Friday, October 30, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

What A Coincidence!

A chicken farmer went to a local bar.... Sat next to a woman and ordered a glass of champagne...

The woman perks up and says, 'How about that? I just ordered a glass of champagne, too!'

'What a coincidence' the farmer says. 'This is a special day for me.... I am celebrating'

'This is a special day for me too, I am also celebrating!' says the woman.

'What a coincidence!' says the farmer! As they clinked glasses the man asked, 'What are you celebrating?'

'My husband and I have been trying to have a child and today my gynaecologist told me that I am pregnant!'

'What a coincidence,' says the man. 'I'm a chicken farmer and for years all of my hens were infertile, but today they are all laying fertilized eggs.'

'That's great!' says the woman. 'How did your chickens become fertile?'

'I used a different cock,' he replied.

The woman smiled and said, 'What a coincidence.'

Raj Rajaratnam

Galleon's First Red Flag: 2001

Was a coverup in the works early on for alleged schemer Raj Rajaratnam? An internal document has surfaced showing that JPMorgan Chase, which gained exposure to the Galleon hedge fund when it acquired Bear Stearns in 2008, may have suspected the hedge-fund associates of wrongdoing as early as 2001, the Financial Times reports. The memo raises a red flag about Galleon founder Rajaratnam, who along with five other associates were charged this month with leading the largest ever insider-trading scheme involving hedge funds. The note was written by a JPMorgan Chase analyst, and alleges that Galleon members "liked to operate in the 'gray areas.'" The report went on to warn, “If these allegations are true, there are some serious issues about business conduct.”

Read it at Financial Times

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

On the beach near the newest hotel in Miami, the wife of a vacationing businessman came up with a shell and held it to her husband's ear.
"Do you hear the sound of the waves inside the shell?" she asked.
"Nah" grumbled the businessman. "The only thing I can hear is $55 a day - without meals."


"I need a vacation" exclaimed the pretty cahier. "I'm not looking my best"
"Nonsense" replied her boss.
"It isn't nonsense," answered the pretty young miss, "the men are beginning to count their change."


Obamas Talk 'Bumps' of Marriage

Barack Obama likes his date nights with Michelle and doesn’t like when they become a political issue. He teases his wife by calling her “Flotus” (First Lady of the United States). He quotes Michelle in Oval Office meetings. Friends have spied them making out in the White House halls. But things weren’t always so picture perfect, Jodi Kantor reports in this week’s cover story for The New York Times magazine. When Barack first turned to politics, Michelle felt abandoned. “The bumps happen to everybody all the time,” Michelle said. “She was in a lot of ways a single mom,” a friend said of Michelle’s life when Barack first became a state senator, “and that was not her plan.” If their biographies more resemble those of Bill and Hilary Clinton than any other First Couple, their personalities often work in the opposite way. “She is really Bill,” a friend told The Times, “and he is really Hillary.”

Read it at The New York Times

Just for kicks. :-)))

A fisherman strode into the fish market and called, "Hey,toss me 3 or 4 of your biggest fish will you?"
"Toss them?" asked the proprietor. " Why toss them?"
" I may be the world's worst fisherman," answered the angler, "But I'm no liar. When I say I caught them, I'll be telling the truth."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

A woman entered a doctor's office and exclaimed: " Oh, Dr.Hassenfer, I think I've got something wrong with my stomach. It doesn't seem right, somehow; kinda uncomfortable-like, so it seems to me. Could you please, so kindly, see what's wrong? What is it?
"Well, let me see," said the doc. "Umm. Could it be something you had for dinner last night? What did you eat?"
" Oh, nothing much. Some oysters."
"Oysters?" asked the doc. " Well, are you sure they were fresh oysters?"
" Fresh? How would I know?"
" Well, couldn't you tell when you broke open the shells?"
"Broke open the shells?" Gosh, I never thought of that."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

Man with badge:
"Sorry, miss, but swimming ain't allowed in this lake"
Girl in scanty bathing suit: " Well, why didn't you tell me before I undressed?"
Man: "Well, there's no law against undressing."

Just for kicks. :-)))

An inebriated woman shouted at an inebriated man, "Stop saying I remind you of your first wife - I was your first wife."

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Wife Confirms 'Balloon Boy' Hoax

Mayumi Heene, the mother of 6-year-old Falcon—better known as “balloon boy”—told authorities that last week’s helium-filled incident was in fact a hoax intended to draw media attention. On October 17, two days after the media madness, Heene told Larimer County investigators that she and her husband Richard knew their son was hiding in their home, but told authorities they thought he’d floated away in the balloon, leading to an intensive police and military search. Mayumi explained that the couple devised the plan two weeks prior to the incident and “instructed their three children to lie to authorities as well as the media,” according to documents. According to her, their intention was to “make the Heene family more marketable for future media interests.” Each of the boy’s parents, who met in a Hollywood acting school, are facing numerous charges, including conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and attempting to influence a public servant. The Heenes had reportedly approached TLC, the producers of the show formerly known as Jon & Kate Plus 8, months ago, but the network passed.

Read it at CNN

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Snatches from Lewis Carroll's

( Sent to a friend who had complained that she was glad enough to see him when he came, but didn't seem to miss him if he stayed away.)

"And cannot pleasures, while they last,
Be actual unless, when past,
They leave us shuddering and aghast,
With anguish smarting?
And cannot friends be firm and fast,
And yet bear parting?

And think you that I should be dumb,
Excepting when you choose to come
And share my dinner?
At other times be sour and glum
And daily thinner?

Farewell, dear friend, and when we meet,
In desert waste or crowded street,
Perhaps before this week shall fleet,
Perhaps to-morrow,
I trust to find YOUR heart the seat
Of wasting sorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Raj Rajaratnam

Embattled Hedge Fund Shutters

Giant hedge fund Galleon Group is closing its doors amid a huge insider-trading scandal whose seed was planted with a 2005 job inquiry by a California fund manager with financial troubles. Galleon co-founder Raj Rajaratnam is free on $100 million bail as investigators dig into information gathered from an informant referred to as “Tipper A,” and said to be Roomy Khan, who had worked for Galleon in the '90s. Allegedly, when Khan applied to the hedge fund, Rajaratnam asked her if she had inside information on any public companies. Khan said she could get info on Polycom, a maker of data-conferencing products. The SEC complaint says that Rajaratnam ordered a Polycom trade that earned Galleon $735,000. The government says the informant also gave Rajaratnam tips on Hilton Hotels, with resulting trades making Galleon $4 million, and Google, which brought in $9.3 million for the hedge fund.

Read it at The Wall Street Journal

Just for kicks. :-)))

Holding her in his arms, he gazed into her blue eyes and whispered,
"Darling,what would you do if I tried to kiss you?"
"I'd scream for father," she replied.
The young man sprang away and gulped nervously. "I thought he was out of town?"
Smiling, she whispered sweetly, "That's right - he is."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

Father: " So my daughter has consented to become your wife. Have you fixed the day of the wedding?
Suitor: " I will leave that to her."
Father: "Will you have a church or a private wedding?"
Suitor: "Her mother can decide that sir."
Father: "What will you have to live on?"
Suitor: "I will leave that entirely to you, sir."

Raj Rajaratnam

Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam once "paid $4 million to have Kenny Rogers come to a birthday party at his house and sing his favorite song, 'The Gambler,' over and over again. Kenny refused to go on after a dozen times."

- Anyone who arrived late at Galleon's morning meeting of 70 analysts, portfolio managers and traders was fined $25.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

A young man had fallen desperately in love with a pretty girl and had repeatedly asked her to marry him. She finally weakened and consented on condition that he ask her father permission.
The boy called on the father one evening and stood on one foot and then on the other and finally,with red-faced embarrassment blurted out:
"Sir, I want to marry your daughter. I am convinced in my heart that your daughter was just made for me.
The father looked up from his newspaper and gave the boy a dour look.
"You're wrong, young fellow" he snapped. " At the time, my wife and I had no such thing in mind."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

Will you really marry me? the trembling youth exclaimed, as if unable to realize his good fortune. Then - "When we're married,darling,the dark clouds will roll away and the blue sky..."
"Just put the ring on my finger," suggested the practical-minded girl, "and you can skip the weather report."


Wall Street, Beware of the Wire

U.S. prosecutors are saying that the wiretapping of Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group hedge-fund chief accused of insider trading, marks a new beginning for the use of the tactic in sussing out future Wall Street crime. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan says that just like with investigations into organized crime, drug syndicates, and terrorism, wiretaps will loom large in future cases. Sri Lankan native Rajaratnam is accused of being the ringleader of a group that included IBM and Intel executives and profited by as much as $20 million in improper gains.

Read it at Bloomberg

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Raj Rajaratnam, Sri Lankan/American arrested

For Insider Trading. $100 million bond.

— One of America's wealthiest men was among six hedge fund managers and corporate executives arrested Friday in a hedge fund insider trading case that authorities say generated more than $25 million in illegal profits and was a wake-up call for Wall Street.

Raj Rajaratnam, a portfolio manager for Galleon Group, a hedge fund with up to $7 billion in assets under management, was accused of conspiring with others to use insider information to trade securities in several publicly traded companies, including Google Inc.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas F. Eaton set bail at $100 million to be secured by $20 million in collateral despite a request by prosecutors to deny bail. He also ordered Rajaratnam, who has both U.S. and Sri Lankan citizenship, to stay within 110 miles of New York City.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told a news conference it was the largest hedge fund case ever prosecuted and marked the first use of court-authorized wiretaps to capture conversations by suspects in an insider trading case.

He said the case should cause financial professionals considering insider trades in the future to wonder whether law enforcement is listening.

"Greed is not good," Bharara said. "This case should be a wake-up call for Wall Street."

Joseph Demarest Jr., the head of the New York FBI office, said it was clear that "the $20 million in illicit profits come at the expense of the average public investor."

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought separate civil charges, said the scheme generated more than $25 million in illegal profits.

Story continues below

Robert Khuzami, director of enforcement at the SEC, said the charges show Rajaratnam's "secret of success was not genius trading strategies."

"He is not the master of the universe. He is a master of the Rolodex," Khuzami said.

Galleon Group LLP said in a statement it was shocked to learn of Rajaratnam's arrest at his apartment. "We had no knowledge of the investigation before it was made public and we intend to cooperate fully with the relevant authorities," the statement said.

The firm added that Galleon "continues to operate and is highly liquid."

Rajaratnam, 52, was ranked No. 559 by Forbes magazine this year among the world's wealthiest billionaires, with a $1.3 billion net worth.

According to the Federal Election Commission, he is a generous contributor to Democratic candidates and causes. The FEC said he made over $87,000 in contributions to President Barack Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and various campaigns on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in the past five years. The Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group, said he has given a total of $118,000 since 2004 – all but one contribution, for $5,000, to Democrats.

The Associated Press has learned that even before his arrest, Rajaratnam was under scrutiny for helping bankroll Sri Lankan militants notorious for suicide bombings.

Papers filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn allege that Rajaratnam worked closely with a phony charity that channeled funds to the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization. Those papers refer to him only as "Individual B." But U.S. law enforcement and government officials familiar with the case have confirmed that the individual is Rajaratnam.

At an initial court appearance in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Klein sought detention for Rajaratnam, saying there was "a grave concern about flight risk" given Rajaratnam's wealth and his frequent travels around the world.

His lawyer, Jim Walden, called his client a "citizen of the world," who has made more than $20 million in charitable donations in the last five years and had risen from humble beginnings in the finance profession to oversee hedge funds responsible for nearly $8 billion.

Walden promised "there's a lot more to this case" and his client was ready to prepare for it from home. Rajaratnam lives in a $10 million condominium with his wife of 20 years, their three children and two elderly parents. Walden noted that many of his employees were in court ready to sign a bail package on his behalf.

Rajaratnam – born in Sri Lanka and a graduate of University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business – has been described as a savvy manager of billions of dollars in technology and health care hedge funds at Galleon, which he started in 1996. The firm is based in New York City with offices in California, China, Taiwan and India. He lives in New York.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Rajaratnam obtained insider information and then caused the Galleon Technology Funds to execute trades that earned a profit of more than $12.7 million between January 2006 and July 2007. Other schemes garnered millions more and continued into this year, authorities said.

Bharara said the defendants benefited from tips about the earnings, earnings guidance and acquisition plans of various companies. Sometimes, those who provided tips received financial benefits and sometimes they just traded tips for more inside information, he added.

The timing of the arrests might be explained by a footnote in the complaint against Rajaratnam. In it, an FBI agent said he had learned that Rajaratnam had been warned to be careful and that Rajaratnam, in response, had said that a former employee of the Galleon Group was likely to be wearing a "wire."

The agent said he learned from federal authorities that Rajaratnam had a ticket to fly from Kennedy International Airport to London on Friday and to return to New York from Geneva, Switzerland next Thursday.

Also charged in the scheme are Rajiv Goel, 51, of Los Altos, Calif., a director of strategic investments at Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp., Anil Kumar, 51, of Santa Clara, Calif., a director at McKinsey & Co. Inc., a global management consulting firm, and Robert Moffat, 53, of Ridgefield, Conn., senior vice president and group executive at International Business Machines Corp.'s Systems and Technology Group.

The others charged in the case were identified as Danielle Chiesi, 43, of New York City, and Mark Kurland, 60, also of New York City.

According to court papers, Chiesi worked for New Castle, the equity hedge fund group of Bear Stearns Asset Management Inc. that had assets worth about $1 billion under management. Kurland is a top executive at New Castle.

Kumar's lawyer, Isabelle Kirshner, said of her client: "He's distraught." He was freed on $5 million bail, secured in part by his $2.5 million California home.

Kerry Lawrence, an attorney representing Moffat, said: "He's shocked by the charges."

Bail for Kurland was set at $3 million while bail for Moffat and Chiesi was set at $2 million each. Lawyers for Moffat and Chiesi said their clients will plead not guilty. The law firm representing Kurland did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

A message left at Goel's residence was not immediately returned. He was released on bail after an appearance in California.

A criminal complaint filed in the case shows that an unidentified person involved in the insider trading scheme began cooperating and authorities obtained wiretaps of conversations between the defendants.

In one conversation about a pending deal that was described in a criminal complaint, Chiesi is quoted as saying: "I'm dead if this leaks. I really am. ... and my career is over. I'll be like Martha (expletive) Stewart."

Stewart, the homemaking maven, was convicted in 2004 of lying to the government about the sale of her shares in a friend's company whose stock plummeted after a negative public announcement. She served five months in prison and five months of home confinement.

Prosecutors charged those arrested Friday with conspiracy and securities fraud.

A separate criminal complaint in the case said Chiesi and Moffat conspired to engage in insider trading in the securities of International Business Machines Corp.

According to another criminal complaint in the case, Chiesi and Rajaratnam were heard on a government wiretap of a Sept. 26, 2008, phone conversation discussing whether Chiesi's friend Moffat should move from IBM to a different technology company to aid the scheme.

"Put him in some company where we can trade well," Rajaratnam was quoted in the court papers as saying.

The complaint said Chiesi replied: "I know, I know. I'm thinking that too. Or just keep him at IBM, you know, because this guy is giving me more information. ... I'd like to keep him at IBM right now because that's a very powerful place for him. For us, too."

According to the court papers, Rajaratnam replied: "Only if he becomes CEO." And Chiesi was quoted as replying: "Well, not really. I mean, come on. ... you know, we nailed it."

The criminal complaints in the case also captured what authorities said were efforts by the defendants to hide their conversations from authorities.

In one conversation, Chiesi was heard telling Rajaratnam that she was "glad that we talk on a secure line, I appreciate that," to which Rajaratnam replied: "I never call you on my cell phone," the complaint said. It added that Chiesi said she was "nervous" about being investigated.


Associated Press Writers Tom Hays in Riverside, Calif., and Beth Fouhy in New York contributed to this story.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Mixed-Race Couple Denied Marriage License

An interracial couple was denied a marriage license by a Louisiana justice of the peace, Keith Bardwell, who said he turned them down out of concern for their potential children. Bardwell said he wasn’t racist and had done ceremonies for black couples in his house; he explained that his decision to deny a license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and Terence McKay, 32, of Hammond, Louisiana, was based on his personal observation that neither white nor black families are accepting of interracial kids. He also thinks interracial marriages don’t last. The ACLU is preparing a letter to the Louisiana Supreme Court seeking to get Bardwell removed, because “He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” an attorney for the group said. But Bardwell says he’s just putting the kids first: “I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell says, adding that if he did one interracial marriage, he’d have to do them all. “I try to treat everyone equally.”

Read it at The Associated Press

Just for kicks. :-)))

Annoyed by a man who was cashing a one-cent government check, a bank teller decided to make things difficult for him.
" How old are you?"
" Forty-seven " replied the man.
"What's your wife's name?"
"Any children?"
"Two, a boy of 8 and a girl of 2"
"I have a life policy, the wife and children have endowment policies."
"Belong to any fraternal organizations?"
"Yes,the Odd fellows"
Seeing the man was unperturbed by the questions, the teller grew very sarcastic: "Okay, Mister, how will you have it?"
"Heads up" was the reply by the still-undisturbed man.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just for kicks. :-)))

An American visitor to the city of Tampico, Mexico, asked his taxi driver why he kept driving from the left-hand side of the street to the right-hand side and vice versa.

"Here in Mexico we have no left and right", replied the driver, " only sun and shade."


Nobel Jury Defends Obama Pick

Who you calling unqualified? Three members of the five-member Nobel panel that award President Obama the 2009 Peace prize defended their choice to the Associated Press, saying they expected the surprise and criticism. "We simply disagree that he has done nothing," committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. "He got the prize for what he has done." Jagland named Obama’s work to improve relations between the West and the Muslim world, and also decision to scale back the anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe. "All these things have contributed to—I wouldn't say a safer world—but a world with less tension," Jagland said.

Read it at Associated Press

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just for kicks.

It's easy to recognize a man who owns his own home - he's always coming out of a hardware store.

Monday, October 12, 2009


No one is perfect”
How many times have we heard this? The child to father, student to teacher.
Man (in this piece includes woman) has been forever in pursuit of perfection which continues to elude him. He tries to find it in painting as in Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, Michael Angelo’s “Creation of Adam”, and the inspired paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In music Bach and Beethoven strove for perfection. In sculpture that of David. The Greeks strained hard to slake their thirst for perfection through mythology. Adonis, Aphrodite, Achilles and so on.
The Hindus went even further. Perfection manifested in the form of deities. For wealth the Goddess Saraswathy, for wealth the Goddess Lakshmi, for the lover Krishna who was believed to be the eighth avatar of lord Vishnu. Even birth, preservation, death and destruction took godly forms before which the believers genuflect in awe.
The fifth Mogul emperor Shah Jahan wanted a perfect tribute to the memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz and so ordered the construction of a mausoleum to match her beauty and so the Taj Mahal came into being.
Christ received a make over in this pursuit of perfection. The Middle Eastern Jew who traveled on foot and fasted for long periods is now presented to the world with blue eyes, flowing blond hair and broad shoulders. The great Gnostic Master Valentines went so far as to say that Jesus “ate and drank but did not defecate.” His loss of cool in the temple when he turned the tables on the money changers is not uncontrolled temper but “righteous indignation.” his birth, an immaculate conception.
And before that Job was the perfect one. God challenged Satan to break the moral spine of Job. And so Satan threw everything including the kitchen sink at him. It is reported that Job did not budge. Think about it. With God having put his money on Job what chance in hell had Satan?
This may be part of the reason why Islam sternly forbids the pictorial proliferation of the prophet Muhammad and idol worship is anathema. The believer is free to picture the prophet in a manner he is comfortable with.
The pope human one day, runs for office and becomes infallible the next day. His pronouncements carry the imprimatur of a papal bull. All too perfect all too soon.
The kings and queens of England become kings and queens not by the prosaic path of mundane succession, sometimes even skewed by the rightful heir marrying a divorcee, but by “ Divine Right” and thus they bestow on themselves divinity. The Queen of England cannot be brought to court because the legal maxim “The Queen can do no wrong” is sacrosanct.
The Japanese Emperor derives his authority from the sun. The former North Korean dictator Kim IL Sung was “God” and that makes his son the current dictator “The Son Of God”
If we are to accept the biblical version of the origin of life the perfect man and woman ceased to be with the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.
Nothing perfect can come from things imperfect.
If we are to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution then man is continuing to evolve adapting to changing conditions – technology, environment, moral standards and so on. What appeared perfect one day is made obsolete by subsequent events, innovations and inventions.
An extract from Robert Penn Warren’s great novel, “All The King’s Men” is worth noting.
When the protagonist, Jack Burden is ordered by corrupt William Clark to get something on the “upright judge’, Burden replies that there can’t possibly be something on such an honorable man.
“There’s always something” Willie replies. “Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud, there’s always something.” Willie Clark proves right. There’s something on the “upright judge” and tragedy results.
And in “Cider House Rules” Dr. Larch, the director of the orphanage is so dedicated to the kids one would think he is a saint, but then we discover to our disappointment he isn’t so.
Noted author Ayn Rand in her well known novel, “The Fountainhead” postulates, “I want to present the perfect man and his perfect life” and for this purpose selects for his hero, Howard Roark. This becomes her magnificent obsession.
In the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China we saw “pigtailed and smiling, Lin, age nine performing “Ode to the Motherland.” In actual fact the voice was that of another girl, Yang was the one who was judged the best singer Why then was she not allowed to perform. She was not cute enough. The authorities believed “The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression.” Since they could not find all the attributes to project a perfect image in one person they had to resort to a “cut and paste” job of two kids.
Man will continue to “look before and after to pine for what is not…”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I still love you...

"Nothing's changed, I still love you,
Oh I still love you,
Only slightly, only slightly
Less than I used to, my love."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Nobel Prize: How the President was informed.

The first word of it came in the form of an e-mail message to the White House staff from the White House Situation Room, which monitors events worldwide around the clock, at 5:09 a.m. It carried the subject line “item of interest.”
Shortly before 6 a.m., the White House press secretary,
Robert Gibbs, telephoned Mr. Obama, awakening him to share the news.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Barrack Hussein Obama

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Not even one year into office, Obama's international goodwill tour—he's traveled more than any president in history in their first year—has earned him the world's most prestigious award from the Norwegian Nobel Committee. According to the group, Obama's win is thanks to "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples." Obama is the first American to win the prize since 2007, when Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the award, and the first president since Jimmy Carter, who won in 2002. (Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson also won.) Now if only the Olympics Committee met in Norway instead of Denmark.
Read it at BBC News

Thursday, October 08, 2009


A Great Week for Women in Science

Just four years ago, Larry Summers—then the president of Harvard—suggested that women were innately inferior to men at science. Three Nobel prizes for women scientists this week should be a nail in Summers’ theory’s coffin. “In the late 1960s there were essentially no women on the science faculties of places like Harvard, Cal Tech and MIT (where I now work as a professor of molecular biology),” Nancy Hopkins, a molecular biologist at MIT, writes. “Things began to change dramatically in the early 1970s, thanks to affirmative-action measures taken under Richard Nixon. Those included the “Shultz regs” (George Shultz was Nixon's Secretary of Labor), which required universities to hire women onto their faculties or risk losing their federal funding. The Nobel Prizes in medicine this week are the end result of those laws.”
Read it at More



From the Plantation to the White House

In 1850, the master of a South Carolina estate sold a 6-year-old slave girl named Melvinia for $475 and shipped her to a three-slave estate in Georgia. When she was a teenager, she had a child with a white man—an unremarkable event in the sad history of slavery, except that Melvinia and her child’s father are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama. The New York Times has uncovered this unknown portion of Michelle’s family history. Melvinia’s son, Dolphus, migrated to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1888 and co-founded the Trinity Baptist Church, which helped lead the civil-rights movement and still exists today. He died at the age of 91 in 1950, and his obituary appeared in the same issue of The Birmingham World as an article with the historic headline, “U.S. Court Bans Segregation in Diners and Higher Education.”
Read it at The New York Times

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Wolf Hall Wins Man Booker Prize

As the critics, bookies, and readers all predicted, this year’s winner was the heavily favored Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, the author of 12 acclaimed books. The novel—already a hit in the U.K., and scheduled for U.S. release next week—is the story of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's trusted and vilified minister, and his improbable rise and fall from power. But will the literary set's version of The Tudors be as big a hit Stateside? The New York Times' Janet Maslin notes, "This witty, densely populated book may experience a rough passage when it crosses the Atlantic."
Read it at The London Times

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Ahmadinejad's Jewish Roots

Vahid Salemi / AP Photo
Iran's Holocaust-denying leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, might have changed his last name to hide his Jewish roots, the Daily Telegraph reports. A photo of Ahmadinejad holding up his identity card reveals his last name used to be Sabourjian, a Jewish name meaning "cloth weaver," before his family changed it after converting to Islam. The "jian" at the end of the name means the family were practicing Jews, according to one expert. The name is on a list of reserved names for Iranian Jews kept by the Ministry of the Interior. Ahmadinejad’s virulent attacks against Jews might be a sort of overcompensation to hide his roots in a radical Shia society, experts say. Ahmadinejad has admitted his family changed their name but has not said why.
Read it at The Daily Telegraph