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The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

San Juan’s Train Network Enters 21st Century C

onnecting San Juan to the Urban Train System began its first phase. Mayor Jorge Santini announced a light rail net-

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work connecting Old San Juan to the Sacred Heart stop 26 in Santurce was initiated. The entire project should be completed by the end of

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Exquisite Cuisine in an Oppulent Setting 2013 and cost $375 million. Mayor Santini reported the expectation that 70,000 people will use the rail system daily increasing use of the existing Urban Train 30%. The light rail will cover 5.4 miles and offer 15 stops in Santurce. The system will connect Old San Juan to the Convention Center and then follow Fernández Juncos Avenue until reaching stop 26 the Sacred Heart Station. The mayor

said 25% of the cost will be paid by the Astral Municipal Government and 75% by private contributions. A group of private equity firms are interested including spanish and German companies. The train system should increase real state values along its path or will inspire the economic impact of reconstruction. The mayor said local tax incentives will help motivate the renovations expected at each of the 15 stops.

Justice Warns Attorney General About HIV/AIDS Victim’s Exclussion From Occupational Training and Licensing

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rade schools, both public and private, for nursing, barbering, cosmetology, massage therapy, home health care work and other occupations, as well as state licensing agencies may be illegally denying individuals with HIV/ AIDS admission to trade schools and/or occupational licenses because of their HIV status. Individuals living with HIV/ AIDS are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act which gives federal and civil rights protection to persons with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, and territorial local government services. The issue reached the attention of the Justice Department after it entered into a settlement agreement with a private cosmetology school in Bayamon, Puerto Rico for delaying the admission of an HIV-positive individual. As part of the settlement agreement, the

school must remove questions about applicants’ HIV/AIDS status and promptly enroll the aggrieved individual in its cosmetology program. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls to reduce stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV. In the letter to attorneys general, Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division asked the attorney generals to review their respective jurisdictions’ admission and licensing criteria for trade schools and licensing agencies to identify the existence of any criteria that unlawfully excludes or discriminates against persons with HIV/AIDS and take necessary steps to bring each program in compliance. HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact or by circumstances present in massage therapy, barber shop activities, cosmetology, and home health care occupations therefore the

denial of applicants based on HIV/ AIDS status is illegal. The Justice Department has engaged in a sweeping dialogue on the discrimination to curb more embarrassing settlement cases in favor of individuals with discrimination complaints. The fear with employment, education, and certification discrimination against HIV and AIDS is the stigma persons living with the virus undergo. As well as the grave concern that people who carry the virus will be less likely to share their status with those in a need to know relationship with the individual who lives with HIV/ AIDS. There is also a large fear, still, among people to get tested for HIV. Without reducing and eradicating the fear of HIV/AIDS discrimination and rejection, organizations like AIDS. GOV are not able to perform or serve the individuals and HIV communities

and populations who need support. AIDS.GOV seeks to establish an environment where HIV-positive and individuals with AIDS feel safe about getting tested and seeking treatment. The National HIV/AIDs Strategy calls upon the DOJ and other federal agencies to strengthen enforcement of civil rights laws for the HIV/AIDS population in Puerto Rico.


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The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

Puerto Rican to Head Seismological Society of America

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hrista von Hillebrandt-Andrade, manager of the NOAA National Weather Service Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program, has been named as the new president of the Seismological Society of America (SSA). With the announcement at the SSA’s 2011 Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tenn., she became the first NOAA/NWS official and only the second woman elected to the prestigious post in the organization’s 105-year history. Her selection was announced by SSA Board Member Mary Lou Zoback who noted, “Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade is a wellrecognized expert on tsunamis and seismology. Her leadership will provide the society with an opportunity to strengthen its interaction and involvement with Latin American seismologists.” Prior to her appointment as head of the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program in 2010, she served as the director of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network and as a member of the University of Puerto Rico Geology Department in

Mayagüez. Her experience in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and South America has afforded her a unique familiarity with a variety of natural hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. “As evidenced recently in Japan and Haiti, the vulnerability of human life from earthquakes continues to increase,” said von Hillebrandt Andrade. “Saving lives in these cases is a complex puzzle in which every piece is essential. The interface between science and the protection of life depends on our continuing progress in understanding the processes at work.” The author and co-author of more than 50 journal papers and abstracts on earthquakes and tsunamis, von Hillebrandt-Andrade has also served on the Puerto Rico Earthquake Safety Commission and the Puerto Rico Tsunami Technical Review Committee. In addition to her membership in the SSA, she is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the American Geophysical

Union and the Geological Society of Puerto Rico. The SSA twice elected her as a director in 2007 and 2010 and as vice president in 2009. During the last six years, she has served as a member of United States delegations to the United Nations (UNESCO) meetings on tsunamis and the oceans. In 2010, she was elected vice-chair of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Coordination Group on Tsunamis and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions - encompassing more than 40 nations and territories in the Caribbean and Americas. After graduating as a geologist from the University of Delaware, von Hillebrandt-Andrade went to Quito, Ecuador, as a Fulbright Scholar and received a master’s degree in Geology from the Escuela Politécnica Nacional. She played an important role in monitoring the active volcanoes of that Andean county and co-authored its first volcanic hazard maps as a Research Engineer with the Nacional’s Geophysical Institute.

Founded in 1906 in San Francisco, the Seismological Society of America now has members throughout the world representing a variety of technical interests. Members include seismologists and other geophysicists, geologists, engineers, insurers, and policy-makers in preparedness and safety. The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. It operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at Weather.gov and on Facebook.


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April 28 - May 4, 2011

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The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

See Ancient Earth From Space

By John Roach

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ver the past 750 million years, our earth has gone through remarkable changes — continents have shifted, ice ages have come and gone, sea levels have risen and fallen, and one-time deserts have turned green, allowing creatures to crawl out of the oceans and live off the land. These changes are now being made visible by the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. The first set of the Visible Paleo Earth visualizations were released, on Earth Day, and more will be available in coming weeks. “I think people looking at the whole period will realize how fragile our planet is, how it changes,” Abel Mendez, who is leading the project, told me in advance of the public release.

Visualization construction Mendez constructed the visualizations by combing through color images of Earth from NASA’s Next Generation Blue Marble project and blending them with the global paleoclimate reconstructions.

mass among the continents has changed dramatically over the past 750 million years, but the total land area has stayed consistent – between about 10 and 30 percent of total surface area. “I was expecting to see more,” he said. The color of the land area changes dramatically, especially beginning 500 million years ago, during an era known as the Cambrian Period. Life was small-sized back then, and mostly confined to the oceans. As a result, the continents were mostly deserts. From that point forward, terrestrial life began to flourish. In the years leading up to the extinction of the dinosaurs, he noted, the planet was even greener than it is today. “That is something nice to see in the pictures,” he told me. “Today we have too many deserts. The dinosaurs had more food.” Habitable exoplanets In addition to providing Earthlings with a voyeuristic view of the changes through time on their own planet, Mendez’s project is part of a larger goal to understand the habitability of Earthlike planets around other stars. Today, very few exoplanets can be directly imaged, but that will change in coming years. Mendez hopes to learn how the light reflected by faraway terrestrial planets changes can vary, depending on how much ice or vegetation covers their landscapes. “If we can see that light, we will be able to have an idea of the con-

tinental distribution and how much vegetation” the planets have, Mendez said. For today, the focus is on our planet. These visualizations provide a view of Earth’s ever-changing continents and climate from the past to

the present. What’s in store for the future? “There are people who have some ideas of how the planet will be in the future with climate and continental change,” Mendez said. “Eventually, I will make images for those also.”

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University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo The Americas 65 million years ago just before the extinction of dinosaurs after an impact in the Yucatan Peninsula (center). Our planet was warmer, had many more forests and almost no ice caps during the end of the Cretaceous Period. As he built the visualizations, Mendez said he was struck by the fact that the distribution of land

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April 28 - May 4, 2011

Obama’s Debt Plan Sets Stage for Long Battle Over Spending By MARK LANDLER and MICHAEL D. SHEAR

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resident Obama made the case for slowing the rapid growth of the national debt while retaining core Democratic values, proposing a mix of long-term spending cuts, tax increases and changes to social welfare programs as his opening position in a fierce partisan budget battle over the nation’s fiscal challenges. After spending months on the sidelines as Republicans laid out their plans, Mr. Obama jumped in to present an alternative and a philosophical rebuttal to the conservative approach that will reach the House floor on Friday. Republican leaders were working Wednesday to round up votes for that measure and one to finance the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Mr. Obama said his proposal would cut federal budget deficits by a cumulative $4 trillion over 12 years, compared with a deficit reduction of $4.4 trillion over 10 years in the Republican plan. But the president said he would use starkly different means, rejecting the fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid proposed by Republicans and relying in part on tax increases on affluent Americans. The president framed his proposal as a balanced alternative to the Republican plan, setting the stage for a debate that will consume Washington in coming weeks, as the administration faces off with Congress over raising the national debt ceiling, and into next year, as the president runs for reelection. Mr. Obama named Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to lead the negotiations with Congress, which the administration hopes

will produce the outlines of a deal by the end of June, though a detailed agreement might have to await the outcome of the 2012 election. Mr. Biden played a similar role in talks that averted a government shutdown at the 11th hour, over issues far less thorny than those on the table now. In a 44-minute speech to an audience at George Washington University that included Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the author of the Republican plan, Mr. Obama was often combative and partisan, saying the Republican approach would hurt the elderly by driving up the cost of medical care, deprive millions of health insurance and starve the nation of investments in its future. “These are the kind of cuts that tells us we can’t afford the America that I believe in,” he said. “I believe it paints a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic.” “There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires

and billionaires,” the president continued, as Mr. Ryan sat stone faced. “There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.” Yet Mr. Obama acknowledged that the rising medical costs and the mounting debt required action. And he warned Democrats that his administration would have to cut cherished programs and strictly limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid. “If we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society,” he said, “we have the obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments.” Mr. Obama said he would meet his $4 trillion deficit-reduction target by cutting spending across a range of government programs, from farm subsidies to federal pension insurance. He called for cutting $400 billion more in military spending — twice what his defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, told Congress was the largest cut he could recommend. In a sign of the tensions the plan may cause within the administration, officials at the Pentagon said Mr. Gates was not told of Mr. Obama’s proposal until Tuesday. In a statement, a Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, said that “further significant defense cuts” would reduce the military’s capability. “It is important that any reduction in funding be shaped by strategy and policy choices, and not be a budget math exercise,” Mr. Morrell said. Republicans criticized the plan, both for the cuts in military spending and for what they said was an overall lack of detail. “Republicans, led by Chairman Ryan, have set the bar with a jobs budget that puts us on a path to paying down the debt and preserves Medicare and Medicaid for the future,” Speaker John A. Boehner said in a statement. “This afternoon, I didn’t hear a plan to match it from the president.” Mr. Boehner repeated a threat to refuse to raise the $14.3 trillion ceiling on the national debt, which the government is likely to breach in early July, unless the administration agrees to rein in spending and deficits. The administration has sought to keep the debt ceiling issue separate from the broader budget debate, and Mr. Obama addressed it only indirectly on Wednesday. “If our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts,” Mr. Obama said, “that could drive up interest rates for everyone.” Still, in what some analysts said was a gesture to Republicans, Mr. Obama said

his plan would contain a trigger to require across-the-board spending cuts if, by 2014, the federal debt was still projected to be rising as a percentage of the total economy. The trigger would apply not only to spending but also to what the administration calls “tax expenditures” — essentially payments to taxpayers for deductions for charitable donations or home mortgages. The use of the phrase “tax expenditures” allows the administration to lump taxrelated issues into the spending category. Mr. Obama was more direct in his call for allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for higherincome Americans to expire in 2012. The president agreed to extend the cuts last December, as part of a budget deal with the newly elected Republican majority in the House. Now, with the economy getting back on its feet, Mr. Obama attacked the demand by Republicans to make the lower tax rates permanent as emblematic of their plan to enrich the wealthy on the backs of the elderly and poor. “They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors to each pay $6,000 more in health costs? That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I am president,” Mr. Obama said, his only line that drew applause. While Mr. Obama’s plan does not detail specific cuts, analysts said it offered enough detail to set off a substantive debate with Republicans. Some said the proposal for capping the annual cost increase in Medicare and Medicaid to just above the economic growth rate was surprisingly conservative. Others said they were pleased that Mr. Obama had called for overhauling Social Security, even if he was vague and said it was not a leading culprit for the deficit. “It looks like Ryan smoked him out, so to speak,” said Rudolph G. Penner, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. Mr. Penner said Mr. Obama’s plan hewed closely to the recommendations of his commission on deficit reduction. Mr. Obama did not explicitly endorse those recommendations when the commission submitted its report in December — a decision that fueled criticism from Republicans and some Democrats that he was not facing up to the tough choices in the budget debate. The co-chairmen of that commission — Erskine B. Bowles, who was a chief of a staff to President Bill Clinton, and former Senator Alan K. Simpson — were in the audience, along with Mr. Biden. At one point, Mr. Biden appeared to nod off, closing his eyes for 30 seconds.


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

9 Mainland

This Army Unit Was Bogus, Prosecutors Charge

By IAN LOVETT

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o the Chinese immigrants he recruited, Yupeng Deng was known as Supreme Commander. He offered them United States Army uniforms, conducted training exercises on Sundays, led marches in municipal parades and promised a path toward American citizenship. The uniforms were real, but Mr. Deng’s U.S. Army/ Military Special Forces Reserve unit was a sham, the authorities said.

Mr. Deng, 51, was arraigned in Los Angeles County Court on 13 felony charges related to the fake military operation, which concentrated on Chinese immigrants, eager to become American citizens, in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles. More than 100 immigrants paid upwards of $300 to join the bogus unit, the authorities said, and $120 to renew their memberships each year. In addition, recruits could increase their rank with additional cash donations to Mr. Deng, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case. To entice recruits, Mr. Deng also set up an office decorated to look like a real military recruiting office. Once they had paid, he provided gear bought from army surplus stores and identification cards made to look like military ID’s, which Mr. Deng said they could use to get out of traffic tickets, said Laura Eimiller, a public affairs specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles. Despite its lack of affiliation with the Army, the unit became a well-known presence in the San Gabriel Valley. The group has marched in city parades in Monterey Park for the last two years, and also took a tour of the U.S.S. Midway Museum in San Diego, dressed in military uniforms. Daniel Deng, a lawyer who is representing Yupeng Deng but is not related to him, said the group was set up to

help Chinese immigrants assimilate into American society. “When you apply for American citizenship, you have to show you’re a person of good moral character,” Daniel Deng said. “The group had nothing to do with the military. It was for people who wanted to train to apply for the military.” A group called Special Forces Reserve has been registered as a nonprofit in California since 2009. The authorities, however, said that members of the group thought their unit was affiliated with the American military. Ms. Eimiller said the F.B.I. began investigating the fake unit in 2008, after the police reported that members were producing counterfeit military ID’s at traffic stops. Members also began showing up at real Army offices to pay renewal fees, instead of paying the fees directly to Mr. Deng, she said. Joaquin Lim, a city councilman from Walnut who served in the military, said the group had seemed suspicious for years, with unkempt, ill-fitting uniforms. “There were typos and misspellings on the ID card, so I knew there was something wrong,” Mr. Lim said. When investigators searched Mr. Deng’s residence, they also found evidence of child pornography on his home computer. He will be arraigned in that case next week. If Mr. Deng is convicted on all the charges, he could face more than 11 years in prison.


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April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

For Many Chinese Men, No Deed Means No Dates By ANDREW JACOBS

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n the realm of eligible bachelors, Wang Lin has a lot to recommend him. A 28-year-old college-educated insurance salesman, Mr. Wang has a flawless set of white teeth, a tolerable karaoke voice and a three-year-old Nissan with furry blue seat covers. “My friends tell me I’m quite handsome,” he said in confident English one recent evening, fingering his car keys as if they were a talisman. But by the exacting standards of single Chinese women, it seems, Mr. Wang lacks that bankable attribute known as real property. Given that even a cramped, two-bedroom apartment on the dusty fringe of the capital sells for about $150,000, Mr. Wang’s $900-a-month salary means he may forever be condemned to the ranks of the renting. Last year, he said, this deficiency prompted a high-end dating agency to reject his application. In recent months, half a dozen women have turned down a second meeting after learning that he had no means to buy a home. “Sometimes I wonder if I will ever find a wife,” said Mr. Wang, who lives with his parents, retired factory workers who remind him of his single status with nagging regularity. “I feel like a loser.” There have been many undesirable repercussions of China’s unrelenting real estate boom, which has driven prices up by 140 percent nationwide since 2007, and by as much as 800 percent in Beijing over the past eight years. Workingclass buyers have been frozen out of the market while an estimated 65 million apartments across the country bought as speculative investments sit empty. The frenzy starts with the local governments that sell off land at steep prices, and is frothed up by overeager developers who force residents out of old neighborhoods, sometimes prompting self-immolations among the dispossessed. But largely overlooked is the collateral damage to urban young professionals, especially men, who increasingly find themselves lovelorn and despairing as a growing number of women hold out for a mate with a deed. The marriage competition is fierce, and statistically,

A billboard promoting real estate in Beijing. Amid a real estate boom, men are finding themselves lovelorn as women hold out for a mate with property. women hold the cards. Given the nation’s gender imbalance, an outgrowth of a cultural preference for boys and China’s stringent family-planning policies, as many as 24 million men could be perpetual bachelors by 2020, according to a report issued jointly by the Chinese Research Association of Marriage and Family and the All-China Women’s Federation. Zhang Yanhong, a matchmaking consultant at Baihe, one of the country’s most popular dating sites, said many disheartened men had simply dropped out of the marriage market. “This fixation on real estate has twisted the popular notion of love and marriage,” she said. “Women are putting economic factors above everything else when looking for a mate and this is not a good thing for relationships or for society.” The nation’s real-estate obsession is especially noteworthy given China’s relatively recent embrace of home ownership. The sale of residential property was not allowed until the late 1980s, and even then under a leasehold system that gives purchasers 70 years of ownership. Today, about two-thirds of all Chinese under 40 own their own homes, slightly higher than the average for Americans of the same age group. With few other outlets for investment (those who park their money in a Chinese bank effectively lose money, given low interest rates and high inflation), many families have been plowing their savings into apartments, spurring what some economists describe as a bubble. Han Han, one of China’s most widely read bloggers, frequently assails the government policies that he and many economists say have contributed to rapidly rising prices. In an interview, he said one consequence of the singleminded focus on real estate, or on earning the money to make mortgage payments and repay family loans, is that young people have little time for anything else. “We’ve created a generation of young people whose sole ambition is to have a piece of property under their name,” he said. Like many anxious bachelors, Yang Xuning, 29, a sportswriter from Beijing, said much of the pressure comes

from parents who are taunted by the wealth around them. He recalls his first meeting with his girlfriend’s parents in Shanghai last winter, when he was asked about his salary and his nesting plans. “I tried to reason with her mother, explaining that it’s not practical to buy something at this stage in our lives but she wouldn’t hear it,” he said. He stood his ground, she stood hers, and a few months later, on the second anniversary of their relationship, Mr. Yang’s girlfriend called it quits. “A lot of girls, encouraged by their parents, see marriage as a way of instantly changing their status without the hard work,” he said bitterly. Many women are unapologetic about their priorities, citing the age-old tradition in which men provided a home for their brides, even if that home came with a mother-in-law. There are also other concerns, including the instability of starting a family in rented premises and the endless badgering of parents. Status also plays a role, but so, too, do fears that those who put off buying will be priced out of the market indefinitely. Gao Yanan, a 27-year-old accountant with a fondness for Ray Bans and Zara pantsuits, said the matter was not up for debate. “It’s the guy’s responsibility to tell a girl right away whether he owns an apartment,” she said. “It gives her a chance not to fall in love.” With such women on the prowl, even men who do have their own homes have come up with techniques to weed out the covetous and the inordinately materialistic. Liu Binbin, 30, an editor at a publishing house in Beijing, said he often arrived at first dates by bus, even though he owned a car. “If they ask me questions like ‘Do you live with your parents?’ I know what they’re after,” he said. Mr. Liu said he went on 20 unfulfilling blind dates until finding a suitable girlfriend last year. He said he knew she was the one after passing the three-month mark. “The whole time she thought I didn’t own an apartment and she still wanted me,” he said. “Someone like that is rare.”


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

11

Uneasy Balancing Act in Jordan

Protesters shouted slogans and carried a banner as they marched during a demonstration against Lebanon’s sectarian political system and alleged corruption in Beirut in late February. By RANA F. SWEIS

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ith unrest continuing in Syria, violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and repression elsewhere in the region, Jordan is trying to walk a narrow path of managed reform. The balancing act is not easy. In the past week, a group made up mostly of members of professional associations and young people, calling itself the April 15 Movement, announced that it planned to hold rallies in southern Jordan on Friday to press for reforms. “There have been steps taken by the government to demonstrate that it is serious about reform,” said Mohammad Abu Rumman, a political analyst who writes for Al Ghad, a daily newspaper. “But there remains a gap and a lack of confidence between opposition groups and the government.” Anxiety was stoked last month in Amman when protests turned violent as pro-government supporters clashed with protesters calling for reform. On March 25, thousands joined a sit-in organized by a loose coalition of youth factions, civil society organizations, leftists, Islamists and nationalists demanding an end to corruption and autocracy, changes in election laws and constitutional reform. But the protest was attacked by pro-government demonstrators and in the ensuing melee, one person was killed and 62 civilians and 58 police officers wounded, according to the Public Security Department. Khairi Jamil Saad, 56, died of heart failure, the department said. His son, Nasser Saad, told reporters that the riot police had attacked and beaten him and his father. Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, speaking the same day, attributed the violence to

the Muslim Brotherhood, which he accused of fomenting trouble under orders from Islamist leaders in Syria and Egypt. “I tell them to stop playing with fire. Where are you taking Jordan?” he asked in an interview with the government-owned Jordan Television. Videos posted on YouTube and blogs, however, showed pro-government “loyalists” hurling rocks and yelling insults at the protesters. Videos also showed riot police beating protesters with batons as they tried to separate the two sides. Despite its claim of external Islamist interference, the government has condemned the attacks on demonstrators and has banned protests by its so-called loyalist supporters, as well as the carrying of any weapons including firearms, bats, stones and sharp tools. “Attempts to prevent peaceful demonstrations are condemned,” Mr. Bakhit said. “They harm Jordan’s image and reform drive.” In the aftermath of the clashes, angry rhetoric has continued, with some government supporters accusing the organizers of the demonstration, known as the March 24 Youth Movement, of treason amid signs of rising tensions between East Bank Jordanians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin. “Anyone who has any cause or any issue from the past thinks that now is the time to take things to the street and some have violated this right,” said Reem Badran, a parliamentarian who was the only woman to win a seat in the Lower House last year in elections through direct competition rather than the quota system. “For the most part though, the demands of the people on the street is something that most people agree on,” she added, “including comprehensive reform and better economic conditions.”

Civil society organizations, protesters and others have called for an investigation of the violence, and adding to the political confusion, at least 16 members of a National Dialogue Committee, formed by the prime minister to consider political reforms proposed by King Abdullah II, briefly resigned to object to the actions of the police in the March 25 confrontation. All but one later rejoined the committee. Differences among the various participants in the March 24 Youth Movement have also surfaced, with one group calling itself Jayeen (We are Coming) condemning the Muslim Brotherhood for claiming to speak on its behalf. “It will be difficult to gain the trust and confidence of those calling for reform and opposition groups but I don’t think it’s too late,” Mr. Abu Rumman said. “I believe if the National Committee members offer major and swift political reforms in the next few weeks and the government implements them, things can move forward.” So far, there have been moves toward political reform, but little concrete action. A change in the election laws is under discussion, as is the formation of a separate, independent political entity to oversee political parties. An amendment to a new Public Gathering Law, easing restrictions on the organization of rallies and protests, has recently been approved by the lower house of Parliament although it has yet to be endorsed by the Upper House. The lower house is elected, while upper house is appointed by the king. Following a series of meetings with teachers who have been demanding the right to form a union, the Ministry of Education has completed a draft law that it has undertaken to present to the cabinet. There has also been some movement on other fronts. The Anti-Corruption Commission announced this week that it had created a Facebook page. It said it would issue monthly reports to highlight its efforts to root out

corruption, a long-running grievance among many Jordanians. Still, opposition groups are unsatisfied by these developments. “We believe these changes are only cosmetic and don’t address the core issues that need to be implemented right away — and that includes a Parliament and a government that represents the people,” said Firas Mahadin, 31, a member of the March 24 Youth Movement in Amman. He suffered head wounds during the March 25 protests. “We will continue our protests,” he said, “we will not be intimidated and we will continue to demand that reforms be implemented on the ground.” Fearing more violence and civil strife, the government has created designated areas for protests: on April 3, when several hundred demonstrators gathered outside the municipal offices in Amman, the police successfully separated pro-government counterdemonstrators from the reformist protesters. No one was hurt. Still, the need now is for thinking to be “focused on the root causes that push the youth to participate or initiate sit-ins and demonstrations,” wrote Hassan Barari, a political scientist, in an editorial comment last week in the Jordan Times, a government-owned newspaper. “Absent from the public debate is the need to not only put a cap on corruption but to initiate projects that address the needs of the emerging youth,” Mr. Barari said. Though this is the government’s responsibility, he said, “leaders in the private sectors should understand that their businesses cannot keep prospering without a stable environment.” According to Mr. Abu Rumman: “The government is trying to demonstrate that it is serious about moving the country forward.” But “it needs to continue to implement tangible and essential reforms because these are long held grievances and problems,” he said. “They didn’t just begin now.”


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April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

Rec Room Treasures: Special Hand-Me-Down Paintings

By JOSEPH BERGER

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he two oil paintings hung for decades in the basement recreation room of the man’s childhood home in Connecticut, over the Ping-Pong table alongside a paint-by-numbers picture by his older sister. When his mother died a year ago at 99, an estate removal company offered the man, by now a graying health professional and Fordham University administrator living in Westchester, $125 apiece for the pictures, gilt frames included. But he decided he might do a little better if he had them appraised. There was obviously no hurry because it was not until last month that the man and his wife drove to a fund-raising event here, where an auction house was offering to appraise old toasters, china dishes or other objects collecting dust. There the man, who agreed to an interview on condition that he not be identified because of the confidential nature of his profession, was astonished by the murmur and buzz among the delighted appraisers. “Basically the whole floor stopped,” he said. The two landscapes — one a winter hunting scene at Niagara Falls and the other an autumn view of Mount Washington in New Hampshire — turned out to be canvases by Jasper F. Cropsey, a leading 19th-century artist of the Hudson River School. His paintings can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. The paintings have been authenticated, through the artist’s signatures, brush

strokes, themes and earlier sketches, by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., which is on the site of Cropsey’s last home and is regarded as the authority in all matters Cropsey. “Every year new paintings that have been lost come to light, but these are two of the more exciting paintings that have surfaced,” said Kenneth W. Maddox, the foundation’s art historian, who is compiling a catalogue raisonné of Cropsey’s 2,500 paintings. “I can’t say I like the Niagara Falls in that the human figures are clumsy, but these are paintings from his peak period.” The two 15-by-24-inch paintings, their varnish yellowed and crusted with dirt, are scheduled to be auctioned off May 15 at the Clarke Auction Gallery in Larchmont. While Mr. Maddox said Cropseys of that size have sold in a bustling art market for between $250,000 and $500,000 and the record for larger Cropseys is $2.5 million, the auction house is starting the bidding at between $40,000 and $60,000 each, which it thinks is very conservative. “At the end of the day we hope it flies through the roof,” said Ronan Clarke, owner of the 14-year-old auction house. Rembrandt-in-the-attic fantasies do come to life from time to time with Hudson River School painters. Mr. Maddox told of one framed Cropsey that hung in a school in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and in the 1980s was given away to the custodian with the directions that he use the glass inside the frame to fix a shattered window. Someone from the local historical society eventually recognized the painting’s value, and it now hangs at the Thyssen-

Bornemisza Museum in Madrid. Mr. Maddox said that Hudson River painters like Cropsey, who lived from 1823 to 1900, were esteemed in their lifetimes, but by the 20th century their works were often forgotten. Descendants of the original buyers sometimes did not appreciate what they had and neglected the works. The paintings’ owner said his artworks had been acquired by his paternal grandmother, a Swedish immigrant, and he speculated that she was given them after she was widowed and worked as a seamstress for wealthy families along Fifth Avenue. She died in 1930, and the family simply assumed the paintings were cheap reproductions. So when the paintings’ owner and his wife were standing in line waiting for their appraisal behind the owner of a 1950s chrome toaster (valued at $50), they were not expecting much. “I thought ‘the toaster is probably worth more than these paintings,’ ” he said. Mr. Clarke and another appraiser, Nelia Moore, realized the paintings were of very good quality and worth investigating. They checked the Internet and found that Sotheby’s had sold a painting in 1988 called “Three Indians Stalking Deer” that resembled the autumn scene. They called the foundation. The winter painting, “Prospect Point, Niagara Falls in Winter,” depicts two hunters and a dog on a snow-blanketed bluff overlooking the falls. It has Cropsey’s signature in the lower left corner. Cropsey

went to Niagara Falls three times around 1856, and the painting probably dates from the decade afterward, Mr. Maddox said. Sketches for that painting are in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and another Niagara winter scene is at the Art Institute of Chicago. The autumn scene, “Autumn in America,” a title that Cropsey inscribed in pencil on the back, casts the leaves in vivid russet, with American Indians and deer that are hard to discern. It was part of the first of six sets of the four seasons that Cropsey painted around 1860 while working in England. That set was sold off individually, so the autumn landscape’s discovery was especially satisfying to the foundation because it was the one missing member. The foundation owns the spring scene among its collection of 150 Cropseys and knows the locations of the two other seasons. “It solved a very nice problem for me,” Mr. Maddox said. The auction house decided not to clean the paintings on the chance that among the bidders would be a museum or two, who would do the restoration, according to the appraiser, Tom Curran. Meanwhile, the delighted owner thinks back on how the paintings survived the close calls of his youth, hanging in the basement during teenage rock ’n’ roll parties. Family photographs and needlepoints were given a more honored spot in the living room. “Thank God we didn’t use them as a dartboard,” he said.


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

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New York Times Editorials Raise America’s Taxes By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

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resident Obama in his speech confronted a topic that is harder to address seriously in public than sex or flatulence: America needs higher taxes. That ugly truth looms over today’s budget battles, but politicians have mostly preferred to run from reality. Mr. Obama’s speech was excellent not only for its content but also because he didn’t insult our intelligence. There is no single reason for today’s budget mess, but it’s worth remembering that the last time our budget was in the black was in the Clinton administration. That’s a broad hint that one sensible way to overcome our difficulties would be to revert to tax rates more or less as they were under President Clinton. That single step would solve three-quarters of the deficit for the next five years or so. Paradoxically, nothing makes the need for a tax increase more clear than the Republican budget proposal crafted by Representative Paul Ryan. The Republicans propose slashing spending far more than the public would probably accept — even dismantling Medicare — and rely on economic assumptions that are not merely rosy, but preposterous. Yet even so, the Republican plan shows

continuing budget deficits until the 2030s. In short, we can’t plausibly slash our way back to solid fiscal ground. We need more revenue. Kudos to Mr. Obama for boldly stating that truth in his speech — even if he did focus only on taxes for the very wealthiest. I also thought he was right to say that we need spending cuts — including in our defense budget. Mr. Obama didn’t say so, but the United States accounts for almost as much military spending as the entire rest of the world put together. As I see it, there are three fallacies common in today’s budget discussions: • Republicans are the party of responsible financial stewardship, struggling to put America on a sound footing. In truth, both parties have been wildly irresponsible, but in cycles. Democrats were more irresponsible in the 1960s, the two parties both seemed care-free in the ’70s and ’80s, and since then the Republicans have been staggeringly reckless. After the Clinton administration began paying down America’s debt, Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts, waded into a trilliondollar war in Iraq, and approved an unfunded prescription medicine benefit — all by borrowing from China. Then-Vice President Dick Cheney scoffed that “deficits don’t matter.”

Behind the Abortion War By GAIL COLLINS

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art of the price of keeping the government operating this week is another debate over the financing of Planned Parenthood. Whoopee. At least it’ll give us a chance to reminisce about Senator Jon Kyl, who gave that speech against federal support for Planned Parenthood last week that was noted for: A) its wild inaccuracy; and B) his staff’s explanation that the remarks were “not intended to be a factual statement.” This is the most memorable statement to come out of politics since Newt Gingrich told the world that he was driven to commit serial adultery by excessive patriotism. The speech in question was Kyl’s rejoinder to the argument that Planned Parenthood provides a critically important national network of women’s health services. “You don’t have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does,” Kyl declared. Planned Parenthood says that abortions, which are not paid for with federal money, constitute 3 percent of the services that the

organization provides. That’s quite a gap. But only if you’re planning on going factual. Anyhow, that was definitely a high point. Next year, Kyl is retiring from the Senate and returning to the private sector, where he will have leisure to contemplate that this was the single moment of his public career for which he became nationally famous. But there’s another part of Kyl’s speech that’s more significant. Take a look at the “good” nonabortion services he does mention. They don’t include contraception, which seems strange since Planned Parenthood has definitely gone public with its association with family planning. And he’s not alone. Senator Patty Murray, one of the leaders of the defense of Planned Parenthood in the Senate, says that she doesn’t remember any of the lawmakers who wanted to strip Planned Parenthood’s funds mentioning that they supported contraception services. “They just lump everything into one big basket with the word ‘abortion,’ ” she said. This is important because it speaks to a disconnect in the entire debate we’ve been having about women and reproduction. For eons now, people have been wondering why the two sides can’t just join hands and agree

This borrow-and-spend Republican history makes it galling when Republicans now assert that deficits are the only thing that matter — and call for drastic spending cuts, two-thirds of which would harm lowincome and moderate-income Americans, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. To pay for tax cuts heaped largely on the wealthiest Americans, Republicans in effect would gut Medicare and slash jobs programs, family planning and college scholarships. Instead of spreading opportunity, federal policy would cap it. • Low tax rates are essential to create incentives for economic growth: a tax increase would stifle the economy. It’s true that, in general, higher taxes tend to reduce incentives. But this seems a weak effect, often overwhelmed by other factors. Were Americans really lazier in the 1950s, when marginal tax rates peaked at more than 90 percent? Are people in hightax states like Massachusetts more lackadaisical than folks in a state like Florida that has no personal income tax at all? Tax increases can also send a message of prudence that stimulates economic growth. The Clinton tax increase of 1993 was followed by a golden period of high growth, while the Bush tax cuts were followed by an anemic economy.

• We can’t afford Medicare. It’s true that America faces a basic problem with rapidly rising health care costs. But the Republican plan does nothing serious to address health care spending, other than stop paying bills. Indeed, Medicare is cheaper to administer than private health insurance (2 percent to 6 percent administrative costs, depending on who does the math, compared with about 12 percent for private plans). So the Republican plan might add to health care spending rather than curb it. The real challenge is to control health care inflation. Nobody is certain how to do that, but the Obama health care law is testing some plausible ideas. These include rigorous research on which procedures work and which don’t. Why pay for surgery on enlarged prostates if certain kinds of patients turn out to be better with no treatment at all? Ever since Walter Mondale publicly committed hara-kiri in 1984 by telling voters that he would raise their taxes, politicians have run from fiscal reality. As baby boomers age and require Social Security and Medicare, escapism will no longer suffice. We need to have a frank national discussion of painful steps ahead, and since I’m not a politician, let me be perfectly clear: raise my taxes!

to work together to reduce the number of abortions by expanding the availability of family-planning services and contraception. The answer is that a large part of the antiabortion community is also anti-contraception. “The fact is that 95 percent of the contraceptives on the market kill the baby in the womb,” said Jim Sedlak of the American Life League. “Fertility and babies are not diseases,” said Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, which has been fighting against requiring insurance plans to cover contraceptives under the new health care law. Many anti-abortion activists believe that human life and, therefore, pregnancy begin when the human egg is fertilized and that standard birth control pills cause abortions by keeping the fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. This isn’t the general theory on either count. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines pregnancy as beginning with the fertilized egg’s implantation. Dr. Vanessa Cullins of Planned Parenthood says that the pills inhibit the production of eggs or stop the sperm before they reach their destination. “There is absolutely no direct evidence that there is interference with implantation,” she said. Beyond the science, there’s the fact that

many social conservatives are simply opposed to giving women the ability to have sex without the possibility of procreation. “Contraception helps reduce one’s sexual partner to just a sexual object since it renders sexual intercourse to be without any real commitments,” says Janet Smith, the author of “Contraception: Why Not.” The reason this never comes up in the debates about reproductive rights in Washington is that it has no popular appeal. Abortion is controversial. Contraception isn’t. A new report by the Guttmacher Institute found that even women who are faithful Catholics or evangelicals are likely to rely on the pill, I.U.D.’s or sterilization to avoid pregnancy. Rachel Jones, a lead author of the report, said the researchers found “no indication whatsoever” that religious affiliation has any serious effect on contraception use. What we have here is a wide-ranging attack on women’s right to control their reproductive lives that the women themselves would strongly object to if it was stated clearly. So the attempt to end federal financing for Planned Parenthood, which uses the money for contraceptive services but not abortion, is portrayed as an anti-abortion crusade. It makes sense, as long as you lay off the factual statements.


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The San Juan Weeekly

LETTERS Our Narcocapitolio The bulk of crime here---the 800 slaughtered yearly, the concommitant torment, the fear, the loss of property, the bully cops, the expense of all the rejas and alarms and the private guards, who bully people even more than the cops do---it all comes from drugs. Without them we’d be back to the halcyon days cuando los perros se amarraban con longanizas, as the saying went, when you could tie saussage to dogs and they wouldn’t eat it because they were having it so good anyway. At the time it all hit the fan, then Gov. RHC was devoting every fibre of his being to that red-herring status plebiscite, he talked of nothing else, that was never held, and we were all dumb enough to think it would be. If you’re a junkie and with a prescription and you can get your fix at Walgreen’s for $1.75, you won’t be mugging anybody, will you? And the narcotraffickers will be filing for Chapter Eleven soon enough, won’t they? So why does our Legislature tenaciously oppose medicalization of dope? Even while it’s worked everywhere else. “By their actions you shall know them,” it says somewhere in the Bible. Why belabor the obvious? We’ve seen time and again what conniving dastards our pols are. Can anybody assert with a straight face that they can’t be on the Colombian Cartel’s payroll? Like Panama’s Noriega before them. I mean, narcotics is big money. Juan Vega, Caparra Heights

Gangsters have no trouble getting whatever weaponry tickles their fancy. Neither do politicians nor their moneyed puppetmasters. Amid ribbon-wire-fenced residencial citadels and the packs of security ruffians. Alas, it is the middle-class buffer, we who catch the bullets, who ought to be entitled to lawfully shoot back. The 2nd Amendment is indeed about democracy. And notice it’s not the 9th or the 10th. Without the right to bear arms, there’d likely be no United States. Britain allowed the colonials all the muskets because the land was teeming with crocs, rattlesnakes, grizzlies, cougars, and wolves. So the afternoon the Redcoats figured themselves Figueroa Sancha’s oinks, Lexington and Concord happened. Tell me Mr, Aragón, a Riot Squader is strangling to kill or sexually manhandling a child of yours and you’re nearby, Kalashnikov in the car, how do you react? An armed citizenry deters tyranny. The downside you don’t mention is the accidental shootings that stem from a gun in every household. Food coupons for burgers is great if the purchaser gets a good deal. Greasy foodstuffs are bad for well-fed you. But they’re sure healthful to the underweight hungry. As always, you’ve plenty to talk, despite precious little to say. And you bite. Samari Samaria Salcedo, Caparra Hts.

Unfair & Discriminatory UPR Alumni used to get the chance to enroll for stuff we needed to update---say, business or engineering--or for the sheer fun of it---like languages or lit. But now with the $800, added to even a single nighttime course, means we older folks are plain locked out of campus. Ana Montes, Las Lomas

Reckless Governance To Gov. Fortuñ0::

You’re Still at It To J.D. Aragón: In the Spanish Civil War epic film Libertarias, a young republicano officer tells a falangista colonel he’s just captured, “Your duty was to uphold the leadership elected by the people, to enforce democracy.” To which the respondent barks lispily, “ I owe no allegiance to a government of gentuza.”

students in steerage obstreperously demanding their gates be unlocked to climb out. Couldn’t they get it through their thick skulls there weren’t enough lifeboats? On deck in the ballroom Fortuño, Pierluisi, McClintock and Milla de Oro gentry were enjoying the finer things of life, that they’ve earned by outwitting the lumpen, who patently wouldn’t rise above their vices and indolence anyway. It’s a winner’s world, nature screams out. Crisálida Martínez, San Juan

Birds of a Feather Criminals maltreat you because of something you have they want. Your wallet, your car, your charms if you’re a woman. But cops harass, humiliate and even beat you if you’re poor or young. Just because they enjoy doing so. It needn’t be that way. Psychological evaluating is up to the task of weeding out such aberrant individuals. But politicians will never consent. Next thing they know we’ll want them tested. Marta García, Ocean Park

More NPP Mischief The penepeístas continue to dismantle democracy here as they force Puerto Rico toward an obscene and ultimately dysfunctional merchant plutocracy. The purpose of colegiatura or professional guilds is quality control, protection of the consumer and integrity of the socioeconomy. First the NPP reptiles took on the Colegio de Abogados, ascribing them a political agenda. But it was a sham, the real targets were everybody else. In the long run big business won’t be served by the accross-the-board collapse of professional comptence on the Island. And we consumers will be gutted by a generation of professionals who’ve not kept abreast, need not worry about any oversight and therefore don’t know much about what they’re doing and don’t care. Crisálida Martínez, San Juan

No, Governor, let’s not have another status plebiscite. Lift the UPR “quota” instead. No, Governor, don’t hire all those new cops, provide adequate public schooling instead. No, Governor, we don’t need more highways, mass transit instead would save many lives. Ayla Bond, Miramar

The San Juan Weekly Send your opinions and ideas to: The San Juan Weeekly PO BOX 6537 Caguas PR 00726 Or e-mail us at:

Pay the $800! Last night Titanic was on the tube again. Funny how the mind transposes imagery. There were the UPR

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April 28 - May 4, 2011

San Juan Weekly

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modern love

Sharing the Shame After My Arrest By BROOKE RINEHART

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E had been married for just over a year when the F.B.I. showed up at our house at 6 a.m. and arrested me. They arrested my husband, too, although at the time that seemed beside the point. A stickler for rules who had never even gotten a speeding ticket, I was handcuffed in my mismatched pajamas and hauled away. My teeth weren’t even brushed. The charges against me — against us both — were wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. In a state of shock, I began babbling to the F.B.I. agents that I would never open mail that wasn’t addressed to me. (Never. Ever.) If only it were that simple. When the indictment was unsealed, I learned that my dear husband had, in the simplest terms, used my identity to embezzle tens of thousands of dollars from his workplace, among other crimes. His using my identity made it look as if I was involved. I wasn’t. I appeared in a federal courtroom to plead not guilty. A newspaper photographer chased me down the street, trying to get a picture of my face. I handed over my passport to the court. I took drug tests, a process that almost made me laugh. What would show up: my Claritin? I was assigned a probation officer that I had to see every week. I took more drug tests. I wasn’t allowed to leave the state unless the court approved. I died inside, day by day. I vacated the beautiful house my husband and I had bought eight months earlier, leaving my clothes and the new kitchen gadgets from my bridal shower, leaving the new neighborhood where I had begun to make friends, and leaving my husband, and I moved home: a 28-year-old going back to my parents’ house while my personal life was plastered across the news, everyone saying I had conspired to commit crimes. At first my husband tried to communicate with me, tried to apologize, but my lawyer contended it was unwise to be in touch given the charges. So my contact with my husband, my love of five years, ceased completely. The federal charges were held against me for 90 days. That might not sound like a long time when discussing, say, party plans. But when facing criminal charges, losing your home and leaving the man you loved (or thought you loved, because, after all, who was he, really?) without so much as a word of goodbye — when that’s your life, 90

days is an eternity. I decided to sleep on the couch at my parents’ house. I was unable to go into my bedroom, where I had played with dolls, learned to paint my nails and held slumber parties. It seemed like a sign of true regression and failure to sleep in my childhood bed at 28. So I slept on the couch. The couch was perpendicular to the TV so I could lie down and watch mindless programming all night. It was parallel to the matching love seat: a furniture set covered in stiff, green, outdated fabric. I slept on that couch for 90 nights, the full period I faced federal charges. And for those 90 nights, my mother slept on the love seat, her limbs hanging off at odd angles. I didn’t ask her to sleep there. She just did. “We have so many beds in this house,” my father said. “Why isn’t anyone using them?” “Because Brooke can’t,” my mother answered. I mostly stopped eating. My mother mostly stopped eating. My father tried to encourage us to take a few bites at each meal. “We can’t,” my mother said. My days were spent in a dark haze. I fantasized about accidental death. While driving I would think, “How fast would I need to go to miss the turn and hit a tree?” While walking up stairs: “What if I were to trip and fall backwards? Might I hit my head and never wake up?” I could barely see my mother during the night even with the light from the TV, though she was only 10 feet away. Occasionally I could hear her breathing or her movements as she adjusted an arm or leg in her cramped quarters. I’d stare in her direction, wondering if she was staring back. I didn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time, my heart pounding. “Are you O.K.?” she’d whisper. “Are you O.K.?” I’d whisper back.

It was our code. There was no real answer, but asking the question was enough. And the answer, the repeated question, at least meant that we were alive. During those nights we learned about infomercial inventions, from Snuggies to magicJacks, and discussed their merits and pitfalls each morning. “A blanket with sleeves?” I said. “Have you ever thought you were so cold you couldn’t move your arm out from under your blanket to grab your coffee?” The buzz of the television filled our nights. “Are you O.K.?” “Are you O.K.?” At her lowest point, my mother spent a full day on the laundry room floor, slumped against the washing machine, unable to move. The severity of my situation had consumed her. Her heart had broken so severely that her body and mind broke, too. I knew she needed help. So did I. I wasn’t ready for help, though. I anticipated that some day, when this was over, my weeks would be filled with therapists and doctors, all trying to make me whole again. But not yet. So I helped my mother look up psychiatrists on her insurance plan. We drove 30 miles to her first and only appointment. I waited outside. On the way home she recounted how the psychiatrist had asked her to make goals. Her main goal, my mother said, was to stop making this about her. She felt guilty, that her grief was somehow stealing the show. But my mother’s making this about her was actually saving me. To know that someone loved me so much, was willing to feel my pain so intensely that it kept her on the laundry room floor for a day, made me feel encased in a bubble of protection. I began to wonder if sadness was this finite thing, a big black mass of which there was only so much in the world. If so, my mo-

ther was sharing it with me so that I did not have to bear the full weight. The more she took, the more she was unable to eat and sleep, and the faster her heart raced, the less of it there was for me. It wasn’t just my mother who came to my rescue during those months — and the many months after as I navigated a painful divorce, sold my new house, lost many possessions and much of my money. It was my father, too, who made sure I kept moving forward and didn’t give up. It was my friend from high school and her husband who dubbed their home “The Halfway House,” a place where I was welcome at any time. It was my college roommate who flew from St. Louis to help me clean my house so I could sell it, and a sorority sister in Canada who sent me a dozen emails every day to keep my mind occupied. It was many of the people in the small town where I grew up who sent endless cards, flowers and food — each trying to show love and support. Until, after 90 days, the charges against me were dropped. My husband pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison. A FEW months later I had a routine ob-gyn checkup. My doctor came into the room, glancing at my file. I hadn’t seen her for more than a year. When I was arrested, it had saturated local news coverage. Everyone knew, or so it seemed to me, and I grew accustomed to averting my eyes, to feeling that familiar shame and humiliation whenever I went out in public. But somehow my doctor had missed the news. Seeing her friendly expression, I could tell she had no idea. “Hi, Brooke,” she said, smiling. “So when you were here last year, you said you might want to try to get pregnant around this time.” I went numb. She was right. I had been here in my newlywed bliss talking about babies and prenatal vitamins. I stared at her. “Something bad happened to me,” I said, unsure of how to begin. But then it all came out: my arrest, my husband’s deceit, the charges, the end of my marriage, the loss of my house: the whole harrowing ordeal. When I finished, her eyes were wet. “How have you survived this?” she asked. I thought for a second. “While the charges were held against me, I slept on the couch in my parents’ house. I spent 90 nights on that couch.” I paused. “And my mom? She slept for 90 nights on the love seat.” My doctor blinked, unable to hold back her tears. “What a mom,” she said softly. “What a mom.”


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April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

Napoleon’s Mysterious Death Murder or Natural Causes

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apoleo Bonaparten, was born in Corsica in 1769, passed away on 5 May, 1821, aged 52, on the island of Saint Elena in the Atlantic Ocean, where he had been exiled after his army’s defeat in the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June, 1815. Officially, Napoleon died of stomach cancer. A physician to Napoleon on St. Helena, Francesco Antommarchi, performed an autopsy on the French Emperor and concluded that the death was caused by big tumor in the stomach. But in 1961 this diagnosis was put in doubt. Traces of arsenic were found in Napoleon’s hair which made scientists conclude that he had been poisoned. A recent survey by two French experts in Strasbourg shows that poison could likely become a major cause of the Emperor’s death. Traces of arsenic were found in five locks of Napoleon’s hair that have remained since his death. And it is notable that the level of arsenic in his hair was ten times higher than normal - which is a typical sign of poisoning. One of the experts, Pascal Kintz, backs the poisoning hypothesis. The

survey was ordered by Ben Weider, a Canadian businessman, billionaire and a great fan of Napoleon. Mr. Weider insisted that the French Emperor’s poisoning was plotted in London amid fears that Napoleon

would escape from exile and regain power. Apart from this, the authors of the survey point to the fact that Napoleon’s meals were too diverse for a patient suffering from stomach cancer. However, critics of this version insist that the fact that Napoleon

had gained weight shortly before his death does not prove the poisoning hypothesis in any way. Dr. Alessandro Lugli and his colleagues from the University Hospital in Basel say that Napoleon’s weight should not be taken as a key factor here. “It was more important


The San Juan Weekly

to find out how his weight changed during the illness”, Mr. Lugli says. The research looked at 12 pairs of Napoleon’s trousers: four were from before his exile and eight were pairs he wore during the six years he spent on St. Helena. They

April 28 - May 4, 2011

concluded that since 1804 to 1820 Napoleon gained 22 kg, from 68 to 90 – and this despite all stress in his life. But in 1821, a few months before his death, he started losing weight so quickly that he weighted only 80 kg when on his deathbed. But most scientists believe that Napoleon died of gastric cancer. The autopsy showed clearly that a tumor in his stomach started growing in 1820, and that the death could have been caused by internal bleeding of the stomach. The Swiss researches say the presence of arsenic in Napoleon’s hair was linked to his enthusiasm for wine: at the time, it was a custom of winemakers to dry their barrels with arsenic. However, this does not explain why traces of arsenic were found so late as Napoleon had enjoyed drinking wine since his youth.

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However, the poisoning hypothesis will hardly become less popular because people are easily carried away by mystery surrounding historic figures. Secondly, there are Napoleon’s fans who can afford new

surveys aimed at finding evidence that the French Emperor was murdered. Ben Weider, who has sponsored most of these surveys, thinks that Napoleon was poisoned by Count de Montholon, who took a revenge on Bonaparte for an affair with his wife.


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The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

Dog Massage? Isn’t Petting Enough? By JENNIFER BLEYER

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ENEE LANE’S living room had been transformed into a spa. Candles twinkled on the coffee table; lavender oil scented the air; lilting guitar music played softly on the stereo. Grace, Ms. Lane’s 2-year-old caramel-colored toy poodle, leaped onto the sofa and, in response to Ms. Lane’s cooing invitation (“Want to lay down for Mama?”), got into position for her evening massage. Ms. Lane took a deep breath and began making long stroking motions down the length of Grace’s back with her palms. With her thumbs, she kneaded the tissue around the dog’s delicate shoulders, and then began working her way toward the muscles in the dog’s legs. By the time the 20-minute massage session was done, Grace had entered a state of canine bliss, eyelids drooping, tongue lolling. “Grace absolutely loves it — she just turns into a puddle,” said Ms. Lane, 43, a public relations and business development consultant in Edgewater, N.J. “I want to keep her around as long as I can, and I think it’s going to keep her healthy. She helps reduce my stress, so why shouldn’t I reciprocate?” That is a question that a number of dog owners — and even some cat owners — have been asking themselves, buoyed by a belief that pet massage confers the same benefits as human massage: increased circulation, improved digestion, strengthened immunity, stress relief, comfort at the end of life and muscle relaxation after a hard day (even if it was spent at the dog park). Some pet owners scoff at this idea. What’s wrong with regular old petting? they ask. And many veterinarians say that evidence of its benefits is flimsy. Nonetheless, pet massage workshops have flourished in recent years at pet stores, dog day-care centers, veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, massage schools and holistic institutes like the New York Open Center in Manhattan, where Ms. Lane and more than 75 other dog owners took a one-day class last summer. “People realize more and more that what’s good for me, including massage, is probably good for my animal,” said JeanPierre Hourdebaigt, an animal massage therapist and teacher in Wellington, Fla., whose book “Canine Massage: A Complete Reference Manual” is considered the standard text. “Today, you also have the baby boomers whose kids are gone,” Mr. Hourdebaigt said. They “have more time and

money, and it’s easy for them to spend a couple hundred bucks on a massage seminar for their dog. The animal benefits, the benevolent action makes them feel good. Everybody’s happy.” By most estimates, only a few of the nation’s pet dogs and cats — which the American Pet Products Association estimates at 78.2 million and 86.4 million, respectively — are fortunate enough to receive massages. But the numbers may be growing. The International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork, a professional group in Toledo, Ohio, now has more than 500 members, up from just 200 in 2007. And a survey of more than 1,200 pet owners across the United States and Canada by the American Animal Hospital Association in Lakewood, Colo., found that the number who were pursuing alternative therapies for their animals — including acupuncture, massage, chiropractic and herbal medicine — rose to 21 percent from 6 percent between 1996 and 2003. (It may still be rising; the survey was discontinued after 2004.) Many pet owners interested in massage hire professionals to perform the treatment. But the D.I.Y. approach — in which pet owners like Ms. Lane learn the techniques themselves — also seems to be gaining in popularity, as Mr. Hourdebaigt maintains. At the Northwest School of Animal Massage in Fall City, Wash., 170 people took the basic amateur workshop last year; eight years ago, only 24 people enrolled. At the Boulder College of Massage Therapy in Colorado, enrollment in a similar class has jumped 30 percent in the last two years. Becky Brandenburg, an animal-massage practitioner and teacher in Martins Fe-

rry, Ohio, said she started offering occasional workshops for pet owners last year, but now plans to offer them monthly. “Every time I announce a class, it’s filled within a day or two,” Ms. Brandenburg said. “It’s really taken off.” THE origins of pet massage can be traced to equine massage, a treatment popularized in the 1970s and ’80s by Jack Meagher, a massage therapist who worked with the United States equestrian team. By the early 1990s, a handful of people experienced in human or equine massage, or both, had begun adapting Mr. Meagher’s technique for use on dogs and cats. Sometimes, it is veterinarians who suggest the practice to pet owners. Nanci Sloan Cummings, a mortgage loan officer in Lake Oswego, Ore., said she was urged by her veterinarian to try massage for her 12-yearold arthritic collie, Baxter. Although in his sprightlier days the dog could trek several miles, by last year he was able to walk only a couple of blocks. To see if she could help him become more limber, Ms. Cummings took a three-hour massage workshop at a dog day-care center in January. Nearly every evening since then, she has put down a cushioned mat near the ficus tree and potted fern in the living room of her three-bedroom house, and performed the routine she learned: kneading, squeezing, stroking and tapping Baxter. “At night, when I watch ‘American Idol,’ I’ll sit on the floor and massage him to the music,” Ms. Cummings said. “It’s very distressing to see your aging animal suffer, and very rewarding to think that maybe you can help him feel better. I think just the attention and affection, if nothing else, is helpful.”

But there are plenty of veterinarians who believe that massage offers little beyond the attention and affection. They note that few clinical studies of pet massage have been conducted, and that claims of its benefits are usually extrapolated from research on humans. At best, they say, pet massage fortifies the bond between human and animal in the same way that a good belly scratch does, and at worst, it may aggravate a serious medical condition or prevent owners from seeking veterinary help. “I have two dogs, and I pet them all the time,” said David W. Ramey, a veterinarian in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles, and a co-author of “Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine Considered,” a book that looks at the science behind various alternative therapies for pets. “I think everybody should pet their dogs. But I don’t refer to that as ‘massage,’ and I certainly wouldn’t send anyone to a glorified school of dog petting.” Narda Robinson, a veterinarian at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, has a more benign view. Dr. Robinson, who established a canine medical massage course at the university in 2008, believes that massage, properly administered, can help dogs recover from illness, injuries and stress. And while massage classes for dog owners are largely unregulated and of varying quality, she said, they can be helpful as long as they are “based on actual science, rather than lost in mysterious energies.” FOR many pet owners, though, the goal is not therapeutic — it’s just to make their dogs feel good. One recent Sunday afternoon, several people showed up for an advanced canine massage class at My Dog’s Place, a training school in Mystic, Conn., along with their charges: a miniature dachshund, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a cocker spaniel and a few others. The dogs sniffed their hellos, then settled on blankets on the floor, and Suzin Webb, who teaches about 15 such courses a year, began her instruction. For two hours, the students worked the muscles along their dogs’ spines, stretched their limbs, rolled the dogs’ skin between their fingers and gently tugged their tails. By the end of the class, none of the dogs seemed particularly eager to move. The miniature dachshund, 13-yearold Wylie Angelo, lay on his back, tongue out, limbs splayed. His owner, Cricket Murphy, a 67-year-old aesthetician, had taken Ms. Webb’s beginners’ class three years earlier to help Wylie Angelo heal

Continues on page 20


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April 28 - May 4, 2011

Comes from page 18 from disk surgery. Since then, she has been massaging him every morning. Their ritual takes place in the bedroom of her house overlooking Long Island Sound in Niantic, Conn. Ms. Murphy fetches a dish of water and a homemade cranberry biscuit for the dog, and then the two sit on Ms. Murphy’s king-size bed, she with her back against the headboard and Wylie Angelo in front of her on a down pillow. She begins the massage by rubbing his belly with rose ointment. Ms. Murphy said she believes that this daily routine has improved Wylie Angelo’s mobility and bolstered his circulation. But she is more certain about other benefits. “He goes straight to la-la land,” Ms. Murphy said. “It’s a very quieting time for us. We’re in bed together, he’s propped up on a pillow, and pretty soon, he’s just in the zone.”

Sit, Stay, Relax Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, a teacher and practitioner of canine massage, recommends that pet owners interested in learning the technique enroll in a class, study a textbook like his “Canine Massage: A Practical Guide” or watch one of the many instructional DVDs on the topic. He also offered a few pointers. • Start with light pressure. “Most people have so much power in their hands, they don’t realize that it can be too much for some animals,” Mr. Hourdebaigt said. Only if the

The San Juan Weekly

dog seems comfortable should the pressure be increased. • Maintain an even speed. “If you’re erratic — starting fast, slowing down, getting fast again — the animal worries too much,” he said. “If you maintain one stroke per second, whether you’re doing gentle kneading or friction, the animal can relax in the flow of the rhythm.” • Place the pet on a table to keep your own posture comfortable. “If you massage on the floor on your knees, you will get sore knees and a sore back, which makes you tense up and makes the whole experience more negative,” he said. • Avoid massaging the animal with other animals nearby. “If you have several dogs in your house, and take one particular dog aside and isolate him on the table while the others are having fun, he’ll feel like he’s missing out on something and won’t relax.” • Learn palpation, a technique of touching aimed at discovering abnormalities. “Any time you feel unusual heat, puffiness or swelling on the animal, back off,” Mr. Hourdebaigt said. And before doing any massage on the suspect spot, ask a veterinarian.


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

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April 28 - May 4, 2011

Una Sola Salsa Rubén Blades & Gilberto Santa Rosa

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ubén Blades & Gilberto Santa Rosa Salsa Single “on Saturday, May 21 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot. “The Poet and El Caballero de la Salsa”, Ruben Blades and Gilberto Santa Rosa in a show titled “Single Salsa”, in which they will perform their greatest hits.

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April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

According to Blades, it is an unusual opportunity sharing the stage with a musician loved by all, who is also a personal friend, [Gilberto Santa Rosa]. Both artists agree that it is important to continue pushing the concept of Salsa music and ensure that it not be forgotten, discarded, or supplanted by other forms of music. This year, Blades and Santa Rosa did a duet together entitled “I change the questions”which appears on Santa Rosa’s new album. The issue marks a musical milestone for Gilberto, as it is the first song he plays focused on social content. According to Gilbert himself, it is unique because when you want to repeat the formula, it is never the same.

Escuela Julián Blanco and The Four Season By Max González

J

ulián Blanco Ballet School was established in 1983 as part of the Department of Education. It is the only school that provides an academic program and at the same time ballet training. Originally intended by the founder Pachal Guzmán, to undertake the model of a classic ballet school based in the Vaganova method. Mr. Guzmán has a long accredited background as dancer, professor, director and choreographer abroad. In its lifetime, the school has turned out quite a few talents. Ballet de San Juan has been enrolling dancers from the school. As a matter of fact, the guest dancer in the program doing the pass-de-deux from “The Corsair” graduated from Julián Blanco. Her name as first dancer is at the top of Ballet Teatro Nacional de Puerto Rico, her name is Mrena Pérez. The faculty in the ballet department are excellent teachers.Vanessa Vachier’s spectacular background as first dancerin Ballets de San Juan, joined Jacqueline Torregrosa and Carmen Ana Rodríguez in that faculty. The original method established by Pachal Guzmán was dropped and it seems that it has not survived; having being neglected, the students are not up to such

an institution meant to achieve the level of producing dancers for professional purposes. Most of the girls don’t show a reliable, strong accomplishment in point work. This is an angle to be considered, to fundamentally go back to a definite organized basic method integrated by the ballet professors. It might not be in the grandeur sense as the method established in Russia being handed down to Cuba; which at the present gave o. Ninety two students registered fot the first year.

Twenty nine were male students. Only four boys took part in this program for the spring season. Only one of them, qualified to be considered as to develop into a professional dancer. The school should provide male dancers, so as not to engage guest dancers. In the past the school talet was shining high. Rodney Rivera who was chosen to join the competitions in Jackson; Armando Seda, firstt dancer in local companies, and a few others that got to be known abroad. If it where possible years ago, why can’t it be done in the present and in the future? This is a signal that the school is not showing progress, instead is declining. Facts can not be avoided. The first part of the program was a colorful “españolada” choreographed by Judith Marzán and Dafne Diaz, in charge of the character dancing. Also the Tarantella done by Marzán. The second part of the program was dedicated to the paroque music by Vivaldi of “The Four Seasons”. The choreography was coordinated by the entire faculty. It flowed evenly and charming; some angles better than others. So far the group cannot compete with the ballet schools of the local companies. Improvement is needed, and strict rules should be enforced like the right weight for the applicants.


April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

25

Kitchen

Bruschetta With Swiss Chard and Smoked Trout By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

Y

ou can serve these bruschetta for lunch or dinner, or cut them into smaller pieces and serve them as appetizers. I use drained, canned smoked trout packed in oil (although it doesn’t have to be packed in oil). Don’t forget to squeeze on a little lemon juice when you serve these; it’s a perfect touch. The trout is an excellent source of omega-3 fats. 1/2 pound Swiss chard 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, 1 minced, 1 cut in half Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 thick slices whole-grain country bread (about 2 ounces each) 4 ounces smoked trout Lemon wedges for serving 1. Stem the chard, and wash the leaves and stems in two rinses of water. Cut the stems in small dice. Blanch the

chard leaves in salted boiling water (or steam them) for one to two minutes until tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop medium-fine. 2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the chard stalks. Cook, stirring often, until tender, five to eight minutes. Stir in the minced garlic, and cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped chard leaves, and toss together for about a minute. Remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 3. Lightly toast the bread, and rub with the cut garlic. Brush with the remaining olive oil. Top with the chard, and press down with the back of a spoon. Use a fork to flake the trout, and place on top. Squeeze on a few drops of lemon juice, and serve. Yield: Two servings. Advance preparation: You can prepare the chard through Step 2 and keep

in the refrigerator for two to three days. Nutritional information per serving: 310 calories; 3 grams saturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams monoun-

saturated fat; 25 milligrams cholesterol; 18 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 749 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 18 grams protein


Kitchen

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The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

Crispy Calamari, Lemon and Maitake Salad Over Arugula Time: 45 minutes

Striped Bass With Potatoes and Olives Time: 11/2 hours 1/4 cup olive oil 2 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick Sea salt and ground black pepper A 2-pound piece wild striped bass fillet, with skin 1 cup pitted picholine olives 8 bay leaves 2 lemons, in thin wedges. 1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Use a little oil to brush the bottom of a shallow baking dish that can go to the table and

is large enough to hold the fish in one piece. Spread potatoes in dish (they can overlap) and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven. 2. Season flesh side of fish with salt and pepper. Place fish skin side up on the potatoes, sprinkle on remaining oil, scatter olives around and place bay leaves on top. Cover with parchment paper and bake 20 minutes, or until fish is just cooked through at the thickest part (a sharp knife will penetrate easily). Garnish with lemon and serve. Yield: 4 servings.

1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more for seasoning 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more for seasoning 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 pound squid, rinsed and patted dry 1 lemon, plus additional wedges for garnish 1/4 cup fine cornmeal 1/4 cup all-purpose flour Olive oil, for frying 1/4 pound maitake mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces 8 cups baby arugula 1 ounce Parmesan, shaved. 1. To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper until the salt dissolves. Whisk in the olive oil. 2. To prepare the squid and lemon, cut the squid tentacles in half and the bodies into 1/4-inch rings. Slice the lemon lengthwise into quarters and then thinly slice each quarter crosswise, discarding any seeds. In a wide shallow bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge the squid and lemon sli-

ces in the cornmeal mixture. 3. Heat 1/2 inch oil to 350 degrees in a large, straight-sided skillet. Frying in batches to avoid crowding, cook the mushrooms until golden, about 1 minute per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the squid, followed by the lemon slices. 4. In a large bowl, toss the arugula, mushrooms, squid and lemon slices with the dressing. Add the Parmesan and toss gently once more. Serve with lemon wedges. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

in a saucepan, and reduce to a syrup. Pour over the pears, and serve or chill and serve cold. Yield: Six servings. Advance preparation: These will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving: 155 calories; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 0 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 41 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 5 milligrams sodium; 1 gram protein

Caramelized Honey-Baked Pears By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

T

he flavor of cloves infuses these pears and their tawny syrup during their long stay in the oven. Two hours is a long time, but it’s worth it: the pears are transformed, and the syrup, which is not very sweet, is caramelized. The pears will be intact, but they’re so soft you can eat them with a spoon. They also make a nice breakfast with yogurt. 6 ripe but firm pears 2 tablespoons honey 1/4 cup raw brown (turbinado) sugar or regular brown sugar, preferably organic fair-trade, tightly packed 12 cloves 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a baking dish. Cut a small cone from the bottom of each pear with a pa-

ring knife, and place a teaspoon of honey inside. Peel a strip of skin away from the top of each pear, just below the stem, but leave the stems intact. Then place the pears bottom side down in the baking dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the pears. Pour in water until it reaches 1/3 of the way up the side of the pears, and place the cloves in the water. 2. Set the baking dish on a sheet pan, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and bake for two hours more, basting every 15 minutes with the liquid in the pan. From time to time, lay down the pears down in the liquid so they are thoroughly moistened and cook evenly. After two hours their skins should be shriveled and caramelized. 3. Remove the pears from the oven, transfer to a platter or bowls and allow to cool. Place the liquid in the baking disWh


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

27

Wine

Wine Prices Slashed; This Offer Won’t Last By JORDAN MACKAY

W

HAT do you consider a bargain in wine? Ten percent off? Twenty? How about 40? That was the discount that Wines Til Sold Out offered recently on 2006 Chateau Angelus, a top Bordeaux that was being sold for nearly $100 off its original price of about $250. Prices that seem too low to be true are typical of the dozen or so flash wine sale sites that have popped up over the last two years. The sites offer limited amounts of wines at discounts that are shockingly steep but highly temporary. Typically each sale lasts for no more than a day or two before the sand in the hourglass runs out. “The deals are usually screaming,” said Jim Barnyak, a Seattle financial manager and frequent shopper of such sites. “Deals that any wine store can’t come close to touching.” Early each morning, Mr. Barnyak checks for e-mails alerting him to the next hot sale. “Sometimes you have to respond within 15 minutes to get the really good bargain.” In just a few years, the flash wine market has grown to about $100 million in annual sales, about 25 percent of the overall online wine market, according to an estimate by the wine industry consulting firm VinTank. Whether it can sustain that gangbuster pace is far from clear. Many industry veterans predict that the glut will dry up in the next year or so and that winemakers will be straightening their clothes and glancing around to see if anyone noticed that they’d participated in anything so undignified as deep-discounting. But out of desperation can come opportunity. Some in the wine industry say that flash sites may outlive the surplus that brought them into existence and prove themselves useful in other ways. The sites have “brought new customers into the space, and boosted their comfort level in buying wine online,” said Michael Greenlee of the Napabased wine consultancy Amedeo. And for producers, flash sites might turn out to be a sophisticated sales team, giving customers information about the wines — and winemakers information about the customers. Until recently, wineries rarely had problems selling their bottles to a public with mounting thirst. But as a result of the recession and a consolidation of distributors that has made it tougher for wineries to get their products into stores, some winemakers have watched entire vintages stack up. Enter the flash sites. A welcome pressure valve for the industry, flash sales have allowed wineries, particularly at the middle and higher end, to unload huge numbers of bottles in staggeringly short times, albeit at drastically reduced prices. Not long ago, WineAccess blew out the better part of 700 cases

— 8,400 bottles — of 2006 Keenan Merlot in under 24 hours. The profits on such sales may be small or nonexistent, but at least they give the wineries cash to pay for the next vintage’s barrels and grapes. Even in the depths of the recession, though, many in the industry were powerfully averse to slashing prices. Jack Stuart, the winemaker for Benessere Vineyards in Napa Valley, recalled that, after he had sold some wine through a flash site, the owner of the site talked about establishing a long-term relationship. “I sort of laughed to myself, thinking ‘This is not a sustainable business model,’ ” he said. “There’s no way we could afford to sell a significant proportion of our production this way.” As the recovery creeps forward, resistance to slashing prices is apt to grow. Gary Vaynerchuk, the online wine marketing phenomenon behind Wine Library and Wine Library TV, predicts that the wine surplus will last longer than some producers expect, but that eventually “things will go back to normal.” When that happens, he said, flash sites will be forced to evolve, and some will probably not survive. Their style of doing business may make the difference. Most flash sites operate under one of two models. Some are retailers, negotiating tremendous discounts, buying the wines either directly from the winery or through wholesalers, and then fulfilling the orders themselves. Mr. Vaynerchuk’s Cinderella Wine is in this category, as is Wines Til Sold Out. These sites tend to feel like online analogues of stores like Costco — cavernous and devoid of personality, but exuding a no-nonsense, deep-discount vibe. The other model for a flash site is the marketing agent that sells wine but never takes possession of it, leaving the hassles of shipping legalities and order fulfillment to the wineries. These sites, like Wine.Woot and Lot 18, specialize in “hand-selling” bottles, in part by educating consumers about the wineries. Many in the wine industry say that in the post-surplus world, these sites are better positioned to succeed because they can help wineries build their brands, communicate directly and creatively with customers, and create interactive communities of buyers. Wine.Woot, the first flash site, which made its debut in May 2006, offers literary narratives to accompany its daily 24-hour deals. (A recent sale of Riverbench pinot noir fronted a hard-boiled scenario that began, “It was a cold, gray night in Baghdad by the Bay. ... A thick fog hung on anything foolish enough to be outside, but I had more pressing worries. There, in the doorway to my office, stood the Riverbench Winery Estate Pinot Noir 4-Pack gang.”) Each sale is accompanied by a “vint-

ner voice mail” with the winemaker talking about the bottle. Winemakers also chat online throughout the day with Wine.Woot’s highly active and engaged community. Matt Licklider, a founder of the Lioco winery in California, was skeptical about flash sites, but recently gave Wine.Woot a try. He liked the experience, particularly the time he spent interacting with consumers on the site’s chat board. “I had probably 25 different conversations going on simultaneously with a group of people I regarded to be quite savvy about wine,” Mr. Licklider said. The Wine.woot model, he said, might promise a cheaper and faster way of doing business. “If I have to sell wine at wholesale cost to Wine.Woot, that’s essentially the same price that I would sell to distributors in various states. Then I would have to buy a plane ticket, fly to visit the market, stay in a hotel, rent a car, take the distributor and his salespeople out to dinner and spend three days selling all that wine. You can see how inefficient and expensive all that is.” The Wine Spies has a hybrid model, offering both a marketing and retail component, as well as a gimmick. The site casts sales as “missions” in which two characters known as Agent Red and Agent White are charged with tracking down wines. Along the way, the site provides quite a bit of information, including lengthy winemaker interviews. Discounts of at least 20 percent are part of the business model, said Jason Seeber, a k a Agent Red, but are not the sole point of the site. “That discount is meant really to entice people who might otherwise hesitate to buy a wine they don’t know,” he said. “If we’re selling this wine at 25 percent off with a very detailed review and a comprehensive interview with the winemaker and we really tell the story of the wine in a very accurate way,

all those things are going to lower the barrier to entry.” The Wine Spies has experienced annual double-digit growth since its debut in 2007, Mr. Seeber said. Besides helping to reach more customers in less time, flash sites that specialize in marketing can also provide the kind of direct connection that can be hard for winemakers to come by. “Outside of direct-to-consumer sales, wineries are pretty much ignorant as to who’s buying their wine,” said Paul Mabray, the chief strategy officer of VinTank. “They sell it to the wholesaler, retailer or restaurant instead of the actual consumer, so their guess is as good as any who’s actually buying it.” Other flash sites are evolving to build relationships with customers beyond their monitors. Eric Bolen, a marketing consultant for WineAccess, has recently started offering “private sales” of exclusive wines to their best customers. “We then deliver all the names to the winery, who then sends them a handwritten note inviting them in for a special private tasting,” he said. Likewise, Mr. Greenlee of Amedeo said that he is working with One King’s Lane, a discount home-décor site that recently added wine to its portfolio, to package wines with experiences like vineyard tours and meals at the winery. “The wineries are interested in keeping the relationship with customers beyond the sale,” he said. Mr. Greenlee added that such package deals might be a way to reach new customers beyond the hard-core consumers who are, he said, the primary users of sites like Wineaccess.com. Whatever the future holds, the fate of online wine retail will no doubt be dynamic. “It’ll be fun to see who’s got the chops to do different things off the platform they’ve created,” Mr. Vaynerchuk said. “To see who just ends up being a flash and who ends up being a flash in the pan.”


FASHION & BEAUTY

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April 28 - May 4, 2011

San Juan Weekly

Tokyo Street

Style D

espite wearing tie-dye tunics, fuzzy slippers and Smurf-blue hair, Kenta Koizumi never felt like he attracted the wrong type of attention in Tokyo. But in the days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Koizumi momentarily ditched the colorful ensembles in favor of something more austere. “I started wearing black,” he said. “Nothing was said to me, but I felt the pressure.” He’s not alone among the city’s style set in embracing post-traumatic restraint. The entire fashion industry dimmed its lights: stores limited their hours, shoppers cut back on spending, and Japan Fashion Week — which was to kick off a week after the quake — canceled its events. Even newscasters traded their usual pastel ensembles for formal suits and stark white button-downs. Rina Ishida, a photographer for the influential Japanese street-style magazine Fruits, noticed a sharp decline in potential subjects immediately after the earthquake. “For about a week, they were nowhere to be seen,” she said of the city’s most creative dressers. The change was, in part, a matter of function; people dressed for a worst-case scenario. “Some people stopped wearing high heels because when the earthquake happened, everybody was walking to go home,” said Fumiko Gotoh, a fashion publicist in Tokyo who bundled up in sensible sweaters and warm scarves just in case an aftershock proved serious. But while bottled water is still hard to find and the massive video screens in Shibuya remain dark, some in Tokyo are beginning to return to their usual style. “A lot of events I want to go to have been canceled, so it makes me wonder if I should be dressing like this and having fun,” said one Harajuku fashion plate, Enoki Yuta, pointing to his colorful embroidered shirt and massive silver pendant. “On the other hand, if I stop doing what I do regularly, it would create an ill effect overall. If anything, I’m dressing a little bit more to create joy for the country.” That sense of civic duty has become a rallying call for an increasing number of Japan’s most serious dressers. “Our mission now is to give happiness to the people, I think,” said the fashion blogger and stylist Yoko Kondo,

who recently wrote a post in support of the brand Etw. Vonneguet, which went ahead with its fall show. Now a sense of normality is creeping back, as more fashion companies reschedule their shows and Tokyo’s youth put their all-black ensembles in the closet. “It’s pretty much business as usual,” said Ishida, who spent this past weekend successfully patrolling Harajuku for Fruits. And for Koizumi, now back to his bolder ways, gone is the feeling of looking “out of place,” as he put it. Just before mugging for a street-style photographer who had been circling like a vulture, Koizumi brushed a blue streak of hair out of his eyes and said, “Tokyo should be strong for the people in Sendai.”


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

29

Vast Gene Study Yields Insights on Alzheimer’s

Dr. Richard Mayeux of Columbia University Medical Center, with containers holding DNA samples used by the researchers. By GINA KOLATA

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he two largest studies of Alzheimer’s disease have led to the discovery of no fewer than five genes that provide intriguing new clues to why the disease strikes and how it progresses. Researchers say the studies, which analyzed the genes of more than 50,000 people in the United States and Europe, leave little doubt that the five genes make the disease more likely in the elderly and have something important to reveal about the disease’s process. They may also lead to ways to delay its onset or slow its progress. “The level of evidence is very, very strong,” said Dr. Michael Boehnke, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan and an outside adviser on the research. The two studies are being published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics. For years, there have been unproven but persistent hints that cholesterol and inflammation are part of the disease process. People with high cholesterol are more likely to get the disease. Strokes and head injuries, which make Alzheimer’s more likely, also cause brain inflammation. Now, some of the newly discovered genes appear to bolster this line of thought, because some are involved with cholesterol and others are linked to inflammation or the transport of molecules inside cells. The discoveries double the number of genes known to be involved in Alzheimer’s, to 10 from 5, giving scientists many new avenues to explore. One of the papers’ 155 authors, Dr. Richard Mayeux, chairman of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, said the findings would “open up the field.” And an expert who was not part of the studies, Dr. Nelson B. Freimer, who directs the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, said there were now enough unequivocal genes for Alzheimer’s disease that researchers could make real progress in figuring out its biology. “This is a big, solid step,” he said.

An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, most of whom are elderly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in eight people over age 65 have the disease. Its annual cost to the nation is $183 billion. By themselves, the genes are not nearly as important a factor as APOE, a gene discovered in 1995 that greatly increases risk for the disease: by 400 percent if a person inherits a copy from one parent, by 1,000 percent if from both parents. In contrast, each of the new genes increases risk by no more than 10 to 15 percent; for that reason, they will not be used to decide if a person is likely to develop Alzheimer’s. APOE, which is involved in metabolizing cholesterol, “is in a class of its own,” said Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School and an author of one of the papers. But researchers say that even a slight increase in risk helps them in understanding the disease and developing new therapies. And like APOE, some of the newly discovered genes appear to be involved with cholesterol. Of the 10 genes now known to be associated with Alzheimer’s in old age, four were found in the past few years and are confirmed by the new studies. APOE may have other roles in the disease, perhaps involved in clearing the brain of amyloids that pile up in plaques, the barnacle-like particles that dot the brain of Alzheimer’s patients and are the one unique pathological feature of the disease. It is known that one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease is an accumulation of beta amyloid, or a-beta, a protein that forms plaques. And it is known that later in the disease, twisted and tangled proteins — tau — appear in dead and dying nerve cells. But what is not known is why a-beta starts to accrue, why the brains of people with Alzheimer’s cannot get rid of its excess, or what is the link between amyloid and tau. One of the new papers, by American investigators, analyzed the genes of 54,000 people, some with Alzheimer’s and others the same age but without the disease. They found four new genes. The other paper is by researchers in Britain, France and other European countries with contributions from the United States. They confirmed the genes found by the American researchers and added one more gene. The American study got started about three years ago when Gerard D. Schellenberg, a pathology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, went to the National Institutes of Health with a complaint and a proposal. Individual research groups had been doing their own genome studies but not having much success, because no one center had enough subjects. In an interview, Dr. Schellenberg said that he had told Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, the

small genomic studies had to stop, and that Dr. Hodes had agreed. These days, Dr. Hodes said, “the old model in which researchers jealously guarded their data is no longer applicable.” So Dr. Schellenberg set out to gather all the data he could on Alzheimer’s patients and on healthy people of the same ages. The idea was to compare one million positions on each person’s genome to determine whether some genes were more common in those who had Alzheimer’s. “I spent a lot of time being nice to people on the phone,” Dr. Schellenberg said. He got what he wanted: nearly every Alzheimer’s center and Alzheimer’s geneticist in the country cooperated. Dr. Schellenberg and his colleagues used the mass of genetic data to do an analysis and find the genes and then, using two different populations, to confirm that the same genes were conferring the risk. That helped assure the investigators that they were not looking at a chance association. It was a huge effort, Dr. Mayeux said. Many medical centers had Alzheimer’s pa-

tients’ tissue sitting in freezers. They had to extract the DNA and do genome scans. “One of my jobs was to make sure the Alzheimer’s cases really were cases — that they had used some reasonable criteria” for diagnosis, Dr. Mayeux said. “And I had to be sure that people who were unaffected really were unaffected.” Once the project got going, “we all realized we have to make this happen, it just had to happen,” he said. “Everyone wanted to collaborate.” Meanwhile, the European group, led by Dr. Julie Williams of the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, was engaged in a similar effort. Dr. Schellenberg said the two groups compared their results and were reassured that they were largely finding the same genes. “If there were mistakes, we wouldn’t see the same things,” he added. Now the European and American groups are pooling their data to do an enormous study, looking for genes in the combined samples. “We are upping the sample size,” Dr. Schellenberg said. “We are pretty sure more stuff will pop out.”


30 April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

Radiation Is Everywhere, but How to Rate Harm? By DENISE GRADY

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ince the first reports last month of damage to nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the lingering question has been whether drifting plumes of radioactive elements from the plant will harm people in Japan or other parts of the world. For many people, the biggest fear is cancer. Certain levels of radiation exposure are known to increase the risk of cancer, but scientists disagree about the effects of very low doses of the sort that may have occurred so far in Japan. Some researchers say it is reasonable to use data from high doses to calculate the risk of smaller and smaller doses. They argue that any exposure to radiation raises the risk of cancer, though probably by only a small amount in the case of small doses. But others say that estimating risk for doses near zero is nonsensical, and some believe there is a threshold dose, or limit below which there is no risk from exposure. Dr. John Boice, for example, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University who studies radiation effects in humans, warns that risk calculations based on tiny doses are themselves risky. He argues that there is little data on doses below about 10 rem, but that some risk estimates nonetheless go down to a tenth of a rem or less. (He is also the scientific director of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., a private group that studies radiation with grants from government and industry.) “I can take a low dose, multiply it by a million people and estimate a risk,” Dr. Boice said, but he said professional groups like the Health Physics Society discourage it. “We say, don’t do that. Don’t multiply a tiny dose by millions and say there will be thousands of deaths. It’s inappropriate, misleading and alarmist. You’ve gone orders of magnitude below where we have proof of any effects at all.” But Dr. David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, is among those who believe there is no threshold. Radiation damages DNA, he says, and just one damaged cell can become the seed of a cancer, though it takes decades to develop. He is studying the possibility that in terms of causing cancer, low doses of radiation might be more dangerous than calculations based on high doses would predict. Current estimates by government agencies for risks from low doses rely on extrapolation from higher doses. In the United States, most government agencies use a unit

called the rem to measure radiation doses. (Europe and Asia use the unit millisievert, which equals 0.1 rem.) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people receive 0.3 rem per year from natural background radiation. If 10,000 people are each exposed to 1 rem, in small doses over a lifetime (above the natural background exposure), according to the agency, the radiation will cause five or six excess deaths from cancer. In a group that size, about 2,000 would normally die from cancers not caused by radiation, so the extra dose would raise the total to 2,005 or 2,006. So far only minute amounts of radioactivity from the Japanese reactors have been detected in the United States, in milk on both the East and West Coasts, and in rainfall in Massachusetts. American officials say instruments can detect levels so vanishingly small — far below the natural background level of radiation — that they pose no threat. In parts of Japan, radioactivity has been detected at various times in milk, meat, vegetables and tap water, on the ground and in the sea around the power plant. Levels in tap water in certain areas have sometimes been high enough for authorities to tell people to drink bottled water, and the Japanese government has banned the shipment of milk and produce from some prefectures. Milk from those regions has been found to contain radioactive iodine, which accumulates in the thyroid gland and can cause cancer, especially in children. Levels in the milk have exceeded those considered a cause for concern in the United States. A quarter mile from the Fukushima plant (residents have been evacuated from a 12-mile zone around the plant) radiation levels of 0.1 rem per hour have been measured, and researchers agree that four days of such exposure would increase a person’s risk of cancer. But some would argue that an even shorter exposure would raise the risk. Many of today’s risk estimates are based on a study of 200,000 people who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. More than 40 percent are still alive. The research has been going on for 63 years, and an article reviewing its findings was published in March in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. So far, it is uncertain how relevant the results from bomb survivors are to members of the public in Japan who may have been exposed to radiation from the reactors. “One concern is trying to find out what dose these people actually received” from the Fukushima reactors, said Dr. Evan B. Douple,

the first author of the article on the bomb survivors and the associate chief of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, which studies the survivors and is paid for by the governments of Japan and the United States. It is the successor to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, which was created in 1947. Dr. Douple said the method of exposure was also different: The bomb survivors received their entire doses all at once to the full body, but exposure from the reactors may be gradual. “Here radioisotopes are drifting in water and air, and not necessarily producing an external whole-body exposure and are being taken up in very small doses into the body,” he said. “So far the information we’ve been receiving is that actually the doses of exposure are not what one would call intermediate or high doses, but are very low.” The bomb survivors received radiation doses ranging from negligible to high; high would be 200 rem or more, what Dr. Douple called a “barely sublethal dose.” But 61,000 people were estimated to have received half a rem or less, and 28,000 received half a rem to 10 rem. Their doses were calculated based on factors like how close they were to the center of the bomb and whether they were inside buildings. For comparison, the study also includes 26,000 people who lived in the same cities but were not exposed to radiation because they were not present during the bombings. The researchers monitored the two groups — exposed and nonexposed — to determine whether radiation caused disease. Radiation did increase the risk of cancer. “But the risk of cancer is quite low, lower than what the public might expect,” said Dr. Douple. He said that the researchers themselves had expected to find more cancer than they did. Among the survivors, leukemia was the first cancer to appear. Cases increased within five years of the bombing and then began declining at the 10-year mark. Of 120,000 survivors in one study group, 219 with radiation exposure had died of leukemia from 1950 through 2002, the latest year with published data. But only 98 of those cases, or 45 percent, were excess deaths attributed to radiation. However, when the leukemia deaths were sorted by radiation dose, it was clear that risk increased with dose. Among people who received the highest doses (100 rem or more), 86 percent of the leukemia deaths were a result of radiation, compared with only 36 percent of the leukemia deaths in those with exposures from 10 rem to 50 rem. Among

those who received half a rem to 10 rem, only 4 of 77 leukemia deaths, or 5 percent, were estimated to be excess deaths caused by radiation. Solid tumors — affecting the colon, breast, liver, lung or other organs — took longer than leukemia to develop, Dr. Douple said. In a study group of 100,000, there were 7,851 deaths from solid cancers among people exposed to radiation, but only 850, or 11 percent, were estimated to be excess cancer deaths due to radiation. As with leukemia, the risk increased with radiation dose. Some organs were more sensitive than others. For instance, radiation increased cancer risk in the breast, but not the prostate. Dr. Douple emphasized that at very low doses, the risk was also very low. But he also said that there was no indication of a threshold, or a level below which acute radiation exposure would have no effect, or a smaller effect than would be predicted based on higher exposures. Does the bomb data apply to Fukushima? Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the worst case, Dr. Douple said. It is possible to extrapolate from them to the very low-dose range detected so far, but in doing so, he said, there are “big uncertainties.” But he added that Japanese scientists from the institute have been summoned to Tokyo, to help figure out what the potential health effects might be and to plan ways to detect and study them.


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

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After Breach, Companies Warn of E-Mail Fraud By MIGUEL HELFT

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ecurity experts said that millions of people were at increased risk of e-mail swindles after a giant security breach at an online marketing firm. The breach exposed the e-mail addresses of customers of some of the nation’s largest companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Target and Walgreens. In some cases customer names were also stolen. While the number of people is unknown, the breach may be the largest ever. It could lead to a surge in phishing attacks — e-mails that purport to be legitimate business but intend to steal information like account numbers or passwords. The marketing firm, Epsilon, which handles e-mail marketing lists for hundreds of clients, disclosed the problem in a brief statement. Its sheer scale became clear, as banks, retailers and others began alerting customers to be on the lookout for fraudulent e-mails. E-mail addresses may not seem particularly vulnerable, experts say that if criminals can associate addresses with names and a business like a bank, they can devise highly customized attacks to trick people into disclosing more con-

fidential information, a technique known as “spear phishing.” In traditional phishing attacks, criminals e-mail millions of people with a message from a bank, hoping some recipients will be customers of that business and follow instructions, for example, “update your account information.” A spear-phishing e-mail is far more dangerous because it can include a person’s name and is sent only to people who are customers of a business, increasing the likelihood the targets will be duped. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, that tries to prevent Internet crime, received reports of more than 33,000 phishing attacks worldwide last June, 70 percent of the attacks were in the financial services and online payment. With the information stolen from Epsilon, thieves could send customers of a particular bank an e-mail. If the criminals cross-check a name with the property records of mortgage holders, they could even include the customer’s address in the e-mail, he said. The companies that alerted customers also include Barclays Bank, U.S. Bancorp, Walt Disney, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Best Buy, L. L. Bean, Home Shopping Network, TiVo and the College Board.

In e-mails to their customers, the companies sought to reassure that the hackers had obtained only e-mail addresses and in some cases names, not passwords, account numbers, credit card information or other more confidential data. Ron Baldwin, a technology consultant in Laguna Niguel, Calif., said that over the weekend he received an e-mail alerting him to the security breach from U.S. Bank, where he is a customer. He said he was particularly upset that the bank, a unit of U.S. Bancorp, would entrust his information to another company. “They shared my information with a third party unbeknownst to me,” Mr. Baldwin said. “I don’t know Epsilon from some guy walking down the street.” Mr. Baldwin said that when he contacted the bank, he was told that he had given permission to share information with suppliers. Jessica Simon, a spokeswoman for Epsilon, said in an interview: “We are currently working with authorities and are conducting a full investigation. Epsilon is a unit of Alliance Data and has some 2,500 clients, though not all of them use its e-mail marketing services. The company said that about 2 percent of its clients were affected. It declined to say how the hack had occurred or

why the e-mail addresses had not been encrypted. “Epsilon has some explaining to do about the numbers, how it was penetrated and what they have done to protect the information they have,” said Mr. Kleeman, the security expert. Mary Landesman, a senior security researcher at Cisco Systems, said that because e-mail addresses were not considered of great value in the criminal underground, she suspected the attack on Epsilon began as something random. Hackers often scan the Internet looking for machines that have a certain vulnerability or misconfiguration and then, once they hit upon something, look further to see if the victim interests them. Ms. Landesman speculated that the attackers had found themselves on Epsilon’s system, realized what they had and then worked to acquire their customer lists. The breach points out the significant risks for companies that outsource even seemingly low-risk activities like e-mail marketing, said Avivah Litan, an analyst focused on online fraud at the research firm Gartner. It also highlights the lack of regulation on security when it comes to consumer data that is not directly tied to financial accounts, which are subject to industry standards, Ms. Litan said.


32 April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

Boquerón Beach

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oquerón Beach is situated in southeast Puerto Rico, in the quaint waterfront town of Boquerón. The sandy white beach is over a mile long and borders sparkling turquoise waters. This beach is not just quiet , it is one of the most unique stretches of sand in Puerto Rico . While Boqueron Beach may be a little more difficult to reach , it provides travelers with some very special relaxation opportunities. Many people find that the best beach for them in Puerto Rico is one that can be found without being too crowded, though it still offers opportunities for social interaction ; Boqueron Beach is just waiting to be discoveredBoqueron Beach may be one of the only beaches in Puerto Rico that attracts many kinds of visitors, from social to active beachgoers . The atmosphere and views help make it a great choice that everyone in your group can enjoy. Vacationers who are hoping for a taste of seclusion in Puerto Rico can find their perfect beach vacation

at Boqueron Beach . Not too far from any cities , but you won’t be too far from the beaten path , you may find it’s the perfect middle ground.


The San Juan Weekly

For those looking to avoid car rentals or traveling far from the action , it might be agreed that Boqueron Beach is a great spot in Puerto Rico. Vacationers ought to remember that , although Boqueron Beach is by no means secluded , it is also one of Puerto Rico’s beaches furthest from the crowds . It’s the perfect choice for vacationers that would prefer a bit of activity at the beach but choose to avoid the crowds. Many visitors feel that the amenities and attractions at or around a beach can be the most important at-

April 28 - May 4, 2011

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tributes . Others feel that it is the seclusion and the chance to waste away the day on the sand that is the most important thing . With so many beaches to enjoy Puerto Rico has plenty to choose from , and you may decide that Boqueron Beach is precisely the type of beach you most enjoy.

Location This beach can be found on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico , 2.0 miles from Aqua al Cuello. Boqueron Beach is close to Cabo Rojo , so you can tour the town after your visit to the beach.

Nearby Hotels The number of other people sharing the beach can vary widely , depending upon when you visit. There are no major hotels next to this beach but you may meet guests from some of the smaller hotels nearby. You’ll find 6 hotels near this beach. If you’re thinking it would be nice to stay in this neighborhood you’ll find multiple options.


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The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

36 Hours in Amsterdam By GISELA WILLIAMS

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OST visitors to Amsterdam rarely wander beyond the arched bridges, watery passageways and crooked canal houses of the enchanting city center. But equally fascinating is the development boom around the harbor and in the once gritty areas that lie between the historic center and the surrounding ring road (A10). These pockets of innovation — pioneered Brooklyn-style by young designers and entrepreneurs who cannot afford the rents on the Keizersgracht — are worth a detour. To explore them, just act like a local: hop on a bike and go.

Friday 4 p.m. 1) DESIGN FRENZY For more than 25 years, fans of Dutch design have frequented the iconic shop Frozen Fountain for Piet Hein Eek tables and Hella Jongerius vases. But some affordable design shops have recently entered the scene. Store Without a Home (Cabotstraat 1; 31-65-474-3062; storewithoutahome.com) is the eccentric project of an interior designer, Janwillem Sanderse. It started as a communal exhibition space on the harbor but then developed into a roving store that is half gallery, half design shop. Until the end of the month you’ll find it in a corner storefront in De Baarsjes, a multicultural neighborhood southwest of the center, selling everything from outsider art to colorful crocheted stools to ceramic lamps in the shape of potatoes. At the two-year-old Restored (Haarlemmerdijk 39; 31-20-337-6473; restored.nl), you will find fashionable DIY design objects from the Netherlands’ most promising newcomers: quilted lanterns from Maartje van den Noort; sewn bird brooches from Naked Design

(nakeddesign.nl) and Red Riding Hood-inspired porcelain cups handcrafted by rENs (madebyrens.nl).

7 p.m. 2) EAT YOUR VEGETABLES Take a cozy storefront with an open kitchen in the up-and-coming Westerpark neighborhood, mix in food trends like farmto-table and supper club dinners and you get Culinaire Werkplaats (Fannius Scholtenstraat 10; 31-65-464-6576; deculinairewerkplaats. nl). Part restaurant and part atelier, it was opened about two years ago by Marjolein Wintjes and Eric Meursing, a former designer and chef. Every few weeks they create a theme that inspires the cooking, like Light or Flowers, then serve a five-course meal that

focuses on seasonal vegetables, fruits and grains. A recent meal included Jerusalem artichoke prepared three ways (roasted, whipped and fried), croquettes of black quinoa with ras al hanout and a “deconstructed” apple pie: apple soup with frozen Champagne cubes and a stick of sugared crust. Guests pay what they think is fair.

Pull up a chair at the vibrantly designed bar (coconut wood floors, hand-painted walls and street market-inspired lanterns), order a cocktail made with hand-cranked cane sugar (7 euros, or about $9.80 at $1.40 to the euro) and get ready for late night dancing to a mix of live and D.J.’d world music.

10 p.m.

Saturday 11 a.m.

3) BACK TO THE ROOTS Nearby, the Westergasfabriek, a former factory complex full of artists’ studios and cultural venues, is home to Toko MC (Polonceaukade 5; 31-20-475-0425; tokomc.nl), a funky restaurant and music destination connected to the MC theater, both of which celebrate Amsterdam’s rich mix of ethnicities.

4) EXPLORE THE NORTH North Amsterdam has become an edgy cultural center à la Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the late ’80s. It scored some major hipster points in 2007 when MTV moved its offices there; in the same warehouse complex is a skate park and a hive of artists’ studios. Architecture and film


The San Juan Weekly Comes from page 49 buffs are anticipating the completion of the spaceship building that will be the new Eye Film Institute. Right off the NDSM ferry stop is the cheerful IJ-Kantine (Mt. Ondinaweg 15-17; 31-20-633-7162; ijkantine.nl), a cantina where parents tank up on caffeine while their children tackle one another in the play corner of the soaring light-filled dining room. A fiveminute walk away is the Noorderlicht (NDSM wharf, T.T. Neveritaweg 33; 31-20-492-2770); noorderlichtcafe.nl), a sort of transparent hanger, where a five-year-old cafe shelters an arty crowd who sit on mismatched chairs at driftwood tables. In summer, everyone sits outside, turning the industrial lots into partylike spaces.

1 p.m. 5) A BOOM ON OVERTOOM The area close to where Overtoom street hits Nassaukade is quickly becoming a compelling alternative to P.C. Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s designer-shop avenue. Over the last two or three years there’s been a boomlet of independent shops along its edges. One of the most inspiring is Friday Next (Overtoom 31; 31-20-612-3292; fridaynext.com), a sprawling concept store built around the owners’ interior design atelier. While you decide whether you can fit that wooden Muuto lamp into your luggage, grab a coffee at the store’s cafe, which features ingredients found next door at Marqt (Overtoom 21-25; 31-20-422-6311; marqt.com), an organic supermarket with products from small local producers.

3 p.m. 6) HIGH TEA The Dutch, even the younger generation, still like to take time out on weekend afternoons to practice the art of high tea. The latest insider favorite is the spread (starting at 10.95 euros) at Gartine (Taksteeg 7; 31-20-320-4132; gartine.nl), a cozy cafe in the historic center. Another good option is the Amsterdam South branch of De Bakkerswinkel (Roelof Hartstraat 68; 31-20-662-3594; debakkerswinkel.nl), a chain of bakeries with

April 28 - May 4, 2011

35

a homey atmosphere. At this outpost, manicured locals curl up on chairs and savor scones served with clotted cream (1.40 euros).

5 p.m. 7) NEW DUTCH CERAMICS For contemporary handmade ceramics, head to the source: two workshops of several talented designers, both in the lively, bohemian De Pijp neighborhood. There are Hilde Tempelman’s UFO and guitar-painted plates at Atelier Tempel (Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 20; 31-20-470-0106; ateliertempel.nl/ pottery; by appointment), while three artists work and sell their pieces at nearby Keramiek van Campen (Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 38; 31-62-913-0883; keramiekvancampen.nl).

8 p.m. 8) IN THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT Last summer, the ambitious chef Rogier van Dam and his sommelier girlfriend opened the very respectable Restaurant Lastage (Geldersekade 29; 31-20-737-0811; restaurantlastage.nl) in the midst of sex shops. Mr. van Dam attempts to surprise his guests not only with the location but also with his chef’s menu (36 euros for three courses), which offers an elegant twist to Dutch cuisine.

11 p.m. 9) STOP THE PRESSES There’s still news coming from Trouw (Wibautstraat 127; 31-20-463-7788; trouwamsterdam.nl), a temporary restaurant and club in a former newspaper printing warehouse in East Amsterdam, but these days the news has more to do with cocktails, cuisine and art. The space is now a sleek backdrop for a young crowd who read their news on iPads. On summer evenings, the terrace is packed with late-night revelers.

Sunday Noon 10) THE EXOTIC EAST In the last two years the Indische Buurt district in East Amsterdam has drawn young designers, artists and families looking for affordable housing in an area that has been

home to squatters and a mix of immigrant families. Last year the chefs Jaymz Pool, Faysel van Thiel and Frenk van Dinther opened Wilde Zwijnen (Javaplein 23; 31-20-463-3043; wildezwijnen.com). The name means wild boar and it hints at the kitchen’s preference for seasonal products. Lunch could include roast pig with clams (9 euros) and, for dessert, crème brûlée with Earl Grey and blueberry sorbet (7 euros). This is a good starting place for exploring the neighborhood’s main boulevard, Javastraat. Lined with shiny Mediterraneanstyle tiles, Turkish grocers and coffee shops, it resembles a street in Istanbul.

1 p.m. 11) TROPICAL MUSEUM Even if you don’t have the slightest interest in Holland’s former colonies, which include Indonesia and Suriname, the Tropical Museum (Linnaeusstraat 2; 31-20-568-8200; tropenmuseum.nl) is worth a visit. The architecture alone — a towering and grand early 20th-century building that wraps around an entire city block — is impressive. And its gilded interiors, especially its library, hide many

romantic nooks where you can read up on your next exotic adventure. Until May 8 a splashy exhibition called “Red” showcases about 300 objects that illustrate the importance of the color red in various cultures.

IF YOU GO The big hotel news of the moment is that the five-star grand Hotel De L’Europe (Nieuwe Dolenstraat 2-14; 31-20-531-1777; leurope.nl; rates from 339 to 3,000 euros) will officially reopen in May after a much needed renovation. It includes a wing of suites inspired by the Dutch masters in the Rijksmuseum, a complete redo of the main 19th-century building and a new dining concept overseen by the chef Richard van Oostenbrugge. If you want the comforts of home in the heart of Amsterdam’s famous shopping area, the Nine Streets, book one of the four elegant contemporary spaces at Miauw Suites (Hartenstraat 36; 31-20-893-2933; miauw. com; rates from 145 to 245 euros), which is owned by a couple with backgrounds in fashion design and filmmaking.


SCIENCE / TECH 36 April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

Taking a Second Look at Penguins’ Decline By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

T

he population of Adélie penguins in Antarctica has declined by 50 percent in recent years, and everyone who has watched a nature movie or television show knows that the reason is the rapidly melting sea ice that has limited the size of their winter habitat. But what everyone knows may be wrong. New research, published online Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the penguins’ real problem is the severe decline in the abundance of Antarctic krill, their main food, a problem affecting the ice-avoiding

Sports

T

chinstrap penguins as well. “For the last 30 years, the adults have been able to rear chicks as they always have,” said Wayne Z. Trivelpiece, the lead author. “But the young aren’t coming back. Ninety percent never make it through their first year. They are not finding the food they need.” By the middle of the 20th century, hunting and fishing had nearly eliminated fur seals, whales and some fish. Krill, their favorite prey, flourished, and penguins feasted on the oversupply. In the 1970s and early 1980s the penguins did well on the whole, their numbers varying with the extent of sea ice — Adélie penguins did somewhat better when there was more ice, while chinstraps thrived in warmer winters. Recent warm weather has reduced the area of sea ice, but for the penguins this is a side issue. The real problem is that warmer winters, a recovering whale population and increasing harvests for human use have reduced the quantity of krill. In 2009-10 more than 202,000 tons of krill were taken, up from 51,000 tons in 2002-3. Both Adélie and chinstrap penguins are now suffering, and their future is uncertain. “Maybe we’ve hit the bottom,” said Dr. Trivelpiece, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “But we don’t really know. They’re so dependent on krill that we don’t know how this is going to play out.”

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

I

t appears to be a case of high-speed evolution. Many arthropods — the large group of invertebrates that includes insects and crustaceans — are hosts of symbiotic bacteria inherited through the maternal line. The sweet potato whitefly, an agricultural pest, has acquired a new one. Over a six-year period, a bacterium from the genus Rickettsia swept through the whitefly population, assuring survival advantages for the whiteflies and for itself. The new research appears in the April 8 issue of Science. “Whiteflies that have this infection have greater fitness, at least in the laboratory,” said the senior author of the study, Martha S. Hunter, a professor of entomology at the University of Arizona. “We’ll be testing whether this fit-

Bacterium Puts Insect on Evolution Fast Track

ness benefit exists in the field as well.” Compared with uninfected whiteflies, infected insects develop faster, are more likely to survive to adulthood and lay more eggs. Moreover, the bacterium induces the insects to produce a larger number of daughters, advantageous for a bacterium that is passed to the next generation only by the females. Infected sweet potato whiteflies now flourish across the Southwest. As of 2008, 94 percent of whiteflies were infected, compared with 1 percent in 2000. “This study shows that acquiring a bacterial symbiont can fundamentally change the biology of an insect, really instantaneously,” Dr. Hunter said. “And what results is really a different animal than what Wwas there before. This is something we want to know about for pest management. We want to know whether a bacteria can make an insect a worse pest.”

Wesleyan & Marista Win LAMEPI Championship

he Wesleyan Eagles won the 2010-2011 Basketball Championship Tournament for the Mini Private School Athletic League (LAMEPI). The event was held at the athletic facilities of the Marista School in Guaynabo. The girls Basketball Tournament was won by Marista beating the Parkville Comets 30 to 16. Marista’s Natalia Cruz led the team with 21 points. Marista’s Leysha Trinidad Santiago scored 7 points. She is the dauther of boxing idol Félix “Tito” Trinidad García. Parkville Comet’s Laura Taveras and Mayra Blease scored 8 and 3 points respectively.

In the second tier in the boy’s category, the Marista Seahawks beat Balwin 39 to 19. In the first half the Seahawks were leading 16 to 12 thanks to the joint attack by Christopher Serrano and Jorge Puig, with 6 and 5 points, respectively. In the second half the Seahawks fought to victory led by coach PJ Arroyo. Javier Ortíz was the leading scorer for the winning Seahawks with 11 points followed by Puig with 7, while Serrano and Manuel de Jesús scored 6 each. In a noble effort Baldwin’s Javier Pérez and Sergio Arzuaga scored 6 and 4 points, respectively.


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

37

Games

Sudoku How to Play: Fill in the empty fields with the numbers from 1 through 9 Click the “check sudoku” button to check your sudoku inputs Click the “new sudoku” button and select difficulty to play a new game

Sudoku Rules: Every row must contain the numbers from 1 through 9 Every column must contain the numbers from 1 through 9 Every 3x3 square must contain the numbers from 1 through 9

Crossword

Wordsearch

Answers on page 38


38

April 28 - May 4, 2011

HOROSCOPE Aries

(Mar 21-April 20)

Do not hesitate when you spot a sure thing. Temptation may be on the horizon, so make careful choices. Dilemmas may be persistent, but claim the freedom you richly deserve, even as you assess what this really means. Be aware that liberation may not lie in the direction you originally thought. Be all you can be.

Taurus

(April 21-May 21)

You WILL be in the right place at the right time, as per usual, I might add. Haven’t you noticed by now that you always land on your feet? Okay, it is good that you don’t take anything for granted, but, at this stage, you could afford the odd, smug smile! Don’t give any thought or energy to negative situations. What’s the point?

Gemini

(May 22-June 21)

Prepare to be surprised as someone you had written off makes a magnificent re- appearance. You can expect to feel a lot better about a tricky, emotional situation soon. Just go with what’s happening and be as accepting as possible of someone else’s process. You will regain your good will and kindness with interest, so it pays to be nice!

Cancer

(June 22-July 23)

Follow up on exciting ideas with enthusiasm. You need to re-energize your system, by reviewing your thought process. Have you got a bit stuck? Things may indeed be stressful, but you are well able for it all, if you could only be a bit less sensitized. Easier said than done for Cancer, I know, but do your best and keep your sense of humour.

Leo

(July 24-Aug 23)

Leave others to their own devices. You have more than enough to be getting on with. Press on and silence the competition by simply doing a good job. As new ideas fly around, do try to ground them. Approach someone unusual or ‘off-beat’ for an answer to one of life’s riddles. Trust a maverick and who knows, magic may happen!

Virgo

(Aug 24-Sep 23)

Call a halt to whatever is holding you back. Now is not the time to accept confinement. Do not impose restrictions on yourself or others. Love gets better if you relax and repayment in full is on the way. Ditch current stresses and strains and be philosophical. Destiny takes care of things, but don’t hold the process up with panic!

Libra

(Sep 24-Oct 23)

Stay focused and your love life will certainly benefit; you have the wherewithal to make a great impression at whatever you turn your hand to. Be selective and discerning about what works and what doesn’t. As worlds collide, you stand to benefit from an open- hearted approach. Anything can happen and you need to be open to anything too!

Scorpio

(Oct 24-Nov 22)

Accept people, things and circumstances as they are, not as you would wish them to be. You would benefit from a reality check, even in the midst of complex situations, so try to objectify things and give yourself a pep talk. You will feel the benefit of letting go. Expect a breakthrough as opposed to a breakdown.

Sagittarius

(Nov 23-Dec 21)

Be a bit more careful with your wallet/purse and the contents thereof! Get your house in order. Practical considerations must be a priority, even as you persist with commitments. Don’t waiver just when things are about to get interesting. Love ties may be challenging, but your luck is set to change with a magnificent turnaround.

Capricorn

(Dec 22-Jan 20)

Do save some time for hanging loose, even as schedules get hectic. You may feel pulled in several directions, but you love the creative tension, if you are honest about it. Be disciplined and you will get results. Access the good energy you have as your birthright, for anything begun at this time has a great knock-on effect.

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb 19) Earning power and general resources will be enhanced soon enough. However, stay alert for those who take advantage of your good nature. Don’t let them get away with it. You are currently a force to be reckoned with, so get moving with a cunning plan that feels right. You have everything to play for and not a lot to lose.

Pisces

(Feb 20-Mar 20)

Opportunities for hot and heavy connections abound, but remember to get down to routine chores and honour commitments. Reach a truce in a love thing. What’s the point in an on-going fight? The making up may be interesting, but, remember, life is too short for a load of old nonsense. Keep it real and don’t waste anyone’s time.

The San Juan Weekly

Answers to the Zudoku and Crossword on page 37


The San Juan Weekly

April 28 - May 4, 2011

Herman

Speed Bump

Frank & Ernest

BC

Scary Gary

Wizard of Id

Two Cows And A Chicken

Cartoons

39

Ziggi


40 April 28 - May 4, 2011

The San Juan Weekly

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