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Pancho Villa -:- Looks like bad weather -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 17:10:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Muslim Women in Europe -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 10:38:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Nick's Cultural Revolution -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 10:36:41 (EST)

Emma -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 09:18:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 09:17:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Blue-Collar Napa Joins the Gold Rush -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 07:23:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Billionaire Builder of China -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 07:22:15 (EST)

Emma -:- When Chinese Sue the State -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 06:06:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Marketing Fortified Food -:- Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 05:59:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Spurring Urban Growth in Vancouver -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 15:52:14 (EST)

Emma -:- Africa's Brand of Democracy Emerges -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 15:19:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Ferry Dispute Tests Ireland's Tolerance -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 13:00:23 (EST)

Emma -:- 35 and Pregnant? Assessing Risk -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 11:58:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Heat for Taking Mexico as Client -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 09:06:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Cancer Genes Tender Their Secrets -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 08:44:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Past Hot Times -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 07:13:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Psychotherapy on the Road to ... Where? -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 06:28:13 (EST)

Emma -:- The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 06:26:07 (EST)

Emma -:- London Calling, With Luck -:- Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 06:22:16 (EST)

Terri -:- Ten Year International Dollar Returns -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 11:28:58 (EST)

Terri -:- Ten Year Domestic Currency Returns -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 11:25:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Huge Rise Looms for Health Care -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 07:48:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Sign Up for New Drug Plan -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 07:19:51 (EST)

Emma -:- No Left Turn -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:54:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Indians Find They Can Go Home -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:49:38 (EST)

Emma -:- He Said No to Internment -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:48:00 (EST)

Emma -:- Guidant Foresaw Some Risks -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:37:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Ghana's Uneasy Embrace -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:35:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Voice on China's 'Angry River' -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:19:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Keeping Hope Alive -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 05:44:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Drug Prices Tend to Rise -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 05:36:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Move Over, Mondrian -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:42:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Formats While DVD's Burn -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:14:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Gidget Doesn't Live Here Anymore -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:08:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Insider to Apostate -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:06:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Shantytown Dwellers in South Africa -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 09:41:03 (EST)
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Mik -:- Re: Shantytown Dwellers in South Africa -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 23:54:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Too Big? Too Small? Midsize -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 09:39:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Labor's Lost Story -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 09:06:05 (EST)

Emma -:- What Makes a Nation More Productive -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 06:26:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Take It From Japan: Bubbles Hurt -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 06:15:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Tidings of Pride, Prayer and Pluralism -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 05:58:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Cold Slap of Rejection -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 05:57:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs -:- Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 05:30:39 (EST)
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andrew wormser -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 15:51:40 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs -:- Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 16:53:24 (EST)

Emma -:- All Quiet On the Western Front -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 10:35:06 (EST)

Emma -:- The Truce of Christmas, 1914 -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 10:04:18 (EST)

Emma -:- The Road Back -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 04:43:17 (EST)

Emma -:- South Asia and the U.S. -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 04:34:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Strike Reflects Nationwide Pension Woes -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:42:36 (EST)

Emma -:- A Different Latin America -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:39:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Diabetes Study Verifies Lifesaving -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:34:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Changing the Face of Texas Football -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:28:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Bonus Fever on London's Wall Street -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:25:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Indicting Honest Journalism in China -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:23:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Japan's Population Fell This Year -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:22:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Hong Kong, Shopping Is an Art Experience -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:18:46 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!! -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 23:45:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Mute Swan Taking Flight -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 17:50:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Intellectual Bankruptcy -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 14:54:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Agency Mined Vast Data Trove -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 09:59:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Wal-Mart Must Pay $172 Million -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 09:16:45 (EST)
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Sid Bachrach -:- Re: Dumbed down Jury hits Walmarts -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 12:07:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Investing -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 08:08:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Alaska Gasline Port Authority -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 07:53:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Alito's Zeal for Presidential Power -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 07:33:47 (EST)

Terri -:- Stocks and Bonds -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 06:56:01 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 06:11:51 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 05:59:22 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 05:58:24 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 05:57:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Great Egret Dipping a Wing -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 17:35:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Snowy Egret Landing at Dawn -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 17:34:23 (EST)

Emma -:- The Knight in the Mirror -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 16:59:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Cervantes, Multicultural Dreamer -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 15:06:07 (EST)

Emma -:- 'The Lost Painting' -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 14:07:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Inspiration in Cloth -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 13:55:32 (EST)

Emma -:- School Barrier for African Girls -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 09:17:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Impact of Evolution Ruling -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:15:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Evolution Trial -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:12:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Mr. Cheney's Imperial Presidency -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:03:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Tax-Cut Zombies -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 05:52:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Reflections in the Evening Land -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 19:34:18 (EST)

hank -:- Krugman - any writing not requiring NYT payment -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 18:48:19 (EST)
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Dorian -:- Re: Krugman - -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 04:14:08 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Krugman - -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:39:11 (EST)
_ Emma -:- Paul Krugman -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 19:31:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Some Squid Mothers in a Brighter Light -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 11:22:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Qatar Finds a Currency of Its Own -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 09:44:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Tax Cuts for the Wealthy -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 07:11:42 (EST)

Emma -:- U.S. Spy Program -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:53:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Debate 'That Will Not Go Away' -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:47:39 (EST)

Emma -:- A Sicilian Christmas -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:35:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Gravity of a Disease -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:27:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Practice, Practice. Go to College? -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:20:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Toyota Closes In on G.M. -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:16:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Intelligent Design Derailed -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 05:57:57 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Zimbabwe Salons get a Haircut - 2100% inflation -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 05:01:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Anatomy of Severe Melancholy -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 16:00:26 (EST)

Emma -:- There's Nothing Deep About Depression -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 15:57:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Problems in Developing Cancer Cures -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 11:45:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Some Books Are Also Worth Keeping -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 10:39:14 (EST)

Emma -:- That Blur? It's China -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 06:18:01 (EST)

Emma -:- The Biggest Little Poems -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 06:14:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Scientists' Discovery in the Deep -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 06:00:23 (EST)

Emma -:- The Poor Need Not Apply -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:56:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Bolivia's Newly Elected Leader -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:54:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Google Offers a Bird's-Eye View -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:52:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Last-Minute Budget Madness -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:51:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Judge Bars 'Intelligent Design' -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:50:21 (EST)

Terri -:- Stocks and Bonds -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 21:00:12 (EST)
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Small Cap -:- Re: Stocks and Bonds -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 17:40:00 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Stocks and Bonds -:- Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 19:04:09 (EST)
___ Small Cap -:- Re: Stocks and Bonds -:- Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 15:55:00 (EST)
____ Terri -:- Re: Stocks and Bonds -:- Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 11:55:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Stock Values and Growth -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 15:40:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Assessing 'Irrational Exuberance' -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 12:30:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman's Money Talks -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 09:46:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Señora Presidente? -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 19:00:41 (EST)
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Johnny5 -:- Condi or Hillary -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 02:11:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Hugo Chávez and His Helpers -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:57:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Growth and the Poor -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:47:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Fiscal Growth in Latin Lands Fails -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:39:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Fight Over Peru Gold Mine -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:31:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Latin America Fails to Deliver on Needs -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:28:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Bolivia's Fight for Natural Resources -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:27:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Latin America Looks Leftward Again -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:26:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Election for President in Bolivia -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:24:54 (EST)

Emma -:- China's Economic Role in Latin America -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:24:13 (EST)
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Poyetas -:- Re: China's Economic Role in Latin America -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 06:29:43 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: China's Economic Role in Latin America -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 11:29:00 (EST)

Emma -:- Water to the Bolivian Poor -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:22:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Where the Incas Ruled -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:21:31 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 11:22:43 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 11:21:48 (EST)

Dorian -:- Canada and Canadian Currency -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 06:15:49 (EST)
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Mik -:- You wouldn't think so if.... -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:01:54 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: You wouldn't think so if.... -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 19:27:30 (EST)
_ Emma -:- Economic Growth -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 11:18:46 (EST)
__ Mik -:- little core Inflation ? -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:24:12 (EST)
_ Poyetas -:- Re: China's Economic Role in Latin America -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 06:29:43 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: China's Economic Role in Latin America -:- Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 11:29:00 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Tanks on the Take -:- Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 05:59:39 (EST)

Marko -:- Photos from IRAQ -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 23:28:38 (EST)

Marko -:- Photos from IRAQ -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 23:27:11 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 11:49:09 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 11:45:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Snowy Egret Feeding -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 10:00:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Manipulating a Journal Article -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 09:10:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Ties to Industry Cloud -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 08:58:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Eastern Phoebe -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 07:44:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Sick and Vulnerable, Workers Fear -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 07:43:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Literacy Falls for Graduates -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 07:17:05 (EST)

Emma -:- A Global Audience for Campy Drama -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 07:08:57 (EST)

Emma -:- A Guidant Bid That Wins -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 07:07:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Golden-crowned Kinglet Taking Flight -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 06:34:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Australia's Dangerous Fantasy -:- Sat, Dec 17, 2005 at 06:32:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Black Swan Vocalizing -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 19:50:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Drugs, Devices, and Doctors.... -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 14:48:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Legal Gadfly Bites Hard -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 11:15:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Delphi Workers Ponder Cuts -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 11:14:48 (EST)

Emma -:- It's Sensitive. Really. -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 11:03:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Bring Water to the Bolivian Poor? -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 11:00:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Eugene J. McCarthy -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 07:05:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Network Links South Asia and the U.S. -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 07:00:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Hugo Chávez and His Helpers -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 06:54:19 (EST)

Emma -:- See Baby Touch a Screen -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 06:11:35 (EST)

Emma -:- The Burden of Medicaid Cuts -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 06:01:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Medical Journal Criticizes Merck -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 05:59:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Merck Trial May Have Led to Demotion -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 05:58:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Merck Manual, the Hypochondriac's Bible -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 05:51:00 (EST)

Emma -:- For Merck, Global Legal Woes -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 05:48:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Breaking the Oil Curse -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 05:23:35 (EST)

Carol Selby -:- Krugman - contact -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 13:22:45 (EST)
_
Jennifer -:- Times Select -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 13:28:26 (EST)

Emma -:- China Grows as Study Hotspot for U.S. -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 09:19:01 (EST)

Emma -:- What Would J.F.K. Have Done? -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 09:16:21 (EST)

Emma -:- 'What Lincoln Believed' -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 05:13:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Sultans, Spices and White-Sand Beaches -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 05:11:49 (EST)

Emma -:- TV Stardom on $20 a Day -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 05:02:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Information Technology Goods -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 05:01:22 (EST)

Emma -:- More Deaths Are Linked to Heart Device -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 04:55:39 (EST)

Emma -:- The Senator Who Cried Wolf -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 04:54:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Treatment Is Only Part of the Picture -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 04:37:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Among Makers of Memory Chips for Gadgets -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 04:34:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Creativity With Order and Care -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 04:09:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Admiration for a Comedian -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 04:07:17 (EST)

Emma -:- How One Suburb's Black Students Gain -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:59:21 (EST)

Emma -:- The Lion, the Witch and the Metaphor -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:56:47 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Lincoln's Melancholy': Sadder and Wiser -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:55:00 (EST)

Emma -:- New York Through the Eyes of a Mouse -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:53:30 (EST)

Emma -:- High Blood Pressure Concerns? -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:50:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Fabric Is Where Culture Meets Style -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:49:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Stealing From the Poor to Care -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:47:28 (EST)

Emma -:- As Goes MBNA, So Goes Delaware -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:46:33 (EST)

Emma -:- No Sign of Progress on Farm Issue -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 03:45:01 (EST)

Terri -:- Economic Flexibility -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 17:47:00 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The ancient relic & the US dollar -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 12:02:32 (EST)
_
im1dc -:- Re: The ancient relic & the US dollar -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 17:11:57 (EST)
_ im1dc -:- Re: The ancient relic & the US dollar -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 17:09:36 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Comical -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 12:38:10 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Comical -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 17:03:52 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- The reality -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 21:44:46 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: The reality -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 07:41:44 (EST)
_____ Johnny5 -:- Re: The reality -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 11:48:31 (EST)
______ Pete Weis -:- Re: The reality -:- Thurs, Dec 15, 2005 at 18:38:12 (EST)
_______ Johnny5 -:- HAHA -:- Fri, Dec 16, 2005 at 02:40:48 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Looking Ahead -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 14:54:35 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Looking Ahead -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 17:22:37 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Shiller and today's stock market -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 07:49:21 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Interesting Essay -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 12:28:56 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Bear Problem -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 13:19:38 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- The Military -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 21:53:06 (EST)
____ M Paulding -:- Re: The Military -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 23:47:01 (EST)

Emma -:- No Sign of Progress on Farm Issue -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 07:07:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Fox Sparrow in the Snow -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:56:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Eastern Screech-owl (gray morph) -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:55:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Clooney and a Maze of Collusion -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:20:15 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Economic Hit Man -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 22:29:07 (EST)

Emma -:- America's Shame in Montreal -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:18:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Old, for Sure, but Human? -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:13:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Hot Technology for Chilly Streets -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:11:00 (EST)

Emma -:- Shuffle Actually Blazed a Trail -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:06:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Tokyo Exchange Struggles With Snarls -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 06:04:25 (EST)

Emma -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 05:59:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 05:59:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 05:57:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 05:57:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Beating Malaria Means Understanding -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 05:56:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Costco versus Wal-Mart -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 05:51:50 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Costco versus Wal-Mart -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 08:13:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Riding the High Country -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 12:49:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Missing the Point on Poor Countries -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 12:34:58 (EST)
_
Mik -:- What they are not telling you -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 21:03:06 (EST)
__ Mik -:- Playing with figures -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 21:08:54 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Excellent -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 10:09:58 (EST)
____ Mik -:- Some more info -:- Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 17:59:31 (EST)

Emma -:- It Takes a Potemkin Village -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 12:17:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Analyzing Republican Economic Policy -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 10:52:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Chad Backs Out of Pledge to Use Oil -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 07:05:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Aid Army Marches to No Drum at All -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 07:02:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Eastern Screech-owl Being Harassed -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:52:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Black-capped Chickadee Looking -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:50:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Port in Shanghai, 20 Miles Out to Sea -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:48:38 (EST)

Emma -:- The Excluded Middle -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:47:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Always the Season for Reinvestment -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:08:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Interest in Nuclear Power -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:07:17 (EST)

Emma -:- 'You Beast,' She Said, and Meant It -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:05:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Hi, Venice? It's Istanbul. -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:03:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Far Apart on Medicaid Changes -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 06:01:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Remaking the French Ghettos -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 05:59:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Dreams Mix With Fury Near Paris -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 05:59:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: It's the Price of Gas -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 05:55:27 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- . . . - - - . . . ? -:- Tues, Dec 13, 2005 at 05:33:21 (EST)

Emma -:- It Takes a Potemkin Village -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 13:47:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Sesame Street Goes Global -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 10:25:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Forest's Colorful Jewels in a Fight -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 09:41:50 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The dollar & the bond market -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 08:11:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Larry Craig Versus the Salmon -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 06:03:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 05:25:42 (EST)

Emma -:- New Weapon for Wal-Mart: A War Room -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 05:21:45 (EST)

Yann -:- Global warning (by B. DeLong) -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 04:51:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Malawi Is Burning -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 04:39:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Drought Deepens Poverty -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 04:38:33 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Drought Deepens Poverty -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 17:12:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Prize in Indian Talent Search -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 04:36:40 (EST)

Emma -:- The Burden of Medicaid Cuts -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 04:28:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Wal-Mart's Excuse -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 03:28:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: News Coverage -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 03:21:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: News Coverage -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 03:20:35 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Paul Krugman: News Coverage -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 17:03:07 (EST)
_ Bobby -:- Please remove this double post. -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 03:27:24 (EST)

Mik -:- Jared Diamond - Emma -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 22:58:28 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Jared Diamond - Emma -:- Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 05:33:23 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Question -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 07:53:02 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Question -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 08:23:27 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Question -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 18:52:55 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Question -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 20:53:03 (EST)

Emma -:- God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 06:17:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Courage to Hide Pain and Share Joy -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 06:13:09 (EST)

Emma -:- The Rise of Illiterate Democracy -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 05:57:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Blacks Oppose Plans for Their Property -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 05:14:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Death of an American City -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 05:10:10 (EST)

Emma -:- America's Jewish Founding Father -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 05:08:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 05:07:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Manipulating a Journal Article -:- Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 04:59:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Ring-billed Gull (first winter) -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 16:08:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Buffleheads (male) at Sunset -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 16:05:33 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- Re: hello -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 09:11:02 (EST)
__
I say yes, you say no. -:- I say yes, you say no. -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 09:14:36 (EST)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: I say yes, you say no. -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 10:32:02 (EST)
____ Oh dear :( -:- Re: I say yes, you say no. -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 11:05:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Strangers in the Dazzling Night -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 07:48:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Elections Could Tilt Latin America -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 07:39:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Hugo Chávez and His Helpers -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 07:31:46 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 07:21:33 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 07:21:01 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 07:05:25 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 07:04:37 (EST)

Emma -:- On Gravity, Oreos and a Theory -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:47:23 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Warped Passages': The Secret Universe -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:46:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Job Satisfaction -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:33:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Viewpoints on the War in Vietnam -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:31:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Ogre to Slay? Outsource It to Chinese -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:29:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Depths of an Owlish Darkness -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:24:27 (EST)

Emma -:- A Camera That Has It All? -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:23:00 (EST)

Emma -:- Medical Journal Criticizes Merck -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:22:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Señora Presidente? -:- Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:19:35 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- Al-Jabr wa'l-Muqabala -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 19:36:58 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Amartya Sen -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 19:57:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Better Bananas, Nicer Mosquitoes -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 10:47:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Trend of Investing Heavily in India -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 10:05:09 (EST)

Yann -:- Home Sweet Second Home (R.J. Shiller -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 07:58:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Sometimes a Bumper Crop Is Too Much -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 07:10:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Two Wars of Good and Evil -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 07:01:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Movie Based on Children's Tale -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 06:52:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Wal-Mart Unit Hears Gay Wedding Bells -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 06:50:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Geese Flying -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 06:47:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Latin America Is Growing Impatient -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 06:42:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Latin America Fails to Deliver -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 06:38:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Promiser in Chief -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 05:38:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Promiser in Chief -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 05:36:30 (EST)
_
Double Post -:- Please remove. -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 05:51:56 (EST)
__ Thanks Bobby! -:- Thanks Bobby! -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 14:26:48 (EST)

Emma -:- At Google, Cube Culture Has New Rules -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 10:03:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Blue Jay Taking a Drink -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 10:00:31 (EST)

Emma -:- In Mongolia, an 'Extinction Crisis' -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 06:31:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Profiles in Pusillanimity -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 06:29:25 (EST)

Emma -:- With Oil Prices Off Their Peak -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 06:27:46 (EST)

Emma -:- God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 06:19:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Transforming India -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 06:00:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Aid Army Marches to No Drum at All -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 05:57:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Flight From Job Force Questioned -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 05:52:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Warping Light From Distant Galaxies -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 05:50:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Mexican Immigrants in New Study -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 05:48:57 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Paul Muni - Scarface - Bordertown -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 07:50:17 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Development -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 10:45:42 (EST)
___ Emma -:- We Should be Worried About Mexico -:- Thurs, Dec 08, 2005 at 10:47:53 (EST)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: We Should be Worried About Mexico -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 05:15:49 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: We Should be Worried About Mexico -:- Fri, Dec 09, 2005 at 05:53:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Yellow-rumped Warbler -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 18:59:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Grounded in the Dust of Rural India -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 10:35:02 (EST)

Emma -:- India's Boom Spreads -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 09:11:02 (EST)

Emma -:- In Today's India, Status -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 08:51:29 (EST)

Emma -:- India Paves a Smoother Road -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 07:20:33 (EST)

Emma -:- On India's Roads -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 07:18:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Optimism About the Japanese Economy -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 06:52:17 (EST)

Emma -:- China Orders 150 Airbus Jets -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 05:56:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Productivity Rise Is Fastest -:- Wed, Dec 07, 2005 at 05:55:15 (EST)

Bobby -:- Spam -:- Tues, Dec 06, 2005 at 14:54:23 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Thank you.... -:- Tues, Dec 06, 2005 at 16:32:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Joyless Economy -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 16:28:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Saw-whet Owl with Mouse -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 15:57:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Eastern Screech-owl Fledglings -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 15:56:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Lofty Promise of Saturn Plant -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 07:50:34 (EST)

Emma -:- The Manager Is in a Slump -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 04:59:45 (EST)

Emma -:- 1 1 1 1 Can Equal Less Than 4 -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 04:57:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Aging Brings Wisdom -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 04:55:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Joyless Economy -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 02:26:11 (EST)
_
Poyetas -:- Re: Paul Krugman: The Joyless Economy -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 14:35:55 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman: The Joyless Economy -:- Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 15:58:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Engines Go Back to the Future -:- Sun, Dec 04, 2005 at 15:53:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman Transcript -:- Sun, Dec 04, 2005 at 08:21:05 (EST)

Emma -:- A Scare for Investors? -:- Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 11:09:35 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Style' Gets New Elements -:- Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 10:03:57 (EST)

Emma -:- The Trumpet of the Swan -:- Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 09:36:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Charlotte's Web -:- Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 09:32:04 (EST)

Terri -:- REITS -:- Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 09:17:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Blocking Reform at the U.N. -:- Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 07:30:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Iraq Fixer, No Exp. Needed, $1B-up -:- Sat, Dec 03, 2005 at 07:20:12 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 14:51:56 (EST)
_
Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 14:52:44 (EST)

Terri -:- Market Returns -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 13:31:51 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 07:25:39 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 13:36:34 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 06:47:39 (EST)

Terri -:- Stocks and Bonds -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 06:47:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Bankers Oppose Wal-Mart as Rival -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 05:58:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Job Hopping Contributes to Innovation -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 05:56:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Bullet Points Over Baghdad -:- Fri, Dec 02, 2005 at 03:05:15 (EST)

David E.. -:- What the efficient frontier looks like? -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 19:09:16 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- 45 years- stocks return 6% -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 19:17:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Mapmakers and Mythmakers -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 14:02:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Strategy to Restore Western Grasslands -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 13:35:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Its Own Business Model -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 11:05:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Alpha in a Predominantly Beta World -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 10:56:14 (EST)

Emma -:- A Secure Old Age in Australia -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 10:51:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Issue of Foreign Ownership -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 10:46:49 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- It's just a matter of time -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 07:41:52 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Worshipping Consumerism Altar -:- Thurs, Dec 01, 2005 at 16:07:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Pair of Wings Took Evolving Insects -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 13:39:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Cautions for the Future -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 13:27:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Poisonings From a Popular Pain Reliever -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 06:26:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Does Stress Cause Cancer? Probably Not -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 06:24:05 (EST)

Emma -:- But Will It Stop Cancer? -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 06:22:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Programs To Foster Heart Health -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 06:18:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Stent vs. Scalpel -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 05:58:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Argentine President Ousts the Architect -:- Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 05:57:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 09:06:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Age of Anxiety -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 08:46:13 (EST)

Emma -:- A Judge Tests China's Courts -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 08:42:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Taking Care of Everybody but Herself -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 07:23:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Revamping at Merck to Cut Costs -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 07:22:10 (EST)

Terri -:- Wood Duck (female) -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 06:06:24 (EST)

Terri -:- Bufflehead (male) Taking Flight -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 06:05:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Young Survivors of Cancer -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 05:54:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Texas Gives Hope to Unions -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 05:52:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Telling Tale of Afghan Wars -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 05:51:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Upstart From Chinese Province -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 05:50:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Putting Billions Into Hedge Funds -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 05:47:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Best Supporting Asian -:- Tues, Nov 29, 2005 at 05:43:24 (EST)

Terri -:- Bad for the Country -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 13:30:22 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- You've always been by my side... -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 10:29:10 (EST)

Emma -:- What's at the Heart of G.M.'s Woes? -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 09:52:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Public Broadcasting's Enemy Within -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 09:09:40 (EST)

Emma -:- City's Slave Past -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 08:39:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Mr. Good Governance Goes Bad -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 07:16:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Calling Out the Cable Guy -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 07:00:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Nuclear Energy Program -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 06:58:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Why Is This Man Smiling? -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 06:55:04 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Mirror to America' -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 06:52:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Making History -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 06:51:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Pioneer in Social and Management Theory -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 03:48:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Age of Anxiety -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 03:41:58 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 14:02:59 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 14:02:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Demolition -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 13:15:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Marketing Drug Plan Draw Complaints -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 13:14:15 (EST)

Emma -:- A Good but Puzzling Drug Benefit -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 11:23:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Athletes Get Into College -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 11:20:30 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 05:54:22 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 05:53:02 (EST)

Terri -:- The Strong Dollar -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 16:32:24 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Following the Trend -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 17:48:59 (EST)

Poyetas -:- When the s... hits the fan.... -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 14:31:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Rise in Gases Unmatched -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 09:08:52 (EST)

Emma -:- The Passion of Henry James -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 07:33:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Che's Second Coming? -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 07:26:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Correspondence School -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 07:03:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Where Dreams and Snowflakes Dance -:- Sat, Nov 26, 2005 at 05:49:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Argentine Institution Sees Hope -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 09:32:39 (EST)

Emma -:- New Tenants in Tinseltown -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 09:31:00 (EST)

Emma -:- States' Coffers Swelling Again -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 07:25:06 (EST)

Emma -:- The Crocodilian Past -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 07:16:56 (EST)

Emma -:- China Wages Classroom Struggle -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 07:02:41 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Emma please keep an eye on this topic -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 23:06:10 (EST)

Emma -:- German Auto Supplier Delphi Might Envy -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 07:00:14 (EST)

Emma -:- China's Online Revolution -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 06:50:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Between City and Suburban Students -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 06:16:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Artists Have Sounded the Warning Bells -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 06:11:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Bad for the Country -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 05:31:36 (EST)
_
Mik -:- I disagree -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 21:02:01 (EST)
__ Mik -:- Record sales for GM -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 23:19:22 (EST)
___ Mik -:- Oh no - we should have seen this coming -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 23:32:10 (EST)
____ David E.. -:- Another reason -:- Sun, Nov 27, 2005 at 17:21:35 (EST)
_____ Poyetas -:- Re: Another reason -:- Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 09:04:25 (EST)

Yann -:- Time to leave? -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 03:15:57 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Surely -:- Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 16:33:35 (EST)

Emma -:- In Give and Take of Evolution -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 12:49:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Twilight by the Sea -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 12:38:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Europe's Turn to Wrestle With Obesity -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 08:15:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Deal That Even Awed Them in Houston -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 07:50:54 (EST)

Emma -:- United States Should Look to Japan -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 07:46:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Native Foods Nourish Again -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 07:41:52 (EST)

Emma -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 06:15:00 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 06:12:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 06:02:50 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 06:00:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Back to Basics at Wal-Mart -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 05:41:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman on Denial and Deception -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 05:14:58 (EST)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Tempore ducetur longo fortasse cicatrix -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 09:49:07 (EST)
__ stuart munro -:- Re: Tempore ducetur longo fortasse cicatrix -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 18:29:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Immature Connecticut Warbler -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 05:05:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Black-throated Green Warbler -:- Thurs, Nov 24, 2005 at 05:05:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Northern Cardinal Eating an Apple Core -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 20:32:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Northern Cardinal in a Snowbank -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 20:31:35 (EST)

Emma -:- American Kestrel in Flight -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 20:29:03 (EST)

Terri -:- Theory and Practice -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 13:28:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Kung Pao? No, Gong Bao -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 13:12:02 (EST)

Poyetas -:- Interest Rates -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 10:13:05 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Interest Rates -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 10:14:51 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Capital account vs higher energy? -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 08:34:39 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Capital account vs higher energy? -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 12:26:31 (EST)

Yann -:- Could you help me? -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 08:20:24 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Could you help me? -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 08:58:39 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Could you help me? -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 11:44:34 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Could you help me? -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 11:48:25 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: Could you help me? -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 12:17:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Africa's Brand of Democracy -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 07:20:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Before Memoirs, He Wrote A's, B's, -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 07:12:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Storyteller Who Honed His Stories -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 07:02:33 (EST)

Terri -:- Adjusting Markets and Economies -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 14:23:37 (EST)

Terri -:- A Rollicking Bull Market -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 13:12:52 (EST)

Emma -:- A Hedge Fund for Anyone -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 08:53:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Abolishing the Poll Tax Again -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 08:36:42 (EST)

Emma -:- G.M. Shop Floors -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 07:00:13 (EST)

Emma -:- A Model Fight Against Malaria -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 06:10:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Where Is Wal-Mart's Fancy Stuff? -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 06:09:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Meditations on the Commonplace -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 06:07:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Vie for Linguistic Superiority -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 15:38:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Man, a Plan and a Scanner -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 11:53:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Endangering Yellowstone's Grizzlies -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 09:22:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Planned Cut in Medicare Fees -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 09:07:48 (EST)

Emma -:- The Fate of Women of Genius -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 08:53:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Women and Fiction -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 07:19:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Yellowstone Grizzly -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 06:47:23 (EST)

Emma -:- United States Should Look to Japan -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 06:41:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Chinese Leader -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 06:24:51 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Change in Direction' -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 06:15:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Time to Leave -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 05:59:29 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Time to Leave -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 18:27:05 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Time to Leave -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 20:01:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Urbanite-Peasant Legal Differences -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 08:14:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Reflections of a Restless China -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:59:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Windows on the Many Chinese Revolutions -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:58:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Puppets Help Evoke China's History -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:54:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Land South of the Clouds -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:54:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Brazil Weighs Costs and Benefits -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:51:52 (EST)

Emma -:- India and China Take On the World -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:34:11 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: India and China Take On the World -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 20:43:38 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: India and China Take On the World -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 20:03:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Bush, in Beijing, Faces a Partner -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:31:38 (EST)

Emma -:- A Cold War China Policy -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:27:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Ports Get Big Push in China -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:22:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Cross-Pollination of India and China -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 05:21:57 (EST)

Mik -:- Bush in China -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 02:07:21 (EST)

Emma -:- A New Kind of Birdsong -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 16:19:27 (EST)

Terri -:- Bonds and Stocks -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 15:50:39 (EST)

Poyetas -:- Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 13:07:16 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 14:29:28 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 15:43:25 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 16:33:59 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 18:44:31 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 22:17:46 (EST)
______ Emma -:- Re: Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 06:54:06 (EST)
_______ Terri -:- Re: Long Term Interest Rates - Question -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 13:02:52 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Interest Rates -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 15:41:56 (EST)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Interest Rates -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 11:40:03 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Interest Rates -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 12:37:52 (EST)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: Interest Rates -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 05:50:38 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Interest Rates -:- Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 10:12:16 (EST)

Terri -:- Energy -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 10:05:45 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Economic Adjustment -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 11:46:43 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 22:23:59 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 09:20:15 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 10:28:23 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Tues, Nov 22, 2005 at 11:29:30 (EST)

Terri -:- Economic Growth -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 09:51:32 (EST)

Terri -:- Economic Adjustment -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 09:11:34 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 08:51:41 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 08:48:28 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 08:44:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Grasping the Depth of Time -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 07:55:06 (EST)

Emma -:- The Grandeur of Evolution -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 07:48:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Make an Iguana Turn Green -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 06:21:41 (EST)

Terri -:- REITS -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 06:17:24 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 05:59:30 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Sat, Nov 19, 2005 at 05:57:40 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 20:46:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Writing About Health Insurance -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 14:15:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Psychiatry's Gadfly -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 12:55:28 (EST)

Setanta -:- Letter to the White Man -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 11:29:40 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Letter to the White Man -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 13:09:17 (EST)

Emma -:- One-Stop Furniture Shopping -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 11:05:35 (EST)

Emma -:- I Vant to Drink Your Vatts -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 10:39:55 (EST)

Emma -:- The Pen Gets a Whole Lot Mightier -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 10:37:44 (EST)

Emma -:- An Opportunity to Consider -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 05:49:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Public TV -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 05:47:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Memo to Poor Countries -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 05:46:39 (EST)
_
stuart munro -:- Re: Memo to Poor Countries -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 08:22:46 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Memo to Poor Countries -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 12:46:09 (EST)

Emma -:- A Timetable -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 05:42:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: A Private Obsession -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 05:19:14 (EST)

Auros -:- Bobby, a link for the archive... -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 14:45:14 (EST)
_
Auros -:- Guess the link got pasted wrong... -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 12:46:01 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Paul Krugman Talks to Campus Progress -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 05:37:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Cultural Territories of America -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 06:33:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Primates Are People, Too -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 06:29:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Wizard Puts Away Childish Things -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 06:27:56 (EST)

Emma -:- American Ingenuity, Irish Residence -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 05:59:34 (EST)
_
Setanta -:- Re: American Ingenuity, Irish Residence -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 11:46:18 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: American Ingenuity, Irish Residence -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 12:42:26 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: American Ingenuity, Irish Residence -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 13:25:59 (EST)

Emma -:- The Great Global Buyout Bubble -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 16:30:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Is a Hedge Fund Shakeout Coming? -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 16:29:35 (EST)

Terri -:- Finding Values -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 12:56:22 (EST)

Elizabeth -:- Paul Krugman the sepaker -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 12:43:40 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Paul Krugman the sepaker -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 12:57:44 (EST)

Emma -:- World's Diminishing Forests -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 12:03:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Hypochondriac's Bible -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 12:00:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Women Take the Upper Hand -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 11:59:57 (EST)

Setanta -:- Ireland's Neutrality -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 11:35:25 (EST)

Emma -:- France Is Trying, Discreetly -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 10:35:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Marshes Fight for Their Lives -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 05:04:55 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Orangutan Heaven and Human Hell' -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 05:00:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Acrobatic Ape in Java -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 04:59:55 (EST)

David E.. -:- Terri - Current Accounts and China -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 23:35:57 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Terri - Current Accounts and China -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 10:06:27 (EST)
__ David E.. -:- Great Thread on Diehard -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 10:51:41 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 13:35:35 (EST)
____ David E.. -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 16:14:51 (EST)
_____ PIMCO Fan -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 22:54:41 (EST)
______ David E.. -:- Fitch Ratings & Derivatives -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 11:31:13 (EST)
_______ Emma -:- Re: Fitch Ratings & Derivatives -:- Fri, Nov 18, 2005 at 16:04:50 (EST)
______ David E.. -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 14:34:04 (EST)
_______ Emma -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 18:21:22 (EST)
________ PIMCO Fan -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 15:07:25 (EST)
______ Terri -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 06:08:36 (EST)
_______ Terri -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 07:24:50 (EST)
________ PIMCO Fan -:- Re: Great Thread on Diehard -:- Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 14:50:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Economic Adjustment -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 18:50:19 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Bad Money Flow -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 02:34:58 (EST)
_ Emma -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 19:55:13 (EST)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 09:02:42 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 10:00:25 (EST)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: Economic Adjustment -:- Wed, Nov 16, 2005 at 11:21:35 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- 'I am not a number, I am a free man!' -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 12:02:00 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- We are all Prisoners in the Village -:- Thurs, Nov 17, 2005 at 02:15:21 (EST)
_ Emma -:- Re: 'I am not a number, I am a free man!' -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 17:05:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Drug Makers See Sales Decline -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 08:52:43 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Anne Frank' and 'Hidden Child' -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 07:21:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Great Big American Voice -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 07:20:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Getting It All -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 07:13:52 (EST)

Emma -:- The President's Veterans Day Attack -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 06:24:27 (EST)

Emma -:- High European Unemployment -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 05:52:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Brazilian Consumer Credit -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 05:09:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 04:59:21 (EST)
_
Poyetas -:- Re: Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 05:39:40 (EST)

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)
_
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)
_
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 -:- Re: Money supply growth -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 05:39:46 (EST)
___________ Pete Weis -:- Re: Money supply growth -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 09:22:03 (EST)
____________ Emma -:- Re: Money supply growth -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 09:47:40 (EST)
_____________ Pete Weis -:- Macro economics & investing -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 19:37:20 (EST)
______________ Emma -:- Re: Macro economics & investing -:- Tues, Nov 15, 2005 at 19:44:29 (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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
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)
_
Emma -:- Re: publish editorial -:- Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 18:31:09 (EST)


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Subject: Looks like bad weather
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 17:10:22 (EST)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
ADAM POSEN GLOBAL IMBALANCES IN 2006 Batten down the hatches in case the economic storm hits People complain about the weather all the time, but no one does anything about it. So it goes with the potential economic storm that will be generated by the inevitable adjustment of global imbalances. We are told repeatedly that the US current account deficit is unsustainable, that the US housing bubble and government deficits bring the day of reckoning closer and that underlying protectionist pressures imperil the Doha round of trade negotiations, if not the entire trading system. The recommended policy responses are limited to those that would simply bring on the adjustment contraction of US domestic demand, direct political conflict with agricultural interests, a sharp dollar decline, rising interest rates - a little bit earlier and perhaps only a little less severely. Yet, we can at least prepare for bad weather before it hits. Imagine if knowing that New Orleans was likely someday to be hit by a powerful hurricane had actually induced reasonable preparations. Levees could have been built more strongly, evacuation plans drawn up, early warning systems made credible to suspicious citizens. No one could have prevented Katrina, but the damage from it could have been significantly reduced. Similarly, there are policy steps that should be taken to batten down the global economy ahead of a potentially severe shock from renewed trade protectionism or dollar adjustment. Little has been done to prepare, however, because policymakers have little incentive to plan ahead. Trade negotiators and the special interests trying to constrain them benefit from pursuing a strategy of brinkmanship and so will do nothing to reduce the chances or costs of a Doha crack-up. The US and Chinese finance officials have not yet gone to the brink over revaluing the renminbi, but they are sufficiently tempted to draw lines in the sand that they, too, have little interest in lowering the stakes of economic conflict. If the governments of the big economies wanted to learn from Katrina, though, they would take action to limit the damage that resolving the current global imbalances could bring. First, they should strengthen economic linkages. Foreign direct investment and capital flows link economies even when trade barriers constrain commerce. The US, the European Union and Japan (Mundell!) could reverse the effect of their recent decisions to block cross-border mergers by simplifying the process in three ways: agreeing on a narrow definition of what constitutes a 'national security' exception; bringing accounting standards negotiations to a close, which would remove uncertainty for prospective investors; and publicly repudiating the often-invoked image of foreign investors as 'vultures' who prey on employees. All this would help protect the ties between economies, encouraging continued cross-border integration of production as well as flows of capital, whatever happens with the trade round. Second, they should enhance financial stability. Financial fragility is the primary means by which limited shocks get escalated into macroeconomic crises. Right now, with interest rate spreads at historic lows, any international adjustment that pushed up interest rates and reversed current account surpluses outside the US could lead to sharp declines in asset values and therefore in financial sector capital. Bank supervisors in the big economies should be tightening their scrutiny and encouraging increased provisioning by banks. Financial regulators should be warning householders of the risks presented by investments that have appeared stable in recent years. Where crisis response infrastructure is lacking - as arguably the decentralised system in the EU is - now would be a good time to rationalise. Third, they must commit to macro-economic stabilisation. Central banks and budgetary officials could reassure the public that they will respond strongly to swings in growth (thereby avoiding the mistakes of Japanese officials in the 1990s and EU officials in recent years). In fact, if they credibly commit to stabilisation policy, private-sector expectations may limit overshooting of exchange rates and investment levels. For the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank, this is a matter of adopting inflation targets that would oblige monetary policy to offset excessive movements in prices up or down; for the budgetary authorities, this means giving automatic stabilisers full room to work (for example, by the EU reworking the stability and growth pact) or authorising sufficient unemployment benefits in the US and Japan. There are constructive measures that governments can and should take to prepare for the adjustment process, independent of their present politically determined approaches to trade negotiations or exchange rate policy. They probably have time to do so before the storm arrives. The US practice of selling off assets to fund a consumption boom today may be a lousy idea for anyone who cares about future American income, but that does not make it immediately unsustainable. As 2005, 2004 and 2003 have shown, there is plenty of foreign appetite for US assets and thus room for the current account deficit to continue to expand. Given growth differentials and liquidity of investment assets, both still favouring the US over other markets, 2006 will probably show more of the same. Instead of wondering why the hurricane has not yet hit, let us take advantage of that fact to prepare for when it comes. The writer is senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics in Washington FT WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 28 2005

Subject: Muslim Women in Europe
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 10:38:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/29/international/europe/29women.html?ex=1293512400&en=ee7e9a1030c0c599&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 29, 2005 Muslim Women in Europe Claim Rights and Keep Faith By MARLISE SIMONS PARIS - Hanife Karakus, the soft-spoken daughter of Turkish immigrants, is a thoroughly European Muslim. She covers her hair with a scarf, but she also has a law degree and married the man of her choice. Matchmakers exerted no pressure. The couple met on the Internet. Perhaps even more telling, Mrs. Karakus this year became the first woman to lead one of France's 25 regional Islamic councils. 'At first, the men didn't speak to me,' she said. 'They were uncomfortable. They didn't know how to work with a woman.' Mrs. Karakus, 24, does not call herself a feminist; she simply says she is a French lawyer. But she qualifies as part of a quiet revolution spreading among young European Muslim women, a generation that claims the same rights as its Western counterparts, without renouncing Islamic values. For many, the key difference is education, an option often denied their poor, immigrant mothers and grandmothers. These young women are studying law, medicine and anthropology, and now form a majority in many Islamic studies courses, traditionally the world of men. They are getting jobs in social work, business and media, and are more prone to use their new independence to divorce. Also, French, English, German or Dutch may be their native languages. 'We are not fully accepted in France, but we are beginning to be everywhere,' said Sihem Habchi, 30, who was born in Algeria, grew up in France and works as a multimedia consultant. Unlike their homebound elders, these emancipated Muslim women use the Internet and spend hours in proliferating Islamic chat rooms. Web sites are now favorite trysting places, a chance for risk-free 'halal dating,' that is, interacting with men in a way that violates no social or religious codes. In the crowded immigrant suburbs ringing Paris, the scene of recent riots mostly led by young Muslim men, high school teachers say girls are the most motivated students because they have the most to gain. In interviews in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, young women repeated this belief like a mantra: studying offers an escape from the oppressive housing projects, from controlling young Muslim radicals and from strict social codes enforced by fathers and brothers. 'We all understood that education was our passport to freedom,' said Soria Makti, 30, the daughter of an Algerian factory worker, who left her Marseille housing project and is a museum curator in the city. The emancipation of Muslim women, like that of Western women before them, is often slow and sometimes deeply painful when women feel they must break with their families. But nowhere is this quiet new form of Islamic feminism more evident than in the realm of religion, the centuries-old domain of men. Young women are increasingly engaging in Islamic studies, a fast-growing field across Europe that offers a blend of theology, Koranic law, ethics and Arabic. Diplomas from the two-year courses allow women to teach in mosques and in Islamic schools, or to act as religious advisers. 'This is a big shift,' said Amel Boubekeur, a social scientist at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, who is writing her doctoral thesis on Europe's 'new Islamic elites.' 'Instead of having to be passive, women now become teachers,' she said. 'It used to be taboo for women to recite the Koran.' But now, she added, 'It offers them a new prestige, new jobs and, not least, it gives them a stronger voice in dealing with their parents, brothers and husbands.' In fact, Ms. Boubekeur said, women found religious texts more effective than secular arguments. Today, Islamic studies courses, often taken on weekends and accessible to secondary school graduates, are expanding in Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. In the six institutes for Islamic studies in France, almost 60 percent of this year's nearly 1,000 students are women. La Grande Mosquée in Paris, a large white and green compound from the 1920's with a finely chiseled minaret and students milling about under arcades, is France's leading religious institution. It has its own theological school, largely financed by Algeria. Abdelkrim Bekri, the director, said that the school started a program in 2002, unavailable elsewhere, to train young women as spiritual counselors for hospitals and prisons, much like the ministry of Christian chaplains. Twenty women had graduated, and others were in training, he said. 'There is a great need here,' he said. Although women are not allowed to perform the most prestigious ritual of leading the mosque in Friday Prayer, Ms. Boubekeur said women were pushing to have a voice and participate in religious debates. 'What is new is that they want direct access to religion, without depending on the rigid views of the clergy,' she said. Change can be measured in other small steps. At the Islamic University of Rotterdam, a small group of theology students, most of them speaking Dutch but all tightly veiled, chatted after classes about the need to end the social segregation of men and women. 'In class, we sit anywhere we choose,' said a student who gave her name only as Aisha. 'In the mosques, we don't want to sit in separate or hidden spaces.' Ertegul Gokcekuyu, the university registrar, said more than 60 percent of his students were women. 'The motivation of the girls is very remarkable,' he said. Mrs. Karakus, who heads the Muslim Council in Limoges, has not studied theology, but her tasks, long the work of men, touch on religion as well. She has negotiated with local authorities to obtain plots for Muslim burials at the local cemetery, and has reserved sites for the slaughter of sheep for Eid-el-Kebir, a major Muslim holiday. She also helps to organize courses for imams who arrive with little knowledge of French or French traditions. As educated Muslim women assert themselves, they appear to be forging a strand of Euro-Islam, a hybrid that attempts to reconcile the principles laid out in the Koran with life in a secular, democratic Europe. 'I tell women, 'We can honor the Koran from our perspective and apply it to our experience today,' ' said Dounia Bouzar, an anthropologist who is both Algerian and French. 'We must recover the religious texts and free them from an exclusively male interpretation that belongs to the Middle Ages. Most important right now is that women get into the universities.' The implications of women flocking to Islamic studies are disturbing to some, who see a potential for them to become radical. Tokia Saifi, a former deputy minister for development who remains one of the few women of Arab descent to reach a high post in the French government, said she worried that many young people studied religion because it was socially acceptable, not because it was an informed choice. 'I see it as a regression,' she said. 'It means we need less discrimination, more ways to promote integration.' Such debates are far from the concerns of Muslim girls who are harassed or punished for being too Western. Latifa Ahmed, 25, arrived in the Netherlands from Morocco when she was 8. As she grew up near Amsterdam, her family turned against her because she preferred to be with her Dutch classmates. 'They were bad, they were infidels, I was told,' she said. 'My parents and my brothers started hitting me.' Ms. Ahmed, who lived at home until she was 23, said, 'I was going crazy from all the fights and the lies, but I was afraid to run away and lose my family.' One evening, when she returned from a concert with a Dutch friend, her father yelled, ' 'Let's take a knife and we'll finish with her,' ' she said. 'He didn't kill me, but he put a curse on me. It was very frightening.' She ran away, and although she lives in another city, she said she was still afraid of her brothers, who had sworn to kill her. She has put herself through college doing odd jobs and does not care about religion. 'I don't feel discriminated here,' she said. 'Moroccan girls can find work easier than Moroccan boys. Boys have a bad name.' Changes in the lives of Muslim women in Europe are uneven. Many are still pressed into arranged marriages, while others are finding independence. Change is hard to measure in France, where the law forbids the census to collect data by ethnic origin or religion. But in the Netherlands one telling signal is the rise in divorce among immigrants. According to Dutch government statistics, divorces among Moroccan families have increased by 46 percent since 2000, and among Turkish families by 42 percent in that period, with a majority believed to be instigated by wives. Women are also often at the forefront of liberal tendencies among Muslims, publishing critiques and studies about the obstacles and abuses women face. In Germany, Seyran Ates, a Turkish-born German lawyer, and Necla Kelek, a Turkish-born sociologist, have recently published books that have been read widely on the oppression of Muslim girls by their own families. Ms. Kelek's book 'The Foreign Bride,' a best seller, denounces the plight of often illiterate girls, brought from the Turkish countryside 'as modern slaves' for their husbands and in-laws in Germany. Other women are fighting for change through the law. Mimount Bousakla, whose family is from Morocco, is a member of Parliament in Belgium. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia, is one in the Netherlands. They were reared as Muslims, and have pressed for policies to aid women, including raising the legal age for marriage to protect young 'imported' brides and imposing tougher sentences on men who kill women to save the honor of their families. In France, a movement called 'Neither Whores nor Doormats,' begun in 2003, helps many Muslim women who have been abused get services from lawyers, doctors or psychologists. As Muslim women take advantage of democracy and civil liberties in Europe, the question remains whether the impact of an educated minority will be continually blunted by the arrival of often poorly educated young brides from North Africa, Pakistan, Turkey and the Middle East. And as Europe rethinks its faltering integration policies, the place of Muslim women is a new target of scrutiny. Critics, including immigrants themselves, argue that in the name of respecting other cultures, Europeans have allowed the oppression of Muslim women in their midst. Increasingly, women are saying that integration policies have been too male-oriented and must focus more on women. Senay Ozdemir, a Turkish-born Dutch citizen and the editor of Sen, a new glossy magazine aimed at immigrant women, is among those voices. Sen means you in Turkish. 'Obviously women are a key to integration,' Ms. Ozdemir said. 'If the woman cannot or will not integrate in a new country, it affects the whole family. She will isolate her children.'

Subject: Nick's Cultural Revolution
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 10:36:41 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/29/arts/television/29nick.html?ex=1293512400&en=962cc0588935a2c6&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 29, 2005 Nick's Cultural Revolution By DAVID BARBOZA SHANGHAI - When Nickelodeon's popular 'Kids' Choice Awards' program came to China last month, the producers were forced to make some serious modifications. There would be no voting on favorite burp. Nor would children judge which movie character was the best at breaking wind. There was, however, sliming, a highlight of the American version of the show, which involves dumping, squirting and otherwise propelling green gooey stuff at people. And adults repeatedly were whacked by children - with balloon bats, of course - just to give the Chinese a taste of the freedoms afforded to children in the United States. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the show's national television broadcast was that children in China seemed to think that even this much kinder, gentler version of the program was wonderfully, outrageously transgressive. 'This is just so much fun,' said Wang Yinong, a shy 12-year-old girl who watched the show at home with her parents in Shanghai. 'I'd really like to go there and do the same thing: slime people.' Sliming remains a novelty in China. While every American industry that comes here faces its own obstacles, the bar that exporters of children's television programming must vault is particularly high: a traditional culture of respect for parents and authority reinforced by decades of Communist discipline and the ruthless competitiveness of an educational system that favors rigor over imagination. Still, Viacom, which dominates youth-oriented programming in the United States and other parts of the world with its MTV and Nickelodeon networks, is aggressively courting Chinese youngsters, hoping to introduce them to its brand of playfully antiauthoritarian programming. After all, China has roughly 300 million people younger than 14, and Viacom executives warm to the idea of capturing even a sliver of a demographic that now exceeds the population of the entire United States. 'There's no such thing as a global strategy without China,' said Bill Roedy, vice chairman of MTV Networks and a prime mover behind Viacom's international planning. Viacom already has a 24-hour MTV channel in southern Guangdong province. China Central Television and the Shanghai Media Group broadcast Nickelodeon's 'Wild Thornberries' and 'CatDog' cartoons. 'SpongeBob SquarePants' is due to premiere here next month. But with television programming in China entirely state-controlled, Western media companies must negotiate every nuance of programming. And experts say that parents here may be even more restrictive than the government, viewing American-style television as too unruly. 'It wouldn't be surprising if the government said no to programs like these,' says Lei Weizhen, who teaches about television at People's University in Beijing. 'The public may question whether or not these shows are good for Chinese children.' In the cutthroat competition of contemporary Chinese society, parents invest heavily in what is often their only child. Urban children especially may attend school from 7 a.m. till 4 p.m., followed by hours of homework, music lessons and other enrichment courses. Deviating from this rigorous program is not encouraged. 'We don't allow him to watch too much TV,' Qiu Yi, a 41-year-old advertising salesman in Shanghai, said of his 11-year-old son. 'I'm not against cartoons. But I try to encourage him to watch documentaries on dinosaurs and the Second World War. These programs are useful to his study.' What's on television in China seems to be not all too dissimilar from what's happening in the classroom. Youth programming in China tends to be dry, conservative and pedantic. It consists mostly of quiz shows, team competitions and endless lineups of youngsters, dressed uniformly, standing at attention and answering questions like Boy and Girl Scouts. Indeed, in a society where authorities worry about a little anarchy quickly getting out of hand, there are no rock fashion shows, no 'Wild 'N Out' or 'Homewrecker,' no Chinese-made 'SpongeBob SquarePants' and certainly no Chinese equivalent of 'Beavis and Butt-Head.' 'The children would probably love these shows, but the parents may find them hard to accept,' said Xie Limin, a vice dean at the Shanghai Normal School. 'Traditional Chinese culture requires children to behave in every moment of their life.' The names of children's programs here often reveal their content: 'Seeking Answers to 100 Questions,' 'Reading Books,' 'Visiting Schools,' 'Chess Boy' and 'Studying the Arts.' 'The Big Windmill,' a nationally broadcast program on China Central Television, recently featured a typical skit. It involved a couple of people who opened a new hotel and then overcharged travelers for their stay. Two of these travelers turned out to be government investigators, looking into just such crimes. The message of this show, which is intended for children 3 to 14? 'Don't lie or cheat customers! And beware of undercover authorities!' But even some educators and parents say that Chinese television's striving for the didactic skews too far to the dull and unimaginative, which is why some families buy pirated DVD's of popular Japanese cartoons. It is also why Viacom and other media giants are betting that China will change and develop a taste for some of the same hyperactive programs that are so attractive to young people in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world. 'A lot of children's programming is really bad in China,' said Li Yifei, managing director of MTV Networks China and considered one of the most powerful women in Chinese television. 'It's condescending and more about lecturing to children. Fun - that's what's desperately needed.' And experts here note that many Chinese children are already well plugged into global entertainment: They carry cellphones, download music on their MP3's, sometimes dye their hair blond and even, on occasion, wear baggy pants and talk in their own hip-hop way. 'In terms of their appearance, I don't think you can tell a Chinese kid from a Western kid anymore,' said Hung Huang, chief executive of China Interactive Media Group, a media and publishing company in Beijing and a longtime observer of youth trends. 'They've got that whole hip-hop look. They listen to Linkin Park, Eminem and 50 Cent. But they probably identify a little more with Japanese and Korean kids, who grow up with the same pressures to conform and succeed.' 'The Kids' Choice Honors,' as the program was called here, was an early step in establishing a Nickelodeon presence in China, though the government forbade the use of the Nickelodeon logo, which is ubiquitous in the network's programming elsewhere. There were other compromises as well. The show's producers felt compelled to tone down the program, eliminating not just onstage burping and flatulence but also appearances by male celebrities dressed up as women. When the show was taped in Beijing, the children in the audience cheered loudly and waved banners. But they voted for their favorite scientist, rather than a favorite movie star. And their Chinese pop idols mostly sang saccharine lyrics to an audience better described as adoring than raucous. Viacom executives say China is simply not ready for certain things. A Green Day video was banned because of provocative images of the United States Army. 'Hung Up,' a recent Madonna video, 'got some protests from older age group viewers, saying it is too vulgar,' Ms. Li said. 'Maybe the audience tolerance is much lower,' said Ms. Li. 'They haven't seen as much.'

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 09:18:30 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 12/28/05 Australia 16.9 Canada 29.3 Denmark 26.1 France 12.6 Germany 12.4 Hong Kong 9.4 Japan 26.7 Netherlands 16.7 Norway 26.0 Sweden 12.1 Switzerland 17.6 UK 8.1

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 09:17:59 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 12/28/05 Australia 25.4 Canada 25.5 Denmark 44.3 France 28.5 Germany 28.2 Hong Kong 9.1 Japan 45.1 Netherlands 33.2 Norway 40.4 Sweden 33.2 Switzerland 35.3 UK 20.1

Subject: Blue-Collar Napa Joins the Gold Rush
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 07:23:23 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/28/dining/28napa.html?ex=1293426000&en=9a4b0be4bd10e757&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 28, 2005 Blue-Collar Napa Joins the Gold Rush By R. W. APPLE Jr. NAPA, Calif. YOU can size up the new Napa and the old in a single sidelong glance down the 800 block of Main Street, where a jampacked tapas spot and a welcoming bistro rub shoulders with a bar that has been shuttered since 1975 and an Asian cafe whose fading sign advertises that great Chinese-American gastronomic anachronism chop suey. This has always been a blue-collar city, home for decades to many of the workers at the nearby Mare Island Naval Shipyard, which is now closed. As vineyards filled the valley north of here over half a century, Napa has been content to leave the tourists, the inns, the boutiques and the fashionable watering holes to St. Helena, Yountville and other 'upvalley' towns and villages. For many years, Napa's only consequential restaurant was the bubbly, locally beloved little Bistro Don Giovanni, which is not really in the city at all but out on busy Highway 29, which skirts Napa to the west. Come the culinary revolution: suddenly there are a dozen worthwhile dining destinations in town. Malpeque oysters on the half shell, roasted quail and braised pork belly are displacing pizza and burgers as foods of choice in this city of 75,000 about an hour northeast of San Francisco, and visitors are flocking here to try them. 'We used to drive up to Oakville or Calistoga to eat,' said Mark Pope, the wine-loving owner of the Bounty Hunter, one of the more idiosyncratic of the new Napa restaurants. 'Now a lot of people there drive here.' None of the chefs working in Napa is likely to knock Thomas Keller, the king of Napa Valley cuisine, off his throne anytime soon. Like its Manhattan progeny, Per Se, his Yountville flagship, the perennially booked-up French Laundry, wins fresh acclaim every week for the originality and consistency of its American-modern haute cuisine. But James McDevitt's winning Asian-accented food at Budo and Victor Scargle's accomplished offerings at Julia's Kitchen, the newly invigorated restaurant at Copia: the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts can easily stand comparison with such established, often-honored places as Terra and the Martini House, both in St. Helena. And Napa is rich in small, modestly priced grills, bistros and brasseries. Some of the impetus for change came from the opening of Copia, a culinary museum and cultural center, in 2001 and the reopening of the Napa Valley Opera House in two stages in 2002 and 2003, following a lengthy campaign that saved that 1880 building from demolition. The opera house now regularly stages dance, recitals and concerts of many kinds. Equally important, however, have been the valley's swiftly changing demographic patterns. 'Hip young people who wanted to live in the wine country found that they couldn't afford housing farther north,' said Patricia Perini, a documentary-film maker who worked on the campaign to save the opera house. 'So after a while they started buying up workers' bungalows in the city of Napa and restoring them.' Soon they found themselves spoiled for choice at dinnertime as restaurants proliferated - Cole's Chop House, a first-class steak joint; ZuZu, the tapas bar, which construes its genre broadly, with plenty of not-so-Spanish but oh-so-good dishes like hummus with grilled lamb and goat yogurt; and NV, a clublike establishment also riding the trend toward small plates, owned by Peter Halikas, who once cooked at Gary Danko in San Francisco. NV? The letters don't stand for nonvintage, Napa Valley or anything else, or so Mr. Halikas insists. Copia has struggled financially since its opening. (In the interest of disclosure, I should mention that I served for a brief period as an honorary trustee of Copia in the years when it was under construction.) But Julia's Kitchen, named for Julia Child, an early backer of the center, has clearly turned a corner. A softened look in the dining room and a talented new team in the kitchen are reeling in the customers. Nicole Plue, a pastry chef who made her name at Hawthorne Lane in San Francisco and Eleven Madison Park in New York, turns out delicate, enticing desserts at Julia's, among them a cookie-crust tart with a stack of mini-crepes, both flavored with California's daintily perfumed Meyer lemons. I can't wait to try the butterscotch pot de crème, which was off the menu on my visit. Ms. Plue's work tracks well with that of Mr. Scargle. He, too, is more interested in immediacy of flavor than in flourishes. He uses local ingredients ignored by others, like petrale sole, and he coaxes every bit of potential from his duck breast with his brussels sprouts and from braised chicken bathed in a marjoram-flavored jus. Many of his herbs and vegetables come from a 3½-acre garden adjacent to the dining patio. At Budo Mr. McDevitt and his wife, Stacey, have created a rectangular, high-ceilinged dining room, accented with ornamental ironwork at either end. In the center stands a long stone-top serving counter that was crowned, when I visited, by an enormous display of flowers and fruits, including persimmons still on their branches. The son of a Japanese mother and an American father, Mr. McDevitt expertly combined the two elements of his heritage at Hapa, near Phoenix, which he sold in 2003 to move to California, and he works similar wonders at his new restaurant in Napa. The Asian aesthetic is as evident in the fastidiousness of his dishes' presentation as in the arc of their flavors. An eye-popping selection of sashimi is arrayed, for example, on a glistening glass plate: crimson big-eye tuna; hamachi (yellowtail) with mango and hijiki seaweed on a forest-green shiso leaf; a Nantucket bay scallop in its shell, moistened with sparkling wine and topped with American sturgeon caviar; a Santa Barbara sea urchin poised on a lime slice; yellowfin tuna or ahi, firm and mild-tasting; flakes of fluke with wasabi. I hated the thought of finishing this piscine masterpiece so much that I must have dawdled over it for all of 20 minutes. As you may gather, fish is Mr. McDevitt's thing, and he brings in fine specimens from all over, including Maine lobster, opakapaka (pink snapper) from Hawaii and barramundi from Australia. I sneaked a taste of his John Dory, from New Zealand, with a superb sake beurre blanc. But the Midwesterner in me could not resist the kurobuta pork chop from a small Iowa farm, and instinct did not fail me. Rich, bronzed and profoundly piggy-tasting, it had been treated to a sourish tamarind glaze and came with contrasting sides (Japanese sweet potato purée, honey-roasted onions). For me Budo is the best thing to hit the area in many a moon, though I fear that it is having trouble winning the kind of local following that it deserves. I was much less excited by Press (as in wine press), up the highway toward St. Helena. Its pedigree is impeccable. The principal owner is Leslie Rudd, the proprietor of Dean & Deluca and of Rudd Vineyards and Winery, and one of his partners is Reuben Katz of the Culinary Institute of America. The chef is Keith Luce, late of Chicago's esteemed Spruce. But bloodlines and past performance don't always count; if you don't believe me, ask anyone recently betrayed by The Daily Racing Form. As Mr. Rudd wrote in a letter to me in the spring, Chez L'Ami Louis, the bare-bones Paris bistro famous for its mythic roast chicken and rare côte de boeuf, provided the inspiration for his new place. The idea, he said, is to serve 'the best regional ingredients, very simply prepared and presented,' and that's exactly the problem. Minimalist cuisine leaves little margin for error. My 16-ounce Angus strip from a Kansas farm ($48, no less) hit the spot, rosy and tender inside, beneath a salty, oxblood-colored crust. But the $36 chicken for two, turned on a spit in a big fireplace at one end of the dining room, missed the target. Carved at tableside, it was as dry as a Thanksgiving turkey cooked by a nervous neophyte, miles less tasty than California's choicest bird - the roasted chicken at Zuni in San Francisco. My dining partners, valley dwellers, reported confronting the same problem on earlier visits. For me, though, the crushing letdown was the potato and garlic cake, a near replica of another of Louis's trademark dishes. Louis's version is one of the masterpieces of Paris, worthy of induction into the Académie Française. It is one of the many reasons that I, an unapologetic potato freak, celebrated my 70th birthday there. Unhappily, what Mr. Luce sent out was unpleasantly mealy, possibly as a result of his use of russet potatoes instead of the firmer and waxier French varieties used at Louis. Ah, well. The high-ceilinged room's oversize windows give captivating views of the mountains on either side of the valley, the service is efficient and affable, and the long all-Napa wine list is stuffed with treasures, extravagant and less so. The Bounty Hunter began life as the retail offshoot of Mr. Pope's catalog wine business, and it shows. Bottles line the walls (although you may not notice them at first, because it's hard to take your eyes off the towering stuffed bears that flank the door), and the kitchen is the size of a stall shower for two. Fortunately, a grill and a smoker out back give Jake Southworth, the chef, a little more flexibility. It's good times all the time at the Bounty Hunter, whose brick walls, stamped-tin ceiling and marble-top tables give it the feeling of a saloon. Go at lunch, and you'll encounter winemakers and politicians; turn up at dinner, and you'll meet tourists and locals celebrating a birthday. 'It needs to be fun,' said Mr. Pope, the son of a Michigan welder. 'If you go too highbrow, it won't appeal to people on vacation.' As casual as it is, the cooking is based on prime ingredients, cooked with care but without undue fuss. Take the lunchtime sandwiches: a succulent cheeseburger with just the right amount of fat (Wednesdays only, unless you get lucky); a 'T.L.B.' made with house-smoked turkey, perfectly crisp baby greens, Nueske's nonpareil bacon from Wisconsin and chipotle mayonnaise; and tender pulled pork barbecue on soft buns, which would earn the grudging respect of even the pickiest North Carolinian. It prompted my friend Stan Bromley, the recently retired general manager of the Four Seasons in San Francisco, to exclaim uncharacteristically, 'Oooh, now that's a real saliva driver!' Evenings you can order cowboy steak or assorted sausages. Thursdays through Sundays, try remarkably moist whole chicken cooked on the grill with a lime inside or smoked pork ribs - fat, juicy, expertly charred hunks of meat served with red (tomato-based) and yellow (mustard-based) barbecue sauces. The chicken is a steal at $20, salad included, and so are Mr. Pope's wines, 40 by the glass, 400 by the bottle. If the Bounty Hunter excels at old-fashioned American comfort food, Pilar excels at sophisticated modern dishes from around the world. A spartan, low-key storefront decorated with culinary woodcuts and oversize blown-glass replicas of fruits and vegetables, Pilar shares with the Bounty Hunter a nice lack of pretension. Didier Lenders and Pilar Sanchez, husband and wife, have both cooked in big-time Napa Valley kitchens (Meadowood, Greystone at the Culinary Institute of America), and both cook at Pilar, although Ms. Sanchez, a tiny figure in T-shirt and blue jeans, also helps out in the dining room. Serrano ham with snappy Manchego cheese and fig compote made a fine nibble with a glass of white wine before settling down to the heavy lifting. Then technical polish came to the fore, in plump grilled Monterey Bay sardines, their richness cut by a fennel and celery slaw and pickled red torpedo onions, and lightly sautéed Nantucket Bay scallops with mottled brown-and-beige skins, riding atop an unctuous black squid-ink risotto. A baked Belgian chocolate 'mousse' - more like a candy bar made for chief executives, it seemed to me - sent me sated and happy into Main Street. Angèle, a buzzy French-style brasserie, started fast, stumbled and seems lately to have recovered its balance under a new chef, Tripp Mauldin. The Rouas family, one of the legendary restaurant clans of the Bay Area, runs the place, which is tucked into one end of the 19th-century Napa Mill, overlooking the meandering Napa River. Lunching alone on a chilly Friday with every seat in the restaurant filled, I was pleased with the unusually large selection of half-bottles of wine and by the assortment of fresh Atlantic and Pacific oysters, correctly opened and well iced. A roasted beet, goat-cheese and mâche salad - what a terrific combination - and crisp sweetbreads with bacon, chestnuts and braised fall vegetables almost made me forget that the blanquette de veau, a brasserie classic that the critics and several of my friends had raved about, was absent from the menu. When I asked why, a waitress told me that the new chef had decided against continuing it. Consider this an appeal, Mr. Mauldin, to change your mind.

Subject: Billionaire Builder of China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 07:22:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/29/business/worldbusiness/29titans.html?ex=1293512400&en=3c5dd9c89b730a78&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 29, 2005 Billionaire Builder of China By DAVID BARBOZA SHANGHAI - There are only 10 known billionaires in China, and he is one of them. His name is Xu Rongmao, and he is no Donald Trump, Sam Zell or Mortimer Zuckerman. He's bigger. Mr. Xu, who is the chairman of the Shimao Group, controls much more land than any private developer in America and builds luxury real estate projects that put even Mr. Trump to shame for their sheer scale and flamboyance. But unlike the ubiquitous Mr. Trump - who is never at a loss for words and goes out of his way to attract the attention of cameras - Mr. Xu almost never grants interviews and is highly secretive about his operations. For all his reserve, Mr. Xu, a former textile factory worker, is one of China's wealthiest entrepreneurs and a prime example of the nation's first generation of real estate tycoons. 'I don't know much about Mr. Xu, but Shimao has this uncanny ability to find the right projects at the right time,' says Michael T. Hart, director of research in Shanghai at Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate consulting firm. 'Their North Bund project has one of the best views in all of Shanghai.' In a country that started permitting people to buy homes only in the 1980's, developers like Mr. Xu (pronounced SHOO) found a way to gain rights to prime land in the nation's biggest cities. Now they reap huge profits by building large residential projects, often with hotels and other commercial buildings. An industry that emerged only a decade ago suddenly has annual sales of $130 billion, making real estate one of the biggest engines in this nation's roaring economy. The growth has helped propel Mr. Xu to No. 9 on the Forbes list of the richest people in China. With $1 billion in net assets, he runs two publicly listed real estate companies and a collection of private offshore companies, and is overseeing $9 billion in projects. The Shimao Group is expected to complete building about 145 million square feet of property by 2010, more than the entire 120 million square feet controlled by Sam Zell of Chicago, the commercial real estate baron who is the biggest individual property owner in the United States. By all accounts, Mr. Xu, who in his listed companies uses his Cantonese name, Hui Wing Mau, is a pioneer, willing to take big gambles. Through Shimao, he created one of China's first luxury real estate brands. He bought prime land in Shanghai in the late 1990's when others, fearing that the city was becoming overbuilt, were fleeing the market. And now, with housing prices rising, the Shimao Group is so profitable that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are negotiating to take the company public in 2006. Several of China's other real estate tycoons share Mr. Xu's rags-to-riches story. The developer of Shanghai's new Citigroup building, for example, was once a truck driver from impoverished Jiangxi Province. But little is known about Mr. Xu, 55, particularly how he earned his early fortune and developed his network of powerful political allies, who include several high-ranking Communist Party officials. He turned down repeated requests for an interview for this article, as did many other major Chinese developers. Some privately admitted they simply did not want the publicity and scrutiny in a country still officially communist and uneasy about the creation of individual wealth. 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered,' said Jack J. T. Huang, chairman of Asia for the law firm Jones Day, citing a common Chinese saying that is also popular in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. 'No one wants to be that nail and talk about this kind of business.' Perhaps for good reason. China's real estate industry, like those in many other places, has been dogged by scandal - tales of illegal land grabs, corruption, government bribery, shoddy construction work and the forced relocation of millions of peasants and urban poor. Yet almost everyone with means in China these days seems to want to play the real estate game. Of the 50 richest Chinese, according to Forbes's rankings in 2005, half rely on real estate as one of their primary businesses. People who have worked with Mr. Xu, a sprightly looking man with well-groomed black hair, say that he leaped to the top after he bought a collection of distressed properties in Shanghai in the late 1990's and began a huge riverfront development in the city's Pudong district, where some apartments now sell for more than $4 million. 'He's just smart,' said one developer who spoke anonymously out of fear of angering government officials. 'He got a lot of his land at ridiculously low prices, ridiculous. He knew where to go and when to buy.' Mr. Xu's start was inauspicious. Like just about every person in China who came of age in Communist China, he started out poor. He grew up in Shishi, an entrepreneurial city in coastal Fujian Province, the oldest of eight children born to a machinery worker and a doctor. After graduating from high school during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, he was sent to the countryside to work as a barefoot doctor. In the late 1970's, he went to Hong Kong and worked in a textile factory. Then, he told friends, he got lucky and made a small fortune trading stocks. By the mid-1980's, he was investing in textile factories in western Gansu Province. His leap into real estate began in 1988 when he agreed to invest $1.2 million in a knitting factory in his hometown. Some say he intended all along to build a hotel instead, even though investments in private hotels were forbidden. 'He told others the construction was a factory,' said Cai Shijia, a Fujian official who worked with Mr. Xu. 'But the truth was, he was building a hotel. 'The construction on that land was all implemented according to hotel designs and standards. And as soon as the construction was completed, the government policy changed. Xu Rongmao became the owner of the first private three-star hotel in China.' Mr. Xu then plowed millions into developing residential complexes and resorts in Fujian. Along the way, he struck up friendships with powerful political figures, including Fujian's party secretary, Chen Guangyi, whom he had known in Gansu Province, and Jia Qingli, who succeeded Mr. Chen in Fujian before moving to Beijing to became a member of the Politburo. Mr. Xu recently met with Mr. Jia, who still holds a high position and was one of the highest-ranking Communist Party officials under Jiang Zemin, the former president. For all his personal connections, people close to Mr. Xu say much of his success came from his willingness to take risks and his ability to spot opportunities ahead of others. When business dried up in Fujian, he moved his family to Australia, where he invested in real estate in the early 1990's. Then he pushed his way into Beijing and Shanghai just before housing prices there took off. He made money the same way other developers in China have: he negotiated with government officials to acquire cheap land, often with a small down payment, by limiting the commitment to a small initial phrase; then created a design for a new building that could serve as the template for a larger development. 'You can use Phase I cash to pay for Phase II or III,' says one Shanghai developer who has observed Shimao's projects. 'It's all about cash flow - it's about how you use the money. That's how these guys got off the ground. The early guys were visionaries and now they're ridiculously wealthy.' The system in China favors developers. Homebuyers pay far in advance of their move-in date, often more than a year ahead of construction. Developers often use that presale money to build the project or buy additional land elsewhere. 'That was one way to go from a small amount of money to making a lot of cash,' said Mr. Hart at Jones Lang LaSalle. 'Many of these guys weren't necessarily good at developing, but they were in the right place at the right time.' Mr. Xu has worked the system to perfection. Following the money at Shimao, however, is difficult. Adapting a method honed to perfection by overseas Chinese, the Xu family controls a labyrinthine collection of public and private companies, official filings in China show, including offshore entities. The companies swap property, finance one another's projects and seem to shift profits around. For instance, the Shanghai Shimao Group, which is listed in Shanghai, said it had revenue of $280,000 in 2003 but profit of $16.3 million. A year later, revenue jumped to $134 million, with profit of $20 million. And in one of many related-party transactions, Shimao International, a company listed in Hong Kong, said it bought 100 percent of a company called Value Added from Dynamic Keen Developments, which was wholly owned by Mr. Xu. Value Added owned a construction company set up by Mr. Xu to develop a project on the China-Russia border. Avoiding investment bankers, two of his companies went public in Hong Kong and Shanghai a few years ago by acquiring listed companies and changing their names, in what is called a 'back-door' listing. The bulk of the Shimao Group's holdings would create a third company, which could go public soon. Real estate experts here say many developers create project companies and engage in related-party transactions, partly for tax reasons. Indeed, Mr. Xu operates another Shimao company. One public filing says the 'ultimate holding company' for Shimao's pieces is a shell corporation created in the British Virgin Islands called Perfect Zone. Shimao has acquired huge tracts of riverfront land in some of China's biggest cities and has used it to build developments packed with signature features, including gardens, palm trees, villas and luxury high-rises outfitted with marble interiors. In Harbin, Shimao acquired 43 million square feet in an area the city government is redeveloping, and then received approval to build a huge project north of Harbin, on both sides of the China-Russia border. The project includes a casino that would operate just over the border in Russia, escaping the legal prohibition on gambling everywhere in China but Macao. Meanwhile, the government has begun an aggressive campaign to crack down on gambling elsewhere along its borders. In Wuhan, Shimao outbid the Hong Kong billionaire Li Kai Shing and agreed to pay $380 million to develop 9.4 million square feet in the historic area of the provincial capital. With the market slowing because of worries about a looming real estate bubble, Mr. Xu and his management team, which includes his son and daughter, are stepping up their investments. They have lined up international architects and five-star hotels to work with them. People who work with Mr. Xu say he maintains his close ties to government officials and often makes large charitable donations to help stay in their good graces. When the chief executive of Warner Brothers Entertainment went to Beijing to meet Wu Yi, China's vice prime minister, Mr. Xu was there, too. And he often visits with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. Next up for Shimao? An initial public stock offering in Hong Kong early next year, which could value the company at billions of dollars and catapult Mr. Xu to the No. 1 spot on China's rich list. The name his parents gave him, Xu Rongmao, seems apt: in Chinese, it can be translated as 'Wealth and Success.'

Subject: When Chinese Sue the State
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 06:06:13 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/28/international/asia/28land.html?ex=1293426000&en=4f88869907b708e7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 28, 2005 When Chinese Sue the State, Cases Are Often Smothered By JOSEPH KAHN SHIQIAO, China - The peasants surrounded the clerk in the busy court anteroom, badgering him to let them sue the officials who had seized their land. No, no, the clerk said, shaking his head and waving his hands, as the peasants recalled it. They were wasting his time and theirs. But as they withdrew, their legal papers remained on his desk in plain sight. Maybe, the peasants hoped, that meant the clerk had tacitly accepted their application to sue. 'In two years of trying every option under the law, this was a moment of optimism,' said Li Huitang, a leader of peasant resistance in Shiqiao, a village in Hebei Province, in northern China. 'We hoped he might rule on our request.' Even a written rejection would have been a bonanza, enabling them to appeal to a higher court. But it was not to be. The clerk soon called Mr. Li's home, ordering him to retrieve the documents. When Mr. Li declined, the clerk mailed them back in a plain manila envelope, unmarked, unprocessed and officially ignored. China's legal system often hands down verdicts that the powerless consider unfair. But a bigger problem is that courts often refuse to issue any verdict at all - or even acknowledge that some bothersome legal complaints exist. The English translation is simply 'put on the record' or 'register a case,' but in China 'li'an' is so fraught with official meddling that for many with complaints against the government, the judicial system is closed for business. Since Communist China first created the semblance of a modern legal system a quarter-century ago, criminal cases - the state suing individuals - mostly go through the courts. Private citizens and businesses now often resolve civil disputes in court. But the third and most sensitive use of the judicial system, a 1989 statute that entitles people to sue the state, remains a beguiling fiction, scholars say. 'The number of people wanting to sue the government is large and growing,' says Xiao Jianguo, a legal scholar at People's University in Beijing who has studied the issue. 'But the number of people who succeed in filing cases against the government is miniscule. So you could say there is a gap between theory and practice.' Though fast-rising China wants to persuade the outside world that it is governed by law, pressure to improve the system comes mainly from within. Protests are erupting around the country over land seizures, pollution, corruption and abuse of power, with 74,000 officially recorded incidents of mass unrest in 2004. China's leaders know they need to manage such unrest. Indeed, President Hu Jintao says 'democratic rule of law' is a crucial ingredient of his plan to build a 'harmonious society.' Such pledges spread awareness of legal rights, but have yet to change legal procedures. It is not clear how many protests follow failed attempts to settle disputes in court. But lawyers say the judicial system bars its doors to so many contentious cases that it effectively forces people to take to the streets. That is what happened here in Shiqiao, where residents protesting the loss of prime farmland for a government-backed road, office and residential development tried suing to protect their land-use rights. They met Kafkaesque obstacles at every turn. The only party that used the courts successfully was the state-linked construction company. It won an injunction in March declaring peasants' protests illegal. Every Man for Himself On the scale of land deals in China today, where hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are converted each year into factories, shopping malls and housing, Shiqiao's 33 acres are just a tiny window box along the bank of the muddy Fuyang River in southern Hebei Province. Yet the dark, fertile soil and good irrigation made it prime land for growing vegetables. Scores of families depended on small plots there to earn a steady income selling cabbages, cucumbers and beans to city dwellers nearby. That was true until early 2004, just before spring planting, when the Fengfengkuang district of Hebei instructed peasants in Shiqiao to stay off their land. The Binhai Construction Company, linked to the district's construction bureau, was to build a road and housing there to 'raise the city's status.' Farmers who lost land would be compensated according to the National Land Management Law, a government notice said. For villagers, it was a call to arms. Peasants cannot own their land outright. Their land-use contracts remain firmly under the government's thumb, nominally to guard against the loss of arable land. The controls actually provide a perverse incentive for local officials to seize and develop as much farmland as possible. Farmers need only be compensated for lost farm income, generally far below soaring real estate market values. Government-linked middlemen can make a fortune. 'It's every man for himself,' says Li Yonglu, a 64-year-old resident who has taken part in the campaign against the Fengfengkuang district government. 'You get what you fight for, and no more.' Officials in Fengfengkuang did not respond to requests to talk about the matter. But in official documents and propaganda posters, they said that the development of Shiqiao's land met all local and national requirements and that peasants were compensated fairly. The district did offer compensation, from $2,500 to $5,000 a mu, a sixth of an acre. But local rumors had it that the market value exceeded $35,000 a mu and that government agents were pocketing the difference. Some villagers took the money. Others refused to cooperate. Mr. Li, who wears a French-style beret and once served as the leader of a collective farming brigade in Shiqiao, spurred opposition. He was joined by Li Huitang, a heavyset, gregarious man of 45. They share a family name but are not directly related. The two men filmed a short documentary praising their ancient alluvial soil. A narrator, speaking in a deep baritone, recited central government policies to prevent the loss of farmland. Beijing seemed like a possible ally. In the spring of 2004, the National People's Congress, the party-controlled legislature, passed China's first property rights law. Newspapers and television broadcasts heralded the leadership's commitment to govern 'according to law.' In Shiqiao, the principles seemed abstract, but potent. The local activists read national land laws and concluded that the laws protected their land-use contracts. The local government could not cancel those contracts against their will, they said. They decided to sue. An attorney in a neighboring city drafted the lawsuit. The two Mr. Lis brought it to Fengfengkuang's court. A clerk read their application, then disappeared for consultations. When he returned, he said the court would take the case, but only if they paid a filing fee of $2,300. The fee, several times their annual per capita income, seemed intended to scare them away. And in fact many villagers scoffed at paying even a small share. But the Lis rallied 11 families to join them. By the summer of 2004, they had the money. The case was established. That proved to be the low hurdle. Months passed with no trial date. They demanded explanations. Finally, early this year, they were granted an audience with Chen Xiuying, the top local court official. Ms. Chen, according to Li Huitang and two others who attended the meeting, struck a sympathetic tone. The court would like to see the case go to trial, but the matter was unfortunately too sensitive. 'She told us the court did not have the power to challenge the government,' Li Huitang said. 'It might be better for everyone if we withdrew the case. She said if we did, she would refund the fee.' Ms. Chen, reached in her court office, hung up the phone when asked about the exchange. Her phone was later answered by someone else, who said Ms. Chen had left town on business. Mr. Li said he declined to withdraw: 'I told her the law is either a tool that can be used by the people, or it isn't. You can't offer it and then take it away.' Street Justice Binhai Construction did not wait on the courts. It laid a broad new road, paved in concrete, through Shiqiao's old vegetable plots. Other sections were cordoned off by a high wall, decorated with billboards that show a river flowing through rich fall foliage. Behind the wall, high-rise residences sprouted. Frustrated by the court setback, the two Mr. Lis began a campaign of civil disobedience. They planted themselves in front of bulldozers, harassed workers and generally disrupted construction. On March 18, Binhai filed its own civil lawsuit naming Li Yonglu as a defendant, seeking an injunction against his interference. Four days later, the court issued a peremptory ruling without trial. Li Yonglu's actions were declared illegal. Local officials distributed copies of the ruling to every resident in Shiqiao, villagers said. A party boss read the text of the decision over the village's loudspeakers. It did not stop the Lis. They and other villagers said they were outraged that the court acted so quickly after suppressing their own suit. 'I discovered that the law is what they say,' Li Yonglu said. 'What they practice is power.' On March 25, Fengfengkuang dispatched the local police and paramilitary troops to stop the interference. The deployment brought hundreds of villagers from their homes. A tense standoff turned into a minor riot when the police confiscated cameras some local residents were using to record the event, participants said. Li Huitang's younger brother said he suffered a gash in his forehead when police officers ripped his camera off his neck. An elderly man fell and was trampled, photographs show. Villagers turned unruly and began smashing windows and trying to overturn police cars. Fifteen local residents went to jail; three remain behind bars nine months later, relatives said. Such conflagrations have become a fixture of rural life in boom-time China. Many go unnoticed or face reporting bans in the national news media. But shortly after the Shiqiao protest, in nearby Dingzhou City, a government effort to quell a land protest captured attention all over China. Hundreds of hired thugs armed with hunting rifles and clubs forced villagers to give up land for a power station. Six farmers died and dozens were injured in a bloody crackdown captured by a farmer's video camera. For Beijing, that went too far. The Communist Party boss in Dingzhou and 26 others went on trial for the killings in early December. China's top judge, Xiao Yang, also inspected Hebei's courts following the Dingzhou incident. He told state news outlets that the courts too often treated important cases as 'hot potatoes' better left untouched, marginalizing the judicial system. 'If the courts bow to the government every time, the people will have no faith in the judicial process,' he warned. Neither Yes Nor No Those sentiments seem to be widely held among officials at the top. There is little evidence, however, that Hebei heeded his warning, at least when cases threatening strong local interests came before the courts. The two Mr. Lis gave the law another try. This time they found a prominent Beijing-based attorney, Zhou Shifeng, who often pursues difficult cases against the authorities. After an investigation, Mr. Zhou concluded that the Binhai project violated national land laws, which require State Council approval to develop prime farmland. They could sue Hebei Province for allowing the project to proceed, he said. Mr. Zhou had low expectations. China's administrative law stipulates that cases against a local government must be filed first in its jurisdiction, where local party bosses hold sway. It can be appealed, but only after the local court rules or rejects the case. Courts legally must issue written rejection notices if they choose not take the case. But to avoid appeals, court clerks often decline to take possession of legal papers. No rejection notice is needed if the case does not, in China's political-legal cosmos, formally exist. 'The law is absurd,' Mr. Zhou said. 'But it is the only way.' In September Mr. Zhou, the two Mr. Lis and other villagers gathered at court in Shijiazhuang, Hebei's provincial capital. Qian Rendong, a court clerk, received them. They pleaded their case: they had legal right to sue; local officials had violated national land laws; their hope of obtaining justice depended on him. Mr. Qian, they said, was polite, but stubborn. He browsed through their papers and asked some questions, but in the end gave no ground. He urged them to appeal to higher authorities through the petition system rather than the courts. But whether out of deference or a simple oversight, he did not, as their session ended, hand back their documents. Technically, it seemed, he had accepted their application to sue. 'We talked excitedly among ourselves as we left the court,' Li Yonglu said. 'It seemed like a first step.' Two days later, Mr. Qian called Mr. Li's home. The papers must be collected immediately or he could not guarantee their safety. The case would not be registered and there would be no rejection notice, either. Mr. Zhou advised Mr. Li to stay home. They would press the clerk to reject the case in writing. Mr. Li said he was nervous - original documents he had spent months compiling were in the clerk's possession - but he held back. The risk, though, was not that the documents would be destroyed, but rather that they would be disregarded. Two weeks later they arrived by mail, incognito, at Mr. Zhou's office in Beijing. In Shiqiao's land case, it was the only verdict the court would render.

Subject: Marketing Fortified Food
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 29, 2005 at 05:59:35 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/28/business/28food.html?ex=1293426000&en=eb20a23d0989cd8f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 28, 2005 Marketing Fortified Food to Those Leery of Drugs By MELANIE WARNER Ever since she gave birth to her fourth child in 2003, Michelle Celona, a 43-year-old part-time teacher in Philadelphia, had suffered from annoying bouts of constipation. Figuring it was the stress of carting three children around or the result of something that had changed in her body after pregnancy, she learned to live with it. But when the Dannon Company asked Ms. Celona in June if she wanted to participate in a two-week trial for Activia, a new fortified yogurt that the company said could help speed up what nutritionists delicately refer to as intestinal transit time, she jumped at the chance. 'I was skeptical that it would work,' she said. 'But if it's something I already like, then that's much better than popping a pill.' Dannon, the American division of the French company Group Danone, is counting on finding more people like Ms. Celona, who contend the yogurt worked as promised. The company expects to spend $60 million next year aiming at the 70 million Americans who suffer from digestive problems. With health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and digestive disorders all on the rise, a growing number of food marketers are selling what the food industry calls functional foods, which promise a host of health benefits, from cholesterol reduction to immunity improvements to easing of intestinal problems. Marketing solutions to health problems has traditionally been the realm of drug companies, but that is starting to change. As the baby boom generation ages and Americans become increasingly concerned about their health, packaged food companies see a big marketing opportunity. Television, radio and print commercials scheduled for February for Activia yogurt, which contains specific beneficial bacteria that work in the colon along with the body's own bacteria, will feature women talking about their irregularity problems. Activia will be available in supermarkets in mid-January. Elations, a new flavored beverage from a company run by a team of former Procter & Gamble executives, promises 'joint flexibility' and contains the nutritional supplements glucosamine, which is believed to play a role in cartilage formation and repair, and chondroitin, a natural component of cartilage that is thought to help with elasticity. Next month, PepsiCo will start selling a new version of its Tropicana orange juice containing three grams of fiber per serving (in the form of starch in which molecules have been rearranged to resist digestion). It will join several brands of Tropicana that are already enhanced with various vitamins and minerals and that profess to benefit the heart and the immune system and to make children's bones strong. In making such assertions, companies are dodging Food and Drug Administration regulations that require a rigorous approval process for health claims. Marketers are not required to get agency approval for claims that talk about the body's 'normal, healthy structures and functions,' only for references to specific diseases or health conditions. As a result, Dannon's marketing promises that Activia will help 'regulate your digestive system,' but the word 'constipation' is not used. Ads and packaging for Elations will refer to 'joint flexibility' and 'ease of movement,' not arthritis. Most major food and beverage companies say they are working on functional food projects, though some are taking a wait-and-see approach. At an investor meeting a little over a year ago, the chief executive of Coca-Cola, E. Neville Isdell, said carbonated soft drinks would be 'carriers of health and wellness benefits.' But the company has yet to market any such products. How big is the functional foods market? According to some reports, it could be huge. A study by Gerard Anderson, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that 48.4 percent of all Americans in 2002 suffered from at least one chronic health condition, from hypertension to asthma to heart disease, up from 44.7 percent in 1996. Marketing surveys also show that more Americans are interested in natural solutions to health issues. 'People are getting nervous about pharmaceuticals,' said Faith Popcorn, who runs BrainReserve, a marketing company. 'If it's food, people trust it more. And people are also so happy to hear that something they love to eat is also good for them.' Ms. Popcorn cites the Vioxx situation - in which millions of pain sufferers were told that the anti-inflammatory drugs they were taking might increase their risk of heart attacks - and the high price of drugs as factors spurring consumers to seek out drug-free remedies. According to a BrainReserve survey in 2004, 65 percent of people said they were using diet to treat an illness, whether through a low-fat regimen, a diet of organic food or a higher intake of certain kinds of food. While many scientists promote the healing powers of a diet based on whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables, some are skeptical of the idea that specific conditions should be treated through packaged food products. Alice H. Lichtenstein, a senior scientist at the nutrition research center at Tufts University, says she believes that people who may be in need of additional nutrients, cholesterol-lowering plant sterols or extra fiber should get them through a multivitamin or pill-based supplement. 'The danger with this is that people will add food to their diet, rather than substitute, and then they'll end up consuming more calories, which would not be good,' Dr. Lichtenstein said. Food companies say many people do not like to take pills and find it easier to get nutrients or supplements in a food or a beverage that they may be consuming anyway. But getting people with high cholesterol to buy a cholesterol-lowering cereal or those with constipation to eat more yogurt has proven difficult. Over the last 10 years, many attempts to market functional foods have fallen flat. Marketing experts say Americans crave quick, simple solutions for better health, but they are also wary of big promises that do not ring true. In 1999, the Kellogg Company devoted extensive resources to Ensemble - a line of cereals, cookies, lasagna, frozen entrees and baked potato chips that contained psyllium, a soluble fiber that has been proved to reduce cholesterol - only to take it off the market nine months later because of poor consumer response. Similarly, analysts say that Cadbury Schweppes's 7UP Plus, a soda fortified with calcium and vitamin C and marketed as good for bones, has underperformed relative to other recent soda introductions. Several months ago, the company took out the vitamin C and said it would introduce two new flavors. Lauren Radcliffe, a Cadbury spokeswoman, said that the company remained excited about 7UP Plus and was planning an ad campaign for the first quarter of 2006. Harvey Hartman, chief executive of the Hartman Group, a Seattle consulting firm, said consumers might be likely to respond to health claims for certain foods or beverages, but soda was not one of them. 'Juice, yogurt, cereal, bars, these things make sense,' Mr. Hartman said. 'They're already perceived as being relatively healthy.' Coca-Cola's Minute Maid brand, for instance, has had strong sales for its Heart Wise orange juice with plant sterols. Sales for Heart Wise are up 39 percent over the last year, versus a decline of 3.5 percent for regular Minute Maid juice, according to Information Resources Inc., a marketing information company. Juan Carlos Dalto, chief executive of Dannon, said yogurt was an ideal food for health benefits. 'Yogurt is already perceived as a health product and most people realize that it already has bacterial cultures,' he said. 'With Activia, we're just adding a specific strain that offers a specific benefit.' Dannon's bacteria strain, Bifidus regularis, is part of a class of bacteria that already exists in the digestive systems of most healthy people. The company has sponsored four studies showing that among people who are irregular, consumption of one four-ounce container of Activia yogurt a day leads to as much as a 40 percent reduction in the amount of time it takes food to exit the digestive system. People with constipation or other digestive maladies may have a shortage of beneficial bacteria as a result of improper diet or heavy use of antibiotics, which tend to kill good bacteria along with the bad. 'We are saying that, after two weeks, Activia naturally regulates your digestive system,' said Andreas Ostermayer, Dannon's senior vice president for marketing. Scientists say that healthy bacteria, or probiotics, can be effective in helping to alleviate minor intestinal disorders, but certainly are not a cure-all remedy and may not work for everyone. The yogurt is already a blockbuster product for Groupe Danone in Europe and Asia. The company says sales of the product, which was introduced in France in 1997, have grown by 24 percent a year from 2000 to 2004 and it is now its fastest-growing product, representing 4.1 percent of Groupe Danone's 2004 sales of $16.2 billion. Mr. Ostermayer said that Dannon waited to release the product in the United States until the company had done extensive testing and believed it could get the marketing right. The company spent the last two years doing consumer tests and going to medical conferences to educate doctors about the benefits of probiotic bacteria. The Elations Company is also trying to foster a greater awareness among doctors of its particular ingredients. The company is promoting the findings of a recent arthritis study that was done independently and without involvement from the company. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the government's main vehicle for conducting medical research, showed that glucosamine and chondroitin were effective in treating pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Mr. Hartman, the Seattle consultant, said that while functional foods had always been a great idea, the category is an enigma. 'It hasn't been nearly as successful as people thought it would be,' he said. But Mr. Hartman added that if a manufacturer could crack the code, getting the product and the marketing right, the opportunity to appeal to the millions of Americans looking to food for health solutions was 'huge.'

Subject: Spurring Urban Growth in Vancouver
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 15:52:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/realestate/25nati.html?ex=1293166800&en=47a6f265a79b22f2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Spurring Urban Growth in Vancouver, One Family at a Time By LINDA BAKER Vancouver, British Columbia ELENITA TORRES and her husband, Dean Sherriff, didn't want to leave the city after having children. So about two years ago, the couple bought a two-bedroom, 1,440-square-foot town house in the Coal Harbour neighborhood, one of several waterfront developments that have sprung up in downtown Vancouver over the last few years. 'The area is safe, appealing and convenient,' said Ms. Torres, a Toronto native who owns a company with her husband that produces storyboard and art illustrations for movies. The couple live a few blocks from a large forested park and have enrolled their 5-year-old daughter, Sequoia, in a nearby child care center. They get to meet other families at a community center down the street. 'We have no intentions of moving,' Ms. Torres said. Over the last 10 years, cities across North America have attracted thousands of new residents to revitalized urban areas. Vancouver is no exception. About 40,000 people have moved into the downtown peninsula in the last 15 years; the downtown population is expected to reach 110,000 by 2015. But there is a difference between the urban growth taking place in Vancouver and the development occurring in many American cities. In the United States, many of the new urban residents are young professionals or older, wealthier people whose children are grown. In fact, enrollment in Portland, Ore., and Seattle public schools has dropped by thousands of students because of declining numbers of urban families with children. In Vancouver, the number of children living downtown has doubled since 1990; there are now 5,000 children living in the central core. Last year, the city opened the first new elementary school in an inner-city neighborhood in more than 30 years. 'We have to bus children out of the downtown because of the burgeoning numbers of school-age children,' said Michael Gordon, senior central area planner for Vancouver. 'It's happening more quickly than we expected.' Mr. Gordon, who is making a documentary about children in the city's new high-density neighborhoods, said the urban demographic is a result of ambitious policies established in the late 1980's, after the provincial government sold former Expo '86 world's fair property on the south side of the downtown peninsula to Li Ka-shing, one of Hong Kong's most powerful businessmen. As part of the $277 million deal, the city asked Mr. Li's company, Concord Pacific Developments, to provide an array of public amenities, including child care and community centers, parks, playgrounds and land for schools. Another goal was to set aside 20 percent of the housing units for low-income residents, and 25 percent for family-size units. The city's housing guidelines grew out of concerns that Vancouver was becoming an 'executive city' for the childless rich, Mr. Gordon said. 'As much as real estate is the ethos, there is also a consensus that this is a really important place and we have to do the right thing,' he said. On a recent Friday morning, children in the False Creek North neighborhood, site of the former Expo lands, streamed out of town houses and shimmering green glass residential towers and walked along the sea wall, a heavily used pedestrian and bicycle path, toward Elsie Roy Elementary School, which opened in the fall of 2004 directly on the marina. 'We're at capacity,' said the principal, Isabel Grant. 'It's a fabulous neighborhood.' The school has 330 children enrolled, and there is a waiting list for several grades. The bustling False Creek North community, which features 12-foot-wide sidewalks and double rows of street trees, houses a new Urban Fare grocery store, the Dorothy Lam Children's Center and the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Center, which offers arts, music and sports programs. There is no exterior distinction between affordable and market-rate housing. In one complex, two market-rate residential towers frame a midrise structure with low-income families and seniors. 'You quickly lose sight of the fact that one is market and one is subsidized,' said John B. Davidson, a local architect who helped develop the neighborhood plan. Ellen Clague and Michael Mortensen, who have two young children, live in a two-bedroom condo on the north side of the downtown peninsula. Their cylindrical glass high-rise is walking distance from the seawall, from Coal Harbour Community Center, which is underground and designed to resemble a submarine, and from the 1,000-acre Stanley Park, which features walking, biking and roller-skating trails, water parks, an outdoor swimming pool, several beaches and an aquarium. 'The element of spontaneity, surprise and fun in a city is wonderful for children,' said Ms. Clague, a Y.M.C.A. program coordinator. 'It's a giant cross section of society.' Large numbers of Pacific Rim and Eastern European immigrants, who are accustomed to high-rise living, also fuel Vancouver's downtown market, according to Michael Geller, a developer who managed the 880-unit Bayshore project in Coal Harbour. Most developers accept the 'social engineering' conditions the city has imposed, he said. Mr. Geller's $256 million development included, among other things, a seawall extension, two neighborhood parks and playgrounds, public art and a child care center. He also contributed to the community center and after-school facilities. The development was nonetheless profitable. 'Nobody is losing any money,' said Mr. Geller, who recently put his own three-bedroom Bayshore condo on the market for $1.9 million. Despite the public benefits, downtown Vancouver is not a utopia, residents and planners say. Housing prices are skyrocketing. An 800-square-foot condo sells for around $380,000, and on the water it would be double that, according to Bob Rennie, a local real estate agent. The city's housing guidelines encourage developers to reserve the first eight floors of residential buildings for family-size units and to design these apartments so they overlook outdoor play areas. But parents say the units, mostly two-bedrooms, are too small. 'When you have a boy and a girl, you need three bedrooms,' Ms. Clague said. She also said that the landscaping has not kept pace with the city's child-friendly amenity policy. Her 4-year-old son, Lucas, has toppled into the building's outdoor goldfish pond several times, she said. Mr. Gordon, who helped push for a new skateboard park in False Creek North, said the city also needs to provide more facilities for teenagers. But for many parents, the urban package is still hard to beat. Simon Hill, a magazine editor, enrolls his two children in False Creek Elementary School, which is on the seawall and has views of residential skyscrapers, snowcapped Grouse Mountain and English Bay. 'Just think of the mental landscape the kids are getting,' he said.

Subject: Africa's Brand of Democracy Emerges
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 15:19:21 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/23/international/africa/23uganda.html?ex=1290402000&en=b9846ace421fedc7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 23, 2005 By Fits and Starts, Africa's Brand of Democracy Emerges By MARC LACEY KAMPALA, Uganda - One way of judging the repressive nature of an African president is by standing in the center of that leader's capital city and calling him awful names. By that measure, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda could be worse. He is being called a dictator, a thug, a power-hungry autocrat and even harsher things than that these days, and for the most part he is taking it, not trying to round up or eliminate all those who dare speak ill of him, which has been done in this country in the past. On top of that, Mr. Museveni has been rather adept during his 19 years in power at rebuilding Uganda's tattered economy. He has won widespread praise for his early and activist leadership when it comes to combating AIDS. An erudite man, he speaks passionately of his desire for a modern, robust and, most of all, peaceful Uganda and he sounds very much as if he means it. But Mr. Museveni, billed during President Clinton's administration as one of Africa's new generation of enlightened, democratic leaders, has proved himself something far less grand than that. He and others like him - notably, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Paul Kagame of Rwanda - have disappointed those who were hoping for Western-style democracy to emerge in full flower in 21st-century Africa. But if they have fallen short of that goal - a naïve one, they say - they have succeeded in holding together troubled countries with undeveloped democratic institutions and traditions. If that has occasionally meant resorting to ugly and authoritarian methods, so be it, they say. That's African-style democracy, something the West would not understand. With a long tradition of tyrants in its midst, Africa does seem to have improved its leadership, even as television images from the eastern precincts of the continent recently seem to show a region in crisis. Mr. Museveni, however flawed, is nothing like the murderous Idi Amin or even Milton Obote, another Ugandan strongman of the past. Mr. Meles, Ethiopia's hard-line prime minister, is a far cry from the dictator he ousted, Mengistu Haile Mariam. Mr. Kagame, despite his tight grip on his country, did quell the ethnic slaughter in 1994 that was orchestrated by the government he replaced. But such leaders, promoted by Washington and other Western capitals as Africa's saviors, are increasingly seen as mere mortals. 'I don't think Museveni was ever the leader the world thought he was,' said Proscovia Salaamu Musumba, deputy president of the Forum for Democratic Change, a major Ugandan opposition group. 'It was an illusion.' The corruption is less blatant than it was with their predecessors, most here agree, the jailing of opponents far less prevalent. 'They are better than the ones before, but in their burning desire to remain in power they are the same,' said Ted Dagne, an Africa analyst with the Congressional Research Service in Washington. In what he called 'a policy blunder from which we have yet to recover,' American policy on Africa has focused too much on personalities, Mr. Dagne said. Perhaps the most prominent, and ambiguous, of those personalities is Mr. Museveni. While Uganda is preparing to hold its first multiparty presidential elections since he came to power 20 years ago, the government jailed the country's main opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, last week, accusing him of treason. Mr. Besigye returned to Uganda from exile last month to huge enthusiastic crowds and declared himself a candidate for the 2006 elections. Now he is off the campaign trail and in Kampala's maximum security prison. Uganda's press, feisty and independent, frequently earns the wrath of the president, which happens in democracies the world over. But Mr. Museveni sometimes oversteps. His government has demanded that The Monitor, an independent paper, apologize and retract an article suggesting that Mr. Museveni offered the job of army chief to his younger brother, who declined, before settling on someone else. Government sanctions loom if the paper does not comply. The government has also put pressure on the paper to fire a reporter, Andrew Mwenda, who already faces sedition and other charges for reports that got under Mr. Museveni's skin. The police also entered the paper's printing plant the other night, objecting to an advertisement raising money for Mr. Besigye's legal defense. But Uganda at least has an independent press, a far cry from Eritrea, where reporters are in jail or in hiding and no voice other than that of President Isaias Afwerki is heard. He, too, was once one of Washington's favorite sons. African presidencies are no longer the lifetime positions they once were. In Kenya, Mwai Kibaki defeated the ruling party in 2002. In another display, 15 former African heads of state convened in Mali several months back to discuss the important role that retired leaders can play improving Africa from outside of government. Mr. Museveni should be on the verge of joining that group. But with his second and supposedly last term coming to a close, he pushed to have constitutional limits on his tenure lifted, allowing him to run again in elections next year. The question remains whether there is such a thing as African democracy. It's not a complete oxymoron. Rigging elections, while still part of the landscape, is becoming a cause for embarrassment, done surreptitiously. Putting up with criticism and dissent is increasingly seen as part of the job. For every leader who clings to power, there are others who go when it's time to go. Africa's heads of state do face extraordinary challenges, such as the scores or even hundreds of ethnic or tribal groups within their borders, as well as long histories with violent struggle. They have earned the right to define democracy for themselves and their countries - so long as they don't scrap democracy in the process. 'I believe he has been and still is a new generation of leader,' said John Nagenda, a top adviser to Mr. Museveni. 'But the almighty Americans are not going to decide the type of democracy in Uganda, no matter what they label him.'

Subject: Ferry Dispute Tests Ireland's Tolerance
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 13:00:23 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/business/worldbusiness/27strike.html?ex=1293339600&en=f1add312dd220e3f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 27, 2005 Ferry Dispute Tests Ireland's Tolerance for Globalization By BRIAN LAVERY - International Herald Tribune DUBLIN - When nearly 100,000 people took to the streets of Ireland earlier this month to protest the hiring of cheap East European labor for Irish Ferries, they gave voice to old familiar fears about job security that many thought had been forgotten. The last time similar crowds demonstrated here over industrial issues was in 1979, when young people were leaving the country in droves to find work and Ireland's unemployment rate was hovering around 20 percent. These days, the Irish economy is no longer expanding at the double-digit rates of the 1990's, when it was called the Celtic Tiger, but it is still the fastest-growing in Western Europe. The country enjoys nearly full employment. But the outpouring of support for more than 500 unionized workers of Irish Ferries, who will be replaced by new workers, mainly from Latvia, who will work for less than half Ireland's minimum wage, is raising questions about whether the tolerance for globalization that helped bolster the Irish economy is waning. 'We have been a major beneficiary of outsourcing for the last couple of decades,' said Jim Power, chief economist at Friends First, an Irish subsidiary of the Dutch financial services firm Eureko, 'and now people are starting to see that it's a double-edged sword.' Sean Barrett, a professor of economics at Trinity College, Dublin, said, 'The Latvian sailor will become like the Polish plumber in Paris.' He was referring to the bogeyman invoked by French politicians trying to close the labor market to foreign workers. That prospect is starting to worry immigrant support groups, who say the ferry dispute comes at a critical time for newly arrived foreigners in Ireland. Bobby Gilmore, chairman of the Migrant Rights Center, a nonprofit group based in Dublin, said the dispute threatened to damage communities of newcomers trying to settle into a life in Ireland. 'They're beginning to see and understand that they're as vital to the Irish economy as anyone else,' he said. When the European Union expanded last year to include 10 new countries, mostly from the former Soviet bloc, Ireland, along with Britain, proudly kept its doors open to immigrants, while other countries, like France, sought to stem an influx of competitive labor. Of the 96,000 people who entered the Irish work force last year, 40,000 were migrants, mostly from Eastern Europe, according to the government statistics office. Young East Europeans, most of whom are well educated, work at building sites, wait on tables and work cash registers across the country. Up to now, that influx has not caused any local resentment, because the newcomers have not taken Irish jobs. But the tens of thousands of people who marched to the gates of the Irish Parliament were demonstrating because of the perception that that era may be coming to a close. Plans by Irish Ferries, a shipping and passenger ferry company, to register its ships in Cyprus so it can replace its staff with Latvians who will work for 3.60 euros an hour ($4.28), set off a nasty dispute three months ago. Passengers have been repeatedly stranded at sea as sympathetic dockworkers in Ireland and Wales refused to handle Irish Ferries' ships. In a gesture of protest, four crewmen locked themselves inside one ship's cabin three weeks ago, and have been there since. The company sent undercover security officers on board posing as passengers but denied reports it had considered using tear gas against employees who refused to leave the boats. The movement was reminiscent of a labor dispute in France in October that raised protests among unionized ferry workers and garnered the support of the French public, already concerned about high unemployment and outsourcing. The government's effort to privatize SNCM Ferries, which would have resulted in laying off about a fourth of its 2,400 employees, ended with a compromise that left the French state with a 25 percent stake in the company. As the ferry dispute unfolded in Ireland, it began to generate widespread public sympathy for Irish workers. Thousands of people lined the protest route earlier this month to applaud the demonstrators - a show of support that union activists said they had never seen before. Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who is known as a skilled negotiator in labor disputes, condemned Irish Ferries' decision as 'deplorable.' But unions are concerned that public support may be for the wrong reasons. 'The sad thing is that some of it may be racist,' said Paul Smyth, the docks and marine branch secretary for the largest Irish union, Siptu, which is in negotiations with Irish Ferries. 'That's a huge issue of concern.' Mr. Gilmore said he feared that migrants in other industries, and in Ireland's growing black-market economy, would suffer worsening conditions if Irish Ferries successfully employed cheap labor from Latvia, and if other employers were tempted to follow its lead. Mr. Barrett, the economics professor, said: 'We've let the racist genie out of the bottle. It can create a lot of trouble, and we haven't seen it before.' The dispute may also have implications for Ireland's 20-year-old 'social partnership' model of industrial relations, which uses broad pacts among unions, employers' groups and the government to guarantee modest annual wage increases in return for promises to refrain from the strikes that often cripple other European countries. The pact expires next year, but Siptu said it would not negotiate a new deal if the Irish Ferries situation was not resolved. 'Social partnership seems to have come up short,' Mr. Power, of Friends First, said. 'This dispute does not send out very positive signals about the industrial relations climate in this country.'

Subject: 35 and Pregnant? Assessing Risk
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 11:58:43 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/health/27brod.html December 27, 2005 35 and Pregnant? Assessing Risk Becomes Easier By JANE E. BRODY Dawn will be 35 when her first child is born in April. Based on her age alone, she has 1 chance in 270 that her fetus has Down syndrome, a genetic defect caused by an extra chromosome that results in mental retardation and other problems. In recent decades, many thousands of older women have been offered the option of having an invasive test - amniocentesis, or more recently chorionic villus sampling, known as C.V.S. - to find out for sure whether their babies would be born with the syndrome. The tests are costly and can sometimes result in miscarriage, not a happy outcome for any woman who wants a baby, let alone an older woman who may have tried for years to become pregnant. But Dawn, who lives in Brooklyn, did not have to rely on age alone to decide whether to have an invasive test to determine the likelihood that her baby would be free of this serious abnormality. Testing Blood and Sound Instead, in the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy, she had three noninvasive tests, an ultrasound of the fetus and two blood tests. A third blood test, in the second trimester, showed a drastically reduced risk of Down syndrome, 1 in 9,000. 'With such a low risk, I'm not going to have amniocentesis,' Dawn said. For older pregnant women who would consider aborting a fetus with Down syndrome, noninvasive screening is fast becoming standard care in gynecological practices. And it now appears that such screening can be completed with great accuracy in the first trimester, before anyone other than the woman, her partner and her physician need know that she is pregnant. Based on a newly published study of more than 38,000 pregnant women, 117 of whom had a fetus with Down syndrome, a combination of three noninvasive tests conducted at 11 to 13 weeks of gestation was 87 percent accurate in predicting the presence of the syndrome in the fetus. The tests are an ultrasound evaluation of the thickness of the fetal neck, called nuchal translucency, and two blood tests, pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, or PAPP-A, and beta human chorionic gonadotropin, or H.C.G. Adding a second ultrasound of the fetal nasal bone may push the accuracy of these tests even higher, according to an editorial accompanying a report last month in The New England Journal of Medicine. These are indeed exciting findings, especially since many more women are now delaying pregnancy into their mid-30's and beyond, when the risk of Down syndrome increases exponentially. For those women who would consider aborting an affected fetus, the opportunity to assess the risk of Down by noninvasive tests early in pregnancy can be so reassuring that most would willingly forgo the riskier invasive procedures. In the editorial, Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson of the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston recounted the progress in prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. In the 1970's, all that was available for prenatal screening was amniocentesis, a procedure done at about 18 weeks gestation in which a small sample of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus is removed by a large needle inserted through the woman's abdomen. Fetal cells in the fluid are then analyzed for a possible chromosomal abnormality, a process that takes up to two weeks. A Second-Trimester Decision If an abnormality is found, the woman can choose to have a second-trimester abortion, which is physically and emotionally more traumatic than one performed earlier in pregnancy. In the 1980's, researchers established that certain blood tests in the second trimester could predict the risk of Down syndrome in the fetus and thus enable many women to avoid having amniocentesis. These tests measured alpha-fetoprotein, or AFP; a hormone called unconjugated estriol; and H.C.G. in a woman's blood. Later, a fourth blood test for inhibin A improved the ability to predict the presence of the syndrome. Taken together, the results of these tests provided a risk estimate that could be higher or lower, often much lower, than that based solely on a woman's age. But the goal was earlier determination of risk and, as Dr. Simpson wrote, 'a dazzling series of noninvasive screening options for trisomy 21,' the extra chromosome causing the defect, emerged. In the first trimester, an ultrasound exam that measured fetal nuchal translucency and maternal blood tests for PAPP-A and H.C.G. were shown to be effective in estimating the risk of Down syndrome. Detection rates above 80 percent of affected fetuses were demonstrated using these first-trimester tests. One major study of 44,613 pregnancies, directed by Dr. K. H. Nicolaides and published last year in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found a detection rate of 87 percent using measures of nuchal translucency, PAPP-A and H.C.G. Adding the absence or presence of the fetal nasal bone increased the detection rate to 97 percent, with 5 percent of the women undergoing an invasive procedure. More Effective Testing The new study compared the accuracy of first-trimester screening with that of second-trimester screening and a combination of both. It found that screening at 11 weeks of gestation was 87 percent accurate, and more accurate than screening one or two weeks later. The most accurate prediction, 96 percent, occurred when the tests at 11 weeks were combined with four noninvasive tests in the second trimester. Thus, the detection rate associated with tests in the second trimester was really no better than what Dr. Nicolaides and others found with first-trimester screening, which can result in many fewer invasive tests and allow for safer, earlier terminations of affected pregnancies. Of course, for a woman who wants to know for sure in her first trimester that her fetus is free of the syndrome, chorionic villus sampling can be done at about 10 or 11 weeks of gestation or, if she is further along in her pregnancy, she can have amniocentesis at 16 weeks. As Dr. Simpson said, 'In experienced hands, neither procedure seems to be as risky as once thought.' So, women whose risk of having a child with Down syndrome is high based on the noninvasive tests - as well as those seeking certainty about the absence of this genetic defect regardless of their risk- can be less concerned about miscarriages resulting from C.V.S. or amniocentesis. There are even better options on the horizon, Dr. Simpson said. Under study now is the ability to examine the fetal chromosomes in cells found in the woman's blood or in fetal cells shed into her cervix. Such studies would provide definitive evidence of the presence or absence not only of Down, but also of other genetic disorders that might run in the family. Such determinations could be made from only one noninvasive test and without having to do a single invasive one. As a result of such progress, women who will be 35 or older when their babies are born and who are willing to consider abortion could obtain a high level of reassurance by having noninvasive tests in their first trimester. Most important to the accuracy of this risk assessment is having the ultrasound exam done with the most modern equipment by a highly skilled sonographer who is experienced at measuring nuchal translucency. Even better would be a sonographer who could reliably determine the presence of a nasal bone in the fetus.

Subject: Heat for Taking Mexico as Client
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 09:06:07 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/28/business/media/28adco.html?ex=1293426000&en=2b3a510ae0419548&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 28, 2005 Republican Strategist Is Taking Heat for Taking Mexico as Client By SIMON ROMERO DALLAS - Rob Allyn, the political consultant, meet Rob Allyn, the punching bag. A longtime Republican strategist, Mr. Allyn has found himself in the cross hairs of conservative critics in the last week after signing a contract with Mexico's foreign ministry to lead a campaign to strengthen the country's image in the United States. A CNN anchor asked Mr. Allyn whether Mexico was 'dabbling in U.S. policy' by hiring him as a marketer. Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, describing Mexico as a 'corrupt, chaotic country' with 40 percent unemployment (it is closer to 4 percent) told him in another interview that he had his work cut out for him. Then protesters here in Dallas, where Mr. Allyn lives, held a news conference in front of the Mexican Consulate to assert that Mexico's government would have done better by hiring a Mexican-American firm. Allyn & Company is a unit of Fleishmann-Hillard, the public relations concern, itself part of the Omnicom Group, the international marketing company. 'I've had friends say on this latest one, should I congratulate you or extend condolences,' Mr. Allyn, 46, said in an interview at his office. Making news, rather than helping to shape it, is not what Mr. Allyn wants to do. Public relations consultants try to remain in the shadows. Perhaps that is impossible when the issue is as emotion-filled as immigration after the approval this month of a bill in the House of Representatives. That bill requires mandatory detention of many undocumented illegal immigrants, stiffer penalties for employers who hire them and a broadening of the immigrant-smuggling statute to include employees of social service agencies and church groups that offer services to undocumented workers. It also calls for building 700 miles of fence along the border with Mexico. Even some of the bill's supporters acknowledge that its requirements, once considered on the extreme fringe of the immigration debate, will make approval difficult in the Senate. Mr. Allyn's contract, worth about $720,000 over the next year, calls for him to represent Mexico in the United States in meetings with nongovernmental organizations; through polling and organizing tours of Mexican officials; and potentially with a small amount of advertising. Paramount among the Mexican government's concerns these days is fighting anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States. More than 10 million undocumented immigrants live in this country, according to a recent report by the Pew Hispanic Center. Nearly 500,000 undocumented immigrants, most of them from Mexico, have moved to the United States each year since 2000, the Pew study said. The latest contract has a much higher profile than Mr. Allyn's last big foray into Mexican politics, in 2000, when he quietly helped orchestrate the campaign of President Vicente Fox. Attuned to sensitivities in Mexico over the involvement of foreigners in the country's elections, Mr. Allyn traveled to Mexico under pseudonyms like José de Murga and Alberto Aguirre to advise Mr. Fox on polling, wardrobe and speeches. Since then, Mr. Allyn has branched out to work on campaigns in other countries. He counts among his clients the Golkar Party in Indonesia; the prime minister of the Bahamas, Perry Christie; and, most recently, Dumarsais Siméus, the Haitian-born Texas millionaire who aspires to be elected president of Haiti. Mr. Allyn said most of his foreign political work is a result of his Republican contacts in Texas, where he did political consulting work for President Bush while he was governor of Texas, as well as worked for prominent Democrats like Mayor Laura Miller of Dallas and Mayor Bill White of Houston. Mr. Allyn is also co-chairman of Vox Global Mandate, a venture with other Omnicom companies, including GMMB and Mercury Public Affairs, to provide services from both Republican and Democratic strategists for political clients around the world. Still, none of his other campaigns generated as much controversy as his latest contract in Mexico. 'I know people roll their eyes and say the last thing we need to export from this country is spin,' said Mr. Allyn, a former writer, sitting next to a cutout from a magazine article describing him as Mexico's 'go-to gringo' in Texas. 'But everything you see there,' said Mr. Allyn, pointing to the skyline of downtown Dallas outside his window, 'was built largely by Mexican immigrants.' Few states have a Hispanic immigrant population as robust as Texas's. The United States Census Bureau said this year that Anglos make up less than half of the Texas population for the first time in more than a century, after a surge in the state's Hispanic population. Yet in Texas, Mr. Allyn said, a less-hostile view of immigration from Mexico generally holds sway because of a perception of interdependent economic ties with Mexico. He said one of his objectives would be educating people in other parts of the United States - particularly in nonborder states with fast-growing Mexican populations - about the economic importance of Mexico. After all, Mr. Allyn said, Mexico ranks ahead of Japan, China and Germany and behind only Canada as a trading partner with the United States. The most pressing part of his campaign may be dealing with an emerging schism in the Republican Party over immigration. Congressmen like Representative Nathan Deal of Georgia threaten to drown out the administration's guest-worker plan with proposals to deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States. 'The conservative movement I signed up for stood for tearing walls down, not building them,' Mr. Allyn said. Many people in Mexico find it hard to comprehend how the debate over immigration has progressed to such a level. And amid the firestorm over Mr. Allyn's contract, there is a feeling among some Hispanics in the United States that their voice on the immigration debate has been shunted aside by political leaders in Washington and Mexico City. 'You don't promote Mexico by giving a contract to a friend who helped get you elected six years ago,' said Carlos Quintanilla, a Dallas entrepreneur who has publicly criticized Mr. Allyn's deal with Mexico's foreign ministry. 'You don't need an Anglo to advance Mexico's interests in the United States. It's a regression and a disconnect.' Shrugging, Mr. Allyn said he was steeling himself for more criticism. 'All I can say is that I'm working on my Spanish as hard as I can,' he said.

Subject: Cancer Genes Tender Their Secrets
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 08:44:42 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/health/27canc.html?ex=1293339600&en=302dc7e6ec8c6570&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 27, 2005 Slowly, Cancer Genes Tender Their Secrets By GINA KOLATA Jay Weinstein found out that he had chronic myelogenous leukemia in 1996, two weeks before his marriage. He was a New York City firefighter, and he thought his health was great. He learned that there was little hope for a cure. The one treatment that could save him was a bone marrow transplant, but that required a donor, and he did not have one. By 1999, his disease was nearing its final, fatal phase. He might have just weeks to live. Then, Mr. Weinstein had a stroke of luck. He managed to become one of the last patients to enroll in a preliminary study at the Oregon Health & Science University, testing an experimental drug. Mr. Weinstein is alive today and still taking the drug, now on the market as Gleevec. Its maker, Novartis, supplies it to him free because he participated in the clinical trial. Dr. Brian Druker, a Howard Hughes investigator at the university's Cancer Institute, who led the Gleevec study, sees Mr. Weinstein as a pioneer in a new frontier of science. His treatment was based not on blasting cancer cells with harsh chemotherapy or radiation but instead on using a sort of molecular razor to cut them out. That, Dr. Druker and others say, is the first fruit of a new understanding of cancer as a genetic disease. But if cancer is a genetic disease, it is like no other in medicine. With cancer, a person may inherit a predisposition that helps set the process off, but it can take decades - even a lifetime - to accumulate the additional mutations needed to establish a tumor. That is why, scientists say, cancer usually strikes older people and requires an element of bad luck. 'You have to get mutations in the wrong place at the wrong time,' Dr. Druker says. Other genetic diseases may involve one or two genetic changes. In cancer, scores of genes are mutated or duplicated and huge chunks of genetic material are rearranged. With cancer cells, said Dr. William Hahn, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, 'it looks like someone has thrown a bomb in the nucleus.' In other genetic diseases, gene alterations disable cells. In cancer, genetic changes give cells a sort of superpower. At first, as scientists grew to appreciate the complexity of cancer genetics, they despaired. 'If there are 100 genetic abnormalities, that's 100 things you need to fix to cure cancer,' said Dr. Todd Golub, the director of the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute of Harvard and M.I.T. in Cambridge, Mass., and an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. 'That's a horrifying thought.' Making matters more complicated, scientists discovered that the genetic changes in one patient's tumor were different from those in another patient with the same type of cancer. That led to new questioning. Was every patient going to be a unique case? Would researchers need to discover new drugs for every single patient? 'People said, 'It's hopelessly intractable and too complicated a problem to ever figure out,' ' Dr. Golub recalled. But to their own amazement, scientists are now finding that untangling the genetics of cancer is not impossible. In fact, they say, what looked like an impenetrable shield protecting cancer cells turns out to be flimsy. And those seemingly impervious cancer cells, Dr. Golub said, 'are very much poised to die.' The story of genes and cancer, like most in science, involves many discoveries over many years. But in a sense, it has its roots in the 1980's, with a bold decision by Dr. Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University to piece together the molecular pathways that lead to cancer. It was a time when the problem looked utterly complicated. Scientists thought that cancer cells were so abnormal that they were, as Dr. Vogelstein put it, 'a total black box.' But Dr. Vogelstein had an idea: what if he started with colon cancer, which had some unusual features that made it more approachable? Colon cancer progresses through recognizable phases. It changes from a tiny polyp, or adenoma - a benign overgrowth of cells on the wall of the colon - to a larger polyp, a pre-cancerous growth that, Dr. Vogelstein said, looks 'mean,' and then to a cancer that pushes through the wall of the colon. The final stage is metastasis, when the cancer travels through the body. 'This series of changes is thought to occur in most cancers, but there aren't many cancers where you can get specimens that represent all these stages,' Dr. Vogelstein said. With colon cancer, pathologists could get tissue by removing polyps and adenomas in colonoscopies and taking cancerous tumors in surgery. Colon cancer was even more appealing for such a study because there are families with strong inherited predispositions to develop the disease, indicating that they have cancer genes that may be discovered. So Dr. Vogelstein and his colleagues set out to search for genes 'any way we could,' Dr. Vogelstein said. Other labs found genes, too, and by the mid-1990's, scientists had a rough outline of what was going on. Although there were scores of mutations and widespread gene deletions and rearrangements, it turned out that the crucial changes that turned a colon cell cancerous involved just five pathways. There were dozens of ways of disabling those pathways, but they were merely multiple means to the same end. People with inherited predispositions to colon cancer started out with a gene mutation that put their cells on one of those pathways. A few more random mutations and the cells could become cancerous. The colon cancer story, Dr. Druker said, 'is exactly the paradigm we need for every single cancer at every single stage.' But scientists were stymied. Where should they go from there? How did what happens in colon cancer apply to other cancers? If they had to repeat the colon cancer story every time, discovering genetic alterations in each case, it would take decades to make any progress. The turning point came only recently, with the advent of new technology. Using microarrays, or gene chips - small slivers of glass or nylon that can be coated with all known human genes - scientists can now discover every gene that is active in a cancer cell and learn what portions of the genes are amplified or deleted. With another method, called RNA interference, investigators can turn off any gene and see what happens to a cell. And new methods of DNA sequencing make it feasible to start asking what changes have taken place in what gene. The National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute recently announced a three-year pilot project to map genetic aberrations in cancer cells. The project, Dr. Druker said, is 'the first step to identifying all the Achilles' heels in cancers.' Solving the problem of cancer will not be trivial, Dr. Golub said. But, he added, 'For the first time, we have the tools needed to attack the problem, and if we as a research community come together to work out the genetic basis of cancer, I think it will forever change how we think about the disease.' Already, the principles are in place, scientists say. What is left are the specifics: the gene alterations that could be targets for drugs. 'We're close to being able to put our arms around the whole cancer problem,' said Robert Weinberg, a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Whitehead Institute. 'We've completed the list of all cancer cells needed to create a malignancy,' Dr. Weinberg said. 'And I wouldn't have said that five years ago.' The list includes roughly 10 pathways that cells use to become cancerous and that involve a variety of crucial genetic alterations. There are genetic changes that end up spurring cell growth and others that result in the jettisoning of genes that normally slow growth. There are changes that allow cells to keep dividing, immortalizing them, and ones that allow cells to live on when they are deranged; ordinarily, a deranged cell kills itself. Still other changes let cancer cells recruit normal tissue to support and to nourish them. And with some changes, Dr. Weinberg said, cancer cells block the immune system from destroying them. In metastasis, he added, when cancers spread, the cells activate genes that normally are used only in embryo development, when cells migrate, and in wound healing. But so many genetic changes give rise to a question: how does a cell acquire them? In any cell division, there is a one-in-a-million chance that a mutation will accidentally occur, Dr. Weinberg notes. The chance of two mutations is one in a million million and the chance of three is one in a million million million million. This slow mutation rate results from the fact that healthy cells quickly repair damage to their DNA. 'DNA repair stands as the dike between us and the inundation of mutations,' Dr. Weinberg said. But one of the first things a cell does when it starts down a road to cancer is to disable repair mechanisms. In fact, BRCA1 and 2, the gene mutations that predispose people to breast and ovarian cancer, as well as some other inherited cancer genes, disable these repair systems. Once the mutations start, there is 'a kind of snowball effect, like a chain reaction,' Dr. Vogelstein said. With the first mutations, cells multiply, producing clusters of cells with genetic changes. As some randomly acquire additional mutations, they grow even more. In the end, all those altered genes may end up being the downfall of cancer cells, researchers say. 'Cancer cells have many Achilles' heels,' Dr. Golub says. 'It may take a couple of dozen mutations to cause a cancer, all of which are required for the maintenance and survival of the cancer cell.' Gleevec, researchers say, was the first test of this idea. The drug knocks out a gene product, abl kinase, that is overly abundant in chronic myelogenous leukemia. The first clinical trial, which began seven years ago, seemed like a long shot. 'The idea that this would lead to therapy was something you wrote in your grant application,' said Dr. Charles Sawyers, a Howard Hughes investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles. 'It wasn't anything you believed would happen soon.' But the clinical trial of Gleevec, conducted at the Oregon Health & Science University, U.C.L.A. and M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was a spectacular success. Patients' cancer cells were beaten back to such an extent that the old tests to look for them in bone marrow were too insensitive, Dr. Sawyers said. Gleevec is not perfect. It is expensive, costing about $25,000 a year. It is not a cure: some cancer cells remain lurking, quiescent and ready to spring if the drug is stopped, so patients must take it every day for the rest of their lives. And some patients are now developing resistance to Gleevec. Still, Dr. Sawyers says, 'Seven years later, most of our patients are still doing well.' Without Gleevec, he added, most would be dead. As for the future of cancer therapy, Dr. Golub and others say that Gleevec offers a taste of the possible. Dr. Golub said he expected that new drugs would strike the Achilles' heels of particular cancers. The treatment will not depend on where the cancer started - breast, colon, lung - but rather which pathway is deranged. 'It's starting to come into focus how one might target the problem,' Dr. Golub said. 'Individual cancers are going to fall one by one by targeting the molecular abnormalities that underlie them.' And some cancer therapies may have to be taken for a lifetime, turning cancer into a chronic disease. 'Seeing cancer become more like what has happened with AIDS would not be shocking,' Dr. Golub says. 'Does that mean cure? Not necessarily. We may see patients treated until they die of something else.' That is what Mr. Weinstein hopes will happen with him. The cancer is still there: new, exquisitely sensitive tests still find a few cells lurking in his bone marrow. And Gleevec has caused side effects. Mr. Weinstein says his fingers and toes sometimes freeze for a few seconds, and sometimes he gets diarrhea. But, he said, 'Certain things you put out of your mind because life is so good.'

Subject: Past Hot Times
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 07:13:08 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/science/earth/27warm.html December 27, 2005 Past Hot Times Hold Few Reasons to Relax About New Warming By ANDREW C. REVKIN Earth scientists with the longest frames of reference, particularly those whose specialties begin with the prefix 'paleo,' often seem to be the least agitated about human-caused global warming. This has been true even in 2005, a year that saw the biggest summer retreat of Arctic sea ice ever measured, a new sign that warming seas are rising at an accelerating pace and global temperatures continuing a sharp climb that began around 1990 and appears unmatched in 2,000 years. But these backward-looking experts have seen it all before. Recent studies have found that 49 million years ago the balmy Arctic Ocean, instead of being covered in ice, was matted with a cousin of the duckweed that cloaks suburban frog ponds. The forests on the continent now called Antarctica and on shores fringing the Arctic were once thick and lush. And through hundreds of millions of years, concentrations of carbon dioxide and the other trace gases that trap solar energy and prevent the planet from being an ice ball have mostly been far higher than those typical during humankind's short existence. Compared with that norm, the rapid buildup of carbon dioxide now from a binge of burning forests, coal and oil lasting for centuries (and counting) is but a blip In fact, the planet has nothing to worry about from global warming. A hot, steamy earth would be fine for most forms of life. Earth and its biological veneer are far more resilient than human societies, particularly those still mired in poverty or pushed to the margins of the livable. Only we humans have to be concerned, and species like polar bears that, like the poorest people, are pushed to an edge - in the bear's case the tenuous ecosystem built around coastal sea ice. Henk Brinkhuis, a paleoecologist and botanist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said it might be hard to get used to the idea, but the Arctic as we have known it for centuries 'is history.' He said this may spell doom for polar bears, a species that branched off from brown bears only about 250,000 years ago - an evolutionary blink of the eye. Still, this is a special case, not necessarily a blow to the prospects of mammals in general. The world's last huge warm spike, the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum some 55 million years ago, preceded 'the biggest radiation in mammals ever,' Dr. Brinkhuis said. 'The first horses, cows, the first primates had their origin right around then,' Dr. Brinkhuis said. 'It may be that the extinction of the polar bear would be followed by all kinds of new species in return.' None of this means that humans should simply embrace their fossil-fueled potency without regard to the effects. In fact, many scientists say, if we value the world as it is, there are still strong, and purely self-serving, reasons to start curbing releases of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases. That long-scale earth history, while speaking of nature's vagaries, holds supporting evidence. It is rife with thresholds, points at which a little warming turns into a lot in a hurry. Avoiding such thresholds could forestall things that societies decide matter, like rapidly rising seas or a farewell to cherished Arctic icons. The Arctic, particularly, is filled with what amount to flippable climate switches, including natural repositories of carbon, like boggy tundra, that could emit vast amounts of greenhouse gases should the current warming trend pass certain points, said Jonathan T. Overpeck, the director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. This could amplify warming and take the climate into a realm beyond anything experienced through human evolution. Another lesson of deep planetary history, Dr. Overpeck said, is that, once set in motion, such warm-ups can happen fast and then last a very, very long time. 'That's a condition that might be really hard to get out of for tens of thousands of years,' he said. Studies of the past also show that pace matters. The rise in temperature and greenhouse gases during the great heat wave 55 million years ago, while instantaneous on a geological time scale, took thousands of years to unfold. But the pace of the recent rise in carbon dioxide is as much as 200 times as fast as what has been estimated in past rapid climate transitions. Slowing that pace would help human endeavors as much as ecosystems, said David G. Barber, who holds the Canada research chair in Arctic systems science at the University of Manitoba. Those who speak of the potential benefits of warming, he noted, forget that a thawing, greening Arctic, for example, will not suddenly transform from spongy tundra to wheat-friendly farmland. 'You have to generate soil,' Dr. Barber said. 'It takes a long time to generate this kind of stuff. So it's not going to be an instantaneous sort of thing. There's going to be a lot of messiness in between.' Even for polar bears, there are reasons to think the end is not necessarily nigh. There was at least one significant period - the last gap between ice ages 120,000 years ago - when the global climate was several degrees warmer than it is today and they clearly squeaked through. So at least slowing or blunting the warming might allow them to squeak through once again. Dr. Barber said he was confident that biology would endure much of what humans throw at it. His concern is for the effects on people and the things they rely on or cherish. 'All of global warming has nothing to do with the planet,' Dr. Barber said. 'The planet will go on through its normal cycles, and it'll do its own thing. 'It only has to do with us - as people. Our economic side of things and our political side of things are really what are being affected by climate change. The planet could care less.'

Subject: Psychotherapy on the Road to ... Where?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 06:28:13 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/science/27ther.html?ex=1293339600&en=a24a6dc3d375ea19&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 27, 2005 Psychotherapy on the Road to ... Where? By BENEDICT CAREY ANAHEIM, Calif. - The small car careered toward a pile of barrels labeled 'Danger TNT,' then turned sharply, ramming through a mock brick wall and into a dark tunnel. A light appeared ahead, coming fast and head-on. A locomotive whistled. 'Uh-oh,' said one of the passengers, Dr. Martin Seligman, a psychologist and a pioneer in the study of positive emotions. But in a moment, the car scudded safely under the light, out through the swinging doors of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and into the warm, clear light that seemed to radiate from the Southern California pavement. 'Well,' Dr. Seligman said. 'I don't know that I expected to be doing that.' One of several prominent therapists who agreed to visit Disneyland at the invitation of this reporter, Dr. Seligman was here in mid-December for a conference on the state of psychotherapy, its current challenges and its future. And a wild ride it was. Because it was clear at this landmark meeting that, although the participants agreed it was a time for bold action, psychotherapists were deeply divided over whether that action should be guided by the cool logic of science or a spirit of humanistic activism. The answer will determine not only what psychotherapy means, many experts said, but its place in the 21st century. 'In the 1960's and 1970's, we had these characters like Carl Rogers, Minuchin, Frankl; psychotherapy felt like a social movement, and you just wanted to be a part of it,' said Dr. Jeffrey Zeig, a psychologist who heads the Milton H. Erickson Foundation, which every five years since 1980 has sponsored the conference in honor of Dr. Erickson, a pioneer in the use of hypnosis and brief therapy techniques. 'Now,' Dr. Zeig continued, 'well, therapists are becoming more like technicians, and we're trying to find the common denominator from the different schools and methods to see what works best, and where to go from here.' The meeting brought together some 9,000 psychologists, social workers and students, along with many of the world's most celebrated living therapists, among them the psychoanalyst Dr. Otto Kernberg, the Hungarian-born psychiatrist and skeptic Dr. Thomas Szasz, and Dr. Albert Bandura, the pioneer in self-directed behavior change. 'This is like a rock concert for most of us,' said Peggy Fitzgerald, 56, a social worker and teacher from Sacramento, holding up a program covered in autographs. Ms. Fitzgerald said she attended war protests during the 1960's, and 'this has some of that same feeling.' Calls to arms rang through several conference halls. In the opening convocation, Dr. Hunter 'Patch' Adams - the charismatic therapist played on screen by Robin Williams - displayed on a giant projection screen photos from around the world of burned children, starving children, diseased children, some lying in their own filth. He called for a 'last stand of loving care' to prevail over the misery in the world, its wars and 'our fascistic government.' Overcome by his own message, Dr. Adams eventually fell to the floor of the stage in tears. Many in the audience of thousands were deeply moved; many others were bewildered. Some left the arena. At the conference, many said they found it heartening that psychotherapy was finding some scientific support. For example, cognitive therapy, in which people learn practical thought-management techniques to dispel self-defeating assumptions and soothe anxieties, has proved itself in many studies. The therapy, some participants said, has even attracted the attention of the Nobel Committee. The two men who developed it, Dr. Albert Ellis, a psychologist in New York, and Dr. Aaron Beck, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, brought crowds to their feet. A frequent theme of the meeting was that therapists could not only relieve anxieties and despair but help clients realize a truly fulfilling life - an idea based on emerging research. In his talk, Dr. Seligman spelled out the principles of this vision, called positive psychology. By learning to express gratitude, to savor the day's pleasures and to nurture native strengths, a people can become more absorbed in their daily lives and satisfied with them, his research has suggested. A just-completed study at the University of Pennsylvania found that these techniques relieved the symptoms of depression better than other widely applied therapies, Dr. Seligman told the audience. 'The zeit is really geisting on this idea right now,' said Dr. Seligman, who has consulted with the military on how to incorporate his methods. Dr. Dan Siegel, a child psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, was one of several speakers to emphasize how psychotherapy changes the wiring of the brain. For example, he said, brain imaging findings suggest that secure social interactions foster the integration of disparate parts of the brain. 'When I'm telling you my feelings, discussing memories, in this close relationship, I'm achieving better neurological integration,' Dr. Siegel said. 'I'm repairing the connections in the brain.' Many therapists at the conference said that if the field did not incorporate more scientifically testable principles, its future was bleak. Using vague, unstandardized methods to assist troubled clients 'should be prosecutable' in some cases, said Dr. Marsha Linehan of the University of Washington, who has developed a well-studied method of treating suicidal patients. Yet it was also apparent in several demonstrations of the spellbinding thing itself - artful psychotherapy - that some things will be difficult, if not impossible, to standardize. Dr. Donald Meichenbaum, research director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment in Miami, showed a film of the first session he conducted with a woman who was suicidal months after witnessing her boyfriend die in a traffic accident. After gently prompting her to talk about the accident, Dr. Meichenbaum then zeroed in on something he had noticed when the woman entered his office: she was clutching a cassette tape. He asked about the tape and learned that it was a recording of her late boyfriend's voice, expressing love for her. 'I play it over and over, and it makes me so depressed,' said the woman, in a tiny voice. And here Dr. Meichenbaum stopped the film and addressed the audience. 'The tape!' he said. 'When during the session do you go for the cassette tape? What do you do with the tape?' For several long moments not a creature stirred, not even a laptop mouse. This community of therapists was now trying to save a soul, a person who was alone and did not want to live. What to do with the tape? 'Consider between now and the next time I see you, in two days, consider whether you would be willing to play the tape,' Dr. Meichenbaum went on to say he had told the woman. 'I would be privileged and honored' to hear it. 'Why?' he now asked, turning to the audience. 'Because it not only increases the likelihood she'll return but empowers her to come back' and take an active role in therapy. Which is exactly what she did, he said. 'Now, is any research study ever going to tell you exactly the right thing to do when your client comes in with a tape of her dead lover's voice?' Dr. Meichenbaum asked. Most of the audience of more than 1,000 people wandered out of the talk wide-eyed. One, Terrina Picarello, 40, a marriage and family therapist from Greensboro, N.C., said, 'That is what you come for: inspiration.' Ms. Picarello said that the conference was well worth the money she spent, more than $800 in fees and travel, and the week she had taken off to attend, even though she found some of the presentations on marriage counseling disappointing. 'Way too much talking by the therapist, I thought,' she said, after one of them. 'It seemed so old-fashioned, like it was drawn from another era.' And there was the rub. As psychotherapy struggles to define itself for an age of podcasts and terror alerts, it will need ideas, thinkers, leaders. Yet the luminaries here, many of whom rose to prominence three decades ago, were making their way off the stage. And it was not clear who, or what, would take their place. Across the street at Disneyland, where just about any metaphor is available for the taking, Dr. Siegel was working out the meaning of the park for himself. A native of Los Angeles, he has many memories of visiting as a child, perhaps nowhere more so than the circular drive in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. 'The circle of choice,' he said, looking around. 'This is where you decide, where you think about your mood and which way you want to go - to Frontierland, Tomorrowland.' By all appearances in Anaheim, the field of psychotherapy has arrived at the circle of choice. The question is, How to get to Tomorrowland?

Subject: The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 06:26:07 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/01/science/01eins.html?ex=1267851600&en=255ed5ddf8734523&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland March 1, 2005 The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome By DENNIS OVERBYE He didn't look like much at first. He was too fat and his head was so big his mother feared it was misshapen or damaged. He didn't speak until he was well past 2, and even then with a strange echolalia that reinforced his parents' fears. He threw a small bowling ball at his little sister and chased his first violin teacher from the house by throwing a chair at her. There was in short, no sign, other than the patience to build card houses 14 stories high, that little Albert Einstein would grow up to be 'the new Copernicus,' proclaiming a new theory of nature, in which matter and energy swapped faces, light beams bent, the stars danced and space and time were as flexible and elastic as bubblegum. No clue to suggest that he would help send humanity lurching down the road to the atomic age, with all its promise and dread, with the stroke of his pen on a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, certainly no reason to suspect that his image would be on T- shirts, coffee mugs, posters and dolls. Einstein's modest beginnings are a perennial source of comfort to parents who would like to hope, against the odds, that their little cutie can grow up to be a world beater. But they haunt people like me who hanker for a ringside seat for the Next Great Thing and wonder whether somewhere in the big haystack of the world there could be a new Einstein, biding his or her time running gels in a biology lab, writing video game software or wiring a giant detector in the bowels of a particle accelerator while putting the finishing touches on a revolution in our perception of reality. 'Einstein changed the way physicists thought about the universe in a way the public could appreciate,' said Dr. Michael Turner, a cosmologist from the University of Chicago and the director of math and physical sciences at the National Science Foundation. Could it happen again? 'Who or where is the next Einstein?' No question is more likely to infuriate or simply leave a scientist nonplussed. And nothing, of course, would be more distracting, daunting and ultimately demoralizing than for some young researcher to be tagged 'the new Einstein,' so don't expect to hear any names here. 'It's probably always a stupid question,' said Dr. Lawrence Krauss, a cosmologist at Case Western Reserve University, who nevertheless said he had yet to read a profile of a young scientist that does not include, at some level, some comparison to Einstein. Dr. Stephen Hawking, the British cosmologist and best-selling author, who is often so mentioned, has said that such comparisons have less to do with his own achievements than the media's need for heroes. A Rare Confluence To ask the question whether there can be a new Einstein is to ask, as well, about the role of the individual in modern science. Part of the confusion is a disconnect between what constitutes public and scientific fame. Einstein's iconic status resulted from a unique concurrence of scientific genius, historical circumstance and personal charisma, historians and scientists say, that is unlikely to be duplicated. Dr. David Gross, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics last year, said, 'Of course there is no next Einstein; one of the great things about meeting the best and the brightest in physics is the realization that each is different and special.' Physics, many scientists like Dr. Gross say, is simply too vast and sprawling for one person to dominate the way Einstein did a century ago. Technology is the unsung hero in scientific progress, they say, the computers and chips that have made it possible to absorb and count every photon from a distant quasar, or the miles of wire and tons of sensors wrapping the collision points of speed-of-light subatomic particles. A high-energy physics paper reporting the results from some accelerator experiment can have 500 authors. 'Einstein solved problems that people weren't even asking or appreciating were problems,' said Dr. Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., Einstein's stomping grounds for the last 32 years of his life. 'It could be there are big questions nobody is asking, but there are so many more people in physics it's less likely big questions could go unasked.' But you never know. 'One thing about Einstein is he was a surprise,' said Dr. Witten, chuckling. 'Who am I to say that somebody couldn't come along with a whole completely new way of thinking?' In fact, physicists admit, waxing romantic in spite of themselves, science is full of vexing and fundamental questions, like the nature of the dark energy that is pushing the universe apart, or the meaning of string theory, the elegant but dense attempt to unify all the forces of nature by thinking of elementary particles as wiggling strings. 'We can frame an Einsteinian question. As you know, asking the question is the key,' said Dr. Leon Lederman, a Nobelist and former director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He likes to think, he added, that it will be solved by 'a Brazilian kid in a dirt floor village.' Dr. Turner said he hoped and expected that there would continue to be Einsteins. One way to measure their impact, he suggested, was by how long it took society to digest their discoveries and move on. By this metric, he said, Isaac Newton beats out Einstein as the greatest of all time (or at least since science was invented). Newton's world lasted more than 200 years before Einstein overthrew it. 'Einstein has lasted 100 years,' he said. 'The smart money says that something is going to happen; general relativity won't last another 200 years.' Looking the Part Would that make someone a candidate for a T-shirt, or an Einstein? It depends on what you mean by 'Einstein.' Do we mean the dark-haired young firebrand at the patent office, who yanked the rug out from under Newton and 19th-century physics in 1905 when he invented relativity, supplied a convincing proof for the existence of atoms and shocked just about everyone by arguing that light could be composed of particles as well as waves? Is it the seer who gazed serenely out at the world in 1919 from beneath headlines announcing that astronomers had measured the bending of light rays from stars during an eclipse, confirming Einstein's general theory of relativity, which described gravity as the warping of space-time geometry? Einstein had spent 10 years racking his brain and borrowing the mathematical talents of his friends trying to extend relativity to the realm of gravity. When this 'great adventure in thought,' as the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called it, safely reached shore, Einstein caught a wave that lifted him high above physics and science in general. The world was exhausted morally, mentally and economically from the Great War, which had shattered the pretensions of Enlightenment Europe. People were ready for something new and Einstein gave them a whole new universe. Moreover, the mark of this new universe - 'lights all askew in the heavens,' as this newspaper put it - was something everybody could understand. The stars, the most ancient of embodiments of cosmic order, had moved. With Whitehead as his publicist, Einstein was on the road to becoming the Elvis of science, the frizzy-headed sage of Princeton, the world's most famous Jew and humanity's atomic conscience. It helped that he wore his fame lightly, with humor and a cute accent. 'He was a caricature of the scientist,' said Dr. Krauss. 'He looked right. He sounded right.' When physicists are asked, what they often find distinctive about Einstein are his high standards, an almost biological need to find order and logical consistency in science and in nature, the ability to ferret out and question the hidden assumptions underlying the mainstream consensus about reality. Dr. Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario describes it as moral quality. 'He simply cared far more than most of his colleagues that the laws of physics should explain everything in nature coherently and consistently,' he wrote last year in Discover. It was that drive that led him to general relativity, regarded as his greatest achievement. The other discoveries, in 1905, physicists and historians say, would have been made whether Einstein did them or not. 'They were in the air,' said Dr. Martin Rees, a cosmologist at Cambridge University and Britain's astronomer royal. The quest for general relativity, on the other hand, was the result of 'pure thought,' Dr. Rees said. Dr. Peter L. Galison, professor of the history of science and of physics at Harvard, described Einstein as 'somebody who had a transformative effect on the world because of his relentless pursuit of what the right principles should be.' Others said they were impressed that he never swerved, despite a tempestuous personal and political life, from science as his main devotion. 'He fixed his concentration on important problems, he was unvarying in that,' Dr. Krauss said. Another attraction of Einstein as an icon is his perceived irreverence, and the legend of his origin as an outsider, working in the patent office while he pursued the breakthroughs of 1905. (Not that he was necessarily humble because of that; letters from his early years show him pestering well-known scientists and spoiling for a fight so much that his girlfriend and future wife, Mileva Maric, was always counseling him to keep a cool head.) 'Part of the appeal is that he comes from nowhere and turns things upside down,' Dr. Galison said. 'That's the fantasy,' he explained, saying that science has always represented the possibility that someone without a privileged background could intervene and triumph through sheer ability and brainpower. There is no lack of inventive, brilliant physicists today, but none of them are T-shirt material, yet. In the cozy turn of the century, Dr. Galison said, Einstein was able to be a philosopher as well as a physicist, addressing deep questions like the meaning of simultaneity and often starting his papers by posing some philosophical quandary. But philosophy and physics have long since gone their separate ways. Physics has become separated from the humanities. 'Everything tells us science has nothing to do with the ideas of ordinary life,' Dr. Galison said. 'Whether that is good or bad, I don't know.' As a result no one has inherited Einstein's mantle as a natural philosopher, said Dr. Galison. We might have to settle for a kind of Einstein by committee. The string theorists have donned the mantle of Einstein's quest for a unified theory of all the forces of nature. In the last half-century various manifestations of modern science have made their way into popular culture, including chaos theory and the representation of information in bits and bytes, as pioneered by Dr. Claude Shannon, the Bell Labs engineer. The discovery of the double helix of DNA, the hereditary molecule, which laid the basis for the modern genetics, is probably the most charismatic result of modern biology. But the world is not awash in action figures based on James Watson and Francis Crick, the molecule's decoders. Meanwhile Einstein's role of symbolizing the hope that you could understand the universe has at least been partly filled by Dr. Hawking, whose books 'A Brief History of Time' and 'The Universe in a Nutshell' have sold millions, and who has even appeared on 'Star Trek' and 'The Simpsons.' 'People know him,' said Dr. Krauss, and his work on black holes has had a significant impact on the study of gravity and the cosmos, but he has not reinvented the universe. The Next Big Idea One reason nobody stands out is that physics has been kind of stuck for the last half-century. During that time, Dr. Witten said, physicists have made significant progress toward a unified theory of nature, not by blazing new paths, but by following established principles, like the concept of symmetry - first used by Einstein in his relativity paper in 1905 - and extending them from electromagnetism to the weak and strong nuclear forces. 'It was not necessary to invent quantum field theory,' said Dr. Witten, 'just to improve it.' That, he explains, is collective work. But new ideas are surely needed. Part of Einstein's legacy was an abyssal gap in the foundations of reality as conceived by science. On one side of the divide was general relativity, which describes stars and the universe itself. On the other side is quantum mechanics, which describes the paradoxical behavior of subatomic particles and forces. In the former, nature is continuous and deterministic, cause follows effect; in the latter nature is discrete, like sand grains on the beach, and subject to statistical uncertainties. Einstein to his dying day rejected quantum mechanics as ultimate truth, saying in a letter to Max Born in 1924, 'The theory yields much but it hardly brings us closer to the Old One's secrets. I, in any case, am convinced that he does not play dice.' Science will not have a real theory of the world until these two warring notions are merged into a theory of quantum gravity, one that can explain what happens when the matter in a star goes smoosh into a dense microscopic dot at the center of a black hole, or when the universe appears out of nothing in a big bang. String theory is one, as yet unproven, attempt at such a quantum gravity theory, and it has attracted an army of theorists and mathematicians. But, Dr. Witten speculated, there could be an Einsteinian moment in another direction. Quantum gravity presumes, he explained, that general relativity breaks down at short distances. But what, he asked, if relativity also needed correction at long distances as a way of explaining, for example, the acceleration of the universe? 'Relativity field theory could be cracked at long distances,' Dr. Witten said, adding that he saw no evidence for it. But when Einstein came along, there was no clear evidence that Newtonian physics was wrong, either. 'I would think that's an opportunity for an Einstein,' he said. Another Einsteinian opportunity, Dr. Witten later added in an e-mail message, is the possibility that Einstein's old bugaboo quantum mechanics needs correcting, saying that while he saw no need himself, it was a mystery what quantum mechanics meant when applied to the universe as a whole. Dr. Smolin of the Perimeter Institute said it should give physicists pause that their leader and idol had rejected quantum mechanics, and yet what everybody is trying to do now is to apply quantum mechanics to Einstein's theory of gravity. 'What if he were right?' asked Dr. Smolin, who said he also worried that the present organization of science, with its pressures for tenure and publications, mitigates against the appearance of outsiders like Einstein, who need to follow their own star for a few lonely years or decades. But as Dr. Krauss said, it only takes one good idea to change our picture of reality. Dr. Smolin said, 'When somebody has a correct idea, it doesn't take long to have an impact.' 'It's not about identifying the person who is about to be the new Einstein,' he went on. 'When there is someone who does something with the impact of Einstein, we'll all know.'

Subject: London Calling, With Luck
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 06:22:16 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://movies2.nytimes.com/2005/12/28/movies/28matc.html?ex=1293426000&en=f0b942705179cce8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 28, 2005 London Calling, With Luck, Lust and Ambition By A. O. SCOTT Because Woody Allen's early films are about as funny as any ever made, it is often assumed that his temperament is essentially comic, which leads to all manner of disappointment and misunderstanding. Now and then, Mr. Allen tries to clear up the confusion, insisting, sometimes elegantly and sometimes a little too baldly, that his view of the world is essentially nihilistic. He has announced, in movie after movie, an absolute lack of faith in any ordering moral principle in the universe - and still, people think he's joking. In 'Match Point,' his most satisfying film in more than a decade, the director once again brings the bad news, delivering it with a light, sure touch. This is a Champagne cocktail laced with strychnine. You would have to go back to the heady, amoral heyday of Ernst Lubitsch or Billy Wilder to find cynicism so deftly turned into superior entertainment. At the very beginning, Mr. Allen's hero, a young tennis player recently retired from the professional tour, explains that the role of luck in human affairs is often underestimated. Later, the harsh implications of this idea will be evident, but at first it seems as whimsical as what Fred Astaire said in 'The Gay Divorcée': that 'chance is the fool's name for fate.' Mr. Allen's accomplishment here is to fool his audience, or at least to misdirect us, with a tale whose gilded surface disguises the darkness beneath. His guile - another name for it is art - keeps the story moving with the fleet momentum of a well-made play. Comparisons to 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' are inevitable, since the themes and some elements of plot are similar, but the philosophical baggage in 'Match Point' is more tightly and discreetly packed. There are few occasions for speech-making, and none of the desperate, self-conscious one-liners that have become, in Mr. Allen's recent movies, more tics than shtick. Nor is there an obvious surrogate for the director among the youthful, mostly British and altogether splendid cast. If you walked in after the opening titles, it might take you a while to guess who made this picture. After a while you would, of course. The usual literary signposts are in place: surely no other screenwriter could write a line like 'darling, have you seen my copy of Strindberg?' or send his protagonist to bed with a paperback Dostoyevsky. But while a whiff of Russian fatalism lingers in the air - and more than a whiff of Strindbergian misogyny - these don't seem to be the most salient influences. The film's setting is modified Henry James (wealthy London, with a few social and cultural outsiders buzzing around the hives of privilege); the conceit owes something to Patricia Highsmith's Ripley books; and the narrative engine is pure Theodore Dreiser - hunger, lust, ambition, greed. Not that the tennis player, Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), seems at first to be consumed by such appetites. An Irishman of modest background, he takes a job at an exclusive London club, helping its rich members polish their ground strokes. He seems both easygoing and slightly ill at ease, ingratiating and diffident. Before long, he befriends Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), the amiable, unserious heir to a business fortune, who invites Chris to the family box at the opera. From there, it is a short trip to an affair with Tom's sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer), a job in the family firm and the intermittently awkward but materially rewarding position of son-in-law to parents played by Brian Cox and Penelope Wilton. When 'Match Point' was shown in Cannes last spring, some British critics objected that its depiction of London was inaccurate, a demurral that New Yorkers, accustomed to visiting Mr. Allen's fantasy Manhattan, could only greet with weary shrugs and sighs. Uprooting a script originally set in the Hamptons and repotting it in British soil has refreshed and sharpened the story, which depends not on insight into a particular social situation, but rather on a general theory of human behavior. London is Manhattan seen through a glass, brightly: Tate Modern stands in for the Museum of Modern Art; Covent Garden takes the place of Lincoln Center. As for the breathtaking South Bank loft into which Chris and Chloe move, it will satisfy the lust for high-end real estate that has kept the diehards in their seats during Mr. Allen's long creative malaise. In this case, though, what happens in the well-appointed rooms and fashionable restaurants is more interesting than the architecture or the décor. Mr. Rhys-Meyers has an unusual ability to keep the audience guessing, to draw us into sympathetic concord even as we're trying to figure him out. Is he a cipher or a sociopath? A careful social climber or a reckless rake? The first clue that he may be something other than a mild, well-mannered sidekick comes when Chris meets Tom's fiancée, an American actress named Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), in a scene that raises the movie's temperature from a polite simmer to a full sexual boil. (The scene also quietly acknowledges a debt to 'A Place in the Sun,' George Stevens's adaptation of Dreiser's 'American Tragedy.' The parallels don't stop there. Mr. Rhys-Meyers's hollow-cheeked watchfulness recalls Montgomery Clift. Which makes Ms. Johansson either the next Elizabeth Taylor or the new Shelley Winters. Hmm). What passes between Chris and Nola is not only desire, but also recognition, which makes their connection especially volatile. As their affair advances, Ms. Johansson and Mr. Rhys-Meyers manage some of the best acting seen in a Woody Allen movie in a long time, escaping the archness and emotional disconnection that his writing often imposes. It is possible to identify with both of them - and to feel an empathetic twinge as they are ensnared in the consequences of their own heedlessness - without entirely liking either one. But it is the film's brisk, chilly precision that makes it so bracingly pleasurable. The gloom of random, meaningless existence has rarely been so much fun, and Mr. Allen's bite has never been so sharp, or so deep. A movie this good is no laughing matter.

Subject: Ten Year International Dollar Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 11:28:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/26/95 - 12/26/05 Australia 11.3 Canada 14.4 Denmark 14.4 France 11.0 Germany 7.8 Hong Kong 5.5 Japan 0.1 Netherlands 8.2 Norway 12.0 Sweden 12.9 Switzerland 9.2 UK 8.7

Subject: Ten Year Domestic Currency Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 11:25:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/26/95 - 12/26/05 Australia 11.5 Canada 12.7 Denmark 15.8 France 12.3 Germany 9.3 Hong Kong 5.7 Japan 1.4 Netherlands 9.8 Norway 12.7 Sweden 14.9 Switzerland 10.6 UK 7.5

Subject: Huge Rise Looms for Health Care
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 07:48:32 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/26/nyregion/26benefits.html December 26, 2005 Huge Rise Looms for Health Care in City's Budget By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH and MILT FREUDENHEIM When the Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposed making new workers chip in more to its pension fund than current workers do, it was enough to send the union out on strike and bring the nation's largest mass-transit system to a halt for three days. But the cost of pensions may look paltry next to that of another benefit soon to hit New York and most other states and cities: the health care promised to retired teachers, judges, firefighters, bus drivers and other former employees, which must be figured under a new accounting formula. The city currently provides free health insurance to its retirees, their spouses and dependent children. The state is almost as generous, promising to pay, depending on the date of hire, 90 to 100 percent of the cost for individual retirees, and 82 to 86 percent for retiree families. Those bills - $911 million this year for city retirees and $859 million for state retirees out of a total city and state budget of $156.6 billion - may seem affordable now. But the New York governments, like most other public agencies across the country, have been calculating the costs in a way that sharply understates their price tag over time. Although governments will not have to come up with the cash immediately, failure to find a way to finance the yearly total will eventually hurt their ability to borrow money affordably. When the numbers are added up under new accounting rules scheduled to go into effect at the end of 2006, New York City's annual expense for retiree health care is expected to at least quintuple, experts say, approaching and maybe surpassing $5 billion, for exactly the same benefits the retirees get today. The number will grow because the city must start including the value of all the benefits earned in a given year, even those that will not be paid until future years. Some actuaries say the new yearly amount could be as high as $10 billion. The increases for the state could be equally startling. Most other states and cities also offer health benefits to retirees, and will also be affected by the accounting change. 'It's not likely that New York City has a way to fund current costs, its pension obligation and fund retiree health care without raising taxes or cutting services,' said Jan Lazar, an independent consultant specializing in city retirement finances. 'These are huge numbers, not a one-time cost.' The pay-as-you-go accounting method that New York now uses greatly understates the full obligation taxpayers have incurred because it does not include any benefits to be paid in the future. Most other state and local governments that offer significant health benefits to retirees use the same method and will also have to bring newer, larger numbers onto their books in the next two or three years. The increases will vary from place to place, but New York is expected to be at the high end because it offers richer benefits than many other cities and has many police officers, firefighters and sanitation workers who can retire with full pension at age 50. At the transit talks, pensions were pulled off the table in the end, and the final settlement is likely to reflect an increased health care payment by current workers, not retirees. But even though New York was pushed to a standstill over proposed changes in transit workers' pensions, virtually no one in government, outside of a tiny group of experts, is talking publicly about the far more daunting bill for citywide retiree health insurance. The total value of the pensions promised is probably bigger, but money has already been set aside to pay the pensions, to a significant degree. For retiree health care, nothing stands behind those promises except the expectation that taxes will be raised enough in the future to cover them. At last count, the city's biggest pension fund - the one for about 300,000 workers not covered by police, firefighter, teacher or school workers plans - said it had $42 billion set aside in trust for the $42.2 billion it owed. No money at all has been set aside for that same group of city employees' post-retirement health care. Determining the correct amount will be 'a tremendous undertaking,' a city official said, adding that rapid changes in the overall health care environment, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, make it extremely difficult to see what future costs will be. No one really knows what the total health care obligation is for the 836,000 people already retired or now working for the city and state, much less who will pay for it. Neither side in the transit dispute, for example, has publicly mentioned retiree health care. A small group of city officials has been quietly working for months, gathering data on the dozens of city retiree health plans, large and small, but the process is not expected to be complete for months. Meanwhile, a handful of other states and cities have already done the same calculations. If their results are any guide, New York City and the state could ultimately find that they have each promised their retirees health care worth tens of billions of dollars. The transportation authority, a state entity whose retiree health care costs are partially borne by New York City, could find that it has already promised more than $5 billion worth of benefits to its current and future retirees. At the moment, the transportation authority is spending about $380 million a year on health care for its unionized workers. That covers both active workers and retirees; while a precise breakdown does not exist, citywide demographics suggest that about $165 million of that may be for retirees. Once the new accounting rule is in force, the transportation authority may find itself scrounging for 5 to 10 times that amount every year, $825 million to $1.6 billion, if an accounting rule of thumb devised by one of the chief credit rating firms, Fitch Ratings, holds up. By the time anybody knows for sure, the authority will probably be halfway through the union contract it is still struggling to complete. To find the money, the authority will have to turn to 'higher fares, less service, or more pressure on the city government to fork over subsidies,' said Robert A. Kurtter, an analyst with Moody's Investors Service who monitors New York's finances. The city's retirement system, meanwhile, will be struggling with the same problem on a much larger scale. The city has been offering free health care to its retirees for decades. In the private sector, companies that once offered health insurance for retirees began to stop doing so in the 1990's, for a number of reasons, including accounting rule changes like those now coming into effect for states and cities. Today, only 38 percent of companies with more than 200 workers offer retiree health insurance, according to the Citizens Budget Commission, a group that analyzes city and state finances. An even smaller number of companies, 9 percent, pay any part of the premiums that can be used to buy optional supplements to Medicare for retirees over 65. New York City and the state both pay the full cost of Medicare supplements for their retirees. 'They've stuck with that, although the rest of the world has changed,' said Charles M. Brecher, research director of the Citizens Budget Commission and a professor of public and health administration at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service. While the private sector was curtailing retiree benefits, New York City and the state have been preserving and even expanding benefits in bargaining with their unions. Both sides focused mainly on the current cost of the benefits. No one was paying much attention to the deferred cost of the benefits that would come due once current workers retired. Meanwhile, health costs resumed rising at double-digit rates, and a large share of the public work force began to reach retirement age. Currently, the city administers a big health plan for its workers and retirees and contributes to dozens of smaller retiree health plans that are run by individual unions and supplement the city's coverage. The calculations are now being done, privately, because of the accounting rule change. In 2004 the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, a nonprofit body that writes accounting rules for governments, issued a new standard for retiree medical plans. It roughly follows a similar standard issued in 1994 for public pension plans. But rather than requiring local governments to finance their retiree medical plans, the rule simply requires them to lay out a theoretical financing framework, then report how they are dealing with it. Localities that create trust funds will get certain financial rewards. Localities that do not put money behind their promises risk being punished by falling credit ratings. When a city's credit rating falls, it becomes harder and more expensive to issue bonds or otherwise borrow money. Municipal bond analysts at Moody's and Standard & Poor's said they were taking a wait-and-see stance. 'How the city addresses the burden is another question - by reducing the benefit or funding the cost, or allowing this liability to mount,' said Mr. Kurtter, of Moody's. If the amount grows, 'at some point it will create a credit issue,' he said. Mr. Kurtter said city officials have acknowledged privately that the amounts will be large, 'in the billions, they say.' Labor officials say that even though the change is just a new way of accounting, not a price increase in the conventional sense, they fear that putting a number on the city's promises for future retiree health care will lead to sticker shock and renewed calls to cut benefits. 'There's a lot of fear that this kind of disclosure will reignite the whole battle of who assumes retiree health costs,' said Randi Weingarten, the president of the United Federation of Teachers and the chairwoman of the Municipal Labor Committee. 'Even though it should be a data point, it will be used as a hammer.'

Subject: Sign Up for New Drug Plan
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 07:19:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/23/politics/23drug.html?ex=1292994000&en=b3ada8f0b69e9339&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 23, 2005 Over a Million on Medicare Sign Up for New Drug Plan By ROBERT PEAR WASHINGTON - The Bush administration announced Thursday that slightly more than a million of the 42 million Medicare beneficiaries had voluntarily signed up for the new prescription drug benefit, while 10.6 million had been enrolled automatically by the federal government or by health maintenance organizations. In addition, the administration said, Medicare will pay subsidies to employers who provide drug benefits to 5.9 million retirees, and the government is reviewing applications for subsidies from employers with 600,000 additional retirees. Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said the data showed that 'the new prescription drug benefit is off to a strong start.' But Daniel N. Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a research and consulting company, said, 'We still have a long way to go.' He estimated that 17 million Medicare beneficiaries would receive drug coverage only if they voluntarily signed up for it. 'The stability of the new program depends on robust enrollment among higher-income seniors, who tend to be relatively healthy,' Mr. Mendelson said. Medicare, like any health insurer, needs large numbers of relatively healthy subscribers who will pay premiums without generating high costs. The Medicare drug benefit becomes available on Jan. 1. Enrollment began on Nov. 15. People have until May 15 to sign up. After that, they may face penalties in the form of higher premiums. Federal officials say they expect a surge in enrollment just before the May 15 deadline. In the Federal Register of Jan. 28, the administration predicted that 39 million people would receive drug coverage in 2006 through a Medicare drug plan or an employer-sponsored health plan subsidized by Medicare. In June, Secretary Leavitt scaled back the official estimate. He predicted that 28 million to 30 million people would receive drug coverage next year. He said those figures came from 'Wall Street analysts.' Many Medicare beneficiaries say they have been confused by the multiplicity of drug plans, with different premiums, deductibles, co-payments and covered drugs. But Mr. Leavitt and Dr. Mark B. McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said they were pleased with enrollment to date, especially the response from employers. 'There had been predictions that employers would drop drug coverage, but that's proven wrong,' Dr. McClellan said. The law ignited political passions that exist to this day. Supporters and critics of the law seized on the new data in an effort to shape public perceptions of the drug benefit, which is likely to figure prominently in next year's Congressional elections. Those perceptions may also influence the success of the program, since they will be a factor in determining how many people enroll. Thus, Secretary Leavitt said, 'More than 21 million seniors and people with disabilities will get prescription drug coverage as of Jan. 1.' R. Alexander Vachon III, a health policy consultant for several Wall Street firms, said: 'Twenty-one million is impressive. But we don't know how many of those people already had drug coverage and how many will be getting it for the first time.' The administration said that 3.1 million of the 21 million beneficiaries had drug coverage from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program or from Tricare, the military health care plan. Daniel C. Adcock, a lobbyist at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said: 'Ninety-nine percent of retired federal employees in those two programs will not sign up for the Medicare drug benefit. They already have drug coverage superior to what Medicare provides.' Of the 10.6 million people automatically enrolled in Medicare drug plans, 6.2 million have been receiving drug coverage through Medicaid. Most of the others are in health maintenance organizations or other managed care plans.

Subject: No Left Turn
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:54:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/opinion/27llosa.html?ex=1293339600&en=7c58c501bd2e5367&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 27, 2005 No Left Turn By ÁLVARO VARGAS LLOSA Washington IN 1781, an Aymara Indian, Tupac Katari, led an uprising against Spanish rule in Bolivia and lay siege to La Paz. He was captured and killed by having his limbs tied to four horses that pulled in opposite directions. Before dying, he prophesied, 'I will come back as millions.' To judge by the overwhelming victory of Evo Morales, an Aymara, in Bolivia's elections on Dec. 18, he kept his promise. Mr. Morales's election has been interpreted as confirmation that South America is moving left. Mr. Morales does not hide his admiration for Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, and his proposals include the nationalization of the oil industry, the redistribution of some privately owned estates and the decriminalization of coca plantations in the Chapare region. He opposes the Free Trade Area of the Americas and blasts 'neoliberalism.' It would be a mistake, however, to think that Mr. Morales will become another Hugo Chávez even if that is his wish. The new Bolivian president will not have the resources that Venezuela commands and his popular base is shakier. Moreover, Brazil has an important presence in Bolivia and will be in a position to exercise a moderating influence. Unlike Venezuela, where skyrocketing oil prices brought Mr. Chávez a windfall that allowed him to build a strong social network based on patronage, Bolivia has little revenue. The only reason its fiscal account is not showing a $1 billion deficit is foreign aid, mainly from the United States. Because Mr. Morales's followers toppled the two previous presidents and forced the authorities to impose heavy royalties on multinational companies exploiting natural gas, foreign investment has dried up: only $84 million worth of investment came into the country this year. And the possibility of suddenly turning Bolivia's natural gas reserves (potentially a whopping 52 trillion cubic feet) into an exporting bonanza has been precluded by the cancellation of a project that sought to export natural gas to Mexico and California through Chilean ports. (Bolivia and Chile have been at odds since the late 19th century, when Bolivia lost its access to the sea to Chile in the War of the Pacific.) Bolivia's indigenous population, which wants results quickly, may also hold Mr. Morales in check. His party, Movement Toward Socialism, is a loose amalgam of competing social groups. If Mr. Morales tries to concentrate power, he will need a sturdy, permanent base of support that is by no means guaranteed. Furthermore, the residents of many provinces, especially in the east, are agitating for local autonomy and have warned that they will resist attempts to centralize even more power in La Paz. Bolivia has had left-wing governments before that were toppled by the same people who made them possible. President Carlos Mesa, who replaced Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada in 2003 after violent demonstrations, had the support of the population when he reneged on natural gas contracts with foreign investors and led a virulent campaign against Chile. Yet the masses still turned against him, forcing his resignation in June. Finally, Brazil's pragmatic president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, could also constrain Mr. Morales's ambitions. Brazil is now effectively Bolivia's only foreign investor, and its role is likely to grow even more crucial, because Mr. Morales promises to nationalize the subsoil and keep the high royalties on oil and natural gas exploitation that have kept out investors from other countries. Bolivia therefore will need Petrobras, the Brazilian energy giant, to expand its investments. Mr. da Silva has not been able to rein in Mr. Chávez, but he will have leverage over the more vulnerable Mr. Morales. Of course, whether Mr. Morales will draw closer to Mr. Chávez will in part depend on American policy toward Bolivia. And that, in turn, will depend on whether Mr. Morales decriminalizes coca growing. If he does so, the United States should not overreact, because nothing much will change. Even with the restrictions that are in place now, there are already as many plantations in Chapare as the demand for coca - and Bolivia's capacity to make cocaine from it - warrant. In any case, cocaine production and distribution will still be banned in Bolivia, Mr. Morales says. If Washington were to respond to coca decriminalization by hindering Bolivia's exports of clothing and jewelry to the United States, tens of thousands of families in El Alto, one of Mr. Morales's indigenous power bases, would lose their source of income, and anti-American sentiment would pull Mr. Morales leftward. Thomas Shannon, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, recently told me that the United States aims to eliminate its remaining protectionist measures (which hamper some South American economies by restricting United States imports of their goods). Few Latin Americans have heard about this endeavor. If the goal is to promote development and foster good relations across the hemisphere, eliminating protectionist policies will be far more effective than making coca plantations the paramount issue in Bolivia-United States relations. Fractious politics and ethnic tensions already make for a delicate situation in the Andes. Let's not make it worse.

Subject: Indians Find They Can Go Home
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:49:38 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/26/business/worldbusiness/26recruit.html?ex=1293253200&en=667b6a84d2dcd825&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 26, 2005 Indians Find They Can Go Home Again By SARITHA RAI BANGALORE, India - Standing amid the rolling lawns outside his four-bedroom villa, Ajay Kela pondered his street in the community of Palm Meadows. One of his neighbors recently returned to India from Cupertino, Calif., to run a technology start-up funded by the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. Across the street from Mr. Kela is another Indian executive, this one from Fremont, Calif., who works with the outsourcing firm Infosys Technologies. On the other side is the top executive of Cisco Systems in India, who returned here after decades in the Bay Area and New York. Also on the block is a returnee from the United Kingdom, who heads the technology operations of Deutsche Bank. Mr. Kela's neighborhood is just a small sample of a reverse brain drain benefiting India. The gated community of Palm Meadows in the Whitefield suburbs, and many others in the vicinity, with names like Ozone and Lake Vista, are full of Indians who were educated in and worked in the United States and Europe, but who have been lured home by the surging Indian economy and its buoyant technology industry. 'Nothing unusual about this lane at all,' said Mr. Kela, 48, who moved from Foster City, Calif., to Palm Meadows last year and is president of the outsourcing firm Symphony Services, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif. Nasscom, a trade group of Indian outsourcing companies, estimates that 30,000 technology professionals have moved back in the last 18 months. Bangalore, Hyderabad and the suburbs of Delhi are becoming magnets for an influx of Indians, who are the top-earning ethnic group in the United States. These cities, with their Western-style work environment, generous paychecks and quick career jumps, offer the returnees what, until now, they could only get in places like Palo Alto and Boston. And now they offer something else: a housing boom. Homes have tripled in value in Palm Meadows over the last 12 months, and rents have quadrupled. 'Expatriates are returning because India is hot,' said Nandan Nilekani, chief executive of Infosys Technologies, India's second-largest outsourcing firm, which recruited 25 returnees from top American schools for its 100-seat summer internship this year. 'There is an increasing feeling that significant action in the technology industry is moving to India,' he said. While most returnees are first-generation expatriates, second-generation Indians living in the United States are also returning, said Lori Blackman, a recruitment consultant in Dallas. 'Among them I sense an altruistic pull to return to India to help build their home country to a greater power than the country had ever hoped to achieve,' she said. But the trend is raising fears among American specialists that it could deplete the United States of scientific talent and blunt its edge in innovation. 'The United States will miss the talents of people of Indian origin who return to India,' said Brink Lindsey, vice president for research at the Cato Institute in Washington, adding, that the moves could create greater possibilities for trade between the two countries. For many returnees, the newly challenging work environment in India has tied in neatly with personal reasons for returning, such as raising their children in Indian culture and caring for aging parents. 'When I left India 25 years ago, everybody was headed to the United States,' said Mr. Kela, who pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Rochester and stayed two decades, working for companies like General Electric and AutoDesk. For India's best and brightest, a technology or engineering career was an irresistible draw to the United States, even until four or five years ago. 'But now they all want to get on the plane home,' said Mr. Kela, who returned with his wife and two children. Once a regular at Silicon Valley job fairs, trying to woo Indians back home, Mr. Kela no longer needs to sell India. He receives 10 résumés a month from people with decades of work experience in the United States yearning to relocate. With globalization, many Americans of Indian origin in the high-technology industry are looking at India as a 'career-enhancing move,' said Anuradha Parthasarathy, the chief executive of Global Executive Talent, a search firm in Menlo Park, Calif., who is swamped by such job-seekers. Many technology companies - multinationals and Indian outsourcing firms as well as start-ups - are eager to hire returnees with Western managerial experience or technology specialization. Companies based in the United States, like ipValue, a company in Palo Alto that commercializes intellectual assets for large technology companies like British Telecom and the Xerox Corporation, are helping accelerate the trend. When ipValue recently decided to expand its operations, it chose to do so in India. 'We are really betting on the Indian diaspora returning home,' said Vincent Pluvinage, its chief executive. The firm just hired a top executive from Oracle to head its Indian operations and expects a third of its 20-member team in India to consist of returnees by January 2006. The passage back is no longer an ordeal, because much has changed in India. Whereas watching a movie in a dingy hall was once a weekend high point, now fancy multiplexes, bowling alleys and shopping malls offer entertainment, and pizzerias and cafes are ubiquitous at street corners. Indians who once could choose between only two car models and fly a single airline find they have returned to a profusion of choices. Even as the lifestyle gaps between India and the West have narrowed rapidly, salary differences at top executive levels have virtually disappeared. Annual pay packages of a half-million dollars are common in Bangalore, but even for those taking a pay cut to return home, the lower cost of living balances smaller paychecks. Starting salaries for engineers are about $12,000 in India, versus $60,000 in Silicon Valley. But relocating is not without its challenges, as Venki Sundaresan, 38, discovered a year ago when, after 15 years abroad, he moved to India with his wife and twin daughters to be the information technology director of Cypress Semiconductor. In atypical fashion, Mr. Sundaresan scorned the 'soft landing' that many returning Indians seek by living in gated communities. Instead, to have the 'true Indian experience,' the family opted to live in the teeming Indiranagar neighborhood. For his 5-year-old twins, he spurned upmarket international schools popular with other returnees and enrolled them in a neighborhood school. Mr. Sundaresan owns an Indian-made car, a Maruti Baleno. 'We've already driven the Mercedes and the BMW in the United States,' he said. 'What is the point of dodging around Bangalore's potholes in a limo?' Living in Palm Meadows, Mr. Kela and his neighbor Sanjay Swamy, 41, who heads the Indian operations of Ketera Technologies, face very little transition anxiety. Mr. Swamy bought and moved into a Palm Meadows villa with his wife, Tulsi, a financial consultant, and 8-year-old son, Ashwin. The communities buffer returnees from Bangalore's bumper-to-bumper traffic, unpaved sidewalks and swarming neighborhoods. Mr. Kela; his 9-year-old daughter, Payal; and 6-year-old son, Ankur, enjoy riding bikes on weekends, and they often play cricket, which Mr. Kela is passionate about. His daughter is learning the classical Indian dances of Kathak and Bharatanatyam. For Halloween this year, Mr. Kela led his children on a trick-or-treat walk. Mr. Kela says he misses the freedom to drive anywhere or go on long hikes. Yet, life is comfortable, with two live-in maids, a full-time driver and another on call, all of whom are 'outrageously affordable.' His neighbor Mr. Swamy is immersed in building a Silicon Valley-style team in Bangalore, but with some local adjustments. When he learned that the company routinely received calls from prospective fathers-in-law of employees, asking to verify their ages, titles and salary details, Mr. Swamy wrote a memo titled 'HR Policy on Disclosing Employee Information to Prospective Fathers-in-Law.' 'While I want to be entirely supportive of ensuring that our confidentiality agreement does not result in your missing out on the spouse of your dreams,' Mr. Swamy said, 'I don't want competitors to use this as a ploy to get at sensitive information.'

Subject: He Said No to Internment
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:48:00 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/magazine/25korematsu.html?ex=1293166800&en=f5c77c494c3302ed&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 He Said No to Internment By MATT BAI In February 1942, a little more than two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which effectively decreed that West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry - whether American citizens or not - were now 'enemy aliens.' More than 100,000 Japanese-Americans reported to government staging areas, where they were processed and taken off to 10 internment camps. Fred Korematsu, the son of Japanese immigrants, was at the time a 23-year-old welder at Bay Area shipyards. His parents left their home and reported to a racetrack south of San Francisco, but Korematsu chose not to follow them. He stayed behind in Oakland with his Italian-American girlfriend and then fled, even having plastic surgery on his eyes to avoid recognition. In May 1942, he was arrested and branded a spy in the newspapers. In search of a test case, Ernest Besig, then the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union for Northern California, went to see Korematsu in jail and asked if he would be willing to challenge the internment policy in court. Korematsu said he would. Besig posted $5,000 bail, but instead of freeing him, federal authorities sent him to the internment camp at Topaz, Utah. He and Besig sued the government, appealing their case all the way to the Supreme Court, which, in a 6-to-3 decision that stands as one of the most ignoble in its history, rejected his argument and upheld the government's right to intern its citizens. After the war, Korematsu married, returned to the Bay Area and found work as a draftsman. He might have been celebrated in his community, the Rosa Parks of Japanese-American life; in fact, he was shunned. Even during his time in Topaz, other prisoners refused to talk to him. 'Allof them turned their backs on me at that time because they thought I was a troublemaker,' he later recalled. His ostracism didn't end with the war. The overwhelming majority of Japanese-Americans had reacted to the internment by acquiescing to the government's order, hoping to prove their loyalty as Americans. To them, Korematsu's opposition was treacherous to both his country and his community. In the years after the war, details of the internment were lost behind a wall of repression. It was common for Japanese-American families not to talk about the experience, or to talk about it only obliquely. Korematsu, too, remained silent, but for different reasons. 'He felt responsible for the internment in a sort of backhanded way, because his case had been lost in the Supreme Court,' Peter Irons, a legal historian, recalled in a PBS documentary. Korematsu's own daughter has said she didn't learn of his wartime role until she was a junior in high school. Korematsu might have faded into obscurity had it not been for Irons, who in 1981 asked the Justice Department for the original documents in the Korematsu case. Irons found a memo in which a government lawyer had accused the solicitor general of lying to the Supreme Court about the danger posed by Japanese-Americans. Irons tracked down Korematsu and asked if he would be willing, once again, to go to court. Perhaps Korematsu had been waiting all those years for a chance to clear his name. Or maybe he saw, in Irons's entreaty, an opportunity to vindicate himself with other Japanese-Americans. Whatever his thinking, not only did Korematsu agree to return to court but he also became an ardent public critic of the internment. When government lawyers offered Korematsu a pardon, he refused. 'As long as my record stands in federal court,' Korematsu, then 64, said in an emotional courtroom oration, 'any American citizen can be held in prison or concentration camps without a trial or a hearing.' The judge agreed, ruling from the bench that Korematsu had been innocent. Just like that, the legality of the internment was struck down forever. In the last decade of his life, Korematsu became, for some Americans, a symbol of principled resistance. President Clinton awarded Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. Six years later, outraged by the prolonged detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Korematsu filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, warning that the mistakes of the internment were being repeated. Still, Korematsu's place among contemporaries in his own community remained obscured by lingering resentments and a reluctance to revisit the past. When he died from a respiratory illness in March, not a single public building or landmark bore his name. It wasn't until last month that officials in Davis, Calif., dedicated the Fred Korematsu Elementary School. It was an especially fitting tribute for Korematsu, whose legacy rested with a generation of Japanese-Americans who were beginning to remember, at long last, what their parents had labored to forget.

Subject: Guidant Foresaw Some Risks
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:37:52 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/business/24guidant.html?ex=1293080400&en=344ce8a8b0e0f668&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 24, 2005 Files Show Guidant Foresaw Some Risks By BARRY MEIER Officials of the Guidant Corporation projected in an internal report that some patients might die as a result of short circuits in a company heart device, but it did not publicize the flaw because it apparently viewed the overall failure rate as acceptable, company records filed in connection with a lawsuit show. Guidant had also determined in mid-2002, a company report shows, that the consequences of the defibrillator's electrical failure, while rare, could be 'life threatening.' Despite that assessment, Guidant kept selling potentially flawed devices and did not notify doctors about the defect until last spring, when the problem was about to be made public. The Guidant documents were filed Thursday in a Texas state court by plaintiffs' lawyers in connection with a personal injury lawsuit involving the defibrillator, which is known as Prizm 2 DR. The records appear to be the first internal Guidant documents to have emerged in court filings since the company began facing a wave of lawsuits this year. A spokeswoman for Guidant, which is based in Indianapolis, said in an e-mail message yesterday that the company, as a matter of policy, did not comment on pending litigation. Guidant officials have previously said, however, that the company did nothing wrong. The emergence of the Guidant records could intensify the company's legal problems as well as intensify a broader debate about when manufacturers of heart devices should alert physicians about product risks. In addition, New York State and the city of Bethlehem, Pa., have filed lawsuits against Guidant seeking reimbursement for device-related health care costs. One of the Guidant records shows that the company projected in May, before disclosure of the defibrillator's problems, that about 0.15 percent of the units - or 15 units out of every 10,000 - were likely to short-circuit. In such episodes, Guidant estimated that 12 percent of the patients whose units failed, or about 1 in 10, would experience either a Severity Level 5 or Severity Level 4 event. A company chart defines Level 5 as death and Level 4 as life threatening. Another Guidant document filed in connection with the Texas lawsuit shows that the company determined in February that it would not reopen its own investigation into the device's problem until the number of failures exceeded a specific number at a given point. That acceptable failure rate, a chart on the document indicates, was about 15 devices a year, a rate of slightly more than one a month. The document does not state the internal standard that Guidant uses to notify doctors about product failures. Guidant did so in late May when it learned that The New York Times was preparing an article about the Prizm 2 DR failure. At that time, the number of device malfunctions reported to Guidant fell within the company's acceptable rate of failure, documents show. In a posting on its Web site yesterday, Guidant said that it knew of two patient deaths associated with short circuits in the Prizm 2 DR and five other patient deaths associated with short circuits in devices called the Contak Renewal and Contak Renewal 2. The flaws are all associated with Guidant's use of an insulating material in a way that caused it to deteriorate. Dr. William H. Maisel, a cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said yesterday in a telephone interview that all heart device makers typically perform hazards assessments after discovering a device flaw. But Dr. Maisel said he remained troubled that Guidant did not disclose the data about the short circuits and the statistical analysis the company performed. 'For Guidant, these people are numbers,' said Dr. Maisel, who is the chairman of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee that reviews heart devices. 'Their descriptions are full of numbers. But for me, these patients are people.' Largely as a result of the Guidant episode, device makers, doctors and the F.D.A. are trying to develop uniform guidelines for manufacturers to disclose product flaws to physicians. Doctors can then weigh such risks against those posed by added surgery in deciding whether to replace a device early. Guidant initially said that it believed that the risk of replacing a Prizm 2 DR might outweigh those posed by the device itself. It was in early 2002 that Guidant learned from reports that the Prizm 2 DR was prone to short-circuiting. In April and November of that year, company engineers took steps to prevent the short from occurring. But Guidant, which has said the April fix appeared to cure the problem, kept selling older models out of inventory even after an improved one was available. In its June 2002 assessment, Guidant described the flaws 'overall health risk index' as 'very low.' At about the same time that Guidant discovered the problem with the Prizm 2 DR, the company was awaiting approval from the F.D.A. to market the Contak Renewal. Company officials have repeatedly declined to describe the steps they took, if any, at that time to determine if the Contak Renewal might also short-circuit. The Guidant documents at issue were filed late Thursday in a Texas state court in Corpus Christi by a plaintiffs' lawyer, Robert C. Hilliard. His motion is seeking to have a judge lift a confidential order governing Guidant records produced in connection with a lawsuit. Two patients, Beatrice O. Hinojosa and Louis E. Motal, are seeking damages from Guidant, citing, among other things, a failure to warn them about the unit's defects. The Texas lawsuit, which is scheduled to begin in late February, could be the first Guidant case in the current wave of lawsuits to go to trial.

Subject: Ghana's Uneasy Embrace
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:35:43 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/international/africa/27ghana.html?ex=1293339600&en=2dbae1fae37dfea6&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 27, 2005 Ghana's Uneasy Embrace of Slavery's Diaspora By LYDIA POLGREEN CAPE COAST, Ghana - For centuries, Africans walked through the infamous 'door of no return' at Cape Coast castle directly into slave ships, never to set foot in their homelands again. These days, the portal of this massive fort so central to one of history's greatest crimes has a new name, hung on a sign leading back in from the roaring Atlantic Ocean: 'The door of return.' Ghana, through whose ports millions of Africans passed on their way to plantations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, wants its descendants to come back. Taking Israel as its model, Ghana hopes to persuade the descendants of enslaved Africans to think of Africa as their homeland - to visit, invest, send their children to be educated and even retire here. 'We want Africans everywhere, no matter where they live or how they got there, to see Ghana as their gateway home,' J. Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, the tourism minister, said on a recent day. 'We hope we can help bring the African family back together again.' In many ways it is a quixotic goal. Ghana is doing well by West African standards - with steady economic growth, a stable, democratic government and broad support from the West, making it a favored place for wealthy countries to give aid. But it remains a very poor, struggling country where a third of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, life expectancy tops out at 59 and basic services like electricity and water are sometimes scarce. Nevertheless, thousands of African-Americans already live here at least part of the year, said Valerie Papaya Mann, president of the African American Association of Ghana. To encourage still more to come, or at least visit, Ghana plans to offer a special lifetime visa for members of the diaspora and will relax citizenship requirements so that descendants of slaves can receive Ghanaian passports. The government is also starting an advertising campaign to persuade Ghanaians to treat African-Americans more like long-lost relatives than as rich tourists. That is harder than it sounds. Many African-Americans who visit Africa are unsettled to find that Africans treat them - even refer to them - the same way as white tourists. The term 'obruni,' or 'white foreigner,' is applied regardless of skin color. To African-Americans who come here seeking their roots, the term is a sign of the chasm between Africans and African-Americans. Though they share a legacy, they experience it entirely differently. 'It is a shock for any black person to be called white,' said Ms. Mann, who moved here two years ago. 'But it is really tough to hear it when you come with your heart to seek your roots in Africa.' The advertising campaign urges Ghanaians to drop 'obruni' in favor of 'akwaaba anyemi,' a slightly awkward phrase fashioned from two tribal languages meaning 'welcome, sister or brother.' As part of the effort to reconnect with the diaspora, Ghana plans to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W. E. B. DuBois and others it calls modern-day Josephs, after the biblical figure who rose from slavery to save his people. The government plans to hold a huge event in 2007 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the end of the trans-Atlantic trade by Britain and the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence. The ceremonies will include traditional African burial rituals for the millions who died as a result of slavery. Estimates of the trade vary widely. The most reliable suggest that between 12 million and 25 million people living in the vast lands between present-day Senegal and Angola were caught up, and as many as half died en route to the Americas. Some perished on the long march from the inland villages where they were captured to seaports. Others died in the dungeons of slave castles and forts, where they were sometimes kept for months, until enough were gathered to pack the hold of a ship. Still others died in the middle passage, the longest leg of the triangular journey between Europe, Africa and the Americas. Of the estimated 11 million who crossed the sea, most went to South America and the Caribbean. About 500,000 are believed to have ended up in the United States. The mass deportations and the divisions the slave trade wrought are wounds from which Africa still struggles to recover. Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African nation to shake off its colonial rulers, winning its independence from Britain in 1957. Its founding father, Kwame Nkrumah, attended Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania, and saw in African-Americans a key to developing the new nation. 'Nkrumah saw the American Negro as the vanguard of the African people,' said Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the African and African-American studies department at Harvard, who first traveled to Ghana when he was 20 and fresh out of Harvard, afire with Nkrumah's spirit. 'He wanted to be able to utilize the services and skills of African-Americans as Ghana made the transition from colonialism to independence.' Many African-Americans, from Maya Angelou to Malcolm X, visited Ghana in the 1950's and 60's, and a handful stayed. To Nkrumah, the struggle for civil rights in the diaspora and the struggles for independence from colonial rule in Africa were inextricably linked, both being expressions of the desire of black people everywhere to regain their freedom. But Nkrumah was ousted in a coup in 1966, and by then Pan-Africanism had already given way to nationalism and cold war politics, sending much of the continent down a trail of autocracy, civil war and heartbreak. Still, African-Americans are drawn to Ghana's rich culture, and the history of slavery. Ghana still has dozens of slave forts, each a chilling reminder of the brutality of the trade. At Elmina Castle, built by the Portuguese in 1482 and taken over by the Dutch 150 years later, visitors are guided through a Christian chapel built adjacent to the hall where slaves were auctioned, and the balcony over the women's dungeons from which the fort's governor would choose a concubine from the chattel below. The room through which slaves passed into waiting ships is the emotional climax of the tour, a suffocating dungeon dimly lit by sunlight pouring through a narrow portal leading to the churning sea. 'You feel our history here,' said Dianne Mark, an administrator at Central Michigan University who visited Elmina Castle, six miles from Cape Coast castle, in early December, tears welling in her eyes as she gazed across the massive, buttressed walls to the ocean. 'This is where our people are from. That is a deep, deep experience. I look at everyone and wonder, 'Could he have been my cousin? Could she have been my aunt?' ' Like any family reunion, this one is layered with joy and tears. For African-Americans and others in the African diaspora, there is lingering hostility and confusion about the role Africans played in the slave trade. 'The myth was our African ancestors were out on a walk one day and some bad white dude threw a net over them,' Mr. Gates said. 'But that wasn't the way it happened. It wouldn't have been possible without the help of Africans.' Many Africans, meanwhile, often fail to see any connection at all between them and African-Americans, or feel African-Americans are better off for having been taken to the United States. Many Africans strive to emigrate; for the past 15 years, the number of Africans moving to the United States has surpassed estimates of the number forced there during any of the peak years of the slave trade. The number of immigrants from Ghana in the United States is larger than that of any other African country except Nigeria, according to the 2000 census. 'So many Africans want to go to America, so they can't understand why Americans would want to come here,' said Philip Amoa-Mensah, a guide at Elmina Castle. 'Maybe Ghanaians think they are lucky to be from America, even though their ancestors went through so much pain.' The relationship is clearly a work in progress. Ghanaians are still learning of their ancestors' pivotal roles in the slave trade, and slave forts on the coast, long used to thousands of foreign visitors, have in recent years become sites for school field trips. When the United States and the United Nations gave Ghana money to rehabilitate and restore Cape Coast castle, the government agency responsible for the castle repainted it white. Residents of Cape Coast were thrilled to see the moisture-blackened castle spruced up, but African-Americans living in Ghana were horrified, feeling that the history of their ancestors was being, quite literally, whitewashed. 'It didn't go over too well,' said Kohain Nathanyah Halevi, an African-American who lives near Cape Coast. A recent African-American visitor to Cape Coast castle took the emotionally charged step through the door of no return, only to be greeted by a pair of toddlers playing in a fishing boat on the other side, pointing and shouting, 'obruni, obruni!' William Kwaku Moses, 71, a retired security guard who sells shells to tourists on the other side of the door of no return, shushed the children. 'We are trying,' he said, with a shrug.

Subject: Voice on China's 'Angry River'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 06:19:08 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/26/international/asia/26china.html?ex=1293253200&en=25d3622e12c095a0&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 26, 2005 Seeking a Public Voice on China's 'Angry River' By JIM YARDLEY XIAOSHABA, China - Far from the pulsing cities that symbolize modern China, this tiny hillside village of crude peasant houses seems disconnected from this century and the last. But follow a dirt path past a snarling watchdog, sidestep the chickens and ducks, and a small clearing on the banks of the Nu River reveals a dusty slab of concrete lying in a rotting pumpkin patch. The innocuous concrete block is also a symbol, of a struggle over law that touches every corner of the country. The block marks the spot on the Nu River where officials here in Yunnan Province want to begin building one of the biggest dam projects in the world. The project would produce more electricity than even the mighty Three Gorges Dam but would also threaten a region considered an ecological treasure. This village would be the first place to disappear. For decades, the ruling Communist Party has rammed through such projects by fiat. But the Nu River proposal, already delayed for more than a year, is now unexpectedly presenting the Chinese government with a quandary of its own making: will it abide by its own laws? A coalition led by Chinese environmental groups is urging the central government to hold open hearings and make public a secret report on the Nu dams before making a final decision. In a country where people cannot challenge decisions by their leaders, such public participation is a fairly radical idea. But the groups argue that new environmental laws grant exactly that right. 'This is the case to set a precedent,' said Ma Jun, an environmental consultant in Beijing. 'For the first time, there is a legal basis for public participation. If it happens, it would be a major step forward.' China's leaders often embrace the concept of rule of law, if leaving open how they choose to define it. For many people in China's fledgling 'civil society' - environmentalists, journalists, lawyers, academics and others - the law has become a tool to promote environmental protection and to try to expand the rights of individuals in an authoritarian political system. But trying to invoke the law is risky. Chinese nongovernmental organizations, few of which existed a decade ago, have taken up the Nu as a major cause. But the activism on the Nu and other issues has provoked deep suspicions by the Communist Party even as a broader clampdown against such NGO's has forced some to shut down. The government knows China has a drastic pollution problem and has passed new environmental laws. But top leaders also demand high economic growth and need to increase energy supplies to get it. The 'green laws' are becoming a crucible to test which side will prevail and whether ordinary people can take part in the process. The closed process that led to the Three Gorges Dam is what opponents of the Nu dams most want to avoid. In the late 1980's, a wide range of intellectuals and others tried in vain to force public hearings to discuss the environmental and social costs of a project that has flooded a vast region and forced huge relocations. Ultimately, opponents could only muster a symbolic victory as the final vote in the National People's Congress included an unusually high number of abstentions or nay votes. The central government is still deliberating how to proceed on the Nu. Domestic media coverage has been banned in recent months. Three central government ministries refused interview requests, as did provincial officials in Yunnan. Local officials along the Nu River, after initially agreeing to an interview, failed to reply to a list of written questions. Out in the jagged mountains along China's remote southwestern border, villagers in Xiaoshaba gather information about their future from rumors. In early December, a team of surveyors inventoried property and measured the narrow terrace of village farmland along the Nu. Several villagers say local officials have told them that everyone would be relocated around the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, which ends in early February - even if the dams have not yet been approved. 'If they tell me to move,' said one villager, Zhang Jianhua, 'I have no other choice.' A Legal Reprieve In the spring of 2003, a slender, studious man named Yu Xiaogang learned that the hydropower industry was eyeing the rivers of southwestern China. Mr. Yu, an environmental resources manager, knew that China believed that hydropower was a cleaner alternative for its energy shortages and that the Nu was considered one of the country's richest, untapped resources. But he and others believed that the Nu would be untouchable. The Nu, which translates as Angry River, roars out of the Tibetan Plateau east of the Himalayas and plunges through steep canyons just inside the border with Myanmar, formerly Burma, as it careers south before crossing the border. In China, it passes through a mountainous region with more than 7,000 species of plants and 80 rare or endangered animals and fish. Unesco said the region 'may be the most biologically diverse temperate ecosystem in the world' and designated it a World Heritage Site in the summer of 2003. 'We were very happy because we thought the Nu would be protected and would have no problems,' said Mr. Yu, who also led Green Watershed, an environmental NGO. But not long after the World Heritage designation, a state-run provincial newspaper announced that a public-private consortium planned to build 13 dams on the river. The project would be the largest cascade dam system in the world, and it appeared politically unstoppable. The majority partner, the China Huadian Corporation, was a state-owned goliath; the local government was a minority partner. In Beijing, the State Development and Reform Commission, a powerful government ministry, had approved the dams in August and planned to present the plan to the State Council, or the Chinese cabinet, for final approval. Construction would begin in September 2003. The environmental community was blindsided. More than 50,000 people, most of them from ethnic minority hill tribes, would be relocated. The Nu also was one of only two free flowing rivers in China. The State Environmental Protection Administration, or SEPA, the country's environmental watchdog, criticized the project in its official newspaper. But SEPA was considered one of the weakest ministries in the central government. Then, a snag arose - a bureaucratic delay, hardly uncommon in China. August became September and the proposal had not yet been presented for final approval. During the delay, a new environmental law took effect on Sept. 1. Based on an American model, the China Environmental Impact Assessment Law required comprehensive environmental reviews in the planning stages of major public and private development projects. Decades of relentless economic growth had left China with dire pollution problems and squandered natural resources. President Hu Jintao had made 'sustainable development' a new government mantra. The assessment law gave the environmental agency new powers to handle and approve environmental reviews before a project was approved. It also called for public participation, including hearings, as part of the review, though it did not detail specific guidelines. But it would take public pressure to force action on the Nu case. Despite its uniqueness and natural beauty, the Nu was not well known, largely because of its isolated location. In September 2003, an environmental conference in Beijing brought together academics, government environmental officials and NGO's to discuss the Nu. A month later, Pan Yue, the outspoken vice minister of the environmental agency, organized China's first 'Green Forum,' a public relations event that included Chinese music and film stars. One person at the forum was a woman named Wang Yongchen, a member of Green Earth Volunteers, an environmental NGO in Beijing. Initially, the Green Earth Volunteers had concentrated on tree planting and teaching children about the environment. But in recent years, the group had participated in efforts to stop a dam proposal in Sichuan Province. At the forum, Ms. Wang persuaded 62 celebrities and film stars to sign a petition in support of 'natural' rivers. She would later donate money to build 30 libraries in poor villages along the Nu. By early 2004, the controversy had attracted worldwide interest as 60 international organizations agreed to lobby the Chinese government about the Nu. Hundreds of volunteers in China called Unesco to protest the dam proposal. The country's most prominent NGO, Friends of Nature, embraced the cause, while an environmental group in Sichuan collected more than 10,000 signatures to stop the project. But the crucial factor was the Sept. 1 law. As the project appeared to be nearing approval, biologists, academics and environmentalists all argued that the government had not properly conducted an environmental review. In late winter, as Ms. Wang guided a tour of Chinese journalists, her cellphone rang. A friend informed her that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had temporarily suspended the project so that it could be 'carefully discussed and decided on scientifically.' Ms. Wang began to cry with joy. Later, some Chinese newspapers speculated that Mr. Wen's edict meant that the project was dead. Mr. Yu thought otherwise. 'I thought this was the first success of public participation,' he said. 'But I did not think the decision was final.' Opening a Closed Process Located a short drive from the city of Liuku, Xiaoshaba is like countless poor villages along the Nu. Peasants live in crude homes, some under the same roof as their livestock and chickens. Some villagers have never gone farther than Liuku; some have never left the village. But on a May afternoon in 2004, a bus arrived. Inside was Yu Xiaogang, and he wanted to take villagers on a trip. The prime minister's order to suspend the project had stunned developers and provincial officials. A delegation had hurried to Beijing to try to restart the process. At the same time, the government's environmental agency focused on the assessment review. Mr. Yu was anxious to get villagers involved because the law had highlighted public participation. Most villagers knew nothing about the project or how it would change their lives. 'I thought we must let the Nu River people have their voice,' Mr. Yu said. So he offered to take a small group of villagers to the site of the Manwan Dam on the upper reaches of Mekong River in the southern Yunnan. In 2002, Mr. Yu had written an assessment of the social costs of the Manwan project, a report later endorsed by the prime minister at the time, Zhu Rongji. Leaving from Xiaoshaba, Mr. Yu took 14 peasants on a daylong journey to the Manwan, where they found many people living as scavengers. 'They heard how the government made promises but didn't follow through,' Mr. Yu said. 'Ten years later, nobody cared about them. The Nu River people were shocked.' Mr. Yu later led a small group of peasants to a Beijing hydropower conference jointly sponsored by the United Nations and China's National Development and Reform Commission. As several speakers extolled the virtues of dams, the dusty group of peasants sat in the upper reaches of the auditorium. Mr. Yu was allowed to speak at a sub-session of the conference. The villagers had practiced giving speeches but were not granted a speaking slot. Meanwhile, momentum seemed to be shifting in favor of dam supporters. Prime Minister Wen had visited Yunnan to confer with provincial officials. Two prominent scholars toured the Nu - on a trip sponsored by dam developers - and attracted wide public attention by attacking the environmentalists. But that criticism was insignificant compared to a broader governmental crackdown under way against nongovernmental organizations. In the spring of this year, President Hu ordered an intensive examination of NGO's because of concerns of the role that environmental groups had played in helping to topple governments in Central Asia. In a secret speech to top officials, Mr. Hu warned that the United States was using such groups to try to foment social unrest. Before, NGO's had hoped that onerous licensing restrictions were about to be repealed. Instead, environmental groups and other NGO's across the country were closely scrutinized, with some losing their licenses. Some groups began to fear that the 'legal space' granted to the civil society would be tightened, or closed. In Yunnan, officials began to pressure opponents. Mr. Yu would not comment about whether he had come under pressure. But acquaintances say he that has been forbidden from traveling to international conferences and that officials have put pressure on him. In Beijing, the environmental assessment report was finished by this summer. But the Ministry of Water Resources, noting that government reports about international rivers were considered proprietary information, declared a small section of the assessment to be a state secret and forbade its release. Dam opponents said the section could remain secret but argued that publicizing the rest of the report was essential for public discussion of the project. The government still had not outlined the potential environmental risks or explained what would happen to relocated villagers. So on Aug. 31, opponents mailed a letter to the State Council and later posted it on the Internet. It cited Chinese law and said any decision without public participation 'lacks public support and cannot tolerate history's scrutiny.' Nearly four months later, the government had not responded. An Uncertain Future A traffic sign on the narrow, unpaved road that passes through Xiaoshaba carries a propaganda message: 'A Model Village for Democratic Rule of Law.' A short walk away, beside the concrete block marking the proposed first dam, Guan Fulin, 55, said she had spoken to the surveyors who measured the village land in early December. 'The officials told us it is definitely going to happen,' Mrs. Guan said. She trusted that the government would take care of her but admitted that she did not yet know how she would be compensated or where she would go. Pointing to the village, she said, 'All these people will be moving.' If so, it would likely signal the start of a hydropower gold rush in Yunnan Province. One study estimated that China might build enough new dams, most of them in Yunnan, to double its hydroelectric output in the next five years. One plan would inundate one of the most popular tourist attractions in China - Tiger Leaping Gorge. Part of the frenzied hydropower development is driven by the thirst for new energy supplies. But part of it is caused by the breakup of the state monopoly that once controlled electrical generation in China. That breakup left regional state-owned energy giants who were each assigned 'assets' - like rivers or coal deposits. Each faces competitive pressures to develop new power plants quickly in order to claim market share. Mr. Ma, the environmental consultant in Beijing, said environmentalists understood that China faced a complex challenge in developing new energy sources even as it must reduce pollution. But he said this intense pressure to develop was why laws that provide oversight and public review must serve as safeguards. 'Before the Nu River proposal, you would hear about opposition to certain projects,' Mr. Ma said. 'But it was all based on the tremendous courage of individuals. This time, we see progress in Chinese law that makes it possible for a more systemic challenge.' He added: 'There is now more awareness of environmental rights and the rights of people as citizens. For such a major problem, they believe they have the right to know about it and at least have their views heard.' The dispute over the Nu seems at a standstill. Ultimately, the decision on holding hearings may fall to the prime minister. Earlier this year, Unesco issued a statement expressing its 'gravest concerns' about the potential damage to the World Heritage Site. In October, environmentalists boycotted a dam conference linked to the National Reform and Development Commission. Organizers had promised to show parts of the assessment report, but environmentalists believed it was an effort to avoid full public hearings. Ms. Wang, of the NGO Green Earth Volunteers, described the dilemma in simple terms. 'If the law is not enforced, what shall we do?' she asked. 'We have this law. Why doesn't this law work?'

Subject: Keeping Hope Alive
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 05:44:09 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/health/24patient.html?ex=1293080400&en=ece27aecb0f2101d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 24, 2005 Doctors' Delicate Balance in Keeping Hope Alive By JAN HOFFMAN Dr. Joseph Sacco's young patient lay gasping for breath; she had advanced AIDS and now she was failing. Assessing her, Dr. Sacco knew her medical options amounted to a question of the lesser of two evils: either the more aggressive ventilator, on which she would probably die, or the more passive morphine, from which she would probably slip into death. But there was also a slender chance that either treatment might help her rally. He also knew that how he presented her options would affect her decision, the feather that would tip the balance of her hope scale. As Dr. Sacco, a palliative care specialist at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, spoke to the woman on that chilly morning earlier this month, her eyes widened with terror: no intubation. He ordered morphine. He agonized about his approach. 'She's only 23,' he said later that day. 'Maybe I was too grim. Maybe I was conveying false hopelessness to her. Maybe I just should have said, 'Let's put you on the ventilator.' I may have spun it wrong.' The language of hope - whether, when and how to invoke it - has become an excruciatingly difficult issue in the modern relationship between doctor and patient. For centuries, doctors followed Hippocrates' injunction to hold out hope to patients, even when it meant withholding the truth. But that canon has been blasted apart by modern patients' demands for honesty and more involvement in their care. Now, patients may be told more than they need or want to know. Yet they still also need and want hope. In response, some doctors are beginning to think about hope in new ways. In certain cases, that means tempering a too-bleak prognosis. In others, it means resisting the allure of cutting-edge treatments with questionable benefits. Already vulnerable when they learn they have a life-threatening disease or chronic illness, patients can feel bewildered, trapped between reality and possibility. They, as well as doctors, are discovering that in the modern medical world, hope itself cannot be monolithic. It can be defined in many ways, depending on the patient's medical condition and station in life. A dying woman can find hope by selecting wedding gifts for her toddlers. An infertile couple moves on toward adoption. The power of a doctor's pronouncements is profound. When a doctor takes a blunt-is-best approach, enumerating side effects and dim statistics, in essence offering a hopeless prognosis, patients experience despair. A radiation oncologist told Minna Immerman's husband, who had brain cancer, that he had less than two years to live. 'That information was paralyzing,' Mrs. Immerman said. 'It wasn't helpful.' But when a doctor suggests that an exhausted patient try yet another therapy, in the hope that it may extend survival by weeks, the cost is also considerable - financially, physically and emotionally. 'We have to find a less toxic way to manage their hope,' said Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, an internist and Harvard professor who is writing a textbook about prognosis. Efforts are being made across the medical community to grapple with the language and ethics of hope. Some medical schools pair students with end-stage disease patients so students can learn about anguish and compassion. Numerous studies have examined what doctors say versus what patients hear and the role of optimism in the care of the critically ill. Patient advocates have been teaching doctors how patients can be devastated or braced by a turn of phrase. A consensus is emerging that all patients need hope, and that doctors are obligated to offer it, in some form. To Dr. Sacco's boundless relief, his patient rallied. He began counseling her to take her AIDS medications, to find an apartment, a job. He wrote in an e-mail message: 'We prognosticate because people ask us to and trust our judgment. They do not know the depth of our uncertainty or that no matter how good or experienced we are, we are often wrong. That is why choosing where to put the feather is so damn hard.' False Hopelessness Robert Immerman, a 56-year-old Manhattan architect, knew that his brain cancer - a glioblastoma, Grade 4 - meant terrible news. After the tumor was removed, he asked the radiation oncologist his prognosis. 'The doctor was pleasant,' Minna Immerman recalled, 'as if he was telling you that hamburger was $2.99 a pound. He just said the likely survival rate with this tumor was, on the outside, 18 months. 'Bob purposely forgot it,' she said. 'I couldn't.' After radiation, Mr. Immerman began chemotherapy. But after one treatment, his white blood cell count dropped so precipitously that it was no longer an option. 'The medical oncologist said, 'The chances of survival with or without chemo are very, very slight,' ' said Mrs. Immerman, a special-education teacher. 'I think she was trying to make us feel better. What I heard was: 'With or without chemo, this won't end well, so don't feel so bad.' ' Mr. Immerman got scans every two months. Mrs. Immerman watched the calendar obsessively. Twelve months left. Six months. 'As time passed, instead of feeling better, I felt like it was a death sentence and it was winding down,' she said. She sweated the small stuff: should they renew their opera subscription? Mr. Immerman turned out to be one of those rare people who reside at the lucky tail end of a statistical curve. In February, it will be 10 years since he learned his prognosis. He is well. For years, Mrs. Immerman was shadowed by fear and depression about his illness, before she finally allowed herself to breathe out with gratitude. Candid exchanges about diagnosis and prognosis, especially when the answers are grim, are a relatively recent phenomenon. Hippocrates taught that physicians should 'comfort with solicitude and attention, revealing nothing of the patient's present or future condition.' A dose of reality, doctors believed, could poison a patient's hope, the will to live. Until the 1960's, that approach was largely embraced by physicians. Dr. Eric Cassell, who lectured about hope in November to doctors in the Boston area, recalled the days when a woman would wake from surgery, asking if she had cancer: ' 'No,' we'd say, 'you had suspicious cells so we took the breast, so you wouldn't get cancer.' We were all liars.' Treatments were very limited. 'Now when we're truthful,' Dr. Cassell added, 'it's in an era in which we believe we can do something.' Doctors in many third world countries and modernized nations, including Italy and Japan, still believe in withholding a bad prognosis. But the United States, Britain and other countries were revolutionized in the late 60's by the patients' rights movement, which established that patients had a legal right to be fully informed about their medical condition and treatment options. Now, whether a patient comes in complaining of a backache, a rash or a lump in the armpit, many doctors interpret informed consent as the obligation to rattle off all possibilities, from best-case to worst-case situations. Honesty is imperative. But what benefit is served by Dr. Dour? 'There are doctors who paint a bleaker picture than necessary so they can turn out to be heroes if things turn out well,' said Dr. David Spiegel, a psychiatrist at Stanford medical school, 'and it also relieves doctors of responsibility if bad things happen.' The fear of malpractice litigation after a bad outcome, he said, also drives doctors to be stunningly explicit from the outset. The medical community has nicknames for this bluntness: truth-dumping, terminal candor, hanging crepe. But some social workers call it false hopelessness. Given a time-tied prognosis, many patients become withdrawn and depressed, said Roz Kleban, a supervising social worker with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 'Telling someone they have two years to live isn't useful knowledge,' she said. 'It's noise. Whether or not that prediction is true, they lose their ability to live well in the present.' Health care providers debate the wisdom of giving patients a precise prognosis: 'There's an ethical obligation to tell people their prognosis,' said Dr. Barron Lerner, an internist and bioethicist at Columbia University medical school, 'but no reason to pound it into their heads.' Others say that doctors should make sure they can explain the numbers in context, with the pluses and minuses of treatment options, including the implications of choosing not to have treatment. Though many patients ask how long they have to live, thinking that amid the chaos of bad news, a number offers something concrete, studies show that they do not understand statistical nuances and tend to misconstrue them. Moreover, though statistics may be indicative, they are inherently imperfect. Many doctors prefer not to give a prognosis. And, studies show, their prognoses are often wrong, one way or the other. Where does this leave the frightened patient? Meg Gaines, director of the Center for Patient Partnerships, a patient advocacy program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, thinks false hopelessness is more debilitating than false hope. 'I tell people to ask the doctor, 'Have you ever known anyone with this disease who has gotten better?' If the answer is yes, just say, 'So let's quit talking about death and talk about what we can try!' ' Some patients do triumph against grotesque statistical odds; others succumb even when the odds are piled in their favor. But willful ignorance, she cautioned, can be dangerous. 'People should know about prognosis to the extent that it's necessary to make good decisions about monitoring your health care,' she said. 'You can't be an ostrich in the sand. When the stampeding rhinoceri are coming, you have to be able to get out of the way.' False Hope Perhaps just as harmful as false hopelessness, many experts believe, is false hope. 'If one patient in a thousand will live with pancreatic cancer for 10 years,' said Dr. Christakis of Harvard, and doctors hold out that patient as a realistic example, 'we have harmed 999 patients.' False hopelessness, in the name of reality, dwells on the dark view of a patient's condition, prematurely foreclosing possibility and a spirited fight. False hope sidesteps reality, leaving patients and family members unprepared for tragedy. When Anna Kyle was in labor, the umbilical cord dropped ahead of the baby, who was deprived of oxygen for critical moments. Mrs. Kyle had an emergency Caesarean section. The baby had to be resuscitated. The nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit told Mrs. Kyle, of Lonoke, Ark., that her son was a 'good baby,' because he didn't cry or fuss. Later, when he had developmental delays, her hopes were at war with her nagging fears. But doctors kept saying the child might outgrow them. Her son, now 5, received a formal diagnosis last year. 'Nobody wanted to say, 'Your kid has autism, your kid is mentally retarded, your kid will be in diapers most of his life,' ' said Mrs. Kyle, whose husband earns $10 an hour as a truck driver. 'It hurts, it's nasty, ugly stuff, but it has to be said, so kids can get the therapy they need as early as possible.' Because patients hunger for good news, experts say that doctors should choose their words carefully: 'If you get into the language of hope, you run the risk of over-promising things,' said Dr. Lerner of Columbia. The more useful discussion for patients, he added, is, 'what hopeful things can I do?' In his November lecture on hope, Dr. Cassell said that patients do not need 'false hope that is personified in useless therapy with nontherapeutic effect.' False hope is both a hangover from the centuries-old belief that doctors should withhold bad news, and a practice newly infused by the explosion of so many medical treatments and the tenuous promise held out by clinical trials. Consider the cost of false hope, experts note: not only the physical and emotional agony of dying patients who try last-ditch, occasionally unproven treatments, but also the depletion, financially and psychologically, of the patients' survivors. 'The battle cry of our culture is, 'Don't just stand there - do something!' ' said Dr. Richard Deyo, a Seattle internist and professor at the University of Washington who writes about the high cost of false hope. He added, 'Physicians have a natural bias for action, whereas it may be more honest to say, 'Whether I do something or not, the result is likely to be the same.' ' A 1994 study showed that Americans have greater faith in medical advances than people in many other countries. Thirty-four percent of Americans believed that modern medicine 'can cure almost any illness for people who have access to the most advanced technology and treatment.' By contrast, only 11 percent of Germans held the same belief. Accompanying the medical advances, however, are an increasing number of physician subspecialties. One downside is that patients hear from a variety of voices, and they can become inadvertently misled. Pat Murphy, a nurse and grief counselor who heads the family support team at University Hospital in Newark, said that, for example, when a patient has a critical stroke, a cardiologist, among others, will be called in for an evaluation: 'The doctor might say, 'This is a strong heart' and then he leaves,' she said. 'The patient will probably never regain consciousness. But the 'parts people' talk to the family out of context, and the family thinks they're hearing good news.' Another result of this medical renaissance is thousands of clinical trials. Phase 1 trials often try out doses of an unapproved drug; perhaps only 5 percent of volunteers may derive any benefit. 'Most people think they don't want to be an experiment,' said George J. Annas, author of 'The Rights of Patients.' But, he said, when desperately ill patients learn about a trial, 'all of a sudden there's no difference in their minds between research and treatment.' A 2003 study of advanced-stage cancer patients who volunteered for Phase I trials showed that at least three-quarters of them were convinced they had a 50 percent chance or greater of being helped by the drug. Because patients listen selectively, it can be difficult to tease out who owns responsibility for false hope: Patricia Mendell, a New York psychotherapist who works with fertility patients, noted: 'A doctor can tell a patient she has a 95 percent chance of an I.V.F. cycle not working. But the patient will feel it's her right to try for that 5 percent. ' Indeed, false hope can represent a complex entwining between terrified patient and well-intended doctor: both want the best outcome, sometimes so intensely that what emerges is a collective denial about the patient's condition. Hope Elissa J. Levy was a winter sports jock, with a buoyant social circle and a power job on Wall Street. But in January 2002, she received a diagnosis of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, a less common version of the disease, for which there are few treatments and no known cures. Soon, Ms. Levy needed a cane, and could scarcely walk a block. Pain and fatigue dogged her. Her quick brain grew foggy, her right hand floppy. She cut back her new job as a deputy director of a Bronx charter school to three days a week. In the mornings, her mother had to help dress her. But though her body sagged, her neurologist helped prop up her spirits. 'Often I would come in crying,' Ms. Levy said, 'and he would hold my hand and say, 'We'll figure this out together.' Or 'We can hope that this treatment works.' ' Given the gravity of her disease, was it appropriate for the doctor to stoke her hope? 'Hope,' wrote Emily Dickinson, 'is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul.' Imprecise and evanescent, hope is almost universally considered essential to the business of being human. Few can define hope: Self-delusion? Optimism? Expectation? Faith? And that, say experts from across a wide spectrum, is the point: hope means different things to different people. When someone's medical condition changes, that person's definition of hope changes. A hope for a cure can morph into a hope that a relationship can be mended. Or that one's organs will be eligible for donation. For so many, hope and faith are inextricably linked. 'Truly spiritual people are amazing, ' said Ms. Murphy of University Hospital. 'Until the moment of death, families pray for a miracle and then at the moment of the death, they say, 'This is God's will' and 'God will get us through this.' ' As health care providers struggle with whether, how and when doctors should speak of hope, a consensus is building on at least two fronts: that what fundamentally matters is that a doctor tells the truth with kindness, and that a doctor should never just say, 'I have nothing more to offer you.' More doctors are embracing palliative care specialists as partners who work with critically ill patients and their families to help them redefine their hopes, from the improbable to the possible. Many doctors, whose specialties range from neurosurgery to infertility, retain therapists to counsel patients. 'Hope lives inside a patient and the physician's behavior can either bring it out or suppress it,' said Dr. Susan D. Block, a palliative care leader at Harvard. 'When a patient has goals, it's impossible to be hopeless. And when a physician can help a patient define them, you feel like a healer, even when the patient is dying.' Dr. Spiegel, the Stanford psychiatrist, recalled a woman who knew her death from cancer was imminent: 'She had 15-minute appointments scheduled all day with relatives, to set them straight on how to live their lives. Then she was going to die. This was a hopeful woman.' Harvard's medical school matches first-year students with critically ill patients - in essence, the patients become the teachers. One patient, Dr. Block recalled, was a high school teacher dying from lymphoma, who agreed with alacrity to participate. When her husband came into her room, the patient said, with tears in her eyes, 'Honey, I have one last teaching gig.' Last April, Ms. Levy's doctor started her on a drug that is still in clinical trials, but has long been available in Europe. Shortly after she began taking the daily pill, she went for a checkup and lay down on his examining table. He asked her to lift her leg. Normally, Ms. Levy struggled to budge her leg. But having taken the drug, she flung her leg into a 90-degree angle. She gasped. Usually, when her doctor pressed one finger against her leg, it collapsed. Now he pushed with his open hand. She held steady. Both she and her doctor grew teary-eyed. Finally, she walked down the hall without her cane. Both patient and doctor wept openly. The drug does not cure her disease; it treats symptoms. But Ms. Levy, 37, now walks 20 blocks at a clip, works four days a week, goes to the gym. She is dating. A recent test showed that her disease has not progressed. In a sense, Ms. Levy's relationship with her doctor combined the best of the old and new worlds. He was hopeful but also candid. And he could offer her promising treatments, including one that, at least temporarily, seems to help. 'And if I start feeling bad again?' Ms. Levy said. 'I have hope that I'll feel good again.'

Subject: Drug Prices Tend to Rise
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 05:36:30 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/26/business/26rahr.html?ex=1264482000&en=b7a98ed123fabd1f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland January 26, 2005 Making a Fortune by Wagering That Drug Prices Tend to Rise By STEPHANIE SAUL Stewart Rahr's new $45 million East Hampton estate, the most expensive house ever purchased in New York State, is just across the pond from Steven Spielberg's. Mr. Rahr plays golf with Donald Trump and practices putting on an indoor green in the basement of his warehouse in Queens. He and his wife, Carol, last drew attention in 2003 when they bought four works of art, including a Renoir and a Picasso, in one sitting at Sotheby's. But as he becomes increasingly visible as one of New York's wealthiest men, Mr. Rahr, a 58-year-old law school dropout, is girding himself for the elimination of the system that helped generate his fortune. His success offers a rare glimpse into a lucrative but little-known corner of the pharmaceutical industry - the once-mundane business of delivering drugs from manufacturers to pharmacies. Over the last 20 years, the packing and shipping of drugs evolved into a game of arbitrage, called speculative buying, with distributors like Mr. Rahr wagering on drug price increases. This common industry practice seems more fitting to a casino than a distribution warehouse. And in the 1990's and the early years of this decade, with prices far outstripping inflation, it was a sure bet. Knowing that drug manufacturers typically increased prices at the same time, often in January, drug middlemen like Mr. Rahr, the sole owner of Kinray, which is based in Queens, made millions by overstocking their warehouses before manufacturers announced price increases. By acquiring extra inventory at the lower price, distributors made quick profits once they sold the drugs at higher prices a short time later to retail pharmacies. Prescription drug prices are a combustible political issue, and manufacturers feel intense pressure to restrain them. With their historically large profits threatened, and with regulators questioning aspects of the speculative buying system, the manufacturers have taken steps to shut it by limiting distributors to just one month's worth of inventory. Drug manufacturers have also begun using special software to help detect speculative buying. Mr. Rahr would not disclose exactly how much he made through speculative buying. Goldman Sachs estimated that the distribution industry, which is dominated by three large public companies, made 60 percent of its profit, or $980 million, from speculative buying in 2001, when the practice was at its peak. More recently, Goldman Sachs estimated speculative buying's contribution at 40 percent of profits. Mr. Rahr, who honed the practice with the help of a computer program, said that his profit from the practice never reached 40 percent. Mr. Rahr also said that his and other distributors' fees accounted for a tiny portion of the cost of drugs to consumers, with manufacturers taking the major share of profits. 'We're talking an infinitesimal impact on the consumer, based on the total cost of the health care industry,' Mr. Rahr said. 'Whether there is spec buying or not is not the greatest factor in the high cost of pharmaceuticals.' In some ways, the practice helped drug manufacturers, who relied on speculative buying in lieu of paying distributors to get drugs to pharmacies. In effect, it was a form of hidden compensation that never showed up as a cost to manufacturers. But speculative buying fostered many problems, industry analysts and economists said. Some say it played a role in drug cost inflation by adding an incentive for manufacturers to raise prices repeatedly. It also sometimes gave drug makers false signals that products were in demand, prompting them to turn out excess product. By encouraging distributor stockpiling, the system also led to shortages in some regions of the country, a situation known as a 'stock out' and one that the industry does not like to discuss. Last year, Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $150 million to settle allegations, without admitting or denying guilt, that it misled investors by aggressively encouraging wholesalers to flood their warehouses, thus artificially inflating its sales. The case, brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, was the beginning of the end of speculative buying, as other manufacturers worried that they, too, might run afoul of securities laws. 'It was a dysfunctional model,' said Ken Abramowitz, an analyst and managing general partner at NGN Capital, a health care venture capital company in New York. Exactly how much retail drug prices have been affected by speculative buying is an open question. Adam J. Fein, a Philadelphia business economist, says that the end of speculative buying can reduce the rate of drug price inflation by one or two percentage points a year. Based on the 5.3 percent increase in retail drug prices in 2003, as calculated by IMS Health, a pharmaceutical-market research company, consumers could save $2.2 billion to $4.4 billion annually. Others agree that speculative buying created inflationary pressures, but are more concerned that ending the practice will drive up retail prices if distributors, who operate on slim profit margins, are forced to pass any costs to retail pharmacies. 'They'll have to make up their margins somewhere that they aren't getting from the manufacturer,' said Steven W. Schondelmeyer, a University of Minnesota professor who studies the economics of the pharmaceutical industry. 'They'll raise the prices to the pharmacies. The pharmacies have very thin margins to begin with, and all they can do is pass it on to consumers.' Experts agree, however, that consumers will benefit in at least one way. Speculative buying helped foster a secondary pharmaceutical market, with some distributors reselling extra drugs they did not need to other distributors. 'It invited the risk of the type of counterfeit and adulterated market that we saw with some of the biotech drugs and Lipitor,' said Christopher McFadden, an analyst with Goldman Sachs. The shift away from speculative buying has put pharmaceutical distribution at a critical point, according to Mr. Fein, whose company, Pembroke Consulting, advises both manufacturers and distributors. 'Of course it's affected our business,' said Mr. Rahr, who said he had no plans to raise prices to compensate for the loss of profit from speculative buying. Instead, he said that his company was working harder to control costs and expand its territory. 'Volume, volume, volume,' he said. The transformation has also affected bottom lines at the three large public pharmaceutical distribution companies - AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. Today, they deliver 90 percent of the $220 billion in drugs sold in the United States. As distributors try to recoup, they have become engaged in what Mr. Fein said were tough negotiations with manufacturers, asking that they pay fees for distributing drugs to pharmacies. 'The question is, How much more value or how much more fees is the manufacturing community going to be willing to pay?' Mr. McFadden said. 'It's kind of whatever you can negotiate.' In one of the first of these 'fee for service' deals, Eli Lilly recently announced it had struck an agreement with Cardinal Health, but neither side disclosed terms. Last week, Eisai, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, announced that it had broken off negotiations with Cardinal Health and warned patients of potential disruptions in the supply of drugs to treat Alzheimer's, epilepsy and gastrointestinal problems. Three days later, the companies announced that they had reached a deal, after all. Pfizer, the giant pharmaceutical manufacturer, said last week that it would not negotiate fee agreements with distributors. 'Someone like Pfizer says, 'the fact that you lost money is not my problem,' ' said Mr. Abramowitz, the health care analyst. As his profit margin narrows - Mr. Rahr describes it as 'razor thin' - Mr. Rahr is expressing confidence that Kinray will prosper even without speculative buying, based on its efficiency, low costs and the fact that he has no debt. His company has established a national telemarketing office that makes cold calls to pharmacies across the country. Mr. Rahr, whose company employs about 1,000 people, is expanding his business in home health equipment like walkers and bedpans, as well as generic drugs, both areas with higher profit margins than brand-name drugs, where he makes less than 2 cents on the dollar. 'We do all this work for pennies,' Mr. Rahr said. 'But like my father said, 'pennies do add up to dollars.' ' Last year, the pennies added up to $3.1 billion in sales. Mr. Rahr's business, he said, is dependent on a large computer-operated picking system that fills orders from among 34,000 items in the company's 400,000-foot warehouse. The items, he said, include anything a drugstore would sell. 'I'd be out of business without this technology,' he said. Despite his wealth, Mr. Rahr still exudes Queens from every pore. He is gregarious and down to earth, perpetually tanned, and seems both proud of his success and slightly apologetic about it, emphasizing that he still wears a $19.95 watch and drives himself to work in a 10-year-old Jeep Cherokee. He loves to tell stories about how a headwaiter or a security guard stopped him because he was wearing his usual attire, a baseball cap and jeans. 'My wife's used to it,' he said. 'I identify with the underdog.' He specializes in sales to 3,000 independent drugstores in seven Northeastern states. Mr. Rahr says he controls 75 percent of that market. Among the druggists, Kinray is known for its easy-to-use Web site. It has been 36 years since Mr. Rahr dropped out of New York Law School and persuaded his father, Joseph Rahr, not to sell the family's retail pharmacy in Brooklyn, which also supplied a few other drugstores. Mr. Rahr recently described the rejection he felt at first, when he tried to expand the wholesale business. 'I used to call the pharmacies and I would call and say, 'Kinray,' and they'd say, 'Nothing for you today.' And after about three or four in a row, I would get, 'Here's three aspirin for you and two Colgate toothpaste and one Mennen Speed Stick, if I were lucky,' ' Mr. Rahr recalled. 'And the sound of them hanging up on me, the 'nothing for you today,' just started to make me feel like I had to do something to get to become the primary jobber in these stores.' In 1973, Mr. Rahr and his wife, now a partner in a Manhattan jewelry design firm, Beach to Ballroom, bought their first home on one acre in suburban Dix Hills, N.Y. The Hamptons estate is considerably more grand, and Mr. Rahr sees it as his crowning achievement. It sits on 25 acres. The main house is 18,000 square feet, with 8 bedrooms and 14 baths, a private 2,000-foot beach with its own dock and boathouse, a waterside heated pool with waterfall and whirlpool, a tennis court and viewing pavilion, and a greenhouse. Mr. Rahr said that buying the property was an emotional experience for him. 'Here we were, 32 years later, walking on a much larger estate and feeling blessed that we were able to be in this position,' he said. Mr. Rahr says he has never borrowed a penny, so in a few days, when the deal closes on the oceanfront mansion, called Burnt Point, he will pay cash.

Subject: Move Over, Mondrian
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:42:27 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/26/books/26illu.html?ex=1293253200&en=a8a6205e90aafddb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 26, 2005 Move Over, Mondrian: It's Miffy's Turn By KATHRYN SHATTUCK To thousands of preschool-age viewers in the United States each morning, Miffy is the resolute television bunny seen tootling around the Noggin channel on her red scooter. But to millions of European children from an era when pablum wasn't served up with the remote, Miffy sprang not from a rabbit hutch in Cableland but from a book. In fact, since her birth in 1955, Miffy has become so popular in her home country, the Netherlands, that Dick Bruna, her creator, is popularly known as 'Miffy's father.' It makes sense, then, that Mr. Bruna's illustrated characters, who decorate signposts along the beaches of the Dutch North Sea and adorn posters for the Red Cross and Amnesty International, should greet visitors to 'Dutch Treats: Contemporary Illustration From the Netherlands,' an exhibition of about 80 works by 14 children's book illustrators whose forays into whimsy have beguiled readers of all ages for half a century. There is the old guard and the new - from the ubiquitous images by Mr. Bruna and Max Velthuijs, best known for the moral tales played out by his alter ego, Frog, to the inventive creations of relative newcomers, like Jan Jutte, illustrator of 'Get Up!' (1998), and Annemarie van Haeringen, who has won three Golden Brush awards, the top prize in the Netherlands for children's book, for works like 'The Princess With the Long Hair' (1999) and 'Bear Fancies Butterfly' (2004). The exhibition, presented by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., will remain at the UBS Art Gallery, 1285 Avenue of the Americas, through Feb. 24, before moving to the Carle, where it will be on view from March 28 through July 9. 'We wanted to show very interesting children's books illustrators that are seen as normal artists in the Netherlands,' Truusje Vrooland-Löb, an expert on Dutch children's literature and the show's curator, said in a telephone interview from Amsterdam last week. 'Their work can hang on the wall as well as any other artwork.' Indeed, to view the illustrations in their original larger formats, with pencil marks, brush strokes and layered paper in high relief, is akin to watching a book's characters come to life and walk off the pages. Colors pop, details lost in pint-size renderings re-emerge and flat images suddenly gain dimension. Stare at Miffy head on, and Mr. Bruna's sculptural training becomes evident as the figure's straightforward unshaded body, outlined in firm ink strokes, assumes rounded proportions, colored in the primary hues favored by Mondrian and Matisse, two of his inspirations. 'I hope that the child's imagination is stimulated to see things in their simplest form,' Mr. Bruna says in the tiny booklet that accompanies the exhibition, 'so that life, with all its complications, becomes a little clearer.' Jip and Janneke, the terrible twosome who run through Fiep Westendorp's illustrations for books like 'The Wave' (1978), inevitably appear in silhouette, a pair of pointy-nosed, pitch-black cutouts with holes for eyes, superimposed on frothy color washes. 'These characters are so well known they're really part of the pictorial culture of the Netherlands,' Ms. Vrooland-Löb said. Yvonne Jagtenberg's 'Lady of Stavoren' (2000), starring a wimpled woman and a toothsome wolf, reveals the tattered edges of hand-torn paper layered in a collage. Its medieval setting and dour, muddy colors à la Edward Hopper - she's a fan - evoke a sophistication seldom seen in juvenile literature. But her latest works, centered on a redheaded mop-top named Balotje, or Kate in English, has all the innocence of a coloring book. 'Every story had its own atmosphere, and I want to evoke it,' Ms. Jagtenberg said by telephone. She has illustrated about 100 books and, at 38, is the youngest artist in the exhibition. 'Balotje is very young, and so she is done in crayon. The first thing children work with is their crayon, and you see it in their artworks, too. It's so direct that you see the soul of the children.' In Thé Tjong-Khing's pen-and-ink drawings for books like 'Little Sophie and Lanky Flop' (1985), minuscule crosshatches cause his feathery characters, produced by a few swift strokes and a lot of white space, to jump to the fore. Seen up close, you would swear there are at least a million of the tiny marks. Somewhat surprisingly, Mr. Tjong-Khing, 72, whom Ms. Vrooland-Löb called 'one of the grand old men in Dutch illustrators,' had a career in erotically charged comic strips before abandoning that work for his first love, children's books. So, too, Philip Hopman dumped dreams of becoming a fashion designer because 'it was soon clear that I didn't have the talent,' he said in a telephone interview. 'I could draw, though. I was very influenced by Thé Tjong-Khing. His way of looking at things is remarkable, and he has a good eye for detail. He taught me to focus on what you want to say, and then tell a different story behind things.' Mr. Hopman's images, too, are chockablock with activity and hidden meanings. Consider a scene from 'Tamer Tom' (1994), in which a menagerie runs amok: a hippopotamus hoists a tiger into a tree; another hippo is ridden by a white-collared rabbit straight out of 'Alice in Wonderland'; a harnessed ferret is lassoed by a friend; and hedgehogs jump through hoops. 'I usually draw people, more or less,' Mr. Hopman said. 'I recently drew a very big rhino on a Harley-Davidson, a mid-life-crisis type of man with a cowboy hat on. Everyone knows that person.' Mr. Hopman, 44, recently abandoned the hurly-burly of Amsterdam for his childhood home a few miles away. 'I changed my father's tulip barn into a studio with light coming through the roof,' he said. 'It's right by the dunes and the sea, and very peaceful. It gives me a sort of rest, a focus on work.' 'It takes me a long time to think out the characters,' he continued, 'to start scribbling, to start figuring out the direction I'm going to go.' Wouldn't a computer speed up the process? 'Oh no, never!,' he said. 'I'm really old-fashioned. I just don't speak the language of the computer. I don't like the medium. I like paper and feeling the scratch of ink. It really works in my hand. It's much easier than writing.' Unlike Mr. Bruna and Ms. Jagtenberg, who often write the texts that accompany their drawings, Mr. Hopman only recently found comfort in words. 'Every Time I Think of You,' the first of his books to contain both his text and his illustrations, will be published next month. 'It's about love,' Mr. Hopman said. He has no children of his own, but he does have godchildren who routinely show up in his books in one guise or another. 'I think I stopped my development at 8, and so we get along like a house on fire,' he added. And though the art of these illustrators has made them famous in a very adult way - substantial royalty checks, works in major museums - for them success is apparently sweeter when viewed through small eyes. 'What's so nice when you make picture books is that nobody knows who you are,' Ms. Jagtenberg said. 'I'm not an actress; I'm not a famous person. But for children, you are famous. They want to touch you. And that's nice, too.'

Subject: Formats While DVD's Burn
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:14:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/technology/25cnd-format.html?ex=1293166800&en=4c96fefeee322675&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Fiddling with Formats While DVD's Burn By KEN BELSON The war for control of the next-generation DVD is approaching a critical juncture: next week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, companies championing the two competing high-definition DVD standards - Blu-ray and HD DVD - will unveil their lineups of new players and movie titles. There are growing signs, though, that the battle for supremacy in this multibillion-dollar market may yield a hollow victory. As electronics makers, technology companies and Hollywood studios haggle over the fine points of their formats, consumers are quickly finding alternatives to buying and renting packaged DVD's, high-definition or otherwise. 'While they fight, Rome is burning,' said Robert Heiblim, an independent consultant to electronics companies. 'High-definition video-on-demand and digital video recorders are compelling, and people will say, 'why do I need it?' ' when considering whether to buy a high-definition player. The fight between the Blu-ray and HD DVD groups is based on different views of what consumers want. The HD DVD camp, led by Toshiba, assumes that consumers will buy high-definition DVD's and players, but only at the right price. So it is improving existing DVD technology, which can be made cheaply and quickly. The Blu-ray group figures that something brand new is needed to get consumers interested, so it is developing discs with enough capacity to allow for innovative features in the future. Both sides agree, however, that now is the time to introduce high-definition DVD discs and players. Sales of high-definition televisions, with their sleek design and superior picture and sound quality, are soaring, and the major networks are broadcasting more programs in high-definition. Game makers like Sony see high-definition video games as a way to boost console sales, and Hollywood hopes that high-definition discs will offset slumping sales of current-generation DVD's in the $19 billion prepackaged disc market. Yet the alternatives to these new players and DVD's are growing by the day. The most promising is the on-demand programming, both standard and high-definition, being offered by cable companies. The percentage of cable customers who watch television on-demand has doubled in the past year, to 23 percent, according to the Leichtman Research Group. With thousands of free movies available at any time, consumers have fewer reasons to rent a DVD at Blockbuster or buy a new one at Best Buy. They are also likely to think twice before spending $1,000 or more for a new high-definition DVD player, or $25 or so to own a disc of a movie they might already have in standard definition. Of course, these newfangled ways of watching video are still a small piece of the overall video market, and industry executives and analysts say they expect most consumers to continue buying prerecorded DVD's for years to come. They also say they believe that high-definition programs - and the televisions to watch them on - are the way of the future. The question is how consumers will get that programming. Even without these alternatives, high-definition DVD's face a dicey start. The inability of the Blu-ray group and HD-DVD camp to agree on a single standard means that consumers must consider two sets of machines in the stores. Except for avid technophiles, consumers are likely to wait out the standards battle, lest they get stuck with a player that becomes obsolete if the other format wins. Machines will also be expensive - $1,000 or more - and consumers will need a television capable of playing high-definition programs, which can easily cost several thousand dollars more. The list of movies available in the formats will be skimpy at first. Sony, which leads the Blu-ray group, has said that its new video game consoles due out this spring will play Blu-ray DVD's. But few industry analysts expect consumers to buy the game machine just to watch movies. In the meantime, other companies are making it easier to watch and copy high-definition movies. Scientific-Atlanta has a new set-top box with a digital video recorder and DVD recorder built in, so cable subscribers can use a single machine to record programming and burn it onto blank discs. 'Consumers are getting hooked on video-on-demand and the flexibility of moving content around the home,' said Ted Schadler, an industry analyst at Forrester. 'Once you open that Pandora's box, you can't close it. The battle over the format is silly. For the product to grow, they have to promote the benefits of HD, not battle each other.' Yet the two sides are digging in their heels, not shaking hands. Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and other backers of the Blu-ray format expect to flood stores next year with high-definition DVD players, and half a dozen studios will make movies for their machines. Not to be outdone, the HD DVD camp led by Toshiba has won endorsements from Microsoft and Intel. Hewlett-Packard, a member of the Blu-ray group, agreed last week to work with the HD DVD camp as well. These allies say that the wall between computers and consumer electronics is blurring and that the new formats should let users move movies and other content among various devices seamlessly. Not surprisingly, they see computers at the main conduit, not standalone electronic devices. 'If PC's don't adopt these technologies, it will be a ho-hum 2006' for next-generation DVD's, said Maureen Weber, the general manager of the personal storage group at Hewlett-Packard. 'It all boils down to Microsoft and Sony wanting to dominate the connected home. It's a showdown between consumer electronics and personal computers over convergence.' Ms. Weber, like many other executives, acknowledges that the longer the format battle continues, the higher the likelihood that consumers will find other solutions, including video-on-demand. Comcast, the country's largest cable provider, already gives its 20 million subscribers access to 3,800 movies and television shows. The 44 percent of Comcast's subscribers who have the set-top box needed to see on-demand programs have watched more than 1 billion of them so far this year. There are signs that rising on-demand viewing is denting DVD sales and rentals, a worrying sign for Hollywood executives who increasingly rely on disc sales to offset the rising cost of producing movies. Since consumer electronics makers and Hollywood studios earn much of their profit on sales margins, they will feel the pinch if these new viewing options grab even 5 or 10 percent of video market. A poll by the Starz Entertainment Group this month showed that 60 percent of those who watch on-demand video buy fewer DVD's, while 72 percent of those surveyed are renting fewer movies. Starz has also broadened the definition of on-demand with Starz Ticket, which lets users download movies to their laptops or other devices for $12.95 a month. The service includes a rotation of 300 movies that can be watched multiple times and, like a digital video recorder, paused, rewound and fast-forwarded. Like store-bought DVD's, they also include directors' cuts, foreign language versions and other bonus material. 'We're on the verge of another major shift in terms of how consumers receive video,' said Tom Southwick, a spokesman for the Starz Entertainment Group. 'What's happening in the video arena is just like what is happening in the MP3 market. Over time, there's going to be so much available with cable on-demand and the Internet that having a library of tapes that you buy or borrow will become inconvenient.' For now, none of the Starz Ticket movies are in high-definition because typical broadband connections are too slow to make downloads feasible. The current generation of discs hold up to 8.5 gigabytes of memory, not enough for a full-length movie in high-definition. Consumer habits also die hard. 'You can change technology all you want, but you can't change people,' said Andy Parsons, a Blu-ray group spokesman who noted that the vast majority of music fans still buy CD's. 'Average folks still want to watch the movie and buy it. It's presuming a lot to think that they will replace the model they've used for decades.'

Subject: Gidget Doesn't Live Here Anymore
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:08:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/magazine/25dee.html?ex=1293166800&en=5e51192381477d9e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Gidget Doesn't Live Here Anymore By DAPHNE MERKIN At the height of her spectacularly short-lived fame, coverage of everything from her dietary habits to her taste in men was enormous, with approximately 15 magazine articles appearing every month. The thing is, it all happened so fast, was over practically before it began, that we can almost be forgiven for misconstruing her as a cultural simulacrum: a blip on the monitor, a media invention, an adorable incarnation of a feminine ideal of the reluctant or unwitting nymphet, rather than a flesh-and-blood creature with needs and wishes (not to mention raging demons) of her own. The lightning speed with which Sandra Dee was first heralded and then discarded may have been just another example of the 'now you see her, now you don't' phenomenon endemic to the fever-dream of Hollywood, but it also suggests the dark 'Miss Lonelyhearts' side of the American manufacture of celebrity - the ruthlessness that drives it and the despair it feeds off. She went from being discovered in 1956, at 12, to winning a Golden Globe Award in 1958, to being hailed by The Motion Picture Herald in 1959 as the 'Number One Star of Tomorrow,' based on her promising pigtailed debut in the sterling weepie 'Until They Sail' as well as her performance in 'The Reluctant Debutante.' Less than a decade later, her career all but ended when she was dropped by Universal, after her divorce, at age 22, from the crooner Bobby Darin. 'Sometimes I feel like a has-been who never was,' Dee told The Newark Evening News in 1967. In truth, she never entirely disappeared from the collective imagination, and therein lies one of many painful paradoxes (she was, for instance, among the last actors to be dropped as a contract player before the studio system expired) in what turns out to be a story too full of them. Her moment as 'a junior Doris Day,' as she once put it, or 'a Tinkertoy,' as an underwhelmed journalist once put it - although she early on demonstrated a far greater range of acting talent than she would later be remembered for - may have been vastly abbreviated, but there's no forgetting that fluffy neon concoction of a name, or what it stood for. Even if you never caught her in her glory days as Gidget or Tammy, Dee's legacy as an eclipsed and parodied icon, a cinematic reference that signifies everything blond and unviolated about the 50's, was assured by her immortalization in a catchy song from 'Grease.' Its broadly winking lyrics are declaimed by Rizzo, the designated high-school Bad Girl, at a pajama party and are aimed at converting the goody-two-shoes newcomer Sandy to a life of carnal sin: 'Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee/lousy with virginity/Won't go to bed till I'm legally wed,/I can't, I'm Sandra Dee.' Precisely because of the mythic stature we endowed her with, it's hard to believe that the wisp of a girl who cavorted decorously on-screen with John Saxon and Troy Donahue, in a time before teenagers of either sex thought to have their tongues pierced, lacked the grace to fade out, had the temerity to live on - and so unfetchingly, her life marred by chronic anorexia, alcoholism and depression - after we were no longer paying her any mind. Dee's death last February at age 60 (her official age was obscured from early childhood, when her mother added two years to it; many obituaries listed her age at the time of her death as 62), of complications from kidney disease, impels us to retrieve her from her vacuum-packed, nostalgia-inducing state as an idealized adolescent prototype. This in turn raises a possibility almost too disturbing to contemplate: how to envision Sandra Dee as middle-aged, as anything other than a bubbling and bikinied beach babe, the candied yin to Annette Funicello's sultry yang, the sweet and genteelly chaperoned box-office ingénue whose popularity once rivaled Elizabeth Taylor's and whose elopement at 16 with the scrappy Bronx-bred Darin, after a one-month courtship on the set of a forgettable movie ('Come September'), spoke to a girlishly starry-eyed fantasy of romance. Then again, the 'darling, pink world,' as she herself characterized it, that Sandra Dee was thought to inhabit by her fans had always been a grotesque mockery, plagued not by an overripened case of virginity but by childhood incest. The girl with brimming brown eyes and a fizzy lilt to her voice was born Alexandria Zuck in Bayonne, N.J. Her parents divorced when she was 5; her father, a bus driver, disappeared from her life shortly thereafter, and her mother, Mary, married a much-older real-estate entrepreneur named Eugene Duvan within a few years. According to Dee's own account, as relayed by her son, Dodd Darin, in his touching and unglamorized memoir of his parents, 'Dream Lovers,' her lifelong battle with anorexia - which would lead to three hospitalizations in her midteens, cardiac distress and multiple miscarriages - began with Mary's bizarre approach to her daughter's meals: 'My mother fed me with a spoon until I was 6 years old. She would make me a bowl of oatmeal. She'd crack an egg into it, raw, and. . .cold and lumps and streaks, I had to eat it all.' Worse yet, Dee's devoted but manipulative mother turned a conveniently blind eye to the defiled sexual appetites of her new husband. Duvan, who liked to tease his wife that he married her 'just to get Sandy,' started having sex with his beautiful stepdaughter when she was 8 and continued doing so almost until his death when she was 12. After her divorce from Darin, Dee never remarried. The former teenage sweetheart who had once received more fan mail than Rock Hudson became an anxious recluse whose primary connections were with her mother and her son. A cover profile in People magazine in 1991 depicted her as a damaged and isolated survivor - Dee poignantly expressed a wish to do a TV series, 'because I want a family. I can have that if I'm part of a show' - and her son's portrait of her in his book only deepened the shadows. Dee had plans to write an autobiography and in 1996 did a brief stint as an infomercial spokeswoman for an anti-aging cream. Last year she was played by Kate Bosworth in Kevin Spacey's movie about Bobby Darin, 'Beyond the Sea.' Sandra Dee's dazzling wreck of a life - the implausibly meteoric ascent followed by the long fall - would, I suppose, make for a perfect Lifetime special. Or, better yet, a searing biopic all its own, underscoring the gap between the glossy image and the nightmarish reality. It would, that is, if the truth weren't so unbearably sad, revealing a tale of ravaged innocence under cover of familial enmeshment leading to a wasteland of self-destruction. The problem with a story like this one, at least from a filmmaker's point of view, is that it isn't even a cathartic tear-jerker. There is no fortifying moral to be drawn from it, no redemptive 'Oprah' ending hovering in the wings. Look at her, she's Sandra Dee, lousy with debility. Tickets, anyone?

Subject: Insider to Apostate
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 10:06:37 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/politics/24wilkerson.html December 24, 2005 Ex-Powell Aide Moves From Insider to Apostate By STEVEN R. WEISMAN WASHINGTON IT was in early 2004, the beginning of President Bush's re-election campaign, that Lawrence B. Wilkerson first printed out a letter saying he wanted to quit as chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. 'In essence it said, 'Dear Mr. President, I find myself at variance with a majority of your foreign policies and even your domestic policies and therefore I respectfully submit my resignation,' ' Mr. Wilkerson recalled recently. But the letter remained in a desk drawer for the rest of Mr. Bush's first term. Nearly two years later, Mr. Wilkerson, a 60-year-old retired United States Army colonel, has finally completed his journey from insider to apostate. Alone among those who surrounded Mr. Powell in the first term, he is speaking out critically, assailing the president as amateurish, especially compared to the first President Bush, and describing the administration as secretive, inept and courting disaster at home and abroad. Nor has he spared his former boss, whom he says was overly preoccupied with 'damage control' for policies set by others. 'What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made,' Mr. Wilkerson said in a well-publicized speech at the New America Foundation in October. 'And you've got a president who is not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either,' he added in the speech. Mr. Wilkerson has also attacked the Bush administration for allegedly condoning torture and setting lax policies on treatment of detainees that led, he charges, to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the black eye they gave to the United States Army. SINCE starting to speak out a few months ago, Mr. Wilkerson has become something of a Washington celebrity. He has given interviews and speeches, appeared on television, written op-ed articles and taken telephone calls from journalists and senators. He has juggled book offers but says he has no plans to write anything that would seem to exploit his newfound fame. Soon he will begin teaching jobs at George Washington University and the College of William and Mary, where he may write a book on presidential decision-making since World War II. Though Mr. Powell has kept his silence about his former aide, he has let it be known through friends that he objects to the charges, especially the suggestion that he was overly loyal to President Bush. 'It's very painful for me,' Mr. Wilkerson says. 'I've lost a friend of 16 years. I won't say I've lost him, but the estrangement is palpable.' One e-mail message he says he got from Mr. Powell complained tersely, 'Don't characterize my loyalty.' On the other hand, Mr. Wilkerson says that Mr. Powell won crucial policy battles in making sure that the issue of Iraq was taken to the United Nations and in battling Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney for the cause of improving relations with Europe, encouraging negotiations with North Korea and Iraq, and avoiding confrontations with Russia and China. He says his decision to speak in the open about the policy wars of the first Bush term was slow in coming, but a major factor was the revelations about Abu Ghraib, which he said he realized, after studying the matter, had resulted from decisions on prisoner treatment and intelligence set shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. Army discipline is something Mr. Wilkerson says he has understood since Vietnam, where he flew helicopters starting in 1969. 'I've been there,' he said. 'I've stood on the hot parade ground as a pilot. I've cursed generals.' He added, 'I understood the bestiality that comes over men when they're asked to use force for the state.' He recalled that a battalion commander once declared an area a free-fire zone, 'which means that anything that moves, you shoot it.' One of his gunners killed a 13-year-old girl, Mr. Wilkerson says, adding, 'I will always live with that for the rest of my life.' After the Wilkerson attacks, administration spokesmen avoided any official response. But many administration officials have acknowledged their displeasure. A half-dozen former colleagues of Mr. Wilkerson's at the State Department, none of whom wanted to be quoted by name out of deference to Mr. Powell's silence, said they were not especially surprised that he had begun to speak out, but that they found his criticisms unseemly. A former colleague said it seemed Mr. Wilkerson was motivated by his concern about what had happened to the Army as a result of allegations of prisoner mistreatment and poor decisions on the Iraq war. 'Larry loves the Army, and he loves the people in the Army,' said a former State Department official. 'As somebody who thinks of himself as a leader of people, my sense is that he couldn't be silent anymore.' BORN in South Carolina, the son of a bombardier in the Army Air Corps in World War II, Mr. Wilkerson bounced around the country growing up while his father worked after the war as an insurance executive. Months before he was to graduate from Bucknell in 1966, he decided to enlist. But without a college degree, he found that only the Army would let him fly. After Vietnam, Mr. Wilkerson received advanced degrees in international relations and national security, and served on the faculty of the United States Naval War College at Newport, R.I., and as director of the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Va. In 1989 he was hired as a speechwriter and top aide by Mr. Powell, who had left the post of national security adviser under President Reagan and later became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 'Larry has two qualities that Powell appreciated,' recalls another top aide to the former secretary. 'First, he could always find the big picture in whatever was going on. Second, he always tore things apart. He never takes things at face value, and what he's doing now is a kind of exaggeration of what he used to do internally.' Mr. Powell turned to Mr. Wilkerson to go with him to the C.I.A. to sort through the mounds of material prepared to buttress the case against Saddam Hussein on the eve of the Iraq war, for the lengthy presentation the secretary gave on Feb. 5, 2003, at the United Nations Security Council. 'He found that the draft didn't have the sourcing and backing that we wanted and he tore the whole thing apart and put it back together,' the former State Department official recalled. 'He was Powell's internal iconoclast.' Mr. Wilkerson recalls the preparation of the Feb. 5 presentation, which Mr. Powell has acknowledged will be remembered as a blot on his career because of its mistakes on intelligence, as an exercise in frustration. It was an embittering experience for everyone at the State Department, Mr. Wilkerson says, to be saddled with presenting what turned out to be false information at the United Nations, and also to have been sidelined in the running of postwar Iraq by the Pentagon. 'When I rationalize for myself not resigning, I did it by saying, 'This is the only sane member of this administration,' ' Mr. Wilkerson said of Mr. Powell.

Subject: Shantytown Dwellers in South Africa
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 09:41:03 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/international/africa/25durban.html?ex=1293166800&en=6f928ad671f131fe&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Shantytown Dwellers in South Africa Protest Sluggish Pace of Change By MICHAEL WINES JOHANNESBURG - Sending what some call an ominous signal to this nation's leaders, South Africa's sprawling shantytowns have begun to erupt, sometimes violently, in protest over the government's inability to deliver the better life that the end of apartheid seemed to herald a dozen years ago. At a hillside shantytown in Durban called Foreman Road, riot police officers fired rubber bullets in mid-November to disperse 2,000 residents marching to the municipal mayor's office downtown. Two protesters were injured; 45 were arrested. The rest burned an effigy of the city's mayor, Obed Mlaba. Their grievance was unadorned: since Foreman Road's 1,000 shacks sprang up nearly two decades ago, the only measurable improvements to the residents' lives amounted to a single water standpipe and four scrap-wood privies. Electricity and real toilets were a pipe dream. Promises of new homes, they said, were ephemeral. 'This is the worst area in the country,' said one resident, a middle-aged man who identified himself only as Senior. 'We don't so much need water or electricity. We need land and housing. They need to find us land and build us new homes.' In Pretoria that week, 500 shantytown residents looted and burned a city council member's home and car to protest limited access to government housing. Two weeks earlier, protesters burned municipal offices in Promosa after being evicted from their illegal shanties. In late September, Botleng Township residents rioted after a sewage-fouled water supply caused 600 cases of typhoid and perhaps 20 deaths. And just Thursday, Cape Town officials warned residents of a vast shantytown near the city airport that they faced arrest if they tried to squat in an unfinished housing project nearby. South Africa's safety and security minister said in October that 881 protests rocked slums in the preceding year; unofficial tallies say that at least 50 were violent. Statistics for previous years were not kept, but one analyst, David Hemson of the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria, estimated that the minister's tally was at least five times the number of any comparable previous period. 'I think it's one of the most important developments in the postliberation period,' said Mr. Hemson, who leads a project on urban and rural development for the council. 'It shows that ordinary people are now feeling that they can only get ahead by coming out on the streets and mobilizing - and those are the poorest people in society. That's a sea change from the position in, say, 1994, when everyone was expecting great changes from above.' In fact, the government has made great changes. Since 1994, South Africa's government has built and largely given away 1.8 million basic houses, usually 16 feet by 20 feet, often to former shantytown dwellers. More than 10 million have gained access to clean water, and countless others have been connected to electrical lines or basic sanitation facilities. Yet at the same time, researchers say, rising poverty has caused 2 million to lose their homes and 10 million more to have their water or power cut off because of unpaid bills. And the number of shanty dwellers has grown by as much as 50 percent, to 12.5 million people - more than one in four South Africans, many living in a level of squalor that would render most observers from the developed world speechless. For South African blacks, the current plight is uncomfortably close to the one they endured under apartheid. Black shantytowns first rose under white rule, the result of policies intended to keep nonwhites impoverished and powerless. During apartheid, from the 1940's to the 1980's, officials uprooted and moved millions of blacks, consigning many to transit camps that became permanent shantytowns, sending others to black townships that quickly attracted masses of squatters. Privation led millions more blacks to migrate to the cities, setting up vast squatter camps on the outskirts of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and other cities. From its first days, South Africa's black government pledged to address the misery of shanty life. That the problem has instead worsened, social scientists, urban planners and many politicians say, is partly the result of fiscal policies that have focused on nurturing the first-world economy which, under apartheid, made this Africa's wealthiest and most advanced nation. The government's low-deficit, low-inflation strategy was built on the premise that a stable economy would attract investment, and that the wealth would spread to the poor. But while the first-world economy has boomed, it has failed to lift the vast underclass out of its misery. Unemployment, estimated at 26 percent in 1994, has soared to roughly 40 percent many analysts say; the government, which does not count those who have stopped looking for work, says joblessness is lower. Big industries like mining and textiles have laid off manual laborers, and expanding businesses like banking and retailing have failed to pick up the slack. Many of the jobless have moved to the slums. So far, the shantytown protests have focused exclusively on local officials who bear the brunt of slum dwellers' rage. But while almost all those officials belong to the governing African National Congress, and execute the party's social and economic policies, 'the poor haven't made the connection as yet,' said Adam Habib, another scholar at the Human Sciences Research Institute who recently completed a study of South Africa's social movements. On the contrary, national support for President Thabo Mbeki's governing coalition appears greater than ever before. Still, Mr. Mbeki has been visiting shantytowns and townships, promising to increase social spending and demanding that his ministers improve services to the poor. For now, nearly half the 284 municipal districts, charged with providing local services, cannot, the national ministry for local government says. Their problems vary from shrunken tax bases to inconsistent allotments of national money to AIDS, which has depleted the ranks of skilled local managers. Incompetence and greed are rife. In Ehlanzeni, a district of nearly a million people in Mpumalanga Province, 3 out of 4 residents have no trash collection, 6 out of 10 have no sanitation and 1 in 3 lack water - and the city manager makes more than Mr. Mbeki's $180,000 annual salary. The frustrations of slum dwellers began to boil over in mid-2004, when residents in a shantytown near Harrismith, about 160 miles southeast of Johannesburg, rioted and blocked a major freeway to protest their living conditions. The police fatally shot a 17-year-old protester. Since then, demonstrations have spread to virtually every corner of the nation. In Durban, the city is erecting some 16,000 starter houses a year, but the shanty population, now about 750,000, continues to grow by more than 10 percent annually. The city's 180,000 shanties, crammed into every conceivable open space, are a remarkable sight. Both free-standing and sharing common walls, they spill down hillsides between middle-class subdivisions, perch beside freeway exits and crowd next to foul landfills. They are built of scrap wood and metal and corrugated panels and plastic tarpaulin roofs weighed down with concrete chunks. Their insides are often coated with sheets of uncut milk and juice cartons, sold as wallpaper at curbside markets, to keep both the wind and prying eyes from exploiting the chinks in their shoddily built walls. The 1,000 or so hillside shanties at Foreman Road are typical. A standpipe at the top provides water, carried by bucket to each shack for bathing and dishwashing. At the bottom, perhaps 400 feet down a ravine, are four hand-dug, scrap-wood privies - each one, on this day, inexplicably padlocked shut. Residents say they seldom trek down to the privies, relieving themselves instead in plastic bags and buckets that can be periodically emptied or thrown away. The one-room shacks provide the rudest sort of shelter. A bed typically takes up half the space; a table holds cookware; clothes go in a small chest. There is no electricity, and so no television; entertainment comes from battery-powered radios. Residents use kerosene stoves and candles for cooking and heat, with predictable results. A year ago, a wind-whipped fire destroyed 288 shacks here. A fire at a Cape Town shantytown early this month left 4,000 people homeless. A few shacks are painted in riotous colors or decorated with placards hawking milk or tobacco, or shingled with signs ripped from light poles, once posted to warn that electricity thieves had left live power lines dangling in the street. The residents say Mayor Mlaba promised during his last election campaign to erect new homes on the slum site and on vacant land opposite their hillside. Instead, however, the city proposed to move the slum residents to rural land far off Durban's outskirts - and far from the gardening, housecleaning and other menial jobs they have found during Foreman Road's 16-odd years of existence. Lacking cars, taxi fare or even bicycles to commute to work, the residents marched in protest on Nov. 14, defying the city's refusal to issue a permit. The demonstration quickly turned violent. Afterward, in an interview that he cut short, a clearly nettled Mayor Mlaba argued that the protest had been the work of agitators bent on embarrassing him before local elections next year. 'Of course it's political,' he said. 'All of a sudden, they've got leaders. There weren't any leaders yesterday. Are they going to be there in 2006 or 2007, after the elections?' Also suspecting agitators, South Africa's government reacted initially to the shantytown protests by ordering its intelligence service to determine whether outsiders - a 'third force' in the parlance of this nation's liberation struggles - sought to undermine the government. Residents here scoff at that. 'The third force,' said the man called Senior, 'is the conditions we are living in.' In a shack roughly 7 feet by 8 feet, a third of the way down Foreman Road's ravine, Zamile Msane, 32, lives with her 58-year-old mother and three children, ages 12, 15 and 17. Ms. Msane has no job. A sister gives her family secondhand clothes, and neighbors donate cornmeal for food. In seven years, she has fled three wildfires, in 1998, 2000 and 2004, losing everything each time. Yet Ms. Msane, who came here from the Eastern Cape eight years ago, said she would not return to the farm where she once lived, because there was nothing to eat. Ms. Msane said she joined the Nov. 14 march for one reason. 'Better conditions,' she said. 'It's not good here, because these are not proper houses. There's mud outside. We're always living in fear of fires. Winter is too cold; summer is too warm. Life is so difficult.'

Subject: Re: Shantytown Dwellers in South Africa
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 23:54:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks for the article Emma and compliments of the season to you. The article is packed with many shocking statistics, most of which I agree with. There is however a few stats that apear to be slanted or skewed, also none of the 'good stats' are included. For example the article states, 'Unemployment, estimated at 26 percent in 1994, has soared to roughly 40 percent..' That statement is simply untrue. There are really only two organizations that monitor unemployment in South Africa, the national Human Resources Statistics (funded by the government) and the UNISA (University of South Africa). I worked with both organizations in definition of this exact stat. There is an issue over the 'informal sector' which is a large employer and is not reflected in the stats. Now I remember clearly that in 1994 the stats showed 40% unemployment - so to say it was 26% back then is simply a lie. To say it is 40% today is also a lie. It more like the other way around. 40% back in 1994 and 26% today. That is a significant drop in 10 years. Inflation in the Apartheid led South Africa was 12%, today it hovers below 4%. Back then the economy ran at an outrageous deficit, today it is in surplus. Back then growth was negative (net loss of companies) since 1994 we have seen South Africa's longest period of economic growth in their entire history. Also keep in mind that up until 1990, South Africa had a Mickey Mouse sized economy based primarily on the mining (which was an incredible employer of tens of thousands of people). Today we live in different world, changing prices of minerals has seen many mines close down (creating high unemployment) yet South Africa has succeeded to diversify their economy to become a highly and fully industrialised economy. For example, today South Africa is the world's second largest manufacture of new car parts. Next time you see a BMW 3 series, think to your self, that car was fully made with African hands. South Africa's old economic base consisted of 6 million tax payers (about 90% white population). Today the economic base is 10 million people showing that in 4 years, 4 million new tax payers have 'arrived' all of which are non white. In essence South Africa has succeeded in beating the 'Trickle Down Effect' and has succeeded in an amazing program of 'Economic Democratisation'. This has been done through their Affirmative Action Plan. With the additional 4 million tax payers/buyers, one can easily understand how South Africa has continued to fuel its own economic boom. Now the problem: Well South Africa has a population of 40 million (and growing). Only 10 million are lucky to enjoy the fruits of its economic boom. There's plenty of work to be done. There is also plenty anger by those who are not participating, especially when they see their various leaders be consistently caught in corruption scandals and their services are not happening. Here's the weird part, why does the majority of black South Africans continue to vote for the current government in growing numbers? The leading ANC party's leadership has over the last 10 years grown? Why? I really wish that these angry mobs would vote against the government and send a democratic message..... but hey...

Subject: Too Big? Too Small? Midsize
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 09:39:29 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/business/yourmoney/25midcap.html?ex=1293166800&en=a5937284255de011&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Too Big? Too Small? Midsize Seems Just Right for Stocks By J. ALEX TARQUINIO SMALL-CAP stocks dished out supersized returns in recent years. But in 2005, shares of midsize companies have been serving up the best results - a trend that some market strategists predict will continue. Small-cap stocks, those of companies with market capitalization of less than $2 billion, tend to shine when stocks in general are emerging from a bear market. But by this stage in the economic recovery, strategists say that midcap stocks - those of companies with market caps of roughly $2 billion to $15 billion - have many advantages over smaller stocks. 'I'm concerned about small caps, which have begun to lag,' said Stuart Schweitzer, global markets strategist at J. P. Morgan Fleming, the asset management arm of J. P. Morgan Chase. Small caps can be very sensitive to changes in interest rates, he said, while midcaps are more insulated from such movements. Some analysts expect that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates at least through next spring. Midcaps certainly sprinted ahead of small caps this year. The Russell 2000 index - a common proxy for small-cap stocks - is up 5.35 percent, compared with a 13.9 percent gain in the Russell Midcap index. And many investors are betting that midcaps will keep outperforming the small fry next year. In the first three quarters of 2005, investors put more than $21 billion into midcap mutual funds, while putting less than $3 billion into small-cap funds, according to Lipper. Although midcaps are more liquid than small caps, Mr. Schweitzer said the stocks were still small enough that if money kept flowing into midcap funds at that pace, midcap stocks could be pushed sharply higher. Opinion is more divided over how large caps will fare in 2006. This year, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, which includes many such stocks, is up 4.68 percent, and investors took more than $50 billion out of large-cap funds in the first three quarters. Mr. Schweitzer said he thought that large stocks in general - those in the S.& P. 500, but not necessarily the biggest - might outperform midcap stocks. But he predicted that the performance gap between large and midsize stocks would be modest when compared with that between large and small stocks. Some strategists say the heavyweights are undervalued. The 25 largest companies in the S.& P. 500 account for 43 percent of the earnings. At the end of 2003, they were also 43 percent of its market capitalization. But that figure has fallen steadily, to around 40 percent, said Henry McVey, chief United States investment strategist at Morgan Stanley. Although Mr. McVey said he thought that money would eventually move back into megacap companies - as the largest are often called - he said that many of these companies would need to restructure before they could lure investors back. Meanwhile, he is advising investors to lean toward midcaps. But Satya Pradhuman, the chief small-cap strategist at Merrill Lynch, who analyzes trends for companies valued below $8 billion, says he sees a fundamental shift away from domestic megacap stocks and toward a host of asset classes that include small-cap and midcap stocks, but also emerging-market debt and equities, high-yield bonds and private equity funds. 'This is a bigger trade,' he said. 'Investors are looking at these other asset classes because they aren't confident in earnings growth.' Mr. Pradhuman said he thought that Wall Street earnings estimates were pegged too high in general, and that there was very little room for positive surprises over the next two to three quarters. 'I don't see an ugly equity market,' he said. ' I just think the earnings hurdles are too high.' Within the midcap category, many strategists say, growth stocks could stand out next year. Although midcaps are often more stable than small caps, 'they aren't sprawling enterprises yet,' Mr. McVey said. So they can grow at a faster clip than many large-cap companies. Some managers of midcap funds predict that sector selection will be less important next year than it has been in 2005 - a year when energy and utilities stocks have trounced the broader stock market and when the managers have had to avoid some troubled industries, like automobiles, to keep from lagging behind their peer group. For instance, the opportunities could shift next year within the energy and technology sectors, said William D'Alonzo, who manages the Brandywine fund, which invests in companies of all sizes; the average market capitalization of its portfolio companies is around $9 billion. Mr. D'Alonzo said he thought that many technology companies had been chasing consumer dollars in recent years because corporations and governments had reined in their own spending. But he predicted that consumer spending would start to lag, while corporate and government spending on information technology would pick up. The Harris Corporation, a $6 billion company based in Melbourne, Fla., is among the fund's holdings that could benefit if Mr. D'Alonzo is correct about this trend. Harris sells communications equipment, primarily to government and the American space and military industries. The company's earnings grew 62 percent in the third quarter, the fifth consecutive quarter that they exceeded analysts' estimates, Mr. D'Alonzo said. Within energy, he has limited the fund's exposure to the big energy suppliers, like Exxon Mobil, while emphasizing smaller oil and gas services companies. He said he likes Weatherford, one of the fund's 10 largest holdings, because he thinks that its drilling business would be largely insulated from oil price swings. Although the mean estimate from analysts for Weatherford's 2006 earnings has risen to $3.99 a share, from $3.14 in May, Mr. D'Alonzo said he thought that the company's earnings could exceed even that higher estimate next year. Christopher McHugh, the lead manager of the Turner Midcap Growth fund, tries to match the sector weightings in the Russell Midcap Growth index, though he will emphasize certain industries. He is currently favoring semiconductor and networking companies, while limiting software stocks to just 2 percent of the portfolio. He also likes some specialty retailers. Urban Outfitters, a $5 billion company based in Philadelphia, is among the retail stocks in the portfolio. Mr. McHugh said he thought that the company could increase its earnings - regardless of the general direction of consumer spending - by opening new stores, because the chain is relatively small as compared with other specialty retailers like the Gap. He said he thought that Urban Outfitters could increase its stores' total square feet by 20 percent next year. Mr. McHugh likes smaller technology companies, where he also sees room for earnings growth. He points to one of the fund's holdings, F5 Networks, a $2 billion company based in Seattle that helps companies manage their Internet traffic. Mr. McHugh said he thought it could increase earnings in 2006 by 20 percent, which would beat Wall Street analysts' estimates. Although midcaps may be the flavor of the moment, Mr. Pradhuman, the Merrill Lynch strategist, warns risk-adverse investors to think twice before jumping in with both feet. He also advises all types of investors not to venture into midcaps if they will need the money back soon. While these stocks tend to be more stable than small caps, they are often more volatile than shares of larger companies. 'As much as we like this asset class, it's not for everyone,' he said.

Subject: Labor's Lost Story
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 09:06:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/28/AR2005112801227_pf.html November 29, 2005 Labor's Lost Story By E. J. Dionne Jr. Decades ago, Walter Reuther, the storied head of the United Auto Workers union, was taken on a tour of an automated factory by a Ford Motor Co. executive. Somewhat gleefully, the Ford honcho told the legendary union leader: 'You know, not one of these machines pays dues to the UAW.' To which Reuther snapped: 'And not one of them buys new Ford cars, either.' The historian William L. O'Neill tells this story in 'American High,' his fine and appropriately titled book about the 1950s, a time when 'autoworkers were the best-paid production line operatives in the world.' It helps explain why General Motors' layoffs of 30,000 workers, announced last week, have become a new litmus test in American politics. Almost everybody right of center sees the job losses as inevitable, the result of the American auto industry's failure to meet foreign competition and the 'excessively' generous wages, health benefits and, especially, retirement programs negotiated by Reuther's union. The believers in inevitability inevitably cite the economist Joseph Schumpeter to the effect that capitalism 'is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is, but never can be, stationary.' It is capitalism's gift for 'creative destruction,' Schumpeter argued, that guaranteed new consumer goods, new methods of production and new forms of organization. A different story is told left of center, though it will come as no shock that progressives can't quite agree on a single narrative. The left is united in talking about rising health care costs and the fact that most of our foreign competitors have government-run health insurance systems that take the burden of health care off employers. The iconic number: providing health care for workers and retirees accounts for $1,500 in the cost of each American-made car. Critics of globalization tell an additional story of how free trade is sending many of our best-paying blue-collar jobs offshore. There is also the decline of union membership, a chicken-and-egg tale, since private-sector unions historically were strongest in the older manufacturing industries such as steel and cars. The UAW's numbers tell the story: 1,619,000 members in 1970, 1,446,000 in 1980, 952,000 in 1990, 623,000 in 2004. Where have you gone, Walter Reuther? The contrast between these two accounts explains why economic conservatives currently hold the upper hand in America's political debate. The conservatives have a single, coherent story and stick to it: Economic change is good for everyone, especially for consumers, who get better stuff at lower prices. The fact that 'producer groups' (such as those unions) are losing their 'monopolies' and their capacity for 'rent seeking' is cheered as progress. The left's narrative is less compelling not only because there is no single story but also because few on the left attack the current system with the same gusto the right brings to defending it. Gone, for good reason, is the time when significant parts of the left called for 'government ownership of the means of production.' Much of the left accepts a certain amount of creative destruction because, in Margaret Thatcher's famous phrase, there is no alternative. But this muddle reflects a default on parts of the left and, especially, within the Democratic Party. Because so many Democrats fear that they might sound like -- God forbid! -- socialists, they are unwilling to challenge the right's core story. Capitalism, all by itself, would never have achieved the rising living standards that were the pride of the United States in O'Neill's 1950s and still are today. The rules enforced by the National Labor Relations Board made it possible for Reuther's union to organize by protecting workers' rights. Cheap 30-year mortgages, which became the norm because of Federal Housing Administration guarantees, created a nation of homeowners. As medical costs rise, more Americans will need government help. More employers will need to offload the costs of medical insurance to avoid bankruptcy. Yes, that's 'socialized medicine,' just like Medicare. But don't tell anyone. The phrase plays terribly in focus groups. For 60 years New Dealers and social democrats, liberals and progressives, turned Schumpeter on his head. They insisted that few would embrace capitalism's innovations if the system's tendency toward creative destruction was not balanced by public innovations to spread the bounty and protect millions from being injured by change. It's a compelling story. Walter Reuther knew it well. Too bad it isn't told very often anymore.

Subject: What Makes a Nation More Productive
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 06:26:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/business/yourmoney/25view.html?ex=1293166800&en=73bad124c56d1572&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 What Makes a Nation More Productive? It's Not Just Technology By DANIEL GROSS IN 2001, the stock market meltdown and a brief recession threw cold water on the widely held belief that the United States economy, juiced by a technological revolution, had entered a new era of limitless, inflation-free growth. But today, as bubble-era books like 'Dow 36,000' collect dust on library shelves, evidence is mounting that there may be a new economy after all. In the late 1990's, growth in labor productivity - the amount of output per hour per worker - kicked into a higher gear. From 1996 through 1999, it grew at a blistering annual rate of 2.5 percent, compared with 1.4 percent from 1972 to 1995. Economists generally believed that the higher rate was a byproduct of the new economy. Much of the growth was spurred by the highly productive businesses that made information technology products - companies like Dell, Intel and Microsoft - and by their customers, who spent heavily to deploy productivity-enhancing PC's and software. 'About half of the growth resurgence from 1995 to 2000 was due to I.T.,' said Dale Jorgenson, university professor at Harvard and a co-author of the recently published 'Information Technology and the American Growth Resurgence.' As the technology investment boom of the 1990's gave way to bust in 2000, many analysts feared that the productivity gains would dissipate. Instead, productivity since 2000 has grown at a substantially higher pace than it did in the late 1990's. And productivity growth is still strong. This month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that productivity in the third quarter was up 3.1 percent from the same quarter last year. A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, found that sectors other than technology have been driving the growth in the post-bust years. 'The I.T.-producing industry itself, with its extraordinarily rapid pace of change, certainly has contributed to overall productivity growth,' said Martin Baily, a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics, based in Washington. 'But now we're getting a bigger share from the rest of the economy.' Mr. Baily, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Clinton administration, was co-author of the McKinsey report with Diana Farrell, the director of McKinsey Global. In the late 1990's, McKinsey found that six of the economy's 59 sectors accounted for virtually all productivity growth. Among the biggest contributors were new-economy industries like telecommunications, computer manufacturing and semiconductors. But from 2000 to 2003, the top seven sectors accounted for only 75 percent of the productivity increase. And five of the top contributors were service industries, including retail trade, wholesale trade and financial services. That is surprising, since economists have generally believed that it is much harder for service industries to reap sharp productivity gains than it is for manufacturers. To be sure, service industries have become more productive in recent years by continuing to invest in information technology. Yet there are also other factors at work. 'I.T. is a particularly effective enabling tool,' Ms. Farrell said. 'But without the competitive intensity that drives people to adopt innovation, we wouldn't see these kinds of gains.' To compete with Wal-Mart, for example, retailers of all stripes have been working furiously to gain scale, to manage supply chains and logistics more effectively, and to negotiate better terms with suppliers and workers. A similar dynamic has played out in the finance sector, where there has also been a huge gain in productivity. It is likely that competition and structural changes are responsible for those gains - both in the late 1990's and in recent years. Commissions for stock trades have fallen sharply amid relentless competition; spreads in stock trading have narrowed, thanks to rules promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission; and trading volume has risen, thanks to the proliferation of investors. Add it up, and you have more volume at lower cost to the customer. And when the stock market cooled after the Internet bubble, companies in the once-hot financial sector began to focus on cutting costs and eliminating unprofitable operations. Those moves further bolstered productivity. One mystery of recent years has been the enduring gap in productivity growth between the United States and Europe. In this case, another structural force - regulation - may be at work. 'In economies with less regulation, companies can use information communications technology that link sectors to one another in ways that create joint productivity,' said Gail Fosler, executive vice president and chief economist at the Conference Board. Because domestic retailers don't face the same sorts of restrictions on working hours and road use that European retailers do, for example, the Americans have been better able to use technology to manage trucking fleets, deliveries and inventory. The encouraging news, some economists say, is that a major breakthrough in information technology is not required to fuel further productivity growth. 'It's not research and development that cause the big gains in productivity,' Professor Jorgenson said. 'The real drivers are things like competition, deregulation, the opening of markets and globalization.' AS the gospel of increased productivity spreads to a wider range of sectors, more companies keep trying to figure out how to do more with the same amount of labor - or with less. For macroeconomists, that is good news. But there is a downside. In the past few years, payroll job growth has been far less robust than usual for post-recessionary periods. And because high productivity means that the economy can grow smartly without the addition of new jobs, some job seekers might wish that companies were a tad less efficient. Mr. Baily says that there does not have to be a trade-off between productivity and job creation. 'Historically, in the U.S. and in other countries, periods of rapid productivity growth have been periods of strong employment growth,' he said. That was certainly the case in the late 1990's. Why has the experience been different in the last several years? 'The loss of manufacturing jobs after 2000 was just huge, and those jobs haven't come back,' Mr. Baily said. The Big Three automakers have shed tens of thousands of jobs since 2000 because of competitive pressures and a drop in demand for their products. And it is likely that General Motors and Ford would be retrenching even if productivity in the service sector was growing at a much slower rate. 'It's hard to blame productivity growth for a lot of manufacturing job losses,' Mr. Baily said.

Subject: Take It From Japan: Bubbles Hurt
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 06:15:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/business/yourmoney/25japan.html?ex=1293166800&en=32ab31a39ab94fe6&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Take It From Japan: Bubbles Hurt By MARTIN FACKLER KASHIWA, Japan FOURTEEN years ago, Yoshihisa Nakashima looked at this sleepy suburb an hour and 20 minutes from downtown Tokyo and saw all the trappings of middle-class Japanese bliss: cherry-tree-lined roads, a cozy community where neighbors greeted one another in the morning and schools within easy walking distance for his two daughters. So Mr. Nakashima, a Tokyo city government employee who was then 36, took out a loan for almost the entire $400,000 price of a cramped four-bedroom apartment. With property values rising at double-digit rates, he would easily earn back the loan and then some when he decided to sell. Or so he thought. Not long after he bought the apartment, Japan's property market collapsed. Today, the apartment is worth half what he paid. He said he would like to move closer to the city but cannot: the sale price would not cover the $300,000 he still owes the bank. With housing prices in the United States looking wobbly after years of spectacular gains, it may be helpful to look at the last major economy to have a real estate bubble pop: Japan. What Americans see may scare them, but they may also learn ways to ease the pain. To be sure, there are several major differences between Japan in the 1980's and the United States today. One is the fact that property prices rose much faster and more steeply in Japan, partly because speculators used paper profits from a booming stock market to invest in property, insupportably leveraging the prices of both higher and higher. Another difference is that the biggest speculators in Japan's frenzy were deep-pocketed corporations, and they pumped up the commercial property market at the same time that home prices were inflating. Still, for anyone wondering why even the possibility of a housing bubble in the United States preoccupies so many economists, it is worth looking at how the property crash in Japan helped to flatten that economy, which is second only to that of the United States, and to keep it on the canvas for more than a decade. And as American homeowners contemplate what might happen if their property values fell -particularly if they fell hard - there are lessons in the bitter experiences of their Japanese counterparts like Mr. Nakashima. JAPAN suffered one of the biggest property market collapses in modern history. At the market's peak in 1991, all the land in Japan, a country the size of California, was worth about $18 trillion, or almost four times the value of all property in the United States at the time. Then came the crashes in both stocks and property, after the Japanese central bank moved too aggressively to raise interest rates. Both markets spiraled downward as investors sold stocks to cover losses in the land market, and vice versa, plunging prices into a 14-year trough, from which they are only now starting to recover. Now the land in Japan is worth less than half its 1991 peak, while property in the United States has more than tripled in value, to about $17 trillion. Homeowners were among the biggest victims of the Japanese real estate bubble. In Japan's six largest cities, residential prices dropped 64 percent from 1991 to last year. By most estimates, millions of homebuyers took substantial losses on the largest purchase of their lives. Their experiences contain many warnings. One is to shun the sort of temptations that appear in red-hot real estate markets, particularly the use of risky or exotic loans to borrow beyond one's means. Another is to avoid property that may be hard to unload when the market cools. Economists say Japan also contains lessons for United States policy makers, like Ben S. Bernanke, who is expected to become chairman of the Federal Reserve at the end of January. At the top of the list is to learn from the failure of Japan's central bank to slow the rise of the country's real estate and stock bubbles, and then its failure to soften their collapse. Only recently did Japan finally find ways to revive the real estate market, by using deregulation to spur new development. Most of all, economists say, Japan's experience teaches the need to be skeptical of that fundamental myth behind all asset bubbles: that prices will keep rising forever. Like their United States counterparts today, too many Japanese homebuyers overextended their debt, buying property that cost more than they could rationally afford because they assumed that values would only rise. When prices dropped, many buyers were financially battered or even wiped out. 'The biggest lesson from Japan is not to fall into the same state of denial that existed here,' said Yukio Noguchi, a finance professor at Waseda University in Tokyo who is perhaps the leading authority on the Japanese bubble. 'During a bubble, people don't believe that prices will fall,' he said. 'This has been proven wrong so many times in the past. But there's something in human nature that makes us unable to learn from history.' In the 1980's, Professor Noguchi said, the frenzy in Japan reached such extremes that companies tried to outbid one another even for land of little or no use. At the peak, an empty three-square-meter parcel (about 32 square feet) in a corner of the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo sold for $600,000, even though it was too small to build on. Plots only slightly larger gave birth to bizarre structures known as pencil buildings: tall, thin structures that often had just one small room per floor. As a result, Japan's property market in the 1980's was much more fragile than America's today, Professor Noguchi said. And when the market fell, it fell hard. Because of all the corporate speculation, the collapse wiped out company balance sheets, crippled the nation's banks and gave the overall economy a blow to the chin. Since 1991, Japan has spent 11 years sliding in and out of recession. It is only now showing meaningful signs of recovering, with the World Bank forecasting that Japan's economy will grow by a solid 2.2 percent this year Despite the differences, Professor Noguchi said he also saw parallels between Japan then and America now. Last year, as a visiting professor at Stanford, he said he read real estate articles in local newspapers that sounded eerily familiar. Houses were routinely selling for $10 million or more, he said, with buyers saying they felt that they had no choice but to buy now, before prices rose even further. 'It was déjà vu,' Professor Noguchi said. 'People were in a rush to buy, and at extraordinary prices. I saw this same haste psychology in Japan' in the 1980's. 'The classic definition of a bubble,' he added, 'is people buying on false expectations about future prices, and buying with the hope of selling in the future.' Economists and real estate experts see other parallels as well. In the 1980's, the expectation of rising real estate prices made many Japanese homebuyers feel comfortable about taking on huge debt. And they did so by using exotic loans that required little money upfront and that promised low monthly payments, at least for a short time. A similar pattern is found today in the United States, where the methods include interest-only mortgages, which allow homebuyers to repay no principal for a few years. Japan had its own versions of these loans, including the so-called three-generation loan, a 90- or even 100-year mortgage that permitted buyers to spread payments out over their lifetimes and those of their children and grandchildren. But when property prices dropped in Japan, homeowners found themselves saddled with loans far larger than the value of their real estate. Many fell into bankruptcy, especially those who lost their jobs or took pay cuts as declining property prices helped to incite a broader recession. From 1994 to 2003, the number of personal bankruptcies rose sixfold, to a record high of 242,357, according to the Japanese Supreme Court, which tracks such data. Even many of those who avoided financial collapse found themselves marooned in homes that they never intended as lifelong residences. For many Japanese homebuyers in the 1980's, land prices had risen so high that the only places they could afford were far from central Tokyo. Many went deep into debt to buy tiny or shoddily built homes that were two hours away from their offices. Now, after years of tumbling land prices have made Tokyo more affordable again, few people are shopping for homes in the distant suburbs. That has led to severe declines in property values in these outlying areas, leaving many people with homes that are worth less than the balance on their mortgages from a decade or more ago. Mr. Nakashima, who bought the apartment here in Kashiwa, said it would take him at least another decade to whittle down his loan to the point that he could pay it off by selling his home. And this assumes that the apartment does not drop further in value - a real possibility, because lower prices in Tokyo have led to a recent boom in construction of newer apartments in neighborhoods closer to downtown. 'We can't sell and get something better because we'll take such a huge loss,' said Mr. Nakashima, a serious man who recounts his story with careful precision, sometimes pausing to check dates. 'The collapse of the bubble robbed us of our freedom to choose where we can live.' He rues the idea that homes came to be seen as just another investment. 'Homes should be different from stocks,' he said. 'They shouldn't be the object of speculative investing. If home prices move too much, they can ruin your life.' Mr. Nakashima says he is resigned to spending the rest of his days in Kashiwa. It is peaceful here, after all, he said. There is also a bit of history: he pointed to two tree-covered mounds in a corner of the apartment complex that are said to contain the severed heads of samurai killed in a battle here five centuries ago. Some economists say that there are probably millions of people like Mr. Nakashima, trying to make the best of life in homes that are distant from work and for which they grossly overpaid. 'There is a whole generation of homebuyers stuck out in far suburbs,' said Atsushi Nakajima, chief economist at the research arm of the Mizuho Financial Group in Tokyo. 'It's sad, but Japan has basically forgotten about them, and is moving on. They are just left out there.' Mr. Nakajima said he had barely missed being stuck out there himself. In 1991, he was looking at a 100-square-meter apartment (1,080 square feet) for about $600,000 about two hours outside Tokyo. He said his wife stopped him. Six years later, he spent the same amount to buy a more spacious house in a downtown neighborhood. 'Maybe my wife should be the economist,' he said. Now that Japan's real estate market is finally showing signs of recovering from the 1991 collapse, economists say it offers a lesson for Americans in how to end - and not to end - a long slide in property prices. For years after the real estate bubble burst, the Japanese government tried to resuscitate the market and other parts of the economy with expensive public works projects, but they were so poorly planned that they succeeded only in inflating the national debt. NOT until the late 1990's did the government try a new tack: deregulation. To kick-start the economy, Tokyo started loosening restrictions on the financial industry. While most of this effort was aimed at reviving the banking industry, it also allowed investors to create real estate investment trusts, essentially mutual funds that invest in commercial property. A few years later, the government also eased building codes, such as height limits, and cut approval times for building permits. Economists and real estate executives credit these changes with bringing new money into the market, and with making redevelopment easier. The results are visible in a boom that is dotting the Tokyo skyline with cranes and new high-rises. They are also visible in statistics. Residential home prices in Tokyo rose 0.5 percent in the 12 months through July, the first gain in 15 years, the government said in September. Nationwide, land prices are still down, but the pace of decline has slowed to a crawl, the government said. 'Deregulation revived the Tokyo land market,' said Toshio Nagashima, executive vice president at Mitsubishi Estate, one of Japan's largest real estate companies. He said the changes were one reason that his company committed to spend $4.5 billion by 2007 to build six skyscrapers in the central Marunouchi financial district. Japanese economists say the United States is not likely to suffer a decline that is as severe or long-lasting as Japan's, because they see a more skilled hand at the tiller of the American economy: the Federal Reserve. Japan's central bank, the Bank of Japan, failed to curb the stock and real estate bubbles until mid-1989, when it was too late and prices were sky-high, they said. When it did take action, it moved faster and more drastically than Japan's overinflated land and stock markets could handle, raising its benchmark interest rate to 6 percent from 2.5 percent over 15 months. Economists say that this pulled the rug out from under both markets at the same time. Akio Makabe, a finance professor at Shinshu University in Matsumoto, says the Fed has been more deft in handling the rise in America's property market, which he believes is definitely in a bubble. He praised the Fed for apparently learning from Japan's mistakes, tightening more gradually and taking the economy's pulse as it does so. 'Japan shows the importance of avoiding a hard landing,' Professor Makabe said. 'Avoid big shocks. That is the biggest lesson of Japan's bubble.'

Subject: Tidings of Pride, Prayer and Pluralism
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 05:58:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/books/review/25meacham.html?ex=1293166800&en=fc91792ba74cb6a1&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Tidings of Pride, Prayer and Pluralism By JON MEACHAM On this morning of all mornings, the story of Christianity can seem smooth, straightforward, even sweet. With its angels and shepherds and luminous star in the sky, Christmas understandably tends to the cheerful; the faithful ponder the crèche, not the cross. Amid all this, it is unsettling to recall that Christianity is a confounding, often paradoxical faith. A father who sacrifices his son? A king who dies a criminal's death? A God whose weakness is his strength? Even St. Paul admitted that faith in Jesus required, if not what Samuel Taylor Coleridge later called a 'willing suspension of disbelief,' then at least an honest acknowledgment that much about the new religion surpassed understanding. There were often as many questions as answers. When the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is to bear Jesus, her first, shaky words are: 'How can this be, since I know not a man?' On the morning of the Resurrection, terrified by the empty tomb, Mary Magdalene runs to Peter and John to say: 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.' We do not know. And so it was that the faith now confessed by two billion people was born in fear and confusion. Christianity is difficult, both in practice and in theory. Following in the Judaic tradition of valuing human reason, Christians treasure the mind as a gift of God, and the faithful are called to use his gifts to the fullest; to fail to do so is a sin. Every believer, says the author of the First Epistle of St. Peter, should 'be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.' The admonition is a good one, for it encourages the faithful to ask questions, and in asking questions, one enters the debate about God and man that began with the ancient pagans. The suggestion that Christianity is a matter of both intellect and imagination, however, has fallen from popular favor. Many secularists see the whole business as fanciful, or, at best, as a comforting tale impossible to square with empirical truths. To literalist believers, imagination is beside the point: in their eyes, inerrant Scripture teaches humankind all it really needs to know. The current clash between secularism and religion in America is not new, but it is fierce. From Salem in the 17th century, to the Scopes trial in the 20th, to abortion rights, stem-cell research and 'intelligent design' in the 21st, it appears that such conflicts will, as Jesus said of the poor, be always with us. Now as in the past, it is fashionable for many on the left to caricature the faithful as superstitious and stiff-necked; on the right, conservatives attack the skeptical with anything but Christian charity. Yet whether one believes or disbelieves, many of us would like to see a calmer, more measured conversation about faith and reason than we have had in recent years. We might well begin with those on each extreme acknowledging that life is essentially mysterious: the world does not lend itself to simple explanation. 'O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!' Paul wrote. 'How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!' For the secular, there is Hamlet: 'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' In my view, allowing for the existence of a transcendent order seems sounder than flatly denying the possibility altogether. 'Reason itself is a matter of faith,' G. K. Chesterton wrote. 'It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.' Light can neither enter into nor emanate from a closed mind, and intellectual humility - acknowledging what we do not, and cannot, know - is often the beginning of wisdom. There is not much humility to be found in the pages of Rodney Stark's provocative new book, 'The Victory of Reason.' If one had been asked to choose in the ninth century A.D. which part of the world would dominate the others for much of the coming millennium, one would almost certainly have put money on the world of Islam - not on Western Europe. Why Europe and its New World colonies rose to pre-eminence after the close of the Middle Ages is arguably the single greatest puzzle of modern history. Stark, however, is not puzzled. His answers are crisp, certain and to the point. Four decades ago the historian William McNeill credited Europe's ascent to its taste for war, its navigational techniques and its resistance to disease; more recently - and more vividly - Jared Diamond argued that guns, germs and steel decided the fate of the world. Now comes Stark, a prolific sociologist of religion, with a different argument. 'Christianity,' he writes, 'created Western Civilization.' He believes that the Christian emphasis on reason was the motive force in the West's rise to global dominance: 'While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth.' Stark is right to argue that the idea that Christianity is incompatible with reason, a line of thought running from Celsus in the late second century to the philosophes of the Enlightenment, does not withstand historical scrutiny. In many ways, Christianity was a force for good in the West - though as the Inquisition, pogroms and centuries of intolerance show, it could also be a force for evil, a fact believers ought to confront, confess and guard against. Stark is apparently not one for such confrontation and confession, and therein lies a problem with his argument: he is offering an absolutist answer to one of history's most complex questions. Intent on demolishing the familiar secular thesis that religion impeded progress in economics, science and politics, Stark gets carried away. Crediting Christianity with the good things of life while neglecting the faith's shortcomings, he takes only the most fleeting account of the cultural, philosophical and religious tributaries that helped create the West's mighty river. 'Had the followers of Jesus remained an obscure Jewish sect, most of you would not have learned to read and the rest of you would be reading from hand-copied scrolls,' he writes. 'Without a theology committed to reason, progress and moral equality' - all of which could describe faiths other than Christianity - 'today the entire world would be about where non-European societies were in, say, 1800: a world with many astrologers and alchemists but no scientists. A world of despots, lacking universities, banks, factories, eyeglasses, chimneys and pianos. . . . A world truly living in 'dark ages.' ' For Stark, Christianity was the only thing standing between us and such a gloomy fate, for, he writes, the Christian love of reason helped create the whole idea of progress in all fields of human endeavor. Christianity was unquestionably an enormous factor in the story of Western progress. But there were others. Geography (Islam coveted Byzantium, not Europe), economics (Europe was less dependent on the vagaries of agriculture than other parts of the world) and tradition (in the form of the contributions of other cultures) were essential, too. China created gunpowder and paper and the compass; before the monks could preserve the manuscripts of the classics, Islam rescued the works of Aristotle and other ancient philosophers, laid strong foundations in science and medicine and helped create a global market linking Europe with the East through the Islamic world. History did not begin with Augustine or Aquinas. To return to Chesterton, a view like Stark's overlooks the role of tradition - the handing on of the work of previous generations. Tradition, Chesterton wrote during the Edwardian Age, 'means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. . . . We will have the dead at our councils.' Stark declines to acknowledge the debt Christians owe their Islamic, Jewish, Greek, Roman, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist fathers. He fails to count all the ballots of the dead and does not really care to: in his eyes, the future not only belonged to Christianity -Christianity basically created the future. In the early years of the faith, he writes, 'the church fathers taught that reason was the supreme gift from God and the means to progressively increase their understanding of Scripture and revelation. Consequently, Christianity was oriented to the future, while the other major religions asserted the superiority of the past.' Yet Christianity has never had a monopoly on rational theology or on a concern for the future. Greece and Rome came first, and without the classical principle of 'noncontradiction' - the idea that a faith could assert, for example, that 'Jesus is Lord' and no one else is - it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, for Christianity to express its faith in doctrine. Judaism and Islam, meanwhile, have long histories of approaching scripture allegorically and critically. Stark quotes the Koran as evidence of Islam's supposed innate emphasis on fundamentalism: the text, the verse says, is 'the Scripture whereof there is no doubt.' Many Christians, though, have taken the words of II Timothy - 'all Scripture is inspired by God' - to mean that the Bible is inerrant. The fact that Jesus himself spoke so often in parables signals the nature and richness of the Jewish approach to theology and philosophy. Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenistic Jew, was a seminal interpreter of Scripture and tradition. His application of classical thought, logical rigor and literary criticism to Jewish texts foreshadowed and shaped the rationality Stark attributes to Christian thinkers. (Philo is not mentioned in the book.) Talmudic and Rabbinic Judaism are built on argument and reflection. Maimonides, who flourished under Islamic rulers, argued that the discoveries of science and philosophy could not be incompatible with the truths ordained by God (Maimonides is not mentioned either). In Islam, every verse of the Koran, meanwhile, is an 'ayah,' or a 'sign,' to ponder in order to recognize and understand the divine. One of the four basic 'roots' in Islamic jurisprudence is reasoning. 'The Victory of Reason' is more polemic than history, which is too bad, for Stark is on to something important. The author of many books, including the brilliant 'Rise of Christianity,' he is a consistently interesting writer, and provocation is not necessarily a bad thing. Big debates sometimes need to be shaken up, and intellectual life would be much the poorer without writers advancing bracing, if incomplete, arguments. In this case, Stark is most likely being deliberately contrarian in the hope that his argument will penetrate minds long fortified by Mencken-like snobbery about the Christian intellectual tradition. To me, however, the most relevant lesson of the book is not how much Christianity has done for the world through reason, but how much reason has done, and still must do, for Christianity. From Paul to Origen of Alexandria and beyond, the faith has fueled much intellectual good. In 1925, Alfred North Whitehead, whom Stark cites, argued that Christianity helped make Western science possible. It was the Christian idea of God, 'conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher,' Whitehead wrote, that rewarded reasoned thinking and exploration. Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism, it is true, are not monotheistic - there is, to use Whitehead's imagery, no single philosophical Jehovah. Yet each culture has made its share of contributions to the rising tide of civilization, from developments in mathematics, the sciences and rational philosophy in India to philosophical thought and early inventions in China to the flowering of thought, high culture, economic systems and scientific achievement in medieval Islamic societies. Christianity has also had its share of dark intellectual hours. Stark mentions Galileo only twice, both times in passing, which is unfortunate, for there were voices in the Galileo affair arguing for a more reasoned reaction to the new science than condemnation and house arrest. It was Galileo who understood, better than his persecutors, how to reconcile apparent contradictions between faith and science. If reason leads humankind to discover a truth that seems to be incompatible with the Bible, Galileo argued, then the interpretation of Scripture, not the rational conclusion, should give way. In this he was echoing Augustine, who wrote: 'If it happens that the authority of sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, this must mean that the person who interprets Scripture does not understand it correctly.' Such is the intellectual footwork of a believer who is unprepared to allow the possibility that the Bible might be fallible, but Augustine's work enables Christians to take advantage of scientific and social advances without surrendering the ultimate authority of revelation. Guided by these lights, despite its sins and shortcomings, the church has ultimately removed the biblical support for the ideas that the earth, not the sun, is the physical center of the universe, that slavery is divinely ordained or that women are property. In the West, a combination of curiosity and courage, one with roots in both classical and monotheistic thinking, enabled Europeans to set out, learn from other cultures and put that borrowed knowledge to work, often on a grand scale. As Bernard Lewis and others have pointed out, Europe had more reason to be interested in Islam than Islam did in Europe. Christianity's holiest places were under Muslim control after earlier, short-lived crusader kingdoms in Jerusalem. Islam was also a military threat to Europe; on two occasions, one in the 16th century, the other in the 17th, the Turks nearly conquered Vienna. The Western hunger for information and invention was not intrinsically Christian. It was, rather, intrinsically human. That the questing Europeans were Christian was not insignificant, but their faith in Jesus was hardly their sole motive. Stark is to be commended for celebrating the rational element of Christian religion and culture - a part that deserves celebration and needs to be recovered. To paraphrase John Donne, though, Christian Europe was not an island. To act as if it were amounts to a sin of pride - and, as the Book of Proverbs says, 'Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.' Pride is fueling an unhappy trend toward Christian self-satisfaction in the United States. Though roughly 80 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians, conservative evangelicals have long felt themselves under siege, particularly since the 1962 Supreme Court decision banning government-written prayer in public schools. In reaction they have spent the ensuing four decades becoming a major political force. Instead of reading Stark as an amicus brief for the faith, though, believers might be best off taking his case for an intellectually curious Christianity to heart. Such a faith might profitably begin with a consideration of Augustine, who argued for the significance not only of reason but of free will - the idea that people have it within their power to choose to accept God and follow his commandments in the hope of attaining everlasting life. We are also free to choose another course, one leading, in religious terms, away from God. This is not esoteric theology, for free will is linked to a question central to American life: religious liberty. If the prevailing culture can coerce the reluctant to say prayers they do not wish to say, then faith is no longer a matter of free will. To render religion compulsory cheapens it and turns the entire enterprise into a sinful one, for the majority is making an idol of itself by compelling obedience - something God himself refuses to do. An important new book, 'Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously,' edited by Barbara A. McGraw and Jo Renee Formicola, lays out the history of tolerance in the United States while urgently reminding us what is at stake when we speak, as we so often do, of 'church and state' or 'moral values' or 'the culture wars.' A series of essays by various contributors, the volume discusses religion in America's public square from the perspective of different traditions and recovers early American thought on the connection between God and politics. Exploring John Locke's influence on the founders, McGraw writes that, contrary to prevailing academic sentiment, Locke was not a 'secular' philosopher. 'Locke did not reject religion,' she writes. 'Instead, he shifted to a different religious idea based on a very simple theology: there is God, and God communicates with the people.' Hence the centrality of religious liberty. 'This is why freedom of conscience must be preserved: so that the people can listen for and hear the voice of God and participate in society according to that call,' McGraw says. By 'God,' the founders meant many things. They referred to a supernatural presence by the following terms: 'Supreme Governor of the Universe,' 'Governor of the Universe,' 'the Universal Sovereign,' 'Nature's God,' 'Creator,' 'Supreme Judge of the World' and 'Divine Providence.' McGraw coined the term 'America's Sacred Ground' a few years ago, a social science construct with subsidiary parts called the 'Civic Public Forum' and the 'Conscientious Public Forum,' about which the contributors speak as though these were geographical places (for example, such and such issue should be debated on 'America's Sacred Ground' in the same way one would say something should be debated in, say, Boston or Atlanta). The technical terms are distracting, but distraction is a small price to pay for the book's valuable insights and welcome spirit of moderation. The politics of what is called, depending on where you stand, the 'religious right' or 'the faith-based community' are put in devastating historical context. In the volume's best essay, Derek H. Davis examines what he calls 'The Baptist Tradition of Religious Liberty,' invoking the denomination's history of insisting that the church follow Jesus' lead in rendering to God those things which are God's, and to Caesar those things which are Caesar's. 'According to traditional Baptist belief, a government that gives preferential treatment to certain religious beliefs breaches the eternal and inalienable rights of each individual,' Davis writes, 'and disobeys the will of God' - a message that will probably surprise some in the pews and pulpits of politically active congregations. John Leland, an 18th-century Baptist evangelist who worked with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to secure religious freedom in Virginia, wrote: 'Let every man speak freely without fear, maintain the principles that he believes, worship according to his own faith, either one God, three Gods, no God, or twenty Gods; and let government protect him in doing so.' Leland's image of the free man going about his business, answerable only to himself and his conscience so long as he does no harm to others, turns our attention away from theology and politics to what religion actually is for most people: the prayers they say, the emotions they feel, the questions they ask. In a lovely, interesting new book, 'Prayer: A History,' Philip and Carol Zaleski explore this most personal of religious practices in an ecumenical spirit. Defining prayer as an 'action that communicates between human and divine realms,' the authors trace its long and rich history, from evidence of Neanderthal prayers for the dead to Franny's 'Jesus Prayer' in J. D. Salinger's 'Franny and Zooey.' Thomas Merton called the exercise 'a raid on the unspeakable'; Solomon beseeched the Lord to grant 'whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by any man or by all thy people Israel'; Ramakrishna sought 'God-Consciousness' through spiritual rapture. The beginning of tragedy, it has been said, came when a suffering mortal first raised his hands to the heavens and cried, 'Why?' This, too, is a prayer, a manifestation of the longing to make sense of the insensible. For many, the answer has led them to become one of the children of Abraham. For many others, the answer lies with the Buddha's Dharma (or Teaching), or with Brahman, or with the Tao, or with Confucius. For many others, the answer comes from the sciences or from secular philosophy. The common thread is the search for comfort and order in a world that inevitably falls short of our expectations. The common hope is that perhaps one day, as St. John the Divine said in an echo of Isaiah, 'there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.' On Christmas morning 1825, John Henry Newman, a young man of ferocious intellect and intense faith who had just been ordained an Anglican priest (he would die a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church), preached a sermon while a curate of St. Clement's Church, Oxford. 'It is a day of joy: it is good to be joyful - it is wrong to be otherwise,' Newman said. 'Let us seek the grace of a cheerful heart, an even temper, sweetness, gentleness and brightness of mind, as walking in His light and by His grace.' Such was the view of a questing and committed Christian, a view not so different from that of Robert Ingersoll, the 19th-century American agnostic. 'Christmas is a good day to forgive and forget - a good day to throw away prejudices and hatreds - a good day to fill your heart and your house, and the hearts and houses of others, with sunshine.' Newman thought the brightness came from the Christ child; Ingersoll from simple human kindness. The important thing is that both detected light and each cherished it according to the dictates of his own mind and his own heart - an encouraging sign that there is more than one way to overcome the darkness.

Subject: Cold Slap of Rejection
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 05:57:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/sports/ncaafootball/25haverford.html?ex=1293166800&en=9a7ec47fc3208da3&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 Admissions and the Cold Slap of Rejection By BILL PENNINGTON Kevin Friedenberg was certain he had played by all the rules of the college recruiting game. A top high school lacrosse goalie from Needham, Mass., he had e-mailed coaches to promote himself and had attended showcase camps and tournaments. An A student who said he had College Board scores equivalent to 1,380 on the two-part SAT, Friedenberg narrowed his choices to three Division III institutions, including Haverford, a small, selective liberal arts college. Friedenberg twice visited the Haverford campus outside Philadelphia, with astute questions for the lacrosse coach, Mike Murphy: Could he study a year abroad? How many advanced placement high school courses did he need to take? Did Haverford need a goalie? Would the coach support him in admissions? Assured he was in the top half of the list of athletes Murphy would forward to admissions, Friedenberg completed Haverford's binding early-decision application in November. He spurned overtures from Swarthmore College and Connecticut College. 'I thought I had all my bases covered,' Friedenberg said. 'But what I got in the mail was a thin letter.' A thin letter, as opposed to an envelope thick with acceptance forms, is code for a rejection. 'I was completely shocked,' said Friedenberg, whose application was not among the few deferred to Haverford's regular decision process in the spring. 'I didn't know what to do. I have to get back in touch with all those coaches again, but they've probably already recruited their goalies and moved on without me. 'It's going to be difficult to get into these great schools now without the support of a coach. My fear is I'll be left with no place to go, and maybe, not play lacrosse in college at all.' A month ago, Friedenberg talked about how the recruiting process had been good to him. 'This definitely puts a different spin on it,' he said last week. 'It seemed like a good idea at the time. I have seen the other side of it.' Haverford accepted 101 of 237 early-decision applicants this month, and 37 of those were athletes who had been endorsed by a coach at the college. Haverford officials granted The New York Times access to most of the decision-making involving the recruited athletes, and to the interaction between the athletic and admissions departments, on the condition that applicants' identities be revealed only with their permission. In Houston last week, John-Paul Cashiola, another lacrosse goalie, received a thick envelope from the Haverford admissions office. Cashiola had also marketed himself to coaches, spending almost $5,000 to fly to three recruiting events in the Northeast this year. Cashiola, who attends a private school, said he had a 3.1 grade-point average and scored 1,200 on the SAT. Neither of his parents attended college, a plus in the admissions process, and his mother is Nicaraguan; Cashiola said that made him a minority candidate. 'I'll be the first to tell you that lacrosse had a huge role in my admission to Haverford,' Cashiola said in a telephone interview. 'Lacrosse had to be a tool to get into a better school.' Being recruited was a job to Cashiola, who found work cutting lawns and doing housecleaning to raise money for his flights to showcases. 'My mom would say, 'More money for another trip?' ' Cashiola, 18, said. 'But I would tell her, 'This trip could be the deciding factor.' It paid off. Every penny was worth it.' The decisions on Friedenberg and Cashiola were typical if opposite outcomes to a subjective, unpredictable and imprecise process, one ultimately decided by a committee of seven Haverford admissions officers. Athletic prowess gave some candidates a clear edge toward admission - in 10 cases in particular. But of the 71 recruited athletes in the early-decision pool, 31 were rejected. Three athletes endorsed by coaches were deferred to the regular admissions pool. One athlete was rejected for having received two C's in the first semester this year. Another was rejected in part because two of the five required SAT scores were below 600, although the 650 average was in the acceptable range. Another athlete had a 3.9 G.P.A. But the admissions officers discovered that the applicant's high school grading scale extended to 5, not 4, which meant rejection. Another athlete had good credentials (A-minus average and 1,310 SAT) but few activities or apparent interests besides sports. That troubled the committee and led to a rejection. Yet another athlete never went to Haverford for an interview and did not show interest in the college until this past fall, making the committee uneasy. Another rejection. But there were several cases in which athletics seemed to have tipped the decision in a borderline applicant's favor, other cases in which a recruited athlete might have been accepted without a coach's assist and others in which athletics played a major factor. Ben Regan-Sachs is a right-handed pitcher from Bethesda, Md., who attended his first recruiting showcase when he was in eighth grade. He was recruited by Division III baseball coaches from Virginia to Massachusetts. An A student at the respected Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School with a mid-1,300 SAT, Regan-Sachs is also a competitive chess player who had a lengthy list of extracurricular activities. Regan-Sachs was endorsed by Haverford's baseball coach, Dave Beccaria, and had made a number of visits to the campus. His early-decision application was accepted. 'I think my grades and G.P.A. put me in the ballpark,' Regan-Sachs said. 'Athletics may have helped me get noticed at Haverford. By the time I applied, it was not the first time they had heard of me.' Monica Stegman of Sparta, N.J., was on the list submitted by Wendy Smith, Haverford's women's soccer coach. Stegman ranked in the top 5 percent of her class and had a 1,380 SAT, including a perfect 800 on the math portion. She was accepted. 'I always thought I was a strong candidate for Haverford,' she said. 'I knew being recruited wouldn't hurt, but I wasn't going to rely on it.' Another top athlete was first in her class and had taken demanding courses at an urban high school that rarely sends students to Haverford. That intrigued Jess Lord, the dean of admissions, because the college is trying to diversify. 'But her test scores were way off profile for us,' Lord said. 'They were 100 to 150 points below our median - on each test.' The median SAT for Haverford's current freshman class was 1,380. The median for those accepted, including students who eventually chose to go elsewhere, was 1,420. Despite the applicant's lower test scores, she was high on a coach's list. Lord left his office to consult with Greg Kannerstein, the athletic director, and the coach. Lord wanted to know whether the athlete could be an impact player. With a strong recommendation from athletics, Lord pushed for the candidate's admission. 'We're looking for multiple ways a student can contribute to the campus,' Lord said. 'This student is deserving of being here for many reasons. The athletic component just made it certain.' Another athlete was typical for a Haverford applicant: class rank in the top 10 percent with a 1,370 SAT. Recommendations from teachers and the evaluation from the admissions department interview were good but not great. 'That kid, at first glance, probably gets lost in the shuffle,' Brian Walter, an associate dean for admissions, said. 'There's nothing negative in the file, but we're dealing with pretty rarefied air here, so something has to make that student stand out.' In this case, the applicant was ranked No. 1 on a coach's list. That was enough to grant extra consideration and, eventually, acceptance. But being No. 1 on a coach's list and lobbying by the athletic department did not guarantee acceptance. Five of 13 athletes at the top of coaches' lists were not accepted, although three of those five were deferred. The admissions officers, however, kept a tally of how recruited athletes in each sport fared. If a coach had a list of five athletes and the first four had been rejected, when the fifth came up, Walter informed the committee. It did not mean that any of the five candidates would be admitted, but the committee considered whether it had been too harsh in the previous four cases. It was rare for a team to be shut out. Lord, the dean of admissions, conceded that the process was fickle. 'If the same seven people met in our committee room next week and did the whole thing again, it's likely we would not admit the same 101 applicants,' he said. 'There is a human element you can never remove from the process.' Not everyone at Haverford found the unpredictable nature of the admissions process easy to accept. When Mike Murphy, attending a lacrosse coaches convention in Baltimore, heard that Friedenberg and some of his other top prospects had been rejected or deferred, he slammed a telephone on the desk in his hotel so hard that it cracked. 'I feel horrible for kids like Kevin,' Murphy said. 'I never went too far in what I said to him, but I encouraged him and he trusted me. For me, I can go home, hug my kids and sleep well tonight, but that doesn't help Kevin Friedenberg right now.' Murphy contacted three other college coaches the next day to recommend Friedenberg, and Beccaria, the baseball coach, referred a rejected prospect to a rival. 'Just because it doesn't work out here,' Beccaria said, 'you can't take it out on the kid.' Given a few days to digest the results, most of the Haverford coaches were pleased. More recruited athletes than usual were admitted through the early-decision window, part of a nationwide trend. More athletes choose to apply early to maximize their chances of admission. Of the 20 athletes Murphy had listed, 10 were accepted, as were six from Beccaria's list of nine. 'I've got 10 elated, happy kids I will turn to now,' Murphy said. Jen Ward, the softball coach, had two of five athletes on her list admitted. Although she was disappointed, Ward, a recent Haverford graduate, said, 'I know a ton of great kids didn't get in who aren't athletes.' The 19 remaining athletes who were accepted early compete in eight other sports. Some teams had no early-decision applicants. The coaches of those teams, and others, will try to fill their rosters through regular admissions, when hundreds of athletes will be on coaches' lists. Haverford's teams will probably end up with about 20 to 25 more recruited athletes. Teams that added several athletes during early decision will get less attention. In the past week, Haverford's coaches were compiling their recruiting wish lists for athletes applying by the Jan. 15 regular admission deadline. The process was starting anew. Among the first tasks for the coaches: fielding e-mail messages and phone calls from athletes who were denied early-decision admission. Friedenberg was among those scurrying to get back in the game. He had also begun counseling his younger teammates. 'I've told them to look at me and learn,' he said. 'Make sure you have your backup choices figured out in advance and know immediately what you'll do if you don't get in. It's a hard process. I'm just trying to pass along that wisdom.'

Subject: Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 26, 2005 at 05:30:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/ December 26, 2005 Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs By Mark Thoma Paul Krugman continues his series on health care. In this column, he looks at why health care costs are increasing so rapidly and how the rapid increase can be reduced through changes in policy: Medicine: Who Decides?, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Health care seems to be heading back to the top of the political agenda, and not a moment too soon. Employer-based health insurance is unraveling ... and vast Medicare costs loom on the horizon. Something must be done. But to get health reform right, we'll have to overcome wrongheaded ideas as well as powerful special interests. For decades we've been lectured on the evils of big government and the glories of the private sector. Yet health reform is a job for the public sector, which already pays most of the bills directly or indirectly and sooner or later will have to make key decisions about medical treatment. ... Consider what happens when a new drug or other therapy becomes available. Let's assume that the new therapy is more effective ... than existing therapies ... but that the advantage isn't overwhelming. On the other hand, it's a lot more expensive than current treatments. Who decides whether patients receive the new therapy? We've traditionally relied on doctors to make such decisions. But the rise of medical technology ... makes ... medicine ... in which doctors call for every procedure that might be of medical benefit, increasingly expensive. Moreover, the high-technology nature of modern medical spending has given rise to a powerful medical-industrial complex that seeks to influence doctors' decisions. ...[D]rug companies in particular spend more marketing their products to doctors than they do developing those products ... They wouldn't do that if doctors were immune to persuasion. So if costs are to be controlled, someone has to act as a referee on doctors' medical decisions. During the 1990's it seemed, briefly, as if private H.M.O.'s could play that role. But then there was a public backlash. It turns out that even in America, with its faith in the free market, people don't trust for-profit corporations to make decisions about their health. Despite the failure ... to control costs with H.M.O.'s, conservatives continue to believe that the magic of the private sector will provide the answer. ... Their latest big idea is health savings accounts, which ... induce 'cost sharing' - that is, individuals will ... pay a larger share of their medical costs out of pocket and make their own decisions about care. ...[I]s giving individuals responsibility for their own health spending really the answer to rising costs? No. For one thing, insurance will always cover the really big expenses. We're not going to have a system in which people pay for heart surgery out of their health savings accounts and save money by choosing cheaper procedures. And that's not an unfair example. The Brookings study puts it this way: 'Most health costs are incurred by a small proportion of the population whose expenses greatly exceed plausible limits on out-of-pocket spending.' Moreover, it's neither fair nor realistic to expect ordinary citizens to have enough medical expertise to make life-or-death decisions about their own treatment. A well-known experiment ... carried out by the RAND Corporation... found that when individuals pay a higher share of medical costs out of pocket, they cut back on necessary as well as unnecessary health spending. So cost-sharing, like H.M.O.'s, is a detour from real health care reform. Eventually, we'll have to accept the fact that there's no magic in the private sector, and that health care - including the decision about what treatment is provided - is a public responsibility.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs
From: andrew wormser
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 15:51:40 (EST)
Email Address: awormser@ctmedgroup.com

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/ December 26, 2005 Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs By Mark Thoma Paul Krugman continues his series on health care. In this column, he looks at why health care costs are increasing so rapidly and how the rapid increase can be reduced through changes in policy: Medicine: Who Decides?, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Health care seems to be heading back to the top of the political agenda, and not a moment too soon. Employer-based health insurance is unraveling ... and vast Medicare costs loom on the horizon. Something must be done. But to get health reform right, we'll have to overcome wrongheaded ideas as well as powerful special interests. For decades we've been lectured on the evils of big government and the glories of the private sector. Yet health reform is a job for the public sector, which already pays most of the bills directly or indirectly and sooner or later will have to make key decisions about medical treatment. ... Consider what happens when a new drug or other therapy becomes available. Let's assume that the new therapy is more effective ... than existing therapies ... but that the advantage isn't overwhelming. On the other hand, it's a lot more expensive than current treatments. Who decides whether patients receive the new therapy? We've traditionally relied on doctors to make such decisions. But the rise of medical technology ... makes ... medicine ... in which doctors call for every procedure that might be of medical benefit, increasingly expensive. Moreover, the high-technology nature of modern medical spending has given rise to a powerful medical-industrial complex that seeks to influence doctors' decisions. ...[D]rug companies in particular spend more marketing their products to doctors than they do developing those products ... They wouldn't do that if doctors were immune to persuasion. So if costs are to be controlled, someone has to act as a referee on doctors' medical decisions. During the 1990's it seemed, briefly, as if private H.M.O.'s could play that role. But then there was a public backlash. It turns out that even in America, with its faith in the free market, people don't trust for-profit corporations to make decisions about their health. Despite the failure ... to control costs with H.M.O.'s, conservatives continue to believe that the magic of the private sector will provide the answer. ... Their latest big idea is health savings accounts, which ... induce 'cost sharing' - that is, individuals will ... pay a larger share of their medical costs out of pocket and make their own decisions about care. ...[I]s giving individuals responsibility for their own health spending really the answer to rising costs? No. For one thing, insurance will always cover the really big expenses. We're not going to have a system in which people pay for heart surgery out of their health savings accounts and save money by choosing cheaper procedures. And that's not an unfair example. The Brookings study puts it this way: 'Most health costs are incurred by a small proportion of the population whose expenses greatly exceed plausible limits on out-of-pocket spending.' Moreover, it's neither fair nor realistic to expect ordinary citizens to have enough medical expertise to make life-or-death decisions about their own treatment. A well-known experiment ... carried out by the RAND Corporation... found that when individuals pay a higher share of medical costs out of pocket, they cut back on necessary as well as unnecessary health spending. So cost-sharing, like H.M.O.'s, is a detour from real health care reform. Eventually, we'll have to accept the fact that there's no magic in the private sector, and that health care - including the decision about what treatment is provided - is a public responsibility.
---
I agree that ultimately we must make choices about what health care we can afford given finite resources. Most developed countries with universal healthcare systems rely heavily on a well developed primary care system that helps determine how resources are utilized. Primary care personnel are better equipped than most patients to determine what expenditures are worthwhile and can even help lower specialty costs through intimate knowledge of who in a given community provides the most cost effective care. In the United States we have chosen to go in a different direction and have discouraged capable primary care. We have done so to our detriment and it will be a long road to restore quality to this vital area of the healthcare sector.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman: Health Care Costs
From: Emma
To: andrew wormser
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 27, 2005 at 16:53:24 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed completely; an important comment: 'I agree that ultimately we must make choices about what health care we can afford given finite resources. Most developed countries with universal healthcare systems rely heavily on a well developed primary care system that helps determine how resources are utilized. Primary care personnel are better equipped than most patients to determine what expenditures are worthwhile and can even help lower specialty costs through intimate knowledge of who in a given community provides the most cost effective care. In the United States we have chosen to go in a different direction and have discouraged capable primary care. We have done so to our detriment and it will be a long road to restore quality to this vital area of the healthcare sector.' A Wormser

Subject: All Quiet On the Western Front
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 10:35:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://movies2.nytimes.com/mem/movies/review.html?title1=&title2=ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (MOVIE)&reviewer=Mordaunt Hall&v_id=1579&pdate= April 30, 1930 All Quiet On the Western Front By Mordaunt Hall From the pages of Erich Maria Remarque's widely read book of young Germany in the World War, All Quiet on the Western Front, Carl Laemmle's Universal Pictures Corporation has produced a trenchant and imaginative audible picture, in which the producers adhere with remarkable fidelity to the spirit and events of the original stirring novel. It was presented last night at the Central Theatre before an audience that most of the time was held to silence by its realistic scenes. It is a notable achievement, sincere and earnest, with glimpses that are vivid and graphic. Like the original, it does not mince matters concerning the horrors of battle. It is a vocalized screen offering that is pulsating and harrowing, one in which the fighting flashes are photographed in an amazingly effective fashion. Lewis Milestone, who has several good films to his credit, was entrusted with the direction of this production. And Mr. Laemmle had the foresight to employ those well-known playwrights, George Abbott and Maxwell Anderson, to make the adaptation and write the dialogue. Some of the scenes are not a little too long, and one might also say that a few members of the cast are not Teutonic in appearance; but this means but little when one considers the picture as a whole, for wherever possible, Mr. Milestone has used his fecund imagination, still clinging loyally to the incidents of the book. In fact, one is just as gripped by witnessing the picture as one was by reading the printed pages, and in most instances it seems as though the very impressions written in ink by Herr Remarque had become animated on the screen. In nearly all the sequences, fulsomeness is avoided. Truth comes to the fore, when the young soldiers are elated at the idea of joining up, when they are disillusioned, when they are hungry, when they are killing rats in a dugout, when they are shaken with fear, and when they, or one of them, becomes fed up with the conception of war held by the elderly man back home. Often the scenes are of such excellence that if they were not audible one might believe that they were actual motion pictures of activities behind the lines, in the trenches, and in No Man's Land. It is an expansive production with views that never appear to be cramped. In looking at a dugout one readily imagines a long line of such earthy abodes. When shells demolish these underground quarters, the shrieks of fear, coupled with the rat-tat-tat of machine guns, the bang-ziz of the trench mortars, and the whining of shells, it tells the story of the terrors of fighting better than anything so far has done in animated photography coupled with the microphone. There are heartrending glimpses in a hospital, where one youngster has had his leg amputated and still believes that he has a pain in his toes. Just as he complains of this, he remembers another soldier who had complained of the same pain in the identical words. He then realizes what has happened to him, and he shrieks and cries out that he does not want to go through life a cripple. There is the death room from which nobody is said to come out, and Paul, admirably acted by Lewis Ayres, is taken to this chamber shouting, as he is wheeled away, that he will come back. And he does. The agony in this hospital reflects that of the details given by Herr Remarque. In an early sequence there is the introduction of the tyrant corporal, Himmelstoss, who has no end of ideas to keep young soldiers on the alert, sometimes amusing himself by making them crawl under tables and then, during the day, ordering them to fall on their faces in the mud. Just as by reading the book, one learns, while looking at this animated work, to hate Himmelstoss. And one occasion when the audience broke their rapt stillness last night was with an outburst of laughter. This happened when Paul and his comrades lay in wait for the detested noncommissioned officer, and, after thrashing him, left him in a stagnant pool with a sack tied over his head. Soldiers are perceived being taken like cattle to the firing line and then having to wait for food. There is the cook, who finds that he has enough rations for twice the number of the men left in the company, and when he hears that many have been killed and others wounded he still insists that these soldiers will only receive their ordinary rations. Here that amiable war veteran, Katczinsky, splendidly acted by Louis Wolheim, grabs the culinary expert by the throat and finally a sergeant intervenes and instructs the cook to give the company the full rations intended for the survivors and those who have either died or been wounded. Now and again songs are heard, genuine melody that comes from the soldiers, and as time goes on Paul and his comrades begin to look upon the warfare with the same philosophic demeanor that Katczinsky reveals. But when the big guns begin to boom there are further terrors for the soldiers and in one of these Paul has his encounter with a Frenchman in a shell hole. Paul stabs the Frenchman to death and as he observes life ebbing from the man with whom he had struggled, he fetches water from the bottom of the shell hole and moistens the Frenchman's lips. It is to Paul a frightening and nerve-racking experience, especially when he eventually pulls from a pocket a photograph of the wife and child of the man he had slain. Raymond Griffith, the erstwhile comedian who, years before acting in film comedies, lost his voice through shrieking in a stage melodrama, gives a marvelous performance as the dying Frenchman. It may be a little too long for one's peace of mind, but this does not detract from Mr. Griffith's sterling portrayal. Another comedian, none other than George (Slim) Summerville, also distinguishes himself in a light but very telling role, that of Tjaden. It is he who talks about the Kaiser and himself both having no reason to go to war—the only difference, according to the soldier in the trenches, being that the Kaiser is at home. It is Tjaden who is left behind when the youngsters swim over to the farmhouse and visit the French girls. Much has been made of the pair of boots and the soldier who wanted them and declared, when he got them from the man who passed on, that they would make fighting almost agreeable for anybody. Mr. Milestone has done wonders with this passage, showing the boots on the man and soon depicting that while they may have been comfortable and watertight, boots don't matter much when a shell with a man's name written on it comes his way. The episodes are unfolded with excellent continuity and one of the outstanding ones is where Paul goes home and finds everything changed, including himself. He is asked by the same professor who had taught him, to talk to the new batch of pupils about the war. He remembers his enthusiasm for it when he enlisted in 1914 and he now knows how different are his impressions since he has been stringing barbed wire under the dangerous glare of Very lights in No Man's Land. He knows what a uniform means, and believes that there is no glory at the front; all he has to say to the boys is hard and terse. He tires of the gray heads who think that they know something about war and prefers to cut his leave short and go back to the fighting area rather than listen to the arguments of those who have not been disillusioned by shells, mud, rats, and vermin. During the intermission a curtain is lowered with 'poppies, row on row,' a glimpse of Flanders field. After that comes more grim battle episodes and more suffering of the men in the gray-green tunics. All the players do capital work, but Beryl Mercer does not seem to be a good choice for the role of Paul's mother. This may be due, however, to having seen her relatively recently in the picturization of Sir James M. Barrie's playlet, The Old Lady Shows Her Medals. Messrs. Milestone, Abbott, and Anderson in this film have contributed a memorable piece of work to the screen.

Subject: The Truce of Christmas, 1914
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 10:04:18 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/weekinreview/25word.ready.html?ex=1293166800&en=68d3974074e8743a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 25, 2005 The Truce of Christmas, 1914 By THOMAS VINCIGUERRA When Europe marched to war in the summer of 1914, both sides thought the fighting would be over in a few weeks. Instead, by the close of December, World War I had already claimed close to a million lives, and it was clear the fighting would go on for a long time. Yet on Dec. 24, much of the Western Front fell silent as ordinary soldiers made temporary peace with the enemy. This was the remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914. It's estimated that about 100,000 men, mainly British and Germans, took part. In fact, the sheer magnitude of the event led many to doubt that it ever happened. As late as 1983, one veteran called the truce a 'latrine rumor.' Today, however, it is often seen as one of the few bright moments amid the slaughter of the Great War, in which 14 million people were killed. The last survivor of the truce, Sgt. Alfred Anderson of Scotland's Fifth Battalion Black Watch, died last month at the age of 109. Here are excerpts from letters, journals and memoirs of some of the other participants. THOMAS VINCIGUERRA The truce broke out spontaneously in many places. Pvt. Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled the scene on Christmas Eve near the French village of La Chapelle d'Armentières: It was a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere; and about 7 or 8 in the evening there was a lot of commotion in the German trenches and there were these lights -I don't know what they were. And then they sang 'Silent Night' - 'Stille Nacht.' I shall never forget it, it was one of the highlights of my life. I thought, what a beautiful tune. Rifleman Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade recalled how the mood spread: Then suddenly lights began to appear along the German parapet, which were evidently make-shift Christmas trees, adorned with lighted candles, which burnt steadily in the still, frosty air! … First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing - two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war. The shared carols inspired Capt. Josef Sewald of Germany's 17th Bavarian Regiment to make a bold gesture: I shouted to our enemies that we didn't wish to shoot and that we make a Christmas truce. I said I would come from my side and we could speak with each other. First there was silence, then I shouted once more, invited them, and the British shouted 'No shooting!' Then a man came out of the trenches and I on my side did the same and so we came together and we shook hands - a bit cautiously! The enemies quickly became friends, as Cpl. John Ferguson of the Second Seaforth Highlanders recalled: We shook hands, wished each other a Merry Xmas, and were soon conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were in front of their wire entanglements and surrounded by Germans - Fritz and I in the center talking, and Fritz occasionally translating to his friends what I was saying. We stood inside the circle like street corner orators. … What a sight - little groups of Germans and British extending almost the length of our front! Out of the darkness we could hear laughter and see lighted matches, a German lighting a Scotchman's cigarette and vice versa, exchanging cigarettes and souvenirs. On Christmas Day, some Germans and British held a joint service to bury their dead. Second Lt. Arthur Pelham Burn of the Sixth Gordon Highlanders was there: Our Padre … arranged the prayers and psalms, etc., and an interpreter wrote them out in German. They were read first in English by our Padre and then in German by a boy who was studying for the ministry. It was an extraordinary and most wonderful sight. The Germans formed up on one side, the English on the other, the officers standing in front, every head bared. According to several accounts, soccer games were played in no man's land with makeshift balls that Christmas. Lt. Kurt Zehmisch of Germany's 134th Saxons Infantry Regiment witnessed a match: Eventually the English brought a soccer ball from their trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as our friends for a time. Second Lt. Bruce Bairnsfather of the First Warwickshires saw an even more unusual fraternization: The last I saw of this little affair was a vision of one of my machine gunners, who was a bit of an amateur hairdresser in civilian life, cutting the unnaturally long hair of a docile Boche, who was patiently kneeling on the ground while the automatic clippers crept up the back of his neck. Not everyone was so charitable. Cpl. Adolf Hitler of the 16th Bavarians lambasted his comrades for their unmilitary conduct: Such things should not happen in wartime. Have you Germans no sense of honor left at all? When Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, commander of the British II Corps, learned of the consorting, he was irate: I have issued the strictest orders that on no account is intercourse to be allowed between the opposing troops. To finish this war quickly, we must keep up the fighting spirit and do all we can to discourage friendly intercourse. Inevitably, both sides were soon ordered back to their trenches. Capt. Charles 'Buffalo Bill' Stockwell of the Second Royal Welch Fusiliers recalled how the peace ended early on Dec. 26: At 8:30, I fired three shots into the air and put up a flag with 'Merry Christmas' on it on the parapet. He [a German] put up a sheet with 'Thank You' on it, and the German captain appeared on the parapet. We both bowed and saluted and got down into our respective trenches, and he fired two shots into the air, and the war was on again.

Subject: The Road Back
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 04:43:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/views05/0104-29.htm January 4, 2005 The Road Back By James Carroll - Boston Globe 'There was once a man in the land of Uz called Job: a sound and honest man who feared God and shunned evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him.' So begins the famous meditation on the mystery of suffering. Has it ever seemed so current? A messenger comes to Job and tells him, 'Your sons and daughters were at their meal and drinking wine at their elder brother's home when suddenly from the wilderness a gale sprang up, and it battered all four corners of the house which fell in on the young people. They are dead. I alone escaped to tell you.' In South Asia, reports indicate that up to one-third of the deaths are of children. Job loses everything -- his possessions, abode, reputation, health, and easy faith. But the evil that befalls him is embodied most crucially in the destruction of his pretty ones. Children are the future, the very pillar of time, the measure of meaning in a rootless cosmos. With his children gone, the assault comes fully to Job. 'Terrors attack him in broad daylight and at night a whirlwind sweeps him off. An east wind picks him up and drags him away, snatching him up from his homeland. . . . A flood of water overwhelms him.' Job is unforgotten not because of what he suffered but because of his refusal to respond with curses and quitting. He rejects the possibility that the human condition amounts to mere bedlam, nothing more. He condemns the injustice of every further twist of his fate, and therefore justice itself becomes his defining affirmation. His nobility lies in the simple act of insisting, in the face of unearned suffering, that things were not meant to be like this. A moral order emerges from his stand against otherwise victorious disorder, and what sets Job apart is the discovery, then, that moral order is what counts. Across South Asia today, Job lives in the survivors of the tsunami. They protest against the supreme indifference of nature by caring more than ever. They care for the living, and they care for the dead. Grief becomes a way, literally, of life. Legions of the empathetic, meanwhile, attempt to rescue, heal, console, and rebuild. No curses. No quitting. Just clean water, sanitation, burying the remains, naming the disappeared. Dispersed members of the human family, on hearing of this disaster, experience it as happening to them. A vast sense of interruption has fallen upon the globe. Normalcies of time and place are violated by the instantaneous character of the destruction and its geographic scale. An ancient dread of the catastrophic springs alive in every heart. If the earth itself is the enemy of humanity, where is the friend? And other questions impose themselves. Why does the universal outpouring of concern for the victims of the tsunami stand in such contrast to the equally universal resignation to such mass victimhood when it comes from war? The dead in Iraq, to take only America's example, may also be counted by now in six figures. Why is Operation Iraqi Freedom not recognized in Washington as the tsunami it is for those who even today are being blown away? Job was defined by his demand for an answer. How is unearned suffering to be explained? 'But tell me, where does wisdom come from? Where is understanding to be found?' Uninterrupted, humans can accommodate themselves to the sorrows of mortality, but such complacency can be swept away in a tide that refuses to break, forcing the questions: How? Why? But alas, as Job learns, 'the road to wisdom is still unknown to man, not to be found in the land of the living. `It is not in me,' says the Abyss. `Nor here,' replies the Sea.' Where is the meaning in the deaths of all those children? How can such worlds of work, love, creativity, and invention -- all those coastal villages, all those tidy houses -- be simply crushed like so many matchsticks? If every human life is of ultimate worth, how can so many once beautiful bodies end up in pits? In the Book of Job, the answer comes 'from the heart of the tempest.' And the answer is that there is no answer. The tsunami wrack line is as much of mystery as of misery. But, as the world's response nevertheless makes clear, we needn't understand to care, nor find meaning in this suffering to denounce its injustice. Having the hurt ones in mind and finding ways to help them are what matter now.

Subject: South Asia and the U.S.
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 04:34:50 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/15/business/15sbiz.html?ex=1292302800&en=f0330ecfae016ab2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 15, 2005 Mutual-Aid Network Links South Asia and the U.S. By JAMES FLANIGAN As recent investments by Microsoft, Intel and Cisco Systems attest, corporate America has come to view India not just as a source of low-cost talent but also as an emerging economic power to be reckoned with. Beyond the headlines about corporate acquisitions and the outsourcing of jobs, though, a little-known organization founded in California 13 years ago is having a significant impact in fostering business ties between the United States and India. That organization, Indus Entrepreneurs, was started by people like Suhas S. Patil, founder of Cirrus Logic in Austin, Tex., a chip maker, and Safi Qureshey, co-founder of AST Research, which made computer parts, as a mutual-aid network for Indian and Pakistani immigrants. Today, it has grown into an affiliation of 10,000 members in 10 countries that, by its own account, has helped create $250 billion in wealth by encouraging business start-ups. In the process, it has evolved into a behind-the-scenes incubator of companies in business services and technology operating in both South Asia and the United States. That cultural cross-pollination, by integrating the strengths and resources of both regions, has helped solidify the business relationship between them. Consider Secova eServices Inc., a two-year-old company that processes pension and health-benefit accounts for American companies from offices in Brick, N.J., and Chennai, India. Venkat Tadanki, Secova's founder and chief executive, says it has thrived - it is now approaching $10 million in annual revenue and growing - by exploiting the advantages of both locations. With labor costs in India a fraction of those in the United States, Secova saves millions of dollars a year by assigning most of the data-processing and simple accounting to the 50 employees in Chennai, Mr. Tadanki says. He says that Secova's 50 employees in New Jersey do what the ones in India cannot, keeping up with and explaining the intricacies of health insurance plans, sending out benefit checks and dealing directly with corporate customers. 'Not everyone with a few computers and a building in India can do human resource processing,' said Mr. Tadanki, a member of Indus Entrepreneurs, who has made a commitment to train newcomers from the Indian subcontinent on how to start and run a company in the United States. Underscoring the geographic fluidity of his operations, he runs his company from an office in Huntington Beach, Calif., and has attracted $1.5 million from Citicorp's India office in a financing that is part loan, part investment. Secova is the second company that Mr. Tadanki, a 43-year-old graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, has founded in the United States since 2000. The first was Daksh Inc., a San Francisco-based firm that operated customer-service centers in India for large corporations in the United States. He and his partners sold Daksh to International Business Machines in 2004. Another company that has tied together complementary strands of the Indian and American economies is the Equinox Corporation, a company in Irvine, Calif., that processes mortgage documents in India for American lenders. Even though mortgage financing is a highly efficient activity in the United States, Equinox finds a way to cut some costs out of the routine, says Don Ganguly, a member of Indus Entrepreneurs who founded Equinox in 2002 and recently sold it to i-flex Solutions, a large financial services firm in India. Ownership by the bigger firm allowed Equinox to open a processing center near New Delhi and take on more accounts. I-flex Solutions, in turn, has sold 40 percent of its shares to the Oracle Corporation, the American software giant that is interested in supplying fast-growing financial services businesses in emerging economies. Mr. Ganguly, an India-trained engineer who came to the United States 25 years ago to get an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, says the interchange of business activity benefits the economies of both countries. 'Because we take out costs over there, U.S. companies can do more here - provide more services with higher productivity,' he said. At the same time, the additional work lifts living standards in India, where the $700 billion economy, though growing at an annual rate of more than 8 percent, is just half that of the state of California. Some Americans might deplore the loss of jobs to India and other low-cost countries. But Indian companies are also creating jobs in the United States. One example is Arcot Systems Inc., a company in Sunnyvale, Calif., that makes software for secure authentication of credit card and banking transactions on the Internet. Rammohan Varadarajan, an engineering graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology who came to the United States in 1982 to get master's degrees in chemical engineering and computer science from Louisiana State University, started Arcot in 1997 thanks to business associates and venture capital gained through Indus Entrepreneurs contacts. As Mr. Varadarajan worked on Arcot's special software, he attracted support and investment from Adobe Systems, the software developer based in San Jose, Calif., through contacts made at Indus Entrepreneurs conferences. Also he got programming help from Infosys Technologies, a consulting firm based in Bangalore, India. And he has attracted customers for Arcot's security software among banks and credit card companies around the world. With 90 employees at present - half in Bangalore, half in Sunnyvale - Arcot has $15 million in annual sales but $100 million in financing from investors that include Goldman Sachs, Onset Ventures, Visa International, Wachovia Bank and SEB, a division of Sweden's largest bank. 'Many of the investments would not have been made if we were not in India,' Mr. Varadarajan said. And, clearly, if Arcot's success continues, benefits will flow to companies in the United States, Sweden and India. It is in this widening world that Indus Entrepreneurs see opportunities. Shivbir Grewal, a lawyer and the Indus Entrepreneurs trustee for Southern California, for example, is an adviser to Chisk Inc., which is exploring ways to outsource routine legal-discovery work to India. Mr. Qureshey, a founder of Indus Entrepreneurs, is backing Quartics Inc., a company of young entrepreneurs based in Taiwan and Irvine, Calif., that is developing microprocessors for wireless streaming video. And Sangam Pant, a director of Evercore Partners, manages a venture fund that channels American institutional investments to Indian entrepreneurs in the United States and in India. Investors like Mr. Pant are introducing financial innovations to the Indian economy, which has been deregulating a heavily state-run system since 1991. 'We recently completed the first leveraged buyout' of an Indian firm by managers, he said. Increasing innovation will be the rule, predicts Apurv Bagri, the London-based chairman of Indus Entrepreneurs, who plans new chapters for his organization in Munich, Geneva, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. 'India is making a transition from being only a back office,' he said. 'In the pharmaceutical industry and others, you will see India's companies playing a bigger role in the world.'

Subject: Strike Reflects Nationwide Pension Woes
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:42:36 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/nyregion/nyregionspecial3/24pensions.html?ex=1293080400&en=6ea96465eae9c999&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 24, 2005 Transit Strike Reflects Nationwide Pension Woes By STEVEN GREENHOUSE Fast-rising pension costs for government employees - the issue that helped set off this week's transit strike in New York City - are a problem confronting cities, counties and states nationwide, causing many budgetary experts to predict a wave of painful fights over efforts to scale back government retirement programs. Many officials and fiscal experts assert that across the nation government pension plans face a shortfall of hundreds of billions of dollars. From New Jersey to California, government officials say that attempts - either through contract fights, legislation or public referendums - to limit the amount of money that states and cities contribute to pensions are inevitable and overdue. Labor unions, for their part, say that the worries are overblown. 'Every level of government in New York City, New York State and in states across the country face large and growing pension obligations,' said E. J. McMahon, a budget expert at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research group. 'If nothing is done to bring pensions under control, all the other headaches that state governments will be facing in the next 20 years on needs like education and health will be enormously worse.' The contract battle for New York's transit workers, which has yet to be fully resolved, underscores the anger and risks that await governments as they seek to win concessions to cut their pension costs. The strike, which lasted 60 hours and shut down the country's largest mass transit system, began when the union representing 33,700 bus and subway workers rejected efforts by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a state agency, to increase either the retirement age for future employees or the amount they contribute to finance their pensions. But it is now possible - even after the strike ended - that the transit union may succeed in getting the authority to take all or some of its pension demands off the table as the two sides seek to put the final touches on an overall settlement. With New Jersey facing a $25 billion shortfall in its pension obligations, a state advisory commission recently urged that the retirement age for government employees, other than police, firefighters and judges, be raised to 60 from 55. And in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger faced a storm of criticism after he proposed replacing the traditional pension plan for government employees with a far less generous plan resembling 401(k)s. He ultimately backed down even as budget watchdogs complained that many police officers retired with pensions equaling 90 percent of their annual earnings. Many government employees and their unions assert that the campaign to trim pensions threatens America's social contract for the middle class: a respectable pension. Saying that in recent contracts they had sacrificed wage increases or better health benefits for solid pensions, many public employees and their unions assert that governments are betraying their commitments by seeking to now cut pensions. Further, they argue that much of the shortfall in pension financing could be erased by a strong stock market in the next several years. 'A lot of people are exaggerating the size of the problem,' said Gerald McEntee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 1.4 million government workers. 'Right-wing think tanks and conservative Republicans want to do away with traditional pension plans and replace them with much-cheaper 401(k)'s at the same time they want to give all these tax cuts to the rich.' The fight over public-sector pensions follows a movement to cut private sector pensions. In recent years, corporation after corporation has complained about what they assert are the onerous costs of pensions. Bethlehem Steel, United Airlines and other companies, saying they could no longer afford it, have stopped paying into their pension plans, forcing the government to step in and absorb billions of dollars in costs. And now Delphi, the giant auto parts company that filed for bankruptcy in October, is threatening to do the same thing. Meanwhile, some companies, Hewlett Packard among them, have replaced their traditional pension plans with 401(k) plans. Many courts have ruled that cutting the pensions of current public employees - as opposed to future ones - violates the Constitution, which prohibits governments from breaching contracts. As a result, taxpayers must pay for full pensions promised to government employees. When private companies go bankrupt and leave badly underfinanced plans, a federal agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, steps in to insure the workers' pensions, although many workers end up getting smaller pensions than their companies had promised. The agency is running a $23 billion deficit this year and many policy makers fear that its liabilities could mushroom if many more large corporations file for bankruptcy and dump their pension obligations on the government. In New York's transit dispute, the transportation authority, which runs the city's subways and buses, was alarmed that the pension costs for the transit workers had tripled since 2002, to $453 million this year. To control soaring pensions costs, the authority at first demanded raising the retirement age for future employees to 62. Workers can now retire at age 55, after 25 years on the job, and receive pensions equal to half their earnings. They average $55,000 a year, including overtime. After the union, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, resisted that demand, the authority made a new proposal, that future transit workers pay 6 percent of their wages toward their pensions, compared with 2 percent for current workers. The transportation authority is working closely with Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who say it is vital to trim fast-rising pension outlays for state and city workers because they threaten the government's ability to provide education, policing and other basic services. New York City's annual pension outlays are expected to jump to nearly $5 billion in 2008, more than double the level in 2004. Mayor Bloomberg repeatedly called the strikers greedy. 'The public says, 'I don't want to pay more taxes and I don't get these kind of benefits,' ' he said yesterday. 'You have no idea how many e-mails I got, 'I don't make that kind of money. I don't have those kinds of pension benefits. Why are people striking?' ' But Roger Toussaint, the president of the transit workers' union, said the walkout was aimed at stopping an employer offensive nationwide to cut pensions and other benefits. He said the transportation authority was mimicking corporate America. 'What you have here is a scandalous attempt on the part of the M.T.A. to jump on the bandwagon,' he said. Nationwide, 90 percent of public-sector workers have traditional benefit plans - known as defined-benefit plans because retirees receive a defined amount each month- while just 20 percent of private-sector workers do. In 1960, 40 percent of private-sector workers were in traditional pension plans. One reason for the disparity: 36.4 percent of government employees belong to unions while just 7.9 percent of private-sector workers do. 'The transit strike will undoubtedly draw attention to the issue,' said Harry Katz, dean of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. 'The message is, 'Look, we have to worry about the long-run cost of pensions in the public sector as well as the private sector.' '

Subject: A Different Latin America
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:39:53 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/opinion/24sat2.html?ex=1293080400&en=eeec121655a531e4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 24, 2005 A Different Latin America Bolivia's recent presidential election was almost as history making as Iraq's parliamentary vote. The winner, Evo Morales, will be the first member of the indigenous majority to run Bolivia since the conquistadors arrived nearly five centuries ago. His victory was one of the most decisive since the return of democracy more than two decades ago, ending an era of weak, unstable and ineffective governments. But do not expect any toasts from the Bush administration. During the campaign, Mr. Morales advertised himself as Washington's 'nightmare.' He opposes almost everything the Bush team stands for in Latin America, from combating coca leaf production to privatizing natural resources and liberalizing trade. His favorite Latin leaders are Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba. And the political popularity of these anti-Washington positions is part of a growing regional trend. The political balance in Latin America has clearly been shifting to the left. Nearly 300 million of South America's 365 million people live under left-wing governments. While many of these governments, like Brazil's and Chile's, have worked hard to cooperate with the United States, others, like Venezuela's, have gone out of their way to bait Washington. Mr. Morales gives every indication of following the Chávez approach. And there could be similar lurches to the demagogic left in the numerous Latin American elections soon coming up in places like Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua. One explanation is that nearly two decades of Washington-recommended economic and trade policies have not done much for millions of urban and rural poor. Another is that the Bush administration has not shown much interest in addressing Latin American social problems. And Mr. Bush has done a terrible job of cultivating personal relationships with Latin American leaders. Few countries adopted Washington's economic prescriptions more eagerly than Bolivia did in the 1980's and 90's. Yet despite considerable mineral and energy resources, it remains South America's poorest country, with 60 percent of its people living in poverty. The left-behind and angry poor voted for Mr. Morales in large numbers, as they have voted repeatedly for Mr. Chávez in Venezuela. When denunciations of Yanqui imperialism in Latin America start coming from the presidential palaces as well as the streets and opposition benches, Washington needs to change its ways. The friendship of neighbors is a terrible thing to lose.

Subject: Diabetes Study Verifies Lifesaving
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:34:10 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/health/22diabetes.html?ex=1292907600&en=d96824256b8ee38e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 22, 2005 Diabetes Study Verifies Lifesaving Tactic By GINA KOLATA A 17-year federal study has finally answered one of the most pressing questions about diabetes: Can tight control of blood sugar prevent heart attacks and strokes? The answer, reported today in The New England Journal of Medicine, is yes. Intense control can reduce the risk by nearly half. And, the study found, the effect occurred even though the patients had only had a relatively brief period of intense blood sugar control when they were young adults. Nonetheless, more than a decade later, when they reached middle age, when heart disease and strokes normally start to appear, they were protected. The study involved those with Type 1 diabetes, which usually arises in early in life and involves the death of insulin-secreting cells. 'This is truly an important study,' said Dr. Robert Rizza, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and the president of the American Diabetes Association. 'And I usually don't say that,' he added. The findings are likely to affect clinical practice, encouraging doctors to put more effort into helping patients control their blood sugar, said Dr. John B. Buse, the director of the diabetes care center at the University of North Carolina. The study is 'the most rigorously conducted to date,' Dr. Buse said, and its authors are 'exceptionally well known in the diabetes and medical world.' The question of whether rigid blood sugar control protects against heart disease and strokes has plagued the field for decades, diabetes researchers said. 'It's really a major question that has been around for a long time,' said Dr. Judith Fradkin, who directs diabetes research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Researchers knew that diabetes was linked to heart disease - at least two-thirds of diabetics die of heart disease. But although studies showed that controlling blood sugar protected against damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves, there was no conclusive evidence that it would have the same effect on heart disease and stroke. 'In that sense, this is a landmark study,' said Dr. William Cefalu, a diabetes researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., who wrote an editorial accompanying the paper. The study began with 1,441 people aged 13 to 39. Half were randomly assigned to intensive therapy, intended to keep their blood sugar levels low all the time. That meant injecting themselves with insulin three or more times a day or using an insulin pump to infuse the hormone. The others were assigned to conventional therapy, which meant one or two insulin injections a day, a regimen that was easier for patients but resulted in higher sugar levels. Blood sugar was assessed by measuring the amount of hemoglobin A1c in the participants' blood, a test that looks for hemoglobin with sugar attached to it. The goal for the intensive-therapy group was to keep those levels to 6 percent or less. They achieved an average level of 7 percent. Those assigned to conventional treatment had an average level of 9 percent. Normal levels for people without diabetes are 4 percent to 6 percent. After six and one-half years, both groups were told that intensive therapy had prevented injury to the eyes, kidneys and nerves but that it had not found an effect on heart attacks and strokes. Those who had had the conventional treatment were taught the intensive treatment regimen. Then, for the next 11 years, all the patients were followed but left to their own doctors' care. Soon the two groups had about the same hemoglobin A1c levels, about 8 percent. As the years went by and the patients started developing signs of heart disease, the researchers noticed a pronounced difference between the two groups in their rates of heart attack and stroke. Thirty-one of the patients who had had intensive treatment when they were young had a total of 46 cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, stroke and heart disease severe enough to require bypass surgery. Fifty-two of the conventionally treated patients had a total of 98 such events. 'It was amazing,' said Dr. David Nathan, a diabetes researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital who was co-chairman of the study. 'Therapy for six and one-half years seems to have driven a dramatic effect.' But the result also gives rise to questions: Does the same effect occur in people with Type 2 diabetes, which usually occurs later in life and involves an inability to respond to insulin? And why would tight control of blood sugar for one brief period have such a pronounced effect later? Dr. Fradkin said she expected that the results would hold for Type 2 diabetes. Another large federal study is addressing that question, she noted, but it is already known that tight control of blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes protects against nerve, kidney and eye damage, just as it does with Type 1 diabetes. In addition, a study in Britain hinted, though it did not demonstrate, that Type 2 diabetics who kept their blood sugar low had less heart disease and fewer strokes. But why controlling blood sugar for a brief period would have such a pronounced effect is a mystery, researchers say. 'To me, the observation is fascinating,' Dr. Buse said. The immediate problem, Dr. Fradkin said, is that fewer than 40 percent of diabetics are keeping their hemoglobin A1c levels at 7 percent or below. Such levels are not easy to obtain, Dr. Cefalu said. 'There are side effects - hypoglycemia, weight gain.' Hypoglycemia can be frightening, Dr. Fradkin said. Patients get sweaty, they have palpitations and they can even lapse into unconsciousness and have seizures. In addition, the weight gain that often accompanies improved blood sugar control can be disheartening, diabetes specialists said. 'It is difficult to get people to comply with four injections a day,' Dr. Cefalu said. 'Unfortunately, most of our patients are not willing to do this.' But, Dr. Fradkin said, she hopes the emerging evidence and improving therapies will make a difference. 'We want patients to say to their doctor, 'What is my A1c level? What should it be? And what can I do to get it there?' ' Dr. Fradkin said.

Subject: Changing the Face of Texas Football
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:28:01 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/23/sports/ncaafootball/23texas.html December 23, 2005 Changing the Face of Texas Football By JOE DRAPE AUSTIN, Tex. - It was Dec. 6, 1969, and Julius Whittier was stretched before a television in the lobby of the jocks' dorm, Jester Hall, when the euphoria of a heart-stopping victory lifted him, and most University of Texas students, outside onto Guadalupe Street. Texas had just beaten Arkansas, 15-14, in Fayetteville in what had been billed as the Game of the Century. President Richard M. Nixon appeared in the locker room to declare the undefeated Longhorns as national champions. Whittier was a member of the Texas football team, but as a freshman he was not eligible to play varsity at the time. He was also the only black football player at Texas. As Whittier pinballed amid the revelers on the main drag here, he had an epiphany, one about the unifying elements within football that he would lean on for years. 'I had never experienced the exhilaration and joy of celebration where I was participating with what looked like millions of other kids my age,' Whittier recalled recently at his law office in Dallas. 'It did not matter that they were almost all white.' Neither Whittier nor anyone else knew that the time-capsule moment they were celebrating would become an inglorious milestone: the 1969 Longhorns were the last all-white team to win a national college football championship. When Texas was co-national champion with Nebraska the next year, Whittier was a backup offensive lineman and the Longhorns' first black letterman. He acknowledged that he had endured indignities, but said his life experiences were expanded as much as those of his white teammates. By playing at Texas, Whittier received advice from former President Lyndon B. Johnson over lunch at his ranch, and learned to love the music of Willie Nelson. 'I was a jock, plain and simple,' he said. 'I didn't care about civil rights or making a mark. I just wanted to play big-time football.' Whittier, however, is intensely interested in the Jan. 4 Rose Bowl, the national title matchup between defending champion Southern California and Texas. He is proud that about half of the players on the Longhorns' roster are black, including the star quarterback Vince Young. 'It completes the circle from a team that had no blacks to a truly diverse one, one with a black athlete in the ultimate leadership position - quarterback - of the university's most prized institution,' Whittier said. William Henry Lewis was the first black player in major college football at Amherst from 1889 to 1891, then at Harvard from 1892 to 1893, when he was a law student. At the time, both teams played schedules of national prominence, according to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. Bill Willis, a tackle for the 1942 Ohio State Buckeyes, was the first black player on a national championship team. In the South, however, all-white teams were the norm into the late 1960's as the region was slow to embrace civil rights, especially in something as cherished as college football. Jerry LeVias might have integrated the Southwest Conference in 1966 at Southern Methodist University, but on that December day in 1969 with Nixon in the stands, the top-ranked Longhorns were facing another all-white team in No. 2 Arkansas, a Southwest Conference rival. 'How's that song go?' said Darrell Royal, the Longhorns coach who won three national titles from 1957 to 1976. ' 'Things they are a-changing. But they weren't changing that quickly around here at the time.' When Royal arrived here, he was 32 and fresh from head-coaching stints at the University of Washington and with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He had coached black players at both stops. The University of Texas admitted black students in 1956, but did not lift its ban on their playing varsity sports until 1963. Even then, Royal acknowledged, there was tacit pressure from university regents for him not to rush to integrate the football team. In 1967, Royal and his staff recruited a local star named Don Baylor, who was also a gifted baseball and basketball player. He grew up in west Austin, knowing that downtown there were separate water fountains for blacks and whites, had integrated his junior high school, and dreamed of breaking the color barrier at Texas. Baylor wanted to play all three sports, something universities like Stanford, Oklahoma and Texas Western would allow. Royal wanted him to play only football. Baylor would not say that Royal and Texas made a halfhearted attempt to lure him, but he said they were relieved when the Baltimore Orioles drafted him. 'The Southwest Conference and U.T. was not ready to break the color barrier,' said Baylor, who had a distinguished 19-year major league career and later managed the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs. 'The Orioles took the pressure off Texas.' In the fall of 1968, Royal believed he had found the right young man to integrate his team in Julius Whittier. The previous season, a black student named E. A. Curry walked on and made the freshman team, but he struggled academically and quit. Royal's first black scholarship player in 1968, Leon O'Neal, stayed for only one year. Royal believed Whittier had the will and the preparation to remain for four years. Whittier had been a star at an integrated high school in San Antonio. His father, Oncy, was a doctor. His mother, Loraine, was a schoolteacher and community activist who had led protests against a local grocery chain that prohibited black women from becoming cashiers. Whittier said his uncle Edward Sprott was head of the N.A.A.C.P. in Beaumont, Tex., and had not been intimidated when his house was bombed. His older brother, also named Oncy, had his head cracked open by police officers for his involvement in a guerrilla theater troupe that performed pointed skits about prejudice in the streets of San Antonio, Whittier said. Royal described Whittier as 'smart and tough and a heck of a football player.' He added, 'I knew he could play for us and handle any difficulties off the field.' Whittier said he turned two personal flaws into powerful tools of perseverance. He was not only confident to the point of cockiness, but also had a gift for oratory that continues to serve him well as a trial lawyer. 'I had a mouth that I ran a lot and coherently,' he said. 'It sounded like I knew what I was saying, and that protected me.' Whittier also struggled with attention deficit disorder. 'It kept me so wrapped up in the events of each moment, class, workout, dinner, study hall, practice, game, new friend I made, new football play I learned, and each paper I had to turn in,' he said. 'I had no real time or hard-drive space in my brain to step back and worry over how potentially ominous it was to become a black member of the University of Texas football team and all of the horrifying things that, from a historical perspective, could happen to black people who dare to accept a role in opening up historically white institutions.' Whittier recognized slights by teammates. He was never invited out drinking or to parties with his teammates. And though racial slurs were never directed at him, Whittier heard them when his fellow Longhorns forgot he was in the room. Before Whittier's sophomore season, Royal had trouble finding him a roommate. He called in some of his seniors, explained the situation. One of them, running back Billy Dale, volunteered. The year before, Dale scored the game-winning touchdown against Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl to keep alive Texas' winning streak, which eventually reached 30 games. He was also among the most popular players on the team - until then. 'I lost all my friends,' said Dale, now a manufacturer's representative in Austin. 'I chose to live with Julius because I believed it would add that much more dimension to me as a person.' One night as the two readied for bed, Whittier engaged Dale in an argument about mortality. 'Billy, I'm never going to die,' Whittier told Dale, 'and you are.' The longer the exchange went the more Dale became frustrated. 'I crossed the room and put a finger in Julius's eye and said, 'It's people like you who give your race a bad name,' ' Dale recalled. 'You think, I'm serious, Billy?' Whittier responded with a smile. 'I'm just trying to make you think.' They never exchanged cross words again. It was Whittier's engaging personality that made him one of Royal's favorites and got him on Johnson's guest list. Johnson was crazy about Texas football and occasionally asked Royal to take players to his ranch. It was Johnson who suggested that Whittier continue his studies at the university's new school of public affairs. He earned a master's degree there, before he became a lawyer. Whittier's success on and off the field - he was a three-year letterman and a starter his junior and senior year - paid immediate dividends for Texas. Roosevelt Leaks came here in 1971 and Earl Campbell in 1974, and they became all-American running backs. Soon, one of the set pieces for prospective players was Johnson's landing by helicopter on the lawn of his presidential library on campus to tell them why they should play for Texas. Thirty-six years after Whittier watched his white teammates defeat Arkansas, much has changed in the Texas football program. Jester Hall remains, though it is no longer strictly an athletic dorm. Royal, now 81, remains a campus fixture, though one who concedes he could have been more aggressive in integrating his team earlier. And Dale remains active in the Longhorns letterman association. 'All those people I had lost as friends by rooming with Julius are friends again,' he said. 'We've all grown.' Whittier, too, remains in touch with Royal. He now has a far easier relationship with his former teammates than he had when he was a college student. 'When I see guys from my era, I feel a sense of comradeship,' Whittier said. 'I never was going to hold on to any of the bad stuff, and neither have they.' He will watch Vince Young and the No. 2 Longhorns try to upend the No. 1 Trojans from his couch at home in Dallas with the same anticipation and joy that he had as a pioneering Texas freshman. Whittier will root for another championship, another time-capsule moment, but one that will not be marred by a footnote about race. He is hoping his role in Texas football history is further diminished. 'You know that football is a religion in Texas,' he said. 'God and the university had the right people in the right places to handle my situation. It turned out to be a small event in the long and luminous life of a great and valuable institution.'

Subject: Bonus Fever on London's Wall Street
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:25:34 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/23/business/worldbusiness/23bonus.html?ex=1292994000&en=326a020216325ce8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 23, 2005 Bonus Fever on London's Wall Street By HEATHER TIMMONS LONDON - Ebenezer Scrooge would not be happy this Christmas. At pubs, restaurants and office parties in the City, London's Wall Street, all the talk has been on the bonuses that are being lavished on bankers and traders. London is at the center of an expansion in European deals, helped by inflows of cash from private equity shops, the Middle East and Russia, and a rush of foreign listings on the London exchange. As a result, many bankers here are hoping that this is the year when their year-end bonuses, which have traditionally lagged those of their counterparts across the Atlantic, rise to a comparable level. 'London and New York have been coming closer and closer together over the last few years,' said Carl Sjostrom, a partner in KPMG's executive compensation practice. 'New York is a bigger market, but there have been some fantastically lucrative areas in Europe as of late.' At Goldman Sachs, for example, fees from European mergers alone are up 102.4 percent from a year earlier, to $656.7 million, versus an 18 percent increase in merger fees in the United States, to $994.6 million, according to data compiled by Thomson Financial. At Merrill Lynch, they are up 151.7 percent in Europe, to $377.3 million, versus a 53.7 percent increase in the United States, to $510.8 million. (Banks based in New York almost always have smaller investment banking staffs in Europe - in some cases as little as half the size.) The numbers do not take into account Russian or Middle Eastern deals, which are often done by London bankers, debt sales or new equity offerings on the London Stock Exchange. Disparity in pay between New York banks and their foreign outposts has been a longstanding source of friction. In London, banking and trading markets were once notorious for clubby relationships and liquid lunches, but they are being transformed into springboards for growth markets like Eastern Europe and the Middle East. 'I think there is still a perception that people work harder in New York, which is probably justified, but the gap is narrowing,' said Mounzer Nasr, the head of European corporate investment for the private equity firm Arcapita, and a former deal maker for Bankers Trust in New York and Merrill Lynch in London. 'Depending on who you're talking about, the top M.& A. bankers in London work just as hard as their New York counterparts.' Investment bank managers in London say they are often looking for skills that are generally found outside New York. In particular demand are bankers with experience in the Middle East or China. 'There is a premium for people who are bi- and tricultural,' said John J. Studzinski, the chief executive of HSBC's corporate and investment banking division. Klaus Diederichs, head of European investment banking at J. P. Morgan Chase, is also looking for specialized skills. 'Our bankers are flying as much to Kazakhstan and Istanbul as they are to Frankfurt,' he said. 'Deals in countries such as South Africa and Kazakhstan have grown in size considerably.' 'The European markets now require bankers to be complete athletes,' he said, 'as competent in mergers and acquisitions as they are in structured financing, capital raising and derivative transactions.' In London, expectations were high this bonus season. Nearly 60 percent of City employees expected their bonuses to be larger than last year, and one in five expected it to be at least twice as large, according to Morgan McKinley, a financial recruiting firm. In the United States, 44 percent of bankers expected their bonuses to be larger than last year's, according to a similar survey by Vault, an employment research firm. As in New York, estimating how many millions bankers and traders will receive holds a particular fascination. The London afternoon newspaper The Evening Standard started the bonus speculation early this year, with a headline on its front page in September: '3,000 New City Millionaires: Biggest Bonuses for Five Years as Good Times Return.' The paper attached numbers to the names of various bankers, estimating, for example, that a head of British banking at Goldman Sachs would be awarded £5 million (about $8.7 million). While no banker or trader would comment on the record about bonuses, year-end pay is all the chatter. And there are signs that bankers, traders and others in the City have been out celebrating more often this year. Anthony Fuller, the chairman of the pub chain Fuller Smith & Turner, last month cited a 6.6 increase in sales in the financial district for the six months ended Oct. 1. 'It was particularly pleasing to see continued buoyant trading in the City which, up to a year ago, had been suffering the effects of a sluggish economy,' he said. Sales did not necessarily increase because City pub visitors are drinking more expensive beer or wine, Tony Johnson, a spokesman for Fuller, noted. Some of the increase has come from 'more people coming to the pub,' he said. 'When things are good, people are more comfortable being seen out having a good time than when they are bad.'

Subject: Indicting Honest Journalism in China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:23:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/opinion/24sat3.html?ex=1293080400&en=5c6df96aba607668&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 24, 2005 Indicting Honest Journalism in China After holding Zhao Yan, a journalist, for 15 months without a hearing, Chinese authorities have finally drummed up an indictment. Yesterday, on the last working day for prosecutors to decide whether to go forward with the case under Chinese law, Mr. Zhao, a researcher in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times, was formally charged with revealing state secrets to the newspaper and the lesser charge of fraud. If convicted, he faces a possible minimum of 10 years' imprisonment. The Chinese authorities had been holding Mr. Zhao in purgatory since yanking him from a restaurant in September 2004. His arrest followed the pattern for Chinese who dare to practice journalism. The accusation of providing state secrets to foreigners is the vague catchall that party leaders invoke after reports surface of some business they want to keep quiet. In this case, a Times article forecast the retirement of China's leader, Jiang Zemin, from his last official post. Clearly, we feel the case of Mr. Zhao's detention acutely. China has produced no evidence that he is guilty of anything but honest journalism. Two weeks ago, Mr. Zhao was named journalist of the year by Reporters Without Borders, the international press-freedom group. The bizarre fraud charge was added several months after Mr. Zhao's arrest and is connected to allegations from 2001, before his employment with The Times. Chinese investigators claim Mr. Zhao took money for offering to write a story for a Chinese newspaper, an allegation denied by Mr. Zhao's lawyer and disputed by a witness. China cannot consider itself a global powerhouse if it does not provide its citizens with basic human rights.

Subject: Japan's Population Fell This Year
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:22:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/international/asia/24population.html December 24, 2005 Japan's Population Fell This Year, Sooner Than Expected By NORIMITSU ONISHI TOKYO - Japan's population declined this year for the first time since the country began keeping demographic records in 1899, according to preliminary figures released by the government this week. The decrease, which specialists say signals the start of an era of shrinking population, occurred two years earlier than had been expected. It poses serious challenges to the long-term economic vitality of Japan and its ability to care for one of the world's fastest-aging societies. The number of deaths outnumbered births by 10,000 this year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Excluding wartime figures, the number of births, at 1.067 million, was the lowest since records have been kept; births dropped 44,000 from the previous year. The number of deaths, 1.077 million, was higher than had been expected because of a flu epidemic early this year, the ministry said. 'Our country is now standing at a major turning point in terms of population,' Jiro Kawasaki, the minister of health, labor and welfare, said at a news conference on Thursday. With government policies appearing to be ineffective in raising the birthrate, many young Japanese have stopped contributing to the national pension system because of doubts over its long-term health. Anxieties over the future are likely to deepen now that the long-dreaded demographic turning point, which specialists predicted would occur in 2007, has already been reached. 'The trend toward fewer children is becoming more and more significant,' Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters. 'I once again feel we have to come up with policies to stop this trend.' Japan's current population of 128 million is expected to fall to 100 million by 2050 and to 64 million by 2100 if current trends continue. There is no movement in Japan to open the door to widespread immigration. The Japanese workplace, more than those in other advanced countries, remains closed to women, in keeping with the belief among the country's male political and business leaders that married women belong at home. Japan has not only one of the world's lowest birthrates, currently 1.29 lifetime births per woman, but also the highest life expectancy. Those trends are particularly evident in rural areas, where graying Japanese dominate and schools are being shuttered. By 2025, nearly 30 percent of the population is expected to be older than 65. A pervasive pessimism about the future is believed to have led young Japanese to postpone marriage and children. In the past decade, Japanese companies have relied increasingly on contract workers instead of hiring costly staff employees. Many young Japanese have simply given up on finding work or getting further education. The government classifies these Japanese as NEET - an acronym for not in education, employment or training - and says they number 600,000. Those who marry have been doing so later, with the average marrying age for men at nearly 30 and for women at nearly 28. Many women who want to continue working are said to delay marriage or to have only one child because of the scarcity of child care, high education costs and discrimination in the workplace against married and older women. A government panel on increasing the birthrate is expected to make recommendations in June. 'We will need to continue reform of our social security system to enhance stability and to come up with measures to support coming generations,' Mr. Kawasaki said.

Subject: Hong Kong, Shopping Is an Art Experience
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:18:46 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/iht/2005/12/24/arts/24hong.html December 24, 2005 In Hong Kong, Shopping Is an Art Experience By ALEXANDRA A. SENO - International Herald Tribune HONG KONG - More than a decade ago, the French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel spent a month working in relative obscurity at the Hong Kong Art Museum, making fanciful glass creations for a group show called 'Too French.' This month, he became very, if not too, Hong Kong. Amid much fanfare and press attention, Mr. Othoniel was once again in the city to unveil his latest piece: a 105-foot string of milky-white giant handblown glass beads. Commissioned by the luxury brand Chanel, it is meant to look like a pearl necklace and is installed as permanent art in a multilevel picture window of Chanel's recently refurbished boutique in the Prince's Building, in the central business and retail area. Mr. Othoniel, whose work is in the collections of the Georges Pompidou Center and the Museum of Modern Art, is one of five artists enlisted by the architect Peter Marino for the new store. 'In Hong Kong, people are more concerned about shopping,' Mr. Othoniel said. 'If the people don't come to the museum, you must go to the public.' The Hong Kong art critic and curator Oscar Ho said: 'The museum is not a common space in Hong Kong. On Sundays, you go have dim sum and then go shopping. The shopping mall is the common plaza, like the plaza in Italy. Art is reaching out; hiding out in the sacred halls of the museum is no longer workable.' Major museums, all run by the government, are often nearly empty even on weekends, suffering from what some critics say is under-marketing and 'safe' programming deficient in imagination. As debate continues to simmer over the government's multibillion-dollar development project on reclaimed land in the West Kowloon district, the initiative - intended to infuse the territory with art - is stirring questions about Hong Kong and culture. 'West Kowloon has made us ask, 'Where are we with art?' said Karen Chang, an organizer of a wildly successful Picasso exhibit at the International Finance Center mall last year. 'It opened up that whole conversation.' In many ways, the finance center started the trend by sponsoring the exhibition of 'Parade,' a 341/2-foot-high, 53-foot-wide stage curtain painted in 1917 by Picasso. 'The French were just astonished,' said Ms. Chang, a principal at the marketing consultancy CZAR Partners hired by the financial center, when the proposal was made to show the French treasure in a mall. Somewhat reluctantly at first, the Georges Pompidou Center agreed, and the free exhibition was estimated to have attracted some two million visitors in the city of seven million residents. The same mall has since had much-talked-about shows by the mainland-born Wu Shanzhuang and the hip local artist Carrie Chau, as well as fashion exhibitions. In June and July this year, Cityplaza, a mall in Taikooshing, staged a successful show featuring dinosaur fossils. It was the first time that such an event had been held in Hong Kong, and hundreds of thousands came to view the exhibition. The items, including an 85-foot-long skeleton, were on loan from the Beijing Museum of Natural History and the Sichuan Zigong Dinosaur Museum. Also this summer, another complex, Langham Place in the Mongkok district, sponsored 'Box,' an innovative program featuring 31 top Hong Kong artists who were asked to express their experience of the city. Such locally revered names as the product designer Alan Chan, the multimedia artist Simon Birch and the photographer Wing Shya created works that were displayed throughout the 15-story mall, in what became the largest public art installation ever in the territory. Paul Katz, a principal at the international architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, said: 'Urbanism in Hong Kong is built around density and public transportation. Given that there are no world-class institutions in Hong Kong that will attract local and regional visitors, it is better to have the art as a part of the urban experience, which can be the mall, even if it is linked to commercialism and fashion. 'Fashion, culture and politics are intertwined with art anyway. Experiencing art in a public realm is as authentic as a free-standing museum.' The Hong Kong model has caught the attention of property developers in China, which is building thousands of new malls. Mr. Katz has built several projects in Hong Kong and is not surprised that clients in China look to the former British territory in the south. The mainlanders have recently been asking him to include spaces purposely built for art. When Ms. Chang, the Picasso show organizer, was asked by Langham Place to come up with something for the 2005 holiday season, she persuaded the developers to sign up the men of the 'Urban Dream Capsule' - acclaimed artists from Australia. Since Dec. 13, they have been living full time in a 500-square-foot glass pod, on view 24 hours, for an interactive performance art experience. (Their stay concludes Jan. 3.) It all brings to mind a speech from last July, when the luxury department store Lane Crawford was the site of a book promotion for and exhibition of the work of the Chinese artist Wu Shanzhuan. To open the event, Claire Hsu, the director of the Asia Art Archive, said: 'If it's true that shopping is the favorite pastime of people in Hong Kong, and art is practically off the radar, then let the department store become the museum. Or in Wu's equation, if shopping equals the museum and the museum equals shopping, then shopping must be creation! So, after all, we are all artists!'

Subject: Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 23:45:54 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Mute Swan Taking Flight
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 17:50:10 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=4634&u=17|196|... Mute Swan Taking Flight Jamaica Bay NWR East Pond, New York.

Subject: Intellectual Bankruptcy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 14:54:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/12/the_intellectua.html December 24, 2005 The Intellectual Bankruptcy of the Republican Leadership By Brad DeLong Another good Paul Krugman column: The Tax-Cut Zombies - New York Times : Since the 1970's, conservatives have used two theories to justify cutting taxes. One theory, supply-side economics, has always been hokum for the yokels. Conservative insiders adopted the supply-siders as mascots because they were useful to the cause, but never took them seriously. The insiders' theory - what we might call the true tax-cut theory - was memorably described by David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's budget director, as 'starving the beast.' Proponents of this theory argue that conservatives should seek tax cuts not because they won't create budget deficits, but because they will. Starve-the-beasters believe that budget deficits will lead to spending cuts that will eventually achieve their true aim: shrinking the government's role back to what it was under Calvin Coolidge. True to form, the insiders aren't buying the supply-siders' claim that a partial recovery in federal tax receipts from their plunge between 2000 and 2003 shows that all's well on the fiscal front. (Revenue remains lower, and the federal budget deeper in deficit, than anyone expected a few years ago.) Instead, conservative heavyweights are using the budget deficit to call for cuts in key government programs. For example, in 2001 Alan Greenspan urged Congress to cut taxes to avoid running an excessively large budget surplus. Now he issues dire warnings about 'fiscal instability.' But rather than urging Congress to reverse the tax cuts he helped sell, he talks of the need to cut future Social Security and Medicare benefits. Yet at this point starve-the-beast theory looks as silly as supply-side economics. Although a disciplined conservative movement has controlled Congress and the White House for five years - and presided over record deficits - public opposition has prevented any significant cuts in the big social-insurance programs that dominate domestic spending. In fact, two years ago the Bush administration actually pushed through a major expansion in Medicare. True, the prescription drug bill clearly wasn't written by liberals. To a significant extent it's a giveaway to drug companies rather than a benefit for retirees. But all that corporate welfare makes the program more expensive, not less. Conservative intellectuals had high hopes that this year President Bush would make up for this betrayal of their doctrine by dealing a death blow to Social Security as we know it. Indeed, he tried. His proposed 'reform' would, over time, have essentially phased out the program. And he seemed to have everything going for him: momentum from an election victory, control of Congress and a highly sympathetic punditocracy. Yet the drive for privatization quickly degenerated from a juggernaut into a farce. Medicaid, whose recipients are less likely to vote than the average person getting Social Security or Medicare, is the softest target among major federal social-insurance programs. But even members of Congress, it seems, have consciences. (Well, some of them.) It took intense arm-twisting from the Republican leadership, and that tie-breaking vote by Mr. Cheney, to ram through even modest cuts in aid to the neediest. In other words, the starve-the-beast theory - like missile defense - has been tested under the most favorable possible circumstances, and failed. So there is no longer any coherent justification for further tax cuts. Yet... even as Congressional leaders struggled to pass a tiny package of mean-spirited spending cuts, they pushed forward with a much larger package of tax cuts. The benefits of those cuts, as always, will go disproportionately to the wealthy. Here's how I see it: Republicans have turned into tax-cut zombies. They can't remember why they originally wanted to cut taxes, they can't explain how they plan to make up for the lost revenue, and they don't care. Instead, they just keep shambling forward, always hungry for more.

Subject: Agency Mined Vast Data Trove
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 09:59:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/politics/24spy.html?ex=1293080400&en=016edb46b79bde83&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 24, 2005 Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report By ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN WASHINGTON - The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials. The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said. As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the N.S.A. has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said. The government's collection and analysis of phone and Internet traffic have raised questions among some law enforcement and judicial officials familiar with the program. One issue of concern to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has reviewed some separate warrant applications growing out of the N.S.A.'s surveillance program, is whether the court has legal authority over calls outside the United States that happen to pass through American-based telephonic 'switches,' according to officials familiar with the matter. 'There was a lot of discussion about the switches' in conversations with the court, a Justice Department official said, referring to the gateways through which much of the communications traffic flows. 'You're talking about access to such a vast amount of communications, and the question was, How do you minimize something that's on a switch that's carrying such large volumes of traffic? The court was very, very concerned about that.' Since the disclosure last week of the N.S.A.'s domestic surveillance program, President Bush and his senior aides have stressed that his executive order allowing eavesdropping without warrants was limited to the monitoring of international phone and e-mail communications involving people with known links to Al Qaeda. What has not been publicly acknowledged is that N.S.A. technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects. Some officials describe the program as a large data-mining operation. The current and former government officials who discussed the program were granted anonymity because it remains classified. Bush administration officials declined to comment on Friday on the technical aspects of the operation and the N.S.A.'s use of broad searches to look for clues on terrorists. Because the program is highly classified, many details of how the N.S.A. is conducting it remain unknown, and members of Congress who have pressed for a full Congressional inquiry say they are eager to learn more about the program's operational details, as well as its legality. Officials in the government and the telecommunications industry who have knowledge of parts of the program say the N.S.A. has sought to analyze communications patterns to glean clues from details like who is calling whom, how long a phone call lasts and what time of day it is made, and the origins and destinations of phone calls and e-mail messages. Calls to and from Afghanistan, for instance, are known to have been of particular interest to the N.S.A. since the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials said. This so-called 'pattern analysis' on calls within the United States would, in many circumstances, require a court warrant if the government wanted to trace who calls whom. The use of similar data-mining operations by the Bush administration in other contexts has raised strong objections, most notably in connection with the Total Information Awareness system, developed by the Pentagon for tracking terror suspects, and the Department of Homeland Security's Capps program for screening airline passengers. Both programs were ultimately scrapped after public outcries over possible threats to privacy and civil liberties. But the Bush administration regards the N.S.A.'s ability to trace and analyze large volumes of data as critical to its expanded mission to detect terrorist plots before they can be carried out, officials familiar with the program say. Administration officials maintain that the system set up by Congress in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not give them the speed and flexibility to respond fully to terrorist threats at home. A former technology manager at a major telecommunications company said that since the Sept. 11 attacks, the leading companies in the industry have been storing information on calling patterns and giving it to the federal government to aid in tracking possible terrorists. 'All that data is mined with the cooperation of the government and shared with them, and since 9/11, there's been much more active involvement in that area,' said the former manager, a telecommunications expert who did not want his name or that of his former company used because of concern about revealing trade secrets. Such information often proves just as valuable to the government as eavesdropping on the calls themselves, the former manager said. 'If they get content, that's useful to them too, but the real plum is going to be the transaction data and the traffic analysis,' he said. 'Massive amounts of traffic analysis information - who is calling whom, who is in Osama Bin Laden's circle of family and friends - is used to identify lines of communication that are then given closer scrutiny.' Several officials said that after President Bush's order authorizing the N.S.A. program, senior government officials arranged with officials of some of the nation's largest telecommunications companies to gain access to switches that act as gateways at the borders between the United States' communications networks and international networks. The identities of the corporations involved could not be determined. The switches are some of the main arteries for moving voice and some Internet traffic into and out of the United States, and, with the globalization of the telecommunications industry in recent years, many international-to-international calls are also routed through such American switches. One outside expert on communications privacy who previously worked at the N.S.A. said that to exploit its technological capabilities, the American government had in the last few years been quietly encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through American-based switches. The growth of that transit traffic had become a major issue for the intelligence community, officials say, because it had not been fully addressed by 1970's-era laws and regulations governing the N.S.A. Now that foreign calls were being routed through switches on American soil, some judges and law enforcement officials regarded eavesdropping on those calls as a possible violation of those decades-old restrictions, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court-approved warrants for domestic surveillance. Historically, the American intelligence community has had close relationships with many communications and computer firms and related technical industries. But the N.S.A.'s backdoor access to major telecommunications switches on American soil with the cooperation of major corporations represents a significant expansion of the agency's operational capability, according to current and former government officials. Phil Karn, a computer engineer and technology expert at a major West Coast telecommunications company, said access to such switches would be significant. 'If the government is gaining access to the switches like this, what you're really talking about is the capability of an enormous vacuum operation to sweep up data,' he said.

Subject: Wal-Mart Must Pay $172 Million
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 09:16:45 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/23/business/23nwalmart.html?ex=1292994000&en=947f81786732a427&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 23, 2005 Jury Rules Wal-Mart Must Pay $172 Million Over Meal Breaks By LISA ALCALAY KLUG BERKELEY, Calif. - A California jury on Thursday ordered Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, to pay $172 million in damages for failing to provide meal breaks to nearly 116,000 hourly workers as required under state law. The verdict came after a trial that lasted more than three months in a class-action suit filed at Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland. The suit, filed on behalf of employees of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in California, argued that the chain violated state law more than eight million times from Jan. 1, 2001, to May 6, 2005, said the plaintiffs' lawyer, Jessica Grant of the Furth Firm of San Francisco. California law requires that employers provide a meal break of 30 minutes for every five hours on the clock, Ms. Grant said. If the break is shorter than that, provided late or not at all, the employer must pay an hour's pay, she said. 'What happened here is that Wal-Mart didn't make a single payment for 2001 and 2002 and only started paying in 2003 after we asked for permission to go forward as a class action,' Ms. Grant said. Responding to the verdict, Wal-Mart issued a statement saying that it planned to appeal, that the decision was unique to California and that it had no bearing on any other state. Wal-Mart is facing similar cases in about 40 other states, Ms. Grant said. The jury ordered the company to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages. 'It sends a very strong message to Wal-Mart that it is not acceptable to work employees 7, 8, 9, 10 hours a day without meal breaks,' Ms. Grant said. A work law expert, Gillian Lester, a visiting professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, said: 'This in an important verdict. I agree with the plaintiff's attorneys that this is going to be an influential decision.' In its statement, Wal-Mart said it had 'acknowledged it had compliance issues when the statute became effective in 2001.' 'Wal-Mart has since taken steps to ensure all associates receive their meal periods, including adopting new technology that sends alerts to cashiers when it is time for their meal breaks,' the statement read. 'The system will automatically shut down registers if the cashier does not respond.'

Subject: Re: Dumbed down Jury hits Walmarts
From: Sid Bachrach
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 12:07:43 (EST)
Email Address: sidby24@juno.com

Message:
The proper headline for the AP article about the Walmarts verdict in California should have been: 'Dumbed down Jury orders Walmarts to pay huge Damages award.'. This jury award had nothing to do with the law or any facts introduced in Court but was based on the fact the lawyers for the plaintiffs removed anyone intelligent from the jury pool and skillfully selected a group of angry, uneducated boobs for the jury. Anyone with a brain knows that state labor departments, in particular The Wages and Hours Division of each state labor department, exclusively examines and issues awards for violations of state wage laws. But the Judge, who wanted to be a hero and to be invited to speak at law schools, simply refused to apply the law. And the judge allowed the case to be an emotional attack on employers in general and Walmarts in particular. The trial was more like a revival meeeting of the 1960s crowd in which emotion trumps facts. The real news is that on appeal, this absurd verdict is certain to be set aside. The verdict, thankfully, is not worth the paper it is written on.

Subject: Investing
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 08:08:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Corporate savings here have been at or near record levels from 2002, but domestic corporate investment appears to be relatively low. Why should this be? Savings for energy companies have been astounding, but despite the persisting increase in the prices for oil and gas there has been remarkably little investment here and abroad in exploration and delivery. Why? Again, energy companies were just given an $18 billion investment subsidy. Though company executives are pleased, why should this be necessary?

Subject: Alaska Gasline Port Authority
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 07:53:59 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'An Alaska state authority charged that BP PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil companies, are conspiring to withhold natural gas from U.S. markets and reinforce their market power over North Slope supplies. In an antitrust suit filed late yesterday in federal court in Fairbanks, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority alleged that a series of illegal agreements and acquisitions by the companies has choked the flow of the state's vast gas reserves. It seeks to stop the companies' alleged collusion through a court injunction and unspecified damages.... The dispute comes at a time when U.S. natural-gas prices are soaring.... The Alaska Gasline Port Authority said that BP's refusal to agree to ship its natural gas and Exxon Mobil's failure to develop its huge fields amounts to 'warehousing' a desperately needed resource in an effort to drive up prices. 'Gas prices are at record highs, and big oil companies still won't move the gas to market,' authority Chairman Jim Whitaker said in a statement.' - Wall Street Journal, 12/20/05

Subject: Alito's Zeal for Presidential Power
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 07:33:47 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/opinion/24sat1.html?ex=1293080400&en=0cd129fa5e3fe439&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 24, 2005 Alito's Zeal for Presidential Power With the Bush administration claiming sweeping and often legally baseless authority to detain and spy on people, judges play a crucial role in underscoring the limits of presidential power. When the Senate begins hearings next month on Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, it should explore whether he understands where the Constitution sets those limits. New documents released yesterday provide more evidence that Judge Alito has a skewed view of the allocation of power among the three branches - skewed in favor of presidential power. One troubling memo concerns domestic wiretaps - a timely topic. In the memo, which he wrote as a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, Judge Alito argued that the attorney general should be immune from lawsuits when he illegally wiretaps Americans. Judge Alito argued for taking a step-by-step approach to establishing this principle, much as he argued for an incremental approach to reversing Roe v. Wade in another memo. The Supreme Court flatly rejected Judge Alito's view of the law. In a 1985 ruling, the court rightly concluded that if the attorney general had the sort of immunity Judge Alito favored, it would be an invitation to deny people their constitutional rights. In a second memo released yesterday, Judge Alito made another bald proposal for grabbing power for the president. He said that when the president signed bills into law, he should make a 'signing statement' about what the law means. By doing so, Judge Alito hoped the president could shift courts' focus away from 'legislative intent' - a well-established part of interpreting the meaning of a statute - toward what he called 'the President's intent.' In the memo, Judge Alito noted that one problem was the effect these signing statements would have on Congressional relations. They would 'not be warmly welcomed by Congress,' he predicted, because of the 'novelty of the procedure' and 'the potential increase of presidential power.' These memos are part of a broader pattern of elevating the presidency above the other branches of government. In his judicial opinions, Judge Alito has shown a lack of respect for Congressional power - notably when he voted to strike down Congress's ban on machine guns as exceeding its constitutional authority. He has taken a cramped view of the Fourth Amendment and other constitutional provisions that limit executive power. The Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have had to repeatedly pull the Bush administration back when it exceeded its constitutional powers. They have made clear that Americans cannot be held indefinitely without trial just because they are labeled 'enemy combatants.' They have vindicated the right of Guantánamo Bay detainees to challenge their confinement. And they will no doubt have to correct the Bush administration's latest assertions of power to spy domestically. The Senate should determine that Judge Alito is on the side of the Constitution in these battles, not on the side of the presidency - which the latest documents strongly question - before voting to confirm him.

Subject: Stocks and Bonds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 06:56:01 (EST)
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Internationally, this has been an especially fine and interesting investing year. The Europe index is up 25.3% in domestic currencies, Pacific index is up 37.3%. Emerging markets index is up 32.0%. Developed markets are all positive with domestic currency returns beginning above 9% and ranging to the 40s. The only negative emerging market is Venezuela. All developed markets have adjusted to the strong dollar in a breadth and depth I have not found before. Rising oil and gas prices have had relatively little effect on economic growth and no noticeable general stock market approach. Real estate markets are generally holding or slowing moderately, again with relatively slight broad effect. Inflation is everywhere muted in developed countries. Long term bonds have held well. A remarkable year for investors.

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 06:11:51 (EST)
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http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 12/23/05 Australia 15.9 Canada 28.7 Denmark 25.3 France 12.2 Germany 11.4 Hong Kong 9.7 Japan 26.7 Netherlands 16.2 Norway 24.6 Sweden 10.8 Switzerland 16.3 UK 7.9

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 05:59:22 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/31/04 - 12/23/05 Australia 24.7 Canada 25.3 Denmark 43.9 France 28.4 Germany 27.6 Hong Kong 9.4 Japan 43.8 Netherlands 33.1 Norway 39.5 Sweden 32.8 Switzerland 34.3 UK 19.6

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 05:58:24 (EST)
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http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Fund Returns 12/31/04 to 12/23/05 S&P Index is 6,5 Large Cap Growth Index is 7.0 Large Cap Value Index is 8.5 Mid Cap Index is 15.3 Small Cap Index is 9.1 Small Cap Value Index is 7.7 Europe Index is 9.9 Pacific Index is 23.1 Energy is 45.9 Health Care is 17.1 Precious Metals 42.9 REIT Index is 13.2 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 2.5 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 4.9

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 05:57:39 (EST)
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Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/04 - 12/23/05 Energy 40.4 Financials 6.9 Health Care 9.3 Info Tech 5.0 Materials 2.9 REITs 13.3 Telecoms 0.5 Utilities 15.2

Subject: Great Egret Dipping a Wing
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 17:35:37 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5332&u=17|4|... Great Egret Dipping a Wing in the Water New York City--Central Park, Harlem Meer.

Subject: Snowy Egret Landing at Dawn
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 17:34:23 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5582&u=185|6|... Snowy Egret Landing at Dawn Jamaica Bay NWR East Pond, New York.

Subject: The Knight in the Mirror
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 16:59:09 (EST)
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http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,1105510,00.html December 13, 2003 The Knight in the Mirror By Harold Bloom - Guardian What is the true object of Don Quixote's quest? I find that unanswerable. What are Hamlet's authentic motives? We are not permitted to know. Since Cervantes's magnificent knight's quest has cosmological scope and reverberation, no object seems beyond reach. Hamlet's frustration is that he is allowed only Elsinore and revenge tragedy. Shakespeare composed a poem unlimited, in which only the protagonist is beyond all limits. Cervantes and Shakespeare, who died almost simultaneously, are the central western authors, at least since Dante, and no writer since has matched them, not Tolstoy or Goethe, Dickens, Proust, Joyce. Context cannot hold Cervantes and Shakespeare: the Spanish golden age and the Elizabethan-Jacobean era are secondary when we attempt a full appreciation of what we are given. WH Auden found in Don Quixote a portrait of the Christian saint, as opposed to Hamlet, who 'lacks faith in God and in himself'. Though Auden sounds perversely ironic, he was quite serious and, I think, wrong-headed. Herman Melville blended Don Quixote and Hamlet into Captain Ahab (with a touch of Milton's Satan added for seasoning). Ahab desires to avenge himself upon the white whale, while Satan would destroy God, if only he could. Hamlet is death's ambassador to us, according to G Wilson Knight. Don Quixote says his quest is to destroy injustice. The final injustice is death, the ultimate bondage. To set captives free is the knight's pragmatic way of battling against death. Though there have been many valuable English translations of Don Quixote, I would commend Edith Grossman's new version for the extraordinarily high quality of her prose. The spiritual atmosphere of a Spain already in steep decline can be felt throughout, thanks to the heightened quality of her diction. Grossman might be called the Glenn Gould of translators, because she, too, articulates every note. Reading her amazing mode of finding equivalents in English for Cervantes's darkening vision is an entrance into a further understanding of why this great book contains within itself all the novels that have followed in its sublime wake. Like Shakespeare, Cervantes is inescapable for all writers who have come after him. Dickens and Flaubert, Joyce and Proust reflect the narrative procedures of Cervantes, and their glories of characterisation mingle strains of Shakespeare and Cervantes. Cervantes inhabits his great book so pervasively that we need to see that it has three unique personalities: the knight, Sancho and Cervantes himself. Yet how sly and subtle is the presence of Cervantes! At its most hilarious, Don Quixote is immensely sombre. Shakespeare again is the illuminating analogue: Hamlet at his most melancholic will not cease his punning or his gallows humour, and Falstaff's boundless wit is tormented by intimations of rejection. Just as Shakespeare wrote in no genre, Don Quixote is tragedy as well as comedy. Though it stands for ever as the birth of the novel out of the prose romance, and is still the best of all novels, I find its sadness augments each time I reread it, and does make it 'the Spanish Bible', as Miguel de Unamuno termed this greatest of all narratives. Don Quixote may not be scripture, but it so contains us that, as with Shakespeare, we cannot get out of it to achieve perspectivism. We are inside the vast book, privileged to hear the superb conversations between the knight and his squire, Sancho Panza. Sometimes we are fused with Cervantes, but more often we are invisible wanderers who accompany the sublime pair in their adventures and debacles. King Lear's first performance took place as part I of Don Quixote was published. Contra Auden, Cervantes, like Shakespeare, gives us a secular transcendence. Don Quixote does regard himself as God's knight, but he continuously follows his own capricious will, which is gloriously idiosyncratic. King Lear appeals to the skyey heavens for aid, but on the personal grounds that they and he are old. Battered by realities that are even more violent than he is, Don Quixote resists yielding to the authority of church and state. When he ceases to assert his autonomy, there is nothing left except to be Alonso Quixano the Good again, and no action remaining except to die. I return to my initial question: the Sorrowful Knight's object. He is at war with Freud's reality principle, which accepts the necessity of dying. But he is neither a fool nor a madman, and his vision always is at least double: he sees what we see, yet he sees something else also, a possible glory that he desires to appropriate or at least share. De Unamuno names this transcendence as literary fame, the immortality of Cervantes and Shakespeare. We need to hold in mind as we read Don Quixote that we cannot condescend to the knight and Sancho, since together they know more than we do, just as we never can catch up to the amazing speed of Hamlet's cognitions. Do we know exactly who we are? The more urgently we quest for our authentic selves, the more they tend to recede. The knight and Sancho, as the great work closes, know exactly who they are, not so much by their adventures as through their marvellous conversations, be they quarrels or exchanges of insights. Poetry, particularly Shakespeare's, teaches us how to talk to ourselves, but not to others. Shakespeare's great figures are gorgeous solipsists: Shylock, Falstaff, Hamlet, Iago, Lear, Cleopatra, with Rosalind the brilliant exception. Don Quixote and Sancho really listen to each other and change through this receptivity. Neither of them overhears himself, which is the Shakespearean mode. Cervantes or Shakespeare: they are rival teachers of how we change and why. Friendship in Shakespeare is ironic at best, treacherous more commonly. The friendship between Sancho Panza and his knight surpasses any other in literary representation. We do not have Cardenio, the play Shakespeare wrote with John Fletcher, after reading Thomas Shelton's contemporaneous translation of Don Quixote. Therefore we cannot know what Shakespeare thought of Cervantes, though we can surmise his delight. Cervantes, an unsuccessful dramatist, presumably had never heard of Shakespeare, but I doubt he would have valued Falstaff and Hamlet, both of whom chose the self's freedom over obligations of any kind. Sancho, as Kafka remarked, is a free man, but Don Quixote is metaphysically and psychologically bound by his dedication to knight errantry. We can celebrate the knight's endless valour, but not his literalisation of the romance of chivalry. But does Don Quixote altogether believe in the reality of his own vision? Evidently he does not, particularly when he (and Sancho) is surrendered by Cervantes to the sadomasochistic practical jokes - indeed, the vicious and humiliating cruelties - that afflict the knight and squire in part II. Nabokov is very illuminating on this in his Lectures on Don Quixote, published posthumously in 1983: both parts of Don Quixote form a veritable encyclopedia of cruelty. From that viewpoint it is one of the most bitter and barbarous books ever penned. And its cruelty is artistic. To find a Shakespearean equivalent to this aspect of Don Quixote, you would have to fuse Titus Andronicus and The Merry Wives of Windsor into one work, a grim prospect because they are, to me, Shakespeare's weakest plays. Falstaff's dreadful humiliation by the merry wives is unacceptable enough (even if it formed the basis for Verdi's sublime Falstaff). Why does Cervantes subject Don Quixote to the physical abuse of part I and the psychic tortures of part II? Nabokov's answer is aesthetic: the cruelty is vitalised by Cervantes's characteristic artistry. That seems to me something of an evasion. Twelfth Night is comedy unsurpassable, and on the stage we are consumed by hilarity at Malvolio's terrible humiliations. When we reread the play, we become uneasy, because Malvolio's socio-erotic fantasies echo in virtually all of us. Why are we not made at least a little dubious by the torments, bodily and socially, suffered by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza? Cervantes himself, as a constant if disguised presence in the text, is the answer. He was the most battered of eminent writers. At the great naval battle of Lepanto, he was wounded and so at 24 permanently lost the use of his left hand. In 1575, he was captured by Barbary pirates and spent five years as a slave in Algiers. Ransomed in 1580, he served Spain as a spy in Portugal and Oran and then returned to Madrid, where he attempted a career as a dramatist, almost invariably failing after writing at least 20 plays. Somewhat desperately, he became a tax collector, only to be indicted and imprisoned for supposed malfeasance in 1597. A fresh imprisonment came in 1605; there is a tradition that he began to compose Don Quixote in jail. Part I, written at incredible speed, was published in 1605. Part II was published in 1615. Fleeced of all royalties of part I by the publisher, Cervantes would have died in poverty except for the belated patronage of a discerning nobleman in the last three years of his life. Though Shakespeare died at just 52, he was an immensely successful dramatist and became quite prosperous by holding a share in the actors' company that played at the Globe Theatre. Circumspect, and only too aware of the government-inspired murder of Christopher Marlowe, and their torture of Thomas Kyd, and branding of Ben Jonson, Shakespeare kept himself nearly anonymous, despite being the reigning dramatist of London. Violence, slavery and imprisonment were the staples of Cervantes's life. Shakespeare, wary to the end, had an existence almost without a memorable incident, as far as we can tell. The physical and mental torments suffered by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza had been central to Cervantes's endless struggle to stay alive and free. Yet Nabokov's observations are accurate: cruelty is extreme throughout Don Quixote. The aesthetic wonder is that this enormity fades when we stand back from the huge book and ponder its shape and endless range of meaning. No critic's account of Cervantes's masterpiece agrees with, or even resembles, any other critic's impressions. Don Quixote is a mirror held up not to nature, but to the reader. How can this bashed and mocked knight errant be, as he is, a universal paradigm? Don Quixote and Sancho are victims, but both are extraordinarily resilient, until the knight's final defeat and dying into the identity of Quixano the Good, whom Sancho vainly implores to take to the road again. The fascination of Don Quixote's endurance and of Sancho's loyal wisdom always remains. Cervantes plays upon the human need to withstand suffering, which is one reason the knight awes us. However good a Catholic he may (or may not) have been, Cervantes is interested in heroism and not in sainthood. The heroism of Don Quixote is by no means constant: he is perfectly capable of flight, abandoning poor Sancho to be beaten up by an entire village. Cervantes, a hero at Lepanto, wants Don Quixote to be a new kind of hero, neither ironic nor mindless, but one who wills to be himself, as Jos� Ortega y Gasset accurately phrased it. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza both exalt the will, though the knight transcendentalises it, and Sancho, the first post-pragmatic, wants to keep it within limits. It is the transcendent element in Don Quixote that ultimately persuades us of his greatness, partly because it is set against the deliberately coarse, frequently sordid context of the panoramic book. And again it is important to note that this transcendence is secular and literary, and not Catholic. The Quixotic quest is erotic, yet even the eros is literary. Crazed by reading (as so many of us still are), the knight is in quest of a new self, one that can overgo the erotic madness of Orlando (Roland) in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso or of the mythic Amad�s of Gaul. Unlike Orlando's or Amad�s's, Don Quixote's madness is deliberate, self-inflicted, a traditional poetic strategy. Still, there is a clear sublimation of the sexual drive in the knight's desperate courage. Lucidity keeps breaking in, re-minding him that Dulcinea is his own supreme fiction, transcending an honest lust for the peasant girl Aldonza Lorenzo. A fiction, believed in even though you know it is a fiction, can be validated only by sheer will. I cannot think of any other work where the relations between words and deeds are as ambiguous as in Don Quixote, except (once again) for Hamlet. Cervantes's formula is also Shakespeare's, though in Cervantes we feel the burden of the experiential, whereas Shakespeare is uncanny, since nearly all his experience was theatrical. So subtle is Cervantes that he needs to be read at as many levels as Dante. Perhaps the Quixotic can be accurately defined as the literary mode of an absolute reality, not as impossible dream but rather as a persuasive awakening into mortality. The aesthetic truth of Don Quixote is that, again like Dante and Shakespeare, it makes us confront greatness directly. If we have difficulty fully understanding Don Quixote's quest, its motives and desired ends, that is because we confront a reflecting mirror that awes us even while we yield to delight. Cervantes is always out ahead of us, and we can never quite catch up. Fielding and Sterne, Goethe and Thomas Mann, Flaubert and Stendhal, Melville and Mark Twain, Dostoevsky: these are among Cervantes's admirers and pupils. Don Quixote is the only book that Dr Johnson desired to be even longer than it already was. Yet Cervantes, although a universal pleasure, is in some respects even more difficult than are Dante and Shakespeare upon their heights. Are we to believe everything Don Quixote says to us? Does he believe it? He (or Cervantes) is the inventor of a mode now common enough, in which figures, within a novel, read prior fictions concerning their own earlier adventures and have to sustain a consequent loss in the sense of reality. This is one of the beautiful enigmas of Don Quixote: it is simultaneously a work whose authentic subject is literature and a chronicle of a hard, sordid actuality, the declining Spain of 1605-15. The knight is Cervantes's subtle critique of a realm that had given him only harsh measures in return for his own patriotic heroism at Lepanto. Don Quixote cannot be said to have a double consciousness; his is rather the multiple consciousness of Cervantes himself, a writer who knows the cost of confirmation. I do not believe the knight can be said to tell lies, except in the Nietzschean sense of lying against time and time's grim 'It was'. To ask what it is that Don Quixote himself believes is to enter the visionary centre of his story. This curious blend of the sublime and the bathetic does not come again until Kafka, another pupil of Cervantes, would compose stories like 'The Hunter Gracchus' and 'A Country Doctor'. To Kafka, Don Quixote was Sancho Panza's demon or genius, projected by the shrewd Sancho into a book of adventure unto death. In Kafka's marvellous interpretation, the authentic object of the knight's quest is Sancho Panza himself, who as an auditor refuses to believe Don Quixote's account of the cave. So I circle back to my question: Does the knight believe his own story? It makes little sense to answer either 'yes' or 'no', so the question must be wrong. We cannot know what Don Quixote and Hamlet believe, since they do not share in our limitations. Thomas Mann loved Don Quixote for its ironies, but then Mann could have said, at any time: 'Irony of ironies, all is irony.' We behold in Cervantes's vast scripture what we already are. Johnson, who could not abide Jonathan Swift's ironies, easily accepted those of Cervantes; Swift's satire corrodes, while Cervantes's allows us some hope. Johnson felt we required some illusions, lest we go mad. Is that part of Cervantes's design? Mark van Doren, in a very useful study, Don Quixote's Profession, is haunted by the analogues between the knight and Hamlet, which to me seem inevitable. Here are the two characters, beyond all others, who seem always to know what they are doing, though they baffle us whenever we try to share their knowledge. It is a knowledge unlike that of Falstaff and Sancho Panza, who are so delighted at being themselves that they bid knowledge to go aside and pass them by. I would rather be Falstaff or Sancho than a version of Hamlet or Don Quixote, because growing old and ill teaches me that being matters more than knowing. The knight and Hamlet are reckless beyond belief; Falstaff and Sancho have some awareness of discretion in matters of valour. We cannot know the object of Don Quixote's quest unless we ourselves are Quixotic (note the capital Q). Did Cervantes, looking back upon his own arduous life, think of it as somehow Quixotic? The Sorrowful Face stares out at us in his portrait, a countenance wholly unlike Shakespeare's subtle blandness. They match each other in genius, because more even than Chaucer before them, and the host of novelists who have blended their influences since, they gave us personalities more alive than ourselves. Cervantes, I suspect, would not have wanted us to compare him to Shakespeare or to anyone else. Don Quixote says that all comparisons are odious. Perhaps they are, but this may be the exception. We need, with Cervantes and Shakespeare, all the help we can get in regard to ultimates, yet we need no help at all to enjoy them. Each is as difficult and yet available as the other. To confront them fully, where are we to turn except to their mutual power of illumination?

Subject: Cervantes, Multicultural Dreamer
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 15:06:07 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/13/arts/13conn.html?ex=1276315200&en=39ab05ae1b5ea112&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss June 13, 2005 Regarding Cervantes, Multicultural Dreamer By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN Why was 'Don Quixote' originally written in Arabic? Or rather, why does Cervantes, who wrote the book in Spanish, claim that it was translated from the Arabic? Much is being said this year about 'Don Quixote,' in celebration of the 400th anniversary of its publication. And indeed, much has always been said about this extraordinary epic, narrating the misadventures of a half-mad hidalgo who seeks to re-establish the traditions of knight errantry. Faulkner reread it annually; Lionel Trilling said all prose fiction was a variation on its themes. But aside from its literary achievements, 'Don Quixote' sheds oblique light on an era when Spain's Islamic culture forcibly came to an end. Just consider Cervantes's playful account of the book's origins. One day in the Toledo marketplace, he writes, a young boy was trying to sell old notebooks and worn scraps of paper covered with Arabic script. Cervantes recounts how he acquired a book and then looked around for a Moor to translate it. 'It was not very difficult' to find such a Moor, he writes. In fact, he says, he could have even found a translator of Hebrew. The Arabic manuscript, the Moor tells him, is the 'History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Cide Hamete Benengeli, an Arab historian.' Cervantes brings the Moor to the cloister of a church and commissions a translation. We know this is all a jest, as is the very name of the historian: 'Cide' is an honorific, 'Hamete' is a version of the Arab name Hamid, and 'Benengeli' means eggplant. But this eggplantish historian is no more a jest than anything else in the novel, whether it is Don Quixote tilting at windmills or Sancho Panza governing an island not surrounded by water. Benengeli is, apparently, just as earnest as Don Quixote, just as peculiar and just as important to understanding what this novel is about. At the time when Cervantes was writing this novel, nothing about this jest was possible. Neither an Arabic-speaking Moor nor a Hebrew-speaking Jew would have been readily found in the Toledo marketplace. And no Moor would have translated Arabic in the cloister of a church. The Jews had been expelled from Spain in 1492; only converts remained. Books in Arabic had been burned with all the ferocity that the priest applies to Don Quixote's library of chivalric narratives. And while the Muslims hadn't yet been expelled from Spain (that would happen in the years just after the first part of 'Don Quixote' was published), they too had to convert. So Spain was full of New Christians: converts from Islam (called moriscos) and Judaism (called conversos), some continuing to secretly practice their religion (like the Jewish marranos). One reason that pork became such a popular Spanish dish was that eating it was a way to publicly prove one was not following the dietary rules of Islam or Judaism. Eggplant, however, was associated with Muslim and Jewish tastes back when Toledo was home to a flourishing Jewish community. So Cervantes is up to a bit of mischief with these allusions. And they could not have been missed. L. P. Harvey's important new book, 'Muslims in Spain: 1500 to 1614' (University of Chicago Press), soberly recounts the ways in which Muslim culture and religion, which had been part of Spanish life for eight centuries, was forcibly suppressed, until Muslims were completely expelled from Spain, between 1609 and 1614. There was much trauma and bloodshed, much secrecy and much dissimulation. Don Quixote could hardly have wandered around La Mancha without coming upon traces of this trauma; Moors and moriscos were part of the landscape. 'A Moor she is in costume and in body,' is how one character is described, 'but in her soul she is thoroughly Christian.' And the Moors of Spain are almost catalogued: 'Tagarinos is the name given in Barbary to the Moors of Aragón, while those of Granada are called Mudéjares; but in the kingdom of Fez the Mudéjares are termed Elches.' In the novel's second part (published in 1615, after the Muslim expulsion), Sancho sees a Moorish shopkeeper from his hometown, in disguise. 'Who the devil would ever have known you, Ricote, in that clown suit you are wearing?' Sancho asks. 'Tell me, who has made a Frenchman out of you?' Ricote mentions Spain's forced exile of Muslims and its unavoidable sorrows: 'Wherever we may be it is for Spain that we weep; for, when all is said, we were born here and it is our native land.' Cervantes also had firsthand experience with such confrontations. In 1571, he fought at Lepanto, an epochal battle against the Turks and a major victory for the Christian West against Islam; he lost the use of his left arm. A few years later, returning to Spain, he was captured by Barbary pirates - Muslims who were themselves engaged in a kind of guerilla war against the Christian West - and was imprisoned for five years, surviving four escape attempts until finally, his freedom was ransomed. When Cervantes wrote 'Don Quixote' a quarter century later, this experience led to an extensive story about Moors and Christians involving kidnapping, conversion and betrayal. He wrote, though, not as warrior but as a philosopher. His empathy for the Moors is cautious but unmistakable. Recent scholarship suggests that Cervantes himself might have from a family of conversos; that could help explain why he was regularly denied the official appointments he sought. Other scholars have suggested that the novel itself is full of coded allusions to Judaism. There is no need, though, to accept that hypothesis to sense how, by the end, Spain's triumph turns ambiguous. All pieties inspire melancholy. Even Sancho is not to be fully trusted. He, too, easily dons the mantle of an Old Christian, at one point declaring that since he believes firmly in 'all that the holy Roman Catholic Church holds and believes,' and since he 'a mortal enemy of the Jews,' historians should treat him well. But Quixote rejects the notions of caste and of blood purity that characterized 16th-century Spain. Benengeli's manuscript is partly a ghost story about a lost world. Quixote is born of ideas latent in extinct, condemned texts, whether Arabic or chivalric. He has unswerving principles, but even they are inadequate to a world of disguise, enchantment, illusion and delusion. In her book 'The Ornament of the World,' the scholar María Rosa Menocal compares Quixote's mental universe with the world of the Toledo marketplace, with its conversos, marranos and moriscos: 'Who in this world ever says that he is what he seems to be? And who seems to be what he no doubt really is?' So Don Quixote's Spain, instead of displaying triumphant absolutism, is a world of shifting appearances. 'Don Quixote' is a resigned acknowledgment of a new kind of terrain that defined modernity: in it, very little is certain and much is lost. The book's power, though, also comes from Quixote's stubborn quest: he won't entirely let us accept that something else isn't possible.

Subject: 'The Lost Painting'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 14:07:45 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/books/review/13handy.html?ex=1289538000&en=dcf98d922e8fb76a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 13, 2005 'The Lost Painting': The Caravaggio Trail By BRUCE HANDY Historians take windows where they can find them, and in certain circles this entry from a 17th-century ledger bears particularly vivid witness: On Jan. 2, 1603, a Roman nobleman named Ciriaco Mattei paid 125 scudi - the liras of the day - for what his bookkeeper described as 'a painting with its frame of Christ taken in the garden.' The artist in question, Michelangelo Merisi, known to most of us as Caravaggio (after his hometown outside Milan), was then among the most famous, innovative and copied painters in Rome - the Picasso of his day, more or less. But tastes change, and the realism that was bracing and revelatory to his contemporaries left a bad odor in the 18th and 19th centuries. By the turn of the last one Caravaggio had become but a footnote in art history. And so, another window: on April 16, 1921, according to the notation on a catalog from a now defunct auction house, 'The Taking of Christ,' misattributed at the time to a minor Dutch painter, was sold at auction in Edinburgh, for a mere eight guineas, a silk purse pawned off as a pig's ear. And then, of course, the wheel turned again: today, the dirty feet of Caravaggio's models don't distract us from his formal beauty - gosh, we're inured to Nan Goldin - and we live in an age when anyone with a Metropolitan Museum of Art wall calendar will instantly recognize Caravaggio's mature style, gorgeous and stark with its dramatic angled lighting, deeply shadowed backgrounds - did Caravaggio invent film noir? - and muscular, often contorted figures. Fold in the fact that (a) he lived a short and violent life (he was known to the police, as they say, eventually fleeing Rome after killing a man in a fight over a gambling debt), and (b) it's hard to miss the homoeroticism of so much of his work, and you have all the ingredients for a 21st-century museum superstar. Indeed, the painter's current renown is such that Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a best seller on the subjects of what has happened to 'The Taking of Christ' since 1603 and who has cared enough to find that out. To Caravaggio scholars, whose discipline became academically viable when the artist's reputation rebounded in the 1950's, 'The Taking of Christ' was a famously vanished work, known only through copies made by the artist's followers. Harr's rich and wonderful book, 'The Lost Painting,' is an account of how, in 1990, the original was found. I'm tempted to quick-key a cliché and say the book reads like a thriller, because it's as gripping as a good one and even kicks off with the ritual opening: a brief prologue suggesting the high stakes of the game afoot, followed by the introduction of an unlikely and unprepossessing but, in the end, surprisingly resourceful heroine. She is Francesca Cappelletti, a 24-year-old graduate student in art history at the University of Rome who is about to stumble upon Something Really Really Big. In truth, the book reads better than a thriller because, unlike a lot of best-selling non-fiction authors who write in a more or less novelistic vein (Harr's previous book, 'A Civil Action,' was made into a John Travolta movie), Harr doesn't plump up his tale. He almost never foreshadows, doesn't implausibly reconstruct entire conversations and rarely throws in litanies of clearly conjectured or imagined details just for color's sake, though he does betray one small weakness in this regard: whenever his subjects are out and about, the sun always seems to be slanting low across the rooftops of Rome or bathing the church domes of the city in a golden light while the swallows of spring circle and pirouette overhead. On the other hand, if you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk, you'll forgive these rote if poetic contrivances and enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city, as when - one of my favorite moments in the whole book - Francesca and another young colleague try to calm their nerves before a crucial meeting with a forbidding professor by eating gelato. And who wouldn't in Italy? The pleasures of travelogue here are incidental but not inconsiderable. The foreground pleasures are those of a police procedural. In order to gain access to the archives of a noble Roman family, Francesca chats up a dotty old marchesa using all the cunning of a Columbo snuffling around for an inadvertent clue. It is in that archive, while researching the provenance of another Caravaggio painting (a young, nude and flirty John the Baptist with his arm around an interested ram), that she and her colleague, Laura Testa, discover the 1603 ledger entry, which becomes the first important signpost leading to the identification of 'The Taking of Christ.' As the players in this drama multiply - and given the career stakes, everyone involved seems remarkably decent; the book could have used a good villain - we are treated to an art historian's version of 'C.S.I.' Canvases are X-rayed and scanned with infrared light, paint surfaces are examined for telltale traces of the painter's M.O. - the way Caravaggio, who didn't work from preparatory sketches, scored the ground of his paintings with the nonbusiness end of his brush to work out his compositions. Terms such as craquelure - an old painting's characteristic 'web of fine capillary-like cracks' - are tossed around. As with any version of 'C.S.I.,' there is even a decent yuck moment here during a sequence in which the book's second main character, an art restorer named Sergio Benedetti, mixes up a pot of glue with eye-of-newt ingredients: 'a quantity of pellets of colla forte made with rabbit-skin glue, an equal quantity of water, a tablespoon of white vinegar, a pungent drop of purified ox bile.' Harr notes that Benedetti prefers this recipe to another calling for an entire ox skull. The author has a wonderful ability to bring this sort of tradecraft to life. For instance, there is this description of another restorer, Andrew O'Connor, cleaning the surface of a filthy painting: 'He used cotton swabs and began with distilled water, barely dampening the swab, to remove the superficial dirt. Occasionally he wet a swab in his mouth. Saliva contains enzymes and is often effective at removing dirt and some oils. In Italy he'd seen restorers clean paintings with small pellets of fresh bread. The process of cleaning old paintings has a long history, not all of it illustrious. In previous eras, paintings had been variously scrubbed with soap and water, caustic soda, wood ash and lye; many had been damaged irreparably. An older restorer once described paintings to O'Connor as breathing, half-organic entities. 'It's a good thing they can't cry,' this restorer said, 'otherwise you would go to museums and have to put your fingers in your ears.' ' It is this empathy for the passions of these scholars and artisans, Harr's respect for their dedication and his keen understanding of their workaday worlds - he clearly spent a lot of time with his subjects - that elevates 'The Lost Painting' into something more provocative than just your average missing-Caravaggio narrative. A good thing, too, since the timing and circumstances of the discovery of 'The Taking of Christ' deflate much of the book's suspense; halfway through, it's all over but the backfilling. Fortunately, the hunt for the canvas is a bit of a MacGuffin; the deeper mystery is the nature of capital-A art itself. In that vein, early in the book, Harr offers a sketch of Sir Denis Mahon, the greatest living expert on Caravaggio: 'Sir Denis believed that a painting was like a window back into time, that with meticulous study he could peer into a work by Caravaggio and observe that moment, 400 years ago, when the artist was in his studio, studying the model before him, mixing colors on his palette, putting brush to canvas. Sir Denis believed that by studying the work of an artist he could penetrate the depths of that man's mind. In the case of Caravaggio, it was the mind of a genius. A murderer and a madman, perhaps, but certainly a genius.' Windows on history, windows on men. Ledger entries and masterpieces, both with their 'tells.' So what does 'The Taking of Christ' reveal about Caravaggio? It is one of the artist's most intimate religious paintings - a tight medium shot in Hollywood terms, the action filling the frame with a choreographed immediacy Michael Bey must admire if he's ever seen it. Jesus, off center, calmly accepts his fate, hands clasped, gaze downcast. Judas has just kissed him, the apostle's face inches from his master's, his left hand still gripping Jesus' shoulder, the two locked in a complicated embrace of love and betrayal while a pair of Roman soldiers move in - the decisive moment, in Cartier-Bresson's term. And on the far right Caravaggio has painted himself, raising a lantern: the artist symbolically illuminating the scene. But left hanging, as many critics have pointed out, is the question of Caravaggio's literal role in the scene: mere bystander or member of the arresting party? Is he faithfully illustrating God's design or implicating himself in Judas's treachery? Caravaggio frequently painted himself into his works, often behind a patina of self-loathing, at least to post-Freudian eyes. (In perhaps the most dramatic example, a painting of the victorious young David, he used himself as the model for Goliath's severed head, a look of nauseated despair on his face as his blood drains from his severed neck.) It is this conflicted quality that roils so many of his paintings of martyrdoms and miracles; he may have intended his high-beam lighting to dramatize God's divine love and judgment, but coupled with the dark backgrounds and deep shadows, the effect, as in 'The Taking of Christ,' can also be isolating, each figure swaddled in its own gloom. These are literally dark nights of the soul - Christianity, before the advent of feel-good megachurches, was full of them - and that's one reason the artist speaks so powerfully to modern audiences: three centuries before Munch, Caravaggio had found a visual language for dread. So, yes, certainly a genius, and an attractively tortured one at that, though Harr records Benedetti's observation that Judas's left arm is too short, a clumsy error of perspective on Caravaggio's part: 'It looks like he painted the shoulder and then didn't have enough room for the arm.' Of course: nobody's perfect. Maybe Caravaggio was hurried. Maybe he was lazy. Maybe he didn't notice. But it is that teasing interplay between craft and inspiration, between a painting's physicality and its import, between what is knowable about art and what, ultimately, is not, that resonates throughout 'The Lost Painting' and underscores a satisfyingly ironic coda: In 1997, seven years after it had been painstakingly restored, its provenance documented, and its place rightly restored among Caravaggio's canon, 'The Taking of Christ' was discovered to be infested with biscuit beetles, a common household pest, which were feeding on all that rabbit-skin ox-bile glue that had been used to repair it. Despite the heroic efforts recounted here, ashes-to-ashes can hold true, it seems, for paintings as well as their painters. There's beauty in that, too.

Subject: Inspiration in Cloth
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 13:55:32 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/arts/design/24smit.html?pagewanted=all June 24, 2005 How a Renowned Painter Found Inspiration in Cloth By ROBERTA SMITH 'Matisse: The Fabric of Dreams - His Art and His Textiles,' the languidly titled, often patchy, yet vision-altering exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has some great moments, and not all are due to the art of Henri Matisse. Quite a few of the show's visual fireworks are ignited by the splendid assortment of textiles and garments from around the world that Matisse collected and kept close by throughout his long, prolific life. In a phrase evoking gratitude and heavy use, he called his collection 'my working library.' This show, which originated at the Royal Academy in London last winter, displays parts of Matisse's library for the first time, along with examples of Matisse's art. Textiles had been visible in photographs of Matisse's casbahlike apartments and studios, and in the backgrounds of his paintings, especially those made in Nice in the 1920's and 30's. But until the British writer Hilary Spurling started researching her monumental Matisse biography in the early 1990's, few people knew that any survived. As she interviewed Matisse's descendants, they came to light, sometimes out of trunks unopened since the artist's death in Nice in 1954. Ms. Spurling convinced Ann Dumas, an independent art historian associated with the Royal Academy, that the textiles merited an exhibition. The Met collaborated, along with the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, the small village in northern France where the artist was born in 1869 in a two-room weaver's cottage belonging to his grandmother. The rest, as they say, is history, but one that is only beginning to be written. The chance to examine the raw data before it is digested may reshape your notions of Matisse's art and its sources. It forces the backgrounds of his paintings to the foreground and exposes what has been hiding in plain sight. It argues persuasively that textiles were fundamental to Matisse's formidably decorative art, with its saturated colors, positive-negative ambiguities, pulsating patterns, distillations from nature and the sense of folded structure and ironed-out space that was his answer to Cubism. And some of the most interesting fruits of Ms. Spurling's research, condensed into one of the catalog's accessible, to-the-point essays, reveal the crucial role of textiles in Matisse's early years. In nine galleries, 80 of the artist's paintings, prints, drawings and painted paper cutouts, plus one monumental white felt robe designed for a Diaghilev ballet, skim the years from 1890 to 1952. Juxtaposed with these works are about 25 textiles and garments that Matisse once owned: European cottons; Javanese, Moroccan and Japanese silks; African Kuba cloths, with geometric designs and pile surfaces, which Matisse called 'my velvets'; and several North African pierced cotton window coverings that are in effect reverse cutouts. The displays also include a kind of glorious high altar of 16 silks and printed cottons, layered and reaching to the ceiling. More space and more extensive labels for these textiles would have been nice, but the concentration of colors and patterns provides visceral evidence of Matisse's debt. He achieved this kind of unadulterated visual power only during his most radical phases: in the big, flat paintings of 1911-17, none of which are represented here, and in the colored-paper cutouts that along with the 'velvets' dominate the show's final gallery. The show is missing several important works, and to compensate, the Met has nearly doubled its size with additions of paintings and so many prints and drawings that they feel like filler. It takes only a few notebook sketches of models in Romanian blouses, along with three examples of the actual garments, to get the idea. But nearby are two relatively unknown paintings of Romanian blouse-wearers. One, titled 'The Dream,' shows a curled-up, slumbering figure and may be a response to Picasso's painting of the same name. But dreams had little to do with it. Matisse's interest in textiles didn't begin during his 1906 trip to Morocco as a typical European attraction to the exotic. It was hard-wired into him as a descendent of generations of weavers, who was raised among weavers in Bohain-en-Vermandois, which in the 1880's and 90's was a center of production of fancy silks for the Parisian fashion houses. His hard-working parents ran a thriving hardware store, with his mother in charge of the house-paints counter. Bohain was a competitive environment. The weavers were self-employed craftsmen. Innovations of pattern, design and color were matters of pride and survival. In many ways their aesthetic ideas were more advanced than those of the academy in nearby St. Quentin, where Matisse first studied art. Proof positive of this comes in the show's fifth gallery in an 1890's sample book of Bohain silk. An elegant, Mondrianesque design of wide vertical stripes and thin horizontal bands executed in six different color combinations, known to weavers as 'color ways,' emits a searing radiance. Matisse may have referred to Cézanne as 'a god,' but he first encountered some of the salient characteristics of his own art in textile form. He was rendering, interpolating or transforming things he saw, and to see these things for ourselves is like watching his mind work. In the first gallery, we watch him learn from an indigo resist-dyed English cotton that he bought in 1903 and, judging from photographs, rarely let out of his sight. The fabric and its blue-on-white motif of repeating flower baskets and garlanded arabesques permutate through four still life paintings from 1903 to 1916. The textile appears as a roughly sketched background detail in the 1903 'Guitarist,' and as part of a diaphanous Impressionist-Fauvist reverie in the unfinished 'Still Life With Blue Tablecloth' of 1905-6, where it seems to have been more powdered than painted across a darker ground. But an identically titled work from 1909 gets to the point: the cloth dominates the picture plane and overwhelms the shrinking still life with its wavelike turbulence. The denouement here should be Matisse's breakthrough 'Harmony in Red' of 1908, in which the flower baskets and arabesques hang like a hallucinated veil in front of a red dining room. The Hermitage declined to lend this painting, but it is well worth looking up. Yet the resist-dyed fabric itself exerts a force that the paintings lack, especially in the flurry of light blue brush strokes (created by applying resist midway in the dyeing process) on top of the original darker blue, more realistic motifs. Once more the fabric seems to hold the key to the most radical parts of Matisse's future. It is almost possible to think that Matisse spent much of his career trying to make something as casually great as this talisman, and only rarely succeeded. In this context, the mustier, more realistic odalisques of the 1920's suggest that Matisse was simply zeroing in on his fabrics to get a closer look. If so, the scrutiny worked. As reproductions in the catalog reveal, the Egyptian cotton-appliquéd curtain, which depicts a rosette with framing leaves in tones of red and brown on a pale ground, is quoted almost verbatim in Matisse's 1948 painting 'Window With Egyptian Curtain,' owned by the Phillips Collection in Washington. Unfortunately, it is not in the show, but the curtain triggers a larger thought about works that are: the late cutouts are appliqués made of paper. This is not a definitive show, but maybe it doesn't have to be. Part of its achievement may be to remind us that exhaustiveness is not as important as a bold new idea. And ultimately, the show is less about art than about the artistic process, the way artists scour their environments and hoard motifs and inspiration even before they are artists. Matisse's textiles were basic to his development of painting as a unified, all-over, forward-pressing surface. They functioned as a kind of multipurpose emblem of the artificial nature of painting - a pliant, portable picture plane that could be used to close off real space while intimating abstraction. They were almost always ahead of him. At the end of his career, he said, 'Even if I could have done, when I was young, what I am doing now - and it is what I dreamed of then - I wouldn't have dared.' We can only take him at his word.

Subject: School Barrier for African Girls
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 09:17:06 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/23/international/africa/23ethiopia.html?ex=1292994000&en=daaac49e2c1bc70a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 23, 2005 Another School Barrier for African Girls: No Toilet By SHARON LaFRANIERE BALIZENDA, Ethiopia - Fatimah Bamun dropped out of Balizenda Primary School in first grade, more than three years ago, when her father refused to buy her pencils and paper. Only after teachers convinced him that his daughter showed unusual promise did he relent. Today Fatimah, 14, tall and slender, studies math and Amharic, Ethiopia's official language, in a dirt-floored fourth-grade classroom. Whether she will reach fifth grade is another matter. Fatimah is facing the onset of puberty, and with it the realities of menstruation in a school with no latrine, no water, no hope of privacy other than the shadow of a bush, and no girlfriends with whom to commiserate. Fatimah is the only girl of the 23 students in her class. In fact, in a school of 178 students, she is one of only three girls who has made it past third grade. Even the women among the school's teachers say they have no choice but to use the thorny scrub, in plain sight of classrooms, as a toilet. 'It is really too difficult,' said Azeb Beyene, who arrived here in September to teach fifth grade. Here and throughout sub-Saharan Africa, schoolgirls can only empathize. In a region where poverty, tradition and ignorance deprive an estimated 24 million girls even of an elementary school education, the lack of school toilets and water is one of many obstacles to girls' attendance, and until recently was considered unfit for discussion. In some rural communities in the region, menstruation itself is so taboo that girls are prohibited from cooking or even banished to the countryside during their periods. But that impact is substantial. Researchers throughout sub-Saharan Africa have documented that lack of sanitary pads, a clean, girls-only latrine and water for washing hands drives a significant number of girls from school. The United Nations Children's Fund, for example, estimates that one in 10 school-age African girls either skips school during menstruation or drops out entirely because of lack of sanitation. The average schoolgirl's struggle for privacy is emblematic of the uphill battle for public education in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly among girls. With slightly more than 6 in 10 eligible children enrolled in primary school, the region's enrollment rates are the lowest in the world. Beyond that, enrollment among primary school-aged girls is 8 percent lower than among boys, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef. And of those girls who enroll, 9 percent more drop out before the end of sixth grade than boys. African girls in poor, rural areas like Balizenda are even more likely to lose out. The World Bank estimated in 1999 that only one in four of them was enrolled in primary school. The issue, advocates for children say, is not merely fairness. The World Bank contends that if women in sub-Saharan Africa had equal access to education, land, credit and other assets like fertilizer, the region's gross national product could increase by almost one additional percentage point annually. Mark Blackden, one of the bank's lead analysts, said Africa's progress was inextricably linked to the fate of girls. 'There is a connection between growth in Africa and gender equality,' he said. 'It is of great importance but still ignored by so many.' The pressure on girls to drop out peaks with the advent of puberty and the problems that accompany maturity, like sexual harassment by male teachers, ever growing responsibilities at home and parental pressure to marry. Female teachers who could act as role models are also in short supply in sub-Saharan Africa: they make up a quarter or less of the primary school teachers in 12 nations, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Florence Kanyike, the Uganda coordinator for the Forum of Women Educationalists, a Nairobi-based organization that lobbies for education for girls, said the harsh inconvenience of menstruation in schools without sanitation was just one more reason for girls to stay home. 'They miss three or four days of school,' she said. 'They find themselves lagging behind, and because they don't perform well, their interest fails. They start to think, 'What are we doing here?' The biggest number of them drop out in year five or six.' Increasingly, international organizations, African education ministries and the continent's fledgling women's rights movements are rallying behind the notion of a 'girl friendly' school, one that is more secure and closer to home, with a healthy share of female teachers and a clean toilet with a door and water for washing hands. In Guinea, enrollment rates for girls from 1997 to 2002 jumped 17 percent after improvements in school sanitation, according to a recent Unicef report. The dropout rate among girls fell by an even bigger percentage. Schools in northeastern Nigeria showed substantial gains after Unicef and donors built thousands of latrines, trained thousands of teachers and established school health clubs, the agency contends. Ethiopia has also made strides. More than 6 in 10 girls of primary-school age are enrolled in school this year, compared with fewer than 4 in 10 girls in 1999. Still, boys are far ahead, with nearly 8 in 10 of them enrolled in primary school. Unicef is building latrines and bringing clean water to 300 Ethiopian schools. But more than half of the nation's 13,181 primary schools lack water, more than half lack latrines and some lack both. Moreover, those with latrines may have just one for 300 students, Therese Dooley, Unicef's sanitation project officer, said. In theory, at least, outfitting Ethiopia's schools with basic facilities can be cheap and simple, she said. Toilets need be little more than pits and concrete slabs with walls and a door; rain can be trapped on a school's roof and strained through sand. Still, she said, toilets for boys and girls must be clearly separate and students who may have never seen a latrine must be taught the importance of using one. And the toilets must be kept clean, a task that frequently falls to the very schoolgirls who were supposed to benefit most. In Benishangul Gumuz Province in western Ethiopia, where low mountains rise over brilliant yellow fields of oilseeds, such amenities are rare indeed. Guma, a town of 13,000 about an hour's drive from Balizenda over a viciously rutted road, has water only sporadically. The town's main street is dotted with shops, but not one sells sanitary pads. Few residents could afford them anyway. Women make do with folded rags. Balizenda primary school, with 178 students, is a long, litter-strewn building in a dirt clearing surrounded by brush. Two lopsided reed-walled huts pass for fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms. On the playground soccer field, three tree limbs lashed together form the goal. With the exception of the first grade, where girls are more than a third of the pupils, Balizenda could be mistaken for an all-boys' school. Only 13 girls are enrolled in grades two through six, and even that is an improvement over three months ago. 'When I came here in September, there was not a single female student' in the entire school, said Tisge Tsegaw, 22, the first-grade teacher. 'We went to the homes and motivated the parents, and then they came.' But in many cases, not for long. 'The parents prioritize. They figure if the girls stay home, they can do the grinding, help with the harvesting, fetch the water and collect the firewood,' Ms. Tsegaw said. 'They agree to enroll them. Then after two months, they take them back.' The school's latrine, a hovel of thatch and reeds, fell down last year. Yehwala Mesfin, the school's director, said neither the villagers nor the Education Ministry would help build a new one. Parents viewed their annual rebuilding of the reed-walled fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms as a sufficient contribution, he said. Ms. Beyene, the fifth-grade teacher who arrived here in September, said she agreed to stay at Balizenda only after Mr. Mesfin promised that she could use a toilet at a health center nearby. But since then, the health center has been closed for lack of staff. 'The majority of time I use the open field,' she said. 'There is no privacy. Everybody comes, even the students. So we try to restrict ourselves to urinate before school and at nighttime. I already have a kidney infection because of this. My situation is getting worse.' The school's only sixth-grade girls, Mesert Mesfin, 17, and Worknesh Anteneh, 15, said that when they could not resist nature's call, they stood guard for each other in the field. When her period began one recent Thursday morning, Mesert said, she had no choice but to run home. Worknesh said she sometimes avoided school during her period. 'It is really a shame,' she said. 'I am really bothered by this.' Fatimah Bamun, who started school so late that at 14 she is only in fourth grade, said she did not want to miss a single class because she wanted to be a teacher. But, she added, she does not have a lot of backing from her friends. 'I have no friend in the class,' she said. 'Most of my friends have dropped out to get married. So during the break, I just sit in the classroom and read.' Her father, however, now says he is fully behind her. 'The people from the government are all the time telling us to send our daughters to school, and I am listening to these people,' he said. Neither Fatimah's older sister nor mother went to school. And Fatimah is all too familiar with the alternatives for illiterate girls. When she returns home after school each day, she is greeted by another girl, named Eko, who lives in her hut. Thin and poorly dressed, 12 years old at most, Eko is literally a wedding present, given to the Bamuns when Fatimah's sister married Eko's brother. Before the wedding, Eko was an avid second grader. 'I liked school very much; it would have been better to stay in school,' she said quietly, picking at her callused hands. Now she is the Bamun family servant, up at sunrise to pound sorghum with a stone for the breakfast porridge. Her education is vicarious. 'She always asks me, 'When are you going to school?' ' Fatimah said. ' 'What do you do there? What subjects do you study?' '

Subject: Impact of Evolution Ruling
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:15:10 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/science/sciencespecial2/22evolution.html?ex=1292907600&en=dfcfe917ec09989c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 22, 2005 Schools Nationwide Study Impact of Evolution Ruling By LAURIE GOODSTEIN When the school board in Muscatine, Iowa, sits down next year for its twice-a-decade evaluation of the district's science curriculum, the matter of whether to teach intelligent design as a challenge to evolution is expected to come up for discussion. Board members disagree about whether they will be swayed by a sweeping court decision on intelligent design released on Tuesday in Pennsylvania. A federal judge there ruled intelligent design 'a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory' that must not be taught in a public school science class. 'I don't think that a judge in one state is going to be able to tell everybody in all other states what to do,' said Paul Brooks, a school board member and retired principal in Muscatine who favors teaching intelligent design. 'So I don't get too excited about what he said.' The board's vice president, Ann Hart, demurred. 'This determination in Pennsylvania will help the cause,' Ms. Hart said, 'for those of us who think intelligent design should not be taught in public school science classes because of separation of church and state.' Educators and legislators in Muscatine and other communities that are considering intelligent design said they were learning about the results of the trial involving the school board in Dover, Pa., and had not read the decision. The Dover board voted in October 2004 to have students listen to a statement at the start of biology class that said that evolution was a flawed theory and that intelligent design was an alternative they could study further. It was a limited step, but opened the door to a lawsuit from local parents that became the nation's first test case of the legal merits of teaching intelligent design. The federal district judge in the Pennsylvania case, John E. Jones III, ruled after a six-week trial that intelligent design was 'an interesting theological argument, but it is not science.' He concluded that it was 'unconstitutional to teach I.D. as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.' Intelligent design is the proposition that biological life is so complex that it could not have randomly evolved, but must have been designed by an intelligent force. Lawyers for the parents who sued the Dover board hailed the decision as a cautionary one for any state or school board flirting with intelligent design because Judge Jones ruled broadly on the very legitimacy of intelligent design as science. The judge's 139-page decision dealt not only with the specific missteps of the Dover school board, but also traced the growth of the intelligent design movement from the remnants of creationism and creation science - which the Supreme Court declared in 1987 to be unconstitutional to teach in public school science class. Intelligent design proponents gained support in Dover and across the country with the rallying cry to 'teach the controversy' over evolution and open students' minds to competing theories. The National Center for Science Education in Oakland, Calif., has tracked efforts in at least two dozen states to introduce challenges to evolution in the curriculum. Some efforts hew more closely to the approach in Kansas, where the State Board of Education changed its standards to teach about flaws in evolutionary theory. In South Carolina, State Senator Mike Fair has introduced a bill to encourage teaching criticism of evolution. Mr. Fair is also on a state education committee that is evaluating biology standards. He said although he had not read the Pennsylvania ruling, it offended him because it impugned board members' motives because they were Christians. 'This case hasn't settled anything,' Mr. Fair said. Kristi L. Bowman, a law professor at Drake University in Des Moines, said that technically the judge's ruling was legally binding only in part of Pennsylvania and that no other courts in the country must follow it. 'That aside,' Professor Bowman said, 'this is such a thorough, well-researched opinion that covers all possible bases in terms of the legal arguments that intelligent design advocates present, that I think any school board or state board of education thinking about adopting an intelligent design policy should think twice.' Professor Bowman attended part of the Dover trial and expects her article on intelligent design to be in The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. The legal fees incurred may be 'an even stronger cautionary signal to school districts around the country than the actual decision,' Professor Bowman said. The Dover school district is now liable for the legal fees incurred by the plaintiffs - which plaintiffs lawyers say could exceed $1 million. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, as wells as lawyers with Pepper Hamilton, a private firm. Eric J. Rothschild, a Pepper Hamilton lawyer, said in a news conference after the ruling that holding the Dover board to a financial penalty would convey to other school districts that 'board members can't act like they did with impunity.' But Mr. Rothschild said the fees were still being totaled, and he left open the possibility that the lawyers might go after individual board members who voted for the intelligent design policy to pay the legal costs. In Muscatine, the superintendent, Tom Williams, said he expected that the possibility of a legal battle would deter his board from adopting intelligent design. 'We do expose ourselves to some kind of risk if we go out on a limb,' Mr. Williams said. He added that he was not in favor of it because he saw intelligent design as creationism with 'just a little different twist of terminology.' 'We need to stick with what our teachers are trained to do, and they're not trained to teach religious philosophies,' Mr. Williams said.

Subject: Evolution Trial
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:12:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/18/national/18judge.html?ex=1292562000&en=ac4cab39c59c89f4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 18, 2005 Evolution Trial in Hands of Willing Judge By LAURIE GOODSTEIN Driving home one day last December from the courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Judge John E. Jones III tuned in to a radio news report about 11 parents in the nearby town of Dover who had filed a lawsuit challenging their school board's decision to include intelligent design in the high school biology curriculum. 'It piqued my curiosity,' the judge said. Not only was the suit likely to be the nation's first full hearing on the legal merits of teaching intelligent design, but it also had been filed in the federal court in Pennsylvania where he was serving. The next morning Judge Jones turned on the computer in his chambers and found that the case had been randomly assigned to him. 'Any judge will tell you that they welcome the opportunity to have important cases on their dockets,' he said in an interview. 'That's why they take these jobs.' Judge Jones presided over the six-week trial with discipline, decorum and a quick wit that produced eruptions of laughter. Next week he is expected to issue his decision, which will almost certainly be regarded as a bellwether by other school districts in which religious conservatives have proposed teaching intelligent design as a challenge to the theory of evolution. Legal experts said the big question was whether Judge Jones would rule narrowly or more broadly on the merits of teaching intelligent design as science. Proponents of the theory argue that living organisms are so complex that the best explanation is that a higher intelligence designed them. One of his clerks hinted last week that the decision was long. In American courts, the battle between science and religion over the origins of life dates back 80 years to the trial of the Tennessee teacher John Scopes. Now this political hot potato has fallen into the lap of a judge who is highly attuned to politics. He is a lifelong Republican appointed to the federal bench in 2002 by President Bush. He ran for Congress 10 years earlier (he lost by one percentage point) and later considered running for governor. His supporters include Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and his mentor is Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and homeland security secretary. But Judge Jones is praised by people on both sides of the aisle as a man of integrity and intellect who takes seriously his charge to be above partisanship. He appears to define himself less by his party affiliation than by his connection to the Pennsylvania coal town where he still lives, and to a family that grabbed education as a rope to climb out of the anthracite mines, and never let go. Clifford A. Rieders, a lawyer in Williamsport who is past president of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, said he had found Judge Jones to be 'moderate, thoughtful' and 'universally well regarded.' 'I think that his connections are not so politicized, nor is he so ambitious that he would be influenced in any way by those kinds of considerations,' said Mr. Rieders, a Democrat. Mr. Ridge called him a 'renaissance man' and 'the right kind of person to be presiding over a trial of such emotional and historic importance.' He added, 'I don't think he goes in with a point of view based on anything prior. I really don't. I think he loves the challenge.' In an interview in his chambers in Williamsport during a break in the final weeks of the trial, Judge Jones said he had been rereading Supreme Court decisions on religion. He said he was aware that Mr. Bush and Mr. Santorum had endorsed the teaching of challenges to evolutionary theory, but he said, 'It doesn't have any bearing on me.' Judge Jones said he learned speed-reading in prep school and consumes five newspapers a day before work. He said he considered opening the Dover trial to television cameras because of 'a bias in favor of disclosure.' But after consulting with colleagues he decided against it. The judge said he had expected the Dover case would attract attention, but was stunned by the amount. One weekend, he said, he did a double take at a supermarket magazine rack. 'I'm on the cover of the Rolling Stone!' he said to his wife. 'Not my picture, but the trial.' He bought a copy. Judge Jones lives in Pottsville, a long commute from Harrisburg and Williamsport, where he hears cases. On his wall hangs a picture of his grandfather, a Welsh orphan who worked as a boy in the Pennsylvania coal mines, took correspondence courses, became a civil engineer and built a chain of golf courses. His father, a Yale graduate, went into the family business. The oldest of four brothers, Judge Jones, who is 50, attended a private school, Mercersburg Academy, and later Dickinson College and the Dickinson School of Law. Asked if he was religious, he said he attended a Lutheran church favored by his wife, but not every Sunday. He had his own law firm when he ran for Congress in 1992 and lost to Tim Holden, a Democrat who had been a friend. He helped Mr. Ridge's campaign for governor in 1994 and was later named to the board that runs the state's liquor stores. 'One of these days,' Mr. Ridge said in an interview, 'a bunch of Republicans are going to recruit him to run for governor, but I think it's going to take a while. He loves being judge.' Of running for governor, Judge Jones said, 'I wouldn't envision it, but I'm 50 years old, and it's probably imprudent to say never.' Among his cases, he has ruled that employees who refuse to authorize a background check on themselves can be fired and that a college's speech code prohibiting 'acts of intolerance' violated the right to free speech. He was reversed once on appeal in a case involving a disability claim. In the recent trial, a lawyer grilled an intelligent design proponent on why a textbook the witness helped to write substituted 'intelligent design' for 'creationism' in a later edition and with 'sudden emergence theory' in a draft of a future edition. 'We won't be back in a couple of years for the sudden emergence trial, will we?' the lawyer asked. To which Judge Jones interjected, 'Not on my docket.'

Subject: Mr. Cheney's Imperial Presidency
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:03:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/23/opinion/23fri1.html?ex=1292994000&en=58967fb57f7405d5&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 23, 2005 Mr. Cheney's Imperial Presidency George W. Bush has quipped several times during his political career that it would be so much easier to govern in a dictatorship. Apparently he never told his vice president that this was a joke. Virtually from the time he chose himself to be Mr. Bush's running mate in 2000, Dick Cheney has spearheaded an extraordinary expansion of the powers of the presidency - from writing energy policy behind closed doors with oil executives to abrogating longstanding treaties and using the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to invade Iraq, scrap the Geneva Conventions and spy on American citizens. It was a chance Mr. Cheney seems to have been dreaming about for decades. Most Americans looked at wrenching events like the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and the Iran-contra debacle and worried that the presidency had become too powerful, secretive and dismissive. Mr. Cheney looked at the same events and fretted that the presidency was not powerful enough, and too vulnerable to inspection and calls for accountability. The president 'needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy,' Mr. Cheney said this week as he tried to stifle the outcry over a domestic spying program that Mr. Bush authorized after the 9/11 attacks. Before 9/11, Mr. Cheney was trying to undermine the institutional and legal structure of multilateral foreign policy: he championed the abrogation of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty with Moscow in order to build an antimissile shield that doesn't work but makes military contactors rich. Early in his tenure, Mr. Cheney, who quit as chief executive of Halliburton to run with Mr. Bush in 2000, gathered his energy industry cronies at secret meetings in Washington to rewrite energy policy to their specifications. Mr. Cheney offered the usual excuses about the need to get candid advice on important matters, and the courts, sadly, bought it. But the task force was not an exercise in diverse views. Mr. Cheney gathered people who agreed with him, and allowed them to write national policy for an industry in which he had recently amassed a fortune. The effort to expand presidential power accelerated after 9/11, taking advantage of a national consensus that the president should have additional powers to use judiciously against terrorists. Mr. Cheney started agitating for an attack on Iraq immediately, pushing the intelligence community to come up with evidence about a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda that never existed. His team was central to writing the legal briefs justifying the abuse and torture of prisoners, the idea that the president can designate people to be 'unlawful enemy combatants' and detain them indefinitely, and a secret program allowing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American citizens without warrants. And when Senator John McCain introduced a measure to reinstate the rule of law at American military prisons, Mr. Cheney not only led the effort to stop the amendment, but also tried to revise it to actually legalize torture at C.I.A. prisons. There are finally signs that the democratic system is trying to rein in the imperial presidency. Republicans in the Senate and House forced Mr. Bush to back the McCain amendment, and Mr. Cheney's plan to legalize torture by intelligence agents was rebuffed. Congress also agreed to extend the Patriot Act for five weeks rather than doing the administration's bidding and rushing to make it permanent. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court refused to allow the administration to transfer Jose Padilla, an American citizen who has been held by the military for more than three years on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks, from military to civilian custody. After winning the same court's approval in September to hold Mr. Padilla as an unlawful combatant, the administration abruptly reversed course in November and charged him with civil crimes unrelated to his arrest. That decision was an obvious attempt to avoid having the Supreme Court review the legality of the detention powers that Mr. Bush gave himself, and the appeals judges refused to go along. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have insisted that the secret eavesdropping program is legal, but The Washington Post reported yesterday that the court created to supervise this sort of activity is not so sure. It said the presiding judge was arranging a classified briefing for her fellow judges and that several judges on the court wanted to know why the administration believed eavesdropping on American citizens without warrants was legal when the law specifically requires such warrants. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are tenacious. They still control both houses of Congress and are determined to pack the judiciary with like-minded ideologues. Still, the recent developments are encouraging, especially since the court ruling on Mr. Padilla was written by a staunch conservative considered by President Bush for the Supreme Court.

Subject: Paul Krugman: The Tax-Cut Zombies
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 05:52:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/ December 23, 2005 Paul Krugman: The Tax-Cut Zombies By Mark Thoma Paul Krugman explains why Republicans continue to push for tax cuts even though there is no longer any justification for further cuts: The Tax-Cut Zombies, by Paul Krugman, NY Times Commentary: If you want someone to play Scrooge just before Christmas, Dick Cheney is your man. On Wednesday Mr. Cheney ... cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of legislation that increases the fees charged to Medicaid recipients, lets states cut Medicaid benefits, reduces enforcement funds for child support, and more. For all its cruelty, however, the legislation will make only a tiny dent in the budget deficit: the cuts total about $8 billion a year, or one-third of 1 percent of total federal spending. ... Since the 1970's, conservatives have used two theories to justify cutting taxes. One theory, supply-side economics, has always been hokum for the yokels. Conservative insiders adopted the supply-siders as mascots because they were useful to the cause, but never took them seriously. The insiders' theory - what we might call the true tax-cut theory - was memorably described by David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's budget director, as 'starving the beast.' Proponents of this theory argue that conservatives should seek tax cuts ... because ... budget deficits will lead to spending cuts that will eventually achieve their true aim: shrinking the government's role back to what it was under Calvin Coolidge. True to form, ... conservative heavyweights are using the budget deficit to call for cuts in key government programs. For example, in 2001 Alan Greenspan urged Congress to cut taxes to avoid running an excessively large budget surplus. Now he issues dire warnings about 'fiscal instability.' But rather than urging Congress to reverse the tax cuts he helped sell, he talks of the need to cut future Social Security and Medicare benefits. Yet at this point starve-the-beast theory looks as silly as supply-side economics. Although a disciplined conservative movement has controlled Congress and the White House for five years - and presided over record deficits - public opposition has prevented any significant cuts in the big social-insurance programs that dominate domestic spending. ... Medicaid, whose recipients are less likely to vote than the average person getting Social Security or Medicare, is the softest target among major federal social-insurance programs. But even members of Congress, it seems, have consciences. (Well, some of them.) It took intense arm-twisting from the Republican leadership, and that tie-breaking vote by Mr. Cheney, to ram through even modest cuts in aid to the neediest. In other words, the starve-the-beast theory - like missile defense - has been tested under the most favorable possible circumstances, and failed. So there is no longer any coherent justification for further tax cuts. Yet the cuts go on. In fact, even as Congressional leaders struggled to pass a tiny package of mean-spirited spending cuts, they pushed forward with a much larger package of tax cuts. The benefits of those cuts, as always, will go disproportionately to the wealthy. Here's how I see it: Republicans have turned into tax-cut zombies. They can't remember why they originally wanted to cut taxes, they can't explain how they plan to make up for the lost revenue, and they don't care. Instead, they just keep shambling forward, always hungry for more.

Subject: Reflections in the Evening Land
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 19:34:18 (EST)
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Message:
http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/classics/story/0,6000,1669276,00.html December 17, 2005 Reflections in the Evening Land By Harold Bloom - Guardian Huey Long, known as 'the Kingfish,' dominated the state of Louisiana from 1928 until his assassination in 1935, at the age of 42. Simultaneously governor and a United States senator, the canny Kingfish uttered a prophecy that haunts me in this late summer of 2005, 70 years after his violent end: 'Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy!' I reflected on Huey Long (always mediated for me by his portrait as Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren's novel, All the King's Men) recently, when I listened to President George W Bush addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was thus benefited by Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV channel, which is the voice of Bushian crusading democracy, very much of the Kingfish's variety. Even as Bush extolled his Iraq adventure, his regime daily fuses more tightly together elements of oligarchy, plutocracy, and theocracy. At the age of 75, I wonder if the Democratic party ever again will hold the presidency or control the Congress in my lifetime. I am not sanguine, because our rulers have demonstrated their prowess in Florida (twice) and in Ohio at shaping voting procedures, and they control the Supreme Court. The economist-journalist Paul Krugman recently observed that the Republicans dare not allow themselves to lose either Congress or the White House, because subsequent investigations could disclose dark matters indeed. Krugman did not specify, but among the profiteers of our Iraq crusade are big oil (House of Bush/House of Saud), Halliburton (the vice-president), Bechtel (a nest of mighty Republicans) and so forth. All of this is extraordinarily blatant, yet the American people seem benumbed, unable to read, think, or remember, and thus fit subjects for a president who shares their limitations. A grumpy old Democrat, I observe to my friends that our emperor is himself the best argument for intelligent design, the current theocratic substitute for what used to be called creationism. Sigmund Freud might be chagrined to discover that he is forgotten, while the satan of America is now Charles Darwin. President Bush, who says that Jesus is his 'favourite philosopher', recently decreed in regard to intelligent design and evolution: 'Both sides ought to be properly taught.' I am a teacher by profession, about to begin my 51st year at Yale, where frequently my subject is American writers. Without any particular competence in politics, I assert no special insight in regard to the American malaise. But I am a student of what I have learned to call the American Religion, which has little in common with European Christianity. There is now a parody of the American Jesus, a kind of Republican CEO who disapproves of taxes, and who has widened the needle's eye so that camels and the wealthy pass readily into the Kingdom of Heaven. We have also an American holy spirit, the comforter of our burgeoning poor, who don't bother to vote. The American trinity pragmatically is completed by an imperial warrior God, trampling with shock and awe. These days I reread the writers who best define America: Emerson, Hawthorne, Whitman, Melville, Mark Twain, Faulkner, among others. Searching them, I seek to find what could suffice to explain what seems our national self-destructiveness. DH Lawrence, in his Studies in Classic American Literature (1923), wrote what seems to me still the most illuminating criticism of Walt Whitman and Herman Melville. Of the two, Melville provoked no ambivalence in Lawrence. But Whitman transformed Lawrence's poetry, and Lawrence himself, from at least 1917 on. Replacing Thomas Hardy as prime precursor, Whitman spoke directly to Lawrence's vitalism, immediacy, and barely evaded homoeroticism. On a much smaller scale, Whitman earlier had a similar impact on Gerard Manley Hopkins. Lawrence, frequently furious at Whitman, as one might be with an overwhelming father, a King Lear of poetry, accurately insisted that the Americans were not worthy of their Whitman. More than ever, they are not, since the Jacksonian democracy that both Whitman and Melville celebrated is dying in our Evening Land. What defines America? 'Democracy' is a ruined word, because of its misuse in the American political rhetoric of our moment. If Hamlet and Don Quixote, between them, define the European self, then Captain Ahab and 'Walt Whitman' (the persona, not the man) suggest a very different self from the European. Ahab is Shakespearean, Miltonic, even Byronic-Shelleyan, but his monomaniacal quest is his own, and reacts against the Emersonian self, just as Melville's beloved Hawthorne recoiled also. Whitman, a more positive Emersonian, affirms what the Sage of Concord called self-reliance, the authentic American religion rather than its Bushian parodies. Though he possesses a Yale BA and honorary doctorate, our president is semi-literate at best. He once boasted of never having read a book through, even at Yale. Henry James was affronted when he met President Theodore Roosevelt; what could he have made of George W Bush? Having just reread James's The American Scene (1907), I amuse myself, rather grimly, by imagining the master of the American novel touring the United States in 2005, exactly a century after his return visit to his homeland. Like TS Eliot in the next generation, James was far more at home in London than in America, yet both retained an idiom scarcely English. They each eventually became British subjects, graced by the Order of Merit, but Whitman went on haunting them, more covertly in Eliot's case. The Waste Land initially was an elegy for Jean Verdenal, who had been to Eliot what Rupert Brooke was to Henry James. Whitman's 'Lilacs' elegy for Lincoln became James's favourite poem, and it deeply contaminates The Waste Land. I am not suggesting that the American aesthetic self is necessarily homoerotic: Emerson, Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Faulkner, Robert Frost after all are as representative as are Melville, Whitman and Henry James. Nor does any American fictive self challenge Hamlet as an ultimate abyss of inwardness. Yet Emerson bet the American house (as it were) on self-reliance, which is a doctrine of solitude. Whitman, as person and as poetic mask, like his lilacs, bloomed into a singularity that cared intensely both about the self and others, but Emersonian consciousness all too frequently can flower, Hamlet-like, into an individuality indifferent both to the self and to others. The United States since Emerson has been divided between what he called the 'party of hope' and the 'party of memory'. Our intellectuals of the left and of the right both claim Emerson as ancestor. In 2005, what is self-reliance? I can recognise three prime stigmata of the American religion: spiritual freedom is solitude, while the soul's encounter with the divine (Jesus, the Paraclete, the Father) is direct and personal, and, most crucially, what is best and oldest in the American religionist goes back to a time-before-time, and so is part or particle of God. Every second year, the Gallup pollsters survey religion in the United States, and report that 93% of us believe in God, while 89% are certain that God loves him or her on a personal basis. And 45% of us insist that Earth was created precisely as described in Genesis and is only about 9,000 or fewer years old. The actual figure is 4.5 billion years, and some dinosaur fossils are dated as 190 million years back. Perhaps the intelligent designers, led by George W Bush, will yet give us a dinosaur Gospel, though I doubt it, as they, and he, dwell within a bubble that education cannot invade. Contemporary America is too dangerous to be laughed away, and I turn to its most powerful writers in order to see if we remain coherent enough for imaginative comprehension. Lawrence was right; Whitman at his very best can sustain momentary comparison with Dante and Shakespeare. Most of what follows will be founded on Whitman, the most American of writers, but first I turn again to Moby-Dick, the national epic of self-destructiveness that almost rivals Leaves of Grass, which is too large and subtle to be judged in terms of self-preservation or apocalyptic destructiveness. Some of my friends and students suggest that Iraq is President Bush's white whale, but our leader is absurdly far from Captain Ahab's aesthetic dignity. The valid analogue is the Pequod; as Lawrence says: 'America! Then such a crew. Renegades, castaways, cannibals, Ishmael, Quakers,' and South Sea Islanders, Native Americans, Africans, Parsees, Manxmen, what you will. One thinks of our tens of thousands of mercenaries in Iraq, called 'security employees' or 'contractors'. They mix former American Special Forces, Gurkhas, Boers, Croatians, whoever is qualified and available. What they lack is Captain Ahab, who could give them a metaphysical dimension. Ahab carries himself and all his crew (except Ishmael) to triumphant catastrophe, while Moby-Dick swims away, being as indestructible as the Book of Job's Leviathan. The obsessed captain's motive ostensibly is revenge, since earlier he was maimed by the white whale, but his truer desire is to strike through the universe's mask, in order to prove that while the visible world might seem to have been formed in love, the invisible spheres were made in fright. God's rhetorical question to Job: 'Can'st thou draw out Leviathan with a hook?' is answered by Ahab's: 'I'd strike the sun if it insulted me!' The driving force of the Bushian-Blairians is greed, but the undersong of their Iraq adventure is something closer to Iago's pyromania. Our leader, and yours, are firebugs. One rightly expects Whitman to explain our Evening Land to us, because his imagination is America's. A Free-Soiler, he opposed the Mexican war, as Emerson did. Do not our two Iraq invasions increasingly resemble the Mexican and Spanish-American conflicts? Donald Rumsfeld speaks of permanent American bases in Iraq, presumably to protect oil wells. President Bush's approval rating was recently down to 38%, but I fear that this popular reaction has more to do with the high price of petrol than with any outrage at our Iraq crusade. What has happened to the American imagination if we have become a parody of the Roman empire? I recall going to bed early on election night in November 2004, though friends kept phoning with the hopeful news that there appeared to be some three million additional voters. Turning the phone off, I gloomily prophesied that these were three million Evangelicals, which indeed was the case. Our politics began to be contaminated by theocratic zealots with the Reagan revelation, when southern Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals, and Adventists surged into the Republican party. The alliance between Wall Street and the Christian right is an old one, but has become explicit only in the past quarter century. What was called the counter-culture of the late 1960s and 70s provoked the reaction of the 80s, which is ongoing. This is all obvious enough, but becomes subtler in the context of the religiosity of the country, which truly divides us into two nations. Sometimes I find myself wondering if the south belatedly has won the civil war, more than a century after its supposed defeat. The leaders of the Republican party are southern; even the Bushes, despite their Yale and Connecticut tradition, were careful to become Texans and Floridians. Politics, in the United States, perhaps never again can be separated from religion. When so many vote against their own palpable economic interests, and choose 'values' instead, then an American malaise has replaced the American dream. Whitman, still undervalued as a poet, in relation to his astonishing aesthetic power, remains the permanent prophet of our party of hope. That seems ironic in many ways, since the crucial event of Whitman's life was our civil war, in which a total of 625,000 men were slain, counting both sides. In Britain, the 'great war' is the first world war, because nearly an entire generation of young men died. The United States remains haunted by the civil war, the central event in the life of the nation since the Declaration of Independence. David S Reynolds, the most informed of Whitman's biographers, usefully demonstrates that Whitman's poetry, from 1855-60, was designed to help hold the Union together. After the sunset glory of 'When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd', the 1865 elegy overtly for Abraham Lincoln, and inwardly for Whitman's poetic self-identity, something burned out in the bard of Leaves of Grass. Day after day, for several years, he had exhausted himself, in the military hospitals of Washington DC, dressing wounds, reading to, and writing letters for, the ill and maimed, comforting the dying. The extraordinary vitalism and immediacy departed from his poetry. It is as though he had sacrificed his own imagination on the altar of those martyred, like Lincoln, in the fused cause of union and emancipation. Whitman died in 1892, a time of American politics as corrupt as this, if a touch less blatant than the era of Bushian theocracy. But there was a curious split in the poet of Leaves of Grass, between what he called the soul, and his 'real me' or 'me myself', an entity distinct from his persona, 'Walt Whitman, one of the roughs, an American': 'I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you, And you must not be abased to the other.' The rough Walt is the 'I' here, and has been created to mediate between his character or soul, and his real me or personality. I fear that this is permanently American, the abyss between character and personality. Doubtless, this can be a universal phenomenon: one thinks of Nietzsche and of WB Yeats. And yet mutual abasement between soul and self destroys any individual's coherence. My fellow citizens who vote for 'values', against their own needs, manifest something of the same dilemma. As the persona 'Walt Whitman' melted away in the furnace of national affliction in the civil war, it was replaced by a less capable persona, 'the Good Grey Poet'. No moral rebirth kindled postwar America; instead Whitman witnessed the extraordinary corruption of President US Grant's administration, which is the paradigm emulated by so many Republican presidencies, including what we suffer at this moment. Whitman himself became less than coherent in his long decline, from 1866 to 1892. He did not ice over, like the later Wordsworth, but his prophetic stance ebbed away. Lost, he ceased to be an Emersonian, and rather weirdly attempted to become a Hegelian! In 'The Evening Land', an extraordinary poem of early 1922, DH Lawrence anticipated his long-delayed sojourn in America, which began only in September of that year, when he reached Taos, New Mexico. He had hoped to visit the United States in February 1917, but England denied him a passport. Lawrence's poem is a kind of Whitmanian love-hymn to America, but is even more ambivalent than the chapter on Whitman in Studies in Classic American Literature. 'Are you the grave of our day?' Lawrence asks, and begs America to cajole his soul, even as he admits how much he fears the Evening Land: 'Your more-than-European idealism, Like a be-aureoled bleached skeleton hovering Its cage-ribs in the social heaven, beneficent.' This rather ghastly vision is not inappropriate to our moment, nor is Lawrence's bitter conclusion: ''These States!' as Whitman said, Whatever he meant.' What Whitman meant (as Lawrence knew) was that the United States itself was to be the greatest of poems. But with that grand assertion, I find myself so overwhelmed by an uncomfortable sense of irony, that I cease these reflections. Shelley wore a ring, on which was inscribed the motto: 'The good time will come.' In September, the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying at Zion Church in Whistler, Alabama: 'The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come on time if we just wait.'

Subject: Krugman - any writing not requiring NYT payment
From: hank
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 18:48:19 (EST)
Email Address: me@privacy.net

Message:
I just came across this: ' The economist-journalist Paul Krugman recently observed that the Republicans dare not allow themselves to lose either Congress or the White House, because subsequent investigations could disclose dark matters indeed. Krugman did not specify ....' Where the heck did he write this? I have the feeling he was getting too close to the bone and the NYT firewalled him so only those who pay can read him. Is he allowed to write anything else for public readers, if so where is he posting? Or is he contractually required only to write for people who pay the NYT, nowadays? Quote is from Harold Bloom, found here www.commondreams.org/views05/1218-24.htm

Subject: Re: Krugman -
From: Dorian
To: hank
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 04:14:08 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Why does Paul Krugman continue to write for the NY Times? He is too important a voice to be locked up by one newspaper. Why doesn't he syndicate his column and get it in hundreds of papers nationwide instead of the increasingly disreputable NY Times? How could he be bound by contract if they change the terms of the contract as they have done? Or did he foolishly sign a new contract? Perhaps he did. Highly regretable if so.

Subject: Re: Krugman -
From: Terri
To: Dorian
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 06:39:11 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The New York Times is the finest of all newspapers, and I am delighted to subscribe. Please look for library and library computer access to the complete Times. Almost every library will subscribe to the Times, and happily we can find the paper everywhere.

Subject: Paul Krugman
From: Emma
To: hank
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 19:31:54 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Harold Bloom's article was just printed but was evidently written in August. So, I hope to find the Paul Krugman text on our website. But, thank you for telling of the passage. We are now only able to post summaries of the new columns and then discuss them.

Subject: Some Squid Mothers in a Brighter Light
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 11:22:16 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/science/20squi.html December 20, 2005 Scientists' Discovery in the Deep Casts Some Squid Mothers in a Brighter Light By WILLIAM J. BROAD With their slimy tentacles and big, unblinking eyes, squids have, over the centuries, acquired a bad reputation. Jules Verne's squid attacked a submarine. Peter Benchley's dined on children. The squid has fared little better in the world of science, with researchers concluding that, unlike octopuses and some fish, squids are inattentive parents, depositing eggs on the seabed and letting them grow or die on their own. But a team of ocean scientists exploring the inky depths of the Monterey Canyon off California has discovered that at least one squid species cares for its young with loving attention, the mother cradling the eggs in her arms for months, waving her tentacles to bathe the eggs in fresh seawater. The scientists suspect that other species are doting parents, too, and that misperceptions about squid behavior have arisen because the deep is so poorly explored. 'Our finding is unexpected because this behavior differs from the reproductive habits of all other known squid species,' the scientists wrote in the Dec. 15 issue of Nature, the weekly science journal. 'We expect it to be found in other squids.' Brad A. Seibel, a biologist at the University of Rhode Island and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, who led the research, said in an interview that the insight began in 1995. Then a graduate student, he pulled up a trawl bucket from the dark midwaters of the Monterey Canyon, which is as deep as two miles, and found a mass of squid eggs. Nearby in the bucket lay a female of the species Gonatus onyx, which grows to a length of about 10 inches. The next year, the same thing happened again, except this time the young were hatchlings, just emerging from their eggs. Recalling his previous catch, Dr. Seibel theorized that he had stumbled upon something that amounted to heresy. It seemed that the females had been brooding their eggs. In 2000, he proposed the idea in print, prompting skeptical rejoinders. The breakthrough came in 2001, when Dr. Seibel and his colleagues at Monterey sent a car-size robot into the depths of the canyon. There, more than a mile down, the robot's lights and camera spied the heresy in action - a female brooding her eggs. 'I was delighted,' Dr. Seibel recalled, and 'surprised that we found them.' Since then, he and teammates exploring the canyon's deep waters have discovered five female squids holding their eggs, gently protecting and nourishing them. The attentive females extend their arms every 30 to 40 seconds, moving water through the masses of 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. This action, the scientists wrote in Nature, probably serves to aerate the eggs in the canyon's oxygen-poor waters. The scientists estimate that the squid, in the class of animals known as cephalopods, which also includes the octopus and the cuttlefish, broods its eggs for as long as nine months. The other researchers are Bruce H. Robison and Steven H. D. Haddock of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, in Moss Landing, Calif. The attention and nurturing, Dr. Seibel said, surely promotes survival. 'It's very successful,' he noted, Gonatus onyx being one of the most abundant cephalopods in the Pacific Ocean.

Subject: Qatar Finds a Currency of Its Own
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 09:44:25 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/business/worldbusiness/22qatar.html?ex=1292907600&en=2bee6666a3d4278f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 22, 2005 Qatar Finds a Currency of Its Own: Natural Gas By SIMON ROMERO DOHA, Qatar - 'This was a sleepy little town when I moved here eight years ago,' said Mohamad Moabi, from an office overlooking the turquoise waters alongside this city's crescent-shaped corniche, where dozens of half-built skyscrapers are going up. 'Now it's on the frontier of the global economy.' Drawing on a cigarette as he gestured northward, Mr. Moabi, 44, the Lebanese-born chief economist at Qatar's largest bank, pointed to why this tiny emirate, no bigger than Connecticut, is elbowing aside other energy-rich countries to become the leader in the emerging international market for natural gas. 'It helps,' he said, 'when you have a natural gas field up there that can be extracted for about a century.' In a shift that has drawn historical comparisons to the ascent of Saudi Arabia's oil industry several decades ago, Qatar has moved swiftly in recent years to develop its huge offshore natural gas reserves - once dismissed as practically worthless because of the difficulty of transporting gas to distant markets - while cementing strong military and economic ties with the United States. Driven by an ambitious, reform-minded ruling elite, these moves have allowed Qatar to leap ahead of Russia and Iran, the only nations with larger reserves of natural gas, seizing new opportunities to export the fuel to markets in North America, southern Europe and the Far East. Tankers laden with gas supercooled to liquid form already depart each day for Japan and South Korea from the northern port of Ras Laffan, not far from Al Udeid Air Base in the Qatari desert, the American military's main air operations center in the Arabian Peninsula. Soon the ships will start delivering their cargoes to ports in Texas and Louisiana in the most ambitious project to date to bring natural gas from the Middle East to American consumers. These plans, which would help transform the United States into the largest importer of liquefied natural gas, have created some unease at a time when American reliance on oil from the Middle East is still unabated. Even as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries tries to strengthen its grip on world oil markets, Qatar has moved to exert greater influence over the trade in natural gas through the creation of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum. With a liaison office in Doha, the group's 12 members, including Algeria, Indonesia and Venezuela, control more than 70 percent of the world's gas reserves and more than 40 percent of production. Though in its infancy, the organization has been likened to OPEC in its early efforts to control oil prices, an aspiration that officials here contend is not under consideration. 'Natural gas is not as flexible a commodity as oil and is sold in longer-term contracts,' Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyeh, Qatar's energy minister, said in an interview. 'The purpose of the forum is to exchange information. We don't believe in confrontation with our consumers.' Indeed, Qatar's ability to emerge as the world's leading producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas, with plans to produce 77 million tons of the fuel by the start of the next decade, depends on cooperation. It is working with Western energy companies and Asian shipping concerns in the construction of an immense industrial complex in Ras Laffan near the maritime border with Iran, about an hour's drive through the scorching desert north of Doha. 'We're building what might be the largest plant facility anywhere in the world,' Wayne A. Harms, the president of operations in Qatar for Exxon Mobil, the largest foreign investor in the country, said in an interview. 'It's happening in a very fast, almost unprecedented period of time,' Mr. Harms said, describing the frenzied activity of more than 50,000 workers, largely from India and Pakistan, toiling to build the complexes needed to condense natural gas so it can be shipped across the sea. It has been just a decade since the emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, overthrew his father in a bloodless coup, strengthening ties with the United States and betting on an offshore natural gas reserve of 900 trillion cubic feet - the world's largest purely natural gas reserve, called the North Field - that it shares with Iran. That shift gave Qatar, long a marginal oil producer, a commodity to help it escape the Saudi orbit and the wealth to plot its own path to prosperity. The North Field, discovered by Royal Dutch Shell in 1971 and considered useless at the time because it had no oil and its natural gas was difficult to transport, is now described by some geologists as the second-largest petroleum deposit in the world after the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia. And in an interview at an ornate receiving room at the headquarters of Qatar Petroleum, Mr. Attiyeh, the energy minister, said he expected to see some $100 billion invested in the country through the end of the decade. That cash injection is fueling economic growth estimated at 25 percent in 2004 and 29 percent this year, before adjusting for inflation, according to Qatar National Bank. As a result, after languishing for much of the last century as a sleepy British protectorate, Qatar is surging in population, up almost 50 percent since 1997, to an estimated 750,000 in 2004, a number that is expected to grow by an estimated 100,000 this year. (Fewer than 200,000 people in the country are believed to be Qatari citizens.) The surge, led by an influx of poor Asian laborers and large numbers of Americans and European professionals lured by tax-free salaries, has left a shortage of housing and office space. Rents in parts of Doha, its streets clogged with new sport utility vehicles and the occasional Rolls-Royce or Maserati, have climbed almost 50 percent this year. 'I sometimes feel like I'll live with my family forever,' said Abdalla Eisa Rasheed, 24, a Qatari technician at a water desalination plant operated by the AES Corporation of Arlington, Va. Mr. Rasheed, one of six siblings, said two older brothers, both married with children, also lived under the same roof. 'There's the positive and the negative of the economy,' he said. Not surprisingly, the remaking of Doha is creating a bonanza for international infrastructure companies. Bechtel of San Francisco won a $2.5 billion contract to build an airport designed specifically for the Airbus A380-800, the world's largest passenger aircraft. Near neighborhoods where goat herders can still be glimpsed tending their flocks, projects include an Islamic Museum designed by the Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei and a photography museum by Santiago Calatrava of Spain. The Japanese architect Arata Isozaki was commissioned to design a national library, after the construction of his futuristic medical school, operated by the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in Qatar's newly named Education City, a collection of colleges run by administrators and faculty from Texas A&M, Georgetown University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Far more numerous are brazen projects without marquee architects, like The Pearl, a planned complex for 30,000 residents, with neighborhoods meant to evoke parts of Monaco, Marrakesh and Venice. In one area, intended to emulate New York, pedestrians can stroll on an avenue called Broadway away from the din of Doha's streets. 'We want to attract the Ivy Leaguer type, the more select customer,' said Khalil al-Sholy, managing director of UDC, the Qatari company building The Pearl. Not far away sits a dusty work site where workers are feverishly building what is expected to be Doha's tallest skyscraper, an 80-floor complex called the Dubai Towers. With about 30 skyscrapers in various stages of completion, the description of Doha as the 'next Dubai,' a nod to its flashier neighbor on the Arabian Peninsula, is inevitable here. Still, there is a fundamental difference between the two emirates. Dubai has turned to dream-world architecture and tourism to prepare for the not-so-distant day when its oil runs out; Qatar, its coffers swelling from natural gas sales, shows little sign of contemplating an economy not reliant on energy exports. Andrew Brown, Shell's country manager in Qatar, said that greater natural gas and oil production should result in overall daily energy production equivalent to about 5 million barrels of oil a day by early in the next decade, nearly half the daily oil output of Saudi Arabia. 'Over the next five years,' Mr. Brown said, 'Qatar is going to see an energy boom as significant as any other in the past.' Few in Qatar worry that the natural gas frenzy will fizzle anytime soon, despite predictions from some analysts that natural gas prices in countries like the United States and Britain could fall sharply by 2007 or so as large amounts of liquefied natural gas reach the market. Still, the torrid expansion at Ras Laffan, as well as Qatar's increasingly interdependent relations with the United States and other gas-importing nations, has created some unease within the prosperity bubble. In an attempt to clamp down on rising infrastructure costs, the government earlier this year unexpectedly imposed a moratorium on new gas export projects. Perhaps most troubling to the relatively cosmopolitan society taking shape in Doha, an Egyptian employee of Qatar Petroleum exploded a bomb last March during a performance of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' at a theater in a district where many Western expatriates live. The blast killed a British man and wounded 12 others. Authorities and executives from foreign energy companies described the incident as an isolated act, by an individual extremist. And yet the offices at Shell can be reached only after passing through thick steel protective doors. Exxon Mobil's executive suite in Doha does not even have a sign on the door, camouflaged by the name of an obscure Qatari company with which Exxon shares an old building. For all the caution, little seems to be standing in the way of Qatar becoming even richer. One of the country's leading newspapers, The Peninsula, noted recently that Qatar was already the third-wealthiest country, with per capita income of $38,241 in 2004, trailing only Switzerland and Luxembourg. 'I hope some of the money reaches down to me,' said Mohammad Omer Mohammad, 25, who despite being born and raised in Qatar, remains by law a citizen of the homeland of his parents, Pakistan. Mr. Mohammad, who works at a modest job at an immigration office in Ras Laffan, still cannot own land in Qatar but aspires one day to be rich. 'The economy's good, I guess,' Mr. Mohammad said. 'But it could be better.'

Subject: Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 07:11:42 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/business/22scene.html?ex=1292907600&en=5333458289ebde68&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 22, 2005 Tax Cuts for the Wealthy: Waste More, Want More By ROBERT H. FRANK WITH President Bush's proposed tax cuts for top earners struggling to get political traction in early 2001, Representative Tom Osborne, Republican of Nebraska, rose to the White House's defense on the House floor. 'The bottom line is that it's your money,' he said, 'and you know how to spend it much better than anyone in Washington, D.C.' In the years since, variations of this statement by the president and other government officials have kept opponents of high-end tax cuts consistently on the defensive. This talk has been effective in part because it appeals to voters' common sense. After all, people have an obvious incentive to exercise care when spending their own hard-earned dollars. Why would a faceless bureaucrat in Washington, who is spending someone else's money, be nearly as careful? The 'it's your money' line is also buttressed by widely reported examples in which government paid far more than necessary to get the job done. Famously, the Pentagon once spent $640 for a single toilet seat and on another occasion paid $435 for an ordinary claw hammer. But paying more than the market rate is just one form of wasteful spending. Another, often far more important, form is to pay a fair price for something that serves little purpose. This second form of waste is considerably more common in private spending than in public spending - and made even worse as the chief beneficiaries of the tax cuts race to outdo one another. A case in point is a decision on many minds at this time of year, that of how much to spend on a wristwatch. Scores of full-page ads in recent issues of The New York Times have displayed handsome watches costing several thousand dollars apiece and more. The most coveted among them are elaborate mechanical marvels with multiple 'complications,' special features that enhance their accuracy. The tourbillion movement, for example, is essentially a small gyroscope that rotates the main mechanism about once a minute, reducing errors caused by the Earth's gravitational field. The Grande Complication, by Jean Dunand, sells for more than $700,000, but lesser entries by Patek Philippe, Rolex and other manufacturers can be had for $5,000 to $100,000. Unlike toilet seats and claw hammers, these watches are costly to produce, so buyers who pay high prices for them are not being ripped off. In another sense, however, their dollars go largely for naught. For despite their mechanical wizardry, none of these watches are as accurate as a battery-powered $30 Timex, whose quartz crystal mechanism is unaffected by gravity. Then why do people buy the expensive mechanical watches? Edward Faber of the Aaron Faber Gallery in Manhattan recently described buyers of these watches as men from 30 to 50 who want 'this 'power tool,' this instrument on their wrist that distinguishes them from the pack.' The problem is that if a watch is to distinguish its owner, it must sell for more than the watches worn by members of the pack. So when the pack spends more, the price of distinguishing oneself also rises. And in the end, no one gains any more distinction than if all had spent less. Other forms of high-end private spending are driven by similar forces. To celebrate their daughter's 13th birthday, for example, Amber Ridinger's parents bought her a $27,000 Dolce & Gabbana gown and hired JaRule, Ashanti and other popular entertainers to provide live music at her party in Miami last month. David H. Brooks, the chief executive of a company that supplies body armor to the American military in Iraq, invited 150 of his daughter's friends to the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, where they were serenaded by 50 Cent, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and other luminaries during a birthday party reported to have cost $10 million. Although these events have prompted much finger wagging by social critics, the parents involved are not behaving abnormally. They are merely spending their own money in an effort to provide a special occasion for their daughters. For a party to be special, however, it must somehow stand out from other parties that define the norm. Here, too, the problem is that expensive birthday parties have become a growth industry. Kevin and Danya Mondell, founders of Oogles-n-Googles, a company described as an over-the-top event planner for children's parties, recently announced their intention to license Oogles-n-Googles franchises. Yet no matter how much parents spend, the number of parties that achieve special status will be no greater than when everyone spent much less. On balance, then, there is little reason to expect large tax cuts for wealthy families to have resulted in a more efficient allocation of our nation's scarce resources. For one thing, not all of the dollars used to finance these tax cuts would have been spent wastefully by government. Most of the money recently cut from the food stamp program, for example, would have been spent by poor families to buy food at fair market prices. And even though government does buy some items at inflated prices - body armor whose price includes a profit margin large enough to finance a $10 million birthday party? - many of these items serve vital purposes. In contrast, most of the tax cuts financed by recent budget cuts will go to families that already have everything they might reasonably need. This money will be deployed in the quest for 'something special.' Yet because special is an elastic concept, the number of families that succeed in this quest will be little different from before. Robert H. Frank, an economist at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, is the co-author, with Ben S. Bernanke, of 'Principles of Economics.'

Subject: U.S. Spy Program
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:53:12 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/politics/21cnd-spy.html?ex=1292821200&en=25e763d01f7a18d4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 Judge Quits, Reportedly Over U.S. Spy Program By BRIAN KNOWLTON - International Herald Tribune WASHINGTON - A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases, reportedly over concerns about the secret program authorized by President Bush that bypasses the court and allows spying on people believed to be communicating with terror suspects abroad. United States District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, notified the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, of his resignation on Monday, according to The Washington Post. It said Judge Robertson gave no reason. Anger about the secret surveillance program helped fuel a Democratic-led effort currently blocking renewal of the USA Patriot Act. Democrats say some provisions infringe on civil liberties - by allowing access to library and business records, for example - and should be dropped. They seek a three-month extension of the act while those provisions are reworked. But Mr. Bush, speaking from the White House South Lawn today, lashed out at the blocking effort, saying, 'This obstruction is inexcusable.' Later, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that if the act lapses at year's end, 'We will not be as safe.' Judge Robertson has not commented on his resignation. But The Post quoted unnamed colleagues as saying he was concerned that information gained under the secret program could then be used to press the so-called FISA court to obtain warrants for further monitoring, subverting the congressionally defined process. It quoted one colleague, speaking anonymously, as saying some judges feared that the FISA body had become a 'Potemkin court.' Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, declined to comment on the matter. 'Judge Robertson did not comment on the matter and I don't see any reason why we need to,' he said. When Mr. Gonzales was asked about the resignation, he replied: 'I don't know the reason. I'm not going to speculate why a judge would step down from the FISA court.' FISA judges are limited to a single term, and Judge Robertson's would have expired in May. He was first named to the federal bench here by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Chief Justice William Rehnquist later appointed him as one of the 11 judges on the FISA court, which conducts its work in secrecy. Judge Robertson has not resigned from his district judgeship, an aide said. The emerging details of the secret surveillance program - first reported Friday by The New York Times - have angered many in Congress, who question the president's authority to order such warrantless spying on people in the United States and who deny that they were adequately informed or consulted. The administration said it has held a dozen classified briefings with congressional leaders on the matter, but at least two Democrats who took part - Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, and former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota - have said they received little information and raised serious concerns at the time. A bipartisan group of senators - Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine, both Republicans, and Dianne Feinstein of California, Carl Levin of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon, all Democrats - called this week for the Senate judiciary and intelligence panels to open a joint investigation of the matter. Several critics of the classified program have asked why, if the FISA court had proved too cumbersome in an age of sharply heightened terror threat, the administration had not asked Congress to streamline the process. Mr. Gonzales said today that the administration had studied and rejected that option. 'We were advised it would be virtually impossible to obtain legislation of this kind without compromising the program,' he said. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have vigorously defended the surveillance program as vitally important in preventing potentially calamitous terrorist attacks like those of Sept. 11, 2001. 'I would argue that the actions that we've taken there are totally appropriate and consistent with the constitutional authority of the president,' Mr. Cheney told reporters Tuesday aboard Air Force Two en route from Pakistan to Oman. 'You know, it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years.' The administration has said that even small delays under the FISA process could be critical. The FISA court, created in 1978, can legally authorize secret surveillance but only after the government shows probable cause that it is aimed at foreign governments or their agents, not what the law defines as 'U.S. persons,' a term that includes aliens legally in the country. The new program allows for surveillance, without FISA warrant, of people in the United States when they are believed to be communicating with terror suspects abroad. But the program has at times captured purely domestic communications, The New York Times reported today. Quoting unnamed officials, it said that a small number of internal communications were captured, apparently accidentally. The widespread use of cellphones reportedly makes it harder at times to determine whether a call crosses borders. Mr. Bush had said in a news conference Monday that internal communications were not part of the secret program. 'I want to stress, and that is, is that these calls are not intercepted within the country,' he said. 'If you're calling from Houston to L.A., that - that call is not monitored.'

Subject: Debate 'That Will Not Go Away'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:47:39 (EST)
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tp://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/12/science/12prof.html?pagewanted=all&position= April 12, 2005 Theorist Drawn Into Debate 'That Will Not Go Away' By CORNELIA DEAN CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Dr. Evelyn Fox Keller is a physicist, a mathematical biologist and a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This semester, as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, she is continuing her work on neurological and psychological development. She wishes people would keep some of that in mind. They're losing sight of it, though, because Dr. Keller has also been a theorist of gender and science - and nowadays, especially at Harvard, that is a hot topic. When she gave a talk Thursday titled 'Innate Confusion: Nature, Nurture and All That,' organizers who originally expected a merely respectable turnout found themselves with hundreds of listeners filling every seat and much of the aisle space in a large auditorium. 'Two claims are made about the debate,' Dr. Keller told her audience. 'One, it is over. Two, it does not go away.' Neither she nor her questioners spoke about Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, at least not at a microphone, but he might as well have been in the room. Dr. Summers, the president of Harvard, made news in January when, at a conference on women in science, he suggested the possibility that the relative dearth of women at the upper reaches of science might result from deficiencies in mathematics talent. His remarks ignited a fire that has yet to burn out. For Dr. Keller, the idea of women's lack of ability was old news. She encountered it personally as a physics graduate student at Harvard in the late 50's and early 60's, an experience she recalled in an essay as a time of 'almost unmitigated provocation, insult and denial.' The essay, at once an anguished cry from the heart and a withering indictment of sexism and bad manners, appears in the 1977 collection 'Working It Out.' Its shock waves still reverberate in her old department, she said. In 1985 - after marriage, divorce, the struggle of raising two children as a single mother and the professional isolation she experienced as a result - she addressed the issue of women in science in a much larger framework, in 'Reflections on Gender and Science.' Today, though, Dr. Keller said in interviews, it frustrates her to be drawn back into the debate over the place of women in science. First, her professional focus as a researcher has changed in the last 20 years. Second, in drawing her into the argument, people often miss a distinction she was and is careful to make between garden variety discrimination and what she sees as the larger underlying issue: the way society constructs ideas of masculinity, femininity and science, and how these ideas overlap - or don't. 'Let me make clear from the outset,' she wrote in 'Reflections,' 'that the issue that requires discussion is not, or at least not simply, the relative absence of women in science.' Women are relatively absent in almost all important intellectual and creative endeavors, she said. But few of these endeavors, she went on, 'bear so unmistakably the connotation of masculine in the very nature of the activity.' 'To both scientists and their public, scientific thought is male thought,' she continued. 'Hard' objectivity itself is identified with masculinity, she wrote, and 'soft' subjectivity is identified with femininity. 'What would it mean for science if it were otherwise?' One answer might be that women in graduate school might feel more welcome in physics. But many readers thought Dr. Keller provided another answer in her highly acclaimed biography of the geneticist Barbara McClintock, published in 1983, shortly before Dr. McClintock won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her elucidation of the genetics of corn. As the book recounted, Dr. McClintock did not simply study her plants bit by microscopic bit, in the prevailing reductionist mode. Instead, she came to know her maize plants, embracing them almost as collaborators to the point that she acknowledged them when she received the prize. She had developed 'A Feeling for the Organism,' the title Dr. Keller chose for the book. Many people read it as a description of a kind of 'feminist' science, a view that obviously annoys Dr. Keller. 'My argument was that feeling and reason are both human traits,' she said. 'Why parse them according to the genders? Why exclude feelings from science and reason from women's domain? My whole effort was to erase those dichotomies.' Dr. Keller, whose honors and fellowships include a MacArthur award in 1992 (she used the money to buy a house on Cape Cod), was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, in 1936, the daughter of Russian immigrants. She grew up in Woodside, graduated with a degree in physics from Brandeis and went on to Harvard. Over the years, she taught at New York University, the University of California, Berkeley, and elsewhere before winning her appointment at M.I.T. in 1992. Her most recent work, including her book 'Making Sense of Life' in 2002, argues that what science regards as 'known' depends largely 'on the kinds of data we are able to acquire, on the way in which those data are gathered, and on the forms in which they are represented.' Not everyone accepts these ideas. 'When I saw her book, I was negatively impressed by it,' said Dr. Mark Ptashne, a microbiologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 'It sort of gave the impression that you don't really understand anything, that you don't know what a gene is.' But when he saw how Dr. Keller responded to attacks on her ideas, 'that made me realize what she was saying was quite reasonable,' he said. One way she responds is to point out that the concept of the gene as commonly understood can cause intellectual confusion. In her talk at Harvard last week she said it was wrong to view genes as acting on their own to produce certain characteristics because their expression in the body depends on the actions of other genes, chemicals in the cell and other factors. Although no geneticist suggests that genes act independent of their context, the relative importance of different influences is always in dispute. And many people have found it necessary recently to repeat the truism that genes do not act alone to counter the idea that women may be genetically doomed as scientific also-rans. So it is not surprising that Dr. Keller was drawn into the fray. At her talk Thursday, for example, several questioners asked, in various ways, whether science might one day 'tease out' the influences of nature and nurture so people would know which characteristics were theirs because they were born male or female, say, and which were products of upbringing and environment. In response, Dr. Keller said she wondered 'why there should be so much enthusiasm' for the idea that people are born, not made. For one thing, she said, there is 'nothing special' about birth as a line of demarcation in development, since even in the womb environment affects how genes are expressed. 'When we talk about innate and acquired it is rarely clear where to draw the line,' she said, 'and where to draw the line is rarely stable. What a mess! What a mess all our efforts to sort nature from nurture get us into.' Still, she said, that is not to suggest that delving into the problem is a waste of time. 'I remain an unreconstructed modernist,' she said. 'I retain the hope and even the belief that at least some forms of confusion can actually be cleared up.'

Subject: A Sicilian Christmas
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:35:17 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/dining/21sicily.html?ex=1292821200&en=5b203a3b497d5b3c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 A Sicilian Christmas With a Nod to the North By MARIAN BURROS ACI CASTELLO, Italy WE never had the Sicilian tradition for Christmas because we are such a mixed-up family,' Ornella Laneri said as she poured another glass of Almerita brut from the legendary Tasca d'Almerita cellars. 'Mixed-up' means her mother was born in Padua, in the north; her father is Sicilian. Ms. Laneri was explaining her family's Christmas Eve traditions to four strangers she had just welcomed to the temporary home outside Catania that she was sharing with her partner, Saverio Piazza, and her two children, Carolina and Michele. They were having a villa built across from the sea but it was not yet ready. We had met over the phone, and when I expressed an interest in experiencing a real Sicilian Christmas, she graciously asked us to join her for Christmas Eve 2004. When we arrived Ms. Laneri greeted us as if we were old friends. She and her brother, Nicola Laneri, who was also visiting with his American-born wife, Karen Abend, proceeded to explain why we would not be eating a feast of seven fishes, the traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Italy. 'Our celebration merges two different ethnic identities,' Mr. Laneri said. 'To defend her identity, my grandmother kept doing seafood for Christmas Eve. In her family, it was almost illegal to have a non-seafood plate, but in Sicily, it is not as strict a rule.' Instead of a penitential dinner of seven fish dishes, the Laneri-Piazza dinner included fish, beef, pork and chicken - 11 dishes in all, and accompanying sauces. Having a professional chef do the cooking also made the meal different from what most families might serve. Mr. Piazza is the food and beverage manager and executive chef at the Sheraton Catania, where Ms. Laneri is the director of the hotel and her father is the owner. Mr. Piazza, like all talented chefs, feels compelled to modify and improve on traditional dishes. Sparkling wine in hand, I visited him in the kitchen, as he was putting the finishing touches on the meal. But it was the American movie posters on the kitchen walls - Marilyn Monroe, 'Casablanca' - that first attracted my attention. 'I have the States in my heart,' said Ms. Laneri, a devotee of American pop culture. 'We have waffles and maple syrup for Sunday breakfast. I could die for cheesecake. I used to have plastic flowers, but I am a mother now so I'm serious.' She laughed. 'The first party in my new house, we will have lights in the ice cubes.' In honor of the visiting Americans, Mr. Piazza had pulled out all the stops. Instead of one scacciata - which Giuliano Bugialli's 'Foods of Sicily and Sardinia' (Rizzoli, 1996) describes as a stuffed pizza - there were two. Scacciata (ska-CHOT-tah), which is central to Christmas Eve in Eastern Sicily, is actually a two-crust pie of raised bread dough: one of Mr. Piazza's was filled with cauliflower, tuma (a cheese), black olives, green onions and anchovies; the other with tuna, anchovies and cheese. His version of bacalao pairs the dried cod with pears, potatoes, pine nuts, capers and olives. The pears and pine nuts add a delightfully unexpected touch of sweetness to the dish. Sicilians long ago adapted the risotto style of cooking rice from the north and on this Christmas Eve, Mr. Piazza served a magnificent black-ink risotto with cuttlefish, the mixture topped with sheep's milk ricotta, a Sicilian addition, baked briefly in the oven. The chef David Pasternack of Esca, who helped adapt the recipe, said he liked it so much that he plans to serve it at the restaurant. Pasta al forno, or pasta baked in the oven, is a must on many Sicilian Christmas Eve tables. Mr. Piazza's tortiglioni, rigatoni on steroids, was a spectacular rendition, the tortiglioni stuffed with a ragù of pork and beef that was also poured over the pasta. When the final dish is unmolded, it looks like so many soldiers in a close-order drill. The platter was decorated with speck, uncooked ham. The galantine of chicken was French but also a tradition on the eastern part of the island. It had been boned and stuffed with veal and pistachios, and served with spiced oranges, a condiment Mr. Piazza created that was redolent of coriander and cinnamon. The galantine made its way to Sicily in the 19th century, when wealthy Europeans across the Continent embraced French cooking. Among landed Sicilians, it was customary to employ a cook called a monzu - perhaps a variation of 'monsieur' - who cooked French food for the family. What Ms. Laneri does not serve on Christmas Eve is the traditional eel, or capitone. 'It's typically southern, and my paternal grandmother always cooked it,' said her brother, Mr. Laneri. 'It's very fatty and doesn't taste very good and smells very fishy, so when you are a child you don't like it. We all still hate it.' From the maternal side of the family came the pannetone, a distinctly northern sweet bread now popular all over Sicily. And there were figs stuffed with almonds and cocoa, dates stuffed with pistachios, and a bowl of grapes and various members of the orange family, all local because Sicily grows some of the finest fruits in the world. The cheeses were local, too: tuma persa, a mild sheep's milk cheese; cacciocavallo, a cow cheese from Ragusa; vastedda del belice, another cow cheese; and some pecorino from the town of Enna turned bright yellow by the saffron with which it is made. There were several Sicilian wines and one additional touch of France to end the meal: Cristal Champagne. In keeping with northern Italian influences, there was also a Christmas tree. When Ms. Laneri's grandmother came to Catania in 1945, her granddaughter says, her neighbors thought she was crazy to cut down a tree, take it in the house and trim it. Today, there are decorated trees all over Sicily. After dinner, Mr. Piazza swept 4-year-old Carolina into his arms and took her to look out into the starry night for Father Christmas. Her search was unsuccessful, but it gave her mother a chance to bring her presents out of hiding. And what would a mother, in love with American pop culture, give her little daughter? A pink Disney Princess TV, of course. Is there a Barbie in Carolina's future?

Subject: Gravity of a Disease
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:27:54 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/09/books/09masl.html?ex=1273291200&en=c85d6fb71af1d7ac&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss May 9, 2005 That 'Prozac' Man Defends the Gravity of a Disease By JANET MASLIN In his new book, Peter D. Kramer tells a story about traveling to promote the best-known of his earlier books, 'Listening to Prozac,' and regularly encountering the same kind of wiseguy in lecture audiences. Wherever he went, somebody would ask him whether the world would be shorter on Impressionist masterpieces if Prozac had been prescribed for Vincent van Gogh. Sunflowers and starry nights aside, this anecdote is revealing. It conveys both the facts that 'Listening to Prozac' made a mental health celebrity out of Dr. Kramer (who is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University) and that the book's success left him uneasy. He became a target, not only of New Yorker cartoons (one of which featured a Prozac-enhanced Edgar Allan Poe being nice to a raven) but of condescension from his professional peers. He found out that there was no intellectual advantage to be gained from pointing the way to sunnier moods. 'Against Depression' is a defensive maneuver against such vulnerability. With both a title and an argument that summon Susan Sontag (in 'Against Interpretation' and 'Illness as Metaphor'), the author argues against the idea that depression connotes romance or creativity. While fully acknowledging depression's seductiveness (Marlene Dietrich is one of his prototypes of glamorous apathy), and grasping how readily the connection between gloom and spiritual depth has been made, Dr. Kramer argues for a change in priorities. He maintains that depression's physiology and pathology matter more than its cachet. Dr. Kramer makes this same point over and over in 'Against Depression.' It may be self-evident, but it's not an idea that easily sinks in. As this book points out, the tacit glorification of depression inspires entire art forms: 'romantic poetry, religious memoir, inspirational tracts, the novel of youthful self-development, grand opera, the blues.' There isn't much comparable magnetism in the realms of resilience, happiness and hope. What's more, he says, our cultural embrace of despair has a respected pedigree. Depression is the new tuberculosis: 'an illness that signifies refinement,' as opposed to one that signifies unpleasantness and pain. In a book that mixes medical theory, case histories and the occasional flash of autobiography, Dr. Kramer speaks of having been immersed in depression - 'not my own' - when inundated with memoirs about the depressed and their pharmacological adventures. He finds there is a lot more confessional writing of this sort than there is about suffering from, say, kidney disease. But depression, in his view, is as dangerous and deserving of treatment as any other long-term affliction. When regarded in purely medical terms, evaluated as a quantifiable form of degeneration, depression loses its stylishness in a hurry. Here, matters grow touchy: the author is careful to avoid any remedial thoughts that might appear to promote the interests of drug companies. So there are no miracle cures here; there is just the hope that an embrace of strength and regeneration can supplant the temptation to equate despair with depth. 'Against Depression' returns repeatedly to this central, overriding premise. Perhaps Dr. Kramer's talk-show-ready scare tactics are essential to his objectives. 'The time to interrupt the illness is yesterday,' he writes, building the case for why even seemingly brief interludes of depression can signal a relentless pattern of deterioration in a patient's future. For anyone who has spent even two straight weeks feeling, for instance, sad, lethargic, guilty, alienated and obsessed with trifles, 'Against Depression' has unhappy news. The author does not stop short of declaring that 'depression is the most devastating disease known to humankind.' But this claim, like much of the medical data discussed here, is open to interpretation and heavily dependent on the ways in which individual factors are defined. How far do the incapacitating properties of depression extend? Do they lead only to sadness and paralysis, or also to self-destructive behavior, addictions, failures, job losses and patterns passed down to subsequent generations? Whatever the case, Dr. Kramer is clearly well armed for the debate he will incite. While its medical information, particularly about depression-related damage to the brain, is comparatively clear-cut, it is in the realm of culture that 'Against Depression' makes its strongest case. In these matters, Dr. Kramer is angry and defensive: he finds it outrageous that William Styron's 'Darkness Visible' endows depression with such vague witchcraft ('a toxic and unnamable tide,' 'this curious alteration of consciousness') or that Cynthia Ozick can complain that John Updike's 'fictive world is poor in the sorrows of history.' He himself finds Updike's world rich in life-affirming attributes that tend to be underrated. He wonders how much of the uniformly acknowledged greatness of Picasso's blue period has to do with its connection with the suicide of one of Picasso's friends. By the same token, he is amazed by a museum curator's emphasis on the bleakest work of Bonnard, though this painter strikes Dr. Kramer as 'a man for whom fruit is always ripe.' Similar material, with the potential to illustrate the high status of low moods, is endless. There is a whole chapter on Sylvia Plath that the author didn't even bother to write. There is more breadth of evidence than innovative thinking in 'Against Depression.' Nonetheless, this book successfully advances the cartography of a (quite literally) gray area between physical and mental illness. And in the process it settles a few scores for the author, whose last book was a novel about a radical blowing up trophy houses on Cape Cod. Here is his chance to assert that he wrote his senior thesis on death in Dickens's writing; he listened to a lot of Mozart and Schubert in college; that he, too, has succumbed to the erotic power of bored, affectless, emotionally unavailable women in candlelit rooms. But he wrote this book in a state of reasonable contentment. He finds life well worth living. He's tired - in ways that have potent ramifications for all of us - of being treated as a lightweight for that.

Subject: Practice, Practice. Go to College?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:20:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/arts/dance/21danc.html?ex=1292821200&en=44ee8e8436010598&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 Practice, Practice, Practice. Go to College? Maybe. By ERIKA KINETZ Mark Morris possesses five honorary doctorates. But he did not spend a day in college, rather training for a life in dance at what he likes to call 'L'École of Hard Knocks.' This, for him, consisted of heading to Europe after high school to practice folk dancing in Macedonia and Spanish dancing in Madrid. He also spent a fair amount of time cooking chickens and hanging out at weddings. No surprise, then, that he dismisses what has become almost de rigueur for modern dancers: a college-level education. 'Most of it in my opinion is just a big bag of wind,' said Mr. Morris, whose Mark Morris Dance Group turned 25 this year. 'Most college-level dance education should be pedagogy and criticism and history and theory and whatever and not be about performing dance.' Conservatory training fares little better in Mr. Morris's view. 'I mostly think it ruins people,' he said, though he did concede that Juilliard may be doing something right, given the fact that five of his dancers are graduates. 'The .001 percent of people who graduate and become dance professionals, hurray for them,' he said. 'They are very lucky. I think most often it's in spite of school.' College-level dance programs are proliferating. Dance magazine's College Guide lists more than 500 such programs, up from 131 in 1966. But stable, paying jobs in the field are hard to find. And the utility of a college degree in dancing is a matter of endless debate. Much of the training of modern dancers still takes place in independent dance studios, not colleges, universities or conservatories. Indeed, conservatories like the Juilliard School and the dance program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts admit students only by audition, which means most people have some kind of training before they even apply. And if a number of dancers who did go to college say they were first exposed to modern dance in college, they add that they really learned to dance in childhood, from their first ballet, jazz or tap teachers. So while college-age dancers, like college football players, face long odds of landing a spot in the pros, the picture is far murkier for the dancer than the running back: the football player at least knows that he has to go to college to have a shot at the N.F.L. 'I thought you had to put all your eggs in that basket to make it happen,' said Lauren Grant, who went to the Tisch School and joined the Morris company in 1998. 'I know now that's not true.' She credits N.Y.U. with helping her get her job with Mr. Morris, but she also says she wishes she had received a deeper academic education. Not going to college at all gives young dancers a head start on what in many cases is a short career, and it remains the norm for professional ballet dancers. Modern dance is physically more permissive, but still mainly a young person's pursuit; those who rise through the ranks outside academia may be at a disadvantage when it comes to finding teaching jobs after they retire from the stage. 'In this climate, if you want to teach, you have to have a master's,' said Maile Okamura, who joined the Morris company in 2001, after a career in ballet, and is one of just two of Mr. Morris's 17 dancers who lack a college degree. 'I don't even have a bachelor's. I'm outside that system. I'm not sure how it's going to pan out.' Rima Faber, the program director of the nonprofit National Dance Education Organization, which promotes dance training, said the dance boom in colleges was partly due to the passage of the anti-sex-discrimination law Title IX in 1972 and the Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1974. 'Physical education went co-ed,' she said. 'And physical education for women started focusing on dance.' In the 1980's and 90's, most of these programs migrated out of the gym and into fine-arts departments. Even so, most are not designed to train professional performers. A star or two may emerge every few years, but many more alumni become teachers or scholars, or leave the field entirely. Some administrators say their programs have flourished simply because people love to dance. The dance department at Juilliard, which has the luxury of admitting only the best of the best, estimates that in the last few years some 60 to 70 percent of students have found work as dancers after graduating. 'We are sending a steady stream of young dance artists into the field, where they are being very well received,' said Lawrence Rhodes, the director of Juilliard's dance division. Tisch does not maintain employment statistics for its graduates, but Linda Tarnay, the chairwoman of the dance department, does acknowledge the awkwardness of preprofessional training for a profession with few paid jobs. 'We have grant-writing workshops,' Ms. Tarnay said. 'We have tax people come and talk to them about how to keep their taxes. But how to get a paying job? I can't say we do very well at that. I don't know what we could do.' There are no national statistics available, but the national service organization Dance/USA's surveys of two major metropolitan areas - Washington in 2003 and Chicago in 2002 - found that only 21 of the 286 companies in those two cities offered salaried positions. About half did not pay dancers at all. Nonetheless, Ms. Tarnay said that applications to the Tisch dance program have been increasing; last year 450 people auditioned for 30 slots. 'I think it's a miracle that anybody comes,' she said. 'I'm amazed every year that people still want to do this.' An added difficulty for educators trying to cram life skills into their curriculums is that dancers today must be more physically versatile than ever. Modern techniques have proliferated, and many choreographers now work on a project basis, so most dancers perform with different choreographers over the course of their careers. 'There aren't enough hours in the day to do all the kinds of disciplines and techniques and forms of dance,' Mr. Rhodes of Juilliard said. 'The variety of what is expected of students has expanded hugely.' Bradon McDonald, a 1997 Juilliard graduate now in the Morris company, said he was happy that his training focused on dance, rather than, say, grant writing or public relations. 'I don't think training dancers in business is going to make the dance world blossom,' he said. 'I think training dancers in dancing is the only option.' Dance departments at liberal arts colleges take a different approach. Brown University, for example, has no dance major and does not even offer ballet classes; dance classes are offered through its well-regarded theater, speech and dance department. 'Nobody is training anybody to be a professional in anything at Brown,' said Julie Strandberg, the director of the university's dance program. 'We're training people to be educated, well-rounded people.' Two of Mr. Morris's dancers attended Brown, but Ms. Strandberg said that few of the students who dance seriously there stay in the field. Some become performers or scholars; others become doctors or lawyers who later serve on the boards of dance companies. Joe Bowie, who graduated from Brown with honors in English and American literature and joined the Morris company in 1994, is an exceptional case: he started dancing in college, on a dare, and soon dropped his pre-med ambitions. 'I was smitten,' he said. While a late start like Mr. Bowie's is difficult for a man, it is near-impossible for a woman. Marjorie Folkman and June Omura, both members of the Morris company, graduated with honors from the dance program at Barnard College, which has an extensive roster of technique classes and is the only school at an Ivy League university with a dance major. Having danced since childhood, Ms. Folkman decided to go to Barnard in part, she said, because she thought attending a conservatory would have been an intellectual sacrifice. But she spent her college years second-guessing herself. 'I wanted to transfer out,' she said. 'I kept thinking: I should be in a conservatory, because I'm not getting the training.' Today, she says, she is grateful she stayed in college. 'We graduated knowing that if you can't find work, make up your own work,' Ms. Folkman said, adding that she feels equipped to tackle a postdance career, whatever it may be. 'I am capable of doing other things. I had to take physics. I had to read and discuss and debate and be in the world.' All that reading and discussion may even be good for dancing. 'The more widely exposed to all ideas you are, the more interesting person and therefore dancer you are,' Ms. Omura said, adding that she had given up on a dance career until she rediscovered modern dance at Barnard. 'That sounds fanciful, but I really believe it's true.' Barnard does not have detailed employment information about its dance alumni. Mary Cochran, the chairwoman of the college's department of dance, said that recent dance majors had gone on to medical school, independent choreography and teaching. One is a Fulbright scholar; one dances for Neta Pulvermacher; and one just joined Philadanco, whose founder, Joan Myers Brown, was the subject of the graduate's senior thesis. Ultimately, Mr. Morris says he does not care what kind of degrees, if any, his dancers have; he cares only that they can dance. His advice to aspiring dancers? 'Dance,' he said. 'Read. Learn music. Look around. Participate in the world.' Which, to some, may sound very much like the ideals of a college education. Presented with this conundrum, Mr. Morris paused. 'You need fabulous parents,' he said. 'I don't know what the answer is.'

Subject: Toyota Closes In on G.M.
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 06:16:56 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/business/worldbusiness/21auto.html?ex=1292821200&en=60938fa1b8bbc285&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 Toyota Closes In on G.M. By MICHELINE MAYNARD and JAMES BROOKE DETROIT - After reigning atop the global auto industry since the depths of the Depression in the 1930's, General Motors may finally cede its spot next year to Toyota. The Japanese company's ascendancy underscores the enormous obstacles faced by G.M. on many fronts. On Tuesday, Toyota announced from its offices in Nagoya, Japan, that it planned to produce 9.06 million cars worldwide in 2006. That would be a 10 percent increase for the company, which has plants on every major continent. The expected output level - arriving four years ahead of previous projections - means that Toyota and G.M. will be in a tight battle for the crown as the world's biggest carmaker in 2006, a race that will pit the industry's strongest company against its struggling giant. But even if G.M. retains the title next year, the industry already views Toyota as the premier automaker, flush with cash and posting a steady increase in sales in the United States, Europe and parts of Asia during the past decade. Toyota passed Ford to become the world's second-largest carmaker in 2003. 'G.M. is not the company it used to be, and it's not going to be what it was ever again,' said Jeffrey K. Liker, a professor of engineering at the University of Michigan and the author of 'The Toyota Way,' the best-selling book that examined the Japanese company's management principles. Reflecting that view, G.M. shares on Tuesday fell to their lowest level since the stock market crash in 1987. They closed at $19.85, down $1.20, on the Toyota estimate and the news that the billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian had sold 12 million shares of his G.M. stock. This year, G.M. shares have lost 50 percent of their value, the more recent pullbacks coming amid speculation that it may have to seek bankruptcy protection to overhaul its sagging North American operations. Toyota has long been coy about its ambitions to become No. 1, preferring to stay out of the spotlight as it grows. In 2002, it unveiled a goal of expanding its world market share to 15 percent in 2010, from 10 percent. When analysts realized that the goal would make Toyota the world's largest carmaker, the company stressed that its mission was only an expanded market share. At the news conference in Nagoya, held to announce the company's plans for 2006, Toyota's president, Katsuaki Watanabe, repeatedly played down talk of a race to the top. 'Whether Toyota is going to become No. 1 in the world or not is not something that I know,' Mr. Watanabe said. 'I am not conscious if Toyota is going to become No. 1 in the world or not.' That sentiment was echoed by one of Toyota's top manufacturing executives in the United States, the auto company's largest market. 'We don't have signs out there that say we want to beat G.M., we want to be No. 1,' Dennis Cuneo, senior vice president at Toyota Motor North America, said in an interview Tuesday. 'That's not the way we operate.' G.M. declined to comment Tuesday on Toyota's projections. It has not released a global production forecast for 2006, but analysts estimate that it will build about 9.08 million cars in 2005. Last month, G.M. said it would close three plants in North America next year, part of a plan to close all or parts of 12 plants through 2008 and eliminate 30,000 jobs. The difference between Toyota's production goal for 2006 and where G.M. is expected to end up this year is essentially the output of one assembly plant. And Toyota is expanding well beyond that in North America alone. Next year, the company plans to open a truck factory in San Antonio able to make 200,000 pickups a year. The next year, a Subaru plant in Indiana will start making 100,000 Toyotas a year. And in 2008, Toyota is to open an assembly plant in Ontario, its second there, with a capacity to build 100,000 vehicles annually. The expansion drive, coupled with growth elsewhere, has stretched Toyota's management resources. At a recent board meeting, company directors warned executives not to become complacent or overconfident as the company accelerates, according to a person who participated in the discussions but spoke on the condition he not be identified because the information was closely held. Toyota's growth plan, however, speaks louder than its caution, said James P. Womack, an author and expert on manufacturing efficiency. 'I think they think they're at an unavoidable point,' Mr. Womack said Tuesday. With G.M. traveling in reverse, 'it's less awkward to get over in the left lane and just pass,' he added. But some analysts said G.M. could stay ahead of Toyota given the American company's expansion outside the United States, where G.M. now makes more vehicles than at home. G.M. is aggressively expanding in Asia, where it has sold one million vehicles this year, and it wants to make China its second-biggest market behind the United States. 'I am not sure that it is such a layup for Toyota,' Kurt Sanger, Japan automotive analyst for Macquarie Securities Japan, said in Tokyo on Tuesday. 'If G.M. is going to grow 15-20 percent in China, they are not going to roll over.' But it is far easier for Toyota to finance its plans, given its strong financial position. During the third quarter, for example, Toyota earned a net profit of $2.6 billion. G.M., weighed down by heavy pension and health care costs, lost $1.63 billion, and some analysts expect it to lose as much as $5 billion on its North American operations this year. This year, Toyota's American sales are up 9.9 percent, and it is likely to sell nearly 2.3 million vehicles in the United States in 2005. By contrast, at G.M., despite deep discounting in the summer, American sales have fallen 3.7 percent this year. G.M. is expected to sell about 4.2 million cars this year in the United States, its biggest market. Mr. Womack said the drop to second place might be good for G.M., if it focused the company on its comeback effort. Analysts have often criticized G.M.'s obsession with shoring up its dwindling market share, which has forced it to push mediocre vehicles through showrooms with hefty incentives, rather than develop cars that can sell without rebates. Still, G.M.'s chief executive, Rick Wagoner, is vowing not to become the industry's silver medalist. This year, Mr. Wagoner said the fight for industry dominance was broader than just a one-on-one battle between his company and Toyota; G.M. has car-building and other development ventures with Toyota. 'I'm not conceding anything to anybody, ' Mr. Wagoner said. But with Toyota opening plants in Texas and Ontario, even Michigan's governor, Jennifer M. Granholm, is courting Toyota. The governor, a Democrat, has been relentless in her efforts to win a small-engine plant, which Toyota may open to supply engines to support vehicles built at the Subaru plant in Indiana. Toyota's likely rise to the top spot is 'one of the reasons we would like to have them in Michigan,' Ms. Granholm said in an interview Monday. Toyota already has a technical center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and has announced plans to add a design center in the state. Regardless, Mr. Womack said that Toyota itself would benefit from real competition posed by G.M. and Ford. 'It's never good for the leader to go unchallenged,' he said. 'The world would be a better place if G.M. and Ford were playing a better game.'

Subject: Intelligent Design Derailed
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 05:57:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/opinion/22thur1.html?ex=1292907600&en=af56b21719a9dd8f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 22, 2005 Intelligent Design Derailed By now, the Christian conservatives who once dominated the school board in Dover, Pa., ought to rue their recklessness in forcing biology classes to hear about 'intelligent design' as an alternative to the theory of evolution. Not only were they voted off the school board by an exasperated public last November, but this week a federal district judge declared their handiwork unconstitutional and told the school district to abandon a policy of such 'breathtaking inanity.' A new and wiser school board is planning to do just that by removing intelligent design from the science curriculum and perhaps placing it in an elective course on comparative religion. That would be a more appropriate venue to learn about what the judge deemed 'a religious view, a mere relabeling of creationism and not a scientific theory.' The intelligent design movement holds that life forms are too complex to have been formed by natural processes and must have been fashioned by a higher intelligence, which is never officially identified but which most adherents believe to be God. By injecting intelligent design into the science curriculum, the judge ruled, the board was unconstitutionally endorsing a religious viewpoint that advances 'a particular version of Christianity.' The decision will have come at an opportune time if it is able to deflect other misguided efforts by religious conservatives to undermine the teaching of evolution, a central organizing principle of modern biology. In Georgia, a federal appeals court shows signs of wanting to reverse a lower court that said it was unconstitutional to require textbooks to carry a sticker disparaging evolution as 'a theory, not a fact.' That's the line of argument used by the anti-evolution crowd. We can only hope that the judges in Atlanta find the reasoning of the Pennsylvania judge, who dealt with comparable issues, persuasive. Meanwhile in Kansas, the State Board of Education has urged schools to criticize evolution. It has also changed the definition of science so it is not limited to natural explanations, opening the way for including intelligent design or other forms of creationism that cannot meet traditional definitions of science. All Kansans interested in a sound science curriculum should heed what happened in Dover and vote out the inane board members. The judge in the Pennsylvania case, John Jones III, can hardly be accused of being a liberal activist out to overturn community values - even by those inclined to see conspiracies. He is a lifelong Republican, appointed to the bench by President Bush, and has been praised for his integrity and intellect. Indeed, as the judge pointed out, the real activists in this case were ill-informed school board members, aided by a public interest law firm that promotes Christian values, who combined to drive the board to adopt an imprudent and unconstitutional policy. Judge Jones's decision was a striking repudiation of intelligent design, given that Dover's policy was minimally intrusive on classroom teaching. Administrators merely read a brief disclaimer at the beginning of a class asserting that evolution was a theory, not a fact; that there were gaps in the evidence for evolution; and that intelligent design provided an alternative explanation and could be further explored by consulting a book in the school library. Yet even that minimal statement amounted to an endorsement of religion, the judge concluded, because it caused students to doubt the theory of evolution without scientific justification and presented them with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory. The case was most notable for its searching inquiry into whether intelligent design could be considered science. The answer, after a six-week trial that included hours of expert testimony, was a resounding no. The judge found that intelligent design violated the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking supernatural causation and by making assertions that cannot be tested or proved wrong. Moreover, intelligent design has not gained acceptance in the scientific community, has not been supported by peer-reviewed research, and has not generated a research and testing program of its own. The core argument for intelligent design - the supposedly irreducible complexity of key biological systems - has clear theological overtones. As long ago as the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas argued that because nature is complex, it must have a designer. The religious thrust behind Dover's policy was unmistakable. The board members who pushed the policy through had repeatedly expressed religious reasons for opposing evolution, though they tried to dissemble during the trial. Judge Jones charged that the two ringleaders lied in depositions to hide the fact that they had raised money at a church to buy copies of an intelligent design textbook for the school library. He also found that board members were strikingly ignorant about intelligent design and that several individuals had lied time and again to hide their religious motivations for backing the concept. Their contention that they had a secular purpose - to improve science education and encourage critical thinking - was declared a sham. No one believes that this thoroughgoing repudiation of intelligent design will end the incessant warfare over evolution. But any community that is worried about the ability of its students to compete in a global economy would be wise to keep supernatural explanations out of its science classes.

Subject: Zimbabwe Salons get a Haircut - 2100% inflation
From: Johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 05:01:15 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4545792.stm Profits cut for Zimbabwe hairdressers By Steve Vickers BBC, Harare Christmas is usually the busiest time of the year for salons A joke doing the rounds in Zimbabwe is that Christmas has been cancelled this year due to economic constraints. That may not be the case exactly, but most people are feeling the pinch, and many women are having to cut back on their hairdressing budget and opt for long-lasting hairstyles. So while it used to be fancy sets like spirals and bobs, it's now fishtail, carrot, and other types of plaiting. Weaves are also in, as are dreadlocks, wigs and short hair. 'When you get to the festive season, this is normally the busiest time, when there are parties and everyone is bubbly and excited,' says Jackie Granger, one of Harare's leading hairstylists. You have to adjust to your pocket - I'd like to change my hairstyle once a month, but I just can't do that Salon customer 'But this year there's been a downward trend. People don't seem to be spending as much as they used to spend, particularly when it comes to hair, people would rather look for food or keep money for school fees rather than having their hair done. Shorter and shorter So the majority of fashion-conscious Zimbabwean women have had to compromise with their hair, though they're not finding it easy. Shaving your head is easier to manage and cheaper, says Vimbai 'My hairstyle is very very short and I have a tint - it's called copper,' explains one salon customer. 'I used to have long hair with weaves.' Another says: 'It's difficult but you have to adjust to your pocket. It's just beyond my means to have the trendy hairstyles. I'd like to change my hairstyle once a month, but I just can't do that.' You could even go for the ultimate in low maintenance hair - the completely bald look. It's becoming increasingly popular,' said one shaven-headed lady called Vimbai. 'I find myself more of a natural woman when I carry this hairstyle - It's very easy to manage.' 'And the other advantage of being bald is it's very versatile. I can change it to suit the occasion - if I get invited to a dinner I can just put on my wig and go.' Costs soar Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation is now running at 502%. But official figures for prices at hair salons show a rise of 2100%, the highest rate of all categories monitored. In other words, on average, a hairstyle costs 20 times more than it did a year ago. 'With hairdressing they say it's a luxury business so when they bring in the products, there's a 60 or 65% duty on that,' Jackie Granger says. 'When you look at it sometimes you wonder if it's worth being in business because we are being out-priced.'

Subject: Anatomy of Severe Melancholy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 16:00:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/books/review/22ANGIERL.html?ex=1274500800&en=9f883a1d69fe9129&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss May 22, 2005 Anatomy of Severe Melancholy By Natalie Angier AGAINST DEPRESSION By Peter D. Kramer. PETER D. KRAMER, author of the phenomenally successful ''Listening to Prozac,'' may be thought of as America's Dr. Depression, and he may have done more than anybody else to illuminate the clawing, scabrous, catastrophic monotony that is depressive illness. But he has never suffered from the mental disorder himself. Not that he's a chipper bon vivant. ''I am easily upset,'' he writes in ''Against Depression.'' ''I brood over failures. I require solitude. . . . In medieval or Renaissance terms, I am melancholic as regards my preponderant humor.'' Still, he has never qualified for a diagnosis of even low-level depression. My first reaction to that biographical detail was to question Kramer's authority on the subject. How can you really understand what pain is, I wondered, if you've never felt the Cuisinart inside? I quickly dropped my objections, however, when I realized I was doing for depression precisely what Kramer warns against in this eloquent, absorbing and largely persuasive book. I was lifting it to the status of the metaphysical, or at least the meta-medical. I was granting to its specific pain the presumed reimbursement of revelation, the power to ennoble, instruct and certify the sufferer. By contrast, I'd never insist that my endocrinologist suffer my autoimmune disorder before treating me or talking publicly about autoimmunity; or that my endodontist, before extracting my infected dental pulp, first be ''enlightened'' with a few root canals of his own. That Kramer has not been depressed may in fact allow him to resist doing what depressives, and those who love them, too readily do, which is romanticize and totemize and finally trivialize the illness. Instead, Kramer, who is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University, sees depression for what it is. ''It is fragility, brittleness, lack of resilience, a failure to heal,'' he writes. It is sadness, hopelessness, chronic exhaustion allied with corrosive anxiety, a loss of any emotion but guilt, of any desire but to stop, please stop, and to stay stopped, forever. ''Depression is a disease of extraordinary magnitude,'' he says, and ''the major scourge of humankind.'' Found by the World Health Organization to be the single most disabling disease, depression afflicts people of every age, class, race, creed and calling: as many as 25 percent of us will be caught in its vise at least once in our lives. The disease blights careers, shatters families and costs billions of dollars in lost workdays a year. Kramer cites studies putting the annual workplace cost in this country alone at $40 billion -- the equivalent of 3 percent of the gross national product. Depression also kills, through suicide, heart disease, pneumonia, accidents. Forget the persistent myth of depression as a source of artistry, soulfulness and rebellion. Depression doesn't fan creative flames. It is photophobic and anhedonic and would rather just drool in the dark. Kramer wrote ''Against Depression'' to dispel what he sees as the lingering charisma of the disease. And yes, people talk about it now as a biological disease rather than a moral or spiritual failing. The stigma of mental illness has mainly faded, and antidepressants are among the most widely prescribed of all medications. Nevertheless, in the dozen years since the publication of ''Listening to Prozac,'' Kramer has seen plenty of resistance to the idea that depression, like cancer, AIDS or malaria, is a disease without redeeming value, best annihilated entirely. He has read stacks of depression memoirs, and though most have parroted the party line that depression is a disease like any other, ''hints of pride almost invariably showed through, as if affliction with depression might after all be more enriching than, say . . . kidney failure.'' The writers couldn't help conveying the message: ''Depression gave me my soul.'' Moreover, whenever Kramer gives a talk, sooner or later an audience member invariably asks The Question. So, Dr. Kramer, what would have happened if van Gogh had taken Prozac? Or Kierkegaard? Or Virginia Woolf? The implication of the question is obvious. Throw out the depression bath water and, whoops, there go ''Starry Night'' and ''Mrs. Dalloway'' with it. Kramer presents a sustained case that depression, far from enhancing cognitive or emotional powers, essentially pokes holes in the brain, killing neurons and causing key regions of the prefrontal cortex -- the advanced part of the brain, located just behind the forehead -- to shrink measurably in size. He lucidly explains a wealth of recent research on the disease, citing work in genetics, biochemistry, brain imaging, the biology of stress, studies of identical twins. He compares the brain damage from depression with that caused by strokes. As a result of diminished blood flow to the brain, he says, many elderly stroke patients suffer crippling depressions. Is stroke-induced depression a form of ''heroic melancholy''? If not, then why pin merit badges on any expression of the disease? Rallying his extensive familiarity with art and literature, Kramer argues that history's depressive luminaries were creative not because of but despite their struggles with mental illness -- as a result of their underlying resilience, a quality he admires. Kramer envisions a utopian future in which neuro-resilience and neuro-regeneration may be easily induced with drugs or gene therapy. How much more intellectually and emotionally courageous might we be, he asks, how much more readily might we venture out on limbs and high wires, if we knew a private trampoline would always break our fall? KRAMER'S narrative is not seamless. He argues that depression has long been very much among us, and he rightly discounts pat evolutionary hypotheses about the disease's ''adaptive value,'' but he doesn't offer much of an explanation himself for how a condition so devastating has come to be so common. Kramer can also sound defensive and willfully dour. To counter possible charges of superficiality or a fondness for smiley-face fixes, he presents his ''bona fides as a person who can appreciate alienation, both the social and existential varieties,'' among them being a New York-born German Jew who lost many relatives in the Holocaust. He rejects our habitual conflation of tragedy with depth and joy with shallowness, yet when A. L. Kennedy, author of the memoir ''On Bullfighting,'' struggles to find some lightness by recalling how her suicidal fantasies clashed with her fear of public embarrassment, Kramer dismisses her attempts as an author's version of ''meeting cute.'' Ah, but self-mockery can be a small source of joy, even redemption, which is why, whenever I lapse into hand-wringing, I recall Ezra Pound's ode to misery, a parody of A. E. Housman: ''O woe, woe, / People are born and die, / We also shall be dead pretty soon / Therefore let us act as if we were dead already.'' Now that's what I call cute.

Subject: There's Nothing Deep About Depression
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 15:57:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/17/magazine/17DEPRESSION.html?ex=1271390400&en=9080bfd565933f8c&ei=5088 April 17, 2005 There's Nothing Deep About Depression By PETER D. KRAMER Shortly after the publication of my book ''Listening to Prozac,'' 12 years ago, I became immersed in depression. Not my own. I was contented enough in the slog through midlife. But mood disorder surrounded me, in my contacts with patients and readers. To my mind, my book was never really about depression. Taking the new antidepressants, some of my patients said they found themselves more confident and decisive. I used these claims as a jumping-off point for speculation: what if future medications had the potential to modify personality traits in people who had never experienced mood disorder? If doctors were given access to such drugs, how should they prescribe them? The inquiry moved from medical ethics to social criticism: what does our culture demand of us, in the way of assertiveness? It was the medications' extra effects -- on personality, not on the symptoms of depression -- that provoked this line of thought. For centuries, doctors have treated depressed patients, using medication and psychological strategies. Those efforts seemed uncontroversial. But authors do not determine the fate of their work. ''Listening to Prozac'' became a ''best-selling book about depression.'' I found myself speaking -- sometimes about ethics, more often about mood disorders -- with many audiences, in bookstores, at gatherings of the mentally ill and their families and at professional meetings. Invariably, as soon as I had finished my remarks, a hand would shoot up. A hearty, jovial man would rise and ask -- always the same question -- ''What if Prozac had been available in van Gogh's time?'' I understood what was intended, a joke about a pill that makes people blandly chipper. The New Yorker had run cartoons along these lines -- Edgar Allan Poe, on Prozac, making nice to a raven. Below the surface humor were issues I had raised in my own writing. Might a widened use of medication deprive us of insight about our condition? But with repetition, the van Gogh question came to sound strange. Facing a man in great pain, headed for self-mutilation and death, who would withhold a potentially helpful treatment? It may be that my response was grounded less in the intent of the question than in my own experience. For 20 years, I'd spent my afternoons working with psychiatric outpatients in Providence, R.I. As I wrote more, I let my clinical hours dwindle. One result was that more of my time was filled with especially challenging cases, with patients who were not yet better. The popularity of ''Listening to Prozac'' meant that the most insistent new inquiries were from families with depressed members who had done poorly elsewhere. In my life as a doctor, unremitting depression became an intimate. It is poor company. Depression destroys families. It ruins careers. It ages patients prematurely. Recent research has made the fight against depression especially compelling. Depression is associated with brain disorganization and nerve-cell atrophy. Depression appears to be progressive -- the longer the episode, the greater the anatomical disorder. To work with depression is to combat a disease that harms patients' nerve pathways day by day. Nor is the damage merely to mind and brain. Depression has been linked with harm to the heart, to endocrine glands, to bones. Depressives die young -- not only of suicide, but also of heart attacks and strokes. Depression is a multisystem disease, one we would consider dangerous to health even if we lacked the concept ''mental illness.'' As a clinician, I found the what if challenge ever less amusing. And so I began to ask audience members what they had in mind. Most understood van Gogh to have suffered severe depression. His illness, they thought, conferred special vision. In a short story, Poe likens ''an utter depression of soul'' to ''the hideous dropping off of the veil.'' The questioners maintained this 19th-century belief, that depression reveals essence to those brave enough to face it. By this account, depression is more than a disease -- it has a sacred aspect. Other questioners set aside that van Gogh was actually ill. They took mood disorder to be a heavy dose of the artistic temperament, so that any application of antidepressants is finally cosmetic, remolding personality into a more socially acceptable form. For them, depression was less than a disease. These attributions stood in contrast to my own belief, that depression is neither more nor less than a disease, but disease simply and altogether. udiences seemed to be aware of the medical perspective, even to endorse it -- but not to have adopted it as a habit of mind. To underscore this inconsistency, I began to pose a test question: We say that depression is a disease. Does that mean that we want to eradicate it as we have eradicated smallpox, so that no human being need ever suffer depression again? I made it clear that mere sadness was not at issue. Take major depression, however you define it. Are you content to be rid of that condition? Always, the response was hedged: aren't we meant to be depressed? Are we talking about changing human nature? I took those protective worries as expressions of what depression is to us. Asked whether we are content to eradicate arthritis, no one says, ''Well, the end-stage deformation, yes, but let's hang on to tennis elbow, housemaid's knee and the early stages of rheumatoid disease.'' Multiple sclerosis, acne, schizophrenia, psoriasis, bulimia, malaria -- there is no other disease we consider preserving. But eradicating depression calls out the caveats. To this way of thinking, to oppose depression too completely is to be coarse and reductionist -- to miss the inherent tragedy of the human condition. To be depressed, even gravely, is to be in touch with what matters most in life, its finitude and brevity, its absurdity and arbitrariness. To be depressed is to occupy the role of rebel and social critic. Depression, in our culture, is what tuberculosis was 100 years ago: illness that signifies refinement. Having raised the thought experiment, I should emphasize that in reality, the possibility of eradicating depression is not at hand. If clinicians are better at ameliorating depression than we were 10 years ago -- and I think we may be -- that is because we are more persistent in our efforts, combining treatments and (when they succeed) sticking with them until they have a marked effect. But in terms of the tools available, progress in the campaign against depression has been plodding. Still, it is possible to envisage general medical progress that lowers the rate of depression substantially -- and then to think of a society that enjoys that result. What is lost, what gained? Which is also to ask: What stands in the way of our embracing the notion that depression is disease, nothing more? This question has any number of answers. We idealize depression, associating it with perceptiveness, interpersonal sensitivity and other virtues. Like tuberculosis in its day, depression is a form of vulnerability that even contains a measure of erotic appeal. But the aspect of the romanticization of depression that seems to me to call for special attention is the notion that depression spawns creativity. Objective evidence for that effect is weak. Older inquiries, the first attempts to examine the overlap of madness and genius, made positive claims for schizophrenia. Recent research has looked at mood disorders. These studies suggest that bipolar disorder may be overrepresented in the arts. (Bipolarity, or manic-depression, is another diagnosis proposed for van Gogh.) But then mania and its lesser cousin hypomania may drive productivity in many fields. One classic study hints at a link between alcoholism and literary work. But the benefits of major depression, taken as a single disease, have been hard to demonstrate. If anything, traits eroded by depression -- like energy and mental flexibility -- show up in contemporary studies of creativity. How, then, did this link between creativity and depression arise? The belief that mental illness is a form of inspiration extends back beyond written history. Hippocrates was answering some such claim, when, around 400 B.C., he tried to define melancholy -- an excess of ''black bile'' -- as a disease. To Hippocrates, melancholy was a disorder of the humors that caused epileptic seizures when it affected the body and caused dejection when it affected the mind. Melancholy was blamed for hemorrhoids, ulcers, dysentery, skin rashes and diseases of the lungs. The most influential expression of the contrasting position -- that melancholy confers special virtues -- appears in the ''Problemata Physica,'' or ''Problems,'' a discussion, in question-and-answer form, of scientific conundrums. It was long attributed to Aristotle, but the surviving version, from the second century B.C., is now believed to have been written by his followers. In the 30th book of the ''Problems,'' the author asks why it is that outstanding men -- philosophers, statesmen, poets, artists, educators and heroes -- are so often melancholic. Among the ancients, the strongmen Herakles and Ajax were melancholic; more contemporaneous examples cited in the ''Problems'' include Socrates, Plato and the Spartan general Lysander. The answer given is that too much black bile leads to insanity, while a moderate amount creates men ''superior to the rest of the world in many ways. '' The Greeks, and the cultures that succeeded them, faced depression poorly armed. Treatment has always been difficult. Depression is common and spans the life cycle. When you add in (as the Greeks did) mania, schizophrenia and epilepsy, not to mention hemorrhoids, you encompass a good deal of what humankind suffers altogether. Such an impasse calls for the elaboration of myth. Over time, ''melancholy '' became a universal metaphor, standing in for sin and innocent suffering, self-indulgence and sacrifice, inferiority and perspicacity. The great flowering of melancholy occurred during the Renaissance, as humanists rediscovered the ''Problems.'' In the late 15th century, a cult of melancholy flourished in Florence and then was taken back to England by foppish aristocratic travelers who styled themselves artists and scholars and affected the melancholic attitude and dress. Most fashionable of all were ''melancholic malcontents,'' irritable depressives given to political intrigue. One historian, Lawrence Babb, describes them as ''black-suited and disheveled . . . morosely meditative, taciturn yet prone to occasional railing.'' In dozens of stage dramas from the period, the principal character is a discontented melancholic. ''Hamlet'' is the great example. As soon as Hamlet takes the stage, an Elizabethan audience would understand that it is watching a tragedy whose hero's characteristic flaw will be a melancholic trait, in this case, paralysis of action. By the same token, the audience would quickly accept Hamlet's spiritual superiority, his suicidal impulses, his hostility to the established order, his protracted grief, solitary wanderings, erudition, impaired reason, murderousness, role-playing, passivity, rashness, antic disposition, ''dejected haviour of the visage'' and truck with graveyards and visions. ''Hamlet'' is arguably the seminal text of our culture, one that cements our admiration for doubt, paralysis and alienation. But seeing ''Hamlet'' in its social setting, in an era rife with melancholy as an affected posture, might make us wonder how much of the historical association between melancholy and its attractive attributes is artistic conceit. In literature, the cultural effects of depression may be particularly marked. Writing, more than most callings, can coexist with a relapsing and recurring illness. Composition does not require fixed hours; poems or essays can be set aside and returned to on better days. And depression is an attractive subject. Superficially, mental pain resembles passion, strong emotion that stands in opposition to the corrupt world. Depression can have a picaresque quality -- think of the journey through the Slough of Despond in John Bunyan's ''Pilgrim's Progress.'' Over the centuries, narrative structures were built around the descent into depression and the recovery from it. Lyric poetry, religious memoir, the novel of youthful self-development -- depression is an affliction that inspires not just art but art forms. And art colors values. Where the unacknowledged legislators of mankind are depressives, dark views of the human condition will be accorded special worth. Through the ''anxiety of influence,'' heroic melancholy cast its shadow far forward, onto romanticism and existentialism. At a certain point, the transformation begun in the Renaissance reaches completion. It is no longer that melancholy leads to heroism. Melancholy is heroism. The challenge is not battle but inner strife. The rumination of the depressive, however solipsistic, is deemed admirable. Repeatedly, melancholy returns to fashion. As I spoke with audiences about mood disorders, I came to believe that part of what stood between depression and its full status as disease was the tradition of heroic melancholy. Surely, I would be asked when I spoke with college students, surely I saw the value in alienation. One medical philosopher asked what it would mean to prescribe Prozac to Sisyphus, condemned to roll his boulder up the hill. That variant of the what if question sent me to Albert Camus's essay on Sisyphus, where I confirmed what I thought I had remembered -- that in Camus's reading, Sisyphus, the existential hero, remains upbeat despite the futility of his task. The gods intend for Sisyphus to suffer. His rebellion, his fidelity to self, rests on the refusal to be worn down. Sisyphus exemplifies resilience, in the face of full knowledge of his predicament. Camus says that joy opens our eyes to the absurd -- and to our freedom. It is not only in the downhill steps that Sisyphus triumphs over his punishment: ''The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.'' I came to suspect that it was the automatic pairing of depth and depression that made the medical philosopher propose Sisyphus as a candidate for mood enhancement. We forget that alienation can be paired with elation, that optimism is a form of awareness. I wanted to reclaim Sisyphus, to set his image on the poster for the campaign against depression. Once we take seriously the notion that depression is a disease like any other, we will want to begin our discussion of alienation by asking diagnostic questions. Perhaps this sense of dislocation signals an apt response to circumstance, but that one points to an episode of an illness. Aware of the extent and effects of mood disorder, we may still value alienation -- and ambivalence and anomie and the other uncomfortable traits that sometimes express perspective and sometimes attach to mental illness. But we are likely to assess them warily, concerned that they may be precursors or residual symptoms of major depression. How far does our jaundiced view reach? Surely the label ''disease'' does not apply to the melancholic or depressive temperament? And of course, it does not. People can be pessimistic and lethargic, brooding and cautious, without ever falling ill in any way. But still, it seemed to me in my years of immersion that depression casts a long shadow. Though I had never viewed it as pathology, even Woody Allen-style neurosis had now been stripped of some of its charm -- of any implicit claim, say, of superiority. The cachet attaching to tuberculosis diminished as science clarified the cause of the illness, and as treatment became first possible and then routine. Depression may follow the same path. As it does, we may find that heroic melancholy is no more. In time, I came to think of the van Gogh question in a different light, merging it with the eradication question. What sort of art would be meaningful or moving in a society free of depression? Boldness and humor -- broad or sly -- might gain in status. Or not. A society that could guarantee the resilience of mind and brain might favor operatic art and literature. Freedom from depression would make the world safe for high neurotics, virtuosi of empathy, emotional bungee-jumpers. It would make the world safe for van Gogh. Depression is not a perspective. It is a disease. Resisting that claim, we may ask: Seeing cruelty, suffering and death -- shouldn't a person be depressed? There are circumstances, like the Holocaust, in which depression might seem justified for every victim or observer. Awareness of the ubiquity of horror is the modern condition, our condition. But then, depression is not universal, even in terrible times. Though prone to mood disorder, the great Italian writer Primo Levi was not depressed in his months at Auschwitz. I have treated a handful of patients who survived horrors arising from war or political repression. They came to depression years after enduring extreme privation. Typically, such a person will say: ''I don't understand it. I went through -- '' and here he will name one of the shameful events of our time. ''I lived through that, and in all those months, I never felt this.'' This refers to the relentless bleakness of depression, the self as hollow shell. To see the worst things a person can see is one experience; to suffer mood disorder is another. It is depression -- and not resistance to it or recovery from it -- that diminishes the self. Beset by great evil, a person can be wise, observant and disillusioned and yet not depressed. Resilience confers its own measure of insight. We should have no trouble admiring what we do admire -- depth, complexity, aesthetic brilliance -- and standing foursquare against depression. Peter D. Kramer is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University and the author of ''Listening to Prozac.''

Subject: Problems in Developing Cancer Cures
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 11:45:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/health/21cancer.html?ex=1292821200&en=83fef0f52d81ec96&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 New Drug Points Up Problems in Developing Cancer Cures By GARDINER HARRIS WASHINGTON - Despite promising discoveries and multibillion-dollar investments, cancer research is quietly undergoing a crisis. Federal drug regulators will soon announce several initiatives that they hope will help salvage the field. Few drugs are being marketed, and most of those that have been introduced are enormously expensive and provide few of the benefits that patients expect. Officials of the Food and Drug Administration suggest that the failures may result from an obsolete testing system. There is growing evidence that X-rays, long the standard, may not accurately assess a patient's disease. The drug agency is creating collaborations to develop imaging, blood and other tests that better signal the progression of cancer. 'We need to develop cancer drugs differently,' the chief operating officer of the agency, Dr. Janet Woodcock, said in an interview. 'The tools we have to develop these treatments are not what we need in cancer.' On Tuesday, the agency approved Nexavar, a drug that officials described as 'a major advance' in treating kidney cancer. That action demonstrates the global confusion surrounding cancer. The manufacturer of Nexavar, Bayer, used X-rays to determine that the drug doubled the time, to 167 days from 84, before tumors grew substantially in number or size, a finding called 'progression-free survival.' Officials of the drug agency found the findings so compelling that they urged Bayer to stop the trial early and give Nexavar to subjects who had been taking placebos. European regulators, on the other hand, wanted the trial to continue because they wanted Bayer to prove that Nexavar actually extended lives, a finding that would have taken many more months to establish, a deputy commissioner of the drug agency, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said Tuesday in an interview. 'Nexavar is a good example of how we have developed better science around the development process itself that not only enables these drugs to come to market but to come to market more quickly,' Dr. Gottlieb said. Much work remains to be done, he said, adding: 'The crux of the crisis in oncology is that for years we have developed tremendous scientific advances in looking at how cancer develops, and that's not being translated into practical solutions that are benefiting patients at the pace you would expect. Look at what the government and all the drug companies are spending, and yet drugs are not reaching the market.' Groups of cancer patients say they, too, want better ways to measure success against cancer. 'That doesn't mean we want drugs pushed through faster,' the president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Frances M. Visco, said. 'It means we want better science, meaningful endpoints and drugs that have less toxicity and actually prolong survival.' There have been successes in oncology besides Nexavar, of course. Platinum-based drugs have mostly ended deaths from testicular cancer. Tamoxifen and Herceptin have saved thousands of women from breast cancer. And early screening has helped push down death rates. Researchers are not alone in their failures. Drug makers are in the midst of a dry spell that threatens the foundations of the industry. After peaking in 1996 at 53, the number of new drug approvals has steadily declined. This year, it is unlikely to exceed 17. Although every field has suffered, cancer has had the greatest chasm between hope and reality. One in 20 prospective cancer cures used in human tests reaches the market, the worst record of any medical category. Among those that gained approval in the last 20 years, fewer than one in five have been shown to extend lives, life extensions usually measured in weeks or months, not years. True cancer cures are still exceptionally rare. Medicines have been approved for colorectal cancer. Patients who take every one of the high-tech drugs has to spend, on average, $250,000, suffer serious side effects and gain, on average, months of life, according to studies. Drug companies have been promising for years that gene-hunting techniques would yield targeted nontoxic therapies that melt cancer, but few cancer medicines fit that profile. 'There are all these myths having to do with cancer drugs,' Dr. Steven Hirschfeld, an F.D.A. medical officer with expertise in cancer, said. 'That they're very targeted, when in fact all these drugs have multiple targets. That they're nontoxic, when in fact the latest ones have their own set of side effects. And that they're cures, when they are not.' Nexavar, for instance, seems to affect a variety of crucial molecules involved in powering cancer cells, but its real effects are uncertain. It can cause rashes, diarrhea and increases in blood pressure, although drug agency officials said it was far less toxic than previous therapies. The disappointing track record in cancer has mostly resulted, of course, because it is not one disease, but hundreds, whose progression is governed by a dizzying array of genetic and environmental factors that are just beginning to be understood. Drug agency officials are increasingly concerned that failures with cancer may result because the science of human testing, called drug development, has not advanced as rapidly as the understanding of the biology of cancer. 'My concern is that these novel drugs being discovered will bump up against an aging development process that can't adapt as quickly,' Dr. Gottlieb said. The agency will soon release a report that lists more than 12 research areas that it will address to try to improve clinical trials. Among the efforts is a search for new ways to measure cancer progression. For decades, X-rays have been the principal means for researchers to judge whether a cancer drug works. If tumors appear to shrink or stop growing after therapy, the drug is thought to be working. There is growing evidence that tumor size may not matter much. Small tumors can sometimes be as deadly as large tumors. That discovery has unmoored drug development. Researchers could track which patients live or die. But trials that measure life expectancy often take years and tens of millions of dollars to complete. Researchers and companies would dearly love an interim measure akin to cholesterol or blood pressure readings. The anxiety over measuring success in trials has led drug regulators around the world to try to provide guidance to companies. By coincidence, the Food and Drug Administration and drug regulators in Europe and Japan all released papers over the summer on cancer drug measurements. 'But I think it's more instructive what these documents didn't say,' Dr. Hirschfeld said. None endorsed any one measurement, he noted. For Nexavar, the drug agency accepted X-ray measures because the changes were so dramatic, said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the oncology office. The agency also encourages tests of new imaging equipment. Officials are hopeful about research into positron emission tomography, or PET scans. The scans show not only a tumor's size, but also its vigor. The drug agency is also setting up collaborations with the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and other groups to pursue other technologies, blood tests and genetic screens. In the end, though, the search for new ways to measure cancer may not be successful, said Dr. Susan S. Ellenberg, the associate dean for clinical research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who spent much of her career at the drug agency and the cancer institute. Dr. Woodcock said success was vital. 'The science is at a point where we shouldn't let this opportunity escape us,' she said. 'There are ways to figure this out, and it's not like I'm some wild-eyed idealist. I'm the F.D.A., for heaven's sake. This is going to happen.'

Subject: Some Books Are Also Worth Keeping
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 10:39:14 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/books/21jeff.html?ex=1292821200&en=d499d4e130108f69&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 Some Books Are Worth Giving; Some Books Are Also Worth Keeping By MARGO JEFFERSON There's no escaping the glut of holiday books. They're handsome, they're expensive, they're all too easy to sell at a secondhand bookstore or repackage as a birthday present a few months from now. But here are a two suggestions for books that you will want to keep (or buy with that nice gift certificate). They are books that sharpen the mind and stir the heart. The first is 'The Solitude of Self: Thinking About Elizabeth Cady Stanton,' by Vivian Gornick, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Stanton belonged to that astonishing band of 19th-century American radicals who changed the way we live - among them Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B. Anthony and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Abolitionism taught the women to fight for justice; feminism challenged the men to expand their vision of what justice means. I love writers who treat thinking as a dynamic process. Ms. Gornick does - here, and in all her books. Imagine a photographer of the psyche. She studies her subject from all angles. Whether in close-up or on a landscape crowded with political and religious movements, she explores the public and private selves. Stanton was brilliant - driven by, in Ms. Gornick's words, 'a passion for thought' and for language. In her early years she cared for seven children during the day, then sat down in the kitchen at midnight 'to write a two-hour speech that demanded to know what it meant to be a human being.' In later years she toured the country to deliver those two-hour speeches in person and went before Congress to petition for suffrage. In 1848 Stanton and a small band of radical women had officially opened the war for women's rights at a convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., issuing a 'Declaration of Sentiments' based on the Declaration of Independence and written by Stanton. (Among their demands were the right to vote, attend college and own property if married.) How stirring it is to read: 'He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she has no voice.' 'He has endeavored in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.' But Ms. Gornick's book opens at a women's rights convention in 1892. Stanton is a 76-year-old veteran of a 44-year struggle. She will die in 10 years and she has learned, Ms. Gornick writes, that 'beyond the need for political equality lay an equally great need to create the conditions in which the inner life could flourish.' Women may desire to be coddled and sheltered, she told her audience; men may encourage that desire. But in the end, despite family, friends, lovers and allies, each of us is 'a solitary voyager. ... Our most bitter disappointments, our brightest hopes and ambitions are known only to ourselves. Alike amid the greatest triumphs and darkest tragedies of life, we walk alone.' This is the reality of human nature, Ms. Gornick writes, in words that bind Stanton's past to our present: 'We are compelled to create a society that will help us fight the worst in ourselves. To deny anyone the tools of survival - that is, the power to act - is criminal.' Stanton did not equivocate or retreat. She chastised the state first, and then the church. Her Women's Bible subjects every passage written about women to stern scholarly analysis. She criticized the social and religious bigotry of women. So does Ms. Gornick. Stanton was born into a distinguished Anglo-Saxon family. She too could be a snob and a bigot when pushed to the wall, heaping scorn on 'ignorant and degraded men' - native-born like 'Sambo' or immigrants like 'the Irishman.' How dare they have the vote when cultivated white women like herself did not? What, Ms. Gornick asks, is this 'strangely persistent' human need to see others as alien and unreal, even when we have suffered exclusion ourselves? Suffering can humanize people, she answers, but it also damages them. One of the first signs of damage is the need to turn our rage and shame onto someone else; to play, however briefly, the superior 'Us' to a lesser 'Them.' What a potent book this is! What a boon to be reminded that politics, like art, demands bold thought and unceasing imagination. Another book worth making a place for on your shelf is 'No Applause - Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,' by Trav S. D. (Faber & Faber). This delicious cultural history tracks America's sturdiest entertainment form back to Roman clowns and medieval Feasts of Fools, then forward to snake-oil salesmen and blackface minstrels; magicians and ventriloquists; trained mules and seals; stars like Mae West, Bert Williams, the Marx Brothers, Fanny Brice, W. C. Fields, Fred Astaire and the Nicholas Brothers; the comics who ruled 1950's television and those who rule each new season of 'Saturday Night Live'; the avant-garde of Becket and Ionesco and 'new vaudevillians' like Penn and Teller, Bill Irwin and the Bindlestiff Family Circus. The author was formerly known as D. Travis Stewart; Trav S. D. is his vaudevillesque pen name. With its aesthetic of surprise and constant stimulus, he writes, the variety show is perfect for our 'post-MTV, post-postmodern, attention-deficit-ridden age of electronic-induced schizophrenia.' A typical show encompassed everything 'from the puritanical to the licentious, from the patriotic to the anarchistic; from idolaters of wealth to egalitarians; and on and on.' The writing is as snappy as these troupers and headliners deserve. And the scholarship is high-class. Nothing reveals a people more clearly than what entertains them and how they define it. Mr. Stewart links the history of the form to the social, economic and sexual history of the nation. Vaudeville matured as the United States became a manufacturing power. 'Like pop bottles or Colt pistols, variety performers now passed by continuously on an 'assembly line' ' of acts that played from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. In the late 19th century, vaudeville's managers decided to divorce it from bawdy saloons and low-life clubs patronized only by men. They stressed the pure and the wholesome to attract women and children. (Is it a surprise that at the same time, feminists were being roundly attacked as unwomanly and immoral?) Now that movies are at the center of the culture, we get plenty of good books about film. But theater was there first. After all, isn't America a kind of ethnic, social and political variety show? Books as fine as these never fail to save us from what Stanton called 'the solitude of ignorance.'

Subject: That Blur? It's China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 06:18:01 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/business/worldbusiness/21yuan.html?ex=1292821200&en=80b39aec127570b7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 That Blur? It's China, Moving Up in the Pack By DAVID BARBOZA and DANIEL ALTMAN SHANGHAI - Many economists have long suspected that official government statistics here provided only a shadow of reality. With China's announcement on Tuesday that its economy was considerably bigger than previously estimated, economists and financial prognosticators are scrambling to rethink their assessment of China's rise and its role on the world stage. China's new figures suggest that it probably has passed France, Italy and Britain to become the world's fourth-largest economy. Some economists are even accelerating their timetables for when China may eclipse the United States as the world's biggest economy. With the new figures offering a more expansive view of economic activity, some said China could overtake the United States as early as 2035, at least five years earlier than previous projections. 'We now have a new snapshot of the Chinese economy,' said Hong Liang, an economist at Goldman Sachs. 'This is not slightly bigger - it's a significantly bigger economy.' China said it revised its economic data after a yearlong nationwide economic census uncovered about $280 billion in hidden economic output last year. The new output was the equivalent of an economy the size of Turkey's or Indonesia's - or 40 percent the size of India's economy. As a result, China's gross domestic product for last year is now estimated at nearly $2 trillion, not the previously reported $1.65 trillion. That translates into an adjusted increase of 17 percent, making China the sixth-largest economy in the world in 2004. With China expected to report another year of sizzling economic growth in 2005, its economy may already be ranked No. 4, trailing only the United States, Japan and Germany. Moreover, even after two decades of very strong growth, China is still the world's fastest-growing major economy, expanding more than 9 percent over the last few years. The United States economy is still far in front, with a value of about $11.7 trillion last year. And for all China's fast growth and its rapid ascension to the major leagues among national economies, it remains a relatively poor country. Even with the expected revision, China's output per person will climb to a little more than $1,700 this year. It ranked 134th in income per person in 2003, according to the World Bank. Though its statisticians are highly trained, China is still quite secretive about its methods and means for gathering economic data. This has long generated debate among economists, much as the Soviet Union's economic figures did: some economists think China's figures disguise weakness, while others think they hide strength. The figures for China's national accounts - the numbers that measure gross domestic product, including spending and trade - are supplied by its National Bureau of Statistics. The bureau publishes several sets of statistics - some as often as monthly - based either on its own estimates or upon numbers supplied by China's local governments. But those figures can vary widely. Totting up regional gross domestic product in 2003, for example, gives a figure of $1.6 trillion, 12 percent to 15 percent higher than the bureau's own estimates. The discrepancy also underscores a difference in incentives. Provincial and municipal authorities want to impress Beijing and limit any embarrassments, as the delays in reporting bird flu cases and the chemical spill in Jilin Province have shown. Beijing worries more about its reputation in the rest of the world, where accuracy is paramount. There are other reasons that huge swathes of the Chinese economy are unreported, said Frank Gong, the chief China economist for J. P. Morgan Chase. 'The way they collect the G.D.P. is really from supply-side, production-based statistics,' he said. Mr. Gong suggested that collecting data from the demand side - what consumers actually spend - would be more telling. In a system left over from when China was almost entirely a planned economy, however, all the factories and supermarkets report their own sales and spending. 'That's problematic,' he said. 'The service part - the cash component of the economy - can be omitted easily. That's why the statistics tend to understate the actual level of activity.' Economists say the new figures provide good news for China, suggesting that the economy is healthier, more diversified and more sustainable than previously believed. The revised figures, for instance, show that a much stronger services sector has emerged in the Chinese economy, taking some weight off manufacturing. Dong Tao, an economist at Credit Suisse First Boston, said Tuesday in a statement that China might still be underestimating the size of its services sector by about $200 billion. The new figures also relieve some worries that the economy was too heavily dependent on investment and could overheat. And they show that there are more small and medium-size companies in the country. Stephen Green, a senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank, said the new figures calm some fears about imbalances in the economy. 'It's all good,' Mr. Green said. 'A bigger economy means all the dangerous ratios, such as investment as a percentage of G.D.P., all fall. And they are usually cited as showing the Chinese economy is in danger or headed for a fall.' The new figures are also expected to affect government planners and policy makers, altering things like monetary policy and inflation forecasts, or how government officials allocate money in the economy. On a more technical note, Jiemin Guo, a senior economist at the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, pointed out a fundamental problem with China's numbers. Most wealthy nations use a changing base for their gross domestic product series, to allow for differences over time in the basket of goods and services that consumers demand: experts don't want to use the price of a 1985 home computer, for example, in calculating today's gross domestic product. But China uses a fixed base for several years at a time, Mr. Guo said, which results in a growing bias. Like the underreporting of the service sector, this issue is especially serious, because it could affect the accuracy not just of the gross domestic product but also of its growth rate over time. The statistics bureau has acknowledged several of these problems and, unlike the old Soviet scorekeepers, it is eager to improve the quality of its statistics. The bureau is working with the World Bank to develop a plan for its statistical apparatus, which would include reconciling the national and local figures. Ms. Hong at Goldman Sachs offered an analogy to explain why the new figures were important. 'Does China have some structural illness or cancer, or is there an error with the X-ray?' she asked rhetorically. 'The last few years, so many famous economists cited the very high investment-to-G.D.P. ratio as a serious problem. Now it looks like the X-ray machine had a problem, not the patient.'

Subject: The Biggest Little Poems
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 06:14:56 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/18/books/review/18kirby.html?ex=1292562000&en=eeaa0ccc2fdd7cc9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 18, 2005 The Biggest Little Poems By DAVID KIRBY There is a brash, exuberant poetry being written in America these days, a long-lined, many-paged, pyrotechnic verse that would have its daddy, Walt Whitman, slapping his slouch hat against his leg and chortling with unbridled glee. This isn't it. A Kay Ryan poem is maybe an inch wide, rarely wanders onto a second page, and works in one or two muted colors at most. Rather than raise a righteous old hullabaloo, a Ryan poem sticks the reader with a little jab of smarts and then pulls back as fast as a doctor's hypodermic. Here is 'On the Difficulty of Drawing Oneself Up' in its entirety: One does not stack. It would be like a mouse on the back of a mouse on a mouse's back. Courses of mice, layers of shivers and whiskers, a wobbling tower mouse-wide, with nothing more than a mouse inside. Now here is a poem that would prompt perhaps the arching of a single eyebrow in approval on the part of modern American poetry's mom, Emily Dickinson, hands-down champ at writing poems that are as compressed as Whitman's are sprawling. But of course there is no real competition between the Whitman who boasted 'I am large, I contain multitudes' and the Dickinson whose niece Martha reported that her aunt once pretended to lock the door to her bedroom and pocket an imaginary key, saying, 'Mattie, here's freedom.' In other words, Ryan's are the biggest little poems going. Rather than hunting down the world and making it cry uncle, Ryan likes to create an elastic space the world can enter and fill. So a poem like 'Backward Miracle' calls for just that: not a gaudy transformation of what exists but a return to it, to just the vessel with the wine in it - . . . the single loaf and the single fish thereby. This is a back-to-basics maneuver that, as the poems says, strips language and makes it hold. Yet Ryan does not write the dime-store Buddhist how-holy-is-my-saltcellar poem one has seen too many of lately. Instead, she produces Bible verses for the worldly: instead of 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' or 'When I was a child, I spake as a child,' Ryan writes As though the river were a floor, we position our table and chairs upon it and We are always really carrying a ladder, but it's invisible. She likes to work with clichés - chickens coming home to roost, the other shoe dropping - but, like Bugs Bunny bending Elmer Fudd's shotgun barrels so that they aim back toward him, she does it in a way that warns us not to point our clichés at other people. Often her images are deliberately unlovely: silences are embedded in a noisy city like shark's teeth, a tired person's blood is cruddy with tiny metal office furniture. In a poem about crows, she notes how we admire bullies (and coins the phrase 'quid pro crow,' surely the best poetic pun of 2005, unless something better comes along in the next week or two). In another, about - electromagnetism? - she observes that weakness doesn't always amount to defeat. A contrarian, Ryan doesn't mind clucking her tongue at us readers, but she cautions us against our strengths rather than our frailties. Don't be playing the blame game, she seems to say, because we make or at least find our own problems: Tar babies are not the children of tar people. So Kay Ryan's tiny poems turn out to be full of color and argument, after all. In fact, she makes good writing look so easy that I despair of her influence, just as English schoolmasters once worried that schoolboys liked Keats too much and would ape his sensuousness (if only). Yet Ryan's special talent is for illuminating the known and showing how the unknown defines it, as when she writes of a frozen lake that has its own seasons under the ice or says that Houdini's greatest trick was to emerge from the chains and padlocks as himself. In 'Hide and Seek,' she notes how hard it is not to jump out instead of waiting to be found, and, like Dickinson's, many of Ryan's poems read as if there were a kid in the middle, legs coiled, beside itself with glee and terror. There's a real tension in these poems, that of someone who has been sitting for a long time. David Kirby is the Robert O. Lawton distinguished professor of English at Florida State University.

Subject: Scientists' Discovery in the Deep
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 06:00:23 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/science/20squi.html December 20, 2005 Scientists' Discovery in the Deep Casts Some Squid Mothers in a Brighter Light By WILLIAM J. BROAD With their slimy tentacles and big, unblinking eyes, squids have, over the centuries, acquired a bad reputation. Jules Verne's squid attacked a submarine. Peter Benchley's dined on children. The squid has fared little better in the world of science, with researchers concluding that, unlike octopuses and some fish, squids are inattentive parents, depositing eggs on the seabed and letting them grow or die on their own. But a team of ocean scientists exploring the inky depths of the Monterey Canyon off California has discovered that at least one squid species cares for its young with loving attention, the mother cradling the eggs in her arms for months, waving her tentacles to bathe the eggs in fresh seawater. The scientists suspect that other species are doting parents, too, and that misperceptions about squid behavior have arisen because the deep is so poorly explored. 'Our finding is unexpected because this behavior differs from the reproductive habits of all other known squid species,' the scientists wrote in the Dec. 15 issue of Nature, the weekly science journal. 'We expect it to be found in other squids.' Brad A. Seibel, a biologist at the University of Rhode Island and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, who led the research, said in an interview that the insight began in 1995. Then a graduate student, he pulled up a trawl bucket from the dark midwaters of the Monterey Canyon, which is as deep as two miles, and found a mass of squid eggs. Nearby in the bucket lay a female of the species Gonatus onyx, which grows to a length of about 10 inches. The next year, the same thing happened again, except this time the young were hatchlings, just emerging from their eggs. Recalling his previous catch, Dr. Seibel theorized that he had stumbled upon something that amounted to heresy. It seemed that the females had been brooding their eggs. In 2000, he proposed the idea in print, prompting skeptical rejoinders. The breakthrough came in 2001, when Dr. Seibel and his colleagues at Monterey sent a car-size robot into the depths of the canyon. There, more than a mile down, the robot's lights and camera spied the heresy in action - a female brooding her eggs. 'I was delighted,' Dr. Seibel recalled, and 'surprised that we found them.' Since then, he and teammates exploring the canyon's deep waters have discovered five female squids holding their eggs, gently protecting and nourishing them. The attentive females extend their arms every 30 to 40 seconds, moving water through the masses of 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. This action, the scientists wrote in Nature, probably serves to aerate the eggs in the canyon's oxygen-poor waters. The scientists estimate that the squid, in the class of animals known as cephalopods, which also includes the octopus and the cuttlefish, broods its eggs for as long as nine months. The other researchers are Bruce H. Robison and Steven H. D. Haddock of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, in Moss Landing, Calif. The attention and nurturing, Dr. Seibel said, surely promotes survival. 'It's very successful,' he noted, Gonatus onyx being one of the most abundant cephalopods in the Pacific Ocean.

Subject: The Poor Need Not Apply
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:56:54 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/opinion/21wed2.html?ex=1292821200&en=534b12a35a6b1edc&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 21, 2005 The Poor Need Not Apply On Sept. 15, speaking from New Orleans's Jackson Square, President Bush was eloquent: 'As all of us saw on television, there is also some deep, persistent poverty in this region as well,' he said. 'We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality.' Did the president really mean anything by those fine words? As Leslie Eaton and Ron Nixon reported in The Times last week, federal loans to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina have been flowing to wealthy neighborhoods in New Orleans but not to poor ones. The Small Business Administration, which runs the federal government's main disaster recovery program for both businesses and homeowners, has processed only a third of the 276,000 home loan applications it has received. And it has rejected a whopping 82 percent of those, a higher percentage than in previous disasters, on the grounds that applicants didn't have high enough incomes or good enough credit ratings. That is exactly the kind of barrier to upward mobility that Mr. Bush talked about battering down. Poor people live from paycheck to paycheck, unable to accumulate assets. They let their water bill go unpaid one month so that they can pay their light bill. Their credit ratings tend to reflect that. Those are basic truths that the Bush administration obviously understands. Yet it encouraged poor people to apply for low-interest loans to rebuild their homes while keeping rules that would make it clearly impossible for most of them to qualify. Despite the widespread poverty in the most damaged regions, according to the Times article, the Small Business Administration has not adjusted its creditworthiness standards, which are roughly comparable to a bank's. As a result, well-off neighborhoods have received 47 percent of the loan approvals, while poverty-stricken ones have gotten 7 percent. No one expects the government to squander tax dollars on bad loans. But there are ways around that, through grants, for instance, and looser standards for the many who straddle the shoulders of good credit and bad credit. Otherwise, the administration has engaged in the worst kind of cruelty - one that encourages the poor to think help is on the way, then swats down anyone who actually requests the promised assistance.

Subject: Bolivia's Newly Elected Leader
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:54:34 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/international/americas/20bolivia.html?ex=1292734800&en=317105a1a7bb9924&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 20, 2005 Bolivia's Newly Elected Leader Maps His Socialist Agenda By JUAN FORERO LA PAZ, Bolivia - After his decisive win in the election for president on Sunday, the Socialist indigenous leader, Evo Morales, vowed Monday to respect private property but repeated his pledge to increase state control over the energy industry and reverse an American-backed crusade against coca, the plant used to make cocaine. Wearing his trademark black jeans and tennis shoes, Mr. Morales arrived in La Paz to begin laying the groundwork for an economic and political transformation that he says will give voice to the poor, indigenous majority that fueled his campaign. 'The voice of the people is the voice of God,' he said late Sunday. Mr. Morales, 46, a former small-town trumpeter and soccer player who turned a movement of coca farmers into the country's most potent political force, stunned his countrymen on Sunday by burying seven challengers in the most important election since Bolivia's transition from dictatorship to democracy a generation ago. Unofficial results showed that Mr. Morales won up to 52 percent of the vote to become the first Indian president in Bolivia's 180-year history, a victory that solidifies a continent-wide shift of governments to the left. 'For the first time a candidate wins with 50 percent plus 1, and it's the biggest margin between the first two finishers,' said Gonzalo Chávez, an economist and political analyst at Catholic University in La Paz. 'This is a democratic revolution. The voting was tremendously strong, and signifies a tremendous demand for change in Bolivia.' President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and President Néstor Kirchner of Argentina, two of the continent's leading left-leaning leaders, quickly offered their congratulations, as did Chile, Spain and the European Union. The United States tried to discredit Mr. Morales in the past by alleging ties to drug trafficking, and ended up increasing his popularity. The administration offered cautious congratulations to Mr. Morales and to the Bolivian people 'for carrying out a successful election.' But American officials acknowledged that they viewed his presidency with serious concern, while insisting that they would wait to see how he actually governed. A State Department official noted that Bolivia had experienced several years of chaos in government, 'and now they have chosen a leader and still have a constitutional process.' adding, 'We have to respect that, whatever else Morales has said.' He declined to be identified, citing department policy. Mr. Morales's party, the Movement Toward Socialism, won nearly half the 27 seats in the Senate and up to half the 130 seats in the lower house. Unofficial figures showed the MAS, as the party is known, also won at least two of nine governorships. Podemos, the party of Jorge Quiroga, a former president, finished a distant second. Three other traditional parties practically disappeared from the national scene. The MAS is now poised to push through legislation tightening the terms on British Gas, Repsol YPF of Spain, Petrobras of Brazil and other foreign energy companies operating here. Mr. Morales has promised to 'nationalize' the lucrative natural gas industry, not by expropriating it, but rather by expanding state control over operations, policy and the commercialization of gas. 'The government will exercise its right to state ownership of Bolivia's hydrocarbons,' he said Monday. Foreign oil companies have in the past said that financially onerous terms could prompt them to cut back on investments, which have fallen from $608 million in 1998 to $200 million last year. But on Monday, Ronald Fessy, spokesman for the Bolivian Hydrocarbon Chamber, said it was too soon to predict. 'Governments have to be seen in action, not in times of campaigning,' he said. 'We hope that this government will work to achieve scenarios that would lead to policies that are good for investments that this industry and Bolivia urgently need.' Mr. Morales has also pledged to reverse Bolivia's longstanding alliance with the United States in the generation-long fight against drugs, which has greatly curtailed the coca planting but has set off politically volatile uprisings by coca farmers. Mr. Morales and his followers say much of Bolivia's coca goes for traditional uses, to be chewed or used in tea, while Washington says most of it becomes cocaine. 'The fight against drug trafficking is a false pretext for the United States to install military bases,' Mr. Morales told reporters on Monday. Even with the mandate from voters, Mr. Morales is not expected to have an easy time in a country rocked by years of social protests fueled by inequality and poverty. He will be under pressure to ensure that the country's budding exports of textiles and furniture continue, while answering to indigenous leaders who seek radical change. Some social movements have vowed to apply pressure. The Bolivian Workers Central, the country's largest labor confederation, said the government would have to expropriate private energy installations from private companies, or face the kind of protests that forced out two presidents since 2003. 'He has to make changes or he falls,' Jaime Solares, the head of the confederation, said in an interview. In the main square of La Paz, where one president was lynched on a lamppost in 1946, most people seemed tired of protests and wanted to give Mr. Morales a chance . 'We have to give him some time,' said Martín Bautista, 35, a truck driver. 'I feel happy because here a lot of things are about to change.'

Subject: Google Offers a Bird's-Eye View
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:52:16 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/technology/20image.html?ex=1292734800&en=fc8a8529ca004e0c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 20, 2005 Google Offers a Bird's-Eye View, and Some Governments Tremble By KATIE HAFNER and SARITHA RAI When Google introduced Google Earth, free software that marries satellite and aerial images with mapping capabilities, the company emphasized its usefulness as a teaching and navigation tool, while advertising the pure entertainment value of high-resolution flyover images of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the pyramids. But since its debut last summer, Google Earth has received attention of an unexpected sort. Officials of several nations have expressed alarm over its detailed display of government buildings, military installations and other important sites within their borders. India, whose laws sharply restrict satellite and aerial photography, has been particularly outspoken. 'It could severely compromise a country's security,' V. S. Ramamurthy, secretary in India's federal Department of Science and Technology, said of Google Earth. And India's surveyor general, Maj. Gen. M. Gopal Rao, said, 'They ought to have asked us.' Similar sentiments have surfaced in news reports from other countries. South Korean officials have said they fear that Google Earth lays bare details of military installations. Thai security officials said they intended to ask Google to block images of vulnerable government buildings. And Lt. Gen. Leonid Sazhin, an analyst for the Federal Security Service, the Russian security agency that succeeded the K.G.B., was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying: 'Terrorists don't need to reconnoiter their target. Now an American company is working for them.' But there is little they can do, it seems, but protest. Google Earth is the most conspicuous recent instance of increased openness in a digitally networked world, where information that was once carefully guarded is now widely available on personal computers. Many security experts agree that such increased transparency - and the discomfort that it produces - is an inevitable byproduct of the Internet's power and reach. American experts in and outside government generally agree that the focus on Google Earth as a security threat appears misplaced, as the same images that Google acquires from a variety of sources are available directly from the imaging companies, as well as from other sources. Google Earth licenses most of the satellite images, for instance, from DigitalGlobe, an imaging company in Longmont, Colo. 'Google Earth is not acquiring new imagery,' said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, which has an online repository of satellite imagery. 'They are simply repurposing imagery that somebody else had already acquired. So if there was any harm that was going to be done by the imagery, it would already be done.' Google Earth was developed as a $79-a-year product by a small company called Keyhole that Google bought last year; it was reintroduced as a free downloadable desktop program in June. It consists of software that can be downloaded onto a personal computer and used to 'fly over' city streets, landmarks, buildings, mountains, redwood forests and Gulf Stream waters. Type in any street address in the United States, Canada or Britain, or the longitude and latitude for any place - or even terms like 'pyramids' or 'Taj Mahal' - and the location quickly zooms into focus from outer space. It was in the 1990's that the federal government started allowing commercial satellite companies to make and sell high-resolution images, to allow American companies to compete in a growing market. But a number of security restrictions apply to those companies. For instance, United States law requires that images of Israel shot by American-licensed commercial satellites be made available only at a relatively low resolution. Also, the companies' operating licenses allow the United States government to put any area off limits in the interests of national security. A 24-hour delay is mandated for images of especially high resolution. Vipin Gupta, a security analyst at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, said the time delays were crucial, saying that in the national security sphere much can change between the time an image is taken and when it is used by the public. 'You can get imagery to determine whether there is a military base or airfield, but if you want to count aircraft, or determine whether there are troops there at a particular time, it is very difficult to do,' Mr. Gupta said. 'It's not video.' Andrew McLaughlin, a senior policy counsel at Google, said the company had entered discussions with several countries over the last few months, including Thailand, South Korea and, most recently, India. India may be particularly sensitive to security issues because of its long-running border disputes with Pakistan, its rival nuclear power, and recurring episodes of terrorism. Since 1967, it has forbidden aerial photographs of bridges, ports, refineries and military establishments, and outside companies and agencies are required to have those images evaluated by the government. High-resolution satellite photos face similar restrictions in India, which has its own sophisticated satellite imaging program. Mr. Ramamurthy, the Indian science official, acknowledged that 'there is very little we can do to a company based overseas and offering its service over the Internet.' But General Rao, the Indian surveyor general, said the Indian government had sent a letter asking Google 'to show sensitive sites, which we will list - areas such as the presidential residence and defense installations - in very low-resolution images.' Mr. McLaughlin said he had not yet seen such a letter; he said talks with India had centered specifically on images of the Kashmir border, long disputed by India and Pakistan. Meetings with Indian officials or those from other nations have yet to result in a request that Google remove or downgrade any information, Mr. McLaughlin said. Nor, he said, has the United States government ever asked Google to remove information. The same cannot be said for Mr. Pike, whose Web site has images of nuclear test sites and military bases in much sharper focus than can be found on Google Earth. Last year, Mr. Pike said, he was asked by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, an arm of the Defense Department, to remove from his site some of the maps of cities in Iraq that the Coalition Provisional Authority had created for planning cellphone service. Mr. Pike said he had complied, but added that the incident was a classic example of the futility of trying to control information. 'To think that the same information couldn't be found elsewhere was not a very safe assumption,' he said. Dave Burpee, a spokesman for the agency, said that the incident was relatively isolated, and that Mr. Pike had been asked to remove the maps because they were marked 'limited distribution.' A service like Google Earth, on the other hand, contains nothing classified or restricted. An outcry over security was the last thing John Hanke was thinking five years ago when he joined in founding Keyhole with the aim of using satellite and aerial photography to create a three-dimensional world map. The idea, said Mr. Hanke, an entrepreneur who founded two video game companies before starting Keyhole, was to make video games more interesting. Now Mr. Hanke, as a general manager at Google in charge of Google Earth, finds himself in the thick of frequent discussions at Google and with outsiders about transparency. He speaks enthusiastically of the benefits of openness. 'A lot of good things come out of making information available,' he said, and proceeded to list a few: 'disaster relief, land conservation and forest management for fighting wildfires.' The images, which Google Earth expects to update roughly every 18 months, are a patchwork of aerial and satellite photographs, and their relative sharpness varies. Blurriness is more often than not an indication of the best quality available for a location. Chuck Herring, a spokesman for DigitalGlobe, said that to the best of his knowledge, the federal government had never asked his company to obscure or blur images. Similarly, Mr. Hanke said no specific areas on Google Earth lacked high-resolution data because of federal restrictions. For a brief period, photos of the White House and adjacent buildings that the United States Geological Survey provided to Google Earth showed up with certain details obscured, because the government had decided that showing details like rooftop helicopter landing pads was a security risk. Google has since replaced those images with unaltered photographs of the area taken by Sanborn, a mapping and imagery company, further illustrating the difficulty of trying to control such information. As for security issues raised by other countries, Mr. Hanke said, 'When we reach out and engage with knowledgeable people, the concern tends to subside.' Still, imagery is growing harder than ever to control, especially as it makes its way around the Internet. Several countries, notably Nigeria, China and Brazil, have recently launched satellites, making it harder for any one government to impose restrictions. 'When you have multiple eyes in the sky, what you're doing is creating a transparent globe where anyone can get basic information about anyone else,' said Mr. Gupta, the Sandia analyst. His recommendation to the Indian government, he said, would be to accept the new reality: 'Times are changing, and the best thing to do is adapt to the advances in technology.'

Subject: Last-Minute Budget Madness
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:51:11 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/opinion/20tue3.html?ex=1292734800&en=7c180cfb3acf0800&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 20, 2005 Last-Minute Budget Madness As 11th-hour ploys go in Congress, the Republican leadership lowered the bar into the permafrost by ignoring rules and slapping Alaskan oil drilling onto a must-pass bill to pay for the Iraq war. The House, which earlier voted against drilling in the Alaska wildlife refuge, retreated and went along with the gimmickry orchestrated by Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the diehard champion of opening his state's pristine resources to the oil industry. This 'victory' for the Bush administration, which may yet be filibustered in the Senate, was the prelude to an even more cynical move - $40 billion in spending cuts that unfairly burden the poorest Americans with reductions in health care, child support and welfare. 'The Republican revolution is back,' proclaimed Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, a leader of the conservative Republican 'budget hawks' now trying to palm off political rope-a-dope as revolution. Their ballyhooed savings, less than one-half of 1 percent of Congress's $14.3 trillion projected spending plan across the next five years, would be more than canceled by the next wad of tax cuts for the affluent - up to $100 billion - that G.O.P. leaders are vowing to enact next year. These same lawmakers have repeatedly fed the record deficit and debt by rubber-stamping tax cuts. In the final deal-making, the Republican Congress spared the pharmaceutical and managed care industries from cutbacks but increased the workfare burdens on low-paid former welfare recipients. They granted flu vaccine makers windfall protection from lawsuits, but enacted a startling $12.7 billion cut in student aid. Including hurricane reconstruction aid and anti-torture strictures hardly disinfects the budget morass being left behind.

Subject: Judge Bars 'Intelligent Design'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 05:50:21 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/education/20cnd-evolution.html?ex=1292734800&en=e6583fbaf45911b7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 20, 2005 Judge Bars 'Intelligent Design' From Pa. Classes By LAURIE GOODSTEIN HARRISBURG, PA. - A federal judge ruled today that it is unconstitutional for a Pennsylvania school district to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in high school biology courses because intelligent design is a religious viewpoint that advances 'a particular version of Christianity.' In the nation's first case to test the legal merits of intelligent design, Judge John E. Jones III issued a broad, stinging rebuke to its advocates and a boost to scientists who have fought to bar intelligent design from the science curriculum. The judge also excoriated members of the school board in Dover, Pa., who he said lied to cover up their religious motives, made a decision of 'breathtaking inanity' and 'dragged' their community into 'this legal maelstrom with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.' Eleven parents in Dover, Pa., a growing suburb about 20 miles south of Harrisburg, sued their school board a year ago after the board voted to read students a brief statement introducing intelligent design in ninth grade biology class. The statement said that there are 'gaps in the theory' of evolution and that intelligent design is another explanation they should examine. Judge Jones concluded that intelligent design is not science, and that in order to claim that it is, its proponents admitted that they must change the very definition of science to include supernatural explanations. He said that teaching intelligent design as science in public school violates the First Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits public officials from using their positions to impose or establish a particular religion. 'To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect,' Judge Jones wrote. 'However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.' The six-week trial in Federal District Court in Harrisburg gave intelligent design the most thorough academic and legal airing it has had since the movement's inception about 15 years ago, and was often likened to the momentous Scopes case that put evolution on trial 80 years before. Intelligent design posits that biological life is so complex that it must have been designed by an intelligent source. Its adherents say that they refrain from identifying the identity of the designer, and that it could even be aliens or a time traveler. But the judge said the evidence in the trial proved that intelligent design is 'creationism relabeled.' The Supreme Court has already ruled that creationism, which relies on the Biblical account of the creation of life, cannot be taught as science in a public school. The decision by the judge, a longtime Republican nominated for the federal bench by President Bush during his first term, is legally binding only for school districts in the middle district of Pennsylvania. It is unlikely to be appealed, because the school board members who supported intelligent design were unseated in elections in November, and replaced with a slate that opposes the intelligent design policy and said it would abide by the judge's decision. But lawyers for the plaintiffs said at a news conference in Harrisburg that the decision should serve as a deterrent to other school boards and teachers who are considering teaching intelligent design. 'It's a carefully reasoned, highly detailed opinion,' said Richard Katskee, assistant legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 'that goes through all of the issues that would be raised in any other school district.' Richard Thompson, the lead defense lawyer for the school board, derided the judge for having issued such a sweeping judgment in a case that he said merely involved a 'one-minute statement' being read to students. He acknowledged that his side, too, had asked the judge to rule on the scientific merits of intelligent design, but only because they had to respond to the plaintiffs' arguments. 'A thousand opinions by a court that a particular scientific theory is invalid will not make that scientific theory invalid,' said Mr. Thompson, the president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, a public interest firm in Ann Arbor, Mich., that says it promotes Christian values. 'It is going to be up to the scientists who are going to continue to do research in their labs that will ultimately determine that.' Before the start of a celebratory news conference in Harrisburg, Tammy Kitzmiller, a parent of two daughters in the Dover district and the named plaintiff in the case, Kitzmiller et al v. Dover, joked with other plaintiffs that she had an idea for a new bumper sticker: 'Judge Jones for President.' Christy Rehm, another plaintiff, said to the others, 'We've done something amazing here, not only with this decision, but with the election' of a new school board - a surprising outcome in which Dover voters ousted eight board members who had backed the intelligent design policy. The winners ran on a Democratic ticket, while Dover usually votes majority Republican. The judge's ruling said that two of the most outspoken proponents of intelligent design on the Dover school board, William Buckingham and Alan Bonsell, lied in their depositions about how they raised money in a church to buy copies of an intelligent design textbook, 'Of Pandas And People,' to put in the school library. Both men, according to testimony, had repeatedly said at school board meetings that they objected to evolution for religious reasons, and wanted to see creationism taught on equal par. Judge Jones wrote, 'It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.' Neither Mr. Bonsell or Mr. Buckingham responded to telephone messages today seeking their comments. In his opinion, the judge traced the history of the intelligent design movement back to what he said were its roots in Christian fundamentalism. He seemed especially persuaded by the testimony of Barbara Forrest, a historian of science, that the authors of the 'Pandas' textbook had removed the word 'creationism' from an earlier edition and substituted it with 'intelligent design' after the Supreme Court's ruling in 1987. 'We conclude that the religious nature of intelligent design would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child,' he said. 'The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity.' Opponents of intelligent design said it would not put an end to the intelligent design movement, and predicted it would take on various guises. The Kansas Board of Education voted in November to adopt standards that call into question the theory of evolution, but never explicitly mention intelligent design. Eugenie Scott, executive director, National Center for Science Education, an advocacy group in Oakland, Ca., that promotes teaching evolution, said in an interview, 'I predict that another school board down the line will try to bring intelligent design into the curriculum like the Dover group did, and they'll be a lot smarter about concealing their religious intent.' Even after courts ruled against teaching creationism and creation science, she said, 'For several years afterward, school districts were still contemplating teaching creation science.'

Subject: Stocks and Bonds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 21:00:12 (EST)
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Message:
The S&P has not gained for 6 years now, while there has been one of the greatest bull markets in long term bonds. The difference between the gain in the Vanguard long term bond index and the S&P since January 2000 seems to be the largest since the Depression. The Vanguard long term investment-grade bond fund is up 8.7% a year for the last 5 years, while the S&P index is up 0.52%. The price earning ratio for the S&P index is 17.3, return on equity is 18.5%, earnings growth rate over the last 3 years is 12.9%. The price earning ratio for the Vanguard S&P went from about 8 in 1979 to 15 in 1989 to 30 in 1999. The historical level was about 15, so it was reasonable to assume the 1990s would be less robust in stock returns than the 1980s. This did not turn out to be so. This decade however the return for the S&P has been about zero. The lesson that might have been drawn during the dramatic climb in the price earning ratio of the S&P during the 1990s, was value value value.

Subject: Re: Stocks and Bonds
From: Small Cap
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 17:40:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Emma, why not mention small cap stocks, over the past 5 years an investment in the russell 2000 would have yielded 10.12% per year through 11/30/05.

Subject: Re: Stocks and Bonds
From: Emma
To: Small Cap
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 19:04:09 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed, but use the Vanguard indexes for measures since they have advantages. I prefer the Vanguard large cap index to the S&P. Less turnover, less volatility. The 5 year return for the middle cap index was 10.7%, and for the small cap was 10.9%.

Subject: Re: Stocks and Bonds
From: Small Cap
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Dec 22, 2005 at 15:55:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
vanguard doesn't have any indices, they copy MSCI. From what I have researched, S&P/Citigroup Indices appear to be better at creating more representative growth and value benchmarks, as their seven factor methodology seems more practical.

Subject: Re: Stocks and Bonds
From: Terri
To: Small Cap
Date Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 11:55:38 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks, but I could not be happier than with Vanguard for general investment or even banking. For special investing, I have another fine source but Vanguard is wonderful :)

Subject: Stock Values and Growth
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 15:40:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Suppose we use the Vanguard price earning ratio of 17.3. Given a return on equity of 18.5% and an earnings growth rates of 12.3%, and a tax favored status for capital gains and dividends, why should we be surprised? Long term interest rates are low, and interest income is tax disadvantaged, so bonds now are really not competitive with stocks. We are also going through a time when even with 18 months of short term interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, and significantly rising oil and gas prices, economic growth has been sustained. Indeed economic growth has been sustained in every developed economy, even when housing markets have slowed. Economic flexibility appears to be far greater than in 1980 or even 1990.

Subject: Assessing 'Irrational Exuberance'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 12:30:10 (EST)
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Message:
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/12/musings_on_asse.html December 20, 2005 Musings on Assessing 'Irrational Exuberance' By Brad DeLong Back in 1996 Yale economist Robert Shiller wrote: Price Earnings Ratios as Forecasters of Returns: The theory that the stock market is approximately a random walk does not look right at all: Figure 1... show[s]... the ratio of the real Standard and Poor Index ten years later to the real index today (on the y axis) versus... the ratio of the real Standard and Poor Composite Index for the first year of the ten year interval, divided by a lagged thirty year moving average of real earnings.... If real stock prices were a random walk, they should be unforecastable, and there should really be no relation here between y and x. There certainly appears to be a distinct negative relation here. The January 1996 value for the ratio shown on the horizontal axis is 29.72, shown on the figure with a vertical line. Looking at the diagram, it is hard to come away without a feeling that the market is quite likely to decline substantially in value over the succeeding ten years; it appears that long run investors should stay out of the market for the next decade... In 1996 Yale economist Robert Shiller looked around, considered the historical record on the performance of the stock market, and concluded that the American stock market was overvalued. Prices on the broad index of the S&P 500 stood at 29 times the average of the past three decades' earnings. In the past, whenever price-earnings ratios had been high future long-run stock returns had turned out to be low. On the basis of econometric regression studies carried out by him and by Harvard's John Campbell, Shiller predicted in 1996 that the S&P 500 would be a bad investment over the next decade. In the decade up to January 2006, he predicted, the real value of the S&P 500 would fall, and even including dividends his estimate of the likely real inflation-adjusted returns to be earned by investors holding the S&P 500 was zero--a far cry below the 6% per year or so real return that we have come to think typical of the American stock market. Robert Shiller's arguments were convincing. They convinced Alan Greenspan enough so that in December of 1996 he gave his 'irrational exuberance' speech to the American Enterprise Institute. They certainly convinced me. But Robert Shiller's arguments were wrong--at least, wrong ex post. Unless the American stock market collapses before the end of January, the past decade has seen the stock market offer returns a little bit higher than the historical averages--much, much greater than zero. Those who invested and reinvested their money in America's stock market over the past decade have nearly doubled it, even after taking account of inflation. Why was Shiller wrong? In an arithmetic sense, we can point to three factors, each of which can take roughly one-third the credit for real American stock returns of 6% per year over the past decade rather than zero: 2% per year because the acceleration of productivity growth produced by the high-tech revolutions behind the very real 'new economy' has made American companies much more productive. 2% per year because of shifts in the distribution of income away from labor and toward capital that have boosted corporate profits as a share of production. 2% per year because the argument of Glasman and Hassett in Dow 36000 was one-twentieth correct: they argued that increasing risk tolerance on the part of stock market investors would raise long-run price-earnings ratios by 400%; it actually appears that increasing risk tolerance has raised long-run price-earnings ratios by 20% or so. None of these three factors were obvious as of 1996 (although there were signs of the first and inklings of the third for those smart or lucky enough to read them). As of 1996, betting on Shiller's regression studies was a reasonable thing to do, perhaps an intelligent thing to do--but it was also an overhelmingly risky thing to do, as anybody who followed the portfolio strategy implicit in Shiller's analysis now painfully feels in his wallet or her purse. Economists muse about just why it is that stock markets around the world are subject to fits of 'irrational exuberance' and 'excessive pessimism.' Why don't rational and informed investors take more steps to bet heavily on fundamentals and against the enthusiasms of the uninformed crowd? The past decade gives us two reasons. First--if we grant that Shiller's regression analyses had correctly identified long-run fundamentals a decade ago--betting on fundamentals for the long term is overwhelmingly risky: lots of good news can happen over a decade, enough to bankrupt an even slightly leveraged bear when stocks look high; and lots of bad news can happen over a decade enough to bankrupt an even slightly leveraged bull when stocks look low. Thus even in extreme situations--like the peak of the dot-com bubble in late 1999 and early 2000--it is very difficult for even those who believe they know what fundamentals are to make large long-run bets on them. And it is even more difficult for those who claim they know what long-run fundamental values are and want to make large long-run contrarian bets to convince others to trust them with their money. As J.P. Morgan said when asked to predict what stocks would do: 'They will fluctuate.' Perhaps this is how it should be: if it were easy to pierce the veils of time and ignorance and to assess long-run fundamental values with a high degree of confidence, it would be easy and safe to make large contrarian long-run bets on fundamentals. In this case the smart money would smooth out the enthusiasms--positive and negative--of the overenthusiastic crowd. And stocks would fluctuate less. And there wouldn't be teasing evidence at the edge of statistical significance of large-scale deviations of stock market prices from fundamental values.

Subject: Paul Krugman's Money Talks
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 09:46:53 (EST)
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Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/ December 20, 2005 Paul Krugman's Money Talks By Mark Thoma Paul Krugman responds to questions about political balance in his column about lobbyist Jack Abramoff's payments to members of right-wing think tanks for writing editorials helpful to some of Abramoff's clients. Krugman points out that an a priori presumption that both sides are equally guilty of any transgression and therefore that any criticism of one side must be matched by criticism of the other is 'just silly': Paul Krugman, Money Talks: Looking for Dirty Democrats, Readers respond to Paul Krugman's Dec. 19 column, 'Tankers on the Take': Art Quillo, Laguna Niguel, Calif.: If ... there isn't any Democratic equivalent of Jack Abramoff — that's what the public deserves to be told. The final sentence of that paragraph should have read: And if there is equivalent activity on the Democratic side, it should be thoroughly exposed as well. W.D. Stanley, Burke, Va.: There is no doubt that it is a very questionable practice for a lobbyist to pay money to a member of any institute to have that person write an op-ed article ... But I do object to the very blatant suggestion that such practices are confined to persons inclined toward the right or conservative inclination. Surely you must also recognize that such practices occur in left wing institutes and think tanks as well — not to mention public and private universities where, although cash may not change hands, other items of value such as appointments, tenure and access certainly are conferred upon those who elect to expend time and energy writing op-eds about issues those audiences favor and value. While you may call it a slime attack to point out such matters, simple measures of fairness suggest you should point your sanctimony towards the equally abysmal, and very common practices, that happen not only in Washington but in universities all over this country Paul Krugman: By all means, let's expose whatever is out there. But I'd be really surprised if there's anything equivalent. ... There's no reason to believe that Democrats and/or liberals are any less susceptible to monetary temptation than conservatives and Republicans. There is, however, every reason to believe that the opportunities for sin have been much smaller. First of all, there has only been one period over the last 25 years — the first two years of the Clinton administration — when Republicans didn't control at least one house of Congress or the White House. And even then, Democrats weren't a disciplined party. So Democrats have always been subject to checks and balances. Republicans, by contrast, have had complete, disciplined control of all three branches for five years. ..[P]eople with an interest in corrupting the process had very little interest in corrupting Democrats, but a lot of interest in corrupting Republicans. Second, the think tanks that get heard in the media are overwhelmingly conservative — aside from Brookings, it's hard to find a liberal think tank that gets air time. And Brookings is a very loose organization, with a real diversity of views, not at all like Heritage or Cato. ... there's probably nobody worth corrupting. Am I confident that no liberal commentator was ever paid to boost some cause? No. But it's just silly to approach this matter with the presumption that there must be equal sin on both sides. As a structural matter, that's highly unlikely.

Subject: Señora Presidente?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 19:00:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/09/opinion/09gumucio.html?ex=1291784400&en=e37fd81b73b42bdf&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 9, 2005 Señora Presidente? By RAFAEL GUMUCIO Santiago, Chile CHILE is one of the more conservative countries on a continent that is not especially renowned as tolerant, forward thinking or democratically minded. Divorce was legalized here just last year, and abortion continues to be a taboo subject even for the most progressive of politicians. Our social codes and racial prejudices are deeply engrained. We are an overwhelmingly Catholic country with a history that has been marked - and continues to be marked - by the power of its military. Given this context, it is nothing short of extraordinary - even revolutionary - that the clear front-runner in the presidential vote being held on Sunday is Michelle Bachelet, a divorced mother of three who is an atheist and a member of the Socialist Party. Polls show Ms. Bachelet, a former defense minister, far ahead of her rivals, Sebastián Piñera, one of Chile's wealthiest businessmen; Joaquín Lavín, the ultraconservative former mayor of Santiago; and Tomás Hirsch of the Communist Party. Although a runoff is likely, the prevailing opinion here is that Ms. Bachelet will be the ultimate winner. If she is, she will be the first woman in the Americas to be elected president not because she was a wife of a famous politician, but because of her own record. That this is a probability is even more astonishing when one considers that nothing like it has occurred in countries like the United States or France, where the democratic tradition is far more stable and feminism's impact presumably far greater. Curiously, American television is now running a series that revolves around the 'novel' idea of a female president. What is fiction in the United States may well become reality in Chile. The twist is that the Chilean candidate is a far more interesting character than the female president portrayed on American TV: as defense minister, Ms. Bachelet oversaw the successors and subordinates of the men who killed her father and tortured her and her mother during the darkest moments of the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. How has this happened? Chile, more than ever, is proving itself to be the polar opposite of Lampedusa's Sicily: in order for things to change, they have to stay the same - or rather, they have to look as if they are staying the same. That is the best way I can describe the spirit with which the country seems to be anticipating the elections: people are aware that no matter what the outcome an unprecedented cultural, political and social revolution is taking place. And at the same time, they seem surprisingly unfazed by it all, observing these sweeping changes with ease, aplomb, even delight. Perhaps this is because Chileans have by now grown accustomed to wild fluctuations in the country's political fortunes. This past year, the Chilean people saw rightist leaders - until recently General Pinochet's staunchest allies - renouncing all ties to him. General Pinochet is now under house arrest, held not only on human rights charges but also for his alleged role in a financial scandal involving millions of stolen dollars. In countless other ways, the Pandora's box of Chilean politics has been flung wide open: nowadays it isn't at all strange to see an ultraconservative Catholic candidate signing his name on a transvestite's legs as a publicity stunt, nor is it odd to hear Ms. Bachelet talk about how hard it is to find Mr. Right. For decades, even centuries, Chilean politics have largely been of the old-boy's-network variety, in which an all-male group of power brokers have run things on their own terms, within a select inner circle, forging alliances with one another and making deals with the press behind closed doors, far removed from the citizenry they represent. Change in Chile has come at a breakneck pace in recent years, as justice is finally being delivered to dozens of dictatorship-era cronies, and the pillars of the church and the political elite have been shaken to their foundations by a wave of pedophilia scandals involving both. The changes are abrupt and the contradictions are evident. Thanks to the country's growing economy, Chileans have access to more creature comforts than ever before, and yet prosperity somehow hasn't dulled their sensibilities: the populace that benefits from free-market economics also turned out in droves to pay tribute to Gladys Marín, the president of the Communist Party, when her coffin was carried through the streets of Santiago in March. People may be gulping down Starbucks and coveting iPods, but they are also devouring highly irreverent political magazines like The Clinic (for which I write) and flocking to politically oriented movies like 'Machuca,' which is about the 1973 coup led by General Pinochet. Some analysts think that the free-market economy is responsible for this unprecedented change in Chile's political and social landscape. But other countries that follow that economic model (Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States), seem to be slouching in the opposite direction toward a retrograde, hard-line conservatism. Economics, then, clearly do not tell the entire story. Other analysts attribute the change to the current president, Ricardo Lagos, who has concentrated on reconciling Chile with its tortured past. Even so the general consensus is that nobody - not Mr. Lagos, not the Chilean intelligentsia, and certainly not the power elite - was prepared for the seismic social and political shift represented by Ms. Bachelet's thriving candidacy. I don't think anyone would have predicted 10 years ago that we would ever arrive at this moment, but it seems that Chile is eager to usher it in. For us, political and economic stability - despite being so recent and so precious - is not enough. Just as in 1970, when they went to the polls and elected a Socialist president, and again in 1988, when they rejected their dictator, Chileans have proved themselves to be far more daring with their vote than their lifestyles. Perhaps this is because when they vote - in secret, where nobody can judge or criticize them - they reveal their truest colors, their passion for change, for improvisation and for leadership in a world that seems hell-bent on moving in the opposite direction.

Subject: Condi or Hillary
From: Johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 02:11:13 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
What a great article Emma - and I like the part where they say the tv show is the fantasy here in the USA - but there is a chance for a female president reality - I would LOVE to see a condi and hillary runoff - that would break the ultimate glass ceiling.

Subject: Hugo Chávez and His Helpers
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:57:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/10/opinion/10sat2.html?ex=1291870800&en=eb1ffae3106662a4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 10, 2005 Hugo Chávez and His Helpers The kind of lucky breaks President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela has been getting lately could tempt even a modest man - and Mr. Chávez is no modest man - to dream grandiose dreams. High oil prices, a terminally inept opposition and the Bush administration's scandalous neglect of its Western Hemisphere neighbors have left the field wide open for Mr. Chávez to bully people at home, buy friends abroad and annoy Washington at every turn. Since first taking office in 1999, Mr. Chávez has pushed through a new Constitution that lets him rule as a quasi dictator. He has marginalized Congress, undermined judicial independence and prosecuted political opponents. By tightening control of the national oil company, he has been able to use high world oil prices to increase funds for popular social programs for the poor, making him electorally unassailable. That dangerous concentration of power will most likely worsen after last Sunday's Congressional election, in which parties allied to Mr. Chávez won every one of the 167 seats. The opposition can blame only itself because it boycotted the polls even after its demands for stricter ballot secrecy were met. That petulant idiocy frustrated regional diplomats who had pressed the secrecy demand on the opposition's behalf, and it mystified and disenfranchised Venezuelan voters who had wanted a choice at the polls. Even without the boycott, pro-Chávez parties would have won a majority. But now not a single opposition voice will be heard in Congress, and Mr. Chávez is free to do whatever he likes. A month earlier, at the Summit of the Americas in Argentina, Mr. Chávez cavorted before crowds of anti-Washington protesters and networked with his fellow Latin American presidents. He is hoping that either Argentina or Brazil will sell him a nuclear reactor, a step that would be a very bad idea considering Venezuela's burgeoning friendship with Iran and the excessive indulgence Caracas has shown toward Iranian nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, Washington's hemispheric influence continues to dwindle, partly because President Bush has not been attentive enough to Mexico on immigration, Brazil on agricultural subsidies and Argentina on debt restructuring. The United States should not further feed Mr. Chávez's ego and give him more excuses for demagogy by treating him as clumsily as it has treated his hero and role model, Fidel Castro, for the past four and a half decades. Instead, Washington needs to compete more deftly and actively with Mr. Chávez for regional influence, and look for ways to work with the hemisphere's other democracies to revive the multiparty competitive democracy that has now just about ceased to exist in Venezuela.

Subject: Growth and the Poor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:47:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/opinion/25wed3.html?ex=1274673600&en=7df88c9ca2831f5d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss May 25, 2005 Growth and the Poor Last year should have been a good one for Latin America's poor; the region's economies grew by 5.8 percent. Yet outside Chile, Latin America's high growth rate is not cause for rejoicing. In places with relatively egalitarian income distribution, growth helps everyone. But in unequal countries, where the poor get only a few cents out of every new dollar, growth bypasses the poorest. Latin America is the world's most unequal region. That means growth will not reduce poverty unless Latin American governments redirect it to the poor. The first thing they must do is keep growing. Chile's achievements are in part the product of sustained growth. Unfortunately, most countries in Latin America are growing not because they have improved productivity, but because of the rise in the price of oil and other commodities, quick booms that lend themselves to quick busts. Many countries also are carrying debt loads far above what is considered sustainable and spend a big chunk of their treasury on servicing their debts. For three very poor countries, Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia, the international banks and their members are reducing debt, although not enough. But there is no help in sight for heavily indebted Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and other countries. Latin American nations also typically take in far too little in taxes. To reduce poverty with what they do have, Latin American countries would do well to follow the model set by Chile, which has cut extreme poverty by 65 percent since 1990 by carefully targeting its spending. Chile makes direct payments to poor households. It has invested in rural primary education and helps buy housing for the poorest people. These programs have been successful because Chile is well governed enough to measure accurately which families need help and deliver it with little corruption. Some other countries have similar programs. Since 1997, Mexico has helped more than four million of the poorest families keep their children in school, eat better and stay healthier. In many countries, these programs need closer oversight to keep local politicians from siphoning off aid. But in general, such targeted help can make a difference. In Mexico, it is a safety net for the most marginalized. With sustained growth, however, such programs could help lift millions of people out of poverty.

Subject: Fiscal Growth in Latin Lands Fails
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:39:10 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/25/international/americas/25latin.html?ex=1272081600&en=0fc71bf8c5a5bb91&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss April 25, 2005 Fiscal Growth in Latin Lands Fails to Fill Social Needs By JUAN FORERO QUITO, Ecuador - Last year, Ecuador's economy grew at an astounding 6.6 percent, its inflation rate was the lowest in 30 years, and foreign investment surged. Wall Street celebrated, with a New York-based analyst of Latin American economies, LatinSource, praising Ecuador for 'outperforming even the most optimistic scenarios.' But those rosy numbers did not translate into better lives for Ecuador's poor or political support for Lucio Gutiérrez, who took power 28 months ago, was removed from power by Ecuador's Congress on Wednesday and left Sunday for asylum in Brazil. Though his interference with the judiciary was ostensibly the reason for his fall, many Ecuadoreans had become deeply disillusioned with his government, saying little had changed despite promises of more jobs, better schools and health care. At the shabby, 57-year-old Baca Ortiz public hospital in Quito, considered the country's leading children's hospital, patients have to bring their own medicine, and doctors say they lack clean facilities, decent living wages and even the most rudimentary equipment. 'The last thing the state cares about is education and health care,' said José Acosta, a staff doctor. 'If the state doesn't provide medicine, doesn't provide funding, how are we supposed to provide good care?' The discontent over a lack of state attention to basic social needs, despite increasingly positive macro-economic figures, is being played out across Latin America. Economic growth for the region hit 5.5 percent last year, the best in a generation, inflation is down, foreign reserves are growing, and credit ratings are solid. But the positive economic news has not translated into housing for the poor, more teachers, better hospitals or social peace. After years of fiscal prudence, privatizations and other market reforms prescribed by Washington, unjobless and poverty rates have hardly budged. Poverty remains pervasive, engulfing 44 percent of the population. 'The growth rate is not always an accurate benchmark for a country's authentic prosperity,' said Larry Birns, director of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which tracks social and economic trends in Latin America. 'Expectations have risen, and they've risen faster than the growth rate.' The high price of oil and other commodities provided by these countries is fueling the solid economic growth across Latin America. Wall Street is particularly bullish about Peru, which has had strong long-term growth. The economy of Bolivia, one of the region's poorest countries, grew by nearly 4 percent last year, while Mexico topped 4 percent and Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, registered 5.2 percent growth. But Peru's president, Alejandro Toledo, remains the least popular leader in Latin America, and President Carlos Mesa in Bolivia has been battered by public protests. Vicente Fox's administration in Mexico is lacking popular support for its initiatives, and in Brazil many among the legions of poor believe they have been abandoned by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who embraced policies of fiscal restraint despite his leftist credentials. The reasons for the lack of gains are myriad, from corruption to ineptitude to poorly organized social systems. But many experts also say fiscal restraints, coupled with large public debts, are a chokehold on governments like Mr. Gutiérrez's. The public debt in many countries tops 40 percent of economic output. The cynicism among Latin Americans who feel shortchanged is palpable. Mónica Patiño, 44, and other parents at the 23 of May Elementary School in the poor southern part of Quito pool money to pay for blackboards, classroom benches, paint jobs and even the salaries of English and computer science teachers. Her son, Armando Estrella, 6, 'is beaten by a mile compared to a private school boy,' she said, noting that the poorly paid teachers deal with 45 children in a classroom. 'It's totally a mess.' An exception is Venezuela, where a boom in oil has generated the region's highest growth - 18 percent last year - providing billions of dollars that President Hugo Chávez has used to solidify his popularity by directing it into social programs. The new government here, well aware of how Mr. Gutiérrez was debilitated, is moving in another direction. The new president, Alfredo Palacio, 66, a cardiologist and former health minister, was Mr. Gutiérrez's vice president but had long ago broken with the president over the government's fiscal restraints. Indeed, Mr. Gutiérrez, who shifted from a critic of market reforms to a buttoned-down capitalist after he took office, had pledged to maintain fiscal discipline at all costs. He went so far as to cut subsidies for cooking fuel and food, enraging the poor. Mr. Palacio now offers a wholesale change. 'The country needs to invest in health, education, invest in the social,' he told the Quito newspaper El País. 'The 6.6 percent growth that is hyped is a farce.'

Subject: Fight Over Peru Gold Mine
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:31:16 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/25/international/americas/25GOLD.html?ex=1287892800&en=b11552f1154afd44&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss October 25, 2005 Tangled Strands in Fight Over Peru Gold Mine By JANE PERLEZ and LOWELL BERGMAN SAN CERILLO, Peru - The Rev. Marco Arana drove his beige pickup over the curves of a dirt road 13,000 feet high in the Andes. Spread out below lay the Yanacocha gold mine, an American-run operation of mammoth open pits and towering heaps of cyanide-laced ore. Ahead loomed the pristine green of untouched hills. Then, an unmistakable sign that this land, too, may soon be devoured: Policemen with black masks and automatic rifles guarding workers exploring ground that the mine's owner, Newmont Mining Corporation, has deemed the next best hope. 'This is the Roman peace the company has with the people: They put in an army and say we have peace,' said Father Arana as he surveyed the land where gold lies beneath the surface like tiny beads on a string. Yanacocha is Newmont's prize possession, the most productive gold mine in the world. But if history holds one lesson, it is that where there is gold, there is conflict, and the more gold, the more conflict. Newmont, which has pulled more than 19 million ounces of gold from these gently sloping Peruvian hills - over $7 billion worth - believes that they hold several million ounces more. But where Newmont sees a new reserve of wealth - to keep Yanacocha profitable and to stay ahead of its competitors - the local farmers and cattle grazers see sacred mountains, cradles of the water that sustains their highland lives. The armed guards are here because of what happened in the fall of 2004 at a nearby mountain called Cerro Quilish. For two weeks, fearing that the company's plans to expand Yanacocha would mean Quilish's desecration and destruction, thousands of local people laid siege to the mine. Women and children were arrested, tear gas was thrown, the wounded hospitalized after clashes with the police. In the end, the world's No. 1 gold-mining company backed down. Father Arana, who runs a local group formed to challenge the mine, helped negotiate the terms of surrender. Newmont withdrew its drilling equipment from Quilish - and the promised reserves from its books. Now, in large part because of the loss of Quilish, the company says production at Yanacocha may fall 35 percent or more in two years. The forced retreat, a culmination of years of distrust between the peasants and the mine, was a chastening blow for an industry in the midst of a boom. It underscored the environmental and social costs of the technologies needed to extract the ever-more-valuable ore from modern mines. And it showed how a rising global backlash against those costs was forcing mining companies to negotiate what has come to be known as 'social license' if that boom was to go on. But the history of Yanacocha, pieced together in a six-month examination by The New York Times and the PBS television program 'FrontlineWorld,' is also an excursion into the moral ambiguities that often attend when a first-world company does business in a third-world land. Gold miners say they have no choice but to go where the ore is; they cannot choose the governments they deal with. Yanacocha shows how one company maneuvered in a country, Peru, dominated by a secret web of power under a corrupt autocracy. Newmont gained undisputed control of Yanacocha in 2000 after years of back-room legal wrangling. Behind the scenes, Newmont and its adversaries - a French company and its Australian ally - reached into the upper levels of the American, French and Peruvian governments, employing a cast of former and active intelligence officials, including Peru's ruthless secret police chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. Much of that arm-twisting has been dragged into the light, in secret recordings by the spy chief. The tapes, apparently intended to blackmail and manipulate Peru's powerbrokers, surfaced in 2000 and led to the downfall of Mr. Montesinos and the president he served, Alberto K. Fujimori. The tapes captured everything from plotting to fix elections to shopping bags of money being unloaded for payoffs in Mr. Montesinos's office at the Peruvian National Intelligence Agency. They captured Newmont's maneuverings, too. In one audio recording, the No. 3 Newmont executive at the time, Lawrence T. Kurlander, is heard offering to do a favor for Mr. Montesinos. 'Now you have a friend for life,' Mr. Kurlander tells the spy chief. 'You have a friend for life also,' Mr. Montesinos replies. Last year, a Justice Department investigation into whether Newmont's victory resulted from bribing foreign officials was dropped after the Peruvian government failed to cooperate fully and the statute of limitations expired, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the case. The Peruvian government investigated the Yanacocha affair without bringing charges. Mr. Kurlander has agreed to speak out publicly about his meeting for the first time. He says he regrets seeking out Mr. Montesinos, now in jail charged with everything from corruption to gun running and drug trafficking. But Mr. Kurlander and Newmont are adamant that no bribes were paid, nothing illicit done, at least not by them or their allies. 'Everybody involved on the American side, in the American government, that went to see him or spoke to him, asked for a level playing field,' said Mr. Kurlander, who retired in 2002. 'Not a single person asked for him to influence the outcome of the case.' Newmont's senior executives declined repeated requests for interviews for this article, though they did allow Times reporters to make an extensive visit to the Yanacocha mine. But in a written statement, Newmont said of its legal battle for the mine, 'We are satisfied that the company complied in all respects with applicable laws.' Whatever the past environmental problems, Newmont says Yanacocha now meets all Peruvian and international standards. And the company says it is committed to gaining and maintaining the approval of the community. Still, to many of the local people, the continuing struggle for Yanacocha evokes a tale of treachery nearly any Peruvian school child can recite. In 1532, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured the last Inca emperor, Atahualpa, in Cajamarca, the provincial capital 28 miles from Yanacocha. The young Inca, a god to his people, was held for months while he scrambled to amass a ransom: enough gold to fill a room as high as his arm could reach. He turned over his gold, expecting to be freed. But Pizarro killed him anyway. Living on Water At first, people here saw possibility in the mine. Yanacocha - 'black lake' in the indigenous Quechua tongue - sits in one of the poorest agricultural regions of Peru. 'When Yanacocha began its operations, we would only hear about how everyone was happy,' Father Arana said. 'The mine was going to bring jobs, improve roads.' No one thought much, he said, about the inevitable collisions. The collisions began almost immediately. In the Andean peasants' universe, water is the heart of the land. The people depend on it - for their animals, for drinking, for bathing. Community life is organized around it. But the mine lives on water, too. The bits of gold here, so small they are called 'invisible gold,' can be mined profitably only by blasting mountains, then culling the gold with vast quantities of cyanide diluted with similarly vast quantities of water. It was not long before the peasants began to complain. Streams and canals were drying up, they said. They were filled with murky sediment. The water smelled foul. But on the ledger books, Yanacocha was a fast success. The mine had started with 1.3 million ounces of reserves in the ground. Within a year, it claimed over 3 million. It was the biggest foreign investment in Peru. 'Everywhere we drilled and looked, there was gold,' said Len Harris, Yanacocha's first general manager. Dueling Companies Celebration soon gave way to strife. A year before, a partnership had been formed to develop the mine: Newmont; a Peruvian partner, Buenaventura; and a French government-owned company, Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM). No partner had a controlling interest. The World Bank's investment arm, the International Finance Corporation, later took a 5 percent stake, hoping to promote development in a country plagued by economic chaos and roiled by a Maoist insurgent group, Shining Path. With the mine expanding and the guerrilla leader captured, BRGM announced plans to sell a large part of its increasingly valuable stake to an Australia-based company, Normandy Poseidon. Newmont, considering the involvement of another major mining company unacceptable, sued, arguing that the partnership agreement gave it and Buenaventura first right of refusal on any sale. Twice, Peruvian courts agreed. Then, in September of 1997, the Peruvian Supreme Court issued a startling ruling, agreeing to review a case Newmont thought it had definitively won. Stunned and suspicious, the company called in Mr. Kurlander. Mr. Kurlander, then 56, had spent most of his life in government, as a prosecutor and as chief criminal-justice adviser to Gov. Mario M. Cuomo in New York. He later moved to corporate work and was recruited by Newmont in 1994. He had no experience in mining, but in an industry known for its rough edges, he became a top Newmont executive, valued for his political contacts and easy ability to walk between the halls of government and the corporate suite. On his arrival in Peru, Mr. Kurlander says, he was told by Newmont's lawyers and security chief that the French were 'behaving inappropriately in the litigation.' 'The mere fact that they were doing this,' he said in an interview, 'was unseemly at best and corrupt at worst.' Newmont, he said, was at a distinct disadvantage: the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act forbids American companies to pay anything of value to a foreign official in exchange for a 'result.' By contrast, in 1997, most European countries, France included, did not prohibit paying bribes. The French ambassador to Peru at the time, Antoine Blanca, said in an interview that no one connected to the embassy had ever offered bribes or otherwise acted improperly. Still, what emerges from documents and interviews with participants is a picture of three years of increasing pressure and intimated threats by Normandy and the government of France. In the Peruvian press, the French ambassador insinuated corruption of the judiciary; French government emissaries suggested to Peruvian officials that there would be consequences if Newmont was awarded the disputed shares. Normandy recruited Patrick Maugein, a well-connected French businessman. By phone, fax and letter, Mr. Maugein placed Newmont and Buenaventura on notice that the dispute had become a 'matter of state'; the French, he warned, 'had every intention of fighting it to the bitter end.' Mr. Maugein had ties to the French president, Jacques Chirac, and soon Mr. Chirac wrote to President Fujimori, urging a Supreme Court review and his personal intervention. Mr. Maugein declined to be interviewed for this article, but in a letter wrote that any allegations of illicit activity 'come from people who have been paid to make them.' From Lima, in the days after the Supreme Court agreed to take the case, Mr. Kurlander headed to Washington to enlist help on the American side. By the end of October 1997, Stuart E. Eizenstat, under secretary of state for economic affairs, wrote Peru's prime minister to press for 'a fair and impartial hearing,' according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. 'A politically tainted decision would adversely affect U.S. investment in Peru,' he wrote On Jan. 5, 1998, Peru's Supreme Court came back with a preliminary decision; 3 to 2 for the French, one vote shy of victory. As the Peruvians prepared to assign two more judges to the case, Mr. Kurlander says, he and Buenaventura's chief, Alberto Benavides, appealed to Mr. Fujimori. Soon after, Mr. Kurlander said, the president's office sent word about the man to see. Spy Chief's Favor Bank Vladimiro Montesinos's titles never matched his stature. Officially, he was 'counselor' to Mr. Fujimori and de facto head of the National Intelligence Service. In reality, he was the second-most-powerful man in Peru - 'Rasputin, Darth Vadar, Torquemada and Cardinal Richelieu' rolled into one, according to an American Army intelligence report. The National Intelligence Service was also on the payroll of the C.I.A., which gave Mr. Montesinos a million dollars a year for his supposed help in combating the narcotics trade, according to former C.I.A. officials who approved the payments. This was the man Mr. Kurlander headed to see alone on Feb. 26, 1998. While he says he knew that Mr. Montesinos was 'an extremely bad man,' he maintains that the extent of the government's corruption and human rights abuses were not well known at the time. There was, however, one case he was aware of. Not long before, the Fujimori government had seized the television station of a Peruvian-Israeli businessman, Baruch Ivcher, after it began broadcasting reports tying the intelligence chief to drug trafficking and corruption. Mr. Kurlander knew that publicity about the case was threatening to become a headache for Peru's government. As the secret tape rolls, Mr. Montesinos says he is aware of Mr. Kurlander's problems and is 'very glad to do whatever I can for you.' Mr. Kurlander describes his own links to the intelligence community and how he has enlisted 'friends' - two former C.I.A. officials - to assist him, because the French side 'has been acting quite strangely.' Their conversation is interpreted by Grace Riggs, a lawyer and former lover of the spy chief who had a child with him. Soon Mr. Kurlander raises the Ivcher case. Mr. Montesinos assures him that the pursuit of Mr. Ivcher is not an anti-Semitic 'persecution,' and Mr. Kurlander offers to help by lobbying his fellow Jews in the United States and abroad. 'Tell him I going to help him with the voting,' Mr. Montesinos directs his translator. He is well aware of the 'tricky practices of the French government,' he says, making a joke about 'The French Connection.' The reference, in English, gets the men laughing. Soon spy chief and executive are pledging friendship for life. The spy chief then proceeds to discuss with another man, who has never been identified, the lawyers and judges who may need to be influenced. The conversation is in Spanish, which Ms. Riggs does not translate. Finally, she tells Mr. Kurlander that because he helps Mr. Montesinos 'without expecting anything in return,' the spy chef 'wants to do the same thing for you.' 'I appreciate that,' Mr. Kurlander replies. 'Amor con amor se paga,' Mr. Montesinos exclaims. Love is repaid with love.Still, Mr. Kurlander says, he had doubts. In the following weeks, 'nothing happened,' he said. 'I was very worried that we were lost.' In fact, the channel between Mr. Montesinos and the Americans was open and bustling. Peter Romero, then assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, acknowledged in an interview that he had twice called Mr. Montesinos to show that the case was being 'monitored' in Washington. 'He seemed to be a nice enough fellow,' he recalled. The 'compelling reason' to get involved, he said, came from Peruvian and American Embassy officials who confirmed the direct involvement of President Chirac and others at the top of the French government. 'We wanted to ensure that that was neutralized,' Mr. Romero said. Two and a half years later, Mr. Romero left government and was hired by Mr. Kurlander as a consultant on Peru for Newmont, where he remained for 18 months. On April 14, six weeks after the Montesinos-Kurlander meeting, the video cameras were rolling for a visit from the C.I.A. station chief, Don Arabian. As the meeting nears its end, Mr. Montesinos says he has been collecting information on the French attempt to influence the case and will not let them use 'extortion, blackmail and other gangster' methods. 'I'm not working with the telephones, but we will if necessary,' Mr. Montesinos says, an apparent reference to wiretapping. 'We'll sort out the technical support.' The men laugh. Mr. Arabian, who recently retired, declined a request for an interview. On May 8, the sixth Supreme Court justice voted in favor of Newmont and Buenaventura. With the vote deadlocked, 3-3, the court administrator appointed a final judge, Jaime Beltrán Quiroga. He was summoned the next day by Mr. Montesinos. A videotape shows the justice settled on the couch as Mr. Montesinos talks about how, as a lawyer he, too, would normally 'keep a distance' from events. But 'in these cases,' he says, 'one has to intervene directly.' Mr. Montesinos avoids direct pressure - 'as if we are imposing on you' - but reminds the judge that the case is a matter of national interest: the United States is a key guarantor of coming deliberations over Peru's border conflict with Ecuador. There is no discussion of payoffs, but the spy chief does question the judge about his professional ambitions. The men reminisce. 'Well, doctor, you have a friend here,' Judge Beltrán says. 'My dear, Jaime, then, a pleasure to see you, brother,' Mr. Montesinos replies, assuring his guest that he will soon be transferred to Peru's Constitutional Court. Judge Beltrán's vote was announced two weeks later: Newmont and Buenaventura were awarded BRGM's share - at the purchase price set in 1993: $109.7 million. When the final transfer was negotiated a year later, the stake was valued at more than five times that. Today Mr. Kurlander says that whatever his reservations at the time about meeting Mr. Montesinos, he went ahead because nearly everyone told him, 'If the French were to be stopped, he was the only one in Peru who would dare to do it.' The transcript is 'terribly unfair,' Mr. Kurlander says, and leaves out a number of his statements that all he wanted was a 'level playing field.' Mr. Kurlander's name has been attached to the meeting and his reputation harmed, he says, though he insists the meeting was no secret. He says his Newmont superiors and his partners in the Benavides family were thoroughly briefed. 'It was my government who recommended - strongly - that we speak with him,' Mr. Kurlander said at his home outside Denver. 'Tell me what my option is at that point. Do I lay down and just fold, fold up and go home? Or do I fight for what I think is right and fair and just?' In an interview at his Lima offices, Mr. Benavides, now Buenaventura's chief executive, insisted, 'We didn't know what Mr. Kurlander was doing,' and added that he did not learn about the Montesinos meeting until the tape was made public several years later. The Mercury Spill At Yanacocha, year after year, the mine's geologists had kept striking gold. And with every ton of earth sifted, it became ever clearer that the mine had not just ripped up the landscape; it had remade the social architecture, too. There were growing class divisions, between the many campesinos who had received well-paying jobs - Yanacocha would eventually employ as many as 2,200 people, two-thirds locals, full time, and up to 6,000 on shorter-term contracts - and the tens of thousands more who had not. People migrating to the region in pursuit of work brought overcrowding and rising crime. In June 2000, a truck contracted to carry canisters of mercury, a byproduct of mining, spilled 330 pounds of the poisonous metal over 25 miles of road around Choropampa, 53 miles from the mine. The villagers believed that the mercury was mixed with gold. They scooped it up. Some took it home to cook on their stoves. A World Bank report later said the mine delayed reporting the accident to the national authorities and initially played down its seriousness to the bank. In the end, the Peruvian government fined the mine $500,000; the company says it has paid $18 million more. A class-action suit has been filed against Newmont in Denver, charging that more than 1,000 people were harmed, some for life. The extent of that damage has been in dispute from the start. Even so, the spill left deep psychic scars. It became common mythology that mercury had killed newborn babies and caused cancer and other diseases, Dante Vera, a former Peruvian Interior Ministry official hired in 2004 as an adviser to Newmont, wrote in a report to company executives. At Newmont, it was becoming increasingly clear that the social turmoil was a business problem. The spill, Mr. Kurlander said in a speech a year later, 'served as a wake-up call for us.' Soon, he was headed back to Peru, to lead an environmental audit of the mine. Newmont kept the audit's results within the company, never acknowledging them publicly - either to its shareholders or to the local people. Mr. Kurlander found 'a high level of mistrust' of the mine. But the 44 findings of Mr. Kurlander's audit, which was given to The Times, also confirmed many of the villagers' specific complaints: that fish were disappearing and that lakes, streams and canals were being contaminated, at least one with cyanide. One stream, Quebrada Honda, had 13 fish per kilometer in 1997, but none by 2000, the audit said. Thousand of tons of rock not processed for gold recovery were generating dangerous acidic runoffs. In a letter after the audit, Mr. Kurlander says that as the mine expanded, 'we eliminated many environmental safeguards that were in the construction and environmental management plans.' In all, he wrote to Newmont's new chief executive, Wayne Murdy, the findings were so serious that they could jeopardize the mine's continued operation and leave senior executives subject to 'criminal prosecution and imprisonment.' Mr. Kurlander's tough words came on the heels of another memo to Mr. Murdy about the spill: On Jan. 18, 2001, Mr. Kurlander recommended that all the top executives, including himself and his boss, take cuts in their bonuses, of 50 to 100 percent, and that the punishment be made public. Mr. Kurlander singled out the company's environmental team, saying that despite public pledges, Newmont had failed to adhere to American environmental standards. To his disappointment, Mr. Kurlander said, some bonuses were indeed reduced, but without public notice and much more modestly than he had recommended. In a letter to Mr. Kurlander three years later, Mr. Murdy said the company had learned from the accident and the audit. Newmont, he said, spent $100 million to fix the environmental problems, including $50 million for a water-treatment plant and $20 million on two dams to prevent sediment from clogging streams and canals. Mercury is now shipped inside triple-sealed, stainless-steel containers and escorted by a convoy of cars. To Mr. Kurlander, the spill showed the folly of a company ignoring the people, particularly the people most set against the mine. In a memo, he warned that with the mine sunk so low in the peasants' esteem, Newmont would never be able to mine Quilish. 'We have come to this because we have been in denial,' he wrote. 'We have not heeded the voices of those most intimate with our mine - those who live and work nearby.' It was less than a year after the audit that he retired. The Peasants Protest The protests began not long after people began seeing the drilling machines up on the cone-shaped hill above Cajamarca. Quilish had long been on Newmont's drawing boards. Last year, Newmont mined three million ounces at Yanacocha, its most profitable single source of gold. But the more it pulls from the ground, the more it must replace to remain No. 1. Back in 2000, the local government had passed an ordinance declaring Quilish and its watershed a protected natural reserve. But Newmont had persuaded a Peruvian court that it had the right to mine because it had acquired the concession years before. In August 2004, the machines moved in. To many people, that was the final betrayal, said Mr. Vera, the former Newmont consultant. He quit this summer, saying his advice had been ignored. On Sept. 2, deploying boulders, vehicles, anything they could find, hundreds of campesinos blockaded the narrow mountain road that runs from Cajamarca to the mine. Several hundred armed officers, including 150 special operations police officers from Lima, were sent in to guard the mine. The first day was the most violent; protesters were arrested, many of them women and old people, according to Father Arana's colleague, Jorge Camacho. At times during the siege, the police used tear gas. One man was shot in the leg. The company kept the gold coming out of Yanacocha, but only by helicoptering the workers in. On Sept. 15, there was a regionwide strike, with street demonstrations in Cajamarca. The message, on one of the blizzard of placards in town, was: 'Listen Yanacocha. Cajamarca is to be respected.' The protests were organized by the peasants themselves, Mr. Camacho and others say. But the 43-year-old Father Arana, son of teachers from Cajamarca, had been nurturing the movement for many years, even before he founded his group, Grufides, in the late 1990's. (These days, it receives financial assistance from Oxfam.) The campesinos call him Father Marco, and he is a devoted adherent of liberation theology and its doctrine of social activism for the poor. He is not the easiest of men. Last spring, he met Newmont's chief, Mr. Murdy, on the sidelines of the company's annual general meeting in Denver. As the priest recalls it, Mr. Murdy tried to be conciliatory, saying he lived by his mother's motto: 'We are given one mouth but two ears to listen with.' Father Marco says he rebuffed the overture, replying, 'In the Bible, there is a saying about some people have eyes that don't see and ears that don't hear.' As the siege ran on at Yanacocha, the priest became a key negotiator between Newmont, the peasants and the Ministry of Mines. It was not long after the demonstrations in Cajamarca that the company surrendered. The machines came down from Quilish. At Newmont's request, the ministry withdrew its permit, too. What remains up on the mountain is a symbolic wall of mud and straw that the campesinos built to keep the miners at bay. Standing down at Quilish, with its 3.8 million ounces of reserves, has only intensified the need for new reserves. 'The pressure feels like you're laying track and knowing there's a locomotive right behind you,' said the mine's exploration manager, Lewis Teal. So Newmont is looking elsewhere, in the highlands near San Cerillo, where the jade-green lagoons and peaty grasses act as a store of water for the peasants below. Many people there worry about the effects of a new mine. Which is why, after Quilish, Newmont is paying for the Peruvian police units protecting the drilling team, said the mine's manager, Brant Hinze. Even so, Mr. Hinze said, leaving Quilish was the right thing to do. 'The thing that the company did - both Newmont and Buenaventura - is listen to the communities, and they said this is something we want you to stay away from,' he said. Newmont's Peruvian partner, Mr. Benavides, argued that exploration of Quilish had not been abandoned, simply suspended. 'We have the concession, and we have the land,' he said. He added: 'I do not understand what social license means. I expect a license from the authorities, from the minister of mines. I expect a license from the regional government. I don't expect a license from the whole community.' Still, the idea of social license is at the heart of the agreement that ended the siege: If Newmont hopes ever to mine Quilish, it first must win the community's consent. Company Social Work So to promote Yanacocha's well-being and expansion, Mr. Hinze has become the kind of mine manager he never imagined being. He says he had asked for the job running Yanacocha because of its sheer scale - 'it's big, it's profitable,' is how he puts it. Fifty years old, silver-haired and steely eyed, 6 foot 3 and 255 pounds, he is a man of scale himself. His idea of recreation, he says, is riding his Harley or swimming with hammerhead sharks. Now, he says, he spends 70 to 80 percent of his working time on social issues. On a recent day, he ate roasted guinea pig at a lunch with a peasant group. A few days later, he attended a ceremony celebrating a gift of $500,000 for a new road around San Cerillo. 'Modern mining can coexist with cattle, agriculture and tourism,' he told one gathering. 'Today we begin a new history for communities around here.' Newmont says that it paid $180 million in taxes to Peru's government last year, and that under a new law, half was returned to the Cajamarca region. But to its frustration, the company says, the local government has largely been unable to use the money to benefit the people - and most of the people here remain achingly poor. So the company, albeit ambivalently, has become something of a surrogate government. It is contributing money for schools and clinics and building some small water treatment plants in the villages. In all, the company says it will spend nearly $20 million this year on social programs. Water remains a divisive issue: Father Arana and his allies argue that a new, every-three-weeks testing protocol is insufficiently independent. The peasants continue to complain. But company and local officials say there have been no environmental accidents at Yanacocha in more than two years, and the mine says it manages its water to ensure there is enough for the community. But the biggest issue is the one looming over every modern industrial gold mine: What happens when the ore that lured the miners here is gone? Over 13 years, Newmont has moved mountains for gold - 30 tons of rock and earth for every ounce. By the time it is through, the company will have dug up a billion tons of earth. Much of it will be laced with acids and heavy metals. Three years ago, after Newmont acknowledged that 36,700 fish were missing from a river contaminated by the mine, the World Bank hired an American geochemist, Ann Maest, to study the streams and canals flowing from the mine. In the short term, she concluded, the water was safe for human use. But long term, she said in an interview, the company's own tests show that all the components are in place for the huge piles of rock to leak acids that will pollute surface and groundwater. The only preventive, she said, would be 'perpetual treatment.' Mr. Hinze, who was recently appointed head of Newmont's North American operations, insists that the company's plan for closing the mine will take care of long-term treatment and cleanup. 'We plan on being here a very long time,' he said. Newmont has yet to put aside money for long-term treatment, though it says it will comply with a Peruvian government requirement due to take effect in 2007. But to pay for cleanups, the company needs to keep profits high. To keep profits high, it needs to keep finding and mining more gold. Yet increasingly, the unmovable reality is that to keep mining more gold, it has to make peace with the people who will be here long after the miners leave. Mr. Hinze and Newmont insist that that can - in fact, must - be done, even if some people may never be won over. 'There will always be a level of mistrust,' he said. 'Unfortunately, we can't please everyone.' Mr. Vera, the former Newmont consultant, is not so confident. He says he sometimes thinks that the clash between the mine and the peasants is so fundamental as to be beyond even the best intentions. 'Mining negatively affects the Andean cosmic vision of the unity of nature,' he said. 'The conflict cannot be settled with money. Mining generates resentments that are difficult to heal.'

Subject: Latin America Fails to Deliver on Needs
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:28:59 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/22/international/americas/22bolivia.html?ex=1266814800&en=f39f4fe7c1ec29cf&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland February 22, 2005 Latin America Fails to Deliver on Basic Needs By JUAN FORERO EL ALTO, Bolivia - Piped water, like the runoff from the glaciers above this city, runs tantalizingly close to Remedios Cuyuña's home. But with no way to pay the $450 hookup fee charged by the French-run waterworks, she washes her clothes and bathes her three children in frigid well water beside a fetid creek. So in January, when legions of angry residents rose up against the company, she eagerly joined in. The fragile government of President Carlos Mesa, hoping to avert the same kind of uprising that toppled his predecessor in 2003, then took a step that proved popular but shook foreign investors to their core. It canceled the contract of Aguas del Illimani, a subsidiary of the $53 billion French giant Suez, effectively tossing it out of the country and leaving the state responsible. 'For us, this is good,' Ms. Cuyuña said, voicing the sentiment in much of El Alto. 'Maybe now, they will charge us less.' That is far from certain. Even less certain is how she and 130 million other Latin Americans will get clean water anytime soon in a region where providing basic services remains among the most pressing public health and political issues. Governments like Bolivia's tried the task themselves before, abandoned it as too costly, and turned to private companies in the 1990's. Today as privatization is rejected, foreign investment is plummeting across the region and the challenge is being returned to states perhaps less equipped than a decade ago. The trend is not unique to Bolivia, where a lack of clean water contributes to the death of every tenth child before the age of 5, and it has presented Latin American leaders with a nettlesome question: what now? 'The decisions that have to be made are stark and difficult,' said Riordan Roett, director of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University. 'They're going to have to make some sort of compromise, and that compromise often means buying back and taking over those services - and then, of course, making them efficient in the hands of the state. Their track record doing this in the past was miserable.' Indeed, the heated backlash against free-market changes - fueled by the sense that they promised more than they delivered while offering overpriced, often flawed services - has at once left governments vulnerable to volatile protests and forced foreign companies to retreat. No companies have been more buffeted than those running public utilities offering water, electrical and telephone services, or those that extract minerals and hydrocarbons, which, like water, are seen as part of a nation's patrimony. In Peru, despite major economic growth, foreign investment fell to $1.3 billion last year from $2.1 billion in 2002. Ecuador has also seen investments sag, as oil companies that once saw the country as a rosy destination have faced the increasingly determined opposition of Indian tribes and environmental groups. Argentina, which has taken a decidedly leftist path in the economic recovery following its 2001 collapse, has recouped only a fraction of the investments it attracted just a few years ago. Across the region, companies are more than ever weighing political risks when considering expansion plans. Political leaders, meanwhile, are having to weigh the need for foreign investment against the demands of citizens who are increasingly quick to hit the streets. 'In the last decade, non-economic factors have become even more important in affecting investments,' said César Gaviria, former secretary general of the Organization of American States. 'Political risks have grown to a great degree,' added Mr. Gaviria, now chairman of Hemispheric Partners, a firm based in the United States that provides political and economic risk analysis to investors. 'There's no doubt about it.' The fall in foreign investment is perhaps most pronounced in Bolivia, where in 1999 it totaled $1 billion as gas companies flocked here to mine newly discovered fields. Last year, it fell to $134 million, as companies proved skittish after President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was ousted in uprisings set off by his plans to permit multinational companies to export Bolivia's natural gas. Those who resist the trends of globalization have been emboldened by what they see as the success of local people in asserting their control over resources. 'It has been phenomenal to see a movement largely made up of the indigenous and peasant farmers fight and win,' said Deborah James, who directs campaigns against American-led globalization efforts at Global Exchange, a San Francisco group. 'What you see is a massive popular rejection of transnational companies owning essential services.' Others, less enthusiastic, see a troubling degree of political instability and a perfect storm of uncertainty on the horizon. 'You see, in country after country, that the battle lines are being drawn over utility questions,' said Michael Shifter, a senior fellow who closely tracks the Andes for the Washington policy group Inter-American Dialogue. 'It builds a great resentment and rage that things so essential to people, like water, like electricity, are not being delivered in a fair and equitable way. That's a formula for rage that leads to mobilization, and that's why we're seeing a convulsed region.' In Uruguay, a referendum in October guaranteed public control over water resources, enshrining water as a 'basic human right.' In Chile's central valley region, 99.2 percent of voters in a plebiscite in 2000 rejected privatization of the state-run water company. (The government privatized anyway.) In Argentina, another French water provider was tossed out in 1998, while Ecuador's government has repeatedly failed to privatize telecommunications and electricity generating companies. In Peru, protests against plans to privatize electric utilities have been persistent, while as far north as Nicaragua and Mexico, activists have fought efforts to battle privatization plans for water systems. The battle surrounding Aguas del Illimani, which provided water for El Alto, is revealing of the anger over privatizations that many here say they were never consulted about and never asked for, but were put in place as a condition for loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Indeed, Aguas del Illimani was not the first company to get a taste of Bolivians' fury. In 2000, in the midst of angry demonstrations, the state annulled a contract with Bechtel, a multinational based in San Francisco that had doubled fees on being granted the concession in Cochabamba. In 2003, in the face of protests and instability, a consortium of companies signaled that it had all but called off a $5 billion pipeline project to transport natural gas to the Pacific, from where it would have been shipped to the United States. Under continuing pressure, the government of President Mesa is now moving forward with legislation that would raise taxes and increase government control of energy projects in Bolivia. So the stage was set for the outburst against Aguas, which grew out of a decision by Mr. Mesa to raise subsidized fuel prices on Dec. 30, even though the company did not seem a likely target before now. The Bolivian government had in fact welcomed Aguas in 1997 to turn around an inefficient public system that provided water to El Alto and the adjacent capital, La Paz. After it arrived, Aguas says it met its contractual obligations and expanded services, and even government officials concede that the company did an admirable job at first. Potable water, offered by the state water company to 152,812 households in the two cities in 1997, rose by 81,180 households in seven years. Sewage service was expanded to more than 160,000 households by last year from 95,995. But eight years into its contract, Aguas ran into problems. Profits were never as high as the company would have liked, since the former country people who flocked to El Alto, a mostly indigenous city of 750,000, were used to conserving and never consumed much water. When company officials asked state regulators for permission to increase monthly fees, their request was rejected. But the company won permission to increase the hookup fees, to $450 from just over $300. It was a fee most people here - where the average monthly wage is about $55 - could never hope to pay. 'It was contractual, so I cannot blame Aguas del Illimani,' said José Barragán, the government's vice minister of basic services, in charge of water service. 'But a prudent administrator would not have taken that road.' Mr. Barragán says that the government 'is not accusing Aguas for not complying with the contract.' Instead, he said, the company avoided government efforts to renegotiate so that service could be expanded, a contention the company denies. The lack of a resolution effectively left 200,000 people without any real chance of obtaining water service, Mr. Barragán said. 'That's completely false,' said Alberto Chávez, Aguas's general manager, emphasizing that the company had shown a willingness to meet with both the government and the leaders of Fejuve, an El Alto group that organized protests. Still, Mr. Chávez conceded that 70,000 people in Aguas's concession area in El Alto still had no water. Now, with Aguas's contract canceled, the question in El Alto remains how to expand and improve service. No one believes that the state or the city of El Alto, both cash poor, will be able to do so. 'Ultimately, if Bolivians are going to get real access for water it's going to have to be subsidized,' said Jim Shultz, director of the Democracy Center, a policy group in Cochabamba, Bolivia's third-largest city, that studies the effects of free market reforms. 'And it's going to have to be subsidized in some form of foreign assistance.' That, he noted, is not a realistic proposition, because Bolivia cannot afford to seek more loans and foreign governments are not so willing to make big cash outlays to a state they view as increasingly erratic. Many residents, like Franz Choque, 31, a construction worker, are worried. He said that he was not philosophically opposed to a private company running the water system. He only wanted the costs to be just and the service to be effective. 'It is O.K. for a foreign company to be here, but they should charge the Bolivian rate, not like in the country where they come from,' said Mr. Choque, as he worked on a new school that will have running water only because residents have pooled resources to pay for the hookup. 'Not everything can be free. We can pay a little. But we just want a fair price.'

Subject: Bolivia's Fight for Natural Resources
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:27:42 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/23/international/americas/23bolivia.html?ex=1274500800&en=958b56353478e572&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss May 23, 2005 Bolivia Epitomizes Fight for Natural Resources By JUAN FORERO LA PAZ, Bolivia - The struggle over globalization and who controls natural resources is being waged across Latin America, but the battle lines are no sharper anywhere than here in Bolivia, where a potent confederation of protesters plans a march on Monday to demand more state control of energy resources. Political analysts say the march - combined with a work stoppage and an Indian-style town hall meeting in a La Paz plaza - could further weaken the already debilitated government of President Carlos Mesa. It was just such a protest over energy policy that forced President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada from office in October 2003. Now, with Mr. Mesa politically incapacitated and Congress thoroughly discredited because it is seen as corrupt, protesters have become emboldened, with some calling for the outright expropriation of private gas installations operated by such energy giants as British Gas, Repsol-YPF of Spain and Petrobras of Brazil. Such demands have been gathering force, and they underscore the increasingly deep divisions in this Andean country, which despite its isolation has been at the forefront of a powerful backlash against market overhaul in Latin America. 'I think it's the most polarized the country has been in a long time,' said Jim Shultz, director of the Democracy Center in Cochabamba, which studies the effects of globalization on Bolivia. 'In October 2003, the issue was more volatile, but it was more volatile because it was basically everybody against the government. This isn't everybody against the government. This is a situation where Bolivia is split three or four different ways.' On one side, there are Bolivians like Carlos Alberto López, a former vice minister of energy who was educated at Harvard and the London School of Economics. Mr. López, now a consultant for energy companies, contends that nationalizing the oil industry would be a disaster for the country. He said Bolivia should instead be taking advantage of the fact that it has Latin America's second largest gas reserves by attracting foreign investors with favorable terms and then selling the gas to energy-hungry giants like Brazil or the United States. 'This was our last best hope for Bolivia's economy to grow,' Mr. López, 45, said in an interview. Across this capital, in a small office decorated with posters of the revolutionary icon Che Guevara, another protagonist expresses a sharply opposed viewpoint. 'The people have a right to nationalize and expropriate,' said Jaime Solares, 53, who started working at age 13, has a 10th grade education and heads the Bolivian Workers Central, the country's largest labor confederation. 'The people no longer believe in neo-liberalism.' The movement against market reforms appears to be gaining ground. Last week, Bolivia's Congress, under pressure from protesters, signed into law a new tax-and-royalty scheme so tough that energy experts say oil and gas multinationals will curtail investments. But groups like Mr. Solares's, with hundreds of thousands of members, say the law is too soft and want more restrictions. At the same time, a conservative, pro-globalization movement in the relatively prosperous eastern part of Bolivia is calling for a referendum on whether the region should have more autonomy, including control of its gas fields. Political analysts say the divisive crisis could lead to violence or, in time, the disintegration of a country whose state has little presence or control over its far-flung provinces. The discovery of large gas deposits in the late 1990's was supposed to have brought Bolivia more stability and wealth as the country's leaders tried to position Bolivia as a regional energy power. But the masses of poor indigenous people have never forgotten how the Spanish and a series of corrupt governments plundered the country's silver, tin and gold, leaving them more poverty-stricken than before. Flexing their political muscle, they have carried out protests that resulted in the departure of two foreign water companies and wreaked havoc with the government's energy plans. 'Those companies always come in with big promises, but all they do is rob,' said Rafael Condori, 18, an Aymara Indian who plans to take part in the protest on Monday. Such words could not be more troubling to Juan Carlos Iturri, an economist who said that many protesters are driven by slogans and do not take into account Bolivia's economic realities. 'Nationalization is not real and it cannot be sustained in time,' he said. 'They want a horse and a battle and nothing sounds better than saying, 'Die, transnationals.' ' But Bolivia's history seems to signal that the protests are not likely to fade away. A major revolution in 1952 led to nationalization of the largest tin mines, and charismatic leaders have revived the movement in recent years. Eduardo Gamarra, the Bolivian-born director of Latin American studies at Florida International University in Miami, referred to that history, saying in an interview, 'Bolivia is one of the few places in the world where you have a firm belief that nationalizing key industries is the way to go.'

Subject: Latin America Looks Leftward Again
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:26:20 (EST)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/18/weekinreview/18forero.html?ex=1292562000&en=558c4c3c738a08c7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 18, 2005 Latin America Looks Leftward Again By JUAN FORERO TACAMARA, Bolivia AT first glance, there's nothing cutting edge about this isolated highland town of mud-brick homes and cold mountain streams. The way of life is remarkably unchanged from what it was centuries ago. The Aymara Indian villagers have no hot water or telephones, and each day they slog into the fields to shear wool and grow potatoes. But Tacamara and dozens of similar communities across the scrub grass of the Bolivian highlands are at the forefront of a new leftward tide now rising in Latin American politics. Tired of poverty and indifferent governments, villagers here are being urged by some of their more radical leaders to forget the promises of capitalism and install instead a community-based socialism in which products would be bartered. Some leaders even talk of forming an independent Indian state. 'What we really need is to transform this country,' said Rufo Yanarico, 45, a community leader. 'We have to do away with the capitalist system.' In the burgeoning cities of China, India and Southeast Asia, that might sound like a hopelessly outdated dream because global capitalism seems to be delivering on its promise to transform those poor societies into richer ones. But here, the appeal of rural socialism is a powerful reminder that much of South America has become disenchanted with the poor track record of similar promises made to Latin America. So the region has begun turning leftward again. That trend figures heavily in a presidential election being held today in Bolivia, in which the frontrunner is Evo Morales, a charismatic Aymara Indian and former coca farmer who promises to decriminalize coca production and roll back market reforms if he wins. Though he leads, he is unlikely to gain a clear majority; if he does not, Bolivia's Congress would decide the race. Still, he is the most fascinating candidate, because he is anything but alone in Latin America. He considers himself a disciple of the region's self-appointed standard-bearer for the left, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, a populist who has injected the state into the economy, showered the nation's oil profits on government projects aimed at the poor, and antagonized the Bush administration with constant invective. 'In recent years, social movements and leftist parties in Latin America have reappeared with a force that has no parallel in the recent history in the region,' says a new book on the trend, 'The New Left in Latin America,' written by a diverse group of academic social scientists from across the Americas. Peru also has a new and growing populist movement, led by a cashiered army officer, Ollanta Humala, who is ideologically close to Mr. Chávez. Argentina's president, Néstor Kirchner, who won office in 2003, announced last week that Argentina would sever all ties with the International Monetary Fund, which he blames for much of the country's long economic decline, by swiftly paying back its $9.9 billion debt to the fund. The leftist movement that has taken hold in Latin America over the last seven years is diverse. Mr. Chávez is its most extreme example. Brazil's president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, by contrast, is a former labor leader who emphasizes poverty reduction but also practices fiscal austerity and gets along with Wall Street. Uruguay has been pragmatic on economic matters, but has had increasingly warm relations with Venezuela. In Mexico, the leftist who is thought to have a good chance to be the next president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has distanced himself from Mr. Chávez. What these leaders share is a strong emphasis on social egalitarianism and a determination to rely less on the approach known as the Washington Consensus, which emphasizes privatization, open markets, fiscal discipline and a follow-the-dollar impulse, and is favored by the I.M.F. and United States officials. 'You cannot throw them all in the same bag, but this is understood as a left with much more sensitivity toward the social,' said Augusto Ramírez Ocampo, a former Colombian government minister who last year helped write a United Nations report on the state of Latin American democracy. 'The people believe these movements can resolve problems, since Latin American countries have seen that the Washington Consensus has not been able to deal with poverty.' The Washington Consensus became a force in the 1980's, after a long period in which Latin American governments, many autocratic, experimented with nationalistic economic nostrums like import-substitution and protectionism. These could not deliver sustained growth. The region was left on the edge of economic implosion. With the new policies of the 1980's came a surge toward democracy, a rise of technocrats as leaders and, in the last 20 years, a general acceptance of stringent austerity measures prescribed by the I.M.F. and the World Bank. Country after country was told to make far-reaching changes, from selling off utilities to cutting pension costs. In return, loans and other aid were offered. Growth would be steady, economists in Washington promised, and poverty would decline. But the results were dismal. Poverty rose, rather than fell; inequality remained a curse. Real per capita growth in Latin America since 1980 has barely reached 10 percent, according to an analysis of I.M.F. data by the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research. Meanwhile, many Latin Americans lost faith in traditional political parties that were seen as corrupt vehicles for special interests. That led to uprisings that toppled presidents like Bolivia's Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and Ecuador's Lucio Gutiérrez; it also spawned demagogues who blame free-market policies for everything without offering detailed alternatives. The new populism is perhaps most undefined here in the poorest and most remote corner of South America. Mr. Morales promises to exert greater state control over foreign energy firms and focus on helping micro-businesses and cooperatives. 'The state needs to be the central actor,' he said in a recent interview. But he is short on details, and that worries some economists. Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University development economist and former economic adviser here, says he empathizes with Bolivia's poor and agrees that energy companies should pay higher taxes. But he says Bolivia cannot close itself off to the world. 'Protectionism isn't really a viable strategy for a small country,' he said. If Mr. Morales does become president, he might well find that the slogans that rang in the streets are not much help in running a poor, troubled country. Mr. da Silva, the Brazilian president, acknowledged as much in comments he made Wednesday in Colombia: The challenge, he said, is 'to show if we are capable as politicians to carry out what we, as union leaders, demanded of government.'

Subject: Election for President in Bolivia
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:24:54 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/19/international/americas/19bolivia.html?ex=1292648400&en=756614a05be517fc&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 19, 2005 Coca Advocate Wins Election for President in Bolivia By JUAN FORERO LA PAZ, Bolivia - Evo Morales, a candidate for president who has pledged to reverse a campaign financed by the United States to wipe out coca growing, scored a decisive victory in general elections in Bolivia on Sunday. Mr. Morales, 46, an Aymara Indian and former coca farmer who also promises to roll back American-prescribed economic changes, had garnered up to 51 percent of the vote, according to televised quick-count polls, which tally a sample of votes at polling places and are considered highly accurate. At 9 p.m., his leading challenger, Jorge Quiroga, 45, an American-educated former president who was trailing by as much as 20 percentage points, admitted defeat in a nationally televised speech. At his party's headquarters in Cochabamba, Mr. Morales said his win signaled that 'a new history of Bolivia begins, a history where we search for equality, justice and peace with social justice.' 'As a people who fight for their country and love their country, we have enormous responsibility to change our history,' he said. Mr. Quiroga's concession signaled that he was prepared to step aside and avoid a protracted selection process in Congress, which, under Bolivian law, would choose between the top two finishers if neither obtained at least 50 percent of the vote. 'I congratulate Evo Morales,' Mr. Quiroga said in a somber speech. The National Electoral Court had not tabulated results on Sunday night, though Mr. Morales echoed the early polls and claimed to have won a majority. His margin of victory appeared to be a resounding win that delivered the kind of mandate two of his predecessors, both of whom were forced to resign, never had. Eduardo Gamarra, a Bolivian-born political analyst from Florida International University in Miami, said Mr. Morales could be on his way to becoming 'the president with the most legitimacy since the transition to democracy' from dictatorship a generation ago. A Morales government would become the first indigenous administration in Bolivia's 180-year history and would further consolidate a new leftist trend in South America, where nearly 300 million of the continent's 365 million people live in countries with left-leaning governments. Though most of those governments are politically and economically pragmatic, a Morales administration signals a dramatic shift to the left for a country that has long been ruled by traditional political parties disparaged by many Bolivians. The victory by Mr. Morales will not be welcomed by the Bush administration, which has not hidden its distaste for the charismatic congressman and leader of the country's federation of coca farmers. American officials have warned that his election could be the advent of a destabilizing alliance involving Mr. Morales, Fidel Castro of Cuba and Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, who has seemed determined to thwart American objectives in the region. In comments to reporters after casting his vote in the Chapara coca-growing region on Sunday , Mr. Morales said his government would cooperate closely with other 'anti-imperialists,' referring to Venezuela and Cuba. He said he would welcome cordial relations with the United States, but not 'a relationship of submission.' He also pledged that under his government his country would have 'zero cocaine, zero narco-trafficking but not zero coca,' referring to the leaf that is used to make cocaine. Mr. Chávez, who has met frequently with Mr. Morales, expressed confidence that Bolivia would turn a new page with the election. 'We are sure what happens today will mean another step in the integration of the South America of our dreams, free and united,' he said earlier in the day from Venezuela. The election, which was marked by personal attacks, pitted two fundamentally different visions for how to extricate Bolivia from poverty. While Mr. Quiroga pledged to advance international trade, Mr. Morales promised to squeeze foreign oil companies and ignore the International Monetary Fund's advice. Mr. Morales enjoyed strong support in El Alto, a largely indigenous city adjacent to the capital, La Paz, where voters said they had tired of years of government indifference. 'The hope is that he can channel our needs,' said Janeth Zenteno, 31, a pharmacist in El Alto. 'We have all supported Evo. It is not just what he says. It is that this is his base and he knows us.' For Javier Sukojayo, 40, a teacher, the election could signal a transformation of Bolivia into a country where the poor have more say. 'It has been 500 years of oppression since the Spanish came here,' said Mr. Sukojayo, who counts himself as indigenous. 'If we are part of the government - and we are the majority - we can make new laws that are in favor of the majority.'

Subject: China's Economic Role in Latin America
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:24:13 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/20/international/asia/20china.html?ex=1258606800&en=6af924a356976d31&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland November 20, 2004 China Widens Economic Role in Latin America By LARRY ROHTER SANTIAGO, Chile - The expected arrival here on Friday of President Bush, who personifies for Latin Americans the economic and political power of Washington, is being greeted with an uneasy mix of protests and hopes for greater growth. But while the United States may still regard the region as its backyard, its dominance is no longer unquestioned. Suddenly, the presence of China can be felt everywhere, from the backwaters of the Amazon to mining camps in the Andes. Driven by one the largest and most sustained economic expansions in history, and facing bottlenecks and shortages in Asia, China is increasingly turning to South America as a supplier. It is busy buying huge quantities of iron ore, bauxite, soybeans, timber, zinc and manganese in Brazil. It is vying for tin in Bolivia, oil in Venezuela and copper here in Chile, where last month it displaced the United States as the leading market for Chilean exports. While President Bush is spending the weekend here for the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, President Hu Jintao of China is here in the midst of a two-week visit to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Cuba. In the course of it, he has announced more than $30 billion in new investments and signed long-term contracts that will guarantee China supplies of the vital materials it needs for its factories. The United States, preoccupied with the worsening situation in Iraq, seems to have attached little importance to China's rising profile in the region. If anything, increased trade between Latin America and China has been welcomed as a means to reduce pressure on the United States to underwrite economic reforms, with geopolitical considerations pushed to the background. 'On the diplomatic side, the Chinese are quietly but persistently and effectively operating just under the U.S. radar screen,' said Richard Feinberg, who was the chief Latin America adviser at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. 'South America is obviously drifting, and diplomatic flirtations with China would tend to underscore the potential for divergences with Washington.' Chinese investment and purchases are seen as vital for economies short on capital and struggling to emerge from a long slump. In Argentina earlier this week, for example, Mr. Hu announced nearly $20 billion in new investment in railways, oil and gas exploration, construction and communications satellites, a huge boost for a country whose economic vitality has been sapped since a financial collapse in December 2001. China is also increasingly willing to venture outside the economic realm. In March, for example, after Dominica, in the Caribbean, severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Beijing responded with a $112 million aid package, which includes $6 million in budget support this year and $1 million annually for six years. In Antigua, it has pledged $23 million toward the construction of a new soccer stadium. Political relations seem to be advancing most rapidly with Brazil, Latin America's most populous nation, where the left-leaning government has repeatedly floated the idea of a 'strategic alliance' with Beijing. The Brazilian government has made clear that it views closer ties with China as a card that can be played to offset American influence and trade dominance. While not suggesting that China could soon replace the United States as Brazil's main customer and partner, the aim is to force trade and other concessions from the United States and rich industrialized nations. 'We want a partnership that integrates our economies and serves as a paradigm for South-South cooperation,' President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said in May during a state visit to China during which he was accompanied by nearly 500 Brazilian business executives. 'We are two giants without historical, political or economic divergences, free to think only about the future.' Before his visit, Mr. da Silva even hinted at negotiating a free-trade agreement with China, a step that Chile this week announced it would take. But China's impact in Brazil is already felt so strongly that the idea was quickly shelved after São Paulo business groups expressed fears of being overwhelmed by state-owned Chinese companies in their own domestic market. In 2003 China became Brazil's second-largest individual trading partner, and in recent months the Chinese have been seeking joint ventures that would expand trade even further and give them a significant investment stake. Brazil is one of the few countries to enjoy a trade surplus with China, and last year alone exports to China nearly doubled, to $4.5 billion. 'Over the past three or four years, the growth in trade has been explosive,' said Renato Amorim, formerly a diplomat in Brazil's embassy in Beijing and now the executive director of the Brazil-China Business Council. 'China is trying to assure reliable sources of supply of raw materials to deal with the shortages it faces, and since there are no conflicts on the political agenda, Brazil fits the bill.' Many of the minerals come from a part of the Amazon known as Carajas, which has the largest, purest reserves of iron ore and other strategic minerals in the world. At a complex at the mouth of the Amazon near Belém that produces alumina, the white powder that is refined from bauxite to make aluminum, production may soon double, with most of it expected to go to China over the next decade. Farther down the coast, Baosteel of China and Companhia Vale do Rio Doce of Brazil, the world's largest iron ore producer, are partners in a $1.5 billion steel venture to produce up to eight million tons of iron a year. Upriver in Manaus, Chinese delegations are negotiating long-term deals for timber. To the south, in Mato Grosso, similar missions are trying to lock up supplies of soybeans and cotton. The same is happening elsewhere, especially in agriculture. All across the South American heartland, from the Amazon to the pampas of Argentina, a boom in the cultivation of soybeans, used mainly as animal feed, has been propelled in recent years by the emergence half a world away of a Chinese middle-class with more income and a desire for more pork, chicken and beef. Concerned by what they see as Chinese advances, Japan and South Korea are also stepping up their efforts to secure their own supplies of raw materials in the region. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan visited Brazil in mid-September. President Roh Moo Hyun of South Korea has also scheduled trips to Argentina, Brazil and Chile, planned around the Chinese visits. 'Within a few years there is likely to be a 'war' to develop raw materials,' Park Yong Soo, president of the state-run Korea Resources Corporation, told Reuters last month. 'China is challenging aggressively,' he added, leading to supply shortages and higher prices. The few Brazilian analysts who have experience dealing with China are also urging their government to be cautious. Ideological sympathies or some vague notion of third world solidarity, they say, should not get in the way of the national interest. In pursuit of their 'strategic partnership,' Brazil and China have jointly developed a satellite program, are discussing Brazilian sales of uranium for use in Chinese reactors, and recently marked the opening of a plant in China owned by the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. But it is clear to most Brazilian experts that China sees their country primarily as a source of raw materials, and that bothers them. Many are encouraging the government to fight for a more equal relationship, raising concerns from trade flows to environmental damage. 'Thus far, the discourse has been much more political that pragmatic, with all this talk of a South-South alliance,' said Eliana Cardoso, formerly a World Bank economist for China and now a university professor in São Paulo. She and others caution that though President da Silva has stressed that the Brazilian and Chinese economies are essentially complementary, China is also a rival. During President Hu's visit last week, the Brazilian government agreed to recognize China as a 'market economy,' a step that makes it harder to impose penalties on China for dumping exports. The influential Industrial Federation of São Paulo immediately criticized the move as a 'political decision' that leaves 'Brazilian industry in a vulnerable position' and will bring 'prejudicial consequences to various industrial sectors.' Not only are businesses concerned about China's making inroads into the domestic market; they also worry about exports of products with which Brazil has had some success abroad, from shoes and toys to chemicals and car parts. 'What Brazil has to insist on is that instead of exporting raw materials, we try to export processed goods,' Dr. Cardoso said. Marcos Jank, an economist who is an adviser to the Industrial Federation of São Paulo, agreed. 'China in the long term can rob markets from Brazil, because the hand of the state is still very strong in a lot of areas, including the exchange rate,' he said. 'It is a ferocious competitor in the things we export, as well as for markets and investments.' In fact, so much foreign investment has been going to China that Latin America is finding it difficult to obtain the capital it needs to finance its own growth. As a result Brazil, like neighboring Argentina, has been forced to court Citic, the state-controlled China International Trust and Investment Corporation, in hopes that at least a small part of China's estimated $500 billion in foreign reserves will make its way to the region. Thus far, China has been mainly interested in infrastructure projects that would assure a more steady flow of the products it is already buying from Brazil and Argentina. In particular, railways, ports, highways, gas pipelines and other energy-related projects are being studied. Earlier this month, a Citic delegation visited two dam sites in the Amazon that would be essential to the alumina and steel joint ventures in Brazil. Such projects have raised questions about the environment, especially in the Amazon. Environmental groups here look at China's dismal record on projects like the Three Gorges Dam and worry that the Chinese will be tempted to export their problems to Brazil. In fact, several of the projects being considered would be highly polluting, while others would be energy-intensive and probably inflict damage to the environment similar to what occurred at Three Gorges. Of special concern are a pair of plants that would process coal in Brazil, partly for export back to China. 'It would be sad if at the moment the Chinese are beginning to worry about being green, we continue on the old path of not evaluating this criterion in our commercial transactions,' the columnist Washington Novaes wrote this month in O Estado de São Paulo. Brazil must avoid falling into the trap of being 'a big supplier of commodities without compensation for the high environmental and social costs' that accompany that role, he added. Brazilian analysts agree that hard negotiations on this and a host of other issues lie ahead. Though the relationship with China is inherently unequal, they note, Brazil can get more of what it wants only if it avoids being impetuous and is as hard-nosed and pragmatic as the Chinese themselves. 'They want Brazil to continue to be a big producer of commodities so as to regulate prices, to depress them on world markets,' said Gilberto Dupas, director of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of São Paulo. 'For China, any alliance with Brazil is eminently pragmatic and opportunistic, and much more tactical than strategic.'

Subject: Re: China's Economic Role in Latin America
From: Poyetas
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 06:29:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent article, This underlines how aggressive the chinese really are. The macroeconomic model is similar to that of Germany's after WW2, except with lower wage and social costs. Its funny isn't it, the same problems that arise in the American economy (income inequality) are now being exemplified in the Global Economy. With global consumption concentrated in only a few countries, the risk of a demand side shock is huge. And unless US GDP launches into a new stratosphere, something's gonna give....

Subject: Re: China's Economic Role in Latin America
From: Terri
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Tues, Dec 20, 2005 at 11:29:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Nice comments :)

Subject: Water to the Bolivian Poor
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:22:42 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/15/business/15water.html?ex=1292302800&en=3d5d84e4e7f221e7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss December 15, 2005 Who Will Bring Water to the Bolivian Poor? By JUAN FORERO COCHABAMBA, Bolivia - The people of this high Andean city were ecstatic when they won the 'water war.' After days of protests and martial law, Bechtel - the American multinational that had increased rates when it began running the waterworks - was forced out. As its executives fled the city, protest leaders pledged to improve service and a surging leftist political movement in Latin America celebrated the ouster as a major victory, to be repeated in country after country. Today, five years later, water is again as cheap as ever, and a group of community leaders runs the water utility, Semapa. But half of Cochabamba's 600,000 people remain without water, and those who do have service have it only intermittently - for some, as little as two hours a day, for the fortunate, no more than 14. 'I would have to say we were not ready to build new alternatives,' said Oscar Olivera, who led the movement that forced Bechtel out. Bolivia is just days away from an election that could put one of Latin America's most strident antiglobalization leaders in the presidency. The water war experience shows that while a potent left has won many battles in Latin America in recent years, it still struggles to come up with practical, realistic solutions to resolve the deep discontent that gave the movement force in the first place. That discontent may have found its most striking incarnation in Bolivia. Here, protests against the introduction of stronger market forces have toppled two presidents since 2003. And the discontent has given Evo Morales, a charismatic Aymara Indian and nationalistic congressman who has channeled much of the anger of his poverty-stricken country, a slight lead in the polls ahead of the Dec. 18 elections. Frustrated that the economic restructuring prescribed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund failed to translate into sustained growth and reduced poverty, country after country in Latin America has either discarded or is questioning much of the conventional wisdom about relying more on market forces - known as the 'Washington consensus' - from the privatization of utilities to the slashing of social spending to unfettered trade. Much of the policy turn has come under pressure from the streets and the results have varied wildly. Argentina, for instance, has bounced back from economic collapse by ignoring crucial aspects of I.M.F. orthodoxy the last four years, while accepting others. Ecuador is tottering on the brink of political tumult even as the eight-month-old government of President Alfredo Palacio tries ramping up social spending. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez is forming state companies and spending lavishly - some say recklessly - on social programs, pleasing the poor, but failing to generate much foreign investment or business not linked to the overarching oil industry. Bolivia's back-tracking, more a product of roiling protests than government policy, began after the country became among the first in Latin America to apply market prescriptions wholeheartedly in the mid-1980's. The I.M.F. later asked for far-reaching measures in exchange for loans and other aid, and promised steady growth, up to 6 percent a year, that would cut into poverty. Bolivia's economy, though, grew at a dismal pace. Even the fund, in a 2003 memo, noted that a fall in per capita income and employment contributed to 'rising social tensions that erupted recently.' The fund and other institutions that helped guide Bolivia's economy blame grinding corruption, poor infrastructure and high pension costs. Officials at the I.M.F. also note that Bolivia, like other countries that seek help, come only when they are wracked by economic troubles that require tough choices. 'If you're spending more than you're earning, for a while that's fine,' said Caroline Atkinson, deputy director of Western Hemisphere operations for the fund. 'But if your borrowing gets too huge, then no one wants to fund you anymore, and you have to cut back.' But to Bolivians, the experiment was marked by failure. Privatized companies like the railroads went bust, while the energy industry is generating $100 million less in taxes and royalties than it did when it was state-run, budget officials said. 'They did everything right,' said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-winning economist at Columbia University who has been critical of the I.M.F. formula. 'They liberalized, they privatized and they felt the pain. Now it's 20 years later and they're saying, 'When is the gain?' ' In the end, market changes pushed by the I.M.F., the World Bank and American-educated Bolivian economists fueled anger that severely weakened governments and gave rise to Mr. Morales. Making his name leading Bolivia's powerful coca growers' federation, Mr. Morales has in the last four years used his outsider status, his 'up by the bootstraps' journey from very poor origins on Bolivia's high plains and his Indian roots to rail against market changes he says favor foreigners, not Bolivians. That is why Mr. Morales is pushing for a 'nationalization' of the gas industry that, while not leading to expropriation, will increase taxes and royalties on foreign energy companies; those combined levies were raised earlier this year to 50 percent. He also wants to tighten borders to keep out cheap products and focus the government's attention on cooperatives, a loose mix of indigenous and socialist business practices. 'We will have an economy based on solidarity and reciprocity,' Mr. Morales said in an interview. 'We do not dismiss the presence of foreign investment, but we want it to be real, fresh investment to industrialize our hydrocarbons, all under state control.' The proposals, to be sure, are vague. Mr. Morales, who did not finish high school, is guided on economic matters by Carlos Villegas, a left-leaning economist, and by his running mate, Álvaro García, a socialist intellectual, professor of sociology and former guerrilla who articulates the party's position. Much of the anger that has given Mr. Morales momentum began here in his home city, Cochabamba. The arrival of Bechtel quickly prompted heated protests when the water company increased rates, arguing that it needed more money to finance investment and expand service. In some cases, poor people ended up paying double their previous costs. It also became clear that Bechtel would not expand service to the impoverished south, where the company had no profits to gain from an expensive expansion. The ouster of the company meant the return of Semapa - but this time with more community control. Semapa has expanded service in fits and starts, with those receiving piped water and sewage service increasing to 303,000 people, from 248,000. The company also managed to lower costs and, oddly for a government company, reduce the work force. But Semapa still grapples with petty graft and inefficiencies, managers at the company said. Its most serious problem, though, is a lack of money. The company cannot secure big international loans, and it cannot raise rates, since few here could pay them. For a wide-scale expansion that would include a new dam and aqueducts, $300 million is needed, an enormous amount for a company whose capital budget is just shy of $5 million. 'I don't think you'll find people in Cochabamba who will say they're happy with service,' said Franz Taquichiri, one of the community-elected directors of Semapa and a veteran of the water war. 'No one will be happy unless they get service 24 hours a day.' On a tour of Semapa's facilities, Luis Camargo, the operations manager, explained that the water filtration installation is split into an obsolete series of 80-year-old tanks and a 29-year-old section that uses gravity to move mountain water from one tank to another. It is fine for a smaller city, he said, but what is needed now is to develop high-altitude reservoirs, a hugely expensive undertaking. 'We're trying to be realistic, and we're looking for aid from Canada and other countries,' explained Mr. Camargo, who has worked at Semapa 20 years. Thousands of people have given up on ever getting Semapa's water. At Rafael Rodríguez's home and small restaurant, a spigot in the yard provides water three hours a day from a community well. He has little good to say about Bechtel, but he noted that Semapa's pipes were far from reaching the neighborhood. 'I was hoping water would get here, but it just has not happened,' Mr. Rodríguez, 43, said. Community organizations, each with an average of 200 families, pool money to drill 200 feet into dry, soft dirt, searching for water that is then delivered through small, cheap pipes to homes in the vicinity of each well. Still, there are many people who cannot even depend on wells. Edwin Villa, 35, lives in a neighborhood that gets its water through deliveries made two or three times a week by freelance water dealers. The deliveries are sporadic, he said, and sometimes the water contains tiny worms. His children ask for piped water, but there is not much he can tell them. 'Our hope is that someday Semapa will reach this far,' he said. 'It would just be magnificent.'

Subject: Where the Incas Ruled
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 18:21:31 (EST)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/17/international/americas/17boli.html?ex=1247803200&en=6fdf1cc82248f171&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland July 17, 2004 Where the Incas Ruled, Indians Are Hoping for Power By JUAN FORERO ACHACACHI, Bolivia -After centuries of misery and discrimination, indigenous people across the region are flexing their political muscles, moving to wrest power from the largely European ruling elite but also dreaming of an independent state. Such a state could look a lot like this bleak town in the highlands, where the police and central government authorities were chased out long ago, their offices destroyed by seething Aymara Indians. The Bolivian flag has given way to the seven-color Wipala, the flag of the Indian nation. Roads linking this landlocked country to the world were also blockaded frequently, a lever to prod the government to meet ever-tougher demands. The political awakening has extended into Peru, where indigenous people have also closed highways and taken over some small towns. In Ecuador, groups of the Pachakutik movement have pledged to step up protests meant to force the resignation of President Lucio Gutiérrez, whom they helped to put in power but who has fallen out of favor over his free-market policies. It is in Bolivia, the most indigenous country in Latin America, where they hold the most influence. One crossroads for the two visions of Bolivia will come Sunday, when a referendum is held on the issue of how to use the country's abundant natural gas, either exporting it in the hope of conventional economic development, or keeping it for use at home. The outcome could ignite new protests unless President Carlos Mesa is able to finesse the issue through his complicated five-question ballot. He faces Indians who are increasingly aggressive in taking on the government, and have scored a series of victories. Just nine months ago, their protests forced President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozado to resign. Now, they want Mr. Mesa to expropriate Bolivia's oil and gas companies, a proposal he rejects. In local meetings, some Indians now even talk of forming a completely new nation, reaching across the scrub grass of the Andean highlands into Peru and Chile, where the Aymaras also live. It is a idea that has a powerful hold on this swath of the former Inca empire. 'We could remain part of Bolivia, but we want to run things,' said Ramón Yujra, the director of a school in Achacachi and an indigenous leader. Felipe Quispe, a former guerrilla and a prominent indigenous leader, went further. 'What we've been doing is taking out the government representatives, the police, the transit force, the judges, the subprefects, even the mayors,' he said. 'Like a drop of grease that expands, if this movement keeps growing, we will reach all of Bolivia.' Such talk is enthralling to his followers, and unnerving to the ruling elite and the government. Motivated by a distrust of the ruling class for ignoring their poverty, and rejecting global economics, they talk of a vague - critics say naïve - plan of returning to the Inca past, with a communal agricultural society. All decisions should be made by consensus in local councils, or allyus, these Indians say. The indigenous movement has surged in the first years of this century, using the ballot box, sometimes violence, and popular protest. In 2000, they stopped a plan by the Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, the huge conglomerate, from privatizing the water system in Cochabamba, Bolivia's third-largest city. Politically, Indians and their allies now control about a third of the 157 seats in Congress, up from a handful a few years before. But not all Indians, perhaps not even a majority, support Mr. Quispe's plans to found a new society 'on the communal system our ancestors lived,' fearing that breaking off from Bolivia would only mean isolation, conflict and increased poverty. Notably, Evo Morales, Bolivia's most influential indigenous leader and a perennial candidate for the presidency, has become a de facto ally of Mr. Mesa and is working within the political system to harness the country's gas riches to help his people. Still, indigenous leaders are confident that one day, sooner rather than later, the Indians will probably run the nation's government, either by winning the 2007 election, or possibly by capitalizing on the kind of revolt that ended Mr. Sánchez de Lozada's brief presidency. Many politicians agree that the Indians are on the verge of taking power, something that has not happened in Latin America in centuries. 'We want to reconstitute our own state,' said Eugenio Rojas, an indigenous leader and academic at the teachers college in nearby Warisata. 'There is no other option but a new strike. We need a revolution.' The indigenous have the numbers. They comprise up to 61 percent of the 8.3 million people in this vast country, the size of France and Spain combined, so big that over the years the national government's hold on the countryside has been tenuous, at best. Of Bolivia's 314 municipalities, 200 have mayors and other government officials who are indigenous. This highland region, where indigenous groups are most radical, contains three million Indians stretching across four states that make up a third of the country. Indeed, the battles between the indigenous and the nation's ruling classes - those of European heritage or mixed-race people called mestizos - have led to the most tumult here in Bolivia. Indigenous leaders have been particularly forceful ahead of a referendum Sunday that asks Bolivians about how they want their nascent, but potentially lucrative, gas industry developed. Its five questions ask whether the nation should revive its state-owned oil company, use gas to regain a coastline lost to Chile in war a century ago and exert tighter control over oil and gas. If the questions pass, the government hopes for a new, legal framework that will permit it to raise royalty rates on oil and gas companies and permit the exportation of gas, crucial to this country's development. 'The objective of the referendum is to immediately end the obstacles toward the sale of gas,' Mr. Mesa said in an interview in La Paz, the capital. 'If the response is positive, we can begin negotiating contracts for the sale of gas.' But the referendum does not ask the question many indigenous leaders wanted: whether to expropriate gas installations. Mr. Mesa's government said it opposes such a plan, citing the cost of buying out foreign-owned properties at more than $5 billion, more than half of Bolivia's tiny annual economic output of $8 billion. Many indigenous and labor groups, including the country's militant miners, remain frustrated at how natural resources have long been taken out of the country, with little to show in return. In Corpaputo, a town of mud-brick homes on the edge of snowcapped mountains, the people ask why gas should be exported to the United States when they have never known what it is like to bathe with hot water, or have heat in their homes. 'We do not have light, we do not have gas, we cook with wood,' said Julián Poma, 42, the leader of Corpaputo. 'They sell gas to other countries, and we get nothing.' Directing much of their anger at foreign exploitation, those indigenous groups are pushing for a nationalization of properties owned by British Gas, PetroBras, Repsol-YPF of Spain and others. The threat has slowed investments by oil and gas companies, dropping from $680 million in 1998 to $160 million last year. Mr. Sánchez de Lozada's plans to export gas by piping it to the Pacific Ocean through Chile, Bolivia's historic enemy, prompted bitter protests in which security forces killed dozens of demonstrators, most of them Indians. With the furor, Mr. Sánchez de Lozada was forced out of office. Mr. Mesa is now responding more gingerly to the pressure, to protect the nation's economic development and its brittle democracy That has not stopped some indigenous leaders - Mr. Mesa calls them a radical fringe - who say they plan to burn ballot boxes and hold strikes, particularly in El Alto, a city of 700,000 that is mostly indigenous and has been at the forefront of militancy. 'They have become even more radical and they seem more open to resorting to violent acts,' Ricardo Calla, the indigenous affairs minister, said of Aymara groups in the highlands east of the capital. 'You cannot underestimate its presence and how it is passing down to lowland regions.' President Mesa has tried to defuse tensions by pledging to negotiate and avoid the use of force, even in villages where officials have been forced out. The government has, in many indigenous towns, never really had much of a presence, and Mr. Mesa has been reluctant to wield force in an action that could provoke unrest. The president said he was instead undercutting support for them by giving Bolivia's Indians more say. Mr. Mesa is permitting a constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution, a move that will give Indians and others in rural areas more powers. He has also embarked on a campaign to explain to Bolivians how the export of natural gas can become the engine for economic development. 'We want to sell gas to benefit Bolivians,' Mr. Mesa said. Polls in Bolivia's urban centers show the referendum will probably pass, but political analysts say that does not mean Mr. Mesa's troubles are over. The five questions have been described as artfully written, vague enough that they will be open to interpretation. 'I'm concerned about those who lose, ' said Eduardo Gamarra, a Bolivian who directs Latin America studies at Florida International University in Miami. 'Are they willing to accept the results?' The indigenous have made important strides since a miners' revolution in 1952 instituted universal suffrage and expanded education. A 1994 law provided the distribution of funds to municipalities across the country in an effort to decentralize Bolivia. A Ministry for Indian Affairs has functioned for years. The Constitution recognizes Bolivia's multicultural and multilingual society. But for many, it is not enough. In three days of interviews in four indigenous villages across a swath of Andean highlands, Aymara leaders spoke of all kinds of ideas: separating from Bolivia, pressing for more resources, or simply having more autonomy. The clear message, though, was that they had little faith in their government and preferred to run things themselves. It is an idea that is already at work in many villages, even those that do not want a clean break from the capital. 'Each community is like a semi-state: they regulate water, their internal conflicts, their politics,' said Álvaro García, a sociologist who is close to Indian leaders. The state, he said, 'has not been completely expelled, but there is semiautonomy.' In schools and town offices in the highlands, the posters of past presidents or Independence-era generals have been replaced by those of Túpac Katari, who led a insurrection against the Spanish in 1781. Local councils have banned officials from the state or central governments. Prospective investors with mining companies have been chased out. 'We go to a crime scene but the people tell us we will be lynched,' said Marco Antonio Nina, a government investigator who has been unable to investigate the murder of a mayor and other crimes in isolated villages. 'People see you, and see the white face, and they do not want to let you in.''

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 11:22:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Fund Returns 12/31/04 to 12/16/05 S&P Index is 6.3 Large Cap Growth Index is 7.0 Large Cap Value Index is 8.1 Mid Cap Index is 14.6 Small Cap Index is 8.5 Small Cap Value Index is 7.5 Europe Index is 10.2 Pacific Index is 20.0 Energy is 45.6 Health Care is 15.2 Precious Metals 40.0 REIT Index is 12.8 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 2.3 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 3.7

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 11:21:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/04 - 12/16/05 Energy 41.4 Financials 7.1 Health Care 8.1 Info Tech 5.5 Materials 2.4 REITs 12.9 Telecoms 4.3 Utilities 17.9

Subject: Canada and Canadian Currency
From: Dorian
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 06:15:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
('...the Canadian economy right now has fundamentals that 'are the envy of the industrialized world.' We have a strong currency, healthy trade surplus and government finances that generate reliable surpluses, allowing a steady paydown of the public debt. We have record-low unemployment and exceptionally high corporate profitability. At a time of high energy prices, we produce more than we consume. Wow. I assumed Canada was one of the sounder economies and currencies, but this is impressive. If their worst concern is that the US economy might go south, it seems a better option to hold their currency than ours, all things considered. Dorian Times are good but for the 800-pound gorilla in the room JAY BRYAN, The Gazette Published: Saturday, December 17, 2005 Times are good in Canada, really good. Now watch out. The story is not quite as simple as that, of course, since we're talking about an economic forecast that takes into account factors from all over the globe. But this is the essence of a sobering new warning from chief economist Clement Gignac at the National Bank of Canada. Gignac paints a persuasive picture that 2006 could well be the year in which our luck runs out as years of accumulated financial excesses in the U.S. economy start to come unwound, beginning with the deflation of a housing bubble that may be stretched to its limit. Like any forecaster, of course, he could be wrong. Indeed, he says quite sincerely: 'I hope to be wrong.' But enough others share his concerns that they're well worth noting. There is a small good-news facet to this outlook: it's that Canada should suffer less than the U.S., since this country at least has a number of economic strengths that will act as shock absorbers if a serious slowdown hits. Indeed, Gignac notes the Canadian economy right now has fundamentals that 'are the envy of the industrialized world.' We have a strong currency, healthy trade surplus and government finances that generate reliable surpluses, allowing a steady paydown of the public debt. We have record-low unemployment and exceptionally high corporate profitability. At a time of high energy prices, we produce more than we consume. So why worry? Because we happy Canadians are perched on top of what many economists, including Gignac, regard as a financial volcano: the increasingly stressed U.S. economy. If it blows, we can expect to be shaken badly. There's lots to worry about in the U.S. Leading economic commentators have been expressing worry for years about that country's large, growing government deficits and trade deficits. The problem is complicated, but the major element is easy to spot: an economy that's been overstimulated by low tax rates and low interest rates. The low taxes show up on the government's books as growing deficits and in consumer pocketbooks as extra cash to spend. Low interest rates also fuel spending, partly by making it cheap to take out a consumer loan, but even more by spurring demand for real estate, which drives up housing prices. People sitting on an ever-more-valuable home don't worry much about saving, so they spend still more. Thus, the U.S. has a negative savings rate for the first time ever. The key symptom of these problems is a housing bubble similar to the stock bubble that burst so painfully five years ago. As the stock bubble did, it makes people feel prosperous because their wealth keeps rising, at least on paper. But when such a bubble bursts, this feeling of wealth is painfully reversed. The reversal of a housing bubble can be even more brutal, though, Gignac points out. Housing can't necessarily be sold easily, and its owners usually incurred a lot of debt to buy it. Gignac believes that 2006 is the year when the housing bubble will start to deflate. If this is abrupt, it could trigger a recession.