"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, September 01, 2007

G K Chesterton on democracy

Thought for the Day

"Nothing so much threatens the safety of democracy as assuming that democracy is safe. And that is another version of the same arrogant error; that, because you and I are democrats (if we are) we assume that all thinking people of all schools of thought must believe in democracy. If we go on assuming it much longer, there will be nobody left who does believe in democracy."

G. K. Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, August 29, 1931.

He also said (which bears remembering considering the outrageous lies from that Janus, lying cocksucker, General Sir Michael (you can call me Mike) Jackson well aired today..

"A change of opinions is almost unknown in an elderly military man." - A Utopia of Usurers,

Bear Stearns - serial NY Bankruptcy Court appearances - fugitive UK citizen in the dock in Vienna - white collar crime - banking Caribbean style

Bear Stearns have an enviable and envied reputation as bankers / advisors / investors but on June 22nd they let it slip that 2 hedge funds specializing in subprime debt run by its asset management arm were facing a sudden wave of withdrawals by investors - followed very soon after on August 4th by Bear Stearns CEO Warren J. Spector resigning on a Sunday afternoon.

Warren, 49, had spent his whole business career with BS and was, after CEO cigar chomping James Cayne ,73, (5.6 million, or 5.6 %) the largest individual shareholder (75,000, or 0.064 %).

As a life master of bridge at age 16 in 1974 he will have plenty of time to spend at tournaments where he is seen as a world class player - maybe he delicious wife Margaret Whitton, who played Molly in the soft porn movie "9 1/2 Weeks," in 1986 can be sent out to earn a crust for the family.

The two funds that got creamed in so-called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, backed by home-loan bonds and other "assets" were"Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Master Fund Ltd., 07-12383 " which raised US $642 million on the launch last last summer. (Ralph Coffi managed the fund and to lose 20% in it's brief 10 mionth life - they had "re-stated losses" in April from 6.5% to 18.97 or 23% for the year). It looks like investors have lost their shirt and attoney's are hovering on behalf of distressed clients.

A sister and less ambitiously titled fund - " Bear Stearns High- Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Master Fund Ltd., 07-12384," fared better but flunked all the same. However the 4 year old fund which launched with US$916 has been thrown a US$3.2 Bn lifebelt by Bear Stearns. (NYSE : BSC: shares stood at US$145.46 then - Friday 31/7/07 they closed @ US$18.6)

The SEC announced opening a "preliminary enquiry" on June 24th - but don't hold your breath.

The Boston office of the SEC began examining the collapse of Amaranth Advisors , a hedge fund that lost nearly $6 Billion last fall from a series of wrong-way bets on the natural gas market. To date, nothing has come of that inquiry. (Yes. That is right 6 BILLION)

Judge Lifland in the Bloomberg) S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) this week refused to grant protection from U.S. lawsuits for Bear Stearns Cos.' two bankrupt hedge funds, finding the Cayman Islands wasn't the proper jurisdiction for them to liquidate assets.``The only adhesive connection with the Cayman Islands that the funds have is the fact that they are registered there,''

``There are no employees or managers in the Cayman Islands, " he added in his written judgement," the investment manager for the funds is located in New York, the administrator that runs the back-office operations of the funds is in the United States along with the funds' books and records, and prior to the commencement of the foreign proceeding, all of the funds' liquid assets were located in the United States.''

Which is by way of a preamble to a fascinating and older appearance for Bear Stearns before Judge Lifland about a re-heated case of white collar crime. Bear Stearns was ordered by Judge Burton Lifland in February, 2007,to repay investors US$125.1 million in an outfit called the Manhattan Investment Fund run by Michael Berger for which Bear Stearns was the fund custodian and as such reported its performance to Ernst & Young, the fund's administrator, and to Deloitte & Touche the independent auditor.

Judge Lifland in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) adjudicated that they aided and abetted Berger’s common law fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. He said they had "(failed) to act diligently in a timely manner." Bear Stearns were said in court to have ignored clear signs (and its suspicions) that MIF’s manager was defrauding investors. Allegations were also made that margin requirements were waived or reduced.

The Court considered that Bear Stearns was required to do more than simply ask Berger if he was doing wrong. It had to consult any ‘easily obtainable sources of information that would bear on the truth of any explanation received from the potential wrongdoer’.

Investors had already recouped some of their money in a 2001 class action against Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche.

In May 2007, Bear Sterns filed an appeal. They brought a motion to dismiss the investors’ claim on the basis that Bear Stearns’ actions did not substantially assist Berger’s fraud. Th e New York Court granted the motion to dismiss: a clearing broker does not provide substantial assistance to a fraud simply by clearing trades. Failing to enforce margin requirements, continuing to execute trades despite margin violations, or executing trades in order to reduce a loan of money under margin do not constitute substantial assistance, because credit and margin regulations are designed to protect the viability of brokers, not investors.

A recent examination (27th August 2007) of the case concluded that if the proceedings arising from the collapse of MIF against Bear Stearns had been brought under English and not New York law, Bear Stearns may well have been found liable to contribute to MIF’s assets. Two legal reports cover the two appearances of of Bear Stearns about their role as custodian of MIF here and here See also here re british Virgin islands law.

How you may ask did Bear Stearns end up being sued by investors in a fund which they only held custody - well, as ever there hangs a fascinating tale of ambition, youth, greed, optimism and fear of prison.

Michael Wolfgang Berger , (pic) it appears, was born in the UK (and is a UK citizen) and grew up in Salzburg, Austria. The young man (then 21) arrived in New York in 1993 to work for securities broker-dealer Financial Assets Management, based in Columbus, Ohio.

Only 2 years later he set up Manhattan Investment Fund, an open end investment company under the laws of the British Virgin Islands (‘BVI’). Through a wholly owned New York company, Manhattan Capital Management Inc (‘MCM’), Berger served as the investment manager and advisor for MIF . This sold to dozens of offshore investors ,shares valued at $100, with a minimum investment of 250 shares with the intention of investing by shorting the (then !) soaring dot.com stocks which he said were due for a correction.

A brilliant idea but 5 years ahead of the market.

Using his connection through highly respectable FAM he hailed onboard blue chip Wall Street operators, Bear Stearns, Ernst & Young and Deloitte Touche as custodians, administrators and auditors.

In his first few months his assets shrunk to US$5.6 Mn.

He then made the seond mistake, he told his investors they had grown to US$17.9Mn.

Somehow he obtained FAM letterhead and made his third mistake.

He used this kosher stationery to report growing assets which had dwindled by end 1998 to US$3.9MN.

He told investors that funds had grown to US$263.2 Mn.

His assets were $27.7 million by end 1999 bu he reported a doubling since the last year of funds to US $515.3 million.

At this time Deloittes modified their audit - Berger fired them.Mistake number 346 by then as Deloitte withdrew retrospectively their audit assurances for years 1996/1997 and 1998.

In December 1999 the Securities and Exchnage Commission came calling and by November 2000 he was telling a New York District Court who had decided that there was sufficient evidence that Berger was operating a Ponzi scheme ..

"I came here today not only to plead guilty but to express my apologies to all of the shareholders in the fund and to tell you that I am extremely sorry for what I did. My misrepresentations arose out of my conviction that the technology sector was overpriced and my inability to face the fact that my strategy of selling short technology stocks was not working. I was unable to change my course no matter how long the market moved against me or how great the losses were. Throughout, it was my hope that I would ultimately make money for investors."

Berger realised he was facing the district court recommendation of an 87-month sentence and a $424 million fine when he should appear for sentencing on March 1, 2002. He ran. The FBI started looking.

Unmarried, Berger was known to date models drove BMW's and Mercedes-Benz, and loves yachts and the nautical life of luxury lifestyle and once had a place in the Hamptons on Long Island where he loved to spend weekends with his girlfriends.

On July 9th this year, 7 years later he was found driving a red Opel Corsa saloon in Wels, on the motorway between Vienna and Salzburg, Austria and appeared in court in Vienna.

Austrian Banks, BA-APPROX., First bank and the RLB NOe Vienna - made losses in his funds according to the Standard newspaper and will no doubt be keen to see what happens now.
How much of the US$400Mn. lost by investors will be recovered remains to be seen.

Don't hold your breath but as Austria does not have an extradition treaty with US, and the UK has super express extradition to the US on demand (courtesy Tony Blair et.al.) his country of birth , like that of the traitor and radio broadcaster for Nazi Germany Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) in World War II will no doubt figure highly.

So when you are invited to invest in a fund that is registered in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman islands etc., etc., there is a very, very good reason , even if blue chip names are involved.

Your chances of getting your investment back if things go tits up are remarkably slim.

Which may be why Bear Stearns shares have been heading south so fast in the past few weeks.... and why Michael Wolfgang Berger ended up in Austria.

Meanwhile keep an eye open for Margaret Whitton (see pic) slated as Executive producer of "The Loop" to be produced next year .

Mikhail Gutseriyev - a Death in the family, international arrest warrant, UK visa and a bolt hole in London

AFP are reporting that on Tuesday the Russian authorities through the Moscow Tverskoi District Court, issued an international arrest warrant / order for the arrest of slim, cheery oil billionaire Mikhail Gutseriyev, ex-CEO of oil major Russneft. Interpol have been alerted although this was not confirmed by Interpol HQ in Lyons, France.Lawyers for Gutseriyev have appealed the warrant and a hearing is scheduled for September 5th.

Russian newspapers report that he had fled to Britain via Azerbaijan, where he can claim President Ilham Aliyev as a personal friend - The 3 Gutseriyev brothers represent one of the most powerful clans in the country. Azerbaijan maintains an extradition treaty with Russia.

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow said British authorities could not comment on any visa applications."We don't give details on individual visa applications," said James Barbour, spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow.Ho.Ho.Ho. Azerbaijani officials this week denied Gutseriyev was in the country.

Last week, Gutseriyev's son Chingiskhan, 22, himself a senior executive in one of his father's businesses, was reported dead in what the Kommersant daily described as mysterious circumstances. Moscow times report the accident and that Chingiskahn was buried in the family's home of village of Chermen, Prigorodny District, North Ossetia. A ceremony was also held in the Blue Mosque in Baku on Thursday in a Muslim ceremony attended by the president of neighboring Ingushetia Murat Zyazikov who was reported saying that Chingiskahn's father was not present. He did say that his two uncles, brothers of Mikhail, -- Khamzat, who ran for president of the Republic in 2002 (Khamzat Gutseriyev, was removed from the candidate list just 1 day before the election . He was charged by the Supreme Council of “running his campaign from his minister's chair instead of taking a vacation.” - this was actually the result of interference of Viktor Kazantsev, Vladimir Putin's plenipotentiary representative in the Southern Federal District) and had been republican Interior Ministry under President Ruslan Aushev, and Said-Salam, who is a Duma deputy.

Chingiskhan, who attended Harrow School (fees £36,000 per annum) and was a graduate of Warwick University both in the Uk , was said in several news reports to have died of a brain haemorrhage following an accident in his Ferrari in Moscow.

But Kommersant said Moscow police had no record of a car accident involving Chingiskhan and that there was no sign of him being treated in any Moscow hospital. Russneft officials said the death was a tragic accident.Chingiskahn was not a director of Russneft but worked at Binbank, also owned by his father. Se also Radio Free Europe

For details of the way Guts had Russneft snatched off him see previous post. Also a good time to read the Guradian obituary by Felix Corley of campaigning journalist Yuri Shchekochikhin of Novaya Gazeta who died of unnatural causes just over 4 years ago....

"he had been withering in his criticism of President Putin's leadership, and what he regarded as the resurrection of Soviet methods. "We are returning to where we have escaped from," he complained. "We are being driven ever more insistently back to the radiant past."

Now the question is .... how long will it take Mikhail to obtain UK Citizenship ? - longer than Alisher Usmanov (No 278 in Forbes' World's Richest - and top friend of Missile Man Putin - see pic ) to take over Arsenal FC ?

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Worst Job in the World

Reading the abc News Transcript of Sgt Dave Karsnia #4211 (pic WCCO-TV Minn.)interviewing Senator Craig after their encounter in the men's toilets of the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh terminal in Minneapolis St Paul Airport on June 11th it is difficult to determine who has the worst job. Undercover toilet cop or sad toilet cruising pervert.

One guy gets the job of sitting in men's toilets waiting for these poor sick bastards to tap their toes, nudge their foot, wave their hands, cough and then fess up ..

DK: All right. I, I know I can bring you to jail, but that's not my goal here, okay? (inaudible)
LC: Don't do that. You You

Dave has the routine off Pat, just don't make my job worse than it has to be, cop a plea, take a fine - according to the Cruising for Sex website they pulled 20 that week.

LC: I don't, ah, I am not gay, I don't do these kinds of things and...
DK: It doesn't matter, I don't care about sexual preference or anything like that. Here's your stuff back sir. Urn, I don't care about sexual preference.
DK: Okay. So we'll start over, you're gonna get out of here. You're gonna have to pay a fine and that will be it. Okay. I don't call media, I don't do any of that type of crap.
LC: Fine.

Christ Senator, Dave is making it easy for you... can't you hear what he is saying ?

LC: All right, you saw something that didn't happen.

DK: Embarrassing, embarrassing. (from the heart) No wonder why we're going down the tubes. Anything to add?

NN Uh, no

DK: Embarrassing. Date is 6/11/07 at 1236 interview is done.

LC: Okay

"Daddy, Daddy, what did you do at work today, Daddy ? "

"Well son, I busted a Senator, who wanted someone to suck his cock in a public toilet."

Update Sat 1/9/07 - Dave K is 29 and due to get married ...read about the career of this exemplary officer of Minneapolis Airport Police at AP story Star Tribune here or MSNBC here or listen to the audio here . BBC Radio 4 News 7.00 am (BST) has reports that Craig is to announce his resignation as a Senator and Republican Party is running around looking for a replacement

AP report - Although several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations said Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter favored Lt. Gov. Jim Risch as a replacement, both Otter aides and Risch said no decision had been made. Risch was co chairman with Larry Craig of Mitt Romney's Presidntial campaign in Idaho. Idaho Statesman the paper who have spent a lot of time and money investigating Craig's seedy past have said today that Risch's replacement is a shoo in.

They also offer "Read the transcript from the 40-year-old man who says he had sex with Craig (with audio)" .."Upon walking into Union Station one day, I made eye contact with a well-dressed older gentleman ....

Violent Youth / Violent Crime - nothing new

Ernest Norton, 67, suffered a heart attack in Erith, south-east London, when he was pelted with stones and sticks by a group of over 20 youths.

An Old Bailey jury heard Mr Norton was hit on the head at least twice.

Five boys now aged between 12 and 14, none of them had been in trouble with the police before. were found guilty of manslaughter of Mr Norton and violent disorder today .

Mr Norton was preparing to set up to play cricket with his 17-year-old son James in a tennis court outside Erith Leisure Centre in 18 months ago in February 2006 when they were atacked by the gang.

Only one of the accused, now aged 14, gave evidence at the trial. He admitted spitting at Mr Norton and that it was "stupid", "revolting" and "appalling".

They will be sentenced on 19th October.

Violence by the young is not new, or it appears remarkable, ... few around here forget the case of Mrs Lilley.

Sarah Davey, and Lisa Healey, both aged 15, murdered Lily Lilley, 71, from Failsworth, Greater Manchester, in September 1998.

They knew their victim after she met the pair on the street, and walked her home. They squirted shampoo in her eyes and bundled her into the house, then gagged her and she choked on her own dentures.

The pair later put the woman's body in a wheelie bin and pushed it, "laughing and giggling", through the streets and eventually dumped it into the Rochdale Canal, where it was discovered three days later with injuries consistent with kicking, punching and stabbing.

In a pocket a photograph was found of her only son in his pram.

The prosecution told the court that they intended to take over her house and use it to entertain men.After the killing the two girls moved into Mrs Lilley's house on West Street, in Failsworth and treated it as their own using the telephone to make 258 calls. The older girl tol neighbours she was Mrs Lilley's granddaughter.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Sachs, in sentencing the pair in July 1999 said they should be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure, described the crime as "unspeakably wicked".

He added, "You have not shown the slightest trace of remorse or regret. You are both hard young women who have committed a terrible crime which almost defies belief by right-thinking people. Your only mitigation are your ages. You are both 15."

They appealed (Pic Manchester E.News Healey on left) against the length of sentence, in October 2002 - having appealed against conviction and lost in May 2001, At the second appeal , England's most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Woolf, named them (they had not been named at the trial or first appeal) at the Court of Appeal in London. He set the minimum amount of time they must stay in prison as at least eight years. (So they may now be out of prison)

After considering prison reports and legal arguments he told the court that Healey had failed a drugs test in custody, but was viewed by prison staff as quiet and polite, and had apologised for what she had done. Davey's behaviour in custody was described as "mixed", and that she only had a "limited understanding or acceptance of the gravity of the offence".

We don't need to read the allegorical works of William Golding to be reminded of how violent children can be.

Meteorological Office - there will be lots of weather about

The UK Met office issued their weather forecast for Summer 2007 on April 11th.


"Prospects for rainfall are uncertain. However, there are currently no indications of an increased risk of either a particularly dry or a particularly wet summer."

This forecast was "derived using global forecasting models and statistical methods."

The Met office today issued a Press Release ...

"Provisional rainfall figures (up to 28th August) show that the UK as a whole had 358.5mm of rain, just beating the previous record of 358.4mm in 1956. However, since it is such a narrow margin between the figures and further rainfall data has to be gathered, this summer could end up being the second wettest since the UK rainfall series began in 1914."

Using your skill and judgement spot the difference - you can call them on +44(0)1392 886655, e-mail pressoffice@metoffice.gov.uk. to express any views you may have on their capacity to ..."using global forecasting models and statistical methods" tell us what the weather will be like 3 months ahead and perhaps suggest they lay in a store of pine cones and seaweed as divining tools.

The Press release adds this note for Editors;

The Met Office is the UK's National Weather Service, providing 24x7 world-renowned scientific excellence in weather, climate and environmental forecasts and severe weather warnings for the protection of life and property.

..it's these witless fuckwhits who think they can tell us all about climate change and the anthropogenic effects on the weather.

More recently on 13th August these wise guys published this advisory ...

"With the Rolex Fastnet Race (14th-15th) taking place off south-west England this week, the Met Office has been working closely with the organisers throughout the weekend to warn them of the impacts of the unseasonable weather on the race. Doug Mansfield, Met Office Chief Forecaster said: "There is still a very small chance of severe weather disrupting the event."

211 boats out of 300 officially retired , only 60 boats crossed the finishing line. In the 1979 storm 85 boats finished the race.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Lights are going out in California -

Most of California's vast Central Valley was expected to have temperatures well over 100 degrees (38 C) , with parts of the Los Angeles region also forecast to hit 100. Much of the San Francisco Bay area was expected to be warmer than normal today.

California's electricity grid manager warned that power to large energy consumers is likely to be cut later Thursday to keep the state's lights on - In exchange, the companies receive reduced utility rates.

"Kicking those customers off the grid is just as good as adding power," said Stephanie McCorkle, spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator.

Reducing power demand, however, is California's only choice. It cannot add power because its electricity plants are running at capacity and a heat wave is stressing power systems throughout the West.

The independent system operator, which manages the flow of energy on most of California's power grid, plans to declare a minor power emergency at 2 p.m. Thursday and to increase its alert level to a so-called Stage 2 emergency at about 4 p.m.

A Stage 2 emergency signals that the state's operating reserves have fallen below 5 %. At that point, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric Co., the state's largest investor-owned utilities, begin cutting power to the large companies with which they have arrangements.

The highest alert level is a Stage 3 emergency, which indicates that operating reserves have dropped below 1 %. Rolling blackouts - in which power is cut to certain regions to avoid a systemwide crash - are imminent at that stage.

If the state reaches a Stage 2 emergency today, it will be its first since July 24, 2006, when California set its all-time record energy demand of 50,270 megawatts. Today's predicted peak demand is 49,572 megawatts.

The Independent System Operator suggests setting thermostats at 78 degrees or higher, using fans to cool rooms, turning off unnecessary lights and shutting off large appliances from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

State officials say those whose health could be compromised should not put themselves at risk by shutting off air conditioning.

The state also has opened cooling centers at fairgrounds in eight Central Valley and Southern California counties. They will stay open until Tuesday, with hot temperatures forecast throughout the Labor Day weekend.

The state has established a toll-free telephone number to provide information about cooling centers, 1-877-435-7021.

Not forgetting ...

..this week's earthquakes ....

Click here to enlarge

Wind Energy as a source of electricity - benefits overblown

Amazingly the limitations of using wind energy as a source of electricity generation in the UK and Europe are slowly becoming understood....

Costing the Earth BBC4

Wind Rush (First broadcast 30th August 2007 9.30 can be listened to again for 7 days only)

Wind power is a fast growing renewable energy sector in Britain. The government is investing massive amounts of money in its future. xperts interviewed on Costing the Earth claim the power Eof the wind to deliver electricity is being overestimated by companies keen to cash in on big subsidies.

In order to fight climate change we have meet targets set by the EU which wants 20% of our energy to come from renewable sources like the wind by 2020. The government has admitted its struggling, but says it is determined to meet its obligations. Companies which hit green energy targets are rewarded under the government’s Renewables Obligation Certificate Scheme or ROCs.

On paper wind power is a great proposition. We are the windiest nation in Europe – but despite the government having subsidised the wind industry to the tune of half a billion pounds so far - as yet its failed to deliver half of one per cent of our electricity needs.

Michael Jefferson Policies Chairman of the World Renewable Energy Network and former Chief Economist with Shell believes the industry is encouraged to exaggerate not only wind speeds but the amount of potential wind energy a farm can supply. He worries there are many badly sited poorly performing wind farms in England.

Engineering consultant Jim Oswald has analysed the figures submitted to the electricity watchdog Ofgem on every wind farm's load factor - the amount of wind generated across the year. The recommended load factor for a viable and efficient wind development is 30%, but he says the average across Britain is 28%. He says the problem lies with the volatility of the wind and although Britain is the windiest country in Europe, it’s not consistently windy enough to generate a regular energy supply.

Sometimes we have high winds and often no wind at all and there is no way of storing wind energy. He also says that many wind farms are being built in places where there will never be sufficient wind power to generate enough electricity. He has serious concerns that with no long term strategy for upgrading our electricity infrastructure over the next decade an over reliance on wind power could result in major power failures and increase our electricity bills by up to 50%.

See also Wuthering Heights Der Spiegel report August 20th 2007

The Dangers of Wind Power By Simone Kaiser and Michael Fröhlingsdorf
Wind turbines are appearing worldwide. They grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy?

Mishaps, Breakdowns and Accidents

After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.

Insurance costs increasing in Germany

Among insurers, who raced into the new market in the 1990s, wind power is now considered a risky sector. Industry giant Allianz was faced with around a thousand damage claims in 2006 alone. Jan Pohl, who works for Allianz in Munich, has calculated that on average "an operator has to expect damage to his facility every four years, not including malfunctions and uninsured breakdowns."

Many insurance companies have learned their lessons and are now writing maintenance requirements -- requiring wind farmers to replace vulnerable components such as gearboxes every five years -- directly into their contracts. But a gearbox replacement can cost up to 10 percent of the original construction price tag, enough to cut deep into anticipated profits. Indeed, many investors may be in for a nasty surprise. "Between 3,000 and 4,000 older facilities are currently due for new insurance policies," says Holger Martsfeld, head of technical insurance at Germany's leading wind turbine insurer Gothaer. "We know that many of these facilities have flaws."

Flaws And Dangers

In December of last year, fragments of a broken rotor blade landed on a road shortly before rush hour traffic near the city of Trier.

Two wind turbines caught fire near Osnabrück and in the Havelland region in January. The firefighters could only watch: Their ladders were not tall enough to reach the burning casings.
The same month, a 70-meter (230-foot) tall wind turbine folded in half in Schleswig-Holstein -- right next to a highway.

The rotor blades of a wind turbine in Brandenburg ripped off at a height of 100 meters (328 feet). Fragments of the rotors stuck into a grain field near a road.

At the Allianz Technology Center (AZT) in Munich, the bits and pieces from wind turbine meltdowns are closely examined. "The force that comes to bear on the rotors is much greater than originally expected," says AZT evaluator Erwin Bauer. Wind speed is simply not consistent enough, he points out. "There are gusts and direction changes all the time," he says.

But instead of working to create more efficient technology, many manufacturers have simply elected to build even larger rotor blades, Bauer adds. "Large machines may have great capacity, but the strains they are subject to are even harder to control," he says.

Even the technically basic concrete foundations are suffering from those strains. Vibrations and load changes cause fractures, water seeps into the cracks, and the rebar begins to rust. Repairs are difficult. "You can't look inside concrete," says Marc Gutermann, a professor for experimental statics in Bremen. "It's no use just closing the cracks from above."

The engineering expert suspects construction errors are to blame. "The facilities keep getting bigger," he says, "but the diameter of the masts has to remain the same because otherwise they would be too big to transport on the roadways."

German wind turbine giant Enercon, for its part, considers the risks associated with offshore wind power generation too great, says Enercon spokesman Andreas Düser says. While the growth potential is tempting, the company does not want to lose its good standing on the high seas.

See for example

Dong Energy ( a Danish consortium formed this year from DONG, Elsam, ENERGI E2, Nesa, Copenhagen Energy’s power activities and Frederiksberg Forsyning) and the Swedish energy combine Vattenfall run the Danish Horns Rev and Nysted offshore wind farms and have completed an 8 year, 144 page year environmental impact study (PDF Alert / English),in conjunction with the Danish Energy Authority and Danish Forest and Nature Agency.The publication can be also ordered from the Danish Energy Authority’s Internet bookstore ISBN: 87-7844-625-2.

Offshore the availability of the small nearshore farms is also high, but in 2004 the availability for Horns Rev was low due to a comprehensive repair of the gears and transformers on all the Vestas turbines. However, in 2005 all turbines operated nearly 100% with an availability of 95%, where as the Siemens (Bonus) turbines at Nysted reached 97%.

Vestas has had increasing problems of reliability ..

Vestas, the world's largest producer of wind turbines, lost nearly DKK 1.2bn (EUR 116m) on sales of DKK 26.7bn (EUR 3.58bn)last year(2005) up 52% on the previous year. The company's board called the loss 'disappointing' and 'totally unacceptable'.

Three factors had helped cause the losses last year: disappointing North American earnings, a lack of components, and vastly increased guarantee provisions.

This was from the Vestas Annual report in 2005

“The most important technological challenge for the company is to increase product reliability”

“The group has given priority to project deliveries with relatively low margins to the US market…”

“…from the shortage of key components..”

“ Currently the main focus of the technology R & D is to reduce the number of component failures in Vestas’ products.”

"In accordance with the highly inentsified focus on product reliability, Vestas has decided to postpone ... production of the V120 - 4.5 Mw turbine to 2009..."

Then there are other problems which were highlighted

On this last point it is essential to read ...

See Interim Report - System Disturbance on 4 November 2006
union for the co-ordination of transmission of electricity

Section 5.1 Page 25

About 40% of the total generation units which tripped during the incident were wind power units. Moreover, 60 % of the wind stations connected to the grid at 22:09 tripped just after the frequency drop.

Sect 8.1 Page 51
"The events in the evening of 4 November 2006 have been the most severe disturbance in the more than 50-year history of UCTE regarding the number of involved TSOs and the amplitude of the registered frequency deviation."

Page 52
"During the disturbance, a significant amount of generation units tripped due to the frequency drop in the system which resulted in the increased imbalance. Most of this generation is connected to the distribution grid (especially wind and combined-heat-and-power)."

Finally the difficulties of controlling wind energy networks has all sorts of physical and financial consequences.....

Hugh Sharman is an Englishman living in Denmark and is a Principal in Inteco, a Danish energy brokering and consulting outfit.Here is a lucid and sensible document he has written, which anyone who wishes to consider the arguments about the use of wind powered electricity generation should read. (PDF Alert).Now this month he has published an item for Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineering, vol 158, p. 161 (not online but available at cost of US$33 – Abstract at end of this post). In this he provides a technical analysis of the problems of power distribution where generation is in the North and West but consumption in the South and East of the UK.

Igor Kolomoisky and Ronie Lauder kiss and make up at CMETV

Igor Kolomoisky Invests US$ 110 Million to Acquire an Interest in CME and Joins Company's Board of Directors

We had reason to write about old Igor in August last year when in an oral decision issued today, a district court in Kiev ruled that Igor Kolomoisky (44) ,owner of the conglomerate Privat including the Privat Bank, is entitled to the 70% interest in Studio 1+1 LLC which claimed to be held currently by Alexander Rodnyansky.

This some what discommoded Ronnie Lauder of CME who claimed that said Alexander Rodnyansky is effectively a custodian of their interest until a previously agreed restructuring of the ownership of Studio 1+1 to reflect these ownership interests has been completed... but go to the original post to follow the Byzantine tale of shareholdings, claims of ownership etc., etc.,

Old Igor (see pic) is an entertaining chap with residence in snowy Switzerland but at least one bolt hole in Israel. he is famous for having remarked ......“You can get out of prison some day, but you can’t get out of a forest with your head cut off.”

I told Pinchuk, ‘life is a supermarket. you can take whatever you like, but the cash desk is at the end’

Anyway close students of the CME ourtit will be interested to see a resolution of their disagreement has resulted in Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. ("CME") announcing today that Igor Kolomoisky, has acquired 1,275,227 (= 3%) shares of CME's Class A Common Stock for cash consideration of US$ 110 million , price calculated on a weighted average trading price. Old Igor has also been invited to join the Board of Directors of CME.

Ronald S. Lauder,is reported saying ..... "I've known Igor Kolomoisky for some time and admire him as an extremely knowledgeable businessman with in-depth knowledge of Ukraine. Igor understands the importance of independent television not only in Ukraine, but throughout Eastern Europe. I'm delighted to welcome him as our newest Director, and I am confident he will help CME enormously."... presumably not anxious to try to find his way out of a forest with his head cut off.

Michael Garin, CME's Chief Executive Officer, said: "Investors should welcome this step as a major vote of confidence. The Apax investment ( cf Sir Ronnie Cohen chum of Gordon Brown) last year underscored their view of the growth potential of CME as a company. Similarly, this investment by Mr. Kolomoisky should confirm CME's view that Ukraine will be a powerful growth engine for the Company in the future. As I said a few weeks ago when we released our second quarter earnings, 'We are convinced that in the next few years Ukraine will become the largest market in which we operate. We remain completely committed to Ukraine and will continue to aggressively but prudently pursue opportunities to further strengthen our presence there.' Today's announcement is a major indicator of that commitment."

Igor Kolomoisky said: "CME is one of the fastest growing and best managed media companies in the world and represents an exceptional investment opportunity for me. I am impressed with the company's management team, vision and disciplined financial approach. I look forward to working with my new Board colleagues and the CME management team to build upon the CME success story at a time when prospects are so bright both in Ukraine and in the other markets in which the company operates. Ronald Lauder has been a pioneer in helping the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to establish the independent media outlets so critical to the development of their economies and political systems. I've known Ronald for a number of years, and I'm delighted to now join him on the Board of CME."

Shares are trading at approx US$90 CETV : NASDAQ after a recent bumpy ride down from a high of US$100 in June but well up from US$60 a year ago.

Professional Football - A week to remember

It's been a bit of a grim week on the football pitch this week , with three young professional footballers dying and one recovering after experiencing severe heart failure during a match.
The 27-year-old 6 ' 1" Irish international left back Clive Clarke joined Leicester City on loan two weeks ago, and their Carling Cup tie against Nottingham Forest was abandoned at half time after Clarke collapsed - only to be revived by defibrillation after mouth to mouth resusciation failed. He is recovering in Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Also on Tuesday , Seville's Spanish international Antonio Puerta, 22, died after losing consciousness on the pitch during a La Liga game against Getafe on Saturday. Puerta was able to walk off but suffered a relapse in the dressing room and required cardiac resuscitation.

Puerta became a hero to Sevilla fans after scoring a spectacular goal in extra time against Schalke that earned them their place in the UEFA Cup final for the first time in April 2006. The Spanish side went on to lift the cup and then retained it in 2007.

This is not the first time that the Andalucian team have had such a setback, in 1973, Pedro Berruelo Martin died on the pitch due to a cardiac arrest while defending the Sevilla colours in a Segunda Liga game against Pontevedra. His wife was pregnant at the time and his son Pedro is now a professional footb aller with Segunda B side Ceuta.

Last week, 16-year-old Walsall youth team player Anton Reid died after collapsing during a training session. It is not the first time such a youngster has died in this way in the , Daniel Yorath who was on Leeds United's boks, son of Terry and brother of Gabby Logan, died aged 15 in 1992 having a back-garden kick-around.

To make it a grimmer week Chaswe Nsofwa, 26 who played for Zambia in the 2002 African Cup of Nations, collapsed during a practice session on Wednesday in the Israeli city of Beersheva where he played for Hapoel Beersheva, which plays in Israel’s second division.He collapsed in the heat of over 100 degrees and and died minutes later in Soroka Hospital, Beersheba.
Nsofwa was with Hapoel Beersheva, which plays in Israel’s second division. Israel TV reported he collapsed during a practice game in the desert city. Rescue workers tried to restart his heart for several minutes on the field before taking him to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.

Miklos Feher, 24, died playing for Benfica against Victoria Guimaraes in January 2004. The player collapsed after receiving a yellow card and died later that night from a confirmed cardiac arrest.

Marc Vivien-Foé, the former West Ham and Manchester City player, who collapsed while playing for Cameroon in Lyons against Colombia on 26th June 2003 was subsequently discovered to have an enlarged right ventricle which hadn't been picked in ECG screening.

David Longhurst, 25, who started playing for Nottingham Forest youth team, fatal suffered a heart attack playing for York City in 1990. York later named one of the stands at Bootham Crescent after him.

Robbie James, 40, capped 47 tmes for Wales, had a lengthy career playing for Swansea City, Stoke City and QPR r died on the pitch playing for Llanelli AFC, where he was player-manager, in 1998. James won 47 caps for Wales.

Risk factors for coronary heart disease in men 18 to 39

There are few studies relating to risk for coronary disease in young men those that have identify, as might be expected the normal indicators.

The Chicago Heart Association Detection Project, followed 11,016 men ages 18 to 39 years (average about 30 years) were followed for twenty years. During the followup period, 455 men died, 123 of them from coronary heart disease. The three major risk factors for heart disease deaths were elevated cholesterol level, elevated blood pressure, and cigarette smoking. Being overweight by itself was not a significant risk factor (but, when the increased weight results in increased cholesterol or blood pressure, it becomes a risk factor).

Screening is fairly standard, especially when footballers are expensive commodities / slaves - evidently such screening doesn't identify every risk.

Pic Puerta scores in extra time for Sevilla against Schalke

Ohuruogo wins WorldChampionship with personal best after 1 year suspension for "missing" drug tests

Linford Christie became the oldest man to win the Olympic 100 metres title when he won at the 1992 Barcelona Games at the age of 32.

The following year he won the Stuttgart world title in a European record 9.87 seconds and retained the Commonwealth and European titles in 1994.

He was disqualified from the Olympic 100 metres final in 1996 after two false starts and officially retired in 1997.

He was suspended from athletics after failing a drugs test, when he tested positive for nandrolone at an indoor meeting in Dortmund, Germany, on February 13 1999.

“Nuff” Respect (website)was formed in 1992 by the Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie OBE. It has since established itself as a leading Sports Personality Management Consultancy and Marketing Agency, which specialises in working very closely with UK and International sportsmen and women, achieving their individual goals and those of their sponsors - Joice Maduaka is another client of the agency as well as Christine Ohuruogo who is representing the UK at Osaka. (She crashed out finishing 7th in 200m Qtr Final won by Allyson Felix US Outdoor Champion 2007)

It is of interest that only today uk sport added to their website database the results of a positive drug test...

Date added to website :30/08/2007
Reference number : 113
Sport : Athletics
National Governing Body :International Association of Athletics Federations
Competitor name : None
Class of drug :Beta-2 Agonists
Substance : Terbutaline (see Drugs Information Database (DID)for details of this drug which is prhibited in and out of competition)
Action taken : Athlete issued with a formal warning and reprimand. Furthermore, the athlete was disqualified from the competition.

There does not appear to be any news release atached to this, nobody is named, the meeting is not specified from which the athlete was disqualified. It appears to be the first time any field and track athlete has been detected with this substance in their blood.Footballers, basket ball and ice hockey players have tested positive in the last year.

If a positive finding is made the athlete can request an appeal (see details of procedure here).The process to deal with adverse findings falls into three stages: Review, Hearing and Appeal and can take several months.

US guidelines on asthma treatment updated first time for 10 years

Asthma is one of the most common health problems in the United States - and it can significantly affect patients' lives - at school, at work, at play, and at home,” said National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. “It is essential that asthma patients benefit from the best available scientific evidence, and these guidelines bring such evidence to clinical practice.”

More than 22 million people in the United States have asthma, including 6.5 million children under age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Without appropriate treatment, asthma can significantly limit individuals' activities and result in asthma exacerbations, which can lead to hospitalization and even death. The CDC estimates that 4,000 Americans die from asthma exacerbations each year. (cf UK - 1,400)

In-hospital asthma mortality was reported in 2006 to be 0.5% (99% confidence interval [CI], 0.4–0.6), with mean hospital stay of 2.7 d (99% CI, 2.6–2.8 d) and $9,078 (99% CI, US$8,300–9,855) in hospital charges. Deaths in this population accounted for about one-third of all asthma deaths reported in the United States

The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) was established in March 1989 to reduce asthma-related illness and death and to enhance the quality of life of people with asthma. The NAEPP also coordinates federal asthma-related activities, as designated by Congress through the Children’s Health Act of 2000.

The NAEPP , through the NIH issued the first revision in 10 years of their updated guidelines for the treatment of asthma.(Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma - Full Report, 2007)

The revised guidelines, reaffirm that "inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective long-term control medication across all age groups."

The NIH panel that updated the guidelines said there is "even stronger evidence" that inhaled corticosteroids, such as GlaxoSmithKline's Flovent and AstraZeneca's Pulmicort, "are generally safe and are the most effective medication at reducing inflammation" in all age groups.

It is noted that low doses of these treatments are particularly effective in paediatric patients aged 5-11s. This age group was previously classified under guidelines for the treatment of adults but is now grouped alone based on new evidence that children may "respond differently" than older patients to asthma therapies.

The experts added that therapies including AstraZeneca's Symbicort and GlaxoSmithKline's Advair, which combine corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists, may not be needed for patients aged less than 12 years. ", based on their success in being treated with just inhaled corticosteroids.

For older patients they point out that long-acting beta agonists, such as GlaxoSmithKline's Serevent and Novartis' Foradil, should only be used in patients 12 years and older whose asthma is not controlled by corticosteroids.

Drugs other than the standard corticosteroids should only be used as needed and discontinued as soon as possible.

The report also highlighted new recommendations for treatment options such as Genentech's and Novartis' Xolair (omalizumab) for severe asthma; leukotriene receptor antagonists and cromolyn for long-term control; and albuterol, levalbuterol and corticosteroids for acute exacerbations.

Public information on asthma from NIH is available here , Washington Post article Scientific American

Asthma in the UK

In 2004 Asthma UK stated that 5.2 million people in the UK were receiving treatment for asthma of which 2.6 million exhibit severe symptoms. 1.1 million children are currently being treated which is approximatel 1 in 10 children.

There were just under 1,400 deaths (1,381) from asthma in the UK in 2004 (40 were children aged 14 years or under). Asthma costs the NHS an average of £889 million per year and te annual cost of hospital treatment for asthma per child under 5 years of age is almost six times greater (£198) than for a child aged 5–15 years (£34). Over 12.7 million working days are lost to asthma each year.

There is currently no cure for asthma.

China - Steel and Aluminium exports soar - iron ore exports from Brazil benefits

In the period from Jan- July this year , China exported 45m tonnes of steel, 80% up from 25m tonnes over the same period last year and equivalent to total exports in 2006. (Compare with exports of 5.7 Mn. tonnes in '02 and 7 Mn. tonnes in '03) .

China overhauled Japan as the world's biggest iron ore importer in 2003 - their biggest supplier, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (NYSE: RIO, $48.32 a share), the world's No 2 mining company, after BHP Billiton (BLT.L, £13.78), has gained more than $10 a share in the past five or so trading sessions, adding around $25bn to its market capitalisation of approx US$116 Bn. George Soros has a very substantial holding and this represents the biggest investment (16%) of his funds. His initial buy was at around US$25 to US$32 on March 31, 2006 . Soros increased his position by 1400% in December of the same year at a price of US$21 to US$20 per share.

The China National Development and Reform Commission has recently announced that blast furnaces smaller than 300 cubic meters used to produce nickel pig iron, will be shut. This equates to some 2 Mn. tones of production. This move is to save energy in outdated plants and is claimed is a move to protect the environment and conserve energy.

This must be considered against world steel production - click on chart for more detail - The Arcelor-Mittal merger formed a global giant accounting for 118 million tonnes or just under 10% of world production. The newly crated Corus-Tata group will become the world's sixth largest steelmaker.

Chinese Aluminium product exports rose by 88% cent to 1.18m tonnes in the first 6 months of this year

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Madness over Madeleine - follies of the faithful

Raising kids website reports what Madeleine McCann's school have arranged for the start of the school term.

Lord Patel has refrained from expressing views and limited posts to revealing what few facts (?) are available with some mild comments about the activities of HMG via the Prime Minister and No 10 Press office and Clarence Mitchell.

The extreme mawkishness often expressed by the British public , refreshed again by the anniversary of the death of Diana Spencer another blonde with a winsome smile and striking eyes is evident yet again.

Should the school wish to remind her young and impressionable classmates of the lurking dangers of this world, such a tactic which cannot be resolved, except by the unlikely return of the poor child seems certain to reinforce any terrors they may have.

All post on Madeleine McCann can be found here

Senator Craig - a lesson in Internet using / cruising he (and others in the closet) need to learn

Cruising for Sex, is a website that provides men (women don't figure in this curious activity it seems) who have anonymous sex in bathrooms and other public places with a remarkably detailed guide to locations worldwide to find others of like disposition.

Users update with notes on sites including a Heads Up ! allowing a poster to advise that there is an alert involving police action or a report of a homophobic bashing at this location.

This is kept up to date by users / cruisers to alert anyone where the action is if they want to "hook up". It has a lengthy list of entries devoted to the bathrooms at the Minneapolis airport since early 2006.

An anonymous Heads Up! posted in June, around the time of Senator Craig's brush with the law , warns those who plan to cruise the airport toilets: Twenty people were arrested within the past week. Plainclothes officers wait in the stalls and tap their feet and even put their foot on yours and then arrest you when you look under the stall wall. This is a very homophobic group.

A comment has been addded today :

"Now officially known as the Senator Larry Craig Memorial T-Room after his arrest here in June. Now if he had just read all the reports of busts here on CFS he might have avoided all of this!" Heads Up!

Bob Allen might well have looked for the Heads Up! in Titusville FL. before he offered to suck an undercover officers cock.

A truly International site the latest hot spot is apparently in Shanghai -

Vista M Club (Comment added August, 2007)

New as of April 2007, with two floors and many special promotions for reduced-fee entry. Showers, sauna, jacuzzi, big dark steamroom, one bright maze, one dark maze, a lot of cabins, a dark coffee area, TV room and a small gym. It’s attracting a young and professional local crowd and expats living in Shanghai. Y69 on weekdays and Y70 on weekends and holiday. Excellent maps and directions on website. .. Apparently you should watch out for the young guys with tattoos.

Where Senator Craig evidently went wrong is not having a word with fellow Republican and Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee (!), Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska who could have told him about the Internet(s)... as he explained to his own committee why he had voted against an amendment in the Telecommunications Bill they were considering ...."They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

Al Gore who invented the Internet and probably didn't realise what the effects of widespread information dissemination would have ...for all sorts of purposes ... he evidently hadn't been as successful as Ted Stevens in explaining what benefits it offers to users.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Senator Craig - in and now out of the closet - resigns as Mitt Romney's liason - Idaho Mormons choke, Mitt's Messianics stay mum (so far)

US Republican Senator Larry Craig,62, a married father-of-three adult children and 9 grandchildren has admitted pleading guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct. He has paid $575 in fines and fees and was put on unsupervised probation for a year, while a 10-day jail sentence was stayed after a court appearance on August 8th at Hennepin County Municipal Court in Bloomington, Minnesota.

On Monday night 26th August Craig resigned as a Senate liaison for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Romney's son Josh canceled a trip to Idaho on Tuesday.
While in the men's toiletsof the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh terminal in Minneapolis St Pau Airport on June 11th he behaved in a manner that convinced an udercover cop, Sgt Dave Karsnia #4211 who was working a detail "involving lewd conduct" after the Airport Police Department had received civilian complains and arrests had been made.

The cops full report on the incident can be read here.
Cops Mug shots.

This is a straightforward account of the grisly way that closet homosexuals conduct their very public yet very private lives.

Craig handed me a business card that identified himself as a US Senator as he stated,"What do you think about that ?"

Not much it appears, because he proceeded to photograph and fingerprint him and then released him pending formal complaint for Interference with Privacy (MSS 609.746) ad Disorderly Conduct (609.72) at 13.05 one hour and 5 minutes after he had entered the toilet.

In his petition to the court to enter a guilty plea, Craig admitted that he "engaged in (physical) conduct which I knew or should have known tended to arouse alarm or resentment."

He also was required to stipulate in the statement that he would "make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of not guilty."

Which is by any stretch unambiguous .. but when he made a statement today he said "I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport," he said, adding it was a "lapse in judgment" to plead guilty for committing a lewd act in a men's bathroom.

He said pleading guilty was an overreaction to a monthslong investigation by the local Idaho Statesman into his sex life. "I am not gay. I have never been gay."

However he has been confused before about homosexuality, charges ... activities ..er.

In 1982, Craig pre-emptively denied rumors that he was under investigation as part of a federal probe into allegations that lawmakers on Capitol Hill had sexual relationships with congressional pages, saying the "false allegations" made him "mad as hell." see pic. You Tube NBC news piece here

The House at the time censured Rep. Dan Crane, R-Ill., and Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass., for having sexual relations with teenage pages.

Craig's office publicly denied assertions by Internet blogger Mike Rogers on October 17th that the senator is gay. ..."I have called on Senator Larry Craig to end his years of hypocrisy by leveling with Idahoans about who he really is."..."I have also met with a man here in Washington, D.C., who says the same -- and that these incidents occurred in the bathrooms of Union Station."

Craig's office through press secretary Sid Smithdismissed speculation about the senator's sexuality as "completely ridiculous."..."almost laughable".
See also Daily Kos October 17th 2007
and Pams Blend the same date.

All of which doesn't look good when compared with his voting record applauded by the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council. Craig's record is straight down the line ...

* Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
* Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
* Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
* Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
* Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)

Katie Halpern The Real Tragedy Behind Craig's arrest: The Death of The Singing Senators tells the wonderful and very funny story of the Singing Senators, of whom Craig was a member along with Trent Lott, John Ashcroft and Jim Jeffords.

Edwin W Edwards, Governor of Louisiana when campaigning is remembered for many things but often for his lapidary remark... "[I could not lose this election unless I was] caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." What is it with these guys ? What do they get from cruising dirty restrooms for furtive, transitory sex - and the risks of exposure and public and family humiliation.

Mitt Romney has said nothing ...er ... publicly, anyway. Whether Grandad Craig will have the honour to represent Idaho again will be very much in the balance.

What's become of Waring since he gave us all the slip ?

Look East where whole new thousands are
In Vishnu land, what Avatar !
In Vishnu-land what Avatar?
Or, North in Moscow, toward the Czar,
Who, with the gentlest of footfalls
Over the Kremlin's pavement, bright
With serpentine and siennite,
Steps, with five other Generals,
Who simultaneously take snuff,
That each may have pretext enough
To kerchiefwise unfold his sash
Which, softness' self, is yet the stuff
To hold fast where a steel chain snaps,
And leave the grand white neck no gash?
In Moscow, Waring, to those rough
Cold natures borne, perhaps,
Like the lambwhite maiden, (clear
Thro' the circle of mute kings,
Unable to repress the tear,
Each as his sceptre down he flings),

Robert Browning

Monday, August 27, 2007

US Pharma reps - how they are trained, how they target customers, how they affect prescribing

In 2004, spending for prescription drugs in the US was US $188.5 Bn. in 2005 ( 5 times what was spent in 1990) accounting for 10.7% of health-care expenditures. In 2000, pharmaceutical companies spent more than US$15.7 Bn. on promoting prescription drugs

US$ 4.8 Bn. of that went on detailing, the one-on-one promotion of drugs to doctors by pharmaceutical sales representatives / drug reps. The average sales force expenditure for pharmaceutical companies is $875 million annually.

Between 1995 and 2005, the number of drug reps in the US increased from 38,000 to 100,000 - about one for every six physicians. The actual ratio is close to one drug rep per 2.5 targeted doctors

A drug rep can expect to earn on average US$81,700, - base of approx US$60K plus $19,300 in bonuses.

To recruit, hire, train a rep costs about US90K - a pharma company can expect to spend US$150K per rep annually and double that for a speciality rep.

Against this outline of costs Following the Script: How Drug Reps Make Friends and Influence Doctors by Adriane Fugh-Berman and Shahram Ahari is an attempt to explain how drug reps actually work in the US.

The US has a unique, detailed and acurate method of tracking drug sales, by product, and prescriber.

1. Health information organizations, such as IMS Health ( is the biggest and cover 70% of prescriptions made), Dendrite, Verispan, and Wolters Kluwer, purchase prescription records from pharmacies.

Patient names are not included, the precribing physician is identified only by state license number, Drug Enforcement Administration number, or a pharmacy-specific identifier such identities can be linked to physician names through licensing agreements with the American Medical Association (AMA), which maintains the Physician Masterfile, a database containing demographic information on all US. physicians (living or dead, member or non-member, licensed or non-licensed). In 2005, database product sales, including an unknown amount from licensing Masterfile information, provided more than US$44 million to the AMA.

In the UK such sales would not be permitted under the Data Protection Act.

2. Pharamaceutical companies buy this information - Physicians are ranked on a scale from one to ten based on how many prescriptions they write.

Reps use prescribing data to see how many of a physician's patients receive specific drugs, how many prescriptions the physician writes for targeted and competing drugs, and how a physician's prescribing habits change over time.

“A physician's prescribing value is a function of the opportunity to prescribe, plus his or her attitude toward prescribing, along with outside influences. By building these multiple dimensions into physicians' profiles, it is possible to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of their behavior.” Data can be enhanced from other sources for demographics, but also behavioral and psychographic selections that help you to better target your perfect prospects”

Armed with this information the rep's role has changed over the last decade. He / she ruthlessly targets the physician and categorises them ;

“Hidden gems”: “Initially considered ‘low value’ because they are low prescribers, these physicians can change their prescribing habits after targeted, effective marketing.”

“Growers” are Physicians who are early adopters of a brand. Pharmaceutical companies employ retention strategies to continue to reinforce their growth behavior. etc.,

From this develops the procedures to manipulate Physicians - "Friendly " "Aloof" , "Mercenary" explained in this detailed chart here

Sharham Amari who was a drug rep for a major US Pharma company concludes ..

" The concept that reps provide necessary services to physicians and patients is a fiction. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars annually to ensure that physicians most susceptible to marketing prescribe the most expensive, most promoted drugs to the most people possible. The foundation of this influence is a sales force of 100,000 drug reps that provides rationed doses of samples, gifts, services, and flattery to a subset of physicians. If detailing were an educational service, it would be provided to all physicians, not just those who affect market share.

Physicians are susceptible to corporate influence because they are overworked, overwhelmed with information and paperwork, and feel underappreciated. Cheerful and charming, bearing food and gifts, drug reps provide respite and sympathy; they appreciate how hard doctor's lives are, and seem only to want to ease their burdens .... every word, every courtesy, every gift, and every piece of information provided is carefully crafted, not to assist doctors or patients, but to increase market share for targeted drugs."

A fascinating insight into part of the process of getting the drugs from the lab to you - read it, and also take a look at the Merck Training Guide which was unearthed as part of the Oversight and Government reform committee Hearing on Vioxx under Chairman Henry Waxman , Item 17 "Merck, Basic Training Participant Guide (Jan. 2002)." see excerpt (click to enlarge) at top of article of part of Page 63 detailing information available to the rep....whilst you are at it this Merck document is a fascinating insight into ...well read it and see.

This is particularly interesting in the light of subsequent events related to prescribing Vioxx.

Alberto G falls on his sword - follows Goodling, Sampson and Battle from DOJ for telling lies, again and again.Messianics at work.

Ms. Monica Goodling, 33, was a 1995 graduate of Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and received her law degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach. (Christian leadership to Change the World) Messiah describes itself as “committed to an embracing evangelical spirit,” while Regent was founded by the Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson.

On April 5th 2007 she resigned from her post as the Director of Public Affairs which is the Justice Department’s liaison to the White House which she had held since 2000 and had worked under John Ashcroft.

She had previously notified the Senate Judiciary Committee through her lawyer on March 26 when she took indefinite leave of absence, that she would invoke her constitutional right not to testify in the panel’s inquiry about the dismissals of State Attoneys — not because she had anything to hide, the lawyer said, but because she did not expect fair treatment in the current climate of political hostility.

This was after D. Kyle Sampson resigned as Mr. Gonzales’s chief of staff after accepting responsibility for how the dismissals were handled. Michael A. Battle, the former director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys who notified the prosecutors of their dismissals, announced several weeks ago that he was leaving to enter private practice.

Unlike Ms. Goodling, Mr. Sampson was eager to testify, and he appeared voluntarily before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He testified that Mr. Gonzales had been involved in discussions that led to the dismissals, and that Mr. Gonzales’s statements to the contrary were “incorrect.”

Subsequently Chief Judge Thomas Hogan signed an order on May 11th granting Goodling immunity in exchange for her truthful testimony in the U.S. Attorney firings investigation, stating that "Goodling may not refuse to testify, and may not refuse to provide other information, when compelled to do so" before the House Judiciary Committee.

Goodling appeared on May 23rd 2007, under a limited immunity agreement, and provided to the committee a written statement that she read at the start of her testimony. In response to questions during the hearing, Goodling stated that she "crossed the line" and broke civil service rules about hiring, and improperly weighed political factors in considering applicants for career positions at the Department of Justice.

Now runty Alberto Gonzales, who has been hounded to resign for months, who has lied to Congress, evaded, stonewalled and ignored persistent calls for his resignation for months, submitted it to President Bush by telephone on Friday and he leaves effective September 17th.
The President called him a talented and honourable person in announcing his resignation. Chuck Schumer the NY Democrat Senator said he was amazed it took so long for Dubya to come to his senses.

Any sense of relief may be somwhat tempered by waiting to see what poltiical appartachik will replace him - Chertoff the son of El Al's first air hostess is considered hot favourite.

PS Monica had last atracted attention when she authorised the expenditure of US$8,000 on blue drapes to cover an Art Deco stature of the Lady Spirit of Justice by Paul Jennewein, modestly not blindfolded but bearing a plump and unclothed right breast, in the Great Hall of the Robert F Kennedy Building.

The statue notably featured in pictures when she was seen behind then-Attorney General Edwin Meese III as he held up a report on pornography.

Alberto had the curtains removed in June 2005.

Youmight like to read about Mitt Romney addressing the new class of 1,005 graduates , the highest ever at Regent when they were able to announce a gift of US$1 Mn to Jack Hayford, founder and chancellor of The King's College and Seminary in Van Nuys, Calif. and current President of International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. - they need the money because they have been memorable recently as former President Paul Risser was forced to resign in 2004 after losing over US$15 Mn. of the church's funds in pyramid schemes, International Products Investment Corp. and Financial Advisory Consultants. Prior to Risser, President John Holland disappeared from the office in a move that was shrouded in secrecy.

See also Foursquare Church comes to Jerusalem, embraces local Messianics The worldwide Foursquare denomination holds its annual conference in Jerusalem and bucks the trend of locally-based Christian ministries by openly embracing Messianic Jewish leaders. Israel Today August 7th 2007 My prayer was for there to be enlightenment of God’s grace in the hour for Israel and that is happening,” Pastor Jack Hayford told Israel Today. “It’s not happening through education, but through revelation.”

Israel Today report continues ..."Hayford, who has fostered relations with Jews in his hometown in California’s San Fernando Valley for more than 30 years—some of whom have come to faith in Yeshua—prominently featured Messianic Jews at the conference. Many Christian organizations in Israel tend to be overly cautious in their relationship with Messianic Jews to avoid offending their Israeli hosts, but Hayford said the Foursquare Church stands unashamed with Israel’s Jewish believers and featured several Messianic leaders as key speakers. "

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish