in the markets - three months earlier, another hedge fund known as Long-Term Capital Management had nearly collapsed, causing widespread disruption in the financial world - Mr. Israel called two of his colleagues into a conference room. All three men knew the situation was dire at Bayou - the funds' losses had vastly overwhelmed their gains for more than two years. Something had to be done, and fast. The solution, devised by Mr. Israel and a lieutenant, James Marquez, was simple: produce a fake audit of the funds' performance and try to make up the losses next year. In the end, of course, the plan failed. The losses compounded and the results Bayou reported to its investors - several years of market-beating returns - were consistently false. So far, Bayou investors hoping to understand what happened to their money have been in the dark about what went on at the fund. But Mr. Marino's letter, along with an examination of Bayou's financial documents and interviews with many of Mr. Israel's friends and former colleagues fill in the missing pieces of the funds' startling collapse. Because almost everything that Bayou executives told investors over the years now appears to be false, it is perhaps not surprising that people who have known Mr. Israel for years say that the image he projected to his clients was more about what he hoped to be than what he actually was. For example, although he told his investors he was a third-generation trader, coming as he did from a family of successful commodities traders dating back to the 1890's, for much of his career on Wall Street he remained a low-level order taker who bounced from one obscure firm to another. And while Mr. Israel came off as a spirited, affable prankster to outsiders, to close associates he could be demeaning and threatening, even to the point of wielding a gun at Mr. Marino in 2002 when he refused to follow Mr. Israel's orders, according to Mr. Marino's letter. 'What is interesting about this is it was not just a lie, it was a very good and elaborate lie,' said John C. Siegesmund III, a Colorado investor who put $250,000 into one of the Bayou Funds in 2003. It is believed that Mr. Israel, 47, remains where he has been since the scandal broke: holed up in the 1920's-era stone mansion in Mount Kisco, N.Y., that he rents for $32,000 a month from Donald J. Trump. He has not returned numerous calls requesting interviews. His lawyer did not return phone calls. If Mr. Israel is indeed in Mount Kisco, he is not far from the elegant home on the grounds of the Westchester Country Club where he grew up. The house backed onto the third hole of the golf club's so-called south course, according to a friend of many years, who said, 'Sammy started out living large.' But if Mr. Israel hoped that his foray into hedge fund management would burnish his venerable family's reputation for savvy and successful securities trading, he appears to have failed spectacularly. In the slick and sometimes swashbuckling world of hedge funds, Mr. Israel and Mr. Marino, 46, were an odd but perfect pair. Mr. Israel, the product of Southern money and Tulane University merriment, boasted of his days among Wall Street's best while charming people as a wisecracker with a passion and edge for the markets. Mr. Marino, an accountant with a severe hearing problem and a lisp, bore neither pedigree nor power. In the mid-1980's, as he pursued his career in accounting, he lived with his mother in Staten Island, drove a leased maroon Maxima and worked for a second-tier accounting firm, according to one person who worked with him. Mr. Marino has not returned phone calls seeking comment. Andrew B. Bowman, a lawyer in Westport, Conn., who represents Mr. Marino, declined to comment about the letter or what took place at the fund. A lawyer for Mr. Marquez, Stan Twardy of Day Berry & Howard, said: 'Our communications on this topic are with the U.S. attorney's office only. To ensure the record is accurate, I will confirm that James Marquez has had no involvement in Bayou for years.' But for wealthy investors looking to dabble in the glamorous and promising world of hedge funds, Bayou's top two men offered an ideal balance: a big ego to make money and an accountant to keep it clean. 'If anyone got near anything, I would browbeat them away.' According to Mr. Marino's letter, none of Bayou's lower-level employees knew about the charade that began in 1998. Certainly both Mr. Israel and Mr. Marino knew that if Bayou's investors got wind of the funds' losses they would flee. And any hopes Mr. Israel may have had of adding his name to the list of savvy traders in his family would have been dashed. Mr. Israel knew only too well how quickly investors could turn on him. In the very early days of Bayou, investors had defected at the first sign of losses. A former hedge fund trader who spoke on the condition that he remain unidentified said that in mid-1996 he invested $150,000 in Bayou. But at the end of the year, he said he asked for his money back because the fund had fallen about 14 percent. Mr. Israel had a tendency not to communicate bad news, this person recalled. 'At first I got letters all the time, and the fund was up, and then I got no letters for a while and suddenly, the fund was down,' the former investor said. 'That was when I took the money out.' The 1998 attempt to recoup trading losses at Bayou was to involve two steps, according to the plan outlined in Mr. Marino's letter. First, Mr. Israel would raise fresh funds from investors and trade his way to outsized gains on that money. In addition, the commissions generated by the Bayou funds' trades - almost always executed by Bayou Securities, the brokerage firm owned by Mr. Israel - would be credited back to the funds to help offset the losses. Because Mr. Israel was known for his rapid-fire trading, the commissions would be high, Mr. Marino's letter said. But hiding a mountain of past losses from investors also meant that the fund's auditor had to be replaced. A new accounting firm - Richmond-Fairfield - was created to oversee the fake bookkeeping, prosecutors contend. Mr. Marino was the firm's principal. The plan, as described by Mr. Marino, certainly helps explain some of the unusual aspects of the Bayou Funds. For example, Mr. Israel did not charge his investors the traditional hedge fund management fees of 1 percent to 2 percent of assets. Instead he restricted his pay to 20 percent of the funds' gains. In addition, the minimum investment Mr. Israel required of his clients - $250,000 - was much smaller than is typical among hedge funds. Since Mr. Israel needed to attract more money to get out of the hole he was in, lower management fees and smaller minimum investments certainly could not hurt the funds' appeal to new investors. Indeed, some investors who bought into the funds in 2003 said that both were factors in their choice of Mr. Israel as a fund manager. With the plan in place, Bayou officials reported its 1998 performance to investors: a gain of 17.55 percent. December was an especially good month, fund officials said, showing a profit of 3.14 percent. Other aspects of Mr. Israel's career history and Bayou's operations were changed to enhance appearances or gloss over troubles. For example, while documents given to prospective investors in 2003 said that Mr. Israel started Bayou Funds in 1997, some early investors said the fund opened in 1996. It turned in a poor performance, however, possibly driving Mr. Israel to edit 1996 entirely from the Bayou record books. Clearly, Mr. Israel's claim to have been a 'born trader' was another fiction. According to Emanuel Gerard, for whom he worked briefly in 1990 at Gerard Klauer Mattison, Mr. Israel turned in better performances in down markets than up. Mr. Gerard said he invested a small amount of money in Bayou as a sort of hedge against a market fall, but that he redeemed his investment last year. As Mr. Israel set out to start Bayou in the mid-1990's, according to two of his former investors and longtime friends, he collaborated with Stanley P. Patrick, a quantitative stock trader, to develop a computerized trading strategy. In 1990, Mr. Patrick had been charged with trading on inside information provided by Eben P. Smith, a broker at Jeffer Management, an investment firm that was defunct by that time. The government asserted that Mr. Smith had received information from a former lawyer at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Mr. Patrick pleaded guilty to the charges and was barred from the securities industry in 1994. After Mr. Israel and Mr. Patrick created the trading strategy, the two men went their separate ways. Mr. Patrick could not be reached for comment. Another early investor was Martin Payson, the former vice chairman at Time Warner, who recalled in an interview last week that he knew and admired the Israel family. Mr. Payson had been on the board of Tulane University for 13 years and knew Mr. Israel's father. He said that he took the younger Mr. Israel to dinner in Manhattan and liked him. 'I don't think we even talked much about the fund,' he said. Mr. Payson said that he viewed the fund as an offset to the market. He did not redeem his investment; he said he had no idea there were problems and felt betrayed. Tremont Capital Management, a well-respected funds manager, invested in Bayou around 2000, according to people briefed on the investment, although it redeemed its investments around two years later. With clients like these, Mr. Israel became better known. Bayou's assets really started to grow in 2001 and 2002 when consulting firms and funds started recommending Bayou to their clients. And in 2002, John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Investments, an investment adviser in Arlington, Tex., wrote an admiring profile of Mr. Israel and his trading technique. Another consultant that recommended Bayou to its clients was the Hennessee Group of New York. Investors liked Mr. Israel's constant communications, via e-mail, about the markets and the progress of their investments. He was down to earth, not arrogant. He spoke plainly and didn't seem to fall for Wall Street fads. 'As we've written so many times, the new age stocks continue to ascend,' Mr. Israel wrote to investors in January 2000, just before the Nasdaq peaked. 'It is our job to stand ever at the ready to identify any cracks in the armor and to act when this mania ends.' But one aspect of Mr. Israel's operations did raise some concern among investors: The fact that his brokerage firm, Bayou Securities, executed all the hedge fund's trades put him in a position to profit at the expense of his fund clients. Shrewdly, Bayou's marketing materials tackled the potential for conflicts in the arrangement head-on. Although the goal of the setup was to reduce trading costs, the materials acknowledge that it could lead to higher costs and greater profits for Mr. Israel. By confronting the potential problem directly, Mr. Israel disarmed many critics. And to some investors, any concern about the conflict was more than offset by the fact that the brokerage firm was registered with securities regulators, and subject to routine and surprise examinations. In any case, the money flowed in and both Mr. Israel and Mr. Marino began living well off the seeming success of the hedge fund. Gone was Mr. Marino's beat-up Maxima and Staten Island address. In October 2003, he bought a six-bedroom colonial-style home in Westport for $2.9 million, paying mostly cash. Soon he was driving a Bentley. That same year, in the midst of divorce proceedings, Mr. Israel moved into the Mount Kisco estate built for H. J. Heinz, the ketchup magnate. 'The end was near.' Although Bayou's falsified returns looked great - market-beating gains of 26 percent in 1999, almost 20 percent in 2000 and 7 percent in 2001 - some of the consultants who had recommended the funds to their clients were becoming wary about aspects of its operations. By 2002, for example, Tremont withdrew its funds after noticing a sizable gap between returns on Bayou's offshore funds and its domestic portfolio, according to several people briefed on the investment. When Tremont asked officials at Bayou about the discrepancy, these people said they were told that Bayou had shifted profitable trades made in its United States funds to the offshore portfolios, in an attempt to increase the offshore funds' performance and attract more assets. Mr. Mauldin said he advised his clients to exit the funds in the summer of 2004. He declined to say why he changed his mind on Mr. Israel. Some consultants, however, including the Hennessee Group, kept their clients in the Bayou Funds until the end. Mr. Israel and Mr. Marino could not have been pleased to see these redemptions roll in. After all, withdrawals were not part of the plan. The stress associated with the redemptions may be reflected in income statements and other financial documents filed by Bayou Securities. For a brokerage firm to conduct business with clients, securities regulators require that it have a certain amount of capital on hand. In March 2004, Bayou Securities had a net capital position of $5.9 million, and had borrowed 9 percent of that amount, its filings said. By December 2004, however, the firm's net capital had declined to $259,731 and at the end of March it had fallen to $164,237. At that point, Bayou Securities' borrowings represented 161 percent of its capital. The firm showed a loss of $325,912. Even as Bayou Securities' financial position was teetering, the documents show that it paid for limousine services ($5,000 a month), restaurant meals ($4,000 a month), the lease of a private jet ($100,000) and even the services of a counterespionage consultant ($20,000). Some of the largest amounts that were withdrawn from Bayou Securities paid for consulting and professional fees. Such payments had typically approached $60,000 a month. But in March they jumped to $431,000; by the end of June 2005, Bayou Securities had paid out $1.1 million in consulting fees. One investment firm that received a lot of money from Bayou was Eqyty Research and Management, a money management firm in Boston. From July 2003 to March 2005, Eqyty Research received $700,000 from Bayou Securities. Jeffrey D. Fotta, a co-founder of Eqyty Research, said that the payments were for research on stocks. He said that he was unaware of any wrongdoing at Bayou and that as recently as May, his firm was recommending trades to the fund. Legal fees, understandably, were also rising for Bayou. Over the course of three weeks in June of this year, a lawyer named Jan Morton Heger received $461,000 in payments from Bayou Securities, according to the financial statements. Mr. Heger had not shown up in documents from previous periods. He did not respond to an e-mail message requesting comment and a telephone number for him was out of service. 'I am sorry for the people I hurt.' One of the most compelling mysteries about the Bayou mess is why Mr. Israel decided to close the funds in July, effectively blowing the whistle on himself. Once again, Mr. Marino's letter provides a credible explanation. With so many investors fleeing Bayou, the situation had grown increasingly grave. On Dec. 4, 2004, the fund's board met and adopted a resolution to allow Bayou's president, Mr. Israel, to hold $100 million in his own name to invest. That board consisted of Mr. Israel and his No. 2, Mr. Marino. The move appears to have been the beginnings of a last-ditch effort to recoup years of Bayou's losses. In March, Mr. Israel entered into an agreement with Lewis Malouf, a managing director of Bayou as well as a principal of Charles Financial, according to court documents, to invest the $100 million in bank instruments that would supposedly yield $7.1 billion over 10 years. The money was given to Karl Johnson, who was going to invest the money for Mr. Malouf. Neither Mr. Malouf nor Mr. Johnson returned calls seeking comment. But Arizona regulators seized the funds in May, suspecting that the money was related to a different fraud; they knew nothing about Bayou or Mr. Israel. Then, Mr. Israel's lawyers, in cooperation with Mr. Johnson, sued to quash the seizure on the basis that Arizona had no right to the money. In the process, Mr. Israel's lawyers provided account documents proving the money was his. When Arizona kept the money, Mr. Israel and Mr. Marino must have known that the end was near. On July 27, Mr. Israel notified investors that he was closing the Bayou funds to spend more time with his family. Investors would receive their funds in mid-August, he said. They never did. Mr. Israel's communications stopped. According to prosecutors, that $100 million in Arizona is believed to be the last remaining property of Bayou investors.

Subject: Re: What Really Happened at Bayou
From: John C
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 11:19:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
emma, ever think of just posting the links to 10 articles under one thread. You could even title it NY Time Articles. It would reduce the amount of times Bobby has to clean the board and lose discussions on current topics.

Subject: Summer of My Discontent
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 07:17:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/17/opinion/17ali.html?ex=1284609600&en=70e50422593131b8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 17, 2005 Summer of My Discontent By MOHAMMED NASEEHU ALI ALL semester long I had thought about the approaching summer vacation with mixed feelings. On one hand I was elated at the prospect of seeing my seven siblings and ten half brothers and sisters, but on the other, I was apprehensive about being back in Africa. The year was 1990. I had left Ghana nearly two years earlier to attend high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and I was nervous about facing my father whose dream of my becoming a lawyer or banker or a diplomat with the United Nations was being shattered by my desire to be a writer. At Interlochen, music was literally everywhere I turned and in addition to creative writing, my other two childhood talents - drumming and singing - had suddenly acquired a second life. But Father - who like his older brother and father before him, was the emir, or king, of the Hausa people in Kumasi, Ghana's second-largest city - didn't mince words in phone conversations reminding me that, although he had let me attend art school, music and dance were professions for praise singers and storytellers, not for people who had royal blood running through their veins. Father was out on the porch when I arrived home around 9:30 p.m. after the ride from the airport in Accra. In mid-June Kumasi is hot and sunny, the days punctuated by thunderstorms that seemed only to make the punishing humidity worse. After 20 months of living in the chill of northern Michigan, I felt as if I was in a furnace. Father sat on an easy chair, a long rosary in his hands, meditating. Though he was aware of my presence, his eyes remained fixed on the open skies, his brow ominous. From his profile I saw his lips move rapidly as he recited the Muslim incantations known as zikr. I stood at the door that led to the porch, with my back slightly crouched and head bowed in filial piety, as if to prove to Father that my sense of cultural appropriateness had not been tarnished by American culture. Father completed his zikr some 15 minutes later, and for the next hour or so I sat next to him, speaking only in answer to his questions about my life in the United States. Within a few days of my arrival a coldness seemed to settle between me and my old friends, who disliked my 'bookish manner.' It also became apparent that my friends and many in the family were disappointed by my simple, weather-appropriate clothes: leather slippers, light pants and white T-shirt. 'You have to stop wearing these rags and dress heavy and nice,' said an aunt, 'so people will know you are a true Yankee man.' What my aunt meant by 'heavy and nice' was the designer jackets and jeans or suits worn by students and workers returning home from abroad, mostly to show off. In the two years I had lived in the United States, I had grown into the opposite of what was expected of me, from the way I thought to what I wore. I had discovered the musical lamentations of Miles Davis, Mendelssohn, Skip James and Beethoven, and realized the meaning of irony, cynicism and tragedy, three factors one needs to understand deeply, to avoid bitterness. But most important, I had discovered individualism - the celebration of the self as the most important force of nature. This was in direct contradiction to the culture of the Ghanaian Muslim community, where the determination of an individual to excel was seen as an attempt to 'go beyond where God has placed you.' They were like the proverbial crabs that pull down the ones that seek to climb out of the box. My disheveled, un-Yankee appearance soon gave rise to rumors that I was a deportee: 'Why has he returned home with nothing to wear?,' was the question whispered behind my back. It was inconceivable that a person who had been blessed to escape the Ogyakrom or 'Land of Fire' as Ghanaians sometimes referred to their country, would return to it. The very cynical ones among our neighbors and family friends would ask, 'When are you going back to your country?,' to which I repeatedly replied 'two weeks,' though I ended up staying the whole summer. After this unpromising beginning, I kept mostly to myself for the rest of the visit and mingled with friends only when we gathered for World Cup matches. Cameroon was threatening to move into the semifinals of the World Cup; it would have been the first African team to do so and we watched eagerly, cheering them on. In the evenings, after Father had retired to his section of the bungalow, I moved my portable radio to the porch where I sat into the night and contemplated the things that still troubled me deeply - Mother's painful death five years earlier from complications in the birth of her eighth child; the lackadaisical, yet chaotic and backward manner of life in Ghana; fate. By the time I packed my bags and left Ghana in late August to complete my senior year at Interlochen, I felt as if I had accidentally taken a peek at the pages of God's master book, from which I read that I must stay as far away from Ghana as I could. For the next 10 years, I lived in a self-imposed exile, cutting all ties to my community in Ghana and the United States. At one point I didn't call or write anyone in my family for two years. Completely Americanized and utterly nervous, I returned to Ghana in January 2000. It was two months after Father had vowed not to speak with me again until he saw me 'face to face.' In the two weeks I spent in Ghana that January, not only did I make great strides in bridging the cultural and emotional gap that existed between me and my family, but I also married the woman whom my father had picked out for me some seven years before. Three weeks after the wedding and my return to America, Father fell ill. Two months later, he died. I often tell friends that had I not visited Africa that year to make amends with my family, I would probably have been the first West African Muslim ever to see a shrink; the guilt would have been so great and devastating. To this day, I believe that just as the writing in God's master book had cautioned me to stay away from Ghana, Father, too, had been advised by his augurs (for he had many who burned incense and prayed all night to protect him and his family) to let me be what I wanted to be, but by the same token to make sure that no matter what I did, I went home and married a woman from my tribe - the only means through which he could be assured that I would one day return to carry on the legacy of the Ali clan. Whether I would return to pick up the mantle or not and how my feelings and those of my wife played in this whole affair are topics for a different story. But looking back at the 17 years I have lived in the United States, it was that long summer in 1990 that everything - the past, the present and the future - became clear to me. It was the point from which my current life as a writer, father, musician and husband began. It was also the same summer that history was almost made when the striker Roger Milla came out of retirement to lead the Cameroon soccer team farther than any African team had ever gone before in the World Cup tournament, to make a statement that each individual spirit, when allowed to flourish, surprises even its own perceived destiny.

Subject: Poor Planning and Corruption Hobble Iraq
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 07:04:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/international/middleeast/18najaf.html September 18, 2005 Poor Planning and Corruption Hobble Reconstruction of Iraq By CRAIG S. SMITH NAJAF, Iraq - In April, Najaf's main maternity hospital received rare good news: an $8 million refurbishment program financed by the United States would begin immediately. But five months and millions of dollars later, the hospital administrators say they have little but frustration to show for it. 'They keep saying there's renovation but, frankly, we don't see it,' said Liqaa al-Yassin, director of the hospital, her exasperated face framed by a black hijab, or scarf. 'Each day I sign in 80 workers, and sometimes I see them, sometimes I don't.' She walks a visitor through the hospital's hot, dim halls, the peeling linoleum on the floors stained by the thousands of lighted cigarettes crushed underfoot. Anxious women, draped in black head-to-foot chadors, or veils, sit in the sultry rooms fanning their sick children. 'My child has heart problems, she can't take this heat,' pleaded one mother as Dr. Yassin walked past. The United States has poured more than $200 million into reconstruction projects in this city, part of the $10 billion it has spent to rebuild Iraq. Najaf is widely cited by the military as one of the success stories in that effort, but American officers involved in the rebuilding say that reconstruction projects here, as elsewhere in the country, are hobbled by poor planning, corrupt contractors and a lack of continuity among the rotating coalition officers charged with overseeing the spending. 'This country is filled with projects that were never completed or were completed and have never been used,' said a frustrated civil affairs officer who asked not to be identified because he had not been cleared to speak about the reconstruction. Najaf would seem to be one of Iraq's most promising places to rebuild. As a Shiite holy place, it has few Sunnis and, as a result, none of the insurgent attacks and sabotage that plague other parts of the country. Just a year after fighting between American forces and Shiite militias left much of the city in smoking ruins, a new police force is patrolling the streets and security in the city has been handed over to Iraqis. There are some successes. The Army Corps of Engineers has finished refurbishing several police and fire stations, one of which has shiny new fire engines donated by Japan. It is spending tens of thousands of dollars to refurbish crumbling schools and has replaced aging clay water pipes in the suburb of Kufa with more durable plastic ones. It is even spending half a million dollars to renovate the city's soccer stadium, putting in new lights and laying fresh sod. But in a series of interviews, American military officers and Iraqi officials involved in the reconstruction described a pattern of failures and frustrations that Army officers who have worked in other parts of Iraq say are routine. Residents complain that the many of the city's critical needs remain unfulfilled and the Army concedes that many projects it has financed are far behind schedule. Officers with the American military say that corruption and poor oversight are largely to blame. 'We were told to stimulate the economy any way we can, and a lot of money was wasted in the process,' said Capt. Kelly Mims, part of the Army liaison team that maintains an office in Najaf's local government building. 'Now we're focused on spending the money more wisely.' He said the Army was forming a committee with provincial authorities to create a master list of all current and future projects so that the money goes where it is most needed. Several agencies are charged with reconstruction in Iraq. In Najaf it is primarily the work of the Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Agency for International Development. They award some projects to foreign contractors, many of them American companies that hold master contracts for reconstruction work. Other projects are awarded directly to Iraqi companies, but even the American companies subcontract much of the work to Iraqis. A handful of Army reservists and civilian employees hand out cash to Iraqi contractors and try to keep track of the projects they underwrite. But American officers say there is almost no oversight after a contractor is given the job. The Army pays small Iraqi contractors in installments - 10 percent at the outset, 40 percent when the work is half done, 40 percent on completion and the final 10 percent after fixing problems identified in a final inspection. On larger projects, contractors are paid by the month, regardless of how much work is actually done. Penalty clauses for missing deadlines are rare, and some contractors drag out their projects for months, officers say, then demand more money and threaten to walk away if it is not forthcoming. Maj. William Smith, charged with overseeing most of the reconstruction work in the area, walks around the bright blue pipes and yellow tanks of an unfinished water treatment plant outside of town. A control panel with its array of monitoring lights sits baking in the sun beside broken bags of filtering sand. The plant was supposed to be finished in June, but the feed pipe from the river has not even been connected; it was buried unmarked and now has to be relocated. 'Sometimes, the only way to go is to pay off the contractor and put it out for new bids,' the major said with a weary chuckle. He said the water treatment plant was one of four that he was considering repossessing, even though he has paid out more than $200,000 on each one. Major Smith says that contractors can technically be blacklisted. But they simply change the names of their companies and submit bids for new projects, 'and we don't really have a choice but to use them' if they submit the winning bid, he said. That is because the United States blacklists only companies, not individuals, he said. Army engineers have to scrutinize tenders carefully because contractors sometimes leave out major pieces of equipment to lower their bids, he said. Once the contract is awarded and the omission is discovered, the Army is forced to pay more to complete the project. All bids must be submitted in English and the companies are required to have an English-speaking representative on site whenever the Americans visit, but they rarely do, many officers said. At a United States-financed health clinic going up on the outskirts of town, Major Smith resorts to pantomime as he tries to make himself understood to an eager foreman. In response, the foreman draws furiously in the sand, but all a bemused Major Smith can say is, 'O.K., O.K.' He promises to return with an interpreter in a few days, but even that message is lost. Driving through the city, Major Smith points out a new, $5.5 million sewage treatment plant, built by Bechtel with funds from the Agency for International Development. The plant was completed in February but was not commissioned until August because no one in Najaf had been trained on how to operate it. The agency said that it was now operating at full capacity, serving 141,000 people. But a similar plant has sat unused in the nearby town of Diwaniya since its completion last December, also for lack of trained personnel. An agency spokesman said it was expected to begin operating in September. Muhammad Yusef al-Yasiri, an engineer who sits on the project committee of Najaf's city council, grumbled that the Americans hired contractors and handed out projects without consulting the local institutions involved. 'Even the hospitals have no idea what kind of work is being done,' he said. As a result, he added, 'the money isn't going to the right places.' He cited the Al Sadr Teaching Hospital, which was caught in last year's crossfire between coalition forces and fighters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, son of the grand ayatollah for whom the hospital is named. Mr. Sadr's fighters used the hospital's high floors to fire on a coalition base nearby before being driven out. After coalition troops pulled out in July last year, looters moved in, carting away almost anything of value. To refurbish the hospital, the Army hired the Parsons Corporation, a private engineering and construction company that has been awarded a master contract to build and renovate hospitals and health centers throughout the country. It was paid $2 million to lay new linoleum and hang new ceiling tiles in the hospital's ground floor, drain the flooded basement and fix the central air-conditioning. But the work has not assuaged angry doctors whose first priority is to replace the equipment lost in the looting, which they say the United States should have prevented in the first place. A resident doctor who gave his name as Ather led a visitor through the hospital, pointing out where the advanced equipment once stood. Looters damaged the magnetic resonance imaging machine and stole the control unit of the CT scanner. The large white doughnut of the scanner sits idle in a pristine room, untouched by the fighting. Only two of the hospital's four X-ray machines remain. In the emergency room, a family sat on a blanket eating a lunch of bread, grilled meat and cucumbers. 'This was Najaf's most advanced hospital,' he said with distress. 'A lot of money has been spent on the rehabilitation of this hospital, but not very much has changed.' Part of the problem is that much of the money is spent before any work is done. The International Monetary Fund reported recently that a third to half of the money paid to foreign contractors is spent on security and insurance. Importing equipment also eats up cash. Major Smith said the hospital's new boiler, for example, was being shipped from the United States. At the maternity hospital across town, Dr. Yassin could hardly disguise her mounting frustration. She said the contractor, the Parsons Corporation, had repaired the hospital's reverse osmosis water purification equipment, but that little else had been accomplished in the five months since the renovation began. Only one of the hospital's four elevators is working, and that is the one Parsons left in operation while the others were supposedly being repaired, she said, adding that no one is working on the elevators now. Major Smith said Parsons had completed the work but that it was so shoddy the Army would not certify the elevators for use. He said the company had since agreed to bring in elevator specialists to redo the job. Parsons was also supposed to fix the hospital's incinerators, but it completed the work without hooking up gas lines to fuel them, Dr. Yassin said. A Parsons spokesman in California said that all work on the hospital would be completed in November and blamed insurgent activity in the area for the delays. The hospital director, though, said that there had never been any fighting around the site, and that Najaf had been free of major violence for more than a year. Dr. Yassin said that, in any event, she would prefer that the money be spent on new facilities and had asked the Ministry of Health to finance an expansion. 'Were doing our best, despite this process of rehabilitation,' she said. 'I hope that they will work faster in the future.'

Subject: In the Amazon, Where A Sister Was Slain
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:51:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/opinion/l18amazon.html September 18, 2005 In the Amazon, Where Our Sister Was Slain To the Editor: The enormous fight to regain control of the Amazon from gunmen, illegal ranchers and loggers has just begun and is not as rosy as you state in 'A Healthier Amazon Jungle.' Our sister, Dorothy Stang, tried to halt this robbery, and for this she was murdered in February by those whose destructive practices your editorial stated the Brazilian government is addressing. Dorothy lived in Brazil for 39 years, challenging a system that robs the Brazilian landless of dignity, and the land of its sustainability. The rights-based land reform she championed provides the poor and landless with sustainable livelihoods and empowers them in their own development. It addresses the challenges the editorial mentions: deforestation; peasants pushed to the edge of survival; land grabbers; and murders of peasant leaders. While President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is making progress, these changes are unsustainable without a rights-based land reform. His promise to settle 430,000 landless families remains unrealized, and his gains can be easily erased without such a reform. Whom does the Amazon belong to - Brazil, or the thieving ranchers, loggers and gunmen? David Stang Marguerite Stang Hohm Palmer Lake, Colo., Sept. 14, 2005

Subject: A Healthier Amazon Jungle
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:50:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/opinion/13tue4.html September 13, 2005 A Healthier Amazon Jungle Last month, Brazil's environmental officials announced that the burning of the Amazon has slowed. Deforestation this year is half of what it was the year before. This news shows that when Brazil's government musters the political will to protect the Amazon, it can do it. Large swaths of the jungle are still disappearing, mainly set on fire by soybean farmers and ranchers looking for land to raise cattle. Last year was the worst for Amazon deforestation in a decade. The health of the Amazon is a global concern because the forest soaks up greenhouse gases, which lessens global warming. Deforestation means the Amazon could eventually become too small to produce the rain that it needs to survive. Deforestation is also deadly for millions of Amazon peasants trying to eke out a living growing small plots or collecting forest products. Land grabbers snatch up valuable property near planned paved roads, burning the villages to drive the inhabitants away. Hundreds of leaders who have tried to speak up for peasants have been murdered, and virtually none of the killers ever face jail. Unfortunately, part of the reason farmers and ranchers cleared less jungle this year is because the price of soybeans and beef have dropped, and Brazil's currency is stronger. So exports are less profitable. But the government's commitment to protecting the Amazon has also been important. Led by Marina Silva, the environment minister and once a poor Amazon rubber tapper herself, Brazil is starting to impose its authority in parts of the forest that have always been lawless. In the state of Pará in February, gunmen killed Dorothy Stang, an American nun who had worked with the rural poor for 30 years. After the murder, the government sent 2,000 federal troops to the zone and announced a logging ban on millions of acres of Amazon land. The government has also begun to enforce its laws. It is beginning to require real documentation of claims for land title. In June, police arrested dozens of members of an illegal clear-cutting ring. Finally, through new satellite imaging, Brazilian authorities can spot burning while it is happening and theoretically make arrests. Rule of law is still foreign to the Amazon. But it is becoming a little less so.

Subject: Premium for Basic Medicare Increasing
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:31:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/17/national/17medicare.html?ex=1284609600&en=afbca15d303ecb79&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 17, 2005 Premium for Basic Medicare Increasing 13% Next Year By ROBERT PEAR WASHINGTON - The Bush administration announced on Friday that the basic Medicare premium would shoot up next year 13 percent, to $88.50 a month, mainly because of the increased use of doctors' services. Many beneficiaries will pay an additional premium for the new prescription drug benefit, expected to average $32 a month. So the combined premiums for doctors' services, outpatient hospital care and prescription drugs will average slightly more than $120 a month. Medicare provides coverage for 42 million people who are 65 and older or disabled. In most cases, Medicare premiums are deducted from monthly Social Security checks. The average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers is $955 this year. The amount for 2006 will be announced next month and will probably approach $1,000. Kirsten A. Sloan, a health policy analyst at AARP, the big lobby for older Americans, noted that the basic Medicare premium was increasing by nearly $30 a month, or 51 percent, from 2003 to 2006. Doctors are billing Medicare for longer, more intensive office visits, more laboratory tests and more frequent and complex imaging procedures. But doctors said that much of the increase in Medicare spending also resulted from research breakthroughs, new drugs and technology approved for coverage and cancer and diabetes screenings encouraged by the government. The 2006 premium will be $10.30 more than the current monthly premium. The premium, now $78.20 a month, is calculated according to a complex formula set by law. The premium was $66.60 in 2004 and $58.70 in 2003. Herb Kuhn, a senior official at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, expressed concern about the growth in spending on doctors' services, laboratory tests and outpatient procedures. 'Medicare needs to move away from a system that pays simply for more services, regardless of their quality or impact on beneficiary health,' Mr. Kuhn said. 'The current system is not sustainable.' The Bush administration has endorsed the idea of 'pay for performance' and is searching for ways to measure doctors' performance in treating Medicare patients. Mr. Kuhn said he did not know how much of the increase in Medicare spending might be for unnecessary care. 'We're still trying to understand how much value we're getting for that,' he said. The chief Medicare actuary, Richard S. Foster, said the premiums paid by beneficiaries covered one-fourth of the cost of benefits under Part B of Medicare. Those benefits include the services of doctors and other health care professionals, X-rays, diagnostic tests, some home health services and drugs given to patients in doctors' offices. Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a research center that advocates free-market health policies, predicted that the premium increase would 'create a political firestorm.' 'Some areas of the country are seriously overusing health care,' Mrs. Turner said. 'Everyone winds up paying the price for that. What do you do? Put more price controls into the Medicare program? That clearly has not worked. Consumers need more incentives and more power to manage the costs of their care.' Dr. J. James Rohack, a trustee of the American Medical Association, said doctors were saving money for Medicare by keeping patients out of the hospital. To do that, Dr. Rohack said, physicians have to see patients more frequently to manage aggressively chronic conditions like diabetes and congestive heart failure. Moreover, Dr. Rohack said, many beneficiaries will have lower out-of-pocket health costs next year because of the added drug coverage. 'Even though the premium for Part B of Medicare is going up, many patients will see net savings of hundreds of dollars a month,' said Dr. Rohack, a cardiologist in Temple, Tex., whose patients often spend $300 to $400 a month on medications. Ms. Sloan of AARP agreed that 'there will be savings from the drug benefit.' But she added, 'Those savings could be eroded by increases in premiums, deductibles and co-payments elsewhere in the Medicare program.' Under federal law, low-income people are eligible for extra help. 'About one-fourth of beneficiaries can receive assistance that pays for their entire Part B premium,' Mr. Kuhn said. Many people eligible for the help do not receive it, because they are unaware it exists, are reluctant to apply for it or find applying too difficult. Beneficiaries have to pay annual deductibles before Medicare pays for doctors' services. The deductible, $100 a year from 1991 to 2004, increased to $110 this year and will go to $124 in 2006. Higher Medicare payments to health maintenance organizations and other private plans are also contributing to the higher premiums. The government often spends more for a beneficiary in a private plan than it would for the same person in traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Federal officials expect that more people will enroll in private plans next year, in part because such plans offer extra benefits, including more generous drug coverage than the standard drug benefit. Many Democrats object to what they describe as overpayments to private plans. Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, recently introduced a bill that would cut Medicare payments to private plans and use the savings to reduce premiums for beneficiaries. 'With home heating prices expected to rise this winter, many seniors will find it very hard to absorb the higher premium' in 2006, Mr. Bingaman said Friday. 'Rather than charging higher premiums, I would like to see deep cuts in the overpayments to H.M.O.'s.' The new premium was computed on the assumption that current law continues unchanged. Because of a quirk in the law, doctors face a 4.4 percent cut in the Medicare payment next year for each service they provide. Doctors are lobbying Congress to block the cut and to allow a modest increase in the fees. If Congress does so, Medicare spending on doctors' services will rise more than expected, and that will, in turn, drive up premiums more than expected in future years.

Subject: Still Eating Our Lunch
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:28:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/16/opinion/16friedman.html?ex=1284523200&en=3ceedaa76f42f0d8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 16, 2005 Still Eating Our Lunch By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Singapore Singapore is a country that takes the Internet seriously. Last week its Ministry of Defense granted a deferment for the country's compulsory National Service to a Singaporean teenager so he could finish competing in the finals of the World Cyber Games - the Olympics of online war games. Being a tiny city-state of four million, Singapore is obsessed with nurturing every ounce of talent of every single citizen. That is why, although its fourth and eighth graders already score at the top of the Timss international math and science tests, Singapore has been introducing more innovations into schools. Its government understands that in a flattening world, where more and more jobs can go anywhere, it's not enough to just stay ahead of its neighbors. It has to stay ahead of everyone - including us. Message to America: They are not racing us to the bottom. They are racing us to the top. As Low-Sim Ay Nar, principal of Xinmin Secondary School, explained to me, Singapore has got rote learning down cold. No one is going to outdrill her students. What it is now focusing on is how to develop more of America's strength: getting Singaporean students and teachers to be more innovative and creative. 'Numerical skills are very important,' she told me, but 'I am now also encouraging my students to be creative - and empowering my teachers. ... We have been loosening up and allowing people to grow their own ideas.' She added, 'We have shifted the emphasis from content alone to making use of the content' on the principle that 'knowledge can be created in the classroom and doesn't just have to come from the teacher.' Toward that end, some Singapore schools have adopted a math teaching program called HeyMath, which was started four years ago in Chennai, India, by two young Indian bankers, Nirmala Sankaran and Harsh Rajan, in partnership with the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University. With a team of Indian, British and Chinese math and education specialists, the HeyMath group basically said to itself: If you were a parent anywhere in the world and you noticed that Singapore kids, or Indian kids or Chinese kids, were doing really well in math, wouldn't you like to see the best textbooks, teaching and assessment tools, or the lesson plans that they were using to teach fractions to fourth graders or quadratic equations to 10th graders? And wouldn't it be nice if one company then put all these best practices together with animation tools, and delivered them through the Internet so any teacher in the world could adopt or adapt them to his or her classroom? That's HeyMath. 'No matter what kind of school their kids go to, parents all over the world are worried that their kids might be missing something,' Mrs. Sankaran said. 'For some it is the right rigor, for some it is creativity. There is no perfect system. ... What we have tried to do is create a platform for the continuous sharing of the best practices for teaching math concepts. So a teacher might say: 'I have a problem teaching congruence to 14-year-olds. What is the method they use in India or Shanghai?' ' Singaporean math textbooks are very good. My daughter's school already uses them in Maryland. But they are static and not illustrated or animated. 'Our lessons contain animated visuals that remove the abstraction underlying the concept, provide interactivity for students to understand concepts in a 'hands on' manner and make connections to real-life contexts so that learning becomes relevant,' Mrs. Sankaran said. HeyMath's mission is to be the math Google - to establish a Web-based platform that enables every student and teacher to learn from the 'best teacher in the world' for every math concept and to also be able to benchmark themselves against their peers globally. The HeyMath platform also includes an online repository of questions, indexed by concept and grade, so teachers can save time in devising homework and tests. Because HeyMath material is accompanied by animated lessons that students can do on their own online, it provides for a lot of self-learning. Indeed, HeyMath (see www.heymath.net), which has been adopted by 35 of Singapore's 165 schools, also provides an online tutor, based in India, to answer questions from students stuck on homework. Why am I writing about this? Because math and science are the keys to innovation and power in today's world, and American parents had better understand that the people who are eating their kids' lunch in math are not resting on their laurels.

Subject: Mixed Messages in Soweto
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:27:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/travel/07bpsoweto.html?ex=1127534400&en=fe3ad74079086d11&ei=5070&emc=eta1 November 7, 2004 Mixed Messages in Soweto By ALAN COWELL IT had always seemed to me voyeuristic, or, at least, patronizing, to embark on a sightseeing tour of Soweto, the great sprawl of cramped homes designed by apartheid as the black labor pool for white Johannesburg. But, one day in July, I had an excuse, or, at least, a rationale. Nineteen years earlier, in 1985, at the start of a state of emergency that became the unintended harbinger of democracy, I was based in South Africa as a journalist covering the years of protest that led to the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. Almost on a whim, I joined one of the organized tours that continued despite the violent protests that were spreading across the land. This time, as a vacationer, I wondered how much had changed, not just in Soweto but also in the tours themselves. In 1985, I recalled, a nattily clad white guide with a microphone offered a running commentary on Soweto and its two million people as if the whole place had grown up organically rather than as a result of racial segregation and social engineering. Now, 10 years after South Africa's first democratic elections, what landmarks would be offered by newer tour guides to explain this tangled and complex place, as much a symbol of struggle as a place of residence? And how would I see them, through the eyes of an optimistic traveler or a skeptical reporter? Obviously, some things had simply disappeared along with the end of apartheid. As a white person, I no longer needed a permit to enter Soweto. A generation of young South Africans had arisen with no direct experience of the schools boycotts, the rock-throwing defiance, the arrests and brutality that had been the price of their freedom. But what else would be different? Zakhele Mahlangu, our 26-year-old guide, picked up my wife, Sue, daughter Rebecca and me from a guesthouse in Johannesburg's Melville suburb in his father's Volkswagen Kombi minibus and off we went in search of answers. First of all, I was surprised that even though Soweto's population had, according to Mr. Mahlangu, doubled to four million in the last 20 years, it seemed to look and feel the same, bereft of a defined center. The riches of Johannesburg still appear as a crenelation of high-rises on the skyline. As before, though, it offered a microcosm of the land. The booming funeral parlors testified to the AIDS epidemic ravaging South Africa and much of the continent. The hardscrabble squatter shacks hard by older, neater homes recalled the economic distinctions of the post-apartheid era. True, the segregation of residential areas has come to an end, but few whites live in Soweto, and some middle-class blacks have migrated to former whites-only suburbs. The post-apartheid economy has created a handful of black billionaires, but many black South Africans, drawn here from far-flung villages, struggle to find jobs and cannot afford the high price of new housing. In fact, speaking later to another guide, Thulisile Khumalo, over dinner back in Johannesburg, that particular Sowetan love-hate mix of pride and doubt seemed to have survived. None of the fancier store chains has set up shop there, she said, and white investors have stayed away. 'People still think that if they buy goods made in Soweto they are inferior,' she said. But there were discernible changes. In the 1980's, the tour seemed a propaganda exercise to prove to foreigners that the white authorities were firmly in control: After all, how could tourists trundle through the place in buses if a revolution was under way? Now, Soweto's icons were public, not hidden. Its heroes and martyrs were honored, not outlawed. Memory was there to be celebrated - or mourned - not denied. Mr. Mahlangu, our guide, pointed out the classic tour sights - the homes of Nelson Mandela (now a museum) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (still his residence when he is in Soweto.) But we stopped, too, at a newer shrine - the memorial commemorating the death on June 16, 1976, of Hector Peterson, a 13-year-old schoolboy killed in the youthful protests against the use of Afrikaans as a teaching language. Those protests, barely mentioned in 1985, were now the font of Soweto's modern history: Black schoolchildren in their early teens came here to be told of the uprisings and riots that created their heritage. Nineteen years earlier, children of their age boycotted classes, engaged police armored trucks in deadly duels and forfeited whatever small promise their youth held out for them. It was on the way to the home of another, more ambiguous icon of 'the struggle,' Winnie Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, that our tour took a turn that transformed us briefly from visitors to participants in Soweto's daily reality. As Mr. Mahlangu turned to head for Mrs. Mandela's home, one of Soweto's ubiquitous minibus taxis, jammed full of passengers, hurtled into the side of our Volkswagen, spun off and mounted the roadside border, rocking on its springs. For a long moment, there was a silence. Would we face hostility as outsiders? And if so what form would it take? But anger never came. Instead, people who had seen the accident approached us and inquired about our well-being. The fact that we were whites, tourists, aliens, had nothing to do with a response that was all about courtesy. We pressed on to another epiphany, which was not part of the tour but far more instructive of the changes since July 1985 than any guide could have pointed out. On open ground just outside Regina Mundi church, once the focus of much antigovernment protest, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police was holding a graduation parade for newly trained motorcycle patrol officers, all women and most of them black. To mark the moment, an assembly of dignitaries sang South Africa's national hymn, which begins with the African anthem 'Nkosi Sikelele Afrika' ('God Bless Africa') - and ends with an English version of the apartheid-era 'Die Stem' ('The Voice') In the 80's, the African anthem usually heralded a violent clash with the police rather than a parade. On our way back to Johannesburg, we visited the two-year-old Apartheid Museum between Soweto and central Johannesburg. The museum is a remarkable edifice, built deliberately to resemble a prison, packed with the icons of the past - the passes that black people were forced by law to carry at all times, the huge armored police trucks that terrorized neighborhoods, video footage of the violent protests that ended apartheid. Groups of schoolchildren - black and white - struck me as slightly uneasy in the contemplation of events that had molded their nation. It seemed hopelessly optimistic to assume that the immediate past could be redefined so soon as history. Indeed, our brief glimpse into Soweto's unfinished and uncertain battle to claim a new future had reminded us that this is a history that is still being written.

Subject: Re: Mixed Messages in Soweto
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 17:10:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
wow... 1985.. a very troubled time. My dad was put in jail by the government for political reasons. We took on a whole lot of stress. The ANC had started up a terrorist campaigne of blowing up restaurants, and public places. My favourite burger house was blown up the day my dad decided I could not go downtown (I would most certainly have been killed). On the one hand we faced consistent terrorist attacks, on the other hand we faced consistent manipulation by the government. Those terrible days are over. Interestingly, today the ANC is in government and they cannot come to terms with their evil past. The world is not black and white... there is a tremendous amount of grey in between.

Subject: The 6 Percent Solution: Real Estate
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:25:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/17/business/17realtor.ready.html?ex=1284609600&en=bfaf86319ba60238&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 17, 2005 The 6 Percent Solution: Skip Real Estate Agents By DAMON DARLIN Stan and Gloria Wakefield are no fools. They built their three-bedroom house 12 years ago in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., an oceanside resort community dotted with golf courses and picturesque inland waterways. The real estate market in the area, near Jacksonville, took off and the house, overlooking lagoons, rose in value to nearly $1 million. 'This house has appreciated almost obscenely, ' said Mr. Wakefield, a retired naval intelligence officer. What the Wakefields did next should scare real estate agents everywhere. They decided to put their house on the market this year, and concluded that the house would sell itself. So why pay a real estate agent a 6 percent commission? They tried negotiating a lower commission with prospective agents, who stood to make about $60,000, but the best they could get was 4.5 percent - and 5.5 percent if the agent had to share the commission with a buyer's agent. They chose instead to list their property with one of the many real estate services that are challenging conventional brokerage firms, in this case, Assist2sell.com, an agency that charges a flat fee instead of a commission. The Wakefields had an offer within six days and sold their home for $985,000, paying a $10,000 fee to Assist2sell and $14,775 to the agent who brought in the buyer, for a savings of about $30,000 over a conventional broker. 'Enough to pay off the boat,' a 26-foot pocket cruiser, Mr. Wakefield said. This is subversive stuff. Homeowners across the United States are figuring out that they do not need to pay what agents demand and they may not need an agent at all. At the same time, technology is giving consumers tools to nearly circumvent the agent. If enough people try it, agents are at risk of losing a good portion of their commissions - $100 billion last year. So, agents are doing whatever they can to keep home sellers from paying less. Anyone who wants to know how to outfox them first has to understand where they derive their power: information. They know the market - or presume to know it - and help set the price of your house. They serve as the go-between and, again presumably, know how far you can push the other side. (Note, however, that agents don't always push for the best price. Steven D. Levitt, co-author of 'Freakonomics,' and Chad Syverson, both University of Chicago economists, found that real estate agents have an incentive to persuade their clients to sell their houses too cheaply and too quickly because a few thousand dollars more in price won't yield them a significantly higher commission.) But more than anything else, agents control access to the Multiple Listing Service, where all the houses for sale in a community are listed. The M.L.S. is the most powerful tool in real estate because it informs the widest pool of buyers that a home is for sale. Not open houses, not fliers, not big ads in the newspaper. 'The M.L.S. is king,' says Brett Weinstein, an Oakland, Calif., discount broker who prefers to be called 'a full-service reduced-fee agent.' The M.L.S. is also a tool that agents use to protect their commissions. The problem for agents is that some of their colleagues are offering to list houses for a small flat fee, sometimes for less than $500. You sell it yourself, though you would be obligated to pay a 3 percent commission to any agent who brought you a buyer - in essence paying that agent for all the Sundays spent showing other houses to clients who never bought anything. That half-price deal is dangerous enough for a full-commission firm. But it gets worse. In every community there are agents who open the M.L.S. to the public on the Internet (erealty.com has a fairly comprehensive list, or you can go directly to realtor.com, the Web site of the National Association of Realtors). They do it as a service to clients who want to buy a house - 70 percent of homebuyers now peruse listings on the Internet, the association's most recent survey says - as well as to cut their costs of showing clients the paper listings. Some even rebate part of their commission to buyers who do their own research on prospective homes. But some buyers just freeload. (The Internet has a way of encouraging this behavior.) They can search the M.L.S. for a house with no brokerage firm listed, meaning it's being sold by the owner, and then work out a no-commission deal directly with that owner. So you can see where this is headed. If agents want to protect their commissions, they have to restrict access to the M.L.S. to sellers who are working with them, not going it alone. Local realty groups have tried suing agents or brokerage firms that put 'for sale by owner' listings in the M.L.S., accusing them of copyright infringement. Those agents have countersued, charging restraint of trade. Then two years ago, the Realtors association found what it thought was a better solution. It passed rules that essentially allowed a local M.L.S. service to block access to the listing service to any brokerage firm who discounted commissions or who posted listings for homeowners who intended to sell their own houses. The antitrust division of the Justice Department cried foul. This month it sued the Realtors' trade group, asserting that the rules stifled competition and hurt consumers. The Realtors changed the rules just as the federal case was filed. But J. Bruce McDonald, deputy assistant attorney general, said that the group's policies continued to discriminate against innovative brokers and 'stifle competition at the expense of home buyers and sellers.' In a news release, the Realtors association said it was 'at a loss to understand' the Justice Department's legal action. 'Many of the changes incorporated in the new policy are in direct response to concerns they have raised over the course of the two-year investigation,' it said. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have successfully fought state real estate boards that tried to limit consumer choices by imposing service requirements or forbidding commission rebates, but the fight goes on. Realtors have lobbied for and won state laws that prohibit commission rebates to buyers and require minimum levels of service, like requiring that an agent handle all negotiations or house showings. Federal regulators can't fight that. Aaron Farmer, a discount real estate broker in Austin, Tex., has battled local and state realty boards to offer cheaper services. The Justice Department and the F.T.C. intervened to help him. Nevertheless, he has had to raise his fees to $700 from $600 because of the minimum service levels required by a law recently passed by the Texas Legislature. (Eight states have enacted such laws, accepting the real estate industry's argument that they are needed to protect consumers.) 'All of these fights are over the M.L.S.,' he said. 'They don't want price wars.' But price wars are coming. No doubt about that. Here are a few suggestions on how to take advantage of the changing environment to sell your home with minimum services from - and fees to - a broker: Set the price Being a nosy neighbor is still the best way to know the market. Walk though every open house and find out later what the house sold for. For the shy or decorous, technology offers an alternative. Homesmartreports.com will give you a sales analysis of your home based on prices for comparable homes in the immediate neighborhood. The $25 report is far more useful than cheaper versions from Domania.com (free) or Equifax.com ($7) because it gives you greater confidence that its high and low estimates are accurate by indicating the strength of your local market and by noting anomalies like a high number of foreclosures or house-flippings, where homes are bought with the idea of fixing them up and quickly reselling them. Homesmartreports plans to offer a service for home buyers, too, that would provide an unlimited number of reports over a 30-day or 90-day period so you can get a better idea of how much to offer for a house. Get listed Some of the new sales services try to sidestep the M.L.S. As listings proliferate openly on the Web, the M.L.S. may one day be less important. But for now, in all but the hottest markets, it pays to get into the M.L.S. Almost every community has a discount broker who will charge $300 to $800 just to type the information about your house into the local M.L.S. (Some will also take pictures of the house to run with the listing.) There is one caveat: If you list there, you may be obligated to pay a commission to the buyer's agent, which is usually set at 3 percent. You can, however, build that commission into the price of the home, so the buyer actually pays it. Or, if the housing market is particularly hot in your area, you may be able to write into the contract that the buyer is responsible for paying his agent's commission. Hand off the annoying stuff For many sellers, the hardest part is all the details: staging the home for showings, holding the showings and handling all the paperwork and the negotiations. Many discount brokers offer an à la carte menu of services, which can quickly add up to more than a set commission. Paperwork is not that hard to do if your discount broker gives you all the preprinted forms. (You can probably foist some of that work on the buyer's agent, who is really working for you anyway.) Alternatively, go with a sales service that for a higher fee of about 1 percent of the selling price will handle everything. But these services often don't include an M.L.S. listing. As for stagings and showings, watch a few shows on the cable channel HGTV, like 'Sell This House,' to learn how decluttering or putting on a fresh coat of paint will raise the value of your home.

Subject: Bright Spot in Germany's Economy?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 06:21:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/17/business/17chart.html?ex=1284609600&en=aa965cbebd3687ed&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 17, 2005 A Bright Spot in Germany's Economy Seems to Be Fading By FLOYD NORRIS THREE years ago, as Gerhard Schröder sought a second term as German chancellor, he had to defend a record that included economic growth that had been slower than in most other European countries, not to mention the United States. But there was one area in which German performance was extraordinary: foreign trade. Not only was the country running a trade surplus over all, but its surplus with China was large and growing. While the United States fretted about its growing deficit with China and protectionist pressures grew, Germany was selling ever more to the Chinese. This weekend, as German voters decide whether to confound the pollsters and keep Mr. Schröder in office, that bright spot is no longer shining so clearly. Germany's trade surplus with China peaked in the summer of 2004, when the 12-month total was $8.1 billion. The last figure, through this July, showed a surplus of just $377 million. China has run a trade surplus with Germany in five of the seven months reported so far in 2005. The change may say more about China's economic changes than it does about Germany's. China's rapid growth in recent years was partly fueled by imports of machinery and other equipment to expand production of various products, and Germany is a leading provider of such equipment. More recently, Chinese expansion has slowed, while production from its newer factories has come online, producing more products for export, with some of them going to Germany. In the most recently reported 12 months, China's exports to Germany rose 40 percent from the previous 12 months, while its imports rose only 2 percent. That trend may be contributing to worries in much of Europe that the Continent's economic competitiveness is slipping. Many Germans save rather than spend. The latest figures reflect a savings rate of 10.6 percent of income, a little higher than it was at the last election. (That compares with a savings rate of around zero in the United States.) That savings has helped to hold down German economic growth. During Mr. Schröder's second term, German gross domestic product has grown at an average annual rate of just 0.5 percent a year, among the slowest in the industrial world. But domestic demand has risen at the anemic rate of only 0.2 percent a year. The rest of the growth reflects exports. Unemployment has remained stubbornly high. Europe publishes 'harmonized' unemployment rates, which are comparable across countries, and by that measure Germany's latest unemployment rate was 9.3 percent, lower than it was a few months ago. But it is higher than it was when Mr. Schröder was first elected in 1998, on a platform that criticized his Christian Democratic predecessor, Helmut Kohl, for not creating enough jobs. If the polls prove to be correct, that lack of jobs under Mr. Schröder will be a big factor in his losing his own.

Subject: Greenspan's dilemma
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 05:04:22 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Sun Sep 18,12:11 AM ET WASHINGTON, (AFP) - The Federal Reserve faces a tough decision on interest rates as it mulls another interest rate hike after what may be a major blow to the US economy from Hurricane Katrina. Most economists and market analysts see the Federal Open Market Committee maintaining its stand with an 11th consecutive quarter-point rate hike, taking the federal funds rate to 3.75 percent, although a few experts are doubting the wisdom of such a move. 'All the bets are on a Fed rate hike,' said David Rosenberg, chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. 'Futures are priced 86 percent of the way for a Fed rate hike this Tuesday.' But Rosenberg argues that a rate hike in the midst of what he called a 'deep slowdown' in the US economy could be a mistake and said this 'would be the first time the Greenspan Fed raised rates in the immediate aftermath of natural disaster.' Fed chief Alan Greenspan and his colleagues have had little time to analyze the economic impact of the storm and the floods that devastated New Orleans. But many observers say that the economic impact of Katrina should be temporary and that any hesitancy in the fight against inflation might backfire. 'It will be very difficult to use economic data to justify a pause in rate hikes,' said Brian Wesbury at Claymore Research. 'In fact, if the Fed were to pause, the market would take it as a sign that something was terribly wrong with the economy. By hiking rates, the Fed will signal confidence in the post-Katrina economy. We believe this will be taken by the markets as a sign of economic strength.' Ethan Harris and Joseph Abate of Lehman Brothers agreed that there were 'compelling' reasons to keep raising rates. 'A pause would set a precedent of the Fed responding to regional events rather than focusing on the national growth and inflation picture,' they said in a research note, adding that 'bowing to political pressure compromises the Fed's anti-inflation credibility.' Timothy Rogers at Briefing.com said the Fed needs to keep lifting rates to stay ahead of inflation. 'Underlying inflation pressures continue to mount,' he said. 'The unemployment rate is now below 5.0 percent -- the rate many associate with rising labor-based inflation.' While economists continue to debate what rate would be 'neutral' for the economy, Rogers said the Fed may have to go even higher than that: 'A policy rate higher than 'neutral' may be needed to slow an economy spoiled by low and steady long-term interest rates,' he said. But Joseph Balestrino, bond market analyst at Federated Investments, said the doubts about the economic impact of Katrina 'could be enough to warrant playing it safe' and delaying a rate cut. Balestrino said many economic questions remain unanswered over the storm, including the full impact on oil and gas production and the huge port of New Orleans. 'While we may be optimistic, we don't really know how the hurricane will impact the economy,' he said. 'Uncertainties like these make a Fed hike now riskier than the alternative of simply standing pat. A no-action decision by the central bank next week would buy time. Economic data released between now and the next scheduled meeting in November would provide a better picture of Katrina's impact.' Deutsche Bank economists Peter Hooper and Joseph LaVorgna wrote in a note to clients that the Fed 'faces a difficult decision next Tuesday, but we think it will come down on the side of continuing with its measured pace of rate hikes.' 'The Fed has a special responsibility to attend to the goal of price stability, and the reduction of productive capacity caused by Katrina poses some clear inflation risks,' they wrote. Additionally, they said, 'The market is pricing in a rate hike at this point, and even households are reconciled to an environment of rising rates over the year ahead. Failure to move at this point might well feed budding inflation fears, pushing long-term rates up more.' http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050918/bs_afp/useconomybankrates

Subject: We need anwers!
From: Dory
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 12:40:03 (EDT)
Email Address: boyzone400@yahoo.co.kr

Message:
I'm studying international economics (7th edition) and also solving all problems the book has. But I do not know whether my answers are right or wrong. Where can I get answers?? Please let me know ASAP!

Subject: The Market McDonald's Missed
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 08:05:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/16/international/europe/16halal.html September 16, 2005 The Market McDonald's Missed: The Muslim Burger By CRAIG S. SMITH CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France - Faiza Guenineche huddled with two friends in the booth of a fast-food restaurant across from her high school here on a recent day eating two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun. But this is not the McDonald's where she and her friends used to eat. This is Beurger King Muslim, a fast-food clone with an important difference: it is halal, serving hamburgers and fries that conform to Muslim dietary laws. 'I used to go to McDonald's once a week, but all I could eat was the Filet-O-Fish sandwich,' said Ms. Guenineche, a fashionable French-Algerian girl in low-slung jeans and a tight top who, despite wearing her long hair loose, eats only halal. 'Now I come here.' American fast-food restaurant chains have long tailored their menus to local tastes and habits around the world, but one market they have largely missed is the growing Muslim population in Europe, five million strong in France alone. Europe's observant Muslims have had to thread their way through a world laden with pork-filled wursts and bloody beefsteaks, taking meals outside their homes at the occasional kebab shop instead. Now there is Beurger King Muslim, whose name is a play on that of the famous American hamburger chain and the French slang word 'beur,' which means 'Arab.' The restaurant's logo is a globe with a burgundy ring around it and the Arab world covered by the letters BKM, which are also the initials of the restaurant's three founders, Morad Benhamida, Abdelmalik Khiter and Majib Mokkedem. It is the latest sign that France's Muslim population, largely French-born second-generation immigrants, is coming into its own. 'En Faim!' declares the cover of the restaurant's menu, a pun that means 'Hungry!' but sounds like 'At Last!' There have been other efforts to serve up Western-style halal fast-food. A restaurant called MkHalal has been serving halal burgers for years outside the southern French city of Lyon, and a British man from Pakistan has opened a string of halal chicken-sandwich stands in Britain and France. But Beurger King Muslim has the look and feel of the big multinational chains that it wants to give a run for their money. 'We're playing in the big leagues,' said Hakim Badaoui, 37, manager of the Clichy-sous-Bois restaurant, adding that the company already has 30 would-be franchisees waiting in line, mostly in France. The owners are working on a second outlet that will be double the size of the first and feature a drive-through window. Behind the counter at what Mr. Badaoui hopes will be the flagship of a fleet, several veiled women in yellow-collared burgundy shirts with the logo on their backs shuffle fries into paper containers and pack steaming hamburgers into boxes while a movie about the life of the Prophet Muhammad plays on a flat screen television over their heads. 'What does your religion demand of us, emir?' a bearded man asks a band of desert Arabs on the screen. 'It demands that you believe in one God,' one of them replies. The cash register lights up with 'Salamalekum,' Arabic for 'Peace Be With You,' after each sale. Sabah Kilijanski, her round face framed in a beige veil, sat down with her two children. She was having a Double Koull Cheeseburger (Koull, is a play on the American slang 'cool,' and the Arabic word 'to eat'). 'I feel at ease here, because I'm wearing a veil myself,' she said as her toddler, Adam, peeked into his colorful children's meal box decorated with a cartoon clown. The meals come with brightly colored plastic toys, just like at McDonald's. She said it also made her happy to see veiled women working. Muslim head scarves are banned in French public schools, and women working for the government are not allowed to wear them to work on the theory that such overt religious symbols are divisive. Many private employers also avoid hiring veiled women, making it hard for strictly observant Muslim women to find jobs. The restaurant has other details to make French Arabs feel at home, from the Arabic-style font on the menu to toilets fitted with hoses for people unaccustomed to using paper. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., daily except Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, when it starts business at 4 in the afternoon and closes at midnight. Most important, the restaurant adheres strictly to Muslim dietary laws, which prohibit consumption of alcohol or blood, as well as, of course, pork. The bacon on the restaurant's bacon cheeseburgers is made from smoked turkey. All of the meat used in the restaurant comes from animals slaughtered according to Islamic rituals and hung upside down to drain before butchering. The various sauces and seasonings used by the restaurant are also scrutinized to ensure that they do not contain traces of alcohol or fat from animals not slaughtered according to Muslim rules. Representatives from an independent certification service visit the restaurant three times a day to make sure that all is halal. Mr. Badaoui, who once ran halal pizza shops, said the restaurant had hired a halal company to make a secret sauce for its signature burger, a Big Mac look-alike called a BKM. He said a lot of people wanted to put a political spin on the place, but added that - unlike the creator of France's Mecca Cola, who wanted to give people angry at the United States an alternative to Coke - Beurger King Muslim's owners did not have politics in mind. 'It's business,' he said. 'We're here to make money.' It seems to be working. So far, the restaurant is averaging 800 transactions a day. The only thing on the horizon that looks like it could derail the expansion is Burger King, which Mr. Badaoui said had been in touch. 'We've heard from them, but I don't want to say more,' he said. 'Right now it's between the attorneys.'

Subject: 2 Fast 2 Furious (part II)
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 20:23:47 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
From Shock Therapy to Sleep Therapy If the 1990s were the era of economic shock therapy, the present decade may be remembered for economic reform paralysis. Although the reasons for gridlock differ across countries, the bottom line is that few politicians anywhere are having much success in limbering up their economies. The problem is not just in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Mexico, and Brazil, where an ascendant left has failed to find a viable alternative to the much reviled ``Washington Consensus'' of economic liberalisation. One sees the same phenomenon across many rich countries as well. In a remarkable coincidence of timing, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called for early elections _ Japan voted yesterday _ in the hope of energising reform. In Germany, the most urgent needs are for tax and labour-market reform. In Japan, the Koizumi government is staking its future on privatising the behemoth postal service, whose giant financial arm is wrapped like a python around the banking system. Even in the United States, one of the few places where economic liberalisation is not a dirty word, President George W. Bush has his own frustrations. Despite a huge investment of time and energy, he has failed to marshal even his own troops in support of a relatively modest proposal to stave off collapse of the nation's old-age insurance programme. Indeed, Mr Bush's popularity has taken a beating over pension reform. Some people ascribe the global collapse of reform efforts to a peculiarly ineffective collection of leaders. This view is nonsense, and besides, if the public is so unhappy with its leaders' performances, why does it keep electing and re-electing them? No, the problems run deeper. The fact is that people everywhere are having trouble coming to terms with the rapid changes resulting from technology and globalisation. Although globalisation spins off a lot more winners than losers, many people are worried, and worried people press their leaders to slow things down. You can tell Americans and Europeans that they should rejoice over the boundless cheap goods and cheap credit that trade with Asia has supplied. But all their politicians seem to worry about is how some farmer or textile worker may lose his job. You can tell Latin Americans or Africans that Asia's unquenchable thirst for natural resources will keep pushing up the prices of their commodity and agricultural exports in perpetuity, turning wheat fields into gold mines. But all their politicians seem to want to worry about is protecting doomed domestic manufacturers against low-wage Asian competition. Outgoing US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan preaches flexibility as a way of dealing with globalisation. At some level, of course, he is right. Today's world is one of fast-changing currents, where a region flourishes one day, and the next its factories collapse economically, as if hit by Hurricane Katrina. If change is inevitable, we must make our economies more flexible and prepare to live with the consequences. There is no other way. So why doesn't the public accept this need for flexibility, which, in the end, is what market-based economic liberalisation is all about? The problem is that most people are not thrilled to live in a world of blindingly fast change. Most people are creatures of habit; they crave predictability. German workers who make high-end machine tools are proud of their craft, and they don't want to be told that the same work can be done for much less in Poland or Slovakia. Clothing makers in Italy have long been the envy of the world. These craftsmen don't want to be told that they should start retraining as tour guides to service the inevitable horde of middle-income Chinese tourists, as that country takes over high-end light manufacturing like tailoring. With such resistance to change, it's no wonder that so many political leaders try to lull their subjects to sleep, hoping that when everyone wakes up, it will all have proven a dream. Asia, of course, is different. China is developing at a dizzying pace. Cities are rising out of desert sands overnight. China is building more roads, airports, and bridges every five years than Europe and the US combined build in 20. With a long history of cataclysmic, often violent change, Chinese society is perhaps more adaptable than most. In India, which is said to have a strong consensus for weak reform, things are moving far more slowly but always forward. Whereas India is not yet nearly the factor in global trade that China has become, its 1.2 billion people are pushing inexorably onto the scene. Will today's reform paralysis outside Asia continue? Will the political winds shift to reinvigorate economic liberalisation, with politicians reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan coming to the fore, breathing the fire of change? Will politicians finally tell their citizens that if their economies continue to sleep, they may not wake up? I believe that in most countries, the era of sleep therapy will come to an early end. But I fear that change might cause a global economic crisis resulting from, say, an ugly unwinding of extravagant US borrowing trends. Only then may people start waking up and voting for politicians who insist on re-energising economic reform. Kenneth Rogoff is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University, and was formerly chief economist at the IMF. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2005. www.project-syndicate.org http://www.bangkokpost.net/Business/12Sep2005_biz40.php

Subject: Mik why don't they answer?
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 01:53:46 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Mik why do some people here avoid direct questions? You directly questioned me - I tried to show you some courtesty - please no longer do so because I will not from now own - I will avoid any future questions from you since that seems to be the status quo here. ...so Emma please answer me and tell me where are you personally trying to put your wealth to avoid losses from the SHAKEOUT?

Subject: Sorry I was away
From: Mik
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 19, 2005 at 12:51:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Johnny, Sorry I was away for 5 days. I really enjoy actual discussions on this site. I was not trying to avoid your questions, and unfortunately I think that your questions may have slipped off the board over the time I was away. Please repost and I will answer. Mik

Subject: A conservative portfolio
From: David E...
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 00:34:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Johnny C You might be interested because I have implemented some ideas about how to prepare a portfolio for either a 1929 type fall in prices or a 1970's inflation portfolio. These ideas have not been examined or reviewed by others so comments are welcomed. First, to understand my portfolio, you must know what risk feels like to me. My portfolio is modest, my social security is robust, my pension is very modest(accruals stopped in 1994) so I am recieving 1/4th of the projected pension). I am retired, so the money I make on my portfolio is the only money I will make in the future. In other words if my nestegg shrinks, my standard of living will also shrink. If inflation or depression effects are larger than has occurred in the 20th century, I will be surprised and my losses will be larger than I have planned for. This portfolio is very conservative and is bought at the cost of foregone gains in the stock market. I am happy with this prospect because the anticipated pleasure of the gains is not worth the anticipated pain of suffering cuts in my modest standard of living. The portfolio is right now 68% bonds 32% stock. The bonds are split 40% Short term bonds - 60% TIPS. The stocks are split VEURX 25% Vanguard Europe SWZ 10% Swiss CEF SP500 34% Vanguard VFINX ASN 10% REIT GCH 7% Chinese CEF VPACX 7% Vanguard Pacific (Austrailia & Japan) KF 7% Korean CEF SWZ is Swiss CEF invested in equity, GCH is a CEF invested in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan equity, KF is a CEF invested in Korean equity. The way the portfolio is designed to work is that if a stock prices fall 50%, the portfolio will only fall 16%. (34 X .5 plus 68 =84 and 100-84=16) If 70's style inflation hits, this portfolio has three snow fences. I call them snow fences, because inflation can hit hard and all you can do is try to control inflation losses. The largest snow fence is my TIPS holding, the second is my Short Term Bonds, the third is a diversified equity position. TIPS with annual adjustments to the interest rate will closely cover inflation losses. Short Term Bonds are both a source of current income and inflation protection. Short term bonds will suffer minor losses as interest rates are adjusted up because of inflation. With inflation high, short term interest rates may be high. Maybe, is as good as most inflation fighting investments can be. The third fence is the equity position. Sometimes inflation losses will be offset by increases in equity prices. So I have an equity portfolio that is 44% US, 56% foreign. My US equity is 34% SP500 and 10% ASN which is an apartment real estate stock. I invested in ASN because ASN only invests in cities where entry to markets is difficult(Lack of land and other building restrictions) and upscale. I expect in an inflationary and deflationary markets ASN will hold value better than othr REITS. In other words ASN is hopefully like a 'hard money' asset. My foreign investments provide me diversification from dollar denominated assets. Additionally I view the Swiss investment as another 'hard money' asset. The swiss reputation depends on maintaining a stable value of their franc, and they have been very successful keeping their inflation at about 2%. South America and East European Emerging markets are not covered so this portfolio does not have world wide-diversification. Maybe I will add them in the future. This portfolio's standard deviation was calculated using the last 10 year's performance. The SD is about 6%. Expected performance is about 6%. And 6.4% is the performance over the last 9 months.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: Jennifer
To: David E...
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 17:31:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you for the specificity. The approach and portfolio are interesting, and I am thinking how I might respond. I prefer to have the bond and stock percentages reversed, but I can easily live off interest on bonds and dividends. Also, I use no inflation protected bonds. I hold the Vanguard long term investment grade and high yield tax free bond fund. I think at times of moving to the intermediate term funds, but the bond market is still too sound to move and I do not worry about minor changes in bond fund prices and do not expect major changes. I prefer the Vanguard Morgan Stanley indexes to the S&P, and use the value index and middle cap index and Europe index. I use health care and energy funds, and the REIT index. There is more to describe. The ratio of stocks to bonds I prefer is about 75 to 25. Now, for some more thinking. I think I know how to weather either a bear market or inflation. We have recently weathered a bear market, but not inflation.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: John C
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 19:02:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Jennifer, why not list specific funds and % invested. Its hard to discuss portfolios if you don't lay your cards on the table.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: John C
To: David E...
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 10:13:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
dave, thanks for the detailed review and analysis of your investments, if only others could be as generous in sharing information. I have one question though regarding your expected performance. What are your capital market assumptions that get you to a 6% annual return. I would think a portfolio of ~70% fixed income and 30% stocks would be more about 5%, but obviously it all comes down to what you expect fixed income and stocks to return in the future.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: David E..
To: John C
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 13:21:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, revealing your financial plan is like revealing your bookcase. It reveals a lot, maybe too much. But I have seen an interest here in defending against hard times. Maybe fresh eyes will see more opportunities for this type of investing. The hardest balance to achieve was the balance between equity and bonds. 10 months ago, my intention was to let equity grow to 40%. This because equity is a strong defense against inflation. But, as I made withdrawals, and equity grew, I discovered that I was uncomfortable. So, I just last week rebalanced my portfolio, took my equity profits and bought more bonds. 70% bonds - 30% equity works for me. The expected performance is based on the previous 10 years - which has been very kind to bond holders. As we move from low rates to higher rates the immediate future will not be so kind to bond holders. I am insulated from this effect as much as possible using ST Bonds and TIPS. I can be sanguine about my TIPS because I bought them at a real rate of 3% plus. So my expected ride down for TIPS is preceded by a joyful ride up. Also, the expected return is nominal, just as the 10 months return is. And the 10 year performance. So 6.4 expected return - 3% inflation gives an expected real return of 3%.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: John C
To: David E..
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 19:01:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dave, thanks for the info, but i am still left to wonder what you expect the fixed income portion of your portfolio to return, along with what you expect the equity portion of your portfolio to return. Basically what I am looking for is the numbers you would plug into a finanical software program (ignoring correlation at this time) to come up with a efficient frontier or monte carlo simulation. Given that you have a short duration portfolio, I can't see you coming up with a 6% return unless you have high return expectations for equities. The 10 Yr treasury closed at 4.26% on friday, so I would think a market duration portfolio's return would be about 50 bp higher if you include a risk premium for mortage and credit securities (like the LB Agg). Given that you are in a short term portfolio, I would knock off at least 100 bp in expected return. I'm not trying to knock your portfolio, as a defensive play it seems appropriate, I just don't see how you could get a 6% return over the long term given its current structure.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: David E..
To: John C
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 22:55:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well 6.4% portfolio return is the result when I pumped in 10 years of performance for each asset class. I pumped the performance into a MVO optimizer. My MVO optimizer allows me to control the asset allocation. I elected to do the allocation because I wanted to make sure I had diversification. Allowing the optimizer to do the selection would have meant I would have had little diversification. I treated all of my assets as separate asset classes. Maybe I should have grouped the EM market stuff together but I didnt. The EM-China Fund stuff was wild with SD in excess of 50%, but I selected the China fund anyway because I wanted diversification. I haven't been interested in forecasts of bond or equity returns because those numbers don't make much sense in times of extreme pressure like depression or '70's style' inflation. What is most important for me is maintaining asset value. My plan though, is not wild eyed bear behavior with 100% of my assets in gold. My plan resembles a conventional stock portfolio for my level of risk. And I think my plan will return what most portfolios with my levels of risk return. My return forecast has been based on 10 years of history - so I came up with 6.4%. I am a tidal creature, I want to survive whether the tides are big or small by preserving my capital. If I was an institutional financial planner I would have to come up with the numbers you want. And what I would do then is say the same thing that Warren Buffet and many others are saying. Returns for both bonds and equity are going to be lower, substantially lower, in the future. Institutional planners would get fired for saying what I would say, so they will say things like the 'expected rate of return is 8.5%'. Their customers want to hear a high return rate so they can say, Wow, that means our pensions are fully funded. (I live in San Diego and everyone takes great faith in 8.5% returns, because with 8.5% returns the city only has a $1.5 billion deficit) Monte Carlo simulations don't mean anything. They are just averages and everybody who knows statistics knows that you can drown in 4' of water. Somewhere with a 4' average there could be a 10 foot deep pool of water. For me, at this point in my life, I worry about the deep pool of water. I am planning for events that only took place once in a century. Most folks would say, and probably rightfully so, I don't worry about that. So I have developed a portfolio that might give me a flexibility to defend against inflation or depression. And the cost of that flexibility is minor because I think there is little difference between my portfolio and most portfolios with my level of risk.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: John C
To: David E..
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 18, 2005 at 11:16:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'I haven't been interested in forecasts of bond or equity returns because those numbers don't make much sense in times of extreme pressure like depression or '70's style' inflation' I find this comment interesting because you use the past 10 years performance when using a MVO model. I would think you would come up with your own forecasts as they would be more relevant than the past 10 years, right? At the same time, project returns are supposed to be an average annualized return, not a 1 year number. 'If I was an institutional financial planner I would have to come up with the numbers you want.' Actually, regardless if its instiutional or retail, the numbers should be the same. You said it yourself that you expect bond returns to be lower, so why use a 10 year return history? I work for an investment management company and our forecasts for each asset class we manage have been coming down the past few years. Even the consultants 'projected' returns that I've seen have been coming down. If they haven't been, you wouldn't have seen such a rise in Hedge Funds and Private Equity investments. One of the main reason these asset classes are booming is that the funds are trying to meet their actuarial rates. Can't just do that with stocks and bonds now. 'Monte Carlo simulations don't mean anything' Interesting comment given the use of how many fixed income and hedge fund managers use these models to evaluate their portfolios. Yes, they are sensitive to their inputs, but when used correctly they tend to be significantly more accurate of future behavior (at least in terms of probability) than a MVO model or other comparable model. 'I live in San Diego and everyone takes great faith in 8.5% returns, because with 8.5% returns the city only has a $1.5 billion deficit)' Great city, messed up retirement system though. I was at a conference once and had a consultant tell me they wouldn't touch that system with a 10 ft pole due to all the lawsuits going on there. Although I have to say 8.5% isn't that high of an assumed rate of return, from what I've seen its slightly above median.

Subject: Re: A conservative portfolio
From: David E...
To: John C
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 13:14:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Re: Mik why don't they answer?
From: Emma
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 14:15:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
PKarchive was evidently troubled and could not be opened for a while. Since, foolishly or not, I do not worry about extreme investment problems, I do not know how to respond to questions about extreme possibilities. I save considerably, and invest simply and conservatively and with diversification. Vanguard is enough for me, and I seldom pay attention to alternatives beyond Vanguard. I lean to value, and use bond funds for a moderate cushion and cash. Were I to become increasingly worried however, I might turn a little more to bond funds. I am not now worried.

Subject: Re: Mik why don't they answer?
From: John C.
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 14:32:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I think Johnny is looking for the exact funds you are invest in, and percentage of your allocation, not a general answer of asset classes and mutual fund companies. To be more specific, can you list the mutual funds you have investments in and the percentage of the portfolio they make up as of 9/15/05. I think that would address the question he is asking.

Subject: Boom, shake the room
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 18:22:27 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
JAGADEESH GOKHALE Only leadership can defuse America's fiscal time-bomb Alan Greenspan recently expressed concern about the US fiscal position, warning that monetary policy 'cannot ignore the potential inflationary risks inherent in our current fiscal outlook ...' He also said: 'I assume that [fiscal] imbalances will be resolved before stark choices again confront us and, if they are not, the Fed will resist any temptation to monetise fiscal deficits.' That was a curious remark because the reigning economic theory of who 'wins' when monetary and fiscal authorities square off is called 'fiscal dominance'. America's public economic institutions are structured to afford maximum, but not full, independence to the Federal Reserve. Exchanging Treasury bills for cash is how the Fed controls the amount of bank reserves in circulation, thereby manipulating the interest rate on interbank loans - the 'Federal funds' rate. Changes in that rate influence interest rates on all sorts of debt securities, including those with considerably longer maturities. Using this mechanism, the Fed regulates the amount of liquid assets in circulation and the pace of overall economic activity to deliver on two goals maintaining price stability and achieving maximum sustainable economic growth. The disastrous bout of inflation in the 1970s prompted most Fed officials to focus more on the goal of price stability. In the late 1990s, when large projected budget surpluses threatened to drain Treasuries from financial markets, Fed officials scrambled to devise alternative operating procedures involving private securities. Those procedures were never required because subsequent tax cuts ensured the projected surpluses never materialised. Soon, however, the Fed could face the opposite problem: a surfeit of Treasuries from a failure to resolve the existing federal fiscal imbalance. That imbalance primarily arises from maintaining generous but unfunded retirement and health benefits. The longer it remains unresolved, the larger it will grow. Kent Smetters of Wharton and I estimated it to be $44,000bn a couple of years ago; today it stands at $63,OOObn (€51,333bn). Unfortunately, the 'stark choices' fiscal policymakers would face if they fail to resolve the growing fiscal imbalance will eventually confront the Fed. Why? Because continued high deficits and growing debt will drain the economy of investible resources. It will also reduce foreign lenders' confidence in US ability to resist the temptation to inflate away the real value of growing federal debt much of which is held abroad. That may lead them to divert 'their savings from US shores, further draining domestic investment. If that happens, US productivity will erode, domestic unemployment will increase and political pressure on the Fed to stimulate economic activity will grow. Direct monetary stimulus entails purchasing more Treasury debt for cash to keep interest rates lower than would be consistent with an 'inflation neutral' level precisely the action Mr Greenspan abjures. So the question remains: how long can his successor continue serving the price-stability goal and ignore calls for direct action? Economic history is replete with episodes in which huge fiscal deficits eroded the capital stock and generated expectations of rampant inflation. And central banks often engaged in accommodative action, putting more dollar bills into circulation by purchasing the growing stock of Treasuries. Managing the public's inflation expectations has been Mr Greenspan's quintessential skill. That is the motivation for his brave words: to manage inflation expectations among holders of US Treasury debt. Without those words and, before long, without another Fed chairman willing to feed financial markets with the rhetoric required to hold line on inflation the growing fiscal time-bomb could explode earlier. However, and here is the really hard question, does performing such a superb job of managing inflation expectations while maintaining price stability exacerbate the problem by allowing the nation's fiscal imbalance to grow? If so, how? By allowing fiscal policymakers to prolong their 'no tax-hikes' versus 'no-spending-cuts' logjam. Greater confidence in the ability of monetary policy to mop up problems created by fiscal profligacy may be enabling the very irresponsible fiscal policies the Fed chairman feels constrained to caution against. Skilled conduct of monetary policy can extend the inevitable day of reckoning, but perhaps at the cost of making the final adjustments more wrenching. Ultimately, defusing the fiscal time-bomb will require sustained leadership directly in federal fiscal management. The writer is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former senior economic advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland FT, Thursday September 15 2005

Subject: Re: Boom, shake the room
From: Jennifer
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 20:14:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Cato wishes to destroy the legacy of the New Deal, so deficits are an excuse to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. I am decidedly unimpressed. Where was Cato when we had a budget surplus? Advocating tax cuts on tax cuts. So, we muddle along for the time being but no cuts in Medicare or Social Security. Cuts in defense are not going to be made, and the Gulf Coast must be aided. Deficits will continue :)

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars 10 year]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 11:50:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 8/31/95 - 8/31/05 Australia 10.9 Canada 13.9 Denmark 14.0 Finland 13.2 France 10.8 Germany 7.4 Hong Kong 6.4 Japan -1.5 Netherlands 8.2 Norway 12.3 Sweden 13.1 Switzerland 9.9 UK 9.0

Subject: Returns [Domestic Currency 10 year]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 11:50:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 8/31/95 - 8/31/05 Australia 10.9 Canada 12.6 Denmark 14.7 Finland 14.3 France 11.4 Germany 8.3 Hong Kong 6.4 Japan -0.3 Netherlands 9.1 Norway 12.2 Sweden 13.6 Switzerland 10.4 UK 7.3

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars 5 year]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 10:40:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 8/31/00 - 8/31/05 Australia 16.4 Canada 3.8 Denmark 9.0 France 0.9 Germany 0.1 Hong Kong 2.6 Japan -3.8 Netherlands 0.9 Norway 12.3 Sweden -1.7 Switzerland 4.9 UK 3.6

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency 5 year]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 10:40:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 8/31/00 - 8/31/05 Australia 10.4 Canada 0.6 Denmark 2.2 France -5.4 Germany -6.3 Hong Kong 2.6 Japan -3.0 Netherlands -7.1 Norway 10.8 Sweden -5.9 Switzerland -1.7 UK -0.7

Subject: A Modern, Multicultural Makeover
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:55:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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

Subject: How Curious George Escaped the Nazis
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:53:18 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/books/13geor.html?ex=1284264000&en=8f3b6aa8193a3b0f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 13, 2005 How Curious George Escaped the Nazis By DINITIA SMITH Curious George is every 2-year-old sticking his finger into the light socket, pouring milk onto the floor to watch it pool, creating chaos everywhere. One reason the mischievous monkey is such a popular children's book character is that he makes 4- to 6-year-olds feel superior: fond memories, but we've given all that up now. In the years since the first book was published in the United States in 1941, 'George' has become an industry. The books have sold more than 27 million copies. There have been several 'Curious George' films, including an animated one featuring the voice of Will Ferrell that is scheduled for release this February, and theater productions, not to mention the ubiquitous toy figure. Next year, PBS will begin a Curious George series for pre-schoolers. But in truth, 'Curious George' almost didn't make it onto the page. A new book, 'The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey' (Houghton Mifflin), tells of how George's creators, both German-born Jews, fled from Paris by bicycle in June 1940, carrying the manuscript of what would become 'Curious George' as Nazis prepared to invade. The book's author, Louise Borden, said in a telephone interview from Terrace Park, Ohio, that she first spotted a mention of the Reys' escape in Publishers Weekly. 'But no one knew where they had gone from Paris, the roads they took, the dates of where they were, the details,' she said. Her account, intended for older children, is illustrated in whimsical European style by Allan Drummond, and includes photographs of the Reys and wartime Europe, as well as H. A. Rey's pocket diaries and transit documents. For her research, Ms. Borden combed the Rey archives of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, interviewed people who knew them and traced their journey through letters and postmarks. Hans Reyersbach was born in Hamburg in 1898 into an educated family, and lived near the Hagenbeck Zoo, where he learned to imitate animal sounds, as well as to draw and paint. During World War I, Mr. Reyersbach served in the German Army; afterward, he painted circus posters for a living. After studying at two German universities, he went to Rio de Janeiro in the mid-1920's, looking for a job. He wound up selling bathtubs on the Amazon. Margarete Waldstein, who was born in 1906, also in Hamburg, had a more fiery personality. After Hitler began his rise, she left Hamburg to become a photographer in London. In 1935, she too went to Rio. Mr. Reyersbach had first seen her as a little girl sliding down the banister of her family's Hamburg home, and now they met again. They eventually married, and founded an advertising agency. Margarete changed her name to 'Margret' and Hans changed his surname to 'Rey,' reasoning that Reyersbach was difficult for Brazilians to pronounce. Crucially, the two became Brazilian citizens. For their honeymoon, they sailed to Europe, accompanied by their two pet marmoset monkeys. Margret knitted tiny sweaters for them to keep them warm, but the monkeys died en route. The Reys ended up in the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre, where they began writing and illustrating children's books. In 1939, they published 'Raffy and the 9 Monkeys.' Mr. Rey drew the illustrations, and his wife helped to write the stories. Hans initially had sole credit for the books, but eventually Margret's name was added. 'We worked very closely together and it was hard to pull the thing apart,' she later said. Hans was a fanatical record keeper, listing expenses and details about their work in tiny pocket calendars. In 1939, he began a story about the youngest monkey in 'Raffy,' who was forever getting into trouble but finding his way out. It was called 'The Adventures of Fifi.' That September, war broke out. The Reys had signed a contract with the French publisher Gallimard for 'Fifi' and other stories, and in a stroke of luck received a cash advance that would later finance their escape. By the time the Germans marched into Holland and Belgium in May 1940, the Reys had begun a book of nursery songs in both French and English. 'Songs English very slowly because of the events,' Hans wrote in his diary. With refugees pouring into Paris from the north, Mr. Rey built two bicycles from spare parts, while Margret gathered up their artwork and manuscripts. They then joined the millions of refugees heading south, while German planes flew overhead. The Reys found shelter in a farmhouse, then a stable, working their way by rail to Bayonne, and then to Biarritz by bicycle again. They were Jews, but because they were Brazilian citizens, it was easier to get visas. One official, perhaps thinking that because of their German accents they were spies, searched Mr. Rey's satchel. Finding 'Fifi,' and, seeing it was only a children's story, he released them. They journeyed to Spain, then to Portugal, eventually finding their way back to Rio. 'Have had a very narrow escape,' Mr. Rey wrote in a telegram to his bank. 'Baggage all lost have not sufficient money in hand.' The couple sailed to New York in October 1940, and 'Curious George,' as Fifi was renamed - the publisher thought 'Fifi' was an odd name for a male monkey - made his first appearance the following year. The Reys wrote a total of eight 'Curious George' books; Hans died in 1977, Margret in 1996. The ensuing 'George' books were created by writers and illustrators imitating the Reys' style and art. 'Like Hans Reyersback and Margarete Waldstein,' Ms. Borden concludes, 'the little French monkey Fifi would change his name, and it would become one to remember. '

Subject: Does Organic Imply Grazing?
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:35:19 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/dining/14milk.html?ex=1284350400&en=cb0a3418a005e9f8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 14, 2005 Does Organic Imply Grazing? By MARIAN BURROS JOHN MACKEY, chairman of Whole Foods Market, with the buying power of his 173 stores across the country behind him, said in a telephone interview yesterday that he wants the Department of Agriculture to strengthen its standards for organic milk. 'I'm worried that it is getting bogged down in some kind of political process,' said Mr. Mackey, who wields great power in the organic food industry. For at least four years, the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the department's National Organic Program, has sought a regulation to make the standards more rigorous so that milk labeled organic comes from cows that spend a certain amount of time grazing in pastures. Currently dairy farms that keep cows confined most or all of the time can legally claim their milk is organic if they use organic feed and do not use antibiotics or growth hormones. The current organic standards, which took effect in 2000, require that cows have 'access to pasture,' but do not require cows to be put in the pasture. 'We think the average customer believes organic dairy cows are grazing full time,' Mr. Mackey said, 'and we would like organic standards to be more rigorous so the perception meets the reality.' Mr. Mackey first discussed his company's position in an interview with Jim Slama in Conscious Choice, a monthly magazine. The organic standards board has proposed that dairy cows be allowed to graze during the growing season and that a lactating cow should not be confined in a barn. Farmers who confine cows can give them high-energy feed that helps them produce more milk than cows on pasture, reducing the cost. In public comments, two companies opposed the proposal: Aurora Dairy and Wild Oats, the 111-store chain of natural food supermarkets. Aurora Dairy does not allow its lactating cows in pastures. In its comments Wild Oats said the system was working well because it 'facilitates the expansion of the organic milk supply.' Ed Loyd, press secretary to the Secretary of Agriculture, said that the labeling of milk as organic has been an issue since 1993. 'We don't know whether there is need for additional rule making or for guidance to the industry,' he said. Within the next 12 months Whole Foods will announce what it calls 'compassionate' standards for treatment of dairy cows. Mr. Mackey said he was almost certain the company would go beyond the standards the National Organic Standards Board is seeking. 'We will clearly label products that are not animal compassionate so our customers can be fully informed about their practices,' he said. Those who meet the company's standards will be so designated. 'We don't want to see organic standards diluted down to where they don't mean what consumers think it means,' he said.

Subject: Blacks Hit Hardest by Costlier Mortgages
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:29:04 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/business/14lend.html?ex=1284350400&en=8a63d70db58adbe3&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 14, 2005 Blacks Hit Hardest by Costlier Mortgages By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - Regardless of income levels, blacks were about three times as likely as whites to borrow through more expensive 'subprime' mortgages last year, according to a nationwide lending survey released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve. The new report, based on data collected from 8,853 lenders, is the Fed's first attempt to look for evidence of racial and ethnic discrimination in the booming business in exotic mortgages and subprime lending. Among low-income homebuyers, about 39.2 percent of blacks but only 12.9 percent of whites took out high-priced mortgages, which the Fed defined as loans with interest rates about 2 percentage points higher than those for 'prime' customers with good credit. For buyers of a $200,000 house last year, that would have meant about $3,000 extra in annual interest payments. In its report, the Fed cautioned that its study included no data on the credit ratings of individual borrowers, which greatly affects the rates they must pay. The Fed also said that part of the gap could be explained by differences in the kinds of mortgages that people used and by differences among lenders. But even after adjusting for those differences, blacks were nearly twice as likely as whites at every income level to take out expensive mortgages. Douglas Duncan, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington, said the Fed's report showed little evidence of racial or ethnic discrimination. 'To us, it seemed they were saying you could explain the majority of differences,' Mr. Duncan said. 'You would expect to see higher-priced loans in higher-priced categories.' But Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington, said this merely pointed to a larger issue: 'The discrimination is about why you end up going to a subprime lender in the first place,' Mr. Baker said. 'It is striking to see such a difference' between members of minority groups and whites, Mr. Baker said. 'What it shows is that blacks and Hispanics are paying a lot more for mortgages than whites who appear to be comparably situated.' Under a longstanding mandate from Congress, the Federal Reserve has for years analyzed the rates at which people in different ethnic groups were being denied mortgage loans. But that measure had become increasingly dated as banks and other mortgage lenders developed a kaleidoscope of high-cost subprime mortgages for people who would have simply been rejected outright in the past on the basis of poor credit or insufficient income. Subprime mortgages, almost nonexistent 10 years ago, accounted for more than 10 percent of all new home mortgages last year; analysts say they are a major reason that homeownership rates have climbed sharply among African-Americans and Hispanics. The new study raised but did not answer the question of why blacks, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, have been induced to pay higher rates. Even among high-income borrowers, which the Fed defined as people who earned more than 120 percent of the median income in their area, blacks and Hispanics were far more likely to take out high-cost mortgages. Among higher-income borrowers, 23.9 percent of blacks took out high-cost mortgages, compared to 17.4 percent of high-income Hispanics and 5.8 percent of whites. Asian-Americans, by contrast, were less likely on average than whites to take out high-cost loans. In its study, the Fed said that a large part of the contrast between mortgages to blacks and whites could be attributed to differences in lending institutions. Put another way, the gap between blacks and whites who borrowed from the same lenders was much smaller that the overall gap between blacks and whites. According to the Fed's data, the vast bulk of high-priced subprime lending was handled by a small number of institutions. Of the 8,800 mortgage lenders that provided data, only 500 said they had made more than 100 subprime loans last year. Ten lenders accounted for 38 percent of all the loans that were made. The Fed study could provide new ammunition to critics of subprime lenders who accuse such institutions of predatory lending practices. In addition to paying much higher interest rates than 'prime' borrowers with strong credit, subprime customers are often locked into their mortgages for three to five years and forced to pay big penalties if they try to refinance with a cheaper mortgage. In an attempt to shed more light on the issue of discrimination, Fed researchers delved into data from eight major subprime mortgage lenders that was collected by Georgetown University's Credit Research Center.

Subject: You See Office Tower. Investors a Condo.
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:26:44 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/business/14office.html?ex=1284350400&en=dcb138a38356ad32&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 14, 2005 You See an Office Tower. Investors See a Condo. By JOHN HOLUSHA Despite all the talk of a real estate bubble, investors are pouring a stream of capital into the New York City market, and as a result prices of commercial properties in Manhattan continue to rise. While some investors are content to collect the income from office space, others are converting office buildings and hotels into condominiums. This trend is one factor that makes the sale of office buildings the strongest sector of the commercial real estate business. On the leasing side, meanwhile, demand for office space has been brisk in Midtown, brokers said. But demand for space downtown has remained slow, despite financial incentives and sharply lower rental rates. 'Residential conversion has become the dominant factor in the market,' said Warren M. Heller, executive managing director of capital transactions at Studley, the real estate brokerage company. 'Residential values are up so much that anything that can be converted will be.' At the old Mayflower Hotel at 61st Street and Central Park West, Mr. Heller said, the developers paid about $700 a square foot for the site and the building, which was demolished. It will cost $700 to $800 a square foot to build 19-story and 35-story towers at the site, he added. 'That puts Zeckendorf in at about $1,500 a square foot,' Mr. Heller said, referring to Zeckendorf Development, the owners of the project. 'In today's market, they can sell for $2,500 a square foot. That is 60 percent costs and 40 percent profit.' Earlier entrants to the conversion business have had loftier returns, even in neighborhoods just beginning to turn residential, Mr. Heller said. An office building at 15 Broad Street in the financial district was bought in 2003 for $100 a square foot for conversion to condominiums at a time when there were no residential condominiums in the area. 'They expected to sell for about $400 a square foot, but by the time the sales office opened it was up to $700 a square foot and now it is $900 to $1,000,' Mr. Heller said. Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive of the New York area operations of CB Richard Ellis, a prominent brokerage and services company, said, 'In downtown and Midtown South, for the first time, sites are worth more for residential development than commercial.' But Ms. Tighe added that office rents in Midtown were high enough to prevent much conversion. She said office leasing had been active this year, although below the level of 2004. 'Year to date to the end of August, 15.99 million square feet has been leased, which is below the 19 million we did in the same period last year,' she said. 'But 16 million square feet is a brisk pace.' As usual, Midtown dominated the leasing market, with about 10 million square feet of space leased, compared with about 3 million square feet each in Midtown South and downtown. Rents in Midtown may increase because, although millions of square feet are available, much of it is not suitable for tenants seeking large blocks in the most modern buildings, said Tara Stacom, an executive vice president of Cushman & Wakefield. 'The vacancy rate for large blocks of space in Class A buildings is under 7 percent, and the 500,000-to-1-million-square-foot customer has fewer options,' Ms. Stacom said. 'I know of an insurance company that wants to move to Midtown from downtown, but we can't find the space.' Adding to upward pressure on rents in Midtown are small financial companies - usually described by real estate agents as hedge funds - that want certain locations and amenities and do not need much space, typically 5,000 to 10,000 square feet. 'Hedge funds can afford $100 a square foot at places like 9 West 57th Street,' a premier building near Central Park, Ms. Stacom said. In addition, Ms. Tighe said some 50 million square feet of commercial property had changed hands since January 2002, and the buyers projected rent increases to justify the prices paid. 'Many of them projected rents of $50 a square foot by September of 2005, and they will not rent for anything less,' she said. In addition, real estate executives said, landlords are under pressure from rising costs for insurance, security and taxes. Energy prices are expected to increase this winter, too. 'Operating costs have gone up faster than rents,' said Anthony E. Malkin, the president of W&M Properties. While rents in Midtown have been rising, rents downtown have been stagnant, about 35 percent lower than the average in Midtown. Although a financial firm, Goldman Sachs, has agreed to build a headquarters downtown with heavy government incentives, only 20,000 square feet of space has been leased at 7 World Trade Center, the 1.7-million-square-foot tower that was built to replace a building destroyed in the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. Some real estate executives said that commuting to downtown was inconvenient for people living in the northern and eastern suburbs. 'When we talk to clients about downtown, it is a short conversation - most are not interested,' said Marisa Manley, president of Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation. Ms. Manley added that some companies said their workers did not want to be downtown because of the Sept. 11 factor. 'There is fear that there will be a bottleneck getting out of there if there is another incident,' she said. 'And for people coming into Grand Central, the subway ride downtown constitutes a second commute.' Even though downtown has become a popular place to live - five million square feet of office space has been transformed into housing - its attractions for most employers are less clear. 'The real question is, Why be there?' Mr. Malkin said. 'Downtown may work eventually, but it does not now. Why sign a 5- or 10-year lease and wait for it to get better?' But in established markets, prices paid for properties have continued to increase, fueled by money from pension funds looking for a haven in real estate. 'The market is awash in cash, which is what happens when pension funds increase their allocation to real estate from 4 to 8 percent,' said Peter Hauspurg, chairman of Eastern Consolidated, a sales brokerage firm. High prices are prompting what are being called generational sales by family companies like Rudin, Rose and Resnik, which are known for building and holding real estate. William Rudin, president of Rudin Management, said his company was seeking to sell some properties for reasons that 'are tied to long-term estate planning.' But Mr. Malkin, who represents the fourth generation of a family company, said such sales illustrated the difference between money managers paid to invest other people's money and executives whose own wealth is at stake and who demand higher returns. 'Family companies have family memories about real estate as a component of wealth,' he said. 'Professional money managers are being paid to deploy capital, so they are willing to invest at low returns and hope for a rent spike in three to five years.'

Subject: Best Nation for Business
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 08:19:20 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/politics/13rankings.html September 13, 2005 New Zealand Named Best Nation for Business By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - The World Bank has concluded that New Zealand is the most business-friendly nation in the world and that Serbia and Montenegro made the biggest pro-business changes last year. In a study to be released on Tuesday, the World Bank said that New Zealand and Singapore were the easiest countries to do business in. The United States came in third, followed by Canada. In its report, the World Bank ranked 155 countries based on classic American assumptions about economic success, like the idea that less red tape is better than more. The study looked at factors like the number of days it takes to get approval for starting a business, the ease or difficulty of hiring and firing workers, the ability of creditors to recoup their money when a company goes bankrupt, and the ability to enforce contracts in court. As in the past, most of those at the top of the list are wealthy and technologically advanced, like Australia, Britain, Denmark, Hong Kong and Norway. Hong Kong, a semiautonomous region of China, placed seventh, while China itself placed only 91st out of 155. But the World Bank said the formerly communist nations of Central Europe had made some of the biggest advances in supporting private business. Two former Soviet republics - Lithuania, in 14th place, and Estonia, in 15th - ranked ahead of Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. Among the countries that made the biggest changes in 2004 were Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Latvia and Romania. Countries that rank at the very top in terms of friendliness to business were not necessarily easy places to be a worker. The United States and New Zealand, for example, were the only two countries in the rankings that imposed no requirement at all to give severance pay to workers who had been laid off. Many countries, particularly in Western Europe, maintain an elaborate array of laws regulating the pay and hours of workers as well as restrictions that make it expensive and difficult to fire them. Supporters of such laws say they provide workers with a social safety net. A growing number of economists in the United States note that American workers have been exposed to steadily higher uncertainty about job security and are increasingly forced to work as self-employed contractors who can be laid off without notice and do not receive health insurance or retirement benefits. But the World Bank report contends that countries with more rigid labor laws also tended to have higher unemployment. On average, the bank said, unemployment was lowest in countries with the easiest rules for doing business and highest in countries with the most difficult rules. Countries with rigid workplace rules also tended to have greater rates of youth unemployment and a smaller share of women in the work force. But being friendly to business was not the same as having no rules at all. Afghanistan has almost no barriers to starting a business and to firing workers. But it also offers almost no protection for investor rights and almost no ability to enforce contracts in court. At 122nd, it ranked among the most difficult countries in the world to do business in.

Subject: Why the Little Guy Just Can't Win
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:36:22 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/business/13nocera.html?ex=1281585600&en=847635ec4020fe1b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss August 13, 2005 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: Is a Hedge Fund Shakeout Coming Soon?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:35:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/04/business/04view.html?ex=1283486400&en=f49918982c6c2f95&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 4, 2005 Is a Hedge Fund Shakeout Coming Soon? This Insider Thinks So By MARK GIMEIN OF all the sectors of the financial universe, the hedge fund world is probably the most secretive and almost certainly the most alluring. Open only to institutions and the wealthy, hedge funds offer sophisticated models of risk, access to the best financial minds and the chance for outsized returns. According to Van Hedge Advisors, hedge fund assets have topped a trillion dollars. The downside, unfortunately, is that occasionally the industry may be subject to catastrophic and unexpected losses. In 1998, many top hedge fund managers lost their shirts. Long Term Capital Management came close to collapse. Just last month, investors were reminded of exactly this kind of possibility with the apparent failure of a $400 million Connecticut hedge fund managed by the Bayou Group. Andrew W. Lo, a finance professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been studying hedge fund failures and risks, and he says that another hedge fund industry shakeout is likely in the near future. Mr. Lo runs a company, AlphaSimplex, that manages a $400 million hedge fund - so he is not looking for a reason to say hedge funds are in trouble. But that is exactly what he's saying, backing it up with powerful data and a couple of unexpected theories. Mr. Lo has been working on the economics of hedge funds since the mid-1990's, but he started thinking seriously about how to measure risk across the industry in 1999, when he was first approached by backers to start his own hedge fund; it opened in 2003. He knew that sophisticated investors would want lots of data about his fund's returns and about the risk level he would assume, so he started looking carefully at the return data provided by other funds. Traditionally, economists have thought that big up-and-down fluctuations in returns indicated risky investments, so many hedge fund investors have hoped to see a pattern of smooth and even returns. But Mr. Lo quickly saw that lots of hedge funds were posting returns that were just too smooth to be realistic. Digging deeper, he found that funds with hard-to-appraise, illiquid investments - like real estate or esoteric interest rate swaps - showed returns that were particularly even. In those cases, he concluded, managers had no way to measure their fluctuations, and simply assumed that their value was going up steadily. The problem, unfortunately, is that those are exactly the kinds of investments that can be subject to big losses in a crisis. In 1998, investors retreated en masse from such investments. Now, in a paper to be published by the University of Chicago, Mr. Lo, working with his graduate students, has come to a disturbing conclusion: that smooth returns, far from proving that hedge funds are safe, may be a warning sign for the industry. (The paper is at http://web.mit.edu/alo/www/Papers/systemic2.pdf.) That doesn't necessarily hold true for every individual fund, but as Mr. Lo shows in his paper, measuring the smoothness of returns gives economists a good way to estimate the level of relatively illiquid investments in the hedge fund world. The approach lets economists measure industrywide liquidity risks without knowing the details of the investments - information that hedge funds just don't give out. By Mr. Lo's measures, hedge fund investments are less liquid now than they have been in 20 years. His work shows that the same pattern of investing preceded the 1998 global hedge fund meltdown and the 1987 stock market crash. But that's not the only reason for worry. He says that crises like that of 1998 may be more predictable than was previously thought - and that another crisis is likely. The 1998 panic is generally thought to have been set off by the Russian government's default on its debt. But Mr. Lo points out that only a minuscule proportion of the world's hedge fund investments were in Russian government bonds. In his paper, he shows that the catastrophic losses of 1998 were preceded by a noticeable series of months of mediocre performance. Mr. Lo argues that while a hedge fund crisis appears to be sudden and to be caused by unforeseen events, the breakdown is only the late stage of the problem. As more hedge funds compete for the same slice of the pie, he says, their managers feel that they have no choice but to 'leverage up,' juicing their returns by borrowing more money to make bigger investments. That, in turn, makes the investments more prone to a sudden credit crisis. Hedge funds that are highly leveraged are vulnerable to having their lenders - banks and big brokerage firms - cut off credit when they think that their money may be at risk. And Mr. Lo thinks that lenders would do exactly that in an industrywide downturn. That would force hedge funds to close out their positions at the worst possible time - the kind of cycle that brought down Long Term Capital Management. Here again, his data suggests that the current situation is serious. His research indicates that the industry may have already entered a period of lower returns that signal a prelude to crisis. He points to a downturn in April that hit virtually every category of hedge fund pursuing every kind of strategy. 'The concern that I and others have is that we're approaching the perfect financial storm where all the arrows line up in one direction,' Mr. Lo said. The more money that is invested in hedge funds, he said, 'the bigger the storm will be.' What might set off a crash is a matter of guesswork. Mr. Lo thinks that an oil-price increase to $100 a barrel, a level predicted by one Goldman Sachs analyst, could do it. Or , he said, a tightening of lending rules at Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant, could set off a 'humongous unwinding' in credit markets. But Mr. Lo, who refers to some of his research as 'measuring how strong the camel's back is and how much straw is already on it,' thinks that the spark could be something much smaller. ALREADY, his work has prompted hedge fund managers and investors to pay more attention to the hidden risks of funds that seem to be performing quite well. Clifford S. Asness, managing principal at AQR Capital Management, a large and successful hedge fund based in Greenwich, Conn., says Mr. Lo's work forces fund managers in general to confront the risks: 'He demonstrates simple models that generally show a winning payoff but occasionally really die.' So what should be done? Mr. Lo sees no way to eliminate the cyclical nature of hedge fund investing, but he says we can learn from the mistakes of funds that fail. He advocates the creation of a financial equivalent of the teams at the National Transportation Safety Board that swoop in to investigate airplane crashes. The nightmare script for Mr. Lo would be a series of collapses of highly leveraged hedge funds that bring down the major banks or brokerage firms that lend to them. That's a possibility that the entire hedge fund industry - secretive and fractious though it is - has a huge interest in avoiding.

Subject: Where will you flee?
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:26:02 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Also remember this story - so Emma please answer me and tell me where are you personally trying to put your wealth to avoid losses from the SHAKEOUT? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/02/AR2005060202084.html Cox Would Make SEC Corporate America's Sponsor By Steven Pearlstein Friday, June 3, 2005; Page D01 It's been a very good week for the Corpocracy. First, there was the Supreme Court decision overturning the conviction of Arthur Andersen for destruction of incriminating Enron documents, which is likely to make it harder to prosecute executives for corporate fraud. SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson will step down officially on June 30, bad news for investors who value protection. (By Joe Raedle -- Getty Images) Even under the old standards, convictions were anything but a slam-dunk. That again became clear as the week wore on with the jury still deadlocked on charges that Richard Scrushy presented a misleading picture about HealthSouth, which by any common-sense standard he surely did. But the week's big news was the resignation of William Donaldson as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the nomination of Rep. Christopher Cox to succeed him. In the wake of a series of corporate scandals that undermined faith in the integrity of American business and the fundamental fairness of American markets, Donaldson revived a once-elite regulatory agency that had become politicized, demoralized, starved for funding and embarrassed by more aggressive state regulators. But he cut his tenure short because of waning support from the White House and escalating friction with the commission's two Republican members, who not only were able to block key initiatives but had begun to quibble about the wording of every order and regularly oppose enforcement actions recommended by the professional staff. It is the Cox nomination, however, that signals the return to pliant directors, misleading financial statements, disenfranchised shareholders and runaway executive salaries. Cox's philosophy of corporate governance is that investors who don't like how a company is run should simply sell their shares and put their money somewhere else. Look for Cox to make it easier and cheaper for companies to issue new shares of stock, even when they have no business doing so, while soft-peddling enforcement against big brokerage and insurance firms that merely aid and abet corporate fraud but don't actually do it themselves. The proposed new chairman of the SEC is a leading proponent of the idea that accounting rules are simply too important to be left to the professionals but ought to be subject to the discipline of the political marketplace. A decade ago, when the Financial Accounting Standards Board was first considering requiring companies to treat grants of employee stock options as an operating expense, our man Cox helped lead the congressional effort to block FASB's initiative. Around the same time, FASB was preparing to shut down an accounting gimmick popular with high-tech firms that used stock rather than cash to buy other firms. Experts had long complained that the 'pooling of interests' accounting hid the true costs of mergers and acquisitions. But threats by Cox and other members of Congress to pass legislation blocking the change forced FASB to weaken the new rule and delay it until the stock market bubble had already burst. Cox was also part of the congressional cabal that thwarted SEC chairman Arthur Levitt when he tried to push through a rule preventing accounting firms from doing lucrative consulting work for companies whose books they audited. After the story of the Andersen-Enron debacle came out, several members of the cabal stepped forward to acknowledge they were wrong about that one. But Cox, who relied heavily on political contributions from the accounting industry, was not among them. Cox was also the author of legislation that would have made it virtually impossible for shareholders to bring suit against companies that misled or deceived them. With the increase in frivolous lawsuits brought by unscrupulous lawyers, some sort of reform was clearly warranted. But Cox's proposal would have shielded executives and directors who fed happy talk to investors and analysts without checking to see whether it was true. Happily, the Cox 'hear-no-evil, see-no-evil' defense was largely written out of the final bill. Cox has repeatedly demonstrated a preference for sacrificing investor protection to the larger cause of promoting economic growth. He is more ideologue than pragmatist, and an unabashed partisan to boot. Those hardly seem like the necessary qualifications to succeed Bill Donaldson, a champion of the investor, a paragon of independence and a general all-around pro.

Subject: Singapore and Katrina
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:18:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/opinion/14friedman.html September 14, 2005 Singapore and Katrina By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Singapore There is something troublingly self-indulgent and slothful about America today - something that Katrina highlighted and that people who live in countries where the laws of gravity still apply really noticed. It has rattled them - like watching a parent melt down. That is certainly the sense I got after observing the Katrina debacle from half a world away here in Singapore - a city-state that, if it believes in anything, believes in good governance. It may roll up the sidewalks pretty early here, and it may even fine you if you spit out your gum, but if you had to choose anywhere in Asia you would want to be caught in a typhoon, it would be Singapore. Trust me, the head of Civil Defense here is not simply someone's college roommate. Indeed, Singapore believes so strongly that you have to get the best-qualified and least-corruptible people you can into senior positions in the government, judiciary and civil service that its pays its prime minister a salary of $1.1 million a year. It pays its cabinet ministers and Supreme Court justices just under $1 million a year, and pays judges and senior civil servants handsomely down the line. From Singapore's early years, good governance mattered because the ruling party was in a struggle for the people's hearts and minds with the Communists, who were perceived to be both noncorrupt and caring - so the state had to be the same and more. Even after the Communists faded, Singapore maintained a tradition of good governance because as a country of only four million people with no natural resources, it had to live by its wits. It needed to run its economy and schools in a way that would extract the maximum from each citizen, which is how four million people built reserves of $100 billion. 'In the areas that are critical to our survival, like Defense, Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs, we look for the best talent,' said Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy. 'You lose New Orleans, and you have 100 other cities just like it. But we're a city-state. We lose Singapore and there is nothing else. ... [So] the standards of discipline are very high. There is a very high degree of accountability in Singapore.' When a subway tunnel under construction collapsed here in April 2004 and four workers were killed, a government inquiry concluded that top executives of the contracting company should be either fined or jailed. The discipline that the cold war imposed on America, by contrast, seems to have faded. Last year, we cut the National Science Foundation budget, while indulging absurd creationist theories in our schools and passing pork-laden energy and transportation bills in the middle of an energy crisis. We let the families of the victims of 9/11 redesign our intelligence organizations, and our president and Congress held a midnight session about the health care of one woman, Terri Schiavo, while ignoring the health crisis of 40 million uninsured. Our economy seems to be fueled lately by either suing each other or selling each other houses. Our government launched a war in Iraq without any real plan for the morning after, and it cut taxes in the middle of that war, ensuring that future generations would get the bill. Speaking of Katrina, Sumiko Tan, a columnist for the Sunday edition of The Straits Times in Singapore, wrote: 'We were shocked at what we saw. Death and destruction from natural disaster is par for the course. But the pictures of dead people left uncollected on the streets, armed looters ransacking shops, survivors desperate to be rescued, racial divisions - these were truly out of sync with what we'd imagined the land of the free to be, even if we had encountered homelessness and violence on visits there. ... If America becomes so unglued when bad things happen in its own backyard, how can it fulfill its role as leader of the world?' Janadas Devan, a Straits Times columnist, tried to explain to his Asian readers how the U.S. is changing. 'Today's conservatives,' he wrote, 'differ in one crucial aspect from yesterday's conservatives: the latter believed in small government, but believed, too, that a country ought to pay for all the government that it needed. 'The former believe in no government, and therefore conclude that there is no need for a country to pay for even the government that it does have. ... [But] it is not only government that doesn't show up when government is starved of resources and leached of all its meaning. Community doesn't show up either, sacrifice doesn't show up, pulling together doesn't show up, 'we're all in this together' doesn't show up.'

Subject: The Lost U.N. Summit Meeting
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 06:10:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/opinion/14wed1.html September 14, 2005 The Lost U.N. Summit Meeting A once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform and revive the United Nations has been squandered even before the opening gavel comes down this morning for the largest assemblage of world leaders ever brought together in a single location. The responsibility for this failure is widely shared. But the United States, as the host nation and the U.N.'s most indispensable and influential member, bears a disproportionate share. There are several casualties of this failure of leadership, including the need to reform the United Nations and to strengthen its role as a monitor of human rights. But the most tragic loss is a genuine opportunity to help the one billion people around the world who each live on less than $1 a day. Last month, President Bush used a recess appointment to send his notoriously undiplomatic, and Congressionally unacceptable, choice for ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, to New York. He contended that contrary to all appearances and to common sense, Mr. Bolton was just the man to achieve the reforms the United Nations needed. Almost immediately, Mr. Bolton began proving Mr. Bush wrong by insisting on a very long list of unilateral demands. The predictable effect was to transform what had been a painful and difficult search for workable diplomatic compromises into a competitive exercise in political posturing. With Washington jealously protecting the prerogatives of the Security Council, where it holds a veto, others chose to be equally jealous in protecting the prerogatives of the General Assembly, where the influence of poorer and weaker countries is greatest. And when Washington challenged the right of the secretary general to set specific development goals, others then contested his right to set standards for management or human rights. And so on. That extinguished the idea that international security issues and international development issues are vitally linked, and can be most effectively tackled in tandem. By the time Washington retreated to a more realistic position, it was too late to retrieve much of the bold original agenda, as set out in earlier United Nations summit meetings on development, in the thoughtful recommendations of several high-level panels and in the constructive proposals of Secretary General Kofi Annan. The failure is even more poignant because the United States is clearly on the right side of some important arguments. Washington, for example, strongly supported the idea of replacing the discredited United Nations Commission on Human Rights, on which nations like Sudan, Libya and Cuba regularly sit, with a new, reformed body that would exclude such notorious rights violators. The final document dilutes this crucial provision to the point of meaninglessness. On this and other issues, the document offers little more than a fudge of feel-good phrases and pious wishes for future action that leave everyone off the hook from taking entirely practical actions that are needed right now. This week's summit meeting should have strengthened international commitments to reach broadly accepted development benchmarks over the next decade that could avert tens of thousands of needless deaths from extreme poverty. It should have given the secretary general the power to bypass patronage and rely on merit in choosing and retaining senior officials, creating a crucial institutional safeguard against a replay of the oil-for-food fiasco. It should have reinforced vital international commitments and understandings on nuclear nonproliferation, including those that Mr. Bolton, in his previous job, did so much to undercut. Although the ceremonial speeches by national leaders are just beginning, the serious negotiations over this summit meeting's outcome are now over. Every one of the more than 170 national leaders attending, starting with President Bush, should be embarrassed about letting this rare opportunity slip away.

Subject: Congress Finesses the Storm
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:53:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/opinion/14wed2.html September 14, 2005 Congress Finesses the Storm President Bush's vow to speed welfare assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina overlooks the gruesome determination of many Republican Congressional leaders to make $13 billion in cuts for Medicaid and food stamps. They quietly plan this even as they throw short-term emergency money at the crisis. Sustaining their health and income is vital to the storm's impoverished survivors now and well into the future. But the most basic cuts in antipoverty programs are planned for enactment later this month by the same Republican majorities that approved the president's upper-bracket tax cuts and created deficits for a generation to come. Congress's budget hawks are clearly hoping that the cacophony of sympathetic speechifying about the storm victims will distract the public from these cuts and from the fact that they will land heavily on the three states most devastated by the hurricane, where roughly one out of three children were already dependent on Medicaid. Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, the former Republican national chairman, personifies his party leaders' contradiction in begging for emergency aid now after having championed painful cuts in the social safety net. Until recently, Mr. Barbour has been in the spotlight as his state's unapologetic Medicaid antagonist. Rejecting the alternative of a tax increase, he severely cut drug benefits. And before the courts intervened, he had sought to drop 65,000 poor, elderly and disabled people from the program. Mr. Barbour remains one of Washington's most powerful emeritus lobbyists. He can spare his president and party a shameful episode by urging that the pending cuts for some of the storm's neediest be deep-sixed.

Subject: Chinese vow to cut trade surplus
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:54:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4244028.stm Chinese goods pouring into the US may be countered by more exports going the opposite way after China's leader promised to take action. President Hu Jintao promised to reduce the trade surplus as he went into talks with George W Bush in New York, where the two are to attend the World Summit. Concern has grown among US producers at the scale of Chinese imports. At their talks, which touched on North Korea and Iran, Mr Bush accepted an invitation to visit China in November. He was scheduled to visit Washington earlier this month, but this was cancelled because Mr Bush had to deal with the fallout of Hurricane Katrina. Mr Hu extended sympathy to the US over the disaster. 'May the American people overcome the disaster and rebuild their beautiful homes at an early date,' he said. 'Frictions inevitable' China's leader insisted his country was not pursuing a huge trade surplus with the US. 'We're willing to work with the [US] to take effective measures to increase China's imports from the United States,' he said. 'There's no denial that our bilateral trade has developed so fast... it is inevitable that we may have some frictions.' Some US firms say Chinese competition is wiping out their business, the BBC's Duncan Bartlett reports. American shops are full of Chinese clothes, shoes and toys while the trade gap is expected to reach $200bn this year. Our business reporter notes that when China previously said it wanted to purchase more US products, it meant hi-tech goods which the US may be wary of exporting. On the value of China's currency, Mr Bush said he thought Beijing had taken a good first step, but more should be done to let the yuan trade openly on the financial markets. Such a move, our reporter says, would almost certainly cause it to rise sharply in value and push up the cost of Chinese exports. No specifics A senior White House official, Michael Green, said the two presidents also discussed nuclear concerns regarding North Korea and Iran. According to Mr Green, a White House National Security Council expert on Asia, they restated a commitment to persuading North Korea to give up nuclear weapons. China is currently taking part in six-party talks on the issue, along with the US, in Beijing. On Iran, he said, Mr Hu supported using diplomatic means to persuade Tehran to give up uranium conversion work. However, the Chinese leader gave no specific commitment to back a move to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. 'The tone was the right tone but the specifics and the specific commitments, that's for the follow-up,' said the White House official. He added that a list of US human rights concerns was passed to the Chinese guest by an aide to Mr Bush, but no details were given to the media.

Subject: EU governments take fuel action
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:51:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The EU's response to the gouging of customers in Katriona's aftermath. Notice the different countries reactions are solutions (The austrians school may have to be renamed!). Governments across Europe are taking action to curb fuel costs amid sporadic protests about rising petrol prices. France is to offer fuel tax rebates to farmers while President Jacques Chirac has called on petrol retailers to make meaningful cuts to pump prices. Retailers have cut prices in Austria after the government threatened a one-off tax on their profits. Belgium, Poland and Hungary have also announced measures to cushion the impact of rising prices on consumers. Help needed EU countries have come under pressure to control fuel costs amid a clamour for action from hauliers, farmers and motoring groups. The French government announced a package of measures on Tuesday designed to ease the situation for farmers. They will be offered tax breaks and refunds on fuel worth about 30m euros ($36.6m; £20.2m). 'The rise in fuel prices penalises farms, which cannot always pass the cost on,' Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told a meeting of farmers in Rennes. 'We must help them.' Similar financial assistance was announced for hauliers on Monday. Farmers unions have said that they would study any government proposals before deciding whether to step up direct action. French President Jacques Chirac urged ministers on Tuesday to put pressure on petrol retailers to cut pump prices further. BP and Total announced price cuts last week but consumer and motoring groups said they have not gone far enough. A spokesman for President Chirac said that he had asked finance minister Thierry Breton to urge 'companies to commit themselves rapidly and wholeheartedly to invest in non-polluting energy and step up the pace of price cuts at the pump'. Tax threat Petrol prices are to come down in Austria with BP and Austrian retailer OEMV announcing cuts of 3 cents and 2 cents per litre respectively. Vienna had threatened to impose a windfall tax on the profits of leading petrol companies although the firms concerned said their decision was unconnected to the proposed measure. A BP spokesman in Austria said it had been able to cut prices because wholesale gasoline prices had fallen. The Polish and Hungarian governments have pledged to reduce excise and VAT duties on petrol while the Belgian government says it will reimburse VAT payments on home heating fuel. Speaking at the Frankfurt motor show, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said rising fuel prices were 'certainly worrying'. The British government has ruled out any direct action over fuel costs. Chancellor Gordon Brown ruled out cuts to fuel duties, instead urging Opec members to boost production and invest in new refineries.

Subject: Surprise decline in US trade gap
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 05:45:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4241992.stm The US trade deficit fell slightly in July, despite a record oil import bill, the US Commerce Department reported. The monthly trade gap narrowed by 2.6% to $57.9bn (£31.8bn), surprising analysts. It fell from a revised June figure of $59.5bn. The $18.5bn shortfall in oil trade was offset by high exports, particularly of cotton and steelmaking products. Imports of capital goods such as computers, civilian aircraft and oilfield equipment were sharply down. Average crude oil import prices in July hit new heights, reaching $49.03 a barrel. Overall, US exports were $106.2bn in July, while imports declined to $154.1bn, the Commerce Department said. Analysts said the improvement in the trade deficit was likely to be brief, since oil prices had continued to soar in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They pointed out that the impact of the storm on US trade through Gulf of Mexico ports would not become apparent until September trade figures were issued in mid-November.

Subject: Japan's Growth Rate Up Sharply
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 10:18:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/business/13yen.html September 13, 2005 Japan's Growth Rate Up Sharply From Early Estimate By MARTIN FACKLER TOKYO - The Japanese economy grew faster in the last quarter than previously thought amid long-awaited signs that a recovery is spreading to industries beyond the nation's export-driven manufacturers. The Cabinet Office released revised figures Monday that showed gross domestic product expanded at an annualized 3.3 percent in the quarter ended June 30, well above the initial 1.1 percent estimate announced last month. The biggest factor in the revision was spending by businesses. The news, coming on the heels of a landslide election victory on Sunday by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling coalition, pushed up the country's stock markets. The benchmark Nikkei 225-stock average jumped 1.6 percent, to 12,896.43, its highest close since June 2001. The new data followed a robust first quarter of 5.3 percent annualized growth, and economists said Monday's figures provided strong evidence that Japan's economy has rounded a corner after a slump of almost 15 years and is on course for self-sustaining growth. Japan's ability to escape its dependence on exports and find internal sources of growth has been one of the most difficult questions hanging over the economy, the world's second largest. The main driver of growth in the last quarter was robust spending by consumers and companies, which increased investments in new factories and other equipment, as well as a gain in exports. The figures also showed that inventories at companies were slightly larger than previously thought, a sign that businesses are betting they will be able to sell more goods. Monday's figures showed consumer spending rose at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, down slightly from the earlier estimate of 2.8 percent. Just two years ago, when Japan's economy appeared unable to escape its long funk, personal consumption was routinely stagnant around zero, or even negative. 'The recovery is expanding across the economy,' said Atsushi Nakajima, chief economist at the research arm of the Mizuho Financial Group. 'It's not just exports driving the economy anymore.' The biggest factor in revising the growth figure upward was more corporate spending than previously thought on new factories and equipment, the government said. According to the revised figures, companies increased their capital investments at an annualized 15.4 percent during the quarter, up from a previous estimate of about 9 percent. New investments by auto and electronics makers have accounted for most of whatever economic growth Japan has been able to muster in recent years. But economists said new data showed a rise in capital spending by nonmanufacturing companies.

Subject: Big Push From Small Colleges
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 09:45:44 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/sports/11recruit.html?ex=1126756800&en=d14203da57ab6cab&ei=5070 September 11, 2005 In Recruiting, a Big Push From Small Colleges, Too By BILL PENNINGTON The players, a jumpy group of 16- and 17-year-old boys from around the country, arrived at the Headfirst baseball camp last month in Ruther Glen, Va., with statistics that stood out. It was not just their batting averages. These were players who scored, on average, 1,300 out of a possible 1,600 on the two-part College Board exam. Most of the 165 players were A-minus students, and all wore identical white T-shirts, with only numbers stenciled on their backs to tell them apart. The campers tolerated the cattle-call atmosphere at the Virginia Sports Complex just north of Richmond because of the potential payoff: 30 college coaches, many representing elite liberal arts colleges and Ivy League universities, were scouting players. Among them was Dave Beccaria of Haverford College, a small liberal arts college outside Philadelphia that is one of the most selective in the country and which has agreed to give The New York Times access to its recruiting process through the academic year. Beccaria has been in touch with more than 1,000 high school players since the beginning of the year, most of them juniors when the process started. He initiated contact with many, but others sent e-mail messages to him, some sent professionally made videos showing them in action and a few hired recruiting services to promote them. Almost all joined the summer-long tour of showcase camps like the one in Virginia. By the time the recruiting cycle is complete, Beccaria figures six to eight of those players will join his team at Haverford, a college that competes in Division III, requires Ivy League-caliber academic scores and does not offer athletic scholarships. As the competition for admission to highly rated colleges like Haverford continues to escalate, the playing fields of America are becoming an ever bigger part of that process. High school students and their parents are looking for any edge, and an athletic résumé is seen as the extra ingredient that can get a student's name on the precious list that the athletic department gives to its admissions office each year. That list can include as few as a dozen names in one sport, with perhaps half expected to be admitted, although there are no guarantees. Still, with select institutions routinely rejecting 7 of 10 applicants over all, parents and their children relish the odds given 'listed' athletes. For coaches, the key is deciding whose names to write on the list. Haverford is typical of the top-tier liberal arts colleges, academically and athletically. The college ranked eighth in the liberal arts category of the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings; nearly 40 percent of students play a varsity sport; and its athletic director, Greg Kannerstein, said that athletics played some role in the admission of about 15 percent of each recent incoming class. 'Years ago, I would go to lunch with someone from admissions with a bunch of names on the back of an envelope,' said Kannerstein, who has been at Haverford for 30 years and served as acting dean of admissions last year. 'We would look at a few applicants' folders and pretty soon we'd have a team. It's a different world now.' That is true for all Haverford varsity sports, for men and women, from soccer to softball. The volleyball coach, Amy Bergin, like Beccaria, is pragmatic about her approach to recruiting. 'Of 1,000 I've contacted, about half will reply,' Bergin said. 'About half that reply will be academically qualified. About half of them will be truly interested in Haverford. About half of them will be actually good enough to play volleyball for us. About half of that group will apply for admission. About half of them will get accepted. And about half of them will decide to come here. 'If that happens, that's a really good year. That's almost eight girls.' Prospecting Via E-Mail Flipping through a binder prepared for coaches at the Headfirst camp - the 18th recruiting event Beccaria visited this summer - he examined the grades and test scores of each player. He immediately crossed off about 120 players, or 70 percent, saying that their test scores or grades were too low. For the next two days, with a roster that matched names to T-shirt numbers, Beccaria followed the progress of the other 45 players, paying careful attention to the 8 to 10 he had seen at previous showcases. Some of these players Beccaria had known of for more than a year because they had sent e-mail messages to him as juniors in high school. It is a common practice that many coaches appreciate. 'You want someone to show the initiative,' Beccaria said. Or, as Georgetown University's baseball coach, Pete Wilk, said in an address to parents and campers at the close of the Headfirst camp: 'Parents, I'm pretty sure your college eligibility is over. So let me hear from your son; he's the one who might play for me.' Beccaria's e-mail messages from potential applicants often included a schedule of the showcases the player planned to attend. This is important information because Beccaria and his coaching colleagues rarely scout individual high school games. The image of a weary, grizzled coach driving from one dusty high school ballpark to another is a nostalgic artifact. At the dozens of highly orchestrated showcases around the country, coaches can see 150 to 200 players in a day and analyze them in an environment that resembles a professional audition. The players perform hours of skill drills: fielding dozens of ground balls, throwing to every base, catching, hitting, running and playing simulated games. Another relic of college recruiting's past is the significance of a high school player's senior season. Beccaria and the other Haverford teams' coaches complete their serious evaluations by the summer after a player's junior season. This year, most of the Haverford coaches had identified their top 20 players by Aug. 15. With the push to get applications in for early decision on Nov. 15, or by the regular decision deadline of Jan. 15, an athlete's senior season can be almost irrelevant. When Beccaria, who led Haverford to 25 victories last season and to its first victory in the postseason, watched prospects this summer, he was continually winnowing his list. But he knew he did not need to make it too short. Coaches from other colleges would do that for him. Even at the small-college level, it is hard to hide a prospect, and the most promising are often looking at Ivy League universities and other elite colleges that offer grants as enticements. At the Headfirst camp, there was a moment in a simulated game when one of the players Beccaria was interested in, the sidearm pitcher Clay Bartlett of Washington, was facing another Beccaria prospect, outfielder Ben Sestanovich, also of Washington. It figured to be a good matchup because Sestanovich laced a crisp single in an earlier at-bat against another pitcher. Beccaria leaned forward in his chair as the at-bat began, aiming a radar gun in his left hand. Aligned in rows of chairs alongside Beccaria, seated like jurors, were 11 other coaches. When Bartlett struck out Sestanovich with a hard, tailing slider on the outside corner to finish two scoreless innings of relief pitching, Beccaria was impressed, though he made sure he did nothing to show it. Without looking, he also knew that the coaches to his left and right, including those from Columbia and Cornell of the Division I Ivy League, were busy taking notes on Bartlett's unusual delivery and commanding presence. Beccaria stood and, with a wry smile, walked to another field to watch another player. He would keep Bartlett and Sestanovich on his list. 'There's a long way to go,' he said. Keeping Score of the Videos While Beccaria was visiting showcases, Bergin, the volleyball coach, spent her summer nights caring for her 1-year-old daughter and calling potential recruits on the phone. She rarely goes anywhere without a printed database of prospects filling two four-inch-thick ring binders. Every time she contacts a player - some she has called five times - she notes the date of the conversation and what was discussed on the player's file. That way she will not repeat herself - not make the same pitch about the benefits of Haverford's proximity to Philadelphia twice, for example. And Bergin listens carefully to the athletes, trying to gather clues. 'There are the girls who say, 'Well, I'm a Division I talent,' ' Bergin said. 'And I think, 'Forget it.' I don't need the attitude. I've got to spend four years with these girls. I cross girls off my list all the time because I think they'll be high maintenance.' Bergin, whose three-year record at Haverford is 59-33, cautiously considers the 15 to 20 e-mail messages or mailings she receives from recruiting services every week. Recruiting services are private enterprises that charge a fee to mass-market a high school athlete to various colleges. They have become increasingly popular, even in the more obscure sports. Bergin finds the services useful, but she thinks parents are spending too much money on them. 'You just laugh at some of the professional videos I get with their Hollywood special effects,' she said. 'It's so unnecessary. Just give me a few skills highlights, and then I want to see a simple game tape. I've seen enough girls hitting balls as 'Eye of the Tiger' plays in the background to last a lifetime.' Giving an Honest Appraisal On an overcast day in early August, Haverford's men's lacrosse coach, Mike Murphy, stood near the lush, tree-lined center of campus awaiting his first potential recruit of the day. Seven months from Haverford's next lacrosse game, this was potentially a pivotal day for Murphy's program. He had stacked appointments to escort four quality prospects, and their parents, around campus. Three days earlier, meeting with another prospect, Murphy had courteously encouraged the player to focus on other colleges or universities because his high school grade point average (3.1 on a scale of 1 to 4) and his SAT score (1,120) would make him a long shot to be admitted to Haverford. 'Despite the fact that I like him as a player, I have to be honest,' Murphy said. 'There should be more dialogue like that. Kids should ask: What are my chances of getting in? What are my chances of playing?' Two years ago, Murphy discouraged a top high school goalie from coming to Haverford because Murphy had a young, promising goalie who was only one year older. 'I told him, 'You can come here, but you'll probably sit for three years,' ' Murphy said. The goalie went to Swarthmore, Haverford's chief rival 10 miles to the southwest. 'And of course, he starts in goal as a freshman for Swarthmore and when we play them, on the first sequence of the game, he stuffs one of our guys on a point-blank shot,' Murphy said, rolling his eyes. 'I'm thinking, 'What did I do?' 'But our guys played pretty good. So did our goalie. We won, 11-7.' Now, on this day, Murphy's top recruiting priority is finding a goalie so that he is prepared when his current starter graduates. He has identified 12 high school and prep school goalies after spending eight weeks traveling from Texas to Massachusetts attending camps akin to the baseball showcase events. For Murphy, who has resurrected Haverford lacrosse with consecutive winning seasons, recruiting is a meticulous business. He does not do mass mailings trolling for recruits. A three-year starter at Duke and a former assistant coach at Brown, Virginia and Penn, Murphy relies on his contacts and his own eye. In June, at a camp at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., Murphy surveyed 150 players over six hours of play. He wrote down the name of one player. The high school goalie Murphy is welcoming to the Haverford campus is Kevin Friedenberg of Needham, Mass. Murphy has scouted Friedenberg twice. Seconds after shaking Murphy's hand at the student center, Friedenberg hands over his transcript, which Murphy scans in seconds and offers immediate advice. He wants Friedenberg to take as many Advanced Placement courses as he can in his senior year. 'You're a good student, but that's the first thing that admissions will ask about,' Murphy said. Murphy takes Friedenberg and his parents on a tour of the campus and athletic facilities, answering questions as he walks, but he makes sure to come back to the Advanced Placement courses and how important it is for Friedenberg to take all that are offered. 'When recruiting at this level, if you don't take your cues from the people at admissions and use it to guide the prospects on their academic record, you're just crazy,' Murphy said. 'That's probably as important as identifying athletic talent.' In parting, Murphy persuaded Friedenberg to come for a weekend visit in October, when the Haverford campus welcomes its prized recruits in every sport. Murphy's other visits went similarly, although on one of his campus tours, a player from Maryland asked Murphy where he might rank among the defensemen Murphy was recruiting. 'You're not in the top five,' Murphy said. 'You might be in the top 15. But academically you're more qualified than 80 percent. Some of those defensemen ahead of you are going to be good enough to go play Division I. Some will go elsewhere in Division III. So you can move up. You can also improve. I'd like to come watch you play again.' Later, asked if it was hard to be so blunt, Murphy said: 'I have to have that conversation with him sooner or later. There are coaches, even in Division III, who tell every recruit, 'You're my top guy.' They just stockpile. I don't want to mislead anyone.' At the end of the day, Murphy was back at the campus center, awaiting his last visitor. 'You start this process knowing of hundreds of kids you think you might want to play for you,' he said. 'But you know that only a few will actually be on the field at your first practice. And none of them will be on scholarship and all of them can walk away at any time. They can just quit. 'So you better have made your choices carefully, and they better have come for the right reasons.'

Subject: 'Matisse the Master'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:58:28 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/04/books/chapters/0904-1st-spurl.html September 4, 2005 'Matisse the Master' By HILARY SPURLING 1909: Paris, Cassis and Cavalière Returning from Berlin to Paris in January 1909, Henri Matisse got off the train partway to visit one of his few German supporters. He had just said good-bye to his majestic Harmony in Red, leaving it behind in a gallery in Berlin, where people said his latest paintings were senseless, shameless, infantile monstrosities or sick and dangerous messages from a madhouse. The French felt much the same. Harmony-the goal Matisse desired more passionately than any other-was the last thing his art conveyed to his contemporaries. His host at Hagen, a few miles along the Ruhr from Essen, was the collector Karl Ernst Osthaus, who had already bought five works from Matisse and was about to commission a sixth. Osthaus insisted on showing off his latest acquisition, a mosaic design installed in a modern crematorium newly built on an industrial waste site. When they entered the building on a cold, grey, rainy Sunday afternoon they found an organ playing softly in the gloom and a coffin sinking into the ground in front of them. Tired, depressed and deeply shaken by what had happened in Berlin, Matisse lost his usual composure and let out a scream: 'My God, a dead body!' Osthaus explained that the body was a fake, part of a public relations exercise put on to counter the local workers' instinctive mistrust of cremation. But Matisse could not forget it, and often marvelled afterwards at the strange way Germans chose to amuse them on a Sunday afternoon. He had a second shock when he got home and received a parcel from Germany containing what looked like a gigantic funeral wreath. In fact, it was a wreath of bays posted by a young American admirer, Thomas Whittemore of Tufts College, to console Matisse for the failure of his Berlin show. Trying to lighten her husband's nervous tension, Mme Matisse tasted a bay leaf ('Think how good it will be in soup'), and said brightly that the wreath's red bow would make a hair ribbon for their fourteen-year-old daughter, Marguerite. 'But I'm not dead yet,' Matisse said grimly. The work Matisse stopped off to see in Hagen was his own Nymph and Satyr. It was a relatively conventional set of three ceramic panels showing a stocky muscular nymph doing a stamping dance, then falling asleep and being tentatively approached by a hairy, hopeful satyr enclosed in a frieze of grapes and vine leaves. In January 1909, Matisse had recently completed an oil painting of the same subject (colour fig. 1). This time the satyr (who had been more of a tame faun on Osthaus's glazed tiles) started out with a little beard and pointy ears, but turned into something far more violent and raw. Matisse's final version is unequivocally human: a clumsy, graceless, lustful male advancing purposefully on a naked female huddled with her back turned at his feet. The man's pink, thinly painted flesh is outlined in red, the colour of arousal. So is the woman's, but every line of her expressive body-bent head, drooping breasts, collapsing limbs-suggests exhaustion, helpless weakness and enforced surrender. This is the mood of Paul Cézanne's The Abduction (or The Rape), where another masterful naked man carries off another pale, limp, fleshy female. The fierce erotic charge in both paintings is reinforced by harsh colour and rough handling. In Matisse's case, the texture of the paint was itself an outrage. The choppy stabbing brushstrokes, the landscape's crude contours filled with flat scrubby green, the blurry patches round the man's head, crotch, left hand and right knee, all convey extreme disturbance. His picture, like Cézanne's, is both personal and symbolic. Both suggest an image spurting up from some deep, probably unconscious level of the imagination on a tide of bitterness and rage. Matisse's satyr looks as if he means to strangle his victim with his outsize red hands. Matisse himself said that this was how he always felt before he began a painting. For him each painting was a rape. 'Whose rape?' he asked, startling his questioner (perhaps also himself) with the brutal image that surfaced in his mind during an interview that took place more than three decades after he painted Nymph and Satyr: 'A rape of myself, of a certain tenderness or weakening in face of a sympathetic object.' He seems to have meant that he relied on his female models to arouse feelings that he could convert to fuel the work in hand. He confronted whatever underlay that process head on in Nymph and Satyr. The displaced emotion here is at least in part aesthetic. The last time Matisse put classical nymphs into a picture was in 1904 in Luxe, calme ET volupté, an uneasy experimental composition that led directly to the explosive canvases dismissed by most people the year after as the work of a wild beast, or Fauve. In the winter of 1908-9, Matisse was once again grappling with, and violating, the ancient canons of a debased classical tradition in a canvas that commits pictorial and depicts sexual rape. This coarse, powerful, primitive painting was earmarked for the Russian collector Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin, a man in process of committing himself as unreservedly as Matisse to liberating painting from the academic tyranny of Beaux-Arts aesthetics. Shchukin was an inordinately successful textile manufacturer with a patchy education and no academic training. People dismissed him, in both Paris and Moscow, as gullible and uncouth, an ignorant boyar who made no attempt to cultivate the refinement that enabled other Moscow merchants to build up more serious art collections. It was Shchukin who had commissioned the Harmony in Red currently hanging in Paul Cassirer's gallery in Berlin. Shchukin came to see it there and, unlike the German art world, was powerfully impressed. On 9 January he followed Matisse to Paris to inspect work in hand in the studio, including the Nymph and Satyr. Shchukin took delivery of six Matisse paintings in the month after he got back to Moscow. The painter said that in some ways he came to dread the visits of this particular collector because of his unerring knack for picking out the latest breakthrough canvas and carrying it off, sometimes with the paint still wet. Shchukin grasped at once that Nymph and Satyr was an affront to decency and morals, which only increased his impatience to possess it. This new canvas could not easily be displayed in mixed company, let alone in public. It was quite different from the sexy pictures other men kept behind locked doors in their private rooms and cabinets. Its secret kick for a subversive like Shchukin was precisely that it violated every sacred Beaux-Arts precept enshrined in the flawless public nudes that filled the Paris salons. The contemporary French incarnation of those precepts in the eyes of fashionable Moscow was Maurice Denis. Shchukin himself owned several pictures by Denis, who had once embodied the last word in sophistication for him, too. In January 1909, Denis was making waves in Moscow. He had come to install his latest work in the home of another Moscow merchant, Ivan Abramovich Morozov (who had also made a fortune out of textiles). Morozov, who was Shchukin's close friend and only Russian rival in the field of modern art, had ordered seven huge painted panels telling the story of Cupid and Psyche for his music room. Denis pictured Cupid as a plump, life-size, naked youth wearing wings to match his predominant colour scheme of pink, green and blue. His Psyche is a solid girl with cushiony breasts, buttocks and hips. The couple's sturdy build adds to the absurdity of their chaste embrace as they dangle cheek to cheek in midair with nothing touching below the waist. The décor of Cupid's palace with its garden ornaments, mauve silk drapes and floral sprays is more reminiscent of an expensive modern florist than of ancient Greece. This is seduction with any hint of desire or danger airbrushed out. It went down well on its first showing at the Paris Autumn Salon, and it made an even bigger splash in Moscow. So much so that Morozov, who was thinking of hiring Matisse to decorate his dining room, dropped the idea in favour of commissioning six more panels from Denis. It was Shchukin instead who commissioned wall paintings from Matisse. The painter never forgot the lunch at the Restaurant Larue in Paris where the pair of them together hatched a plan to end all blue-pink-and-green decorative schemes peopled with dancing nymphs and piping fauns. Matisse's Dance and Music grew from their conversation at this lunch. 'I hope that when they see your decorations, the tumult of admiring cries to be heard at present will die down a little,' Shchukin wrote in May, describing the fuss over Denis's Psyche. 'At present they talk of it as a great masterpiece. They laugh at me a little, but I always say, 'He who laughs last, laughs best.' I trust you always.' Nymph and Satyr, one of the starting points for the new scheme, was finished, crated up and posted off to Moscow in early February. By this time, Matisse had left Paris for the Mediterranean coast. He planned to spend a month at the little Hotel Cendrillon in Cassis, replenishing the stocks of energy depleted by the gloom and strain of a Parisian winter. Walking along the steeply shelving shore at Cassis and in the chestnut woods on the cliff top, he studied air, water, light, sun glinting on spray, waves pounding on rocks as he had done further along the coast at Collioure four years earlier. 'There is ... a cove near Cassis,' wrote Marcel Sembat, who spent a day with Matisse in early March, 'where the green of the open sea on the horizon brings out the deep blues and foamy whites of the tide trapped between cliffs, which you can see jostling and throwing up little blade-like crests in the full sun.' Movement preoccupied the painter in the run-up to the Dance. Sembat was struck by the intensity and accuracy of Matisse's response to the violent swirling currents, 'the clash of creative contrasts we talked about together.' Sembat, seven years older than Matisse, married to a painter and himself a passionate art enthusiast, was an exceptionally acute and attentive witness. By his own account he was living out a dream that day in Cassis, having brought with him one of his lifelong heroes, the great reforming architect of the Third Republic, Jean Jaurès. The Socialist leader and his two companions walked and talked beside the sea, delighted with one another, with the brilliant spring sunshine, and with the infectious visual excitement emanating from Matisse at the end of his month in the country. They rounded off their morning over lunch at the hospitable little village inn. Sembat wrote the day up in his diary and returned to it again a decade later, leaving no doubt that, for him at least, there was something magical about this unlikely encounter between two great French stars, one rising fast, the other soon due to set forever. Sembat's writings provide some of the sharpest and most lucid testimony to Matisse's progress in the decade leading up to the First World War. The two first met, probably, through Georgette Agutte, Sembat's wife, who had belonged loosely to the same little knot of painters as Matisse in their student days. But they had an even earlier point of contact through Matisse's wife, Amélie, whose father, Armand Parayre, knew Sembat from the start of his career. As a newly elected Socialist deputy writing leaders for Parayre's radical campaigning newspaper, Sembat had belonged to the generation of up-and-coming Republican politicians who, unlike many of their elders, managed to leap clear of the sensational Humbert scandal which all but destroyed Matisse's in-laws in 1902. Parayre himself survived public ignominy, imprisonment and a dramatic trial with the help of his young son-in-law (this was the first if not the last time Matisse had reason to be thankful for the brief training as a lawyer forced on him by his own father). Amélie Matisse emerged, like her father, apparently unscathed from her family's terrifying ordeal. (Her mother, who never got over it, died prematurely in 1908.) But the affair left Amélie with a deep-seated horror of any kind of exposure, and a lasting suspicion of the outside world. It reinforced her self-reliance, her stubborn pride and her almost reckless indifference to what other people thought. Beneath the demure and unassertive manner that was all she showed to those who didn't know her, Amélie was, by the standards of her class and age, profoundly unconventional. Her marriage had been a gamble in which money, security, and social advantage played no part. She became her husband's eager partner in a high-risk enterprise neither ever truly doubted would one day succeed. She had recognised what was in him at sight, and backed her instinct unreservedly ever after. At times, when Matisse found himself disowned not only by the professional art world but by most of his fellow artists too, his wife remained virtually his only backer. Mutual trust was the core of their relationship. 'The basis of our happiness ... was that we built up this confidence quite naturally from the first day,' Amélie wrote long afterwards to Marguerite. 'It has been for us the greatest good and the envy of all our friends, it meant we could get through the worst of times.' The two did everything together. Almost from the day they met, they were known as the Inseparables. The four weeks Henri spent in Cassis was probably the longest time they had been parted since their marriage eleven years before. The studio was the centre of their world, and it was her province as much as his. Henri and his painting gave Amélie's life its shape and meaning. Hardship and privation hardly mattered by comparison; nor did the rising tide of mockery and abuse that accompanied Matisse's growing fame. Even the arrival of their children hadn't greatly changed their way of life. When it came to a choice, work took precedence over child care. Their elder son, Jean, grew up as much at home with his Matisse grandparents in the north of France as with his parents in Paris. The younger boy, Pierre, spent so much time in the south with his Parayre grandfather and Amélie's only sister, Berthe, that his aunt became his second mother. Amélie herself was closer to the boys' older half sister, Marguerite (or Margot), who was Henri's child by an earlier liaison, and who became in some ways a second self to her adoptive mother. It was Marguerite who stayed at home, sharing the life of the studio that meant life itself to the Matisses. The family dynamics began to shift a little when they finally moved out of Henri's cramped bachelor flat in a block opposite Notre Dame into a disused convent at 33 boulevard des Invalides on the far side of Montparnasse. Money was still tight. . . .

Subject: 'Henry Adams and the Making of America'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:45:07 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/books/review/11lingeman.html September 11, 2005 'Henry Adams and the Making of America': Misunderstood By RICHARD LINGEMAN According to Garry Wills, Henry Adams's ''History of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson'' and ''History of the United States of America During the Administrations of James Madison'' stand today ''little read, appreciated or studied.'' Wills maintains that Adams's sweeping nine-volume chronicle -- ''the nonfiction prose masterpiece of the 19th century in America'' -- has suffered not only neglect but also the humiliation of being misread by professional historians. Richard Hofstadter, for example, accused Adams of caricaturing America as a ''slack and derivative culture, of fumbling and small-minded statecraft, terrible parochial wrangling and treasonous schemes, climaxed by a ludicrous and unnecessary war.'' Hofstadter's view, Wills counters, is largely derived from his misinterpretation of the first six chapters of the ''History,'' in which Adams produces a sociological portrait of American society and culture in 1800, on the eve of Thomas Jefferson's first administration. These chapters indeed portray America as an uncultured backwater. But Wills argues that Adams intended the opening chapters as a prelude to his historical narrative, and that they foreshadow the optimistic summing up in the final four chapters of the work. Those preliminary chapters, in addition to being greatly informative on many aspects of American society -- to me they read like a cross between Tocqueville and John Gunther's ''Inside'' books -- are also charged with the ironic wit and egalitarian democratic faith that animate the remaining volumes. In one passage Adams proclaims that if Americans ''were right in thinking that the next necessity of human progress was to lift the average man upon an intellectual and social level with the most favored, they stood at least three generations nearer than Europe to their common goal.'' Wills shows that Adams saw Jefferson as the early Republic's champion of democracy, unlike Alexander Hamilton, who ''considered democracy a fatal curse.'' Jefferson is thus the (flawed and sometimes accidental) hero of Adams's epic. Wills devotes his first six chapters to a learned summary of the state of historiography in Henry Adams's day. He discusses the shaping experiences that prepared this descendant of America's first First Family for the task of writing an innovative, comprehensive history (and one in which the two Presidents Adams receive no favoritism). Adams's maiden historical work, a revisionist study of John Smith and Pocahontas, which he researched while in London serving as secretary to his father, the minister to Britain, Charles Francis Adams, impressed on him the importance of working with archival documents and private correspondence. When he started working on the ''History'' in 1879, he traveled to London, Paris, Madrid and other capitals to winnow fresh material from government files. Charles Francis Adams's trying negotiations with the British government during our Civil War also gave the son a firsthand insight into the importance of seeing America vis-a-vis other players on the world stage. In the ''History,'' Wills notes, Adams devotes several chapters to the machinations of Napoleon, whom he considers Jefferson's great rival, seeking relentlessly to maneuver America into a war with England. In 1812 Madison finally launched a war against Britain. Adams supports the war but judges Jefferson and Madison woefully lax in preparing for it. Both men had on misguided principle opposed any prewar naval buildup and allowed the Army to go to seed. Jefferson persisted in a misconceived embargo of Britain long after it had failed to win its objective. Madison, the intellectual, was a poor administrator who appointed incompetents to lead the Army. Carrying forward Jefferson's policies, he dragged an unwilling, unready nation into a war that started out with one disaster after another. Eventually, the Navy's crack frigates won some improbable victories, boosting home-front morale. The Army finally became a fighting force in 1814 after the feckless state militias (whose ''yeoman virtue'' Jefferson predicted would make the conquest of Canada ''a mere matter of marching'') had straggled home with their muskets. The nation's merchant ships had been brutally harried on the high seas by both the British and the French. Yet the United States grandiosely demanded Canada and Florida -- and could have ended up losing Maine to Canada and the Northwest Territory to the Indians. One begins to wonder if Hofstadter's characterization of the war as ''ludicrous and unnecessary'' doesn't contain some truth. (I would have also welcomed more discussion by Wills of the economic interests in the conflict.) Adams, however, praised the war as a necessary exercise in nationalism, enabling America to shed its inferiority complex to England. Madison left office in 1817 with America indeed more united, and more soundly and centrally governed and financed, than in 1800. Wills holds that Adams's belief in Jefferson's democratic faith was justified, despite his misguided tolerance of Jefferson's support of slavery. By entrusting himself to the will of the people and their hopes for a better future, Jefferson became a ''transmitter of forces that would make the outcome glorious.'' To his rereading of Adams's ''History'' Garry Wills brings a lucid style, imaginative analysis and the talent for historical elucidation that won him a Pulitzer Prize for ''Lincoln at Gettysburg.'' He has cogently made the case for Adams as a masterly diplomatic, military and financial historian, and I unreservedly recommend this book -- and, of course, Adams's books as well.

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:38:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 9/12/05 Australia 10.4 Canada 20.0 Denmark 15.8 France 6.8 Germany 4.0 Hong Kong 8.4 Japan 5.7 Netherlands 3.2 Norway 25.9 Sweden 4.2 Switzerland 7.1 UK 5.4

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars-Dividends]
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 10:03:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Returns including dividends: http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 9/12/05 Australia 14.1 Canada 21.4 Denmark 18.4 France 9.3 Germany 6.7 Hong Kong 11.1 Japan 6.5 Netherlands 7.0 Norway 31.6 Sweden 7.3 Switzerland 9.2 UK 8.4

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:34:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 9/12/05 Australia 12.1 Canada 18.8 Denmark 28.4 France 18.2 Germany 15.1 Hong Kong 8.2 Japan 13.3 Netherlands 14.1 Norway 32.2 Sweden 18.6 Switzerland 18.4 UK 11.0

Subject: Returns [Domestic Currency-Dividends]
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 10:04:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Returns including dividends: http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 9/12/05 Australia 15.8 Canada 20.2 Denmark 31.3 France 20.9 Germany 18.1 Hong Kong 10.9 Japan 14.1 Netherlands 18.4 Norway 38.2 Sweden 22.1 Switzerland 20.7 UK 14.2

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:26:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Fund Returns 12/31/04 to 9/12/05 S&P Index is 3.6 Large Cap Growth Index is 3.2 Large Cap Value Index is 5.9 Mid Cap Index is 10.7 Small Cap Index is 7.4 Small Cap Value Index is 7.3 Europe Index is 7.7 Pacific Index is 8.0 Energy is 44.3 Health Care is 13.3 Precious Metals 25.2 REIT Index is 11.3 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 2.2 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 5.8

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:25:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/04 - 8/12/05 Energy 41.5 Financials 0.0 Health Care 9.4 Info Tech 1.1 Materials -3.0 REITs 11.4 Telecoms 1.3 Utilities 20.6

Subject: Language and economic development
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 07:01:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This time of year reminds me of the trauma of first love. The last weekend in August signalled the final days of Irish college, with tears, hugs and promises to write. I have vivid memories of packed trains pulling out of stations full of bawling, hysterical teenagers shrieking as if they were about to be fed to the Khmer Rouge. For hundreds of thousand of Irish teenagers, Irish college was the first time away from home, time on their own, in all that hormonal splendour. It was, and still is, a central plank of the language revival movement, and, for the most part, is a pretty successful and hugely enjoyable way to learn Irish. Our attachment to Irish, however cosmetic, is still strong. Despite the fact that English is our lingua franca, 80 per cent of us, when surveyed, respond that the Irish language is central to Irishness. On the other hand, English is central to our economic wellbeing. So, while the linguistic part of our nationalist narrative has always lamented the passing of Irish and the foisting of the English language on us, English - particularly in recent years - has been crucial to our economy. In fact, the importance of language to our economic fortunes is one of the great overlooked issues in modern Irish economics. Language is central to commerce, and the economic performance of English-speaking countries in the developed world has been remarkable in recent years. Western Europe is still stagnating, but maybe not as dramatically as Eurosceptics would have us believe. Eastern Europe, which should be catching up quickly, is not doing so at any great pace. Latin America, which was thought to have put its problems behind it in the late 1990s, has had a miserable few years. Japan is mired in its post-bubble torpor. In contrast, English-speaking countries have been growing at amazing rates. Ireland, America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have all been growing strongly. More interestingly, our business cycles are very closely correlated, which at first blush makes no sense. For example, we and the British are geographically and politically European, and we both trade with Europe, yet our business cycles are much more closely correlated to the US. That could be explained by America's leadership and dominance, but how do we explain the fact that Ireland's recent business cycle is more closely correlated with far-off Australia than nearby Germany? The question is, why – and more interestingly, why now? Why should language give some countries an advantage over others and bind economic performances together? Traditionally, economics is a great way of rounding up the usual tangible suspects when it comes to explaining events. On the intangibles, it is often less enlightening. Language is a great intangible. You will not find chapters devoted to language in economics textbooks. Irrespective of this oversight, let's have a look at the reasons why English speaking might be a positive economic resource. First, there is the right-wing ideological school, which contends that English-speaking countries drink from the same philosophical waters. This school contends that we share similar economic outlooks and have a fondness for tax-cutting, smallish governments, light regulation and the promotion of the entrepreneur. This view contends that, by the late 1980s, we had all enacted more or less similar Thatcherite policies, where the government pulled in its horns. The right-wingers contend that this put us in a good position to reap profits in the 1990s and the 2000s.This view looks plausible, and it makes neat, uncomplicated academic sense - the type of clarity beloved of right-wing ideologues – until we realise that there is an elephant in the corner. That elephant is the US which, since 2000, has been a textbook model of old-fashioned 1950sKeynesianism - the type of economics beloved of European social democrats. In the past five years, the US has borrowed to get out of recession. The federal government has spent money like a drunken sailor. This owes more to the economics of Roosevelt than to those of Reagan, and refutes the neat, all-encompassing right-wing view. Second is the idea that the internet has Anglicised the world rapidly in the past few years. Some argue that e-mail and the internet put people who use different alphabets, such as the Japanese, at a particular disadvantage. In terms of the economics of language, it is far too early to conclude definitively but there might be something in this internet theory. By far the most compelling theory is the globalisation one. English is the language of the global economy - business must use some common language, and no other tongue has the necessary critical mass. This means that people who have grown up speaking English have an automatic head start. It also means that for countries, like Ireland, that have played host to American capital, speaking English has been crucial. Forget the blarney about the educated workforce - we are no better educated than the Belgians, French or Germans - but we are English-speaking, and that was the clincher for many American multinational companies which wanted to send their unadventurous middle managers to countries where they could order a beer after work. The result of globalisation has been to synchronise the economic cycles of English-speaking countries. This suggests that language is a far more important economic resource than we think. It also reiterates the economic inappropriateness of our EMU membership, because, by tying ourselves financially to a bunch of countries that have a different economic cycle to ourselves, we guarantee that the ups and downs of our own business cycle will be profoundly exaggerated. When we are booming, we have low interest rates priced for a German recession, and when we slow down we could have high interest rates if there were a German recovery - even though we have more in common with English-speaking Australia! The connection between economic success and English in recent years has also led to something rather counter-intuitive for the fortunes of Irish. Gael-Linn, Gaelscoileanna and language courses have never been in such demand. Irish people are now exploring Irish as never before. When I was a teenager, for many of us suburban kids, Irish was associated with economic backwardness. When you are poor you don't have time to concern yourself with culture, but now that the economy has benefited enormously from English, we are re-examining the Irish language, and the prospects for the Irish haven't looked this good for over 100 years. Wouldn't it be ironic if the main cultural beneficiary of English economic hegemony was a revival in Irish?

Subject: We need to go nuclear
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:59:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What will happen to our civilisation if we have no power? Could we survive? How would you behave if the lights flickered, dimmed and then went out for good? These questions are no longer the stuff of science fiction. In our lifetimes, possibly as early as the next decade, the world will begin to run out of oil. In the interim, oil prices are likely to rise, governments and regimes will come and go and petrol is likely to be rationed. We will look for alternatives. We will start to burn other stuff - other fossil fuels - to feed our insatiable desire for energy. What impact will turning the world into a giant pyre have on global warming? Environmental concerns apart, these other fuels, like oil, are a finite resource – so what happens when we run out of things to burn? What will we do then? This week, we had a number of reports, both domestic and international, focusing on how we might deal with the end of oil, and at the same time reduce carbon emissions to prevent global warming. The reports focused on a combination of changing our behaviour (shorthand for consuming less) and using alternative, more environmentally-efficient energy sources. One report cited elephant grass as a viable alternative for Ireland. This is doubtless part of the solution, but the missing link in this discussion is the real elephant in the corner, which nobody is prepared to talk about for fear of eternal damnation. In Ireland, we are all afraid of the N word. This word cannot be used in polite conversation. It is a word so vile, foul and degrading, it automatically puts you outside the pale. The N word breaks all the rules. So let's just whisper it. Shush, quietly now. . . nuclear. That wasn't so bad, was it? Say it again, nuclear. Yes, nuclear power. Is it time to revisit nuclear power? Given the depletion of the world's resources and the fact that carbon emissions are unsustainable, nuclear power is a logical alternative. The very word ‘nuclear' scares us. Its lexicon is contaminated. It is associated with Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Cold War. As bread goes with butter, nuclear goes with warhead. In most of our minds, nuclear signifies death and destruction on a monumental scale. If not warheads, missiles and bombs, the word nuclear conjures up images of accidents, leaks, fallout and horrendously deformed babies. But this is only half the story, and while we shouldn't dismiss concerns about safety, we should also open our minds to the possibility that nuclear power is part of the energy solution, not part of the problem. For example, countries with the highest environmental standards in Europe, such as Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, France and Germany rely significantly - and in France's case overwhelmingly - on nuclear power. These are not irresponsible countries that would willingly put their citizens at risk. Indeed, there has never been an accident in any of these countries. There has also, despite all the hype, never been a nuclear accident in Britain. In fact, according to Professor Robert Winston, the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science that had its annual bash in Dublin last week, 'more deaths resulted from Markham Main [a Yorkshire colliery] than all the accidents and power stations put together, including Chernobyl'. Most scientists agree with Winston. Nuclear power is safe and, when reactors are well maintained and standards are high, nuclear power has proved itself to be one of the safest ways to generate energy. Another argument in support of nuclear power is that it is environmentally much sounder than burning stuff. If we are to achieve significant reduction in carbon emissions and maintain our lifestyles, nuclear power is an obvious candidate. It is considerably cleaner than fossil fuel and much less damaging to the environment. We harm our environment more from burning peat in Ireland than we would if we had a nuclear power station heating every home in the country. Internationally, the planet would be a much cleaner place if large countries like China, India and Iran used nuclear power exclusively, rather than burning coal. With respect to global warming and environmental degradation, others have made the argument that, even in the worst case scenario, the impact of a nuclear accident is localised, whereas the impact of global warming and air pollution from burning fossil fuels affects the whole planet. This seems harsh, but it is true. Even figures from Chernobyl bear this out. In the 19 years since the accident, 4,000 people have died. In contrast, each year respiratory disease that results directly from coal-based air pollution kills many more. In terms of nuclear waste and decommissioning older nuclear plants, Finland and Sweden are introducing technical solutions that satisfy most of the domestic opposition to nuclear power. It is fair to say, given their environmental records, that, if it is good enough for the Scandinavians, it should be good enough for us. The points above could be termed the ‘it's not as bad as you think' arguments in support of putting nuclear power back on the table. While they may not persuade everyone, they are at least an antidote to the blanket hysteria that surrounds the N word. The other arguments are simply the ‘we have no alternative' position. Oil is running out. The regimes that control oil are becoming increasingly unstable and might not last the shock of running out of black gold. So supplies might be unstable even before it runs out. Also the price of oil will rise prohibitively, so some other form of energy must be found. The other ‘no alternative' argument is the simple contention that nuclear power, counterintuitive as it may sound, is environmentally friendly. Either we go nuclear or we risk climate change on a devastating scale. To reduce carbon emissions, either we switch to nuclear power in some form or we change our entire consumer-driven society and its growth-based economic benchmarks. Maybe, in an environmentally compromised future, a contracting economy will be regarded as the objective of government policy, but, for the moment, the obsession with growth reigns, and with it, the compulsive desire for energy. While there is no doubt that concerns about nuclear energy are real, they will not be made clearer by regarding nuclear power as heresy. In Ireland, we need to explore every avenue and close the door to none. In 2020, there is every possibility that we will be a nuclear state and, if not, we will definitely be importing nuclear energy from elsewhere. We might as well start discussing this eventuality now.

Subject: Mankind on a collision course
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:56:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
During the 18th century when Louisiana and Mississippi were home to French-speaking Arcadians or Cajuns, their black slaves also spoke French. Many of the slaves worked on the New Orleans dock, which at the time was the commercial centre of the cotton industry. When a ship docked safely, the stevedores shouted “au quai'‘ to indicate that all was fine. Over time, this expression mutated into common parlance and eventually became along with Marlboro, Levis and Disney part of the lexicon of America. Back in the 18th century, New Orleans was one of the great mercantile cities of the western trading world. Black slaves out numbered white masters by about five to one. Its white population the French speaking Cajuns were themselves victims of British ethnic cleansing of the French Arcadian populations of Nova Scotia in 1755 when the entire French speaking population was expelled. Many of them resettled in Louisiana. Here they swelled the numbers of French speakers and the city formed one of the crucial points of a trading triangle which sawguns and steel being sold from France to African chiefs in French West Africa in return for slaves. These petrified misfortunates were then shipped out to the Caribbean and the French American colony of Louisiana named after the Sun King Louis the 14th. In return for slaves, cotton was shipped back to France for the great garment cities on the Atlantic coast. This trading triangle, which was in no way exclusive to France the British, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese were up to their necks in it too lasted for over 150 years and was central to the wealth of Europe and the rise of the US. The beginning of the 20th century saw a huge migration of recently-freed black slaves from Louisiana and Mississippi to the northern industrial cities of the US. There they could escape the segregationist South and could work in a less racist environment. Thus the southern states around the Gulf of Mexico, such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, experienced significant population declines relative to the rest of the US. Recently this demographic story has changed dramatically, but so too has the weather. Up until 1990, Louisiana and Mississippi had the least mobile populations in the US, with locals staying put and outsiders staying out. But this is rapidly changing and they are now experiencing net immigration for the first time since the da and Alabama, the migration flows from north to south are unambiguous. As property prices in Florida get out of hand, many migrants are choosing to move to areas where the sun shines but property is cheaper. However, this mass migration is occurring just as the weather is getting more erratic. In the southern US states, mankind and the elements are on a collision course. This implies that the devastation of Hurricane Katrina will be repeated. Global warming is the problem and the US is not part of the solution. Millions of Americans moving south in their gas guzzling SUVs are directly contributing to global warming. In this regard, as the world's biggest polluter, America is the delinquent on the bloc. Global warming is a man-made reality and America with its ferocious demand for fossil fuels is the world's worst culprit. Global warming has enormous implications for weather patterns in the future. It is therefore bizarre that President Bush appears shocked at the ferocity of this week's hurricane; his antediluvian environmental policies, which contend that global warming is not happening, are increasing the likelihood of hurricanes, tornadoes and the like. (Obviously even the most die-hard Democrat would be hard pressed to blame Bush for the plight of New Orleans, but a bit of joined up thinking in Washington would be welcome. Put simply, the warmer the globe becomes, the more unstable the weather. This is evident in recent weather patterns. You will have noticed the increased frequency of hurricane coverage from places like Florida over the past three years. This is not just a function of the dumbing down of news coverage, it is actually happening. Data has shown that Florida and southern Florida in particular is experiencing a change in wind patterns, hurricanes and devastating high winds that are becoming more frequent. The other area where weather conditions have changed dramatically is the stretch between New Orleans and Mobil precisely where Katrina hit. Yet these are exactly the parts of the US southern coast that are set to experience the greatest population growth in the next decade. And it is not just Americans. Irish investors have piled into Florida, buying condos, villas and apartments. This interaction of large increases in populations and rapidly-changing weather conditions is a disaster for the global insurance industry. A senior global player in the industry told me that the industry could survive anything but natural disasters. He went on to say that if three hurricanes struck the US east coast with the severity of Katrina, the industry would be bankrupt. If the risk of natural disasters is increasing, then the cost of underwriting will increase. But if the risk of natural disasters is increasing in areas where populations, possessions and property are also increasing in density, then the expected payouts will be enormous. As it was, Hurricane Charley did $42 billion worth of damage to the insurance industry last year alone. The final bill for Katrina will be much greater. Quite apart from the impact on the personal finances of Irish investors and the plight of the insurance industry, which will affect all our insurance premiums in future, the hurricane is keeping the demand for fuel high, pushing oil prices back towards $70 a barrel. Against this sort of background, on the economic as well as the climatic front, the short-term forecast is most certainly not au quai.

Subject: Internet Entrepreneurs Draw in China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:33:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/12/business/worldbusiness/12search.html?ex=1284177600&en=4a0325e0ebf28e1b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 12, 2005 Internet Entrepreneurs Draw a Crowd in China By DAVID BARBOZA HANGZHOU, China - Even before China's annual 'Internet summit' got under way here, Charles Zhang, the stylish founder of the Web portal Sohu.com, was holding court in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel, standing before a crush of reporters and television cameras. Soon after, two other Chinese Internet superstars, William Ding, the 34-year-old chief executive of Netease.com, and Ma Huateng, also 34, the founder of Tencent.com, made their way toward the hotel's grand ballroom, pursued like a pair of rock stars. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba.com and the host of this one-day conference, said that the night before he had turned 40. His dinner guests that evening were Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo, and Bill Clinton, who was scheduled to address the Internet forum. In a country where Internet use is exploding and another Bill - Bill Gates - is widely admired, about 600 people packed a Hyatt ballroom on a Saturday afternoon to listen to some of the nation's young Internet millionaires talk about the future. 'These are the Internet legends of China,' said Ho Ben, 28, a participant at the conference and the general manager of a toy company that sources online goods through Alibaba.com, China's largest business-to-business Web site. 'I'm a great admirer of these guys, not only because they've made our lives different but because they've made our business much easier.' Mr. Ma - the architect of China's biggest Internet deal this year, a partnership with Yahoo - convened this annual gathering of some of China's largest Internet companies to discuss the state of the business. This year, it seems, China's small cadre of Internet moguls has many reasons to celebrate. America's largest Internet companies and venture capital firms are now flocking to invest here. The biggest deal came early last month, when Yahoo agreed to invest $1 billion in the six-year-old Alibaba.com. As part of the deal, Yahoo even agreed to hand over its Yahoo China operations to Mr. Ma, who is considered one of China's Internet pioneers. Last month also brought the spectacular Nasdaq debut of Baidu.com, China's biggest search engine company. Its shares soared on their first day of trading in one of the most successful initial public stock offerings since the end of the Internet bubble in 2000 and 2001. EBay has also made big moves, acquiring China's biggest online auction company, Eachnet.com, and promising to invest $100 million in China this year. Much of the excitement has been ignited by reports that there are now more than 100 million Internet users here, ranking China second only to the United States. And with Internet use growing at a phenomenal pace, up from about two million users in 1998, venture capital firms are descending upon China, hoping to find the next Yahoo, Google or eBay. This year's summit, however, was partly overshadowed by reports last week that Yahoo had provided information that helped authorities in China sentence a Chinese journalist to 10 years in prison for leaking 'state secrets' to a foreign Web site. Mr. Yang, Yahoo's co-founder, declined to discuss details of the case, in which the 37-year-old journalist sent anonymous e-mail messages to a Web site based in America, according to court documents. But Mr. Yang said that Yahoo had no alternative other than to comply with Chinese law. 'I don't like the outcomes of what happens with these things, but we have to comply with the law,' he said during the conference. Concerns persist about whether the major Western Internet companies help Chinese authorities monitor and censor content on their Web sites, and even whether they help the authorities crack down on dissent or imprison political opponents. But the conference did little to shed light on that issue. Attendees were more interested in talking about new profit strategies and even some social issues, like whether Chinese youths were becoming addicted to online games. Several participants, including Mr. Ding, once listed as China's richest man, said they were cooperating with the government to combat online game addiction. In the spirit of a conference that had questioners often referring to the speakers as 'Internet heroes,' one woman also had a more personal question for Mr. Ding: 'When are you going to get married?' While most of the big Internet players in China showed up for the summit, including Wang Yan, the head of Sina.com, one of the major portals, the absence of executives from eBay and Baidu was conspicuous but hardly surprising. EBay is facing stiff competition in China from Taobao.com, a subsidiary of Alibaba. Baidu, in which Google has a small stake, is considered a strong challenger to the new Alibaba-Yahoo partnership. And Microsoft is now battling Google in a Washington court, accusing one of its former Chinese executives of violating a noncompete clause by joining rival Google earlier this year. Still, Mr. Ma said all the major players had been invited to attend his summit in the spirit of 'peaceful' discussion. The flamboyant Mr. Ma, who stands just over 5 feet, is one of China's oldest Internet moguls. He is also one of the richest. After his deal with Yahoo, privately held Alibaba.com is now valued at about $4.2 billion, making it China's most valuable Internet company. Mr. Ma, a former English teacher, is also skilled at attracting publicity for Alibaba, which is based in Hangzhou. The event, held in the beautiful West Lake area, attracted widespread press coverage in China, besides scores of bankers, deal makers, movie producers and Internet bandwagon followers. During the intermission, cameramen and eager fans raced after speakers, several of whom chose to scamper into the bathroom for cover. But onstage, China's Internet entrepreneurs acknowledged that they were facing plenty of hurdles in making their companies profitable and successful. They said that competition was intense and that online payments systems were problematic. But they also said their companies had matured during the last few years, when fierce rivalries had evolved into heated accusations and even legal battles over intellectual property. 'Four years ago, we were naïve. There was fierce fighting,' said Mr. Ma of Alibaba. 'Now all of us are survivors. We are more calm-minded.'

Subject: Synchronizing the Present and Past
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:24:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/12/international/europe/12versailles.html?ex=1284177600&en=3b7e67f0b0f1f3f5&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 12, 2005 Synchronizing the Present and Past in a Timeless Place By MARLISE SIMONS VERSAILLES, France - Once a week, Bernard Draux, a discreet Frenchman, joins the secret life of Versailles, a palace where even without its long-gone kings much still happens away from the public eye. Mr. Draux is the chateau's official clockmaker and timekeeper. His task is to wind and repair close to 100 antique clocks that once served Europe's most glittering court. Every Monday, when the monumental palace is closed, he sets out on his solitary mission with a small set of precision tools and a heavy bundle of keys, opening up contraptions that are often as baroque as the chateau itself. There are gilded clock faces, fixed onto bronze camels or marble elephants. Some have music boxes hidden inside. Grand 18th-century pieces, which remarkably have survived theft and revolution, record not just the hour, date and month but also the movements of the planets. None of this seems to faze Mr. Draux, 49, a man with a mournful face and a heavy mustache, whose own modest wristwatch runs on a battery. There he was, on a recent round, cantering through the chateau's labyrinth of back stairs, slipping in and out of salons and alcoves as if this were a visit to an old family home. He made frequent stops, tugging deftly at a weight here, nudging a pendulum there. Why, he was asked, was such an effort being made to record the time in such a timeless place? 'Eh bien, the clocks belong here,' he said with an irrefutable air. 'They have two functions. They must preserve their beauty and they must work properly. It doesn't look good when clocks are not accurate.' But it is not quite punctuality - the French like a little leeway here - that perpetuates the task of the official timekeeper. France gives much weight to traditional skills, even as it adopts its share of American-style mass-produced consumer goods. Mr. Draux's task may be one of a kind, but it offers a glimpse of the enormous energy and cost the country puts into preserving its heirlooms, its great museums and, with those, many here believe, the national cultural identity. Arguably, the tradition of cherishing traditional workmanship and heritage is as much part of Europe as it is of France. But the French articulate more loudly their need to preserve distinction and often warn that globalized manufacture and trade, if left unfettered, may end up covering the world with a blanket of sameness. The government employs a legion of men and women - their numbers vary according to the projects under way - adept at carving antique wood or stone, repairing stucco or wrought iron, or rehabilitating yards of ancient frames and weavings. Such trades, and the unfashionable patience they require, may gain little public applause elsewhere, but here they rank as high as patriotism. Investing in history has its rewards. As one of the world's main tourist destinations, France received 75 million visitors in 2004. Versailles is seen by 10 million people a year. Curators say the palace, with its 700 rooms and thousands of windows, statues, chandeliers and curlicues, has been high maintenance ever since the 1660's when the Sun King, Louis XIV, first moved in. Today a staff of 900 looks after it, although hundreds more are now involved in the museum's most ambitious renovation project. The grand overhaul began in 2003 and is expected to take 17 years and more than $450 million in government and private money. Mr. Draux hopes the restoration will include some of the exceptional clocks that are in storage, awaiting repair. Clocks may not loom large in the lore about the extravagance of the royalty here, but by many accounts there was little free time. 'Clocks were very important here, even in the 17th century, because life at the court was full of rigor and rituals,' said Mathieu da Vinha, a historian at the Versailles Research Center. 'There were fixed times for the rising of the king, for prayers, for government meetings, for meals, for walks, for the hunt, for the concerts and so on. Everyone had to be on their toes.' Louis XIV had not one, but four clockmakers working for him, he said. 'When he traveled, the clockmakers, and many clocks, went with him.' That accounts for the legacy of the timepieces here, and for the work of Mr. Draux, who learned his craft from his father and grandfather. 'Each clock here is unique because they were made like a work of art, before the age of mass production,' he said. He stopped at the oldest clock, marked 1706, shining his flashlight on a complex array of weights, toothed wheels, bolts and pivots. 'Each one is so different, I don't really know a clock until I have taken it apart,' he murmured. 'And of course there are no instructions.' He activated the clock's music box and a mechanical show that usually is blocked 'because it causes traffic jams in this room.' As the small hammers sounded midday, a pair of eagles flapped their wings and a miniature king on a throne popped out. 'Hear that sound,' he said. 'It's still in great form.' Mr. Draux showed his awe before the clock of Passement, named after its maker, an engineer and astronomer. It was crowned with a glass sphere. Inside it, golden rings registered the movements of the planets. 'This is a perpetual calendar, it can show the date until the year 9999,' he said. Did he know how to repair it? No, he said, 'fortunately, there's been no need.' He moved along, sidestepping the staff applying beeswax to the interminable palace floors. It seemed easy to forget the time here. But Mr. Draux was pressing on, because he still had to fix a few laggards. As if to show he was not living in the past, Mr. Draux said he also looked after two giant electric clocks in the Stade de France, Paris's main sports stadium. But he does draw the line against modernity somewhere. 'I will not use a cellphone,' he said. 'That's too stressful. In my job, I have to concentrate.'

Subject: 'Theatre of Fish': The Codless Seas
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 06:12:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/books/review/11royte.html September 11, 2005 'Theatre of Fish': The Codless Seas By ELIZABETH ROYTE If Newfoundland's once vast bounty of cod was God's gift to European colonizers, then Newfoundlanders themselves must be God's gift to travel writers. In John Gimlette's frothy treatment, the island is absolutely teeming with impossibly colorful characters spouting nonstop entertainment. Essentially an exploration of the provincial psyche, ''Theatre of Fish: Travels Through Newfoundland and Labrador'' starts out in the capital, St. John's, where Gimlette develops the conceit that the province is a theater overrun by its audience. ''Everybody had a speech or a song or a little act,'' he writes. ''Dramas simply tumbled out of people, complete with prologues, heckling, applause and curtain calls.'' This explains why the book is organized into acts and scenes, and ends with both an epilogue and an afterword, as if Gimlette, who probably wouldn't be out of place on the boards himself, couldn't quite let his audience go. Around Newfoundland, north to Labrador and back again, Gimlette is a magnet for the cracked and the contagious, who tell us, in ways obvious and subtle, that the provincial character has been shaped by hardships without end: brutal weather, grinding poverty, bloody politics, clueless leaders and, most recently, codless seas. Newfoundlanders had ''little sense of destiny, just relief that they'd survived this far.'' Between 1954 and 1975 more than 250 outports, or fishing villages, were abandoned, and 50,000 people deserted Newfoundland in the decade after the cod fishery closed in 1992. Lawlessness is a persistent theme, along with anger at the government and a pervasive sense of failure. And yet this isn't a dark or depressing book: it's a little bit nutty, always beautifully written, and brimming with Gimlette's appreciation for the landscape and those who inhabit it. As in his acclaimed first book, ''At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguay,'' Gimlette leads us, in fits and starts to match his journey, through the provinces' convoluted history. The narrative isn't always easy to follow, both because it's intrinsically confusing and because of the author's Briticisms (Gimlette works as a lawyer in London when he isn't poking around the world's forgotten corners). Every act contains some heated conflict, between Catholics and Protestants, English and French, liberals and tories, Indians and missionaries, confederates and patriots, merchants and fishermen. What is everyone fighting over? Everything from turf and fishing grounds to schools, religion, the right to perform mummery and whales. Traveling in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, a medical missionary who set out in 1893 expecting ''a little light teeth-pulling and evangelism,'' Gimlette travels by rental car, bus and ferry. He would have tried hitchhiking but the agent at the tourist office warned him against it. '' 'You might do something, sexually assault someone. . . . ' ''I must have looked surprised. '' 'Or they might sexually assault you.' '' These gifts to the writer are constant, and Gimlette is laugh-out-loud funny. His nature is to be thrilled, not put off, by the unruly and the odd. He's delighted by an ancient fisherman who cohabits with sheep and subsists on seaweed. And he understands the narrative value, if not always the pleasures, of a stormy evening spent cabinbound with two dimwitted drunks (''babies with red whiskers, perhaps, or experiments thrown up by the sea''), of appalling weather, dogs so hungry they'll devour hymnbooks, moose that crash into his tent, and the interior's dense and featureless forests, in which children are constantly getting lost (and found). A freak magnet, all Gimlette need do is arrive, and the schemers and dreamers appear from the molly fodge (lichen) and mish (heath) to spill their tales. Is it all for real? ''Believing the stories wasn't half as important as the way they were told.'' (Then again, Gimlette might have misunderstood half of what he heard. Newfoundlanders speak 66 dialects, he reports. Some voices were reminiscent of sea gulls. One old crab-man sounded ''like Irish rinsed in shingle,'' mummers jabbered ''in Dorset and walrus'' and the conversation of poachers sounded like ''West Country strained through a gale.'') In the outports, Gimlette finds a way of life barely changed for 400 years: bare-boned houses built by hand, residents happily surviving off caribou and sea birds. Many villages, with ''schools for three and bars for one,'' have no police presence or doctor, and depend on a weekly supply boat. When even that lifeline is canceled, outporters stoically float their saltboxes to another cove, ''dodging the feuds and finding the sun.'' Gimlette evokes much in few words. The Minister of Fish ''wafted me into a slug of leather.'' A bungalow ''glowed like a cheese.'' At a party, there were ''little trails of grand-children and turkey over every surface.'' On a bus, he meets a passenger with ''an ear so loathingly pierced that it could probably be unzipped in times of trouble and stashed away until things improved.'' In a few places the author gets carried away with these descriptions, and his frippery undermines comprehension. (For example: A cathedral looks like a cave, but ''instead of bats, it was decorated with local politicians, all spouting rainwater in times of civic urgency.'') He has a habit of starting scenes with a cryptic, apparently foreshadowing, sentence. It's meant to be dramatic, but sometimes it's a little confusing. Most of ''Theatre of Fish'' is larkily lighthearted, as if Gimlette were whistling in the province's eternal dark. But one act, sad beyond measure, defies even his optimism. In Labrador, the author finds the native people living in smashed towns defined by alcoholism, murder and suicide. Having lost their old customs -- hunting and migration -- and rituals, they despise the new ways, in which they're utterly dependent on the government. Gimlette doesn't know what to make of the situation. ''It was easy enough to ascertain the different parts but I could never assemble the whole.'' He's fine with that, but fears he's become impervious to the place's horror. ''Perhaps the voyager is no more than the voyeur, seeking pain and beauty that's always someone else's?'' Gimlette isn't one for summing up. His great-grandfather trekked through the region to enact reform; Gimlette, a hapless audience member, came merely to observe. Whether the drama of Newfoundland and Labrador is comedy or tragedy, he wisely refuses to say.

Subject: Where Poverty Drove Zapatistas
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 05:51:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/international/americas/11chiapas.html September 11, 2005 Where Poverty Drove Zapatistas, the Living Is No Easier By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. PATIHUITZ, Mexico - The shooting war between the Mexican government and Zapatista rebels in these fertile hills ended long ago, but the struggle for the hearts and minds of ordinary people like Rigoberto Álvarez goes on, with no clear winner in sight. Mr. Álvarez spent 15 years in the Zapatista rebel army, training in the mountains of southeastern Mexico, but quit four years ago, at the age of 46. Why? He had eight children he could not afford to educate. The government was offering cash incentives for each one in school. 'If I don't find a way to put them through school, my children won't learn to read and write any more than I do,' he said as he waited for hours recently under a broiling sun for the chance to enroll his son in a new secondary school. 'The struggle is too long. I am already old.' In recent years, the government has poured more money into roads, health clinics, schools and electrification projects in the mountainous backcountry where the Mayans live. Patihuitz, for instance, has electricity, running water and the new secondary school (the classes are to be held in a borrowed house). Officials have handed out cash scholarships and roofing materials. The Zapatistas, who long ago ceased to be a military threat, have set up communities that reject government aid and organize community projects. In some places, they have also set up farming cooperatives and small factories. But the grinding poverty that provoked the first rebel uprising in 1994 continues to trap the Indians. Neither the rebels' attempts at self-government nor the government's antipoverty programs have done much to change the odds against indigenous children in these rugged, jungle-covered mountains, according to Mayan farmers inside and outside the Zapatistas. 'It's the same as it ever was,' said Manuel Marín, a 46-year-old farmer in Patihuitz, as he gathered beans from one of his fields. 'There is no way to change this life.' Many adults are barely literate and speak little or no Spanish. Most of the schools the government has built are too small. Secondary schools are scarce and charge enrollment fees. The new clinics are often short of medicine. And while the cash grants for children in school buy food and clothes, they are not large enough to make saving possible, many parents say. 'Chiapas continues to be the poorest state in the country, as it was in 1990,' said Julio Boltvinik, a professor at the College of Mexico who studies poverty. 'The indigenous people really don't have anything that we would call a humane, dignified, modern developed life. They are living in an abysmally precarious state.' Nearly everyone works hard, but there is little profit for most. The 1994 free-trade agreement with the United States has driven prices for corn and beans brutally low. Government crop subsidies and supports have disappeared, erasing any gain from new welfare programs. As a result, farmers here must spend more to grow crops like corn than they can make selling them. So most now farm only a small section of their land, growing just enough corn and beans to survive and leaving the rest fallow. They look for other ways to earn cash, either hiring themselves out as labor for better-off farmers in the region or migrating to northern Mexico or the southern United States to pick fruit, several said. 'Things are going down the tubes faster and faster,' said Peter Rosset, an American professor who runs a center for agricultural policy in Oaxaca. 'You can't spend your whole life selling things for below the cost of production. That leads you to move to L.A.' Complicating matters has been the protracted conflict with the rebels, who, in January 1994, marched out of the Lacadona jungle and took over seven towns and dozens of large ranches, dividing the land among poor farmers who used to work on them for about 70 cents a day. A year later, the army drove the guerrillas, led by Subcommander Marcos, back into the mountains. Since then, an uneasy cease-fire has reigned while peace talks have dragged on without resolution. The rebels have declared they will not cooperate with the government until it fulfills promises it made in a 1996 accord to allow Indians to govern themselves to a large extent in regions where they are the majority. In 2003, frustrated with the inaction of Congress, the Zapatistas pushed ahead on their own, setting up five governmental centers with clinics and schools to oversee dozens of what they call 'autonomous municipalities.' The region, as a result, is a patchwork of rebel-run villages, military bases established by the Mexican government and villages where pro-government Indians are a majority. Army trucks with troops rumble up and down the roads. Rebel centers are closed to most outsiders and reporters. Subcommander Marcos, meanwhile, seems more intent on pushing mainstream politicians to the left than on trying to consolidate rebel territory or improve the rebels' agricultural output. In the last month, he has held a series of meetings with unionists, left-wing politicians and community groups, calling on them to carry out 'a national leftist, anticapitalist program' with the goal of 'a new constitution, which is another way of saying a new agreement for a new society.' The rebel leader has also attacked the most popular leftist candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, suggesting that he and his party will sell out ordinary working people once in power. Mr. Marcos's anticapitalist talk seems out of touch with the daily life of many Indians here. A new constitution is the farthest thing from the mind of Pepe Luna López, for instance, who lives in San José del Carmen, a Zapatista autonomous community right next to the government-run village of Nuevo Morelia. Mr. López, who is 35, has seven children ages 4 to 16. They all sleep in a leaky one-room shack with dirt floors and walls of slender poles. None of the children are in school; he refuses to send them to the government school a quarter-mile away and the Zapatista government has sent no teacher. He farms only two acres of his five, and has no source of cash. His clothes are rags. He does not go to the health clinic down the road in Nuevo Morelia. 'We are resisting,' he said. 'We cannot accept anything from the government because they have not kept their word.' Another Zapatista farmer, Silvio López González, lives across the street from Nuevo Morelia's government school and health clinic. He, too, will not send his two children to either. But he acknowledges he is not much better off than he was before the 1994 uprising. 'We have 20 years in the struggle, and we are not even halfway there,' he said. For 30 years, Mr. Álvarez has lived in a small village called Tierra Blanca, once solidly in the rebel camp, above the main road about three miles away from the Zapatista center known as La Garrucha. He has 10 acres and a wood shack with a thatched roof. His eight children and his wife sleep on boards above the dirt floor. Two years ago, however, the government took electricity to Tierra Blanca. And when it started offering scholarships for children in school, Mr. Álvarez gave up the rebel cause and accepted the cash - about $30 a month. His only other source of hard currency was a few coffee trees on his land, which he said brought in about $400 in a good year, $200 in a bad one. He has also accepted the government's roofing and is building a new house next to the old one. His eldest son, Rigoberto, completed the sixth grade, then migrated to Baja California to pick tomatoes for $800 a month. He turned 15 in May, far away from home. Mr. Álvarez's eyes filled with tears when he explained that he could not afford to send Rigoberto to a secondary school; the nearest one then was two hours away. It is his second son, Alfonse, 12, who will go to the school in Patihuitz, a 45-minute walk away. Education, he says, is the only way to break the chain that binds his children to his mountainous plot of earth. 'Otherwise we die, and the children stay here suffering,' he said. 'That's the end of it. There is no other step.'

Subject: The Real Inventory
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Sep 13, 2005 at 05:48:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/opinion/11sun4.html?ex=1284091200&en=cdeccf4f1d229a2c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 11, 2005 The Real Inventory By VERLYN KLINKENBORG Earlier this summer, I e-mailed my brother a list of the animals we're raising on this farm. I called it an inventory, but it was really a way of acknowledging that perhaps my wife and I have gone too far. There are now five pigs in various stages of growth, and a large, comic parade of ducks and geese that settle onto the lawn like so many ships in a green sea. There are chicks in the basement and chickens in the mulch. And there are the longtime partners in this enterprise, the horses, dogs and cats. My brother - who has three pigs and four goats himself - wrote back and said, 'Wouldn't it be great to know the real inventory?' That phrase has stuck in my head for the past few weeks. What I had sent my brother was a list of the animals that Lindy and I are responsible for - the ones we need to feed and water every day. But I hadn't even begun to count the creatures here that are responsible for themselves. Even among those, the animals I think of first are the ones that, from my perspective at least, have a direct relationship with us: the phoebes that nest above the kitchen door, the fox that steals hens from our coop from time to time, the wild turkeys that troop down out of the woods and into the pasture in winter, the red-tailed hawks that screech overhead, driving the poultry to cover. There are others, of course: hummingbirds in the bee balm and hollyhocks, pileated woodpeckers in the deep woods, catbirds in the elderberry. But these too belong to a circle of animals that seem scaled to human powers of observation. What makes the real inventory interesting is all the rest of the organisms that live on this place, whether I notice them or they notice me. There are times when I get a vague sense of how vast that inventory might be - nights when the crickets sound like a ringing in my ears, evenings when the low sun is refracted in the wings of the thousands of insects in flight over the pasture. But it is still only a vague sense, a catalog of life forms whose numbers I have to guess at. Somehow I instinctively imagine the abundance of life here in the shape of a pyramid - the kind of illustration that might appear in a schoolbook - with a pair of humans at the peak and the legions of soil bacteria at the base. But one of the things I've learned from living in the country is that life is not a pyramid with humans at the peak. It's an interrelationship that is far too complex to diagram so anthropocentrically and so simply. There is a map of need here that I cannot read but that governs me as well. I go about the endless tasks, the chores, the feeding and grooming of animals, and I pretend that somehow I'm separate and in charge, though the pigs and geese remind me that that is not exactly true. I have to remember that if I wrote up the real inventory, it would include myself as well.

Subject: Plunge Protection Teams
From: David E..
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 21:44:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Have you heard about plunge protection teams, George Stephanopholus has. Plunge protection teams are large scale efforts to stop declining markets. Markets that suddenly turn backup up late in the day are possible spoor of a PP team. I commented about them earlier. People have wondered who would and could bankroll such a scheme. Some think banks, but banks don't control lots of stocks. Some think government contractors are using private pension assets to bank the PPTeams. I dont know if PPTeams exist, but some apparently knowledgeable people do. Here is a link to some current rumblings. ive=true¶m=archive&garden=&minisite=

Subject: What is the Meaning For Us?
From: Jesse
To: David E..
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 14, 2005 at 16:39:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear David, How would this be relevant to personal investing if true? Actually I doubt this is more than just large scale trading by institutions that can occur at any time. But, even if true can smoothing a market be a problem for us?

Subject: Re: What is the Meaning For Us?
From: David E..
To: Jesse
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 17, 2005 at 13:37:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If true, PPTeams are a worry (I am sorry for the metaphor- Katrina is on my mind) because they are like dikes. They protect against the pressure of declining prices - at some point the pressure can be so tremendous the dikes will fail. The resulting flood in falling prices could be much more drastic than a normal flood.

Subject: Gideons Knot
From: Johnny5
To: Jesse
Date Posted: Thurs, Sep 15, 2005 at 06:23:21 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
David needs to reply to this question. Terri also has dodged 2 of my recent questions - I don't understand why they do this Jesse. I thought we are all here trying to help each other. As Emma posts above about hedge funds, when things get so smooth - perhaps liquidity dries up - and if you want to sell a lot of your XOM stock Jesse and there are no buyers what shall you do? Your daughter wants those new 600 dollar jeans and no one will buy your MSFT stock so that you can fund the purchase. Its like this I think, its a little better to let all your kids get sick when young - then to have your adult population cut in a third when a massive outbreak occurs no? The government not allowing the smaller less catastrophic falls happen in the market may be pushing it so high up the cliff that the eventual fall will be too horrendous. Can you afford a 50% portfolio loss at 20? What about an 80% at 55? Between PIMCO, account 990N, hedge fund OPAQUE obscurities, regulation SHO naked shorting - I don't know why you want to believe there is NOT manipulation - the evidence is all around you friend. Please tell me why you choose to be positive like terri and not negative like Pete? Warren Buffet and Pete Weis have warned you about the DERIVATIVES - the financial weapons of mass destruction - do you think perhaps warren does not know what he is talking about? The SEC has its resources tied up in so much corruption - unbelievable - here look at thier recent list http://www.sec.gov/news/press.shtml According to this guy - it does not take a lot of crooks to do a lot of damage you see. http://bobosrevenge.blogspot.com/ First and foremost, what is obvious in reading the book is that a very small nucleus of very bad apples successfully raped and pillaged the thrift industry of many hundreds of billions of dollars. This was not a widespread series of isolated individuals who all happened to have the same larcenous idea at the same time – rather it was a group of predators who all were intertwined in a Gideon’s knot of complex flim-flams that wound up costing the nation more than the then national debt. What is shocking is that so few individuals could so dramatically destroy so much wealth, and leave the taxpayers footing the bill. Follow along and you will see why I believe that there are such strong similarities between that financial scandal, and the hedge fund/manipulation/naked short selling scandal that is unfolding even as we speak.

Subject: The Missing Link
From: David E..
To: David E..
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 21:45:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Link

Subject: What really cripples Africa
From: Mik
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 16:35:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We have seen many articles and stories on how Africa is poor and in need of aid. Contrast these many stories with the recent Hurricane in the USA and how the US messed up the initial emergency reaction simply because Bush employed Mike Brown a highly incompetent idiot who was recommended as a friend-of-a-friend. We are well aware of incompetent idiots being employed - it is by no means new in any country. But what happens when a country is struggling to get ahead and the government employs a string of incompetent idiots who mess everything up at the lowest levels of government? the levels where practical intervention is needed. The following article gives a very clear indication of this very issue. http://free.financialmail.co.za/05/0909/cover/coverstory.htm No matter how much aid you give Africa - so long as we have Africa being lead by a series of small George Bushs we have a never ending problem on our hands. Any form of aid should be directly coupled with responsible governance. This is a tricky issue as we may have a situation where we are interfering with a country's sovereignty. Having said that, aid is already coupled with good governance in one form or other. I believe we should have a system of “positive interference”. Countries should be given ratings for good governance. Countries such as Niger who neglected the famine problem should receive a very low rating or Uganda who were recently caught for corrupting their health system, should also receive a low rating. Every time one or other scandal comes up – they should lose a couple of points on their good governance ratings. Then the aid agencies should tacitly compare their funding support to the rating system. In essence by stating if you run you country well, you get bonus points and access to more assistance.

Subject: Disney Takes Exception to China's Rules
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 12:14:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/12/business/worldbusiness/12disney.html Septmeber 12, 2005 Disney Takes Exception to China's Media Rules By KEITH BRADSHER HONG KONG - As Hong Kong Disneyland prepares to open on Monday, the Walt Disney Company will hold off building a similar theme park in mainland China until assured that it will be able to broadcast Disney shows on Chinese television, the company's president said here. The company's firm stance underlines the unhappiness of many Western media companies at the Chinese government's issuance on Aug. 1 of a new and stricter interpretation of the country's media ownership regulations. Presented by China's culture and propaganda officials as a way to preserve Chinese culture and limit foreign influence, the rules essentially bar foreign television channels like the Disney Channel. They also make it harder for foreign companies to produce movies and television shows in China even if they find local partners. Shanghai has been actively seeking a Disney theme park for several years, with strong support from Beijing's leaders. Discussions among Disney executives and Shanghai officials have caused considerable alarm in Hong Kong, which has invested $2.9 billion of taxpayers' money in helping to build a park here, mainly to reclaim land from the sea and to build roads and a subway line for the park. Hong Kong Disneyland would face strong competition if a similar theme park opened in Shanghai. But Robert A. Iger, who is Disney's president and chief operating officer and will succeed Michael D. Eisner as chief executive on Oct. 1, said before building another park in Shanghai, the company needed assurances that it would be able to use television to teach Chinese audiences about Disney characters. 'In order for us to even consider a park there, we need to be sure we have access to television,' Mr. Iger said in an interview at the new, oceanfront Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel here. Disney's ABC television division, which Mr. Iger used to run, recently sold its 'Desperate Housewives' show to Chinese television companies. But Mr. Iger said on Friday that Disney's goal was to introduce the Disney Channel to at least some Chinese cities, including Shanghai. 'The restrictions in general do thwart our efforts to grow television in that marketplace,' he said, while adding he remained confident that, 'over time, we'll gain access to the market.' Mr. Iger said other countries that have allowed the Disney channel had demanded that some local productions be included, and said this was a possibility for the Chinese market. He voiced confidence that the company would not run into censorship problems, saying that, 'it's rare that there are content issues for our product.' Disney does not necessarily need a majority stake in local productions in China either, Mr. Iger said, pointing out that Disney has a minority stake in the new theme park here. The Hong Kong government owns 57 percent and Disney owns the rest. 'We're more than willing to have a partner' for television productions in China, he said, adding that it would be 'safe to conclude we are in discussions' to set up television deals in China. Copyright violations and other thefts of intellectual property have been a chronic problem for many companies in China. But Mr. Iger said that he did not believe taking on local partners would make matters worse in this regard. 'If we don't do anything, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse are going to end up there anyway, and we're not going to get anything,' he said. Mr. Iger said that after the Hong Kong Disneyland opening ceremony on Monday, he planned to fly on to Beijing 'to discuss Disney business initiatives in China in general.' But the trip is not intended primarily as a lobbying effort for the lifting of the restrictions, he added. If Mr. Iger wants to lobby, however, he could have an opportunity much sooner. Vice President Zeng Qinghong of China, a Politburo member with particular responsibility for propaganda, culture and Hong Kong issues, is scheduled to join Mr. Iger and Mr. Eisner for the ceremony. The new media rules on the mainland and the possibility of a delay in setting up a Disney theme park in Shanghai are likely to cement Hong Kong's role as a media hub for China in particular and for Asia over all. Tighter restrictions on the mainland also make the success or failure of Hong Kong Disneyland even more important to Disney's long-term performance in Asia. Some visitors have complained of crowding during 17 rehearsal days at Hong Kong Disney, when thousands of local residents were invited. The criticisms prompted questions about whether visitors, fearing overcrowding, might shun the park at first. Dick Yang, the manager of the Guangdong Nanhu International Travel Agency in Guangzhou, 100 miles up the Pearl River from here, said that the agency had expected to sell 1,200 tickets to Hong Kong Disneyland for September, but had only sold 400. Potential customers are leery of braving crowds when the park opens, and are unhappy that many Hong Kong hotels have raised prices by 20 percent in anticipation of an influx of park visitors, he said. But Mr. Yang noted that demand was brisk for the 'golden week' in early October, a weeklong national holiday. 'All the sales are concentrated in the peak seasons now,' he said. Instead of letting most people choose when to take vacations, the Chinese government schedules three golden weeks each year, national holidays during which most economic activity shuts down. That heavy concentration of tourism into three short spasms of travel poses a problem for Disney, which needs to keep the park fairly full all year long to cover investment costs. Hong Kong Disney is charging lower prices here on weekdays, the first time it has done so at any of its theme parks. The company is confident that through various techniques, like promoting the park at various times of year in different Asian countries, it will even out the number of visitors coming to the park each day, said Jay Rasulo, the chairman of Disney's theme parks and resorts division. 'There's nothing that we've learned in our rehearsal days,' he said, 'that has fundamentally changed how we do business here.'

Subject: The Master of the Golden Halo
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:47:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/arts/design/11kimm.html September 11, 2005 Fra Angelico, the Master of the Golden Halo By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN IN 1984 Pope John Paul II beatified Fra Angelico. He was already the people's choice. His tomb at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome had long been a shrine. While Botticelli was still an acquired taste, Angelico was the most sought-after early Italian Renaissance painter for collectors, the darling of savvy 19th-century guidebook writers, who bestowed four stars on any site that displayed his golden-haloed gems. The Florentine convent of San Marco, where he was a Dominican friar, became the ultimate Fra Angelico pilgrimage destination: his fresco of an 'Annunciation' in one of the tiny, square whitewashed monk's cells epitomizes his austere, light-filled style, with Mary gravely kneeling on a simple low wood bench, hands across her chest, pink-cheeked and so exquisitely slight that she looks immaterial. The Fra Angelico show opening on Oct. 26 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is being advertised as the first comprehensive overview in years. It won't really be comprehensive. The frescoes and big altarpieces don't travel. But it should be memorable. The 550th anniversary of Angelico's death is its arcane and unnecessary excuse. Capitalizing on fresh scholarship, the discovery of new works and the reconstruction of altarpieces that have not been put together for who knows how long, the show may raise some eyebrows among scholars for its early dating of pictures and, in the process, challenge the popular view that he was not an innovator. Giorgio Vasari described Angelico as 'the most humble and modest' of painters, a naif , working directly from divine inspiration, refusing even 'to retouch or improve any of his pictures, but to leave them in the state to which he had first brought them, believing that this was the will of God.' After that he came to be perceived as a sweet, saintly innocent, behind his times. But research over the last half-century or so has altered that wishful image. Picking up on these new findings, Laurence Kanter, the curator of the Met's show, will present him as an intellectual, preceding Masaccio and others at the cutting edge. Born Guido di Pietro in the countryside north of Florence, an established artist when he joined the Dominican order sometime around 1420, so the show argues, he dominated Tuscan art for three decades, running the biggest, most prestigious workshop in Florence before becoming the leading painter in Rome, where he worked for the pope. It may just turn out that because he has been so beloved for so long, people stopped looking at him. His work was taken for granted. A fresh survey is an excuse to revisit Fra Angelico's heavenly pictures. And it may burnish his reputation in ways that even beatification can't.

Subject: For Mali Villagers, France Is Workplace
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:26:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/international/africa/11mali.html September 11, 2005 For Mali Villagers, France Is a Workplace and Lifeline By MICHAEL KAMBER and MARC LACEY SOMANKIDI, Mali - This remote village in northwestern Mali does not have the art museums, cafes and trendy shopping of Paris. But it does have a half-dozen public wells, a health clinic and birthing clinic, stately mosques and scores of concrete houses with electricity. 'You see the condition of this village today?' Hamed Diabira asked proudly. 'This is all due to our children living in France.' Somankidi and villages like it in Mali's Kaye region send their young to Paris in a tradition that goes back nearly six decades, to when Mali was a French colony and Malians were welcomed in France as laborers. The long ties between France and its former colonies in Africa are shakier these days, and the mood here is fraught after several fires in crowded Paris apartment buildings and hotels in the last few months killed nearly 50 African immigrants. A majority of the dead were children, and many had come from Mali. After the fires, the French authorities began evicting Africans from substandard housing units, a move that did not sit well in Somankidi. 'We can't prove it, but everyone here knows the fires were criminal acts,' Fodie Tounkara, a village elder, said in early September. 'They are putting pressure on us to leave.' In this country of nearly 12.3 million people where more than 70 percent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, many Somankidi residents are better off than the norm. Every extended family, elders say, has at least one relative sending earnings home from France. Those remittances, estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars, exceed the total amount that the French government gives Mali in aid, Malian officials say. More than 120,000 Malians are estimated to be in France, most of them illegally. When President Jacques Chirac visited Mali in 2003, it was no surprise that Malians lining the road for a peek at his motorcade cried, 'Visa! Visa!' And it was also no surprise that Mr. Chirac's call during the visit for a crackdown on illegal immigration to France was not joined by his Malian counterpart, President Amadou Toumani Touré. In France, illegal immigrants are widely seen as taking the jobs of French citizens and adding to the crime rate. In Mali, there is a distinctly different view. 'Our countrymen contribute decisively to the development of their country,' Mr. Touré said during Mr. Chirac's visit. Somankidi's elders say that contribution is not appreciated and reciprocated in France. They say they may soon call for an end to immigration there and urge the 600 or so villagers already in France to return home. The elders cite mistreatment their people have faced in France, including police harassment and the constant threat of deportation. Already, immigration to other countries, like Spain and Britain, from Somankidi has begun. Before the first wave of immigration in the early 1950's, villagers say, Somankidi was agricultural, and people lived and died based on the vagaries of the rains. The French government and, after independence in 1960, the Malian government gave Somankidi little support. Before the improvements financed by the migrants, villagers lived in mud houses and used kerosene lamps, residents said. They had no schools and no hospital. Relatively few in Somankidi get French visas. Most migrants head off by foot to the north, then riding on trucks and buses when they can, go through Mauritania or Algeria to Morocco, across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain and then France. At least three people from Somankidi have died in recent years on the journey. Warzanka Drame lost her 30-year-old son, Sambala Kebe, in April. 'I don't know exactly how he died,' she said. He left three daughters and a year-old son, who survive on money sent home by Mr. Kebe's brothers in France. Somankidi's migration is organized. Village leaders collect money so the most promising young people, mostly men, can go and send their earnings home. In Paris, they are expected to join a village association that helps keep people from Somankidi together there. Divided families are the norm in Somankidi. 'He left right after our wedding,' Assa Cisse said of her husband, Checkna Tounkara, who headed for France four years ago. News of the fires in Paris hit close to home here and across Mali. 'I immediately thought of my relatives in Paris,' said Macki Tall, a restaurateur in Bamako who has spent time in Paris. Habib Sissoko, the president of Mali's Olympic committee who frequently travels to Paris, said he was saddened by the grim conditions in which Malians there live. But he said he understood their wanderlust. 'Those who go abroad are the brave ones,' he said. 'They are like the pioneers in America who headed west. We Malians want to meet the unknown.' But the unknown is often disappointing. Fetching water with a bucket. Living packed in tight. No electricity. Such conditions are not uncommon in Mali, but are far from the romanticized notions of Paris the migrants have before they set out. In early September, Hamara Cisse, 24, spoke of his time as a migrant. His father had been a laborer in France for 20 years. In 2001, after marrying, Mr. Cisse replicated his father's journey. He lived in a crowded guesthouse in Aubervilliers, a rundown immigrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris. 'Nothing was easy there,' said Mr. Cisse, who described sleeping in a room with 12 other men. Looking for work was complicated by frequent spot checks by the French police, who arrested him three times because he did not have the proper documents, always releasing him a few days later after he claimed to be someone else, he said. After looking for many months, Mr. Cisse found a job with a Chinese building contractor, who paid him 40 euros, almost $50, for a 10-hour day. In January, the police raided his work site and took him to jail. He was later deported to Mali. 'In France, without documents, you're considered less than a human being,' Mr. Cisse said. In a moment, though, he said he would return soon.

Subject: The Chinese, Too, May Be Worth Copying
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:24:00 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/business/worldbusiness/11advi.html September 11, 2005 The Chinese, Too, May Be Worth Copying By WILLIAM J. HOLSTEIN THE American economy is more open than Western Europe's, and may be better able to respond to challenges from China and elsewhere, says Gerard Kleisterlee, chief executive of Royal Philips Electronics, the multinational company based in Amsterdam. Here are excerpts from a conversation: Q. Many Americans think that Western Europe is growing very slowly and faces stagnation. Is that right? A. That's also the popular image among European executives and policy makers. In a number of countries, initiatives are being taken to reform the economy and reform labor policies, and to deregulate, because we have excessive regulation. But the pace of change is simply too slow. Q. Is the economic emergence of China and other countries going to change the world order as we know it? A. It is going to have an impact on the world order. But I don't see it as a one-sided debate where the Europeans or Americans see the emergence of China and India just as a competitive threat. It's also an opportunity, because every day more people are joining the economy and becoming consumers. They need products. China has a balanced import-export situation with the rest of the world. A lot of textile and consumer electronics are being exported out of China. But on the other hand, things like airplanes and sophisticated equipment and tools are being imported into China. As long as the Western world continues to invest in the education of our children and in the quality of universities and research institutes, they can stay ahead of the game in terms of technological development. Q. But we're seeing entire industries moving offshore. Is that cause for alarm? A. Yes, we will see some industries migrate, but we will also see new opportunities on the high-tech side and the services side. When Europeans ask me, 'What is the future of European manufacturing?' I say, 'Apparently we are good in complex systems, whether it is Airbus or high-end cars.' Both the Americans and Europeans are good at this. We have the infrastructures, we have the know-how, we have the technology. We can put it together. China is focused on mass manufacturing. Q. One of the debates Americans have is about whether the Chinese can innovate. They can copy, but can they develop new products that reach the market? A. I see no reason why they couldn't. I would not stereotype them as copiers. They're working hard to develop their own indigenous technologies and their own standards. Q. What do you make in China? A. We manufacture some percentage of all the things we sell in China. We have a fully integrated medical systems business, but we also import high-end equipment from the United States and Europe into China. We have our semiconductor operations, but no wafer fabrication plants there. Those are in the United States, Europe and Singapore. We are the largest multinational in China measured by total activity level, which was $9 billion last year, and measured by exports volume. Of that $9 billion, $3 billion was sold in China and $6 billion was exported. We are not the largest by total dollars invested or total employment, but on the basis of these other two measures, we are. Q. How do you think American companies are faring in the new world order? A. I think they are responding fairly well. Take the top 100 companies in market capitalization and you see that American companies are well represented in that league. Neither the emergence of the Japanese, nor the Koreans, nor the Chinese and after them the Indians, fundamentally changes the picture. Yes, it brings new companies into the game. You will have some shakeout, but, by and large, this is the strongest economy in the world. The American economy works because of its openness and its market-focused competitiveness. There is a high degree of adaptability. You may have U.S. companies that go under, but you will have more that survive and prosper. Q. Which American companies do you respect the most? A. General Electric is a formidable competitor. It commands a lot of respect because of its processes. On a different front, in I.B.M., people are pioneers in new breakthroughs. We also learn from them and adapt. If I see something good, I take it. Q. So you're learning from American multinationals? A. Of course, but I'm also learning from Chinese start-ups. To me, the whole essence of prospering as a business is to know that every day, everywhere, there is something you can learn. You learn from successes, but you also learn from failures. You need to have that mind-set. Q. What have you learned from Chinese start-ups? A. How to be extremely pragmatic in getting yourself into the market. I have taken my board to China a few times, not only to have internal discussions, but also to go out into the marketplace. We talk with Lenovo and TCL and you see how their young management teams have built their businesses with very low overhead and are very focused. Sometimes we make things too complex. We can be overly focused on process, but the Chinese are very focused on results. They are learning faster than you can imagine.

Subject: Georgia's New Poll Tax
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 11:07:11 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/12/opinion/12mon1.html September 12, 2005 Georgia's New Poll Tax In 1966, the Supreme Court held that the poll tax was unconstitutional. Nearly 40 years later, Georgia is still charging people to vote, this time with a new voter ID law that requires many people without driver's licenses - a group that is disproportionately poor, black and elderly - to pay $20 or more for a state ID card. Georgia went ahead with this even though there is not a single place in the entire city of Atlanta where the cards are sold. The law is a national disgrace. Until recently, Georgia, like most states, accepted many forms of identification at the polls. But starting this month, it is accepting only government-issued photo ID's. People with driver's licenses are fine. But many people without them have to buy a state ID card to vote, at a cost of $20 for a five-year card or $35 for 10 years. The cards are sold in 58 locations, in a state with 159 counties. It is outrageous that Atlanta does not have a single location. (The state says it plans to open one soon.) But the burden is also great on people in rural parts of the state. The Republicans who pushed the law through, and Gov. Sonny Perdue, also a Republican, who signed it, say that it is intended to prevent fraud. But it seems clear that it is about keeping certain people away from the polls, for political advantage. The vast majority of fraud complaints in Georgia, according to its secretary of state, Cathy Cox, involve absentee ballots, which are unaffected by the new law. Ms. Cox says she is unaware of a single documented case in recent years of fraud through impersonation of a voter at the polls. Citizens who swear they are indigent are exempt from the fee. But since the law does not define who is indigent, many people may be reluctant to swear and risk a criminal penalty. More important, the 24th Amendment, which outlawed poll taxes in federal elections, and the Supreme Court's decision striking down state poll taxes applied to all Americans, not just to the indigent. A Georgian who votes only in presidential elections, and buys a five-year card to do so, would be paying $10 per election. That is no doubt more than many people on fixed incomes, who struggle to get by but are not legally indigent, are willing to pay to vote. If Georgia's law remains in place, other states are likely to follow. There is also growing concern among voting-rights advocates that a self-appointed election reform commission, led by James Baker, the former secretary of state who played a troubling role in the disputed 2000 election, and former President Jimmy Carter, may be about to propose national voter ID standards that would similarly make it harder for poor people and blacks to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union is planning to challenge Georgia's law. It will have several strong legal claims, starting with the 24th Amendment. The Supreme Court said in 1966, in striking down the poll tax, that 'the right to vote is too precious, too fundamental to be so burdened.' It still is.

Subject: Does the Truth Lie Within?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 05:24:42 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/magazine/11FREAK.html September 11, 2005 Does the Truth Lie Within? By STEPHEN J. DUBNER and STEVEN D. LEVITT The Accidental Diet Seth Roberts is a 52-year-old psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley. If you knew Roberts 25 years ago, you might remember him as a man with problems. He had acne, and most days he woke up too early, which left him exhausted. He wasn't depressed, but he wasn't always in the best of moods. Most troubling to Roberts, he was overweight: at 5-foot-11, he weighed 200 pounds. When you encounter Seth Roberts today, he is a clear-skinned, well-rested, entirely affable man who weighs about 160 pounds and looks 10 years younger than his age. How did this happen? It began when Roberts was a graduate student. First he had the clever idea of turning his personal problems into research subjects. Then he decided that he would use his own body as a laboratory. Thus did Roberts embark on one of the longest bouts of scientific self-experimentation known to man - not only poking, prodding and measuring himself more than might be wise but also rigorously recording every data point along the way. Self-experimentation, though hardly a new idea in the sciences, remains rare. Many modern scientists dismiss it as being not nearly scientific enough: there is no obvious control group, and you can hardly run a double-blind experiment when the researcher and subject are the same person. But might the not-quite-scientific nature of self-experimentation also be a good thing? A great many laboratory-based scientific experiments, especially those in the medical field, are later revealed to have been marred by poor methodology or blatant self-interest. In the case of Roberts, his self-interest is extreme, but at least it is obvious. His methodology is so simple - trying a million solutions until he finds one that works - that it creates the utmost transparency. In some ways, self-experimentation has more in common with economics than with the hard sciences. Without the ability to run randomized experiments, economists are often left to exploit whatever data they can get hold of. Let's say you're an economist trying to measure the effect of imprisonment on crime rates. What you would ideally like to do is have a few randomly chosen states suddenly release 10,000 prisoners, while another few random states lock up an extra 10,000 people. In the absence of such a perfect experiment, you are forced to rely on creative proxies - like lawsuits that charge various states with prison overcrowding, which down the road lead to essentially random releases of large numbers of prisoners. (And yes, crime in those states does rise sharply after the prisoners are released.) What could be a more opportunistic means of generating data than exploiting your own body? Roberts started small, with his acne, then moved on to his early waking. It took him more than 10 years of experimenting, but he found that his morning insomnia could be cured if, on the previous day, he got lots of morning light, skipped breakfast and spent at least eight hours standing. Stranger yet was the fix he discovered for lifting his mood: at least one hour each morning of TV viewing, specifically life-size talking heads - but never such TV at night. Once he stumbled upon this solution, Roberts, like many scientists, looked back to the Stone Age for explication. Anthropological research suggests that early humans had lots of face-to-face contact every morning but precious little after dark, a pattern that Roberts's TV viewing now mimicked. It was also the Stone Age that informed his system of weight control. Over the years, he had tried a sushi diet, a tubular-pasta diet, a five-liters-of-water-a-day diet and various others. They all proved ineffective or too hard or too boring to sustain. He had by now come to embrace the theory that our bodies are regulated by a 'set point,' a sort of Stone Age thermostat that sets an optimal weight for each person. This thermostat, however, works the opposite of the one in your home. When your home gets cold, the thermostat turns on the furnace. But according to Roberts's interpretation of the set-point theory, when food is scarcer, you become less hungry; and you get hungrier when there's a lot of food around. This may sound backward, like telling your home's furnace to run only in the summer. But there is a key difference between home heat and calories: while there is no good way to store the warm air in your home for the next winter, there is a way to store today's calories for future use. It's called fat. In this regard, fat is like money: you can earn it today, put it in the bank and withdraw it later when needed. During an era of scarcity - an era when the next meal depended on a successful hunt, not a successful phone call to Hunan Garden - this set-point system was vital. It allowed you to spend down your fat savings when food was scarce and make deposits when food was plentiful. Roberts was convinced that this system was accompanied by a powerful signaling mechanism: whenever you ate a food that was flavorful (which correlated with a time of abundance) and familiar (which indicated that you had eaten this food before and benefited from it), your body demanded that you bank as many of those calories as possible. Roberts understood that these signals were learned associations - as dependable as Pavlov's bell - that once upon a time served humankind well. Today, however, at least in places with constant opportunities to eat, these signals can lead to a big, fat problem: rampant overeating. So Roberts tried to game this Stone Age system. What if he could keep his thermostat low by sending fewer flavor signals? One obvious solution was a bland diet, but that didn't interest Roberts. (He is, in fact, a serious foodie.) After a great deal of experimenting, he discovered two agents capable of tricking the set-point system. A few tablespoons of unflavored oil (he used canola or extra light olive oil), swallowed a few times a day between mealtimes, gave his body some calories but didn't trip the signal to stock up on more. Several ounces of sugar water (he used granulated fructose, which has a lower glycemic index than table sugar) produced the same effect. (Sweetness does not seem to act as a 'flavor' in the body's caloric-signaling system.) The results were astounding. Roberts lost 40 pounds and never gained it back. He could eat pretty much whenever and whatever he wanted, but he was far less hungry than he had ever been. Friends and colleagues tried his diet, usually with similar results. His regimen seems to satisfy a set of requirements that many commercial diets do not: it was easy, built on a scientific theory and, most important, it did not leave Roberts hungry. In the academic community, Roberts's self-experimentation has found critics but also serious admirers. Among the latter are the esteemed psychologist Robert Rosenthal, who has praised Roberts for 'approaching data in an exploratory spirit more than, or at least in addition to, a confirmatory spirit' and for seeing data analysis 'as the opportunity to confront a surprise.' Rosenthal went so far as to envision 'a time in the future when 'self-experimenter' became a new part-time (or full-time) profession.' But will Seth Roberts's strange weight-control solution - he calls it the Shangri-La Diet - really work for the millions of people who need it? We may soon find out. With the Atkins diet company filing for bankruptcy, America is eager for its next diet craze. And a few spoonfuls of sugar may be just the kind of sacrifice that Americans can handle. Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt are the authors of 'Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.' More information on the academic research behind this column is at www.freakonomics.com.

Subject: A Shameful Proclamation
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 17:32:43 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/10/opinion/10sat2.html September 10, 2005 A Shameful Proclamation On Thursday, President Bush issued a proclamation suspending the law that requires employers to pay the locally prevailing wage to construction workers on federally financed projects. The suspension applies to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. By any standard of human decency, condemning many already poor and now bereft people to subpar wages - thus perpetuating their poverty - is unacceptable. It is also bad for the economy. Without the law, called the Davis-Bacon Act, contractors will be able to pay less, but they'll also get less, as lower wages invariably mean lower productivity. The ostensible rationale for suspending the law is to reduce taxpayers' costs. Does Mr. Bush really believe it is the will of the American people to deny the prevailing wage to construction workers in New Orleans, Biloxi and other hard-hit areas? Besides, the proclamation doesn't require contractors to pass on the savings they will get by cutting wages from current low levels. Around New Orleans, the prevailing hourly wage for a truck driver working on a levee is $9.04; for an electrician, it's $14.30. Republicans have long been trying to repeal the prevailing wage law on the grounds that the regulations are expensive and bureaucratic; weakening it was even part of the Republican Party platform in 1996 and 2000. Now, in a time of searing need, the party wants to achieve by fiat what it couldn't achieve through the normal democratic process. In a letter this week to Mr. Bush urging him to suspend the law, 35 Republican representatives noted approvingly that Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and the elder George Bush had all suspended the law during 'emergencies.' For the record, Mr. Roosevelt suspended it for two weeks in 1934, to make time to clear up contradictions between it and another law. Mr. Nixon suspended it for six weeks in 1971 as part of his misbegotten attempt to control spiraling inflation. And Mr. Bush did so after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, two weeks before he was defeated by Bill Clinton, who quickly reinstated it after assuming the presidency. If Mr. Bush does not rescind his proclamation voluntarily, Congress should pass a law forcing him to do so.

Subject: On Oil Supply, Opinions Aren't Scarce
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:35:34 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/10/business/10nocera.html September 10, 2005 On Oil Supply, Opinions Aren't Scarce By Joseph Nocera We're halfway through the hydrocarbon era,' my old friend T. Boone Pickens has been saying for the last couple of years. You may remember Mr. Pickens as the most famous corporate raider of the 1980's, but he has spent his life in the oil patch. A geologist by training, Mr. Pickens founded Mesa Petroleum at the age of 26 and ran it for the next 40 years. Now, at 77, he works the oil patch in a different way, running a pair of energy-oriented hedge funds in Dallas. A folksy line like Mr. Pickens's - it sticks with you. But I hadn't realized until recently that it also meant Mr. Pickens had taken sides in a surprisingly heated debate. He subscribes to what is being called the peak oil hypothesis, which holds that there simply isn't very much new oil left to be found in the world. As a result, we are currently in the gradual process of draining the more than a trillion barrels of proven reserves that are still in the ground. And when it's gone, it's gone. The best-known 'peakist' these days is Matthew R. Simmons, who runs Simmons & Company, an investment bank and consulting firm in Houston specializing in energy companies. Mr. Simmons's essential belief, he told me recently, is that energy demand is about to exceed supply significantly. And that was pre-Hurricane Katrina - before the storm damaged refineries, pipelines and offshore rigs all along the Gulf Coast. 'I would argue that we are in a serious energy crisis,' Mr. Simmons added. He forecasts increasing oil prices. There is a second group of forecasters, though, who argue with equal vehemence that the world is not in an energy crisis and it probably won't face one for a very long time. The best-known proponent of this view is Daniel Yergin, author of 'The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power,' a history of oil that won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize, and the founder of a rather sizable consulting firm, Cambridge Energy Research Associates. 'This is the fifth time that we're supposedly running out of oil,' Mr. Yergin said. But, he added, each time new technologies made it possible for oil companies to find new sources of oil and extract new oil from old sources. His firm released a survey a few months ago that says from 2004 to 2010, world oil supplies will have increased by as much as 16 million barrels a day, 'outstripping the likely demand increase.' Most of those who hold this view say that oil prices will eventually drift down. DOES it surprise you to learn that when it comes to one of most vital resources known to man, there could be such an incredible divergence of opinion? It sure surprised me. Even some of the oil majors are on opposites sides, with Chevron taking the peakist view, and Exxon Mobil more aligned with the Yergin camp. There are three reasons for this lack of consensus. First, because oil is buried underground, it is hard to measure. So basic 'facts' - like how much oil remains, and how much can be ultimately extracted - are as much the product of guesswork as science. Second, the world of oil can be shrouded in secrecy. As an article in The New York Times Magazine recently pointed out, Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer of them all, won't even allow its reserve and production data to be audited. Finally, though, the fact that this enormous divergence has developed speaks volumes about the very different way each camp views the world. 'It's the geologists on one side and the economists on the other side,' was the way the energy analyst Seth Kleinman of PFC Energy in Washington put it recently. That's an overgeneralization, of course, but one that contains plenty of truth. The two sides do agree on one thing: the recent run-up in oil prices, which began well before Hurricane Katrina, has come about because demand for oil has caught up with supply. The enormous burst of economic activity in China, the generally good economic conditions in the United States and the rest of the West - these and other factors have led to a surge in oil demand. 'The world produces about 85 million barrels a day,' Mr. Pickens said. 'That's where demand is now, too. And I've seen forecasts that demand is going to be higher than that by the end of the year.' What's more, Mr. Pickens added, pre-Hurricane Katrina refining capacity was already at the breaking point, which is another point that is pretty unarguable. 'Refineries were operating at 96 percent,' he said. 'You can't operate anything at 96 percent. It'll start breaking down.' That last paragraph, though, encapsulates the world view of the peakists: all the easy deals have been done. One reason refineries are operating at such high capacity is that no new refineries have been built in the United States for some 30 years, which Mr. Simmons believes can be attributed to the shortsightedness of the industry. 'My theory was that if the industry didn't expand like crazy the U.S. would find itself running short of energy.' It didn't, and we are. Even more troubling, the pessimists believe that it is going to be increasingly difficult to replace the oil that we're now using up. 'Let me give you a number that is pretty shocking when you hear it,' Mr. Pickens said. 'The world uses 30 billion barrels of oil a year. There is no way we're replacing 30 billion barrels of oil. Just a million barrels a day is 1,000 wells producing 1,000 barrels. That's big.' How do the economists counter the geologists' arguments? They don't deny that it is hard to find new oil. But they believe that whenever tight supplies push up the price of oil, the rising price itself becomes our salvation. For one thing, higher prices temper demand as people begin to change their energy habits. (Mr. Pickens believes this as well.) Surprisingly, this has not yet happened even as gasoline at the pump has more than doubled in the last year or so. But inevitably, there will come a point when it will change behaviors. Secondly, they believe higher prices spur innovation. Oil that couldn't be extracted profitably at, say, $15 a barrel, can be enormously profitable at $60 a barrel. In the view of Mr. Yergin and his allies, in fact, this is exactly what has been happening. They point to new oil that is coming out of the Caspian Sea, deepwater drilling in Brazil and the oil sands in northern Alberta as examples. The 16 million barrels a day of new oil Mr. Yergin expects to see by 2010, he told me, 'is predicated on $25-to-$30 oil.' If oil stays higher than that, then there will be even more investment, and not just in ways to extract oil, but in new refineries and pipelines and other infrastructure. If you mention this theory to a hard-core peakist like Mr. Simmons, you'd better be ready for an earful. 'These economists are so smug,' he said derisively. 'All they talk about is the magic of the free market. They don't seem to understand that this is incredibly capital intensive.' He pointed to those Canadian oil sands - where, he said, Shell Canada recently announced it was going to raise its investment to $7.3 billion from $4 billion to produce an additional 100,000 barrels a day. 'Just think about that; $3.3 billion for just 100,000 barrels,' he said. 'Doesn't that tell you something?' Of course the economists can be just as dismissive of the peakists. 'I've gone from disagreeing with them to debunking them,' scoffed the energy consultant Michael C. Lynch. 'I believe the world will expand the reserve base. If you put a road in the middle of the jungle, that can wind up expanding the resource base.' 'By most estimates,' he added, 'total global resources is eight trillion barrels of oil. They are saying only a small percentage of that is recoverable, and you can't do anything about it. We are saying the amount that is recoverable expands over time.' I wish I had the confidence to make my own forecast, but in this case, I don't. What I do know - what we all know - is that oil is a finite resource. Surely, the peakists are right about that. What I also know is historically, the economists have generally been right about how the price of oil has wound up fixing the problem. As Gary N. Ross, the chief executive of the PIRA Energy Group, puts it: 'Price is the only thing that matters. The new threshold of price will do its magic on the supply-and-demand side.' After all, it always has before. And it will again. Until it doesn't.

Subject: The New Prize: Alternative Fuels
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:27:44 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/10/business/10alternative.html September 10, 2005 The New Prize: Alternative Fuels By DANNY HAKIM DETROIT - A week ago, Benjamin Kleber was spending $3.39 a gallon at a gasoline station in Maryland when he noticed an obscure decal on his minivan. 'It's this sticker about the size of a business card that's stuck on the side of the gas flap that I never really paid attention to,' said Mr. Kleber, a 25-year-old electrical engineer for a government contractor. The decal said he could be using E85, a fuel cocktail that consists mostly of grain alcohol, or corn-based ethanol, with a splash of gasoline. Production of ethanol fuel, much of it blended in small doses with regular gasoline, has doubled to more than three billion gallons in the last half decade. This year, propelled by rising gasoline prices, E85 is finding new life as an alternative fuel. It remains hard to find, to say the least, in part because many oil companies have no desire to put a competing product in stations that carry their banner. But the number of stations offering E85 has nearly doubled since January, to more than 460, mostly in corn-growing states like Minnesota. And because of incentives included in recently passed energy legislation, and the fact that E85 is now about 40 to 50 cents cheaper than a gallon of regular gasoline, E85 backers are expecting the surge to accelerate. Being an engineer, Mr. Kleber had heard of E85. And after spending $58 to fill his 1998 Plymouth Voyager with regular unleaded last Sunday - 'staggering,' he said - he went home and began to do some research. He discovered that a station nearby sold the fuel for $2.67 a gallon. At current prices that could save him more than $14 a fillup. So he decided he would switch to a fuel from the Midwest instead of the Mideast. 'I think we go through fossil fuel like a kid in a candy store without any concern about what happens when it runs out,' he said. In a nation that has shrugged at conservation for two decades, the impact of Hurricane Katrina on gasoline prices has been a bracing reality check. All year long, as prices have ticked up, a movement has been afoot away from jumbo sport utility vehicles and toward more fuel-efficient vehicles. That said, it would take a radical change to wean the country off foreign oil. Still, more than ever before, the nation's roads are a moving laboratory with all manner of alternatives to gasoline combustion engines, often being driven by average Americans, if in small numbers. There are cars powered by natural gas, by hydrogen fuel cells and by French fry grease. There are electric cars and hybrid electric cars that can be plugged into the power grid. What separates E85 is that more than four million American cars and trucks have the ability to run on it right now, even though the majority of people who own these so-called flex-fuel vehicles are not even aware of the ability. Already, Brazil has turned to ethanol en masse, though the fuel there is derived from the more prevalent local crop, sugarcane. Gregory J. Cobb recently replaced premium gasoline pumps at two of his five Indiana stations with E85. At one station near South Bend, he said, he was selling 24,000 gallons of E85 a month compared with the 1,700 gallons of premium gas he had been selling. 'One of the customers drove about 30 miles to the station; she said: 'I'm putting my dad's corn in the car. I'd rather do that than pay OPEC,' ' Mr. Cobb said. 'That's why we did it, too. If we're going to get diverse, away from dependency on foreign oil, we have to do this. And to be honest, our premium sales weren't doing much.' In Madison, Wis., Rebecca Bell and her husband, Kevin, started using E85 in the last couple of weeks to fuel their Ford Explorer and their Chevy minivan. They have also started carpooling with neighbors. 'I feel better that it's coming from the United States,' said Ms. Bell, 34, a vice president of a veterinary drug company and a mother of three. 'If we continue to use foreign oil, we're always going to be in somebody's hip pocket.' Adrian Moses, a 55-year-old computer consultant in a suburb of St. Paul, said he had for several years used E85 to fuel his Ford Ranger pickup. 'I do it because it's the right thing, not because of economics,' he said, adding that it was 'cleaner for the environment' and 'made here in the Midwest, not in the Middle East.' Now, here are some of the catches. For starters, it's hard to find the stuff. There are roughly 180,000 gasoline stations nationwide and fewer than 500 with E85. And ethanol can take us only so far. Huge tracts of farmland would have to be converted to corn production to provide enough fuel for significant portions of the American automobile fleet. A recent study published in the journal BioScience forecast that for all cars and trucks to run on ethanol by 2048, 'virtually the entire country, with the exception of cities, would be covered with corn plantations.' Using more farmland to produce ethanol would also drive up food prices. And E85 cannot be transported through gasoline pipelines, because it sucks up grime and water. E85 is also less energy-dense than gasoline, so a driver goes a bit less far on a gallon. Its current cost advantage is dependent on a 43-cents-a-gallon subsidy, versus a roughly 40-cent tax on a gallon of gasoline. Environmentalists have generally viewed the rise of flex-fuel vehicles as a boondoggle for automakers, because they are afforded fuel economy credits for making them. The credits have had the effect of driving up oil consumption. Many consumers who buy flex-fuel vehicles are not even made aware of the capability. On the upside, ethanol is a domestic resource and most studies indicate that it reduces emissions of both smog-forming pollutants and global warming gases, the amount depending on how it is produced. An emerging process of creating ethanol from agricultural waste like cereal straw has the potential for far greater emissions reductions and more efficient land use. This so-called cellulose ethanol has much greater potential than current ethanol, said Michael Wang, a researcher at the Center for Transportation Research at the Argonne National Laboratory, but, he added, 'the technology has not arrived.' David Friedman, a senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group, said, 'ethanol has great potential to help the U.S. kick our oil habit, but that's 20 or 30 years away.' 'Corn ethanol can help in the short term, but it has serious limitations, and none of this is going to work if we don't dramatically improve the efficiency of our cars and trucks.' Certainly, ethanol has its friends, like corn growers, and its enemies. In July, Corn Cob Bob, an ethanol industry mascot, was banished from Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. Shell, a sponsor of the festivities, had expressed discomfort at the mascot's participation. 'Good old Corn Cob represents an industry association of ethanol producers, which includes some of our competitors in the retail fuel category,' said Jan Rowley, a spokeswoman for Shell of Canada, adding that Shell had not intended to have Bob actually banned. Royal Dutch Shell has a stake in Iogen, a leader in developing cellulose ethanol. The banning of Corn Cob Bob, who looks like a farmer with a corncob head, inspired a recent segment on the 'Daily Show' on Comedy Central, culminating with the mock execution of the mascot by the comedian Rob Corddry. 'This world was never going to treat Corn Cob Bob fairly,' explained Mr. Corddry, as soft piano music trilled in the background. 'I wanted to show him a better place.'

Subject: Rail Line to Tibet Is a Marvel
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:26:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/09/international/asia/09golmud.html?ex=1283918400&en=e5f1b99197ef5d3e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 9, 2005 Rail Line to Tibet Is a Marvel, but China Is Mum By HOWARD W. FRENCH GOLMUD, China - By the time the great railroad reaches this town from the east, it will already have traversed more than half of China, past the high desert of Qinghai, around one of the world's great salt lakes, through the arid fastness of Gansu and over and around mountain ranges arrayed like endless sets of waves all the way to Beijing. The biggest challenges, however, lie in another direction altogether, when the line heads south for a 685-mile run to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, over what is often called the roof of the world. For long stretches the railway, which is fast nearing completion, will operate at altitudes higher than many small planes can fly, huffing and puffing far above the fragrant mists that roll down the Himalayan slopes. Indeed, the train, whose engines will need turbochargers just to get enough oxygen to run, will often soar above the clouds. One day soon, perhaps as early as next year, the train, equipped with cars pressurized like jet planes, will make its maiden voyage on its final southward route, chugging across permanently frozen terrain and making stops along the way at stations like Tangula Shankou, which at 16,640 feet will be the world's highest. For those bored with the scenery, or perhaps just dizzy, there will be other diversions: first-class accommodations include health spas and fancy restaurants. When China's central government embarked on the $3.1 billion project in 2001, it set aside $240 million for environmental protection. When objections arose about plans to build a station within the Gulu Wetlands, in Tibet, a pristine breeding ground for black-necked cranes and yellow ducks, 20 acres of wetlands were created around the perimeter of the original preserve to make up for land lost to bridges. Yang Xin, a prominent environmentalist in Qinghai Province, called the project one of the 'most caring' he had ever seen. 'We proposed detailed measures on protecting migrating Tibetan antelopes in the morning, and to our surprise we got the government's answer back that very afternoon, less than three hours, later,' Mr. Yang said. 'This reflects the government's attitude toward this issue.' One might expect a country that is pulling off one of the world's great engineering feats to be eager to show off its handiwork. If so, no one has told the Railway Ministry, which for a full year refused to answer a reporter's queries by telephone and fax to visit the new line and witness its construction. From the evidence, no one told the local police in Golmud, either. Normally eager taxi drivers in this poky frontier town, not far removed from the dusty backdrops of American westerns, except for its 9,100-foot altitude, waved off a foreigner, saying they would be arrested if they took him down the highway south that shadows the new railway line. The local police, too, were apparently left out of the loop. 'I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do to help you,' said a supervisor at the city's Public Security Bureau, when an outsider asked for a pass so he could drive into the Kunlun Mountains, toward Tibet. Another officer hinted darkly that the foreigner was breaking the law just by being in Golmud. What could explain such a reluctance to show off this marvel of railway building? As was underscored by events in Lhasa - where Beijing was celebrating the 40th anniversary of what it calls the Tibet Autonomous Region - it had much to do with Tibetan aspirations for independence. China's state-controlled press hailed the anniversary with editorials that said things like, 'Tibetans bask in the joy of a bright tomorrow.' A Foreign Ministry spokesman praised what he called Tibet's 'democratic reforms,' saying that in the past the people of the province had labored under a 'dark serf system.' The man leading the celebrations, Jia Qinglin, the third-ranked figure in the Chinese Communist Party, hailed China's army for having crushed an uprising in Tibet in 1959 and rioting in 1989 by Tibetans hoping for independence for the province, which was seized by China in 1951. By some estimates, the new train will carry as many as 900,000 people to Tibet each year, with the newcomers overwhelmingly consisting of members of China's Han majority, many of whom will opt to stay, further dampening demands for independence and diluting Tibet's spiritual culture. 'The Han population is rising and the Tibetan language, our mother language, is losing its position among our people,' said a Tibetan teacher who fled to India in January after being arrested several times for his views. 'The road building jobs and the construction jobs are not open to Tibetans, and young Tibetan girls are turning to prostitution.' If the Chinese wish to help Tibet, said the teacher, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals against his family back home, 'they should stop the immigration and give the opportunities to local people so they can improve their lives, and we can protect our culture.'

Subject: Soweto Sees Signs of Prosperity
From: E,mma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 13:24:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/09/international/africa/09soweto.html?ex=1283918400&en=00877e4b9e75e945&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 9, 2005 A Bleak Symbol of Apartheid, Soweto Sees Signs of Prosperity By MICHAEL WINES SOWETO, South Africa - They held a wine-tasting festival here this past weekend, the social event of the month in this sprawling township of a million-plus people just west of downtown Johannesburg. Among the 1,500 who showed up, Maureen Makhathini of Diepkloof needed a lift to get there. 'My car's in the shop,' she explained. 'The BMW, I mean.' If something seems wrong with that picture, well, something is. Soweto, after all, is famous as the hotbed of rebellion in apartheid's dying days - a place of endless poverty, seething anger and, too often, mindless violence by oppressors and oppressed alike. Say 'Soweto,' and educated palates and Bavarian roadsters do not jump quickly to mind. That, Mrs. Makhathini says, is what is wrong. 'It used to be very, very, very rough,' she said. 'Now you can see that it's exactly the opposite.' It is possible to gloss over Soweto's - and South Africa's - many problems. The rich-poor divide in this nation remains among the widest on earth, and Soweto, the oldest and biggest township, remains deeply rooted on the poor side of that gap. The racial divide persists, too, and ordinary Sowetans may not have so much made peace with their old white oppressors, as they have rendered them irrelevant to daily life. But something else is going on here as well. From the ashes of apartheid, Soweto is emerging as a springboard into the black middle and upper classes, an economic hub in its own right and, its proponents say, an example to which other townships can aspire. 'Ten years ago, there was no excitement like there is now,' said Mnikelo Mangciphu, a grocery and dry-goods distributor who has sprung into Soweto's burgeoning wine market. 'There is a drive by the government and by the people to invest in Soweto. Roads are being tarred, all the infrastructure is being upgraded, and that on its own encourages more investment.' In fact, Soweto no longer looks like an archetypal township, with its ragtag collection of concrete block huts and waterless, powerless shacks, but instead resembles a typical if modest suburb. So-called informal settlements of shanties account for fewer than one in 10 dwellings; most homes now are made of brick, and utilities are a given. Some neighborhoods, Diepkloof and Pimville among them, are now comparatively high-income areas, with homes and real-estate markets to match. A recent market study pegged the average household's income at about $4,900 a year - above the average for black South Africans, and high by African standards in general, though such statistics can be unreliable. And while the nation's latest census, from 2001, concluded that the great majority of Sowetans made less than $12,000 a year, it also found that nearly 20,000 of the 300,000 households made more - some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, in fact. Since then the region has embarked on what looks very much like a development boom. A $16 million complex that includes offices, shops and a tourist center commemorating South Africa's Freedom Charter opened in June in Kliptown, Soweto's historic heart. Richard Maponya, a self-made millionaire in retailing, broke ground in July on a 650,000-square-foot shopping mall in central Soweto that he says will be aimed squarely at up-market consumers. Another consortium announced plans last month for an 18-hole golf course near Pimville that is being designed by Gary Player, the legendary South African pro, and will be surrounded by housing. Coincidentally, the announcement follows a warning by President Thabo Mbeki that such golf estates are gobbling up prime land, marginalizing the poor and worsening racial divisions. Caxton Newspapers, a big South African chain, is rolling out 11 free-distribution weeklies in Soweto neighborhoods, written and published by local residents, to complement the 90 it hands out in white communities. 'They've opened a very large shopping mall in Protea, there's a large mall in Dobsonville, and one opening in the future in Pimville,' Kevin Keogh, the chief executive of Caxton's urban newspapers division, said, ticking off Soweto neighborhoods. 'That all adds up to advertising dollars.' Local merchants claim to see the changes as well. The Backroom Restaurant in Pimville, open just four months, does a brisk business serving food, blues and jazz to upscale patrons, not just from Soweto, where surveys say 4 in 10 workers are white-collar employees or professionals, but from blacks who have moved out of Soweto to wealthier suburbs north of the city. 'Our target market is middle class to top end,' said the owner, Patrick Mrasi (pronounced m-GHA-si). 'I wanted to create a networking place, one where guys can come and have their business meetings. A lot of these guys are successful and live in the suburbs, but they still have families in the township, and even in the week, after work, they come here. Soweto's where they spend most of their time.' As a draw, the Backroom has begun offering an extensive list of South African wines, served by stewards trained by the Cape Wine Academy. 'Since I opened, there's been a nice, steady growth,' Mr. Mrasi said. 'Nobody would have thought I could reach these levels.' Some did, actually. Last weekend's wine festival, which showcased the wines of 10 black-owned wineries among the 86 exhibitors, was conceived by Mr. Mangciphu, the distributor, and the Cape Wine Academy's local manager, Lyn Woodward, over a cookout at Mr. Mangciphu's Pretoria home. 'I was drinking beer out of a glass from the Soweto Beer Festival' last November, he said, 'and so she said, 'Guys, why don't we have a wine festival?' ' Ten months later, the festival was successful enough that some late arrivals on Sunday were turned away and the promoters have decided to make it an annual event. Mr. Mangciphu and Ms. Woodward, with two others, have formed a company to market and distribute fine wine in Soweto and, later, other townships. Their target is people like Mrs. Makhathini, a 52-year-old entrepreneur who seems to have the fingers of each hand in different pies. A dental nurse at a local hospital, she also runs a dressmaking business from a backyard office, rents still more space to a hair salon and - in her spare time - run a small charity for 100 local orphans. Her latest plan is to add a second story to a house she owns in Pimville, using the proceeds from rentals to reopen a computer school and begin a videoconferencing center for Sowetans who want to communicate with friends and business contacts abroad. As for wine, Mrs. Makhathini does not often partake. But the festival may change her mind. 'I really had a good time,' she said. 'Unexpectedly.'

Subject: Re: Soweto Sees Signs of Prosperity
From: Mik
To: E,mma
Date Posted: Mon, Sep 12, 2005 at 14:03:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks Emma

Subject: The Chinese, Too, May Be Worth Copying
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 07:37:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/business/worldbusiness/11advi.html September 11, 2005 The Chinese, Too, May Be Worth Copying By WILLIAM J. HOLSTEIN THE American economy is more open than Western Europe's, and may be better able to respond to challenges from China and elsewhere, says Gerard Kleisterlee, chief executive of Royal Philips Electronics, the multinational company based in Amsterdam. Here are excerpts from a conversation: Q. Many Americans think that Western Europe is growing very slowly and faces stagnation. Is that right? A. That's also the popular image among European executives and policy makers. In a number of countries, initiatives are being taken to reform the economy and reform labor policies, and to deregulate, because we have excessive regulation. But the pace of change is simply too slow. Q. Is the economic emergence of China and other countries going to change the world order as we know it? A. It is going to have an impact on the world order. But I don't see it as a one-sided debate where the Europeans or Americans see the emergence of China and India just as a competitive threat. It's also an opportunity, because every day more people are joining the economy and becoming consumers. They need products. China has a balanced import-export situation with the rest of the world. A lot of textile and consumer electronics are being exported out of China. But on the other hand, things like airplanes and sophisticated equipment and tools are being imported into China. As long as the Western world continues to invest in the education of our children and in the quality of universities and research institutes, they can stay ahead of the game in terms of technological development. Q. But we're seeing entire industries moving offshore. Is that cause for alarm? A. Yes, we will see some industries migrate, but we will also see new opportunities on the high-tech side and the services side. When Europeans ask me, 'What is the future of European manufacturing?' I say, 'Apparently we are good in complex systems, whether it is Airbus or high-end cars.' Both the Americans and Europeans are good at this. We have the infrastructures, we have the know-how, we have the technology. We can put it together. China is focused on mass manufacturing. Q. One of the debates Americans have is about whether the Chinese can innovate. They can copy, but can they develop new products that reach the market? A. I see no reason why they couldn't. I would not stereotype them as copiers. They're working hard to develop their own indigenous technologies and their own standards. Q. What do you make in China? A. We manufacture some percentage of all the things we sell in China. We have a fully integrated medical systems business, but we also import high-end equipment from the United States and Europe into China. We have our semiconductor operations, but no wafer fabrication plants there. Those are in the United States, Europe and Singapore. We are the largest multinational in China measured by total activity level, which was $9 billion last year, and measured by exports volume. Of that $9 billion, $3 billion was sold in China and $6 billion was exported. We are not the largest by total dollars invested or total employment, but on the basis of these other two measures, we are. Q. How do you think American companies are faring in the new world order? A. I think they are responding fairly well. Take the top 100 companies in market capitalization and you see that American companies are well represented in that league. Neither the emergence of the Japanese, nor the Koreans, nor the Chinese and after them the Indians, fundamentally changes the picture. Yes, it brings new companies into the game. You will have some shakeout, but, by and large, this is the strongest economy in the world. The American economy works because of its openness and its market-focused competitiveness. There is a high degree of adaptability. You may have U.S. companies that go under, but you will have more that survive and prosper. Q. Which American companies do you respect the most? A. General Electric is a formidable competitor. It commands a lot of respect because of its processes. On a different front, in I.B.M., people are pioneers in new breakthroughs. We also learn from them and adapt. If I see something good, I take it. Q. So you're learning from American multinationals? A. Of course, but I'm also learning from Chinese start-ups. To me, the whole essence of prospering as a business is to know that every day, everywhere, there is something you can learn. You learn from successes, but you also learn from failures. You need to have that mind-set. Q. What have you learned from Chinese start-ups? A. How to be extremely pragmatic in getting yourself into the market. I have taken my board to China a few times, not only to have internal discussions, but also to go out into the marketplace. We talk with Lenovo and TCL and you see how their young management teams have built their businesses with very low overhead and are very focused. Sometimes we make things too complex. We can be overly focused on process, but the Chinese are very focused on results. They are learning faster than you can imagine.

Subject: Hope When Illness Seems Hopeless
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Sep 11, 2005 at 06:22:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/06/health/psychology/06brod.html?ex=1127102400&en=e714ef14ec4d54f8&ei=5070&emc=eta1 September 6, 2005 Nourishing Hope When Illness Seems Hopeless By JANE E. BRODY How can you find hope when your chances of survival seem hopeless? How can you find joy while undergoing treatments that make you miserable and barely able to function? How can you be happy when there seems to be nothing to be happy about? These are the challenges faced by millions of people whose illnesses are diagnosed as cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Among them, for nearly a decade, was Dr. Wendy Schlessel Harpham, a Dallas physician. When recurring lymphoma forced her to relinquish her medical practice, she began writing books - including 'Diagnosis: Cancer,' 'After Cancer' and 'When a Parent Has Cancer' - to help other patients and their families. Dr. Harpham's new book, 'Happiness in a Storm,' (W. W. Norton, $26.95) is written for anyone facing a progressive or potentially fatal illness like cancer, heart failure or Parkinson's disease. The subtitle sums up its message: 'Facing Illness and Embracing Life as a Healthy Survivor.' After a diagnosis of Stage 3 lymphoma in 1990, Dr. Harpham had eight rounds of treatment, mostly experimental, for her initial disease and six recurrences. Did she worry about dying? Of course she did. She mourned the loss of her medical practice and feared that her three young children would have to grow up without their mother. Each recurrence brought her closer to the brink. But a seeming miracle occurred in 1998 after a fourth treatment with a newly licensed monoclonal antibody called rituximab, and she has been out of treatment now for six years. Between the often-debilitating rounds of treatment that left her plagued with fatigue, Dr. Harpham lived as fully as possible, writing, attending her children's sporting events and school plays, planning their bat and bar mitzvahs, enjoying each precious day and finding hope under every rock. As Dr. Harpham defines it, healthy survivorship does not necessarily mean the patient has been cured of cancer. Patients become survivors from the moment their illness is diagnosed and they remain survivors during treatment and afterward. They can be 'healthy survivors' even if they are living with terminal illness. Healthy survivorship, Dr. Harpham writes, means 'that while getting good medical care you are living your life as fully as possible today, tomorrow and every single day.' Critical Steps Dr. Harpham maintains that healthy survivorship is based on obtaining sound knowledge, finding and nourishing hope and acting effectively. While it is perfectly natural for every patient to want to be cured, she points out that for many people these days cancer has become a chronic disease. They are not cured, but they continue to live. Cure is not the only route to physical healing. For most patients, the path to the best scientifically established treatment starts with learning all you can about your condition, the available therapies and their likely consequences, then deciding on a treatment plan and choosing a medical team well-equipped to carry it out. Ideally, you'd want a doctor who is empathetic, returns phone calls and provides emotional support as well as good treatment, admittedly a rare combination. Failing that, choose good treatment and seek other sources of emotional support. Take into account the doctor's knowledge and experience in treating your disease and his or her availability to see you, whether you can understand the doctor's explanations and advice and whether you are treated with respect and understanding and provided with realistic hope. Though it may be tempting to want to stay as close to home as possible, the best treatments may be available elsewhere. Dr. Harpham had to travel several times to California for experimental therapy available nowhere else. Patients have many resources for learning about their disease and finding the best treatments. The Internet is awash with reliable sites describing ailments and established remedies. The National Cancer Institute maintains an up-to-date information service (1-800-4-CANCER). There are also reputable Web sites listing clinical trials that are testing new therapies. Also important to physical healing is to adopt health measures like good nutrition, exercise, sleep, relaxation techniques and healing relationships that can help you feel better as well as improve your condition. Humor helped Dr. Harpham over many rough spots. When her second recurrence was diagnosed on the same day as the first but a year later, she quipped, 'I've consolidated my recurrences so that I won't have too many bad-news anniversaries.' Fear is natural when facing a life-threatening illness or injury. But when fear is front and center, joy is impossible. To help tame fear, Dr. Harpham suggests focusing on factors you can control, like diet and exercise; distracting yourself with activities you enjoy; practicing relaxation or self-hypnosis; participating in a support group; and, if needed, getting professional counseling. Among other groups, the Wellness Community, with headquarters in Washington, sponsors free, professionally run support groups, live and online, for people with cancer and their families (call 1-888-793-WELL or check www.wellnesscommunity.org). Acknowledging Sadness It is also natural to grieve. Sadness about having a potentially fatal disease should not be played down or discouraged but acknowledged. Dr. Harpham said she found it helpful to think, 'Today is a bad day' and to allow herself downtime, as long as the time was limited. It is also important to find ways to nourish hope, which can improve the quality of your life no matter what the circumstances. Thinking that recurrent disease is necessarily the beginning of the end or that losing a body part or function makes one undesirable can dampen hope. She urges patients to ignore people who express pessimism and hopelessness or who recount tales of others who died of the same disease. 'When illness strikes, hope takes on new meaning,' Dr. Harpham says. 'Healthy hope is the belief that you can help improve your situation and feel happier. You can cultivate genuine hope even when you are acutely aware that things are not going well and the likelihood of a good outcome is small. Hope is an ongoing choice.' Dr. Harpham makes it clear that that choice is yours. Squander the life you have left in misery, self-pity and recriminations, or milk the days, weeks or years ahead for every little thing that can give you peace and joy, however fleeting. As she put it, 'Cancer gave me today, every day, in a way I'd never known before. Since I no longer take much of anything for granted, everything has an added element of happy surprise - I made it to see this, do that, stay here and go there! The ordinary has become marvelous. Even unpleasant times are less painful, for they are proof that I am still here.' I am intensely grateful that modern medicine gave Dr. Harpham the opportunity to write a book that will help me, and many millions of current and future cancer survivors, look differently at life's setbacks, aches and pains, and inevitable losses. It is a book I expect to read many times as a guide to the meaning of joy and satisfaction, and the many routes to them, regardless of the turns my life and health may take.

Subject: Workers but With the Wrong Job Skills
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 11:40:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/09/business/09jobs.html September 9, 2005 Willing Workers but With the Wrong Job Skills By DAVID LEONHARDT and LOUIS UCHITELLE With some one million people from New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast suddenly tossed out of their jobs by Hurricane Katrina, the newly unemployed are now fanning out across the South and the rest of the country, getting help from friends, family, employers or government agencies. In many ways, the potpourri of relief efforts is serving as a testament to the economy's flexibility. But the makeup of the Gulf Coast work force - heavy on warehouse employees and blackjack dealers, light on bankers and factory wor