Thursday, March 31, 2005

The meaningless death of Terri Schiavo for most of us

Schiavo Raised Profile of Disabled
Question Swirl About End-of-Life Issues

By Ceci ConnollyWashington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, April 2, 2005; Page A09

"The right wing wants to kill us slowly and painfully" with limits on health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Not Dead Yet's Coleman said. "The left wing wants to kill us quickly and call it compassion."

Let be truthful with ourselves –we will pontificate about the meaning of morality, about the fragile life(s) that has no meaning in our own lives --and cost us nothing. But to take a few steps into an institution, jail or group home, but to witness human rights abuse and disclose them to members of the community –why bother, is about what we are about.

So if the dignity of human rights is going to cost money from our pockets, we tell the politicians to lie to us, we tell the bureaucrats to withhold the true cost of human right abuses from us in a selective rules and untransparancy game –we will pay bureaucracy executives well for this miserable job of creating an illusion – such that it won’t raise our taxes and question the massive tax give-a-ways for the rich.

For an open transparent Democracy who is managed by the will of the good people, whose only interest is the truth no matter what the cost –we are not much better than the Nazi's.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A letter to the People of China

Dear President Hu Jintao,
People’s Republic of China

I have been confronting systemic political corruption in my country for the last decade. I have been involved in huge local, regional and national corruption issues, involving many tens of millions of dollars across many economic sectors. I have observed massive human rights abuses within our care of the mentally disabled. I have personally observed the preventable death of a child in one of our facilities, and the suffering of many more. I am one of the most dangerous dissident that America has in this current point in history.

I have received a lot of negative feedback within these activities –people have physically threatened my family and me at times. To my amazement, I discovered I’ve made a lot of mistakes through these activities –with my distracters pointing out my legitimate sins in their campaign to get even with me. I’ve found it very important to listen to criticisms against me, and especially painful when accurate –seems even dissidents are imperfect human being needing improvements.

I term our prison system as our American gulag – where an enormous amount of the population has become nothing but economic prisoners –they are there for no other reason than we have failed to provide these people as children with adequate resources of education, employment and housing stability. It is unconscionable that we have such a high percentage of the prison population being mentally disabled, where we find it to expensive to take care of them out in the community. In our cities and towns, many times, the care of our mentally and physically disabled are worst than the care they receive in our prisons. More amazedly, the failure of our economic model is forcing the American public to unjustly punish its most vulnerable people; the poor, sick, weak and disabled, with life threatening resources withdrawals. The American public reaction to our political and economic failures is like a husband who has unjustly recently lost his job, where he comes home in frustration to beat his wife(our vulnerable) silly for nothing she has done.

Fundamentally, I worry about what our democracy means: what if the public becomes too lazy and careless to manage our system of government –what if the owners (voters) don’t care about their property (our nation) –what if the voters don’t care about human right abuses internally –what if our system is to immature to control the accuracy of the information in the media, necessary for the owners of the nation to make educated control their property(our nation-ship)?

As you know, I have begun a campaign to charge my country with “Crimes Against humanity”, in how we disparately treat our sick, vulnerable population, and children of turmoil. I have actively recently solicited other countries to criticize the United States of America with human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, which have occurred within the boarders of my country. I am dead serious –I wish I could find a UN venue where I could charge my nation with “Crimes Against Humanity” and systemic human rights abuses. I absolutely love the ideals of human dignity outlined in our Declaration of Independence and our national Constitution; but it seems today it takes money to gain and maintain these rights of dignity, which our creator gave freely to each of us.

We have such big problems with corporate crimes in the USA. Our local, city, municipal, state and federal governments corruption cases, witness as example the Governor of Connecticut and the revolving door scandals, how about the play for pay political examples in New York City and New Jersey, our systems are riddled with corruption. What the population of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America has in common is our population confronting the burdens of corruption in each of countries. Political and economic corruptions shouldn’t be used as national tools to vilify each other –it’s what we have in common.

I want China to know how much courage it takes to criticize large economic and political systems –being how these systems always remind me that I am a sinful human being in the end –especially when they know my criticisms are accurate. I know for a fact, that many Americans are seriously concerned with the issues you raised in the March 3 “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004” ( ). I want to sincerely thank you for your criticism of our human rights record. I prey that we have the courage to correct our problems –for the world’s sake.

Maybe it can be look at it as in the science of genetics, which indicates that we are all one –in that all of our detectable physical and behavioral differences are but an undetectable percentage of our genetic code makeup. I truly believe that in order for our planet to survive through these troubled times in front of us –both of us are going to have to cooperate, as the planet has never seen before. I wish your country’s startling success.

I hope someday to visit your magnificent country. As I am a truck driver, I’d be interested in traveling up and down your highways and byways, through your city streets, as I have been doing in the USA. I would love talking to my Chinese brother’s and sister’s truck drivers. I would love to drive one of your tractor-trailer trucks on pickups and deliveries. Does your police give speeding tickets, like I’ve gotten in the USA? That’s one ticket I would gladly accept as a souvenir -um, how much would the violation cost, do points get transferred across national boundaries? I traveled throughout the USA on our highways–we have such a beautiful country and wonderful people, who are so open to visitors and outsiders. I know your country and peoples are just as beautiful as we are. I have a back ground in commercial nuclear power plant technology -I would love to visit one of your new plants.

I would love to ponder the meaning of our universe through looking at the stars, while standing in a moonless night in one of your deserts, as I have done in Nevada.

Mike Mulligan
Hinsdale, NH

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Panal says home health care must end

You see this is a lot bigger than having a “for profit” business competing. What we got here is a George Orwell like system(s) of relationships, the non-profits state bureaucracies and politicians, who basically work in the filthy smoke filled rooms – with them telling us they are working for the altruistic benefit for our truly vulnerable population. What we got here, is the bureaucrats are no better than the communist Chinese like-minded functionaries, who are only out for their self interest and power –and the nature of the game is to hide the “death” dealing dysfunction of the vulnerable care from the public. You see it everyone’s interest to hide what going on from the public, especially the governmental non-profits that have extraordinary communist traits of being non transparent and maintain close relationships to the politicians -for the good of the communist (the untransparent system of self interest that enslaves the disabled party) –or in their term to protect the privacy of the mentally disabled.

It would be better to look at this system who cares for our vulnerable; the politicians, the human service lobbyist political special interest, the non profits, the state and federal overseers –as the communist Chinese functionaries whose game to create a international and public illusion for their own gains. You should ask what’s the pay compensation of these top non profit executives are compared to the pay of the home health aids. The pay of these guys are extraordinary. Even the state human investigator have been silence to protect their jobs and the politicians

Worst, I can make the case that the public in general has decided that can’t afford to take care of the disabled –the me’s and you’s don’t care about any morality, we don’t care about any amounts of suffering, creating shunted lives…we tell the politicians to cover up the true conditions of the lives of the disabled to meet our needs of lower taxes. What it comes down too, is we tell elites of the human service industry that we will compensate you massively, you can access to extraordinary power and untransparency in your job, you’ll have political access –but you will have to starve the lower side of service to disabled. Functionally you turn the mental disability of the vulnerable into meeting the compensation needs of the human service elites and professional class. Why are all these licensed professionals keeping quite –because their compensation needs are being met on the back of the disabled.

So you get that, the mom and pops of us, the daughters and sons of us, don’t see the necessity of taking care of the weak like Jesus warned us –we’ve told the politicians, the state bureaucrats, the profits and non profits, to lie to us if you want your jobs –so we don’t have to pay taxes. Basically we’ve said our national economic system has become so dysfunctional and unaffordable –we are going to have to close our eyes to the suffering of the lowest segment of the population.

All of us have gotten into this trance where

Panel says home care monopoly must end

March 25, 2005

By John Zicconi Vermont Press Bureau
BURLINGTON — A state advisory panel wants Vermont to end the monopoly held by a dozen nonprofit home-health agencies in treating Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The Public Oversight Commission voted overwhelmingly Thursday to allow Professional Nurses Service to become Vermont's first for-profit home-health agency to treat all patients whose health care is paid by the government.

Vermont currently allows profit-making agencies to bill the government for only a small number of highly specialized home-health services.

The vote was 8-2 by the commission, which is panel of citizens charged with advising the Douglas administration about health care regulation.

The panel wants John Crowley — commissioner of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration — to issue the Winooski-based visiting nurse organization a Certificate of Need to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Crowley, who has until mid-May to rule, is under no obligation to heed the commission's advice. But compliance with its recommendation would end a monopoly now held by 12 nonprofit agencies that have divided up the state and vowed not to compete with each other.

"We are very, very excited," said Jean McHenry, president and chief executive officer of Professional Nurses Service. "I feel energized and a little numb. This is not the final decision, so I will have reserved enthusiasm until we get that. But this is a very big step."

Professional Nurses Service has been in business for a quarter-century and has treated private-pay clients in every Vermont county, McHenry said. The agency has twice before asked for state approval to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients, but was denied each time.

At McHenry's request, the U.S. Department of Justice over the winter began investigating Vermont's home-health monopoly that prevents for-profit businesses from accessing some $90 million annually in government reimbursement for possible antitrust violations.

Commission members said their recommendation is a result of the nonprofit groups' inability to care for about 5 percent of the Medicare and Medicaid population and that the federal investigation played no part in their decision.

McHenry believes otherwise.

"Its been a factor," she said. "I believe the state has to be considering the fact that this investigation continues."

Department of Justice officials did not return phone calls. But a source who has been interviewed by federal officials said it appears the enforcement agency wants to see how the state handles Professional Nurses Service's application before it issues a ruling.

Vermont's nonprofit home-health agencies do not want competition and are working on two fronts to stop it. They are encouraging Crowley not to heed the commission and lobbying the Legislature to grant them so-called "designated agency" status, which would essentially outlaw competition.

The Legislature so far has been unwilling to debate the issue. Crowley, who has attended commission meetings regarding home-health competition, declined to discuss what he will decide.

"I need to review the material that has been submitted and read the record, which is voluminous," Crowley said. "After reading the record carefully and reviewing the law, I will make a decision."

The Vermont Assembly of Home Health Care Agencies, a trade group that represents the dozen nonprofit groups, said federal data shows Vermont's noncompetitive system treats more patients per-capita than any other state.

For-profit competition could "cherry pick" high-profit clients and leave only those that cost money to the nonprofit agencies, said Phil White, the groups' attorney. Losing high-profit clients would threaten the millions of dollars in annual charity care provided by the nonprofit groups, he said.

"A market-driven home-health system is likely to have a major impact on the existing system to serve the poor, uninsured, under-insured and those who live in remote locations," White said.
"We are the only state in the country that provides universal access to home-health consumers," he said. "We are very concerned this may be a step backwards."

Commission members recognize this fear and advised Crowley to cap the number of government-subsidized patients Professional Nurses Service can treat to 5 percent of the statewide total.

About 21,000 Medicare and Medicaid patients received home care in 2004, meaning the for-profit agency could treat a little more than 1,000 people.
McHenry, who employees about 200 traveling nurses and nurse's aides, was disturbed by the cap and wondered how the Justice Department's anti-trust investigators would view such a barrier to free enterprise.

"I'm not sure the Justice Department, if it has issues with competitive practice, will be satisfied with limited choice," McHenry said. "We would rather not have restrictions, but this is a huge step. We will work with what we've got and try to improve the system over time."
Julie Bushey Trevor, a retired home-health nurse who now acts as an advocate for low-income and disabled patients, also questioned the cap.

"There is significant unmet need," Bushey Trevor said. The nonprofit agencies "provide a tremendous service … but there are a number of people out there who want a choice because they do not feel they are being properly advocated for."

Contact john Zicconi at

LA Times: Real Estate Dot-Com Bust -Crimes Against Humanity


Putting Stock in Property

Echoing the dot-com boom, many middle- class investors are rushing into real estate.
By David StreitfeldTimes Staff WriterMarch 27, 2005SAN FRANCISCO — Chris Boome, an insurance agent in the suburb of Burlingame, doesn't want to work the rest of his life. Who does? But at 58, Boome knows he hasn't saved enough to retire.

So a few weeks ago, he revamped his retirement accounts. He sold most of the mutual fund shares and used the cash to buy an $83,500 chunk of land in the Nevada hills, a stretch of ground he had seen only in a photograph.

"This is more exciting than a mutual fund," Boome said. "It feels safer too. You buy a piece of dirt, you feel you'll always have a piece of dirt."

The astounding rise in home values is enticing many middle-class Californians to bet on dirt, gambling their retirements that they can do better with property than with any other investment.

In the same way that the stock market's apparently limitless ascent in the late 1990s seduced investors into buying shares in untested dot-coms, relentlessly rising house and land prices are spurring people to do things that used to be considered unusual — if not irresponsible.

They're cashing in retirement funds, selling stock and taking out second mortgages. They're pouring the money into real estate, often in distant states, often without seeing the property."

Markets are ruled by either fear or greed," said Robert Campbell, a San Diego investor who has written a book on timing the real estate market. "At the moment, it's all about greed. Huge numbers of people are buying in at very high prices.

"Economists have been wondering for at least a year if real estate is in a manic phase that will end unhappily.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose policy of low interest rates gets credit for launching the real estate boom, also has begun to fret. "I think we're running into certain problems in certain localized areas," he told a congressional hearing last month.

Some speculators have already been burned in Las Vegas, until recently the hottest market in the country. But for most investors everywhere else, any risks are outweighed by the potential rewards.

"People who did this five years ago aren't working today," Boome said…..zzzzzz

NYT's Real Estate Dot-Com bust: Crimes Against Humanity

March 25, 2005
Trading Places: Real Estate Instead of Dot-Coms

Real estate-crazed Americans have started behaving in ways that eerily recall the stock market obsession of the late 1990's.

In Naples, Fla., some houses have been bought twice in a single day, an early-21st-century version of day trading. Buying stocks on margin has morphed into buying homes with no money down. The over-the-top parties of Internet start-ups have been replaced by flashy gatherings where developers pitch condos to eager buyers.

Five years ago, the cable channel CNBC sometimes seemed like a backdrop to daily American life. Its cheery analysis of the stock market played in offices, in barbershops, even in some bars. Today, "Dude Room," "Toolbelt Diva" and other home-improvement shows are the addictive fare that CNBC's exuberant stock shows once were.

"It just seems like everyone is doing it," Laurie Romano, a 26-year-old self-described real estate investor, said with a giggle as she explained why she was attending an open house this month for the Nexus, a 56-unit building going up in Brooklyn's chic Dumbo neighborhood. She and her fiancé, a dentist, had already put down a deposit on a Manhattan condo earlier in the week and had come to look at another at the Nexus.

Nobody can know whether the housing boom of the last decade will end as the dot-com frenzy did. But the parallels are raising alarms among many economists, even those who acknowledge that there are important differences between homes and stocks that significantly reduce the chances of another meltdown. For one thing, houses are not just paper wealth: you can live in them.

Still, perhaps the most troubling similarity, some analysts say, is the claim that the rules have somehow changed. In an echo of the blasé attitude that "new economy" investors took toward unprofitable companies, the growing ranks of real estate investors are buying houses they never expect to be able to rent at a profit. Instead, they think the prices of houses will just keep rising.
Indeed, the government reported yesterday that sales of new homes jumped sharply in February, in the biggest monthly increase in four years. A strong economy and an improving job market contributed to the gain. But many buyers were also trying to beat rising mortgage rates, which could eventually cool the market.

Adding to the parallels between stocks and housing, some of the doomsayers from the 1990's have returned with new warnings.

"We're going through something very similar in real estate that we did with stocks," said Robert J. Shiller - a professor of economics at Yale, whose prescient book on stocks, "Irrational Exuberance" (Princeton University Press, 2000), appeared just a few months before technology stocks began their slide. "It's driven by the same forces: that investments can't go bad; that it has the potential to make you rich; that you'll regret it if you don't do it; that it looks expensive but is really not."

A new edition of Mr. Shiller's book will be published next month. The cover promises an "analysis of the worldwide real estate bubble and its aftermath."

Premonitions of a bubble on the verge of popping do not ruffle those who are bullish on real estate. In Miami, Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors, predicted that a limited supply of land coupled with demand from baby boomers and foreigners would prolong the boom indefinitely.

"South Florida," he said, "is working off of a totally new economic model than any of us have ever experienced in the past."

The can't-miss aura of real estate has also helped nudge many families to invest more of their personal wealth in real estate by buying more expensive homes and taking on riskier mortgages - much as ordinary workers used their 401(k) plans to bet on company stocks.

There are certainly serious reasons to believe that house prices will not suffer the fate of technology stocks. Not only are houses more tangible, but people do not sell their homes as quickly as stocks, making a panic much less likely. Because of tax advantages, few owners are likely to sell and rent something else simply because local house prices start to decline.

As high as they might seem now on the coasts, home prices nationally have not quite doubled over the last decade; during the 1990's, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index more than quadrupled.

"I just don't think we have what it takes to prick the bubble," said Diane C. Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, who was an optimist during the 90's. "I don't think prices are going to fall, and I don't think they're even going to be flat."

Such confidence about real estate has created a 1990's-like stampede of new investors. The night before the Nexus party, Patrick Cullert, 31, and Jennifer Mathews, 29, who are engaged, camped out to ensure they would be near the head of the line for one of 16 condos to be sold at the party. It was today's version of pestering a broker for shares in a hot public offering.

And many former stock market enthusiasts are now turning to housing. Douglas Paul, a 46-year-old former analyst, left AT&T in 2002 to buy and sell stocks on his own. But he soon decided that real estate could be another way to make quick profits. Mr. Paul owns two condominium units around Fort Lauderdale and one in Miami Beach, all bought during the last year, in addition to the one where he lives. He plans to sell one of the Fort Lauderdale condos in June for what he believes will be double his investment.

"It really is a very hot real estate market, and I don't know how long it's going to continue," he said. "But in the short term, why not profit from it?"

Mr. Paul's path is an increasingly common one. The National Association of Realtors estimates that nearly one-quarter of home purchases last year were made by people who thought of the house as an investment rather than a place to live. Seminars promising to teach amateurs the tricks of real estate speculation have proliferated.

Even at Harvard Business School, where students have traditionally gravitated to careers in investment banking and corporate marketing, real estate is suddenly hot. About 25 graduates have taken real estate jobs in each of the last two years, up from only six in 2001.
It is not quite the gold rush of 2000, when about 200 Harvard M.B.A. graduates flocked to technology companies. But even if they are not working in real estate, some of those graduates are now investing in it.

Andrew Farquharson, a member of the class of 1999, said he recently teamed up with a high school friend to buy a home in the Central Valley of California "out of pure speculation." He knows of other classmates who have made similar investments.

"I look at this as a short-term investment," said Mr. Farquharson, 36, who works for a venture capital firm, "and plan to unload it as soon as things look dangerous."

In addition to the flood of investors, the parallels between real estate and stocks extend into mainstream culture.

Real estate bulletin boards and blogs like and Real Estate Pimp have taken the place of financial chat rooms like Tokyo Joe's. ABC has a breakout hit in "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and Home and Garden Television, a once-obscure cable channel, now draws an average of 827,000 viewers in prime time.

The seemingly inevitable how-to guide inspired by Donald Trump - "Trump Strategies for Real Estate" (John Wiley & Sons) by George Ross, one of Mr. Trump's assistants on his hit show "The Apprentice" - is a strong seller, already hitting No. 177 on's list in March, less than a month after its release.

At the Nexus party in Brooklyn, Steve Nguyen, Ms. Romano's fiancé, said he was heeding Mr. Trump's advice. "He says buy, buy, buy," Dr. Nguyen said.

The same message is being trumpeted by David A. Lereah, chief economist of the Realtors association, who argues in his new book, "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?" (Currency), that real estate investors will "experience substantial and satisfying wealth gains" into the next decade.

The question that looms over these books is whether they will suffer the fate of another optimistic talisman, "Dow 36,000" (Times Books), which was a best seller in late 1999. Its authors, James K. Glassman and Kevin A. Hassett, argued that stock prices, despite five years of roaring gains, "could double, triple or even quadruple tomorrow and still not be too high."
The Dow Jones industrial average hovered around 11,000 when "Dow 36,000" was published. It dropped below 8,000 in 2002 and closed at 10,442.87 yesterday.

Another lingering echo of the stock market boom is the role of the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. In the 1990's, the Fed kept interest rates relatively low because it saw little risk of rising inflation despite a booming economy, helping feed a fever for stocks. Alan Greenspan, the Fed chairman, famously asked aloud in 1996 whether "irrational exuberance" was driving the stock market, but then backed off from second-guessing investors.

After the market plunged and the economy weakened, the Fed pushed interest rates down to 50-year lows, helping to fuel the housing boom. This month, Mr. Greenspan made some comments about housing that offered a faint echo of his 1996 musings.

"Analysts have conjectured that the extended period of low interest rates is spawning a bubble in housing prices in the United States that will, at some point, implode," Mr. Greenspan said in a speech in New York, adding that real estate speculation had shown a "marked increase." Nevertheless, he said he did not expect a "destabilizing" drop in prices, in part because home prices across the country have never fallen significantly.

But by one measure, houses in at least a few metropolitan areas are as expensive as telecommunications stocks were in 1999, relative to their underlying value.
The average house in San Jose, Calif., costs 35 times what it would cost to rent for a year, according to, a research company. In New York and West Palm Beach, this ratio - a rough equivalent of the price-earnings ratio for stocks - is almost 25.

In March 2000, the price-earnings ratio of the Standard & Poor's 500 - the combined price of the stocks, divided by their profits per share - peaked around 32, and it was briefly even higher for telecommunications stocks. The S.& P.'s P.E. ratio has since fallen to around 20.

Still, no matter how expensive real estate might be, it continues to provide many owners a return worth boasting about.

Holly Peterson, who is writing a novel about the idiosyncrasies of New York's rich, said that at dinner parties in Manhattan, she frequently hears complaints about high home prices, followed by claims of quick profits. "They always hit you with their last jab: 'Of course my money's doubled three times over since I got married,' " she said.

Five years ago, she said, friends at parties were crowing about "making millions of dollars on paper with $25,000 and $50,000 investments." But "most of those people," she added, "got wiped out."

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China accuses the USA with “Crimes Against Humanity” on its population.

It’s what happens when our country descends into dysfunction. Our media has become an international embarrassment and its not worthy of great country –and its sickening that China talks with greater integrity about ourselves than we can !!!!!


People's Daily Online ---

Following is the full text of the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004,
released by the Information office of China's State Council Thursday, March 3, 2005.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004

By the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

March 3, 2005

In 2004 the atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark side of human rights performance of the United States. The scandal shocked the humanity and was condemned by the international community. It is quite ironic that on Feb. 28 of this year, the State Department of the United States once again posed as the "the world human rights police" and released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. As in previous years, the reports pointed fingers at human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions (including China) but kept silent on the US misdeeds in this field. Therefore, the world people have to probe the human rights record behind the Statue of Liberty in the United States…..

……Every year, 1.98 out of every 100,000 American children were killed by their parents or guardians. In Maryland, the rate was as high as 2.4 per 100,000. (Md Child Abuse Deaths Exceed National Average, The Sun, May 18, 2004). The Houston Chronicle newspaper reported on Oct. 2, 2004 that in Texas, each staff of local government departments responsible for protecting children's rights handled 50 child abuse cases every month.

Two thirds of juvenile detention facilities in the United States lock up mentally ill youth; every day, about 2,000 youth were incarcerated simply because community mental health services were unavailable. In 33 states, juvenile detention centers held youth with mental illness without any specific charges against them.


The USA Today reported on July 8, 2004 that between Jan. 1 and June 30 of 2003, 15,000 youth detained in US youth detention centers were awaiting mental health services, while children at the age of 10 or younger were locked up in 117 youth detention centers. The detention centers totally ignored human rights and personal safety with excessive use of drugs and force, and failed to take care of inmates with mental problems in a proper way. They even locked up prisoners in cages. There were reports about scandals involving correctional authorities in California, where two juvenile inmates hanged themselves after they were badly beaten by jail police (San Jose Mercury News and Singtao Daily, March 18, 2004)….

The United States has been hindering the work of the United Nation's human rights mechanism. And it either took no notice of or used delaying tactics on the requests of relevant UN agencies to visit its Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.

Some justice-upholding developing countries introduced draft resolutions on America's democracy and human rights situation to the 59th UN General Assembly, to show their strong concern over the US human rights infringement, prisoner abuse, media control, and loopholes in its election system.

It is the common goal and obligation for all countries in the world to promote and safeguard human rights. No country in the world can claim itself as perfect and has no room for improvement in the human rights area. And no country should exclude itself from the international human rights development process, or view itself as the incarnation of human rights which can reign over other countries and give orders to the others. Even the United States shall be no exception.

Despite tons of problems in its own human rights, the United States continues to stick to its belligerent stance, wantonly trample on the sovereignty of other countries, and constantly stage tragedies of human rights infringement in the world.

Instead of indulging itself in publishing the "human rights country report" to censure other countries unreasonably, the United States should reflect on its erroneous behavior on human rights and take its own human rights problems seriously. The double standards of the United States on human rights and its exercise of hegemonism and power politics under the pretext of promoting human rights will certainly put itself in an isolated and passive position and beget opposition from all just members of the international community.

Crimes Against Humanity: housing for the disabled

Lack of housing traps some people at state hospital

By Anne Saunders, Associated Press Writer March 27, 2005

CONCORD, N.H. -- Ella Drew is ready for her own apartment.

Since leaving the state mental hospital, she's learned to plan meals, shop, clean and organize her time. She's taking medicine for her schizophrenia and she's stopped drinking.
But six months ago, she was told she'd have to wait up to a year for a federally subsidized apartment. While she waits, someone at the state hospital is waiting for her spot at Fellowship House, a small group home.

A recent study found that for 25 percent of the people at the hospital, the lack of community housing -- not their medical condition -- was the biggest barrier to discharge.
It costs $756 a day to keep a person at New Hampshire Hospital. Closing 24 of the 202 beds there and shifting people to group homes would save an estimated $2.4 million a year, according to the study.

Group homes vary from $100 to $280 per day, depending on the level of supervision. Supported independent living is even less, about $32 per day, the study found.
It's a problem around the country, and one that could get worse as President Bush proposes cuts in federal housing programs and Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor and disabled. States, for which Medicaid is a big and growing cost, are looking at their own cuts.
"It's getting tougher and tougher and we're getting worried," said David Miller, senior policy associate with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. "I really do think there are a lot of black clouds on the horizon."

Nationally, state institutions house about 48,000 mental patients, Miller said.
In New Hampshire, the growing population puts additional pressure on the state hospital. Two years ago, the hospital added 18 beds after repeatedly turning people away.
"We see nothing to stop the growth," said hospital Superintendent Chester Batchelder. New group homes and supported housing will be required just to keep up, he said. Without them, "the system will sort of crash around us."

Jails, schools and regular hospitals bear the brunt when state facilities run out of room.
"The amount of tax dollars it costs to treat them in these other systems is vastly more," Miller said. He and others say it's a matter of "pay me now or pay me later."

Batchelder said the hospital expects to admit 1,800 patients this year, double the number in 1988. He calculates the state needs to add 10-12 group-home beds a year just to stay even with demand.

The Department of Health and Human Services' budget included $600,000 toward a new, 12-bed group home, but House budget writers have cut that money from their preliminary budget.
Drew, 49, was once one of the people waiting to leave the hospital. After about six months there, she spent 14 months in transitional housing on the hospital grounds, a program similar to a group home but with more treatment and medical support. At just under $500 per day, it's still one-third cheaper than the hospital.

Four years ago, transitional housing was just that, with the vast majority of people leaving within a year for placements in the community, according to program director Dennis D'Ovidio. Now the average stay is almost two years.

"They come over here with a lot of hope and they have goals they're working on," said Robin Hardy-Groce, a case manager with the transitional program. "The longer people have to remain here, you can see their hopes get dashed. ... We've seen folks stay here for years."
After waiting to no avail for a group home, one woman is considering moving to a boarding house. The staff worries that without support, she faces a greater likelihood of winding up back in the hospital.

What's really needed is a continuum of housing options, according to Fellowship Housing Opportunities Inc., which manages Fellowship House and 41 apartments in the community. Fellowship House is home base for roughly 75 people who stop by to get their medication or seek help in solving housemate difficulties.

"There's still not enough," said Page Cannon, the nonprofit's executive director.
Concord has about one-third of all the state's community-based housing for the chronically mentally ill. Manchester and Nashua have about another third combined and the rest are scattered. The Seacoast has few options. The North Country has three group homes, providing about 26 beds in Conway, Littleton and Berlin.

The 10 Community Mental Health Centers say they could create more group homes if the political will was there.

Cannon and other people who run group homes say the biggest obstacle is Medicaid rates that don't cover costs. With reimbursements at $81 per day per person, adding group homes means losing money.

It's also complicated and time-consuming. Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord recently added four beds to an existing house. But the beds sat vacant for a year because of licensing obstacles.

State Rep. James MacKay said the system is close to the breaking point. He wants a comprehensive study of the problem and possible solutions, something the state health department supports.

Meanwhile, Drew waits.

She's eager for her own place "so I can do my own chores, so I don't have a lot of people under my feet. I hope I can hear from them soon."
On the Net:

Original sin?

…….''The Selfish Gene.'' If deceit, he wrote, ''is fundamental to animal communication, then there must be strong selection to spot deception and this ought, in turn, to select for a degree of self-deception, rendering some facts and motives unconscious so as not to betray-by the subtle signs of self-knowledge-the deception being practiced.” “Thus, the idea that the brain evolved to produce ''ever more accurate images of the world must be a very naive view of mental evolution. “We've evolved, in other words, to delude ourselves so as better to fool others-all in the service of the great game of propagating our genes.”

Is he saying that in large institutional failure that involve grand delusions and corruptions –that evolution created our instincts to delude ourselves. Will we soon be seeing in the court room corruption trials of the mega CEO’s (within the “I so stupid strategy-WorldCom), that evolution create the need in me and my executives to defraud billions from the stockholder in defense of my species primary evolutionary prime objective.

So Joseph had a choice of following the rules (stone her for adultery) of the old bible (genetics-mechanical logic), or believe in the creative ideals of the shared sacred future through an angle….do we all have that choice…… Are we listening to that angle….

Mathew 1:18

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

The evolutionary revolutionary

In the 1970s, Robert Trivers wrote a series of papers that transformed evolutionary biology. Then he all but disappeared. Now he’s back—and ready to rumble.

By Drake Bennett March 27, 2005

….His ideas, however, seemed to do just fine without him. In the 1970s, Trivers published five immensely influential papers that braided genetics into behavioral biology, using a gene's-eye view of evolution to explain behaviors from bird warning calls to cuckoldry to sibling rivalry to revenge. According to David Haig, a Harvard professor of biology and a leading genetic theorist, each paper virtually founded a research field. ''Most of my career has been based on exploring the implications of one of them,'' says Haig. ''I don't know of any comparable set of papers.''
Trivers's ideas have rippled out into anthropology, psychology, sociology, medicine, even economics. His work provided the intellectual basis for the then-emergent field of sociobiology (now better known as evolutionary psychology), which sought to challenge our conceptions of family, sex, friendship, and ethics by arguing (controversially) that everything from rape to religion is bred in the bone through the process of evolution. The linguist and Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker calls Trivers ''one of the great thinkers in the history of Western thought.''

…. A major new book on genetic conflicts within individual organisms, coauthored with Austin Burt, a geneticist at Imperial College London, is due out next spring from Harvard University Press. And thanks to Brockman-agent to some of the biggest names in science-he's under contract with Viking Penguin to write a popular book on the evolutionary origins of deceit and self-deception, one that will argue that humans have evolved, in essence, to misunderstand the world around them. Trivers thinks it could be the most important topic he has yet studied.

…. He's certainly returning to the ideas generated by that work. The book on deceit and self-deception that he's now starting grows out of a brief but widely cited passage from his introduction to Dawkins's ''The Selfish Gene.'' If deceit, he wrote, ''is fundamental to animal communication, then there must be strong selection to spot deception and this ought, in turn, to select for a degree of self-deception, rendering some facts and motives unconscious so as not to betray-by the subtle signs of self-knowledge-the deception being practiced.'' Thus, the idea that the brain evolved to produce ''ever more accurate images of the world must be a very naive view of mental evolution.'' We've evolved, in other words, to delude ourselves so as better to fool others-all in the service of the great game of propagating our genes.

For Trivers, this isn't a mere technical question but the key to unlocking all sorts of deep human mysteries.

''I'm trying to take it every [expletive] place I can,'' Trivers told me. ''It's a critical topic. How many pretenders to the throne have there been? Marx had a theory of self-deception, Freud thought he had the topic knocked. So there've been a lot of major-domos in there. None of that [expletive] survived the test of time, so it's a huge opportunity.''

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Median housing jumps 11%

U.S. existing home sales fall 0.4 percent

Median home price jumps 11 percent to $191,000

Updated: 10:49 a.m. ET March 23, 2005

WASHINGTON - Sales of existing U.S. homes fell 0.4 percent in February, while home prices rose at double-digit rates, a trade association report showed Wednesday.
Sales of previously owned homes declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.79 million units last month, the National Association of Realtors said. That figure includes both single-family homes and condominiums.

Single-family home sales slid 0.3 percent in February to a 5.94 million unit rate from a 5.96 million unit pace in January. Condo sales dropped 1.2 percent to an 848,000 unit rate from an 858,000 unit pace in January.

Analysts had expected sales to fall to a 6.70 million unit rate from January’s upwardly revised 6.82 million clip.

The national median home price jumped 11.0 percent to $191,000 from the same month a year earlier, the NAR report showed.

David Lereah, the group’s chief economist, said the housing market appeared to be in the early stages of settling down.

“Home sales were surging at unprecedented levels for most of last year,” he said. “The cooling we expect in sales this year means we’ll be transitioning from a white-hot housing market into a very strong market that still favors home sellers, but should become more balanced as the year progresses.”

The death of my mother: Marion Mulligan

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The death of my mother: Marion Mulligan

(It’s amazing how time prepares us for the future –or better yet trains us for what is ahead of us. We are well versed in the worth of a disabled life –and the controversy surrounding death of a loved one).

I remember clearly being in my mothers Hospital emergency room in around 1990. She was hooked up to a ventilator and all those of tubes. It seemed straightly quite and peaceful –I was waiting for my brother and sister to come to the hospital. I remember the doctors talking about the curled arch of my mother’s foot –they said this was the result of my mother’s increasing brain damage. Iit definitely was curled. She had a severe stroke. She smoked and drank to the bitter end.

I also remember when I was a child of about 8 or 9 years old. My father died of a heart attack at the young age of 44 –I was seven when he died. My mother would go out drinking with a married man friend a few years later after my dads death –she’d come home to the low income inner city project drunk all the time. Many times she’d end up in a fight with this man –there would be huge drunken fight in his car sitting outside the house. The neighbors got quite used to these enormous screaming fights. Humorously, they found out at times there would be ripped up bills (Money) and broken jewelry on the ground where the car was the night before –and my mother would send out her kids to pick up the pieces. All the adults in our part of the project had boyfriends and girlfriends –many who came in and out of their houses all the time. I mean, there was family fights all the time –it was always funny watching your neighbor in a funny fight with a spouse or friend….

More time than I care to think about, she’d get into the house still in an enormous rage. She’d wake us up going into each of our rooms telling us we were no good son of a bitches and lazy –we’d never amount to anything –and we would hear all the time that “we’d be sorry when she was dead and gone”. She’d go on a tirade for about an hour until her rage was spent. She’d hit us at time, slap our faces and heads, but we quickly leant to dodge her drunken blows.

Where does it come from when her children can look at this child abuse in a humorous manner? The next morning we would talk to each other about her visits –and our management of her outburst, screaming in our rooms –and we’d think it was extremely funny when one of us got stuck in a corner of the room. What we’d learnt later was the trick to say something funny to my mother, make fun of the situation –and if you got her laughing, her rage would be over for everyone. That humor ended up burying a lot in all of us kids–and it was very destructive to each of us.

My mother was still living in that project in 1985. The boyfriend had turned into a long term partner –but he died a few years earlier. My wife and I visited her often. We recognized she was floundering in that project –but I told my wife I was not going to rescue her. We’d adopted my daughter in 1986–talk about what a miracle can do to you. I worried about what my mother would think about a Korean adoption being she was so proud of being Irish –but she’d came from an international project community. I started to see something different in my mother eyes as I brought my daughter to my mothers project apartment –or was it a change in me. I’d asked her to come live up north with us, we’d find you an apartment –amazingly she agreed.

I’d thought I’d never leave my daughter alone with my mother. But I’d notice after a few months she was drinking less –and was more responsible when she was drinking. She made a few friends in the apartment –and she was having a good time. My daughter and my mother absolutely lit each other up when they were together. We began leaving my daughter alone with my mother for a short period –then longer periods –she always wanted to take care of Kristie. I began watching my daughter’s relationship with my mother –and I knew that Kristie was delighted with staying with my mother. A wonderful special relationship developed between them –and that’s how I began of forgive my mother for her past problems. In the end, my feeling about my mother was transformed –I could only forgive her through the love I’d seen in my daughter’s eyes for my mother. How truly fortunate I was in those last two years!

So one morning I am talking care of my daughter when I got a phone call from one of my mother’s friends. She’d told me my mother had a head ache, it had gotten worst –now she was becoming unresponsive and she was making noises while breathing. I’d told them to call the ambulance –I'll be right down with my daughter. When I got down there I’d notice the police car –I’d went up to her apartment. She was sitting on the couch –she was making terrible noise while breathing –the officer said the ambulance is right around the corner. I became so frighten to be near her –but I’d grabbed her hand and she squeezed it. She couldn’t talk, but I knew she kept trying to regain hold of my hand. They took her to the local hospital –then up to Dartmouth hospital.

Her primary doctor told us she had a huge stroke in her head. It was right over her motor control; he said we’d had a horrible decision ahead of us. He’d told us in a meeting with my brother and sister that he’d thought she wouldn’t survive the next few days –and he’d would be a vegetable if she did survive. He said she would never be able to feed herself again. He’d told us we could withhold medical care from her –and she would quickly die. We’d quickly agreed that my mother repetively talked about wanting to die if she became not able to take care of herself. We agreed to pull the plug on my mother.

We were by ourselves, my brother and sister; I said you know we got to get another’s doctors opinion on this. I just wanted another doctor’s validation of the prognosis. Before long we were we in a meeting with both these doctors. The new doctor didn’t have such a stark opinion as the first one, but he said the damage was severe. It seemed the first doctor was a little perturbed with second one’s opinion, which unnerved me. We still agreed to pull the plug.

The doctor said they would remove the meds intended to reduce her brain swelling. He said the brain would swell, would begin protruding out of the area by her spine – then he would give her increasingly amounts of morphine –and the swelling would stop her breathing and heart beat.

It took about two days before her brain was swelled enough before they would risk talking her off the ventilator. I remember being in her room by myself –I commanded my mother to move her right toe. It made a movement to my horror. I never asked her to do that again. I rationalized it was a coincidence –an involuntary movement done at the right time.

The doctor said he was ready to give my mother a respiratory test. My guess the doctor was engineering my mothers death for us –making sure when we got in the room for the final time –he’d remove my mother from the respirator in front of us –she’d stop breathing immediately and her heart beat would stop in a few minutes for us.

The doctor came back saying my mother was ready for us. We got in there –they quickly remove my mother from the respirator –all the other line had been removed.My younger brother began having second thoughts –he said he thought she was suffocating, he couldn’t take it. The doctor calmly told him your mother can’t feel anything at all. My brother regained control of himself –and we all waited for our mother's heart to stop.

We were all crying!

It was so ugly her death –it was so horrible those last few days. I clearly remember the uncertainties that kept popping up.We all have no regrets for what we did.Thanks,mike mulliganHinsdale, Nh

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Enronization of Terri Schiavo's life

“Senate majority leader Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, stepped into a nearly empty chamber at 6:15 last night and said Congress ''has been working nonstop over the last three days to do its part to uphold human dignity and affirm a culture of life."”

"Republicans defined their extraordinary efforts in the context of the sanctity of life: "A society is judged by the way that it treats its most vulnerable citizens," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.
"No person in America should be deprived of the right to life without due process of law and Terri Schiavo is no different," Pence said."

So you see where this has gone with the religionist conservatives –the hypocrisy of this is startling. I could make the case its cheep conservative political PR –the political religionist conservative don’t care one wit about the lives of the disabled. The just want a cheap PR message up and running, saying they are for human dignity for the least of us. But, how can they tolerate the current condition of the mentally disabled on a national level, one that even questions a national character with charging America with Crimes Against Humanity.

You get that, they want a public image that they care for the dignity of the least of us –while the undercurrents of the results of their politics leads to the suffering and deaths of 10,000’s of the disabled.

What about the democrats –they are so wrapped up in the politics of the human service establishment getting votes from these liberals, who end up hiding more public information on the current state of the system –they become a non-participant in this controversy because they have observed the horrors of the system –because they themselves had to withhold the truth of the system from the public if they wanted to get their friends elected.

What a national disgrace both these political parties have become!!!!!!!!.

mike mulligan

Reforming UN and barring USA from Human Rights Commission

The USA should be bared from participating in the UN Human Rights Commission because we are performing “Crimes Against Humanity (CAH)” on our mentally disabled population –and in other disadvantaged population. I could also make the case that we are treating the black population with CAH, with their educational, economic and medical racial differances too.

So how much different are we than Cuba, Libya and Sudan in how we treat and hide the appalling condition of our mentally disabled and children of turmoil –foster care? Fundamentally, in Cuba, Libya and Sudan, the tyrant degrades the dignity of their population so as to maintain power –while in the USA we degrade the dignity of innocence human beings because of political budgetary consideration. In Syria, a tyrant maintains political control of a country by the threat and use of terrorism –while in the USA, the public inflicts Crimes Against Humanity on the weak, poor and disabled through an immoral economic disparity and massive lack of resources –while giving explosive tax breaks to the rich.

So, in the Sudan you got a few tyrants abusing all of the population –while in the USA you got the rich majority stealing opportunity and food from the disabled -instead of paying their fair share of taxes.

I don’t know who is worst?


March 20, 2005
Annan Will Recommend Sweeping Reforms for the U.N.

NITED NATIONS, March 20 - Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed today sweeping reforms of the United Nations, recommending the expansion of the Security Council to reflect modern realities of global power and need, the restructuring of the discredited Human Rights Commission to keep rights violators from becoming members, and the adoption of a definition of terror that would end justifying it as an act of national resistance….

…The measures were outlined in a 63-page report from Mr. Annan titled "In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all" that was released today at the United Nations after details from drafts had emerged this weekend in The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

….Mr. Annan said the Human Rights Commission, which in recent years has included Cuba, Libya and Sudan among its members, had been undermined by allowing participation by countries whose purpose was "not to strengthen human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize others. As a result," he said, "a credibility deficit has developed, which casts a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole."

…He recommended replacing the 53-nation Human Rights Commission with a smaller Human Rights Council, whose members would not be chosen by regional groups as is now the case but by a two-thirds vote of the 191-nation General Assembly. "Those elected," he said, "should undertake to abide by the highest human rights standards."
Copyright 2005Help Back to Top

Institutionalized IED's at Vermont Yankee

So if the VY rad dose was outage related (result of a component change) – say ending May 4 2004 …then the state fence dose should be (4months/12) 25% higher, thus and additional 6.23 mrem ending in 31.1mrem for a full effective year. We do remember post 2004 outage; there was NRC talk about all of the contamination incidences coming out of the outage. Sure sounds like bad fuel –but it could be because of the scope of the outage.

I talked about my theory in the past –about being in the construction phase of the first set of new nuclear power plants with a catastrophe at the first generation (old) leading to the political destruction of the new plants.

Of course, we could be talking about a rather minor fuel melt, which would be bad enough. But in the mind's eyes of the public, the accident would uncover massive collusion and corruption within the NRC and the nuclear industry. Much like in TMI, it was the uncovering of the massive institutional latent failures that leveraged the magnitude of the accident in the public's eyes and media –with the regulatory and utilities being extraordinarily foolish, arrogant and blind in not perceiving that they were shooting themselves in the foot prior to the TMI accident.

So, the planetary catastrophic scenario would go like this –I do mean the public relation fallout would impact the nuclear industry outside the USA. VY would have a partial fuel melt, which lead to a rather small dose being released across the fence boundary. There might have been some fumbling in the control room –with the avalanche starting from a component that should have been fixed. It would be nice if there was some fumbling in the off site declaration –with much public panicking –and troubles getting the buses to the schools. You understand the power uprate, relicencing and all the rest of the historical regulatory problems at the plant would feed into the public and media frenzy.

During the unprecedented scrutiny, including international condemnation, it came out, as in the current issues of VY that the fence reading of the state and VY were indicating grossly different doses–with VY reading being underreported for emergency planning purposes. So in this unprecedented media storm, all the rest of the plants radiation reporting and detection processes would come under close scrutiny. If it came to be that more plants than VY have intentionally created this illusionary reporting of public doses –then our national and international political consequences would be astronomical.

It is my understand that many good-hearted people have spent a lifetime in preparing for the next nuclear generation –we'd just wasted their efforts. I might add, in our coming energy shortages and global warming –the inability to use nuclear power may raise havoc with our economy, and I consider this a severe national security issue.

We think this model of latent institutional breakdowns is systemic throughout the industry, as in the Vermont Yankee fence dose controversy –it has been a policy of our politician's and NRC to accept widespread nuclear power plant corruption in the name of many flawed safety philosophies of the industry. So a moderate accident at any time in these nuclear power plants have the potential to set off a public, bureaucratic and political avalanche with uncovering accepted corruption as these plants –with the snowball that started it being insignificant to the unimagined damaged cause by the avalanche. Didn't we see that in Davis Besse –were the massive cultural failure of the industry and the utility led to the stupid hole in the head.

We think in the current system there had been planted many institutional political and regulatory IEDS laying under/near the roadsides; with a moderate trigger accident necessary to create a national public firestorm with uncovering widespread normalized corruption.

It seems to us almost like self-sabotage for the next nuclear generation –and for all of us in the up coming energy crisis.

…a lot of leakers would prematurely fill up the fuel pool leading to a shutdown before 2007?

mike mulligan

Hinsdale, NH

Thursday, March 17, 2005



MOSCOW, March 17. (RIA Novosti)-Yesterday, Chief of the Russian General Staff Yury Baluyevsky left for China to settle a scandal over the first Russian-Chinese military exercise, Commonwealth-2005, which is due to be held this fall off the Yellow Sea coast, writes Kommersant.

The initial plans were to practice operational teamwork in combating terrorism during the exercise. However, Beijing, skillfully changing the format of the exercise, has tried to re-orient the two countries' armies to practicing an invasion of Taiwan.

The choice of where the exercise will take place became a stumbling block. The Russian military selected the Xinjiang-Uigur autonomous region, basing their choice on the area's problematic nature due to Uigur separatists and its proximity to Central Asia, which has become an arena in the fight against international terrorism. However, Beijing flatly rejected the proposal. Instead, it suggested the Zhejiang province near Taiwan.

A joint exercise in this area would look too provocative and trigger a strong reaction not only from Taiwan but also America and Japan, which recently included the island in the zone of their common strategic interests.

Beijing is trying to use Russia as an additional lever of pressure on the disobedient island to show it that its policy is also causing dissatisfaction in Russia, from which the Taiwanese are expecting assistance in their dialogue with Beijing and bid to join the WTO and the UN.

On the Russian military's insistence, the exercise was shifted north to the Shangdong peninsula. However, the Chinese are trying to change the format of the exercise with proposals to enlarge the contingents with Marines and Pacific Fleet warships. Marine landings to seize the area will be practiced during the "antiterrorist" exercise.

Russia's agreement to hold the exercise will inevitably cause a furor in America, Japan and Taiwan. But a refusal will spoil relations with China, which three months ago courteously agreed to Russia's proposal to hold an exercise.


Eugenics: Harvard Study Leads to Legislation

Harvard study leads to legislation

By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press Writer March 17, 2005

WASHINGTON --A study about mothers of Down syndrome children that was published just this month by a Harvard Medical School student has quickly made its way to the halls of Congress.

Brian Skotko's survey found that doctors don't provide pregnant women with enough information about Down syndrome and the prospects for their child after birth. All too often, said Skotko, the mothers received the news about their child in a negative, gloomy fashion that failed to relay any positive information about the child's life expectancy and possible development.

On Wednesday, two senators offered new legislation that would require doctors to provide expectant mothers with up-to-date, scientific information about the child's condition, possible treatment options and expected development. It also calls for a study of existing health care and support services.

"Our real vision should be for families to grow and prosper and continue to bring new life into the world -- and we need to support that effort," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
Skotko, also a student at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, culled his study results from 1,250 survey responses he got from mothers in Down syndrome parent organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Colorado, and North Carolina.

"Doctors continue to find it very challenging to deliver a diagnosis like Down syndrome to an otherwise happy expectant mom," said Skotko, who has a sister with Down syndrome.
Beth Allard, a Boston-area parent who brought her young son Ben to Capitol Hill Wednesday, said when an expectant mother is told her child will have Down syndrome or some other condition, it is scary and confusing.

Kennedy and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said parents need to be equipped to handle the diagnosis.

"For some conditions that can be detected in the womb, we are aborting 80 percent or more of the babies who test positive," said Brownback. "The effect of this sort of weeding out is creating new eugenics, a form of systematic, disability-based discrimination."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Is the Global Economy Unstable?

Is the Global Economy Unstable?

By Robert J. SamuelsonWednesday, March 16, 2005; Page A23

One of the big questions of our time is whether the global economy is stable. The gains from "globalization" -- more cross-border trade, investment and technology transfers -- are indisputable. Countless millions have escaped poverty in Asia and Europe. A recent study by the Institute for International Economics concluded that American living standards are roughly 10 percent higher as a result of globalization's benefits (cheap imports, greater competition, new technologies). Globalization's winners vastly outnumber its losers.

Unfortunately, that could change if the world economy turns out to be unstable -- incapable of sustaining adequate growth or vulnerable to severe crises. For the moment the dangers are abstract. In 2004 the global economy grew 4.7 percent, economists at Goldman Sachs report. Asia (excluding Japan) grew 8.2 percent; Latin America, 5.6 percent; the United States, 4.4 percent. Global economic growth should average about 4 percent in 2005 and 2006, the Goldman economists predict. Still, the specter of instability lingers.

Global economic integration -- the merging of markets, the mutual dependencies of countries -- has raced well ahead of either political integration or intellectual mastery. We simply don't understand well how the global economy operates. Nor is it clear how countries with diverging interests and shared suspicions will cooperate in a crisis.

One obvious problem is oil. Even if the United States could end dependence on imports for 64 percent of its oil demand (a practical impossibility anytime soon), Europe would still import 80 percent of its needs and Japan 100 percent. Any major shutdown of Persian Gulf exports -- from war, terrorism or a political act -- could devastate the world economy. Global terrorism or a world pandemic would also pose threats beyond the initial tragedies. Countries might try to protect themselves from outsiders -- imposing restrictions on trade, travel and immigration -- in ways that would destroy global commerce.

At present the greatest peril may lie in huge global trade imbalances -- and the financial pressures they create. The basic dilemma is that the world needs American trade deficits as an "engine" of growth, compensating for weak growth in Europe and Japan. But the same trade deficits may now be destabilizing because they send large amounts of dollars abroad. The danger: a dollar "crash" on foreign exchange markets that spills over into the U.S. stock and bond markets, driving down those markets and triggering a global recession.

Look at the numbers. In 2004 the U.S. current account deficit reached an estimated $650 billion, or a record 5.6 percent of gross domestic product. (The current account includes all trade, plus other international payments such as those generated by travel and tourism.) The mirror images of U.S. deficits are other countries' surpluses. In 2004 Japan's current account surplus was 3.7 percent of GDP, Germany's was 2.9 percent and China's was 2.3 percent, estimates. But even with the stimulus of selling to the United States, economic growth in Europe and Japan has averaged only 2 percent and 1.5 percent annually since 1994.

What's the problem? Foreign exporters receive dollars for what they ship to the United States. If those dollars aren't reinvested in American assets -- say, U.S. stocks, bonds or Treasury securities -- they'll be sold on foreign exchange markets for other currencies: the euro, the yen, the pound. As dollar sales drive down its value, foreigners note that their existing U.S. stocks and bonds are worth less in their own currencies. So they may sell U.S. securities to limit losses. At the end of 2003, foreigners owned $1.5 trillion in U.S. stocks; widespread sales could trigger steep market declines.

The risk is an economic implosion. A sinking stock market could damage American consumer confidence and spending. Higher currencies for Europe and Japan could weaken their export competitiveness. (A higher currency tends to make a country's exports more expensive and its imports cheaper.) Together, the United States, Europe and Japan are half the global economy. If they went into recession, other countries might follow.

Economists are divided. Some fear the worst, because the world is flooded with dollars. Relax, say others. Asian central banks (their versions of the Federal Reserve) will buy surplus dollars, because they want to export to the United States and don't want their currencies to rise against the dollar. Still other economists (including Alan Greenspan) believe that we'll muddle through -- that shifts in exchange rates and economic growth will slowly narrow today's trade imbalances. So far the evidence supports everyone. Since mid-2001 the dollar has dropped against many currencies, especially the euro. Asian central banks have bought lots of dollars. And we have muddled through.

Every economic system requires a political framework, but the framework for the global economy is creaky. Twenty years ago, the "world economy" consisted mainly of the United States and its Cold War allies. Economic, military and foreign policy objectives overlapped. Now the world economy includes China, India and the former Soviet Union. Global interdependence has inspired some cooperation -- the SARS outbreak and Asia's 1997-98 financial crisis being examples. But the political foundation for cooperation has weakened. Our relations with old Cold War allies are strained, while relations with new trading partners -- China especially -- are ambiguous. Could we someday be at war with China over Taiwan? Or will trade defuse conflict?
The well-being of advanced nations presumes a smoothly operating global economy. We take this for granted without knowing whether it will always be true. We don't ask hard questions because we don't know the answers and fear what they might be.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company

The bankruptcy of Wal-Mart ---Taiwan, China and the USA

I guess the question China is going to be asked us; you chose between subjugation of Taiwan or the health of Wal-Mart. How bad would it be if we reindustrialize the USA with all new facilities.

China is faced with an unexpected industrial production increase of 18% from a year ago and now is in a speculative housing market. There is even the talk of foreign manipulation of currency with China, leading to the trade deficit in the USA. China is at the edge of being profoundly destabilized through it grouth–which is going to have a profound destabilizing effect of the whole globe.

In the USA we are seeing many businesses closing moving to china and other low wage countries We got a falling dollar, we got exploding housing prices, got low wages, we got historic gasoline prices ---and take a look at the massive current account deficit of 700 billion dollars.

So the current account and trade crisis is unsustainable for either the USA or China. Say President Bush comes out on a podium saying the planet is in a world of hurt with foreign trade. The continued damage caused by this is going to destroy the USA… China and the world economic system. So, as a result of the prediction of this damage –we are going to severely limit foreign trade to China for a period of time. You can bet on the next election, we would elect all democrats.

So if China’s Hu talked in the same manner with our growth is going to destabilize our country and the planet’s economic system –so we are going to severely limit export to America and certain other parts of the world. I bet you there would be an overthrow of the communist country very soon.

So none of our country’s can regain control of the planet's economic system at this time –and we are sailing for an object failure of the planet’s economic relationships.

So what does the Taiwan war crisis symbolize? It just might be the political cover that both sides need. So China might ramp up the Taiwan crisis blaming American and we might retaliated by limiting trade –so both these countries will be able to blame the other, as trade controls begin forcing profound changes in the character of both these countries –and the whole global economic relationships.

Of course, we might not control this –it could spin into a war for both of this. Of course to do nothing might just be worst than a war.

China Raises Home-Loan Rate in Bid to Slow Soaring Growth

March 16, 2005

China Raises Home-Loan Rate in Bid to Slow Soaring GrowthBy KEIT

ONG KONG, March 16 - China's central bank announced late today that it was raising the cost of housing loans, after more signs emerged that the country's economy may be growing at an unsustainable pace as property prices soar.

The minimum regulated interest rate for housing loans of five years or more will rise to 5.51 percent, from 5.31 percent. Banks will also be encouraged to require down payments of 30 percent of the purchase price, instead of 20 percent, in cities that have seen especially rapid appreciation lately, the People's Bank of China said.

The moves come a week after Shanghai began assessing a capital gains tax of 5.6 percent on real estate bought and sold in less than a year, and after delegates to the National People's Congress in Beijing voiced worries in the past week that real estate speculation was becoming out of control and hurting the affordability of housing.

Real estate prices have been climbing faster in China than in much of the United States, with urban prices escalating 10.8 percent in the fourth quarter after a jump of 8.6 percent in the third quarter. Prices have been rising even faster in Shanghai, where overseas investors have been buying up apartments in hopes of profiting from not only from rising prices but also a possible increase in the value of China's currency against the dollar.

The Chinese central bank tempered the effects of the housing loan rate increase on the overall economy, however, by reducing the interest rate it pays banks for reserves they hold in excess of regulatory minimums. The effect of the decrease, to 99-hundredths of a percent from 1.62 percent, is to encourage banks to lend more money, although the banks are still under administrative controls governing the total volume of their loans.

Unexpectedly strong increases this year in exports, industrial production and consumer price inflation, together with a jump in fixed-asset investment announced today, are prompting many economists to begin questioning whether Chinese leaders can follow through on pledges to slow the growth rate of the economy to 8 percent this year, from 9.5 percent last year.

"We have an economy that is stronger than we thought; the slew of January and February numbers is pretty impressive," said Jonathan Anderson, a UBS economist here.

If growth continues to accelerate in China this year, creating greater demand for raw materials, it could push even higher the prices of crude oil and other commodities that China already imports in enormous quantities. Copper prices jumped 2 percent today in London to a record $3,307 a ton as Chinese companies placed large orders, while oil prices were down slightly after member countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to increase production by 2 percent.

The big question now is whether the Chinese economy's vigor, combined with a huge inflow of both speculative and long-term investment, will feed inflation within China, which could be socially and even politically disruptive. While consumer prices were 3.9 percent higher last month than a year earlier, some economists are less worried now about inflation than they were in the spring of last year, as the pace of growth has become more even among many sectors of the economy.

Construction of new steel mills, which boomed in early 2004, has slowed. Some of the fastest growth this year has been in exports, while investment spending has soared fastest this year in areas that proved bottlenecks to growth last year, notably coal mining, electricity generation, oil refining and transportation.

Liang Hong, a Goldman Sachs analyst, said that she had no plans to increase her forecast that consumer prices in China would rise just 2.6 percent this year, even though she expects growth to exceed the government's target of 8 percent.

"It seems to be close to 9 rather than close to 8," she said.

Qu Hongbin, an HSBC economist, said Chinese regulators had been effective in persuading banks to slow the annual growth rate in loans, to less than 15 percent now from 24 percent at the end of 2003. This will start slowing investment spending and the rest of the economy soon, he predicted.

But Andy Xie, a Morgan Stanley economist, was more pessimistic, contending in a research note that China faced an overheating economy and a property bubble.

Vigorous economic growth and rising exports combined with currency speculation are increasing the pressure on China to allow greater flexibility in its currency, which is known as the yuan or renminbi and has been effectively pegged at 8.28 to the dollar for almost a decade. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao surprised financial markets on Monday by mentioning that if China acted on the currency, it would do so unexpectedly, although he also cautioned that there would be risks to the global economy from any revaluation.

China's foreign currency reserves jumped nearly $100 billion in the fourth quarter alone as the central bank exchanged yuan for the flood of dollars pouring into the country mostly through unofficial channels. Raghuram Rajan, the research director of the International Monetary Fund, urged China in a speech here on Tuesday to let the yuan trade in a wider range, a step that would likely result in its appreciation in the short term, saying that steps like interest rate controls, bond sales and capital controls could not indefinitely prevent the inflow of money from feeding inflation.

"The inflation genie can indeed be bottled up," he said. "Eventually, however, it will get out as all these controls lose their effectiveness. Long-term undervaluation is simply too difficult to manage."

Investment in factories, office buildings and other fixed assets in urban areas climbed 24.5 percent in the first two months of this year compared with a year earlier, an acceleration from a year-over-year increase of 21.3 percent in December, China's National Bureau of Statistics said today. Data for the first two months of the year are often combined in China because of difficulties in adjusting for the shifting dates for the beginning of Chinese New Year celebrations, which depend on a lunar calendar.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times CompaHelp Back to Top

"Crimes against humanity In America"

Thursday, March 10, 2005

"Crimes Against Humanity in America"

....So I don’t get it, if you were at a hospital with an operation – with operating room not having the money to sterilize the scalpel and instrumentation –you would expect everyone with a license to report the problem to the state authorities –let alone the threat a huge legal suit.

So I don’t have to much faith in the staff members, the nurses, doctors, bureaucrats, CEO and board of directors, who knowingly sit back not reporting life threatening deficiencies in their faculties. I am a little tired with the- I am just trying to do my job -in an environment of life threatening resources squeeze –with nobody having the courage to raise hell.

I can say that across the board –I never seen a more unconscionable group of educated people, as in the human service industry –where they tolerate such inhuman treatment of their patients for the sake of their jobs.

We killed Dontel Jeffers

By Peter Pollard March 16, 2005

I AM RESPONSIBLE for the death of Dontel Jeffers. Not because of any act of violence I committed against the 4-year-old boy who died in foster care in Dorchester on March 6. I never met him or even heard his name until his death.

I am responsible for the death of Dontel Jeffers because of my silence.

After serving 14 years as a frontline social worker for the Department of Social Services, I know his death is the direct, predictable result of a system overburdened, underfunded, and largely ignored, except when a tragedy involving an abused or neglected child erupts in the headlines. Then, as a community, we look for somewhere to point a finger of blame.

I'll start with me.

For 14 years, I struggled with my colleagues at DSS, many of whom had dedicated their entire working lives, committed to the seemingly impossible task of protecting children from physical, emotional, and sexual violence and neglect. In most instances, by the time families came to our notice, the children were already seriously harmed. Our efforts to help were stymied by severely limited funding for therapy, nearly nonexistent pediatric psychiatric services, courts so clogged that trials to determine a child's future often stretched out for more than a year, and a foster-care crisis so dire that good homes are drowned in placements, and that the temptation to accept mediocre caregivers has become too great to resist.

DSS is so overwhelmed with casualties, it is reduced to operating like a field hospital, making triage decisions on small children's lives. But as a social worker, I felt we were the frontline defense, doing our best with what we'd been given. So I'll admit that when I had misgivings about a foster home or a residential placement or a hospital discharge, I often saw no choice but to accept quietly what I knew was inadequate. And though lack of alternatives was a factor, I'm embarrassed to admit that that calculation inevitably also included loyalty to the system, to my coworkers, and fear of the personal consequences of rocking the boat.

But I should have been shouting, openly declaring that those inadequacies threatened the very children we were trying to help.

I am responsible for Dontel Jeffers's death because of my silence. And so are thousands of social workers, agency managers, community mental health workers, foster parents, judges, police and probation officers, attorneys, and teachers who every day see firsthand the evidence of the gradual diminishment in these already victimized children's lives.

Each in his own way has accepted the limitations of the system, passing from anger to frustration to resignation to quiet defeat. They should be shouting too, declaring that our refusal to do more is in fact society's crime of neglect.

As adults, we pay lip service to our commitment to keep children safe. But we don't have the courage to really face the depth of their vulnerability or the enormity of our failure. If you want proof, try breaking the silence by bringing up child abuse at a social gathering. Collectively, we've handed that ugly topic over to someone else. We've horribly shirked our personal responsibility to protect Dontel Jeffers and thousands like him who are our neighbors.

For Dontel, it's too late. But as a community, we should be openly declaring our willingness to open our eyes and our hearts to provide the enormous resources required to save the others. Effective early intervention could ultimately bring huge benefits in the form of well-functioning families and curtailed cycles of violence, sexual abuse, homelessness, and substance abuse. But the investment has to be made because it's right, not just because it's cost effective.

I am responsible for Dontel Jeffers's death because of my silence. And so are you.

Peter Pollard, a social worker for 14 years at the Department of Social Services, is a graduate student at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
Questions on a tragedy
March 16, 2005
THE DEATH of Dontel Jeffers, a 4-year-old foster child, remains under investigation. One investigator has cited signs that the boy was beaten. Regardless of whether the March 6 death, in Dorchester, is ruled accidental or the result of a criminal act, it is fair to ask if the tragedy was the result of a system failure within the Department of Social Services and its orbit of private contractors or was an extraordinary occurrence.

Oversight did break down in at least one area. Normally, both a DSS social worker and a social worker associated with the private provider of specialized foster care services would visit the foster home within about a week of placement. DSS Commissioner Harry Spence says a DSS social worker had arranged such a meeting for March 2, but the foster mother canceled the visit. No visit had been conducted by the foster care contract agency Massachusetts Mentor, according to Spence.

Jeffers suffered from emotional disabilities and had been placed in so-called therapeutic foster care on Feb. 24 with a 24-year-old foster mother who also cared for her own toddler. Nothing about the foster mother raised red flags, according to Spence. Before taking Jeffers into her home, the foster mother had received training to deal with emotionally disturbed children from Massachusetts Mentor, the DSS contractor specializing in out-of-home and in-home care for the disabled. The foster mother passed a criminal background check and had cared for foster children on eight other occasions, according to Spence.

There is no way to know if a timely home visit might have revealed potential for danger. But the rationale for contracting out specialized home care to private providers like Massachusetts Mentor is based, largely, on the better staff-to-client ratios and administrative supports found in the private social service agencies. If private providers fail to perform up to par in areas like home visits, the Legislature should consider bringing the tougher foster care cases back under the roof of DSS.

While the Jeffers investigation continues, the governor and Legislature should also be thinking about how best to serve the state's 11,000 foster care children, including the roughly 3,000 emotionally disturbed youngsters who require specialized foster care in home settings. Right now, it is possible for a foster care parent who is found unfit by one contractor to affiliate with a new agency with little fear that the records will follow, although no evidence has surfaced that this applied to the Jeffers case. But access to records is a key area for reform.

Budget cuts in recent years also hurt efforts to recruit new foster parents, as do low per diem payments.

The investigation is ongoing, and so should the efforts to improve the quality of foster care in Massachusetts.

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Historic Housing Bubble -Reuters

We got to figure out what broadly happens in real estate price rises -what does the home owner do with it-is it saved in the the appreaciation or used to boost credit card debt or consumer purchasing. What's the relationship is real estate price rises, debt and maintianing the economy -what %?


Five Years Later and Still FloatingBy JAMES GRANT

ODAY marks the fifth anniversary of the peak of the great millennial stock market. What were you doing when the lights began to dim? Were you a bull or a bear? Rich or otherwise?

What about today? Are you inoculated against the new alleged sure things? Or perhaps you believe in the permanent hegemony of the dollar in the world's currency markets? In the inevitability of rising house prices? Or of falling interest rates? Answer true or false: the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is clairvoyant.

From the March 2000 top to the October 2002 trough, the United States stock market gave up more than half of its quoted value, some $9.2 trillion. Five years ago today, Cisco Systems was the world's biggest company by market capitalization. Its line of business, the computer networking business, was universally heralded as the industry of the future. Owners of Cisco still devoutly hope it is. They have lost 75 percent of their investment.

Americans hate to lose, especially when it comes to money, and they've demanded an accounting of the misdeeds of the bubble era. A certain number of former chief executives, like Bernard Ebbers of WorldCom, have had to answer the charges against them in court. And Congress, in 2002, overhauled and stiffened the nation's securities laws. But the chairman, governors and staff of the Federal Reserve have yet to be called to account.

Booms and busts are recurrent in history and in nations. In not every episode was there a culpable central bank. But in virtually every case, there was a clever neighbor. The unbearable sight of a neighbor getting rich in the stock market in the late 1990's made millions of Americans bipolar. Shopping at Wal-Mart, they would pay any price except full retail. Investing in the stock market, however, they would pay nothing but.

By the late 1990's, stocks had lost any connection to the value of the businesses in which they represented partial ownership. Picture an artful consumer settling into a discounted hotel room for the night. Now try to imagine this savvy individual formulating a calculated financial decision to make a meal of the $10 cashews and the $6 candy bars on sale in the hotel minibar. That was Wall Street a half decade ago.

And, to a lesser but still striking degree, it is still Wall Street today - and Main Street, too. The Federal Reserve did not stand idly by after the bubble burst. It radically reduced the interest rate it controls (the so-called federal funds rate), pushing it from 6.5 percent in May 2000 to 1 percent by June 2003. Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Fed, had worried about a stock market bubble as early as 1995, had warned against "irrational exuberance" in 1996, and batted around the possibility that there might, indeed, be a stock-market bubble in discussions with his Federal Reserve colleagues as late as 1999.

But he was not the man to stick a pin in the bubble. Indeed, he himself became a vociferous booster of the "New Economy." In a speech he gave only four days before the Nasdaq touched its high, he sounded as if he were working for Merrill Lynch, cheering that "the capital spending boom is still going strong." Should the boom turn to bust, the chairman had testified before Congress less than a year before, the Fed would "mitigate the fallout when it occurs and, hopefully, ease the transition to the next expansion."

In so many words, Mr. Greenspan promised that the Fed would make money cheaper and more plentiful than it would otherwise be. He would override the market's judgment with his own. Nobody in earshot quoted the words of the German central banker Hjalmar Schacht, who protested in 1927: "Don't give me a low rate. Give me a true rate, and then I shall know how to put my house in order." Someone should have. Interest rates are the traffic lights of a market economy. To investors, they signal when to go and when to stop. Under the Fed's bubble recovery program, every interest-rate light turned green.

With no lights flashing red or even amber, investors sped through the financial intersections. They paid more for houses, office buildings and junk bonds than they would have if interest rates were not hugging 40-year lows. The proliferation of dollars helped to lift the stock market out of its doldrums - though the doldrums of 2002 were singularly shallow ones. In comparison to earlier bear market lows, bargains were scarce on the ground (by March 2000, stocks were uniquely overvalued; never before had a dollar of corporate earnings been so costly to buy). At the checkout counter, inflation was well-nigh invisible. On Wall Street, however, it was - and still is - on the rise.

To hear Mr. Greenspan tell it in 1999, post-bubble damage control was as simple as cutting interest rates. He passed lightly over the possible consequences of the rates he cut. The list so far includes a bubble-like housing market (geographically localized but ferocious), an overheated debt market (this one spans the globe) and a steady depreciation in the foreign exchange value of the dollar. Consuming much more than it produces, the United States emits hundreds of billions of greenbacks into the world's payment stream every year - about $600 billion in 2004. The recipients of these dollars willingly invest them in American assets if the price is right. On the evidence of the dollar's decline, the price - the available rate of return - is too low.

Ultra-low interest rates not only serve to inflate the value of bonds, stocks and real estate. They also entice investors in those assets to employ the elixir called "leverage." Leverage means debt. Borrowing at 2.5 percent, a speculator can invest at 3 percent and still make a handsome living - if he or she can be sure when 2.5 percent might be raised to 2.75 percent or 3 percent.

The Fed is happy to oblige. Forswearing the element of surprise in its policy actions, it has told the market exactly what it proposes to do. Paying close attention, professional investors, including thousands of hedge funds, have borrowed fearlessly. A little fear would help to improve the quality of financial stewardship.

"A stock well bought is half sold," said the Wall Street ancients. What they meant is that success in investing depends on one's entry price. As Congress debates an overhaul of Social Security to permit tax-advantaged saving by millions of new investors, a passage from the new Berkshire Hathaway annual report warrants attention. "We don't enjoy sitting on $43 billion of cash equivalents that are earning paltry returns," writes Warren Buffett, Berkshire's chairman. "Instead, we yearn to buy more fractional interests similar to those we now own or - better still - more large businesses outright. We will do either, however, only when purchases can be made at prices that offer us the prospect of a reasonable return on our investment."
Five years later, the bubble is still unpopped.

James Grant, the editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, is the author of "John Adams: Party of One."