Monday, December 31, 2007

Young adults most likely to use libraries

Click HERE to see the original article.

Generation Y biggest user of U.S. libraries
Sun Dec 30, 2007
powered by Sphere

WASHINGTON, Dec 30 (Reuters) - More than half of Americans visited a library in the past year with many of them drawn in by the computers rather than the books, according to a survey released on Sunday.

Of the 53 percent of U.S. adults who said they visited a library in 2007, the biggest users were young adults aged 18 to 30 in the tech-loving group known as Generation Y, the survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project said.

"These findings turn our thinking about libraries upside down," said Leigh Estabrook, a professor emerita at the University of Illinois and co-author of a report on the survey results.

"Internet use seems to create an information hunger and it is information-savvy young people who are most likely to visit libraries," she said.

Internet users were more than twice as likely to patronize libraries as non-Internet users, according to the survey.

More than two-thirds of library visitors in all age groups said they used computers while at the library.

Sixty-five percent of them looked up information on the Internet while 62 percent used computers to check into the library's resources.

Public libraries now offer virtual homework help, special gaming software programs, and some librarians even have created characters in the Second Life virtual world, Estabrook said. Libraries also remain a community hub or gathering place in many neighborhoods, she said.

The survey showed 62 percent of Generation Y respondents said they visited a public library in the past year, with a steady decline in usage according to age. Some 57 percent of adults aged 43 to 52 said they visited a library in 2007, followed by 46 percent of adults aged 53 to 61; 42 percent of adults aged 62 to 71; and just 32 percent of adults over 72.

"We were surprised by these findings, particularly in relation to Generation Y," said Lee Rainie, co-author of the study and director of the Pew project. In 1996 a survey by the Benton Foundation found young adults saw libraries becoming less relevant in the future.

"Scroll forward 10 years and their younger brothers and sisters are now the most avid library users," Rainie said.

The survey of 2,796 Americans was conducted by telephone from late June through early September and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. It was funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, an agency that offers federal support for U.S. libraries and museums.

(Reporting by Julie Vorman; Editing by Bill Trott)

((; +1 202 898 8467; Reuters Messaging: Keywords: INTERNET/LIBRARIES

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mike Novak, a modern Pharisee?

Christian commentator Mike Novak says his beliefs are "facts" and that only people who agree with him can lead good and just lives. Oh, and one other thing. He's more humble than people who don't believe in God.

I can't say that Mike sounds anything at all like Jesus of Nazareth. He seems to have forgotten the story of the good Samaritan, and the story of the humble publican and the boasting Pharisee.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tragedy, recklessness on all sides

Jury Convicts Black Man in Shooting Death of White Teen
Long Island Case Involved Questions of Race, Recklessness

Washington Post
By Frank Eltman
Associated Press
December 24, 2007

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. -- A black man who invoked images of lynch mobs in explaining why he killed a white teenager has been convicted of second-degree manslaughter because a jury rejected defense lawyers' arguments that his actions were justified.

Jurors reached a verdict Saturday night after four days of deliberations and an emotional three-week trial that flared around questions of race and recklessness.

The defendant, John White, raised the nation's history of racist violence in describing why he brandished a gun at a group of angry white teenagers who came to his house on Aug. 9, 2006. White ultimately shot Daniel Cicciaro, 17, in what he said was an accident but a prosecutor said was the result of poor judgment.

Saying White plans to appeal, defense lawyer Fred Brewington called the verdict "disappointing for African Americans" in the area.

"You have to survive in Suffolk County, where people can roll up on your house at 11:30 at night, threaten you, threaten your family, curse at you, call you a [N-word], and you've got to take it," he said.

But the slain teenager's mother, Joanne Cicciaro, said the case "was never about race. It was about individuals and individuals' actions."

White, 54, remains free on bail until sentencing, when he faces a prison term of five to 15 years. White was also convicted of a weapons-possession misdemeanor that carries a penalty of two to seven years in prison; it would probably run concurrently with the other sentence.

The verdict came after a 12-hour deliberation session in which jurors said they were deadlocked -- as they briefly had the day before. The judge told them about 8:15 p.m. Saturday to keep deliberating, and notice of the verdict came about 45 minutes later. Jurors declined to comment.

Outside the courtroom, the Cicciaro family's supporters chanted "Dan-O! Dan-O!" and honked their horns as they drove away. Several supporters had the teenager's nickname, "Dano Jr.," tattooed on their bodies.

"My son is finally vindicated," Joanne Cicciaro said. "The truth prevailed."

The shooting happened outside White's home in Miller Place, a predominantly white community on eastern Long Island. His 19-year-old son, Aaron, had awakened him around 11 p.m. to say that he had been feuding with other teenagers after being asked to leave a party and that several of them were headed to the Whites' house for a confrontation.

John White grabbed a shotgun, then opted for a pistol he had hidden in the garage. He and his son, who picked up the shotgun, went down the driveway to confront the group in the street.

"He wanted to stop these people who said they were coming to kill his son," Brewington said in closing arguments.

White contended that the gun fired accidentally when Cicciaro lunged for it.

Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney James Chalifoux said White should have locked the door and called police, rather than going outside to confront the unarmed teenagers with a gun.

Chalifoux also sought to play down the racial element, telling jurors that the Brooklyn-raised White never said anything about a lynch mob until the case went to trial. The prosecutor noted that the Ku Klux Klan attack on White's grandfather occurred 30 years before White was born.

He quoted White on the night he was arrested as telling police: "I did what I had to do. You might as well put the cuffs on now. This is the end of me."

After the verdict was read, Dan Cicciaro Sr. defended his son. "Maybe now they'll stop slinging my son's name and stop accusing him of all this racism," he said.

NY Juror Felt Pressured in Shooting Case

The Associated Press
Monday, December 24, 2007; 2:47 PM

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. -- A juror who helped convict a black man of fatally shooting a white teenager said he felt pressured by other jurors and the judge to change his vote to guilty during a marathon deliberating session.

The jury convicted John White of second-degree manslaughter Saturday in the August 2006 shooting of 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro Jr. White, 54, remains free on bail and plans to appeal. He faces a prison term of five to 15 years.

The case drew national attention after defense attorneys argued that he feared a "lynch mob" had come to attack his family when a group of angry white teenagers gathered outside his home. The teens wanted to confront White's son.

Juror Francois Larche, who is white, said he and another juror changed their votes after enduring "a lot of psychological tactics" from fellow jurors during an unusual weekend session ordered by the judge over jurors' protests.

"It was a huge burden to bear," Larche, 46, told the New York Post in Monday's editions. He added, "I took a lot of heat."

Jury forewoman Maureen Steigerwald denied the judge, a 12-hour deliberating session on Saturday _ the fourth day of deliberations _ or the holidays played a role in the jury's decision.

"The jury did a very careful, conscientious deliberate job," she told Newsday in Monday's editions.

Judge Barbara Kahn said the jury would have to return on Sunday if they didn't reach a decision. Larche told the Post the judge told them a mistrial would burden the families and the next jury.

"I thought about my family and the families of the other jurors," Larche said. "It was not worth it in the end."

A fine balance

We're a nation of Santas and Scrooges, the statistics tell us. A nation of opposites. Liberal and conservative, rich and poor, right and left, devout and debauched, anorexic and obese, educated and ignorant, honest and deceitful, greedy and generous.

It seems that the human race was designed to be constantly finding new ways to balance opposing tendencies. Maybe a leader who won't compromise is not the wisest leader in such a world.

U.S. Is Nation of Santas and Scrooges
By John Blake,CNN
Posted: 2007-12-25

Click here to see the original post.

Which statement is true?

Americans are some the most generous people on the planet. Or: Americans are some of the stingiest.

Both are correct.

America is a country of Santas and Scrooges -- it just depends on how you look at the numbers. Americans, it turns out, are as divided by their attitudes toward giving as they are by politics.

Some numbers hint at the divisions. Americans, for example, gave $8.4 billion to Hurricane Katrina and tsunami victims in 2005, according to The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Americans give more to private philanthropy than any other country, a Johns Hopkins University study concluded.

But during the same year as Katrina, the U.S. government gave 0.22 percent of its Gross National Income to foreign aid, ranking near the bottom -- 20th out of 22 -- of all Western nations, according to the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation, an international agency that measures international economic data. Norway and Sweden were the top two.

The truth is that Americans are generous when it comes to private aid, domestic or overseas. But the U.S. government is comparatively stingy when helping the poor, here and abroad.

The disparity is nothing new. It's a reflection of a political debate over the role of government in America that dates to the 18th century, scholars say. Americans have long clashed over what's the most effective way to help the poor -- through government or charity.

"America is firmly rooted in the idea of the rugged individual -- you do it on your own and you don't turn to the government for help," says Mark Robert Rank, author of "One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All."

This debate divides philanthropic leaders as well. Several philanthropic and poverty experts were recently asked about the role of charity versus government in helping the poor. They couldn't agree either.

Some say the most effective way to help the poor is through charity, or private sources. Their argument: Charities are cheaper and more efficient because they depend on volunteers and personal contact.

"Americans know they're not stingy people," says Carol Adelman, a director at the Hudson Institute, a private research center that champions charitable giving.

"They've always preferred working though private institutions," she says. "Private aid doesn't try to do it all for people. It also works more at the local level because it works more people-to-people."

Charities also transform the giver, not just the recipient, says Arthur Brooks, author of "Who Really Cares," a book that says that conservatives care more for the poor than liberals because they give more money to charity.

Brooks says studies show that people who volunteer and donate to charity are happier than people who simply write a check -- though that, too, has its benefits.

"You don't become a better person when you pay taxes but you do when you give," Brooks says. "When we're responsible for voluntarily taking care of private needs in this country, we are in control. We are empowered."

Yet others say that government does a better job of helping the poor because it has the economic and public policy clout to attack poverty's root causes.

Lester Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, says people often think that American's generous charitable donations compensate for any deficiency in government aid.

Charities just can't do as much for the poor because they don't have the economic muscle of the U.S. government, he says.

"There's such an enormous difference between the two that it's ludicrous to argue that one makes up for the other," Salamon says.

Besides, much of the money that goes to charity doesn't go directly to poor. It goes to administrative costs or other philanthropic endeavors that have little to do with feeding, clothing and housing the poor, he says.

"Most of the [charitable] money goes to places that aren't typically focused on the poor," Salamon says. "Only about 12 percent of our giving goes to the poor."

Rank, author of "One Nation, Underprivileged," says charities also aren't equipped to address the "structural failings" that cause poverty: the lack of affordable health care, the disappearance of manufacturing jobs and underfunded school districts.

Americans may love to give to the poor, but they don't do a good job of lifting people out of poverty, Rank said. He said America has the highest rate of poverty in the industrialized world, though it is the wealthiest nation.

The country's economic system is rigged against poor people no matter how hard some work, Rank says.

"We're playing a large-scale version of musical chairs," he says. "We have 10 people playing and only eight chairs available. We can say individual things like you need to be quicker, you need to listen to the music better, but we've set this up so that some people are going to lose out, regardless."

There's a place for donating to food pantries during the holiday season, Rank says, but people shouldn't stop there.

"We can't lose sight," Rank says, "of why people are turning to those food pantries in the first place."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why do some people grow up to be aggressive and malicious?

Click here to see the original post.

Why does our planet provide such a hard life for so many people? Because many people like to hold others down.

When people who are equals have encounters like the one described below, one wonders how the downtrodden can ever hope to catch a break.

from Mother Talkers blog
Rants and raves on modern motherhood

by Leslie
Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 10:35:30 AM PST
Dear Random Woman in the grocery store parking lot,

I know it was only a parking space.

Let me refresh your memory. The parking lot was so packed, that shoppers were being stalked by drivers who were waiting to park. You had one of those golden spaces right out front. In parking lot culture - you were the Queen. Remember, you were there with your husband and two daughters who must have been about 9 and 11? You only had a few bags left to unload from your cart. I stopped and waited for your space. I am sure you saw me put my directional on because our eyes met.

Leslie's diary :: ::
You had two choices: to hurry your family along and gracefully participate in this parking lot economics, or drag your feet and intentionally and methodically slow down progress. Predictably, and unfortunately for me, you opted for the latter. I saw it coming- it was as if my car blinker signaled your brain to move in slow motion. And then, what timing. Someone appeared out of nowhere from across the way, whom you hadn’t seen in a while (or at least you made it appear that way). You flagged her down to introduce to your whole family. You could really drag this out for a while now. You held me hostage, sort of. I know I was free to leave but the daunting line of hapless drivers was your ransom. Do you remember I rolled down my window and asked you nicely if you were leaving, reminding you that the traffic was like, excuse the pun, a parking lot??

Do you remember you acted surprised by the sound of my voice, but then assured me you were leaving? So I waited. Patiently. And then there was absolutely no correlation between your words and your actions. I noticed my fingers had started tapping the steering wheel, and I promise it wasn’t to the happy beat of my music from the car radio. I would have moved on if you told me that you wouldn’t be leaving - but you chose instead to play your version of a game of chicken. You knew as well as I did, that you couldn’t wait to get out of there - you probably couldn’t even stand this woman. You probably had a whole checklist of other errands to do before the holiday - oh yeah, the holiday, Christmas.

It’s also comforting to know that you found a mate with whom you share such common values. The game seemed so familiar to him and he played along so willingly. But your young daughters looked embarrassed. At one point, I thought I saw one of them even shrug helplessly at me.

Two young shoppers caught the gist of the scene when they saw my flashing blinker and the coffee klatch that had unfolded in front of me. They walked right up to my car and offered their space to me. With determination and kindness they quickly unloaded their cart and backed out and let me maneuver my car into the space. One of them even returned the cart while the other one moved the car. I hope your daughters were watching. Actually, YOU should hope they were watching so they could see that there actually are decent people in this world. They obviously aren’t going to be learning about decency from you.

I am writing now because I refrained from confronting you when I got out of my car. I didn’t even look at you. I was too embarrassed for your behavior and I was above the notion of becoming another story of crazy holiday parking lot incidents. Trust me, I had more than a few words to say to you.

I am perplexed by your blatantly selfish behavior. I am embarrassed for your children. I am infuriated by your rudeness. I am dumbfounded that any human being could feel so self-important. I am not sure who won our little game of chicken, and honestly, I could care. But I do know that I walked out of my car feeling like a winner because in the end I was touched by kindness. I would rather live in my world that embraces people like those two young girls than in your ridiculously selfish one. You, on the other hand, have to live with yourself everyday and to me, that seems pretty painful.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

When abused and neglected juveniles act out

Associated Press story:

Judge Faces Wrenching Choice: Long Prison Term or Another Chance for Teen in Fatal Stabbing

Judge Kenneth Biehn poses at his home in Inlet, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 10, 2007. Judge Biehn sentenced Kareem Watts, then 14, to a juvenile program called Alternative Rehabilitation Communities from the bench of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas in 2001.


(Associated Press) -- The boy before Judge Kenneth Biehn was quiet and withdrawn, an asthmatic whose mother used and sold crack cocaine and whose father was doing time for robbery. At just 14, Kareem Watts stood accused of his own, much more horrific crime: Stabbing to death a neighbor who disrespected his mother.

He had admitted to a psychologist, "I took the knife and stabbed her." So guilt was not in dispute.

The decision facing Judge Biehn was how this case would be handled.

He could allow this boy to be prosecuted and sentenced as an adult, likely meaning decades in prison _ or he could transfer the case to the juvenile system, where the teen would be confined and receive treatment but only until his 21st birthday, when he'd be released onto the streets a free man.

It was a question, really, of second chances. Judge Biehn had to determine whether this kid deserved one.

"The wrong decision in this case could be a fatal one ...," the prosecutor had argued.

It was the kind of tough call that judges and prosecutors across the country regularly confront when juveniles commit violent offenses: How to reconcile demands of "adult time for adult crime" when staring down from the bench at a baby-faced youngster like Kareem.

State laws typically set out criteria to weigh, such as the child's mental capacity, criminal history, likelihood of benefiting from treatment. And another factor: how best to serve the public interest and protect the community.

In the end, though, judges must rely on their own experience and instincts to make these very difficult choices _ decisions that can pay off, or one day come back to haunt them.


It happened on a Monday night, May 15, 2000. As laid out for Judge Biehn in testimony, police records and Kareem's own statements to mental health experts who examined him, Kareem had spent the afternoon hanging around his Morrisville, Pa., neighborhood, playing video games with friends and smoking pot and "wet," marijuana dipped in embalming fluid.

Around 9:30 p.m., he knocked on the door of neighbor Darlyne Jules' apartment to borrow her phone. He made a call, and Jules gave Kareem some money, telling the boy to have his mother buy her cigarettes. That's when the trouble began.

Kareem would later say he got angry because Jules owed his mother money and instead was shopping for smokes.

"I don't owe her (expletive)," he recalled the woman telling him.

They began to push and shove, and then Kareem saw a knife on a table.

From his bedroom upstairs, Jules' 7-year-old son, Allin, heard his mother screaming his name and pleading, "Get the cops!" When the boy ventured downstairs to check on her, he saw Kareem on top of his mother on the sofa, stabbing her over and over _ some 70 times, police would say.

The terrified child went back upstairs until morning, when he found his mother dead under a pile of clothes. Later that day, Allin Jules picked Kareem out of a crowd, telling police: "That's the boy who killed my mom."

At first, Kareem claimed he'd been home all night. But authorities found his DNA under the victim's fingernails. Jules' DNA was on a knife recovered from Kareem's apartment.

Just 13 at the time, Kareem became the youngest person in Bucks County, Pa., to be charged with first-degree murder. Under Pennsylvania law, juvenile murder defendants are automatically processed in the adult court system _ unless the defense seeks to transfer the case back to juvenile court.

Kareem's lawyer, Richard Fink, filed a motion for just such a transfer.

The prosecutor, Gary Gambardella, wasn't worried. "The heinous nature of the crime. The cover-up afterwards. The denial. They were all, to me, earmarks of someone who was acting as an adult," he said recently.

Fink, too, thought his motion was a long shot. As one friend said to him: "It's impossible, with that number of stab wounds, that anyone will ever have the courage to treat him as a juvenile."


Judge Biehn had never been one to agonize over his decisions, and he'd made plenty in more than two decades on the bench of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. In addition to hearing adult criminal cases, he was one of two county judges who presided over juvenile court.

His approach was to fashion rulings that not only fit the crime, but the kid. That might mean a lengthy prison term for one defendant and probation for another _ or, in the case of some teenagers who once trashed a house, sentencing them to build homes for Habitat for Humanity.

Only once in his career did a decision leave lingering thoughts of: Was I right?

A 17-year-old honor student had been accused by a 4-year-old of sexual assault. There was no physical evidence, only one child's word against another's, but the judge believed the defendant guilty. A year after Biehn sentenced him to a sexual offender program, the teen admitted his crime.

Although second-guessing wasn't Biehn's style, he never lost sight of the fact that his decisions had consequences. Some kids, he knew, could change in the juvenile system. Some, no matter what the system did, would remain a threat.

He wasn't sure which way Kareem Watts could go, when he entered his courtroom for the hearing on his transfer request early in 2001.

Testimony showed the boy had been born two months' premature after his mother abused cocaine and alcohol during her pregnancy. She had a $6-an-hour, part-time job as an assembly line employee for Estee Lauder. Kareem worked as a paperboy to help pay the rent. Still, they sometimes slept in crack houses or in the back of a car.

Angry at his mother's drug use and his father's absence, Kareem began acting out. At 7 years old, according to one psychologist's evaluation, Kareem started hitting himself. He once tried to jump out a window. When he was 9, he took a drug that caused him to hallucinate for days. At 11, he started using marijuana, huffing air freshener from aerosol cans and smoking "wet."

And there were voices. Kareem told defense psychologist Robert Strochak that he had been hearing voices for as long as he could remember, and Strochak concluded that the voices "were very much in control of him" when Kareem attacked Jules.

"They told me to do it. They made me," Kareem said, according to Strochak's evaluation. "They pumped all this stuff in my head like, `You're never going to be nothing' and `Look at your mom' and 'Where's your dad?' I closed my eyes and it took over."

Nevertheless, Kareem had never before exhibited severely violent behavior. He'd been disciplined three years earlier for bringing an unloaded pellet gun onto a school bus, but that was the extent of his record.

Biehn considered all of this, and the opinion of Strochak and a county psychologist, both of whom concluded that Kareem seemed treatable in the juvenile system.

Representatives from several adult and juvenile facilities testified about what type of confinement and services Kareem would receive in both systems. Each offered counseling, anger management, education.

The main difference was that in the adult system, the "treatment" component could end by age 18 and Kareem would be transferred to an adult prison to serve out his sentence. In the juvenile system, treatment could extend to age 21. But at that time, Kareem would be released, with no requirement to even report to a probation officer.

What could happen once Kareem turned 21? What if treatment didn't work? What if he were to kill again?

Prosecutor Gambardella hammered at those what-ifs, noting that Kareem "could be as bad as he is today or worse."

"The community is entitled to have a killer being supervised on parole, rather than a killer roaming unsupervised amongst us," he argued. "This is a risk we cannot take."

Biehn recognized that there were no guarantees. Kareem, he said during the hearing, is not "a finished product. No one would suggest that he is, and he may never be. ... No one knows."

By the last day of the proceeding, Biehn had put most of his findings in writing. When testimony was done, he took a 15-minute recess, then returned to the bench to read his decision into the record _ not his usual practice, but the judge wanted the victim's family and the public to hear how and why he'd come to the conclusion he did.

He outlined the facts of the case and spoke of Kareem's troubled background. He noted the boy's young age, his mental health problems, and his lack of criminal history. He reviewed the psychologists' findings and other testimony.

He then remarked that, in his view, the juvenile system offered far more treatment options and a "realistic opportunity for rehabilitation." Seven years' confinement, combined with treatment, "will provide the best opportunity to make it less likely he will commit an offense when he is ultimately released," he concluded. "That is in the public interest."

The judge ordered the case transferred back to juvenile court.

Within minutes, after attorneys reached an agreement that Kareem would enter the equivalent of a guilty plea, the boy stood and admitted killing Jules.

Before sentencing, Biehn asked the victim's family if they wanted to say anything about how the crime had affected them. They declined, although Jean Lubin, the father of Jules' three children, testified earlier: "The kids, their life will never be the same." Allin, he said, frequently had nightmares and feared Kareem might retaliate against him.

Kareem offered no apology, although Strochak had testified that the boy expressed remorse.

Judge Biehn then pronounced punishment: Kareem would spend the next seven years in a juvenile program called Alternative Rehabilitation Communities. The judge then turned to the boy.

"Kareem, I expect you to do a good job at ARC. Look at me," Biehn instructed. "Do you understand that?"

"Yes, your honor."

"Do everything you can so when you grow up ... you will be a responsible person. You will do your best to do that?"

"Yes, your Honor."

The system would have seven years to see that he did.


Kareem started out in a secure facility enclosed with barbed-wire fence. He lived in a 6-by-9 room with a bed, a dresser, a small window covered with bars and a 400-pound metal door that never was shut.

The schedule was strict: Classroom instruction from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., then an hour and a half of group counseling that might focus on drug and alcohol abuse or learning how to control and express feelings or building empathy toward victims. After dinner, there was another group meeting, then one-on-one therapy. He received anger management and other training.

Free time meant 15 minutes of exercise daily and, come Sundays, visiting with family or watching approved movies.

At least once a month, Kareem met with juvenile probation officer Bill Batty, who was skeptical in the beginning that this boy could succeed. His defensiveness was palpable. He shut down too easily, especially when the conversation turned to his mother.

Every six to nine months, Kareem also had to go before Judge Biehn, who reviewed his progress and could adjust the boy's rehabilitation plan. After 3 1/2 years at the secure facility, Biehn OK'd Kareem's transition to one of ARC's group homes.

There, the teen lived in a house with about a dozen other young men. He eventually enrolled in community college, and joined the basketball team. He was allowed some weekend visits with family.

There were setbacks. Kareem dropped some college courses without telling anyone and was given permission to attend a school dance, but when his date backed out he went with friends instead, without first getting approval from Batty.

At review hearings, Biehn scolded Kareem. He wondered at times: "Is this kid really ready to go out on his own?"

But there were signs of change, too. Not long after he was sent to ARC, Kareem began writing letters to the judge. They were short, his grammar poor. As the years passed, the letters got longer, his words more articulate. Once, he described an essay he had written about the poet Maya Angelou.

Batty also saw a transformation. Kareem began to open up and understand that his new life had to be different. He couldn't go back to the old neighborhood, or watch out for his mother when he needed to watch out for himself.

"It was a long haul," says Batty. "But then, he started to have some acceptance. And when he made mistakes, he always bounced back.

"He was put in the best position to succeed that I could have ever believed he'd be in. That's for sure."


Not long before his 21st birthday this past June, Kareem returned to Biehn's courtroom. Batty read his final report, and the judge deemed the case closed. Then Biehn stepped down from the bench and gave Kareem a hug.

He was free _ free to go, and as free of his past as a court and treatment could make him.

Today, Kareem works as a counselor assistant at ARC, helping troubled kids like himself. He was appointed by the governor's office to sit on a state juvenile justice and delinquency prevention committee.

He declined to be interviewed for this story; a psychologist at the facility explained that Kareem just wants to put the past behind him. But earlier this year, he told the Bucks County Courier Times: "I know I'm lucky, and I'm grateful. Not many people in my situation get a second chance."

Biehn retired not long after Kareem's case was closed, but he saw the young man again in November, when he visited ARC to accept an award for all his years of service. The judge and his wife had lunch with the once-scrawny boy who now stands tall and self-assured.

"He's got a beautiful smile," says Biehn.

While some question second-chance gambles like Biehn's, Kareem's former lawyer, Fink, called the decision courageous, and correct. In adult prison, Kareem "would've been the youngest, smallest person on the cell block. He would've rotted away," Fink says. "But I want to tell you, Kareem was fixed. This boy really turned his life around."

Others, like Gambardella and Batty, know that only time can truly tell whether that's true.

Says the prosecutor: "Look, I'm wrong sometimes. This is one of the times I hope I am."

The victim's family was never pleased with Biehn's decision. Following sentencing that day in 2001, a cousin of Jules told a reporter through tears, "It's not fair." Those feelings linger. Lubin did not return phone messages, but a woman identifying herself as his sister said of Kareem's release: "That's a damn shame. I didn't know they was gonna let him out that soon. The system _ that's the way it is, I guess."

Ron Sharp, a psychologist at ARC for 21 years, notes that three juveniles found guilty of homicide have successfully completed the program during his time there. Two of the three, including Kareem, work at ARC; the other helps out now and then.

"They're responsible, productive young men," he says, though he understands the inherent discomfort in allowing a killer to go free after only a handful of years.

"If it was my son who was murdered ... would I be able to accept that? I don't know," he says. "But you make decisions on an individual basis based on the knowledge you have at the time. Sometimes you're right. Sometimes you're wrong. It'd be nice if it was perfect."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Uninsured more likely to die of cancer: we need universal health care!


Uninsured More Likely to Die From Cancer Following Diagnosis
Report finds they're less likely to get screening tests, so have advanced disease
By Steven Reinberg
Posted 12/20/07

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- People diagnosed with cancer who don't have health insurance are more likely to die because they are less likely to get screening tests and so are typically diagnosed with advanced disease, a new study from the American Cancer Society finds.

The finding proffers strong evidence that differences in cancer survival are directly related to lack of access to health care.

"If you are uninsured, and you are diagnosed with cancer, you have a 60 percent greater chance of dying from cancer than if you were insured and diagnosed with cancer," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the cancer society.

"There is not a cohort of insured and a cohort of uninsured cancer patients that have the same five-year survival," Brawley added. "It's always the uninsured who do worse."

Part of the problem is that uninsured people don't have access to screenings, Brawley said. "But part of it is that uninsured people don't have access to the best doctors or have access to good doctors who are overwhelmed. The end result is the quality of care the poor folks get is not as good as the quality of care of the wealthier or the insured," he said.

There are also people who are underinsured, Brawley said. While these people have access to care, high co-pays and deductibles make the care unaffordable, particularly high-priced chemotherapy drugs, he noted.

"Where it becomes frightening and morally reprehensible is people who have significant pain and can't get narcotics and other pain medications they need, because they can't afford them," Brawley said.

People don't realize they are underinsured until after they have gotten sick, Brawley said. "There are a substantial number of Americans who don't realize they are a cancer diagnosis away from economic disaster," he noted.

The study, in the January/February issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, used data from the National Cancer Database, which is the only national registry that collects data on patient insurance.

The report is an overview of systems of health insurance in the United States. It has data on the association between health insurance, screening, stage at diagnosis, and survival for breast and colorectal cancer.

The link between access to care and cancer outcomes is particularly striking for cancers that can be prevented or found early by screening and for which there are effective treatments, including breast and colorectal cancer.

Only about 38.1 percent of uninsured women aged 40 to 64 have had a mammogram in the past two years, compared with 74.5 percent of insured women. In addition, 20 percent to 30 percent of uninsured women are diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, compared with 10 percent to 15 percent of women with private insurance, according to the study.

Uninsured women are less likely to be diagnosed with early breast cancer than women who are privately insured. This disparity was greatest among white women, where almost 50 percent of those with private insurance were diagnosed with early-stage cancer, compared with fewer than 35 percent of uninsured white women.

Moreover, 89 percent of insured white women were living five years after breast cancer diagnosis compared with 76 percent of uninsured white women. For black women, five-year survival rates are 81 percent for those with private insurance and 65 percent for uninsured women.

For men and women aged 50 to 64 who have private insurance, 48.3 percent were screened for colorectal cancer in the past 10 years compared with fewer than 18.8 percent of the uninsured.

In addition, uninsured patients are more likely than those with private insurance to be diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer and less likely to be diagnosed with stage I colorectal cancer, the researchers found.

For whites, 66 percent of insured patients survive colorectal cancer for five years, compared with 50 percent of those without insurance. For blacks, five-year survival rates are 41 percent among the uninsured compared with 60 percent among privately insured patients.

Additional findings in the study include:

Uninsured women were less likely to have a Pap test in the past three years than insured women (68 percent vs. 87.9 percent).
Among insured men, 37.1 percent had a prostate specific antigen test, compared with 14 percent of uninsured men.
People aged 18 to 24 have the highest probability of being uninsured.
Lower-income people are more likely to be uninsured.
Blacks, Hispanics, Asian American/Pacific Islanders, and American Indian/Alaska Natives are more likely to be uninsured than whites.
Of those without insurance, 53.6 percent have no usual source of health care.
The uninsured are more likely to delay care, not receive care, and not obtain prescription drugs because of costs.
Among people who saw a health-care provider, those without insurance were less likely to be advised to quit smoking or lose weight.
Brawley noted that while some of the uninsured qualify for Medicaid, coverage doesn't begin until the cancer has been diagnosed.

"You have someone who is uninsured and poor -- gets none of the screenings, gets none of the early detection opportunities -- when they finally go to the doctor, it's because they are so sick, they can no longer go to work, or their family is forcing them to go to the emergency room," Brawley said. "What you have is someone who a year ago we could, relatively cheaply, fix, maybe even cure, but now that they have ignored their symptoms, it's no longer fixable, we are going to treat them, but the treatment is going to be very expensive."

The remedy to the problem is "making sure that everyone who wants health insurance can get affordable health insurance," Brawley said. "In this country, we need to have an open conversation about this issue."

One expert thinks this study highlights the need for a health insurance program that covers everyone.

"Sadly, many Americans must face the challenges of cancer with no insurance coverage, or with Medicaid, which is often grossly inadequate as coverage," said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program.

For these cancer patients, diagnosis is delayed and survival is shortened, Woolhandler said. "We need nonprofit national health insurance to be sure that everyone gets the health care they need, particularly people with cancer."

For more on health insurance, visit Physicians for a National Health Program.

Copyright © 2007 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Three tiers of teacher licenses in Michigan

December 19, 2007
By Bess Keller

Tiered Licensing Systems Being Used by States to Help Teacher Quality

Michigan school leaders announced this fall that they were aiming for a wholesale redesign of a system that mostly gets minor adjustments from states: teacher licensing.

Schools chief Michael P. Flanagan has proposed going to a system with three, rather than the current two, tiers of licensing. Moreover, teachers would progress from level to level only by a performance assessment, not the more standard additional courses and workshops. The proposal is part of a sweeping attempt to jack up teacher quality in the Great Lakes State.

“We think we have to raise the bar on what teachers are expected to do and turn teaching into the profession it is,” said Sally Vaughn, the Michigan education department’s chief academic officer.

Michigan is not alone in its interest in three-level licensure. In the past few years, Delaware, New Mexico, and Wisconsin have made such a switch, though each with somewhat different aims...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why CTA should change its stance on merit pay

Julia Rosen started the following discussion on the Calitics website:

Nancy Pelosi and George Miller are getting it wrong: No on NCLB
by: Julia Rosen
Mon Sep 10, 2007

(full disclosure, CTA has hired me to work on blog outreach about NCLB)

The main flaws of NCLB have been known for years.

The program is woefully underfunded to the tune of a whopping $56 billion

It relies too heavily on one measurement of student achievement,: standardized testing.

...My sister is getting close to getting her teaching credential. How are we going to keep people like herself in the profession, when we are going backwards with this law? California needs to hire 100,000 teachers in the next ten years. The law would make it more difficult to hire and retain the teachers we need to improve California's schools.

The Democrats were elected to Congress with a mandate for change. NCLB was on their lists of things to fix. Why do we have a Bush Dog bill instead of a real bill? Are we saving gunpowder on this issue too?

We can't let the past repeat itself. This law is too important for the future of our public schools. Find out more on the NCLB page. And take action.

by: Julia Rosen @ Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 15:50:14 PM PDT

Do you know Pelosi and Miller's rationale on this issue?

When I saw that ad on DKos, I had two reactions. One was depression, because Pelosi and Miller were apparently on the wrong side. The other was depression because if we don't even have their votes to fix NCLB, it's hard to imagine where the votes will come from. (The GOP?)

Is there any constructive engagement going on with them to figure out what they could possibly be thinking and why, and what better approach they might support?

by: Major Danby @ Tue Sep 11, 2007 at 12:20:52 PM PDT

Thanks for Posting This (8.00 / 1)
I called B Lee's office (my rep) Pelosi & Miller. Miller's local staff took detailed notes on my comments. I told her Representative Miller has been great on a lot of issues, but that he is very misguided this time. I also suggested that he owes the parents, students and teachers in the West Contra County School District (in his Congressional District and one of the worst in the nation) a visit to listen to their concerns.

by: caligal @ Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 16:05:05 PM PDT

thanks so much for taking action!!

by: Julia Rosen @ Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 16:07:34 PM PDT

CTA limits reform, leaving few options

Julia, the way to keep your sister in the teaching profession is to:
1) Reward her with a salary commensurate to her ability and efforts; This won't be possible until CTA accepts that teachers do not all bring the same ability and effort to their jobs;
2) Take the politics out of schools, and institute a meritocracy;
3) Give below-average teachers less responsibility and less money than far-above-average teachers, instead of putting politically connected individuals in a position to force your sister to turn her back on the methods she knows are superior, and teach in lock-step with people who don't care where they are going, only that they go there in lock-step.

by: MauraLarkins @ Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 15:52:14 PM PST

Again, this sounds great
Take the politics out of schools, and institute a meritocracy;

Now the question is how is that done? This is a serious question, because a LOT of people say this, and what we get is endless standardized testing, which results in nothing but teaching to the test. I know a couple teachers, and that's what they're expected to do, which pretty much destroys any joy or creativity in teaching. Moreover, if they (for example) have a classroom of kids with bad chemistry, or below grade, or with poor English skills, how are they measured?

For that matter, how are they measured if they have a classroom of great kids? 20-30 kids is not a good sample size. 20-30 kids year over year is still not a good sample size.

The reality is that unless every kid is tracked individually for their entire classroom career, and all of their non-school environmental factors are also tracked, it is very very difficult to "institute a meritocracy". That's very difficult in any organization -- think about how many corporations get it so very wrong, even with millions of dollars of study and consulting going into that question. And with teaching, you have to have a standard clearer than "I know it when I see it" or you're just throwing the question back to politics.

by: jsw @ Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 16:14:14 PM PST

How to evaluate teachers

I agree that we'll never be able to completely eliminate politics from evaluation procedures, but we can do better than the current system, which serves no real purpose, since teachers are fired rarely, almost always for political reasons or moral turpitude.
But what if the evaluations had a purpose? What if we had a two-tier system, where teachers could advance to master-teacher status with double or triple pay?

I think that direct observation of how a teacher teaches is the most useful method of evaluation. Evaluators could be sent to schools where they had no political contacts. This would provide a wonderful education for the evaluators, and the observed teachers would get some unbiased feedback about their performance. Perhaps beginning teachers, and teachers who are making slow progress, could accompany master-teacher evaluators in order to learn more.

Master teachers could be responsible for several classrooms, where they would give instruction several hours a week, and guide the regular teachers in how to do instruction the rest of the time.

Stuent test scores should be used in evaluating teachers, but only as one part of the process. It might actually be more useful to test teachers. School districts could give standardized tests to teachers every few years, to make sure that teachers understand math, comprehend the written word, and are able to write and think effectively. Those who fail could go to summer school.

by: MauraLarkins @ Mon Dec 17, 2007 at 11:23:10 AM PST

Preuss School at UCSD does a good job at one thing

Vladimir Kogan wrote a great article today in Voice of San Diego explaining the truth about the Preuss charter school at UCSD. Students are more likely to go to college if they are picked to go to Preuss School.

"...What the university's own research tells us is that the Preuss School's most important work -- and this is indeed important -- has been in helping its students take the necessary classes that leave them qualified to apply to a University of California or California State University campus. It also requires all them to apply to college, and helps them submit winning applications.

"What it doesn't appear to do is make students any more prepared for standardized tests, or help them get better grades..."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Education reform: Quit pretending all teachers are equally good at teaching

The California Teachers Association is hurting our students, teachers and schools. Its failed one-size-fits-all approach to education ignores the huge differences between teachers. Parents and teachers know all teachers do not learn in the same way or at the same pace. Some of them are far, far behind in intelligence, education, and understanding of how kids learn. They should not have full responsibility for any classroom. Pay the good teachers double or triple what they're getting now, and put them in charge of several classrooms. Each master teacher should be deeply involved in several classrooms, guiding several beginning or slow-to-learn teachers.

Friday, December 14, 2007

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Director Rachel Teagle of the Children's Museum is swimming in cash

La Jolla Village News > Business
Children's Museum romps with $$
by Blake Jones
March 08, 2006

Fund-raising for The Children’s Museum/Museo de los Niños has picked up steam with $7.5 million in private donations received in January, as well as two new hires to bring more community money to the once troubled project.

Signing on as the capital campaign director, La Jollan Carolyn Clark will bring local expertise as a fund-raiser and nonprofit consultant. Clark’s resume includes serving as director of development for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego and on the board of directors at the Leukemia Society of America and the La Jolla Opera Guild.

Also new to the museum staff is cellist Jeffrey Levenson, who worked for the La Jolla Music Society, the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra and the Claremont Community School of Music before accepting his new title as director of development.

“[Clark] is an articulate, bright lady, very able to present the museum and understand what the museum is all about and be able to communicate that to the community,” said Kay Wagner, the museum’s executive director. “We are delighted to have [Clark and Levenson] and we really appreciate their experience.”

Both long-time San Diego residents will focus on acquiring additional funds needed to build the new 50,000-square-foot facility at First, Island and Front streets in downtown San Diego. The museum has pledged to match a $5 million donation from Joan and Irwin Jacobs in January with Clark’s community fund-raising.

An additional $2.5 million from two families was anonymously given at the same time, helping the museum toward its goal of completing the project debt-free.

Recent donations included, the museum has raised $21.5 million of an estimated $25 to $28 million project. Fund-raising has not been easy, but it is doable, Wagner said of the largely grassroots effort...

The San Diego Children's Museum is kicking out its public school, replacing the kids with La Jolla Country Day students

"When I read that director Rachel Teagle doesn't want a "Dora the Explorer" atmosphere at the Children's Museum, I wondered if she was using code to express her dislike of having a permanent group of kids underfoot. Why not make the school part of the exhibit, Ms. Teagle? I remember that the buses at the San Diego Zoo used to stop in front of my Roosevelt Junior High School physical education classes, and point out that the highest fences in the zoo were constructed to keep us teenagers on the other side. Perhaps the museum guide could ask visitors to contemplate the negative space of the classrooms, and the positive impact on the community of educated minds."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Special Education problems

Here are some interesting thoughts from Lowell J. Greenburg's website,

"...Why do I feel that there were significant barriers that prevented my aides and I from delivering the most effective instruction?

"A caseload (number of students), that throughout the school year was well above the legal caseload limit in California of twenty-eight students per RSP teacher. My caseload generally hovered around thirty-six. Note: Twenty-eight is the legal limit, not the desired or ideal number of students per RSP teacher. Further, all of my students were seen for a minimum of one hour per day, some for as many as two hours per day.

"For most of the year, to address the needs of thirty-six students, I was given only one instructional assistant who worked four hours per day.
I taught in an extremely noisy and distracting room environment that at times required students and staff to literally shout to be heard. This environment was not created by any group of RSP students, but rather by noise from the adjacent school library and four surrounding classrooms.

"An internal school policy resulted in an excessive number of students being academically screened and tested by the RSP teacher (over one-sixth of the student population!), in lieu of regular classroom instructional modifications. Parents were not invited to the screening meetings where the decision to formally test was made.
A teaching schedule so demanding, that it was impossible for me to even take a ten minute "lunch" break, without compromising the instructional needs of my students. Despite my best efforts, there were, on occasion, 20+ students and multiple grade levels within the RSP room during a given time period. And of course, as in the regular classroom, within the grade levels there was significant variation in abilities and academic need. Even though I was new to the RSP position, I was given only one two day Special Education related instructional course during the school year. I requested training in Project Read and other VAKT (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic and Tactile) programs, but my requests, not surprisingly, were ignored- as were my written pleas for additional instructional aides, etc.

"Besides adversely effecting instructional effectiveness, a partial result of items (1)-(6) included:

"The long and sometimes stressful hours compromised my health and general well being.

"Because at times my job resulted in the "physical impossibility" of completing certain tasks, I had to make difficult choices on whether to test new students or deliver quality and timely instruction on a given day. I often choose the later and because my paperwork was not always timely (though it was quite thorough), I was ridiculed and professionally attacked by the school psychologist, often in front of staff and parents. In my opinion, her verbally abusive behaviors were also caused by deep-seated insecurity stemming from her own substandard job performance. She exhibited behaviors such as: (1) Blaming/shifting responsibility for behavior; (2) Lying /fragmentation (appearing one way, but actually acting another way behind closed doors); (3) Assuming knowledge of what others were thinking; (4) Acting as if "above the rules" (including flouting state regulations regarding special education); (5) Promoting disharmony with others; (6) Vagueness and making frequent excuses for tardiness; (7) Power plays, including refusing to talk, walking out of a room while the other person is speaking, etc; and (8) Self-glorifying behavior/exhibiting a false sense of superiority.

"Because of my caseload size, the school district decided to give me another instructional aide in early April. The offer was conditional on my signing a waiver, indicating that I could effectively handle a caseload of thirty-two with the additional aide. The day I signed the waiver my caseload exceeded thirty-two and the District Pupil Services staff knew it! Many District teachers, in similar situations, refused to sign the waiver out of "principle." After much reflection, I signed the waiver so that my students could receive the help they needed. I was fortunate to have hired a wonderful, bright and creative instructional aide, which greatly helped me in the remaining three months of the school year. I had her work intensely, often one on one, with those students having the greatest needs.

"What happened to me is only a microcosm of what goes on throughout the country in RSP Special Education Programs. In addition to poor teaching conditions and excessive caseloads, pressures are put on programs that result in inferior instruction, incorrect student placements, lack of teacher accountability for student progress, etc.

"Parents must take an active role, not only during the IEP meeting were a child's instructional program is discussed, but also in the day to day workings of the school's programs. Parents should have a legal right to know, for example, if their child's RSP program is over the legal caseload limit, or if conditions for learning are not optimal. We need to insure that parents are informed. Parents need to understand that Special Education services, even under the best possible conditions, are not a magic bullet. Pullout programs need to be very carefully evaluated for effectiveness. Teachers should never be put in a position of jeopardizing their own health for the well being of their students. An excellent information resource for parents, students and professionals that deal with Special Education issues is the LD Online web site..."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Two kinds of teachers

How do we plan to deal with the problems of teacher quality and teacher culture?

Politics, not ability, usually determines which teachers speak for the profession. The fact is, there are many classrooms in which the teacher isn't going to do a good job no matter how small his or her class is.

I suggest putting a highly gifted master teacher in charge of THREE or FOUR classrooms. This teacher would be paid LOTS OF MONEY, in order to keep him or her from leaving the field of education, or to lure him or her away from a lucrative position in another profession. Each of this master teacher's classes would also have a full time teacher who reinforces lessons, and takes care of the class when the master teacher is out.

These regular teachers would be people who are still in the process of becoming master teachers, or who, perhaps, are good with children and reliable, but do not possess the gifts necessary for achieving true mastery. These teachers would be paid significantly less than the expert teacher.

Some of the master teachers could be part-time teachers. These part-timers could hold other, more lucrative, jobs at the same time that they raise the quality of teaching in our classrooms.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dyslexia an advantage in business?

Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia

New York Times
Published: December 6, 2007
It has long been known that dyslexics are drawn to running their own businesses, where they can get around their weaknesses in reading and writing and play on their strengths. But a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought.

The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed — 35 percent — identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than nondyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

The study was based on a survey of 139 business owners in a wide range of fields across the United States. Professor Logan called the number who said they were dyslexic “staggering,” and said it was significantly higher than the 20 percent of British entrepreneurs who said they were dyslexic in a poll she conducted in 2001.

She attributed the greater share in the United States to earlier and more effective intervention by American schools to help dyslexic students deal with their learning problems. Approximately 10 percent of Americans are believed to have dyslexia, experts say.

One reason that dyslexics are drawn to entrepreneurship, Professor Logan said, is that strategies they have used since childhood to offset their weaknesses in written communication and organizational ability — identifying trustworthy people and handing over major responsibilities to them — can be applied to businesses.

“The willingness to delegate authority gives them a significant advantage over nondyslexic entrepreneurs, who tend to view their business as their baby and like to be in total control,” she said.

William J. Dennis Jr., senior research fellow at the Research Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group in Washington, said the study’s results “fit into the pattern of what we know about small-business owners.”

“Entrepreneurs are hands-on people who push a minimum of paper, do lots of stuff orally instead of reading and writing, and delegate authority, all of which suggests a high verbal facility,” Mr. Dennis said. “Compare that with corporate managers who read, read, read.”

Indeed, according to Professor Logan, only 1 percent of corporate managers in the United States have dyslexia.

Much has been written about the link between dyslexia and entrepreneurial success. Fortune Magazine, for example, ran a cover story five years ago about dyslexic business leaders, including Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways; Charles R. Schwab, founder of the discount brokerage firm that bears his name; John T. Chambers, chief executive of Cisco; and Paul Orfalea, founder of the Kinko’s copy chain.

Similarly, Rosalie P. Fink, a professor at Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., wrote a paper in 1998 on 60 highly accomplished people with dyslexia.

But Professor Logan said hers was the first study that she knew of that tried to measure the percentage of entrepreneurs who have dyslexia. Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation, which financed the research, agreed. He said the findings were surprising but, he said, there was no previous baseline to measure it against.

Emerson Dickman , president of the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore and a lawyer in Maywood, N.J., said the study’s findings “just make sense.”

“Individuals who have difficulty reading and writing tend to deploy other strengths,” Mr. Dickman, who has dyslexia, said. “They rely on mentors, and as a result, become very good at reading other people and delegating duties to them. They become adept at using visual strengths to solve problems.”

Mr. Orfalea, 60, who left Kinko’s — now FedEx Kinko’s — seven years ago, and who now dabbles in a hodgepodge of business undertakings, is almost proud of having dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“I get bored easily, and that is a great motivator,” he said. “I think everybody should have dyslexia and A.D.D.”

He attributes his success to his difficulty with reading and writing because it forced him to master verbal communication.

“I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence as a kid,” he said. “And that is for the good. If you have a healthy dose of rejection in your life, you are going to have to figure out how to do it your way.”

He said his biggest advantage was his realization that because of his many inadequacies, he had to delegate important tasks to subordinates. “My motto is: Anybody else can do anything better than me,” he said.

Danny Kessler, 26, also has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Mr. Kessler founded Angels with Attitude, which holds seminars for women on self-defense. He is a co-founder of Club E Network (, which sponsors “networking events,” runs an online chat room for entrepreneurs and produces television shows about them.

Like Mr. Orfalea, he said he had low self-esteem as a child, and now views that as a catapult into the entrepreneurial world. “I told myself I would never be a lawyer or a doctor,” he said. “But I wanted to make a lot of money. And I knew business was the only way I was going to do it.”

In high school, Mr. Kessler said, “I became cool with the teachers. I developed a rapport with them. I was able to convince almost all of them to nudge my grade up just a bit. I adopted a strategy for squeezing through the system.”

As for the importance of entrusting tasks to others, Mr. Kessler says his limitations have endowed him with a “razor sharp” intuition that allows him to ascertain within minutes of meeting people whether he can depend on them and what they would be good at in an organization.

Drew Devitt, 45, who also has dyslexia, said he started Thoughtware Products in college to produce videos for real estate brokers. Today, he runs a successful $9 million company in Aston, Pa., called New Way Air Bearings that makes bearings for precision machine tools.

Asked about mentors, Mr. Devitt ticks off a list, and it is a long one, beginning with his parents, who sold imported bearing materials out of their home.

Indirectly, he confirmed that he gives free rein to his deputies. Asked about the claim on his company’s Web site that it is a “market leader,” he sighed. “That’s not something I would say,” he said. “Actually, it’s baloney. But that’s what our marketing people came up with. You can’t do everything. You have to let people do their job.”

Friday, December 07, 2007

Stem cells cure sickle-cell anemia

Scientists Cure Mice Of Sickle Cell Using Stem Cell Technique
New Approach Is From Skin, Not Embryos

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 7, 2007

Using a recently developed technique for turning skin cells into stem cells, scientists have cured mice of sickle cell anemia -- the first direct proof that the easily obtained cells can reverse an inherited, potentially fatal disease.

"All the progress in this field was only possible because we had embryonic stem cells to work with first," said Rudolf Jaenisch, who led the new study. (By Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)

But researchers also cautioned that aspects of the new approach will have to be changed before it can be tried in human patients. Most important, the technique depends on the use of gene-altered viruses that have the potential to trigger tumor growth.

"The big issue is how to replace these viruses," said Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., who led the new work with co-worker Jacob Hanna and Tim M. Townes of the University of Alabama Schools of Medicine and Dentistry in Birmingham.

"Induced pluripotent stem," or iPS, cells, are virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. They can morph into all of the more than 200 cell types in the body but are derived from skin, not from embryos. Mouse iPS cells were first derived earlier this year, and scientists reported last month to great fanfare that they had created similar cells from human skin.

The new experiment started with the removal of a few skin cells from the tail tips of mice sick with sickle cell anemia, which can cause painful circulatory problems, kidney failure and strokes.

The researchers converted those skin cells into iPS cells by infecting them with viruses engineered to change the cells' gene activity so they would resemble embryonic cells.

Using DNA splicing techniques in those cells, the researchers then snipped out the small mutated stretches of DNA that cause sickle cell disease and filled those gaps with bits of DNA bearing the proper genetic code.

Next, the researchers treated the corrected iPS cells with another kind of virus -- this time one designed to induce a genetic change that encouraged the cells to mature into bone marrow cells.

Finally, each mouse that gave up a few skin cells at the beginning of the experiment was given an infusion with the corrected marrow cells created from its own skin cells. Those cells set up permanent residence in the animals' bones and began producing blood cells -- the major function of marrow cells -- and releasing them by the millions into the circulatory system.

People with sickle cell disease can be cured with bone marrow transplants, but only about 20 percent of patients have a healthy sibling whose tissue type is a close enough match to avoid immunological complications, Townes said. Even in those cases, about 20 percent of the transplants fail, and sometimes they result in a potentially deadly reaction called graft-vs.-host disease.

Those problems do not arise with iPS cell transplants because the cells are genetically identical to the animals getting them.

"These are not just matched, they're identical," Townes said.

Even a 20 percent marrow substitution can be therapeutic in people, Townes said, in part because healthy red blood cells live for about four months in the circulatory system, while their diseased counterparts last only 40 days.

"I think it is a really exciting proof-of-principle that clinical applications of iPS cells are technically feasible," said George Q. Daley, a stem cell researcher at Children's Hospital Boston. "There will be lots of unanticipated setbacks before we end up in the clinic, but this work suggests that we will ultimately get there."

Jaenisch said the success with iPS cells does not mean that research on human embryonic stem cells can be dropped, as some opponents of the work have asserted.

"All the progress in this field was only possible because we had embryonic stem cells to work with first," Jaenisch said. "We need to make more ES cells and really define which are going to be the best ones for different applications."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Thank you Dennis Quaid, for acting to protect everyone

Dennis Quaid and Wife Sue Drug Maker
Dec. 4, 2007
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dennis Quaid and his wife sued the makers of heparin Tuesday after their newborn twins were inadvertently given massive doses of the blood thinner at a hospital.

The product liability lawsuit, filed in Chicago, seeks more than $50,000 in damages. It claims that Baxter Healthcare Corp., based in Deerfield, Ill., was negligent in packaging different doses of the product in similar vials with blue backgrounds. The lawsuit also says the company should have recalled the large-dosage vials after overdoses killed three children at an Indianapolis hospital last year...

It's not just incompetent's cardiologists, too!

Washington Post

Health Highlights: Dec. 4, 2007

...Many U.S. Doctors Don't Report Colleagues: Study

While 96 percent of American doctors believe they should report incompetent or impaired colleagues, only 55 percent of those with direct personal knowledge of such doctors always did so in the previous three years, according to a survey of 1,662 doctors conducted between November 2003 and June 2004.

The survey also found that 93 percent of respondents said doctors should always alert authorities when they see other doctors make serious medical errors, but only 54 percent said they always did so in the previous three years,USA Todayreported.

The findings appear in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The survey of cardiologists, family physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists and pediatricians found that cardiologists were least likely to say they always reported a serious medical error. Cardiologists and family doctors were least likely to report an impaired or incompetent colleague,USA Todayreported.

"The intent of the paper was not to criticize but to highlight the areas for improvement," said senior author David Blumenthal, a Harvard internist who directs Massachusetts General Hospital's Institute for Health Policy...

Dora the Explorer has been expelled from the Children's Museum

Crowds are flocking to the long-running performance art presentation that has been playing at the Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego. The director and her board haven’t given the production an official name, but I’m rooting for “Night in the Museum II: Class War.”

On November 30, 2007, the board voted to keep out the public-school children currently attending the Children’s Museum School, in favor of private-school children who will be attending less than full time, and visitors who will be allowed in for short periods.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Once considered an affliction of the lazy and indulgent, obesity now affects about one-third of Americans

Here are some quotes from an article on

America's Most Obese Cities
Rebecca Ruiz

We are heavier than ever. Once considered an affliction of the lazy and indulgent, obesity now affects about one-third of Americans.

To determine which cities were the most obese, Forbes looked at 2006 data on body mass index, or BMI, collected by the Centers for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Andrews identified five ways cities could specifically address childhood obesity, as well as larger community health issues. These included improving public space and utilizing parks and recreation areas to encourage physical activity, as well as pursuing healthy food alternatives through community gardens and farmer's markets.

1. Memphis, Tenn.: 34%
2. Birmingham, Ala.: 31.3%
3. San Antonio, Texas: 31.1%
4. Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.: 30.8%
5. Detroit: 30.4%*
6. Jacksonville, Fla.: 29.8%
7. Nashville, Tenn.: 28.8%
8. Oklahoma City: 27.5%
9. Kansas City, Mo.: 26.9%
10. San Diego, Calif.: 26.7%
11. Cincinnatti 26.3%
12. Indianapolis: 26%
13. (Tie) Baltimore: 25.8%
13. (Tie) New Orleans: 25.8%
13. (Tie) Virginia Beach, Va.: 25.8%
16 Atlanta, Georgia
17. (Tie) Milwaukee: 25.4%
17. (Tie) Richmond, Va
19. (Tie) Austin, Texas
19. (Tie) Las Vegas

"More cities are becoming aware of [obesity] and looking to play a role in improving the situation," Andrews says. He also pointed out that city leaders often preferred to follow a successful example as opposed to chart a new course: "They definitely want to be the second, but may not want to be the first," he says. Regardless, it's clear that rising rates of childhood obesity--17% of children and adolescents ages 12 to 19 are overweight--has prompted cities like Birmingham, Ala., San Diego and Richmond, Va., all on our list, to become more proactive in terms of obesity prevention.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sometimes a teacher just can't win

CNN reports:

LONDON, England (CNN) -- UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that officials were working to secure the early release of a British teacher who faces being whipped in Sudan after she allowed her class to name a teddy bear "Mohammed."

Gillian Gibbons, 54, was arrested Sunday after she asked her class of seven-year-olds to come up with a name for the toy as part of a school project, her head teacher told CNN.

Robert Boulos, the head of Unity High School in the capital Khartoum, said naming the teddy bear was "a totally innocent mistake" and that Gibbons had never intended to cause offense.

He said Gibbons had asked the children to pick their favorite name for the new class mascot, which she was using to aid lessons about animals and their habitats.

Classmates took turns taking the teddy bear home with them, accompanied by a diary with the bear's name written in the front of it, Boulos said.

"All this is a very sensitive area. I asked her (Gibbons) why she had done it and she said she didn't chose the name, the children did," Boulos told CNN.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday he was "very sorry" about Gibbons' arrest and that the British embassy in Khartoum was "giving all appropriate consular assistance to her."

He said all efforts were being taken to ensure her early release and that government officials were in touch with the teacher's family in the northern British city of Liverpool.

The school teacher has been accused of blasphemy and is being held by police in Khartoum, Kirsty Saunders, British Foreign Office spokeswoman told CNN.

Although there is no ban in the Koran on images of Allah or the Prophet Mohammed, likenesses are considered highly offensive by Muslims.

Parents of students at the school informed the authorities and Gibbons was taken into custody Sunday, Saunders said.

So far Gibbons has yet to be charged with any offense, however, under Sudanese law, insulting Islam is punishable with 40 lashes, a jail term of up to six months or a fine, she said.

However, a Sudanese official told CNN that if police decided that Gibbons had acted in good faith, she would most likely be spared punishment.

"If the intentions are good, definitely she will be absolved and will be cautioned not to repeat this thing again," Mutrif Siddig, Sudan's under secretary for foreign affairs, said.

He added: "To give the name of Mohammed to this teddy bear, it was considered as insult by some parents. And this school is mixed. It is not all Christian students."

Saunders said that under Sudan's laws a person can be held for no more than 24 hours without charge.

Asked if British authorities were concerned that Gibbons had been held for longer than that time, she said "we are happy that all the correct procedures are being followed."

A Sudanese police source said officials had not finished questioning the teacher, who is being held at a facility of Sudan's criminal investigations directorate on the outskirts of Khartoum.

A representative for her two grown up children -- her daughter Jessica and son John -- told CNN they wished to be left alone until their mother was released.

Gibbons had been working at the school -- popular with wealthy Sudanese and expatriates -- since August, after leaving her position as deputy headteacher at a primary school in Liverpool this summer.

On her entry on the social networking Web site MySpace, Gibbons wrote: "I am a teacher in a school in Khartoum, in Sudan. I like to make the most out of life."

According to the entry, she said her passion was travel and she was hoping to make the most of her time in Sudan by visiting nearby countries.

Gibbons was recruited to work in Sudan by QTS Worldwide, an education consultancy based in the northern county of West Yorkshire.

Eric Liddell, who runs QTS, refused to comment on the incident but said that he had spoken to members of the Unity High School staff, who were hopeful that the British teacher would be released.

Separately, CNN contacted a member of staff, who confirmed the school had been shut down temporarily as a result of the incident involving Gibbons. He refused to give his name and said no other members of staff were available.

He said the school may open again soon, possibly as early as tomorrow.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

American monkeys are so sweet

from Yahoo news:

Thieving monkeys 'out of control' in northeast India
Sat Nov 17, 2007

GUWAHATI, India (AFP) - Troupes of monkeys are out of control in India's northeast, stealing mobile phones and breaking into homes to steal soft drinks from refrigerators, lawmakers in the region have complained.

"Monkeys are wreaking havoc in my constituency by taking away mobile phones, toothpastes, sipping coke after opening the refrigerators," Hiren Das told Assam state's assembly.

He said the primates were "even slapping women who try to chase them".

"It is a cause of serious concern in my area, with more than 1,000 such simians turning aggressive by the day," fumed Goneswar Das, another legislator representing Raha in eastern Assam.

Assam's wildlife minister, Rockybul Hussain, said the state government has formed a panel to study the problem.

Because of shrinking forest cover, monkeys have increasingly moved into cities elsewhere in India as well.

Last week, around two dozen people were hurt after monkeys rampaged through a New Delhi neighbourhood.

Last month, the deputy mayor of Delhi died when he fell from his balcony after being attacked by monkeys.

Efforts to drive out the animals is complicated by the fact that devout Hindus view them as an incarnation of Hanuman, the monkey god who symbolises strength.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Conservatives, liberals and the anterior cingulate cortex

Can you withhold your habitual response when it's necessary? Then your anterior cingulate cortex is in good working order.

When human beings find themselves at a dead end, their anterior cingulate cortex tells them that they need to change course. Or at least that's what it should do.

But in some people, this part of the brain is less sensitive, causing these individuals to ignore new information.

43 college students were hooked up to electroencephalographs and given a button to press when a computer flashed the letter M. They weren't supposed to press the button when the computer flashed W.

The computer usually showed M, so the subjects got in the habit of pressing the button. It turned out that some people just can't let go of a habit, even when the situation calls for them to change course.

Those who did best on the test had the most electrical activity in their brains when the "No Go" cues were presented, according to researcher David Amodio.

Some people, it seems, will just keep on doing the same thing, even when they are receiving information that tells them they aren't getting anywhere.

Students who had identified themselves as most liberal were the most accurate in pressing the button, and had the most electrical activity in their brains.

See articles:
Los Angeles Times
September 10, 2007,0,5982337.story?coll=la-home-center

Chicago Tribune
September 10, 2007,1,6328755.story

All this makes me wonder how it would have changed history if George W. Bush had a more sensitive anterior cingulate cortex.

We all remember having teachers like this

I read in Voice of San Diego today about two teachers in Dulzura, and two students who lost their home in the Harris fire last month.

I never met these teachers, but I am sadly familiar with their attitudes. Rigidity and lack of imagination are part of teacher culture.

The creative teachers that you hear so much about have to work within a rigid framework, or they have to swim against the current. Often, they are pushed out of education by the teachers (including administrators who are former teachers) who dominate school politics. Teacher culture demands unity and conformity.

Anyone who tries to change, to improve, is a threat to the status quo. Schools might talk about reform, but they can't tolerate real change. The power structure won't permit it.

Some teachers are very kind, and gifted at communicating with children, but they are not courageous in challenging the broken education system.

I suggest a two-tier teaching system. We need the rigid, unimaginative teachers, because they perform a valuable service. They get certain things done. And they'll work for teacher pay.

We also need a higher-paid tier of teachers working with the regular teachers, not as mentors, but IN THE CLASSROOM. I suggest one master teacher for every three regular teachers. The master teacher spends one-third of his or her time in each classroom, and is responsible for the children's progress. The regular teacher is responsible for reinforcing and re-teaching lessons, and many other tasks that are part of the school day.

Here is the story by Will Carless:

I just got off the phone with Troy Morrison, a parent of two eighth-graders at Oak Grove Middle School in Dulzura, in East County. Morrison and his family lost their home when the Harris Fire consumed their community. He said the family is currently living in a hotel.

Troy said his children and other children at the school have been struggling because the school district has not reduced the amount of homework they have to complete, despite their current circumstances. Many of the students are living in hotels or trailers, Troy said, and the school district should recognize that by reducing their workload.

He said he expects a lot of parents to show up at a school board meeting tonight to complain about the toll homework is taking on their children.

Morrison also told me that on their first day back to school after the wildfires consumed their home and most of their possessions, his son and daughter, 14-year-old Marissa Morrison and 12-year-old Justin Morrison were given assignments that didn’t sit too well with them: Justin was asked in an art class to paint a picture of firefighters saving his home. Marissa was asked to write a thank-you letter to the local firefighters.

Marissa refused, Troy Morrison told me. She’s been around firefighting all her life, he said, and she knows it wasn’t the firefighters’ fault that their home burned. Troy is a former volunteer firefighter. Still, Troy said, she didn’t feel comfortable writing a thank-you note for something that didn’t happen, so she refused to complete the assignment.

Troy said his daughter’s teacher told her she didn’t have a choice.

"They literally told her 'You will do the assignment,'" Troy said.

Meanwhile, in an arts class, Justin Morrison was asked to paint a picture of the firefighters saving his house, Troy told me. Again, his son refused, Troy said, but was again "forced" to complete the assignment. Troy said his son painted the burned-out shell of a home instead.

When Troy heard about the assignments and the actions of the teachers, he said, he was outraged. He called the school’s principal and told her he wanted to meet up. Then he went and met with the principal, who was very sympathetic and apologetic, he said. Troy asked the principal to get the teachers to write letters of apology to his children.

But now, a few days later, Troy said he’s still waiting for those letters. He’s also contacted the head of the local school district, he said, and he plans to air his complaints at the meeting at the school tonight.

"If the teachers aren’t with it enough to hold it together for the students, they shouldn’t be there," Troy said.

November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

What does Stanford-educated Rachel Teagle have against ordinary kids?

The new director of the San Diego Children's Museum wants to switch the focus of the museum from kids to art. Have you ever been to a party where everyone is talking about art? Apparently Rachel Teagle wants to create the elementary school version of that kind of party, and is adamant that Dora the Explorer not be invited.

My suspicion is that Ms. Teagle spent too many years at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, and now that she has two babies, she has convinced herself that what the world needs is for her to continue what she's been doing, and pretend that it's exactly what young children need.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Exit exam worsens high school dropout problem

Thanks to Emily Alpert of Voice of San Diego for pointing out this article in Education Week:

California Dropouts Spike in First Year of Exit Exam
Published Online: November 8, 2007
Education Week
By The Associated Press
Sacramento, Calif.

The number of California high school dropouts spiked in 2006, the first year seniors were required to pass an exit exam to graduate, according to a report presented Wednesday to the state Board of Education.

The analysis found that 24,000 high school seniors dropped out in 2006, about 10,000 more than just four years earlier.

The information could give ammunition to lawmakers and others who have criticized the exam, as well as those who have lobbied for alternative assessments.

The firm that prepared the report, Human Resources Research Organization of Alexandria, Va., made several recommendations to the board, including a suggestion that California explore other ways for high school seniors to demonstrate proficiency. In Massachusetts and Washington state, for example, students can be judged on a portfolio of their high school work.

Jack O'Connell, superintendent of public instruction, has consistently opposed such an option. His chief deputy, Gavin Payne, told the board that the superintendent thought all but one of the recommendations were "extremely good."

The report's findings validate the argument that the test is hardest on students who do not have access to good schools or good teachers, said Liz Guillen, director of legislative and community affairs for the nonprofit law firm Public Advocates. That applies mostly to poor and minority students, she said.

Public Advocates sued the state over the exam and sought alternatives.

The report also highlights California's persistent achievement gap and found an even more worrisome problem: Students who are black, Hispanic, poor or learning English did even worse when they were in schools with high concentrations of similar students...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Inquisitive or Inquisitor?

There are two kinds of teachers-the inquisitive ones, and the inquisitors. Which kind does your child have?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Julia Alvarez describes how NOT to teach

There are two kinds of teachers, the nurturers and the controllers.

Generally, the controllers oppress not only students, but other teachers. Schools will improve greatly when we help these people calm down and appreciate the joy of seeing young minds expand, instead of wallowing in the unhealthy pleasure they take in limiting other human beings.

Toward the end of the clever novel, "How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents," author Julia Alvarez describes the experience of Sandi, a gifted child who is attending her first art lesson:

Doña Charito demonstrated with her brush. "The first step, one must check the bristles for the correct alignment." Doña Charito dipped her brush into a jar of water and made all manner of finicky, tidying up, tapping noises on the brim, like a nursemaid spooning mouthfuls for a baby.

Obediently, we did likewise.

She went on in her garbled Spanish we could barely understand. "The second step is the proper holding of the implement. Not in this way, neither in this fashion..." She inspected, chair by chair. She mocked us all.

It seemed with so much protocol, I would never get to draw the brilliant and lush and wild world brimming over inside me. I tried to keep my mind on the demonstration, but something began to paw the inside of my drawing arm. It clawed at the doors of my will, and I had to let it out. I took my soaking brush in hand, stroked my gold cake, and a cat streaked out on my paper in one lightening stroke, whiskers, tail, meow and all!

...I was so much to myself as I worked that I did not hear her warning shout or the slapping of her Island thongs on the linoleum as she swooped down upon me. Her crimson nails clawed my sheet off its board and crumpled it into a ball. "You, you defy me!" she cried out...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Why are so many schools run by a Kakistocracy?

From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.


Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

kakistos, worst
(superlative of kakos, bad)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Advertisers can get us to harm our health

When will the average American start believing what his frontal lobes tell him? It seems that we are very easily influenced to act against the advice of our own reasoning capacity. A recent post on Sharon Begley's blog, Lab Notes, says that 36% if us will go along with an unwise suggestion if we like the way it sounds.

Begley writes:

"In a disturbing study from Canada, scientists find that names can strongly influence decisions patients make about treatment.

"To investigate what role a name plays, scientists at McMaster University started out by showing volunteer patients information on the benefits and harms of various treatment options...

"The treatment options were labeled "treatment A," "treatment B" and "treatment C," ...virtually all (96 percent) of the participants said [an educational presentation] helped them choose among the three treatments.

"Then the scientists replaced A, B and C with the treatment's true name "warfarin, acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) and "no treatment."

"36 percent of the patients changed their initial choice, including 46 percent of those who initially chose warfarin and 78 percent who initially chose no treatment, the scientists are reporting this evening in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

"Although they grasped the risks and benefits, that rational decision was trumped by the pull of the name, or the belief that no treatment (which is actually the best option in some cases) must be the worst choice. No wonder drug advertising is so effective."