September 2004
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Month September 2004

Shanghai American School Turns over N. Korean Refugees to the Chinese

Rebecca MacKinnon:

The human rights activist website Chosun Journal has information about eight North Korean refugees who entered the Shanghai American School on Monday, Sept. 27, and were subsequently handed over to the Chinese police.
The original account is here. Full text is also continued below.
Will the U.S. media report this incident? Did the school do the right thing? Could they have done otherwise and not gotten in trouble with the Chinese authorities? Will Americans be outraged? What would you do if North Korean refugees sought asylum in your school which was clearly not on embassy grounds?
There ought to be a public discussion about what Americans living abroad who care about human rights should do in such situations, and what U.S. consulates will or won?t do to help them.

Dean on Local Politics

Howard Dean:

You need to run for office yourself,” he said. “Somebody has to take responsibility for being on the school board, on the city council ? all these offices that sometimes lead to higher things and sometimes don’t. Democracy withers unless people think ? unless people understand that they’re responsible, not their neighbor.”

X-Prize 1st Flight Today at Mojave


Kudos to Bert Rutan and company on their successful flight today. Xeni Jardin has more.

NAB Death Star

Adam Curry:

Doc Searls has been following the iPodder explosion and points to a piece in Forbes about the history of the NAB and how they are succesfully regulating satellite radio out of business. It’s going to get interesting when iPods are outlawed and assault rifles are legal.

Read more about the latest Hatch/Leahy absurdity, the Induce Act here. Will Senator Kohl also carry water for Hollywood? Kohl is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which meets to discuss the Induce Act on Thursday.
The Librarians are also against this bill…..

A Honey of a Farmer’s Market


Our Local Dane County Farmer’s Market continues to be in the news. It is now recognized as the largest in the nation by the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association, and still growing, according to R.W. Apple, who visited recently:

Everything sold must be grown in Wisconsin, and the sellers must actually have participated in the production of the goods. On this glorious late-summer day, with the sky a soaring canopy of robin’s-egg blue, more than 300 farmers from 30-odd counties came to town, many of them driving through the night to get here by 6 a.m. (By comparison the Union Square Greenmarket in New York has only about 70 farmers in peak season, but it is part of a network of 47 such markets in 33 locations in the city.)
The last of summer’s bounty was mingled on the stands with fall fruits and the first tender root crops of winter. The growers said it had been a wet summer, bad for tomatoes, but you couldn’t tell from those offered by Thomas M. Eugster of Old Stage Vegetable Gardens in Brooklyn, Wis., south of Madison. The tiny yellow Sungolds and the scarlet Goliaths, big as softballs, could not possibly have been sweeter.
“Look at them,” said a shopper to his wife. “With those gigantic T’s you could make a BLT without any B or L.”

There’s more local flavor:

But the king of this particular mountain is Richard deWilde of the all-organic Harmony Valley Farms near the pretty town of Viroqua, who loads a 20-foot truck every Friday night and leaves for Madison at 2:30 Saturday morning, arriving about 5:30. On a beautiful day, he might sell $6,000 worth of vegetables or more, but cold, rainy weather cuts that in half, he said, “and the food pantry” ? a charity ? “loves us.”
A bearded, keen-eyed, third-generation farmer whose grandfather was a buddy of J. I. Rodale, the pioneer organic farmer and publisher, Mr. deWilde grew up in South Dakota. He and his partner, Linda Halley, farm 90 acres planted in more than 60 kinds of vegetables with the help of their two sons and a number of hired hands. The farmers’ market, he said, is his “show window,” which has made the operation’s name in the region and has enabled him to sell to restaurants in Madison, Chicago and Minneapolis, and also to run a Community Supported Agriculture plan, in which 450 local households pay for weekly delivery of three-quarter bushel boxes of assorted produce.
Harmony Valley Farms has even broken into big-time mainstream commerce. Mr. deWilde sells several cool-climate specialties ? burdock, celeriac, daikon and three kinds of turnips ? to Albert’s Organics, a wholesaler in Bridgeport, N.J., and a broader range of vegetables to 18 Whole Food supermarkets in the Chicago area.
“Some of my friends at the farmers’ market complain about that,” he said, “but they help to keep me going. They pay on time, and above market price.”

Brewers Reality Distortion Field?

Tom Haudricourt and Don Walker:

Attanasio not playing to lose
Ex-partner thinks he’ll increase payroll

???
The article contained not one word from the new owner, former Drexel Burnham Lambert employee and Global Crossing Director Mark Attanasio.
Michael Hunt is a bit more suspicous….
Keep in mind that the Milwuaukee Journal-Sentinel was a major partisan cheerleader during the Miller Park fiasco……
Finally, I take a look at my web site activity logs periodically. This deal could have been called for Attanasio some time ago, based on the inbound searches/visits with arguments such as “Brewers and Attanasio” from the likes of Salomon, Inc., Cowen & Company, SAC Capital Advisors and other financial firms. Anyone interested in the those who play on Wall Street should read Michael Lewis’s classic primer: Liar’s poker.

Bill Cosby to visit Milwaukee’s North High School

Georgia Pabst on Bill Cosby’s visit to Milwaukee North on October 20, 2004 (6 to 9p.m.); 1101 W. Center St.

The gathering was announced Friday by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who worked with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators and the Wisconsin Black Media Association to bring about the Cosby appearance.
Barrett said he hoped the discussion would deal with the importance of education and how the community can tackle and develop solutions to educational disparities and other challenges.
Cosby first raised a national storm in May during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring an end to school segregation. He decried the lack of emphasis on education in the black community and challenged parents to greater accountability. Though he earned rebukes from some commentators, others praised him for speaking out.

Debra Dickerson covers Cosby…

Google Conforms to Chinese Censorship

Michael Liedtke:

Google Inc.’s recently launched news service in China doesn’t display results from Web sites blocked by that country’s authorities, raising prickly questions for an online search engine that has famously promised to “do no evil.”
Dynamic Internet Technology Inc., a research firm striving to defeat online censorship, conducted tests that found Google omits results from the government-banned sites if search requests are made through computers connecting to the Internet in China.
Steered by an identical search request, computers with a United States connection retrieved results from the sites blocked by China.
“That’s a problem because the Chinese people need to know there are alternative opinions from the Chinese government and there are many things being covered up by the government,” said Bill Xia, Dynamic’s chief executive. “Users expect Google to return anything on the Internet. That’s what a search engine does.”

Let Google know how you feel about their support of Chinese censorship: press@google.com

Useful Education Posts

www.schoolinfosystem.org has an extensive set of education posts. Keep clicking and scrolling.

Bonuses for Good Doctors

1. Over the last year, six California health plans have been monitoring the performance of 45,000 doctors. The top performers will split a bonus pool of $40 to $60 million

2. 35 health plans, covering some 30 million patients, now tie doctor bonuses to performance. Preventive care and measure to encourage “patient follow-up” receive special rewards.

3. Bonus-based coverage is expected to double in size over the next year.

4. Some experts predict that pay-for-performance eventually will account for 20% to 30% of what the federal government pays health care providers.

The insurance companies feel that better doctor performance will lower their long-run costs. Many doctors don’t like these incentives. Their financial risk is increased, and they cannot always control how well the patient sticks to the prescribed regimen. Still, if greater medical skill does not show up in the numbers, over a reasonably large sample of patients, why do we spend so much time and money educating doctors?

I predict that as information technology progresses, and performance becomes easier to measure, the American economy will resort to many more bonuses of this type, across many professions.

Here is the story, WSJ subscription and password required.

By the way, regular MR readers will not be surprised to learn who first wrote up the idea of rewarding doctors for superior performance: our ever-inventive colleague Robin Hanson. More recently Harvard economist David Cutler has promoted the idea as well.

For those who care: Here is a thorough AEI estimate of the cost impacts of the Kerry and Bush health care plans. If you are concerned about our fiscal future, this makes for scary reading.

Tyler Cowan