Santa Clara University

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Other (125)


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Other (125)
Pope resisted priest's dismissal 04/11/2010 Brisbane Times Text View Clip
Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce 04/11/2010 InsideBayArea.com Text View Clip
Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce 04/11/2010 SiliconValley.com Text View Clip
Pope hesitated to defrock priest 04/10/2010 Los Angeles Times - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Fresno Bee - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Sun News - Online, The Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Belleville News-Democrat - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Island Packet - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Herald - Online, The Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Modesto Bee - Online, The Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Tri-City Herald - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 State - Online, The Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Centre Daily Times - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 News Tribune - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Bradenton Herald - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Lexington Herald-Leader - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 News & Observer - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Idaho Statesman - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Sacramento Bee - Online, The Text View Clip
Letter shows hesitation to defrock priest 04/10/2010 St. Paul Pioneer Press - Online Text View Clip
Letter shows pope-to-be slow to act on abuser 04/10/2010 AZCentral.com Text View Clip
Pope hesitated to defrock priest 04/10/2010 Los Angeles Times Text
Pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Daily Herald - Online, The Text View Clip
Pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Seattle's Child Text View Clip
Pope resisted priest's dismissal 04/10/2010 The Age Text View Clip
Pope resisted priest's dismissal 04/10/2010 WA Today.com.au Text View Clip
Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges 04/10/2010 Telegraph - Online, The Text View Clip
Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce 04/10/2010 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce 04/10/2010 Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online Text View Clip
Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Action Cards 04/10/2010 CIO Australia Text View Clip
How hedge fund deal cost minority owners their control of WTMP in Tampa 04/10/2010 St. Petersburg Times - Online Text View Clip
Catholic Abuse 04/09/2010 KCBS-AM Text
Putting your money where your heart is 04/09/2010 Business 2.0 - Online Text View Clip
A guide to making socially responsible investments 04/09/2010 Yahoo! Finance Text View Clip
Man of Moderation: Last Justice of ‘Greatest Generation,' Says Farewell 04/09/2010 ABA Journal - Online Text View Clip
Man of Moderation: Last Justice of ‘Greatest Generation,' Says Farewell 04/09/2010 ABA Journal - Online Text View Clip
Off the Street and Wired 04/08/2010 Korea Times - Los Angeles Edition Text View Clip
Hypocritical Liberal Media Establishment Promotes Secular Extremism and Obama and Defames Pope Benedict XVI, Especially for Lent 04/08/2010 Web Commentary Text View Clip
Church abuse crisis tests faith of area Catholics 04/08/2010 Pensacola News Journal - Online Text View Clip
Xaviers charts a growth path 04/08/2010 Telegraph (India) - Online, The Text View Clip
The little T-shirt that could 04/08/2010 Times-Picayune Text
The Churchill Companies Complete $6 Million Construction Financing for Solar Power Installation at a California University 04/08/2010 Earthtimes.org Text View Clip
Law School to Hold Open House in Second Life 04/08/2010 jdjournal.com Text View Clip
Local, national groups come together to solve New Orleans solvable problems 04/08/2010 Times-Picayune - Online Text View Clip
Psychologist Separates Myths from Realities in Church Sex Abuse 04/07/2010 WBEZ-FM (Chicago Public Radio) Text View Clip
Media: Pope Benedict Guilty Until Proven Innocent 04/07/2010 Newsbusters Text View Clip
On the Corner Music 04/07/2010 Metro Silicon Valley - Online Text View Clip
Africa: Gendering the African Diaspora - Women, Culture and Historical Change in the Carribean and Nigerian Hinterland* 04/07/2010 AllAfrica.com Text View Clip
FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says 04/07/2010 TMCnet.com Text View Clip
FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says [San Jose Mercury News, Calif.] 04/07/2010 TMCnet.com Text View Clip
Media: Pope Benedict Guilty Until Proven Innocent 04/07/2010 Newsbusters Text View Clip
FCC'S INTERNET CONTROL REJECTED 04/07/2010 San Jose Mercury News Text
Gendering the African Diaspora - Women, Culture and Historical Change in the Carribean and Nigerian Hinterland* [book listing] 04/07/2010 AllAfrica.com Text
Yelp Changes Policies, But 'Extortion' Lawsuits Likely To Continue 04/07/2010 MediaPost.com Text View Clip
FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says 04/07/2010 SiliconValley.com Text View Clip
Whitford's expertise bodes well for Aquatic Center 04/07/2010 State Hornet, The Text View Clip
FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says 04/07/2010 InsideBayArea.com Text View Clip
FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says 04/07/2010 Oroville Mercury-Register Text View Clip
FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says 04/07/2010 Los Angeles Daily News - Online Text View Clip
In the Neighborhood 04/07/2010 Battle Creek Enquirer - Online, The Text View Clip
How much did the Pope know? 04/06/2010 Maclean's Text View Clip
Simple Tips For Student Athletes To Land That College Scholarship 04/06/2010 Article Alley Text View Clip
Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-EE Times Group and Business Practicum Partner to Offer Customized Marketing Education for the Electronics Industry 04/06/2010 WAND-TV - Online Text View Clip
CA EETimes BizPract photo 04 06 04/06/2010 Associated Press (AP) Text
Could Publishing Your Chatroulette Conversation Land You in the Pokey? 04/06/2010 mediabistro.com Text View Clip
State Bar Releases List of Candidates for Seats on Board of Governors 04/06/2010 Metropolitan News-Enterprise - Online, The Text View Clip
The problems with double depositing: Part 2 04/05/2010 Washington Post Text View Clip
Tiger Woods ready for the Masters as focus shifts from adultery to golf 04/05/2010 News Press - Online Text View Clip
An Open Letter From a Director of Graduate Admissions 04/04/2010 Chronicle of Higher Education, The Text View Clip
Clergy Sexual Abuse 04/04/2010 KCBS-AM Text
Renewal of faith 04/04/2010 Press Democrat - Online Text View Clip
Renewal of faith 04/04/2010 Petaluma360.com Text View Clip
Los Alamos forges a connection to the sea 04/04/2010 Los Alamos Monitor Text View Clip
San Jose artist Deborah Kennedy's art came down along with the Berlin Wall 04/03/2010 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
New interim superintendent John Ramirez Jr. ready to lead Alisal Union School District 04/03/2010 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
With all its revenue streams diminishing, Caltrain may be forced to cease operations 04/02/2010 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
With all its revenue streams diminishing, Caltrain may be forced to cease operations 04/02/2010 Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online Text View Clip
Giants Concerned About Caltrain Cuts 04/02/2010 KCBS-AM - Online Text View Clip
Student Newspapers Play the Fools, and Readers Play Along 04/01/2010 Chronicle of Higher Education, The Text View Clip
Wait, is this an Onion story?? 04/01/2010 Washington Post Text View Clip
Clergy Sexual Abuse Study: It's Time for Common Sense 04/01/2010 LifeSiteNews Text View Clip
With all its revenue streams diminishing, Caltrain may be forced to cease operations 04/01/2010 San Mateo County Times Text
COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE RATES 04/01/2010 San Jose Mercury News Text
Working toward communities we can be proud of 04/01/2010 Daily Local News Text View Clip
The Scandal Driving the Church Sex Scandal 04/01/2010 American Thinker, The Text View Clip
Learning from Losses: 'Wolves Coach Rambis Growing Through Difficult Season 04/01/2010 All Headline News Text View Clip
Cracking Open Genetic Privacy 04/01/2010 Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - Online Text View Clip
CEF honors donors for support of Catholic education 04/01/2010 Tidings Text View Clip
Yen, Dollar Drop on Stocks, Commodities, Buoying Risk (Correct) 03/31/2010 Bloomberg News - Online Text View Clip
Illegal wiretaps 03/31/2010 KCBS-AM Text
Conference targets green regulations 03/30/2010 Whittier Daily News Text View Clip
Broadening ‘Diversity' at Universities 03/30/2010 Miller-McCune - Online Text View Clip
Your Best School May Not Be Among Best Schools 03/30/2010 Miller-McCune - Online Text View Clip
Conference targets green regulations 03/30/2010 San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online Text View Clip
'Beneath the Ivory Tower' 03/30/2010 Inside Higher Ed Text View Clip
More Firms Getting Involved in Smart Grid Work 03/30/2010 Interiors & Sources - Online Text View Clip
Academic Coverage of Sports and Steroids 03/30/2010 Miller-McCune - Online Text View Clip
Catholic Church Sex Scandal & Celibacy 03/30/2010 New American - Online, The Text View Clip
Where did all the day traders go? Some are still out there 03/29/2010 International Herald Tribune Text
More Firms Getting Involved in Smart Grid Work 03/29/2010 Buildings Magazine - Online Text View Clip
Getting into college fraught with angst for seniors 03/29/2010 Press Democrat - Online Text View Clip
Yen, Dollar Drop as Stocks, Commodities Rally, Buoying Risk 03/29/2010 Bloomberg News - Online Text View Clip
Conference targets green regulations 03/29/2010 Pasadena Star-News - Online Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 Tuscaloosa News - Online, The Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 Ledger - Online, The Text View Clip
Getting into college fraught with angst for seniors 03/28/2010 Petaluma360.com Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Online Text View Clip
Picking Stocks? Try Spotting the Turkeys. 03/28/2010 Wall Street Journal Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 New York Times - Online Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0 Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 New York Times Text
Mark Alexander: Region's office market has some silver in clouds 03/28/2010 News Press - Online Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 Wilmington Star-News - Online Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 Gainesville Sun - Online, The Text View Clip
Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It 03/28/2010 Times-News - Online Text View Clip
DEMOCRATS' INFIGHTING REQUIRES A FLOW CHART 03/28/2010 San Jose Mercury News Text
Saturday Morning Attorneys 03/27/2010 jdjournal.com Text View Clip
California's Latino students graduate college at higher rates than Latino national average 03/26/2010 San Jose Mercury News Text View Clip
Vatican/Clerical abuse updates 03/26/2010 Washington Post - Online Text View Clip
Santa Clara Students Use Social Media to Explore Ethics 03/26/2010 AJCU Higher Ed News Text View Clip
How to climb the stock market's wall of worry 03/26/2010 Investor's Business Daily - Online Text View Clip
How to climb the stock market's wall of worry 03/26/2010 MarketWatch Text View Clip
Clergy Sexual Abuse 03/25/2010 CKNW-AM Text View Clip
Catholic Abuse 03/25/2010 KCBS-AM Text View Clip
Marriage and the social mission of the Church 03/24/2010 Catholic Channel - Sirius XM, The Text


Pope resisted priest's dismissal | View Clip
04/11/2010
Brisbane Times

MITCHELL LANDSBERG AND VICTORIA KIM, LOS ANGELES April 11, 2010

THE future Pope Benedict resisted pleas to defrock a US priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including ''the good of the universal church'', according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.

The letter to Bishop John Cummins, of Oakland, California is the latest document to shed light on Pope Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the ''grave significance'' of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978.

But Cardinal Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the ''detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful''.

It would be another two years before the Vatican acceded to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the letter is likely to fuel debate over the Pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal embroiling the Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests Cardinal Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of victims, about whom Cardinal Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

''You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood,'' said Mike Finnegan, a lawyer whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims.

''The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican,'' added Dan McNevin, a director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter ''says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican''.

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University who has written about abuse by the clergy, cautioned that the letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

''If this letter came across his desk today … I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010,'' he said.

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Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce | View Clip
04/11/2010
InsideBayArea.com

Born of too much brainstorming or not enough sleep, the names come flying out of nowhere — Crocodoc, Yext, Nowmov.

They turn nouns into adverbs (Answerly) or aspire to become brand-new verbs in true "I-just-googled-her'' fashion.

And in the process, they drop vowels like a clumsy waiter (Flickr), spell perfectly good words backward (Xobni) and insert punctuation points where they have no business being (Center'd).

It's the Great Internet Branding Gold Rush. And with tech startups in Silicon Valley and beyond falling over themselves to create cool names with an AdMob's swagger and a Twitter's zip, the word-play is getting wild. To make matters worse, as the supply of good available names dries up, the envelope is being pushed right over the cliff of clever into the canyon of overly cute.

"We were brainstorming for two weeks, but all the names we came up with were taken,'' said Mo Al Adham, 25, who co-founded his video-sharing service while tethered to a tight budget. "We were still poor students, looking for a $10 domain name. My business partner used to love 7-Eleven lime slushies, so he said, 'How about EatLime?' If we'd had a hundred grand, we probably could have come up with a much better name.''

With the low-hanging fruit pretty much picked over, name-hungry entrepreneurs are in a branding frenzy. Whether they're compiling kitchen-table lists or paying professional consultants, the startup crowd is resorting to all

sorts of tricks — slapping words together, like Cardpool; lodging inside jokes into their names, like Lolapps; mixing up numbers and letters, like 500Friends. And each company founder thinks he or she has found the perfect one.

Take Shayan Zadeh, co-founder of an online dating site called Zoosk. Why Zoosk? Blame it on the drugs he was taking.

"My co-founder and I were both home with colds and a fever,'' he said. "We were trying to come up with something and we wanted it to start with a 'z' or an 'x' because they're sexy letters and we were a dating company. And after seeing the success of Google and Yahoo, we liked having two 'o's. Then the light bulb went off and Zoosk just sort of stuck. Plus, we were so sick and tired by that point that it must have been the NyQuil effect.''

Steven Addis, a Berkeley-based consultant who's been in the branding business for a quarter-century, sees the current crisis as part of a larger historical arc. Ten years ago, "everything was very dot-commish — punchy, short names like Yahoo. But when the bubble burst, a lot of the more frivolous names went out of vogue and suddenly sounded very dated.''

Addis said the pendulum swung the other way for a while, as everyone fled dot-comania like the plague. But lately, "the world has gone back to a more dot-com sort of feel, out of necessity because everything normal is taken,'' said Addis, referring to the despised "domain squatters'' — folks who grab the best names, then pay a small fee to sit on them until a desperate buyer comes along. "There's such hatred for these guys, because they just hijack these great URLs.''

Which leads us to the misspelled, nonsensical, copycatting mess we're now knee-deep in. Smule and Skimble, anyone?

And when the going gets tough, the tough spell words backward. One of the investors in Matt Brezina's e-mail-organizing startup came up with Xobni. Get it?

"We hopped on the computer and saw the domain was available and bought it for eight bucks on the spot,'' Brezina said. "Names with just five letters are hard to get, because the shorter it is the easier it is to type and the more traffic you get. Users say Xobni's really memorable — especially once they know it's inbox spelled backward.''

And even though a consulting firm gave it a trophy for having the worst company name of 2008, Brezina says his San Francisco firm, now housed in Twitter's old offices, has 34 employees and has seen one of its tools downloaded more than 5 million times.

Still, everyone's got their own ideas about what makes a great name. Branding guru and author Naseem Javed says "we are at a crossroads right now because naming has become global. And your name must project the right strength, so if you think you can call yourself Boohoo or LalaLand, you're dreaming in Technicolor.''

Apparently, the folks over at Fecalface (an art-scene site) and Booyah (an entertainment purveyor) didn't get the memo.

"A lot of these companies will have a major marketing job to build awareness for their brand,'' says Buford Barr, a marketing expert at Santa Clara University. "These names tell you nothing. At least Coca-Cola told you something — it was a cola! We don't do that anymore. I don't want to sound like an old guy, but how will people remember your name if they can't even pronounce it?''

Pronounceability, if that's even a word, is key, says Joe Fahrner, who co-founded a "question-and-answer search engine'' called Answerly.

"We were inspired by Writely, which was acquired by Google. Answerly was available for $6.99. We also bought Questionly and Askerly just in case, all for under 100 bucks.''

In the end, nothing spells success like success. Caterina Fake — yes, her real name! — knows the thrill of watching one's company name ascend into the rarefied air of common parlance. She co-founded and created the name Flickr, the photo-sharing Web site that was later sold to Yahoo for a rumored $40 million.

"We wanted Flicker, but the guy who had it wouldn't sell,'' says Fake, 40. "So I suggested to the team, 'Let's remove this "e" thing.' They all said, 'That's too weird,' but I finally ground everyone down. Then of course, it became THE thing and everyone started removing vowels right and left.''

And the rest — from Scribd to Jangl to Jaxtr to Qik — is, well, Hstry.

(Answer to quiz: Rockyrowed).

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689.

Return to Top



Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce | View Clip
04/11/2010
SiliconValley.com

Born of too much brainstorming or not enough sleep, the names come flying out of nowhere — Crocodoc, Yext, Nowmov.

They turn nouns into adverbs (Answerly) or aspire to become brand-new verbs in true "I-just-googled-her'' fashion.

And in the process, they drop vowels like a clumsy waiter (Flickr), spell perfectly good words backward (Xobni) and insert punctuation points where they have no business being (Center'd).

It's the Great Internet Branding Gold Rush. And with tech startups in Silicon Valley and beyond falling over themselves to create cool names with an AdMob's swagger and a Twitter's zip, the word-play is getting wild. To make matters worse, as the supply of good available names dries up, the envelope is being pushed right over the cliff of clever into the canyon of overly cute.

"We were brainstorming for two weeks, but all the names we came up with were taken,'' said Mo Al Adham, 25, who co-founded his video-sharing service while tethered to a tight budget. "We were still poor students, looking for a $10 domain name. My business partner used to love 7-Eleven lime slushies, so he said, 'How about EatLime?' If we'd had a hundred grand, we probably could have come up with a much better name.''

With the low-hanging fruit pretty much picked over, name-hungry entrepreneurs are in a branding frenzy. Whether they're compiling kitchen-table lists or paying professional consultants, the startup crowd is resorting to all

sorts of tricks — slapping words together, like Cardpool; lodging inside jokes into their names, like Lolapps; mixing up numbers and letters, like 500Friends. And each company founder thinks he or she has found the perfect one.

Take Shayan Zadeh, co-founder of an online dating site called Zoosk. Why Zoosk? Blame it on the drugs he was taking.

"My co-founder and I were both home with colds and a fever,'' he said. "We were trying to come up with something and we wanted it to start with a 'z' or an 'x' because they're sexy letters and we were a dating company. And after seeing the success of Google and Yahoo, we liked having two 'o's. Then the light bulb went off and Zoosk just sort of stuck. Plus, we were so sick and tired by that point that it must have been the NyQuil effect.''

Steven Addis, a Berkeley-based consultant who's been in the branding business for a quarter-century, sees the current crisis as part of a larger historical arc. Ten years ago, "everything was very dot-commish — punchy, short names like Yahoo. But when the bubble burst, a lot of the more frivolous names went out of vogue and suddenly sounded very dated.''

Addis said the pendulum swung the other way for a while, as everyone fled dot-comania like the plague. But lately, "the world has gone back to a more dot-com sort of feel, out of necessity because everything normal is taken,'' said Addis, referring to the despised "domain squatters'' — folks who grab the best names, then pay a small fee to sit on them until a desperate buyer comes along. "There's such hatred for these guys, because they just hijack these great URLs.''

Which leads us to the misspelled, nonsensical, copycatting mess we're now knee-deep in. Smule and Skimble, anyone?

And when the going gets tough, the tough spell words backward. One of the investors in Matt Brezina's e-mail-organizing startup came up with Xobni. Get it?

"We hopped on the computer and saw the domain was available and bought it for eight bucks on the spot,'' Brezina said. "Names with just five letters are hard to get, because the shorter it is the easier it is to type and the more traffic you get. Users say Xobni's really memorable — especially once they know it's inbox spelled backward.''

And even though a consulting firm gave it a trophy for having the worst company name of 2008, Brezina says his San Francisco firm, now housed in Twitter's old offices, has 34 employees and has seen one of its tools downloaded more than 5 million times.

Still, everyone's got their own ideas about what makes a great name. Branding guru and author Naseem Javed says "we are at a crossroads right now because naming has become global. And your name must project the right strength, so if you think you can call yourself Boohoo or LalaLand, you're dreaming in Technicolor.''

Apparently, the folks over at Fecalface (an art-scene site) and Booyah (an entertainment purveyor) didn't get the memo.

"A lot of these companies will have a major marketing job to build awareness for their brand,'' says Buford Barr, a marketing expert at Santa Clara University. "These names tell you nothing. At least Coca-Cola told you something — it was a cola! We don't do that anymore. I don't want to sound like an old guy, but how will people remember your name if they can't even pronounce it?''

Pronounceability, if that's even a word, is key, says Joe Fahrner, who co-founded a "question-and-answer search engine'' called Answerly.

"We were inspired by Writely, which was acquired by Google. Answerly was available for $6.99. We also bought Questionly and Askerly just in case, all for under 100 bucks.''

In the end, nothing spells success like success. Caterina Fake — yes, her real name! — knows the thrill of watching one's company name ascend into the rarefied air of common parlance. She co-founded and created the name Flickr, the photo-sharing Web site that was later sold to Yahoo for a rumored $40 million.

"We wanted Flicker, but the guy who had it wouldn't sell,'' says Fake, 40. "So I suggested to the team, 'Let's remove this "e" thing.' They all said, 'That's too weird,' but I finally ground everyone down. Then of course, it became THE thing and everyone started removing vowels right and left.''

And the rest — from Scribd to Jangl to Jaxtr to Qik — is, well, Hstry.

(Answer to quiz: Rockyrowed).

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689.

Return to Top



Pope hesitated to defrock priest | View Clip
04/10/2010
Los Angeles Times - Online

When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to immediately defrock a California priest who admitted to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases. In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that [defrocking] can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today . . . I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. . . . Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by The Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the Bay Area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts -- the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls., overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

mitchell.landsberg @latimes.com

victoria.kim@latimes.com

Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Fresno Bee - Online

Posted at 07:57 PM on Friday, Apr. 09, 2010

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer - Online

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Sun News - Online, The

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Belleville News-Democrat - Online

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Island Packet - Online

Published Friday, April 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES — When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Herald - Online, The

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

http://www.latimes.com/

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Modesto Bee - Online, The

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Tri-City Herald - Online

LOS ANGELES When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
State - Online, The

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Centre Daily Times - Online

- Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
News Tribune - Online

When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Bradenton Herald - Online

When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

Return to Top



Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Lexington Herald-Leader - Online

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
News & Observer - Online

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Idaho Statesman - Online

By MITCHELL LANDSBERG AND VICTORIA KIM - Los Angeles Times

Copyright: © 2010, Los Angeles Times.

LOS ANGELES — When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Sacramento Bee - Online, The

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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Letter shows hesitation to defrock priest | View Clip
04/10/2010
St. Paul Pioneer Press - Online

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of

seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Rev. Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year.

In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts — the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries.

At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys.

And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

(As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

Return to Top



Letter shows pope-to-be slow to act on abuser | View Clip
04/10/2010
AZCentral.com

LOS ANGELES - When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, the future Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland is the latest document to shed light on Pope Benedict's handling of the sexual-abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual-abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual-abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "(The letter) says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today . . . I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual-abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday but did confirm its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said that "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In Cummins' correspondence with the Vatican, he reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he was accused of additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's accusers.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest.

Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual-abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries.

At the same time, questions have arisen about the pope's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual-abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Pope Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

The pope has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008. But he has yet to do so since the series of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In the pope's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls.

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Pope hesitated to defrock priest
04/10/2010
Los Angeles Times

When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to immediately defrock a California priest who admitted to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases. In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that [defrocking] can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today . . . I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. . . . Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by The Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the Bay Area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts -- the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls

--

mitchell.landsberg @latimes.com

victoria.kim@latimes.com

Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

PHOTO: DOCUMENT: The 1985 letter, in Latin, from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to Bishop John Cummins.

PHOTOGRAPHER:Kim Johnson Associated Press

PHOTO: PRIEST: Stephen Kiesle of the Diocese of Oakland was defrocked in 1987.

PHOTOGRAPHER:Dan Rosenstrauch AP

Copyright © 2010 Los Angeles Times

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Pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Daily Herald - Online, The

LOS ANGELES — When he was the church’s chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on “the good of the Universal Church,” according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the “grave significance” of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the “detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ’s faithful.”

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle’s initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope’s role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church’s reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

“You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican’s the only one that’s thinking he shouldn’t be kicked out of the priesthood,” said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle’s victims in Northern California lawsuits.

“The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican,” added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter “says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican.”

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of “Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church,” cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

“If this letter came across his desk today … I can’t imagine that what was done in ‘85 would be done in 2010,” he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn’t always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction.

“That’s not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids,” Plante said. “If you defrock them and throw them out, you don’t control them. … Is it better to keep them as a priest so they’re still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?”

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

“The press office doesn’t believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations,” Father Federico Lombardi said. “It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger’s signature.”

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Pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Seattle's Child

LOS ANGELES — When he was the church’s chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on “the good of the Universal Church,” according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the “grave significance” of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the “detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ’s faithful.”

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle’s initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope’s role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church’s reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

“You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican’s the only one that’s thinking he shouldn’t be kicked out of the priesthood,” said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle’s victims in Northern California lawsuits.

“The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican,” added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter “says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican.”

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of “Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church,” cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

“If this letter came across his desk today … I can’t imagine that what was done in ‘85 would be done in 2010,” he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn’t always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction.

“That’s not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids,” Plante said. “If you defrock them and throw them out, you don’t control them. … Is it better to keep them as a priest so they’re still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?”

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

“The press office doesn’t believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations,” Father Federico Lombardi said. “It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger’s signature.”

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Pope resisted priest's dismissal | View Clip
04/10/2010
The Age

MITCHELL LANDSBERG AND VICTORIA KIM, LOS ANGELES April 11, 2010

THE future Pope Benedict resisted pleas to defrock a US priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including ''the good of the universal church'', according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.

The letter to Bishop John Cummins, of Oakland, California is the latest document to shed light on Pope Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the ''grave significance'' of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978.

But Cardinal Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the ''detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful''.

It would be another two years before the Vatican acceded to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the letter is likely to fuel debate over the Pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal embroiling the Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests Cardinal Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of victims, about whom Cardinal Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

''You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood,'' said Mike Finnegan, a lawyer whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims.

''The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican,'' added Dan McNevin, a director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter ''says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican''.

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University who has written about abuse by the clergy, cautioned that the letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

''If this letter came across his desk today … I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010,'' he said.

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Pope resisted priest's dismissal | View Clip
04/10/2010
WA Today.com.au

THE future Pope Benedict resisted pleas to defrock a US priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including ''the good of the universal church'', according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.

The letter to Bishop John Cummins, of Oakland, California is the latest document to shed light on Pope Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the ''grave significance'' of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978.

But Cardinal Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the ''detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful''.

It would be another two years before the Vatican acceded to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the letter is likely to fuel debate over the Pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal embroiling the Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests Cardinal Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of victims, about whom Cardinal Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

''You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood,'' said Mike Finnegan, a lawyer whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims.

''The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican,'' added Dan McNevin, a director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter ''says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican''.

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University who has written about abuse by the clergy, cautioned that the letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

''If this letter came across his desk today & I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010,'' he said.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

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Letter shows pope hesitated to defrock priest after abuse charges | View Clip
04/10/2010
Telegraph - Online, The

LOS ANGELES -- When he was the church's chief enforcer of doctrine 25 years ago, Pope Benedict XVI declined to defrock immediately a California priest who pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse, saying he needed more time to consider the impact of the case on "the good of the Universal Church," according to a letter released Friday.

The 1985 letter to Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., is the latest document to shed light on Benedict's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in his earlier career, when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and headed the Vatican office that ultimately assumed full responsibility for such cases.

In it, he acknowledges the "grave significance" of the charges against the priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two boys in 1978. But Ratzinger said he needed more time and information, in part because of the "detriment that (defrocking) can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful."

It would be another two years before the Vatican relented to the request, which apparently came on Kiesle's initiative.

The revelation about the Ratzinger letter is likely to fuel debate over the pope's role in the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

By itself, the Vatican letter suggests that Ratzinger was reluctant to act hastily in such a grave matter as defrocking a priest, something that is rarely done.

Church critics said it was part of a pattern by the Vatican of seeming more concerned about the church's reputation than about the trauma of sexual abuse victims, about whom Ratzinger says nothing in the document.

"You have the diocese asking for it, the priest himself asking for it, and the Vatican's the only one that's thinking he shouldn't be kicked out of the priesthood," said Mike Finnegan, a Minnesota attorney whose firm represented two of Kiesle's victims in Northern California lawsuits.

"The importance of defrocking someone is to establish that the priest did wrong in the eyes of the Vatican," added Dan McNevin, director of the Oakland, Calif., chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The letter "says to me that the deck was stacked against kids to the highest level of the Vatican."

However, Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University and author of "Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church," cautioned that the Ratzinger letter should be considered in light of the era and of church doctrine.

"If this letter came across his desk today ... I can't imagine that what was done in '85 would be done in 2010," he said.

Anyway, he added, defrocking doesn't always make sense in sexual abuse cases, especially those in which there has been no criminal conviction. "That's not necessarily smart in terms of the protection of kids," Plante said. "If you defrock them and throw them out, you don't control them. ... Is it better to keep them as a priest so they're still under a vow of obedience and then put them on ice somewhere?"

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the letter Friday, but confirmed its authenticity.

"The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," Father Federico Lombardi said. "It is not strange that there are single documents which have Cardinal Ratzinger's signature."

The letter was first reported by the Associated Press and later obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It was apparently written in response to letters from the Diocese of Oakland supporting Kiesle's request to be removed from the priesthood. The diocese said it was concerned about his "questionable relationships with young children" and his lack of motivation and emotional maturity to be a priest.

In letters to the Vatican, Cummins cited a "great deal of publicity surrounding" Kiesle's conduct and said "there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."

Kiesle was sentenced to three years' probation in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from his molestation of the two boys, ages 11 and 12. He was relieved of priestly duties that year. In his correspondence with the Vatican, Cummins reported Kiesle's conviction for "having taken sexual liberties" with boys.

Despite the conviction, Kiesle was allowed to volunteer at a church in the San Francisco Bay-area town of Pinole beginning in 1985, according to newspaper accounts - the same year Ratzinger wrote the letter to the diocese. While in Pinole, he allegedly committed additional crimes. The Vatican defrocked him in 1987. He remained a volunteer until at least 1988, according to an attorney for two of Kiesle's alleged victims.

In 2002, he was arrested on 13 counts related to child molestation, including two from his years as a volunteer and nine from his years as a priest. Those were all determined to have been before the statute of limitations, but Kiesle was convicted of the 1995 molestation of a young girl in Truckee, Calif., and sentenced to six years in prison.

Eventually, at least eight victims filed civil lawsuits against Kiesle, now 63, and the Diocese of Oakland over acts of molestation alleged to have occurred as far back as his early days in the seminary. Those cases were all settled in 2005. Lewis Van Blois, who represented six women who said they were abused as girls, said his clients received $8 million in the settlement.

The Catholic Church has been grappling publicly with the sexual abuse crisis for well over a decade, but the scandal has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as new cases have surfaced in Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries. At the same time, questions have arisen about Benedict's handling of molestation cases when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 1985 until his elevation to pope in 2005.

As archbishop, Ratzinger approved the transfer of an abusive priest to Munich for therapy, after which the cleric was assigned to pastoral work and molested more boys. And correspondence between the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the late 1990s showed that Ratzinger's office declined to defrock a priest accused of molesting at least 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, his office was given primary jurisdiction over sexual abuse cases. Before that, however, some cases crossed his desk if they involved doctrinal issues such as defrocking.

As criticism mounted in Europe about the Vatican's response to the crisis, Lombardi said Friday that Benedict was willing to meet with more victims of priestly abuse.

Benedict has met with such victims in the past, most notably in the U.S. in 2008, but has yet to do so since the raft of new allegations began emerging in Europe in recent weeks.

But even as Lombardi spoke, new cases of alleged abuse were reported in Norway. The head of the Roman Catholic Church there, Bernd Eidsvig, told reporters that four complaints of molestation had come to light, two of which involved incidents that allegedly occurred about 50 years ago at the hands of people who have since died.

In Benedict's homeland of Germany, a new hotline set up by the church to receive complaints was jammed with calls, overwhelming the counselors staffing it. Church officials reported more than 13,000 attempted calls to the hotline in just three days, only a fraction of which got through.

(Los Angeles Times staff writers Henry Chu in London and Jessica Garrison and Larry Gordon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce | View Clip
04/10/2010
San Jose Mercury News - Online

Born of too much brainstorming or not enough sleep, the names come flying out of nowhere — Crocodoc, Yext, Nowmov.

They turn nouns into adverbs (Answerly) or aspire to become brand-new verbs in true "I-just-googled-her'' fashion.

And in the process, they drop vowels like a clumsy waiter (Flickr), spell perfectly good words backward (Xobni) and insert punctuation points where they have no business being (Center'd).

It's the Great Internet Branding Gold Rush. And with tech startups in Silicon Valley and beyond falling over themselves to create cool names with an AdMob's swagger and a Twitter's zip, the word-play is getting wild. To make matters worse, as the supply of good available names dries up, the envelope is being pushed right over the cliff of clever into the canyon of overly cute.

"We were brainstorming for two weeks, but all the names we came up with were taken,'' said Mo Al Adham, 25, who co-founded his video-sharing service while tethered to a tight budget. "We were still poor students, looking for a $10 domain name. My business partner used to love 7-Eleven lime slushies, so he said, 'How about EatLime?' If we'd had a hundred grand, we probably could have come up with a much better name.''

With the low-hanging fruit pretty much picked over, name-hungry entrepreneurs are in a branding frenzy. Whether they're compiling kitchen-table lists or paying professional consultants, the startup crowd is resorting to all

sorts of tricks — slapping words together, like Cardpool; lodging inside jokes into their names, like Lolapps; mixing up numbers and letters, like 500Friends. And each company founder thinks he or she has found the perfect one.

Take Shayan Zadeh, co-founder of an online dating site called Zoosk. Why Zoosk? Blame it on the drugs he was taking.

"My co-founder and I were both home with colds and a fever,'' he said. "We were trying to come up with something and we wanted it to start with a 'z' or an 'x' because they're sexy letters and we were a dating company. And after seeing the success of Google and Yahoo, we liked having two 'o's. Then the light bulb went off and Zoosk just sort of stuck. Plus, we were so sick and tired by that point that it must have been the NyQuil effect.''

Steven Addis, a Berkeley-based consultant who's been in the branding business for a quarter-century, sees the current crisis as part of a larger historical arc. Ten years ago, "everything was very dot-commish — punchy, short names like Yahoo. But when the bubble burst, a lot of the more frivolous names went out of vogue and suddenly sounded very dated.''

Addis said the pendulum swung the other way for a while, as everyone fled dot-comania like the plague. But lately, "the world has gone back to a more dot-com sort of feel, out of necessity because everything normal is taken,'' said Addis, referring to the despised "domain squatters'' — folks who grab the best names, then pay a small fee to sit on them until a desperate buyer comes along. "There's such hatred for these guys, because they just hijack these great URLs.''

Which leads us to the misspelled, nonsensical, copycatting mess we're now knee-deep in. Smule and Skimble, anyone?

And when the going gets tough, the tough spell words backward. One of the investors in Matt Brezina's e-mail-organizing startup came up with Xobni. Get it?

"We hopped on the computer and saw the domain was available and bought it for eight bucks on the spot,'' Brezina said. "Names with just five letters are hard to get, because the shorter it is the easier it is to type and the more traffic you get. Users say Xobni's really memorable — especially once they know it's inbox spelled backward.''

And even though a consulting firm gave it a trophy for having the worst company name of 2008, Brezina says his San Francisco firm, now housed in Twitter's old offices, has 34 employees and has seen one of its tools downloaded more than 5 million times.

Still, everyone's got their own ideas about what makes a great name. Branding guru and author Naseem Javed says "we are at a crossroads right now because naming has become global. And your name must project the right strength, so if you think you can call yourself Boohoo or LalaLand, you're dreaming in Technicolor.''

Apparently, the folks over at Fecalface (an art-scene site) and Booyah (an entertainment purveyor) didn't get the memo.

"A lot of these companies will have a major marketing job to build awareness for their brand,'' says Buford Barr, a marketing expert at Santa Clara University. "These names tell you nothing. At least Coca-Cola told you something — it was a cola! We don't do that anymore. I don't want to sound like an old guy, but how will people remember your name if they can't even pronounce it?''

Pronounceability, if that's even a word, is key, says Joe Fahrner, who co-founded a "question-and-answer search engine'' called Answerly.

"We were inspired by Writely, which was acquired by Google. Answerly was available for $6.99. We also bought Questionly and Askerly just in case, all for under 100 bucks.''

In the end, nothing spells success like success. Caterina Fake — yes, her real name! — knows the thrill of watching one's company name ascend into the rarefied air of common parlance. She co-founded and created the name Flickr, the photo-sharing Web site that was later sold to Yahoo for a rumored $40 million.

"We wanted Flicker, but the guy who had it wouldn't sell,'' says Fake, 40. "So I suggested to the team, 'Let's remove this "e" thing.' They all said, 'That's too weird,' but I finally ground everyone down. Then of course, it became THE thing and everyone started removing vowels right and left.''

And the rest — from Scribd to Jangl to Jaxtr to Qik — is, well, Hstry.

(Answer to quiz: Rockyrowed).

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689.

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Tech startups seek fame and fortune with names we often can't spell or pronounce | View Clip
04/10/2010
Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online

Born of too much brainstorming or not enough sleep, the names come flying out of nowhere — Crocodoc, Yext, Nowmov.

They turn nouns into adverbs (Answerly) or aspire to become brand-new verbs in true "I-just-googled-her'' fashion.

And in the process, they drop vowels like a clumsy waiter (Flickr), spell perfectly good words backward (Xobni) and insert punctuation points where they have no business being (Center'd).

It's the Great Internet Branding Gold Rush. And with tech startups in Silicon Valley and beyond falling over themselves to create cool names with an AdMob's swagger and a Twitter's zip, the word-play is getting wild. To make matters worse, as the supply of good available names dries up, the envelope is being pushed right over the cliff of clever into the canyon of overly cute.

"We were brainstorming for two weeks, but all the names we came up with were taken,'' said Mo Al Adham, 25, who co-founded his video-sharing service while tethered to a tight budget. "We were still poor students, looking for a $10 domain name. My business partner used to love 7-Eleven lime slushies, so he said, 'How about EatLime?' If we'd had a hundred grand, we probably could have come up with a much better name.''

With the low-hanging fruit pretty much picked over, name-hungry entrepreneurs are in a branding frenzy. Whether they're compiling kitchen-table lists or paying professional consultants, the startup crowd is resorting to all

sorts of tricks — slapping words together, like Cardpool; lodging inside jokes into their names, like Lolapps; mixing up numbers and letters, like 500Friends. And each company founder thinks he or she has found the perfect one.

Take Shayan Zadeh, co-founder of an online dating site called Zoosk. Why Zoosk? Blame it on the drugs he was taking.

"My co-founder and I were both home with colds and a fever,'' he said. "We were trying to come up with something and we wanted it to start with a 'z' or an 'x' because they're sexy letters and we were a dating company. And after seeing the success of Google and Yahoo, we liked having two 'o's. Then the light bulb went off and Zoosk just sort of stuck. Plus, we were so sick and tired by that point that it must have been the NyQuil effect.''

Steven Addis, a Berkeley-based consultant who's been in the branding business for a quarter-century, sees the current crisis as part of a larger historical arc. Ten years ago, "everything was very dot-commish — punchy, short names like Yahoo. But when the bubble burst, a lot of the more frivolous names went out of vogue and suddenly sounded very dated.''

Addis said the pendulum swung the other way for a while, as everyone fled dot-comania like the plague. But lately, "the world has gone back to a more dot-com sort of feel, out of necessity because everything normal is taken,'' said Addis, referring to the despised "domain squatters'' — folks who grab the best names, then pay a small fee to sit on them until a desperate buyer comes along. "There's such hatred for these guys, because they just hijack these great URLs.''

Which leads us to the misspelled, nonsensical, copycatting mess we're now knee-deep in. Smule and Skimble, anyone?

And when the going gets tough, the tough spell words backward. One of the investors in Matt Brezina's e-mail-organizing startup came up with Xobni. Get it?

"We hopped on the computer and saw the domain was available and bought it for eight bucks on the spot,'' Brezina said. "Names with just five letters are hard to get, because the shorter it is the easier it is to type and the more traffic you get. Users say Xobni's really memorable — especially once they know it's inbox spelled backward.''

And even though a consulting firm gave it a trophy for having the worst company name of 2008, Brezina says his San Francisco firm, now housed in Twitter's old offices, has 34 employees and has seen one of its tools downloaded more than 5 million times.

Still, everyone's got their own ideas about what makes a great name. Branding guru and author Naseem Javed says "we are at a crossroads right now because naming has become global. And your name must project the right strength, so if you think you can call yourself Boohoo or LalaLand, you're dreaming in Technicolor.''

Apparently, the folks over at Fecalface (an art-scene site) and Booyah (an entertainment purveyor) didn't get the memo.

"A lot of these companies will have a major marketing job to build awareness for their brand,'' says Buford Barr, a marketing expert at Santa Clara University. "These names tell you nothing. At least Coca-Cola told you something — it was a cola! We don't do that anymore. I don't want to sound like an old guy, but how will people remember your name if they can't even pronounce it?''

Pronounceability, if that's even a word, is key, says Joe Fahrner, who co-founded a "question-and-answer search engine'' called Answerly.

"We were inspired by Writely, which was acquired by Google. Answerly was available for $6.99. We also bought Questionly and Askerly just in case, all for under 100 bucks.''

In the end, nothing spells success like success. Caterina Fake — yes, her real name! — knows the thrill of watching one's company name ascend into the rarefied air of common parlance. She co-founded and created the name Flickr, the photo-sharing Web site that was later sold to Yahoo for a rumored $40 million.

"We wanted Flicker, but the guy who had it wouldn't sell,'' says Fake, 40. "So I suggested to the team, 'Let's remove this "e" thing.' They all said, 'That's too weird,' but I finally ground everyone down. Then of course, it became THE thing and everyone started removing vowels right and left.''

And the rest — from Scribd to Jangl to Jaxtr to Qik — is, well, Hstry.

(Answer to quiz: Rockyrowed).

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689.

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Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Action Cards | View Clip
04/10/2010
CIO Australia

All-New Activities Enhance Understanding of the LPI Behaviors

Based on the work of internationally acclaimed leadership experts Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI®) Action Cards Facilitator's Guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to conduct nine exercises designed to reinforce the 30 LPI behaviors. Using the guide's innovative and effective activities, trainers, human resource professionals, and consultants can facilitate learning opportunities for executives, managers, and aspiring leaders who are committed to improving their leadership competencies.

The Action Cards engage participants in resolving challenges in new and creative ways. Each card features one of the 30 LPI behaviors. For example, in one activity, participants apply the behaviors to a real-life, unresolved business situation. Working in small groups, the participants each present their own challenge and take turns suggesting how the problem can be solved using the different behaviors. Each activity utilizes handouts available on the accompanying website and instructions for adapting the activities to one-on-one coaching situations are also included. Facilitators will need to provide each participant with a deck of the cards.

Once facilitated instruction has been completed, the cards are designed to become an ongoing resource for each of the participants as they continue to face different challenges in their day-to-day work. They can use their deck as an application tool on their own or with their team to help resolve business issues. The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI®) Action Cards package was created by Jo Bell and Renee Harness, two Certified Masters of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop.

Praise for Leadership Practices Inventory Action Cards

"In our ever-increasing, lightening-fast business environment packed with various distractions, LPI cards help me maintain crucial focus toward achieving my own personal leadership improvement goals. They're like a leadership development insurance policy!"

—Joseph L. Pray, CLU, senior vice president, The Trustmark Companies; Voluntary Benefit Solutions

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner are authors of the award-winning and best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge. James Kouzes is the Dean's Executive Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. Barry Posner is a Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, where he served for 12 years as Dean of the School. Their 360-degree leadership assessment instrument, The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and LPI Online (www.lpionline.com) has helped develop the leadership skills of over 3 million people worldwide. Their website can be found at www.leadershipchallenge.com.

Jo Bell and Renee Harness are partners in Third Eye Leadership in Indianapolis, Indiana. As Certified Masters of The Leadership Challenge, they focus on engaging the leader within people at all levels through workshops and consultancies.

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How hedge fund deal cost minority owners their control of WTMP in Tampa | View Clip
04/10/2010
St. Petersburg Times - Online

TAMPA — The Cherry brothers were teens in Daytona Beach when their father, publisher and civil rights activist Charles W. Cherry Sr., started taking them on road trips to the bay area.

As they neared Tampa, Glenn and his older brother, Charles II would lean into the Chrysler's radio and look for WTMP-AM 1150, a station that played soul music when few did. Soon, they were cruising to James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield.

Glenn grew up to become a veterinarian. Charles II finished law school. But they remembered WTMP.

In 1997, the Cherry brothers bought WTMP. Glenn became general manager.

Glenn Cherry knew that the power of a black-centered radio station went well beyond musical playlists. His father's interest in media had spun off of civil rights work. The sons saw radio as an opportunity to shape a community.

Right away, Cherry installed a civic-minded talk show host named Jetie B. Wilds, who rallied listeners around social and political issues. Wilds' Saturday morning Citizen's Report helped WTMP stay relevant.

"There were many voices in the community," Cherry says. "What WTMP chose to do was amplify those voices."

But, these days, not even Cherry has a voice at WTMP.

A New York hedge fund firm owns the station.

Programming decisions are made over a thousand miles away.

And Cherry was powerless to intervene last month, when the new general manager bumped Jetie B. Wilds from his prime spot on Saturday mornings.

What had happened?

They borrowed money to grow.

Since 2007, 42 minority radio station owners have buckled under bankruptcies, liquidations or loan defaults, according to a study by Santa Clara University law professor Catherine Sandoval.

Stations that had provided programming to a distinct local black audience were gobbled up into the corporate ether.

Minority radio owners were already hit hard by a 1996 law that allowed companies to buy up multiple stations, amassing combined audiences that lured away advertisers.

"Black broadcasters are being pushed out of the market," said LaVonda Reed Huff, an associate professor of law at Syracuse University, who specializes in minority broadcast ownership. "And with it comes a watering down of the local content, so you don't have a local person who is able to speak to the issues affecting the community they serve."

In Campbell, Ohio, Imus in the Morning replaced a popular black radio show hosted by Kenneth King, "Brother K," after WGFT-AM went to the same hedge fund that assumed control of WTMP.

"They told me to laugh more and lighten up," King said. When he wouldn't, "they just came in one day after the show and said my services would no longer be needed," he said.

For the Cherrys, things turned sour in 2004.

It was the year their father succumbed to cancer.

It was also the year they borrowed $20 million from D.B. Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund, a New York hedge fund looking to loan black broadcasters money. They used the loan to refinance debt and to expand holdings.

While Charles II and sister Cassandra Kittles oversaw the family's newspaper ventures, Glenn Cherry stayed at the helm of the radio enterprises.

At the time, WTMP was riding a wave of commercial success after securing the popular syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.

WTMP was known in the community for sponsoring charity events like the Nights of Kings and Queens, a black-tie event that honored nonprofit agencies. Glenn Cherry organized public forums on topics of health and welfare in the black community. He called for a protest when a local television station's radio personality contest left out black disc jockeys.

"As black broadcasters we chose to serve black audiences," Cherry said, "so the public affairs piece we felt was important in the overall makeup of the community."

Part of the $20 million from Zwirn went to refinance debt accumulated from the purchase of WTMP-FM and four stations in Jacksonville. Another portion went to expansion; the brothers purchased three FM stations in Savannah.

The Cherry brothers' newly expanded company was called TAMA Broadcasting Inc. It included eight FM stations and one AM.

"There weren't that many people with eight FMs," Cherry said. "So our plan was to grow the group up and sell off some of them," to pay off the debt with Zwirn.

But three hurricanes would help blow that plan off course.

Zwirn and its holdings were purchased by Fortress Investments Group, another New York hedge fund, in April 2009.

Since early March, the St. Petersburg Times has made repeated attempts — by telephone, e-mail and Federal Express — to talk with Fortress officials for this story. A list of questions sent to Lilly Donohue, managing director, went unanswered, as did phone messages and e-mails to vice president Peter Leibman, a former top Zwirn executive who joined Fortress. Attorneys representing the company did not respond.

The way Glenn Cherry tells it, the Zwirn deal required that the Cherry brothers make a certain amount of advertising revenue each business quarter. If not, they could be in default of the loan.

But selling radio commercials while Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan dotted the coasts of Florida was a problem.

"Here and Jacksonville, it did a number on us," Cherry recalled. "Everybody was running around dodging."

At least three of the four Jacksonville TAMA stations were off the air for about a week. Wind damaged the roof of the transmitter building and crippled one station's tower.

TAMA lost at least $100,000 in ad revenue between August and September, Cherry said.

In the third quarter of 2004, the brothers fell short of their quota.

Zwirn made no special allowances, Cherry said. A technical default meant the deal would have to be rewritten. The Cherry brothers signed a new plan that cost $300,000 in upfront fees.

Their old interest rate: 13 percent.

Their new interest rate: 25 percent.

"We had to go along with this because we couldn't allow them to take the properties," Cherry recalled. "It was predatory lending at its finest."

The hurricanes passed, but the brothers would be faced with a tsunami of an economy for the next few years.

When the Zwirn deal terms ended in 2006, the Cherrys were required to pay about $40 million — double the amount of the original loan. But their plan of selling stations to make enough money to pay off Zwirn had never materialized.

When they couldn't pay, Zwirn took control of TAMA's nine stations.

At the time, Glenn Cherry downplayed the significance.

"For us, this is not anything unusual — this is how the system works," Cherry told a Times reporter in September 2007.

But behind closed doors the Cherry brothers and Zwirn were battling for control, Cherry now admits.

The Cherrys owned the Washington Street building that housed the operation. Their names were on the license filed with the Federal Communications Commission. It had not yet been transferred to Zwirn.

Zwirn began exercising control over personnel, programming and financing at all of the TAMA stations. The company hired a Dallas radio management company to oversee operations.

Glenn Cherry filed a complaint with the FCC, saying Zwirn was operating stations without a license. Zwirn had to pay a fine but ultimately obtained the license in the name of the management company.

In May of 2008, Zwirn fired Glenn Cherry as TAMA's chief executive and obtained a restraining order barring him from meddling in its business.

Zwirn made the Cherry brothers this offer: walk away debt-free.

They turned it down.

"You don't just walk away with nothing," Glenn Cherry said.

People on the streets of Tampa still call Glenn Cherry the "WTMP man."

He didn't listen to the station for a year after the deal went sour.

He still goes to work each day in the same office. Zwirn moved operations to N Howard Avenue.

These days Cherry devotes time to the family's other ventures, the Daytona Times and the Florida Courier, a statewide newspaper focused on black affairs. The brothers still own two stations in Daytona Beach and Greenville, S.C.

But the memory of losing the station they grew up on still stings.

"I knew WTMP when it was in its heyday," Cherry said. "I just wanted to return it to the prominence that it had in the community before."

In January of 2009, the Cherry brothers filed a $250 million federal lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida, claiming that Zwirn practiced "unscrupulous and predatory lending" and targeted their stations for a takeover.

The court sided with Zwirn. The case is currently on appeal.

Some black Tampa leaders have decried the changes at WTMP — among them, James Ransom, board member for the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs. He took note when Jetie B. Wilds' Citizen's Report was moved from popular Saturday mornings to quieter Sunday nights.

"TOBA is definitely concerned about the reduction of public service affairs programming on WTMP," Ransom said.

On Feb. 27, Wilds broadcast his last Saturday morning show.

"This is Jetie B. Wilds with the Citizen's Report; we'll see you next week," said the gravely voice. "Not next week. I'm sorry."

In a news release, WTMP program manager Sam Nelson — who works out of Jacksonville for the Dallas management company hired by Zwirn — said he was "enthusiastic about having Jetie continue with the station and having his insight into the issues that affect our community."

Callers to Jetie's last Saturday morning show were less than enthusiastic about the schedule change.

"Almost a decade and a half of work ought to have some merit," one caller said. "The community wants the Citizen's Report on Saturdays, and if WTMP don't want that, we don't want them."

Nicole Hutcheson can be reached at nhutcheson@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3405.

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Catholic Abuse
04/09/2010
KCBS-AM

Santa Clara University Psychologist Thomas Plante was interviewed about the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

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Putting your money where your heart is | View Clip
04/09/2010
Business 2.0 - Online

(Money Magazine) -- Years ago I interviewed a money manager who was a Mormon. One of his biggest (and ultimately shrewdest) bets was a tobacco company.

Mormons, of course, are opposed to smoking. The manager told me he'd never invest in tobacco for his own account, but that he also had a duty to put his shareholders' well-being ahead of his own views.

That's a reasonable position. But follow the logic up and down the chain. CEOs, too, say their chief duty is to maximize value for shareholders. Meanwhile, investors like you and me own stocks via mutual funds and have no control over what the manager buys.

Nobody feels as if it's his job to say no to anything that isn't actually illegal. You wouldn't want a neighbor who acted that way.

This lack of accountability, more than any pet issue, is what attracts me to the idea of socially responsible mutual funds and ETFs.

A traditional SR fund stays out of tobacco and screens or ranks stocks based on environmental and labor standards. Others are keyed to the concerns of religious people. Last year a money manager called Faith-Shares even launched denominational ETFs, with one each for Baptists, Lutherans, and Methodists.

SR investing sounds straightforward, but in practice you're placing limits on your options, and that can affect your outcome. Then again, as Santa Clara University finance professor Meir Statman points out, social concerns are no more irrational than other biases people bring to investing.

For example, most folks pay up for actively managed funds, in part because they believe that, against the odds, they'll pick superior managers. Social investing at least has the virtue of, well, virtue. Interested? Follow these guidelines.

Get real about costs ... and benefits: Some well-diversified, less expensive SR funds, such as TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity, have competitive long-term records, but screening for values isn't free.

Social index funds, for example, charge 0.10 to 0.75 of a percentage point more a year in fees than plain-vanilla indexes. On the flip side, SR funds can occasionally win big, leading some investors to conclude that they'll do better by doing good.

That's dubious. A fund may just be overweighted in a hot industry, an edge that fades over time. Some SR funds looked brilliant in the '90s because they favored relatively clean tech stocks.

Index with care: If you're an index investor like me, you want to track recognized benchmarks such as the S&P 500. But Patrick Geddes of Aperio Group, which manages private SR portfolios, cautions that social index funds often follow customized benchmarks, so they deliver returns quite different from the market's.

Vanguard FTSE Social Index tilts toward tech and away from energy. The FaithShares hold 100 stocks in equal proportions. Two funds that aim to follow the broad market: the TIAA-CREF fund (not technically an index fund) and iShares FTSE KLD Select Social ETF.

Be flexible if you can: There aren't enough SR funds to match every set of beliefs. So if you buy one, you may end up owning a stock you'd rather not.

Still, you're making a statement that as an investor you believe share price isn't the only value that counts.

E-mail

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A guide to making socially responsible investments | View Clip
04/09/2010
Yahoo! Finance

Pat Regnier, assistant managing editor, On Friday April 9, 2010, 5:01 am

Years ago I interviewed a money manager who was a Mormon. One of his biggest (and ultimately shrewdest) bets was a tobacco company.

Mormons, of course, are opposed to smoking. The manager told me he'd never invest in tobacco for his own account, but that he also had a duty to put his shareholders' well-being ahead of his own views.

That's a reasonable position. But follow the logic up and down the chain. CEOs, too, say their chief duty is to maximize value for shareholders. Meanwhile, investors like you and me own stocks via mutual funds and have no control over what the manager buys.

Nobody feels as if it's his job to say no to anything that isn't actually illegal. You wouldn't want a neighbor who acted that way.

This lack of accountability, more than any pet issue, is what attracts me to the idea of socially responsible mutual funds and ETFs.

A traditional SR fund stays out of tobacco and screens or ranks stocks based on environmental and labor standards. Others are keyed to the concerns of religious people. Last year a money manager called Faith-Shares even launched denominational ETFs, with one each for Baptists, Lutherans, and Methodists.

SR investing sounds straightforward, but in practice you're placing limits on your options, and that can affect your outcome. Then again, as Santa Clara University finance professor Meir Statman points out, social concerns are no more irrational than other biases people bring to investing.

For example, most folks pay up for actively managed funds, in part because they believe that, against the odds, they'll pick superior managers. Social investing at least has the virtue of, well, virtue. Interested? Follow these guidelines.

Get real about costs ... and benefits: Some well-diversified, less expensive SR funds, such as TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity, have competitive long-term records, but screening for values isn't free.

Social index funds, for example, charge 0.10 to 0.75 of a percentage point more a year in fees than plain-vanilla indexes. On the flip side, SR funds can occasionally win big, leading some investors to conclude that they'll do better by doing good.

That's dubious. A fund may just be overweighted in a hot industry, an edge that fades over time. Some SR funds looked brilliant in the '90s because they favored relatively clean tech stocks.

Index with care: If you're an index investor like me, you want to track recognized benchmarks such as the S&P 500. But Patrick Geddes of Aperio Group, which manages private SR portfolios, cautions that social index funds often follow customized benchmarks, so they deliver returns quite different from the market's.

Vanguard FTSE Social Index tilts toward tech and away from energy. The FaithShares hold 100 stocks in equal proportions. Two funds that aim to follow the broad market: the TIAA-CREF fund (not technically an index fund) and iShares FTSE KLD Select Social ETF.

Be flexible if you can: There aren't enough SR funds to match every set of beliefs. So if you buy one, you may end up owning a stock you'd rather not.

Still, you're making a statement that as an investor you believe share price isn't the only value that counts.

Buzz up!

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Man of Moderation: Last Justice of ‘Greatest Generation,' Says Farewell | View Clip
04/09/2010
ABA Journal - Online

U.S. Supreme Court Print

Stevens in 1990 in Supreme Court's courtyard.

Photo by Janet Fries

John Paul Stevens got one of his earliest lectures on politics, business and corruption long before he went to law school.

Born to Chicago gentry in 1920, Stevens grew up in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood, known for its diversity, intellectual achievement and wealth. His family made its money in the Illinois Life Insurance Co., and owned the LaSalle Hotel and the Stevens Hotel, once the world's largest.

That changed in 1933, when his father, Ernest, was charged with attempting to siphon cash from the family's life insurance business to make bond payments on the insolvent Stevens Hotel. His brother, Raymond Stevens, and their father, James Stevens, were named as co-conspirators. Raymond committed suicide shortly after his arrest, and James suffered a stroke.

After being charged, Ernest Stevens obtained European passports for himself, his children and his wife, and that led the state's attorney to obtain a bench warrant for his arrest. Ernest was arrested at his home, while son John Paul, then 13, was upstairs.

His father got out on bail. Two weeks later four men broke into the Stevens home seeking cash they claimed had been hidden from authorities. The family was led to the home's library at gunpoint and forced to open a safe, according to news reports. Ernest suspected that the men were really agents of the state's attorney, looking for evidence without a warrant.

A year later, John Paul Stevens was in the courtroom when a jury found his father guilty of embezzling $1.3 million from Illinois Life Insurance. The Stevens family felt it was wronged by Depression-era prosecutors and persecuted by the Chicago press, according to published accounts.

The Illinois Supreme Court later overturned Ernest's conviction, saying the evidence didn't support the verdict. Embezzlement, the court emphasized, is usually done in secret, and there was no evidence that the defendant attempted to disguise the funds he took from Illinois Life Insurance to pay on the hotel bonds. In fact, the deals were approved by the insurance company's directors.

“In Stevens' view in that case, justice was done in the end,” says Bill Barnhart, who wrote the biography John Paul Stevens: An Independent Life with former Illinois state legislator Gene Schlickman. “How many people have that experience in their lives?

Indeed, how many people have taken to heart that kind of childhood trauma and gone on to become a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Stevens announced his retirement April 9 after 35 years on the high court. It is the second-longest tenure since William O. Douglas—whom Stevens replaced—left in 1975.

Stevens, second row, second from right, as a clerk in 1947-1948.

(Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)

GENTLEMAN MEETS MACHINE

Many describe Stevens as a scholar who excels at traditionally highbrow activities such as bridge, tennis and golf, and as a gentleman whose behavior reflects his upbringing. That, plus the grittier experience of living and practicing law in a city known for greased palms and political machines, made Stevens the justice he is. It also made him a Republican.

“When he was growing up in Chicago, politics were dominated by the corrupt Democrat machine,” says Lawrence Rosenthal, who clerked for Stevens on the Supreme Court and a former deputy in the city of Chicago's Law Department.

“That's not to say those machines did all bad things—a lot of people would say the machine did some good things,” adds Rosenthal, now a professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif.

“But if you believed in good government and were a reformer—a particular kind of reformer who wanted to clean the stables—you were a Republican in Chicago.”

Ernest Stevens endured. Conrad Hilton eventually bought the Stevens Hotel, now the Hilton Chicago, and Ernest became manager of the Hyde Park Hotel. John Paul Stevens went on to University of Chicago, followed by a stint as a code breaker with the U.S. Navy during World War II. After discharge, he entered Northwestern University School of Law, mostly paid for with the GI Bill.

Stevens was editor-in-chief of the school's law review, and when he graduated in 1947—on an accelerated, two-year plan—he had the highest grades in the law school's history.

His next few years were spent between Washington and Chicago, and included a clerkship with Justice Wiley Rutledge. During that time Stevens got to know Abner Mikva, who clerked for Justice Sherman Minton. Although Mikva is a Democrat, he and Stevens bonded through a connection to the University of Chicago, where Mikva got his law degree.

“He's someone who's just Boy Scout honest, who thinks you shouldn't ever lie about anything,” says Mikva, who later served as an Illinois state representative and a U.S. congressman.

In the early 1950s, Mikva adds, he and Stevens often discussed the scandal involving members of President Harry Truman's administration who were accused of handing out favors in exchange for fur coats and deep freezers.

“He wasn't someone who took glee from the other party's hanky-panky. He was very shocked,” Mikva says of Stevens. “And [those incidents] were minor compared to the ones that came later.”

Stevens and his first wife, Elizabeth, came back to Chicago for the long term, and in 1952 he opened a law practice specializing in antitrust. Stevens became an active member of the Chicago Bar Association, and when he wasn't working he could often be found at Chicago's Beverly Country Club playing duplicate bridge.

AN EDUCATIONAL SCANDAL

In 1969, Stevens was named special counsel in a judicial bribery case. Chicago gadfly Sherman Skolnick, known widely for conspiracy theories and pro se lawsuits, had charged that two members of the Illinois Supreme Court took bribes from a Chicago lawyer and Democratic Party insider named Ted Isaacs. Skolnick claimed that two justices had received stock and fees from a bank associated with Isaacs while the fate of a criminal case involving Isaacs was pending before their court. The case alleged that Isaacs, while director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, drew service fees from a printing company that got more than $1 million in contracts from the state.

Skolnick filed a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court seeking an investigation. He alleged that while the Isaacs case was being considered, shares of the Civic Center Bank had been transferred through a lobbyist to Justice Ray Klingbiel, and that another justice, Roy J. Solfisburg Jr., secretly acted as the Chicago bank's lawyer. Isaacs had helped charter the bank.

The media picked up the story, the state House called for an investigation, and the court granted Skolnick's motion. The Illinois Courts Commission had the authority to remove a state court judge for cause, but not until it was convened by the Illinois Supreme Court. The court handed the investigation over to the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

Finding special counsel was difficult. Most lawyers didn't want to get involved for fear of retaliation. And the potential for conflicts was significant at law firms. As an antitrust lawyer, Stevens didn't practice in state court. A Republican, he was seen by friends as apolitical. So Stevens agreed to serve as the special commission's counsel; the work was done pro bono.

Stevens “wasn't looking to use the job as a public steppingstone,” says Judge William J. Bauer of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago, who was then a state judge in DuPage County, Ill., and an active member of the Republican Party. “He didn't have an ax to grind.”

Kenneth A. Manaster, a professor at California's Santa Clara University School of Law, worked with Stevens on the investigation. He wrote a book about the experience, Illinois Justice: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens.

At the time, Manaster didn't know about the Stevens family's history with the Illinois Supreme Court. Today, it intrigues him.

“He had to have a richer appreciation of what the prac­tice of law can be about than most people,” Manaster says. “There are so many levels of ability and honesty in the Chicago legal system, and you see the best and worst of lawyering in a climate like that.”

Like Manaster, most of the lawyers assisting Stevens were young associates, loaned by their law firms for the summer. The team had only June and July of 1969 to complete the investigation.

Manaster had no deposition experience but still was given the task of deposing a former bank employee, who prepared lists of the bank's original stock subscribers and the issuance of stock certificates.

Stevens, Manaster says, “started with the premise that we were honest and capable, and that enabled a bunch of us to accomplish more than we ever thought we could have.”

When the investigation concluded, Stevens found Isaacs, Klingbiel and Solfisburg guilty of gross impropriety. The commission, based on Stevens' findings, urged the justices to resign. They did, two days later, without publicly acknowledging any wrongdoing. Stevens' findings did not attack the Illinois Supreme Court opinion that refused to reinstate Isaacs' criminal case.

The foreword for Manaster's book is authored by Stevens. He mentions that unlike most of the Supreme Court justices, he does not participate in the cert pool, where clerks review petitions and recommend to the court whether they should be granted. Stevens wants his own staff to consider the petitions—including the “so-called pro se” petitions—on their own.

“My memory of the unexpected merit that we found in the allegations made by Sherman Skolnick has remained a powerful reminder that categorical prohibitions against repetitive filings can create a real risk of injustice,” Stevens wrote.

After the commission findings, Stevens' reputation outside his antitrust practice grew. He was named second vice-president of the Chicago Bar Association and in 1970 was appointed to the 7th Circuit. The nomination was put forth by Charles H. Percy, a Republican U.S. senator and a University of Chicago classmate.

There was another connection as well. Percy had run for Illinois governor and was defeated by Democrat Otto Kerner. Isaacs had been Kerner's campaign manager, and it was Kerner who appointed Isaacs to head the Illinois Department of Revenue.

When Stevens got to the 7th Circuit, Kerner was already there—President Lyndon Johnson had appointed him in 1968. According to Manaster's book, Stevens described Kerner as “totally courteous and friendly,” and the two never discussed Isaacs or the investigation.

Kerner and Stevens sat on the 7th Circuit until Kerner resigned in 1974. He was found guilty of accepting bribes from an Illinois racetrack owner during his term as governor. Isaacs was also implicated, and the alleged bribes took the form of stock. The information was discovered after the racetrack owner deducted the stock value from her federal income tax returns, based on her belief that the payoff was a necessary expense to do business in Illinois.

“I think [Stevens] was appalled. He was on the court of appeals with Kerner, and Kerner was well-liked by everyone,” says Sam Adam Sr., a high-profile criminal defense lawyer in Chicago. Adam, who now represents former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, represented a lobbyist in the Skolnick affair.

“To think Kerner would do something like that,” adds Adam, “it probably made Justice Stevens say, ‘Who can you really trust?' ”

In 1975 Stevens got on the short list to replace Justice Douglas. He was supported by Edward H. Levi, the attorney general in President Gerald Ford's administration. Stevens and Levi knew each other through University of Chicago connections; Levi had been a professor and dean with the law school, and he hired Stevens to teach an antitrust course there.

Don Reuben, then Kirkland & Ellis' managing partner, was a member of the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, and was tasked with interviewing Stevens. Reuben had represented Klingbiel and Sofisburg in the commission matter. And before that, Reuben had opposed Stevens as counsel.

“He was very aggressive and thorough, and all business,” Reuben says. “He'd throw the kitchen sink at his opponent.”

The interview took place at Stevens' home in the Chicago suburb of Burr Ridge.

“It was colder than hell, and I caught him carrying some wood he had apparently chopped down,” says Reuben, who is now of counsel at Chicago's Chico & Nunes. The two men entered the house, Stevens put the wood on the fire, and they sat down to talk.

“He was very gracious—and very straightforward,” Reuben says of Stevens. “He didn't feel like he was under pressure or nervous about getting the job.” Ford wanted information about Stevens and the other potential nominee, 7th Circuit Judge Philip Tone, right away, Reuben recalls.

“Usually with the ABA, everybody would go out and talk to every lawyer who had appeared before the nominee,” he says. Instead, Reuben read all of the nominees' opinions, and he presented his findings to Warren Christopher, then a Los Angeles lawyer who headed the ABA's judiciary committee.

Two days later, Stevens' name was submitted as the Supreme Court nominee. Some surmised that after Watergate, Ford wanted a justice who would restore confidence in the country.

“Ford immediately fell in love with Stevens. He was his kind of guy,” says Mikva, who was then a U.S. congressman. “I wouldn't say it was a surprise, but no one ever said Stevens was the obvious appointee.”

During Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Stevens was quizzed about his stance on the Equal Rights Amendment and the death penalty. He stated neutrality on both and was confirmed in December 1975.

Mikva was later appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, by President Jimmy Carter, and retired in 1994 to serve as White House counsel. He says he and Stevens often talk about Chicago. Before Mikva became a judge, Stevens refused to discuss politics.

“He was more particular about it than a lot of them,” Mikva says.

“He's not someone who's the life of the party or comes up with one-liners. He's just a very quiet, gentlemanly person,” Mikva adds. “When you read some of his dissents, you realize that some of his colleagues are upsetting him to no end.”

Today, Stevens lives with his second wife, Maryan, in Virginia. The couple also have a place in Florida. But Stevens, a Cubs fan, still considers Chicago home, say those who know him, and the city's political culture continues to touch him. And during this, his final term on the Supreme Court, the issue of corruption will come full circle in the case of Conrad Black v. U.S.

Black, a newspaper executive who in 2007 was convicted of fraud in the Northern District of Illinois, is challenging the application of the “honest services” fraud provision under which he was tried.

The clause, aimed at combating corrupt political influence, was added by Congress after the Supreme Court ruled in a 1987 case, U.S. v. McNally, that mail fraud was limited to schemes involving money or property. Stevens authored a dissent.

Many predict that this term the Supreme Court will again knock down or significantly alter the honest-services provision as unconstitutionally vague. And many predict that Stevens will, once again, write a dissent.

Barnhart, a former business writer and editor, believes it all comes back to the political realities Stevens experienced in Chicago.

“I think he believes Illinois has a real problem in this regard, with people taking advantage of their positions,” Barnhart says. “I think he's very observant of politics.”

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Man of Moderation: Last Justice of ‘Greatest Generation,' Says Farewell | View Clip
04/09/2010
ABA Journal - Online

U.S. Supreme Court

Stevens in 1990 in Supreme Court's courtyard.

John Paul Stevens got one of his earliest lectures on politics, business and corruption long before he went to law school.

Born to Chicago gentry in 1920, Stevens grew up in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood, known for its diversity, intellectual achievement and wealth. His family made its money in the Illinois Life Insurance Co., and owned the LaSalle Hotel and the Stevens Hotel, once the world's largest.

That changed in 1933, when his father, Ernest, was charged with attempting to siphon cash from the family's life insurance business to make bond payments on the insolvent Stevens Hotel. His brother, Raymond Stevens, and their father, James Stevens, were named as co-conspirators. Raymond committed suicide shortly after his arrest, and James suffered a stroke.

After being charged, Ernest Stevens obtained European passports for himself, his children and his wife, and that led the state's attorney to obtain a bench warrant for his arrest. Ernest was arrested at his home, while son John Paul, then 13, was upstairs.

His father got out on bail. Two weeks later four men broke into the Stevens home seeking cash they claimed had been hidden from authorities. The family was led to the home's library at gunpoint and forced to open a safe, according to news reports. Ernest suspected that the men were really agents of the state's attorney, looking for evidence without a warrant.

A year later, John Paul Stevens was in the courtroom when a jury found his father guilty of embezzling $1.3 million from Illinois Life Insurance. The Stevens family felt it was wronged by Depression-era prosecutors and persecuted by the Chicago press, according to published accounts.

The Illinois Supreme Court later overturned Ernest's conviction, saying the evidence didn't support the verdict. Embezzlement, the court emphasized, is usually done in secret, and there was no evidence that the defendant attempted to disguise the funds he took from Illinois Life Insurance to pay on the hotel bonds. In fact, the deals were approved by the insurance company's directors.

“In Stevens' view in that case, justice was done in the end,” says Bill Barnhart, who wrote the biography John Paul Stevens: An Independent Life with former Illinois state legislator Gene Schlickman. “How many people have that experience in their lives?

Indeed, how many people have taken to heart that kind of childhood trauma and gone on to become a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Stevens announced his retirement April 9 after 35 years on the high court. It is the second-longest tenure since William O. Douglas—whom Stevens replaced—left in 1975.

Stevens, second row, second from right, as a clerk in 1947-1948.

(Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)

GENTLEMAN MEETS MACHINE

Many describe Stevens as a scholar who excels at traditionally highbrow activities such as bridge, tennis and golf, and as a gentleman whose behavior reflects his upbringing. That, plus the grittier experience of living and practicing law in a city known for greased palms and political machines, made Stevens the justice he is. It also made him a Republican.

“When he was growing up in Chicago, politics were dominated by the corrupt Democrat machine,” says Lawrence Rosenthal, who clerked for Stevens on the Supreme Court and a former deputy in the city of Chicago's Law Department.

“That's not to say those machines did all bad things—a lot of people would say the machine did some good things,” adds Rosenthal, now a professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif.

“But if you believed in good government and were a reformer—a particular kind of reformer who wanted to clean the stables—you were a Republican in Chicago.”

Ernest Stevens endured. Conrad Hilton eventually bought the Stevens Hotel, now the Hilton Chicago, and Ernest became manager of the Hyde Park Hotel. John Paul Stevens went on to University of Chicago, followed by a stint as a code breaker with the U.S. Navy during World War II. After discharge, he entered Northwestern University School of Law, mostly paid for with the GI Bill.

Stevens was editor-in-chief of the school's law review, and when he graduated in 1947—on an accelerated, two-year plan—he had the highest grades in the law school's history.

His next few years were spent between Washington and Chicago, and included a clerkship with Justice Wiley Rutledge. During that time Stevens got to know Abner Mikva, who clerked for Justice Sherman Minton. Although Mikva is a Democrat, he and Stevens bonded through a connection to the University of Chicago, where Mikva got his law degree.

“He's someone who's just Boy Scout honest, who thinks you shouldn't ever lie about anything,” says Mikva, who later served as an Illinois state representative and a U.S. congressman.

In the early 1950s, Mikva adds, he and Stevens often discussed the scandal involving members of President Harry Truman's administration who were accused of handing out favors in exchange for fur coats and deep freezers.

“He wasn't someone who took glee from the other party's hanky-panky. He was very shocked,” Mikva says of Stevens. “And [those incidents] were minor compared to the ones that came later.”

Stevens and his first wife, Elizabeth, came back to Chicago for the long term, and in 1952 he opened a law practice specializing in antitrust. Stevens became an active member of the Chicago Bar Association, and when he wasn't working he could often be found at Chicago's Beverly Country Club playing duplicate bridge.

Stevens in his chambers in 2002.

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

AN EDUCATIONAL SCANDAL

In 1969, Stevens was named special counsel in a judicial bribery case. Chicago gadfly Sherman Skolnick, known widely for conspiracy theories and pro se lawsuits, had charged that two members of the Illinois Supreme Court took bribes from a Chicago lawyer and Democratic Party insider named Ted Isaacs. Skolnick claimed that two justices had received stock and fees from a bank associated with Isaacs while the fate of a criminal case involving Isaacs was pending before their court. The case alleged that Isaacs, while director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, drew service fees from a printing company that got more than $1 million in contracts from the state.

Skolnick filed a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court seeking an investigation. He alleged that while the Isaacs case was being considered, shares of the Civic Center Bank had been transferred through a lobbyist to Justice Ray Klingbiel, and that another justice, Roy J. Solfisburg Jr., secretly acted as the Chicago bank's lawyer. Isaacs had helped charter the bank.

The media picked up the story, the state House called for an investigation, and the court granted Skolnick's motion. The Illinois Courts Commission had the authority to remove a state court judge for cause, but not until it was convened by the Illinois Supreme Court. The court handed the investigation over to the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

Finding special counsel was difficult. Most lawyers didn't want to get involved for fear of retaliation. And the potential for conflicts was significant at law firms. As an antitrust lawyer, Stevens didn't practice in state court. A Republican, he was seen by friends as apolitical. So Stevens agreed to serve as the special commission's counsel; the work was done pro bono.

Stevens “wasn't looking to use the job as a public steppingstone,” says Judge William J. Bauer of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago, who was then a state judge in DuPage County, Ill., and an active member of the Republican Party. “He didn't have an ax to grind.”

Kenneth A. Manaster, a professor at California's Santa Clara University School of Law, worked with Stevens on the investigation. He wrote a book about the experience, Illinois Justice: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens.

At the time, Manaster didn't know about the Stevens family's history with the Illinois Supreme Court. Today, it intrigues him.

“He had to have a richer appreciation of what the prac­tice of law can be about than most people,” Manaster says. “There are so many levels of ability and honesty in the Chicago legal system, and you see the best and worst of lawyering in a climate like that.”

Like Manaster, most of the lawyers assisting Stevens were young associates, loaned by their law firms for the summer. The team had only June and July of 1969 to complete the investigation.

Manaster had no deposition experience but still was given the task of deposing a former bank employee, who prepared lists of the bank's original stock subscribers and the issuance of stock certificates.

Stevens, Manaster says, “started with the premise that we were honest and capable, and that enabled a bunch of us to accomplish more than we ever thought we could have.”

When the investigation concluded, Stevens found Isaacs, Klingbiel and Solfisburg guilty of gross impropriety. The commission, based on Stevens' findings, urged the justices to resign. They did, two days later, without publicly acknowledging any wrongdoing. Stevens' findings did not attack the Illinois Supreme Court opinion that refused to reinstate Isaacs' criminal case.

The foreword for Manaster's book is authored by Stevens. He mentions that unlike most of the Supreme Court justices, he does not participate in the cert pool, where clerks review petitions and recommend to the court whether they should be granted. Stevens wants his own staff to consider the petitions—including the “so-called pro se” petitions—on their own.

“My memory of the unexpected merit that we found in the allegations made by Sherman Skolnick has remained a powerful reminder that categorical prohibitions against repetitive filings can create a real risk of injustice,” Stevens wrote.

BENCH-BOUND

After the commission findings, Stevens' reputation outside his antitrust practice grew. He was named second vice-president of the Chicago Bar Association and in 1970 was appointed to the 7th Circuit. The nomination was put forth by Charles H. Percy, a Republican U.S. senator and a University of Chicago classmate.

There was another connection as well. Percy had run for Illinois governor and was defeated by Democrat Otto Kerner. Isaacs had been Kerner's campaign manager, and it was Kerner who appointed Isaacs to head the Illinois Department of Revenue.

When Stevens got to the 7th Circuit, Kerner was already there—President Lyndon Johnson had appointed him in 1968. According to Manaster's book, Stevens described Kerner as “totally courteous and friendly,” and the two never discussed Isaacs or the investigation.

Kerner and Stevens sat on the 7th Circuit until Kerner resigned in 1974. He was found guilty of accepting bribes from an Illinois racetrack owner during his term as governor. Isaacs was also implicated, and the alleged bribes took the form of stock. The information was discovered after the racetrack owner deducted the stock value from her federal income tax returns, based on her belief that the payoff was a necessary expense to do business in Illinois.

“I think [Stevens] was appalled. He was on the court of appeals with Kerner, and Kerner was well-liked by everyone,” says Sam Adam Sr., a high-profile criminal defense lawyer in Chicago. Adam, who now represents former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, represented a lobbyist in the Skolnick affair.

“To think Kerner would do something like that,” adds Adam, “it probably made Justice Stevens say, ‘Who can you really trust?' ”

Stevens, second from right, during his confirmation hearing in 1975. (Associated Press)

In 1975 Stevens got on the short list to replace Justice Douglas. He was supported by Edward H. Levi, the attorney general in President Gerald Ford's administration. Stevens and Levi knew each other through University of Chicago connections; Levi had been a professor and dean with the law school, and he hired Stevens to teach an antitrust course there.

Don Reuben, then Kirkland & Ellis' managing partner, was a member of the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, and was tasked with interviewing Stevens. Reuben had represented Klingbiel and Sofisburg in the commission matter. And before that, Reuben had opposed Stevens as counsel.

“He was very aggressive and thorough, and all business,” Reuben says. “He'd throw the kitchen sink at his opponent.”

The interview took place at Stevens' home in the Chicago suburb of Burr Ridge.

“It was colder than hell, and I caught him carrying some wood he had apparently chopped down,” says Reuben, who is now of counsel at Chicago's Chico & Nunes. The two men entered the house, Stevens put the wood on the fire, and they sat down to talk.

“He was very gracious—and very straightforward,” Reuben says of Stevens. “He didn't feel like he was under pressure or nervous about getting the job.” Ford wanted information about Stevens and the other potential nominee, 7th Circuit Judge Philip Tone, right away, Reuben recalls.

“Usually with the ABA, everybody would go out and talk to every lawyer who had appeared before the nominee,” he says. Instead, Reuben read all of the nominees' opinions, and he presented his findings to Warren Christopher, then a Los Angeles lawyer who headed the ABA's judiciary committee.

Two days later, Stevens' name was submitted as the Supreme Court nominee. Some surmised that after Watergate, Ford wanted a justice who would restore confidence in the country.

“Ford immediately fell in love with Stevens. He was his kind of guy,” says Mikva, who was then a U.S. congressman. “I wouldn't say it was a surprise, but no one ever said Stevens was the obvious appointee.”

During Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Stevens was quizzed about his stance on the Equal Rights Amendment and the death penalty. He stated neutrality on both and was confirmed in December 1975.

Mikva was later appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, by President Jimmy Carter, and retired in 1994 to serve as White House counsel. He says he and Stevens often talk about Chicago. Before Mikva became a judge, Stevens refused to discuss politics.

“He was more particular about it than a lot of them,” Mikva says.

“He's not someone who's the life of the party or comes up with one-liners. He's just a very quiet, gentlemanly person,” Mikva adds. “When you read some of his dissents, you realize that some of his colleagues are upsetting him to no end.”

Stevens with Chief Justice John Roberts after his 2005 investiture ceremony. (Photo by Dennis Brack/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

FULL CIRCLE

Today, Stevens lives with his second wife, Maryan, in Virginia. The couple also have a place in Florida. But Stevens, a Cubs fan, still considers Chicago home, say those who know him, and the city's political culture continues to touch him. And during this, his final term on the Supreme Court, the issue of corruption will come full circle in the case of Conrad Black v. U.S.

Black, a newspaper executive who in 2007 was convicted of fraud in the Northern District of Illinois, is challenging the application of the “honest services” fraud provision under which he was tried.

The clause, aimed at combating corrupt political influence, was added by Congress after the Supreme Court ruled in a 1987 case, U.S. v. McNally, that mail fraud was limited to schemes involving money or property. Stevens authored a dissent.

Many predict that this term the Supreme Court will again knock down or significantly alter the honest-services provision as unconstitutionally vague. And many predict that Stevens will, once again, write a dissent.

Barnhart, a former business writer and editor, believes it all comes back to the political realities Stevens experienced in Chicago.

“I think he believes Illinois has a real problem in this regard, with people taking advantage of their positions,” Barnhart says. “I think he's very observant of politics.”

Return to Top



Off the Street and Wired | View Clip
04/08/2010
Korea Times - Los Angeles Edition

Day traders, like Andy Lindloff, above, enjoy the thrill of do-ityourself investing.

Many trade stocks, and many lose money. (About 80 percent.)

ENCINITAS, California

REMEMBER THE DAY traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys ? nearly all of them were guys ? and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while sitting home in your underwear.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt. “Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as “surfer's paradise,” just north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter, he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a handsfree headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning.

The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

When the market opens, 21 subscribers are logged in. This is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: You- Tube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing moment for many people. Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account .

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the cofounder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he has made $60.

It is hard to say how many day traders are currently working in the United States. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high.

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a selfstorage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls ? knocking on doors ? for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged $100,000 to $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-tobe- published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.)

The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrillseeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes.

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

The Intelligence column will return next week.

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Hypocritical Liberal Media Establishment Promotes Secular Extremism and Obama and Defames Pope Benedict XVI, Especially for Lent | View Clip
04/08/2010
Web Commentary

Time celebrated Holy Week with a cover asking "Is God dead?" (www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19660408,00.html).

Since President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, the liberal media establishment has continued to be hostile to America's religious heritage in general and the Catholic Church in particular and eager to rewrite history to suit secular extremist wishes.

God bless Colleen Raezler, a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, for writing pointedly about anti-Christian media manipulation. Last year Ms. Raezler's powerful Holy Week piece was titled "For the media, it's un-Holy Week" (www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=483676. The media remained shamelessly, and Ms. Raezler's tour de force this year is titled "Media: Pope Benedict Guilty Until Proven Innocent: In Holy Week reports, broadcast networks ignore evidence in his defense" (www.cultureandmediainstitute.org/articles/2010/20100407112508.aspx).

Ms. Raezler's 2009 article began by identifying the culprits:

"Most regular church-goers have heard their less scrupulously observant fellows called 'Christmas and Easter Christians.' Well, they also have their counterparts in the mainstream media: 'Christmas and Easter

Anti-Christians.' How else to explain the spate of skeptical, negative stories that inevitably accompany the two most important Christian holy days?

"This Holy Week has been typical.

Newsweek proclaimed 'The Decline and Fall of Christian America' on its cover. The Washington Post/Newsweek 'On Faith' blog featured a post that belittled the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection. The Discovery Channel aired a documentary that painted Jesus as little more than an opportunistic politician who caught a bad break in a trial.

"These are just the most notable recent instances of secular media's disdain for traditional Christians and the tenets of their faith. Anti-Christianism is the last acceptable prejudice. The assault on Christian beliefs and morality is ongoing. Take for example the howls of outrage when the Pope reiterated Catholic teaching on abstinence.

"But because Easter is so central to understanding Jesus and His purpose, and to Christians' own understanding of the world, the secular attack escalates during Holy Week. It takes on more existential dimensions, questioning Christianity's relevance in the modern world, the meaning of Christ's lessons and ultimately, His divinity.

"Depending on your point of view, Jesus was either a charismatic populist crusader, a doctrinaire Marxist, or a 'do your own thing' feel-good guru. Anything but the Son of God...."

Ms. Raezler rightly focused on biased

Newsweek, which promotes and praises once Senator and now President Obama as well as secularism and treats traditional Christianity as an impediment to its political agenda.

Newsweek's April 14 cover story, 'The End of Christian America,' editor Jon Meacham argued that the falling numbers of self-identified Christians in America is a 'good thing' and 'the decline of and falls of the modern religious right's notion of a Christian America creates a calmer political environment...."

Does that bring to mind the recording at a private San Francisco fundraiser at which presidential hopeful Obama mocked Americans for "clinging" to "God and guns" for economic reasons?

Meacham: "...our politics and our culture are, in the main, less influenced by movements and arguments of an explicitly Christian character than they were even five years ago. I think this is a good thing – good for our political culture, which as the American Founders saw, is complex and charged enough without attempting to compel or coerce religious belief or observance. It is good for Christianity, too, in that many Christians are rediscovering the virtues of a separation of church and state that protects what Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island as a haven for religious dissenters, called 'the garden of the church,' from the 'wilderness of the world.'"

institutional separation of church and state, NOT exclusion of God and religious expression from the public square or public policy ignoring religious values. After all, that Declaration of Independence acknowledged not only God, but God as the source of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And the Constitution was dated in the year of our Lord, an undeniable reference to Jesus.

Ms. Raezler reported that Michael Medved had appeared on the April 6 "Fox and Friends" and commented on the timing of the story's release as follows: "Isn't it perfectly timed for Holy Week? Here we are coming up in the Jewish community, we're going to be celebrating Passover, Christians are going to be celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday so

Newsweek tries to get a little bit of attention by insulting that overwhelming majority of Americans that describe themselves as Christians.

Ms. Raezler: "Medved also noted that

Newsweek's 'End of Christian America' claim was particularly ironic, since the magazine had run 'a big cover story on the faith of Barack Obama ... because the overwhelming majority of Americans say they won't even vote for an atheist for president in Christian America.'"

RIGHT! Obama's father was a Marxist and his mother was an atheist, but Rev. Jeremiah A. (God damn America) Wright, Jr. brought a young Obama to Christ when he was figuring out what religious association would best help him politically.

Ms. Raezler also pegged the Discovery Channel's original three-part documentary called "Who Was Jesus?" that premiered on Palm Sunday.

Ms. Raezler: "Focused on Jesus' 'Childhood,' 'The Mission' and 'The Last Days,' scholars tried to paint a human portrait of Jesus, using archeological evidence to ponder what life must have been like for Jesus. The portrait that emerged might have written for the World Workers Party (or the Obama Campaign.)"

Obviously Ms. Raezler was not pleased with the attempt to portray Jesus as an Obama of two millenia ago.

"Narrator Hasani Issa's final words of the series summed up the picture it painted, 'The young man with a mission, the charismatic leader who sacrificed everything in the hope of a better world.'

"Viewers could not be faulted for thinking they were watching a biography on any populist politician, rather than a documentary about the Son of God.

"Part 1, 'Childhood,' laid the groundwork for the argument that Jesus' later teachings came as a direct result of his socio-economic status as a child....

"Issa began 'The Mission' by saying, 'Jesus, a people's crusader on a lethal collision course with the Roman Empire.'

"Havrelock carried that theme, noting, 'We can imagine Jesus as a young man, unhappy with the situation in his time and hungry for change and wanting to leave home and become part of some movement advocating for change.'

"Baptist minister and theologian Allen Callahan charged that Jesus, in His preaching, miracles and encouraging people to follow Him, has 'got an agenda – free food, free medical care, free education. And with that agenda, he's not just transforming individuals – there's something bigger going on here.' Havrelock asserted, 'He also gains a kind of political power by amassing these followers here.'

"Again, by painting Jesus as an ACORN activist, they all missed the point that Jesus' actions and words had no purpose but to glorify God...."

Issa described the biblical account of what happened in Gethsemane as "an early example of spin-doctoring," but he was doing the spinning.

About a year later, Ms. Raezler focused on the attack on the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict by

The New York Times, added and abetted by its liberal media establishment allies.

"The broadcast networks couldn’t ignore Holy Week, the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, so instead they used it this year to smear the Catholic Church as a harbor for abusive priests.

"ABC, CBS and NBC featured 26 stories during Holy Week about Pope Benedict’s perceived role in the sex abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now facing. Only one story focused on the measures the church has adopted in recent years to prevent abuse. In 69 percent of the stories (18 out of 26) reporters used language that presumed the pope’s guilt. Only one made specific mention of the recent drop in the incidence of abuse allegations against the Catholic Church.

"The network reporting has largely appeared to be driven by a series of New York Times articles that have portrayed Benedict as seeking to protect the church at the expense of children’s safety in various incidents of abuse in Germany, Ireland and here in the United States. The Times reported that as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Benedict oversaw the transfer of a priest accused of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s to another parish where he again worked with children after he began therapy for his problems. A March 24 article, since heavily questioned, about a Wisconsin priest allowed to remain in the priesthood even after he abused 200 deaf boys from the 1950s through the 1970s placed the blame squarely on Benedict.

“'The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal,' wrote Laurie Goodstein.

"These stories failed to paint the whole picture of what occurred, of Benedict’s role in the decision-making process about these priests and allowed the media to depict sex abuse in the Catholic Church as a growing problem when all evidence indicates that the reverse is true. Between 2008 and 2009, allegations of sex abuse by clergy members declined by 36 percent....only six allegations of abuse involving minors were brought forward against the church in 2009, according to a study by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Really, it’s not the problem of abuse that’s 'growing,' as all three networks described it on Easter Sunday, but rather the media interest in the story – conveniently giving broadcast networks the opportunity to disparage the Catholic Church during its most holy time of the year.

"NBC’s Anne Thompson began her March 28 'Today' report by saying, 'The Catholic Church begins this Holy Week under a cloud of suspicion, with more claims of sexual abuse by its priests and more accusations that its leaders ignored those claims, accusations that go all the way to Pope Benedict.'

"This framing of the story was typical for all three broadcast networks during Holy Week."

Of course, that's what the secular extremists do.

Ms. Raezler: "... just like The New York Times did during the month of March, the broadcast networks failed to provide much background information and instead went forward with the line that the Pope is guilty of covering up heinous abuse claims, despite evidence that does not back up their claims."

Of course, that's what the secular extremists do.

Mr. Raezler provided what the networks did not.

"The networks could have reminded viewers, as did George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in a March 29 First Things article, of 'recent hard news developments that underscore Pope Benedict’s determination to root out what he once described as "filth" in the Church.'

"Weigel continued on to explain that the pope 'mandated an Apostolic Visitation of Irish dioceses, seminaries, and religious congregations' after allegations of abuse against Irish priests made news. Weigel also noted that it 'was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who, as prefect CDF, was determined to discover the truth about [Father Marcial] Maciel,' the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who violated his priestly vows by, among other things, committing sexual abuse and fathering several children."

"Brundage set the record straight about the Murphy case in a March 29 column for The Catholic Anchor, and explained, 'the competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001.' He continued:

'Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court. When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.'

"Brundage also noted the particulars of Benedict’s response to and efforts to rid the Church of abusive priests:

'Pope Benedict has repeatedly apologized for the shame of the sexual abuse of children in various venues and to a worldwide audience. This has never happened before. He has met with victims. He has reigned in entire conferences of bishops on this matter, the Catholic Bishops of Ireland being the most recent. He has been most reactive and proactive of any international church official in history with regard to the scourge of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Instead of blaming him for inaction on these matters, he has truly been a strong and effective leader on these issues.

'In the case of the pope’s alleged cover up in Germany, the networks failed to report that the then-Cardinal Ratzinger followed the dominating theory behind rehabilitation of sex offenders. No psychologists or psychiatrists were featured to discuss the treatment given to offending priests.

'As recently as 2004, treatment was offered as a reasonable course of action for abusive priests. Dr. Thomas Plante, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, co-authored a study that listed 'Treat offending clergy' as direction for the Catholic Church to follow in the future.

'Promising treatments have been developed for offending clergy and should be utitilized,' wrote Plante. 'Specialized programs at treatment facilities such as the St. Luke Institute in Maryland, Southdown Hospital in Toronto, and the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital in Connecticut have developed impressive programs with encouraging treatment outcome results as of this date. Treatment programs that have developed successful approaches should share their experiences with others.'"

Does the scurrilous attack on Pope Benedict XVI remind you of the radical scheme to discredit Pope Pius XII beginning with "The Deputy"? It should. See "Exploding the "Hitler's Pope" Myth" (July 30, 2005) (www.renewamerica.com/columns/gaynor/050730) and

The Pius War: Responses to the critics of Pius XII, edited by Joseph Bottum and David G. Dalin.

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case,

Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in

Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.

Read other commentaries by Michael J. Gaynor.

Copyright © 2010 by Michael J. Gaynor

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Church abuse crisis tests faith of area Catholics | View Clip
04/08/2010
Pensacola News Journal - Online

Despite negative publicity, many support church

Troy Moon • tmoon@pnj.com • April 8, 2010

Tammy Dully was thinking about going to church on Easter.

After all, she was raised Catholic. But the more she heard about the ongoing abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church in Europe, she decided against it.

"You don't want to be affiliated with that," she said, adding that she was disgusted with allegations that top church officials, including Pope Benedict XVI, have shielded priests accused of sexual abuse of children and teens. "You don't want them to tell you how to raise your kids and live your life."

Dully, 39, and a downtown bartender, said that what she sees as a pattern of covering up negative issues in the church is "driving people away from the church."

But not all of them.

Even as the Vatican upped its defense of the pope this week, many area rank-and-pew Catholics, as well as a top diocese priest, said the scandal is discussed more in the media than in local parishes.

"Easter was beautiful, and no one even talked about it," said Pattie McCormick, 53, a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Gulf Beach Highway. "It's interesting to me that we are talking about things that happened 20 or 30 years ago. But all of society dealt with issues differently then than they do now."

Benedict himself has come under fire recently, as critics have charged that a priest accused of abuse in Germany was transferred to another jurisdiction by the current pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Abuse problems have plagued Catholic churches in Ireland and Brazil, similar to the abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in the United States in 2002 and 2003.

Monsignor James Flaherty, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, said the problem of the sexual abuse of minors is not just a church problem, it's a societal problem.

When numerous Catholic priests were accused of abuse early last decade, many in the European faction of the church pointed to the scandal as an American problem.

"They have skeletons in their closet too," Flaherty said. "If you look at some of the statistics, there are higher numbers of abuse in other churches and society as a whole than in the Catholic church."

A 2010 study by Dr. Thomas Plante, a California researcher, claimed that "approximately 2 to 5 percent of the Catholic clergy have had a sexual experience with a minor" which is "lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to 8 percent."

Plante is a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and an adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, both in California.

"The news is terrible when you hear about the tragedies in Ireland and Germany," Flaherty said. "We had to go through this process (in the United States) years ago."

In 2005, a Pensacola man settled a civil lawsuit with the local diocese after claiming that he was abused in 1971 by former cleric Richard Bowles, who was a priest at Sacred Heart at the time the incident is said to have occurred. The man said Bowles tried to have sex with him when he was only 15 years old. Bowles resigned in 2003 after he was accused of molesting a boy while he was a priest in Jacksonville in 1969.

Flaherty said that only one person has approached him about the current scandal, and that person was a visitor, not a parishioner. Flaherty added that church collections are up across the diocese and the scandal has not affected attendance in Northwest Florida churches.

Fran Gillespie, 68, is among local Catholics who say the current scandal is not a topic of conversation.

"No one is talking about it," said Gillespie, who is a member of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on 12th Avenue. "Church morale is up, as far as I can tell."

But she is troubled by the accusations against priests.

"The people who engage in this behavior need to be punished," she said. "But I think the media is only indulging in half truths. They always pick out the sensational part of the story."

Her sentiment is similar to that coming from the Vatican, where part of the traditional Easter Mass at St. Peter's Square was spent in defense of Benedict. On Tuesday, Vatican Radio featured a senior cardinal calling the accusations against Benedict part of an anti-Catholic "hate" campaign.

Still, some Catholics are concerned.

Lisa Mann, 38, a "lapsed Catholic," said accusations of abuse "have been going on too long."

"We hear it every few years, and it goes away," said Mann, who hasn't attended church regularly since about 2001. "I just wish they would get their act together and be more open with what's going on."

Dully, too, wishes the Vatican would be more open about past abuse cases.

"It's nothing new," she said. "It's been going on for a long time. It's been known about and swept under the rug. Only now, we're finding out how high it goes."

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Xaviers charts a growth path | View Clip
04/08/2010
Telegraph (India) - Online, The

- Park Street institution eyes extra space, more courses, foreign tie-ups

The main hostel building on the St Xavier’s College campus on Park Street. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta The Xaviers hostel on AJC Bose Road. (Bishwarup Dutta)

New courses, new hostels and new academic partners are in the St Xavier’s College curriculum as it steps into its fifth year as an autonomous institution.

The college will soon add 40,000sq ft of academic space to its 30 Park Street campus by shifting the existing hostel so that it can launch new courses.

“We will move the hostel to another address and set up eight postgraduate departments in that space,” Father Felix Raj, the principal of St Xavier’s College, told Metro.

The 30,000sq ft, three-storeyed main hostel building accommodates around 140 students. The institute has been granted permission to add a floor to the structure, which would mean 10,000sq ft of extra space. The state government will pitch in with Rs 60 lakh for the project.

More room to manoeuvre would come in handy with the college eyeing university status in 2012, at the end of its sixth year as an autonomous institution.

“To apply for university status we must have more postgraduate courses and research projects, and for that additional space is required,” added Felix Raj.

Hence, the college is expanding its existing infrastructure apart from the move to set up a new campus on the EM Bypass.

A new hostel will come up at 219/1 AJC Bose Road, where the college already has a 75-seater hostel. “We will have two hostels in the AJC Bose Road complex: a 150-seater for girls and a 300-seater for boys,” said Felix Raj.

The hostel complex will be set up for Rs 10 crore, of which UGC will provide Rs 2 crore. The institute will raise the rest.

Among the courses on the anvil are a masters degree in microbiology and a four-year degree in multimedia.

St Xaviers will tie up with five foreign universities for joint courses and student exchange programmes.

The partners in waiting are University of Manitoba for microbiology, Saint John’s University, Minnesota, for management studies, sociology and humanities, Fordham University, New York, for economics and Canisius College, Buffalo, for economics and social work.

“We are hoping to design courses in such a way that students can directly leave for foreign universities after graduation,” said Felix Raj.

The college will also tie up with Santa Clara University, San Francisco, for training teachers as well as a combo course in engineering and management.

“We have seen that most students who apply for MBA are engineers. Santa Clara has a four-year joint programme so we thought we could offer that to our students,” said Felix Raj.

Students would have the option of studying engineering for two years in Santa Clara and management for two years at St Xaviers. The degree would carry the names of both the institutions.

The college also plans to double the 60 BBA seats this year.

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The little T-shirt that could
04/08/2010
Times-Picayune

Shirts Across America is the coolest little fundraising project you've probably never heard of. And it's making a big impact right here.

On Easter, 240 Shirts Across America volunteers flew in from Seattle to spend this week working with the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

"It's just this wonderful group of people who care," is the way SBP co-founder Zack Rosenburg describes them.

If you see members of this wonderful group of people who care, give them a warm welcome. Some of them are cleaning out St. Mary of the Angels Church in the Upper 9th Ward, some are cleaning out Garden of Prayer Church in Meraux, and others will be working on 15 different houses in various stages of rebuilding.

You can recognize them by their bright red T-shirts that say "SBP New Orleans" on the front and "Shirts Across America 4 NOLA" on the back.

"We made up new shirts, and we wanted to unveil them for our trip down here," Randy Novak says.

Novak knows all about Shirts Across America. He's executive director and has been part of it from the beginning.

In January 2007, the youth group leader from St. Joseph Parish in Seattle challenged a handful of kids from his youth group, The VOICE. He gave them each a $500 grant and told them they had 60 days to turn it into as much money as possible, and that the money would go toward rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Each teenager who got one of the grants came up with an innovative idea that made money, but one of the ideas took wing.

Laura Snowden designed a T-shirt with a yellow rubber duckie and the words "Hope Floats" on it.

"I remember the day we were launching the campaign with the T-shirts," Novak says. "Laura was a sophomore, and she was going to explain the campaign. She looked at me and said, 'I can't do this,' and I told her, 'Go up on that stage, wear your T-shirt, and be proud.'"

By the deadline, she and her group had raised $3,000 by selling the shirts at their high schools.

The T-shirt project was so successful that Novak's kids decided to come up with more designs to help people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They started the nonprofit group Shirts Across America and created a Web site.

"Since then, we've sold thousands and thousands of shirts all over the country," Novak says. "And all the money we raise goes toward rebuilding houses."

But it's not just about raising money by selling T-shirts.

"A lot of people don't realize there are still thousands of folks waiting to come home," he says. "We see our role as educating people, so they'll want to get involved and help, too."

After working with some organizations in Mississippi, Novak learned about the St. Bernard Project, the grassroots nonprofit group that rebuilds homes for around $12,000, using dedicated volunteers. He knew it would be a great fit for Shirts Across America. In January 2009, the group sent $12,000 to sponsor one house during the SBP Rebuild the Dream 24-Hour Build, and in April 2009 they donated another $12,000 and brought 50 volunteers in to work on houses.

"The St. Bernard Project does it the right way," Novak says. "They're organized and efficient and know how to use volunteers."

And that's why 240 people are here in their new red T-shirts this week. And it's not only high school students hard at work. It's whole families. One young man, Peter Haskins, brought his mom, Anne Haskins, and her parents, Jim and Jo Anne Moore.

"I'm truly humbled when I look at how this group grew so quickly, and how we've actually been able to move people back home," Novak says.

One reason Shirts Across America keeps growing is that the students who started it have gone on to various colleges, and have taken the project with them.

"It's now on 20 different college campuses," Novak says.

And the college students came up with another way to raise money to rebuild the New Orleans area. In December, they dreamed up the basketball-themed "1 Million Free Throws 4 NOLA." They're hoping that by Dec. 31, one million people will take one free throw each and donate one dollar to rebuild New Orleans.

ESPN color commentator and former Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps is their spokesperson, and several players from the NBA are helping with the campaign.

"If everyone donates a dollar or buys a T-shirt -- wow, what a tremendous difference we can make," Novak says.

The youth group director is proud of the young people who launched the T-shirt project and of all they've gone on to do.

"If kids are given the opportunity to do something, and they know you believe in them, they're just unstoppable," he says.

Snowden, the young woman who came up with the "Hope Floats" shirt design, is elated that her idea caught on.

"It's kind of unbelievable that such a small idea can blossom into such a big thing," she says.

Now a freshman at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif., Snowden, 19, was here a couple of weeks ago with a group of students from her college, working with the St. Bernard Project during spring break. She was the only one who had been here before, and her friends were dismayed by the empty foundations and all the work that's left to be done.

"All the students came back motivated and inspired to raise awareness about the needs of the families we met in New Orleans," she says. "We ask ourselves, 'What if these were our families?' We would want someone to care about us."

When I talked to Novak, he kept mentioning partnerships. The partnership between Shirts Across America and the St. Bernard Project. The partnership between his high school students and some students from St. Scholastica Academy and St. Paul's School in Covington who worked side-by-side with them this week. The partnership with the NBA.

"It's all about local and national groups coming together to solve solvable problems," he says. "Together, we can make a huge difference. That's our vision. That's our goal."

. . . . . . . .

To learn more about Shirts Across America and buy a T-shirt, go to www.shirtsacrossamerica.org. To donate to 1 Million Free Throws for NOLA, go to 1million4NOLA.org. You can also send a donation to Shirts Across America, 732 18th Ave. E, Seattle WA 98112.

. . . . . . .

Sheila Stroup's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in Living. She can be reached at sstroup@timespicayune.com or 985.898.4831. Comment and read more at NOLA.com/living.

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Copyright © 2010 The Times-Picayune Publishing Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.

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The Churchill Companies Complete $6 Million Construction Financing for Solar Power Installation at a California University | View Clip
04/08/2010
Earthtimes.org

Author : PRWeb

News Alerts by Email ( click here )

Solar panel installation reduces energy costs for historic university in Silicon Valley. Construction financing for renewable energy system arranged by The Churchill Companies utilizing conventional financing, equity and Renewable Energy Tax Credits.

Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) April 8, 2010 -- The Churchill Companies, a financier of commercial real estate and renewable energy installations, announces the closing of its latest solar power transaction for historic Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. Churchill provided $6 million in construction financing for roof mount solar panel arrays on California's oldest operating higher-education institution. This project has the capacity to generate a total of 968-kw hours DC (MW-h) effectively providing green energy in various buildings while reducing the university's reliance on the grid, energy costs and its impact on the environment.

Churchill provided construction financing for the development phase of Santa Clara University's installation. The project will utilize conventional financing, equity and renewable energy tax credits as the exit strategy for the initial construction financing.

"It's gratifying to work on a project that delivers sustainable renewable energy to one of the most historic and illustrious institutions in Silicon Valley," stated Churchill President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Gloeckl.

For more information about this installation or renewable energy financing, please contact Devin Sanderson, Vice President of The Churchill Companies at 727-461-2200.

About The Churchill Companies The Churchill Companies are a full-service mortgage-banking firm with its office in Clearwater, Florida. The company specializes in providing financing for commercial real estate and renewable energy installations.

Churchill Financial LLC is a member of Q10|Capital LLC and benefits from a national infrastructure enabling immediate access to real time financing data from across the country. In the past three years, Q10|Capital companies have produced over $16.5 billion in commercial finance transactions and currently service over $17 billion in commercial mortgage loans. For more information, please contact Devin Sanderson by calling (727) 461-2200, or by visiting www.churchillfin.com.

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Law School to Hold Open House in Second Life | View Clip
04/08/2010
jdjournal.com

Santa Clara University School of Law is holding an open house in the virtual world of Second Life today.

Visitors to Second Life, an Internet-based universe where users create characters and interact in virtual, user-created locations, will travel virtually to Santa Clara Island to see the school.

The event is designed to attract potential students and emphasize the law school's close ties with the technology industry in the Silicon Valley area of California.

Hosting the two-hour event, that begins at 6 pm PST, time is Jeanette Leach, dean of admissions. She will attend as her own self-created avatar, Penny Canucci. Second Life residents can tour the school and see a video of Dean Donald Polden as himself, not an avatar. Visitors also can ask admissions staff questions and get information about applying to the school.

Second Life was created in 2003, and enables its “residents” to socialize, and to buy and sell virtual property for real cash as avatars.

Second Life. Also this.

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Local, national groups come together to solve New Orleans solvable problems | View Clip
04/08/2010
Times-Picayune - Online

By Sheila Stroup, The Times-Picayune

Shirts Across America is the coolest little fund-raising project you've probably never heard of. And it's making a big impact right here.

Courtesy of Shirts Across AmericaPat Wright and choir. On Easter, 240 Shirts Across Americavolunteers flew in from Seattle to spend this week working with the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

“It's just this wonderful group of people who care,” is the way SBP co-founder Zack Rosenburg describes them.

If you see members of this wonderful group of people who care, give them a warm welcome. Some of them are cleaning out St. Mary of the Angels Church in fhe Upper 9th Ward, some are cleaning out Garden of Prayer Church in Meraux, and others will be working on 15 different houses in varous stages of rebuilding.

You can recognize them by their bright red T-shirts that say “SBP New Orleans” on the front and “Shirts Across America 4 NOLA” on the back.

“We made up new shirts, and we wanted to unveil them for our trip down here,” Randy Novak says.

Novak knows all about Shirts Across America. He's executive director and has been part of it from the beginning.

In January 2007, the youth group leader from St. Joseph Parish in Seattle challenged a handful of kids from his youth group, The VOICE. He gave them each a $500 grant and told them they had 60 days to turn it into as much money as possible, and that the money would go toward rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

Each teenager who got one of the grants came up with an innovative idea that made money, but one of the ideas took wing.

Laura Snowden designed a T-shirt with a yellow rubber duckie and the words “Hope Floats” on it.

“I remember the day we were launching the campaign with the T-shirts,” Novak says. “Laura was a sophomore, and she was going to explain the campaign. She looked at me and said, ‘I can't do this,' and I told her, ‘Go up on that stage, wear your T-shirt, and be proud.'”

By the deadline, she and her group had raised $3,000 by selling the shirts at their high schools.

The T-shirt project was so successful Novak's kids decided to come up with more designs to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. They started the nonprofit group Shirts Across America and created a Web site.

“Since then, we've sold thousands and thousands of shirts all over the country,” Novak says. “And all the money we raise goes toward rebuilding houses.”

But it's not just about raising money by selling T-shirts.

“A lot of people don't realize there are still thousands of folks waiting to come home,” he says. “We see our role as educating people, so they'll want to get involved and help, too.”

After working with some organizations in Mississippi, Novak learned about the St. Bernard Project, the grassroots nonprofit group that rebuilds homes for around $12,000, using dedicated volunteers. He knew it would be a great fit for Shirts Across America.

In January 2009, the group sent $12,000 to sponsor one house during the SBP Rebuild the Dream 24-Hour Build, and last April, they donated another $12,000 and brought 50 volunteers in to work on houses.

“The St. Bernard Project does it the right way,” Novak says. “They're organized and efficient and know how to use volunteers.”

And that's why 240 people are here in their new red T-shirts this week. And it's not only high school students hard at work. It's whole families. One young man, Peter Haskins, brought his mom, Anne Haskins, and her parents, Jim and Jo Anne Moore.

“I'm truly humbled when I look at how this group grew so quickly, and how we've actually been able to move people back home,” Novak says.

One reason Shirts Across America keeps growing is that the students who started it have gone on to various colleges, and have taken the project with them.

“It's now on 20 different college campuses,” Novak says.

And the college students came up with another way to raise money to rebuild the New Orleans area. Last December, they got together and dreamed up the baskeball-themed “1 Million Free Throws 4 NOLA.” They're hoping that by Dec. 31 one million people will take one free throw each and donate one dollar to rebuild New Orleans.

ESPN color commentator and former Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps is their spokesperson, and several players from the NBA are helping with the campaign.

“If everyone donates a dollar or buys a T-shirt -- Wow -- what a tremendous difference we can make,” Novak says.

The youth group director is proud of the young people who launched the T-shirt project and of all they've gone on to do.

“If kids are given the opportunity to do something, and they know you believe in them, they're just unstoppable,” he says.

Snowden, the young woman who came up with the “Hope Floats” shirt design, is elated her idea caught on.

“It's kind of unbelivable that such a small idea can blossom into such a big thing,” she says.

Now a freshman at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Cal., Snowden, 19, was here a couple of weeks ago with a group of students from her college, working with the St. Bernard Project over spring break. She was the only one who had been here before, and her friends were dismayed by the empty foundations and all the work that's left to be done.

“All the students came back motivated and inspired to raise awareness about the needs of the families we met in New Orleans,” she says. “We ask ourselves, ‘What if this was our families?' We would want someone to care about us.'”

When I talked to Novak, he kept mentioning partnerships: The partnership between Shirts Across America and the St. Bernard Project. The partnership between his high school students and some students from St. Scholastica Academy and St. Paul's School in Covington who worked side-by-side with them this week.

The partnership with the NBA.

“It's all about local and national groups coming togehter to solve solvable problems,” he says. “Together, we can make a huge difference. That's our vision. That's our goal.”

To learn more about Shirts Across America and buy a T-shirt, go to www.shirtsacrossamerica.org. To donate to 1 Million Free Throws for NOLA, go to 1million4NOLA.org. You can also send a donation to Shirts Across America, 732 18th Ave E, Seattle WA 98112.

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Psychologist Separates Myths from Realities in Church Sex Abuse | View Clip
04/07/2010
WBEZ-FM (Chicago Public Radio)

Holy week has come and gone with many faithful reflecting and meditating. But one man has remained quiet about the scandal roiling the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict continues his silence on allegations that he personally failed to address cases of abuse among his charges. And while the sex abuse scandal is focused on Europe this time around, it's a familiar story state-side, where dioceses have dealt with allegations of abuse for decades. What if there was a way to prevent the abuse in the first place? Psychologist Thomas Plante has treated both victims and clergy involved in abuse cases, and a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University. He gives us insight into why priests commit acts of sexual abuse.

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Media: Pope Benedict Guilty Until Proven Innocent | View Clip
04/07/2010
Newsbusters

The broadcast networks couldn't ignore Holy Week, the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, so instead they used it this year to smear the Catholic Church as a harbor for abusive priests.

ABC, CBS and NBC featured 26 stories during Holy Week about Pope Benedict's perceived role in the sex abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now facing. Only one story focused on the measures the church has adopted in recent years to prevent abuse. In 69 percent of the stories (18 out of 26) reporters used language that presumed the pope's guilt. Only one made specific mention of the recent drop in the incidence of abuse allegations against the Catholic Church.

The network reporting has largely appeared to be driven by a series of New York Times articles that have portrayed Benedict as seeking to protect the church at the expense of children's safety in various incidents of abuse in Germany, Ireland and here in the United States. The Times reported [1] that as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Benedict oversaw the transfer of a priest accused of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s to another parish where he again worked with children after he began therapy for his problems. A March 24 article, since heavily questioned [2], about a Wisconsin priest allowed to remain in the priesthood even after he abused 200 deaf boys from the 1950s through the 1970s placed the blame squarely on Benedict.

"The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal," wrote [3] Laurie Goodstein.

These stories failed to paint the whole picture of what occurred, of Benedict's role in the decision-making process about these priests and allowed the media to depict sex abuse in the Catholic Church as a growing problem when all evidence indicates that the reverse is true. Between 2008 and 2009, allegations of sex abuse by clergy members declined by 36 percent. On only six allegations of abuse involving minors were brought forward against the church in 2009, according to a study by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Really, it's not the problem of abuse that's "growing," as all three networks described it on Easter Sunday, but rather the media interest in the story - conveniently giving broadcast networks the opportunity to disparage the Catholic Church during its most holy time of the year.

NBC's Anne Thompson began her March 28 "Today" report by saying, "The Catholic Church begins this Holy Week under a cloud of suspicion, with more claims of sexual abuse by its priests and more accusations that its leaders ignored those claims, accusations that go all the way to Pope Benedict."

This framing of the story was typical for all three broadcast networks during Holy Week.

"Senior church figures may be rallying to the Pope's defense, but his role in dealing with a child abuse issue as the Vatican's main enforcer of doctrine in his pre-pope years and his profile as the church's most visible presence on earth means that he remains the target of those demanding answers and justice," stated CBS's Mark Phillips on the Palm Sunday broadcast of CBS's "Evening News."

ABC's Jim Sciutto claimed in his March 29 "World News with Diane Sawyer" report that, "the pope himself failed to dismiss abusers, including a Wisconsin priest who allegedly molested more than 200 deaf boys."

But just like The New York Times did during the month of March, the broadcast networks failed to provide much background information and instead went forward with the line that the Pope is guilty of covering up heinous abuse claims, despite evidence that does not back up their claims.

Background Sources

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, "the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization," hit back against the New York Times smears of Pope Benedict in seven press releases published [4] in the last weeks of Lent. The press releases pointed out inaccuracies in the Times reports. Yet, Donohue did not appear in any of the broadcast reports during Holy Week.

In the case of Father Lawrence Murphy, the Wisconsin priest accused of molesting 200 deaf boys over three decades between the 1950s and 1970s, the Catholic League stated in a March 29 press release [5], "there is no evidence [then-Cardinal Ratzinger] even knew of the case" and "his office officially lifted the statute of limitations ... and began an investigation." The networks ignored the information.

All three networks featured Archbishop Timothy Dolan speaking in defense of the pope on their March 29 evening news programs. "No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the church of the effects of this sickening sin and crime than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI," Dolan told the networks. However, none elaborated on that cleansing.

The networks could have reminded viewers, as did George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in a March 29 First Things article [6], of "recent hard news developments that underscore Pope Benedict's determination to root out what he once described as ‘filth' in the Church."

Weigel continued on to explain that the pope "mandated an Apostolic Visitation of Irish dioceses, seminaries, and religious congregations" after allegations of abuse against Irish priests made news. Weigel also noted that it "was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who, as prefect CDF, was determined to discover the truth about [Father Marcial] Maciel," the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who violated his priestly vows by, among other things, committing sexual abuse and fathering several children.

Father Thomas Brundage, who was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003, the time in which Murphy's case was supposedly brought before then Cardinal Ratzinger, could have also provided a pertinent defense of Benedict, but he was neither quoted nor featured in any of the broadcast reports about the scandal.

Brundage set the record straight about the Murphy case in a March 29 column [7] for The Catholic Anchor, and explained, "the competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001." He continued:

Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court. When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.

Brundage also noted the particulars of Benedict's response to and efforts to rid the Church of abusive priests:

Pope Benedict has repeatedly apologized for the shame of the sexual abuse of children in various venues and to a worldwide audience. This has never happened before. He has met with victims. He has reigned in entire conferences of bishops on this matter, the Catholic Bishops of Ireland being the most recent. He has been most reactive and proactive of any international church official in history with regard to the scourge of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Instead of blaming him for inaction on these matters, he has truly been a strong and effective leader on these issues.

In the case of the pope's alleged cover up in Germany, the networks failed to report that the then-Cardinal Ratzinger followed the dominating theory [8] behind rehabilitation of sex offenders. No psychologists or psychiatrists were featured to discuss the treatment given to offending priests.

As recently as 2004, treatment was offered as a reasonable course of action for abusive priests. Dr. Thomas Plante, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, co-authored a study [9] that listed "Treat offending clergy" as direction for the Catholic Church to follow in the future.

"Promising treatments have been developed for offending clergy and should be utitilized," wrote Plante. "Specialized programs at treatment facilities such as the St. Luke Institute in Maryland, Southdown Hospital in Toronto, and the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital in Connecticut have developed impressive programs with encouraging treatment outcome results as of this date. Treatment programs that have developed successful approaches should share their experiences with others."

Changes in the Catholic Church

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released its 2009 annual report [10] on abuse by clergy on March 23, and should have provided much-needed balance for the broadcast networks' Holy Week reporting about the scandal, but aside from one brief mention on ABC, about allegations dropping by a third between 2008 and 2009, this news went unreported, as did other important findings from the study.

Data indicated that allegations of sex abuse by clergy members reached its lowest point since 2004, allegations dropped by 36 percent between 2008 and 2009, and in 2009 only six allegations involved minors.

The report also found 71 percent of the allegations were about abuse that began between 1960 and 1984.

One story - the only one to give attention to the church's efforts to combat the problem - on ABC's Apr. 2 "World News with Diane Sawyer," focused on the changes in seminaries to weed out potentially problematic priests.

ABC's Jim Sciutto visited the North American College in Rome, Italy, and reported that "the often difficult questions of sex and celibacy aren't kept in private" but that "they're discussed very openly, as an integral part of the education and the screening process for priests."

"Today, candidates face a battery of tests, from Rorschach ink blots to a recently introduced sexual addiction questionnaire, with deeply probing questions, such as ‘were you sexually abused as a child,' ‘do you watch pornography on the Internet,' and ‘have you been sexual with minors," stated Sciutto.

Father David Songy, director of counseling services at the school, told Sciutto, "If a guy had a real problem where they were acting out in some way, we would say, you need to go, that's it."

CBS's March 29 "Evening News" briefly covered the "prevention and awareness" programs now in place in U.S. Catholic Churches, programs that correspondent Elaine Quijano noted, "that the church says demonstrate a clear break from the past practice of turning a blind eye to the abuse."

She also noted, "The church reports, since 2003, more than 7.5 million adults and children have gone through the church's sex abuse awareness program."

But those programs weren't enough to sway anchor Katie Couric from the idea that the Catholic Church is a danger to children. "Now to a different threat to children, bullying," she stated as she introduced the next story.

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On the Corner Music | View Clip
04/07/2010
Metro Silicon Valley - Online

THERE IS no more picturesque sight in Campbell than 7,000 vinyl records, in boxes, on the floor of a retail establishment—especially when each one costs 25¢. The joint in question is On the Corner Music, a tiny little gem at the suburban crossroads of East Campbell and Dillon avenues. The folks over at KSCU-FM (103.3), Santa Clara University's radio station, needed to unload a large portion of their back vinyl catalog, and someone decided that Jeff Evans at On the Corner Music was a worthy recipient.

Following an afternoon of stylized wandering, I once again appeared at the threshold of this fine establishment. You see, Record Store Day, a national event, will soon be upon us—Saturday, April 17, to be exact. Independent record stores across the country stage parties, and recording labels release limited-edition collector's items just for the occasion. Locally speaking, 7,000 donated vinyl LPs for 25¢ each at a corner store in Campbell is a perfect way to begin the celebration.

Whenever Jeff and I have conversation, we wind up discussing the last quarter-century of something in San Jose. As we stood there, another patron told us he saw Pat Benatar at the Bodega in Campbell decades ago. This nugget immediately triggered a mutual diatribe about long-gone Campbell clubs like Puma's, Smokey Mountain, and Gilbert Zapp's. Personally, I would say "goodbye and good riddance" to each one of those, but they were indeed quite popular among the commercial herds.

The nostalgia didn't stop there. Merely occupying the same suburban corner with 7,000 vinyl LPs sparked tons of forgotten record-store memories in Santa Clara Valley. It was a throwback to 25 years ago in San Jose, when LPs dominated the landscape, at least in my immediate sphere of influence. Independent places were common—Underground Records, Flashback Records, Fantasy Records, Rowe's Rare Records, Recycled Records and the Dedicated Record Collector just to rattle off a few. I remember all of them.

The only one with historical lineage still existing from that era is Big Al's Record Barn, which used to be on El Camino Real a long time ago. Epitomizing the concept of the grumpy old record-store dude, Big Al was one of those curmudgeons who would stock a dozen used copies of something like the Jim Nabors Christmas Album and still charge $15 for each one.

And there's more. The Dedicated Record Collector set up shop in a house on Bascom Avenue just north of San Carlos. He would stock all sorts of indie singles one couldn't find at Tower. Back then, Streetlight Records was located in another house on Bascom, just down the street from where it sits now. Around the same time, Fantasy Records in El Paseo de Saratoga Shopping Center was the best place for obscure European heavy-metal records. Anything with a pentagram or crucified nuns on the cover—stuff actually worth $15—they had it.

Even the chain stores were pretty decent in those days, and every teenager in the '80s spent time at places like Tower Records or Record Factory. In fact, one can make an argument that the entire stretch of Blossom Hill Road between Almaden Expressway and Oakridge never recovered after the demise of Record Factory, Warehouse and Rainbow Records. (Some would add Fred's Soccer Shop, but that's another column.)

Circa 1985, this was when you would take the bus to Record Factory and argue with the stoner dude behind the counter about whether TDK blank cassettes were better than Maxell blank cassettes. This was the highlight of culture in south San Jose in the mid-'80s, as there was absolutely nothing else to do.

I am not trying to relive the past. I'm just revisiting the past. There's a big difference. These days, one actually has to do some legwork to find a decent copy of the Astromusical House of Aquarius LP for less than five bucks. I applaud Jeff Evans at On the Corner Music for carrying on the vinyl tradition. God bless the concrete and chaos of Campbell, Calif.

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Africa: Gendering the African Diaspora - Women, Culture and Historical Change in the Carribean and Nigerian Hinterland* | View Clip
04/07/2010
AllAfrica.com

Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN)

Identity, race, and social networks in the African diaspora

"This collection . . . strengthens the significance of understanding the African diaspora across time, and provides a model for studying other diasporas as well." —Constance Sutton, New York University

This volume builds on and extends current discussions of the construction of gendered identities and the networks through which men and women engage diaspora. It considers the movement of people and ideas between the Caribbean and the Nigerian hinterland. The contributions examine Africa in the Caribbean imaginary, the way in which gender ideologies inform Caribbean men's and women's theoretical or real-life engagement with the continent, and the interactions and experiences of Caribbean travelers in Africa and Europe. The contributions are linked as well through empire, discussing different parts of the British Empire and allowing for the comparative examination of colonial policies and practices.

Judith A. Byfield is Associate Professor in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University and author of The Bluest Hands: A Social and Economic History of Women Dyers in Abeokuta (Nigeria), 1890–1940.

LaRay Denzer is Visiting Scholar in the Department of History at Santa Clara University. She is author (with Jane I. Guyer and Adigun A. B. Agbaje) of Money Struggles and City Life: Devaluation in Ibadan and Other Urban Centers in Southern Nigeria, 1986–1996.

Anthea Morrison is Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus (Jamaica).

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FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says | View Clip
04/07/2010
TMCnet.com

[April 07, 2010]

WASHINGTON, Apr 07, 2010 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Intervening in a high-stakes battle over regulation of Web traffic, a U.S. appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that sharply undermines the federal government's ability to enforce its vision of a free Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to establish its legal authority to take action in 2008 against Comcast for blocking customers who were consuming large amounts of bandwidth. The court essentially rejected the FCC's argument that it had the power to regulate Internet service providers -- a ruling that also throws into doubt whether it has the power to implement much of its recently unveiled national broadband plan.

The decision deals a direct blow to proponents of so-called net neutrality rules, which require Internet service providers like Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally. Without such rules, critics fear that Internet service providers could play favorites on their networks, blocking or charging for video or other content that competes with their own offerings, or offering lower speeds for those outside services.

But the FCC in recent months has gone beyond its advocacy of net neutrality with proposals that would, for instance, extend broadband offerings into unserved rural areas. The court's ruling calls into question the legal underpinning for such regulation.

"The ramifications of this go far beyond Comcast blocking BitTorrent," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the consumer advocacy group Free Press, referring to the Internet file-sharing service that Comcast blocked, leading to the FCC's action. "The FCC is essentially unable now to protect consumers and implement the national broadband plan." Others call those worries overblown and say the bigger threat is government regulation of the fast-evolving Internet.

"This is not going to change anything a bit," said Verizon's executive vice president and general counsel, Randal Milch, referring to the company's Internet service.

Internet content companies such as Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo and Facebook are big supporters of net neutrality rules, which would guarantee them unfettered access to broadband networks. Others argue that the lack of such regulations could hurt innovation on the Web, potentially forcing content creators to negotiate with broadband companies to secure adequate access to their pipes.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has made net neutrality a centerpiece of his agenda. A spokeswoman for Genachowski said in a statement that the FCC remains "firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans." But it was unclear Tuesday what the FCC's next move will be. It could move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (it was categorized as an information service during the Bush administration), giving the FCC direct authority over Internet service providers in the same way it is able to regulate phone companies. But that would probably entail years of rule-making and legal proceedings, potentially delaying Genachowski's ambitious broadband agenda.

The commission could ask Congress to pass legislation giving it authority over broadband. But that would probably trigger opposition among Republicans opposed to broader government regulation.

Or the FCC could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Tuesday's ruling isn't likely to affect Internet users overnight, some critics said it could, in time, dramatically change the Web experience.

Eric London, a spokesman for the Open Internet Coalition, a group that includes Google and other companies, said one potential result of the court decision is that consumers would have to pay more -- or could be blocked -- if they decide to access data-intensive services, or services that compete with products offered by Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon or Comcast.

"Consumer choice is the core issue here -- consumers being able to go where they want to go on the Internet, and use the applications they want to use on the Internet," London said.

Internet providers blocking competing services "is not an academic issue," London added. For example, he said Skype is not available to AT&T Wireless customers. AT&T has also raised the possibility of charging more to customers who are intensive data users, or charging content providers more for data-intensive services -- costs that he said would most likely be passed on to consumers.

But others dismissed those warnings.

"The idea that this ruling will invite bad behavior is nonsense," said Bruce Mehlman, a former assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy during the Bush administration and now co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Companies need to manage their networks to handle high volumes of traffic and bona fide threats out there, but we're simply not going to see blocking or degrading of disfavored sites. It would be bad business and it would beg for regulatory overkill." Beyond the debate over rules for Internet providers, critics said the court ruling casts a legal pall over the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC, for example, has suggested tapping an $8 billion federal fund that now subsidizes rural phone service to expand broadband service instead. But that and other proposals could be difficult to pull off, critics said, now that the court has essentially said the panel lacks authority over broadband.

The FCC had argued that it had the same broad powers to regulate Internet service providers that it has over "common carrier" telephone companies, TV and radio broadcasters. The federal court rejected that claim.

"This particular order focuses on some pretty narrow, legal, wonky jurisdiction issues, about whether the FCC has jurisdiction to regulate Internet service providers," said Catherine Sandoval, a law professor at Santa Clara University who is a former FCC official.

But if the legal technicalities are wonky, the effect of the ruling could be significant, and Sandoval said she expects the FCC to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm sure they are meeting today to decide whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court, and it's very likely that they would," she said.

Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@mercurynews.com or 202-662-8921. Contact Mike Swift at mswift@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3648.

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY? Net neutrality rules require Internet service providers to treat all content equally, charging the same and providing the same speeds for similar types of data. Net neutrality enables consumers to use any online service or device without interference or discrimination from their network provider.

How does it affect me? Without net neutrality rules, advocates say, an Internet service provider could: Charge more for or provide slower access to particular Web sites and services, potentially turning the Internet into something like cable TV, with extra costs for premium service.

Block services that compete with them. For example, if Comcast"s proposed merger with NBC is approved, it could favor NBC content online by slowing access to ABC.com or YouTube. Others say ISPs would risk losing customers by engaging in such practices.

To see more of the San Jose Mercury News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.mercurynews.com. Copyright (c) 2010, San Jose Mercury News, Calif.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says [San Jose Mercury News, Calif.] | View Clip
04/07/2010
TMCnet.com

[April 07, 2010]

(San Jose Mercury News (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Apr. 7--WASHINGTON -- Intervening in a high-stakes battle over regulation of Web traffic, a U.S. appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that sharply undermines the federal government's ability to enforce its vision of a free Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to establish its legal authority to take action in 2008 against Comcast for blocking customers who were consuming large amounts of bandwidth. The court essentially rejected the FCC's argument that it had the power to regulate Internet service providers -- a ruling that also throws into doubt whether it has the power to implement much of its recently unveiled national broadband plan.

The decision deals a direct blow to proponents of so-called net neutrality rules, which require Internet service providers like Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally. Without such rules, critics fear that Internet service providers could play favorites on their networks, blocking or charging for video or other content that competes with their own offerings, or offering lower speeds for those outside services.

But the FCC in recent months has gone beyond its advocacy of net neutrality with proposals that would, for instance, extend broadband offerings into unserved rural areas. The court's ruling calls into question the legal underpinning for such regulation.

"The ramifications of this go far beyond Comcast blocking BitTorrent," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the consumer advocacy group Free Press, referring to the Internet file-sharing service that Comcast blocked, leading to the FCC's action. "The FCC is essentially unable now to protect consumers and implement the national broadband plan." Others call those worries overblown and say the bigger threat is government regulation of the fast-evolving Internet.

"This is not going to change anything a bit," said Verizon's executive vice president and general counsel, Randal Milch, referring to the company's Internet service.

Internet content companies such as Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo and Facebook are big supporters of net neutrality rules, which would guarantee them unfettered access to broadband networks. Others argue that the lack of such regulations could hurt innovation on the Web, potentially forcing content creators to negotiate with broadband companies to secure adequate access to their pipes.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has made net neutrality a centerpiece of his agenda. A spokeswoman for Genachowski said in a statement that the FCC remains "firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans." But it was unclear Tuesday what the FCC's next move will be. It could move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (it was categorized as an information service during the Bush administration), giving the FCC direct authority over Internet service providers in the same way it is able to regulate phone companies. But that would probably entail years of rule-making and legal proceedings, potentially delaying Genachowski's ambitious broadband agenda.

The commission could ask Congress to pass legislation giving it authority over broadband. But that would probably trigger opposition among Republicans opposed to broader government regulation.

Or the FCC could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Tuesday's ruling isn't likely to affect Internet users overnight, some critics said it could, in time, dramatically change the Web experience.

Eric London, a spokesman for the Open Internet Coalition, a group that includes Google and other companies, said one potential result of the court decision is that consumers would have to pay more -- or could be blocked -- if they decide to access data-intensive services, or services that compete with products offered by Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon or Comcast.

"Consumer choice is the core issue here -- consumers being able to go where they want to go on the Internet, and use the applications they want to use on the Internet," London said.

Internet providers blocking competing services "is not an academic issue," London added. For example, he said Skype is not available to AT&T Wireless customers. AT&T has also raised the possibility of charging more to customers who are intensive data users, or charging content providers more for data-intensive services -- costs that he said would most likely be passed on to consumers.

But others dismissed those warnings.

"The idea that this ruling will invite bad behavior is nonsense," said Bruce Mehlman, a former assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy during the Bush administration and now co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Companies need to manage their networks to handle high volumes of traffic and bona fide threats out there, but we're simply not going to see blocking or degrading of disfavored sites. It would be bad business and it would beg for regulatory overkill." Beyond the debate over rules for Internet providers, critics said the court ruling casts a legal pall over the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC, for example, has suggested tapping an $8 billion federal fund that now subsidizes rural phone service to expand broadband service instead. But that and other proposals could be difficult to pull off, critics said, now that the court has essentially said the panel lacks authority over broadband.

The FCC had argued that it had the same broad powers to regulate Internet service providers that it has over "common carrier" telephone companies, TV and radio broadcasters. The federal court rejected that claim.

"This particular order focuses on some pretty narrow, legal, wonky jurisdiction issues, about whether the FCC has jurisdiction to regulate Internet service providers," said Catherine Sandoval, a law professor at Santa Clara University who is a former FCC official.

But if the legal technicalities are wonky, the effect of the ruling could be significant, and Sandoval said she expects the FCC to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm sure they are meeting today to decide whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court, and it's very likely that they would," she said.

Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@mercurynews.com or 202-662-8921. Contact Mike Swift at mswift@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3648.

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY? Net neutrality rules require Internet service providers to treat all content equally, charging the same and providing the same speeds for similar types of data. Net neutrality enables consumers to use any online service or device without interference or discrimination from their network provider.

How does it affect me? Without net neutrality rules, advocates say, an Internet service provider could: Charge more for or provide slower access to particular Web sites and services, potentially turning the Internet into something like cable TV, with extra costs for premium service.

Block services that compete with them. For example, if Comcast"s proposed merger with NBC is approved, it could favor NBC content online by slowing access to ABC.com or YouTube. Others say ISPs would risk losing customers by engaging in such practices.

To see more of the San Jose Mercury News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.mercurynews.com.

Copyright (c) 2010, San Jose Mercury News, Calif.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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Media: Pope Benedict Guilty Until Proven Innocent | View Clip
04/07/2010
Newsbusters

The broadcast networks couldn't ignore Holy Week, the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, so instead they used it this year to smear the Catholic Church as a harbor for abusive priests.

ABC, CBS and NBC featured 26 stories during Holy Week about Pope Benedict's perceived role in the sex abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now facing. Only one story focused on the measures the church has adopted in recent years to prevent abuse. In 69 percent of the stories (18 out of 26) reporters used language that presumed the pope's guilt. Only one made specific mention of the recent drop in the incidence of abuse allegations against the Catholic Church.

The network reporting has largely appeared to be driven by a series of New York Times articles that have portrayed Benedict as seeking to protect the church at the expense of children's safety in various incidents of abuse in Germany, Ireland and here in the United States. The Times reported that as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Benedict oversaw the transfer of a priest accused of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s to another parish where he again worked with children after he began therapy for his problems. A March 24 article, since heavily questioned, about a Wisconsin priest allowed to remain in the priesthood even after he abused 200 deaf boys from the 1950s through the 1970s placed the blame squarely on Benedict.

"The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal," wrote Laurie Goodstein.

These stories failed to paint the whole picture of what occurred, of Benedict's role in the decision-making process about these priests and allowed the media to depict sex abuse in the Catholic Church as a growing problem when all evidence indicates that the reverse is true. Between 2008 and 2009, allegations of sex abuse by clergy members declined by 36 percent. On only six allegations of abuse involving minors were brought forward against the church in 2009, according to a study by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Really, it's not the problem of abuse that's "growing," as all three networks described it on Easter Sunday, but rather the media interest in the story - conveniently giving broadcast networks the opportunity to disparage the Catholic Church during its most holy time of the year.

NBC's Anne Thompson began her March 28 "Today" report by saying, "The Catholic Church begins this Holy Week under a cloud of suspicion, with more claims of sexual abuse by its priests and more accusations that its leaders ignored those claims, accusations that go all the way to Pope Benedict."

This framing of the story was typical for all three broadcast networks during Holy Week.

"Senior church figures may be rallying to the Pope's defense, but his role in dealing with a child abuse issue as the Vatican's main enforcer of doctrine in his pre-pope years and his profile as the church's most visible presence on earth means that he remains the target of those demanding answers and justice," stated CBS's Mark Phillips on the Palm Sunday broadcast of CBS's "Evening News."

ABC's Jim Sciutto claimed in his March 29 "World News with Diane Sawyer" report that, "the pope himself failed to dismiss abusers, including a Wisconsin priest who allegedly molested more than 200 deaf boys."

But just like The New York Times did during the month of March, the broadcast networks failed to provide much background information and instead went forward with the line that the Pope is guilty of covering up heinous abuse claims, despite evidence that does not back up their claims.

Background Sources

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, "the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization," hit back against the New York Times smears of Pope Benedict in seven press releases published in the last weeks of Lent. The press releases pointed out inaccuracies in the Times reports. Yet, Donohue did not appear in any of the broadcast reports during Holy Week.

In the case of Father Lawrence Murphy, the Wisconsin priest accused of molesting 200 deaf boys over three decades between the 1950s and 1970s, the Catholic League stated in a March 29 press release, "there is no evidence [then-Cardinal Ratzinger] even knew of the case" and "his office officially lifted the statute of limitations ... and began an investigation." The networks ignored the information.

All three networks featured Archbishop Timothy Dolan speaking in defense of the pope on their March 29 evening news programs. "No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the church of the effects of this sickening sin and crime than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI," Dolan told the networks. However, none elaborated on that cleansing.

The networks could have reminded viewers, as did George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in a March 29 First Things article, of "recent hard news developments that underscore Pope Benedict's determination to root out what he once described as ‘filth' in the Church."

Weigel continued on to explain that the pope "mandated an Apostolic Visitation of Irish dioceses, seminaries, and religious congregations" after allegations of abuse against Irish priests made news. Weigel also noted that it "was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who, as prefect CDF, was determined to discover the truth about [Father Marcial] Maciel," the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who violated his priestly vows by, among other things, committing sexual abuse and fathering several children.

Father Thomas Brundage, who was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003, the time in which Murphy's case was supposedly brought before then Cardinal Ratzinger, could have also provided a pertinent defense of Benedict, but he was neither quoted nor featured in any of the broadcast reports about the scandal.

Brundage set the record straight about the Murphy case in a March 29 column for The Catholic Anchor, and explained, "the competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001." He continued:

Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court. When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.

Brundage also noted the particulars of Benedict's response to and efforts to rid the Church of abusive priests:

Pope Benedict has repeatedly apologized for the shame of the sexual abuse of children in various venues and to a worldwide audience. This has never happened before. He has met with victims. He has reigned in entire conferences of bishops on this matter, the Catholic Bishops of Ireland being the most recent. He has been most reactive and proactive of any international church official in history with regard to the scourge of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Instead of blaming him for inaction on these matters, he has truly been a strong and effective leader on these issues.

In the case of the pope's alleged cover up in Germany, the networks failed to report that the then-Cardinal Ratzinger followed the dominating theory behind rehabilitation of sex offenders. No psychologists or psychiatrists were featured to discuss the treatment given to offending priests.

As recently as 2004, treatment was offered as a reasonable course of action for abusive priests. Dr. Thomas Plante, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, co-authored a study that listed "Treat offending clergy" as direction for the Catholic Church to follow in the future.

"Promising treatments have been developed for offending clergy and should be utitilized," wrote Plante. "Specialized programs at treatment facilities such as the St. Luke Institute in Maryland, Southdown Hospital in Toronto, and the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital in Connecticut have developed impressive programs with encouraging treatment outcome results as of this date. Treatment programs that have developed successful approaches should share their experiences with others."

Changes in the Catholic Church

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released its 2009 annual report on abuse by clergy on March 23, and should have provided much-needed balance for the broadcast networks' Holy Week reporting about the scandal, but aside from one brief mention on ABC, about allegations dropping by a third between 2008 and 2009, this news went unreported, as did other important findings from the study.

Data indicated that allegations of sex abuse by clergy members reached its lowest point since 2004, allegations dropped by 36 percent between 2008 and 2009, and in 2009 only six allegations involved minors.

The report also found 71 percent of the allegations were about abuse that began between 1960 and 1984.

One story - the only one to give attention to the church's efforts to combat the problem - on ABC's Apr. 2 "World News with Diane Sawyer," focused on the changes in seminaries to weed out potentially problematic priests.

ABC's Jim Sciutto visited the North American College in Rome, Italy, and reported that "the often difficult questions of sex and celibacy aren't kept in private" but that "they're discussed very openly, as an integral part of the education and the screening process for priests."

"Today, candidates face a battery of tests, from Rorschach ink blots to a recently introduced sexual addiction questionnaire, with deeply probing questions, such as ‘were you sexually abused as a child,' ‘do you watch pornography on the Internet,' and ‘have you been sexual with minors," stated Sciutto.

Father David Songy, director of counseling services at the school, told Sciutto, "If a guy had a real problem where they were acting out in some way, we would say, you need to go, that's it."

CBS's March 29 "Evening News" briefly covered the "prevention and awareness" programs now in place in U.S. Catholic Churches, programs that correspondent Elaine Quijano noted, "that the church says demonstrate a clear break from the past practice of turning a blind eye to the abuse."

She also noted, "The church reports, since 2003, more than 7.5 million adults and children have gone through the church's sex abuse awareness program."

But those programs weren't enough to sway anchor Katie Couric from the idea that the Catholic Church is a danger to children. "Now to a different threat to children, bullying," she stated as she introduced the next story.

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FCC'S INTERNET CONTROL REJECTED
04/07/2010
San Jose Mercury News

Intervening in a high-stakes battle over regulation of Web traffic, a U.S. appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that sharply undermines the federal government's ability to enforce its vision of a free Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to establish its legal authority to take action in 2008 against Comcast for blocking customers who were consuming large amounts of bandwidth. The court essentially rejected the FCC's argument that it had the power to regulate Internet service providers -- a ruling that also throws into doubt whether it has the power to implement much of its recently unveiled national broadband plan.

The decision deals a direct blow to proponents of so-called net neutrality rules, which require Internet service providers like Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally. Without such rules, critics fear that Internet service providers could play favorites on their networks, blocking or charging for video or other content that competes with their own offerings, or offering lower speeds for those outside services.

But the FCC in recent months has gone beyond its advocacy of net neutrality with proposals that would, for instance, extend broadband offerings into unserved rural areas. The court's ruling calls into question the legal underpinning for such regulation.

"The ramifications of this go far beyond Comcast blocking BitTorrent," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the consumer advocacy group Free Press, referring to the Internet file-sharing service that Comcast blocked, leading to the FCC's action. "The FCC is essentially unable now to protect consumers and implement the national broadband plan."

Others call those worries overblown and say the bigger threat is government regulation of the fast-evolving Internet.

"This is not going to change anything a bit," said Verizon's executive vice president and general counsel, Randal Milch, referring to the company's Internet service.

Internet content companies such as Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo and Facebook are big supporters of net neutrality rules, which would guarantee them unfettered access to broadband networks. Others argue that the lack of such regulations could hurt innovation on the Web, potentially forcing content creators to negotiate with broadband companies to secure adequate access to their pipes.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has made net neutrality a centerpiece of his agenda. A spokeswoman for Genachowski said in a statement that the FCC remains "firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans."

But it was unclear Tuesday what the FCC's next move will be. It could move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (it was categorized as an information service during the Bush administration), giving the FCC direct authority over Internet service providers in the same way it is able to regulate phone companies. But that would probably entail years of rule-making and legal proceedings, potentially delaying Genachowski's ambitious broadband agenda.

The commission could ask Congress to pass legislation giving it authority over broadband. But that would probably trigger opposition among Republicans opposed to broader government regulation.

Or the FCC could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Tuesday's ruling isn't likely to affect Internet users overnight, some critics said it could, in time, dramatically change the Web experience.

Eric London, a spokesman for the Open Internet Coalition, a group that includes Google and other companies, said one potential result of the court decision is that consumers would have to pay more -- or could be blocked -- if they decide to access data-intensive services, or services that compete with products offered by Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon or Comcast.

"Consumer choice is the core issue here -- consumers being able to go where they want to go on the Internet, and use the applications they want to use on the Internet," London said.

Internet providers blocking competing services "is not an academic issue," London added. For example, he said Skype is not available to AT&T Wireless customers. AT&T has also raised the possibility of charging more to customers who are intensive data users, or charging content providers more for data-intensive services -- costs that he said would most likely be passed on to consumers.

But others dismissed those warnings.

"The idea that this ruling will invite bad behavior is nonsense," said Bruce Mehl­man, a former assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy during the Bush administration and now co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Companies need to manage their networks to handle high volumes of traffic and bona fide threats out there, but we're simply not going to see blocking or degrading of disfavored sites. It would be bad business and it would beg for regulatory overkill."

Beyond the debate over rules for Internet providers, critics said the court ruling casts a legal pall over the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC, for example, has suggested tapping an $8 billion federal fund that now subsidizes rural phone service to expand broadband service instead. But that and other proposals could be difficult to pull off, critics said, now that the court has essentially said the panel lacks authority over broadband.

The FCC had argued that it had the same broad powers to regulate Internet service providers that it has over "common carrier" telephone companies, TV and radio broadcasters. The federal court rejected that claim.

"This particular order focuses on some pretty narrow, legal, wonky jurisdiction issues, about whether the FCC has jurisdiction to regulate Internet service providers," said Catherine Sandoval, a law professor at Santa Clara University who is a former FCC official.

But if the legal technicalities are wonky, the effect of the ruling could be significant, and Sandoval said she expects the FCC to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm sure they are meeting today to decide whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court, and it's very likely that they would," she said.

Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@mercurynews.com or 202-662-8921. Contact Mike Swift at mswift@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3648.

Copyright © 2010 San Jose Mercury News

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Gendering the African Diaspora - Women, Culture and Historical Change in the Carribean and Nigerian Hinterland* [book listing]
04/07/2010
AllAfrica.com

Apr 07, 2010 (Indiana University Press/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX News Network) -- Identity, race, and social networks in the African diaspora

"This collection . . . strengthens the significance of understanding the African diaspora across time, and provides a model for studying other diasporas as well." -Constance Sutton, New York University

This volume builds on and extends current discussions of the construction of gendered identities and the networks through which men and women engage diaspora. It considers the movement of people and ideas between the Caribbean and the Nigerian hinterland. The contributions examine Africa in the Caribbean imaginary, the way in which gender ideologies inform Caribbean men's and women's theoretical or real-life engagement with the continent, and the interactions and experiences of Caribbean travelers in Africa and Europe. The contributions are linked as well through empire, discussing different parts of the British Empire and allowing for the comparative examination of colonial policies and practices.

Judith A. Byfield is Associate Professor in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University and author of The Bluest Hands: A Social and Economic History of Women Dyers in Abeokuta (Nigeria), 1890-1940.

LaRay Denzer is Visiting Scholar in the Department of History at Santa Clara University. She is author (with Jane I. Guyer and Adigun A. B. Agbaje) of Money Struggles and City Life: Devaluation in Ibadan and Other Urban Centers in Southern Nigeria, 1986-1996.

Anthea Morrison is Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus (Jamaica).

* Edited by Judith A., Byfield, Laray Denzer, and Anthea Morrisson

Copyright © 2010 Indiana University Press. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Yelp Changes Policies, But 'Extortion' Lawsuits Likely To Continue | View Clip
04/07/2010
MediaPost.com

Faced with growing backlash by small businesses and three potential class-action lawsuits accusing the site of "extortion," Yelp on Tuesday said it would make several changes to the way it displays reviews.

The company will no longer allow business owners to pay to have a favorite review highlighted at the top of its page. Also, Yelp will allow people to see some reviews it previously filtered out of the listings, including reviews that the site's filters flagged as having been authored by business owners.

The move comes as Yelp is dealing with growing pressure by small business owners who have accused the site's sales force of unfairly offering to place bad reviews far down in the results in exchange for ad buys.

Since February, three separate lawsuits have been filed on behalf of several companies -- a case by the California veterinary center

Cats and Dogs Animal Hospital, one by the owner of D'Ames Day Spa and one by the owner of furniture repair shop Renaissance Restoration.

They essentially allege that Yelp's sales representatives offered to bury bad reviews and/or highlight favorable ones in exchange for ad buys.

CEO Jeremy Stoppleman reiterated Tuesday that the site had never offered to bury bad reviews for advertisers.

But the decision to end the "favorite review" feature and make filtered reviews available might have come too late to solve Yelp's legal problems now that litigation has commenced.

"Those lawsuits are going to continue apace," predicts Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, adding that businesses can still argue that they were damaged by Yelp's alleged prior practices.

But, he says, Tuesday's move might limit liability in the future. "In theory it might deflect some future advertisers from queuing up. We'll just have to see about that."

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FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says | View Clip
04/07/2010
SiliconValley.com

WASHINGTON — Intervening in a high-stakes battle over regulation of Web traffic, a U.S. appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that sharply undermines the federal government's ability to enforce its vision of a free Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to establish its legal authority to take action in 2008 against Comcast for blocking customers who were consuming large amounts of bandwidth. The court essentially rejected the FCC's argument that it had the power to regulate Internet service providers — a ruling that also throws into doubt whether it has the power to implement much of its recently unveiled national broadband

plan.

The decision deals a direct blow to proponents of so-called net neutrality rules, which require Internet service providers like Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally. Without such rules, critics fear that Internet service providers could play favorites on their networks, blocking or charging for video or other content that competes with their own offerings, or offering lower speeds for those outside services.

But the FCC in recent months has gone beyond its advocacy of net neutrality with proposals that would, for instance, extend broadband offerings into unserved rural areas. The court's ruling calls into question the legal underpinning for such regulation.

"The ramifications of this go far beyond Comcast

blocking BitTorrent," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the consumer advocacy group Free Press, referring to the Internet file-sharing service that Comcast blocked, leading to the FCC's action. "The FCC is essentially unable now to protect consumers and implement the national broadband plan."

Others call those worries overblown and say the bigger threat is government regulation of the fast-evolving Internet.

"This is not going to change anything a bit," said Verizon's executive vice president and general counsel, Randal Milch, referring to the company's Internet service.

Internet content companies such as Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo and Facebook are big supporters of net neutrality rules, which would guarantee them unfettered access to broadband networks. Others argue that the lack of such regulations could hurt innovation on the Web, potentially forcing content creators to negotiate with broadband companies to secure adequate access to their pipes.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has made net neutrality a centerpiece of his agenda. A spokeswoman for Genachowski said in a statement that the FCC remains "firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans."

But it was unclear Tuesday what the FCC's next move will be. It could move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (it was categorized as an information service during the Bush administration), giving the FCC direct authority over Internet service providers in the same way it is able to regulate phone companies. But that would probably entail years of rule-making and legal proceedings, potentially delaying Genachowski's ambitious broadband agenda.

The commission could ask Congress to pass legislation giving it authority over broadband. But that would probably trigger opposition among Republicans opposed to broader government regulation.

Or the FCC could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Tuesday's ruling isn't likely to affect Internet users overnight, some critics said it could, in time, dramatically change the Web experience.

Eric London, a spokesman for the Open Internet Coalition, a group that includes Google and other companies, said one potential result of the court decision is that consumers would have to pay more — or could be blocked — if they decide to access data-intensive services, or services that compete with products offered by Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon or Comcast.

"Consumer choice is the core issue here — consumers being able to go where they want to go on the Internet, and use the applications they want to use on the Internet," London said.

Internet providers blocking competing services "is not an academic issue," London added. For example, he said Skype is not available to AT&T wireless customers. AT&T has also raised the possibility of charging more to customers who are intensive data users, or charging content providers more for data-intensive services — costs that he said would most likely be passed on to consumers.

But others dismissed those warnings.

"The idea that this ruling will invite bad behavior is nonsense," said Bruce Mehlman, a former assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy during the Bush administration and now co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Companies need to manage their networks to handle high volumes of traffic and bona fide threats out there, but we're simply not going to see blocking or degrading of disfavored sites. It would be bad business and it would beg for regulatory overkill."

Beyond the debate over rules for Internet providers, critics said the court ruling casts a legal pall over the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC, for example, has suggested tapping an $8 billion federal fund that now subsidizes rural phone service to expand broadband service instead. But that and other proposals could be difficult to pull off, critics said, now that the court has essentially said the panel lacks authority over broadband.

The FCC had argued that it had the same broad powers to regulate Internet service providers that it has over "common carrier" telephone companies, TV and radio broadcasters. The federal court rejected that claim.

"This particular order focuses on some pretty narrow, legal, wonky jurisdiction issues, about whether the FCC has jurisdiction to regulate Internet service providers," said Catherine Sandoval, a law professor at Santa Clara University who is a former FCC official.

But if the legal technicalities are wonky, the effect of the ruling could be significant, and Sandoval said she expects the FCC to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm sure they are meeting today to decide whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court, and it's very likely that they would," she said.

Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@mercurynews.com or 202-662-8921. Contact Mike Swift at mswift@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3648.

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?

Net neutrality rules require Internet service providers to treat all content equally, charging the same and providing the same speeds for similar types of data. Net neutrality enables consumers to use any online service or device without interference or discrimination from their network provider.

How does it affect me?

Without net neutrality rules, advocates say, an Internet service provider could block, charge more for or provide slower access to particular Web sites and services. That could turn the Internet into something that looks more like cable TV, with extra costs for premium service, they warn. Service providers could also potentially block services that compete with them. For example, if Comcast"s proposed merger with NBC is approved, it could potentially favor NBC content online by slowing access to competing content such as

ABC.com or YouTube. Others say such fears are overblown, arguing that ISPs would risk losing customers by engaging in such practices.

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Whitford's expertise bodes well for Aquatic Center | View Clip
04/07/2010
State Hornet, The

Part of facility manager Bob Whitford's job is to ensure the facility is kept in superb conditions for all who use it.

Bob Whitford enjoys being out on the water often and seeing students excel.

Few people have the ability to seamlessly make the jump between competitive sports and the business world. Bob Whitford is one of those people.

Whitford, the facilities manager at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center, has instilled knowledge in others they will use for the rest of their lives.

Whitford has taken 25-plus years experience in water sports and applied it to the everyday workings of the Aquatic Center, located in Rancho Cordova at Lake Natoma.

Whitford first joined the university in 1988 as head coach for the men's and women's club rowing teams. In the summer of 1995, Whitford was appointed as facilities manager for the Aquatic Center where his work in the water and boating industry has proven invaluable.

Whitford's developed his boating knowledge at a young age in his hometown of Newport Beach, Calif. His first experiences with water sports came when he was in grade school helping out at Orange Coast College. That experience came as the coxswain, the person who steers the boat and calls out the stroke cadence for the rowers.

After helping the Orange Coast College rowing team, he then became a rower himself for the Newport High School rowing team. Whitford took his desire for rowing to every school he helped out as a young boy.

After spending two years at Orange Coast College, he then transferred to UC Berkeley and continued to row. He then moved up to coaching at the collegiate level. One of his coaching positions was at Stanford from 1980-84.

Aquatic Center Director Brian Dulgar said he was in awe of how much water and boating knowledge Whitford possesses.

“He has enough broad knowledge that it could kick a tin can around for a few days,” Brian Dulgar said.

Whitford also coached at Newport School Boys rowing team in the 1970s, Long Beach State from 1978-80, Santa Clara University from 1987-88 and finally the men's and women's club rowing teams at Sac State from 1988-94.

Whitford has even had the opportunity to coach at the national level as well. He was the head coach for two different U.S. national teams in the 1980s. In 1986 he was the national head coach for the single scull event and in 1987 as the double scull head coach.

The scull is a one-to-four-person boat propelled by large oars through the water with a front-to-back pulling motion.

Cindi Dulgar, youth programs director and operations manager, said the knowledge Whitford has given to so many of those individuals over the years has made each person better.

“He has lived a lifetime of lessons,” she said. “If he shared just a portion of that knowledge, they will be better off if they have not ever met him.”

The Aquatic Center employs approximately 20 people year-round and a handful of those employees are Sac State students. Each person will have his or her own unique experience working with Whitford.

He has taught each person the ins and outs of facilities maintenance and boating repair.

Brian Dulgar said Whitford is more than a teacher.

“Bob is a mentor to the many student employees that come through the center,” he said. “He is teaching the students how to refurbish a patio boat, something they may not have attempted on their own.”

Whitford's understanding of facilities management and what it takes to house expensive rowing equipment helped him in the design of the Aquatic Center. The state Department of Boating and Waterways granted $6 million to begin the center's renovation process in 2003.

During the process, Whitford helped to design each building that now sits on the property.

Over a three-year period, each building was constructed in phases. As one building came down, another was built in its place. This kept the Aquatic Center operational. Brian Dulgar said it could not be done without Whitford.

“Everything we have at the Aquatic Center is built to maximize the dollar and minimize waste,” Whitford said. “All of our buildings were built in a sustainable way.”

The Aquatic Center's focus is on community and student development around the water. Whitford is a humble person and did not want that fact to be lost in the process.

But for those who work with Whitford, the attention is in the right place.

“We are all a team; we all have equal value,” Brain Dulgar said. “We couldn't do what we do without him.”

Matt Harrington can be reached at mharrington@statehornet.com

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FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says | View Clip
04/07/2010
InsideBayArea.com

WASHINGTON — Intervening in a high-stakes battle over regulation of Web traffic, a U.S. appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that sharply undermines the federal government's ability to enforce its vision of a free Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to establish its legal authority to take action in 2008 against Comcast for blocking customers who were consuming large amounts of bandwidth. The court essentially rejected the argument of the FCC that it had the power to regulate Internet service providers — a ruling that also throws into doubt whether it has the power to implement much of its recently unveiled national broadband plan.

The decision deals a direct blow to proponents of so-called net neutrality rules, which require Internet service providers like Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally. Without such rules, critics fear that Internet service providers could play favorites on their networks, blocking or charging for video or other content that competes with their own offerings, or offering lower speeds for those outside services.

But the FCC in recent months has gone beyond its advocacy of net neutrality with proposals that would, for instance, extend broadband offerings into unserved rural areas. The court's ruling calls into question the legal underpinning for such regulation.

"The ramifications of this go far beyond

Comcast blocking BitTorrent," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the consumer advocacy group Free Press, referring to the Internet file-sharing service that Comcast blocked, leading to the FCC's action. "The FCC is essentially unable now to protect consumers and implement the national broadband plan."

Others call those worries overblown and say the bigger threat is government regulation of the fast-evolving Internet.

"This is not going to change anything a bit," said Verizon's executive vice president and general counsel, Randal Milch, referring to the company's Internet service.

Internet content companies such as Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo and Facebook are big supporters of net neutrality rules, which would guarantee them unfettered access to broadband networks. Others argue that the lack of such regulations could hurt innovation on the Web, potentially forcing content creators to negotiate with broadband companies to secure adequate access to their pipes.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has made net neutrality a centerpiece of his agenda. A spokeswoman for Genachowski said in a statement that the FCC remains "firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans."

But it was unclear Tuesday what the FCC's next move will be. It could move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (it was categorized as an information service during the Bush administration), giving the FCC direct authority over Internet service providers in the same way it is able to regulate phone companies. But that would probably entail years of rule-making and legal proceedings, potentially delaying Genachowski's ambitious broadband agenda.

The commission could ask Congress to pass legislation giving it authority over broadband. But that would probably trigger opposition among Republicans opposed to broader government regulation.

Or the FCC could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Tuesday's ruling isn't likely to affect Internet users overnight, some critics said it could, in time, dramatically change the Web experience.

Eric London, a spokesman for the Open Internet Coalition, a group that includes Google and other companies, said one potential result of the court decision is that consumers would have to pay more — or could be blocked — if they decide to access data-intensive services, or services that compete with products offered by Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon or Comcast.

"Consumer choice is the core issue here — consumers being able to go where they want to go on the Internet

and use the applications they want to use on the Internet," London said.

Internet providers blocking competing services "is not an academic issue," London added. For example, he said Skype is not available to AT&T wireless customers. AT&T has also raised the possibility of charging more to customers who are intensive data users, or charging content providers more for data-intensive services — costs that he said would most likely be passed on to consumers.

But others dismissed those warnings.

"The idea that this ruling will invite bad behavior is nonsense," said Bruce Mehlman, an assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy during the George W. Bush administration and now co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Companies need to manage their networks to handle high volumes of traffic and bona fide threats out there, but we're simply not going to see blocking or degrading of disfavored sites. It would be bad business, and it would beg for regulatory overkill."

Beyond the debate over rules for Internet providers, critics said the court ruling casts a legal pall over the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC, for example, has suggested tapping an $8 billion federal fund that now subsidizes rural phone service to expand broadband service instead. But that and other proposals could be difficult to pull off, critics said, now that the court has essentially said the panel lacks authority over broadband.

The FCC had argued that it had related but more limited powers to regulate Internet service providers than it has over "common carrier" telephone companies, TV and radio broadcasters. The federal court rejected that claim.

"This particular order focuses on some pretty narrow, legal, wonky jurisdiction issues, about whether the FCC has jurisdiction to regulate Internet service providers," said Catherine Sandoval, a law professor at Santa Clara University who is a former FCC official.

But if the legal technicalities are wonky, the effect of the ruling could be significant, and Sandoval said she expects the FCC to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm sure they are meeting today to decide whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court, and it's very likely that they would," she said.

Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@mercurynews.com or 202-662-8921. Contact Mike Swift at mswift@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3648.

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?

Net neutrality rules require Internet service providers to treat all content equally, charging the same and providing the same speeds for similar types of data. Net neutrality enables consumers to use any online service or device without interference or discrimination from their network provider.

How does it affect me?

Without net neutrality rules, advocates say, an Internet service provider could block, charge more for or provide slower access to particular Web sites and services. That could turn the Internet into something that looks more like cable TV, with extra costs for premium service, they warn. Service providers could also potentially block services that compete with them. For example, if Comcast"s proposed merger with NBC is approved, it could potentially favor NBC content online by slowing access to competing content such as

ABC.com or YouTube. Others say such fears are overblown, arguing that ISPs would risk losing customers by engaging in such practices.

Return to Top



FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says | View Clip
04/07/2010
Oroville Mercury-Register

WASHINGTON — Intervening in a high-stakes battle over regulation of Web traffic, a U.S. appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that sharply undermines the federal government's ability to enforce its vision of a free Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to establish its legal authority to take action in 2008 against Comcast for blocking customers who were consuming large amounts of bandwidth. The court essentially rejected the FCC's argument that it had the power to regulate Internet service providers — a ruling that also throws into doubt whether it has the power to implement much of its recently unveiled national broadband

plan.

The decision deals a direct blow to proponents of so-called net neutrality rules, which require Internet service providers like Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally. Without such rules, critics fear that Internet service providers could play favorites on their networks, blocking or charging for video or other content that competes with their own offerings, or offering lower speeds for those outside services.

But the FCC in recent months has gone beyond its advocacy of net neutrality with proposals that would, for instance, extend broadband offerings into unserved rural areas. The court's ruling calls into question the legal underpinning for such regulation.

"The ramifications of this go far beyond Comcast

blocking BitTorrent," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the consumer advocacy group Free Press, referring to the Internet file-sharing service that Comcast blocked, leading to the FCC's action. "The FCC is essentially unable now to protect consumers and implement the national broadband plan."

Others call those worries overblown and say the bigger threat is government regulation of the fast-evolving Internet.

"This is not going to change anything a bit," said Verizon's executive vice president and general counsel, Randal Milch, referring to the company's Internet service.

Internet content companies such as Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo and Facebook are big supporters of net neutrality rules, which would guarantee them unfettered access to broadband networks. Others argue that the lack of such regulations could hurt innovation on the Web, potentially forcing content creators to negotiate with broadband companies to secure adequate access to their pipes.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has made net neutrality a centerpiece of his agenda. A spokeswoman for Genachowski said in a statement that the FCC remains "firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans."

But it was unclear Tuesday what the FCC's next move will be. It could move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (it was categorized as an information service during the Bush administration), giving the FCC direct authority over Internet service providers in the same way it is able to regulate phone companies. But that would probably entail years of rule-making and legal proceedings, potentially delaying Genachowski's ambitious broadband agenda.

The commission could ask Congress to pass legislation giving it authority over broadband. But that would probably trigger opposition among Republicans opposed to broader government regulation.

Or the FCC could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Tuesday's ruling isn't likely to affect Internet users overnight, some critics said it could, in time, dramatically change the Web experience.

Eric London, a spokesman for the Open Internet Coalition, a group that includes Google and other companies, said one potential result of the court decision is that consumers would have to pay more — or could be blocked — if they decide to access data-intensive services, or services that compete with products offered by Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon or Comcast.

"Consumer choice is the core issue here — consumers being able to go where they want to go on the Internet, and use the applications they want to use on the Internet," London said.

Internet providers blocking competing services "is not an academic issue," London added. For example, he said Skype is not available to AT&T Wireless customers. AT&T has also raised the possibility of charging more to customers who are intensive data users, or charging content providers more for data-intensive services — costs that he said would most likely be passed on to consumers.

But others dismissed those warnings.

"The idea that this ruling will invite bad behavior is nonsense," said Bruce Mehlman, a former assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy during the Bush administration and now co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Companies need to manage their networks to handle high volumes of traffic and bona fide threats out there, but we're simply not going to see blocking or degrading of disfavored sites. It would be bad business and it would beg for regulatory overkill."

Beyond the debate over rules for Internet providers, critics said the court ruling casts a legal pall over the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC, for example, has suggested tapping an $8 billion federal fund that now subsidizes rural phone service to expand broadband service instead. But that and other proposals could be difficult to pull off, critics said, now that the court has essentially said the panel lacks authority over broadband.

The FCC had argued that it had the same broad powers to regulate Internet service providers that it has over "common carrier" telephone companies, TV and radio broadcasters. The federal court rejected that claim.

"This particular order focuses on some pretty narrow, legal, wonky jurisdiction issues, about whether the FCC has jurisdiction to regulate Internet service providers," said Catherine Sandoval, a law professor at Santa Clara University who is a former FCC official.

But if the legal technicalities are wonky, the effect of the ruling could be significant, and Sandoval said she expects the FCC to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm sure they are meeting today to decide whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court, and it's very likely that they would," she said.

Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@mercurynews.com or 202-662-8921. Contact Mike Swift at mswift@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3648.

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?

Net neutrality rules require Internet service providers to treat all content equally, charging the same and providing the same speeds for similar types of data. Net neutrality enables consumers to use any online service or device without interference or discrimination from their network provider.

How does it affect me?

Without net neutrality rules, advocates say, an Internet service provider could:

Charge more for or provide slower access to particular Web sites and services, potentially turning the Internet into something like cable TV, with extra costs for premium service.

Block services that compete with them. For example, if Comcast"s proposed merger with NBC is approved, it could favor NBC content online by slowing access to ABC.com or YouTube. Others say ISPs would risk losing customers by engaging in such practices.

Return to Top



FCC lacks authority to enforce net neutrality, appeals court says | View Clip
04/07/2010
Los Angeles Daily News - Online

WASHINGTON — Intervening in a high-stakes battle over regulation of Web traffic, a U.S. appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that sharply undermines the federal government's ability to enforce its vision of a free Internet.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to establish its legal authority to take action in 2008 against Comcast for blocking customers who were consuming large amounts of bandwidth. The court essentially rejected the argument of the FCC that it had the power to regulate Internet service providers — a ruling that also throws into doubt whether it has the power to implement much of its recently unveiled national broadband plan.

The decision deals a direct blow to proponents of so-called net neutrality rules, which require Internet service providers like Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally. Without such rules, critics fear that Internet service providers could play favorites on their networks, blocking or charging for video or other content that competes with their own offerings, or offering lower speeds for those outside services.

But the FCC in recent months has gone beyond its advocacy of net neutrality with proposals that would, for instance, extend broadband offerings into unserved rural areas. The court's ruling calls into question the legal underpinning for such regulation.

"The ramifications of this go far beyond

Comcast blocking BitTorrent," said S. Derek Turner, research director for the consumer advocacy group Free Press, referring to the Internet file-sharing service that Comcast blocked, leading to the FCC's action. "The FCC is essentially unable now to protect consumers and implement the national broadband plan."

Others call those worries overblown and say the bigger threat is government regulation of the fast-evolving Internet.

"This is not going to change anything a bit," said Verizon's executive vice president and general counsel, Randal Milch, referring to the company's Internet service.

Internet content companies such as Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo and Facebook are big supporters of net neutrality rules, which would guarantee them unfettered access to broadband networks. Others argue that the lack of such regulations could hurt innovation on the Web, potentially forcing content creators to negotiate with broadband companies to secure adequate access to their pipes.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has made net neutrality a centerpiece of his agenda. A spokeswoman for Genachowski said in a statement that the FCC remains "firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans."

But it was unclear Tuesday what the FCC's next move will be. It could move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (it was categorized as an information service during the Bush administration), giving the FCC direct authority over Internet service providers in the same way it is able to regulate phone companies. But that would probably entail years of rule-making and legal proceedings, potentially delaying Genachowski's ambitious broadband agenda.

The commission could ask Congress to pass legislation giving it authority over broadband. But that would probably trigger opposition among Republicans opposed to broader government regulation.

Or the FCC could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While Tuesday's ruling isn't likely to affect Internet users overnight, some critics said it could, in time, dramatically change the Web experience.

Eric London, a spokesman for the Open Internet Coalition, a group that includes Google and other companies, said one potential result of the court decision is that consumers would have to pay more — or could be blocked — if they decide to access data-intensive services, or services that compete with products offered by Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon or Comcast.

"Consumer choice is the core issue here — consumers being able to go where they want to go on the Internet

and use the applications they want to use on the Internet," London said.

Internet providers blocking competing services "is not an academic issue," London added. For example, he said Skype is not available to AT&T wireless customers. AT&T has also raised the possibility of charging more to customers who are intensive data users, or charging content providers more for data-intensive services — costs that he said would most likely be passed on to consumers.

But others dismissed those warnings.

"The idea that this ruling will invite bad behavior is nonsense," said Bruce Mehlman, an assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy during the George W. Bush administration and now co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Companies need to manage their networks to handle high volumes of traffic and bona fide threats out there, but we're simply not going to see blocking or degrading of disfavored sites. It would be bad business, and it would beg for regulatory overkill."

Beyond the debate over rules for Internet providers, critics said the court ruling casts a legal pall over the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC, for example, has suggested tapping an $8 billion federal fund that now subsidizes rural phone service to expand broadband service instead. But that and other proposals could be difficult to pull off, critics said, now that the court has essentially said the panel lacks authority over broadband.

The FCC had argued that it had related but more limited powers to regulate Internet service providers than it has over "common carrier" telephone companies, TV and radio broadcasters. The federal court rejected that claim.

"This particular order focuses on some pretty narrow, legal, wonky jurisdiction issues, about whether the FCC has jurisdiction to regulate Internet service providers," said Catherine Sandoval, a law professor at Santa Clara University who is a former FCC official.

But if the legal technicalities are wonky, the effect of the ruling could be significant, and Sandoval said she expects the FCC to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm sure they are meeting today to decide whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court, and it's very likely that they would," she said.

Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@mercurynews.com or 202-662-8921. Contact Mike Swift at mswift@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3648.

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?

Net neutrality rules require Internet service providers to treat all content equally, charging the same and providing the same speeds for similar types of data. Net neutrality enables consumers to use any online service or device without interference or discrimination from their network provider.

How does it affect me?

Without net neutrality rules, advocates say, an Internet service provider could block, charge more for or provide slower access to particular Web sites and services. That could turn the Internet into something that looks more like cable TV, with extra costs for premium service, they warn. Service providers could also potentially block services that compete with them. For example, if Comcast"s proposed merger with NBC is approved, it could potentially favor NBC content online by slowing access to competing content such as

ABC.com or YouTube. Others say such fears are overblown, arguing that ISPs would risk losing customers by engaging in such practices.

Return to Top



In the Neighborhood | View Clip
04/07/2010
Battle Creek Enquirer - Online, The

How is the new 911 call center doing? You tell us

Have you dialed 911 since last week? If so, the Enquirer would like to hear from you.

Calhoun County's consolidated dispatch center -- an operation merging 911 call centers from Battle Creek, Marshall and Albion into one Marshall facility -- was fully operational as of March 31.

The Enquirer would like to hear from residents who have dialed 911 since that time who are willing to share their experience for a future story.

If you were pleased, displeased or didn't notice a difference between the old centers and the new center, please contact reporters Justin Hinkley at 966-0698 or jhinkley@gannett.com, or Sarah Lambert at 966-0589 or slambert@battlecr.gannett.com.

St. Joseph to dedicate new pipe organ

St. Joseph Catholic Church, 61 N. 23rd St., Battle Creek, will dedicate a new Schantz pipe organ in a ceremony and concert at 7 p.m. Friday.

Bishop Paul Bradley of the Diocese of Kalamazoo will join Rev. Robert Creagan of St. Joseph and Rev. Craig Lusk in blessing the organ. Roger Nyquist, a member of the music faculty at Santa Clara University in California, will play liturgical music on the organ following the dedication ceremony.

The new organ has two manuals, 21 ranks, 18 stops and more than 1,000 pipes. For more information, call the church office at 962-0165.

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How much did the Pope know? | View Clip
04/06/2010
Maclean's

Two Sundays before Easter, Pope Benedict XVI sent a 4,700-word “pastoral letter” to the Roman Catholic faithful of Ireland. Read in full from the pulpits of every church in the country, the note was the Vatican's official response to two Irish investigations, which revealed—yet again—that pedophile priests had preyed on helpless children, and that certain self-serving bishops had moved heaven and earth to cover up the truth.

The Pope apologized directly to victims and their families, saying he is “truly sorry” for “these sinful and criminal acts.” He admitted that “grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership occurred,” but assured his flock that “the Church has done an immense amount of work in many parts of the world in order to address and remedy” past mistakes. Benedict's letter also spoke directly to the guilty priests, known and unknown. “I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow,” he wrote. “God's justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing.”

The question now is whether the Pope is prepared to do the same: give an account of his actions—and conceal nothing.


Twenty-five years after the Church's darkest secret was first exposed, the endless sex abuse scandal has finally reached the Pontiff himself. Faced with damning revelations about his own dealings with predatory priests, Benedict has come under unprecedented pressure to reveal what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did (or did not) do about it. No matter how hard the Holy See tries to blame “vile” journalists who “want to involve the Pope at all costs”—or how often Benedict insists he won't be “intimidated by petty gossip,” as he told parishioners on Palm Sunday—his papacy is suddenly in serious doubt. Some have gone so far as to demand his resignation, and many more are convinced that the Holy Father is not telling the entire truth.

“Is this an all-time low? Absolutely,” says John Swales, a London, Ont., man who, starting at the age of 10, was repeatedly assaulted by a local priest. “The leadership is horrific. I have lost total faith in their ability to do anything with decency. How can anyone be held accountable when the Pope is not held accountable?”

Two decisions in particular—now public after so many years—have come back to haunt His Eminence, threatening to shatter his image as a no-nonsense disciplinarian and raising fresh questions about his possible role in a Vatican-wide cover-up.

In 1980, when Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the archbishop of Munich, he reportedly approved treatment for a confessed child abuser, Peter Hullermann, only to be informed a few days later that the known “danger” was being returned to priestly duties. Hullermann went on to target more altar boys, and in 1986 was sent to prison. A decade later, while the would-be pontiff was in charge of the Vatican office that investigates allegations of sexual misconduct, he declined to defrock another notorious molester who assaulted more than 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf. The priest, Lawrence C. Murphy, sent a personal letter to Ratzinger, begging for mercy. “I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” he wrote. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” Murphy was allowed to die a priest, buried in his vestments.

Uncomfortable questions about the Pope's personal conduct come as the Church faces a flurry of new abuse allegations spreading across Europe. In recent weeks, as Catholics marked the holy season of Lent, hundreds of victims surfaced to tell their horrific stories, not only in Ireland, but in Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and Benedict's home nation of Germany. Authorities there are now investigating the possibility that the Pontiff's older brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, turned a blind eye to sexual abuse while in charge of the famed Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir (he denies such accusations).

But it's the Pope, Catholicism's ultimate authority, who is at the centre of the storm. His reputation is under such ferocious attack that even the National Catholic Reporter, a source of balanced perspective on the sex abuse scandal, has called on Benedict to “directly answer questions, in a credible forum,” about his role in the saga. “We now face the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in Church history,” the paper said. “How this crisis is handled by Benedict, what he says and does, how he responds and what remedies he seeks, will likely determine the future health of our Church for decades, if not centuries, to come. It is time, past time really, for direct answers to difficult questions. It is time to tell the truth.”

The truth, headlines aside, is that no other pope has done more to crack down on depraved clergy than Benedict XVI. Even his harshest critics would agree that he has been infinitely more honest about the scope of the problem than his beloved predecessor, John Paul II, who tended to view pedophilia as an American phenomenon driven more by societal de­gradation than systemic flaws in the priesthood. Benedict met with victims, lamented the “filth” in his Church, and, in the early days of his papacy, took the symbolic step of disciplining Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the notorious Mexican priest (and close friend of John Paul) who assaulted multiple children—and fathered up to seven of his own.

But it's what Benedict did behind the scenes, before he was the public face of 1.1 billion Catholics, that is now being scrutinized and second-guessed. As an archbishop in Germany, was he part of the secretive Church culture that closed its eyes to the problem? And as a cardinal—and the Vatican pit bull—was he too soft on delinquent priests?

“The average rank-and-file Catholic is up to their eyeballs with these stories, but it's a story that's not going away,” says Thomas Plante, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University who has published dozens of studies about sexually abusive clergy. “It's one thing to have some bishop somewhere make a decision that was a bad decision. It's quite another thing to have the future pope make some decisions that were bad decisions.”

The Hullermann file first came to Ratzinger's attention in early 1980, when another diocese asked if the molester could receive psychiatric treatment in Munich. Archbishop Ratzinger approved the request on Jan. 15, and Hullermann was granted permission to live at a church in the northern part of the city. Then, just five days later, Ratzinger reportedly received a copy of a memo from his vicar-general, announcing Hullermann's return to full pastoral duties. The pedophile went on to target more victims at another parish, plying them with booze and forcing them to watch pornographic videos.

A subordinate has taken full responsibility, claiming Ratzinger was never told that Hullermann was allowed back into the company of children. But the memo suggests otherwise. “He did what the rest of them were doing,” says Rev. Thomas Doyle, an American priest who first warned the Vatican in the mid-1980s that an epic scandal was brewing. “This was a blatant example. This guy should not have been around kids, and there is no way that assignment could have been done without the archbishop's signature.”

Others have rushed to the Pope's defence, pointing out the flaws in applying 2010 standards to a decision that was made three decades earlier. At the time, even the best psychiatrists knew little about pedophilia, and many of them believed it was curable. “Of course it's scandalous to have men of the cloth sexually violate children,” Plante says. “It's a terrible story. But to be fair to the bishops, when decisions were made back in 1960, 1970 and 1980, people didn't know what to do with sex offenders, not only inside the Church but outside the Church.”

That is hardly comfort for victims—or absolution for Pope Benedict. Bishops may not have fully understood the science behind child molestation, but their response was inexcusable. In case after case, predators were given a stern talking-to, quietly shipped to a new parish, or sent for therapy sessions that did little but postpone the next round of abuse. Thousands of children lost their innocence because bishops were more concerned with saving face than saving them. “Their motto was, ‘Avoid scandal at all costs. We don't care who gets hurt in the process, just avoid scandal at all costs,' ” says Rev. John Allan Loftus, former executive director of the Southdown Institute, a Toronto-area facility that treats priests for a wide range of psychological disorders. “It was handled very poorly, and there is loads of blame to go around.”

Including, it seems, the man who would become pope. If Ratzinger knew Hullermann was a threat, and sat idly by as he was shuffled back into a church setting, forgiveness will not be swift. “He was the captain of the ship, and he's got to bear responsibility for what happened,” Loftus says. “The whole thing is dreadful. I'm at a loss for words.”

A year after Hullermann arrived in Munich, Cardinal Ratzinger was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy See office in charge of promoting “morals throughout the Catholic world.”
When he arrived in Rome in 1981, the Vatican still had no official policy on how to deal with allegations of priestly pedophilia. Only cases involving “solicitation” in the confessional, an act specifically forbidden by canon law, were forwarded for “prosecution.” The rest, tragically, were handled in-house by individual bishops.

What is clear, however, is that the Vatican hierarchy, including the new chief doctrinal officer, was beginning to understand the gravity of the problem. By 1984, Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, a Louisiana priest, had been charged with 34 counts of sexual crimes against minors, and Father Doyle, then stationed at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, was warning his superiors that pedophile priests were “arising with increased frequency” and could cost the Church “one billion dollars” in lawsuits. In 1989, the media was revealing rampant abuse at Newfoundland's Mount Cashel Orphanage, run by the Christian Brothers, triggering two public inquiries and millions of dollars in settlements. And by 1994, Rev. Brendan Smyth, an Irish priest who molested more than 100 children, was in handcuffs and on front pages. The secret was out.

Yet in 1996, when bishops in Wisconsin began pleading with Ratzinger to defrock Father Murphy (the priest who had preyed on deaf boys), he declined. The police never laid charges, his office said, and Murphy was too old and sick to be put on trial.

Again, Benedict has his defenders. While many victims want all abusive priests to be defrocked, others believe the best way to protect children from dangerous clergy is to ensure that those priests remain in the fold, where they can be monitored. “It's what we call a life of prayer and penance,” says Rev. Frank Morrisey, a professor of canon law at St. Paul's University in Ottawa. “He can't technically function as a priest, but if we put him out on the street and he was still a predator, then he is under no supervision. People are blaming the Church for keeping these people and putting them in special living situations, but imagine if they just said: ‘Fine, out you go.' ”

In May 2001—after decades of abuse and obfuscation—the Vatican finally cracked the doctrinal whip in a meaningful way. Appalled by the files that did cross his desk, Ratzinger sent a letter to all bishops, ordering them to forward every allegation, new or old, to his office. The memo specified that each accusation will be “subject to the pontifical secret,” ensuring the internal discipline process remained confidential for both the accused priests and their victims. Some have since characterized the letter as a smoking gun, proof that Ratzinger and the Vatican were conspiring to hide embarrassing details from police and the press. In truth, the document was a monumental step for a Church that had failed to do the moral thing for so long. For the first time, the Holy See acknowledged just how deep the rot ran, and committed itself to punishing the guilty.
Nowhere in that letter were bishops—or victims—forbidden from reporting crimes to authorities. In fact, Canadian bishops already had a decade-old policy that compelled the Church to phone police at the first whiff of wrongdoing.

Of the 3,000 cases forwarded to Rome over the past decade, 20 per cent resulted in full canonical trials. A further 10 per cent resulted in priests being defrocked immediately, while in another 10 per cent they resigned voluntarily. The remaining offenders faced “other administrative and disciplinary provisions,” including a ban on celebrating mass.

“People think that anything short of defrocking is bad, is cover-up, and is not being hard enough,” Plante says. “But the question is: what are you going to do to make sure these guys don't have contact with kids? There is not a whole lot the Church can do to make things right for something that happened decades ago. All they can really do is make sure it doesn't happen again.”

And that may be the Pope's saving grace. If the Vatican is correct—if Benedict is the man who chose honesty over secrecy, who tried to tackled the sex abuse scandal when no one else would—his legacy may survive two regrettable decisions. All he needs to do is follow his own advice: search his conscience, take responsibility for any sins he may have committed, and conceal nothing.

Return to Top



Simple Tips For Student Athletes To Land That College Scholarship | View Clip
04/06/2010
Article Alley

Date Published: 06th April 2010

There are many scholarships out there awarded every year. And a great portion of these scholarships and college tuition grants are dedicated to college sports programs. So if you are looking to land an athletic scholarship, you can be sure that there is more than one for your event, whether it is basketball, football, fencing, rowing, and roman wrestling mention a few.

That said, you need to understand that there are also thousands like you looking to nail that chance to get a college degree through an athletic program. You need to add some oomph to your application and make all your practice and performances not go to waste.

First thing you can do is hone your athletic skills while you are still in high school. By this you are meant to train hard and well so that you can shine throughout your high school career. If you perform more than what is expected from you, you will certainly get the nod of your coach and the attention of college sports scouts. Being scouted means you are making some noise and gaining interest. It is not a guarantee though.

Not all student athletes are being scouted, especially if you attend a not so prolific high school institution. To increase your chances of getting noticed, cut some newspaper clippings highlighting your achievements and make a video of your game performances and send them to the colleges and universities you wish to attend. When making the video, make sure you include the games where you really excelled.

When you are approached by schools offering you scholarships, then congratulations are in order. But if you are approached by colleges and universities that are not your choices, then take the chance. Steve Nash went to Santa Clara University when his preferred universities did not offer him any scholarships. Not exactly his choice for college but he went anyway and graduated with a degree and became one of the best point guards in the National Basketball Association.

The point is that you are looking for a free pass throughout your college career. You may or may not attend the university of your choice, but being given a chance to do so through a college tuition grant or an academic scholarship, it is wise not be picky if you do not have so many options.

Let me share something else with you...

There are literally Hundreds of Easy Scholarships and grant programs available that are like getting Free Money!

I am constantly searching high and low for this kind of information and have found one site where you can get all the Scholarship and Grant information you need in one place.

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Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_1486584_22.html

Hi, I'm a single mom currently going back to college. I know first hand how hard it can be and am happy to share resources along the way that have helped me.

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Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-EE Times Group and Business Practicum Partner to Offer Customized Marketing Education for the Electronics Industry | View Clip
04/06/2010
WAND-TV - Online

EE Times Group and Business Practicum Partner to Offer Customized Marketing Education for the Electronics Industry

Continues to Add Innovative Offerings to Help Electronics Industry Increase Technology Sales

SAN FRANCISCO, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- EE Times Group, a UBM company and the daily source of essential business and technical information for the electronics industry's decision makers, and Business Practicum, a b2b corporate learning company, today announced they are partnering to bring university-level, customized marketing education to technology companies.  The company's programs are geared to enhance marketing's contribution to corporate objectives and to drive technology sales.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100406/SF81347LOGO)

"Technology marketing's ability to meet today's business objectives is more critical than ever.  While the teams charged with these responsibilities are technically savvy, a deeper marketing skill set is critical to achieve their objectives.  We are pleased to be partnering with Business Practicum to offer customizable marketing programs that will empower the global electronics marketplace to expand and deepen engagements with our customers," said Paul Miller, CEO, EE Times Group.

Business Practicum provides customized marketing and marketing communications training to technical and executive management and marketing-trained professionals, primarily in technology-driven industries.  Courses are customized from Business Practicum's standard course catalog and feature Dynamic Learning(SM) instructional techniques to enhance learning though a highly interactive participatory environment.  All courses target current marketing challenges, marketing efficiencies and offer "real-world" exercises participants can take directly to their work environment.

All of the educational classes are conducted at the clients' corporate campuses to increase productivity and minimize travel costs.  In addition, all of the education is developed and taught by full-time and adjunct university professor faculty.

Business Practicum was founded by three Silicon Valley marketing professors whose broad professional experience spans a broad range of technology, business-to-business, and business-to-consumer industries.  Chuck Byers is the recently retired Director, Worldwide Brand Management at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) and an adjunct professor at the Leavey School of Business and Communication Department, Santa Clara University; Buford Barr is a long-time semiconductor marketer and is a Lecturer at the Leavey School of Business and Communication Department at Santa Clara University teaching both marketing and public relations courses; and Dr. Gail Kirby is a business-to-consumer marketing expert and teaches a number of marketing disciplines at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

"We are excited to partner with the EE Times Group to bring marketing education to the electronics industry.  With an audience of more than one million electronics industry decision-makers, together we can bring this critical corporate learning to a broad range of companies to help drive technology sales," said Chuck Byers, Managing Director of Business Practicum.

In addition, during EE Times Group's Embedded Systems Conference on Thursday, April 29 from 12:00 PM -12:50 PM Pacific, Business Practicum will present "Marketing for Margins." During this session Business Practicum will discuss how marketing can help a business create product margins beyond technology and price.  Business Practicum will demonstrate how marketing can add dollars to both the bottom and top line of an organization.

For additional information on educational classes through Business Practicum, contact Chuck Byers, Managing Director, Business Practicum at 408-310-9244 or charles.byers@b-practicum.com

About Business Practicum (http://www.b-practicum.com/site/)

Business Practicum is a corporate learning resource founded by three marketing professors in Silicon Valley, California to enhance marketing and marketing communications contributions to company goals. Each course reflects a hands-on practical approach built on a combination of nearly 75 years of on-the-job experience of its principals. Course content represents the latest in current best practices and the culmination of their professional experience at some of the top global technology companies, advertising agencies, and public relations agencies.

About EE Times Group (http://www.eetimesgroup.com/)

EE Times Group, a division of United Business Media [LON:UBM], is the global leader in media and marketing services for the electronics industry. We deliver results for the key influencers and decision makers involved in the design, development and commercialization of technology through our market leading brands. More than 1.1 million engineering professionals engage with the EE Times Network - EE Times, TechOnline, DesignLines, and Embedded.com - across the globe. The technology community comes to our market leading events to share, learn, discuss, and advance the critical issues and challenges facing the electronics industry. As well, EE Times Group provides end-to-end services ranging from next-generation marketing, integrated media and research.

About United Business Media Limited

UBM (UBM.L) focuses on two principal activities: worldwide information distribution, targeting and monitoring; and, the development and monetisation of B2B communities and markets. UBM's businesses inform markets and serve professional commercial communities -- from doctors to game developers, from journalists to jewelry traders, from farmers to pharmacists -- with integrated events, online, print and business information products. Our 6,500 staff in more than 30 countries are organised into specialist teams that serve these communities, bringing buyers and sellers together, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently. For more information, go to www.ubm.com

For more information on EE Times Group please contact:

Felicia Hamerman, Group Marketing Director

T: 516.562.5652, E: felicia.hamerman@ubm.com

For more information on Business Practicum please contact:

Charles Byers, Managing Director

T:  408-310-9244, E:  byers.charles@yahoo.com

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CA EETimes BizPract photo 04 06
04/06/2010
Associated Press (AP)

bc-CA-EETimes-BizPract photo 04-06

1/8STK 3/8

1/8IN 3/8 CPR ITE PUB ADV EDU

1/8SU 3/8 LIC

-- WITH PHOTO -- TO BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY EDITORS:

EE Times Group and Business Practicum Partner to Offer Customized Marketing

Education for the Electronics Industry

Continues to Add Innovative Offerings to Help Electronics Industry Increase

Technology Sales

SAN FRANCISCO, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- EE Times Group, a UBM company and

the daily source of essential business and technical information for the

electronics industry's decision makers, and Business Practicum, a b2b

corporate learning company, today announced they are partnering to bring

university-level, customized marketing education to technology companies. The

company's programs are geared to enhance marketing's contribution to corporate

objectives and to drive technology sales.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100406/SF81347LOGO)

"Technology marketing's ability to meet today's business objectives is

more critical than ever. While the teams charged with these responsibilities

are technically savvy, a deeper marketing skill set is critical to achieve

their objectives. We are pleased to be partnering with Business Practicum to

offer customizable marketing programs that will empower the global electronics

marketplace to expand and deepen engagements with our customers," said Paul

Miller, CEO, EE Times Group.

Business Practicum provides customized marketing and marketing

communications training to technical and executive management and

marketing-trained professionals, primarily in technology-driven industries.

Courses are customized from Business Practicum's standard course catalog and

feature Dynamic Learning(SM) instructional techniques to enhance learning

though a highly interactive participatory environment. All courses target

current marketing challenges, marketing efficiencies and offer "real-world"

exercises participants can take directly to their work environment.

All of the educational classes are conducted at the clients' corporate

campuses to increase productivity and minimize travel costs. In addition, all

of the education is developed and taught by full-time and adjunct university

professor faculty.

Business Practicum was founded by three Silicon Valley marketing

professors whose broad professional experience spans a broad range of

technology, business-to-business, and business-to-consumer industries. Chuck

Byers is the recently retired Director, Worldwide Brand Management at Taiwan

Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) and an adjunct professor at

the Leavey School of Business and Communication Department, Santa Clara

University; Buford Barr is a long-time semiconductor marketer and is a

Lecturer at the Leavey School of Business and Communication Department at

Santa Clara University teaching both marketing and public relations courses;

and Dr. Gail Kirby is a business-to-consumer marketing expert and teaches a

number of marketing disciplines at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara

University.

"We are excited to partner with the EE Times Group to bring marketing

education to the electronics industry. With an audience of more than one

million electronics industry decision-makers, together we can bring this

critical corporate learning to a broad range of companies to help drive

technology sales," said Chuck Byers, Managing Director of Business Practicum.

In addition, during EE Times Group's Embedded Systems Conference on

Thursday, April 29 from 12:00 PM -12:50 PM Pacific, Business Practicum will

present "Marketing for Margins." During this session Business Practicum will

discuss how marketing can help a business create product margins beyond

technology and price. Business Practicum will demonstrate how marketing can

add dollars to both the bottom and top line of an organization.

For additional information on educational classes through Business

Practicum, contact Chuck Byers, Managing Director, Business Practicum at

408-310-9244 or charles.byers@b-practicum.com

About Business Practicum (http://www.b-practicum.com/site/)

Business Practicum is a corporate learning resource founded by three

marketing professors in Silicon Valley, California to enhance marketing and

marketing communications contributions to company goals. Each course reflects

a hands-on practical approach built on a combination of nearly 75 years of

on-the-job experience of its principals. Course content represents the latest

in current best practices and the culmination of their professional experience

at some of the top global technology companies, advertising agencies, and

public relations agencies.

About EE Times Group (http://www.eetimesgroup.com/)

EE Times Group, a division of United Business Media 1/8LON:UBM 3/8, is the

global leader in media and marketing services for the electronics industry. We

deliver results for the key influencers and decision makers involved in the

design, development and commercialization of technology through our market

leading brands. More than 1.1 million engineering professionals engage with

the EE Times Network - EE Times, TechOnline, DesignLines, and Embedded.com -

across the globe. The technology community comes to our market leading events

to share, learn, discuss, and advance the critical issues and challenges

facing the electronics industry. As well, EE Times Group provides end-to-end

services ranging from next-generation marketing, integrated media and

research.

About United Business Media Limited

UBM (UBM.L) focuses on two principal activities: worldwide information

distribution, targeting and monitoring; and, the development and monetisation

of B2B communities and markets. UBM's businesses inform markets and serve

professional commercial communities -- from doctors to game developers, from

journalists to jewelry traders, from farmers to pharmacists -- with integrated

events, online, print and business information products. Our 6,500 staff in

more than 30 countries are organised into specialist teams that serve these

communities, bringing buyers and sellers together, helping them to do business

and their markets to work effectively and efficiently. For more information,

go to http://www.ubm.com

For more information on EE Times Group please contact:

Felicia Hamerman, Group Marketing Director

T: 516.562.5652, E: felicia.hamerman@ubm.com

For more information on Business Practicum please contact:

Charles Byers, Managing Director

T: 408-310-9244, E: byers.charles@yahoo.com

SOURCE EE Times Group

-0- 04/06/2010

/CONTACT: Felicia Hamerman, Group Marketing Director of EE Times Group,

+1-516-562-5652, felicia.hamerman@ubm.com; or Charles Byers, Managing Director

of Business Practicum, +1-408-310-9244, byers.charles@yahoo.com/

/Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100406/SF81347LOGO

PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com/

/Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/181993.html/

/Web Site: http://www.eetimes.com

http://www.b-practicum.com

http://www.ubm.com /

CO: EE Times Group; Business Practicum; United Business Media Limited

ST: California

IN: CPR ITE PUB ADV EDU

SU: LIC

PR

-- SF81347 --

2947 04/06/2010 13:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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Could Publishing Your Chatroulette Conversation Land You in the Pokey? | View Clip
04/06/2010
mediabistro.com

Even though the Chatroulette craze has pretty much jumped the shark, the legal implications for its brief but wild run may not be over for some time. The issue in question: Is it legal to record your Chatroulette conversations and publish them without the consent of the other party? For instance, just last week FBLA's Pandora Young was sexually propositioned by Jaba the Hut on Chatroulette -- a conversation which she posted online. In doing so, did FBLA violate Jaba's privacy protection? Perhaps more relevant, did the thousands of others folks who broadcast their conversations with actual people break the law?

Neon Tommy reporter Paresh Dave spoke with a trio of experts -- associate professor of law at Santa Clara University Eric Goldman; Jack Lerner, a visiting clinical assistant professor of law at the USC Gould School of Law; and Seth Stern, a First Amendment and defamation attorney for Chicago-based law firm Funkhouser, Vegosen, Liebman & Dunn -- for their thoughts:

Is it legal for someone to record an Internet conversation without consent of both parties and publish it online for the public to view?

In California, consent of both parties is needed to record a private conversation. As long as the party doing the recording is in California, he or she is subject to the law.

All three experts agreed that a Chatroulette conversation would constitute a "confidential communication" that would be subject to the law.

Said Lerner, however, "If someone in Russia records a video of me, who knows what Russian law says? There's not much you can do."

Domestically, although the law varies from state to state, a user who video tapes or records a chat could be held liable under either the laws of his or her state or the state where the recorded party resides.

Stern mentioned that some courts have already held that those who use text chat rooms automatically consent to the recording of those conversations because both parties usually know that text-only chats can easily be printed out.

"A court might distinguish video chatting because users are less likely to realize that their chat sessions may be permanently recorded," Stern said.

Lerner said if a user knows Chatroulette is not archiving conversations and its Terms of Service prohibit recording, then one could be held liable under California law for recording a conversation. However, Chatroulette's Terms of Service include nothing about recording. Instead, it says that users must be 16 years old, users being offensive will be banned and Chatroulette is not responsible for what one may find on the site.

Read the rest at Neon Tommy.

Here at mediabistro.com, we've learned a thing or two about the blog biz. And we've put it all together in a new self-paced course, How to Turn Your Blog Into a Profit-Making Business.

If you like the idea of learning about stuff like analytics and advertising, but prefer not to deal with real people, self-paced classes are a dream come true. Also, you are a natural born blogger.

Fill out the following information and click on the Send button in order to send this post, Could Publishing Your Chatroulette Conversation Land You in the Pokey?, to a friend.

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State Bar Releases List of Candidates for Seats on Board of Governors | View Clip
04/06/2010
Metropolitan News-Enterprise - Online, The

Eight candidates are running for the two seats on the State Bar?s Board of Governors up for election this year in District Seven, which covers Manhattan Beach attorney Joseph R. Donnini, former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Gretchen M. Nelson and Santa Monica attorney Colleen O?Hara are seeking the first seat, while Los Angeles attorney Stephen K. Hazen, private investigator Jeffrey P. Lustman, Perkins Coie associate Vilma Palma, Los Angeles Deputy Public Defender Luis J. Rodriguez and Los Angeles attorney Daniel Sobelsohn are competing for the second seat. Thursday was the deadline to file nominating petitions for the seats, which will become vacant this summer when the terms of two of District Seven?s five current board members?Michael D. Marcus and Rex Heinke?conclude. Candidates have until Monday to decide whether to withdraw, after which the State Bar is expected to make available candidate statements. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed to State Bar members April 30, and voting will end June 30. ?Hybrid? Election For the first time, this year?s election will be a ?hybrid? in which members will be able to vote by mail or online. Eligible voters?members whose principal place of business is located within a county included in the district?will receive a ballot packet in the mail. Those who choose to vote online will be asked to provide their bar number and a PIN number printed on the ballot. Donnini is a sole practitioner and licensed real estate broker who previously served as general counsel for RE/MAX International in Nelson is currently managing partner of Kreindler & Kreindler and has represented plaintiffs exclusively since 1988. A former member of the law firm Corinblit & Seltzer and later sole practitioner, she attended O?Hara is a sole practitioner who joined the State Bar in 1999 after graduating from the ?Semi-Retired? Hazen currently offers special counsel, consulting and expert witness services in corporate law and governance matters, and told the MetNews he ?semi-retired? from practice in 2006. Admitted to the State Bar in 1976 after attending Since 2008, he has served at the appointment of the Board of Governors as a State Bar delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Lustman is a non-practicing attorney who works as a private investigator and has run for a spot on the board in the last three elections. He graduated from the University of Maryland and Taft Law School in Santa Ana before joining the State Bar in 1995. Palma is an associate in Perkins Coie?s litigation practice. She was admitted to the State Bar in December after attending college at UC Irvine and law school at UCLA. Rodriguez has been a member of the Public Defender?s Office since joining the State Bar in 1994, and has previously served as a member of the State Board of Education and as president of the California La Raza Lawyers Association, the Mexican American Bar Association and the Latino Public Defenders Association. A graduate of college and law school at Santa Clara University, he has also been active on the State Bar?s Council on Access and Fairness. Sobelsohn is a sole practitioner whose practice focuses on complex business litigation. A 1995 admittee to the State Bar, he attended college and law school at Columbia University, and is also licensed to practice in New York and Washington, D.C. Last month the Breakfast Club?a group of attorneys whose primary function is endorsing candidates for the State Bar Board of Governors?gave its endorsement to Nelson and Rodriguez. All five of District Seven?s current representatives?Marcus, Heinke, James H. Aguirre, Angela Joy Davis and Patrick M. Kelly?were in attendance at the Breakfast Club?s endorsement meeting and threw their support behind Nelson and Rodriguez.

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The problems with double depositing: Part 2 | View Clip
04/05/2010
Washington Post

Here is the view of Michael Sexton, vice president for enrollment management at Santa Clara University in California, on the practice of double depositing.

By Michael Sexton

Spring is college acceptance time, followed by decision time. In all of the strategizing and game-playing that have become the college selection process, we are down to the final decision this month. Or ... are we?

I intentionally use the word "we" here as the student involved may, or may not, be part of the final act of scheming that sometimes commences later this month. For some, the national candidates' reply date of May 1st is merely another calendar page to turn rather than the happy ending to the college search.

Unfortunately, 'tis the season of double depositing, the act of placing deposits at more than one institution, or simply watching the May 1 deposit deadline pass without informing colleges of one's intentions.

There are parents and even some college counselors who feel that, given the stress of the college search and cost of college today, it's acceptable to send deposits to two different schools and decide later which one to attend.

As someone who has spent a career in college admissions, I can say with certainty that my colleagues across the country feel this practice undermines the integrity of the admissions process, and that it violates the ethical standards set by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Here are some reasons why college admissions professionals strongly discourage double depositing:

* My institution usually has a critical mass of deposits by mid-April. (We just sent out acceptance letters in late March.) Some send in a deposit, but also send one to another college, essentially holding a seat they may not occupy. Double depositing gums up the works on wait lists. We have to send reminders of the May 1 deadline.

* The point of double depositing or waiting until after the May 1 deadline to decide to enroll escapes me. The entire college search process has been lengthened to months, even years. What more does a student or his or her family think they will learn at this late stage? One thing I know will not happen — financial aid awards are set by then. The pot doesn't get sweetened at the last minute.

* We really need the May 1 deadline. Students need it so they can get on with taking their AP tests and finishing up their senior year. Parents need it so they can depressurize, and institutions need it because they need to plan to start the process all over again for next year's class.

* The waiting and double-depositing games actually can have the effect not only of students not enrolling in the colleges of their choice, but also at a few colleges a seat not being taken.

This is rare, but I did hear a story of two selective institutions discovering a candidate had placed deposits at both schools; both rejected the applicant on that basis.

In the next few weeks, "Dateline" or "20/20" will probably do segments on the horror stories about students agonizing about being rejected or wait-listed by their choice college. Some of this anxiety stems from the gamesmanship that has developed in the college search process.

Speaking for my own institution, I would suggest to any applicants that if they are considering double depositing to please just enroll elsewhere. We have enough serious, committed students and parents who have made their decision and stuck with it.

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Tiger Woods ready for the Masters as focus shifts from adultery to golf | View Clip
04/05/2010
News Press - Online

1:10 A.M. — Tiger Woods has gone from one of the most popular and well-liked athletes on the planet to a dubious public figure in the wake of revelations of serial infidelity.

Respect for and favorable impressions of the world's top-ranked golfer have plummeted since Woods' sex scandal was touched off by a late-November car crash.

And yet, the majority of public opinion poll respondents want Woods to win this week's Masters Tournament, his first competition in nearly five months.

It's a seeming conflict that points to an unusual dynamic long in place between athletes and fans.

"What sports fan really buys into the role model thing anymore?" said Rick Gentile, a former CBS Sports executive producer and director of the Seton Hall University Sports Poll. "There's a separation there, which is why the sports fan is still a Tiger Woods fan."

In 2000, three years after his historic breakthrough victory at the Masters and during one of his most-dominant stretches, Woods received an 88 percent favorability rating in a Gallup Poll, the highest in the poll's history.

In 2005, his favorability was still at 85 percent.

But after publicly admitting his "infidelity" last December, Woods' favorability plummeted to 33 percent.

"For many years, Woods was the most positively rated person we rated," Gallup Poll managing editor Jeffrey Jones told USA TODAY. "Now he ranks worse than a lot of the politicians we measure. The drop is definitely unprecedented."

Despite such lowered affections, Woods remains the player the majority of fans want to see win this week, multiple polls showed.

Scandal sells

Television ratings, ticket values and advertising costs also are expected to soar and possibly break records because of Woods' return.

"Tiger will make it back, fast and strong," said one backer, Fort Myers resident Frank Merrill. "Most of the people that tore him apart will soon forget."

Gentile equated such a separation to fan sentiments during professional baseball's steroid era of the past decade.

Despite revelations of performance enhancing drug use, polls showed many fans had soured on such news and wanted the focus to return to the games themselves.

"I don't think there are athletes anymore that people think are above reproach, if that's the word," said Gentile, noting the shock when Woods was unmasked as an adulterer after years of characterizations of him as a role model.

"I think maybe he was the last of the breed. I don't think there's any more surprises. He was the ultimate surprise. He was the paragon. I'm not saying he was the one who shattered it, because athletes have done an excellent job of shattering if over the years."

Kirk Hanson, an ethics professor and executive director of The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California, acknowledged fans can be fooled into believing athletes can be role models on and off the field.

"Hope triumphs over experience," he said.

But most understand "sports is about performance," Hanson said.

"One would hope that the substantial number of those sportsmen and sportswomen would be exemplary human beings, but those are independent variables," he said. "The only naive people are those who expect every athlete to be a moral role model."

The Woods camp may include the odd, convention-defying iconoclast or two, Hanson said.

But "even those who are thoroughly disgusted with him well may be attracted by the potential for a truly memorable performance," he said.

"Fans, like most Americans, love a reformed sinner," Hanson said. "The interesting experiment we are about to conduct is whether the gentlemanly game of golf assumes behavior, and whether the fans will in the end ostracize Tiger Woods or not."

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An Open Letter From a Director of Graduate Admissions | View Clip
04/04/2010
Chronicle of Higher Education, The

I'm the director of graduate admissions in the English department at Ohio State University, and in that capacity I have found one question, posed by prospective applicants to our Ph.D. program, both increasingly popular and utterly exasperating: "What is your department's placement rate?" I haven't yet answered, "May I send you an 8,000-word essay on that subject?" But I'm always tempted to do so. The reason for my exasperation is that I do not believe the current job system can ever lend itself to statistical analysis. The notion of a measurable "placement rate" is always a misleading fiction, though it's so often bandied about by English-department graduate-admissions directors (the ones more duplicitous and unscrupulous than myself, of course). Placement rates, like all outcome assessments, like the No Child Left Behind Act, provide individual departments and our professional organizations—in my case, the Modern Language Association and the Association of Departments of English—with unlimited opportunities to lie.

Let me give you a concrete example that illustrates my doubts about placement statistics. It's not really a hypothetical, but rather a thinly veiled description of a typical year in the placement annals of my own department. In that recent year, we graduated 11 Ph.D.'s; four did nationwide job searches, and two of them got tenure-track jobs. The third of those four Ph.D.'s got a two-year appointment as a visiting assistant professor that may possibly be converted to a tenure-track job, and the fourth got a one-year postdoctoral fellowship. Of the seven other Ph.D.'s, five did limited searches for personal reasons, and none got job offers. They will try again next year and in the meantime will work as adjuncts. One received a tenure-track offer but turned it down so that he could accompany his partner, who has a tenure-track job at a better institution. The one remaining Ph.D. did not go on the job market at all, but instead accepted a position as an English teacher at a private high school, which from early on in his graduate career had been his professional ambition. Now, what was our placement rate? Any answer to that question can't be quantified, because so many factors besides the availability of tenure-track jobs are in play. And these are not unusual scenarios, but representative ones. So what am I supposed to tell applicants to our Ph.D. program, mostly new B.A.'s who could not possibly envision the professional and personal changes that await them?

The path to understanding job placement in English is found, I believe, in asking fewer questions, not more, and in monitoring simpler statistical categories, not more-elaborate ones.

We should start by doing everything possible to answer two essential questions as accurately as possible: How many English Ph.D.'s have tenure-track jobs five years after graduation? And what happens to our A.B.D.'s?

We know from the 2006 "Report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion" that well over 20 percent of tenure-track professors leave the departments that originally hire them before they come up for tenure. That makes for a tremendous amount of movement among Ph.D.'s from one college to another in the first few years after earning degrees, movement that is almost always driven by changes in status or by personal factors: from adjunct to assistant professor; from visiting assistant professor to tenure-track assistant professor; from assistant professor at a teaching-intensive institution to assistant professor at a more research-friendly institution; from assistant professor at a college in the middle of nowhere to assistant professor at the same institution as one's partner—the possibilities are too varied to categorize.

What if we grant all new Ph.D.'s a five-year period of (sadly) normal professional turmoil, and figure out where they are once the dust has settled? That would allow us to take stock of the health of our profession in a realistic way. No one spends eight or nine years getting a Ph.D. simply to take any job available. People earn Ph.D's. in order to establish academic careers. Given the current spectrum of employment practices and job-seeking patterns, we can't be sure that a Ph.D. has embarked on a career until well after graduation. We need to devote more effort to figuring out not where our Ph.D.'s start out, but rather where they ultimately land. Five years isn't a magic number, but it does take into account not only the mass migration of the untenured but also multiyear job searches.

The second central question we need to ask—What's happening to our A.B.D.'s?—bears directly on placement but is typically approached only obliquely. Empirical literature on attrition from Ph.D. programs has been slow to materialize, and it's a slippery subject. Specifically, we can never be sure how to distinguish students who have "stopped out" (left graduate school but plan to return) from students who have dropped out (left permanently), even though arriving at accurate attrition rates hinges on precisely that distinction. With that caveat, though, Barbara E. Lovitts, in her book on Ph.D. attrition, Leaving the Ivory Tower: The Causes and Consequences of Departure From Doctoral Study (2001), estimates that the attrition rate for Ph.D.'s in the humanities is well over 50 percent. I suspect that figure is low, because it is so hard to track students who are no longer in course work. A survey compiled by Doug Steward, associate director of the Association of Departments of English, goes a long way toward explaining how attrition in English reaches such a percentage. In his "Report on Data From the 2004-05 MLA Guide to Doctoral Programs in English and Other Modern Languages," Steward counts a total of 6,457 students in English Ph.D. programs in their first year through their fourth year and beyond who were supported by various teaching assignments: composition instructor, literature instructor, discussion leader, paper grader. His companion "Report on the Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2004," however, notes that 933 Ph.D.'s in English and American language and literature were awarded that year (a typical number in recent years). That means roughly 5,500 Ph.D. students who were reported as holding teaching assignments during their first four years did not complete, or had yet to complete, their Ph.D.'s—and were thus stuck in professional limbo.

Almost everyone in our profession is familiar with the pattern that leads to that staggering late-stage attrition rate. Any student who doesn't proceed nimbly through a Ph.D. program eventually runs out of funds, whether it be after four, five, or six years. If that happens, the student (and I'm speaking here from extensive anecdotal evidence) is less and less likely to complete the Ph.D. as the years go by. The abundance of A.B.D.'s bears directly on the problems of recording job place-ment in a responsible, accurate way, because so many A.B.D.'s end up working indefinitely as adjuncts. They are more attractive than Ph.D.'s

to prospective employers because, as Marc Bousquet, an associate professor at Santa Clara University, argues convincingly in his book How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation (2008), universities prefer to hire not the best or most-experienced professors, but the cheapest.

And with so many A.B.D.'s—on-demand, college-level teachers—available, and concentrated employee pools in university towns and urban areas, that hiring tendency is hardly a surprise. The National Center for Educational Statistics found that, in 2005, there was a 2.3-percent increase from 2003 in the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty members hired at colleges that receive federal financial aid, but a 7.2-percent increase in the number of non-tenure-track faculty members hired. So long as that trend continues, with adjunct hiring outpacing tenure-track hiring by a ratio of more than three to one, the ADE and MLA framework for measuring job placement—based on the ratio of new Ph.D.'s, on the one hand, and advertisements for tenure-track appointments on the Job Information List, on the other—will drift farther away from the realities of the academic workplace.

In 1975 more than half of the teaching work force in higher education was tenured or tenure-track; by 1995 the proportion had dropped to 49 percent; by 2005 it was down to 32 percent; and it will certainly continue to drop. Eventually anyone landing a tenure-track job within a year of earning a Ph.D. will be an anomaly. Unlike information about Ph.D. placement, the overproduction of A.B.D.'s cannot be solved by better record keeping, but getting more information and acting on it might make a change for the better. The preliminary data released last summer by the Council of Graduate Schools as part of its Ph.D. Completion Project provide a good start. Two of the council's findings strike me as especially important. First, the data on cumulative completion rates, measured across various fields over a 10-year period, reveal that it takes longer to complete a Ph.D. in English than it does in engineering, math, the social sciences, and even another humanities field, like philosophy. The second finding is that, while financial support is obviously the most important factor in Ph.D. completion, the students surveyed also rated the importance of mentoring and advising extremely highly.

We need to take that information as an occasion for further inquiry and, ultimately, reform. Let me offer a couple of speculations that, admittedly, point in different directions. One: The fact that English (along with history) trails all other disciplines in time-to-degree has, I believe, one compelling underlying cause. It is the requirement that the Ph.D. dissertation be the first draft of a monograph. That is the single biggest feature of "preprofessionalism" in English graduate school, to use the New York University professor of English John Guillory's term, and it often slows progress toward the Ph.D. to a crawl.

That should prompt us to rethink our particular version of the research model, especially when we recognize that university presses and university libraries have been in precarious financial health for some time, and that the thousands of monographs go largely unread. Deborah L. Rhode, a professor of law at Stanford University, in her book In Pursuit of Knowledge: Scholars, Status, and Academic Culture, notes a study showing that only 2 percent of published scholarship in the humanities is ever cited. It's hopelessly utopian to think that we'll scrap the dissertation-to-monograph model of our own volition. It is possible, though, that the economics of university publishing will force such a change upon us. If it comes, and the Ph.D. requirements take a different form (possibly a sequence of connected essays, as proposed by the Harvard University literary critic Louis Menand in an opinion essay in The New York Times), one consequence would be a much shorter time-to-degree, and a shrinking of the vast pool of A.B.D.'s who now make up the adjunct work force.

Two, the importance of mentors and advisers, identified as crucial to Ph.D. completion by Chris M. Golde, associate vice provost at Stanford, in a series of compelling case studies, and confirmed by the Ph.D. Completion Project, has received untold amount of lip service over the years but has never been translated into policy. What if Ph.D.-granting English departments across the country took a systematic inventory of those Ph.D. students who fall between the cracks that Steward's surveys revealed—those past the fifth year, probably out of funds, but not yet finished—and then tied those findings to admissions quotas?

Let me elaborate. I suspect that seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-year graduate students suffer most from lack of mentoring and advising, indeed from lack of connection with their home departments. Yet those departments all continue to admit new students. That is, we perpetuate the system that brings in fresh recruits, even as it tolerates the disappearance of advanced graduate students at rates comparable to that of casualties during the Gallipoli campaign. My rationale for tying admissions to placement is simple: If we can't keep track of the students who have been in our programs for years, we have no business admitting new ones. We'd all be better mentors if we capped admissions.

Such a proposal is, in fact, even more utopian than the idea of revamping the Ph.D., and it's not a reform we could carry out on our own. It would require cooperation from university administrations, and it would also require the MLA to function as a regulatory agency, rather than as the professional association it is set up to be. In the end, the central dilemma is how we provide teachers and teaching assistants for our courses. It may prove too deeply ingrained in our institutional history to solve. Sadly, one of our profession's near universal practices is to use fresh graduate students to teach first-year writing courses. In other words, however much we debate the qualifications for faculty appointments, we've already established that the qualifications for a postsecondary teaching appointment need be no more than a B.A., a summer vacation, participation in a graduate program, and a teacher-training workshop. We can exhort our institutions to provide research support for the tenure-ineligible, and to include them in departmental governance, but so long as we set the qualifications for teaching as low as we do, we will guarantee a surplus of minimally qualified teachers, and we'll continue to make career placement in English a difficult struggle.

All of which makes my job as chair of a Ph.D. admissions committee that much more difficult. The realities would make an honest answer to the question "What is your department's placement rate?" especially brutal. At the entry point, departments across the country grossly overadmit new students to their Ph.D. programs because they need to provide teachers for their lower-division courses (particularly first-year writing sections) as cheaply as possible. At the exit point—to the extent that we can identify it—English departments treat their long-term A.B.D.'s with shocking indifference. As for those students who finish their Ph.D.'s while still being financed by their departments, and who get tenure-track jobs, we should stop using them in our propaganda about job-placement success and start calling them what they are: lottery winners.

Frank Donoghue is an associate professor of English at Ohio State University. His most recent book is The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities (Fordham University Press, 2008).

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Clergy Sexual Abuse
04/04/2010
KCBS-AM

Santa Clara University Psychologist Thomas Plante was interviewed about the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

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Renewal of faith | View Clip
04/04/2010
Press Democrat - Online

Through a shared sense of mission, tight bond with community, congregation at Santa Rosa's First Presbyterian Church blossoms

Audrey Leach, left, and Judy Hadley share a comforting embrace after the two prayed together following services at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Rosa on a recent Sunday.

Like an oversized mansion in Santa Rosa's stately McDonald neighborhood, First Presbyterian Church sits on a block of Pacific Avenue, its well-manicured hedges and European-style dual gables evoking thoughts of tradition and history.

More Photos:

A simple wooden sign just a few feet above a bed of soft green grass bears the name of this 150-year-old congregation, one of the oldest in Santa Rosa.

This is the religious center for some 525 churchgoers who have formed a community of faith that has defied national trends. Even as membership among mainline Protestant denominations dwindles, the size of First Presbyterian's membership has doubled in the past 13 years.

The reasons why have less to do with First Presbyterian as a religious institution than what is actually going on inside the church building.

The renewal of faith is on the minds of thousands of believers attending Easter services today, and it is a challenge for not only the Catholic Church, the North Coast's largest faith, but also for the Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Espicopalians and other traditional Protestants who are struggling to win over believers in a rapidly changing society.

That challenge will be played out today at First Presbyterian, where Pastor Dale Flowers will complete a long series on the Gospel of Matthew with the goal of compelling worshippers to go beyond a religious framework. He will evoke the commission and sense of mission Jesus gave to his disciples on the mountain after the resurrection.

That's exactly what Paul Verdier is looking for, a way of giving back what he's been blessed with.

“We at First Presbyterian Church are a mission-oriented church or I wouldn't be in it,” said Verdier, a 72-year-old retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and insurance agent who grew up in the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

Both Verdier and Flowers volunteer at Kid Street Learning Center Charter School in Santa Rosa as part of the church's Community Service Team, a mission that seeks to build enduring relationships between the congregation and various non-profit organizations in the community.

“We try to form partnerships with community service organizations that allow us to engage with people over a long period of time,” Flowers said. “We're not trying to make this a program or project.”

Flowers knows that the people he ministers to today want something different than what the average Presbyterian sought in the 1950s, when mainline churches dominated Protestant America.

“People are less inclined to commit to an organization or institution,” said Flowers. “I think they come here because they hear the Gospel, they experience community and the church is intentional about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Still, the outlook for mainline churches in America is one of decline.

According to a recent study by Ventura-based Barna Group, a research group that analyzes Christian trends, the number of mainline congregations has gone from 80,000 in the 1950s to 72,000 today. Membership has dropped 25 percent to 20 million, and adult church attendance indicates that only 15 percent of all American adults are tied to a mainline congregation.

The report points out that leadership, vision, creativity, strategic thinking and courage will be required to keep mainline denominations relevant to today's Christians.

“What it says on the (church) sign is a lot less important than what goes on inside,” said James Bennett, associate professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University.

Bennett, an ordained Presbyterian minister, said the phenomenon of “church shopping” has made demoninations less important.

During a late-morning service at First Presbyterian last month, young and old worshippers recited, or rather, sang, the Lord's Prayer to the strumming of a guitar and a steady bass pulse. The music began to build until the congregation was singing, “I will sing, sing a new song. I will sing, sing a new song.”

This was the contemporary worship service, dominated by live music, that First Presbyterian holds every Sunday at 11:15 a.m., half an hour after the traditional and blended morning services.

Flowers is dressed down, way down, compared to the pastor's robe and stole he wears during traditional services. The atmosphere is not unlike that of First Presbyterian's sister church, Covenant Presbyterian Fellowship, better known as The Cove. That church, located on West Steele Lane near Coddingtown Mall, has an informal and relaxed style that resembles that of post-denominational Christian churches.

Flowers, 53, was not always Presbyterian. He was born in Springfield, Mo., where he grew up and attended both high school and Evangel College, a small school associated with the Assemblies of God.

He completed college in three years and, at the age of 20, went to seminary school at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasedena.

After his first year at Fuller, Flowers took a break and did an internship in Fresno, where he met his wife, who was raised Episcopalian. The two then went back to Pasadena, got married and finished Flower's seminary studies. He graduated with a master's of divinity degree.

In 1981, the couple did mission work in the Philippines for two years. Flowers made plans to enter the doctorate program at Fuller but a bit of soul-searching revealed that what he really wanted to do was minister.

After working for a few years as a manager for a savings and loan in Fresno, Flowers landed an associate pastor's position at Carmel Presbyterian Church in 1988. Nine years later he came to Santa Rosa.

His predecessor, the Rev. Jimmy Adamson, had been pastor at First Presbyterian for 22 years. Flowers said that when he arrived in 1997, First Presbyterian was exactly what he was looking for, a mid-sized church with a strong children's and youth ministry.

“To me, the basics were already thriving,” he said. “It was a church that wanted to grow, I think, in the directions that we're known for now, in the areas of discipleship and missions.”

First Presbyterian, he said, was a “very strong community and it just grew stronger.”

The number of regular worshipping members at the church was in “the low-300s,” he said.

With more members comes more giving, and First Presbyterian's annual budget has grown to $1.1 million. The Easter offering, close to $10,000, is going to Haiti relief, and the congregation's mission budget, part of its operating budget, is more than $100,000.

When it comes to the emotionally charged theological and social issues of gay ordination and gay marriage, Flowers steered clear, saying he did not want to speak for the congregtation. He said only that the national Presbyterian church has stated positions on those issues.

For Paul Verdier, it wasn't the Presbyterian institution that drew him to the congregation.

A born-again Christian since 1974, Verdier started going to First Presbyterian Church after he and his wife moved to Santa Rosa seven years ago from Colorado Springs to become “nannies” for their granddaughter. His daughter and son-in-law attended First Presbyterian, the neighborhood church, so he and his wife gave it a try.

What he found, he said, was a dynamic congregation that was evolving and growing in ways that gave membership a chance to “walk the walk.”

The strength of the church, he said, was in the community formed by its members.

At Kids Street Learning Center, Verdier helps troubled kids with their math, their spelling, “anything the teacher needs me to do.”

Flowers said the youngsters at Kids Street “have really gotten” to Verdier. It's exactly the theme Flowers will be hitting during today's Easter Sermon: “Does the Gospel ‘Get' to You?”

Verdier, he said, “carries them in his heart. That's what I'm talking about ... Then the command to love God and love your neighbor isn't some rule, it's a way of life.”

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com

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Renewal of faith | View Clip
04/04/2010
Petaluma360.com

Through a shared sense of mission, tight bond with community, congregation at Santa Rosa's First Presbyterian Church blossoms

Audrey Leach, left, and Judy Hadley share a comforting embrace after the two prayed together following services at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Rosa on a recent Sunday.

Like an oversized mansion in Santa Rosa's stately McDonald neighborhood, First Presbyterian Church sits on a block of Pacific Avenue, its well-manicured hedges and European-style dual gables evoking thoughts of tradition and history.

A simple wooden sign just a few feet above a bed of soft green grass bears the name of this 150-year-old congregation, one of the oldest in Santa Rosa.

This is the religious center for some 525 churchgoers who have formed a community of faith that has defied national trends. Even as membership among mainline Protestant denominations dwindles, the size of First Presbyterian's membership has doubled in the past 13 years.

The reasons why have less to do with First Presbyterian as a religious institution than what is actually going on inside the church building.

The renewal of faith is on the minds of thousands of believers attending Easter services today, and it is a challenge for not only the Catholic Church, the North Coast's largest faith, but also for the Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Espicopalians and other traditional Protestants who are struggling to win over believers in a rapidly changing society.

That challenge will be played out today at First Presbyterian, where Pastor Dale Flowers will complete a long series on the Gospel of Matthew with the goal of compelling worshippers to go beyond a religious framework. He will evoke the commission and sense of mission Jesus gave to his disciples on the mountain after the resurrection.

That's exactly what Paul Verdier is looking for, a way of giving back what he's been blessed with.

“We at First Presbyterian Church are a mission-oriented church or I wouldn't be in it,” said Verdier, a 72-year-old retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and insurance agent who grew up in the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

Both Verdier and Flowers volunteer at Kid Street Learning Center Charter School in Santa Rosa as part of the church's Community Service Team, a mission that seeks to build enduring relationships between the congregation and various non-profit organizations in the community.

“We try to form partnerships with community service organizations that allow us to engage with people over a long period of time,” Flowers said. “We're not trying to make this a program or project.”

Flowers knows that the people he ministers to today want something different than what the average Presbyterian sought in the 1950s, when mainline churches dominated Protestant America.

“People are less inclined to commit to an organization or institution,” said Flowers. “I think they come here because they hear the Gospel, they experience community and the church is intentional about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Still, the outlook for mainline churches in America is one of decline.

According to a recent study by Ventura-based Barna Group, a research group that analyzes Christian trends, the number of mainline congregations has gone from 80,000 in the 1950s to 72,000 today. Membership has dropped 25 percent to 20 million, and adult church attendance indicates that only 15 percent of all American adults are tied to a mainline congregation.

The report points out that leadership, vision, creativity, strategic thinking and courage will be required to keep mainline denominations relevant to today's Christians.

“What it says on the (church) sign is a lot less important than what goes on inside,” said James Bennett, associate professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University.

Bennett, an ordained Presbyterian minister, said the phenomenon of “church shopping” has made demoninations less important.

During a late-morning service at First Presbyterian last month, young and old worshippers recited, or rather, sang, the Lord's Prayer to the strumming of a guitar and a steady bass pulse. The music began to build until the congregation was singing, “I will sing, sing a new song. I will sing, sing a new song.”

This was the contemporary worship service, dominated by live music, that First Presbyterian holds every Sunday at 11:15 a.m., half an hour after the traditional and blended morning services.

Flowers is dressed down, way down, compared to the pastor's robe and stole he wears during traditional services. The atmosphere is not unlike that of First Presbyterian's sister church, Covenant Presbyterian Fellowship, better known as The Cove. That church, located on West Steele Lane near Coddingtown Mall, has an informal and relaxed style that resembles that of post-denominational Christian churches.

Flowers, 53, was not always Presbyterian. He was born in Springfield, Mo., where he grew up and attended both high school and Evangel College, a small school associated with the Assemblies of God.

He completed college in three years and, at the age of 20, went to seminary school at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasedena.

After his first year at Fuller, Flowers took a break and did an internship in Fresno, where he met his wife, who was raised Episcopalian. The two then went back to Pasadena, got married and finished Flower's seminary studies. He graduated with a master's of divinity degree.

In 1981, the couple did mission work in the Philippines for two years. Flowers made plans to enter the doctorate program at Fuller but a bit of soul-searching revealed that what he really wanted to do was minister.

After working for a few years as a manager for a savings and loan in Fresno, Flowers landed an associate pastor's position at Carmel Presbyterian Church in 1988. Nine years later he came to Santa Rosa.

His predecessor, the Rev. Jimmy Adamson, had been pastor at First Presbyterian for 22 years. Flowers said that when he arrived in 1997, First Presbyterian was exactly what he was looking for, a mid-sized church with a strong children's and youth ministry.

“To me, the basics were already thriving,” he said. “It was a church that wanted to grow, I think, in the directions that we're known for now, in the areas of discipleship and missions.”

First Presbyterian, he said, was a “very strong community and it just grew stronger.”

The number of regular worshipping members at the church was in “the low-300s,” he said.

With more members comes more giving, and First Presbyterian's annual budget has grown to $1.1 million. The Easter offering, close to $10,000, is going to Haiti relief, and the congregation's mission budget, part of its operating budget, is more than $100,000.

When it comes to the emotionally charged theological and social issues of gay ordination and gay marriage, Flowers steered clear, saying he did not want to speak for the congregtation. He said only that the national Presbyterian church has stated positions on those issues.

For Paul Verdier, it wasn't the Presbyterian institution that drew him to the congregation.

A born-again Christian since 1974, Verdier started going to First Presbyterian Church after he and his wife moved to Santa Rosa seven years ago from Colorado Springs to become “nannies” for their granddaughter. His daughter and son-in-law attended First Presbyterian, the neighborhood church, so he and his wife gave it a try.

What he found, he said, was a dynamic congregation that was evolving and growing in ways that gave membership a chance to “walk the walk.”

The strength of the church, he said, was in the community formed by its members.

At Kids Street Learning Center, Verdier helps troubled kids with their math, their spelling, “anything the teacher needs me to do.”

Flowers said the youngsters at Kids Street “have really gotten” to Verdier. It's exactly the theme Flowers will be hitting during today's Easter Sermon: “Does the Gospel ‘Get' to You?”

Verdier, he said, “carries them in his heart. That's what I'm talking about ... Then the command to love God and love your neighbor isn't some rule, it's a way of life.”

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com

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Los Alamos forges a connection to the sea | View Clip
04/04/2010
Los Alamos Monitor

New Mexico might not have a single drop of seawater within its borders but the state has forged a bond with the ocean. There is something diving underneath the waves that bears New Mexico's name.

The connection is even closer to home than you might think. That immense object powering through the ocean, the USS New Mexico submarine, bears a crest that Emilee Sena, a graduate of St. Pius High School and a current student of Santa Clara University in California, designed. Emilee also works at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the summer months and she is the goddaughter of Los Alamos resident Dan Sena.

Futhermore, Dan, along with his wife, Margie and brother, Pat, attended the commissioning of the submarine March 27 in Norfolk, Va.

Dan explained, Emilee won a crest design contest that the PCU New Mexico, the New Mexico Council of Navy League and the USS New Mexico Committee hosted. The agencies received 180 entries from 156 contestants across the state.

As a result of Emilee's winning, Dan and his family received a VIP ticket to the commissioning ceremony.

Dan described the event as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The commissioning had all the bells and whistles, he said, from the 21 gun salute and bells ringing to raising the flag and “making the ship come alive,' which was when the sailors raced on board the submarine.

“All the pomp and circumstance was unbelievable,” Dan said.

The Senas were able to tour an aircraft carrier during the ceremony but were unable to tour the submarine. Dan said the line was extremely long to get into the submarine and they had a limited amount of time.

However, they were invited to take a tour of USS New Mexico at a later date.

Although he didn't get a detailed look at the submarine, what Dan said he was able to see was incredible. “It is very (awesome) because it is so huge. Just to know that it has nuclear warheads on it … the torpedoes on it. It has a nuclear reactor right on board and it is very impressive,” Dan said.

Besides the submarine, Dan said they met admirals, submarine contractors as well as Cmdr. Mark Prokopius.

Dan said he enjoyed talking to Prokopius who told about adventures on submarines and his experiences.

He also had a chance to talk to two sailors who fought on the original USS New Mexico, a battleship, in WW II.

“We talked about how they would be away during WWII a year at a time,” Dan said. “They would be on the battleship, firing shells and they talked about how loud it was. It was just chaos. A year of just chaos.”

In addition to their stories, Dan said the veterans, who are both 94-years-old, were quite the characters.

The submarine was the star of the show but New Mexico and even Los Alamos received attention.

Dan said in many speeches, New Mexico and Los Alamos were mentioned. Speakers were “always saying how important New Mexico was … and all technological advances on the submarine were there because of Los Alamos. (Speakers) frequently referenced Los Alamos in their speeches.” Being from Los Alamos, the attention made Dan puff out his chest in pride. He said he and his family bragged to everyone that they were from Los Alamos.

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San Jose artist Deborah Kennedy's art came down along with the Berlin Wall | View Clip
04/03/2010
San Jose Mercury News - Online

Artwork on the Berlin Wall by local artist Deborah Kennedy. Titled "Schrift an der Mauer" (The Writing on the Wall), Kennedy's piece was a 30' x 13' installation of 112 copper and bronze plaques inscribed with the hopes and fears of ordinary people in West Berlin, East Berlin, and America. Kennedy said that the installation looked to many viewers like a window "breaking down the wall, letting light through the wall." East German officers were photographed standing in front of the wall while another videotaped the artwork and the crowds for their personal records. (photo courtesy Deborah Kennedy)

The 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall last November was a quick media blip for most people.

For San Jose artist Deborah Kennedy, it was much more.

In 1989 Kennedy created artworks on the Berlin Wall. Six months later, she watched with the rest of the world as the wall came down chunk by chunk as people took sledgehammers to the hated edifice.

Kennedy had gone to Germany with her husband, Dale Larson, who was on a Fulbright Scholarship in Heidelberg.

"I had recently finished my master's work, and I was doing installation work and working with the concepts of people's hopes and fears," Kennedy recalls.

"I knew people did do artwork on the Berlin Wall, so I went with the idea to do a project on the wall."

Kennedy called her project "The Writing on the Wall."

"I asked ordinary people in West Berlin, East Berlin and the United States to write down their hopes and fears. Then I inscribed 112 metal plaques with these statements and mounted them on the wall," she says.

"The inner thoughts and feelings of people from all of Berlin and from both sides of the Atlantic communicated together on the wall, itself a potent emblem of both hope and fear, East and West.

"This allowed viewers of the artwork to see both the similarities and differences in the concerns of ordinary people who normally have no public forum."

One message from an East Berliner read, "Break down these walls between

brothers and sisters."

Kennedy couldn't have mounted her project had she not had help from Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie, a West Berlin art gallery dedicated to publicizing political and art events. Political activist Ranier Hildebrant guided Kennedy through the necessary steps and provided support.

With her piece stretching across 32 feet, Kennedy would work until a lookout warned her that the East German guards were coming on their rounds. She would stop, gather all her materials and leave.

It took her a month to finish the piece and for two months afterward, she regularly went back to repair squares and clean off portions of her piece that had been covered in graffiti.

Then it was time to return home to San Jose with her husband.

Kennedy continued her art career and also teaches art and art history at Santa Clara University and San Jose City College.

Kennedy did journey back to Berlin a year after the Wall came down.

The portion with her artwork was completely gone, and she was told that people took many of her original copper plaques and chunks of the wall as souvenirs.

Kennedy has a few chunks given to her by friends, although she says, "The wall had a high asbestos content, so if anyone has chunks they ought to seal them."

Looking back at the celebrations in the fall, Kennedy says, "We need to celebrate events like the Berlin Wall's fall because it shows it is possible to heal divisions between people.

"In July of 1989, an East Berliner told me with typical irony that it would take at least 2,000 years for the Berlin Wall to come down. A West Berliner said, 'If they took it down now, we would have to build our own,' " she added.

"No one I met on either side of the wall thought its end was imminent, but only six months later that miracle happened. Now we have militarized walls between Palestine and Israel and our country and Mexico. These are complicated and violent borders, but the fall of the Berlin Wall shows that it is possible for countries to change and work out these difficult situations.

"It was a very hopeful event and promise that we can grow and solve our problems."

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New interim superintendent John Ramirez Jr. ready to lead Alisal Union School District | View Clip
04/03/2010
San Jose Mercury News - Online

Veteran administrator has local roots

Herald Salinas Bureau

John Ramirez Jr. He served as principal at Seaside and Salinas schools.

John Ramirez Jr. served as a teacher for only three years, but it was inside the classroom where he says he learned his most important lesson about education.

It was at Salinas' Loma Vista Elementary School, in a fifth- and sixth-grade combination class, where he realized that "there are no students in a classroom who can't achieve."

"Regardless of (the) level where they came in, it all depends on the energy and effort I put in as a teacher," he said. "I had to work with the students before school, after school, use different activities, differentiated instruction. Teaching is hard and laborious, but you can achieve results if you spend the time."

The 38-year-old educator applied this insight to the positions he has had since: as principal of Martin Luther King Jr. in Seaside, of El Sausal Middle School and Alisal High in Salinas, at Sequoia High in Visalia and, most recently, as director of alternative education programs in Visalia.

He has been praised for leaving the schools better than he found them.

After four years, Ramirez is returning to Salinas to take on perhaps one of the most charged jobs in Monterey County: top administrator for the Alisal Union School District.

The 7,600-pupil district has been roiling with conflict in the past few months, controversies that climaxed this week when the California State Board of Education held an emergency meeting to appoint a trustee for the district — a move that was supposed to take place in May.

The state board was responding to several Alisal board actions, including the ouster of former Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas and the hiring of Ramirez as interim superintendent.

Ramirez said he welcomes the appointment of a trustee and that he has already begun to work with Nancy Kotowski, the Monterey County Superintendent of Schools named by the state board as interim trustee.

"It is very reassuring for me to have someone like Nancy working for us," Ramirez said. "She's local, she'll work for us."

Born in King City and raised in Salinas, Ramirez attended Sanborn and Los Padres elementaries, El Sausal Middle and Alisal High schools. After graduating from Santa Clara University in 1994, he received a master's degree in education from Harvard.

In graduate school, Ramirez researched low-achieving schools, dropout rates and poverty levels. The mounds of data he came up with put him on the path he wanted to take: trying to improve the plight of these students.

In East Palo Alto, "I worked with students with behavioral problems and discovered I have a knack for working with tough kids," he said. "I enjoyed it, I enjoyed being in that environment, working with kids whom nobody else thought could succeed."

El Sausal Middle School was considered a low-performing institution when Ramirez took over as principal in 2000. From 2002 until 2005, the school's academic performance index went up by 118 points.

"John usually works with a good model of success that includes having high expectations of himself and high expectations of those around him," said Dan Burns, who took over as principal of Alisal High after Ramirez left. "He's a product of this community and he understands what it takes to grow up in Alisal and be successful and have an exhausting work ethic in order to be successful."

Ramirez seems to create favorable impressions everywhere he goes. At the Visalia Unified School District, where he last worked as director of alternative education programs, he was described as taking the programs to new heights.

"John will be missed," board member Bill Fulmer told the Visalia Times-Delta. Ramirez's energy and ideas resulted in innovations for the alternative education programs, Fulmer said.

Kotowski remembers Ramirez from his years in Salinas and has high regard for his accomplishments.

"I admired him very much when he was here as principal. He did outstanding work creating a learning environment for the students. He prepared them very well for success. He was a dynamic and energized leader," Kotowski said.

His record is not unblemished. In 2004, Ramirez pleaded no contest to a hit-and-run incident. As a result, he was publicly censured for misconduct by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Without elaborating, Ramirez admitted having made a mistake, dealing with it and moving on.

"It hasn't affected my ability to lead," he said. "It was a traffic violation, but the CTC felt the need to reprimand me on it."

After his first week on the job at Alisal, Ramirez already knows how he wants to proceed with the troubled district.

First on the list will be smoothing community relations. With that in mind, he'll form advisory groups to identify what the concerns are.

"The community perspectives that exist are perspectives that must be accurate," he said. "If people don't feel they're being heard, they're going to come to board meetings and be upset."

Next up is student achievement, which Ramirez said will improve with an existing academic plan that will be monitored to identify gaps and to offer support to principals and teachers.

The task won't be easy. Ramirez inherits a cabinet with no chief business officer or curriculum director.

Curriculum is where the principals need the most help, he said.

"What's fortunate is that Alisal has large reserves, has had strong fiscal management. We'll work with principals in what they need at the sites. They overwhelmingly need support with curriculum and assessment," Ramirez said.

Although state officials mentioned possibly reversing some Alisal board decisions, Ramirez said he's not concerned about losing his job.

Ramirez plans to hold a retreat with district principals next week and prepare for April 14, when state board officials are scheduled to visit to gather input about a permanent trustee, Kotowski said.

After meeting with the interim superintendent for four hours Wednesday, Kotowski was optimistic about the district.

"The people are responding well to working with me," she said. "They're listening to John Ramirez. ... He is in a good position to be successful, and I'm here to support the board and principals to move forward.

"I feel the tide has turned; I think it's a good way to put it," she said. "There's going to be success forthcoming, and we're already seeing signs of success."

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With all its revenue streams diminishing, Caltrain may be forced to cease operations | View Clip
04/02/2010
San Jose Mercury News - Online

San Mateo County Times

Caltrain officials say the agency is broke and will need to slash service.

Caltrain has gone broke and will likely need to wipe out half its service — including weekend, weeknight and midday trains — officials said Thursday.

"And that's only if we're lucky," Caltrain CEO Mike Scanlon told the agency's board of directors. "This is not an April fool's joke. This is real. We're at a watershed moment where there's a possibility this railroad could go away."

Scanlon said the cuts, which would turn the railroad into a proverbial ghost town for most of the day, would need to be completed by June 2011, although the agency may begin slashing its schedule as soon as this fall.

The board, needing to slice about $30 million from its $97 million budget, would vote on specific proposals at a future meeting after holding public hearings.

Caltrain officials said the service cuts will further jam traffic on roadways. Most of Caltrain's 40,000 daily passengers ride during commute times, and much of that service may remain untouched because those trains get the agency the most bang for its buck.

But Caltrain also runs hourly service that stops at every station on weekends, plus on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and after 8 p.m. Those trains, including 32 on Saturday and 28 on Sunday, are facing elimination.

The cuts would hamper those who rely on Caltrain to get to work during odd hours, leave cities planning dense developments near stations in the lurch, and prevent most service to special events

and San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks games.

John Murphy rides Caltrain from San Francisco to work in Santa Clara, balancing the commute with taking care of his young son. He said the midday cuts would be "horrible" and would force him and his wife to buy a second car, move closer to his office or switch jobs.

"All the jobs I can do are down here (in the Valley)," Murphy said. "My wife is in marketing — all her jobs are up (in San Francisco). Caltrain makes it work."

Caltrain's financial state has long been declining, and officials trimmed the weekday schedule from 98 to 90 trains in August 2009 and hiked fares in early 2009.

The agency has lost $10 million in funding from the state each of the past three years. And for more than a year, it has been losing riders, who account for 40 percent of its revenue.

But now a new, more damaging problem has emerged. Scanlon, who is also the CEO of the San Mateo County Transit District, or SamTrans, said he will ask that agency's board of directors to lower its Caltrain contribution by nearly 70 percent by July 2011.

SamTrans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Muni each provide Caltrain with a subsidy, which amounts to a combined $39.4 million. But with the smaller SamTrans contribution, VTA and Muni will lower their shares proportionately. SamTrans, Muni and VTA all recently cut service and raised fares, and Scanlon said they are "beyond broke."

A fare increase has not been proposed, as officials say it would drive away even more riders and result in the same or less revenue from riders. They also don't expect to propose any ballot measures, such as tax increases, citing the recession.

As part of the service cuts, employees would lose jobs, although officials are not yet sure how many.

It costs $60.4 million per year to run the railroad, plus another $13.8 million for fuel and $9.9 million for administration. The agency spends the remaining $11.9 million on shuttles, insurance, maintenance, utilities and other services.

Officials stopped short of saying they expected to close the railroad, which has been open since 1863 and carrying passengers since 1904, but said the news calls into question the operator's ability to survive. Scanlon said the agency's business model is simply not sustainable.

"We're rapidly approaching a cliff," he said. "It's going to be very, very painful. It's probably going to force people back to congested freeways. People aren't going to be able to get to jobs; they're not going to have basic mobility."

Scanlon said there are some long-shot possibilities for more money — such as the reinstatement of state transit assistance or help from the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission. But he said it would have to be a yearly commitment from a government during a climate in which they are all spending less.

"I don't see any silver bullets," he said.

At the Caltrain station in Santa Clara early Thursday afternoon, it was relatively quiet, with several out-of-towners poised to use the train to get to San Francisco. Some locals were also waiting to ride the train. None were happy with the news.

"Can't we do something about this?" asked Alyssa Salcido, a 20-year-old Santa Clara University student. "I know a ton of students who (use Caltrain to) go into the city to see a play or have dinner or go to the games. I'm not for this at all."

Salcido, who does not have a car, said she rides Caltrain to visit her siblings in San Francisco. Without Caltrain, "How am I going to get there, fly?"

The move just won't affect riders, it'll affect others, such as taxi drivers.

Cabdriver Sewa Singh was extremely upset to hear there would be no weekend service. A staple of his business are Giants fans who use Caltrain to get to AT&T Park.

"This is very bad news," Singh said. "No service, no business, no money. Very bad."

Mark Woolbright was on his way to his part-time job at a co-op art gallery in San Mateo. His typical routine is to take a 2:15 p.m. train there and an 8 p.m. train home. But he took a more optimistic view.

By the time the service cuts occur, Woolbright hopes to have a full-time job and be in a position to commute during regular hours — and still be able to ride Caltrain.

The reaction from Anna Koster of Santa Clara was direct.

"Oh my God, that would be terrible," Koster said. "It looks like I could just get to and from work, but could never get sick and leave early or stay really late. I also use Caltrain to go to San Francisco on the weekends, and that would be out."

Bay Area News Group staff writers Lisa Fernandez and Gary Richards contributed to this report. Contact Mike Rosenberg at 650-348-4324.

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With all its revenue streams diminishing, Caltrain may be forced to cease operations | View Clip
04/02/2010
Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online

Caltrain officials say the agency is broke and will need to slash service.

Have your say!

Related section

Caltrain has gone broke and will likely need to wipe out half its service — including weekend, weeknight and midday trains — officials said Thursday.

"And that's only if we're lucky," Caltrain CEO Mike Scanlon told the agency's board of directors. "This is not an April fool's joke. This is real. We're at a watershed moment where there's a possibility this railroad could go away."

Scanlon said the cuts, which would turn the railroad into a proverbial ghost town for most of the day, would need to be completed by June 2011, although the agency may begin slashing its schedule as soon as this fall.

The board, needing to slice about $30 million from its $97 million budget, would vote on specific proposals at a future meeting after holding public hearings.

Caltrain officials said the service cuts will further jam traffic on roadways. Most of Caltrain's 40,000 daily passengers ride during commute times, and much of that service may remain untouched because those trains get the agency the most bang for its buck.

But Caltrain also runs hourly service that stops at every station on weekends, plus on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and after 8 p.m. Those trains, including 32 on Saturday and 28 on Sunday, are facing elimination.

The cuts would hamper those who rely on Caltrain to get to work during odd hours, leave cities planning dense developments near stations in the lurch, and prevent most service to special events

and San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks games.

John Murphy rides Caltrain from San Francisco to work in Santa Clara, balancing the commute with taking care of his young son. He said the midday cuts would be "horrible" and would force him and his wife to buy a second car, move closer to his office or switch jobs.

"All the jobs I can do are down here (in the Valley)," Murphy said. "My wife is in marketing — all her jobs are up (in San Francisco). Caltrain makes it work."

Caltrain's financial state has long been declining, and officials trimmed the weekday schedule from 98 to 90 trains in August 2009 and hiked fares in early 2009.

The agency has lost $10 million in funding from the state each of the past three years. And for more than a year, it has been losing riders, who account for 40 percent of its revenue.

But now a new, more damaging problem has emerged. Scanlon, who is also the CEO of the San Mateo County Transit District, or SamTrans, said he will ask that agency's board of directors to lower its Caltrain contribution by nearly 70 percent by July 2011.

SamTrans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Muni each provide Caltrain with a subsidy, which amounts to a combined $39.4 million. But with the smaller SamTrans contribution, VTA and Muni will lower their shares proportionately. SamTrans, Muni and VTA all recently cut service and raised fares, and Scanlon said they are "beyond broke."

A fare increase has not been proposed, as officials say it would drive away even more riders and result in the same or less revenue from riders. They also don't expect to propose any ballot measures, such as tax increases, citing the recession.

As part of the service cuts, employees would lose jobs, although officials are not yet sure how many.

It costs $60.4 million per year to run the railroad, plus another $13.8 million for fuel and $9.9 million for administration. The agency spends the remaining $11.9 million on shuttles, insurance, maintenance, utilities and other services.

Officials stopped short of saying they expected to close the railroad, which has been open since 1863 and carrying passengers since 1904, but said the news calls into question the operator's ability to survive. Scanlon said the agency's business model is simply not sustainable.

"We're rapidly approaching a cliff," he said. "It's going to be very, very painful. It's probably going to force people back to congested freeways. People aren't going to be able to get to jobs; they're not going to have basic mobility."

Scanlon said there are some long-shot possibilities for more money — such as the reinstatement of state transit assistance or help from the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission. But he said it would have to be a yearly commitment from a government during a climate in which they are all spending less.

"I don't see any silver bullets," he said.

At the Caltrain station in Santa Clara early Thursday afternoon, it was relatively quiet, with several out-of-towners poised to use the train to get to San Francisco. Some locals were also waiting to ride the train. None were happy with the news.

"Can't we do something about this?" asked Alyssa Salcido, a 20-year-old Santa Clara University student. "I know a ton of students who (use Caltrain to) go into the city to see a play or have dinner or go to the games. I'm not for this at all."

Salcido, who does not have a car, said she rides Caltrain to visit her siblings in San Francisco. Without Caltrain, "How am I going to get there, fly?"

The move just won't affect riders, it'll affect others, such as taxi drivers.

Cabdriver Sewa Singh was extremely upset to hear there would be no weekend service. A staple of his business are Giants fans who use Caltrain to get to AT&T Park.

"This is very bad news," Singh said. "No service, no business, no money. Very bad."

Mark Woolbright was on his way to his part-time job at a co-op art gallery in San Mateo. His typical routine is to take a 2:15 p.m. train there and an 8 p.m. train home. But he took a more optimistic view.

By the time the service cuts occur, Woolbright hopes to have a full-time job and be in a position to commute during regular hours — and still be able to ride Caltrain.

The reaction from Anna Koster of Santa Clara was direct.

"Oh my God, that would be terrible," Koster said. "It looks like I could just get to and from work, but could never get sick and leave early or stay really late. I also use Caltrain to go to San Francisco on the weekends, and that would be out."

Bay Area News Group staff writers Lisa Fernandez and Gary Richards contributed to this report. Contact Mike Rosenberg at 650-348-4324.

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Giants Concerned About Caltrain Cuts | View Clip
04/02/2010
KCBS-AM - Online

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -- The San Francisco Giants say they're concerned about proposed night time service cuts along the Peninsula by Caltrain.

KCBS reports they were paying very close attention to the issue at the annual "Play Ball Lunch" at the Marriott Hotel in San Francisco.

Giants President Larry Baer figures those cut will affect fans, but not a majority of those who ride special game trains, which are usually packed.

“Truly the heart of our fan base is San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, so we have as many trains as we can get and Caltrain's been great to up until this point. We're confident that we'll be able to work something out.”

Santa Clara University student Allyssa Bothman and her friends ride them regularly saving on parking costs that many consider outrageous.

“A lot of the students take BART and then hop on the Caltrain.”

Caltrain indicates it may have to cut service in half at all hours, including weekends because of huge cuts in state funding the past several years.

(ato)

Copyright 2010, KCBS. All Rights Reserved.

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Student Newspapers Play the Fools, and Readers Play Along | View Clip
04/01/2010
Chronicle of Higher Education, The

Student newspapers nationwide are playing the joker card today, making fools of the unsuspecting and amusing those looking to enjoy a little mischief. The Chronicle has compiled a list of 10 of today's best pranks from colleges, their student papers, and various other sources of academic interest. The list follows, in no particular order, but certainly there are many more we missed. Readers are invited to post comments pointing them out.

1. The Diamondback Online, the University of Maryland at College Park's independent student newspaper, published a few prank articles today, including one piece about a new giant mascot.

2. Opening this page of Swarthmore College's student newspaper, the Daily Gazette, brings up two pranks in one. The article, about some unusual new undergraduates, is only half the fun.

3. The Johns Hopkins University announced today that the institution would be known henceforth as "John Hopkins," removing that awkward apparent plural given to the name "John." After all, the Hopkins president Ronald J. Daniel said, "we strongly suspect the extra 's' was a typo in the first place."

4. If grading Lady Gaga's English 101 essays appeals to you as a job, then the University of Pittsburgh may, or may not, be the place for you, according to the Pitt News.

5. The Daily Lobo, the independent student newspaper at the University of New Mexico, published a slew of spurious stories today, including one about the college's supposed name change — same initials, much different name.

6. Never mind the iPad. Linguists and animal lovers will surely rave about Google's new tool, called Google Translate for Animals (not coming to a foreign-language classroom near you anytime soon).

7. Washington University in St. Louis's student newspaper, Student Life, features prank stories and eye-rolling headlines about a visit to the campus by Prince Harry and a joint concert by Taylor Swift and Kanye West at the college.

8. Football fans at Santa Clara University may have their dreams crushed if they find out the student newspaper's front-page story is a hoax. The Santa Clara reported that football was returning to the college.

9. New York University will supposedly hold a "Jersey Shore" conference to explore the scholarly issues surrounding the television show, according to the orgtheory.net blog.

10. George Washington University's student newspaper, the GW Hatchet, released its April Fool's issue with multiple prank stories. According to one story, a sharp drop in the overall undergraduate GPA resulted from a recently discovered technological glitch — 500 students who were supposed to have been rejected were actually admitted to the Class of 2013.

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Wait, is this an Onion story?? | View Clip
04/01/2010
Washington Post

an, the news seems way too interesting today. What's up with that?

Johns Hopkins University has finally given in and taken out that ridiculous "s" from its name. The college now calls itself John Hopkins University. "We give up," university President Ronald J. Daniels said in a statement. "We're fighting a losing battle here. And we strongly suspect the extra 's' was a typo in the first place."

At West Virginia University, administrators decided to cancel spring break so they could regain street cred with other universities for closing campus for only four feet of snow, The Daily Athenaeum reports. The city is raising parking violation fees by 600 percent. University administrators also clarified that the smoking ban will only be on cigarette smoke -- students breathed a sigh of relief and played Hacky Sack to celebrate. Also, the university's police chief was found in pothole that was 10 feet deep. And the university's new iPhone app will now let you burn a couch!

(Okay, if you haven't caught on yet, today is April Fools' Day. All of these stories are jokes. Please don't take them seriously. Thank you and continue reading.)

Google announced on its company blog that it will change its name to Topeka -- thrilling the residents of the Kansas town, which changed its name to Google.

In fact, Topeka Google Mayor Bill Bunten expressed it best: "Don't be fooled. Even Google recognizes that all roads lead to Kansas, not just yellow brick ones."

At the University of Maryland, soon-to-retire President Dan Mote announced that he wants to change the school's mascot from the diamondback terrapin to the endangered giant panda, The Diamondback reports.

George Washington University's Hammer Assault Prevention and Protection Task Force has announced that tools will no longer be allowed in public restrooms, following an October hammer attack, The GW Hatchet reports.

The Santa Clara front page contained a lot of breaking news: Football is making a return to the campus after 17 years without a team. University officials are abolishing the same-sex roommate rule. And skateboards are now banned on campus.

The Towson University Student Government Association has declared war on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, after the honors university announced a new pilot program involving "weapons of mass instruction." John Hopkins and Loyola universities have joined the collegiate coalition, but Goucher College refuses to participate in preemptive strike, The Towerlight reports.

The Cornell Daily Sun finally launched it's new Web site on April 1. An editor's note to readers explains that "our coverage is based primarily on Google News Alerts on all terms remotely related to Cornell basketball. Occasionally, we will lift stories, photos and graphics from other media outlets, too. We're not sure if that's okay by copyright laws, but who cares? We're not lawyers or anything."

The Daily Gazette Web site at Swarthmore College also has a new look. It's very happy. When it comes to the future of news Web sites, they might be on to something.

Starbucks announced on its company blog that it will add two new drink sizes this fall: Plenta™ (128 fl oz) and Micra™ (2 fl oz).

UPDATED at 12:15 p.m. to include Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University. And at 1:00 p.m. to include Towson University. And at 2:33 p.m. to include Santa Clara University.

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Clergy Sexual Abuse Study: It's Time for Common Sense | View Clip
04/01/2010
LifeSiteNews

Here we go again. The skeletons of clergy sexual abuse are once again being resuscitated by ambitious lawyers and finding sensational new life in a secular media that is increasingly uninterested in reporting the facts.

Now don't get me wrong; the instances of abuse themselves are absolutely reprehensible; that much is indisputable. As Cardinal Ratzinger said of these terrible transgressions shortly before becoming pope, "How much filth there is in the church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to God."

Whenever the root cause of this "filth" is discussed, faithful Catholics need to pay close attention as those who are less interested in cleansing the Church than attacking her moral foundation make themselves known through their actions.

Sometimes it's entirely predictable, as when increasingly irrelevant liberal dissenters like Richard McBrien and Hans Kung perform logical gymnastics in to avoid the 300 pound homosexual elephant in the room, but when we see indications that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops might be inclined to join them on the balance beam of political correctness, that's another story.

At the USCCB Fall General Assembly in Baltimore in November of 2009, the bishops received a preliminary briefing from researchers of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on a report they commissioned in 2006 for insight into the clergy sex abuse scandal.

According to the original research proposal, one of the study's stated objectives is to "understand, on an individual level, how priests with allegations of sexual abuse differ from other priests."

According to Catholic News Service, Margaret Smith, one of two John Jay researchers to address the Fall Assembly, gave the bishops a sense for where the study is heading, saying, "At this point, we do not find a correlation between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse," she said.

This raises some obvious questions, but before we examine the implications of Ms. Smith's statement, let's considers what we know about the victims of the clergy sex abuse as reported by third party sources.

In a 2002 study conducted by USA Today, it was determined that of the 234 priests that have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the nation's ten largest dioceses, 91 percent of the allegations involved male victims. [1]

The Boston Globe reported similar findings in 2003 saying, "Of the clergy sex abuse cases referred to prosecutors in Eastern Massachusetts, more than 90 percent involve male victims, and the most prominent Boston lawyers for alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse have said that about 95 percent of their clients are male." [2]

Also noteworthy is research conducted by Dr. Thomas Plante of the Department of Psychology at Santa Clara University who found that 80 - 90 percent of the alleged victims of abuse were post-pubescent adolescent boys - not prepubescent children - meaning that the abusers in these cases "are not pedophiles at all but are ephebophiles" (i.e. they demonstrate a sexual attraction to mid-to-late adolescents). [3]

Now let's consider Ms. Smith's assertion that heterosexual priests are just as likely to commit abuse as homosexual priests. If she is correct, we should expect the ratio of priests accused of abusing post-pubescent females to those accused of abusing post-pubescent males to mirror the demographics of the priesthood as a ratio of heterosexuals to homosexuals.

So, do the researchers at John Jay College really mean to imply that some 90% of the priesthood in the U.S. is homosexual?

The question alone is so preposterous as to border on the offensive, but 9:1 is the ratio of priests accused of abusing adolescent males to those accused of abusing adolescent females. Applying this same ratio to the sexual orientation of the priest population as a whole is simply the logical extension of Ms. Smith's assertion that both groups present an equal risk of abuse.

If, as I assume, Ms. Smith and her colleagues do not mean to imply that homosexual priests outnumber their heterosexual counterparts 9 to 1, it's only common sense to expect the USCCB to demand a plausible explanation for the overwhelming preponderance of male victims.

Karen Terry, a colleague of Ms. Smith who also addressed the USCCB assembly, may have preempted questions concerning the small percentage of female victims when she cautioned the bishops, "Even though there was sexual abuse of many boys, that doesn't necessarily mean that the person had a homosexual identity."

"It's important to separate the sexual identity and the behavior," she continued. "Someone can commit sexual acts that might be of a homosexual nature but not have a homosexual identity."

Excuse me? If researchers don't consider an adult male's sexual attraction to a teenaged boy a flashing neon sign for homosexuality, then I'm not entirely sure I want to know what they do consider proof.

Undaunted in their effort to explain the homosexual connection away, however, Ms. Terry said that greater access to boys is one of the reasons for the skewed ratio of male victims, and Ms. Smith even went so far as to raise the analogy of homosexual activity among prison populations as supporting evidence.

One cannot help but be outraged by this transparent attempt to gloss over the obvious link between homosexuality and the incidence of clergy sexual abuse, but far more troubling than this is the fact that the USCCB should have known that this is exactly what it was going to get even before it earmarked $1 Million for the John Jay back study in 2005.

Writing in First Things Magazine in 2004, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus made the following observation:

"In its report and its February 27 presentation, the John Jay team was manifestly nervous about the homosexuality factor. The woman making the slide presentation at the National Press Club skipped over the data on adolescent males in a nanosecond. A perhaps jaundiced network reporter remarked afterwards about the downplaying of the homosexuality factor, 'Remember that the John Jay people have to go back and get along in New York City.'" [4]

In that same article, Fr. Neuhaus said that the USCCB's very own Nation Review Board had also made note of the problem:

"The John Jay report notes that the proportion of victims who were male increased in the 1960s and reached 86 percent in the '70s, remaining there through the 1980s. In a footnote, the NRB report responds to the frequent obscuring of the homosexual factor by reference to 'ephebophilia.' The authors write, 'The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (IV) does not recognize ephebophilia as a distinct disorder. Ephebophilia is thus not a disorder in the technical sense, but rather a newly coined descriptive term for homosexual attraction to adolescent males.'" [ibid]

While it is prudent to withhold ultimate judgment on the value of the John Jay study until the final report is published in December 2010, it's not too soon for the faithful Catholics who are footing the bill for that $1 Million research grant to let their bishops know that we will not accept unsubstantiated claims in return for our hard earned money.

It's time to let our bishops know that we expect well-documented correct information, not political correctness. We want the "filth" cleaned out of the Church; and we will not tolerate any attempt to sweep it under the carpet.

Let me be clear - I am utterly convinced that the overwhelming majority of our bishops, just like us, are determined to identify the true underlying cause of clergy sexual abuse no matter how politically incorrect that discovery may be. But I am equally as convinced that only the naïve simply assume that the same can necessarily be said of the bureaucratic entity known as the USCCB.

Time and again the USCCB has demonstrated that it has a personality all its own; a group-think tendency toward political correctness and watered down rhetoric that is all-too-often at odds with the bishops individually. The remedy is for us to encourage our faithful shepherds to wrest control of the bureaucracy and to demand, along with us, that the light of truth be shined on this problem - political correctness be damned.

For instance, we need our bishops to demand that the John Jay researchers substantiate their claims by providing convincing evidence - not just rhetoric - which unequivocally demonstrates that a very large percentage of the abuse cases actually involved instances of heterosexual priests molesting adolescent boys.

This means that the bishops must insist that the final report provide rock solid demographic data concerning "sexual identity" in the priesthood; since anything less means that claims of "no correlation existing between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse" are built on mere assumption and are therefore utterly worthless. Think about it; if the John Jay researchers don't know with a high degree of certainty how many priests are actually homosexual, there is absolutely no way they can speak with any authority whatsoever about the relationship between homosexual identity and the incidence of clergy sex abuse.

The simple truth is this; the information offered thus far by Ms. Smith and Ms. Terry is so entirely inconsistent with the cases of reported abuse as we know them on the one hand, and common sense on the other, that it can't help but raise substantial red flags. The time to insist on real answers is now, not after the John Jay report is delivered and endlessly spun to the advantage of homosexual activists and ecclesial dissidents the world over.

You may make your concerns known by contacting your local bishop, or you may write to Cardinal Francis George - President of the USCCB at 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194.

Above all, we must pray for our shepherds, that that they will be unimpeded in their desire to seek the truth and intrepid in making it known for the good of the Church.

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With all its revenue streams diminishing, Caltrain may be forced to cease operations
04/01/2010
San Mateo County Times

Apr. 1--Caltrain has gone broke and will likely need to wipe out half its service -- including weekend, weeknight and midday trains -- officials said Thursday.

"And that's only if we're lucky," Caltrain CEO Mike Scanlon told the agency's board of directors. "This is not an April fool's joke. This is real. We're at a watershed moment where there's a possibility this railroad could go away."

Scanlon said the cuts, which would turn the railroad into a proverbial ghost town for most of the day, would need to be completed by June 2011, although the agency may begin slashing its schedule as soon as this fall.

The board, needing to slice about $30 million from its $97 million budget, would vote on specific proposals at a future meeting after holding public hearings.

Caltrain officials said the service cuts will further jam traffic on roadways. Most of Caltrain's 40,000 daily passengers ride during commute times, and much of that service may remain untouched because those trains get the agency the most bang for its buck.

But Caltrain also runs hourly service that stops at every station on weekends, plus on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and after 8 p.m. Those trains, including 32 on Saturday and 28 on Sunday, are facing elimination.

The cuts would hamper those who rely on Caltrain to get to work during odd hours, leave cities planning dense developments near stations in the lurch, and prevent most service to special events

and San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks games.

John Murphy rides Caltrain from San Francisco to work in Santa Clara, balancing the commute with taking care of his young son. He said the midday cuts would be "horrible" and would force him and his wife to buy a second car, move closer to his office or switch jobs.

"All the jobs I can do are down here (in the Valley)," Murphy said. "My wife is in marketing -- all her jobs are up (in San Francisco). Caltrain makes it work."

Caltrain's financial state has long been declining, and officials trimmed the weekday schedule from 98 to 90 trains in August 2009 and hiked fares in early 2009.

The agency has lost $10 million in funding from the state each of the past three years. And for more than a year, it has been losing riders, who account for 40 percent of its revenue.

But now a new, more damaging problem has emerged. Scanlon, who is also the CEO of the San Mateo County Transit District, or SamTrans, said he will ask that agency's board of directors to lower its Caltrain contribution by nearly 70 percent by July 2011.

SamTrans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Muni each provide Caltrain with a subsidy, which amounts to a combined $39.4 million. But with the smaller SamTrans contribution, VTA and Muni will lower their shares proportionately. SamTrans, Muni and VTA all recently cut service and raised fares, and Scanlon said they are "beyond broke."

A fare increase has not been proposed, as officials say it would drive away even more riders and result in the same or less revenue from riders. They also don't expect to propose any ballot measures, such as tax increases, citing the recession.

As part of the service cuts, employees would lose jobs, although officials are not yet sure how many.

It costs $60.4 million per year to run the railroad, plus another $13.8 million for fuel and $9.9 million for administration. The agency spends the remaining $11.9 million on shuttles, insurance, maintenance, utilities and other services.

Officials stopped short of saying they expected to close the railroad, which has been open since 1863 and carrying passengers since 1904, but said the news calls into question the operator's ability to survive. Scanlon said the agency's business model is simply not sustainable.

"We're rapidly approaching a cliff," he said. "It's going to be very, very painful. It's probably going to force people back to congested freeways. People aren't going to be able to get to jobs; they're not going to have basic mobility."

Scanlon said there are some long-shot possibilities for more money -- such as the reinstatement of state transit assistance or help from the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission. But he said it would have to be a yearly commitment from a government during a climate in which they are all spending less.

"I don't see any silver bullets," he said.

At the Caltrain station in Santa Clara early Thursday afternoon, it was relatively quiet, with several out-of-towners poised to use the train to get to San Francisco. Some locals were also waiting to ride the train. None were happy with the news.

"Can't we do something about this?" asked Alyssa Salcido, a 20-year-old Santa Clara University student. "I know a ton of students who (use Caltrain to) go into the city to see a play or have dinner or go to the games. I'm not for this at all."

Salcido, who does not have a car, said she rides Caltrain to visit her siblings in San Francisco. Without Caltrain, "How am I going to get there, fly?"

The move just won't affect riders, it'll affect others, such as taxi drivers.

Cabdriver Sewa Singh was extremely upset to hear there would be no weekend service. A staple of his business are Giants fans who use Caltrain to get to AT&T Park.

"This is very bad news," Singh said. "No service, no business, no money. Very bad."

Mark Woolbright was on his way to his part-time job at a co-op art gallery in San Mateo. His typical routine is to take a 2:15 p.m. train there and an 8 p.m. train home. But he took a more optimistic view.

By the time the service cuts occur, Woolbright hopes to have a full-time job and be in a position to commute during regular hours -- and still be able to ride Caltrain.

The reaction from Anna Koster of Santa Clara was direct.

"Oh my God, that would be terrible," Koster said. "It looks like I could just get to and from work, but could never get sick and leave early or stay really late. I also use Caltrain to go to San Francisco on the weekends, and that would be out."

Bay Area News Group staff writers Lisa Fernandez and Gary Richards contributed to this report. Contact Mike Rosenberg at 650-348-4324.

Caltrain, which serves 40,000

riders each day on average, likely will see its weekend, weeknight and midday train service eliminated to cut $30 million from its

$97 million budget, affecting:

average weekday daily riders

average weekend riders

Copyright © 2010 San Mateo County Times, Calif.

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COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE RATES
04/01/2010
San Jose Mercury News

Stanford University announced this week that it was offering seats to only 7.2 percent of applicants to the Class of 2014, making it one of the most competitive schools in the United States.

Here's a look at how other Bay Area schools stacked up in acceptance rates for Fall 2008, the latest comparable data.

School / Fall 2008 acceptance rate:

California State University East Bay / 71.6%

San Francisco State University / 66.1%

San Francisco Art Institute / 27.9%

San Jose State University / 66.0%

Santa Clara University / 57.6%

Stanford University / 9.5%

UC Berkeley / 21.6%

UC Santa Cruz / 71.7%

Copyright © 2010 San Jose Mercury News

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Working toward communities we can be proud of | View Clip
04/01/2010
Daily Local News

We applaud the efforts of the participants in the Lock Arms for Christ parade in Coatesville on Saturday.

While it is important to take concrete action toward reducing crime, we do believe that taking the time to provide visible symbols of community involvement is a vital part of bringing change.

While we respect the role the group's faith plays in motivating their demonstration, we think the emphasis on community is an extremely valuable element of the march. Participant and representative Sharita Jones said, "A community isn't just one person; it isn't just one congregation. ... A community is only as strong as the residents."

We couldn't agree more. Taking a visible stand against crime is only part of the fight, but such efforts respond to the culture of a community, not just its structure, and culture and attitude determine much of the way life in a community will run — including, eventually, the structure itself.

This reminds us of another quotation. In a talk delivered on March 31, 2005, at the opening of the Exhibit on the World's Religions at Santa Clara University, the Rev. Hans Kung said, "There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions."

The group marching Saturday was not first and foremost a symbol of peace. The marchers wore fatigues to demonstrate that they are fighting something, something that has the power to destroy lives, both the lives taken by the violence of murder and the lives shattered by loss.

We believe this is an appropriate message, but it is also a difficult one to understand, and on which to keep focused. When a message of "fight" is joined to a message from religion, exactly what is being fought about sometimes becomes unclear.

This is why the emphasis on community is so valuable to us. While religion often provides a foundation, for both individuals and groups, unlike any other strength and motivation, it is also often the greatest source of conflict among groups.

Recognizing that they must spur the community to act, that, as city councilman Marty Eggleston said, "Without an agent of change, things stay bitter, they stay broken," is a recognition that the decision to fight for our communities, the spiritual and motivating elements of religion, and a message of working together between various groups and congregations and staying in dialogue are not contradictory.

We hope that the symbols presented by people standing against violent crime are taken up and well used in the never-ending fight to live in the kind of world — and more specifically, communities — we can be proud of.

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The Scandal Driving the Church Sex Scandal | View Clip
04/01/2010
American Thinker, The

We've all heard the story. Hundreds of young sexual abuse victims long afraid to come forward for fear of embarrassment and scorn, abusers escaping prosecution and quietly moving to different jurisdictions, authorities covering up the crimes to avoid scandal and litigation. It's a saga of grave, grave sin.

Of course, you would assume that I'm talking about the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal.

And you would be wrong.

I'm describing the situation in America's schools -- something that, although mirroring the problems dogging the Church, is strangely ignored.

Let's examine the similarities using statistics from the United States. According to the John Jay Report, 10,667 people made allegations of child sexual abuse (not all were substantiated) committed by priests between 1950 and 2002; according to an AP investigation, at least 1,801 educators committed sexual misconduct involving minors between 2001 and 2005. So the per annum tally is:

Number of people making allegations against priests - 205

Criminal educators - 360

Now, since it's logical to assume that numerous individuals made accusations against the same priests, the number of clerical transgressors is no doubt less than 205. Yet even if we use the 205 figure, the number of offenders appears to be approximately 76 percent greater among educators. But that doesn't even begin to tell the whole story.

While it's obvious that a certain percentage of cases must have gone unreported in both education and the Church, the latter has been subjected to intense media scrutiny while the former has remained off the radar screen. Thus, it's reasonable to assume that the percentage is higher in education. As to this, the AP tells us about a Congress-mandated study placing the number of students sexually abused by an education worker at some point between kindergarten and 12th grade at 4.5 million. Furthermore, the AP found that most of this sexual abuse is never reported and that even when it does come to light, often no action is taken.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that the number of teachers nationwide is greater than that of priests, so a raw-numbers analysis may be deceptive. So let's examine the rate. Wapedia reports the following: "A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse by Dr. Thomas Plante of Stanford University and Santa Clara University states that 'available research suggests that approximately 2 to 5% of priests have had a sexual experience with a minor' which ‘is lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to 8%.'"

Now let's look within the numbers, at the nature of the abuse and abusers. While we hear a lot of media reports about sultry female teachers seducing young teenage boys, the reality is that almost nine out of ten school offenders are male.It's also true that in the cases of both the Church and the schools, the abuse is, by definition, not pedophilia, as the abused were mainly adolescents, not children.

Here critics may point out that there is a difference: The abuse among priests is mainly homosexual in nature. This is true, but I can't imagine that it would bother the secular left very much. After all, this is the set that for years has maintained that there is a moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual behavior and that saying otherwise is bigotry. Unless they're now changing their tune...

Another similarity is the cover-up by school officials, who, as stated earlier, were motivated by the same priorities as the most remiss bishop: a desire to avoid embarrassment, scandal, and punitive court judgments. As an example, the AP presents the story of Gary Lindsey, an Iowa teacher who was fired from his first job for sexual misconduct but then allowed to work elsewhere for about thirty more years. During these decades, Lindsey transgressed against other students, dodging the hangman every time with the complicity of school administration. And his is no isolated case. In fact, the practice of transferring sexual predators is so common that it has become known as "passing the trash," and the abusers have been dubbed "mobile molesters."

Despite this, we currently have trash being passed daily -- it's called media reportage. Why don't we hear stories about people who believe that the schools should be defunded, or that parents should stop sending their children to them (similar things are said about the Church)? Why has the Vatican been placed in the unenviable position of having to defend itself with the "Look, others have the same problems" argument? Why does Rome have to take up the cudgels for itself and point out that its woes just reflect the wider society? It's because the media aren't doing their job.

...That is, at least, what their job should be. What some within the mainstream media see it as being -- to attack traditionalist institutions -- they're doing very well.

The Church receives such disproportionate scrutiny for the same reason why the media will happily smear Pope Pius XII as a Nazi sympathizer when he was possibly WWII's greatest hero and why they paint the Crusades as imperialistic wars when they were but a defense against Muslim aggression: The media views the Church as an enemy. They despise its teachings on abortion, the all-male priesthood, and, in particular, sexuality. You see, if the schools taught such things, then they too would surely be in the crosshairs. But their embrace of all the left's favorite isms grants them great immunity.

Now, this might be where I'm supposed to issue the obligatory statement about how we're all appalled by the sex crimes in question.

But it's not really true.

And what comes to mind is late Massachusetts congressman Gerry Studds. In 1983, it was revealed that he had had sexual relations with a 17-year-old male page, which, as ephebophilia (attraction to older adolescents), is precisely that of which many transgressing priests are guilty. And what was his punishment?

The liberals in his district reelected him six more times until his retirement in 1996.

By the way, some may point out that Studds' behavior was legal, as the age of consent in Washington, D.C. was 16. Of these people, I would ask: Are you equally charitable with priests who had "legal" relationships with teenage boys?

Then there is serial sex criminal Alfred Kinsey, the bug researcher-cum-human sexuality "expert" who ran a pedophile ring disguised as a research team. If you read the piece I wrote about him (and trust me, this one is worth the time), you'll find that his research included things such as encouraging pedophiles to continue committing crimes so that he could collect more "data." Yet there has never been a hue and cry for a pound of flesh from the Kinsey Institute; the University of Indiana in Bloomington, where the deviant plied his trade; or Paul Gebhard, a still-living Kinsey co-author and partner in crime. On the contrary, the left not only defends Kinsey, but it even lauded him in a whitewashed 2004 film.

So do the Church's critics really care about sexual abuse? Some do, for sure. But there's no doubt that many of those using the issue to attack the Church do not. And "using" is the key word. If they truly cared about sexual abuse of youth, they would take pains to emphasize that it isn't limited to the priesthood. Oh, I'm not saying that they would necessarily do this to defend the Church; they would do it to truly expose the problem. Instead, they're simply interested in exposing the Church to ridicule, and to this end, they use these abuse victims as a convenient vehicle through which to attack a hated adversary. This is typical of the left, which makes a practice of using people as human shields, props, and political hammers.

Of course, crimes against innocence are abhorrent, and those committing them should be rooted out wherever and whoever they may be. Likewise, those who knowingly and negligently facilitate their abuse must be punished harshly, and the incompetent should lose their positions. But this just states the obvious. If we really want to move toward a more sexually sane society -- get at the root causes, as it were -- then we must delve more deeply.

We can argue about facts and figures. We can debate whether sexual trespass is worse in schools or in churches, and many will, no doubt, try to make the case that the secular world is a safer place. But of this there is no doubt: The social phenomena making us a more libertine and morally unmoored civilization are the handiwork of the left.

It was not the Church that sexualized society with Kinseyesque sex miseducation and prurient messages everywhere -- in movies, shows, music and on the Internet. That was leftist academia, Hollywood, and their brothers in porn. It was not the Church that expanded the First Amendment to include protection of obscene imagery. That was leftist judges. It was not the Church that spread moral relativism and its corollary, "If it feels good, do it," an idea that can find pedophilia no worse than peanut butter. That was leftist philosophers and the millions who wanted freedom to sin. It was not the Church that, reducing man to mere beast, found a basis for his behavior in the animal kingdom. That was leftist anthropologists and their acolytes. And it was not the Church that first subordinated punishment to "rehabilitation" and subscribed to slap-on-the-wrist pseudo-justice. That was leftist psychology. Of course, insofar as the Church has allowed itself to become infected with the spirit of the age, it is culpable. But know that it is the infected, not the infection.

As for the cure, the Church has done much in recent times to root out sexual abuse -- far more than the schools. Even closer to the point, its teachings provide necessary guide rails for man's sexuality. Yet critics call this age-old wisdom "antiquated." The left obviously prefers to take its lead from the Kinsey Distorts, Hugh Hefner, and Hollywood. But if the pleasure principle is going to be our master, then we shouldn't wonder why we're taking our children on a field trip through Caligula's court.

on "The Scandal Driving the Church Sex Scandal"

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Learning from Losses: 'Wolves Coach Rambis Growing Through Difficult Season | View Clip
04/01/2010
All Headline News

Sam Klemet - AHN Sports Correspondent

Minneapolis, MN, United States (AHN) - Kurt Rambis left Santa Clara University in 1980 as the school's scoring leader. He is also second all-time in rebounds for the Broncos. His skill set eventually allowed him to transition into a prosperous NBA career.

Thirty years after graduating from college, Rambis is the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. But, what he needs now more than ever from his time at Santa Clara is not basketball experience - it's his degree in psychology.

On his couch is one of the youngest teams in the NBA.

Besides trying to diagnose plays, Rambis is also challenged with trying to get into the minds of his Timberwolves players and keep them motivated for the final seven tilts of what has been a season filled with struggles.

After the Timberwolves snapped a 16-game losing streak against the Kings Wednesday, it s apparent Rambis has the right mindset and fight to get he and his team back to the NBA's apex.

“It's hard to see improvement on the outside when you are just looking at wins and losses,” he said. “But we see individual improvement, we see team improvement.”

Rambis' psychology degree points to the obvious – he's no dummy. He knew, realistically, turning around a Wolves team that was 24-58 last year wasn't going to happen overnight.

In his first year as Minnesota's head coach, losing has become the norm. And for a man who needs two hands to wear all his NBA title rings, that means executing patience.

“I didn't want to put a number on the amount of games we could win this year,” said Rambis.

“I wanted to look at the year in terms of seeing different combinations and seeing players improve, how they picked up our offense, what they did in different situations, me trying to learn players.”

One player getting to know Rambis quite well is rookie Jonny Flynn. Like Rambis, Flynn was a winner in college.

He was a lottery pick last June and, as most rookie point guards do, has experienced ups and downs throughout his first season.

The downs often result in a conversation with Rambis - or at the very least a stern stare. Nonetheless, Flynn remains confident in his head coach as they learn together.

“[Our relationship] has definitely gotten better from where it was in training camp,” said Flynn. “We definitely have grown.”

Prior to this season, Rambis was, for the most part, unfamiliar with losing for long stretches - certainly not 16-game stretches. His aforementioned college career included several awards including the West Coast Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year.

He then joined the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers where he won four NBA titles in the ‘80's. Two decades later, he was an assistant coach with the Lakers who won titles in 2002 and 2009.

While he may yearn for the successes of years past, Rambis is not deterred by new challenges, or losses. He believes he can build Minnesota back into a winning franchise.

“Yes we have lapses, yes we can play poor at times, but we can play extremely well at times,” said Rambis.

“If you look at where we started, the number of new guys that we had, all the young guys we had, where we started training camp, new system, new coaching staff and where we are now in executing in those pockets and playing well offensively and defensively in those pockets, we made a lot of strides.”

Strides that are steps in the right direction.

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Cracking Open Genetic Privacy | View Clip
04/01/2010
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - Online

Common Good Is Best Served by Not Building Walls Around This Deeply Personal Information

Margaret R. McLean, Ph.D.

I am an altruist by nature, so when a letter from my healthcare provider inquired as to my interest in volunteering for a research project my initial thought was, “Why not?”

I had participated in clinical trials before—no worries. What did they want? My spit. Why? To sequence my DNA and search for associations between my particular genetic alphabet and my health and lifestyle.

Important questions began to formulate in my mind. For instance, despite assurances to the contrary, could my genes haunt me in the form of higher life- or health-insurance premiums or could I slip into the ranks of the uninsured? Since my employer pays for my health plan, what right would human resources have to my genetic profile? And, perhaps my biggest worry: would data about “what makes me me” be vulnerable to hackers, creating the possibility of molecular identify theft? I shredded the invitation.

Did I make a wise decision or did I fall prey to some irrational fear of losing my identity, my privacy? And, would my loss of genetic privacy necessarily have had undesirable or harmful consequences?

Almost a decade after the Human Genome Project cracked the genetic code, the wall of privacy surrounding genetic information may be developing a few cracks of its own. This is not such a bad thing, perhaps, as it forces us to confront important questions about what constitutes privacy, its value, and whether robust protection of genetic privacy is a promise that cannot—maybe ought not—be kept. Traditional notions of the privacy of medical information are profoundly challenged by genetic tests that reveal things not only about individuals but also about families, something that a family member may or may not already know.

Privacy—the expectation that access to certain information is limited—appears to be ethically neutral, merely describing a person's anticipated ability to control access to personal information. When I affix my signature to a document, knowingly giving my employer access to my medical records, there is no ethical breach.

Privacy gains ethical valence when expectations of control and limits are violated. Even a deeper ethical violation occurs when bootlegged information is used in harmful ways. Concern for this latter abuse powered the passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which takes full effect in May of this year.

GINA

GINA prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information (including both family history and genetic test results) in health insurance coverage and employment, creating tighter restrictions on the collection and use of genetic data than those in place for other types of medical information. Health insurers cannot request or require genetic information as a condition of coverage or use it to determine rates or to discover preexisting conditions.

Employers cannot hire, fire, promote, or alter terms of employment based on a person's genetic profile. GINA does not protect privacy per se but protects our interest in insurability and employment by restricting what sorts of decisions can be made on the basis of genetic data. It protects us from harmful discrimination. GINA explicitly exempts life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance from such restriction.

GINA considers privacy not so much as an abstract principle, but as a contextualized, lived reality, i.e., genetic information is information of a different sort and ethically warrants a different set of limits. Privacy functions differently in different contexts and should be governed by the values and norms of the context at hand. Healthcare relies on access to information—deeply personal information—to effect successful research and treatment. Protecting privacy in the medical context is not tantamount to building a firewall but involves assuring informed consent, managing expectations, and protecting trust.

Margaret R. McLean, Ph.D. (

), is director of bioethics and associate director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University.

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CEF honors donors for support of Catholic education | View Clip
04/01/2010
Tidings

Recurring refrains of gratitude and thanksgiving were expressed to nearly 100 guests at the Catholic Education Foundation's annual donor appreciation and legacy society luncheon March 25 at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles.

Setting the tone in his keynote address, Cardinal Roger Mahony praised CEF donors for their financial contributions which have provided more than 103,000 tuition awards valued at over $100 million to Catholic elementary and high school students from low-income families over the past 24 years. This school year, CEF was able to fund 7,000 students out of 15,000 applicants.

"It is a time to thank all of you for your particular role in Catholic education," said the cardinal. "Without your commitment and generosity and participation, I think a number of rchdiocesan] Catholic schools would have closed a long time ago. They simply could not have made it.

"I am very, very grateful to all of you. Many of you have been with the foundation almost since the beginning," noted Cardinal Mahony. "We must do all we can to keep our schools open, active, excelling and increasing in student population as well."

Msgr. Royale Vadakin, archdiocesan vicar general and CEF trustee, paid special tribute to CEF donors from the Porteous Family Foundation and the Steinmetz Foundation, whose grants have funded tuition awards as well as provided funding for art classes, athletic coaches and field trips in some of the poorest schools in the archdiocese.

"Many of our schools are in impacted parts of the city [where] finances are tight and certain things are lost [such as] arts and athletics," said Msgr. Vadakin. He expressed gratitude to members of the Porteous Family Foundation for their contributions underwriting the Art Trek program in ten schools as well as sports programs and playground equipment.

He also thanked family members from the Steinmetz Foundation for funding the Yellow Bus Program which "allows Catholic students, many from impacted areas, to have bus trips to art museums, plays, California missions and all those places inner-city children would not be able to visit."

"I'd like to thank the Steinmetz family and Porteous family for believing in Catholic schools and for going the extra mile [helping] to provide a quality education for students, particularly in the inner-city," said Kathleen Anderson, CEF executive director.

Following a presentation of awards by Msgr. Vadakin to Steinmetz and Porteous family members, Anderson introduced four current and former CEF students chosen by their principals as reflecting the values of a Catholic school education: faith, trust, family, charity and love.

The CEF recipient guests included St. Thomas the Apostle eighth grade student Jonathan Pacheco; Sacred Heart High School senior Patti Medina; UCLA student and Cathedral High School graduate Salvador Beas; and UC Santa Barbara alum/Cathedral High School grad Christopher Mendez.

"I am very thankful for what St. Thomas has done for me," said Pacheco. "St. Thomas has taught me to walk with Jesus, to be a servant for others, to forgive and to love…. I want to thank CEF donors here today for your generous support. It is your kindness that makes inner-city Catholic education a reality for families."

Medina, who will attend Santa Clara University in the fall, said CEF rescued her from having to leave Catholic high school due to adverse family financial circumstances. "Just when I thought there was no hope left, CEF helped make my return possible to Sacred Heart," said Medina, adding she feels "extremely thankful and happy that I was blessed to have received a Catholic education."

"Without CEF's help, I would never have been able to attend or afford Catholic school," said Beas, a UCLA upperclassman who credits his Catholic education for allowing him to be "poised to graduate from one of the best four-year universities in the country. For that," he noted, "I am forever grateful."

"I am proof that you are making an impact," said Mendez, a business owner currently working on his MBA with plans to go to law school. "It was your contribution, your kind heart, your compassion and commitment to society that has me standing here before you. I, too, want to carry on and be part of the circle of giving and impact those that need help."

After the students' talks, commendation certificates were handed out by Rob Smith, CEF board president, to "milestone donors" who have reached their 10th, 15th or 20th anniversaries supporting CEF. In her closing remarks, Anderson expressed her "deep appreciation to Cardinal Mahony. Without him, this foundation wouldn't be here. I can't tell you what this has meant to the students that we serve. I'm deeply grateful for you and for what you have done."

Speaking with The Tidings following the luncheon, Mary Steinmetz said funding the Yellow Bus Program represented the family's belief in the benefits of field trips. "I think it's terribly important for these young people to get out in the community and see different things that are happening," said Steinmetz.

Carol Dailey, daughter of the late Anne Porteous, said that her family is "very grateful that we're in a position to be able to give back to the students." After the death of her mother, family members decided to continue funding tuition awards and also fund an art and athletics program, reflecting intergenerational family interests.

"The sports were very important to me," said Charlie Dailey, a St. Monica High School senior. "I've always been involved in sports and when I heard sports were getting cut in some of the schools, I thought that was pretty sad," he added. His sister, Laura, 27, said it was "an honor to be able to help these students."

Longtime CEF contributor Bill Kaffer said listening to the CEF recipient students was "a very heart-warming experience…and to see them blossom the way they have is obviously the result of the tender care and nurturing they received during their education."

copyright The Tidings Corporation ©2004

Contact us at: info@the-tidings.com

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Yen, Dollar Drop on Stocks, Commodities, Buoying Risk (Correct) | View Clip
03/31/2010
Bloomberg News - Online

(Corrects to say percentage points in 10th paragraph.)

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- The yen and dollar fell against most of their major counterparts as global equities and commodities rose, encouraging investors to increase bets on higher-yielding currencies.

The euro gained as Greece sold 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) of bonds in the first sale since European leaders agreed last week on a plan to support the nation as it works to cut a deficit. Japan's currency fell for a fourth day against the euro in the longest losing streak in five weeks before a report this week forecast to show the U.S. added jobs in March.

“The theme is positive risk and global gains in equity markets,” said Vassili Serebriakov, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo & Co. in New York. “While the euro is stronger today, the overall weakness is in yen and dollar.”

The yen declined 0.5 percent to 124.66 per euro at 5 p.m. in New York, from 124.06 on March 26. The euro advanced 0.5 percent to $1.3483, from $1.3410. Japan's currency was little changed at 92.46 per dollar, compared with 92.52. It slipped to 92.96 yen on March 25, the weakest level since Jan. 8.

Stocks rose, with both the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the MSCI World Index gaining 0.6 percent. The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials increased 2.1 percent.

Consumer spending in the U.S. increased 0.3 percent last month, in line with forecasts, after rising a revised 0.4 percent in January, a Commerce Department report showed.

Mexican Peso

Mexico's peso touched the strongest level since November 2008, appreciating as much as 0.7 percent to 12.4134 per dollar, as signs of U.S. economic recovery spurred speculation the Latin American nation's exports will increase. The Australian dollar posted its biggest gain in almost six weeks versus its U.S. counterpart after central bank governor Glenn Stevens said interest rates may need to increase.

The euro rose after the European Union enlisted the assistance of the International Monetary Fund last week to help Greece finance the region's biggest budget deficit should it run out of options in capital markets.

Prime Minister George Papandreou's government has to complete as much as 15.5 billion euros of its 2010 fundraising by the end of May, according to an estimate from the nation's debt agency.

Greece sold 5 billion euros of bonds due in April 2017, the Athens-based Public Debt Management Agency said in an e-mailed statement. They were priced to yield 3.10 percentage points more than the benchmark mid-swap rate, according to the statement.

‘Positive' for Euro

“The Greek story is positive for the euro and arguably more positive than the market is taking it,” said Sebastien Galy, a currency strategist at BNP Paribas SA in New York. “They're pricing in less and less risk of default.”

The euro has depreciated 5.9 percent against the dollar this quarter, heading for its biggest loss since the three months ended Sept. 30, 2008, two weeks after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed.

The dollar pared its decline against the euro today as U.S. 10-year Treasuries widened their yield advantage relative to similar-maturity German debt. The spread between the two securities increased 5 basis points to 73 basis points, or 0.73 percentage point, Bloomberg data show.

“Everyone is trying to sell the rallies” in the euro, said Hidetoshi Yanagihara, a senior currency trader at Mizuho Corporate Bank in New York, who predicted the 16-nation currency may fall as low as $1.25 by June. “It may be that some risk aversion may be expected toward the end of this week.”

U.S. Employment

U.S. employers added 184,000 jobs in March, the most since 2007, according to the median forecast of 79 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The Labor Department is scheduled to release its payrolls report on April 2.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. ended bets on a falling dollar last week after the trades lost 2.8 percent. Strategists are raising greenback forecasts at the fastest pace since last March, just before U.S. stimulus efforts that poured as much as $12.8 trillion into the economy ended the currency's strongest rally in 28 years. Median predictions for the dollar against 47 currencies tracked in Bloomberg surveys rose an average of 1.4 percentage points in the month to March 24.

The difference in the number of wagers by hedge funds and other large speculators on a decline in the euro compared with those on a gain was a record 74,917 contracts on March 23, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The Australian dollar strengthened 1.5 percent, its biggest intraday gain since Feb. 16, to 91.77 U.S. cents, from 90.41 cents on March 26.

Stevens, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said in an interview broadcast on the nation's Channel Seven that house prices are “getting quite high” and interest rates may need to rise to contain inflation. The central bank meets on April 6.

To contact the reporters on this story: Inyoung Hwang in New York at ihwang7@bloomberg.net; Oliver Biggadike in New York at obiggadike@bloomberg.net

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Hersh Shefrin, a professor at Santa Clara University, talks with Bloomberg's Betty Liu about the "herd mentality" among investors and the outlook for the U.S. dollar.

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Arjuna Mahendran, investment strategist at HSBC Private Bank, talks with Bloomberg's Haslinda Amin about his forecast for the yen. Mahendran, speaking from Singapore, also discusses the prospects China will allow its currency to appreciate, and the outlook for Asian economies and equity markets. Tim Murphy, founder and managing director of IP Global, talks about Asian property markets. Candy Chuang, chairwoman of Treasure Auction, also speaks.

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Alan Ruskin, head of currency strategy at RBS Securities Inc., talks with Bloomberg's Mark Crumpton about the outlook for the dollar, the U.S. unemployment rate and the global economy.

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Illegal wiretaps
03/31/2010
KCBS-AM

SCU Professor Ed Steinman was interviewed by KCBS radio about the decision by a San Francisco federal judge that found the federal government illegally wiretapped an Islamic charity and two attorneys without a search warrant. The decision is the first time that any court in this country has ruled that the post-Sept. 11 warrantless interception of communications between Americans and suspected foreign terrorists by the Bush administration violated the US Constitution.

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Conference targets green regulations | View Clip
03/30/2010
Whittier Daily News

Scientists seek new ways to fight warming

Herald Correspondent

Scientists and regulatory experts from 15 countries gathered at Asilomar Conference Grounds this week to discuss possible regulations that would govern research in the emerging field of climate intervention.

They released a joint press release Friday expressing "deep concern" over the limited efforts to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases and calling for additional research to examine the need for "alternative strategies" to moderate future climate change.

A document with self-regulation guidelines for research will be released in about a month, organizers said.

"Having a governance structure in place is essentially going to help research and help the science community," said Michael MacCracken, who moderated the International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies and is the chief scientist for climate change programs with the Climate Institute in Washington, D.C.

Reducing warming

Climate intervention is a field so new that the senior scientists who attended the five-day meeting don't agree on its name.

Some call it geoengineering; others call it climate remediation. Either way, it involves complex — and, some say, ethically questionable — processes to reduce the impact of global warming.

These range from blocking solar radiation that warms the Earth's surface to efforts to remove and possibly store carbon dioxide from the air or water.

Scientists know the idea of implementing such processes sounds — and can

actually be — very risky, if not terrifying.

"There seems to be this large-scale worry about geoengineering, which means different things to different people," said Peter Brewer, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Some scientists say the fear and uncertainty stems from a lack of knowledge.

"The public doesn't know a lot because there's not been a lot of public discussion," Brewer said. "This is something that's taking place largely within the science community."

Further opposition to geoengineering research comes from people who believe reducing emissions — the topic of last year's Copenhagen Summit — is the only way to reduce the impact of global warming.

"They start off by saying, 'We are against climate remediation, we think that the only way to do this is by cutting down our emissions. It takes the eye off the ball if you start talking about another way of solving the problem,'" said Richard Lampitt, an oceanographer from the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom.

Lowering the risk

The scientists at Asilomar kept all that in mind as they discussed ways to minimize risk and earn public trust with a set of guidelines to govern research.

Without regulated research, the scientists say, the science community will be unable to advise public officials who may someday ask about the realities of geoengineering.

"We need to ensure that we have the appropriate guidelines for methods," Lampitt said. "The principles, in practice, are established to be appropriate for the research which is required in order to make decisions based on evidence."

The guidelines, to be based on the recommendations of the scientists at the conference, would initially be used as a set of "best practice" methods and standard operating procedures.

They are likely to include strong calls for transparency, peer review and collaboration with local communities.

The document could become useful for public officials drafting binding national laws or as the basis for international treaties, said Wil Burns, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

That is, if they're actually created.

Discussions to continue

Burns was one of several people at the conference who said organizers may have "bitten off more than they can chew" this week.

Even after four days of daylong meetings, scientists argued for more than an hour about the language of Friday's one-page release. Organizers indicated that discussion about the actual guidelines will continue via e-mail.

"There is wide disagreement in terms of where we should be heading," Burns said. "We're in an area of huge scientific uncertainty. That fuels wide discussions, disagreement and difficulty for trying to get to consensus on a set of guidelines."

Scientists, he said, may not be best equipped to work on social issues like regulation.

Brewer, who also said it is unlikely that scientists will agree on a set of regulations, said he is nonetheless glad the conference was held.

"It's exactly the right thing to try, because it's exposing a lot of concepts, ideas and prejudices," he said. "Getting those things out there, it's a lot better thing than not having them out there."

Fund organizes event

The conference was organized by a year-old nonprofit called the Climate Response Fund.

Scientist Margaret Leinen is the founder and CEO of the fund, which paid for the travel and accommodation of some scientists who applied for funding this week. She was also the chief science officer from 2007-2009 at Climos, a private company based in San Francisco that works on geoengineering technologies.

Her son, Dan Whaley, is the founder and CEO of Climos. He also attended this week's conference. Climos has three patent applications pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Two deal with ocean fertilization and a third is for a computer system that uses a formula to assess environmental impact.

The apparent conflict of interest rankled environmental bloggers and raised eyebrows in the science press leading up to the conference.

"I think that everybody's justified in asking these questions and everybody involved, including scientists — and we had several who have their own companies, some of them have intellectual properties, patents on things — need to put all of that on the table," Leinen said.

"If key scientists have patents, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to speak, it means they should have to put that out there. ... We want to welcome all voices but know if there are conflicts."

Leinen and other scientists regularly cited transparency as a key factor in moving forward in geoengineering research.

HERALD QUESTION OF THE DAY Do you think reducing emissions is the only way to combat climate change? o Yes o No Go to: montereyherald .com to place your vote Herald surveys are unscientific

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Broadening ‘Diversity' at Universities | View Clip
03/30/2010
Miller-McCune - Online

Part III of a three-part series: The affirmative action of tomorrow might focus more on class and other proxies for hardship and less on race.

The affirmative action of tomorrow might focus more on class and other proxies for hardship and less on race.

See parts I and II of our three-part series on affirmative action.

In a May 2007 interview, ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Barack Obama whether his daughters should enjoy the benefits of affirmative action. His answer, essentially, was no.

“My daughters should probably be treated by any admissions officer as pretty advantaged,” he said. While noting “there are a lot of African-American kids who are still struggling, white kids who have been brought up in poverty and shown they have what it takes to succeed” deserve to have their difficult backgrounds taken into account when college admissions decisions are made.

Obama, who has since become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was echoing a school of thought that is gradually gaining influence: As more and more African Americans and other minorities join the middle class, perhaps the focus of our universities' affirmative action plans should start to shift from one proxy for hardship, race, to another, class.

A new group of scholars is asking: If diversity is the goal of affirmative action, as Justice Lewis Powell stated in the landmark Bakke decision 30 years ago, why should that be limited to skin color? In terms of life experience and cultural background, who brings more diversity to an Ivy League classroom: The son of a black professor or the daughter of a white truck driver?

“I think there has been a marked change in the past decade, and it has accelerated in the last three or four years,” said Richard Sander, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who has challenged many widely held assumptions concerning affirmative action. “Rick Kahlenberg started it with his

1996 book The Remedy,” which argues many factors should be considered in determining who is disadvantaged, including a prospective student's family structure, neighborhood and net worth.

Few in academia see this approach as a substitute for dealing with racial inequality. As John Yun, an assistant professor of education at the University of California, Santa Barbara points out, more poor people in America are non-Hispanic whites than any other race. He argues that if affirmative action plans were based on class alone, few people of color would make the cut.

But there is a growing acceptance of the idea that the issue of class needs to be addressed. No one doubts that an elite group of upper-class students — the children of wealthy alumni who are regularly solicited for donations — have a significant advantage in the admissions process. Should their presence be balanced with students from less-fortunate families?

“I think the elite institutions of America need to do a far better job on socioeconomic diversity than they have been doing,” said Goodwin Liu, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley who is an expert on, and proponent of, affirmative action. “What (some scholars) are arguing for is a more explicit or automatic bonus for class-based consideration. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.”

“A lot of good programs that are trying to diversify the student body look at both race and class,” said law professor Angelo Ancheta of Santa Clara University. “They understand the intersection of the two. But a lot of schools don't really try to diversify along class lines — especially the elite private universities. Some are eliminating tuition for some low-income families, but there's not the level of economic-class diversity that I'd like to see.”

Indeed, Liu sees the nation's top private and public universities moving in different directions in this regard, particularly as race-based affirmative action programs are outlawed in various states (see the first installment in this series).

“We have at UC Berkeley more Pell Grant recipients (which go to students from low-income families) than all of the Ivy League schools combined,” he said. “UC Berkeley is still doing an incredibly good job being a ladder of upward mobility and opportunity. The flip side of that is the private universities. They have started to expand their financial aid policies, which is good. But they generally have not made a big priority of enrolling low-income kids.

“The odd thing is the Ivy League schools are now more racially diverse, on some metrics, than UC Berkeley — at least with respect to enrolling African-American students. They are continuing to use affirmative action, while UC Berkeley is not. So now we're heading toward

a future in which racial diversity will be consistently achieved by private universities, while the public universities are comparatively less representative of the people they are supposed to serve. Meanwhile, the public schools continue to have tremendous socioeconomic diversity, and the privates have comparatively less.”

Liu contends the socioeconomic diversity at UC Berkeley has taken place “in spite of Proposition 209,” a 1996 California constitutional amendment that outlawed race-based affirmative action. Sander, the law professor at UCLA, argues the exact opposite: That it was only once racial preferences were outlawed that schools were forced to seriously consider socioeconomic status.

“I've been trying for a year to get data that would let me look at this (question) carefully,” he said. “I hope to get it this summer. But even the aggregate data the university has made available makes it clear there was a sharp shift after (Proposition 209) passed in terms of how your socioeconomic background affected your chances of admission.”

Sander considers racial diversity an important goal as well, but he complains that at most law schools — the segment of the educational world he has studied most extensively — “the relative weight between race and socioeconomic status has been 50 to 1. People will say they're both important, but (our top schools) have acted as if only one of them is important.

“If you do a cross-section of law school admissions, you find that at a given test-score level, low-socioeconomic-status students are less likely to be admitted than high-socioeconomic-status students. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it's because admission officers like to see things like ‘I know six languages' or ‘I was an intern for Barbara Boxer.' If you're working class, you don't spend your summers on Capitol Hill; you spend your summers earning money to pay for next year's expenses.”

Sander would like elite universities to move to “a 50-50 focus on race and socioeconomic factors.” Whether that happens will be largely up to judges, admissions officers and voters considering ballot initiatives. But he noted that Obama, if elected president in November, will be in a unique position to lead the nation in that direction. “On the affirmative action issue,” Sander said, “Obama could be sort of like Nixon going to China.”

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Written By:Tom Jacobs

Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Ventura County Star.

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Your Best School May Not Be Among Best Schools | View Clip
03/30/2010
Miller-McCune - Online

Part Two of three-part series: Some contrarians feel affirmative action focuses more on getting in when it should focus on what students are getting out of college.

See Part Two and Part Three of our three-part series on affirmative action.

Groucho Marx's quip “I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member” is considered a classic confession of low self-esteem. But what if the quick-witted man with the mustache was right? What if turning down an invitation from a prestigious organization — say, an educational institution — is ultimately in one's self-interest?

That appears to be the case for some students accepted into top-tier law schools as part of an affirmative action program, said law professor Richard Sander of the University of California, Los Angeles. His provocative research suggests affirmative action, at least on the law school level, may be doing more harm than good.

“We shouldn't be hurting anyone who is being given what is being advertised as help,” insisted Sander, who favors race-conscious admissions strategies in principle but sees huge problems in their implementation. In a landmark study published in the May 2005 Stanford Law Review, he challenges assumptions the educational community has accepted for decades. Among his findings:

“The admission preferences extended to blacks (in America's law schools) are very large and do not successfully identify students who will perform better than one would predict based on their academic indices. Consequently, most black law applicants end up at schools where they will struggle academically and fail at higher rates than they would in the absence of preferences.

“The net trade-off of higher prestige but weaker academic performance substantially harms black performance on bar exams and harms most new black lawyers on the job market. Perhaps most remarkably, a strong case can be made that in the legal education system as a whole, racial preferences end up producing fewer black lawyers each year than would be produced by a race-blind system.”

In an interview, Sander backed off slightly from that final assertion of three years ago. “If part of what affirmative action is doing is persuading minority students that law schools are an inviting place,” the net result may indeed be more black lawyers, he said.

Nevertheless, he remains convinced that many black law students are being hurt by affirmative action. Sander calls this the “mismatch hypothesis,” in which students are admitted into rigorous programs in spite of having LSAT scores and undergraduate grade-point averages that are far below their peers. In such an environment, they understandably find it difficult to keep up. Sander considers this a major reason why black students are far more likely than whites to drop out of law school.

“When a student has credentials much lower than their classmates, it's plausible they will learn less than in an environment where their classmates are closer to them academically,” he said. “I don't think that situation necessarily has bad effects in every learning environment. You can easily imagine situations where being surrounded by stronger peers has a stimulating effect and encourages you to rise to the challenge. But the evidence suggests the effect is quite bad in law school.”

Evidence such as?

“My second Stanford piece looked at a group of law school students, some of whom went to the most elite school that accepted them and others of whom went to the second- or third-most elite school that accepted them,” he said. “They passed up their ‘first choice' school because of geographical or financial concerns. It turned out that the black students who went to less-elite schools were half as likely to fail the bar exam once they graduated, compared to those who went to the more-elite schools.

“That lines up with all sorts of other data we have found. At a number of individual law schools, students who received large preferences have very low bar-passage rates — sometimes in the 20 to 30 percent range, even though students with similar credentials are doing much better at less-elite schools.”

Other scholars who study affirmative action have reacted to these findings with caution and some skepticism, often questioning his methodology. (Sander says follow-up studies by himself and others are coming out later this year, which should put to rest such concerns.) The environment at the nation's top law schools is, arguably, more intense and competitive than it is for undergraduates, so it's not clear if his formula is applicable to higher education as a whole.

“His ‘mismatch hypothesis' — if you're sending someone to the wrong school, they'll get overwhelmed — makes sense in theory,” said Angelo Ancheta, an assistant professor of law at Santa Clara University. “I'm sure that can occur. But I don't think it's an indictment of the entire system of affirmative action.

“No school wants to admit someone who is not qualified and can't do the work. At the margins, you might say, ‘Let's be careful about this particular student.' But I don't think that's sufficient reason to trash the entire system.”

Goodwin Liu, an assistant professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, finds Sander's findings somewhat counterintuitive. “His argument is that black students, over the course of generations, have essentially been fooled by affirmative action,” he said. “They've been told to go to these great schools, at considerable expense, even though, according to him, it eventually hurts them in the aggregate. Is it really possible that over the course of 20 or 30 years, nobody has caught on?

“That's not to say his data is wrong. But if you're going to accept Sander's conclusion, you have to wonder why these students continue to hurt themselves year after year after year by going to those top schools. If you can't (pass the bar or) get a job afterwards, you'd think people would wise up. An alternative thought is there are some effects that Sander identifies, but the students who go to these schools believe there are other benefits that outweigh those costs.”

What happens if additional research shows Sander is right?

“Then the question is should law schools could provide more attention to (these students)?” Liu said. “One implication might be that those better schools should be devoting more attention to the needs of those students to increase their bar-passage rates.”

Sander's unhesitating embrace of that idea suggests he and his critics share a significant amount of common ground.

“We have many elite schools, and even second- and third-tier schools, that (accept certain students on the basis of affirmative action), but don't take any responsibility for the academic outcomes of the beneficiaries of those preferences,” he said. “That's something the profession needs to be concerned about. If schools are going to admit someone, they should track their performance and provide opportunities for interventions if the student is having trouble.”

Of course, that would entail taking a hard look at how well a school is functioning and being willing to make major changes —characteristics that aren't universally true of educational bureaucracies.

“Universities are allergic to asking questions that touch on the area of preferences,” Sander said. “Throughout higher education, we need more transparency and greater accountability.”

Top law schools as ranked in the ninth annual Thomas M. Cooley Law School Judging the Law Schools Study (2007):

1 Harvard University

2 Georgetown University

3 University of Texas

4 University of Virginia

5 Northwestern University

6 New York University

7 Columbia University

8 Yale Law School

9 University of Michigan

10 University of Minnesota

Ranked by total minority enrollment and how the top schools and selected well-known schools compared:

1 Inter American University 833

2 Thomas M. Cooley Law School 805

3 University of Puerto Rico 692

4 Texas Southern University 545

5 Harvard Law School 526

6 Pontifical Catholic University of P.R. 509

7 Loyola Law School 505

8 American University 503

9 Georgetown University 478

10 George Washington University 438

11 University of Texas 416

18 Columbia University 360

20 New York University 345

22 University of California – Los Angeles 321

23 University of Michigan 314

33 Northwestern University 266

35 University of California – Berkeley 264

40 University of Southern California 238

44 University of Pennsylvania 231

68 University of Chicago 179

71 Yale Law School 171

73 Stanford University 168

Ranked by total minority enrollment and how the top schools and selected well-known schools compared:

1 Inter American University 100

1 Pontifical Catholic University of P.R. 100

3 University of Puerto Rico 98.6

4 Howard University 84

5 Texas Southern University 82.8

6 Florida A&M University 68.6

7 University of Hawaii 68.2

8 Southern University 57.5

9 Florida International University 53.9

10 North Carolina Central University 51.6

15 University of Southern California 39.3

20 Northwestern University 34.6

28 University of Texas at Austin 31.7

30 University of California – Los Angeles 31.5

30 Stanford University 31.5

33 Harvard Law School 30.6

34 University of Pennsylvania 30.3

36 University of California – Berkeley 30

37 University of Chicago 29.8

38 Yale Law School 29.5

39 Columbia University 29.2

43 University of Michigan 27.8

51 George Washington University 25.9

60 Georgetown University 24.2

62 New York University 23.9

113 University of Virginia 17.4

Source: Thomas M. Cooley Law School Judging the Law Schools Study 2007

Next: Class and the classroom

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Written By:Tom Jacobs

Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Ventura County Star.

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Conference targets green regulations | View Clip
03/30/2010
San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online

Scientists seek new ways to fight warming

Herald Correspondent

Scientists and regulatory experts from 15 countries gathered at Asilomar Conference Grounds this week to discuss possible regulations that would govern research in the emerging field of climate intervention.

They released a joint press release Friday expressing "deep concern" over the limited efforts to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases and calling for additional research to examine the need for "alternative strategies" to moderate future climate change.

A document with self-regulation guidelines for research will be released in about a month, organizers said.

"Having a governance structure in place is essentially going to help research and help the science community," said Michael MacCracken, who moderated the International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies and is the chief scientist for climate change programs with the Climate Institute in Washington, D.C.

Reducing warming

Climate intervention is a field so new that the senior scientists who attended the five-day meeting don't agree on its name.

Some call it geoengineering; others call it climate remediation. Either way, it involves complex — and, some say, ethically questionable — processes to reduce the impact of global warming.

These range from blocking solar radiation that warms the Earth's surface to efforts to remove and possibly store carbon dioxide from the air or water.

Scientists know the idea of implementing such processes sounds — and can

actually be — very risky, if not terrifying.

"There seems to be this large-scale worry about geoengineering, which means different things to different people," said Peter Brewer, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Some scientists say the fear and uncertainty stems from a lack of knowledge.

"The public doesn't know a lot because there's not been a lot of public discussion," Brewer said. "This is something that's taking place largely within the science community."

Further opposition to geoengineering research comes from people who believe reducing emissions — the topic of last year's Copenhagen Summit — is the only way to reduce the impact of global warming.

"They start off by saying, 'We are against climate remediation, we think that the only way to do this is by cutting down our emissions. It takes the eye off the ball if you start talking about another way of solving the problem,'" said Richard Lampitt, an oceanographer from the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom.

Lowering the risk

The scientists at Asilomar kept all that in mind as they discussed ways to minimize risk and earn public trust with a set of guidelines to govern research.

Without regulated research, the scientists say, the science community will be unable to advise public officials who may someday ask about the realities of geoengineering.

"We need to ensure that we have the appropriate guidelines for methods," Lampitt said. "The principles, in practice, are established to be appropriate for the research which is required in order to make decisions based on evidence."

The guidelines, to be based on the recommendations of the scientists at the conference, would initially be used as a set of "best practice" methods and standard operating procedures.

They are likely to include strong calls for transparency, peer review and collaboration with local communities.

The document could become useful for public officials drafting binding national laws or as the basis for international treaties, said Wil Burns, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

That is, if they're actually created.

Discussions to continue

Burns was one of several people at the conference who said organizers may have "bitten off more than they can chew" this week.

Even after four days of daylong meetings, scientists argued for more than an hour about the language of Friday's one-page release. Organizers indicated that discussion about the actual guidelines will continue via e-mail.

"There is wide disagreement in terms of where we should be heading," Burns said. "We're in an area of huge scientific uncertainty. That fuels wide discussions, disagreement and difficulty for trying to get to consensus on a set of guidelines."

Scientists, he said, may not be best equipped to work on social issues like regulation.

Brewer, who also said it is unlikely that scientists will agree on a set of regulations, said he is nonetheless glad the conference was held.

"It's exactly the right thing to try, because it's exposing a lot of concepts, ideas and prejudices," he said. "Getting those things out there, it's a lot better thing than not having them out there."

Fund organizes event

The conference was organized by a year-old nonprofit called the Climate Response Fund.

Scientist Margaret Leinen is the founder and CEO of the fund, which paid for the travel and accommodation of some scientists who applied for funding this week. She was also the chief science officer from 2007-2009 at Climos, a private company based in San Francisco that works on geoengineering technologies.

Her son, Dan Whaley, is the founder and CEO of Climos. He also attended this week's conference. Climos has three patent applications pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Two deal with ocean fertilization and a third is for a computer system that uses a formula to assess environmental impact.

The apparent conflict of interest rankled environmental bloggers and raised eyebrows in the science press leading up to the conference.

"I think that everybody's justified in asking these questions and everybody involved, including scientists — and we had several who have their own companies, some of them have intellectual properties, patents on things — need to put all of that on the table," Leinen said.

"If key scientists have patents, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to speak, it means they should have to put that out there. ... We want to welcome all voices but know if there are conflicts."

Leinen and other scientists regularly cited transparency as a key factor in moving forward in geoengineering research.

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'Beneath the Ivory Tower' | View Clip
03/30/2010
Inside Higher Ed

Many of us may associate archaeology with excavations in faraway lands, assuming that the discipline's real work takes place far outside the classroom. But more and more universities are now discovering that there is real -- and vital -- archaeology to be done in their own backyards... and front yards. And quads.

In a new book, Beneath the Ivory Tower: The Archaeology of Academia (University Press of Florida), editors Russell K. Skowronek and Kenneth E. Lewis present an array of case studies of academic archaeology: excavations conducted on-campus at Harvard, Notre Dame, the University of South Carolina, and a variety of other institutions. Skowronek, who is professor of history and anthropology at the University of Texas-Pan American, and Lewis, who is professor of anthropology at Michigan State University, responded via e-mail to questions about campus archaeology and other ways to preserve and promote institutional heritage.

Q: What campus archaeology projects have the two of you been involved in? How was the research conducted, and what were the results?

Lewis: I was involved in the excavations at Saints' Rest, a project that explored the site of Michigan State's first dormitory. Since that time, I have assisted the MSU Campus Archaeology Program in a number of surveys, testings, and excavations conducted across our campus. Our work has revealed the discovery of an intact 16,000 year old sand dune, as well as the first academic building built on MSU's campus, College Hall. Additionally, the research has provided insight into the nature of an institution of higher education, as one that is rapidly changing its physical landscape to keep up with the latest educational and technological advances.

Skowronek: I was a professor at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif. for 18 years. Santa Clara is the oldest institution of higher education west of the Mississippi and is the only school to stand on the site of a Franciscan Spanish-colonial mission site. Little did I know when I joined the faculty in 1991 that the school was about to embark on a 15-year period of “bricks and mortar” expansion that would create a dozen new structures and related infrastructure. Under the campus of the university is a 2,400-year-old Native American cemetery, the Spanish and Mexican-era mission complex, parts of the 19th and 20th century town of Santa Clara and more than a century and a half (it was founded in 1851) of deposits related to Santa Clara University.

During my tenure I created the Santa Clara University Archaeology Research Lab as a clearing house for on-campus research. In California environmental laws pertaining to historic resources are enforced. Because little had been done by my predecessors (the first archaeologist was hired in 1978), and what had been done was not systematically recorded, we had a virtual tabula rasa. With the support of the Office of the President, the energy of my students, all of who are undergraduates, other professionals in the community, eventually a full-time assistant, and a series of cultural resource management firms, we developed an on-campus lab with an occasional publication series, a small research library, comparative faunal collections, and artifact collections and data-base. For the last 15 years of my time at Santa Clara every student in “Introduction to Archaeology” had a “hands-on” experience in the lab. These are things and activities usually only found in large research universities and yet we were able to do it with undergraduates. Prior to the establishment of the Archaeology Research Lab, there was nothing written on the archaeology of the campus. It is worth noting that many reports and publications were co-authored, with students and other professionals.

Q: Why is it important to conduct archaeological excavations on campuses?

Lewis: Conducting archaeological investigations on a college or university campus is important for a number of reasons. All of these relate to making the university's past relevant both to its ongoing role as an institution as well as to its students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the larger university community.

At Michigan State, the Saints' Rest excavation underlined the importance of this work and led to the creation of a Campus Archaeology Program as a means of demonstrating that the University is acting as a good steward towards its cultural resources. Professor Lynne Goldstein and her team have shown that campus archaeology provides a means for an anthropology department to conduct research, educate students, and engage communities about archaeology and their own history in exciting, visible, and tangible ways. Archaeology of academics is important because it presents an opportunity for the history of higher education to be studied in new ways. These programs also have a unique impact on students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Considering the great importance of higher education to society, it is surprising that this area has not received a great deal of study previously. Campus archaeology is a way for researchers, faculty, staff, students and alumni to connect with their campus in a very different way.

Skowronek: All schools, colleges, and universities have a land base. Under those campuses may be preserved evidence of prehistoric, nonacademic, or early academic life. These are natural laboratories for the study of local and institutional histories and should be used for education and research. Academic institutions of higher education are prized locally, regionally and sometimes nationally or internationally. Of course this flows from their faculty, famous alumni, sports prowess, and age. It is fair to say that the most venerable schools in the country are among the oldest. The “Ivy League” was named for its old ivy-covered structures. Their stories need to be told and archaeology can tell stories that were never recorded in campus newspapers and official histories.

Q: Several essays in the book mention that academic archaeology has the potential to involve and promote collaboration among faculty from various disciplines; was this your experience? What other disciplines might be involved, and why?

Lewis: Because historical archaeology is by its nature interdisciplinary, the Saints' Rest project brought together scholars from a number of academic disciplines at MSU including Geography, Geology, Forestry, History, the MSU Museum, and the MSU Archives and Historical Collections. The Campus Archaeology Program has continued this collaboration. Equally importantly, however, has been collaboration with non-academic units. For example, the Campus Archaeology Program has worked side-by-side with the MSU Physical Plant, working together to mitigate archaeological sites. Oftentimes physical plant workers have stripped sod, removed sidewalks, or excavated units with backhoes to help speed our excavations. Efforts have been made to incorporate landscapers, construction workers, and engineers into learning about archaeology, and showing them how our research is done, what it can tell us and them about our shared past. This is a unique feature of campus archaeology that many other researchers do not have the opportunity to do: engage the people who make campuses run everyday in the actual process of our research and work.

Skowronek: Clearly collaboration is a good idea. Over the years I was fortunate to work in productive ways with colleagues in anthropology, art history, biology, engineering, history, modern languages and music. Dietary and DNA analyses of prehistoric remains and facial reconstructions of same was one of the positive outcomes. Other students worked with historic Spanish-language documents, translating and analyzing them. Some students analyzed deposits associated with the historic town and campus. Two students helped develop a remotely operated vehicle for NASA (we were located near Moffat Field in the Bay Area). To be used on Io, one of the moons of Jupiter, we test-piloted it on potential shipwreck sites in Alaska. The last collaboration with students and faculty from music led to the performance and recording of music from the era of the mission. This work helped us celebrate the sesquicentennial of the school and the city. From ground-penetrating radar to the interpretation of satellite and aerial imagery, faculty from across the disciplines could be part of such projects.

For all of the good that came from this work I sadly note that two of my collaborators in anthropology and art history were not tenured even after they had worked and published on this campus-focused research. Against my protestations I was told that this sort of research was not the sort valued for tenure and promotion. I often wonder how much more we could have done if my colleagues had not been so narrow-minded.

Q: Both of you, as well as the book's contributing authors, stress the value of on-campus excavations, but it's also clear that these projects are costly and time-consuming. How can an institution know whether such an undertaking makes sense for its campus?

Lewis: Although archaeology involves certain expenditures of time and labor, the cost of these can be minimized with adequate planning. At MSU, the Campus Archaeology Program was developed so that on-campus excavations could be integrated into the regular process of a construction project. The time it takes to complete a project is now built into the time to complete a construction project. Because much of the cost of contracting such a project is due to labor costs, Universities can often utilize their students to conduct the excavations: this becomes a more manageable cost, because it can be turned into an educational opportunity. Campus Archaeology, for example, has a graduate student who works with construction companies and Physical Plant to coordinate the projects. Other students are used to do the excavations, and they learn proper techniques and gain valuable experience. Occasionally, a Field School might be necessary, where a large group of students excavates a site for 5-6 weeks. In this case, it is offered as an on-campus field school, which saves the Department and students money: typically, field schools have associated housing, food, and transportation costs. By having the field school on campus, students attend just as they would any other summer school class. Using students may not always work, but with proper planning and a coordinated program, it not only can work, it can be part of the educational and research mission.

Skowronek: First, a school should conduct a survey of its historic resources, both standing and buried. Federal guidelines for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places can help situate the significance of the campus land-base. Clearly, these may go beyond that of the school and may well include prehistoric or other historic resources. At the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee there are a series of ancient (approximately 8-9,000-year-old) Native American habitation sites as well as the remnants of the Civil War-era and subsequent campus. Some schools (e.g., Tuskegee) have seen inclusion on the National Register as a way of celebrating their historic past. Others have feared that such designations could tie the hands of the school should they wish to demolish historic structures or build on sensitive sites. By knowing what resources are present on a campus “problems” can be forestalled by simply moving the area of potential impact to less-sensitive zones.

Schools should seriously consider such surveys as their faculty and the schools themselves accept federal grants. It should be remembered that the federal government must comply with preservation laws. Thus, when federal funds are appropriated to the California Department of Transportation for highway construction, they are obligated to follow federal guidelines. Years ago I was admonished by my colleague in the National Park Service, “They just don't make historic sites anyone. We have one chance to get this right. Don't blow it.”

There are cost issues to consider should universities be contemplating the establishment of an in-house archaeology research lab. The first is the reality that initiating this is a commitment in perpetuity and should not be considered to be a “cult of personality” with the collections to be “disposed of” once the professor leaves or retired. Archaeological collections are the equivalent of archives. They are unique and are comprised of not only artifacts but other related materials including photographs, maps, drawings, and reports. Previous work at Santa Clara had created a collection of mission-era materials that might have cost $250,000 to curate at another facility. Since 1994 that collection has grown fourfold. Annually the university spent approximately $70,000 for a full-time archaeologist assistant, student assistants and the operating budget (travel, copying, materials etc.). These individuals often monitored small construction projects, which led to a savings in those costs for the university. It must be remembered that large-scale construction projects such as that associated with buildings may require the hiring of other personnel or cultural resource management firms, especially if there are known cultural deposits.

Q: The book's closing essay (written by Skowronek) mentions a 1999 effort by the Associated Colleges of the South to "consider the place of heritage resources in the environmental stewardship, educational, and operational programs" of its member colleges. What exactly is heritage resource management, and why is it necessary for colleges and universities?

Lewis: Heritage resource management usually refers to caring for places deemed to have archaeological, architectural, and historical significance and ensuring that the oversight of such places is in compliance with environmental and historic preservation laws. Colleges and universities are often homes to important heritage resources, but often are strapped for funds and find themselves in the position of trying to do things in the least expensive way. How do you improve, fix, expand, build, or otherwise tamper with important heritage resources, while at the same time try to manage and be a proper steward for those resources? Universities and colleges should be using the experts on their own campuses to help them develop plans for management, planning, and stewardship, rather than letting themselves get into the problems of trying to cut corners, making bad last-minute decisions, and unintentionally destroying or harming an important heritage resource.

Skowronek: Heritage resource management is the realization that our respective campuses are unique. Their cultural and natural histories lend themselves to study by students and faculty and it should be the business of the administration and physical plant to preserve and celebrate these unique qualities. We sometimes “talk the talk” about being ethically responsible to our students. If we ask this of them, we must in turn ask ourselves if we are “walking the walk” on our campuses. Under the leadership of a number of devoted faculty Santa Clara made genuine efforts to “Go green” over the past dozen years. Energy efficient buildings, recycled paper and gray water, and no-flush toilets were the order of the day. Sadly, we also demolished two historic buildings, and “relocated” a colony of burrowing owls (an endangered species). Similarly, a native plant garden was planted and a series of wayside exhibits (shown in the book) were developed, initially against the wishes of the Board of Regents, who wondered why we would want such “ugly trees” on campus and were similarly concerned that we were transforming the campus into a historic site. The projects went ahead (to the enjoyment of many), and in fact some prehistoric Native Americans were reburied in the shade of the newly reconstituted native plant garden. Unfortunately, there are now plans to expand the neighboring building, which will destroy the garden and result in the disinterment of the reburied individuals. Long-term planning would have forestalled what will now be a potentially contentious issue in the future.

Q: For those institutions that have an interest in heritage resource management, but for which it is impractical or impossible to conduct an on-campus archaeological dig, what other initiatives or projects might also be beneficial? Do you know of any resources for faculty, staff, or students interested in exploring these ideas?

Lewis: Any project that is working towards the stewardship of a University's heritage resources is beneficial. Using online space through digital humanities-type projects, or creating exhibits across a campus discussing the heritage of a certain building or location could help to preserve the resources of that space. By making communities more aware of what their space means to them, you in turn encourage them to take better care of their surroundings. This in itself is part of the process of resource management. I recommend contacting the MSU Campus Archaeology Program for suggestions as to how to carry out such a program on your campus.

Skowronek: I would urge them to buy and read our book and would suggest they work with the National Park Service and other agencies that look holistically at the cultural and natural landscape. I point them towards two individuals. Dr. Major McCollough of the Tennessee Valley Authority, who put together the Heritage Resource Management conference in 1999 -- which planted the seed for this book -- and Dr. Richard Waldbauer of the National Park Service, who has worked assiduously with colleges to educate them in the ways of heritage resource management.

I suggest faculty and their students start small. Review the historic literature on the campus and its environs. Do an inventory of historic structures and of plant and animal species. Create a composite map of the campus showing how it changed through time. If they have access for ground-penetrating radar, map the grounds and all of the buried infrastructure. There are a lot of things we can do that are not intrusive and are very low-cost, and will reveal much about our very special place.

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More Firms Getting Involved in Smart Grid Work | View Clip
03/30/2010
Interiors & Sources - Online

“With regards to smart grid, we're on the brink of a flood of smart grid projects,” says Wanda Reder, chairwoman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Smart Grid Task Force. “The federal government released $4.3 billion in economic stimulus money for smart grid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in December.”

Reder and IEEE are not the only ones planning to invest in smart grid technology. A recent new market special issue of The Zweig Letter from ZweigWhite outlines the reasons why more firms are getting involved in smart grid work and the myriad opportunities that should be available in this arena.

“There's a lot of opportunity,” says Reder. “The time is now. We have more money, more incentive, and more interest in taking this to a whole new level. We're thinking about the consumers more than ever before. With the communication piece of smart grid, it's all about making this a system of systems.”

According to Godfrey Mungal, dean of the Santa Clara University School of Engineering, as many as 30 employees of local engineering firms attended a one-day smart grid overview at the school last fall. Mungal says the program is likely to be repeated next fall and that smart grid could eventually be included more formally in the school's graduate certificate program on renewable energy.

“Many engineers look at smart grid as where the future is, and they see job openings that fit with what they're doing here,” says Mungal. “The Obama administration has made it pretty clear this is a priority for them.”

Additionally, Reder sees no end in sight for smart grid advancements and improvements now that the “genie is out of the bottle.”

“There's always going to be an opportunity to make the grid a little smarter, a little more dynamic,” says Reder. State and local utilities are likely to follow the federal wave of activity; however, many states aren't involved in smart grid yet because they haven't yet adopted legislation. According to Reder, California “has always been a leader in the thinking, but all states are in different spots of this challenge."

Additional information about the growing work in smart grid can be found in the full issue of The Zweig Letter at www.zweigwhite.com/p-927-new-markets-focus.aspx.

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Academic Coverage of Sports and Steroids | View Clip
03/30/2010
Miller-McCune - Online

More than 20 years of published articles on performance-enhancing drugs have ranged from identifying the damage the drugs have on the individual to the damage they have on society as a whole.

Steroid use in sports might only be a matter of cheating, not lawbreaking, if it weren't for the ban.

As the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform continues its probe into the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, and Olympic sprinter Marion Jones prepares for her six-month prison sentence for lying about using them, we look back at some of the academic literature that helped define the debate.

The trajectory of academic coverage in the past quarter century has followed an arc that begins with the health effects of the performance-enhancing drugs, through efforts to regulate them, and onto the current ethical considerations …

At the dawning of the steroid era, in 1984, David R. Lamb posed the essential, almost innocent questions in the Journal of Sports Medicine: “Anabolic steroids in athletics: How well do they work, and how dangerous are they?” His conclusion would become the standard verdict on the issue for the next decade: “Anabolic steroids cause interrupted growth and virilization in children, birth defects in the unborn, severe virilization in women, and testicular atrophy and reduced blood levels of gonatropins and testosterone in adult males. In addition, the oral preparations of anabolic steroids are associated with liver dysfunction, including carcinoma and peliosis hepatis, and a number of other disorders including unpredictable changes in mood, aggression and libido.”

But by 1990, an article in the American Journal of Sports Medicine – “Illicit anabolic steroid use in athletes: A case series analysis” – was arguing that previous attempts to study the effects of steroids were already old news, thanks to innovations in the way athletes administer performance-enhancers: “This case series analysis clearly points out that past anabolic steroid efficacy studies are irrelevant by today's standards since athletes are simultaneously using higher doses and multiple drug treatment regimens.”

Nevertheless, anabolic steroids were added to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act in the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990. Seven years later, The Journal of Sport and Social Issues published “Sports Illustrated, the ‘War on Drugs,' and the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990: A study in Agenda Building and Political Timing.” The paper explored the links between the legislative effort in 1990 to ban steroids and Sports Illustrated's aggressive coverage of the steroid issues throughout the previous decade. “Whether steroids should have been legislated is open to debate,” the authors wrote. “Each side of the issue has convincing support, yet each side has its pitfalls.”

By 1996, the International Review for the Sociology of Sport was actually asking: “Does the Ban on Drugs in Sport Improve Societal Welfare?” The answer was an unequivocal, perhaps surprising, “no.” “[R]ather than improving societal welfare by protecting the health of athletes, the ban, by denying athletes access to medical advice and treatment, in fact increases athletes' health risks,” the authors wrote. “The majority of the deaths and impairment of the health of athletes that have occurred during the ban would not have occurred in the absence of the ban … Removal of the ban would result in an improvement in societal welfare by creating fairer sporting contests and reducing health risks facing athletes.”

As the debate over steroids spread far behind America's shores, international perspectives on doping and athletes began to have an increasing impact on the literature. In “Hero or Hypocrite: United States and International Media Portrayals of Carl Lewis amid Revelations of a Positive Drug Test” in The International Review for the Sociology of Sport, the authors said of the coverage of Lewis' positive steroid test: “Journalists writing in the United States largely dismissed the news, while those writing for newspapers published internationally portrayed Lewis and the United States Olympic Committee as sanctimonious and hypocritical.”

And in the past couple of years, researchers have begun looking beyond the physical to the mental and emotional impact of steroids on athletes. In 2006, the Journal of Health Psychology published the paper“Experiences of Anabolic Steroid Use: In-depth Interviews with Men and Women Body Builders.” Asked whether knowing all the side effects beforehand would have stopped him from taking steroids, a bodybuilder named John told the study's authors: “No, I would still have took them. I don't think that knowing about side-effects would have had any influence on me then. Looking back, if I knew then what I know now I'd probably have still took them. If I had known the side-effects I experienced and suffered I would probably still have taken them. I was, I felt so strongly about taking them.”

Still, steroid use in sports might only be a matter of cheating, not lawbreaking, if it weren't for the ban.

“Society cares because steroid use is a form of cheating,” Michael Dillingham, an orthopedist and team physician for the San Francisco 49ers and Giants, Stanford University and Santa Clara University, wrote for that university's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics four years ago. “Since steroids work so well, they create an unfair advantage for those who take them, and this breaks the social contract athletes have implicitly agreed to: We are going to have a fair contest.”

To be sure, the current congressional investigation is bound to produce its share of scholarly analysis in future years — some of it, no doubt, questioning the need for such an investigation in the first place.

In July 2005, attorney Philip Sweitzer wrote to Members of the House Committee on Government Reform and the Senate Committee on Commerce, arguing that the Schedule III status of steroids showed a “disregard of scientific reality for symbolic effect.” Others have joined the chorus arguing for the decriminalization of anabolic steroids; however, the U.S. government's position remains unchanged.

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Written By:Matt Palmquist

A graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Matt Palmquist, a former Miller-McCune staff writer, began his career at daily newspapers such as The Oregonian and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In 2001, he became a staff writer at the SF Weekly in San Francisco, where he won several local and national awards. He also wrote a humorous current affairs column called "The Apologist," which he continued upon leaving the Weekly and beginning a freelance career.

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Catholic Church Sex Scandal & Celibacy | View Clip
03/30/2010
New American - Online, The

Written by Selwyn Duke

After getting in my car the other night, this writer turned on a radio show hosted by a man renowned as a rare moderate in talk radio, although he's most notable for only moderately deep thinking.He was talking about the Catholic Church sex scandal, and he fielded a caller proposing a unique solution: allow priests to have concubines. This prompted the host to chime in and opine that perhaps the discipline of celibacy should be revisited. After all, said he, it's only the Catholic Church that has “these problems.” It's the kind of shallow analysis that passes for social commentary today.

First, the notion that only the Catholic Church “has these problems” is a media-generated fiction. In fact, a recent AP investigation found that sexual misconduct — and cover-ups to avoid scandal — are rampant in the government school system. It discovered 1,801 educators who were found guilty of sexual misconduct with youths between 2001 and 2005 alone. Moreover, reports the AP, this is the tip of the iceberg, as most cases go unreported.

Then, Wapedia adds perspective, writing, “A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse by Dr. Thomas Plante of Stanford University and Santa Clara University states that ‘available research suggests that approximately 2 to 5% of priests have had a sexual experience with a minor' which ‘is lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to 8%.'” Thus, it's clear that it isn't only the Catholic Church that has these problems.

Returning to celibacy, the idea that it lies at the sex scandal's heart is a common one. It's also an uncommonly silly one. Let's examine it.

Here, I suppose, is the theory: Absolutely normal men, bursting with sexual energy, say to themselves, “That's it! The passion is just too much — I can contain myself no longer! Where are the altar boys?”

It sounds ridiculous because it is. Obviously, if it were just a matter of men with untamable libidos, the transgressors would have had affairs with women. This not only is what would appeal to men with normal sexual desires, they also would not have created the same kind of scandal or risked total personal destruction and serious prison time.

Clearly, the celibacy theory is much like saying that all we had to do was find Jeffrey Dahmer a good wife and he would have stopped killing and eating people. As any psychologist will tell you, a homosexual attraction to boys — or any sexual perversion, for that matter — is a deep-seated problem. It is not something ameliorated by a change in venue, lifestyle, or career. The only thing that can change is where the individual finds his victims.

It's also interesting how many everyday folks, many of whom aren't themselves Catholic, behave as if they have some personal vested interest in overturning celibacy. If I didn't know better, I'd suppose these people were thinking of joining a seminary and found the practice the only impediment to their aims. But since I do know better, I'd say that the attitude reflects today's libertine priorities. Moderns are raised with the idea that sex is the end-all and be-all and that people — especially men — are supposed to be in a perpetual state of heat. (I'm sure you've heard that famous “statistic” stating that the average man thinks about sex every 20 seconds. Well, I'm glad I'm not average because I'd never get any writing done.) Thus, they think there is something bizarre about someone who doesn't indulge the flesh.

Even more significantly and as funny as it sounds, there's the matter of misery loving company. People are often made very uncomfortable by standards to which they cannot measure up, so they tend to want to bring them down. It's the same factor that causes children to tease the “goodie-goodie” and try to lower him to their level.

Jealousy factors into this equation, too. People tend to be envious of those in possession of good things they lack, and virtue, holiness, is a good thing. Many will scoff at this analysis, especially since those plagued by these motivations usually aren't fully aware of them (knowing thyself is rare). But I have seen this firsthand during the course of my life.

Whatever the psychology, however, there is a simple fact here: There is nothing unusual about celibacy. To the best of my knowledge, every major religion places value on asceticism, which involves denial of the flesh in all ways. And the irony here is that, for all their scoffing, most moderns do have a sense of what holiness should be.

Just consider the matter of Eastern holy men. When we think of such people, we not only accept celibacy, we expect it. When a long-haired Westerner imagines an Eastern monk, he perhaps envisions a bearded fellow adorned in robes sitting in the Lotus position. And if he ventured to the Far East in search of such a man, took a long trek into Tibet on foot and instead found the monk blasting rap music, dining lavishly and imbibing copiously amidst his harem, the disappointment would be intense. The Westerner may be hooked on decadence, he may ultimately seek designer religion and enlightenment without effort. But just like someone who doesn't really have the discipline to master golf but nevertheless wants the best teaching pro, he wants the real McCoy.

Yet, ironically, what is revered in the Eastern holy man is reviled in the Western one. The modern looks at the Eastern monk's asceticism and supposes the fellow has something he does not, yet he looks at the Western priest's asceticism and supposes that he has something the fellow should. It truly is a prejudice, an example of how “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

In fact, it has bred so much of it that the Catholic Church is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. It is condemned when a few of its officers exhibit the vice of the wider society — and when virtually all of them exhibit the virtue it possesses not.

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Where did all the day traders go? Some are still out there
03/29/2010
International Herald Tribune

Remember the day traders?

They were hard to miss in the United States during the technology stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons where a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it has been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but your underwear.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

"Banks are seeing a nice little lift," he said, staring at computer screens one Wednesday morning, while sipping coffee from a mug. "The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch."

Mr. Lindloff, 49, was sitting in his living room here in a city known as "surfer's paradise," about 25 miles, or 40 kilometers, north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appeared to be alone. In fact, he had plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he was speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is "about helping traders find success through virtual technology," according to the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it is just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the "virtual shoulder" of two veteran stock traders, but you do not really see anyone's shoulder. It is more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers had logged in.

"Citigroup's at $4.10," said Mr. Gomez, 43, who was in his home in San Diego. "Probably going to hang around that strike price."

"AMD is at an interesting stop there, too," said Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

"Keep it tight," said Mr. Gomez. "Don't fight the momentum."

All the while, subscribers sent questions and shared ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

"DRYS over 6."

"MNKD short?"

"Watching this ALD."

"HBAN?"

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage.

The stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game.

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, "If the pros can do it, so can we," the motto today is, "We can't do much worse than the pros."

"There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb," said Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. "Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage."

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience that morning demonstrated. Before lunch, he would buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He started off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting ("I don't know what they do," he said), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, turned things around.

"Up $210," he said, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he had made $60.

It is hard to say how many day traders are plying their craft, if that is the right word, in the United States. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two were sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expected them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, they looked like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional "goddangit," Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he could not resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

"I knew I wanted to trade," he said.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez said was the more skilled of the two, said he averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the past 10 years, even during the worst part of the recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

"I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day," he said, "and take my earnings out of that account to live."

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: Trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

"More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable," said a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits had been wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

So why do people persist in this line of work?

"The technical term is thrill-seeking," said Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of "Beyond Greed and Fear," an exploration of investors' mindscapes. "There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge."

If Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

"Eighty percent of it is camaraderie," said Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits.

"Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, 'That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better."

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Mr. Gomez said that day trading had become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to buy and sell huge numbers of shares automatically in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, skill and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

Copyright © 2010 The New York Times

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More Firms Getting Involved in Smart Grid Work | View Clip
03/29/2010
Buildings Magazine - Online

“With regards to smart grid, we're on the brink of a flood of smart grid projects,” says Wanda Reder, chairwoman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Smart Grid Task Force. “The federal government released $4.3 billion in economic stimulus money for smart grid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in December.”

Reder and IEEE are not the only ones planning to invest in smart grid technology. A recent new market special issue of The Zweig Letter from ZweigWhite outlines the reasons why more firms are getting involved in smart grid work and the myriad opportunities that should be available in this arena.

“There's a lot of opportunity,” says Reder. “The time is now. We have more money, more incentive, and more interest in taking this to a whole new level. We're thinking about the consumers more than ever before. With the communication piece of smart grid, it's all about making this a system of systems.”

According to Godfrey Mungal, dean of the Santa Clara University School of Engineering, as many as 30 employees of local engineering firms attended a one-day smart grid overview at the school last fall. Mungal says the program is likely to be repeated next fall and that smart grid could eventually be included more formally in the school's graduate certificate program on renewable energy.

“Many engineers look at smart grid as where the future is, and they see job openings that fit with what they're doing here,” says Mungal. “The Obama administration has made it pretty clear this is a priority for them.”

Additionally, Reder sees no end in sight for smart grid advancements and improvements now that the “genie is out of the bottle.”

“There's always going to be an opportunity to make the grid a little smarter, a little more dynamic,” says Reder. State and local utilities are likely to follow the federal wave of activity; however, many states aren't involved in smart grid yet because they haven't yet adopted legislation. According to Reder, California “has always been a leader in the thinking, but all states are in different spots of this challenge."

Additional information about the growing work in smart grid can be found in the full issue of The Zweig Letter at www.zweigwhite.com/p-927-new-markets-focus.aspx.

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Getting into college fraught with angst for seniors | View Clip
03/29/2010
Press Democrat - Online

Petaluma High School student Shelby Parks, 17, was accepted to USC but was not accepted at UC Berkeley or UCLA.

Arturro Nuñez thought he had done what it takes.

He earned a 3.79 grade point average at Healdsburg High School, played soccer for the Hounds and works every weekend at a local market.

But Nuñez has been rocked with more college rejection letters than he ever imagined.

While UC Santa Cruz, Sonoma State University, Santa Clara University and San Jose State offered him spots in their freshman classes, he was turned down by UC Berkeley, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine.

His so-called “safety schools” suddenly became his only choices.

“I'm not going to lie, it's been a horrible week,” he said moments after finding out he had been rejected by Cal. “It just proves how competitive it has gotten.”

Nuñez is far from alone. In fact, he's in the company of some of Sonoma County's brightest high school students as a record number of applicants seek a shrinking number of freshman slots.

“For public schools, it's the worst I have ever seen,” said Technology High counselor Laura Triantafyllos. “I have kids crying, parents crying. They have worked so hard.”

Counselors across Sonoma County are hearing from top-notch students this month as state colleges and universities send word to those who are in and those who are out. Private schools are expected to begin sending out letters this Thursday.

“It's the most challenging time for students who have worked hard to achieve their dream school and are finding that dream requires readjustment. They are taking a look at backup plans like they never thought they would need to,” said Joan Walsh, a counselor at Petaluma High School.

“I would say this is the most challenging year yet.”

More than 609,000 undergraduate applications were submitted to the CSU system this year, and another 100,320 to UC campuses.

At the same time, shrinking budgets have caused the UC system to cut freshman enrollment by 1,500 students this fall, and the CSU system to cut 40,000 over two years.

And those who are admitted will pay significantly more to attend. CSU and UC fees will go up 30 and 32 percent respectively.

For the first time, some UC campuses are using waiting lists as an enrollment management tool, but if CSU's experience is any indication, few will ever make the jump. Of 1,368 students who accepted San Diego State's offer to be wait-listed last year, for example, none were offered spots.

Enduring that kind of limbo “takes a very unique student,” said Laurie Nimmo, a scholarship coordinator at Healdsburg High School who also runs an independent college counseling business.

The uncertainty also has pushed some Sonoma County students to look out of state.

Bob Pawlan's son Drew was turned down by San Diego State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was wait-listed at Long Beach State and earned admission at Oregon State University and Arizona State University.

He also was accepted at Syracuse University in New York with a financial aid package that would pay $43,000 of the private school's $51,000 annual price tag.

Bob Pawlan said his son is thinking about making the leap, even though he has never set foot on the campus.

“I would love for him to go to Oregon State, if financially we could, but how can we turn down a package like that?” he said.

Schools around the country are keeping a keen eye on California's finances and are tweaking their sales pitches, according to Triantafyllos.

“Kids are telling me they are worried about not getting classes and graduating in four years,” she said. “They might pay more, but they'll get the classes and they'll graduate in four years. Private schools are pitching that, too.”

Shelby Parks, a senior at Petaluma High, would like to stay in California to be closer to her family, but she's also keeping her fingers crossed for Columbia University in New York. She was rejected by UCLA and Berkeley, where her sister goes, and accepted by USC, UC Davis, UC Irvine and University of San Diego.

“I can see myself at any of the schools that I applied to or I wouldn't have wasted my time,” Parks said.

In this ultra-competitive market, Christie Sweeney is ready to barter with financial aid officers as her son Nicholas, a senior at Healdsburg High, fields acceptance and rejection notices.

“Say Tulane offers us even more money,” she said. “I could call up Western New England (College) and say, ‘Tulane is going to give me this much money for my kid to go there. Can you match it?'

“If that's the way I'm going to get him into school, I'm putting myself out there.”

It's not a bad strategy, advisors say.

Colleges want the best candidates and in some cases will work hard to get them, said Vic Berliant, owner of Tuition Funding Solutions, a college financial aid consulting service based in San Rafael.

Just as students are competing for spots, colleges and universities are competing for top students, Berliant said. Sometimes they will reach deeper into their financial aid coffers to nab them.

“Stanford will see Harvard and Yale and Berkeley (on a student's application), and they certainly don't want to lose a kid to Berkeley,” he said. “They'll say, ‘We need to come up with money for this kid.'”

In this economic climate, many private schools have deeper pockets than their public school counterparts, Berliant said.

“Without hesitation, students should apply to private universities because the private schools still have more money than schools like Cal State and the UCs,” he said.

But for this year's crop of seniors and their parents, disappointment and frustration are common themes.

Students who have worked diligently only to be told “No thanks” will learn many lessons, but the sting is real.

“How do you explain how they picked someone else?” said Candace Parks, mother of Petaluma High senior, Shelby. “You have to learn how to handle rejection. That's life.”

Nuñez also remains philosophical.

“There is nothing I can do to fix it, so life goes on, I guess,” Nuñez said. “I will get over it.”

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Yen, Dollar Drop as Stocks, Commodities Rally, Buoying Risk | View Clip
03/29/2010
Bloomberg News - Online

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- The yen and dollar fell against most of their major counterparts as global equities and commodities rose, encouraging investors to increase bets on higher-yielding currencies.

The euro gained as Greece sold 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) of bonds in the first sale since European leaders agreed last week on a plan to support the nation as it works to cut a deficit. Japan's currency fell for a fourth day against the euro in the longest losing streak in five weeks before a report this week forecast to show the U.S. added jobs in March.

“The theme is positive risk and global gains in equity markets,” said Vassili Serebriakov, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo & Co. in New York. “While the euro is stronger today, the overall weakness is in yen and dollar.”

The yen declined 0.5 percent to 124.66 per euro at 5 p.m. in New York, from 124.06 on March 26. The euro advanced 0.5 percent to $1.3483, from $1.3410. Japan's currency was little changed at 92.46 per dollar, compared with 92.52. It slipped to 92.96 yen on March 25, the weakest level since Jan. 8.

Stocks rose, with both the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the MSCI World Index gaining 0.6 percent. The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials increased 2.1 percent.

Consumer spending in the U.S. increased 0.3 percent last month, in line with forecasts, after rising a revised 0.4 percent in January, a Commerce Department report showed.

Mexican Peso

Mexico's peso touched the strongest level since November 2008, appreciating as much as 0.7 percent to 12.4134 per dollar, as signs of U.S. economic recovery spurred speculation the Latin American nation's exports will increase. The Australian dollar posted its biggest gain in almost six weeks versus its U.S. counterpart after central bank governor Glenn Stevens said interest rates may need to increase.

The euro rose after the European Union enlisted the assistance of the International Monetary Fund last week to help Greece finance the region's biggest budget deficit should it run out of options in capital markets.

Prime Minister George Papandreou's government has to complete as much as 15.5 billion euros of its 2010 fundraising by the end of May, according to an estimate from the nation's debt agency.

Greece sold 5 billion euros of bonds due in April 2017, the Athens-based Public Debt Management Agency said in an e-mailed statement. They were priced to yield 3.10 basis points more than the benchmark mid-swap rate, according to the statement.

‘Positive' for Euro

“The Greek story is positive for the euro and arguably more positive than the market is taking it,” said Sebastien Galy, a currency strategist at BNP Paribas SA in New York. “They're pricing in less and less risk of default.”

The euro has depreciated 5.9 percent against the dollar this quarter, heading for its biggest loss since the three months ended Sept. 30, 2008, two weeks after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed.

The dollar pared its decline against the euro today as U.S. 10-year Treasuries widened their yield advantage relative to similar-maturity German debt. The spread between the two securities increased 5 basis points to 73 basis points, or 0.73 percentage point, Bloomberg data show.

“Everyone is trying to sell the rallies” in the euro, said Hidetoshi Yanagihara, a senior currency trader at Mizuho Corporate Bank in New York, who predicted the 16-nation currency may fall as low as $1.25 by June. “It may be that some risk aversion may be expected toward the end of this week.”

U.S. Employment

U.S. employers added 184,000 jobs in March, the most since 2007, according to the median forecast of 79 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The Labor Department is scheduled to release its payrolls report on April 2.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. ended bets on a falling dollar last week after the trades lost 2.8 percent. Strategists are raising greenback forecasts at the fastest pace since last March, just before U.S. stimulus efforts that poured as much as $12.8 trillion into the economy ended the currency's strongest rally in 28 years. Median predictions for the dollar against 47 currencies tracked in Bloomberg surveys rose an average of 1.4 percentage points in the month to March 24.

The difference in the number of wagers by hedge funds and other large speculators on a decline in the euro compared with those on a gain was a record 74,917 contracts on March 23, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The Australian dollar strengthened 1.5 percent, its biggest intraday gain since Feb. 16, to 91.77 U.S. cents, from 90.41 cents on March 26.

Stevens, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said in an interview broadcast on the nation's Channel Seven that house prices are “getting quite high” and interest rates may need to rise to contain inflation. The central bank meets on April 6.

To contact the reporters on this story: Inyoung Hwang in New York at ihwang7@bloomberg.net; Oliver Biggadike in New York at obiggadike@bloomberg.net

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Hersh Shefrin, a professor at Santa Clara University, talks with Bloomberg's Betty Liu about the "herd mentality" among investors and the outlook for the U.S. dollar.

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Arjuna Mahendran, investment strategist at HSBC Private Bank, talks with Bloomberg's Haslinda Amin about his forecast for the yen. Mahendran, speaking from Singapore, also discusses the prospects China will allow its currency to appreciate, and the outlook for Asian economies and equity markets. Tim Murphy, founder and managing director of IP Global, talks about Asian property markets. Candy Chuang, chairwoman of Treasure Auction, also speaks.

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Alan Ruskin, head of currency strategy at RBS Securities Inc., talks with Bloomberg's Mark Crumpton about the outlook for the dollar, the U.S. unemployment rate and the global economy.

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Conference targets green regulations | View Clip
03/29/2010
Pasadena Star-News - Online

Scientists and regulatory experts from 15 countries gathered at Asilomar Conference Grounds this week to discuss possible regulations that would govern research in the emerging field of climate intervention.

They released a joint press release Friday expressing "deep concern" over the limited efforts to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases and calling for additional research to examine the need for "alternative strategies" to moderate future climate change.

A document with self-regulation guidelines for research will be released in about a month, organizers said.

"Having a governance structure in place is essentially going to help research and help the science community," said Michael MacCracken, who moderated the International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies and is the chief scientist for climate change programs with the Climate Institute in Washington, D.C.

Reducing warming

Climate intervention is a field so new that the senior scientists who attended the five-day meeting don't agree on its name.

Some call it geoengineering; others call it climate remediation. Either way, it involves complex — and, some say, ethically questionable — processes to reduce the impact of global warming.

These range from blocking solar radiation that warms the Earth's surface to efforts to remove and possibly store carbon dioxide from the air or water.

Scientists know the idea of implementing such processes sounds — and can

actually be — very risky, if not terrifying.

"There seems to be this large-scale worry about geoengineering, which means different things to different people," said Peter Brewer, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Some scientists say the fear and uncertainty stems from a lack of knowledge.

"The public doesn't know a lot because there's not been a lot of public discussion," Brewer said. "This is something that's taking place largely within the science community."

Further opposition to geoengineering research comes from people who believe reducing emissions — the topic of last year's Copenhagen Summit — is the only way to reduce the impact of global warming.

"They start off by saying, 'We are against climate remediation, we think that the only way to do this is by cutting down our emissions. It takes the eye off the ball if you start talking about another way of solving the problem,'" said Richard Lampitt, an oceanographer from the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom.

Lowering the risk

The scientists at Asilomar kept all that in mind as they discussed ways to minimize risk and earn public trust with a set of guidelines to govern research.

Without regulated research, the scientists say, the science community will be unable to advise public officials who may someday ask about the realities of geoengineering.

"We need to ensure that we have the appropriate guidelines for methods," Lampitt said. "The principles, in practice, are established to be appropriate for the research which is required in order to make decisions based on evidence."

The guidelines, to be based on the recommendations of the scientists at the conference, would initially be used as a set of "best practice" methods and standard operating procedures.

They are likely to include strong calls for transparency, peer review and collaboration with local communities.

The document could become useful for public officials drafting binding national laws or as the basis for international treaties, said Wil Burns, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

That is, if they're actually created.

Discussions to continue

Burns was one of several people at the conference who said organizers may have "bitten off more than they can chew" this week.

Even after four days of daylong meetings, scientists argued for more than an hour about the language of Friday's one-page release. Organizers indicated that discussion about the actual guidelines will continue via e-mail.

"There is wide disagreement in terms of where we should be heading," Burns said. "We're in an area of huge scientific uncertainty. That fuels wide discussions, disagreement and difficulty for trying to get to consensus on a set of guidelines."

Scientists, he said, may not be best equipped to work on social issues like regulation.

Brewer, who also said it is unlikely that scientists will agree on a set of regulations, said he is nonetheless glad the conference was held.

"It's exactly the right thing to try, because it's exposing a lot of concepts, ideas and prejudices," he said. "Getting those things out there, it's a lot better thing than not having them out there."

Fund organizes event

The conference was organized by a year-old nonprofit called the Climate Response Fund.

Scientist Margaret Leinen is the founder and CEO of the fund, which paid for the travel and accommodation of some scientists who applied for funding this week. She was also the chief science officer from 2007-2009 at Climos, a private company based in San Francisco that works on geoengineering technologies.

Her son, Dan Whaley, is the founder and CEO of Climos. He also attended this week's conference. Climos has three patent applications pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Two deal with ocean fertilization and a third is for a computer system that uses a formula to assess environmental impact.

The apparent conflict of interest rankled environmental bloggers and raised eyebrows in the science press leading up to the conference.

"I think that everybody's justified in asking these questions and everybody involved, including scientists — and we had several who have their own companies, some of them have intellectual properties, patents on things — need to put all of that on the table," Leinen said.

"If key scientists have patents, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to speak, it means they should have to put that out there. ... We want to welcome all voices but know if there are conflicts."

Leinen and other scientists regularly cited transparency as a key factor in moving forward in geoengineering research.

HERALD QUESTION OF THE DAY Do you think reducing emissions is the only way to combat climate change? o Yes o No Go to: montereyherald .com to place your vote Herald surveys are unscientific

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Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It | View Clip
03/28/2010
Tuscaloosa News - Online, The

Encinitas, Calif.

Click to enlarge

Andy Lindloff with his daughter, Juliana, as he trades stocks from home. He says he earns six-figure returns, which would put him in the rarefied category of profitable day trader.

Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

REMEMBER the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

“Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as “surfer's paradise,” about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

“Citigroup's at $4.10,” says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. “Probably going to hang around that strike price.”

“AMD is at an interesting stop there, too,” says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

“Keep it tight,” says Mr. Gomez. “Don't fight the momentum.”

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

“DRYS over 6.”

“MNKD short?”

“Watching this ALD.”

“HBAN?”

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts — like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch — your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

IT is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, “day trader” registers in roughly the same way as “disco ball manufacturer” or “Brooklyn farmer.” You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

“People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,” says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. “Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, ‘Why don't I educate myself?'”

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,'” says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. “They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.”

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional “goddangit,” Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrill-seeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes. “There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.”

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

IF Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

“Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,” says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. “Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, ‘That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.”

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for “set-ups,” which seems to translate roughly as “golden opportunities,” but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

“A common phrase in this business,” says Mr. Lindloff, “is ‘the trend is your friend.'”

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

“It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,” says Mr. Gomez. “It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.”

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

UNFORTUNATELY, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is “Talk to Chuck.” But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job — he is now chairman — and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low — they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal — that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

“I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,” he says. “But it's not the book.”

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls “self-directed investors” to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings — which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money — in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced “the man” and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a “tough gig.” “You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.”

HE'S right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade — which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold — they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

“That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,” he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. “Goddang it. Drives me crazy.”

“My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,” replies Mr. Gomez, “and they'll attack it.”

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, “What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?”

“The only thing you can control is your attitude,” Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. “Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.”

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

“You know,” says Mr. Gomez, “a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.”

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Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It | View Clip
03/28/2010
Ledger - Online, The

Encinitas, Calif.

Andy Lindloff with his daughter, Juliana, as he trades stocks from home. He says he earns six-figure returns, which would put him in the rarefied category of profitable day trader.

Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

REMEMBER the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

“Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as “surfer's paradise,” about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

“Citigroup's at $4.10,” says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. “Probably going to hang around that strike price.”

“AMD is at an interesting stop there, too,” says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

“Keep it tight,” says Mr. Gomez. “Don't fight the momentum.”

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

“DRYS over 6.”

“MNKD short?”

“Watching this ALD.”

“HBAN?”

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts — like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch — your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

IT is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, “day trader” registers in roughly the same way as “disco ball manufacturer” or “Brooklyn farmer.” You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

“People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,” says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. “Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, ‘Why don't I educate myself?'”

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,'” says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. “They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.”

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional “goddangit,” Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrill-seeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes. “There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.”

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

IF Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

“Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,” says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. “Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, ‘That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.”

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for “set-ups,” which seems to translate roughly as “golden opportunities,” but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

“A common phrase in this business,” says Mr. Lindloff, “is ‘the trend is your friend.'”

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

“It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,” says Mr. Gomez. “It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.”

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

UNFORTUNATELY, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is “Talk to Chuck.” But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job — he is now chairman — and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low — they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal — that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

“I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,” he says. “But it's not the book.”

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls “self-directed investors” to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings — which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money — in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced “the man” and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a “tough gig.” “You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.”

HE'S right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade — which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold — they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

“That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,” he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. “Goddang it. Drives me crazy.”

“My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,” replies Mr. Gomez, “and they'll attack it.”

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, “What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?”

“The only thing you can control is your attitude,” Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. “Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.”

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

“You know,” says Mr. Gomez, “a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.”

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Getting into college fraught with angst for seniors | View Clip
03/28/2010
Petaluma360.com

Petaluma High School student Shelby Parks, 17, was accepted to USC but was not accepted at UC Berkeley or UCLA.

Arturro Nuñez thought he had done what it takes.

He earned a 3.79 grade point average at Healdsburg High School, played soccer for the Hounds and works every weekend at a local market.

But Nuñez has been rocked with more college rejection letters than he ever imagined.

While UC Santa Cruz, Sonoma State University, Santa Clara University and San Jose State offered him spots in their freshman classes, he was turned down by UC Berkeley, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine.

His so-called “safety schools” suddenly became his only choices.

“I'm not going to lie, it's been a horrible week,” he said moments after finding out he had been rejected by Cal. “It just proves how competitive it has gotten.”

Nuñez is far from alone. In fact, he's in the company of some of Sonoma County's brightest high school students as a record number of applicants seek a shrinking number of freshman slots.

“For public schools, it's the worst I have ever seen,” said Technology High counselor Laura Triantafyllos. “I have kids crying, parents crying. They have worked so hard.”

Counselors across Sonoma County are hearing from top-notch students this month as state colleges and universities send word to those who are in and those who are out. Private schools are expected to begin sending out letters this Thursday.

“It's the most challenging time for students who have worked hard to achieve their dream school and are finding that dream requires readjustment. They are taking a look at backup plans like they never thought they would need to,” said Joan Walsh, a counselor at Petaluma High School.

“I would say this is the most challenging year yet.”

More than 609,000 undergraduate applications were submitted to the CSU system this year, and another 100,320 to UC campuses.

At the same time, shrinking budgets have caused the UC system to cut freshman enrollment by 1,500 students this fall, and the CSU system to cut 40,000 over two years.

And those who are admitted will pay significantly more to attend. CSU and UC fees will go up 30 and 32 percent respectively.

For the first time, some UC campuses are using waiting lists as an enrollment management tool, but if CSU's experience is any indication, few will ever make the jump. Of 1,368 students who accepted San Diego State's offer to be wait-listed last year, for example, none were offered spots.

Enduring that kind of limbo “takes a very unique student,” said Laurie Nimmo, a scholarship coordinator at Healdsburg High School who also runs an independent college counseling business.

The uncertainty also has pushed some Sonoma County students to look out of state.

Bob Pawlan's son Drew was turned down by San Diego State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was wait-listed at Long Beach State and earned admission at Oregon State University and Arizona State University.

He also was accepted at Syracuse University in New York with a financial aid package that would pay $43,000 of the private school's $51,000 annual price tag.

Bob Pawlan said his son is thinking about making the leap, even though he has never set foot on the campus.

“I would love for him to go to Oregon State, if financially we could, but how can we turn down a package like that?” he said.

Schools around the country are keeping a keen eye on California's finances and are tweaking their sales pitches, according to Triantafyllos.

“Kids are telling me they are worried about not getting classes and graduating in four years,” she said. “They might pay more, but they'll get the classes and they'll graduate in four years. Private schools are pitching that, too.”

Shelby Parks, a senior at Petaluma High, would like to stay in California to be closer to her family, but she's also keeping her fingers crossed for Columbia University in New York. She was rejected by UCLA and Berkeley, where her sister goes, and accepted by USC, UC Davis, UC Irvine and University of San Diego.

“I can see myself at any of the schools that I applied to or I wouldn't have wasted my time,” Parks said.

In this ultra-competitive market, Christie Sweeney is ready to barter with financial aid officers as her son Nicholas, a senior at Healdsburg High, fields acceptance and rejection notices.

“Say Tulane offers us even more money,” she said. “I could call up Western New England (College) and say, ‘Tulane is going to give me this much money for my kid to go there. Can you match it?'

“If that's the way I'm going to get him into school, I'm putting myself out there.”

It's not a bad strategy, advisors say.

Colleges want the best candidates and in some cases will work hard to get them, said Vic Berliant, owner of Tuition Funding Solutions, a college financial aid consulting service based in San Rafael.

Just as students are competing for spots, colleges and universities are competing for top students, Berliant said. Sometimes they will reach deeper into their financial aid coffers to nab them.

“Stanford will see Harvard and Yale and Berkeley (on a student's application), and they certainly don't want to lose a kid to Berkeley,” he said. “They'll say, ‘We need to come up with money for this kid.'”

In this economic climate, many private schools have deeper pockets than their public school counterparts, Berliant said.

“Without hesitation, students should apply to private universities because the private schools still have more money than schools like Cal State and the UCs,” he said.

But for this year's crop of seniors and their parents, disappointment and frustration are common themes.

Students who have worked diligently only to be told “No thanks” will learn many lessons, but the sting is real.

“How do you explain how they picked someone else?” said Candace Parks, mother of Petaluma High senior, Shelby. “You have to learn how to handle rejection. That's life.”

Nuñez also remains philosophical.

“There is nothing I can do to fix it, so life goes on, I guess,” Nuñez said. “I will get over it.”

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Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It | View Clip
03/28/2010
Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Online

Encinitas, Calif.

Andy Lindloff with his daughter, Juliana, as he trades stocks from home. He says he earns six-figure returns, which would put him in the rarefied category of profitable day trader.

Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

REMEMBER the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

“Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as “surfer's paradise,” about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

“Citigroup's at $4.10,” says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. “Probably going to hang around that strike price.”

“AMD is at an interesting stop there, too,” says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

“Keep it tight,” says Mr. Gomez. “Don't fight the momentum.”

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

“DRYS over 6.”

“MNKD short?”

“Watching this ALD.”

“HBAN?”

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts — like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch — your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

IT is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, “day trader” registers in roughly the same way as “disco ball manufacturer” or “Brooklyn farmer.” You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

“People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,” says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. “Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, ‘Why don't I educate myself?'”

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,'” says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. “They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.”

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional “goddangit,” Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrill-seeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes. “There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.”

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

IF Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

“Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,” says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. “Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, ‘That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.”

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for “set-ups,” which seems to translate roughly as “golden opportunities,” but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

“A common phrase in this business,” says Mr. Lindloff, “is ‘the trend is your friend.'”

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

“It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,” says Mr. Gomez. “It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.”

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

UNFORTUNATELY, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is “Talk to Chuck.” But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job — he is now chairman — and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low — they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal — that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

“I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,” he says. “But it's not the book.”

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls “self-directed investors” to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings — which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money — in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced “the man” and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a “tough gig.” “You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.”

HE'S right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade — which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold — they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

“That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,” he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. “Goddang it. Drives me crazy.”

“My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,” replies Mr. Gomez, “and they'll attack it.”

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, “What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?”

“The only thing you can control is your attitude,” Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. “Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.”

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

“You know,” says Mr. Gomez, “a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.”

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Picking Stocks? Try Spotting the Turkeys. | View Clip
03/28/2010
Wall Street Journal

...accident isn't quite the same as finding a $20 bill tucked in the pocket of last year's spring jacket. You do have an ethical obligation to point out the "found money," says Margaret McLean, the associate director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California. "You learn counting out change as a little kid -- if [the cashier] gives you a quarter too much, you give them back a quarter." After all, you'd be quick to point out an error that cost you money. The store or bank...

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Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It | View Clip
03/28/2010
New York Times - Online

Remember the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners, The New York Times's David Segal reports from Encinitas, Calif. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

“Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room in Encinitas, a city known as “surfer's paradise,” about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

“Citigroup's at $4.10,” says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. “Probably going to hang around that strike price.”

“A.M.D. is at an interesting stop there, too,” says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

“Keep it tight,” says Mr. Gomez. “Don't fight the momentum.”

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

“DRYS over 6.”

“MNKD short?”

“Watching this ALD.”

“HBAN?”

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts — like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch — your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

It is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, “day trader” registers in roughly the same way as “disco ball manufacturer” or “Brooklyn farmer.” You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

“People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,” says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. “Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, ‘Why don't I educate myself?'”

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,'” says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. “They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.”

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional “goddangit,” Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrill-seeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes. “There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.”

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

If Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

“Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,” says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. “Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, ‘That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.”

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for “set-ups,” which seems to translate roughly as “golden opportunities,” but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

“A common phrase in this business,” says Mr. Lindloff, “is ‘the trend is your friend.'”

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

“It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,” says Mr. Gomez. “It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.”

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

Unfortunately, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is “Talk to Chuck.” But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job — he is now chairman — and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low — they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal — that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

“I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,” he says. “But it's not the book.”

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls “self-directed investors” to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings — which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money — in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced “the man” and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a “tough gig.” “You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.”

He's right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade — which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold — they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

“That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,” he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. “Goddang it. Drives me crazy.”

“My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,” replies Mr. Gomez, “and they'll attack it.”

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, “What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?”

“The only thing you can control is your attitude,” Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. “Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.”

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

“You know,” says Mr. Gomez, “a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.”

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Day Traders 2.0 Wired, Angry and Loving It
03/28/2010
New York Times

Encinitas, Calif.

REMEMBER the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys -- nearly all of them were guys -- and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

''Banks are seeing a nice little lift,'' he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. ''The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.''

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as ''surfer's paradise,'' about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter -- a toy oven, a doll house -- he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is ''about helping traders find success through virtual technology,'' as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the ''virtual shoulder'' of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

''Citigroup's at $4.10,'' says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. ''Probably going to hang around that strike price.''

''AMD is at an interesting stop there, too,'' says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

''Keep it tight,'' says Mr. Gomez. ''Don't fight the momentum.''

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

''DRYS over 6.''

''MNKD short?''

''Watching this ALD.''

''HBAN?''

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts -- like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch -- your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, ''If the pros can do it, so can we,'' the motto today is, ''We can't do much worse than the pros.''

''There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,'' says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. ''Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.''

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (''I don't know what they do,'' he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

''Up $210,'' he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

IT is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, ''day trader'' registers in roughly the same way as ''disco ball manufacturer'' or ''Brooklyn farmer.'' You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

''People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,'' says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. ''Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, 'Why don't I educate myself?'''

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

''I get e-mails from people saying, 'I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,''' says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. ''They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.''

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional ''goddangit,'' Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls -- knocking on doors -- for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

''I knew I wanted to trade,'' he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

''I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,'' he says, ''and take my earnings out of that account to live.''

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

''More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,'' says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

''It's not impossible to make money actively trading,'' Mr. Barber continues. ''There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.''

So why do people persist in this line of work?

''The technical term is thrill-seeking,'' says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of ''Beyond Greed and Fear,'' an exploration of investors' mindscapes. ''There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.''

Also, he says, ''people enjoy trading.''

IF Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

''Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,'' says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. ''Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, 'That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.''

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for ''set-ups,'' which seems to translate roughly as ''golden opportunities,'' but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

''A common phrase in this business,'' says Mr. Lindloff, ''is 'the trend is your friend.'''

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading -- the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

''It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,'' says Mr. Gomez. ''It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.''

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

UNFORTUNATELY, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is ''Talk to Chuck.'' But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job -- he is now chairman -- and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low -- they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal -- that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

''I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,'' he says. ''But it's not the book.''

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls ''self-directed investors'' to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings -- which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money -- in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced ''the man'' and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a ''tough gig.'' ''You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.''

HE'S right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade -- which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold -- they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

''That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,'' he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. ''Goddang it. Drives me crazy.''

''My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,'' replies Mr. Gomez, ''and they'll attack it.''

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, ''What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?''

''The only thing you can control is your attitude,'' Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. ''Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.''

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

''You know,'' says Mr. Gomez, ''a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.''

PHOTOS: Andy Lindloff with his daughter, Juliana, as he trades stocks from home. He says he earns six-figure returns, which would put him in the rarefied category of profitable day trader. (BU1); Steve Gomez, a partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture, trades from his home in San Diego. (PHOTOGRAPHS BY SANDY HUFFAKER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES) (BU7)

Copyright © 2010 The New York Times Company

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Mark Alexander: Region's office market has some silver in clouds | View Clip
03/28/2010
News Press - Online

Mark Alexander • special to news-press.com • March 28, 2010

The reason you can buy or rent such great deals today in Southwest Florida is because the office vacancy is so high. The average office vacancy for Southwest Florida is 17 percent, but averages can be misleading.

You really need to dig down to the actual class of space and its particular location to check the vacancy for that specific area to gain useable knowledge. For example, at the end of 2009, Lee County showed 19 percent vacancy for Class A space (the best office buildings), 18 percent vacancy in Class B space and 12 percent vacancy in Class C space.

But Charlotte County showed 53 percent vacancy for Class A, 22 percent vacancy for Class B and just 11 percent vacancy for Class C space. Collier County showed 26 percent vacancy for Class A, 16 percent vacancy for Class B and 10 percent vacancy for Class C. I should point out that an ideal balanced market is where owners and tenants do not have leverage over each other. This balanced market occurs when office vacancy factors reach the 8 percent to 10 percent range.

An "Owner's Market" exists when you have vacancy factors between 0 percent and 7 percent. A "Tenant's Market" exists when you have vacancy factors of 11 percent or higher. We are solidly in a "Tenant's Market" right now with varying degrees of distress based on class of space and county.

Jobs key to demand

Unfortunately, office vacancy is due to go even higher by the end of 2010. When we finally stop losing jobs in Southwest Florida, we will stop losing demand for office space. Demand for office space is measured by calculating annual absorption. The Southwest Florida office market had negative absorption of 540,000 square feet in 2009. This means tenants who occupied 540,000 square feet of space in 2008 moved out and left their space vacant in 2009. If the average tenant size in Southwest Florida was 2,000 square feet, then this is the equivalent of 272 tenants in Southwest Florida giving up their office space in 2009.

During the recession of 1991 to 1992, tenants were focused on survival like they are today. As their leases came up for renewal in the early 1990s, we witnessed tenants dropping down a class of space seeking lower rent in an effort to keep their businesses alive. But we see a different trend in today's recession. We have not seen tenants move to lower classes of space at the end of 2009.

What is being absorbed?

Annual office absorption is a good indicator of what tenants are doing. Southwest Florida saw Class A space reach positive absorption of 5,100 square feet at the end of 2009. This means Class A tenants who pay the highest rent in Southwest Florida have weathered this economic storm the best so far. We lost no tenants from class A space and actually gained a few new Class A tenants by the end of 2009. One reason for this phenomenon is that some sellers (especially banks with foreclosed office product) are discounting their vacant Class A office space, which has become attractive to tenants who decide to buy instead of continuing to rent. Class B space lost 264,000 square feet of space in 2009. Where did these Class B tenants go? Did they move down to Class C space as was typical during the early '90s? The answer is "no" when you realize that Class C space lost 281,000 square feet of space itself. So Class B and Class C tenants simply moved out while Class A tenants stayed where they were as the most stable segment of the office market.

It seems we can't depend any longer on stable population growth to bring us positive absorption of office space like we enjoyed over the past three decades. So we have a lot riding on the preferences of the huge baby boomer market retiring over the next decade. Hopefully they will still like the warm sun, the white sand, the boating, the fishing and golfing, as much as the many who retired before them. The brutal winter weather up North should get more than a few boomers dreaming fondly of our swaying palm trees.

Many seem to think this is the worse office market we have ever endured, but it is not. Southwest Florida had a higher vacancy (21 percent) in 1991, which was caused mainly by overbuilding back then. Today's office market (at 17 percent vacancy) feels worse emotionally because we have lost so many jobs in addition to overbuilding in office space. Since 2005, we have built 4.8 million square feet of new office space in Southwest Florida during a time span when our demand for office space was quickly diminishing. Fortunately there are only 230,000 square feet of new office deliveries scheduled for 2010. Most economists predict positive job growth by the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, so that is when positive office absorption should resume. Until then, it is a great time to buy or rent at the bottom of the market.

When is next boom?

It took 14 years from our worst office market in 1991 to reach our best office market in 2005.

If history were to repeat, Southwest Florida's office market would see its next peak in 2024.

But a different picture emerges when you look at the study completed by economist Fred Foldvary of Santa Clara University.

Foldvary researched the real estate cycles in America over the past two centuries.

He found that 18 years was the most common time period between troughs to peaks for real estate market cycles, except for one glaring exception. After the Great Depression, it took 44 years to reach the next market peak. So anywhere between 14 and 44 years from now, Southwest Florida should peak again for office sellers and landlords with a smoking hot year.

But if you are a tenant looking for favorable (i.e. low rent) renewal terms, or if you are a buyer looking for an office to buy cheap and occupy, 2010 is your peak year.

-Mark Alexander, CCIM, is senior medical office advisor at Sperry Van Ness in Fort Myers. Contact him at 826-4174 or marka@svn.com.

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Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It | View Clip
03/28/2010
Wilmington Star-News - Online

Encinitas, Calif.

Click to enlarge

Andy Lindloff with his daughter, Juliana, as he trades stocks from home. He says he earns six-figure returns, which would put him in the rarefied category of profitable day trader.

Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

REMEMBER the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

“Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as “surfer's paradise,” about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

“Citigroup's at $4.10,” says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. “Probably going to hang around that strike price.”

“AMD is at an interesting stop there, too,” says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

“Keep it tight,” says Mr. Gomez. “Don't fight the momentum.”

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

“DRYS over 6.”

“MNKD short?”

“Watching this ALD.”

“HBAN?”

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts — like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch — your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

IT is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, “day trader” registers in roughly the same way as “disco ball manufacturer” or “Brooklyn farmer.” You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

“People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,” says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. “Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, ‘Why don't I educate myself?'”

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,'” says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. “They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.”

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional “goddangit,” Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrill-seeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes. “There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.”

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

IF Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

“Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,” says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. “Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, ‘That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.”

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for “set-ups,” which seems to translate roughly as “golden opportunities,” but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

“A common phrase in this business,” says Mr. Lindloff, “is ‘the trend is your friend.'”

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

“It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,” says Mr. Gomez. “It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.”

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

UNFORTUNATELY, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is “Talk to Chuck.” But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job — he is now chairman — and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low — they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal — that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

“I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,” he says. “But it's not the book.”

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls “self-directed investors” to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings — which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money — in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced “the man” and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a “tough gig.” “You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.”

HE'S right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade — which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold — they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

“That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,” he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. “Goddang it. Drives me crazy.”

“My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,” replies Mr. Gomez, “and they'll attack it.”

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, “What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?”

“The only thing you can control is your attitude,” Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. “Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.”

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

“You know,” says Mr. Gomez, “a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.”

Return to Top



Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It | View Clip
03/28/2010
Gainesville Sun - Online, The

Encinitas, Calif.

Click to enlarge

Andy Lindloff with his daughter, Juliana, as he trades stocks from home. He says he earns six-figure returns, which would put him in the rarefied category of profitable day trader.

Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

REMEMBER the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

“Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as “surfer's paradise,” about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

“Citigroup's at $4.10,” says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. “Probably going to hang around that strike price.”

“AMD is at an interesting stop there, too,” says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

“Keep it tight,” says Mr. Gomez. “Don't fight the momentum.”

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

“DRYS over 6.”

“MNKD short?”

“Watching this ALD.”

“HBAN?”

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts — like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch — your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

IT is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, “day trader” registers in roughly the same way as “disco ball manufacturer” or “Brooklyn farmer.” You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

“People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,” says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. “Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, ‘Why don't I educate myself?'”

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,'” says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. “They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.”

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional “goddangit,” Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrill-seeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes. “There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.”

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

IF Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

“Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,” says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. “Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, ‘That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.”

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for “set-ups,” which seems to translate roughly as “golden opportunities,” but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

“A common phrase in this business,” says Mr. Lindloff, “is ‘the trend is your friend.'”

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

“It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,” says Mr. Gomez. “It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.”

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

UNFORTUNATELY, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is “Talk to Chuck.” But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job — he is now chairman — and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low — they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal — that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

“I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,” he says. “But it's not the book.”

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls “self-directed investors” to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings — which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money — in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced “the man” and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a “tough gig.” “You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.”

HE'S right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade — which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold — they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

“That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,” he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. “Goddang it. Drives me crazy.”

“My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,” replies Mr. Gomez, “and they'll attack it.”

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, “What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?”

“The only thing you can control is your attitude,” Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. “Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.”

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

“You know,” says Mr. Gomez, “a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.”

Return to Top



Day Traders 2.0: Wired, Angry and Loving It | View Clip
03/28/2010
Times-News - Online

Encinitas, Calif.

Click to enlarge

Andy Lindloff with his daughter, Juliana, as he trades stocks from home. He says he earns six-figure returns, which would put him in the rarefied category of profitable day trader.

Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

REMEMBER the day traders?

They were hard to miss during the tech-stock mania a decade ago, when the Nasdaq seemed like a casino built by morons and a chimp with darts could pick winners. You would hear about these guys — nearly all of them were guys — and wonder: Could anyone make a living this way? And if the answer was yes, why were the rest of us suckers still holding down regular jobs?

No doubt, it's been a long time since a question like that troubled your imagination. And perhaps you assumed that the twin calamities of the Internet crash and the Great Recession had doomed the day-trader species in the unruly jungle of American capitalism. But some dreams refuse to die, and few, it seems, are more resilient than the dream of beating the market while wearing nothing but tighty-whities.

Or, if you are Andy Lindloff, a pair of jeans and a black waffle-pattern shirt.

“Banks are seeing a nice little lift,” he says, staring at computer screens one recent Wednesday morning, sipping coffee from a Denver Broncos mug. “The European banks are up, so that may bleed over to ours. Bank of America might be one to watch.”

Mr. Lindloff, 49, is sitting in his living room here in a city known as “surfer's paradise,” about 25 miles north of San Diego. Surrounded by the playthings of his daughter — a toy oven, a doll house — he appears to be alone. In fact, he has plenty of company. With a hands-free headset, he is speaking to Steve Gomez, his partner in Today Trader, a two-year-old Internet venture that is “about helping traders find success through virtual technology,” as it says on the company's Web site.

The company charges aspiring traders $199 a month for a live, real-time view of Mr. Lindloff's computer screen, along with the running banter, commentary and advice that he and Mr. Gomez provide through the morning. (After lunch, it's just Mr. Lindloff.) The service is billed as a chance to look over the “virtual shoulder” of two veteran stock traders, but you don't really see anyone's shoulder. It's more like staring at the instrument panel of a jet while eavesdropping on the pilots, plus the ceaseless tap-tap of a keyboard.

By the opening bell, 21 subscribers are logged in.

“Citigroup's at $4.10,” says Mr. Gomez, 43, who is in his home in San Diego. “Probably going to hang around that strike price.”

“AMD is at an interesting stop there, too,” says Mr. Lindloff, hopscotching from one chart to another.

“Keep it tight,” says Mr. Gomez. “Don't fight the momentum.”

All the while, subscribers send questions and share ideas in a chat room that is part of the service.

“DRYS over 6.”

“MNKD short?”

“Watching this ALD.”

“HBAN?”

It might read like a teenager's idea of a haiku, but this is the new frontier in do-it-yourself trading. Today Trader and its rivals are tiny operations, and they have modest followings. But they are harnessing all the crowd-sourcing features of the Internet circa 2010: YouTube, Twitter, and companies like GotoMeeting, a Web conferencing service.

They are also harnessing a lot of market-related rage. The gruesome stock plunge of late 2008 and early 2009 was a searing, fool-me-twice moment for many people. The market again seemed hopelessly treacherous, a mug's game. And if you had an account with the brokerage arm of any number of Wall Street stalwarts — like Lehman Brothers, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch — your losses were doubly galling. Your team helped put a sleeper hold on the economy, the near-collapse of which then ravaged your portfolio.

Even many of those who took the safe route and years ago bought index funds have seen little upside. Look at the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most popular index out there. If you put $1,000 in it in 1999, you now have slightly less money in your account (about 0.3 percent less, actually).

If the motto of the original day-trade boom was, “If the pros can do it, so can we,” the motto today is, “We can't do much worse than the pros.”

“There's this idea out there that retail investors are dumb,” says Howard Lindzon, the co-founder of StockTwits, which curates a gusher of stock tips and financial news alerts tweeted by 20,000 regular contributors. “Well, it turns out that the institutional investors are pretty dumb. They nearly blew us all up with leverage.”

Of course, anyone hoping to join the day-trade caravan had better wear a seat belt, as Mr. Lindloff's experience on this Wednesday morning demonstrates. Before lunch, he will buy and sell about 44,000 shares, in 17 trades. He starts off poorly, losing about $500. But a timely bet on a company called Rackspace Hosting (“I don't know what they do,” he says), as well as quick investments in Applied Materials, Eagle Bulk Shipping and a few others, have turned things around.

“Up $210,” he says, removing his headset. Factoring in commissions, he's made $60.

IT is hard to say how many day traders are currently plying their craft, if that is the right word, in this country. Brokerage firms track the activity and demographics of their customers, but they have been reluctant to share that data. About the most we know is that the day traders skew male, and the number of trades per $100,000 in client dollars is a little less than half what it was back in 2000, according to the Charles Schwab brokerage firm.

Even that figure seems high. As a job, “day trader” registers in roughly the same way as “disco ball manufacturer” or “Brooklyn farmer.” You know that someone has to be making disco balls and that maybe there are still a few plots of arable land in Brooklyn.

Still, it can seem strange to see TV ads for an Atlanta company called Long Term Short Term, which offers two-day investment seminars, as well as DVDs, CDs and online tutoring, in cities across the country. Price: $3,995 a person. Part of the pitch taps into the simmering anger at professional investors.

“People put their trust in stock brokerages that are now out of business, and have seen their 401(k) drop by 40 percent or more,” says Michael Hutchison, an executive vice president of Long Term Short Term, which does business as Better Trades. “Meanwhile, mutual fund companies are making $85 billion a year, and look at their performance. There are people who see all this and think, ‘Why don't I educate myself?'”

Mr. Hutchinson hastens to add that his company doesn't encourage anyone to quit a job and trade full time. But more than a few attendees may be looking for a change in career. Many of the new day traders are people who recently lost jobs and can't find work.

“I get e-mails from people saying, ‘I worked for XYZ company for 20 years and I just got laid off,'” says Brian Shannon of Alphatrends, which, for $60 a month, offers proprietary online videos and a once-a-week live chat. “They've got a severance package or a nest egg that they want to invest themselves.”

Mr. Gomez and Mr. Lindloff are among the few who started day trading in the late '90s and never stopped. At a late breakfast, just after that $60 morning, the two are sitting at a sidewalk cafe. You expect them to be revved up and antsy. Instead, look like members of a mellow Southern California rock band that split up 15 years ago. The most agitated either gets while trading online is the occasional “goddangit,” Mr. Lindloff's idea of an outburst.

For years, Mr. Gomez was a manager at a self-storage facility, but he couldn't resist trading commodities during office hours, and he had a hard time keeping his mind on his work. Mr. Lindloff worked at an Isuzu dealership for years, then made cold calls — knocking on doors — for Edward Jones, the brokerage firm. He left after three months.

“I knew I wanted to trade,” he says.

How good are they? Mr. Lindloff, who Mr. Gomez says is the more skilled of the two, says he has averaged somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 a year for the last 10 years, even during the worst part of the Great Recession. With low expenses, he lives comfortably, though hardly extravagantly.

“I basically have $80,000 to $100,000 in my trading account every day,” he says, “and take my earnings out of that account to live.”

It is, to be sure, an odds-defying performance. The great mass of studies point to the same conclusion: trading is hazardous to your wealth, as an academic paper memorably put it. The losers far outnumber the winners.

Exactly how far is clear from one of the most comprehensive looks at the subject in a yet-to-be-published study conducted in Taiwan. (The country is ideal for this kind of research because all trades go through one place, the Taiwan Stock Exchange, which is willing to share the information.) The authors sifted through tens of millions of trades, from 1992 to 2006, and found that 80 percent of active traders lost money.

“More importantly, we found that if you were to look at the past performance of these traders, only 1 percent of them could be called predictably profitable,” says a co-author, Brad M. Barber, a finance professor at the University of California, Davis. Everyone else, it seems, was on a short-term winning streak. Even those who did modestly well found their that profits were wiped out, and then some, by transaction fees like commissions and taxes.

“It's not impossible to make money actively trading,” Mr. Barber continues. “There are slivers of people out there who are quite good. And everyone thinks they will be in that group of 1 percent.”

So why do people persist in this line of work?

“The technical term is thrill-seeking,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University in California and author of “Beyond Greed and Fear,” an exploration of investors' mindscapes. “There's an adrenaline rush. And the thing about day trading is that it gives you pretty quick feedback. If you buy and hold, a lot of things need to happen before you see a result, and much of what happens relates to external factors that are beyond your control. With day trading, you're in charge.”

Also, he says, “people enjoy trading.”

IF Mr. Lindloff is earning steady six-figure returns, he is squarely in the rarefied 1 percent of winners. But for $199 a month you sort of expect a man with a mansion, a hot tub and hyperbolic claims of double-digit returns. Why do a few dozen subscribers pay to watch these quite appealing but hardly world-beating guys at work?

“Eighty percent of it is camaraderie,” says Mr. Lindzon at StockTwits. “Look, my wife watches cooking shows and I tell her, ‘That's not going to make you a better cook.' With these guys, you get a community, you get to hang out with people who love stocks, and if you get a couple great ideas in a month, even better.”

Services like Twitter are naturals for traders, and not just because they offer a geyser of pointers, whispers and news flashes. They also give a far-flung group of people a simulacrum of fellowship, which is something that day traders need almost as much as good ideas.

Asked about the Today Trader method of buying and selling, both men seem momentarily stumped, as if they never saw the question coming. Then they talk about the search for “set-ups,” which seems to translate roughly as “golden opportunities,” but they struggle to put a finger on what set-ups are, or how to spot them.

It has something to do with tracking trading volumes of stocks and buying heavily traded stocks as they rise in price. But how to know a stock will keep rising? Intuition, they say. It tells them whether they've arrived at the party too late (in which case they won't buy), at the right time (in which case they buy), or just before it ends (time to sell).

“A common phrase in this business,” says Mr. Lindloff, “is ‘the trend is your friend.'”

The more you listen, the more you realize that for all the high-tech gadgetry behind Today Trader, at its core is a Newtonian principle formulated more than 300 years ago: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

The problem is that stocks aren't bodies and their motion is subject to forces Newton could never have fathomed. Some of those forces are hard for the Today Trader duo to fathom, too. Mr. Gomez says that day trading has become far trickier in recent years because of the rise of robo trading — the use of computers to automatically buy and sell huge numbers of shares in superfast bursts, based on algorithms.

Big, muscular Wall Street veterans like Goldman Sachs have the money, smarts and brute power to dominate this computerized battle, and many day traders may not even be aware how outgunned they now are.

“It's not something we fully understand, but algorithms don't have emotions,” says Mr. Gomez. “It's like these machines can smell a human. They can smell the fear of a discretionary trader. Stocks will still go from Point A to Point B. But what used to be a waltz is now more like mosh pit.”

Daily hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of robots? It seems kind of crazy. But is it any crazier than leaving your money in the same place where it languished for the last decade?

This is a not a simple question. Fortunately, one man is ideally suited to answer it.

UNFORTUNATELY, Charles Schwab doesn't do interviews.

This is ironic, as has been noted by reporters who have come calling of late, because the company has spent five years and a fortune on an ad campaign whose kicker is “Talk to Chuck.” But in 2008, Mr. Schwab vacated the C.E.O. job — he is now chairman — and the company would like to wean the public off the idea that Charles Schwab is the public face of Charles Schwab.

No small feat, given the name of the company and given the ubiquity of that face in many years of advertising. Mr. Schwab once said he took his grandchildren out trick-or-treating on Halloween and some people thought he was wearing a Charles Schwab mask.

Though he wore a jacket and tie in his TV spots, he seemed to have the heart and soul of a revolutionary. The idea behind the company was to cut commission rates so low — they started off at $70 a trade in 1975, which was then a steal — that the average investor could trade without paying exorbitant fees to Wall Street. If day trading had a patron saint, it was this man.

The current C.E.O. is Walt Bettinger, 49, who is sitting one morning in his San Francisco office, which is next to Mr. Schwab's and has a killer view of the Bay Bridge. He knows the subject is day trading, and you can tell he finds this topic slightly annoying, the way a movie star would find it annoying if you asked about a film he made 20 years ago.

“I think the day-trade concept is a paragraph in the story of Charles Schwab,” he says. “But it's not the book.”

The book, he says, is Schwab's evolution from a company that was just focused on what he calls “self-directed investors” to a company that also offers advice to those who seek it and full-on portfolio management for those who prefer to leave their investment decisions in someone else's hands.

As a strategy, this makes sense because it turns out that traders are fickle customers. Even during the banner years, Mr. Bettinger said, the company had to constantly replenish its base of very active traders.

The push to advise clients and to manage portfolios started gaining traction in 2005, and the company says that last year, customers moved $21 billion into assorted fee-based advice offerings — which suggests that the era of professional hand-holding in the wealth-management world is hardly over.

Schwab now offers every item at the steam table of financial offerings, and Mr. Bettinger will not say he prefers one investment strategy to any other. He is, in fact, completely agnostic on the question and surpassingly unhelpful at opining about day trading. If that works for you, do it, he'll say. Unless you'd like someone to manage your money — in which case, do that.

It is a politic, even-handed answer that proves just how over the whole trading phenomenon the company is. Schwab today is a bit like that part-time insurrectionist you knew in college who denounced “the man” and later became a management consultant. You can understand the evolution and appreciate the maturity, but you can still think fondly of the days when he stood outside the dining hall pushing copies of The Workers Vanguard.

About the most Mr. Bettinger will say about day trading is that it's a “tough gig.” “You're competing against mega-institutions that are trading in hundredths of a second.”

HE'S right, and the Today Trader team keeps clashing with those mega-institutions. At one point, Mr. Lindloff buys shares in Patterson-UTI Energy, because he thinks it looks ripe for an uptick. Instead, it dives a few cents, and because Mr. Lindloff has an automatic stop on the trade — which sells the shares if they dip below a certain threshold — they are sold for a loss. A moment later, the shares shoot up.

Mr. Lindloff thinks he has been juked and jived by a robo trader.

“That was nothing but an algorithm boogie,” he mutters to the Today Trader faithful. “Goddang it. Drives me crazy.”

“My analogy is that whole sector is doing great and they find one weak animal in a herd,” replies Mr. Gomez, “and they'll attack it.”

Mr. Gomez trades his own accounts but spends much of his time answering questions posted in the chat room. One is from a subscriber, Rick, who asks, “What do you guys do to stop kicking yourself (emotionally) about missed opportunity?”

“The only thing you can control is your attitude,” Mr. Gomez replies into his microphone, moments after the question is posted. “Not looking back, not kicking yourself for not catching the whole move. You're never going to be perfect. Nobody is going to be perfect.”

Not even Today Trader. By the end of the day, Mr. Lindloff has traded 60,000 shares and is up $165. It would be a satisfying return, but commissions on those trades cost $300.

“You know,” says Mr. Gomez, “a lot of people tell us that our down days are every bit as instructive as our ups.”

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DEMOCRATS' INFIGHTING REQUIRES A FLOW CHART
03/28/2010
San Jose Mercury News

Jude Barry has thrived as a Democratic political consultant in San Jose. He's handling Teresa Alvarado's campaign for county supervisor and the efforts of the San Francisco 49ers to build a football stadium in Santa Clara.

Last week, however, Barry was on the receiving end of a blunderbuss attack by organized labor, a traditional pillar of the Democrats.

Bear with us, because it's a little complicated. Barry is co-founder of a startup called Verafirma, which sells a digital technology that allows initiative signatures to be gathered electronically. Sign on your iPhone and, bingo, you're helping the next gay marriage initiative qualify for the ballot. Think of it as an unemployment act for signature-gatherers.

Verafirma's technology isn't kosher yet with registrars; the firm was dealt a setback last week in San Mateo County, when a judge ruled against its efforts on behalf of an initiative to legalize marijuana. But another of its customers is a cause that's anathema to labor: the so-called "paycheck protection" campaign, which seeks to prevent unions from contributing to political candidates without the express consent of members.

On Wednesday, Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, lowered the boom on Barry. Pulaski sent out a "do not patronize" notice, urging labor folks to avoid hiring Barry or his separate consulting firm, Catapult Strategies. This is potentially enough to put a Democratic consultant out of business. (Intriguingly, the edict did not apply to Verafirma or the other Democrats who work there.)

"Mr. Barry has the prerogative to work with whomever he wants," labor federation spokesman Steve Smith told IA. "We also have the responsibility to let people who care about workers' causes know where Mr. Barry stands."

Barry's response? Using the old McCarthy-era wording, he said, "I am not now nor have I ever worked for that (paycheck) campaign or cause."

In an e-mail to clients, he further explained that he's one of seven Verafirma principals. "I personally was not involved in seeking the account in question and do not participate in any way, including any profits that may come from this account."

Barry argues that the startup is simply providing a technology that can be used by Republicans or Democrats; one of its next applications will be voter registration.

The local angle? It's an open secret that Cindy Chavez, head of the South Bay Labor Council, is no friend of Barry. And the Pulaski letter came out the same week labor endorsed Forrest Williams for supervisor, the rival to Barry's client, Alvarado. Speculation abounds in Democratic circles that the timing was not a coincidence.

Chavez told IA she wasn't involved with drafting Pulaski's letter, though she knew it was in the works. But she did say Alvarado's ties to Barry were "of concern to labor," adding: "I am disappointed that a Democratic consultant would use a company of his to support taking the right away from working men and women to speak politically."

One Democratic consultant who has ties to both sides calls the Barry blacklist "unfair" and "an overreaction." He adds: "I don't think Jude has ever done anything that could be construed as anti-labor -- the guy worked for Howard Dean, for God's sake."

MONEY MATTERS AS FINANCE REPORTS ARE REVEALED

Few surprises surfaced in the campaign finance reports filed last week by San Jose and Santa Clara County candidates running for June's election. But the details always offer plenty of insight, not to mention a few chuckles.

In the season's closest contest -- the race to replace Don Gage for District 1 county supervisor -- former San Jose Councilman Forrest Williams leads the pack. Including $72,000 he loaned himself, he's raised $221,114; that's a lot of mailers and yard signs. His notable supporters include real estate developer and newly appointed county planning commissioner John Vidovich, Palo Alto developer "Chop" Keenan (South County open space, here we come!) and Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood.

Running second is Teresa Alvarado, daughter of longtime former Supervisor Blanca Alvarado, with $141,769 raised. (For a total breakout on how much local candidates have raised, loaned themselves and still have on hand, visit www.mercury news.com/internal- affairs.) Notable supporters include Supervisor Dave Cortese, former Supervisor Dianne McKenna and her hubby, marketing guru Regis McKenna.

Closing in on Alvarado is Los Gatos City Councilman Mike Wasserman, who's raised $141,332. Supporters include public policy consultant Jim Cunneen, developer Bill Baron and Gilroy garlic grower Bill Christopher. Gilroy Councilman Peter Arellano has raised $41,283, and winery owner Tom Kruse (yes, he's heard all the jokes) is at $99.

Meanwhile, in the county sheriff's race, retired San Jose police Capt. Richard Calderon is charging hard against three-term incumbent Laurie Smith. He's raised a total $122,874; he loaned himself $104,980. Supporters include former San Jose Police Officers Association president Bobby Lopez; Jose Salcido, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's top law enforcement aide; and grocery story owner Tony Zanotto.

Smith has raised $107,139 from folks including philanthropists Mike and Mary Ellen Fox, as well as their son Mike Fox Jr., who heads up Goodwill Industries; former Republican Congressman Ernie Konnyu; and Christopher, the garlic king. Retired San Jose police Officer Martin Monica had not filed reports by late last week.

REED'S CASH COMES IN QUICKLY, GOES OUT QUICKLY

Meanwhile, in San Jose, no one was shocked to see incumbent mayor Reed already owning the race, raising $188,049. But with just $54,040 cash on hand, IA had to wonder: Where did all hizzoner's money go? campaign manager Ben Yurman-Glaser said much has been spent on three full-time staffers, rent for office space and the other usual expenses (consultants, mass mailings).

Yurman-Glaser predicted Reed will have raised about $250,000 by the next filing period, in May. And he said that during his first run for mayor in 2006, Reed raised about $1 million, including the primary and general elections. Not that Reed will have to worry about a runoff this time -- challengers Susan Barragan, Bill Chew and Thomas Tuan Nguyen reported a grand total of $14.50 in their war chests.

Among Reed's supporters are plenty of heavy hitters, including A's owner Lew Wolff, serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, former Adobe Systems CEO Bruce Chizen, veteran software executive Tom Siebel, wireless industry pioneer Craig McCaw, and local solar company CEOs Tom Werner and Barry Cinnamon.

And IA did a double-take when we saw Jim Weyermann's name listed among Reed's contributors. You'll recall that as CEO of the San Jose Giants, Weyermann is a leader of Stand For San Jose, the San Francisco Giants-backed coalition opposing any public funds that would bring the A's to a new downtown ballpark. Talk about chutzpah!

CARR'S CAR A VEHICLE FOR HUMOR

Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr may be catching plenty of flak from some quarters, but she hasn't lost her sense of humor.

At a Santa Clara University debate last week between Carr and her challenger, Deputy DA Jeff Rosen, moderator Gerald Uelmen asked each candidate to name something their opponent had done that they most respected.

Rosen allowed that he liked a parental training program organized by Carr and her determination in campaigning through adversity (though he used the last bit to remind listeners of the criticism Carr has received).

Carr then followed with the best line of the night. You probably know she recently was lambasted by Merc columnist Scott Herhold for driving a pricey Acura TL at county taxpayers' expense. Rosen, by contrast, owns a 1995 Honda Civic with 150,000 miles on it.

So what did the DA most admire about Rosen? "That he drives a modest car," she quipped.

LATEST LINE: WHO'S UP & DOWN

Up -- TAKE THAT, SPONGEBOB! Santa Clara County supervisors voted to move forward with a possible ban on toys in fast-food meals, saying they lure kids to unhealthy eating.

Down -- PORTRAIT OF COURAGE: Despite swelling costs for employee pay and benefits, the San Jose City Council -- led by its pro-labor majority -- softened Mayor Chuck Reed's call for 10 percent cuts to help fix yawning deficits.

Sideways -- SMOKE 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM: Just in case Americans don't think California is wacky enough, a November ballot measure will let voters decide to legalize marijuana -- even without a doctor's note. But the feds likely will challenge it.

THEY SAID IT

"She's voted less times than Tom Campbell has run for office."

-- Assemblyman Chuck DeVre on Carly Fiorina; the three are jousting to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate

Send tips to internalaffairs@mercurynews.com, or call 408-271-3638.Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at local politics. Send tips to internalaffairs@mercurynews.com, or call 408-271-3638.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT (publ. 3/30/2010, page 2A)

An item in the Internal Affairs column Sunday in the Local section about San Jose political consultant Jude Barry mischaracterized a judge's recent ruling in a lawsuit brought by Verafirma, a company Barry cofounded to electronically gather signatures for ballot initiatives. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge George Miram last week tentatively ruled against the company's request that the county clerk be forced to accept an electronic signature, but the judge will issue a final ruling within 90 days.

Copyright © 2010 San Jose Mercury News

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Saturday Morning Attorneys | View Clip
03/27/2010
jdjournal.com

Last year we reported that Santa Clara University Law School was holding open houses in the virtual world of Second Life.  Attorneys will soon be able to get their Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits there as well.  Jones Walker , under the guidance of Carol Thomas, has established a presence in the ViO office park located in Second Life.  Thomas, who is the firm's Chief Marketing Officer, has this to say about the new project:  ”There is no end to the opportunities that could be explored in this space. We just need to be willing to rethink the usual assumptions, and look at ways to use the tools offered in Second Life to reach new markets, new clients, and reduce the costs of being physically present in the real world.”

The physical appearance of a law firm office has some impact on how much a client trusts and is willing to pay his attorney.  One wonders if clients will be willing to pay exorbitant legal fees for meeting with attorneys who look like cartoons.

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California's Latino students graduate college at higher rates than Latino national average | View Clip
03/26/2010
San Jose Mercury News

California's Latino college students graduate from college at a higher rate than the national average; 58 percent earn a bachelor's degree, compared to 51 percent nationally.

Although the state's Latino students trail white students in graduation rates, the four-point gap is narrower than the national gap of eight points, according to a new study by the American Enterprise Institute.

A closer look, by gender, shows that Latina women graduate at a higher rate (61 percent) than white men (58 percent) in California.

The study, funded by The Gates Foundation, examined graduation rates for students who entered college in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

It found that Latinos do best at several private California campuses — such as Santa Clara University, Whittier College, Pitzer College, Loyola Marymount University and the University of San Francisco — where their graduation rates match or surpass whites'.

At Stanford University, Latinos' 93 percent graduation rates are only slightly lower than the 95 percent rate for white students.

But at public universities, graduation rate disparities widen. At San Jose State, 35 percent of Latinos graduate, compared to 43 percent of white students. At Cal State East Bay, 40 percent graduate, compared to 44 percent of white students. At UC Santa Cruz, 66 percent graduate, compared to 70 percent of white students.

The study attributed the national gap to barriers of language and
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culture, noting that "familial and social ties to home are particularly strong" in Latino students. And white students tend to arrive better prepared, academically and financially, for college, it concluded. But it noted that some schools better support efforts by Latino students — and urged these schools to teach others about strategies that work.

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565

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Vatican/Clerical abuse updates | View Clip
03/26/2010
Washington Post - Online

Latest developments in the Vatican's response to cases of clerical sexual abuse in Europe and the U.S.:
* Pop star Sinead O'Connor and star atheist Christopher Hitchens are calling for the arrest and investigation of Pope Benedict and his actions as Archbishop Razinger in Germany and as the Vatican's chief enforcement officer.
* The New York Times reported Friday that Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of the diocese of Munich and Freising, had been copied on a memo informing him that a priest he had sent for therapy to overcome pedophilia would return to pastoral work in the Munich diocese only days after beginning the treatment. The priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, was later convicted of molesting boys in another diocese.
In a statement Friday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that Benedict "had no knowledge of the decision" to reassign the priest "to pastoral activities in a parish."
* The Catholic League questioned the evidence and conclusions of the story in the Times:
"The Times offers absolutely no evidence to support this charge," president Bill Donohue said in a statement. "All it says is that his office "was copied on a memo" about the transfer of Peter Hullermann. According to Church officials, the story says the memo was routine and was "unlikely to have landed on the archbishop's desk."
* The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) cited the story as more evidence then-Cardinal Ratzinger's awareness of the problems.
"Like Bill Clinton's claim that he smoked marijuana but didn't inhale, the Vatican's claim that the Pope knew about a German predator priest's abuse but not his re-assignment is increasingly discredited."
* ABC News reported that experts in canon law say only a heavenly bolt of lightning can take the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from power as the supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
"The only person who can fire him is God," said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, who worked at the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C., and was one of the first whistle blowers when the sex scandals broke in 1984.
"A pope is never forced to resign, not under the current canon law," said Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Tablet weekly. "A pope can voluntarily resign, but it's interesting... Who would take his resignation?"
* In an interview with the German regional daily Neue Passauer Presse on Tuesday, the pope's brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, apologized to child victims of sexual abuse at a German school where Ratzinger worked from 1964-1994, while maintaining that he was unaware of the alleged incidents.
Ratzinger admitted to slapping some pupils early in his career but said that he "always had a troubled conscience about it" and "was happy when physical punishments were completely forbidden in 1980 by legislation."
* In Psychology Today, Tom Plante, a professor at Santa Clara University and vice chair of a board to protect children created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, writes that there are more myths than facts about clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church:
"The recent clergy abuse stories coming out of Europe and South America are not surprising but we have to be reasoned letting good data and logic inform us rather than relying on myths, anger, and hysteria."
* CNN is reporting that top Catholic clerics in Britain and France are expressing support for the pope as well as "deep shame" and regret about reports of clerical abuse.
* Papal biographer (and On Faith panelist) George Weigel is challenging allegations that the Vatican participated in a coverup of abuse either in the United States or in Europe.
"These are all horrible acts by despicable people, but it was decades ago and the suggestion that there is a criminal conspiracy of sexual abusers run from a corrupt Vatican is simply wrong, false and reprehensible," Weigel told USA Today.

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Santa Clara Students Use Social Media to Explore Ethics | View Clip
03/26/2010
AJCU Higher Ed News

At the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, SCU students are using new media to share the lessons they've learned with others. Follow the
Markkula Center on Twitter, watch a video on student academic experiences and check out an SCU student's blog, The Technological Citizen.

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How to climb the stock market's wall of worry | View Clip
03/26/2010
Investor's Business Daily - Online

By Posted 04:13 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- If you believe some market and media seers, truly the end is near for Mom, apple pie and the American way. Financial crisis in Europe. Health-care overhaul. China trade. Mounting U.S. debt. The specter of rising interest rates. Stocks must be running on fumes, given the Sisyphean challenges facing the planet.

Noise, noise, and more noise. We've heard it all before. Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain will likely come through their debt problems, just as Latin America, Russia and Asia did in the 1980s and 1990s. Ronald Reagan and other critics decried Medicare as socialized medicine 40 years ago, but today it's a cornerstone federal program. China is a tough competitor, giving no quarter, and that's a fact of business life. The U.S. will have to reckon with its debt or grow its way out, and what happens with interest rates depends greatly on that economic growth.

Around the world, people are tackling the most serious global issues. There will be pain, progress and more pain. But financial markets have survived turmoil before and will again.

The real question for investors is how will you fare?

"There's always risk in stocks and there's always some bad news," said Larry Swedroe, director of research at Buckingham Asset Management in St. Louis. "If there wasn't, stocks would get the same returns as Treasury bills. You wouldn't have a risk premium if there wasn't a wall of worry."

The proverbial wall of worry: You can't always see it, but it's there. Either you climb it or it blocks your way. See related story on market behavior

"There are a lot of investors who have sat on their hands all through this rally," said Paul Nolte, managing director at investment firm Dearborn Partners.

Given the grim place stocks inhabited just over a year ago, it's understandable that most investors didn't expect a recovery. Now, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) 65% above its March 2009 low, would-be buyers are wary that this rally has run its course. See Mark Hulbert: Is the stock market topping out?

"After the market has gone down, it is natural to think it will continue to go down," said Meir Statman, a finance professor at Santa Clara University in California. "The tendency is to exaggerate, to go to extremes. In reality, things are not as rosy or exuberant as they seem, and they're not as frightening as they seem, so you should keep a balance."

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How to climb the stock market's wall of worry | View Clip
03/26/2010
MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- If you believe some market and media seers, truly the end is near for Mom, apple pie and the American way. Financial crisis in Europe. Health-care overhaul. China trade. Mounting U.S. debt. The specter of rising interest rates. Stocks must be running on fumes, given the Sisyphean challenges facing the planet.

Noise, noise, and more noise. We've heard it all before. Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain will likely come through their debt problems, just as Latin America, Russia and Asia did in the 1980s and 1990s. Ronald Reagan and other critics decried Medicare as socialized medicine 40 years ago, but today it's a cornerstone federal program. China is a tough competitor, giving no quarter, and that's a fact of business life. The U.S. will have to reckon with its debt or grow its way out, and what happens with interest rates depends greatly on that economic growth.

Around the world, people are tackling the most serious global issues

. There will be pain, progress and more pain. But financial markets have survived turmoil before and will again.

The real question for investors is how will you fare?

"There's always risk in stocks and there's always some bad news," said Larry Swedroe, director of research at Buckingham Asset Management in St. Louis. "If there wasn't, stocks would get the same returns as Treasury bills. You wouldn't have a risk premium if there wasn't a wall of worry."

The proverbial wall of worry: You can't always see it, but it's there. Either you climb it or it blocks your way. See related story on market behavior

"There are a lot of investors who have sat on their hands all through this rally," said Paul Nolte, managing director at investment firm Dearborn Partners.

Given the grim place stocks inhabited just over a year ago, it's understandable that most investors didn't expect a recovery. Now, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (INDU 10,850, +9.15, +0.08%) 65% above its March 2009 low, would-be buyers are wary that this rally has run its course. See Mark Hulbert: Is the stock market topping out?

"After the market has gone down, it is natural to think it will continue to go down," said Meir Statman, a finance professor at Santa Clara University in California. "The tendency is to exaggerate, to go to extremes. In reality, things are not as rosy or exuberant as they seem, and they're not as frightening as they seem, so you should keep a balance."

Balancing atop a high wall is easier said than done. The market's day-to-day noise can be deafening and distressing, imploring us to choose or lose. A sense that it's now or never makes people feel out of control, which can be a path to impulsiveness.

"There's a lot to worry about, and there are a lot of worriers," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer at money manager Johnson Illington Advisors. "But I would never recommend that anybody make an asset allocation decision based on current events. These things tend to drive very poor decisions."

"We see patterns in random events, and that can lead to switching between one investment strategy and another," said Dan Ariely, a psychology professor at Duke University and author of "Predictably Irrational." "You have to put up walls."

In other words, tear down that wall of worry and build a wall of well-being. This doesn't mean adopting a sunny, "don't worry, be happy" approach to investing. It means determining whether a situation is worth worrying about, and if it is, staying calm and collected enough to make smart choices.

"People find excuses to justify what they like, as opposed to really examining the fundamentals and trying to figure out how this is similar or different compared to past market cycles," said Richard Bernstein, head of Richard Bernstein Capital Management in New York.

"Fears right now of [financial] Armageddon are overdone," he said. "To have a bear market, there are certain things you'd see: profitability start to slow, fiscal restraint. That's not really happening. Profitability is ramping up and monetary policy is accommodative."

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Clergy Sexual Abuse | View Clip
03/25/2010
CKNW-AM

Santa Clara University psychologist Thomas Plante was interviewed about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

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Catholic Abuse | View Clip
03/25/2010
KCBS-AM

Santa Clara University psychologist Thomas Plante discusses the Vatican's decision not to defrock a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting 200 boys.

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Marriage and the social mission of the Church
03/24/2010
Catholic Channel - Sirius XM, The

Frederick Parrella, religious studies professor at Santa Clara University, was interviewed on the program Just Love hosted by Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York, on The Catholic Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio 159 and XM Radio 117. The subject was marriage and the social mission of the church.

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