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The San Juan Weekly Star Soon to be Available at Walgreens Islandwide

Govt Detention Center for Girls Casa Blanca Museum

Alleging Abuse P3


Shedding light on life in the 19th century Puerto Rico Ready to Swim 103 Miles With the Sharks P6 P4


To Find Tasty Larvae,


Juan Luis Guerra

Lizards Use Their Brains The Poet of the Americas

Tale of a Puerto Rican Plantation Mistress P25

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August 4 - 10, 2011

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Why Hasn’t Employment of the Elderly Fallen? Business P27

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Sports P31 International 14 San Juan Weekly Star has exclusive New Times News Service in English in Puerto Rico

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011


ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Puerto Rican Govt Detention Center for Girls - Alleging Abuse


he American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Puerto Rico filed a lawsuit today against the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections demanding information about allegations of the abuse of girls – including solitary confinement for girls who practice self-harm and sexual contact by staff – at a juvenile detention facility near the city of Ponce. The ACLU learned of the abuse through interviews with girls at the facility, but the investigation was halted when staff at the detention center stopped the questioning and refused to allow the research team to return.

The ACLU was able to learn from the interviews that girls who commit self-harm, such as cutting the skin of their arms, are automatically given a six-month extension of their term of detention and subjected to solitary confinement. Self-harm is often a sign of depression or anxiety requiring the attention of a mental health professional. Other allegations included sexual contact by staff with girls, severe limitations on contact with family members, unnecessary strip searches and physical abuse. “Nobody in custody should be subjected to these conditions, but it is absolutely shocking to think

that these things are happening to young girls,” said Mie Lewis, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. The ACLU requested public information about the confinement of girls at the facility to investigate the alleged abuse and to determine if boys in the facility were being similarly mistreated. After more than three months, there has been no response

from the Department of Corrections. “It is very distressing to think that girls who are badly in need of mental health care are not only being denied critical professional attention, but in fact are being even more traumatized by longer sentences and harsher conditions,” said William Ramirez, executive director of the ACLU Of Puerto Rico.


The San Juan Weekly Star August 4 - 10, 2011

Shedding light on life in the 19th century Puerto Rico By: Suzanne Zack


enealogists, historians, legal al nresearchers, and social scieng tists interested in learning o more about the fabric of life in Puerto h Rico during the latter half of the 19th century will find a treasure trove off information in original court recordss n now being digitized at the UConn Libraries. The digitization project, funded by a new 12-month, $15,000 grant from LAMP, formerly known as the Latin American Microform Project, an initiative of the Center for Research Libraries, will capture, enhance, and make available online 5,000 very fragile, double-sided handwritten documents that cover civil disputes over land, slaves, and livestock that occurred in the m Arecibo appellate court district from 1844-1900. Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain for the period covered by most of the documents in this collection. Under Spanish rule, civil courts fell under territorial jurisdiction, and were divided into judicial districts that reflected major municipal areas, including that of Arecibo. Digital media technician Rita Lombardi works with the fragile documents. The collection includes court cases from the towns of Arecibo, Barceloneta, Camuy, Ciales, Hatillo, Manati, Morovis, Quebradillas, and Utuado. Marisol Ramos, curator of the Latin American and Caribbean Collections in Archives & Special Collections, says that since the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center acquired the collection in 2000, there have been numerous inquiries from both scholars and the General Archive of Puerto Rico about them. Ramos is also UConn’s librarian for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Puerto Rican/Latino Studies, Spanish, & Anthropology. These original records continue to be legal documents, so their enhanced accessibility is expected to generate interest among lawyers and others in Puerto Rico. “The digitization project will expand the opportunity to consult this part of our cultural heritage whose origins reside in

th General G l Archive A hi off Puerto P t Rico,” Ri ” the said Milagros Pepin-Rivera, specialist in cultural affairs at the General Archive of Puerto Rico. The documents already digitized may be viewed at . While the documents continue to be housed and cared for at the Dodd Research Center, their extremely fragile nature made on-demand photocopying impractical, so the Libraries sought to make them available through digital reformatting. The collection, scheduled to be fully digitized by May 2012, will be fully accessible online through the Internet Archive , a non-profit organization that offers free online access to historical digital collections, and the UConn Libraries’ Digital Collection Portal . Questions about the collection may be directed to Marisol Ramos at marisol.ramos@ or 860-486-2734. The Center for Research Libraries, to which the library has belonged since 2005, is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries, which acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources from a global network of sources, mostly from outside the United States.

The San Juan Weekly Star


August 4 - 10, 2011

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August 4 - 10, 2011

Ready to Swim 103 Miles With the Sharks By LIZETTE ÁLVAREZ ny day now, Diana Nyad will set out to do something no athlete has ever done: swim all day and all night, then all day and all night, then all day again. She will swim about 60 hours in the churning sea, 103 miles across the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Key West. Every hour and a half, she will stop to tread water for a few minutes as she swallows a liquid mixture of predigested protein and eats an occasional bit of banana or dollop of peanut butter. She will most likely hallucinate and endure the stings of countless jellyfish. Along the way, sea salt will swell her tongue to cartoonish proportions and rub her skin raw. “She is up against the most outlandish, outrageous, unbelievable physical endurance activity of, certainly, my lifetime,” said Steven Munatones, a champion open-water swimmer who runs the organization Open Water Source and will serve as an independent observer during Ms. Nyad’s swim. “I can’t imagine being in the ocean for 60 hours.


I can’t imagine doing anything for 60 hours. It is inconceivable. It simply is.” “Especially,” he added, “at her age.” Her age is 61. Ms. Nyad attempted this swim once before, unsuccessfully, in 1978 at the age of 28. She swam inside a shark cage for 41 hours 49 minutes until the raucous weather and powerful current pushed her far off course and she was forced to give up. She had traveled only 50 miles. (One year later, she swam 102 miles from Bimini, in the Bahamas, to Jupiter, Fla., without a shark cage. She still holds the record for the world’s longest ocean swim.) This time, armed with better technology and a battered but tough body, she is certain she will make it. “Physically, I am much stronger than I was before, although I was faster in my 20s,” said Ms. Nyad, who looks sturdy enough to defy a linebacker. “I feel strong, powerful, and endurance-wise, I’m fit.” Dr. Michael J. Joyner, a professor of anesthesiology and exercise research at the Mayo Clinic, agrees that older athletes, particularly

superb ones, do well in endurance sports, because experience and training can offset the need for speed. If Ms. Nyad makes it from Cuba to Key West, she will be the first person to have done so without a shark cage. In 1997, an Australian woman completed the swim inside a shark cage. But with a boat pulling the cage, the swim is easier and faster; the woman completed it in less than 24 hours. “I’m in uncharted territory,” Ms. Nyad said. This time around, Ms. Nyad, an accomplished marathon swimmer and sportscaster, is taking no chances. She has trained harder — for a year and a half — and changed her regimen. Rather than swim every day, she swims every other day. Last year, she completed a 24-hour swim in México. To help her succeed, she has organized an armada of people — 22 in all — to serve as her support team. All of them will travel to Cuba, visas in hand, and will try to arrive within three days of her swim. (An effort last year was called off because of visa difficulties.) She also has technology on her side: satellites, global positioning systems, advanced navigation software, even shark shields, none of which were available in 1978. The cost for all this is $500,000. She has raised money and depleted her own bank account, but she is still $150,000 short. Ms. Nyad, a commentator for the Los Angeles-based public radio station KCRW, shrugs it off. “If I wind up $150,000 in debt, I won’t lose sleep over it,” she said. At the moment, four experts are looking seven days ahead to pinpoint the ideal weather for her to travel to Cuba and wade into the ocean: a satellite oceanographer and meteorologist trained in the vagaries of the Gulf Stream; another meteorologist who works for CNN; and two officials at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are all hoping for the beginning of a low-pressure system that could create the doldrums, a waveless sea, for a few days. “Day 1 and Day 2, we want flat calm,” said Mr. Marchand. “By Day 3, well, it’s hard to get three days of flat calm. But even in a flat sea, you can get a squall — rain, thunder for 15 minutes to an hour, and then calm again. You can’t dodge them. And it’s almost an impossible swim as it is. You have to keep in a straight line.” Two men in kayaks will follow Ms. Nyad’s every stroke. They will hold a shark shield — neoprene rods that emit electrical waves to zap sharks that come too close. The waters between Cuba and Key West are a notorious shark playground. But the shield is not foolproof. Just in case it fails, as it did last year in the Caribbean when another woman was on a marathon swim, four shark divers with spears will be onboard, ready to jump.

Another advantage Ms. Nyad has, three decades after her first attempt to cross the straits, is the emphasis on sports nutrition. In 1978, Gatorade stood mostly alone in the field, and even then it was a niche drink. Now Ms. Nyad has her predigested proteins to drink and gel blocks of electrolytes to suck on to keep her calorie intake high and her body hydrated and balanced. The mental game, too, could doom her. Conditions in the ocean are nothing if not hostile. There will be no gorgeous sunset she can watch to buck up her spirits, as there would be if she were running or cycling. No music playing or conversation to distract her from her pain. Instead, Ms. Nyad sings songs — Neil Young, the Beatles, Janis Joplin — seemingly thousands of times a day to ward off monotony and stay in the moment. Ms. Nyad added, “Swimming is the ultimate form of sensory deprivation,” a fact that carries a particularly harsh sting for a speed talker like her. “You are left alone with your thoughts in a much more severe way.”But why go through this agony again? Ms. Nyad pinned the reason on her gallop toward 60; it unsettled her greatly. She needed a fresh, powerful target to stir up her energy and ambition. And although she had given up swimming abruptly in 1979, a casualty of burnout, her mind seized on her unsuccessful swim to Key West. “This is what I need to remedy my malaise,” Ms. Nyad said. “I need commitment to take over. That level of commitment has such a high. There is no thinking about regrets or what will I do with the rest of my life. I’m immersed in the everyday, full tilt. It’s so energizing.” Ms. Nyad no longer swims in anger, as she did in her youth, when she was working through the sexual abuse she said she suffered as a teenager. Now, she said, she swims in awe of the world around her. “I hope a couple will say, ‘I want to live life like that at this age,’ ” Ms. Nyad said. “I want the candle to burn bright. We have changed a lot. Our parents’ generation, at 60, they considered that old age. I’m in the middle of middle age.” concludes the swimmer.

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

7 Mainland

Bipartisan Plan for Budget Deal Buoys President



resident Obama seized on the re-emergence of an ambitious bipartisan budget plan in the Senate to invigorate his push for a big debt-reduction deal, and he summoned Congressional leaders back to the bargaining table this week to “start talking turkey.” The bipartisan proposal from the socalled Gang of Six senators to reduce deficits by nearly $4 trillion over the coming decade — and its warm reception from 43 other senators of both parties — renewed hopes for a deal days after talks between Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders had reached an impasse. Financial markets rallied on the news. And with time running out before the deadline of Aug. 2 to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, Mr. Obama’s quick embrace of the plan left House Republicans at greater risk of being politically isolated on the issue if they continue to rule out any compromise that includes higher tax revenues. Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader who has led opposition to any deal including tax increases, later issued a statement saying the bipartisan Senate plan includes “some constructive ideas to deal with our debt.” But Mr. Cantor stopped far short of endorsing it. And House Republicans passed legislation on Tuesday evening calling for deep spending cuts and the adoption of a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Though the legislation has no chance of passing the Senate, the 234-to-190 vote was a symbolic statement by conservatives heading into the end game of a confrontation whose economic and political stakes are hard to overstate. The Senate group’s plan, modeled on

the recommendations last year of a bipartisan fiscal commission established by Mr. Obama, calls for both deep spending cuts and new revenues through an overhaul of the income-tax code. But while its sponsorship by staunch conservatives as well as liberals suggested enough flexibility within both parties to get a deal eventually, it would be all but impossible to turn it into detailed legislation — at the moment it is a four-page outline — and pass it in less than two weeks. Both parties were considering ways to use the proposal as the basis for a broader budget agreement if they can find a way to get past the immediate pressure to increase the debt limit. Tuesday marked the return to the bipartisan Senate group of Senator Tom Coburn, a conservative Republican of Oklahoma, two months after he abandoned the effort by two other Republicans and three Democrats to reach a deal, saying it would not cut spending enough. On Monday he had laid out his own $9 trillion debt-reduction plan, but acknowledged it could not be passed. Mr. Coburn’s willingness to sign on to the bipartisan approach signaled that at least some conservatives, having made their principled point, might now be ready to bargain. And Republicans increasingly are showing signs of splintering. Some conservatives within Congress and outside have become increasingly vocal in asserting that the party is at risk of putting ideological purity ahead of the chance for a major deficit reduction that includes substantial Democratic concessions, including cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending. In appearing in the White House briefing room just hours after the Gang of Six went public with its proposal, Mr. Obama sought to use the development to increase the pressure on House Republicans even as

they moved toward a vote on their bill. The bill passed by the House would slash spending for next year, cap future spending levels and advance a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Its passage was a rejoinder of sorts to a plan hatched by the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that would allow Republicans to accede to a $2.4 trillion increase in the government’s debt limit without actually voting for it, but also without the dollar-for-dollar spending cuts that House Republicans had demanded in return. The House bill “isn’t the easy choice,” said Representative Rich Nugent, Republican of Florida, “but it’s the right choice.” House Democrats excoriated the Republican plan, which they said would devastate entitlement programs though the mandatory spending cuts as a result of the cap. “Regardless of what other parts of this bill say,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, ”there is no way to meet these goals without destroying Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, veterans’ programs, and military preparedness.” Democrats are certain to make the House Republicans’ proposal an issue in the 2012 elections, along with the House Republicans’ budget passed earlier this year that would remake Medicare and Medicaid. But most attention shifted to the Gang of Six blueprint, and the reaction to it from the White House and Congressional leaders, who were cooler to it than Mr. Obama. While Mr. Obama said he did not agree with all of the senators’ plan, by his endorsement of its thrust and his remarks to reporters, he plainly sought to isolate further the House Republicans. “We have a Democratic president and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts and modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems” while also providing new revenues, Mr. Obama said. And, he added, “we now have a bipartisan group of

senators” and a majority of Americans who agree with such a balanced approach. Forty-nine senators, 25 Democrats and 24 Republicans, were present for a closeddoor meeting in the Capitol where those in the Gang of Six, except Mr. Coburn, outlined the debt-reduction plan that had been seven months in the works. “It is early to say, but their timing is good,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee. He added, “It helps that the three Republicans senators are three of the most conservative, most respected members of the Senate who are Republicans.” Besides Mr. Coburn, those are Senators Michael D. Crapo of Idaho and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, who formed the group with Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia. The other two Democrats are Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. A spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner said, “This plan shares many similarities with the framework the speaker discussed with the president, but also appears to fall short in some important areas.” The timing displeased both Senate leaders — the majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, and Mr. McConnell — who have been negotiating the fallback plan to raise the debt limit that Mr. McConnell initiated last week. At a closed-door luncheon for Democratic senators, Mr. Reid gave Mr. Warner 24 hours to develop a plan on how to move forward — a challenge the Gang of Six met later to discuss. “I’m happy to work and use anything in the Gang of Six that we can,” Mr. Reid said. “But remember we only have 13 days — 13 days — and there’s a number of senators who have said they’ll do everything they can to stop the debt ceiling from being increased, that they would in effect allow us to default on our debt.” After the Republican senators’ luncheon, Mr. McConnell said of the Gang of Six outline, “I haven’t had a chance to decide how I feel about it.”

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The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

Blame Congress A

merican Electric Power’s decision to shut down an ambitious experiment aimed at capturing greenhouse gases from a coal-fired power plant was a disappointing setback to efforts to control harmful global warming emissions from coal, among the world’s most abundant fuels. It was also a predictable result of Congress’s failure to enact climate change legislation that would have placed a price on emissions and given businesses compelling economic reasons to clean up their plants and develop new technologies. Without industrywide federal standards in place, state utility regulators would not have allowed A.E.P. to recoup its investment through higher prices, making the whole project untenable. Coal-fired power plants produce one-third of the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide. Policy makers have other tools to help lower these greenhouse gas

emissions, including regulations requiring more efficient plants. What they do not have is breakthrough technologies. The A.E.P. project, located at a 31-year-old coal-fired plant in West Virginia, was the country’s most advanced attempt to strip carbon dioxide from the flue gases and store it permanently underground in deep-rock formations under the plant. The company had completed a small pilot program, and the Energy Department had promised to pay for half the final $668 million bill. But A.E.P. would have been on the hook for the rest. When work began two years ago, it was assumed that Congress would adopt a cap-and-trade program — imposing a price on emissions, rewarding companies that found innovative ways to reduce them and providing upfront subsidies for advanced technologies. The House passed such a bill, but the Senate balked. Most of the other proposals and pro-

jects in the United States involve enhanced oil recovery, in which utilities capture carbon dioxide and ship it to oil fields where it is injected into wells to extract more oil. Senator Richard Lugar has introduced legislation that would provide tax breaks for utilities that participate. That’s a start. But, at best, oil recovery will be able to ab-

sorb only one-sixth of the country’s annual carbon-dioxide emissions. To address global warming, the country needs new technology and more ambitious projects. There is little chance that industry will invest in them unless Congress provides far stronger financial incentives.

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

9 Mainland

Panel Recommends Coverage for Contraception By ROBERT PEAR


leading medical advisory panel recommended that all insurers be required to cover contraceptives for women free of charge as one of several preventive services under the new health care law. Obama administration officials said that they were inclined to accept the panel’s advice and that the new requirements could take effect for many plans at the beginning of 2013. The administration signaled its intentions in January when Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, unveiled a 10-year program to improve the nation’s health. One goal was to “increase the proportion of health insurance plans that cover contraceptive supplies and services.” Administration officials, who say they hope to act on the recommendations, are receptive to the idea of removing cost as a barrier to birth control — a longtime goal of advocates for women’s rights and experts on women’s health. But the recommendations immediately reignited debate over the government’s role in reproductive health. Women’s groups and medical professionals applauded the recommendations while the Roman Catholic Church raised strenuous objections. The recommendations came in a report submitted to Ms. Sebelius by the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The new health care law says insurers must cover “preventive health services” and cannot charge for them. Ms. Sebelius will decide on a minimum package of essential health benefits, and her decision will not require further action by Congress. The panel said insurers should be forbidden to charge co-payments for contraceptives and other preventive services because even small charges could deter their use. The recommendation would not help women without insurance. The administration asked the Institute of Medicine, a nonpartisan, nongovernmental arm of the National Academy of Sciences, to help identify the specific services that must be covered for women. “This report is historic,” Ms. Sebelius said in accepting the document. “Before today, guidelines regarding women’s health and preventive care did not exist. These recommendations are based on science and existing literature.” In addition to contraceptive services for women, the panel recommended that the government require health plans to cover screening to detect domestic violence; screening for H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS; and counseling and equipment to promote breastfeeding, including the free rental of breast pumps. The panel also said all insurers should

be required to cover screening for gestational diabetes in pregnant women; DNA testing for the human papillomavirus as part of cervical cancer screening; and annual preventive-care visits. Such visits could include prenatal care and preconception care, to make sure women are healthy when they become pregnant. Defending its recommendations on contraceptive coverage, the panel said that nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended, and that about 40 percent of unintended pregnancies ended in abortion. Thus, it said, greater use of contraception would reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy, teenage pregnancy and abortion. The chairwoman of the panel, Dr. Linda Rosenstock, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “We did not consider cost or cost-effectiveness in our deliberations.” But the panel’s report says that “contraception is highly cost-effective,” averting unintended pregnancies that would be far more expensive than contraception. To reduce unintended pregnancies, the panel said, insurers should cover the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as sterilization procedures and “education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” This recommendation would require coverage of emergency contraceptives including pills like ella and Plan B, panel members said. Under rules issued last year, many health plans are already required to cover numerous preventive services like blood pressure and cholesterol tests, colonoscopies and other cancer screenings, and routine vaccinations. A provision of the law drafted by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, requires coverage of “additional preventive care and screenings” for women. Most private insurance provides contraceptive coverage, but co-payments have increased in recent years, the panel said. Representative Lois Capps, Democrat of California, said the recommendations would remove cost as a barrier to birth control — and in hard economic times like these, she said, cost can be a formidable barrier. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and some conservative groups, including the Family Research Council, denounced the recommendation on birth control. “Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed,” said Deirdre A. McQuade, a spokeswoman for the bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat. “But the Institute of Medicine report treats them as such.” Ms. McQuade expressed deep concern about requiring coverage of surgical steriliza-

tions and contraceptive drugs and devices. Jeanne Monahan, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, said: “Some people have moral or ethical objections to contraceptives. They should not be forced to violate their conscience by paying premiums to health plans that cover these items and services.”

One panel member, Prof. Anthony Lo Sasso, a health economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, filed a dissent, saying the committee did not have enough time to conduct “a serious and systematic review” of the evidence. The report, he said, includes “a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through a lens of advocacy.”

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The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

LETTERS White Night

UPR: Meanness of it All

Take thy beak from out of my Heart, quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” The Raven Edgar Allen Poe We’re about to enter White Night. It’s the twelve months before an election, when incumbents actually behave. So till next November police won’t murder or beat anybody, the UPR quota won’t be raised, more penepeísta hacks won’t be added to the Supreme Court, no mass firings, the bill forcing teens to be home by ten, even on weekends, goes to the back burner, penalties for trivial offenses won’t be jacked up, kids texting naughty won’t get slapped around by cops, we might even get some libraries, no they won’t go that far. Is it that we forget because we’re dumb? Perhaps it’s the colonial mind-set, whatever that is. Or denial. Child psychiatrists tell us young kids severely abused by parents refuse to acknowledge such a thing is happening, like if your world’s too monstruous to live in, you have to make it over, you are what you dream, what you hope for, and not the hell you’re forced to live in. These four years have been worse than most. The word that best describes our politicians is necio, the dictionary tranlates it as fool or foolish, but it’s more than that, it’s a willful stupidity, when your self-worship and undiluted meanness put your say-so above what’s right, like you’re a sort of biblical demon. Nevertheless, the penepeístas have been grotesque, they’ve tried to take democracy from us, they’re halfway there actually. Our Constitution then becomes merely a footnote of better times, once the Supreme Court/separation of powers is out of the way. And our chance to keep our children above poverty, an honest wage for the parent and a true venue for learning for the child, is forfeited. Triangular governance---politicians, Milla de Oro and narcotraffickers---is the most nightmarish configuration of tyranny. I implore God, the latent dignity within us as a people, or whatever, that once this White Night is done, come the darkness, as it must once again, the penepeístas will no longer be cawing over us in the nigh Danilo Alvarez, Hato Rey

UPR: Bureaucracy of Sanctimonious Simpletons Profs at the UPR assign lots of reading online, particularly mags and journals. But you can no longer do than on UPR library computers because the same function also downloads porn and a fellow was doing that “next to a young lady who was thereby offended.” Consequently the operation has been disabled and, no, you can’t read The San Juan Weekly at a UPR library anymore. NATHAN ARBUNCLE, SANTURCE

To complete her UPR undergraduate degree, my niece needs just two biology courses: Biology of the Cell and Biochemistry of the Cell. Now, however, the Biology Dept., for no apparent reason, have decreed these courses be given on different semesters, so that with the quota, that means paying over a thousand dollars for one class one semester and then another thousand for the other one class the semester after that. Does even Harvard charge so much? And it would delay her graduation. Plenty students must be in the same boat, these two biologies are left for last because they’re the ones you’re required two-semester Organic Chemistry for. I guess she’ll be graduating from Interamerican now. Which is truly a shame. Eleuterio Serpieri, Santurce

A Form of Self-loathing Really A house in Guaynabo had been beautifully surrounded by a blend of Flamboyan trees and abundant bushes. One afternoon I walked by and the bushes had been scissored and the trees chainsawed and it looked like hurricane Hugo had made it back somehow. I asked the fellows doing it. A hardy old man, eyeing his machete with stern pride replied, the place had become un monte, an unkind word for rainforest. You couldn’t even see the house anymore, he added. Visitors to Puerto Rico are impressed by its lush tropical vegetation, it’s what makes our landscape gorgeous. Most countries don’t get the rainfall needed for such luxuriant green. Yet here people dislike precisely this asset of Puerto Rico. They’re always pruning and chainsawing down. The urbanizations swelter even though they would be nice and cool if only they had a canopy of treetops over them. Government bureaucrats are particularly adept at this. Condado is phasing out its trees, because, it’s alleged--with a straight face---that they’re responsible for the frequent blackouts and they crack the sidewalks. Nowhere else on earth does it occur to anybody that the key to good electrical service and intact sidewalks is treeless cities! Here, gangs of Obras Públicas men show up with chainsaws and quickly, before indignant residents have time to react, the tree is in pieces and getting loaded onto a big white truck. Then they cement the hole over so that no gringo interloper has to audacity to plant a tree there ever again. I’m told it’s because greenery reminds people of a painful past of rural poverty. And that everybody wants to imitate American standards of landscaping. Actually most mainlanders would love to have their houses smack in a rainforest, it’s just that there’s not enough rain for that anywhere in North America. In Hawaii,

where there is, people make the most of it, often surround their homes with veritable jungles. It’s truly sad when you have something of great beauty and value and you destroy it. The only other example I can think of is Italy, where people tear out gorgeous marble floors, that cost an arm and a leg elsewhere but are cheap there, and replace them with wood, that’s scarce and expensive because it’s imported mostly. My uncle’s girlfriend in Rome did that and was bragging and taking pictures and my mother then opposed the wedding because the girl just couldn’t be right in the head. Jackson Winters, Isla Verde

College Crime 10,000 UPR student didn’t go on last semester. They couldn’t afford the $800. Means they won’t be middle classers, lifelong minimum wagers perhaps. So Big Business is pleased. As are the penepeístas. But of all those angry young men and women, and the 10K next year, and the many more ahead, what portion of them will find a living pushing dope? Or bringing it in, or enforcing credit, or shooting it out or all the other things gangsters do? Unless Daddy is wading in boodle, like Robert Licalzi of Garden Hills, and can set up shop for you, higher education in the only entry into the middle class. And the more people don’t make it in life, the more the bullets will be eventually flying around and the more politicians will be telling on TV that they’re doing all they can to halt the slaughter on the streets and you’ll likely be undereducated yourself, enough to even believe them. Jackson Winters, Isla Verde

Santini’s Winter Sweltering under the heat wave, statehood comes to mind, a bit of snow might even make it our way. So that’s why Santini chainsaws all the trees down! Anita Roig, Santurce

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The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011


36 Hours in Bar Harbor, Me. want to do is kick back in an overstuffed chair and eat fresh-baked pizza off a vintage TV table while watching that big hit at Sundance you missed when it played at home. At Reel Pizza Cinerama, (33 Kennebec Place, 207-288-3811) place your order in the lobby where in a normal movie theater you would be buying popcorn and Junior Mints, and then go into the screening room and stake out a La-Z-Boy. When your number comes up on the screen on the wall, no one minds as you sneak out for your Casino Royale pizza, with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic ($14.75), and another beer.



ORMERLY named Eden, Bar Harbor may well be the perfect New England tourist town. There are the requisite T-shirt emporiums and fudge shops and multiple quality homemade-ice cream joints. There are the tasteful and schlocky art galleries and free chamber music concerts on Friday nights. The architecture consists mainly of ‘’cottages’’ built in the early 20th century by titans of preincome-tax industry, but they are not about Newportesque excess as much as bygone elegance. Meanwhile, the honky-tonk water slides, go-karts and minigolf are just far enough away, in nearby Trenton, to make them ac-

cessible but invisible. Above all else, though, Bar Harbor is special because a few of those early visitors donated their land and pulled the strings to get 40 percent of the incomparably dramatic and beautiful Mount Desert Island, on which Bar Harbor sits, designated as Acadia National Park. Bike, hike, amble, kayak, rock-climb, horseback ride, lobster tour, whatever -- it’s a day tripper’s paradise, at least until the leaf peeping ends around the second week of October. Friday 8 p.m. 1) Flickerlight Dining No matter where you’re coming from, Bar Harbor is always a little farther away than you estimated. When at last you roll into town, all you really

Saturday 5 a.m. 2) Into Wet Air (or Not) Given its extreme eastern location, 1,532-foot Cadillac Mountain is said to be the first place in the United States to see the sun rise. But beware, the bestintentioned plans to climb up and greet the dawn may fall victim to classic Maine mist and fog. If so, sleep in until 8 or so and then unwind a reliably gooey cinnamon roll while sipping a double espresso at the Opera House Internet Cafe (27 Cottage Street, 207-288-3509). It has a living-room-style Internet cafe in the back, but you didn’t come to Bar Harbor to check your e-mail, so stay up front with the assorted Scrabble games, backgammon boards, newspapers and wall-to-wall opera memorabilia. With the help of caffeine and newsprint, your personal fog will lift. Noon 3) Here’s to You, Mr. Rockefeller By 1913 John D. Rockefeller Jr. was already feeling a bit crowded out by all the cars running on his family’s gasoline, so he began construction of what became 57 miles of carriage roads that are open only to nonmotorized travelers. Like Mr. R., you want

to do your part, so rent bikes at Acadia Bike ($18 a day with advance reservations, 48 Cottage Street; 207-288-9605) and pedal merrily for a couple of hours through the mist along the shore of Eagle Lake, over the granite bridges, between the dreamy mountains and on down to the Jordan Pond House. By this time, you’ll be ready for the magnificent steam-filled popovers and tea ($7.50; reservations suggested; Park Loop Road, 207-276-3316). The popovers arrive one at a time as you eat them at wooden tables out on the lawn, above, overlooking the pond and the matching pair of mountains known as the Bubbles. Find the bus stop and wait for the free bus that will take you and the bikes back to Bar Harbor. 4 p.m. 4) Old Culture, New Culture Back in downtown Bar Harbor, the Abbe Museum ($6, 26 Mount Desert Street; 207-288-3519) gives new meaning to the term art snowshoes. The masterpieces of Wabanaki quillwork, basketry and clothing in the Siebert collection, in particular, are almost subversively beautiful in this age of mass production and computer-assisted design. Out into the sun again, seek a more contemporary experience: miniature golf at Pirate’s Cove (10 minutes from town on Route 3, 207-288-2133). You can call it educational if you read the signs about famous pirate ships of yore. Don’t be tempted by the 36-hole deal ($11); 18 is plenty ($7). 7 p.m. 5) Unreality Check Maine, as befitting a state that used to be a part of Massachusetts, follows a baseball team that believes itself to be a rival to the Yankees. The

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The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

Comes from page 11 Red Sox pathos is palpable at Little Anthony’s (131 Cottage Street, 207-288-4700), where the locals gather, and you stop for a pitcher of Geary’s Ale and the last few desperate innings. Don’t say anything stupid out loud, and if anybody asks, the answer is a slight shrug and a ‘’Hey, you gotta believe.’’ 8 p.m. 6) Choice of Mussels Though there is room for disagreement about the efficacy of mustard broth in the pungent steamed mussels ($10), the Mediterranean and the grilled creations at George’s (7 Stephens Lane, 207-288-4505) are worthy of the restaurant’s longstanding reputation as one of the best in town. Tables are spread through the small downstairs rooms of an old house, and as closing time nears and the pianist, Roberta Demuro, begins taking requests (‘’What’s that? Some kind of college song?’’), end the evening uproariously with grappa all around.

10:30 p.m. 7) Ostrich-Fueled Revelry Carmen Verandah (119 Main Street, 207-288-2766) is where the young and the energetic keep it going on exotic draft beers and ostrich burgers until 1 in the morning. Take a listen as you pass, and if the band sounds danceable head on up; with a cover always less than $5, you can’t go too wrong. If you don’t want to dance, you can play pool. Sunday 7:30 a.m. 8) The Beehive After loading up on dark roasted

organic caffeine and various bottled mega-C fruit drinks at Café Milagro (37 Cottage Street, 207-288-9592), head along the exquisite Park Loop Road for the Sand Beach parking lot and the trail up Beehive Mountain. The route is nearly straight up at times, an ascent made possible only by the iron rungs and handrails maintained by the National Park Service. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s short, and on a clear morning you have staggering views out over all the little inlets and islets to yourself. On the way back, take the trail over Gorham Mountain and along the base of the Cadillac Cliffs -- a sort of Frank Lloyd Wright meets Fred Flintstone formation. It will put you back out on the coast not far from the Thunder Hole, where the air roars its disapproval at being compressed into a cave by the waves. From there it’s an easy walk back to the car and a dip, if you’re extremely warm-blooded, at Sand Beach. Noon 9) Into the Blue The Park Loop Road back into town takes you right past the road to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Its 360-degree view is more than worth the drive, even if, as is likely, you discover that hundreds of other people

feel the same way at exactly the same time. Back from the peak, as you leave town on Route 3, the time has come at last for lobster. You’ve turned down all manner of creative crustacean so far (‘’Uh, what kind of cheese did you say was on that?’’) because the best way to eat a lobster is with a bib and a cob and a blob of cole slaw. Skip the first lobster pound and any that have tinted-window tour buses parked out front. You could do a lot worse than to get all the way to the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound (1237 Bar Harbor Road, 207-667-2977), just over the bridge in Trenton. After half a century in business, they know how to boil a spider. THE BASICS Visiting Bar Harbor Bar Harbor, on Mount Desert Island off the Atlantic Coast, is about 50 miles southeast of Bangor, Me. -- which is on Interstate 95 and has an airport served by major airlines -- via Routes 1A and 3. If your pockets are full, stay in the main building at the Bar Harbor Inn (Newport Drive, 800-248-3351) for the grand-old-wooden-dame-with-a-view experience. Its 153 rooms and suites are $79 to $575. The Stratford House Inn (45 Mount Desert Street, 207-288-5189), one of many former summer homes turned guest houses, was built in 1900, by Louisa May Alcott’s first publisher, to resemble Shakespeare’s birthplace. Its 10 rooms are $85 to $175. For the B.& B.-phobic, the Bar Harbor Quality Inn (40 Kebo Street, 207-288-5403) has clean rooms -- 76 in all -- and a swimming pool, within walking distance of town, at $69 to $189. Photos (Photographs by Herb Swanson for The New York Times); (Photo by Steven Shukow for The New York Times) Map of Bar Harbor, Maine.

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011


Pakistan’s Military Plotted to Tilt U.S. Policy, F.B.I. Says By CHARLIE SAVAGE and ERIC SCHMITT


akistan’s military, including its powerful spy agency, has spent $4 million over two decades in a covert attempt to tilt American policy against India’s control of much of Kashmir — including funneling campaign donations to members of Congress and presidential candidates, the F.B.I. claimed in court papers unsealed Tuesday. The allegations of a long-running plan to influence American elections and foreign policy come at a time of deep tensions between the United States and Pakistan — and in particular its spy agency — amid the fallout over the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden at a compound deep inside Pakistan on May 2. The Federal Bureau of Investigation made the allegations in a 43-page affidavit filed in connection with the indictment of two United States citizens on charges that they failed to register with the Justice Department as agents of Pakistan, as required by law. One of the men, Zaheer Ahmad, is in Pakistan, but the other, Syed Fai, lives in Virginia and was arrested on Tuesday. Mr. Fai is the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington-based group that lobbies for and holds conferences and media events to promote the cause of self-determination for Kashmir. According to the affidavit, the activities by the group, also called the Kashmiri Center, are largely financed by Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, along with as much as $100,000 a year in related donations to political campaigns in the United States. Foreign governments are prohibited from making donations to American political candidates.

“Mr. Fai is accused of a decadeslong scheme with one purpose — to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir,” Neil MacBride, the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, said. “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.” A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy denied any connection to matter, saying, “Mr. Fai is not a Pakistani citizen, and the government and embassy of Pakistan have no knowledge of the case.” Law enforcement officials said Pakistan used a network of at least 10 unnamed straw contributors, which Mr. Ahmad helped organize, to make the campaign contributions and donate the bulk of the Kashmiri Center’s annual operating budget. The ISI would reimburse them — or their families in Pakistan — for the donations, the officials said. Most of the straw donors who made contributions to the Kashmiri Center and to politicians in the United States were identified only by code in the court document, though the investigation was continuing and eight F.B.I. field offices executed 17 or 18 search warrants related to other suspected donors on Tuesday, an official said. The goal of the group, according to internal documents cited by the F.B.I., was to persuade the United States government that it was in its interest to push India to allow a vote in Kashmir to decide its future. The group’s strategy was to offset the Indian lobby by targeting members of the Congressional committees that focus on

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foreign affairs with private briefings and events, staging activities that would draw media attention and otherwise to elevate the issue of Kashmir — the disputed region between India and Pakistan that each country controls in part but claims entirely — in Washington. The F.B.I. said that there was no evidence that any of the lawmakers who received campaign funds from Pakistan were aware of its origins, and it did not name any of the recipients. However, a search in Federal Elections Commission databases for contributions by Mr. Fai showed that he has made more than $20,000 in campaign contributions over the past two decades. The bulk of his donations went to two recipients: the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Representative Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana. Mr. Fai made numerous — though smaller — contributions to Democrats as well, including to Representatives James P. Moran of Virginia, Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and Gregory W. Meeks of New York, and $250 donations to the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Barack Obama. Mr. Ahmad also donated to Mr. Burton, records show. For at least 15 years, Mr. Burton has been a champion for Kashmiri causes in Congress, appealing to Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama to get more involved in attempting to mediate a settlement between India and Pakistan over the border region. He has also endorsed allowing the Kashmiri people to vote on their own fate. Mr. Burton said he was “deeply shocked” by the arrest of Mr. Fai, because he had known him for 20 years and “in that time I had no inkling of his involvement with any foreign intelligence operation and had presumed our correspondence was legitimate.” He said he would donate the funds provided to his campaign to the Boy Scouts of America.

Both Mr. Fai and Mr. Ahmad also donated to Representative Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican who visited the region in 2001 and 2004, meeting with Pakistani and Indian leaders and calling for a cease-fire. He also introduced a resolution in 2004 calling for President George W. Bush to appoint a special envoy to help negotiate peace. A spokesman for Mr. Pitts said he had donated $4,000 — an amount equal to the donations his campaign received from the two defendants — to local charities in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Among the evidence that Mr. Fai was working for Pakistan, the affidavit said, are annual budget requests he allegedly submitted to his handlers along with lists of accomplishments and strategic-planning documents. Other documents and intercepts showed that they sometimes quarreled over reimbursing him for the costs of trips or about contracts for which he had not gotten advance approval. The board of the Kashmiri American Council comprises mostly physicians and lawyers from across the United States, and election records show that several board members have made significant donations to lawmakers who have championed peace in Kashmir. Gulam Hassan Butt, a retired California physician and member of the council’s board whose name does not appear in the donor database, said in a phone interview that the council carried out a “regular, honest, open campaign” with lawmakers and the State Department to get the United States to help resolve the Kashmir issue. He also said he was unaware of any money that Pakistan’s government might have provided to the Kashmiri American Council, but Mr. Fai did not inform board members about all the sources of the council’s revenue: “Where does he get the money?” Mr. Butt said. “I don’t know. Who gives him the money? I don’t know.”

India: Clinton Urges Open Markets By LYDIA POLGREEN


ecretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pressed India to open its markets further and to amend a crucial regulation that would make it possible for American companies to bid for lucrative nuclear contracts there. Mrs. Clinton, stopping in India for three days on a 12-country tour, also pledged the United States’ support in fighting terrorism. Her visit, her second as secretary of state, came a week after three bombs ripped through heavily populated areas of Mumbai, killing 19 people.


The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

Radiation-Tainted Beef Spreads Through Japan’s Markets By HIROKO TABUCHI


ven after explosions rocked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kuniaki Sato, who raises cattle here about 20 miles from the crippled complex, said he had received no clear warning from the government about the possible dangers of radiation to his herd. So six weeks after the accident, on April 23, he shipped 12 of his prized cattle from his farm to market. Now Japanese agricultural officials say meat from more than 500 cattle that were likely to have been contaminated with radioactive cesium has made its way to supermarkets and restaurants across Japan in recent weeks. Officials say the cattle ate hay that had been stored outside and exposed to radiation. “I was a little worried, but we had to sell when we could,” said Mr. Sato, whose cattle were not fed hay and so were unlikely to have been contaminated. When a precautionary order to halt all farm shipments was lifted soon after the accident, area farmers took it as a go-ahead sign, he said. “We all resumed shipments,” he said. “Of course we did.” The revelations by the government this month that contaminated meat reached Japanese markets have intensified food safety concerns in Japan, underscoring the government’s inability to control the spread of radioactive material into the nation’s food. Radioactive material has been detected in a range of produce, including spinach, tea leaves, milk and fish. Contaminated hay has been found at farms more than 85 miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, suggesting that the radioactive fallout has reached a wider area than first suspected.

Still, because of a severe shortage of testing equipment, and local governments that are still swamped with disaster relief, only a small percentage of farm products grown in the region get checked for radiation. The government has suspended agricultural shipments from within a radius of about 12 miles around the Fukushima plant, as well as a number of other identified radiation “hot spots.” But farms outside those areas, even those relatively close to the plant, have faced few restrictions in shipping their produce. For months the government balked at placing a wider ban on produce from the Fukushima region despite sporadic discoveries of contaminated produce, for fear of bringing fresh confusion in the disaster-stricken area, putting thousands more people out of work and adding to growing compensation claims for Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the Fukushima plant. Now, with the number of contamination cases rising, the government is finally moving to ban beef shipments from Fukushima Prefecture, an area of 5,300 square miles, slightly smaller than Connecticut. Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary, said Tuesday that the government was in the “final stages” of coordinating such a ban and an announcement could come later that day. Fukushima Prefecture has also said it issued instructions in late March warning farmers to make sure hay was stored indoors, to prevent possible contamination from rain. But many farmers said they were not aware of such a directive. Cattle from some areas with high radiation readings, including here in Minamisoma, a city in Fukushima Prefecture, had been checked for radiation on the

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surface of their skins before being shipped to market. But those checks do not sufficiently measure whether cattle have been exposed to radiation internally by eating contaminated feed, officials say. Fukushima government officials said they were starting inspections of all 4,000 or so cattle farms in the prefecture to make sure that none of them was using radioactive hay. Meanwhile, ranchers have been asked to comply with a new voluntary shipment ban. This month, officials testing hay fed to cattle at a ranch in Minamisoma detected radioactive cesium 250 times above Japan’s official limit. Beef from that farm contained almost five times the official limit. Officials suspect that the hay was stored outside and became tainted with rainwater, which can carry radioactive elements in the atmosphere as it falls. Though hay is not usually fed to cattle here, a feedsupply shortage after the March 11 quake and tsunami forced some farms to substitute it for other food. Some farmers in the region say that they welcome tougher checks, and that cattle can still be shipped from Fukushima if precautions are taken against radiation exposure. Yuta Furuyama, who has 233 cattle in Minamisoma, is certain his herd is clean. His cattle are kept indoors, and their feed is stored in thick plastic bags, out of the rain. He said he was careful to not even bring tools that he has used outside into the cowshed, for fear of contaminating his herd, which he is eager to have tested for radiation so that his cattle can be safely sold later this year. “I hope they will finally step up the checks,” he said. “If the government had given proper advice and done proper tests

in the first place, things wouldn’t have gotten out of hand.” Japanese government officials insist that even at levels above government limits, radioactive cesium will not have an immediate effect on health. Longer-term effects are less known, however. Many experts say that prolonged exposure to radiation can lead to a higher incidence of cancers like leukemia. “If you eat it every day, it might be a problem,” Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of the nuclear issue, said last week. “But if you eat just a little, there would be no big effect on your health.” Experts, however, disagree on what the effects may be of exposure to radiation above the limits but at low doses. Some farms have sold off their herds in recent weeks, at even lower prices than the Fukushima label now fetches. On a large cattle farm in the neighboring village of Iitate, the cowsheds lie eerily empty. Since the accident, the farm rushed to sell off its 312 cows, said Akio Takahashi, who has worked there for 23 years. After March 11, cattle sold for about $6,330 a head, about a third less than the price before the quake, he said. Then as radiation fears increased, prices plummeted further. Panicked, the farm decided to sell its remaining 180 cattle all at once in early July, including calves still not ready for market, at rock-bottom prices to farms outside Fukushima. Those cattle were screened for radiation, Mr. Takahashi said. When the cattle were gone, Mr. Takahashi was let go. He is now looking for a city job. “It’s finished,” he said. “Nobody will ever want to eat beef from Fukushima again.”

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011



Watches Are Rediscovered by the Cellphone Generation By ALEX WILLIAMS


ICHAEL WILLIAMS, who runs A Continuous Lean, a men’s style blog, ditched his Timex when he got his first cellphone in 2001. Tyler Thoreson, the head of men’s editorial for Gilt Man, the flash sale Web site, often kept his forgettable watches stashed in a drawer. And Eddy Chai, an owner of Odin New York, a downtown men’s boutique, gave up wearing watches regularly in his mid-20s, when he outgrew his Casio. But after going watch-free for much of the last decade, the three men — all in their 30s and considered style influencers — are turning back time. Mr. Thoreson, 38, is shopping for a vintage gold IWC with a white dial or a Rolex GMT-Master. Mr. Chai, 38, has been wearing a vintage Rolex, loosely dangling around his wrist, “not as a timepiece, but as a piece of jewelry,” he said. And Mr. Williams, 32, splurged on three watches: an IWC Portuguese, a Rolex GMT-Master II and an Omega Speedmaster, also known as the “moon watch,” since that is what Apollo astronauts wore. “The men’s-wear set has recently rediscovered the joy of proper mechanical timepieces,” Mr. Williams said. “Right now there is no clearer indication of cool than wearing a watch. If it was your grandfather’s bubbleback Rolex, even better.” As recently as a half-decade ago, time seemed to be running out for the wristwatch. With cellphones, iPods and other clock-equipped devices becoming ubiquitous, armchair sociologists were writing

off the wristwatch as an antique, joining VHS tapes, Walkman players and pocket calculators on the slag heap of outmoded gadgets. The wristwatch “may be going the way of the abacus,” declared a news article in The Sacramento Bee in 2006. The Times of London had it “going the same way as the sundial.” The Boston Globe, in a 2005 lifestyle feature, was more definitive: “Anyone who needs to know the time these days would be wise to ask someone over the age of 30. To most young people, the wristwatch is an obsolete artifact.” Or, not. The “sundial” of the wrist is experiencing an uptick among members of the supposed lost generation, particularly by heritage-macho types in their 20s and 30s who are drawn to the wristwatch’s retro appeal, just as they have seized on straight razors, selvedge denim and vintage vinyl. “It’s an understated statement about your station in life, your taste level,” Mr. Thoreson said. He got a taste of the pent-up demand last fall, when Gilt organized a high-end vintage watch sale with Benjamin Clymer, 28, who runs an online magazine for watch enthusiasts called (Mr. Clymer, a former UBS manager, said his site attracts 250,000 unique visitors a month, more than half of them under 40.) Fourteen of the 17 watches, with an average price of $4,800, sold in the first six hours. Gilt now holds a watch sale every month. “In certain circles,” Mr. Thoreson said, “if you don’t have a substantial timepiece with some pedigree, you feel like you’re missing out on something.” To be fair, the doomsayers were not

entirely wrong. Few people actually need a watch to tell time anymore. Melanie Shreffler, editor in chief of Ypulse, a Web site and market research company that tracks youth trends, observed, “even the high school and college students who wear watches usually pull out their cellphones to check the time.” But that’s the point. A watch these days may strike some people as an impractical, frivolous and often costly way to express individual style. But that is just another way of saying that it’s fashion. “Considering how casual most people dress on a day-to-day basis, a glamorous watch is one of the few accessories that can be at once sporty, luxurious and utilitarian,” the designer Michael Kors wrote in an e-mail. Mr. Kors has a line of oversize chronographs, manufactured by Fossil, that is popular among women (they are a current must-have accessory among under-30 fashion assistant types in Manhattan). For a generation raised on Game Boys, however, the appeal seems to go a little deeper than just a desire for another fashion accessory. In a world surrounded by ever-glowing LCD screens, there’s an analog chic to wearing a mechanical instrument. “A cool machine that is all moving parts has got to be intrinsically interesting to someone born into this generation, because there’s just nothing like that in their life,” said Mitch Greenblatt, a founder, with his brother, Andy, of Watchismo, a California online retailer of design-forward watches. Increasingly popular these days, Mr. Greenblatt added, are so-called skeleton watches that have clear cases to show the whirring gears. “You want to see the parts moving,” he said. Steven Alan, a designer who carries a curated selection of vintage watches in three of his boutiques, compared it to the techno-lust for McIntosh stereos with vacuum tubes. “Having some analog component in your life is refreshing,” he said. “I’ve noticed there are a lot of people shooting with film recently. People like that return to things that are very tactile.” Indeed, a certain intimacy develops between the wearer and the mechanical watch that requires winding. “A mechanical watch relies on you as much as you rely on it,” Mr. Clymer said, with a hint of

paternal affection. “Without you, it dies.” The retro appeal also plays into the resurgence of heritage brands like Red Wing boots or Filson bags. Putting on a vintage Rolex “shows you’re interested in craft and well-made things,” said Matthew Hranek, a New York photographer who runs a men’s lifestyle blog, the William Brown Project, which celebrates vintage watches. “It’s the same thing if you’re wearing a pair of Alden shoes or go down to Beretta to buy a field coat and shotgun.” Big retailers are trading on the nostalgia. J. Crew markets a line of simple, traditional Timexes (a brand not long ago associated with drugstores) as a heritage staple, the accessory that ties the whole Bobby Kennedy-does-Williamsburg J. Crew look together. “Timex brings a smile to your face,” said Frank Muytjens, the head of men’s design at J. Crew. “We all grew up wearing Timex.” American Apparel is making a similar push with retro watches of a more recent vintage, betting that Generation Y consumers who were too young to remember when V.J.s ruled MTV will covet the Casios and Seikos from that era. The clothing chain started selling watches last December, when Dov Charney, its founder, had a hunch, perhaps after seeing old digital Casios embraced by the Brooklyn Flea set. “Something inside me said, ‘Kids are going to love this object,’ ” said Mr. Charney, speaking by telephone from Seoul, South Korea, where he said he was shopping for dead-stock Japanese timepieces.

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FASHION & BEAUTY Comes from page 15 The watches are now showcased in store windows nationwide. HIS hunch is supported by industry figures. After plunging 35 percent in 2008, and another 13 percent in 2009, sales of moderately priced watches (between $150 and $1,000) have rebounded and are up 15 percent for the last three months, compared with the same period last year, according to Fred Levin, the president of LGI Network, a market research company that tracks the industry. Luxury watches are faring even better. Sales of timepieces priced between $10,000 and $25,000 — Ferraris of the forearm — are up 33 percent. The Swatch Group, the largest watchmaker in the world, is scrambling to add factory capacity after net profits rose 42 percent last year (the company, which


August 4 - 10, 2011

owns Omega, Longines and a more than a dozen other brands besides Swatch, is also a dominant supplier of movements for other brands). Fossil Inc., which manufactures a jaunty mall-friendly line of watches under the Fossil brand, as well as licensed watches for design labels like Burberry and DKNY, saw its global watch sales shoot up 44.4 percent in the first quarter, after sliding 1.8 percent as recently as 2009. But the newfound cachet of watches goes beyond a taste for the simple and the retro. Younger consumers continue to gravitate toward jumbo “statement” watches that are flashy, retailers say. If you are going to strap a clunky anachronism on your wrist, the thinking goes, people better at least notice it. Consider, for a moment, a wrist Frisbee like Diesel’s all-black SBA chronograph. At 65 millimeters (2.55 inches) wide, it is nearly twice as big as many standard ti-

mepieces worn during Don Draper’s era. And wrist armor like that turns heads, particularly in an era when everyone already seems to have the latest iPhone. “The coolest electronic gadgets they buy now are owned by everyone else they know, too,” said Mitch Greenblatt of Watchismo. But “a really unusual watch is very likely to be one-of-a-kind in their circle of friends.” A few years ago, Casio reached out to younger buyers by introducing bigger and more colorful models and marketing them with surfers like Gabe Kling and skateboarders like Stevie Williams. Since then, sales of its hefty rainbow-colored GShock and Baby-G watches have doubled year over year, according to Shigenori Itoh, the chairman of Casio America, in a statement issued through a spokeswoman. But perhaps the most robust sector

The San Juan Weekly Star is the youth-friendly “fashion watch” category: watches licensed by labels like Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Lacoste. Fossil reports that sales of its Michael Kors watches were up 142 percent in the first quarter this year; for its Armani Exchange line, 129 percent. “The increases are phenomenal, significant strong double-digit retail growth,” said Jon Step, president of licensed brands at Movado Group Inc., which has several such designer licenses. Manufacturers have courted younger buyers in part, he said, with exuberantly styled watches using extravagant or offbeat materials: brightly colored plastic, rubber, ceramic. But for some newly minted watch geeks, the appeal of a timepiece that has endured for decades is more emotional. “James Bond wore a Rolex,” Michael Williams said. “Who really needs more convincing than that?”

Warm Weather Brings a T-Shirt Shortage of Sorts By MARISA MELTZER


HERE is one thing that Britney Spears, circa-1980s Madonna, Gwen Stefani, “I Dream of Jeannie,” the Spice Girls, “Clueless” and Matt Dillon in “Over the Edge” have in common: a devotion to the crop top. And now this belly-baring slice of a shirt is back. It can be found in the collections of Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, Bodkin, Lover, VPL and Rachel Comey, or on the racks at Forever 21, American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. “We sell tons of them,” said Tina Song, the buyer for the online boutique La Garçonne. “They’re having a peak moment, but it has been slowly building over a couple seasons.” But this isn’t the shrunken top, championed by pop stars of the late ‘90s and requiring taut abdominals; today’s crop tops are longer and boxier than in the past. “This is not a baby-doll tee worn with three-inch-rise Frankie B. jeans,” said Mitra Khayyam, the owner of the Los Angeles-based T-shirt company Blood Is the New Black, which started carrying cropped shirts this year. Ms. Khayyam noted that this isn’t a look strictly for the naturally thin. “They can be worn by size 0 to size 10,” she said, “because you’re not exposing your midriff as much as drawing attention to your waist.” Devotees are specific about whereon the body the crop top should hit. “There’s a certain length that’s appropriate: just below or to my belly button — no one wants to see my love handles when I’m wearing a crop top,” said Sabrina Bacon, 22, a freelance fashion assistant who lives in the East Village. She began wearing crop tops three and a half years ago when she cut in half a too-long shirt that had been given to her and “didn’t look good with

anything.” Caitlin Mociun, the designer of the Brooklyn-based line Mociun, thinks that “your navel up to your bra line is fair game.” She has been making crop tops since 2007. “I’ve been doing them since nobody wanted to wear them,” Ms. Mociun said. Feeling comfortable in a crop is “about styling and finding the right one for your figure: a loose one with a high-waisted pant, or a fitted dress layered with a crop top over it.” Ms. Song of La Garçonne sees the crop top as the evolution of the oversize silhouette found on the runway the last few seasons. “It’s that same feeling but moving away from looking like you’re wearing maternity wear,” she said. Because crop tops are loose and casual, summer is prime time for them. But the style shows signs of continuing into the fall, with cropped shirts and sweaters. And men (daring ones, that is) are not bypassing the trend. David Toro, 31, an editor and a founder of the Brooklyn-based online magazine DIS, has been wearing crop tops since last summer. “I welcome them as a response to the plunging neckline for men that even I participated in,” he said. “They’re cute, they’re sexy and they’re femme.” His co-founder, Solomon Chase, 27, started buying and making them at age 17 and now claims to have “15 of the same crop top in different colors by Canal Jean Company.” He and Mr. Toro have created a convertible crop top for a DIS editorial that featured a pair of alligator clips on a ball chain that goes around the neck and clips to the front of a shirt, making any shirt a temporary crop. “Crop tops will come and go,” Mr. Chase said. “I’m pretty sure I was born in a crop top, and I hope to be 80 in a crop top.”

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011



Shrimp and Mango Tacos By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN


his sweet and pungent combination of mango, shrimp, chilies and cumin is as quick to put together as a stir-fry. Indeed, if you don’t have corn tortillas on hand, serve the shrimp with rice.

Seafood Paella and Saffron Aioli Time: 1 hour 30 minutes FOR THE SAFFRON AIOLI 2 large egg yolks 1 garlic clove, minced Pinch of saffron threads Salt 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons mild olive oil A squeeze of fresh lemon juice FOR THE PAELLA 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 onions, diced 5 large plum tomatoes, halved 2 red bell peppers, cored and diced 3 bay leaves 1 teaspoon paprika, preferably, sweet Spanish pimentón dulce 4 cups rich fish or chicken stock 2 cups bomba or Calasparra paella rice 1 cup fresh or frozen peas 12 ounces squid rings 1 1/2 pounds mussels or clams 12 ounces large shrimp, peeled with tails left on 2 tablespoons chopped parsley Lemon wedges, for serving. 1. To make the aioli: In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks, garlic clove, saffron and a pinch of salt. Whisk at high speed while adding the oil drop by drop. As the mixture thickens, increase the oil to a very thin trickle until it is used up and the aioli is thick and wobbly. Adjust the seasoning with a squeeze of lemon juice and more salt, if needed. 2. To make the paella: In a large deepsided frying pan or paella pan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and golden, about 15 minutes.

3. Coarsely grate the tomatoes, cut side down, until only the skin remains. Discard the skins. There should be about 2 cups. 4. Stir the tomatoes, peppers, bay leaves and paprika into the onion. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until no liquid remains, about 15 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil and pour in the rice. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent sticking. 5. Add the peas, squid, mussels or clams, and shrimp, incorporating everything into the rice. Simmer over low heat until nearly all the liquid has disappeared, about 10 minutes. Cover with a lid, remove from heat and rest for 5 to 10 minutes more. Scatter with parsley and cool. Serve with the saffron aioli and lemon wedges. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

2 tablespoons canola oil 1 pound medium or small shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 garlic cloves, sliced 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground 2 Serrano or bird chilies, or 1 large jalapeño, minced 1 large mango, peeled, seeded and finely chopped 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 4 to 5 tablespoons lime juice 8 corn tortillas 1. Heat a large, heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat, and add the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp, salt to taste and the garlic. Sauté, stirring or shaking the pan, until the shrimp begins to color, about two minutes. Add the cumin, and continue to cook until the shrimp is pink and opaque, about three minutes. Add the chilies, mango and cilantro, and stir together for one minute. Stir in the lime juice, and remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Crunchy Soft-Shell Crabs Time: 20 minutes 6 soft-shell crabs, cleaned Buttermilk, for soaking Vegetable oil for frying 1 cup fine cornmeal 1 cup flour Kosher salt Black pepper Lemon wedges, for serving (optional). 1. Soak crabs in a bowl of buttermilk. 2. In a deep fryer or saucepan, heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees.

3. Whisk together cornmeal and flour, and salt and pepper to taste. 4. Remove crabs from buttermilk, letting excess drip back into bowl. Coat crabs evenly in the cornmeal mixture. Working in batches, fry until golden and puffed all over, turning if needed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. While warm, season with salt. Serve with lemon wedges if desired. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. Variations: Use for oysters, small whole fish like whitebait or sliced okra.

2. Wrap the tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel, and place in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water. Cover the pot, and steam for one minute. Turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 15 minutes without uncovering. Alternatively, wrap the tortillas in a towel, and heat in the microwave for one minute. Warm the shrimp briefly in the pan. Place 2 tortillas on each plate, top with the shrimp, fold over the tortillas and serve with rice. Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: This is best served right after you cook the shrimp and mango. Nutritional information per serving: 268 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 159 milligrams cholesterol; 28 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 2 milligrams sodium; 1 gram protein



The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

Cherry Cobbler With Almond-Buttermilk Topping By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN


he topping for this almond-scented cobbler is a buttermilk biscuit batter made with a mixture of flours. Cornmeal contributes texture, and whole-wheat and almond flours add nuttiness. For a gluten-free version, substitute almond meal or rice flour for the whole-wheat flour.

Apricot and Almond Tart Time: 2 hours 10 minutes, plus at least 21/2 hours for chilling and resting FOR THE PASTRY 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed 2 1/4 cups flour, plus more as needed 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 1 large egg yolk FOR THE FRANGIPANE 7 ounces whole blanched almonds, a bit more than a cup 1 cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise and scraped, pulp reserved and pod discarded 1 tablespoon flour 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 6 medium or 8 small ripe but firm apricots, halved and pitted Crème fraîche or whipped cream, for serving. 1. To make the pastry: in the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, flour and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles very fine bread crumbs. Add the confectioners’ sugar, egg yolk and 2 tablespoons chilled water, and pulse a few times to bring the mixture together. Pour onto a work surface and knead the dough sparingly until smooth, being careful not to overwork it.

Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. 2. To make the frangipane: In a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl. In the food processor, combine 1 cup brown sugar, butter, and vanilla pulp. Process until light and fluffy, then with motor running add the flour and the eggs. Add the ground almonds and pulse to mix evenly. Set aside at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature and stir before using. 3. To assemble: Lightly flour a cool work surface and roll the pastry into a large disk about 1/4-inch thick. Press into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable base and trim the edge. Chill at least 1 hour. 4. Heat oven to 325 degrees with a large baking sheet on the middle rack. Spread frangipane in the chilled tart pan, and nestle the apricot halves evenly on top, cut sides up. Sprinkle each half with about 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Place the tart on the baking sheet and bake until golden, and set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. If the top appears to be browning too fast, cover loosely with foil. 5. Trim any baked overflow to loosen the edge of the tart. Press up the bottom of the pan to loosen the sides and cool the tart in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cool, serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream.

1 1/2 pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted (about 5 cups) 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon sifted all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon almond extract For the topping: 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour 1/2 cup almond meal, also called almond flour or almond powder (1 1/2 ounces) 1/2 cup fine cornmeal 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 2/3 cup buttermilk 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Place the cherries in a large bowl, and add the sugar, lemon juice and all-purpose flour. Carefully mix them together with a rubber spatula or a large spoon until the sugar and flour have dissolved into the

liquids. Transfer to the baking dish, making sure to scrape out all of the liquid in the bowl. 2. Sift all of the dry ingredients for the topping. If some of the cornmeal and almond flour remain in the sifter, just dump it into the bowl with the sifted flours. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and pulse a few times. Add the butter, and pulse to cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Turn on the food processor, and pour in the buttermilk with the machine running. As soon as the dough comes together, stop the machine. 3. Spoon the topping over the cherries by the heaped tablespoon. The cherries should be just about covered but may peek out here and there. Place in the oven, and bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is nicely browned and the cherries are bubbling. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool to warm before serving. Serve warm (heat in a low oven for 15 minutes if necessary before serving). Yield: Serves eight. Advance preparation: You can make this several hours before serving, but reheat and serve warm. Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 5 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 20 milligrams cholesterol; 38 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 274 milligrams sodium; 5 grams protein

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011



Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated



t’s no secret that Americans are fatter today than ever before, and not just those unlucky people who are genetically inclined to gain weight or have been overweight all their lives. Many who were lean as young adults have put on lots of unhealthy pounds as they pass into middle age and beyond. It’s also no secret that the long-recommended advice to eat less and exercise more has done little to curb the inexorable rise in weight. No one likes to feel deprived or leave the table hungry, and the notion that one generally must eat less to control body weight really doesn’t cut it for the typical American. So the newest findings on what specific foods people should eat less often — and more importantly, more often — to keep from gaining pounds as they age should be of great interest to tens of millions of Americans. The new research, by five nutrition and public health experts at Harvard University, is by far the most detailed long-term analysis of the factors that influence weight gain, involving 120,877 well-educated men and women who were healthy and not obese at the start of the study. In addition to diet, it has important things to say about exercise, sleep, television watching, smoking and alcohol intake. The study participants — nurses, doctors, dentists and veterinarians in the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study — were followed for 12 to 20 years. Every two years, they completed very detailed questionnaires about their eating and other habits and current weight. The fascinating results were published in June in The New England Journal of Medicine. The analysis examined how an array of

factors influenced weight gain or loss during each four-year period of the study. The average participant gained 3.35 pounds every four years, for a total weight gain of 16.8 pounds in 20 years. “This study shows that conventional wisdom — to eat everything in moderation, eat fewer calories and avoid fatty foods — isn’t the best approach,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said in an interview. “What you eat makes quite a difference. Just counting calories won’t matter much unless you look at the kinds of calories you’re eating.” Dr. Frank B. Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health and a coauthor of the new analysis, said: “In the past, too much emphasis has been put on single factors in the diet. But looking for a magic bullet hasn’t solved the problem of obesity.” Also untrue, Dr. Mozaffarian said, is the food industry’s claim that there’s no such thing as a bad food. “There are good foods and bad foods, and the advice should be to eat the good foods more and the bad foods less,” he said. “The notion that it’s O.K. to eat everything in moderation is just an excuse to eat whatever you want.” The study showed that physical activity had the expected benefits for weight control. Those who exercised less over the course of the study tended to gain weight, while those who increased their activity didn’t. Those with the greatest increase in physical activity gained 1.76 fewer pounds than the rest of the participants within each four-year period. But the researchers found that the kinds of foods people ate had a larger effect over all than changes in physical activity. “Both physical activity and diet are

important to weight control, but if you are fairly active and ignore diet, you can still gain weight,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the study. As Dr. Mozaffarian observed, “Physical activity in the United States is poor, but diet is even worse.” Little Things Mean a Lot People don’t become overweight overnight. Rather, the pounds creep up slowly, often unnoticed, until one day nothing in the closet fits the way it used to. Even more important than its effect on looks and wardrobe, this gradual weight gain harms health. At least six prior studies have found that rising weight increases the risk in women of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and breast cancer, and the risk in men of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. The beauty of the new study is its ability to show, based on real-life experience, how small changes in eating, exercise and other habits can result in large changes in body weight over the years. On average, study participants gained a pound a year, which added up to 20 pounds in 20 years. Some gained much more, about four pounds a year, while a few managed to stay the same or even lose weight. Participants who were overweight at the study’s start tended to gain the most weight, which seriously raised their risk of obesityrelated diseases, Dr. Hu said. “People who are already overweight have to be particularly careful about what they eat,” he said. The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound). Also not too surprising were most of the foods that resulted in weight loss or no gain when consumed in greater amounts during the study: fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Compared with those who gained the most weight, participants in the Nurses’ Health Study who lost weight consumed 3.1 more servings of vegetables each day. But contrary to what many people believe, an increased intake of dairy products, whether low-fat (milk) or full-fat (milk and cheese), had a neutral effect on weight. And despite conventional advice to eat less fat, weight loss was greatest among people

who ate more yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter, over each four-year period. Nuts are high in vegetable fat, and previous small studies have shown that eating peanut butter can help people lose weight and keep it off, probably because it slows the return of hunger. That yogurt, among all foods, was most strongly linked to weight loss was the study’s most surprising dietary finding, the researchers said. Participants who ate more yogurt lost an average of 0.82 pound every four years. Yogurt contains healthful bacteria that in animal studies increase production of intestinal hormones that enhance satiety and decrease hunger, Dr. Hu said. The bacteria may also raise the body’s metabolic rate, making weight control easier. But, consistent with the new study’s findings, metabolism takes a hit from refined carbohydrates — sugars and starches stripped of their fiber, like white flour. When Dr. David Ludwig of Children’s Hospital Boston compared the effects of refined carbohydrates with the effects of whole grains in both animals and people, he found that metabolism, which determines how many calories are used at rest, slowed with the consumption of refined grains but stayed the same after consumption of whole grains. Other Influences As has been suggested by previous smaller studies, how long people slept each night influenced their weight changes. In general, people who slept less than six hours or more than eight hours a night tended to gain the most. Among possible explanations are effects of short nights on satiety hormones, as well as an opportunity to eat more while awake, Dr. Hu said. He was not surprised by the finding that the more television people watched, the more weight they gained, most likely because they are influenced by a barrage of food ads and snack in front of the TV. Alcohol intake had an interesting relationship to weight changes. No significant effect was found among those who increased their intake to one glass of wine a day, but increases in other forms of alcohol were likely to bring added pounds. As expected, changes in smoking habits also influenced weight changes. Compared with people who never smoked, those who had quit smoking within the previous four years gained an average of 5.17 pounds. Subsequent weight gain was minimal — 0.14 pound for each four-year period. Those who continued smoking lost 0.7 pound in each four-year period, which the researchers surmised may have resulted from undiagnosed underlying disease, especially since those who took up smoking experienced no change in weight.

SCIENCE / TECH 20 August 4 - 10, 2011

The San Juan Weekly Star

The Joy of a Sun Bath, a Snuggle, a Bite of Pâté By KATHERINE BOUTON


wo ring-tailed lemurs, perhaps a pair, perhaps just two guys out to catch a few rays, sit side by side tilted back as if in beach chairs, their white bellies exposed, knees apart, feet splayed to catch every last drop of the Madagascar sun. All they need are cigars to complete the picture. There’s a perfectly good evolutionary explanation for this posture. Scientists use the term “behavioral thermoregulation” to describe how an animal maintains a core body temperature. But as the animal behaviorist Jonathan Balcombe points out in his exuberant look at animal pleasure, “The Exultant Ark,” they are also clearly enjoying themselves. A scientist through and through, Dr. Balcombe can’t help giving the study of animal pleasure a properly scientific name: hedonic ethology. True to its subtitle — “A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure” — “The Exultant Ark” showcases surprising, funny, touching, sad, heartwarming pictures by photographers all over the world. Dr. Balcombe’s text is a serious examination of the subject of animal pleasure, a study that “remains nascent and largely neglected in scientific discourse.” But it also delights us along the way with Dr. Balcombe’s observations and examples. On the subject of food as pleasure, for instance, he tells us, “Rats will enter a deadly cold room and navigate a maze to retrieve highly palatable food (e.g., shortbread, pâté or Coca-Cola).” If they happen to find rat chow instead, “they quickly return to their cozy nests, where they stay for the remainder of the experiment.” Dr. Balcombe offers three primary arguments in support of the case that animals feel pleasure. First, pleasure is adaptive: Just as “pain discourages animals doing things that risk harm or death, which are not good outcomes in the evolutionary stakes,” he writes, pleasure “is nature’s way of improving survival and reproductive output.” Second, we know for sure that pleasure exists in at least one animal species: humans. As Paul Bloom writes in his brilliant book “How Pleasure Works,” some pleasures are “uniquely human, such as art, music, fiction, masochism and religion.” Further, he writes, human pleasure often derives in large part from what we think a thing is (a Vermeer gives more pleasure than an identical van Meegeren). Dr. Balcombe argues that animals may experience their own unique pleasures, “forms of plea-

sure inaccessible to humans.” His third argument is simply that animals are equipped to feel it. Since we know animals experience pain, why not pleasure? Sex is a pleasure that in humans clearly has some nonprocreative aspects. But Dr. Balcombe points out that this is true in the animal world as well. He gives numerous examples; one particularly racy one (not pictured) is a pair of manatees embracing “with each male’s penis in the other’s mouth.” “Love” is a term scientists are reluctant to apply to animals, preferring “bonding” and “attachment.” But look at the photograph (by Vicki Puluso) of two adult giraffes nuzzling a calf, the baby’s eyes half closed in bliss. Or a Japanese macaque cradling her infant (by Robert Parnell). Call it love or call it bonding, but, Dr. Balcombe writes, “the hormones are exactly the same in a human and a vole” — one of the most

studied animals in the realm of emotional attachment — “and the evolutionary benefits align.” Animals exhibit a variety of behaviors that certainly look like pleasure, and for which no evolutionary explanation seems obvious. We’ve all seen gulls or crows diving precariously toward the ground before swooping up at the last moment. “There is no obvious survival function to this behavior,” Dr. Balcombe writes, “which leaves me wondering if they do it simply for the thrill of speed, as a human skydiver might.” Animals also indulge in substance abuse. Drunken birds wobbling after eating fermented fruit is not an uncommon sight. Birds may become intoxicated accidentally, Dr. Balcombe says, but reputation has it that elephants deliberately get drunk on fermenting marula fruit. A study from the University of Bristol in England points out that an elephant would have to eat four times its usual meal size to be affected. The same re-

searchers, however, don’t deny that elephants indeed end up tipsy. The explanation may be a toxin in beetle pupae found under the bark, which the elephants also eat. Every once in a while, Dr. Balcombe seems to drift a little too close to anthropomorphic supposition. Musing about a picture of a fledgling osprey, he writes, “I surmise that the feelings are similar” to those of a human “launching off a high aerie,” a feeling that is both “thrilling and terrifying.” In his conclusion Dr. Balcombe argues that an animal’s ability to experience pleasure is a strong factor in considering the rights of animals. “The real arbiter of whether or not a being deserves respect and compassion is sentience,” he writes. “Being sensate to pleasures and especially to pains is the true currency of ethics.” It’s hard to deny that animals are not sensate to pleasure after studying these joyous photographs, and reading Dr. Balcombe’s persuasive arguments.

To Find Tasty Larvae, Lizards Use Their Brains By SINDYA N. BHANOO


izards aren’t the simpletons that some might take them for. Biologists from Duke University report that lizards have some of the same creative problem-solving abilities that birds and mammals do. Their findings appear in the current issue of Biology Letters. The researchers, Manuel Leal and Brian Powell, exposed tropical lizards in Puerto Rico known as Anolis evermanni to a blue disc. Beneath the disc was some tasty prey — a freshly killed worm larva. Four of the six lizards tested were able to get to the worm in one of two ways, either by biting the disc or by

sticking their snouts underneath it and prying it off. “Most people believed their behavior may be more robotic or not as flexible,” said Dr. Leal, the study’s lead author. But the lizards were creative, he said, using skills “which have no real ecological relevance.” Lizards in the wild capture moving prey by running up and down trees, Dr. Leal said. He and Mr. Powell further complicated the experiment by placing a worm under a blue disc with a yellow border, but none under the plain blue disc. The lizards initially looked under only the blue disc, where they expected the worm to be. But eventually, two clever lizards

began looking under the blue and yellow disc, and successfully uncovered worms. Dr. Leal said he hoped the study would lead to more investigations into the cognitive abilities of reptiles. “If we only study birds and mammals, we’re only going to learn from those groups,” he said. “This is one more distinct group we need to learn about.”

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10 2011

limited success and the criticism that his music was getting stale. Guerra did a couple of concerts to promote the album and then, in 1995, he announced his retirement and concentrated on acquiring local television and radio stations and promoting unknown local talent. During the four years of his retirement, Guerra became interested in and converted to Evangelical Christianity. When he came out of retirement in 2004, it was to present the world with his new album “Para Ti” which was mostly religious in nature. The album did well, garnering two Billboard awards in 2005 (for “Best Gospel-Pop” and “Tropical-Merengue”). Guerra’s music is neither strictly merengue nor bachata but blends those basic Dominican rhythms and forms with his love of jazz, pop, r&b, blues - or whatever musical style has caught his interest at the moment. His lyrics are poetic, his voice smooth with a slight rough edge, his musical sensibility always original. If you listen to his new, 2007 album, “La Llave De Mi Corazón”, you’ll understand what makes this artist so extraordinary. He does not limit himself to one style of music, instead, he incorporates diverse rhythms like merengue, bolero-bachata, balada, salsa, rock and roll, and even gospel as in the song “La Gallera”. “Ojalá Que Llueva Café” (“I Wish That It Rains Coffee”) is one of his most critically acclaimed selfwritten and composed pieces. A remix of “La llave de mi corazón” (“The key to my heart”) with Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas is also an example of his fusion of genres. “La Guagua va en reversa” (‘The bus at reverse”) appears in his latest production “A son de guerra” with a huge success Recently he has made duets with many artist as Enrique Iglesias. “A son de Guerra” is also the name of his recent tour he will held on the Island on August 12 and the 13 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan. Tickets are on sale 787-294-0001 and

Juan Luis Guerra: The Poet of the Americas


nternationally, Juan Luis Guerra is the most well known musician from the Dominican Republic. With his trademark beard, usually wearing a hat, and he probably owes his 6’5” lanky frame to his father, basketball player Gilberto Guerra. When Guerra graduated from high school, he entered the Autonomic University of Santo Domingo, enrolling in courses of Philosophy and Literature, the sort of Liberal Arts curriculum that attracts many young freshmen still unsure of what they eventually want to do. He is one of the most important singers, songwriters and producers from the Dominican Republic and has sold over 30 million records, winning numerous awards including 15 Latin Grammy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Latin Billboard Music Awards. Is one of the most internationally recognized Latin artists of recent decades. His pop style of merengue, bolero and Afro-pop/Latin fusion has garnered him considerable success throughout Latin America. Guerra is sometimes associated with the popular Dominican music called bachata, and while this association is partly true, he actually uses the basics of Bachata rhythm with a more bolero feel to the melodies in some of his songs. In 1984, Guerra and the 4:40 released their first album, Soplando. Guerra was very interested in jazz, and he described the music on Soplando as a “fusion between traditional merengue rhythms and jazz vocalizations”. Although the album didn’t do very well, it was rereleased in 1991 as The Original 4:40 and today is considered a collector’s item. In 1985, the 4:40 signed a contract with Karen Records and, in an attempt to be more commercially accepted, Guerra altered their musical style to re-

flect the very popular, more commercial merengue. He included sections of ‘perico ripiao’, a form of merengue that added the accordion to the more traditional orchestration and was often performed at a very fast pace. His next two albums followed this formula and Guerra/4:40 started to gain in popularity and recognition. Since there were a lot of changes in the vocalists who made up the 4:40 over those years, by 1989 when the group’s first really successful album came out, the group’s name now featured Guerra as the central vocalist and “Ojalá Que Llueva Café” (I Wish It Would Rain Coffee) was billed under ‘Juan Luis Guerra and the 4:40’. The success of Ojalá was followed by “Bachata Rosa” in 1990. “Bachata Rosa” sold 5 million copies, won a Grammy and is still today considered a seminal album in Dominican music. Although Guerra is not primarily a singer of traditional bachata. “Bachata Rosa” brought world awareness to a Dominican form of music that, before the album, was limited in popularity to the Dominican Republic. The 1992 saw the release of “Areito” and the beginning of controversy. “Areito” focused on poverty and poor conditions on the island as well as in many other parts of Latin America. His countrymen did not care for this change of tone from upbeat music to social commentary, but the album was well received in other parts of the world. Guerra spent that year touring Latin America and Europe. But living on the road was starting to get to him. His anxiety was high, touring was wearing him down and he started to wonder whether any amount of success was worth living like this. “Fogarte” was released in 1994, but it met with


The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011


Wine & Liquor

Champagne’s Servants Join the Masters



NLIKE Reims and Épernay, the Marne cities to the north that are rivaled only by caviar in their close association with Champagne, this pleasant medieval city in the Aube, with its cobblestone streets and timbered architecture, is rarely considered the hub of a thriving Champagne region. Perhaps that’s because for years the Aube has served anonymously as the workaday supplier of grapes to the production areas to the north, a sort of scullery in the elegant house of bubbly, essential to the smooth operation of Champagne, but best ignored. Yet today, the spotlight is unexpectedly shining on the Aube, and its primary growing area, the Côte des Bar. Now, the region is coming to be known for its independent vignerons, whose distinctive, highly sought wines have caught the attention of Champagne lovers the world over. The grandes marques of the Marne made Champagne one of the world’s leading luxury brands by marketing it as an urbane beverage for special occasions. They emphasized the art of blending, in which the distinctions of terroir, grape and vintage are absorbed into a house style. By contrast, many Aube producers are taking their cues instead from Burgundy, with its emphasis on farming and on being able to trace terroir through the wines. Rather than the hushed pop of the cork and the silken rush of bubbles, these Champagnes suggest soil on the

boots and dirt under the fingernails. Even so, Champagnes from producers like Cédric Bouchard and Vouette & Sorbée, Marie-Courtin and Dosnon & Lepage, Jacques Lassaigne and Drappier, the closest thing to a grande marque in the Aube, can be as ethereal as their siblings to the north, if a trifle idiosyncratic. “The identity of Champagne has been as a beverage for celebrations, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Davy Dosnon, who, with his business partner, Simon-Charles Lepage, issued his first wines in 2007. “But it’s also a wine of terroir, of place, and should be thought of that way as well. And why not in the Côte des Bar?” The focus on terroir in the Aube reflects a larger discussion throughout the entire region, in which small producers making distinctive, terroirspecific Champagnes from grapes they farm themselves have seized initiative from the big houses. These small grower-producers account for barely an eyedropper’s worth of the Champagne that flows from the region, but they now lay claim to an outsize portion of the fascination among Champagne lovers. “Before, it was Champagne, singular,” said Michel Drappier of Drappier, the largest and best known producer in the Aube, which was founded in 1808 but didn’t begin to bottle its own wines until the early 20th century. “Now it is Champagnes, plural, as sophisticated and complex as Burgundy, with as many villages, winemakers and styles as any place.”

Mr. Dosnon studied viticulture and enology in Beaune, the heart of Burgundy, and he brings a Burgundian passion for the land to his work. Strolling through a hillside vineyard in the hamlet of Avirey-Lingey, about 25 miles southeast of Troyes, one parcel among 17 acres or so that they farm, I noticed another similarity to Burgundy, tiny fossilized seashells in the earth, like those often seen in the vineyards of Chablis. Indeed, the Côte des Bar is closer to Chablis than to Épernay, and its limestone and clay soils are more like those of Chablis than the chalky soils to the north. Yet, despite the geological resemblance to Chablis, which makes the most distinctive chardonnay wines in the world, the vast majority of the grapes in the Côte des Bar are pinot noir. “The soil is also interesting for pinot noir,” Mr. Dosnon said. “There’s a lot of volume and complexity.” The Dosnon & Lepage Champagnes are superb, especially the 100 percent pinot noir Récolte Noire, powerful yet graceful, wonderfully fresh and aromatic, and a blanc de blancs, Récolte Blanche, a wine of finesse and nuance, with savory, focused floral and mineral flavors. If the evolution of the Aube seems a bit of a Cinderella story, it’s with good reason. A century ago, in 1911, riots tore through Champagne as, among other issues, the big houses in the Marne tried to exclude the Aube from the Champagne appellation. Eventually, a compromise was reached in which the Aube was granted second-class Champagne status. Even after the Marne finally, if gingerly, embraced the Aube as a full part of Champagne in 1927, none of its vineyards were designated grand cru or even premier cru, marks of quality reserved only for the Marne. And so the Aube served primarily as a faceless source of grapes. While a small amount of Champagne has always been made here, the grapes mostly traveled 80 miles or so north, through the flat farmland that separates the Côte des Bar from the production areas of the Marne. In Épernay, I met with an executive at one of the grand marques and told him I was heading to the Côte des Bar the next day. “Oh?” he asked. “They make Champagne there?” Well-worn mockery, perhaps, but an indication that grudging appreciation from the Cham-

pagne establishment is not so easy to come by. Many producers in the south still feel the sting of northern scorn, and it is a driving force. “Always, we were second class,” said Emmanuel Lassaigne, whose Champagne house, Jacques Lassaigne, is in Montgueux, a small village west of Troyes. “People in the Marne will still say, ‘The Aube is no good.’ ” The vineyards of Montgueux, largely on an imposing south-facing hillside, are distinct from the Côte des Bar, and are one of the few places in the Aube that emphasize chardonnay. In Montgueux, achieving sufficient ripeness is rarely a problem. Indeed, the exotic, tropical fruit flavors of Montgueux chardonnay are highly unusual for Champagne. Mr. Lassaigne’s aim is to capture the aromas and flavors of this singular terroir. “My job is to say, ‘Montgueux is good,’ ” he said. “It’s not better, but it’s absolutely not worse.” His nonvintage blanc de blancs Les Vignes de Montgueux is very much its own Champagne, with light aromas of tropical fruit and flowers. It feels broad yet is dry and refreshing. His vintage blanc de blancs are a step up in elegance, with more mineral flavors yet still with the distinctive Montgueux fruit. Foremost, perhaps, among the region’s new stars is Cédric Bouchard, whose single-vineyard Champagnes are exquisitely delicate and subtle, gently expressive of their terroir. His dark, tussled hair and piercing olive green eyes give him the brooding look of a young philosopher. Indeed, his uncompromising winemaking might be called highly philosophical. “I’m only interested in the wine, the grape, the parcel and the terroir,” he said. “It’s got to have emotion to it; otherwise, it’s going to the négociants.” Mr. Bouchard’s father grew grapes and made a small amount of his own Champagne, but as a young man Mr. Bouchard left for Paris, where he worked in a wine shop. There, he said, he discovered the wines of vignerons he described as working naturally, and decided that he, too, wanted to make wine. He returned to the Aube only because his father offered him land. Right away, he proved himself independent. “Whatever my father did, I did the opposite,” he said. “Spiritually, I’m the first generation because it’s my

The San Juan Weekly Star own style and philosophy. I think my father is proud of the wines, but he would never admit it directly.” Mr. Bouchard tries to be as natural in his approach as possible, even rejecting the use of horses in his vineyards, which he now plows by hand. In that sense, he said, he is lucky to have only small parcels. Another rising star in the Côte des Bar, Bertrand Gautherot, named his label Vouette & Sorbée, after the two vineyards he farms biodynamically. His family grew grains and grapes and raised animals around the town of Buxièressur-Arce. As a young man he left, to design lipsticks, but the call of agriculture was great, and he soon returned. “We were not in the business of Champagne,” he said. “We were more farmers than winemakers.” Mr. Gautherot, too, focused on farming, selling off all his grapes to cooperatives or the big houses. Among his good friends were superb growerproducers from the north, like Anselme Selosse and Jérôme Prévost, who he said urged him to begin making his own wines. “But I understood I had to learn the terroir of my village,” he said. “A big problem in Champagne is that wines are easy to make by recipe. It’s much harder to learn the taste of your vineyards. That’s why it’s called Vouette & Sorbée rather than Bertrand Gautherot.” His first vintage was 2001 — only 2,000 bottles, he said, in case he had to drink it all himself. He’s now up to around 30,000 bottles, which all seem as if they are fine wines that just happen to be effervescent rather than simply celebratory bubbly. Perhaps his most unusual Champagne is the Saignée de Sorbée, a rosé that emphasizes the lo-

August 4 - 10, 2011

vely spicy fruit of the pinot noir grape and its exuberant aromas. It’s a beautifully fragrant, exuberant Champagne, with spicy, smoky flavors. The Côte des Bar seems rife with small producers waiting for discovery. Some, frankly, are rustic, not yet ready for prime time. Others, like Dominique Moreau, whose label, Marie-Courtin, is named for her grandmother, make breathtakingly gorgeous, elegant Champagnes in such minute quantities that they can be frustrating to try to find. While the bubbling up of talent in the Aube is clear, Mr. Drappier prefers a historical perspective. With an annual production of 1.6 million bottles, Drappier is the size of a small grande marque, like Pol Roger or Billecart-Salmon. Its facility in Urville sits over an original cellar that traces back to 1152. “The Aube was the wealthiest of the Champagne regions in the Middle Ages, and Troyes was the capital,” said Mr. Drappier, who is the seventh-generation Drappier to lead the house. “Before phylloxera,” he said, referring to the pest that destroyed European grapevines in the late 19th century, “there were many more vineyards in the Aube than in the Marne.” Today, Drappier’s Champagnes are discernibly more mainstream than those of the smaller producers, dry and refreshing with full-bodied, sometimes smoky flavors. Mr. Drappier suggests that the rise of the Aube is due partly to the new prosperity in the entire Champagne region, which allowed growers to start making their own wine; to better edu-


Wine & Liquor

cation, which contributed to the arrival of dynamic young winemakers in the region; and to the changing tastes of consumers, who now understand that Champagne is more than simply a luxury good. “Terroir used to be considered rude in Champagne,” he said. “It was all about blending and dosage. Now we say we are from the Côte des Bar, and we are proud of it.” To the Terroir Here are eight producers from the Aube region, all worth trying. CÉDRIC BOUCHARD Extraordinarily delicate, gentle and expressive. Inflorescence ($55) and Roses de Jeanne ($95). (Polaner Selections, Mount Kisco, N.Y.) DOSNON & LEPAGE Superb, elegant yet intense ($40 to $70). (Jon David Headrick Selections, Asheville, N.C.)

DRAPPIER A complete range of full-bodied, refreshing, well-made wines ($30 to $80). (Hardy U.S.A., Des Plaines, Ill.) FLEURY Longtime biodynamic producer; rich, round wines ($35 to $100). (Domaine Select, New York) JACQUES LASSAIGNE Exotic yet elegant wines from the unique terroir of Montgueux ($40 to $70). (Jenny & François Selections, New York) MARIE-COURTIN Lovely Champagnes, including Résonance ($40) from tanks and Éfflorescence ($60) from barrels. (Polaner Selections) JEAN VELUT Pleasing, refreshing and surprisingly light, from Montgueux ($40 to $75). (Bonhomie Wine Imports, South Orange, N.J.) VOUETTE & SORBÉE Energetic, lively, elegant and vinous ($55 to $100). (Domaine Select)

24 August 4 - 10, 2011

The San Juan Weekly Star

Casa Blanca Museum - Journey into the Past that has been continuously occupied since its construction, the building was in need of desperate restoration and renovation to return it to its former glory. Over years of use for different purposes, the house is no longer the exact same home that


he Casa Blanca Museum is the oldest museum in Puerto Rico and considered to be of great historic value. Casa Blanca overshadows many of the other attractions in Puerto Rico due to its rich and interesting history and a name that inspires romantic visions of brave knights on their trusted steeds and undying love. Casa Blanca, or White House, is built on a piece of land that was first purchased by a famous explorer named Juan Ponce de Leòn who later went on to become the first governor of Puerto Rico. He started to build on the land in 1521 but passed away in the same year, leaving Casa Blanca to his young son Luis. The actual construction of the stone building started in 1523 and Ponce de Leòn’s descendants continued to live in Casa Blanca for more than 250 years. Today the building is situated in Old San Juan on San Sebastiàn Street where it once served as the very first stone fort that watched over the city’s entrance as well as the private residence of the Ponce de Leòn family. The house is a double storey building that is beautifully adorned with the Ponte de Leòn coat of arms and two proud and superbly carved stone lions. In the year 1779, Casa Blanca was occupied by the Spanish military and later, in 1898, the military commanders of the United States Army

used the house as residence. The military left the residence in 1966 and returned Casa Blanca to Puerto Rico in 1967. Casa Blanca was later declared a national museum and opened its doors to the public in 1974. Due to the Casa Blanca Museum being one of Puerto Rico’s oldest buildings

was lived in by the Ponce de Leòn’s, but it still captures the nostalgia and authenticity that it must have originally enjoyed. The Casa Blanca Museum is a two-bedroom building with a kitchen, foyer, dining room, a throne room and an oratorio. The outside of the museum has a beautiful garden and fragrant orchard. Each of these rooms have been decorated to represent a specific century and the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries are clearly displayed. Through civilian and military occupation, Casa Blanca has remained a visual monument to the history and progress of Puerto Rico and it is therefore not surprising that it is one of the most popular attractions in Puerto Rico.

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011


book review

Tale of a Puerto Rican Plantation Mistress By GAIUTRA BAHADUR


f the American South had Scarlett O’Hara as its Civil War antiheroine, the English-speaking Caribbean of the 1800s had Annie Palmer. The reallife mistress of a Jamaican sugar estate during the final days of slavery, Palmer was the subject of legend and many lurid novels, most enduringly 1929’s “White Witch of Rosehall.” Lore says (most likely inaccurately) that Palmer practiced obeah, or sorcery; bedded slaves, then killed them; and murdered three husbands. She set the standard for cruelty and debauchery in a woman presiding over a plantation. In fiction, plantation mistresses have tended to be either unbridled despots (often with a touch of the “madwoman in the attic” à la “Jane Eyre”) or demure creatures who stay in the Great House, civilizing everyone in and around it. Esmeralda Santiago plays with, then capsizes, these caricatures in “Conquistadora,” which she has set in mid-19thcentury Puerto Rico. Like Palmer, the novel’s heroine, Ana Cubillas, ends up a widow running a sugar plantation who becomes romantically involved with an overseer. Ana doesn’t literally kill her husband, Ramón, though her motherin-law makes her feel responsible for his death. Ana did, however, flatter him into leaving their pampered life in Spain for empire’s fatal edges. She married him because his family owned a plantation on the very island where, three centuries earlier, her illustrious colonizing ancestor had landed with Ponce de León. Ana believes it’s her destiny to seek her own greatness in Puerto Rico. Later, her husband claims she “bewitched” him into going. The “white witch” stereotype sticks to the hem of Ana’s skirt like cane-field mud. When she extols the healing powers of herbs, learned from her slaves, another character charges, “That sounds like witchcraft.” But Santiago’s plantation mistress isn’t a shrew who derives sadistic pleasure from flogging her slaves. Nor is she their ministering angel, although she tends to the sick and oversees baptisms and prayers. Ana is something much more elusive and contradictory. She delegates the flogging, but flinches when the slaves scream.

Santiago, who was born in Puerto Rico, chronicled her personal struggle with a controlling partner in the memoir “The Turkish Lover” and has written before about strong-willed women trying to break free from machismo’s grip. In her previous novel, “América’s Dream,” a housekeeper flees an abusive relationship by emigrating. The Ana of “Conquistadora” is a feminist before her time. She is resented by her parents for not being the male heir they desired. Their private succession crisis overlaps with a bloody, public one — Spain’s Carlist wars, fought to allow a woman to inherit the throne. As that conflict unfolds, Ana makes furtive love to her friend Elena at their convent school. (Santiago, fancying symbolic if unsubtle names, calls it the Convent of Good Mothers.) A side benefit to Ana’s marrying Ramón is that she and Elena can continue with their affair, as Elena has long been promised to Ramón’s twin, Inocente. But that plan goes awry as the twins, who finish each other’s sentences and enjoy watching each other have sex with the same woman, both fall for Ana. They follow her to the plantation, and when Ana gives birth, it’s unclear who the father is. The plot turns, sometimes improbably, sometimes predictably. There’s a good deal of soap-operatic excess in “Conquistadora,” including some sensational fights between Ana and her mother-in-law. The book’s strength is its Rubik’s Cube portrait of Ana, an unconventional, ambitious woman whose attitudes toward children, slaves and lovers perplex and engross. She isn’t much of a mother, but she takes in a humpbacked baby girl abandoned on her doorstep the

same day she trades her own son away in order to keep running the plantation. She’s a liberal mistress, expressing interest in the African songs her maid sings and allowing the slaves’ midwife to deliver her son. (“We all look and function pretty much the same down there,” she declares.) Yet she achieves freedom by exploiting those who, starkly, lack it. Noting that none of her slaves have challenged her, Ana reflects: “But of course, they could. . . . She would, if she were one of them.” Is Ana believable? Santiago herself has asked that question. “I worried that I was creating a character who would have been impossible in that time and that place,” she said in an interview on her publisher’s Web site. In fact, a small percentage of women did own or con-trol plantations in the Caribbean. Whe-ther the obstacles they faced in a world d dominated by white men sensitized d them to the oppression of slaves is ano-ther question entirely. White women in n the 19th-century Caribbean were largely y silent on the subject of slavery. Mostt who spoke publicly, defended it. With h her tough portrait of a female planter, r, Santiago speculates, charitably but un-romantically, about those who didn’t speak. Ana is emotionally intelligent enough to imagine how slaves might feel, to understand their longing for freedom, yet ruthless enough to use and punish them in order to flourish herself. Neither white witch nor angel, she is convincing despite her contradictions — indeed, because of them.

Annie Palmer’s Rose Hall plantation is now a vacation resort, offering a chance to tee off on the White Witch Golf Course or exchange vows in front of the Great House. Many historical novels function this way, too, mingling levity with solemnity, turning fact into entertainment. “Conquistadora,” for one, presents a guided tour of the history of sugar and empire. Santiago takes us through events of the past as if they were rooms, narrating the cholera epidemic that ravaged Puerto Rico in the 1850s here, depicting the secret abolitionist societies active in San Juan there, and, over all, divertingly evoking a place that was one of the last holdouts for slavery in the Americas.


The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011

U.S. to Close 800 Computer Data Centers By STEVE LOHR


he federal government plans to shut 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years to reduce its hefty technology budget and modernize the way it uses computers to manage data and provide services to citizens. Computer centers typically do not employ many people to tend the machines, but analysts estimate that tens of thousands of jobs will most likely be eliminated. The federal government is the largest buyer of information technology in the world, spending about $80 billion a year. The Obama administration, in plans detailed Wednesday, is taking aim at some of that by closing 800 of its sprawling collection of 2,000 data centers. The savings, analysts say, will translate into billions of dollars a year and acres of freed-up real estate. The government is following the lead of private business. For years, companies have been using software that shares computing tasks across several machines in a data center. The task-juggling technology enables computers to run at far higher levels of efficiency and utilization than in the past, doing more computing chores with fewer computers and fewer data centers. In an interview, Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for the federal government, explained that the data center consolidation was part of a broader strategy to embrace more efficient, Internet-era computing. In particular, the government is shifting to

cloud computing, in which users use online applications like e-mail remotely, over the Internet. These cloud services can be provided by the government to many agencies or by outside technology companies. Tapping cloud computing services, Mr. Kundra said, could save the government an additional $5 billion a year, reducing the need for individual government agencies to buy their own software and hardware. Shawn McCarthy, an analyst at IDC, a research firm, said, “The data consolidation is really part of a much larger reworking of information technology by the government. You start with the technology plumbing, but the goal is more responsive and efficient government services.” This week’s announcement, analysts say, is a significant step along that path, naming 178 data centers to be closed in 2012. It is the second step in the program. In April, 137 computer centers were singled out to be shut down by the end of this year. But government officials say the federal agencies are moving faster than the initial plans, with a total of 195 closings now scheduled by the end of 2011. That would help lift the total to 373 data centers by the end of 2012. The government, though late in starting, is on track for a particularly aggressive winnowing of its data centers, encouraged by the need for budgetary belt-tightening. “It is ambitious,” said Darrell M. West, an expert in government and technology policy at the Brookings Institution. “In an era of massive deficits, the federal government has to figure

out ways to get more efficient. The data center consolidation is part of that process.” The cost savings simply from running fewer data centers is estimated at more than $3 billion a year. There is an environmental impact too, since data centers are powerhungry. By one estimate, an average data center consumes the energy equivalent of 200 residential homes. The data centers to be shut down are varied in size. One facility run by the Department of Homeland Security in Alabama covers 195,000 square feet, the size of more than three football fields. But some of the data centers to be eliminated are less than 1,000 square feet in size. The total opportunity for savings is so large, Mr. Kundra explained, because for years each government agency tended to buy and build its own technology systems. Across the federal government, he noted, hundreds of different software programs are used for financial accounting and hundreds of different ones for human resources management. The population of federal data centers swelled from 432 in 1998 to more than 2,000 by last year. “Redundant systems and applications sprouted like weeds,” Mr. Kundra said. “We need to shift resources away from duplicative systems and use them to improve the citizen experience.” More and more services will go online, said Mr. Kundra, so the focus should be less on overall technology spending by government than on using technology more efficiently to deliver government services,

especially collecting and presenting data in useful ways. As one example, he pointed to the Web site It enables people to compare health insurance coverage and pricing options offered by private companies and the government, and to compare quality scores for hospitals and nursing homes, based on government data. The shift to modernized computer services has already started. For example, nearly 140,000 employees at the General Services Administration and Department of Agriculture have moved to cloud-based e-mail, Mr. Kundra said, saving about $42 million a year. Google provides the cloud e-mail for the G.S.A, while a Microsoft cloud service is used by the Agriculture Department. Mr. Kundra declined to estimate the job impact of eliminating hundreds of data centers. The closings are determined by technology managers in the federal agencies. Data centers are not huge employers, as military bases are, for example. Yet even in the first wave of closings, Mr. Kundra said, “We have had some pushback from members of Congress, but tough decisions have to be made.” None so far, he said, have been reversed.

Homeowners in Denial About Value of Properties By ANN CARRNS


omeowners, especially those who bought their houses after the realestate bubble burst, are still having trouble accepting just how much the values of their properties may have fallen, says a new report from the real-estate site Zillow. Current sellers who bought their homes in 2007 or later, an analysis of the site’s home listings shows, are overpricing their properties by an average of 14 percent. Sellers who bought their houses before the bubble, and those who bought during the big run-up in home values, also are overpricing their homes, but not by as much. Those who bought before 2002 are pricing their homes roughly 12 percent over market value, while those who bought from 2002-06 price them about 9 percent over market value. In the analysis, Zillow compared the asking price of one million homes for sale to the homes’ previous purchase price, then factored in the change in the Zillow Home

Value Index for the respective ZIP code, to determine an estimate of that home’s current market value. Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, says those who bought post-bubble, in 2008, 2009 or later, seem to think they escaped the worse of the housing market debacle and tend to price their homes too high as a result. But 2006 was just the start of the housing recession, which continues today; home values are now down nearly 30 percent from the market’s peak. And, values have fallen about 12 percent from January 2009 through May of this year, he says. That means, he says, that even people who bought after the bubble burst need to take a hard look at what has happened in their local market since they bought their home. Traditionally, people tend to overprice their homes a bit anyway, to allow room for negotiation. But unrealistic overpricing in the current environment, he says, means properties stagnate. Sellers, he said, need primarily to con-

sider comparable sales and asking prices in their market when setting an asking price for their home. Factoring in what they paid for their home, or how much they owe on their mortgage, “leads to conclusions that are divorced from the outside market,” he said, and the market determines whether a buyer is interested in your house: “The buyer doesn’t care what you paid or what your mortgage is.” Of course, some sellers who owe more than their house is worth are limited in how low they can price their home because selling for less than their mortgage means they’ll have to negotiate a short-sale with their bank. “They’re hoping against hope that they can sell at a higher price,” Mr. Humphries said. But others are simply faced with a reluctance — understandable, to be sure — to sell the house for less than they paid. “They could price more aggressively, but there’s a psychological hurdle,” he says. “They don’t want to realize a loss.” Humphries foresees home values con-

tinuing to fall through the middle of next year for a variety of reasons, including persistent unemployment, a significant pipeline of homes in foreclosure, as well as high rates of homes with negative equity, which means many more will likely end up in foreclosure. A return to a “normal” market is likely at least three years away, he says. Is your home on the market? What factors went into your asking price?

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011


Why Hasn’t Employment of the Elderly Fallen? By CASEY B. MULLIGAN


hile employment rates have fallen sharply among the general population, they have not done so among the elderly. This result is difficult to reconcile with Keynesian characterizations of the labor market. The red line in the chart below displays an index of the per capita employment for the general population. For example, a value of 93 for 2010 means that the fraction of people employed in 2010 was 7 percent less than it was in 2007, before the recession began. The red line shows what we all know by now: many fewer people have jobs now than did a few years ago. The other two series in the chart are for specific age groups: ages 65-69 and ages 70-74. Both groups have a somewhat greater fraction working now than in 2007 (the increase is even more for ages 75+, but that group is small, so it is omitted from the chart). Recent studies have looked at the labor-market experiences of the elderly during the first half of the

recession. The authors emphasize that, while the recession by itself might reduce elderly employment, the elderly have become increasingly willing to work. I agree. Many elderly people, for example, saw the market values of their homes and retirement assets plummet in 2008 and feel they can no longer afford to be retired. Naturally, many of them react by looking for work. The blue and green lines in the chart show that the elderly have been much more successful than the general population at obtaining and retaining jobs. These findings contradict the Keynesian narrative of the labor market, in which the marketplace fails to recognize the degree to which people would like to have a job. (The Keynesian narrative helps rationalize, among other things, the assertion that unemployment insurance did not reduce employment during the recession, because “what’s limiting employment now is lack of demand for the things workers produce. Their incentives to seek work are, for now, irrelevant.”) Employment, even during a recession, is not

solely the result of lucky few finding available positions. All else being the same, the market tends to create and allocate jobs for those people who are most interested in working. That’s why, if government is to avoid making employment any less than it has to be, it’s so important to pay attention to the incentives created by taxes, subsidies and government regulations.




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August 4 - 10, 2011

The San Juan Weekly Star

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



Answers on page 29

The San Juan Weekly Star

August 4 - 10, 2011


(Mar 21-April 20)


(Sep 24-Oct 23)

Things may not be moving quickly enough on a professional level. Never mind! Do not get bogged down with issues that link you inappropriately with the past. There is time enough for what matters. Relax and let it all happen, as it will. Trust the process of life and leave major choices up to fate for the time being.

Independent though you are, it would be beneficial to grovel just a little bit at the right moments. Jupiter is still powering through your opposite sign of Aries. Tread lightly! Be patient and keep things in perspective. Do not let silly little things get under your skin, for you would greatly regret reacting inappropriately. Do not even go there!



(April 21-May 21)

(Oct 24-Nov 22)

Divine Will intervenes, bringing hope and serenity to a challenging situation. Try as you might, you will not be able to influence things as you see fit. You are going to have to trust that what is happening will work out perfectly and in your favour; even if it is not quite what you were looking for. Enjoy life’s mystery.

Tone things down a bit and do not try to impose your own will on the proceedings. Surprising love moves will get you going in all the right ways. Keep your ear to the ground and don’t miss out on a genuine offer. Be careful not to get on the wrong side of colleagues or authority figures.



(May 22-June 21)

Remember, money and status cannot buy you love. Get your priorities the right way around and the rest will follow. Listen to the advice of someone older or wiser. You may now piece together the clues and realize what you can do to retrieve things. It’s not the time to be too proud: you might learn something.


(June 22-July 23)

A philosophical approach of laissez faire works best. Leave things be and do not fiddle around, hoping for a particular outcome. Time is a great healer, as always. Be circumspect when someone lands an emotional time-bomb in your lap. You can get through it; you always do. Embrace freedom on all fronts.


(July 24-Aug 23)

Keep a high profile and do not be afraid to ham it up for the cameras! What is wrong with grabbing a bit of attention now and again? Be philosophical about a lost contact or opportunity. What is really for you will not pass you by. Unexpected possibilities may be on offer, so be open and do not preempt what is to come.


(Aug 24-Sep 23)

Continue to be the survivor that you are. Stay in the spirit of things and go along with even the maddest developments. Your determination and clarity are what counts, so keep your eye on the ball with the work. Be as proactive as possible and get busy with clearing up a bit of a mess. Let go of what’s not working.

(Nov 23-Dec 21)

You may reconnect with the past in some respect, but it will not be the same this time around. However, be open to developments. Accept that opportunities to kiss and make up are usually the best way forward, for all concerned. Be magnanimous and forgiving. There is a reason behind what is happening. It is all good!


(Dec 22-Jan 20)

Cheer up and do your worst. If you do not make a big effort at this point, certain golden opportunities will pass you by. Time is of the essence! You are at your most impressive and well able to deliver. Do not doubt your talents or ability to make an impression. Trust extraordinary events and developments.


(Jan 21-Feb 19)

Expect challenges that you had not foreseen. Keep your communication and responses clear and be as straightforward as possible. There is no point making things more complicated than they already are. Sit loose to current circumstances and wait to see what unfolds. Patience will be rewarded.


(Feb 20-Mar 20)

Keep a handle on your temper and use humour to diffuse a situation. Your instincts will pull you through a tricky scenario. Give credit where it is due, but take a bow too, especially if you have performed exceptionally well. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back now and again!

29 Answers to the Zudoku and Crossword on page 28


August 4 - 10, 2011


Speed Bump

Frank & Ernest


Scary Gary

Wizard of Id

Two Cows And A Chicken


The San Juan Weekly Star


The San Juan Weekly

August 4 - 10, 2011



In Fukushima, Japan, a Baseball Story of Coming Together and Carrying On By KEN BELSON


hen the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan in March, high school baseball teams up and down the coast were suddenly without fields to play on, including those closest to crippled nuclear power plants in Fukushima. Radiation levels were so dangerous that schools there were abandoned and players were evacuated to towns and cities across the country. Yet nobody wanted to miss the chance to qualify for the annual summer tournament near Osaka, where teams from across Japan battle to become national champion. So three high schools that were forced into exile cobbled together a team to pursue their dream, however remote. And there they stood one recent Saturday, the members of the Soso Rengo baseball team, doffing their caps and taking fielding practice like normal players. But they are not. Several of the boys from Tomioka High School, Soma Nogyo High School and Futaba Shoyo High School lost family, friends or homes. Their towns near the stricken reactors may be off limits for years. Instead of graduating with their friends, most of them are now strangers in new communities. Amid the turmoil, baseball has provided some equilibrium. “The players don’t feel sorry for themselves,” Noriyuki Sampei, a coach from Soma Nogyo, said before the first game of a doubleheader. “They just acknowledge the reality of what they can do right now, which is to try to do as thorough a job as possible.” They have become an emblem of hope in a country looking for heartwarming stories. Their lives and the team they created have been the focus of intense news media interest. Because of all that has happened to them, the players are being lauded because they have continued to display the selflessness and unwavering commitment that Japanese value in baseball players, and athletes in general. That they are now scattered throughout the prefecture and can practice together only one day each weekend has made their story even more compelling. Some of the boys have never played together, yet they appear to have become fast

friends. Their obvious flaws — like the many overthrown balls and the ground balls that skipped under infielders’ legs — are beside the point. Of course, students throughout northeastern Japan have been affected by the tsunami and nuclear crisis. Many players were practicing when the earthquake struck at 2:46 on March 11 and ran to safety in their uniforms. Players in Rikuzentakata escaped the surging waves that then engulfed their school by running to a field on higher ground. Most teams have players who lost loved ones and homes, or are living in refugee centers. But the unique circumstances surrounding the Soso Rengo team has brought national attention. Tsukasa Yano, the manager of a baseball club from Kochi Prefecture that was also formed out of a merger of two high schools, sent the Soso Rengo team cups of ivy cut from the famed walls of Koshien Stadium, Japan’s answer to Wrigley Field. Still, the Soso Rengo team’s formation has not been easy. Uniting three teams led to hand-wringing over which uniforms to wear, which fight songs to sing and who would lead the team. The players were allowed to wear their own uniforms, but they don the same blue hats with two characters that identify the Soso coastal district where the schools are located. Yoshihiro Hattori, the manager of Futaba Shoyo, where 14 of the team’s 17 members played, leads the team. To protect the students, the Fukushima High School Baseball Association will check radiation levels each day at five locations in each stadium used in the regional tournament. If levels are above 3.8 microsieverts per hour, games for that

day at that stadium will be postponed. During rain delays, levels will be rechecked and players maintaining the field will have to wear rubber gloves. The most complex logistics involved the players. Since childhood, they have spent most of their spare time outside home and school on baseball fields. Despite the urge to participate, some players felt guilty that they could play while their old teammates could not. Tomoko Nakamura knows this firsthand. After the disaster in March, her son, Kohei, had all but given up hope of playing. His teammates at Tomioka High School, which is about six miles from the damaged reactors, had moved to different schools or quit playing. Every time she brought up baseball, Kohei would yell at her: “I won’t play baseball. There’s no hope because there is no team,” she recalled as her son’s team lost the first practice game to Takahagi Seisho High School, 5-2. Then Kohei’s manager, Shuji Sakamoto, called to invite Kohei to join a new team being formed with members from other schools. Kohei jumped at the chance.“During March and April, Kohei was worried, but after joining the Soso Rengo team, he became less anxious” and “stays highly motivated,” Sakamoto said. Kohei now commutes 70 miles to practices on the weekend. The only member from Tomioka on his new team, he starts at shortstop and bats cleanup. “I’m getting used to being with my new teammates, and I’m really happy playing baseball,” Kohei said. “At the beginning, I was confused because of the different routines of the other schools,

but I’ve gotten used to it.” Time is short. In late June, the team’s first practice game was rained out, so Kohei and his teammates had only two weekends before the start of the regional tournament on Wednesday. During fielding practice, Manager Hattori whacked ground balls and barked orders in a rough dialect common to baseball coaches and residents of seaside towns. He knows that his players have been uprooted, but he dished out his tough love unequivocally. In the bottom of the eighth inning of the first game, the Soso Rengo team was mounting a comeback. With two outs and two runners on base, Nakamura, who already had two hits, came to the plate. When the ball skipped away from the catcher, Hiroyuki Matsumoto tried to score from third base. The ball did not get far, and he was easily tagged out. “You idiot,” Hattori roared like a drill sergeant at a fresh recruit. “Didn’t you realize the cleanup hitter was at bat?” Even Matsumoto’s father, Zenichiro, nodded his head in agreement. Still, he was glad his son was getting the chance to play. After the tsunami, Hiroyuki ended up in a refugee center in Miharu, 35 miles to the west, while his parents landed in Iwaki, 35 miles to the south. They met each other two weeks later after someone told Zenichiro Matsumoto that his son had been on television. They are now together, but their home was washed away in the tsunami and “is on its way to America,” the father joked. Uncomfortable in his new surroundings, Hiroyuki is a different person on the field. “I hope he can be a little more energetic” by playing baseball, Zenichiro Matsumoto said. The team’s catcher, Takeshi Endo, was also eager to play despite having had to move to Koriyama, 50 miles inland. He became the captain after his cousin, who led the Futaba Shoyo team before the tsunami, moved to Tokyo. The night before Saturday’s practice, Takeshi’s father, Kiyoteru, shaved his son’s head in a military cut favored by players who want to show their enthusiasm. “As a senior, he is supposed to think about studying,” Kiyoteru Endo said. “But until their first game of the tournament, he can’t see anything but baseball.”


August 4 - 10, 2011

The San Juan Weekly Star

San Juan Weekly 96th Edition  
San Juan Weekly 96th Edition  

San Juan Weekly 96th Edition