Why Americans Are Fat

The 12 Year Itch
Barack, "He Walks Between Worlds"

Americans are fat. Most Americans are fat. If that one problem could somehow be tackled, that would amount to a trillion dollars in savings on health care. That is not pocket change.

Why are Americans fat? I have a theory.

Americans are fat because most of them suffer from emotional malnutrition and they make up for it by physically overeating. That is why. Workplace interaction does not count. Family and friends come with limitations. It has to be a community thing.

When Obama held his Washington Square Park rally in NYC, I was taken aback when newspapers described it as "the largest rally in US presidential campaign history." But that was only 30,000 people, I kept thinking.

Obama canvassed in a city neighborhood in Iowa and two quotes struck me. "I am 45, and I have never had anyone knock on my door before." "There was so much commotion. I thought someone killed somebody." There is a serious lack of sense of neighborhood.

I have long questioned the First World, Third World designation. That makes you think like the so-called First World is two steps ahead of the Third World in everything. That is not the case. In terms of less pollution, a lot of the Third World countries lead.

At my British founded high school in Kathmandu, there was this tradition to invite two high school graduates every year to come teach for a year before they went back to England for college. I asked one of them once after they had been in the country a few months as to what they found to be the major differences between their country and mine. The answer struck me. "I have been here two months, and I have yet to see someone who is depressed!"

For some reason Nepal has been the top choice among Peace Corps volunteers since that program's inception.

Some of the teashop talk I had participated in in my homevillage would run like this. "People in America and Japan and England keep busy all the time, but look at us, drinking tea, talking soap. That is why we are lagging behind. There is so much gold under the Himalayas. If only we could figure out a way to dig it all out, we would also be rich." It took me years of education to figure out there is no gold under the Himalayas, it being a young mountain range.

Maybe talking soap has value.

I was not here after 9/11, but I read there was a tremendous sense of community in this city after 9/11. There might be a better way.

If I were to become Mayor of NYC, I would want to get rid of the wheels. You get rid of the wheels, you cut the noise out, and you make it possible for people to talk in the trains. Nowhere else do as many New Yorkers gather with so much time on their hands. I think that would be a great way to add small town elements into this great, big city.

No amount of technology will make up for face time. Internet beats TV by being interactive. Face time is what is truly interactive. If web 2.0 is interactive, web 5.0 is interactive to the power of 10.

Web 5.0: Face Time

There is an urgent need to create community spaces where people can meet and talk. The less low pressure it is, the better.

Health Care As A Spectrum

In The News

Bobby Jindal's win: Village joy doubles on Dussehra Times of India, India the moment the news broke on television channels, Jindal’s ancestral village in Khanpur erupted in celebrations, with relatives and friends distributing sweets and dancing bhangra to dhol beats. .... An ecstatic Vijay Laxmi, Jindal’s paternal aunt, said, "By becoming governor, Bobby has done the unthinkable. Who could have imagined an Indian would become the Governor of an American state?"
Jindal's ancestral village celebrates his victory Times of India
As news trickled in that the 36-year-old Oxford-educated Jindal has won the gubernatorial race, his family members started distributing sweets in the neighbourhood. .... we want that he should find time and visit his ancestral village. It will be a great occasion for all of us .... Bobby has "always been proud of his humble background".
Aunt now wants to see Bobby as US prez Times of India Despite the fact that many here haven’t seen Jindal, who has never visited India, the village folk have kept in touch with him. ...... "He spoke to me on phone 15 days back and promised to come to our village after elections. We are sure he will visit very soon," said a relative, Pappu Jindal. ..... Some of his relatives weren’t able to digest the fact that they weren’t by his side at his finest hour, but there was one particularly ecstatic relative, Laxmi, who said there will be a next time: It’s now her wish to see Jindal in the White House! ..... "The day may not be far when he becomes the US president," she said.

Obama brings grass roots campaign to NJ Newsday, USA noted how the "junior senator from New York" _ his top rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton _ criticized him for his willingness to negotiate with leaders of countries at odds with the U.S. ...... shows the campaign is turning its attention to states holding presidential primaries on Feb. 5 ..... has her up 49-12 in New York and 43-16 in Connecticut.
Obama Blasts FCC Media Ownership Plan The Associated Press The commission is considering elimination of several rules, including one that bans a single company from owning a broadcast station and a newspaper in the same market.

No quick end seen to Southern California wildfires Reuters
US Discourages Turkey From Cross-Border Attack
Washington Post
Romney, Giuliani take hits in debate Boston Globe
Bihar to e-connect villages Daily News & Analysis The dream of Bihar’s rural folks to surf the internet at their villages would soon become a reality. The government has initiated a plan to take information technology to the grass root level by setting up common service centres called Vasudha. ......... Vasudhas would be started in e-kiosks to be setup by the ‘SREI Sahaj E-Village’. The e-kiosks will function as the delivery point for e-governance as well as e-learning centres, where the youth can access distant education modules and vocational skills other than normal internet access. ....... 5,540 Vasudhas across the state. ...... eight departments of the government would be linked to Vasudha to provide information and services for mutual purposes like weather forecast, commodity rates, agricultural counselling, health and hygiene. ....... Issuance of birth and death certificates and land records would also be available on the net on payment of nominal fees. More departments would be linked later. ..... The Vasudha would be owned and operated by selected village entrepreneurs and will be monitored by the regional control centres and the central control centre. The estimated cost of setting up each of these e-kiosks will be Rs1.20 lakh. ....... The selected rural entrepreneur will have to invest this amount from his own resources or by obtaining loan from the banks.
Talks Begin on New Polish Coalition New York Times Leaders across Europe were relieved at the ascension of Civic Platform, a party that generally supports the European Union’s positions. Under the Kaczynskis Poland has earned a reputation as a consensus-breaking troublemaker. ......... would try to bring home the 900 Polish troops in Iraq. ..... “This is a generation revolution.”
Man In the News: A Son of Immigrants Rises in a Southern State a résumé steeped in public policy and a sterling education. ....... I’m one of you, a normal, red-blooded football-loving Louisiana guy. ....... the slight 36-year-old ...... a highly unusual politician .... a Southern state where race is inseparable from politics. ..... Jindal offered something few others could to a state that is on its knees. Louisiana is more desperate than ever ....... come back home instead of using his credentials as a ticket to escape, as many other accomplished Louisianans do. ......... Louisiana — largely impoverished, undereducated and unhealthy — ....... a technocrat and a Roman Catholic convert, a policy aficionado well-versed in free-market solutions ........ a proponent of “intelligent design” as an alternative theory to evolution, suggesting it may be appropriate in school science classes. ....... Sanjay Puri, chairman of the U.S.-India Political Action Committee, predicted that Mr. Jindal would surprise doubters with the depth of his understanding on policy issues. Others, however, are cautious, saying that Mr. Jindal is out of the mainstream on issues that matter to Indian-Americans. ....... “The fact that he’s of Indian ancestry is a subject of jubilation,” said Vijay Prashad, professor of South Asian history at Trinity College in Hartford, speaking of the way Mr. Jindal has been portrayed in the Indian-American press. “But there’s a very shallow appreciation of who he really is. Once you scratch the surface, it’s really unpleasant.” ....... the campaign itself was a study in caution. ..... intent on not jeopardizing a big lead in the polls, shunned reporters. ........ June 10, 1971 ..... so his mother could pursue a graduate degree in nuclear physics at Louisiana State University. His father was an engineer from the Punjab region of India, the only one of nine siblings to attend high school. ...... The younger Jindal, growing up in Baton Rouge, was not expected to come home from school with anything less than 100 on tests. ......... “I draw my definition of integrity from my Christian faith,” Mr. Jindal said during the campaign. “In my faith, you give 100 percent of yourself to God.” “But we live in a pluralistic state,” he was careful to add. ....... three young children, Celia, Shaan and Slade. ...... His short time in Washington was unobtrusive ...... He said he arrived in Baton Rouge intent on “cleaning up the corruption” and determined to “show the voters and the entire country that we are serious about changing our reputation.” ....... Legislators in Huey Long’s state Capitol are sensitive to such suggestions, however. Mr. Jindal’s honeymoon could be short.
Pelosi's judgment questioned over Armenia issue Reuters furious reaction from Turkey. ..... Turkey accepts that many Armenians were killed in World War One, but denies they were victims of a systematic genocide. .... Pelosi, who flew to Syria last spring when the White House was not on speaking terms with Damascus. ...... Pelosi is one of several Californians in Congress with many Armenian-Americans in their districts. They have pushed similar proposals for years. ......... "The pace of this institution is not always conducive to a well-thought-out approach, to considering the consequences of a certain type of action," Kucinich said. ........ "If members of Congress are plotting with interest groups to weaken Turkish support of U.S. policy in Iraq and thus undermine American forces in Iraq, the drama thickens beyond my capacity to comprehend"
An Appreciation Of Al Gore Forbes Back then, neither of us could imagine being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ...... the Norwegian Nobel Committee has rightly reminded us that climate change is the single biggest threat to world peace. ...... For me, the issue is personal--for it is in my part of the world, the continent of Africa, that the effects of global climate change are likely to be most severe. Increased drought, erratic rainfall, floods, crop failures and the consequent migration of large numbers of people will only intensify already existing tensions here and in other developing regions. This is already taking place in Darfur in western Sudan, where, as elsewhere, access to and control over natural resources (clean drinking water, land suitable for crops or grazing, oil, minerals and precious metals) underlie almost all civil conflicts and outright wars. .......... in Africa, where people's daily lives are closely linked to their environment, the consequences will be a matter of life and death. ....... the prime victims of the climate crisis, who will be poor and rural, very young and, more often than not, female. ....... thick, healthy stands of indigenous trees .... a vital component needed to slow, and ultimately reverse, global warming. ..... Seventeen years since Al Gore came to Kenya, the podo tree he planted is flourishing--one among the many millions of trees the Green Belt Movement and others have planted to restore forests that have been lost..... Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate, is founder of the Green Belt Movement, a member of Kenya’s Parliament and the author of Unbowed: A Memoir (Anchor, 2007).
Pakistan Opposition Denounces Proposed Ban on Rallies Voice of America Massive, traffic-stopping rallies have long been a feature of Pakistan's political culture, where a candidate's strength is partly judged by the crowds he or she draws. Babar Awan, a senator allied with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, believes the government's proposed ban on such events has nothing to do with improving security. ........ Musharraf's government was threatened by Friday's outpouring of support for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and wants to limit the impact of such events. ....... Visiting former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle Don't fault Obama for honoring party rules Detroit Free Press
Obama Pledges More Fair Tax System
CBS News
Obama and the 5-minute tax return Baltimore Sun
Obama: American dream too expensive, taxes too difficult WCAX
Florida Debate Centers on Direction of GOP and Hillary Clinton ABC News
GOP Hopefuls Pile on Clinton The Associated Press
Dishwashers for Clinton Hillary Project
New York's Chinese flood Clinton's coffers with cash Seattle Times
Starting Gate: A Win-Win For Clinton?
CBS News
More Delays for India-US Nuclear Deal
The Associated Press Singh's government, meanwhile, hasn't taken the next steps in cinching the deal — negotiating separate agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nuclear Suppliers Group, a group of nations that export nuclear material. ...... The deal faces opposition in America, too. Critics there, including some in Congress, say providing U.S. fuel to India would free up India's limited domestic supplies of nuclear material for use in atomic weapons, which they argue could spark a nuclear arms race in Asia. ....... India's booming but energy-hungry economy .
China's new leadership takes the stage Christian Science Monitor Sartorially speaking, there was nothing to set the two men apart. They wore the same dark blue suits and red-hued ties as their seven comrades on the podium. ...... Wordlessly, they maintained anodyne fixed smiles ..... Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang are not only new members of China's innermost political sanctum. ....... the next generation hoping to guide China's continued rise as a global power. ...... Xi Jinping ... currently party chief in the dynamic metropolis of Shanghai, is a so-called "princeling," the son of a former vice premier, and he is married to a well-known singer. He has made his name in the southern coastal provinces that were the first to cast off the economic shackles of state control, experimenting with reform, foreign investment, and rapid modernization. ........ (Hu introduced Xi immediately before Li, in a subtle but significant indication of the hierarchy) ....... Delegates unanimously enshrined his pet theories of "scientific development" and a "harmonious society" into the Communist Party Constitution, endorsing his stress on social and environmental programs to mitigate the negative effects of breakneck economic growth. ...... Repeated environmental disasters and a growing gap between rich and poor are among the problems Hu has pledged to tackle during his second term of office ....... China's four largest cities, which generally blaze a trail for the rest of the country .......... Hu harped repeatedly on the theme of "inner party democracy," and officials insisted that elections to the party's 200-strong Central Committee were a competitive, multicandidate affair. ....... there were only 8 percent more candidates than places on the Central Committee when congress delegates voted Saturday ...... This party congress was very controlled, and it remains a black box of manipulation.
China: New Leaders, Old Problems BusinessWeek seven days of long speeches and innumerable meetings ....... Just before noon on Oct. 22, nine party bureaucrats marched in front of flashing cameras and so announced to the world that they had risen to the height of political power in China. The nine were the elite standing committee of the Politburo, the body that ultimately signs off on all key policies affecting the world's largest country. .......... by virtue of both their relative youth and background, they could eventually prove open to reforming China's political system. ...... China must "strive for scientific development by putting people first and making it comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable," Hu said ...... the 700 million Chinese who still live in the countryside. (Rural incomes, at $466 a year, are still less than one-third those of urban dwellers.) ....... China's focus on export-led, low value-added manufacturing that is reliant on trade and government investment. ....... a strengthened social safety net, including a revamped pension system, and strengthened education and health care. ....... driven to a greater degree by internal consumption, have more of a focus on services, will create many new jobs, and will not be as polluting or energy-inefficient. ...... Chinese companies developing their own proprietary technology and world-beating brands ...... turning the ship that is China's lumbering economy ....... the biggest one is the difficulty Beijing faces in getting its edicts obeyed in the provinces.
A Political Win for China's Hu TIME he stuck mostly to the near-robotic demeanor that has become his trademark. ...... he had just successfully engineered the departure from the Politburo of of Zeng Qinghong, a Jiang ally who still wielded enormous influence in the party ....... Hu Jintao's position is "completely consolidated" says Li Datong, former editor of the Chinese weekly Freezing Point and a close observer of Party politics. ....... growing social unrest — police say the number of "mass incidents," large demonstrations that often deteriorate into violence, hit a record last year — will rapidly increase. If not addressed soon, those pressures could "blow China apart"
Jindal Triumphant in Louisiana
Bear finds partner in China's Citic CNNMoney.com
China to Launch Lunar Probe This Week
The Associated Press weeks after regional rival Japan put one in high orbit over the moon in a big leap forward in Asia's undeclared space race. The rivalry is likely to be joined soon by India, which plans to send its own lunar probe into space in April. ...... Chang'e 1 — named after a legendary Chinese goddess who flew to the moon ...... China sent shock waves through the region in 2003, when it became the first Asian country to put its own astronauts into space. This year, China also blasted an old satellite into oblivion with a land-based anti-satellite missile, the first such test ever conducted by any nation, including the United States and Russia.
College Costs Rising Rapidly New York Times rose at more than double the rate of inflation ....... while the pace of increase has held steady at four-year private institutions, it has picked up at public ones. ....... continue to drive up the amount that students and families borrow, with the fastest growth coming in private loans ...... Private loans, those not guaranteed by the federal government, continued to be the fastest growing form of borrowing, totaling more than $17 billion in the 2006-07 academic year. In the same period, students and their families borrowed $59.6 billion in federally guaranteed loans.
Louisiana: Is Jindal's Win a Sign of GOP Turnaround Nationally? Washington Post the first piece of good electoral news for the Republican Party in months, prompting talk that the GOP is rebounding from the 2006 debacle. ........ a "crucial shot in the arm for the Republican Party at a critical time." ....... compared Jindal's win to 1993 victories by Rudy Giuliani and Richard Riordan -- as mayors of New York City and Los Angeles, respectively -- ....... "harbingers of better days the following year ..... a potential "first step back from the basement." ....... Republicans, on the other hand, quickly united behind Jindal -- a wunderkind ...... (Jindal, at 36, is now the nation's youngest governor.) ....... Jindal ran on a reform platform and against the entrenched Democratic political establishment, a message that resounded in a state full of angry survivors of the 2005 storms. ....... early next month Democrats are all-but-certain to defeat Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) in Kentucky. ........ until yesterday the conventional widsom among politicos was that Republicans were headed off the electoral cliff in 2008. ..... The state is clearly shifting demographically in Republicans' favor, a process that sped up following Katrina.
Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web New York Times The Open Content Alliance, by contrast, is making the material available to any search service. ...... It costs the Open Content Alliance as much as $30 to scan each book ..... Google expects to scan 15 million books from those collections over the next decade. ....... many in the academic and nonprofit world are intent on pursuing a vision of the Web as a global repository of knowledge that is free of business interests or restrictions. ....... Google’s program could make millions of books available to hundreds of millions of Internet users for the first time ...... Last month, the Boston Library Consortium of 19 research and academic libraries in New England that includes the University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts, said it would work with the Open Content Alliance to begin digitizing the books among the libraries’ 34 million volumes whose copyright had expired. ........ Boston Public Library, which has in its collection roughly 3,700 volumes from the personal library of John Adams. ....... “The powerful motivation is that we’re bringing more offline information online” ....... Google is making public-domain books readily available to individuals who wish to download them ....... out-of-copyright books, mostly those published in 1922 or earlier. Google scans copyrighted works as well, but it does not allow users to read the full text of those books online, and it allows publishers to opt out of the program. ........ a truly open universal library of the future.” ....... “Google had a very restrictive agreement, and in all our discussions they were unwilling to yield,” he said. Among the terms was a requirement that libraries put their own technology in place to block commercial search services other than Google ......... would start scanning out-of-print but in-copyright works to be distributed through a digital interlibrary loan system.
WiMax designated as global standard Hollywood Reporter
WiMax becomes a 3G standard
WiMAX? You mean 4G
Register The International Telecommunications Union has decided WiMAX should be included in its IMT-2000 protocol, a decision which could enable 4G licensees to deploy the technology into 2.5GHz when the frequency becomes available. ........ WiMAX will officially become a 4G technology - able to compete with the others on an equal footing.
Amitabh is my guru, says Rekha Sify has spoken candidly about Amitabh Bachchan, saying he taught her the nuances of acting. ....... "He's my guru. I learnt so much from him" ...... "I seriously think Bachchan is more Bengali than any one I know. He's a true Bengali dada. And I'm not saying that because he has a Bengali wife or has spent time in Kolkata. There's more of Rabindranath Tagore's legacy in him than anyone else." ....... Rekha, who turned 53 Oct 10. ....... There's a temple right here in my house and that's where prayed, as I do every day ......There's so much beauty, love and excitement to be savoured every day. People can get to us only if we allow them to. ...... I've five pups and all very dear to me. They're my children. .....beautiful music is conducted... Lives cannot be conducted. At least I've always gone with the flow, risen and fallen with the rhythms of existence without, tripping over seriously. ...... "My current high is bonding with Shah Rukh Khan. Of course, I've known him for years. But lately we're connecting more profoundly. I've done a blink-and-miss appearance in Om Shanti Om and that's when I got to know him seriously. He has a sharp mind." ...... "Do you know Tagore was a true woman's libber? He started (the university in) Santiniketan for women long before feminism was conceptualised. I like the thought of women being given philosophical and emotional sanctuary by a man who isn't threatened by them. ....... I dream all the time. My life is a dream and I dream a new dream every day." ....... I've never planned anything in life, certainly not my career. ...... Rekha is now preparing for her role in Hema Malini's film .... "Hemaji has the most radiant and goddess-like face I've seen. When Lataji called me a reincarnation of goddess Laxmi, I was over the moon. But really, she was just being so kind. I don't really want to be a goddess, or a diva or whatever I'm called. I just want to fulfil my responsibilities. If you ask me to assess myself, I'm an okay actress and a good human being. But I'm not content. I still have a dream. Don't ask me what it is. I don't know."
New crop no challenge to Bollywood stars' hegemony Sify the Hindi film industry's over 40-year-old reigning superstars are showing no signs of slowing down and have little to fear from the new crop of entrants. ........ the poor box-office performance of Rani Mukerji-Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Laaga Chunari Mein Daag goes to show that the two are yet to achieve the elusive quality called superstardom. ........ Akshay has emerged as a major star today and a huge box-office draw. His previous two releases this year - Namastey London and Heyy Babyy - are amongst the biggest grossers of the year. ...... Actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt or Aamir Khan are the top slot actors of today and all have been around for decades. ........ When Sanjay Dutt or Shah Rukh entered the big bad world of Bollywood in his mid-20s it was a long way to go to gain the stature of superstars. The same goes for Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan or Akshay Kumar for whom climbing the Bollywood ladder has been a struggle. ........ Bollywood actresses always had a shortlived career, once married they were typecast to roles of the actresses' sister or even the hero's mother. But now things are slowly changing and Bollywood actresses are making what is called a comeback. ..... Bollywood seems to be going the Hollywood way where the top Hollywood actors including Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Demi Moore and Julia Roberts are all above 40 and still the most sought after. ........ Saawariya (Beloved) recounts the passionate love affair over four successive nights.
Dell Forges Retail Ties with Staples PC Magazine
Positive Thinking Has No Influence On Cancer Survival dBTechno

Southeast drought intensifying tri-state water war Dallas Morning News
South struggles to cope with drought Christian Science Monitor
Perdue declares state of emergency due to drought
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Google Execs Really Do Hate Evil
PC World
UN telecommuications agency endorses WiMax
International Herald Tribune a sizable victory for Intel and something of a defeat for competing technologies from Qualcomm and Ericsson. ........ the third-generation family of mobile standards. ....... opens the way for many ITU member countries to devote a part of the public radio spectrum to WiMax, and receivers for it could be built into laptop computers, phones, music players and other portable devices. ....... its reference number, IEEE 802.16, potentially can move data at 70 megabits a second across 65 kilometers, or 40 miles. Current fixed-line broadband connections have speeds of around two megabits a second. ........ Ultra Mobile Broadband, an alternative technology from Qualcomm, and Long-Term Evolution, an equivalent from Ericsson. ...... Intel has been promoting and investing in WiMax for the past three years and led "a pretty substantial amount of lobbying" to prove its case and get the ITU's stamp on the technology, said Sriram Viswanathan, vice president of Intel Capital and general manager of its WiMax business. ........ Lenovo, Acer and a few other makers of personal computers recently committed to using Intel's WiMax chips, which are expected to reach the market in May. ......Japan, Britain and Switzerland have scheduled auctions in the coming months to allocate licenses in the radio frequency in which WiMax operates, 2.5 gigahertz to 2.69 gigahertz.
World Bank chief calls for new direction for lender Reuters the bank's 185 member countries. ..... the bank should respond quicker to help countries emerging from conflict ..... should improve services for fast-growing emerging economies that no longer need loans ....... The World Bank is more than half way through tough negotiations with its biggest donors to replenish the coffer for lending to 81 of the poorest nations.
Paulson: World Bank must reduce poverty CNNMoney.com interest-free loans to poor countries ...... He hopes to raise $33 billion by early 2008. ....... in recent years wealthier countries have preferred to channel their aid to poor countries directly through their development agencies or through foundations that specialize on an issue such as malaria. ....... most countries in sub-Saharan Africa "are experiencing the highest rates of growth since their independence and a further increase in their growth rates is projected." .......... the 185-nation World Bank lends $24 billion a year for projects in the developing world such as building roads, schools and health clinic. But its role as a lender has been declining as middle income countries have access to financing from other sources. .......... central banks in advanced countries, which have played a key role in containing financial market turbulence by injecting money, should focus on achieving price stability while keeping a close eye on inflation in the light of rising food and oil prices ........ credit markets froze Aug. 9, triggered by troubles in the subprime U.S. mortgage market that then spread to many other kinds of debt in the U.S. and other countries. ...... Protesters erected 140 life-size cut-out people in a park across the street from the bank as part of an effort to demand that the bank and the fund tackle poverty and inequality in the developing world.
Dell to Ship Ubuntu 7.10 on Desktops and Laptops PC Magazine
Apple Market Value Soars Past Dell's on Mac, IPod (Update2)
Bloomberg Ten years ago this month, Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell said Steve Jobs should ```shut down'' Apple Inc. and return the money to shareholders. ....... Dell then had a market value of $4 billion to Apple's $700 million. Apple's valuation has since soared to $150 billion, more than double that of its personal-computer rival. Last month, Apple passed PC leader Hewlett-Packard Co. in market capitalization for the first time. ........ annual sales surpassed $20 billion for the first time in the company's 31-year history ....... profit for the year probably topped $3 billion ...... The stock has more than doubled this year. ...... ``This party is just getting started,'' said Stephen Coleman, chief investment officer at St. Louis-based Daedalus Capital, which began buying Apple shares in 2004 and owns about $4 million worth. ``My clients smile a lot. So do I.'' ....... The iPod accounts for 70 percent of media-player sales in the U.S., while its closest rival SanDisk Corp. has 10 percent ...... The iPod provides ``form and function that resonate with consumers'' ...... Apple's PC market share in the U.S. widened to 8.1 percent from 6.2 percent in the third quarter ...... Mac shipments rose 37 percent, with Apple posting the fastest growth among the top five PC makers
Not All Are Pleased at Plan to Offer Birth Control at Maine Middle ... New York Times the issue continues to draw fervent support and ardent opposition in this city of 64,000, the largest in Maine. ....... The school’s clinic functions much like a physician’s office and has been offering condoms and testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases since 2000. It also offers dental, mental health and basic care. ........ The clinics at Portland high schools have offered oral contraceptives for years ........ Health officials decided to extend the policy to middle school after learning that 17 middle school students had become pregnant in the last four years ....... there is a small group of kids, and thankfully it’s a small group, who are reporting that they are sexually active, and we need to do all we can to protect them ........ Nationally, about a quarter of school-based clinics, most of them in high schools, provide some type of contraception ........ Parents in Portland who want their children to have access to the clinic must sign a waiver each year that details the services it offers. Under state law, reproductive health, mental health and substance abuse issues are confidential between medical provider and patient, regardless of the patient’s age. .......... Postpubescent girls will be able to gain access to prescription contraceptives only after undergoing counseling and being examined by a physician or nurse practitioner who can prescribe oral contraceptives ....... “It brings home the fact that my 13-year-old daughter has friends and people around her who are sexually active,” Ms. Purington said. “But at least it’s a good alternative in a not-so-good situation. No one is going to stand up and cheer that 12- and 13-year-olds are having sex, but it’s not anything new.”
Russian spacecraft lands more than 200 miles off course Houston Chronicle Malaysia's first astronaut.
Dumbledore was gay, JK tells amazed fans Guardian Unlimited There could hardly have been a bigger sensation if Russell Crowe, Rod Stewart or Sven-Goran Eriksson had come out of the closet. ........ One blogger wrote on a fansite: 'My head is spinning. Wow. One more reason to love gay men.' ....... he met someone as brilliant as he was and, rather like Bellatrix, he was very drawn to this brilliant person ....... Rowling, on her first US tour in seven years
Outing Gives Potter Passages New Meaning ABC News With author J.K. Rowling's revelation that master wizard Albus Dumbledore is gay, some passages about the Hogwarts headmaster and rival wizard Gellert Grindelwald have taken on a new and clearer meaning. .......... '"You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me,'" Dumbledore says ........ "Jo Rowling calling any Harry Potter character gay would make wonderful strides in tolerance toward homosexuality" ........ Dumbledore delayed, for some five years of turmoil, fatalities, and disappearances, his attack upon Gellert Grindelwald. ......... Potter readers had speculated about Dumbledore, noting that he has no close relationship with women and a mysterious, troubled past. ....... Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down." Dumbledore's love, she observed, was his "great tragedy."
Britney Spears Reportedly Regains Visitation Rights MTV.com

Bobby Jindal in India to push India-US ties Hindustan Times
Relatives overjoyed as Indian American wins Louisiana governor's post International Herald Tribune "All the relatives are gathering at our ancestral home, and it'll be a big party for all our friends and family," the U.S. politician's cousin, Subhash Jindal, said by telephone from the family's hometown in Maler Kotla, a town in northern India's Punjab state. ........ Bobby Jindal, 36, has not visited his ancestral home for more than three decades — but that has not hampered the joy in Maler Kotla. ......... The family planned to celebrate with a traditional Punjabi bhangra folk dance to the beat of drums called dhols, setting off firecrackers and enjoying sweets ......... Jindal's victory was the top story on Indian television news. News channel CNN-IBN showed visitors congratulating relatives at the family's house in Maler Kotla. ........ Oxford-educated ..... he carried more than half the vote Saturday against 11 opponents. ....... "We're so proud of our child," said his aunt, Vijaylakshmi Jindal. "He's achieved so much at such a young age." Bobby's father, Amar Jindal, left Maler Kotla for the United States almost 40 years ago and settled in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. ...... When the governor-elect, born Piyush Jindal, was 4 years old, he asked his parents to call him Bobby, after the youngest son on a then-popular U.S. family television show called "The Brady Bunch." ....... "Now we want him to become president next," Subhash said. "If he can become a governor, then he can also be president."
Louisiana Elects Indian-American Jindal as Governor (Update1) Bloomberg ``The theme of this election for many voters was buyer's remorse from 2003'' ........ a state where Democrats make up about half the registered voters and outnumber Republicans two-to-one. ..... Since Katrina and Rita in 2005, tens of thousands of New Orleans residents who historically voted Democratic have been dislocated. ........ graduated from Oxford University in 1994 ..... After his unsuccessful run for governor, Jindal was elected to Congress twice, with 77 percent of the vote in 2004 and 88 percent last year.

Iraq says taking "important steps" against PKK Reuters
Turkey bombards northern Iraq after ambush Guardian Unlimited left at least 12 Turkish soldiers and 23 PKK guerillas dead, and saw a number of Turkish troops captured by the rebel group. ...... after the rebels ambushed a military unit inside Turkey, hitting 11 different areas close to towns and villages ..... Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, who heads one of the country's two main Kurdish parties .... Iraqi Kurds are convinced the Turkish military is using the PKK as a pretext to disrupt their autonomous region - which Turkey refuses to recognise, seeing it as a potential forerunner to an independent state. .... about 15,000 Kurds marched through the town of Zakho, calling for peace and telling Turkey to stay away. ...... President Abdullah Gul said would be "a determined and vigorous response to the latest terrorist outrage". ......... The fighting was described by a Turkish military source as intense, involving the use of helicopter gunships and the shelling of 63 PKK targets. ...... PKK sources said fighters on the Iraqi side of the border had dismantled their camps and were adopting "defensive" positions in the mountains in anticipation of a concerted Turkish attack. ........ the rebels, which have bases high up in the remote and rugged mountain areas.
Bhutto: Militants Stronger in Pakistan ABC News Bhutto called for an independent inquiry into the assassination attempt, and asked again why streetlights weren't working when her convoy was inching its way through the darkness Thursday. ...... warned that mujahedeen forces were turning their attention from Afghanistan to Pakistan. ...... Using a device laden with nuts, bolts and ball bearings, the attacker yet to be identified killed about 50 of her party's security detail, at least 18 police escorting her and scores of supporters and bystanders. ........ Three days after the carnage, the former premier popped out of her fortified home to visit some of the wounded at a Karachi hospital, then visited a shrine in one of the poorest quarters of the volatile city. ....... She also held prayers of mourning with about at her house100 women, many of them widowed in Thursday's attack ........ her husband Asif Ali Zardari, who still lives abroad. ..... she was at the back of the interior of her armored truck when the bomb went off, but found her ear bleeding the morning after. ........ "We will continue to meet the public. We will not be deterred." ...... urged Britain and the U.S. to lend expertise for the investigation, and called for an independent inquiry into why many streetlights were not working .......... the two bombings that targeted him in December 2003 in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. He escaped injury, but at least 16 other people were killed. ..... remnants of the regime of former military leader Gen. Zia-ul Haq, who oversaw the creation of mujahedeen groups that fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Veterans of that struggle later formed al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Pakistan's Bhutto Seeks International Help for Bomb Investigation Voice of America A defiant and occasionally emotional Benazir Bhutto ...... bringing about a government that empowers the poor. ...... repeated allegations that streetlights along her motorcade route may have been deliberately turned-off. ...... power outages are common in Karachi with blackouts occurring as often as 30 days a year. ..... there had been complaints the streetlights were not working earlier in the evening, but said television footage shows streetlights were illuminated at the time of the attack. ....... Shops and businesses across Sindh province remain closed for three days of mourning.
Jindal Triumphant in Louisiana TIME widely expected victory .... Bobby Jindal, a 36-year old Republican congressman ...... the nation's first governor of Indian-American descent and the youngest chief executive of any state. ......... took 54% of the vote in the state's off-year open primary ...... became the first non-white politician to hold the state's highest office since Reconstruction. ...... Jindal, one of the few young rising stars in the GOP ran on a strong reform platform. ....... In a region where college football is a religion, there was concern in the Jindal campaign about low turnout at the polls due to the game. ..... Jindal took almost 700,000 votes .... With a vote over 50 percent, Jindal was able to avoid a Nov. 17 runoff election. ....... ambitious policy whiz kid ..... Ivy League-educated Rhodes Scholar ...... was appointed head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the state's largest agency, at the tender age of 24. At 28, he was tapped to head one of Louisiana's university systems. Two years later, he served in the Bush Administration as an assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services. He first ran for governor in 2003 at the age of 32 ....... potential racial discomfort in the state's rural north ....... led the field practically since he announced his candidacy. ...... staunch conservative — who converted from Hinduism to Catholicism as a teenager — has traveled often to northern Louisiana, hitting up churches and pressing the flesh. ........ white supremacist David Duke's bid for the governorship in 1991. ....... using variations on the theme of, "the only colors that should matter are red, white, and blue." ........ has vowed to call a special session of the legislature shortly after his inauguration to "pass ethics reforms with real teeth" and has promised to institute a variety of 10- to 31-point plans that reflect his policy wonkiness. As he put it on Saturday: "The rest of the country, keep your eyes on Louisiana." You should probably keep your eyes on Bobby Jindal, too.
Embattled but still revered: Nepal lines up before King Hindustan Times Despite the scorching heat, thousands of Nepalese queued up in front of the Narayanhity Palace for the privilege of having the king personally apply a tilak to their foreheads. ...... For all his recent reverses, he looked confident and predicted a bright future for the country. ..... for the past few days, the monarch, despite Maoists protests, has been visiting some famous temples in Kathmandu. At some places people even raised slogans in his support. .... "How can we stop the king from visiting any temple as a commoner?" Koirala said.
Sarkozy faces controversy over communist hero Reuters Supporters of Sarkozy, who created a ministry of "national identity" when he came to power ....... in the Guy Moquet metro stationworking class Paris district where he lived.
Tibetan monks beaten as police halt dissent Times Online Hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist monks celebrating the award of a US honour to the exiled Dalai Lama have clashed with Chinese police, resulting in an unknown number of injuries and arrests. ..... The entry by police into Drepung monastery, on the outskirts of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa ....... the clash involved hundreds of monks. ....... Three thousand armed police surrounded the sprawling monastery, once the largest in the world with as many as 10,000 monks in residence, and refused to allow anyone to leave. ..... Similar clashes were reported at the smaller Nechung monastery. ....... clashes coincided with China’s ruling Communist Party concluding its 17th Congress yesterday with an announcement that it had included a reference to religion in its constitution for the first time. ........... So nervous is China at his persistent influence among the deeply religious Tibetans that it has banned all photographs of him. ..... 30,000 Number of Buddhist monks who live in the monasteries of Tibet ...... 260 Buddhist temples in the city of Lhasa
Obama campaign closes the ($$$) gap MSNBC what his campaign managed to do Friday, closing a $2.1 million dollar fundraising gap ........ the campaign's grassroots fundraising drive kicked into high gear ...... said quite simply, "I need you to make a donation to close the gap." ........ managed to do so late Friday night, five days after the launch of the appeal. The campaign posted a "Thank You, You Closed the Gap" ........ raising that amount of money in a short time span is the camapaign's way of publicly flexing its muscles -- attempting to show that it has the depth of support and organizational strength to raise millions at the drop of a hat. ........ called the Clinton campaign "the most entrenched political machine in Democratic politics."
Obama plans NJ campaign stop Newsday Newark on Monday. ..... $15 for students and seniors, $25 general admission. ...... Clinton enjoys broader name recognition than Obama ..... Mark Alexander, the newly named state director of Obama's New Jersey campaign. ...... Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who will introduce Obama Monday, endorsed him in May as did Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. ...... Obama and Booker have been linked by some as representing a new generation of black leaders.
I take nothing for granted: Clinton Chicago Sun-Times the latest Iowa Poll shows Clinton at 29 percent, Edwards at 23 percent and Obama at 22 percent, as surveys suggest Obama is on an uptick. ....... Clinton turns 60 on Friday. Asked if that was the new 50, she replied, "or 40."
Clinton Rejects Front-Runner Label The Associated Press "I'm reminded by some of my friends that when you get to be my age, having so many men paying attention to you is kind of flattering." ........... recent surveys have shown her gaining ground in Iowa. ..... "I'm going to continue to attack the problems of America," Clinton said. "I'm going to focus on what I would do as president." ....... her package to help students pay for college. ...... doubling the tax credit for college costs and increasing Pell Grants, which help middle-class students afford college. ....... "College costs have gone up 35 percent in the last five years," Clinton said. ...... "The average American family has lost $1,000 in income over the last six years," Clinton said. ........ "We've got to get back to fiscal responsibility." ...... Clinton drew some of her loudest cheers when she reminded the audience that she could be the nation's first female president. She said women in their 90s had approached her at campaign events and told her, "I was born before women could vote, but I'm going to live to see a woman president."

Obama Campaigns in East LA The Associated Press the East Los Angeles school immortalized in the 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver." ...... one of the social and cultural touchstones of the city's largely Hispanic, working-class East Side. ..... "It's time to stand up and deliver for America's urban poor," Obama said. ...... If "black and brown students are dropping out of school ... our work force is not going to be competitive in the world," he said. ...... urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the Dream Act, a bill that would make illegal immigrant students who graduate from high school eligible for college aid. ...... his first act as president would be to call a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and tell them, "You've got a new mission and that's to get our troops out of Iraq." ....... joked about recent claims by Lynne Cheney that he and Vice President Dick Cheney are distant relatives. ....... "We've been trying to keep that hidden," he said to cheers and laughter. "He's the black sheep of the family." ...... The film "Stand and Deliver" chronicled a math teacher's real-life success in teaching calculus to the school's diverse student body.
Early voters grow in importance Los Angeles Times, USA Iowa and New Hampshire appear more important than ever. ....... fundraising has proved more difficult than many presidential candidates anticipated, particularly on the Republican side. Candidates face pressure to score an early victory in Iowa or New Hampshire -- the two states adamant about voting first -- and then hope to quickly replenish their campaign treasuries to compete in the rapid succession of contests that follow. ....... In New Hampshire, there is talk of casting ballots in mid-December if needed to preserve the state's first-in-the-nation primary. ....... Feb. 5, the biggest single day of balloting in presidential primary history, when more than a dozen states -- including California and New York -- go to the polls. ....... Giuliani .... $47 million through the first nine months of the year, far off the pace needed to raise the $100 million to $125 million once envisioned -- and some suggest he may need to narrow his sights and concentrate on Iowa and New Hampshire. ....... Ron Paul ... aised $5 million in the third quarter and $8.2 million for the year, half of it in increments of $200 or less. ....... the final months of the year, which is traditionally a difficult time to raise money. ....... no Republican had ever won the party's nomination without carrying either Iowa or New Hampshire. ....... wins in the early states will give the victors an unprecedented [free] media bonanza that no amount of advertising in the subsequent states could ever hope to match ........ how surprised many were in 1988 when his candidate, Democrat Richard A. Gephardt, began broadcasting TV ads the day after Christmas. Not incidentally, Gephardt began moving up in opinion polls and won the Iowa caucuses.

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Black sheep of the family

Black sheep of the family - meaning and origin of this phrase.


A worthless or disgraced member of a family.


The first record in print is from Charles Macklin's The man of the world, a comedy, 1786:

"O, ye villain! you - you - you are a black sheep; and I'll mark you."

It isn't entirely clear why black sheep were selected to symbolize worthlessness. Possibly it is just the linking of black things with bad things, which is a long standing allusion in English texts - black mood, black looks etc. It may also be because shepherds disliked black sheep as their fleeces weren't suitable for dying and so were worth less than those of white sheep.

Old joke alert -

'Why do black sheep eat less than white ones?'. 'There aren't as many of them.'

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