Neil Berger: “Another organization with a very special history going back to 1948, is Guide Dogs of America. GDOA was founded in large part by the International Association of Machinists, who continue to be the major supporter. When a member who had been blinded requested help from his union, they investigated, realized the limited number of dogs available, and started a new program, one of the first in Southern California. They have a great facility and welcome guests.”

Richard Stanford: “If you’re interested in the impact that a guide dog can have in the life of a blind person, I can’t recommend highly enough Emma and I, by Sheila Hocken. Sheila talks about her life with remarkable candor and focuses on the ways that Emma, her chocolate lab, changed it.”


From the Washington Post:

Battle on Teaching Evolution Sharpens
By Peter Slevin

WICHITA – Propelled by a polished strategy crafted by activists on America’s political right, a battle is intensifying across the nation over how students are taught about the origins of life. Policymakers in 19 states are weighing proposals that question the science of evolution.

. . . To fundamentalist Christians, [Southern Baptist minister Terry] Fox said, the fight to teach God’s role in creation is becoming the essential front in America’s culture war. The issue is on the agenda at every meeting of pastors he attends. If evolution’s boosters can be forced to back down, he said, the Christian right’s agenda will advance.

“If you believe God created that baby, it makes it a whole lot harder to get rid of that baby,” Fox said. “If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die.”


I can’t take credit for TiVo, having suggested it here so faintly three weeks ago at $3.70 you might almost have taken it as a sell recommendation. But if any of you were drawn to pick up a few shares, you noticed that they closed up 70% yesterday, which is better than a kick in the head. I’m holding mine – oink, oink – but not buying more. Having worked a deal with #1 cable company Comcast (which I am also holding), TiVo would appear to have, at the least, a modest new lease on life.


From the Asia Times Online, in part:

Dollar catching Asian flu
By Alan Boyd

SYDNEY – They may be telling a different story to money markets, but Asian central banks have been quietly switching their dollar holdings to regional currencies for at least three years, confirm global banking data. In a further, and so far the biggest, setback for the greenback’s status as the undisputed reserve currency, Japan on Thursday said it might diversify its holdings, though monetary chiefs later sought to play down the prospect. South Korea rattled currency traders with a similar announcement late last month, followed by a similar backtrack.

China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Hong Kong have already started a sell-off, despite a diplomatic show of solidarity for the greenback that is prudently designed to prevent a crisis of confidence in exchange systems. The likelihood is that much of this outflow will never return to US dollars as economic interdependence within East Asia and the widening shadow cast by China’s trading conglomerates are slowly transforming the traditional market structure.

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS), which acts as a bank for the world’s central banks, has just released a study showing that the ratio of dollar deposits held in Asian offshore reserves declined to 67% in September, down from 81% in the third quarter of 2001. India was the biggest seller, reducing its dollar assets from 68% of total reserves to just 43%. China, which directly links the yuan to the dollar and is under US pressure to allow a freer movement of its currency, trimmed the dollar share from 83% to 68%.

This shift conforms with global trends as central banks seek a buffer from the burgeoning US trade and budget deficits. A separate survey by European-based Central Banking Publications found that 29 of 65 nations surveyed were cutting back on the dollar and 39 were buying more euros. America’s annual budget deficit of US$500 billion [it is really $700 billion because we are borrowing $200 billion from the Social Security surplus as well – A.T.] is largely funded by Asian purchases of US government bonds, mostly from China and Japan. The US trade and current account deficits are in a similar plight: it took $530 billion of foreign capital to finance US imports in 2003 and $650 billion last year. Projections for 2005 range up to $800 billion.

Alan Boyd, now based in Sydney, has reported on Asia for more than two decades.
Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd.

And finally . . .


Why did the Bush team forbid cameras behind the President? Why was there a hump under his jacket? Why did he seem halting at times and why – specifically – did he say, “let me finish” at one point when no one seemed to be interrupting him?

Thoughtful reader Rick Boyd watched that first Bush/Kerry debate and challenged my memory on the “let me finish” mystery.

Having watched it again myself, I now agree my memory probably tricked me. Yes, he says, “let me finish” without having been interrupted, but – at least from what we can see here – he may simply have been reacting to some body language from Jim Lehrer.

You can watch for yourself here. (On the right, click the “More Campaign Multimedia” link under a blue banner that reads “More Election Coverage.” Search results appear, one of which – probably on the second page – is an October 1, 2004 Video Feature: “Campaign 2004: Presidential Debate Video.”) I couldn’t bear to watch the whole thing (“let me finish” comes about a minute into the “Taking Sides” chapter), so I asked the estimable Alan Light to watch for me. Here is his report:

The question that came to my mind over and over again was, is he pausing to think or to listen? I didn’t see any hard evidence, just suspicious moments. At one point, Bush is eager to say something in rebuttal to Kerry so Jim Lehrer says “OK, you can have 30 seconds” and then Bush just pauses and stares. If he was so eager to say something why didn’t it just come rushing out? So is he listening to something, or now trying to collect his thoughts in a more coherent manner before he speaks?

There is other suspicious circumstantial evidence. This article says that during a D-Day speech in France by Bush, television viewers reportedly heard a voice from a crossed frequency that was feeding lines to Bush during his speech and also during the question and answer period. But strictly from watching Bush speak, leaving aside the mysterious hump, [I see no real evidence that he was wired].

☞ It’s still very hard to credit the White House explanation of “bad tailoring.” But without the “let me finish” moment having been as damning as I had remembered, a better tone for my several comments on this would have been “arch” rather than “ranting.” Thanks, Rick. Henceforth I will rant about our $700 billion budget deficit and precarious currency.


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