Tuesday, May 31, 2005

GOOG


Last Net Change % Change Open Prev Close High Low Bid Ask Volume
277.27 11.27 4.24% 269.56 266.00 278.40 269.37 277.14 277.30 21,803,200

SchaeffersResearch.com - Daily Stock Market Sentiment & Contrarian Thinking: "Schaeffer's Daily Contrarian

Schaeffer's Daily Contrarian

"When everyone thinks alike, everyone is likely to be wrong."
~ Humphrey Neill, The Art of Contrary Thinking

The above quote has been reiterated numerous times in our publications because of its ability to succinctly capture the essence of contrarian thinking. While simple in theory, the task of capturing the prevailing sentiment can be as elusive as defining the boundaries of a cloud. The closer you get to it, the harder it is to see.(More)

Posted
5/31/2005 3:38 PM
Everybody's Talking 'Bout Google
CNN/Money
"Bowling for Google"
Published: 5/25/2005

Brief Summary:
The article looks at the prospects of Google (GOOG: sentiment, chart, options) hitting $300 a share and the stock's potential inclusion in the S&P 500. The usual items are included: valuation, price-to-earnings ratio (current and forward), and comparisons with Yahoo!.

Contrarian Takeaway:

There is no denying that GOOG has been on fire since going public last August. However, what was once a "wall of worry" constructed with analyst opinion and the negative media take is now positively skewed. The current analyst ratings show 16 "buy" ratings, four "hold" ratings, and zero "sell" ratings. The equity's short-interest ratio is a paltry 0.80, meaning that the number of shares sold short could be covered in less than one day of typical volume.

The speculation that GOOG will be added to the S&P 500 Index has fueled the most recent rally, and that decision will probably come about sooner rather than later, but that may be the final crescendo for the stock. The buying pressure that would occur with news that the stock was being added to the SPX could be the last big volume spike, given that a short-covering rally isn't going to occur. I am thinking that an announcement with this news might present the perfect shorting opportunity.

Rick Pendergraft (rpendergraft@sir-inc.com)

April 18 - Minnesota


The Tax Foundation - America Celebrates Tax Freedom Day

Tax Freedom Day


Telegraph | Money | Why 'tax freedom day' gets later and later every year

Why 'tax freedom day' gets later and later every year
By Malcolm Moore (Filed: 30/05/2005)


Tomorrow is tax freedom day - the day taxpayers stop working for the Government and start working for themselves - and it's three days later than last year.

Until tomorrow, every penny earned by the average Briton has been needed to pay for the Chancellor's spending. Now, your money is your own. The date falls six days later than when Labour came to power in 1997.

Dr Eamonn Butler, the director of the Adam Smith Institute, which calculates when the day falls, said: "Nobody has the faintest idea how much tax they are paying."

He added that Gordon Brown had perfected Jean-Baptiste Colbert's definition of the art of taxation. "He is getting the maximum amount of feathers with the minimum of squawking because the goose does not know it is being plucked," he said.

"It is three days later than last year and five days later than the year before. It will be two days later next year and by 2020, the Government will be taking half our income in taxes," he said. The reason for the extra three days this year is mostly because of the latest National Insurance rises. Higher council taxes also had an effect.

The institute calculates the day by comparing Mr Brown's Budget predictions of national income against total taxes.

The Chancellor plans to take £450billion in taxes and excise duties this year, including VAT and council tax. However, he may not collect it if the economy does not grow as quickly as he expects.

The Treasury has been consistently incorrect on its fiscal forecasts. Last year, the Adam Smith Institute had to revise back the date of Tax Freedom day because the Revenue failed to collect as much as the Treasury wanted.

If the same thing happens again this year, the Chancellor will have to "countenance raising tax rates or cutting spending on the things which he has committed to", said Mike Warburton, a partner at Grant Thornton, the accountants.

However, Mr Warburton said Mr Brown had hit his targets by leaving tax thresholds at their old levels, while national income grows.

The Chancellor expects to raise 11pc more tax this year than last, without any changes to the tax structure. "That is 9pc higher than inflation," said Mr Warburton. "Income tax is also going to rise at 9pc above inflation," he added.

David Kilshaw, head of private client work at KPMG, said his clients were concerned at the system's complexity. "Just go back to a more simple system," he urged.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see link

Friday, May 27, 2005

Stock Market


.The final piece of the bullish puzzle was the market's breaking out over resistance ($SPX over 1182, for example). This also included penetration of the 50-day moving average, which had contained all previous rallies since the March top. Since then, the push upward has continued with only a minor pause. Further resistance (at 1190, basis $SPX) was overcome, and now it appears that there is very little standing in the way of a challenge of the yearly highs at 1220 or above ($SPX).

The equity-only put-call ratios turned bullish at literally the exact bottom. While they were the only indicator to be bullish at that time, they were joined by the others within days. These powerful sentiment- based indicators continue to remain bullish, as can be seen from Figures 2 and 3. As long as the line on the put-call ratio chart is declining, it is on a buy signal. Furthermore, these latest buy signals came from an extreme level (high on the chart), which often indicates a stronger-than-usual signal.

Market breadth has been flighty, at best. Oscillating back and forth with nearly every market move, there have been a series of buy and sell signals that have not been particularly helpful. Recently, breadth slipped again and gave sell signals. We are not terribly worried by these sell signals, as long as they are the only ones.

Volatility ($VIX) has continued to make new relative lows. We don't expect to see it go all the way back down to 11, but this downward trend is bullish. In fact, it penetrated what had looked to be a budding uptrend in volatility, returning things to the low-volatility, bullish scenario.

Before summarizing, I'd like to discuss the "conventional" wisdom that says this market is so overbought, it is due for a major correction. I don't agree. Let's examine the indicators in this light. Breadth was overbought, true, but certainly not extremely overbought. Meanwhile, it is no longer overbought after two mild days of pullback in the market. Equity-only put-call ratios are not overbought; they'd have to be at the bottom of their charts for that to be true. In fact, they were extremely oversold and haven't reached anywhere near an overbought state yet. Next, consider volatility ($VIX). It is near 13, which is about the average for this year. If it fell to 11, it would then be overbought, but it's not there and hasn't been. So, since none of these indicators is or was overbought, what these traders must be talking about is the action of the major indices themselves. In other words, the fact that the market rose so strongly and uniformly for about a week and a half has produced this "overbought" talk. Frankly, $SPX was up much more strongly than this just a few short months ago -- October and November last year. Note the circled portion of the $SPX chart in Figure 1. So, there is really no reason why the market can't continue on upward at this time.

Overall, we want to continue to view this market as bullish until it either falls back below 1180 (basis $SPX) or some of the other indicators turn bearish. None of those conditions is at hand, so expect higher prices.


To receive the complete commentary plus reccomendations visit here: http://www.optionstrategist.com/offers/strategist.htm

Note: Use the following link to view this week's charts: http://www.optionstrategist.com/products/advisories/hotline/charts.asp

Media Framing or media frame up?


"Back to you, Dan."

Storming Media

Public Opinion and Media Coverage During the Iraq War: An Examination of Media Framing and Priming

Authors: Khalid J. Cannon;
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH

Abstract: Media frames are vital to peoples' understanding of issues and events, but this study's findings highlight the importance of internal frames, or primary frameworks, in shaping public opinion. A rally 'round the flag effect did occur at the outset of the Iraq War, which caused Republicans, Democrats and Independents to support the war. Both party affiliation and news attentiveness explained a significant amount of variability in a person's opinion of the war in 2003. The party affiliation framework is much more vital in determining support for the war when media content is negative. Viewers support media frames that reflect their belief system, and this explains why in 2004 Republicans were supportive of the war yet Democrats and Independents were not.

Limitations: APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE

Description: Master's thesis

Pages: 90

Report Date: 2005

Report number: A142134

Price: $27.95 - Shipping terms

Keywords: : IRAQ, PUBLIC OPINION, THESES, MILITARY OPERATIONS, VISUAL AIDS, PUBLIC RELATIONS,
MASS MEDIA
TALKING HEADS

Numbing Numbers


By Vaughn Ververs, NationalJournal.com
© National Journal Group Inc.
Friday, May 27, 2005

If anyone thinks this ongoing debate and hand-wringing over the state of the nation's press is another concocted or overblown controversy, two recent surveys should help convince them otherwise.

According to the results, the disconnect between members of the media and the general public makes the red state/blue state divide look like an exchange of pleasantries. The journalistic community should be more than just disheartened by the numbers -- they should be downright frightened.


The public may see journalists as more ethical than politicians, but they don't appear to trust them with a free rein.






Just how large is the perception gap between the press and the public? That's what the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania set out to discover in a recent survey. The Center conducted two separate surveys, one encompassing 673 journalists working in some capacity for a news organization and one that polled 1,500 members of the general public. Putting the results side by side, it seems as though the surveys were conducted on two different planets.

Since media bias is the most heated part of the discussion, let's start there. The Annenberg survey shows why conservatives have for years complained of a liberal bias in the news. Among the media sample, 29 percent described themselves as "liberal," 49 percent said they were "moderate" and just 9 percent claimed to be "conservative." The public broke down along these lines: Twenty-four percent liberal, 33 percent moderate and 38 percent conservative. To further drive home the point, 58 percent of those in the public familiar with the CBS story on President Bush and the National Guard said the network did a good job of correcting it. However, 69 percent said that liberal bias was at least part of the reason the story ran in the first place. Among the media, 54 percent said it played no part.

Social attitudes of the press were probed, as well. Asked if they favor legislation in their state to allow same-sex marriage, 59 percent of journalists said they did. The same question was not asked of the public, but most previous polling has shown wide majorities against such legislation. Both groups were asked how often they attend religious services, and 40 percent of the public said they attend at least once a week compared to 17 percent of journalists.

Liberal complaints about the media were bolstered, too. The public clearly believes corporate or business interests intrude on news judgement. Among the public sample, 79 percent agreed that a media organization "that receives substantial advertising revenue from a company would hesitate to report negative stories about that company." Asked whether media outlets "either intentionally or unintentionally" avoided stories "unfavorable" to advertisers, 63 percent said that happens either to a "small extent" or "not at all."

Let's turn to the issue of credibility. It's not surprising that 86 percent of journalists believe their profession gets the "facts straight," but it might surprise them that 48 percent of the public thinks the media is "often inaccurate." More disturbing, 65 percent of the public believes that when mistakes are made, the media either tries to "ignore" them or cover them up. In the press sample, 74 percent say mistakes are quickly reported. And while the ethical practices of journalists rank far ahead of lawyers and politicians in the public view, is that really a feather in the media's cap?

Now comes the most disturbing finding, one that's echoed in a similar survey conducted recently for the University of Connecticut. In the Annenberg study, 51 percent of the public agreed that the government either sometimes or always has a "right to limit" the right of the press to report a story. In the Connecticut survey, 43 percent said there is "too much" freedom of the press. Additionally, that study found that 89 percent said the accuracy of a story that relies on an unnamed source should be questioned. The public may see journalists as more ethical than politicians, but they don't appear to trust them with a free rein.

These findings should be discouraging to anyone involved in the "mainstream media," especially the wide gap in perception. Some of these numbers suggest a level of denial among the press, which would help explain why there's so much navel-gazing in the wake of a media "scandal," but very little change. The public sees fundamental institutional flaws where the press sees cosmetic impurities.

Distrust of the press is disturbing, but not an entirely unhealthy attitude. What's downright frightening are the attitudes toward freedom of the press. When a majority of the public believes that the government has a right to limit the media's freedom to report a story, that should send shivers down the spine of any First Amendment lover. It's one thing to argue that each press outlet should consider the broader consequences and public good in publishing individual stories, but to suggest that the government ought to have that power is censorship, pure and simple.

So much of this debate over the state of the media and its future direction has been driven by the ideological and political divide in the country. Sometimes the complaints and arguments are important and serious. Sometimes the whole discussion devolves into absurdity. But these surveys show how precarious of a position the press is in. And they show how critically important it is to fix the problems if we want to maintain a free press -- and a free nation.

-- Vaughn Ververs is a NationalJournal.com contributing editor as well as editor of The Hotline. His e-mail address is vververs@nationaljournal.com.

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New Clout for Compliance Lawyers



Article published on May 20, 2005

Years of scandal have given compliance lawyers tremendous new clout on Wall Street, The New York Times reports.
Though considered something of a dead-end job a few years ago, the compliance lawyer is now hotly sought after, industry people tell the paper.

From 2001 to 2003, securities industry jobs dealing with corporate oversight rose 30%, compared to an industrywide decrease of 8%, according to Securities Industry Association data cited by the Times.

Naturally, pay has risen with demand.

Lawyers and recruiters interviewed by the Times say that many lawyers experienced in compliance issues can pull down salaries of around $300,000 for a mid-level associate position, while those heading compliance at major firms could expect up to seven figures. Fueling the trend further, hedge funds have started seeking out compliance experts ahead of new regulations requiring them to register with the SEC starting next year.

One place that big firms are looking is in government, seeking out staff lawyers from the SEC and former prosecutors with expertise in corporate fraud cases, the Times adds.

Two lawyers from Eliot Spitzer's office are among those who've been recruited from government positions to Wall Street compliance posts. Last year, Beth Golden, Spitzer's deputy for special projects, went to Bear Stearns as global head of compliance. And in 2003, Morgan Stanley hired Spitzer aide Eric Dinallo as its regulatory chief.

Along with more pay, meanwhile, comes more power. Compliance chiefs used to report to their company's deputy chief counsel. But in many cases they now report directly to the CEO, according to the Times.

(News summaries based on original reports in other publications are prepared by the IGNITES.com staff and are not created, sponsored, approved or endorsed by the publications to which the original reports are attributed.)

From Ignites.com

It takes us 10min 17sec to decide that we are late


By Becky Barrow
(Filed: 27/05/2005)

You are stuck in traffic and there is clearly no chance of getting to your friend's dinner party on time. At what point do you call to offer apologies? The answer: 10mins 17secs, says research into Britain's 'lateness threshold' which is the point at which people feel it necessary to telephone and admit they are going to be late.
During that time, 12 babies will be born in England and Wales, there will be eight road accidents, 3,804 people will board an aeroplane and 590 million e-mails will be sent worldwide. About 10 per cent of people would not consider calling until at least 30 minutes beyond the 'agreed appointment time,' says the study, conducted by the motorists' website GetMeThere.co.uk.

More than 80 per cent of people in their 50s claim they are never late for anything because they are gripped by 'bus fuss' - the anxiety about being late for crucial events. But almost 70 per cent of young women believe it is 'acceptable, if not fashionable' to be late on a first date because it makes them feel that they would appear 'less desperate'.

On one subject, both men and women agree - they 'wouldn't care' if they were late for their mother-in-law's birthday party.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Which Sabrina?


[Great stuff!]
New on LLRX.com for May, 2005:
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**Researching Medical Literature on the Internet -- 2005 Update
http://www.llrx.com/features/medical2005.htm

**Dockets Update
http://www.llrx.com/features/docketsupdate.htm

**The Problem of Orphan Works
http://www.llrx.com/features/orphanworks.htm

**Bibliography of Employment Resources for Law Librarians
http://www.llrx.com/features/jobsearch.htm

**The Federal Civil Code of Mexico
http://www.llrx.com/features/mexcc.htm

**The Government Domain: New Tools For Government Research
http://www.llrx.com/columns/govdomain5.htm

**After Hours: Taste of the Nation Comes to Brooklyn / Meet Cuke Skywalker / Mail Order Wine
http://www.llrx.com/columns/afterhours19.htm

**Burney's Gadgets for Legal Pros: Making Use of an Idle Laptop / Expand your Laptop's Horizons / Put your Desktop on Laptop
http://www.llrx.com/columns/legaltech32.htm

**FOIA Facts: GAO Issues New FOIA Report
http://www.llrx.com/columns/foia21.htm

**LLRX.com Bookstore
http://www.llrx.com/bookstore/
Review the new entries on topics that include: marketing, business blogs, the Supreme court, economics, web browsers, and of course...food.

**And don't forget LLRX Court Rules, Forms, and Dockets, the unique, free searchable database, maintained and continually updated by Margaret Berkland
http://www.llrx.com/courtrules/

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

**beSpacific - Weekday updates on law and technology news (with a searchable database of over 6,800 entries from September 2002). Topics include FOIA, e-gov't, privacy, copyright, government documents, legal research, legislation, KM, blogs, RSS, ID theft...
http://www.beSpacific.com


Subscribe to the free weekday HTML e-mail update:
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Sabrina I. Pacifici
Founder, Editor, Publisher
LLRX.com
http://www.llrx.com
email: spacific[at]earthlink.net
Source

Monday, May 23, 2005

Scholarly Publishers Protest Google's Online Library Project


By Michael Liedtke The Associated Press
Published: May 23, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A group of academic publishers is challenging Google Inc.'s plan to scan millions of library books into its Internet search engine index, highlighting fears that the ambitious project will violate copyrights and stifle future sales.

In a letter scheduled to be delivered to Google Monday, the Association of American University Presses described the online search engine's library project as a troubling financial threat to its membership - 125 nonprofit publishers of academic journals and scholarly books.

The plan "appears to involve systematic infringement of copyright on a massive scale," wrote Peter Givler, the executive director for the New York-based trade group.

The association asked Google to respond to a list of 16 questions seeking more information about how the company plans to protect copyrights.

Two unnamed publishers already asked Google to withhold its copyrighted material from the scanners, but the company hasn't complied with the requests, Givler wrote.

Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages left Monday.

The association of nonprofit publishers is upset because Google has indicated it will scan copyright-protected books from three university libraries - Harvard, Michigan and Stanford.

Those three universities also operate publishing arms represented by the group complaining about Google's 5-month-old "Libraries for Print" project. That means the chances of the association suing Google are "extremely remote," Givler said in an interview Monday.

Still, Givler said the association is very worried about Google's scanning project.

"The more we talked about it with our lawyers, the more questions bubbled up," he said. "And so far Google hasn't provided us with any good answers."

Google also is scanning books stored in the New York Public Library and Oxford in England, but those two libraries so far are only providing Google with "public domain" works - material no longer protected by copyrights.

Federal law considers the free distribution of some copyrighted material to be permissible "fair use." The company has told the nonprofit publishers that its library program meets this criteria.

Some for-profit publishers also are taking a closer look at Google's library-scanning project.

"We are exploring issues and opportunities with Google, including the potential impact of this program on our authors, our customers and our business," said John Wiley & Sons Inc. spokeswoman Susan Spilka.

Copyright concerns aren't the only issue casting a cloud over Google's library-scanning project. The project also has drawn criticism in Europe for placing too much emphasis on material from the United States.

One of Google's most popular features - a section that compiles news stories posted on thousands of Web sites - already has triggered claims of copyright infringement. Agence France-Presse, a French news agency, is suing for damages of at least $17.5 million, alleging "Google News" is illegally capitalizing on its copyrighted material.

The latest complaints about Google are being driven by university-backed publishers who fear there will be little reason to buy their books if Google succeeds in its effort to create a virtual reading room.

The university presses depend on books sales and other licensing agreements for most of their revenue, making copyright protections essential to their survival.

Google has turned its search engine into a moneymaking machine, generating a $369 million profit during the first three months of this year alone. The company is counting on its library scanning project to attract even more visitors to its site so it can display more ads and potentially boost its earnings even more.

Investors already adore Google. The company's shares surged $13.84, or 5.7 percent, to close Monday at $255.45 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Earlier in the session, the shares traded as high as $258.10 - a new peak since the company went public nine months ago at $85.

AP-ES-05-23-05 1937EDT

-------------------------------
If Google becomes the "library" then they can sell advertising and pay for copyright. Preferbly Google has the economic power to finally define "fair use" once and for all so we can put this ridiculous vagueness behind us.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Arts features

The girl who fell to earth


[This is not a very pleasant piece but since it reflects the impact Kylie's life and news is having on someone--not a Kylie fan--it is inmcluded here for reference.]

She seemed almost flawless, an otherworldly embodiment of physical perfection. But now, like thousands of ordinary women every year, Kylie Minogue has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Libby Brooks examines why Kylie's illness matters to us

Wednesday May 18, 2005
The Guardian


Kylie Monogue has cancelled an Australian tour and a headline performance at Glastonbury festival after being diagnosed with cancer. Photograph: Matt Dunham/Reuters

I would never have described myself as a fan. Which made it even more surprising, that whump in the stomach when I heard on the morning headlines that Kylie Minogue had postponed the Australian leg of her world tour after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Sandwiched on Radio 4 between a discussion on the role of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the Anglican and Catholic faiths and an interview with the home secretary Charles Clarke, it sounded like news from a parallel planet, as though someone had inadvertently mixed up a page of Heat magazine with the Today programme's running order. But it was true, and I felt sad. As did Audrey and Sophie and Nicky and the other friends of mine who had heard the news too and texted before I left my flat for work.

Of course there's something enormously disingenuous about feeling terribly distressed when an attractive 37-year-old celebrity has breast cancer. In common with most people reading this piece, I know a number of women who have suffered from this disease. One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Some, including my own mother, survive it. Others do not. Minogue's cancer appears to have been caught at an early stage - she would have been checked regularly while touring for insurance purposes - and survival rates have never been higher.

So there are no obituaries to be written today, other than for the myth that mere celebrity itself inoculates against life's quotidian dramas. Minogue's celebrated bottom may be just as pert as it was yesterday, but she is no longer an object of envy. It seems an anathema that a global brand such as Minogue might lose all her hair during a course of chemotherapy. But though she has rendered her body perfect for public consumption, that same body has not granted her immunity.

It may sound strange, but the diagnosis is also a jolting reminder that Minogue is as much blood and bone as the rest of us. She never seemed to have so mundane a component as cells. Even in the era of the I Should be so Lucky bubble perm, she was dismissed as manufactured thanks to her association with Messrs Stock, Aitken and Waterman. And as her different incarnations multiplied - Club Minogue, Sex-kitten Minogue, Indie Minogue, Avant garde Minogue - so her image became more and more highly confected until, even in the flesh, she looked airbrushed. But now the plastic has deferred to the corporeal.

For all the visual stimuli her perfect proportions have offered, there is something curiously sexless about Minogue. She is sexualised, rather than erotic. Even those notorious gold hotpants had a cabaret feel about them, a cheeky wink rather than a full-frontal come-on. This may explain why, in the current era of Global Minogue, the whole world has taken to her. Everyone loves Minogue, from the lad mag readers to the pre-teen shriekers to the crowd at GAY.

And for those of us who grew up with Minogue, there's a further appeal. It's a shared knowledge that somewhere beneath the glitter and the gloss and the smooth, smooth hair here's Charlene, her Neighbours character, in a frothy wedding dress, stepping out of Erinsborough church with Jason Donovan on her arm. As someone who spent a succession of school discos attempting the Locomotion, I nurse a particular fondness for this woman who began her rocketing trajectory at a point when celebrity had not yet begun to eat its own tail. I would imagine that if Abi Titmuss was diagnosed with gallstones tomorrow she would gladly have the surgery live on air and then auction the scalpel to the highest bidder. Minogue, in contrast, has retained a certain freshness, a lack of cynicism and an accessibility.

Perhaps this is a consequence of that ageless, almost ethereal quality in Minogue's persona - she was well cast as the absinthe fairy in the musical Moulin Rouge. This never-quite-grown quality also seemed evident in her relationships - often brief and blazing, never quite reaching the stage of steady longevity (though her current romance with the French actor Olivier Martinez may be heading towards it). It is notable that she is still singing about love at first sight.

And here is the rub. Despite her wealth, her financial wit, her international status, over the past five years especially, the public discourse on Minogue has increasingly surrounded her romantic disappointments. Each interviewer puts the same questions, and she bats back an eloquent testament to her heartfelt desire to settle down, have children, and dust shelves. The notion of the professionally stellar but romantically defunct woman is an appealing template for habitual hounders of Modern Misses. Women are expected to crave husbands and babies. And when they do not - or are seen not to - they are punished for it. There's still a sense that women get away with their public successes, and only for so long. But how are they to be punished?

After turning 30 myself last summer, as a childless woman who is lucky enough to love her job, I'm well aware of what the statistical jeremiads have in store for the likes of me. I'm less likely to get married than to fracture my femur in three places while on a drunken bender, and likely to find my ovaries shrivelled to the size of raisins by the time I realise that child-rearing is a woman's ultimate fulfilment, and so on.

But there is one piece of information which it is difficult to sweep aside along with all that insidious, anti-women cant. I know that early childbearing and prolonged breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer. I know that, although 80% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 50, those diagnosed in women under 40 tend to be more aggressive. It follows, then, that women who pursue their careers into their 30s, enjoying economic independence and professional fulfilment while controlling their fertility, are more at risk.

All this is a short hop from the Victorian belief that to be female was to be essentially physically vulnerable. But it seems like the worst kind of practical joke that a woman of any age should be punished with cancer, and the most frequently occurring of gender-specific cancers, simply because she has breasts. And even worse that, for younger women, cancer should puncture the bubble of possibility in the crudest of ways.

Feminism has often been described as a movement against nature, and here is the backlash at its most basic. I hope that no one will suggest that Minogue's cancer is a punishment for making her own choices but I suspect that it will be implied everywhere. (Equally, I hope that her experience will not be elevated as somehow more tragic or more significant than all the other women who were diagnosed this week.)

Naturally, choice is a vexatious element in this context. It would be miserable if Minogue's illness were taken as further evidence of why careers don't make women happy (or healthy), and why public and private lives are impossible to juggle. Even the cheerleaders of progress and independence seem confounded by the weary ping-pong over how much satisfaction a woman deserves to be able to fit into her life. Life is not all about choices - when to work, when to fall in love, when to procreate. Much of our time is spent on the things that you don't - or can't - choose, like a diagnosis of breast cancer. And it is how we cope with those events can be the hardest, and most meaningful, choices of all.

Larry McMillan on the Stock Market



McMillan Market Commentary
Friday, May 20, 2005
The market has finally broken out to the upside -- overcoming resistance levels, the 50-day moving average, and breaking the existing downtrend line. This is very positive action on the charts of the major indices. There is modest resistance near Thursday's closing levels, but from our point of view, it looks like a challenge of the yearly highs will take place. This has been a difficult market to predict, in that the technical indicators have wavered back and forth while prices ignored support and resistance levels, to a great extent. However, this week, with the equity-only put-call ratios finally generating buy signals -- an event that coincided with the actual bottom -- action has taken on a distinctly bullish tone. We are inclined to think that prices are going higher.

All of our technical indicators are in agreement with this bullish move -- the first time all have been in agreement on the bullish side since late January. The equity-only put-call ratios had toyed with buy signals a couple of times, but in past weeks always made new highs. This time, however, they have snapped downward -- a clear and significant buy signal from both the standard (Figure 2) and weighted (Figure 3) ratios. Since these signals came from so high on their respective charts, we think they will be significant ones.

Market breadth hasn't been as reliable. While there were timely sell signals recently, these indicators never got oversold enough in the most recent decline to generate buy signals. Nevertheless, they are now quite overbought -- something that is actually desirable at the beginning of a new bullish breakout. Ideally, they will remain bullish for some time as the rally unfolds.

Finally, volatility ($VIX) has collapsed to its lowest prices in over a month. This is bullish, in that the recently-established uptrend in volatility seems to have been broken. While we expect the market to be volatile, and therefore don't expect to see $VIX back at the 11 level soon, we still regard these lower levels as bullish.

So, the bottom line is that all of our indicators are in bullish agreement. Usually, there is a good rally when that is the case. One might think that it's too late to buy -- that four days of fairly strong rally have already unfolded. But if you look at the action from last October-November (Figure 1), you will see that that rally kept up the pace for quite some time. There was plenty of room left after the first few days had passed.

To receive the complete commentary plus reccomendations visit here: http://www.optionstrategist.com/offers/strategist.htm

Note: Use the following link to view this week's charts: http://www.optionstrategist.com/products/advisories/hotline/charts.asp

Friday, May 20, 2005

Taxonomies : Frameworks 2nd Edition - Research and Markets - Market Research Reports: "Hard Copy

Taxonomies : Frameworks 2nd Edition
April 2005, Pages: 140
EUR€ 552.00

Description

Taxonomies: Frameworks for Corporate Knowledge is the most comprehensive practical 'hands-on' guide available on taxonomies. No other publication can provide you with such a wide range of research material and case studies in this area.

The importance of this subject and the business critical implications of getting it wrong cannot be overstated. Taxonomies: Frameworks for Corporate Knowledge will guide you through the essential steps to implementing a robust information architecture. The report is available now and covers the following areas:

What taxonomies are
Why they are important
How to implement a taxonomy
Individual company case studies
What the experts say
Scenarios for the future

The second edition delivers revised and expanded sections throughout as well as a highly requested technology section featuring evaluations of 30 new taxonomy solutions, with individual explanations of each vendor and product. This section also includes full details of product functionality and lists of special features.

[expensive!]

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Frequently-Cited Treaties


Subject: List of Frequently-Cited Treaties (aid for law review
cite-checkers)

As an aid for law review students looking for treaties, I've put up a
web page listing frequently-cited treaties, along with links to treaty
information from the American Society of International Law's EISIL
project (http://www.eisil.org). Law school libraries with cite-checking
guides might want to link to this list from their guides, since students
often have trouble finding international materials.

The page is here:
http://www.law.umn.edu/library/tools/pathfinders/most-cited.html -- Any
comments and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks to Lyo Louis-Jacques for suggesting this idea!

Mary

--

Mary Rumsey
Foreign, Comparative & International Law Librarian
University of Minnesota Law School

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

And God Created Kylie


Mr Gudinski could not say how Minogue was handling the news, but he paid tribute to her spirit. "I've never heard of an artist in my life … it's so Kylie, to have put in her own press release that she wrote herself today that she's sorry to have disappointed her fans. Knowing Kylie and what she's written here … I'd say she'd be more concerned about how worried her family and people around her are.



Pop Princess a survivor

But it has not always been easy for Minogue, 36, once dismissed by critics as the "Singing Budgie".

Kylie Bombshell


See collected items at SloKylie.com :: Slovenian Kylie Page ::

Cancer diagnosis postpones Kylie's tour


By Julie Robotham and Bernard Zuel
May 18, 2005


World tour postponed after diagnosis … Kylie Minogue in her Showgirl tour attire.


Related
Dannii thanks Kylie's fans
Get well soon: devoted fans lend some comfort
Dino Scatena: A homecoming unplugged
Glamour and sparkle
Video: Kylie's great shock

Of her desire to start a family, Kylie Minogue was already wearing her heart on her diaphanous sleeve. "Obviously a woman of my age can't help but think about those things," she told the talk show host Michael Parkinson two years ago when he asked the baby question.

Now her priority is fighting for her life. Yesterday the 36-year-old singer announced she had been diagnosed with early breast cancer. And as doctors work out her best course of treatment and how to spare her fertility, she, like thousands of other women with cancer, will be coming to terms with this alarming fact: 30 per cent of women diagnosed under the age of 40 die within 10 years - a higher proportion than among older patients.

Minogue, who got the news while at home with her family in Melbourne this week, has postponed her Australian tour, which has sold more than 200,000 tickets and was due to start tomorrow night.

"I was so looking forward to bringing the Showgirl tour to Australian audiences, and am sorry to disappoint my fans. Nevertheless hopefully all will work out fine and I'll be with you all again soon," she said in a statement yesterday.

Her sister, Dannii, said last night the news was "very upsetting, although as the cancer has been diagnosed at such an early stage we are all very optimistic that everything will be OK. We're all very thankful for the endless messages of love and support Kylie has been receiving."

Almost 12,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year, 5 per cent of whom are in their 20s and 30s. Punishing chemotherapy regimens can trigger an early menopause in up to half of those women who need to take it. And that is just one of the medical and psychological issues involved in treating breast cancer.

After the first big decision - whether to remove the whole breast or just excise the tumour - and a six- to seven-week course of radiation therapy, the biggest thing women had to deal with was chemotherapy, said John Boyages, executive director of the NSW Breast Cancer Institute.

He said younger women were more likely to require chemo-therapy, with up to 70 per cent receiving a course of powerful anti-cancer drugs, depending on the grade of their tumour - information not yet publicly known about Minogue's disease. "Just giving chemotherapy can send a woman into early menopause," Professor Boyages said. Depending on the drugs used, the likelihood of this happening ranged from 35 per cent to more than half.

For other women, drugs are recommended to suppress the female hormone oestrogen, which some forms of breast cancer need to grow. Blocking the oestrogen can starve the cancer, but it too is likely to induce early menopause.

In some ways the physical treatment may be the easy part. Coping with the diagnosis is a challenge many women find even more forbidding, Professor Boyages said. "There's no doubt life stops [after diagnosis]. It's very hard in the first year." And the second year, after treatment is mostly over, was just as arduous as women had to face their fears for the future.

Minogue is insistent that her tour is only postponed, not cancelled. Her tour's promoter, Michael Gudinski, who has been Minogue's friend for 20 years and one of the first outside her family to learn of her condition, said: "All the equipment will be staying in Australia and hopefully we'll be able to reschedule the dates pretty soon. But there's no pressure. We can't hypothesise but we'll see in a couple of weeks."

Minogue also postponed concerts in South-East Asia and her appearance at Glastonbury, England. Tickets for the Australian tour, which was to have been one of the biggest-grossing tours of the year, earning at least $20 million, will be valid for the new dates when they are announced.

Minogue is not the first Australian female singer to get cancer. Her fellow Neighbours alumnus Delta Goodrem was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease two years ago and Olivia Newton-John had a brush with breast cancer in 1992.

Early breast cancer means the tumour has not spread beyond the breast into the lymphatic system or elsewhere in the body. With Minogue's diagnosis so recent it is likely her medical team will want further tests to confirm that it has indeed remained localised.

Lack of spread is an encouraging sign, but not the only determinant in a breast cancer prognosis. Doctors will also need to discover which of several types of cancer cells are involved, and will grade the tumour according to its aggressiveness. A higher proportion of young women have aggressive breast cancers - one reason for their relatively poor survival rates.

Helen Zorbas, director of the Sydney-based National Breast Cancer Centre, said that while mammography screening was not recommended in women aged 40, Minogue's experience should prompt young women, "to be aware of any changes in their breast and not ignore them. More and more people are surviving the disease. It's not a death sentence."

It was unclear why some young women developed breast cancer, she said, but family history was important. People were at higher risk if their mothers, sisters and aunts had breast cancer. "But a family history on both sides of the family … it's just as important on the father's side," Dr Zorbas said.

A family history of other cancers - particularly ovarian, bowel, kidney, and the prostate cancer for which Minogue's father has been treated - could also increase the risk of breast cancer. Entering puberty early, delaying childbirth, having fewer children and not breastfeeding also increased the risk because each increased the cumulative amount of the hormone oestrogen to which the woman was exposed. Drinking more than two standard alcoholic drinks daily raised the likelihood of developing breast cancer. But smoking made no difference.

One of the biggest issues younger women had to deal with, Dr Zorbas said, was, "sexuality and body image. The breast is inextricably associated with your sexuality, and how you deal with that is very important." Younger women were more likely to become depressed and anxious after their diagnosis, she said, and doctors had a responsibility to ask questions about how they were faring psychologically, rather than wait for patients to raise the issue.

Mr Gudinski could not say how Minogue was handling the news, but he paid tribute to her spirit. "I've never heard of an artist in my life … it's so Kylie, to have put in her own press release that she wrote herself today that she's sorry to have disappointed her fans. Knowing Kylie and what she's written here … I'd say she'd be more concerned about how worried her family and people around her are. But also this shows that no one's above it [breast cancer] and if this can send a message out to all girls to deal with breast cancer I know Kylie would feel good about it."

At least Minogue will be free of one of the dilemmas faced by young breast cancer patients. According to Dr Zorbas, many women agonise about new relationships. "When do you bring up the fact you've had breast cancer? Do you bring it up on the first date?" As news of her diagnosis zips around the planet, there will be barely a person who does not know what she is facing.

Sacre blue!


Telegraph | Expat | Europe unites in hatred of French
Europe unites in hatred of French
By Henry Samuel in Paris
(Filed: 17/05/2005)

Language, history, cooking and support for rival football teams still divide Europe. But when everything else fails, one glue binds the continent together: hatred of the French.

Typically, the French refuse to accept what arrogant, overbearing monsters they are.

But now after the publication of a survey of their neighbours' opinions of them at least they no longer have any excuse for not knowing how unpopular they are.

Why the French are the worst company on the planet, a wry take on France by two of its citizens, dredges up all the usual evidence against them. They are crazy drivers, strangers to customer service, obsessed by sex and food and devoid of a sense of humour.

But it doesn't stop there, boasting a breakdown, nation by nation, of what in the French irritates them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Britons described them as "chauvinists, stubborn, nannied and humourless". However, the French may be more shocked by the views of other nations.

For the Germans, the French are "pretentious, offhand and frivolous". The Dutch describe them as "agitated, talkative and shallow." The Spanish see them as "cold, distant, vain and impolite" and the Portuguese as "preaching". In Italy they comes across as "snobs, arrogant, flesh-loving, righteous and self-obsessed" and the Greeks find them "not very with it, egocentric bons vivants".

Interestingly, the Swedes consider them "disobedient, immoral, disorganised, neo-colonialist and dirty".

But the knockout punch to French pride came in the way the poll was conducted. People were not asked what they hated in the French, just what they thought of them.

"Interviewees were simply asked an open question - what five adjectives sum up the French," said Olivier Clodong, one of the study's two authors and a professor of social and political communication at the Ecole Superieur de Commerce, in Paris. "The answers were overwhelmingly negative."

According to Mr Clodong, the old adage that France is wonderful, it's just the French who are the problem, is shared across Europe.

"We are admired for our trains, the Airbus and Michelin tyres. But the buck stops there," he said.

Another section of the study deals with how the French see the rest of Europe.

"Believe it or not, the English and the French use almost exactly the same adjectives to describe each other - bar the word 'insular'," Mr Coldong said. "So the feelings are mutual."

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005. Terms & Conditions of reading.

MSN - News - Kylie Minogue Diagnosed With Breast Cancer


Kylie Minogue Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
May 17, 7:27 AM EST

The Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia -- Australian pop star Kylie Minogue has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo immediate treatment, her management team said.

Her tour of Australia was postponed following the announcement.

A statement from Minogue's management said the 36-year-old's diagnosis was confirmed this week during a visit to the southern Australian city of Melbourne.

"Whilst at home in Melbourne with her family this week prior to her Australian Showgirl Tour, Kylie was diagnosed with early breast cancer," the statement said.

In the statement, Minogue said: "I was so looking forward to bringing the Showgirl tour to Australian audiences, and am sorry to have to disappoint my fans. Nevertheless, hopefully all will work out fine and I'll be back with you all again soon."

The Showgirl Tour was to have included performances in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth over the next month.

Michael Gudinski, head of Frontier Touring, the company promoting her Australian tour, said it was "way too early to tell" when Minogue might resume her tour and that it was appropriate to postpone the tour indefinitely to "let her find her space and deal with it."

"I'm just hoping and praying because the doctors found it so early that everything will be OK," he told an Australian television network.

"Our thoughts and I'm sure many, many legions of Kylie fans will be with her all the way," he said.

Minogue began as an actor on the long-running Australian soap opera "Neighbours" before launching her singing career with hits such as "Loco-Motion" and "I Should Be So Lucky."

Her fame soared after her critically acclaimed 2001 album "Fever" which reached number one in charts around the world and number three in the Billboard album chart. On the popularity of the single, "Can't Get You Out of My Head," "Fever" sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, according to Minogue's Web site.

In late 2003 her song "Slow" became Minogue's seventh number one single in Britain, more than 15 years after "I Should Be So Lucky" topped the charts there in 1988. "Slow" also was nominated for a Grammy.

In the past, Minogue has auctioned one of her bras to raise money for breast cancer research and worked to raise awareness of prostate cancer, after her father was diagnosed with it.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wisdom Bits from Old Blighty


Telegraph | Money | City comment
City comment
Edited by Neil Collins (Filed: 17/05/2005)

Resurgent Post Office is ripe for under the counter privatisation


Allan Leighton is seldom short of a good idea, and when he's short of a good one, he'll certainly produce an interesting one. Whether his plan for the Government to sell the Post Office to its workforce is the former or the latter remains to be seen, but nobody who knows him would rule it out entirely.

Today the business reports its results, which will show just what a combination of common sense management and the ability to impose monopoly prices can do.

In addition to bonuses all round, the dramatic improvement raises the possibility of borrowing enough in the market to tempt the Government to reconsider its manifesto pledge not to privatise the business. Since that was put in to pacify the former colleagues of Alan Johnson, now Secretary of State for whatever-it's-called, and his former colleagues rather like the idea of owning the Post Office, that may not be too much of a problem.

If Labour has learned anything in eight years, it is surely that governments are useless at running things, and even giving the PO to its workers would probably be in taxpayers' interests in the long run. It can't be seen to do that, of course, which rather rules out the John Lewis solution, since its original owner gave it away. Nevertheless, there are several options for a financial structure between complete state ownership and conventional plc, and while Network Rail has given one of them a bad name, don't underestimate Mr Leighton's powers of persuasion.

Greenpeace tests its 4x4 off the wall capability


Fresh from clambering about on the battlements of Prescott towers during the election, Greenpeace protesters yesterday walked into Ford's plant in Solihull and stopped the Range Rover production line. Apparently, the urban 4x4s made at this site are wrecking the climate, one model has worse fuel consumption than the Model T of 80 years ago, and making cars like this for urban use is crazy when 150,000 people are dying every year from climate change.

Apart from the specious nature of this last statistic, it begs the question of whether it would be OK to make Land Rovers if only 1,500 people were "dying every year from climate change". Perhaps every buyer of a 4x4 should have to promise to plant a tree, or sign a statement swearing they didn't live in SW3. It would make quite as much sense as the Greenpeace protest, and about as much difference.

The 70 vehicles lost from production yesterday will soon be made up, and in terms of numbers they make a negligible impact. They may seem to be everywhere, but only 3.6pc of the cars in London are 4x4s and half the Range Rovers sold actually do go off-road. Across the range, including those luxury monsters, Land Rovers return 30mpg, about the same as a Mini Cooper S or Ford Mondeo V6.

These stunts grab headlines (and comments like this one, which is why the protesters do them). Who could forget the fleet of toxic ghost ships, laden with harmful chemicals and heading for a breaker's yard to pollute pristine Teesside? As usual, emotion overwhelmed science, and the ships were stopped.

In that case, Greenpeace realised that sending them to a specialist breaker's yard was far better for the planet than stripping them by hand on a beach in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, the damage was done; 18 months on, the ships are still unbroken, and the Environment Agency is still objecting.

The real target for the Land Rover protesters is not so much the cars but the people who drive them. The stunt staged by a group called the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s, handing out mock school reports (marked "fail") to mummy as she blocked the street while disgorging her precious cargo at the school gates, had a real point. Of course, the protesters probably never faced the challenge of finding a decent school within walking distance, but that's another story.

The Art of maximising tax revenue - less equals more


Useful economists are rare, so we should be grateful to Art Laffer. In 1974, dining with two ambitious young politicians called Cheney and Rumsfeld, he drew a curve on a napkin to show that since 100pc tax raises no money, there must be an optimum rate to maximise revenue. He guessed it might be quite low, since high rates destroy incentives and encourage evasion.

He's been proved right, not least here, when abandoning punitive rates of income tax led to a surge in receipts from the top earners, and now it seems to be happening again in the United States, following an unexpected jump in tax revenues. When President Bush chopped the top rate of income tax from 39pc to 35pc, predictions of the budget deficit were so big as to use all the world's zeroes just to write it down. Markets were braced for an ocean of Treasury bills to finance it, driving up interest rates and inflation.

Now Laffer is having the last Laff. The Federal Government recorded a $57billion surplus in April and income tax revenues leapt 16pc compared with last year, as Americans worked harder and made less use of tax loopholes. The annual deficit remains but the boffins at Morgan Stanley are so impressed they have just cut their forecast for this year from 3.6pc of GDP to 2.8pc, small enough to fit into the euro's Stability and Growth Pact, as if anyone cared. So for those who want to know why the dollar is rising, the answer is simple: they are printing fewer of them.

neil.collins@telegraph.co.uk

Monday, May 16, 2005

"Profits?" "Bonus?" Post Office? Holy Proletariat!


Telegraph | Money | Post workers share in Royal Mail's GBP500m profits

Post workers share in Royal Mail's £500m profits


By Andrew Cave (Filed: 16/05/2005)

More than 190,000 postal workers will tomorrow be awarded windfalls of more than £1,000 each as Royal Mail claims victory in its mission to transform its service and profits.

The special bonuses will be awarded under the terms of a "renewal plan" announced by Allan Leighton when he became chairman three years ago and set a target of achieving operating profits of £400m. At the time, Royal Mail was losing £1.5m a day.

Weekly-paid staff will receive their windfalls at the end of this week, with other employees getting theirs at the end of this month.

Adam Crozier, Royal Mail's chief executive, will emerge as a massive beneficiary of the turnaound, paid more than £2.7m last year partly due to payments under a long-term incentive plan.

Elmar Toime, ousted as executive deputy chairman last October, is thought to have been paid more than £1m in compensation.

The earnings announcement is expected to confirm operating profits of over £500m in the year to the end of March, compared with £220m the previous year.

The Royal Mail will also say that delivery levels in the past three months were the best for a decade.It delivered 92.5pc of first-class mail the day after it was posted in its final quarter.

Allan Leighton said: "Three years ago, this company was worth zero. Now it is worth around £5billion and the quality of service is the best it has been for 10 years.

"This is why the results we are about to announce will trigger a share-in-success payment of more than £200m to our postmen and postwomen."

The results come as speculation intensifies over the Royal Mail's future. Mr Leighton is understood to have told ministers that he wants to borrow more than £2billion from the City to fund a partial privatisation of the Royal Mail.

He is said to want to see a large stake in the business bought on behalf of Royal Mail staff and a new ownership structure modelled on department store partnership John Lewis.

Labour said in its manifesto that it had no plans to privatise the Royal Mail but will launch a review of the effect on the business of next year's liberalisation of Britain's postal market.

Supporters of a partial privatisation believe that setting up an employee share ownership trust to hold Royal Mail stock for the benefit of all its staff would be an effective way of navigating the ownership issue.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005. Terms & Conditions of reading.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Telegraph | Money | Brown tries idea that lost $4bn: "Brown tries idea that lost $4bn
(Filed: 09/05/2005)

Brown tries idea that lost $4bn


(Filed: 09/05/2005)


The Chancellor is to launch his own version of costly US scheme that invests public money in young companies, writes Richard Tyler

The head of the US Small Business Administration has said his department has lost as much as $4billion from investing public money in young companies.

Speaking as the Chancellor prepares to launch his own version of the idea in England and Wales, Hector Barreto, who runs the Federal agency, said it was hard to justify the resurrection of the 15-year-old scheme. "Until we can find a way for the programme to pay for itself we are not going to fund it," Mr Barreto said.

The US scheme was originally launched over 40 years ago and offered loans to small businesses struggling to find backers from an immature venture capital market. Later it introduced equity finance on a two thirds public, one third private money ratio. The equity scheme had some notable successes, making it possible for the likes of Intel, Compaq and FedEx to get off the ground.

The debenture programme is still running and has been allocated a $4billion budget this year. But the equity scheme, which ran into trouble during the dotcom crash, has been frozen. Mr Barreto said: "There were a lot of technology companies that were ambitious but when the bubble burst they didn't make it. A lot of investments we made did not come to fruition."

It also became clear, he added, that the fees the SBA charged to the venture capitalists it had authorised to invest the taxpayers' money were not sufficient to cover the risk that the money could be lost. So far $2billion has been lost. "That could rise to more than $4billion," Mr Barreto said.

Congress, the SBA and the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies, which represents the venture capitalists, are in talks to see if the scheme can be restructured so it pays for itself. Mr Barreto said: "We are open to coming up with another business model, but the best minds here have not been able to figure that out yet."

Chancellor Gordon Brown believes he has. Having secured state aid clearance from Brussels last week, he plans to launch trials of his version, called Enterprise Capital Funds, within the next year. The UK model offers up to £2 of public money for every £1 of private money raised, up to a maximum exposure per fund of £25m.

The Small Business Service team overseeing the launch has told potential bidders that it wants between three and four trial funds, suggesting that in total a maximum of £100m of public money will be at risk. The model is structured to ensure that once an investment starts to make a profit, taxpayers get paid back first. They could also earn enough profit from successful investments to offset the losses from unsucessful ones.

Officials say that over the 10-year life of the scheme it will become self-funding.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Beatles Lyrics


The Long And Winding Road: "The Long And Winding Road
Lennon/McCartney

The long and winding road that leads to your door,
Will never disappear,
I've seen that road before It always leads me here,
leads me to your door.

The wild and windy night the rain washed away,
Has left a pool of tears crying for the day.
Why leave me standing here, let me know the way
Many times I've been alone and many times I've cried
Anyway you'll never know the many ways I've tried, but
Still they lead me back to the long and winding road
You left me standing here a long, long time ago
Don't leave me waiting here, lead me to you door
Da, da, da, da--"
Sinatra, the Mob and $3.5m - Books - Times Online
Books

May 10, 2005

Reportage

Sinatra, the Mob and $3.5m
Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan
Frank Sinatra’s links to the Mafia were so close that he smuggled their illegal cash into the United States from Cuba, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan reveal in their new biography

......................................
“DID I know those guys?” Frank Sinatra said late in life, when asked about his Mafia connections. “Sure, I knew some. I spent a lot of time working in saloons. And saloons are not run by the Christian Brothers. They came backstage. They thanked you. They offered you a drink. That was it. It doesn't matter any more, does it?”
......................................


Far from merely having had incidental encounters with “some guys” in his youth, Sinatra had intimate relationships with vicious murderers, thieves and vice tsars. His business would be entwined with their rackets for 50 years.

The Mafia role in Sinatra’s career may have begun when a New Jersey mobster named Angelo “Gyp” de Carlo married into the Sinatra family. De Carlo was close to Lucky Luciano, the man credited with creating organised crime in America, and took a proprietary interest in entertainers, singers especially. At the time Frank was given his start, Luciano himself was in prison at Dannemora in upstate New York. He maintained a keen interest in his many “investments ”, which included saloons and gambling venues in New Jersey, and word filtered through to him about the progress of a young singer named Frank Sinatra.

“When I was in Dannemora,” he recalled years later, “the fellas who come to see me told me about him. They said he was a skinny kid from around Hoboken with a terrific voice — and 100 per cent Italian. He used to sing around the joints there, and all the guys liked him.” Two of Luciano’s visitors were the New Jersey mob boss Willie Moretti and, on a regular basis, New York’s Frank Costello.

A Bureau of Narcotics document on the Mafia was to state flatly that Frank was “ ‘discovered’ by Willie Moretti after pressure from Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano”. An FBI document quoted an informant as saying Sinatra “was originally ‘brought up’ by Frank Costello of New York”. And a 1944 report on crime in New Jersey noted that Moretti “had a financial interest in Frank Sinatra”. Later, engaged in conversations by agents on a pretext, the gangster “admitted his association” with Sinatra.

The Mob did Frank its first great favour early in the Second World War, when he was singing with the Tommy Dorsey band. Frank’s tantrums and moodiness became a nuisance to Dorsey, who himself had a short fuse. A real rift opened up between the two men, one that deepened in proportion to Frank’s success.

Frank worked through the summer of 1942 on a breakneck schedule that took the band to New York, Montreal, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and on to the Midwest. In Washington, he told Dorsey that he was leaving. The bandleader had him sign a severance agreement, then reportedly shrugged: “Let him go. Might be the best thing for me.”

Frank sang with the band for the last time on September 10, 1942. Three months short of his 27th birthday, after nearly three years with the country’s top band, he was on his own — but with horrendous strings attached. Under the terms of the release, Frank had agreed to pay a third of all future earnings over $100 a week to Dorsey for the next ten years. Another 10 per cent “off the top” was to go to Dorsey’s manager. When he failed to honour the agreement, Dorsey and his manager sued. Then suddenly, two days after the suit had been filed in California, it was settled out of court.

“I hired a couple of lawyers to get me out of it,” Frank said a decade later. Dorsey’s version emerged in a 1951 magazine article. He had surrendered, Dorsey was quoted as saying, only after “he was visited by three businesslike men, who told him out of the sides of their mouths to ‘sign or else’.” The actor Brad Dexter, a friend of Sinatra, said Frank acknowledged to him that the story was true.

From the time the mob forced Dorsey to back down, according to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics department in the 1950s, Sinatra became “one of many in the entertainment world who knowingly collaborate with the Big Mob”. According to his friend Sonny King, Luciano and Frank Costello “assigned” two specific mafiosi to handle Sinatra. Joe Fischetti of Chicago, King said, was to “be around him all the time”. Sam Giancana, the future Chicago Mafia boss, was there to step in “if major things came up”.

On January 30, 1947, Frank took out a licence in California to carry a German Walther pistol. Questioned by a reporter at the sheriff’s office — someone tipped off the press that he was there — he said he needed the weapon for “a personal matter”. Carrying a handgun was to become routine for him. After obtaining the permit, Frank flew to New York to fulfil a radio commitment, then on to Miami. Before he went south, though, the columnist Earl Wilson got word of his journey, learnt who Frank’s host in Florida was to be — and was appalled. The host was the mobster Joe Fischetti, and the Miami Beach mansion at which Frank stayed belonged to Joe’s older brothers Charles and Rocco, often described as the heirs to Al Capone. The brothers were just back from attending Capone’s funeral in Chicago.

Frank joined the brothers in Miami at a pivotal moment for organised crime. Luciano was back in circulation. By then released from prison in New York and deported to Italy, he had travelled to Cuba — just 90 miles from the US — to resume direct control of his crime empire. Rocco and Joe Fischetti flew in on Pan Am from Miami on February 11, 1947. A still frame from newsreel footage shows them walking from the plane, Rocco to the rear, Joe in front with a hand up to his face. Between them, toting a sizeable piece of hand baggage, is Frank Sinatra.

Narcotics Bureau agents knew that Luciano was involved in huge casino and resort developments — and, they thought, in narcotics — in Cuba, and for that he needed access to vast sums of money. The bureau’s information, later corroborated by the Mafia boss himself, was that visiting associates carried huge cash sums to him in Havana.

There were suspicions that Frank and the former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey had acted as money couriers during the Cuba episode. Official records suggest that the Fischettis contributed as much as $2 million ($16 million today) and that Frank may have carried the cash into Havana in his hand luggage. After that allegation appeared in the press, Luciano denied it and Frank responded with derision. “If you can find me an attaché case that holds $2 million,” he said in evidence to the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, “I will give you the $2 million.” (The author Norman Mailer tried it, and discovered that in fact an even larger sum could be packed into an attaché case.)

Jerry Lewis said that Frank carried money for the Mafia on more than one occasion. Lewis had been born in New Jersey, and had been befriended by Sinatra’s mother Dolly when he was starting out. He had met Frank early on and became his friend, and knew some of the same mobsters.

In Frank’s case, Lewis said, the relationship with the Mob “had to do with the morality that a handshake goes before God. He volunteered to be a messenger for them. And he almost got caught once, in New York.”

Frank was going through Customs, Lewis explained, carrying a briefcase containing “three and a half million in fifties”. Customs opened the briefcase, then — because of the crowd pushing and shoving behind Frank — aborted the search and let him go on. “We would never have heard of him again,” Lewis reflected, had the cash been discovered.

At some point during Frank’s stay in Havana he performed for the assembled mobsters at a business banquet. Of the various matters on the agenda, one had to do with Bugsy Siegel, the veteran bootlegger, gambling racketeer, and killer operating on the American West Coast. Siegel’s latest and most grandiose project, the mob-funded Flamingo hotel and casino in Las Vegas, was going badly. Its opening a few weeks earlier had been a fiasco, and the hotel was temporarily closed. The mafiosi had learned that some of the millions of dollars entrusted to Siegel, including a huge sum contributed by the Fischetti brothers, had been siphoned into private accounts in Switzerland.

At the Mafia gathering in Cuba, Siegel was sentenced to death. He died in a hail of bullets a few months later, his execution approved by Luciano and directed, by one account, by Charles Fischetti. In Las Vegas the syndicate had taken over the Flamingo within hours, and went on to oversee the building of Las Vegas into America’s gambling and entertainment mecca, with Frank as star of stars.

Extracted from Sinatra: The Life by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, to be published by Doubleday on May 17 and available from Books First at £16 (RRP £20) plus £2.25 p&p on 0870 1608080; www.timesonline.co.uk/booksfirstbuy

Under Scrutiny, Firms Tighten E-Mail Use


Ignites
Article published on May 10, 2005

By Chris Frankie

Industry lawyers and compliance professionals are putting the clampdown on e-mail practices in a bid to limit firms’ regulatory exposure.

What is acceptable to include in e-mail, how to categorize and store them and when to use other means of communication are some of the issues with which industry lawyers and compliance staffs are grappling.

E-mail, of course, has played an important role in uncovering the fund trading scandal and has provided regulators with the smoking gun they needed to make their cases. Further, some of the e-mails have been highly damaging to firms’ reputations. In one particular example, a Janus executive’s e-mail showed his willingness to overlook the firm’s policy on market timing simply to collect assets.

John Shields, a Boston-based director in the financial and insurance services practice at Navigant Consulting, says regulators’ changing views about the status of e-mail have forced firms to reevaluate their e-mail policies. Many industry lawyers had argued that e-mails should not be considered under the SEC’s books and records rule, which requires firms to retain certain communications.

Now that it is apparent that that argument is a losing one, firms have regrouped and are mounting new lines of defenses.

“There is certainly a heightened sense and awareness to not only what goes through e-mail and instant messaging, but also a lot more interest into how to categorize e-mails,” Shields says.

Firms are “admonishing” their employees that e-mails should not be viewed in the same way as a phone conversation or face-to-face chat. The danger of using handheld electronic devices and e-mail when discussing important compliance matters is that those communications are open to regulators’ interpretations.

Stephanie Monaco, a partner in the securities regulation and enforcement group of law firm Crowell & Moring, agrees, saying a lot of e-mails are open to “misconstructions.”

Executives should “go back to the old ways” whenever possible, picking up the phone to have a conversation or taking a quick walk down the hall to convey the message personally, she says.

“E-mail has experienced its last useful life and the smarter thing is to start going back to communicating with each other,” she says.

It is not an attempt to “hide the truth,” she says, but rather an effort to stave off a potential problem that could arise from an SEC examiner's reading something into an e-mail that was not intended.

Monaco says another way to head off potential problems with the SEC is to clearly label communications between executives and legal counsel as privileged. Despite the fact that e-mail between top executives and legal counsel should be a clear indicator that the communication could be privileged, Monaco says she clearly marks each e-mail as such.

She also recommends that clients direct all e-mail from counsel to a folder designated as privileged communications.

Mike Malloy, partner at law firm Drinker, Biddle & Reath, says if executives must use e-mail, there are a number of steps they should take to ensure they are not asking for trouble inadvertently. Speaking at a compliance conference last month, Malloy suggested that every executive pretend each e-mail is written on official company letterhead.

However, Malloy urges industry professionals to do away with e-mail if at all possible. “Nobody should use e-mail anymore,” he said. “When I see things going out in e-mails I just cringe. Use faxes, use phones.”

Having incriminating e-mails by top executives displayed by regulators such as New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer is a huge motivational factor for firms to revamp their policies, but e-mail isn’t going away.

Ropes & Gray partner Greg Sheehan says there hasn’t been a wholesale movement away from the corporate use of e-mail because it is so “pervasive,” but the industry is in a period of transition.

He says firms are taking two different approaches. One is to train employees and provide guidance as to the proper use of e-mail and the types of things that shouldn’t be included in such communications.

The other, more judgmental, approach is to allow executives to determine what items are all right to include and what should be classified under attorney-client privilege.

“Everybody I know is concerned about this,” Sheehan says. “Anytime anybody puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, you have got to assume it’s a permanent record.”

Firms want to avoid “hanging themselves” through e-mail the way several scandal-tainted firms did. Many are taking steps to try and ensure they aren’t “laying a ticking time bomb,” he says.

While the heightened regulatory environment hasn’t had a chilling effect on the use of e-mail, it been more “cumbersome and makes everyone’s head swell,” Sheehan says.

Monday, May 09, 2005


· Which Representative worked in Washington previously for nearly 10 of his 25 years in the Marine Corps, with assignments that included carrying the "football," a briefcase containing the codes that would be used to launch a nuclear attack, for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.?

========

C-SPAN: Capitol Spotlight: "TODAY'S CQ TRIVIA
Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., worked in Washington previously for nearly 10 of his 25 years in the Marine Corps, with assignments that included carrying the 'football,' a briefcase containing the codes that would be used to launch a nuclear attack, for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
(CQ's Politics in America 2004) "

Golden oldie listeners take Radio 2 figures to new record


By Hugh Davies
(Filed: 06/05/2005)

The post-war baby boom generation that drove the 1960s pop explosion delivered a 'grey power' boost to Radio 2 yesterday, helping four veteran DJs with a combined age of 231 draw record audiences.

Radio Joint Audience Research figures show that 66-year-old Terry Wogan, with his "senior moments", easily remains Britain's favourite radio personality, attracting 40,000 new listeners since January and bringing his total to 8.09 million.


Terry Wogan: UK's favorite DJ
Steve Wright, 50, has added 400,000 to push his listeners to 6.8 million. Ken Bruce, 54, is at his heels with 6.63 million for his mid-morning programme while Johnnie Walker, 60, has an audience of 5.21 million for his drive-time show.

Mark Story, head of radio at Emap, said that his "heritage" stations in Manchester, Hull and Liverpool, which appeared to be in decline four years ago, were picking up new listeners.

He added: "There is also a very clear end to the generation gap.

"There was a time when young people instinctively hated the music of their parents. This is now no longer the case."

The trend for older music is most obvious in the charts, where Tony Christie remains at No 1 for a seventh week with the charity record Amarillo. In March it sold more copies in a week than in the whole of its 1971 run in the "hit parade".

The single is the longest-running chart-topper since Cher's Believe in 1998. It has sold 932,982 copies, three times as many as its nearest rival this year, McFly's All About You.

A spokesman for HMV, Gennaro Castaldo, said that while Christie was helped by Comic Relief, his amazing success indicated that there was a huge nostalgic appetite for older stars if record companies were prepared to invest in them.

Saga magazine, aimed at the over-50s, has Rod Stewart on its cover and British tours are imminent by Neil Diamond, 64, Pat Boone, 70, Kris Kristofferson, 68, Andy Williams, 77, The Everly Brothers (Don, 68, and Phil, 66), Don McLean, 59, and Donovan Leitch, who turns 59 next week. Donovan, an icon of the 1960s "flower power" revolution, who long ago retreated to "the exquisite peace" of an old rectory in County Cork, said: "I haven't toured in donkey's years. I was getting bored and exhausted.

"But I'm still alive. I still have my hair. I'm not overweight. I'm actually quite well in the health department - and it's all rather daunting."

Sanctuary Records is issuing a two-disc anthology of Donovan's music, featuring Universal Soldier, Colours and Turquoise, as well as Catch the Wind, his first chart success 40 years ago. Donovan said: "There is now intense interest in my back catalogue. If I ever come to London, I get defensive when the cabbie recognises me and mutters about the 'bloody rubbish' in today's pop music, and talks about my melodies.

"I say nothing. In my time, we didn't know songs could last. All we ever thought of was next Tuesday. You never imagined a future. The Beatles had fun with When I'm 64, but, really, nobody thought it would last that long."

Dennis Locorriere, former lead singer with Dr Hook, who is due to perform in London tonight, said: "I'll be 56 in July. Back home in America, all I'm offered is the oldies package tours. You slog through your history and go to the bar.

"But in England, there's a different buzz, and I can feel a shift in the audiences that is very tangible. I can go on stage alone with a guitar and talk between songs, and whether or not it's this success of Tony Christie, the reaction is pretty incredible."

Publishers wishing to reproduce photographs on this page should phone 44 (0) 207 538 7505 or e-mail syndication@telegraph.co.uk
Radio Joint Audience Research


© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005. Terms & Conditions of reading.

A Pivotal Justice Less Than Supremely Confident - New York Times: "

May 6, 2005

A Pivotal Justice Less Than Supremely Confident


By JEFFREY ROSEN

---
BECOMING JUSTICE BLACKMUN
Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey.
By Linda Greenhouse.
Illustrated. 268 pp. Times Books/Henry Holt & Company. $25.
---

Linda Greenhouse, the Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, is widely respected not only for her scrupulous translations of complicated opinions and traditions but also for her care in avoiding gossip and preserving the justices' privacy. In her first book, 'Becoming Justice Blackmun,' she has produced something unexpected: one of the most intimate and revealing portraits of the relationship between two justices ever achieved.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun, who served on the court from 1970 to 1994, will always be remembered as the author of the most controversial decision of his era, Roe v. Wade. A compulsive list maker and organizer, he died in 1999 and left to the Library of Congress his vast collection of public and private papers: more than half a million items, ranging from childhood diaries to honeymoon receipts. The Blackmun family gave Ms. Greenhouse access to the papers two months before they were open to the public last year, resulting in a series of articles for The Times that inspired this book.
Based on her immersion in the Blackmun papers, Ms. Greenhouse offers a narrative that is often riveting in its raw glimpses of the insecurities and emotions of Justice Blackmun and his childhood friend, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. Ms. Greenhouse is characteristically fair-minded in her determination to present Justice Blackmun, Chief Justice Burger and the other justices in context and in their own words. But the . . ."

Miss, do you take dick... ta... tion?


Telegraph | Expat | Sex, power and the Monica factor
"Sex, power and the Monica factor
By Abbie Finfrock
(Filed: 26/04/2005)

Seven years on, Washington interns are still struggling to shake off the Lewinsky tag, finds Abbie Finfrock

It is 11am in Washington DC. Here I am, an ingenue 20-year-old intern, sipping my coffee and desperately trying to figure out how my tape recorder works so I can accurately cover an event at the American Enterprise Institute think-tank, when a man in his late fifties walks over and offers to help.


Abbie Finfrock: 'constantly propositioned'


I think to myself, 'Wow, this is a nice gesture, what a cute old man.' We start chatting about how one of my college professors works at the same think-tank. He then asks me if I'd like to attend a 'conference' with him, and slips me his business card. The cute grandfather act has vanished.

'Call me, any time,' he says, with a mischievous smirk.

Later that day, two other middle-aged men try the same pick-up routine. In my four months working as an intern at The Daily Telegraph's DC office, I have been constantly propositioned by middle-aged men in bars, train stations, and in various work situations.

Each year, between 20,000 and 40,000 interns flock to the American capital with hopes of meeting Washington big-timers and stuffing their resumes with professional experience. Each year, some end up having not entirely professional relationships with elected officials. Some liaisons remain secret, while others have far reaching consequences: the fallout of Monica Lewinsky's affair with Bill Clinton threatened to bring down the President.

Yet, seven years on, each new crop of eager and wide-eyed interns arrives like fresh prey for the city's political predators. Far from dampening the instincts of the political classes, the Lewinsky scandal appears to have egged them on. Monica has given us a bad reputation.

Mary Ryan, the president of the Washington Internship Institute, says: "Interns are the backbone of the Washington workforce, they are the unsung heroes. But they need to learn more about the ways of working life."

Some of us need fewer lessons than others. In Washington, playing the role of the gullible intern is an effective way to move up the ladder. One intern on Capitol Hill says that everyone should understand the relationships between older men and young women in Washington - the women use the men to "work their way up". And if they have to use sex, that's a fair tactic.

According to another intern, there is a certain type of young woman in town who wears tight-fitting, cleavage-baring shirts and inappropriately short skirts, and who creates situations where a man is compelled to ask her out on a date. More subtly, she may be required to work late with him at the office after everyone else has left, as Monica Lewinsky often did.

"Girls who fall for that stuff have to know what's going on and want it," she says. "There's a difference between looking stylish and attractive, and advertising sex."

"It's all about the power," says a third intern. "Everything is strategic here; if I do this, then I get this. I mean, who wouldn't want to sleep with the president?"

Of all the interns I've spoken to, every woman has stories about being harassed by men who could be their fathers. One, a shy 22-year- old, was sitting at a congressional office wearing her daily business attire, when a congressman in his late sixties walked over and asked her out for dinner.

"I really can't, I have a very serious boyfriend, but thank you," she said, nervously.

Prior to coming to Washington, my 50-year-old father warned me of the mischievous older men I would most likely encounter here. Refusing to believe him at first, I have been proved wrong. I hate it when parents are right.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005. Terms & Conditions of reading.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Yahoo Stokes Search Engine Rivalry By Propelling Video Search


Yahoo Stokes Search Engine Rivalry By Propelling Video Search
May 5, 2005

Yahoo's engine searches both the Web and the content of its media partners and those companies that distribute video via Media Really Simple Syndication, a self-publishing specification that enables publishers to distribute audio and video to Web-content aggregators.

By Antone Gonsalves
TechWeb News

Yahoo Inc., which is racing against Google in offering better video-search capabilities, brought its service out of beta on Thursday and said it has added searchable content from CBS News, MTV and other media channels.

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., first launched the service in December 2004, about a month before Google, Mountain View, Calif., debuted its TV video search service, which is still in beta. A major difference between the two services is that Yahoo offers video clips.

The Google Video service, on the other hand, returns still photos and a text excerpt at the point where the search phrase was spoken. Transcripts are also available.

Yahoo's video-clip offering reflects how the news and entertainment portal has done a better job at negotiating deals with content providers, particularly major media and movie companies, Charlene Li, analyst for Forrester Research, said. This is important because the more content a search engine can peruse, the more consumers it will attract.

"Yahoo has been more savvy in striking deals with content providers themselves," Li said. "Google is striking some deals, but not as many as Yahoo."

Yahoo's success is also tied to its media focus.

"They're a media company, and their roots are in media and entertainment," Li said. "Google's roots are in technology."

Yahoo's latest content deals included Buena Vista Pictures, a movie and TV producer owned by the Walt Disney Co.; CBS News; Country Music Television; Discovery Communications Inc., which produces the Discovery Channel; and music video and entertainment channels MTV and VH1.

Earlier this week, Google announced the addition of 12 more TV channels that it would search, including CNN and the Discovery Channel.

Yahoo developed its video search internally and through the acquisition of companies like Inktomi and AltaVista over the last several years. Besides searching the web, Yahoo's engine also searches the content of its media partners and those companies that distribute video via Media Really Simple Syndication. Media RSS is a self-publishing specification that enables publishers to distribute audio and video to web content aggregators.

For now, Yahoo is not making money directly from its video-search service.

"We're not currently applying any monetization model directly," Jeff Karnes, director of media search, said.

Video and audio search are not new to the Web. Other companies have been doing both since the late '90s. Examples of TV video search services include Blinkx.tv, SpeechBot from Hewlett-Packard Co., which uses speech-recognition in its search; and ShadowTV Inc., which offers a paid business service.