09 September 2008

A New Dawn for India, and the World

Wow. I would really hate to be a corrupt bureaucrat in India right now. I have a feeling those guys are about to have their butts handed to them.

And it's about time.

Anti-corruption superhero and tireless transparency advocate Shailesh Gandhi was recently appointed to the Indian Central Information Commissioner. Though I have seen reports that he has been named as the Chief Information Commissioner, until I see the official notice, such news is simply too good to be true.

Here's Shailesh speaking in Portland, OR, USA:

When I heard this news, I nearly fell out of my chair crying with joy. Seriously. I spent way too long fighting corruption in India to take this with my usual cool distance. Luckily for the voters of DC, I was able to maintain my composure while working the polls.

This is a victory for the world, not just India. Right now, India is experimenting on the forefront of transparency legislation. Imagine, as a US citizen, being able to ask the government not only why your Social Security check is late, but who exactly in the bureaucracy is responsible, their names, their contact information, their service records. Now imagine extending that power to keep an eye on almost all parts of government. Imagine personal accountability for failed levees and squandered disaster relief. Amazing.

Of course, you don't just magically land in a position like this. There are reasons and they shouldn't be ignored. But still, this is awesome.

With power like this, now being enforced by the likes of Shailesh Gandhi, corrupt bureaucrats should be quaking in their boots.

Here's a video of the power of the Indian Right to Information Act:

Go Shailesh, Go!

01 September 2008

Journalists Give Workers the Business

I couldn't really think of a better title than the original one of this report from the Center for American Progress. They did a quantitative review of major news outlets and show how workers are systematically ignored in favor of business sources, even on news issues that workers and unions know a lot about!

They found:

  • Overall, representatives of business were quoted or cited nearly two-and-a-half times ƒ as frequently as were workers or their union representatives.

  • In coverage of both the minimum wage and trade, the views of businesses were ƒ sourced more than one-and-a-half times as frequently as those of workers.

  • In coverage about employment, businesses were quoted or cited over six times as frequently as were workers.

  • On only one issue that we examined, ƒ credit card debt, was coverage more balanced, presenting the perspectives of ordinary citizens in the same pro- portion as those of business.

Here are some screenshots of their data for you to scroll through.

It's important to remember that business sources aren't necessarily any more expert on issues like the minimum wage, employment, and trade than labor sources. Academics were counted separately in this study.

I find it interesting to think about what our society would look like if we had 2.5 times more people in management than in labor.

From the article:

But the best explanation for the kind of bias described in this report is that journalists have a preference for elite sources, such as government or business representatives, over ordinary citizens. In short, it is just easier for a reporter to talk to a professional, such as a business spokesperson, than to find a good quote from a worker or ordinary citizen who does not represent a set interest group.

Of course, this doesn't explain everything, since journalists seemed to find plenty of citizen sources for their credit-card debt coverage.

31 August 2008

New Job, and Possible Radio Silence

I'm about to start a new job, and that may delay my future posts a bit.

For the past two years, I've been an AAAS Science Policy Fellow working at the US Department of Energy's Office of Science. More details on what I did there can be found here.

On 2 September 2008, I'll start my most intriguing position yet. Again I'll be a Science Policy Fellow, but this time I'll be working at the US Department of State's Office of International Labor and Corporate Social Responsibility (ILCSR). There, I'll have responsibility for coordinating US Government efforts in and with the countries of South Asia and maybe a bit more besides. Since I've gotten a lot of questions from folks, here are some FAQ's:

Q: What's this about South Asia? Weren't you there before?

A: Yes, I was. In this job I'll be covering the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India. I may have some responsibility over Afghanistan and other countries of Central Asia, but it's really uncertain at the moment.

Q: What does the State Department have to do with labor rights?

A: In many of our agreements with other countries, trade treaties and otherwise, there are labor and human rights conditions. The basic idea is that we try not to import goods made with slave labor, forced labor, child labor, etc., so trade sanctions are the "stick". We also want to help countries improve their labor conditions, so we work with them to train labor advocates, government officials, and even executives in private companies on how to do that (the "carrot").

Q: Wait—Why do we care about labor rights in other countries, again?

A: I don't know about the US Government, but I care for a few reasons. First, supporting labor rights for all humans is one of my values, so I would prefer to advance those values when and where I can. Second, I care about US workers, and don't want them to have to compete with slave labor, because that's not fair. Third, isolated injustice breeds global violence, and we can't afford any more of that. Fourth, well-paid workers overseas make great markets for US goods, and that helps US workers, also.

Q: What part will you play in the State Department's work?

A: Right now, I'm not entirely sure. I know I'll play a role in coordinating labor programs in South Asia funded by the State Department, the US Department of Labor, and others. I'll also play a role in the writing of the annual Human Rights Report—the highest-profile document that the State Department puts out.

Q: What would you like to do in this position?

A: I have a few ideas:
  1. I'd like to put my science training to work, and raise the profile of the scientific components of labor issues. These include the environmental, safety and health effects associated with labor. You can think of the recycling of e-waste into heavy metals that end up contaminating our imported toys and jewelry, as one example.

  2. I'd also like to look at the way technology can assist in monitoring labor standards. From the statistics of forensic accounting to GIS mapping techniques, the possibilities for multiplying the force of labor rights monitors are tremendous. I could imagine such technology helping to detect, deter and disrupt anything from child soldiering to sex trafficking to ... well, you name it!

  3. I'd like to use my previous transparency and anti-corruption experience to push for better governance and accountability mechanisms. For example, unions can be effective as advocates for their members only when they are open, democratic, and accountable to those members.

  4. Similarly, I think there's lots of room in the region for supply-chain transparency and accountability. This is where the corporate social responsibility comes in. Even well-meaning US multinationals have a hard time making sure that their overseas partners are living up to global standards. Independent and rigorous evaluation bodies are desperately needed to coordinate between the businesses as well as labor and government players.

Q: Will you get to travel to the region? How often?

A: That's unclear, as yet. It's likely that I'll make at least one trip, and likely two. At the very least, I hope I get a trip long enough to get some personal time to visit my friends in Delhi and Ahmedabad, as well as to refresh my professional wardrobe. If there is a major relevant conference in the area, that might be a determining factor.

Q: They let someone like you do this job? What ever happened to standards?

A: A Secret-level Security Clearance is necessary for this job, as I'll have to look at diplomatic communications of a somewhat sensitive nature. I had to go through the process, which is an especially big pain for immigrants, even for the child of immigrants.

Q: How long before they are able to correct this obvious hiring error?

A: I'm planning for this temporary position to last at least a year. Beyond that, it's up to AAAS and my bosses at State to decide whether they want me to stay. Here's hoping I do well!

Q: What will you do after this position? Why did you take (yet another!) temporary position? Aren't you tired of being a "Fellow"?

A: I've been aiming my career toward traditional science policy for a while, and have gotten a decent taste of it over the last few years. It's exhilarating. But my interests are much broader than that, and have leaned heavily in the human rights realm. This position offers a great opportunity to bridge the worlds of science and human rights, much as I was earlier attempting to bridge the academic and government worlds. Besides, like many folks in DC, I'm not planning on being here for too much longer.

Q: So what's this about delayed posts?

A: Well, I don't want it to appear that this space is speaking on behalf of the US Government. That puts all of my publications in an interesting spot. I'll try to keep writing with caveats before and after each post, and hopefully that will be enough. If not, I may have to delay future entries until after this position has ended.

25 August 2008

Censorship vs Terrorism? Animals vs Science?

The cars of two UCSC scientists and their families were firebombed earlier this month, reportedly by an animal-rights group. In response to these detestable attacks, some scientists have proposed internet censorship as a method of preventing this violent harassment. More than simply ineffective, this measure would be counterproductive. There is another, more transparent way that we should pursue immediately.

To be clear, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, and the animal-rights community is divided over the issue. The Humane Society has gone so far as to offer a reward for information about the perpetrators of the incident.

In their editorial in Science Magazine, M. R. C. Greenwood, Gordon Ringold, and Doug Kellogg (GRK) correctly characterize the situation while lamenting the lack of public outcry:
These are criminal acts, being investigated as an attempted homicide by local, state, and federal authorities. It is of serious concern that these acts of terrorism and their associated incendiary statements were not immediately condemned by our political leaders. There have been no high-profile or unified statements about the incidents, and days afterward, California's governor had still declined to comment.
GRK further identify the need to address underlying issues in this conflict:
Those responsible must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Those who oppose animal research, even when conducted under strict federal and state laws, are free to express those beliefs. They are also free to reject the medicines--the fruits of animal research--that now allow us to treat disease and lead healthier lives. But they are not free to conduct a terror campaign.
Though, most animal-rights activists would probably counter that they don't have an alternative; that is, they don't have the ability to reject products that have resulted from animal-testing because there's no rigorous tracking and labeling in place to identify viable alternatives. (Instead, the Center for Consumer Freedom, an industry-sponsored organization, fights all efforts to make products transparent, including nutritional labeling.)

But the proposed legislation, promoting secrecy as a solution, is where GRK really stumble:
State laws that reinforce these protections need to be enacted. A proposed bill in the California Legislature (AB2296), which would extend protection to "animal enterprise workers" similar to that provided for politicians and reproductive health workers, has been much weakened from its original intent. In its original form, it would have prevented the posting of personal information on Web sites with the intent to incite acts of violence or threaten researchers and their families.
This approach of locking down information to prevent violent harassment is wrongheaded and counterproductive. Data leaks do happen. If these lists are going to exist anyway, we are much better off having them in the open. That way, at least we know who's being targeted.

Here's what we should do:
  • As a society, we should prosecute these terrorists as criminals, and treat these actions as what they are, organized crime. That means bringing sophisticated financial tracking systems to bear, and applying relevant statutes like RICO to break down the support network for the groups that exist now. Financial transparency of all organizations is a way to prevent such groups from forming in the future.

  • As a scientific community, we should isolate these extremists by working closely with animal rights groups like the Humane Society and individuals like Stephen Kaufman of the Christian Vegetarian Association and Eric Markus of that have denounced violence as a means of progress. Along with pharmaceutical and cosmetic manufacturers, we should create clear tracking and labeling protocols to give citizens real information on how much and what kind of testing goes into each product on the market. This market transparency allows us all to see the real benefits of animal testing research, as well as the opportunity to reject those benefits.

  • Above all, we should not lean on censorship and secrecy for protection against violent harassment! Secrecy is a short-term solution at best, and is inherently unstable. Instead, as individual scientists, we should humanize ourselves to the animal rights community by engaging vigorously with those non-violent groups, to show them, first-hand, the science being done and the results generated.
Both scientists and activists agree that both human and animal suffering should be minimized. Let us use that as an opportunity for more transparency on all sides.

31 May 2008

Back to the Gold Standard?

I got thinking about the gold standard again thanks to Alexey, who always forces me to reconsider my assumptions.  We were most recently chatting about systemic inflation of the money supply, caused to a great extent by the Federal Reserve (central bank) system of controlling the US currency.  He most recently pointed me to this C-SPAN interview of economist Joseph Salerno who describes in a simple manner the history of and his opinion of the effect of the 1968 repeal of the gold standard, and the creation of the central bank system.  A few of things struck me about this interview:
  1. I had no idea how little I knew about the actual repeal of the gold standard, and how it had come and gone out of fashion over the centuries.  I'd thought there was some big hubbub around the time The Wizard of Oz was written, and remembered from American History class that TWOO was some sort of allegory involving a return to the gold standard.  But for some reason, I always thought that was an economic battle fought long ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
  2. Most of the interested public also knows very little about this topic, judging from the folks who called in.  That made me feel a little better, but not much.
  3. The economist Keynes, as well as being a major architect of the global banking system we have today, was also an advocate of a single world currency, the Bancor, controlled by a single world central bank, the International Clearing Union.  This lends unfortunate credence to New World Order conspiracy theorists everywhere.  Ugh.
  4. The idea of having multiple, valid currencies in a single country actually makes some sense.  The advantage would be a move toward less inflation-prone currencies.  Currently, governments around the world use inflation as a hidden tax, so as to avoid unpopular tax hikes.
For those in the mood for more of a story-telling format, This American Life did a great radio show episode recently on the money supply, and the various causes of the current housing and credit crisis.  The vignette of the debt trader who's gone from living the high life ($100K per month!) to being in debt himself is priceless.

Update: I'd forgotten to include this cute (if a bit long) web video on the topic.  It's designed for everyone from grade-school up, and also appears in many languages.  Enjoy! (Thanks to Andrew for reminding me about this.)

30 May 2008

Vegetarian Shadow-boxing

Rahul from Ponticulus Indica posted a criticism of a recent article in Seed magazine by Paul Roberts on the future of sustainable meat production, or lack thereof. Briefly, Rahul summarized Roberts's argument thusly:

Seed Magazine printed his article titled Carnivores Like Us, wherein he attempts to build the case that we need to shift the discussion from meat vs. no-meat to ‘how to make meat less resource intensive, less toxic, and less destructive’. His case for the inevitability of this shift in the argument is based on three premises:

  1. demand for meat rises as incomes rise

  2. meat has played a critical role in evolving us into homo sapiens from our Australopithecus ancestry, and thus

  3. we are probably wired to really like the taste of meat, making mass shifts away from it somehow unnatural if not impossible

Hopefully, the rest of this will make some sense.

Rahul, I think you may be mischaracterizing the Seed article. For example, to the first point you say,

The context that Roberts’ first point misses is the social status that is overtly and covertly marketed with the notion of meat consumption. Since the dawn of civilization, meat has been a resource-intensive, wasteful means of eating reserved for the wealthy, or for very special occasions, by virtue of its prohibitive cost. The social prestige associated with meat thus became what many families coveted as their incomes grew, while powerful forces aligned to sell the notion that meat was a desirable way to display their financial strength. This was the case in the United States, and is the case with China as well.

Saying that demand for meat increases as incomes increase is like
saying that demand for SUVs increase as income increases.

The problem is, Roberts is not just talking about modern-day China or the US of the 20th century. He's talking about a long-term trend starting well before the dawn of civilization and the entire concept of "wealth". To paraphrase, we've been experimenting with meat-eating since we dropped out of the trees, and that trend has increased, not decreased, when more meat has become available.

Next, for point two, you say,

Stopping short of claiming that meat made us into modern humans, and even citing that hundreds of millions of healthy vegetarians around the world prove that we do not require meat, Roberts build a tenuous case for the importance of meat to the human species.

Roberts cites loosely connected evolutionary facts to attempt to build non-existent correlations between brain evolution and meat consumption. His argument amounts to suggesting that meat consumption was an evolutionary force on humanity that lifted us from savage nakedness to intellectual sophistication. Though many other silly assertions are rolled into different aspects of this argument (none of which are worth repeating), the case is invalidated by the complete lack of scientific evidence suggesting that meat consumption is an evolutionary force.

If meat did evolve early humans, it would continue to evolve modern humans. On the contrary, many studies have pointed out that modern humans are simply not designed to consume animal flesh, except in extraordinary circumstances.

OK, now I really think you're reading a different article. Roberts clearly stated that he was not saying that meat is what makes us human. He was making a connection between brain size and caloric- and nutritient-rich food, and then to the calorie- and nutrient-dense food that is meat. He does make connections to evolutionary pressures, but calling his points "silly" or "loosely connected" doesn't address the science behind them. Perhaps he cites more sources in his book, The End of Food, from which the Seed article was derived; I'm not sure. But it would be worthwhile to track down those sources or provide your own before calling his claims baseless. That would seem more fair.

Also, just because meat was once an evolutionary force doesn't mean it still has to be, or that it still has to be a strong one. Much like the need for good eyesight, because of modern society, it doesn't continue to exert the same evolutionary pressure on modern humans. I think that this line of reasoning is therefore specious.

As to the poor digestibility of meat: the point is that meat may have offered more advantages (density of calories and nutrients) than disadvantages (scarcity and indigestion) at the time that it affected our evolution. That's the point Roberts was making, I think.

Finally, as to the third point, you say,

Yet what is natural is also what is innate. If you placed both an apple and a bunny rabbit in front of a toddler, and the child ate the rabbit while playing with the apple, it would be safe to call animal consumption natural for humans. Instead, that behavior is natural for a tiger cub rather than a toddler, and this fact ought to shed some light on the true natural order of things. Most meat-eating persons find the sight of animal slaughter (and even animal cruelty) to be disturbing if not traumatizing, and slaughterhouses are often conveniently zoned far from cities for this reason. When the flesh finally does arrive onto plates, it usually has to be specially prepared and seasoned to become palatable and mask the unpleasant taste of raw animal. This too should shed light on the natural tendencies of humans.

This reasoning doesn't hold up, either, on two counts. First, we eat a great number of plants that we must cook, prepare, and season before they are even digestible much less palatable. Just because it requires effort, doesn't mean it's not natural to eat it. I don't even know what "natural" means in this case. I don't think Roberts was saying that meat is any more "natural" than non-meat foods, but just that we may have evolved a taste for it that may be difficult (but not impossible) to resist.

Second, a toddler also doesn't wipe it's own bum, and will put just about anything into its mouth, for a variety of reasons. Many of those reasons could be explained evolutionarily. Should we then start eating dirt? Of course not. A toddler with a certain amount of experience would shy away from fire. Should we avoid cooking? No. What is innate is natural in the sense of usually being regular, predictable, and explainable, but not necessarily right. What is regular, predictable, and explainable is sometimes innate, but not always.

Finally, your last paragraph reveals that you're really shadow-boxing, and Roberts is only standing in for your real opponent:
Roberts’ argument, and his book, amount to a waste of time on an issue we can’t afford to waste time on. Rather than figuring out how to make meat consumption ok, the urgency of the moment demands that we figure out how to curb the appetite for meat and restore the natural tendencies of humanity. Just as a smoker finds cigarettes normal by virtue of addiction (despite coughing their way through their first pre-addiction smoke), our collective energy is better utilized by waking more people up to the deadly consequences of the very unnatural habit of human animal consumption.
I hate to ask, but have you read Roberts's book? (I haven't.) Even if you're convinced that eating meat is not "natural" I don't think that attacking someone like Roberts who is saying that Americans should eat drastically less meat is the right way to go. If you were going to get a smoker off of cigs, I would suggest tapering off as a possible strategy, as well as going cold-tofurkey.

In the end, I think Roberts could be much more of an ally to your cause than you give him credit for.

Go ahead and post what you think. Don't worry; my mom is the only other person who reads this.

03 May 2008

But, who will justify my existence?

One of my great joys in life is holding forth, pontificating on issues with no expertise. (But you knew that, didn't you?) What follows is my attempt to defend Noam Chomsky's existence to a group of friends without actually getting my hands dirty.

What's truly sad is that, in this crowd, I'm the only one who could pass as both "far-left" and "intelligentsia". (Apologies to both groups.) As such, I should probably remind folks why Noam Chomsky exists. NC has one thing in common with the far-right nationalist intelligentsia in that he's willing to speak about American atrocities, both domestic and foreign, openly and without apology. The difference is that, crudely, NC says those actions were completely unjustified, whereas the FRNI says the opposite.

Now, clearly all actions by countries should be taken in context. But that kind of nuanced history just isn't mainstream. The nationalist, rosy-picture view of US actions is much more commonplace. Perhaps it's easier taught; hence our textbooks. But if someone like NC explodes a myth for you (no, Columbia isn't about US-backed-orderly-government good guys vs drug-dealing bad guys (including textbooks)), revealing truth that you had never heard, you tend to believe the rationales that he then presents for that truth. You might also hold suspect the various media sources that had not informed you of these truths before. This results in the creation of new myths or near-myths that are especially virulent memes, undermining trust in all governance systems and also spinning out conspiracy-prone media and characters like Reverend Wright.

We, as a people, have a nasty habit of over-simplifying history. The choices between Marxism, Great Man Theory, or Neo-Conservative Manifest Destiny are pretty paltry choices, all things considered. But given the white-washing slant of our media, perhaps NC has a place, as an iconoclast if nothing else. In that sense, we should deal with Noam Chomsky's actions in context, as well.

Incidentally, a couple of decent movies about other far-left intelligentsia "darlings" are: An Unreasonable Man (re: Ralph Nader) and You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (re: Howard Zinn). I encourage everyone to watch them, if only to get a peek at the left's reasons for being upset. Summary: If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

[Since writing this initially, it has come to my attention that the only iconoclastic extremists I'm displaying here are on the left.  In mentioning Rev. Wright, I should also hasten to note John Hagee (whose endorsement John McCain has actively pursued and treasured), and pillars of the right Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.  Why the media is giving white preachers a pass is beyond me.]

25 March 2008

Translators Needed: Indian Guest Workers, MS/LA -> DC

I don't know if you've heard about the guest worker strike, but many of these Indians are marching to DC this weekend to protest their poor treatment in Louisiana and Mississippi. They are in need of translators. My Hindi sucks, but even I'm volunteering – it's got to be better than nothing.


Begin forwarded message:

From: Aparna Kothary
Date: March 25, 2008 3:31:11 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Housing ''for Indian Guest Workers

Dear all,

Thank you for your help in finding housing for the workers! Fortunately, we found a church in DC that has agreed to house ALL of the workers. This is an ideal situation because it allows them to stay together and reduces the confusion of traveling around the city separately.

I also wanted to reach out to you to let you know that organizers of the march need help finding interpreters for March 27- April 2 for public meetings, strategy meetings, and some legal interviews. Translation needs include Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. They are looking for interpreters pro bono.

To assist, please email Rahul Saksena at with the following information:

-Language proficiency
-Date/time available (between March 27th-April 2nd)
-Your contact info (cell phone and email)

We are expecting to hold a community event later this week with the workers and other allies so we will definitely keep you posted on that as well!

You can follow the workers’ journey here:

Again, thank you so much for your help!


Aparna Kothary
Fundraising and Development Assistant/Americorps VISTA
SAALT (South Asian Americans Leading Together)
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 506
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Phone: 301-270-1855
Fax: 301-270-1882

Join SAALT today and become a part of change! Visit to become a member.

18 January 2008

I Discovered the Gene for Gullibility

Are you as much a sucker for science experiments as I am? Let's find out.

I used to get email forwards from my sister S all the time. Chain letters, jokes, pictures of cute kittens, cute babies, or cute kitten/baby hybrids, you know the deal. A while back, I just told her that I couldn't be bothered with them, anymore. I'm not sure if that hurt her feelings; I tried to distinguish between email from her directly, which I love, and the usual stuff passed on from friends (of friends of ...), which I could do without.

Well, you can guess how delighted I was a few days ago to receive the following from S. Imagine, it's like getting a call from that favorite telemarketer after so many years!
Sorry, guys, it's quick and for a child's school project! (And you are the ones I thought might follow through - either because you have kids, you like science, or you're just plain nice.) This is for a science fair project. If you could do this I would appreciate it! DON'T ASK, JUST PLAY! Copy and paste this entire letter into a new e-mail (PLEASE do NOT hit FORWARD), then read the list of names below. If your name is on the list put a star* next to it. If not, then add your name (in alphabetical order), and do not put in a star. Send it to ten people and send it back to the person who sent it to you. Put your name in the subject box! You'll see what happens... It's kind of cool! Please keep this going. Don't mess it up, PLEASE
A couple of questions arise at this point.
  1. What's the objective of the experiment?
  2. At what point does the experiment end?
  3. Is this a test to find the first names of gullible people?
  4. Would it be OK if I insert names of folks I know to be especially credulous?
  5. By posting the rest of the message, am I messing it up, or am I mutating the experiment?
  6. "DON'T ASK, JUST PLAY!" – is that a fascistic motto or what?
  7. Does anyone else notice the dearth of obviously ethnic names from this list?
  8. Have (either of) my readers made it this far?
Adrianne, Alan, Alba, Alicia, Alison, Allison, Alvina, Amy***, Amanda*,Ann, Annabel, Andrea, Andy, Angela**, Anju, April, Ashley*, Astin, Austin in, Barbara****,Bear, Becky*, Benita, Beth****, Betsey, Bettie, Beverly**,Bill, Bo, Bonnie**,Brad, Brenda*, Brian, Bridgett, Britty, Bruce, Cameron , Candy, Carol, Carolyn*,Carrie*, Cassidy, Catherine**, Cathy***, Catina, Charlotte , Cherie, Cheryl*, Christine*, Christopher, Christy, Chri, Cindy**, Colleen, Cora, Corinne, Crystal, Dale, Dana, Darrin, Dave*, Debbie, Debby, Debi. Dena*, Denise*, Derek, Den,Detria, Devon , Diane, Don, Donna, Dorothy, Dylan, Eileen, Elise, Ellen, Elyse, Emily, Erin, Eugenia, Evelyn, Felicia*, Fran, Gabriela, Ginger, Glenda, Heather*, Heidi, Holly, Hope, Ilona, Ivonne, Jack, Jackie**, Jan, Jane***, Janell, Jean*, Jeannie, Jeff, Jennifer***,Jerry, Jill, Jim, Joan, John, Judy*, Karen***, Kohl, LaTonya, Laura, Lauren, Laurie**, Lisa**, Liz, Lourdes , Lynn, Margie*, Mary, Maureen, Michele, Michelle*, , Miranda, Nancy, Naree, Pam, Patty, Scott, Sharon *, Sheila, Susan*, Susanna, Tara, Teri, Theresa, Tracey, Tricia*,Trissy, Twana, Valerie
Happy New Year, everybody.