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Risky banks, inaction fed U.S. meltdown

RAW WOUNDS: Acehnese pray on Sunday to mark six years since a tsunami struck Aceh province in Indonesia, in 2004. The tsunami killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 nations. Hardest hit was Aceh, where 164,000 died.


McClatchy News Service

Parents cling to hope after tsunami Most parents of children missing since the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia have ended their search, but others haven’t given up BY ROBIN McDOWELL Associated Press

LANGSA, Indonesia — Six years after a powerful tsunami swept more than 200,000 people to their death, Titik Yuniarti still clings to hope at least one of her children is alive. Like other desperate mothers, she has placed ads begging for information in newspapers in western Indonesia and hung fliers alongside others fluttering from lampposts. Earlier this month, her search almost cost her her life. The 43-year-old woman raised suspicions when she tried to meet a girl she thought might be her child. Villagers accused her of being a kidnapper and thrashed her and a friend almost to death. The Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 Indian Ocean nations, from Thailand to Sri Lanka. Hardest hit by far was Indonesia’s Aceh province, where

Father’s app lets disabled son ‘speak’ BY TOM BREEN

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Victor Pauca had plenty of presents to unwrap on Christmas, but the 5-year-old boy had already received the best gift: the ability to communicate. Victor has a rare genetic disorder that delays development of a number of skills, including speech. To help him and others with disabilities, his father, Paul, and some of his students at Wake Forest University have created an application for the iPhone and iPad that turns their touch screens into communications tools. The VerbalVictor app allows parents and caregivers to take pictures and record phrases to go with them. These become “buttons” on the screen that Victor touches when he wants to communicate. A picture of the backyard, for example, can be accompanied by a recording of a sentence like “I want to go outside and play.” When Victor touches it, his parents or teachers know what he wants to do. “The user records the voice, so • TURN TO APP, 2A


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While most have given up the search for missing children, a number press on. Yuniarti, who lost her entire family in the disaster, set out earlier this month in search of her middle child, Salwa. The journey was inspired by a dream Yuniarti’s mother had, in which Salwa appeared and said she had been taken in by a family in the town of Langsa in Aceh. It took seven hours on a bumpy coastal road to get there. Clutching a picture of her curly-haired child — who was 6 when she was ripped from her mother’s arms and sucked out to sea — Yuniarti and a friend went from school PHOTOS BY HERI JUANDA/AP to school, talking to principals, BEREAVED GRANDMOTHER: Rafisah is the mother of Titik Yuniarti, teachers and students. who was beaten by a mob accusing her of attempting to They sat down with police and met with neighborhood leaders, abduct a child while searching for her missing daughter. anyone who would listen. 164,000 died. Of those, 37,000 tional aid effort has rebuilt tens “After three days, we finally were never found, their bodies of thousands of homes, schools met a girl named Febby,” Yuniarti presumed washed out to sea. and roads. But closure has been Today, a massive interna- much more difficult for some. • TURN TO TSUNAMI, 2A

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board, chastised for regulatory inaction that contributed to the subprime mortgage meltdown, also missed a chance to prevent much of the financial chaos ravaging hundreds of small- and mid-sized banks, according to a McClatchy investigation and confirmed by a federal report. In early 2005, when the housing market was overheated and economic danger signs were in the air, the Fed had an opportunity to put a damper on risk-taking among banks, especially those that had long been bedrocks of smaller cities and towns across the United States. But the Fed rejected calls from one of the top U.S. banking regulators, a professional accounting board and the Fed’s own staff for curbs on the banks’ use of special debt securities to raise capital that was allowing them to mushroom in size. Then-Chairman Alan Greenspan and the other six Fed governors voted unanimously to reaffirm a 9-year-old rule allowing liberal use of what are called trust-preferred securities. This was like a magic bullet for community banks that had few ways to raise capital without issuing more common stock and diluting their share price. The Fed allowed the banks to count the securities as debt, even while counting the proceeds as reserves. Banks were then free to borrow and lend in amounts 10 times or more than the value of the securities being issued. The hybrid securities were particularly alluring for banks that were growing rapidly and needed to boost their capital to meet • TURN TO BANKS, 2A

Obama’s social side is starting to thaw said. He has cultivated few, if any, new friends since taking office. And until recently, his calls to members of Congress have been rare. He has, some might say, a schmooze deficit. But as the president adapts to the new reality of a Republican Congress, an unfamiliar side of him has started to emerge: that of a man who is willing to engage a wider range of people more often — even if for just a little while. In recent weeks, Obama invitSAUL LOEB/AFP-GETTY IMAGES ed leaders in both parties to join him at Camp David in the new ENGAGING: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle


Washington Post Service

WASHINGTON — Solitary by nature, U.S. President Barack Obama has always been a man of boundaries. He curtailed donor access to the White House early in his term, annoying prominent Democrats who were accustomed to being courted. His frequent golf games the past two years have been mostly limited to a familiar handful of younger aides. He banters with his top advisors around the West Wing, but does not spend hours regaling them with stories or invite them in to keep him company, several • TURN TO OBAMA, 5A

Obama greet members of the U.S. military and their families at a Christmas Day meal at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Cables portray expanded reach of drug agency BY GINGER THOMPSON AND SCOTT SHANE

New York Times Service

WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who

want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables. In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the


politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments. Diplomats recorded unforgettable vignettes from the largely unseen war on drugs: l In Panama, an urgent BlackBerry message from the president


to the U.S. ambassador demanded that the DEA go after his political enemies: “I need help with tapping phones.” (Panama President Ricardo Martinelli denied the charge.) l In Sierra Leone, a major cocaine-trafficking prosecution was almost upended by the • TURN TO CABLES, 2A


INDEX NEWS EXTRA...............3A U.S. NEWS.....................5A OPINION........................7A COMICS & PUZZLES.. 6B

12/27/2010 4:52:55 AM






Six years after Fed inaction fueled bank crisis tsunami, parents still cling to hope • BANKS, FROM 1A


said from her hospital bed, her face covered in bruises, her neck swollen and an intravenous drip dangling from her arm. “She had the same tumble of black hair, a freckle over her lip,” she said in a soft voice, smiling weakly. “Some people even told me she’d lost her parents in the tsunami and had been adopted. I was still afraid to believe it, but in my heart, I thought, it’s her . . . it’s really her.” When they returned the next day, though, a woman who identified herself as Febby’s mother blocked them and demanded to know what they wanted with her only daughter. A crowd started gathering, quickly swelling to more than 100. Whispers spread that Yuniarti might want to abduct the 12-year-old, maybe even sell her organs, echoing kidnapping rumors that have circulated across Indonesia in recent months. Some chanted “Hang her! Hang her!” Others torched the building where the two women had been hiding. When they emerged, the mob beat them with heavy sticks and rocks, ignoring warning shots fired by police. Eventually, officers gathered up Yuniarti’s crumpled body and brought her to a hospital. Her friend was also seriously hurt. Yuniarti, who also lost her husband, a 3-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son, wants a DNA test on the child, saying it could be her last chance. Febby’s mother, Ainun Mardiah, said she would

oblige if it would help end the dispute. Her daughter is so traumatized, she has stopped going to school. “I just feel angry, confused,” the 34-year-old Mardiah said. She moved from Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, to Langsa with her husband and child soon after the tsunami, hoping to start life anew. “I just want this to be over,” she said. A government program that reunited nearly 1,600 children with their parents closed in 2006. While officials still offer assistance as needed, the number of requests has dwindled, said Farida Zuraini, who works at the provincial Social Ministry office in Banda Aceh. Maisarah, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, broke down in tears when asked about her husband and three children, all swept away by the waves. She said she has given up hope after several years of visiting orphanages and even traveling hundreds of miles to track down a young girl in a photograph who looked like her daughter — just to make sure they were not alive somewhere. “The most important thing for me was just knowing the truth,” Maisarah said. One mother who hasn’t given up is 30-year-old Suryani. Even a DNA test failed to convince her that 11-year-old Riko Anggara, who appeared on a popular TV talent show, was not her boy. The story made headlines, but a DNA test proved Rahmat was not her son. But she and her husband remain unconvinced: They want a redo.

regulatory requirements, said Ken Thomas, a Miamibased banking consultant and economist. “It was very popular. But like a lot of things in banking, a lot of innovations, the results of financial engineering, which is what this was, turned into problems for banks,” he said. The Fed supervised some 1,400 bank-holding companies, the bulk of them parent companies of community banks. Data emerging from the carnage of collapsed and teetering banks leaves little doubt that the Fed rule, and regulators’ failure to adequately police the issuance of these securities, created big cracks in the already shaky foundations of the U.S. banking system. A four-month McClatchy inquiry finds that the Fed rule enabled Wall Street to encourage many community banks to take on huge debt and to plunge the borrowings into risky real estate loans. In a Winter 2010 Supervisory Insights report published earlier this week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation confirmed McClatchy’s findings. Sandra Thompson, the FDIC’s director of supervision, said that “institutions relying on these instruments took more risks and failed more often than those that did not include the use of” trustpreferred securities. In its supervisory report, however, the FDIC didn’t criticize the Fed directly. Adding to the problems, investment banks aggressively pooled these community bank securities into complex bonds — much like the complex mortgage bonds that nearly brought down the financial system in 2008.


SHUT DOWN: The demise of Venture Bank on Sept. 11, 2009, illustrates how the community bank securities blindsided issuers and buyers. The consequences were devastating. The issuance of the special securities to boost lending helps explain the staggering 324 bank failures between 2008 and mid-December. Of those failed banks, the parent companies of at least 136 of them issued and later defaulted on more than $5 billion of the special securities. The picture is sure to grow uglier in 2011. On its last watch list, issued Sept. 30, the FDIC included 860 institutions, though it does not list names. And Fitch Ratings, which rates the likelihood of bond defaults, said that another 380 bank holding companies that issued $7.1 billion of the securities have exercised their rights to defer paying interest to investors for up to five years. Deferrals historically have preceded defaults.

The failures collectively have already left more than $1 billion of the complex bonds on the books of the FDIC’s industryfunded bank rescue fund. McClatchy obtained this sum through the Freedom of Information Act. The Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating how securities firms hawked some of the complex bonds in a poorly understood, $55 billion offshore market for debt issued by banks, insurers and real estate trusts — a market that’s only now becoming clear. The demise of two banks — Corus Bancshares and Dupont, Wash.-based Venture Bank — on Sept. 11, 2009, illustrates how community bank securities blindsided issuers and buyers alike. Corus and Venture were emblematic of banks that

used their newfound capital to feed the real estate bubble, helping to propel U.S. home construction from $257 billion in 1996 to $620 billion in 2006. William Black, a former senior federal thrift regulator, blames the Fed for an overzealous free-market focus. “The Fed desperately wanted to believe that it didn’t need to regulate and could rely instead on private market discipline,” meaning banks would avoid taking excessive risks, said Black, now a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Instead, he said, the banks were “lending into the bubble” with money generated by the bonds, while other banks lacked the sophistication to assess the perils of buying the complex securities.

Cables portray expanded reach of DEA Father’s app helps disabled son ‘speak’


attorney general’s attempt to solicit $2.5 million in bribes. l In Guinea, the country’s biggest narcotics kingpin turned out to be the president’s son, and diplomats discovered that before the police destroyed a huge narcotics seizure, the drugs had been replaced by flour. l Leaders of Mexico’s beleaguered military issued private pleas for closer collaboration with the drug

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agency, confessing that they had little faith in their own country’s police forces. l Cables from Myanmar, the target of strict U.S. sanctions, describe the drug agency informants’ reporting both on how the military junta enriches itself with drug money and on the political activities of the junta’s opponents. Officials of the DEA and the State Department declined to discuss what they said was information that should never have been made public.

Like many of the cables made public in recent weeks, those describing the drug war do not offer large disclosures. Rather, it is the details that add up to a clearer picture of the corrupting influence of big traffickers, the tricky game of figuring out which foreign officials are actually controlled by drug lords, and the story of how an entrepreneurial agency operating in the shadows of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has become something more than a drug agency.

The DEA now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that keep the Central Intelligence Agency at arm’s length. Because of the ubiquity of the drug scourge, today’s DEA has access to foreign governments, including those, like Nicaragua’s and Venezuela’s, that have strained diplomatic relations with the United States. Many are eager to take advantage of the agency’s drug detection and wiretapping technologies.


it’s something the child’s familiar with. It’s not robotic,” Paul Pauca said. The app, which should be for sale for $10 in Apple’s iTunes store this week, is one of dozens of new software products designed to make life easier for people with a range of disabilities. The category is expanding so fast that Apple now has a separate listing for it in the App Store. More apps are added every week, ranging from Sign4Me, a sign language tutor that uses an animated avatar, to ArtikPix, a flash card-like app that helps teachers and speech therapists improve their students’ articulation of words. “It opens up his mind to us, because he can show us what he’s thinking,” said Victor’s mother, Theresa. Victor has a rare genetic disorder called Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, a diagnosis he shares with about 50 other people in the United States. The ailment causes delays in cognitive abilities, motor skills, social development and language skills. Victor’s progress, in many ways, has been good — he could walk at age 2, whereas some children with the condition can’t walk until they’re 10 or older. The Paucas tried a number of devices designed to help people with similar disabilities communicate. These devices are often low-tech — the one the Paucas first tried required paper printouts. Or they are expensive: a top-of-the-line model similar to the one used by physicist Stephen Hawking can cost about $8,200. Paul Pauca, a computer science professor, decided that he and some of his students could do better. Starting in January, they worked to create an app that would use the versatility of the Apple devices to make communication easier. Because the hardware already existed, and the work was done as part of a class,

there were no direct costs of development. The prototype was done by late spring. “We’re not a big-budget operation, and that allows us to sell it for $10,” said Tommy Guy, who is one of Pauca’s students and is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto. Jim Tobias, president of consulting firm Inclusive Technologies and an expert on disability-accessible technology, points out that VerbalVictor takes advantage of general-purpose, mass-market gadgets that cost hundreds of dollars rather than thousands. People who already own an iPhone or iPad need to pay only $10 for the app, “instead of taking a risk with $1,000” with specialized machines, said Tobias, who is not involved with the project. There are dozens of apps designed to help people with a variety of disabilities, ranging from sign language aids to apps that play back text on the screen to help visually impaired people navigate their phones. But a potential downside exists when people start to think of the apps as a magic wand. Not every app will help every person, he said. “I’ve been contacted by about 100 eager and enthusiastic parents in the last three or four months about things like this,” he said, “and if it doesn’t work out, they’re a little bit at a loss as to what to do next. We still need to do more to help professionals understand what’s available and what might be best suited for individuals.” For the Paucas, who founded the Pitt Hopkins Syndrome International Network to meet and share information with other families, something as commonplace as a smartphone app has added inexpressible richness to their family life. “He has the most positive attitude and the brightest smile,” Theresa said about Victor. “He teaches us something new every day about what we need to be thankful for.”

12/27/2010 4:54:49 AM






Blizzard barrels up East Coast BY LIZ ROBBINS

New York Times Service


LEAD IN: Angelina Jolie stars as Evelyn Salt in Columbia Pictures’ contemporary action thriller Salt.

Pop culture creates new heroines BY LUISITA LOPEZ TORREGROSA New York Times Service

NEW YORK — For years, maybe forever, the essence of women has often been reduced, to put it somewhat crudely, to a deeply etched dichotomy: madonna or whore. Marry one; have sex with the other. It is a view of women that has survived shifts in social attitudes and periodic bouts of feminism. But in recent decades — marked by a more radical advance of women and some appreciation for that shift — variations on the theme have emerged in society and pop culture. In films, books, music and television and on the social media networks, we have rethought gender roles, and the old virgin versus slut metaphor rings false, if it ever was true. Now, in keeping with what some call (hopefully) the age of female empowerment, women are more likely to be cast or depicted as sex objects or action heroes — or both in one. These are romanticized images, of course, filtered, glossed and air-brushed. But these women are not ornamental, prettying up the scenery. They are not emotionally soft and tender-brained, and they are not long-suffering women standing by their men. They tend to be sexy or brainy, flirty or witchy, but the roles are more fluid now, flowing one in the other, sometimes fusing. SCREAMING FOR ATTENTION In 2010, as far as women go in American politics, it’s been mostly Sarah Palin, the sexy action politician, versus the brainy, calculated Hillary Clinton type. But it is in books and movies where we catch the kaleidoscope of new female images. Reviewing this year’s crop of action heroes and sex objects, there is a fistful of fictional and flesh-and-blood women screaming for attention. In books, there’s Cleopatra and Lisbeth Salander. The Salander character, a Swedish bisexual computer genius, set U.S. best-seller lists on fire with the monster literary trilogy of the decade, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Perhaps it’s a paradox that Salander is not blond, gorgeous or athletic and buffed. She’s a sprite, barely 90 pounds, with a cold sneer and a face that is all edges and angles. She has nerves of steel and will outfight thugs triple her size. She fears nothing and outwits anyone who gets in her way: assassins, police officers, spies, lawyers, rapists and psychos. Salander is the proto-21stcentury action hero. Cleopatra, who defeated armies and seduced mighty men, remains a symbol of the ultimate woman, personifying the meld of action hero and sex object. Interest in the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt was revived this autumn by a new biography, Cleopatra: A Life, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Stacy Schiff. “A goddess as a child, a queen at eighteen, a celebrity soon thereafter, she was an object of speculation and venerations, gossip and legend,” Schiff wrote in the opening chapter. Cleopatra was a charismatic leader and military commander, a fierce lover and consummate seducer. And through Elizabeth Taylor, who played her in the famous film in 1963, Cleopatra became a U.S. pop icon as well. In current movies, there’s Angelina Jolie as the revenge-driven C.I.A. undercover agent Evelyn Salt, a Terminator with smoky eyes. Her character in Salt is an update on her leather-clad action hero Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies. But in Salt, which takes place in present-day Washington and New York and not in an exotic secret cave somewhere in Indiana Jones-land, Ms. Jolie goes off the grid, playing solo revenge machine, flaunting her knockout looks and killer instincts. BLURRING LINES It is no surprise that Jolie will play Cleopatra in the Hollywood adaptation of Schiff’s biography. Did anyone think it could be anyone else? A darker view of woman, harking to the virgin versus whore idea, drives the psycho-sexual thriller Black Swan. It tells the story of a rising young ballerina, played by Natalie Portman, who achieves her dream when chosen to perform the dual role of virtuous white swan and evil black twin in a new production of Swan Lake. Under the strain of playing both roles, and forced to dig deep into her psyche, this ballerina falls apart. She cracks up and, haunted by insane mirror images of herself, her sexuality explodes in a wild, raw scene. In the end, this tormented Nina triumphs on stage, embodying the roles of white and the black swan — virgin and whore — perhaps too perfectly. It’s the old dichotomy, but with a contemporary character. Many of those images meld female and male traits, the lines crossing, intersecting, blurring and fading, creating mixed personas that defy labels. As 2010 ends, it is an interesting image to contemplate: ancient Egyptian empress as modern Western woman.

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The brunt of the storm was expected to buffet the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York areas by early evening, forecasters said. Fresh snow may stop falling by morning, but continuing high winds, swirling to 45 miles an hour, could cause treacherous, whiteout conditions for Monday, and blizzard warnings were posted through Monday evening in many areas along the East Coast. The storm, which originated in the Gulf of Mexico, moved across Florida and intensified in the Carolinas on Saturday, wasted little time in affecting the Northeast on Sunday morning. “It did start a little earlier than planned,” said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist on duty at the New York office

in Upton, N.Y. “We’re calling it a dangerous winter storm.” Parts of the New York metropolitan area should expect 15 to 20 inches by the time the snowfall ends tomorrow morning, Nash said, while only about 2 inches of snow had fallen by early afternoon. Further south, Philadelphia was already preparing for an onslaught of 18 inches of snow. The city’s mayor, Michael A. Nutter, declared a snow emergency and the National Football League postponed the Eagles-Vikings game at Lincoln Financial Field, scheduled for 8:20 p.m., until Tuesday night. The Washington area, which suffered through a series of snowstorms last

winter, was mostly spared by this system. By midday, the National Weather Service canceled a winter storm watch for the region, scaling back its snow prediction to 1 to 2 inches from up to 6 inches. Service was normal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International, officials said. But not far north, about 400 flights had been canceled at Philadelphia International Airport, with more expected, said spokeswoman Victoria Lupica, a spokeswoman. John F. Kennedy Airport was in a similar, disrupted state. At around 1:45 p.m., the flight boards inside Terminal 8 displayed a stream of yellow cancellation notices. Of 60 flights listed at one point, only six claimed to be “on time.”

As the season’s first blizzard barreled up the East Coast on Sunday, promising to dump more than a foot of snow over the New York metropolitan area and batter the region with fierce winds, holiday travel was already in disarray, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and uncertain when conditions would improve. New York City airports canceled more than 1,000 flights by noon on Sunday even though the snow had just begun to fall. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said that it anticipated many more cancellations throughout the day as the storm intensified into the evening. Delta had canceled 850 flights from the Carolinas to Boston, and American Airlines said that it was canceling most flights out of the three New York airports after 3 p.m. Travelers hoping to escape the airport chaos and opt for trains in the Northeast were unlikely to do much better. Amtrak said it had canceled its entire Northeast Corridor service between New York and Boston after 5 p.m. on Sunday. Service between Washington and New York, however, was not yet affected, Amtrak officials said. Even before bearing down on the coast’s most densely populated areas, the storm had led to states of emergenMARGARET HESTER/AP cy in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland on Sunday, OFF THE ROAD: An overturned Sports Utility Vehicle lies in a snowy ditch along although those states did not I-40 East in North Carolina. The inclement weather brought on by the blizzard get hit as hard as anticipated. has led to North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland declaring states of emergency.

U.S.-Spain intrigue exposed BY CAROL ROSENBERG

It was three months into U.S. President Barack Obama’s presidency, and the administration — under pressure to do something about alleged abuses in Bushera interrogation policies — turned to a Florida senator to deliver a sensitive message to Spain: Don’t indict former President George W. Bush’s legal brain trust for alleged torture in the treatment of war on terror detainees, warned Mel Martinez on one of his frequent trips to Madrid. Doing so would chill U.S.-Spanish relations.

Rather than a resolution, though, a senior Spanish diplomat gave the former GOP chairman and housing secretary a lesson in Spain’s separation of powers. “The independence of the judiciary and the process must be respected,” then-acting Foreign Minister Angel Lossada replied on April 15, 2009. Then for emphasis, “Lossada reiterated to Martinez that the executive branch of government could not close any judicial investigation and urged that this case not affect the overall relationship.” The case is still open, on


MEETING OF MINDS: Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, center, focus of a torture complaint, meets with Spain’s Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, left, and U.S. Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre Jr.

the desk of a Spanish magistrate, awaiting a reply from the Obama administration on whether it will pursue a probe of its own. But the episode, revealed in a raft of WikiLeaks cables, was part of a secret concerted U.S. effort to stop a crusading Spanish judge from investigating a torture complaint against former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other senior Bush lawyers. It also reveals a covert troubleshooting role played by Martinez. Now a banker, he won’t discuss it. The cause for alarm at the U.S. Embassy was what a U.S. diplomat called a “well documented” 12-inch-tall dossier compiled by a Spanish human rights group. In the name of five Guantanamo captives with ties to Spain, it accused the Bush legal insiders of laying the foundation for abuse of detainees in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Of particular concern was that a swashbuckling Spanish magistrate, Baltasar Garzon, might get the probe under Spain’s system, which gave judges extraordinary investigative powers. Garzon had earlier made headlines by swearing out arrest warrants for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet while

he was getting medical attention in London, and Osama bin Laden. U.S. ambassador Eduardo Aguirre Jr. cast him as a publicity hound with an “anti-American streak” in one confidential cable. If those efforts are any guide, a Spanish prosecution of the so-called Bush Six seems unlikely. Britain never turned Pinochet over to Spain for a war crimes trial, and bin Laden is still at large. Rather, indictments would undermine U.S. diplomatic credibility on human rights and likely ground the six Bush lawyers in the United States, for fear of arrest overseas. Another, April 1, 2009, cable shows the U.S. Embassy’s political officer and legal advisor discussing Garzon with his boss, chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza, who expresses his displeasure with the case. Separately, a third U.S. diplomat told a senior Spanish Justice Ministry official “for international judicial cooperation” that the U.S. government considered the potential for a prosecution “a very serious matter.” Civil rights attorney Michael Ratner, whose Center for Constitutional Rights has championed Guantanamo detainee rights, called the cables taken together “quite dramatic.”

Redistricting begins in U.S. Congress BY MICHAEL COOPER AND SABRINA TAVERNISE

New York Times Service

The political jockeying over how to draw new congressional districts began in earnest this week after new census data showed almost a dozen seats shifting to the South and West, leaving Republicans poised to build on their gains from November’s midterm elections and forcing several northern Democratic incumbents to begin plotting to save their jobs. The biggest immediate danger to incumbent Democrats will be in the Rust Belt, where Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio are all losing congressional seats and Republicans now control the state governments, giving

them the power to draw the new political maps. Politicians liken this process to a game of musical chairs, wondering who will be left without a seat. With Ohio losing two seats, political analysts expect the Republicans to eliminate a Democratic seat from the Cleveland area — possibly the one now held by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich. “My Aunt Betty called me after the news report, and she says, ‘Dennis, what are we going to do — are they putting you out of Congress?’ ” Kucinich said in an interview, explaining that he would try not to worry about it right now, since it is beyond his control. But he added that “the fundamental

rule of politics is you have to have a district to run.” Republicans, meanwhile, are preparing for the more enviable task of drawing up new congressional districts in states where they are strong. Their victories in statehouse elections gave them control of redistricting in five of the eight states that are gaining seats, including the two biggest winners, Texas, which is adding four, and Florida, which is adding two. That has made Don Gaetz, the chairman of the Florida State Senate’s Reapportionment Committee, a popular man. There was the friendly hug he got from a member

of Congress, who offered that his district’s current lines were just fine, and the ambitious fellow lawmaker who sidled up to him at a meeting, saying that he had a great idea for a possible district. “I’m just a lowly state senator from the panhandle of Florida, but I have all sorts of new friends,” Gaetz marveled. “Members of Congress who didn’t know I existed, and people who would like to be in Congress who I didn’t know existed.” The next step comes in February, when the Census Bureau will begin releasing detailed local demographic data, allowing the actual redrawing of districts to begin.

12/27/2010 4:01:43 AM






Mexico says its troops murdered U.S. citizen BY ALEXANDRA OLSON Associated Press


ANIMOSITY: The case of U.S. aid worker Paul Waggoner, accused of kidnapping a 15-month-old boy, highlights an uneasiness between foreigners and locals in a post-quake, cholera-infected Haiti.

In Haiti, tension builds against visiting helpers BY TRENTON DANIEL

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Gaunt and unshaven, Paul Waggoner stepped out of his closet-sized cell at the Haitian National Penitentiary in downtown Port-au-Prince last Monday for five minutes of casual banter, tight hugs and handwritten fan letters. It had been more than a week since Haitian police jailed the 32-year-old Florida native on kidnapping charges, and he still couldn’t believe he was locked up. After all, he came to Haiti to help. “Frustrating,” said Waggoner, a native of DeFuniak Springs in Florida. Waggoner is accused of kidnapping a 15-month-old boy after the father brought the baby to a hospital for urgent medical care. Waggoner, a former carpenter who ferried medical supplies for relief groups, and others say the baby died of several illnesses, and the father failed to claim the body before it was cremated. Waggoner’s story highlights how international relief workers with good intentions have clashed with Haitians after the January earthquake pummeled Portau-Prince and other major cities. When the magnitude 7 quake wiped out almost all local institutions, a parallel one popped up with full force: a thousands-strong community of foreign dogooders. While no one denies that international relief organizations saved countless lives by bringing muchneeded water, food and medical care, many Haitians believe their presence in post-quake Haiti has fomented tension between foreigners and locals. Foreign aid workers have been accused of dressing inappropriately, driving up the cost of living, and breaking rules to get things done. Just weeks after the Jan. 12 quake, police arrested a group of Idaho missionaries

on kidnapping charges after they tried to bus 33 Haitian children to an orphanage in the neighboring Dominican Republic. “We have to think hard about our actions when we leave our countries to go somewhere to help,” said Julie Schindall, a spokeswoman at Oxfam International, a relief group dealing with sanitation. Before the earthquake, the number of NGOs, in Haiti was as high as 10,000, giving the country one of the highest number of private, nonprofit aid agencies per capita in the world. Today, the number is believed to be much higher because not all NGOs register with the Haitian government. They vary in size and scope from the U.N. peacekeeping force to mom-and-pop operations, similar to the one run by Waggoner. The influx of foreigners is evident throughout the country. Large white sports utility vehicles marked with NGO logos contribute to the knot of traffic in Port-au-Prince, a city with too few streets for three million people. The arrival of so many foreigners has proved to be a mixed blessing: Relief workers have employed cadres of drivers, interpreters and security guards, boosting business for rental car companies and restaurants. But some perceive aid workers to project an air of entitlement and superiority, less than mindful of cultural norms. “People in Haiti are very concerned about relief workers and how they act and how they dress,” said Karl Jean-Louis, executive director of the Haiti Aid Watchdog, a nonprofit monitoring the flow of humanitarian aid into the nation. Jean-Louis said some aid workers offend their hosts by frequently showing up to government meetings in T-shirts, shorts and even flip-flops, paying little attention to dress codes in a

country where officials often wear suits. The friction between foreigners and Haitians has become violent. In November, reports surfaced that a U.N. peacekeeping mission had failed to maintain its septic tanks and could have been responsible for bringing cholera into the country, which has killed more than 2,500 people. Protesters called for the peacekeeping mission’s departure as they lobbed rocks at U.N. troops and bases in cities in the northern and western parts of the country. The Waggoner case also serves as a poignant reminder that Haiti has had a long and complicated relationship with the outside world since a slave revolt against the French secured the country’s independence in 1804. In the world’s first black republic, the foreigner is viewed at once as a savior and a saboteur. “When there’s a prolonged crisis such as a natural catastrophe or war, there’s a tremendous amount of psychological trauma,” said Irwin Redlener, a professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. “Relief agencies naturally make expectations around security, material goods and recovery. But when those expectations are unmet, resentment develops.” Waggoner and his supporters — they’ve set up a legal defense fund on the group’s website — believe the charges are bogus and that the father is trying to extort the defendant. The father could not be reached for comment. When he’s released, Waggoner hopes to continue relief work in Haiti. “Maybe this was the most fulfilling work he’s had,” Hudicourt-Barnes said. “This whole situation gave him a higher purpose than being a carpenter.”

A deadly conflict over Vodou and cholera rattles Haiti PORT-AU-PRINCE — (AP) — At least 45 people have been killed across Haiti due to accusations they are using “black magic” to spread cholera, the director of a Vodou association said Friday. Most of the killings are occurring in the southern coastal town of Jeremie, where people are being lynched, set on fire and attacked with machetes, said Max Beauvoir, a Vodou priest. But he said killings also have been reported in Cap Haitien and the Central Plateau. Local police did not return calls seeking comment

on Beauvior’s numbers on Christmas Eve, though The Associated Press reported in early December that national police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said machetewielding mobs had killed a dozen people accused of practicing witchcraft to spread cholera. Andre Leclerc, a U.N. police spokesman, said Friday he had received reports of only a couple of killings recently, but said that Beauvoir would have more exact figures. Fear and confusion have surrounded the cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 2,400 people and could

affect another 600,000 or more, experts say. The United Nations recently created an international scientific panel to investigate the source of the deadly epidemic. Beauvoir said he has contacted police to no avail, asking them to prevent further killings. Roughly half of the 9.6 million people who live in Haiti practice Vodou, a blend of West African and Christian religion. The cholera outbreak hit Haiti as it struggles to recover from a devastating magnitude-7 earthquake that killed 300,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless.

Dom Rep’s ex-president no more SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — (AP) — Former Dominican Republic’s President Salvador Jorge Blanco has died at age 84. In a Twitter message, his son Orlando Jorge Mera says the former president died peacefully Sunday at

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his home in Santo Domingo. Jorge Blanco had been in a coma since suffering a cerebral hematoma when he fell out of bed on the morning of Nov. 20. Jorge Blanco was president from 1982 to 1986. He was sentenced along

with three other men to 20 years in prison in 1991 for misusing government funds. But that conviction was overturned in 2001 by an appeals court that ruled that he was never given the right to defend himself during the trial.

MEXICO CITY — Joseph Proctor told his girlfriend he was popping out to the convenience store in the quiet Mexican beach town where the couple had just moved, intending to start a new life. The next morning, the 32-year-old New York native was dead inside his crashed van on a road outside Acapulco. He had multiple bullet wounds. An AR-15 rifle lay in his hands. His distraught girlfriend, Liliana Gil Vargas, was summoned to police headquarters, where she was told Proctor had died in a gunbattle with an army patrol. They claimed Proctor — whose green van had a for-sale sign and his cellphone number spraypainted on the windows — had attacked the troops. They showed her the gun. His mother, Donna Proctor, devastated and incredulous, has been fighting through Mexico’s secretive military justice system ever since to learn what really happened on the night of Aug. 22. It took weeks of pressuring U.S. diplomats and congressmen for help, but she finally got an answer, which she shared with The Associated Press. Three soldiers have been charged with killing her son. Two have been charged with planting the assault rifle in his hands and claiming falsely that he fired first, according to a Mexican Defense Department document sent to her through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. It is at least the third case this year in which soldiers, locked in a brutal battle with drug cartels, have been accused of killing innocent civilians and faking evidence in cover-ups. Such scandals are driving calls for civilian investigators to take over cases that are almost exclusively

handled by military prosecutors and judges who rarely convict one of their own. “I hate the fact that he died alone and in pain an in such an unjust way,” Donna Proctor, a Queens court bailiff, said in a telephone interview with the AP. “I want him to be remembered as a hardworking person. He would never pick up a gun and shoot someone.” Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon has proposed a bill that would require civilian investigations in all torture, disappearance and rape cases against the military. But other abuses, including homicides committed by on-duty soldiers, would mostly remain under military jurisdiction. That would include the Proctor case and two others this year in which soldiers were accused of even more elaborate cover-ups. The military justice system operates in near total secrecy, choosing what to publicly reveal. While privately informing Proctor’s family about his case, Defense Department officials have publicly refused to discuss it at all. The day after his death, Guerrero state prosecutors announced to report-


TRAGIC: 32-year-old New York native Joseph Proctor was found dead inside his crashed van in Acapulco, Mexico.

ers that he was killed after attacking a military convoy. U.S Defense Department spokesman Col. Ricardo Trevilla told the AP to file a freedom of information petition. It did but was rebuffed with the explanation that information on the ongoing investigation was “classified as reserved for a period of 12 years.” Proctor’s family, meanwhile, still doesn’t understand why he was killed. Donna Proctor said her son hated guns so much that he rejected her suggestion that he follow in her footsteps and become a court bailiff, a job that requires carrying a sidearm. According to the document sent to his mother, the soldiers tried to stop Proctor and inspect his vehicle. They claim he fled, prompting one of the soldiers to shoot at him, hitting his car. The soldiers chased down the car and fired again, “wounding the driver who nonetheless continued to drive away, fleeing, crashing the car three kilometers down that road,” the document said. A superior officer in the patrol told the battalion commander what happened. The battalion commander sent another officer to the scene with the AR-15 rifle “in order to be placed in the vehicle, using the hands of the deceased to try to simulate an attack against military personnel,” the document says. “He was 32. He loved life. He loved his son and he wanted to work hard to give him something,” she said. Donna Proctor said Mexican Defense Department officials visited her recently in Long Island, N.Y., and compensated her for the cost of flying her son back to the United States and the funeral. She said she told them she wanted justice — and for the world to know what really happened.

New laws enacted to limit online dissent in Venezuela BY SIMON ROMERO

New York Times Service

CARACAS — The National Assembly of Venezuela has approved a sweeping set of laws that impose penalties for spreading political dissent on the Internet, grant decree powers to the country’s President Hugo Chavez for 18 months and prevent legislators from breaking with his political movement. Despite an outcry here by critics, pro-Chavez lawmakers approved the measures in the closing weeks of the year, before a less pliant legislature convenes in January with a bigger opposition presence. The laws are not particularly surprising. Legislators have repeatedly granted decree powers to Chavez, and a new measure curbing university autonomy had been floated in the past. Another

law simply enhances existing legal mechanisms that rights groups contend are used to dissuade the media from explicitly criticizing the government. Still, the laws reflect a departure from Chavez’s earlier focus on creating new institutions, like state television networks and universities, that promote the Socialist-inspired ideology of his movement. While the laws were approved during a lull in popular attention as much of Venezuela shut down for the holidays, their scope and ambition provoked a sharp public reaction here, including unusually forceful protests this week by students, who were dispersed by soldiers firing water cannons and rubber bullets. “One has to say it clearly: A new dictatorial model is

being imposed in Venezuela,” said Ismael Garcia, a prominent leftist legislator who broke with Chavez in 2007. One of the measures approved this month punishes legislators for switching political parties, effectively prohibiting lawmakers like Garcia from peeling away from Chavez’s coalition to the opposition. The law describes such a move as “fraud” that could disqualify defectors from holding public office. Opposition leaders said the law, along with several other new measures, was unconstitutional. But with Venezuela’s legal system tightly controlled by pro-Chavez judges who rarely rule against the president, it is unclear how a challenge would gain headway in the courts.

Venezuela’s ex-leader Perez dies CARACAS — (AP) — Venezuela’s former President Carlos Andres Perez, whose popularity soared with Venezuela’s oil-based economy but who later faced riots, a severe economic downturn and impeachment, has died in Miami, his family said. The 88-year-old Perez’s daughter, Maria Francia Perez, said Saturday her father had died in a Miami hospital. “He was happy and well when he awoke this morning. Suddenly he had difficulty breathing,” she told The Associated Press. She said he was taken to a Miami hospital, where he died. She told television channel Globovision he had died of a heart attack. In the final years of his life, Perez came to personify the old guard Venezuelan politi-

cal establishment bitterly opposed by current President Hugo Chavez. Perez survived two coup attempts in PEREZ 1992, the first of which was led by Chavez, who was then a young army lieutenant colonel. In recent years, Perez lived in Miami while the Venezuelan government demanded he be turned over to stand trail for his role in putting down bloody 1989 riots. Perez — who governed Venezuela from 1974-79 and again from 1989-93 — denied wrongdoing. In his first term, he won praise by nationalizing Venezuela’s oil industry, paying

off foreign oil companies and then capitalizing on a period of prosperity that allowed his government to build subway lines, bankroll new social programs and set up staterun companies in areas from steel to electricity. He became one of Latin America’s most prominent political leaders, popularly known after his initials as “CAP.” Venezuelans elected him for a second time in 1988, hoping for a return to good times after a decade of economic decline. But his popularity plunged when he tried to push through an economic austerity program including increasing the subsidized prices of gasoline, and anger among the poor boiled over in the 1989 riots.

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Obama returns to end-of-life plan BY ROBERT PEAR

New York Times Service

WASHINGTON — When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the healthcare system. However, the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1. Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for

end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment. Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of endof-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill. While the new law does not mention advance care

planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulationwriting process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress. The administration said research had shown the value of end-of-life planning. Opponents said the Obama administration was bringing back a procedure that could be used to justify the premature withdrawal

of life-sustaining treatment from people with severe illnesses and disabilities. Elizabeth D. Wickham, executive director of LifeTree, which describes itself as “a pro-life Christian educational ministry,” said she was concerned that end-oflife counseling would encourage patients to forgo or curtail care, thus hastening death. “The infamous Section 1233 is still alive and kicking,” Wickham said. “Patients will lose the ability to control treatments at the end of life.”

Several Democratic members of Congress, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, had urged the administration to cover endof-life planning as a service offered under the Medicare wellness benefit. A national organization of hospice care providers made the same recommendation. Blumenauer, the author of the original end-oflife proposal, praised the rule as “a step in the right direction.”

Safety sanction for ‘Spider-Man’ NEW YORK — (AP) — Spider-Man survived the scrutiny of a state safety inspector and was cleared for further leaps through the holiday weekend. New York State Department of Labor spokesman Leo Rosales said Friday that a new set of “very strict safety and security measures” were properly in place when Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, resumed Thursday night. Spider-Man, the most expensive Broadway show ever, had to cancel two preview performances earlier this week after a 30-foot fall by stunt actor Christopher Tierney brought an abrupt end to a Monday night show. Tierney underwent back surgery and was recovering at the hospital after a safety harness that should have prevented the accident failed to stop the plunge, causing him to tumble from a ledge into a stage pit. Afterward, the state imposed new rules for the show’s nearly 40 aerial stunts, including requiring at least two people be involved at securing equipment before a jump or that the attachment be watched

on video by a second person if the space does not allow for two people. Rosales said a state safety inspector was there Thursday night when performances resumed but would not be at all future shows. “Everything seemed to run smoothly yesterday,” he said. “We’re confident that the Spider-Man production people have implemented all of these measures.” He said the state had not yet completed its investigation. “We want to make sure we speak to everyone who witnessed the accident,” he said. “We want to look at the moving parts and look at the ropes. There were a lot of stagehands and producers on hand to see this happen.” Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for the highly anticipated $65 million musical, which teamed the Lion King creator Julie Taymor with U2 songwriters Bono and The Edge, said SpiderMan would be performed as scheduled through the weekend and that sales were brisk. The show’s official BroadRICHARD DREW/AP way opening has twice been postponed. It is now set for BACK ON STAGE: A theater worker cleans a showcard frame for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark outside the theater, in New York as shows resumed on Thursday. early February.

GOP to open house to electronic devices BY MICHAEL D. SHEAR

New York Times Service

WASHINGTON — The iPad is coming to Capitol Hill. Tucked into new rules proposed by the incoming House Republican majority is one that could fling the chamber — for good or ill — into the 21st century: Members may use an electronic device on the House floor as long as it doesn’t “impair decorum.” The new rule would relax the complete ban on the use of gadgets like the iPad, iPhone or BlackBerry on the floor. Mobile phones, tablet

computers and the whole burgeoning universe of applications that run on them will be officially available to House members as they conduct business. Members still may not talk on the phone in the chamber and are supposed to use the devices for official business only, according to a spokesman for the soon-to-be speaker, John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. But as long as the mute switch is on, lawmakers will be free to tap away. “Mr. Boehner has deep respect for the institution and its traditions,” said

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the Republicans. “This is not free license to Skype or pay bills online. But we recognize that people consume information electronically these days. It’s just silly that the House wouldn’t accommodate that.” The decision represents a vivid concession of oldfashioned tradition to new technology. But while the nation’s lawmakers will be fully plugged in, they will also be in danger of tuning one another out. In the Senate, a leadership aide said no changes

were planned, but that the rules committee could look into loosening the rules at some point. But in the House, members will be free to whip out their mobile phones any time. The new rules in the House, first reported by Nancy Scola of, will be clarified early January in a document called the Speaker’s Announced Policies. For example, Buck said the use of the ubiquitous white iPod earphones would probably not be allowed. The intent, he said, was to let lawmakers look up the

text of a bill, check a fact or keep up on the news of the day. On the other hand, less-high-minded members could use the devices to play games, do their Amazon shopping or find movie listings. Still, Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto, envisioned a bright side, even if lawmakers are not using the devices strictly for work. Recalling the many scenes of lawmakers’ speaking to a mostly empty chamber, he said, “At least if they have a little game to play, maybe they will attend more.”


‘Money Drop’ couple not sure of replay BY BRIAN STELTER

New York Times Service

Which product was sold in stores first: Post-it Notes or the Sony Walkman? Gabe Okoye was sure he knew the answer. Okoye, 25, and his girlfriend, Brittany Mayti, 30, were the contestants on the first episode of Million Dollar Money Drop, a Fox game show that had its premiere Monday. Okoye was confident about the Post-it Notes — so confident that he persuaded Mayti to go along. Together, they wagered $800,000 of the $880,000 they had banked, out of the $1 million the show’s producers had challenged them to keep at the beginning of the program. They were wrong and true to the show’s title, wads of hundred-dollar bills dropped off the table with a loud whoosh. The studio audience gasped, and Okoye hung his head in his hands, bent over as if he had been punched in the stomach. Minutes later, they lost the remaining $80,000 and went home not only empty-handed but devastated. But they were right about the Post-it Notes. In an embarrassing aboutface, the show’s producers acknowledged their error and invited Okoye and Mayti back to try again. They did not, however, return the $800,000. The couple said they harbored no grudge toward Fox and had not decided whether to accept the invitation. “To go through that again — maybe to lose again — that’s a lot of stress,” Okoye said by telephone Thursday night. Money Drop, based on a British series, is the inverse of most game shows, in that it gives players $1 million at the beginning and challenges them to hold onto it by answering seven questions in a row correctly. On Thursday, as online attention peaked, Jeff Apploff, the game show’s executive producer, said the information from 3M was “incomplete.” In a new statement, Apploff said the show had learned that “the product was originally tested for sale in four cities under the name ‘Press ‘N Peel’ in 1977, sold as ‘Postits’ in 1979 when the rollout introduction began and sold nationwide in 1980.” Apploff noted in the Thursday statement that the Post-it Notes question “was not the deciding question in their game.” That is why Fox is not paying the couple.

Obama is beginning to warm up to the idea of schmoozing • OBAMA, FROM 1A

year. He worked the phones during the negotiations over an arms treaty with Russia, helping secure its passage by cajoling members of Congress. Along with first lady Michelle Obama, he hosted nearly two dozen holiday parties, adding photo lines for many more guests after complaints last year that he was inaccessible. Obama is even open to playing a round of golf with incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a senior administration official said. “I could certainly see a scenario where that does happen,” the official said. Obama, it seems, is trying. Steve Hildebrand, a close advisor in the 2008 campaign, said the job of working the donor circuit, for instance, “is not one he relishes.” But, he said, “there’s no doubt he knows that’s an important role for him to play.” His limited charm offensive, however, may be too late for his Republican critics and too little for Democratic do-

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nors, who expect more fawning attention before being asked to open up their checkbooks heading into the 2012 presidential campaign. That Obama is aloof is a caricature of the man, but it’s one that may not be easy to erase. Advisors said a more accurate description is of someone simply self-reliant, lacking the insecurity gene that leads other politicians to crave constant attention and seek new acquaintances. “In his private time, he likes to be with his friends,” another close White House advisor said. “Admittedly, it’s a complaint you hear from fundraisers and reporters — that he doesn’t schmooze. But he just doesn’t like being with people who he doesn’t necessarily know.” But there can be a downside to his cloistered approach: It does not give him ready access to political friendships that can prove helpful in a pinch or let him explore ideas with allies — or foes — outside the formal setting of meetings and phone calls. One Democrat who has been invited to the White

House for several meetings said that at one encounter, Obama’s appearance was so brief he did not even ask any of his supporters questions or advice. Some lawmakers see it more as a sign of insularity, if not arrogance. “He doesn’t suffer fools, and he thinks we’re all fools,” one senior Republican member of Congress said. Several White House advisors said they expect that perception to start to change, in part from political necessity as the president forges new alliances with the Republican Congress. Already, in the lame duck session, he found common cause on taxes with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is equally uninterested in schmoozing and would rather get down to business, one of his aides said. Yet in numerous interviews, donors and outside consultants, along with lawmakers in both parties, complained about what they described as Obama’s arm’slength treatment. They did

so on condition of anonymity in order to speak freely about the president’s personality. Obama rarely makes a spontaneous phone call, as former President Bill Clinton would, or stays well past the dessert course because he is engrossed in conversation. His social encounters are highly scheduled, and to participants they sometimes feel forced unless they are also about work. “He’s disdainful of things that make people feel connected to him,” one Democratic leader said. “People want to feel like they have a relationship, and he stridently resists.” The Republican lawmaker said Obama “always seems a little uncomfortable” in social settings, unlike his two predecessors. This year’s White House holiday party for members of Congress was no exception, he said. Where Vice President Joe Biden was chatting up members — telling jokes and slapping his former congressional colleagues on the back — and Michelle Obama was “great with kids, and hu-

moring politicians,” her husband seemed less enthralled by having guests sidle up to him. In most cases, Obama spent only a moment or two with each at the photo line. The Clinton comparison may be part of Obama’s difficulty. Although Clinton was sometimes social to the point of being unproductive, he was able to forge relationships with Republican leaders who took power halfway through his first term. That did not, of course, prevent his impeachment trial. But it left members who personally encountered Clinton feeling that they were worthy of personal attention and that the president remembered them. Donors sometimes felt as if they were practically family. Today’s gripes are largely a result of the change in atmosphere for Democrats. “Those complaints are fundamentally from people that were spoiled by Bill Clinton — both political people and the donor community, people like me that have 42 pictures of themselves with Bill Clinton,” California Democratic

consultant Bill Carrick said. “I don’t know that it’s a reality that any president is going to duplicate. In fact, President George W. Bush was no more fond of cultivating donors or new friends than his successor is, and he tended to retire to the residence at an even earlier hour. But what Bush lacked in enthusiasm for late-night events he made up for in nicknames and jokes. Bush also knew how to win certain men’s hearts: He assiduously cultivated Sen. Edward Kennedy, inviting his family for a movie at the White House, naming a Justice Department building for Kennedy’s brother Robert and hosting a black-tie dinner in honor of his sister Eunice. People who have worked with Obama acknowledged he is not — and will never be — the kind of jocular creature Bush was, nor overly social as Clinton was. If he is branching out now, either with donors or Republicans, it is to achieve specific goals rather than forge new but vague alliances.

12/27/2010 5:16:47 AM






West Africans threaten force in Ivory Coast BY MARCO CHOWN OVED Associated Press

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — The man who refuses to leave Ivory Coast’s presidency faced new threats to his grasp on power after regional leaders threatened to remove him by force if necessary. Meanwhile, the U.N.’s refugee agency said Saturday that at least 14,000 Ivorians have fled the chaos of their homeland, trekking for days to reach safety in Liberia. Diplomatic pressure and sanctions have left Laurent Gbagbo increasingly isolated though he has been able to maintain his rule nearly a month after the disputed

vote because of the loyalty of security forces and the military. Even that, though, may disappear if he runs out of money to pay them. Late Friday, West African leaders from the 15-country regional bloc ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — threatened to send military intervention into Ivory Coast if incumbent Gbagbo refuses to step down peacefully. “In the event that Mr. Gbagbo fails to heed this immutable demand of ECOWAS, the Community would be left with no alternative but to take other measures, in-

cluding the use of legitimate force, to achieve the goals of the Ivorian people,” said a statement from ECOWAS. James Gbeho, president of ECOWAS said the group of West African leaders was making an “ultimate gesture” to Gbagbo to urge him to make a peaceful exit. The 15-nation regional bloc of West African states made the decision following a six-hour emergency summit in Abuja, Nigeria, on Ivory Coast as worries mounted that the country that suffered a 2002-03 civil war could return to conflict. Gbeho said the bloc would send in a high-level delega-

tion to meet with Gbagbo, and tell him to step down, but did not give details as to when the delegation would go or a deadline for Gbagbo. The threat of force came on the tail of another serious international reproach, this one from the West African economic and monetary union, which called on the regional central bank to cut off Gbagbo’s access to state coffers. Gbagbo’s spokesman Ahoua Don Mello on Saturday denounced the decision by the union to give Ouattara’s government signing privileges on state accounts. He called the move “illegal and manifestly beyond their competence.”

Gbagbo’s government has denied rumors that state salaries wouldn’t be paid, and in spite of the financial freeze, civil servants received their paychecks the day before Christmas Eve. But senior diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, say that Gbagbo only has enough reserves to run the state for three months, setting the scene for a drawnout standoff. Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest cocoa grower, producing 40 percent of the world’s supply. While a cocoa embargo might have a

more immediate impact on Gbagbo’s ability to govern, European and U.S. business interests prevent this from being seriously considered, said African security analyst Peter Pham. “A cocoa embargo isn’t even on the table,” said Pham, who is the Senior Vice President of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in New York. The threat of military intervention may add enough pressure to bring about a swifter resolution, said Pham, though he questioned whether a force could be brought together quickly enough to have an impact.

Political turmoil seems imminent in Zimbabwe BY CELIA W. DUGGER

New York Times Service


GRUESOME: A female suicide bomber detonated her explosives-laden vest killing scores of people in Khar, the main town of Pakistan’s Bajur tribal region. Injured victims, above, are treated at a local hospital.

Suicide bomber kills 45 in Pakistan BY ZULFIQAR ALI AND LAURA KING

Los Angeles Times Service

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide bomber dressed in an all-enveloping burka struck at a crowded food distribution center in Pakistan’s volatile tribal region, killing at least 45 people and injuring more than 60, officials said. The attack Saturday in the town of Khar, the administrative center of the Bajaur tribal area, came amid fighting between Pakistani security forces and insurgents in the region bordering Afghanistan. About 24 hours earlier, a major clash in the neighboring Mohmand tribal area left 11 troops and about two dozen militants dead.

With as many as 1,000 people lined up in the morning chill awaiting food aid, the attacker first hurled grenades into the crowd, then detonated explosives. Hours afterward, officials were still trying to determine whether the bomber was a woman or a man disguised as one. Witnesses described a horrific scene, with mangled bodies and bloodied clothing scattered over a wide area, and wounded people crying out for help. The most critically injured were taken to hospitals in Peshawar, the nearest large city. Officials said the death toll could rise. Most of those at the distribution center had been displaced by fighting be-

tween Taliban militants and the security forces in Bajaur and other areas along the border with Afghanistan. More than 300,000 people have been driven from their homes by a military push against the insurgents that began in 2008. “People come to the center before dawn and wait their turn to get food,” said Ansar Khan, who witnessed the attack. He said the attack began moments after guards stopped the burka-clad assailant at a checkpoint just outside the distribution area. Across the border in Afghanistan, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said it had killed two insurgents in night raids Friday in the provinces

Dutch police arrest 12 Somali men suspected in a terror plot BY ARTHUR MAX

Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands — Dutch police have arrested 12 Somali men in the key port city of Rotterdam on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack, the public prosecutor has said. The men, ages 19 to 48, were detained Friday on a tip from the intelligence services that they were planning an attack shortly in the Netherlands. There was no immediate information on the alleged target, but Rotterdam is Europe’s biggest port and a hub of maritime commerce, with huge oil and gas storage facilities and dozens of massive docks. European officials stepped up security around the holidays this year after a Nigerian man in 2009 left Amsterdam airport on Christmas Day and allegedly tried to blow up a plane over Detroit with explosives taped to his underwear. There also have been growing holiday security concerns in Europe following a suicide bombing in Sweden and attacks on two embassies this week in Rome. Dutch police searched an Internet cafe, four houses and two motel rooms in the Rotterdam area, prosecutors

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said Saturday. No weapons or explosives were found. Six of the suspects lived in Rotterdam, five had no permanent residence and one came from Denmark, they said. Asked how serious the threat was, a senior prosecutor said the intelligence tip warranted action. “It’s uncertain whether we escaped from an attack. What we did is take away the threat that was formed by these people,” Gerrit van der Burg said on national NOS television. Prosecutors must bring the suspects before a judge by Tuesday or release them. The Dutch National Terrorism Coordinator left the terrorist alert level unchanged following the arrests, indicating the likelihood of an attack was “limited.” Dutch intelligence services reportedly have been closely watching the growing Somali community in the Netherlands. One U.S. citizen of Somali extraction is under arrest and is fighting extradition to the United States, suspected of supplying money to the al Shabab insurgent group for weapons and to finance trips for potential recruits. The U.S. State Department considers al Shabab a terror group with links to al Qaeda. Heightened nervousness

of a holiday terrorist attack has led to mistakes in the past. Three months ago, police arrested two Yemenis traveling from the United States on a request from U.S. law enforcement agencies who feared they were conducting a dry run for a terrorist attack. They were released two days later for lack of any evidence of a crime. In 2009, 24-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit from Amsterdam. He is accused of trying to blow up the flight, and a judge in a federal court in Detroit has entered a notguilty plea on his behalf. On Thursday, anarchists sent mail bombs to the Chilean and Swiss embassies in Rome, injuring two mail employees. Last Monday, 12 men were arrested in Britain in the largest counterterrorism raid there in nearly two years. The men, ages 17 to 28, were arrested in London, Cardiff, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham. At least five were of Bangladeshi origin. Security officials said a large-scale terror attack was aimed at British landmarks and public spaces. French officials, meanwhile, have ordered plainclothes police patrols for the holidays.

of Khowst and Lowgar. Many militants affiliated with the Taliban and the Haqqani network take shelter in Pakistan between attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan. NATO force also said Saturday that a deadly raid on a compound in the Afghan capital, Kabul, a day earlier was prompted by a “credible threat” against the U.S. Embassy. Two men were killed in the raid on the compound, which belonged to a private Afghan security business, and Afghan officials suggested that it might have been a case of mistaken identity. NATO and the Afghan government said an investigation was continuing.

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The warning signs are proliferating. Journalists have been harassed and jailed. Threats of violence are swirling in the countryside. The president’s supposed partner in the government has been virulently attacked in the statecontrolled media as a quisling for the West. And the president himself has likened his party to a fast-moving train that will crush anything in its way. After nearly two years of tenuous stability under a power-sharing government, fears are mounting here that President Robert Mugabe, the autocrat who presided over a bloody, discredited election in 2008, is planning to seize untrammeled control of Zimbabwe during the elections he wants in 2011. Having ruled alone for 28 of the last 30 years, Mugabe, 86, has made no secret of his distaste for sharing power with his rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, since regional leaders pressured them to govern together 22 months ago. Further complicating the picture, Mugabe struck a statesmanlike pose on Monday at a news conference where he graciously shared the stage with Tsvangirai. The next day, the state-controlled newspaper quoted him as boasting that he, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara had brought peace to the country after the 2008 elections. But

he also said that new elections would be held after the process of crafting a new constitution was completed, and that the power-sharing government should not be extended beyond August. After a decade resisting Mugabe’s rule from the outside, Tsvangirai, other leaders of his party and a small breakaway faction have found themselves at the table with him in Tuesday Cabinet meetings. They have studied the qualities that have helped Mugabe hang on to power for 30 years: stamina, mental acuity, attention to detail, charm and an uncanny instinct for the exercise of power. “Let me tell you, that man’s brain is still very, very, very sharp, but his body is frail,” Tsvangirai said. While polls show that Tsvangirai remains the most popular politician and the likely victor of a fair election, analysts say Mugabe has been emboldened by a major development: the recent discovery that diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe, which fall under a ministry controlled by ZANU-PF, may be among the richest in the world. The minister of mines, Obert Mpofu, insisted in an interview that “ZANU-PF has not gotten a cent from diamonds, not one cent.” But Tsvangirai and analysts here say they assume that illicit diamond profits are enriching the party’s coffers and helping buy the loyalty of the security services that enforced ZANU-PF’s violent election strategy in 2008.

Santa from U.S. wins hearts in China BY DAVID PIERSON AND SHAN LI Los Angeles Times Service

SHENZHEN, China — Dressed in a velvety Santa suit and carrying a goody bag slung over his shoulder, Richard Goodman worked the international crowd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel’s lobby cafe in Shenzhen, handing out gingerbread cookies with a hearty “Merry Christmas.” The Western guests played along. The Chinese guests looked bewildered. “Xie xie,” a woman said, inspecting the cookies and saying thanks in Mandarin before asking her dinner companion, “What is it?” Another guest wanted to know why only his children received the treats. “Where’s mine?” he asked. Santa isn’t a familiar figure here in this southern Chinese boomtown, where toys are made but rarely found wrapped under a tree. It’s what makes Goodman’s presence so unusual. Five years ago, the 79-yearold retiree from La Habra, Calif., and proud member of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas traded in the Southern California mall circuit to pose for photographs in a faux wood cabin on the other side of the world. The Crowne Plaza in Shenzhen wanted an attraction every December to oneup the competition and to help Western visitors feel


SPREADING JOY: Richard Goodman, right, a Santa impersonator from La Habra, Calif., traded in the Southern California mall circuit to work Christmas at a hotel in Shenzhen, China. more at home during the holidays. Hiring a foreigner who looks born for the role brings a level of authenticity that hotel executives can tout just as much as Goodman can brag about his genuine beard, a shock of white hair that falls to his chest. Even the red face is real. It’s rosacea, the veteran Santa impersonator explained. “Real beard, real foreigner. We’re the only ones to have it,” said Katherine Si, the hotel’s sales director. In taking the job, Goodman ventured into a culture where Christmas is still a

loose idea. Christianity may be on the rise here, but few Chinese are fully aware of the secular and commercial traditions of the winter holiday, such as Santas, presents and a red-nosed reindeer. “On a scale of 1 to 10, they may be a 2,” Goodman said of local knowledge of Christmas customs. Goodman, an Episcopalian, isn’t discouraged in the least. He has tapped one of the most exotic assignments a rent-a-Santa could hope for — one that’s guaranteed to provide good yarns to tell at Santa luncheons back home.

12/27/2010 5:13:32 AM






You can’t borrow your way out of a hole BY THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

New York Times Service

TLANTA — As I’m about to start a four-month book leave, I need to get a few things off my chest: U.S. President Barack Obama understood, rightly, that our economy needed more stimulus, so, given the GOP’s insistence on extending the Bush tax cuts for all, he struck the best deal he could. The country, we are told, is now in a better mood, seeing our two parties work together. I, alas, am not in a better mood. I’ll be in a better mood when I see our two parties cooperating to do something hard. Borrowing billions more from China to give ourselves more tax cuts does not qualify. Make no mistake, Obama has enacted an enormous amount in two years. It’s impressive. But the really hard stuff lies ahead: taking things away. We are leaving an era where to be a mayor, governor, senator or president was, on balance, to give things away to people. And we are entering an era where to be a leader will mean, on balance, to take things away from people. It is the only way we’ll get our fiscal house


in order before the market, brutally, does it for us. In my book, the leaders who will deserve praise in this new era are those who develop a hybrid politics FRIEDMAN that persuades a majority of voters to cut where we must so we can invest where we must. To survive in the 21st century, the United States can no longer afford a politics of irresponsible profligacy. But to thrive in the 21st century — to invest in education, infrastructure and innovation — the United States cannot afford a politics of mindless austerity either. The politicians we need are what I’d call “pay-as-you-go progressives” — those who combine fiscal prudence with growth initiatives to make their cities, their states or our country great again. Everyone knows the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging. But people often forget the second rule of holes: You can only grow your way out. You can’t borrow your way out.

One of the best of this new breed of leaders is Atlanta’s inspiring mayor, 41-year-old Kasim Reed. A former Georgia state senator, Reed won Atlanta’s mayoral race in December 2009 by 714 votes. The day he took office, Atlanta had $7.4 million in reserves, an out-of-control budget and was laying off so many firefighters there were only three personnel on a truck, below national standards. A year later, it has $58 million in reserves, and Reed has a 70 percent approval rating — which he earned the hard way. Reed started his reforms by enlisting two professionals, not cronies, to help run the city: Peter Aman, a partner at Bain & Company, a consultancy, to be his chief operating officer; and John Mellott, a former publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to lead a pension review panel. Atlanta has 7,000 city employees, but today, says Reed, “you can’t hire a receptionist” without it “personally being approved by Aman.” Then Reed tackled the city’s biggest problem: runaway pensions, which were eating up 20 percent of tax revenues and are rising. In the early 2000s, the police, fire and mu-

nicipal workers’ unions persuaded the city to raise all their pensions — and make it retroactive. So, between 2001 and 2009, Atlanta’s unfunded pension obligations grew from $321 million to $1.484 billion. Yikes. Reed couldn’t cut existing pensions without lawsuits, but he cut back pensions for all new employees to pre-2000 levels and raised the vesting period to 15 years from 10. When union picketers swarmed city hall to protest, Reed invited them all into his office — in shifts — where he patiently explained, with charts, that without pension reform everyone’s pensions would go bust. By getting the city’s budget under control, Reed then had some money to invest in more police officers and, what he wanted most, to reopen the 16 recreation centers and swimming pools in the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods, which had been shuttered for lack of money. “People were shooting dice in the empty pools,” he said. Local businesses have now offered to finance afterschool job-skills programs in the reopened centers. Cut here. Invest there.

Reed combines a soft touch with a hard head. I like how he talks about both Atlanta and the United States: “We are not going to be what we have been for the last 50 years if we don’t change, and everybody in a position to have more than two people listening to them needs to be saying that, because the time we have to make the adjustments is running out. We need to get on with it. Whether it’s the deficit, education or investing in young people or immigration — we are not tackling [them] in the fundamental ways required. We’re just doing it piecemeal. We’re just playing and surviving. And we need to be very clear where just surviving takes you: It takes you to a lifestyle of just survival.” In a recent address, Reed elaborated: “The bottom line is that for the country to do and to be what we have been . . . there must be a generation tough enough to stick out its chin and take the hit . . . It is time to begin having the types of mature and honest conversations necessary to deal effectively with the new economic realities we are facing as a nation. We simply cannot keep kicking the can down the road.”

Because the night belongs to her BY MAUREEN DOWD

New York Times Service

met Patti Smith briefly at the opening of the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring cycle last fall. She was wearing a black sequined jacket, white ruffly shirt and black pants, a glam version of the “gothic crow,” as Salvador Dali once described her. Her salt-and- chocolate mane was hanging in an untamed pony tail. She seemed shy and modest but fun and self-possessed, ever the cool chick. In an era when many women resist aging, pre- DOWD ferring to frantically pursue scary, puffy replicas of their 25-year-old selves, and at a time when women still struggle to balance sexuality and power, the 63year-old Smith radiated magic. My cultural lacunae included the iconic New York punk rock singer, poet and artist who dropped out for a decade to raise two kids with guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith in Detroit. I had never seen her perform and didn’t know she was a jumble of quirky contradictions, passionate about Arthur Rimbaud and Law & Order: SVU, William Blake and Jimi Hendrix, grand opera and cheap talismans, listening to Glenn Gould and writing detective novels. Beyond the jangly ruckuses about explicit photos of naked men, I didn’t know much about Robert Mapplethorpe either. So I was startled to pick up Smith’s memoirs, which won a National Book Award in November, and delve into a spellbinding love story. For anyone who has had a relationship where the puzzle pieces seem perfect but don’t fit — so, all of us — Just Kids is achingly beautiful. It’s La Boheme at the Chelsea Hotel; a mix, she writes, of Funny Face and Faust, two hungry artists figuring out whom to love, how to make art and when to part. It unfolds in that romantic time before we were swallowed by Facebook, flat screens, texts, tweets and Starbucks; when people still talked all night and listened to jukeboxes and LPs and read actual books and drank black coffee. Smith describes the wondrous odyssey of taking the bus from South Jersey and meeting a curlyhaired soul mate who wanted to help her soar, even as the pair painfully grappled over the years with Mapplethorpe’s sexuality and his work’s brutality. “Robert took areas of dark human consent and made them into art,” Smith writes about the former altar boy from Floral Park, Queens, who was bedeviled by Catholic concepts of good and evil. “Robert sought to elevate aspects of male experience, to imbue homosexuality with mysticism.”


Spanish thriving in U.S. colleges BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER

ood news for those of us who want increasingly closer U.S. ties with Spanish-speaking countries: a new study shows that more U.S. college students are enrolling in Spanish classes than in any other foreign language. The survey released by the Modern Language Association of America shows that despite the anti-immigration hysteria of recent years and a steep increase in the number of college kids who are taking Arabic, Chinese and Korean classes, Spanish continues to be — by far — the most-studied language in U.S. colleges. About 850,000 college students are taking Spanish, followed by 210,000 enrolled in French, 198,000 in German, 92,000 in American Sign Language, 74,000 in Japanese and 61,000 in Chinese. “Spanish continues to be the No. 1 language,” MLA executive director Rosemary G. Feal said. “Almost 50 percent of all college enrollments in foreign languages are in Spanish.” Feal says she expects this trend to hold up in the foreseeable future, for reasons that go beyond the huge U.S. Hispanic population. Students of all ethnic groups see Spanish as a language that opens up job opportunities. And, at a time of budget cuts, U.S. colleges are more likely to eliminate other less attended language classes, she said. “Colleges are shrinking programs that don’t have large numbers of majors, such as German or Italian, but they are not shrinking Spanish,” she said. About 34 million people in the United States speak Spanish,


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including about 3.5 million U.S. citizens who are not of Hispanic descent, according to U.S. Census data. This makes the United States one of the largest Spanishspeaking countries in the world. Looking ahead But will Spanish continue to thrive? Will new generations of Hispanics maintain the language at a time when several U.S. states are considering Arizona-style anti-immigration measures, and when the U.S. economic downturn is slowing down the flow of Latin American OPPENHEIMER immigrants? Interestingly, a recent poll shows that young Hispanics are becoming more bilingual. The nationwide survey of young U.S. citizens by Bendixen and Amandi, a Miami-based opinion research firm, shows that 89 percent of foreign-born Hispanics and 59 percent of U.S.born Hispanics speak both English and Spanish. That’s a new phenomenon, says Fernand Amandi, the polling firm’s managing partner. Unlike a few decades ago, when Mexican parents — especially in Western states — used to ask their children not to speak Spanish because they thought it would hurt their chances to advance in the United States, nowadays Mexican immigrants want their children to be bilingual, he said. In addition to seeing bilingualism as a competitive advantage to get a job, technology is keeping immigrants and their children closer to their native countries.

“Technology has been the key factor: now, thanks to the Internet, America is becoming an even more multiethnic society,” he said. My opinion: I agree. Hispanics are already the largest U.S. minority group, and technology will help keep Spanish alive in this country regardless of whether immigration from Latin America rises or falls in the near future. In South Florida In Miami, many of my friends wake up in the morning reading Colombian, Venezuelan or Argentine newspapers on the Internet, go to work listening to their native countries’ radio stations on their iPhones, and watch South American, Central American or Mexican soccer games at night on cable or satellite television. You don’t need to go to Latin America anymore. It’s coming to you. And contrary to what Hispanic-phobic anti-immigration advocates say, staying tuned with their native countries or the country of their ancestors doesn’t turn U.S. Hispanics into a threat to U.S. culture. Even if some immigrants don’t speak English, their children certainly do. In a highly-competitive global economy, speaking more than one language is a big asset. China has understood this so well that it recently ordered mandatory English classes in all public elementary schools. So the more U.S. college youths study espanol — the language spoken by U.S. neighbors and some of the world’s most promising export markets — the better it will be not just for them, but for the country as a whole.

When he began exploring his own desires in San Francisco, she said it was an education for her too. “I had thought a man turned homosexual when there was not the right woman to save him, a misconception I had developed from the tragic union of Rimbaud and the poet Paul Verlaine,” she writes, adding that she mistakenly considered homosexuality “a poetic curse” that “irrevocably meshed with affectation and flamboyance.” As they redefined their love, she writes, “I learned from him that often contradiction is the clearest way to truth.” When the penniless Smith first gets to New York she sleeps in Central Park and graveyards. Once she meets Robert, they shoplift occasionally and scrape by. They are too poor to go to museums together; one goes in and describes it afterward to the other waiting outside. They share Coney Island hot dogs. Robert works as a hustler for money. She encourages the reluctant Mapplethorpe to take photographs; he shoots the covers for her poetry book and mythic first album, Horses. He teases her when she becomes famous faster. Smith vividly recalls a psychedelic bohemia in downtown New York in the volcanic late ’60s and ’70s when you could feel “a sense of hastening.” She transports you back to the Coney Island freak shows and the Chelsea Hotel, “a doll’s house in the Twilight Zone,” as she calls the refuge for artists from Dylan Thomas to Bob Dylan. Glittery cameos include former lover Sam Shepard, Gregory Corso, Salvador Dali, Viva, William Burroughs, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol and her idol, Hendrix. The more commercial and societyminded Robert dreamed of breaking into Warhol’s circle, but Patti was suspicious. “I hated the soup and felt little for the can,” she writes. “I preferred an artist who transformed his time, not mirrored it.” When Robert was ravaged by AIDS, a distraught Patti drove and flew back and forth from Detroit to New York to hold and soothe him. She wrote him a letter, recalling that he once said that art was like “holding hands with God.” Urging him to grip that hand hard, she concluded: “Of all your work, you are still your most beautiful.” The March morning in 1989 that he died, at 42, she woke up to hear an opera playing on an arts channel on a TV that had been left on. It was Tosca declaring her passion for the painter Cavaradossi, singing “I have lived for love, I have lived for Art.” It was her goodbye.

12/27/2010 3:28:01 AM





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12/26/2010 9:36:59 PM



Bavaria booms, but Germans feel a malaise BY MICHAEL SLACKMAN

New York Times Service

ERLANGEN-HOECHSTADT, Germany — By nearly every measure this industrial region in Bavaria, home to exporting giants like Siemens Healthcare, Adidas and Puma, is at the center of Germany’s resilient economic success, driving the nation’s growth even as much of Europe struggles to stay solvent. With an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent and Christmas markets full of shoppers and revelers, “Bavaria is the planet of the happy,” said Katrin Schmidt, a labor analyst with the Federal Employment Agency based in Nuremberg. Except that many people in this region, and around the nation, seem subdued and uncertain about their own financial health. Germany’s good fortune, however conspicuous to other Europeans, is widely viewed here as having come at the expense of its workers, who for the past decade have sacrificed wages

and benefits to make their employers more competitive. “I don’t believe that the economic situation really improved,” said Karl-Hans Diem, a 60-year-old metalworker. This disconnect — bullish economic indicators combined with simmering discontent even among the employed — is at the core of the conflict between Germany and some of its eurozone allies over how to handle the continuing European financial crisis. German leaders have been confronted with the opposing forces of a strong economy and a work force that has seen its real wages, adjusted for inflation, decline over the past decade. When Greece was in crisis, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was criticized from abroad for moving too slowly to help reassure markets that it stood behind the euro, and at home for agreeing to dole out too much aid. With the more recent Irish crisis, she came

under attack around Europe for demanding that private investors share the burden of future bailouts, while at home for not insisting on that kind of accountability sooner. “They should better spend the money here; we have problems of our own,” said Sabine Striegel, 45, who has recently lost a temporary job with Siemens. Anti-euro sentiments have run so hot that the finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, told the daily newspaper Bild this month that the “danger of an anti-euro party needs to be taken seriously.” Germany’s political leaders and business executives argue that the economy has benefited from the common currency. For a nation that derives nearly half of its gross domestic product from exports, a stable currency has greatly eased cross-border commerce in the unified eurozone. And yet there is broad sentiment across Germany that the euro has not been good for individuals.

ECONOMIC BOOM? Germany’s good fortune, however conspicuous to other Europeans, is widely viewed at home as having come at the expense of its workers, who for the past decade have sacrificed wages and benefits to make their employers more competitive.


African huts glow with solar power

Neuberger was United States’ top financier and art patron



New York Times Service

NEW YORK — Roy R. Neuberger, who drew on youthful passions for stock trading and art to build one of Wall Street’s most venerable partnerships and one of the country’s largest private collections of 20th-century masterpieces, died at his home at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, N.Y. He was 107. His death on Friday was confirmed by a grandson, Matthew London. Neuberger had set out to study art but ended up as a stockbroker, a life path once likened to Gauguin’s in reverse. As a founder of the investment firm Neuberger & Berman, he was one of the few people to experience three of Wall Street’s major market crises, in 1929, 1987 and 2008. Although his artistic ability left no lasting impact, his wealth did. Believing that collectors should acquire art being produced in their own time and then hold on to it, giving the public access but never selling, Neuberger accumulated hundreds of paintings and sculptures by Milton Avery, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and others, becoming one of United States’ leading art patrons. Those works are now spread over more than 70 institutions in 24 states, many of them in the permanent collection of the Neuberger Museum of Art, which opened in 1974 on the Purchase College campus of the State University of New York. The money to buy the works came from his investments at Neuberger & Berman (now Neuberger Berman), the brokerage and investment firm he founded in 1939 with Robert B. Berman. The firm catered to wealthy individuals but also took on a less affluent clientele with the establishment, in 1950, of the Neuberger Guardian mutual fund, one of the first funds to be sold without the usual 8.5 percent upfront sales commission. His art collecting drew on the lessons he learned in the financial world. Each year he would buy more than he had bought the previous year, often purchasing large lots at a time. In 1948, for example, he bought 46 paintings by Milton Avery, whom Neuberger counted as a close friend. He eventually owned more than 100 Avery works. Roy Rothschild Neuberger was born on July 21, 1903, in Bridgeport, Conn. His father, Louis, who was 52 when Roy was born, had come to the United States from Germany as a boy. His mother, the former Bertha Rothschild, was a native of Chicago, a lover of music (she played the piano) and a “nervous, troubled woman from a large, well-to-do Jewish family, not related to the famous Rothschilds,” Neuberger • TURN TO NEUBERGER, 2B

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“Do we try to pursue ideas that are weird and have optimism about the future, or do we give up on all new things and compromise?” Sitting before him in the audience, among others: Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, Yelp co-founder and chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman and technology publishing guru Tim O’Reilly. As venture capital in Silicon Valley chases the next big mobile app or group discount service, Thiel was asking for them to fund technological breakthroughs that some believe in fervently and others see as sheer fantasy. He even has a name for it: Breakthrough philanthropy. Instead of just giving to help the less fortunate here and now, Thiel encouraged his fellow moguls to put their money toward seemingly far-fetched ventures

KIPTUSURI, Kenya — For Sara Ruto, the yearning for electricity began in 2009 with the purchase of her first cellphone, a lifeline for receiving small money transfers, contacting relatives in the city or checking chicken prices at the nearest market. Charging the phone was no simple matter in this farming village far from Kenya’s electric grid. Every week, Ruto walked two miles to hire a motorcycle taxi for the three-hour ride to Mogotio, the nearest town with electricity. There, she dropped off her cellphone at a store that recharges phones for 30 cents. Yet the service was in such demand that she had to leave it behind for three full days before returning. That wearying routine ended in February when the family sold some animals to buy a small Chinese-made solar power system for about $80. Now balanced precariously atop their tin roof, a lone solar panel provides enough electricity to charge the phone and run four bright overhead lights with switches. “My main motivation was the phone, but this has changed so many other things,” Ruto said on a recent evening as she relaxed on a bench in the mud-walled shack she shares with her husband and six children. As small-scale renewable energy becomes cheaper, more reliable and more efficient, it is providing the first drops of modern power to people who live far from slow-growing electricity grids and fuel pipelines in developing countries. Although dwarfed by the big renewable energy projects that many industrialized countries are embracing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, these tiny systems are playing an epic, transformative role. Since Ruto hooked up the system,




FUTURE BOUND: PayPal chief executive Peter Thiel, left, is backing groups that see a time when computers will communicate directly with the human brain. Above, Thiel with PayPal founder Elon Musk, right, at corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.


SAN FRANCISCO — In the movie The Social Network, the character of Peter Thiel is played as a slick Master of the Universe, a tech industry king and kingmaker with the savvy to see that a $500,000 investment in Facebook could mint millions later. Reality is a little more rumpled. On a recent December night, Thiel walked, slightly stooped, across a San Francisco stage to make a pitch to an invitation-only audience of Silicon Valley luminaries — investors and innovators who had scored sometimes huge fortunes through a mix of skill, vision and risk-taking. The billionaire PayPal cofounder didn’t tell them about the next big start-up. He wanted them to buy into a bigger idea: the future. A future when computers will

‘Do we try to pursue ideas that are weird and have optimism about the future, or do we give up on all new things and compromise?’ — PETER THIEL, PayPal co-founder

communicate directly with the human brain. Seafaring pioneers will found new floating nations in the middle of the ocean. Science will conquer aging, and death will become a curable disease. If anything can transform these wild dreams into plausible realities, he believes it is the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley — the minds and money that have conjured the technological marvels that have already altered everyday life.

Wall Street powerhouse places bet on Vegas bookmaking BY SUSANNE CRAIG

New York Times Service

LAS VEGAS — Miles from the glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, past foreclosed homes and dusty tracts of desert, the Wall Street bond powerhouse Cantor Fitzgerald has placed millions of dollars of its own money on the table. At the M Resort Spa Casino, Lee Amaitis, a former bond trader who now runs Cantor’s operations here, held court in a dimly lighted plush orange VIP booth lined with large Champagne bottles. Leaning forward, he talked excitedly about the ambitious plans for the Cantor Gaming subsidiary.

“There’s big money in this, especially now we are moving onto the Strip,” said Amaitis, in a gray pinstripe suit with the top two buttons of his white shirt undone. Cantor Fitzgerald is one of the biggest brokers of U.S. government securities, considered among the safest places to put one’s money. Cantor Gaming handles some of the riskiest. It runs the sports book at the M Resort, a relatively new casino popular among Las Vegas locals. It has or will soon start handling the sports betting operations at the Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and at the recently opened Cosmopolitan of

Las Vegas and the Tropicana Las Vegas, all on or near the Strip. And Cantor is banking on the next frontier in gambling: a license that would allow sports betting on mobile devices anywhere in Nevada, as long as the bettor had an account at a casino. Wall Street executives usually protest when their business is compared to a casino. But there is a logic to privately held Cantor’s Vegas subsidiary, casino industry experts say. “Guys who trade Treasuries are doing it for basis points, and sports betting is not much different,” said Jeffrey B. Logsdon, an

entertainment and gaming analyst for BMO Capital Markets. “Trading a million dollars in Treasuries is different than trading a billion. Sports betting is the same. You want the spread, volume and you see yourself as a match maker.” Still, for Cantor it is a potentially huge risky bet. Unlike most sports books, which typically cap wagers at anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000, Cantor Gaming’s book has a take-all-comers policy, exposing it to losses if it cannot hedge its bigger bets. During Super Bowl XLIV this year, it handled a few • TURN TO BETTING, 2B

12/27/2010 4:52:57 AM





Storm affects post-Christmas shopping BY CHRIS BURRITT AND BURT HELM

Bloomberg News

U.S. retailers expecting to ring up sales on the day after Christmas may have to intensify discounts over the next two weeks after an East Coast snowstorm disrupted one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Cities from Philadelphia to Boston may get the most snow of the season on Sunday forcing consumers who had planned to shop to focus instead on getting home before returning to work tomorrow. Some stores in the southeastern United States weren’t able to open as early as planned on Sunday for doorbuster specials and may close early as snow made driving dangerous. Spending may shift into January, denting growth after the International Council of Shopping Centers predicted that retail sales will rise 3.5 percent to 4 percent in 2010, the biggest increase in four years. The day after Christmas is one of the five busiest shopping days of the year, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, a research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y. “It’s like throwing a party

Wall Street giant takes

a gamble on sports • BETTING, FROM 1B

bets in excess of $500,000. Cantor’s push into Vegas is being led by Amaitis, 61, whose past includes a conviction in his 20s for dealing cocaine. Cantor Gaming, Amaitis says, mitigates its risk through volume. And Cantor hopes to have another advantage through richer data. In 2008, Cantor Gaming bought Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the world’s largest odds-maker. It sets the odds for more than 40 percent of the casinos in Las Vegas, and Cantor used that data to expand into what is known as inrunning betting, which lets people wager on portable devices on sporting events in progress. Sports betting — wagering on the outcome of events like football games and horse races — is still a small part of Las Vegas gambling. It accounts for just 1.7 percent of all gambling wins in Nevada, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board. Most large casino operators, including Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, run their own sports book, taking on limited risk but keeping all the profit. Sports book operators make most of their money charging a small commission on bets. They then try to match a bet on any given game with an opposite wager, essentially neutralizing the risk of that bet. If they can’t, operators typically try to change the money line, making it more attractive for bettors to vote on the other team. In two years, Cantor Gaming has grown into a force in Nevada. So far this year, the sports book at the M Casino has taken in more than $400 million in wagers, almost 20 percent of all the money bet on sporting events in Nevada, Amaitis says. He contends that the number will grow to $1 billion, or almost 40 percent of the market, in 2011. The firm is not profitable; most of its revenue is reinvested in new technology. But Amaitis predicts the company will be profitable on an operating basis in 2011.

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and nobody comes because the focus has gone from post-holiday shopping to post-holiday travel,” Cohen said in a telephone interview today. “Look for sales to be repeated by retailers. They’re going to be more aggressive. They’ve got to throw another party.” It may take retailers two weeks to capture sales that would have occurred today, Cohen said. Shoppers will lose enthusiasm as the holiday season excitement wanes, he said. The parking lot of a Sears Holdings store in Greensboro, N.C., signaled the slippery, slushy days ahead in the Northeast. Two cars were in the lot at 9:30 a.m. even though Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., advertised early-bird discounts of up to 60 percent on clothing and 30 percent on refrigerators and washing machines. “My wife wasn’t happy when I decided to come out,” said Michael Scarlett, shopping at Sears after three inches of snow had accumulated overnight. He planned to pick up an Android tablet computer he’d ordered online and return home. At 10:30 a.m., the Apple store in Greensboro had 17 customers and 17 red-shirt-


DAMPER: Although a few shoppers braved the rough weather, it was feared that spending may shift into January, denting growth after the International Council of Shopping Centers predicted that retail sales will rise 3.5 percent to 4 percent in 2010, the biggest increase in four years. ed employees, including four at the front window watching a yellow bulldozer push snow into a pile in the parking lot. At a Macy’s location, the cosmetics counters had no customers shortly before 11 a.m. Up the East Coast, in Whitehall, Penn., shopper Camille Qualtere was surprised to find the Lehigh Valley Mall “deserted.”

“We thought, ‘Is the mall closed?’” said Qualtere, who took her two daughters to return unwanted gifts and shop for discounted clothes at Cincinnati-based Macy’s before the storm started. “I didn’t hear about the snow because I was cooking all day yesterday. My daughter just told me about it.” Shopping at the same

mall, Kris Kotsch bought a pair of snow boots to prepare for the storm. With no snow falling yet, the 42-year-old photography teacher went back inside armed with the gift cards she received for Christmas to look for a new cellphone. Consumers may temper their spending if the snowfall stalls shopping for sev-

eral days and the frugality of New Year’s resolutions kick in, said Michael Dart, the San Francisco-based head of private equity at the New York consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates. “You’re moving into an environment where the consumer is going to be pulling back,” Dart said. “Retailers don’t want to lose too many of those shopping days. If it’s just today, it’s not a big deal. But the longer the weather remains bad, it becomes problematic for retailers.” The snow is expected to persist into tomorrow as the storm moves along the coast, with wind gusts of as much as 50 miles per hour, AccuWeather said. Boston could see 12 to 16 inches of snowfall along with wind gusts of as much as 60 mph, starting Sunday night. Temperatures for New York, Philadelphia and Washington are expected to dip into the 20-degree range on Sunday night. In Manhattan, N.Y., shortly before noon, 13 people waited in the checkout line at a Gap store, where cotton thermal long sleeved T-shirts were marked down to $10 from $22.50. Some items were selling at 80 percent off until noon and then half off for the rest of the day.

PayPal tycoon embraces sci-fi future African huts use solar power


that he believes could improve the lives of everyone for good. Gathered on the stage were eight groups that Thiel thinks are on the right path. One was the Singularity Institute, whose members believe in the nearinevitability of the arrival within the next century of computers smarter than the humans who created them. The institute works to ensure that self-programming machines will create a world that looks more like Star Trek, less like the Terminator. Another was the SENS Foundation, a group of biomedical researchers seeking a path to radical life extension based on the controversial aging theories of computer scientist-turnedgerontologist Aubrey de Grey. And the Seasteading Institute, led by Patri Friedman, the grandson of famed economist Milton Friedman. It looks to establish distant ocean colonies to serve as laboratories for experimenting with new forms of government or “start-up countries.” “As innovators, you are

the best at finding and nurturing the right big ideas that can change the world,” Friedman told the audience. The history of Silicon Valley is filled with such ideas. The smartphone, the Web, the search engine, the personal computer itself — these all seemed farfetched until they became commonplace. To raise money from the wealthy, it’s a time-honored strategy to flatter. Witness the names emblazoned across hospital wings and university buildings. But building important buildings has never seemed to especially interest Silicon Valley’s elite. They have “the right kind of cultural DNA to at the very least pay attention,” said Greg Biggers, a longtime software executive who recently founded a start-up, Genomera, that lets members conduct health studies using their own genetic data. Biggers said Silicon Valley entrepreneurs would likely be receptive to Thiel’s unconventional message because they succeeded by not conforming to others’ expectations of what was possible. “This is a roomful of people who bucked the sys-

tem,” he said as he mingled, glass of wine in hand. Charles Rubin, a Duquesne University political science professor and blogger who has written critically about some of the movements endorsed by Thiel, said these visions of the future align closely with the Silicon Valley outlook. All share the view that “scientific knowledge and technical capacity will continue to increase at an accelerating rate,” Rubin said. “This is a core idea that practically defines what Silicon Valley is all about: ceaseless innovation.” Thiel himself seems to thrive on flouting convention, sometimes in ways that have led to harsh criticism. In September, he announced a program designed to discover the next Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, by paying $100,000 each to 20 young people under 20 years old to skip college for two years to learn about entrepreneurship. Jacob Weisberg, editor of the online magazine Slate, excoriated Thiel for the program and what he sees as its underlying impetus. “Thiel’s philosophy demands attention not because it is original or interesting

in any way — it’s puerile libertarianism, infused with futurist fantasy — but because it epitomizes an ugly side of Silicon Valley’s politics,” Weisberg wrote. Thiel is not a traditional conservative — he has donated to Republican candidates but also to California’s marijuana legalization ballot measure. But he does seem to believe in a trickle-down theory of technology. Unlike the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured billions into providing basic health care for some of the world’s most impoverished people, Thiel said he wants to prioritize major scientific advances he thinks will spread to benefit humanity as a whole. His faith appears grounded in a pervasive Silicon Valley belief that motivates gifted individuals to achieve on a grand scale, no matter the apparent hurdles — death included. But even Thiel admitted he has no idea how long that last obstacle will take to overcome. “I would like to say that I would still be doing this even if I thought there was no chance I would benefit from this in any way,” he said in an interview.


her teenagers’ grades have improved because they have light for studying. The toddlers no longer risk burns from the smoky kerosene lamp. And each month, she saves $15 in kerosene and battery costs — and the $20 she used to spend on travel. While these off-grid systems have proved their worth, the lack of an effective distribution network or a reliable way of financing the start-up costs has prevented them from becoming more widespread. “There are many small islands of success, but they need to go to scale,” said Minoru Takada, chief of the U.N. Development Program’s sustainable energy program. “Off-grid is the answer for the poor. “But people who control funding need to see this as a viable option.”

Neuberger was United States’ top financier and art collector • NEUBERGER, FROM 1B

wrote in an autobiography, So Far, So Good: The First 94 Years (John Wiley & Sons, 1997). His father was half-owner of the Connecticut Web and Buckle Company and had an interest in the stock market, owning thousands of shares in a Montana copper company. The Neuberger family moved to Manhattan, N.Y. Neuberger attended DeWitt Clinton High School, where in his senior year he was captain of the tennis team that won the Greater New York championship. He left New York University after a single year. He felt, he wrote, “that I could learn much more out in the world of business.” It was while working for two years as a buyer of upholstery fabrics for the department store B. Altman & Company that he said he developed an eye for painting and sculpture as well as a sense for trading. Both would greatly influence his later life, as would John Galsworthy’s series of novels The Forsyte Saga, which described the practice among well-to-do English families of educating their children on the European

continent, and Vincent van Gogh, a biography by Floret Fels. The first book led Neuberger to a sojourn in Europe. Using money inherited from his father, he set out in June 1924 for a life of leisure. While living mainly on the Left Bank in Paris, he spent afternoons at a cafe, played in tennis tournaments in Cannes and traveled to Berlin and other European capitals. In Paris, Neuberger was inspired by the van Gogh biography to collect and support the work of living artists. He arrived on Wall Street in the spring of 1929, as the bull market was roaring toward its peak. Hired for $15 a week as a runner for the brokerage firm Halle & Stieglitz, he soon learned all aspects of the business, at the same time managing his own money. One of the first big trades he executed on his own behalf was designed to hedge his own wealth against the possibility that the stock market might fall from its precarious height. He sold short 100 shares of the Radio Corporation of America, the most popular stock of the era, betting that its price

would decline from its lofty level of $500. In October 1929 came the crash that ushered in the Great Depression, and while Neuberger’s blue-chip stocks fell, his bet against RCA paid off well: the stock’s price eventually fell into the single digits. He said he lost only 15 percent of his money in the crash, while many others lost everything. On June 29, 1932, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped to 42 and Neuberger married Marie Salant, a graduate in economics from Bryn Mawr who had gone to work in the research department of Halle & Stieglitz two years earlier. His wife died in 1997. Besides London, Neuberger is survived by his daughter, Ann Neuberger Aceves; his sons, Roy S. Neuberger of Lawrence, N.Y., and James A. Neuberger of New York City; seven other grandchildren; and 30 great-grandchildren. Emboldened by his management of his own assets, Neuberger became a stockbroker at Halle & Stieglitz in 1930, leaving nine years later to start his own firm, Neuberger & Berman. The firm was later acquired by Lehman Brothers but spun off in

2008 as a stand-alone company with Lehman’s bankruptcy. Neuberger continued to go to his Neuberger Berman office every day until he was 99, London said. Neuberger began to build his art collection in the late 1930s, and although he was asked to do so many times, he never sold a painting by a living artist. “I have not collected art as an investor would,” he said. “I collect art because I love it.” He preferred to share his love by donating works to museums and colleges. In May 1965, Neuberger received an anonymous offer to buy his art collection for $5 million, a sum he considered a fortune at the time. Years later he learned that the offer had come from Nelson A. Rockefeller, then governor of New York. Rockefeller went on to play a key role in Neuberger’s art collection. In May 1967, while Neuberger was visiting Rockefeller at his Pocantico Hills estate in Westchester County, the governor offered to have New York state build a museum to house the collection at the State University campus at Purchase.

Designed by Philip Johnson, the museum opened in May 1974. Neuberger often said that the true spirit of his collection could be found on the second floor, which held seminal paintings by Pollock, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as many Milton Averys. Neuberger made an additional gift of $1.3 million to the State University at Purchase in 1984 and other major gifts to the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also served as a president of the New York Society for Ethical Culture and the American Federation of Arts. Neuberger’s second memoir, The Passionate Collector, was published by John Wiley & Sons in 2003. At a White House ceremony in 2007, then U.S. President George W. Bush presented Neuberger with a National Medal of Arts. Neuberger bought all his works himself, usually through dealers. And his taste ran toward the bold. “I liked adventuresome work that I often didn’t understand,” he told The Times as he was celebrating his 100th birthday.

12/27/2010 5:07:08 AM




New York Times Service


China seeks to assure public about inflation From Miami Herald Wire Services

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao tried Sunday to reassure the public about the government’s ability to control inflation, a day after China raised interest rates amid worries that rising prices could hurt social stability. Wen’s remarks underscore the government’s concerns about anger over inflation — an especially sensitive topic in a society where poor families spend up to half their incomes on food. Rising incomes have helped offset price hikes, but inflation undercuts economic gains that help support the ruling Communist Party’s claim to power. “I can tell everybody, the government has complete confidence in tiding over this difficult stage together with the masses,” Wen said while taking questions from callers during a visit to China National Radio’s offices, according to a report on the station’s website. Wen expressed confidence in the government’s ability to control price increases, pointing to large grain reserves as well as moves to support production by reducing and waiving taxes.


Investor optimism may be a red flag BY PAUL J. LIM

OPTIMISTIC: China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has expressed confidence in the government’s ability to control price increases, pointing to large grain reserves as well as moves to support production by reducing and waiving taxes.


Now that the market has risen, investors are becoming optimistic again about stocks. There are many signs of this. The American Association of Individual Investors, for example, reports that most investors now describe themselves as bullish, versus just 20 percent in July. And the flood of money that was pouring into bond funds largely out of fear, has slowed to a trickle. After pulling in more than $1 trillion in net investments since the start of 2001, bond funds experienced slight net redemptions from the start of November to the middle of December, according to the Investment Company Institute. All of this suggests that investors are finally getting their risk appetites back. And it may also be an indication that people are becoming greedy after the easy money has already been made in the market. It’s worth remembering that even though a strong year-end surge has pushed the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index up 20 percent since the start of September, it’s just part of a tremendous rally over the past two years. Since the bull market began in March 2009, the S&P 500 has climbed more than

86 percent. And investments that are considered riskier than blue-chip domestic stocks — such as emergingmarket equities or shares of fast-growing but volatile small companies — have done even better during this stretch. Both the Russell 2000 small-stock index and the Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Market index have gained 130 percent. “We were told that this was supposed to be a ‘new normal’ era where investors should expect lower returns and shouldn’t take much risk as a result,” says James W. Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. “But the performance of risk assets over the past 18 months shows that this was anything but a new normal.” Risk-taking hasn’t been rewarded over just the last 18 months. Despite all the talk about what a “lost decade” this has been for investors, risky asset classes have actually produced sizable gains over the last 10 years. For instance, though the average fund that invests in large-capitalization domestic stocks gained just 1.5 percent, annualized, in that period, small-stock funds returned nearly 7 percent a year. And emergingmarket stock funds returned nearly 15 percent, annual-

ized, during that stretch, according to Morningstar. Risk-taking was also well rewarded in the fixed-income markets. While safe government bond funds gained 4.8 percent, on average, for the past decade, slightly riskier investment-grade corporate bond funds gained 5.4 percent, annualized, and high-yield bond funds — even riskier — returned nearly 7 percent a year. In general, the more risk you took in asset allocation, the greater your relative performance over the past decade, says Jeffrey N. Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. But that can’t go on forever. Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P, looked at how bull markets have unfolded historically since 1949. He found that while the S&P has soared 35 percent, on average, in the first 12 months of a new rally, those gains have slowed to an average of 17 percent in the second year of a bull market and just 5 percent in the third year. Of course, it’s not just investor sentiment that has propelled the market. In a recent strategy report, Brian G. Belski, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer, notes that strong corporate earnings results and decent news concerning the global

economic recovery have contributed, too. But Belski adds that these developments have already been priced into stocks. As a result, he worries that the current level of investor bullishness might not be justified. He points out that during 2010, when he was predicting a strong year for stocks, many investors were skeptical. “Our recent client conversations have taken the proverbial 180,” he wrote. “We now find ourselves defending a less optimistic 2011 market outlook.” Indeed, some market strategists worry that investor optimism itself may be a headwind to another strong year for the market. Consider how stocks performed in other recent periods of optimism. In October 2007, a survey by the American Association of IndividualInvestors found that 55 percent of investors were bullish; in the 12 months that followed, the S&P 500 fell 37 percent. Similarly, in March 2000, investor bullishness reached 66 percent. And a year after the fact, stocks were down 25 percent. It just goes to show that by the time the market thoroughly convinces investors that they should be optimistic, most of the good news is already behind us.

Iraq to resume Kurdish oil exports BY SALAH NASRAWI

JAPAN APPROVES RECORD DRAFT BUDGET Japan’s Cabinet approved a record $1.11 trillion draft budget, aimed at creating jobs and injecting life into the economy. The budget for next fiscal year, which starts in April, includes measures to provide more education for new job seekers and drive innovation in green energy. Parliament must still approve the budget, and even though the chamber is growing increasingly fractious, the ruling party’s majority in the powerful lower house makes it likely to pass. The budget, approved Friday, reflects the ruling party’s promise to limit new debt, keeping new bond issuance below the level for the current year. It also includes a 7.4 percent cut to foreign assistance and a large cuts in funding for public works projects. • SAUDI ARABIA $500M DEAL SIGNED TO MAKE CARS A Saudi university says it has signed a deal with a South Korean firm to produce passenger cars. The South Korean concern is investing $500 million in the project. Abdullah al Othman president of King Saud University says the first car, a five-passenger model, is expected to roll out within two years. The kingdom plans to export it to the Gulf nations and north Africa. • ENDORSEMENT DEAL GILLETTE WON’T RENEW CONTRACT WITH WOODS Procter & Gamble will not renew its endorsement deal with Tiger Woods at the end of the year, adding another name to the list of companies that cut ties with the golfer after 2009’s revelations of marital infidelities. The company used Woods, Roger Federer, Lionel Messi and dozens of other athletes as part of its threeyear “Gillette Champions” marketing campaign. Gillette said Thursday it was phasing out that program and not renewing the contract with Woods and several other athletes. • MILITARY RUSSIA AGREES TO BUY 2 FRENCH WARSHIPS Russia has agreed to buy at least two French assault ships in a deal that would boost Moscow’s deployment abilities — shrugging off opposition from the United States and some of Russia’s neighbors. It’s one of the largest, if not the largest, military deal between a NATO country and Moscow and a key part of Russia’s efforts to modernize its military. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy is mindful of the economic and strategic payoffs in closer ties with Russia, despite diplomatic concerns about Russia’s intentions. • RUSSIA 13 BANKS ADDED TO ADVISE ON ASSET SALES PLAN Russia has expanded the list of investment banks that will advise it on its planned $59 billion state asset sale program over the next five years. The government had previously selected 10 banks, including Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group, Renaissance Capital and VTB Capital in October for its asset sales starting in 2011. It added 13 more lenders to the list, according to a Dec. 20 decree posted on its website late yesterday. Moscow-based OAO Sberbank, the country’s biggest lender, Alfa Bank, the largest private lender, and Troika Dialog, Russia’s oldest investment bank, are among those added along with BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS, according to the decree. • BANKING GOLDMAN TIES BONUSES TO LONG-TERM PROFITS Goldman Sachs will tie the bonuses of top executives more closely to the company’s financial performance. The investment bank, based in New York, said in a regulatory filing last week that bonuses will be linked to financial benchmarks that might include return on equity, earnings, or the price of Goldman’s stock or other securities issued by the company.

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Associated Press

CAIRO — Iraq’s newly appointed oil minister said that oil exports from the country’s northern selfruled Kurdish region would soon resume as part of the country’s national oil export policy. The Kurds have sought greater control over oil in their crude-rich region while Baghdad has argued that the oil is a national resource, under the central government’s control. Iraqi Kurds have unilaterally signed more than two dozens oil deals with Western companies that are deemed illegal by Baghdad. Exports were halted a few months after they started in June 2009 amid a disagreement over payments. Abdul-Karim Elaibi told The Associated Press on Saturday the exports from the Kurdish region would be resumed “in the coming few days.” He didn’t set a date or elaborate on how the exports would be part of the nation’s export strategy. Earlier this month, Elaibi’s predecessor, Hussain al Shahristani, said a dispute over how private companies accounted for equipment costs and other expenses for reimbursement has been settled, clearing the way for the exports to resume. Al Shahristani, who now holds the post of vice president for energy issues in the new government of Prime


STARTING AFRESH: Iraq’s newly appointed Oil Minister Abdul-Karim Elaibi has said that oil exports from the Kurdish region would be resumed ‘in the coming few days.’ Exports were halted a few months after they started in June 2009 amid a disagreement over payments. Minister Nouri al Maliki, said in comments Dec. 6 the Kurds were committed to exporting 150,000 barrels a day by 2011. Iraq plans to raise exports to 2.25 million barrels a day in 2011, up from 1.9 million at present. The current oil exports account for nearly all of Iraq’s foreign currency revenues. The increase is as important psychologically for Iraq

as it is economically and practically. The oil-rich nation, which was the birthplace for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has struggled to raise its oil production and exports after years of sanctions and wars left much of the vital sector in poor shape. With Saddam Hussein’s ouster in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion attention turned

again to revamping the sector. Two international oil licensing rounds in 2009 opened the door for international oil firms to reenter the Iraq market. Among the tasks they undertook were new seismic surveys of the fields which they were awarded — efforts that have contributed to raising the overall reserve estimate.

British law spurs scrutiny of excess packaging BY ELISABETH ROSENTHAL New York Times Service

The citizens of Lincolnshire, England, were so fed up with the layers of plastic and cardboard and Styrofoam that encased their store purchases this fall that they took a high-priced, highly wrapped piece of meat to court. Specifically, the Lincolnshire County Council sued the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain for “excessive packaging” of its Taste the Difference Slow Matured Ultimate Beef Roasting Joint, which costs nearly $9 per pound, after receiving consumer complaints. No matter that the meat was a “luxury” item, the council said: The way it was packaged — plasticwrapped atop a PET tray under a clear plastic cover and then swathed in a fetching cardboard sleeve — violated British law.

British regulations on excess packaging first took effect in 2003 in an effort to reduce waste, particularly items that cannot be recycled and go into a landfill. Those rules, strengthened two years ago in response to environmental concerns and an awareness that the nation’s landfills were reaching their limits, now require that producers keep packaging to the minimum required for “products’ safety, hygiene and consumer acceptance.” “I think it’s starting to affect purchasing decisions, but maybe not so much at this time of year,” said Andy Dawe, head of the retail division at the Waste Resources Action Program, or WRAP, a government-financed waste reduction project. There are many reasons that food and consumer products come heavily wrapped, from marketing appeal, to the

need to protect expensive items. “There’s a lot of energy that goes into producing food, and if it’s not packaged well enough to protect it or to appeal to customer, then it will spoil on the shelf,” said Liz Foster, the leader of a special team appointed by the council in Lincolnshire, on England’s eastern coast, to scrutinize packaging. The economic and environmental incentives for streamlining or eliminating some types of packaging, however, have grown. Local governments pay hefty taxes for trash sent to landfills — about $100 per ton, up nearly 50 percent in the last two years — and European Union rules require countries to halve the amount of trash sent to landfills by 2013 from 1995 levels. In Britain, excess packaging rules are policed by the Trade Standards Agency,

whose local officers investigate consumer complaints like the ones that got the beef in trouble, as well as issues like counterfeiting. The government reports some successes. The WRAP agency, for example, which has been collaborating with companies like Mars, Cadbury and Nestle to streamline the packaging of boxes of candy, says that the use of boxes, foils and bows for chocolate Easter eggs was down anywhere from 25 percent to 55 percent in 2009 in Britain. Since Lincolnshire created its dedicated packaging team, complaints about excess packaging have risen to nearly 100 annually from three. Common gripes include chocolates, cosmetic creams and online purchases sent in huge boxes in which a tiny item is “nearly lost” in an array of paper, plastic and cardboard.

12/27/2010 5:02:41 AM






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12/26/2010 9:35:10 PM








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12/27/2010 12:37:28 AM








Opening lead — ◆ four

still in with a chance. He went up with the heart ace and played a club. Today’s deal is all about West took his ace and tried counting. See if you can two more rounds of hearts. match declarer’s effort from Bates ruffed, led the diamond the finals of a recent U.S. king, ruffed a diamond, then WEST EAST trials. cashed the club king and saw ♠Q ♠7632 I thought Roger Bates the queen drop from East. If handled his delicate four♥ Q 10 9 8 6 ♥K73 ◆864 ◆ A Q J 7 spade contract very carefully, this was a true card, East was finding a fine line of play. His known to have started with ♣A986 ♣Q2 three hearts, four diamonds, partner, Ralph Katz, thought apparently only two clubs, SOUTH the three-spade call was and thus must have four ♠ A K J 10 8 5 forcing — as would I — so spades. Accordingly, a single maybe the South hand is not ♥A5 worth more than a bid of two finesse in spades would not ◆K952 bring the suit home safely. spades at the second turn ♣4 The only legitimate chance after the initial double. was to find West with the Vulnerable: North-South The net result was that singleton spade queen. Dealer: North Bates declared a game that Accordingly, Bates played would have been impossible The bidding: a trump to the ace and was to make on a heart lead. South West North East rewarded when West’s queen However, on a diamond Pass 1◆ lead and heart shift (a trump fell — four spades bid and made. Dbl. 1♥ 2♣ Dbl.* switch would have worked 3♠ Pass 4 ♠ All pass better, but one can understand East’s play), Bates was 12-27 —BOBBY WOLFF *Showing three hearts NORTH ♠94 ♥J42 ◆ 10 3 ♣ K J 10 7 5 3


For more comics & puzzles, go to






WHITE TO PLAY Hint: Win a piece.

Solution: 1.Ra8! Bb4 2. Ra4! pinning and winning a bishop [Edouard-Zueger ’10].








Dear Abby: After having been out of the U.S. for many years, I noticed upon returning that people here seem to be much fatter. I went to a family gathering, and virtually every formerly slim member of my family had also gotten bigger. I quietly mentioned it to one of my sisters, and word got around that I had “no manners.” My other sister, “Niki,” who has a degree in psychology, told me in no uncertain terms that people never talk about such things with each other. I explained to her that mentioning it once, or discussing the ballooning of America, can be appropriate. I believe our country has fattened up because of a lazy attitude toward exercise and calories. Niki vehemently opposes my discussing it. I learned later that she neglected to invite me to her son’s wedding for fear I would say something about you-know-what to her in-laws. I admit, I don’t have a silver tongue — but I’m disappointed my favorite psychologist has blackballed me and cut off communication. It’s sad to lose a sister this way. Please advise, Abby. Brother Black Sheep

were to accept and then reconsider, it wouldn’t be cool. So I bowed out to give him time to find someone else. Oscar’s reaction told me he was deeply angry and hurt. That night I hardly slept. I kept thinking how much I had disappointed my friend, his wife and their entire family. I feel terribly guilty. It’s clear that Oscar was expecting me to say yes. Is it wrong to say no when someone asks you to be a godparent? True Friend in Wisconsin No, it’s not wrong if the person who is asked does not feel able to fulfill the obligations that go with that honor. Your friend may feel less hurt if you explain to him your reasons for not accepting and the fact that you wouldn’t want to agree if you couldn’t do everything that would be expected of you. Saying no sometimes requires tact, but I’ll give you credit for being honest about your feelings.

Why do I think there’s more to this story than you have written? Obesity has become an epidemic in this country, and the reasons for it are more complicated than a lazy attitude. You don’t need a “silver tongue” to apologize to your sisters for having offended them. Perhaps your “favorite psychologist” would have invited you to her son’s wedding if you had been willing to apologize. People who have weight issues know they are fat. They don’t need to debate it. And they don’t need you to remind them or imply they are lazy.


Dear Abby: I’m a 45-year-old male reader. I have been friends with “Oscar” for 20 years. He asked me to be the godparent of his new baby girl. As you can imagine, I was overwhelmed when he asked. I have never been a godparent. We discussed it at length, and I told him I needed to think it over to be sure of my decision. After a few days I was still indecisive. Part of me wanted to do it and part of me didn’t. I told Oscar it was an honor, but that I felt unsure and not fully committed. I knew if I

HOROSCOPE IF TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: The year ahead can bring romance, excitement and a successful change for the better. Your ambitions are in the forefront for the next several weeks, and because you are passionate, you will do well. • CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Rock your rut. You must find a way to fulfill obligations, even if you think no one is paying attention. • AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The first thing someone sees is your smile, so stretch your lip muscles.


• PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The buddy system helps the budget. Someone close may demonstrate sensitivity to your needs. • ARIES (March 21-April 19): Toughen up. The end of the year has been coming all year. You can’t blame anyone for a last-minute panic. • TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You might not share the same opinion about one particular subject with another person, but you can find common ground. • GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Give yourself time to feel full before you grab for another bite — and don’t overstuff your shopping basket. • CANCER (June 21-July 22): Sidestep resentment. Continue to be positive about the future, even if someone rains on your parade. • LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You might believe that all has been forgiven, but the assurances you receive might be false or simply expedient. • VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your chariot of holiday spirit swings low and picks up some new friends along the way. • LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Too tired to conspire. You may run into obstacles if you attempt to get back on track with a delicate project. • SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Insincerity is in the air. Double check the facts before you agree to take on a heavier workload or a loan. • SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Your wallet might be empty, but your heart is full. You have confidence that tomorrow brings the lucky break you need.

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CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 Fish with a long body 5 Search widely 10 One in the Rat Pack 14 Poi source 15 Provide with shelter 16 Doing nothing 17 Imparts artfully 19 Emulate a beaver 20 Nuclear reactor fluid 21 Luminous 23 Nation on the equator 24 Spot of land 25 Light gas 28 Inspire love in 32 Chopped cabbage dish 36 Fey of “30 Rock” 38 Galley drudge 39 Protagonist 40 Straight-billed game bird 42 Fateful day in the Roman senate 43 Lab culture mediums 45 Had no doubts about 46 Text message status 47 Wineglass 49 Expanded 51 Olive ___ (army uniforms) 53 Cods’ cousins 58 Weightlifter’s apparatus 61 Skimmer over frozen lakes

63 64 66 67 68 69 70

Vicinity City on the Ohio City in central China Confederacy opponent Month after Ab Engage in a gabfest “Winnie-the-Pooh” author 71 Fully engrossed

DOWN 1 Adhere 2 Birchbark boat, perhaps 3 Firebug’s crime 4 Dainty embroidered mat 5 Eschew 6 Layer on a wall 7 Like a secret that’s no longer secret 8 Methadone clinic patients 9 Used-car transaction 10 Foxglove 11 Bart’s educator 12 “The Aviator” actor Alda 13 Eye of ___ (part of a “Macbeth” recipe) 18 Palindromic Indian bread 22 Home studies? 24 Nine of diamonds? 26 Area 51 visitors, perhaps 27 Barnyard plaint 29 Identified, in police

slang 30 Microwave or kiln 31 Time out in music 32 Practice casually in the outfield 33 Building-toy trade name 34 Medina resident 35 Lending institution established in 1945

37 41 44 48 50 52 54 55 56

Impressionist? Barnyard belle Decidedly not marshy Perfumed powder “What time?” Russian pancakes Al Capp figure Down Under marsupial Utterly enjoy

57 Pink-legged wading bird 58 Cordage fiber 59 Offering from the fat lady 60 Flesh-and-blood 61 Clickable pic 62 French theater 65 Zero

12/26/2010 9:33:32 PM






A passing of the torch? Heat grabs it edly overwhelming size of the Lakers was practifranchise, the Heat displayed cally a nonfactor, as the Heat that identity. grabbed more rebounds than It’s a defensive one. It’s the Lakers and limited the not strictly about the talents production of Pau Gasol and of James or the consistency Andrew Bynum to 23 of Bosh or the explosiveness points. of Wade. More than the win itself, It’s about allowing their it’s the level at which the abilities to shine only after Heat is playing for extended the effort was put in on the periods that was so impresdefensive end. sive, so different than what The Heat held the Lakers was the case just a month to 40.5 percent shooting. ago. The combination of Wade And that turnaround not and James helped hold Bryonly has the team confident ant to 17 points with it can consistently compete 10 missed shots and four with the best teams in the turnovers. The supposleague, but it’s building a


trust in a head coach who not so long ago was being assassinated from outside sources. “Guys are starting to speak our philosophy,” Spoelstra said. “What’s more powerful than anything coming from us, is when they take ownership in what is our identity and they start to believe in defending and rebounding and getting out in the open court. So that’s what they’re doing. They’re seeing success with that, and they’re also understanding that it’s not always easy to bring that type of effort each game.”

Granted, the Heat did it against a Lakers team that lost just as badly against the Milwaukee Bucks at home in their last outing. But to take away the legitimacy of this win would be unfair to a Heat team that has been criticized heavily since the trio of James, Wade and Bosh joined forces. Even though the Lakers don’t look like the Lakers that have won the last two championships at the moment, it remains a very significant win. If this isn’t, then what game is?


COLD: Kobe Bryant, going up against Dwyane Wade, was held without a basket in the first quarter.

Quick timeouts shake and stir NFL kickers, study says • KICKER, FROM 8B

to 2007. He identified 273 attempts that he considered “pressure” kicks, those attempted in overtime, or with one minute or less remaining in regulation when the kicking team was tied or trailing by 3 points or fewer. Of the 163 field-goals attempted when a timeout was not called before the kick, 80.4 percent were successful. But in the 110 cases when the kicker was iced, the success rate dropped to 66.4 percent, a 14 percent difference that Goldschmied — and probably every coach in the NFL — considers significant. Not surprisingly, kickers were more successful when their team called the timeout (83.3 percent), than they were when the opposing team did (64.4 percent). That is an indication

that it is the element of surprise and disruption to the routine, not merely the extra time to think about the stakes, that causes the difficulty for kickers. The study found the success rate after icing was not affected by home-field advantage or the kicker’s years of experience. “I was very surprised at the effect,” Goldschmied said. “Two things made a difference in successful field goals: distance of kick, which we expected, and the icing variable. “The one thing is that there is rumination; it gives you enough to think about what is going to happen if you miss. I think maybe an additional mechanism is that you have a kicker about to kick, he’s ready and then they wait until the end and then ask for a timeout. Maybe the preparation itself is taxing.”

NFL SCHEDULE Thursday’s Game Pittsburgh 27, Carolina 3

Monday’s Game New Orleans at Atlanta, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday’s Game Arizona 27, Dallas 26

Tuesday’s Game Minnesota at Philadelphia, 8 p.m.

Sunday’s Games Kansas City 34, Tennessee 14 St. Louis 25, San Francisco 17 Chicago 38, N.Y. Jets 34 Baltimore 20, Cleveland 10 New England 34, Buffalo 3 Detroit 34, Miami 27 Washington 20, Jacksonville 17, OT Indianapolis at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. Houston at Denver, 4:05 p.m. San Diego at Cincinnati, 4:05 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Green Bay, 4:15 p.m. Seattle at Tampa Bay, 4:15 p.m. Minnesota at Philadelphia, ppd., snow

Sunday, Jan. 2 Chicago at Green Bay, 1 p.m. Oakland at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m. Miami at New England, 1 p.m. Minnesota at Detroit, 1 p.m. Carolina at Atlanta, 1 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Washington, 1 p.m. Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Dallas at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. Arizona at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m. St. Louis at Seattle, 4:15 p.m. San Diego at Denver, 4:15 p.m.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE AMERICAN CONFERENCE East y-New England N.Y. Jets Miami Buffalo South Indianapolis Jacksonville Tennessee Houston North x-Pittsburgh x-Baltimore Cleveland Cincinnati West Kansas City San Diego Oakland Denver

W 13 10 7 4

L 2 5 8 11

T 0 0 0 0

Pct .867 .667 .467 .267

8 8 6 5

6 7 9 9

0 0 0 0

.571 .533 .400 .357

11 11 5 3

4 4 10 11

0 0 0 0

.733 .733 .333 .214

10 8 7 3

5 6 7 11

0 0 0 0

.667 .571 .500 .214

NATIONAL CONFERENCE East Philadelphia N.Y. Giants Washington Dallas South x-Atlanta New Orleans Tampa Bay Carolina North y-Chicago Green Bay Minnesota Detroit West St. Louis Seattle San Francisco Arizona

W 10 9 6 5

L 4 5 9 10

T 0 0 0 0

Pct .714 .643 .400 .333

12 10 8 2

2 4 6 13

0 0 0 0

.857 .714 .571 .133

11 8 5 5

4 6 9 10

0 0 0 0

.733 .571 .357 .333

7 6 5 5

8 8 10 10

0 0 0 0

.467 .429 .333 .333

x-clinched playoff spot y-clinched division


BLOCKED: Charles Tillman, right, of the Chicago Bears tackles Braylon Edwards of the New York Jets at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 38-34.

Cutler leads Bears to win • NFL, FROM 8B

score for Kansas City. Cassel hit 12 of his first 13 passes for the Chiefs (10-5), including touchdown tosses to Jamaal Charles on their first two possessions. The Chiefs’ AFC West lead went to 11/2 games over San Diego, with the Chargers at Cincinnati later Sunday. The Titans (6-9) spent much of the game dropping passes, missing arm tackles and piling up penalties while losing for the seventh time in eight games. l Bears 38, Jets 34: Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes, Matt Forte ran for 113 yards and Chicago closed in on a first-round bye. The Jets (10-5) lost for third time in four games, but clinched their second straight postseason trip under coach Rex Ryan when Jacksonville lost 20-17 in overtime to Washington. The win was the seventh in eight games for the Bears

(11-4), who blew an early 10-point lead and regrouped in the second half after being picked apart by Mark Sanchez early. Now, they’re in good position to lock up that bye, a scenario that seemed unlikely at best when they stumbled into their bye-week break. l Redskins 20, Jaguars 17, OT: Kevin Barnes intercepted David Garrard’s second pass in overtime, setting up Graham Gano’s 31-yard field goal. Rex Grossman had a touchdown pass early, and Ryan Torain added a 1-yard plunge on fourth down late as the Redskins (6-9) ended a four-game losing streak. The Jaguars (8-7) have lost two in a row and need help to make the playoffs. They need to win at Houston next week and have Tennessee upset Indianapolis to win the AFC South. l Lions 34, Dolphins 27: Detroit took advantage of two interceptions to score 17 points in the final 4:37.

Practice is the secret of Tendulkar’s durability • TENDULKAR, FROM 8B

is as if Mozart had lived to be 70, composing fresh works of greatness all the while. That Tendulkar, 37, retains his underlying genius was evident in the first innings at Centurion as India collapsed around him. Tendulkar was facing the most effective and aggressive pace pairing in world cricket — Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel of South Africa — in conditions that perfectly suited them. He did not merely cope, but scored more than a run a ball, producing a succession of breathtaking strokes.

In the second innings, when he reached his own landmark, he was battling for his team, desperately attempting to avert first defeat and then, when that became inevitable, the humiliation of losing by an innings. It was left to a South African, India Coach Gary Kirsten, to shed light on what is perhaps the secret to Tendulkar’s extraordinary durability: practice. Calling Tendulkar “the model of what an international cricketer should be,” Kirsten said, “I still reckon that I do more throwdowns to him every day

than any other member of the squad.” That comment brought to mind other great athletes who had nothing else to prove, yet still had the inner drive to take them to the next level. Like the golfer Gary Player, who when complimented on his good fortune said, “And you know, the more I practice, the luckier I get.” Joe DiMaggio explained his dedication to performing well every day by pointing out, “There might be some kid watching who has never seen me play before.” The 50th century is yet

another addition to the monument being built by the man who is almost surely the greatest living batsman. He plays in a batting order that also includes the man considered the world’s most explosively brilliant player, Virender Sehwag, and the man who most closely resembles the outcome should anyone ever succeed in constructing the ideal batsman from scratch, Rahul Dravid. Yet none of them, not even Tendulkar, is India’s most valuable player, in the sense of being the man it can do least without. The match in Centurion left little doubt

about who that is: the leftarm quick bowler Zaheer Khan. While South Africa’s pacemen made the pitch there look lethal, India’s equivalents, without the injured Zaheer, were ineffective and allowed the Proteas to pile up 620 runs for four wickets. With Zaheer, India will just about pass muster in bowling, his presence taking the pressure off the other players. His teammates benefit from the pressure that his speed and movement place on opposing batsmen. Without him, India is way short of what a No. 1 team needs.

Soccer and Blatter’s big year ends with a series of gaffes • SOCCER, FROM 8B

anti-corruption organization, called for the votes to be postponed, saying they lacked credibility. FIFA ignored such pleas and awarded in secret voting the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar (over the United States and others). Blatter, from Switzerland,

27PGB07.indd 7

reveled in taking the world’s biggest sporting event to Eastern Europe and the Middle East for the first time. But questions about the Qatar bid clouded the vote. Some officials suspected collusion between the Portgual/Spain bid for 2018 and the Qatar bid for 2022. Days after Qatar won the vote, Barcelona, which has avoided advertisements on

its jerseys, suddenly had a $200 million contract to promote the nonprofit Qatar Foundation. The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed former member of Qatar’s bid committee, reported that the Qatar soccer federation had been advised before the vote to make a $78.4 million payment to help the Argentine federation, which denied receiving such a payment.

As for Qatar’s summer temperature, which can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, a FIFA bid evaluation called this a potential health risk for players, but the executive committee apparently overlooked it. After some international officials complained, Blatter said he would support a winter World Cup. The weather would be 40 degrees cooler, but

this could disrupt European leagues. Then Blatter brought widespread criticism upon himself on a different front in suggesting that gay fans “should refrain from any sexual activities” during the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexual relations are illegal. He later apologized, but it was another in a series of gaffes.

With the comeback, the Lions (5-10) have won three consecutive games for the first time since 2007. The Dolphins (7-8), eliminated from the playoff race last week, finished 1-7 at home to match a franchise low. Trailing 24-14 with five minutes to go, the Lions forced a punt, and on the first play Jahvid Best turned a short pass from Shaun Hill into a 53-yard touchdown. Nathan Vasher’s interception set up a 47-yard field goal by Dave Rayner to tie the game with 2:44 remaining. Then came an interception by DeAndre Levy, who zigzagged 30 yards to the end zone for Detroit’s third score in less than 21/2 minutes.

NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Boston New York Philadelphia Toronto New Jersey

W L Pct GB 23 5 .821 — 18 12 .600 6 11 18 .379 121/2 10 19 .345 131/2 9 21 .300 15

Southeast Miami Atlanta Orlando Charlotte Washington

W 23 19 18 9 7

Central Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland

W L Pct GB 18 10 .643 — 13 14 .481 41/2 12 16 .429 6 10 19 .345 81/2 8 21 .276 101/2

L 9 12 12 19 20

Pct GB .719 — .613 31/2 .600 4 .321 12 .259 131/2

WESTERN CONFERENCE Southwest San Antonio Dallas New Orleans Houston Memphis

W L Pct GB 25 4 .862 — 23 5 .821 `11/2 17 12 .586 8 14 15 .483 11 12 17 .414 13

Northwest Utah Oklahoma City Denver Portland Minnesota

W L 21 9 21 10 16 12 15 15 6 24

Pacific L.A. Lakers Phoenix Golden State L.A. Clippers Sacramento

W L Pct GB 21 9 .700 — 13 15 .464 7 11 18 .379 91/2 8 22 .267 13 5 22 .185 141/2

Pct GB .700 — .677 1/2 .571 4 .500 6 .200 15

SATURDAY’S GAMES New York 103, Chicago 95 Orlando 86, Boston 78 Miami 96, L.A. Lakers 80 Oklahoma City 114, Denver 106 Golden State 109, Portland 102

12/27/2010 5:44:15 AM







Opponents’ timeout calls put heavy wait on kickers BY JUDY BATTISTA

New York Times Service

Pittsburgh for the division lead with one game left. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis promised Hillis would not repeat his 144-yard performance against Baltimore in Week 3, and the big back didn’t, rushing for 35 yards on 12 carries. McCoy threw three interceptions and the Browns (5-10) did nothing to help embattled coach Eric Mangini, who fell to 10-21 in two seasons and will await a postseason review by president Mike Holmgren. l Chiefs 34, Titans 14: Matt Cassel threw three touchdown passes and Eric Berry returned an interception 54 yards for another

Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes recalls almost nothing of the moment that, but for a lucky break a few minutes later, might have defined his career. The Green Bay Packers called a timeout right before he tried a field goal at the end of regulation of the NFC Championship game in the 2007-08 season. Tynes remembers that. And he recalls thinking he should have gone back to the sideline to try a few more practice kicks in the brutally cold weather. After that, it all goes blank, perhaps the best defense mechanism in a job where a short memory is as important as a strong leg. “I really didn’t remember they iced me until I saw a greatest games DVD,” Tynes said. “I just thought I was going to make the kick. But I didn’t. I guess I’m part of the statistic.” It turns out he was part of the statistic in another way. Tynes ended up beating the Packers and sending the Giants to Super Bowl XLII with an overtime field goal — before which Green Bay did not call a timeout. Icing, when a team calls a timeout before a field goal is attempted, has been a part of football since a coach first realized that kickers might be an eccentric lot. Some kickers dread it. The best ones ignore it. But a study published in September by a University of San Diego professor has delivered the worst news of all to kickers: Icing works. Really, really well. Nadav Goldschmied, an adjunct professor at the university’s psychology department, examined field goals over six seasons, 2002




SPRINTING AWAY: Danny Woodhead, center, of the New England Patriots runs against the Buffalo Bills at the Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. New England won 34-3.

NEW ENGLAND ROUTS BUFFALO BILLS TO CAPTURE 7TH STRAIGHT WIN ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — (AP) — The New England Patriots clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs Sunday thanks to Tom Brady’s three touchdown passes in a 34-3 rout over a familiar pushover, the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots (13-2) rolled to their seventh straight victory in winning the AFC East division and beating the Bills (4-11) for the 15th game in a row dating to 2003. New England is 20-1 in its past 21 meetings against Buffalo. Two of Brady’s TD passes went to rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski. Alge Crumpler and Danny Woodhead also scored for the Patriots, who forced seven turnovers. Brady finished 15 of 27 for

Soccer’s big year ends with a series of gaffes BY JERE LONGMAN

New York Times Service

It began as a celebrative year for Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, soccer’s world governing body. He took the World Cup to Africa for the first time, although many were sure that South Africa would fail as the host. As it turned out, Blatter, 74, was right. The stadiums were full, the South Africans were welcoming hosts and capable organizers, and fears of violence were unfounded. The problem with the end of Blatter’s year, though, is that FIFA has never adapted to the standards of transparency that govern many international entities. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, it is an insular body unregulated by any outside organization. And since his election in 1998, Blatter and other top FIFA officials have faced repeated charges of mismanagement and corruption. These charges resurfaced in the run-up to the December selection of host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Reporting by The Sunday Times of London resulted in the suspension of two of the 24 members of FIFA’s executive committee for expressing their willingness to sell their votes. A former FIFA executive also told the English newspaper that bidding countries were trading votes to try to enhance their chances. The BBC showed that three other members of the executive committee had accepted bribes from FIFA’s failed marketing arm in the form of kickbacks related to international television-rights fees; a fourth was accused of attempting but failing to sell $84,000 worth of tickets to the 2010 World Cup at a profit. Blatter and his cohort denied wrongdoing, but some, including Transparency International, an • TURN TO SOCCER, 7B

27PGB08.indd 8

140 yards and set the NFL record for most attempts (319) without an interception. He topped the mark set by Bernie Kosar in the 1990-91 seasons. l Rams 25, 49ers 17: Sam Bradford set an NFL record for completions in a rookie season and his first touchdown pass in four games gave St. Louis breathing room in its playoff quest. The Rams (7-8) need to win at Seattle next week to clinch their first playoff berth since 2004. Troy Smith was benched in the fourth quarter of a loss that eliminated the 49ers (5-10) from playoff consideration in the weak NFC West. Smith passed for 356 yards in the 49ers’ overtime victory over the Rams in Novem-

ber, but did not play the last two games. Ted Ginn Jr. scored on a 78-yard punt return for San Francisco, his fourth career touchdown return. James Hall had 11/2 sacks for a defense that sacked Troy Smith three times and Alex Smith once, plus got a safety when Troy Smith fumbled a poor shotgun snap in the end zone. l Ravens 20, Browns 10: Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes, Baltimore’s defense bottled up Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis, and the Ravens clinched their third straight playoff appearance. Ed Reed intercepted rookie Colt McCoy twice as the Ravens (11-4) stayed in contention for the AFC North title. They remain tied with

Confidence and trust fuel the Heat ISRAEL GUTIERREZ

t was the matter-of-factness of it all that shows you how far the Heat has come. The Heat just went into a game against the two-time defending champion Lakers, on their home floor, on Christmas Day, and methodically dissected Kobe Bryant and his cast of champions. A triple-double from LeBron James. An assertive 24 points and 13 rebounds from Chris Bosh. A stellar defensive effort from Dwyane Wade against Bryant. And it was about as ho-hum as it gets. This from a team that’s less than a month removed from a 9-8 start that had every single aspect of the team being questioned, the head coach being apparently hung out to dry and the players looking


very little like their former selves. Now — after a thorough 96-80 beating of the Lakers — there’s talk of absolute trust. There’s talk of a true identity. There’s an understanding of the franchise’s philosophy. The transformation has been nothing short of astounding. “You can get whiplash if you really follow [the media] and your opinions from game to game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the consistently changing judgments about his team. “It’s really just about us in the locker room and getting to our game. We’re building our identity.” Playing on one of the biggest stages the NBA has to offer, against the league’s glamour

DOMINATION: The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade dunks over Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom during the first half of their NBA game Saturday. Wade scored 18 points as Heat won 96-80.



India batsman tunes out troubles and sets a record BY HUW RICHARDS

New York Times Service

England dismisses Australia for 98

LONDON — Sachin Tendulkar’s MELBOURNE, Australia — 50th score of 100 or more in five(AP) — England took an iron day tests, achieved last week in grip on the Ashes by bowling out Centurion, South Africa, was more Australia for a record low score than just another landmark in a caof 98 and then scoring 157 withreer overflowing with them. out loss on Sunday’s opening day It was a significant moment of the fourth test. for cricket, a game that thinks in England can secure a success50s and 100s and applauds when ful Ashes defense by winning players reach those marks. this test at the Melbourne CrickUntil recently, it was unthinket Ground, and it would take an able that anyone would score as extraordinary turn of events to many as 50 centuries in tests. Tenprevent the tourists doing that dulkar not only met the old record, after a dominant first day. 34, set by his Indian compatriot Sent in by England captain Sunil Gavaskar, he smashed it. One Andrew Strauss, Australia was more, and he will have exceeded bundled out for its lowest ever the original mark by 50 percent. score against England at the It is not unthinkable that someMCG. All 10 wickets fell to catchbody may one day overtake Tenes behind the wicket as the hosts dulkar; his closest pursuers are failed to show the disciplined Ricky Ponting (39) and Jacques batting required on a seaming Kallis (38). pitch. It appears unlikely, barring some implausible explosion in the number of the matches or the emergence of another star that dulkar’s mark of 50 a truly special we will ever see the next step, moment. somebody scoring 100 centuTendulkar is a rare sporting ries in tests, and that makes Ten- marvel, a child prodigy who not

England’s opening pair put on a commanding performance, with Alastair Cook on 80 and Strauss on 64 at stumps. They showed the judiciousness and discipline that Australia’s batsmen so glaringly lacked. Australia’s score reached all kinds of lows: its lowest ever against England at the MCG (with the previous worst of 104 dating back to the first ever test, played in 1877); its lowest ever first innings at the MCG; the second time Australia had been bowled out for less than 100 in this calendar year; its lowest score on Australian soil since 1984; its lowest at the MCG since 1981; its lowest against England since 1968; and lowest against England in Australia since 1936.


LEGENDARY: India’s Sachin Tendulkar became the first batsman to reach 50 hundredslast week.

only fulfilled the awesome poten- that allowed him to maintain his tial he showed when he broke into top-level play later in his career. It India’s team at 16, but then demonstrated the desire and durability • TURN TO TENDULKAR, 7B

12/27/2010 5:22:46 AM


Edition, 27 the december the 2010

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