They had their chance
Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston are in talks aimed at a possible merger of the two institutions.
“Rice and Baylor have a long history of valuable collaborations and are exploring the possibility of a closer affiliation,” the schools said in a joint statement. “Preliminary talks are under way.”
Spokespersons at both institutions said no officials would talk further about the negotiations at this time.
Rice is one of the top-ranked private universities in the country and Baylor is among the country’s top medical schools. It also is one of fewer than a dozen medical schools not affiliated with a university.
Both institutions are located in The Texas Medical Center in Houston.
Such a merger would bring Rice’s strong financial backing to Baylor, which has struggled financially since it separated from its long-time affiliate, The Methodist Hospital, in 2004.
And universities like Rice are increasingly seeking partnerships with medical schools to expand and enhance their biomedical research capabilities.
As you may know, today's Houston Chronicle includes an article on a potentially closer affiliation between Rice and . (You can read the article here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6083117.html.) This possibility has been discussed for many years, and the two institutions already have collaborations that we are always seeking to build upon. I am writing to let you know that such a discussion is in fact under way, but is very preliminary, tentative and exploratory. Yesterday afternoon Rice and BCM issued the following joint statement:
"Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have a long history of valuable collaborations and are exploring the possibility of a closer affiliation. Preliminary talks between the two institutions are under way. No further details are available at this time."
I can assure you that the Rice leadership team and Board of Trustees will not undertake a decision like this without the utmost care and due diligence. I had the opportunity to update the Association of Rice Alumni board of directors at their recent meeting, and will keep you apprised of the situation as conversations between Rice and BCM may continue in the months to come.
David W. Leebron
For a diverse range of communities stretching from the Texas Medical Center and West University Place to the far northwest suburbs of Houston, the representative for District 7 must balance many interests and service priorities. The Chronicle urges voters to support a political newcomer, Michael Skelly, an entrepreneur and family man who built Horizon Wind Energy, one of the largest such companies in the nation.
His life offers an appealing American story — an Irish immigrant who came to the U.S. at the age of 2 with parents who had little money but plenty of determination. Skelly graduated from Notre Dame and Harvard Business School with the assistance of loans and grants.
Skelly supports Metro's plans to build light rail on portions of Richmond and Westpark. He opposes federal restrictions on stem cell research and pledges to push for expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Skelly believes the best way to achieve independence from foreign oil is to push development of alternative energy sources but opposes windfall profits taxes on industry and supports expanded domestic drilling.
Skelly doesn't inspire rhetorical sublimity from the Chron, evidently. What they don't say directly is that it's time to get rid of the transit-hating John Culberson. But I'll say it for them--John Culberson must go! Vote Skelly!
A team of researchers at Rice University in Houston is working to create a beer that could fight cancer and heart disease. Taylor Stevenson, a member of the six-student research team and a junior at Rice, said the team is using genetic engineering to create a beer that includes resveratrol, the disease-fighting chemical that's been found in red wine.If they succeed, they will surely rank among the Greatest Americans EVER! And certainly the greatest Rice students of all time (including the future). At the very least, they will deserve one of these:
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin in June had called resveratrol, which is a natural component of grapes, pomegranates and red wine, a key reason for the so-called French Paradox -- the observation that French people have lower rates of heart disease despite a cuisine known for its cream sauces and decadent cheeses, all loaded with heart-clogging saturated fats.
Stevenson said that the Rice research group, most of the members of which aren't old enough to legally drink alcoholic beverages, came up with the idea of adding resveratrol to beer during a casual conversation about potential projects to undertake. "The idea is that it may have greater effects [in beer than in wine]," he added. "The amount of red wine you'd need to drink to get the same results they get with rats in labs is about half a bottle a day."
He explained that the amount of resveratrol in wine varies from bottle to bottle, since it depends on growing conditions for the grapes and other variables. The researchers felt they could design a beer with higher and more consistent concentrations of the cancer-fighting chemical.
Labels: Rice University
“As a former judge, it appears to me the abuse of power by this anti-American military, peacenik judge is the perfect example of her having a terminal case of black robe disease, a disease some judges get when their personal politics cloud their judgment,” Poe said on March 10, after Mackel reportedly told a 17-year-old she opposed the Iraq war while denying his request for early enlistment into the Marine Corps.
“Columbia University clearly shows a pattern of being anti-American by promoting forums to warmongers and by preventing the U.S. military ROTC program on campus. Maybe the university should just relocate to Tehran. And in the meantime, the U.S. taxpayers have no business sending American money to the University of Hate,” he said on the day in September 2007 that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have Democratic opposition in this race, as far as I can determine. (There is a Libertarian running against him, if you feel like casting a protest vote.)
Of course, the guy whose seat he took in the Delay redistricting became, through some fairly clever manoeuvering and some big mistakes by Tom Delay, Congressman in Delay's old district, the 22nd. This is Nick Lampson, and he's running a tight race against Pete Olson. If you live in district 2 and feel bad that you don't have a Democrat to support against your horrible incumbent, consider tossing a few dollars Nick Lampson's way.
And come 2010, I want to see a Democrat running against Poe. It's not too early to start organizing now to retire this hate-monger.
Labels: Life's Rich Pageant
Yet the most telling answers came when we asked candidates why they've never debated.What a pussy.
"Can you imagine that? This is a sitting member of Congress and he will not debate the other guy," said Skelly. "Oh, come on."
"This entire month has been filled completely with campaign events scheduled a long time ago," said Culberson.
"You haven't been avoiding him?" we asked.
"No, of course not," he answered.
Come January, the halls of Congress will likely be populated by strengthened Democratic majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Texas will need able representation in all arenas in that shifting legislative environment. It will be especially important for Texans to have a strong, respected voice inside the expected Democratic majority in the Senate. Rick Noriega offers such a voice, with a distinctive Lone Star tone and perspective. The Chronicle endorses Noriega for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican John Cornyn.Noriega, a Houstonian, describes himself as a Texas Democrat. That term, once common currency in the state's political conversation, seems to have fallen out of favor over the past several Republican-dominated years. But it resonates once more in this season of voter discontent with partisanship uber alles. Some old-fashioned moderate bipartisanship, Texas style, should be much welcomed in the Washington debate, particularly on overheated topics such as energy and immigration. Rick Noriega can provide it.They go on to make a point that I think cannot be expressed frequently enough.
Noriega well understands that there are subjects on which Texas Democrats must stand apart from the party's national leadership. Energy is one. He is committed to bringing the message that the nation will need new domestic oil and gas supplies as it builds a bridge to greater energy independence and increased reliance on alternative energy sources. He will be able to point out in a forceful and personal way the folly of relying almost exclusively on hurricane-prone areas of the Gulf for supplies when abundant reserves can be tapped on the East and West coasts with little risk to the environment.Come January, the stronger Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate (and a probable Democratic president) will mean a lot more legislators with anti-oil and gas feelings. They may be more environmentally sensitive than Congresses past, or they may feel a partisan dislike for the industry based on its long association with the Republican party. This is the reality of the situation.
The first-term senator [Cornyn] wouldn't have anything to worry about in an ordinary election. A Democrat hasn't won a Senate race in Texas in 20 years or carried the state in a presidential contest in 30 years. Cornyn has led in the polls and enjoyed a fundraising advantage of almost 5-1 over Noriega.
Nevertheless, the polls have never shown Cornyn with a lock on re-election and indicate he has less support than Republican presidential candidate John McCain among Texas voters.
Combine that with Democratic excitement for presidential nominee Barack Obama and voter anger over the economy, gasoline prices and the Iraq war, and Noriega believes he has a shot at an upset.
One other factor is that among most voters, Cornyn has no particular active following. He's the Republican who happens to be the senator. Otherwise, he is seen as a piece of furniture, a fairly reliable yes-man for whatever the party favors at the moment. He's a non-entity. It seems to me that this kind of candidate is especially vulnerable when his opponent does have a vocal and active following. Unfortuntely, Noreiga hasn't been able to generate that. But Obama has. So Obama's coattails will be a big factor.
The funny thing is that Cornyn has apparently given up on his own party this time around. He told the Longview News-Journal
he will be able to serve
well in the U.S. Senate, even if Sen. Barack Obama wins the presidency and Democrats win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Texas
If that scenario happens, his role in the Senate's minority still will be important, Cornyn said in an editorial board meeting Friday with the Longview News-Journal.
Cornyn touted his working relationships with other legislators in
, and he said he has worked on many bipartisan bills. Washington
So, for this and many other reasons, vote for Rick Noriega for U.S. Senate.
"I think the military ought to just take the gloves off and do what they do best," he says. "Just give them the complete freedom to use their best judgment. They're Americans, they've got good judgment, they're going to do all they can to protect women and children and innocent life...If there's an area where the terrorists have been active in and we're having trouble getting them out, the military should be able to go in, and if they've tried everything else and there's no other recourse, to notify everybody in the area and tell them they've got 72 hours, women and children, to get out and we're gonna send the bombers in."Because like, how dare the Iraqis fight back against the people who invaded them. We should teach their country a lesson by leveling it. (This quote comes from The Houston Press.)
For Vince Kaminski, the in-house risk-management genius, the fall of Enron Corp. began one day in June 1999. His boss told him that Enron President Jeffrey K. Skilling had an urgent task for Kaminski's team of financial analysts. A few minutes later, Skilling surprised Kaminski by marching into his office to explain. Enron's investment in a risky Internet start-up called Rhythms NetConnections had jumped $300 million in value. Because of a securities restriction, Enron could not sell the stock immediately. But the company could and did count the paper gain as profit. Now Skilling had a way to hold on to that windfall if the tech boom collapsed and the stock dropped. Much later, Kaminski would come to see Skilling's command as a turning point, a moment in which the course of modern American business was fundamentally altered. At the time Kaminski found Skilling's idea merely incoherent, the task patently absurd.
The deal was "so stupid that only Andrew Fastow could have come up with it," Kaminski would later say.
Kaminski was the naysayer who finally was left outside the loop. Skilling didn't want him saying no anymore. Enron was one of the leading companies pushing for financial deregulation. Their point-man in Washington was Phil Gramm, whom they rewarded by putting his wife on the board of directors. Now Enron is dust, Skilling and Fastow in jail, and Gramm is, absurdly, advising John McCain.
As for Kaminski, he is an MD at Citigroup and teaches energy derivatives at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management (where I had him as a professor). He, like Michael Skelly, is a big supporter of tradeable carbon credits. If Obama becomes president, he could do a lot worse than have Skelly and Kaminski on the team that designs a national cap-and-trade plan.
The people who, it seems to me, have been truly vindicated by this are Nassim Taleb and Benoit Mandelbrot. They nailed what to me is the core issue: bankers pricing security risk as if it were distributed along a normal curve with thin tails.This assertion was made at the end of a long blog post decrying the precognitive failings of Paul Krugman. The thing is that Krugman correctly identified housing as a bubble that would burst, even if he didn't know precisely when. McArdle seems really reluctant to give him credit for it, and indeed writes off all prognosticators by saying only Taleb and Mandelbrot deserve praise, and that if anyone got anyone else got any prediction right, it was just chance. Only hindsight bias makes them seem wise now. Now aside from the ungenerousness of this (after all, quite a few people warned that housing was overpriced and could suffer a correction, and I doubt they were right purely by accident), the praise for Taleb is fantastically undeserved! (Mandelbrot I can see maybe, since he appears to be one of the earliest to see that financial returns were not normally distributed.)
Democratic challenger Michael Skelly's campaign spent $1.5 million through September, more than twice as much as Republican U.S. Rep. John Culberson's re-election effort, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Also, Skelly recently pumped $750,000 in personal funds into his campaign in the form of a loan, in addition to the $200,000 he injected earlier this year. Skelly is an exective in a wind power company that the Republican Party of Texas, in support of Culberson, alleges "took taxpayer subsidies to enrich himself and his business."
It's true that the federal government requires power companies to get a fraction of their electricity from alternative sources such as wind. It's also true that the government has subsidized the oil and nuclear energy industries through the years and that Culberson has voted for tax subsidies for conventional and alternative energy.
Skelly's personal loans aside, his campaign has still raised more money from donors than Culberson's, a very rare situation in congressional races across the country. Much of Skelly's campaign spending has been for those incessant TV ads and mailings.
I'm one of those donors (a small but proud one). You can be too--go here to help out.
But go back to Paulson's famous statement to the Senate Banking Committee on September 23:This is why we don't have a full RFC-style solution yet. That will probably have to come with the next administration.Whose failure is he talking about here? Narrowly, bank failures, of course. But also more broadly, he was talking about the failure of the laissez-faire regulatory system which he helped to create while CEO of Goldman Sachs -- a system which was governed by an ideology which said that markets not only could self-regulate, but would self-regulate.
Some said we should just stick capital in the banks, take preferred stock in the banks. That's what you do when you have failure. This is about success.
I suspect that one of the reasons the G7 failed to come up with anything substantive in Washington this weekend was that the US remains atavistically opposed to anything which smells of World Government: it's simply not in the nature of any Republican administration to go along with an international plan to bring a large proportion of the world's biggest banks under some sort of state control.I only hope they don't let ideological blinders prevent them from taking the bold action that may be necessary. This was the main problem with Hoover.
My preferred solution to the credit crisis was to repeal the mark-to- market accounting rule and raise the $100,000 FDIC insured limit on bank deposits to $250,000. Unfortunately, this bailout bill also included $42 billion in tax increases and pork barrel spending, and I could not support it. I am committed to finding a solution that restores liquidity to the banking system, and these two steps will help immensely, giving Congress and the Administration time to think the problem through carefully. While I am glad the SEC Chairman Chris Cox repealed the mark to market rule, and that the bailout bill raised the FDIC insured limit to $250,000, I co-sponsored the conservative alternative, H.R. 7223. To read about the Free Market Protection Act, click here.
(This feeble, hopeless act included the Republican's favorite response to any problem up to and including tooth decay, tax cuts. Specifically a cut of the capital gains tax, which would be great news for all six people who will have capital gains this year.)
The White House and the Treasury both tell us that nothing in this bill will prevent this crisis from happening again, or bring those responsible to justice and that $700 billion may not even be enough.
(True--this is a rescue package, triage to fix a crisis. Preventing the crisis from happening again is not its function, and would be inappropriate for this administration to create anyway. That belongs to the next administration. Hopefully one that won't have to worry about Mr. Culberson's votes.)
Since we will have to borrow the $700 billion by selling TBills on the international bond market, and the largest percentage of TBills are bought by the Chinese or other hostile powers through Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, under this bill, American taxpayers will borrow billions of dollars from Chinese and Middle Eastern banks to bail out Chinese and Middle Eastern banks.
(Huh? In case he hasn't noticed, several U.S. banks just failed. And thousands of U.S. corporations just lost their access to credit and huge chunks of market capitalization.)
This bill also raised the national debt to $11.3 trillion, doubled the deficit overnight, and saddled our children with at least $1 trillion in new unfunded obligations. All for a bill the Treasury Secretary admits won't prevent the problem in the future and may not solve the urgent problem in front of us.(Since when has he seriously given a flying fuck about the deficit?! Hasn't he voted with Bush for the past eight years, while we turned a surplus into the biggest deficit in history?)
Federal property managers will be able to rewrite mortgages to reduce principal and lower interest rates to zero if they wish, and they can give away foreclosed or distressed-loan homes in your neighborhood to anyone they wish. Liberals who manage these programs will give away millions of free or reduced homes in neighborhoods all over America to families who could not otherwise afford them. The federal government now has the power to create federal housing projects, house by house, in neighborhoods all over America. Just imagine what that means for property values and the safety and security of your neighborhood.
(Oh noes! You may be forced to live next door to a negro or a Mexican! This is the biggest piece of quasi-racist balderdash in his entire screed.)