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Pancho Villa -:- Great Expectations -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:32:53 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it... -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:18:14 (EST)

Emma -:- Foreign Student Enrollment Drops -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:44:16 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:36:04 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:35:09 (EST)

Emma -:- When Experts Need Experts -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:14:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Ethiopia's Capital, Once Promising -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 08:49:01 (EST)
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Mik -:- Re: Ethiopia's Capital, Once Promising -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 11:38:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Online Encyclopedia Is Handy -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 07:11:16 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:54:06 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:53:31 (EST)

Emma -:- The Narnia Skirmishes -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:38:01 (EST)

Emma -:- The Goat at Saks -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 05:56:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Stonewalling the Katrina Victims -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 05:53:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Health Economics 101 -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 05:04:45 (EST)

Yann -:- Tax reform (by Alan B. Krueger) -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 03:32:50 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Federal Reserve to Stop M3??!? -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 20:29:03 (EST)
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Emma -:- Re: Federal Reserve to Stop M3??!? -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:07:57 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- Why now? -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:11:40 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Why now? -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:20:24 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- A foggy world -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:33:23 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: A foggy world -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:57:14 (EST)
______ Pete Weis -:- Money supply growth -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 16:24:39 (EST)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Money supply growth -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 16:50:01 (EST)
________ Jennifer -:- Re: Money supply growth -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 18:43:26 (EST)
_________ Peter Weis -:- Re: Money supply growth -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 21:05:30 (EST)
_________ Jennifer -:- Re: Money supply growth -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 19:56:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Race-Based Medicine -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 13:56:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Making Much Out of Little -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 13:49:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Marrying Off Those Bennet Sisters -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 10:42:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Rise of American Democracy -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 10:40:11 (EST)

Emma -:- U.S. Innovators -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 10:20:22 (EST)

Emma -:- In Zimbabwe -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 09:50:55 (EST)
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Mik -:- UN on Zimbabwe -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 16:37:41 (EST)
__ Mik -:- Mugabe receives standing ovation in South Africa -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 16:46:12 (EST)
___ Mik -:- African Unity and Mugabe -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 16:52:59 (EST)
____ Mik -:- IMF on Zimbabwe -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 17:15:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Give Peas a Chance -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 09:42:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Low-Cost Credit for Low-Cost Items -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:21:35 (EST)
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Emma -:- Consumption in Brazil -:- Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 12:34:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Confusion Is Rife About Drug Plan -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:20:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Medicare Prescription Drug Plan -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:10:49 (EST)

Emma -:- How Much Will the Plans Cost? -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:07:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Medicare Prescription Drug Plans -:- Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 05:59:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 17:32:35 (EST)
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Pancho Villa -:- Re: Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 19:36:38 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 20:39:52 (EST)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 20:49:11 (EST)

Jim Asmussen -:- publish editorial -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 11:45:30 (EST)
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Emma -:- Re: publish editorial -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 18:31:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Get Rich Quick -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 10:46:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Peter F. Drucker -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 08:58:27 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 08:11:48 (EST)

Terri -:- Brazil -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 08:08:31 (EST)
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Mik -:- Re: Brazil -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 16:55:41 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Brazil -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 17:26:23 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Brazil -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 18:55:39 (EST)

Emma -:- First for Africa -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 07:42:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Postcards From a Tax Holiday -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 07:24:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Filmmaker's Take on 'Butterfly' -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 06:38:00 (EST)

Emma -:- Is Central Bank Independence All -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 04:40:16 (EST)

James -:- Dear Mr. Pelgrift, -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 20:17:47 (EST)
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James -:- Re: Dear Mr. Pelgrift, -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 20:19:05 (EST)
__ Bobby -:- Re: Dear Mr. Pelgrift, -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 00:05:35 (EST)

JT -:- Re: Doughnut -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 14:06:55 (EST)
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Mik -:- Re: Doughnut -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 17:19:50 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Doughnut -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 17:55:51 (EST)
___ Mik -:- Nooo -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 23:11:39 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: Nooo -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 02:56:11 (EST)

Emma -:- The Deadly Doughnut -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:58:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Blush if You Must, for Art's Sake -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:57:31 (EST)

Emma -:- T-Rex of Crocodiles -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:55:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Health Care Crisis in the U.S -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:52:47 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 07:16:47 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 07:00:04 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 06:56:54 (EST)

Emma -:- France Faces a Colonial Legacy -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 05:59:31 (EST)
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Mik -:- Re: France Faces a Colonial Legacy -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 12:41:13 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: France Faces a Colonial Legacy -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 17:56:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Inside French Housing Project -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 05:55:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Deadly Doughnut -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 05:54:40 (EST)

Terri -:- Stocks and Bonds -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 18:52:01 (EST)
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Terri -:- Re: Stocks and Bonds -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 20:35:21 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:55:41 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:55:06 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:24:46 (EST)
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Terri -:- Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 15:15:10 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 15:20:45 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 16:45:18 (EST)
____ Terri -:- Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 17:55:14 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 08:50:02 (EST)
______ Poyetas -:- Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 10:05:25 (EST)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 14:06:51 (EST)

Terri -:- The Dollar -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:17:05 (EST)
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Terri -:- Markets -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:30:53 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:05:00 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Shopping -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 08:41:06 (EST)
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Emma -:- Re: Shopping -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 18:07:10 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Substitution -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 08:59:57 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Substitution -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:12:18 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Substitution -:- Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 19:48:06 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- The “Stolper(n)-Samuelson Theorem” -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:58:43 (EST)

Setanta -:- Better off without Him -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:31:07 (EST)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Better off without Him -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 08:30:58 (EST)

Emma -:- A Is for Ancient -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:26:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Turning Supermarkets Into Restaurants -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:07:44 (EST)

Emma -:- The Virtue in $6 Heirloom Tomatoes -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:06:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Evolution and the Electorate -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 06:23:46 (EST)

Emma -:- An Identity Crisis for Supermarkets -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 06:20:31 (EST)

Emma -:- An Organic Cash Cow -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 06:16:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Shopping -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 05:56:24 (EST)

Emma -:- A Disgraceful Signal at Amtrak -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 05:47:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Shopping -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 20:11:28 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- Publix and Walmart -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 20:58:24 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Publix and Walmart -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 19:15:42 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The US consumer in the near future -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 19:54:13 (EST)

Emma -:- The Dollar -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 19:20:20 (EST)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: The Dollar -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 19:51:15 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Trouble for the dollar & housing -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 18:03:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Schwarzenegger Dealt a Stinging Rebuke -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 13:01:23 (EST)

Yann -:- A new article by B. DeLong -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:51:00 (EST)
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Terri -:- Re: A new article by B. DeLong -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 14:28:12 (EST)
__ Yann -:- Re: A new article by B. DeLong -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 02:29:42 (EST)
__ David E.. -:- Re: A new article by B. DeLong -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 23:06:26 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: A new article by B. DeLong -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:07:14 (EST)
____ Terri -:- Re: A new article by B. DeLong -:- Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:48:17 (EST)
_ David E.. -:- Terri - care to rebut this?n/m -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 11:58:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Builder Sees Slower Home Sales -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:21:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Fascination in Things Unseen -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:14:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Cobbled Florence Into Another Cow Town -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 06:14:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Antibacterial Soap -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:59:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Get French or Die Trying -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:24:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Down for the Count -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:14:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Bats and the Dark -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:12:31 (EST)

Emma -:- To Save Endangered Butterfly -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:10:30 (EST)

Emma -:- A Special Drug Just for You -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:09:37 (EST)

Emma -:- The Revolt of Ennui -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 04:40:49 (EST)

Dorian -:- Paul Krugman's column -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 04:03:54 (EST)
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Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman's column -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 04:30:06 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman's column -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:28:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Virtues of Single-Payer Health Care -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:28:27 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Interesting piece of info -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 15:59:33 (EST)
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Jennifer -:- Re: Interesting piece of info -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:18:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Prints That Helped Europe Discover -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 15:52:17 (EST)

Terri -:- Economic Growth -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 08:56:55 (EST)
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Jennifer -:- Re: Economic Growth -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 13:55:04 (EST)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Economic Growth -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 14:03:37 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The obvious..... -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 07:37:20 (EST)
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Jennifer -:- Re: The obvious..... -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 10:18:18 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: The obvious..... -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 15:49:43 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Corrections -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:20:43 (EST)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: Corrections -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:51:14 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Corrections -:- Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 12:40:09 (EST)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: The obvious..... -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 14:05:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Land South of the Clouds -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 06:13:05 (EST)

Emma -:- John Fowles Connects -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:44:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Charity or Medicare? -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:32:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Where to Be Jobless in Europe -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:28:55 (EST)

Emma -:- John Fowles -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:11:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Comparisons of Health Care -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:06:11 (EST)

Emma -:- On 'Pride, Prejudice, Insurance' -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:04:51 (EST)

Emma -:- President Bush's Walkabout -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 04:41:22 (EST)

Emma -:- While Paris Burns -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 04:38:41 (EST)

Emma -:- We Endorse -:- Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 04:31:08 (EST)

Emma -:- High Price of US Medicines -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 11:41:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Myth of Foreign Free Riders -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 11:37:31 (EST)

Emma -:- May Not Get a Hollywood Ending -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 09:03:08 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- Presinator! -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 16:00:22 (EST)

Emma -:- The Debate Is More Than Cosmetic -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 06:52:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Quiet Divorces Affect Children's Paths -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:55:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Riots Worsen in French Cities -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:53:19 (EST)

Emma -:- 1 1 1 1 Can Equal Less Than 4 -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:46:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Are Schools Passing or Failing? -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:37:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Congress's Sham Budget Savings -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 04:51:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Fixing Health Care -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 04:36:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Landscapes for Pleasure -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 09:51:36 (EST)

Emma -:- A Novel, by Someone -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 08:21:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Not in Bush's Tax Reform Panel -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 08:08:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Googling It Is Striking Fear -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 08:05:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Debating the Difficulty of Tamiflu -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:43:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Migrants' Portals to Europe -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:38:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Riots Spread From Paris -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:07:17 (EST)

Emma -:- France Has an Underclass -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 05:50:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Evolution Is in the Air -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 05:45:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Who Is America's Next Top Model -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 05:42:33 (EST)

Terri -:- Northern Saw-whet Owl with Mouse -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 19:09:07 (EST)

Emma -:- An Old-Fashioned American Standby -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 11:49:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Fed Nominee May Need New Weapons -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 08:40:17 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- The real measure of wealth - Not GLD -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 07:26:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Tutor's Hand in Applicant's Essay -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 08:37:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Speaking in the Third Person -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:56:56 (EST)

Emma -:- But Will It Stop Cancer? -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:54:34 (EST)

Emma -:- At Tokyo Auto Show -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:46:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Investors Look at China -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:44:59 (EST)

Emma -:- An Elevator to Your Floor -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:43:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Spanish Town Withers With the Olive -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:41:18 (EST)

Emma -:- New Openness to the Fed -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:39:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Alkmaar: A Dutch City -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:38:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Treating Skin of Color With Know-How -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:37:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Urbanite-Peasant Legal Differences -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:36:19 (EST)

Terri -:- Adjustment -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 06:03:22 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 20:03:06 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- Vangaurd Emerging Markets -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 07:01:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Sharp Eyes for the Multiple Things -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 17:07:34 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Common sense is rare these days -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 15:21:07 (EST)
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Jennifer -:- Re: Common sense is rare these days -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 15:47:37 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Common sense is rare these days -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 07:52:58 (EST)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Common sense is rare these days -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 15:50:49 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- Control of the money -:- Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:55:14 (EST)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: Control of the money -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:43:38 (EST)
_____ Johnny5 -:- Nanotech - Biomedicine -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 16:13:30 (EST)

Emma -:- An Ancient Garden Youthfully Abloom -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 12:31:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Reflections of a Restless China -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 12:27:11 (EST)

Emma -:- An Organic Drift -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 10:56:09 (EST)

Emma -:- The Capitol's Revolting Door -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 10:54:54 (EST)

Emma -:- In Paris, Tough Talk Isn't Enough -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 07:25:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Love the Riches, Lose the Rags -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 05:54:51 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- To be or not to be Brittney Spears -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 11:07:35 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: To be or not to be Brittney Spears -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 17:53:35 (EST)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: To be or not to be Brittney Spears -:- Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 11:26:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Creation of Creativity in China -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 04:27:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Why John Maynard Keynes? -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 04:18:45 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- Greenspan Tax Cuts -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 10:51:18 (EST)
_ Yann -:- Re: Why John Maynard Keynes? -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 06:55:06 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Why John Maynard Keynes? -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 07:24:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Why the Fed Can't Go Long -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 04:17:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Scientists Link a Prolific Gene Tree -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 15:20:23 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 11:32:01 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- Follow the Money -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 01:18:23 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 11:28:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Green Dreams in Shangri-La -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 10:01:44 (EST)

Emma -:- China's Little Green Book -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 09:59:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Jobs and Joblessness on the Gulf Coast -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 07:07:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Help Students Over the Science Blahs -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 06:02:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Puppets Help Evoke China's History -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 05:53:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Colorado Got Its Government Back -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 05:48:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Copper's Recent Declines -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 05:36:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Two Men Who Did the Right Thing -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 05:34:26 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Forced Equality -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 03:33:16 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Brazil Chindia for Pete -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 03:26:29 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Rumsfeld and Pete buying Healthcare -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 02:26:10 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Lesbians should be allowed to fight for America -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 02:19:20 (EST)

Mik -:- Death Toll in Asian Quake -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 15:23:15 (EST)
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Jennifer -:- Re: Death Toll in Asian Quake -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 15:33:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Theory of Everything -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 12:41:32 (EST)

Emma -:- What's a Modern Girl to Do? -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 12:24:01 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- Anne Heche - Ellen Degeneres -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 02:02:11 (EST)
__ Mik -:- Re: Anne Heche - Ellen Degeneres -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 23:09:21 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- http://www.housewithbride.com/ -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 00:55:43 (EST)
____ Mik -:- Re: http://www.housewithbride.com/ -:- Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 22:52:08 (EST)
_____ Johnny5 -:- Re: http://www.housewithbride.com/ -:- Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 15:20:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Hunting Habits of Wolves -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 11:56:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Loggers, Scorning the Law -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 09:21:29 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- 20% of Pete is owned by Big Pharma -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 08:45:26 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- New Drug Bill creates Monopoly -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 08:31:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Drought Deepens Poverty -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 07:17:20 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Drought Deepens Poverty -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 16:34:41 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Drought Deepens Poverty -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 19:13:35 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Drought Deepens Poverty -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 06:00:13 (EST)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: Drought Deepens Poverty -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 13:59:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Model Highlights Arctic's Vulnerability -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 06:09:29 (EST)

Emma -:- What Is Organic? -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 05:59:28 (EST)

Terri -:- An Insult to Count Potemkin -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 05:37:23 (EST)

Yann -:- Views on the coming $ crisis (by DeLong) -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 04:42:48 (EST)
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Terri -:- Re: Views on the coming $ crisis (by DeLong) -:- Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 12:27:26 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- Money Flow for Terri -:- Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 00:05:48 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Tough Christmas ahead -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 18:35:48 (EST)

C Selby -:- Krugman articles -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 12:38:32 (EST)
_
im1dc -:- Re: Krugman articles -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 14:40:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Hispanics Uncovering Roots -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 06:05:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Why Race Isn't as 'Black' and 'White' -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 05:54:25 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Why Race Isn't as 'Black' and 'White' -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 15:14:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Malawi Is Burning -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 05:52:41 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Malawi Is Burning -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 14:33:20 (EST)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Malawi Is Burning -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 16:58:29 (EST)
___ Mik -:- Suggestions? -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 17:15:17 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: Suggestions? -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 19:11:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Australia May Hold Key to Pensions -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 05:03:45 (EST)

Emma -:- An Apple a Day for Health? -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 05:01:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Small Internet Providers Choose Wi-Fi -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 04:58:04 (EST)

Emma -:- There Isn't Any Big Idea -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 04:54:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Sharp Eyes for the Multiple Things -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 04:53:00 (EST)

Emma -:- The End of Pensions -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 04:32:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Gas Taxes: Lesser Evil, Greater Good -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 16:37:00 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Gas Taxes: Lesser Evil, Greater Good -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 17:12:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Energy Failure -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 16:34:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Doubts Raised on Saudi Vow for More Oil -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 16:32:32 (EST)

Emma -:- The Industry: Gastronomics -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 16:20:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Ivory Coast's Ethnic Lines Harden -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 10:50:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Memo to Tyco: I Won't Back Down -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 10:28:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Binding Japan to Rival China -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 09:25:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Google Wants to Dominate Madison Avenue -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 06:36:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Ending the Fraudulence -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 05:49:36 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Paul Krugman -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 06:00:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Constance Baker Motley -:- Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 04:06:06 (EST)

Emma -:- August Wilson Reaches the 60's -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 13:54:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Characters Behind History Teach Wilson -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 13:46:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Panoramic History of Blacks in America -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 10:42:24 (EST)

Emma -:- The Mother of an Era: August Wilson's -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 10:40:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Accidents of Fate And Faith -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 10:39:43 (EST)

Emma -:- August Wilson's 100-Year Memory -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 10:38:34 (EST)

Emma -:- August Wilson's 'Piano Lesson' -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 10:34:55 (EST)

Emma -:- For Blacks, a Dream in Decline -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 06:32:36 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Hyphenated Global Citizen -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 08:40:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Investors of the World, Unite! -:- Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 05:21:25 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Pete watch out for Nano Silver -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 20:34:04 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Pete watch out for Nano Silver -:- Tues, Nov 01, 2005 at 11:08:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Wal-Mart in Japan -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 17:39:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Exciting Adventures of Spider Man -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 11:42:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Wal-Mart's Health Care Struggle -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 09:43:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Inside Wal-Mart, a Larger Debate -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 08:51:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Van Gogh's Pen -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 06:23:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Master Who Dreamed on Paper -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 05:55:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- Expressive With a Brush, or a Pen -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 05:53:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Burden Growing on Pension Group -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 20:16:16 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Change the accounting Rules for Pete -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 17:21:55 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Change the accounting Rules for Pete -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 07:58:31 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Change the accounting Rules for Pete -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 17:23:46 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: Change the accounting Rules for Pete -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 17:51:16 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Change the accounting Rules for Pete -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 19:51:52 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Change the accounting Rules for Pete -:- Sat, Oct 29, 2005 at 07:51:50 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- War with Iran -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 23:29:37 (EDT)
_ Jennifer -:- Re: Change the accounting Rules for Pete -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 17:59:48 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- An Argument Against Recession -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 13:38:05 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- The Problem For Labor -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 15:47:24 (EDT)

Terri -:- Alan Greenspan -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 10:11:55 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Alan Greenspan -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 10:15:41 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Ford & GM -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 10:47:37 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Ford & GM -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 11:16:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Luring Foreign Scholars -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 07:21:52 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: China Luring Foreign Scholars -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 15:52:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman Is Mellow Today -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 05:59:21 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Paul Krugman Is Mellow Today.... -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 06:15:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: New Fed Chairman Bernanke -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 05:56:06 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Paul Krugman: New Fed Chairman Bernanke -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 09:45:41 (EDT)

Johnny5 -:- Housing for Pete -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 22:31:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Brain Drain' -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 11:37:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Exodus of African Nurses -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 11:35:04 (EDT)

Terri -:- Real Estate -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 10:19:42 (EDT)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 09:00:49 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Investing -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 12:14:45 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Investing -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 16:01:22 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: Investing -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 20:10:49 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Investing -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 09:35:17 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Investing -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 11:10:53 (EDT)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: Investing -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 20:27:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Five Years Later and Still Floating -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 07:20:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- Doubts Raised on Saudi Vow for More Oil -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 06:52:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cow Politics -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 06:14:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- Tax Reform for Another Day -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 05:34:50 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Good Grief and Good Riddance -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 05:41:24 (EDT)

Terri -:- Rising Interest Rates -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 17:01:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Benefits of the Boom -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 11:16:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 10:33:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 10:32:39 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 10:21:35 (EDT)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 10:20:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Future Shock at the Fed -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 09:49:56 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- A must read!!!! -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 13:24:39 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: A must read!!!! -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 17:55:55 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: A must read!!!! -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 11:49:49 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- Oh Yes he CAN! -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 21:45:23 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- The problems -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 10:07:02 (EDT)
______ Johnny5 -:- Re: The problems -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 15:11:08 (EDT)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: A must read!!!! -:- Thurs, Oct 27, 2005 at 20:05:23 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Bernanke and the dollar -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 08:31:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Rush to Commercial Property -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 08:06:39 (EDT)

Yann -:- Affordable housing -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 06:39:14 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Affordable housing -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 09:00:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 06:16:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- South Africa's AIDS Program -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 06:02:07 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: South Africa's AIDS Program -:- Fri, Oct 28, 2005 at 19:20:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- Developing Lands -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 06:01:03 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 07:51:06 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 08:34:04 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 08:38:39 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 09:06:35 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 10:30:42 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 11:15:00 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 12:55:18 (EDT)
_______ Jennifer -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 16:29:09 (EDT)
________ Pete Weis -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 17:54:35 (EDT)
_________ Poyetas -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 19:03:25 (EDT)
__________ Terri -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 20:24:14 (EDT)
___________ Bill -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 10:55:24 (EDT)
___________ Pete Weis -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 08:15:31 (EDT)
____________ Poyetas -:- Re: Bernanke not worried by inflation -:- Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 09:09:26 (EDT)

Emma -:- Arctic Thaws -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 07:03:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- As Polar Ice Turns to Water -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 07:02:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Strands in Fight Over Peru Gold Mine -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 06:08:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- Rosa Parks -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 06:03:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Stirring Up a Commotion on Canvas -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 20:15:16 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Bernanke -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 15:18:15 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Bernanke -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 08:29:05 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Bernanke -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 08:49:57 (EDT)
_ Johnny5 -:- Derivatives and Systemic Risk -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 18:27:42 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Derivatives and Systemic Risk -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 19:35:40 (EDT)
___ Johnny5 -:- Proposition 13 -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 21:17:28 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Derivatives and Systemic Risk -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 20:54:39 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- Refco and Warren -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 21:35:58 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Bernanke -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 16:58:12 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Bernanke -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 19:32:14 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Bernanke -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 20:55:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- Behind Gold's Glitter -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 13:29:26 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Behind Gold's Glitter -:- Tues, Oct 25, 2005 at 18:05:14 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: Behind Gold's Glitter -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 15:01:26 (EDT)
__ Johnny5 -:- Zero Interest Rate -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 18:36:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Wal-Mart to Expand Health Plan -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 13:26:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- For Blacks, a Dream in Decline -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 13:25:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- Show Me the Money -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 06:47:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Health Insurance Is No Safeguard -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 06:46:51 (EDT)

Yann -:- Hollywood’s Favorite Villains (Rogoff) -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 02:56:12 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- And the eyes in his head, see... -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 11:59:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Shalimar the Clown' -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 10:34:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Straight Out of Stratford -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 08:28:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Pinter Actor -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 08:27:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Bush Tax Cuts and the Deficit -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 07:03:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Bush Tax Cuts -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 06:56:32 (EDT)

Audrey -:- Paul Krugman, of course -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 06:01:54 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman, of course -:- Sun, Oct 23, 2005 at 06:51:09 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Paul Krugman, of course -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 19:39:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Big in Japan, but Mostly a Duck Here -:- Sat, Oct 22, 2005 at 10:36:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Recovery From the Cultural Revolution -:- Sat, Oct 22, 2005 at 08:22:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Christie's Going, Going to China -:- Sat, Oct 22, 2005 at 08:12:08 (EDT)

Emma -:- Accelerating Their Moves Into China -:- Sat, Oct 22, 2005 at 07:51:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Mortgage Maker Vs. the World -:- Sat, Oct 22, 2005 at 06:17:31 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Strong Dollar! -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 15:11:06 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The Strong Dollar! -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 08:53:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Shanghai, a Far East Feast -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 14:26:35 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Shanghai, a Far East Feast -:- Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 19:36:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Child of Mao's Revolution -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 14:24:41 (EDT)

Terri -:- Valuations -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 11:03:39 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- REITS -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 11:10:04 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stocks and Bonds -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 10:37:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Health Insurance System -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 06:47:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Builds Its Dreams -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 06:33:49 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Emma has returned -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 13:54:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Classes in Chinese Grow -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 06:27:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Foreign Companies in China -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 06:26:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's Factories Humming, and Hiring -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 06:22:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chinese on a Grand Tour -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 06:18:28 (EDT)

Mik -:- Chinese Reaffirm one-party autocracy -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 14:51:16 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Chinese Reaffirm one-party autocracy -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 15:02:00 (EDT)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: Chinese Reaffirm one-party autocracy -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 18:47:15 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Re: Chinese Reaffirm one-party autocracy -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 20:27:23 (EDT)
____ Setanta -:- Re: Chinese Reaffirm one-party autocracy -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 05:52:25 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- I agree -:- Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 13:45:53 (EDT)
_ Sarah -:- Re: Chinese Reaffirm one-party autocracy -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 15:01:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bush's Ancestors -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 08:59:17 (EDT)

Pilate -:- A question about these 'economic' books -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 21:04:05 (EDT)
_
Yann -:- Re: A question about these 'economic' books -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 08:58:10 (EDT)
__ Pilate -:- Re: A question about these 'economic' books -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 18:13:21 (EDT)
__ Yann -:- Re: A question about these 'economic' books -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 08:58:56 (EDT)

Terri -:- Currencies -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 13:47:39 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Currencies -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 14:34:31 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Currencies -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 16:11:53 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Getting out of the box -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 11:00:55 (EDT)
____ Johnny5 -:- Teaching old dogs -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 23:09:11 (EDT)
____ Sarah -:- Re: Getting out of the box -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 14:25:06 (EDT)
_____ Johnny5 -:- Do you feel Lucky? -:- Thurs, Oct 20, 2005 at 23:55:27 (EDT)
______ Sarah -:- Re: Do you feel Lucky? -:- Sat, Oct 22, 2005 at 16:56:24 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 11:25:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 11:22:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 10:21:41 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 10:21:02 (EDT)

Yann -:- Remedies for New Orleans (E. S. Phelps) -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 02:20:11 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- TRUST & INTEGRITY -:- Tues, Oct 18, 2005 at 14:30:48 (EDT)
_
Johnny5 -:- Ok so companies Lie - J Cramer -:- Tues, Oct 18, 2005 at 16:48:41 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Ok so companies Lie - J Cramer -:- Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 09:32:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Big Squeeze -:- Mon, Oct 17, 2005 at 11:58:51 (EDT)
_
peggy -:- Re: Paul Krugman: The Big Squeeze -:- Tues, Oct 18, 2005 at 10:01:57 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman: The Big Squeeze -:- Tues, Oct 18, 2005 at 15:27:42 (EDT)
_ Dorian -:- Paul Krugman and 'Free Trade' -:- Tues, Oct 18, 2005 at 07:48:24 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman and 'Free Trade' -:- Tues, Oct 18, 2005 at 08:18:39 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Financial Markets blind to worldwide risk -:- Mon, Oct 17, 2005 at 10:43:52 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Financial Markets blind to worldwide risk -:- Mon, Oct 17, 2005 at 11:11:26 (EDT)

Yann -:- Gasoline Prices (A. B. Krueger) -:- Mon, Oct 17, 2005 at 05:02:51 (EDT)

Yann -:- Macro Textbook: New Chapters -:- Mon, Oct 17, 2005 at 03:15:59 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Les jeux sont faits. Rien ne va plus! -:- Sat, Oct 15, 2005 at 04:53:47 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Les jeux sont faits. Rien ne va plus! -:- Sat, Oct 15, 2005 at 22:09:51 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- All for one, one for all ? -:- Sat, Oct 15, 2005 at 04:11:27 (EDT)

Larry Epke -:- October 14 column -:- Fri, Oct 14, 2005 at 14:40:06 (EDT)
_
Yann -:- Re: October 14 column -:- Mon, Oct 17, 2005 at 02:32:42 (EDT)

Mik -:- Where is Emma -:- Fri, Oct 14, 2005 at 14:23:19 (EDT)

r branch -:- education -:- Fri, Oct 14, 2005 at 10:51:47 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Haunting history -:- Thurs, Oct 13, 2005 at 14:19:50 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Haunting history -:- Thurs, Oct 13, 2005 at 19:47:48 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Haunting future? -:- Sat, Oct 15, 2005 at 21:48:18 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Tipping point? -:- Thurs, Oct 13, 2005 at 09:12:45 (EDT)

Sarah -:- For Bobby -:- Wed, Oct 12, 2005 at 16:42:57 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- AF(K,H,N) (part II) -:- Wed, Oct 12, 2005 at 05:49:14 (EDT)

Terri -:- Paul Krugman: Will Bush Deliver? -:- Mon, Oct 10, 2005 at 19:56:04 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- How to win hearts, minds and influence -:- Mon, Oct 10, 2005 at 18:05:36 (EDT)

Yann -:- And the 2005 Nobel winners are... -:- Mon, Oct 10, 2005 at 07:09:03 (EDT)
_
Maureen -:- Re: And the 2005 Nobel winners are... -:- Mon, Oct 10, 2005 at 11:17:22 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: And the 2005 Nobel winners are... -:- Mon, Oct 10, 2005 at 20:41:56 (EDT)
___ JM -:- Re: And the 2005 Nobel winners are... -:- Tues, Oct 11, 2005 at 17:12:10 (EDT)
____ Maureen -:- Re: And the 2005 Nobel winners are... -:- Tues, Oct 11, 2005 at 23:40:11 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Gone with the wind -:- Sat, Oct 08, 2005 at 06:10:04 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Gone with the wind -:- Sat, Oct 08, 2005 at 21:38:52 (EDT)

AB -:- Krugman on NPR, Social Security Private -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 21:49:13 (EDT)

AB -:- Krugman on NPR, Social Security Math -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 21:47:55 (EDT)

AB -:- Paul Krugman on NPR -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 21:43:28 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Isn't the world a lovely place -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 17:24:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- South African Land Ownership -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 12:40:30 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- I hope I haven't typed this for nothing -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 15:53:03 (EDT)
__ liberal -:- Re: I hope I haven't typed this for nothing -:- Mon, Oct 10, 2005 at 21:28:40 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: I hope I haven't typed this for nothing -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 16:09:39 (EDT)

Mik -:- Beer business gone global? -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 09:31:48 (EDT)

Terri -:- Krugman: A Pig in a Jacket -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 07:15:24 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias El Gato Pardo -:- Anybody needing some fresh air? -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 05:56:59 (EDT)

yigal laviv -:- PAUL KRUGMAN n.y.t -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 03:37:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Krugman: Miserable by Design -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 20:02:42 (EDT)
_
wogie1 -:- Re: Krugman: Miserable by Design -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 21:16:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- South Africa to Take Farm From a White -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 19:06:10 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- HUh? -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 19:54:56 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Accurate -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 06:57:00 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- Which article is in-accurate? -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 09:49:40 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Which article is in-accurate? -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 10:25:43 (EDT)
_____ Mik -:- You are right... sort of -:- Fri, Oct 07, 2005 at 11:05:02 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Some more info -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 19:58:16 (EDT)

Mik -:- strong dollar will change Canada. -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 18:29:21 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: strong dollar will change Canada. -:- Thurs, Oct 06, 2005 at 20:26:46 (EDT)
_ Poyetas -:- Re: strong dollar will change Canada. -:- Thurs, Oct 06, 2005 at 15:34:43 (EDT)

Mik -:- Emma - South Africa's Economic Growth -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 18:19:19 (EDT)

Barbara Monteiro -:- Posting of NYTimes columns -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 17:56:44 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Posting of NYTimes columns -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 19:58:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- An Existential Love Affair -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 15:04:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Closeness of Theater to Dance -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 15:02:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Eminent Domain Revisited -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 15:00:34 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stocks -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 14:35:17 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 14:26:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 14:23:52 (EDT)

liberal -:- Circumventing NYT access policy -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 09:07:10 (EDT)
_
stuart munro -:- Re: Circumventing NYT access policy -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 11:39:26 (EDT)

Kristen -:- I really do like the website -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 00:12:34 (EDT)

Kristen -:- Textbook website does not work -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 00:03:42 (EDT)

Mik -:- Deep words from Krugman -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 13:47:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Home Builders' Stock Sales -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 12:20:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Slowing Is Seen in Housing Prices -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 12:01:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bacterium Tied to Stomach Ailments -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 11:25:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Faux News Is Bad News -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 09:56:13 (EDT)

Yann -:- A paper by J. D. Sachs (Sept.-Oct. 2005) -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 04:38:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- Reading the Signposts -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 16:31:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Achievement Gap in Elite Schools -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 15:49:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- My House, My Piggy Bank -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 13:27:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Buying Back Shares -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 13:25:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Family Confronts Its History -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 11:52:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- South Africa's Great Eviction -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 10:38:23 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: South Africa's Great Eviction -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 17:21:37 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: South Africa's Great Eviction -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 19:01:10 (EDT)
___ Mik -:- For Terri and Emma -:- Thurs, Oct 06, 2005 at 11:00:51 (EDT)

Erica -:- Miers called Bush most briliant man. . . -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 10:30:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Tons of Ice on Trips to Nowhere -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 10:09:26 (EDT)

Erica -:- Bobby, I found a solution!!!!! -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 10:04:01 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: Bobby, I found a solution!!!!! -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 12:29:03 (EDT)
_ al -:- Re: Bobby, I found a solution!!!!! -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 11:44:19 (EDT)
_ Yann (from France) -:- Re: Bobby, I found a solution!!!!! -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 10:57:27 (EDT)
__ Erica -:- Someone post a URL please -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 16:07:50 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Re: Someone post a URL please -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 18:20:19 (EDT)
____ Yann -:- A very long one! -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 03:32:55 (EDT)
_____ Erica -:- Thanks Yann!! -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 10:27:56 (EDT)
______ Dorian -:- Re: Thanks Yann!! -:- Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 04:17:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Other Black Gold -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 06:00:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Congress and Katrina -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 05:56:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- Exploiting Katrina -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 05:49:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Krugman: Miserable by Design -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 05:45:26 (EDT)

Ha Ha -:- Krugman exposed -:- Sun, Oct 02, 2005 at 18:58:42 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- 'Errare Humanum Est ' -:- Mon, Oct 03, 2005 at 07:07:45 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Krugman and Politics -:- Tues, Oct 04, 2005 at 11:52:17 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- WMD?, EL Niño?, WMD? -:- Sun, Oct 02, 2005 at 17:20:26 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Walk on the wild side -:- Sun, Oct 02, 2005 at 17:02:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Levee Reconstruction? -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 17:44:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- German Foundations for Property-Owning -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 15:50:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Save the Structure of Those Aging Bones -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 14:46:41 (EDT)

Emma -:- Better to Be Whole Than Refined -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 10:36:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bad News Continues to Plague Pfizer -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 10:35:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Nest Egg or One-Armed Bandit? -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 10:21:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bargains in a Flash -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 10:08:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- There's Promise in a Pill -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 10:07:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- Way North of the Border -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 10:05:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Heat Costs Expected to Surge -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 10:04:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- That Famous Equation and You -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 13:09:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- That Famous Equation and You -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 13:01:34 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Fragment and Summary -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 13:11:07 (EDT)

Terri -:- Dollar Up, Dollar Down -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 11:19:00 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Doctor Prestowitz And Mr Clyde -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 09:32:57 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Things that make you go 'Hmmm' (part II) -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 17:43:13 (EDT)

Yann -:- K&W Macrotextbook: PowerPoint sets -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 06:54:24 (EDT)

Yann -:- America’s Opposing Futures (DeLong) -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 03:15:37 (EDT)
_
Poyetas -:- Re: America’s Opposing Futures (DeLong) -:- Sun, Oct 02, 2005 at 12:01:31 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: America’s Opposing Futures (DeLong) -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 08:24:47 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: America’s Opposing Futures (DeLong) -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 06:23:09 (EDT)
__ Yann -:- Re: America’s Opposing Futures (DeLong) -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 06:48:10 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: America’s Opposing Futures (DeLong) -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 11:07:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Second Opinion on Sunshine -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 14:51:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Health Benefits of Vitamin D -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 14:50:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 14:11:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 14:09:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 12:36:14 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 12:35:12 (EDT)

Yann -:- The good one? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 11:57:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Mysteries of Animal Colors -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 06:22:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hunger in Niger: Lives in the Balance -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 05:59:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Place Where the Hungry Are Fed -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 05:59:20 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Bobby-can the website subscribe? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 05:21:39 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Bobby-can the website subscribe?? -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 08:38:04 (EDT)
_ RL -:- Re: Bobby-can the website subscribe? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 07:53:56 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Bobby-can the website subscribe? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 06:25:04 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Bobby-can the website subscribe? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 08:58:20 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Bobby-can the website subscribe? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 10:57:26 (EDT)

Sir Kenneth -:- If only more had listened to Mayor Nagin -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 22:56:13 (EDT)

Sir Kenneth -:- DeLong Smackdown Watch -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 22:42:06 (EDT)
_
Poyetas -:- Re: DeLong Smackdown Watch -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 05:51:25 (EDT)

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)
_
stuart munro -:- Re: Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 10:12:33 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? -:- Thurs, Sep 29, 2005 at 10:59:06 (EDT)
___ stuart munro -:- Re: Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 09:22:21 (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)
_
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)
__ Ed -:- Re: NYT columnists -:- Sat, Oct 01, 2005 at 04:33:40 (EDT)

Erica -:- What do you all think about this? -:- Tues, Sep 27, 2005 at 08:05:50 (EDT)
_
Bobby -:- Re: What do you all think about this? -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 22:05:56 (EDT)
__ Erica -:- They had all of it on Kos Bobby -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 17:06:36 (EDT)
___ Erica -:- Re: They had all of it on Kos Bobby -:- Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 17:11:51 (EDT)
_ 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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
Bobby -:- Re: Times password -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 21:55:52 (EDT)

C Selby -:- Krugman -:- Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 09:37:07 (EDT)
_
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)
___ Bobby -:- Re: Bobby, there may be another way -:- Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 21:42:20 (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)
_
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)


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Subject: Great Expectations
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:32:53 (EST)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'The bitterness behind the show - that's where spoilt children go' November 1, 2005 Feeling Rich By Robert J. Shiller Who is richer, you or I? As long as we both have enough to live comfortably, it shouldn’t matter much. Many of us try not to let it matter. But sometimes such comparisons gnaw at us. In an era of globalization, with rapid economic growth in some areas and stagnation in others – and with television and the internet allowing us to see how others live – these comparisons are an increasingly important factor in the world economy. The late social psychologist Leon Festinger argued that interpersonal comparisons of success, whatever our moral qualms about them, constitute a fundamental – and thus irrepressible – human drive, one that is present in every society and all social groups. Festinger argued that for any measure of success, whether wealth, ability, or merely personal charm, people tend to be most concerned about comparisons with others whom they see regularly and who are at a similar level of attainment. We tend not to be bothered by people who are either vastly more successful or vastly less successful. We consider them so different from us that we just don’t care. Harvard professor Benjamin Friedman’s important new book The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth details what the feelings generated by these comparisons mean for social harmony and the success of our economies. Friedman argues that comparisons of wealth are more dangerous to a society if it appears that the rich are members of a different race or ethnic group. In that case, the comparisons become politicized, contributing to social conflict and thus tending to reduce economic success. For example, South Korea’s spectacular economic growth in recent decades owes much, according to Friedman, to the country’s ethnic homogeneity, which dampens resentment of others’ relative progress. By contrast, economic development in Sri Lanka, with a standard of living 40 years ago that was similar to that of Korea, was stymied by its Tamil minority’s perception that their opportunities and advancement were blocked by the Sinhalese majority. The resulting ethnic violence has left real per capita income at just one-fifth the level of Korea today. The economist Albert Hirschman once likened a society with recognizably distinct groups to a multilane highway where people are unable to change lanes. If traffic is stalled for hours and no one else is making progress, we tend to relax and accept the situation resignedly. If the traffic then starts moving in another lane, everyone will greet the change with elation. Even if we are still stopped, we sympathize with those getting ahead, imagining that we, too, will soon be moving forward. But if the other lane keeps moving and we do not, our elation is eventually replaced by annoyance and anger. The same is true of economies that are starting to grow rapidly. People must feel that their own social group, however they define it, will eventually benefit. A key insight in Friedman’s book is the fundamental importance of two kinds of comparisons that people make when judging their own success: comparisons with their own (or their own family’s) past experience and comparisons with others that they see around them. When economic growth falters and people no longer see improvement over their past experience, the first comparison becomes more important – and comes to be shared by millions of people. But when the downturn affects distinct groups differently, especially when members of some groups are (rightly or wrongly) perceived as doing better than the others, the second comparison gains significance as well. Consider the rampant anti-Semitism – some of it ultimately genocidal – that arose during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Of course, that is the most extreme example, and Friedman does not show that a decline in economic growth rates necessarily leads to social turmoil. Indeed, many historical episodes of diminished or even negative growth have gone by without any unusual social problems. Historical forces are complex; they defy any simple economic theory. Friedman is right that social comparison drives human anxieties, if not conflict, but this is equally true when economies are growing. In some parts of the world, rising expectations, if unfulfilled, could make the kinds of effects that Friedman describes especially strong. For example, many people in China today feel great psychological pressure to live up to the expectations created by all the talk about their country’s “economic miracle” – and the sight of others in their midst with significant wealth – and they express anxiety about their own individual success. As growth and development in emerging economies like China continues, people will increasingly compare themselves to the richer people in their countries’ urban centers. These countries’ successful people will increasingly compare themselves to people in other countries who are perceived as even more successful. If Festinger and Friedman are right, little can be done about this, because such comparisons are a part of human nature. But, regardless of whether these comparisons occur in an economy that is growing or contracting, the anxiety that they engender clearly represents a potential risk of unrest and instability. So the question is whether anything can be done to minimize that risk. Obviously, a measured pace of economic growth in the developing world – neither so high that it sets the stage for later collapse nor so low that it weakens the public’s sense of solid progress towards a better life – would help ensure social and political stability, thereby fostering further growth. But, perhaps more importantly, people must believe that they live in a society that allows them to change lanes and move ahead faster when the route is clear. Robert J. Shiller is Professor of Economics at Yale University, Director at Macro Securities Research LLC, and author of Irrational Exuberance and The New Financial Order: Risk in the 21st Century http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/PS-11_1_05_RS.html

Subject: Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it...
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:18:14 (EST)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
For whom America’s bell tolls J BRADFORD DELONG These days the chairman of President Bush’s council of economic advisers, Ben Bernanke, likes to talk about a “global savings glut” that has produced astonishingly low real interest rates around the world. But that is the wrong way to look at it. America certainly does not have a savings glut. Its savings rate has been distressingly low for decades. Then the Bush administration’s reckless fiscal policy pushed it lower. Falling interest rates in recent years pushed up real estate prices and allowed America’s upper middle class to treat their houses as enormous ATM’s, lowering savings still more. America has a savings deficiency, not a glut. And the rest of the world? A global savings glut would suggest that rebalancing the world economy requires policies to boost America’s savings rate and to increase non-US household consumption. But what the world economy is facing is not a savings glut, but an investment deficiency. Divide the world into three zones: the US, China, and all the rest. Since the mid-’90s, the net current-account surplus of “all the rest” has risen by an amount that one Federal Reserve Bank economist has put at $450 billion a year, not because savings rates have increased, but because investment rates have fallen. Declining investment rates in Japan, the newly-industrialising Asian economies, and Latin America, in that order of importance, have fuelled the flood of savings into US government bonds, US mortgage-backed securities, and US equity-backed loans — the capital-account equivalent of America’s enormous trade deficit. The investment deficiency in Asia relative to rates of a decade ago amounts to an annual shortfall of $400 billion a year, with the decline in investment in Japan— a consequence of more than a decade of economic stagnation — accounting for more than half of the total. Moreover, investment rates in the newly industrialised economies of Asia have never recovered to their pre-1997-8 crisis levels, and investment rates in the rest of Asia outside China have fallen off as well. This would seem to call for a very different set of policies to rebalance the world economy. Yes, the US needs tax hikes to move the federal budget into surplus and policies to boost private savings. But the world needs policies to boost investment in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. And here we face a difficulty. People like me who have been cheerleaders for international integration in trade and finance, as well as for reductions in tariffs and other barriers, have cited three benefits: -Maximising economic — and also social and cultural — contact between rich and poor nations is the best way we can think of to aid the flow of knowledge about technology and organisation, which is the last best hope for rapid world development. -Lower trade barriers will make locating production in the poor low-wage parts of the world irresistible to those who have access to finance. -Freer capital flows will give poor countries precisely this access, as the greed of investors in rich country leads them to venture into poor regions where capital is scarce. The first reason still holds true. Maximising economic, social, and cultural contact between rich and poor remains both the best way to aid the knowledge flow and the last best hope for rapid world development. But the second and third reasons look shaky. Those with access to finance appear to be capable of resisting the urge to locate production in poor low-wage parts of the world (China aside). Rather than leading rich-country savers to invest their money in poor countries out of greed, liberalisation of capital flows has led poor-country savers to park their money in rich countries out of fear — fear of political instability, macreconomic disturbances, and deficient institutions. Something may well happen in the next several years to radically boost America’s savings rate by making US households feel suddenly poor: tax increases, a real estate crash, rapidly-rising import prices caused by a plummeting dollar, a deep recession, or more than one of the above. It would be nice to believe that when the tide of dollar-denominated securities ebbs, the flows of finance currently directed at America will smoothly shift course and boost investment in Asia. But don’t count on it, especially considering the share of marginal investment in Asia that is aimed, one way or another, at exporting to the American market. Those outside America, especially in Asia, should regard the unstable state of the US macro-economy with grave concern. As the seventeenth-century poet John Donne put it, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls — it tolls for thee.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-1281887,curpg-4.cms

Subject: Foreign Student Enrollment Drops
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:44:16 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/14/education/14enroll.html November 14, 2005 Foreign Student Enrollment Drops By ALAN FINDER The number of foreign students enrolled in American universities declined slightly in the 2004-5 academic year, according to a survey to be released today, suggesting that a more significant drop that took place in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in 2001 might be abating. About 565,000 students from foreign countries were studying in undergraduate and graduate programs at American universities, a decline of 1 percent from the previous academic year, according to an annual survey by the Institute of International Education that was financed by the State Department. A survey released by the organization last year showed that foreign student enrollment had declined by 2.4 percent in the 2003-4 academic year, the first decrease in foreign students in three decades. A related survey released last week by the Council of Graduate Schools showed that the number of international students entering American graduate schools increased 1 percent this year. The report was based on a survey of a sample of graduate institutions. University officials have offered several reasons for the drop in foreign students after 2001, including difficulties students have experienced in obtaining visas, especially in scientific and technical fields, and the increased cost of tuition. There has also been more competition from universities in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, as well as a significant expansion in the capacity of universities in India and China. India, with more than 80,000 students, and China, with more than 62,000, send the largest number of students to American universities, the Institute of International Education survey found. Many students from South Korea, Japan, Canada and Taiwan are also enrolled here. A growing number of American students are studying abroad, the institute also reported. The number increased 9.6 percent in the 2003-4 academic year, the institute found, after growing by 8.5 percent the previous year. More than 191,000 Americans are studying for academic credit in international universities, with notable increases in China and India. Foreign students in the United States spend about $13.3 billion in tuition, living expenses and related costs. In many schools they account for the majority of graduate students in science and engineering.

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:36:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Fund Returns 12/31/04 to 11/11/05 S&P Index is 3.4 Large Cap Growth Index is 3.9 Large Cap Value Index is 5.0 Mid Cap Index is 9.7 Small Cap Index is 5.4 Small Cap Value Index is 5.0 Europe Index is 4.9 Pacific Index is 12.7 Energy is 34.5 Health Care is 11.8 Precious Metals 30.4 REIT Index is 9.6 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 1.1 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 2.3

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:35:09 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/04 - 11/11/05 Energy 31.4 Financials 5.3 Health Care 6.2 Info Tech 2.3 Materials -2.4 REITs 9.7 Telecoms 1.3 Utilities 11.2

Subject: When Experts Need Experts
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:14:22 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/10/garden/10old.html?ex=1289278800&en=fb1b185022b87c94&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 10, 2005 When Experts Need Experts By JANE GROSS MINNEAPOLIS — Between them, Robert and Rosalie Kane, he a physician and she a social worker, have devoted 60 years to the study of aging, written scores of books and hundreds of journal articles about long-term care and are widely considered among the world's leading experts. Presumably, that would make them better prepared than most of us to care for frail elderly parents, a rite of passage that most of America's 77 million baby boomers will eventually experience, if they haven't already, with all its heartache and hardship. But expertise is no match for the harsh particulars of old age, and what the Kanes and other experts consider a broken long-term care system. Thus the couple, both professors at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, were just as flummoxed as the next person when confronted with the day-to-day reality of tending to their own parents: Ruth Kane, who died in 2002 at the age of 87 of complications following a stroke; Pearl Smolkin, who died a year ago at 89 after a slow descent into dementia; and Max Smolkin, 97, who soldiers on despite blindness and kidney disease. 'The epiphany for us is that all this theory doesn't work, and being prepared doesn't matter,' Dr. Kane said during a recent conversation at their sprawling lakeside Tudor home, full of family photographs going back generations. 'It's technically complex, emotionally taxing, there's not much help out there and panic is the normal reaction. If Rosalie and I can't do it, what chance does the average person have?' Inspired by their own experience, the Kanes want to share what they call 'take home points' with other consumers of long-term care and also galvanize policy makers to overhaul a system designed to treat acute illness rather than chronic conditions, which account for 95 percent of the health care dollars spent on those 65 and over. To that end, Dr. Kane and his sister, Joan West, a retired schoolteacher on Long Island, wrote 'It Shouldn't Be This Way: The Failure of Long-Term Care' (Vanderbilt University Press, 2005), a common-sense book that is part memoir, part guidebook and part call to arms. In addition, the Kanes have formed an organization of more than 600 professionals, including doctors, nurses, educators and even employees of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services who have also been daunted caring for their own relatives. This nascent organization, called Professionals With Personal Experience in Chronic Care, aims to lobby for change in the form and financing of long-term care. The couple also have culled some trade secrets, if you will, from time spent in emergency rooms and intensive care units that agitate the elderly, acute care hospitals that often misunderstand their inter-related conditions, assisted living centers that may promise more than they can deliver, nursing homes where care is often better but at the expense of privacy and quality of life, and private homes where reliable aides can be hard to find and supervise. Dr. Kane's primary piece of advice for adult children is to hew to a structured and deliberate process of decision-making, especially when they are catapulted into a medical crisis, like his mother's 1999 stroke when she was a widow living in Florida. He suggests dividing the process into two parts, first settling on the kind of care - for example, an assisted living center versus a nursing home - and then choosing a vendor, often based on cost and location. Dr. Kane warns that hospital discharge planners have a stake in pressuring families to make quick decisions because of the way they are reimbursed by Medicare. If possible, he suggests hiring an outside advocate, perhaps from among the growing number of geriatric case managers, to help gather information, consider options and resist the time urgency. This is especially important, Dr. Kane said, when relocations are involved, for instance the decision to sell his mother's Florida condominium, move her to a rehabilitation center near his sister on Long Island and later to two different assisted living communities and finally a nursing home. 'You can burn bridges and lose options with each choice,' Dr. Kane said, noting that some families, although not his own, regret selling a home where a parent might have stayed on, despite disease or disability, with adequate assistance. Rosalie Kane's primary suggestion is to seek a multidisciplinary geriatric consultation rather than relying on the advice of a trusted family doctor or a specialist like a cardiologist or oncologist. While not all hospitals have departments of gerontology, those that do pull together doctors, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, social workers and other professionals who better understand how to manage the cascade of ailments that can overtake a frail elderly person. Ms. Kane's parents, each with an array of medical problems in addition to Mrs. Smolkin's Alzheimer's disease and Mr. Smolkin's blindness, had muddled along in their apartment in Ottawa without such a workup until the final few months of her mother's life. By then, Mrs. Smolkin had lost all interest in eating and drinking, and required hospitalization for dehydration. During that crisis, a team of gerontologists figured out that a treatable problem, an obstructed bile duct, was responsible for Mrs. Smolkin's loss of appetite. But during the two-month hospitalization that followed, she broke a hip, wound up with a bed sore, was put on a catheter because she could not take herself to the bathroom and developed a series of infections associated with being bedridden. Her deterioration required a transfer to a nursing home, where she died after five days. 'An old person is a fragile ecosystem,' Ms. Kane said. 'That calls for being vigilant, assuming nothing and being more sensitive to the side effects of care.' The Kanes, both 65 years old, with three grown daughters and seven grandchildren, began collaborating early in their nomadic academic careers. Together or separately, they have edited scholarly journals for gerontologists, founded departments of geriatrics in medical schools where none existed, studied nursing homes in various countries and evaluated experimental forms of assisted living. Both were long-distance caregivers, with siblings more immediately on the scene; in Dr. Kane's case his sister, Joan, 60, and in Ms. Kane's case one of her two brothers, Robert, 62, a retired real estate lawyer who lives in Canada. Dr. Kane's mother spent the last three years of her life in institutional settings because she no longer had her own home and, Dr. Kane said, 'it would have done in my sister' to take her in. The Smolkins, by contrast, remained in their own apartment, with many relatives nearby to assist them. Now that Mr. Smolkin is widowed, he has live-in help. Dr. Kane's situation was more tumultuous, since his mother had always been a temperamental woman, he said, and her stroke led to an aggressive form of dementia. Over Dr. Kane's objections, her caretakers at an assisted living center used sedation and restraints, insisted the family hire round-the-clock private duty help and later suggested that the family seek another place for Mrs. Kane to live. 'We were cobbling together the best care we could and we were always a battle behind,' Dr. Kane said. In his experience, assisted living is 'the grayest of options, neither fish nor fowl' and tends to be 'inflexible and unimaginative' about tailoring care to individual needs. In addition, in Dr. Kane's view, residents are rushed off in ambulances for minor ailments and accidents because the staff is not medically qualified and afraid of liability. In his mother's case, Dr. Kane said, 'each hospitalization made things worse,' forcing her eventual transfer to a nursing home. One remedy for traumatic hospitalizations, Dr. Kane said, is something called a negotiated risk contract, which he offered to sign, thus absolving the center of responsibility. 'Safety is not necessarily the paramount virtue,' for people in his mother's situation, Dr. Kane said, yet such contracts, while legal, remain a rarity. The people in charge at the two assisted living centers where his mother lived declined to enter into such a contract. Ms. Kane agrees that fear of a fall or other accident should not drive decision-making for the frail elderly and said that she has endured criticism from some friends and relatives for being too relaxed about her parents' safety during the decade they were in failing health yet still living on their own. Now the same critics worry that Ms. Kane has chosen 'unorthodox home care' for her father rather than a more typical cast of agency employees. She concedes the risks. Her father's first live-in companion was 'Marilyn Monroe meets Mary Poppins,' Ms. Kane said, a woman whom the old man adored. Then a drinking problem landed her in jail on a D.W.I. charge. She has been replaced with a man who used to be the Smolkins' driver. So far, so good, Ms. Kane said, 'but it's very tricky, hard not to get too involved and not unlike dealing with nannies.' The key to her decision-making, Ms. Kane said, is trying to honor the individuality of her parents. Her mother, she said, was an anxious woman who would never have felt safe at home without her solicitous, protective mate. Her father, by contrast, is bold enough to continue taking walks in the park and navigating the supermarket by memory even though he is now totally blind. 'My brother and I are dedicated to the idea that it's their lives and they can take the risks they want,' she said. 'That means you have to be fatalistic sometimes.'

Subject: Ethiopia's Capital, Once Promising
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 08:49:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/14/international/africa/14ethiopia.html November 14, 2005 Ethiopia's Capital, Once Promising, Finds Itself in Crisis By MARC LACEY ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - This city fancies itself the capital of Africa, the crossroads of the continent, a refined refuge where African leaders gather to address the crises in unruly places like Sudan, Ivory Coast and Congo. The city's most powerful resident, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, has been deemed one of Africa's new generation of leaders, a rebel turned democrat and darling of the international donors. But after a months-long political standoff that has turned increasingly bloody, Ethiopia's capital has joined Africa's more ignominious places, becoming the latest continental crisis point to attract the attention of the African Union, which has its headquarters here. Mr. Meles now finds himself criticized as a dictator, not a democrat. 'If the situation deteriorates here, it's a major symbolic failure for the African Union,' said Abdul Mohammed, an analyst with the Inter-African Group who huddled with African Union leaders on Nov. 4 to discuss the Ethiopia crisis. 'This is the home of the A.U. This is occurring in the A.U.'s backyard.' Quite literally. The African Union's crisis management team did not have to consult a map to find the latest hot spot on this continent. It could look out the window. Ethiopian security forces fired on stone-throwing protesters in the streets around the African Union's headquarters in early November. Tires were burned in the street. The lot next door to the organization was turned into a makeshift detention center as thousands of opposition supporters were rounded up by the government. Many have been released, but treason charges have been filed against some, and others are being held in rugged conditions outside the capital. The discord stems from a democratic transition that has stumbled and fallen flat. The government called parliamentary elections in May and, unlike in the last two elections in 1995 and 2000, actually allowed opposition candidates a chance to campaign. The election was considered a test of the fledging democracy in Africa's second most populous country. The results were a shock. The opposition swept seats in Addis Ababa and finished strongly in other urban areas. Little-known candidates managed to oust several powerful government ministers, a sign that many voters had lost confidence in the governing party. 'The beauty of democracy is people have started to tell even the ruling party they can vote it out if it does not address its concerns,' said Bereket Simon, a top aide to Mr. Meles, putting the best possible face on the surprise election results. After weeks of controversy over those results, the government announced that it had won 296 seats in the 547-member Parliament, with the opposition taking 176 seats, far fewer than the opposition believed it was due. Unused to sharing power, the ruling party also hastily changed parliamentary rules so that only a party with 51 percent of the seats could raise an issue for discussion, infuriating the opposition. When opposition supporters took to the streets in June to claim vote-rigging by the government, security forces opened fire, killing about 40 of them. The African Union stayed silent, drawing the wrath of opposition supporters who accused it of cozying up to the Ethiopian political elite and acting like the old, ineffective Organization of African Unity, which rarely criticized member governments, no matter how repressive. Ethiopia's political crisis blew up again on Nov. 1 while the African Union held a summit meeting here. Opposition supporters organized a low-key protest to attract the attention of the visiting African leaders: motorists were told to toot their horns from 8 to 8:30 a.m. for three days in a row. But heavily armed soldiers were on the streets. Tensions were high and clashes broke out. Soon, soldiers were firing on demonstrators, who were heaving rocks, smashing vehicles and burning tires in the road. The African Union condemned the violence this time and asked Mr. Meles to explain how so many people - 40 or more in the latest bout of violence - died. The chairman, former President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali, has met repeatedly with Mr. Meles to discuss the crisis. Mr. Meles blames the opposition for the violence, accusing it even of hurling grenades at security forces. Infuriated by the protests against his rule, Mr. Meles has accused the opposition of trying to topple the government through demonstrations, which he says he will not allow. To control the dissent, soldiers and police officers have swept through the city, arresting the top leadership of the main opposition group, the Coalition of Unity and Development. Similar sweeps have resulted in young men being taken away from neighborhoods where trouble has broken out. 'What we have detained is people who have tried to overthrow the duly constituted government, and that in my view is treason under the laws of the country,' Mr. Meles has told the BBC . Print journalists are also under siege. At least two reporters viewed as sympathetic to the opposition have been detained. Other journalists have gone into hiding, and the authorities took into custody two journalists' mothers as a pressure tactic. [The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York group that promotes a free press, has told Mr. Meles in a letter that it is 'deeply troubled by your government's harassment and censorship of journalists.'] Alemzurya Teshoe, 25, the daughter of one opposition leader, said that the police raided her home to take away her father and then fatally shot her mother, who was screaming in protest. Ms. Teshoe said the police also shot at one of her brothers, but missed and hit a neighbor instead. Distraught as she recounted the incident, Ms. Teshoe said neighbors who went to the hospital to recover her mother's body were told that they had to sign a document saying that the opposition party was responsible for the killing. 'I was there when they killed my mother,' she said, outraged by the request, which was later dropped. 'I saw it with my own eyes.' The opposition has said it will not join the Parliament until the government agrees to investigate the killings, release political prisoners and include the opposition on the electoral commission, among other demands. Boycotts of ruling party businesses are also planned. [A strike by shopkeepers and taxi drivers planned for the week of Nov. 7 did not succeed after the government threatened to take away the licenses of those who did not report to work.] 'This was daylight robbery,' Hailu Shawel, a prominent businessman who is president of the opposition coalition, said in a recent interview, before his arrest. 'The whole machinery of the government went to war to overturn these results.' Despite little tradition of compromise - the word itself does not exist in Amharic, Ethiopians say - negotiation is widely regarded as the only way out of the standoff. 'Africa is littered with the negative consequences of not compromising,' said Mr. Mohammed, an Ethiopian political analyst who has been trying to bring the parties together. 'The African elite sees compromise as a sign of weakness. It is not. A multiethnic state like this cannot be governed anymore by a one-party state.' What makes Ethiopia's turmoil all the more surprising is that Mr. Meles has been heralded by the West as one of Africa's promising new leaders. He stayed in the good graces of the United States and the European Union, the biggest donors to Ethiopia, even after he and his rival, President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea, waged a border war from 1998 to 2000 that resulted in a death toll as high as 100,000. Tensions remain high between the countries, with many diplomats fearing that Mr. Isaias may take advantage of Mr. Meles's domestic woes to take aggressive action at the border. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain picked Mr. Meles, known for his cerebral nature, as a member of his Commission for Africa to help draft a blueprint for building wealth and democracy on the continent. Even after the June killings, Mr. Meles was invited to the Group of 8 meeting in Scotland to advise world leaders. But with the recent bout of violence, Mr. Meles's image abroad has begun to take a battering. 'Another bloodbath is taking place in Ethiopia,' Ana Gomes, the European Union's chief election observer in the May polling, said in a recent letter urging colleagues on the European Parliament to end their chummy approach toward Mr. Meles.

Subject: Re: Ethiopia's Capital, Once Promising
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 11:38:10 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Unbelievable. I used to travel to Ethiopia on a regular basis, up until a couple years ago. I am currently working on 3 projects in Ethiopia (based in Canada) and I have been totally unaware of this. I have just done a search and there are so many more stories on this topic in the news. Thanks Emma.

Subject: Online Encyclopedia Is Handy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 07:11:16 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/14/business/14drill.html November 14, 2005 More Find Online Encyclopedia Is Handy By ALEX MINDLIN By several measures, the user-written online encyclopedia Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com) has exploded in popularity over the last year. The Internet traffic-measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings found that Wikipedia had more than tripled its monthly readership in September from the same month in 2004. September may have been a month of especially heavy usage for Wikipedia: the site does better during major news events, and September saw both the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the confirmation of John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. But Wikipedia's popularity is not limited to periods of big news. Intelliseek, a marketing-research firm that measures online buzz, has found that the term Wikipedia is consistently used by bloggers - about twice as often as the term 'encyclopedia' - and showed up in roughly one out of every 600 blog posts last month; it was one of every 3,300 posts in October 2004. 'For bloggers, it's almost like a badge of credibility to embed Wikipedia in their blog references,' said Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer for Intelliseek. 'There's something about Wikipedia that confers a degree of respectability, because multiple Web users have converged on it.'

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:54:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 11/11/05 Australia 11.7 Canada 19.2 Denmark 15.1 France 5.0 Germany 3.3 Hong Kong 6.2 Japan 13.7 Netherlands 6.8 Norway 20.0 Sweden 3.4 Switzerland 13.8 UK 5.4

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:53:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 11/11/05 Australia 19.5 Canada 18.5 Denmark 34.0 France 21.9 Germany 20.0 Hong Kong 5.9 Japan 30.9 Netherlands 20.0 Norway 31.1 Sweden 27.1 Switzerland 31.5 UK 16.2

Subject: The Narnia Skirmishes
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:38:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/movies/13narnia.html November 13, 2005 The Narnia Skirmishes By CHARLES McGRATH Disney's new feature film, 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,' spends a good deal more time than C.S. Lewis's beloved children's book on the climactic battle between the forces of the sinister White Witch and the army of Aslan, the supernatural lion. The movie of course has the benefit of studio bean counters and recognizes that this could be the mother of all screen battles - not just your basic struggle of good and evil but a $200 million smackdown between the religious right and godless Hollywood, between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and, for that matter, between Aslan and King Kong, a resurrected version of whom opens in a movie of his own a few days after 'Narnia' does next month. The great philosophical debate of my childhood was: Who is stronger, King Kong or Mighty Joe Young? In the Kong-Aslan matchup, Aslan, a Christ figure, would seem to have the advantage of omnipotence, but that's not to say he will prevail at the box office. There are seven Narnia books in all, making them potentially the third great onslaught - after the movie adaptations of 'Harry Potter' and Tolkien's famous 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy - of British children's lit into the multiplex. Like the Rowling and Tolkien books, Lewis's evoke a richly imagined parallel universe, but they differ in including a frankly religious element: not just an undercurrent of all-purpose, feel-good religiosity but a rigorous substratum of no-nonsense, orthodox Christianity. If you read between the lines - and sometimes right there in them - these stories are all about death and resurrection, salvation and damnation. From a moviemaking point of view, this is excellent news if you are hoping to reach the crowd that packed the theaters to see Mel Gibson's 'Passion of the Christ,' probably not so great if you're also hoping to lure all those wizards-and-weapons fans who made the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy such a hit (Disney is still kicking itself for passing on that one) and sheer disaster, presumably, if your target audience also includes the hordes of moviegoing teenagers that turned Disney's last mega-hit, 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' into an apparently inexhaustible asset. In fact, there are some Hollywood observers who seem to believe that there is a good reason Lewis is among the last of the classic children's authors to be adapted for the movies, and that in taking on Narnia, Disney has backed itself into a corner. If the studio plays down the Christian aspect of the story, it risks criticism from the religious right, the argument goes; if it is too upfront about the religious references, on the other hand, that could be toxic at the box office. Disney, which is producing 'Narnia' with Walden Media, the 'family friendly' entertainment company owned by the politically conservative financier Philip Anschutz, is hedging its bets and has, for example, already issued two separate soundtrack albums, one featuring Christian music and musicians and another with pop and rock tunes. 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,' published in 1950, was the first of the Narnia books. It now comes second in the order established by HarperCollins, Lewis's publisher, but it remains the most famous and is also the most essential volume in the series. It tells the story of the four Pevensie children - Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy - who have been sent by their parents to stay with an elderly professor in the country as the blitz rages in wartime London. While exploring the professor's house, Lucy, the youngest, comes upon an old wardrobe in an empty room and, pushing aside some fur coats there and groping to the back, finds herself in a snowy wood at nighttime. This is Narnia, it turns out - a more or less medieval version of Paradise, populated by dwarfs, fauns and talking beasts, that is now under the wintry spell of an evil queen (the witch of the title), whose hold over the place is broken only by the arrival of a supersize lion named Aslan. Aslan is fierce but beautiful, stern but loving; his breath is perfumed like incense; and the mere sight of him is enough to set most creatures tingling. He is, in fact, nothing less than the Son of God, who dies and then comes back to life and through the seven volumes repeatedly tests but ultimately saves the children and leads them to eternal safety - all except Susan, that is, who will become too interested in 'nylons and lipstick and invitations.' If the series is read in what is now the canonical order, Volumes I and VII, 'The Magician's Nephew' and 'The Last Battle,' which are, respectively, a Creation story and a version of Armageddon, unmistakably spell out the theological dimensions of the story, but if you're not forewarned, it is perfectly possible to read most of the other volumes without a clue that anything more is going on than meets the eye. Actually, the books are better when read without the subtext. Aslan, for example, is much more thrilling and mysterious if you think of him as a superhero lion, not as Jesus in a Bert Lahr suit. And though central to the Narnia books, Aslan is not the real draw. Narnia itself is - or, rather, that wardrobe door opening onto a parallel universe, a magical place to which only children have access. This is what captivated my children about the story - in my daughter's case so much so that we had to empty her bedroom closet of clothes and build a little shelf on which she could climb up with her books and dolls and stuffed animals. She spent hours in there, dreaming of getting through to the other side. The allegorical element in the Narnia books drove J.R.R. Tolkien crazy. By remarkable coincidence, he and Lewis - arguably the two greatest pre-'Harry Potter' writers of fantasy literature in English - overlapped for some 30 years at Oxford. Tolkien, older by seven years, was known as Tollers; Lewis preferred to be called Jack. They were absent-minded dons of the old school, the kind who wore carpet slippers, baggy flannel trousers and elbow-patched tweed jackets in which a forgotten pipe might at any moment start a pocket fire. Tolkien was famous for mumbling, Lewis for conducting conversations from the next room while noisily using his chamber pot. Tolkien and Lewis were friends - close for a while, then a little less so, while maintaining a certain wary affection - and the senior members of a literary club called the Inklings, whose members customarily read aloud from their own writing and, after a few pints, said what they thought about the work of others. On at least one occasion when Tollers was reading from 'The Lord of the Rings,' Hugo Dyson, another member, groaned and said (in slightly less polite language), 'Oh, no, not another elf!' And in 1949, after being exposed to an early draft of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,' Tolkien said, 'It really won't do, you know.' Tolkien, a devout Catholic, thought that religious writing ought to be left to the professionals - to the clergy. He also hated that 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' was such a hodgepodge. Tolkien in his own work was what he called a 'subcreator,' the maker of an imaginary world as intricate, as detailed and as self-sufficient as the real one. For 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, he created not just a story but also an entire world, Middle Earth, a geography, a mythology and several languages. Lewis, by contrast, was a magpie. He took whatever came to hand and dumped it all in. 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' is a pastiche not only of Christian theology but also of Wagner and of classical Greek and Latin mythology, of Arthurian romance, Grimm's fairy tales and Scandinavian folklore, of Kenneth Grahame, Beatrix Potter and Edmund Spenser. Near the end of the book, even Santa Claus (as Father Christmas) makes a cameo appearance, much as he does at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Unlike Tolkien, who had three sons and a daughter, Clive Staples Lewis knew very little about children. By choice, he spent most of his life as a militant bachelor, immersed in medieval and 16th-century literature. Lewis was also a famously precocious atheist who, in 1931, underwent a conversion, brought about in part by conversations with Tolkien, who convinced Lewis, a lover of myth, that the story of Christ, his birth, death and resurrection, was a myth that just happened to be true. Lewis went on to become an outspoken Christian apologist, and in books like 'The Problem of Pain,' 'The Great Divorce' and 'Mere Christianity,' he expounded in clear, plain-spoken language his particular brand of no-frills, muscular Christianity, which was in many respects a theological version of stalwart English middle-classness. He had no use at all for those who wished to recover the 'historical Jesus,' for example - the slightly distant and unknowable one Anglicans worshiped every Sunday was perfectly good. These religious writings made Lewis immensely popular, and in some circles he has even been elevated to secular sainthood. In middle age, Lewis became the romantic figure depicted in 'Shadowlands,' the Richard Attenborough movie based on William Nicholson's play. Both are a more or less faithful account of his surprising marriage, at age 58, to one of his many female groupies, Joy Gresham, an American divorcée and convert from Judaism, who died of cancer less than four years later. But for decades before that, Lewis also had a secret life, another marriage of sorts, that was both mysterious and a little weird. For more than 40 years, he lived with the mother of a friend named Edward Moore, with whom he had made one of those earnest World War I pacts: if anything happened to either of them, the other would take care of his friend's family. In the event, it was Moore who died, while Lewis came down with trench fever and was later wounded, not severely but badly enough that he was sent home. Lewis, then 20, went to Oxford in January 1919, but he kept his word and moved Mrs. Moore and her daughter, Maureen, to lodgings nearby. In those days, for an Oxford undergraduate to spend the night away from his college, let alone spend it with a woman, was a serious offense, and so Lewis embarked upon a double life, spending the week in college and weekends and vacations with Maureen and Mrs. Moore, or Minto, as she was known. The arrangement persisted for the rest of Minto's life, long after Lewis earned his degree and became a don. In 1930, he and Minto bought a house together, and Lewis's brother, Warnie, a career army officer whose excessive drinking had forced him into early retirement, moved in. But during the term, Lewis still slept in his rooms at Magdalen College. Many of his friends didn't even know about Minto; others had the vague impression that she was his stepmother. The exact nature of their relationship is something that many of Lewis's biographers would prefer to tiptoe around. But Lewis was far from a sexual innocent, and the evidence strongly suggests that, at least until he got religion, there was an erotic component to his life with Minto. Did they actually sleep together, this earnest, scholarly young man, conventional in almost every other way, and a woman 26 years his senior? Walter Hooper, the editor of Lewis's 'Collected Letters,' thinks it 'not improbable.' A.N. Wilson, the best and most persuasive of Lewis's biographers, argues that there's no reason at all to think they didn't, leaving us with the baffling and disquieting psychological picture of C.S. Lewis, the great scholar and writer and Christian apologist-to-be, pedaling off on his bicycle, his academic gown flapping in the wind, to have a nooner with Mum. What Lewis saw in Minto is another matter. No one else could stand her. Warnie once described her association with Lewis as 'the rape of J's life.' He wrote in his diary at the time of her death in January 1951, 'And so ends the mysterious self-imposed slavery in which J has lived for at least 30 years.' Minto said of Jack, 'He was as good as an extra maid,' and she subjected him to a kind of domestic slavery that Wilson says he thinks amounted to sexual masochism on Lewis's part. His servility grew worse toward the end of Minto's life, when she slipped into an angry and querulous senility, and he spent most of his waking hours caring for her, for her ancient, incontinent dog, Bruce, and for Warnie, who eventually became a six-bottle-a-day man and was now stumbling around in a stupor all afternoon. It was at the beginning of this period, during the summer of 1948, that Lewis returned to the writing of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,' which he started and abandoned in 1939. Inevitably, there have been a number of Freudian interpretations of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,' theories making a great deal of the observation, for example, that you get to Narnia through what amounts to a closet-size vagina. But if in fact there is a psychological explanation for how the books came to be, it is probably a good deal simpler. Lewis was at the time so despondent and worn down, so weary of the world of grown-ups, with their bedpans and whiskey bottles, that he must have longed for a holiday in a land of make-believe. Lewis later claimed that in writing the Narnia books, he 'put in what I would have liked to read when I was a child and what I still like reading now that I am in my 50's.' Children's literature - the notion of books written specifically to be read to or by young people - was a Victorian invention, and Lewis as a child was shaped by a typically Victorian reading list. With the indiscrimination that so troubled Tolkien, he cannibalized much of it for 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.' The talking beavers, for example, who hide the Pevensie children in their lodge, come from Kenneth Grahame and from Beatrix Potter. The idea of an enchanted place on the other side of a door may owe something to Lewis Carroll. And Lewis never bothered to deny that the central conceit of the book - a group of children displaced from their parents and adventuring on in an unfamiliar landscape - was inspired in part by E. Nesbit's Bastable books, especially 'The Story of the Amulet,' about children who travel through time, and 'The Enchanted Castle,' where on the grounds of an old house statues come to life and the Greek gods make an appearance. In turn, of course, the Narnia books cast their shadow over other writers. J.K. Rowling has said that she was influenced by them, and you can feel aspects of Harry Potter being anticipated in, say, the character of the loathsome Eustace Scrubb, who before he is redeemed by Aslan is cut from the same smarmy cloth as Harry's cousin Dudley, or in the scene in 'The Magician's Book,' where Lucy picks up an enchanted book whose pictures come alive and predict the future as she looks at them. Lewis's greatest influence, though, is on the British fantasy writer Philip Pullman, whose 'His Dark Materials' trilogy is both a homage of sorts (it begins with a girl in a wardrobe) and also a kind of anti-Narnia, a negation of everything Lewis stood for. God in these books turns out to be a senile impostor and Christianity merely a 'very powerful and convincing mistake.' Pullman is an atheist and, not coincidentally, one of Lewis's fiercest critics. He has said of the Narnia cycle that 'it is one of the most ugly and poisonous things I've ever read' and has called Lewis a bigot and his fans 'unhinged.' The books do have their faults, certainly. They're not nearly as well written as either the 'Potter' or the 'Dark Materials' books. And by the standards of political correctness, they commit a host of sins. They're preachy, they're sometimes gratuitously violent and they patronize girls. The villains, moreover - the Calormenes, who dwell in the south - are oily cartoon Muslims who wear turbans and pointy-toed slippers and talk funny. Then there's the unfortunate business with Susan, the second-oldest of the Pevensies, who near the end of the last volume is denied salvation merely because of her fondness for nylons and lipstick - because she has reached puberty, in other words, and has become sexualized. This passage in particular has set off Pullman and other critics (and has caused the fantasy writer Neil Gaiman to publish a kind of payback scenario, in which Susan has grown up to be a distinguished professor, not unlike Lewis, and in which for good measure Aslan performs earth-shaking oral sex on the witch). But you sense that among many British critics the real failure of the books is that they're so middle class - so affirming of traditional behaviors and role models, of old-fashioned, Church of England religion and Tory politics. This criticism is perfectly fair up to point - Lewis was a progressive in nothing except his choice of women to sleep with - and the solid, no-nonsense 'values' of the books are precisely the source of their appeal to Anschutz, a former Sunday-school teacher who has plotted a 15-year battle plan to turn Narnia into a mega-weapon in the entertainment wars. But there is also an undercurrent of restlessness in the Narnia books, which manifests itself in Lewis's obsessive borrowings and crammings - the need to include Bacchus and Silenus in the same scene as some talking animals and slow-witted giants - and in a kind of headlong narrative hastiness. Lewis seldom lingers, and the books are always rushing on to the next thing. In 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,' Prince Caspian travels to the end of the world just to see what's there, and the motto of the final volume, in which the children travel from the old Narnia to a newer and even better one, is 'Further Up and Further In.' Lewis once characterized the imagination as a faculty that 'stirs and troubles' the reader with a 'dim sense of something beyond his reach,' and the Narnia chronicles, however stodgy their apparent message, surely succeed at doing just that. Like all the great children's books, they're not really concerned with explaining or defending this or that orthodoxy. They're interested in mostly the same thing Hollywood is: escape.

Subject: The Goat at Saks
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 05:56:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/14/business/14book.html November 14, 2005 The Goat at Saks and Other Marketing Tales By LORNE MANLY Few children's books carry promotional blurbs from the likes of the fashion designers Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani and Jean Paul Gaultier. But then 'Cashmere if You Can,' is not your typical children's book. This new lavishly illustrated book from HarperCollins Publishers follows the misadventures of Wawa Hohhot and her family of Mongolian cashmere goats who just happen to live on the roof of Saks's Midtown Manhattan store. The location is no accident: a Saks Fifth Avenue marketing executive came up with the idea, and the department store chain owns the text copyright. It is as if the Plaza Hotel had underwritten 'Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown-ups.' On sale now only in Saks stores, HarperCollins plans to distribute the $16.99 book nationwide in January as if it were any other children's picture book. And 'Cashmere if You Can' has inspired HarperCollins, a unit of the News Corporation, to make a business out of these sorts of corporate collaborations. Saks has already signed with the publisher to produce another children's book for next year's holiday season, and HarperCollins is in negotiations with sports and entertainment entities and packaged goods companies. The weaving of brands and products into content - making them supporting characters or even the stars rather than mere scenery -is growing elsewhere in the media, particularly on television, as advertisers try to cut through the clutter. The book world, however, has not always been hospitable to such commercialization. Working that closely with a sponsor is viewed as compromising the work's artistic or literary aspirations or sullying the integrity of the reading experience, as the novelist Fay Weldon discovered when she accepted a product placement fee for a 2001 book. While there have always been books, like 'Weber's Big Book of Grilling' and 'The Cheerios Counting Book,' with obvious corporate tie-ins, 'Cashmere if You Can' offers a new twist, with a more subtle connection and no clear disclosure of Saks's involvement. Although there is a Mr. Saks in the story, who hires Wawa to be a model, and the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon at the Saks Midtown location makes an appearance, they are in service to an actual plot. 'It's not the 'Saks Book of Style,' ' said Andrea Rosen, vice president of special markets at HarperCollins. 'We flipped the model.' (HarperCollins receives a publishing fee from Saks and an undisclosed share of revenue.) In attempting to make a business - albeit a modest one - out of publishing similar books, HarperCollins is also trying to goose an industry that is being squeezed from different sides. Powerful discounters like Wal-Mart and Costco sell a limited selection of books and return them promptly for full refunds if they do not sell quickly. Book chains like Barnes & Noble are devoting more space to gift items and other trinkets. Amid all this, publishers have been trying to push into nontraditional markets and to find new outlets for their wares, like Saks Fifth Avenue. 'We can't keep chasing only best sellers,' said Jane Friedman, chief executive of HarperCollins. 'We all recognize we all have to do different things today.' Ms. Friedman enjoys doing just that. Not one to play down accomplishments - she misses few opportunities to take credit for the invention of the author tour or popularizing the audio book - she recently put corporate initiatives into place aimed at making HarperCollins as much of a brand name as its authors. To further those ends, she relishes making use of other assets within the News Corporation empire. On 'Stacked,' the Fox television show revolving around a ditzy character played by Pamela Anderson who works in a bookstore, the books on display are from HarperCollins. And Ms. Friedman mused in a recent interview about steering her writers on to the show. 'Wouldn't it be fun to put Jack Welch with Pamela Anderson?' Ms. Friedman asked. Given synergy's dodgy record, it is unclear whether these efforts will help sell HarperCollins books. But Ms. Friedman does not lack optimism. 'Maybe I'm a dreamer,' she said, 'but a lot of what I've dreamt has come true.' Terron Schaefer, the senior vice president of marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue who came up with the idea for a children's book and has an as-told-to credit on the cover, also dreams big. He envisions a movie or television show based on the antics of the Hohhot goat family, and has hired a Hollywood talent agency to sell the project. (He hit upon the surname while researching cashmere, discovering that much of today's fabric comes from Inner Mongolia, and that Hohhot is one of its towns.) Although 'Cashmere if You Can' is part of a chainwide holiday promotion for a certain expensive fabric, Mr. Schaefer said the book was not about persuading 7-year-olds (or their mothers) to develop a taste for fur-trimmed cashmere scarves. 'There's no real sell in the book,' he said. 'It's just about being happy with who you are.' But the ultimate goal is, of course, all about marketing in some form. 'If you can get into the lexicon of the public, I think we'll have accomplished something,' he said. 'Eloise at the Plaza; I rest my case.' But not all booksellers may be keen to help HarperCollins insinuate the Hohhots into the national consciousness come January. 'That's disgusting,' said Carla Cohen, co-owner of Politics and Prose in Washington, when told about the book. 'Teaching kids about material things most people can't afford, that's gross.' The intersection of books and advertising - disguised or not - has always been a fraught issue. Chris Whittle was greeted by a torrent of criticism more than 15 years ago when he bound ads into books by authors like John Kenneth Galbraith and Richard Rhodes. Ms. Weldon created a minitempest when she accepted an undisclosed sum from Bulgari, the Italian jewelry company, in exchange for prominent placement in her 2001 book, 'The Bulgari Connection.' (HarperCollins was the book's British publisher, while Grove/Atlantic published the novel in the United States.) And last year, the Ford Motor Company paid Carole Matthews, a British author, to feature the Ford Fiesta in her next two novels. The Saks imprimatur does not necessarily bother other booksellers. 'If it's a good book, we'll buy it,' Steve Riggio, chief executive of Barnes & Noble, said through a spokeswoman. That view was echoed by people in the independent bookselling world, including Roxanne J. Coady, owner of R J Julia Booksellers, which owns two stores in Connecticut, and Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, with three locations in southern Florida. 'All the books published come from a big corporation,' Mr. Kaplan said. 'In situations like this, it all depends on how good the book is.' Anne Irish, executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children, concurred that merit would be the primary consideration. Ms. Friedman said the publisher would disclose Saks's involvement in the trade version of the book, but she was puzzled by objections. 'The idea of working with a company and creating editorial together, I see nothing untoward about that, nothing,' Ms. Friedman said. And if people do have a problem? 'Don't buy our book if you don't want to,' Ms. Friedman said.

Subject: Stonewalling the Katrina Victims
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 05:53:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/14/opinion/14mon2.html November 14, 2005 Stonewalling the Katrina Victims Public outrage is clearly growing over the federal government's woefully inadequate program for housing the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Last week a group of survivors filed the first of what are likely to be several lawsuits alleging that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has failed to live up to its responsibilities. The recovery effort has been subject to blistering criticism from conservative, nonpartisan and liberal groups alike. The same basic question is this: Why did the Bush administration focus on trailer parks built by FEMA - which is actually not a housing agency - instead of giving the lead role to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has so much experience on this issue? Many, including the Brookings Institution and the conservative Heritage Foundation, urged the administration to switch on HUD's famously successful Section 8 program, which gives families government vouchers to find decent housing in the private real estate market. That program worked well after the 1994 Northridge earthquake in California. But the White House - which seems less interested in conservative philosophy about how to make government programs work than with simply cutting the amount of money that gets spent on poor people - has been working feverishly to cripple HUD and destroy the Section 8 voucher program for years. So the administration rigged up a hastily thought out program that is less flexible and less helpful than Section 8 - and confusing in the bargain. Still focused on tax cuts for the wealthy, the administration is apparently hoping that people who need housing will be frustrated by the difficult process of applying for federal relief dollars and simply give up and go away.

Subject: Paul Krugman: Health Economics 101
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 05:04:45 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/ November 14, 2005 Paul Krugman: Health Economics 101 By Mark Thioma It's nice to have Paul Krugman discuss a question that has been addressed repeatedly at this site, market failure in the provision of health and social insurance due to moral hazard and adverse selection: Health Economics 101, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: ...[W]e rely on free markets to deliver most goods and services, so why shouldn't we do the same thing for health care? .... It comes down to three things: risk, selection and social justice. First, about risk: ... In 2002 a mere 5 percent of Americans incurred almost half of U.S. medical costs. If you find yourself one of the unlucky 5 percent, your medical expenses will be crushing, unless you're very wealthy - or you have good insurance. But good insurance is hard to come by, because private markets for health insurance suffer from ... the economic problem known as 'adverse selection,' in which bad risks drive out good. To understand adverse selection, imagine what would happen if ... everyone was required to buy the same insurance policy. In that case, the insurance company could charge a price reflecting the medical costs of the average American, plus a small extra charge for administrative expenses. But in the real insurance market, a company that offered such a policy ... would lose money hand over fist. Healthy people, who don't expect ... high medical bills, would go elsewhere, or go without insurance. ... [T]hose who bought the policy would be a self-selected group of people likely to have high medical costs. And if the company responded to this selection bias by charging a higher price for insurance, it would drive away even more healthy people. That's why insurance companies ... devote a lot of effort and money to screening applicants... This screening process is the main reason private health insurers spend a much higher share of their revenue on administrative costs than do government insurance programs like Medicare, which doesn't try to screen anyone out. ... [P]rivate insurance companies spend large sums not on providing medical care, but on denying insurance to those who need it most. What happens to those denied coverage? Citizens of advanced countries ... don't believe that their fellow citizens should be denied essential health care because they can't afford it. And this belief in social justice gets translated into action... Some ... are covered by Medicaid. Others receive 'uncompensated' treatment, ... paid for either by the government or by higher medical bills for the insured. ... At this point some readers may object that I'm painting too dark a picture. After all, most Americans ... have private health insurance. So does the free market work better than I've suggested? No: to the extent that we do have a working system of private health insurance, it's the result of huge though hidden subsidies. ... [C]ompensation in the form of health benefits... isn't taxed. One recent study suggests that this tax subsidy may be as large as $190 billion per year. And even with this subsidy, employment-based coverage is in rapid decline. I'm not an opponent of markets. ... I've spent a lot of my career defending their virtues. But the fact is that the free market doesn't work for health insurance, and never did. All we ever had was a patchwork, semiprivate system supported by large government subsidies. That system is now failing. And a rigid belief that markets are always superior to government programs - a belief that ignores basic economics as well as experience - stands in the way of rational thinking about what should replace it. For similar comments on Social Security insurance, see Social Security is about insurance, not savings, The Need for Social Insurance, and Optimizing Social Security through Poverty Insurance and Retirement Saving. And from Paul Krugman, see Passing the Buck.

Subject: Tax reform (by Alan B. Krueger)
From: Yann
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 03:32:50 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
One Tempting Remedy for the Alternative Minimum Tax Has Flaws of Its Own By ALAN B. KRUEGER The New York Times, Economic Scene Nov. 10, 2005 THE recommendations of President Bush's advisory panel on federal tax reform, announced last week, were greeted by Congress and the administration with all the enthusiasm of a recommendation for root canal surgery. Although the panel proposed two sensible plans to reduce distortions in the tax code and improve fairness, its proposal to cut the popular mortgage interest deduction, included in both plans, almost assures that the plans will not reach Congress as written. Perhaps the most likely of the panel's proposals to be enacted is the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes. This is a tempting but flawed way to 'fix' the alternative minimum tax. Eliminating the state and local deduction would make it harder for state and local governments to raise revenue for essential public services and result in more distortions and inequities from the tax code. 'We should be very wary about getting rid of this worthwhile deduction unless it's our last resort,' said James R. Hines Jr., a public finance economist at the University of Michigan. The panel's report is now being reviewed by the Treasury secretary, John W. Snow, who will decide which, if any, of the proposals to send to the president. Without pressure from the White House - and a willingness by the president to roll back some of his previously enacted tax cuts - Congress is unlikely to consider a major tax overhaul anytime soon. The report may do more than gather dust, however. Eventually, Congress will have to consider options to raise revenue, and the report will be a natural source of ideas. More immediately, Congress is likely to address the alternative minimum tax, which will ensnare 21.6 million taxpayers in 2006, up from 4.1 million in 2005, absent changes. The A.M.T., which was established to make a small number of wealthy tax avoiders pay some income tax, sets up a parallel tax structure. The definition of taxable income under the minimum tax is broader than under the regular tax code; most important, it does not allow deductions for state and local taxes. Congress is likely to reduce the reach of the minimum tax. But reining in or repealing the A.M.T. will be expensive; full repeal could cost $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years if the president's tax cuts are made permanent, and $611 billion if they are not. Eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes would bring in almost enough revenue to pay for repealing the A.M.T. if the president's tax cuts remain - and more than enough if the tax cuts expire - according to a study by Kim Rueben of the Urban Institute. On the surface, that approach appears to make sense, since taxpayers caught in the A.M.T. lose the deduction. Why shouldn't everybody? If state and local taxes were mainly used for services that taxpayers directly benefit from, like garbage collection, the case for deducting the taxes would be weak. But this is not the case. Most state and local tax revenue is used for education, health care, social services, highways and other programs that probably do not directly benefit the individual taxpayer nearly as much as the community at large. Additionally, because people are geographically mobile, states and cities lose residents if they set taxes too high. The state and local deduction reduces this distortion. Eliminating the state and local deduction would also cause a distortion between support for charities and similar government programs. Why allow people to deduct charitable contributions to a homeless shelter, but not their state taxes used for the same purpose? The tax panel's call for a tax credit for charitable donations, but not for state and local taxes, would worsen this distortion. A more rational approach would base deductibility on the function of the funds. Eliminating the state and local deduction would also create a peculiar inequity in the tax code: American taxpayers would be allowed to deduct income taxes that they paid to foreign governments but not those paid to their state or local government. State and local taxes have been deductible since the start of the federal income tax in 1913. After Hurricane Katrina revealed serious shortcomings in the infrastructure of state and local government, Congress should think carefully about making it harder for states and municipalities to raise funds for essential government functions. Indeed, it would make more sense to allow deductions for state and local taxes from the A.M.T. income base than to eliminate the state and local deduction from the regular income tax. My Economic Scene column on Aug. 18, 2005 ('Fair? Balanced? A Study Finds It Does Not Matter') reported on a research paper by Prof. Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Prof. Ethan Kaplan of the Institute for International Economic Studies at Stockholm University. Their paper concluded that the spread of the Fox News Channel across 8,630 towns and cities in 24 states from 1996 to 2000 had no detectable effect on voter behavior. The professors have continued their research, adding data on four additional states, assigning greater weight to areas with higher voter turnout and eliminating towns with multiple cable providers or questionable data. They conclude from their latest research that from the 1996 presidential election to the one in 2000, 'Republicans gained 0.4 to 0.6 percentage points in the towns which broadcast Fox News.' Alan B. Krueger is the Bendheim professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University. His Web site is www.krueger.princeton.edu.

Subject: Federal Reserve to Stop M3??!?
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 20:29:03 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/discm3.htm Discontinuance of M3 On March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will cease publication of the M3 monetary aggregate. The Board will also cease publishing the following components: large-denomination time deposits, repurchase agreements (RPs), and Eurodollars. The Board will continue to publish institutional money market mutual funds as a memorandum item in this release. Measures of large-denomination time deposits will continue to be published by the Board in the Flow of Funds Accounts (Z.1 release) on a quarterly basis and in the H.8 release on a weekly basis (for commercial banks). I thought he wanted to be transparent - why the change?

Subject: Re: Federal Reserve to Stop M3??!?
From: Emma
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 06:07:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Imagine how shocked I am that a statistic that has no evident analytical meaning is not being collected and published each week. There will however be much concern among the advocates for a constant money supply. There is no cause for concern, but gold standard fans will complain for ever more.

Subject: Why now?
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:11:40 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Please tell me Emma - why now? If it was so useless - why not make the change 2 years ago or 5 or 10? Why was it included to begin with? Remember several posts down I stopped allocating capital to GOLD. That does not increase mankinds science or technology.

Subject: Re: Why now?
From: Emma
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 09:20:24 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
All statistics gathers should examine the cost and use of the data collected and published. The Fed does this from time to time. This has absolutely no bearing on whether precious metals and mining stocks are worth investing in. The Fed has not used the data in question for policy making for decades.

Subject: A foggy world
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:33:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Emma. When you invest do you have the same disregard for market cap and stock dilution for a given company in which you might invest? The dollar has often been refered to as America's share of stock. If the money supply is growing at a much higher rate than GDP (the economy) does this have no significance? UNPLEASANT M3 TREND FED COUNTERS BY STOPPING RELEASE OF MONEY SUPPLY DATA by Toni Straka November 12, 2005 I am beginning to lose my respect for the Federal Reserve. At a time when money supply (link to Wikipedia) has been exploding and weekly figures provide a nasty experience week after week, month after month, the Fed put out a short, flat notice last Thursday, saying that it will discontinue publication of M3 figures after March 2006. Such a step may fit in the policy of the current Bush administration but certainly not a supposedly independent central bank. M3 is the most important money aggregate for economists, analysts and Fed watchers to get an idea at what the speed the (electronic) printing press is running. The European Central Bank (ECB) honors this set of data with a special press release every month. So much about transparency. GRAPH: Recent M3 figures are certainly unpleasant and worrisome. M3 has been growing at an annual rate of 7.5 percent or double the most recent rate of GDP growth (subject to a revision.) Since Bush took office money supply M3 has risen 39.2%. The Fed prints it and the government spends it as can be seen by growing government participation in growth numbers. I am still shocked and in a state of disbelief that gives place to being disgusted about the new style. What will be next? Discontinuation of industrial production figures below zero? The consumer price index (CPI) being treated as a national secret once it rises above 5%? Torture threats against people insisting to get the whole picture? US Investing Will Become Fly By Night Adventure No! First comes the discontinuation of more important data releases. No more repo data, no more Eurodollar data, no more large time deposits. Investing will become a fly by night adventure. From the Fed website (saved locally for later reference): On March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will cease publication of the M3 monetary aggregate. The Board will also cease publishing the following components: large-denomination time deposits, repurchase agreements (RPs), and Eurodollars. The Board will continue to publish institutional money market mutual funds as a memorandum item in this release. Measures of large-denomination time deposits will continue to be published by the Board in the Flow of Funds Accounts (Z.1 release) on a quarterly basis and in the H.8 release on a weekly basis (for commercial banks). Take note that only publication, but not calculation of these figures will be discontinued. I strongly hope that Ben Bernanke will revise this decision, being an economist who knows that sound research can only be done on the basis of data. Looking back into history economic data was only kept a secret in failing economies, e.g. the Soviet Union As this data is published by the board of governors of the Fed every one of their words will have to be scrutinized most carefully in the future and tested for credibility. Words are easy, but I prefer hard data. No prudent investor will navigate his funds through a foggy world but lie at anchor below a clear sky, meaning: elsewhere. For further information read 'If it weren't that cheap to print them greenbacks' and 'M3 and public debt hit record highs.' Once you read this you may be in the mood to read 'US AAA rating - how much longer?'

Subject: Re: A foggy world
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 10:57:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I imagine there will be fear all through the investment community, the statistics they never bothered to look at are suddenly available less frequently, but I do not see the problem. Inflation is nicely under control almost everywhere, even with higher international energy costs, and the bond market will tell us if there is a problem even with no weekly reference to a particular extended money supply measure. But, I will not miss data I never bothered to use though the money supply trackers will. Worry not.

Subject: Money supply growth
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 16:24:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The following is from Wikipedia (online encyclopedia): Monetary exchange equation Money supply is important because it is directly linked to inflation by the 'monetary exchange equation': where: velocity = the number of times per year that money changes hands (if it is a number it is always simply GDP / money supply) real GDP = nominal Gross Domestic Product / GDP deflator GDP deflator = measure of inflation. Money supply may be less than or greater than the demand of money in the economy In other words, if the money supply grows faster than real GDP (unproductive debt expansion), inflation must follow as velocity has been shown to be relatively stable.

Subject: Re: Money supply growth
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 16:50:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Oops. I left out the Money Exchange Equation: Velocity x Money Supply = real GDP x GDP deflator 'In other words, if the money supply grows faster than real GDP (unproductive debt expansion), inflation must follow as velocity has been shown to be relatively stable.' As I was trying to get across to Terri, when we borrow heavily to close the gaps caused by both the current account deficit and fiscal deficit, we get money supply growing faster than real GDP and hence eventually it leads to inflation (a weakening dollar). While cheap overseas labor has served to keep the cost of many imported goods down, most of the necessities in life (food, energy, materials) have been rising at a much faster rate than the 'core inflation' rate. Energy and material costs for US companies have been rising at a rapid rate in recent years. At least some of this has been due to a weakening dollar relative to its levels back in the late 90's. Although, the dollar has shown some recent strength, inevitably it will weaken over time unless the fiscal and current account deficits eventually disappear.

Subject: Re: Money supply growth
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 18:43:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
All you write is correct, as usual, but correct in theory does not mean correct in reality. As far as inflation and investing goes, there is no relation between the broad money supply measure and either inflation or long term interest rates. This was noted about 20 years ago. I pay attention to many things, and try to be open to ideas, but I abide by what is meaning and what makes investing sense. The Fed change is only amusing to me because I am sure the gold standard folks will be complaining as usual. Precious metals stocks make sense or not, but never because of the ideas of the gold standard crowd.

Subject: Re: Money supply growth
From: Peter Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 21:05:30 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'As far as inflation and investing goes, there is no relation between the broad money supply measure and either inflation or long term interest rates. This was noted about 20 years ago.' Jennifer. Where was this noted? I would be interested in knowing who might have noted this and what information did they use to back their findings. The basis for the monetarist view is the relationship between money supply and inflation/deflation. Has someone already conclusively refuted Milton Friedman's money supply theories?

Subject: Re: Money supply growth
From: Jennifer
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 19:56:56 (EST)
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Imagine, I was even been buying financials earlier in the year :) Oh dear, oh dear.... I like you.

Subject: Race-Based Medicine
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 13:56:18 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/health/11heart.html November 11, 2005 Genetic Find Stirs Debate on Race-Based Medicine By NICHOLAS WADE In a finding that is likely to sharpen discussion about the merits of race-based medicine, an Icelandic company says it has detected a version of a gene that raises the risk of heart attack in African-Americans by more than 250 percent. The company, DeCode Genetics, first found the variant gene among Icelanders and then looked for it in three American populations, in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Atlanta. Among Americans of European ancestry, the variant is quite common, but it causes only a small increase in risk, about 16 percent. The opposite is true among African-Americans. Only 6 percent of African-Americans have inherited the variant gene, but they are 3.5 times as likely to suffer a heart attack as those who carry the normal version of the gene, a team of DeCode scientists led by Dr. Anna Helgadottir reported in an article released online yesterday by Nature Genetics. Dr. Kari Stefansson, the company's chief executive, said he would consult with the Association of Black Cardiologists and others as to whether to test a new heart attack drug specifically in a population of African-Americans. The drug, known now as DG031, inhibits a different but closely related gene and is about to be put into Phase 3 trials, the last stage before a maker seeks the Food and Drug Administration's approval. Last year a drug called BiDil evoked mixed reactions after it was shown to sharply reduce heart attacks among African-Americans, first in a general study and then in a targeted study, after it failed to show efficacy in the general population. The drug, invented by Dr. Jay N. Cohn, a cardiologist at the University of Minnesota, prompted objections that race-based medicine was the wrong approach. Geneticists agree that the medically important issue is not race itself but the genes that predispose a person to disease. But it may often be useful for physicians to take race into account because the predisposing genes for many diseases follow racial patterns. The new variant found by DeCode Genetics is a more active version of a gene that helps govern the body's inflammatory response to infection. Called leukotriene A4 hydrolase, the gene is involved in the synthesis of leukotrienes, agents that maintain a state of inflammation. Dr. Stefansson said he believed that the more active version of this gene might have risen to prominence in Europeans and Asians because it conferred extra protection against infectious disease. Along with the protection would have come a higher risk of heart attack because plaques that build up in the walls of the arteries could become inflamed and rupture. But because the active version of the gene started to be favored long ago, Europeans and Asians have had time to develop genetic changes that offset the extra risk of heart attack. The active version of the inflammatory gene would have passed from Europeans into African-Americans only a few generations ago, too short a time for development of genes that protect against heart attack, Dr. Stefansson suggested. The DG031 drug being tested by DeCode Genetics affects a second gene, but one that is also involved in control of leukotrienes. Because the drug reduces leukotriene levels and inflammation, it may help African-Americans who have the variant of the hydrolase gene. 'It would make scientific, economic and particularly political sense to have a significant part of the clinical trials done in an African-American population,' Dr. Stefansson said. A spokeswoman for the black cardiologists' group, which supported the BiDil trial, said the group's officials were not ready to discuss the new gene. Dr. Troy Duster of New York University, an adviser to the federal Human Genome Project and a past president of the American Sociological Association, said he saw no objection to a trial, provided it focused on African-Americans with the risk-associated variant of the gene and took into account that people with ancestry from different regions of Africa might show variations in risk. But Dr. Charles Rotimi, a genetic epidemiologist at Howard University, said a separate study of African-Americans would not be desirable. The variant gene may be overactive in African-Americans because of their greater exposure to deleterious environments, Dr. Rotimi said. Dr. Cohn, the inventor of BiDil, said it was 'always best to study a drug in a highly responsive group,' rather than testing large populations where possible benefits to subgroups could be missed.

Subject: Making Much Out of Little
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 13:49:03 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/arts/design/11kimm.html November 11, 2005 40 Years of Making Much Out of Little By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN HERE are a few things you might not notice in Richard Tuttle's sublime retrospective at the Whitney Museum. Blue gels tint the wall at the entrance that has his early tin 'Letters' on it. The lights cast in slight shadow the shallow letters, which are a little like metal versions of toddlers' toys in cryptic alphabet shapes. 'Replace the Abstract Picture Plane' - a grid of painted plywood panels, jaunty and framed in white - is off to the right. It looks as if it stands out from the wall. That's because it does, barely: the panels extend beyond their frames by the width of the plywood (or twice that width where the plywood sheets are doubled), while the backs of the picture frames aren't quite flush with the wall. They hang a quarter of an inch away. Such whispering details, of which there are an endless number here, are at the heart of Mr. Tuttle's rapturous brand of intimism. For 40 years he has murmured the ecstasies of paying close attention to the world's infinitude of tender incidents, making oddball assemblages of prosaic ephemera, which, at first glance, belie their intense deliberation and rather monumental ambition. Never mind the humdrum materials and small scale. In the ambition department, Mr. Tuttle yields no ground to the Richard Serras of this world. He has dreamed up his work out of such ostensible nothings as a three-inch segment of plain white clothesline nailed at the middle and on both ends to an otherwise empty white wall. Notice the cord's frayed edges; where the center nail interrupts the plaits; how, because it is so vanishingly small, the cord commands a psychic space in direct disproportion to its size. Pushing the buttons of skeptics for whom such stuff doesn't even qualify as art in the first place, the work addresses anyone with open eyes and an open mind about the basic ingredients of art-making, not to mention a little sense of humor. Since the 1960's, and out of not just cord but also Styrofoam and florist wire and bubble wrap and twigs, Mr. Tuttle, now 64, has devised objects whose status is not quite sculpture or drawing or painting but some combination of the three, and whose exquisiteness is akin to jewelry. His show is a cross between a kindergarten playroom and a medieval treasury. It arrives as a second act, 30 years after his last retrospective at the Whitney traumatized the New York art world. Back then, conservatives naturally heaped scorn on Mr. Tuttle's inventions, which, as the critic Thomas Hess then responded in ArtNews, only attested to the work's deceptive radicalism. 'When you read such words as 'remorselessly and irredeemably ... egregiously ...pathetic ... a bore and a waste ... arid ... debacle ... farce' from a critic who once called Jackson Pollock 'second rate' and Willem de Kooning a 'pompier,' ' Hess wrote after Hilton Kramer's review in The New York Times, 'then it's probable that something importantly different has come to notice.' It had. But it was hard for many people to see. Mr. Tuttle started out making small paper cubes with geometric cutouts. Ostensible riffs on Donald Judd's heavy metal boxes, they substituted handmade delicacy and lightness for industrial weight, coyly suggesting a kind of innocence while extrapolating on art's fundamental role as language. 'Letters' followed, along with 'Constructed Paintings': canvases also shaped like nonsense signs, painted in catchy, offbeat colors, the shapes not sharp-edged but quavery, after faint pencil drawings. Mr. Tuttle, in nudging Minimalism toward personal touch and private speech, was here abetted by the somewhat paradoxical examples of Agnes Martin and Barnett Newman. Poetic discretion slyly combined with grandiose aspirations. The Whitney retrospective opens with his succeeding 'Cloth Pieces,' of the mid-60's, dancing across a far wall and spilling onto the floor. Exploring a no-man's land between painting and sculpture, they pick up on the same eccentric shapes as the letters. Lightly tinted, crumpled pieces of heavy fabric, hand cut and roughly hemmed, with no front or back, no up or down, made to hang on the wall or not, they also look best together rather than one at a time. Mr. Tuttle's early efforts occasionally favored metaphysics over sheer visual loveliness, although the early drawings, on which many works are based, place delicate marks just so on otherwise blank sheets of paper. They are like heavenly doodles, as ethereal as angels' breath. Organized by Madeleine Grynsztejn for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where its presentation was bigger and more strictly chronological, the exhibition occupies the Whitney's third floor, which is ordinarily not a congenial space but now has been given an almost domestic feel. Works are hung close together, with aptly unconventional irregularity. (Many of them will rotate in and out during the run of the show, as works did 30 years ago.) The Whitney curator is David Kiehl, who, in clear psychic sync with Mr. Tuttle, has made the exhibition into something of a homecoming - the installation affectionately recalling aspects of the 1975 show while casting more recent work in newly designed galleries that serve Mr. Tuttle's high-minded, obsessive-compulsive predilections. Perhaps partly in reaction to the reaction against that first retrospective and in general keeping with the art world's turn from his own postminimal austerity toward 1980's extravagance, Mr. Tuttle allowed himself an increasing opulence in the late 70's. The evolution unfolds in rooms toward the back of the show. The first has Mr. Tuttle's utterly fine wire pieces from the early 70's: almost invisible pencil lines drawn on the wall; thin wires tracing the contours of the lines and springing from the walls, casting shadows that make yet more lines. Wall assemblages from the early 80's, in an adjacent room, which seems like a world away, look baroque by comparison: twigs, blocks, thicker wire and corrugated cardboard are joined into Rube Goldbergian confections, brightly painted, divinely balanced. To these Tinkertoy devices, Mr. Tuttle added light bulbs during the late 80's. Their shimmery effect, collected in the last of the back galleries, is reminiscent of a sacristy. How you approach such art is up to you. Purely abstract, made up of endless parts, joints and painterly marks that affect happenstance, they have no central focus, no beginning, no end, but sometimes a narrative peg. A group of palm-size drawings in faux-ornate yellow cardboard frames hang across a gallery corner (the corner and frames make a triangle), bearing gently colored marks and symbols inspired by Egypt. Watercolors, loosely brushed in frames shaped like railroad tracks, suggest Chinese paintings. Floor sculptures that resemble teepees summon up the Southwest, while those early wire pieces, making shapes from simple to ornate, are explicitly meant to allude to Archaic and Rococo art. But the beauty of Mr. Tuttle's art is ultimately in its concentration on materials for their own sake, and the space they occupy. He regards these the way we hope to be regarded - individually, patiently. If what results is sometimes a trifle, so is life sometimes. There is nothing more difficult in art than to make work that looks easy. A shaman with waferboard and colored tissue paper, Mr. Tuttle operates far above the run of ready-made conceptualists with their throwaway aesthetics, because of the urgency and occasional melancholy he brings to even the simplest things. It happens that the tranquil 19th-century American Luminist painter John Frederick Kensett is one of his ancestors. With Kensett, Mr. Tuttle shares a refined respect for plain material facts and a fascination with immaterial ones like light, which verges on the spiritual. A work like '20 Pearls (12),' painted on cheap pressed wood scraps cut into florid shapes, is a mélange of nature and culture, shot through with flowery pink, its central motifs thin washes of orange-gold paint that delicately shift in changing light. Standing near '20 Pearls (12),' looking across the next two galleries in the show, you may notice how the edge of a work called 'New Mexico, New York No. 14' in the far room lines up with the edge of the wall in the nearer room on which is hanging 'Sand Tree 2.' 'New Mexico, New York No. 14' is shaped like a droopy red envelope with a needle's eye looping across its middle. 'Sand Tree 2' deploys a large, irregular green ovoid with a clutter of small wood crosses, from which issue forth broken Styrofoam chunks embedded with curling strips of red paper. The chunks skip up to the end of the wall. So from the doorway they can meet up in your line of sight with 'New Mexico, New York No. 14' - the wood crosses of one bookending the needle's eye of the other, making a fresh, third work. It is not a coincidence. Nothing ever is in Mr. Tuttle's perfect world.

Subject: Marrying Off Those Bennet Sisters
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 10:42:11 (EST)
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http://movies2.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/movies/11prid.html November 11, 2005 Marrying Off Those Bennet Sisters Again, but This Time Elizabeth Is a Looker By STEPHEN HOLDEN The sumptuous new screen adaptation of Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' has so much to recommend it that it seems almost churlish to point out that its plucky, clever heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, played by Keira Knightley, is not exactly the creature described in the 1813 novel. The second of five well-brought-up but impecunious Bennet sisters, whose fluttery mother (Brenda Blethyn) desperately schemes to marry them off to men of means, Elizabeth prevails in the novel through her wit and honesty, not through stunning physical beauty. Among the five, the belle of the ball is Elizabeth's older sister, Jane (Rosamund Pike), who is as demure and private as Elizabeth is outspoken and opinionated. But because Ms. Knightley is, in a word, a knockout, the balance has shifted. When this 20-year-old star is on the screen, which is much of the time, you can barely take your eyes off her. Her radiance so suffuses the film that it's foolish to imagine Elizabeth would be anyone's second choice. Once you've accepted this critical adjustment made by Joe Wright, a British television director in his feature film debut, 'Pride & Prejudice' gathers you up on its white horse and gallops off into the sunset. Along the way, it serves a continuing banquet of high-end comfort food perfectly cooked and seasoned to Anglophilic tastes. In its final minutes, it makes you believe in true love, the union of soul mates, happily-ever-after and all the other stuff a romantic comedy promises but so seldom delivers. For one misty-eyed moment, order reigns in the universe. If the depth and complexity of the movie can't match those of the five-hour British mini-series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth that was shown on A&E a decade ago, how could they, given the time constraints of a feature film (128 minutes, in this case)? But in a little more than two hours, Mr. Wright and the screenwriter, Deborah Moggach, have created as satisfyingly rich and robust a fusion of romance, historical detail and genial social satire as the time allows. Matthew Macfadyen finds a human dimension in the taciturn landowner Fitzwilliam Darcy that was missing in earlier, more conventionally heroic portrayals. Mr. Firth might have been far more dashing, but Mr. Macfadyen's portrayal of the character as a shy, awkward suitor whose seeming arrogance camouflages insecurity and deep sensitivity is more realistic. Isolated by his wealth, ethical high-mindedness and fierce critical intelligence, Mr. Darcy is as stubborn in his idealism as Elizabeth is in hers. The disparity between his diffidence and her forthrightness makes the lovers' failure to connect more than a delaying tactic to keep the story churning forward; it's a touching tale of misread signals. The movie unfolds as a sweeping ensemble piece in which many of the characters outside the lovers' orbit are seen through a Dickensian comic lens. Ms. Blethyn's mother is a dithery, squawking hysteric; Donald Sutherland's father a shaggy, long-suffering curmudgeon with a soft heart; and the Bennet sisters, except for Elizabeth and Jane, a gaggle of pretentious flibbertigibbets. Jena Malone, as the saucy, boy-crazy youngest daughter, Lydia, offers an amusing caricature of teenage idiocy and entitlement. William Collins (Tom Hollander), the priggish, self-satisfied clergyman Elizabeth rejects, to her mother's horror, is mocked for his short stature as well as his puffed-up airs. Late in the movie, Dame Judi Dench storms onto the screen as Mr. Darcy's imperious aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourg, to offer a tutorial on British snobbery. Elocution curdled with contempt and kept on ice; upwardly tilted facial posturing with narrowing eyes; and the deployment of artful humiliation, as when Lady Catherine coerces Elizabeth into playing the piano (very badly): all are laid out to be studied by mean-spirited future grandes dames on both sides of the Atlantic. In the film's most intoxicating scenes, the camera plunges into the thick of the crowded balls attended with delirious anticipation by the Bennet sisters and moves with the dancers as they carry on breathless, broken conversations while whirling past one another. That mood of voluptuous excitement, barely contained, is augmented by Dario Marianelli's score, which takes the sound and style of late 18th- and early 19th-century piano music in increasingly romantic directions. The movie skillfully uses visuals to comment on economic and class divisions. The humble Bennet estate, in which farm animals roam outside the house, is contrasted with some of the world's most gorgeous palaces and formal gardens, all filmed with a Realtor's drooling eye. Burghley House, a resplendent mid-16th-century palace in Lincolnshire, doubles as Lady Catherine's home, Rosings. At Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the largest private country house in England, which substitutes for Mr. Darcy's home, Pemberley, the movie pauses to make a quick tour of a sculpture gallery. For all its romantic gloss and finery, the film still reflects Austen's keen scrutiny of social mobility and the Darwinian struggle of the hungriest to advance by wielding whatever leverage is at hand. This is a world in which, for a woman, an advantageous marriage made at an early age is tantamount to safety from the jungle. As the tide of feminism that crested two decades ago recedes and the old advance-and-retreat games of courtship return, 'Pride & Prejudice' speaks wistfully to the moment. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are tantalizing early prototypes for a Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy ideal of lovers as brainy, passionate sparring partners. That the world teems with fantasies of Mr. Darcy and his ilk there is no doubt. How many of his type are to be found outside the pages of a novel, however, is another matter.

Subject: Rise of American Democracy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 10:40:11 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/books/review/13wood.html November 13, 2005 'The Rise of American Democracy': A Constant Struggle By GORDON S. WOOD This enormous book by Sean Wilentz has been in the works a long time, and the results are nothing less than monumental. An old-fashioned account of the rise of democracy during the first half of the 19th century, it is a tour de force of historical compilation and construction that more than justifies all the articles and monographs on antebellum politics written by historians over the past several decades. Wilentz, the Dayton-Stockton professor of history at Princeton, has drawn extensively on these secondary sources and on his own research. He has brought it all together into a clear and generally readable narrative. Coming in at just over a thousand pages, 'The Rise of American Democracy' is one of the longest works of history to appear recently, and this at a time when most histories and biographies are getting shorter, presumably because of our reduced attention spans. Wilentz makes no concessions to his readers' patience. He has filled his book with an extraordinary multitude of details about nearly every conceivable aspect of antebellum politics, both at the state and federal levels. Of course, since context is everything in history, excessive detail of this kind warms a historian's heart, though whether anyone except a few scholars and information-hungry graduate students will have the stamina actually to slog through such an enormous work remains to be seen. Awesome in its coverage of political events, this is a long, long read. Wilentz's first book, 'Chants Democratic' (1984), was a celebrated study of the rise of the working class in the early Republic, an especially appropriate subject for a scholar known for his devotion to liberal causes and the Democratic Party. This new book is an outgrowth of that earlier work, but it is not likely to receive similar acclaim from the scholarly left; for it very much runs against the flow of current academic trends. Most historians today, especially those writing about the period Wilentz is concerned with - the period of the early Republic from Jefferson to Lincoln - are interested in what they call 'the new political history.' They seek to transcend the usual stuff of politics - elections, parties and the political maneuvering of elite white males in government - and to provide a history that views politics through the lenses of race, gender and popular culture. So they devote themselves primarily to the symbols and theatrics of politics - the various ways common people, including women and blacks, expressed themselves and participated in the political process, whether in parades, costume or drinking toasts. These historians believe culture trumps policy and power. They explicitly reject any sort of narrative of dead white males bringing about the triumph of democracy within the two-party system. This, however, is the very subject of Wilentz's book. Wilentz is well aware of the new political history. Indeed, elsewhere he has expressed his contempt for it, assailing it as filled with 'bargain basement Nietzsche and Foucault, admixed with earnest American do-goodism, that still passes for 'theory' in much of the academy.' In opposition to the fashionable emphasis on culture, he wants, he says, to highlight the independent existence and importance of politics. However significant social and cultural developments were to the American people in the early Republic, these developments, he claims, were perceived primarily in political terms - 'as struggles over contending ideas of democracy.' From the late 19th century to our own day we are apt to see economics, society or culture as the ground for politics and political institutions. But, Wilentz says, for the people of the early Republic, politics, government and constitutional order, not economics, not society, not culture, were still the major means by which the world and the men who ran it were interpreted. He therefore feels justified in making this in-your-face challenge to the new political historians and in writing this old-fashioned narrative. By focusing on men like Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln, however, he does 'not mean to say the presidents and other great men were solely responsible for the vicissitudes of American politics,' since ordinary Americans had a profound influence on the exercise of power. 'But just as political leaders did not create American democracy out of thin air, so the masses of Americans did not simply force their way into the corridors of power.' Leaders were always important. It is a fact of life, he writes, 'that some individuals have more influence on history than others,' even if they cannot make history as they please. Conceived as a narrative, his book, Wilentz explains, 'can be read as a chronicle of American politics from the Revolution to the Civil War with the history of democracy at its center, or as an account of how democracy arose in the United States (and with what consequences) in the context of its time.' His huge work is divided into three sections, each a good-sized book in itself: the first (almost 200 pages), entitled 'The Crisis of the New Order,' on the Jeffersonians; the second and the heart of the book (340 pages), entitled 'Democracy Ascendant,' on the Jacksonians; and the third (270 pages), entitled 'Slavery and the Crisis of American Democracy,' on the coming of the Civil War. These sections are bounded by a prologue and an epilogue. The rise of democracy, Wilentz points out, was not a given from the outset. It 'developed piecemeal, by fits and starts, at the state and local as well as the national level.' It emerged, he says, through a constant struggle among different groups that cut across distinctions of wealth, power and interest (though they often claim the same democratic ideals). In order to demonstrate this struggle, Wilentz takes us through all the national elections (and some of the state ones), the presidential administrations, many of the Congressional bills passed and defeated, and much of the complicated political maneuvering of the period. This accumulation of detail nicely recaptures some of the contingency of day-to-day politics that the participants experienced. Along the way Wilentz offers some beautifully drawn and concise vignettes of important events - like the antislavery printer Elijah Lovejoy's martyrdom, the Amistad affair, the Dorr Rebellion of dissidents in Rhode Island and John Brown's raid - that are better than many book-length accounts. We can get some idea of where Wilentz is coming from by noting the book that seems to have most influenced him - Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s Pulitzer Prize-winning history, 'The Age of Jackson.' Before Schlesinger's book appeared in 1945, Wilentz writes, 'historians thought of American democracy as the product of an almost mystical frontier or agrarian egalitarianism.' But Schlesinger, reflecting the New Deal perspective of the time, 'toppled that interpretation by placing democracy's origins firmly in the context of the founding generation's ideas about the few and the many, and by seeing democracy's expansion as an outcome of struggles between classes, not sections.' 'The Age of Jackson,' Wilentz says, located the origin of modern liberal politics in the belief of Jefferson and Jackson that the demands of the future, in Schlesinger's words, 'will best be met by a society in which no single group is able to sacrifice democracy and liberty to its own interests.' In 1945, the interest group Schlesinger was most worried about was what he labeled 'the business community' or 'the capitalists.' Although Wilentz is too sophisticated to posit something as crude as 'the business community,' he nevertheless believes that some sort of class struggle lay behind the politics of the antebellum period. In other words, he writes as a good liberal, but an old-fashioned New Deal one. Like Schlesinger in 1945, he wants in 2005 to speak to the liberalism of the modern Democratic Party. By suggesting that the race, gender and cultural issues that drive much of the modern left are not central to the age of Jackson, Wilentz seems to imply that they should not be central to the future of the present-day Democratic Party. As he was for Schlesinger, Andrew Jackson is Wilentz's hero. Jackson's presidential victory in 1828, he writes, 'marked the culmination of more than 30 years of American democratic development.' In fact, Wilentz may help to recover the descriptive rubric 'the age of Jackson,' which has fallen out of favor since Schlesinger wrote his book. In his account of the politics of the time, Wilentz includes all the usual personalities and anecdotes - the Eaton affair, the clashes with Calhoun, the Bank veto - and he generally comes down on the side of Jackson and the Jacksonians. He even makes credible Jackson's radical monetary actions, including the bizarre policy of removing all the federal government's specie deposits from state banks and placing them in the Treasury vaults, where they would have little effect on the money supply or the economy. In 1957, Bray Hammond, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning study, 'Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War,' severely criticized Jackson's banking and monetary policies, suggesting that they were backed by state bankers and others who wanted a free hand in running their commercial affairs. But Wilentz shows that Jackson, unlike Jefferson, was no promoter of laissez-faire economics. Instead, his antibank policies were devised to keep private interests, particularly speculative and business interests, out of the government. 'The key to Jacksonian politics,' Wilentz says, was 'a belief that relatively small groups of self-interested men were out to destroy majority rule and, with it, the Constitution.' The Jacksonian Democrats 'assumed that politics and government institutions remained the primary locus of power,' and that power was to be used to protect the majority of 'producers' - farmers, mechanics and other workers in the society - from 'a nonproducer elite' composed of bankers, speculators and other moneyed men. 'If they did not invent democracy,' he writes, 'the Jacksonians did make this way of thinking the basic credo of American liberal democracy.' There's a hint in all this history that the present-day Democratic Party might greatly improve its bearings by going back to its Jacksonian roots. These days, most historians would not look to Jackson for anything worthwhile. Indeed, modern scholars have bashed Jackson nearly as much as they have Jefferson, picturing him as a raging fanatic, a passionate slaveholder and a violent Indian-hater who removed Native Americans to the trans-Mississippi West and created the 'trail of tears.' This sort of criticism did not exist 60 years ago. Schlesinger never even mentioned Indian removal in 'The Age of Jackson'; in fact, he has no entry for Indians in his index. Unlike Schlesinger, however, Wilentz confronts the issue head on, offering a generally impartial account. Nor does he deny the many contradictions and dilemmas of Jacksonian egalitarianism, especially on racial matters and slavery. He concedes, for example, that the Jacksonians celebrated the expansion of white suffrage in some of the Northern states in the 1830's, giving the vote even to white aliens, at the very time they were taking the franchise away from free blacks who had voted for a generation or more (mostly for Federalists and Whigs). Wilentz also admits that the Jacksonians tolerated slavery and were friendlier than their opponents to efforts that would widen its spread. But he denies the charge of some historians that this made the Jacksonians a proslavery party. In short, he makes no attempt to hide the flaws of either Jackson or the Jacksonian Democrats. He does, however, provide as powerful a defense of Jackson and Jacksonianism as we are likely to get in this day and age. Wilentz insists that the various recent interpretations of the Jacksonian era contain only partial truths. These are the studies that emphasize an entrepreneurial consensus over economic conflicts; that believe religion, ethnicity and other cultural issues drove Jacksonian politics; that contend the Jacksonian Democratic Party was an alliance of slaveholders and racists eager to clear out the Indians in order to make the imperial republic safe for slavery; and that depict Jacksonianism as a movement of subsistence farmers and urban workers resisting capitalism. 'All of them,' he says, 'slight the dynamic and unstable character of the Democracy's rise and development, and the primacy of politics and political thinking in the conflicts of the era.' And none of them can take away from the fact that the Jacksonians 'created the first mass democratic national political party in modern history.' Wilentz is especially anxious to distinguish the Jacksonian Democrats from the Whigs. The Democrats, he writes, were economic radicals intent on creating a hard-money currency regulated by the federal government. By contrast, the Whigs believed in a 'credit-and-paper, boom-and-bust' economic system. Moreover, he denies the claim of some historians that the Whigs were the optimistic party of active government and the Democrats the pessimistic party of laissez-faire. If anything, he says, the opposite was true. To Wilentz the Whigs resemble the Republicans of today. 'As long as the Whigs appeared to be the party of the rich and privileged,' he says, 'they would never win a national election.' But in 1840 they reinvented themselves as the party of the people. 'For the Whigs to purport to represent the people,' Wilentz says, 'they had to talk more like the people, or how they thought the people talked.' So they stressed American exceptionalism, denied the existence of classes and 'with a combination of calculation and improvisation' mastered the art of popular flattery, repackaging their message in order to bamboozle the public. The Whigs even had their own boy genius, the 43-year-old insider-manipulator Thurlow Weed. The Whigs, Wilentz writes, were especially successful in 'reorienting debates along ethical and cultural lines that cut across differences of wealth and class.' If they could have conceived of gay marriage, they would have used the issue. Good Democrat that he is, Wilentz cannot quite believe that the Whigs in 1840 (any more than the present-day Republicans) truly represented the majority of the people. The Democrats were natural democrats, the Whigs artificial ones. The Democrats never doubted that 'they were the constitutional party of the sovereign people.' Thus it was only a matter of time before the fraudulence of the Whigs would be exposed. It was the issue of slavery that finally destroyed the Whig Party. (Although slavery broke the Democrats apart, it did not destroy them.) A merica's politicians tried from the beginning to table the explosive issue of slavery - to bury it, postpone it and hope against hope that it would just go away. But it would not disappear. By the 1840's the many-sided conflicts over American democracy, Wilentz says, came to focus on the fate of slavery. By then it had become increasingly clear that the free-labor North and the slave-ridden South had developed two very different systems of democracy. While those two systems often appealed to the same ideals and values, and were 'linked through the federal government and the national political parties,' they were 'fundamentally antagonistic.' Despite the leaders' attempts to suppress these antagonisms, 'by 1860 the conflict could no longer be contained, as a democratic election sparked Southern secession and the war that would determine American democracy's future.' It is one of the many ironies of American history that the wildfire spread of democratic politics in both the North and the South eventually made it impossible to solve the problem of slavery peaceably. To learn how the triumph of democracy nearly destroyed the United States, this book is a good place to start. Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University professor and professor of history at Brown University.

Subject: U.S. Innovators
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 10:20:22 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/business/yourmoney/13invent.html November 13, 2005 Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge? By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN Baltimore WHEN James E. West was 8 years old, he propped himself on his bed's brass footboard one afternoon and stretched to plug the cord of a radio he had repaired into a ceiling outlet. It was one of his first experiments. Mr. West's hand sealed to the light socket as 120 volts of electricity shimmied through his body, freezing him in place until his brother knocked him from the footboard and onto the floor. Like more storied inventors who preceded him, he was quickly hooked on the juice - even as he lay shivering from that first encounter. 'I became fascinated by electricity after that, just completely fascinated,' recalled Mr. West, now 74 and an award-winning research professor at Johns Hopkins University. 'I needed to learn everything I could about it.' Over the past several decades, he has secured 50 domestic and more than 200 foreign patents on inventions relating to his pioneering explorations of electrically charged materials and recording devices. According to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, an organization in Akron, Ohio, that counts Mr. West among its inductees, about 90 percent of all microphones used today in devices like cellphones, acoustic equipment and toys derive from electronic transducers that he helped to develop in the early 1960's. Inventors have always held a special place in American history and business lore, embodying innovation and economic progress in a country that has long prized individual creativity and the power of great ideas. In recent decades, tinkerers and researchers have given society microchips, personal computers, the Internet, balloon catheters, bar codes, fiber optics, e-mail systems, hearing aids, air bags and automated teller machines, among a bevy of other devices. Mr. West stands firmly in this tradition - a tradition that he said may soon be upended. He fears that corporate and public nurturing of inventors and scientific research is faltering and that America will pay a serious economic and intellectual penalty for this lapse. A larger pool of Mr. West's colleagues echoes his concerns. 'The scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength,' the National Academy of Sciences observed in a report released last month. 'Although many people assume that the United States will always be a world leader in science and technology, this may not continue to be the case inasmuch as great minds and ideas exist throughout the world. We fear the abruptness with which a lead in science and technology can be lost - and the difficulty of recovering a lead once lost, if indeed it can be regained at all.' A COMMITTEE of leading scientists, corporate executives and educators oversaw the drafting of the report, entitled 'Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.' To spur American innovation, it recommends enhanced math and science education in grade school and high school, a more hospitable environment for scientific research and training at the college and graduate levels, an increase in federal funds for basic scientific research and a mix of tax incentives and other measures to foster high-paying jobs in groundbreaking industries. The report cites China and India among a number of economically promising countries that may be poised to usurp America's leadership in innovation and job growth. 'For the first time in generations, the nation's children could face poorer prospects than their parents and grandparents did,' the report said. 'We owe our current prosperity, security and good health to the investments of past generations, and we are obliged to renew those commitments.' The Industrial Research Institute, an organization in Arlington, Va., that represents some of the nation's largest corporations, is also concerned that the academic and financial support for scientific innovation is lagging in the United States. The group's most recent data indicate that from 1986 to 2001, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan all awarded more doctoral degrees in science and engineering than did the United States. Between 1991 and 2003, research and development spending in America trailed that of China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan - in China's case by billions of dollars. Mr. West's personal journey has involved overcoming school segregation and racism, a reading disability and the downsizing of Bell Labs, the legendary New Jersey research center where he once worked, and he fantasizes about a day when children hold inventors and scientists in higher esteem than hip-hop stars and professional athletes. 'We need to bring the view back in this country that we're willing to make investments for the future because everything that's in the cellphone and the iPod today was known 20 years ago,' he said. 'I think scientists and inventors are a very peculiar breed in that we're not in it for the money - we're in it for the knowledge.' IT all begins with a tingle of curiosity. 'If I had a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, anything that could be opened was in danger,' Mr. West recalled of his childhood. 'I had this need to know what was inside.' That need links Mr. West to a rich tradition in American life and civilization. Benjamin Franklin, his kite lofted into the sky to coax electricity from the clouds, is the totemic American inventor whose financial acumen gave him time to ponder and then spout a series of inventions that included a stove, catheter, glass harmonica, bifocals and, of course, the lightning rod - which he declined to patent so it would be freely available to the public. No less a figure than Abraham Lincoln regarded the patent system, and the protections it offered for what he called the 'fire of genius,' as one of history's signature achievements. Shortly after President Lincoln's death, Thomas Alva Edison filed a patent for his first invention, an electric vote recorder. Edison became widely heralded not only as the creator of a longer-lasting light bulb and the phonograph but also as the inventor of the invention factory. When the conglomerate that eventually became General Electric began buying out Mr. Edison's operations in the 1890's, it represented the beginning of the corporate absorption of the inventive act. 'Edison marks the end of the individual inventor and the precorporate phase of invention,' said Randall E. Stross, a contributor to The New York Times who is also working on an Edison biography titled 'The Wizard,' which Crown Publishing plans to release in 2007. In 1932, a year after Edison died, corporations secured more patents than individuals for the first time, and a year later the Census Bureau eliminated 'inventor' as a job class, according to Technology Review, a trade publication. During the golden era of corporate research and development that followed Edison's death, G.E., DuPont, AT&T and eventually Lockheed, Eli Lilly, Intel and other corporate giants came to dominate innovation. And as that happened, some tensions arose between corporations and independent inventors and researchers. While tipping their hats to the scores of breakthroughs that have emerged from corporate labs, inventors also say they are concerned that bottom-line pressures at many companies may cause pure research to be eclipsed by innovation tied to rapid commercialization - leading to routine refinements of existing products rather than to breathtaking advances. A tug of war has emerged between individual inventors and corporations over proposed legislative changes in patent laws, with the inventors arguing that possible revisions would benefit the business giants. Corporations have argued that the system is equitable but flawed. Dean Kamen, an inventor whose creations include the wearable insulin pump and the Segway transporter, recently testified before Congress, calling for changes in the patent system that also preserve protections for individual inventors. Despite those tussles, Mr. Stross says he believes that recent technological advancements have helped to move innovation out of the corporate sphere and to 'give the lone inventor access to inexpensive tools and resources to once again be master of one's own lab.' Robert S. Langer, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a biotechnology pioneer, says that he shares the concerns raised in the National Academy of Sciences report but that he remains confident about the country's prospects. 'While I think we can always do better, I am optimistic about the spirit of innovation in this country,' he said. 'I think we hold a lead, but no lead is unassailable.' For Mr. West, whose career has spanned stretches in creative havens like Bell Labs, inventing has meant brainstorming sessions with fellow tinkerers and long hours walking the corridors of his own mind. 'I spend a great deal of the hours that I'm awake within myself,' he said. 'You never want to stop doing it, especially when it's a pleasure. It's vital to my existence and I couldn't live if I wasn't an inventor.' Ilene Busch-Vishniac, a Johns Hopkins professor and inventor who has collaborated with Mr. West for more than two decades, most recently on acoustical research, called him the quintessential explorer. 'For an inventor to be successful they have to think outside of the box and propose things that are wildly different,' she said. 'Secondly, you need to be able to figure out how to do the tests that evaluate whether something is plausible. Jim is great at both of those things, but especially at figuring out the tests.' Mr. West began testing his limits at an early age, defying his family's wishes that he become a dentist and setting his sights on a doctorate in physics. To dissuade him, his father introduced him to other African-American friends with doctorates - all of whom had failed to land university posts and held blue-collar jobs instead. Still, Mr. West pressed on, coached by a series of mentors, memorizing text and numbers to mask his reading problems, building on his mathematical gifts and eventually enrolling as an undergraduate in physics at Temple University. AFTER a summer internship at Bell Labs, he invented a pair of headphones; enthralled by his lab work, he decided to forgo his physics studies and to stay on at Bell Labs, where he developed microphone technologies and explored a range of interests in acoustics. When Bell Labs became part of Lucent after AT&T reorganized, the scope of its research operations shifted, and Mr. West eventually moved on as well. At Ms. Busch-Vishniac's invitation, he joined Johns Hopkins in 2000. Although he walks with a slight limp caused by a series of lower back surgeries, Mr. West looks much younger than his age. Like all inspired inventors whose fertile imaginations make them both researchers and artists, Mr. West also still manages to bring a Zen-like focus to his endeavors. 'If I'm concerned about what an electron does in an amorphous mass then I become an electron,' he allowed. 'I try to have that picture in my mind and to behave like an electron, looking at the problem in all its dimensions and scales.' He and Ms. Busch-Vishniac are currently analyzing solutions to noise problems in hospitals, and they are mentoring two local high school students and a Johns Hopkins graduate student who have joined their team as young inventors. The graduate student, Emily Nalven, 22, said she decided to join Mr. West after taking classes with him. 'Even on the days he didn't lecture, he came to class, sat in the front row, took notes and spent his time after class answering student questions,' she said in an e-mail message. 'One day, I asked him something about sound waves and he answered my question, then came back the next day with an even more detailed explanation to ensure that I truly understood.' The seeds of future inventions are sown in these kinds of interactions, but the possible erosion of fertile academic and financial soil in America concerns Mr. West and many others in science. 'The inventiveness of individuals depends on the context, including sociopolitical, economic, cultural and institutional factors,' said Merton C. Flemings, a professor emeritus at M.I.T. who holds 28 patents and oversees the Lemelson-M.I.T. Program for inventors. 'We remain one of the most inventive countries in the world. But all the signs suggest that we won't retain that pre-eminence much longer. The future is very bleak, I'm afraid.' Mr. Flemings said that private and public capital was not being adequately funneled to the kinds of projects and people that foster invention. The study of science is not valued in enough homes, he observed, and science education in grade school and high school is sorely lacking. But quantitative goals, he said, are not enough. Singapore posts high national scores in mathematics, he said, but does not have a reputation for churning out new inventions. In fact, he added, researchers from Singapore have studied school systems in America to try to glean the source of something ineffable and not really quantifiable: creativity. 'In addition to openness, tolerance is essential in an inventive modern society,' a report sponsored by the Lemelson-M.I.T. Program said last year. 'Creative people, whether artists or inventive engineers, are often nonconformists and rebels. Indeed, invention itself can be perceived as an act of rebellion against the status quo.' THOSE who keep an eye on corporate behavior say they think that sober-minded risk taking - and the support of daring research for research's sake - also needs to be on the strategic menus of more companies. 'When inventors work independently, the invention itself is seen as an opportunity, whereas in the corporate world accidents are seen as failures,' said Peter Arnell, a marketing consultant who coaches companies about innovation. 'When people exist outside of the corporate model and have vision and passion, then accidents and getting lost are beautiful things.' Nathan Myhrvold, part of Microsoft's early brain trust and the former head of its heavily endowed research arm, founded Intellectual Ventures, a fund that he says spends 'millions of dollars' annually to support individual inventors in long-term projects. Mr. Myhrvold started his fund about five years ago after he retired from Microsoft; he now backs about 20 inventors in such fields as nanotechnology, optics, computing, biotechnology and medical devices. 'As far as we know, we're the only people who are doing this - which means we're either incredibly smart or incredibly dumb,' Mr. Myhrvold said. 'There's a network of venture capitalists for start-ups that have created thousands and thousands of businesses, but very little for inventors.' Mr. Myhrvold says that most public and academic grants are for investigating well-defined research problems - and not for backing, as he does, 'an invention before it exists.' His staff of about 50 people files about 25 patent applications a month on behalf of inventors and his fund. He and his staff also help inventors refine ideas, pay for their time and labor and share ownership stakes in projects with them. 'We all love the goose that lays the golden eggs but somehow we've forgotten about the goose,' Mr. Myhrvold said. 'This decade I'm hoping will be the decade of the invention.' Whether or not a new inventive age is coming in America, Mr. West says he plans to continue doing what he's always done. He and Ms. Busch-Vishniac debate, regularly and vociferously, the merits of their respective ideas. But both say their debates are authentic exchanges of viewpoints, not games of one-upmanship. 'You can't have a big ego and be a great inventor,' Mr. West said. 'You constantly have to be listening and evaluating.' Even though he is halfway through his eighth decade, he is pursuing other new projects - collaborating with a colleague at Georgia Tech, for example, to explore improved methods of teleconferencing. Inventing, he says, is the intellectual bicycle that he rides each day. Looking back over the years, Mr. West says he has often gone down the wrong intellectual path. But, he says, that's just how inventors do their thing. 'I think I've had more failures than successes, but I don't see the failures as mistakes because I always learned something from those experiences,' Mr. West said. 'I see them as having not achieved the initial goal, nothing more than that.'

Subject: In Zimbabwe
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 09:50:55 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/international/africa/13zimbabwe.html November 13, 2005 In Zimbabwe, Homeless Belie Leader's Claim By MICHAEL WINES BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - President Robert G. Mugabe has one word for reports that Operation Drive Out Trash, the urban-demolition campaign aimed at slum dwellers that his government describes as a civic beautification program, has rendered thousands of his impoverished citizens homeless. 'Nonsense,' he told ABC News in an interview broadcast on Nov. 3. 'Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands. Where are the thousands? You go there now and see whether those thousands are there. Where are they? A figment of their imagination.' Clearly, Mr. Mugabe has not been to Bulawayo. Just three miles west of the center of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Robson Tembo and his wife, Ticole, live in the open air in a small pen, 12 feet by 12 feet, built of deadwood and scrap. Rows of plastic grocery sacks hold the assets they have collected over 72 years. Five miles north, Nokuthula Dube, 22, her two daughters and two orphaned relatives are squatting in an unfinished two-room house of cinder blocks. During a reporter's recent visit, an unidentified woman lay curled up on the concrete floor of the house's only closet, sleeping. On the other side of town, Gertrude Moyo, 28, lives with her four children and seven other families in tents, pitched in the bush. More than simple homelessness binds the three families. Until a few months ago, they all lived in Killarney, a shantytown with an improbable name that had housed Bulawayo's less fortunate citizens since the early 1980's. Today, Killarney is a moonscape of sunbaked dirt, scrub and burned-out rubble. Last May and June, police officers reduced its huts to wreckage, burned their remains and routed the area's more than 800 residents as part of Operation Drive Out Trash. 'They had iron bars as long as this,' Mr. Tembo said of the police, stretching his arms wide. 'They demolished part of every hut, and then they told us to destroy the rest.' Mr. Tembo said he refused, and so the police finished the job, leveling his two-room home built of wooden poles and metal walls. More than five months after the demolitions began, Zimbabwe's government continues to insist that the destruction of 133,000 households, by its own count, was a long-overdue slum-clearance effort that has caused its citizens only temporary inconvenience. The government contends that most of those made homeless have been relocated to the rural villages where they lived before migrating to the cities, mostly to look for work. Others, it says, will be placed in thousands of new homes being built to replace the illegal huts that have been razed. Mr. Mugabe has rejected the United Nations' attempt to raise $30 million to aid the victims of Operation Drive Out Trash on the ground that Zimbabwe has no crisis. Despite a public appeal by Secretary General Kofi Annan on Oct. 31, the government so far has rejected any assistance that implies that its evicted citizens are in distress. Yet many are in great distress. Relying on the estimates of Zimbabwe's government, the United Nations says 700,000 people were displaced by the May and June demolitions and a later campaign, Operation Going Forward, No Turning Back, in which police officers routed those who tried to return to the cities and rebuild. An August survey of more than 23,000 Zimbabwean households by the South Africa-based advocacy group ActionAid International places the number of those made homeless as high as 1.2 million - more than 1 in 10 Zimbabweans. Where many have gone is a mystery. The government carted thousands to holding camps that were later disbanded, and transported thousands more by trucks into the countryside and left them there, ostensibly near their rural homes. Those people are registered with local officials, but almost certainly, they are but a fraction of the total. In the Nkayi district, a vast expanse of bush terrain north of Bulawayo with 110,000 people, fewer than 700 families are known to have been relocated, according to church officials involved in assisting them. Similarly, the government's home-building plan has fallen far short of its promises and of the demand. Mr. Mugabe pledged three trillion Zimbabwe dollars for construction in July - about $30 million in American dollars, and dropping steadily given Zimbabwe's 400 percent inflation rate. But the national treasury is all but bare, and in Bulawayo, where 1,000 homes were promised in short order, fewer than 100 are being built. So where are the homeless? 'This remains what I'd call an invisible humanitarian crisis - invisible to international eyes, the reason being that those who were displaced have been dispersed,' said David Mwaniki, who oversees ActionAid's work in Zimbabwe. Many are probably with relatives; a few have fled the country. Others are in the bush, surviving off the kindness of neighbors. Many more have vanished into hovels and tents and half-built houses. The United Nations says 32,000 of Bulawayo's 675,000 residents lost their homes and were ordered to leave the city during the demolition campaign; city officials put the number at 45,000. Torden Moyo, who directs an alliance of local civic groups called Bulawayo Agenda, says there is no doubt where they have gone. 'Ninety-five percent are now back,' he said. 'They're still struggling, still homeless, still penniless, still shelterless. They've been made refugees in their own country.' Killarney is proof of that. Before the demolitions, it was dirt-poor but thriving, subdivided into three villages with stores and services. All that has been razed and burned. Northeast of town, not far off the road to Bulawayo's airport, Nokuthula Dube, her own children and an orphaned niece and nephew share the two rooms of a half-finished home. Ten stunted cornstalks and some greens grow in a makeshift plot outside, but the five live on donated cornmeal from a nearby church. Ms. Dube returned from her niece's school in June to find her home in Killarney's Village One wrecked and on fire. Homeless and pregnant, she lost her housecleaning job in a nearby suburb. Her husband, Nomen Moyo, had to move away to keep his job as a gardener. Ms. Dube said she and the children walked for a week, sleeping by the road, before finding the shell where they now live. In September, Ms. Dube had a daughter, Mtokhozisi. She left her 3-year-old daughter, Nomathembe, and the two orphans - 10-year-old Pentronella and 14-year-old Kevin - alone while she gave birth in a local hospital. She walked home from the hospital with her newborn. 'I left in the morning,' she said, 'and arrived around 3.' A few weeks ago, a man who said he was the house's owner appeared. 'He wants us to leave,' she said. 'He's claiming that this is his house.' Asked where they would go, she said, 'Only God knows.' Across town, Gertrude Moyo, who lived in Killarney for 23 years before being driven out on June 11, lives in a 10-foot-by-15-foot tent with her four children. Her husband died a year ago. She said the police first took the family to a transit camp for the homeless, then to the tent. Mrs. Moyo said she was told to wait for a new home. In fact, the government is building a row of houses next to her tent, and says they are for victims of the demolitions. But Ms. Moyo said the police had told her that her family was going not to a new home, but to a plot of farmland north of town. Robson Tembo and his wife drifted from one church to a second, then to a succession of relatives' homes before finally returning in late September to Killarney's Village Three. They built their scrap-metal enclosure not far from the two-room home in which they once lived, and which the police had razed in May. Once a miner, Mr. Tembo is now too infirm to walk very far, much less work. A son who cleans houses gives the couple maize; a second sometimes brings money. Mr. Tembo's great worry, he said, is that the police, who cruise up and down Killarney's main dirt road, will evict the couple again. 'I'm from Malawi,' he said. 'But if they tear down this hut of mine, I will stay here, because I have nowhere to go in Malawi.' Local church workers, who have assumed much of the burden of finding and caring for the homeless here, say that about 240 of Killarney's residents have returned, many living in the sort of scrap-metal lean-to's that the Tembos cobbled together. Down a dirt path, past the charred remains of huts in what was once Killarney Village Two, Mhulupheki Tshuma, 29, his wife, Ncadisani, and their 20-month-old son survive by scavenging plastic containers and collecting white pebbles, which Mr. Tshuma sells as decorations for graves. Two other children have been sent to live with relatives elsewhere in town. Mr. Tshuma was born here, and his parents died here. The family lived in a two-room mud hut when the police arrived in early June and burned it down. 'The only thing I took out,' Ms. Tshuma said, 'was the children.' After wandering for three months, they returned on Sept. 4 and built a hovel. The police demolished it on Sept. 29. Now they live in the open air, their living space bounded by knee-high mud walls and pieces of rubbish. Mr. Tshuma said the police returned early this month and beat him roundly, telling him he had to leave. But that is impossible. 'We came here,' he said, 'because we didn't have anywhere else to go.'

Subject: UN on Zimbabwe
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 16:37:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Taken from the UN internet site: Annan appeals to Zimbabwe to let UN help homeless after Government rejects aid Kofi Annan 31 October 2005 – Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed to the Government in Zimbabwe to allow the United Nations to provide humanitarian assistance to the country after the authorities rejected the world body's aid amid reports that tens of thousands of people there are still homeless and in need of help. 'The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe,' his spokesman said, citing reports of continued suffering months after the eviction campaign that began in May 2005. Mr. Annan reacted with dismay to a decision by the Government to reject offers of UN assistance. In an official communication, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development stated 'that there is no longer a compelling need to provide temporary shelter as there is no humanitarian crisis' and claimed that Government interventions have addressed the most urgent shelter needs, according to the spokesman. The Government's position stands in stark contradiction to the findings contained in a report by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Human Settlements Issues in Zimbabwe, Anna Tibaijuka, as well as most recent reports from the UN and the humanitarian community. 'A large number of vulnerable groups, including the recent evictees as well as other vulnerable populations, remain in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, including shelter,' spokesman Stephane Dujarric stressed. He added that there is 'no clear evidence' that subsequent Government efforts have significantly benefited these people. The Government's decision to decline assistance comes despite extensive consultations on relief efforts between the UN and the authorities. With the impending rainy season threatening to worsen the living conditions of the affected population, the Secretary-General made a strong appeal to the Government of Zimbabwe to 'ensure that those who are out in the open, without shelter and without means of sustaining their livelihoods, are provided with humanitarian assistance in collaboration with the United Nations and the humanitarian community in order to avert a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation,' his spokesman said.

Subject: Mugabe receives standing ovation in South Africa
From: Mik
To: Mik
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 16:46:12 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Let's put this into perspective, this is a relatively recent article: South Africans don’t support Mugabe By Ian Macdonald, published 24/05/2005 The South African government has been criticised for engaging in what it calls “quiet diplomacy” with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. During an event to mark the 10th anniversary of democracy at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Mugabe received a standing ovation from the attendees, seen at the time as tacit approval of his controversial land reform policies that have devastated the Zimbabwean economy.

Subject: African Unity and Mugabe
From: Mik
To: Mik
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 16:52:59 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Africa hopes for new beginning Flags of all African nations are carried by South African soldiers The AU is touted as the face of a new, democratic Africa The first summit of the African Union has opened in Durban, South Africa, amidst flamboyant celebrations and calls for a new beginning for the troubled continent. outh African President Thabo Mbeki, the first chairman of the AU, called the new organisation a chance for Africa to take its 'rightful place' in global affairs. 'The time has come that we must end the marginalisation of Africa,' he said in a speech at the spectacular opening ceremony. 'We must end many centuries in which many on our globe despise the people of our continent.' The new organisation is intended to be people-orientated, in contrast to the 'dictators' club' of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was formally wound up on Monday. It will also have 'teeth' and proper authority, with the first task on its books the creation of a Peace and Security Council, which, in turn, will establish an African peacekeeping force. An ultimate aim is for the organisation to have a single African parliament, court of justice and central bank, although leaders acknowledge it will be several years before they are likely to take shape. ..... Such nicwe words.... butr guess what: And while the AU is intended to promote good governance, there has been criticism of the leaders' acceptance of Robert Mugabe, a more controversial attendee of the AU's launch ceremony.

Subject: IMF on Zimbabwe
From: Mik
To: Mik
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 17:15:09 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The International Monetary Fund says Zimbabwe's gross domestic product will fall 7 percent this year but the African nation projects a 2-percent rise. President Robert Mugabe also disputes the International Monetary Fund projection that Zimbabwe's inflation will hit 400 percent this year, the BBC reported. Zimbabwe's program of destroying shantytown traders has reduced activity and people's incomes. The seizure since 2000 of white-owned farms has crippled agricultural production, led to food shortages and boosted unemployment 70 percent, the Washington-based monetary agency said. 'Without a bold change in policy direction, the economic outlook will remain bleak, with particularly detrimental effects on the poorest segments of the population', the IMF said. HARARE, Zimbabwe, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe's land reform is to blame for the food shortages as those given land since 2000 knew little about farming, the deputy agriculture minister admits. Deputy Agriculture Minister Sylvester Nguni was quoted in the state-owned Herald as saying while a few of those given land were committed to agricultural production, many others were doing 'nothing' on the farms, reports the BBC. Critics also have blamed the seizure of most of the land from white people for the food crisis. The United Nations has estimated as many as 3 million people will need food aid this year. The world body also has criticized the government for refusing aid to people made homeless by housing demolitions, the report said.

Subject: Give Peas a Chance
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 09:42:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/books/review/15ELLISL.html May 15, 2005 Give Peas a Chance By SARAH ELLIS THE PEA BLOSSOM By Hans Christian Andersen. Retold and illustrated by Amy Lowry Poole. HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (1805-75) was fascinated by the future. In ''The Swineherd'' he invented a surveillance device, a cooking pot that reveals what everyone in town is having for dinner. In ''The Philosopher's Stone'' he imagined the ultimate Webcam, a mirrored room that shows the doings of the whole world. ''The pictures on the walls were alive and moving; they showed everything that was taking place, no matter where it was happening; all one had to have were the time and the desire to look.'' Andersen's passion for devices is one link from his time to ours that seems particularly clear this year, the bicentennial of his birth. Another reason for the survival and wide-ranging popularity of his work is his unfettered exploration of desire. When he wrote of the desire for adventure, status, respect, acceptance, love and a chance to be fully human, he wrote without the safety nets of irony or a mature acceptance of the human condition. His sensibility is rare in a world of cool postmodern detachment, in which we value seeing through things more than we value simply looking at them. Children, however, have never much liked the po-mo stance and, like a child, Andersen took the unflinching stance of ''I want it.'' Nowhere is this raw intensity more evident than in his stories of the desire to cheat death. One of the lesser-known death-cheating stories is one whose title is usually translated as ''Five Peas From the Same Pod.'' Dating from the middle of Andersen's career, it begins jauntily with the musings of five peas as they grow in their pod and wonder what life holds. When they emerge into the world, a boy with a peashooter sends them off to their various destinies. Three become pigeon food, one ends up in a gutter and the fifth lands on a windowsill, where it begins to grow and blossom. Inside the room a poor young girl, dying from one of those 19th-century wasting illnesses, observes the growing plant and takes inspiration from its beauty and its unlikely survival. She recovers. Amy Lowry Poole dusts the story off and gives it new clothes in a picture-book version she calls simply ''The Pea Blossom.'' As she sets the story near Beijing, the new clothes are Chinese. Poole studied scroll painting in China, and she uses the tale as a vehicle for her illustration medium, paintings on rice paper. The pictures are gentle and controlled, and they are an unexpectedly good fit for Andersen. In his world everything is alive, from peas to darning needles to shirt collars. Poole captures this animation in her decorative settings -- a tree whose leaves are composed of animal shapes; a glimpse underground to a bustling, kinetic world of snakes, worms, lizards and growing vegetables. In contrast, she shows restraint in her humanizing of the peas. No big eyes or accessories here, just a simple face and a pair of sketchy, stubby arms, relying on their roundness to give them a delicious fat-baby look. In the text, Poole tailors the fate of the peas to the Chinese setting as well, as two peas end up in the emperor's rice bowl. She adds details from Chinese folklore, legends of sun and moon. All these amendments are very appropriate for Andersen, who was a traveler, fascinated by world folklore. He once wrote that he wanted to ''walk every radius, so to speak, in the circle of the fairy tale.'' The Chinese setting also solves a potential problem this 19th-century story poses for contemporary readers. A dying child and the redemptive powers of nature and beauty are themes that can skate very close to sentimentality. Andersen was well aware of this pitfall, and wrote that his work needed ''the kiss of a sunbeam or drop of malice.'' Here he leavened the sentiment with a sardonic touch. He told us of the girl's recovery and then gave the last word to the gutter -- the gutter where Pea No. 4 ended up, the gutter who believes that his pea, bloated and soggy, met the most glorious fate of all. Poole omits the gutter but, by setting the story in what is a faraway country for most of her readers, she establishes some artistic distance from the tale's potential soppiness. A poverty-stricken child, a hard-working single mother, a mysterious illness -- all these themes could have been played out on a stage much closer to home, but Poole's psychological chinoiserie makes for a version that is both true to the spirit of Andersen and suitable for the current picture-book crowd. Over the last two centuries, Andersen's stories have taken on the qualities of folklore. They are malleable, forming themselves to the shapes of our beliefs. Andersen's fifth pea is evidence of God's compassion. ''God himself planted that pea and made it thrive for your sake, to give you back your health,'' the mother says. Poole's fifth pea is evidence of individual virtue. In an author's note, Poole writes, ''I admired the fifth and smallest pea because, unlike the others, he was content to accept his fate, which eventually led him to a fulfilling new life.'' In this Rorschach approach to folklore, the fifth pea could as easily tell us that the peashooters of fortune blow us where they will and whether our lives result in good or ill is largely an arbitrary matter, or that if you live in a pod you naturally think the whole world is green, or that the gutter looks good to the gutter. THE Andersen bicentennial is being celebrated by new translations in French and Chinese, concerts, new critical work, a statue in Moscow, a new complete audio recording of all 157 stories, and the opening of an Andersen theme park near what the Frank Loesser song calls ''wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.'' On the quieter book front, this year as every year, a new crop of children will drop into Andersen's world for a time. It remains a world of nightingales, flying peas, match girls and naked emperors, a world of devices and desires that seem magically tailored for you alone.

Subject: Low-Cost Credit for Low-Cost Items
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:21:35 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/business/worldbusiness/12retail.html November 12, 2005 Low-Cost Credit for Low-Cost Items By PAULO PRADA RIO DE JANEIRO - Márcia Regina da Cruz, a 40-year-old janitor and mother of three, decided to splurge. Ms. da Cruz, who lives in São Vicente, a coastal town an hour's bus ride from São Paulo, made a purchase in September equal to one-fifth of her monthly salary. She bought three irons - one for herself and two as gifts for her mother and sister - for 72 reais, or just over $32. 'It was a big purchase,' she said. 'I normally couldn't pay for it.' She could, though, because of a new policy at CompreBem, a supermarket chain owned by Grupo Pão de Açúcar, Brazil's biggest retailer. The plan allows her to pay for the purchase in 10 interest-free monthly installments of about $3.20 a month. Big retailers in Brazil are lowering the bar for what they will sell on credit. Though the country's shops and department stores have long sold big-ticket items on installment plans, Brazilian and multinational retailers, like Wal-Mart Stores and Carrefour of France, have begun offering purchase plans with monthly payments that come to no more than one or two reais - about 45 to 90 cents. The shift is an effort by retailers here to squeeze more spending from the big, but cash-short, bottom of the consumer base in Brazil, South America's biggest economy. Amid a tepid recovery that has yet to blossom into strong, sustained growth in retail demand, vendors are going to new lengths to help low-income Brazilians pay for everything from their weekly rice and beans to inexpensive items like clothes, radios, blenders and other goods. The installments are interest-free until a payment is missed, and then interest of at least 3 percent a month is charged. 'Retailers are trying to wring the very last bit of disposable income from consumers who would like to buy more, but often can't,' says Paulo Francini, an economist at the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, an influential business organization. Low-income consumers - defined roughly as those earning less than 1,000 reais, or $445, a month - make up nearly half Brazil's population, according to government figures. A recent study by Target Marketing, a consultant group based in São Paulo, found those Brazilians accounted for only 11 percent of all consumer spending, representing annual purchasing power of nearly $54 billion. Manufacturers in recent years have developed new products to better tap that market, introducing low-cost versions of coffees, shampoos, even washing machines. When the Swiss food giant Nestlé discovered recently that some Brazilians give condensed milk as a present - a can retails for 2.30 reais, or $1.02 - the company developed a gift-wrapped version of the product. 'It's not about reaching a new part of the market,' said Ivan Zurita, chief executive of Nestlé's Brazilian operations. 'It is the market.' Brazil's erratic economic history made it a long slog for retailers to reach this market. Expensive credit - Brazil still boasts the highest real interest rates in the world - kept most low-income consumers from seeking loans. And years of runaway inflation meant stores were able to offer few affordable payment plans. But economic changes in the last decade helped curb inflation and laid the groundwork for what many economists believe is a nascent period of prolonged, if modest, growth. After years of stagnation, Brazil's gross domestic product in 2004 grew by 4.9 percent, the quickest clip in a decade, and is expected to grow by more than 3 percent this year. Slower inflation enabled stores to introduce payment plans for retail goods that many consumers once strained to finance - from tennis shoes and televisions, to refrigerators and home computers. So successful was retail credit, especially among the middle class, that price tags in many stores now highlight the cost of the monthly installment, with the total price in much smaller print below. Yet a big portion of the consumer base still struggles with bare necessities. That is why vendors recently began applying their credit plans to low-cost items, too. 'You want to make it easy for even basic purchases,' said João Carlos de Oliveira, president of the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets in São Paulo. The approach was evident one recent Saturday evening at a Wal-Mart in southern Rio. Price tags offer telephones in 12 monthly installments of 3.57 reais. A plug-in electric grill sold for 12 monthly payments of 1.87 reais. Wines, domestic or imported, were offered for three interest-free monthly installments. Wal-Mart and other big retailers use one central tool for such promotions: internal, or 'private label,' credit cards. Because many low-income Brazilians do not have bank accounts, retailers offer their own cards to provide credit to customers unable to meet the conditions for traditional bank cards. With no annual fees and low salary requirements - stores compute card limits using monthly income stubs - the cards offer many consumers their first experience with credit. They also give stores a platform to offer special card-only promotions, which foster user loyalty. At Carrefour, the second-biggest retailer in Brazil, the store card is now used in nearly 40 percent of sales, outpacing cash, checks and bank cards as the most frequent form of payment. Customers with a minimum monthly salary of 150 reais - half Brazil's minimum wage - qualify for the card and can use it for purchases as small as 5 reais. Purchases over 30 reais can also be paid, interest-free, in 5-real installments. Retailers are using the cards to attract those for whom even these requirements are difficult. Pão de Açucar, for instance, has a card it offers customers who were initially denied credit. Though the card cannot be used for payment, it allows customers to take advantage of card-only promotions and creates a tool to track the customer's spending habits. 'We can analyze their spending patterns and calculate a credit level to offer them in the future,' says Hugo Bethlem, executive director of the company's CompreBem and Sendas supermarkets. Brazilian banks want to cash in on the boom, too. Banco Itaú, one of the country's biggest private banks, has signed agreements in the last year to administer cards used by two big retail chains, including Pão de Açúcar. Last year, União de Bancos Brasileiros, or Unibanco, acquired Hipercard, Wal-Mart's private-label card. Now, banks plan to use the cards to offer services - like insurance and personal loans - to Brazil's legions of so-called bank orphans, consumers still foreign to the traditional bank branch. 'There's a huge segment of the population that we can only reach because of their relationships with retail stores,' said Antonio Matias, director of institutional relations at the Brazilian Banking Federation and a vice president at Banco Itaú. Márcio Caldeira, a street vendor, says he rarely uses banks at all. Sitting at the credit desk of a Sendas supermarket in Nova Iguaçu, a bustling, working-class suburb north of Rio, he says he wants a Sendas card to complement three other retail cards he uses to buy things like sodas, that he later sells on the sidewalk. 'Sometimes the little costs add up,' he adds, 'but they make it easier to finance my work.'

Subject: Consumption in Brazil
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 12:34:56 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Consumption in Brazil

Subject: Confusion Is Rife About Drug Plan
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:20:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/national/13drug.html November 13, 2005 Confusion Is Rife About Drug Plan as Sign-Up Nears By ROBERT PEAR WASHINGTON - Enrollment in the new Medicare drug benefit begins in three days, but even with President Bush hailing the plan on Saturday as 'the greatest advance in health care for seniors' in 40 years, large numbers of older Americans appear to be overwhelmed and confused by the choices they will have to make. 'I have a Ph.D., and it's too complicated to suit me,' said William Q. Beard, 73, a retired chemist in Wichita, Kan., who takes eight prescription drugs, including several heart medicines. 'I wonder how the vast majority of beneficiaries will handle this. I fervently wish that members of Congress had to deal with the same health care program we do.' Mr. Beard was interviewed at First United Methodist Church in Wichita, where he and 100 other members of an adult Sunday school class recently received a two-hour explanation of the drug benefit from a state insurance counselor. Confusion was a dominant theme at education and counseling sessions held over the last two weeks in Wichita and in Glen Burnie, Md.; Fairfax, Va.; Urbana, Ohio; and Santa Rosa, Calif. 'The whole thing is hopelessly complicated,' said Pauline H. Olney, 74, a retired nurse who attended a seminar at a hotel in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco. The drug benefit, estimated to cost $724 billion over 10 years, is the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation in 1965 and is often described as Mr. Bush's biggest achievement in domestic policy. Bush administration officials and other backers of the plan say the new program can cut drug costs in half for a typical beneficiary, to $1,120 a year, with much greater savings for low-income patients. In his radio address on Saturday, Mr. Bush said, 'If you or someone you love depends on Medicare, I urge you to learn about the new choices you have so you can make a decision and enroll.' Beneficiaries around the country are flocking to Medicare workshops, where experts present them with complicated descriptions of drug formularies, 'tiered co-payments,' 'creditable coverage' and 'true out-of-pocket costs,' and caution about penalties for late enrollment. In most states, beneficiaries have a choice of more than three dozen prescription drug plans. Premiums, deductibles, co-payments and covered drugs vary widely. Many retirees also have other options: getting drug coverage through former employers or through Medicare-managed care plans. In Kansas, Medicare beneficiaries have a choice of 40 prescription drug plans charging premiums from $9.48 a month to $67.88 a month. Gene D. Peterson, 71, who attended the session at First United Methodist, said: 'The government asks us to sign up for a plan, but we have to figure out which drugs are covered by which of the 40 plans. For the average person, that's almost impossible. It's much too complicated.' Mr. Peterson is far from alone. In a survey issued this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, only 35 percent of people 65 and older said they understood the new drug benefit. Those who said they understood it were more likely to have a favorable impression of it. Asked about beneficiaries' confusion, Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said: 'Health care is complicated. We acknowledge that. Lots of things in life are complicated: filling out a tax return, registering your car, getting cable television. It is going to take time for seniors to become comfortable with the drug benefit.' Paulette Dibbern, a retired State Farm insurance agent in Wichita, said the government was not emphasizing an important fact about the new benefit: 'You must go out and shop for a drug plan and buy this coverage from an insurance company.' In principle, Mrs. Dibbern said, drug coverage for older Americans is a good idea. But in practice, she said, the new program is immensely frustrating. 'Federal officials seem to go on the philosophy, 'Why keep it simple when you can gum up the works?' ' she said. Mendell F. Butler, 76, a longtime member of First United Methodist, said he wished people could pay $20 a month for a simple Medicare drug plan, 'without searching out all these different companies you've got to buy it from.' Mr. Butler said he was deeply concerned about people who did not have the capacity to understand the decisions they had to make. 'With the new program,' he said, 'you go home at night, and your mind is totally boggled, so confused that you think, 'Golly, is it worth it?' ' Mr. Leavitt said beneficiaries could get help on a toll-free telephone number, 1-800-633-4227, and on a Web site, www.medicare.gov, which includes a 'plan finder' to sort through the options. Beneficiaries understand that Parts A and B of Medicare cover hospital care and doctors' services, and many want to know why Medicare does not have its own drug plan. The new prescription drug plans, though heavily subsidized by Medicare, are marketed and administered by private insurers like Aetna, Humana, PacifiCare and UnitedHealth Group. The Bush administration and Republicans in Congress chose this approach for two reasons. They firmly believe that competition among private plans will hold down costs, and they do not want the government to specify which drugs will be covered. Brian D. Caswell, a former president of the Kansas Pharmacists Association, said he spent two to three hours a day explaining the Medicare drug benefit to customers at his store in rural Baxter Springs. He encouraged them to take a look at the new program. But Mr. Caswell said: 'The program is so poorly designed and is creating so much confusion that it's having a negative effect on most beneficiaries. It's making people cynical about the whole process - the new program, the government's help.' Robert W. Nyquist, a pharmacist in Lindsborg, Kan., said customers had told him: 'This is just beyond me. I can't decipher which drug plan is cheapest.' Suzi Lenker, who coordinates insurance counseling for the Kansas Department on Aging, said that 'some people were in tears' at a recent session she held for 140 Medicare beneficiaries in McPherson. 'They did not like this newfangled change,' Ms. Lenker said. Bush administration officials said Medicare drug plans were offering more benefits at lower cost than had been expected. But that does not mean that a person's local pharmacy will be in every plan. 'In some rural areas,' Ms. Lenker reported, 'beneficiaries say: 'There are 40 Medicare drug plans to choose from, but my pharmacy takes only one or two plans. How does that give me choice?' ' Mr. Nyquist said he was doing business with only one prescription drug plan, Community Care Rx, offered by MemberHealth in cooperation with the National Community Pharmacists Association. If Medicare beneficiaries choose another plan, he said, they cannot get their drugs at his store, the only one in Lindsborg. 'We are not trying to deny access to people,' Mr. Nyquist said. 'We chose to do business with Community Care Rx because, in my opinion, it is the plan most friendly to senior citizens.' Food shoppers tend to like having a large variety of products and brands, but many Medicare beneficiaries are perplexed by the prospect of an insurance supermarket. 'In a grocery store, we know the products,' said Irwin Samet, 74, of Fairfax, Va. 'With prescription drug plans, we don't know the products. We are guessing.' After a two-hour class at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, Mr. Samet used a Yiddish word to describe his state of mind. 'Farmisht,' he said. 'Mixed up. All of us here are mixed up.' In Urbana last week, more than 150 people showed up for a Medicare seminar held by the Ohio Insurance Department. Joseph Rizzutti, 68, said he had found the seminar helpful, but would have to do 'a lot of research and homework' to choose plans for himself and his 88-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer's disease and lives in a nursing home. The Medicare handbook, sent to all beneficiaries, lists 43 drug plans available in Ohio. Edith L. Kohn, 81, who worked as a cashier in a grocery store in Urbana for two decades, said she had been studying her Medicare options for a month. 'I feel like I'm just about ready to make a decision, signing up for the plan offered by AARP,' Mrs. Kohn said. 'But the government has made this hard, and it should not be that way. I don't understand why they have to make things so darn complicated.' Even after attending the seminar, Raymond L. Middlesworth, 70, a retired truck driver from Urbana, said he was baffled. 'I've tried reading the Medicare book about the drug plan,' Mr. Middlesworth said, 'but I couldn't make sense of it. This is the biggest mess that Medicare has ever put us through.'

Subject: Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:10:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.medicare.gov/MPDPF/Public/Include/DataSection/Results/ListPlanByState.asp?dest=Nav|Home|State|ListPlanByState#TabTop Find a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

Subject: How Much Will the Plans Cost?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:07:37 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.medicare.gov/MPDPF/Shared/Static/Resources.asp?dest=Nav|Home|Resources|Resources#PlansCost How Much Will the Plans Cost? When you get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you pay part of the costs, and Medicare pays part of the costs. You pay a premium each month to join the drug plan (generally around $37 in 2006 for standard coverage). If you have Medicare Part B, you also pay your monthly Part B premium. If you belong to a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Cost Plan, the monthly premium you pay to the plan may increase if you add prescription drug coverage. Your costs will vary depending on which plan you choose. Your plan must, at a minimum, provide you with a standard level of coverage as shown below. Some plans offer more coverage or lower premiums. Standard Coverage (the minimum coverage drug plans must provide): If you join in 2006, for covered drugs you will pay a monthly premium (varies depending on the plan you choose, but estimated at about $37). the first $250 per year for your prescriptions. This is called your 'deductible.' After you pay the $250 deductible, here's how the costs work: You pay 25% of your yearly drug costs from $250 to $2,250, and your plan pays the other 75% of these costs, then You pay 100% of your $2,850 in drug costs, then You pay 5% of your drug costs (or a small copayment) for the rest of the calendar year after you have spent $3,600 out-of-pocket. Your plan pays the rest.

Subject: Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 05:59:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.medicare.gov/MPDPF/Shared/Static/Resources.asp?dest=Nav|Home|Resources|Resources#DrugPlans What are Medicare Prescription Drug Plans? Starting January 1, 2006, new Medicare prescription drug coverage will be available to everyone with Medicare. Everyone with Medicare can get this coverage that may help lower prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future. Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage is insurance. You choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium. There are two types of Medicare plans that provide insurance coverage for prescription drugs. There will be prescription drug coverage that is a part of Medicare Advantage Plans and other Medicare Health Plans. You would get all of your Medicare health care through these plans. There will also be Medicare prescription drug coverage that adds coverage to the Original Medicare Plan, and some Medicare Cost Plans and Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans. These plans will be offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare. Like other insurance, if you join a plan offering Medicare drug coverage there is a monthly premium. If you have limited income and resources, you may get extra help to cover prescription drugs for little or no cost. The amount of the monthly premium is not affected by your health status or how many prescriptions you need. You will also pay a share of the cost of your prescriptions. All drug plans will have to provide coverage at least as good as the standard coverage, which Medicare has set. However, some plans might also offer more coverage and additional drugs for a higher monthly premium. If you have limited income and resources, you may be able to get help with drug plan costs.

Subject: Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 17:32:35 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/11/paul_krugman_ta.html#comments November 12, 2005 Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress They say: CampusProgress.org | Five Minutes With: Paul Krugman: Q: What prompted you to write your November 4th column “Defending Imperial Nudity?”.... A: We finally reached a point where a lot of people are starting to acknowledge the obvious, which is that we were deliberately hyped into war, and a lot of defenses are coming up. People are still trying to pretend that nothing happened and it all made sense, and I felt that it was time to find a way to play how ridiculous that is. Q: I get the feeling that we’re living in a really good political satire. A: Yeah, or a really tawdry political novel. If you tried to make this stuff up, nobody would dare – they’d say that it’s ridiculous. Q: You’ve written economics textbooks before. If you had to imagine writing another textbook thirty years from now characterizing economic policy under various presidents, how would you talk about the Bush administration? A: Well, the answer is that there is no policy. What’s interesting about it is that there’s no sign that anybody’s actually thinking about “well, how do we run this economy?” Everything becomes an excuse to do pre-set things instead of an actual response to an event or a real problem. So, the idea was “we’re going to cut taxes on capital income, as opposed to earned income” and whatever happened became a reason to do that.... Q: Having been a strong proponent of globalization whose enthusiasm on the subject seems to have waned a bit, can you talk about where you stand now and how you think it might be most productive for students who work on this issue to talk about it? A: If you aren’t a little bit tortured about globalization, you’re not paying attention. I got into economics nearly 30 years ago, in grad school. At the time, development was too depressing as a field – there were no success stories. The club of rich countries had closed in the late 1880s, and there really was no way forward. The very good news is that there has been a lot of upward movement in select parts of the third world. All of that is based on exports, on the opportunities presented by globalization. You can’t be against globalization in general if you support third world countries making their way up in the world. The downside is that there have by no means been success stories across the board. On the one side, you clearly have some of the most vulnerable people in our own society that have been paying the price, and a lot of developing countries have been following the advice from Washington on globalization, and things have gone very badly. It’s a very mixed picture. What I want to hear is not “let’s rally against globalization,” but “let’s try to fix it.” It’s easy enough to say, but where’s the political constituency for that? Anyone who thinks of globalization as a great unambiguous evil hasn’t been paying attention. Anyone who thinks it’s a total good hasn’t been following things that have been happening in places like Argentina. Q: I recently got good health insurance for the first time in a while, and I can safely say how what a relief it is. Clearly the US lags well behind other industrialized nations in terms of our numbers of uninsured. Can we make the move to universal coverage? A: There are two questions there: one is economics, one is politics. The economics is really straight forward. Some kind of national health insurance financed out of a mandatory premium on all wages, a tax, however you want to do it – is clearly the dominant system. The US system is a patchwork with big gaps in it, Medicare, Medicaid, employer based coverage, it’s a mess. It’s the wonder of the world. We get worse results at greater cost than anyone else. We have enormous bureaucracy and administrative expenses basically because private insurers and lots of other players in the system are spending lots of money trying not to cover people. Now, politics, the trouble is, how do you do that? How do we achieve some approximation to a national healthcare system, given the political realities? The funny thing is, happy majorities in the American public, according to polls, favor guaranteed healthcare for everybody, so we’re not talking about something where the public is against the idea. What we’re talking about is a very powerful set of interests and a very powerful set of ideologues in Washington, who have managed to intimidate the politicians. That’s a really hard thing to get through.... Q: Obviously journalism isn’t your only or even your primary job. It seems like that lets you be more independent and more risk taking. A: Very much so. There was a long period, from September 2001 until early 2004 when I felt like I was really alone among prominent commentators in saying “hey, we’re being lied to, these people are not defending us, they’re lying to us a lot.” I think had I been worried about a journalistic career, about “will the Times keep me?” I would have been much more inhibited. But, the fact is, if the Times had given into pressure and gotten rid of me, my life actually would have improved in a lot of ways. Personally, it would be easier. Still, I don’t think it would be good if every op-ed columnist was like me. Journalism is a craft and there are things I can’t do. I can’t do investigative reporting, I can’t play Carl Bernstein....

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress
From: Pancho Villa
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 19:36:38 (EST)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'... There are two questions there: one is economics, one is politics. ...'

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress
From: Emma
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 20:39:52 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
And, I am wondering Dear Pancho whether these are separable. I am thinking.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress
From: Pancho Villa
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 20:49:11 (EST)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'And, I am wondering Dear Pancho whether these are separable.' No!

Subject: publish editorial
From: Jim Asmussen
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 11:45:30 (EST)
Email Address: jimasmussen@yahoo.com

Message:
I would like to run Paul Krugman's editorial on Medicare Part D in our small town (Neligh, NE) Neligh News and Leader paper. As a licensed Health Insurance agent, I think that Medicare Part D is a total scam on our seniors (I am one too). Please tell me how to do this. Thanks-Jim Asmussen

Subject: Re: publish editorial
From: Emma
To: Jim Asmussen
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 18:31:09 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Please send an email to the office of the publisher or managing editor of the New York Times, I am told you will receive permission to reprint the column.

Subject: Get Rich Quick
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 10:46:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/business/12money.html November 12, 2005 Get Rich Quick, Write a Millionaire Book By DAMON DARLIN Socking away that first million used to be so simple. At least it was for people who gave rudimentary advice on how to be a millionaire. Give up that pack-a-day smoking habit, they said, and in 40 years you will have saved almost $250,000 in today's dollars, assuming a conservative 4 percent annual return. Brown-bag your lunch, drop HBO and pay off your mortgage early and gradually, over a lifetime, you will accumulate $1 million in assets. Back then, all you had to do was live below your means and save, save, save. These days, the money-wasting bad habit that must be broken is the daily $5 Starbucks coffee break. (Savings over 40 years: $173,422.) But giving up the small pleasures in life is no longer the advice given to would-be millionaires, whether they are sipping or puffing. According to the spate of best-selling self-help books, it is not enough to drive used cars and squirrel money away in the company 401(k). Instead, you have to think like a millionaire. It's a popular message reflected in a spate of titles like 'Secrets of the Millionaire Mind' and 'Cracking the Millionaire Code.' Robert T. Kiyosaki's 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' is the best example of the emphasis on retooling the struggling American's financial thinking. The book has sold nearly four million copies in the United States since its publication in 1998. This week, it began its sixth year on the New York Times best-seller list for advice and how-to books. It has spawned a dozen related titles by Mr. Kiyosaki and his co-author, Sharon L. Lechter, and another dozen titles written by Mr. Kiyosaki's financial advisers. All told, there are more than 24 million copies of Mr. Kiyosaki's books in print worldwide. A folksy gambol through the life of its author, a real estate investor, motivational speaker and producer of a financial board game called Cashflow 101, 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' turned some traditional financial advice on its head. No longer is it enough to study hard at a good school and get a good job to be set for life, advice given to him by his father, the poor dad. Instead, Mr. Kiyosaki advocates the staples of late-night infomercials: investments in small stocks and distressed real estate. He argues that one has to think like a millionaire by recognizing the difference between an income-producing asset and a liability, advice given to him by a friend's father, the rich dad. The whole trick to financial success is creating passive income. 'People do respond to it,' said Rick Wolf, vice president and executive editor of Warner Books, the publisher of the series. The old rules no longer apply in a world of outsourcing and pension plan collapses, he said. 'People are definitely looking for some alternative pathways to financial freedom,' Mr. Wolf said. 'The staying power speaks for itself.' Gaining millionaire status is still an accomplishment. It's important to note that even though the threshold for making the Forbes list of richest Americans is now $900 million, only 7 million out of 100 million American households have net assets of $1 million or more, which includes, of course, the equity built up in most people's biggest asset - their homes. (Of course, Mr. Kiyosaki would say that reflects 'poor dad' thinking; a home is a liability.) That number has not changed significantly despite all the millions of books sold telling people how to join the club. You have to ask yourself before you buy any of these books: did my neighbors get rich because they just think differently, or because they use money more wisely? This millionaire-mind mania started in 1998 when two professors, Thomas J. Stanley, then at Georgia State University, and William D. Danko, teaching marketing in the business school at the State University at Albany, tried to answer that question. They described the seven characteristics of a breed of frugal and inconspicuous millionaires, which included living below one's means, picking smart advisers and having a spouse involved in the family finances. It was an eye-opener, and the book 'The Millionaire Next Door' sold about 2.5 million copies in hardcover and paperback while it perched on the New York Times best-seller list for more than three years. The book made the two professors millionaires. The lesson learned here? It may have been that the way to get rich is to write a book revealing the thinking of millionaires. Mr. Stanley is back with a brand extension, 'The Millionaire Mind.' David Bach, the author of 'Smart Couples Finish Rich' and 'Smart Women Finish Rich,' shifted gears last year to produce 'The Automatic Millionaire.' He gives safe, practical advice well within the mainstream of financial advisers, like invest through a 401(k) or make extra payments on a mortgage. He makes everything sound as easy as ordering a daily double nonfat latte, which by the way he advises you should not do. 'The book is both practical and deeply aspirational by nature,' said David Drake, vice president and director for publicity of Broadway Books, publisher of Mr. Bach's book. You'll get the same advice reading this newspaper or any number of financial advice columnists at no additional cost, though you may not get the urge to aspire. Why the need for inspiration? 'When the stock market bubble collapsed in 2000, ordinary Americans - who had watched their stock portfolios effortlessly rise in value during the late 1990's - quickly realized that the notion that they could outsmart the market was an illusion,' said Mr. Drake, who will publish Mr. Bach's follow-up in March, 'The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner.' He continued, 'They turned away from investment books that focused narrowly on stock-picking strategies and turned instead, in droves, to books that addressed the basics - getting out of debt, saving for the future - and promised relief from financial anxiety.' It is no accident that the authors of many of these books come from the stage of motivational seminars and late-night infomercials. Robert G. Allen, for example, is best known for pioneering techniques for selling people on the idea of buying distressed real estate and flipping it. 'Nothing Down: How to Buy Real Estate With Little or No Money Down' is his 1980 classic. He wrote 'One Minute Millionaire' and 'Cracking the Millionaire Code' with Mark Victor Hansen, who is himself co-author of 'Chicken Soup for the Soul,' one of the most successful inspirational self-help books. (The brand extensions have been stretched to include 'Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul' and 'Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul.') Their books, as well as 'Secrets of the Millionaire Mind' by T. Harv Eker, another regular on the motivational seminar circuit, recycle a lot of the language and advice of those hotel ballroom talkathons; namely, you have been conditioned to think like a poor person, but you can remake yourself to think rich. Mr. Eker suggests a daily affirmation in which you put hand over heart and say: 'I am an excellent receiver. I am open and willing to receive massive amounts of money into my life.' You then touch your head and say, 'I have a millionaire mind!' But they are light on practical advice. And sometimes what they advocate seems counterproductive. Mr. Eker, for instance, recommends creating a fund just for frivolous purchases because you need to fill your inner spirit. Mr. Kiyosaki admits in his book that buying real estate at foreclosures or tax sales and investing in thinly traded start-up companies is risky. But he writes that salting money away each month 'blinds the person from what is really going on.' 'They miss major opportunities for much more significant growth of their money,' he writes. This is advice for people who like to live on the edge. Mr. Kiyosaki counters that the risk of failing is a motivation to make more money. The bottom line is: save your money by not buying these books. At about $25 a book, buying one every year probably will not decimate your retirement fund. But if you don't, you'll have at least $2,370 more in 40 years.

Subject: Peter F. Drucker
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 08:58:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/business/12drucker.html November 12, 2005 Peter F. Drucker, a Pioneer in Social and Management Theory By BARNABY J. FEDER Peter F. Drucker, the political economist and author, whose view that big business and nonprofit enterprises were the defining innovation of the 20th century led him to pioneering social and management theories, died yesterday at his home in Claremont, Calif. He was 95. His death was announced by Claremont Graduate University. Mr. Drucker thought of himself, first and foremost, as a writer and teacher, though he eventually settled on the term 'social ecologist.' He became internationally renowned for urging corporate leaders to agree with subordinates on objectives and goals and then get out of the way of decisions about how to achieve them. He challenged both business and labor leaders to search for ways to give workers more control over their work environment. He also argued that governments should turn many functions over to private enterprise and urged organizing in teams to exploit the rise of a technology-astute class of 'knowledge workers.' Mr. Drucker staunchly defended the need for businesses to be profitable but he preached that employees were a resource, not a cost. His constant focus on the human impact of management decisions did not always appeal to executives, but they could not help noticing how it helped him foresee many major trends in business and politics. He began talking about such practices in the 1940's and 50's, decades before they became so widespread that they were taken for common sense. Mr. Drucker also foresaw that the 1970's would be a decade of inflation, that Japanese manufacturers would become major competitors for the United States and that union power would decline. For all his insights, he clearly owed much of his impact to his extraordinary energy and skills as a communicator. But while Mr. Drucker loved dazzling audiences with his wit and wisdom, his goal was not to be known as an oracle. Indeed, after writing a rosy-eyed article shortly before the stock market crash of 1929 in which he outlined why stocks prices would rise, he pledged to himself to stay away from gratuitous predictions. Instead, his views about where the world was headed generally arose out of advocacy for what he saw as moral action. His first book ('The End of Economic Man,' 1939)was intended to strengthen the will of the free world to fight fascism. His later economic and social predictions were intended to encourage businesses and social groups to organize in ways that he felt would promote human dignity and vaccinate society against political and economic chaos. 'He is remarkable for his social imagination, not his futurism,' said Jack Beatty in a 1998 review of Mr. Drucker's work 'The World According to Peter Drucker.' Mr. Drucker, who was born in Vienna and never completely shed his Austrian accent, worked in Germany as a reporter until Hitler rose to power and then in a London investment firm before emigrating to the United States in 1937. He became an American citizen in 1943. Recalling the disasters that overran the Europe of his youth and watching the American response left him convinced that good managers were the true heroes of the century. The world, especially the developed world, had recovered from repeated catastrophe because 'ordinary people, people running the everyday concerns of business and institutions, took responsibility and kept on building for tomorrow while around them the world came crashing down,' he wrote in 1986 in 'The Frontiers of Management.' Mr. Drucker never hesitated to make suggestions he knew would be viewed as radical. He advocated legalization of drugs and stimulating innovation by permitting new ventures to charge the government for the cost of regulations and paperwork. He was not surprised that General Motors for years ignored nearly every recommendation in 'The Concept of the Corporation,' the book he published in 1946 after an 18-month study of G.M. that its own executives had commissioned. From his early 20's to his death, Mr. Drucker held various teaching posts, including a 20-year stint at the Stern School of Management at New York University and, since 1971, a chair at the Claremont Graduate School of Management. He also consulted widely, devoting several days a month to such work into his 90's. His clients included G.M., General Electric and Sears, Roebuck but also the Archdiocese of New York and several Protestant churches; government agencies in the United States, Canada and Japan; universities; and entrepreneurs. For over 50 years, at least half of the consulting work was done free for nonprofits and small businesses. As his career progressed and it became clearer that competitive pressures were keeping businesses from embracing many practices he advocated, like guaranteed wages and lifetime employment for industrial workers, he became increasingly interested in 'the social sector,' as he called the nonprofit groups. Mr. Drucker counseled groups like the Girl Scouts to think like businesses even though their bottom line was 'changed lives' rather than profits. He warned them that donors would increasingly judge them on results rather than intentions. In 1990, Frances Hesselbein, the former national director of the Girl Scouts, organized a group of admirers to honor him by setting up the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management in New York to expose nonprofits to Mr. Drucker's thinking and to new concepts in management. Mr. Drucker's greatest impact came from his writing. His more than 30 books, which have sold tens of millions of copies in more than 30 languages, came on top of thousands of articles, including a monthly op-ed column in The Wall Street Journal from 1975 to 1995. Among the sayings of Chairman Peter, as he was sometimes called, were these: ¶'Marketing is a fashionable term. The sales manager becomes a marketing vice president. But a gravedigger is still a gravedigger even when it is called a mortician - only the price of the burial goes up.' ¶'One either meets or one works.' ¶'The only things that evolve by themselves in an organization are disorder, friction and malperformance.' ¶'Stock option plans reward the executive for doing the wrong thing. Instead of asking, 'Are we making the right decision?' he asks, 'How did we close today?' It is encouragement to loot the corporation.' Mr. Drucker's thirst for new experiences never waned. He became so fascinated with Japanese art during his trips to Japan after World War II that he eventually helped write 'Adventures of the Brush: Japanese Paintings' (1979), and lectured on Oriental art at Pomona College in Claremont from 1975 to 1985. Peter Ferdinand Drucker was born Nov. 19, 1909, one of two sons of Caroline and Adolph Drucker, a prominent lawyer and high-ranking civil servant in the Austro-Hungarian government. He left Vienna in 1927 to work for an export firm in Hamburg, Germany, and to study law. Mr. Drucker then moved to Frankfurt, where he earned a doctorate in international and public law in 1931 from the University of Frankfurt, became a reporter and then senior editor in charge of financial and foreign news at the newspaper General-Anzeiger, and, while substitute teaching at the university, met Doris Schmitz, a 19-year-old student. They became reacquainted after waving madly while passing each other going opposite directions on a London subway escalator in 1933 and were married in 1937. Mr. Drucker had moved to England to work as a securities analyst and writer after watching the rise of the Nazis with increasing alarm. In England, he took an economics course from John Maynard Keynes in Cambridge, but was put off by how much the talk centered on commodities rather than people. Mr. Drucker's reputation as a political economist was firmly established with the publication in 1939 of 'The End of Economic Man.' The New York Times said it brought a 'remarkable vision and freshness' to the understanding of fascism. The book's observations, along with those in articles he wrote for Harpers and The New Republic, caught the eye of policy makers in the federal government and at corporations as the country prepared for war, and landed him a job teaching at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. Writing 'The Future of Industrial Man,' published in 1942 after Mr. Drucker moved to Bennington College in Vermont, convinced him that he needed to understand big organizations from the inside. Rebuffed in his requests to work with several major companies, he was delighted when General Motors called in late 1943 proposing that he study its structure and policies. To avoid having him treated like a management spy, G.M. agreed to let him publish his findings. Neither G.M. nor Mr. Drucker expected the public to be interested because no one had ever written such a management profile, but 'The Concept of the Corporation' became an overnight sensation when it was published in 1946. ' 'Concept of the Corporation' is a book about business the way 'Moby Dick' is a book about whaling,' said Mr. Beatty, referring to the focus on social issues extending far beyond G.M.'s immediate operating challenges. In it, Mr. Drucker argued that profitability was crucial to a business's health but more importantly to full employment. Management could achieve sustainable profits only by treating employees like valuable resources. That, he argued, required decentralizing the power to make decisions, including giving hourly workers more control over factory life, and guaranteed wages. In the 1950's, Mr. Drucker began proclaiming that democratic governments had become too big to function effectively. This, he said, was a threat to the freedom of their citizens and to their economic well-being. Unlike many conservative thinkers, Mr. Drucker wanted to keep government regulation over areas like food and drugs and finance. Indeed, he argued that the rise of global businesses required stronger governments and stronger social institutions, including more powerful unions, to keep them from forgetting social interests. According to Claremont Graduate University, Mr. Drucker's survivors include his wife, Doris, an inventor and physicist; his children, Audrey Drucker of Puyallup, Wash., Cecily Drucker of San Francisco, Joan Weinstein of Chicago, and Vincent Drucker of San Rafael, Calif.; and six grandchildren. Early last year, in an interview with Forbes magazine, Mr. Drucker was asked if there was anything in his long career that he wished he had done but had not been able to do. 'Yes, quite a few things,' he said. 'There are many books I could have written that are better than the ones I actually wrote. My best book would have been 'Managing Ignorance,' and I'm very sorry I didn't write it.'

Subject: Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 08:11:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Also, there is a fine bull stock market in Europe and Asia. the Europe index is up 20.4%, while the Pacific is up 26.7% in domestic currencies. I am most impressed by how international stock market have compensated for currency weakness from Germany to Japan. The international bull makret is deep and very broad.

Subject: Brazil
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 08:08:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is a significant potential problem in Brazil that should be attended. Brazil's stock market is up 22,2% in domestic currency, but 51.4% in dollars. As strong as the dollar has been this year, Brazil's currency is far stronger. Brazil's currency is the strongest of all currencies; there is no comparison. This remarkable strength has to eventually work significantly against the balance of trade, raising imports and cutting exports and limiting economic activity in Brazil at a time when interest rates are high and further limiting economic activity. Such an imbalance has caused problem after problem from Mexico to Argentina in the past, and I am worried.

Subject: Re: Brazil
From: Mik
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 16:55:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hhhmm that will affect the price of sugar, coffee and believe it or not - oil. All 3 may well go up now. Let's watch this one carefully.

Subject: Re: Brazil
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 17:26:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed. Notice what I consider the dangerous strength of Brazil's currency. Strongest currency in the world.

Subject: Re: Brazil
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 18:55:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sorry about losing a sentence fragment. I am concerned that Brazil will begin to lose its hard won gains in agriculture exports as the currency strengthens, either through increasing prices or lost profitability. Orange juice, soybean and cut flower markets may tell us much.

Subject: First for Africa
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 07:42:07 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/international/africa/12liberia.html November 12, 2005 In First for Africa, Woman Wins Election as President of Liberia By LYDIA POLGREEN DAKAR, Senegal - Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated economist and former World Bank official who waged a fierce presidential campaign against the soccer star George Weah, emerged victorious on Friday in her quest to lead war-torn Liberia and become the first woman elected head of state in modern African history. 'Everything is on our side,' said Morris Dukuly, a spokesman for Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf. 'The voters have chosen a new and brighter future.' With 97 percent of the runoff vote counted on Friday, Ms. Johnson- Sirleaf achieved an insurmountable lead with 59 percent, compared with Mr. Weah's 41 percent, in a nation where women make up more than half the electorate. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf's victory propels her into an old boys' club unlike any other. From the Cape to Cairo, from Dar es Salaam to Dakar, men have dominated African politics from the earliest days of the anticolonial struggle. 'There are so many capable women,' said Yassine Fall, a Senegalese economist and feminist working on women's rights in Africa. 'But they just don't get the chance to lead.' Indeed, when supporters of Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf, 66, a onetime United Nations official and Liberian finance minister, marched through the broken streets of Monrovia in the final, frantic days of the campaign for Liberia's presidency, they shouted and waved signs that read, 'Ellen - she's our man.' Mr. Dukuly said Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf held off formally declaring victory because Mr. Weah, who won the first round of the election last month and enjoys broad support among Liberia's huge youth population, had alleged that the results were tainted by fraud. Mr. Weah told reporters in Monrovia that he had submitted a formal complaint to the Supreme Court, which will investigate. International observers said that while there were some minor irregularities, they were too small to change the outcome. Mr. Weah, speaking Friday to a crowd of supporters at his campaign headquarters, appealed for calm, but hundreds of supporters wielding branches marched through the streets in protest, chanting, 'No Weah, no peace!' They threw stones at police officers in front of the National Elections Commission, and United Nations peacekeepers fired tear gas to keep protesters from storming the United States Embassy, according to Reuters. Mr. Weah, whose base was the young, discontented population who idolized him for his exploits on the soccer field and his rags-to-riches life story, was seen as a favorite because young voters make up 40 percent of the electorate. But the women's vote appears to have been stronger. There were slightly more women registered to vote in Liberia, and while there were no reliable surveys of voters leaving the polls, women appeared to be a strong presence. Political strategy played a role as well. In the final weeks of the campaign, Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf formed crucial alliances with parties whose candidates had lost in the first round, which winnowed the field of 22 presidential contenders to 2. The impact of her victory went well beyond Liberia, a nation still trying to recover from more than a decade of civil war. The history of the continent rings with the names of heroes like Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela and Jomo Kenyatta, fathers of the modern African states they helped form, and villains like Mobutu Sese Seko, Idi Amin and Sani Abacha, the despotic 'big men' who ruled ruthlessly over their subjects, enriching themselves along the way. Despite the large role women played in many national struggles for independence, they were largely relegated to the sidelines in the post-colonial era. The most ambitious women often went abroad, and some, like Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf, rose to prominence in international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank. But in recent years, African women have gained power and visibility. In 2004 a Kenyan environmentalist, Wangari Muta Maathai, won the Nobel Peace Prize, while Nigeria's finance minister and feared corruption fighter, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has emerged as one of that country's most respected officials. Women have also made gains at the ballot box. The prime minister of Mozambique, Luísa Dias Diogo, is widely seen as a likely future president. In Rwanda, there is a greater proportion of women serving in Parliament than in any other nation; they occupy nearly half the seats. Indeed, Africa leads the developing world in the percentage of women in legislative positions, at about 16 percent, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organization of parliamentary bodies worldwide. Yet having more women leaders does not necessarily bring decisions that benefit women. While women generally make decisions that favor women and children, they often gain political power as an embattled minority that feels it must follow men's lead in order to maintain power, said Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the International Center for Research on Women, a Washington-based research group. 'When there is a critical mass of women leaders, they gain confidence over time and are more likely to exhibit diversity of experience as women in their decisions,' Ms. Rao Gupta said. 'It takes a few cycles to really sink in.' Liberia's presidential election came two years after the nation emerged from a brutal civil war that claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced a third of the population. Pushed from power by rebels, Charles Taylor, the warlord who became Liberia's president and fomented bloody wars that racked the region for more than a decade, went into exile in 2003 and is now in Nigeria. He left behind a nation shattered by war, with the entire infrastructure, from roads to electric wires to water pipes, rotted away or looted. Despite its natural wealth in gems, rubber and timber, Liberia is one of the poorest nations. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf, who has been known as Liberia's Iron Lady since she ran against Mr. Taylor for president in 1997 and was jailed for more than a year under the former dictator Samuel Doe, will have no trouble fitting into the all-male club of African heads of state, said Ms. Fall, the economist, who has known her for years. 'She is fearless,' Ms. Fall said. 'No men intimidate her.'

Subject: Postcards From a Tax Holiday
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 07:24:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/opinion/12sat2.html November 12, 2005 Postcards From a Tax Holiday PepsiCo recently followed in the footsteps of Hewlett-Packard, Pfizer and other big American corporations by initiating layoffs - even as it takes advantage of a huge tax break that was supposed to generate cash for hiring. The tax break, passed by Congress last year as part of the American Jobs Creation Act, lets American companies bring foreign-held profits back to the United States this year at a discount of up to 85 percent off the normal tax rate. So far, nearly 100 companies have announced repatriations totaling more than $200 billion, all of which will be eligible for the cut-rate of 5.25 percent, instead of the usual top rate of 35 percent. As its critics warned at the outset, the so-called tax holiday has proved to be a bigger gift to shareholders than to employees and job seekers. PepsiCo, for instance, plans to give pink slips to 200 to 250 employees in its Frito-Lay unit a few weeks before Christmas. The company expects that the severance payments for laid-off workers and other belt-tightening measures will cost up to $85 million in 2005. But the company will save several times that amount in taxes this year by repatriating up to $7.5 billion in profits it has stashed abroad. So in effect, the Frito layoffs, like those at other companies with repatriated profits, are supported by taxpayers. And that's not the only way that investors benefit from the tax holiday that was billed as a way to create more opportunities for workers. A recent report in The Wall Street Journal documented that even as American companies were repatriating huge sums under the cut-rate regime, they were using more cash than ever to buy back their own stock. Reducing the number of shares outstanding gives each remaining shareholder a bigger ownership stake in the company. Hewlett-Packard has announced a repatriation of $14.5 billion, layoffs of 14,500 workers and stock buybacks of more than $4 billion for the first half of 2005, about three times the size of its buybacks in the period a year earlier. Since stock repurchases are not a legal use of repatriated funds, companies are claiming that the convergence of big buybacks and huge repatriations is a mere coincidence. Be that as it may, Congress wrote the law in a way that gives companies tremendous leeway to them spend profits as they fit. Companies cannot be blamed for doing whatever is allowed to cut taxes, increase profits and reward shareholders. The real villains are members of Congress who use phony labels like 'job creation' - and, more recently, 'economic growth' - to justify excessive tax cuts that increasingly serve to concentrate wealth among the few.

Subject: Filmmaker's Take on 'Butterfly'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 06:38:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/arts/music/12butt.html November 12, 2005 A Filmmaker's Take on 'Butterfly' Is a Hit By ALAN RIDING LONDON - Cinematic adaptations of operas have generally met with only mixed success, occasionally pleasing opera lovers but rarely drawing legions of moviegoers. Yet film directors have often fared better when they have applied their screen experience to staging an opera in a traditional theater. After Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli and others, Anthony Minghella, the acclaimed director of 'The English Patient' and 'The Talented Mr. Ripley,' is the latest filmmaker to try his hand at opera. And already his production of Puccini's 'Madam Butterfly' for the English National Opera has become the hottest ticket in the West End. Twelve performances through Dec. 13 have sold out, and eight more performances will begin April 29 at the 2,358-seat London Coliseum. The show is a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, where it will travel next fall, and the Lithuanian National Opera in Vilnius, which will present it in the spring. If nothing else, Mr. Minghella's show-business celebrity has pulled in the crowds, and the English National Opera, which performs in English and is something of a poor cousin to the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, could not be happier. But audiences also seem delighted, and while some opera critics have been less enthusiastic, most have applauded the show's stylized evocation of mid-19th-century Japan. In The Independent of London, Edward Seckerson described it as both simple and sumptuous and added: 'It is the meeting of Japanese Kabuki and Western opera but shot through with the expensive air and finely tuned manner of a Broadway show.' Rupert Christiansen, writing in The Daily Telegraph, though, dismissed it as 'an elegant exercise in Japonaiserie.' In truth, many opera lovers tend to be fearful of productions of their favorite works by first-time opera directors bent on giving new meaning to familiar plots and melodies. But from the moment the curtain goes up on this 'Madam Butterfly,' it is apparent that Mr. Minghella has opted for a lush visual spectacle over an avant-garde interpretation. What makes the production feel contemporary is Michael Levine's clever design, with an angle-mirrored ceiling reflecting the action on about half the stage. The effect is to produce explosions of color, as players in rich Japanese costumes make their entrances at the rear of the raked stage. And when a curtain of flowers is lowered, this stunning image is also doubled by the mirror. The décor itself is simple, with sliding Japanese screens representing Butterfly's hillside home overlooking the Bay of Nagasaki. But the mirror also plays a crucial role in the final scene. When Pinkerton, the American naval officer, returns with his American wife to collect the son he had with Butterfly, the young geisha can be seen sleeping behind the screens. 'I wanted to make something as far away as possible from movies,' Mr. Minghella said in a telephone interview, 'but I am aware of the influence. I am very conscious of how to move the eye. In movies, you do this by moving the camera, through the lens size and by cutting. Here we kept thinking about how to direct the eye around the stage.' Another influence was Mr. Minghella's decades-old interest in Japanese theater, an interest shared with his Hong Kong-born wife, Carolyn Choa, the associate director of this production and herself an experienced stage and screen choreographer. Thus, Mr. Minghella said, in talks with the English National Opera, 'Madam Butterfly' emerged as a natural choice. 'I have always loved Kabuki and Noh theater,' Mr. Minghella said. 'When visiting Japan, I have loved seeing the bunraku puppet theater. I am drawn by these quite formal theater traditions.' As it happens, what most upset some British critics was Mr. Minghella's decision to use a puppet to represent the 3-year-old child of Butterfly and Pinkerton. Following bunraku rules, the puppet is moved by three onstage puppeteers, dressed in black, their faces hidden by veils. Writing in The Guardian, Tom Service lamented that, instead of focusing on Mary Plazas as Butterfly and Jean Rigby as her maid, Suzuki, 'you're gripped by watching the weird movements of this puppet-boy.' Some audience members were even heard referring to the little fellow as E.T. But others were clearly moved by its lifelike gestures. 'You can't use a real 3-year-old,' Mr. Minghella said. 'Usually the boy is around 6. So I have created the most truthful baby possible on stage. I think audiences are prepared to go along with suspension of disbelief. Some critics were not.' Aside from science fiction, of course, such a technique could never work in movies, but Mr. Minghella's own artistic roots lie in theater. And in this case, he said, he wanted to be as theatrical as possible, using not only the mirror and the puppet but also long red ribbons (for Butterfly's hara-kiri) to create the show before the eyes of the audience. Still, his first venture into opera involved some surprises. 'A film invents itself,' he said. 'Here there was an orthodoxy of presentation, a format which I had to learn. There is also the orthodoxy of the audience. Many people are seeing 'Madama Butterfly' for the 12th time. So, even though I want to present it as it has never been done before, I'm actually writing over every production the audience has ever seen.' The cast here was given mixed reviews, with most accolades going to Ms. Plazas and Christopher Purves as the American Consul, Sharpless. In New York and Vilnius, different casts will sing the opera, in Italian. Yet in all three cities, the production is likely to be remembered as Mr. Minghella's 'Madam Butterfly.' In London, at least, it already boasts the public's stamp of approval.

Subject: Is Central Bank Independence All
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 04:40:16 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2005/11/11/story_11-11-2005_pg5_23 November 11, 2005 Is Central Bank Independence All It’s Cracked Up To Be? By Joseph Stiglitz Alan Greenspan attained an almost iconic status as Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. So, as his term draws to a close and his mantle of infallibility is passed on to his successor, it is worth examining whether his legacy will measure up and what we can expect from the new Fed chief, Ben Bernanke. Few central bank governors have the kind of hagiography lavished upon them, especially in their lifetime, that Greenspan has had. But what makes for a great central bank governor in our modern societies, great institutions or great individuals? In economics, we seldom have a clearly defined counterfactual: Would the economy have performed even better or a little differently if someone else had been at the helm? We can’t know, but there is little doubt that those “managing” the economy receive more credit than they deserve, if sometimes less blame. Many forces behind the boom of the 1990’s, including advances in technology, were set in motion before Bill Clinton took office (just as the legacy of President George W. Bush’s deficits will be felt long after he leaves). So Greenspan cannot be given credit for the boom. But, while no central bank governor can ensure economic prosperity, mismanagement can cause enormous harm. Many of America’s post-World War II recessions were caused by the Fed hiking interest rates too fast and too far. There is little doubt that Greenspan had great moments, when one could at least imagine a less deft governor doing the “wrong” thing with disastrous consequences. One such moment was the stock market crash of 1987. Perhaps another occurred in 1998, when the Fed lowered interest rates in the face of what appeared to be an impending global financial crisis. These successes, combined with the 1990’s boom and the seeming durability of price stability, reinforced Greenspan’s exalted status. But they also led many to forget less successful moments. The Fed failed to avert the economic downturn of 1990, and a reading of Greenspan’s testimony to Congress during that period makes clear that the basic nature of the economy’s problems was not well understood. But the real problem for Greenspan’s legacy concerns what happened to the American economy in the last five years, for which he bears heavy responsibility. Greenspan supported the tax cuts of 2001 with the most specious of arguments – that unless something was done about America’s soaring fiscal surpluses, the national debt would be totally paid off within, say, ten to fifteen years. According to Greenspan, immediate action needed to be taken to avert this looming disaster, which would impede the Fed’s ability to conduct monetary policy! It says a great deal about the gullibility of financial markets that they took this argument seriously. More accurately, tax cuts were what Wall Street wanted, and financial professionals were willing to accept any argument that served that purpose. Of course, if, say, by 2008 the disappearing national debt really did appear to pose an imminent danger, Congress would have happily obliged in cutting taxes or increasing expenditures. Greenspan’s irresponsible support of that tax cut was critical to its passage. The fault was not only in the magnitude of the tax cut, but also in its design; by directing the cuts at upper-income Americans, it provided little economic stimulus. But soaring deficits did not return the economy to full employment, so the Fed did what it had to do – cut interest rates. Lower interest rates worked, but not so much because they boosted investment, but because they led households to refinance their mortgages, and fueled a bubble in housing prices. In short, as Greenspan departs, he leaves behind an American economy burdened with high household and government debt and fragile balance sheets – a legacy that is already contributing to global financial instability. It is still not clear what led Greenspan to support the tax cut. Was it a massive economic misjudgment, or was he currying favor with the Bush administration? The most likely explanation is a combination of the two, for he and Bush were pursuing the same “starve the beast” political strategy, which calls for tax cuts to be used to reduce revenues, thereby forcing the public sector to be downsized. The traditional argument for an independent central bank is that politicians can’t be trusted to conduct monetary and macroeconomic policy. Neither, evidently, can central bank governors, at least when they opine in areas outside their immediate responsibility. Greenspan was as enthusiastic for a policy that led to soaring deficits as any politician; but the fig leaf of being “above politics” gave credence to that policy, engendering support from some who otherwise would have questioned its economic wisdom. This, then, is Greenspan’s second legacy: growing doubt about central bank independence. Macroeconomic policy can never be devoid of politics: it involves fundamental trade-offs and affects different groups differently. Unemployment harms workers, while the lower interest rates needed to generate more jobs may lead to higher inflation, which especially harms those with nominal assets whose value is eroded. Such fundamental issues cannot be relegated to technocrats, particularly when those technocrats place the interests of one segment of society above others. Indeed, Greenspan’s political stances were so thinly disguised as professional wisdom that his tenure exposed the dubiousness of the very notion of an independent central bank and a non-partisan central banker. Unfortunately, many countries have committed themselves to precisely this illusion, and it may be a long time before they take heed of Greenspan’s most important lesson. Stressing the new Fed chief’s “professionalism” may only delay the moment when this lesson is learned again. dt-ps Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at Columbia University and was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to President Clinton and Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank. His most recent book is The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World’s Most Prosperous Decade.

Subject: Dear Mr. Pelgrift,
From: James
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 20:17:47 (EST)
Email Address: silverglad@hotmail.com

Message:
thank you for signing my petition and posting the message on your site. Would you mind removing my last name from your site? If I put it up, it was a mistake on my part. Thank you, James

Subject: Re: Dear Mr. Pelgrift,
From: James
To: James
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 20:19:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
actually, could you remove this message? I have a cold and I'm not thinking straight this evening. Thank you.

Subject: Re: Dear Mr. Pelgrift,
From: Bobby
To: James
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 00:05:35 (EST)
Email Address: robert@pkarchive.org

Message:
Okay, I erased it.

Subject: Re: Doughnut
From: JT
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 14:06:55 (EST)
Email Address: jtrainor64@hotmail.com

Message:
How could any self respecting economist attack a program that adopts clear economic incentives to manage run away costs? And how horribly liberal to throw in that some (exactly how many?) people will die in the process. When there is no cap on demand, you get a program where the incentives of supply take over. The supply team in this equation (MD's), are incented to wear out their wrists writing prescriptions. So the 'Doughnut', a program with the fingerprints of economists, not politicians, all over it. If you have a problem, we'll cover it. If you have a big problem, we'll cover that too. But please, no more over indulgence for every ache, pain, swollen prostate or limp noodle. While Krugman can certainly suggest his own plans in this area, he cannot complain about a program that preaches from the same economic textbooks from which he teaches. JT

Subject: Re: Doughnut
From: Mik
To: JT
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 17:19:50 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dude, I hate to break this to you - how about you attack the facts presented in the article. If I fall sick and need medication over the amount put forward ($2,000 odd), let's say I need $3,000 worth of medication - Why am I left high and dry with little to no government assistance? Let's say I got laid off work 1 month ago as the factory I used to work for moved to China. I can't afford the most basic human need - health care. I am sick and I need help. I live in a modern western country, I have been making tax contributions all my life and now I need government asssitance. But it won't be there. Interesting that 'my government' is giving free health care to Iraqis though. If there is a problem with 'over indulgence' then pray do tell - why can Canada offer a much better system? The text books from which Krugman teaches talk very clearly about government's role in the economy.

Subject: Re: Doughnut
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 17:55:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
As usual, you are right. My pain is just not as important as your pain, I suppose. But, you too will experience pain in your time and I am awfully awfully healthy.

Subject: Nooo
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 23:11:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sorry Emma, I don't mean to mislead you. I was giving a hypothetical scenario. I am of perfect health and live in Canada. Oh and am fully employed too. I work in development economics. I advise developing countries' governments on infrastructure. ciao, Mik

Subject: Re: Nooo
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 02:56:11 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thankfully we are both well. I wrote a poorly framed metaphorical support for your incisive statement. You are always incisive. Social insurance is terribly important for all of us, and you expressed that well. You are always a pleasure to read.

Subject: The Deadly Doughnut
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:58:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/11/the_deadly_doug.html November 11, 2005 The Deadly Doughnut - New York Times By Paul Krugman Soon millions of Americans will learn that doughnuts are bad for your health. And if we're lucky, Americans will also learn a bigger lesson: politicians who don't believe in a positive role for government shouldn't be allowed to design new government programs. Before we turn to the larger issue, let's look at how the Medicare drug benefit will work over the course of next year. At first, the benefit will look like a normal insurance plan, with a deductible and co-payments. But if your cumulative drug expenses reach $2,250, a very strange thing will happen: you'll suddenly be on your own. The Medicare benefit won't kick in again unless your costs reach $5,100. This gap in coverage has come to be known as the 'doughnut hole.'... [I]f you are a retiree and spend $2,000 on drugs next year, Medicare will cover 66 percent of your expenses. But if you spend $5,000 - which means that you're much more likely to need help paying those expenses - Medicare will cover only 30 percent of your bills.... How will people respond when their out-of-pocket costs surge? The Health Affairs article argues... that it's likely 'some beneficiaries will cut back even essential medications while in the doughnut hole.' In other words, this doughnut will make some people sick, and for some people it will be deadly. The smart thing to do, for those who could afford it, would be to buy supplemental insurance that would cover the doughnut hole. But guess what: the bill that established the drug benefit specifically prohibits you from buying insurance to cover the gap. That's why many retirees who already have prescription drug insurance are being advised not to sign up for the Medicare benefit. If all of this makes the drug bill sound like a disaster, bear in mind that I've touched on only one of the bill's awful features. There are many others, like the clause that prohibits Medicare from using its clout to negotiate lower drug prices. Why is this bill so bad? The probable answer is that the Republican Congressional leaders who rammed the bill through in 2003 weren't actually trying to protect retired Americans against the risk of high drug expenses. In fact, they're fundamentally hostile to the idea of social insurance, of public programs that reduce private risk. Their purpose was purely political: to be able to say that President Bush had honored his 2000 campaign promise to provide prescription drug coverage by passing a drug bill, any drug bill. Once you recognize that the drug benefit is a purely political exercise that wasn't supposed to serve its ostensible purpose, the absurdities in the program make sense. For example, the bill offers generous coverage to people with low drug costs, who have the least need for help, so lots of people will get small checks in the mail and think they're being treated well.... Can the drug bill be fixed? Yes, but not by current management. It's hard to believe that either the current Congressional leadership or the Mayberry Machiavellis in the White House would do any better on a second pass. We won't have a drug benefit that works until we have politicians who want it to work.

Subject: Blush if You Must, for Art's Sake
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:57:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/international/europe/11florence.html November 11, 2005 Blush if You Must, for Art's Sake, but Don't Panic By IAN FISHER FLORENCE, Italy - 'This is a very erotic body, don't you think?' Ornella Casazza, the petite and refined director of the Museo degli Argenti here, asked a visitor to the museum's new exhibition. The visitor was relieved that she did not really expect an answer, but her point was plain enough: the body was a nude and luxuriant Venus, painted around 1680, tended at her toilette in the clouds by a fleshy huddle of nymphs and cherubs. It is one work among more than 200 at the museum, in a major exhibit on mythology and erotica, ranging from chastely smooching cupids, to hermaphrodites and Olympian rape scenes, to a four-foot stone penis girded spectacularly with lion's legs. 'Art can never exist without Naked Beauty display'd,' William Blake wrote as part of an etching of the Laocoön - the Greek statue unearthed in Rome that inspired Michelangelo's heroic depiction of the naked body, inspiring in turn the rebirth of the nude in Western art. Now, the naked, and the near-naked, beauty is the subject of several exhibits in Italy that expose what most adults already know well: how what we all have manages to be both profound and sort of dull. For tourists here, the classical nude can seem like wallpaper, one particularly abundant commodity in the full Italian experience, to be chased then checked off somewhere between Chianti and Santa Croce. But Dr. Graziella Magherini, a top psychiatrist in Florence, urges caution all the same. The nude, she warns, can be dangerous to one's mental health. 'The nude, the nude body, masculine and feminine, above all those done by the great artists,' she said, 'is very provocative on the mind of a person.' She is Italy's expert on strong reactions to art: 30 years ago, she began studying what she later called the 'Stendhal syndrome,' named after the French writer who collapsed, as he wrote after a visit to Florence in 1817, from 'a pitch of excitement wherein the celestial sensations of the fine arts meet the passions.' Over 10 years, she studied some 100 cases of visitors to Florence suffering similar breakdowns after their encounters with Italy's art, architecture and history, experiencing panic, euphoria, depression, even hallucinations. These days, her studies have zeroed in on sex, and specifically how Caravaggio's sexually ambiguous young boys have caused similar mental episodes especially in men - more broadly, how the charge of sex in great art can also overwhelm. In a recent paper, she wrote about a young American, called Henry, who suffered from disorientation and dizziness at a Caravaggio exhibit. But it was the sight of a bare knee in a painting of Narcissus that sent him into full psychological terror. In Milan, the brave can test their own reactions at a Caravaggio exhibit that runs through Feb. 6, with 8 works by him and nearly 150 by his followers and imitators. Here in Florence, Dr. Magherini has turned her attention to the most famous nude: Michelangelo's 'David.' She is studying reactions to the 'David,' and has been looking particularly at a recent exhibition in which five modern works were displayed aside the classical beauty of the 'David.' The exhibition provoked 'particularly violent and exaggerated reactions to the contemporary works,' according to Francia Falletti, director of the Galleria della Academia, where the 'David' is displayed. There have been no unusual reactions recorded at the new exhibit on mythology and erotica, though in theory there is time: the show runs through May 15. An Italian newspaper called it a 'porno shop,' a description that Ms. Casazza, the museum director and co-curator of the exhibit, dismissed with a laugh. 'When you look at one of these paintings, do you feel like you are looking at Playboy?' she asked, and again the visitor was relieved when she answered her own question. 'No,' she said. 'They are different from men's magazines. This has a universal character. There is also the ability to represent the human soul.' The exhibit of art from the first century B.C. to the 18th century fills six grand rooms, and while most is tame and tasteful, there are some surprisingly explicit works: semipornographic etchings along with the stone phallus with lion's legs that was a favorite of a Medici cardinal. In all, the exhibit seems a reminder of how much artists used to get away with, when the subject was Greek and Roman myth, most definitely not chaste. One visitor, Maria Grazia Marunti, 74, pronounced it all 'boring and repetitive.' Then again, she is Italian, and Italians are famously less impressed than foreigners by all that surrounds them. 'I find it odd that angelic young children are being displayed more than I thought,' said Ellen Garfield, 20, a junior at Davidson College in North Carolina. 'I don't ever see that in America, the sexually explicit positions.'

Subject: T-Rex of Crocodiles
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:55:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/international/americas/11croc.html November 11, 2005 Scientists Find the T-Rex of Crocodiles By KENNETH CHANG Scientists have nicknamed it Godzilla, but it really belongs in another movie, one not yet made but possibly titled: 'Jaws Meets Jurassic Park.' The creature, whose discovery is being announced today in the journal Science, is a large sea-dwelling crocodile that lived 135 million years ago, in the middle of the dinosaur era. Unlike most crocodiles today, this one possessed a snout that was short and stout, like that of Tyrannosaurus rex, and its foot-and-a-half-long jaws held 52 large teeth with serrated edges - the type that can tear chunks of flesh out of other large creatures. 'I'm sure it wasn't nice,' said Diego Pol, a researcher at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State University and a member of the research team. 'A top predator role in the food chain.' Perhaps a dozen or more feet long, it was not the largest of all crocodiles, nor was it the only one that swam the seas. But it is notable for being so sharply distinct from most other crocodiles, which generally have long, slender snouts and a mouthful of more than 100 small sharp teeth, useful for catching fish. 'It's like a crocodile with a dinosaur head on it,' said James M. Clark, who is a professor of biology at George Washington University but was not involved in the research. 'This is something really new and unusual. In the realm of fossil marine crocodiles, it's a big deal.' Mark A. Norell, curator of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, said this crocodile could have filled an ecological niche similar to that of modern-day killer whales. Dr. Pol said it probably preyed on other marine reptiles like ichthyosaurs, which looked like dolphins, and plesiosaurs, the long-necked, slow-swimming reptiles. Paleontologists have known about crocodiles living in the oceans since the 1800's, when their fossils were found in Europe. Some had even evolved flippers and a fishlike tail. The research, financed by the National Geographic Society, was led by Zulma Gasparini, a paleontologist at the National University of La Plata in Argentina. She uncovered a complete, intact fossil skull of the new species, named Dakosaurus andiniensis, in the Patagonia region in 1996. The Science article culminates nine years of study, including preparing the fossil by removing the surrounding rock. Despite its unusual shape, the 13-inch-long skull had telltale features like the shape of the nostrils, eye sockets and the roof of the mouth that indicated it was a crocodile. A detailed comparison by Dr. Pol with other marine crocodiles of the time indicated that the new species resembled the group with the flippers and fishlike tails. When Dakosaurus lived, the area where the fossil was found was far to the north and far underwater, the bottom of a deep tropical bay connected to the Pacific Ocean.

Subject: Health Care Crisis in the U.S
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:52:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://krugman.page.nytimes.com/?8hpib November 8, 2005 On 'Pride, Prejudice, Insurance': Health Care Crisis in the U.S By Paul Krugman. Nell Farr, Elk Grove, Calif.: Your fine column contained this line: '. . . Americans too young to receive Medicare and insufficiently destitute to receive Medicaid . . .' This implies that those under 65 receive Medicaid if only they are poor enough. Many people believe this is true. It is not. Only if a person under 65 is on some Federal aid program such as AFDC or a disability program is he/she eligible for Medicaid. Others have an option of a free clinic, if available, or an E.R. for an emergency condition. However, E.R.'s only stabilize a person if further care or diagnostic work is indicated, such as a mammogram or even chemo for cancer, usually such a person is totally out of luck. They die. Your columns are usually 100 percent factually correct, and I was disappointed to see this line that reinforces the mistaken belief of most Americans. Paul Krugman: It's a bit more complicated than that. As I understand it Medicaid covers many children even if the parents aren't on AFDC, and in some cases covers parents too. But you're right that an American can easily be ineligible for Medicaid no matter how desperate his or her financial straits. In fact, that's a big part of the awfulness of how the government is responding to the aftermath of Katrina. But I didn't have space to go into all of that. Remember, 700 words. Michael Pistorio, Des Plaines, Ill.: While I completely agree that it is a travesty for Americans to be devoid of a national health care solution, I question the rationale of comparing the costs of an American system to that of a foreign system. My reasoning lies behind the simple fact that the U.S. has a population considerably larger than the most populated country that you mentioned, and with this said, I would think that the reason other countries have lower costs is due to the smaller number of prospective participants. Please help me understand. Paul Krugman: All of these comparisons are per capita: spending per person. So population is taken into account. Or, if you prefer, add up total spending by Western European countries, which have about the same combined population as the United States; you'll find that they spend only about 60 percent as much on health care, but that everyone is insured, life expectancy is higher, and infant mortality is lower. Philip Lohman, Lakewood, Calif.: You missed making your best argument: the huge difference between levels of overhead in health systems. Somewhere around 30 percent of all expenditures on health care in the U.S. are for administration. This money buys hundreds of millions of pieces of paper and phone calls, plus the salaries of the legions of employees of insurance companies, H.M.O.'s, P.B.M.'s and all the others who are required to make the whole creaky, maddeningly complex mess function. What i t doesn't buy is a single office visit or prescription. Similar administrative costs in other countries are around a third of this. Compared to private insurance, Medicare, perpetually described as a boondoggle by conservatives, is a model of efficiency. I was managememt consultant in healthcare for twenty years. Some days I couldn't bring myself to believe the lunacy of the whole system. Paul Krugman: I agree, but I'm puzzled that you think I missed your point. The column clearly identifies administrative costs as a key problem with the U.S. system. Carol Bouville, Gaithersburg, Md.: Why is the obvious so hard for us Americans to accept? We used to not want any government-sponsored child care either because it was too socialistic. I suspect that has a lot to do with not getting government involved in universal health coverage. After all, our leaders are my age and came of age when anything that mimicked socialism was verboten. I lived in France for 18 years. Yes, it was cumbersome sometimes to get around in the health care system, but at least it was very cheap and available — and good, too. We never had to worry about losing our coverage or about not being able to pay for necessary treatment or meds. I argue that because of that peace of mind, we had a better quality of life than most Americans. Why don't people demand access to health coverage and refuse to vote for anyone who doesn't pledge to make the single-payer system a reality? What do we have to do to make that happen? Neeta Moonka, MD, Demarest, N.J.: Thank you for this column. I am a physician who has been convinced of the need for a single-payer plan in this country since before I went to medical school in 1981. Please know the patchwork of employer based insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, not to mention the uninsured, takes its toll on doctors as well. Bill Hess, Wasilla, Alaska: Your comments on nationalized insurance resonate with me. I am sitting here, feeling a notable amount of pain, thinking it would be good to go see a doctor and ask about it, but I dare not — I can't afford to. Not because I don't have insurance, but largely because I do. I am 55 years old and when I first got my insurance over a decade ago, it was a good deal. In the time since, my insurers have continually forced me to pay more for less, to drop my dental care altogether, to increase my deductible while still cutting back on my medical benefits. Yet the rate I pay has more than doubled to over $600 a month — that's just for me. Fortunately, my wife and grown children receive care under the U.S. Indian Health Service. I have a prostate problem for which I take three medications, all of which I must purchase myself along with any other medications I might find myself needing at any time. Last spring, my urologist ordered up a cat scan to double check a few things, which turned out okay. Two weeks later, I was struck by some intense abdominal pain. The physician who saw me felt it necessary to order up still another cat scan, which revealed nothing that wasn't on the original, but did add several thousand to the medical bills I was already facing, bills denied by my insurance company. So I have been trying to pay off this big debt and now I dare not go see a doctor again, as long as I am able to function and move around. I simply cannot afford to. An older brother recently had part of his colon removed due to cancer and another brother suffers a variety of often severe colon ailments. My father has had part of his colon removed as well. This puts me in the group of at-risk people who are advised to get a colonoscopy, but I checked into it and, even with my insurance, I would be facing a few more thousand in additional medical debt that would be uncovered by my insurance. I know what happens when my insurance company receives one of my medical bills — they do not say, 'Let's see what we can do to help this guy and keep him healthy for as long as we can.' They say, 'Let's see if we can deny all of this, or as much as possible, and lets keep raising his rate dramatically every few months so that, hopefully, by the time he really needs care and we would have to put out some bucks we will already have forced him to drop our coverage.' They may not actually vocalize it in those terms, but I sincerely believe both scenarios to be an accurate reflection of their policy. Mark Sengel , Banglamung, Thailand: Thanks for your focus on health care. I am 50 and teach in Thailand. The hospitals here are excellent and tens if not hundreds of thousands of foreigners are coming here from all over the world to have root canals, colonoscopies, and back surgery. Meanwhile, everyone I know in America feels their choices are limited. They choose to stay in jobs they don't like, they don't start businesses, and they live in places they don't really want to in order to get health care. Most have no idea how they are going to retire, estimating they need hundreds of thousand dollars just for health care if they are going to retire in their early 60's. And these are people that are way ahead of the average American. What is the endgame? Lynne Koester, Yuba City, Calif.: Would it be feasible to convert Medicare into a national health insurance system? I realize that its present per-patient cost is high because of the age of those who qualify for Medicare, but if the pool were enlarged by including most all Americans, wouldn't the per-patient cost decrease? By eliminating the profits built into private health insurance companies, we could save even more money. Plus, when ill, many uninsured people presently use a hospital emergency room because they do not have medical insurance, but if they were covered by a national health insurance, they could be treated in a doctor's office, which is less costly than a hospital. Paul Krugman: Yes, indeed. One way to implement national health care would simply be to expand Medicare to everyone. Of course, doing that would require additional funds, probably in the form of an increase in the payroll tax. And that would elicit howls from the right. But the apparent rise in tax rates would be an illusion: it would simply substitute an explicit tax for the implicit tax that companies and workers pay in the form of insurance premiums. Given international experience, I have no doubt that overall spending on health care would actually fall, and that job creation would actually rise, after the supposed tax increase. It's a simple solution, building on a program that we already know works. It would make the vast majority of Americans better off. And it's considered a complete non-starter politically. Now why is that?

Subject: Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 07:16:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that as the economy continues to grow reasonably, so the stock market is slowly making gains. I find this promising for all the reightful worries we have and for a period when the Federal Reserve is in the midst of a tightening cycle. I point this out because no matter our worries we must save and invest for our futures. What should give us confidence is that we can soundly invest in a period of considerable uncertainty and still find the security we need. I am quite pleased, and confident in our economic growth and stability of our financial system.

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 07:00:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 11/10/05 Australia 10.7 Canada 18.3 Denmark 15.4 France 4.1 Germany 2.3 Hong Kong 5.3 Japan 13.0 Netherlands 5.8 Norway 21.6 Sweden 1.7 Switzerland 12.6 UK 5.0

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 06:56:54 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 11/10/05 Australia 18.7 Canada 17.3 Denmark 33.9 France 20.4 Germany 18.3 Hong Kong 5.0 Japan 30.1 Netherlands 22.4 Norway 32.3 Sweden 25.4 Switzerland 29.6 UK 15.4

Subject: France Faces a Colonial Legacy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 05:59:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/international/europe/11france.html?ex=1289365200&en=6a03baf981ac54ed&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 11, 2005 France Faces a Colonial Legacy: What Makes Someone French? By CRAIG S. SMITH PARIS - Semou Diouf, holding a pipe in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood amid the noisy games of checkers and cards in the dingy ground-floor common room of a crowded tenement building and pondered the question of why he feels French. 'I was born in Senegal when it was part of France,' he said before putting the pipe in his mouth. 'I speak French, my wife is French and I was educated in France.' The problem, he added after pulling the pipe out of his mouth again, 'is the French don't think I'm French.' That, in a nutshell, is what lies at the heart of the unrest that has swept France in the past two weeks: millions of French citizens, whether immigrants or the offspring of immigrants, feel rejected by traditional French society, which has resisted adjusting a vision of itself forged in fires of the French Revolution. The concept of French identity remains rooted deep in the country's centuries-old culture, and a significant portion of the population has yet to accept the increasingly multiethnic makeup of the nation. Put simply, being French, for many people, remains a baguette-and-beret affair. Though many countries aspire to ensure equality among their citizens and fall short, the case is complicated in France by a secular ideal that refuses to recognize ethnic and religious differences in the public domain. All citizens are French, end of story, the government insists, a lofty position that, nonetheless, has allowed discrimination to thrive. France's Constitution guarantees equality to all, but that has long been interpreted to mean that ethnic or religious differences are not the purview of the state. The result is that no one looks at such differences to track growing inequalities and so discrimination is easy to hide. 'People have it in their head that surveying by race or religion is bad, it's dirty, it's something reserved for Americans and that we shouldn't do it here,' said Yazid Sabeg, the only prominent Frenchman of Arab descent at the head of a publicly listed French company. 'But without statistics to look at, how can we measure the problem?' Mr. Sabeg was born in Algeria when it was French territory and moved to France with his family as an infant. His father worked as a laborer and later a mechanic to put him through a Jesuit boarding school, and he went on to earn a Ph.D. at the Sorbonne. He scoffs at the notion of a French identity based on what he believes is a fiction of equal rights and France's reluctance to engage in debate about the gap between ideals and reality. 'France doesn't know how to manage diversity,' he said. 'It doesn't want to accept the consequences of a multiethnic society.' Like most French schoolchildren, he was taught that his ancestors were Gauls and that 'in 732, Charles Martel, the Mayor of the Palace, repelled the Arabs in Poitiers.' French leaders admit failings but insist they are working to bring equality to all citizens and have embarked on an oblique public debate about what it means to be French. But that debate is still bounded by fidelity to ideals of the French Republic. President Jacques Chirac told reporters at Élysée Palace on Thursday that the government 'hasn't been fast enough' in addressing the problems of discrimination. 'No matter what our origins, we are all children of the Republic,' he said. Further to the political right, the debate has taken on another cast: the far-right National Front party released a computer-generated video on its Web site this week that showed Paris in flames. 'Immigration, explosion in the suburbs ... Le Pen foretold it,' the banner over the video reads, referring to the party's patriarch, Jean-Marie Le Pen. The idea behind France's republican ideal was that by officially ignoring ethnic differences in favor of a transcendent French identity, the country would avoid the stratification of society that existed before the French Revolution or the fragmentation that it now sees in multicultural models like the United States. But the French model, never updated, has failed, critics say. 'France always talks about avoiding ghettoization, but it has already happened,' Mr. Sabeg said, adding that people are separated in the housing projects, in their schools and in their heads. The country's colonial legacy has only deepened that alienation. Rachid Arhab, one of the only well-known minority broadcast journalists in France, says that he lives with the resentments touched off by the bloody war of independence that Algeria won against France in 1962. 'Unconsciously, for many French, I'm a reminder of the war,' he said, adding, 'now they see images of second-generation Algerian children in the streets burning cars and buildings, and that brings out the resentment even more.' Mr. Arhab himself is a study in the country's ambivalence toward what it means to be French. He was born in Algeria when the country was French territory and so was born French. He moved to France as an infant, but lost his French citizenship when he was 8 in the wake of the Algerian war - like many French-Arabs from Algeria, his parents didn't understand that they had to apply to retain their citizenship in France. Mr. Arhab didn't become a French citizen again until 1992. Yet he said, 'I feel profoundly French.' But even the language of identity has its barbs. Mr. Arhab said that when he hears people refer to him as French 'of Algerian origin,' it carries with it the subtext that he is not really French. He said earlier generations like himself have had it easier than the frustrated youths in the housing projects today, because his generation had closer ties to their homelands. 'When someone says to me, 'you're not French,' I can take refuge in my origins,' he said, 'but the young can't do that.' Most second-generation Muslim immigrants are generally no more observant than young French Catholics. But the legacy of discrimination creates the conditions for young people who feel neither French nor North African to seek an identity in Islam - often anti-Western, political Islam. 'I've known discrimination all of my life,' Mr. Sabeg said, adding that the prejudices only grew stronger the more prominent he became. In 1991, he led a group of investors in taking over CS Communication and Systémes, a publicly listed company that he now runs. When he applied to the government to become a defense contractor, a ministry official told him, 'You're called Sabeg, that's a problem for us,' meaning that he was of Algerian descent. Rumors soon began circulating that he was an Algerian spy. It took him three years to win his first contract from the Defense Ministry. He never found out who was behind the rumors. 'It's like a snake, you see the tail as it disappears, but never the head,' Mr. Sabeg said, adding that the rumors continue. So far, the government's efforts to reach out to minority ethnic youth have been half-hearted, constrained by the republican ideals that have turned affirmative action into a taboo. But private efforts are beginning, skirting the rules. Karim Zeribi, a former soccer player and political adviser, said a study he carried out earlier this year found that résumés sent out with traditionally French names got responses 50 times higher than those with North African or African names. In the wake of the study, Mr. Zeribi established an agency in April called Act for Citizenship, which canvasses minority neighborhoods for qualified job candidates and markets them to corporations. 'We want to create a network for these people where there is none,' Mr. Zeribi said. Still, he said, his young candidates are regularly asked if they are practicing Muslims when they are interviewed for jobs.

Subject: Re: France Faces a Colonial Legacy
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 12:41:13 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting that comparisons or differences are drawn to the USA's immigrant issues. They should rather look at Canada's model. Truly amazing. I am spellbound by what Canada has done to integrate cultures from all parts of the world. Canada is by no means perfect, but what they have pulled off, is simply amazing. In fact France should look to Quebec to see their integration policies. After all Quebec is French speaking. Integration requires an active role from EVERYONE. The Canadian government spends tremendous time and money understanding the unique differences between the different cultural groups and implements programs to address specific problems. Isn't that amazing? When the government shows they care, they quickly get a ‘buy-in’ by the groups and everyone is quickly working together. Does the USA or France have a program specially geared to help one particular ethnic group cope with the changes from peri-urban to urban environment? Canada has - for Jamaicans who have never lived in an urban environment. Why do Jamaicans get this special treatment? Because they were identified as the group struggling the most with the change. Does the USA of France put money aside to help one particular group improve its tertiary education level and ensure it doesn't fall behind? Canada has - for Portuguese immigrants who have been here for many generations but are falling behind other more newly arrived immigrant groups. There are special scholarship programs for children of Portuguese background to go to University and College. I cannot imagine even London or Paris or New York having more cultural diversity than Toronto. Walk the streets of Toronto and tell me there is a visible majority. Everyone, but everyone on the streets are a visible minority including people of European decent. Yet Toronto has the lowest crime rate for a city of this size. We have NEVER had racial flares. This goes so much deeper. When a crime is reported, the TV companies are responsible enough NOT to report the racial, cultural or any other form of discriminatory background of the criminal. All we tend to know is the age and gender. By simply not reporting the racial or cultural background, people don't start jumping to any racist conclusions. Now how is that for impressive? But now for the most impressive part.... walk the streets of Toronto (a city with over 2 million inhabitants) walk up to any house and open the door. You have an 80% chance that the door will be unlocked. Yes it is true - Canadians leave their front doors unlocked.... Unbelievable. Why is it that Canada can get it right and France cannot? because Canadians, by nature, care and they inspire others to care too. I'm not a Canadian - but this is truly mind blowing.

Subject: Re: France Faces a Colonial Legacy
From: Emma
To: Mik
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 17:56:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent, excellent.

Subject: Inside French Housing Project
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 05:55:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/international/europe/09projects.html?ex=1289192400&en=7847f6426bccd3c4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 9, 2005 Inside French Housing Project, Feelings of Being the Outsiders By CRAIG S. SMITH ÉVRY, France - Amin Kouidri, 20, has been hunting for a job for more than two years now and spends his days drifting around a government housing project here under the watchful gaze of France's national police. He and his neighbors in one of France's now-notorious housing projects say that they feel cut off from French society, a result of a process of segregation lasting for decades, and that alienation and pressure from the police have now exploded in rage across the country. 'There's nothing to do, and frustrations have added up until in the end it has become like a bomb that they carry inside,' said Azzouz Camen, 44, at a small snack bar he owns between the neighborhood's apartment blocks and a gleaming new mosque. For these men, the violence that has swept the country is easy to understand, even, they say, long overdue, not only because of the unemployment but because of the increasing confrontation with the police. On Tuesday, after two weeks of violence, the government declared a state of emergency, imposing curfews on numerous trouble spots. [Page A12.] Mr. Kouidri, his short hair swept forward with gel, was born here to North African immigrants and educated in French schools. He trained as a pastry chef and has been seeking work steadily to no avail. 'If you don't have a job, you get into drugs, you get into trouble,' he said, nursing a cup of tea in the chilly air outside Mr. Camen's snack bar in this southern Paris suburb. Others turn to religion, a trend that has worried many officials even as it reassures an older generation of immigrants who have seen their children stray. 'People need to hang on to something,' Mr. Camen said. At prayer time, a steady stream of men pass his snack bar on the way to the mosque. But the focus on religion has added to the tension. Fears of Islamic extremism and the terrorism it sometimes breeds have increased the mistrust between traditional French society and the immigrant neighborhoods, particularly after a spate of bombings in the 1990's and the terrorist violence of the past few years. People in the projects say this has increased the pressure from the police. 'If you practice your religion, you're dangerous, if you don't drink alcohol, you're dangerous,' said a man at the snack bar who would only give his name as Mohammed. The police circle the apartment blocks in their cars or sit at the two roads that lead in and out of the sprawling neighborhood, periodically stopping and searching - and angering - the men they see. Worse, said Mohammed and others, is when the police appear in riot gear. 'At dusk, they put on their helmets and as soon as they do that the kids say, great, there's going to be a party tonight,' Mohammed said. He said an often destructive game of cat-and-mouse has ensued. In other projects, the story is the same. 'They come to provoke us,' said a 22-year-old man named Sofiane in the Franc-Moisin projects north of Paris, claiming that the police plant drugs on young men suspected of being dealers. 'They arrest us for nothing.' His brother, Nassin, was quick to admit that violence is often the response. He claimed that he set off a small bomb outside the prefecture's police station after his brother was arrested a few months ago. 'It's not unemployment, it's the police,' he said. The projects were built in the 1960's as part of a postwar urban planning dream: modern blocks of tidy apartments surrounding lawns and playgrounds, social centers and stores. They drew people from cramped, old houses in the provinces and cramped, old tenements in the city. When immigrants began arriving in the 1960's, they moved into the subsidized housing, too. Residents describe the early days as full of optimism and hope. 'Everyone had work and lived with the expectation that their children would have better jobs than their parents,' said Harlem Désir, a son of an immigrant from Martinique who grew up in a housing project in Bagneux, north of Paris. Working-class French and working-class immigrants lived side by side in the buildings. Education was free and all of the children were taught the catechism of France's republican ideal: that under the French state, they enjoyed liberty, fraternity and equality. The reality of discrimination was something they learned on their own. 'You're French on your identity card, French to pay taxes and to go into the army, but for the rest, you're an Arab,' said Hassan Marouni, 38, who came to France from his native Morocco with his parents 30 years ago. He said he had only been able to find temporary factory jobs and is currently unemployed. Most of the native French moved out of the projects in a 1980's government-sponsored home-buying program. Few immigrant families could afford to participate and most were left behind. As the first wave of French-born children of immigrants came of age, they realized that the opportunities afforded them fell far short of those enjoyed by their native French friends. Delinquency flourished in the now predominantly immigrant neighborhoods, and the police cracked down. That led to a summer of rioting in 1983 similar to the current unrest, but on a smaller scale. Mr. Désir emerged as a leader from that unrest and helped organize a march for equal rights that started in the immigrant neighborhoods outside Lyon and ended in Paris. The press dubbed it the March of the Beurs, using the immigrants' slang word for Arab, and France's left-leaning intelligentsia embraced the cause, seeing in it an echo of the United States' civil rights movement. President François Mitterrand received some of the marchers at Élysée Palace and euphoria swept through the country's children of immigrants. They had stood up and been heard. But little happened after that. Mr. Désir and others said the housing projects were repainted, elevators fixed and social workers assigned to help guide the young. The government helped Mr. Désir establish a discrimination watchdog organization and he later went on to his current job as a Socialist member of the European Parliament. Few others reaped such bright futures. Even today, France, with the largest non-European immigrant population in Europe, has only a handful of minorities in senior government, news media or corporate positions, a sharp contrast with some European countries with smaller minority populations. As disappointment settled over the projects and discrimination outside them grew, young French of West African and North African origin withdrew into their neighborhoods' increasingly closed world. 'The violence is an expression of anger but also a cry for help,' Mr. Désir said. 'The state must be there to guarantee that people will be protected from discrimination, treated correctly by the police, helped to get out of the projects.' Otherwise, he warned, the door is open for other ideologies, like fundamentalist Islam. Mr. Désir, who is a Roman Catholic, said the number of French-born youths who have been recruited to violent radical groups was small so far, 'but it has sounded an alarm.' An economic downturn hit the immigrant neighborhoods harder than the rest of the country, and many of the jobs never came back. A series of deadly bombings in France by terrorists tied to a war in Algeria further soured the national mood toward the growing immigrant population. As things grew steadily worse, crime in and from the projects grew. An effort by the last Socialist administration helped improve things a bit by putting police officers on the beat in the neighborhoods and providing money to create jobs for young residents. But both programs ended after Jacques Chirac became president. His tough interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, replaced the police on the beat with officers from an anti-crime brigade who cover several towns at a time. Their aggressive tactics have won almost universal scorn in the projects and created an air of hostility that has precipitated the current violence. 'They're cowboys, they're Rambos,' Mr. Marouni complained. He said the situation had deteriorated rapidly since the anti-crime brigade arrived. Many young people now spend the majority of their time in the small world of their projects, threatened by the police if they venture too far. 'When you're in your project, you're safe, but if you go out it's more dangerous,' said a tall, young man who gave his name as Kunta Kinte, smoking a marijuana cigarette near the Temple Woods projects in Clichy-sous-Bois north of the city. The balconies of the apartment blocks of Évry's housing projects are crowded with drying laundry, bicycles and flower boxes. Teenagers and mothers with strollers crisscross the leafy, parklike grounds. 'The apartments are nice,' said Mr. Marouni, who now lives with his wife and three children in a three-bedroom apartment in one of the buildings. 'It's not a problem of poverty,' said Alain Touraine, an expert on integration in France, adding that the underlying problems are deeper. 'What we are living through is a general process of rapid reverse integration that is the result of failures on both sides.' He believes that the only way to solve the problem is to create public debate so people can address each other rather than the caricatures they see. People in the neighborhoods say they have a simpler solution - pull back the police and help idle young people find jobs.

Subject: Paul Krugman: The Deadly Doughnut
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 05:54:40 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/ November 11, 2005 Paul Krugman: The Deadly Doughnut By Mark Thoma Paul Krugman looks at Medicare's new prescription drug benefit and asks whose interests are served by the legislation that created it: The Deadly Doughnut, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: Registration for Medicare's new prescription drug benefit starts next week. Soon millions of Americans will learn that doughnuts are bad for your health. ... [L]et's look at how the Medicare drug benefit will work... At first, the benefit will look like a normal insurance plan, with a deductible and co-payments. But if your cumulative drug expenses reach $2,250, ... you'll suddenly be on your own. The Medicare benefit won't kick in again unless your costs reach $5,100. This gap in coverage ...[is] the 'doughnut hole.' (Did you think I was talking about Krispy Kremes?) ... [T]his will place many retirees on a financial 'roller coaster.' People with high drug costs will have relatively low out-of-pocket expenses for part of the year... Then, suddenly, they'll enter the doughnut hole, and their personal expenses will soar. ... How will people respond when their out-of-pocket costs surge? ...[B]ased on experience from H.M.O. plans with caps on drug benefits, ... it's likely 'some beneficiaries will cut back even essential medications while in the doughnut hole.' ... [T]his doughnut will make some people sick, and for some people it will be deadly. The smart thing to do... would be to buy supplemental insurance that would cover the doughnut hole. But guess what: the bill ... specifically prohibits ... buying insurance to cover the gap... [B]ear in mind that I've touched on only one of the bill's awful features. There are many others... Why is this bill so bad? The probable answer is that the Republican Congressional leaders who rammed the bill through ... weren't actually trying to protect retired Americans... In fact, they're fundamentally hostile to the idea of social insurance... Their purpose was purely political: to be able to say that President Bush had honored his 2000 campaign promise to provide prescription drug coverage... Once you recognize that the drug benefit is a purely political exercise..., the absurdities ... make sense. For example, the bill offers generous coverage to people with low drug costs, who have the least need for help, so lots of people will get small checks in the mail and think they're being treated well. Meanwhile, the people who are actually likely to need a lot of help ... were deliberately offered a very poor benefit. According to a report issued along with the final version of the bill, people are prohibited from buying supplemental insurance to cover the doughnut hole to keep beneficiaries from becoming 'insensitive to costs' ... A more likely motive is that Congressional leaders didn't want a drug bill that really worked for middle-class retirees. Can the drug bill be fixed? Yes, but not by current management. ... We won't have a drug benefit that works until we have politicians who want it to work.

Subject: Stocks and Bonds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 18:52:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Slowly the American stock market is gaining, and we may well mark another fine year even with the Federal Reserve cycle continuing. All major sectors are positive, with middle cap stocks nearing 10%, small caps a bit less and large caps about 3%. Value is ahead of growth by a bit, and energy, utilities, precious metals, health care and REITs all strong. International stocks are especially strong in domestic currencies, and holding against the strong dollar. International value is again leading growth. Bonds have weakened.

Subject: Re: Stocks and Bonds
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 20:35:21 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that the Vanguard REIT index is up 8.8% this year. I still argue that this fund is a fine reflection of the strength of the housing market. Yes, I know this is commercial real estate, but I have found the reflection accurate for almost a decade. Housing is slowing, but gently I think and that is what the strength of the REIT index tells me.

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:55:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Fund Returns 12/31/04 to 11/9/05 S&P Index is 2.2 Large Cap Growth Index is 2.6 Large Cap Value Index is 3.9 Mid Cap Index is 8.6 Small Cap Index is 4.4 Small Cap Value Index is 3.8 Europe Index is 4.1 Pacific Index is 12.2 Energy is 37.7 Health Care is 10.8 Precious Metals 28.3 REIT Index is 6.5 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 1.1 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 1.5

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:55:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/04 - 11/9/05 Energy 34.6 Financials 2.9 Health Care 4.7 Info Tech 1.3 Materials -4.6 REITs 6.6 Telecoms 0.4 Utilities 12.7

Subject: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:24:46 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There was a time (20 years or more ago) when a sinking dollar had a balance between good and bad effects. On the one hand, a sinking dollar had a shrinking effect on paychecks but (with some lag) eventually improved the position of US manufacturers by increasing sales of US goods overseas which would eventually lead to higher US employment and help to balance trade. All of that has changed dramatically during the last quarter century or so. US manufacturing has diminished considerably and now represents only a little over 10% of the US economy. So a sinking dollar helps a much smaller portion of our economy than it once did. When you look at our economy today, a very large part of the US economy is foundationed on the housing market. The economist, in a recent article (posted on this board), stated that, since 2000, 40% of new jobs created in the US were directly attributed to the housing market. The San Diego Tribune sited labor statistics which attributed 50% of new jobs created in the two years since 2003 in California (where housing has soared) were directly related the housing market. These jobs where the construction, real estate, mortgage and escrow jobs related to housing. We can be sure that there are many indirect jobs at furniture, home electronics, and hardware retailers, etc which are also indirectly related to the housing market. The point here is, while shrinking paychecks due to a shrinking dollar has a negative effect on consumption in general, higher interest rates due to a shrinking dollar have a negative effect on our economy's main engine - housing! So a shrinking dollar is a greater threat to the economy than it may have been in the past. It's not as usefull to look at the dollar's rise or fall against other currencies as it once was. In fact, most major currencies around the globe have been shrinking in buying power. This is the main reason why precious metals have been rising now for nearly four years. This is why I'm more concerned with the buying power of the US dollar when it comes to the necessities of life (like energy and food). This is why interest rates will go steadily higher no matter what the Fed does as long as we have high fiscal deficits and high yearly current account deficits. Higher interest rates and tighter lending will crush a very overvalued housing market and consumption in the process.

Subject: Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 15:15:10 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Barry Ritholtz, an excellent analyst, agrees with you while I am not yet willing to. However, even if you both are correct and wages are increasing meaningfully more slowly than prices I would argue the effects will be a long while before they make a difference in economic growth. If we are losing ground to inflation, we have means from use of assets to debt to maintain consumption and will do so. Also, there is no reason to believe long term interest rates will rise much from here as long as there is support for our bonds internationally and I expect such support will continue.

Subject: Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 15:20:45 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From an international perspecitve dollar assets are a fine investment, and I agree. There is simply no other currency to challenge the dollar right now. The Euro will have another run, but not for a while since Europe lacks stability and ready investment opportunity.

Subject: Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 16:45:18 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri. If we can keep on with all this borrowing to close the yearly fiscal and current account deficits year-in-year-out without any serious ill effects, then my parents were wrong about 'money not growing on trees' and 'there's no free lunch'!!!

Subject: Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 17:55:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The danger is not borrowing repeatedly, it is borrowing at a faster rate than the economy can grow. If debt grows only as fast as the economy grows, then debt service can be maintained indefinitely. Remember that we had a balanced budget only 5 years ago, and it will take a while before debt builds and there may be a detectable problem. You are right to worry, but not quite yet to detect an effect. But, several fine analysts have been too abrupt as well.

Subject: Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 08:50:02 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'The danger is not borrowing repeatedly, it is borrowing at a faster rate than the economy can grow.' When you are borrowing to close the gap on deficits you are borrowing at a faster rate than the economy is growing (as measured by GDP) by definition. Do a search in google on 'debt as a ratio to GDP' and take a look at the history of this important ratio.

Subject: Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Poyetas
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 10:05:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
You are absolutely right Pete, Deficits mean that the economy is not growing at a fast enough rate to cover expenses. The major problem in predicting what will happen to the dollar is a lack of clarity as to what the transmission mechanism for interest rates actually is. Is it determined by foreign investors as they load up on T-Bills or does the Fed have the independance to set the rate as they see fit? Will foreign central banks keep on purchasing TBills regardless of the price? What confuses me is the relationship that you made earlier that: 'a sinking dollar had a shrinking effect on paycheck'. How is that possible? If your expenses and revenues are in the same currency, a currency movement should not have any impact. America's liabilities are in dollars so for a country with so little manufacturing, currency value should not be such a concern.

Subject: Re: Why dollar shrinkage is a problem
From: Pete Weis
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 14:06:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'What confuses me is the relationship that you made earlier that: 'a sinking dollar had a shrinking effect on paycheck'. How is that possible? If your expenses and revenues are in the same currency, a currency movement should not have any impact. America's liabilities are in dollars so for a country with so little manufacturing, currency value should not be such a concern.' Many expenses are set by global demand and the rising cost of energy and materials needed to make products whether they are manufactured here or overseas. Hence the cost of producing, packaging and transporting food, for instance, has been rising at a considerably higher rate than 'core inflation'. These costs must be passed on to US consumers or profits will suffer. Part of the runup in fuel and material costs has been due to a shrinking dollar as well as higher worldwide demand. South Africans haven't seen nearly the shrinkage in the buying power of their paychecks since the rand has gained against the dollar. True, we get a break since the US dollar is the world's reserve currency and things could be much worse. Nevertheless, the dollar has been steadily losing ground. A shrinking dollar will also mean higher interest rates in our future and the millions of Americans who are on some sought of variable rate will be shelling out an ever larger percentage of their paychecks to cover what they have already borrowed.

Subject: The Dollar
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:17:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The absence of competitive international financial markets in Europe has long been a mystery to me, though why be more competitive than necessary when there are such manipulative profits as European financial companies can generate? This is a prime reason why I do not worry about the dollar, no matter the swings as yet.

Subject: Markets
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:30:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember, Japan finally seems to be recovering from what strikes me as the most profound financial crash of the century, finally finally. The Nikkei index was 39,000 in 1989 and is 14,000 this day, and almost no dividends to compensate. The Yen is a little more valuable than in 1989. Care to have held Japanese stocks as a store of value :) Europe is better, but look at how European investment houses treat investors and wonder.

Subject: Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:05:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Every international family I know has assets in America, as would I whether I lived in Asia or Europe. Similarly we should be looking to international assets, but there is not quite a symmetry possible. Capital markets in America are easier to negotiate and more investor friendly, for all my complaints, than international capital markets are. Even when the Euro was strongest, and it will be strong again in time, I thought the idea of the dollar lastingly losing favor was foolish. When Vanguard Europe begins to look neraly like Vanguard America or when there even is a Vanguard Japan, I will begin to think of international capital markets as competitive.

Subject: Shopping
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 08:41:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
In Greenspan's Math, Inflation Is Always Zero: Caroline Baum Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- If only consumers could see things Alan Greenspan's way. The Federal Reserve chairman was on Capitol Hill last week to testify to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress in what will probably be his last appearance there before he steps down on Jan. 31. The testimony was uneventful -- so uneventful, in fact, it's hard to remember what he said. The Q&A that followed, however, featured some topics near and dear to the chairman's heart and legacy. Take the following exchange between Greenspan and Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, the one self-described libertarian in Congress and someone not known for giving the chairman a free pass. Greenspan said that ``the inflation rate, properly measured, at this particular stage has been very close to zero for a very long period of time.'' Without missing a beat, Paul came back with the observation that the dollar is worth 55 cents today compared with 1987. ``So I don't see how you can say there's no inflation,'' Paul said. Here's Greenspan again: ``Well, you and I have discussed this issue at length many times over the years. And I agree with you in part and I disagree with you in the other part.'' The gentleman's time had expired. There was no resolution of the parts. Consumer Angst Greenspan may believe inflation, properly measured, is close to zero, but consumers clearly don't. Expectations for inflation one year out hit a 15-year high of 4.6 percent in October, according to the University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers. Over the 5- to 10-year time horizon, the median inflation expectation rose to a 10-year high of 3.2 percent, according to Michigan survey director Richard Curtin. ``Consumers are feeling more defenseless against inflation because they can't raise their wages,'' Curtin said in an interview. ``The cumulative strain of higher prices'' on household finances pushed the consumer-sentiment index to a 13-year low last month, following the second-largest three-month dive (22.3 points) on record, according to the report. Asked to explain their newly depressed state, ``more consumers cited higher prices than any time since 1982, and just as importantly, the fewest consumers cited income gains in more than a decade,'' according to the report. Zero inflation does not figure among their key concerns. Different Measures So why the disconnect between the zero inflation and well- contained inflation expectations that Greenspan sees and the higher prices and rising expectations giving consumers angst? Quite simply, the Fed prefers a ``core'' measure of inflation, with food and energy excluded. The core CPI rose 2 percent in the year ended September, down from a 2.4 percent annual increase in February. Add food and energy back into the index, and the result is a 4.7 percent year-over-year gain in the CPI, the biggest increase in 14 years. Energy prices, up 35 percent in the last 12 months, are a very visible part of the family budget. Enough said. Consider this inconsistency: Fed policy makers say inflation is close to zero and long-term inflation expectations are well contained, yet they're talking and acting as if they side with consumers, whose long-term inflation expectations are at a 10-year high. Investor Confidence ``Investors don't have the same anxiety about inflation as consumers,'' said Jim Glassman, senior U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. ``If they did, a 4.6 percent 10-year note wouldn't be that attractive.'' Besides, ``if inflation is zero and the funds rate is at 4 percent, how can policy be accommodative?'' he asked. Good question. And not one we're apt to get an answer to anytime soon. Even if Greenspan is relying on the conclusions of Fed board economists David Lebow and Jeremy Rudd that the overstatement in the CPI is 0.6 percentage point annually (``Measurement Error in the Consumer Price Index: Where Do We Stand,'' Dec. 7, 2001), there's no way inflation is zero right now. Like many economists, Lebow and Rudd contend that the major source of overstatement in the ``cost of living'' is inadequate accounting for changes in the quality of goods and services. Many economists agree that quality improvements -- in medical- care procedures, for example -- overwhelm service degradation (little face time with doctors, mountains of paperwork for health-care reimbursement) over time. Basket Weaving But it's just as easy, although not as popular, to argue that inflation is being understated. ``We don't even know what price is anymore,'' said Joe Carson, director of economic research at Alliance Bernstein. ``Does the change in price represent value added in the service or quality improvement in the good, or a price change?'' A price measure is ``supposed to take the price changes of a fixed basket of goods,'' he said. ``That's inflation.'' What we measure instead is cost of living and call it inflation. ``There's so much innovation, you can't buy the old product anymore,'' Carson said. ``If we were to add up all the double- digit declines in computer prices over the years, they should be giving them away free.'' No critical discussion of the CPI is complete without reference to housing. The largest single CPI component, owner's equivalent rent, rose 2.3 percent in the past year in the face of a booming housing market. While the imputed rental value of a home isn't the same as the price of the asset, it should bear some relationship to the underlying value. Greenspan Commission The median price of an existing home rose 13.4 percent in September from a year earlier, the seventh consecutive month in which gains exceeded 10 percent. Greenspan won't lack for job offers when he leaves the Fed; he'll be a hot ticket for any corporate board. As someone who has devoted a good deal of his life to public service, he would be a good candidate to head the Greenspan Commission, charged with studying and eliminating the measurement bias in the CPI. The only condition: He has to spell out his formula for converting the highest inflation rate in 14 years to zero.

Subject: Re: Shopping
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 18:07:10 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember that Whole Foods '365' brand is quite inexpensive but better in quality that regular store brands at any price. Just look to the organic breads and compare the label with any processed bread. There are times when cost should not matter much in any event, and food should be of fine quality. I am not about to eat at McDonalds, no matter the price.

Subject: Substitution
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 08:59:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics takes the opposite view. In calculating inflation they utilize substitution which essentially states that when Whole Foods prices rise, consumers can simply substitute cheaper McDonalds type food - hence no inflation. Go to the BLS site and take a look at the method used to calculate inflation - specifically the part regarding substitution. This was a change instituted in 1999.

Subject: Re: Substitution
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 11:12:18 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Whole Foods prices range from inexpensive to expensive, but even with expensive fine food items the stores are changing the way in which many people shop. Whole Foods supermarkets, in my experience, are packed with shoppers and other chains are begin forced to consider competing directly with Whole Foods. But, if a person wishes to eat at McDonalds fine. I find fine foods plentiful and inexpensive, and shop happily where I please. Were Whole Foods to seem extravagant, I could always switch but never dream of going to McDonalds. There is after all Trader Joe's.... I just do not find a problem.

Subject: Re: Substitution
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 19:48:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Somehow I get the feeling we are a couple vessels passing in the night on a sea of confusion.

Subject: The “Stolper(n)-Samuelson Theorem”
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:58:43 (EST)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
GENE, GENE, NEO-LIBERAL MACHINE [By L. Josh Bivens] Dean has tried to move this debate in a positive direction, but I'm going to engage in some more useless sniping at the pro-growth progressive (PGP) crowd. A couple of samples from Gene Sperling 'agonizing' about trade: 'Low-cost imports can cause job dislocation and real pain, but it is also the case that the higher prices that come from trade barriers can be like a regressive tax that hits poorer families four times harder than well-off families. 'Increased global competition has had a mixed record in the last decade: In the late 1990s it was associated with higher wages, less poverty and more good jobs in the late 1990s. [sic] Recently, however, we have seen disturbing developments: e.g. falling wages amidst higher productivity and solid GDP growth and deeper income declines for even the most highly educated dislocated workers. It is crucial that we understand which of these developments are trends and which are exceptions, and that we explore what this means for our trade policy as well as our strategy for public investment, tax reform and health care policies. 'Yet the more and more I hear the arguments put forward, the more I think exactly what we need is more progressive policy wonks who are willing to agonize over what may be some of the most complex and consequential economic issues we face.' At the risk of sounding unbearably obnoxious, I'm going to help Gene figure out the net impact of trade of the majority of American workers, because, it turns out that trade textbooks tell us precisely how to assess this. The most straightforward explanation is called the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem, and it says, in a nutshell, that expanded trade harms, in absolute (not just relative) terms, and permanently (not just through tough 'transitions'), the incomes of a nation's 'scarce' factor of production.' The scarce factor' in the US is generally considered to be workers without a college degree.* This is a little non-intuitive, but these workers are scarce in the US because the ratio of them to degreed workers is lower than the equivalent ratio in our trading partners. There was a big debate about this in the economics profession in the early 1990s. Not one single economist argued about the direction of trade's effect -- it was universally agreed that it was negative for these workers. Some said that trade's effect was small, even very small. Some said it was large. But again, there was absolute unanimity that the net effect of trade on these workers was negative, and that trade had exacerbated inequality. So here ends the pedantry. And yes, it is insulting because of course Gene and Jason (and the other PGPers) know about this. So why this public agonizing over the 'real' impact of trade? I'd argue it's just politics. Elsewhere Gene has argued that trade is a 'political orphan', and presumably he covets the overall efficiency gains of trade enough to think that it should be shepherded through the political process with all deliberate speed, even if this means muddying the waters about what economists actually know about the pattern of winnings and losses. Compensation to trade's losers will be taken care of later. For a political orphan, the cause of expanded trade is doing awfully well from my vantage point. The compensation, on the other hand, has been a long time in coming. So have the PGPers really picked the progressive fight here? *This is actually the best-case scenario for maximizing the 'winners' from trade. Original versions of Stolper-Samuelson predicted that all workers would lose out to capital-owners from expanded trade. http://maxspeak.org/mt/archives/001753.html

Subject: Better off without Him
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:31:07 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
thought i would post this to encourage an interesting discussion. playing devil's advocate (forgive the pun) so to speak!!! New research suggests that the Christian virtues are best represented in godless societies By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 11th October 2005 Are religious societies better than secular ones? It should be an easy question for athiests to answer. Most of those now seeking to blow people up – whether with tanks and missiles or rucksacks and passenger planes – do so in the name of God. In India, we see men whose religion forbids them to harm insects setting light to human beings. A 14th-century Pope with a 21st-century communications network sustains his church’s mission of persecuting gays and denying women ownership of their bodies. Bishops and rabbis in Britain have just united in the cause of prolonging human suffering, by opposing the legalisation of assisted suicide. We know that the most dangerous human trait is an absence of self-doubt, and that self-doubt is more likely to be absent from the mind of the believer than the infidel. But we also know that few religious governments have committed atrocities on the scale of Hitler’s, Mao’s or Stalin’s (though, given their more limited means, the Spanish and British in the Americas, the British, Germans and Belgians in Africa and the British in Australia and India could be said to have done their best). It is hard to dismiss Dostoyevsky’s suspicion that “if God does not exist, then everything is permissible.”(1) Nor can we wholly disagree with the new Pope when he warns that “we are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which … has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”(2) (We must trust, of course, that a man who has spent his life campaigning to become God’s go-between, and who now believes he is infallible, is immune to such impulses). The creationists in the United States might be as mad as a box of ferrets, but what they claim to fear is the question which troubles almost everyone who has stopped to think about it: if our lives have no purpose, why should we care about other people’s? We know too, as Roy Hattersley argued in the Guardian last month, that “good works … are most likely to be performed by people who believe that heaven exists. The correlation is so clear that it is impossible to doubt that faith and charity go hand in hand.”(3) The only two heroes I have met are both Catholic missionaries. Joe Haas, an Austrian I stayed with in the swamp forests of West Papua, had spent his life acting as a human shield for the indigenous people of Indonesia: every few months soldiers threatened to kill him when he prevented them from murdering his parishioners and grabbing their land.(4) Frei Adolfo, the German I met in the savannahs of north-eastern Brazil, thought, when I first knocked on his door, that I was a gunman the ranchers had sent for him. Yet still he opened it. With the other liberation theologists in the Catholic church, he offered the only consistent support to the peasants being attacked by landowners and the government.(5) If they did not believe in God, these men would never have taken such risks for other people. Remarkably, no one, until now, has attempted systematically to answer the question with which this column began. But in the current edition of the Journal of Religion and Society, a researcher called Gregory Paul tests the hypothesis propounded by evangelists in the Bush administration, that religion is associated with lower rates of “lethal violence, suicide, non-monogamous sexual activity and abortion”. He compared data from 18 developed democracies, and discovered that the Christian fundamentalists couldn’t have got it more wrong.(6) “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion … None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction.” Within the United States “the strongly theistic, anti-evolution South and Midwest” have “markedly worse homicide, mortality, STD, youth pregnancy, marital and related problems than the Northeast where … secularization, and acceptance of evolution approach European norms”. Three sets of findings stand out: the associations between religion – especially absolute belief – and juvenile mortality, venereal disease and adolescent abortion. Paul’s graphs show far higher rates of death among the under-5s in Portugal, the US and Ireland and put the US - the most religious country in his survey – in a league of its own for gonorrhea and syphilis. Strangest of all for those who believe that Christian societies are “pro-life” is the finding that “increasing adolescent abortion rates show positive correlation with increasing belief and worship of a creator … Claims that secular cultures aggravate abortion rates (John Paul II) are therefore contradicted by the quantitative data.”(7) These findings appear to match the studies of teenage pregnancy I’ve read. The rich countries in which sexual abstinence campaigns, generally inspired by religious belief, are strongest have the highest early pregnancy rates(8). The US is the only rich nation with teenage pregnancy levels comparable to those of developing nations: it has a worse record than India, the Philippines and Rwanda(9). Because they’re poorly educated about sex and in denial about what they’re doing (and so less likely to use contraceptives), boys who participate in abstinence programmes are more likely to get their partners pregnant than those who don’t(10). Is it fair to blame all this on religion? While the rankings cannot reflect national poverty – the US has the world’s 4th highest GDP per head, Ireland the 8th – the nations which do well in Paul’s study also have higher levels of social spending and distribution than those which do badly. Is this a cause or an association? In other words, are religious societies less likely to distribute wealth than secular ones? In the US, where governments are still guided by the Puritan notions that money is a sign that you’ve been chosen by God and poverty is a mark of moral weakness, Christian belief seems to be at odds with the dispersal of wealth. But the UK - one of the most secular societies in Paul’s study – is also one of the least inclusive, and does rather worse in his charts than countries with similar levels of religion. The broad trend, however, looks clear: “the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have … come closest to achieving practical “cultures of life”.”(11) I don’t know whether these findings can be extrapolated to other countries and other issues: the study doesn’t look, for example, at whether religious belief is associated with a nation’s preparedness to go to war (though I think we could hazard a pretty good guess) or whether religious countries in the poor world are more violent and have weaker cultures of life than secular ones. Nor – because, with the exception of Japan, the countries in his study are predominantly Christian or post-Christian – is it clear whether there’s an association between social dysfunction and religion in general or simply between social dysfunction and Christianity. But if we are to accept the findings of this one – and so far only – wide survey of belief and human welfare, the message to those who claim in any sense to be pro-life is unequivocal. If you want people to behave as Christians advocate, you should tell them that God does not exist. www.monbiot.com References: 1. It’s been pointed out to me that these were not in fact Dostoyevsky’s words, but a summary of his character Ivan Karamazov’s position by Jean-Paul Sartre. See http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/features/2000/cortesi1.html 2. Joseph Ratzinger, 18th April 2005. Homily. Vatican Radio. http://www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?id=33987. 3. Roy Hattersley, 12th September 2005. Faith does breed charity. The Guardian. 4. See George Monbiot 1989, Poisoned Arrows: an investigative journey through Indonesia. Republished 2004 by Green Books. 5. George Monbiot, 1991. Amazon Watershed. Michael Joseph, London. 6. Gregory S. Paul, 2005. Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look. The Journal of Religion and Society, Volume 7. http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html 7. ibid. 8. Figures from the UNFPA’s State of World Population report 2003 for births per 1000 women between 15 and 19 years old are presented in graph and graphic form at: http://globalis.gvu.unu.edu/indicator.cfm?IndicatorID=127&country=GB#rowGB 9. ibid. 10. Alba DiCenso et al, 15th June 2002. Interventions To Reduce Unintended Pregnancies Among Adolescents: Systematic Review Of Randomised Controlled Trials. British Medical Journal 324:1426. 11. Gregory S. Paul, ibid.

Subject: Re: Better off without Him
From: Pete Weis
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 08:30:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I wonder if religion becomes more 'lethal' the more it becomes entwined with the State. When religion is used by those in power to control the masses, than it becomes less tolerant of those who might stray from or question the state sanctioned religion. It concerns me that the Bush administration may be trying to 'convert' Moslems in the Middle East to more than democratic ideals. Especially, when we remember in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack, George W. relates that as he came to the decision to invade Iraq he relied on guidance from 'a higher Father' rather than advice from his actual father, the former President.

Subject: A Is for Ancient
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:26:36 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/international/middleeast/09alphabet.html?ex=1289192400&en=6f2c7752650aa838&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 9, 2005 A Is for Ancient, Describing an Alphabet Found Near Jerusalem By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD In the 10th century B.C., in the hill country south of Jerusalem, a scribe carved his A B C's on a limestone boulder - actually, his aleph-beth-gimel's, for the string of letters appears to be an early rendering of the emergent Hebrew alphabet. Archaeologists digging in July at the site, Tel Zayit, found the inscribed stone in the wall of an ancient building. After an analysis of the layers of ruins, the discoverers concluded that this was the earliest known specimen of the Hebrew alphabet and an important benchmark in the history of writing, they said this week. If they are right, the stone bears the oldest reliably dated example of an abecedary - the letters of the alphabet written out in their traditional sequence. Several scholars who have examined the inscription tend to support that view. Experts in ancient writing said the find showed that at this stage the Hebrew alphabet was still in transition from its Phoenician roots, but recognizably Hebrew. The Phoenicians lived on the coast north of Israel, in today's Lebanon, and are considered the originators of alphabetic writing, several centuries earlier. The discovery of the stone will be reported in detail next week in Philadelphia, but was described in interviews with Ron E. Tappy, the archaeologist at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary who directed the dig. 'All successive alphabets in the ancient world, including the Greek one, derive from this ancestor at Tel Zayit,' he said. The research is supported by an anonymous donor to the seminary, which has a long history in archaeological field work. The project is also associated with the American Schools of Oriental Research and the W. F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, in Jerusalem. Frank Moore Cross Jr., a Harvard expert on early Hebrew inscriptions who was not involved in the research, said the inscription 'is a very early Hebrew alphabet, maybe the earliest, and the letters I have studied are what I would expect to find in the 10th century' before Christ. P. Kyle McCarter Jr., an authority on ancient Middle Eastern writing at Johns Hopkins University, was more cautious, describing the inscription as 'a Phoenician type of alphabet that is being adapted.' But he added, 'I do believe it is proto-Hebrew, but I can't prove it for certain.' Lawrence E. Stager, an archaeologist at Harvard engaged in other excavations in Israel, said the pottery styles at the site 'fit perfectly with the 10th century, which makes this an exceedingly rare inscription.' But he added that more extensive radiocarbon dating would be needed to establish the site's chronology. The Tel Zayit stone was uncovered at an eight-acre site in the region of ancient Judah, south of Jerusalem, and 18 miles inland from Ashkelon, an ancient Philistine port. The two lines of incised letters, apparently the 22 symbols of the Hebrew alphabet, were on one face of the 40-pound stone. A bowl-shaped hollow was carved in the other side, suggesting that the stone had been a drinking vessel for cult rituals, Dr. Tappy said. The stone, he added, may have been embedded in the wall because of a belief in the alphabet's power to ward off evil. In a study of the alphabet, Dr. McCarter noted that the Phoenician-based letters were 'beginning to show their own characteristics.' The Phoenician symbol for what is the equivalent of a K is a three-stroke trident; in the transitional inscription, the right stroke is elongated, beginning to look like a backward K. Another baffling peculiarity is that in four cases the letters are reversed in sequence; an F, for example, comes before an E. The inscription was found in the context of a substantial network of buildings at the site, which led Dr. Tappy to propose that Tel Zayit was probably an important border town established by an expanding Israelite kingdom based in Jerusalem. A border town of such size and culture, Dr. Tappy said, suggested a centralized bureaucracy, political leadership and literacy levels that seemed to support the biblical image of the unified kingdom of David and Solomon in the 10th century B.C. 'That puts us right in the middle of the squabble over whether anything important happened in Israel in that century,' Dr. Stager said. A vocal minority of scholars contend that the Bible's picture of the 10th century B.C. as a golden age in Israelite history is insupportable. Some archaeological evidence, they say, suggests that David and Solomon were little more than tribal chieftains and that it was another century before a true political state emerged. Dr. Tappy acknowledged that he was inviting controversy by his interpretation of the Tel Zayit stone and other artifacts as evidence of a fairly advanced political system 3,000 years ago. Critics who may accept the date and description of the inscription are expected to challenge him when he reports on the findings next week in Philadelphia at meetings of the American Schools of Oriental Research and the Society of Biblical Literature.

Subject: Turning Supermarkets Into Restaurants
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:07:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/realestate/28sqft.html?ex=1282881600&en=3222c88310e263cc&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss August 28, 2005 Turning Supermarkets Into Restaurants, Too By TERI KARUSH ROGERS AS anyone who has walked into a Whole Foods Market lately knows, high-end grocery stores are increasingly designed to appeal to those who like to eat but rarely cook. Food stores are now aiming to satisfy immediate cravings, through ready-to-eat cuisine ranging from arugula salad with croutons to duck legs braised in red wine. It is becoming harder to tell where the store stops and the restaurant begins. Are supermarket designers coming up with food stores - or restaurants? 'Virtually any major-sized new stores and a lot of remodels will have some sort of space set aside for in-store eating of ready-to-eat foods,' said Stephen Dowdell, editor in chief of Progressive Grocer magazine. Adding what amounts to a restaurant to a supermarket requires some big changes in the standard designs. Instead of being relegated to the meat department, prepared foods are moving to the front. A look at food stores that have begun to offer a large selection of prepared foods, and places to eat them, shows some common design precepts at work: EASY IN, EASY OUT Recognizing that convenience is crucial - and that the lunchtime crowd, for instance, isn't willing or able to stock up on household staples - stores cannot prompt impulse buys by putting prepared foods in remote locations. 'Making the prepared foods easily accessible from the front door, making it easy for people to get to it and pay and get out without going through the whole store, is a big deal,' said Bill R. Bishop, the president of Willard Bishop Consulting in Barrington, Ill. APPEAL TO THE SENSES At Agata & Valentina, the independent gourmet market in Manhattan, 'as soon as you walk in, you know you want to eat,' said Emily Balducci, the director of public relations, because the aromas of regional Sicilian cooking permeate the store. 'What we did is create an on-floor kitchen cooking all day so you can watch and smell the food being prepared, which is very key.' Mr. Bishop agrees with the importance of making the preparation visible. 'Having people see the food being prepared,' he said, 'is very important because it communicates the product is fresh.' Whole Foods has made much of the open-kitchen concept. Each prepared-food station is designed to be as exposed as possible, with nearly as much attention paid to the beautiful stainless steel utensils as to high-quality ingredients. The appearance of accessibility is intended to encourage communication on the level, say, of a Disneyfied European marketplace: Whole Foods' workers, for instance, are trained to converse with customers. LET THE FOOD SPEAK FOR ITSELF When asked about their design tricks, retailers say they favor an unadorned, often industrial, palette (waxed concrete floors, stainless steel cases, slate walls) that serves as a canvas for the food. 'It's not about decoration,' said Jack Ceglic, a founder of Dean & DeLuca and an architect whose firm, Ceglic Design, plans the stores' visual identity. 'The color palette is as simple as can be -white and gray and touches of black. There's never been any color added, only the food.' In Manhattan, the progression of restaurant food into supermarkets has been most vivid at Whole Foods, which has been raising the ante in its three hugely successful stores. The first, a 40,000-square-foot store that opened in the Chelsea neighborhood in 2001, offered no place where customers could sit down and snack on ready-to-eat foods. Three years later, the 59,000-square-foot store at the Time Warner Center introduced a sleek 300-seat dining area for eating store-bought food, and incorporated a juice bar. This year, at its new 50,000-square-foot store at Union Square, it offered a somewhat smaller 180-seat dining section on the upper level, but unlike the Time Warner store, it allowed shoppers to bypass the rest of the store altogether and order from the juice and coffee bars or graze among an abbreviated selection of prepared foods. But according to Whole Foods' northeast regional president, Christina Minardi, these are mere baby steps. Executives at the company have been emboldened by the success of 'minirestaurants' scattered throughout the chain's recently opened 80,000-square-foot concept store in Austin, Tex. 'It was the first time we had a sit-down food venue, where you order your food and get a glass of wine,' Ms. Minardi said of the Texas store. 'There's a raw bar, a barbecue station, a trattoria, a cheese venue with cheese and wine, and the food comes on real plates. It revolutionizes and changes the whole company.' Whole Foods intends to borrow those ideas liberally for the sweeping bilevel 76,000-square-foot store under construction in a luxury apartment building at Bowery and Houston Street in Manhattan. 'We're doing a bunch of food venues,' Ms. Minardi said of the store's mezzanine. 'We're doing a sit-down sushi and noodle bowl station; we're doing a trattoria where pastas will be cooked to order, a coffee bar, a raw juice bar.' (Other innovations borrowed from the concept store will include a cooking school, a bookstore and a Whole Home store, consisting of a mock New York City apartment furnished with organic sheets, towels and other accessories.) Elsewhere in Manhattan, Balducci's plans to endow its new store at Eighth Avenue and 14th Street with a 60-seat dining area, where customers can eat foods from the 'enormous' prepared-food section under the chef Katy Sparks, according to Mark S. Ordan, Balducci's president and chief executive. The store is to open this fall. Agata & Valentina, on First Avenue at 79th Street, doubled its prepared-foods section during a renovation seven years ago, but lacked the space for extensive in-store dining. Instead, next month it is to open a 'semi self serve' restaurant across First Avenue. Called the Agata & Valentina Food Bar, it is to be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The transformation of parts of supermarkets into quick-serve restaurants has everything to do with the runaway success of prepared foods. The category is expanding almost twice as fast as food sold to be prepared at home, Mr. Bishop said. Sales of regular food are growing about 2 to 2.5 percent a year, he said, compared with 4 to 4.5 percent for prepared food. Though the labor costs can be higher, gross profits average around 60 to 65 percent for prepared foods, versus 30 to 35 percent for traditional supermarket purchases. Even stores that forgo on-site dining 'can't just sell traditional groceries anymore and develop the same traffic and loyalty and following as a store that's done a great job with prepared foods,' Mr. Bishop said. The shift began in the 1980's, when two-career families needed to simplify dinner. In those days, prepared foods in supermarkets were not sophisticated. 'It was mostly fried chicken and other fried foods born out of the deli part of the meat department at the back of stores,' said Todd A. Hultquist, a spokesman for the Food Marketing Institute in Washington. Retailers worked hard to improve their marketing of prepared-food offerings. 'If you go to stores with beautifully presented, high-quality ingredients and a personality behind the counter that can help you navigate, it's a home run,' said Phil Lempert, the food trend editor for NBC's 'Today' show and the editor of Supermarketguru.com. He predicted that in 10 years, prepared foods would constitute 50 percent of supermarket offerings.

Subject: The Virtue in $6 Heirloom Tomatoes
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 07:06:09 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/06/magazine/06WHOLE.html?ex=1401854400&en=81d217b452782273&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND June 6, 2004 The Virtue in $6 Heirloom Tomatoes By JON GERTNER John Mackey was sitting at a conference table in Austin, Tex., explaining what he calls ''the paradox of food shopping in America.'' Mackey, who started Whole Foods Market in Austin nearly 25 years ago and currently serves as the company's C.E.O. and president, is known for being casual, opinionated and very direct. On a scale of C.E.O. bluntness, with Ted Turner a 10, Mackey might rate an 8 -- or, on a banner day, a 9. On a scale of C.E.O. complexity, he would be off the charts. Current and former colleagues describe Mackey, 50, as both spiritual and calculating, forthright and aloof, humble and arrogant, good-natured and prickly. And Mackey himself does little to dispel the contradictions. He says he is pro-employee but is avowedly anti-union. He calls himself pro-customer but acknowledges that he runs a store with higher profit margins (and prices, often) than almost any other grocer. He is avowedly pro-capitalism but also pro-love. Asked once to list the principles he lives by, he included his belief that ''love is the only reality. Everything else,'' he added, ''is merely a dream or illusion.'' Mackey -- dressed in a short-sleeve polo shirt, shorts and running shoes -- sat back in his chair and sketched out his point in a light Texas accent. ''Americans love to shop, right?'' he asked. ''We love to shop. And Americans love to eat. We're the fattest nation on earth. But paradoxically we don't love to shop for food. Grocery shopping in America for the most part is a chore.'' To his credit, Mackey tried to address this problem before almost anybody else. Yet he began as a food entrepreneur not so much to introduce style into the supermarket aisles as to influence the health and eating habits of the next generation of Americans. His original stores were big on nuts and grains and loaves dense as doorstops. It was food that took some serious chewing. The produce often came from farmers who showed up unannounced at the backdoor with muddy boots and battered pickup trucks. Tomatoes, turnips, carrots, basil -- it might be local, it might be organic, it might be both; it just depended on the day. In the 80's and 90's, Whole Foods opened up new branches and bought up other natural grocers, poured enormous resources into beautifying its store decor and established its quality standards. The company acted, in the words of one executive, as ''the editor'' for its customers, drawing a bright line between what is and is not a ''whole,'' or unadulterated, food. At any of the 150 American branches, you can now find ice cream (but only with natural sweeteners), sausage (from animals treated humanely) or a (nitrate-free) prosciutto sandwich. You cannot find Pepperidge Farm cookies or anything with trans fats, synthetic preservatives or artificial colors. To customers familiar with the company, which is poised to become one of the 500 largest businesses in America (it is currently 508 on Fortune's list) and which recently began a conspicuous invasion of New York with a spectacular store at Columbus Circle and soon-to-come emporiums in Union Square and Park Slope, Whole Foods still carries a patchouli whiff, a lingering reputation for being crunchy and countercultural and somewhat earnest. Mackey says he thinks this is amusing as well as mistaken. His customers are not alt-lifestyle types, Mackey says; nor does ethnicity or geography define them. The company is growing at a steady clip in the South and Midwest; it has increasingly wide appeal in Asian, Hispanic and African-American communities, and it will open a store next year in center-city Oakland. Mackey's market research suggests that Whole Foods doesn't appeal to any unique demographic these days other than highly educated people who are willing to spend more on what they eat. The prices have lent the chain its unflattering nickname: Whole Paycheck. Yet just as it is inexact to dismiss Whole Foods as hippie artifact, it is simplistic to ascribe its growth to the country's swelling class of luxury-seeking elites. A number of years ago, Mackey and his team bet on a big idea: that mainstream Americans, even those with only the vaguest concerns about the integrity of the agribusiness food chain, would decide that it made sense to pay more for better food -- that is, food with ''whole'' and ''natural'' ingredients, sold by a purveyor they felt confident about -- just as they would pay more for better cars or kitchen cabinets. Harvey Hartman, head of a Seattle-based consumer marketing group who does work for Whole Foods, attributes the payoff of that bet partly to something he calls retrieval: in a society brimming with the ersatz and the inauthentic, where consumers increasingly attempt to save what's soulful from disappearing cultural traditions, Whole Foods' premodern authenticity, or its appearance of premodern authenticity, presents an opportunity to reclaim meaning. There's also a less high-minded explanation: Hartman says that Mackey's stores appeal smartly to our ''messiness.'' People are messy in their habits and shopping preferences, he says. That's why Whole Foods, in its something-for-everyone largess, is categorically messy, or inconsistent, too. It responds to how health-conscious Americans actually live (eating H* agen-Dazs after a stir-fry) rather than how they feel they should live (by finishing lunch with a pomegranate frappe). As a yoga-practicing-vegetarian-libertarian who admires Ronald Reagan and prefers The Wall Street Journal editorial page to this newspaper's, you might say Mackey is a little messy himself. Mackey's next project, after more than two decades spent trying to reinvent the supermarket, is to change the values and reputation of business in America. ''Business is always painted as the bad guys,'' he remarks. ''They're the ones who are greedy, selfish, the ones who despoil the environment. They're never the heroes. Business has done a terrible job of portraying itself as invaluable. And it never will be accepted by society as long as business says it has no responsibility except for maximizing profits.'' Mackey's efforts at rehabilitating the good name of business have involved speaking to college students and talking up the Whole Foods ''stakeholder'' philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of satisfying customers and employees before shareholders. His argument is that a responsible business benefits all its stakeholders, including the local community and the environment; he also asserts such a business will naturally enjoy a higher stock price. If his own track record is any indication -- $10,000 invested in Whole Foods when it went public in 1992 is now worth more than $198,000 -- he may have a point. At the moment, he is at work on a book, due out next year, that lays out his business ideals in detail. In the meantime, he intends to make some waves. Tired of the way Wall Street's analysts enlist corporate executives in the setting of important quarterly earnings targets -- often with the effect of punishing the stock of companies that fail to meet them -- Mackey has decided Whole Foods will not play the short-term expectations game. ''It's stupid,'' he says. ''When we announce our year-end 2004 results next November, we're going to announce a totally different way we're going to relate to the investment community.'' Just a few days before, he explains, his corporate board gave him the O.K. on this. It's debatable whether Mackey's philosophy of stewardship differs as radically from mainstream corporate America as he seems to believe. It's more likely that Whole Foods is modestly different in many respects, and that such modest differences have amounted to a business that is somewhat unconventional. Many large companies (Costco, for instance) share a stakeholder model that makes a priority of customer and employee satisfaction. Other large companies (like Starbucks and British Petroleum) have serious community and environmental commitments. And some influential businesses place reasonable limits on executive compensation (Warren Buffett earned about $300,000 last year in total compensation from Berkshire Hathaway). Whole Foods does these things and a few others. About 94 percent of its stock options go to nonexecutives, for example, and any employee may see the salary of any other, regardless of rank. Mackey's own salary is about $400,000 a year, owing to a policy that bars officers from earning more than 14 times what the average company employee makes. That means that the average worker at Whole Foods earns in the range of $29,000 -- not bad for the grocery industry, but not enough to keep the company from pitched battles with unions, most recently in Madison, Wis., where in July 2002 workers voted in favor of representation by the United Food and Commercial Workers. (Mackey says the union's victory, which was certified and then decertified, resulted from his inattention to workers' concerns, and he spent the past year visiting all of the Whole Foods stores in the country in order to bond with his employees and to shore up enthusiasm.) What really separates Whole Foods from other companies, according to Mackey, is the mission that weaves the company's ideals together. Mackey and two former partners, Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, founded Whole Foods in 1980 in a 10,000-square-foot space down the road from the company's current Austin headquarters. It wasn't until 1985, though, when the company had about 600 workers (it now has 29,500) that Whole Foods tried to lay out formally what it really wanted. Mackey and about 60 employees spent several weekends that year at a retreat working out their business principles and boiling them down to a few pages they called the Declaration of Interdependence. Mackey had little idea what a mission statement should look like, but the resulting stakeholder model and guiding principles -- sell quality food, please customers, satisfy employees, create wealth, respect the environment and conduct a responsible business, all at the same time -- have served the company well for more than 20 years. What Mackey calls his business model is, in effect, the practice of giving customers what they want: a profusion of fish, meats, fruits and vegetables, presented with detailed explanations, far beyond what's required by law, of where it all comes from and how it was grown, caught or processed. But customers may be getting more than abundance. At Whole Foods stores, the mission statement (or pieces of it) is posted on walls, listed in free pamphlets, voiced by employees and managers in every aisle. Customers are not only consuming the groceries at Whole Foods. They are also buying its values. And this could be the most revolutionary thing about Whole Foods. Of course, the mission may be only so many words. You can't help wondering if the company's ideals and neologisms mask convention more than change it. Employees are ''team members''; managers are ''team leaders''; the annual corporate report declares, ''We believe in a virtuous circle entwining the food chain, human beings, and the earth; each reliant upon the others through a delicate symbiosis.'' It's not difficult to get numerous former employees and executives to say unflattering things about Mackey, who is widely known to be tough to work for. Yet it is hard to find anyone who has ever been involved with the company who doubts Mackey's commitment, or who questions whether Whole Foods is an innovative enterprise. And for those who would challenge his vision, Mackey has a response: their problem isn't with Whole Foods itself but with the expectation of what Whole Foods should be. Human nature makes it hard to categorize something novel and complex. Where we see contradictions in him or in Whole Foods, he sees continuity; where we see compromises, he sees progressive good sense; where we see pragmatism, he sees big-tent idealism. Above all, where we recognize a fast-growing company making cosmetic adjustments to timeworn business practices, he beholds a gleaming new paradigm. When I asked Mackey about the rhetoric of Whole Foods, he replied bluntly: ''People say, 'They just changed the words.' It's O.K. They can believe that. I'm not out to convert anybody. I'm just doing what we're doing, and a lot of young people really like it. I don't care if you don't get it. In fact you're doing me a favor by not getting it. Because you're stuck in the old way, you're wedded to a business model that is ceasing to work very well.'' Mckey is known to read several books a week, and his answers to questions are often studded with references to heady stuff like Thomas S. Kuhn's ''Structure of Scientific Revolutions'' and Adam Smith's ''Wealth of Nations.'' In conversation these quotations come off as reflective rather than grandiose -- evidence that he trolls good distances from ''Who Moved My Cheese?'' for business insights. Indeed, Mackey compares the idea of natural foods and more healthful eating to Charles Darwin. Survival of the fittest was a fringe belief that caught on only when a resistant generation died off and younger, more open-minded people discerned its value. Mackey says he thinks Whole Foods benefits from the fact that our culture, and especially our food culture, is shifting profoundly. The old idea was A&P and Shop Rite: the milk always in one place and the meat in another, the Muzak and fluorescent lights and wheels rolling over linoleum producing a supermarket trance that was exactly the same in Connecticut as in California. The old idea was Mom going to the store once a week and rarely reading labels. The old idea was male grocery executives and store managers and a clientele that was almost exclusively women. In Mackey's view, consumer evolution necessitates a change in the look and feel of grocery stores. It obliges retailers to understand that a sizable portion of consumers (up to 65 percent) are willing to pay more for organic food. It demands a new kind of empathy for an American family that has changed its eating habits (cooking less, shopping more often and buying more prepared foods) and its makeup (more single parents, fewer children). A large number of women hold executive positions within Whole Foods, Mackey points out, and store designs depend greatly on women's preferences. ''We have a lot more feminine energy here,'' he says. Whole Foods has also been helped by the entrepreneurs who have been driving the organic and natural-foods movements for the past three decades. The company has incorporated ideas and employees from the chains it has bought -- Bread & Circus and Fresh Fields in the Northeast, Mrs. Gooch's in the West, Wellspring in North Carolina -- even as many of its vendors have followed the same path from fringe to hip to the edge of mainstream. There seems to be some agreement among Mackey and businessmen like Steve Demos, the president of White Wave, which makes Silk soy milk, that the battles for consumer attention (good taste, recognizable brands), as well as the fight for agricultural validation (sustainable farming, no antibiotics), have largely been won. It's the push to get their ideas about socially responsible business into the mainstream that is just beginning. Demos says: ''Wall Street -- that's where the fun begins. They only measure one thing, the bottom line. My goal is to demonstrate that the principle-based business model is more profitable than its counterpart, and when we do, Wall Street will chase us instead of the other way around.'' Hence the virtue of big profits. ''Our industry should focus on making the most money possible,'' he says. Mackey, of course, is just as fervent a capitalist -- or neocapitalist, as he calls himself, since he characterizes his early political views as socialist and says his ardor for free markets came late in life. He simply maintains that there is no conflict between an aggressively capitalistic enterprise like Whole Foods and a socially responsible enterprise like Whole Foods. He is steadfast that his company will never compromise with Wall Street on its values -- the 5 percent of profits given every year to charity, the installation of solar panels on the tops of some stores, the payment to employees for their community service. At the same time, Mackey says the company won't compromise its intentions to make as much money as possible along the way. ''One of the things that's held back natural foods for a long time is that most of the other people in this business never really embraced capitalism the way I did,'' Mackey says. It irks Mackey that some of his oldest customers don't accept that the road to profitability runs directly into the mainstream. ''I don't know how many letters we get from people who resent that,'' he says. He affects a mocking tone: '' 'You've sold out,' they say, or, 'Don't forget about the little people who supported you when you were nothing.' '' It's interesting, he adds, that when an idea that began on the fringe hits the mainstream, it's no longer hip and cool, even if it preserves its integrity and values, as he says he believes his company has. ''America has a love affair with small businesses, the Jimmy Stewart, 'It's a Wonderful Life' kind of businesses,'' he says. ''But when they get to be big, they're no longer good, they must be evil.'' The plan for Whole Foods, as it happens, is to grow to 300 stores by 2010, and to make deep commercial inroads on Canada and the United Kingdom. By then, Mackey says, it should have at least $10 billion in annual sales. He also says that's just a start. Across from his Austin office is the future headquarters of Whole Foods Market, an enormous building still under construction that will house the grocer's new flagship store on the first floor -- all of 80,000 square feet -- which Mackey has privately declared will be the grandest supermarket in the world. And which of course leaves little doubt. Love may or may not be the only reality. And big may or may not be better. But to Mackey, big is what a big idea needs to be.

Subject: Evolution and the Electorate
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 06:23:46 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/10/opinion/10thur3.html November 10, 2005 Evolution and the Electorate Voters in Dover, Pa., came to their senses this week and tossed out almost the entire school board, which had tried to discredit the theory of evolution and steer students toward the theory of 'intelligent design' - the idea that life forms are so complex that a higher being must have made them. Let's hope the voters in Kansas follow suit next year by ejecting several benighted members of the State Board of Education, which has just approved new science standards that open the way for supernatural explanations of natural phenomena. The Dover schools are the first in the nation to require that attention be paid to intelligent design. Administrators read a brief statement to biology classes asserting that evolution was only a theory, that intelligent design provided an alternative explanation and that a book on intelligent design was available in the library. That roundabout effort to undermine the teaching of evolution has been challenged as unconstitutional in the courts, with a verdict expected by early January. Meanwhile, Kansas seems to be veering once again toward supernatural science. Six years ago, the Kansas State Board of Education gutted its statewide science standards to eliminate evolution as an explanation for the development of humanity, and tossed out the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe as well. That madness was reversed the following year, when voters dumped three of the conservative board members responsible. Now the current board has narrowly approved new science standards that leave evolution in place but add specific criticisms that schools are urged to teach. Most significant, the definition of science is changed so it is not limited to natural explanations. The standards, which define the material to be covered in statewide science tests, won't take effect until 2007 at the earliest. That leaves time for the electorate to once again dump the board members responsible for this lunacy.

Subject: An Identity Crisis for Supermarkets
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 06:20:31 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/06/business/06grocery.html?ex=1286251200&en=21957c40386e7468&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss October 6, 2005 An Identity Crisis for Supermarkets By MELANIE WARNER Georgiana Gardiner has no use for conventional supermarkets. When Ms. Gardiner, who lives in a Denver suburb, wants fresh fish, meats, produce, and other perishables, she drives 25 minutes to the nearest Whole Foods Market. When she needs products like canned beans, pasta and paper towels, she stops at a Wal-Mart Supercenter, which has a full grocery store. It has been at least a year, she said, since she entered a Safeway or Kroger, the two national supermarket chains that operate in the Denver area. 'Once you go to start eating organic foods, you can't go back,' said Ms. Gardiner, 61. Whole Foods may be 'more expensive, but it's worth it,' she added. 'Anyway, I make up some of the difference at Wal-Mart.' Ms. Gardiner and a growing number of shoppers like her are the supermarket industry's worst nightmare. Faced with a seemingly endless array of food shopping choices, consumers are increasingly shunning the neighborhood supermarket and going to Wal-Mart, Costco or other discounters for rock-bottom prices or to places like Whole Foods and Wild Oats for specialized quality and service. Traditional supermarkets, caught in the middle, are struggling to survive. And the pressures on them may only intensify: Wal-Mart and Whole Foods have ambitious expansion plans, and Target says it wants to become a big player, too. Now, the traditional supermarkets are trying everything they can think of to turn things around and win back customers. In a nod to Whole Foods, they are adding more organic and natural food items and selling more prepared foods for quick lunches and dinners. And they are cutting prices. The nation's 56,000 supermarkets remain dominant in food shopping, of course, but their share of the business has been steadily declining. Americans are making fewer trips down their aisles and spending less each visit. The average American household made 95 trips a year to the supermarket in 1996; in 2004 it was 70, according to a study by UBS, an investment bank. In that eight-year span, annual trips to stores like Wal-Mart jumped to 26 from 13, and trips to club stores like Costco increased to 11 from 8. 'Supermarkets are facing an identity crisis,' said Harvey Hartman, chief executive of the Hartman Group, a consulting firm in Seattle. In the last five years, Wal-Mart has emerged as a dominant force in the grocery business, selling almost twice the amount of food and grocery items as Kroger, the country's largest supermarket chain. Wal-Mart undercuts supermarket prices by as much as 20 percent but is still able to generate considerable grocery profits because of its enormous volume and huge buying power. Wal-Mart's labor costs are also lower because, unlike workers at most supermarkets, its employees are not unionized. 'Wal-Mart just keeps growing,' said David B. Dillon, chief executive of Kroger, which regularly compares the performance of its stores against Wal-Mart Supercenters. 'And I don't see any signs of a slowdown in the number of stores.' Wal-Mart, with 1,866 supercenters in the United States, all with grocery stores, does not break out food sales, but Retail Forward, a research firm in Columbus, Ohio, estimates that in 2004 the company sold $109 billion in groceries, taking a 19 percent share of the market. Retail Forward has projected that the number of Wal-Mart supercenters may triple by 2010 and that its share of the grocery business may rise to 35 percent. Supermarkets are feeling the squeeze. In February, Winn-Dixie Stores filed for bankruptcy; at 92 percent of its stores, a Wal-Mart Supercenter is within a 20-mile radius. Last month, Albertsons, whose market share has declined in Wal-Mart strongholds like Dallas and Fort Worth, announced it had hired investment bankers to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. Other chains are faring only slightly better. Over the last five years, sales at Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway, the country's three largest supermarket chains, have stagnated and profits have been dismal. With 177 stores and less than 1 percent of the market, Whole Foods is not yet much of a financial threat. But analysts say that supermarket executives are anxiously watching the company, the fastest-growing grocery chain in the United States, because of how its success has pressured supermarkets to improve their offerings. 'Whole Foods has redefined the landscape of what a grocery store is,' Mr. Hartman said. 'That means more fresh items, bigger produce sections, more selection for natural and organic foods and more prepared foods. It also means creating an enjoyable experience for shoppers.' Neil Currie, an analyst at UBS, said the situation for supermarkets is dire. For years, he said, supermarkets failed to respond to consumers' migration toward restaurants and their increased desire for natural foods. Today, 46.9 percent of all food dollars are spent at restaurants and similar establishments, compared with 41.3 percent in 1985, according to the Agriculture Department. 'If nothing changes, the format could die a slow death as Wal-Mart and other nontraditional formats continue to take market share,' Mr. Currie predicted in a report last year. Mr. Dillon of Kroger said supermarkets must provide a variety of shopping experiences and products. To that end, Kroger is building three alternative formats. One is Fresh Fare stores, which operate inside Ralphs stores, and offer a higher level of service and carry many of the products found at Whole Foods, like organic produce, sushi, an olive bar, hundreds of cheeses and 2,000 wines. Another, Kroger's Marketplace, offers stores that are twice the size of a typical grocery store and sell everything from electronics and kitchen appliances to home office furniture and dishes. The product selection resembles that of Wal-Mart, though prices are not as low. Kroger's third format is its 142 Food 4 Less stores, which are no-frills warehouse operations seeking to compete with Wal-Mart on price. Mr. Dillon said Kroger's standard supermarkets would also be increasingly customized, with some carrying more organic and natural food and others offering a specialty cheese section or products catering to Hispanic customers. 'There will be as many kinds of supermarkets,' Mr. Dillon said, 'as there are variations in the neighborhoods across America.' Food Lion, a 1,220-store chain owned by the Delhaize Group of Brussels, is making changes. Robin Johnson, director for marketing and brand development at Food Lion, said that when her team started working on a new store concept called Bloom three years ago, they took a red pen to every aspect of supermarket design. 'For the past several decades, stores have been run in a way that benefits the store and the company's bottom line,' Ms. Johnson said. By contrast, she said, the new store concept 'was born from what the customer wants: to take the hassle out of grocery shopping.' Bloom stores - there are now five, all in North Carolina - feature a quick-stop area in front for shoppers who just want eggs and milk or something for dinner. Traditionally, supermarkets have placed such high-volume items at the back of the store in hopes that the journey may inspire other purchases. 'Why have we played these games with customers?' Ms. Johnson asked. The new stores also have wider aisles, lower shelves and no candy at the checkout aisles, to cut down on temptations for children. Ice cream is at the front so it is less likely to melt before reaching home. Ms. Johnson and her team have also banned promotional displays from the aisles, saying that they generate nice fees from vendors, but clog cart traffic. 'Taking them out is a scary thing for a retailer to do,' she said, 'because it's revenue and they're designed to drive impulse sales.' Many stores are experimenting with slashing prices - a tactic that can be equally terrifying. 'In the 90's, supermarkets focused on raising their gross margins and were obsessed with short-term needs of shareholders,' Mr. Currie said. 'That allowed Wal-Mart to come in and easily take market share.' In an attempt to appeal to time-starved consumers who do not want to cook, Kroger and Safeway are also making a big push to sell more prepared foods - an area that has been enormously successful for Whole Foods, representing 10 percent of a store's sales. Safeway's remodeled Lifestyle stores have an expanded deli, a full line of soups, a meat-carving station and 'take and bake' pizza. Brian Cornell, executive vice president for marketing at Safeway, said these stores, which also have softer lighting and wood-simulated floors in parts of the store, are meant to feel more upscale. 'We offer more items now that would appeal to customers who might be migrating to Whole Foods,' he said. 'But we're also trying to differentiate ourselves among our core competitors.' Christina Minardi, head of the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region for Whole Foods, said she doubted large chains would be able to replicate the appeal of her company's stores. 'It's a lot more than paint and new lighting,' she said. 'We have developed a whole culture here.' Indeed, despite their efforts, many analysts expect supermarkets to continue to lose out to their competitors. Darrell Rigby, who leads the retail consulting team at Bain & Company, said some chains, probably smaller ones, will either go out of business or be acquired. Nick McCoy, a senior consultant at Retail Forward, said, 'Supermarkets have got to offer a compelling reason for people to go there.'

Subject: An Organic Cash Cow
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 06:16:51 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/dining/09milk.html?ex=1289192400&en=56f6d844b3f563cf&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 9, 2005 An Organic Cash Cow By KIM SEVERSON Alexis Gersten, a Long Island dentist, never thought about what she poured over her cereal until her son turned 1. 'Having a new milk drinker, I sort of wanted to start him off on the right foot,' she said. Ms. Gersten worried about what synthetic growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics might do to her child and to the environment. She was concerned about the health of the cows and the survival of local farmers. So she became one of the new mothers who are making milk the fastest growing slice of the organic market. 'Some of my friends who don't really think about feeding their children organic food will feed them organic milk,' she said. Milk represents all that is wholesome. Add the word organic, and the purity of milk's image only increases. But a carton of organic milk does not come without complications. It is expensive. Some brands are processed so that an unopened carton can last for months. And an organic seal does not necessarily mean the cows are grazing on pasture or that the milk is local. Organic milk accounts for more than 3 percent of all milk sold in the United States. But with an annual growth rate of 23 percent in an era when overall milk consumption is dropping by 8 percent a year, organic milk has made the nation's $10.2 billion-a-year dairy industry take notice. Horizon Organic, which controls 55 percent of the market, is selling $16 million worth of organic milk a month. It is owned by Dean Foods, the nation's largest dairy producer. Groupe Danone, the French dairy giant, owns Stonyfield Farm. Large grocers, including Whole Foods Market and Safeway, have organic house brands. Wal-Mart even sells it. 'It's being held back only by supply now,' said George Siemon, chief executive of Organic Valley. A Wisconsin dairy cooperative that Mr. Siemon began in 1988, it is the second-largest seller of organic milk in the country. Milk is considered a gateway to organic food. Along with produce it is one of the first organic products a consumer will buy, according to the Hartman Group, a research firm in Bellevue, Wash. The ethos of organic milk - one that its cartons reinforce - conjures lush pastures dotted with grazing animals, their milk production driven by nothing more than nature's hand and a helpful family farmer. But choosing organic milk doesn't guarantee much beyond this: It comes from a cow whose milk production was not prompted by an artificial growth hormone, whose feed was not grown with pesticides and which had 'access to pasture,' a term so vague it could mean that a cow might spend most of its milk-producing life confined to a feed lot eating grain and not grass. Exactly how much time cows should spend grazing before their milk can carry the government's organic label is under scrutiny. Several hundred farmers and organic advocates want organic dairy rules tightened so that cows have more than what they call token access to pasture. The issue may be ultimately decided in court, said Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute in Wisconsin. His organization is fighting the rise of confinement organic dairies, which, by his estimate, account for about 30 percent of the organic milk sold. So, what's a well-intentioned milk drinker to do? Decide what matters to you most. First, weigh the importance of the organic label. Milk from the Ronnybrook Farm Dairy in the Hudson Valley, which is sold in bottles at Manhattan's Greenmarkets, is not certified organic. The dairy uses no artificial growth hormones, but it treats sick animals with antibiotics. In the summer the animals eat mostly pasture; in the winter they eat hay with grain mixed in. It is a sustainable operation whose owners decided that the term 'organic' was becoming co-opted by large corporations, and that the extra cost of the federal organic label was not worth it. For some, milk that has not traveled far and that comes from cows in small pasture-based operations is more important than an official stamp. Many connoisseurs say the best milk comes from cows who eat mostly grass. The flavor is more complex, and varies with the seasons. In addition, a grass diet leads to milk with as much as five times the amount of conjugated linoleic acid, which some studies using animal models show can help fight cancer. And grazing is better for the cows' health than a diet of grain. 'We believe in the benefits of grass,' Mr. Siemon of Organic Valley said, not that all of the 534 farmers who sell the cooperative milk can meet its pasture standards. Weather and other factors can mean cows' diets must be supplemented with grain. For Horizon, the issue is supply and demand, said Caragh McLaughlin, brand manager for the company. The diet of Horizon cows can be as much as 40 percent grain, whether the animals are at one of the 300 family-run dairies that sell milk to Horizon or its two large company-owned operations. One is a 4,500-head dairy in Idaho, the other a 600-head facility in Maryland. All Horizon cows have access to pasture. There is also the issue of pasteurized and ultrapasteurized, a question that weighs shelf life against taste and geography. Dairies pasteurize milk to kill bacteria and other pathogens that can make people sick and to keep it fresher longer. In pasteurization milk is heated to about 162 degrees for at least 15 seconds. Dairies then stamp cartons with a sell-by date generally from 10 to 16 days after processing. In ultrapasteurization the milk temperature is raised to 280 degrees for about two seconds, then quickly chilled. The sell-by date can be several weeks in the future. For example, a brand of ultrapasteurized milk purchased at a New York store on Nov. 2 had a sell-by date of Jan. 2. Ultrapasteurized milk can taste creamier than traditionally pasteurized milk, but it can also take on a cooked or burnt flavor. Research is still being done on how much the process compromises the milk's nutritional profile. Because the nature of the milk protein is changed at such high temperatures, ultrapasteurized cream can take longer to whip and never quite achieves the same light, fluffy texture. With either method, an opened carton will stay fresh for only about a week. For the nation's top organic milk producers, ultrapasteurizing has been a godsend. 'The availability of ultrapasteurization has allowed organic milk to enter markets it might not otherwise,' Ms. McLaughlin of Horizon said. At Organic Valley, where almost two-thirds of the milk is ultrapasteurized, its panels of tasters prefer it, Mr. Siemon said. But for purists, unpasteurized, or raw milk, is the only way to go. It can be delicious and more nutritious, but finding raw milk takes a lot of work. In most states it can be sold legally only on the farm or through clubs in which people buy shares of a cow and divide the milk. And raw milk can pose a health hazard, especially for people with weakened immune systems. In some parts of the country, finding organic milk is more work than some people are willing to put in. René Nuñez, a Los Angeles lawyer who does much of the shopping and cooking for his wife and two young children, has seen organic milk at Trader Joe's. But that store is a long drive from his house in Pasadena. 'We just shop at your regular supermarket down the street and it's not there,' he said. Other milk shoppers care only about price. At Pathmark, a half-gallon of regular milk was $1.70. The same size of Horizon Organic milk was $4.29. Organic milk is so expensive that most state governments consider it a luxury item and will not pay for it under low-income food programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Ann Lickteig, a mother of four in Burlington, Vt., stopped buying organic milk when it reached nearly $5 a gallon. Now she goes to a local store on Mondays, when milk from a local dairy is on sale for $2.99 a gallon. 'I buy the milk that says no growth hormones, but I don't know that that's the only thing to worry about,' she said. 'I don't want my kids exposed to potentially harmful chemicals, but I haven't done the research myself.' For some parents, cost does not matter. Nor do the intricacies of the organic pasture rules. They search for the organic label and buy it, no matter what. 'I look at what I pay for everything else, but I don't for the milk,' said Ms. Gersten, the Long Island dentist. 'Buying any other milk for him is just not an option.'

Subject: Shopping
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 05:56:24 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The secret to shopping at Whole Foods is to look carefally to the store brand, the '365' brand. The quality is excellent and price is as low as any supermarket. Also, look to other well prices brands such as 'Kashi.' Kashi cereals are can be amazing in nutritional quality; 'Go Lite' are best for nutrition. Notice that Whole Foods brand organic breads have far more nutritional value than regular breads, especially fiber and protein. Organic breads may be a little more expensive, but the nutritional content is worth the spending. I never however buy any food that lacks a full nutritional label. Look for fiber, protein, and low fat.

Subject: A Disgraceful Signal at Amtrak
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 05:47:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/10/opinion/10thur4.html November 10, 2005 A Disgraceful Signal at Amtrak The sudden firing by the Amtrak board of David Gunn, the best president in years of the nation's only passenger railroad, was a body blow to anybody who cares about long-range passenger trains. Mr. Gunn has done a masterly job in the last three years of holding down costs without dismantling the railroad. That, apparently, was his problem. Mr. Gunn was trying to save Amtrak, but the Bush administration wants to privatize it, bit by bit. The battle between Mr. Gunn and Amtrak board members - all of them appointed by President Bush - intensified in recent weeks when the board took steps to break off the more profitable Northeast Corridor, putting it into its own division and sharing its control and costs with the states. Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, called it a 'fire sale' intended to break up the nation's railroad system. So last week Senator Lautenberg and Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, managed to get a 93-to-6 vote to authorize $11.6 billion for passenger rail service in the next six years - as close to an all-out endorsement of Amtrak as you can get. But while senators were trying to help Amtrak move forward, its board took a step backward. It complained yesterday that Mr. Gunn - who has greatly increased ridership, improved management and upgraded equipment - was moving too slowly. After his firing, Mr. Gunn said, 'Obviously what their goal is, and it's been their goal from the beginning, is to liquidate the company.' For Amtrak's 25 million passengers, this should be a call to arms. Amtrak should be a public transportation trust. It will never be self-sufficient, nor show a conventional profit, any more than the airline industry can fly without federal help. The Bush administration long ago threatened to disassemble Amtrak. Yesterday it began at the executive suite.

Subject: Shopping
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 20:11:28 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I cannot get enough of Whole Foods. I love that store and marvel at how fortunate we are every time I wander through the produce sections. And, as far as I can tell there really are lots and lots of happy shoppers about from any number of possible backgrounds. I am a happy and grateful shopper. Ah, Trader Joe's.... Hmmm...

Subject: Publix and Walmart
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 20:58:24 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I have shopped both. Recently both had very good tasting black seedless grapes. The most recent batch I bought at both were very bland, nowhere near the previous quality - I complained to the managers at both stores. Persimmons - same problem. Oranges - same problem. Bland - taste is lacking. Am forced to go to higher price places like whole foods now if I want the great tasting oranges and black grapes that I used to find at publix and walmart. The pineapples still seem to have the same rich flavor at publix and walmart though.

Subject: Re: Publix and Walmart
From: Emma
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 19:15:42 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Eat lots of fruit.

Subject: The US consumer in the near future
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 19:54:13 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Danielle DiMartino: A firm forecast for slower spending 08:07 AM CST on Tuesday, November 8, 2005 The consumer spending party has been going on so long that few will dare suggest it might end. Merrill Lynch chief economist David Rosenberg does. He starts with the basics: While 80 percent of household debt is locked in, interest expense on the other 20 percent rises with every Federal Reserve meeting. We're not talking small potatoes here. Try $2.3 trillion – that's the amount of floating consumer debt held by American households, including real estate. Meanwhile, mandates to double minimum credit card payments will be enforced come December, and the Federal Reserve has urged lenders to toughen credit-score requirements. Surely there's more where that came from. In California, mortgage defaults rose in the third quarter for the first time in more than three years. As the default data get uglier, regulators will slam the door on toxic mortgages. And tougher bankruptcy laws are sending consumers the same message: 'The credit spigots are gradually being turned off,' Mr. Rosenberg said. The new reality The economy will reflect the impact immediately. 'The most unique characteristic of this cycle was households' ability to use the rising price of their home to fuel current consumption,' Mr. Rosenberg added. In the 1990s, the wealth effect was psychological – it simply made people feel richer. As home prices soared, people monetized that feeling at their local lender. The rub is, you can't extract cash from an asset whose value is not rising. That's the new reality facing today's homeowners. Luckily, Mr. Rosenberg said, he's not alone in predicting that many factors will converge to slow consumer spending. He's joined both by the data and a maverick Federal Reserve president. The support First, the data. A record 54 percent of household disposable income is now being absorbed by food, energy, health care and interest expenses. And, adjusted for inflation, consumer spending declined in both August and September and is likely to be negative for the fourth quarter. Next, the maverick. New York Fed President Timothy Geithner would tell you he's not surprised. Consider this from an Oct. 19 speech: 'The average household ... has a higher level of debt to income and is somewhat more exposed to interest rate risk than in the past.' But those weren't the words Mr. Rosenberg zeroed in on. Mr. Geithner boldly proclaimed that for the U.S. economy to come back into balance, it will first have to withstand a 'necessary slowing in U.S. domestic demand.' Wall Street's unwavering belief in the infallibility of the U.S. consumer could come down to something more elementary than stubborn conviction. 'A lot of folks running money today were in middle school back then,' Mr. Rosenberg quipped.

Subject: The Dollar
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 19:20:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is no trouble for the dollar or Treasuries, not that there would be trouble if the dollar declined against the Euro and Yen and selected other currencies. The dollar is extremely strong against every significant currency in the world. Only Brazil's currency is stronger, and that will only harm Brazil. The dollar could easily lose 20% of its value against the Euro with no problem at all since we would gain in trade. But, the dollar is indeed at several year highs against the Euro and Yen. Trouble? Tomorrow, but not not not today.

Subject: Re: The Dollar
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 19:51:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Been grocery shopping lately Emma?

Subject: Trouble for the dollar & housing
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 18:03:59 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Treasuries Fall as Foreign Demand at $13 Billion Auction Falls Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Treasuries tumbled as demand from international investors, who own about half of all U.S. government debt, declined at the second bond auction by the Treasury this week. The 10-year note fell the most in two weeks. Bidders including foreign central banks bought 21.1 percent of the $13 billion in five-year notes, down from 45.8 percent last month, the Treasury said. The government's last debt sale this week is a $13 billion offering of 10-year notes tomorrow. ``The foreign bid was a disappointment,'' said Alan De Rose, a trader and Treasury market strategist at CIBC World Markets Corp. in New York, one of the 22 primary U.S. government securities dealers that are obligated to bid at the auctions. ``There will be plenty of pressure on the market'' because of the results of the auction, he said. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note rose 9 basis points, or 0.09 percentage point, to 4.64 percent at 5:15 p.m. in New York, according to bond broker Cantor Fitzgerald LP. The decline is the most since Oct. 25. The yield, which moves inversely to the note's price, is within 5 basis points of this year's high reached in March. The price of the 4 1/4 percent note due August 2015 fell 5/8, or $6.25 per $1,000 face amount, to 97. The drop wiped out most all of the rally the past two days, which pushed 10-year yields down 11 basis points. Since the Treasury started releasing such figures in May 2003, the share of five-year note sales won by indirect bidders has ranged from 14 percent to 65.8 percent, and averaged 39.2 percent. Foreign investors owned $2.06 trillion of U.S. marketable securities outstanding as of August, up from $1.17 trillion, or less than 40 percent, three years ago, according to the Treasury. `Bearish Sentiment' ``There is a very large bearish sentiment right now that's gotten bigger over the past few weeks,'' said Bulent Baygun, head of U.S. fixed income research and strategy at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. ``We have already seen five- and 10-year rates above these levels. There's room for cheapening, even in the absence of any new economic information.'' Barclays, which is another primary dealer, expects the 10- year note's yield will rise to 4.75 percent by the end of March. Investors have pushed yields higher the past two months on the view the Federal Reserve will continue to raise rates to keep inflation from spreading beyond energy prices. The central bank lifted its target for the overnight lending rate between banks at each of its past 12 meetings, to 4 percent, and interest-rate futures show traders expect increases at the next two meetings. Kraft Foods Inc., the largest U.S. foodmaker, and Kimberly- Clark Corp., the largest maker of diapers, said they are boosting prices to recover higher costs for raw materials and energy. Kraft increased the price of Oscar Mayer cold cuts and Jell-O refrigerated puddings by 3.9 percent. Kimberly-Clark will charge 6 percent more for Scott and Cottonelle toilet tissue and napkins, Viva paper towels and Huggies wipes in February. Auction Results The five-year notes were sold at a yield of 4.525 percent, compared with the 4.518 percent pre-auction average estimate of seven bond-trading firms surveyed by Bloomberg News. It was the highest auction yield since August 2001. Five-year yields touched 4.57 percent on Nov. 4, the highest since May 2002. For every $1 sold, there were $2.61 worth of bids, compared with $2.75 worth at the last five-year sale on Oct. 12. For the past 12 auctions, the bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered for sale, averaged $2.55. Indirect bidder participation in the auction of $18 billion in three-year notes yesterday was also ``less than stellar,'' Barclays interest-rate strategists wrote in a report today. The group bought 29.9 percent of the securities, compared with 28 percent in August and below the average of 36.8 percent since quarterly three-year note sales resumed in May 2003. Investors who bought at yesterday's auction have lost 0.1 percent, or $10,000 per $10,000,000, according to Bloomberg calculations. Some Value Some strategists see value in yields near the highest levels of the year. Ten-year notes yield 1.11 percentage points more than German bunds, compared with the average over the past five years of 0.18 percentage point. ``We've advised clients to buy bonds at these levels,'' said Oliver Mangan, chief bond economist in Dublin at AIB Capital Markets, a unit of Ireland's second-biggest bank. ``Ten-year yields are good value now.'' Economists have boosted forecasts for how high the 10-year note's yield will rise in the coming months. The yield will reach 4.65 percent by the end of the year, according to the median forecast of 63 economists polled by Bloomberg from Oct. 31 to Nov. 8. A month earlier, the median forecast was 4.50 percent. The median estimate for the Fed's target rate in mid-2006 was 4.75 percent, up from 4.50 percent in the prior survey. A government report today showed sales at U.S. wholesalers rose by the most in more than a year, suggesting companies may need to step up production to meet rising demand. Sales surged 2.4 percent in September, the most since March 2004, while inventories increased only 0.6 percent. The amount of Treasuries traded today through ICAP Plc, the world's largest interbank broker, was $262.6 billion, compared with a three-month daily average of $225.6 billion.

Subject: Schwarzenegger Dealt a Stinging Rebuke
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 13:01:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/national/09cnd-ballot.html November 9, 2005 Schwarzenegger Is Dealt a Stinging Rebuke by Voters By JOHN M. BRODER LOS ANGELES - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was dealt a stinging rebuke on Tuesday by voters who rejected all four special election ballot initiatives that were the basis of his efforts to change the balance of power in Sacramento. Voters turned down an initiative to cap state spending and grant sweeping new budget powers to the governor and a plan to transfer the power to draw legislative districts from the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, to a panel of retired judges also appeared to be failing. They also rejected Schwarzenegger-backed proposals to make it more difficult for public school teachers to win tenure and to force unions to get members' written permission before using their dues for political campaigns. After the costliest ballot campaign in state history it was clear that the once highly popular movie-star-turned-governor had been politically humbled. Californians also voted down four other ballot proposals that were not part of the Schwarzenegger agenda. They involved parental notification of teenagers seeking abortions, a plan to impose new regulations on electric utilities, and competing proposals for prescription drug discounts. Mr. Schwarzenegger staked his time, his prestige and several million dollars of his personal fortune on the ballot campaign that he said was needed to fix a dysfunctional political system. The governor must now return to Sacramento and try to re-establish ties with Democratic leaders in the Legislature with whom he has been engaged in a bitter election campaign lasting for months. Mr. Schwarzenegger appeared before all the results were in Tuesday evening and while not conceding defeat, he said he would meet on Thursday with Democrats and try to find new solutions to the state's political and economic problems. 'There is much, much work that has to be done,' he said. Mr. Schwarzenegger campaigned tirelessly for his ballot initiatives, particularly Proposition 76, which would give the governor power to unilaterally cut spending when revenues did not meet projections, and Proposition 77, a redistricting plan intended to break the hammerlock Democrats have had for a decade on the California Legislature and its Congressional delegation. Both initiatives were losing by substantial margins with half the vote counted and The Associated Press declared that both had been defeated. Two other proposals he supported, 74 and 75, would extend the probationary period for new public school teachers to five years from two years, and would force unions to seek written permission from members before their dues could be used for political campaigns. Three other initiatives on the California ballot - two measures on drug discounts and a plan to impose new regulations on electric utilities - all failed by sizeable margins. The governor's popularity has slumped in recent months because of his own political missteps and as a relentless barrage of critical political advertisements filling the airwaves. Mr. Schwarzenegger has said he intends to seek re-election next November. In Ohio, voters soundly rejected a package of election revision measures pushed by Democrats after President Bush's narrow and disputed re-election victory in the state last year. The four failed measures, backed by labor unions, government reform organizations and the Internet-fueled activist group MoveOn.org, would have stripped the secretary of state's office of the authority to conduct elections and made it much easier to vote absentee up to a month before Election Day. The package also included strict new limits on campaign contributions and the creation of an independent panel to redraw legislative districts. Also on Tuesday, voters in Texas resoundingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, making Texas the 19th state to outlaw the practice. Voters in Maine ratified a state law barring discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said leaders of the gay rights movement were not surprised by the Texas outcome but were pleased by the result in Maine. 'This is a much-needed win for a national movement,' Mr. Foreman said, 'because we have experienced so many losses at the polls over the last year.' The Ohio initiatives were among the most closely watched of 39 ballot measures in seven states, an unusually high number in an off-year election. The measures were put on the ballot in response to last year's presidential election, which some Democrats charged was tainted by partisan mismanagement. They put particular blame on Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, who is the state's top election official and was the Ohio chairman of the Bush re-election campaign. Critics said that many Democrats had to wait in hours-long lines at polling places and that many were denied ballots because they allegedly did not meet residency requirements. Critics also said that many absentee ballots from Democratic precincts were never counted. No fraud was ever proved, but the election provoked demands for major electoral revisions. The Ohio plan would have disbanded the current redistricting commission and created a bipartisan panel. The current system is dominated by Republicans, who have drawn the boundaries to maintain their majorities in the General Assembly and in the Congressional delegation. The law would have required the panel to make districts as competitive as possible. Mr. Schwarzenegger endorsed the Ohio redistricting measure, which would have benefited Democrats, as well as a similar plan in California designed to make Republicans more competitive. Keary McCarthy, a spokesman for Reform Ohio Now, the group behind the four initiatives, said that voters might have rejected the measures because they were confused by them. The national Republican Party and business interests ran a well-financed campaign to defeat them, Mr. McCarthy said. 'This became a national campaign,' he said. 'If we did anything tonight, these issues are now in the public consciousness.'

Subject: A new article by B. DeLong
From: Yann
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:51:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
For Whom America’s Bell Tolls By J. Bradford DeLong These days the Chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, Ben Bernanke, likes to talk about a “global savings glut” that has produced astonishingly low real interest rates around the world. But that is the wrong way to look at it. America certainly does not have a savings glut. Its savings rate has been distressingly low for decades. Then the Bush administration’s reckless fiscal policy pushed it lower. Falling interest rates in recent years pushed up real estate prices and allowed America’s upper middle class to treat their houses as enormous ATM’s, lowering savings still more. America has a savings deficiency, not a glut. And the rest of the world? A global savings glut would suggest that rebalancing the world economy requires policies to boost America’s savings rate and to increase non-US households’ consumption. But what the world economy is facing is not a savings glut, but an investment deficiency. Divide the world into three zones: the United States, China, and all the rest. Since the mid-1990’s, the net current-account surplus of “all the rest” has risen by an amount that one Federal Reserve Bank economist has put at $450 billion a year, not because savings rates have increased, but because investment rates have fallen. Declining investment rates in Japan, the newly-industrializing Asian economies, and Latin America, in that order of importance, have fueled the flood of savings into US government bonds, US mortgage-backed securities, and US equity-backed loans – the capital-account equivalent of America’s enormous trade deficit. The investment deficiency in Asia relative to rates of a decade ago amounts to an annual shortfall of $400 billion a year, with the decline in investment in Japan – a consequence of more than a decade of economic stagnation ­– accounting for more than half of the total. Moreover, investment rates in the newly industrialized economies of Asia have never recovered to their pre-1997-8 crisis levels, and investment rates in the rest of Asia outside China have fallen off as well. This would seem to call for a very different set of policies to rebalance the world economy. Yes, the US needs tax increases to move the federal budget into surplus and policies to boost private savings. But the world also needs policies to boost investment in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. And here we face a difficulty. People like me who have been cheerleaders for international integration in trade and finance, as well as for reductions in tariffs and other barriers, have cited three benefits: · Maximizing economic – and also social and cultural – contact between rich and poor nations is the best way we can think of to aid the flow of knowledge about technology and organization, which is the last best hope for rapid world development. · Lower trade barriers will make locating production in the poor low-wage parts of the world irresistible to those who have access to finance. · Freer capital flows will give poor countries precisely this access, as the greed of investors in rich country leads them to venture into poor regions where capital is scarce. The first reason still holds true. Maximizing economic, social, and cultural contact between rich and poor remains both the best way to aid the flow of knowledge and the last best hope for rapid world development. But the second and third reasons look shaky. Those with access to finance appear to be capable of resisting the urge to locate production in poor low-wage parts of the world (China aside). Rather than leading rich-country savers to invest their money in poor countries out of greed, liberalization of capital flows has led poor-country savers to park their money in rich countries out of fear – fear of political instability, macreconomic disturbances, and deficient institutions (especially those that protect the rights of bondholders and minority shareholders). Something may well happen in the next several years to radically boost America’s savings rate by making US households feel suddenly poor: tax increases, a real estate crash, rapidly-rising import prices caused by a plummeting dollar, a deep recession, or more than one of the above. It would be nice to believe that when the tide of dollar-denominated securities ebbs, the flows of finance currently directed at America will smoothly shift course and boost investment in Asia. But don’t count on it, especially considering the share of marginal investment in Asia that is aimed, one way or another, at exporting to the American market. Those outside America, especially in Asia, should regard the unstable state of the US macro-economy with grave concern. As the seventeenth-century poet John Donne put it, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee.” J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley, was Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2005. www.project-syndicate.org http://www.project-syndicate.org/print_commentary/delong41/English

Subject: Re: A new article by B. DeLong
From: Terri
To: Yann
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 14:28:12 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yann, I cannot find a date for the essay. Can you? The essay is nicely written and presents the problem of savings going to a more developed country rather than less developed countries, but beyond this I am not sure how to respond. China strikes me as having an ample level of saving and investment for continued rapid development. India, as well, though saving availability is not quite that of China. Japan looks to be recovering well at last, and will not lack investment funds as recovery proceeds. The problem then is elsewhere in Asia, Latin America and Africa. How should the flow of saving to America, however, be a worry for us, speaking selfishly? No; I find no cause for concern in this essay, at least not for now.

Subject: Re: A new article by B. DeLong
From: Yann
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 02:29:42 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri, The date: Oct.2005 The main link: http://www.project-syndicate.org/series/2/description

Subject: Re: A new article by B. DeLong
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 23:06:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It seems clear from Brad DeLong's analysis one major reason why everyone invests in the United States is that folks feel their money will be safer. So this is good for the United States if money is safer here. If we are unable to pay and their money was not actually safer here this will be bad for the United States. Because the moment the perception changes - there is a danger that there would be a run on the bank. So the question is - is the money safe, can the United States keep the perception of safety? I think this will be a difficult challenge, the United States has $43 Trillion present value of off the books debt, and $7-8 trillion of government debt backed by government notes. What if at the same time the baby boomers are collecting their social security and medicare benefits the chinese economy reaches a size where it looks like a typical developing country and no longer has excess savings. At that point demand for the US dollar could drop like a rock and the run on the bank will start. I am very uneasy, I know that a household that spends more on current expenses than its income will fail. Governments might be different, but I can't imagine how. The exception, Terri, could be that we are investing the current account deficit and are creating a more productive America. But it looks to me like the CA deficit is just covering expenses, not investment. What do you think? Do you know the productive investment that America is making? If not, this is a situation that can't go on forever. I enjoy reading your opinions and am pursuing this just to get more understanding. Thank you Terri.

Subject: Re: A new article by B. DeLong
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 11:07:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks Yann and David, I adore Brad DeLong and am only thinking about how to contextualize or argue with this fine essay.

Subject: Re: A new article by B. DeLong
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 10, 2005 at 14:48:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
David, keep asking questions. Whether I can answer or not is of less interest to me than having to think in new ways. The more friendly arguments, the better.

Subject: Terri - care to rebut this?n/m
From: David E..
To: Yann
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 11:58:35 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
??

Subject: Builder Sees Slower Home Sales
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:21:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/business/09housing.html November 9, 2005 Big Builder Sees Slower Home Sales By VIKAS BAJAJ and DAVID LEONHARDT The nation's largest maker of luxury homes, Toll Brothers, said yesterday that soaring home prices appeared to have ended. It was the latest sign that many real estate markets are slowing. Although the company said it expected to report a record profit for the last 12 months, it predicted that it would sell fewer homes over the next year than it had forecast and would make less money than previously anticipated. High gas prices and the recent hurricanes seem to have rattled consumers, causing some to delay purchases of houses, company executives said. Also, some local governments appear to be holding back on construction permits, to slow new building. Shares of Toll Brothers fell after yesterday's announcement and ended the day down 14 percent, at $33.91. The news dragged the shares of other home builders lower, and the Bloomberg United States home builders index fell 7 percent yesterday. 'The price increases pre-Katrina were at warp speed, and since Katrina, instead of going up $5,000 or $10,000 every week or two, we have been limited to no price increases or very limited price increases,' Robert I. Toll, the company's chief executive, said in a conference call yesterday. The number of investors buying condominiums and houses in the hope of turning a quick profit also seems to have plunged, he said in an interview last week. 'The true speculator is gone from the market,' Mr. Toll said. Certain markets appear to be losing steam faster than others, Mr. Toll said. Washington, Chicago and Northern California were slowing from high levels of activity, while Boston, Denver and the west coast of Florida were still hot markets for the company. Las Vegas, which has experienced a huge condo building boom, slowed down 'ever so slightly' in July and appears to be staying at that level, he added. The company, whose homes sell at an average price of $679,000 and whose typical buyer has an annual family income of more than $100,000, emphasized that it still expected a happy ending for the long housing boom. Home prices, the company said, are expected to continue rising, but at historical averages and not at the rapid rates that they have recently in the Northeast and California. Since 1964, new-home prices have risen an average of 6 percent a year, according to the Commerce Department. Last year, they rose 13 percent. Even with its reduced forecast, Toll Brothers expects to sell 7 percent more homes in its current fiscal year, which began Nov. 1, than it did in the previous year. Last year, the company's revenue rose 50 percent, to $5.8 billion, according to preliminary figures released yesterday. The company will disclose detailed financial results and projections for 2006 on Dec. 8. In many of the nation's hottest real estate markets, houses are taking much longer to sell than they once did, and some agents are talking about a slowdown in attendance at open houses. In September, there was a 4.7-month supply of already- built homes on the market, up from 4.2 months a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Mr. Toll said last week that in some markets, the company was starting to offer incentives like a luxury kitchen at no extra cost to the buyer. J. Patrick Lashinsky, a senior vice president at ZipRealty, a brokerage firm with offices in 15 metropolitan areas, said, 'In a lot of our markets, we're seeing inventory levels up 20, 30, 40 percent from a few months ago.' Some of the biggest increases were in the Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco areas, he said, and the number of houses for sale had also risen in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago. For the moment, at least, prices have stopped their steep climb, with some owners reducing asking prices to attract buyers. Average sale prices traditionally drop in autumn, because home purchases slow then, but the decline appears to have been steeper than usual this year. Between August and September, the median sales price of already-built homes dropped 3.6 percent nationwide, to $212,000. During the same period last year, prices fell 1.6 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median sales price for new homes fell 5.7 percent, to $215,700, from August to September, according to the Commerce Department. That compares with a 3 percent drop a year ago. Richard A. Smith, chairman and chief executive of Cendant's real estate business, said he, too, expected a slowing in the housing market next year, but that 2006 would still be one of the strongest years on record for home sales. 'The problem with forecasting this time of the year is, if you look at the seasonality of the business, this is always the slowest time of the year,' Mr. Smith said. The slowdown appears to be linked to a steady rise in mortgage rates in recent months. The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages was 6.31 percent last week, up from 6.15 percent the week before and 5.77 at the start of the year, according to Freddie Mac. Even with the increases, the rates are still below historical averages. Loan applications for purchases and refinancing fell 4.8 percent in the last week of October and were 15.2 percent lower than the same week last year, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. Loans for purchases fell 6.2 percent for the week and 11.9 percent from a year ago. Some economists argue that the recent softening might be the beginning of a more severe downturn. Neither income nor population has grown quickly enough to justify the doubling of prices in some areas since 2000, these economists say. They add that rents have risen much less than home prices. 'There is a large psychological element behind current housing prices,' said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington. 'People are willing to pay them because there is an expectation that prices will continue to rise. Once people don't have that expectation, things will change.' Even many analysts who are not so pessimistic say the recent increases cannot continue. 'Home prices have been growing so fast for so long, outstripping income growth for many years,' said Gene Huang, the chief economist of FedEx, who keeps an eye on home prices as an overall gauge of the economy's health. 'Some kind of adjustment has to happen.' Per capita disposable income grew 3.6 percent over the last year, according to the Commerce Department. More than four out of five economic forecasters surveyed by Blue Chip Economic Indicators said they expected existing-home price growth to slow to 5 percent by the end of 2006, from 13 percent over the last 12 months. 'All of a sudden, the ads in the paper show special mortgage deals, special incentives,' Mr. Toll said last week, referring to new housing developments nationally. 'That's an absolute indicator that the market has softened.' Mr. Toll also attributed his company's new sales forecast to toughening local regulations, saying governments in many cities were delaying new projects to placate existing residents who want slower growth. 'We are building in pretty well-established territory which means it's also pretty well regulated,' he said on the conference call. 'We have a heavier-hitting average population, and their desire is 'Not in my backyard, please slow it down.' '

Subject: Fascination in Things Unseen
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:14:38 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/science/08essay.html November 8, 2005 Science and Religion Share Fascination in Things Unseen By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS Most of the current controversies associated with science revolve around the vastly different reactions people both within the scientific community and outside it have, not to the strange features of the universe that we can observe for ourselves, but rather to those features we cannot observe. In my own field of physics, theorists hotly debate the possible existence of an underlying mathematical beauty associated with a host of new dimensions that may or may not exist in nature. School boards, legislatures and evangelists hotly debate the possible existence of an underlying purpose to nature that similarly may or may not exist. It seems that humans are hard-wired to yearn for new realms well beyond the reach of our senses into which we can escape, if only with our minds. It is possible that we need to rely on such possibilities or the world of our experience would become intolerable. Certainly science has, in the past century, validated the notion that what we see is far from all there is. We cannot directly see electrons but we now know that material objects we can hold in our hand are actually, at an atomic level, largely empty space, and that it is the electric fields associated with the electrons that keep them from falling through our hands. And when we peer into the darkness of the night sky, within the size of the spot covered up by a dime held at arm's length, we now know that over 100,000 galaxies more or less like our own are hiding. And we know most contain over 100 billion stars, many housing solar systems, and around some of them may exist intelligent life forms whose existence may, too, remain forever hidden from us. One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein began to unveil the hidden nature of space and time, and after working for another full decade he discovered that space itself is dynamic. It can curve and bend in response to matter and energy, and ultimately even the calm peace of the night sky, suggesting an eternal universe, is itself an illusion. Distant galaxies are being carried away by an expanding space, just as a swimmer at rest in the water can nevertheless get carried away from shore by a strong current. Thus, it is perhaps not too surprising that when one approaches the limits of our knowledge, theologians and scientists alike tend to appeal to new hidden universes for, respectively, either redemption or understanding. The apparent complexity of our universe has compelled some evangelists, and some school boards, to argue that the natural laws we have unraveled over the past four centuries cannot be enough on their own to explain the diversity of the phenomena we observe around us, including the remarkable diversity of life on earth. For very different reasons, but still without a shred of empirical evidence, a generation of theoretical physicists has speculated that the four dimensions of our experience may themselves be just a grand illusion - the tip of a cosmic iceberg. String theory, yet to have any real successes in explaining or predicting anything measurable, has nevertheless become a fixture in the public lexicon, and the elaborate and surprising mathematical framework that has resulted from over three decades of theoretical study has been enough for some to argue that even a thus-far empirically impotent idea must describe reality. Further, it has now been proposed that the extra dimensions of string theory may not even be microscopically small, which has been the long accepted mathematical trick used by advocates to explain why we may not yet detect them. Instead, they could be large enough to house entire other universes with potentially different laws of physics, and perhaps even objects that, like the eight-dimensional beings in a Buckaroo Banzai story, might leak into our own dimensions. I wouldn't bet on their existence, but the fact that such potentially infinite spaces could exist and still be effectively hidden in our world is nevertheless remarkable. Whatever one thinks about all of these ruminations about hidden realities, there is an important difference - at least I hope there is - between the scientists who currently speculate about extra dimensions and those whose beliefs cause them to insist that life can only be understood by going beyond the confines of the natural world. Scientists know that without experimental vindication their proposals are likely to wither. Moreover, a single definitive 'null experiment,' like the Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887 that dispensed with the long-sought-after ether, could sweep away the whole idea. Religious belief that the universe is the handiwork of an all-powerful being is not subject to refutation. This sort of reliance on faith may itself have an evolutionary basis. There has been talk of a 'god gene': the idea of an early advantage in the struggle for survival for those endowed with a belief in a hidden patrimony that gives order, purpose and meaning to the universe we experience. Does the same evolutionary predilection lead physicists and mathematicians to see beauty in the unobserved, or unobservable? Does the longstanding human love affair with extra dimensions reflect something fundamental about the way we think, rather than about the world in which we live? The mathematician Hermann Weyl was quoted as having said not long before he died, 'My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful, but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful.' Mathematicians, artists and writers may choose beauty over truth. Scientists can only hope that we do not have to make the choice. Lawrence M. Krauss is a professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University.

Subject: Cobbled Florence Into Another Cow Town
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 06:14:39 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/arts/design/08flor.html November 8, 2005 Turning Cobbled Florence Into Another Cow Town By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO FLORENCE - Renaissance-era public art in this Medici stronghold gave the world Michelangelo's David and monumental sculptures by Donatello. These days, Florentines are sharing their cobbled streets with a colorful fiberglass herd that's part of CowParade, which is billed as the world's largest public-art event and has already stampeded through some two dozen cities around the globe. It's one thing to have life-size, mass-produced cow forms crowding the sidewalks in Houston, New York, or Manchester, England, but quite another in Florence, where there are churches by Brunelleschi as a backdrop, not to mention fiercely protective - and restrictive - art authorities. 'We were worried when we spoke to the art officials because this exhibit is extravagant,' said Giovanni Rimbotti, president of AgencyOne, the Italian entity set up to organize the event. 'But they took it in the right way, with a smile.' In other cities artists have had free rein in creating the cows, but in Florence the projects were carefully vetted by a committee, which selected 58 artists from more than 1,000 proposals. 'This is Florence; there had to be some control,' said Patrizia Asproni, the president of Confcultura, an organization that promotes Italy's cultural heritage. The decision to keep the herd small (compared with the 520 cows in New York and 156 in Manchester) also took Florence's size into consideration. It was a Swiss sculptor, Pascal Knapp, who turned the 130-pound fiberglass bovine into contemporary art. Since first appearing at a public art show in Zurich in 1998, Mr. Knapp's three models (standing, grazing and seated) have served as models for more than 5,000 artists in more than 20 cities. CowParade organizers don't claim to aspire to high art. The exhibitions are meant to be amusing rather than museological, relying on the crowd-pleasing appeal of their subject, with a good dose of whimsy thrown in. 'Cows are familiar, placid and comical, and that should be the leitmotif of the show,' said Simone Siliani, who heads Florence's culture department. Here, that's translated into pieces like Massimo Rossetti's 'Mucca Bruca Blister,' packaged with a user's guide in Italian, English and Japanese: 'check if every single piece of the cow are in the right place (should be as in the picture); ask for permission to milk'; and Luigi Fragoli and Fiona Corsini's 'Allumeuse,' a cow-turned-lamp that lights up at night. For the most part, Italians have been spared English-speakers' compulsion to play with puns in the titles, which birthed works like Picowsso, Moondrian and MooMa when CowParade hit Moo York in 2000. Most of the artists aren't well known, but that, organizers say, is part of the specialness of the event. 'CowParade isn't successful because the cows are made by famous artists but because the cows are 'simpatiche,' ' Mr. Rimbotti said. Even so, some organizers weren't very optimistic about how Florentines would respond to the project. 'It's a sleepy city, squashed by the weight of the Renaissance, from which it has a hard time emerging,' Ms. Asproni said. 'The city stopped in one era and has a hard time accepting anything new, like contemporary art.' Actually, tourists and Florentines seemed mostly amused by the bovines, which are already vying with the city's monuments for photographic immortalization. 'We can buy postcards of the monuments, but we're not going to get any images of these,' said Angela Rossi, a translator from a town on the Adriatic, explaining why she chose to photograph Julia Pircher's bright yellow cow, 'Miss Cheese Italy,' instead of the famed Romanesque baptistery a few yards away. 'It's not so ugly,' she said of the cow. CowParades have been successful enough around the world to generate their own merchandising bonanza (everything from calendars to snow globes) and credit cards. They are also touted as a big tourist draw for local businesses. That may not seem like a big priority for a city that drew an estimated nine million visitors last year, but Silvano Gori, the municipal commissioner for tourism, said he hoped the event would fill Florence during the slow winter season and broaden the city's appeal. 'This example may seem profane, but Florence needs a stimulus to attract a different public,' Mr. Gori said. Florence may benefit from the cows in another way. The exhibition coincides with the probable return to butcher shops of the Fiorentina, a Tuscan-style steak that disappeared from tables four years ago during the mad cow crisis, when beef that included part of the spinal cord was banned. Last month, European Union veterinary experts recommended lifting the ban, and Italian officials are hopeful that the Fiorentina will be back by Christmas. Florentine businesses have been slow to respond to the potential 30 percent retailing boost of the cows, said Alberto Ridi, a partner in AgencyOne. Of the 58 cows, only 26 were adopted, for prices ranging from about $9,600 to $12,000, a low percentage compared with that in other cities, he said. Mr. Rimbotti said it was 'really sad' that of these 26 only 8 were adopted by Tuscan companies. 'It tells you a lot about the city,' he said. Mr. Gori fine-tuned the observation. 'This is a city that isn't accustomed to participating,' he said. 'But if we lose this occasion it will be difficult for other organizers to propose something new for Florence.' At the end of the three-month run, some of the cows will be auctioned off and 70 percent of the proceeds will go to a local charity, the Meyer Children's Hospital, which has pledged the money to its art program. So far cow auctions around the world have netted charities around $24 million, Mr. Rimbotti said. Flora Vannetti, a Florentine graphic designer who created Moo Jeans, a bright green cow in blue jeans, said she had received good feedback about her piece, adding that only the auction would tell whether people actually liked it. But she isn't brooding too much about Florence's Renaissance greats. 'They were real artists,' she said. 'You can't compare this with Brunelleschi. I'm just a designer.'

Subject: Antibacterial Soap
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:59:13 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/health/08real.html November 8, 2005 Antibacterial Soap Works Better Than Regular Soap By ANAHAD O'CONNOR THE FACTS What happened to plain old soap? Studies show that more than 70 percent of liquid hand soaps sold are now labeled antibacterial, and Americans seem increasingly willing to pay a premium for them. But the truth is that most consumers may not always be getting what they think they are. Over the years, studies have repeatedly shown that antibacterial soaps are no better than plain old soap and water. One study, published in The Journal of Community Health in 2003, followed adults in 238 households in New York City for nearly a year. Month after month, the researchers found no difference in the number of microbes that turned up on the hands of people who used either antibacterial soap or regular soap. At least four other large studies have had similar findings. In fact, the only question now may be whether using antibacterial soaps can cause more harm than good by creating strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration convened experts to discuss, among other things, whether antibacterial products should be more tightly regulated because of the potential risks they pose. THE BOTTOM LINE Studies show that antibacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap.

Subject: Get French or Die Trying
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:24:26 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/opinion/09roy.html November 9, 2005 Get French or Die Trying By OLIVIER ROY Paris THE rioting in Paris and other French cities has led to a lot of interpretations and comments, most of them irrelevant. Many see the violence as religiously motivated, the inevitable result of unchecked immigration from Muslim countries; for others the rioters are simply acting out of vengeance at being denied their cultural heritage or a fair share in French society. But the reality is that there is nothing particularly Muslim, or even French, about the violence. Rather, we are witnessing the temporary rising up of one small part of a Western underclass culture that reaches from Paris to London to Los Angeles and beyond. To understand why this is so, consider two solid facts we do have on the riots. First, this is a youth (and male) uprising. The rioters are generally 12 to 25 years old, and roughly half of those arrested are under 18. The adults keep away from the demonstrations: in fact, they are the first victims (it is their cars, after all, that are burning) and they want security and social services to be restored. Yet older residents also resent what they see as the unnecessary brutality of the police toward the rioters, the merry-go-round of officials making promises that they know will be quickly forgotten, and the demonization of their communities by the news media. Second, the riots are geographically and socially very circumscribed: all are occurring in about 100 suburbs, or more precisely destitute neighborhoods known here as 'cités,' 'quartiers' or 'banlieues.' There has long been a strong sense of territorial identity among the young people in these neighborhoods, who have tended to coalesce in loose gangs. The different gangs, often involved in petty delinquency, have typically been reluctant to stroll outside their territories and have vigilantly kept strangers away, be they rival gangs, police officers, firefighters or journalists. Now, these gangs are for the most part burning their own neighborhoods and seem little interested in extending the rampage to more fashionable areas. They express simmering anger fueled by unemployment and racism. The lesson, then, is that while these riots originate in areas largely populated by immigrants of Islamic heritage, they have little to do with the wrath of a Muslim community. France has a huge Muslim population living outside these neighborhoods - many of them, people who left them as soon as they could afford it - and they don't identify with the rioters at all. Even within the violent areas, one's local identity (sense of belonging to a particular neighborhood) prevails over larger ethnic and religious affiliation. Most of the rioters are from the second generation of immigrants, they have French citizenship, and they see themselves more as part of a modern Western urban subculture than of any Arab or African heritage. Just look at the newspaper photographs: the young men wear the same hooded sweatshirts, listen to similar music and use slang in the same way as their counterparts in Los Angeles or Washington. (It is no accident that in French-dubbed versions of Hollywood films, African-American characters usually speak with the accent heard in the Paris banlieues). Nobody should be surprised that efforts by the government to find 'community leaders' have had little success. There are no leaders in these areas for a very simple reason: there is no community in the neighborhoods. Traditional parental control has disappeared and many Muslim families are headed by a single parent. Elders, imams and social workers have lost control. Paradoxically, the youths themselves are often the providers of local social rules, based on aggressive manhood, control of the streets, defense of a territory. Americans (and critics of America in Europe) may see in these riots echoes of the black separatism that fueled the violence in Harlem and Watts in the 1960's. But the French youths are not fighting to be recognized as a minority group, either ethnic or religious; they want to be accepted as full citizens. They have believed in the French model (individual integration through citizenship) but feel cheated because of their social and economic exclusion. Hence they destroy what they see as the tools of failed social promotion: schools, social welfare offices, gymnasiums. Disappointment leads to nihilism. For many, fighting the police is some sort of a game, and a rite of passage. Contrary to the calls of many liberals, increased emphasis on multiculturalism and respect for other cultures in France is not the answer: this angry young population is highly deculturalized and individualized. There is no reference to Palestine or Iraq in these riots. Although these suburbs have been a recruiting field for jihadists, the fundamentalists are conspicuously absent from the violence. Muslim extremists don't share the youth agenda (from drug dealing to nightclub partying), and the youngsters reject any kind of leadership. So what is to be done? The politicians have offered the predictable: curfews, platitudes about respect, vague promises of economic aid. But with France having entered its presidential election cycle, any hope for long-term rethinking is misplaced. In the end, we are dealing here with problems found by any culture in which inequities and cultural differences come in conflict with high ideals. Americans, for their part, should take little pleasure in France's agony - the struggle to integrate an angry underclass is one shared across the Western world. Olivier Roy is a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences,.

Subject: Down for the Count
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:14:15 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/science/08slee.html?ex=1289106000&en=37c05904a86f580d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 8, 2005 Down for the Count By CARL ZIMMER In a laboratory at Indiana State University, a dozen green iguanas sprawl tranquilly in terrariums. They while away the hours basking under their heat lamps, and at night they close both eyes - or sometimes just one. They lead comfortable lives pretty much indistinguishable from any ordinary pet iguana, except for one notable exception: the bundles of brain-wave recording wires that trail from their heads. A team of scientists at Indiana State would like to know what happens in the brains of the iguanas when the lights go out. Do they sleep as we do? Do they shut the whole brain down, for example, or can they keep one half awake? These scientists in Terre Haute hope the iguanas will also help shed some light on an even more fundamental question: why sleep even exists. 'Sleep has attracted a tremendous amount of attention in science, but we really don't know what sleep is,' said Steven Lima, a biologist at Indiana State. Dr. Lima belongs to a small but growing group of scientists who are pushing sleep research deep into the animal kingdom. They suspect that most animal species need to sleep, suggesting that human slumber has an evolutionary history reaching back over half a billion years. Today animals sleep in many different ways: brown bats for 20 hours a day, for example, and giraffes for less than 2. To understand why people sleep the way they do, scientists need an explanation powerful enough to encompass the millions of other species that sleep as well. 'One of the reasons we don't understand sleep is that we haven't taken this evolutionary perspective on it,' Dr. Lima said. Sleep was once considered unique to vertebrates, but in recent years scientists have found that invertebrates likes honeybees and crayfish sleep, as well. The most extensive work has been carried out on fruit flies. 'They rest for 10 hours a night, and if you keep them awake longer, they need to sleep more,' said Dr. Giulio Tononi, a psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin. The parallels between fruit flies and humans extend even to their neurons. The two species produce, during part of the night, low-frequency electrical activity known as slow-wave sleep. 'The flies surprised us with how close they were in many ways,' Dr. Tononi said. Discovering sleep in vertebrates and invertebrates alike has led scientists to conclude that it emerged very early in animal evolution - perhaps 600 million years ago. 'What we're doing in sleeping is a very old evolutionary phenomenon,' Dr. Lima said. Scientists have offered a number of ideas about the primordial function of sleep. Dr. Tononi believes that it originally evolved as a way to allow neurons to recover from a hard day of learning. 'When you're awake you learn all the time, whether you know it or not,' he said. Learning strengthens some connections between neurons, known as synapses, and even forms new synapses. These synapses demand a lot of extra energy, though. 'That means that at the end of the day, you have a brain that costs you more energy,' Dr. Tononi said. 'That's where sleep would kick in.' He argues that slow waves weaken synapses through the night. 'If everything gets weaker, you still keep your memories, but overall the strength goes down,' he said. 'The next morning you gain in terms of energy and performance.' Dr. Tononi and his University of Wisconsin colleague, Dr. Chiara Cirelli, present this hypothesis in a paper to be published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews. Dr. Tononi believes it can be tested in the future, as scientists document sleep in other animal species. 'It would be a very basic thing that would apply to any brain that can change,' he said. It has been almost 600 million years since human ancestors diverged from those of flies. As those ancestors evolved, their sleep evolved as well. Human sleep, for example, features not only slow-wave sleep, but bouts of sleep when the eyes make rapid movements and when we dream. Rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, as it is known, generally comes later in the night, after periods of intense slow-wave sleep. Other mammals also experience a mix of REM and non-REM sleep, as do birds. Sleep researchers would like to know whether this pattern existed in the common ancestors of birds and mammals, reptilian animals that lived 310 million years ago. It is also possible that birds and mammals independently evolved this sleep pattern, just as birds and bats independently evolved wings. Answering that question may help scientists understand why REM sleep exists. Scientists have long debated its function, suggesting that it may play important roles in memory or learning. In the Oct. 27 issue of Nature, Jerome Siegel, a sleep expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues that REM does not play a vital physiological role like slow-wave sleep. He points out that brain injuries and even medications like antidepressants can drastically reduce REM without any apparent ill effect. 'People who don't have REM sleep are remarkably normal,' Dr. Siegel said. 'There's no evidence for any intellectual or emotional problems.' So why do mammals and birds have REM sleep at all? 'The best answer I can come up with is that it's there to prepare you for waking,' Dr. Siegel said. 'When the important work of sleep is done, REM sleep just makes you as alert as you can be while you're asleep.' One advantage to being alert but immobile is that you may be better able to escape a predator. Dr. Lima and his colleagues argue in the October issue of Animal Behavior that sleep may have been profoundly shaped during evolution by the constant threat of predators. From this perspective, it is strange that animals would spend hours each day in such a vulnerable state. 'It's so stinking dangerous to be shut down like that,' Dr. Lima said. It is possible to imagine an alternative way to let the brain recover: only put small parts of the brain to sleep at a time. But Dr. Lima and his colleagues present a mathematical model suggesting that shutting down the whole brain at once may actually be safer. 'You may be better off just shutting down and sleeping all at once, and do it quickly,' Dr. Lima said. 'Even though you're fairly vulnerable while you're asleep, your overall vulnerability in a 24-hour period may be lower.' Birds appear to be able to defend against predators with a variation on this strategy. When they feel safe, they sleep with their entire brains shut down, as humans do. But when they sense threats, they keep half their brains awake. Dr. Lima and his colleagues have demonstrated this strategy in action with several bird species, including ducks. 'All we did was put our ducks in a row, quite literally,' said Niels Rattenborg, a colleague of Dr. Lima's, now at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany. 'The ducks on the interior slept more with both eyes closed, and the ducks on the edge slept with one eye open. And they used the eye that was facing away from the other birds.' To give each side of the brain enough rest, the ducks at the ends of the row would stand up from time to time, turn around and sit down again. This allowed them to switch eyes and let the waking half of the brain go to sleep. The Indiana State team is now studying iguanas to see if they sleep with half their brains, as well. Previous studies have shown that lizards keep one eye closed for long periods of time, but it has not been clear if they have also been half asleep. Monitoring iguana brains with electrodes may give the scientists an answer. If reptiles and birds turn out to sleep this way, it may be evidence that it is an ancient strategy. It is even possible that the earliest mammals also slept with half a brain. 'It's possible that early on in mammal evolution they may have lost it for some reason,' Dr. Rattenborg speculated. 'It may have conflicted with other functions.' On the other hand, some species of whales and seals sometimes swim with one eye closed while the corresponding hemisphere of the brain produces slow waves. Scientists are still debating whether they are actually asleep in this state. If they are, that suggests that the ancestors of marine mammals reinvented half-brain sleeping. It may have re-emerged as an adaptation to life in the ocean, an environment where predators can come out of nowhere. While humans and other land mammals may not be able to shut down half the brain, they may be able to cope with predators by adjusting their sleep schedules. Some studies on rats suggest that predators cause the animals to cut back on slow-wave sleep. People often react to stress in the same way. 'Some of the changes we observe in people who are experiencing stress may be some of the same mechanisms in response to predators,' Dr. Rattenborg said. 'There are no lions sneaking up on them, but the daily stresses of our lives may activate this primordial response.' Dr. Tononi believes that studying animals may ultimately help doctors find more effective ways to treat such sleep disorders. 'There are no good guidelines about what is satisfactory sleep, because there is no idea of what it does,' he said. 'Is seven hours of very light sleep O.K.? Or is deep sleep very important, or REM?' He added: 'It might really be that you can do with less sleep as long as it's doing its job. That's why it's crucial to know what its job is.'

Subject: Bats and the Dark
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:12:31 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/science/08qna.html November 8, 2005 Bats and the Dark By C. CLAIBORNE RAY Q. Why are there no daytime bats? Echolocation may give bats a nighttime feeding advantage, but there are fruit bats that do not use echolocation and still feed at night. Why? A. There are some bats that are active at least part of the time in daylight, but most are nocturnal or crepuscular, that is, night creatures or denizens of the twilight. There are at least two theories about how this adaptation evolved, involving the benefits of reduced competition for food at night and avoiding the diurnal animals that are the bats' own predators. Natural enemies of bats include snakes, owls, falcons and an Asian bird called the bat hawk. Some Jamaican fruit bats even avoid bright moonlight, when owls may also be on the wing. Most bats spend the daytime hanging in clusters in trees or caves, inconspicuous and out of the way of birds of prey. There are two major groups in the bat order, Chiroptera. The smaller ones, called microchiropterans, navigate and pursue nocturnal insects with their familiar sonarlike echolocation, squeaks that echo off other bodies.

Subject: To Save Endangered Butterfly
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:10:30 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/science/earth/08monarch.html?ex=1289106000&en=6293ec243b862a4a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 8, 2005 To Save Endangered Butterfly, Become a Butterfly By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. LLANO DE LAS PAPAS, Mexico - Francisco Gutiérrez has trouble expressing precisely when the idea came to him. It was six years ago and it crept up on him like the dawn, a connection between himself and the monarch butterfly. As an expert hang glider and ultralight pilot from the mountains where the monarchs winter, he felt a strange kinship with them, and the notion of flying with them on their yearly migration from Canada to Mexico became first an itch, then an obsession, his family members said. So when Mr. Gutiérrez wheeled his ultralight plane painted like a monarch over the butterfly sanctuary here at noon on Thursday and brought it swooping in to land on a stretch of mountain highway, it marked the rarest of human experiences, a dream come true. He had traveled more than 4,375 miles from Montreal to Michoacán State, following the butterflies at low altitude. He logged more than 90 hours of flying over 72 days, averaging about 60 miles a day, stopping dozens of times to talk to scientists and butterfly fanatics, in a feat of aviation meant to call attention to the insect's precarious situation. 'Sometimes I felt like a butterfly, not a man,' said the curly-haired, blue-eyed Mr. Gutiérrez, who is known as Vico. 'I can now feel what they face in some of the different parts of the Canada, the United States and Mexico.' The first waves of butterflies were fluttering into the dense fir forests here as Mr. Gutiérrez landed to a hero's welcome from two governors, representatives of the United States and Canadian governments, several government officials, dozens of school children dressed as butterflies, native American dancers and a Mazahua Indian chief. The chief, Margarito Sánchez Valdez, bathed the aviator in incense, wreathed his neck with marigolds and blessed him in the name of Shefi, a butterfly spirit, and Mysyohimi, the Mazahua's supreme deity. Omar Vidal, the director of the Mexico office of the World Wildlife Fund, acknowledged that the flight was a publicity stunt, but one with the best intention: to call attention to the plight of the monarchs. Illegal logging continues to eat away at the preserves where the butterfly winters. Pesticides in the United States and Canada wipe out the milkweed on which the insect feeds and lays its eggs. Hard winters that some scientists believe are linked to climate changes caused by greenhouse gases have decimated the butterflies in Mexico. The monarch's annual migration is a natural mystery. In August, as the days shorten, the butterflies go into sexual hibernation. Then they fly down to Mexico, returning always to the same forested hills in Michoacán, where they find the perfect balance of coolness and humidity to remain alive for several months. Finally, in March, they return to the southern United States, lay their eggs and die. Their offspring then wend their way northward with the sun, going through a number of generations during the summer, until the last generation senses a hint of winter in the air in August and begins the long return to Mexico. 'The first and still the most important end of the flight was to call attention and raise the awareness of all people about the marvel of this migration,' Mr. Vidal said. 'It's a unique phenomenon in the insect world.' After six years of trying, Mr. Gutiérrez, who is 44, had almost given up finding sponsors for his project, except for the World Wildlife Fund. Then in June, Gov. Lázaro Cárdenas Batel of Michoacán suddenly decided to back the idea. Mexico's telephone giant, Telcel, also donated some money. One of the high points of the flight came early on Sept. 6, when Mr. Gutiérrez flew his ultralight, Papalotzin, an indigenous word for the monarch, over Niagara Falls with a cloud of butterflies beneath him. Mr. Gutiérrez said the butterflies fly much like gliders, using updrafts to climb to between 4,500 and 5,000 feet, then taking advantage of winds to help them on their way. They can travel as much as 90 miles a day. Their sense of navigation is astonishing, he said. When they enter Mexico, the butterflies rise as high as 13,000 feet as they head toward the highlands. He followed groups of the insects throughout the journey, over Niagara Falls, down to New York City, and to Washington. He then traveled southwest to Oklahoma, then south through Texas and into Mexico, through all kinds of weather, hunkering down when the butterflies did. Along the way, he met with leading butterfly experts and artists and environmentalists fascinated by the migration. Though he and his ground crew had planned only three events along the route, he received dozens of requests to land. The trip was filmed for a documentary. While Mr. Gutiérrez's landing here generated a sense of good will toward the butterflies, environmentalists and local political leaders say the struggle between the government and the loggers is far from over. The pace of logging has slowed but the cutting continues, they said. The World Wildlife Foundation has set up a $6.5 million fund to pay people living around the butterfly reserves to report on logging rather than harvesting trees. Most of the sanctuaries are part of large tracts, known as ejidos, owned jointly by their residents. But the loggers also bribe local officials and farmers. Some people take money from both sides and allow the logging to continue in any case. Satellite photos compiled by United States scientists show vast reaches of the 138,000-acre reserve have been logged and cleared, often by armed gangs who pay off the authorities. Mr. Vidal said the only solution was to teach people to make money from tourism in the densely forested mountains, not only during the winter butterfly season but in the summer as well. A pilot project to do just that has been started in the most popular reserve, known as El Rosario. 'You have to offer a different way of making money to the landlords,' Mr. Vidal said. 'The vigilance payments alone are not enough.' Mr. Gutiérrez, whose father, Agustín, was a famous stunt pilot and skydiver, said he did not consider his journey to be a major feat of aviation, nothing like Brian Milton's 1998 flight around the world in an ultralight. He said he undertook the trip only to dramatize the need for all three countries to cooperate to save the butterfly. He used his moment in the limelight to emphasize that pesticides in the United States have done as much to harm to the insects as has deforestation in Michoacán.

Subject: A Special Drug Just for You
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:09:37 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/health/08phar.html November 8, 2005 A Special Drug Just for You, at the End of a Long Pipeline By ANDREW POLLACK A new drug for acne, Aczone, was approved in July, but with a catch. The Food and Drug Administration said it would require that patients first be tested for an enzyme deficiency that could put them at risk of developing anemia from the drug. The age of personalized medicine is on the way. Increasingly, experts say, therapies will be tailored for patients based on their genetic makeup or other medical measurements. That will allow people to obtain drugs that would work best for them and avoid serious side effects. But the case of Aczone illustrates a barrier to this new era. Pharmaceutical companies fear that if testing for such genetic markers is required, that will discourage doctors from prescribing a drug or limit a drug's sales to a subset of patients. Upon learning of the testing requirement for Aczone, Astellas, one of its developers, abandoned the drug. The other developer, QLT, is planning another clinical trial in hopes of having the testing requirement lifted. It argues that in a previous clinical trial, only 1.4 percent of patients had the enzyme deficiency and none developed anemia. Tailoring drugs to patients can introduce problems for doctors, as well as drug makers. Transfused blood is an example. Many transfusion centers would love to have a single type of blood suitable for everyone, rather than having to keep different types in stock and worrying that severe problems may occur if the wrong type is transfused. Still, many physicians, regulators, market analysts and pharmaceutical executives agree that despite the obstacles, personalized medicine is inevitable. About 40 of the 50 psychiatrists at the Mayo Clinic use genetic tests to help choose which drugs to prescribe, said Dr. David A. Mrazek, chairman of psychiatry at Mayo. And some companies are offering tests directly to consumers. Mary Jane Q. Cross, an artist in Newport, N.H., developed a permanent tremor on the right side of her body after taking the antidepressant Prozac 14 years ago. She now paints with her fingers because she cannot hold a brush. A year ago, she paid about $600 to Genelex, a company in Seattle, for genetic tests that showed she would have trouble tolerating certain drugs, possibly including Prozac. 'Had I known that 14 years ago, I would not have used the drug,' Ms. Cross said. Recently, when she had an emergency appendectomy, she advised the doctors to use a low dose of anesthesia based on her genetic test results. 'My husband had to go home in the middle of the night to get the material, bring it back and make it clear to them that this was an important issue,' she said. Scientists are finding numerous examples of variations in genes that help predict who will respond to a drug or who will suffer side effects. Most drug companies now routinely collect DNA samples from patients in clinical trials to look for such markers. In March, the F.D.A. issued guidelines to encourage drug companies to pursue personalized medicine, and the agency is adding information about genetic tests to the labels of a few drugs. Since June, the label for Camptosar, a Pfizer drug for colon cancer, has advised doctors that a lower starting dose may be appropriate for the 10 percent of people who have a particular version of a gene called UGT1A1. The variant makes them more prone to a side effect, serious decline in white blood cells. But despite progress, many more years of work will be required before combinations of drugs and tests, sometimes called theranostics, could reach the market. 'I don't see any indication that there is a drug that will come to market in the next five years that will have a DNA-targeted market,' said Dr. Gualberto Ruaño, president of Genomas, a company working on genetic tests for drug use. For that to happen, Dr. Ruaño said, the drug and the genetic test would have to be tested together in a clinical trial. 'What Phase 3 trial is ongoing now where they have selected the patients based on genetic markers?' he asked. Choosing a drug based on a patient's genes is called pharmacogenetics or pharmacogenomics. But pharmacogenetics is just one part of personalized medicine. In fact, all medicine is already personalized to some extent. Cancer patients are treated based on their body size; the type, size and extent of a tumor; and so on. Genetic testing would add just one element to this. Some experts say genes, which provide the instructions for making proteins, may not be the best approach, because a gene, even if present, is not always active. 'Genetic markers per se will be less useful than things further downstream, like proteins in the blood,' said Dr. Mark Fishman, head of drug discovery research at Novartis. Asked for examples of pharmacogenetics, experts usually cite Herceptin, a breast cancer drug given to the 20 to 30 percent of patients whose tumors have abundant levels of a protein called Her2. That Herceptin was approved seven years ago and remains the best example attests to the difficulties in the field. Another example is that doctors treating patients with H.I.V. or AIDS often test a patient's virus for mutations that induce resistance to particular drugs. In both cases, however, it is the disease-causing agent that is being tested, not the patient's genes. Tumor genes are very different from normal genes. So the tests are really diagnostic rather than pharmacogenetic, not much different from characterizing a bacterial infection to prescribe the proper antibiotic. The first widespread use of testing a patient's own genes is likely to be for variations in enzymes involved in metabolizing drugs, particularly those in a family called the Cytochrome P450 enzymes. People with genetic variations that limit the effectiveness of a particular enzyme may not be able to break down a drug quickly enough, allowing dangerously high levels to build up. In June, The American Journal of Psychiatry published a letter from doctors in Fargo, N.D., about a patient who died after receiving a low dose of the antidepressant Paxil, apparently because of an inability to metabolize the drug. Enzyme testing may allow people who metabolize a drug poorly to receive a lower dose to avoid side effects. In contrast, ultrafast metabolizers may need more than the usual dose for the drug to be effective. In some cases, however, the opposite is true. Codeine provides pain relief because it is turned into morphine in the body through an enzyme called 2D6. In December, The New England Journal of Medicine printed a report of a fast metabolizer who received a small dose of codeine as a cough suppressant and developed a life-threatening overdose of morphine. A slow metabolizer, in contrast, would experience little pain relief because the codeine would not be effectively converted into morphine. This year, the F.D.A. approved a test developed by Roche that uses a new type of DNA chip to detect variations in the 2D6 and 2C19 genes, which play a role in metabolism of about 25 percent of prescription drugs. Other clinical laboratories offer their own tests, which do not require F.D.A. approval. Gwynne Wolin, a retired medical transcriber from Coconut Creek, Fla., said she had become sick from taking certain drugs like the heart drug Inderal. A few months ago, she paid $550 to Genelex to test the genes of four drug-metabolizing enzymes. The results showed that she was a poor metabolizer in using the 2C19 enzyme and somewhat slower than normal for the 2D6 enzyme. Mrs. Wolin said the findings gave her evidence to help her refuse certain drugs. 'I've been labeled uncooperative a couple of times,' she said, referring to her doctors' reactions. 'But I've shown them my records, and they've accepted it.' Dr. Mrazek of the Mayo Clinic said he used the tests to help choose antidepressants, particularly for children. There has been concern that some children can turn suicidal or aggressive on antidepressants, and some evidence suggests this may be linked to high drug levels, he said. Dr. Mrazek said Prozac and Paxil were metabolized by the 2D6 enzyme. About 10 percent of Caucasians have a variation in the enzyme that make them poor at eliminating the drugs from their bodies. For those patients, he said, he may prescribe Celexa or Lexapro, antidepressants metabolized primarily by another enzyme, 2C19. So far, though, few psychiatrists, or any doctors, use these tests. The pharmacogenomics laboratory at the University of Louisville, one of the main clinical labs that offer metabolism tests, performed 3,500 to 5,000 in the last year, according to its director, Roland Valdes Jr. Many doctors are unfamiliar with tests, Dr. Valdes said. Some say that their usefulness has not been proven and that it is not always clear how much to raise or lower a dose based on the test results. Doctors' reluctance to change habits is another factor. One of the oldest examples of a pharmacogenetic test is for 6-mercaptopurine, or 6MP, a drug used to some forms of childhood leukemia and inflammatory bowel diseases. About 1 Caucasian in 300 is a very slow metabolizers of 6MP, because he has two copies of a variant of a gene for a protein called TPMT. In these poor metabolizers, the drug can cause a severe, even fatal, decline in white blood cells. But when the F.D.A. held a meeting in 2003 to consider requiring the test for patients prescribed 6MP, some doctors opposed the idea. They argued that the test was not needed because they were already watching for side effects and reducing the drug's dose if necessary. Testing everyone, they argued, would be too costly, given the relatively low incidence of the gene variant. And, they said, requiring the test might scare doctors away from using a drug that could cure cancer. The F.D.A. decided to put information about the test on the drug label, but not to require testing. Health insurers are in some cases balking at paying for pharmacogenetic tests. It might seem that insurers would welcome tests that allowed side effects to be avoided or drugs to be used only in patients who would benefit from them. A test for a single enzyme like 2D6 costs $100 to $500. But a person would need to have the test only once in a lifetime, and it would apply to all the drugs metabolized by that enzyme. Yet Blue Cross Blue Shield concluded that the usefulness of the metabolism tests was not established. In particular, the insurer said, there have been no prospective studies, in which some patients are given the test and others are not to see whether those who are tested do better. Such a genetic test would be useful for the blood thinner warfarin. Even a little bit too much warfarin can cause potentially fatal internal bleeding. In this case, however, the challenge is to find a genetic marker. The 2C9 enzyme metabolizes warfarin. But it is only one of several factors that control the level of the drug in the blood. A recent study pointed to another gene, vitamin K epoxide reductase, as a better predictor. Finding genetic markers is not always easy. 'There are a lot of drugs where simply it's not the right tool,' said Richard S. Judson, former chief scientific officer of Genaissance, a pharmacogenomics company. Dr. Judson said his company had tried but failed to find genetic variations to help determine which cholesterol-lowering statin was best for a particular patient. Other problems might arise, as well. It might be hard for doctors to deny a drug to a desperate patient, even if a genetic test predicted that it was unlikely to work. 'There would be no way with a safe drug for a serious condition that you could tell people they can't take the drug,' said Dr. Allen Roses, senior vice president for genetics research at GlaxoSmithKline. 'It wouldn't be ethical.' Pharmacogenetics, however, does offer drug makers some advantages that might offset the risk that a particular drug would be limited in its use to a subset of patients. For example, a company may be able to charge a higher price if the drug is highly likely to be effective. 'We're not going to have a single blockbuster,' Dr. Roses said. 'We'll take five minibusters.' Clinical trials could also be far smaller, cheaper and quicker if a drug was tested just on patients for whom it was likely to work. Several companies are trying to rescue drugs that failed in clinical trials by retesting them only on people they are likely to work for. Dr. Roses said drug companies were likely to test their drugs on all patients and hope for a broad approval. But if that failed they would request approval for a subset of the patient population. One spur to the use of such tests in the future could be the fear of malpractice lawsuits. If a patient suffers side effects from a drug, doctors might be sued for not using an available test. Pharmaceutical companies might also want to direct drugs at specific patient groups to avoid liability, as in the thousands of lawsuits filed against Merck by people claiming to have been harmed by the pain reliever Vioxx. Merck, which pulled Vioxx from the market last year, marketed the drug very broadly, increasing the company's legal risk when Vioxx was found to cause heart attacks. 'I think you are seeing a change in the air,' said Lawrence J. Lesko, who heads the pharmacogenomics working group at the F.D.A. 'With the concern that everybody has about risk management there's not a lot of pushback from the companies,' Dr. Lesko said.

Subject: The Revolt of Ennui
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 04:40:49 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/opinion/09audouard.html November 9, 2005 The Revolt of Ennui By ANTOINE AUDOUARD A FRIEND called me a night ago from Paris. Paris? Not quite. My friend is of Indian origin and comes from a rundown 'cité' in a suburb called Choisy-le-Roi, a housing project plopped down in an 18th-century royal park. The park retains a Louis XV elegance and grace. But as you walk by the project's windows, my friend says, on a good day only a trash bag will land on your head; on a bad day, it could be a washing machine. On Friday, as his mother was having a bite in a restaurant at the local mall, a gang of 20 or so angry youths from the neighborhood stormed into the restaurant, terrorizing customers, poaching food and drinks and ransacking the place. His mother, who is severely disabled and survives on a modest state pension, was frightened. And my friend was frightened for her, but angry as well. In Paris last week, I was struck more than ever by the frustration and anger in the air. There is a joke about France being a nation divided in two: those who complain and those who complain about those who complain. But the joke is no longer funny: as Frenchmen, we grow up with the idea that our national unity is built upon diversity, and that our chronic division against ourselves is, on rare occasions, redeemed by brief periods of national unity. As the first depressing news and images began to pour into our living rooms, however, there was a sad recognition that we did not expect any political leader to give credible political expression to the complex emotions involved - not Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, not Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy (who angered many when he called the rioters 'scum'), not any of their counterparts on the left. As I was telling my friend how appalled and angered I was by everything I had seen, he started suggesting extreme measures - like sending in the army or financially penalizing those parents unable to control their teenagers. 'They talk about the almost 3,000 cars that have been burnt in the past few days,' he said. 'But no one talks about the 28,000 cars that have been burnt since the beginning of the year.' In many respects his words echoed those I'd read earlier on a French music blog whose writers alternated between empathy for the rioters and dismay at their destruction: 'They criticize Sarkozy for calling them 'scum.' But burning our cars, our buses, our schools, what would you call them? Scum, that's what they are.' Despite my friend's instinctive call for law and order, he could not help also sharing much of the anger in the air in the cité. 'I remember,' he said, 'that when my best friend, Iskander, and I were 18 and we got back home, we were stopped and searched every night, by the same cops, who knew us and knew that we were not part of any gang. Just to put us down, humiliate us, remind us who had the power.' While the French left has been for many years in denial about the real situation in the suburbs, the right has more often than not limited its counterrevolution to blindly encouraging the local police forces. But to persecute is not to repress, and humiliation does not thwart crime. Mr. Sarkozy claims the overall crime rate is on the wane, but life in the worst cités of France has grown worse. The unemployment rate, 10 percent nationally, can rise as high as 50 percent in some areas; violence and fear reign in some schools; verbal abuse is everywhere. In many respects, the situation in the cités evokes prison: the inmates' life sentence is the color of their skin. Meanwhile, the engine of French politics - the state as Great Purveyor - has stuttered and stalled. To acknowledge this, however, would require a political courage that clashes with most politicians' personal ambitions. The outcome of this crisis may very well be that more money will be spent without any serious review of the failings of the welfare state (what is the name for a 'welfare state' when welfare is gone?). Over the years, billions have been poured into a whole array of 'social' projects. (A cruel paradox is that the government recently granted Clichy-sous-Bois, where the riots began on Oct. 27, 330 million euros for renovating its worst housing projects.) But the central failure of this policy, which goes beyond the dubious boundaries between governments right, left and center, is that it has never managed to provide job opportunities for the children and grandchildren of immigrant workers. I asked my friend what he thought about the ebullient creativity the government was trying to show. He replied by recalling 2002, when the anti-immigrant politician Jean-Marie Le Pen made it into the runoff for the presidency, and last May when voters rejected the European Constitution. 'All the politicians were on TV, claiming that they got the message and things would change,' he said. 'How long did that last?' And indeed, Mr. de Villepin's 'Marshall plan' for the suburbs seems to be a combination of wishful thinking ('we should all change our behavior'), Gaullian posturing ('All those in our republic, whatever their age, have duties toward the nation') and good old pork-barrel politics. With the rioters' having no articulate political expression beyond anger, and with cities and towns starting to impose curfews, it seems unlikely that the current unrest will develop into a fully fledged rebellion. But the crisis has once more exposed the shortcomings of a society that no longer knows how to enforce its own rules or how to create the dream of a better life for its new generations.

Subject: Paul Krugman's column
From: Dorian
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 04:03:54 (EST)
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Why doesn't Paul Krugman simply quit writing for the NY Times and syndicate his column instead? As it is, all that he has to say is locked up by the Times and is lost to the rest of the nation. This occured to me after I heard Robert Scheer responding to his firing by the LA Times. Despite no longer working for the Times, he will continue writing his column and making it available through syndication. Dorian

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's column
From: Emma
To: Dorian
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 04:30:06 (EST)
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Message:
The New York Times is the finest newspaper in America, possibly in the world, and easily worth the modest price of subscription. Paul Krugman could not be writing in a more influential venue, though of course we could wish for even more access around the world. I understand the frustration, but look for a way to gain full access for there are even more gems than Paul Krugman.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman's column
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:28:55 (EST)
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Message:
Truthout http://www.truthout.org/ for Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert.

Subject: Virtues of Single-Payer Health Care
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:28:27 (EST)
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http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/ November 8, 2005 The Virtues of Single-Payer Health Care By Brad DeLong Paul Krugman writes about the virtues of single-payer: Pride, Prejudice, Insurance - New York Times: Employment-based health insurance is the only serious source of coverage for Americans too young to receive Medicare and insufficiently destitute to receive Medicaid, but it's an institution in decline. Between 2000 and 2004 the number of Americans under 65 rose by 10 million. Yet the number of nonelderly Americans covered by employment-based insurance fell by 4.9 million. The funny thing is that the solution - national health insurance, available to everyone - is obvious. But to see the obvious we'll have to overcome pride - the unwarranted belief that America has nothing to learn from other countries - and prejudice - the equally unwarranted belief, driven by ideology, that private insurance is more efficient than public insurance. Let's start with the fact that America's health care system spends more, for worse results, than that of any other advanced country. In 2002 the United States spent $5,267 per person on health care. Canada spent $2,931; Germany spent $2,817; Britain spent only $2,160. Yet the United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than any of these countries. But don't people in other countries sometimes find it hard to get medical treatment? Yes, sometimes - but so do Americans. No, Virginia, many Americans can't count on ready access to high-quality medical care.... Americans are far more likely than others to forgo treatment because they can't afford it. Forty percent of the Americans surveyed failed to fill a prescription because of cost. A third were deterred by cost from seeing a doctor when sick or from getting recommended tests or follow-up. Why does American medicine cost so much yet achieve so little?... The U.S. system is much more bureaucratic... because private insurers and other players work hard at trying not to pay for medical care. And our fragmented system is unable to bargain... for lower prices. Taiwan, which moved 10 years ago from a U.S.-style system to a Canadian-style single-payer system, offers an object lesson in the economic advantages of universal coverage. In 1995 less than 60 percent of Taiwan's residents had health insurance; by 2001 the number was 97 percent. Yet... this huge expansion in coverage came virtually free: it led to little if any increase in overall health care spending beyond normal growth due to rising population and incomes.... The economic and moral case for health care reform in America, reform that would make us less different from other advanced countries, is overwhelming. One of these days we'll realize that our semiprivatized system isn't just unfair, it's far less efficient than a straightforward system of guaranteed health insurance.

Subject: Interesting piece of info
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 15:59:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The following is part of an interview by National Business Radio (NBR) in early June with Robert Toll of Toll Brothers. From June 23rd through the end of July 2005, Robert Toll sold about $180 million in Toll Brothers stock and his brother Bruce likewise sold very large amounts of TOL. They had been selling heavily before this interview and have continued selling to the present with no acquistions through the end of September. This can be verified on Yahoo Finance under insider transactions for ticker symbol 'TOL'. NBR interview: GHARIB: 'As I mentioned just a few moments ago, Toll Brothers stock hit a new all- time high today. I want to get your thoughts on that and would you be a buyer of your stock at these levels?' TOLL: 'Yes, I would and I think it`s just fabulous. Our multiple is only about 11 times estimated P/E going forward. The people that supply us, the home building supply companies I believe sell at three or four more multiple than we do. So if we approach the average of the S&P, for instance, we would be selling at 18 to 20 times and right now at 11, I`d say that makes a tremendous buy.'

Subject: Re: Interesting piece of info
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:18:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Absolutely, Pete. We noted Toll selling and recommending earlier, and I have not forgotten.

Subject: Prints That Helped Europe Discover
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 15:52:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/23/arts/design/23glue.html?ex=1285128000&en=d0bb63dfd0060563&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 23, 2005 Prints That Helped Europe Discover Its Great Artists By GRACE GLUECK The art-alert today are so used to thinking of 'prints' as originals that it takes refocusing to remember that they were also once valued as reproductions, a means of copying other artists' works. In fact, from the early 16th century to the beginning of the 19th, widely circulated prints in a variety of techniques were the only means of acquainting a broad public with original works whose ownership rested in the hands of the church and other wealthy patrons. Artists like Dürer, Raphael, Rubens and even Michelangelo became widely known through reproductive prints - relatively inexpensive and very portable - circulated throughout Europe. Rubens, viewing the process as important to promoting his name and work, hired professional printmakers to copy his paintings and even retouched their prints to reinforce accuracy. The variety and vitality of these printed reproductions are seen in 'Paper Museums: The Reproductive Print in Europe, 1500-1800' at New York University's Grey Art Gallery, a show that points up how prints effectively circulated artists' works and ideas throughout Europe in the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Organized by the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, the show was assembled by Rebecca Zorach, assistant professor of art history there, with the collaboration of Elizabeth Rodini, a lecturer in the history of art at Johns Hopkins University, and Anne Leonard, a curator at the museum. Among their theses is that the development of the printed image is an overlooked achievement of the European Renaissance. Don't expect lots of pictorial splash here. The prints, most in black and white, are relatively small compared with paintings and other originals and require close looking to follow the sometimes esoteric points they illustrate. Yet many are wonderfully elegant and elaborate specimens of the printer's art, sometimes following the originals with great fidelity but often embellishing or changing the images in ways peculiar to the creative invention of the printmaker or to the process itself. A case in point is a big woodcut, 'The Large Village Fair,' made in 1539 by the German engraver and miniaturist Hans Sebald Beham. This very elaborate production shows in great detail the period architecture of a small village crowded with revelers on a peasants' holiday, depicting incidents like a man vomiting after maybe too much beer and an open-air dentist treating a patient as his assistant slyly reaches into the victim's purse. Beham's original was done on four sheets and is more than three feet wide. The woodcut was translated into a far smaller engraving (undated) by one Johann Theodor de Bry. The show's catalog explains that the change in scale was made possible by the engraving process, which produces a thinner line than woodcutting. De Bry reversed Beham's image while retaining its essence. The smaller image was less expensive and more portable, and the metal engraving plate was more durable than the woodblock, allowing for many more impressions. The works of Michelangelo were reproduced by many printmakers during his lifetime, but he shunned collaboration. The results are quite varied. Two engravings of his 'Last Judgment' fresco in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel are shown here, both done in the 1540's by different contemporary printmakers, each taking liberties with Michelangelo's masterpiece. One, by Giulio di Antonio Bonasone, reproduces the entire fresco, based on a drawing done in black chalk by the printmaker himself, already establishing a distance between the original and the copy. But Bonasone's black-and-white engraving sacrifices details to the whole, and doesn't use nuances of shading to indicate differences of color. His print had to compete with superior versions, including one by Domenico del Barbiere, who took a very different approach. He zeroed in on one element of the fresco, Saint Bartholomew surrounded by several saints. In this feat of interpretation, which reverses and isolates the figures, Barbiere makes clever use of tonal contrasts to indicate volume, while emphasizing Michelangelo's muscular, stylized treatment of figures. Though bold and quirky, in an idiom very much Barbiere's own, this oddly shaped fragment can still be considered a reproduction, albeit a highly creative one. The liberties taken by these and other printmakers raise questions about authorship and authenticity. On the one hand, Alexandra M. Korey, a Ph.D. candidate at the university, notes in her catalog essay, prints were a splendid medium for conveying great art to a wide public and contributing to artists' recognition. But by allowing wide latitude to the printmaker, print reproductions could throw doubt on the authorship, originality and accuracy of the images that inspired them. Early in his career, the Bolognese engraver Marcantonio Raimondi (later to win recognition as a copier-interpreter of Raphael) took a fancy to the work of Dürer. As recounted by Giorgio Vasari, the 16th-century writer on art, Dürer was so incensed by Raimondi's copies of his 'Life of the Virgin' series in 20 woodcuts (circa 1504-5) that he sued and succeeded in keeping him from using Dürer's insignia. Yet it appears on Raimondi's line-for-line copy of Dürer's 'Presentation of Christ in the Temple' (circa 1506) in the show, which is differentiated from the original mainly by different paper and ink tones. Borrowings like these, Ms. Korey suggests, could fool the public into purchasing Raimondi's prints at the same prices as those obtained for Dürer's. Among the many fine examples of printmaking in this ambitious show is a group of delicate pastoral landscapes by J. M. W. Turner, from his 'Liber Studiorum,' after drawings that he fully intended as models for prints. Realizing the benefits of wide dissemination of his works, Turner himself participated in translating the drawing into prints, etching part of the composition and relying on experts for completion. A small and not very impressive section of prints made by women is also in the exhibition, but it is noteworthy because printmaking was a male-dominated profession. Still, entire families were often involved in print workshops, and the women learned their art from fathers, brothers and husbands. This exhibition is fascinating territory for those with the ambition to negotiate its scholarly presentation and catalog. But it's a bit of culture shock to encounter the show in the lower-level gallery, by a young Italian artist, Andrea Facco, presented as a 'response' to the main attraction. His series 'Zapping' (Italian for channel-surfing) is a large group of realistically painted scenes derived from television screens by rapid working of a remote, causing bits of weather programs, cartoons, sports events, pornographic films and such to beat at the eye. Supposedly, his work reverses the concept of 'The Paper Museum' show, turning multiple images into individual hand-painted works. Mr. Facco is a clever and facile responder, but this sideshow adds nothing to the main event.

Subject: Economic Growth
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 08:56:55 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Consumer spending flows and ebbs, and changes in composition, but there is still no reason to believe consumer spending is slowing or that it will slow significantly in the near term. I find little consumer reluctance to spend just now, debt and all. The stock market looks healthy here as a reflection of consumer spending, and stocks are soaring internationally. Real estate is holding. Bonds are mildly declining in price.

Subject: Re: Economic Growth
From: Jennifer
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 13:55:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There are increasing signs that the housing market is slowing, so we need to watch carefully for employment and consumption slowing as a result.

Subject: Re: Economic Growth
From: Jennifer
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 14:03:37 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though I am somewhat bullish, I am paying close attention to the housing market here, and housing markets abroad, to detect a slowing that cannot easily be countered by a central bank. I am not going to be smug or complacent. Nervousness suits me :)

Subject: The obvious.....
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 07:37:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
yet the bigger question - why do so few give the obvious any thought? From the Dallas Morning News: Danielle DiMartino: Consumers may have to cut spending 07:02 AM CST on Monday, November 7, 2005 Who can remember the last three months of 1991? Few people on Wall Street can, apparently. That happens to be the last time consumer spending slowed in this country. It has indeed been a long and robust stretch for the U.S. consumer, which helps explain why so few can fathom the consumer reining in their purchases for a spell. Consider the title of a recent report from Banc of America Securities: 'Stopping the Consumer Requires Kryptonite, Not Expensive Oil.' Rather than cut spending, the report said, consumers will draw down their savings some more. And really, can you blame anyone on Wall Street for believing that? David Rosenberg doesn't believe it. He's the chief economist at Merrill Lynch in New York. 'You get a little jaded when the last time the U.S. consumer pressed the pause button was the fourth quarter of 1991,' Mr. Rosenberg said. He's been comparing household debt to disposable personal incomes. It was only about five years ago that we passed what was considered 'the point of no return.' That's where households' total liabilities exceeded their disposable personal incomes. Faster, faster Of course, Americans saw that line in the sand and galloped over it at breakneck speed. Today the debt-to-income ratio stands at a gravity-defying 124 percent. What is so notable, Mr. Rosenberg said, is the recent acceleration of debt growth. 'Households have tacked on as much to this debt ratio in the past five years as they did in the past 15 years combined,' Mr. Rosenberg said. 'That's quite a feat.' Seem too incredible to believe? Consider this: It took 30 years leading up to 1986 for the debt-to-income ratio to grow from 50 percent to 75 percent. From there, it took 15 years to hit the 100 percent mark. Since then, it's taken us only five more years to get to nearly 125 percent. 'The point is not where we are, but how fast debt grew,' Mr. Rosenberg said. 'This has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the most pronounced credit-financed consumer-spending spree ever recorded.' Cultural shift Put economics aside for a minute. The chart also depicts one of the most remarkable cultural shifts in our country's history. For decades, we prided ourselves on saving and investing in our future. The savings rate in 1960 was 7 percent and peaked in 1982 at 11 percent. But recently, it's turned negative. In other words, we're tapping savings just to get by each month. To add insult to the lack of control over our destiny, foreign investors financed much of the spending and now control nearly half of our outstanding debt. But Mr. Rosenberg insists what we've done to ourselves isn't our fault. 'Consumers acted completely rationally in this cycle,' he said. 'They tooketh what the Fed and the financial system gaveth.' So is this where the story ends? What's next? Do we skip off into the sunset and continue to beat our balance sheets to a pulp simply because we can and foreign investors allow it? If only that were the case, the majority of Wall Street crystal-ball gazers would be in the clear. But the reality is, the carefree days of living large on debt are over

Subject: Re: The obvious.....
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 10:18:18 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A prime rule for investors should be 'never underestimate the American consumer.' I never do. Alan Greenspan has often argued that household balance sheets are fine; I agree. We generally know how to handle debt.

Subject: Re: The obvious.....
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 15:49:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Can the American consumer be overestimated? Why would underestimating be the only 'prime rule'? As we look back in history we see periods where the American consumer has packed it in a very big way - isn't that true? Incidently, the last time the American consumer folded his tent was at personal debt levels only seen in recent years.

Subject: Corrections
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:20:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I meant to ask - why would NOT underestimating the American consumer be the only 'prime rule'. Also the last line should read - 'Incidently, the last time the American consumer folded his tent was at personal debt levels only seen once again, in recent years.'

Subject: Re: Corrections
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 17:51:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sorry, I do not quite understand the question or the reference.

Subject: Re: Corrections
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 12:40:09 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
For myself, the 'prime rule' of never underestimating the American consumer rates the same level of adherence as viewing 'the glass as half full'. Viewing the glass as 'half full' is just as bad as viewing it 'half empty'. It is simply one of those clever manipulative phrases crafted to get a certain response from its targets. The glass should be viewed as having a level of fluid at its 'midpoint'. Underestimating or overestimating the American consumer is not the point to be considered. Rather its about what is supporting the US consumer and will that support continue. It's clear to me that the American consumer is very indebted (the highest ratio to GDP in history - the last time it approached this level was the early 30's which preceded a steep decline in US consumption) and has been supported by the 'housing ATM' most recently. The 20th century has seen many ups and downs for the US consumer - the 30's being the toughest period.

Subject: Re: The obvious.....
From: Jennifer
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 14:05:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Keep in mind that my portfolio is highly conservative, well diversified. I can be optimistic and cautious, I think.

Subject: Land South of the Clouds
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 06:13:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/07/arts/design/07clou.html?ex=1289019600&en=53b6bc59ba9cdc76&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 7, 2005 Native Eyes on a Land South of the Clouds By ERIK ECKHOLM He was herding goats high up the creases of sacred Mount Kawagebo when the morning light seemed right, recalled Ananzhu, an ethnic Tibetan from an isolated village of southern China. So he took out his camera. The scene he captured that day, of an emerald lake beneath two conical, ice-capped peaks, was both stunning and layered with meanings. Ananzhu (he has only one name) was carrying a camera provided by the United States-based Nature Conservancy as part of a Photovoice project. More than 250 people from 60 villages in northern Yunnan province, all from ethnic minorities, have been given a way to document, through their own eyes, their cultures and surroundings. His alpine scene is one of some 45 photographs from the project now on display at the American Museum of Natural History in 'Voices From South of the Clouds' (a reference to Yunnan, Chinese for 'south of the clouds'). The exhibition is in the small Akeley gallery, behind the African mammals, and runs until March 12. Ananzhu was one of three village photographers the conservancy brought to New York last week for a cultural celebration. The pictures provide a record of endangered traditions and landscapes but the main goal, said Ann McBride Norton, a conservancy adviser in Asia who organized the project, is to give a voice to northern Yunnan's diverse peoples. The region's myriad ethnic groups - including many people who are illiterate and do not even speak Chinese - are facing surges in tourism, road-building and investment. The conservancy is working with local officials to promote environmentally benign development, an idea with shallow roots in economically booming China. With some of the last unspoiled remnants in all of China, Yunnan is not only ethnically but also biologically rich, a 'hot spot' for plant species including 162 species of rhododendron that sprinkle the hillsides with pink flowers each spring. Helping indigenous people to document themselves with photographs is a longtime technique of anthropologists. The Natural History museum was drawn to the Yunnan pictures because they capture the nexus between culture and environment, said Eleanor Sterling, co-curator of the show and director of the museum's center for biodiversity and conservation. And crucially, she said, 'the photos were spectacular.' In starting the project, Ms. Norton drew inspiration and advice from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, where the photographer Wendy Ewald has been a pioneer in the combined use of cameras and writing as a way to stimulate learning and community awareness in schools and elsewhere. 'Photography is a pretty democratic art form,' noted Katy Hyde, director of the Literacy Through Photography program at the Duke center. For the Yunnan project, the Eastman Kodak Company donated point-and-shoot cameras (a model that sells for $7 in China). In short training sessions, villagers were taught how to use them and, rather than being told what makes a good picture, they were shown multitudes of photographs and encouraged to discuss what they liked and why. They are provided with one roll of film each month, along with the results of the previous month's effort. They are asked to provide background information on the pictures that is sometimes quite revealing. In the case of his mountain scene, Ananzhu, 41, wrote that when he saw the same spot as a child, the lake was much smaller. 'The glacier is shrinking and the lake is growing, and we don't know why,' he said in an interview. When his picture was displayed in his home village of Yubeng, elders were prompted to tell children the sacred meaning of the pictured valley: the meeting place of the war gods of Mount Kawagebo. Several of the fledgling photographers turned out to have a particularly good eye. Hong Zhengyong's image of a girl in distinctive ethnic dress slaughtering a chicken amid dazzling yellow fields, for example, is one of several in the exhibition with classic diagonals and symmetries. Mr. Hong, 28, mainly photographed his father, one of the last great Yi shamans, performing healing rituals and animal sacrifices. 'I worry that the knowledge will be lost,' he said in New York. He documented the rituals just in time: his father recently died. Some of the pictures celebrate scenic splendors and participants, including Ananzhu, said they did not fully appreciate the beauty around them until they saw it in a photograph. Others document hardships: children collecting firewood, or writing their homework on the side of a basket as they accompany their parents to farm plots. The caption to a picture of a Tibetan woman milking a yak in a blizzard says, 'Even in wintertime we have to go out to get milk.' After touring New York, the villagers said they were impressed but not overawed. The buildings are very tall, said Ananzhu. 'But even the tallest building,' he noted, 'is not as high as our lowest mountain.'

Subject: John Fowles Connects
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:44:12 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/05/31/specials/fowles-french.html November 10, 1969 On the Third Try, John Fowles Connects By CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN By John Fowles. A warning: Before you begin John Fowles's new novel, be certain there's only one log on the fire. If, unhappily, you lack the fireplace by which this book should be read, set an alarm clock. 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' is 467 pages long. No matter how fast a reader you may be, it's not good for the circulation to sit in one position for the length of time required to read it. You'll need something to remind you to stretch your legs every so often. It's that kind of book. It's filled with enchanting mysteries that demand solutions, and the solutions are withheld until the last page. And even beyond the end. When I finished it, I started over, searching for missed clues, testing the beginning in light of the end. If I'd had time, I'd have read it straight through again. The language is elegant enough, the solutions elusive enough. First of all, there is Mr. Fowles's story--a story so irresistibly novelistic that he has disguised it as a Victorian romance, one thinks at first. The year is 1867. Our leading man, Mr. Charles Smithson, is looking forward to an excellent marriage to Miss Ernestina Freeman, the fair daughter of a wealthy tradesman. Charles is in the prime of life (32), well-born (with prospects of a baronetcy), a gentleman of honor, a scientist of sorts, quite modern, an adherent of Mr. Darwin's writings. A Destined Convergence One day, while walking by the sea with his betrothed, and exchanging hyperbolical pleasantries, Charles comes upon a strange young woman standing forlornly, 'her stare aimed like a rifle at the farthest horizon.' Upon asking Ernestina about the woman's identity, he learns that she is Sarah Woodruff, known to the residents of Lyme Regis, Dorset, as the abandoned lover of a French naval officer, and a 'hoer.' Sarah is not precisely beautiful. But to Charles there is something in her eyes and in her manner that sets her far apart, that makes her the secret possessor of possibilities that marriage to Ernestina threatens to blot out forever. It is deliciously obvious from page 1 on that Charles's and Sarah's paths are destined to converge. But Mr. Fowles withholds the encounter deftly enough to charge it with magically erotic possibilities. What, after all, is more seductive than a possibility? (And though his prose is chaste in thought and deed, Mr. Fowles clearly knows his Victorian pornographers.) Very Victorian, in short. If you have the smallest residual weakness for Dickens, you are lost. But why, for Heaven's sake, a Victorian novel in this day and age of RobbÈ-Grillet? What is this practitioner of flawed Gothica ('The Collector' and 'The Magus') up to now? Here quickly arises another element of suspense. For it is also clear from page 1 on that Mr. Fowles is not going to be satisfied merely with witty (and often brilliantly erudite) anachronistic comments on the manners, morals, literature, art and science of a century before. Not only will something surprising happen to the story of 'The French Lieutenant's Woman;' something will happen to the form of the book as well. And the prospect adds immeasurably to the suspense. Choice of Two Endings Let me recapitulate. One likes Charles. One admires him even. As an enlightened inhabitant of the 1960's one can share his Darwinian view of Sarah Woodruff, with her cool contempt for Victorian morals, as an evolutionary advance. One can identify with his considerable heroism in throwing in his lot with her, even at the cost of his good standing (and Fowles makes his act more poignant than your would imagine possible). One cares a great deal how the story will turn out. And one feels, secure in Mr. Fowles's hands, that it will turn out well. But it develops that Mr. Fowles has a problem, which he graciously explains in chapter 55, while riding with Charles on a train to London. (Yes, literally.) Mr. Fowles doesn't know what to do with his story. He can't manipulate the plot (or, as he says, 'fix the fight') 'to show one's readers what one thinks of the world around one' because this story happened a hundred years ago and 'we know what has happened since.' The only solution, he decides, is to write two endings. So he proceeds. The first is heart-warming, gratifying, a very 'Great Expectations' of an ending, a thorough domestication of eroticism, wholly consistent with Fowles's charming tale. The tale we thought we had been reading, at any rate. Then comes the second ending. It explodes all the assumptions our Victorian sensibilities had so willingly embraced. In a giant step it covers the distance between the Victorian novel and the roman nouveau. It leaves one wondering which century was more sexually liberated. It is a shock. It is comic. It signals the sudden but predictable arrival of a remarkable novelist.

Subject: Charity or Medicare?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:32:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/07/business/07drug.html?ex=1289019600&en=95d853f9f8f43a06&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 7, 2005 Another Choice for Elderly: Charity or Medicare? By STEPHANIE SAUL The pharmaceutical industry's version of a campaign bus, the 'Help Is Here Express,' has toured 25 states this year to spread the word about charity prescription programs sponsored by drug companies. But even as the bright orange bus travels from state to state enrolling patients in the programs, the assistance may be coming to a halt for thousands of elderly people. One of them is Walter Bach of Glendale, Queens. Mr. Bach, 65, who is blind, received worrisome news last month from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The free Plavix he gets from the company's charitable foundation will stop if he enrolls in the new Medicare prescription program that begins in January. Mr. Bach says that his free Plavix, a $125-a-month blood thinner that reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, is more valuable than the immediate benefits he would receive from signing up for the Medicare program, even taking into account the three inexpensive generic drugs he also takes. The letter telling Mr. Bach that he must choose between Bristol-Myers's program and the new Medicare drug benefit speaks to an unintended effect that the new Medicare plan is having on the pharmaceutical industry's charity drug programs. Some companies are simply eliminating their charity programs for older people, taking the position that the recipients are now eligible for Medicare drug coverage. But even in programs like Bristol's that will remain in place for the low-income elderly, the us-or-them ultimatum throws one more tricky variable into retirees' assessment of the Medicare plan. The drug companies, which distributed free drugs with a retail value of $4.1 billion last year to an estimated three million to four million Americans, will continue their charity programs in some cases, focusing on other patients with financial needs who don't qualify for the Medicare prescription drug program. But the companies also complain that the Medicare law means that a patient cannot get drug subsidies from them and also participate in the program. Dr. Mark McClellan, administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said during an interview late last week that nothing prevented the industry programs from continuing, as long as the free or subsidized drugs the patients received were not counted toward their Medicare co-payments or deductibles. Several drug companies have sent proposals to the Health and Human Services department, asking for guidance, and its Office of Inspector General is reviewing their legality. The Medicare Rights Center, an organization that helps Medicare recipients understand the system (and where Mr. Bach works part-time), is monitoring the changes in the charity programs. Those programs are generally aimed at people whose incomes fall near the poverty level - but who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor. 'It's an important issue to see what the drug companies will do with these plans,' said Robert M. Hayes, president of the center. 'It's yet one more blow to the algorithm of informed decision-making.' The decision by Bristol-Myers is similar to the stance of Merck, which said it would be notifying the affected patients. But Eli Lilly is notifying 235,000 older people that its charitable program for the elderly, Lilly Answers, will end next May. The program distributed $140 million in subsidized medications last year, charging a $12 co-payment. Edward G. Sagebiel, a spokesman for Lilly, said the company viewed that program simply as a bridge until Medicare drug benefits kicked in. Mr. Sagebiel said it was possible that some over-65 people could receive assistance through other Lilly programs. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, is notifying doctors that their patients must first be turned down for extra help under provisions of the new Medicare plan before they can apply to Johnson & Johnson's program. The cutbacks in charity drug assistance for the elderly are coming only six months after the industry began a campaign to publicize the programs widely. Last April, the drug industry's trade group introduced the Partnership for Prescription Assistance as a centerpiece of the industry's efforts to improve its image. In a news release last week, the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said that an additional 5,000 people had been signing up each day as a result of the industry's new toll-free call center and a publicity campaign that includes the bus, an enrollment center on wheels. Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the trade group, acknowledged that the new Medicare program could cause a decline in the programs' overall enrollment, possibly as much as 40 percent. But he said that the industry sign-up effort would continue. 'It's possible that there will be drop-off, but at the same time, we're going to be very aggressive in reaching out to the millions of other Americans who are below the age of 65,' Mr. Johnson said. He said the industry was doubling its advertising budget and sending out a second bus, and had signed the television host Montel Williams as a spokesman beginning in January. 'There are millions of people in America who could qualify for one of these programs but are not receiving assistance,' Mr. Johnson said. 'We're on the road to try to find them, state by state, city by city.' The pharmaceutical industry complains that one reason the programs are being cut back for older people is that federal laws prohibit health care companies from giving something of value to Medicaid and Medicare participants. While the statutes are aimed at reducing opportunities for fraud rather than curbing charity to individuals, they do call into question any kind of financial relationship between drug providers and recipients. The solution, suggested by legal guidance from the federal department of Health and Human Services, might be a pooled charity fund set up by all drug companies. That may be hard to sell to the companies, though, who may fear that they will end up subsidizing a competitor's drug. 'A lot of companies want to help, but they've run into a legal roadblock,' said Mr. Johnson, the spokesman for the drug industry trade group. But Dr. McClellan of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies said that the companies 'can continue their current programs, they can make contributions to private foundations that are planning to fill in gaps, or they can collaborate,' said Dr. McClellan. 'There are lots of options, none of which are precluded by the Medicare drug benefit.' Benefits under the Medicare drug plan depend on income. Among low-income people, a single person with a monthly income between $1,076 and $1,197 - defined as 135 to 150 percent of the poverty level - pays a sliding scale premium for coverage, a $50 deductible and 15 percent coinsurance until drug expenses reach $3,600 a year, according to figures from Dr. McClellan's office. At that point, the individual is eligible to receive generic drugs for a $2 co-payment and brand-name drugs for a $5 co-payment. Some officials have expressed concern that the pharmaceutical companies might assist Medicare recipients until the $3,600 level, locking them into an expensive brand-name drug that they would continue using after crossing the threshold. Ultimately, under that scenario, the charity programs could increase costs to the program. Mr. Hayes of the Medicare Rights Center, who refers to the charity programs as '10 percent help and 90 percent hype,' says the drug industry has a history of operating programs with red tape that limits the actual number of charity recipients. 'They placed hurdles that kept demand for these programs down,' Mr. Hayes said. 'Whether or not they were purposeful obstacles or not, we got very little receptivity to the easy measures we recommended to make them easier. Patient-assistance programs may not be something the companies are promoting with 100 percent enthusiasm.' But Mr. Johnson said recent outreach efforts by the industry were aimed at streamlining the application process and reducing red tape. And he added that industry surveys revealed that customer satisfaction with the programs was increasing. Mr. Bach said late last week that he had analyzed his situation and decided he would not sign up for the Medicare drug program for now. His reliance on industry assistance is simply too great. 'I have no alternative,' Mr. Bach said. 'I need it.'

Subject: Where to Be Jobless in Europe
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:28:55 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/09/weekinreview/09land.html?ex=1286510400&en=dec7836946e7a878&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss October 9, 2005 Where to Be Jobless in Europe By MARK LANDLER FRANKFURT — EUROPEANS are famous for trying to take the sting out of unemployment, with generous and long-lasting jobless benefits. Even when political and business leaders have warned that their societies can no longer afford such largess, the European public has clung to these safety nets. But even within Western Europe, some countries are more accommodating to those out of work than others. So it is tempting to ask: Where is it easiest to be unemployed? The answer, predictably, can depend on an individual's situation: whether one is young or old, single or married, childless or with a family, recently out of work or chronically unemployed. But attitude also plays a role: Is the person eager to find another job or looking for a life of leisure? And is the country trying hard to get the employee back to work? In Denmark, said David B. Grubb, an economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a typical unemployed person might get 80 percent of past income for four years. 'But after the first year,' he said, 'you've got to spend a lot of your time in temporary jobs or training programs.' Europe's lush benefits are often blamed for helping to perpetuate its high unemployment, though it should be noted that Denmark, with perhaps the softest touch of all, has a jobless rate of 4.8 percent, roughly equivalent to the United States'. In addition to the emphasis on job seeking, Denmark has relatively weak job-protection rules, which make it easier for companies to fire workers in the first place, opening up the labor market. Mr. Grubb, who has compared unemployment benefits in 26 countries, offers one general rule: the most generous countries are also the ones most likely to put the most pressure on recipients to find new jobs. Germany has historically catered to both those in and out of work. Thanks to its still-powerful labor movement, job protection laws here are among the strictest in Europe. As for taking care of the unemployed, the generosity was epitomized by the notorious 2003 case of 'Florida Rolf,' a former banker found living in Miami in an apartment near the beach that he paid for with $2,200 a month in German welfare checks. In Germany, people who lose their jobs receive 60 percent of their salaries for 12 months to 36 months. Following that, they previously were able to draw long-term assistance and other benefits that could total 53 percent of their wages. But Chancellor Gerhard Schröder cut back the long-term payments, and as of next February, Germans who are out of work for more than a year will be entitled to benefits similar to ordinary welfare - about $414 a month, plus money for rent and utilities. That cutback, however, has probably put a firm brake on any further changes to the system. In the national election last month, the voters punished Mr. Schröder by refusing to give him a renewed mandate. But at the same time the electorate denied a majority to his conservative challenger, Angela Merkel, who had advocated even stronger free-market medicine. The likely outcome is government by an alliance of the two major parties, each feeling it imperative not to mess with unemployment benefits. Voters reacted so negatively because the government's parsimony coincided with a wave of job cuts that have helped raise the unemployment rate to 9.6 percent. German officials said the change in long-term benefits was intended to discourage able-bodied people from permanently opting out of the work force. But other benefits are also available, and it is unclear whether some people might still get paid more not to work rather than to find a new job. 'This is a difficult question that occupies us as well,' said Eugen Spitznagel, a researcher at the state-run Institute of Employment Research in Nuremberg. 'It's a hypothesis that is plausible, but difficult to prove. We don't have the empirical data yet to answer it directly.' Among other European countries, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal are viewed as particularly generous to the unemployed, while Britain and Greece are seen as among the stingiest. France might be the cushiest alternative of all, however. France not only offers generous compensation, but it has yet to organize an efficient network of job training and placement centers. So in pratcical terms, the most an out-of-work person has to do to maintain benefits, Mr. Grubb said, is to call in every six months to confirm that no new job has been found. The French government is trying to change this laissez-faire approach - in part by adding yet another benefit. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has proposed giving the unemployed a bonus of 1,000 euros, or about $1,200, for taking a job, even as the government weighs a three-strikes rule, under which jobless people would lose their unemployment compensation if they turned down three job offers. The French government is also trying to make it easier for small companies to lay off workers. But that proposal provoked thousands of strikers to take to the streets last week in Paris and other cities. Mrs. Merkel floated a similar idea in Germany, and it did her little good at the polls. Still, some European experts say that French and German leaders are at least looking at the heart of the unemployment problem: that companies are not likely to hire more freely unless they can fire more freely. As Katinka Barysch, the chief economist of the Center for European Reform in London, put it, 'the best place to lose your job is in a country where it's easiest to find a new job.'

Subject: John Fowles
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:11:49 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/books/08fowles.html?ex=1289106000&en=bd3d340d8ca8da9b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 8, 2005 John Fowles, 79, British Postmodernist Who Tested Novel's Conventions By SARAH LYALL John Fowles, the British writer whose teasing, multilayered fiction explored the tensions between free will and the constraints of society, even as it played with traditional novelistic conventions and challenged readers to find their own interpretations, died on Saturday at his home in Lyme Regis, England. He was 79. His death was announced by his publisher, Random House UK. No cause was given, but Random House said Mr. Fowles, who suffered a stroke in the late 1980's and had heart problems, had been ill for some time. Mr. Fowles's originality, versatility and skill were nowhere more evident than in his most celebrated novels, among them 'The Collector,' 'The Magus' and 'The French Lieutenant's Woman.' In 'The French Lieutenant's Woman,' for example, he combined the melodrama of a 19th-century Victorian novel with the sensibility of a 20th-century postmodern narrator, offering his readers two alternative endings from which to choose and at one point boldly inserting himself into the book as a character who accompanies the hero on a train to London. In 'The Collector,' Mr. Fowles painted an eerily plausible portrait of a psychopath who kidnaps a young woman out of what he imagines is love, telling the story from the two characters' opposing points of view until, at the end, the narratives converge with a shocking immediacy. And in 'The Magus,' the story of a young Englishman who gets caught up in the frightening dramatic fantasies of a strangely powerful man on an Aegean island, he again wrote an ending of self-conscious ambiguity, leaving the hero's future an open puzzle that readers are challenged to solve for themselves. 'Fowles's success in the marketplace derives from his great skill as a storyteller,' wrote Ellen Pifer in the 'Dictionary of Literary Biography.' 'Remarkably, he manages to sustain such effects at the same time that, as an experimental writer testing conventional assumptions about reality, he examines and parodies the traditional devices of storytelling.' For whatever reason - he always said it was because he was mistrusted by the British literary establishment that he had rejected - Mr. Fowles was always far more celebrated in the United States than in his native country. In America, his books became mainstays of college literature courses while achieving that rare combination: admiring reviews from serious-minded critics and best-seller status in the stores. Not so in England, at least not all the time. 'In many ways, I have been put in exile in this country,' he once said. He lived a quiet, even reclusive life in Lyme Regis, in an old Dorset house that overlooked the English Channel. He threw himself into his writing and the natural world, and developed a reputation as a bit of a grouch, a writer who shunned the public eye and did not look kindly on the tendency of readers to track him down and invite him for a drink. 'I know I have a reputation as a cantankerous man of letters and I don't try and play it down,' he told The Guardian newspaper in 2003. 'A writer, more-or-less living on his own, will be persecuted by his readers. They want to see you and talk to you. And they don't realize that very often that gets on one's nerves.' At the height of his success in the 1960's and 70's, Mr. Fowles was regarded by many as the English-speaking world's greatest contemporary writer and its first postmodern novelist, but his work became less fashionable in his later years. He published his last novel, 'A Maggot,' in 1985, although he told an interviewer in 1998 that he was working on another one. John Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, on March 31, 1926, the son of Robert J. Fowles, a prosperous cigar merchant, and his wife, the former Gladys Richards, a schoolteacher. In an autobiographical essay, he described his hometown as a place 'dominated by conformism - the pursuit of respectability.' Although, to all appearances, he thrived in the environment - 'I was given some facility with masks' was how he put it - his early years left him with a lifelong distaste for following the herd. He felt alienated from his parents, saying 'I seemed to come from nowhere.' 'No one in my family had any literary interests or skills at all,' he once said. 'When I was a young boy my parents were always laughing at 'the fellow who couldn't draw' - Picasso. Their crassness horrified me.' Similarly, he recoiled from his role as head boy at Bedford School, his prep school. 'By the age of 18, I had had dominion over 600 boys, and learned all about power, hierarchy and the manipulation of law,' he wrote. 'Ever since I have had a violent hatred of leaders, organizers, bosses; of anyone who thinks it good to get or have arbitrary power over other people.' After a brief, compulsory period of military service, which he spent as a lieutenant in the Royal Marines and which he loathed, he studied French at New College, Oxford, immersing himself in the literature of the French existentialists. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1950, and then took jobs teaching English in France, Greece and London. In Greece, he met his first wife, Elizabeth, and also found the inspiration for 'The Magus.' Mr. Fowles, who started writing in his early 20's, wrote: 'I began because I have always found it easy to fantasize, to invent situations and plausible dialogue; partly because I have always rejected so much of the outward life I have had to lead. In one way at least teaching is a good profession for a writer, because it gives him a sharp sense of futility.' His earliest literary efforts were marked by false starts and stops, as he discarded many manuscripts that he thought weren't good enough for publication. He honed his craft by studying and imitating writers he admired, including Flaubert, D. H. Lawrence, Defoe and Hemingway. In 1963, he began work on 'The Magus,' his second novel, and published his first, 'The Collector.' 'The Collector,' whose point, Mr. Fowles said in an interview, was to 'show that our world is sick,' was an instant success. The story of Frederick Clegg, a sad-sack clerk and butterfly collector who decides to add a beautiful young woman, Miranda Grey, to his collection by locking her in his basement, the novel was praised for its subtle examination of dueling notions of free will, even as its subject matter chilled reviewers. 'The slow degrees' by which Clegg destroys Miranda, wrote Alan Pryce-Jones in The New York Times Book Review, 'make one of the most agonizing chapters in the whole literary history of obsession.' 'The Collector' became a 1965 film directed by William Wyler, starring Terence Stamp as Clegg and Samantha Eggar as Miranda. 'The Magus' was more complicated and opaque than its predecessor, leading its hero, an English schoolteacher named Nicholas Urfe, to a remote Greek island and putting him at the mercy of the elaborate fantasies, or 'godgame,' concocted by the title character, the rich, mysterious Maurice Conchis. ('Magus' means sorcerer or conjurer.) There, Urfe begins to doubt what is real and what is fiction, and is forced, agonizingly, to question who he is. Some critics complained that the novel was an overcomplicated pretension. But others took its part with passion, saying Mr. Fowles had more than succeeded in using the novel to illustrate the existential dilemma of life: that people must decide for themselves how to act in the face of absurd, unpredictable circumstances. Mr. Fowles wrote the screenplay for the film version of 'The Magus,' starring Anthony Quinn and Michael Caine, but considered it a disaster and vowed never to write another script from his work. He was best known for his next novel, 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' (1969), which Karel Reisz made into a successful movie in 1981, starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, from a screenplay by Harold Pinter. The book, set in 1867, tells the story of Charles Smithson, a gentleman geologist (as was Mr. Fowles) in Lyme Regis and a budding adherent of the theories of Charles Darwin. Engaged to a young woman of his class and station, Smithson finds himself drawn to a willful governess who has been wooed and abandoned by a French sailor. On the surface, the story seems classically Victorian, with elaborate 19th-century language, highly wrought plot twists and extensive epigraphs introducing each chapter. But the book's narrator is straight from the 1960's, and it is his all-knowing voice - constantly interrupting the narrative with mini-lectures on extra-textual subjects, freely discussing people who haven't been born and historical events that haven't yet happened - that makes 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' so unusual. Along the way, the reader is treated to the narrator's - that is, Mr. Fowles's - views on Victorian England, Freud, Marx, the dilemma of the modern novelist and 20th-century existential despair. Mr. Fowles was also celebrated for 'A Maggot,' a book heavy with symbolism, ambiguity and multifaceted meanings. The first part tells the story of a group of mysterious travelers who set out on a journey on horseback in 1736; the rest concerns the Rashomon-like testimony of the survivors after one of the group, a manservant, is found hanged, and another, a nobleman, goes missing. Other fiction included 'Mantissa' (1982), an extended dialogue between a successful author and his difficult psychiatrist-cum-muse; 'The Ebony Tower' (1974), a collection of five linked stories that included Mr. Fowles's translation of the Celtic medieval romance 'Eliduc'; and 'Daniel Martin' (1977), an autobiographical work about a middle-aged British writer re-examining his life, in which Mr. Fowles again blurred the line between the narrator and his fictional creation. Among Mr. Fowles's numerous works of nonfiction were 'The Aristos: A Self-Portrait in Ideas' (1964), a philosophical examination of life in the 20th century modeled on Pascal's 'Pens�es'; 'The Enigma of Stonehenge' (1980); and 'A Short History of Lyme Regis' (1983). His most recent book was 'Wormholes' (1998), an anthology of writing that included journal entries, literary essays, and musings on Englishness, religion, the environment and a host of other topics. Mr. Fowles was married twice. His first wife, Elizabeth, whom he married in 1956, died of cancer in 1990. He is survived by his second wife, Sarah. As much as it frustrated some of his readers, Mr. Fowles always believed he had done the right thing by leaving the endings of his most celebrated novels open-ended. But he was not above bending his own rules when the occasion called for it. He once told an interviewer that he had received a sweet letter from a cancer patient in New York who wanted very much to believe that Nicholas, the protagonist of 'The Magus,' was reunited with his girlfriend at the end of the book - a point Mr. Fowles had deliberately left ambiguous. 'Yes, of course they were,' Mr. Fowles replied. By chance, he had received a letter the same day from an irate reader taking issue with the ending of 'The Magus.' 'Why can't you say what you mean, and for God's sake, what happened in the end?' the reader asked. Mr. Fowles said he found the letter 'horrid' but had the last laugh, supplying an alternative ending to punish the correspondent: 'They never saw each other again.'

Subject: Comparisons of Health Care
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:06:11 (EST)
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Message:
http://krugman.page.nytimes.com/ November 7, 2005 Notes on International Comparisons of Health Care Some readers may want to follow up on my Nov. 7 column on international comparisons of health care. Here are a few useful links. Trends in employer-based insurance: The underlying data come from the Census. Here is a shorter, useful summary of the data.(pdf). International comparisons of health spending: The Factbook of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international research organization supported by member governments, is available at www.sourceoecd.org. It provides comparative data on many economic, environmental, and social trends. Data on health care spending per capita are measured using “purchasing power parities” – that is, they are adjusted for international differences in the cost of living. Two things stand out. First, the United States is off the scale in terms of the amount we spend per person. Second, the U.S. system is unique in its reliance on private spending. Quality of Health Care: “Taking the Pulse of Health Care Systems: Experiences of Patients With Health Problems in Six Countries(pdf),” is a new study published in Health Affairs. Check out Exhibits 6 and 7, in particular. Taiwan: A very interesting study, also online, is “Does Universal Health Insurance Make Health Care Unaffordable? Lessons from Taiwan(pdf).” Since it’s predictable that some of the usual suspects will attack my column by citing newspaper articles about runaway costs in Taiwan, it’s particularly interesting to read the paper’s discussion of how “political theater” – overstating the quite mild financial difficulties of the Taiwanese system – was used to sell a modest increase in premiums.

Subject: On 'Pride, Prejudice, Insurance'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 05:04:51 (EST)
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Message:
http://krugman.page.nytimes.com/ November 7, 2005 On 'Pride, Prejudice, Insurance' Lynne Koester, Yuba City, Calif.: Would it be feasible to convert Medicare into a national health insurance system? I realize that its present per-patient cost is high because of the age of those who qualify for Medicare, but if the pool were enlarged by including most all Americans, wouldn't the per-patient cost decrease? By eliminating the profits built into private health insurance companies, we could save even more money. Plus, when ill, many uninsured people presently use a hospital emergency room because they do not have medical insurance, but if they were covered by a national health insurance, they could be treated in a doctor's office, which is less costly than a hospital. Paul Krugman: Yes, indeed. One way to implement national health care would simply be to expand Medicare to everyone. Of course, doing that would require additional funds, probably in the form of an increase in the payroll tax. And that would elicit howls from the right. But the apparent rise in tax rates would be an illusion: it would simply substitute an explicit tax for the implicit tax that companies and workers pay in the form of insurance premiums. Given international experience, I have no doubt that overall spending on health care would actually fall, and that job creation would actually rise, after the supposed tax increase. It's a simple solution, building on a program that we already know works. It would make the vast majority of Americans better off. And it's considered a complete non-starter politically. Now why is that?

Subject: President Bush's Walkabout
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 04:41:22 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/opinion/08tue1.html?ex=1289106000&en=01ff163e6b5f873b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 8, 2005 President Bush's Walkabout After President Bush's disastrous visit to Latin America, it's unnerving to realize that his presidency still has more than three years to run. An administration with no agenda and no competence would be hard enough to live with on the domestic front. But the rest of the world simply can't afford an American government this bad for that long. In Argentina, Mr. Bush, who prides himself on his ability to relate to world leaders face to face, could barely summon the energy to chat with the 33 other leaders there, almost all of whom would be considered friendly to the United States under normal circumstances. He and his delegation failed to get even a minimally face-saving outcome at the collapsed trade talks and allowed a loudmouthed opportunist like the president of Venezuela to steal the show. It's amazing to remember that when Mr. Bush first ran for president, he bragged about his understanding of Latin America, his ability to speak Spanish and his friendship with Mexico. But he also made fun of Al Gore for believing that nation-building was a job for the United States military. The White House is in an uproar over the future of Karl Rove, the president's political adviser, and spinning off rumors that some top cabinet members may be asked to walk the plank. Mr. Bush could certainly afford to replace some of his top advisers. But the central problem is not Karl Rove or Treasury Secretary John Snow or even Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. It is President Bush himself. Second terms may be difficult, but the chief executive still has the power to shape what happens. Ronald Reagan managed to turn his messy second term around and deliver - in great part through his own powers of leadership - a historic series of agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the peaceful dismantling of the Soviet empire. Mr. Bush has never demonstrated the capacity for such a comeback. Nevertheless, every American has a stake in hoping that he can surprise us. The place to begin is with Dick Cheney, the dark force behind many of the administration's most disastrous policies, like the Iraq invasion and the stubborn resistance to energy conservation. Right now, the vice president is devoting himself to beating back Congressional legislation that would prohibit the torture of prisoners. This is truly a remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions. Mr. Bush cannot fire Mr. Cheney, but he could do what other presidents have done to vice presidents: keep him too busy attending funerals and acting as the chairman of studies to do more harm. Mr. Bush would still have to turn his administration around, but it would at least send a signal to the nation and the world that he was in charge, and the next three years might not be as dreadful as they threaten to be right now.

Subject: While Paris Burns
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 04:38:41 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/08/opinion/08tue2.html?ex=1289106000&en=0d7db838f1d05775&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 8, 2005 While Paris Burns As shocking as the riots that have swept through the depressed outskirts of Paris and other French cities over the past two weeks has been the flailing response of President Jacques Chirac and his ministers. They appear to have no idea what to do and to whom to talk. Their floundering illustrates the deeper problems that underlie the current unrest: a failed approach to absorbing immigrants into society, an out-of-touch political elite and ministers more interested in a presidential election that's still nearly two years away than in coming up with answers for today's literally burning problems. There can be no condoning the rioting, which seems to have grown both in extent and violence since it erupted on Oct. 27. In hundreds of towns and neighborhoods, French-Arab and French-African youths have burned cars, businesses and public buildings and fought with the police and firefighters. Bystanders have been beaten, and one has now died. This wave of criminal violence is likely to reinforce prejudices against France's five million to six million Muslims. It has already brought out shameful name-calling demagogy from Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a leading presidential candidate. That is a particular shame because he's been one of the few French politicians willing to acknowledge that the republic's centuries-old ideal of integration, which ignores the ethnic and religious communities' existence and special problems, hasn't worked for years. Now Mr. Sarkozy, the one government leader who has dared to advocate American-style affirmative action methods, has chosen to inflame a dangerous situation and immolate his own hard-won credibility in immigrant communities. The other leading government voice has come from the aloof and aristocratic prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, Mr. Sarkozy's chief rival for the presidential nomination of the governing center-right. Although Mr. Villepin seems unwilling to break from the failed integration model, he at least seems to recognize the importance of cultivating contacts with credible leaders in the immigrant suburbs. He also talks about addressing the pressure-cooker conditions of the seething outer suburbs, including crime-ridden housing projects, scandalously high unemployment rates and toxic tension between the police and the predominantly Arab and African residents. Unfortunately, he seems unprepared to offer any specifics at this time. Meanwhile, the fires continue to burn.

Subject: We Endorse
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Tues, Nov 08, 2005 at 04:31:08 (EST)
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http://www.laweekly.com/ink/05/50/news-endorsements.php LA Weekly: News: We Endorse: State ballot measures. Proposition 73: Abortion notification. NO: If your teenage daughter gets pregnant and is about to have an abortion, don’t you want her to tell you? Don’t you want the physician who is going to perform the procedure to tell you, at least 48 hours before it takes place? Of course you do. But let’s take it further. You don’t want her to get pregnant in the first place. You don’t want her having sex. You and she talk about this kind of thing, and that’s great. So shouldn’t you vote for the “Parent’s Right to Know and Child Protection Initiative”? No, because you and your daughter don’t need it. But girls who can’t talk to their parents, for whatever reason, still need to be able to talk to their doctors about their bodies without worrying that their family will find out and pressure them into bearing a child against their will. Good parent-child communication is essential, but it can’t be legislated. Proposition 74: Teacher probationary period, also known as tenure. NO: A probationary period for a new hire might not be a bad idea, just to make sure the employee didn’t forget to include something important on the résumé, like “raving lunatic.” Thirty days sounds about right. Unless you’re a teacher, in which case we’ll make it — whoa! Two years! Okay, they’re with kids every day, so let’s play it safe. But to encourage more good people to become teachers, maybe we should change it to — yikes! Five years of job insecurity? That’s what Proposition 74 would do, because Governor Schwarzenegger knows that when schools are underfunded and overcrowded, it’s got to be because we just make it too easy for people to become underpaid teachers. He’s wrong on this one, just like he is with the other ballot initiatives he’s pushing. Proposition 75: Public worker union dues restrictions. NO: In 1998 Californians rejected a ballot measure that would have blocked unions from spending an employee’s dues money to campaign for candidates or lobby for legislation that labor leaders believe is important. Now we have this one, which is pretty much the same except that it applies only to public employees. These workers currently can opt out of paying their union to do political lobbying and campaigning. Under Proposition 75, they would have to opt in — giving the edge to corporations that do not, after all, give their shareholders the power to opt out of having their investment used for anti-labor lobbying. Proposition 76: State budget reform. NO: The state budget is a mess. Proposition 76 would make it messier, by giving the governor extraordinary executive powers to cut spending, even under a budget that is already approved and signed into law. And the Legislature would be unable to stop him. It would also permit the governor to roll back Proposition 98, a 1988 voter-approved constitutional amendment that guarantees a spending floor for public schools. This isn’t the way to go. Proposition 77: Redistricting. NO: The Democrats and the Republicans divvy legislative and congressional seats between them to guarantee each other safe territory at election time. Only a handful of districts are ever really up for grabs, meaning the real decisions are made not by the full electorate in the general election, but by primary voters when they choose their nominee. Or even earlier, when party bosses anoint their candidates. In addition to the lack of choice, voters get districts drawn in the shapes of various circus animals. So why not break up this insiders’ game by giving line-drawing duties to a panel of nonpartisan, pure-as-the-driven-snow superheroes, also known as retired judges? Several reasons. Under this plan, the district boundaries would be set only after national parties spend millions, perhaps billions, to persuade voters to adopt (or reject) a proposal for district lines. Then the court hearings. Then back to the judges to try again, even though they already submitted their best effort. Some repair work is needed on districting, but this isn’t it. Back to the drawing board. Proposition 78: Prescription drug discounts, pharmaceutical industry version. NO: Hey! This would allow drug companies to give some people discounts on costly prescription drugs, if they felt like it! That would be so very nice of them! The only purpose of this proposition is to cancel more generous Proposition 79. Proposition 79: Prescription drug discounts, consumer version. YES: Like 78, this one gives California the clout to negotiate deep drug discounts with the big pharmaceutical companies. The difference is that this one reaches far more low-income people who need prescription drugs. It also carries an enforcement stick that in effect locks drug companies out of the discount program if they don’t come through with the best prices. Proposition 80: Electricity re-regulation. YES: This would finally throw in the towel on the disaster that was the state Legislature’s 1996 energy deregulation program. You know — rolling blackouts, a sudden scarcity of power. There would be some negative consequences, like limiting the options that many institutional electricity purchasers still have when deciding when to buy and how much to pay. But consumers would once again be protected from wild market fluctuations. The measure also requires major steps forward on renewable energy programs.

Subject: High Price of US Medicines
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 11:41:27 (EST)
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Message:
October, 2005 The Myth of Foreign Free Riders and the High Price of US Medicines British Medical Journal The United States government is engaged in a campaign to characterise other industrialised countries as free riding on high US pharmaceutical prices and innovation in new drugs.... The campaign, strongly backed by the pharmaceutical industry, seems to have started in the late 1990s as a response to a grass roots movement started by senior citizens against the high prices of essential prescription drugs. This issue was the most prominent one for both parties in the 2000 elections and has since been fuelled by a series of independent reports documenting that US drug prices are much higher than those in other affluent countries.... We can find no convincing evidence to support the view that the lower prices in affluent countries outside the United States do not pay for research and development costs. The latest report from the UK Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme documents that drug companies in the United Kingdom invest proportionately more of their revenues from domestic sales in research and development than do companies in the US. Prices in the UK are much lower than those in the US yet profits remain robust. Companies in other countries also fully recover their research and development costs, maintain high profits, and sell drugs at substantially lower prices than in the US....

Subject: Myth of Foreign Free Riders
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 11:37:31 (EST)
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Message:
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/extract/331/7522/958 The United States government is engaged in a campaign to characterise other industrialised countries as free riding on high US pharmaceutical prices and innovation in new drugs. This campaign is based on the argument that lower prices imposed by price controls in other affluent countries do not pay for research and development costs, so that Americans have to pay the research costs through higher prices in order to keep supplying the world with new drugs. Supporters of the campaign have characterised the situation as a foreign rip-off.3 We can find no evidence to support these and related claims, and we present evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, we explain why the claims themselves contradict the economic nature of the pharmaceutical industry.

Subject: May Not Get a Hollywood Ending
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 09:03:08 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/07/national/07arnold.html November 7, 2005 This Time, Schwarzenegger May Not Get a Hollywood Ending By JOHN M. BRODER LOS ANGELES - A startling change has come over California's larger-than-life governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as voters prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday for an unpopular statewide election. His television advertisements have taken on an uncharacteristic tone of humility. And ordinary people, no longer awed by his Olympian persona, are openly challenging him in public. The four ballot measures Mr. Schwarzenegger supports are trailing in the polls, and his re-election prospects next year appear, for now, to be dimming. His approval ratings are in a tailspin, and his stage presence has been drained of much of its bombast and bluster. At a televised forum here last week, with audience members picked to represent a cross-section of voters, several questioners interrupted Mr. Schwarzenegger and accused him of distorting facts to sell the four ballot measures, which are among eight up for a vote in an election ordered specially by the governor. Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was explaining Proposition 75, a measure he favors that would require public-employee unions to receive the written permission of members before their dues could be used for political campaigns. Democrats and union leaders who oppose the proposition have called it a naked attempt to silence the unions' political voice. The governor says the proposition is about protecting workers' paychecks. An audience member who gave his name as Chris Robeson and said he was a health care worker from Camarillo angrily cut the governor off. 'That's just Rovian spin,' Mr. Robeson said, referring to Karl Rove, the White House political guru. 'That's fraudulent.' Such bald impertinence would have been unthinkable a year ago, when Mr. Schwarzenegger was riding high in the polls and rolling over the opposition. But political missteps and unending battles with Democrats in the California Legislature and the public-employee unions have taken their toll. The governor seems chastened for the first time in his public life. He no longer refers to members of the Legislature as 'girlie men' and does not talk about 'kicking their butts' anymore. He does not even appear in many of the advertisements for his initiatives, letting others speak for him. This weekend, as Mr. Schwarzenegger toured Southern California on a bus in a final pitch, he was hounded by opponents, including the actors Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, in a bus dubbed the Truth Squad. One television advertisement in which Mr. Schwarzenegger does appear is particularly startling to those who have followed the arc of his career from champion bodybuilder to action movie star to Governator. He looks straight into the camera and reminds voters that they elected him to clean up state government and put California back on track. Then he says: 'I've had a lot to learn, and sometimes I learned the hard way. But my heart is in this, and I want to do right by you.' His humble approach appears intended to assuage election-weary voters who will go to the polls on Tuesday for the third time in 20 months to vote on proposed laws and constitutional amendments, doing for themselves what in most democracies is done by elected representatives. In addition to deciding on the union dues measure, voters will determine who will draw legislative district boundaries, how much budget power to give the governor and whether to enact new rules governing the probationary period for new teachers. Also on the ballot are measures on parental notification for teenagers seeking abortions and the regulation of electric utilities, and competing measures for discounts on prescription drugs. The special election is a symptom of the partisan gridlock in Sacramento, where the Republican governor and the Democrat-dominated Legislature and its union backers agree on almost nothing. The campaign has generated more than $225 million in campaign donations, most of them from unions and drug companies seeking to kill measures they disapprove of. The governor's campaign is financed chiefly by business interests, including real estate developers, technology executives, auto dealers, agribusinesses, insurance companies and Wal-Mart heirs. The airwaves have been saturated with advertising for weeks. Mr. Schwarzenegger has been stumping the state nonstop for the past month, playing largely to small partisan crowds. National political figures, including Senators John McCain of Arizona and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, have visited the state to urge voters to support or oppose the ballot measures. Mr. McCain accompanied Mr. Schwarzenegger on part of his bus tour on Saturday, speaking out in favor of Proposition 77, a plan to transfer redistricting power from the Legislature to a panel of retired judges. The total price of the election, including the roughly $50 million cost of conducting the vote itself, is likely to top $300 million, an amount that 13 years ago could have financed an entire national presidential campaign. Despite - or perhaps because of - the ceaseless advertising, voters appear only mildly interested in the election and inclined to defeat most if not all of the measures, according to polls released last week. Officials estimate that about 40 percent of eligible voters will show up. 'Have we got ballot fatigue?' asked Leon E. Panetta, the former Democratic California congressman and White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. 'No kidding.' This campaign is Mr. Schwarzenegger's third statewide election since he won office in a wild recall election two years ago. He is following much the same script as in previous campaigns, a Hollywood-style melodrama pitting the self-styled people's governor against what he calls the union bosses and special interests. He was successful the first time out, in March 2004, winning voter approval of two measures to address the state's budget deficit. A year ago, with the help of tens of millions of dollars from high-technology entrepreneurs, Hollywood personalities and medical research groups, Mr. Schwarzenegger was able to win approval for a $3 billion stem cell research institute. In fall 2004 he also helped persuade voters to reject two initiatives that would have expanded Indian gambling in California and one to soften the state's tough three-strikes sentencing law. But this time the governor's pitch does not appear to be working. All four initiatives Mr. Schwarzenegger has endorsed are trailing in public polls, although one is fairly close: a measure to increase to five years from two the probationary period before public school teachers can win union-protected tenure. A poll by the independent Field Research Corporation of San Francisco found that the governor's call for a special election made voters less inclined to vote for his re-election next year. As of late October, only 36 percent of registered voters said they would support his re-election, the Field poll found. Fifty-five percent said they would not vote for him. The governor's aides acknowledge that his popularity has plummeted in the past year, but they attribute it to a relentless drumbeat of negative advertising financed by his union foes. 'A $120 million smear campaign is going to have an impact against anybody,' said Todd Harris, a senior Schwarzenegger adviser. He said the attacks would not deter Mr. Schwarzenegger from seeking re-election, nor would the governor be swayed if his initiatives were defeated on Tuesday. 'The worse we do, the more he'll want to run again,' Mr. Harris said. 'This is not a guy who goes out when he's down.'

Subject: Presinator!
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 16:00:22 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
He is fighting gerrymandering type policies and giving power back to the people, he is fighting uncompetitive unions, wanting parents to be involved in teens pregnancies - this is a great guy. I thought he would really cave in to the wrong side - instead he wants to limit gambling and increase stem cell research - impressive. If I was in Cali, he would get my vote. The voters want gubbment to give them money and promises - even if those promises are not realistic - Governator may not get re - elected - but at least he tried. A typical lying politician would promise the moon while his people got poorer. Governator is trying to reform things to make the people stronger. We need someone like him for President that will make hard decisions but will ultimately help our nation long term - this lying politicians that make short term promises is sending us into oblivion.

Subject: The Debate Is More Than Cosmetic
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 06:52:02 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://select.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/nyregion/03matters.html November 3, 2005 The Debate Is More Than Cosmetic By JOYCE PURNICK BASTA! Enough!' urges an e-mailing friend, who is being granted anonymity because she shared her plaint in a personal message. (Her identity will, however, be disclosed to an editor upon request.) This friend went on to recommend an end to the latest journalism beat (Babes in Medialand), and a return to business as usual - or as it used to be usual. Agreed. But first, a moment or two about women in this society. We are messed up, America. Still. We don't have it right yet. If women disagree in public, they are having a 'catfight.' Still. If a sharp woman makes provocative observations, the guys in power had to put her up to it. Still. Small wonder that the only female president so far is a fictional television character - on ABC's 'Commander in Chief.' President Mackenzie (Mac) Allen (Geena Davis) is just terrific. She is so terrific, in fact - inspiring, effective and clever - that she is purely unbelievable. In this week's episode alone, she visited sympathetically with homeless hurricane victims and then saved the East Coast from an oil spill by outmaneuvering her nemesis, the dastardly speaker of the House (played with oleaginous aplomb by Donald Sutherland). Of course she accomplished all of this looking ever-ready for a fashion shoot, and without once expressing doubt or raising her voice - not even when her daughter stalked away from the dinner table. Yes, it's just television. But at least President Jed Bartlet on 'The West Wing' has a temper and makes mistakes. If a woman were ever to be president, wouldn't she have to be as political, as Machiavellian, as egocentric as men in politics because that is the nature of the business? Bet on it. We have come far, yes. The secretary of state is a woman, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton might run for president, more women have shattered the glass ceiling in business and politics, and a Harriet E. Miers can fail as a nominee to the Supreme Court on the merits. Well, the president withdrew her name because of opposition from his conservative base, but the weightier conservative critics objected to Ms. Miers's lack of judicial experience and legal depth. Yet comics disparaged her appearance. Her scholarship and uncritical devotion to her boss were fair game, but her hair and clothes? As if Antonin Scalia wears Hugo Boss. The nonsense has already begun in the coming race for United States Senate between Mrs. Clinton and Jeanine F. Pirro, the district attorney of Westchester seeking the Republican nomination. The mere prospect of that matchup has already generated such hackneyed tabloid phrases as 'glamorous catfight' and 'war of the roses.' Ms. Pirro was accused of 'baring her claws,' described in The New York Sun as the candidate 'From Westchester, With Eyeliner.' SOCIETY'S problem is so deep that some women play right into it. They see Paris Hilton as a role model. Nothing at all wrong with adult dress-up, if it pleases the women doing the dressing up. There is everything wrong with it if they feel compelled to fit a mold cast by the creators of 'Desperate Housewives.' If you doubt this, ask a follow-up question: Is there room on cable TV for another super-slim woman with artificially straightened blond hair? They must do that to themselves because they think they have to. And yes, some women still define themselves through men, and will argue that men seek out influential women, too. As if there are enough powerful women to make that a significant issue. And when it is relevant - it should be an issue. Enough indeed. American women do not belong to a distinct species. They work hard because they want to or have to. Or they do not work hard. Some succeed. Some fail. Some are phonies. Some are not. Some lie and cheat. Some do not. Some are good people. Some are not. Plenty of women go through life doing a job or raising a family or both, uncelebrated. Plenty are serious about themselves, value self-respect and will not let themselves be defined by their spouses, their companions, their eyeliner or their resemblance to Nicollette Sheridan. The suspicion here is that most women are like that and not like the cartoon characters of the disparaging headlines. It's about time the culture figured that out. It's about time more women did, too. O.K., friend. On to other matters.

Subject: Quiet Divorces Affect Children's Paths
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:55:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/05/national/05divorce.html November 5, 2005 Poll Says Even Quiet Divorces Affect Children's Paths By TAMAR LEWIN Even in a 'good divorce,' in which parents amicably minimize their conflicts, children of divorce inhabit a more difficult emotional landscape than those in intact families, according to a new survey of 1,500 people ages 18 t0 35. 'All the happy talk about divorce is designed to reassure parents,' Elizabeth Marquardt, author of the study, described in her new book, 'Between Two Worlds.' 'But it's not the truth for children. Even a good divorce restructures children's childhoods and leaves them traveling between two distinct worlds. It becomes their job, not their parents', to make sense of those two worlds.' Ms. Marquardt, 35, is an affiliate scholar with the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan advocacy group that strongly emphasizes marriage. She is, she says, the first child of divorce to publish a broad study on how divorce affects children. It is no small question. The nation's divorce rate reached record levels in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and Norval D. Glenn, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas, said that about a quarter of all Americans age 18 to 35 were not yet 16 when they experienced their parents' divorce. There are no reliable national statistics on divorce, but most experts say that even with divorce rates edging down, about three-quarters of a million American children see their parents divorce each year. The new survey, based on the first nationally representative sample of young adults, highlights the many ways that divorce shapes the emotional tenor of childhood. For example, those who grew up in divorced families were far more likely than those with married parents to say that they felt like a different person with each parent, that they sometimes felt like outsiders in their own home and that they had been alone a lot as a child. Those with married parents, however, were far more likely to say that children were at the center of their family and that they generally felt emotionally safe. In the study, all those from divorced families had experienced their parents' divorce before age 14 and had maintained contact with both parents. Most of the time, Ms. Marquardt maintains, children with married parents need not concern themselves with their parents' thoughts and feelings while those with divorced parents must be more vigilant, more attuned to their parents' moods and expectations, more careful to adjust to the habits of the parent they are with - and more concerned about looking or acting like the other parent. The debate over how divorce affects children has long been polarized, with many researchers focusing on statistical data emphasizing that most children with divorced parents do fine in life and many clinicians emphasizing the emotional distress that many of the children feel. And given the political overtones, many scholars who study family diversity have been concerned that focusing on how divorce hurts children could lead to efforts to restrict the availability of divorce. 'Life is filled with trade-offs, and I worry that it's so easy to slip from descriptions of problems to one-size-fits-all prescription,' said Stephanie Coontz, a historian at Evergreen State College in Washington and the author of 'Marriage, a History.' 'There will always be couples who need divorces.' Ms. Coontz and others acknowledge the growing consensus that most children with divorced parents grow into successful adults - but say that the process is difficult for them. 'The key is to separate pain from pathology, ' said Robert Emery, director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law at the University of Virginia. 'While a great many young people from divorced families report painful memories and ongoing troubles regarding family relationships, the majority are psychologically normal.' Mr. Emery's own smaller, local studies have had findings similar to Ms. Marquardt's. About half of those from divorced families agreed that they had a 'harder childhood that most people,' compared with 14 percent from married families. 'The effects of divorce may not seem so important in a hard-nosed statistical analysis of outcomes, but in a subjective way, they may be very important,' said Andrew Cherlin, a family demographer at Johns Hopkins University. 'Many adults with very successful lives still carry the residual trauma of their parents' breakup.' Ms. Marquardt's book paints a detailed picture of the kinds of tensions children live with, using examples both from her own life - her parents separated when she was 2 - and from interviews with 70 other young adults. A chapter on secrets begins with her memory of being 10 years old, at the kitchen table with her father and not knowing what to answer when he asked, 'Is Paul living with you and your mother?' She recounts her efforts to remember that in her mother's house, it was all right to say 'screwed up' while in her father's she would be corrected to 'messed up.' The lonely task of reconciling two worlds is a constant theme. One young woman in the book describes moving between her mother and stepfather's home, where thrift was a high value, and her father and stepmother's, where money flowed freely and abundance was valued. She took her mother's rules so seriously that even at meals with her father, she ate far more than she wanted, getting a stomachache in her effort to make sure there would be no leftovers to throw out. She never told her parents about her inner conflict, for fear that it would be rude. 'Children of divorce feel less protected by their parents, and they're much less likely to go to their parents for comfort when they are young, or for emotional support when they are older,' Ms. Marquardt said. 'They often feel a need to protect their mother emotionally.' 'I think we need to recognize these things,' she said. 'In one women's magazine, a mother wrote that she'd told her 7-year old-daughter she didn't need protecting, but that her daughter just does it anyway. Saying those words isn't helpful to the daughter. It just makes her look silly, like it's her problem that she feels she has to protect her mom.'

Subject: Riots Worsen in French Cities
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:53:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/07/international/europe/07france.html November 7, 2005 10 Officers Shot as Riots Worsen in French Cities By CRAIG S. SMITH PARIS, Monday - Rioters fired shotguns at the police in a working-class suburb of Paris on Sunday, wounding 10 officers as the country's fast-spreading urban unrest escalated dangerously. Just hours earlier, President Jacques Chirac called an emergency meeting of top security officials and promised increased police pressure to confront the violence. 'The republic is completely determined to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear,' Mr. Chirac said at a news conference in the courtyard of Élysée Palace after meeting with his internal security council. 'The last word must be from the law.' But the violence, which has become one of the most serious challenges to governmental authority here in nearly 40 years, showed no sign of abating, and Sunday was the first day that police officers had been wounded by gunfire in the unrest. More than 3,300 vehicles have been destroyed, along with dozens of public buildings and private businesses, since the violence began. 'This is just the beginning,' said Moussa Diallo, 22, a tall, unemployed French-African man in Clichy-sous-Bois, the working-class Parisian suburb where the violence started Oct. 27. 'It's not going to end until there are two policemen dead.' He was referring to the two teenage boys, one of Mauritanian origin and the other of Tunisian origin, whose accidental deaths while hiding from the police touched off the unrest, reflecting longstanding anger among many immigrant families here over joblessness and discrimination. Mr. Diallo did not say whether he had taken part in the vandalism. On Saturday night alone, the tally in the rioting reached a peak of 1,300 vehicles burned, stretching into the heart of Paris, where 35 vehicles were destroyed, and touching a dozen other cities across the country. Fires were burning in several places on Sunday night and hundreds of youths were reported to have clashed with the police in Grigny, a southern suburb of Paris where the shooting took place. On Saturday night, a car was rammed into the front of a McDonald's restaurant in the town. 'We have 10 policemen that were hit by gunfire in Grigny, and two of them are in the hospital,' Patrick Hamon, a national police spokesman, said Monday morning. He said one of the officers hospitalized had been hit in the neck, the other in the leg, but added that neither wound was considered life-threatening. Rampaging youths have attacked the police and property in cities as far away as Toulouse and Marseille and in the resort towns of Cannes and Nice in the south, the industrial city of Lille in the north and Strasbourg to the east. In Évreux, 60 miles west of Paris, shops, businesses, a post office and two schools were destroyed, along with at least 50 vehicles, in Saturday night's most concentrated attacks. Five police officers and three firefighters were injured in clashes with young rioters, a national police spokesman said. Despite help from thousands of reinforcements, the police appeared powerless to stop the mayhem. As they apply pressure in one area, the attacks slip away to another. On Sunday, a gaping hole exposed a charred wooden staircase of a smoke-blackened building in the historic Marais district of Paris, where a car was set ablaze the previous night. Florent Besnard, 24, said he and a friend had just turned into the quiet Rue Dupuis when they were passed by two running youths. Within seconds, a car farther up the street was engulfed in flames, its windows popping and tires exploding as the fire spread to the building and surrounding vehicles. 'I think it's going to continue,' said Mr. Besnard, who is unemployed. The attack angered people in the neighborhood, which includes the old Jewish quarter and is still a center of Jewish life in the city. 'We escaped from Romania with nothing and came here and worked our fingers to the bone and never asked for anything, never complained,' said Liliane Zump, a woman in her 70's, shaking with fury on the street outside the scarred building. While the arson is more common than in the past, it has become a feature of life in the working-class suburbs, peopled primarily by North African and West African immigrants and their French-born children. Unemployment in the neighborhoods is double and sometimes triple the 10 percent national average, while incomes are about 40 percent lower. While everyone seems to agree that the latest violence was touched off by the deaths of the teenagers last week, the unrest no longer has much to do with the incident. 'It was a good excuse, but it's fun to set cars on fire,' said Mohamed Hammouti, a 15-year-old boy in Clichy-sous-Bois, sitting Sunday outside the gutted remnants of a gymnasium near his home. Like many people interviewed, he denied having participated in the violence. Most people said they sensed that the escalation of the past few days had changed the rules of the game: besides the number of attacks, the level of destruction has grown sharply, with substantial businesses and public buildings going down in flames. Besides the gunfire on Sunday, residents of some high-rise apartment blocks have been throwing steel boccie balls and improvised explosives at national riot police officers patrolling below. In the Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers early Sunday, with smoke hanging in the air and a helicopter humming overhead, a helmeted police officer in a flak jacket carried a soft drink bottle gingerly away from where it had landed near him and his colleagues moments before. The bottle, half-filled with a clear liquid and nails, had failed to explode. Teenagers in neighboring Clichy-sous-Bois said they had seen young men preparing similar devices with acid and aluminum foil. 'They make a huge bang,' said Sofiane Belkalem, 13. The police discovered what they described as a firebomb factory in a building in Évry, south of Paris, in which about 150 bombs were being constructed, a third of them ready to use. Six minors were arrested. Many politicians have warned that the unrest may be coalescing into an organized movement, citing Internet chatter that is urging other poor neighborhoods across France to join in. But no one has emerged to take the lead like Daniel Cohn-Bendit, known as Danny the Red, did during the violent student protests that rocked the French capital in 1968. Though a majority of the youths committing the acts are Muslim, and of African or North African origin, the mayhem has yet to take on any ideological or religious overtones. Youths in the neighborhoods say second-generation Portuguese immigrants and even some children of native French have taken part. In an effort to stop the attacks and distance them from Islam, France's most influential Islamic group issued a religious edict, or fatwa, condemning the violence. 'It is formally forbidden for any Muslim seeking divine grace and satisfaction to participate in any action that blindly hits private or public property or could constitute an attack on someone's life,' the fatwa said, citing the Koran and the teachings of Muhammad. Young people in the poor neighborhoods incubating the violence have consistently complained that police harassment is mainly to blame. 'If you're treated like a dog, you react like a dog,' said Mr. Diallo of Clichy-sous-Bois, whose parents came to France from Mali decades ago. The youths have singled out the French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, complaining about his zero-tolerance anticrime drive and dismissive talk. (He famously called troublemakers in the poor neighborhoods dregs, using a French slur that offended many people.) But Mr. Sarkozy has not wavered, and after suffering initial isolation within the government, with at least one minister openly criticizing him, the government has closed ranks around him. Mr. Chirac, who is under political and popular pressure to stop the violence, said Sunday that those responsible would face arrest and trial, echoing earlier vows by Mr. Sarkozy. More than 500 people have been arrested, some as young as 13. The government response is as much a test between Mr. Sarkozy and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, both of whom want to succeed Mr. Chirac as president, as it is a test between the government and disaffected youths. Mr. Villepin, a former foreign minister, has focused on a more diplomatic approach, consulting widely with community leaders and young second-generation immigrants to come up with a promised 'action plan' that he said would address frustrations in the underprivileged neighborhoods. He has released no details of the plan. If the damage escalates and sympathy for the rioters begins to fray, Mr. Sarkozy could well emerge the politically stronger of the two.

Subject: 1 1 1 1 Can Equal Less Than 4
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:46:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/business/yourmoney/06stra.html November 6, 2005 How 1 1 1 1 Can Equal Less Than 4 By MARK HULBERT THE recent decision of the Cendant Corporation to break itself into four companies reflects an underlying truth about wide-ranging conglomerates: they are sometimes fashionable on Wall Street, but they rarely make much investment sense over the long term. In most cases, in fact, a widely diversified company would be worth more if its distinct units operated as separate publicly traded companies. Last month, Cendant's directors bet that this would the case for their conglomerate. They announced that they would break it into four publicly traded companies - each a pure play on just one type of business: real estate brokerage, online travel services, lodging and car rentals. The board said the break-up was needed in order to unlock the four units' inherent value. This reasoning is in line with that of numerous studies, which have concluded that conglomerates are worth less than the sum of their parts. Many of the studies trace back to the work of the late James Tobin, the 1981 Nobel laureate in economics, and particularly to Tobin's Q ratio, the valuation measure he made famous. A company's Q ratio is its total market capitalization divided by the replacement cost of its total assets. Companies with relatively high Q ratios are those that investors see as poised for faster growth. While a high ratio is often regarded as an investor vote of confidence in management, a low ratio is seen as a thumbs down. Widely diversified companies, on average, have lower Q ratios than those of more narrowly focused businesses - a phenomenon called the diversification discount. Although the long-term overall odds may be against conglomerates, some can be worth more than the sum of their parts. That is almost certainly the case for Berkshire Hathaway, run by Warren E. Buffett. Furthermore, there have been periods in history when investors have reacted more favorably to the combination of vastly different businesses under a single corporate umbrella. During those times, the shares of even run-of the-mill conglomerates have appeared to glitter. But over the long haul, conglomerates, on average, perform worse in the stock market than the typical focused company. One likely cause is that they tend to do a poor job of allocating capital among their various divisions. Of course, if those units were separate publicly traded companies, the market itself would be making the allocation decisions. And it stands to reason that the overall market is a better administrator in this regard than the average corporate manager. A study conducted by David S. Scharfstein, a finance professor at the Harvard Business School, offers evidence of inefficient capital allocation among widely diversified companies. Professor Scharfstein found that managers of conglomerates generally felt compelled to invest something in all of their divisions, regardless of the divisions' growth potential - a phenomenon that he calls intrafirm 'socialism.' Because of it, conglomerates tend to invest too much in divisions with low growth potential and too little in those with high potential. Professor Scharfstein's research was conducted for the National Bureau of Economic Research; a copy of his study is at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract-id=226103. His findings help to explain why conglomerates can unlock value by breaking into component parts. Once those parts are separate, publicly traded companies, the businesses with the highest growth potential should attract capital more easily than the slowest-growth units. WHILE the decision by Cendant thus makes good investment sense, why did it - or any other conglomerate, for that matter - decide to become so widely diversified in the first place? A possible answer is suggested in research by the finance professors Owen Lamont of Yale and Christopher Polk of Northwestern. Writing in the January 2002 issue of the Journal of Financial Economics, they said companies with the lowest growth prospects tended to be the most likely to diversify. That is probably because such companies see greater growth opportunities in businesses unrelated to their own. Of course, once a slow-growth company becomes part of a group of unrelated businesses, Professor Scharfstein's intrafirm socialism kicks in, moving capital out of the fast-growing divisions. If the conglomerate remains intact for a long time, the results may leave investors lamenting its very creation.

Subject: Are Schools Passing or Failing?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:37:29 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/02/nyregion/02education.html November 2, 2005 Are Schools Passing or Failing? Now There's a Third Choice ... Both By MICHAEL WINERIP OUR leaders in Washington and the state capitals have not trusted teachers, principals and superintendents to grade and assess their own students rigorously. And so, over the last decade, politicians have enacted many new testing and rating systems - most notably the federal No Child Left Behind Law in 2002 - to ensure that there is an accurate and scientific measure of how students and schools perform. No more touchy-feely glop. The new age of precision testing has arrived. Thanks to No Child Left Behind, all children must take a state test every year beginning in third grade, and many schools spend much of the year prepping for it. We now have federal and state tests, as well as federal and state rating systems to measure performance precisely. Unfortunately, it may be that the more we test and the more rating we do, the less we know. For example, two weeks ago, the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, pronounced nape) were released. It is a federal reading and math exam given to hundreds of thousands of students every few years, and is often called the gold standard of testing. Sounds definitive, except in most cases it's hard to know what to make of the results, since big discrepancies exist between the scores on this federal test and the annual state tests. Take Florida, where 30 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading on this federal test in 2005. Yet on the Florida state test, 71 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading in 2005. It's a big difference: Are nearly three-quarters of your fourth graders proficient? Or less than a third? And it's typical. On the 2005 federal test, 33 percent of New York's fourth graders were proficient in reading; on New York's 2005 state test, 70 percent were. In Tennessee, 27 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading on the federal test; 87.9 percent on the state test. Nationwide, millions of students may or may not be proficient, depending on which test you favor. What's more, basic trends on the two sets of tests are often contradictory. In Florida, the federal fourth-grade reading proficiency scores were down two percentage points between 2003 and 2005 (bad news); on the state test they were up 11 points (good news). In New York, on the federal test, fourth-grade reading proficiency was down one point; on the state test, up six points. In short, it's hard to answer the age-old question: Are fourth graders getting smarter or dumber? 'It's a problem,' said Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association. 'It's a case of trying to compare apples and elephants.' Federal officials don't see it that way. 'To us, more information is better,' said Tom Luce, an assistant secretary in the federal Department of Education. 'People say, 'Well, it's confusing.' But I think the American people can deal with two different pieces of information at once.' Mr. Luce said that when residents in states like New York, Tennessee and Florida see such big discrepancies, 'they're going to ask questions.' He added, 'That's why the NAEP test is there, to shed light.' Right now, the light's looking dim; there are only guesses about what's really going on. Some, like Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, say the states are making their tests too easy, to ensure they get high marks on the No Child Left Behind rating system. Some say the federal test's proficiency level is set too high. And Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the liberal group FairTest, says, 'It shows these so-called objective measures are arbitrary, easily manipulated and profoundly political.' There are also major discrepancies between the state and federal systems used to rate schools. Under Florida's state report card system, 66 percent of schools got an A or B in 2005. Under the federal rating system, 64 percent of Florida schools failed to make adequate progress in 2005. So, about two-thirds of Florida schools were succeeding and two-thirds failing at the same time; 825 schools that got an A or B from the state failed under the federal system. What to do when two highly scientific rating systems produce such skewed results? Fiddle with the numbers. Last spring Florida requested several waivers to ease standards for the federal rating system. Originally, 48 percent of students for 2005 were supposed to be proficient on the state reading test for a school to meet the federal standard. Federal officials agreed to let Florida lower the threshold to 37 percent proficient. Thanks to this waiver, hundreds of Florida schools, like Lake Alfred Elementary in Polk County, made adequate progress under the federal system for the first time. Under the federal rating system, the school, as well as each subgroup at the school - whites, blacks, Hispanics, special ed children - must make the 37 percent proficiency. At Lake Alfred, 44 percent of the Hispanic subgroup was proficient in reading. Had there been no waiver, and the cutoff stayed at 48 percent, Lake Alfred would have failed on the federal system. Lake Alfred also benefited from a statistical quirk. The past two years the school's special ed students failed to make adequate progress. For example, in 2003, only 3 of 34 special ed students were proficient in reading. This year, only 4 of 26 special ed students were proficient, 15 percent, far below the 37 percent proficiency needed. But in Florida, for a subgroup to be counted in the federal rating system, it must have at least 30 students. Because Lake Alfred had 26 this year, the high special ed failure rate didn't count. IN 2004, because Lake Alfred had failed to make adequate progress under the federal system for two years, students were given letters permitting them to transfer out. This year, students were transferring in to Lake Alfred. Same school. Same principal. Same teachers. Eileen Castle has been the principal for 21 years and celebrated with her teachers when they made adequate progress under the federal system. She is proud of the innovative reading and math programs at her high-poverty school, but even so, she knows she made it because of the state waiver and subgroup size exemption - not because Lake Alfred was any better or worse than the previous year. 'It's a numbers game,' she said, 'and we could have just as easily been labeled failing.' Over the last two weeks, Kim Karesh, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Education Department, has repeatedly been asked by reporters about the big discrepancy between Tennessee state scores and federal scores. 'I've asked these questions myself to federal officials, and the answers don't make a lot of sense,' she said. 'In education these days, we talk numbers until we're blue in the face. But there's a bigger philosophical question: 'Can you really boil it down to a number?' '

Subject: Congress's Sham Budget Savings
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 04:51:56 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/07/opinion/07mon1.html November 7, 2005 Congress's Sham Budget Savings That rara avis, the moderate Republican lawmaker, is suddenly in sight, forcefully objecting to the House leadership's abominable package of budget cuts for the poor and environmental licentiousness for the energy industry. The five-year, $54 billion proposal is headed for a floor vote this week disguised as an overdue act of fiscal responsibility and government savings. In truth, it is so over-the-top in its inequities and giveaways that embarrassed moderates are actually rebelling, withholding support unless some of the more outrageous measures - like despoiling the Alaska wildlife refuge with oil drilling - are killed. The Republican-led Senate has already approved its own $35 billion budget-cutting measure that seems a model of moderation compared with the House's proposed mayhem. It is important to understand, however, that neither approach delivers the net savings being grandly claimed. An additional $70 billion worth of upper-bracket tax cuts heavily backed by the White House are waiting in the wings and will drive the deficit even deeper across generations of taxpayers. The administration and Congressional leaders arranged to separate votes on the two halves of the budget to obscure the full picture. The tax-cut madness mocks the budget-hawk posture the Congressional Republicans will be claiming in the next elections. Taxpayers once wooed with promises of compassionate conservatism should pay close attention to details of the rival budget plans. Chief among them is the House's mean-spirited cut of $12 billion in Medicaid access and benefits for the poor. It would invite budget-stressed states to levy health-care copayments and pass tougher workfare rules while crimping child care, food stamps and other antipoverty programs. The far saner Senate approach is to largely spare Medicaid but squeeze bloat from Medicare in the form of a notorious $10 billion 'stabilization fund' for providers that Congress's own advisory panel has warned is a windfall gimmick. President Bush is threatening to veto the entire bill over this, but the Senate should stand fast. The conservative bloc has used the unexpected costs of Hurricane Katrina to justify its sudden clamor for budget slashing. But that doesn't hold up to its actions. The Senate began the budget process with estimates that $9 billion was needed for emergency Medicaid for thousands of hurricane victims and refugees. But the White House forced the Senate to cut that to $1.8 billion in the actual budget bill. And for all the post-Katrina vows to boost emergency winter heating subsidies as oil prices spiked, the Senate approved only the $2.2 billion that was planned before the hurricane hit. The House budget is rife with purely ideological stratagems, including a plan to split in two the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, because the right wing considers it a liberal hotbed. The Senate deserves credit for eliminating a major cotton support program, one of the many agricultural subsidies that allow American corporate farmers to sell products overseas at well below the cost of production and squeeze the living out of farmers in the poorest countries on earth. But its approval of the Alaska oil-drilling foray is a grave misstep. It will be made worse by the House's destructive plan to revive off-shore oil drilling and allow an environmental rip-off through the sale of public lands to developers at bargain prices. Once the House passes its version of the spending bill, an even wilier form of budget politics will follow - the final, closed bargaining of conferees from the House and Senate. House leaders might easily jettison Alaska drilling to appease moderates this week, while counting on the Senate bargainers to keep it in final compromise. It will be a test, too, of the Senate's more responsible budgeting to see if its negotiators allow the House to prevail on things like food stamps and Medicaid. There was not much comfort in the vote in the Senate last week to defeat a proposal to restore the pay-as-you go discipline - spending balanced with adequate revenue flow - that produced surpluses in the 1990's. This Congress helped kill off those surpluses, but even Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has come round to warning lawmakers against cutting taxes by increasing the already damaging budget deficit.

Subject: Paul Krugman: Fixing Health Care
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 04:36:56 (EST)
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http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/ November 7, 2005 Paul Krugman: Fixing Health Care By Mark Thoma With so many companies such as General Motors and Delphi reducing medical benefits, with Wal-Mart's recent plans to cut healthcare costs by screening out high medical cost job applicants, with recent discussions about reducing the government's role in economic security, including healthcare, and with demographic realities in front of us, Paul Krugman examines the most efficient means of satisfying our health needs of the future, and what it will take to get there. He sees two factors standing in the way, prejudice that does not allow us to get over mistaken ideology that the private sector is always more efficient than the government, and the inability to overcome our pride and admit that other countries may have better ideas than we do in this area: Pride, Prejudice, Insurance, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: ...Employment-based health insurance is the only serious source of coverage for Americans too young to receive Medicare and insufficiently destitute to receive Medicaid, but it's an institution in decline. ... The funny thing is that the solution - national health insurance ... - is obvious. But to see the obvious we'll have to overcome pride - the unwarranted belief that America has nothing to learn from other countries - and prejudice - the equally unwarranted belief, driven by ideology, that private insurance is more efficient than public insurance. Let's start with the fact that America's health care system spends more, for worse results, than that of any other advanced country. In 2002 the United States spent $5,267 per person on health care. Canada spent $2,931; Germany spent $2,817; Britain spent only $2,160. Yet the United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than any of these countries. But don't people in other countries sometimes find it hard to get medical treatment? Yes ..but so do Americans. ... The journal Health Affairs recently published ... a survey of the medical experience of 'sicker adults' in six countries, including Canada, Britain, Germany and the United States. ... It's true that Americans generally have shorter waits for elective surgery ... although German waits are even shorter. But Americans ... find it harder ... to see a doctor when we need one, and our system is more, not less, rife with medical errors. Above all, Americans are far more likely than others to forgo treatment because they can't afford it. ... Why does American medicine cost so much yet achieve so little? ...[W]e treat access to health care as a privilege rather than a right. And this attitude turns out to be inefficient as well as cruel. The U.S. system is much more bureaucratic, with much higher administrative costs, ... because private insurers and other players work hard at trying not to pay for medical care. And our fragmented system is unable to bargain with drug companies and other suppliers for lower prices. Taiwan... offers an object lesson in the economic advantages of universal coverage. In 1995 less than 60 percent of Taiwan's residents had health insurance; by 2001 the number was 97 percent. Yet ... this huge expansion in coverage came virtually free: it led to little if any increase in overall health care spending ... The economic and moral case for health care reform in America... is overwhelming. One of these days we'll realize that our semiprivatized system isn't just unfair, it's far less efficient than a straightforward system of guaranteed health insurance. I agree. As discussed extensively at this site, there are important market failures in the provision of social insurance, moral hazard is one problem, adverse selection is another, the inefficiencies from fighting over who pays the bills identified by Krugman is yet another, that make the private sector provision of social insurance less efficient than public sector provision. [See this NBER paper for more on the insurance value of government provided health insurance. See 'Passing the Buck' for more from Krugman on this topic.]

Subject: Landscapes for Pleasure
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 09:51:36 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/arts/design/04glue.html November 4, 2005 'Blue Boy' for a Living; Landscapes for Pleasure By GRACE GLUECK NEW HAVEN - Best known as a society portraitist (think of 'Blue Boy,' his sleek, princely picture of one Master Jonathan Buttall), the English painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) really yearned to do landscapes, regarding his portrait practice as a bread-and-butter operation. As a young man, untutored in art but working in London with the French engraver and illustrator Hubert Gravelot, he developed an interest in Dutch landscapes by Hobbema, van Ruisdael, van Ostade and others. On visits to his family home in Sudbury, Suffolk, he did his first landscapes in the Dutch mode, later combining them with the full-length portraits he needed to do for a living in small works called 'conversation pieces.' But eventually he turned to more lucrative, life-scale portraiture, and in 1759 moved with his wife and children to Bath, where he found a wealthy and sophisticated clientele. And he discovered the elegant repertory of Van Dyck, revered renderer of the Stuart court of Charles I. As he refined his style, Gainsborough's reputation grew, while his landscape backdrops dwindled into stagey decorations. After he set up in London in 1774, his portrait clientele became a roster of the rich and famous, including King George III and Queen Charlotte. By this time, Gainsborough's acknowledged rival as a portraitist was no less than Sir Joshua Reynolds. Still, for his own pleasure, he continued to paint landscapes, and in the late 1770's he became interested in idealized rustic themes, notably of cottage life in the English countryside, where poor peasants carried on hardscrabble lives in humble cottages while sweetly making the best of their lot. His most famous painting of this genre is 'The Cottage Door' (circa 1780), a gentrified ode to pastoral innocence that sentimentally depicts a mother and her young brood outside the door of their thatched hut, buried deep in a forest. Gainsborough's homey groups of figures outside their abodes were among the first in English painting to deal with the subject of cottage life, and his works in this vein were also among the first to subscribe to the 18th-century English 'sensibility' movement, which encouraged artists to respond to nature's naïve beauty and the picturesqueness of the English peasantry, if not to their woes and miseries. 'Sensation and Sensibility: Viewing Gainsborough's 'Cottage Door' ' at the Yale Center for British Art is about that movement and Gainsborough's contributions, along with those of his contemporaries. The show, a collaboration between the Yale Center and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., is said to be the first such gathering of paintings, prints and drawings, together with viewing aids used to attract audiences to the art. These aids include a reproduction of a short bit of hocus-pocus called an Eidophusikon, an early form of cinema that influenced Gainsborough and that comprised a thunderous sound and light show in which scenic illusions were manipulated by hand; and a re-creation of a 'tent room' set up by Sir John Leicester, the proud owner of the work, in his London town house in 1818. It displayed 'The Cottage Door' in a luxurious fabric tent equipped with mirrors and oil lamps. The recreation serves as a setting for it here, too. In all, Gainsborough did about five 'Cottage Door' paintings, apparently so influentially that cottage life as a theme was taken up by a number of his contemporaries. In the 1780 painting, his touch is feathery but sure, his colors lush and his blending of the figures with their background deft. Still, the work seems posed and theatrical, not all that far from a candy box cover. A better, earthier example is 'Peasant Smoking at a Cottage Door' (1785-88), a scene of domestic felicity in which the setting sun lights up a peasant, who holds a jug as he puffs his pipe, in company with his wife and three small children (one nursing). In this last decade of his life, Gainsborough was also looking at images of street urchins, painted with sympathy and dignity by the 17th-century Spanish artist Murillo. Gainsborough translated these urban images into country folk: cottagers, woodsmen, beggars and such, dealing with types rather than with real people. Among these is a late one called 'The Wood Gatherers' (1787), depicting a young girl dressed in rags, holding a toddler in her arms and with a small boy seated next to her on a rock. The girl looks soulfully out from the picture, set in a bombastic landscape; the toddler looks away from her in the other direction, holding out a chubby arm and hand. Yet it is really one of Gainsborough's aristocratic family templates, and it does not take much imagination on the part of the viewer to see a duchess in her finery replacing the girl, accompanied by her two blue-blooded children. In short, with all due respect to Gainsborough's masterly brushwork, I am not convinced that his insights as a portrait painter to the wealthy gave him much of a handle on people of lesser stature. To me, his preoccupation and that of his contemporaries with the theme of the cottage door is as patronizing as Marie Antoinette playing milkmaid at Versailles.

Subject: A Novel, by Someone
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 08:21:59 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/books/03jian.html?ex=1288674000&en=5c400c8294980716&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 3, 2005 A Novel, by Someone, Takes China by Storm By HOWARD W. FRENCH BEIJING - For the author of one of China's best-selling novels of recent years, and moreover, one about rugged life among wolves on the Mongolian plains, Jiang Rong makes a surprisingly timid introduction. 'I am sorry, I have no name cards,' said the man meekly as he entered the living room of his home here, where a foreigner was waiting to see him recently. Having no cards, at least, seemed appropriate, for much about Mr. Jiang, beginning with his real name, is a mystery. When asked who he is, the writer demurred, embarking on a halting defense of his efforts to remain anonymous from behind the screen of his heavy-framed, somewhat antiquated eyeglasses. 'This is the first time I've received anyone in my home,' he said. 'You must understand, my situation is a bit complicated.' This much is known: Mr. Jiang, a 59-year-old political scientist at a Beijing university, has written his first novel, 'Wolf Totem,' a stirring allegorical critique of Chinese civilization, which he calls soft and lacking in individuality and freedom. He volunteered for farm work on the prairie of Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution and became versed in the ways of China's northern hinterland. And although he will not comment, it is rumored that he was in political trouble in China in the late 1980's, perhaps spending time in prison. There are also these much happier facts: The legally published version of Mr. Jiang's book has sold at least one million copies in China since its release last year, along with perhaps six million black market copies and other knockoffs. The novel was also recently bought by Penguin for $100,000, a record for the overseas rights for a contemporary Chinese writer. And Peter Jackson, the New Zealand director, a specialist in dark fantasies like 'The Lord of the Rings,' has bought the story rights to the novel and plans to produce a film based on it, recounting how a young Han Chinese man and his friends steal a young wolf from its pit and raise it in their tent. The main character, clearly drawn from Mr. Jiang's own experience, watches with mounting dread as the Han population and cultural influence on the plains rise, leading to the killing off of the wolves and the desertification of the grasslands. One might assume that the delicacy of Mr. Jiang's situation lies in the novel's criticism of China's Han majority and its Confucian-inspired culture, which he repeatedly called autocratic and sheeplike. The author insists this is not so, however, and the evidence seems to support him. 'Wolf Totem' vaunts the cultural merits of Mongolian nomads, which the author lists as 'freedom, independence, respect, unyielding before hardship, teamwork and competition.' It has been talked up abundantly on television programs, handed out by corporate executives as a motivational tool and, it is said, praised among the officer corps of the People's Liberation Army. There is another mystery at work besides Mr. Jiang's identity, however: how could a book that is heavy on anthropology and philosophy, concerned with obscure rituals and Mongolian folk tradition, and lacking in traditional plot lines have captured the attention of so many readers? The appeal, Mr. Jiang says, lies partly in the book's explanations of one of history's great riddles: 'How could Genghis Khan have conquered the world with so few people?' 'The answer lies in something shared between East and West, and that is the nomadic culture,' Mr. Jiang said, chain smoking in his austere living room, his face lighted sharply by the crisp rays of autumn light that filtered in from his garden. 'The nomadism that people always talk about is full of killing and violence, but what it is really about is freedom. This wolf totem culture began earlier in Mongolia and is more sophisticated than anywhere else.' According to Mr. Jiang, Chinese civilization is the product of two strains, nomadic and agricultural, and each has its symbols, the wolf and the dragon. For the author, the wolf is akin to the soul of the Mongolian grasslands, a worthy rival to man as well as a symbol of heaven itself. 'You can look at the wolf and dragon as opposites,' he said. 'The dragon represents autocratic emperors. The wolf means freedom, the mother of democracy, and China opposes freedom more than anything else.' He said the gradual demise of China's wolf heritage helps explain how the country was surpassed by the West. 'As long as most people are lambs, the dragon has no problem,' he said in what seemed like a thinly veiled comment about China's politics. 'But the more wolves there are, the more interesting things become.' Mr. Jiang's iconoclasm is the product of an unusual upbringing. His parents fought in China's war against Japan on the side of the Communists and were seriously injured. They became government officials after the Communist takeover in 1949, leading to a relatively privileged life for their son, an avid reader and lover of foreign culture from an early age. 'I was deeply influenced by my mother, who took the family out traveling on the weekends,' he said. 'Before 1964, when controls on everything tightened, I could find movies from India, the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union. I could read foreign news reports from my father's copies of Reference News,' a news digest circulated only among party cadres. On the eve of the Cultural Revolution, a period of extreme radicalism that lasted from 1966 to 1976, Mr. Jiang volunteered to do agricultural work in Inner Mongolia, he said, preferring it to the other, far more popular volunteer destination of the day, the far northeastern province of Heilongjiang. 'Everywhere I looked people were confiscating books, and I was collecting them,' he said. 'I brought two big cases of hundreds of books with me: Balzac, Tolstoy, Jack London and Jane Austen. If I had gone to Heilongjiang, I would have been living with the army, and they would have been confiscated.' Mr. Jiang said he chose the most remote place he could for his 11 years on the plains, the Elun grasslands, so close to the border that he could see Mongolia's mountain ranges. The story he wrote had been with him, he said, for more than 20 years, and was forged in friendships on the plains and an appreciation for the Mongolian reverence for the wolf and for the environment. The book was six years in the writing, during which time the author shared it with no one, including his wife, who is a well-known novelist herself. Today, Mr. Jiang says, laughing slyly, friends who know of his past in the grasslands contact him to talk about the book. They ask, 'Do you know the writer?' he said. 'Can you help me with an introduction?'

Subject: Not in Bush's Tax Reform Panel
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 08:08:26 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/business/yourmoney/06view.html November 6, 2005 Echoes of 1986? Not in Bush's Tax Reform Panel By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON TWENTY years ago, President Ronald Reagan found himself politically weakened by large budget deficits, the Nicaraguan contra imbroglio and a Congress that was partly controlled by his Democratic opponents. Yet Mr. Reagan managed to push through a sweeping overhaul of the tax code that, at least for a few years, stood as a victory of bipartisan common sense over high-priced special interests. That 1986 tax reform achieved two simple but powerful goals: it sharply reduced nominal tax rates and eliminated vast numbers of loopholes, special preferences and bizarre tax-avoidance schemes. Could President Bush achieve a comparable breakthrough? Not unless he changes his modus operandi in fundamental ways. Mr. Bush took a first step toward tax overhaul on Tuesday, when his hand-picked advisory panel delivered two broad proposals for again purging the tax code of its complexity, corruption and cost to the economy. But cleaning up the tax code creates winners and losers, and Mr. Bush has shown little appetite for confronting losers. For evidence, look no further than the corporate tax overhaul last year. That 700-page behemoth contained hundreds of special-interest tax breaks, including many that the Bush administration had openly opposed. But Mr. Bush, passively staying out of the fray, ultimately swallowed all of them. One year ago, Mr. Bush proclaimed that tax overhaul would be one of his two big-vision goals for the second term, coming right after the overhaul of Social Security. But Tuesday, it was hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Bush's tax plan is headed toward the same place as his Social Security plan: nowhere. Mr. Bush himself said nothing about the long-awaited report. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, who received the recommendations, said they amounted to 'a starting place.' On the tax issue, in contrast to the Social Security plan, Mr. Bush's biggest obstacle has little to do with uncompromising opposition by Democrats. Rather, Mr. Bush's effort is more likely to die as a result of constraints he put on his own tax panel and, by extension, on himself. Those constraints made it impossible for his panel to offer with a sweeping plan that would galvanize either the public or the Republican Party's true believers in a radical overhaul. At the same time, the panel's recommendations would provoke opposition from armies of special-interest groups with something to lose. Under Mr. Bush's explicit marching orders, the panel's proposals had to be 'revenue neutral' and to assume that his tax cuts would be made permanent. He also ordered the panel to retain homeowners' tax breaks, one of the most expensive tax expenditures in the entire code, and to protect tax breaks for charities. Not surprisingly, the resulting plan was sober but uninspiring. The panel would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, or A.M.T., a parallel tax originally aimed at the very rich that is now set to engulf millions of middle-income families every year - especially families with children. Eliminating that tax would be a major achievement, costing $1.2 trillion over the next decade, but it is an issue that has yet to affect most taxpayers and thus is unlikely to generate much excitement. The panel's main proposal would indeed simplify many aspects of the tax code - for example, by consolidating a wide range of tax breaks for savings and retirement accounts. It would greatly benefit wealthy taxpayers by sharply reducing taxes on investment income, but it would also cut back on tax breaks that primarily benefit the rich. However sensible those ideas may be, they fall far short of a radical overhaul. Neither of the proposals would have replaced today's system with a flat tax or a pure consumption tax, the goal of many Republican conservatives. More important, neither of the proposals would significantly lower existing tax rates - a crucial attraction of the 1986 overhaul. Staunch conservatives who would like to replace the income tax entirely with a national sales tax were underwhelmed. 'Nibbling around the edges,' complained Representative John Linder, a Georgia Republican. 'Small and quite complicated, and that's exactly what we're trying to get away from,' said Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina. At the same time, both proposals immediately provoked opposition from industry groups and their well-paid lobbyists. Mortgage lenders immediately lashed out at the panel's recommendation to trim back the huge tax deduction for interest payments on home mortgages. Life insurance companies wailed about provisions to tax the earnings on insurance policies. Big-business groups complained about taxing - albeit very gingerly - employer-paid health insurance. Such complaints are inevitable when tax breaks are up for debate. The problem is that special-interest pleaders have extraordinary political leverage if there isn't a big idea animating the overall project. One of the panel's boldest ideas, for example, is to scale back the huge tax deduction on mortgage interest, and to use that money to offset the cost of losing the alternative minimum tax. The mortgage deduction has been sacrosanct ever since the income tax was created almost a century ago. It benefits tens of millions of families and is supposed to make homeownership more affordable and thus more widespread. But the panel offered a trenchant critique of the current deduction. It noted that the rate of homeownership in the United States is the same or lower than it is in Britain and Australia, which have no mortgage interest deduction. If there were no tax deduction for mortgage interest, house prices would almost certainly be lower, and the net cost of homeownership - after a potentially distressing adjustment - would be about the same. THE panel also noted that 70 percent of American tax filers received no benefit from the mortgage deduction in 2002, even though nearly 69 percent of families were homeowners. Fifty-five percent of the tax benefits went to the top 12 percent of taxpayers who earned more than $100,000 a year. Given that critique, the truly bold approach would have been to scrap the mortgage deduction altogether and free up tens of billions of dollars that could be used to lower overall tax rates. But the panel could not do that, because Mr. Bush had ordered it to protect incentives for homeownership. As a result, the panel proposed two big changes. First, it suggested linking the ceiling for mortgage interest deductions to the average price of homes in each region of the country. In effect, deductions could not be taken for mortgages beyond $412,000, rather than $1.1 million under current law. Second, the panel proposed changing the tax deduction for mortgage interest to a tax credit. The advantage is that a tax credit is worth the same amount of money to all taxpayers, regardless of their income. A deduction against taxable income, by contrast, is worth far more to high-income people in the 35 percent tax bracket than to those in the 15 percent bracket. All of those ideas are thoughtful and defensible. But it is hard to imagine that they will prompt an outpouring of public support. That leaves the heavy lifting to political insiders and seasoned lobbyists - precisely the people least likely to push for fairness and simplicity.

Subject: Googling It Is Striking Fear
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 08:05:11 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/technology/06google.html November 6, 2005 Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies By STEVE LOHR Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, often intimidates its competitors and suppliers. Makers of goods from diapers to DVD's must cater to its whims. But there is one company that even Wal-Mart eyes warily these days: Google, a seven-year-old business in a seemingly distant industry. 'We watch Google very closely at Wal-Mart,' said Jim Breyer, a member of Wal-Mart's board. In Google, Wal-Mart sees both a technology pioneer and the seed of a threat, said Mr. Breyer, who is also a partner in a venture capital firm. The worry is that by making information available everywhere, Google might soon be able to tell Wal-Mart shoppers if better bargains are available nearby. Wal-Mart is scarcely alone in its concern. As Google increasingly becomes the starting point for finding information and buying products and services, companies that even a year ago did not see themselves as competing with Google are beginning to view the company with some angst - mixed with admiration. Google's recent moves have stirred concern in industries from book publishing to telecommunications. Businesses already feeling the Google effect include advertising, software and the news media. Apart from retailing, Google's disruptive presence may soon be felt in real estate and auto sales. Google, the reigning giant of Web search, could extend its economic reach in the next few years as more people get high-speed Internet service and cellphones become full-fledged search tools, according to analysts. And ever-smarter software, they say, will cull and organize larger and larger digital storehouses of news, images, real estate listings and traffic reports, delivering results that are more like the advice of a trusted human expert. Such advances, predicts Esther Dyson, a technology consultant, will bring 'a huge reduction in inefficiency everywhere.' That, in turn, would be an unsettling force for all sorts of industries and workers. But it would also reward consumers with lower prices and open up opportunities for new companies. Google, then, may turn out to have a more far-reaching impact than earlier Web winners like Amazon and eBay. 'Google is the realization of everything that we thought the Internet was going to be about but really wasn't until Google,' said David B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School. Google, to be sure, is but one company at the forefront of the continuing spread of Internet technology. It has many competitors, and it could stumble. In the search market alone, Google faces formidable rivals like Microsoft and Yahoo. Microsoft, in particular, is pushing hard to catch Google in Internet search. 'This is hyper-competition, make no mistake,' said Bill Gates, Microsoft's chief executive. 'The magic moment will come when our search is demonstrably better than Google's,' he said, suggesting that this could happen in a year or so. Still, apart from its front-runner status, Google is also remarkable for its pace of innovation and for how broadly it seems to interpret its mission to 'organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.' The company's current lineup of offerings includes: software for searching personal computer files; an e-mail service; maps; satellite images; instant messaging; blogging tools; a service for posting and sharing digital photos; and specialized searches for news, video, shopping and local information. Google's most controversial venture, Google Print, is a project to copy and catalog millions of books; it faces lawsuits by some publishers and authors who say it violates copyright law. Google, which tends to keep its plans secret, certainly has the wealth to fund ambitious ventures. Its revenues are growing by nearly 100 percent a year, and its profits are rising even faster. Its executives speak of the company's outlook only in broad strokes, but they suggest all but unlimited horizons. 'We believe that search networks as industries remain in their nascent stages of growth with great forward potential,' Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, told analysts last month. Among the many projects being developed and debated inside Google is a real estate service, according to a person who has attended meetings on the proposal. The concept, the person said, would be to improve the capabilities of its satellite imaging, maps and local search and combine them with property listings. The service, this person said, could make house hunting far more efficient, requiring potential buyers to visit fewer real estate agents and houses. If successful, it would be another magnet for the text ads that appear next to search results, the source of most of Google's revenue. In telecommunications, the company has made a number of moves that have grabbed the attention of industry executives. It has been buying fiber-optic cable capacity in the United States and has invested in a company delivering high-speed Internet access over power lines. And it is participating in an experiment to provide free wireless Internet access in San Francisco. That has led to speculation that the company wants to build a national free GoogleNet, paid for mostly by advertising. And Google executives seem to delight in dropping tantalizing, if vague, hints. 'We focus on access to the information as much as the search itself because you need both,' Mr. Schmidt said in an analysts' conference call last month. Telecommunications executives are skeptical that Google could seriously eat into their business anytime soon. For one thing, they say, it will be difficult and expensive to build a national network. Still, they monitor Google's every move. 'Google is certainly a potential competitor,' said Bill Smith, the chief technology officer of BellSouth, the Atlanta-based regional phone company. The No. 1 rival to phone companies in the Internet access business, Mr. Smith noted, is the cable television operators. 'But do I discount Google? Absolutely not,' he said. 'You'd be a fool to do that these days.' In retailing, Google has no interest in stocking and selling merchandise. Its potential impact is more subtle, yet still significant. Every store is a collection of goods, some items more profitable than others. But the less-profitable items may bring people into stores, where they also buy the high-margin offerings - one shelf, in effect, subsidizes another. Search engines, combined with other technologies, have the potential to drive comparison shopping down to the shelf-by-shelf level. Cellphone makers, for example, are looking at the concept of a 'shopping phone' with a camera that can read product bar codes. The phone could connect to databases and search services and, aided by satellite technology, reveal that the flat-screen TV model in front of you is $200 cheaper at a store five miles away. 'We see this huge power moving to the edge - to consumers - in this Google environment,' said Lou Steinberg, chief technology officer of Symbol Technologies, which supplies bar-code scanners to retailers. Such services could lead to lower prices for consumers, but also relentless competition that threatens to break up existing businesses. A newspaper or a magazine can be seen as a media store - a collection of news, entertainment and advertising delivered in a package. A tool like Google News allows a reader or an advertiser to pick and choose, breaking up the package by splitting the articles from the ads. And Google's ads, tucked to the side of its search-engine results, are often a more efficient sales generator than print ads. 'Google represents a challenge to newspapers, to be sure,' said Gary B. Pruitt, chief executive of the McClatchy Company, a chain of 12 newspapers including The Star Tribune in Minneapolis and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. 'Google is attacking the advertising base of newspapers.' At the same time, Google and search technology are becoming crucial to the health of newspapers as more readers migrate to the Web. As one path to the future, Mr. Pruitt speaks of his newspapers prospering by tailoring search for local businesses, but also partnering with search engines to attract readers. Within industries, the influence of Internet search is often uneven. For example, search engines are being embraced by car companies, yet they pose a challenge to car dealers. George E. Murphy, senior vice president of global marketing for Chrysler, said Chrysler buys ads on 3,000 keywords a day on the big search sites: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and AOL, whose search is supplied by Google. If a person types in one of those keywords, the search results are accompanied by a sponsored link to a Chrysler site. Chrysler refines its approach based on what search words attract clicks, and studies its site traffic for clues on converting browsers to buyers. 'We've got Ph.D.'s working on this,' Mr. Murphy said. 'The great thing about search is that you can do the math and follow the trail.' After following a link to a Chrysler Web site, a prospective buyer can configure a model, find a dealer and get a preliminary price. Only dealers can make final price quotes. Yet with more information on the Web, the direction of things is clear, in Mr. Murphy's view. 'It will fundamentally change what the dealer does, because telling people about the vehicle won't add value for the customer anymore,' he said. 'If dealers don't change, they'll be dinosaurs.' Mr. Breyer, the Wal-Mart board member, watches Google closely in his job as managing partner of Accel Partners, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. These days, he advises startups to avoid a 'collision course' with Google, just as he has long counseled fledgling companies to steer clear of Microsoft's stronghold in desktop software. Internet search, like personal computing in its heyday, is a disruptive technology, he said, threatening traditional industries and opening the door to new ones. 'We think there is plenty of opportunity for innovation in the Google economy,' Mr. Breyer said.

Subject: Debating the Difficulty of Tamiflu
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:43:09 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/05/business/05tamiflu.html?ex=1288846800&en=5bcc1b8b61f7dffc&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 5, 2005 Is Bird Flu Drug Really So Vexing? Debating the Difficulty of Tamiflu By ANDREW POLLACK If a bird flu pandemic breaks out, the world's ability to fight back may come down to an ancient Chinese cooking spice - or the perseverance of people like Professor Frost. The Chinese spice, star anise, provides the starting material for the manufacture of the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu, which is expected to be the first line of defense in a pandemic. But there is probably not enough star anise in China or anywhere else to meet the rapidly growing global demand for Tamiflu. That could mean that Tamiflu production cannot be ramped up, even if the maker, Roche, bows to pressure to allow other companies to manufacture the drug. The professor is John W. Frost, a chemist at Michigan State University who developed a technique for making the starting material, shikimic acid, without the coveted star anise. Roche has used Professor Frost's method in recent years, in fact, but he says he heard the company had cut back. Undeterred, Professor Frost is starting a company that he says could produce huge quantities of the material. 'I'm just completely astonished about the gnashing of teeth and the wringing of hands about the shikimic acid,' Professor Frost said. 'The bottleneck should not be shikimic acid availability.' Professor Frost is one of many entrepreneurs seeking to help ramp up production of Tamiflu, perhaps the most sought-after drug in the world right now. Roche says it has received licensing inquiries from more than 100 companies. And some countries and companies say they might produce Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, even without Roche's permission. But a debate is raging on how easy that would be to do. Roche has said the manufacturing process requires 10 steps that take six to eight months once the raw materials are in hand. It also says that some steps in production are potentially hazardous because they involve the use of sodium azide, the chemical that makes automobile air bags inflate in an explosive rush. The company says it would take a newcomer two to three years to be able to start production. Roche has never said how much Tamiflu it can make, only that by next year it will be making 8 to 10 times the amount it did in 2003. Roche would not discuss its manufacturing for this article, saying it would do so at a presentation Wednesday at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. But others insist that the manufacturing process, while more challenging than for some drugs, is not extremely difficult. 'I don't think the chemistry is such a big issue,' said Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of Cipla, a generic drug company in India that has announced it will produce oseltamivir, the generic name for Tamiflu. He said Cipla already uses sodium azide, the air bag chemical, to produce the AIDS drug AZT and an anti-epilepsy drug. Part of the disagreement about the difficulty might stem from the difference between making small quantities in the laboratory, which can be done quite easily, and producing large amounts commercially. Ernie Prisbe, vice president for chemical development at Gilead Sciences, which invented Tamiflu and licensed it to Roche, said an industry rule of thumb is that each step, even if well defined, takes one month to six weeks to put into practice. Tamiflu manufacturing, by his count, involves 12 steps. The National Health Research Institutes of Taiwan took only 18 days to produce a small quantity of Tamiflu, with guidance from published papers and patents. But producing large quantities is 'another story' said K. S. Shia, who headed the project. Officials in Taiwan would not say how long it would take to achieve larger production. Even if companies can make the drug, they might not have enough shikimic acid. That ingredient is extracted from the fruit of star anise trees, which grow in Southern China. Most of the star anise is now used for Roche's production, but it is also an Asian cooking spice and is used in herbal medicines and in the production of the liqueur pastis. Since demand for Tamiflu started growing recently, the price of shikimic acid from China has soared to more than $400 a kilogram, from $40. 'We managed to corner a few tons but it won't go very far,' said Mr. Hamied of Cipla. The company hopes by March to have produced enough oseltamivir to treat 100,000 to 200,000 people, he said. Last week, the Taiwan government said it had signed an agreement with an unidentified supplier for three metric tons of shikimic acid, which could conceivably provide enough drug to treat 2.3 million people. According to a presentation at a conference last year by a Roche chemist, it takes 13 grams of star anise to make 1.3 grams of shikimic acid, which in turn can be made into 10 Tamiflu capsules - enough to treat one person. By that reckoning, one ton of shikimic acid would be enough for 770,000 people. But Mr. Hamied, a chemist, disputed that, saying one ton of shikimic acid would yield enough for only 300,000 people at most. And newcomers are not likely to have the same production efficiency as Roche, he said. The alternative method of producing shikimic acid developed by Professor Frost involves fermentation using vats of genetically engineered bacteria. He said people he knew at Roche told him the company has curtailed the fermentation of shikimic acid to devote fermenting equipment to more valuable products. If so, that would increase the pressure on star anise supplies. In the fiscal year that ended in June, Michigan State received $113,000 in royalties from Roche, according to Paul Hunt, the university's associate vice president for research and graduate studies. Roche pays $1.85 for each kilogram of shikimic acid it makes using the process, indicating it made about 60 metric tons in that year. Roche has given conflicting statements about its use of fermentation. In an e-mail message, Daniel Piller, a spokesman for Roche, said the company got about a third of its shikimic acid from fermentation and planned to increase that over time. In a conference call with securities analysts two weeks ago, William M. Burns, the head of Roche's pharmaceutical business, said fermentation was part of the company's plan for the medium term. But for now, he said, the use of star anise was the only process approved by regulators. Professor Frost, some industry consultants and Gilead, though, said that government manufacturing regulations did not cover the production of shikimic acid. In any case, Roche is apparently looking to farm out fermentation to others, according to Professor Frost. He is starting a company, Draths Industries, in hopes of supplying it to Roche and other companies. Professor Frost, working with MBI International, a fermentation company in Lansing, Mich., near the university, said he hoped to raise $1 million and had lined up a big fermentation company in Asia that would be able to produce 100 tons of shikimic acid a year. Gilead initially chose quinic acid over shikimic acid as a starting material. Quinic acid, from the bark of the tropical cinchona tree, was available in much greater supply and at lower prices, even though using it required more steps than using shikimic acid, Mr. Prisbe said. But political upheaval in Zaire, the source of its material, raised doubts about future supplies, forcing Gilead to scramble. 'Roche was saying if you guys don't come up with a starting material you don't have a deal with us,' Mr. Prisbe said. Gilead began looking at extracting shikimic acid from gingko trees and even found a scientific paper discussing the extraction from needles of giant sequoias. A gingko products company in Beijing offered to supply the material but suggested star anise would be a better source. Still, quinic acid could be a potential alternative starting material and there might be other sources of shikimic acid besides star anise. Virtually all plants produce some shikimic acid, which they use in making certain amino acids. The herbicide Roundup, in fact, works by interfering with this process. To make Tamiflu, shikimic acid is turned into an intermediate called an epoxide through a series of about five steps that are not considered out of the ordinary. But then the ring-shaped epoxide molecule must be opened up and some atoms substituted for other atoms. That is where the air bag chemical, sodium azide, comes in. Chemists say it is used because it can produce a sharp, clean reaction that leaves few impurities. Although the reaction used to produce Tamiflu does not involve explosions, the azides, as a class, can be explosive. But sodium azide is not dangerously so, some experts say, or it would not be used inside cars. 'It's a wimpy explosive,' said Thomas Archibald, a chemical consultant in the Virgin Islands. He and some others say that drug companies have a needless aversion to azide chemistry - a fear that K. Barry Sharpless, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist at the Scripps Research Institute, has referred to as 'azidophobia.' Many drug companies, including Roche, farm out azide processing steps to companies that specialize in what the industry calls 'energetic' chemistry. Such contractors, presumably, would be available to companies besides Roche that want to make Tamiflu. Many of the companies started doing work on explosives for the military or other uses. Aerojet Fine Chemicals, which did the initial azide processing for Gilead, is part of a company that builds rocket motors outside of Sacramento. 'This is our version of turning swords into plowshares,' said Joseph Carleone, Aerojet's president. 'We took our ability to handle explosives and propellants and applied it to pharmaceuticals.' Mr. Carleone would not say whether his company was doing Tamiflu work for Roche, citing customer confidentiality. Roche has recently said that it has set up manufacturing in the United States at the behest of the federal government, which was worried about reliance on foreign supplies of a vital drug. Among those looking at Tamiflu manufacturing is Gilead, which wants to regain control of the drug from Roche. It accuses Roche of not doing an adequate job in manufacturing and marketing. Roche denies that, and the dispute is in arbitration. Whether for Gilead or for others, when it comes to making Tamiflu 'on a scale of 1 to 10 in difficulty, this is maybe a 7 or so,'' Mr. Prisbe said, 'There's nothing that overwhelming in this kind of synthesis, or that formidable, that someone couldn't do it.'

Subject: Migrants' Portals to Europe
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:38:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/05/international/africa/05morocco.html?ex=1288846800&en=34c4e32db02979a0&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 5, 2005 Spain's African Enclaves Are Migrants' Portals to Europe By CRAIG S. SMITH NADOR, Morocco - Zakaria Chouaib peered from his rocky perch on Mount Gourougou toward a stone and stucco settlement below. He had traveled overland about 2,000 miles from Ghana, largely on foot, to arrive within sight of his goal: an eightsquare-mile patch of Spanish territory on Africa's Mediterranean coast called Melilla. Mr. Chouaib, 31, knew that if he could make it across the two razor-wire-topped cyclone fences separating Morocco from the enclave, he stood a good chance of being sent on to Spain and then disappearing into an increasingly borderless Europe. But getting across the fences has become almost impossible. As the numbers of migrants increase, to an estimated 10,000 in Morocco and 20,000 more in neighboring Algeria, Moroccan and Spanish border guards have grown ever tougher. Fourteen migrants have died since late September trying to enter Melilla and its sister enclave to the west, Ceuta. Thousands of others have been rounded up or chased down in the forests around the enclaves and in the immigrant neighborhoods of Casablanca and Rabat. Even so, bands of men like Mr. Chouaib, shaken loose from their homes by war, famine and failed economies, say they are not about to turn back. 'I'm not giving up,' he said, staring at the Spanish enclave below. 'Maybe there's an opportunity on the way - you never know.' Mr. Chouaib is part of a growing tide of young Africans, mostly men, who have crossed the Sahara and are pressing on Europe's southern shores. They live in the North African bush with little more than the clothes on their backs, surviving on handouts or meager savings. The AIDS epidemic sweeping their homelands is likely to swell the tide as it deprives their societies of leaders, education and jobs. On a ledge above Melilla, Mr. Chouaib and a half-dozen other young men live among the stones, sleeping beneath the stars or taking shelter in caves when the rains come. The Africans built up a shantytown in the forests of Mount Gourougou, complete with chapel and mosque, but the Moroccan authorities destroyed it earlier this year. Now the men live without any structure that police patrols might spot from afar. The ground around their camp is littered with empty sardine cans, plastic bottles and spent toothpaste tubes. They share what food and water they can gather from occasional sorties to the edge of town. Residents living here express sympathy for the migrants and say they cause no trouble. At the closest small shop, nearly an hour's walk away, the owner says the police should leave them alone. 'They only want a better life,' he said. But their existence is increasingly perilous. On one recent day, two members of the group were missing after going to fetch water the previous morning. Another man sat dumbly, his lips swollen and teeth broken from a fall while running from the police. Days later, another of their group was nearly caught on a run for provisions and returned badly beaten by the police. The migrants used to go to Libya to try to get into Europe, but Libya has grown inhospitable, and the flow has shifted toward Morocco. Sea patrols have closed off the water routes, so migrants have narrowed their focus to Ceuta and Melilla, which have been Spanish territories since 1580 and 1497 respectively. Spain transfers migrants who make it into the enclaves to the Spanish mainland for interviews with immigration officials, giving them a chance to flee from there to almost anywhere in Europe. In the four months that ended in October, more than 500 migrants were sent to Spain from their footholds in the enclaves. In 1998, Spain built double fences around the enclaves to keep migrants out, but they continued to scale the fences with makeshift ladders and homemade gloves. It is a treacherous venture. The outer fence is nine feet tall, and the inner fence has been doubled in height to 18 feet in most places. Both are topped with razor-sharp, barbed concertina wire. Military jeeps patrol the roads between them. Even if migrants scale the fences, few land uninjured. Some break their legs or necks tumbling over the other side. Attempts to reach the enclaves surged this year after Spain began increasing the height of the fences. The assaults also became organized, with coordinated groups rushing the fences at multiple points to overwhelm the border guards. On some nights 500 migrants or more have taken part in the mass efforts. About 20 percent usually succeed in reaching Spanish territory, the Spanish and Moroccan authorities say. But then the border guards began using deadly force to stop the assaults. Morocco has admitted killing at least four migrants in October. Hundreds have been deported, but hundreds more have simply withdrawn into the hills, where they live in loose groups based on nationality or language. Mr. Chouaib left his wife and two children in Kumasi, Ghana, four years ago and has spent thousands of dollars trying to get to Europe. He managed to get within sight of an Italian island, Lampedusa, two years ago when the boat he was traveling on from Libya was turned back by the Italian Navy and diverted to Tunisia. He walked most of the way to Algeria but was arrested there and dumped last year with other migrants in the Sahara, on the country's southern border. Some of the men died, he said. He has been caught four times by Moroccan border guards while trying to get to Melilla. He was sent to the Algerian border each time and each time walked back. Like many migrants, Mr. Chouaib has registered with the United Nations refugee agency in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, and carries a letter from the agency saying his case is under review. But the letter is little help. 'The Moroccan police laugh when I show it to them,' he said. Still, he says he will persevere. Friends have run the perilous obstacle course before and report back that jobs are plentiful in Europe. 'Some are in Italy working on farms, and they have called saying we should try our best to come,' Mr. Chouaib said, a grimy Austin, Tex., Marathon T-shirt peeking from under his black leather jacket. 'Where there's life, there's hope.' Nador's governor, Abdellah Bendhiba, complains that the number of sub-Saharan Africans arrested trying to breach the barrier around Melilla jumped to 6,700 so far this year, from 2,447 last year. He said his province had spent roughly $60 million dealing with the problem since January. 'Morocco can't afford to pay that alone,' he said during a recent interview. Melilla's president, Juan José Imbroda Ortíz, blames the immigration policies of Spain's Socialist president, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Mr. Rodríguez offered amnesty earlier this year to up to 800,000 illegal immigrants, and Mr. Ortíz complained that there had been more than 30 mass attempts to scale Melilla's fence since then, compared with just five in the six previous years. The Spanish policies have also angered other European countries, particularly Germany, which has complained that they weaken all of Europe's immigration controls. Once in Spain, the migrants can travel throughout a 15-country zone without showing any papers. On a road leading south from Nador, small bands of men in tattered clothing, with bedrolls and water bottles strung over their shoulders with twine, walk through the night on their way back toward the Algerian border. Elhadje Ndiay, 40, stared with eyes wild from hunger and exhaustion at a passer-by who had stopped to talk. Mr. Ndiay left his wife and two sons in Senegal nearly a year ago and spent a month in the forests outside Melilla before trying to jump the fence. The first time, he was caught before he could reach the barrier. The second time, he made it to the fence with a homemade ladder when shooting began. He said hundreds of troops had chased the migrants through the forests. They took his money and cellphone, he said, but he escaped. 'We are going back to Algeria to work,' he said. 'Then we will come back and try again.'

Subject: Riots Spread From Paris
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:07:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/international/europe/06paris.html?ex=1288933200&en=77c56fdabdc8f1bd&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 6, 2005 Riots Spread From Paris to Other French Cities By CRAIG S. SMITH PARIS - Nighttime rioting arising from public housing developments continued to rage early Saturday, spreading to the outskirts of more cities and leaving the authorities frustrated by their inability to stop what many are calling France's worst civil unrest since the 1968 student revolts. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin met with eight of his ministers and a top Muslim official on Saturday, trying to find a way to break the chain of violent events. More than 1,000 vehicles and many buildings have been destroyed in the violence that began Oct. 27, with nearly 900 vehicles reported burned Friday night alone. Most of the unrest remained confined to immigrant neighborhoods surrounding Paris, where about 100 people were evacuated Friday night from two apartment blocks after an arson attack set dozens of cars alight in an underground garage. Rampaging youths have also attacked property in the southern cities of Toulouse and Nice, and in Lille and Rennes to the north. Hundreds of young people, including teenagers as young as 13, have been detained in the past 24 hours. Although the police have been unable to stop the violence because of its apparent spontaneity and lack of clear leaders, officials say they have also begun to detect efforts to coordinate action and spread it nationally. In remarks on Europe 1 Radio, the prosecutor general in Paris, Yves Bot, said Web sites were urging youths in other cities to join the rioting. The police said that for the first time they had deployed a helicopter to videotape incidents and coordinate with officers on the ground. Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim leaders led a march of about 2,000 people on Saturday morning in Aulnay-sous-Bois, one of the affected suburbs. The parents of two teenagers, whose accidental deaths while hiding from the police touched off the rioting, also issued a statement appealing for calm. Many see the violence as a test of wills between Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and the young, mostly French Arab rioters. Many immigrants and their children blame Mr. Sarkozy for alienating young people with the way he has pressed a zero-tolerance anticrime campaign, which features frequent police checks of French Arabs in poor neighborhoods. But he has ignored calls from many French Arabs to resign, and is keeping up the pressure. During a visit to a police command center west of Paris on Saturday, according to local news reports, he told officers, 'Arrests - that's the key.' Ironically, Mr. Sarkozy, himself a second-generation immigrant, has been one of the loudest champions of affirmative action and of relaxing rules that restrict government support for building mosques. The government has been embarrassed by its inability to quell the disturbances, which have called into question its unique integration model, which discourages recognizing ethnic, religious or cultural differences in favor of French unity. There is no affirmative action, for example, and religious symbols, like the Muslim veil, are banned in schools. 'The republican integration model, on which France has for decades based its self-perception, is in flames,' the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung declared. An editorial in Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung called the violence around Paris an 'intifada at the city gates,' a reference to the anti-Israeli uprising by Palestinians. The French approach to integration is one of three basic models in Europe, which has faced large-scale non-European immigration only in the postwar era. Germany and Austria pursued a now largely discredited 'guest worker' policy that was based on the notion that immigrants were temporary laborers who would eventually go home. But the guest workers did not go home, and their European-born children have begun demanding citizenship and equal rights. While it is still difficult to become a citizen in Germany, there has been a strong wave of naturalizations in recent years and children born there to foreign parents now receive citizenship at birth. Several hundred thousand Turkish Germans voted in the recent presidential elections. Britain has followed a policy closer to that of the United States, extending citizenship to newcomers and encouraging strong ethnic communities. Immigrants arriving from Commonwealth countries in the 1950's and 1960's enjoyed immediate voting rights until Margaret Thatcher put an end to the practice in 1981. But the law created politically powerful immigrant communities. France, too, has offered citizenship to its immigrants, but the process was slower, and many of the Algerians who arrived to work in the wake of their country's bitter war of independence against France were reluctant to take up French citizenship. Not until naturalizations became more common in the 1980's did immigrants and their adult children begin to develop political power. The country has tried to discourage 'ghettoization' by ignoring ethnic or religious differences and emphasizing French identity above all. Until the early 1980's, foreigners needed government approval to form associations, and while there are no restrictions now, the country provides little support for ethnic or religious-based organizations. But discrimination has flourished behind the oft-stated ideals, leaving immigrants and their French-born offspring increasingly isolated in government-subsidized apartment blocks to face high unemployment and dwindling hope for the future.

Subject: France Has an Underclass
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 05:50:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/weekinreview/06smith.html November 6, 2005 France Has an Underclass, but Its Roots Are Still Shallow By CRAIG S. SMITH PARIS — Just two months ago, the French watched in horrified fascination at the anarchy of New Orleans, where members of America's underclass were seen looting stores and defying the police in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Last week, as rioters torched cars and trashed businesses in the immigrant-concentrated suburbs of Paris, the images of wild gangs of young men silhouetted against the yellow flames of burning cars came as an unwelcome reminder for France that it has its own growing underclass. The coincidence of timing can be revealing - and deceptive. The corrosive gap between America's whites and its racial minorities, especially African-Americans, is the product of centuries: slavery, followed by cycles of poverty and racial exclusion that denied generation after generation the best the United States could offer. France, on the other hand, is only beginning to struggle with a much newer variant of the same problem: the fury of Muslims of North African descent who have found themselves caught for three generations in a trap of ethnic and religious discrimination. Even so, France is still low on the curve toward developing an entrenched, structural underclass - one that could breed extremism and lasting social problems. So far, while hundreds of cars and buses have been burned and dozens of businesses destroyed in violence that has spread to a dozen towns, most rioters appear to be teenage boys bent more on making the news than making a coherent political statement. 'It's a game of cowboys and Indians,' said Olivier Roy, a French scholar of European Islam. He is usually keen to warn Europeans of the potential danger posed by Islamists living among them. But in this case, he said, the danger is a long-range one. So far, he said, the attacks on the police and the torching of cars has less the character of a religious war than of 'a local sport, a rite of passage.' The violence, on the other hand, reflects something that any American who lived through the urban upheavals of the 1960's, or the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, might recognize: a dangerous degree of isolation felt by a growing segment of its population, especially its young. Although many Americans feel that their country still has a lot of work to do to close the gap between blacks and whites, the social protests and urban upheavals of the 1960's produced a stream of measures intended to increase political and economic opportunities rapidly for members of minority groups, and to stress the value of diversity to a democracy. By contrast, the French model has so far relied largely on expensive measures to keep poor Muslims fed, housed and educated, but has not effectively addressed the social or political isolation they feel from job and housing discrimination, and has actually limited their ability to define themselves as a political interest group. Affirmative action, a cornerstone of the American approach, has been a taboo here. Manuel Valls, a member of Parliament and mayor of Évry, a troubled suburb south of Paris that has seen its share of violence in the past few days, put it this way: 'We've combined the failure of our integration model with the worst effects of ghettoization, without a social ladder for people to climb.' 'In the U.S. and Britain, the communities help create opportunities for advancement,' he continued. But in France 'the state and the politicians have left the playing field open for a political-religious response - that's undeniable.' Still, because France's difficulties are relatively recent, it may have a chance to escape the depth of the American problems. For one thing, the physical conditions in these neighborhoods have not begun to rival poor urban areas in the United States. Even in the worst government housing developments, green lawns and neat flower beds break the monotony of the gray concrete. There are more than 700 such neighborhoods in the country, housing nearly five million people or about 8 percent of the population. The despair in these housing projects (called cités here) has been mitigated by better schools than those that serve poor, minority districts in the United States (education is financed nationally in France, rather than through local tax rolls) and by extensive welfare programs. Even when employed, a family of four living in a government-subsidized apartment typically pays only a few hundred dollars a month in rent and can receive more than $1,200 a month in various subsidies. The unemployed receive more. For all, health care and education are free. There is crime, but not nearly at the level of random violence feared in poor neighborhoods in American cities. Guns are tightly controlled and are still relatively rare. When a teenager was killed in a drive-by shooting in a Paris suburb this year, it made national headlines. The family unit among immigrants is still strong, as are ties to their homelands. But that tight social fabric is fraying as the second and now third generations of French-born immigrants come of age. On two levels, many young immigrants find themselves questioning where they really belong. They have weaker ties than their parents did to their ancestral countries, but they are also discovering that, contrary to what they have been taught in school, they are not fully French. That is one foundation of the fear among some experts that a structural underclass is emerging. Already, French-Arabs and French-Africans make up the majority of inmates in France's prisons, just as minorities make up a vastly disproportionate part of the American prison population. France's definition of citizenship also presents problems. While the United States stresses pluralism, France continues to discourage anything that could carve up the French body politic along ethnic lines; the word 'communautarisme,' which roughly translates as ghettoization, is known to all French as a destructive force that afflicts, most notably, the United States. It was only in 2003 that the French government encouraged the formation of an umbrella Islamic organization that could represent French Muslims in a dialogue with the state. The overall policy has only increased Muslim resentments by banning any form of affirmative action and by suppressing cultural expression in measures like forbidding Muslim girls to wear veils in school. As in the United States, most experts agree that in the long run, full employment would be the best way to solve the problems and accelerate integration. Here, the comparison between the history of American minority groups and those in France seems particularly close. The jobless rate among French-Arabs and French-Africans is as high as 30 percent in some neighborhoods, triple the national average. French-Arabs regularly claim that when identical résumés are submitted to an employer with an Arab name on one and a French name on another, the résumé with the French name will get the priority. That much, at least, may be changing. In March, President Jacques Chirac appointed the chairman of the automaker Renault, Louis Schweitzer, to head a council created to fight job and housing discrimination. The country is also engaged in a debate over whether to bend its laws to allow affirmative action in the job market. 'The picture of France as a country that doesn't want to recognize diversity - that's partially true,' said Patrick Weil, an expert on immigration and integration based in Paris for the German Marshall Fund. 'But there's a debate now about what steps should be taken to change that.'

Subject: Evolution Is in the Air
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 05:45:30 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/opinion/06judson.html November 6, 2005 Evolution Is in the Air By OLIVIA JUDSON London ANYONE who supposes that evolution doesn't happen, or doesn't matter, should spare a thought for H5N1, the virus causing avian flu. If we're unlucky, this virus will give us a nasty demonstration of evolution in action. Viruses are among the simplest parasites. They are essentially tiny parcels of genes that are mailed from one organism to another, either directly, through sneezes, feces, semen and the like, or indirectly, through carriers like insects. But these tiny parcels can mean big trouble: viruses reliably feature on nature's roster of top killers. The influenza virus that caused the infamous Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 had only eight genes - but it brought about more than 20 million human deaths. And alas, its lethality cannot be blithely attributed to wartime deprivation. For one thing, it was particularly deadly in young, healthy adults. For another, in a remarkable feat of genetic engineering, a team of biologists recently reconstructed the 1918 virus and used it to infect mice. The results are sobering. The 1918 virus is far, far more lethal in mice than are other human flu viruses. H5N1 also has eight genes (by way of comparison, humans have about 20,000). So far, the virus's effects have been more modest than those of the 1918 influenza: it has killed a lot of birds and about 60 people. That's still worrying, however, because it has killed more than half of the people it has infected. For a virus, that is a high death toll. At the moment, the virus cannot pass easily from one person to another. But there are a couple of ways it could evolve to do so. The virus might infect someone already sick with a strain of human flu, and the two viruses could have sex, thus creating a new virus that contains some genes from each. Such viral hanky-panky is thought to have led to the flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968. Or the virus could mutate - acquire accidental changes to its genetic material - in such a way that it becomes able to travel between people. Mutations to an avian flu virus are thought to lie behind the 1918 pandemic. Sex and mutation: these are not special processes reserved for viruses. They are two fundamental mechanisms of evolutionary invention. Mutations alter the information content of genes; sex shuffles the pack, generating new gene combinations. They sound simple, and they are - but don't let that deceive you. Simple processes can have great power. After all, a few mutations to a bird virus could - in the absence of a vaccine - mean the difference between 60 people dead and several million. Now that we can sequence genes and genomes, we know precisely how evolutionary changes accumulate. We know the differences between a fruit fly and a mosquito, between a human and a chimpanzee, between a virus that kills chickens and a virus that kills people. We can see which genes have been changing quickly and which have hardly changed at all. We can see which genes cause populations to diverge and then split into new species. What is more, with genes and genomes we can supersede the often patchy fossil record to look back in time. One day, when the crocodile has joined the chicken in having had its genome sequenced, we'll be able to compare birds and crocodiles - the two closest living relations of Tyrannosaurus and company - and conduct evolutionary detective work, using their genomes to infer the genome of a dinosaur. But the most important point is this: viruses and other pathogens evolve in ways that we can understand and, to some extent, predict. Whether it's preventing a flu pandemic or tackling malaria, we can use our knowledge of evolutionary processes in powerful and practical ways, potentially saving the lives of tens of millions of people. So let's not strip evolution from the textbooks, or banish it from the class, or replace it with ideologies born of wishful thinking. If we do, we might find ourselves facing the consequences of natural selection. Olivia Judson is an evolutionary biologist at Imperial College in London.

Subject: Who Is America's Next Top Model
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 05:42:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/fashion/sundaystyles/06model.html November 6, 2005 Who Is America's Next Top Model, Really? By GUY TREBAY THE only authentic mystery behind who will come out on top each season on the UPN hit 'America's Next Top Model' may be how Americans can be willingly gulled into thinking that the result of this deliciously kooky weekly confection is a cliffhanger. Each Wednesday a challenge is posed: Is Nik too shy or Kim too butch or Nicole too passive-aggressive or Lisa too quirky (and sloshed) to make it in the cutthroat world of high fashion modeling? Why, it is a puzzle to test the mettle of Malibu Barbie! The truth at the core of this least-real reality series, now in its fifth season and with nearly five million viewers from the coveted demographic of women age 18 to 34, is that the winner is never Nik or Kim or Nicole or Lisa. It is Tyra Banks, the show's host and producer, a Victoria's Secret beauty with a snap queen's attitude and the entrepreneurial chops of Donald Trump. 'I see girls sitting on the No. 4 train to Brooklyn saying, 'Omigod, I have to get home because the Tyra show is on,' ' said Wayne Sterling, the editor of Models.com, a slick Web site that obsessively rates model status. 'The show has become their spectrum, a Midwest, middle-of-the-road simulation of what the business is like.' What is not apparent to legions of modeling hopefuls, either on the show or out in TV land, is something that modeling business insiders like Nian Fish, creative director of the fashion production house KCD, tend to laugh about. In an industry that is indeed fairly cutthroat, the women who appear on 'America's Next Top Model' would have a tough time wedging a flip-flop in the door of most agencies. There are a few good, simple reasons why the competitors on 'America's Next Top Model' will not become America's next top model, insiders say. For starters they are generally too old to succeed in a field where much of the talent, like the current teenage Australian star Gemma Ward, is recruited out of middle school, explained Cathy Gould, the director of Elite models. And even though, by ordinary standards, the bodies of cast members on the reality show are unobjectionable, they are too plump to succeed in a business where eating disorders are no hindrance to success. In an ironic way, though, the most serious strike against the women may be, like their beauty itself, an unalterable accident of birth. They are American. 'You just can't sell an American model right now because editors completely don't appreciate them,' explained James Scully, a casting agent responsible for discovering many of the quirky, provocative sexpots who helped mold the image of Gucci during the stellar Tom Ford years. 'Americans are just not in.' By American, Mr. Scully meant someone with looks that match traditional American stereotypes. That means clear-skinned women with small, even features and strapping bodies; blondes like Christie Brinkley, Kim Alexis or Lauren Hutton, to name three whose faces dominated magazine covers in the 1970's and 80's; patrician-looking brunettes like Lisa Taylor and Dayle Haddon; or women like Beverly Johnson, whose uncomplicated good looks set a commercial standard for black models once considered hard to employ except as 'exotic' types. Five years ago, answering the question of who, in fact, is America's top model would have been easy: she was a Brazilian. The platoon of pillow-lipped and long-limbed beauties led by Gisele Bündchen appeared so abruptly on the scene that it seemed as though Brazil was some unknown planet suddenly discovered by astronomers combing the cosmic beauty-sphere. The Brazilians quickly came to dominate the worlds of high-paying runway work, along with magazine advertising and editorial assignments that compose the trifecta of a successful career. A top model who wins in all three areas - special bonus awarded for landing a contract as the face of a cosmetics line - can sometimes earn many millions annually, of which roughly 15 percent is kicked back to her agency. Although fashion gives the illusion of being a global business, New York remains the hub for all the largest modeling and advertising agencies and also mass circulation magazines. And it is still the center of image creation, editorial clout and behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing. Inevitably, whoever is destined to become the Next Big Thing will have to make it here. When the Brazilians' moment in the sun faded, those women were supplanted by Belgians, a raft of wan types with odd all-vowel names, Memling foreheads and what Ms. Fish of KCD described as 'strong walks.' Elise Crombez, for instance, still a reliable presence on the catwalks after several years, often took to the runway with the clipped efficiency of a dental technician late to assist ona root canal. That the reign of the Belgians was so brief had its roots less in changing tastes than the relaxation of international borders. Two years into the hegemony of Ms. Crombez, An Oost, Delfine Bafort and their cohorts, a horde of upstarts swarmed out of the backwaters and satellites of the former Soviet Union seemingly to take over the business. The gates fell as fast as walls and borders had and suddenly teenage giantesses with attenuated limbs and tiny doll heads thronged the runways: lunar blond Latvians, sultry Romanians, pouting Ukrainians and Estonians with flaxen hair and the pale translucence of preemies. If in a sense they all looked unnervingly alike, they were also everywhere. They still are. 'There are so many of them out there because they're dying to get out and they really have the hunger,' explained Ivan Bart, the president of IMG, the industry's top agency. 'It's like they've scrubbed floors back home, watched kids, sold fruit for a living. They want to be models. They're willing to do what it takes, to stand on one foot for 10 hours.' Still, none of these girls, the Hanas and Tiuus and Ingunas and Snejanas, could be deemed America's current top model, or thought of as approaching name-brand celebrity in the way that Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington or Helena Christensen once did in the 1990's heyday of the supermodel. The slippage can be pegged, in part, to the usual turns in the wheel of fashion and also to the relentless onset of a celebrity culture that keeps editors tyrannized by focus-group polls according to which the least interesting starlet trumps the most glamorous model when it comes to newsstand sales. 'Vogue and Bazaar still believe that all anyone cares about is celebrity,' said Mr. Scully, the casting agent. 'Vogue is going to run a cover of Sienna Miller,' he said of the magazine's December issue, referring to the young actress whose most compelling role seems to be her part as the wronged woman in a sloppy tabloid affair involving a bosomy nanny and Jude Law. 'As far as most Americans are concerned, this woman is famous for dating a man who made three flops in a row,' Ms. Scully said. 'She's roadkill but these editors still insist that she can sell more magazines than a picture of Daria.' Mr. Scully was referring to Daria Werbowy, a model who has been parked, with the brake on, in the No. 1 position on Models.com for months. If anyone qualifies as America's top model right now, it is clearly this 23-year-old tomboy with a rag doll body and a highly pronounced overbite - who comes, it should be noted, from Canada. With a multiyear contract for Lancôme beauty products, campaigns for YSL and Chanel and a runway record that saw her working no fewer than 80 shows one season (for as much as $10,000 per show), she is undoubtedly at the top of her game. So obviously does she lead the pack that, when Ms. Werbowy sat out the spring 2006 runway season in New York, Paris and Milan, her absence had a Garbo effect. It set people whispering about whether Ms. Werbowy had dumped the business, followed Kate Moss into rehab or just disappeared. 'Where is Daria?' became a mantra in front rows at Prada, Gucci, Cavalli, Fendi and Chanel shows, where Ms. Werbowy's feline looks and swaying gait over the past few seasons have added a dash of personality to events that often seem populated by goose-walking corpse brides like the Russian Sasha Pivovarova or strobe-stunned Bambis like Hana Soukupova, a painfully thin teenager from the Czech Republic who is so clearly uneasy in public that it sometimes seems as if an unseen puppeteer is handling her strings. As it happened, Ms. Werbowy gave the runway season a pass in order to film a campaign for Lancôme, but her brief absence gave rise to speculation about who might be next in line atop the model sweepstakes. Where will the real woman come from to claim the prize that 4.7 million viewers of 'America's Next Top Model' believe may go to one of the show's pretty but delusional prospects? 'It's always a cycle and the cycle always changes around,' Mr. Bart of IMG said optimistically. 'Look at Hillary Rhoda,' he added, referring to the 19-year-old with the poise and classic patrician looks of a Fitzgerald heroine. For the spring 2006 season, which ended last month, Mr. Bart took Ms. Rhoda, a leggy brunette and a former field hockey player from Chevy Chase, Md., on the rounds of international casting calls. It was Ms. Rhoda's first season in the business.' I told people 'I've got this great new girl' and I schlepped her to all the top designers,' Mr. Bart said. 'And everywhere I went, everybody humored me and looked at me like I had lost my mind.' In New York and then in Milan, the reception for Ms. Rhoda's All American beauty was underwhelming. Yet then in Paris, in a Horatio Alger twist that would do Ms. Banks proud, Ms. Rhoda was taken to see Nicolas Ghesquiere, the Balenciaga designer and an influential figure. Mr. Ghesquiere immediately chose Ms. Rhoda to walk in his show. And after that, the former Roman Catholic schoolgirl who had been yawned out of appointments with most major designers found herself booked for every blue chip show in town: Dior, Chanel, Chloé, Rochas, YSL and Valentino, where she had the distinction of being the first model on the ramp. When Ms. Rhoda was cast by Marc Jacobs for the Louis Vuitton presentation, it was as if she had received the modeling equivalent of a papal nod. 'I call the way Marc makes models the Pygmalian effect,' Ms. Fish of KCD said. Whether a banner season for one young mannequin augurs a major taste shift in the modeling business and perhaps even a return to what some forecast as a resurgence of classic American sportswear it seems early to predict. 'Does it mean we're going to see a comeback for American models?' Mr. Bart asked. 'Who knows? But I can tell you that nobody but nobody wanted Hillary until Paris, and then Nicolas cast her. And then suddenly this whole American in Paris thing kicked in and she was totally, totally the top girl of the week.'

Subject: Northern Saw-whet Owl with Mouse
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 19:09:07 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5822&exhibition=7&u=99|6|... Northern Saw-whet Owl with Mouse New York City--Central Park, The Ramble.

Subject: An Old-Fashioned American Standby
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 11:49:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/02/dining/02joan.html?ex=1288587600&en=d37d644b7d8b921a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 2, 2005 An Old-Fashioned American Standby, Fish Sauce and All By JOAN NATHAN IN my youth, chicken was simple. Usually, it was served on Friday night. Bought whole or cut up to order by local butchers, it was either roasted; baked with a cornflake coating; served cacciatore or à la king; or, as a real treat, Southern-fried. For guests, my mother might prepare chicken with curry, that exotic spice. And on Sunday night there was chicken chop suey at a Chinese restaurant. Chicken remains the great international comfort food. But as the new world of flavor has evolved over the last 40 years, the simple chicken may have changed more than anything else on the American dinner table. There's now an infinite variety of recipes, thanks to immigration and ambitious chefs, and an increasing diversity of chicken itself, thanks to innovative farmers. According to Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms, in 1970 most chickens were sold whole. 'In those days the butcher would cut up the parts for you,' he told me. 'Ninety percent of the chickens were roasted. Now 10 percent are left whole for roasting.' In the old days you could ask the butcher for the feet for soup; if you were lucky, you might get unlaid yolks left inside the chicken, too. Call it the McNugget Factor. Chicken producers are not only cutting up our chickens, they are boning and skinning them, jobs once left to the neighborhood butcher. The good news is that with increased concerns about health and the growing organic movement, chickens raised compassionately - allowed to roam free, with minimal antibiotics - are available almost everywhere. They are much tastier than the wan-looking birds often found in supermarkets, well worth the higher cost. One of the chicken innovators I have visited is Sylvia Pryzant of Four Story Hill Farm, in Honesdale, Pa. She is known for milk- and corn-fed chickens, which she learned to raise in France. Ms. Pryzant delivers them to chefs like Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Tom Colicchio. 'We are working with an exclusive clientele who have seen everything,' Ms. Pryzant, who was born in Tunisia, said in a soft French accent. 'I am very proud of what the bird does on the farm. The feed is natural, not organic. You don't have to be organic to produce something good. You just have to raise a beautiful animal that blossoms.' For Ms. Pryzant, nothing is as good as a roast chicken sprinkled with the spice mix za'atar and stuffed with garlic, thyme, rosemary and preserved lemon. After peeking into kitchens around the country over the past few years I have dozens of versions of chicken, from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia, dishes flavored with lemon grass, sake, fish sauce and cumin-based spice mixes like those made by Badia. My former neighbor Nahid Mohamadi, from Iran, makes fesenjan, a scrumptious chicken stew made with walnuts and pomegranates. 'When I came to America in 1968 as a young bride I craved Persian fesenjan,' Ms. Mohamadi said. 'There weren't any Iranian restaurants in Detroit where I lived, so I had to recreate it in my imagination and in letters from my mother.' It has also become more tempting to have others cook chicken for us. Su-Mei Yu opened a Thai chicken carryout called Saffron in San Diego in 1985. 'Today she is one of our icons,' said Samuel L. Popkin, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego. 'Su-Mei is well into her millionth chicken. If you went on a picnic and you had Saffron chicken, you would be in heaven.' Even mainstream chicken places have changed. In Great Neck, N.Y., 'We're having Poultry Mart for dinner!' is a familiar cry. Started by the Honig family as a wholesale market in 1950, Poultry Mart began roasting chickens at the beginning. Its current menu has chicken in nearly every form. It lists chicken pot pies, Brazilian spiced chicken and chicken chimichurri. The Honig family now uses organic, minimally processed birds, delivered each day. Chicken is usually on the Sunday table of Xa and Xia Vang in St. Paul, Minn. - for as many as 60 people from four generations. Three generations of women in this Hmong family were in the kitchen when I visited. Toddlers were toddling, men were sitting and talking, and phones were ringing. The Hmong, a mountain people living in East Asia, assisted United States forces during the Vietnam War. After the Communist takeover, they came to this country in great numbers. One of the dishes the Vangs served was a chicken curry without curry powder, a spicy but subtle stew of fresh vegetables, coconut milk, lime leaves and hot pepper. Chicken for dinner, even for my 92-year-old mother, has certainly come a long way.

Subject: Fed Nominee May Need New Weapons
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 08:40:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/business/04fed.html November 4, 2005 To Fight Rising Prices, Fed Nominee May Need New Weapons By LOUIS UCHITELLE Early in his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan declared that the risk of too much inflation was so considerable that he would 'err more on the side of restrictiveness than of stimulus.' And he meant it. At his very first meeting, in August 1987, Mr. Greenspan established his inflation-fighting credentials by pushing up short-term interest rates in response to only a modest rise in consumer prices, a move that contributed to the stock market crash just two months later. Ben S. Bernanke, who is expected to take over at the Fed in February, will almost certainly echo Mr. Greenspan's step, raising rates at his first meeting next year, in part to demonstrate his commitment, too, to keeping inflation under control. But for all the similarities of their actions upon taking office, Mr. Bernanke faces a fundamentally different set of circumstances than those that Mr. Greenspan confronted 18 years ago. 'Inflation is clearly not right around the corner like it used to be,' said Edward M. Gramlich, until recently a Fed governor and now interim provost at the University of Michigan. 'The relationships are different, and Mr. Bernanke is going to have to figure them out.' Perhaps the biggest differences are the rise of global production, as well as much easier access to capital, particularly from abroad. Adding to the change is labor's weaker bargaining power. These factors have combined to greatly diminish the force of old-style inflation in which demand outran supply, pushing prices ever higher, and wages, too, until the Fed put the brakes on the economy. Instead, a new style of inflation has emerged as one of the principal threats to the economy. It is evident in the stock market bubble of the late 1990's and in surging home prices in this decade. This asset price spiral, as it is called, has proved much more resistant to the Fed's standard interest rate tool than traditional inflation. Mr. Bernanke, for his part, is known as an advocate of inflation targeting, a technique for adjusting interest rates with the aim of keeping traditional inflationary pressures within a limited range. He has also asserted, like Mr. Greenspan, that he does not intend to use interest rates prematurely to puncture an asset bubble. But he has signaled a readiness to use a different set of tools to fight the new inflation, and in this he departs from Mr. Greenspan. What lifts asset prices, Mr. Bernanke and others argue, is the willingness of lenders to offer riskier types of loans, which 'juice up the housing market and are not very responsive to interest rates,' as Mark Zandi, chief economist at the research firm Economy.com, put it. Lenders can engage in riskier loans because they have developed techniques in recent years that make it far easier for them to shed their vulnerability to risk, doing so mainly by shifting the risk of default to others. The lenders operate in sophisticated markets that allow thousands of individual investors to purchase a slice of the original loan, and a slice of the risk. In the past, the danger of default as rates rose tended to discourage lenders from making overly risky loans. The lender, often a bank, kept the loan and bore all the risk. Mr. Bernanke, in response to the risk shifting, has raised the possibility of limiting the dangers through the use of regulations - microregulatory policy, he calls it. 'There are two ways to approach bubbles: one is interest rate policy, the other is microregulatory policy,' he said in a little noted interview published last year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. 'Microregulatory policy is the much better approach, in my view,' Mr. Bernanke said. Pursuing his point, he added: 'Research on historical episodes suggests that large asset price increases are sometimes preceded by credit booms. In many cases, this pattern results from the fact that the country in question deregulated its banking system, giving banks extra powers, but did not enhance the supervisory structure adequately at the same time.' The surge in oil and gas prices is another big source of inflation that Mr. Greenspan did not have to deal with in his early days as chairman, and through most of his tenure. Many economists argue that rising interest rates are a double-edged sword under such circumstances. They note that higher fuel prices do not blunt the demand for petroleum products. Rather than cut back on purchases of gasoline and heating oil, consumers offset the rising cost by cutting back first on other purchases: automobiles and appliances, for example. That slows the economy. Rising interest rates encourage this cutback, slowing the economy even more. 'Whereas in 1987, it was clear that the way to combat inflation was to raise interest rates,' said Brian Sack, a senior economist at Macroeconomic Advisers who once wrote a research paper with Mr. Bernanke, 'today the Fed's policy makers have to be cognizant that the higher energy prices are slowing the economy' on their own. Not that Mr. Bernanke would be less diligent than Mr. Greenspan in resorting to interest rates to prevent inflationary expectations from creeping back into consumer and business behavior. That happens when prices rise unchecked, as they did during the oil shocks of the 1970's, encouraging people to buy more to avoid paying higher prices later. The stepped-up demand only encourages more price increases, and then wage increases to keep up with the price increases, until the Fed, in response, pushes interest rates so high that the economy is knocked flat on its back and demand finally is punctured. Paul A. Volcker took this route as Fed chairman in the 1980's; so did his successor, Mr. Greenspan, who pushed up rates to nearly 10 percent in his first three years, helping to provoke the early 90's recession, which further reduced the inflation rate. Mr. Bernanke has no intention of reversing these gains. 'Inflation-averse central bankers,' he said in a speech last fall, while he was serving as a Fed governor, before shifting to chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, are 'likely to contribute to increased central bank credibility and hence better policy outcomes.' But his world is different from Mr. Volcker's and Mr. Greenspan's. They dealt with a more closed, less global economy. If the nation's manufacturers were running their factories flat out, using all their productive capacity, and were still unable to meet demand, the shortages were considered inflationary. That made capacity utilization a much-discussed concept in Mr. Greenspan's early days. It is now rarely mentioned, for good reason. The output - the capacity - of other countries pours into the United States. In 1987, factories in this country supplied nearly 95 percent of what Americans consumed; today they furnish less than 80 percent. Another pillar of old-time inflation was wage pressure that intensified as unemployment fell. Not long after Mr. Greenspan became chairman, the jobless rate dropped below 6 percent and kept falling, a traditional signal that a shortage of workers would give them leverage to negotiate higher wages. Economists argued endlessly about how low the unemployment rate could go before inflation began to accelerate, pushed along by rising wages. They referred to this balancing act as the nonaccelerating inflation rate of unemployment, another economic concept seldom mentioned today. The trade-off reflected labor shortages that have since diminished as additional production of goods and services has shifted abroad, in effect globalizing the nation's labor supply. The unemployment rate has held below 5.5 percent since February, but instead of rising, median wages - adjusted for inflation - have fallen. The Fed's policy makers also responded much more in the late 80's to what they perceived as a potential shortage of capital. The concern was that American investors could not easily finance the Reagan administration's rising budget deficit and also the credit needs of the private sector. The competition for the limited supply of funds came to be known as 'crowding out,' another concept now discarded as foreigners, particularly the Chinese, pour their savings into Treasury securities. In 1987, 15 percent of all Treasuries were owned by foreigners; today 45 percent are. 'It may have been the case,' Mr. Gramlich said, 'that when the Fed tightened, the higher rates would crowd out some investment. Now you don't have that effect. Rates rise and you suck in more capital.' To be sure, the gradual shift to a more global economy and the vast expansion of global capital markets have not left the central bank with no inflation to fight. But the dynamics have changed. 'Sometimes people ignore the rest of the world and think of the United States as an isolated island,' said Alan S. Blinder, an economist at Princeton University and a Fed governor in the Greenspan era. 'That is clearly incorrect. 'Or you can view the United States as a big cork bobbing in a figurative sea that is the global economy,' Mr. Blinder added. 'That is also incorrect.'

Subject: The real measure of wealth - Not GLD
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 07:26:50 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I remember someone saying real wealth was the measure of resources a country/business had and the ability of its citizens/workers to put them to productive use for the benefit of all. It seems here in america we are not staying competitive. We are still a nation of great resources but not as effective as other countries in putting them to use on the global market. A dollar devaluation may help. Also I believe ineterest rates are very ineffective compared to 20 years ago - derivatives and globalization have changed the game. Foreigners and FCB's control our dollar value now - when they no longer want it, it will fall - perhaps fast and hard - the fed will just stand by and watch. This should not be something we fight, I agree with richard benson, sacrifice the dollar at the altar and become competitive again. As Terri said about the british and french dollars - this will help ease tension. As Pete says - invest perhaps expecting a large decline in the value of the dollar over the coming years. My fundamental problem with GOLD is that right now I can take capital and allocate to companies in the nanotech or biotech field that can do research and make the world a better place for all of us. Or even take capital and allocate to community colleges and education programs to make better citizens. Buying GOLD however - doesn't seem to do much for mankind universally even though personally it may make me rich in monetary wealth. For this reason last year I sold my GOLD. Now you see NY Times showing the bad effects of gold mining on people - I am not so sure this is not propoganda from higher powers to make people hate this industry. Seems the timing of these articles is funny - however I agree with thier thrust no matter the propoganda. Buying GOLD and having a world where people value that as a mechanism for trade may seem SAFE to some - but fundamentally I don't see how allocating our capital towards shiny metal does much for making people live longer, happier lives.

Subject: Tutor's Hand in Applicant's Essay
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 08:37:43 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/02/nyregion/02essay.html November 2, 2005 Detecting Tutor's Hand in Applicant's Essay By KATE STONE LOMBARDI It is the bane of college admissions officers: the highly polished, professionally edited personal essay that barely reflects the thinking or writing, let alone the personality, of a 17-year-old high school student. 'If it sounds like it was written by a 42-year-old attorney, chances are it was written by a 42-year-old attorney,' said Lee Stetson, dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. Now colleges have a new tool to help them discern how much help students are getting on their applications: the SAT. Since March, the SAT has included a 25-minute essay section. When reviewing an application, colleges can easily download the test essay from the College Board, obtaining a sample of the student's unedited writing. Many colleges say they plan to do so, at least in cases where there are questions about a student's writing aptitude. In a survey of 374 top colleges and universities conducted by Kaplan, the test preparation company, 58 percent said they would use the SAT essay to evaluate whether students had received outside help on their application essays in cases where there appeared to be discrepancies in the applicants' writing levels. Thirteen percent said they would compare the essays for all applicants. 'What that is saying is, 'We know there are a lot of cooks in the soup on these application essays, and we want to make sure that the writing that you are able to produce on your own can keep up with that polished writing,' ' said Jennifer Caran, national director for SAT and ACT programs for Kaplan. Dan Saracino, the assistant provost at the University of Notre Dame, said that when the first batch of the March SAT's became available, he went online to look at the writing samples. 'I did compare the online written essay and the personal essay, and you can see the connection, and you can see when it's a forced style that's been taught by a tutor,' Mr. Saracino said. At Notre Dame, not every applicant's SAT essay will be reviewed, but the test may well be downloaded when there are questions about writing ability, Mr. Saracino said. Given the volume of college applications, the two writing samples will not be routinely compared at most schools. But in an increasingly competitive market, the essays of borderline students are more likely to be reviewed. 'We will use them on an individual basis as we need to use them,' said Marlyn McGrath Lewis, director of admissions at Harvard College. 'If we wanted to get a better sense of how somebody actually expressed something in his or her own words, we certainly know where we could go to extend our understanding.' Harvard is aware that some applicants get much more help than others on their applications, Ms. McGrath Lewis said. 'At Harvard, we try very hard not to over-reward extra preparation,' she said. 'We try not to base the admissions decision on someone being the perfectly buffed-up applicant.' Margit A. Dahl, the director of undergraduate admissions at Yale, said the university had no intention of reviewing 20,000 SAT essays. But in instances where there is a question about writing - for example, if a personal essay is well written, but the writing score on the SAT is low - admissions officers may download the SAT essay. 'You can certainly tell if there are serious grammatical glitches in the essay that was written in 25 minutes, and that means that without help, this student has some real trouble with writing,' Ms. Dahl said. Some argue that comparing the two essays is unfair. A student has far more time to polish an application essay than to burnish a 25-minute response. But educators make the case that basic writing and organizational skills should be consistent between the two samples. 'Schools recognize that this is a first draft and not polished work,' said Ms. Caran of Kaplan, a former English teacher. 'They want to get a sense of the students' innate writing abilities, to understand the students' thought processes and ability to express themselves, and whether that expression of thought is compatible with what they are saying in the application.' Complex sentence structure, the proper use of advanced vocabulary and clear expression should all be consistent between the two samples, she said. But even a student's work on an SAT essay can be coached, as Ms. Caran points out. Students can be taught how to write a persuasive essay under time pressure, using organizational tips and practice, she said. But admissions officers say they can see through that, too. 'You can see the canned responses,' said Mr. Saracino, of Notre Dame. 'It doesn't take a rocket scientist to identify that this is a pat response that is a result of Kaplan.'

Subject: Speaking in the Third Person
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:56:56 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/health/psychology/01case.html?ex=1288501200&en=90f9f62db9d46d51&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 1, 2005 Speaking in the Third Person, Removed From Reality By KEITH ABLOW, M.D. Almost from the moment he walked into my office, something bothered me about my 18-year-old patient, Mark, sent to see me by his parents after they found marijuana and steroids in his bedroom. He was tall and muscular, with tousled, dirty-blonde hair, outfitted in a faded T-shirt emblazoned with the words 'Sunset Strip,' distressed jeans made to look threadbare at midthigh and along the edges of the pockets and a 70's retro leather choker with a few clay beads on it. A shiny silver bolt pierced his left brow. He shook my hand and introduced himself with a smile, then sat down in the suede armchair opposite me, his legs outstretched, his ankles crossed. 'So tell me what's going on,' I said. 'I'm in a serious jam, man,' he said. 'I think I need rehab to get my life back. You know?' He didn't sound upset about it. 'What have you lost?' I asked him. 'Got two weeks?' He chuckled. 'I'm listening.' 'I don't know if I ought to head to rehab or really go deep into analysis with you or what,' he said. 'Or maybe we just go the Prozac route.' 'You think you're depressed?' I asked. 'Hard to say.' He shrugged. 'I'm kind of like the quiet guy who goes to the gym, you know, keeps to himself, maybe hooks up with a girl here and there, but doesn't make a big deal of it. He's, like, sort of on the outside looking in, never letting anything get him too down.' Mark's lapse into the third person - 'He's ... on the outside, looking in' - helped me realize what had disturbed me about him from the start. He seemed fake, as if playing a role. He showed no anxiety or sadness or anger. He spoke in clichés. I'm in a ... jam. I need ... to get my life back. Got two weeks? His hair looked intentionally messy. Everything about him, down to his carefully chosen, probably pricey, 'worn out' clothing felt scripted. I have treated several other teenagers this year who display a similar kind of profound detachment from self. It is a kind of identity disorder I believe has its roots in a society that has drifted free from reality and is creating adolescents (and, I would venture, people of many ages) who are at most participant-observers in their own lives, with little genuine emotion - like actors playing themselves. The signs and symptoms of this identity disorder are everywhere. Teenagers are embracing lies on a wholesale (and retail) scale. They not only buy clothing made to look old when it is new, but they buy T-shirts emblazoned with logos from bars and bait shops and resorts they have never visited, and that sometimes don't exist at all. More and more, they use illicit substances and alcohol to keep their genuine feelings at bay. They use steroids (and plastic surgery) to alter their appearances and athletic abilities. Their self-esteem floats ever higher, untethered even when their academic performance and family relationships and prospects for the future sink to new lows. They pierce themselves and tattoo themselves and have sex more and earlier, in what I see as desperate efforts to anchor themselves to some sort of reality - the reality of the flesh. If a teenager can feel a steel bolt through her tongue move whenever she speaks, at least she knows she inhabits her own body, even if she doubts her own soul. If she can use low-cut jeans or a glimpse of thong underwear to attract glances from boys around her, at least she knows she occupies space and time at the center of their attention. The soil for this detachment from self has been sown for decades, partly by psychiatry itself. By not opposing vigorously enough the dangerous myth that psychoactive medications are a complete answer to depression and anxiety, we have allowed the idea to take root that we need not heed our emotions as evidence of life crises with real and crucial meaning, that we should turn off our inner voices and 'listen to Prozac,' instead. The growth of technology has cleaved us from the reality of self, as well. We say that we are 'going' places on the Internet without ever leaving the room. In elaborate Internet-based games, people pay thousands of dollars to own 'real estate' that isn't real at all. We watch newscasters (who increasingly could double as models or comedians) report on terrible tragedies, then shift gears and joke about the weather or a baseball game. And we learn to mirror them, to respond to our own losses like channels we can change. We can wage wars that kill tens of thousands of people with 'smart' bombs. But we see little, if any, blood. And we can count the dead between episodes of our favorite sitcoms. We sit still for a cloudy sense of whether our president was elected to his first term. Then the president in the television drama 'West Wing' delivers a political statement about the war in Iraq, and people actually pay attention. A senator appears as himself in the film 'Traffic,' in which Michael Douglas is the nation's drug czar. Unless Mr. Douglas really is ... The trouble with all this is that the truth always wins. Reality will not be frustrated forever. You have to pay back emotional debt, like the national debt, with interest. A crushing major depression lies in wait for Mark, if I fail to help him face whatever demons from the past drove him away from reality, to drugs. Ever-increasing rates of substance abuse and attention-deficit disorder and depression lie in wait for adolescents emerging into adulthood. And, in not many decades, our nation's sense of itself will, inescapably, depend on theirs.

Subject: But Will It Stop Cancer?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:54:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/science/01canc.html?ex=1288501200&en=6b1910c8d232f318&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 1, 2005 But Will It Stop Cancer? By GINA KOLATA Bernyce Edwards's daughter was 42 in 1997 when she died of breast cancer. It was just 69 days from diagnosis to death. And through her shock and grief, Ms. Edwards had a terrible worry: what if she got breast cancer, too? 'That's my biggest fear,' she said. So, to protect herself, she has taken up exercise. And not just any exercise. This 73-year-old woman has turned into an exercise zealot. She walks, she runs, she leaves her house in Bellingham, Wash., as early as 5 a.m. and spends an hour every day, rain or shine, putting in the miles on the trails and around a lake. But will her efforts help? Medical researchers agree that, at the very least, regular exercise can make people feel better and feel better about themselves. There is less agreement on whether it can also prevent cancer. But for two types, the evidence is promising: breast cancer and cancer of the colon. Other cancers have not been studied, or the studies that have been done have yielded little evidence that exercise can help. Even for breast and colon cancer, further confirmation is needed. Researchers who are enthusiastic about a cancer-exercise connection also caution against too much enthusiasm. Exercise is like a seat belt, says Dr. Anne McTiernan of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, a co-author of 'Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer.' 'It's not a guarantee, but it can reduce your risk,' Dr. McTiernan said. 'The negative side is when a person says, 'The reason I got cancer is that I didn't exercise.' That's the problem.' Dr. Brian Henderson, dean of the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, knows just where the idea that exercise might prevent breast cancer came from. It was an extrapolation from an observation, and from the start it was filled with untested assumptions. He knows this, Dr. Henderson said, because it included work that originated with his research group. He began with the observation that exercise could affect when girls started to menstruate. For menstruation to begin, girls must be eating more calories than they burn, Dr. Henderson said. Adolescent girls who exercise strenuously often do not eat enough to make up for the extra calories they are using, and as a result, they may start menstruating later than more sedentary girls. Researchers also knew that the older a girl was when she started to menstruate, the lower her risk of eventually developing breast cancer, Dr. Henderson said, and 'that's where the idea came from that exercise might affect risk for breast cancer.' The question was whether they could document it. Dr. Henderson knew the problems with such studies. 'It's hard to measure exercise,' he said. Researchers can ask people to recall how much they exercised, but their answers may not be accurate. And it is almost impossible to account for incidental activities, like walking up a flight of stairs, that can cause one person to get more total daily exercise than another. 'We all go around in circles: isn't there a better way to measure this?' Dr. Henderson said. Another problem for researchers is the timing of exercise. Is it important throughout life? Only in young adulthood? Or is it as effective to start to exercise in middle age, when breast cancer risk rises? The best test of the exercise hypothesis would be to assign thousands of people randomly either to exercise or not exercise and then follow them for years, keeping track of cancer diagnoses as they occur. But, researchers say, not only would such a study be expensive - the exercise groups would need constant support, and researchers would have to monitor how much they were exercising - but volunteers would be unlikely to comply with their assigned regimens. Telling someone to exercise or to remain sedentary for years is not like telling her to take a pill. The alternative is to look at populations of people who did or did not exercise and try to correct for factors that might be linked to exercise and to cancer. Exercisers might be thinner, for example, and if they had a lower incidence of breast cancer it might be body weight, not exercise, that was responsible. Study after study was conducted: some found small protective effects of exercise on breast cancer; others found none. Now, in Dr. Henderson's opinion, there is no point in continuing to ask the same question in the same ways. 'We've pretty much settled the issue that there is a small effect,' he said. The effect, Dr. Henderson added, is so small, that even if it is real, it makes little difference to an individual woman. In one of his studies, the effect of exercise was so small that if he took into account alcohol consumption - which has been associated with a slightly increased breast cancer risk - the exercise effect went away. 'If you are going to exercise, there are other good reasons,' Dr. Henderson says. 'But protection from breast cancer is not one of them.' Dr. McTiernan has a different view. Instead of continuing to ask if there is a correlation between exercise and breast cancer, she said, she has been asking, 'What are the biochemical changes that occur with exercise and could they affect a woman's risk?' In Dr. McTiernan's studies, she randomly assigned overweight postmenopausal women to exercise for an hour a day, six days a week, or not to exercise. And she kept track of the levels of sex hormones - estrogens and androgens - in their blood. After menopause, women's estrogens and androgens are mostly synthesized by an enzyme in body fat. The more fat a woman has, the more hormones she makes. Exercise can reduce fat levels, and so it may reduce hormone levels and thereby lower breast cancer risk. The results of the study were as Dr. McTiernan might have predicted: women who lost fat had lower hormone levels and those who did not lose fat did not. On average, the exercisers lost about three pounds of fat over the yearlong study; the more fat they lost, the more their hormone levels dropped. Nearly a third lost at least 2 percent of their fat - about 4 pounds for a typical woman in the study, who weighed 180 pounds at the start and whose body was 47 percent fat. That modest loss in fat was accompanied by a 10 percent drop in estrogen levels, nearly twice what would have been expected if they had lost the same amount of weight with diet alone, Dr. McTiernan said. That is enough of a hormone drop to be associated with a decreased breast cancer risk, she added. Such studies, of course, do not prove that exercise prevents breast cancer. But, Dr. McTiernan said, finding biochemical changes that are consistent with a protective effect at least gives some plausibility to the findings from the population studies. 'It makes us more confident that exercise is working,' she said. While the link between breast cancer and exercise sprang from observation, the notion that exercise and colon cancer might be related came out of the blue. And epidemiologists and statisticians laughed when they first heard it. The idea originated about 20 years ago when Dr. David Garabrant, now a professor of occupational medicine and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, was a young assistant professor at U.S.C. Dr. Garabrant was interested in cancer epidemiology and, in particular, a cancer registry that Dr. Henderson had started and that kept track of all the cases of cancer in Los Angeles County. 'Our statisticians used to do computer runs, looking at cancer by age and ethnicity, and we used to look through these big computer printouts asking, 'Do we see anything interesting?' ' Dr. Garabrant recalled. 'One day we were looking through the cancer risks for various occupations and we noticed that all the jobs where people sat around had higher rates,' he said. 'I said, 'Gee, that's interesting.' So we came up with a rating scheme and we grouped occupations according to how active they were - sedentary, moderately active or an active job.' Then, Dr. Garabrant said, he examined the colon cancer data. Sure enough, there was a direct relationship between exercise and illness. The more active the job, the less likely its holder was to have colon cancer. 'I presented it at a department meeting and they laughed at me; they hooted,' Dr. Garabrant said. He added: 'This was a department made up of epidemiologists and statisticians. They just razzed me. 'Come on!' ' But it turned out that he was right. Now, Dr. Garabrant says, he knows of at least 50 studies, all of them showing the same relationship between exercise and colon cancer. 'Everyone who has data that allows them to look for it finds it,' he said. Others researchers agree. In fact, said Dr. John Baron, an epidemiologist at Dartmouth Medical School, there have now been so many studies of colon cancer and exercise that the issue is no longer whether there is a correlation. There is. Now, Dr. Baron said, the main issue is what does the correlation mean and why is it occurring. He and others worry that the interpretation of such studies can be confounded, because people who exercise are often different from people who do not exercise in many other ways, as well. 'Who has very active jobs? Probably poor people who aren't making a lot of money. Who joins health clubs?' Dr. Baron said. 'Well, these other characteristics may be important.' Researchers take into account every factor like this that they can think of. But, Dr. Baron said, 'The problem is the things we're not smart enough to know about, the things we haven't even thought of.' He said he remembered studies of colon cancer and dietary fiber. Some studies of populations found that the more fiber a person ate, the lower the risk for colon cancer. But two large studies that randomly assigned people to eat lots of fiber or stay away from it found no protective effect. On the other hand, noted Dr. Robert Sandler, a gastroenterologist at the University of North Carolina, the finding that people who took aspirin on a regular basis had less colon cancer, also from population studies, was supported by a large study that he directed. In it, people were randomly assigned to take aspirin or not take aspirin. So is exercise like fiber or is it like aspirin? Medical researchers may never know. There are animal studies, but it is hard to know what they mean. With cancer, Dr. Baron said, 'sometimes animal studies are right on the money and sometimes they're not.' The problem, he added, 'is that you don't know which is which.' Still, Dr. Baron said, with the possible exception of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, nothing has been so strongly associated with reduced risk of colon cancer as exercise. And he said he thinks it makes sense to counsel patients who are at risk of colon cancer to exercise. There, is, however, one problem: Doctors say that it is so hard to persuade most patients to exercise that many do not even try. Dr. Sandler said he sees patients right after they have had a colonoscopy, a screening test for cancer that looks for small growths, polyps, in the colon. Although most polyps are not cancerous, most colon cancer starts with a polyp, and so patients with polyps are at increased risk. Doctors cut polyps out in a colonoscopy but more can grow back. So patients with polyps are often frightened, and they ask what could have caused the polyps and how they can protect themselves from colon cancer. Dr. Sandler suggests aspirin and he suggests exercise. 'I'm pretty confident it will work,' Dr. Sandler said of the exercise prescription. But, he adds, most patients dismiss that advice. 'They kind of blow me off,' he said. Dr. John Min, an internist in private practice in Burlington, N. C., loves exercise - he runs in marathons - and he believes it can improve health and possibly protect people from colon and breast cancer. But he does not even mention it to his patients as a way to protect against those cancers. 'Unfortunately, trying to get patients, even those who are very interested, to start exercising is very difficult,' he says. He said he has tried, and patients have left his office seeming excited about turning their life around. But they soon return to their sedentary ways. 'This is unfortunately what I have realized,' Dr. Min said. 'The ability for someone to significantly change their lifestyle, which they've lived with for years, is extremely difficult unless it is personally important to them. I can't make it personally important to them in the time of an office visit.' Once in a while, though, someone who never thought they wanted to exercise takes it up out of fear of cancer and discovers that they love it. That happened with Ms. Edwards, who worries about breast cancer but says her life is so much better now that she is active. John Knudson, a 58-year-old mathematics instructor at Seattle Central Community College had a similar experience. Mr. Knudson had never really been a regular exerciser. He would sometimes play soccer on the weekends, he said, but 'I would play one day and hurt for four days.' Then, about five years ago, Mr. Knudson had a colonoscopy. Mr. Knudson had polyps, lots of them. 'I remember my gastroenterologist, when he was doing it, said, 'Well, you're a regular polyp farm,' ' Mr. Knudson said. Soon afterward, he got a letter from his gastroenterologist asking him to be in another of Dr. McTiernan's studies - a one-year study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center that would randomly assign people like him, with lots of polyps and so a high risk for colon cancer, to exercise vigorously for a year or to remain sedentary. As in the breast cancer study, the idea in this research was to track biochemical changes with exercise to see if they were related to cancer. In the case of colon cancer, the researchers were looking for prostaglandins, insulin and insulin-like growth factor, all proteins that have been associated with colon cancer risk. And they were looking for small molecules that have been associated with cell growth, reasoning that excessive growth might indicate cancer risk. Mr. Knudson agreed to participate in the study. He was assigned to the exercise group, and he discovered he loved running. Dr. McTiernan says she and her colleagues are still analyzing their data from the study and so it is not clear yet whether there is a biochemical explanation for the colon cancer connection. But Mr. Knudson has gone beyond his original reason for exercising. Running has become his passion. Years after the study ended, Mr. Knudson is now running in half marathons. His polyp problem has gone away, although, he says, he has no idea if it was the exercise or whether his doctor just cut out all the polyps the first time and they have not had a chance to grow back. In any event, he said, 'The polyp farm is kind of dormant.' Some of the other study participants had trouble with the exercise program, he noted. 'It was a big commitment.' But not for him. 'I like the freedom I get running,' he said. 'I like the feeling that I can pick up and run somewhere. It's kind of exhilarating.'

Subject: At Tokyo Auto Show
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:46:56 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/business/04hybrid.html November 4, 2005 At Tokyo Auto Show, a Focus on Fuel, Not Fenders By JAMES BROOKE TOKYO - From Mazda's car that promises to use hydrogen to run a rotary engine to a General Motors sports utility vehicle powered by fuel cells, carmakers are competing at the Tokyo Motor Show to send car buyers a message: They have learned the lessons of the Prius. But while Toyota has clearly hit a car industry nerve with the Prius, its gasoline-electric hybrid, Toyota's influence goes only so far. As one automaker after another made clear at the auto show, which runs through Nov. 6, Toyota is not setting a universal standard for new technologies. It may be setting the pace, but mostly what it has shown is that high gasoline prices have made buyers more open-minded to alternatives. 'There is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution,' Richard Parry-Jones, Ford's chief technical officer, said when asked if an industry standard would emerge for hybrids. 'We are in for a fairly confusing decade.' Here at the show, Toyota itself displayed its Fine-X, a fuel cell concept vehicle powered by an electric battery and a low-pollution hydrogen cell. At the Mazda stand, models in miniskirts draped themselves over the Premacy, a minivan with a rotary engine fueled by hydrogen that is supposed to go on sale in the United States as early as 2008. In another hall, executives from General Motors, still the world's largest carmaker, posed for photographers in front of the Sequel, a sport utility vehicle that represents a technological leap over hybrids. 'We believe we can design and validate a competitive fuel cell propulsion system by 2010,' Lawrence D. Burns, G.M.'s vice president for research and development, said before showing reporters the prototype. In an interview, he sniped at hybrids, citing their expensive prices and the limits to their efficiency. 'Hybrids could be another niche, low-volume technology that is nice to have,' he said. 'But is that going to make an impact if you are not penetrating the 64 million new cars and trucks?' The main target for hybrids is the United States, a market that accounts for the bulk of worldwide profits for Toyota and Honda. The two companies are locked in a serious race on hybrids, with Toyota playing the hare and Honda contending that the tortoise will ultimately win the race. Honda expects to sell about 50,000 hybrids in the United States in 2005; Toyota is aiming to sell 100,000 Prius cars alone. Toyota is also selling smaller numbers of hybrids in a couple of sport utility vehicle models. 'We have sort of a submarine program, we are not getting the limelight,' said David Iida, a spokesman for Honda's American subsidiary. 'But in the long run, it will be very interesting to see who comes out ahead.' Toyota hopes that the runaway sales success of the Prius will allow it to push hybrids into large volume production. In 2006, Toyota plans to increase worldwide Prius production to 400,000, from 300,000 in 2005. By the end of the decade, Toyota expects to be selling one million hybrids worldwide. By ramping up production of hybrids, Toyota aims to cut costs for batteries, electric motors and other parts. In turn, Toyota and Honda say they hope to reduce the cost of a hybrid car to that of a standard gasoline-powered car in the same time period. 'To make it really work, the cost has to be cut in half,' said John W. Mendel, a senior vice president at Honda's American subsidiary. 'The cost of the batteries is very high. We fortunately control the cost of the C.P.U., the electric motor.' Toyota and Honda, meanwhile, want to persuade buyers to pay a premium for hybrid technology. In April, Toyota began selling the Lexus RX 400h, a hybrid version of its luxury sport utility vehicle, in the United States; Toyota Highlanders are also available with hybrid engines. Next spring, Toyota plans to start selling its Lexus GS 450h, a luxury hybrid sedan, in the United States. 'Toyota is looking to do with hybrids what Volvo did with safety, trying to get people to pay more for hybrids,' Christopher Richter, an auto research analyst at CLSA Asia Pacific Markets, said after touring the motor show. 'It is very similar to the debate a couple years back, whether you want to have air bags or not. American automakers were fighting it tooth and nail. Volvo got people to pay for it.' Some American drivers are already paying several thousand dollars more for the cachet of driving a car powered by what is seen as a technology of the future. 'Judging by the vanity plates in California - 'Saving More,' 'Low Mileage' - hybrid is a badge of honor that people want to wear,' said Mr. Mendel, who was visiting from Los Angeles. 'Hydrogen is the path to the future. But, on the way to hydrogen, hybrid is an alternative.' California's strict air quality rules are reaching across the Pacific to spur many of the technological innovations here. In November, Mazda's first hybrid powertrain will be installed in its Tribute sport utility vehicle; it is to go into use at 25 American fire departments, largely in California. Sales to the general public are expected in 2008. Until recently, Nissan Motor, Japan's second-largest car company after Toyota, resisted investing heavily in hybrid technology, preferring to research low-pollution and high-efficiency engines powered by diesel, the fuel that powers about half the new cars sold in Europe. But at this show, Nissan's chief executive, Carlos Ghosn - who denounced hybrids in the summer as uneconomical - carefully refrained from making another frontal attack. Nissan, bowing to the public interest in saving fuel through hybrids, is to release a version for its Altima in 2006. 'We don't know where the markets are going,' Mr. Ghosn told reporters. Carmakers have to 'prepare the technology and jump when consumers start to think one way or another.' Hyundai, another skeptic, also plans to offer its first hybrid, a new version of its Accent subcompact, which will go on sale in South Korea in 2006 and in the United States by 2008. 'We are doing a slow pedal on hybrids, because there is skepticism as to whether this is the way,' said Oles Roman Gadacz, a spokesman for Hyundai, South Korea's largest carmaker. 'There are existing top-shelf, very price-competitive technologies that can squeeze another 20 percent out of fuel consumption. We are convinced that diesel has greater potential than the hybrid.' Ford, while protectively licensing some Toyota patents, is investing heavily in creating and controlling its own hybrid technology. Under the advertising slogan 'Innovation is our mission,' Ford has set a goal of producing 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010. Even earlier, it plans to build 250,000 vehicles in 2006 that can run on ethanol. 'In the case of hybrid technology, there are large numbers of foreign patents,' Mr. Parry-Jones of Ford said here. 'But contrary to what has been in the media, Ford is relying largely on American homegrown hybrid technology.' Citing competitive reasons, car company executives declined to say how much they were spending on developing hybrids. Toyota, the industry leader, is believed to have spent hundreds of millions of dollars. General Motors, seeking to share high development costs, has formed a research alliance with DaimlerChrysler and BMW. 'Toyota is at this moment skimming off all the altruistic people who are doing it for the birds and the bees and for energy independence,' Bob Lutz, G.M.'s vice chairman, told reporters in Detroit in September. That kind of fierce competition will be the hallmark of the brewing battle over alternate engine systems. 'The consumer has not chosen the preferred alternate technology,' said Simon Sproule, a Nissan spokesman. 'We are developing all the technologies: hybrid, fuel cell, diesel.' Mr. Mendel of Honda said: 'The long ball could be a diesel-electric hybrid, a natural gas-electric hybrid, it could be bio-fuel. But by 2010, a fairly significant percentage of vehicles will have engine technologies operating on fuels other than gasoline.' No matter the path, analysts say, the surging auto demand from fast-developing countries like China, India and Brazil is forcing carmakers to look seriously beyond gasoline and diesel fuel, which are increasingly expensive and are big producers of the gases that contribute to global warming. Goldman Sachs has forecast that the number of cars in China could rise from 12 million in 2004 to 500 million by 2050; in India, the number of cars could increase even faster, from 5 million to 600 million. 'China, in automotive terms,' Lyric Hughes Hale, publisher of the China Online news service, said here, 'means the death of the internal combustion engine.'

Subject: Investors Look at China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:44:59 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/technology/04venture.html November 4, 2005 Excited and Wary, Investors Look at China By JOHN MARKOFF SAN FRANCISCO WHEN Joe Schoendorf, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, was in Shanghai a few years ago to hear a pitch from a Chinese start-up company, he sensed something familiar. He interrupted the meeting, walked to the window and pulled back the curtains. 'What are you looking for?' he remembers the would-be entrepreneurs asking. 'I just wanted to make sure I was in China and not back in Palo Alto,' he responded. China's high-technology community, with its brains and competitive spirit, is probably more like its counterpart in Silicon Valley than any other in the world. Yet Silicon Valley's views of investment in China have tended to swing between wild optimism and deep anxiety - with the anxiety going beyond a fear of losing money. Some worry about helping Chinese start-ups move up the technology food chain. These days, the Valley venture capitalists are sharply divided in two camps: one rushing into China and one holding back. 'The Valley is excited and it's scared at the same time,' said Richard Shaffer, editor in chief of VentureWire, a venture capital newsletter publisher. The dominant perspective is that China is a vast sea of opportunity, from its low-cost skilled labor pool to its enormous consumer market that is more than one billion strong. In fact, it is now routine for venture investors to demand that their start-up firms place the bulk of software development and manufacturing efforts in China or India. (A supply chain problem at a manufacturing arm in China, however, can easily ruin financial results in any given quarter.) For China skeptics, the concern is that American investment will help energize a formidable competitor, which could come to dominate both markets and technologies. The fear is based in the Valley's complex relationship with China as supplier, partner, customer and competitor. Most venture capitalists say this evolving relationship will define the future of the Valley and maybe even technology development in the United States. The Ningbo Bird Company is one case in point. It went from being a contract manufacturing supplier for Motorola to being a serious rival in the Chinese handset market in a matter of a few years. Still, last year, most of the Valley seemed to throw caution aside as venture firms invested nearly $1.3 billion in China, up nearly 30 percent from 2003, according to Zero2IPO, a venture capital research and consulting company based in Beijing. But in the first half of this year, investment slowed drastically after several changes in Chinese securities regulations. Those new rules caused 'a decline of 50 percent in the first two quarters,' said Dixon Doll, managing director of Doll Capital Management, based in Menlo Park, Calif. The lull is ending, though, in part because of the high-profile success of the initial public offering of Baidu, a Chinese search engine company that was able to raise $86.6 million in August, and a securities rule change in October. In September, Sequoia Capital, a major backer of Google, was reported to be planning a $200 million fund and hiring several employees in China. That announcement followed an earlier joint agreement this summer by Accel Partners, a leading Silicon Valley firm, and the International Data Group to set up a $250 million fund. There have even been reports recently that Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Valley's highest-profile venture firm, was creating its own China fund, though people briefed on the firm's plans said that was not true. While Kleiner has recently added Colin L. Powell as a partner to serve as a 'rainmaker' in Asia, it remains concerned about changes in Chinese security laws that could complicate the return of investment funds to the United States. Mr. Schoendorf, who is an Accel partner, sees benefits in helping China to become a fierce new competitor. He likens this moment of anxiety and promise to the 1970's, when Japan began to compete successfully with the United States. 'The Chinese graduate more engineers than we do,' he said. 'They're smart, they work hard, and so the only way to compete with them is to remain more innovative.'

Subject: An Elevator to Your Floor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:43:18 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/02/realestate/02elevator.html November 2, 2005 An Elevator to Your Floor, With No Local Stops By FRED A. BERNSTEIN The best way to see the future of New York elevators may be to visit the Marriott Marquis Hotel, the behemoth in Times Square. Visitors who get into the elevators there, expecting to press a button for their floor, are stymied: there are no buttons in the elevators. Instead, there are keypads in the lobby. Punch in the floor you want, and a digital readout tells you which elevator to take (each car is identified by a letter). 'I call it the express bus system,' said the hotel's general manager, Michael J. Stengel. Because it knows where people are going before they board, the computer controlling the elevators can sort passengers, eliminating a pet peeve of elevator riders: doors that open at floor after floor even though the car is full. Already, Mr. Stengel said, a system installed in 'the back of the house' - the service zone used by employees - has drastically cut average elevator waiting time. The 'front of the house' system for guests, largely operational now, is expected to be finished in early 2006. It is made by the Schindler Elevator Corporation of Morristown, N.J., a division of the Schindler Group, based in Switzerland. Smart elevator systems from Schindler are also being installed in the Hearst Building (designed by Norman Foster) and One Bryant Park (designed by FxFowle Architects). Downtown, a similar system made by the Otis Elevator Company of Farmington, Conn., has been installed at 7 World Trade Center, which is nearly completed but still empty. Carl Galioto, a technical partner at the firm that designed the building, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, says such 'destination control' systems, which he says can reduce average trip time by 30 percent, 'are one of the greatest vehicles for improving performance of a building.' At an office building at 1180 Avenue of the Americas, at 46th Street, where Schindler's keypads are mounted on custom black-granite pedestals, employees streaming into the building perform an orderly ballet, entering floor numbers and then proceeding to elevators marked A through H. At the Marriott Marquis, things are a bit more complicated: red-jacketed employees have to help some visitors navigate the system. Smart elevator systems require users to take it on faith that the system will give them the quickest ride. David Ferguson, an architect from Indiana who was at the Marriott Marquis for meetings, said, 'It's frustrating when you're waiting a long time for an elevator, and a car door opens and you can't get on because it isn't going to your floor.' In addition, if you get on an elevator and change your mind, there is no way to get the elevator to stop at your new destination, several passengers noted. Then there's the piggyback problem. A group of people arriving together know that they are going to the same floor, so only one of them punches in, which means the elevator does not know how many riders to expect. The car can end up overcrowded. At 7 World Trade Center, the system devised by Mr. Galioto's team addresses the piggyback problem. An identification card that admits an employee to the elevator lobby simultaneously tells the system which floor the employee works on. (There will be an override for people who want to visit another floor.) Since each person will have to swipe a card before reaching the elevators, the elevators will know precisely how many passengers are heading to each destination. Smart elevator technology promises further personalization, according to Sula Moudakis, director of high-rise traction installations for Schindler. 'Say I'm a V.I.P. and I really don't want to ride with anybody else,' Ms. Moudakis said. 'So when I swipe my card, the system assigns me an elevator with nobody in it, and that elevator gives me an express trip to my floor. 'Or if it's a building with elevators that normally drop passengers at the second level - and from there you take an escalator down - a person with a disability could get a trip to the ground floor, based on information in his card. You're basically unlimited to the type of individualization you can provide.' Of course, the system will require additional record-keeping. If your office moves from one floor to another, your card will have to be changed. And there might be privacy concerns about tracking which floor a person is on at any time. Retrofitting buildings with smart elevator systems is expensive. At the Marriott, where long waits for elevators have been a frustration since the building opened in 1985, the project cost $11 million, Mr. Stengel said. Because the hotel was designed with the elevator bank forming a ring in the center of the 45-story atrium, adding elevators was not an option. Increasing the efficiency of the existing system was the goal. Not all developers are sold on smart elevator systems. The Wynn Las Vegas, a 50-story, $2.7 billion hotel that opened this year, has conventional elevators, and that can mean long waits. Ms. Moudakis said the Wynn decided against installing the system because it would be unfamiliar to guests. 'Their concern is visitors coming into the building and seeing keypads and not knowing what to do,' she said. But at the Marriott Marquis, most passengers appeared to have little trouble with the keypad system. 'If you use it the wrong way the first time, you'll use it the right way the second time,' Mr. Stengel said. Ms. Moudakis of Schindler agreed that riders on smart elevators do not need to be smart themselves. 'Our argument is, it's very intuitive,' she said. 'If we can make it work at the Marriott Marquis,' she added, 'we're going to revolutionize the industry.'

Subject: Spanish Town Withers With the Olive
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:41:18 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/international/europe/03spain.html?ex=1288674000&en=5286e7b63839796a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 3, 2005 A Spanish Town Withers With the Olive, Its Tree of Life By RENWICK McLEAN CAMBIL, Spain - The anxiety in this town begins to make sense after a short drive up the main road, as the homes and plazas give way to orchards with seemingly endless rows of olive trees. Trees that normally sag with hundreds of pounds of fruit at this time of year are largely barren, holding little more than a handful of olives, many no bigger than peas. Some trees have dried up and shriveled, their brittle leaves breaking in the wind. Others have been cut to stumps to preserve their sap in hopes they will regenerate. The groves that have sustained this region for centuries and helped turn it into the richest source of olive oil in the world have been decimated by circumstances that few here thought possible. A record-breaking freeze last winter was followed by a drought that has been described as the worst to hit Spain in 60 years. The combination has been devastating to this town of 3,000 residents in the mountain ranges of Jaén, a southern province that is slightly larger than Connecticut and produced about 20 percent of the world's olive oil last year - almost as much as Italy's entire output. Whether oil producers elsewhere will make up for this year's drop in supply from Jaén is not yet clear, but the effects on towns like Cambil are likely to be profound. Practically every family in Cambil owns olive trees, two or three hundred on average, residents say. The town, which has the slightly unkempt look of a community more focused on its orchards than itself, has a couple of groceries, a bar or two, a pharmacy and three olive oil factories. But this year there is little fruit to feed the factories. 'This is a catastrophe,' said Juan Castro, 77, a retired farmer. 'Without olives, we have nothing.' He was speaking of Cambil, but he could have been speaking just as easily about dozens of similar towns in the mountains of Jaén. The gravity of the problem extends far beyond this year's harvest. Since badly damaged groves can take 5 or even 10 years to regain full productivity, it may be a decade before the towns recover, if they ever do, agricultural experts say. 'This could be the end of a way of life,' said Emilio Torres Velasco, an official at the Jaén branch of the Unión de Pequeños Agricultores y Ganaderos, or Small Farmers and Ranchers Union. 'Some of these towns may be completely depopulated if they don't get help.' Life in the mountain orchards of Jaén is worlds away from the mechanized agriculture of the adjacent flatlands. Olives here are still largely collected by hand, with poles and baskets and occasionally mules the only practical way to reach the trees on the steepest slopes. The orchards are generally family-owned, and small - most are under 10 acres. The steep mountainsides have aggravated the effects of both the freeze and the drought, and farmers did not have the money or machinery to protect their trees or help them recover, the way their competitors can on the flat fields below. But in the past, the durability of the olive tree, which can bear fruit for hundreds of years, enabled residents here to scrape by. Luis Miguel Martínez Martos, 40, a farmer in Jaén who advises the small-farmers union, said that olives are far more than a crop to the people who live here. 'Their whole understanding of power and value is based on the olive tree,' he said. The oil is used here to deep fry eggs and to make potato chips, ice cream and even perfume. It is combined with lye to make laundry detergent, and applied to wounds to speed healing. The air here is cleaner, the food healthier and the life spans long, all because of the olive and its magical oil, residents say. Residents have relied on the trees and fruit for centuries, sometimes in unexpected ways. The trees marked the borders between Muslim and Christian Spain in the Middle Ages. They provided refuge for residents fleeing aerial bombardments in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930's, and food during the hungry decade that followed. 'The olive tree is life for us,' said Antonia García Espinosa, 73, who was born in Cambil and has never lived anywhere else. During the civil war, Mr. Martínez's great-grandfather took refuge from the bombs inside the concave trunk of one of the oldest trees in the family's orchard, he said, adding, 'Many people in Jaén have stories like that.' The trees have thrived so well, so long, that residents have failed to consider other crops or industries, assuming that olives would always be reliable. Now few towns know how to attract new businesses. 'No industry will come here,' said Mr. Torres, the official at the farmers union. 'There is no infrastructure, no highways.' The only solution, Mr. Torres said, is for politicians in Madrid and Brussels to agree to offer more aid. Juan José López, 27, a bartender in Cambil, said the town might get through the year with government loans and other aid. But in the time it takes the trees to recover, he said, 'people are going to leave.' 'There is nothing else here,' he said.

Subject: New Openness to the Fed
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:39:48 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/business/01fedspeak.html November 1, 2005 Chairman Nominee May Bring a New Openness to the Fed By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - If Ben S. Bernanke has his way, the Federal Reserve is likely to become more open, less mysterious and perhaps less intriguing than it is right now. In an article he wrote with other academics - long before President Bush nominated him to succeed Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman - Mr. Bernanke bluntly argued that the Fed needed to base its credibility on more than the mystique of its chairman. 'The 'just trust us' approach may work in a period when the chair and the Board of Governors command widespread support,' Mr. Bernanke and three colleagues wrote in Foreign Affairs. 'But the happy state of affairs will not last forever,' they continued. 'It is more sensible, and more democratic, to begin to act now to depersonalize monetary policy making by increasing Fed transparency and accountability.' It was a striking swipe at Mr. Greenspan, who adamantly resisted any effort to set rules that would limit the Fed's discretion and prided himself on his ability to dodge questions and, as he once put it, only partly tongue-in-cheek, 'mumble with great incoherence.' Mr. Greenspan was a master of old-style 'Fed-speak,' deliberately creating an atmosphere of ambiguity to preserve his maneuvering room. But Mr. Bernanke represents a younger generation of thinkers and policy makers who have already pushed the Fed and most other central banks to be far more explicit and open about their actions and goals. The big difference is much less about the substance of monetary policy than about how that policy is communicated to financial markets and the public at large. Under Mr. Greenspan, the Fed has already undergone a revolution in transparency. As late as 1994, seven years after Mr. Greenspan had taken over, it did not even formally announce its decisions on interest rates. Today, it not only announces every decision but also gives strong clues about its intentions for the months ahead. The Greenspan style of 'transparency' will be apparent on Tuesday, when the Fed meets to set short-term interest rates. Because the Fed has offered so many clues for so long, there is virtually no doubt that it will raise the overnight federal funds rate by a quarter-point for the 12th time in a row. Indeed, for all his studied obscurity and convoluted way of speaking, Mr. Greenspan has often been remarkably clear about his underlying intentions. Moreover, he developed a knack for getting his message across with such memorable phrases as 'irrational exuberance' to describe the overheated stock market and 'new paradigm' to explain how improvements in productivity allowed the economy to grow faster without setting off higher inflation. But Mr. Bernanke, as a professor at Princeton and later as a governor at the Fed, has argued for years that the Fed should go even further in explaining itself and bind its policies to an explicit, publicly stated target for inflation. Committing to an inflation target, Mr. Bernanke and his supporters have argued, would give the Fed added credibility with investors and make its policies much easier to anticipate and understand. Opponents of the idea, including Mr. Greenspan, say the Fed has left little doubt about its goals on inflation but needs to preserve its flexibility to deal with unanticipated shocks. In many respects, the debate is academic. As a practical matter, economists on Wall Street have known for some time that Mr. Greenspan essentially wants to keep the core rate of inflation between 1 and 2 percent a year. But Mr. Bernanke's approach could lead to big changes in how the Fed communicates. 'Ben is going to unlock a lot of mystery,' said Mark L. Gertler, chairman of the economics department at New York University and a co-author of numerous papers with Mr. Bernanke. 'He's going to explain what he's doing and give an underlying rationale for it. The Fed will become less mysterious, and I think people will like that.' As a Fed governor from 2002 until earlier this year, Mr. Bernanke displayed a drive to break new ground about trends in the economy and even to provoke debates - much as if he had never left his post at Princeton. In 2002, outlining ways to avoid an unwanted decline in consumer prices, he declared that the Fed 'has a technology, called a printing press' and could increase inflation by printing as many dollars as it wanted. In 2003, he argued at length that the economy was in the midst of a 'jobless recovery' and became a strong supporter of keeping interest rates low to shore up growth. Earlier this year, Mr. Bernanke provoked debate around the world by turning conventional wisdom upside down about the United States' rising foreign indebtedness. The problem was not that Americans were spending too much, he said, but that the rest of the world has a huge 'savings glut' and needs to do something with its money. Such speeches suggest that Mr. Bernanke may find it hard to contain his zest for explaining and debating even after becoming Fed chairman. In doing so, he may face challenges similar to those faced by Mr. Greenspan, who in recent years has been clearer than his reputation for double talk suggests. But his tenure was filled with memorable cases of fudging and coming down squarely on both sides of the fence. Under increasing fire from critics who said his policy of low interest rates had led to a bubble in the housing market, Mr. Greenspan recently admitted that there 'are a lot of local bubbles' and that 'there's a lot of froth in this market,' even if he saw no national housing bubble. Mr. Greenspan is widely perceived as having given a green light to President Bush's plans for a big tax cut in 2001, and thus to have helped set the stage for the huge deficits that followed. Mr. Greenspan, however, insists that he always cautioned that there was a need for 'trigger' mechanisms that would stop the tax cuts if deficits got out of hand. But the bigger question for Mr. Bernanke is his approach to talking about monetary policy, the heart of the Fed's business and the part that has been most secretive. 'Central bankers have a basic responsibility to give the public full and compelling explanations' for their decisions, Mr. Bernanke said in a speech last year to the American Economic Association. 'Besides satisfying the principle of democratic accountability, a more open policy-making process is also likely to lead to better policy decisions.' But a Bernanke Fed could turn out to be as obscure as the Greenspan Fed. In theory, a policy of inflation targeting would require the central bank to disclose its goal and its forecast for inflation, its assessment of risks and even the models it uses to make its predictions. In practice, Mr. Bernanke has embraced the idea of 'constrained discretion,' meaning that the Fed could depart from its normal rules to deal with unexpected shocks like a big jump in oil prices or the fallout from a terrorist attack. Mr. Bernanke and most other Fed officials have thus far attached fairly little importance to a one-time jump in oil prices, arguing that such jumps have little impact on the long-term inflation trend. Mr. Bernanke has also kept emphasizing that the Fed could take as long as it wants to reach its inflation target. At a conference sponsored by the St. Louis Fed two years ago, he said the Fed should describe an inflation target as a 'long-run objective only' and make clear that it 'sets no fixed time frame for reaching it.' 'You want to set rules, but with a lot of flexibility,' said Frederic S. Miskhin, a professor of economics at Columbia who wrote a book with Mr. Bernanke on inflation-targeting. But if the Fed can take as long as it wants to hit its target, would investors be able to anticipate Fed policy any better than they can today? The ambiguity of inflation-targeting is evident in the speculation about whether Mr. Bernanke would be a tough-minded 'hawk' or a soft-hearted 'dove' on inflation. Bond investors initially perceived Mr. Bernanke as a dove, pushing bond prices down when his nomination was announced because they assumed he would allow slightly higher inflation than Mr. Greenspan. Many Wall Street analysts contend that view is wrong, and some Democratic lawmakers in Congress worry that Mr. Bernanke might even focus too much on fighting inflation and not enough, as they see it, on promoting full employment. The uncertainty suggests that the Fed could be forced to explain a great deal more about its strategy, simply to clarify how its inflation target would actually work. 'It's going to take a big educational job,' said Allan H. Meltzer, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a historian of the Fed. 'Right now, we have a lot of people in the markets yelling about inflation. Short-term numbers show that prices are rising, but we all know that has to do with oil prices and that's a one-time increase. You have to explain what you're doing.' Mr. Gertler, at N.Y.U., said one of Mr. Bernanke's goals was to move the spotlight away from the mystique of the Fed chairman and onto the basic policy goals. But that may not be possible. With his zeal for explaining and a knack for bons mots that could rival those of Mr. Greenspan, Mr. Bernanke may find himself as much in the limelight as his predecessor.

Subject: Alkmaar: A Dutch City
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:38:34 (EST)
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http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/travel/30dayout.html October 30, 2005 Alkmaar: A Dutch City That Still Likes to Speak Dutch By BRUCE BAWER AMSTERDAM is many wonderful things - the cosmopolitan gateway to Europe, a living repository of glorious Dutch art, architecture and cultural treasures - but it's not exactly an immersion course in contemporary Dutch life. Indeed, in a city where about half the population is foreign and where you might imagine that English is the official language, ordinary natives can be lost in the shuffle, overshadowed by the spectacle of street-corner drug peddlers (few of them Dutch) or scantily clad women (also non-Dutch) posing in crimson-flooded windows. Fortunately, a healthy dose of more typically Dutch life is close at hand. In the sandy, marshy lowlands of the North Holland peninsula, a half hour by train north of Amsterdam, lies Alkmaar, a municipality with just under 100,000 inhabitants that last year celebrated its 750th anniversary. In 1573, it was the first Dutch city liberated from the Spanish, an event that set the Netherlands on the road to the golden age of the Dutch Republic. Today, this old trading center is known primarily for its soccer team, AZ, and its weekly cheese market (actually an elaborate simulation served up for tourists); for me, however, it's a place that can balance out some of the misleading notions about the Netherlands that Amsterdam can, alas, nurture. Trains from Amsterdam to Alkmaar (11.90 euros round trip, or $14.52 at $1.22 to the euro) are frequent. Ten minutes out, you're gliding across rolling meadows broken by yard-wide, algae-green canals and lines of trees out of a painting by Albert Cuyp. Sheep and cattle graze; at track side, men and women work communal gardens. And then - in no time at all - you're in Alkmaar. A 10-minute walk from the station brings you to Grote Sint Laurenskerk, an imposing 15th-century church in the Brabant-Gothic style (like French Gothic, but with a more ornate exterior) that marks one end of the main thoroughfare, Langestraat. Now a pedestrian-only shopping street, it has many of the chain stores that are found along Kalverstraat, its counterpart in Amsterdam, as well as convivial cafes with names like Bacchus (No. 12) and de Nachtegaal (the Nightingale, No. 100). But Langestraat can feel less like Kalverstraat - that roiling sea of heterogeneous humanity - than like a Dutch version of Bedford Falls in 'It's a Wonderful Life.' One recent Saturday, a man and his little boy moseyed along lapping at ice-cream cones, while a mother marched her brood from one clothing outlet to another. Enhancing the quaint small-town feel was a huge street organ (a fading Dutch tradition); its proprietor shoved it up and down the pavement as it tooted 'Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye' and 'Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue.' (I recalled this fondly the next day when, at a family-filled restaurant in Amsterdam, I went bug-eyed at the obscene rap lyrics blaring from loudspeakers.) I love the splendor of Amsterdam. But I also love Alkmaar's low-key, old-fashioned - dare I say corny? - charm. I savor the little touches of Dutch culture: you buy a magazine, and the cashier briskly rolls it up and slides a rubber band over it; you order fries, and they ask you, 'Ketchup or mayonnaise?' In Amsterdam, one sometimes glimpses my favorite only-in-the-Netherlands spectacle: a dad or mom chauffeuring two moppets on a bicycle, one riding fore, the other aft. But in Alkmaar this sight is ubiquitous. I love Alkmaar's immaculate streets; at street crossings, with no traffic in sight, even visibly restless teenagers wait for the light to change. I also love the feeling of safety. To live in Amsterdam these days is to be gloomily aware that the Netherlands is suffering from formidable, and deepening, urban problems; strolling around Alkmaar, you'd hardly know it. Yet it's no Mayberry, either. Wander a bit beyond Langestraat and you'll find an inviting maze of narrow, cobbled lanes, one of which - the seven-foot-wide (I've measured) Magalenenstraat - is packed with elegant little boutiques that wouldn't seem out of place on the Champs-Élysées. On Achterstraat, the high walls of one airy emporium are covered, library-like, with shelves - tightly packed not with books but with big cylinders of yellow cheese. Yet another tiny passageway, Fnidsen, boasts the elegant Twin Arts (No. 87) and Lifestyle (No. 89), both crowded with high-end furniture and decorative items. The Dutch are top-notch at street markets, and on Nieuwesloot there's a bustling one, where vendors hawk bargain-price items ranging from fish to underwear to CD's. A square called Waagplein is lined with sidewalk cafes, where patrons sip coffee and snack on broodjes (sandwiches on rolls) to the sound of church bells. In Amsterdam, such cafes swarm with tourists and chic local residents; in Alkmaar, the weekend diners are mostly families - some with tots, others with teenagers - enjoying a leisurely lunch. (To be sure, this being a Dutch city, even family-friendly Alkmaar has a red-light district - a long block called Achterdam that parents will want to steer clear of. Mark your maps!) A guaranteed highlight for youngsters is the popular and recently renovated Hoornse Vaart swimming complex (Hertog Aalbrechtweg 4). A five-minute bus ride from downtown along a scenic canal - and past a couple of photogenic windmills - it has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a large wave pool (wonderful fun) and a children's pool (with toddler-scale water slides). Easily the most congenial - and immaculate - place of its kind I've ever seen (you'll seek in vain a single bit of graffiti or chipped tile), it overlooks a beautiful lawn and an inviting open-air pool, which is, of course, closed in winter. (Admission is 3.75 euros for adults; 2.50 euros for those under 18.) Want a taste of residential life? Saunter out of the center city along Kennemerstraatweg, a major artery where you'll pass few pedestrians but hundreds of cyclists, many of them families pedaling to town together. After ambling by a handsome windmill - Piet's Mill, built in 1769 - make a left and start meandering. You'll find yourself exploring a pretty neighborhood of neat, one-lane brick roads and cozy brick houses, their curtains pulled back (a resilient Dutch tradition) so you can peer in through the spotless picture windows at the uncluttered rooms, gleaming tabletops and meticulously arranged bric-a-brac. (Domestic fastidiousness is a Dutch byword.) Yes, Alkmaar has immigrants (on a downtown street called Gedempte Nieuwesloot, you'll see kebab shops and signs in Arabic); but compared with multicultural Amsterdam, it feels unmistakably Dutch. Height is part of it: even in the Netherlands - where the people are the world's tallest - folks from this region are known for their stature. Then there's language. In Amsterdam, menus are printed in English and Dutch (sometimes just English); in Alkmaar, they're in Dutch, period. I long ago stopped addressing Amsterdam waiters in my shaky version of their tongue, since they invariably replied in mine; during my recent day in Alkmaar, however, the waitress at a convivial cafe, Prego (Langestraat 12A) actually replied to my English in Dutch, which she continued to speak throughout all our transactions. She plainly did this, I hasten to add, not out of rudeness but out of provincial insecurity; anyone who finds this incident off-putting rather than delightfully atmospheric should rest assured that the last thing to worry about in the Netherlands is finding someone who can speak English. (The 4.95 euro weekly special, by the way, was an appetizing broodje with smoked chicken, walnuts and curry dressing.) Peter Visser of Henry's Grand Café (Houttil 34) sums up Alkmaar's appeal beautifully. It has, he said, 'the character of a small town and the aura of a city.' The rising social tensions that already afflict the major Dutch urban areas, however, seem destined, sooner or later, to alter life in places like Alkmaar. Best, then, to catch this town's gentle pleasures while you can.

Subject: Treating Skin of Color With Know-How
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:37:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/fashion/thursdaystyles/03skin.html November 3, 2005 Treating Skin of Color With Know-How By NATASHA SINGER ERICKA DUNLAP, Miss America 2004, retired her crown last year, but she has not moved out of the spotlight. Her new career as a country singer still requires her to maintain a flawless complexion. So when acne flares up, she flies from her home in Nashville to Washington for treatment at the Cultura Cosmetic Medical Spa. The spa attracts other celebrities, including Venus Williams, the basketball star Alonzo Mourning and Alfred C. Liggins III, the president of Radio One. Patients may appreciate Cultura's luxury amenities, the muted lighting, hush-hush atmosphere and minimalist décor. But the medical spa's main attractions are its founders - Dr. Eliot F. Battle Jr., a dermatologist, and Dr. Monte O. Harris, a facial surgeon - experts in cosmetic treatments for blacks, Asians and Latinos. 'Before I found Cultura I drifted around from spa to spa for a while,' said Ms. Dunlap, who is African-American. 'But so many times the advice I got wasn't given from a cultural perspective. Dr. Battle didn't just clear up my acne. Every time I go there I learn something new about taking care of my ethnic skin.' Dr. Battle and Dr. Harris are among a small number of prominent physicians who specialize in treatments for patients of color, along with dermatologists like Dr. Susan C. Taylor of Philadelphia; Dr. Jeanine B. Downie of Montclair, N.J.; Dr. Fran E. Cook-Bolden of New York City; and a few others. All are known as authorities on how acid peels, lasers and other cosmetic treatments, whose results vary depending on skin pigmentation, can be best performed on people with non-Caucasian skin. These doctors also have become masters at fixing the blemishes, discoloration and scarring that occur when the procedures are done by dermatologists with little experience with those patients. Like many other dermatologists before them, they also write self-help beauty books and appear in medical segments on television programs like 'Good Morning America' and the 'Today' show. And they are attracting a growing clientele of actors, newscasters, politicians, members of Middle Eastern nobility and Southeast Asian entrepreneurs. Their increasing prominence reflects a rising interest among black, Asian and Hispanic consumers in cosmetic treatments and calls attention to the fact that these consumers need expert care. 'The growing focus on skin of color is partly tied to consumers who seek out dermatologists who look like them, thinking that the doctors must know about their skin, hair and nails,' Dr. Taylor said. In 1998 she opened the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, a clinic that specializes in medical and cosmetic treatment. 'But it's also tied to dermatologists who are open to the idea of gaining expertise in skin of color and creating centers around the country to treat these consumers.' Dr. Amy S. Paller, the chairwoman of the dermatology department at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, which has just opened the Center for Ethnic Skin, said the new focus may be overdue. 'There has recently been a greater recognition of the need for more research and expertise in this area,' she said, 'particularly in new treatments that can have a tremendous cosmetic significance for skin of color.' Similar clinics have recently started up at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and at the University of Miami. Changing demographics have pushed dermatologists to shift their attention. Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans and American Indians will represent almost half of the American population by the year 2050, according to projections from the Census Bureau, a large increase from 2000, when those groups accounted for about one-third. But perhaps more important, consumers in those groups are getting more cosmetic treatments like laser hair removal and Botox injections than ever before. Hispanic, Asian and African-American patients had 19 percent of all cosmetic procedures in 2004, an increase from 14 percent in 2000, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 'Four to five years ago physicians didn't know that people of color were so interested in treatments that can help us age gracefully,' Dr. Battle said. 'But now people of color represent the fastest growing segment of cosmetic therapy.' Such patients are particularly vulnerable because any kind of trauma - whether a burn from a laser, inflammation from an acid peel or an insect bite - can cause light or dark patches (called hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation) to form on their skin. In the late 1990's, Dr. Battle helped develop a new generation of cosmetic lasers that are gentler to more pigmented skin tones than previous devices were. But not all dermatologists and spas own those machines, which he calls color-blind lasers. 'If people want results without side effects, they need to find doctors with expertise in all cosmetic modalities, as well as in ethnicity,' Dr. Battle said. 'In each major city with a high population of people of color there are fewer than five doctors who fit this description.' One of those experts is Dr. Downie of Montclair, whose clients include Wendy Williams, a music video jockey for VH1. Dr. Downie regularly appears on 'Today' and 'The View' to discuss skin conditions and cosmetic procedures. 'I just got a call from a patient in Saudi Arabia, who got burned from a laser treatment and wanted to know if I could fix it,' Dr. Downie said. 'But sometimes the side effects from another doctor's treatment can take longer to heal than the original problem.' Until recently it has been difficult for patients to find doctors with expertise in treating non-Caucasian people. Patricia L. Gatling, the chairwoman of the New York City Human Rights Commission, who is African-American, learned this as a child in 1963, when her mother drove her all the way from Kosciusko, Miss., to Birmingham, Ala., to have her mosquito bites treated by the only African-American dermatologist there. Her mother knew untreated bites might scar her legs. A few years ago, when she got adult acne, Ms. Gatling was surprised to find it would still take time to find the right doctor. She first sought out a few of New York's best-known dermatologists. But the harsh acid products and expensive laser procedures they prescribed caused so many dark patches on her face that she ended up, she said, looking like 'some leopard.' Her face cleared up only after she visited the Ethnic Skin Specialty Group, a three-year-old practice on the East Side run by Dr. Cook-Bolden. 'Nobody wants to waste time and money on a doctor who is guessing how treatments designed for people who aren't of color are going to work on us,' Ms. Gatling said. 'Dr. Cook-Bolden understood my condition in two minutes, not because she's a dermatologist of color but because her whole practice is geared toward the special skin conditions' of Asians, Latinos and African-Americans, she said. Victoria Holloway Barbosa, a dermatologist and the director of L'Oréal Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research in Chicago said: 'You don't have to be a black dermatologist to treat a black patient. But you do have to have experience in treating a broad range of skin types.' Expertise in treating skin of color involves more than knowing how a certain laser or ointment might affect a Pakistani or a Brazilian patient, dermatologists say. A doctor's cultural empathy can also improve a patient's outlook, Dr. Cook-Bolden said. 'Just today I had a patient who had scalp bumps that come from using thick pomades and creams,' she said. 'The first dermatologist she went to told her never to perm her hair or use products again. But patients are not going to listen to you unless you give them alternatives.' Dr. Cook-Bolden routinely refers patients with scalp problems to hairstylists she trusts. 'When patients find another hairstyle that is presentable, they'll comply with the therapy. Having an expertise in skin of color means you have to be able to treat medical conditions and be aware of cultural conditions at the same time.' To find appropriate dermatologists, Dr. Downie suggests that patients 'call up ahead of time and ask whether the doctor sees a lot of Latino patients, black patients and Asian patients.' The Web site of the American Academy of Dermatology has a physician locator, which lists doctors who identify their specialty as 'skin of color.' But often patients learn about the specialists by word of mouth. Adoria Doucette, a special events promoter in Washington, enthusiastically hands out Dr. Battle's office number to almost everyone she meets, including Patti LaBelle. She credits Dr. Battle with restoring her complexion after laser hair removal performed by another dermatologist had left her 'looking like someone had been putting out cigarettes on my face,' Ms. Doucette said. 'Now when I see beautiful black women with skin problems in Nordstrom's or in Whole Foods, I stop them and give them his number,' she said.

Subject: Urbanite-Peasant Legal Differences
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 07:36:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/international/asia/03china.html November 3, 2005 China to Drop Urbanite-Peasant Legal Differences By JOSEPH KAHN BEIJING - China plans to abolish legal distinctions between urban residents and peasants in 11 provinces as the government tries to slow the country's surging wealth gap and reduce social unrest, state media said Wednesday. Under an experimental program, local governments in those provinces will allow peasants to register as urban residents and to have the same rights to housing, education, medical care and social security that city dwellers have. If carried out as advertised, the program would eliminate a cornerstone of the population control policies begun by Mao in the 1950's. The system of residence permits, known as hukou, ties every person to a locale and once made travel difficult without permission. In practice, the system has been fading away for more than a decade. An estimated 200 million peasants have left the countryside to live in urban areas, some of them full time. Their access to urban services varies widely depending on local rules and the kind of employment they find. In today's market-oriented economy, the once-comprehensive socialist benefits bestowed on urban residents carry far less weight. Most people rely on their own resources, or those of their employers, to pay for health care, housing and schooling. Even so, the system of residence permits has been a fixture of social and political culture in Communist China and a prominent symbol of the government's control of daily life. Its elimination could be regarded as an advance in human rights, some specialists said. 'This is an old-style way of managing a huge country and no longer makes sense with a market economy,' said Qin Hui, a historian at Qinghua University in Beijing. 'If it's really going away, it is a significant turning point.' Mr. Qin said he expected that even if the system disappeared, local governments would retain administrative control over their populations. They would still set conditions on registration for urban residents and prevent the growth of slums. 'The cities will become places where the relatively well off live,' he said. 'Beijing is not going to look like New Delhi, or even like Bangkok.' Economic forces have eroded population controls in recent years. Shenzhen emerged from rice fields in the early 1980's to become one of China's most prosperous metropolitan areas, and nearly all of its 10 million residents were born elsewhere. Shanghai began the concept of a 'blue card' for qualified migrant workers in the mid-1990's, giving them full access to housing and city services if they met criteria. The central government declared that it intended to drop the residency permit system at the 16th Communist Party Congress in 2002, and has made incremental changes since. An episode in 2003, when Sun Zhigang, a college-educated migrant in Guangdong Province, was beaten to death in police custody after being detained on suspicion of vagrancy, gave impetus to changing the system. His death caused nationwide outrage and led to the abolition of vagrancy laws. 'We knew it was a dead duck after they abolished the custody and repatriation system' or vagrancy law, said Nicolas Becquelin, a researcher for Human Rights in China based in Hong Kong. 'The police had no power to enforce the hukou laws.' Doing away with the residency system also fits the political agenda of President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who have tried to demonstrate that they are more attentive to people left behind in China's economic boom. The market-oriented economy has produced enormous wealth but also generated major social cleavages. In the past several years, peasants and migrant workers have led an upsurge in protests over corruption, land grabs and environmental degradation. Long term, Mr. Becquelin said, urbanization remains an enormous administrative challenge for China and one that the government is unlikely to entrust to the market. 'I think you'll see a situation where the largest cities retain very tight controls, while medium cities are a little looser and newer small cities have more freedom,' he said. The 11 major provinces involved in the latest move include Guangdong, Fujian and Liaoning. China has 23 provinces. Articles about the change in several state-run publications suggested, though, that the Public Security Bureau, the nation's police bureaucracy, remained deeply wary of the change and may slow its progression.

Subject: Adjustment
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 06:03:22 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Through a 15 year period major international stock markets have adjusted increasingly to currency value swings. So, a sharp loss in value of the British pound or French franc was compensated for by an increase in the domestic value of British or French stocks. This adjustment bodes well for further smoothing market problems as international currency swings continue.

Subject: Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 20:03:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice the international bull stock market in domestic currencies. I am most impressed at how smoothly and widely international stock markets have responded to the strong dollar with substantial increases. Talk about value adjustments.... Hong Kong's stock market is lagging. But, remember, the Hong Kong dollar is tied to our dollar, so there is no stock market adjustment needed. Emerging markets are up 18.7% in dollars, but Brazil is especially interesting. Brazil's currency is far stronger than the dollar and Brazil's stock market is up 25% in domestic currency but 49% in dollars. I consider the situation in Brazil verging on dangerous.

Subject: Vangaurd Emerging Markets
From: Johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 07:01:55 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I read on the vangaurd diehards thread that several vangaurd fund managers are putting a good portion of thier wealth into the vangaurd emerging markets fund. It seems asia and latin america are the sectors they like. What do you find so dangerous about brazil?

Subject: Sharp Eyes for the Multiple Things
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 17:07:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/11/29/specials/berlin-hedgehog.html February 14, 1954 Sharp Eyes for the Multiple Things By WILLIAM BARRETT THE HEDGEHOG AND THE FOX An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History. By Isaiah Berlin. Most of us, I imagine, reading 'War and Peace' tend to skim over the long disquisitions on history as rather tedious breaks in a marvelously exciting story, and nearly all critics hitherto have given official sanction to this habit by attempting to prove that these historical essays are an unnecessary blemish upon a great work of art. However, Isaiah Berlin--lecturer in philosophy at Oxford and famous as a scholar, diplomatist and conversationalist in at least two continents--has chosen to subject these historical passages to careful attention. In this brilliant essay he not only succeeds in making very good sense out of Tolstoy's historical theory but also finds in it an indispensable key to the complex and divided personality of the great Russian novelist. The fox, said the old Greek poet, knows many things, but the hedgehog only one big thing. On this ancient bit of wisdom Mr. Berlin bases his distinction between two fundamental human types: those who have sharp eyes, like the fox, for the multiple things of the world, and those, like the hedgehog, whose defense consists of a single centripetal impulse--that is, who seek an inner unified vision. Tolstoy, in Mr. Berlin's view, was a fox who all his life sought, unsuccessfully, to be a hedgehog. The glory of Tolstoy's novels lies precisely in their almost superhuman sensitivity to the multiplicity of things, their ability to record the individual feel and tone of persons, places and situations in their concrete objectivity; but the other half of Tolstoy, particularly during his latter years, is the agonizing search for an inner unifying vision with which his foxlike appetite for multiplicity can lie down in peace. The theory of history in 'War and Peace' comes out of this deep cleft in the man himself. The theory maintains, very simply, that the human understanding can never comprehend history, since the historic process involves an infinity of causes that lie beyond our grasp. Mr. Berlin seems to me to be altogether right in rescuing his theory from the charge of 'mysticism.' It is, rather, an entirely lucid and intellectually cogent theory, and a deterministic one to boot, though rather discomforting to the facile determinism of some historians. The individual, from the point of view of history, is never free, since he is caught in a web of infinite circumstances and causes. On the other hand, 'War and Peace' as a novel swarms with an extraordinary number of vivid personal lives each of which throbs with its own sense of decision and choice. This conflict between the feeling of freedom and the rational truth of determinism Tolstoy never succeeded in resolving for himself during his whole life. Dissatisfied with the patness and artificiality of the historians' theories, Tolstoy was led in turn to distrust all theory as the falsification of the fullness of life itself. Hence, the great heroes that emerge in the novel are Kutuzov, the aged general who as the embodiment of the Russian earth triumphs over the intellectual cleverness of foreign generals, and the peasant Karataev who has a much deeper human wisdom than the Petersburg intellectual Pierre. Indeed, 'War and Peace' is one of the most formidable attacks upon rationalism ever penned. Some of Mr. Berlin's best pages occur toward the end, where he seeks to establish a connection between Tolstoy and the French Catholic thinker, Joseph de Maistre. On the surface no two people might seem more apart than the apostle of the Russian earth and the French clerical reactionary. But Tolstoy had studied Maistre carefully. Both had the same foxlike sharpness of reason to tear apart all modern forms of rationalism. Both believed that in the end man's reason was doomed to self-destruction once cut off from the earth and his past, la terre et les morts. Not only does Mr. Berlin command all the materials of erudition, literary and philosophical, for his task, but he has a deep and subtle feeling for the puzzle of Tolstoy's personality, and he writes throughout, and particularly toward the last pages, with a wonderful eloquence. This essay, I am sure, will take its place amid the permanent literature about Tolstoy. Mr. Barrett is Associate Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

Subject: Common sense is rare these days
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 15:21:07 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
November 05, 2005 So Far Not So Good by Peter Schiff Last week, following my appearance on CNBC's 'Squawk Box' Steve Liesman dismissed my warnings of dire consequences resulting from America's growing current account deficit, by arguing that 20 years of consistent deficits have failed to slow the US economy. In fact, the belief that the U.S. economy has faired better than those of surplus nations and that our current account deficits actually result from our superior growth is now widely accepted in both academia and on Wall Street. Excuse me folks, but I beg to differ. In 1982, the last year in which the U.S. enjoyed a current account surplus, America was the world's richest creditor nation. Today, we are the world's greatest debtor. How can such a transformation be interpreted as being positive? Can someone really say with a straight face that being a debtor is better than being a creditor? In 1982, America still flooded the world with high-quality, low cost manufactured goods. Today we flood the world with our IOUs. How can the disintegration of American industry be seen as anything other than a colossal economic failure? It is not as if American manufacturing has become so efficient that it has made room for other industries, as was the case when improvements in farming productivity gave way to the industrial revolution. When factories supplanted farms, America did not begin running massive trade deficits as a result of imported food. It was simply that farming became so efficient that capital was freed up for manufacturing. However, there is nothing creative about today's destruction. This 'so-far, so-good' attitude not only reflects a lack of understanding of basic economic principles, but of simple common sense as well. It is easy to have a good time while squandering an inheritance. However, the 'good times' are not indicative that all is well; it is just that the consequences are postponed until the credit runs out. Americans, much like philandering playboys, have squandered away the mother of all inheritances. The process of blowing all that wealth may have been fun while it lasted, but it should not be confused with economic success. The ability to blow an inheritance reflects the achievements of our ancestors, not ourselves. We all know that as individuals, going into debt is a sign of failure, while paying it off is evidence of success. When individuals are asked what they would do it they won the lottery, the most common response is to pay off debts, not run up bigger ones. Given that nations are nothing more than the sum of their individual citizens, why do we not understand that what is bad individually is also bad collectively? Think about it this way, if you were to ask a relative, perhaps your Uncle Sam, how he was doing, and he answered with the following; 'I just took out a second mortgage on my house, maxed out all my credit cards, cashed out all my retirement funds, and raided my kids college funds', would you assume that he was doing well? Would you congratulate him on his success? What if you asked a friend how he was doing and he replied 'I just paid off my mortgage and all of my credit cards, fully funded my retirement accounts, and pre-paid all my kids college tuitions.' Would you feel sorry for this individual? Would you assume that paying off his debts was somehow a sign of economic distress? Would you refer him to your Uncle Sam for financial advice? Proving that truth is stranger than fiction, on a recent trip to China, an American delegation actually gave economic advice to the Chinese. This is analogous to an F-student advising an honor student on how to improve his grades. Our recommendation; save less and spend more, is akin to what the F-student might advise an honor student: study less and party more. I'm sure the Chinese will give our advice all the consideration it deserves. Of course, not all debt is bad. Debt used to finance investments is good, to the extent that it produces superior positive cash flows. In addition, investment debt is self-liquidating, as it provides the means not only to pay the interest but retire the principle. However, consumer debt, used to pay for basic necessities, luxury goods, take vacations, or remodel kitchens, produces no income at all, and merely works to ultimately bankrupt the debtor. In actuality, current consumption financed by debt, ultimately leads to far less future consumption. Ironically, it is savings, the deliberate act of under-consumption, that maximize lifetime consumption, as savers, rather than struggling to repay debts, enjoy the extra consumption financed by compound interest. Rather than evidencing superior economic performance, American consumption actually reflects the reverse. The party was fun while it lasted, but unfortunately it is time to pay the piper. When the music stops, the world will finally see America's false prosperity for the illusion that it is, and the so-called gloom and doomers will finally be vindicated. Peter Schiff C.E.O. and Chief Global Strategist Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.

Subject: Re: Common sense is rare these days
From: Jennifer
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 15:47:37 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem is I have been hearing about debt for years, but I see no reason to believe we are finally reaching the limit of how much debt households or the government can handle. Simply slowing the growth of debt to the growth of the economy could leave us healthy indefinitely. So far our federal debt growth is not causing apparent problems however, and that is fortunate for little budget change is likely before the coming election. As for household debt growth, there interest rates are the consideration and long term rates are still contained.

Subject: Re: Common sense is rare these days
From: Pete Weis
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 07:52:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Jennifer. Here's a piece about approaching the 'limit'. 2006 should give us more clues. If we get through the next couple of years without consumers folding their tents in any significant way, I'll be the first to admit that common sense has been turned on its head and we live in a 'new age' of economic realities. But just as the stock bulls of the late 90's kept insisting that they were not worried about a stock crash because the bears had been expecting it for some time and it hadn't happened, that thinking didn't have any bearing on what finally transpired. Can consumers keep keeping economy afloat? November 5, 2005 BY ELLEN SIMON ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK-- Wall Street is worried about you. Yes, you. The one they call 'The Consumer.' From the trophy-arrayed corner office of the richest CEO to the windowless cubicle of the most junior analyst, your immediate future is a pressing concern. What will you get for Christmas? How much will it cost to heat your house this winter? Will you get a raise next year? This isn't personal. What they really care about is the 70 percent of gross domestic product that depends on consumer spending. Put another way, the 70 percent of the total economy that depends on you. Retailers, car makers, consumer technology companies, wireless carriers, home builders: They all count on you. You've been keeping the economy churning during the last five years, spending enough to make up for sluggish corporate spending. When you got tax cuts, you quickly spent them. Rising housing prices let you take out second and third mortgages, using your house as an ATM. But now you're just not spending the way you were. You aren't buying as many cars as you used to-- October auto sales were the weakest for any month since mid-1998. Your interest in home buying has hit its lowest level since 1991. Your debt has increased. Outstanding balances on credit cards have risen to more than $800 billion, or $7,200 per U.S. household. The United States debt-to-income ratio rose as much in the past five years as it did in the previous 15 years, according to Merrill Lynch. Your outlook is gloomy. 'Our Consumer index continued to fall off a cliff in the past week,' Merrill said in an Oct. 21 note. The last week in October, the ABC/Washington Post 'consumer comfort index' dropped to roughly the same level reached after the hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast. While October sales at many chain stores remained strong, you're eating at restaurants less. Sales at 'food services and drinking places' increased only 0.2 percent in September, according to a Goldman Sachs report. That's the fifth straight month of an increase at or below that meager pace. 'Usually, restaurant spending turns down before or during economic slowdowns,' the report said. The fact is, you could use a little more money. While economists look at 'core' inflation, which strips out volatile energy and food prices, you need only look at your bills to see that life has become more expensive. Jumps in gasoline and heating prices make getting anywhere and staying warm at home more challenging. Increases in interest rates and higher minimum credit card payments have chipped away at your checking account. If you've been renting and want to buy a home, good luck: Affordability for first-time home buyers is the worst it has been in 16 years. Then, there's your pay. 'Here we are, officially celebrating the fourth anniversary of this economic expansion, and the wage income share of the national income pie is south of 46 percent,' fumed a research note by Merrill Lynch North American economist David A. Rosenberg. 'At no point in the past 50 years has this ratio been so low so far into a business cycle.' Historically, the ratio has been 3.5 percentage points higher. The ratio is important because it looks at wages-- your paycheck-- instead of other sources of income, like the stellar Wall Street bonuses we saw last year and are almost certain to see again this year. Wage gains haven't kept pace with inflation, but total income continues to look good, thanks to those hefty bonuses. Americans now find themselves in one of two groups: The 9 percent who make $100,000 or more and the 91 percent who don't, said Diane C. Swonk, senior managing director and chief economist at Mesirow Financial, a financial services firm based in Chicago. 'The bifurcation of the economy makes the economy look better on paper than it does to the majority of consumers,' she said. She blames the lousy summer movie season on higher gasoline prices, which inspired families to stay home and rent a DVD instead of spending $50 for gas and movie tickets. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. did well during back-to-school shopping season, she said, 'because middle income households started to move down the food chain.' For the top 9 percent, the good times continue to roll. According to Swonk, World Series tickets sold for $15,000 a pair. The Four Seasons Hotels Inc. says its $500 and higher rooms are doing better than ever, topping the Internet boom years. Sales of Coach Inc. handbags, which average about $435, increased 9 percent last summer and have stayed there. After the Internet bust, 'we kept this wealthy population,' Swonk said. 'The problem is, we continue to restructure everyone else. We want a flexible economy, but the trade off is pain.' That's why Wall Street is worried about you. No bond broker (unless you have one in your family) cares whether your car breaks down or you spend winter shivering in a sleeping bag, hoping the pipes don't freeze. But if you, the 91 percent of the population called The Consumer, hit a point where a trip to Target is out of the question, even the Coach-handbag carrying Four Seasons Hotel-staying 9 percent may feel the pain.

Subject: Re: Common sense is rare these days
From: Jennifer
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 15:50:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though the Federal Reserve has raised short term interest rates repeatedly since June 2004, the American stock market has either risen or stabilized, and the long term bond market has been remarkably stable. The dollar is holding against every currency other than Brazil's.

Subject: Control of the money
From: Johnny5
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Sun, Nov 06, 2005 at 06:55:14 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Jennifer I will refer you to this bit of info - basically we as a nation have lost control of our lending policies and credit standards. Rates are just an illusions according to this rothbard scholar: http://bankdersysrisk.blogspot.com/ Hyperinflation happens by circumstance, not by plan. It is a sign that the government has lost control of its financial resources. Also in a world economy no government can control their currency absolutely outside of their borders. Even the power of the US is dependent upon international consensus. Therefore to indicate in a major banking crisis that the US can control the value of the US dollar is not possible if enough countries decide to get rid of their US dollars. Raising the Interest Rate as a fight Against Inflation This technique does not work as well as it did 20 years ago due to derivatives and the securitization of debt into bonds. Now the banking system can get around almost all rules the government may implement just by selling the debt. (This is of course assuming there are buyers for the debt). Therefore as long as foreign banks continue to want US debt, then the international interest rate set by the bond market bypasses the federal funds rate. The short term rate set by the Fed just is not considered as supply and demand is really at work here. This is why you can get an inverted yield curve. Dr. Greenspan has spoken on this issue before and he has publicly exposed doubts about any real effects of adjusting the federal funds rate. In a time before derivatives this would have been more effective as debt holders would have been inside the country. Dr. Bernanke thesis is that we did not inflate enough to prevent event the very few years of mild deflation we experienced during the 1930’s during the depression. He also believes that a country can grow their way out of a debt crisis. Given the right circumstances I do not disagree with him on this point if the growth is not dependent on the accumulation of debt and adds to the real economic base of the country. I do no feel that this economic recovery fits that mold as just building houses with debt, and they increasing the value of the houses by flooding the market with debt doesn’t in any way really add to the economic base of the country. If the country had increased the debt with jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other real economy and wealth building functions that create an income stream I would expect the US to be in better shape than a society based on the expansion of credit. Of course if the money for manufacturing didn’t get allocated correctly, then massive oversupply would ensue. Can Dr. Bernanke fight hyperinflation, I doubt it. Just like every other country that faces hyperinflation the government has too many promises to keep, and too much money abroad. In our case the shear amount of money abroad and the speed of transition for foreign banks to get rid of US currency is far faster than any government in the history of the human race could deal with effetely. Dr. Bernanke does not make decisions on military, social security, or any of the other goodies that the government is giving to its people through the assumption of debt. He could not limit or get rid of these programs. I don’t think the President could either. So we are really stuck at our current spending level. How would Dr. Bernanke even be able to deal with the collapse of the negative trade balance? It’s not like you can run a massive negative trade balance for ever. At some time your currency devalues due to it proliferation all over the world. A sharp decrease in the purchasing power of currency is hyperinflation. If foreign banks stop buying our mortgages, then this US money coming into their countries through debt payments and a negative trade balance will no longer be trapped in a lending loop, it will now be free to devalue on the international currency market. There is no way out side of war that the US could stop this. This is precisely why we have this international lending loop whereas our money keeps coming back to the US in the form of credit. In many ways I feel sorry for Dr. Bernanke. He will go down as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve when the world goes off the US dollar. I cannot imagine what history shall show him as, but it will certainly not be positive. The question you should really be asking is why did the money supply grow so fast after the US left the gold standard. Obviously Vietnam pumped money into the US economy, but without a huge negative trade balance, the money borrowed and created stayed in the country, causing inflation in everything. During this time financial derivatives where not really in wide use, therefore international holding of US consumer debt was not nearly so widespread. I could be therefore argued that raising the federal funds rate was effective in the 1980’s as most of the holders of consumer debt (i.e. mortgages, car loans, credit cards) were inside the country. At this period of time the securitization of debt into bonds easily defeats loan requirements and interest rates on credit are now far removed from the federal funds rate for the same reason. Once the debt left the country the Feds ability to manipulate it downward was dramatically decreased. I could only see direct intervention by the government to limit the expansion of credit through the limits on selling debt. This would put the fed back in power. Certainly when a person takes out a HELOC loans and purchases something this adds to the money supply. However this money is transported via a negative trade balance to another bank outside of the country. When US bonds are sold by foreign banks, does this affect the purchasing power of money? It certainly gives the buyer of the bond cash stream of US money. If the bond is bought at a discount then this effetely lowers the purchasing power of money. If the bond is bought at a premium this effetely raises the value of money. Therefore securities held internationally in terms of debt do in fact adjust the buying power of the US dollar in terms of those countries desire to hold onto that debt. At this time the money paid on this debt is transported out of the US and to the foreign countries, where it is mostly sent back to the US in the form of mortgages. This held excess US currency out of our money supply by trapping it in MBS and ABS. HOLC money was sucked up by a comparable negative trade balance. This money also came back to the country in the form of MBS and ABS. Therefore I would argue that the money supply is really much higher than the Federal Reserve is recording it to be since effective money substitutes are now everywhere thanks to new check writing rules and derivatives. So how does this relate to CPI and PPI. I would agree that as the purchasing power of the dollar falls then prices go up and people are layed off, reducing the base of people who can purchase goods. Therefore this creates oversupply and prices are forced down. As prices rise due to the money supply more and more jobs are lost. I do not disagree with this analysis. What I expect to happen during the process is that the other countries with huge asset bubbles, I think this is a large percentage of all US trading partners, will experience the deflation of their asset bubbles at about the same time as the US for similar reasons. The bubbles are falling under their own excessive weight. As these countries go into a banking crisis they shall start to bail out their banks by printing money. I would say borrow money, but who could you really borrow from. Even if you did borrow money, it is really just that country monetizing their debt in order to extend credit at this stage, and this would just add to the supply of money in their country. This will effetely cut off effective borrowing. Not that countries won’t borrow from each other, just that the borrowing is really monetizing the debt instead using money from savings. This will cause a situation whereas money is created in both economies, the lender and the borrowing economy, increasing the money supply in both countries. In this period I also expect democratic governments to increase spending on public works, military and social programs. In no way will the governments reign in current spending. As the US dollar is the most widely used currency on the planet I would also expect to see foreign banks dumping US assets as they shift away from a US dollar standard to a basket of currencies. This will flood the international market with US securities, discounting them, and devaluing the purchasing power of the US dollar. As the US dollar is highly overvalued in purchasing power I would expect to see the US dollar fall faster than other currencies. This will in effect make it cheaper to produce things in the US again and rebuild our manufacturing base. The US negative trade balance with the world will also stop as countries start selling things to other countries. This will eliminate the negative trade balance and give the US a positive trade balance eventually. The US government has expanded its spending with GDP growth induced through the assumption of debt. This spending will not be reduced, but increase during the crisis. Government spending will now inject US currency into the US economy and into the US currency general circulation within the country. US dollars will be returning through the foreign banks divulging themselves of US securities. Therefore even though I agree with your argument for CPI and PPI, I think that the international banking system and our own government spending will bring too many dollars into the country, bring with it hyperinflation. Until the US gets a firm hold on its spending, gets rid of many social programs, public works and such, then the US is in serious danger of chronic hyperinflation for years to come.

Subject: Re: Control of the money
From: Poyetas
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 05:43:38 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
consumption will not rise until real wages rise. The key is to find a new industry that will provide the engine for growth over the next years. you can always outsource labour but this will not happen until international competition brings down prices. As for the current-account deficit: it is quite obvious that America cannot compete on traditional manufacturing platforms. But that is just natural evolution. The question is where the capital inflows are going and all know the answer to that: The Iraq war and the social safety net (due to tax cuts), all of which provide little to no economic return.

Subject: Nanotech - Biomedicine
From: Johnny5
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 16:13:30 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I want to see amazing nano tech everywhere - a space elevator using carbon nanotubes. I want to see all the diseases of man cured and no more famine or suffering in the world. Capital needs to flow into these areas - I think it is - Emma just posted where the governator is flowing the money into stem cell research institutes - and in WPB Scripps is coming to do some research too. The future is so bright, even Terri must wear shades - hehe. Johnny5 want his clone walking around in the next 20 years - who need sex - Sixth Day with Governator - good film. Re-pet!

Subject: An Ancient Garden Youthfully Abloom
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 12:31:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/11/arts/design/11SOLO.html November 11, 2001 An Ancient Garden Youthfully Abloom: Chinese Art Today By ANDREW SOLOMON AT an exhibition of early Picasso last year at the National Gallery in Washington, a woman in a red dress stood in front of a beautifully drawn nude and said with surprise: ''Glory be! He was perfectly capable of painting people the way they look.'' Savvier viewers know that Picasso's abstractions came of seeing reality so clearly that he could see past it; to them his literal early material is unsurprising. He had to be able to do some sort of realism in order to invent cubism. Realism was the point of origin. Yet realist painters in the West are in an awkward position: for more than 100 years, many of them have chosen not to practice the form. A gift for representation is usually what gets them going as artists in the first place, when they are children. Later on, they ignore this physical talent or put it in the service of larger and often more intellectual goals. This seems to us normal: we see realism as the natural and only starting place for art. We therefore expect all other art to be derived from it. In other cultures, however, the starting point is very different. Ink painting is the realism of China. It is the beginning and the end; it is the grand objective around which artistic practice is built. Calligraphy is the religious art of China. It carries value beyond what it conveys to the untutored eye. The verbal and the visual are much more richly entangled in the Chinese tradition than anywhere else, and realism, or what we would perceive as accurate depiction, is associated not with high art but with low-level court painting. Indeed, classical Chinese artists trained not by working from nature or models but by imitating the work of past masters. The third dimension was not introduced into images. So artists trying to grapple with their past either had to make reference to the great calligraphic tradition or participate in it. A classical Chinese scholar would learn early to express himself with the brush; for such scholars, painting was not one step away from seeing but one step away from writing. Just as literal realist technique enters into contemporary work by such diverse artists as Chuck Close, David Salle and Gerhard Richter, classical calligraphic technique -- guohua, or national painting -- enters into the work of many contemporary Chinese artists. There, it mixes with recent ideas, Eastern and Western. Some contemporary Chinese artists are uninterested in the guohua tradition, but most are, and theirs is the more interesting work: it is historically engaged, acknowledging its predecessors in one way or another. This year, Americans have a rare opportunity to see in four exhibitions what happens when you mix calligraphic convention and modern times. Looking at them, it's hard to believe that they all come from the same country or the same era; they seem like manifestations of totally unrelated cultures. In July and August, the Metropolitan Museum of Art showed Robert Ellsworth's collection of recent ink painting in the exhibition ''Modern Chinese Painting, 1860-1980''; highlights from that show remain on view in the Douglas Dillon Galleries. The Yale University Art Gallery is currently showing the lovely paintings of Mu Xin, work that incorporates fresh ideas and European antecedents but retains a clear visual connection to classical China. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, in Washington, has just opened a major exhibition of Xu Bing, one of modern China's most original artists; he uses calligraphy as the basis for conceptual works that are both witty and profound. And the Dia Center for Contemporary Art has material by Feng Mengbo, China's foremost computer artist, on its Web site. These all count as exhibitions of modern Chinese art -- though Mr. Mu and Mr. Xu have both emigrated to the United States, they have relatively little in common, conceptually or stylistically. Western and Japanese influences were strong in Shanghai by the late 19th century, and life drawing was taught at the Roman Catholic church there. Though some artists learned foreign techniques, many determined that they must work in the most traditional styles to safeguard China's heritage. ''If the painter cannot do calligraphy,'' said Zhao Zhiqian, a painter who died in 1884 and is included in the Met exhibition, ''his work will be vulgar.'' By the 20th century, change was on its way, and the artists' mantra was ''Chinese essential principles with Western practical knowledge.'' After the Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911, the new minister of education declared that aesthetics should replace religion. The guohua tradition was invigorated by new information and remained strong, even as some Chinese painters went to Paris and produced Impressionist or Western-style academic painting. Choice of style indicated political tendencies; isolationist and nationalist artists worked in guohua while more liberal internationalist artists worked in Western styles. After 1949, the political meaning of such choices became stronger. The communist government favored Socialist Realism as practiced in the Soviet Union. In a curious alliance, Maoists, avant-gardists and many Western critics have disparaged guohua as reactionary, claiming that the tradition died between the end of the Qing Dynasty and the Cultural Revolution. The exhibition of recent guohua at the Met Museum demonstrates that the style has retained vitality even as it has lost importance, and so recalls a really fine show of cowboy art or contemporary romantic landscapes. Maxwell K. Hearn, curator of Chinese paintings at the Met, explains that the guohua belongs in his department (which is where it may be seen) while the yanghua, or Western-influenced art, belongs in the department of 20th-century art, even though it may all have been made at the same time, in the same cities, by people the same ages. The exhibition of Mu Xin at Yale occupies a fertile middle ground between guohua and modernism. This is painting of such exquisite sophistication and such dazzling texture as to leave the greatest critics of Chinese art -- several of whom have written for the exhibition's lovely catalog -- at a loss for superlatives. Mr. Mu is classed as an ink painter by default. The surfaces of his pictures, which in many instances mix ink and gouache and possibly graphite, are worked and burnished to glow with intensity. Breaking with Chinese frontalism, they portray strange, enigmatic and powerful landscapes with considerable depth; though they are not quite realist, they have the plausible quality of dreamscapes. Born in 1927 to an intellectual and aristocratic family, Mr. Mu grew up under the tutelage of private instructors, learning calligraphy and other elegant skills. One of his relatives was a leading thinker of the pre-communist period, who believed that China must incorporate Western ideas. Mr. Mu had access to his broad-ranging private library and there became versed not only in classical Chinese material but also in the great work of Western writers and artists. In the 40's, Mr. Mu supported Mao Zedong but soon became disillusioned and withdrew into a deliberate obscurity he has largely sustained. The humbleness of his activity in a craft collective was not sufficient to spare him from persecution in the Cultural Revolution, and he spent some of China's most dire years at hard labor and more incarcerated. During this time, working by candlelight, he created the paintings now at Yale. ''By day I was a slave,'' he told the curator of the exhibition. ''By night I was a prince.'' During 1971 and 1972, when he lived in an air-raid shelter in a ''peoples' prison,'' nearly starving and in perpetual darkness, he obtained a precious 66 pieces of paper, intended for forced confessionals. Instead he covered them with minuscule characters, setting down his side of dialogues with the figures he most admired, a group that included not only the great Chinese classical scholars but also Leonardo, Tolstoy and Beethoven. In a Chinese purgatory, he strove to balance Eastern and Western artistic values. Both the notes and the paintings point toward a realm of imagination in which party politics is secondary to the humanism of Song Dynasty China (960-1279) and Renaissance Italy. It is no coincidence that most of this work has never been publicly exhibited; by inclination and necessity, Mr. Mu is self-mystifying and reclusive, though his published writing has a cultish following in the Chinese diaspora. (It is forbidden in China.) While a debate has raged about whether modern guohua is derivative, a parallel debate has suggested that Chinese artists who use Western devices are simply copying from a dominant culture to which they add little. This idea was substantially reinforced by the show of modern Chinese art mounted at the Guggenheim Downtown in 1998, an exhibition that, showing ''representative'' rather than distinguished work, obscured the accomplishments of recent artists. Modern Chinese artists who use Western information are no more copiers of Western styles than Western minimalists are copiers of Japanese Zen. More vital than the pure guohua at the Met and less rarefied than the work of Mr. Mu is shiyan meishu, or experimental art. Xu Bing is one of the movement's most impressive exponents; the Sackler exhibition, far and away the largest show of a living artist ever mounted there, seems to confirm his singular place in the United States. Mr. Xu, the son of a librarian, was surrounded by books from an early age. When he was little -- in the early 1960's -- he was unable to read them, and later he was not allowed to do so because the Cultural Revolution had forbidden everything but agitprop. After 1977, he became one of the youngest artists ever to teach in the Central Academy in Beijing. While he satisfied the authorities, he quietly developed his iconoclastic ideas and in 1988 stunned the art world and angered the authorities with his ''Book From the Sky,'' perhaps the single greatest icon of shiyan meishu. For it, he invented more than 1,000 false characters, which appear legible but are in fact meaningless. He carved these into movable type, which he used to make four massive books, full of meaning but devoid of signification. During the Cultural Revolution, Mr. Xu had learned to be wary of words, but he could not break himself of a love for the form of them, and words have been the underlying subject of everything he has done. The ''Book From the Sky'' denotes the impossible weight of a Chinese tradition that no one can now understand; it evokes the perilous ignorance of a generation that went unschooled during the Cultural Revolution; it reflects on the futility of all communication; it is at once scholarly and atavistic. The Communist Party reacted violently when the work was shown in 1989, and essays about Mr. Xu soon emerged saying, in one instance, that ''to have no purpose at all is absurd and dissolute''; in another that Mr. Xu ''came under the influence of foreign thought and abandoned art for the people''; and in yet another that ''the capitalist artists want to state their lies as truths and display their nonstuff as art, to use lies to dupe the masses.'' Under mounting pressure, Mr. Xu left China. Though it is tempting to assume that work that attracted such criticism is about contemporary politics, Mr. Xu follows a very high Chinese tradition, established during the Song Dynasty, of voicing existential questions as a means of elegant dissent from the policies and social reality of his time. His life was in fact shaped by politics, but the work addresses the very source of politics rather than the policies of the Chinese government. Feng Mengbo is China's leading computer artist, a practitioner of perhaps the most exotic form of shiyan meishu. He is of the post-Cultural Revolution generation and has grown up in a consumerist China. On the Dia Web site, at www .diacenter.org/mengbo, in a work called ''Phantom Tales,'' he recreates the slide shows that were a popular form of low-budget propaganda in the 1970's. The first two tales are drawn from storybooks. To a viewer unfamiliar with the popular narratives, the plot is hard to follow, but the material is still moving. A spotlight travels, like a child's eye, across a succession of images, stopping at the most disturbing ones. The artist explained to me that he had set out to capture the traumatic experience of a childhood marked not only by violence in the streets but also by exposure to misery in this educational material. In other works, Mr. Feng has connected such material from his childhood and the violent video games popular with contemporary Chinese children. The artist's next major project is ''Q4U,'' a fully interactive video game to be launched by the Renaissance Society of Chicago University in January. Mr. Feng has incorporated a self-portrait into the popular video game Quake, and players engage in a struggle to kill or be killed by the artist. The installation will include play stations, but anyone with sufficient RAM and appropriate hardware and software will be able to play over the Internet. Modern China mixes conservative and culturally distinctive Chinese ideas, high-flown antique elitism, radical ideas that are open to Western influence and original ideas that are modern and Chinese and unsourceable. Great things are accomplished within each of these mind-sets. To focus too specifically on any one of them is to underestimate China itself and to miss a rare chance to see a thousand flowers bloom.

Subject: Reflections of a Restless China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 12:27:11 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/08/arts/dance/08joyc.html?ei=5070&en=7fcc98505141c024&ex=1120622400&emc=eta1&pagewanted=all&position= February 8, 2005 In Modern Dance, Reflections of a Restless China in Flux By ANNA KISSELGOFF In a country where the arts are expected to support government policy rather than exist primarily as independent forms, China's still-young and rapidly expanding modern dance has a distinct advantage. It is a wordless means of individual expression, especially open to ambiguity and interpretation. When the Beijing Modern Dance Company, founded in 1995, makes its New York debut tonight at the Joyce Theater, with 'Rear Light,' a piece choreographed to music from 'The Wall,' the 1979 rock album by Pink Floyd, viewers will certainly spot the general aura of alienation. It may be less easy to agree about specifics. The sight of young people placed 'up against the wall' and of crime-scene body silhouettes painted on the floor as well as dancing that veers between turbulence and regimentation may all evoke the 1989 repression of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. Yet there is also an intimate male-female duet and a wild disco scene, usually with audience participation onstage. For Willy Tsao, the company's Hong Kong-born artistic director, this disco episode is not just a release but also a critique of mindless youth. 'It shows a wild bunch of kids enjoying themselves,' Mr. Tsao said. 'They don't know what's going on around them. They hide from the truth.' Any recent visitor to China who has run into the night life in Shanghai and Beijing or seen the pop art in official museums that portrays Maoists and punk rockers side by side will understand that artists who do not want a return to the past may also be unhappy with China's rediscovery of materialist values. An allegorical transposition of the original tale about an alienated rock star in the 1982 movie version of 'The Wall,' 'Rear Light' is at a far remove from a realistic dance about peasants in the fields that was included in the 1991 United States debut of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the seedbed of Chinese contemporary dance. Reflecting a society in flux, professional modern dance has spread beyond Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai to attract budding choreographers in universities in other provinces. True to the essence of modern dance anywhere, it is no longer limited to one kind of movement idiom or aesthetic. Interviewed by phone during the company's current United States tour, Mr. Tsao said that Li Han-zhong and Ma Bo, the husband-and-wife team who choreographed 'Rear Light,' tend toward 'very angry pieces.' But 'Rear Light,' he insisted, is one of those works whose meaning changes with its viewer. He agreed that the body silhouettes refer to people who have been killed. 'But these things happen anywhere,' he said. 'People were killed in Yugoslavia and are killed in Iraq.' Mr. Tsao is aware that not all, especially in the West, will accept this wider view. The point he wishes to make is that it would be right to read 'a yearning for individuality and free expression' into such works. 'Dancers are not afraid to say that they are not satisfied,' he added, 'and they say it through the body.' For Ralph Samuelson, director of the New York-based Asian Cultural Council, which has helped finance training and teaching for Chinese modern dancers and choreographers both in the United States and in China, 'China is very different from what it was.' Yet, he added, there are three subjects that are taboo there in modern dance: sex, attacks on political leaders and violence. Mr. Tsao said that the line was drawn at nudity and direct criticism of Chinese leaders. But like Mr. Samuelson, he notes that much has changed since the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, China's first professional modern-dance company, was formed in 1990. It was a carefully prepared birth, sparked by the 1986 visit of Yang Mei-qi, head of the Guangdong Dance Academy, to the American Dance Festival at its summer home at Duke University in Durham, N.C. The festival, through its International Choreographers Workshop, played a major role in helping Ms. Yang organize a three-year program (1987-90) to train dancers and nurture new choreographers. Mr. Tsao, who advised the Guangdong company until 1998 and is now its overall director, said the training struck local cultural officials as too American. Looking back on these beginnings, Charles Reinhart, the American Dance Festival's director, remains adamant about the project's goal. 'Our whole point was not to come in like the Soviet balletmasters did in China and say, this is our 'Swan Lake,' copy it,' he said. 'The idea was to provide them with modern dance training and let them run with it to develop their own genius.' The first generation in the Guangdong troupe spawned China's leading modern-dance choreographers in a remarkably short time. They include Shen Wei, highly acclaimed on the international festival circuit and based in New York. 'The seeds in modern dance creativity have grown so fast in China that we have come full circle,' Mr. Reinhart said, referring to Mr. Shen. 'You could say that one of the most talented choreographers in America today is Chinese.' Mr. Samuelson said that in the 1980's Chinese choreographers didn't want to go home but 'now mostly they do.' Guangdong alumni include Wang Mei, who heads the modern dance program at the Beijing Dance Academy, and Jin Xing, who showed indisputable talent when he choreographed for American Dance Festival students in the 1980's and early 90's. In 1995 the Beijing Cultural Bureau asked him to become the Beijing Modern Dance Company's first artistic director - just after he underwent a sex change to become China's most publicized transsexual. Retaining the same name as a woman, Ms. Jin now choreographs for her own company in Shanghai. A major figure in fostering interest in modern dance is Mr. Tsao, who is choreographer for his City Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong and who is credited by American observers with donating his own money to the Guangdong and Beijing companies. 'Willy saved the companies,' Mr. Samuelson said. 'They couldn't sustain themselves.' Whether Mr. Tsao's taste influences these companies is open to debate. Americans can judge for themselves when the Kennedy Center presents the Guangdong, Beijing and Hong Kong companies on the same program in October. 'I have apartments in three cities,' Mr. Tsao said. There is no question that he has fostered the growth of different choreographers both in the companies and in the annual dance festival he established in Beijing in 1999 and moved to Guangzhou last year. 'If it is only one type of modern dance, it will be a failure,' he said. 'Chinese modern dancers are finding a new language. I don't see that in Europe and America. 'In the second year of our festival, students from seven colleges asked to present their choreography. It was amateurish, but it opened a door. In 2003 we had 18 universities participating, with many painting and literature students. A computer science student formed a company, the Young Crops Society, after he choreographed for the festival. His works were very calm and quiet, like a computer.' Mr. Tsao sees greater freedom in the fact that arts financing is being cut back on the provincial and municipal levels. The Beijing troupe is mainly underwritten by corporations, he said. Mr. Tsao said the company's status as an independent group without subsidy left it free of censorship. 'No government official came to see the work we are presenting now in the United States,' he said. After Mr. Tsao succeeded Ms. Jin as artistic director in Beijing in 1999, he said, 'I had to spend time on radio talk shows, explaining modern dance.' Government officials suggested he present works that were 'traditional and Chinese.' 'My response,' he said, 'is that modern dance is not a cultural trait. If you have a sense of freedom, Chinese modern dance can come of age. If the perception is that you have only to create something different from the West, that is a limitation.'

Subject: An Organic Drift
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 10:56:09 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/opinion/04fri4.html November 4, 2005 An Organic Drift Organic food has become a very big business, with a 20 percent annual growth rate in sales in recent years. But popularity has come at a price. Ever since 2002, when the Department of Agriculture began its program of national organic certification, there has been a steady lobbying effort to weaken standards in a way that makes it easier for the giant food companies, which often use synthetic substances in processing, to enter the organic market. That's exactly why many organic farmers greeted the U.S.D.A.'s organic seal with real trepidation. They know that the one thing the department has always done especially well is to capitulate to the lobbying pressure of big food and big agriculture. Last week, an amendment was slipped into the agricultural spending bill without meaningful debate in a closed-door Republican meeting. It would do two things. It would overturn a court decision reinstating the old legal standard that prohibits synthetic substances in organic foods. And it would allow the agriculture secretary to approve synthetic substances if no organic substitute was commercially available. In part, this is a battle over a label. The big producers, which often use synthetic materials in processing, want to call their processed foods organic because that designation commands premium prices. They do not want to say their products are made with organic ingredients - a lesser designation that allows more synthetics. This is also a cultural battle, a struggle between the people who have long kept the organic faith - despite the historic neglect of the U.S.D.A. - and industry giants that see a rapidly expanding and highly profitable niche that can be pried open even further with lobbying. 'Organic' is not merely a label, a variable seal of approval at the end of the processing chain. It means a way of raising crops and livestock that is better for the soil, the animals, the farmers and the consumers themselves - a radical change, in other words, from conventional agriculture. Unless consumers can be certain that those standards are strictly upheld, 'organic' will become meaningless.

Subject: The Capitol's Revolting Door
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 10:54:54 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/opinion/04fri3.html November 4, 2005 The Capitol's Revolting Door A Senate hearing has provided a rarefied look at Washington's ever-whirring carousel for business lobbyists and government appointees, who spin back and forth between the private and public sectors in a blur of opportunism. The Interior Department's former deputy secretary, Steven Griles - who had been tapped for that job by the Bush administration when he worked as a lobbyist for the mining industry - was accused of using his government post to carry out the bidding of Jack Abramoff, the indicted power lobbyist who sought favorable Interior rulings for Indian-tribe clients vying for casinos. A former counsel at the department testified that Mr. Griles had meddled aggressively in decisions affecting Abramoff clients. And Senator John McCain produced e-mail about Mr. Abramoff's trying to woo the deputy secretary's favor by offering a lucrative job in - where else? - lobbying. Mr. Griles denied any inside favoritism and said the job offer had surprised him enough to refer it to ethics officials. This had to be bemusing to Capitol veterans, who are aware that lobbyists are subjected to some of the flimsiest rules in Washington. As the hearing went forward, it was hard to tell where lobbying ends and public service begins. Mr. Griles turned out to have met Mr. Abramoff by way of a political friend of Interior Secretary Gale Norton. That friend, Italia Federici, is the head of a conservative environmental lobbying group that received Abramoff donations. Senator McCain, saying she seemed to be valued for having 'juice' at Interior, is seeking her testimony. Then there were side tales of Ralph Reed, once the boy-wonder promoter of moral values at the Christian Coalition, and his lobbying ties to Mr. Abramoff's casino dealings. Stay tuned, but don't ask where it will end, because lobbying is a $3-billion-a-year Capitol institution these days. The hearings have established that for all the election-winning talk of big government as the problem, it can also provide a sweet perch for the victors. Mr. Griles, incidentally, left public service after four years and has returned to the private sector. He is a lobbyist.

Subject: In Paris, Tough Talk Isn't Enough
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 07:25:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/opinion/04fri2.html November 4, 2005 In Paris, Tough Talk Isn't Enough The suburbs of Paris have a long history of violent uprisings by enraged residents. But the nightly clashes in the grimy northeastern environs over the past week have been grimly contemporary. The rioters torching cars and pelting the police are mainly the sons of African and Arab immigrants, most of them Muslims, who have never been integrated into French society, who work for the lowest wages and who live in ghettos rife with crime. The daily images of helmeted police officers and angry youths silhouetted against blazing cars near dilapidated apartment blocks should remind the French that they have a huge problem in need of urgent attention. France clings to its cherished approach to immigration, which has been to declare that once in France, everyone is French and therefore equal, and that's that. The truth is that everyone is not French, nor equal, especially in an era of soaring immigration. The old approach gets in the way of real affirmative action or community outreach. Efforts at imposed integration, like the ban that keeps Muslim girls from wearing head scarves in state schools, have only antagonized immigrants. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who has ambitions to be president, has not been much help. He called the rioters 'scum' and said the answer was zero tolerance of crime. A better answer would involve job opportunities, decent housing and good education for these new citizens.

Subject: Love the Riches, Lose the Rags
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 05:54:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/fashion/thursdaystyles/03cindy.html November 3, 2005 Love the Riches, Lose the Rags By JODI KANTOR ONCE upon a time, Cinderella was one of the humblest souls in the world of children's entertainment. Named for the soot she constantly swept from her wicked stepfamily's hearth, she befriended rodents and warbled patiently until she was rescued by her fairy godmother and her prince. Lately, though, Cinderella has become another kind of character: a retail giantess and one of the dominant figures of this year's all-important Halloween-to-Christmas stretch. Over the past month alone she has opened her own boutiques in every Toys 'R' Us across the country, sold a million DVD copies of her classic animated film in a single day and inspired flocks of little girls to don sparkly light-blue tulle for Halloween. More than a millennium after her creation and 55 years after her Disneyization, Cinderella has gone from a stalwart to a phenomenon with the kind of hypnotic effect exerted by only a few characters per generation. 'It's everywhere I turn, and she's obsessed with it,' said Suzanne Brady of Wantagh, N.Y., of her 2-year old daughter, Reilly. But the Cinderella featured in the new crush of products is quite different from the docile, selfless young lady of earlier versions. In the Brothers Grimm and Disney movie stories, the character is distinguished by her modesty and lack of concern with material possessions. These days, she rarely wears anything but a sumptuous ball gown, prefers the company of fellow royals, shops at a glass slipper boutique, and encourages her young charges to primp for hours at her top-selling Magical Talking Vanity ($69.99). As a result, many little girls now think of Cinderella as a princess with a gilded lifestyle instead of a cruelly oppressed wretch. When Lynn Zerbib of Larchmont, N.Y., took her 4-year-old daughter, Alison, to a live theatrical version of the fairy tale, 'all she wanted was to see Cinderella in her dress and couldn't understand why she was in rags for the entire play,' Ms. Zerbib said. In fact, Cinderella lust causes some young devotees to behave more like her wicked stepsisters. 'Literally, the dresses get fought over by the little girls,' said Elaine Harrop of Farmingdale, N.Y., as her 3-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, repeatedly flung herself at a Cinderella statue in the World of Disney Store in Manhattan on Saturday, clutching at the stiff skirt. (Like several dozen other devotees, Kaitlyn had lined up for a photo session with the princess herself, played by a sweetly smiling actress in a blond bouffant helmet). According to Ms. Brady, Cinderella getups were so ubiquitous for Halloween they inspired a competitive frenzy. 'It's all about who has the nicest costume,' she said. 'I feel like I have to outdo everybody because everyone is going to be Cinderella. It's who's got the tiaras, the dresses, the shoes.' The current interpretation of the character is 'Cinderella as Material Girl,' said Gregory Maguire, the author of 'Wicked,' which retells 'The Wizard of Oz' with sympathy for its supposed villain; and of 'Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister,' which does the same for 'Cinderella.' Fairy tales, he said, are 'secular parables' in which 'we can discuss our own desires.' If so, the latest Cinderella says as much about consumers as it does about Disney, and it may be just right for an age in which vanity is rarely a sin, and covetousness is perfectly acceptable. Alida Allison, a professor at the National Center for the Study of Children's Literature at San Diego State University, said the rebranded Cinderella inverts the original fairy tale. 'The beauty and material possession competition fostered by the consumer Cinderella campaign contradicts the folkloric message that a princess is someone who merits ascendancy, not just someone who can afford it,' she said. The Cinderella makeover began four years ago, when Disney consolidated several of its animated female characters, from Snow White (1937) to Mulan (1998), into the Princess line, forming a kind of supersorority of Disney heroines. The results were overwhelming: a royalty craze that extended to everything from Halloween costumes (this year, according to the National Retail Federation, princesses outnumbered witches by more than two to one) to movies like 'The Princess Diaries,' and worldwide sales of products in the Princess line that reached almost $3 billion this year. Cinderella, meanwhile, rapidly became the brand's first among equals. Next to can-do contemporary heroines like Ariel of 'The Little Mermaid' and Jasmine of 'Aladdin,' her lilting speech and unprotesting manner seemed quaint. But the success of the Princess brand, said Chris Byrne, a toy consultant, hinged on a particular insight: girls are no longer content to merely play with dolls or watch movies depicting their heroines; instead, they actually want to be princesses themselves. After all, who wants to sit passively, watching a cartoon character having all the fun, when there are sparkly tiaras to wear and glass slippers to totter in? 'When we developed the line, it was around the concept of role play and transformation,' said Mary Beech, vice president of girls' franchise brands for Disney's consumer products division. And girls wanted to be Cinderella more than they did any other character. 'She has almost everything a girl needs: a fairy godmother, royal ball, fabulous ball gowns, a royal coach,' Ms. Beech said. The role-play approach encourages fans to use their imaginations to concoct their own Cinderella stories - but it also makes shopping for fabulous accessories central to the fairy-tale experience. In some ways, it's a natural extension of the Disney film, which climaxes with the heroine's acquisition of shimmering goodies. 'If your parents can buy you this stuff, you are Cinderella,' Dr. Allison said. No wonder they find it hard to refuse: the legend features an evil mother figure who denies Cinderella the accoutrements she deserves, and a beneficent one who makes them magically appear. At the same time, the emphasis on independent role-playing makes the official tale and its lessons less central. Many recent young fans have sworn their allegiance to Cinderella without ever seeing the animated film that introduced her as a Disney character. The company tightly controls its classic movies, releasing them only every 7 to 10 years. 'Cinderella' had last been released in 1995, and while some video stores still rented those beat-up VHS copies, a new, Princess-crazy generation of fans was eager to buy the DVD, which was released on Oct. 4. But the related products took precedence: girls who may or may not have seen the movie were spending afternoons getting to know her through baubles from the Princess line. Two months before the release of the DVD - restored but otherwise unchanged from the 1950 original movie - Disney introduced more than 250 Cinderella items, promoting them in Toys 'R' Us boutiques and in center-aisle displays in every Wal-Mart store. For Simone Bonnet, 4, of Denver, the line of merchandise 'has a life of its own,' said her mother, Suzanne. 'The movie is just another one' of the many Cinderella items to be purchased, she said. Disney acknowledges this change, but stresses the primacy of the story. 'Girls learn about the characters in all different ways,' Ms. Beech said. 'It may be through a costume she has a chance to experience at her friend's house. But at the end of the day, the storytelling is paramount. They want to act out what happened to Cinderella.' Perhaps because interest in the character no longer requires a full understanding of the narrative, her fans are younger than ever. Even though Ms. Beech tends to keep Princess products out of the house - she is surrounded by them at work, she says - her own 18-month-old daughter, who hasn't yet seen the movie or read a Cinderella book, is already clamoring for her first pair of glass slippers. A more typical case of Cinderella preoccupation begins around 2, and wanes by 6. 'Kids get older younger now,' said Bob Chapek, president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment. 'When I started in this business 12 years ago, kids entered into the Disney Classic range at 6. Now, at 2 to 3 years old, kids are buying the Cinderella classic DVD.' When they do, they will find a gentle, nonthreatening story. Pre-Disney versions of the legend were gruesome cautionary tales; the Grimm Brothers rendition ends with the stepsisters punished for their glass-slipper fetish by being permanently hobbled, and for their vanity by having their eyes pecked out by birds. But for toddlers, Disney's telling presents no such terrors, only a badly tempered cat, the petulant stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia, and an elegantly menacing stepmother. Even women on the other end of the age spectrum seem to adore the character, especially when it comes to the kinds of role-playing exercises so popular with the 4-year-old set. At the Disney parks, the most popular theme wedding is the Cinderella one. For $2,500, a bride can arrive in a glass coach copied straight from the film, drawn by four ponies. Younger girls, meanwhile, are watching their movies on special pink-and-blue Cinderella television and DVD players, dressing their dogs in Cinderella costumes and eating breakfast made in a waffle iron that stamps her image into the batter. 'You want to feel like a princess every moment of every day,' Ms. Beech said, 'even if you're riding a bike or kicking a soccer ball.' It is even possible, as one mother at the Disney store confessed, to go to the bathroom the Cinderella way. 'There's Drizella and there's Anastasia,' her recently toilet-trained daughter remarks when she flushes.

Subject: To be or not to be Brittney Spears
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 11:07:35 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
they actually want to be princesses themselves. You always make me laugh Emma - that was hilarious. I shall share another personal story of Johnny5. First however - see how these marketing DEMONS play on the emotions of women and children - the poor man that pays the bills - he doesn't stand a chance next to that juggernaut. My brother in law confessed to me that after spending for my sister and my 2 nieces - he didn't have enough for new underwear for himself - HAHA! They get into competitions on who can get papa/hubby to spend the most - it is terrible to witness - he can never win - if he doesn't continually spend more on the next - the others will give him hell. Now to my story, I was having lunch one day with a college chemistry professor at Outback steakhouse. He had left a tip of 25 dollars for a 10 dollar meal - I said Professor - why are you doing this? You are throwing away your money - he said Johnny5 - I wish for the girls here to like me and know I have mucho cash - and that I will take care of them. I said professor - this is not the way to get a date with these girls - they can get big tips from any sucker man - they just have to act sweet. I said you have to give them something they want that they cannot get from any sucker man - and I began to tell him the story of the crooked cops in the city that used illegal drugs to get dates with these same women. He said I cant do that - if I get caught I will go to jail and lose my job - I said true - the crooked cops have the edge over you - but maybe I can help. So Johnny5 gets one of his crooked cop friends to set up a party over at the professors house and invite a few of the girls over and the crooked cop is going to bring the SNOW WHITE if you get my drift to make sure the OUTBACK waitresses show up. They do - I am talking to one of the girls - she had just got fired that day - I said why - she said she served liqour to a minor and the manager caught her and fired her! The crooked cop laughed and said hell if the manager knew what you were REALLY giving that minor - he might have called me - and then I would have had to come and make like I was arresting you! So Johnny5 finds out this girl is all into this PRINCESS - Material girl world and he asks her what music do you like - and she says brittney spears - she wants to be brittney. I said oh you want to be a big pop singer like brittney - she said no Johnny5 - you misunderstand me - I don't want to be LIKE brittney - I literally want to BE HER - like take over her body and soul with a magic spell. THe sad thing is - she was still sober at that point and had not taken any of the crooked cops SNOW WHITE. Pathetic - her and her sister both crashed out in life - living at home with momma now - broke - poor - all beacuse they wanted to BE THE PRINCESS and got set up for false dreams since they were little girls.

Subject: Re: To be or not to be Brittney Spears
From: Emma
To: Johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 17:53:35 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you :)

Subject: Re: To be or not to be Brittney Spears
From: Poyetas
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Nov 05, 2005 at 11:26:24 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Creation of Creativity in China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 04:27:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/ November 4, 2005 The Creative Creation of Creativity in China By Mark Thoma I have heard this same underlying adage in economics departments for many years, though in recent years I haven't heard it as often: From Gunpowder to the Next Big Bang, by Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times: There is a techie adage that goes like this: In China or Japan the nail that stands up gets hammered, while in Silicon Valley the nail that stands up drives a Ferrari and has stock options. Underlying that adage is a certain American confidence that whatever we lack in preparing our kids with strong fundamentals in math and science, we make up for by encouraging our best students to be independent, creative thinkers. I've always wondered if it the adage is a rationalization for poor U.S. performance in math and science, but apparently the belief has support in China as well: ...Even the Chinese will tell you that they've been good at making the next new thing, and copying the next new thing, but not imagining the next new thing. That may be about to change. Confident that its best K-12 students will usually outperform America's in math and science, China is focusing on how to transform its classrooms so students become more innovative. ...Harry Shum, a Carnegie Mellon-trained computer engineer ... said: 'A Chinese journalist once asked me, '...what is the difference between China and the U.S.?...' I joked, '... the difference between China high-tech and American high-tech is only three months - if you don't count creativity.' When I was a student in China 20 years ago, we didn't even know what was happening in the U.S. Now, anytime an M.I.T. guy puts up something on the Internet, students in China can absorb it in three months. How do you create imagineers? 'But could someone here create it? That is a whole other issue. I learned mostly about how to do research right at Carnegie Mellon. ... Before you create anything new, you need to understand what is already there. Once you have this foundation, being creative can be trainable. China is building that foundation. So very soon, in 10 or 20 years, you will see a flood of top-quality research papers from China.' Once more original ideas emerge, though, China will need more venture capital and the rule of law to get them to market. ... Dr. Shum said. '... I will be teaching a class at Tsinghua University next year on how to do technology-based ventures. ... You have technology in Chinese universities, but people don't know what to do with it - how to marketize it.' ... How do you say 'Ferrari' in Chinese? Creativity is built like everything else of value is built, with long hard work and as the commentary notes it starts with the construction of the proper foundation, a thorough understanding of what is known and how it came to be known, what is unknown, and what among the unknown is the most important to solve.

Subject: Why John Maynard Keynes?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 04:18:45 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://krugman.page.nytimes.com/b/a/208747.htm October 7, 2005 Why John Maynard Keynes? Jonathan P. Scoll, Edina, Minn., asks:'Of what possible relevance, other than historical curiosity, is John Maynard Keynes today? Since the American electorate has, over the last thirty years, repeatedly voted out the social contract, opting for monetary manipulation by Greenspan, et al., has it not buried Keynsianism, for good?' Paul Krugman: I think you're failing to realize just how much Keynes changed our view of the world. He was one of those thinkers whose influence runs so deep that even people who think they oppose his views see the world in a way that wasn't possible before he wrote. Greenspan's policies are actually quite Keynesian; so are most of the rationales the Bushies have used for their tax cuts. I'll try to post a bit about Keynes on TimesSelect once I'm done with the introduction to the new edition of The General Theory.

Subject: Greenspan Tax Cuts
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 10:51:18 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I watched greenspan yesterday and a couple of democratic congressmen were really trying to nail him on his tax cuts and deficit talk several years ago. He kept telling them please reach across the aisle and fix things - but they just seemed to be up to their same old partisan politics. He said the surpluses were projected by the OMB, the FED, everyone - so the tax cuts made sense. He went on to say he wanted to initiate certain automatic controls that if the surpluses turned into deficits - to undo the tax cuts and cut spending. Basically I took away that they are going to cut emma's entitlements - and that dividends will no longer be double taxed.

Subject: Re: Why John Maynard Keynes?
From: Yann
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 06:55:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you Emma. The last sentence is by PK?

Subject: Re: Why John Maynard Keynes?
From: Emma
To: Yann
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 07:24:29 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Question, and answer by Paul Krugman.

Subject: Why the Fed Can't Go Long
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 04:17:52 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://krugman.page.nytimes.com/b/a/215122.htm Oct. 31, 2005 Why the Fed Can't Go Long Jim Hargrove, Austin, Tex.: You commented in your recent column [''Bernanke and the Bubble''] that the Fed controls only short term interest rates. Isn't that really a policy choice that the Fed has made? Does anything prevent the F.O.M.C. [Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policiy panel] from buying longer term bonds or selling them to try to affect longer term rates? Paul Krugman: It's possible in principle for the Fed to buy long-term bonds, and it might make a difference. One of the policies urged on the Bank of Japan was precisely to buy long-term bonds. But most people who've studied the issue think that it would take huge purchases of U.S. long-term bonds to have much effect on long-term rates. What the Fed really controls is the monetary base, which has a direct impact on short-term rates. It's much harder to move the long-term rate.

Subject: Scientists Link a Prolific Gene Tree
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Nov 03, 2005 at 15:20:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/science/01manc.html?ex=1288501200&en=dfcc6047669d4a7a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 1, 2005 Scientists Link a Prolific Gene Tree to the Manchu Conquerors of China By NICHOLAS WADE Geneticists have identified a major lineage of Y chromosomes in populations of northern China that they believe may mark the bearers as descendants of one of the Manchu conquerors who founded the Qing dynasty and ruled China from 1644 to 1911. Because the founder of the lineage lived some 500 years ago, according to calculations based on the rate of genetic change, he may have been Giocangga, who died in 1582, the grandfather of the Manchu leader Nurhaci. At least 1.6 million men now carry this Manchu Y chromosome, says Chris Tyler-Smith, the leader of a team of English and Chinese geneticists. Several historians, however, expressed reservations and said they would like to see more evidence, including testing of present-day descendants of the Qing nobility. This is not the first instance of extraordinary male procreation that Dr. Tyler-Smith has brought to light. Two years ago, after a survey of Y chromosomes across East Asia, he identified a lineage that he was able to associate with the Mongol royal house and Genghis Khan. Some 16 million men who live within the boundaries of the former Mongol empire now carry Genghis's Y chromosome, according to Dr. Tyler-Smith's calculations. The Mongol Y chromosome presumably spread so widely because of the large number of concubines amassed by Genghis and his relatives. The Manchu rulers, though not in Genghis's league, also were able to spread their lineage so far, Dr. Tyler-Smith and his colleagues suggest, because of being able to keep many concubines. Even a ninth-rank nobleman in the dynasty (whose name is pronounced ching) was entitled to receive 11 kilograms of silver and 22,000 liters of rice as his annual stipend. With colleagues in England and Beijing, Dr. Tyler-Smith identified a Y chromosome lineage that was surprisingly common among seven populations scattered across northern China, but was absent from the Han, to which most Chinese belong. Since the only other Y chromosome lineage in the region anywhere near as common was that of Genghis Khan, the founder of the new lineage seemed likely to have left his mark in the historical record, as well, Dr. Tyler-Smith says in an article to appear in the December issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics. The Manchus of the