Santa Clara University

SCU in the News--(April 12-27, 2011)

SCU in the News--(April 12-27, 2011)

Report Overview:
Total Clips (202)
Other (202)


Headline Date Outlet Links

Other (202)
Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? 04/28/2011 Press-Telegram - Online Text View Clip
Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? 04/28/2011 San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online Text View Clip
Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? 04/28/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text View Clip
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 Alameda Times-Star Text
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 Argus, The Text
William Rewak named SCU chancellor 04/27/2011 BizJournals.com Text View Clip
Have You Earned the Right to Lead? 04/27/2011 Businsess NH Magazine - Online Text View Clip
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 Daily Review, The Text
Cutting corners – a bad habit 04/27/2011 Daily Titan, The Text View Clip
Adobe Youth Voices celebrates 5th Anniversary In India 04/27/2011 EFY Times Text View Clip
Leon Panetta to become defense secretary, sources say 04/27/2011 InsideBayArea.com Text View Clip
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 InsideBayArea.com Text View Clip
Audio: Federal Courts Weigh The Health Law 04/27/2011 Kaiser Health News Text View Clip
PROFESSOR AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY IS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TWO WARS IN AFGHANISTAN. 04/27/2011 KNTV-TV Text View Clip
Reporter: HE'S STILL ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES HERE AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY. 04/27/2011 NBC Bay Area News at 5 PM - KNTV-TV Text
PROFESSOR AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY IS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TWO WARS IN AFGHANISTAN. 04/27/2011 NBC Bay Area News at 6 PM - KNTV-TV Text
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 Press-Telegram - Online Text View Clip
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online Text View Clip
SECOND TOUR? 04/27/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
FAVORITE SON TAKES KEY SCU POST 04/27/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? 04/27/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 San Mateo County Times Text
Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes 04/27/2011 Tri-Valley Herald Text View Clip
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 Tri-Valley Herald Text
Former Santa Clara University president returns 04/27/2011 Whittier Daily News Text View Clip
Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes 04/26/2011 Argus, The Text
: Research and Markets: Fiance & Marriage Visas: An Easy-To-Use Guide through the Process 04/26/2011 M2 PressWIRE Text
Pennies Galore: Students Fundraise for Causes 04/26/2011 Milpitas Patch Text View Clip
As we were: Tourism to stimulate economy 04/26/2011 Mountain Democrat Text View Clip
Who Owns the Fed? 04/26/2011 National Center For Policy Analysis Text View Clip
Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes 04/26/2011 Oakland Tribune Text
Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes 04/26/2011 San Mateo County Times Text
Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement; now faculty votes 04/26/2011 Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online Text View Clip
Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes 04/26/2011 Tri-Valley Herald Text
Despite Criticism, a Review of ABA Standards for Law Schools Is Moving Forward 04/25/2011 ABA Journal - Online Text View Clip
Follow the Leaders: The 2011 IA 25 04/25/2011 AdvisorOne Text View Clip
The San Francisco Real Estate Blog 04/25/2011 Daily Pundit Text View Clip
The sins and virtues of stocks; Some investors aren't driven by profit motives, have ethical concerns 04/25/2011 Global Chinese Press Text
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/25/2011 Jamaica Observer - Online, The Text View Clip
Pension Reform 04/25/2011 KNTV-TV Text View Clip
The sins and virtues of stocks 04/25/2011 Province - Online, The Text View Clip
Got humility? 04/25/2011 Psychology Today - Online Text View Clip
Stanford Debates: Reinstate ROTC? 04/25/2011 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) - Online Text View Clip
Reporter: IF STUDENTS AT STANFORD IN PALO ALTO CALIFORNIA WANT TO JOIN THE ARMY'S RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS, THEY HAVE TO COME HERE TO SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY 16 MILES AWAY TO ATTEND CLASS. 04/25/2011 Real Orange-KOCE-TV Text
Here comes Peter Cottontail 04/25/2011 saukvalley.com Text View Clip
Tapping Into Social-Media Smarts 04/25/2011 Wall Street Journal Text View Clip
How the Easter bunny has become a secular symbol 04/25/2011 WXIN-TV - Online Text View Clip
What do bunnies have to do with Easter? 04/24/2011 Times-Picayune Text
Professionals Tap a Higher Power in the Workplace 04/24/2011 Workforce Management Text View Clip
125 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area recognized 04/23/2011 BizJournals.com Text View Clip
THE ROTC PROGRAM IS BASED AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY RIGHT NOW. 04/23/2011 Channel 2 News at 10 PM - KTVU-TV Text
RELIGION How did the bunny rabbit become the secular symbol of Easter? 04/23/2011 Charleston Gazette, The Text
David Friedman on "Sustainability", David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty 04/23/2011 EconLog Text View Clip
Why bunnies at Easter? Pre-Christian symbols adopted by the church 04/23/2011 Fresno Bee - Online Text View Clip
Hop into the lore of Easter bunny 04/23/2011 Modesto Bee - Online, The Text View Clip
How the Easter bunny has become a secular symbol 04/23/2011 Morning Call - Online Text View Clip
Public pain, private gain 04/23/2011 San Francisco Chronicle Text
Museum gotta see 'um 04/23/2011 San Mateo Daily Journal Text View Clip
Bunny tales 04/23/2011 Star Tribune - Online Text View Clip
The Easter Bunny The secular symbol of Easter? 04/23/2011 Vindicator - Online Text View Clip
Religion-Themed Mobile Apps 04/22/2011 KQED-FM Text View Clip
Religion-Themed Mobile Apps 04/22/2011 KQED-FM - Online Text View Clip
Just how did the bunny rabbit become the secular symbol of Easter? 04/22/2011 Regina Leader-Post - Online Text View Clip
Stanford should invite ROTC back to campus, university committee says 04/22/2011 Stanford Report Text View Clip
Early Apple Computer marketing leader to deliver St J Academy commencement address 04/22/2011 Vermont Business Text View Clip
How the Easter bunny has become a secular symbol 04/21/2011 Chicago Tribune - Online Text View Clip
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/21/2011 Daily News, The Text View Clip
PG&E CEO Stepping Down 04/21/2011 KCBS-AM Text
JOB PROSPECTS LOOK ROSIER FOR UPCOMING GRADS 04/21/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/21/2011 SiliconValley.com Text View Clip
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/20/2011 Alameda Times-Star Text
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/20/2011 Argus, The Text
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/20/2011 Daily Review, The Text
Affluent big on DIY investing, survey finds 04/20/2011 InvestmentNews (Crain's) Online Text View Clip
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/20/2011 Oakland Tribune Text
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/20/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/20/2011 San Mateo County Times Text
Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs 04/20/2011 Tri-Valley Herald Text
Affluent Clients Turn to Self-Directed Investment Strategies 04/19/2011 AdvisorOne Text View Clip
How often are moms killing their kids? 04/19/2011 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Online Text View Clip
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/18/2011 Alameda Times-Star Text
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/18/2011 Argus, The Text
Inglenook, AllianceBernstein, RIM: Intellectual Property 04/18/2011 Bloomberg News - Online Text View Clip
Chromasun and SCU Unveil Largest Rooftop Concentrating Solar Thermal System in California 04/18/2011 Collegiate Presswire Text View Clip
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/18/2011 Contra Costa Times Text
SV150 see most profitable year in history 04/18/2011 Contra Costa Times - Online Text View Clip
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/18/2011 Daily Review, The Text
SV150 see most profitable year in history 04/18/2011 InsideBayArea.com Text View Clip
Inspirational and energetic community college students swap ideas for achieving success 04/18/2011 Marin Independent Journal - Online Text View Clip
Santa Clara University Students Create Solar Neonatal Incubator 04/18/2011 NBC Bay Area News at 6 PM - KNTV-TV Text View Clip
NOW WITH THE HELP OF FELLOW STUDENTS AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY, SHE'S WORKING ON AN INCUBATOR THAT USES SOLAR THERMAL. 04/18/2011 NBC Bay Area News at 6 PM - KNTV-TV Text
Brussels court rules against Google in copyright case - Business - International Herald Tribune 04/18/2011 New York Times - Online, The Text View Clip
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/18/2011 Oakland Tribune Text
Plaintiff says he had 2003 partnership with Facebook's Zuckerberg 04/18/2011 RedEye - Online Text View Clip
Inspirational and energetic community college students swap ideas for achieving success 04/18/2011 San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online Text View Clip
HOW DID WE GET HARE? 04/18/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
FINDING WAYS TO SPREAD SUCCESS 04/18/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
Why is there an Easter Bunny? 04/18/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/18/2011 San Mateo County Times Text
Largest solar thermal plant in California 04/18/2011 Sun & Wind Energy - Online Text View Clip
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/18/2011 Tri-Valley Herald Text
Silicon Valley is back - 2010 best year in its history 04/18/2011 ZDNet News Text View Clip
Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success 04/17/2011 Alameda Times-Star Text
Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success 04/17/2011 Argus, The Text
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 CBSNews.com Text View Clip
'How could she?' Despite our shock, mothers kill kids more often than we think, experts say 04/17/2011 Chicago Tribune - Online Text View Clip
To Understand Boredom, Students Go Back to 1925 04/17/2011 Chronicle of Higher Education - Online, The Text View Clip
Armstrong case not so unusual -- Women commit filicide every few days 04/17/2011 Commercial Appeal Text
Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success 04/17/2011 Daily Review, The Text
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 Denver Post - Online, The Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we th ... 04/17/2011 Himalayan Times Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 Ledger - Online, The Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 Lexington Herald-Leader - Online Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 Missoulian - Online, The Text View Clip
Diversity defines Silicon Valley, except at town halls 04/17/2011 Model Minority Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 Sacramento Bee - Online, The Text View Clip
Augmenting their income 04/17/2011 San Francisco Chronicle Text
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/17/2011 San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online Text View Clip
NEW DAY, OLD GUARD 04/17/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
STUDY: LAWYERS' OFFENSES INCREASE 04/17/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
VALLEY REVS UP THE PROFITS 04/17/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Diversity defines Silicon Valley, except at town halls 04/17/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area 04/17/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success 04/17/2011 San Mateo County Times Text
Diversity defines Silicon Valley, except at town halls 04/17/2011 Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online Text View Clip
SV150 see most profitable year in history 04/17/2011 Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online Text View Clip
SV150 see most profitable year in history 04/17/2011 SiliconValley.com Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Online Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/17/2011 Today Show - NBC News Network - Online Text View Clip
Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success 04/17/2011 Tri-Valley Herald Text
What makesa mother kill? 04/17/2011 Virginian-Pilot Text
When mothers kill 04/17/2011 Winnipeg Free Press - Online, The Text View Clip
'Scrapers' dig deep for your online personal data 04/17/2011 YoStuffs Text View Clip
Moms Killing Kids Not Nearly As Rare As We Think 04/16/2011 12 News at 5 PM - WISN-TV Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Anchorage Daily News - Online Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Associated Press (AP) Text
The misuse of Hoover's name 04/16/2011 Boston Globe - Online Text View Clip
Despite our shock, mothers kill children more often than we think 04/16/2011 CKWX-AM (News 1130) - Online Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Forbes - Online Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Kansas City Star - Online Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not as rare as we think 04/16/2011 MSN Money Canada Text View Clip
Moms Killing Kids Not Nearly as Rare as We Think 04/16/2011 New York Times - Online, The Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Salon.com Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Seattle Post-Intelligencer Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Seattle Times - Online Text View Clip
When Mothers Kill: Incidents Not Nearly As Rare as We Think 04/16/2011 Sentinel, The Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Times-Picayune - Online Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Vida En El Valle Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Washington Examiner - Online Text View Clip
When moms kill, not as rare as we think 04/16/2011 WTNH-TV - Online Text View Clip
Despite our shock, mothers kill children more often than we think 04/16/2011 Yahoo! Canada Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Yahoo! Malaysia Text View Clip
Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think 04/16/2011 Yahoo! News Text View Clip
At 100, Santa Clara Law stays on leading edge of Silicon Valley 04/15/2011 BizJournals.com Text View Clip
Intellectual property pioneer has Matlock-like instincts 04/15/2011 BizJournals.com Text View Clip
Money not only measure of success in investor-adviser relationship 04/15/2011 Edmonton Journal, The Text
'Life Cycle,' through June 12 04/15/2011 San Francisco Chronicle - Online Text View Clip
20 Social Entrepreneurs Chosen for Santa Clara University's GSBI | Newsroom | NextBillion.net | Development through Enterprise 04/14/2011 Development through Enterprise Text View Clip
Universities offer kooky classes 04/14/2011 Independent Florida Alligator, The Text View Clip
By Jeff Jacoby 04/14/2011 Jewish World Review Text View Clip
Local robotics team heads to world championships 04/14/2011 Mountain View Voice Text View Clip
Recession Spurs a Successful Business for '09 College Grad 04/14/2011 Palisadian-Post - Online Text View Clip
The misuse of Hoover's name 04/13/2011 Boston Globe Text
Students Find Illegal Music Downloading to Be 'Okay'; College President Living in a Student Dorm 04/13/2011 CampusProgress.org Text View Clip
Plaintiff says he had 2003 partnership with Facebook's Zuckerberg 04/13/2011 Chicago Tribune - Online Text View Clip
Government lets Google buy travel software company 04/13/2011 Clarion-Ledger - Online Text View Clip
Chromasun activates solar thermal system at SCU in US 04/13/2011 Clean Technology Business Review Text View Clip
Solar concentrator graces university rooftop 04/13/2011 CNET News.com Text View Clip
Solar concentrator graces university rooftop 04/13/2011 CNET.com - New York Bureau Text View Clip
Santa Clara University student wins grant for 48 hour flash fundraiser 04/13/2011 Examiner.com Text View Clip
COURTS 04/13/2011 Los Angeles Times Text
Plaintiff says he had 2003 partnership with Facebook's Zuckerberg 04/13/2011 Los Angeles Times - Online Text View Clip
Doctors Warned: Eliminating Online Reviews Poses Risks 04/13/2011 MediaPost.com Text View Clip
SYMPOSIUM LOOKS AT ISLAM, ART 04/13/2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Text
Symposium looks at Islam, art 04/13/2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Online Text View Clip
Chromasun activates solar thermal system at SCU to reduce carbon emissions 04/13/2011 This Old House - WGBH-TV Text
60 Chromasun MCT Collectors Will Generate an Estimated 6,727 Therms of Energy for Water Heating and Offset 34 Tons of CO2 04/12/2011 Associated Press (AP) Text
Government lets Google buy travel software company 04/12/2011 CNBC - Online Text View Clip
Chromasun and SCU Unveil Largest Rooftop Concentrating Solar Thermal System in California 04/12/2011 Collegiate Presswire Text View Clip
The Booming 1930s 04/12/2011 Dismal Scientist Text View Clip
When Hard Times Led to a Boom 04/12/2011 Economix Text View Clip
Mark Hurley Takes On Bob Veres In Round Two Of The Valuation Debate 04/12/2011 Forbes - Online Text View Clip
PHOTOS: Chromasun's Rooftop Next-Gen Solar Project 04/12/2011 Giga Om Text View Clip
Mixed Greens: Nissan's R&D Center Mountain View, Chromasun Goes Live and Natural Gas as a Battery 04/12/2011 Greentech Media Text View Clip
Modern Parenthood 04/12/2011 KNTV-TV Text View Clip
Court Upholds Facebook Settlement With Twins 04/12/2011 Ledger - Online, The Text View Clip
CALIFORNIA 04/12/2011 Los Angeles Times Text
Universities step up pitches to admitted students as acceptance date nears 04/12/2011 Los Angeles Times - Online Text View Clip
Who said it? 04/12/2011 Management Today Magazine Text View Clip
Chromasun and SCU Unveil Largest Rooftop Concentrating Solar Thermal System in California 04/12/2011 Marketwire Text
Court upholds Facebook settlement with twins 04/12/2011 NDTV Text View Clip
Facebook's Settlement With Twins Is Upheld by an Appeals Court Panel 04/12/2011 New York Times, The Text
Decisions, Decisions: Life After High School 04/12/2011 Newark Patch Text View Clip
Bernard Fernandez: Saad Muhammad fighting good fight: Knock Out Homelessness 04/12/2011 philly.com Text View Clip
Court Upholds Facebook Settlement With Twins 04/12/2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Online Text View Clip
REJECTED 04/12/2011 San Jose Mercury News Text
Facebook: Winklevoss twins stuck with settlement, court rules 04/12/2011 San Jose Mercury News - Online Text View Clip
Court Upholds Facebook Settlement With Twins 04/12/2011 Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Online Text View Clip
Dave Ramsey's Optimistic Investing Advice: Irresponsible or Motivating? 04/12/2011 Seeking Alpha Text View Clip
Chromasun and SCU Unveil Largest Rooftop Concentrating Solar Thermal System in California 04/12/2011 U.S. Politics Today Text View Clip


Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? | View Clip
04/28/2011
Press-Telegram - Online

Click photo to enlarge

Pictured is Jeff Chang, the keynote speaker at the Diversity Leadership Conference to be hosted this weekend at Santa Clara University. Credit: Courtesy Santa Clara University.

A few years ago, Laurie Jones Neighbors wanted to know whether the Bay Area's rich cultural diversity was reflected on local boards and commissions, the sort that deal with apartment rents, public buses, air pollution and other realities of everyday urban life.

"There was very little representation of people of color and low-income people," she said after canvassing dozens of agencies. "We're not going to arrive at a just society that way."

The nonprofit organization she works for, Urban Habitat, won a grant to recruit and train low-income minorities and get them appointed. Two years later, the Oakland-based group has placed all of its first class of 26 on local boards and has another group in the pipeline.

Jones Neighbors will tell this story at the sold-out Diversity Leadership Conference on Saturday at Santa Clara University. More than 300 scholars, students and community activists will explore the region's cultural diversity, especially how it plays out in local government, education, race relations and the cultural politics of race and immigration.

"People think the Bay Area doesn't have a lot of work to do because it's so diverse, but the contrary is true," said Lester Deanes, assistant dean for student life at Santa Clara University and a co-organizer of the conference.

Speakers from at least 15 campuses, including San Jose State, Stanford University, UC Berkeley and De Anza College, will lead discussions at

40 workshops. A panel by Google, the conference's main sponsor, will explore the "opportunities and challenges of diversity" in the technology industry.

Ten years after Asians, Latinos and other minorities became the majority in much of Silicon Valley, scholars and other observers say these groups still lack political power, which can't be explained by the natural lag time associated with first-generation immigrants. For example, a recent report by this newspaper based on 2010 U.S. census results revealed that minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County, but whites still hold three-quarters of the seats on town and city councils. The city of Santa Clara, home to Santa Clara University and the conference, has one of the county's four all-white councils.

In a reflection of the topic's heat, the conference sold out weeks in advance.

Jeff Chang, the keynote speaker, said he will touch on the vexing inequality in a relatively rich, economically healthy region. A journalist and music critic on hip-hop and American culture, his "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," won an American Book Award in 2005.

"We've gone backwards in a lot of ways," Chang said by telephone, pointing to one of his themes, the resegregation of public schools.

Among the workshops, one stands out for a unique and provocative approach to a touchy subject: white privilege and racism.

Nancy Arvold, a San Mateo County social worker with a doctorate in white studies, will describe how even liberal whites fail to recognize the privileges they have enjoyed without knowing it, or subtle racial prejudices and stereotypes they may harbor. "We white people need to do some deep work," Arvold said.

Tickets for the Diversity Leadership Conference at Santa Clara University on Saturday have sold out. For the list of workshops and information about future events, go to www.scu.edu/oml/dlc.

Return to Top



Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? | View Clip
04/28/2011
San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online

Pictured is Jeff Chang, the keynote speaker at the Diversity Leadership Conference to be hosted this weekend at Santa Clara University. Credit: Courtesy Santa Clara University.

A few years ago, Laurie Jones Neighbors wanted to know whether the Bay Area's rich cultural diversity was reflected on local boards and commissions, the sort that deal with apartment rents, public buses, air pollution and other realities of everyday urban life.

"There was very little representation of people of color and low-income people," she said after canvassing dozens of agencies. "We're not going to arrive at a just society that way."

The nonprofit organization she works for, Urban Habitat, won a grant to recruit and train low-income minorities and get them appointed. Two years later, the Oakland-based group has placed all of its first class of 26 on local boards and has another group in the pipeline.

Jones Neighbors will tell this story at the sold-out Diversity Leadership Conference on Saturday at Santa Clara University. More than 300 scholars, students and community activists will explore the region's cultural diversity, especially how it plays out in local government, education, race relations and the cultural politics of race and immigration.

"People think the Bay Area doesn't have a lot of work to do because it's so diverse, but the contrary is true," said Lester Deanes, assistant dean for student life at Santa Clara University and a co-organizer of the conference.

Speakers from at least 15 campuses, including San Jose State, Stanford University, UC Berkeley and De Anza College, will lead discussions at

40 workshops. A panel by Google, the conference's main sponsor, will explore the "opportunities and challenges of diversity" in the technology industry.

Ten years after Asians, Latinos and other minorities became the majority in much of Silicon Valley, scholars and other observers say these groups still lack political power, which can't be explained by the natural lag time associated with first-generation immigrants. For example, a recent report by this newspaper based on 2010 U.S. census results revealed that minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County, but whites still hold three-quarters of the seats on town and city councils. The city of Santa Clara, home to Santa Clara University and the conference, has one of the county's four all-white councils.

In a reflection of the topic's heat, the conference sold out weeks in advance.

Jeff Chang, the keynote speaker, said he will touch on the vexing inequality in a relatively rich, economically healthy region. A journalist and music critic on hip-hop and American culture, his "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," won an American Book Award in 2005.

"We've gone backwards in a lot of ways," Chang said by telephone, pointing to one of his themes, the resegregation of public schools.

Among the workshops, one stands out for a unique and provocative approach to a touchy subject: white privilege and racism.

Nancy Arvold, a San Mateo County social worker with a doctorate in white studies, will describe how even liberal whites fail to recognize the privileges they have enjoyed without knowing it, or subtle racial prejudices and stereotypes they may harbor. "We white people need to do some deep work," Arvold said.

Tickets for the Diversity Leadership Conference at Santa Clara University on Saturday have sold out. For the list of workshops and information about future events, go to www.scu.edu/oml/dlc.

Return to Top



Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? | View Clip
04/28/2011
San Jose Mercury News

A few years ago, Laurie Jones Neighbors wanted to know whether the Bay Area's rich cultural diversity was reflected on local boards and commissions, the sort that deal with apartment rents, public buses, air pollution and other realities of everyday urban life.

"There was very little representation of people of color and low-income people," she said after canvassing dozens of agencies. "We're not going to arrive at a just society that way."

The nonprofit organization she works for, Urban Habitat, won a grant to recruit and train low-income minorities and get them appointed. Two years later, the Oakland-based group has placed all of its first class of 26 on local boards and has another group in the pipeline.

Jones Neighbors will tell this story at the sold-out Diversity Leadership Conference on Saturday at Santa Clara University. More than 300 scholars, students and community activists will explore the region's cultural diversity, especially how it plays out in local government, education, race relations and the cultural politics of race and immigration.

"People think the Bay Area doesn't have a lot of work to do because it's so diverse, but the contrary is true," said Lester Deanes, assistant dean for student life at Santa Clara University and a co-organizer of the conference.

Speakers from at least 15 campuses, including San Jose State, Stanford University, UC Berkeley and De Anza College, will lead discussions at

40 workshops. A panel by Google, the conference's main sponsor, will explore the "opportunities and challenges of diversity" in the technology industry.

Ten years after Asians, Latinos and other minorities became the majority in much of Silicon Valley, scholars and other observers say these groups still lack political power, which can't be explained by the natural lag time associated with first-generation immigrants. For example, a recent report by this newspaper based on 2010 U.S. census results revealed that minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County, but whites still hold three-quarters of the seats on town and city councils. The city of Santa Clara, home to Santa Clara University and the conference, has one of the county's four all-white city councils.

In a reflection of the topic's heat, the conference sold out weeks in advance.

Jeff Chang, the keynote speaker, said he will touch on the vexing inequality in a relatively rich, economically healthy region. A journalist and music critic on hip-hop and American culture, his "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," won an American Book Award in 2005.

"We've gone backwards in a lot of ways," Chang said by telephone, pointing to one of his themes, the resegregation of public schools.

Among the workshops, one stands out for a unique and provocative approach to a touchy subject: white privilege and racism.

Nancy Arvold, a San Mateo County social worker with a doctorate in white studies, will describe how even liberal whites fail to recognize the privileges they have enjoyed without knowing it, or subtle racial prejudices and stereotypes they may harbor.

"We white people need to do some deep work," Arvold said.

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

DIVERSITY CONFERENCE

Tickets for the Diversity Leadership Conference at Santa Clara University on Saturday have sold out. For the list of workshops and information about future events, go to www.scu.edu/oml/dlc.

Return to Top



Former Santa Clara University president returns
04/27/2011
Alameda Times-Star

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Copyright © 2011 Alameda Times-Star. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Former Santa Clara University president returns
04/27/2011
Argus, The

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Copyright © 2011 The Argus. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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William Rewak named SCU chancellor | View Clip
04/27/2011
BizJournals.com

Former Santa Clara University President William Rewak, S.J., will return to campus as the new chancellor of the 160-year-old Jesuit institution.

SCU President Michael E. Engh, S.J. said Tuesday that Rewak will assist in vital areas including civic engagement, fundraising, community outreach and ceremonial events. He also will also head a newly established Council of Trustee Emeriti, a board comprising former, honored trustees who will continue to serve and provide counsel to SCU.

“The board is delighted to welcome Fr. Rewak back to the university he helped shape," said Robert Finocchio, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Santa Clara University. "We look forward to working alongside him and benefitting from his strong institutional knowledge as we move the University forward under the new strategic plan."

Since January 2011, Rewak has been interim director of the Jesuit Retreat House in Los Altos, for which he was director from 1998 to 2005. Prior to his current post, he served as minister of the Jesuit Community at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he also taught poetry.

Rewak was appointed chancellor of SCU once before, in 1989. But he held that post for only a few months before being tapped to fill in for the unexpectedly ill president of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. He ended up staying in that post until 1997.

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Have You Earned the Right to Lead? | View Clip
04/27/2011
Businsess NH Magazine - Online

There are people in every organization you know whose titles indicate they are leaders. Often, and unfortunately, their employees beg to differ. Oh, they don't say it directly, not to the boss's face, anyway. They say it with their ho-hum performance, their games of avoidance, their dearth of enthusiasm. Leaders–real leaders who have mastered their craft–don't preside over such lackluster followers. If reading this makes you squirm with recognition, you may have a problem lurking.

You're really just masquerading. You haven't yet earned the right to lead.

When times are good, not-so-great leaders can get by. They're cushioned by a surplus of cash, and their missteps are covered up by the thrill of top-line gowth, which hides a multitude of sins. But when the cloak of prosperity falls away, their mediocrity is ruthlessly exposed.

Real leadership equity is only earned, not bestowed. Just because you have been granted authority doesn't mean you're getting the full, collaborative engagement of your employees. You may have their bodies and time 40 or 50 hours a week, but until you earn the privilege, from their point of view, you'll never have their hearts and minds.

I've spent my career studying the practitioners of great leadership via my work as a venture capitalist, board member, high-level consultant, and professor of leadership at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. In Unusually Excellent, my new book, I share what I've learned and bring those lessons to life with real-world stories.

Unusually Excellent is a back-to-basics reference book that offers both seasoned and aspiring leaders a framework for understanding and a guide for applying the battle-tested fundamentals of leadership at every stage of their careers.

These aren't radically new ideas. Human nature hasn't changed that much over the millennia, so neither have the core laws of leadership. It's just that in the heat of the day-to-day battle, leaders inevitably lose their grip on the basic principles of leadership. In other cases, they never learned these fundamentals or mastered them earlier in their career. And finally, sad to say, some people just aren't cut out to lead and need to understand why.

"Normal" leadership is a complex system of behaviors that can tolerate a lot of little mistakes. Extraordinary leadership cannot.

Think about it this way: Anyone can snap a photo that looks okay or cook a meal that satiates hunger. However, when an award-winning photographer takes the picture, or a five-star chef prepares dinner, anyone can tell a master has been at work. The same is true of leadership. The small deficiencies in how the novice leads, as opposed to the unusually excellent professional, create a radical difference in the outcome.

So how can you tell whether you really are a great leader in the minds of your employees-or whether, to paraphrase the old television commercial, you're just playing one on TV? Unfortunately, the depth and breadth of the mistakes you make often tell the true tale.

Below, excerpted from Unusually Excellent, are ten of the most common, deeply destructive mistakes organizational leaders make:

MISTAKE #1: "Role playing" authenticity rather than living it. Authenticity is about owning your failures and shortcomings. It's about allowing others to really know you, vulnerabilities, warts, and all. It's about having the guts to seek feedback from others in a sincere and genuine fashion. And it's about being able to maintain your authentic self in a situation of meaningful consequence-where your decisions affect others, sometimes on a grand scale and sometimes in very personal or dramatic ways.

Knowing who you really are and holding true to yourself in the most difficult moments is the "ground zero" of leadership credibility. It's the only way to create the trusted connections you need to lead with real influence. Unfortunately, leaders stumble for a variety of reasons: They get scared and veer away at the last moment, or they sacrifice the truth on the altar of protecting other people's feelings, or they simply seek to avoid the pain of conflict.

When we make the decision to compromise our authenticity, we end up delivering a message that may feel "easier" but that isn't truly what we want or need to say. Deception conspires with fear and seduces us down a dark road of believing we can "fake it," just this one time and it will all be okay.

But the downstream impact of making such a choice in a moment of stress or carelessness can be devastating. For one thing, it compromises the integrity of that all-important communications channel between leader and follower by changing expectations about the behavior of both. Worse, it sets a precedent for this type of authentic behavior that over time can trap a leader into an expectation or pattern of always behaving that way-and over the course of years this is a soul-destroying situation.

MISTAKE #2: Underestimating the impact of small acts of dishonesty. In my book, I recount an incident that took place at a famous, fast-growing technology company. A young, inexperienced, but talented associate had what he thought was a plan for a powerful new marketing initiative. So he asked the CMO to broker a meeting with the CEO to make a presentation on the subject. The CMO agreed, and the meeting took place.

During the presentation the CEO was polite, if noncommittal. He gave the presenter a sort of passively accepting feedback-"Nice point," "Interesting," and so on-and wrapped up the meeting quickly, thanking the presenter for his initiative. But the CMO could sense a duplicity in the CEO's behavior and attitude as the parties all headed back to their respective offices. Then, 10 minutes after the meeting, the CEO called the CMO into his office and said, in essence, "That presentation was absolutely terrible. That guy's an idiot. I want you to fire him, today."

The story of the firing spread (as it always does) throughout the company, morale slipped, and the CMO never completely trusted his boss again. The CEO's reputation for trustworthiness had been wounded forever. The wreckage from one seemingly small act of dishonesty was strewn all over the company and could never be completely cleaned up.

MISTAKE #3: Being two-faced (and assuming others won't notice). In another scenario, a CEO had one executive on his team whom he really trusted and in whom he could confide. One day, a couple of other members of that company's executive team made a presentation at a board meeting that didn't go so well. Later, as they were walking down a hallway, the CEO turned to his trusted executive and said, "We need to get rid of those guys. They were a disaster at the board meeting-they embarrassed me."

But then nothing happened. Life at the company went on as before, and the targeted executives remained in their jobs. In the months that passed, the trusted executive found himself in meetings attended by both the CEO and the targeted executives. And it was as if the whole incident had never happened. The CEO joked with the men, complimented them on their work, and treated them as long-term team members.

As the trusted executive watched this, he asked himself: Did the boss mean what he said? Does he ever mean what he says? Did he change his mind-and when did that happen? Or is he too gutless to follow through with his plans? And if he's willing to stab those guys in the back and then pretend to be their trusting partner, how do I know he hasn't been doing the same thing with me? Just how duplicitous is this guy?

Such are the dangers of shooting from the hip without realizing that a communication such as the one just described does not qualify as a "casual" comment-once said, it must be resolved, and if it is not, there is a lingering odor that in one way or another, will remain smelly until fixed.

MISTAKE #4: Squelching the flow of bad news. Do you (or others under you) shoot the messenger when she brings you bad news? If so, you can be certain that the messenger's priority is not bringing you the information you need: It's protecting her own hide. That's why in most organizations good news zooms to the top, while bad news-data that reveals goals missed, problems lurking, or feedback that challenges or defeats our strategy-flows uphill like molasses in January.

Unusually excellent leaders understand this reality. To combat it they work hard to build a primary and insatiable demand for the unvarnished facts, the raw data, the actual measurements, the honest feedback, the real information.

We must install a confidence and a trust that leaders in the organization value the facts, the truth, and the speed of delivery, not the judgments or interpretations of "good" or "bad," and that messengers are valued, not shot. If we can do this then the entire behavior pattern of performance information flow will change for the better...Very few efforts will yield the payback associated with improving the speed and accuracy of the information you need most to make difficult or complex decisions.

MISTAKE #5: Punishing "good failures." Great organizations encourage risk-taking. Why? Because innovation requires it. There can be no reward without risk. But if your employees take a risk and fail, and you come down on them like a hammer, guess what? They'll never risk anything again. Unusually excellent leaders deliberately create high-risk, low-cost environments-a.k.a. cultures of trust-where people don't live in fear of the consequences of failure.

A digital camera is the perfect analogy to the kind of culture you want to create.

There is no expense associated with a flawed digital photograph-financial or otherwise. You just hit the "delete" button, and it disappears. No wasted film, slides, or prints. And we are aware of this relationship between mistakes and consequences when we pick up the camera-so we click away, taking many more photos digitally than we would have in a world of costly film. Because we know failure is free, we take chances, and in that effort we often get that one amazing picture that we wouldn't have if we were paying for all the mistakes.

MISTAKE #6: Letting employee enthusiasm fizzle. A big part of a leader's job is to be compelling. That means you must recruit "A players" through a big vision of the future and a personal commitment to a mission. But it's not enough to recruit once and then move on. Never assume "once enrolled, always enrolled." Even the best followers need to be reminded again and again how fun, rewarding, and meaningful their work is.

In other words, when people seem to be losing their spark, they need to become "born again" employees. (Time to put on your evangelist cloak!)

Enthusiasm is a renewable resource. Part of being compelling is reminding yourself that people want and need to be reenrolled all the time. This message doesn't have to be over the top to be compelling. It may just entail reminding your team, once per quarter, why you come to the office every day, and letting them reflect on the reason they do the same.

MISTAKE #7: Refusing to deal with your "weakest links." Chronic underperformers spoil things for everyone else. They create resentment among employees who are giving it their all, and they drag down productivity. Leaders must have a plan for getting these problem children off the playground-and they must act on that plan without procrastination.

The worst scenario of all is to have a plan for dealing with underperformers, to identify who those individuals are, and then not pull the trigger on the announced consequences, for reasons of sentimentality, weakness, or favoritism-or worst of all, an attempt to preserve leadership popularity.

Nothing can be more damaging to the morale and esprit de corps of a team than that kind of leadership. It destroys your authenticity, your trustworthiness, and your ability to compel others to act. It is the end of you as a leader. Indeed, it is better to have no weakest-link plan at all than one with obvious liabilities.

MISTAKE #8: Allowing people to "fail elegantly." There are two basic operating modes for organizations under high-stakes execution pressure. One is the mentality of winning, which we know about; the other, less obvious to the untrained eye, the disease of failing elegantly, is a very sophisticated and veiled set of coping behaviors by individuals, the purpose of which is to avoid the oncoming train of embarrassment when the cover comes off the lousy results that we'd prefer no one ever sees.

Essentially, when people stop believing they can win, some then devote their energy to how best to lose. This fancy losing often manifests as excuse-making, blaming, tolerating cut corners, and manipulating and editorializing data. Unusually excellent leaders know how to recognize these symptoms and intervene with urgency and strength of conviction to get everyone on the high road-a.k.a., the winner's mindset.

Passive acceptance of failure, and the rationalization that always goes with it, is a cancer that can begin anywhere in the organization, then metastasize to every office, including your own. You can prevent it by setting clear and precise standards of behavior for everyone on the team, as well as clear consequences for the violation of those standards. And you can control it through continuous and open communication with every member of your team (some who will spot the problem before you do) and, where necessary, redundant processes and systems.

Most of all, you can cure the acceptance of failure by setting yourself as an example of zero tolerance (along with a welcome for honest admissions of error), of precision and care in all of your work, a clear-eyed focus on unvarnished results, and most of all, an unyielding and unwavering commitment to your success.

MISTAKE #9: Delaying decisions until it's too late. Not making a decision is almost always worse than making a bad decision. As long as they aren't utterly ill-advised and catastrophic, bad decisions at least keep the organization moving in pace with changing events-and thus can often be rectified by a course correction.

Not making a decision at all, although it may seem the safe choice-because, intellectually, it positions you to make the right move when the reality of the situation is more revealed-actually strips your organization of its momentum, stalling it at the starting line, and makes it highly unlikely that you can ever get up to speed in time to be a serious player.

Unusually excellent leaders don't just make decisions; they pursue them. Because the speed of the organization is often its destiny-and because that speed directly correlates with the speed with which its decisions are made or not made-these leaders are haunted by the fear that somewhere in the organization a critical decision is being left orphaned and unmade.

MISTAKE #10: Underestimating the weight your words-and your moods-carry. Consider the story of John Adler, who, prior to his CEO tenure at Adaptec, was a senior vice president at Amdahl, one of the pioneering computer companies of Silicon Valley. One morning as he was walking down the long hallway to his office, he encountered some maintenance guys who were doing repairs. He greeted them cheerfully and then, just to make conversation, mentioned how difficult it must be to work in such a dark hallway.

The next morning when Adler came to work, he was surprised to find five maintenance men all carefully replacing every light bulb in the hallway. When he questioned the flurry of activity, the men said, "We're replacing the light bulbs, boss. You said it was too dark in here." This story illustrates why leaders need to think carefully about every word they say-because others certainly will.

Every conversation with, and every communication from, a leader carries added weight because of the authority of the position behind it. Have a bad day and snap at one of your subordinates, and that person may go back to a cramped cubicle and start updating his résumé, or go out and get drunk, or miss a night's sleep. Your momentary bad day could be his nightmare-and something he will remember forever. Your mood matters; don't make it your employees' problem.

So if you recognize any of these mistakes in yourself, are you forever doomed as a leader? Of course not. We're all human, and we can all learn from our errors and redeem ourselves. And yet, there is no shame in realizing that leadership is not for everyone-or in declining to lead if it's not for you. (In your heart you probably already know.)

Leadership is a choice. It is a deep, burning desire to engage with people and rally a community to achieve greatness. Leadership can be difficult, thankless, frustrating, maddening work at times. It is only the passion of leading on the field-the thrill of looking other human beings in the eyes and seeing their energy, willingness, trust, and commitment-that makes it all worthwhile, in a very quiet, private way.

John Hamm, a leadership experts in Silicon Valley, was named one of the country's Top 100 venture capitalists in 2009 by AlwaysOn and has led investments in many successful high-growth companies as a partner at several Bay Area VC firms. Hamm has also been a CEO, a board member at more than 30 companies, and a CEO adviser and executive coach to senior leaders at companies such as Documentum, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, TaylorMade-adidas Golf and McAfee. He teaches leadership at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.

About the Book:

Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, February 2011, ISBN: 978-0-47092843-1, $24.95, www.unusuallyexcellent.com) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.

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Copyright © 2011 Business NH Magazine • 55 South Commercial St. • Manchester, NH 03101 • Phone: 603-626-6354 • Fax: 603-626-6359

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Former Santa Clara University president returns
04/27/2011
Daily Review, The

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Copyright © 2011 The Daily Review. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Cutting corners – a bad habit | View Clip
04/27/2011
Daily Titan, The

Cheating – not a synonym for shortcut. If you smile to yourself while reading the word, you've probably done it once or twice back in the day when you where in high school and it was way too easy to get away with. College is a completely different ballgame with different rules and penalties. The consequences for being caught cheating in college are life-changing, and not in a good way. No, a special task force won't drop from the sky to take you into questioning and lock you up in a prison cell for life, but it should be how seriously college students should take it.

Students are aware of what will happen when they cheat.

From the very first classes taken as a freshman to the day of graduation, every instructor has a section in their syllabus dedicated to a form of cheating, from plagiarism to test taking, and spends a fair amount of time spelling out the consequences.

Just for the sake of those who claim they don't know, let's go over a few reasons why one shouldn't make the mistake of doing the unmentionable:

1. When caught, it's fair to say that you lose credibility with your professors, a really big loss in college given that you'll need that strong relationship with them to get recommendations for internships, scholarships and job positions. Although most dislike the thought, a professor's opinion about you matters to a great extent.

2. Professors are like ninjas. This is not a lie. They are watching you almost every moment and will catch you in the act when you least expect it. Even if it's not right at that moment, they have something called tenure, which allows them to investigate their suspicions until they follow through with their accusation.

3. You're considered an adult in college so you'll pay adult consequences, plain and simple.

4. Your education is probably funded by the money that comes out of your parents' pockets or even your own, which makes getting kicked out of college for something as low as cheating a big money-waster.

5. Over the years, college has become more and more competitive, so that person you think is your friend and knows what you did really isn't, and will most likely turn you in.

6. Lastly, cheating is for losers. Enough said.

What is so puzzling to educators today is that even though it is safe to say that almost every college student is educated in the department of cheating, there is still a percentage of students who still take the risk and tightrope the thin line blindfolded.

According to an article from NPR, Don McCabe, a professor at Rutgers University Business School who has written extensively on academic dishonesty, cheating and plagiarism, recently conducted a survey of 14,000 undergraduates over the past four years, of which approximately two-thirds of students admitted to cheating.

McCabe told NPR that the students said they didn't always understand what they were doing was against the rules. They said what they learned in high school is different from what colleges ask of them, and the colleges need to do a better job of communicating their expectations.

He believes plagiarism is a blurry chalk line to walk on and can be true but is often just an excuse. Most students justify cheating as OK when they see their fellow peers committing the crime and getting away with it, putting them ahead of others who did the work honestly and received an honest grade.

Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, believes the No. 1 reason for cheating is a heavy workload. He also told NPR that the cheating mindset can set up students for a lifetime of cutting corners.

Both McCabe and Hanson agreed in the article that it's the best and worst students who tend to cheat more.

“The top (is) cheating to thrive, the bottom (is) cheating to survive, and those in the middle are content with their grades and just go along in life and are happy,” said McCabe.

W.P. Carey economics Professor Stephen Happel said the legitimacy of college diplomas and the colleges that grant them are at stake if the percentage of students who cheat continues to rise. He brings a valid question into mind: If two students – one a cheater and one an honest student – can earn the same degree, does that degree really convey an honest representation of academic accomplishment?

Students don't take the consequences of cheating seriously, which can really bite them in the ass later. There are plenty of reasons why cheating shouldn't be an option or a last resort. It's much classier and cooler to just pick up the slack, grow some cajones and face whatever you have coming.

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Adobe Youth Voices celebrates 5th Anniversary In India | View Clip
04/27/2011
EFY Times

Wednesday, April 27, 2011: Adobe Youth Voices (AYV), the signature global philanthropic initiative by Adobe Foundation, today announced the completion of its fifth successful year of celebrating young talent and creativity in India.

Adobe Youth Voices provides an opportunity for underserved middle and high school youth to communicate their concerns, aspirations, and vision using digital media.

The AYV programme, which is implemented by American Indian Foundation, runs across 43 schools in India. Seeing the encouraging response and far-reaching impact of the program, Adobe also announced the extension of AYV program for next five years till 2016.

Over 150,000 youth and 7,000 educators have been empowered globally through AYV initiative in its first five years. The program now aims to reach 1,000,000 youth and 50,000 educators around the world by 2016. In India, over 4,000 students have been impacted through this program and Adobe expects to expand this reach to cover over 8,500 youth and 400+ educators in the course of next five years.

Adobe also announced setting up of scholarships worth Rs 125,000 for meritorious and needy AYV students. The scholarships which will be provided to AYV students in Delhi and Bangalore is meant to provide financial support for those pursuing multimedia/DTP courses, general media courses and courses in mass communication & electronic media.

“Embedding digital creativity in education has been a key objective for Adobe Youth Voices, Adobe’s flagship CSR program and it gives us immense pleasure to get together every year and celebrate creativity. It is indeed a proud moment for all those who have been involved in AYV as we announce not only the successful completion of the first five years of this program but also announce its extension for next five years,” said Tridib Roy Chowdhury, Senior Director – Products, Adobe Systems. “It is encouraging to see how our efforts have resulted in broadening the horizons of the youth of today and how they use digital technologies to develop and express their views on community issues.”

“Adobe has been a great partner in taking the AYV program to the next level. The kind of impact American India Foundation and Adobe have made in terms of reaching out to the youth and educators has been truly encouraging. Through AYV, youth are leveraging digital media for social change and highlighting the issues that are important to them and their communities. We hope to continue our efforts in this direction with more zeal and anticipation to touch the lives of the community as a whole,” J Sundara Krishnan, Director, American India Foundation.

This year three AYV Schools have also been selected to represent India during the Global AYV Summit 2011 being held in US in August. These are Rani Dutta Arya Vidyalaya in Delhi and Christel House and APSA (Association for Promoting Social Action) in Bangalore. One educator and two students from each of the three schools will showcase their talent and improve their skills at the summit at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, US from 2nd - 7th August, 2011.

Awards and Accolades

One of the five films submitted by the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) schools at the 16th All India Children’s Educational Audio Video Festival as part of NCERT’s Golden Jubilee Festival 2011, has been awarded the Best Puppetry Video. The immensely creative and inspiring video ‘Save Petrol’ made by students of Jamia Middle School (Delhi) was given the award in the Puppetry category. The winning movie can be viewed at:

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-youth-voices/save-petrol/

Adobe also felicitated the India winners of the APAC School Innovation Awards during its AYV five-year anniversary celebration. Brother duo Suyash Gupta and Vaibhav Gupta became first Indians to have a winning entry in Adobe Asia Pacific School Innovation Award 2010. They were honored with this award for designing a website on “Incredible India”.

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Leon Panetta to become defense secretary, sources say | View Clip
04/27/2011
InsideBayArea.com

With demands to cut spending while fighting two wars and barreling into the election cycle, the White House needed a successor to retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates with bipartisan respect and serious national-security and budget-cutting credentials.

CIA Director Leon Panetta was a natural. And the White House is expected Thursday to confirm that Panetta, a 72-year-old Carmel Valley Democrat who has headed the intelligence agency since 2009, is President Obama's choice to replace Gates when he leaves his cabinet post this summer.

"It's a smart political pick," said Larry Sabato, director of Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "You don't want a major controversy at this moment. The reports out of the CIA are that he was popular. ... If there were any serious problems, he wouldn't be nominated."

As part of the security shuffling, Gen. David Petraeus will succeed Panetta at the CIA, while Lt. Gen. John Allen will take the general's place as Afghanistan commander, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the announcements had not yet been made.

Panetta, a Monterey native and Santa Clara University graduate, already is one of the most influential Californians in Washington, D.C. But his confirmation as defense secretary would make him among the most powerful advisers to the president, overseeing the more than $500 billion Department of Defense.

Panetta was considered a model

for Leo McGarry, played by the late John Spencer on the NBC serial drama "The West Wing." Panetta himself appeared last summer on "Top Chef."

Amiable and direct with a wicked sense of humor, Panetta is one of the few figures to have emerged after long careers in the partisan crucible of the nation's capital who is widely respected by both Democrats and Republicans and unmarred by political controversy and baggage.

Political analysts say Panetta's background both as head of the Central Intelligence Agency and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees federal agencies for the president, indicated the president saw Panetta as uniquely qualified to carry out his agenda. Gates earlier this year announced plans for $78 billion in defense cuts.

"One of Panetta's great skills is his ability to manage and direct and tame a bureaucracy," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.

Panetta earned his B.A. and law degrees at Santa Clara University and served two years in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1965. For the next four years he worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Thomas Henry Kuchel of California. Panetta has cited Kuchel, a Republican moderate, as a role model.

After switching to the Democratic Party, Panetta represented the Monterey area for eight terms in Congress, where he was an environmental and civil rights champion and budget hawk who reached across the partisan divide.

He directed the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1994 under President Bill Clinton and later served two years as his chief of staff, where he is credited with bringing order to White House operations. After leaving the White House in 1997, he and his wife, Sylvia, founded the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at Cal State-Monterey Bay. She has run the institute since his 2009 CIA appointment.

Panetta returns regularly to the Monterey Peninsula area, where he remains a popular figure.

"He's somebody who engenders trust and tells it like it is," said Carmel Mayor Sue McCloud, a retired CIA official herself who said she sees him occasionally at the grocery store. He's also often seen mowing his own lawn with his tractor, with security agents in tow.

Ted Balestreri, chief executive of the Cannery Row Company and a Panetta Institute board member, said Panetta would like to spend more time at home but his sense of public service run deep.

"He does miss this area," Balastreri said. "But when the president of the United States says he needs you, he's a very loyal person."

Panetta came to a CIA as the agency was rocked by criticism over intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq war and interrogation techniques that critics call torture. He wasn't a universally popular pick. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., publicly questioned the selection of a CIA director who wasn't an "intelligence professional."

And the CIA has logged some mishaps under Panetta's watch. A Nigerian man allegedly tried to blow up a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009, and soon after a CIA informant killed seven agency operatives in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. More recently, questions have arisen over the unforseen wave of popular uprisings in Egypt, Libya and other Arab states.

But Panetta has maintained support from both agency staff and Congress, something even critics say is owed to his congeniality.

"He has restored order and morale at the agency and shown himself to be able to handle anything that comes at him," Feinstein said in a statement Wednesday.

Former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman, a senior fellow of the Center for International Policy, said Panetta has maintained support within the agency by supporting it publicly and not rattling chains internally. An Obama supporter who has criticized CIA management, Goodman said staffers view Panetta as a genial caretaker they privately call "Uncle Leon" and that he "allowed the operational people to run the agency."

"If you have a noncontroversial personality, you can survive these things," said Goodman, adding that he believes a military leader like Petraeus is a bad fit for the CIA and that he doubts Panetta will shake up the Pentagon.

But others said Panetta succeeds because he projects competence more than partisanship. They likened him to a Democratic version of Gates, predicting an easy confirmation.

"He's trusted and respected," said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University. "From his earliest days in Congress through all the other jobs he's had there, he's the go-to guy."

The Monterey County Herald contributed to this report. Contact John Woolfolk at 408-975-9346.

LEON edward PANETTA

Personal:

Born June 28, 1938, Monterey.

Married to Sylvia Panetta. They have three grown sons.

Education:

Monterey Union High School, 1956

Santa Clara University, B.A., 1960; law degree, 1963.

Career:

U.S. Army 1963-1965

Legislative assistant, U.S. Sen. Thomas H. Kuchel, 1966-1969

Office of Civil Rights Director, 1969-1970

Assistant to New York City mayor, 1970-1971

U.S. Congress, 1977-1993

Office of Management and budget director, 1993-1994

White House Chief of Staff, 1994-1996

Founded Panetta Institute for Public Policy, 1997

Pew Oceans Commission chairman, 2000-2003

CIA director 2009-present

Author: "Bring Us Together," 1971, Panetta's account of his tenure as Civil Rights director in the Nixon administration.

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Former Santa Clara University president returns | View Clip
04/27/2011
InsideBayArea.com

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The

additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

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Audio: Federal Courts Weigh The Health Law | View Clip
04/27/2011
Kaiser Health News

Topics: Health Reform, Politics

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to fast-track Virginia's challenge to the new health law, which means the more than two dozen challenges to the law will continue to work their way through federal courts for a year or more.

KHN's Bara Vaida joined Santa Clara University professor Brad Joondeph and the Washington Post's Marc Fisher Wednesday to discuss the progress of legal challenges to the law on the syndicated public radio Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Listen to Health Care Battles Playing Out In Court on thekojonnamdishow.org.

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PROFESSOR AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY IS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TWO WARS IN AFGHANISTAN. | View Clip
04/27/2011
KNTV-TV

PROFESSOR AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY IS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TWO WARS IN AFGHANISTAN. PRESIDENT OBAMA SET TO ELECT LEON PANETTA TO BE THE NEXT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. DAMIAN? EVERYONE DESCRIBED HIM AS COMMONSENSE THEY BELIEVE THE PRESIDENT MADE A WISE CHOICE FOR THE NEXT PHASE WITH THE WAR ON TERROR. Reporter: THIS IS WHERE HE EARNED HIS BACHELOR AND THEN LAW DEGREE. THIS IS WHERE TERESA TOOK HIS POLY 64 CLASS, LEARNING ABOUT PUBLIC POLICY. JUST BASED ON WHAT HE WAS LIKE IN CLASS AND HE'S VERY DOWN TO EARTH AND VERY GROUNDED AND SO I THINK THAT'S WHY I WAS VERY HAPPY WHEN HE WAS APPOINTED TO BE DIRECTOR OF CIA AND THAT'S WHY I'M CONFIDENT TO HIM BEING IN THAT POSITION AS WELL. Reporter: PUBLIC POLICY AT CSU MONTEREY BAY. SOME OF HIS STUDENTS INTERNED WITH MIKE HONDA. IT WILL BE PRETTY HARD TO FIND SOMEONE AS PREPARED AND GIFTED AS HE IS. Reporter: PANETTA NOW SERVES AS CIA DIRECTOR AND IS HEADED TO ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL OFFICES IN THE WORLD. HONDA THINKS WHAT HE LEARNED HERE AT SANTA CLARA WILL HELP HIM IN THAT POSITION IN OFFICE. I DON'T THINK YOU CAN CHALLENGE HIM WITH, DO YOU CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF OUR COUNTRY AND COLLATERAL DAMAGE. I THINK HE CARES ABOUT ALL OF THAT. Reporter: HONDA THINKS PANETTA WILL BRING A THOUGHTFUL SHIFT IN THE WAR STRATEGY, A STRATEGY THAT BEGAN TO TAKE SHAPE ON THE CAMPUS OF SANTA CLARA. HE CONSIDERED A SACRED COW IN D. DAMIAN, THANK YOU.

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Reporter: HE'S STILL ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES HERE AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY.
04/27/2011
NBC Bay Area News at 5 PM - KNTV-TV

A BAY AREA POLITICAL POWER PLAYER IS MOVING OFFICES AND WILL MOST LIKELY BE MOVING MONEY AWAY FROM THE MILITARY AS WELL. LEON PANETTA, MONTEREY RESIDENT, WILL TAKE OVER AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. NBC BAY AREA'S DAMON TRUJILLO IS LIVE WHERE PANETTA TAUGHT IN 2007. Reporter: HE'S STILL ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES HERE AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY. THOSE WHO KNOW HIM ARE NOT SURPRISED HE'S BEEN TAPPED TO OVERSEE THE TWO AMERICAN WARS. BEFORE TAKING THE REINS OF THE CIA, HE TAUGHT POLITICAL SCIENCE HERE AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY. THERESA MATHIS REMEMBERS HIM WELL. HE WAS VERY ENERGETIC, ENTHUSIASTIC. DEFINITELY YOU WANTED TO SHOW UP TO CLASS, AND HE GAVE YOU THE MOST REALISTIC LOOK INTO POLITICS THAT I'VE HAD SO FAR. Reporter: PANETTA EARNED A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE IN 1960 HERE, AND STAYED ON CAMPUS TO EARN HIS LAW DEGREE IN '63. I'M PLEASED TO HEAR HE'S NOMINATEDED AND THINK HE'LL DO A GREAT JOB. Reporter: NOMINATED TO HEAD THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT. AS FORMER CONGRESSMAN, BUDGET DIRECTOR AND HEAD OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, MANY BELIEVE PANETTA WILL LOOK AT TRIMMING THE DEPARTMENT'S BUDGET. I THINK HE'D BE GREAT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. Reporter: HE'S WORKED WITH PANETTA FOR ALMOST TWO DECADES. HE BELIEVES IF ANYONE TOUCHES THE NOTION THAT YOU CAN TOUCH DEFENSE BUDGET, IT'S PANETTA. THIS IS SAY GOOD CHOICE, A THOUGHTFUL CHOICE. IT'S THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE THE SHIFT. Reporter: HE SAYS PANETTA IS A FEARLESS MAN WHO WILL BRING COMMON SENSE TO ONE OF MOST POWERFUL OFFICES IN THE WORLD. AND JESSICA AND RAJ, I FIRST MET LEON PANETTA IN THE SIXTH GRADE. I CAN TELL YOU HIS CONSTITUENTS LOVED HIM THEN, IT SEEMS WASHINGTON LOVES HIM NOW. WE'RE LIVE AT SANTA CLARA, I'M DAMIAN TRUJILLO.

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PROFESSOR AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY IS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TWO WARS IN AFGHANISTAN.
04/27/2011
NBC Bay Area News at 6 PM - KNTV-TV

PROFESSOR AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY IS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TWO WARS IN AFGHANISTAN. PRESIDENT OBAMA SET TO ELECT LEON PANETTA TO BE THE NEXT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. DAMIAN? EVERYONE DESCRIBED HIM AS COMMONSENSE THEY BELIEVE THE PRESIDENT MADE A WISE CHOICE FOR THE NEXT PHASE WITH THE WAR ON TERROR. Reporter: THIS IS WHERE HE EARNED HIS BACHELOR AND THEN LAW DEGREE. THIS IS WHERE TERESA TOOK HIS POLY 64 CLASS, LEARNING ABOUT PUBLIC POLICY. JUST BASED ON WHAT HE WAS LIKE IN CLASS AND HE'S VERY DOWN TO EARTH AND VERY GROUNDED AND SO I THINK THAT'S WHY I WAS VERY HAPPY WHEN HE WAS APPOINTED TO BE DIRECTOR OF CIA AND THAT'S WHY I'M CONFIDENT TO HIM BEING IN THAT POSITION AS WELL. Reporter: PUBLIC POLICY AT CSU MONTEREY BAY. SOME OF HIS STUDENTS INTERNED WITH MIKE HONDA. IT WILL BE PRETTY HARD TO FIND SOMEONE AS PREPARED AND GIFTED AS HE IS. Reporter: PANETTA NOW SERVES AS CIA DIRECTOR AND IS HEADED TO ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL OFFICES IN THE WORLD. HONDA THINKS WHAT HE LEARNED HERE AT SANTA CLARA WILL HELP HIM IN THAT POSITION IN OFFICE. I DON'T THINK YOU CAN CHALLENGE HIM WITH, DO YOU CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF OUR COUNTRY AND COLLATERAL DAMAGE. I THINK HE CARES ABOUT ALL OF THAT. Reporter: HONDA THINKS PANETTA WILL BRING A THOUGHTFUL SHIFT IN THE WAR STRATEGY, A STRATEGY THAT BEGAN TO TAKE SHAPE ON THE CAMPUS OF SANTA CLARA. HE CONSIDERED A SACRED COW IN D. DAMIAN, THANK YOU.

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Former Santa Clara University president returns | View Clip
04/27/2011
Press-Telegram - Online

Click photo to enlarge

Courtesy Santa Clara University -- Pictured is William Rewak, S.J., who was named chancellor of Santa Clara University by President Michael E. Engh. Rewak, himself formerly president of SCU, will take his chancellor's post on August 15, 2011.

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The

additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

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Former Santa Clara University president returns | View Clip
04/27/2011
San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online

Courtesy Santa Clara University -- Pictured is William Rewak, S.J., who was named chancellor of Santa Clara University by President Michael E. Engh. Rewak, himself formerly president of SCU, will take his chancellor's post on August 15, 2011.

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The

additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

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SECOND TOUR?
04/27/2011
San Jose Mercury News

More than four decades after Stanford University banished ROTC from campus, a committee has recommended that the military programs be invited back.

The university's faculty must still vote on the divisive issue, which will be debated at Thursday's meeting of the Faculty Senate. And then the Pentagon must decide whether to proceed -- weighing whether enough Stanford students will participate to make it worth the investment.

A yearlong effort by the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC concluded with a report that asserts that Stanford undergraduates, both military and civilian, would benefit by sharing their educational experiences.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

The military would not have free rein on campus, according to the 10-member committee. If allowed, ROTC courses must be open to all Stanford students and the school will retain authority over the teachers and quality of instruction -- perhaps even creating jointly taught courses.

Since the Reserve Officers Training Corps was banned from campus during the Vietnam War, Stanford students who wanted military training entered into "cross-enrollment agreements" with three nearby universities. Students enrolled in Navy ROTC take military classes at UC Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State; and Army ROTC classes are held at Santa Clara University.

But these off-campus courses cannot be used for Stanford credit -- and require frequent traveling.

Stanford senior Jimmy Ruck, an Army intelligence officer who will join the 82nd Airborne after graduation, called the report's findings "a positive step in the right direction. I am cautiously optimistic."

"I want to give other students the opportunity to participate in ROTC, if they choose," said Ruck, who wakes twice a week at 5:20 a.m. to lead the Army's Bronco Battalion at Santa Clara University. "And it is an important gesture, symbolically, that an elite institution welcomes back the military."

But law student Sam Windley, 27, of Stanford Says No to War, said, "I was shocked by the failure of the committee to engage with the most significant issues. There is absolutely no discussion of what it actually means to support a strong military, the moral implications of doing so, or whether it might actually be in America's interests -- and more consistent with the civic values Stanford aims to foster -- for the university to adopt a critical stance."

Danny Colligan, of Stanford Says No to War, added: "I am incredibly incensed by the chutzpah of the committee to completely blow off the most fundamental points opposing granting Stanford land and resources to the military. In doing so, its members have revealed the committee as a farce, from beginning to end."

Resurrection

In 1968, amid anger among the student body over the military's invasion of Cambodia, arsonists attacked Stanford's ROTC building, burning it to the ground. The program was entirely jettisoned, after great debate, five years later.

Although the ROTC units have slowly rebounded around the country since the 1960s, programs remained absent from some of the nation's most selective universities -- Harvard, Yale and Columbia, in addition to Stanford.

These campuses maintained that the military's stance on gays conflicted with their antidiscrimination policies.

But since President Barack Obama signed the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal, universities have expressed interest in bringing back the armed forces officers' training group, which has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

In March, Harvard president Drew Faust signed an agreement with the Navy to officially recognize ROTC. On April 1, the University Senate at Columbia, once the heart of the anti-war movement, voted 51-17 to support its return.

At Stanford, the debate began last spring, when Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Donald Kennedy and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, who teaches at Stanford, proposed bringing ROTC back into the academic fold.

The committee, created by the Faculty Senate, "went to great lengths to involve students, faculty and alumni into the process," said Akhil R. Iyer, a U.S. Marine studying international relations and Arabic and a member of the group.

"We read dozens of letters submitted by the Stanford community that discussed the varying issues of ROTC's return, arranged a town hall so that students could engage in the dialogue as well, and researched Stanford's own history of ROTC as well as those from other universities," he said.

Opposition

Some Stanford students and faculty argue that ROTC's warrior ethic has no role on a liberal arts campus. If the military wants a more convenient location, it could simply buy a nearby facility, a Stanford Says No to War statement suggested.

They also worry that the military does not promote free exchange of intellectual ideas, and requires some students to start school with a predetermined major -- a policy that conflicts with Stanford's emphasis on academic exploration.

Others note that the military is still discriminatory because it continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals. Approving an ROTC program, they say, makes Stanford complicit in civil rights violations and breaches the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"Transgender individuals still can't join the military and, as a result, would not be able to participate in ROTC. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else," said Stanford senior Cristopher Bautista, 22, a transgender student from Union City.

"The return of ROTC would create a group of second-class students. This is an opportunity for Stanford to break that pattern."

"If the university is not ready to make change, so be it," committee chair and psychology professor Ewart Thomas said in an interview last winter. "The report could lie on the shelves until the political will exists to make a change. ... We'll give it to the Senate and they'll take it from there."

"At least we will have said: 'This is what it looks like to satisfy academic standards.'"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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FAVORITE SON TAKES KEY SCU POST
04/27/2011
San Jose Mercury News

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,'" the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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Is Bay Area diversity all it's cracked up to be? | View Clip
04/27/2011
San Jose Mercury News - Online

A few years ago, Laurie Jones Neighbors wanted to know if the Bay Area's rich, cultural diversity was reflected on local boards and commissions, the sort that deal with apartment rents, public buses, air pollution and other realities of everyday, urban life.

"There was very little representation of people of color and low-income people," she said after canvassing dozens of agencies. "We're not going to arrive at a just society that way."

The non-profit organization she works for, Urban Habitat, won a grant to recruit and train low-income minorities and get them appointed. Two years later, the Oakland-based group has placed all of its first class of 26 on local boards and has another group in the pipeline.

Jones Neighbors will tell this story at the sold-out, Diversity Leadership Conference Saturday at Santa Clara University. More than 300 scholars, students and community activists will explore the region's cultural diversity, especially how it plays out in local government, education, race relations and the cultural politics of race and immigration.

"People think the Bay Area doesn't have a lot of work to do because it's so diverse, but the contrary is true," said Lester Deanes, assistant dean for student life at Santa Clara and a co-organizer of the conference.

Speakers from at least 15 campuses, including San Jose State, Stanford University, UC-Berkeley and De Anza Community College, will lead discussions at 40 workshops. A panel by

Google, the conference's main sponsor, will explore the "opportunities and challenges of diversity" in the technology industry.

Ten years after Asians, Latinos and other minorities became the majority in much of Silicon Valley, scholars and other observers say these groups still lack political power, which can't be explained by the natural lag time associated with first generation immigrants. For example, a recent report by the newspaper based on 2010 Census results revealed that minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County, but whites still hold three-quarters of the seats on town and city councils. The city of Santa Clara, home to SC University and the conference, has one of the county's four, all-white city councils.

In a reflection of the topic's heat, the conference sold out weeks in advance.

Jeff Chang, the keynote speaker, said he will touch on the vexing inequality in a relatively rich, economically healthy region. A journalist and music critic on hip-hop and American culture, his "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," won an American Book Award in 2005.

"We've gone backwards in a lot of ways," Chang said by telephone, pointing to one of his themes, the resegregation of public schools.

Among the workshops, one stands out for a unique and provocative approach to a touchy subject: white privilege and racism.

Nancy Arvold, a San Mateo County social worker with a doctorate in white studies, will describe how even liberal whites fail to recognize the privileges they have enjoyed without knowing it or subtle, racial prejudices and stereotypes they may harbor.

"We white people need to do some deep work," Arvold said.

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767 or jrodriguez@mercurynews.com.

Tickets for the Diversity Leadership Conference at Santa Clara University Saturday have sold out. For the list of workshops and information about future events go to: http://www.scu.edu/oml/dlc/

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Former Santa Clara University president returns | View Clip
04/27/2011
San Jose Mercury News - Online

Courtesy Santa Clara University -- Pictured is William Rewak, S.J., who was named chancellor of Santa Clara University by President Michael E. Engh. Rewak, himself formerly president of SCU, will take his chancellor's post on August 15, 2011.

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The

additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

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Former Santa Clara University president returns
04/27/2011
San Mateo County Times

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Copyright © 2011 San Mateo County Times. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes | View Clip
04/27/2011
Tri-Valley Herald

More than four decades after Stanford University banished ROTC from campus, a committee has recommended that the military programs be invited back.

The university's faculty must still vote on the divisive issue, which will be debated at Thursday's meeting of the Faculty Senate. And then the Pentagon must decide whether to proceed - that is, whether enough Stanford students would be interested to make it worth their investment.

A year-long effort by the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC concluded with a report that asserts that Stanford undergraduates, both military and civilian, would benefit by sharing their educational experience.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

The military would not have carte blanche on campus, according to the recommendations. The committee insisted that ROTC courses be open to all Stanford students. It also urged that Stanford have authority over the professors and quality of instruction - and even recommended jointly-taught courses.

Since the Reserve Officers Training Corps was banned from campus during the Vietnam War, Stanford students who seek military training entered into "cross enrollment agreements" with three nearby universities. Students enrolled in Navy ROTC

take military classes at UC-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University, and Army ROTC classes are held at Santa Clara University

But these off-campus courses do not quality to be used toward the academic requirements for Stanford undergraduates - and meant extensive traveling.

Stanford senior Jimmy Abraham Ruck, who will join the Army's 82nd Airborne, stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C., as an Intelligence Officer, called the findings "a positive step in right direction. I am cautiously optimistic."

Although the ROTC units have slowly rebounded around the country since the 1960s, many programs were absent from some of the nation's most selective universities - in addition to Stanford, also Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

These universities maintained that the military's stance on gays conflicted with their own antidiscrimination policies.

But since President Obama's signing of the ''don't ask, don't tell'' repeal law, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal, universities have expressed interest in bringing back the armed forces officers' group, which has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

In March, Harvard announced that it would formally recognize ROTC. Earlier this month, Columbia University, once the heart of the anti-war movement, voted to support its return, as well.

At Stanford, the debate began when history professor Donald Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who teaches at Stanford, proposed bring ROTC back into the academic fold.

The committee, created by the Faculty Senate, "went to great lengths to involve students, faculty, and alumni into the process," said Akhil R. Iyer, a U.S. Marine studying International Relations and Arabic, who served with the group.

"We read dozens of letters submitted by the Stanford community that discussed the varying issues of ROTC's return, arranged a town hall so that students could engage in the dialogue as well, and researched Stanford's own history of ROTC as well as those from other universities.

Some Stanford students and faculty have argued that the military has the ability to buy a facility near Stanford, if it wanted to make its coursework more convenient, rather than involving the campus.

They also worried that the military does not promote free exchange of intellectual ideas, and may rush students into committing to a major before exploring a broad liberal arts curriculum.

Others note that the military is still discriminatory, because it continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving. Approving an ROTC program, they say, makes Stanford complicit in civil rights violations - and breaches the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"Transgender individuals still can't join the military, and as a result, would not be able to participate in ROTC. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else," said Stanford senior Cristopher Bautista, 22, a transgender student from Union City, CA. "The return of ROTC would create a group of second-class students. This is an opportunity for Stanford to break that pattern."

Ruck, soon to leave for Army training, concedes he'll probably never meet the future students who could benefit from a change.

"But I want to give other students the opportunity to participate in ROTC, if they choose," he said. "The logistical issues have precluded students from being able to try it out."

"And it is an important gesture, symbolically, that an elite institution welcomes back the military."

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Return to Top



Former Santa Clara University president returns
04/27/2011
Tri-Valley Herald

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Copyright © 2011 Tri-Valley Herald. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Former Santa Clara University president returns | View Clip
04/27/2011
Whittier Daily News

Courtesy Santa Clara University -- Pictured is William Rewak, S.J., who was named chancellor of Santa Clara University by President Michael E. Engh. Rewak, himself formerly president of SCU, will take his chancellor's post on August 15, 2011.

After a long absence from Santa Clara University, the Rev. William Rewak is returning to the Jesuit college he helped change from an exclusive oasis to a major institution focused on the social and technological changes beyond its 19th-century walls.

"As the author Thomas Wolfe once said, 'You can't go home again,' " the former English teacher said by telephone Tuesday. "It's a different place and I'm a different person. ... But I expect it to be warm and comfortable because it always was."

Now 77, Rewak was tapped by university President Michael E. Engh to become chancellor of the 160-year-old campus. While chancellors at other colleges hold the same powers as presidents, Jesuit schools often give the title to former presidents whose duties include fundraising, community outreach and ceremonies. Rewak will start in August.

"I am honored and grateful that Fr. Rewak has accepted my offer of this position to help advance the vision, mission and strategic plan for Santa Clara University," Engh said in a prepared statement. "He showed a passion for this university when he was president that has continued unabated, and we are fortunate for his continued service."

Rewak taught English before heading SCU from 1976 to 1988, when he introduced new academic programs, replenished the school's coffers and built up the campus. Under Rewak, the budget nearly tripled to $71 million, an unprecedented increase among Catholic colleges.

The

additions included women's studies, an international business program, a center for ethics, 17 endowed professorships and a new engineering building. He also oversaw the creation of the Eastside Project, now the Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning. The program helps low-income people facing legal problems.

Nicknamed the "Poet President," Rewak resigned in part to teach and write poetry and serve as SCU's chancellor for a year. But he soon found himself leading a Jesuit college again, this time tiny Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

The school faced a crisis. It was losing students, running up a deficit and its cancer-stricken president resigned. During Rewak's first year, Spring Hill collected $1.2 million, 36 percent more than the year before.

He left Spring Hill in 1997, returning to California to direct Jesuit communities in Los Altos and Los Angeles.

Raising money, one of Rewak's primary duties, will be a lot different this time, to say the least. Silicon Valley was booming during Rewak's stint as president, but he and Engh are now up against the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

"He has a whole office for that," Rewak said about Engh's fundraising challenge. "In difficult times, you need as much help as you can get."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Return to Top



Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes
04/26/2011
Argus, The

More than four decades after Stanford University banished ROTC from campus, a committee has recommended that the military programs be invited back.

The university's faculty must still vote on the divisive issue, which will be debated at Thursday's meeting of the Faculty Senate. And then the Pentagon must decide whether to proceed - that is, whether enough Stanford students would be interested to make it worth their investment.

A year-long effort by the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC concluded with a report that asserts that Stanford undergraduates, both military and civilian, would benefit by sharing their educational experience.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

The military would not have carte blanche on campus, according to the recommendations. The committee insisted that ROTC courses be open to all Stanford students. It also urged that Stanford have authority over the professors and quality of instruction - and even recommended jointly-taught courses.

Since the Reserve Officers Training Corps was banned from campus during the Vietnam War, Stanford students who seek military training entered into "cross enrollment agreements" with three nearby universities. Students enrolled in Navy ROTC take military classes at UC-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University, and Army ROTC classes are held at Santa Clara University

But these off-campus courses do not quality to be used toward the academic requirements for Stanford undergraduates - and meant extensive traveling.

Stanford senior Jimmy Abraham Ruck, who will join the Army's 82nd Airborne, stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C., as an Intelligence Officer, called the findings "a positive step in right direction. I am cautiously optimistic."

Although the ROTC units have slowly rebounded around the country since the 1960s, many programs were absent from some of the nation's most selective universities - in addition to Stanford, also Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

These universities maintained that the military's stance on gays conflicted with their own antidiscrimination policies.

But since President Obama's signing of the ''don't ask, don't tell'' repeal law, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal, universities have expressed interest in bringing back the armed forces officers' group, which has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

In March, Harvard announced that it would formally recognize ROTC. Earlier this month, Columbia University, once the heart of the anti-war movement, voted to support its return, as well.

At Stanford, the debate began when history professor Donald Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who teaches at Stanford, proposed bring ROTC back into the academic fold.

The committee, created by the Faculty Senate, "went to great lengths to involve students, faculty, and alumni into the process," said Akhil R. Iyer, a U.S. Marine studying International Relations and Arabic, who served with the group.

"We read dozens of letters submitted by the Stanford community that discussed the varying issues of ROTC's return, arranged a town hall so that students could engage in the dialogue as well, and researched Stanford's own history of ROTC as well as those from other universities.

Some Stanford students and faculty have argued that the military has the ability to buy a facility near Stanford, if it wanted to make its coursework more convenient, rather than involving the campus.

They also worried that the military does not promote free exchange of intellectual ideas, and may rush students into committing to a major before exploring a broad liberal arts curriculum.

Others note that the military is still discriminatory, because it continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving. Approving an ROTC program, they say, makes Stanford complicit in civil rights violations - and breaches the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"Transgender individuals still can't join the military, and as a result, would not be able to participate in ROTC. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else," said Stanford senior Cristopher Bautista, 22, a transgender student from Union City, CA. "The return of ROTC would create a group of second-class students. This is an opportunity for Stanford to break that pattern."

Ruck, soon to leave for Army training, concedes he'll probably never meet the future students who could benefit from a change.

"But I want to give other students the opportunity to participate in ROTC, if they choose," he said. "The logistical issues have precluded students from being able to try it out."

"And it is an important gesture, symbolically, that an elite institution welcomes back the military."

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 The Argus. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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: Research and Markets: Fiance & Marriage Visas: An Easy-To-Use Guide through the Process
04/26/2011
M2 PressWIRE

RDATE:26042011

Dublin - Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/9c4513/fiance_marriage) has announced the addition of the "Fiance & Marriage Visas" report to their offering.

Obtain a visa and stay with your spouse in the U.S.

You're engaged or married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and all you want is the right to be together in the U.S. Should be easy, right? It's not. Information can be hard to find, the government bureaucracy isn't helpful, delays are inevitable. Worst of all, there hasn't been an easy-to-use guide through the process -- until now.

Fiance & Marriage Visas makes obtaining a visa and green card as painless as possible. It helps you make sure you're truly eligible and decide the fastest and best application strategy -- whether you're married or unmarried, living in the U.S. or overseas. With this friendly, comprehensive book, you can:

- understand the immigration process

- adopt the best application strategy

- make your way through the bureaucracy

- collect, prepare, and manage paperwork

- prepare for meetings with U.S. officials

- learn how to prove your marriage is real

- deal with the two-year testing period

- find out what to do if your application is denied

Plus, Fiance & Marriage Visas gives you helpful advice on protecting and renewing your green-card status. It also provides samples of essential forms to guide you, and shows you how to find them online.

The 6th edition is updated with new financial requirements for sponsors, and provides additional information to help you cost-compare your visa options and prove the validity of your marriage. Plus, you'll get up-to-date sponsorship and application requirements.

Married or engaged to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and need to get a visa? Find the information you need to be with your partner in the U.S. legally. With Fiance & Marriage Visas, you can:

- adopt the best strategy for your application

- prepare for meetings with immigration officials

- learn how to prove your marriage is real

Key Topics Covered:

1. First Things First

2. Are You Eligible for a Visa or Green Card?

3. Meeting Income Requirements

4. The Right Way to Prepare, Collect, and Manage the Paperwork

5. Overseas Fiances of U.S. Citizens

6. Overseas Fiances of U.S. Permanent Residents

7. Overseas Spouses of U.S. Citizens

8. Overseas Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents

9. Fiances in the U.S. Engaged to U.S. Citizens

10. Fiances in the U.S. Engaged to Permanent Residents

11. Spouses of U.S. Citizens, Living in the U.S.

12. Spouses of Permanent Residents, In the U.S.

13. Interviews With USCIS or Consular Officials

14. Applying for a Green Card at a USCIS Office

15. Dealing With Bureaucrats, Delays, and Denials

16. After You Get Your Green Card

17. Legal Help Beyond This Book

Reviews:

- "An excellent resource for people who are trying to wind their way through the immigration service's byzantine rules and regulations... " -Mark Silverman, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

- "Contains real-life, hands-on information that you won't find anywhere else.... I'll recommend this book to my friends and to my graduating law students, who plan to practice immigration law. " -Lynne Parker, Supervising Immigration Attorney, Santa Clara University School of Law

Customer Reviews

- "This was great! It got my wife here with no problems and no lawyer. " -T.C., Sacramento, CA

- "A very informative book and I enjoyed the reading.... Overall, this book has been very helpful. " -J.D. Dodge City, KS

- "It waters down the 'legalize' without removing the essential important things one needs to know. " -Michael M., San Antonio, TX

- "Great book with tons of information. Will be a great help in my fiancee visa application. " -R.W., Fairbanks, AK

- "Easy to understand, written eloquently. " -C.V., Torrance, CA

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/9c4513/fiance_marriage

CONTACT:

Research and Markets,

Laura Wood,

Senior Manager.

press@researchandmarkets.com

Fax from USA: 646-607-1907

Fax from rest of the world: +353-1-481-1716

((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com)). .PUB 430 .DATE April 26, 2011 .TITLE M2 PRESSWIRE .PRICEDATE NOT APPLICABLE .DAY

Copyright © 2011 M2 Communications Ltd.

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Pennies Galore: Students Fundraise for Causes | View Clip
04/26/2011
Milpitas Patch

What the value of a penny these days? Lots apparently when a group of students at Russell Middle and Pomeroy Elementary asked peers and parents to donate their change for a good cause.


The spare change came out to about $3,000, but the recipients, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and local soup kitchens will likely receive a check.


In the first year of a contest at Pomeroy that pitted grade levels against each other, students quickly learned they could score positive points with pennies, and sabotage other grades with larger chunks of change–nickels, dimes, quarters and even bills.


"Penny wars" inspired students at Pomeroy to line up during recess, lunch or after school to drop change in milk jugs, and sometimes even sprint.


"The kids were really into it," said Principal Troy Knechtel. "We were hard-pressed to take all their coins during recess time."


And parents quickly caught on, too.


"A couple of parents brought a box of 25 dollars of pennies," said sixth grade teacher Deanna Sainten, who started the club in her second year at Pomeroy.


"The whole school knew the money was going to soup kitchens," she said.


Sainten and Coach Rey Elzey are both advisors for Club Six. It wasn't that long ago that they were trying to come up with a service project with the sixth grade members.


They considered a car wash, but thought it would waste water. They considered a bake sale, but thought it was unhealthy. The idea for penny wars came from Sainten's college days.


"I had done something similar at Santa Clara University in the dorm building where different floors competed against each other," she said.


When all the change was rolled up by the Club Six students, the total had come out to about $1,975.65. The students will get to decide which soup kitchens to donate the money to, according to Sainten.


The winners, third graders, will get an extra long P.E. session with Coach Rey Elzey.

Special Education Class at Russell Middle Raises $1000+ for Leukemia

For teacher Rozina Kapadia, a special education teacher at Russell Middle School , she wanted to develop leadership experience among her 12-14 year olds.


During March, her nine students led The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Pennies for Patients campaign at school and raised more than $1000.


It's the second year the class has raised money for the campaign, but this year they doubled their totals.


“All of my kids have a communication deficit, so it makes it difficult for them to ask for donations,” said Kapadia.


The students have autism and individual disabilities so “a lot of them are very insecure about themselves, and I have one student who has very limited language.”


With buckets and cue cards, the students fundraised during lunch, asking other students to donate.


“When they ask for money, it's very hard to say no to them because they're so kind.  They're very genuine about it,” Kapadia says.  


At first, she was concerned about how her students would be received at school, “now other students recognize them and say hi to them in the halls.  It's been very rewarding to see,” she said.

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As we were: Tourism to stimulate economy | View Clip
04/26/2011
Mountain Democrat

/p>
Tourism workshop

GRASS VALLEY — As a major component of Gov. George Deukmejian's recently announced plan to stimulate the economies of rural California counties and to assist them in the development of their tourism potential, the Department of Commerce and Office of Tourism Workshop for the Gold Country region May 9 in Grass Valley.

Featured speakers will provide detailed information on statewide tourism promotion activities, strategies for increasing visitor trade …

The one-day workshop will be held at the Love Building in Condon Park and will begin with registration at 9 a.m. …

Reservations may be made at the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce office, … or call Marjorie McCormick, tourism/ membership coordinator …

75 Years ago

April 30, 1936

C. K. McClatchy Died At Ranch Home Monday

SACRAMENT — Charles K. McClatchy, 77, head of the McClatchy Newspapers, died Monday at his ranch in the Carmichael district, following a long illness …

A native of Sacramento, he was educated in the schools of this city and at Santa Clara University.

He is survived by his widow and by two daughters, Miss Eleanor McClatchy and Mrs. Charlotte Maloney …

Private services, conducted by the Rt. Rev. Mons. Thomas E. Hogan of the Roman Catholic Church were held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the McClatchy residence here. …

SALT COURSE LURES DRIVER

By Wm. F. McMenamin,

United Press Staff Correspondent

SALT LAKE CITY — A summer of speed racing, with streamlined automobiles of revolutionary design streaking across the Bonneville Salt Flats to attack world records, is in prospect here.

Capt. Geo. E. T. Eyston, England's 39-year-old speed driver and Ab Jenkins, American automobile ace, will be participants. …

110 Years Ago

April 27, 1901

New Municipal Officers Installed

Having brought the new city out of the woods, its first officers have stepped down and out. The old bonds and judgements against the defunct corporation, having been satisfied by the issuance of new bonds, and delivered for cancellation to the Common Council, are no longer a cloud over the homes and property of Placerville. This being the record of the first administration, last Monday evening it was succeded by the second, — both elected by non-partisan votes for non-partisan purposes. In the absence from the city of Mayor Carpenter, acting Mayor Ingram, having finally approved the record of his colleagues turned it over to their successors, who were duly qualified and installed … the following committees in pursuance of Section 31, as the permanent committees for the ensuing year.

On Finance — Aldermen Lucas, Fitch and Limpinsel. … On Streets, Wards, and Boundaries — Alderman Day, Kimble, and De Bernardi. … On Fire Department — Aldermen Limpinsel, Rohlfing, and Stricker. … On Water Supply and Rates — Aldermen Kimble, Sigwart, and Maginess. … On Public Health and Nuisances — Aldermen Fitch, De Bernardi, and Stricker. … On Printing — Aldermen Maginess, Day, and Rohlfing. …

A Favored County

The unforseen is happening. Every overland observation car is a lookout for El Dorado County. All intelligent immigrants are inquiring for Sutter's mill, Coloma and the famous highway traveled by the pioneers to the wonderland of the Pacific. All comers to the Coast have enchanting visions of grand old river-grit and mountain-bound El Dorado, with her storied towns, golden bonanzas, diversified bounties and exhaustless allurements …

Short URL: http://www.mtdemocrat.com/?p=62697

Posted by Ken Deibert on Apr 26 2011. Filed under Feature Columns, Features. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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Who Owns the Fed? | View Clip
04/26/2011
National Center For Policy Analysis

Commercial banks hold shares of stock in their local Federal Reserve branch, but these shares do not confer ownership in any meaningful sense. Member banks receive a fixed 6 percent annual dividend on their Fed stock and enjoy limited voting rights. But there the resemblance to ordinary shares ends. The banks are obliged to acquire shares when they become members of the Fed, and they may not sell their shares or pledge them as collateral, says Warren C. Gibson, engineering teacher at Santa Clara University and economics teacher at San Jose State University.

The Fed is a nonprofit institution, but that designation means only that profits are not its primary mission.
From an accounting point of view, such profits are essentially the same as those earned by firms in competitive markets, but not from an economic point of view.
Competitive profits serve the vital function of directing scarce capital resources to the most urgent unmet demands of consumers; the Fed's profits serve no such function.
Its income consists primarily of interest earned on its securities portfolio.

The answer to the question "Who owns the Fed?" is that it's the wrong question. Instead, we should ask: Who calls the Fed's tune?

The Fed was created by Congress and can be modified or abolished by Congress.
The U.S. president also holds substantial sway over the Fed -- he appoints the seven-member board of governors subject to Senate confirmation.
The powerful Open Market Committee, which makes monetary policy decisions, consists of those seven plus the president of the New York Fed and four seats that are rotated among the 11 regional presidents.

But even though it exercises ultimate control, Congress has given the Fed a degree of independence that no other federal agency enjoys. The Fed's vaunted independence is a good thing, the thinking goes, because we don't want the stewards of our money to be caught up in the swirl of day-to-day politics. But independence trades off against accountability, says Gibson.

Source: Warren C. Gibson, "Who Owns the Fed?" Freeman Online, May 2011.

For text:

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/who-owns-the-fed/

For more on Economic Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/?Article_Category=17

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Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes
04/26/2011
Oakland Tribune

More than four decades after Stanford University banished ROTC from campus, a committee has recommended that the military programs be invited back.

The university's faculty must still vote on the divisive issue, which will be debated at Thursday's meeting of the Faculty Senate. And then the Pentagon must decide whether to proceed - that is, whether enough Stanford students would be interested to make it worth their investment.

A year-long effort by the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC concluded with a report that asserts that Stanford undergraduates, both military and civilian, would benefit by sharing their educational experience.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

The military would not have carte blanche on campus, according to the recommendations. The committee insisted that ROTC courses be open to all Stanford students. It also urged that Stanford have authority over the professors and quality of instruction - and even recommended jointly-taught courses.

Since the Reserve Officers Training Corps was banned from campus during the Vietnam War, Stanford students who seek military training entered into "cross enrollment agreements" with three nearby universities. Students enrolled in Navy ROTC take military classes at UC-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University, and Army ROTC classes are held at Santa Clara University

But these off-campus courses do not quality to be used toward the academic requirements for Stanford undergraduates - and meant extensive traveling.

Stanford senior Jimmy Abraham Ruck, who will join the Army's 82nd Airborne, stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C., as an Intelligence Officer, called the findings "a positive step in right direction. I am cautiously optimistic."

Although the ROTC units have slowly rebounded around the country since the 1960s, many programs were absent from some of the nation's most selective universities - in addition to Stanford, also Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

These universities maintained that the military's stance on gays conflicted with their own antidiscrimination policies.

But since President Obama's signing of the ''don't ask, don't tell'' repeal law, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal, universities have expressed interest in bringing back the armed forces officers' group, which has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

In March, Harvard announced that it would formally recognize ROTC. Earlier this month, Columbia University, once the heart of the anti-war movement, voted to support its return, as well.

At Stanford, the debate began when history professor Donald Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who teaches at Stanford, proposed bring ROTC back into the academic fold.

The committee, created by the Faculty Senate, "went to great lengths to involve students, faculty, and alumni into the process," said Akhil R. Iyer, a U.S. Marine studying International Relations and Arabic, who served with the group.

"We read dozens of letters submitted by the Stanford community that discussed the varying issues of ROTC's return, arranged a town hall so that students could engage in the dialogue as well, and researched Stanford's own history of ROTC as well as those from other universities.

Some Stanford students and faculty have argued that the military has the ability to buy a facility near Stanford, if it wanted to make its coursework more convenient, rather than involving the campus.

They also worried that the military does not promote free exchange of intellectual ideas, and may rush students into committing to a major before exploring a broad liberal arts curriculum.

Others note that the military is still discriminatory, because it continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving. Approving an ROTC program, they say, makes Stanford complicit in civil rights violations - and breaches the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"Transgender individuals still can't join the military, and as a result, would not be able to participate in ROTC. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else," said Stanford senior Cristopher Bautista, 22, a transgender student from Union City, CA. "The return of ROTC would create a group of second-class students. This is an opportunity for Stanford to break that pattern."

Ruck, soon to leave for Army training, concedes he'll probably never meet the future students who could benefit from a change.

"But I want to give other students the opportunity to participate in ROTC, if they choose," he said. "The logistical issues have precluded students from being able to try it out."

"And it is an important gesture, symbolically, that an elite institution welcomes back the military."

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 The Oakland Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes
04/26/2011
San Mateo County Times

More than four decades after Stanford University banished ROTC from campus, a committee has recommended that the military programs be invited back.

The university's faculty must still vote on the divisive issue, which will be debated at Thursday's meeting of the Faculty Senate. And then the Pentagon must decide whether to proceed - that is, whether enough Stanford students would be interested to make it worth their investment.

A year-long effort by the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC concluded with a report that asserts that Stanford undergraduates, both military and civilian, would benefit by sharing their educational experience.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

The military would not have carte blanche on campus, according to the recommendations. The committee insisted that ROTC courses be open to all Stanford students. It also urged that Stanford have authority over the professors and quality of instruction - and even recommended jointly-taught courses.

Since the Reserve Officers Training Corps was banned from campus during the Vietnam War, Stanford students who seek military training entered into "cross enrollment agreements" with three nearby universities. Students enrolled in Navy ROTC take military classes at UC-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University, and Army ROTC classes are held at Santa Clara University

But these off-campus courses do not quality to be used toward the academic requirements for Stanford undergraduates - and meant extensive traveling.

Stanford senior Jimmy Abraham Ruck, who will join the Army's 82nd Airborne, stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C., as an Intelligence Officer, called the findings "a positive step in right direction. I am cautiously optimistic."

Although the ROTC units have slowly rebounded around the country since the 1960s, many programs were absent from some of the nation's most selective universities - in addition to Stanford, also Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

These universities maintained that the military's stance on gays conflicted with their own antidiscrimination policies.

But since President Obama's signing of the ''don't ask, don't tell'' repeal law, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal, universities have expressed interest in bringing back the armed forces officers' group, which has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

In March, Harvard announced that it would formally recognize ROTC. Earlier this month, Columbia University, once the heart of the anti-war movement, voted to support its return, as well.

At Stanford, the debate began when history professor Donald Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who teaches at Stanford, proposed bring ROTC back into the academic fold.

The committee, created by the Faculty Senate, "went to great lengths to involve students, faculty, and alumni into the process," said Akhil R. Iyer, a U.S. Marine studying International Relations and Arabic, who served with the group.

"We read dozens of letters submitted by the Stanford community that discussed the varying issues of ROTC's return, arranged a town hall so that students could engage in the dialogue as well, and researched Stanford's own history of ROTC as well as those from other universities.

Some Stanford students and faculty have argued that the military has the ability to buy a facility near Stanford, if it wanted to make its coursework more convenient, rather than involving the campus.

They also worried that the military does not promote free exchange of intellectual ideas, and may rush students into committing to a major before exploring a broad liberal arts curriculum.

Others note that the military is still discriminatory, because it continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving. Approving an ROTC program, they say, makes Stanford complicit in civil rights violations - and breaches the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"Transgender individuals still can't join the military, and as a result, would not be able to participate in ROTC. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else," said Stanford senior Cristopher Bautista, 22, a transgender student from Union City, CA. "The return of ROTC would create a group of second-class students. This is an opportunity for Stanford to break that pattern."

Ruck, soon to leave for Army training, concedes he'll probably never meet the future students who could benefit from a change.

"But I want to give other students the opportunity to participate in ROTC, if they choose," he said. "The logistical issues have precluded students from being able to try it out."

"And it is an important gesture, symbolically, that an elite institution welcomes back the military."

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 San Mateo County Times. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement; now faculty votes | View Clip
04/26/2011
Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online

Jimmy Ruck and Oliver Ennis, Stanford students participating in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, perform their Wednesday morning workout at Cobb Track and Angell Field January 19, 2011. (Maria J Avila Lopez/Mercury News)

More than four decades after Stanford University banished ROTC from campus, a committee has recommended that the military programs be invited back.

The university's faculty must still vote on the divisive issue, which will be debated at Thursday's meeting of the Faculty Senate. And then the Pentagon must decide whether to proceed - that is, whether enough Stanford students would be interested to make it worth their investment.

A year-long effort by the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC concluded with a report that asserts that Stanford undergraduates, both military and civilian, would benefit by sharing their educational experience.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

The military would not have carte blanche on campus, according to the recommendations. The committee insisted that ROTC courses be open to all Stanford students. It also urged that Stanford have authority over the professors and quality of instruction - and even recommended jointly-taught courses.

Since the Reserve Officers Training Corps was banned from campus during the Vietnam War, Stanford students who seek military training entered into "cross enrollment agreements" with three nearby universities. Students enrolled in Navy ROTC

take military classes at UC-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University, and Army ROTC classes are held at Santa Clara University

But these off-campus courses do not quality to be used toward the academic requirements for Stanford undergraduates - and meant extensive traveling.

Stanford senior Jimmy Abraham Ruck, who will join the Army's 82nd Airborne, stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C., as an Intelligence Officer, called the findings "a positive step in right direction. I am cautiously optimistic."

Although the ROTC units have slowly rebounded around the country since the 1960s, many programs were absent from some of the nation's most selective universities - in addition to Stanford, also Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

These universities maintained that the military's stance on gays conflicted with their own antidiscrimination policies.

But since President Obama's signing of the ''don't ask, don't tell'' repeal law, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal, universities have expressed interest in bringing back the armed forces officers' group, which has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

In March, Harvard announced that it would formally recognize ROTC. Earlier this month, Columbia University, once the heart of the anti-war movement, voted to support its return, as well.

At Stanford, the debate began when history professor Donald Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who teaches at Stanford, proposed bring ROTC back into the academic fold.

The committee, created by the Faculty Senate, "went to great lengths to involve students, faculty, and alumni into the process," said Akhil R. Iyer, a U.S. Marine studying International Relations and Arabic, who served with the group.

"We read dozens of letters submitted by the Stanford community that discussed the varying issues of ROTC's return, arranged a town hall so that students could engage in the dialogue as well, and researched Stanford's own history of ROTC as well as those from other universities.

Some Stanford students and faculty have argued that the military has the ability to buy a facility near Stanford, if it wanted to make its coursework more convenient, rather than involving the campus.

They also worried that the military does not promote free exchange of intellectual ideas, and may rush students into committing to a major before exploring a broad liberal arts curriculum.

Others note that the military is still discriminatory, because it continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving. Approving an ROTC program, they say, makes Stanford complicit in civil rights violations - and breaches the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"Transgender individuals still can't join the military, and as a result, would not be able to participate in ROTC. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else," said Stanford senior Cristopher Bautista, 22, a transgender student from Union City. "The return of ROTC would create a group of second-class students. This is an opportunity for Stanford to break that pattern."

Ruck, soon to leave for Army training, concedes he'll probably never meet the future students who could benefit from a change.

"But I want to give other students the opportunity to participate in ROTC, if they choose," he said. "The logistical issues have precluded students from being able to try it out."

"And it is an important gesture, symbolically, that an elite institution welcomes back the military."

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

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Stanford committee recommends ROTC reinstatement, now faculty votes
04/26/2011
Tri-Valley Herald

More than four decades after Stanford University banished ROTC from campus, a committee has recommended that the military programs be invited back.

The university's faculty must still vote on the divisive issue, which will be debated at Thursday's meeting of the Faculty Senate. And then the Pentagon must decide whether to proceed - that is, whether enough Stanford students would be interested to make it worth their investment.

A year-long effort by the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC concluded with a report that asserts that Stanford undergraduates, both military and civilian, would benefit by sharing their educational experience.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

The military would not have carte blanche on campus, according to the recommendations. The committee insisted that ROTC courses be open to all Stanford students. It also urged that Stanford have authority over the professors and quality of instruction - and even recommended jointly-taught courses.

Since the Reserve Officers Training Corps was banned from campus during the Vietnam War, Stanford students who seek military training entered into "cross enrollment agreements" with three nearby universities. Students enrolled in Navy ROTC take military classes at UC-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University, and Army ROTC classes are held at Santa Clara University

But these off-campus courses do not quality to be used toward the academic requirements for Stanford undergraduates - and meant extensive traveling.

Stanford senior Jimmy Abraham Ruck, who will join the Army's 82nd Airborne, stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C., as an Intelligence Officer, called the findings "a positive step in right direction. I am cautiously optimistic."

Although the ROTC units have slowly rebounded around the country since the 1960s, many programs were absent from some of the nation's most selective universities - in addition to Stanford, also Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

These universities maintained that the military's stance on gays conflicted with their own antidiscrimination policies.

But since President Obama's signing of the ''don't ask, don't tell'' repeal law, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal, universities have expressed interest in bringing back the armed forces officers' group, which has units at more than 300 campuses nationwide.

In March, Harvard announced that it would formally recognize ROTC. Earlier this month, Columbia University, once the heart of the anti-war movement, voted to support its return, as well.

At Stanford, the debate began when history professor Donald Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who teaches at Stanford, proposed bring ROTC back into the academic fold.

The committee, created by the Faculty Senate, "went to great lengths to involve students, faculty, and alumni into the process," said Akhil R. Iyer, a U.S. Marine studying International Relations and Arabic, who served with the group.

"We read dozens of letters submitted by the Stanford community that discussed the varying issues of ROTC's return, arranged a town hall so that students could engage in the dialogue as well, and researched Stanford's own history of ROTC as well as those from other universities.

Some Stanford students and faculty have argued that the military has the ability to buy a facility near Stanford, if it wanted to make its coursework more convenient, rather than involving the campus.

They also worried that the military does not promote free exchange of intellectual ideas, and may rush students into committing to a major before exploring a broad liberal arts curriculum.

Others note that the military is still discriminatory, because it continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving. Approving an ROTC program, they say, makes Stanford complicit in civil rights violations - and breaches the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"Transgender individuals still can't join the military, and as a result, would not be able to participate in ROTC. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else," said Stanford senior Cristopher Bautista, 22, a transgender student from Union City, CA. "The return of ROTC would create a group of second-class students. This is an opportunity for Stanford to break that pattern."

Ruck, soon to leave for Army training, concedes he'll probably never meet the future students who could benefit from a change.

"But I want to give other students the opportunity to participate in ROTC, if they choose," he said. "The logistical issues have precluded students from being able to try it out."

"And it is an important gesture, symbolically, that an elite institution welcomes back the military."

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 Tri-Valley Herald. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Despite Criticism, a Review of ABA Standards for Law Schools Is Moving Forward | View Clip
04/25/2011
ABA Journal - Online

Your ABA

Two and a half years into its review of the ABA standards for Approval of Law Schools, a committee of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is showing no inclination to go along with a plea that it put the process on hold and essentially start over.

The appeal came from the Association of American Law Schools, first in the form of a March 28 letter (PDF) from AALS President Michael A. Olivas to Hulett “Bucky” Askew, the ABA consultant on legal education.

The letter asks the section's Standards Review Committee and governing council to “ensure that the larger vision that animates these proposals can be meaningfully debated. Such a process is essential to ensuring that we all understand the impact of the proposals. Currently we are focused piecemeal on individual proposals, not on the larger whole, which is far more than the sum of its parts.” The letter goes on to express detailed concerns about proposals being developed by the committee.

Olivas, director of the Institute of Higher Education Law & Governance at the University of Houston Law Center, made his case again at an April 2 open forum in Chicago sponsored by the Standards Review Committee, which is working on drafts of the recommendations it will send to the legal education section's council. The section is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as the accrediting body for U.S. law schools.

Several of the committee's proposed changes to the law school standards are controversial. One possible revision would address whether law schools are required to offer tenure or other forms of “security of position” to full-time professors, and another would make law school admissions testing optional. One proposal would call for more detailed reporting by law schools about hiring rates of graduates, an issue that Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., recently raised in a letter to ABA President Stephen N. Zack.

In his presentation, Olivas asked the Standards Review Committee to reject any proposed changes that would weaken legal education; to initiate a process allowing “important constituencies” to understand and debate its final proposals; and to undertake an independent, fact-based study of the actual cost drivers in legal education and their relationship to the accreditation process.

“Those who seek to alter the fundamental assumptions underlying accreditation and its role in the system of legal education should bear the burden of justifying that need to the legal education community and all those who rely on the high quality of American legal education,” he said.

Olivas' comments were echoed by other speakers at the forum, and the tenure provisions were a particular target for their comments.

DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

Committee members didn't respond directly to the AALS. But during the hearing, committee member David N. Yellen, dean of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, took Olivas to task for mischaracterizing the committee's actions. Yellen cited Olivas' claim that the committee has given little thought to the larger vision animating its proposals and his contention that it has not engaged in a meaningful dialogue with other interested parties.

“Disagreement is great,” Yellen said, “but I urge you to adopt a different spirit than what is sometimes reflected in this letter.”

Olivas didn't back down. “We'll just have to agree to disagree,” he said.

Committee chair Donald J. Polden said later that he was surprised by Olivas' letter because the committee has heard very little from the AALS until now, and that he was disappointed by what he termed its combative tone and inaccuracies. Polden said the committee hopes to submit its final recommendations to the legal education section's council by the end of this year.

“I'm just one vote,” said Polden, who is dean of Santa Clara University School of Law, “but as far as I'm concerned, they haven't made the case.”

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Follow the Leaders: The 2011 IA 25 | View Clip
04/25/2011
AdvisorOne

Announcing the 2011 IA 25 - Fiduciary, behavior, retirement and much more

[template] Investment Advisor | May 1, 2011 | By Editorial Staff

In the nine years that Investment Advisor has published the IA 25, our editors' judgment as to the 25 most influential people in and around the advisor community, we've never ranked the 25 in the order of their importance. This year, however, it would be hard to argue with the choice of Mary Schapiro as the most influential person in the professional lives of advisors. The SEC Chairman has stood at the center of implementing the most wide-ranging legislation to affect the financial services world since, possibly, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Schapiro has also found herself in a political tug of war between those who believe the SEC should get the additional funding she and many others has said is necessary to implement 2010's Dodd-Frank Act, and those who argue that the Act is flawed and should be modified if not repealed, and that the SEC itself is flawed.

In the pages that follow we present for your consideration 24 other notables who have influenced and will continue to influence the advisor community and the investing, practice management, technology and regulation universe in which advisors operate. But the decisions Mary Schapiro makes, the leadership she exhibits, is likely to affect advisors more than any other member of our list.

In an exclusive interview on April 6, Mary Schapiro spoke to Investment Advisor Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell.

If anyone knows how to handle being on the hot seat, it's Mary Schapiro. During her little more than two years as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Schapiro has not only been grilled numerous times by members of Congress on the agency's mishandling of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and how she continues to transform the SEC post-Madoff, but she's also had to justify to lawmakers why the securities regulator needs more funds to do its basic job of policing Wall Street and implementing a substantial amount of rulemakings under Dodd-Frank.

In an interview with Investment Advisor in early April, as the federal budget debate on Capitol Hill raged, Schapiro said that “it's hard to be too specific about how investors in the market will be most affected by cuts in [the SEC's] funding, because it really does depend on how deep the cuts are.” The SEC, she continued, “will have to make very difficult choices if the cuts are deep about what priorities we can continue to support and which of our activities, while still very important, are just ones we're not able to support without additional resources.”

The SEC, which is still subject to annual appropriations from Congress, did get a $74 million budget boost under the FY2011 CR, but it left the agency still shy of the funds it was allotted under Dodd-Frank. Without being awarded additional funds, Schapiro said, “it would be extremely difficult, virtually impossible, for us to do any hedge fund oversight or OTC [over-the-counter] derivatives rule operationalizing,” which are both mandates under Dodd-Frank.

But a bigger worry for Schapiro is that lack of funds could compromise the SEC's ability to detect another Madoff-type fraud. The SEC has “done so much in the last two years to reform the way the agency operates and to help ensure that an episode like [Madoff] never happens again,” she said. “While no regulator can ever say it will catch every fraud, we have accomplished much to help reduce the likelihood of a fraud going undetected.” However, “much of this [continued oversight of Wall Street] requires resources, and we would be hindered if we don't have the funds to hire examiners or update our technology to analyze trading patterns.”

When Schapiro spoke with Investment Advisor in April 2010, she was in the midst of pressing Congress to grant the SEC the legislative authority to put brokers under the same fiduciary standard as advisors. But Schapiro said in her April 2011 interview that a proposed rule on fiduciary duty won't come “until the second half of this year,” as the SEC must first “plow through” a number of rulemakings that have “strict” deadlines under Dodd-Frank.

Schapiro said she and a cross-divisional task force at the agency are now meeting with “interested parties to hear their views about the [fiduciary] study” that the SEC conducted under Section 913 of Dodd-Frank. “A number of people want to weigh in with us about that” study, she said. The SEC, she continued, is gauging “their perspective also about the practical limitation issues” involved with a universal fiduciary duty, as well as the issues “around the enhanced [broker-dealer and investment advisor] harmonization analysis that was proffered in the study.”

While much of the attention regarding the Section 913 study has focused on its findings regarding fiduciary duty “because that's the more monumental of the issues,” Schapiro said, “there is also a lot of interest in the second issue [harmonization].”

When asked how the SEC is weighing a recent letter from Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee urging the agency to conduct a more rigorous cost-benefit analysis on a fiduciary mandate for brokers, Schapiro replied that while she's said previously that the agency “will cast a wide net for views on how we should approach issues” regarding the Commission's rulemakings, specifically in regards to Dodd-Frank, the letter hasn't “changed anything.”

While Schapiro reiterated that Dodd-Frank is clear in stating that any fiduciary duty rule for brokers “can be no less stringent than the duty under the Investment Advisers Act,” more than once during the interview with Investment Advisor she used the caveat, “if the Commission proceeds with discretionary rulemaking” regarding a fiduciary duty. When asked if she believed a fiduciary rulemaking would have the support of a majority of the SEC Commissioners, Schapiro replied: “I don't know. It depends on what it [the rule] looks like.”

Spencer Bachus

If Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., had his way, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that the law created, would not exist.

After being chosen last December to serve as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, replacing Rep. Barney Frank—the Massachusetts Democrat and one of the authors of Dodd-Frank with whom Bachus shared numerous barbs during the conference debate on the legislation—Bachus pledged that in overseeing implementation of Dodd-Frank, his Committee would be “committed to going title by title through the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank Act to correct, replace, or repeal” provisions of the new law.

Since officially taking helm in January, Bachus and other GOP members of the Committee have wasted little time in their attempts to starve and water down Dodd-Frank. Depending on who you ask, this could be a good thing or a bad thing.—MW

Dale Brown

Dale Brown's been so effective managing the Financial Services Institute that he now has to figure out how to manage its growth.

It's a critical time for the organization. Having just celebrated its fifth anniversary, it's had a major say in recent legislation, most notably Dodd-Frank financial reform.

“We have our fingerprints all over that one,” Brown says. “We didn't get everything we wanted, obviously, but then again no one did. But we had a significant seat at the table, and we were able to help influence its outcome.”

“The status quo will not stand, and now is the time to take action on a solution,” Brown added.

Amen—and on to the next five years.—JS

Olivia Mitchell

When you think of retirement research, Olivia Mitchell immediately comes to mind.

Mitchell is an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans professor, department chair and professor of insurance and risk management, executive director of the Pension Research Council, and director of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Her focus of late has been on women and retirement, an area where women have a serious problem, Mitchell says. They have a disturbing lack of financial literacy. While people in general are far less financially literate than they think, she says, women lag behind men in terms of understanding not just complex financial concepts, but also simpler ones. They fail to plan for retirement, despite their longer life spans and the fact that they are far more likely to end their lives alone.—MS, JS

Richard Ketchum

In the wake of Dodd-Frank's passage, questions over who will have regulatory oversight over what (when all is said and done) are everywhere at the moment, and Richard “Rick” Ketchum is in the thick of them. Ketchum, chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is being praised by industry leaders for the forthright manner with which he's trying to get answers.

“We don't think a requirement exists that there should only be one industry SRO,” Ketchum says. “Any group of professionals should be able to get together and form an SRO if they want to. That said, we feel FINRA is suited to the role because we have the experience overseeing broker-dealers and their affiliated reps. We have the infrastructure, capability and an understanding of the wide range of business models that exist in this area of the industry.”—JS

Robert Pozen

Not content to rest on his laurels as MFS Investment Management chairman emeritus, Bob Pozen is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Before his tenure at MFS, Pozen was vice chairman of Fidelity Investments and president of Fidelity Management & Research Co.

The mutual funds guru is serious when discussing retirement issues such as target-date funds and Social Security.

“I think that target-date funds are inferior to balanced funds,” he said in the interview, when considering how employers must provide a default option now that companies are automatically enrolling employees in retirement funds.—JH

Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley deserves to be on the IA 25 by dint of his longevity running a major custodian while his key competitors have seen multiple guys and gals at the top; by his refreshing willingness to speak out on multiple areas of interest to advisors; by his long, consistent advocacy of a fiduciary standard for advice givers; and by the way he's grown TD Ameritrade Institutional to become a major player in the custodial space, especially when it comes to its technology platform and its practice management offerings. Advisors know where Bradley stands, and that he stands up for them.

The last time Bradley was on the list, 2009, we quoted him as saying he'd like regulators to “understand the difference between someone who sells a product to individuals and institutions who know they're talking to a salesperson, and those who operate under a fiduciary standard to that individual and institution.” When asked in an April interview if he thought regulators now get that difference, Bradley said “the regulators and lawmakers are starting to understand” a development pushed by the move to “harmonize” RIA and BD regulations. “Now they're realizing this is harder than they thought. How can you turn a salesperson into a fiduciary?” Ever the advocate, but also a realist, Bradley says that while much has changed in his 25 years in the business, one thing hasn't: “The RIA community has always been focused on putting the clients first.” But he also notes that “there's a reason for two models; we should preserve choice.”

How to preserve choice, then, while putting clients first? “Separate sales and advice services from each other.” Will it happen? Will the wirehouses split the sales and advice components of their offerings? “If our lawmakers say that they have to do that, they can adjust their models. You're seeing signs of that already—many have RIA umbrellas.”

TD Ameritrade Institutional has “gotten good at looking ahead," says Bradley, when it comes to serving its RIAs, citing moves like its acquisition of iRebal and thinkorswim, and its still-young platform of “100 free ETFs, picked by a third party,” referring to its 2010 rollout of 100 commission-free ETFs chosen by Morningstar. “Not one of those 100 ETFs has a name that starts with ‘TD Ameritrade,' he proudly points out. At press time, Bradley was also proud of a new iPad app for working with TDA's Veo platform. The use of iPads by advisors is not only on the upswing, but “will change the way they interface with clients.” But beyond the specific application, Bradley is excited by TDA's Apple computer-like approach to apps: Rather than wait for TD to build apps, third-party providers—and advisors themselves, if they wish—can create advisor-specific applications using the API interface for building applications.

On the advocacy front, Bradley would like to see a more consistent approach on how the SEC conducts examinations of RIAs, and believes there should be more transparency around “the qualifications and training of the examiners.” He'd prefer to see the examination process “run like a business,” and in fact would like to see the SEC itself become more efficient. “I'm not sure we should just be throwing dollars” at the SEC to improve, calling again for more transparency at the Commission.—JG

Ken Fisher

As the founder, CEO, and chief investment officer of Fisher Investments, Ken Fisher is known for his investment savvy. But Fisher is well known for building his firm into a powerhouse RIA with $44 billion in assets under management.

Fisher has built the privately held firm by doing well for clients, to be sure, but there are other elements to Fisher's success that smaller independent firms may learn from.

How do clients know about the independent when larger broker-dealers have the advantage of scale and advertising? There are, says Fisher, “only so many levers you can pull. [What] the little guy can do as he or she grows, is provide focused service, which the wirehouse broker really can't. The wirehouse broker is a salesperson—not really a service person.”—KM

Mohamed El-Erian

Besides being at the helm of the world's largest bond fund, Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO's CEO and co-chief investment officer, has become the go-to guy for deciphering what the upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa means for the global economic environment.

What looms as a major threat for the global economy, El-Erian said, is that the disruptions in the Middle East “spread to other oil exporting countries, resulting in a further spike in oil prices and an even larger uncertainty premium.” Long-term stability “requires that governments respond […] in an orderly, timely and sustained manner.”

Investors' portfolios, El-Erian advised, should be positioned to “navigate a tug of war that will play out over the next few quarters.”—MW

Mark Tibergien

“It's Groundhog Day in the industry,” says Mark Tibergien, where “we are fundamentally dealing with a collection of small businesses who are continually conflicted between growing and managing their businesses, and growing and serving their clients.” As has been the case for years with independent advisors, the provision of advice, he says, “prevails over the fundamentals of building a true enterprise.”

Most advisors “can build a plan and work clients through the process, but the idea of applying that [same approach] to your business is abhorrent.” Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions, remains optimistic, however. “The good news is that it's a terrific business, and those enterprises that are built to endure through difficult environments and can achieve scale are in a great position to flourish.”—JG

Julie Littlechild

To be counted among the most successful firms, advisors have to focus on understanding and building enterprise value. It's a trend that Julie Littlechild, president of Advisor Impact, is already seeing take shape.

Littlechild founded Advisor Impact in 1998, and since then has worked with financial services firms to provide research on how to improve productivity and profitability through client engagement.

With an emphasis on growth, advisors are recognizing their faults, previously hid by a good economy.

“We're seeing many of the most successful businesses taking a more proactive approach to positioning for referrals, recognizing they are not maximizing their referral potential,” Littlechild notes.—DA

Bruce Berkowitz

Bruce Berkowitz is the man(ager) of the moment. His Fairholme Fund has performed so well he was named domestic stock fund manager of the decade by Morningstar in 2010. However, despite the accolades, Berkowitz's Bill Miller-style missteps may already have begun.

“This year, his performance is actually at the bottom of his peer group,” says Morningstar analyst Kevin McDevitt. “And his overall performance has significantly lagged over the past 12 months.”

But McDevitt is quick to note that Berkowitz's contrarian view and unconventional approach means he will have periods of underperformance, and says that when you look at his calendar returns, his underperformance has been rare. “The last time it happened was in 2003.”—JS

Bill Dwyer

We only had a few minutes with Bill Dwyer, but what he was able to pack into that time was some kind of record. That's what happens when you're a senior executive at a large independent broker-dealer (LPL Financial) and involved with an industry advocacy organization at the highest level (FSI), which is why he made this year's IA 25.

We began with the Financial Services Institute, of which Dwyer is the 2011 chairman.

“This is an unprecedented time for the financial services industry, particularly from the perspective of regulatory changes,” he says, with no hint of hyperbole. “Over 70 years of established rules and regulations are being upended.”

FSI, Dwyer notes, went from being a startup organization to having a major influence on regulators and legislators in just five years. But despite the organization's success, he notes that its plan for the next five years includes a move beyond mere advocacy.

“Baby boomers are preparing for retirement, and this is significant not just for the size of the demographic but also due to the fact that they have 30 years of defined-contribution experience behind them,” he says. “They are the first generation that will completely manage their own retirement portfolio; they won't just receive a pension check each month. This means that they will seek—or rather demand—financial advice.”

Dwyer adds that the 55-to-64 age bracket traditionally is a time when individuals experience their peak income, their peak net worth and a sharp increase (45%) in the assets saved for retirement; and the bracket has never been so large.

“It's an opportunity of equal enormity,” he says. “I believe it will set off the greatest bull market for financial advice that we've yet seen. FSI's advocacy is an enormous piece of its mission, but our five year plan takes it beyond that to help advisors add real value for clients in the retirement arena.”

The issues FSI is facing are a mirror image of the issues facing LPL Financial, where Dwyer is president of national sales and marketing. He finds himself in Washington advocating on behalf of LPL almost as much as he does for the industry as a whole through FSI.

“One thing that stands out is that the advisor's business will not grow through market appreciation simply because our analysts tell us returns will be lower going forward,” he says. “If you couple this with lower risk tolerance, it means advisors will have to grow their practices by adding clients. This is significantly more labor intensive, so LPL Financial is doing things that help to increase the advisor's efficiency.”

Advisors, he says, will have to leverage the assistance and capabilities of their broker-dealer or custodian more now than ever before.

“The autonomy that independent advisors experienced in the 1980s and 1990s, almost ruggedly so, is no longer possible,” Dwyer says. “It's just too costly.”—JS

Phyllis Borzi

As head of the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration, Phyllis Borzi's influence on the industry is undeniable, and she and the Labor Department have been instrumental in shaping advisors' future role as fiduciaries.

The assistant secretary announced in March that the department expects to release a final rule on the definition of fiduciary under ERISA by the end of the year. Borzi told Investment Advisor that the DOL is on target to meet that year-end goal, but emphasized her desire to make sure the final ruling is sound.

“We want to make sure we take the time to carefully craft the final regulation the right way and will take the time we need in order to do that,” she told Investment Advisor.—DA

Harold Evensky

In any given year, Harold Evensky is a leading candidate for inclusion on the IA 25. After all, he's built a successful wealth management practice, which he leads along with his equally brilliant wife, Deena Katz. He has served in leadership positions on everything from the FPA to the CFP Board, and has been listed on “Best of” and “Top” lists in multiple associations and magazines, including this one. In fact he was the first member listed on the original IA 25 in 2003. We wrote then that “his thoughts have shaped the media picture of financial planning, and by extension, the public's view of the profession.”—JG

Eileen Rominger

Introducing Eileen Rominger to a room full of compliance professionals on March 11, David Tittsworth of the IAA coaxed laughter from the audience when he said, only partly tongue-in-cheek, “I think it's fantastic that she's not an attorney. She's a real portfolio manager!”

All kidding aside, Rominger has her work cut out for her. She was named the new director of investment management at the SEC on Jan. 18.

With her background, it shouldn't be a problem. Prior to accepting the SEC post, Rominger spent 11 years at Goldman Sachs, ending up as Goldman's global chief investment officer. Before that, she ran money and served on the executive committee at Oppenheimer Capital.—JG

Scott Garrett

Since taking the helm of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises in January, Rep. Scott Garrett's goals have been clear: roll back Dodd-Frank, deny the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a funding increase, dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and slow down the SEC's fiduciary duty rulemaking.

The New Jersey Republican told SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro in a recent letter that the SEC “lacked a clear basis” to move forward with a fiduciary duty rulemaking for brokers.

Garrett has promised to hold a hearing soon to further review the SEC's fiduciary duty rulemaking as well as the study mandated under Section 914 of Dodd-Frank, commonly referred to as the self-regulatory organization (SRO) study.—MW

Meir Statman

We've heard many different definitions for behavioral finance, but none so succinct.

“Behavioral finance is finance with normal people in it,” Meir Statman says matter-of-factly. “Sometimes we are normal-smart and sometimes we are normal-stupid.”

Statman is the Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University and Visiting Professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His research focuses on behavioral finance (obviously), and he attempts to understand how investors and managers make financial decisions and how these decisions are reflected in financial markets.

“We have to understand this is the engine that drives the train, and the train's cars are the baggage investors bring.”—JS

Spenser Segal

For some time now, most advisors have understood that the key to growth, the key to success, is to turn their practices into businesses. While there has been plenty of good advice on how to conduct this transformation, the practical, quotidian tools to do so have been lacking. That's where ActiFi and its founder and CEO, Spenser Segal, stand ready to serve.

The markets and economic crisis of 2008–2009, Segal suggests, was “a wake-up call” for advisors. While in the past “just being a good advisor and letting everything else take care of itself” was workable for most advisors, the crisis showed the value of running a more effective business.

What do advisors need to create businesses out of practices? It's education, finding the right partners, hiring the right people in your firm, Segal agrees, but “ultimately, it's execution that's the key,” starting with a decision to devote the “will, skill and time.” Noting that “will” tends not be the stumbling block, Segal argues that for many practice management tasks, like picking a CRM system, “there's more to it than meets the eye,” and that in tackling such issues—which he notes are often one-time tasks—they need “more skills than what they have already in their practice.”

Part of the solution, which he says ActiFi is already seeing occur, is that advisors' partners like TAMPs and BDs and custodians in particular, “are raising the bar in their ability to provide more insight, nd] more effective resources to the advisor to decide and implement” key practice management tasks ranging from segmenting their clients to choosing technology.

“What we're seeing and pioneering,” Segal says, is a “scalable practice management workstation” that allows advisors' partners to deliver advice, to be a true partner on implementing that advice, or even providing that advice “on a silver platter.”

The goal that ActiFi's Roadmap program helps make a reality, along with its research on a range of technology options for advisors, is “How do we track the implementation and execution, how do we deliver that in a consistent scalable way, and how do we quantify the benefits” of those practice management changes in terms of meeting the goals of the advisor? “Did the strategy yield the proposed benefit? Today, it's very anecdotal. We bring science to the process—just like advisors do with portfolio construction.” So far, says Segal, most advisory firms don't apply that same rigor to business and practice management advice.

Advisors' partners are embracing this approach, not merely talking about it, says Segal, because it benefits those firms as well. “There's a lot of incentive for them to grow their existing advisors—it's a win-win-win,” for that BD or custodian, for the advisor, and for the end client. “We strongly believe that we'll continue to see” significant improvement in “the quality, consistency and depth of practice management advice and execution provided through the advisor's partners,” Segal predicts. “That will be game changing.”

One catalyst for advisors that will lead them to embrace this more scientific, measurable approach to practice management, says Segal, is succession planning. “Their biggest asset is their practice, so how are they going to be paid for it? You're either going to sell your firm to somebody else, groom your NexGen successor internally and get involved in financing the purchase, or let it die on the vine.” To secure that succession, Segal suggests, advisors have to “make sure you've got a practice that runs efficiently without you, to ensure your continued revenue stream.”—JG

David Tittsworth

Trying to increase the chances that the “government” is an informed and helpful partner to investment advisors is David Tittsworth's stock in trade. The executive director of the Investment Adviser Association (IAA) has raised significantly his profile, and that of the RIAs that he represents and of the IAA itself over the past few years through his testimony on Capitol Hill, through partnering with other advisor advocacy groups, and through his quiet and effective advocacy inside the Beltway, all informed by his insider's knowledge of how government works, or doesn't.—JG

Ron Rhoades

In registered investment advisor and fiduciary circles, Ron Rhoades, new to the IA 25 this year, is a gentleman and a scholar. An attorney by training, Rhoades is a private wealth manager, director of research and chief compliance officer at Joseph Capital Management LLC, which manages about $160 million for around 150 families.

Rhoades notes that “it is incumbent on RIAs to educate the public at large, through articles in community newspapers, about the different types of advisors and the advantages and disadvantages of each.”—KM

Elizabeth Warren

Controversial doesn't begin to describe her. Elizabeth Warren is the living embodiment of the struggle for balance between consumer protection and market liberalization.

As the chief architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), she has faced both praise and skepticism from lawmakers about the agency she is constructing.

Besides mainly Republican lawmakers' worries that the CFPB's mission to protect consumers could trump safety and soundness concerns for financial services firms, they also want to rein in how the CFPB will be funded.

Warren countered that in terms of accountability, “Let me remind you of the gency's] structure: It is the only agency in all of government whose rules can be overruled, negated by other agencies,” she said.—MW, JS

Blaine Aikin

Blaine Aikin is so steeped in the fiduciary issue that IA columnist Bob Clark believes Aikin is one of a handful of people responsible for raising it.

Aikin is a member of the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard, a group that advocates for the authentic fiduciary standard as presently established under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and seeks to ensure a “client first” approach is included in any reform that might come from Washington.

Aikin is CEO of fi360, which promotes “a culture of fiduciary responsibility” and improves “the decision making processes of investment fiduciaries.”—JS

Michael McRaith

Michael McRaith, director of insurance for the state of Illinois, has been appointed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to head up the new Federal Insurance Office.

McRaith will be the first person to hold the new position, and will be advising Congress and other federal entities on state insurance regulation and other insurance-related matters, such as insurers' financial health.

While the new office has no direct domestic regulatory authority, it does have authority to monitor all activities related to insurance, excepting only health and long-term care insurance.—MS

Tim Johnson

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has a big fight on his hands: He's not only beating back attempts by House Republicans to water down Dodd-Frank and stall putting brokers under a fiduciary mandate, but he's also trying to ensure that the SEC and the CFTC are adequately funded.

The SEC and CFTC, he said in an emailed statement to Investment Advisor, “serve on the front lines investigating fraud and abuse, [but] Republicans don't want to provide them with the necessary resources to do their jobs and effectively protect American taxpayers and investors.”—MW

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The San Francisco Real Estate Blog | View Clip
04/25/2011
Daily Pundit

San Francisco Real Estate Blog. It's every bit as interesting as
Main

April 25, 2011

Best Bay Workplaces
125 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area unveiled | San Francisco Business Times
The San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal recognized 125 employers Thursday evening as the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area 2011.

The eighth annual Best Places to Work awards recognized the top employees in five categories based on company size. These five employers earned No. 1 rankings: Intuit; Kimpton; Bradley Real Estate; Galileo Learning; and Akraya.

Largest Employers (1,501-plus employees)

1. Intuit Inc.

2. Juniper Networks Inc.

3. Kaiser Permanente.

4. Genentech Inc.

5. Santa Clara University.

6. Joie de Vivre Hospitality Inc.

7. Accenture.

8. Wells Fargo Bank.

9. Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.

10. Brocade Communications Systems Inc.I'm sort of surprised at how well several hotels did in the mid-range businesses.

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The sins and virtues of stocks; Some investors aren't driven by profit motives, have ethical concerns
04/25/2011
Global Chinese Press

Meir Statman, a professor of finance with Santa Clara University in California, tells of an investor who insists: "I don't want to have weapons and tobacco in my portfolio."

The financial adviser's response: "I'm here to maximize your wealth, I'm going to invest in anything that has high returns, and tobacco stocks have high returns. Then you can use the money from those stocks to fund anti-smoking campaigns."

Speaking at a seminar in Edmonton, Statman -author of a new book, What Investors Really Want -said investors and financial advisers often approach a portfolio from different directions.

Advisers are often driven by profit motives for clients and therefore themselves, while investors frequently have additional wants that could include status, fun, belonging or social responsibility.

Statman told advisers and analysts to know themselves and know their clients as people, use science like a tool in investing, and be their clients' "financial physician," promoting not just wealth but well-being.

He said items ranging from roses to cars to restaurant meals to investments all have a combination of utilitarian, expressive and emotional benefits.

Utilitarian benefits reflect what the item does for you and your pocketbook, such as saving for retirement. Expressive benefits are what the item tells others about you, perhaps giving you a sense of financial independence. Emotional benefits tell you how the item makes you feel, perhaps free from fear or hopeful for riches.

Advisers must understand some clients may not want blue chip, dividend-paying value stocks, feeling they're neither prestigious nor as exciting as volatile small-cap stocks.

"When you buy 'sin stocks' versus 'virtuous stocks,' the people who buy virtuous stocks, avoiding tobacco, get lower returns, but a good feeling."

Another factor is status. "You can get, from one investment, 10-percent return; and from another, eightper-cent return plus two per cent worth of status."

And status is what people such as convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff prey on, often through herd mentality -not that all herd mentality is bad.

"You can always learn from other people. The problem is to avoid bad herds," Statman said.

"I read in Consumer Reports that a washing machine by GE is top-rated and has a low price. I can join the herd and buy that washing machine, because it's based on tests of washing machines, and surveys of users, and it's unbiased advice, because they don't take advertising.

"Now, compare that to somebody from your country club who tells you that Bernie Madoff is getting very high returns with no risk. Of course, status seeking was a big part; he can say, 'I don't want your filthy money,' then say, 'OK, I'll take your $2 million.' It was prestige'I'm a customer of Bernie Madoff.'" Statman says we have a natural tendency to look for a guru while often suffering from mistaken perception, and "unfortunately, many financialservice companies take advantage of people's cognitive errors rather than correct them. They should have the role of a parent."

In the end, Statman said advisers have to understand investors as individuals. He noted two people working for Google when it first started out were given a choice between cash or stock options before the company's initial public offering. One took the options, now worth more than $1.7 million. Emily Cikovsky, who prepared PowerPoint slides, opted for $4,000 in cash.

Said Cikovsky: "Do I wish I had the shares? Yes. But what's always in the back of my mind is an IPO is never a guarantee, and nine of 10 startups fail. It is painful, but I know that I have to judge decisions by what I knew before I made them, not by what I know in hindsight."

Reuters / Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff preyed on people who put financial status above everything in their investing.;

Copyright © 2011 For Postmedia News

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Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/25/2011
Jamaica Observer - Online, The

NEW YORK, USA (AP) — "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children much more often than most people would realise by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year in the United States alone. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under five years of age. And some say society's reluctance to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering the ability to recognise warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in [the US] once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of Mothers Who Kill Their Children.

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities -- meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect -- in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Centre, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill -- for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious -- sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or break-up," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children -- about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son -- just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, New York. Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to five years, died.

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed -- performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do'?"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimise a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother'. We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother or father seems to be having trouble parenting. Any instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong'. This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognising the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases -- and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

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Pension Reform | View Clip
04/25/2011
KNTV-TV

Santa Clara University government ethics expert Judy Nadler, a fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, spoke to NBC about growing backlash to compensation and pension awards to public employees.

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The sins and virtues of stocks | View Clip
04/25/2011
Province - Online, The

Meir Statman, a professor of finance with Santa Clara University in California, tells of an investor who insists: "I don't want to have weapons and tobacco in my portfolio."

The financial adviser's response: "I'm here to maximize your wealth, I'm going to invest in anything that has high returns, and tobacco stocks have high returns. Then you can use the money from those stocks to fund anti-smoking campaigns."

Speaking at a seminar in Edmonton, Statman -author of a new book, What Investors Really Want -said investors and financial advisers often approach a portfolio from different directions.

Advisers are often driven by profit motives for clients and therefore themselves, while investors frequently have additional wants that could include status, fun, belonging or social responsibility.

Statman told advisers and analysts to know themselves and know their clients as people, use science like a tool in investing, and be their clients' "financial physician," promoting not just wealth but well-being.

He said items ranging from roses to cars to restaurant meals to investments all have a combination of utilitarian, expressive and emotional benefits.

Utilitarian benefits reflect what the item does for you and your pocketbook, such as saving for retirement. Expressive benefits are what the item tells others about you, perhaps giving you a sense of financial independence. Emotional benefits tell you how the item makes you feel, perhaps free from fear or hopeful for riches.

Advisers must understand some clients may not want blue chip, dividend-paying value stocks, feeling they're neither prestigious nor as exciting as volatile small-cap stocks.

"When you buy 'sin stocks' versus 'virtuous stocks,' the people who buy virtuous stocks, avoiding tobacco, get lower returns, but a good feeling."

Another factor is status. "You can get, from one investment, 10-percent return; and from another, eightper-cent return plus two per cent worth of status."

And status is what people such as convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff prey on, often through herd mentality -not that all herd mentality is bad.

"You can always learn from other people. The problem is to avoid bad herds," Statman said.

"I read in Consumer Reports that a washing machine by GE is top-rated and has a low price. I can join the herd and buy that washing machine, because it's based on tests of washing machines, and surveys of users, and it's unbiased advice, because they don't take advertising.

"Now, compare that to somebody from your country club who tells you that Bernie Madoff is getting very high returns with no risk. Of course, status seeking was a big part; he can say, 'I don't want your filthy money,' then say, 'OK, I'll take your $2 million.' It was prestige'I'm a customer of Bernie Madoff.'" Statman says we have a natural tendency to look for a guru while often suffering from mistaken perception, and "unfortunately, many financialservice companies take advantage of people's cognitive errors rather than correct them. They should have the role of a parent."

In the end, Statman said advisers have to understand investors as individuals. He noted two people working for Google when it first started out were given a choice between cash or stock options before the company's initial public offering. One took the options, now worth more than $1.7 million. Emily Cikovsky, who prepared PowerPoint slides, opted for $4,000 in cash.

Said Cikovsky: "Do I wish I had the shares? Yes. But what's always in the back of my mind is an IPO is never a guarantee, and nine of 10 startups fail. It is painful, but I know that I have to judge decisions by what I knew before I made them, not by what I know in hindsight."

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Got humility? | View Clip
04/25/2011
Psychology Today - Online

I don't know about you but it appears to me that in America, everyone seems to have very strong opinions about almost everything. Many behave as if they clearly know how politicians should fix social problems, how celebrities should behave, and what God is thinking about just about everything. So many people (especially those in front of a microphone or their computer) express their views with such amazing confidence. So my question is...what's up with that?

As I get older I often feel that I know less rather than more and have come to the conclusion that so much about life is pretty darn complicated. Every situation seems to have multiple layers and rarely are there simple solutions to things...very rarely. Furthermore, there often appears to be unintended consequences for so many actions. You try to solve a problem in one area only to create a new problem somewhere else. I think I've come to peace with frequently saying, "I don't know."

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Sometimes people get frustrated (and angry) with the major religious traditions because of this issue. New atheists, for example, often complain that religion is based on ancient myths that no longer have value in our modern and scientific world and that we'd be better off without religion at all. They often say that the whole notion of God as well as revelations from God through various messengers such as Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, and so forth makes no sense in today's world. Those interested in spirituality (but not religion) are often attracted to Buddhism since this tradition doesn't focus on dogma or a personal God.

While I can see the attraction to less dogma than more, I do believe that as people mature in age, understanding, and even in their religious beliefs and practices that they too find themselves experiencing more humility and less certainty. In many ways, the most spiritual and the most religious often have more humility than you might think. They seem to develop more questions than answers and are at peace with it.

I suggest that in doing the right thing for ourselves and others we should all try and nurture our humility more. I don't think any of us really know what we often claim to know. This is true in religion but also in so many other areas of life too such as politics, sports, and so forth. If you're in the shoes of whoever you complain about you might think differently about things. If you had to run the country, the sports team, make the movie, or lead a Church or congregation you might also find yourself with more questions than answers...and perhaps more humility.

It seems hard to nurture more humility when we live in a culture that reinforces such bold confidence and assurance. Sometimes the message seems to be that humility is for losers. While I strongly disagree with this view often I feel that I am swimming upstream.

What do you think?

Thomas Plante, Ph.D., ABPP, is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University.

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Stanford Debates: Reinstate ROTC? | View Clip
04/25/2011
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) - Online

Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets practice battlefield tactics in Princeton, N.J. (File photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

You wouldn't necessarily know it walking around campus, but there's a major debate going on at Stanford University, and at a few other so-called elite colleges around the country. The controversy is over whether to allow ROTC, or Reserve Officers Training Corps, back on campus as a full-fledged academic department. And it's a long-running battle.

It was more than 40 years ago -- during the Vietnam War -- that activists made ROTC a target of their anti-war demonstrations. At Stanford, they burned down the ROTC building. In addition to voicing anti-military sentiments, professors and students argued that military science, as it was called, had no place in an academic setting. Barton Bernstein, a history professor at Stanford who was active in the '60s, and still is, put it this way:

"It was an academic anomaly, if not an abomination. The faculty for ROTC were not chosen by the university; they often were dubiously competent at best; the curriculum was profoundly anti-intellectual and bordered upon the insipid, and the textbooks were often wretched."

Those arguments won the day in 1969, and ever since, Stanford students who wanted to enroll in ROTC had to go to other campuses for their training. Seven Stanford students in Army ROTC take their military lessons and drill at Santa Clara University, 17 miles away.

In mid-April, Stanford students voted in a non-binding election: 44 percent wanted to bring ROTC back on campus, 17 percent did not, and 39 percent abstained, indicating that that because the military does not allow transgender individuals in the ranks, the ROTC issue should not even be put before a vote.

While the old arguments against ROTC are still cited by Bernstein (and disputed by others), times have changed. Those in favor of the ROTC programs argue that virulent anti-military feelings are not a big part of today's culture. And one major issue has changed, too. Don't ask, don't tell, the 1993 policy that kept openly gay men and women out of the service, is on its way out. Gays and lesbians charged the policy was discriminatory, and it was cited, long after the Vietnam War, as a reason that universities didn't welcome ROTC back. Now, however, Congress and the president have repealed DADT, opening the door for universities to reconsider.

Harvard and Columbia have voted to reinstate ROTC. But Stanford is one of a few other private schools still talking it through. Public universities, home to some of the fiercest actions in the '60s and '70s, mostly kept ROTC on campus, since they would lose federal funding if they dumped it.

At Stanford, well-known history professor David Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense William Perry teamed up to advocate for ROTC's return. They, like current Secretary Robert Gates, argue that it's important for elite schools to be involved in the military. In a speech at Duke University, Gates put it this way: "For a growing number of Americans service in the military, no matter how laudable, has become something for other people to do."

I talked with Perry and Stanford student representatives for a story that airs on Monday's NewsHour broadcast:

Sam Windly of Say No to War, Autumn Carter, editor of the Stanford Review, Leanna Keys of Stanford Students for Queer Liberation, and Angelina Cardona, president of the Associated Students of Stanford University also discussed the campus controversy:

Entries From ...

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Reporter: IF STUDENTS AT STANFORD IN PALO ALTO CALIFORNIA WANT TO JOIN THE ARMY'S RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS, THEY HAVE TO COME HERE TO SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY 16 MILES AWAY TO ATTEND CLASS.
04/25/2011
Real Orange-KOCE-TV

TRANSITION THAT DIDN'T LEAVE YEMEN IN POLITICAL PARALYSIS AND A SECURITY VACUUM, I THINK THAT WAS OUR MAJOR CONCERN WAS HOW TO GET THIS PROCESS AND HOW TO GET THIS, A GOVERNMENT GOING AGAIN. Warner: WE HEARD PRESIDENT SALEH WARN DARKLY THAT AL QAEDA IS NOW ACTIVE IN THE OPPOSITION GROUPS. ARE THEY MUCKING AROUND IN THIS POLITICALLY? WHAT WE SEE YEMEN IS NOT DRIVEN BY AL QAEDA. THEY'RE NOT PART OF. Warner: YOU MEAN ON THE ARABIAN PENINSULA. WHAT WE DO SEE THOUGH IS THAT THE MORE THE YEMEN GOVERNMENT IS WANT TO GO STAY IN POWER THEY'RE NOT FOCUSEDCU ON FIGHTING TERRORISM. WE SEE INCREASED DESERTIONS ININ THE MILITARY. HE WE SEE THE SPACES GETTING BIGGER WHERE AL QAEDA HAS GREATER ROOM TO MANEUVEREU BECAUSE THE YEMENY GOVERNMENT IS FOCUSED ON STAYING IN POWER. Warner: DO YOU AGREE THATAT THE GROUP THAT SENT US THE CHRISTMAS DAY BOMBER HAS MORE ROOM TO OPERATE AT THE VERY LEAST. WHAT'S BEEN CREATED IS A LARGER VACUUM. AR THE SECURITY FORCES ARE DISTRACTED BY THESEE DEMONSTRATIONS. AND THEIR OWN INTERNAL DIVISIONS, AND THE GOVERNMENT IS. SO THIS IS JUST TAKING THE PRESSURE OFF AQAP. AND THAT IS OBVIOUSLY A WORRY TO US, THE SAUDIS AND TO A HOST OF OTHERS. I THINK NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN YEMEN AS WELL. Warner: WE'RE GETTING INTO DANGEROUS TERRITORY HERE. NAMELY SPECULATION. BUT DO YOU THINK THAT WHATEVER COALITION TAKES OVER FROM SALEH, WHATEVER UNFOLDS, THAT THEY WILL BE MORE OR LESSS COMMITTED TO FIGHTING AQAP. I THINK ULTIMATELY TERRORISM OR AL QAEDA IS NOT YEMEN'S BIGGEST PROBLEM. IT'S NOT THIS GOVERNMENT'S PROBLEM AND IT WON'T BE THE GOVERNMENT'S NEXT BIGGESTME PROBLEM. THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH BE DEALING WITH A FAILING ECONOMY. NO IT WILL FAR ECLIPSE AL QAEDA. Warner: CHRIS BOUCEK AND BARBARA BODINE, THANK YOU BOTH. THANK YOU. Brown: NOW, DECADES AFTER THE VIETNAM WAR, SOME PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES ARE TAKING A NEWEA LOOK AT ROTCNEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT SPENCER MICHELS REPORTS. Reporter: IF STUDENTS AT STANFORD IN PALO ALTO CALIFORNIA WANT TO JOIN THE ARMY'S RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS, THEY HAVE TO COME HERE TO SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY 16 MILES AWAY TO ATTEND CLASS. CARRY ON. Reporter: STANFORD, LIKE MANY PRIVATE SCHOOLS, SEVERED TIES WITH ROTC 40 YEARS AGO PUSHING IT OFF CAMPUS. THE SITUATION THAT COULD BE ABOUT TO CHANGE. IF YOU'RE GOING TO BECOME AN ARMY OFFICER YOU HAVE A TYPE-A PERSONALITY. A YOU'RE ALL LEADER. Reporter: Reporter: IN THE 1960s, WITH THE VIETNAM WAR RAGING, STUDENTS AND FACULTY AT UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY MADE CAMPUS ROTC PROGRAMS A TARGET OFF DEMONSTRATIONS AND DEMANDS. THE MOOD WAS ANTI-WAR, AND ANTI-MILITARY. AT STANFORD, THE ROTCE BUILDING WAS BURNED DOWN. RN ANN THOMPSON IS A STANFORD SENIOR AND A CADET BATALION COMMANDER IN ARMY ROTC. I THINK A LOT OF THE REASONS THAT IT WASN'T REALLY POPULAR IN THE VIETNAM ERA AREN'T REALLY APPLICABLE TOBL THE DEBATE TODAY. I THINK THAT THE GENERAL MOOD ON CAMPUS IS THAT PEOPLE ARE REALLY REALLY EXCITED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MILITARY ESPECIALLY WITH THE INCREASING M ROLE IN FOREIGN RELATIONS. Reporter: THE SEVEN STAN ORDER CADETS AT SANTA CLARA GET NO CREDIT FOR ROTC CLASSES BUT MOST GET THEIR TUITIONON PAID PLUS A MONTHLY STIPEND AND TRANSPORTATION BETWEENTW CAMPUSES. NATIONALLY NEARLY 500 ROTC UNITS HAVE CROSSED TOWN ARRANGEMENTS WITH NEARBY UNIVERSITIES. BUT THOSE ARRANGEMENTS DISTURB CADET JIMMY RUC. BY NOT HAVING IT ON CAMPUS IT'S PRECLUDED MANY STUDENTS FROM EVEN PARTICIPATING. YOU CAN SET UP YOUR TEAM AS ONE ENTIRE SQUAD. IR Reporter: ONE REASON STANFORD KEPT MILITARYRY TRAINING OFF CAMPUS WAS THE MILITARY BAN ON GAYS. THEN IN 1993 DON'T ASK DON'T TELL BARRED OPENLY GAY PEOPLE FROM MILITARY SERVICEIC INCLUDING ROTC. NOW WITH ITS REPEAL, THOUGHHO IT'S STILL NOT IMPLEMENTED, THE DEBATE HAS RETURNED. HARVARD WAS THE FIRST PRIVATE UNIVERSITY TO REVERSE ITS POLICY THAT KEPT ROTC OFF CAMPUS. STANFORD AND SEVERAL OTHER PRIVATE COLLEGES ARE DEBATING THE ISSUE. PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES FOR THE MOST PART DID NOT BAN ROTC, FEARFUL OF LOSING FEDERAL FUNDS. AT STANFORD, THE DEBATE HAS BEEN INTENSE BUT, UNLIKE THE '60s, POLITE.

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Here comes Peter Cottontail | View Clip
04/25/2011
saukvalley.com

Christian Milutinovic, 2, colors on the floor while warming up to Patrick Huetten, in the bunny suit during his shift as the Easter bunny at the Yorktown Mall in Lombard. (MCT News Service)

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick “Hop” jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost – but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

“It's really a lovely tradition,” says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. “The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life.”

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

“As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture,” says Guenter. “It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before.”

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

“People say ‘pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that,” says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. “We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God.”

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

“That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord,” Guenter says. “Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter bunny belongs to everybody.”

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

“Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure,” says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of “Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked.” ‘'It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time.”

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Tapping Into Social-Media Smarts | View Clip
04/25/2011
Wall Street Journal

...the last. Some of your employees may now be experimenting with mobile video and location-aware applications. Always be willing to learn from employees about new technologies. Dr. Griffith is a professor of management at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif. She can be reached atreports@wsj.com.

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How the Easter bunny has become a secular symbol | View Clip
04/25/2011
WXIN-TV - Online

Christian Milutinovic, 2, colors on the floor while warming up to the Easter Bunny.

San Jose Mercury News/MCT

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost — but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

(c) 2011, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

Visit MercuryNews.com, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at http://www.mercurynews.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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What do bunnies have to do with Easter?
04/24/2011
Times-Picayune

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and children all over the nation tear through their Easter baskets this morning, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say: What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost -- but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State University. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals.

So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," Guenter says. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative, but it's not," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that. We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs.

"There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," Guenter says. "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

. . . . . . . .

©2011, San Jose Mercury News

Copyright © 2011 The Times-Picayune Publishing Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.

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Professionals Tap a Higher Power in the Workplace | View Clip
04/24/2011
Workforce Management

Among best practices recommended by the EEOC: Be cautious. In the move to accommodate religious diversity, employers should avoid letting workers proselytize or infringe on another person's beliefs.

When requested, employers must consider making reasonable accommodations for an employee to observe religious beliefs, unless the accommodation would cause the employer to suffer an undue hardship.

Imane Boudlal filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Disney decided to fight it rather than depart from its long-standing policy requiring cast members to appear in regulation costumes on stage.

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Professionals Tap a Higher Power in the Workplace

Although religion remains a taboo topic at some companies, more employers are allowing workers to embrace their spiritual beliefs while on the job.

ew employees at Tyson Foods Inc. sit through much the same orientation about policies and procedures as new hires at any other company. But they hear from someone most employees don't: a chaplain.

One of the company's 120 chaplains gives a short lecture on the spiritual leaders' role at Tyson, which several years ago rewrote its mission statement to include the words “faith-friendly” and “God.” “Primarily, we are here to demonstrate to all our people how deeply we care for them,” says Richard McKinnie, Tyson's head chaplain. “Just as we have nurses who take care of the physical parts of our employees' lives, we are here to help with the spiritual component of their lives.”

McKinnie's chaplain program serves as an employee resource to help people deal with issues such as work-life balance, a divorce, or a death or sickness in the family. The chaplains are quite visible as they walk the floors of the company's plants and offices every day listening to people's concerns and sometimes praying with them. On plant floors, chaplains wear workplace smocks or hard hats with their name and the word “chaplain” written on the front.

“We're not about religion; it's not about Christianity or Islam. It's the spiritual side of what people are,” McKinnie says. “This may surprise some, but in the course of my day I can't think of a time I've ever uttered a word of scripture from the Bible.”

McKinnie believes the return on the investment in the chaplain program goes beyond employees' spiritual health. “We've come to realize that the investment brings us increased productivity and has increased worker safety,” he says. “When people come to work with burdens—they've had a spat with their spouse or the teenagers have acted up—that can take their mind off their work.”

While chaplains remain a rarity in corporate America, employees' religious and spiritual affiliations—like race, gender and sexual orientation before them—are an increasingly important part of a diverse workplace. “Religion is the next big frontier in which companies will have to shape policies that engage the whole person,” says David Miller, director of the Faith & Work Initiative at Princeton University, who has consulted with Tyson and other companies on incorporating faith into the workplace. “Religion and spiritual belief may be a deeply private matter for some employees, but it is a part of who they are.” Historically, a person's religious beliefs were considered private. But the private has become public and the personal has become professional, Miller says. “In the old business model, you were at a job to work. In the new model, people want to balance their whole life.”

Newfound faith

This new attitude has prompted some companies to support employees' religious practices such as daily prayers and to extend the number of days off from work to accommodate more religions' holidays. Under federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, companies are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of religion. The law also requires employers to accommodate religious practices as long as they don't cause undue hardship for the company.

But some organizations have gone far beyond what the law requires. Like Tyson, they may proclaim their workplaces “faith-friendly,” or they may adopt specific traditions that are consistent with the religions of their leaders. For instance, the U.S. Army requires soldiers to take a “spiritual fitness test,” which doesn't mention specific religions but does place an emphasis on having religious or spiritual beliefs. An Army sergeant, Justin Griffith, took issue with the test because he is an atheist. He says he is considering suing, arguing that the test violates his constitutional rights.

Some companies try to show employees that religious diversity is not only acceptable, but also welcome in the workplace. According to the magazine DiversityInc's 2011 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, 28 percent report having faith-based employee resource groups, up from 10 percent in 2006. At Ford Motor Co., for instance, which came in at No. 47 on the list, the Ford Interfaith Network includes several hundred employees and supports all religious groups. American Airlines Inc. even uses its employees' faiths to help understand its diverse consumers.

At Tyson, the shift to a more “faith-friendly” workplace came after John Tyson, the grandson of the founder, took over the leadership of the company in 2000. The appointment surprised some people who followed the company because he had been known for his past drug and alcohol abuse. And when he was president of the company's beef and pork division, he was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a prosecution against Mike Espy, the former secretary of Agriculture. Espy was accused, but then acquitted of, accepting gifts and favors from Tyson and other large corporations. When John Tyson and his new leadership team took over the company, they decided that “our people shouldn't have to check their spirituality at the door when they came to work,” Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson says in an email.

John Tyson experienced what he called a “spiritual awakening” before becoming chief executive. He came to believe that faith had literally saved his life, says Judi Neal, the director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the University of Arkansas. The Tyson company and Wal-Mart's Walton family gave $2 million each to create the center four years ago.

“Religion and faith are essential parts of who we are,” Neal says. “But there are good ways and bad ways of expressing those issues. The good way is exploratory, offering open dialogue that leads to growth. A bad way is to give people a list of churches that they should attend.” While it may seem hard to believe, Neal says she has known companies—most often private companies with specific religious affiliations—to offer such lists to their employees.

Although all of Tyson's chaplains are of Christian faiths, McKinnie says he has created an 80-page manual that goes into detail about how to be accepting of all faiths. “When I am recruiting, if I have the least little doubt that a chaplain won't be respectful of all faiths, I won't hire them,” he says. One time, McKinnie says, he found a chaplain who had a Christian cross on his hard hat. “The cross was gone by the end of the day,” he says. “I asked him how he thought one of our Muslim employees would feel if he had to stare at that cross.”

Still sensitive

Religion clearly remains a sensitive topic in the workplace. Consider the case of Jack Griffin, the head of Time Warner Inc.'s magazine division who was dismissed in February after just six months on the job. The company's chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes, wrote in an internal memo that Griffin's leadership style did not mesh with the company, but news reports said references Griffin made to his religion—Roman Catholicism—in business meetings also might have been a factor in his departure. According to the “Media Decoder” blog at the New York Times, executives whose identities were not revealed said Bewkes had asked Griffin to tone down his religious remarks. For example, the executives said, Griffin had compared Time Inc. to the Vatican.

Employers often struggle to find the right fit for religion in their culture. Doug Hicks, professor of leadership studies and religion at the University of Richmond in Virginia, suggests there are four basic approaches: maintaining a secular culture; adopting a generic spirituality that acknowledges religious beliefs; endorsing an official religion, as a Catholic hospital does, for instance; or creating a workplace that puts a high value on a diversity of religions.

“There is a place between dry secularism,” he says, “and privileging your world view over others.” Yet achieving that balance can be difficult, as evidenced by religious discrimination statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Since 1992, the federal agency has seen almost a doubling of religious discrimination charges, which accounted for about 4 percent of all charges in fiscal 2010. That's up from about 1.5 percent two decades ago.

“The American population is increasingly religiously diverse and people are coming into contact with religions they may be unfamiliar with,” says Jeanne Goldberg, a senior attorney adviser with the EEOC, in explaining why she believes religious discrimination cases are on the rise. “Plus we live in a 24/7 economy where we need employees all days of the week and that may lead to more potential for conflict.” Fridays and Saturdays—not just Sundays—are days of worship, and religious holidays fall throughout the calendar and may include special requirements, such as when Muslims fast during Ramadan.

The so-called “9-11 backlash” has been another factor in the rise in EEOC complaints about religious discrimination, Goldberg says. Since 2001, more employees may have felt they were being discriminated against because they were, for example, Muslim or Sikh.

The EEOC even issued a fact sheet in late 2001, outlining what companies could do when faced with specific issues regarding religious dress and prayer practices they weren't familiar with. The fact sheet gave examples of why a Sikh, whose religion requires men to wear a turban, could not be refused employment if he refused to take off his turban. It also offered guidance on how to accommodate requests for prayer rooms because Muslim employees were increasingly lodging complaints that they had to pray at their desks or that they were being fired because of their requests to pray a few times a day.

EEOC complaints range from people claiming they weren't hired because of their religion to employees asking that they be allowed to wear religious attire at work, including the recent case of Walt Disney Co. restaurant hostess Imane Boudlal. She filed a complaint in 2010 when the company wouldn't let her wear a hijab, or head scarf, because it conflicted with Disney's dress code. Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown says Boudlal hasn't accepted the company's proposed accommodations—including wearing the hijab, just not in a customer-facing job. The complaint is still pending with the EEOC. Boudlal couldn't be reached for comment.

Few charges of religious discrimination turn into full-fledged lawsuits because issues typically can be resolved through open discussions, Goldberg says. But some cases do end up in court, including Myra Jones-Abid's complaint. She was fired in 2008 by Belk Inc., a department store company, after she refused to wear a Santa hat and apron while she wrapped Christmas presents. Jones-Abid is a Jehovah's Witness and doesn't celebrate holidays. The company dismissed her, and now the EEOC is seeking back pay, reinstatement, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

Christmas and other religious holidays can indeed be problematic. American Airlines, for instance, allows employees to put up public displays in company offices during religious holidays. “We do make certain they aren't offensive. You can be you, but not at the expense of someone else being themselves,” says Michael Collins, managing director of diversity strategies.

But a couple of years ago, the company received its first complaints about an Easter display, which featured a cross and biblical information. “We had used it for a decade or more, but this person complained that they were being proselytized to,” Collins says. The company took another look at the display and ended up removing some information—although the cross remained—and offering employee contact names in the Christian resource group to anyone who had questions.

Andre Delbecq, a professor at Santa Clara University in California, says studies show that a significant majority of Americans—more than 80 percent—consider themselves religious or spiritual. People who attend his workshops on spirituality come for different reasons, but one theme does dominate, he says. “Workers expect that they will bring their imagination, their intellect, their emotion to work. If they can't integrate deeper meaning in their work, then they may feel they are doing hard time.”

Delbecq says there is an evolving area of scientific study that maintains religion and spirituality are key parts of one's humanity, and that people with strong beliefs handle stress better, for example. Still, companies must be cautious and not assign more value to one religion over another. “It's the subtleties where companies can get into difficulty,” says Liz Denton, author of A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America. “For example, you can offer places for prayer, but the issue can be more difficult when you approach the issues of group prayer,” such as prayer before meetings.

Ford has come a long way from its early days when founder Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent newspaper published a series called “The International Jew: The World's Problem,” which claimed, among other things, that Jewish people were schemers plotting to control the world. Today, however, Ford is a good model for companies that aim to be truly inclusive. Muslims may pray two out of the five prayer times a day at work, while other employees meet each week for group prayer and Bible study. Employees may put up religious items in their cubicles and offices. And the company's Interfaith Network, which serves as an umbrella organization for employee religious groups, sponsors activities ranging from Diwali dinners to celebrate the Hindu religious holiday to lectures to introduce people to different religions and their traditions.

“If you came in my cubicle, you would see a framed picture of my family that has the ‘proclamation of the family,' Mormon tradition that proclaims the family as ordained by God], a statement that intersects with my religion's beliefs in the family,” says Daniel Dunnigan, who helped form the company's religious network and is serving as its chairman. “But the most common way I think we express our religions is in the way we conduct ourselves and how we treat others.”

The network, which dates back to the late 1990s, grew out of some employees' desire to make more formal what had been informal prayer and Bible study groups, Dunnigan says. But Ford executives were concerned that a focus on any one religion could create a feeling of exclusion as opposed to inclusion.

Instead of having religious employee resource groups organize separately as they do at some companies, Ford decided to create an umbrella group to represent many religions at a corporate level. “Individual faiths retain their identity,” Dunnigan says, “but they organize under the interfaith group.”

The network operates through a board on which eight different religions have a seat. Dunnigan notes that the board chair doesn't get a vote in the meetings about the network's activities, “so the person can't influence the board with his or her religious beliefs.” The network has evolved over the years to take advantage of online communication, including sending inspirational messages to an opt-in email list. It also operates an intranet for the approximately 4,000 people on its distribution list, offering a place for discussion of religions that may not have an established resource group. “We cover everything from A to Zoroastrianism,” Dunnigan says.

With so many different faiths represented, employees realize their common values as well as their differences, Dunnigan adds. “Different faiths will have different doctrinal values, but the values of faith, prayer, unselfishness, honesty, aren't the purview of any one faith exclusively.”

Vijay Patel, who is part of the Hindu religious group within the Interfaith Network, says being part of the group has helped him engage in Hinduism. “I was born and raised in India, but I hadn't really taken part in my own religion,” he says. “It was a great opportunity for me to learn about my own religion and about other religions.”

Whatever route companies take in dealing with religion in the workplace, they can expect unexpected outcomes. When American Airlines announced that it was opening a route between Chicago and New Delhi, Nisha Pasha had suggestions for her employer on educating workers on Indian cultural and religious traditions they may never have encountered.

But she hadn't imagined that the company would reach out to her and others who had formed Muslim and Indian religious and cultural employee groups. Yet, that's exactly what happened. “We wanted to help out and we were ready to offer our suggestions, but then the departments started reaching out to us for ideas,” says Pasha, manager of strategic alliances at American's headquarters in Dallas-Fort Worth. “It became a two-way conversation about food and language.” And religion.

Pasha says the resource groups offered advice on how to approach customers about major Hindu and Islamic holidays, including Ramadan. “The Muslim employees explained to flight attendants that some people may ask for their meals a half-hour later or that they would be saying their prayers as the sun was going down,” she says. Accommodating these and other requests, the employees explained, would go a long way in helping Muslim passengers feel comfortable on flights.

For Pasha, however, the discussions struck at a deeper issue. She says it helped employees feel that their religious and cultural traditions were valued by the company, not just that the airline adhered to government rules that require accommodation of employees' religious needs.

Indeed, American Airlines requires that its religious groups focus on business goals. “While the resource groups are employee initiated, they have guidelines that they have to follow. They must identify managers and executive sponsors to make sure that what they do is tied to the business,” says Collins, the managing director of diversity strategies.

“The resource groups have to be seen as business partners and supporters. They aren't just social clubs.”

Workforce Management, April 2011, pgs. 20-22, 24-25 --

Fara Warner is a writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

Next Article: 1. Some Salvation From Lawsuits

Among best practices recommended by the EEOC: Be cautious. In the move to accommodate religious diversity, employers should avoid letting workers proselytize or infringe on another person's beliefs.

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125 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area recognized | View Clip
04/23/2011
BizJournals.com

The Bay Area's 125 employers best places to work were named Thursday evening at an event attended by nearly 1,000 where the annual ranking by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times was announced.

The eighth annual Best Places to Work awards recognized the top employees in five categories based on company size.

These five employers earned No. 1 in the rankings, based on company size, were Intuit Inc.(NASDAQ:INTU); Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC; Bradley Real Estate; Galileo Learning and Akraya Inc..

The companies and their stories are featured in a 32-page special section in the April 22 issues of the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times.

This year's Best Places to Work ranking brought nominations from 301 companies in 12 counties around the greater Bay Area. Some 187,756 employees at those companies were given multiple-choice surveys that resulted in the rankings reported.

Results of those surveys were tabulated by research partner Quantum Workplace.

The awards celebration was held at the Hilton San Francisco.

1. Intuit Inc.

2. Juniper Networks Inc.

3. Kaiser Permanente.

4. Genentech Inc.

5. Santa Clara University.

6. Joie de Vivre Hospitality Inc.

7. Accenture.

8. Wells Fargo Bank.

9. Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.

10. Brocade Communications Systems Inc.

1. Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC.

2. Zynga Inc.

3. Riverbed Technology Inc.

4. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

5. Fenwick & West LLP.

6. Jones Lang LaSalle.

7. Larkspur Hotels and Restaurants.

8. Telecare Corp.

9. Stryker Endoscopy.

10. Mechanics Bank.

11. BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

12. Advent Software Inc.

13. Episcopal Senior Communities.

14. Robert Half International Inc.

15. Sybase.

1. Bradley Real Estate.

2. Box.net Inc.

3. Workday Inc.

4. DPR Construction Inc.

5. Demandforce Inc.

6. Blach Construction Co.

7. XL Construction Corp.

8. Guidewire Software Inc.

9. IMVU Inc.

10. Guarantee Mortgage Corp.

11. Clearwell Systems Inc.

12. Athens Administrators.

13. Hotel Nikko San Francisco.

14. McCarthy Building Cos. Inc.

15. Actelion Pharmaceuticals U.S. Inc.

16. W. L. Butler Construction Inc.

17. Cupertino Electric Inc.

18. MassMutual Financial Group - SFBAA.

19. Shimmick Construction Co.

20. Enphase Energy Inc.

21. Splunk Inc.

22. Sprig Electric Co.

23. Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc.

24. Grand Hyatt San Francisco.

25. Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc.

26. Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

27. BCCI Construction Co.

28. Farella Braun + Martel LLP.

29. EPIC Insurance Brokers.

30. Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP.

31. Perforce Software Inc.

32. Aerotek Inc.

33. MedAmerica Inc.

34. Pivot Interiors Inc.

35. Fitness Anywhere Inc.

36. Armanino McKenna LLP.

37. Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP.

38. Slalom Consulting.

39. Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

40. Bank of Marin.

41. Hanson Bridgett LLP.

42. Sage Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care.

43. Grocery Outlet Inc.

44. Future US Inc.

45. HOPE Services.

46. WestEd.

47. Burr Pilger Mayer Inc.

48. MIPS Technologies Inc.

49. Bingham McCutchen LLP.

50. Brown & Toland Physicians.

1. Galileo Learning.

2. Eventbrite Inc.

3. Primitive Logic Inc.

4. EHDD Architecture.

5. ENGEO Inc.

6. Wildfire Interactive Inc.

7. Palo Alto Networks Inc.

8. Appirio Inc.

9. Tagged Inc.

10. Syserco Inc.

11. Miceli Financial Partners.

12. Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corp.

13. E2open Inc.

14. VOX Network Solutions Inc.

15. SPP Process Technology Systems Ltd.

16. Ooyala Inc.

17. Pereira & O'Dell.

18. AppleOne Employment Services.

19. XYZ Graphics Inc.

20. M Squared Consulting Inc.

21. SOAProjects Inc.

22. GALLINA LLP.

23. Edelman.

24. Alfa Tech Inc.

25. Geosyntec Consultants Inc.

1. Akraya Inc.

2. Heroku Inc.

3. Grockit Inc.

4. Cryptography Research Inc.

5. Simplion Technologies Inc.

6. Alzheimer's Association - Northern California and Northern Nevada.

7. Mashery Inc.

8. Sharethrough Inc.

9. Sparkpr.

10. Waverley Surgery Center L.P.

11. Johanson & Yau Accountancy Corp.

12. Prolinx Services Inc.

13. Petrinovich Pugh & Co. LLP.

14. CVE Inc.

15. Freed & Associates.

16. Robert W. Baird & Co.

17. TEECOM Design Group.

18. True Partners Consulting LLC.

19. Advanced Chemical Transport Inc.

20. vCom Solutions Inc.

21. Stellar Solutions Inc.

22. S.R. Travel Service.

23. Text 100 Corp.

24. CRI.

25. RiseSmart Inc.

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THE ROTC PROGRAM IS BASED AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY RIGHT NOW.
04/23/2011
Channel 2 News at 10 PM - KTVU-TV

GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN'S CALL FOR A STATEWIDE VOTE ON TAXES APPEARS TO BE GAINING POPULARITY. A NEW POLL FROM THE LA TIMES AND THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SHOWS 60% OF THOSE SURVEYED WANT THE PUBLIC TO DECIDE IN A STATE-WIDE VOTE ON WHETHER TO CONDITION CONTINUE THE TAXES SET TO EXPIRE. THAT'S COMPARED TO 33% OF RESPONDENTS WHO FAVOR THE GOP'S PLAN TO HAVE NO VOTE AND INSTEAD BALANCE THE BUDGET BY CUTTING MORE STATE SERVICES. IT SHOWS A SHIFT IN OPINION SINCE LAST FALL. 44% BLAME THE BUDGET MESS ON ELECTED LEAD ARES WASTING MONEY. 70% SAID CALIFORNIA IS HEADING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. A FACULTY COMMITTEE RECOMMEND THE UNIVERSITY RE-ESTABLISH A RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORP ON CAMPUS. THE PROGRAM WAS MOVED OFF CAMPUS IN STANFORD IN 1973 BECAUSE OF ANTI WAR SENTIMENT. THE ROTC PROGRAM IS BASED AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY RIGHT NOW. THE FACULTY SUMMIT PLANS TO TAKE UP THE ISSUE NEXT THURSDAY. STANFORD STUDENTS SHOULD UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE MILITARY SERVICE. THEY SAY IT UNDERMINES ACADEMIC INDEPENDENT.

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RELIGION How did the bunny rabbit become the secular symbol of Easter?
04/23/2011
Charleston Gazette, The

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop'' jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost - but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition,'' says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life.''

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals.

So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture,'' says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before.''

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that,'' says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God.''

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord,'' says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody.''

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure,'' says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked.'' "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time.''

Copyright © 2011 Charleston Newspapers

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David Friedman on "Sustainability", David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty | View Clip
04/23/2011
EconLog

Feedburner (One-click subscriptions)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my university is big on "sustainability;" it has just been having an extended event designed to boost the idea. I responded to an email urging faculty members to introduce sustainability into one of their classes by asking if it was all right if I argued against it in mine, and suggesting that a program which consisted entirely of presentations on one side of an issue looked more like propaganda than education.

This is from David Friedman, "Sustainability: Empty Rhetoric or a Bad Idea." In his post, he links to a 50-minute audio of his talk at Santa Clara University. I haven't listened to the talk yet, but I'm guessing that in it, he makes some of the points he made in some earlier posts. proposed a definition of sustainability and pointed out its problems , a commenter wrote:
The generally accepted definition comes from the Brundtland Report, which defines sustainable development as: "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". replied:
There are two problems with this definition. The first is that implementing it requires us to predict what the future will be like in order to know what the needs of future generations will be. Consider two examples:

1. The cost of solar power has been falling steeply. If that fall continues, in another couple of decades fossil fuels will no longer be needed for most of their current purposes, since solar will be a less expensive alternative. If so, sustainability does not require us to conserve fossil fuels.

2. A central worry of environmentalists for at least the past sixty years or so has been population increase. If that is going to be the chief threat to the needs of future generations then sustainability requires us to keep population growth down, as many have argued.

A current worry in developed countries is population collapse, birth rates in many of them being now well below replacement. With the economic development of large parts of the third world, that problem might well spread to them. If so, sustainability requires us to keep population growth up, to protect future generations from the dangers of population collapse and the associated aging of their populations.

It's easy enough to think of other examples. Generalizing the point, "sustainability" becomes an argument against whatever policies one disapproves of, in favor of whatever policies one approves of, and adds nothing beyond a rhetorical club with which partisans can beat on those who disagree with them.

URL [Optional. Begin with http://....] Comments [You may use the buttons for HTML formatting. Movable Type 4.2.1.
Pictures courtesy of the authors.
All opinions expressed on EconLog reflect those of the author or individual commenters, and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of the Library of Economics and Liberty (Econlib) website or its owner, Liberty Fund, Inc.

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Why bunnies at Easter? Pre-Christian symbols adopted by the church | View Clip
04/23/2011
Fresno Bee - Online

Posted at 05:14 PM on Friday, Apr. 22, 2011

Child Sense: Easter family fun

Easter celebrations become airborne eggs-travaganzas

Color your Easter when you experiment with egg designs

Rome's station churches revive ancient tradition

Pope talks of suffering during Good Friday TV show

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost -- but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

Bunnies and eggs reflect traditions of pre-Christian Europe.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the Resurrection of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's Resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

Return to Top



Hop into the lore of Easter bunny | View Clip
04/23/2011
Modesto Bee - Online, The

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.)

And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

(Toby Talbott / The Associated Press) - This Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 photo shows freshly-made chocolate bunnies at the Lake Champlain Chocolates factory in Burlington, Vt. Cocoa bean and sugar prices are going up, but industry observers say it’s unlikely it will cost more to buy sweets for your sweet this Valentine’s. But the Easter bunny may be dipping a little deeper into your pocket for those chocolate eggs and rabbits.

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost — but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at California State University, San Jose. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our children are hunting in the grass today, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals.

So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," Guenter says. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back then, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"Over time these rituals hold us together as a community," says Guenter. "They give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, that other secular figure who pops up during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is beloved by Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain and which die out. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein. "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

Return to Top



How the Easter bunny has become a secular symbol | View Clip
04/23/2011
Morning Call - Online

Christian Milutinovic, 2, colors on the floor while warming up to the Easter Bunny.

By Karen D'souza San Jose Mercury News/MCT

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost — but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

(c) 2011, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

Visit MercuryNews.com, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at http://www.mercurynews.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Public pain, private gain
04/23/2011
San Francisco Chronicle

For a student hoping to study psychology, Ashley Ward of Pacifica learned an unbeatable lesson in classic double bind theory when she enrolled at San Francisco State University last year.

"I needed to have already taken statistics for psychology - but they wouldn't let me sign up for the class because I wasn't declared a psych major," Ward said, describing a common catch-22 of the cash-strapped California State University system. "That's when I decided I didn't want to go here anymore."

She transferred to Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont this year, joining a growing number of students so frustrated by cutbacks at public campuses that they are flocking in record numbers to California's small private schools despite facing higher tuition and the potential for years of debt.

"There has been a huge increase in applicants," said Jonathan Brown, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents 76 private, nonprofit campuses in California. "The price of the public universities has gone up, and the availability of spaces has gone down."

Those financial woes are about to get worse. The state is slashing CSU and University of California budgets by at least $500 million each next year. CSU has said it will reject 10,000 qualified students, while UC President Mark Yudof said UC expects to turn away "tens of thousands" over the next decade.

Transfer requests way upTransfer requests to tiny Notre Dame de Namur have more than doubled since 2008 - from 106 to 240 so far this year - hinting that more community college students are avoiding public universities.

Other small private schools are also seeing dramatic growth in transfer applications for next fall.

At the University of San Francisco, requests are up 24 percent over last year at this time.

Mills College in Oakland already is seeing an 18 percent increase over the total for last year, while requests for Santa Clara University are 24 percent higher so far than last year's total.

At Dominican University in San Rafael, transfer applications rose 38 percent from 2009 to 2010, with requests from CSU and UC students nearly doubling, from 61 to 119. Transfer applications from those schools are at 103 so far this year.

Ryan Shilling's was accepted.

"My main thing was that I couldn't get into my classes" at Cal State East Bay, said Shilling, 21, of Castro Valley.

He originally transferred to Cal State East Bay in Hayward last fall from Chabot Community College, planning to live with his parents and work at a grocery store to pay the $5,100 annual tuition.

All went well, at first. But problems emerged in January when Shilling, a junior, ran into a registration traffic jam. Seniors who hadn't gotten courses they needed were now crowding out the economics, business and computers classes Shilling wanted.

"I was mad," he said. "I'm basically thinking, 'OK, I'm tired of dealing with this. I'll give Dominican a call.' "

Calculated riskThe school had earlier expressed interest in Shilling because of his soccer talents, but he thought the price was too high: $35,200 this year, rising to $36,900 next fall, plus the cost of living on campus.

Yet Shilling isn't planning a career in risk management for nothing. Financial aid from Dominican will cut his tuition in half. It's still three times the price of CSU, but he figures his eventual income will let him pay off his inevitable loans.

"Cost-benefit-wise, yeah, I'm paying more. But I'm basically getting the classes I need without any hassle," he said.

The public universities' pain may be the private universities' gain, but Dominican's vice president of enrollment, Patricia Coleman, called it a grim victory.

"I just don't think anyone in California is going to be OK if we don't fund our colleges and universities," Coleman said.

At UC Davis, freshman Laura Chadwell understands that too well. Majoring in viticulture, she has to take a series of chemistry classes. But Davis just canceled Chem 2b next fall, saying there were too many students and not enough labs.

"I can't move forward in my education if my classes aren't available," Chadwell said. "I want to be a winemaker, and this is one of the only schools. So I have to stick it out."

Soured on S.F. StateOthers don't.

"I love psychology," said Ward, who transferred to Notre Dame de Namur when San Francisco State's program was so overcrowded that there was no room for her. "I was forced to take courses I wasn't interested in just to get the units, and that's not a quality education. I was in a bad mood all the time."

Like Shilling, Ward, 23, has to pay for school herself. A part-time banquet server, she took out a $14,000 loan at a nearly 10 percent interest rate.

On the day she was scheduled to sign up for her first classes at Notre Dame de Namur last fall, she turned on her computer. Scrolling through the site, Ward paused where it asked, "Major?"

She typed p-s-y-c-h-o-l-o-g-y, pressed enter, and smiled as her choice was accepted.

Copyright © 2011 San Francisco Chronicle

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Museum gotta see 'um | View Clip
04/23/2011
San Mateo Daily Journal

The University of Santa Clara's de Saisset Museum opens its spring exhibition season with two thought-provoking photography exhibitions that seamlessly blend art and science: Life Cycle by Susan Middleton and The Theater of Insects by Jo Whaley. With Life Cycle, Middleton, a former chair of the California Academy of Sciences' Department of Photography, presents images both of extinct species from the collections of the Academy and of marine invertebrates, a number of which are species new to science. Middleton also offers skillful and stark images of the lethal impact of man-made pollution on animal life. Whaley's The Theater of Insects uses an entirely different artistic vision to explore the convergence of art and science. Inspired by old dioramas found in natural history museums, Whaley creates theatrically staged images of exquisitely colored insects against imaginary—almost dreamlike—backgrounds. Her specimens are entomologically accurate, yet they are juxtaposed with backgrounds composed of weathered, man-made materials like rusted metal, broken glass, painted wood and crumpled paper.
Lindsey Kouvaris, Curator of Exhibits & Collections at the de Saisset Museum, said, “Life Cycle and The Theater of Insects bring together art and science in two delightful and wonderfully compelling exhibitions. Through their photographs, both Susan Middleton and Jo Whaley call attention to some of nature's creatures — invertebrates and insects — that are often overlooked. Characterized by brilliant colors and playful imagery, both artists' work celebrate the extreme diversity of our natural world and inspire a sense of awe and wonder at the amazing world in which we live.”
The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is located at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara. Susan Middleton speaks at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, on the subject of art, science and biodiversity. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the de Saisset's exhibitions and programs visit www.scu.edu/desaisset. Both Life Cycle and The Theater of Insects are on view through June 12.

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Bunny tales | View Clip
04/23/2011
Star Tribune - Online

Just how did a rabbit become the secular symbol of Easter celebrations?

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes nationwide get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, "What's up, Doc?"

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny might remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost -- but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State in California. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity, and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

These customs might go even further back in antiquity. Some say that giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore.

The bottom line is that when our children are hunting around in the grass, they might be harking back to pagan fertility rituals.

So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," Guenter says. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. It's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative, but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at California's Santa Clara University.

"We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring. Life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture; it's a smorgasbord," Guenter says. "Over time, these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famous rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

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The Easter Bunny The secular symbol of Easter? | View Clip
04/23/2011
Vindicator - Online

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick “Hop” jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost — but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

“It's really a lovely tradition,” said Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. “The bunny symbolizes fecundity, and the eggs represent the cycle of life.”

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

“As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture,” says Guenter. “It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before.”

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

“People say ‘pagan' as if it were pejorative, but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that,” says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. “We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring. Life is a gift, and all of it points to God.”

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

“That's part of the strength of American culture — it's a smorgasbord,” said Guenter, “Over time, these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody.”

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology constantly is adapting to the needs of our time.

“Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure,” said New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of “Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked.” “It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time.”

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Religion-Themed Mobile Apps | View Clip
04/22/2011
KQED-FM

Can't Find Kosher Wine for Passover? There's an App for That
Mobile apps are good for booking plane reservations, or navigating your way through heavy traffic. But how about finding kosher wine for Passover? Or a scripture reading for Easter? Santa Clara University religion scholar Elizabeth Drescher says there's been a upsurge in religion-themed apps over the last few years -- and more are coming online every day from all over the world. Host Stephanie Martin talks with Drescher, who's been researching this area of the virtual world, and will be soon releasing a book called "Tweet If You Heart Jesus."

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Religion-Themed Mobile Apps | View Clip
04/22/2011
KQED-FM - Online

Can't Find Kosher Wine for Passover? There's an App for That

Mobile apps are good for booking plane reservations, or navigating your way through heavy traffic. But how about finding kosher wine for Passover? Or a scripture reading for Easter? Santa Clara University religion scholar Elizabeth Drescher says there's been a upsurge in religion-themed apps over the last few years -- and more are coming online every day from all over the world. Host Stephanie Martin talks with Drescher, who's been researching this area of the virtual world, and will be soon releasing a book called "Tweet If You Heart Jesus."

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Just how did the bunny rabbit become the secular symbol of Easter? | View Clip
04/22/2011
Regina Leader-Post - Online

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany.

Photograph by: Thinkstock, canada.com

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost — but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

© Copyright (c) McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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Stanford should invite ROTC back to campus, university committee says | View Clip
04/22/2011
Stanford Report

A purposefully designed restructuring of ROTC would, on balance, further the educational interests of Stanford students, keep faith with the broadly civic values in Stanford's founding grant and contribute in a small but significant way to reducing the perceived gap between the military and civil society, the committee's report says.

The Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC at Stanford University has recommended that President John Hennessy invite the Reserve Officers Training Corps back to campus, asserting that the excellent liberal education Stanford provides can contribute profoundly to the skills and virtues rightly expected of military leaders.

"Such men and women must be exemplary communicators and collaborators," the committee said in a 25-page report released Friday. "They must be adept at decision-making that is based on complex evidence, a high sense of moral principle and secure commitment to the rule of law. They must also interpret the tasks they are assigned in light of a rich understanding of the common good."

A "restructured" on-campus ROTC program also would augment the civic education of other Stanford undergraduates – an equally important task, the committee said.

"The opportunity to talk about patriotism, just and unjust war, human rights, imperialism and anti-colonialism, etc., in a classroom or dormitory that includes prospective officers in America's military is something from which all our students can benefit," the report said.

Ewart Thomas, the committee's chair, will present the report and recommendations to the Faculty Senate at its April 28 meeting. The report also is available on the senate's website. The senate is expected to vote on the recommendations at the Thursday meeting.

The other faculty members on the committee are: Hester Gelber, religious studies; Eamonn Callan, education; Sharon Long, biological sciences; Orrin "Rob" Robinson, German studies; and Scott Sagan, political science. The committee's two undergraduate student members – Akhil Iyer, '11, and Imani Franklin, '13 – are both International Relations majors. Greg Boardman, vice provost for student affairs, serves on the committee. Ingrid Deiwiks, an administrative services administrator at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, served as the committee's staff person.

Recommendations of the committee

The committee did not try to specify the exact terms of an ROTC program, saying those details would arise out of future discussions with the military.

"Instead, we have tried to describe a well-designed process that, we believe, would lead to an appropriate on-campus ROTC program," the report said.

In the report, titled Towards an on-campus ROTC program at Stanford University, the 10-member committee unanimously recommended that:

The president of Stanford should invite the U.S. military to re-establish an on-campus ROTC program consistent with the recommendations of this committee.

The Faculty Senate should appoint immediately a Stanford ROTC committee as a standing subcommittee of the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP). This committee would be available to advise the president during any exchanges between the university and the military that might ensue from this invitation. The committee also would work with ROTC representatives on the design and scope of the Stanford-ROTC program.

The Stanford ROTC committee and designated ROTC representatives will review the instructors and instruction of ROTC courses on campus. This committee, through C-USP, will recommend, on a case-by-case basis, whether an instructor be given lecturer or visiting professor status, and will be responsible for maintaining coordination between the university and the national ROTC programs. After the first ROTC instructors have been appointed, the Stanford ROTC Committee may be expanded to include some of these instructors.

ROTC courses should be open to all Stanford students whether or not the students are in ROTC. Exceptions need to be approved by the Stanford ROTC committee.

The courses in the Stanford-ROTC program may be eligible for either academic or activity course credit, following existing Stanford curriculum review and approval processes.

The Stanford ROTC committee should encourage opportunities for Stanford faculty and ROTC instructors to design jointly taught courses that could meet both academic credit standards and ROTC training requirements.

The report has five sections: a brief history of military studies on college campuses; a brief history of ROTC at Stanford; the committee's arguments for establishing an on-campus program; the key characteristics of such a program; and answers to the most serious objections to ROTC programs by members of the Stanford community.

The report's appendix includes a brief summary of ROTC programs at Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton, as well as a sample of arguments – pro and con – that the committee did not extensively discuss.

Don't ask, don't tell

The report said the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, was a catalyst for proponents as well as – to its surprise – opponents of ROTC.

In late 2010, President Barack Obama signed a landmark law ending the 17-year-old policy, which forced gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal. The new law will go into effect 60 days after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates certifies to Congress that the Pentagon is ready to implement the repeal. If military training on the new policy continues at its current pace, that could happen as early as September, Pentagon officials told Congress earlier this month.

Some members of the campus community have argued that the university should reject an on-campus ROTC program because the U.S. military continues to exclude transgender and medically disabled individuals from serving. Approving an ROTC program, those opponents said, would make Stanford complicit in civil rights violations and breach the university's own antidiscrimination policy.

"We are in agreement with some of what was said by those who proffered this objection," the report said. "For example, we fail to see any good reason for the current exclusion of persons from the American military merely because of their transgender status. But our committee did not set out to determine whether all the policies of the American military are fully in keeping with our nation's civic ideals. That seems to us far too high a standard to set in order to open the door to a more educationally productive relationship between Stanford University and ROTC."

The report said some of the "most trenchant arguments" presented by opponents "were marred by naïve and derogatory stereotypes" of the military.

"Unfortunately, such stereotypes are only to be expected given little contact between the military and our students, faculty and staff," the report said. "The increased contact that would likely characterize an on-campus ROTC program will contribute, the committee believes, in a small but significant way to reducing the perceived gap between the military and civil society in the USA."

The civilian-military divide

The report said some ROTC opponents argued that there was an "irreconcilable conflict between the values of a liberal education and the ends of military training." The committee said that argument depended on an "incomplete picture" of the military.

"Obedience to lawful authority is certainly a part of military roles," the report said. "But members of the officer corps must be able to do much more than obey orders. They must be capable of nuanced moral decision-making, independent problem-solving and responsible leadership. Such qualities are intrinsic to the ideal of liberal education. To be sure, we do not say that conflict cannot arise between military and academic values; we only deny that this conflict is so severe as to preclude a closer connection with ROTC at Stanford than currently exists."

In its report, the committee also addressed the concern that if a Stanford student on an ROTC scholarship decided to leave the program, the student would have to pay back the scholarship and would need financial aid to continue studying at Stanford.

"We believe that undergraduates at Stanford should certainly have the freedom to change vocational commitments without the worry of incurring prohibitive financial sacrifice," the report said. "Therefore, ROTC students who change their mind about a military career must have access to strong financial aid support to mitigate the costs of their decision."

The committee also rejected the argument that some ROTC students could, in some circumstances, be denied the academic freedom that is rightfully theirs.

"ROTC students are 'discouraged' by the military from reading materials on the WikiLeaks site because in so doing they may undermine their eligibility for future security clearance," the report said, referring to the whistle-blowing website. "But the discouragement is far from unique to ROTC students. Any student considering a career after graduation that would require security clearance would have good reason to avoid academic assignments that focus on classified documents."

The report said the controversy highlighted the fact that important ethical questions surround the academic use of classified materials that have become publicly available. However, "keeping ROTC at a distance from the Stanford community is not a part of any satisfactory answer to these questions," the report said.

If a Stanford instructor assigns classified documents that have become public in their classes, students may ask for accommodation and the instructor may then make or deny such accommodation, the report said.

The committee said the benefits and opportunities provided by an on-campus ROTC program extend beyond those participating directly in the program.

"We envision that courses, such as 'Ethics and Leadership,' would engage ROTC and non-ROTC students in frank and probing discussions about what it means to be a moral leader, and that Stanford professors would teach some of the required ROTC courses, such as 'Military History,'" the report said. "These curricular changes would expand the opportunities for educating Stanford students, including those who serve in the military, in citizenship, and this expansion cannot but contribute to mutual understanding between the military and civil society."

ROTC at Stanford today

Stanford currently has cross-enrollment agreements – established between 1975 and 1981 – with three nearby universities that have ROTC programs. Under the agreements, Stanford students enrolled in ROTC programs get military training while working on their degrees at Stanford. The ROTC courses do not quality to be used toward the 12-unit requirement for full-time registration status or satisfactory academic progress requirements for Stanford undergraduates.

Stanford students enrolled in Naval ROTC take military classes at UC-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University. The Army ROTC program is based at Santa Clara University.

Stanford began hosting classes by Santa Clara University's Army ROTC program in 1997. Currently, six Army ROTC classes for freshmen and sophomores are held on the Stanford campus. The classes focus on leadership, including "Foundations in Leadership" and "Leadership in Changing Environments."

Last January, the Haas Center for Public Service established a Military Service as Public Service project and began providing travel stipends to ROTC students.

Currently, there are 14 Stanford students enrolled in ROTC programs; five in Army, two in Air Force and seven in the Navy.

Deliberations of the Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC

A year ago, the Faculty Senate asked the committee to "explore the logistical, financial and pedagogical implications of any such relationship for Stanford and its wider mission, and report back to the senate detailing a range of options the university might pursue and the consequences they can be expected to have."

Since then, the committee has held two town hall meetings – one for students and one for faculty and staff; met privately with small groups of students and faculty; established a website and published an open letter requesting the Stanford community's thoughts on the issue. The committee read blogs sponsored by Stanford Says No to War and articles published in the Stanford Daily.

The committee members also read books; watched a documentary about the experiences of U.S. platoon in Afghanistan and reviewed documents from the 1960s and 1970s describing the Stanford faculty debate over ROTC and the subsequent departure of the Army, Air Force and Naval ROTC programs. They researched ROTC programs at other universities. In addition, the committee met with senior ROTC officers from Santa Clara University and San Jose State University.

Thursday's Faculty Senate meeting

The April 28 Faculty Senate meeting, which is expected to attract wide interest on campus and from the media, will begin at 3:15 in Room 180 of the Law School. Stanford will provide an audio feed – at a location to be determined – for people who were not invited to the meeting, but would like to listen to the proceedings.

During the meeting, discussion is limited to members of the senate. For information regarding admission by non-senate members, contact Assistant Academic Secretary Trish DelPozzo at 723-4992 or at delpozzo@stanford.edu.

Most of the meeting will be devoted to the ROTC presentation and discussion.

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Early Apple Computer marketing leader to deliver St J Academy commencement address | View Clip
04/22/2011
Vermont Business

William T Cleary, an early leader in developing Apple Computer's marketing programs and a pioneer in Internet-based brand development, will deliver the Commencement Address when his son Ian and the rest of St. Johnsbury Academy's Class of 2011 graduate Monday, June 6.

Cleary, a former teacher, joined Apple at its Cupertino, Cal. headquarters as the company's Senior Marketing Manager in 1981, leading Apple's sales promotional efforts, advertising, and merchandising until 1985.

In 1987, he founded the CKS Group, also based in California, a marketing and advertising firm that created innovative digital-media-marketing strategies and campaigns for some of the largest brands associated with the worldwide Web, including eBay, Amazon.com, Disney, AdForce, Yahoo, and Excite.

After leaving CKS in 1998, Cleary served as Chairman of the Board for Matchmaker.com, a highly innovative and fast-emerging new company, which was later sold to Lycos.

For the past 10 years, he has been active in assisting entrepreneurs with business-plan development and marketing efforts through Cleary & Partners, a small consulting firm based in Saratoga, Cal., where Cleary, his wife Kathy and their three children reside.

Although Cleary is best-known for his achievements in the business world, his career began in a classroom, working as a full-time teacher at an inner city school from 1971-1972 while pursuing a graduate degree in social science and secondary education at State University of New York (SUNY) College at Buffalo. He later taught American history, anthropology and African-American studies at a high school in Angola, N.Y., from 1973-1978, before entering the advertising/marketing field.

He also has a deep commitment to Santa Clara University's MBA program, where he has served as a member and chairman of the advisory board, Executive Fellow, part-time instructor and Distinguished Lecturer.

Fascinated by anthropology and history since his youth, Cleary has worked closely with world-renowned paleo-anthropologist and African wildlife conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey in several initiatives centered on environmental and social concerns, including founding the Wildlife Direct organization, which is working to save endangered mountain gorillas in the Congo from poachers.

Meanwhile, his lifelong fascination with history led him to build what the Saratoga Historical Foundation described as “one of the largest collections” of Civil War artifacts on the West Coast. He also owns more than 20,000 miniature soldiers, most Civil War era, now waging their battles in six dioramas he has created in the Cleary family's home.

Since 2002, the home has served as a Civil War museum for three months out of the year, attracting students and teachers from area schools, historians, civic groups, and other organizations.

“Experienced educator, African anthropologist, Civil War historian, successful entrepreneur, digital marketer, and his sons' youth lacrosse coach, Bill Cleary is a Renaissance man in his own right,” Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett said. “When you add to this his experience with world-renowned thinkers, researchers, and innovators, you get one of the most fascinating people I know. As his son Ian says, ‘He's the real deal, and he's amazingly humble about it.' I, for one, very much look forward to hearing him speak.”

The Academy's 2011 commencement exercises will begin at 10 a.m. on June 6 in the Field House. For general Academy information, go to www.stjacademy.org.

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How the Easter bunny has become a secular symbol | View Clip
04/21/2011
Chicago Tribune - Online

Christian Milutinovic, 2, colors on the floor while warming up to the Easter Bunny.

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the nation get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost — but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

(c) 2011, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

Visit MercuryNews.com, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at http://www.mercurynews.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs | View Clip
04/21/2011
Daily News, The

Bay Area News Group

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job-hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships — brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event — for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73— so high that recruiters were turned away.

“The Valley is heating up again,” said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first Ph.D. Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair— and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

“It's been a tough couple years,” he said. “A lot of students struggled.”

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.) As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history — many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment.

Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent — and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider “starter jobs” that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

“I was definitely scared,” said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

“I planned on graduating a year early — but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy,” she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers — all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus “resume review.” She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

Maria J. Avila Lopez / Bay Area News Group

Thomas Pham looks at a list of companies present at the UC Berkeley Job Fair onWednesday. Pham, an integrative biology major, found nothing at the mostly engineering job fair.

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PG&E CEO Stepping Down
04/21/2011
KCBS-AM

PG&E CEO Peter Darbee announced that he is stepping down at the end of the month. In a statement, he cited the difficult year since the San Bruno pipeline blast and his desire to help move the company forward. Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, was interviewed on the ethical dimensions of Darbee's departure.

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JOB PROSPECTS LOOK ROSIER FOR UPCOMING GRADS
04/21/2011
San Jose Mercury News

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting UC Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first Ph.D. Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a waiting list.

"It's been a tough couple years," he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, because of unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now, a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January, and though the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by, it's a plus for us," said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the job fair Wednesday at UC Berkeley.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs | View Clip
04/21/2011
SiliconValley.com

Hundreds of students attended the UC Berkeley Job Fair on April 20, 2011. (Maria J. Avila Lopez/Mercury News)

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting UC Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first Ph.D. Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a waiting list.

"It's been a tough couple years," he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups

suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, because of unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now, a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January, and though the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by, it's a plus for us," said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the job fair Wednesday at UC Berkeley.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs
04/20/2011
Alameda Times-Star

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The Valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first PhD Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

"It's been a tough couple years,'' he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC-Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by it's a plus for us,'' said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the jobs fair at UC-Berkeley on Wednesday.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 Alameda Times-Star. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs
04/20/2011
Argus, The

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The Valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first PhD Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

"It's been a tough couple years,'' he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC-Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by it's a plus for us,'' said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the jobs fair at UC-Berkeley on Wednesday.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 The Argus. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs
04/20/2011
Daily Review, The

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The Valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first PhD Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

"It's been a tough couple years,'' he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC-Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by it's a plus for us,'' said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the jobs fair at UC-Berkeley on Wednesday.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 The Daily Review. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Affluent big on DIY investing, survey finds | View Clip
04/20/2011
InvestmentNews (Crain's) Online

Four out of ten prefer to manage their own money; web still not seen as threat to advisers, however

First, the good news: Affluent investors who have financial advisers generally are very satisfied with them. The bad news? More than 40% of those with $500,000 or more to invest would rather manage their money themselves.

According to a Dow Jones survey of 1,287 randomly selected U.S. investors who are at least 25 and have a minimum of a half-million dollars to invest (not including retirement plans), 41% say they use online and discount brokerages to manage their investments, By comparison, 31% use a full-service firm, while only 28% use independent firms.

Of those that do get help, 70% said they are extremely or very satisfied with the relationship.

In a conference call yesterday discussing the survey results, Meir Statman, a professor of finance at the Leavey School of Business of Santa Clara University, used a medical analogy to describe the way investors use online, self-directed investing. People who have some medical symptoms, she said, are often “validators” — that is, folks who go online to confirm their assumptions about their condition. But they still use professionals when the need arises.

“We get a lot of information from the Web about symptoms and so on, but when things are really serious, we see a physician. It is not one or the other,” Mr. Statman said. “Advisers should not see the Web as a threat.”

Mr. Statman and others on the panel said that the positive reviews that respondents gave of communications from their advisers is a sign that investors value their advice and would like more. Two-thirds of respondents said they receive a newsletter from their adviser and a surprisingly high 77% say they read it regularly.

Still, the investors identified several topics that their advisers had not counseled them on that investors wish they would. Tax strategies was the top missing subject, which 17% said they'd like to hear about from their advisers. Another 14% said they wanted to hear more about estate planning, 13% wanted information on emerging markets and 12% would like to hear about alternative investments.

One-third of the surveyed investors said they have not developed a retirement plan with their adviser, while one in 10 listed retirement planning as a subject they would like to be advised on, but currently are not.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs
04/20/2011
Oakland Tribune

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The Valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first PhD Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

"It's been a tough couple years,'' he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC-Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by it's a plus for us,'' said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the jobs fair at UC-Berkeley on Wednesday.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 The Oakland Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs | View Clip
04/20/2011
San Jose Mercury News - Online

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The Valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first PhD Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

"It's been a tough couple years,'' he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish

optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

But a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC-Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

At Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers, said Choy.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," he said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs
04/20/2011
San Mateo County Times

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The Valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first PhD Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

"It's been a tough couple years,'' he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC-Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by it's a plus for us,'' said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the jobs fair at UC-Berkeley on Wednesday.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 San Mateo County Times. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs
04/20/2011
Tri-Valley Herald

After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008.

Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships -- brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.

As commencement approaches, 148 recruiters are visiting University of California-Berkeley this week at a job fair so big that it was turned into a two-day event -- for the first time since 2008. More than 1,500 students are expected to attend.

Earlier this month, Santa Clara University's fair attracted 75 employers, up from 50 last year. At San Jose State University, lines of students snaked through the Student Union hallways and the number of prospective employers jumped from 52 to 73 -- so high that recruiters were turned away.

"The Valley is heating up again," said Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's Career Development Center, which held its first PhD Fair on Wednesday. Last week, Stanford hosted 128 companies at its undergraduate fair -- and because it ran out of room, needed to create a wait list.

"It's been a tough couple years,'' he said. "A lot of students struggled."

With bold ideas, curious spirits and near-infinite reserves of energy, most college graduates are eager to launch their careers with feverish optimism.

But few groups suffered greater setbacks during the recession than the young. The jobless rate for new college graduates averaged 9.3 percent in 2010, double the figure for older graduates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (It was far higher, 17 percent, for 20- to 24-year-olds without degrees.)

As undergrads, students watched their elder classmates enter the worst job market in recent history -- many forced to move back home with their parents, due to unemployment. Such a bleak start has lifelong implications; because most workers see their incomes increase slowly and steadily, a low starting salary can affect future earnings.

Now a technology-led recovery is slowly spreading throughout the local economy, adding jobs in every sector except construction. The 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, bolstered by demand for new handheld gadgets.

Campus counselors caution students that Santa Clara County still has an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- and because the job market remains very competitive, new grads should consider "starter jobs" that are not necessarily in their field, and build up their resumes with research assistant positions or part-time work.

"I was definitely scared," said Santa Clara University senior Tasha Mistry, whose studies taught her how to apply computer-based data analysis to guide business strategies.

"I planned on graduating a year early -- but my professor gave me the best advice, advising me to stay in school, due to the economy," she said.

Now the 21-year-old Fremont native has, not one, but three job offers -- all from top-tier companies: Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems and Adobe. Kaiser's offer came through a successful internship, which she landed after an on-campus "resume review." She met Cisco at a campus job fair last January; although the San Jose networking giant didn't have any openings then, she kept in touch. Adobe found her through the school's career website, called BroncoLink.

Job listings on San Jose State's SpartaJobs website jumped 59 percent to 1,831 listings compared to the same period last year.

Today's graduating students are benefiting from a confluence of factors, said Tom Devlin, director of UC-Berkeley's Career Center and president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"First, employers have greater confidence in the economy, and are now hiring for positions that they had been holding back," he said. "Second, employers are recognizing that there is heightened competition to hire the best candidates."

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers this year expect to hire at least 13 percent more new college graduates compared with 2010.

"We've grown by leaps and bounds every year so we just keep on hiring, and with a nice talent pool like this close by it's a plus for us,'' said Dan St. Peter, a recruiter for TIBCO Software in Palo Alto who met students at the jobs fair at UC-Berkeley on Wednesday.

At Santa Clara and Stanford, recruiters are showing special interest in software engineers and startups are showing up to hunt for talent to fuel green businesses.

"But there seems to be hiring in other areas, as well. It's nice to see the traditional fields of finance, consulting and marketing coming back," Stanford's Choy said. "Except for teaching or government, the overall market is looking pretty good."

After happy deliberation, SCU student Mistry made her choice: Adobe. And because she doesn't start until June 6, she has time to celebrate in Hawaii.

"It feels surreal. I didn't think I'd get anything, after the way the market was," she said. "I'm so excited to be able to support myself."

Mercury News staff photographer Maria Avila-Lopez contributed. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 Tri-Valley Herald. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Affluent Clients Turn to Self-Directed Investment Strategies | View Clip
04/19/2011
AdvisorOne

Wealthy investors combine individual investing with advisors' guidance

Advisors are missing opportunities to better serve their affluent clients in several areas, a Dow Jones study found, including retirement planning, tax strategies and estate planning. The Dow Jones Affluent Investor Study, released Monday, found that while advisors have strong bonds with their clients, they don't "fully leverage those bonds to serve their clients' broader financial needs."

In fact, greater numbers of affluent investors are becoming "self-directed" investors, relying on their own research and abilities to invest their money, even while they continue to use an advisor. In a webinar held Tuesday on the survey, Thomas Coyle, special writer for Dow Jones Newswires compared investors to passengers in a car. Before the recession, he said, investors were satisfied to sit in the back seat. Now that those clients are more educated and asking more "pointed questions," they are sitting in the front seat. "They don't want to drive, but they want to see what's going on," Coyle said.

Jason Zweig, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, pointed out that even if clients are investing some of their money through online brokerages, advisors still have a role in their clients' financial lives.

"It's remarkable," Zweig said in the webinar, "that everyone isn't self-directed given how easy and cheap that's become. The reason that more people aren't self-directed is that they don't want to be." There are several reasons clients may not want to do their own investing, Zweig said. "They may want someone else to blame when things go wrong, they may want someone else to validate their decisions, and they may just not want to be bothered. But in any case, as the financial world continues to grow more complex, it seems pretty obvious that the share that advisors can have of the typical investors' wallet probably isn't going to go down very much."

Despite 41% of affluent investors who said online or discount brokerages were their primary investment channel, 63% said they rely on their financial advisor or broker for advice, more than any other source. Furthermore, 47% said they rely on their advisor the most.

The majority of respondents – 95% - said they were satisfied with their advisor, and 42% said they were "very satisfied." Still, there are topics affluent investors want to advice on, but aren't currently receiving from their advisors; namely, tax strategies, estate planning and emerging markets.

Meir Statman (left), professor of finance at the Leavy School of Business, Santa Clara University, said in the webinar that advisors are not in the position where they should compete with financial commentators like Jim Cramer on forecasting what will happen in the markets. Their job, he said, is to "manage not just wealth and not just the investments, but really the life and well-being of their clients."

In that duty, he said, there "really is no substitute. Advisors should have great insight into the life of their clients, their families, their children, the issues that are unique to them and often painful. If they focus on that part where they have no competition, they're really going to do a great favor to their clients and to themselves."

There's room for advisors to step up their retirement planning offerings, as well. One-third of investors say they have not developed a retirement plan with their advisor. Of those who have developed a plan, almost all indicated some degree of confidence that they will achieve their financial goals, and 44% said they were "very confident."

Investors indicated newsletters are an effective means of communication. Two-thirds of affluent investors receive a newsletter from their advisor, and of those more than three-quarters read it regularly.

Danielle Andrus is managing editor of Investment Advisor magazine. She has a BA in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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How often are moms killing their kids? | View Clip
04/19/2011
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Online

We were all shocked to read last week about Lashanda Armstrong driving her minivan into the frigid Hudson River killing herself and three of her children. (Her oldest son swam to safety thank goodness!)

But just how often do mothers kill their children and why does it happen?

(I am so sorry this blog is such a downer but I feel like it's very important to discuss and bring attention to this issue.)

The Associated Press took a look at statistics and case studies, and it's a surprisingly large number of women killing their kids. Some experts say about 100 times a year. Others say one every three days! AP also found out that moms are more likely to kill their kids (under the age of 5) than dads. A mother killing her own kids cuts across class, race, ethnicity and age. The common thread for these women is they feel alone and without support. Often the mothers think they are doing what is best for their children by killing them.

From the Associated Press (I bolded the best parts):

…“But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies….”

“How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.”

“I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate,” says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of “Mothers Who Kill Their Children.”

“Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.”

“And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.”

” ‘The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens,' says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. ‘But it's not a rare thing.' ”

“Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.”

“It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.”

“Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.”

“These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support,” says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of “Endangered Children.”

“Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.”

” ‘Women need better treatment not only before, but after,' she says. ‘They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care.' “

“The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution. ”

‘But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. “Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts),” she says. “The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane.”

‘Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. ‘So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup,' Meyer says.”

“In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children — about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son — just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)”

“This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: ‘If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me.' ”

“Experts have heard that many times before.”

” ‘We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth,' for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. ‘They think it's a good deed, a blessing.' ”

“A good deed — performed by a good mother. “It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother,” says Oberman. “Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'”

“Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a “good mother” that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.”

“Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, `Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious.”

“In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece “was a good mother. She was going through some stuff.”

“Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.”

“To me this is a textbook case,” she says. “This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too.”

“Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. “I think often people just don't know what to do,” says Korbin.”

“But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.”

” ‘People focus on the spectacular cases — and they are spectacular,' she says. ‘But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad.'

Does any part of this story surprise you? Does the estimated number of times it's happening surprise you? Does the part about them thinking they're good mothers and helping their children by killing them surprise you? Does it surprise you that a mother is more likely to kill a child under 5 than the father?

How we friends, families, communities help prevent these types of killing? Where is the lifeline for mothers so they do not feel overwhelmed? How do you even begin to intervene if you feel like a mother is breaking down and her children are in danger?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. I have increased my Twitter activity. I am sending out great stories for moms each day focusing on health, fitness, sex, entertainment, food, travel and obviously parenting! So follow me on Twitter at @AJCMOMania!)

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area
04/18/2011
Alameda Times-Star

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 Alameda Times-Star. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area
04/18/2011
Argus, The

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 The Argus. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Inglenook, AllianceBernstein, RIM: Intellectual Property | View Clip
04/18/2011
Bloomberg News - Online

The Wine Group LLC, a closely held wine producer based in San Francisco, sold the “Inglenook” trademark to filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, according to a Coppola statement. Terms of the sale weren't disclosed.

The brand will be used with Coppola's wine estate in Rutherford, California. Inglenook was the original name of the property established in the 1870s by Gustave Niebaum, a sea captain from Finland. In its early days, Inglenook created one of the first Bordeaux-type wines in North America.

Coppola, maker of “The Godfather” series of films, acquired the first piece of Inglenook property in the 1970s, and over the years has reassembled the original holdings. He produced wine under the Rubicon label.

Philippe Bascaules, who was the winemaker for Bordeaux's famed Chateau Margot, will become the estate manager and winemaker at the newly renamed Inglenook, according to the statement. Under his direction, Inglenook will continue to produce Rubicon wine as its flagship wine. Rubicon 2007, the newest vintage of the proprietary wine, sells for $145 a bottle at the winery.

Coca-Cola Tries to Block Chilean Trademark for ‘Cocaine'

The Coca-Cola Co., the Atlanta-based soft drinks maker, is opposing the registration of “Cocaine” as a trademark in Chile, BevNet news reported.

Cocaine, made by Redux Beverages LLC of Las Vegas, is a high-caffeine beverage sweetened with dextrose that has been sold in the U.S. since September 2006, BevNet reported.

In its documents filed in opposition to the issuance of a Chilean trademark for Cocaine, Coca-Cola argued that the mark would confuse customers, according to BevNet.

Coca-Cola didn't attempt to block issuance of U.S. and Mexican trademarks for Cocaine, BevNet reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

Crayola Files Opposition to CTC's Patent for Colored Bubbles

Crayola LLC, maker of crayons, colored pencils, markers and paint, has made a filing to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office opposing issuance of a patent for colored bubbles.

Patent 7,910,531, which was issued March 22, covers a technology for producing colored bubbles. It was issued to C2C Technologies LLC of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Easton, Pennsylvania-based Crayola produces a liquid product to make washable colored bubbles. According to reports in newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, parents are complaining that the bubbles stain clothing, children and household items, and that the stains seem to be permanent.

On April 6 the Seattle firm of Keller Rohrback LLP said in a statement it would investigate possible consumer claims about what it says is the “misleading washability” claims related to the bubbles.

Crayola filed papers with the patent office on March 23, asking it to take another look at CTC's patent. In its filing, Crayola claimed the technology covered by the patent was obvious and could have been anticipated, according to the Patently O blog, which covers such requests.

Crayola didn't respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

More Than 1 Million Chinese Patent Applications Filed in 2010

China received more than 1 million patent applications in 2010, according to figures posted on that country's State Intellectual Property Office website.

The total number of applications received was 1,222,286, with 1.1 million coming from Chinese applicants. Foreign applicants submitted 112,858 applications.

Of those domestic applications, 409,836 are for design patents. Only 12,149 of the foreign applicants were seeking design patents.

Sharp Signs LCD Patent Agreement With Taiwan's Au Optronics

Sharp Corp. agreed to cross-license patents related to liquid-crystal display panels with Au Optronics Corp. of Taiwan, the Osaka-based manufacturer said in a press release. The companies will also dismiss all pending legal actions between them, according to the statement.

RIM Said to Weigh Bid to Top Google Offer for Nortel Patents

Research In Motion Ltd. is considering a bid for Nortel Networks Corp.'s portfolio of wireless technology patents that would top Google Inc.'s $900 million offer, two people familiar with the plans said.

RIM, maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, is weighing an offer that would keep Google from gaining control of about 6,000 Nortel patents and patent applications, said the people, who couldn't be identified because the plans aren't public. RIM is also considering whether to work with other technology companies in a bid to stop Google, one of the people said.

Nortel's patents would give buyers the right to own and license technology used in BlackBerrys, Apple Inc.'s iPhone, and devices that run on Google's Android operating system. The portfolio includes wireless-video technology and patents for innovations in faster LTE, or long-term evolution, mobile-phone networks being introduced in the U.S.

Google earlier this month made the opening bid as part of a “stalking-horse” agreement that will lead to a June 20 auction if other bidders emerge. A second bidder will have to offer Nortel at least $929 million and subsequent bids must be at least $5 million more, according to the bidding rules.

Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2009 after a loss of $5.8 billion as its customers put off spending on new equipment amid the recession. Since then, Nortel has raised about $3 billion for its creditors by selling businesses, with the patents portfolio the last of the major assets to be sold.

RIM co-Chief Executive Officer Mike Lazaridis declined in an interview earlier this month to comment on whether his company would bid for the patents, which include LTE patents he has called a “national treasure” in the past.

RIM spokeswoman Tenille Kennedy said the company doesn't comment on rumors or speculation. Aaron Zamost, spokesman for Google, didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

For more patent news, click here.

DoctoredReviews.com Begun to Aid Patient Comment on Physicians

Two law school professors who teach intellectual property law have set up a website aimed at helping patients comment on their physicians without fear of having their remarks removed or being sued for copyright infringement.

The site, DoctoredReviews.com, was started by Professor Eric Goldman of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, and Professor Jason M. Schultz of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic of the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

They noted that Medical Justice of Greensboro, North Carolina, has been marketing a contract to doctors designed to give them the legal right to expunge critical online comments posted by their patients. According to the Medical Justice website, the company offers its physician members a strategy to deal with “the problem of physician Internet libel and Web defamation.”

Patients are asked to sign a contract relinquishing their right to review the doctor even before they see the physician, according to a statement released when DoctoredReviews.com went online April 13.

“Doctors are trying to misuse a loophole in copyright law so that they can suppress any patients' reviews they don't like,” Goldman said in the statement.

“If you want medical care, you must sign away your right to free speech,” Schultz said in the DoctoredReviews.com statement.

DoctoredReviews.com contains copies of the anti-review contracts, suggested responses for patients when they're asked to sign such contracts, and material for doctors about such contracts may be bad for business.

It also provides information for online review sites about why they don't need to honor takedown notices from physicians, and details about existing federal and state health information privacy laws that protect patient confidentiality.

In a statement e-mailed April 15, Medical Justice said that the agreements it markets to physicians to use with their patients “explicitly state that online feedback is not only reasonable, it is encouraged.”

Its agreements are legally relevant, Medical Justice said, only “if and when a fictional or fraudulent review is posted. It is not intended for use with every negative post -- indeed it is not intended for most negative posts.”

At this the moment, “a doctor is legally forbidden to respond to fictitious or egregious on-line comments,” according to the statement. Doctors “cannot even disclose that they actually treated a patent,” Medical Justice said in the statement.

The company said it's “working with” what it calls “a number of reputable rating sites” to develop industry standards.

Shanghai Copyright Infringement Included University Plagiarism

Shanghai's copyright bureau named the 10 biggest examples of copyright infringement for 2010, China Daily reported.

Various infringements involved publications, photos, online games, videos and software, according to China Daily.

One case involved essay plagiarism at two Chinese Universities, Fudan University in Shanghai, and Wuhan University in Hubei Province, China Daily reported.

Authorities told China Daily that resolution of the cases involved heavier penalties than in the past.

New Hampshire Bar Settles Suit Over Gershwins' ‘Summertime'

A bar in New Hampshire, has agreed to pay $8,500 for playing music by George & Ira Gershwin and others without a license.

According to an April 11 court filing, Ron's Landing of Hampton, New Hampshire, will pay the money to the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers. Additionally, the bar will sign a general license agreement with ASCAP.

The bar was sued in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, in June for playing the “Summertime” aria from the Gershwin's opera “Porgy and Bess,” and compositions by others, without an ASCAP license.

The case is Marlong Music Corp. v. Hampton Landing Co. LLC, 1:10-cv-00238-LM, U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire (Concord).

For more copyright news, click here.

AllianceBernstein Sues Three Who Joined JPMorgan Chase

AllianceBernstein Holdings LP, a New York-based investment management company, sued three former employees for trade secret misappropriation.

According to the complaint filed April 14 in New York state court, the three ex-employees -- all of whom were financial advisers -- violated confidentiality agreements and their obligations not to solicit AllianceBernstein clients or employees. Each of the three had an annual compensation of at least $300,000.

The three former employees went to work for New York's JPMorgan Chase & Co., and, according to court papers, retained “voluminous amounts of confidential data relating to AllianceBernstein's clients. The information was returned to their former employer “only after they received demand letters from AllianceBernstein's in-house and outside counsel, the company said in its court filing.

They were also accused of sending e-mails with their new contact information to AllianceBernstein's clients.

Their former employer asked the court to bar any use of its confidential information and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

AllianceBernstein is represented by Jack A. Gordon and Joshua B. Katz of New York's Kent Beatty & Gordon LLP.

The case is AllianceBernstein LP v. Marlon Busos, 650999/2011, New York Supreme Court, New York County.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at vslindflor@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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Chromasun and SCU Unveil Largest Rooftop Concentrating Solar Thermal System in California | View Clip
04/18/2011
Collegiate Presswire

60 Chromasun MCT Collectors Will Generate an Estimated 6,727 Therms of Energy for Water Heating and Offset 34 Tons of CO2

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - April 12, 2011) - Industrial rooftop solar solutions company Chromasun and its partners today activated a 60-collector solar thermal system at Santa Clara University (SCU) to heat water efficiently and reduce carbon emissions. The system is the largest rooftop concentrating solar thermal installation built to date in California and the largest solar thermal project yet completed under the California Solar Initiative-Thermal (CSI-T) program.

"Rooftop high-temperature solar thermal systems harvest more usable solar energy than is possible with conventional PV or thermal technologies. This means larger reductions in building energy consumption and a significant savings in utility bills," said Peter Le Lievre, founder and CEO of Chromasun. "This installation demonstrates how the Chromasun MCT flat panel collector can deliver economic and environmental value to owners of commercial buildings seeking clean energy solutions to their heating, cooling and hot water needs. It's simple, reliable and -- with the new California rebates -- affordable."

The Chromasun MCT panels will produce an estimated 6,727 therms of energy annually and heat water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for Benson Memorial Center's dining services. Heating water with solar energy rather than with natural gas will reduce the building's water-heating bills by as much as 70 percent and offset 34 tons of CO2, equivalent to the total emissions produced annually by 6.6 automobiles. The system will help SCU reach its goal of becoming climate neutral by the end of 2015.

"With its 25-year lifespan and six-year payback period, the Chromasun solar thermal system is an excellent capital investment," said Joe Sugg, Assistant Vice President of University Operations at SCU. "Energy security was another major driver of our decision to undertake this project. Per the terms of our ten-year leasing agreement, we will pay a fixed price for the energy the system produces, shielding the university from natural gas price volatility. We'll also own the system when the lease is up."

Chromasun is applying for a CSI-T rebate on behalf of SCU. Initial calculations show a CSI-T rebate value of approximately $86,240. The CSI-T program allocates $358.3 million in rebates for solar thermal installations and is widely considered an excellent model for other solar rebate programs across the U.S. Both Chromasun and SunWater Solar, the Richmond, California-based solar thermal integrator that installed the MCT collectors, contributed to the development of the CSI-T rebate program.

"This is an exciting addition to California's portfolio of renewable energy projects, and a tremendous example of how policy can be used to foster growth and innovation," said Sue Kateley, executive director of California Solar Energy Industries Association. "The CSI-T program is an important tool that in partnership with compelling solar thermal technologies like these from Chromasun will help pave the way towards an affordable clean energy future."

In addition to SunWater Solar's role in installing the Chromasun MCT modules, construction management company Gordon Prill and mechanical contractor Therma installed most other components of the SCU system, including copper piping and collector mounts.

"As California's leading solar thermal integrator, SunWater Solar has worked with nearly every type of collector under the sun," said Justin Weil, president of SunWater Solar. "What impresses us most about the MCT collectors are their aesthetics, their versatility and their ease of installation. The MCT is visually stunning, is ideal for commercial-scale solar heating and cooling applications, and has an ingenious mounting system that ensures even large-scale systems go in quickly and easily."

The lightweight, low-profile Chromasun MCT module is a utility-scale flat-plate solar thermal collector packaged for rooftop deployment that utilizes solar energy for commercial and industrial cooling, space heating and hot water needs. By achieving a concentration of 25 times the sun, the collector can generate temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing it to efficiently boil water and transfer energy to the building even as the sun is setting. The entire optical system is enclosed within a sealed canopy to protect against the elements. The MCT has no external moving parts and is mounted on the same racking systems as conventional flat panel solar thermal collectors, enabling easy installation and exceptional rooftop efficiency.

The collectors are manufactured at a Chromasun facility in San Jose, California. The workforce at this facility includes former New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) autoworkers that were re-trained as solar manufacturing experts after the NUMMI facility closed and put back to work building Chromasun modules. "We are proud to represent a new wave of cleantech companies that is helping America train and lead the Green Revolution," continued Le Lievre.

About Chromasun

Founded in 2008, Chromasun is a leading developer and manufacturer of rooftop friendly high performance solar solutions. Chromasun's unique MCT HT solar collector provides high grade thermal energy but in a familiar flat panel format with no external moving parts. The MCT HT is designed to drive high performance air-conditioning absorption chillers and other industrial process heat applications directly from sunlight. It is the most space efficient solar technology available and can produce more energy per unit of roof area than any competing technology. As a leader in the space, the Chromasun team of engineers and professionals have decades of experience in utility scale solar, air-conditioning engineering, product development and manufacturing.

To learn more about Chromasun and the MCT system, please visit http://www.chromasun.com.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California's Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.

About SunWater Solar

SunWater Solar is a Solar Thermal integrator that manages the design and installation of commercial Solar Thermal systems, which lower utility bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help clients meet sustainability requirements. With extensive project management experience in domestic hot water heating, process heating and solar cooling, SunWater Solar staff is among the Solar Thermal industry's top professionals. Founded in 2007 and based in Richmond, California, SunWater Solar serves clients in a variety of industries and focuses exclusively on Solar Thermal technology. For more information, please visit www.sunwatersolar.com.

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area
04/18/2011
Contra Costa Times

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 Contra Costa Times.

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SV150 see most profitable year in history | View Clip
04/18/2011
Contra Costa Times - Online

Roaring back from the Great Recession, the 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, as their combined stock value climbed to the highest level since the Internet boom of 2000.

Revenue and profits soared as consumers flocked to buy new handheld gadgets, while corporations and public agencies resumed buying hardware and software to handle a rising tide of digital data -- from emails, tweets and videos to all manner of online transactions and Internet search results.

Those trends drove tech sales and profits higher than they were before the downturn of 2008 and 2009. For companies on the Mercury News' SV150 list, combined sales for the past four quarters rose 20.3 percent from a year earlier. Combined profit skyrocketed 78.6 percent. The list comprises the 150 biggest public companies, measured by revenue, that are based in Silicon Valley.

Companies responded by significantly boosting their spending on research and development, new plants and equipment, and stock repurchases. Big companies bought up dozens of smaller ones. But after laying off thousands during the downturn, many were cautious about adding new jobs.

"The industry definitely came out of recession in 2010," said Stephen Minton, an analyst for the IDC research firm. He said the resumption of tech purchases "was faster than expected and it occurred more quickly than after previous recessions." Much of the growth in 2010 was simply a bounce back from depressed levels of 2009, as corporations resumed making tech purchases they had postponed during the downturn. But analysts said new consumer products and new uses for digital data -- to analyze business patterns and predict trends, for example, or to deliver information to smartphone-toting workers in the field -- also drove tech sales.

"We're really seeing some inflection points," or pivotal changes, "in the tech industry," said John Walsh, a managing partner in the Silicon Valley office of Accenture, a business consulting and services firm. As examples, he said the growing popularity of social media, mobile gadgets and cloud computing, in which software and services are delivered online, are changing how people use technology.

Apple (AAPL) led the way in profit, posting a stunning $16.6 billion in net income from its iPads, iPhones and other stylish gadgets. All told, the SV150 companies had a net profit margin of 15.6 percent -- the richest margin, by far, since the Mercury News began tracking the SV150 in 1985.

Investors, for the most part, liked what they saw: The combined stock market value of the SV150 hit $1.55 trillion on March 31, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. That's despite sharp declines in share prices of two valley giants, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Cisco Systems (CSCO), which struggled on Wall Street as HP replaced its CEO and Cisco wrestled with new competition.

The rising tide has not lifted all boats, however: While unemployment has been easing, state officials say the rate is still 10.3 percent in Santa Clara County, the geographic heart of Silicon Valley.

After shedding 62,000 jobs in 2009, the SV150 increased its total workforce in 2010 to 1.1 million employees worldwide, about 1,200 more than in 2008. But most companies don't disclose hiring by region, and their reports don't indicate how many workers were added by buying other companies.

Some companies are in hiring mode, especially Apple, Google (GOOG) and other Internet-based businesses. But many have not lost their recession-era caution about adding back workers, San Jose State business professor Joel West said.

And some employers learned to get by with fewer workers, after cutting jobs in the downturn or using technology to automate some functions, said Gary Matuszak, who leads the tech industry practice at auditing and consulting firm KPMG.

That most likely contributed to the record profit margin for 2010, and the fact that total sales per employee rose 13 percent for the SV150 as a whole. But some analysts believe tech companies will increase hiring to match recent growth.

"Last year, companies were uncertain about spending and reluctant to hire," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jason Maynard said in a report this month on the tech industry. "We don't see that playing out in 2011, and assume that hiring needs to catch up."

Local companies increased spending by double digits in other categories, after generating a whopping $116.7 billion in combined cash flow from operations.

SV150 companies boosted spending on research and development by 16 percent. Capital expenditures rose 46 percent. And companies' spending to buy back their own stock, which can help investors by shoring up the value of their shares, rose 101 percent.

Big companies also gobbled up scores of smaller firms last year, taking advantage of valuations that fell during the downturn. Net cash spent on acquisitions rose 47 percent, to $22.6 billion.

All told, SV150 members bought 170 companies in 2010, according to the 451 Group, a technology industry analysis firm. Seven of those deals were valued at $1 billion or more, compared with six in 2009.

More deals are likely, said Tammy L. Madsen, a business strategy professor at Santa Clara University, who said mergers and acquisitions tend to follow cycles. Financing shouldn't be a problem: The 10 biggest companies in the SV150 are sitting on a combined $181.5 billion in cash and short-term investments.

Many of the recent deals were negotiated by big companies that want to expand into new business segments. Instead of focusing on a few product categories, commercial tech giants such as HP, Cisco and Oracle (ORCL) are vying to sell a full range of computer hardware and software.

In the consumer market, PC sales began to slow last winter as some people bought tablets and smartphones instead. Both Apple and Google, the maker of Android mobile software, are benefiting from those trends, West noted, while HP has announced a major push to sell similar products.

After the post-recession surge, some analysts believe tech sales will grow at a more moderate pace in 2011. Last year's growth rate "was not sustainable," Minton cautioned.

At the same time, companies from startups to giants are moving into social networking and mobile computing -- new technologies that are luring consumers and workers into spending more time online, creating more data and spurring more sales for Silicon Valley businesses.

These new technologies gained traction even in "the darkest period" of the recession, Accenture's Walsh said. Now, they're part of what he called "a renewed level of energy and optimism in Silicon Valley."

Contact Brandon Bailey at bbailey@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey.

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area
04/18/2011
Daily Review, The

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 The Daily Review. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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SV150 see most profitable year in history | View Clip
04/18/2011
InsideBayArea.com

© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

Roaring back from the Great Recession, the 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, as their combined stock value climbed to the highest level since the Internet boom of 2000.

Revenue and profits soared as consumers flocked to buy new handheld gadgets, while corporations and public agencies resumed buying hardware and software to handle a rising tide of digital data -- from emails, tweets and videos to all manner of online transactions and Internet search results.

Those trends drove tech sales and profits higher than they were before the downturn of 2008 and 2009. For companies on the Mercury News' SV150 list, combined sales for the past four quarters rose 20.3 percent from a year earlier. Combined profit skyrocketed 78.6 percent. The list comprises the 150 biggest public companies, measured by revenue, that are based in Silicon Valley.

Companies responded by significantly boosting their spending on research and development, new plants and equipment, and stock repurchases. Big companies bought up dozens of smaller ones. But after laying off thousands during the downturn, many were cautious about adding new jobs.

"The industry definitely came out of recession in 2010," said Stephen Minton, an analyst for the IDC research firm. He said the resumption of tech purchases "was faster than expected and it occurred more quickly than after previous recessions."

Much of the growth

in 2010 was simply a bounce back from depressed levels of 2009, as corporations resumed making tech purchases they had postponed during the downturn. But analysts said new consumer products and new uses for digital data -- to analyze business patterns and predict trends, for example, or to deliver information to smartphone-toting workers in the field -- also drove tech sales.

"We're really seeing some inflection points," or pivotal changes, "in the tech industry," said John Walsh, a managing partner in the Silicon Valley office of Accenture, a business consulting and services firm. As examples, he said the growing popularity of social media, mobile gadgets and cloud computing, in which software and services are delivered online, are changing how people use technology.

Apple (AAPL) led the way in profit, posting a stunning $16.6 billion in net income from its iPads, iPhones and other stylish gadgets. All told, the SV150 companies had a net profit margin of 15.6 percent -- the richest margin, by far, since the Mercury News began tracking the SV150 in 1985.

Investors, for the most part, liked what they saw: The combined stock market value of the SV150 hit $1.55 trillion on March 31, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. That's despite sharp declines in share prices of two valley giants, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Cisco Systems (CSCO), which struggled on Wall Street as HP replaced its CEO and Cisco wrestled with new competition.

The rising tide has not lifted all boats, however: While unemployment has been easing, state officials say the rate is still 10.3 percent in Santa Clara County, the geographic heart of Silicon Valley.

After shedding 62,000 jobs in 2009, the SV150 increased its total workforce in 2010 to 1.1 million employees worldwide, about 1,200 more than in 2008. But most companies don't disclose hiring by region, and their reports don't indicate how many workers were added by buying other companies.

Some companies are in hiring mode, especially Apple, Google (GOOG) and other Internet-based businesses. But many have not lost their recession-era caution about adding back workers, San Jose State business professor Joel West said.

And some employers learned to get by with fewer workers, after cutting jobs in the downturn or using technology to automate some functions, said Gary Matuszak, who leads the tech industry practice at auditing and consulting firm KPMG.

That most likely contributed to the record profit margin for 2010, and the fact that total sales per employee rose 13 percent for the SV150 as a whole. But some analysts believe tech companies will increase hiring to match recent growth.

"Last year, companies were uncertain about spending and reluctant to hire," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jason Maynard said in a report this month on the tech industry. "We don't see that playing out in 2011, and assume that hiring needs to catch up."

Local companies increased spending by double digits in other categories, after generating a whopping $116.7 billion in combined cash flow from operations.

SV150 companies boosted spending on research and development by 16 percent. Capital expenditures rose 46 percent. And companies' spending to buy back their own stock, which can help investors by shoring up the value of their shares, rose 101 percent.

Big companies also gobbled up scores of smaller firms last year, taking advantage of valuations that fell during the downturn. Net cash spent on acquisitions rose 47 percent, to $22.6 billion.

All told, SV150 members bought 170 companies in 2010, according to the 451 Group, a technology industry analysis firm. Seven of those deals were valued at $1 billion or more, compared with six in 2009.

More deals are likely, said Tammy L. Madsen, a business strategy professor at Santa Clara University, who said mergers and acquisitions tend to follow cycles. Financing shouldn't be a problem: The 10 biggest companies in the SV150 are sitting on a combined $181.5 billion in cash and short-term investments.

Many of the recent deals were negotiated by big companies that want to expand into new business segments. Instead of focusing on a few product categories, commercial tech giants such as HP, Cisco and Oracle (ORCL) are vying to sell a full range of computer hardware and software.

In the consumer market, PC sales began to slow last winter as some people bought tablets and smartphones instead. Both Apple and Google, the maker of Android mobile software, are benefiting from those trends, West noted, while HP has announced a major push to sell similar products.

After the post-recession surge, some analysts believe tech sales will grow at a more moderate pace in 2011. Last year's growth rate "was not sustainable," Minton cautioned.

At the same time, companies from startups to giants are moving into social networking and mobile computing -- new technologies that are luring consumers and workers into spending more time online, creating more data and spurring more sales for Silicon Valley businesses.

These new technologies gained traction even in "the darkest period" of the recession, Accenture's Walsh said. Now, they're part of what he called "a renewed level of energy and optimism in Silicon Valley."

Contact Brandon Bailey at bbailey@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey.

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Inspirational and energetic community college students swap ideas for achieving success | View Clip
04/18/2011
Marin Independent Journal - Online

Supporters participate in Hands Across California at the corner of S. Bascom Ave and Moorpark Ave at San Jose City College in San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, April 17, 2011. Supporters of community colleges in California joined hands throughout the state to show support for the largest system of higher education and to fundraise to create a permanent scholarship fund for future students. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group Mobilize.org, supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said De Anza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- hand-picked by organizers -- from Northern California community colleges.

At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also, on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide.

Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than 3 million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses already are reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students -- roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two-year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students such as undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only 3, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a job remains out of reach, because he has no Social Security number. "I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to Cal State Dominguez Hills -- said, "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and undereducated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference, they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

'Building democracy'

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources available to them and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

Mobilize.org got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born from 1976 to 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big Mobilize.org banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

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Santa Clara University Students Create Solar Neonatal Incubator | View Clip
04/18/2011
NBC Bay Area News at 6 PM - KNTV-TV

Santa Clara University students are designing a neonatal incubator that's 100% powered by solar energy. Simi Olabisi was born more than two months premature in a hospital in Nigeria that didn't have incubators. Her father had to run 12 miles to another hospital that did, but due to a lack of proper infrastructure, the hospital would intermittently lose power.

When Olabisi was 14 years old she traveled back to Nigeria and visited the same hospital where she was born to find that nothing had changed.

When she became a senior bioengineering student at SCU, she pitched the idea of building a solar-powered neonatal incubator to her classmates as a part of their senior design project.

Medical device companies have since become interested in the idea.

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NOW WITH THE HELP OF FELLOW STUDENTS AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY, SHE'S WORKING ON AN INCUBATOR THAT USES SOLAR THERMAL.
04/18/2011
NBC Bay Area News at 6 PM - KNTV-TV

PREMATURE BABIES IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD DIE AT A RATE TEN TIMES GREATER THAN HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. THAT'S WHY A NIGERIAN-BORN BIOENGINEERING STUDENT IN THE SOUTH BAY IS WORKING TOWARDS SAVING LIVES WITH THE HELP OF THE SUN. THIS BABY WAS BORN PREMATURE IN NIGERIA WHERE INCUBATORS AND THE ELECTRICITY TO RUN THEM ARE SCARCE. HER FATHER CARRIED HER MORE THAN TO TEN MILES TO FIND A HOSPITAL THAT HAD AN INCUBATOR. NOW WITH THE HELP OF FELLOW STUDENTS AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY, SHE'S WORKING ON AN INCUBATOR THAT USES SOLAR THERMAL. A COLLECTOR WILL KEEP NEWBORNS WARM. THE PROTOTYPE IS SUBSTANTIALLY CHEAPER THAN STANDARD ONES AND CAN BE USED ANYWHERE. THE PROJECT IS NEAR AND DEAR TO HER. IT WAS VERY EMOTIONAL. I WENT BACK TO THE HOSPITAL THAT I WAS INCUBATED AT AND VISITED IT AND SAW THAT NOT MUCH HAD CHANGED, AND IT WAS VERY TOUCHING AND I REALIZED THAT WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. STUDENTS ARE DEMONSTRATING THE DEVICE TO MEDICAL COMPANIES ON MAY 5th, AND WORD IS THERE'S ALREADY SOME INTEREST WITH SOME POSSIBLE INVESTORS. TALK ABOUT TAKING YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCE AND PAYING THAT FORWARD.

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Brussels court rules against Google in copyright case - Business - International Herald Tribune | View Clip
04/18/2011
New York Times - Online, The

PARIS — A court in Brussels ruled Tuesday that Google violated copyright laws by publishing links to stories from Belgian newspapers without permission, a case that legal experts said could have broad implications in Europe for the news services provided by search engines.

The ruling, which Google said it would appeal, may be the first of its kind in relation to a search engine's news service. It was hailed by newspaper industry representatives internationally and might also have an impact on an ongoing legal complaint against Google by the French news service Agence France-Presse.

"As the first decision to condemn a search engine for indexing news articles, you can be sure publishers around world are paying attention," said Cyril Fabre, a lawyer based in Paris at Alexen, a law firm specializing in Internet law and intellectual property. "The implications in Europe are particularly strong since copyright law is so uniform across the Continent."

The Brussels Court of First Instance ruled that Google, which operates the world's dominant Internet search engine, must pay a fine of €25,000, or $32,600, for each day it displayed content, in violation of copyright, from the publications in the suit. The court greatly reduced the fine from a ruling in September that called for damages of up to €1 million a day for copyright violation and required Google to publish the judgment its home page.

The group that started the case, Copiepresse — an organization that manages copyright issues for more than a dozen mainly French-language newspapers in Belgium — said it had also asked the French division of Yahoo to stop showing the group's news reports.

"Today we celebrate a victory for content producers," said Margaret Boribon, secretary general of Copiepresse. "We showed that Google cannot make profit for free from the credibility of our newspaper brands, hard work of our journalists and skill of our photographers."

Copiepresse intends to force Google into negotiations to share the profits that it derives from the Belgian newspaper's content, Boribon said. The lawsuit, which began shortly after Google began a Belgian news site in January 2006, originally included two other organizations representing journalists and photographers that dropped out after reaching a deal with Google.

Those groups, Sofam, which represents 3,700 photographers in Belgium, and Scam, which represents journalists in Belgium, entered an agreement that involves making use of content in new ways, according to Google, which would not provide more specifics.

"Google also tried to offer us a deal, but it was ridiculously small compared with the deals the others got," Boribon said, declining to elaborate. "Until Google decides to deal with us in a reasonable manner we will pursue further action, including suing them for damages."

Google condemned the court decision and defended the news site. "This is an isolated case, and it would be inaccurate to portray Google News as standing in conflict with the publishing industry," said Jessica Powell, a spokeswoman in London for Google. "We currently have 10,000 sources in Google News and get contacted every day by others seeking to be included."

Powell added that the main complaints raised by the publishers in Belgium — references to their stories without prior permission and the availability of stories that the newspapers subsequently place behind a firewall — are easily rectified without recourse to legal action.

For one, publications can simply request their removal, Powell said, adding that all publications involved in the suit had been dropped from both the Google News and the search services at the Google.be Web site. She also said that a so-called metatag, an invisible piece of coding on the page, would stop the search engine from cataloguing information that a newspaper wished to block retroactively.

"Publishers already have full and very granular control over the display of their content," Powell said. "We welcome any initiative that helps publishers to work together with Google."

Newspapers hailed the ruling because they would no longer be forced to take such measures to protect themselves, they argued. "Today was a victory for copyright protection," said Larry Kilman, a spokesman in Paris for the World Association of Newspapers. "Search engines cannot unilaterally decide what happens to content."

Yet Kilman maintained that both Google and newspapers have clear benefits from working with each another. Google uses the content to attract users and newspapers use the traffic to increase readership.

The case on which the court decision will likely have the most direct impact is a lawsuit filed against Google in February 2005 in France by the news service Agence France-Presse. The initial briefs have been exchanged for the case, which now awaits a trial date before the Paris commercial court. AFP has a separate case against Google in the United States.

"We are very happy about this decision," said Asim Singh, a lawyer at Sokolow, Carreras and Partners who represents AFP in the French lawsuit. "We are making many of the same legal arguments as Copiepresse and there is no jurisdiction closer to French law than Belgium."

Legal experts in the United States said the ruling would not have a direct impact in that country, but noted that the validity of the methods used by Google News have not yet been tested by U.S. courts.

"The Belgian ruling has no direct or even persuasive effect in the U.S. case," said Eric Goldman, a law professor and director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University. "But we don't have an opinion in the U.S. saying that Google News is legitimate. It may be that that question is open for discussion."

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area
04/18/2011
Oakland Tribune

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 The Oakland Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Plaintiff says he had 2003 partnership with Facebook's Zuckerberg | View Clip
04/18/2011
RedEye - Online

Paul Ceglia's lawsuit includes emails that he says he exchanged with Zuckerberg in which the two negotiated the terms of a partnership and discussed the development of a website called "The Face Book."

By Jessica Guynn, Reporting from San Francisco

founder Mark Zuckerberg was keenly aware of the competitive threat he faced from two fellow Harvard students who were developing their own social network, according to emails a New York businessman claims he received from Zuckerberg in 2003.

Paul Ceglia's civil suit in federal court in New York includes a series of emails that he says he exchanged with Zuckerberg in which the two negotiated the terms of a partnership and discussed the development of a website called "The Face Book."

One exchange suggested that Zuckerberg was anxious to head off a rival effort from Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss before it could launch.

"I have recently met with a couple of upperclassmen here at Harvard that are planning to launch a site very similar to ours. If we don't make a move soon, I think we will lose the advantage we would have if we release before them. I've stalled them for the time being," Ceglia alleges Zuckerberg wrote.

Zuckerberg then asked Ceglia in the email for $1,000 "to get the site live" before the Winklevosses.

The identical twins and Olympic rowers, whose story provided the grist for the hit Hollywood film "The Social Network," have been relentlessly pursuing Zuckerberg in the courts without success.

Ceglia's purported revelations came on the same day a federal appeals court panel upheld a 2008 settlement that the Winklevosses are seeking to dissolve to get another shot at proving that they, not Zuckerberg, came up with the idea for Facebook. Their attorney Jerome Falk said Monday that they would ask the full panel of judges to review the case.

The Winklevosses say Facebook swindled them out of millions by not disclosing the true value of Facebook shares when they negotiated a settlement in 2008 in cash and stock. With the value of the privately held company's shares soaring, that settlement is now worth as much as $200 million.

Their allegations have dogged Zuckerberg for years as he built one of the world's most valuable and recognized Internet companies. Now Zuckerberg is wrestling with another person making claims to the billions in wealth he has created. Ceglia says he's entitled to as much as 50% of Zuckerberg's shares in Facebook, which has been valued at more than $50 billion.

Orin Snyder, an attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who represents Facebook, called Ceglia "a scam artist" and his civil suit "fraudulent." The Palo Alto, Calif., company also contests the authenticity of the emails and the contract.

"The alleged emails are phony just like the alleged contract is bogus," Snyder said. "Facebook wasn't even a figment of Mark's imagination at the time in 2003 when this contract was allegedly dated and when some of these alleged emails were dated."

Facebook acknowledges that Zuckerberg did some programming work for Ceglia in 2003 to earn money while he was a freshman at Harvard. But the company denies that Zuckerberg gave Ceglia a stake in Facebook, which launched in 2004.

The company has questioned why Ceglia, who runs a wood-pellet business, took so long to make a claim. Unlike the Winklevosses and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who also settled with Facebook, it took Ceglia years to pursue his claims against Zuckerberg.

Legal experts say Facebook is likely to challenge Ceglia, arguing that he did not file his claim before the statute of limitations ran out.

"It's absurd to think that this guy had these alleged rights and waited seven years to come out of the woodwork," Snyder said.

Ceglia says he had forgotten about the contract with Zuckberg until he discovered it in some old files. He was looking through the files after he was arrested and was being pursued for fraud by then-New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo, who was investigating his wood-pellet business, which had not delivered pellets to customers who had prepaid for them.

Ceglia originally filed a complaint last year claiming that he gave Zuckerberg money to develop a social networking site in exchange for an ownership stake. His claims were met with skepticism because of a checkered past including a conviction for hallucinogenic mushrooms in 1997 and the more recent fraud allegations involving his wood-pellet business.

But Ceglia amended his complaint on Monday, aided by lawyers from a major law firm. He was originally represented by a prominent Buffalo attorney, Terrence Connors, but recently switched to DLA Piper, an international law firm with several thousand lawyers.

The complaint "makes one pause since a serious law firm is involved," said Brooklyn Law School securities professor James Fanto.

His new attorney, Robert Brownlie of DLA Piper in San Diego, says his firm was initially skeptical of Ceglia's claims but after doing some homework became convinced they were genuine. Brownlie said he would not have risked DLA Piper's reputation if the emails were not authentic.

Ceglia has not produced the originals of the emails or the contract in court.

"The emails bolster the case and establish what Paul Ceglia has been saying all along, that this agreement between himself and Mark Zuckerberg as a matter of law created a general partnership," Brownlie said.

Legal experts say these kinds of disputes about the origins of companies are common.

"All forms of successful endeavors including successful companies are going to have people come out of the woodwork. Sometimes they have valid claims, many times they have nothing," said Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University. "Either outcome is plausible here."

Ceglia claims Zuckerberg signed the contract in April 2003 when the Facebook chief executive was an 18-year-old freshman at Harvard. He said he met Zuckerberg in 2003 when he solicited bids for computer coding work for a company he was trying to get off the ground called StreetFax.

According to the copy of the contract Ceglia filed with the court, Ceglia agreed to pay Zuckerberg $1,000 to write computer code for StreetFax, a traffic data website. The alleged contract also mentions a $1,000 investment Ceglia made in a project called "The Face Book" and "The Page Book." In return the alleged contract gave Ceglia a 50% stake in the company, according to the complaint.

Facebook has acknowledged that Zuckerberg did sign a contract with Ceglia and that he worked for him, but has said he did not sign over any interest in Facebook.

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Inspirational and energetic community college students swap ideas for achieving success | View Clip
04/18/2011
San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online

Supporters participate in Hands Across California at the corner of S. Bascom Ave and Moorpark Ave at San Jose City College in San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, April 17, 2011. Supporters of community colleges in California joined hands throughout the state to show support for the largest system of higher education and to fundraise to create a permanent scholarship fund for future students. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group Mobilize.org, supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said De Anza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- hand-picked by organizers -- from Northern California community colleges.

At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also, on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide.

Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than 3 million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses already are reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students -- roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two-year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students such as undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only 3, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a job remains out of reach, because he has no Social Security number. "I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to Cal State Dominguez Hills -- said, "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and undereducated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference, they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

'Building democracy'

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources available to them and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

Mobilize.org got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born from 1976 to 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big Mobilize.org banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

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HOW DID WE GET HARE?
04/18/2011
San Jose Mercury News

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps up the box-office rankings and tykes all over the Bay Area get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost -- but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

Religious and secular

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. The first White House Easter Egg Roll, where children race boiled eggs across the lawn, took place in 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community; they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Collective mythology

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

Of course, advertising also plays a role in why the short-tailed one has such staying power. From chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks to candy-colored greeting cards, Easter gets cash registers ringing.

According to the National Retail Federation, Easter-related spending is expected to reach $14.6 billion this year. That makes Easter the third largest selling season, behind Christmas and Valentine's Day. There is even an iPhone app that will call your kiddies on behalf of the bunny for $1.99.

"In a consumer culture, a lot of it does come down to marketing," says Guenter.

On a more emotional level, it's the primal power of the coming of spring, the rebirth of nature in our midst, that really gives the Easter Bunny its bounce.

"Sometimes traditions last for the very simple reason that they make us happy," says Giddings. "It's about giving joy."

Contact Karen D'Souza at 408-271-3772.

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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FINDING WAYS TO SPREAD SUCCESS
04/18/2011
San Jose Mercury News

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group Mobilize.org, supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said De Anza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- hand-picked by organizers -- from Northern California community colleges.

At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also, on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide. Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than 3 million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses already are reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students -- roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two-year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students such as undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only 3, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a job remains out of reach, because he has no Social Security number. "I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to Cal State Dominguez Hills -- said, "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and undereducated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference, they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

'Building democracy'

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources available to them and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

Mobilize.org got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born from 1976 to 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big Mobilize.org banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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Why is there an Easter Bunny? | View Clip
04/18/2011
San Jose Mercury News - Online

DeEtta Barnhardt, from Mountain View, hands her 4 1/2 month-old son Maxwell visits the Easter Bunny, played by Juan Villahererra, sponsored by the Autism Diagnostics & Consulting Center, Inc. at Park Valencia at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, April 17, 2011. San Jose Mercury News' Karen D'Souza deconstructs how the Easter Bunny became a symbol of Easter. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)

Once again, just as it happens each Easter, here comes Peter Cottontail.

But even as the animated flick "Hop" jumps to the top spot at the box office and tykes all over the Bay Area get ready to scramble for the beloved annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt, we take a moment to ask: What exactly does the Easter Bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ? (Not so much.) And why does the bunny hide eggs anyway?

As Bugs might say, What's up, Doc?

Although the true origins of the Easter Bunny may remain lost in the mists of time, many point to the springtime celebrations of 13th-century Germany. One of the deities worshipped was Eostre, the goddess of spring and the dawn who has been portrayed as a comely maiden carrying a basket filled with dyed-red eggs and a pair of cuddly little baby hares.

Over time, some say, the goddess got lost -- but the bunny and the eggs stuck.

"It's really a lovely tradition," says Scot. M. Guenter, professor of American studies at San Jose State. "The bunny symbolizes fecundity and the eggs represent the cycle of life."

In fact, these customs may go even further back in antiquity. Some say giving eggs in spring might trace back to the Persians and that the bunny first popped up in Celtic lore. The bottom line is that when our little children are hunting around in the grass, they may be harkening back to pagan fertility rituals. So how did these ancient rites get woven into the fabric

of a Christian holiday commemorating the rebirth of Christ?

Religious and secular

"As the church moved around the globe, it assimilated a lot of the local culture," says Guenter. "It's a way of getting your system accepted. You build on what was there before."

Indeed, there's no contradiction in blending religious holidays with secular customs, the sacred and the sugary, scholars say. In fact, it's the eclectic nature of global culture that feeds the human experience.

"People say 'pagan' as if it were pejorative but it's not. That's the beauty of Catholicism. In the long trajectory of history, we pick up a little of this and a little of that," says Janet Giddings, professor of theology at Santa Clara University. "We go to church, and the celebration of Christ's resurrection is at the center of our holiday, and then we go home and hunt for chocolate eggs. There's no conflict there. It's all about the wonder of spring, life is a gift, and all of it points to God."

Many believe the long-eared legend was imported to America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Back in those days, children even left out carrots for the bunny in case he

Isabella Moussavi, 9, from Mountain View, gets a hug after she had her picture taken with the Easter Bunny, played by Juan Villahererra, sponsored by the Autism Diagnostics & Consulting Center, Inc. at Park Valencia at Santana Row in San Jose on Sunday, April 17, 2011. (Nhat V. Meyer / Mercury News)

got hungry from all that hopping.

The fame of the fluffy fellow grew over the years. The first White House Easter Egg Roll, where children race boiled eggs across the lawn, took place in 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. As the years passed, the ritual became part of who we are and how we define ourselves as Americans. In a nation of immigrants from vastly divergent cultures, the function of such unifying rituals can't be overstated.

"That's part of the strength of American culture, it's a smorgasbord," says Guenter, "Over time these rituals hold us together as a community, they give us a sense of order and structure as a people. Now the Easter Bunny belongs to everybody."

Collective mythology

Like Santa Claus, another secular figure who pops up prominently during a religious holiday, the famed rabbit is now a beloved aspect of spring for many Americans.

Many factors influence which traditions remain with us and which die out over time. Our collective mythology is constantly adapting to the needs of our time.

"Why do some stories persist? If a story is important enough to us, it will spread out and last and endure," says New York-based folklorist and journalist Kate Orenstein, author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked." "It becomes malleable as well. The stories change and evolve over time."

Of course, advertising also plays a role in why the short-tailed one has such staying power. From chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks to candy-colored greeting cards, Easter gets cash registers ringing.

According to the National Retail Federation, Easter-related spending is expected to reach $14.6 billion this year. That makes Easter the third largest selling season, behind Christmas and Valentine's Day. There is even an iPhone app that will call your kiddies on behalf of the bunny for $1.99.

"In a consumer culture, a lot of it does come down to marketing," says Guenter.

On a more emotional level, it's the primal power of the coming of spring, the rebirth of nature in our midst, that really gives the Easter Bunny its bounce.

"Sometimes traditions last for the very simple reason that they make us happy," says Giddings. "It's about giving joy."

Contact Karen D'Souza at 408-271-3772.

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area
04/18/2011
San Mateo County Times

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 San Mateo County Times. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Largest solar thermal plant in California | View Clip
04/18/2011
Sun & Wind Energy - Online

18.04.2011: The Santa Clara University (SCU) has put California's biggest solar thermal plant into operation. The plant was constructed by system integrator SunWater Solar. The heart of the installation consists of 60 MCT HT collectors supplied by Chromasun, which are located on the university's roof.

By concentrating sunlight using Fresnel mirrors by a factor of up to 25 and focussing it onto an absorber tube, the collectors can generate a working temperature of up to 220 °C.

At the SCU, the solar system will provide water with a temperature of nearly 90° C for use in the kitchens. Both Chromasun and SCU expect that the solar plant will provide approx. 197 MWh of thermal energy per year and thus reduce natural gas consumption by more than 70%.

For the time being, the solar system has been leased by the university for 10 years. During this time, SCU will pay a fixed sum for the energy generated. At the end of the leasing period, the system will pass into ownership of the university. The installation will pay for itself in only six years, thanks to the State of California, which subsidized this installation with approx. $ 86,000 as part of the California Solar Initiative - Thermal (CS-IT) programme

In total, the CSI-T programme is providing $ 358.3 million in the form of tax credits to promote the use of solar thermal plants in California.

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area
04/18/2011
Tri-Valley Herald

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 Tri-Valley Herald. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Silicon Valley is back - 2010 best year in its history | View Clip
04/18/2011
ZDNet News

It's taken a decade but Silicon Valley companies have climbed out of dotcom dotbomb recession and reported their most profitable year in history.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that 2010 was a banner year for the 150 largest Silicon Valley companies.

SV150 see most profitable year in history - SiliconValley.com

“We're really seeing some inflection points,” or pivotal changes, “in the tech industry,” said John Walsh, a managing partner in the Silicon Valley office of Accenture… As examples, he said the growing popularity of social media, mobile gadgets and cloud computing…are changing how people use technology.

The combined stock market value of the SV150 hit $1.55 trillion on March 31, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. That's despite sharp declines in share prices of two valley giants, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Cisco Systems (CSCO).

While stock prices have jumped, employment has not. Unemployment is still fairly high at 10.3 percent.

However, a good 2010 is expected to boost employment levels. It is certainly boosting acquisitions.

Net cash spent on acquisitions rose 47 percent, to $22.6 billion. All told, SV150 members bought 170 companies in 2010, according to the 451 Group, a technology industry analysis firm. Seven of those deals were valued at $1 billion or more, compared with six in 2009.

More deals are likely, said Tammy L. Madsen, a business strategy professor at Santa Clara University, who said mergers and acquisitions tend to follow cycles. Financing shouldn't be a problem: The 10 biggest companies in the SV150 are sitting on a combined $181.5 billion in cash and short-term investments.

[Please see: Investment Banker Prepares For A Silicon Valley M&A Boom]

Analysis: Silicon Valley's return would have happened sooner if it hadn't been for the financial crisis in 2008. The recession that followed had nothing to do with tech markets.

Silicon Valley firms are doing well but there are problems. Large companies such as Cisco, and HP are struggling; Google is going through a major reorganization; Yahoo is searching for an effective business strategy and so is eBay. And there is a lack of mid-sized companies that can feed M&A appetites.

Also, employment levels are unlikely to bounce back until we have a return of IPO markets. Newly IPO'd companies are by far the largest driver of new hires.

Here are the Silicon Valley 150.

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Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success
04/17/2011
Alameda Times-Star

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group , supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said DeAnza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the three-conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- handpicked by organizers -- from northern California community colleges. At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide. Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than three million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses are already reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students — roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging Ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students like undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only three, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a full job remains out of reach, because he has no social security number. " I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to CSU-Dominguez Hills -- said "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and under-educated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

"Building democracy"

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources are available to them, and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC-Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born between 1976 and 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

for more information

Copyright © 2011 Alameda Times-Star. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success
04/17/2011
Argus, The

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group , supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said DeAnza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the three-conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- handpicked by organizers -- from northern California community colleges. At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide. Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than three million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses are already reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students — roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging Ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students like undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only three, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a full job remains out of reach, because he has no social security number. " I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to CSU-Dominguez Hills -- said "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and under-educated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

"Building democracy"

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources are available to them, and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC-Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born between 1976 and 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

for more information

Copyright © 2011 The Argus. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
CBSNews.com

(AP) NEW YORK (AP) — "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children — about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son — just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed — performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases — and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

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'How could she?' Despite our shock, mothers kill kids more often than we think, experts say | View Clip
04/17/2011
Chicago Tribune - Online

FILE - In a July 9, 1995 file photo, visitors walk down the ramp where Alex and Michael Smith were drowned in a car in 1994 in Union, S.C., by their mother, Susan Smith. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. (AP Photo/Lou Krasky, File) (Lou Krasky, AP / July 9, 1995)

10:25 a.m. CDT, April 16, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

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To Understand Boredom, Students Go Back to 1925 | View Clip
04/17/2011
Chronicle of Higher Education - Online, The

Matt Lee, Anna Vossler, Samantha Pistoresi, John Michael Hansen, and Alexandra Russell played cards to pass the time while eschewing technology (except for the giant television screens overhead). Their theater professor asked them to give it up for the week to get into the mind-set of a play set in 1925.

How do you warm up soup without a microwave? How do you get to class on the fourth floor if you can't use the elevator? And for the love of all that is good, how do you find your friends if you can't send them a text message?

These were the questions facing the cast of Noel Coward's Hay Fever at Santa Clara University as they attempted to live for a week without any technology that wasn't available in England in 1925, the year in which the production is set. The play is focused on the four member of the Bliss family, each of whom invites a guest to spend the weekend. The weekend comes to a decidedly unblissful end when the family's increasingly erratic behavior, awkward games of charades, and overly dramatic romantic gestures lead to the guests' escaping without notice.

And to help the student actors understand the mind-set of the Bliss family, Kimberly M. Hill, assistant professor of theater at Santa Clara, suggested they give up modern conveniences for the week—as an "experiment."

"Part of the reason the family acts the way they do is because they were bored," Ms. Hill says. "We aren't bored anymore."

So she tried to create boredom in the lives of the students by having them sign a contract that limited their interactions with the 21st century. She permitted the time travelers a few compromises—like letting them use their computers as typewriters—so that they could complete job-related tasks and homework. But Facebook was out, iPods were off, and "tweets" were nature sounds heard on campus strolls.

"We don't have moments of quiet enough," Ms. Hill says. "We don't just go silent."

The students approached the project at the start of this month with guarded optimism.

"I'm a little bit nervous," said Samantha Pistoresi, a sophomore who was leery of life without text­ing. "I have never disconnected myself from technology."

Halfway through the experiment, Anna Vossler, a senior, admitted that she had slipped.

"I carried my phone with me to class the other day," she said. The students were allowed to use their cellphones but had to keep them at home, to mimic a landline. When she realized her mistake, she simply turned off the phone. Not having it on, Ms. Vossler said, removed the pressure of being constantly "in touch."

She noticed other benefits: Instead of rushing to the gym to work out while watching television or listening to music, she took a bike ride through some of the beautiful gardens near the campus. And vegetarian burgers, she discovered, taste better when they are cooked in a conventional oven instead of a microwave.

Ms. Vossler also enjoyed the quiet company of her fellow cast members as they sought refuge from the omnipresence of electronic entertainment. Together they cooked a dinner of frozen waffles, rice and vegetables, and scrambled eggs; played golf (OK, minigolf); and simply sat around and played cards (left).

For Ms. Hill, in a world in which students protest being disconnected from technology and social media for even a day, and researchers characterize students' reliance on media as an addiction, the human contact was an added benefit of the experiment. "It's getting too close to when they don't think there is an alternative to electronic interaction," Ms. Hill says. "You need to treat your phone like it's your servant, not the other way around."

Ms. Vossler, who will play a guest of the Bliss family when the play is staged, in late May, says the experience has left her considering a few lifestyle changes. "I'll maybe be making phone calls instead of texting, because it is more personal, hearing a person's voice," she says.

She is also thinking of handwriting more letters to her family, although that plan has already hit a snag: Post offices, unlike e-mail accounts, close at a certain hour.

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Armstrong case not so unusual -- Women commit filicide every few days
04/17/2011
Commercial Appeal

NEW YORK - "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did last week when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year.

Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say.

One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge.

"Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says.

--------------------

Murder/suicide

Lashanda Armstrong argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y.

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many of these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example, with an abusive father, says Lita Linzer Schwartz.

--------------------

Copyright © 2011 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

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Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success
04/17/2011
Daily Review, The

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group , supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said DeAnza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the three-conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- handpicked by organizers -- from northern California community colleges. At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide. Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than three million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses are already reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students — roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging Ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students like undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only three, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a full job remains out of reach, because he has no social security number. " I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to CSU-Dominguez Hills -- said "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and under-educated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

"Building democracy"

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources are available to them, and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC-Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born between 1976 and 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

for more information

Copyright © 2011 The Daily Review. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
Denver Post - Online, The

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities—meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect—in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill—for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious—sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children—about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son—just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed—performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases—and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we th ... | View Clip
04/17/2011
Himalayan Times

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children — about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son — just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed — performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, `Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases — and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
Ledger - Online, The

NEW YORK - "How could she?"

FILE - In this Thursday, April 14, 2011 file photo, people attend a vigil at the boat ramp where Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan into the Hudson River on Tuesday night killing herself and three of her children, in Newburgh, N.Y. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed - performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, `Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases - and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
Lexington Herald-Leader - Online

FILE - This March 21, 2002 file photo made available by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Andrea Yates in Gatesville, Texas. Yates was sentenced to life in prison for drowning her five children in a bathtub in 2001 before her case was overturned on appeal, after which she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006 and sent to a state hospital. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, FILE — AP Photo

NEW YORK — "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed - performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases - and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
Missoulian - Online, The

file photo, people attend a vigil at the boat ramp where Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan into the Hudson River on Tuesday night killing herself and three of her children, in Newburgh, N.Y. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

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"How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities _ meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect _ in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill _ for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious _ sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children _ about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son _ just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed _ performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, `Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases _ and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Diversity defines Silicon Valley, except at town halls | View Clip
04/17/2011
Model Minority

By Joe Rodriguez

© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

jrodriguez@mercurynews.com

Posted: 04/16/2011 11:20:42 PM PDT

Silicon Valley may have the most dynamic, multiracial society on earth, but you wouldn't know it at city hall. With the 2010 census in, minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County. Yet non-Hispanic whites hold the vast majority of local city council seats, as well as every city manager's office in Santa Clara County's 15 towns and cities.

"I cried when I saw those numbers," said Ed Sanchez, a veteran community and voting-rights activist in Gilroy.

A look at who holds the most powerful positions in municipal governments shows that the political representation of Asians and Latinos -- the largest minority groups in the county -- lags far behind their surging populations. Countywide, three out of four city council members are white.

"It's a little bit shocking to me," said James Lai, an associate professor of Asian studies and political science at Santa Clara University. "It's a fair, rational request -- should the pool of elected officials reflect the population?"

Especially since minorities together had eclipsed the number of whites in the county a decade ago and in some cities before that. The question of political equality is long-running. San Jose, for example, switched from citywide to district elections in 1981 in part to give minorities a better chance at council seats.

Thirty years later, minorities hold half the city's 10 seats, but the level of racial diversity has dipped lower in every other town hall but one. Cupertino's City Council, with three Asian-American members, comes closest to reflecting the population it serves.

A number of forces and reasons, from entrenched incumbents and at-large elections to the diminished power of voting-rights organizations and low voter turnout for some minority groups, have emerged to keep local governments from reflecting the real face of the valley. At the same time, enough minorities have won election to foster some degree of optimism in new political strategies.

Countywide, non-Hispanic whites make up 35 percent of the population in the county's 15 cities but hold 76 percent of city council seats. All but three mayors are white. Every city manager, the top administrator appointed by a town's council, is white.

The picture of diversity doesn't improve much in the seven cities where Asians, Latinos, blacks and other people of color outnumber whites: Minorities on average hold only a third of city council seats.

Moreover, five municipalities -- Santa Clara, Los Altos, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos and Los Altos Hills -- have no minorities on their councils.

Terry Christensen, a political scientist at San Jose State, said there is a natural lag time of a generation or so before immigrant communities show some power at the polls. But lag time doesn't explain the dearth of Mexican-American officeholders with deeper roots here.

"By 2010, the numbers should be higher," he said.

The census results threw some towns into new demographic and political territory as minority-majority towns, or close to it.

For the first time, whites became a minority group -- 36 percent -- in Santa Clara, a city of 116,500 blessed with some of the world's largest high-tech companies. While its long-established Latino population grew steadily to 19 percent, the Asian population skyrocketed to 37 percent. Yet the town's all-white power structure remains.

Asking why sparks furious arguments here, with many

fingers pointing at incumbents for manipulating an at-large voting system to stay in power. As opposed to district voting, where candidates run to represent their neighborhoods, at-large systems force them to run citywide. Around the country, at-large voting has come under attack for allowing voting blocs to keep power long after their populations have plummeted.

Some at-large systems are tougher for nonwhite candidates than others. In cities such as Campbell, all the candidates run in a pool, and the top vote-getters fill the number of council seats that are open. But in Santa Clara, candidates must run for specific seats -- a system that diffuses the influence of newcomers. The successful candidates in Santa Clara often are members of political families with a network of connections: council members Lisa Gillmor and Patricia Mahan are the offspring of former city councilmen, and city clerk Rod Diridon Jr. is the son of a longtime county supervisor.

"Santa Clara is the place with the most entrenched old-boy and old-girl network," Christensen said.

Nine years ago, Mike Rod- riguez seemed to have everything going for him when he ran for Santa Clara City Council. The Latino candidate had grown up in town, gone to college and paid his dues on the city's Planning Commission. But when the incumbents didn't back him, Rodriguez said it was game over.

"Even though I never had a chance after that," he recalled, "I still felt I was the best-qualified candidate."

Mayor Jamie Matthews rejected any notion of racial politics.

"We don't select people here by race or ethnicity," Matthews said.

He pointed instead to weak Latino political activism in town, and he said he expects a more energized Indo-American community to produce a winning candidate soon.

One interested outsider has the proven ability to turn Santa Clara politics inside out.

Voting-rights attorney Joaquin Avila, who once lived in Fremont, won a prestigious "genius award" from the MacArthur Foundation for forcing cities with "racially polarized" at-large elections to adopt district voting. He has been watching Santa Clara from his perch at Seattle University.

"Santa Clara is vulnerable" to a voting rights lawsuit, he said.

Avila's observation raises a question: Where have the Latino and Asian political watchdogs been?

One of them, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, closed its Bay Area office several years ago.

Alberto Carrillo, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said Latino politicos became complacent after winning the battle in San Jose for district elections.

"We need to take responsibility ourselves, too," Carrillo said.

Meanwhile, the Asian Law Alliance in San Jose concentrated on redrawing the lines for state and congressional offices.

At the same time, the county's Asian population was becoming more diverse, with many newcomers arriving from India and parts of Southeast Asia. SCU's Lai says Asians increasingly arrive and settle in new "21st-century gateway cities," where they tend to fan out as opposed to clustering in enclaves as they once did. That also makes it more difficult to build Asian political power.

Consequently, Asian and Latino officeholders in some gateway cities don't see district voting as the answer. They see what state Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, calls "pipeline development."

One believer is Otto Lee, a Chinese-American and the only minority on the Sunnyvale City Council. The at-large system in Sunnyvale has been more open in practice than Santa Clara's. He and another Asian were elected in 2003, three short years after Sunnyvale became a minority-majority city. Lee said he believes district elections might get one Latino elected, but he'd rather recruit and groom minority candidates on local boards and commissions -- a pipeline to the City Council -- where they can learn how to appeal to all voters, not just minorities. That would deliver racial parity at City Hall sooner, Lee said.

In another seismic result from the 2010 census, Milpitas joined Cupertino as the only cities in the county with clear Asian majorities. Both have become more than 60 percent Asian, but with very different town hall complexions.

According to Lai, Cupertino's first Asian council members succeeded in feeding a pipeline to the council, which now has an Asian majority. However, Milpitas' elected minorities failed to groom successors. Today, non-Hispanic whites make up only 15 percent of Milpitas residents but have a majority on the council.

Meanwhile, in South County, Gilroy became the only town with a Latino majority -- 58 percent. However, only two Latinos sit on the mostly white seven-member council. Next door in Morgan Hill, the Latino population grew to 34 percent, but there are no Latinos on the council. The city does have a black council member.

Ed Sanchez, the semiretired founder of the Gilroy Citizenship Educational Program, said Gilroy Latinos should look for a model nearby in Salinas, a Monterey County town that elected a majority of Latinos to its City Council in 2004 after adopting district elections.

But Sanchez says the Latino community also has to help itself, by persuading Mexican immigrants to become citizens and getting more Latinos to the polls. For a host of reasons, many of them socioeconomic, Latinos tend to turn out on election day in smaller percentages than whites, and white-controlled town halls won't fix that on their own, Sanchez said.

"It has to come from the Latino leadership. It has to come from the heart."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
Sacramento Bee - Online, The

NEW YORK -- "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed - performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases - and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

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Augmenting their income
04/17/2011
San Francisco Chronicle

Can Avon, Amway and Mary Kay rescue people caught in the economic downturn?

With her husband's computer business struggling, Teena Jamieson Abuhamdeh of Brentwood started selling for Dove Chocolate Discoveries last year by holding house parties that "take customers on a chocolate journey" with tastings of drinks, candy, cupcakes and other goodies.

She now holds four or five parties a month, working about 10 hours a week, she said. She nets $500 to $625 a month in sales. She makes another $100 or $150 a month on commissions from sales generated by new Dove reps she recruited, she said.

"It's helped us out tremendously," she said.

With incomes and job prospects stagnant, more Americans than ever are trying to make ends meet by turning to direct sales - selling consumer products person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location.

They become instant entrepreneurs, peddling cosmetics, kitchenware or vitamins through house parties, county fairs, mall kiosks or door-to-door. They hope to make more money by recruiting sales reps and earning commissions on their sales. This multilevel marketing approach is common to the vast majority of direct-sales companies.

An all-time high of about 16.1 million Americans were direct sales reps in 2009, according to the Direct Selling Association, the industry trade group in Washington. Only 7.5 percent of them did it full time. More than three-quarters were women.

'Comfort cushion'"Direct selling is a great way to earn a little bit of extra money as a comfort cushion," said Amy Robinson, vice president of the trade group. "Like any job, particularly in sales, it is work. It's not like you sign up and all of a sudden checks roll in. You do have to hold parties, demonstrate the products."

But critics of direct sales firms say they offer false hope. "Millions of people can be falsely lured into a bogus business opportunity," said Robert FitzPatrick, president of Pyramid Scheme Alerts in Charlotte, N.C. "With multilevel marketing, only the people at the top of the hierarchy make real money. The ones on the bottom can't be as profitable because they don't have enough of a 'downline.' "

The median income for direct sellers is a modest $2,400 a year, according to the Direct Selling Association. "It's enough to pay that extra bill, take that vacation or buy better holiday presents," Robinson said.

The average income is even more modest. The group says those 16.1 million sales reps in 2009 sold $28.33 billion of goods and services - which averages $1,760 in sales each. Assuming an average commission of 25 percent, that means average annual take-home pay of about $400.

Going for discountsThe group says that's skewed because many folks sign up as reps just to get discounts on the products for themselves, rather than to sell to others.

FitzPatrick thinks the figures seem inflated and said companies' emphasis on continually recruiting new salespeople, who must buy products so they have samples to show potential buyers, is really a form of channel stuffing.

"If your market is declining, you add distributors and induce them to buy some inventory and call that a sale," he said. "Normally in business, it's not truly a sale until the distributor sells it."

He also questioned how direct sellers can compete in a Web-enabled era when people can easily comparison shop and buy anything online.

Robinson said direct sellers' edge comes from products that benefit from in-person demonstrations. The classic example is Tupperware, which awed homemakers who saw how "burping" it closed produced a tight seal. Customers' ability to try out products, "put that blush on your face, see if that lotion makes your skin glow is a very personalized way to shop," she said.

Sandy DeRodeff of Daly City is a sales rep for Silpada Designs. She said house parties are an ideal venue to show off ways to wear its sterling silver jewelry.

She joined Silpada four years ago after she unexpectedly lost her 60-hour-a-week technology consulting job. Silpada pays a 30 percent commission on direct sales and from 4 to 18 percent commission on sales from reps the original rep signed up.

DeRodeff said she has signed up 40 or 50 sales reps. One month where she went all out, she made $4,400 on her and their sales; another month where she worked less she made $628. She works just a few hours a week and finds she's "living a more balanced life," she said.

Ahead of retailThe Direct Selling Association said sales fell 4.3 percent in 2009, but still fared better than overall retail sales, which were down 7.3 percent.

The median startup cost charged by direct-sales companies is $99 for samples, order forms, catalogs and training manual, Robinson said. Many reps said they spent more initially to have a wide variety of wares to show potential customers. Her group requires member companies to buy back year-old inventory and sales aids from reps who want to quit.

"It's a business that's easy entry, easy exit," said Dale Achabal, executive director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University. "But when you look at the numbers, you see the average person is not going to make a whole lot of money. Their friends might buy once, but then they've got to go find new friends."

Both Abuhamdeh and DeRodeff said they found new contacts who became customers or sales reps by networking, getting referrals from the companies they work for, and by holding parties and demonstrations.

Denise Villa of Alameda was inspired by DeRodeff to become a Silpada representative.

"It's something I can do part time to keep busy, supply my jewelry habit and get to meet people," she said. "The parties have been a lot of fun."

Copyright © 2011 San Francisco Chronicle

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area | View Clip
04/17/2011
San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Online

Deputy District Attorney Alfred Giannini holds several crime novels by book author John Lescroart at the San Mateo County Hall of Justice in Redwood City, Calif., Friday, Mar. 23, 2007. Lescroart collaborates with Giannini to get an accurate portrayal of homicide investigations and prosecutions for his novels. (Ron Lewis/San Mateo County Times)

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either

the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

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NEW DAY, OLD GUARD
04/17/2011
San Jose Mercury News

Silicon Valley may have the most dynamic, multiracial society on earth, but you wouldn't know it at city hall. With the 2010 census in, minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County. Yet non-Hispanic whites hold the vast majority of local city council seats, as well as every city manager's office in Santa Clara County's 15 towns and cities.

"I cried when I saw those numbers," said Ed Sanchez, a veteran community and voting-rights activist in Gilroy.

A look at who holds the most powerful positions in municipal governments shows that the political representation of Asians and Latinos -- the largest minority groups in the county -- lags far behind their surging populations. Countywide, three out of four city council members are white.

"It's a little bit shocking to me," said James Lai, an associate professor of Asian-American studies and political science at Santa Clara University. "It's a fair, rational request -- should the pool of elected officials reflect the population?"

Especially since minorities together had eclipsed the number of whites in the county a decade ago and in some cities before that. The question of political equality is long-running. San Jose, for example, switched from citywide to district elections in 1981 in part to give minorities a better chance at council seats.

Thirty years later, minorities hold half the city's 10 seats, but the level of racial diversity has dipped lower in every other town hall but one. Cupertino's City Council, with three Asian-American members, comes closest to reflecting the population it serves.

A number of forces and reasons, from entrenched incumbents and at-large elections to the diminished power of voting-rights organizations and low voter turnout for some minority groups, have emerged to keep local governments from reflecting the real face of the valley. At the same time, enough minorities have won election to foster some degree of optimism in new political strategies.

Countywide, non-Hispanic whites make up 35 percent of the population in the county's 15 cities but hold 76 percent of city council seats. All but three mayors are white. Every city manager, the top administrator appointed by a town's council, is white.

The picture of diversity doesn't improve much in the seven cities where Asians, Latinos, blacks and other people of color outnumber whites: Minorities on average hold only a third of city council seats.

Moreover, five municipalities -- Santa Clara, Los Altos, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos and Los Altos Hills -- have no minorities on their councils.

Terry Christensen, a political scientist at San Jose State, said there is a natural lag time of a generation or so before immigrant communities show some power at the polls. But lag time doesn't explain the dearth of Mexican-American officeholders with deeper roots here.

"By 2010, the numbers should be higher," he said.

The census results threw some towns into new demographic and political territory as minority-majority towns, or close to it.

For the first time, whites became a minority group -- 36 percent -- in Santa Clara, a city of 116,500 blessed with some of the world's largest high-tech companies. While its long-established Latino population grew steadily to 19 percent, the Asian population skyrocketed to 37 percent. Yet the town's all-white power structure remains.

Asking why sparks furious arguments here, with many fingers pointing at incumbents for manipulating an at-large voting system to stay in power. As opposed to district voting, where candidates run to represent their neighborhoods, at-large systems force them to run citywide. Around the country, at-large voting has come under attack for allowing voting blocs to keep power long after their populations have plummeted.

Some at-large systems are tougher for nonwhite candidates than others. In cities such as Campbell, all the candidates run in a pool, and the top vote-getters fill the number of council seats that are open. But in Santa Clara, candidates must run for specific seats -- a system that diffuses the influence of newcomers. The successful candidates in Santa Clara often are members of political families with a network of connections: council members Lisa Gillmor and Patricia Mahan are the offspring of former city councilmen, and city clerk Rod Diridon Jr. is the son of a longtime county supervisor.

"Santa Clara is the place with the most entrenched old-boy and old-girl network," Christensen said.

Nine years ago, Mike Rod- riguez seemed to have everything going for him when he ran for Santa Clara City Council. The Latino candidate had grown up in town, gone to college and paid his dues on the city's Planning Commission. But when the incumbents didn't back him, Rodriguez said it was game over.

"Even though I never had a chance after that," he recalled, "I still felt I was the best-qualified candidate."

Mayor Jamie Matthews rejected any notion of racial politics.

"We don't select people here by race or ethnicity," Matthews said.

He pointed instead to weak Latino political activism in town, and he said he expects a more energized Indo-American community to produce a winning candidate soon.

One interested outsider has the proven ability to turn Santa Clara politics inside out.

Voting-rights attorney Joaquin Avila, who once lived in Fremont, won a prestigious "genius award" from the MacArthur Foundation for forcing cities with "racially polarized" at-large elections to adopt district voting. He has been watching Santa Clara from his perch at Seattle University.

"Santa Clara is vulnerable" to a voting rights lawsuit, he said.

Avila's observation raises a question: Where have the Latino and Asian political watchdogs been?

One of them, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, closed its Bay Area office several years ago.

Alberto Carrillo, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said Latino politicos became complacent after winning the battle in San Jose for district elections.

"We need to take responsibility ourselves, too," Carrillo said.

Meanwhile, the Asian Law Alliance in San Jose concentrated on redrawing the lines for state and congressional offices.

At the same time, the county's Asian population was becoming more diverse, with many newcomers arriving from India and parts of Southeast Asia. SCU's Lai says Asians increasingly arrive and settle in new "21st-century gateway cities," where they tend to fan out as opposed to clustering in enclaves as they once did. That also makes it more difficult to build Asian political power.

Consequently, Asian and Latino officeholders in some gateway cities don't see district voting as the answer. They see what state Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, calls "pipeline development."

One believer is Otto Lee, a Chinese-American and the only minority on the Sunnyvale City Council. The at-large system in Sunnyvale has been more open in practice than Santa Clara's. He and another Asian were elected in 2003, three short years after Sunnyvale became a minority-majority city. Lee said he believes district elections might get one Latino elected, but he'd rather recruit and groom minority candidates on local boards and commissions -- a pipeline to the City Council -- where they can learn how to appeal to all voters, not just minorities. That would deliver racial parity at City Hall sooner, Lee said.

In another seismic result from the 2010 census, Milpitas joined Cupertino as the only cities in the county with clear Asian majorities. Both have become more than 60 percent Asian, but with very different town hall complexions.

According to Lai, Cupertino's first Asian council members succeeded in feeding a pipeline to the council, which now has an Asian majority. However, Milpitas' elected minorities failed to groom successors. Today, non-Hispanic whites make up only 15 percent of Milpitas residents but have a majority on the council.

Meanwhile, in South County, Gilroy became the only town with a Latino majority -- 58 percent. However, only two Latinos sit on the mostly white seven-member council. Next door in Morgan Hill, the Latino population grew to 34 percent, but there are no Latinos on the council. The city does have a black council member.

Ed Sanchez, the semiretired founder of the Gilroy Citizenship Educational Program, said Gilroy Latinos should look for a model nearby in Salinas, a Monterey County town that elected a majority of Latinos to its City Council in 2004 after adopting district elections.

But Sanchez says the Latino community also has to help itself, by persuading Mexican immigrants to become citizens and getting more Latinos to the polls. For a host of reasons, many of them socioeconomic, Latinos tend to turn out on election day in smaller percentages than whites, and white-controlled town halls won't fix that on their own, Sanchez said.

"It has to come from the Latino leadership. It has to come from the heart."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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STUDY: LAWYERS' OFFENSES INCREASE
04/17/2011
San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way," said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender."

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error" findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful" and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error," an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless."

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless."

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate," said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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VALLEY REVS UP THE PROFITS
04/17/2011
San Jose Mercury News

Roaring back from the Great Recession, the 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, as their combined stock value climbed to the highest level since the Internet boom of 2000.

Revenue and profits soared as consumers flocked to buy new handheld gadgets, while corporations and public agencies resumed buying hardware and software to handle a rising tide of digital data -- from emails, tweets and videos to all manner of online transactions and Internet search results.

Those trends drove tech sales and profits higher than they were before the downturn of 2008 and 2009. For companies on the Mercury News' SV150 list, combined sales for the past four quarters rose 20.3 percent from a year earlier. Combined profit skyrocketed 78.6 percent. The list comprises the 150 biggest public companies, measured by revenue, that are based in Silicon Valley.

Companies responded by significantly boosting their spending on research and development, new plants and equipment, and stock repurchases. Big companies bought up dozens of smaller ones. But after laying off thousands during the downturn, many were cautious about adding new jobs.

"The industry definitely came out of recession in 2010," said Stephen Minton, an analyst for the IDC research firm. He said the resumption of tech purchases "was faster than expected and it occurred more quickly than after previous recessions."

Much of the growth in 2010 was simply a bounce back from depressed levels of 2009, as corporations resumed making tech purchases they had postponed during the downturn. But analysts said new consumer products and new uses for digital data -- to analyze business patterns and predict trends, for example, or to deliver information to smartphone-toting workers in the field -- also drove tech sales.

"We're really seeing some inflection points," or pivotal changes, "in the tech industry," said John Walsh, a managing partner in the Silicon Valley office of Accenture, a business consulting and services firm. As examples, he said the growing popularity of social media, mobile gadgets and cloud computing, in which software and services are delivered online, are changing how people use technology.

Apple led the way in profit, posting a stunning $16.6 billion in net income from its iPads, iPhones and other stylish gadgets. All told, the SV150 companies had a net profit margin of 15.6 percent -- the richest margin, by far, since the Mercury News began tracking the SV150 in 1985.

Investors, for the most part, liked what they saw: The combined stock market value of the SV150 hit $1.55 trillion on March 31, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. That's despite sharp declines in share prices of two valley giants, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, which struggled on Wall Street as HP replaced its CEO and Cisco wrestled with new competition.

The rising tide has not lifted all boats, however: While unemployment has been easing, state officials say the rate is still 10.3 percent in Santa Clara County, the geographic heart of Silicon Valley.

After shedding 62,000 jobs in 2009, the SV150 increased its total workforce in 2010 to 1.1 million employees worldwide, about 1,200 more than in 2008. But most companies don't disclose hiring by region, and their reports don't indicate how many workers were added by buying other companies.

Some companies are in hiring mode, especially Apple, Google and other Internet-based businesses. But many have not lost their recession-era caution about adding back workers, San Jose State business professor Joel West said.

And some employers learned to get by with fewer workers, after cutting jobs in the downturn or using technology to automate some functions, said Gary Matuszak, who leads the tech industry practice at auditing and consulting firm KPMG.

That most likely contributed to the record profit margin for 2010, and the fact that total sales per employee rose 13 percent for the SV150 as a whole. But some analysts believe tech companies will increase hiring to match recent growth.

"Last year, companies were uncertain about spending and reluctant to hire," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jason Maynard said in a report this month on the tech industry. "We don't see that playing out in 2011, and assume that hiring needs to catch up."

Local companies increased spending by double digits in other categories, after generating a whopping $116.7 billion in combined cash flow from operations.

SV150 companies boosted spending on research and development by 16 percent. Capital expenditures rose 46 percent. And companies' spending to buy back their own stock, which can help investors by shoring up the value of their shares, rose 101 percent.

Big companies also gobbled up scores of smaller firms last year, taking advantage of valuations that fell during the downturn. Net cash spent on acquisitions rose 47 percent, to $22.6 billion.

All told, SV150 members bought 170 companies in 2010, according to the 451 Group, a technology industry analysis firm. Seven of those deals were valued at $1 billion or more, compared with six in 2009.

More deals are likely, said Tammy L. Madsen, a business strategy professor at Santa Clara University, who said mergers and acquisitions tend to follow cycles. Financing shouldn't be a problem: The 10 biggest companies in the SV150 are sitting on a combined $181.5 billion in cash and short-term investments.

Many of the recent deals were negotiated by big companies that want to expand into new business segments. Instead of focusing on a few product categories, commercial tech giants such as HP, Cisco and Oracle are vying to sell a full range of computer hardware and software.

In the consumer market, PC sales began to slow last winter as some people bought tablets and smartphones instead. Both Apple and Google, the maker of Android mobile software, are benefiting from those trends, West noted, while HP has announced a major push to sell similar products.

After the post-recession surge, some analysts believe tech sales will grow at a more moderate pace in 2011. Last year's growth rate "was not sustainable," Minton cautioned.

At the same time, companies from startups to giants are moving into social networking and mobile computing -- new technologies that are luring consumers and workers into spending more time online, creating more data and spurring more sales for Silicon Valley businesses.

These new technologies gained traction even in "the darkest period" of the recession, Accenture's Walsh said. Now, they're part of what he called "a renewed level of energy and optimism in Silicon Valley."

Contact Brandon Bailey at bbailey@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey.

Copyright © 2011 San Jose Mercury News

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Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
San Jose Mercury News - Online

FILE - In this July 27, 1995 file photo, Susan Smith is escorted into the Union County Courthouse in Union, SC. Smith is serving a life sentence for killing her sons, 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex by strapping them into their car seats and driving the car into a pond. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

NEW YORK—"How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously.

Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities—meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect—in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill—for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious—sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children—about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son—just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed—performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases—and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

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Diversity defines Silicon Valley, except at town halls | View Clip
04/17/2011
San Jose Mercury News - Online

© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

Silicon Valley may have the most dynamic, multiracial society on earth, but you wouldn't know it at city hall. With the 2010 census in, minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County. Yet non-Hispanic whites hold the vast majority of local city council seats, as well as every city manager's office in Santa Clara County's 15 towns and cities.

"I cried when I saw those numbers," said Ed Sanchez, a veteran community and voting-rights activist in Gilroy.

A look at who holds the most powerful positions in municipal governments shows that the political representation of Asians and Latinos -- the largest minority groups in the county -- lags far behind their surging populations. Countywide, three out of four city council members are white.

"It's a little bit shocking to me," said James Lai, an associate professor of Asian studies and political science at Santa Clara University. "It's a fair, rational request -- should the pool of elected officials reflect the population?"

Especially since minorities together had eclipsed the number of whites in the county a decade ago and in some cities before that. The question of political equality is long-running. San Jose, for example, switched from citywide to district elections in 1981 in part to give minorities a better chance at council seats.

Thirty years later, minorities hold half the city's 10 seats, but the level of racial diversity has dipped lower in every other town

hall but one. Cupertino's City Council, with three Asian-American members, comes closest to reflecting the population it serves.

A number of forces and reasons, from entrenched incumbents and at-large elections to the diminished power of voting-rights organizations and low voter turnout for some minority groups, have emerged to keep local governments from reflecting the real face of the valley. At the same time, enough minorities have won election to foster some degree of optimism in new political strategies.

Countywide, non-Hispanic whites make up 35 percent of the population in the county's 15 cities but hold 76 percent of city council seats. All but three mayors are white. Every city manager, the top administrator appointed by a town's council, is white.

The picture of diversity doesn't improve much in the seven cities where Asians, Latinos, blacks and other people of color outnumber whites: Minorities on average hold only a third of city council seats.

Moreover, five municipalities -- Santa Clara, Los Altos, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos and Los Altos Hills -- have no minorities on their councils.

Terry Christensen, a political scientist at San Jose State, said there is a natural lag time of a generation or so before immigrant communities show some power at the polls. But lag time doesn't explain the dearth of Mexican-American officeholders with deeper roots here.

"By 2010, the numbers should be higher," he said.

The census results threw some towns into new demographic and political territory as minority-majority towns, or close to it.

For the first time, whites became a minority group -- 36 percent -- in Santa Clara, a city of 116,500 blessed with some of the world's largest high-tech companies. While its long-established Latino population grew steadily to 19 percent, the Asian population skyrocketed to 37 percent. Yet the town's all-white power structure remains.

Asking why sparks furious arguments here, with many fingers pointing at incumbents for manipulating an at-large voting system to stay in power. As opposed to district voting, where candidates run to represent their neighborhoods, at-large systems force them to run citywide. Around the country, at-large voting has come under attack for allowing voting blocs to keep power long after their populations have plummeted.

Some at-large systems are tougher for nonwhite candidates than others. In cities such as Campbell, all the candidates run in a pool, and the top vote-getters fill the number of council seats that are open. But in Santa Clara, candidates must run for specific seats -- a system that diffuses the influence of newcomers. The successful candidates in Santa Clara often are members of political families with a network of connections: council members Lisa Gillmor and Patricia Mahan are the offspring of former city councilmen, and city clerk Rod Diridon Jr. is the son of a longtime county supervisor.

"Santa Clara is the place with the most entrenched old-boy and old-girl network," Christensen said.

Nine years ago, Mike Rod- riguez seemed to have everything going for him when he ran for Santa Clara City Council. The Latino candidate had grown up in town, gone to college and paid his dues on the city's Planning Commission. But when the incumbents didn't back him, Rodriguez said it was game over.

"Even though I never had a chance after that," he recalled, "I still felt I was the best-qualified candidate."

Mayor Jamie Matthews rejected any notion of racial politics.

"We don't select people here by race or ethnicity," Matthews said.

He pointed instead to weak Latino political activism in town, and he said he expects a more energized Indo-American community to produce a winning candidate soon.

One interested outsider has the proven ability to turn Santa Clara politics inside out.

Voting-rights attorney Joaquin Avila, who once lived in Fremont, won a prestigious "genius award" from the MacArthur Foundation for forcing cities with "racially polarized" at-large elections to adopt district voting. He has been watching Santa Clara from his perch at Seattle University.

"Santa Clara is vulnerable" to a voting rights lawsuit, he said.

Avila's observation raises a question: Where have the Latino and Asian political watchdogs been?

One of them, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, closed its Bay Area office several years ago.

Alberto Carrillo, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said Latino politicos became complacent after winning the battle in San Jose for district elections.

"We need to take responsibility ourselves, too," Carrillo said.

Meanwhile, the Asian Law Alliance in San Jose concentrated on redrawing the lines for state and congressional offices.

At the same time, the county's Asian population was becoming more diverse, with many newcomers arriving from India and parts of Southeast Asia. SCU's Lai says Asians increasingly arrive and settle in new "21st-century gateway cities," where they tend to fan out as opposed to clustering in enclaves as they once did. That also makes it more difficult to build Asian political power.

Consequently, Asian and Latino officeholders in some gateway cities don't see district voting as the answer. They see what state Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, calls "pipeline development."

One believer is Otto Lee, a Chinese-American and the only minority on the Sunnyvale City Council. The at-large system in Sunnyvale has been more open in practice than Santa Clara's. He and another Asian were elected in 2003, three short years after Sunnyvale became a minority-majority city. Lee said he believes district elections might get one Latino elected, but he'd rather recruit and groom minority candidates on local boards and commissions -- a pipeline to the City Council -- where they can learn how to appeal to all voters, not just minorities. That would deliver racial parity at City Hall sooner, Lee said.

In another seismic result from the 2010 census, Milpitas joined Cupertino as the only cities in the county with clear Asian majorities. Both have become more than 60 percent Asian, but with very different town hall complexions.

According to Lai, Cupertino's first Asian council members succeeded in feeding a pipeline to the council, which now has an Asian majority. However, Milpitas' elected minorities failed to groom successors. Today, non-Hispanic whites make up only 15 percent of Milpitas residents but have a majority on the council.

Meanwhile, in South County, Gilroy became the only town with a Latino majority -- 58 percent. However, only two Latinos sit on the mostly white seven-member council. Next door in Morgan Hill, the Latino population grew to 34 percent, but there are no Latinos on the council. The city does have a black council member.

Ed Sanchez, the semiretired founder of the Gilroy Citizenship Educational Program, said Gilroy Latinos should look for a model nearby in Salinas, a Monterey County town that elected a majority of Latinos to its City Council in 2004 after adopting district elections.

But Sanchez says the Latino community also has to help itself, by persuading Mexican immigrants to become citizens and getting more Latinos to the polls. For a host of reasons, many of them socioeconomic, Latinos tend to turn out on election day in smaller percentages than whites, and white-controlled town halls won't fix that on their own, Sanchez said.

"It has to come from the Latino leadership. It has to come from the heart."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

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Report finds prosecutorial misconduct in Bay Area | View Clip
04/17/2011
San Jose Mercury News - Online

Deputy District Attorney Alfred Giannini holds several crime novels by book author John Lescroart at the San Mateo County Hall of Justice in Redwood City, Calif., Friday, Mar. 23, 2007. Lescroart collaborates with Giannini to get an accurate portrayal of homicide investigations and prosecutions for his novels. (Ron Lewis/San Mateo County Times)

Bay Area prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 18 cases serious enough to attract notice from state and federal courts, according to a report released this month.

In four of those cases -- including two in Santa Clara County -- the courts either set aside the sentence or conviction, barred evidence or declared a mistrial, according to the report by the Northern California Innocence Project. Such misconduct, including concealing evidence favorable to a defendant, can result in costly retrials or lengthy legal battles even if the conviction ultimately is upheld.

"Our research shows prosecutorial misconduct continues throughout the state in a broad range of prosecutions ranging from burglary to rape to murder," said Maurice Possley, co-author of the study.

But critics, including some prosecutors named in the study, claim the Innocence Project fails to carefully research the cases in its haste to skewer deputy district attorneys.

"Like Holocaust deniers and people who believe we never went to the moon, they have an agenda, and no fact is ever going to get in their way,'' said San Mateo County prosecutor Alfred Giannini, who the study describes as a "multiple offender.''

Giannini was cited last year for misconduct in a murder trial that led to the conviction being set aside, according to the study. It was the third case in which courts have found his conduct has led to a reversal or mistrial since 1999. He disputes either

the courts' findings in all three cases or the Innocence Project's summary of those opinions.

Possley says the aim of the Innocence Project, based at Santa Clara University's law school, is not to lambaste prosecutors but to spur reform. If anything, he said, the study undercounts the actual problem because it does not include trial-level findings of misconduct that are not reflected in appellate court rulings and would have to be researched by searching every case file in every courthouse in the state.

Misconduct ranges from small technical errors to presenting false evidence, engaging in improper examination, making false and prejudicial arguments, violating defendants' Fifth Amendment right to silence and discriminating against minorities in jury selection.

Statewide, the study shows courts found prosecutors committed misconduct last year in 102 cases, 26 of which required courts to overturn the conviction or otherwise modify the outcome. In the other 76 cases, the courts upheld the convictions, finding that the misconduct didn't alter the fundamental fairness of the trial. The Innocence Project disputes the "harmless error'' findings in some of the cases, noting some mistakes were constitutional violations, not just technical errors.

The number of misconduct findings increased last year -- up from 61 statewide in 2009, 11 of which involved Bay Area cases. In three of those local 2009 cases, the misconduct was deemed "harmful'' and the sentences or convictions modified. But it's unclear whether the increase last year is due to more brazen misconduct or better monitoring by the courts.

In one of the Santa Clara County cases in which the courts found "harmful error,'' an appellate court last year overturned a rape conviction after finding prosecutor Alison Filo discriminated against Vietnamese people in choosing the jury in a case involving both a Vietnamese defendant and victim. The case was retried last month and the defendant was once again convicted of rape. Filo has declined to comment in the past about the case and did not respond this week to a request for comment.

In the other Santa Clara County case, a federal appellate court last year granted a defendant a new trial on murder charges after finding then-prosecutor Javier Alcala had failed repeatedly to disclose evidence that was potentially favorable to the defendant, as required by law. But the same federal court last month issued a new ruling allowing the conviction to stand.

The judges said they hadn't changed their mind about Alcala's misconduct, but were forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a federal law giving state courts more power, so they deferred to a lower-court ruling that found no misconduct occurred. Alcala, who is now a judge, did not respond to requests for comment. Supervising District Attorney Brian Welch, who heads the homicide unit, defended the case, noting the conviction ultimately was upheld.

Prosecutors sometimes shrug off cases where there's a dispute over misconduct or the misconduct is deemed "harmless.''

But in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutor David Angel, head of the recently reinstated Conviction Integrity Unit, said he'll review the case involving Alcala for possible use in in-house ethics training classes. Angel also teaches a class on wrongful convictions at Santa Clara University law school with Cookie Ridolfi, head of the Northern California Innocence Project.

"Error is error," Angel said. "Every case we have, every year, with any error, we're going to study it and evaluate it for use in training, regardless of whether it was harmless.''

Last year, the State Bar of California vowed to review the records of 130 prosecutors named in a previous Innocence Project report. That study encompassed 13 years of misconduct findings, from 1997 through 2009, for possible disciplinary action.

"As a result of the initial NCIP report last year, we looked closely at all cases with reversible error and we have opened a modest number of cases for investigation and prosecution, if appropriate,'' said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer and the State Bar's chief trial counsel, who prosecutes discipline cases against attorneys.

Possley said he believes the State Bar has opened up more than 20 cases as a result of the report. Since 1997, only about seven prosecutors have been disciplined publicly in California, including former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field. Private reprimands are not considered public discipline.

Field has been suspended by the bar for four years for violating several rules in four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges' orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped people accused of crimes.

The suspension followed an unprecedented, three-year Mercury News investigation of the Santa Clara County criminal justice system, called "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice," that found a dramatic number of cases were infected with errors by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors.

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Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success
04/17/2011
San Mateo County Times

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group , supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said DeAnza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the three-conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- handpicked by organizers -- from northern California community colleges. At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide. Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than three million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses are already reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students — roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging Ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students like undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only three, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a full job remains out of reach, because he has no social security number. " I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to CSU-Dominguez Hills -- said "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and under-educated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

"Building democracy"

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources are available to them, and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC-Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born between 1976 and 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

for more information

Copyright © 2011 San Mateo County Times. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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Diversity defines Silicon Valley, except at town halls | View Clip
04/17/2011
Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online

© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

Silicon Valley may have the most dynamic, multiracial society on earth, but you wouldn't know it at city hall. With the 2010 census in, minorities now outnumber whites almost 2-to-1 in Santa Clara County. Yet non-Hispanic whites hold the vast majority of local city council seats, as well as every city manager's office in Santa Clara County's 15 towns and cities.

"I cried when I saw those numbers," said Ed Sanchez, a veteran community and voting-rights activist in Gilroy.

A look at who holds the most powerful positions in municipal governments shows that the political representation of Asians and Latinos -- the largest minority groups in the county -- lags far behind their surging populations. Countywide, three out of four city council members are white.

"It's a little bit shocking to me," said James Lai, an associate professor of Asian studies and political science at Santa Clara University. "It's a fair, rational request -- should the pool of elected officials reflect the population?"

Especially since minorities together had eclipsed the number of whites in the county a decade ago and in some cities before that. The question of political equality is long-running. San Jose, for example, switched from citywide to district elections in 1981 in part to give minorities a better chance at council seats.

Thirty years later, minorities hold half the city's 10 seats, but the level of racial diversity has dipped lower in every other town

hall but one. Cupertino's City Council, with three Asian-American members, comes closest to reflecting the population it serves.

A number of forces and reasons, from entrenched incumbents and at-large elections to the diminished power of voting-rights organizations and low voter turnout for some minority groups, have emerged to keep local governments from reflecting the real face of the valley. At the same time, enough minorities have won election to foster some degree of optimism in new political strategies.

Countywide, non-Hispanic whites make up 35 percent of the population in the county's 15 cities but hold 76 percent of city council seats. All but three mayors are white. Every city manager, the top administrator appointed by a town's council, is white.

The picture of diversity doesn't improve much in the seven cities where Asians, Latinos, blacks and other people of color outnumber whites: Minorities on average hold only a third of city council seats.

Moreover, five municipalities -- Santa Clara, Los Altos, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos and Los Altos Hills -- have no minorities on their councils.

Terry Christensen, a political scientist at San Jose State, said there is a natural lag time of a generation or so before immigrant communities show some power at the polls. But lag time doesn't explain the dearth of Mexican-American officeholders with deeper roots here.

"By 2010, the numbers should be higher," he said.

The census results threw some towns into new demographic and political territory as minority-majority towns, or close to it.

For the first time, whites became a minority group -- 36 percent -- in Santa Clara, a city of 116,500 blessed with some of the world's largest high-tech companies. While its long-established Latino population grew steadily to 19 percent, the Asian population skyrocketed to 37 percent. Yet the town's all-white power structure remains.

Asking why sparks furious arguments here, with many fingers pointing at incumbents for manipulating an at-large voting system to stay in power. As opposed to district voting, where candidates run to represent their neighborhoods, at-large systems force them to run citywide. Around the country, at-large voting has come under attack for allowing voting blocs to keep power long after their populations have plummeted.

Some at-large systems are tougher for nonwhite candidates than others. In cities such as Campbell, all the candidates run in a pool, and the top vote-getters fill the number of council seats that are open. But in Santa Clara, candidates must run for specific seats -- a system that diffuses the influence of newcomers. The successful candidates in Santa Clara often are members of political families with a network of connections: council members Lisa Gillmor and Patricia Mahan are the offspring of former city councilmen, and city clerk Rod Diridon Jr. is the son of a longtime county supervisor.

"Santa Clara is the place with the most entrenched old-boy and old-girl network," Christensen said.

Nine years ago, Mike Rod- riguez seemed to have everything going for him when he ran for Santa Clara City Council. The Latino candidate had grown up in town, gone to college and paid his dues on the city's Planning Commission. But when the incumbents didn't back him, Rodriguez said it was game over.

"Even though I never had a chance after that," he recalled, "I still felt I was the best-qualified candidate."

Mayor Jamie Matthews rejected any notion of racial politics.

"We don't select people here by race or ethnicity," Matthews said.

He pointed instead to weak Latino political activism in town, and he said he expects a more energized Indo-American community to produce a winning candidate soon.

One interested outsider has the proven ability to turn Santa Clara politics inside out.

Voting-rights attorney Joaquin Avila, who once lived in Fremont, won a prestigious "genius award" from the MacArthur Foundation for forcing cities with "racially polarized" at-large elections to adopt district voting. He has been watching Santa Clara from his perch at Seattle University.

"Santa Clara is vulnerable" to a voting rights lawsuit, he said.

Avila's observation raises a question: Where have the Latino and Asian political watchdogs been?

One of them, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, closed its Bay Area office several years ago.

Alberto Carrillo, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said Latino politicos became complacent after winning the battle in San Jose for district elections.

"We need to take responsibility ourselves, too," Carrillo said.

Meanwhile, the Asian Law Alliance in San Jose concentrated on redrawing the lines for state and congressional offices.

At the same time, the county's Asian population was becoming more diverse, with many newcomers arriving from India and parts of Southeast Asia. SCU's Lai says Asians increasingly arrive and settle in new "21st-century gateway cities," where they tend to fan out as opposed to clustering in enclaves as they once did. That also makes it more difficult to build Asian political power.

Consequently, Asian and Latino officeholders in some gateway cities don't see district voting as the answer. They see what state Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, calls "pipeline development."

One believer is Otto Lee, a Chinese-American and the only minority on the Sunnyvale City Council. The at-large system in Sunnyvale has been more open in practice than Santa Clara's. He and another Asian were elected in 2003, three short years after Sunnyvale became a minority-majority city. Lee said he believes district elections might get one Latino elected, but he'd rather recruit and groom minority candidates on local boards and commissions -- a pipeline to the City Council -- where they can learn how to appeal to all voters, not just minorities. That would deliver racial parity at City Hall sooner, Lee said.

In another seismic result from the 2010 census, Milpitas joined Cupertino as the only cities in the county with clear Asian majorities. Both have become more than 60 percent Asian, but with very different town hall complexions.

According to Lai, Cupertino's first Asian council members succeeded in feeding a pipeline to the council, which now has an Asian majority. However, Milpitas' elected minorities failed to groom successors. Today, non-Hispanic whites make up only 15 percent of Milpitas residents but have a majority on the council.

Meanwhile, in South County, Gilroy became the only town with a Latino majority -- 58 percent. However, only two Latinos sit on the mostly white seven-member council. Next door in Morgan Hill, the Latino population grew to 34 percent, but there are no Latinos on the council. The city does have a black council member.

Ed Sanchez, the semiretired founder of the Gilroy Citizenship Educational Program, said Gilroy Latinos should look for a model nearby in Salinas, a Monterey County town that elected a majority of Latinos to its City Council in 2004 after adopting district elections.

But Sanchez says the Latino community also has to help itself, by persuading Mexican immigrants to become citizens and getting more Latinos to the polls. For a host of reasons, many of them socioeconomic, Latinos tend to turn out on election day in smaller percentages than whites, and white-controlled town halls won't fix that on their own, Sanchez said.

"It has to come from the Latino leadership. It has to come from the heart."

Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.

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SV150 see most profitable year in history | View Clip
04/17/2011
Santa Cruz Sentinel - Online

By Brandon Bailey and Jack Davis

© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

Roaring back from the Great Recession, the 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, as their combined stock value climbed to the highest level since the Internet boom of 2000.

Revenue and profits soared as consumers flocked to buy new handheld gadgets, while corporations and public agencies resumed buying hardware and software to handle a rising tide of digital data -- from emails, tweets and videos to all manner of online transactions and Internet search results.

Those trends drove tech sales and profits higher than they were before the downturn of 2008 and 2009. For companies on the Mercury News' SV150 list, combined sales for the past four quarters rose 20.3 percent from a year earlier. Combined profit skyrocketed 78.6 percent. The list comprises the 150 biggest public companies, measured by revenue, that are based in Silicon Valley.

Companies responded by significantly boosting their spending on research and development, new plants and equipment, and stock repurchases. Big companies bought up dozens of smaller ones. But after laying off thousands during the downturn, many were cautious about adding new jobs.

"The industry definitely came out of recession in 2010," said Stephen Minton, an analyst for the IDC research firm. He said the resumption of tech purchases "was faster than expected and it occurred more quickly than after previous recessions."

Much of the growth

in 2010 was simply a bounce back from depressed levels of 2009, as corporations resumed making tech purchases they had postponed during the downturn. But analysts said new consumer products and new uses for digital data -- to analyze business patterns and predict trends, for example, or to deliver information to smartphone-toting workers in the field -- also drove tech sales.

"We're really seeing some inflection points," or pivotal changes, "in the tech industry," said John Walsh, a managing partner in the Silicon Valley office of Accenture, a business consulting and services firm. As examples, he said the growing popularity of social media, mobile gadgets and cloud computing, in which software and services are delivered online, are changing how people use technology.

Apple (AAPL) led the way in profit, posting a stunning $16.6 billion in net income from its iPads, iPhones and other stylish gadgets. All told, the SV150 companies had a net profit margin of 15.6 percent -- the richest margin, by far, since the Mercury News began tracking the SV150 in 1985.

Investors, for the most part, liked what they saw: The combined stock market value of the SV150 hit $1.55 trillion on March 31, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. That's despite sharp declines in share prices of two valley giants, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Cisco Systems (CSCO), which struggled on Wall Street as HP replaced its CEO and Cisco wrestled with new competition.

The rising tide has not lifted all boats, however: While unemployment has been easing, state officials say the rate is still 10.3 percent in Santa Clara County, the geographic heart of Silicon Valley.

After shedding 62,000 jobs in 2009, the SV150 increased its total workforce in 2010 to 1.1 million employees worldwide, about 1,200 more than in 2008. But most companies don't disclose hiring by region, and their reports don't indicate how many workers were added by buying other companies.

Some companies are in hiring mode, especially Apple, Google (GOOG) and other Internet-based businesses. But many have not lost their recession-era caution about adding back workers, San Jose State business professor Joel West said.

And some employers learned to get by with fewer workers, after cutting jobs in the downturn or using technology to automate some functions, said Gary Matuszak, who leads the tech industry practice at auditing and consulting firm KPMG.

That most likely contributed to the record profit margin for 2010, and the fact that total sales per employee rose 13 percent for the SV150 as a whole. But some analysts believe tech companies will increase hiring to match recent growth.

"Last year, companies were uncertain about spending and reluctant to hire," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jason Maynard said in a report this month on the tech industry. "We don't see that playing out in 2011, and assume that hiring needs to catch up."

Local companies increased spending by double digits in other categories, after generating a whopping $116.7 billion in combined cash flow from operations.

SV150 companies boosted spending on research and development by 16 percent. Capital expenditures rose 46 percent. And companies' spending to buy back their own stock, which can help investors by shoring up the value of their shares, rose 101 percent.

Big companies also gobbled up scores of smaller firms last year, taking advantage of valuations that fell during the downturn. Net cash spent on acquisitions rose 47 percent, to $22.6 billion.

All told, SV150 members bought 170 companies in 2010, according to the 451 Group, a technology industry analysis firm. Seven of those deals were valued at $1 billion or more, compared with six in 2009.

More deals are likely, said Tammy L. Madsen, a business strategy professor at Santa Clara University, who said mergers and acquisitions tend to follow cycles. Financing shouldn't be a problem: The 10 biggest companies in the SV150 are sitting on a combined $181.5 billion in cash and short-term investments.

Many of the recent deals were negotiated by big companies that want to expand into new business segments. Instead of focusing on a few product categories, commercial tech giants such as HP, Cisco and Oracle (ORCL) are vying to sell a full range of computer hardware and software.

In the consumer market, PC sales began to slow last winter as some people bought tablets and smartphones instead. Both Apple and Google, the maker of Android mobile software, are benefiting from those trends, West noted, while HP has announced a major push to sell similar products.

After the post-recession surge, some analysts believe tech sales will grow at a more moderate pace in 2011. Last year's growth rate "was not sustainable," Minton cautioned.

At the same time, companies from startups to giants are moving into social networking and mobile computing -- new technologies that are luring consumers and workers into spending more time online, creating more data and spurring more sales for Silicon Valley businesses.

These new technologies gained traction even in "the darkest period" of the recession, Accenture's Walsh said. Now, they're part of what he called "a renewed level of energy and optimism in Silicon Valley."

Contact Brandon Bailey at bbailey@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey.

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SV150 see most profitable year in history | View Clip
04/17/2011
SiliconValley.com

By Brandon Bailey and Jack Davis

© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

Roaring back from the Great Recession, the 150 biggest public companies in Silicon Valley had their most profitable year in history in 2010, as their combined stock value climbed to the highest level since the Internet boom of 2000.

Revenue and profits soared as consumers flocked to buy new handheld gadgets, while corporations and public agencies resumed buying hardware and software to handle a rising tide of digital data -- from emails, tweets and videos to all manner of online transactions and Internet search results.

Those trends drove tech sales and profits higher than they were before the downturn of 2008 and 2009. For companies on the Mercury News' SV150 list, combined sales for the past four quarters rose 20.3 percent from a year earlier. Combined profit skyrocketed 78.6 percent. The list comprises the 150 biggest public companies, measured by revenue, that are based in Silicon Valley.

Companies responded by significantly boosting their spending on research and development, new plants and equipment, and stock repurchases. Big companies bought up dozens of smaller ones. But after laying off thousands during the downturn, many were cautious about adding new jobs.

"The industry definitely came out of recession in 2010," said Stephen Minton, an analyst for the IDC research firm. He said the resumption of tech purchases "was faster than expected and it occurred more quickly than after previous recessions."

Much of the growth

in 2010 was simply a bounce back from depressed levels of 2009, as corporations resumed making tech purchases they had postponed during the downturn. But analysts said new consumer products and new uses for digital data -- to analyze business patterns and predict trends, for example, or to deliver information to smartphone-toting workers in the field -- also drove tech sales.

"We're really seeing some inflection points," or pivotal changes, "in the tech industry," said John Walsh, a managing partner in the Silicon Valley office of Accenture, a business consulting and services firm. As examples, he said the growing popularity of social media, mobile gadgets and cloud computing, in which software and services are delivered online, are changing how people use technology.

Apple (AAPL) led the way in profit, posting a stunning $16.6 billion in net income from its iPads, iPhones and other stylish gadgets. All told, the SV150 companies had a net profit margin of 15.6 percent -- the richest margin, by far, since the Mercury News began tracking the SV150 in 1985.

Investors, for the most part, liked what they saw: The combined stock market value of the SV150 hit $1.55 trillion on March 31, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. That's despite sharp declines in share prices of two valley giants, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Cisco Systems (CSCO), which struggled on Wall Street as HP replaced its CEO and Cisco wrestled with new competition.

The rising tide has not lifted all boats, however: While unemployment has been easing, state officials say the rate is still 10.3 percent in Santa Clara County, the geographic heart of Silicon Valley.

After shedding 62,000 jobs in 2009, the SV150 increased its total workforce in 2010 to 1.1 million employees worldwide, about 1,200 more than in 2008. But most companies don't disclose hiring by region, and their reports don't indicate how many workers were added by buying other companies.

Some companies are in hiring mode, especially Apple, Google (GOOG) and other Internet-based businesses. But many have not lost their recession-era caution about adding back workers, San Jose State business professor Joel West said.

And some employers learned to get by with fewer workers, after cutting jobs in the downturn or using technology to automate some functions, said Gary Matuszak, who leads the tech industry practice at auditing and consulting firm KPMG.

That most likely contributed to the record profit margin for 2010, and the fact that total sales per employee rose 13 percent for the SV150 as a whole. But some analysts believe tech companies will increase hiring to match recent growth.

"Last year, companies were uncertain about spending and reluctant to hire," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jason Maynard said in a report this month on the tech industry. "We don't see that playing out in 2011, and assume that hiring needs to catch up."

Local companies increased spending by double digits in other categories, after generating a whopping $116.7 billion in combined cash flow from operations.

SV150 companies boosted spending on research and development by 16 percent. Capital expenditures rose 46 percent. And companies' spending to buy back their own stock, which can help investors by shoring up the value of their shares, rose 101 percent.

Big companies also gobbled up scores of smaller firms last year, taking advantage of valuations that fell during the downturn. Net cash spent on acquisitions rose 47 percent, to $22.6 billion.

All told, SV150 members bought 170 companies in 2010, according to the 451 Group, a technology industry analysis firm. Seven of those deals were valued at $1 billion or more, compared with six in 2009.

More deals are likely, said Tammy L. Madsen, a business strategy professor at Santa Clara University, who said mergers and acquisitions tend to follow cycles. Financing shouldn't be a problem: The 10 biggest companies in the SV150 are sitting on a combined $181.5 billion in cash and short-term investments.

Many of the recent deals were negotiated by big companies that want to expand into new business segments. Instead of focusing on a few product categories, commercial tech giants such as HP, Cisco and Oracle (ORCL) are vying to sell a full range of computer hardware and software.

In the consumer market, PC sales began to slow last winter as some people bought tablets and smartphones instead. Both Apple and Google, the maker of Android mobile software, are benefiting from those trends, West noted, while HP has announced a major push to sell similar products.

After the post-recession surge, some analysts believe tech sales will grow at a more moderate pace in 2011. Last year's growth rate "was not sustainable," Minton cautioned.

At the same time, companies from startups to giants are moving into social networking and mobile computing -- new technologies that are luring consumers and workers into spending more time online, creating more data and spurring more sales for Silicon Valley businesses.

These new technologies gained traction even in "the darkest period" of the recession, Accenture's Walsh said. Now, they're part of what he called "a renewed level of energy and optimism in Silicon Valley."

Contact Brandon Bailey at bbailey@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey.

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Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Online

file photo, people attend a vigil at the boat ramp where Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan into the Hudson River on Tuesday night killing herself and three of her children, in Newburgh, N.Y. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

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"How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities _ meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect _ in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill _ for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious _ sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children _ about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son _ just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed _ performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, `Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases _ and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/17/2011
Today Show - NBC News Network - Online

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children — about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son — just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed — performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases — and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Inspirational and energetic community college students launch ideas for achieving success
04/17/2011
Tri-Valley Herald

California is nearly broke, the educational system is struggling and the economy remains wobbly.

But a large group of energetic and idealistic young college students gathered this weekend in San Jose to strengthen the one thing they can count on: one another.

In a competition of inspirational ideas for boosting graduation rates, teams of students from California's community colleges swapped strategies that ranged from peer counseling to a massive textbook exchange. The winners got grants worth up to $7,500 and one year of professional advice from the group , supported by the Knight Foundation.

"It was empowering," said DeAnza College student Osvoldo Cordero, 20, who was awarded a prize for his project to assist and organize undocumented students. "Knowledge is power -- and through hearing each others' experiences, their knowledge became my knowledge."

The atmosphere felt electric at the three-conference, held at downtown San Jose's Hilton Hotel, attended by 100 students -- handpicked by organizers -- from northern California community colleges. At an elegant Saturday night dinner, they listened attentively to a dinner speech by California Community Colleges chancellor Jack Scott, and exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers on business cards made for the event.

Also on Sunday, an event called "Hands Across California" was held on community college campuses statewide. Celebrities, political and community leaders held hands with students, in a human chain, to raise scholarship funds.

With more than three million students enrolled each year, California's community colleges constitute the largest system of higher education in the nation. The 112 campuses are already reeling from $400 million in budget cuts. An $800 million or more "all-cuts" solution would result in denying access to more than 400,000 students — roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

Only three out of every 10 students achieve the schools' most basic goal of earning a two year degree or transferring to a four-year university.

Exchanging Ideas

The odds of achieving that kind of success are even slimmer for students like undocumented resident Jose Arreola and former foster child Ralph Hall. But on Sunday, both young men gave presentations that were eloquent, original and inspiring.

"I want to reach out so other undocumented students feel less isolated," said Arreola, who came to the U.S. from a small Mexican ranchero when he was only three, but then excelled at Mountain View High School. He graduated from Santa Clara University, thanks to private scholarships, and now helps Latino community college students. But a full job remains out of reach, because he has no social security number. " I'd love to be able to work," he said.

Hall, an English major at Chabot College in Hayward -- now headed to CSU-Dominguez Hills -- said "I want to create a program for foster youth that creates stable relationships with faculty and mentors, beyond just the three-month semester, because many of them have never experienced that."

The participants weren't, in the words of organizer Ayofemi Kirby, "the usual suspects" -- the class presidents, student council representatives or other traditional campus leaders.

Rather, most were the enterprising children of poor and under-educated immigrants who, against stiff odds, are proving themselves. Some were foster children; others were undocumented. To be selected to participate in the three-day conference they had to be recommended by faculty or community leaders.

"Building democracy"

Among the many enterprising proposals, one sought to establish a "Book Lenders" project, to spare students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks every semester. Another aimed to effectively inform undocumented students about the breadth of resources are available to them, and to organize a small fund to help them defray transfer fees. A third sought to establish student-run "orientation programs" to advise incoming students on ways to succeed in school.

"We are educated and ready to contribute," said Luis De Paz, 19, an undocumented student at Skyline College who hopes to be a teacher, or to enter politics.

got its start in 2002, when student David Smith started his senior year at UC-Berkeley working two jobs and living 45 minutes away from campus, because affordable on-campus housing was hard to find. With other students from around the state, he met elected officials on Cal Lobby Day -- an effort that eventually led to the passage of a $30 million housing bond to build more student housing.

It grew into a nationwide movement in 2007, and now underwrites projects that help young people build solutions to tackle community problems.

Devoted to the "Millennial Generation" -- the 80 million Americans born between 1976 and 1996 -- its credo is: "Building the democracy we want to inherit."

In an effort to help develop networks of young leaders in five cities, including San Jose, last Friday the Knight Foundation awarded the organization $1 million.

The students' parting words, many of them anonymous, were scribbled on a big banner. "The revolution starts in the classroom," said one. "Each one -- teach one," said a second. And another: "I love education."

And from student Ruth Limon: "United, we can change the world!"

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

for more information

Copyright © 2011 Tri-Valley Herald. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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What makesa mother kill?
04/17/2011
Virginian-Pilot

By Jocelyn Noveck

The Associated Press

NEW YORK

"How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did last week when she piled her young children into her minivan and drove into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize - by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age.

And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs and to intervene and prevent more tragedies.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seat belt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," said Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide among mothers?

Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," said Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings, but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," said Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother.

One of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," said Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Pennsylvania State University, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes, depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she said.

Another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer said.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of her children just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers.

And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother,'" Korbin said. "We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother or father seems to be having trouble parenting. Any instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

institutionalized

Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believed she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

Copyright © 2011 The Virginian-Pilot, Inc.

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When mothers kill | View Clip
04/17/2011
Winnipeg Free Press - Online, The

Much more common crime than most people realize

Mike Groll / the associated press Natasha Colon (left) and Nicole Callahan visit a memorial where Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan into the Hudson River, killing herself and three of her children, in Newburgh, N.Y. (CP)

NEW YORK -- "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in the United States much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under five years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of Mothers Who Kill Their Children.

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities -- meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect -- in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of Endangered Children.

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill -- for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious -- sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children -- about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son -- just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to five years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed -- performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?"'

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. Any instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

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'Scrapers' dig deep for your online personal data | View Clip
04/17/2011
YoStuffs

10:06 AM Bhanu No comments

The website PatientsLikeMe.com noticed suspicious activity on its "Mood" discussion board. There, people exchange highly personal stories about their emotional disorders, ranging from bipolar disease to a desire to cut themselves.

It was a break-in. A new member of the site, using sophisticated software, was "scraping," or copying, every single message off PatientsLikeMe's private online forums.PatientsLikeMe managed to block and identify the intruder: Nielsen Co., the privately held New York media-research firm. Nielsen monitors online "buzz" for clients, including major drug makers, which buy data gleaned from the Web to get insight from consumers about their products, Nielsen says."I felt totally violated," says Bilal Ahmed, a 33-year-old resident of Sydney, Australia, who used PatientsLikeMe to connect with other people suffering from depression. He used a pseudonym on the message boards, but his PatientsLikeMe profile linked to his blog, which contains his real name.

After PatientsLikeMe told users about the break-in, Mr. Ahmed deleted all his posts, plus a list of drugs he uses. "It was very disturbing to know that your information is being sold," he says. Nielsen says it no longer scrapes sites requiring an individual account for access, unless it has permission.The market for data about Web users is hot-and one of the methods used is "scraping," harvesting online conversations. In May, Nielsen scraped private forums where patients discuss illnesses. How can web users prevent their data from being scraped? Julia Angwin joins Digits to discuss.The market for personal data about Internet users is booming, and in the vanguard is the practice of "scraping." Firms offer to harvest online conversations and collect personal details from social-networking sites, résumé sites and online forums where people might discuss their lives.

The emerging business of web scraping provides some of the raw material for a rapidly expanding data economy. Marketers spent $7.8 billion on online and offline data in 2009, according to the New York management consulting firm Winterberry Group LLC. Spending on data from online sources is set to more than double, to $840 million in 2012 from $410 million in 2009.The Wall Street Journal's examination of scraping—a trade that involves personal information as well as many other types of data—is part of the newspaper's investigation into the business of tracking people's activities online and selling details about their behavior and personal interests.Some companies collect personal information for detailed background reports on individuals, such as email addresses, cell numbers, photographs and posts on social-network sites.Others offer what are known as listening services, which monitor in real time hundreds or thousands of news sources, blogs and websites to see what people are saying about specific products or topics.

One such service is offered by Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Journal. Dow Jones collects data from the Web—which may include personal information contained in news articles and blog postings—that help corporate clients monitor how they are portrayed. It says it doesn't gather information from password-protected parts of sites.It's rarely a coincidence when you see Web ads for products that match your interests. WSJ's Christina Tsuei explains how advertisers use cookies to track your online habits.The competition for data is fierce. PatientsLikeMe also sells data about its users. PatientsLikeMe says the data it sells is anonymized, no names attached.

Nielsen spokesman Matt Anchin says the company's reports to its clients include publicly available information gleaned from the Internet, "so if someone decides to share personally identifiable information, it could be included."Internet users often have little recourse if personally identifiable data is scraped: There is no national law requiring data companies to let people remove or change information about themselves, though some firms let users remove their profiles under certain circumstances.California has a special protection for public officials, including politicians, sheriffs and district attorneys. It makes it easier for them to remove their home address and phone numbers from these databases, by filling out a special form stating they fear for their safety.Data brokers long have scoured public records, such as real-estate transactions and courthouse documents, for information on individuals. Now, some are adding online information to people's profiles.Many scrapers and data brokers argue that if information is available online, it is fair game, no matter how personal.

"Social networks are becoming the new public records," says Jim Adler, chief privacy officer of Intelius Inc., a leading paid people-search website. It offers services that include criminal background checks and "Date Check," which promises details about a prospective date for $14.95."This data is out there," Mr. Adler says. "If we don't bring it to the consumer's attention, someone else will."

Scraping for Your Real Name

PeekYou.com has applied for a patent for a way to, among other things, match people's real names to pseudonyms they use on blogs, Twitter and online forums.Read PeekYou.com's patent application.

New York-based PeekYou LLC has applied for a patent for a method that, among other things, matches people's real names to the pseudonyms they use on blogs, Twitter and other social networks. PeekYou's people-search website offers records of about 250 million people, primarily in the U.S. and Canada.

PeekYou says it also is starting to work with listening services to help them learn more about the people whose conversations they are monitoring. It says it hands over only demographic information, not names or addresses.

Employers, too, are trying to figure out how to use such data to screen job candidates. It's tricky: Employers legally can't discriminate based on gender, race and other factors they may glean from social-media profiles.

One company that screens job applicants for employers, InfoCheckUSA LLC in Florida, began offering limited social-networking data—some of it scraped—to employers about a year ago. "It's slowly starting to grow," says Chris Dugger, national account manager. He says he's particularly interested in things like whether people are "talking about how they just ripped off their last employer."

Scrapers operate in a legal gray area. Internationally, anti-scraping laws vary. In the U.S., court rulings have been contradictory. "Scraping is ubiquitous, but questionable," says Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University. "Everyone does it, but it's not totally clear that anyone is allowed to do it without permission."

Scrapers and listening companies say what they're doing is no different from what any person does when gathering information online—they just do it on a much larger scale.

"We take an incomprehensible amount of information and make it intelligent," says Chase McMichael, chief executive of InfiniGraph, a Palo Alto, Calif., "listening service" that helps companies understand the likes and dislikes of online customers.

Scraping services range from dirt cheap to custom-built. Some outfits, such as 80Legs.com in Texas, will scrape a million Web pages for $101. One Utah company, screen-scraper.com, offers do-it-yourself scraping software for free. The top listening services can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to monitor and analyze Web discussions.

Some scrapers-for-hire don't ask clients many questions.

"If we don't think they're going to use it for illegal purposes—they often don't tell us what they're going to use it for—generally, we'll err on the side of doing it," says Todd Wilson, owner of screen-scraper.com, a 10-person firm in Provo, Utah, that operates out of a two-room office. It is one of at least three firms in a scenic area known locally as "Happy Valley" that specialize in scraping.

Some of the computer code behind screen-scraper.com's software.

Screen-scraper charges between $1,500 and $10,000 for most jobs. The company says it's often hired to conduct "business intelligence," working for companies who want to scrape competitors' websites.

One recent assignment: A major insurance company wanted to scrape the names of agents working for competitors. Why? "We don't know," says Scott Wilson, the owner's brother and vice president of sales. Another job: attempting to scrape Facebook for a multi-level marketing company that wanted email addresses of users who "like" the firm's page—as well as their friends—so they all could be pitched products.

Scraping often is a cat-and-mouse game between websites, which try to protect their data, and the scrapers, who try to outfox their defenses. Scraping itself isn't difficult: Nearly any talented computer programmer can do it. But penetrating a site's defenses can be tough.

One defense familiar to most Internet users involves "captchas," the squiggly letters that many websites require people to type to prove they're human and not a scraping robot. Scrapers sometimes fight back with software that deciphers captchas.

Some professional scrapers stage blitzkrieg raids, mounting around a dozen simultaneous attacks on a website to grab as much data as quickly as possible without being detected or crashing the site they're targeting.

Raids like these are on the rise. "Customers for whom we were regularly blocking about 1,000 to 2,000 scrapes a month are now seeing three times or in some cases 10 times as much scraping," says Marino Zini, managing director of Sentor Anti Scraping System. The company's Stockholm team blocks scrapers on behalf of website clients.

At Monster.com, the jobs website that stores résumés for tens of millions of individuals, fighting scrapers is a full-time job, "every minute of every day of every week," says Patrick Manzo, global chief privacy officer of Monster Worldwide Inc. Facebook, with its trove of personal data on some 500 million users, says it takes legal and technical steps to deter scraping.

At PatientsLikeMe, there are forums where people discuss experiences with AIDS, supranuclear palsy, depression, organ transplants, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-mutilation. These are supposed to be viewable only by members who have agreed not to scrape, and not by intruders such as Nielsen.

"It was a bad legacy practice that we don't do anymore," says Dave Hudson, who in June took over as chief executive of the Nielsen unit that scraped PatientsLikeMe in May. "It's something that we decided is not acceptable, and we stopped."

Mr. Hudson wouldn't say how often the practice occurred, and wouldn't identify its client.

The Nielsen unit that did the scraping is now part of a joint venture with McKinsey & Co. called NM Incite. It traces its roots to a Cincinnati company called Intelliseek that was founded in 1997. One of its most successful early businesses was scraping message boards to find mentions of brand names for corporate clients.

In 2001, the venture-capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, In-Q-Tel Inc., was among a group of investors that put $8 million into the business.

Intelliseek struggled to set boundaries in the new business of monitoring individual conversations online, says Sundar Kadayam, Intelliseek's co-founder. The firm decided it wouldn't be ethical to use automated software to log into private message boards to scrape them.

But, he says, Intelliseek occasionally would ask employees to do that kind of scraping if clients requested it. "The human being can just sign in as who they are," he says. "They don't have to be deceitful."

In 2006, Nielsen bought Intelliseek, which had revenue of more than $10 million and had just become profitable, Mr. Kadayam says. He left one year after the acquisition.

At the time, Nielsen, which provides television ratings and other media services, was looking to diversify into digital businesses. Nielsen combined Intelliseek with a New York startup it had bought called BuzzMetrics.

The new unit, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, quickly became a leader in the field of social-media monitoring. It collects data from 130 million blogs, 8,000 message boards, Twitter and social networks. It sells services such as "ThreatTracker," which alerts a company if its brand is being discussed in a negative light. Clients include more than a dozen of the biggest pharmaceutical companies, according to the company's marketing material.

Like many websites, PatientsLikeMe has software that detects unusual activity. On May 7, that software sounded an alarm about the "Mood" forum.

David Williams, the chief marketing officer, quickly determined that the "member" who had triggered the alert actually was an automated program scraping the forum. He shut down the account.

The next morning, the holder of that account e-mailed customer support to ask why the login and password weren't working. By the afternoon, PatientsLikeMe had located three other suspect accounts and shut them down. The site's investigators traced all of the accounts to Nielsen BuzzMetrics.

On May 18, PatientsLikeMe sent a cease-and-desist letter to Nielsen. Ten days later, Nielsen sent a letter agreeing to stop scraping. Nielsen says it was unable to remove the scraped data from its database, but a company spokesman later said Nielsen had found a way to quarantine the PatientsLikeMe data to prevent it from being included in its reports for clients.

PatientsLikeMe's president, Ben Heywood, disclosed the break-in to the site's 70,000 members in a blog post. He also reminded users that PatientsLikeMe also sells its data in an anonymous form, without attaching user's names to it. That sparked a lively debate on the site about the propriety of selling sensitive information. The company says most of the 350 responses to the blog post were supportive. But it says a total of 218 members quit.

In total, PatientsLikeMe estimates that the scraper obtained about 5% of the messages in the site's forums, primarily in "Mood" and "Multiple Sclerosis."

"We're a business, and the reality is that someone came in and stole from us," says PatientsLikeMe's chairman, Jamie Heywood.

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Moms Killing Kids Not Nearly As Rare As We Think | View Clip
04/16/2011
12 News at 5 PM - WISN-TV

More Mothers Kill Young Kids Than Fathers

JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer

Images: Moms Killing Kids Not Nearly As Rare As We Think

NEW YORK -- "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed - performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases - and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/16/2011
Anchorage Daily News - Online

NEW YORK - "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed - performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases - and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think
04/16/2011
Associated Press (AP)

NEW YORK_"How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities _ meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect _ in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill _ for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious _ sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children _ about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son _ just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed _ performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, `Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases _ and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The misuse of Hoover's name | View Clip
04/16/2011
Boston Globe - Online

TO CONVEY their disdain for the ongoing Republican pressure to reduce federal spending, critics have been reaching back eight decades for what they seem to regard as the ultimate in fiscal put-downs.

“Watching the debate in Washington,'' write Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift, “it's like Herbert Hoover versus John Maynard Keynes, and sadly Hoover is winning.''

Populist Jim Hightower blasts Republicans for enabling Hoover to make “what looks to be a full comeback to power,'' complete with a return to Hoover's economic prescription: “Insist on reducing the size and spending of governments. . . . ‘The deficit is the devil,' cry the New Hooverites, as they wildly slash spending and try to kill federal programs.''

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof asserts that “one of the most basic principles of economics is that when an economy is anemic, governments should use deficit spending as a fiscal stimulus.'' A lawmaker who “believes that the response to a weak economy is to slash spending,'' he says, “is embracing the approach that Herbert Hoover discredited 80 years ago.''

If there is one thing most people have learned about Herbert Hoover, it is that his timid response to the financial crisis of 1929 brought on the Great Depression. Instead of slashing federal spending and clinging to laissez-faire economics, the received wisdom goes, Hoover should have done the opposite: plowed more money into the economy, thereby stimulating growth through deficit spending.

The only thing wrong with that narrative is that federal spending under Hoover didn't plummet. It went through the roof.

Hoover was sworn in as the 31st president on March 4, 1929. By the time his term ended four years later, federal outlays had climbed more than 50 percent in dollar terms; they had almost doubled when measured in purchasing power; and they had tripled as a fraction of national income. “If stimulus is the solution to high unemployment,'' remarks Santa Clara University economist and law professor David Friedman, “the Great Depression should have ended almost before it began.''

Following the Wall Street crash of 1929, the Hoover administration went into spending overdrive. Real federal expenditures climbed by 4.7 percent between 1928 and 1929, but over the next three years they rose, respectively, 8 percent, 17.2 percent, and 15.7 percent. Exclude military outlays, and spending under Hoover exploded by a phenomenal 259 percent. Looking back at the federal government's growth during the 1920s, economist Randall Holcombe notes that in percentage terms, expenditures grew more in the four Hoover years than they would during the first seven years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency.

FDR is remembered today, of course, for the vast expansions of the New Deal, but as the Democratic standard-bearer in 1932, he lacerated Hoover as a big- spending Republican.

“For three long years,'' Roosevelt said in accepting his party's nomination, “I have been going up and down this country preaching that government . . . costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching.''

Stop that preaching he didn't. He accused Hoover of presiding over “the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all our history . . . an administration that has piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission.'' He slammed the Republican's record of “reckless and extravagant'' spending, and of thinking “that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible.'' He mocked those who called for “a huge expenditure of public funds'' as a way to grow the economy of succumbing “to the illusions of economic magic.'' His running mate, Texas Congressman John Nance Garner, even warned that Hoover was “leading the country down the path of socialism.''

For his own part, said FDR, “I ask you very simply to assign to me the task of reducing the annual operating expenses of your national government.'' Indeed, he promised to enforce “absolute loyalty to the Democratic platform,'' which called for “an immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by . . . not less than 25 per cent.''

In its zeal to cut today's multi-trillion-dollar budgets, the GOP is certainly fair game for critics. But those critics might want to think twice before blasting contemporary Republicans for their Hooverian impulses. Herbert Hoover can be fairly faulted for many things, but rolling back the federal budget isn't one of them.

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at jacoby@globe.com.

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Despite our shock, mothers kill children more often than we think | View Clip
04/16/2011
CKWX-AM (News 1130) - Online

FILE - In this Thursday, April 14, 2011 file photo, people attend a vigil at the boat ramp where Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan into the Hudson River on Tuesday night killing herself and three of her children, in Newburgh, N.Y. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in the United States much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under five years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children — about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son — just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to five years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed — performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases — and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/16/2011
Forbes - Online

NEW YORK -- "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed - performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, `what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, `Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, `I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases - and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/16/2011
Kansas City Star - Online

"How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities - meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect - in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill - for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious - sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children - about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son - just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed - performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases - and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

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Moms killing kids not as rare as we think | View Clip
04/16/2011
MSN Money Canada

file photo, people attend a vigil at the boat ramp where Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan into the Hudson River on Tuesday night killing herself and three of her children, in Newburgh, N.Y. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in the United States much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under five years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children — about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son — just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to five years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed — performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases — and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms Killing Kids Not Nearly as Rare as We Think | View Clip
04/16/2011
New York Times - Online, The

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: April 16, 2011 at 11:25 AM ET

NEW YORK (AP) — "How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities — meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect — in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," she says. "They get tormented in prison, when often what they need is psychological care."

The issue of mental illness is a tricky one. Some women are obviously seriously ill — for example, Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, one by one, in the bath in 2001, believing she was saving them from the devil. After first being convicted of capital murder, she was found innocent by reason of insanity and remains in a mental institution.

But Oberman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, says cases are not always so obvious — sometimes depression is enough to send a woman over the edge. "Almost all these women are not in their right minds (when they commit these acts)," she says. "The debate is whether they're sick enough to be called insane."

Besides isolation, another frequent similarity in the cases is a split with the father of the children. "So often there is an impending death or divorce or breakup," Meyer says.

In the case of Armstrong, the 25-year-old mother had apparently argued with the father of three of her young children — about his cheating, according to the woman's surviving son — just before driving into the river on Tuesday in Newburgh, N.Y. (Her 10-year-old son climbed out a window and survived. Three children, ages 11 months to 5 years, died.)

This was one of those cases where the mother was committing suicide and decided to take the kids with her. To rational observers, there is nothing more perverse. But in the logic of many these mothers, experts say, they are protecting their children by taking them along. Armstrong's surviving son told a woman who helped him that his mother had told the kids: "If I'm going to die, you're all going to die with me."

Experts have heard that many times before.

"We see cases where the mother thinks the child would be better off in heaven than on this miserable earth," for example with an abusive father, says Schwartz. "They think it's a good deed, a blessing."

A good deed — performed by a good mother. "It's how the sick mother sees herself being a good mother," says Oberman. "Once she decides she can't bear the pain anymore, she thinks, 'what would a good mother do?'"

Korbin, the anthropologist, says in prison interviews she conducted, some women who had killed their children were still certain they were good mothers. And it's that very ideal of being a "good mother" that is holding our society back from taking preventive action or intervening in a potentially abusive situation before it's too late, Korbin says.

"Often the people around these women will minimize a troubling instance that they see, saying, 'Well, she's a good mother.' We err on the side of being supportive of women as being good mothers, where we should be taking seriously any instance where a mother OR father seems to be having trouble parenting. ANY instance of child maltreatment is serious."

In fact, Armstrong's aunt told reporters that her niece "was a good mother. She was going through some stuff."

Meyer, for one, is angry that the people around Armstrong didn't take heed of the warning signs earlier.

"To me this is a textbook case," she says. "This woman was completely overwhelmed. Almost always, you can find people who say, 'I knew something was wrong.' This did not come out of the blue. I say shame on the people who saw signs and didn't do anything. This is your responsibility, too."

Not that it is easy to know when and how to raise an alarm bell. "I think often people just don't know what to do," says Korbin.

But, she adds, it doesn't help to gape at a few of the more shocking cases and then move on, without recognizing the scope of the problem and the factors that link many of these cases.

"People focus on the spectacular cases — and they are spectacular," she says. "But that means another few kids will die over the next few days without much notice, and that is very sad."

Return to Top



Moms killing kids not nearly as rare as we think | View Clip
04/16/2011
Salon.com

FILE - This Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004 file photo shows Debora Green, center, as she listens to one of her attorney's, Jessica Travis, right, during a hearing at the Johnson County Courthouse Division 1 courtroom in Olathe, Kan. Green was convicted of the arson slaying of two of her children in 1995. Mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers kill their children under 5 years of age than fathers. And, some say, our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies. (AP Photo/John Sleezer, Pool, File)

"How could she?"

It's the headline du jour whenever a horrific case emerges of a mother killing her kids, as Lashanda Armstrong did when she piled her children into her minivan and drove straight into the frigid Hudson River.

Our shock at such stories is, of course, understandable: They seem to go against everything we intuitively feel about the mother-child bond.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age. And some say our reluctance as a society to believe mothers would be capable of killing their offspring is hindering our ability to recognize warning signs, intervene and prevent more tragedies.

And so the problem remains.

"We've learned how to reduce auto fatalities among kids, through seatbelt use. We've learned how to stop kids from strangling on the strings of their hoodies. But with this phenomenon, we struggle," says Jill Korbin, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University who has studied mothers who kill children. "The solution is not so readily apparent."

How common is filicide, or killing one's child, among mothers? Finding accurate records is nearly impossible, experts say. One problem is classification: The legal disposition of these cases varies enormously. Also, many cases doubtless go unreported or undetected, such as very young mothers who kill their newborns by smothering them or drowning them in a toilet after hiding the entire pregnancy.

"I'd say a mother kills a child in this country once every three days, and that's a low estimate," says Cheryl Meyer, co-author of "Mothers Who Kill Their Children."

Several databases track such killings but do not separate mothers from fathers or stepfathers. At the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,740 child fatalities -- meaning when a child dies from an injury caused by abuse or neglect -- in 2008.

And according to numbers compiled from 16 states by the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC Injury Center, 130 children were killed in those states by a parent in 2008, the last year for which numbers were available.

"The horrific stories make the headlines, so we believe it hardly ever happens," says Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "But it's not a rare thing."

Meyer and co-author Michelle Oberman interviewed women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. They found that of 1,800 women at the prison, 80 were there for killing their children.

It's also a phenomenon that defies neat patterns: It cuts across boundaries of class, race and socio-economic status. Oberman and Meyer came up with five categories: filicide related to an ignored pregnancy; abuse-related; neglect-related; assisted or coerced filicide (such as when a partner forces the killing); and purposeful filicide with the mother acting alone.

Different as these cases are, though, there are some factors that link the poor teen mother who kills her baby in a bathroom with an older, wealthier mother, and one of them, experts say, is isolation.

"These women almost always feel alone, with a total lack of emotional support," says Lita Linzer Schwartz, a professor emeritus of psychology and women's studies at Penn State, and co-author of "Endangered Children."

Schwartz says women are often not checked for mental illness after their crimes, and that is unfortunate.

"Women need better treatment not only before, but after," sh