New Bookmarks
Year 2005 Quarter 1:  January 1 - March 31 Additions to Bob Jensen's Bookmarks
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Plus the Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm 

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

My communications on "Hypocrisy in Academia and the Media" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisy.htm 
My  “Evil Empire” essay --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm
My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm 

Of course the people don't want war. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Göring

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Choose a Date Below for Additions to the Bookmarks File

March 22, 2005         March 1, 2005            

February 20, 2005     February 8, 2005     February 1, 2005 

January 18, 2005       January 5, 2005     

 

March 22, 2005

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on March 22, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.  Think it over 
http://www.inlibertyandfreedom.com/Flash/Think_It_Over.swf

Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 

Pictures from the war ---  http://www.clermontyellow.accountsupport.com/flash/UntilThen.swf 
New pictures from the war --- http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/1291780/posts 
Also see some troops who'd rather be home <http://www.clermontyellow.accountsupport.com/flash/UntilThen.swf>




For Quotations of the Week, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q1.htm#Quotations032205

For Humor of the Week, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q1.htm#Humor032205

My communications on "Hypocrisy in Academia and the Media" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisy.htm 

My  “Evil Empire” essay --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm

My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm 




"IRS Announces the 2005 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams," AccountingWeb, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100597 

The 2005 Dirty Dozen

The IRS urges people to avoid these common schemes:

Trust Misuse. 
Unscrupulous promoters for years have urged taxpayers to transfer assets into trusts. They promise reduction of income subject to tax, deductions for personal expenses and reduced estate or gift taxes. However, some trusts do not deliver the promised tax benefits, and the IRS is actively examining these arrangements. More than two dozen injunctions have been obtained against promoters since 2001, and numerous promoters and their clients have been prosecuted. As with other arrangements, taxpayers should seek the advice of a trusted professional before entering into a trust.

Frivolous Arguments. 
Promoters have been known to make the following outlandish claims: that the Sixteenth Amendment concerning congressional power to lay and collect income taxes was never ratified; that wages are not income; that filing a return and paying taxes are merely voluntary; and that being required to file Form 1040 violates the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Don’t believe these or other similar claims. Such arguments are false and have been thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law.

Return Preparer Fraud. 
Dishonest return preparers can cause many headaches for taxpayers who fall victim to their ploys. Such preparers derive financial gain by skimming a portion of their clients’ refunds and charging inflated fees for return preparation services. They attract new clients by promising large refunds. Taxpayers should choose carefully when hiring a tax preparer. As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No matter who prepares the return, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for its accuracy. Since 2002, the courts have issued injunctions ordering dozens of individuals to cease preparing returns, and the Department of Justice has filed complaints against dozens of others, which are pending in court.

Credit Counseling Agencies. 
Taxpayers should be careful with credit counseling organizations that claim they can fix credit ratings, push debt payment agreements or charge high fees, monthly service charges or mandatory “contributions” that may add to debt. The IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division has made auditing credit counseling organizations a priority because some of these tax-exempt organizations, which are intended to provide education to low-income customers with debt problems, are charging debtors large fees, while providing little or no counseling.

"Claim of Right" Doctrine. 
In this scheme, a taxpayer files a return and attempts to take a deduction equal to the entire amount of his or her wages. The promoter advises the taxpayer to label the deduction as “a necessary expense for the production of income” or “compensation for personal services actually rendered.” This so-called deduction is based on a misinterpretation of the Internal Revenue Code and has no basis in law.

“No Gain” Deduction. 
Similar to “Claim of Right,” filers attempt to eliminate their entire adjusted gross income (AGI) by deducting it on Schedule A. The filer lists his or her AGI under the Schedule A section labeled “Other Miscellaneous Deductions” and attaches a statement to the return, referring to court documents and including the words “No Gain Realized.”

Corporation Sole. 
Since September 2004, the Department of Justice has obtained six injunctions against promoters of this scheme and filed complaints against 11 others. Participants apply for incorporation under the pretext of being a “bishop” or “overseer” of a one-person, phony religious organization or society with the idea that this entitles the individual to exemption from federal income taxes as a nonprofit, religious organization. When used as intended, Corporation Sole statutes enable religious leaders to separate themselves legally from the control and ownership of church assets. But the rules have been twisted at seminars where taxpayers are charged fees of $1,000 or more and incorrectly told that Corporation Sole laws provide a “legal” way to escape paying federal income taxes, child support and other personal debts.

Identity Theft. 
It pays to be choosy when it comes to disclosing personal information. Identity thieves have used stolen personal data to access financial accounts, run up charges on credit cards and apply for new loans. The IRS is aware of several identity theft scams involving taxes. In one case, fraudsters sent bank customers fictitious correspondence and IRS forms in an attempt to trick them into disclosing their personal financial data. In another, abusive tax preparers used clients’ Social Security numbers and other information to file false tax returns without the clients’ knowledge. Sometimes scammers pose as the IRS itself. Last year the IRS shut down a scheme in which perpetrators used e-mail to announce to unsuspecting taxpayers that they were “under audit” and could set matters right by divulging sensitive financial information on an official-looking Web site. Taxpayers should note the IRS does not use e-mail to contact them about issues related to their accounts. If taxpayers have any doubt whether a contact from the IRS is authentic, they can call 1-800-829-1040 to confirm it.

Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions. 
The IRS has observed an increase in the use of tax-exempt organizations to improperly shield income or assets from taxation. This can occur, for example, when a taxpayer moves assets or income to a tax-exempt supporting organization or donor-advised fund but maintains control over the assets or income, thereby obtaining a tax deduction without transferring a commensurate benefit to charity. A “contribution” of a historic facade easement to a tax-exempt conservation organization is another example.

In many cases, local historic preservation laws already prohibit alteration of the home’s facade, making the contributed easement superfluous. Even if the facade could be altered, the deduction claimed for the easement contribution may far exceed the easement’s impact on the value of the property.

Offshore Transactions. 
Despite a crackdown on the practice by the IRS and state tax agencies, individuals continue to try to avoid U.S. taxes by illegally hiding income in offshore bank and brokerage accounts or using offshore credit cards, wire transfers, foreign trusts, employee leasing schemes, private annuities or life insurance to do so. The IRS, along with the tax agencies of U.S. states and possessions, continues to aggressively pursue taxpayers and promoters involved in such abusive transactions.

Zero Return. 
Promoters instruct taxpayers to enter all zeros on their federal income tax filings. In a twist on this scheme, filers enter zero income, report their withholding and then write “nunc pro tunc”–– Latin for “now for then”––on the return.

Employment Tax Evasion. 
The IRS has seen a number of illegal schemes that instruct employers not to withhold federal income tax or other employment taxes from wages paid to their employees. Such advice is based on an incorrect interpretation of Section 861 and other parts of the tax law and has been refuted in court. Recent cases have resulted in criminal convictions, and the courts have issued injunctions against more than a dozen persons ordering them to stop promoting the scheme. Employer participants can also be held responsible for back payments of employment taxes, plus penalties and interest. It is worth noting that employees who have nothing withheld from their wages are still responsible for payment of their personal taxes.

Other Scams Still Lingering

The IRS removed four scams from the Dirty Dozen this year: slavery reparations, improper home-based businesses, the Americans with Disabilities Act and EITC dependent sharing. The agency has noticed declines in activity in some of these schemes. But taxpayers should remain wary because the IRS has seen old scams resurface or evolve.

"The Dirty Dozen is a reminder that tax scams can take many forms," IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said. "Don’t be fooled by false promises peddled by scam artists. They’ll take your money and leave you with a hefty tax bill."

Involvement with tax schemes can lead to imprisonment and fines. The IRS routinely pursues and shuts down promoters of these scams. But taxpayers should also remember that anyone pulled into these schemes can face repayment of taxes plus interest and penalties.


 

"America's wackiest taxes," by Jeanne Sahadim and Les Crhristie,  CNN Money, February 22, 2005 --- http://money.cnn.com/2005/02/18/pf/taxes/strangetaxesupdate/index.htm 

History is littered with odd tax schemes. William Pitt the Younger introduced a tax on windows in Britain. Peter the Great taxed souls, and Nero, urine.

Let no man say that we here in America cannot compete for oddity of tax laws. We have some really weird assessments on the books.

In certain states and cities, you'll pay special taxes for buying a deck of cards, possessing illegal drugs, and, possibly, buying things from naked people.

Here are a dozen peculiar state and local taxes, as noted by tax information publisher CCH Inc. and the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit tax policy research group.

Illegal drug tax: On Jan. 1, Tennessee became the latest of 23 states to institute a tax for possession of illegal drugs. Usually, you have to be in possession of a minimum quantity, say over 42.5 grams of marijuana in North Carolina, to be subject to the tax.

In Tennessee, when you acquire an illegal drug (even "moonshine"), you have 48 hours to report to the Department of Revenue and pay your tax, in exchange for which you'll receive stamps to affix to your illegal substance. The stamps serve as evidence you paid the tax on the illegal product.

Don't worry that you might get in trouble for admitting you have enough drugs to fuel a rave party for years. You need not provide identification to get the stamps and it's illegal for revenue employees to rat you out.

Still, next door in North Carolina, which has had a similar law for 15 years, only 79 folks have voluntarily come forward since 1990, according to the Department of Revenue. Most were thought to be stamp collectors, or perhaps just high. Another 72,000 were taxed after they were already busted.

North Carolina has collected $78.3 million thus far, almost all from those arrested and found without stamps.

Flush tax: In 2004, Maryland began charging homeowners and businesses for producing wastewater. The funds will be used to help protect Chesapeake Bay waters.

Maryland will add $2.50 a month to the sewer bills of residents hooked up to treatment systems. It will also assess an annual charge of $30 to homeowners with their own septic systems, even though many believe these residents add little to the stream of pollutants that have damaged the Chesapeake.

Virginia appears poised to enact a similar flush tax of $1 a week per household.

Sex sales tax: Sin got pricier in Utah last July, when owners of sexually explicit businesses where "nude or partially nude individuals perform any service" began paying a 10 percent sales and use tax on admission and user fees as well as the sales of merchandise, food, drink, and services.

That would be on top of the 4.75 percent sales tax the state already imposes on most transactions, sexually explicit or not. Not that the measure will raise much money. So far only one or two businesses in staid Utah are actually wild enough to be subjected to the tax.

Jock tax: This is a tax on income earned by athletes, entertainers (OK, not just jocks), and their various entourages, including non-athletic or non-performer employees. Generally, any money player or performer earns while playing in that particular city or state gets taxed.

California levied the first jock tax in 1991, on athletes from Chicago, right after the Chicago Bulls beat the L.A. Lakers. (Chicago quickly responded in kind.) Today, most states with a professional sports team impose a jock tax.

William Ahern, of the Tax Foundation, said a DC United soccer player received tax forms from 10 different states. The player was no Alex Rodriguez. "The guy makes $26,000 a year," says Ahearn. "The jock taxes he owed varied from $200 to $2."

Sparkler and novelties tax: In West Virginia, businesses selling sparklers and novelties pay a special fee on top of the state's 6 percent sales tax. The novelties, according to the West Virginia State Tax Department's information sheet on sparklers and novelties, include: Explosive caps designed to be fired in toy pistols; snake and glow worms and; trick noisemakers which produce a small report designed to surprise the user.

Playing card tax: If you want a deck of cards in Alabama, be prepared to shell out an extra dime. The state government has levied a 10-cent tax on the purchase of a playing deck that contains "no more than 54 cards," plus the retailer must pay an annual license tax of $3 and a fee of $1, according to the Alabama Department of Revenue.

Blueberry tax: Like fresh, wild blueberries? If they come from Maine, you may be paying a bit of a premium. Anyone who grows, purchases, sells, handles or processes the fruit in the state is subject to a penny-and-a-half-per-pound tax.

Wagering tax: Speaking of cards – and bets – most people know they have to pay tax on their gambling winnings. But some places, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, and Oklahoma, exact a wagering tax on casino or track owners, whether you gamble or not. It can get passed onto customers through the cost of casino amusements.

Illinois forces casinos to charge a $2 admission price, which is essentially a tax since it must be remitted to the city and state.

Fur clothing tax: Keeping comfy during Minnesota winters can cost you. Businesses in the state must pay a 6.5 percent tax on the total amount received for the sale, shipping, and finance charges associated with the purchase of clothing in which fur accounts for three times more of the garment than the next most valuable material.

Most types of clothing in Minnesota are sales-tax-free, so if you want to keep warm switch to "leather, suede, or other animal skins where the hair, fleece or fur fiber is completely removed," as the Minnesota Department of Revenue Fur Clothing Tax instructions form puts it,

Fountain soda drink tax: This one hails from Chicago. If you buy a "fountain soda drink," you'll pay a 9 percent tax. If you buy the same soda in a bottle or a can, you'll only pay 3 percent.

Amusement tax: Ever wondered about the extra tax you pay on stadium seats? That's the amusement tax, often levied at both city and state levels. Most states, including Massachusetts, Virginia, and Maryland, and cities like New Orleans, have amusement taxes on tickets sold at any venue with more than 750 to 1,000 seats.

Amusing, isn't it?

Tattoo tax: As of last July, anyone in Arkansas wanting to get a eagle etched on their abs or a nose ring notched in their nostrils will have to pay an additional 6 percent, as the state included tattooing and body piercing in its list of services subject to sales taxes. Electrolysis treatments count, too.

Bob Jensen's threads on taxation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation 





Counseling Guide for Chairs of Faculty Committees and College Administrators

Forwarded by Auntie Bev




"Our Special Universe," by Charles Townes, The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2005; Page A10

What is the purpose or meaning of life? Or of our universe? These are questions which should concern us all. As a scientist, I have been primarily trying to understand our world -- theuniverse, including humans -- what it is and how it works. As a religiously oriented person, I also try to understand the purpose of our universe and human life, a primary concern of religion. Of course, if the universe has a purpose, then its structure, and how it works, must reflect this purpose. This obvious relation brings science and religion together, and I believe the two are much closer and more similar in nature than is usually recognized.

My study of the connection between science and religion began when, back in the 1960s, the Men's Class of Riverside Church in New York asked me to talk as a scientist about my view of religion -- perhaps because I was the only scientist they knew who regularly attended church. The editor of IBM's THINK magazine happened to be in the audience and shortly afterwards telephoned to ask if, of all things, he could publish the talk in THINK. He did. I was again surprised when the editor of MIT's alumni journal asked if he could also publish it. The latter resulted in a serious objection on the part of an MIT alumnus, who would have nothing more to do with MIT if such were ever done again.

I certainly agree that university journals should not be used to sell religious views. On the other hand, I believe that serious intellectual discussion of the possible meaning of our universe, or the nature of religion and philosophical views of religion and science, need to be openly and carefully discussed. In the intellectual world, we shouldn't try to sell ideas, but we should be able to examine them freely. A well-established scientist and philosopher was once asked to define the "scientific method." Oh, he said, it is "to work like the devil to find the answer, with no holds barred." I believe the same can be said of religion. We use all of our human resources to understand either one -- instincts, intuition, logic, evidence (experiences or observation), postulates or faith, and even revelations.

We all recognize that science has produced remarkable results. It allows us to do so many things and to think we already understand so much. Science is indeed wonderful, and yet there are still mysteries, puzzles and inconsistencies.

We are now convinced that the matter we can identify in our universe is only about 5% of all that is there. What is the rest of it? Scientists are trying hard to detect this strange unknown matter. Will they, and when? Relativity and quantum mechanics have been remarkably successful, and we believe they explain and teach us many things. And yet, in certain ways they seem logically inconsistent. At present, we simply accept such inconsistencies and use these two fields of science with pride and pleasure.

The mathematician Gödel noted that to prove something we must start with a set of postulates, but then demonstrated that we can never prove the set of postulates are even self-consistent unless we make a new overarching set of postulates which themselves cannot be proven self-consistent. So, in science, too, we need faith -- or what we normally call postulates. An extreme and somewhat amusing statement of our lack of firm proof was that of Bishop Berkeley, for whom my town of Berkeley, Calif., was named. He noted that we cannot absolutely prove that the people and things we think we see are really there -- we may not be seeing them at all but only have such things in our imagination. The bishop was perhaps correct, but nevertheless we all believe those people and things we see are real. The most basic of sciences, which is physics, has been increasingly concentrating on problems which are pertinent to the interaction of our ideas in science and religion, such as the origins of the universe, cosmology, the nature of matter, and of the physical laws. This has recently focused attention on what a special universe is ours, and the strikingly special laws of science required for the existence of life.

Why does such an improbable universe exist? As we try hard to learn and understand more, where will that take us, and how much of our present sense of reality and meaning will be changed? I believe physics provides an illustration of the possible nature of future changes.

Classical, or Newtonian, physics has been remarkably successful, explaining and predicting many things very accurately and convincingly. But, as scientists began to look closely at very small things such as atoms and molecules, they were forced to modify their ideas basically, and "quantum mechanics" was discovered. Quantum mechanics and classical mechanics are philosophically very different, and the behavior of atoms and molecules can only be understood by this radically different quantum mechanics. But quantum mechanics must and does also apply to larger objects such as planets, balls, or our own motions. Classical mechanics was in principle quite wrong. But, it was a good approximation, explaining very accurately the motions of everything much larger than atoms, such as planets, balls, or ourselves. We still teach and use classical mechanics. It's a very good approximation to reality and much simpler to understand than quantum mechanics, even though philosophically incorrect.

As we understand more, will our views in science and also in religion be revolutionized as science already has been by quantum mechanics? My guess is yes. We must be open-minded and without completely frozen ideas in either science or religion. But even with future changes, I also guess that, like classical mechanics, our present understanding may be a good and useful approximation even though new and deeper views may be revolutionary. Overall, I believe we must try hard to understand both how our universe works and what is its meaning as well as we can, and for now, live by our best understanding. I hope very much that humans will in the future understand more and more deeply, which can change our views. And, just as classical mechanics still works well, I expect our present ideas and principles will still have a useful and functional validity.

Mr. Townes is a 1964 Nobel laureate in physics and inventor of the laser. On March 9, he was awarded the 2005 Templeton prize for his study of the relation between science and religion.


March 8, 2005 message from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU

The latest issue of the Journal of Accountancy (page 16) has a brief item inviting readers to submit their "Top 10 Reason to Become a CPA." The results will be included in a special issue of the Journal commemorating its 100th anniversary in October. The item invites readers "to join in the celebration by submitting your own witty observations on why it's great to be a CPA." The final list will be "a fond look at some of the more lighthearted motivations for joining the accounting profession."

I'd be willing to bet that the contributors to this listserv could come up with some excellent suggestions for the "Top 10."

By the way, my main reason for becoming a CPA was that I wanted a job where I could sit down most of the time after working my way through school as a grocery store cashier for about eight years.

Denny Beresford

March 8, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

And after working as a CPA, Denny eventually saw the light.  He then became professor so he could have more time for golf --- right Denny?  By the way Denny is known as a colorful golfer (I mean literally in terms of his fashion wear.)

I became a CPA because I wanted to work in a white shirt in the tallest building in Denver .  Alas!  My first audit (really) entailed wading through manure at the Monfort cattle feed lots in Greeley .  My senior on the job got to count the cows.  I had to try to find an innovative way to measure bi-product after the "split." Those are the things they don't teach in auditing courses.

Then I quickly became an educator but not because of manure. I discovered E&E's tax season long hours were not conducive to my real dream of being a ski bum (true story) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/academ01.wav

The rest of the story:  Getting married and becoming a father ended my dreams of being a ski bum and, if you ever watched me ski, probably saved my life.  In truth, being tamed didn't exactly end my "dreams."  I now live vicariously through Bode Miller who lives with his family within walking distance of where Erika and I retired in the White Mountains .  Bode is now the world's greatest Olympic racer and a truly fine young man (sigh) --- http://www.bodemillerusa.com/BodeMiller.html   

Bob Jensen


"The Adjunct Pay Gap," Inside Higher Ed, January 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/mla/the_adjunct_pay_gap 

Among the study's findings, which are based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics:

All of these figures underestimate the gap between adjunct and tenure-track faculty members because these dollar totals are based on salaries only. While the quality and expense of health insurance and other benefits vary from campus to campus, many adjuncts have few or no benefits and many full-time academics have extensive benefits.


"Proper Accounting Can Save Your E-Business Time and Money:  A real-life story of how one e-commerce business created an accounting mess," by Devin Comiskey, eCommerce Guide,  March 10, 2005 --- http://ecommerce-guide.com/solutions/building/article.php/3489076 

After a week's worth of accounting clean up and a few lessons in QuickBooks, Carol was set up the way she should have been from the very beginning. As long as she follows the correct bookkeeping practices, next year all she'll have to do is present her accountant with a disk containing her QuickBooks data file.

To help new e-commerce businesses start off on the right foot, JT put together a list for budding entrepreneurs to follow before building a web site and selling merchandise. These rules apply for any new small business.

She said a new business needs to determine the following when setting up a new business:

  1. Select a legal entity.
  2. Registering with the tax authorities (IRS, state and local)
  3. Accounting (tax or accrual basis): "Who are the users of the financials? Do they need to provide financials to any financial institutions that lent them money? What questions do I need answered to manage the business? Who will be keeping the books/posting entries?"
  4. Payroll: "There are lots of requirements for filing payroll taxes."
  5. Income taxes: "Proper forms; will estimates need to be made?"
  6. Cash planning and forecasting: "You can save a lot of tax dollars by properly planning ahead, and making certain transactions by certain dates - i.e. contributing to a SEP."
  7. Internal controls - "Who is going to manage cash? When you spend money, are you sure that you received the goods or services? And, when you receive money, are you sure that the entry was recorded properly?"

"I would definitely suggest that someone setting up a business sit down with an accountant to set up their books (chart of accounts/accounting method); and either hire a bookkeeper or take some basic accounting classes to understand how to record transactions in your financials," said JT. "It makes a lot more work for accountants, because they basically have to recreate an entire year's worth of transactions if those transactions have not been properly accounted for. They need to remember that if they have proper financials, they can be used for a lot of things — like planning and managing your business!"

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's helpers for small businesses are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness 


I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. 
Richard P. Feynman

As I've quoted repeatedly.  "The physicists stole all the easy and glorious problems to study."  Even in quantum mechanics  there is a bit of a problem in that the process may change just because you are able to predict it.  If you factor in people (behavior) being studied it is likely to change big time.  

One goal of Quantum Economics and Finance is to predict when market bubbles will form and then burst.  But if success is achieved in predicting them, human participants in the model are likely to change their behavior.  You're then back to square one but the academic trip probably will have been delightful.

On the Academic (Chaotic) Edge:  Is Quantum Everything for real or just another passing academic fad?
Special Section on Quantum Physics, Quantum Economics, Quantum Finance, Quantum Accounting, Quantum ...

First the Quotations to Spark Your Interest:  From a book I received without having ordered
A book arrived in my mail box in a black box with lettering "Top Secret."  I was somewhat apprehensive about even opening the box.  Inside was a paperback book and a velvet pouch full of chocolate wafers individually wrapped in gold foil.  Now I was curious and would've never touched the chocolate until I looked more closely at the book  When I opened the book, I literally could not put it down.  The following quotations appear on the first page of 
Thog's Guide to Quantum Economics: 50,000 Years of Accounting Basics for the Future
by Mike Brown, Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, Warren Miller (Illustrator)  ($12.81 on Amazon)
Mike  and Zoe-Vonna both worked for Deloitte and Touche before Mike became President of NASDAQ and Zoe Vonna became a well-known accountancy professor and capital markets researcher at the University of Southern California.

THOG'S GUIDE

50,000 YEARS OF ACCOUNTING BASICS FOR THE FUTURE

"After being an accounting educator for over thirty years, I now have a whole new perspective from Thog's Guide.  It is a must read for any serious accounting student, faculty, practitioner, or regulator."
        --Michael Diamond, Vice President and Executive Vice Provost, University of Southern California

"An engaging and entertaining book - a philosophical and historical exploration of why accounting is central to any society based on commerce.  Thog's Guide offers a glimpse of current work aimed to reformulate economics on the basis of ideas from physics and biology - and all through the eyes of a charming family of hunter-gatherer-accountants.  I never had so much unexpected fun nor learned so much from a book about a subject I didn't even know I was interested in."
        --Lee Smolin, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

"Physics has Brownian motion and now economics has Brownian accounting, as a family of hunter-gatherers teaches a team of real complexity scientists the importance of back to basics accounting in economic modeling.  Thog's Guide is a light-hearted read, but it promises a serious breakthrough - the ability to test the consequences of our financial and accounting regulations in virtual reality before trying them out on you and me."
        --Alfred R. Berkeley, Former President and Vice-Chairman of NASDAQ, Chairman and CEO, Pipeline Trading

Jensen Commentary on Fashion Fads in Academic Accounting
On the Academic (Chaotic) Edge:  Is Quantum Everything for real or just another passing academic fad?
Special Section on Quantum Physics, Quantum Economics, Quantum Finance, Quantum Accounting, Quantum ...

First let me say that this book is very well written as long as you are not interested in getting into too much technicality.  And the various experts who write or appear in the book are for real and very well known.  It is an inexpensive good read that I highly recommend.  I could not put it down last night.

From the academic side of the world, let me say that Chaos Theory is definitely on the leading edge in the hard sciences and in some social sciences, particularly economics.  It is a valiant effort by some very smart scientists attempting to put more order into a very confusing chaotic world that is not in stationary state much or all of the time.

I received my PhD in 1966 and have been in the academy either as a faculty member or in think tanks since becoming a card carrying member.  This was an era when higher education in business was trying to attain more academic respect.  The drive was to put mathematics and science into business research.  Some of the efforts in the next couple of decades were at best trivial and at worst silly.  Although my doctoral degree is in accounting (I was a CPA when I went to Stanford), most of five full-time years was spent in operations research and economics since the accounting program didn't quite know what to do with me.  I became an evangelist for equations and was fortunate that I graduated in an era of business research where almost anything with an equation in it could get published in a leading journal.  

After about ten years, while I was actually teaching things like nonlinear programming, I became disenchanted with what I was seeing as fads in academia that put in the words of economics and business but made little contribution to the world (professions) of economics and business.  My best example is the short academic wave of accounting/business research rooted in Information and Entropy Theory as envisioned by Bell Labs scientist Claude Shannon.  After seeing a bubble of accounting research using this theory, I delved into Shannon's work.  It became obvious, at least to me, that business and information could just not be reduced to logarithms to base 2.  The fad rose and then fell in academic accounting and never got off the ground in the accounting profession even though this is still important theory in communications and computer science.

Then there were years of academic accounting research effort in applying Bayesian probability theory.  The research itself was most interesting and excited us and our students.  Interest has not yet died off on this one, but there was a lot more hype than hope in the academic output rooted in Bayesian probability.  One still sees a paper, usually at research conferences, with the term Bayesian in the title, but for the most part interest in Bayesian accountancy has waned.  Has there been any value added to the profession of accountancy itself?  

Then one of my own doctoral professors, Yuji Ijiri, developed the Momentum Theory of Accounting with a series of papers and one of the best selling Accounting Research Study monographs of the American Accounting Association --- See Volume 18 at http://aaahq.org/market/display.cfm?catID=5 
This became the focal point of much academic interest and enthusiasm.  But the world just wasn't amenable to triple-entry bookkeeping as envisioned by Ijiri and academic interest waned.  Has there been any value added to the profession of accountancy itself?

Time series models became a great fad in accounting research but died down somewhat, not completely, due to frustrations of fitting models into processes that were seldom stationary.

Much of my own research and writing was devoted to another fad called the Analytical Hierarchy Process where I wrote over 20 papers, most of which got published  and got me research leaves as far away as Canada.  AHP is still active in some corners of academe and even business management.  But academic interest waned.  Has there been any value added to the profession of accountancy itself?

There have been many other academic research fads that never did add noteworthy value to the profession and were not sustained over the years of academic inquiry.  This leads me to now view Quantum Everything with suspicion.  It is trite to say the world is exceedingly complex.  It is also stupid to discourage efforts to model some or all of its great complexities.  And I most certainly am growing old and perhaps more cynical with each year that now passes.  But I have to say that my view of Quantum Everything is that it will be a passing fad in accountancy and economics even though it may have sustaining value in mathematics and the hard sciences just like information defined in terms of logarithms to the base 2 have sustaining value in communication theory and computer science.

But far be it from me to completely discourage new fashion.  I suggest that you read Thog's Guide and take it where you may.  It is fun and richly rewarding to be an academic researcher in a world that loves its passing fads.  Fortunately we are never judged on whether our research adds value to the profession itself.  We live in the world of models that are increasingly computerized and complex but are, nevertheless, still models that leave out most of the important variables and complicated structures.  

As I've quoted repeatedly.  "The physicists stole all the easy and glorious problems to study."  Even in quantum mechanics  there is a bit of a problem in that the process may change just because you are able to predict it.  If you factor in people (behavior) being studied it is likely to change big time.  

One goal of Quantum Economics and Finance is to predict when market bubbles will form and then burst.  But if success is achieved in predicting them, human participants in the model are likely to change their behavior.  You're then back to square one but the academic trip probably will have been delightful.




From the Scout Report on March 10, 2005

BBC: Science & Nature: Human Body and Mind-Interactive Body [Macromedia Flash Reader] http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/interactives/3djigsaw_02/ 

The BBC is well regarded around the world for its fine news reporting and in recent years, equally well known for its educational websites. This very fine interactive website produced as part of the network's online Science & Nature site allows visitors to explore the human body through a series of interactive activities. Visitors can select the gender of the body they wish to view and then proceed to look through the organs, muscles, skeleton, and nervous system of each human body. The interactive part is really the best facet of the site, as users can choose each organ, learn about its various functions and properties, and then drag the organ onto the correct location within the human body. Visitors can continue by moving on to correctly place the muscles and elements of the nervous system within the body. Overall, this is a fine pedagogical tool and rather elegant in its user interface structure.


Russia Profile http://www.russiaprofile.org/index.wbp 

The availability of high-quality news reporting on the Internet continues to improve, though at times finding reputable sources can still be difficult for certain parts of the world. Russia Profile is one such source, as it is produced by the Independent Media group, which is responsible for publishing The Moscow Times along with a number of other magazines across Russia. The goal of this website is to both broaden the scope of news coming out of Russia and "to provide a platform for an informed discussion of issues related to or concerning Russia". From the site's homepage, visitors can read about the latest from Russia Profile, view a calendar of events, and subscribe for free to the print edition of Russia Profile. Visitors can also participate in a number of online forum discussions.


The Ten O'Clock News [QuickTime] http://main.wgbh.org/ton/ 

While it is relatively easy to find old sitcoms and variety programs in a variety of media formats, it is somewhat difficult to find news broadcasts that may be of seminal interest to any number of researchers, including historians or other social scientists. Working with funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this collection created by the WGBH Media Archives and Preservation Center includes video clips of these original newscasts which date from 1974 to 1991. The collection focuses on news stories which relate directly to Boston's African-American community and may be browsed by categories such as personal name or geographic location. Some of the topics covered by these video clips include the desegregation of the Boston public school system, race relations in the city, and interviews with such notable African-American leaders as Julian Bond and Andrew Young.


EasyOffice+PDF Filter 8.0 http://www.e-press.com/downloads/freeware.html 

This free version of EasyOffice is an office suite package that is compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Adobe pdf files. Some of the programs include a dictionary, a notepad, a calculator, an image editor, and a diagram creation device. Additionally, EasyOffice is available in a host of different languages, including Turkish, Spanish, Chinese, and German. This version of EasyOffice is compatible only with Microsoft Windows 98 or newer.


From the Scout Report on March 17, 2005

Landmark Supreme Court Cases http://www.landmarkcases.org/ 

There is always a great demand for educational materials regarding the most important US Supreme Court Cases and this website is an outgrowth of that sustained interest. Developed by Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society, this website was developed in order to provide teachers with a full range of resources and activities regarding such cases. The general teaching strategies offered here include political cartoon analysis, moot court, continuum exercises, and website evaluation. Some of the cases covered here include Mapp v. Ohio, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Miranda v. Arizona. The site also offers some detailed explanations of important related concepts, such as federalism, national supremacy, and judicial review. Additional, the site provides background summaries of each case and pertinent discussion questions for a variety of reading levels and abilities.


International Institute for Environment and Development [pdf] http://www.iied.org/index.html 

The question of sustainable development is one that has garnered significant attention during the past few years, and there are a number of organizations doing work around the globe to promulgate these principles. The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is one such organization, and it has been working in this field since 1971. As the mission statement on its site indicates, the Institute seeks "to promote sustainable patterns of world development through collaborative research, policy studies, networking and knowledge dissemination." The homepage is a great place to start, as visitors can quickly delve into the latest reports and newsletters. Also, a dropdown menu titled "IIED Research" allows visitors access into its work in such areas as human settlements and sustainable agriculture. Finally, visitors can read seventeen issues of the IIED journal, _Environment and Urbanization_, (dating from 1995 to 2002) at no charge.


University of California-Los Angeles: Online Archive of American Folk Medicine http://www.folkmed.ucla.edu/ 

The Archive of American Folk Medicine is the result of more than 50 years of work by UCLA-associated folklorists who "documented beliefs and practices relating to folk medicine and alternative healthcare. In order to make the data more readily available to the worldwide community of researchers and medical practitioners, the Online Archive of American Folk Medicine was established in 1996 under the direction of Dr. Michael Owen Jones, a professor of folklore and history at UCLA." The Archive draws from over 3,200 published works, and is intended to serve folklorists, sociologists, and historians. The website provides basic and advanced search options; and records include brief entries for Citation, Condition, Belief, Method of Treatment, and more. Users should be aware that the Archive website has not been updated in several years but it remains a valuable resource for researchers and others interested in folk medicine. This site is also reviewed in the March 18, 2005 _NSDL Life Sciences Report_


Historic Scotland http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/ 

Scotland is well-known for its efforts to preserve its fantastic range of historic sites, buildings, and monuments and much of this work happens under the auspices of Historic Scotland. Historic Scotland is an agency with the Scottish Executive Education Department and as such, is largely responsible for developing long-range plans for the preservation of the built heritage of the country. To get a sense of the broad range of properties within Historic Scotland, visitors would do well to look through the interactive map of Scotland offered within the "Places to Visit" area. Those persons with a penchant for historic preservation and planning will also want to take a look at the organization's long-range preservation program and some of its free online publications such as "Archaeological Information and Advice in Scotland" and "Conserving the Underwater Heritage".


MultiGrabber 3.34 http://www.mulgra.com/smartgrabber.php 

These days websites usually have a number of compelling multimedia files embedded within their pages, and some of them may be worth downloading to view at a later date. This trial version of MultiGrabber 3.34 is an application that will let users do just that, as it can be used to save pictures, cascaded style sheets, Macromedia Flash movies, and RealPlayer movies. This 30-day trial version of MultiGrabber is compatible with Windows 98 or higher.


"How Banks Pretty Up The Profit Picture:   Playing with loan-loss reserves can produce deceiving earnings," Business Week, February 21, 2005 --- http://yahoo.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_08/b3921110_mz020.htm 

Last year the banks had an easy way to juice their profits. All they had to do was allocate a little less money to loan-loss reserves -- the money they set aside to cover bad debt. As the economy has improved and defaults have slowed, many decided they didn't need as much in reserve as they did in 2003, and presto, their earnings per share would rise a few cents.

But investors who assume the profits are humming and decide to buy bank stocks could be in for a shock. In 2005 many banks won't have this profit source. Some have already pared loan-loss reserves as much as they reasonably can, analysts say. "A lot of banks may do this from time to time to meet estimates," says Brian Shullaw, senior research analyst at SNL Financial in Charlottesville, Va.

The trouble with whittling away the reserves is that as banks write more loans, they will have to replenish the reserves. Plus, if credit conditions worsen as economic growth slows and interest rates rise, they will need to set aside even more, eating further into profits.

Do a little digging, and the current numbers don't look so great. Detroit's Comerica Inc. (CMA ) had one of the largest drops in its loan-loss reserves relative to total assets, according to a study of large banks' fourth-quarter earnings done by SNL for BusinessWeek. Not only did Comerica fail to add money in the fourth quarter, it also extracted $21 million from the pot. That gave it an extra $98 million in income, or 57 cents a share, that it didn't have last year. The bank beat analysts' earnings estimates by 10 cents. Comerica Chief Credit Officer Dale Greene says muted loan growth, coupled with major improvement in credit quality, justify the move.

Others, such as Citigroup (C ), garnered a few extra cents from replenishing reserves by a smaller amount than before. But it was enough to help them beat analysts' earnings estimates by a penny or two. Citi Chief Financial Officer Sallie L. Krawcheck said in a Jan. 20 conference call that the reserving process was done in mid-quarter based on a mathematical formula. She noted: "We as a company work very hard to systematize the process around rigorous analytics."

Of course, banks can't just shift funds around willy-nilly. Accounting rules dictate that they have to justify decreases in loan-loss allowances, for example by citing substantial improvement in credit trends. This past quarter, a bevy of bank earnings releases cited fewer nonperforming loans, improving asset quality, and a stronger underlying global economy as reasons for smaller loan-loss provisions. Bill Lewis, leader of the U.S. banking practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, notes that subjectivity is often involved, but "most banks, in light of heightened regulatory scrutiny, are more precise in their estimation methodologies today than they have been in the past."

Maybe so, but even if the decreases in reserves are perfectly justifiable, there are still problems with this common industry practice. Besides cutting reserves to the core, banks "are increasing the cyclicality of earnings," says Richard Bove, a banking analyst at Punk, Ziegel & Co. "When bad times come, you know they are going to be increasing the size of the reserves." Already, Citi's Krawcheck has warned analysts not to expect substantial reductions in provisions in the future.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on banking misdeeds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm 


Say what?  Do all presidents of Harvard University think alike?
More than 30 years before Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers suggested that innate differences may keep women out of science and engineering, Harvard took a stand on women's affinity for science -- and helped limit the scope of a key civil-rights law.  In a 1971 letter to a congressman, a spokesman for new Harvard President Derek C. Bok argued that accepting more female undergraduates at Harvard University "might underutilize our science faculties and require expensive additions to our faculty and staff in already crowded departments in the humanities and social sciences."
Karne Blumenthal, "How Harvard Helped Curb Title IX's Role In Admitting Women, The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972681148867821,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 
Jensen Comment: I guess we can almost hope that success in future recruiting will result in even more expensive additions to science facilities.

March 2 reply from McCarthy, William [mccarthy@BUS.MSU.EDU

I am not sure why everything that Harvard does (grading, treatment of women professors and students, meaningless classes, and who knows what else in the future) becomes a cause for criticism on AECM, but I think we need a little more balance here.  From the father of a current Harvard MBA student:

If we insist on being negative on the list, isn’t it about time to start picking on somebody else?

March 2, 3005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Bill,

My wife's in New Hampshire and I'm in Texas. I'm a loose cannon with too much free time. Many AECMers are eagerly looking forward to Erika's visit to Texas in March so that they can take a "Jensen Break."

I congratulate your daughter on being admitted to Harvard. That's the hardest part of the entire process. You have to be good just to get in.

Interestingly enough, in the Ivy League schools the biggest complaint about grade inflation is coming from the very best of the entire set of students admitted. With such a huge proportion getting A grades, there's no recognition of the best among the best. For example, how can a law school even consider grades if all the applicants have 4.0 grade averages?

Some schools react to the complaints of the best students. Some years back when Jim Van Horne was Associate Dean of the GSB at Stanford, he imposed what then became known as the Van Horne Cap of 15% A grades (I don't think they had A+ grades in those days). I don't know that such a cap exists anymore, but the point is that Jim told me the pressure was coming most from the very best students in the GSB. They're the ones who desperately wanted the job offers from the most elite consulting firms in the world and felt that Stanford was not giving them a chance to stand out from the crowd.

I found the syllabus of another Jim (Wachowicz).  It is interesting in and of itself to read.  But in particular, I noted that this Jim is allowed to assign an A+ grade.  I think that should be allowed in every college.  My own school does not allow me to do this, and in the graduate school students must have 3.0 to even be allowed to graduate.  Giving a graduate student a C might result in my having prevented him or her from graduation, which is especially stressful in three days before graduation when the cap and gown is ordered and parents are already in the hotel.

There's also a motivational factor. I'm absolutely certain that the very best of the A students will work much harder if only a small proportion of them might have a chance for an A+. Some faculty, not me, argue that it is immoral to motivate students with grades. See Alfie Kohn's citation at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation 

I think the time has come to let up on Harvard.  Since I’m the worst offender, I apologize Bill.  I will refrain from future posts on this issue, at least in terms of singling out Harvard.  I admit to being on a campaign against grade inflation and especially the teaching evaluations that drive a great deal of that inflation.  I cite Harvard mainly because the world has picked more on Harvard with respect to grade inflation.  There is much more literature to cite about Harvard’s grading.  But I will try to avoid singling out Harvard in my AECM communications.  Harvard apparently banned its old 1-15 scale in favor of what you call the 1-2-3 scale.

I do have one question about where you got your 15-70-15 numbers?  My most recent numbers are 49-41-10 ignoring the outliers.  Some 2001 versus 1985 data given by NPR are as follows:

All Things Considered, November 21, 2001 · Student's grades at Harvard University have soared in the last 10 years. According to a report issued Tuesday by the dean of undergraduate education, nearly half of the grades issued last year were A's or A-minuses. In 1985, just a third of the grades were A or A-minus. Linda Wertheimer talks with Susan Pedersen, Dean of Undergraduate Education and a Professor of History at Harvard University, about grade inflation.
Harvard Grade Inflation, National Public Radio --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1133702 
You can also listen to the NPR radio broadcast about this at the above link.  

Bob Jensen's thread on grade inflation are at  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation 


March 4, 2005 message from Groomer, S. Michael [groomer@indiana.edu

Hi Bob.

Question -- Are you aware of any courses being conducted that deal specifically with ethics implications for accountants/auditors. One of my Business Law colleagues ask me this question. Best I know, most of this kind of work occurs in UG Auditing or in a Master's level auditing course.

Hope all is well with you. Mike

Mike Groomer, Ph.D, CPA, CISA, CITP 
Professor of Accounting and Information Systems 
Kelley School of Business Indiana University 
1309 East 10th Street Bloomington, IN 47405-1701

March 5, 2005 answer from Bob Jensen

A lot depends upon what you mean by “courses.”  Courses can range from videos to CPE training to college course modules to college courses on ethics in auditing to onsite training courses.

For reactions of accounting education to the implosion of Andersen, I suggest beginning with the following modules:

Bob Jensen's threads on ethics and accounting education are at 
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm#AccountingEducation

The Saga of Auditor Professionalism and Independence  ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Professionalism
 

Incompetent and Corrupt Audits are Routine ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#IncompetentAudits

Future of Auditing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing

See the Dean of Wharton speak out on ethics --- http://www.globalagendamagazine.com/2005/patrickharker.asp

Wharton has probably done as much or more than any school on adding ethics modules --- http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/undergrad/topschools.html

Here are a few other suggestions for your friend:

For college courses enter “Ethics in Auditing” in the second box and “University” in the top box (don’t use quotation marks) and see the many links of interest that emerge from http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en

Since the implosion of Enron, the Institute of Internal Auditors has changed its offerings on ethics training --- http://www.theiia.org/index.cfm?doc_id=883

Although the courses don’t necessarily deal with auditing per se, I always suggest visiting http://www.cfenet.com/splash/

These is a great deal on changed relationships between auditors and audit committees:
AICPA Video Courses --- https://www.cpa2biz.com/Stores/cpevideocourses.htm
Audit Committee Responsibilities After Sarbanes-Oxley

VHS/Manual or DVD/Manual — Sample video clip available
Fraud and the Financial Statement Audit: Auditor Responsibilities Under New SAS
VHS/Manual or DVD/Manual — Sample video clip available

AICPA's Annual Business Law Update See http://www.aicpalearning.org/palpha.asp

I recommend going over the entire alphabetical listing at http://www.aicpalearning.org/profdevclass.asp

The AICPA will also do onsite training --- http://www.aicpalearning.org/profdevclass.asp

ABLU

CPE (sometimes auditing is only a module of the course)

http://www.passonline.com/default.aspx

 

http://www.affiliateprofit.net/accounting/8/ethics-in-accounting.html

 

Corporate Responsibility
We Help You Create Corporate Social Responsibility Policies
www.Unity-Partners.com

 

Ethical Corporation
cutting edge news & analysis in global corporate responsibility
www.ethicalcorp.com

 

 

Ethics Theory and Issues
Save Money on Books. Buy For Less on eBay. Bid Now!
www.eBay.com

Outside Accounting

Code of Medical Ethics
The Authority on Medical Ethics. AMA' s Complete Guide for Doctors.
 
www.amapress.com   


March 11, 2005 message from Ronald Kucic [rkucic@DU.EDU

We are considering dropping the use of the GMAT as a requirement for admissions to our 3/2 Master's of Accountancy program. We would replace the exam with a rigorous interview with a School of Accountancy appointed admissions committee that would consist of a cross-section of School of Accountancy faculty, College admissions staff, and possibly alumni.

I know that BYU no longer uses the GMAT as part of its 3/2 admissions process. Are there other schools of which people on this list are aware that no longer use the GMAT for admission to 3/2 accountancy programs? Unless there are others on the list who are interested in this topic, those who do know of such schools can respond to me privately at rkucic@du.edu.

Thank you for your assistance.

Regards,

A. Ronald Kucic, 
Director School of Accountancy 
Daniels College of Business 
University of Denver 
2101 S. University Blvd. #355
Denver, CO 80208


March 2, 2005 question from a student

Dr. Jensen,

What is the difference between a "forward contract" that qualifies as a derivative and a generic agreement to purchase something at a set price at a set rate at a set time? I thought the only requirements to be derivatives were 1) nominal 2) underlying and 3) a market mechanism that could net settle for cash. The reason I ask is because at SBC we have some contracts to pay a certain price for electricity in the future and I was under the impression that they qualified for derivative status because they fit into the aforementioned 3 categories. We have agreed to buy a certain number at a certain price at a given point in the future. Are those not necessarily foward contracts? Your email to Ms. Walsh seemed to suggest that her situation (which sounds very similar to this) might not count as a derivative. I ask because we were trying to decide whether to disclose the agreement in the financials. Also, does materiality factor into whether you have to disclose derivatives or is it a special case?

Thanks,

Andrew

March 3, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Andrew,

The main difference lies in the “net settlement” requirement for a derivative.  If I have a forward contract net settles for cash then it’s a derivative.  If you must take delivery of the notional amount of commodity (or principal in the case of a bond), then it does not meet the test to be a derivative scoped into FAS 133.  Purchased options never have this problem, because an option can never force delivery.  Written options almost always net settle, but OTC options might be written to not allow net settlement.

There is a gray zone where FAS 133 says that it might be a derivative if the notional can be “readily converted into cash.”  Presumably this means that the conversion does not require that you actually take delivery of 25,000 bu. of corn on your front lawn.  You might be a broker who simply takes delivery on paper and then immediately transfers that delivery to some party that actually wants big loads of corn.

Your electricity example is interesting because it relates to a huge debate that power companies had over “bookouts.”  At first the FASB took a hard stand that bookout clauses in contracts made them derivatives scoped into FAS 133.  Then it took up the matter once again but did not settle it completely.  This was widely and vocally complained about in the power industry.  Eventually FAS 138 made some NPNS accommodation.  Look up the terms “bookout” and “Normal Purchase Normal Sale” at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm

I’m going to share your message with the class, because it is a very interesting question.  I like questions like this.  It means you are thinking.  For the mid-term examination, I want students to study the term NPNS and to understand, in theory, why firms strive to achieve NPNS status.

Dr J


Put up or call up --- know the difference between buying an option versus writing an option

When students don’t quite understand why investors like to write options, you might show them this article.  You might then guide them to the special rules of accounting for written options after you carefully explain the risks of going naked

"Investment Options," by Justin Lahart, The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2005; Page C1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110979345697268538,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 

Complaints along the lines of "there aren't many good investments anymore" have become as common as dirt.

High stock valuations, low long-term interest rates and small differentials in yields between corporate bonds and Treasurys: These are symptoms of a world where too much money is chasing too few ideas, and where investors' desperation to eke out a return has overtaken their desire to avoid risk.

A prime example of this complacency about risk comes from the options arena. Many investors use stock options, which grant the right to buy (in the case of a call) or sell (a put) a security at a set price, as insurance against a volatile market. The more worried they are, the more the insurance costs. These days that insurance costs very little -- the CBOE Market Volatility Index, which is based on the prices investors are paying for options on the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, has been steadily falling.

What's more, many are selling options cheaply as a way to augment returns. An investor who owns Microsoft stock, but doesn't expect the shares to advance by much over the next few months, could sell options that give buyers the right to purchase Microsoft for $30 (versus yesterday's $25.26) by June. If Microsoft isn't over $30 on the expiration day, the options expire worthless and the investor has pocketed the money he got from selling the option.

But investors aren't just selling options that expire in the next few months cheaply. In their eagerness for income right now, they are selling options that don't expire for nearly two years for far too little, says Whitney Tilson of the hedge fund T2 Partners. This, he thinks, creates a big opportunity.

A call option giving the right to buy Anheuser-Busch for $50 a share in January 2007 costs $3.50. Shares of the brewer closed yesterday at $47.58. If they advance beyond $53.50 -- $50 plus the price of the option -- in just under two years, the option will pay off. At $54, the option pays off 14%; at $55, it pays off 43%.

For value-minded investors, these options represent a better alternative than buying shares of the company, says Mr. Tilson. His strategy: Buy long-dated call options in Anheuser-Busch and other companies with proven track records, but because the options give such an outsize return if all goes well, invest much less money than he would if he were buying the underlying stock.

"We obviously expect the stock to do well, but if we're wrong, we've tied up very little capital," Mr. Tilson says.

There are special accounting rules for written options as opposed to purchased options.  Scroll down to the phrase "Written Option" at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#W-Terms 


Moral Philosophy

March 1, 2005 message from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

Why use second hand stuff?

I would go to the originals, most of which are FREE.

Some examples:

1. Nicomachean Ethics, By Aristotle, Translated by W. D. Ross http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html

(Ross translation is the best I have read; always on my bookshelf, one of my precious possessions)

2. Eudemian Ethics, Books I, II, and VIII (Second Edition), Aristotle Edited and translated with a commentary by Michael Woods http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Philosophy/History/Ancient/?ci

=0198240201&view=usa

(Much neglected work, among his earliest works.

1 and 2 were really Aristotle's lecture notes;

makes me wonder to what lows we have sunk). Not free

3.a. History of the Peloponnesian War (Great Minds Series)

by Thucydides, Benjamin Jowett  --- http://snipurl.com/PeloponisianWar 

(If I were to be banished to a lonely island and I was allowed to take just one book, this would be it). Not free, but I would pay its weight in gold if I had to. One of my most precious possessions.

3.b. The History of the Peloponnesian War, Translated by Richard Crawley http://classics.mit.edu/Thucydides/pelopwar.html

Free, but I would pay a hefty price for the Jowett translation.

4. Any Jowett translation of Plato (even after all these years, I read them whenenever I can). Jowett translations are my favourite. Even today I could not improve them by virtually changing even a single word) Free. One of my most precious possessions. http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/browse-Plato.html

5. THE CRITIQUE OF PRACTICAL REASON, by Immanuel Kant http://eserver.org/philosophy/kant/critique-of-practical-reaso.txt

A lesser known sibling of 'Critique of Pure Reason'. I read it again and again from time to time.

I also would use Sophocles's trilogy. Also Dickens, Rousseau's 'Emile',... The important thing is not to make an ethics course in the image of a run-of-the-mill Intermediate Financial Accounting course. It puts tremendous burden on the instructor, but I can not even conceive of a better way to spend a semester.

I know it is a tall order these days asking students to read works of all these "dead white men". But it will be their loss (and as academics, our loss) if they don't. It is irrelevant whether one is studying to be an accountant, a farmer, rocket scientist, or a brain surgeon. It is reading works like these that make one a better human being.

Respectfully submitted,

Jagdish

Jagdish S. Gangolly, Associate Professor
School of Business & NY State Center for Information Forensics & Assurance 
State University of New York at Albany BA 365C, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222

email: j.gangolly@albany.edu 

March 1, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

You might check out the Picola Project as a potential model for applying for grants and helping accountants around the world.  This model would be great if it were extended beyond communities and into accountancy --- http://communityconnections.heinz.cmu.edu/picola/index.html 

When it comes to the academic side of ethics, I always say begin with CMU philosophy professor Robert Cavelier.

He shares some course references at http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/CAAE/webmats.htm
Some of his fantastic course materials are linked on the left side of the page at http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/  

Part I History of Ethics

Preface: The Life of Socrates
Section 1: Greek Moral Philosophy
Section 2: Hellenistic and Roman Ethics
Section 3: Early Christian Ethics
Section 4: Modern Moral Philosophy
Section 5: 20th Century Analytic Moral Philosophy

Part II Concepts and Problems

Preface: Meta-ethics, Normative Ethics and Applied Ethics
Section 1: Ethical Relativism
Section 2: Ethical Egoism
Section 3: Utilitarian Theories
Section 4: Deontological Theories
Section 5: Virtue Ethics
Section 6: Liberal Rights and Communitarian Theories
Section 7: Ethics of Care
Section 8: Case-based Moral Reasoning
Section 9: Moral Pluralism

Part III Applied Ethics

Preface: The Field of Applied Ethics
Section 1: The Topic of Euthanasia
Multimedia Module: A Right to Die? The Dax Cowart Case
Section 2: The Topic of Abortion
Multimedia Module: The Issue of Abortion in America
Postscript: Conflict Resolution

Note that his update materials appear to be buried in a CMU Blackboard server.  I suspect Dr. Cavelier would share the updates if it was for a good cause.  


March 1, 2005 message from Glen L Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU

When did the Internet start being called the "Internet?" I know what we now call the Internet was created in 1969, but was it called the Internet then? I believe it was first called ARPANet, reflecting the funding agency. NSFNet was used to reflect the subsequent NSF funding. 

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA 
Accounting & Information Systems, 
COBAE California State University, Northridge Northridge, CA 91330-8372 

http://www.csun.edu/~vcact00f 

March 2, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

You can read the following under "Internet" at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm 

1974 Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf refer to the term "Internet" for the first time on their notes regarding Transmission Control Protocol http://www.bangla.net/isp/tech_support/internet-timeline.html 

The "official definition" came out long after the term Internet became commonly used --- http://www.itrd.gov/fnc/Internet_res.html 

I've got all the symptoms
In the early '90s, psychiatrists and clinicians were beginning to hear of a new medical term, "internet addiction." At first, this was met with a lot of skepticism and denial, however, it became evident that the more people logged on to cyberspace, the more they got hooked.The 10 Symptoms You Need To Watch Out For:
AskMen.com --- http://www.askmen.com/fashion/body_and_mind/16_better_living.html 


"Add Even More Muscle to “What-If” Analyses (in Excel)," by James A. Weisel, Journal of Accountancy, March 2005, pp. 76-79 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2005/weisel.htm 

This is the second of two articles on how to use Excel to conduct powerful business analyses.  Follow along as I demonstrate how Scenario PivotTable can make your analysis of even the most complex what-if projects more efficient and effective. In part 1, “Add Muscle to What-If Analyses” (see JofA, Sept.04, page 38), we demonstrated the basic techniques for managing multiple what-if versions using Excel’s Scenario Manager. To illustrate the process, we started with a model budget for a fictitious business, PQR Co. (exhibit 1) and created a series of five scenarios with varying sales growth rates, cost-of-sales growth rates and advertising expenditures . . . 


Egads!  Is this what you call filling in where schools fail?
The College Board will administer its revised college-admissions test to thousands of high-school juniors for the first time on Saturday, and the test has generated a bonanza of new study aids. "The new SAT has led to a flurry of new products because all publishers are starting new -- there's a new thing to compete over," says Justin Kestler, a founder of SparkNotes LLC, a division of Borders Group Inc.  Adds Jon Zeitlin, manager of college-prep programs for Kaplan Inc., a unit of Washington Post Co.: "We've been on a product-creation jag for months."  Test-prep giant Princeton Review Inc., which isn't affiliated with Princeton University, has developed software that delivers test questions, including critical-reading passages, to cellphone screens -- then grades the answers and sends the results home to Mom and Dad. Its chief competitor Kaplan has software for a cellphone or a Palm device: Order up easy, medium or hard questions in reading, writing or math.  Texas Instruments Inc. is programming all of its latest graphing calculators with SAT math and vocabulary drills. And SparkNotes has its test-prep eye on the ubiquitous iPod. "We're trying to figure out how to do it in audio," says Mr. Kestler. "It's the next big killer application."
June Kronholz, "To Tackle New SAT, Perhaps You Need A New Study Device:  Test-Prep CDs, Puzzles, Cellphone Software Hit A June Market of Nonreaders," The Wall Street Journal, March 8. 2005, Page A1  --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111024562510773081,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Jensen Comment
College admission tests serve many purposes, not the least of which is to guide students into what to learn in school.  One of the failings of our schools and the college tests is the failure to test and motivate students toward understanding personal finance.  Why is this important?  Personal finances are a major cause of suicide and divorce.  Sometimes I don't think teachers really are concerned about the tragedies of life that affect nearly all people later in life from the very poor to the very rich.  Our graduates mess of their lives because they mess up their personal finances and/or allow themselves to be screwed by credit card companies, finance companies, brokers, financial advisors, and banks (yes and banks).

Please read the following:
"Survey: Students Not Taught Basic Finance," Ben Feller, SmartPros, March 7, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x47289.xml 

And then look at the following:

March 4, 2005 message from a staff member at Trinity University

Think of the many people whose lives might be saved and whose marriages might be more successful if they understood the basics of who to keep out of digging themselves into financial holes and how to stop digging once they're in those holes.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dirty tricks of credit card companies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO 

"Survey: Students Not Taught Basic Finance," Ben Feller, SmartPros, March 7, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x47289.xml 

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2005 (Associated Press) — More states are requiring students to learn about managing money, but personal finance remains a fringe topic in schools and a major source of federal concern.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seven states mandate that students take a course about basic finances to graduate high school, according to 2004 survey results released Thursday by the private National Council on Economic Education. That's up from 2002, when just four states required such courses.

In the standards they set for schools, most states say they want money matters to be taught - 38 states include the ideas of saving, investing, risk management and other finance themes in their standards or guidelines, an increase from 31 states two years earlier. But the survey found many states don't enforce the standards, let alone require entire courses.

"There is more good economic and financial education being offered in schools than ever," said Robert Duvall, president of the national council, which released its findings during an economic literacy summit. "But as a subject area, it continues to be marginalized as an add-on in an already crowded curriculum. We need to keep pushing to make it part of the core."

Poor understanding of personal finance can cause more than a sloppy checkbook. As young people rack up credit debt or fail to save money, they can later find themselves with bankruptcies, home foreclosures and financial stresses that divide families, experts say.

The problem of bad money management is drawing more national attention as a public education issue. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has prodded schools to help teach kids financial literacy so they are not saddled by poor financial decisions as adults.

The Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which represents 20 federal agencies and commissions, is working on ways to help people navigate complex money decisions.

In a national survey last year, only 52 percent of high school seniors answered correctly questions about personal finance and economics. The students struggled, for example, with questions on income tax, stocks and bonds, credit card liability and retirement plans.

The new report says that the seven states requiring students to take a personal finance course are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, New York and Utah.

Relying on colleges to teach students about money is not a good approach, Duvall said, as many kids don't get that far, and college courses are more about theory than daily life.

Duvall's council wants all states to require an economics course, including personal finance. A total of 15 states require an economics course this year, up from 14 two years ago.

States can also reinforce economic themes in other courses, such as a math class on compound interest or a history class on the Boston Tea Party and taxation, Duvall said.

William Walstad, director of the National Center for Research in Economic Education, said states should unite those varied lessons in a well-defined sequence of courses - just as they do with math and science. He said advocates need to lobby with more urgency and unity.

"Time can hurt us if we don't keep pressing the case," Walstad said.

The number of states that included personal finance in their curriculum standards dropped from 40 to 31 between 2000 and 2002 before rebounding in the new survey.

Duvall said that was a reaction by states to No Child Left Behind, the 2001 federal education law that put a greater emphasis on state math and reading progress.

"We've had a couple of years to take that in stride and figure out how to not only put a rightful emphasis on language arts and mathematics, but also financial literacy," he said.

Bob Jensen's threads on credit card frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO 

I agree with the habit of spending within one’s means.  But there still is a question of stupid spending within one’s means.  For example, should families really spend extra for an entirely new car even if they can make the payments?  And do they understand the car’s financing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudDealers.htm 


Free credit report offers seem to flood the Internet these days. Most companies claiming to give you a free credit report are really looking to sell you something in the long run, such as a credit monitoring service or identity-fraud protection.

So, stop surfing around online for a free credit report, most of the offers you will find are not really free. If you do not qualify for a free credit report, you are still better going straight to the actual credit bureaus and just paying the $8 that a credit report costs. Knowing what your credit file says about you is priceless.
"Free Credit Report Offers... Are They Really Free? - Consumer Alert," AccountingWeb, March 3, 2005 ---  http://www.accountingweb.com/item/100593 

Free credit report offers seem to flood the Internet these days. Most companies claiming to give you a free credit report are really looking to sell you something in the long run, such as a credit monitoring service or identity-fraud protection. Once you purchase the service, you will be given a copy of your credit report, usually from just one of the major credit bureaus. Since there are three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax), you will not see the complete picture if you do not receive a report from each one.

Other websites that sell credit reports are resellers for the real credit bureaus and exist to make a profit. Some of these websites are very useful if you intend to pay, and are very convenient as a centralized place to obtain a 3-in-1 report with a personalized account that you can return to at anytime to order more reports; however, you will not receive anything for free.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 you are entitled to a free credit report if your application for credit, insurance or employment is denied because of information provided by a credit reporting agency (CRA). The company that you applied to must provide you with a denial notice which will contain the name, address, and phone number of the CRA that was used. You must request your report within 60 days of receiving the notice of the action. In addition, you are entitled to one free report a year if (1) you are unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days, (2) you are on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate because of fraud.

Residents of Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont already have a right to one free report per bureau each year because of laws enacted by those states. However, a new Federal provision enacted in 2003, grants access to free credit reports to all consumers in every state.

Free Annual Credit Reports Available to Everyone

According to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, every consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year. The final rule on this Act issued by the Federal Trade Commission in June 2004, provides for a centralized source from which consumers can obtain their credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus.

The centralized source is becoming available in cumulative stages, over a period of nine months, rolling-out from west. The rollout began in December 2004 and will be complete by September 1, 2005. Western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) became eligible on December 1, 2004;

Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) will become eligible on March 1, 2005; Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas ) will become eligible on June 1, 2005; Eastern states (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia), Puerto Rico, and all U.S. territories will become eligible on September 1, 2005.

So, stop surfing around online for a free credit report, most of the offers you will find are not really free. If you do not qualify for a free credit report, you are still better going straight to the actual credit bureaus and just paying the $8 that a credit report costs. Knowing what your credit file says about you is priceless.


To my accounting theory students:  I probably won't examine you on this one, but you might find it of interest.

Karen Richardson, "Swapping Rates to Save on Debt ... Maybe:  Rice Financial Products Offers Cities, States Deal Rife With Benefits, Risks," The Wall Street Journal,  March 15, 2005; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111083206224878924,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 

Officials in Durham, N.C., hope that a financial transaction with a private New York firm will save the city millions of dollars on its municipal debt.

But some say the deal -- an interest-rate swap with a formula that multiplies the city's potential savings as well as its potential losses -- may contain costly risk.

"They're entering into a gamble where they believe they're going to win more money than they're going to lose," says Robert Whaley, professor of finance and a derivatives expert at Duke University in Durham. "It's just speculation."

The Synthetic Fixed-Rate Refinancing Swap, as it is known, was created by Rice Financial Products Co., which has sold such deals in at least five states. It would work like this in Durham: On existing debt of $103 million, Durham would pay Rice Financial a still-to-be negotiated fixed interest rate over 15 years while Rice Financial would pay Durham a rate that is about 0.9 percentage point greater, plus a so-called adjustment factor. Rice Financial has said the deal could save the city $8 million.

"This proposal is so complex ... that I don't know that there are 30 or 40 people in this entire state who can fully comprehend it," says Eugene Brown, a Durham city councilman who has been lobbying against the swap.

"What you really want to focus on is the all-in cost of funds," says Donald Rice, founder and chief executive of Rice Financial.

The adjustment factor is based on a combination of the Bond Market Association (BMA) benchmark index rate for tax-exempt bonds and the taxable London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Supply and demand, credit risk, tax policy, interest rates and different maturities can result in unpredictable swings in that relationship. "Understanding the dynamics of how these two rates behave in relationship to one another is not an easy task," says Prof. Whaley

The formula effectively "magnifies both potential benefits and risks" by 1.54 times, according to an analysis of the swap structure by Public Financial Management in Philadelphia, Durham's financial adviser. The firm approved the deal but recommended that the city budget the expected savings conservatively.

Rice Financial made an "unsolicited proposal" to Durham City in August after it sold a similar swap to Durham County, says Kenneth Pennoyer, the city's director of finance. Prior to meeting with Rice Financial, he says, the city hadn't been contemplating any sort of swap because most of its bonds outstanding pay a fixed interest rate.

"There's a potential savings for the city, and I think that's a worthwhile goal in itself," Mr. Pennoyer says. He is confident that a final city-council vote April 18 will approve the deal since a commission of the state treasurer has approved it and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services recently gave it its highest rating for this type of transaction.

Mr. Rice is a Harvard Business School graduate who started structuring municipal interest-rate swaps at Merrill Lynch & Co. nearly 20 years ago. He says his company has executed more than $20 billion in swaps since its establishment in 1994. "There may be a circumstance where our transaction causes dis-savings, but it requires a substantial market move ... one that's unparalleled," says Mr. Rice.

Interest-rate swaps aren't new to the municipal-bond markets, but their use has grown over the past three years. As interest rates fell to record lows, municipal issuers were looking for ways to trim costs without issuing more bonds. But with interest rates rising, fixed-rate issuers betting on a formula involving two floating rates and a multiplier effect seems imprudent to some.

"Often the political pressures are such that ... when [potential benefits] are couched in terms of 'savings,' the risk is that people are doing things they don't understand," says Mike Marz, vice chairman of First Southwest Co. in Dallas. First Southwest has advised North Carolina finance officials against using the Rice Financial swap.

Mr. Rice declined to discuss his company's compensation from the swaps, except to say that issuers' financial advisers were responsible for negotiating rates that were "fair value" in the market. On average, municipal-swap deals generate fees of 0.05% to 0.10% of the deal for bankers. Durham City's Mr. Pennoyer said Rice Financial's compensation on the $103 million swap was in the ballpark of about $800,000, or 0.8%.

In 2003 the West Basin Municipal Water District in California sued its financial adviser, P.G. Corbin & Co., in California state court, alleging it gave faulty advice in deeming a Rice Financial swap in 2001 a "fair market transaction."

A spokesman for West Basin said he didn't know the status of the case. Lawyers representing P.G. Corbin didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

Separately, this month a West Basin official was sentenced in U.S. court in California to two years in prison for extorting $25,000 from a consultant at M.R. Beal & Co., then a partner of Rice Financial, to steer the water district's debt-refinancing contract in Rice Financial's favor.

"The well-publicized events among certain of West Basin's board members are unfortunate," Mr. Rice said. "Nonetheless, we are pleased with the products and services we have provided West Basin over the years and value them as a customer."

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 18, 2005

TITLE: Swapping Rates to Save on Debt...Maybe 
REPORTER: Karen Richardson 
DATE: Mar 14, 2005 
PAGE: C3 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111083206224878924,00.html  
TOPICS: Advanced Financial Accounting, Derivatives, Governmental Accounting

SUMMARY: The city of Durham, NC., has entered into an unusual interest rate swap created by Rice Financial Products, Co. A Duke university finance professor, Robert Whaley, describes the transaction as speculative.

QUESTIONS: 
1.) What are the features of a standard interest rate swap? What is unusual about the interest rate swap discussed in this article?

2.) Why might a governmental entity want to engage in an interest rate swap transaction? Answer this question with reference to the current state of interest rates and the terms of the Durham, N.C. debt described in the article.

3.) Why does Duke University Professor of Finance Robert Whaley call this transaction "just speculation"?

4.) How does the assessment that this interest rate swap is speculative potentially affect the accounting for the swap?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

The practice of selling high risk derivative instruments products just goes on and on in spite of the enormous scandals of the past --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm#DerivativesFrauds 

You can read more about interest rate swaps by scrolling down at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#I-Terms 

Particularly important is understanding Examples 2 and 5 of Appendix B of FAS 133 and how to value interest rate swaps --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133swapvalue.htm 

Bob Jensen's tutorials on FAS 133 and IAS 39 accounting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm 


Forwarded by Don Mathis
A Write Shop --- http://www.awriteshop.com/e_reading.html 
Many links to free books and other readings online.

Bob Jensen's links to electronic books are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#ElectronicBooks 


Fannie Mae is a great source for students learning about breakdown of internal controls

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 11, 2005

TITLE: Fannie Regulator Tightens Its Grip 
REPORTER: James R. Hagerty 
DATE: Mar 09, 2005 
PAGE: A3 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111030895766973673,00.html  
TOPICS: Accounting, Information Technology, Internal Auditing, Internal Controls, Regulation

SUMMARY: "Fannie Mae's regulator told the mortgage company to fix 'deficiencies' in accounting-ledger and corporate-records controls. The new requirements include policies bhannien falsified signatures on journal entries and limiting employees' ability to alter databases." The internal control framework developed by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) is used as a basis for questions. For those instructors who wish to refer their students to the executive summary for this framework, it is available on the web at http://www.coso.org/Publications/executive_summary_integrated_framework.htm The Institute for Internal Auditors publishes a checklist developed by COSO which is available on the web at

http://www.theiia.org/?doc_id=374 

QUESTIONS: 1.) Define internal control and provide a proper reference to your source for that definition.

2.) What is COSO? Who or what comprises the members of COSO?

3.) What professional documents identify the basis for sound internal controls? Who establishes these standards?

4.) What internal control violations are highlighted in this article? Name each and describe the component of control being violated, based on COSO's five components of internal control.

5.) How does automation, and technical staff access to databases, add to issues inherent in systems of internal control?

6.) Compare the discussion of internal controls in the main article to the related article. How are the issues in the main article regarding internal controls consistent with problems that are identified in the related article as the basis for denying hedge accounting treatment for derivatives?

7.) Refer to the comparison made in answer to question 6. What general category or categories of internal control do you think were ultimately violated at Fannie Mae? Do you think this violation stems from the internal control environment at Fannie Mae? Support your answer.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

--- RELATED ARTICLES --- 
TITLE: Fannie Faces Billions in New Losses 
REPORTER: Jonathan Weil and James R. Hagerty 
PAGE: A3 
ISSUE: Mar 03, 2005 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110980084894668645,00.html 

"Fannie Mae Is Cited for 'Deficiencies':  Regulator Sets Conditions To Correct Internal Controls; Office of Compliance Created," by James R. Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2005; Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111030895766973673,00.html 

Fannie Mae's regulator announced that it has instructed the mortgage company to correct "deficiencies" in its controls over accounting ledgers and other corporate records.

The new requirements include the adoption of policies banning falsified signatures on accounting journal entries and limiting employees' ability to alter database records.

The latest move by the regulator -- the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, or Ofheo -- illustrates its tightening grip on Fannie in light of an accounting scandal that emerged last year.

Fannie's board also agreed to create an "office of compliance and ethics" and to direct the company's general counsel to inform directors and regulators of "actual or possible misconduct" at the company.

The directions to the company's board and management are included in an agreement with the regulator, signed by Fannie Mae's interim chairman, Stephen B. Ashley, and released by Ofheo yesterday. The specificity of the agreement suggests that Ofheo has found examples of Fannie employees flouting some basic standards of conduct.

An Ofheo spokeswoman declined to say whether such wrongdoing had been found but said the regulator continues to work closely with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission in investigating Fannie's accounting and internal controls.

Rep. Richard H. Baker (R., La.), chairman of a House subcommittee that oversees Fannie and its smaller rival, Freddie Mac, said the agreement "raises many disturbing questions, especially about tampering with records, and we need to know the nature of the records and the extent of this outrageous practice." He scheduled a hearing for April 5 to look into the matter.

Mr. Ashley said in a statement that the agreement "represents the next step in Fannie Mae's cooperative effort to address issues raised by Ofheo." A spokesman declined to elaborate.

At a minimum, Fannie seems to have allowed "extreme sloppiness" in its internal controls, said Karen Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics Inc., a research firm in Washington.

The new agreement supplements one imposed on Fannie last September by Ofheo in the wake of findings that Fannie violated accounting rules in an attempt to smooth out fluctuations in its earnings. Those findings, backed by the SEC's chief accountant, prompted Fannie's board in December to oust the company's chief executive officer and chief financial officer.

Until recently, Fannie had the political clout to brush off concerns raised by Ofheo, but the accounting scandal has forced the company to seek a far more cooperative relationship with its regulator.

Among other things, the agreement requires Fannie to devise a plan for rectifying "deficiencies" in procedures for making and revising accounting journal entries. Those entries must be "supported by appropriate documentation," the agreement says.

In addition, Fannie agreed to "adopt appropriate internal controls" on any "overwriting" of database records by technical-support employees at the direction of management to make changes or corrections. Those changes would have to be properly documented.

The agreement also notes that Fannie's board has separated the functions of chairman and chief executive, formerly both held by Franklin D. Raines, who was forced to step down in December. Under Mr. Raines, Fannie resisted Ofheo's proposal for a regulation that would, among other things, require that the two jobs be held by different people. That proposed regulation has been held up for months by a review at the Office of Management and Budget; one person familiar with the situation said the Bush administration was reluctant to set policy on whether companies should combine the two functions. But Ofheo now has used its growing clout to persuade both Fannie and Freddie to separate the jobs, even without a regulation.

The new requirements come as Fannie is preparing to restate its results for the past four years and racing to meet a Sept. 30 deadline to raise additional capital, as previously mandated by Ofheo.

Fannie and Freddie were chartered by Congress to provide funding for mortgage lenders. Although they are instruments of U.S. housing policy, they are owned by shareholders and their shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


Small Business Helpers from Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, March 2005 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2005/news_web.htm 

Food for Thought
www.businessownersideacafe.com
“A fun approach to serious business” is the tag line here, with lively graphics and laid-back narrative that punch up its material. The Small Biz Tax Center helps clarify IRS tax and recordkeeping requirements and gives tips for start-up business owners. The CyberSchmooz “lobby” opens onto message forums on e-commerce, marketing and working at home. The Your Biz section includes a “fridge” full of business forms, e-mail protocols, marketing tips and even yoga instructions.

Small Company, Big Resources
www.allbusiness.com
From forms for consulting and confidentiality agreements to advice on sales and marketing or using the Internet, this Web stop offers guidance to CPAs who advise start-ups and small businesses. The Business Plans section has articles such as “Common Business Plan Mistakes for Startup Companies,” while the Small Business Advice section provides tax basics. Users also can tap into an FAQ section or a business glossary or sign up for a free e-newsletter.

A Dear Abby for Small Business
www.score.org
Since first listed here in June 2003, this site has added resources to its Business Toolbox section including a gallery of downloadable templates for bank loan applications, business plans and sales forecasts, as well as expanded links to such small business topics as finance, franchising and international trade. The Learning Center has a list of tips for business planning, marketing, public relations and office management.

Bob Jensen's small business helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness 


History of the word "gay" --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay 


March 4, 2005 message from Ethical Performance [list_admin@ethicalperformance.com

As someone with an interest in corporate social responsibility, I thought you would like to know that Ethical Performance has expanded its online service to include news and analysis directly from the Asia-Pacific region.

The online version of the independent business newsletter on corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investment now offers news from 29 Asia-Pacific countries at http://www.ethicalperformance.com

Ethical Performance Online also includes a detailed list of links to companies, consultancies, investors, civil society groups and other organizations in the region that are playing a key role in CSR and SRI.


March 3, 2005 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu

ENCOURAGING FACULTY ADOPTION OF TECHNOLOGY FOR TEACHING

"Some universities, some faculty, and even some students have increased their personal wealth by asserting ownership of the intellectual property created at the university. For many faculty, however, this new entrepreneurial orientation runs deeply counter to traditions of education and public service. Past campus debates about aspects of this cultural shift have created an environment of distrust and rancor." In a recent article Brian C. Donohue and Linda Howe-Steiger express their belief that this distrust has "spilled over into faculty attitudes toward the use of digital technologies for teaching" causing faculty to reject these technologies. This situation can be remedied if institutions "create incentives for faculty that balance public service goals with professional and entrepreneurial rewards, clarify ownership and usage rights of intellectual property generated by and for teaching, and generate additional funding for curriculum development at universities (possibly through tax credits)." They expand upon how to accomplish this in "Faculty and Administrators Collaborating for E-Learning Courseware" (EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY, vol. 28, no. 1, 2005, pp. 20-32). The article is available online, at no cost, at http://www.educause.edu/apps/eq/eqm05/eqm0513.asp .

EDUCAUSE Quarterly, The IT Practitioner's Journal [ISSN 1528-5324] is published by EDUCAUSE, 4772 Walnut Street, Suite 206, Boulder, CO 80301-2538 USA. Current and past issues are available online at http://www.educause.edu/eq/ .

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm 


WHAT LEADS TO ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN DISTANCE EDUCATION?

"Achieving Success in Internet-Supported Learning in Higher Education," released February 1, 2005, reports on the study of distance education conducted by the Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness (A-HEC). A-HEC surveyed 21 colleges and universities to "uncover best practices in achieving success with the use of the Internet in higher education." Some of the questions asked by the study included:

"Why do institutions move online? Are there particular conditions under which e-Learning will be successful?"

"What is the role of leadership and by whom? What level of investment or commitment is necessary for success?"

"How do institutions evaluate and measure success?"

"What are the most important and successful factors for student support and faculty support?"

"Where do institutions get stuck? What are the key challenges?"

The complete report is available online, at no cost, at http://www.a-hec.org/e-learning_study.html.

The "core focus" of the nonprofit Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness (A-HEC) "is on communicating how higher education leaders are creating positive change by crystallizing their mission, offering more effective academic programs, defining their role in society, and putting in place balanced accountability measures." For more information, go to http://www.a-hec.org/ . Individual membership in A-HEC is free.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 


MAKING THE CASE FOR A WIKI

The Wiki.org site defines a Wiki as "the simplest online database that could possibly work." It is a "piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly." Some uses of Wikis in education include collaborative writing projects, discussion forums, project spaces/libraries, and interdisciplinary projects.

In "Making the Case for a Wiki" (ARIADNE, issue 42, January 2005) Emma Tonkin explains what a Wiki is and how to choose and deploy a Wiki implementation. The article is available online at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue42/tonkin/ .

Ariadne is published every three months by the UK Office for Library and Information Networking (UKOLN). Its purpose is "to report on information service developments and information networking issues worldwide, keeping the busy practitioner abreast of current digital library initiatives." For more information, contact: Richard Waller, Editor; email: ariadne@ukoln.ac.uk ; Web: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/ 

Bob Jensen's Wiki threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Wiki 


"Smart Startups Don't Wait to Set Up Accounting Systems," by Marguerite Rigoglioso in a review of a a study by Antonio Davila and George Foster, Stanford University Graduate School of Business Alumni Newsletter, February 2005 --- http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/entrep_davila_foster_acctgsystems.shtml  

The question of when to set up management control systems such as financial planning and monitoring tools haunts most entrepreneurs involved in startup operations. Until recently, there was little research on the topic, but a new study by Antonio Davila, assistant professor of accounting, and George Foster, the Paul L. and Phyllis Wattis Professor of Management, explores this area.

Davila and Foster studied 78 companies in a variety of technical and non-technical industries, each less than 10 years old. They found firms that acted quickly to institute formal mechanisms such as operation budgets, cash budgets, and financial monitoring systems (tools that measure profitability, customer acquisition costs, variance from actual budget, and so forth) had higher growth rates in terms of revenues and head count. They also had greater and more rapid increases in valuation at successive rounds of venture capital funding.

"Control systems are critical for providing executives with data they can use for their managerial decision making," says Foster. "We can't prove whether growth pushes the adoption of management systems, or whether the adoption of management systems pushes growth, but clearly both are occurring. Larger companies are more complex and need the discipline that such systems can bring. At the same time, it's generally true that managers of early-stage companies are unlikely to predict accurately exactly when growth will occur. Therefore, because significant growth does tend to happen within a year of their establishing management accounting systems, it's likely that these systems anticipate and fuel growth, as well."

Because information about internal decision making regarding management systems generally is not available publicly, the researchers used questionnaires and interviews to glean valuable data about company practices from some 200 startup executives. They found that young companies begin with few management systems in place. These firms tend to institute financial planning systems such as operational budgets on average 1.48 years after the company founding, with cash budgets following quickly. Financial monitoring systems come much later—on average three or more years after founding. Still other systems, such as product development, partnership, and marketing control, come even later.

"Management systems are the foundation for growth," says Davila. "As an executive in one of the companies we worked with described it, 'management by personality' only works up to a certain point. After that, you need to put systems in place."

One key factor driving the timing of when financial management systems are adopted is when a chief financial officer is hired, according to Davila and Foster. "We call this the 'import-in' approach to establishing control systems," says Foster. "Companies look for what's missing in their organization and hire people who have skills in those areas. Bringing on a senior financial officer typically fast tracks establishing financial planning and monitoring systems. It's generally more effective and economical than trying to create something from scratch within an organization."

The study also reveals that venture capital-backed companies tend to establish operating and cash budgets sooner than individually funded startups. "Often managers want to be sure that the funding will not be abused, so they are eager to set up controls as soon as they can," Foster says. "VCs also understand the importance of good financial management and encourage the use of these systems." Companies with more experienced CEOs adopt planning systems earlier than those with greener leaders at the helm, as well. "More experienced executives recognize the importance of formalized decision-making mechanisms and are quicker to implement them," he says.

Continued in article


"The Shape of Tech This Year," Business Week, January 11, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ShapeOfTech 

Certainly, plenty of excitement surrounds consumer technologies like liquid crystal and plasma TVs and wireless technologies like Wi-Fi. But for every high hope, there's a gloomy forecast of weak corporate spending and merger failures or continuing price pressure from China.

This much is known: After nearly three years of declines, 2004 was a ray of hope for tech. Business spending on technology was up, somewhere in the range of 5%. Venture capitalists started taking entrepreneurs to lunch once again. Tech employment picked up, despite competition from international outsourcing outfits. And tech stocks outpaced the rest of the stock market.

PLUSES AND MINUSES. 
Will those happy trends continue this year? Well, tech spending should keep pace with 2004. VCs look like they're ready to put money behind the young turks they've been lunching. The high-price products coming from the convergence of consumer electronics and the tech industry look like they're about to lose the ugly "high-price" moniker. Wi-Fi is about to go from cool-to-have to must-have.

But worries remain. While tech companies are hiring again, they don't seem particularly eager to increase wages. Many economists are concerned that tech salaries will stay flat or even drop this year. Either way, they certainly won't keep up with the cost of living. Meanwhile, investors happy about the software industry's merger mania may get a rude awakening: These deals may look great on paper, but they're awfully hard to pull off for a whole bunch of reasons, ranging from cultural to technical.

Most of all, investors fear that the stocks of tech bellwethers like Microsoft (MSFT ), Cisco (CSCO ), and Intel (INTC ) may take a big hit. After all, these companies have enjoyed premium share prices over the years because they were considered "growth" stocks -- companies that expand far faster than the rest of the economy.

FROM WALL ST. TO CHINA. 
Now that the tech industry is so big and these companies have such dominant shares of their particularly industries, it may be unrealistic to expect them to keep the growth pace of their younger days.

Maturity. It's not a bad thing. But it sure will take a lot of getting used to.

In this special report, BusinessWeek Online predicts seven big trends for the coming year. We'll explain why tech bellwethers may have a tough year on Wall Street, why venture capitalists are showing some moxie and investing in new ideas, and why Wi-Fi will soon be found in places unimaginable just a year or two ago. We'll look at tech employment trends, salivate at the likely prospect of big price drops for high-tech TVs, cast a wary eye toward software mergers, and count the ways China is having a big impact on the semiconductor industry.

Continued in article


Yet another hit on women
Why so few women chess masters? America's top female player ponders the question.
But Ms. Polgar is not someone who sees the two sexes as the same. "I think women are built differently and approach life very differently," she told me. And in a 2002 column for ChessCafe.com, she took on what might now be called the Lawrence Summers question. "If we talk about pure abilities and skills, I believe there should be no reason why women cannot play as well as men," Ms. Polgar wrote, but she went on to list various reasons that more female players have not reached chess's highest ranks -- among them their biological clocks, narrower opportunities to compete, cultural and gender bias, and the fact that "for years, women have set much lower standards" for themselves in chess than men. "If you do not put in the same work, you can't compete at the same level," she said then
Barbara D. Phillips, "Envoy From the Sport of Kings And Queens, Bishops, Knights," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005; Page D9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110964485701166720,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

Susan Polgar's book "A World Champion's Guide to Chess," co-written by Paul Truong, will be released March 8 by Random House Puzzles & Games, and a book on chess tactics is scheduled for 2006. Her instructional DVD series will be available later this year. Yet another book, her "Breaking Through: How the Polgar Sisters Changed the Game of Chess," also co-written by Mr. Truong, is due out from Everyman Chess in May. And in June all three Polgar sisters will appear at the Las Vegas International Chess Festival.

Susan, who speaks seven languages, now sees herself as an ambassador for chess in America. Study after study has "shown that children who are exposed to the game are ahead of their peers who are not involved with the royal game. Chess is a wonderful tool to increase concentration, self-control, patience, imagination, creativity, logical thinking and many more important and useful life skills," she says.

Her Polgar Chess Center welcomes players of all ages, from tots to retirees. This queen of chess says the center, which opened in 1997 and moved to its current location in a ground-floor apartment on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills last year, is the "only full-fledged chess club in New York," operating seven days a week. She lectures there on Thursday nights.

Two years ago, she founded her nonprofit Susan Polgar Foundation to promote chess to young people nationwide, with a special focus on girls. This year, more than 3,000 of them will participate in regional qualifying events for the second Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls. The University of Texas at Dallas will award a full four-year scholarship to the highest finishing player who has not yet graduated from high school when the tournament is held in Phoenix this August. She also is looking for support, both from donations and from politicians, for her foundation's Excel Through Chess program, which aims to introduce chess to every child in every school to help them do better in their studies and in life.

And if that isn't enough to keep Ms. Polgar occupied, she writes regular columns not only for ChessCafe.com but for Chess Life magazine.

Looking back, she says one of her biggest disappointments in the sport was in 1986. After qualifying for the Men's World Championship, the first woman -- girl, really -- ever to do so, she was not allowed to participate. But Zsuzsa (as Susan is also known) persevered and would have her share of victories. They included "breaking the gender barrier and becoming the first woman to ever earn the overall (men's) International Grandmaster title. Winning 10 medals in the Chess Olympiad, with five gold, four silver and one bronze. Winning four Women's World Championships and being the only World Champion, male or female, to win the triple crown in chess -- World Blitz, usually each player has five minutes for the entire game; Rapid Championship, usually 25 minutes for each player per game; and Classical Chess Championship, where the games usually last six to seven hours. The reason this is so special is because it is like winning the 100-meter dash, 800-meter race and marathon, or winning tennis on all three surfaces....Most players are good at one and not at the others."

And her latest victory? "After a more than eight-year break from international competition, I made a triumphant return to the Chess Olympiad, this time representing the U.S." That was in October of last year, when she picked up four of those 10 shiny objects in her collection. "I am proud to win the first-ever medals for our Women's Chess team -- two gold and two silver."

Did I mention that just before that, in Lindsborg, Kan., she tied seven-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov in "The Clash of the Titans," which was the first officially sanctioned match between a male and female World Champion?

Some of her clashes have mixed the bitter with the sweet. In 1999, FIDE stripped Ms. Polgar of her classical Women's World Championship title in a dispute over the timing, location and purse of the event in which she was to defend her 1996 crown. She calls it "a bitter moment in my life." But the feisty player fought back, suing FIDE. In September 2001, she won a $25,000 judgment from the International Court of Sports Arbitration in Switzerland. "Basically, I got the minimal monetary compensation, which I consider like a moral victory, because the courts take so long that by the time they decided, it was too late...by then they had another World Championship."

She had planned to take some time off from international competition to focus on her family, anyway, but "the break would not have been that long if I had had a chance to defend my title at the time," she says. "Then it would have been just two, three years. That was really the problem. They wouldn't let me defend my title and I got kind of upset."

Ms. Polgar says her comeback at the 2004 Olympiad in Spain "was fun." And she flew home to Forest Hills expecting the mainstream American press to be buzzing about Team USA's strong showing and her own return to the chess limelight. Instead, she was greeted with near silence. But if anyone can raise the profile of American chess -- and women in chess -- it is Susan Polgar, the self-appointed envoy from the sport of kings and queens, bishops, knights, rooks and pawns.

Continued in article


National Cancer Institute --- http://cancer.gov/ 


"Encouragement, not gender, key to success in science," by Janet L. Holmgren and Linda Basch, Carnegie Perspectives, March 2005 --- http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/perspectives/ 

This month's commentary was written by the chair of Carnegie's Board of Trustees, Mills College President Janet Holmgren, and Linda Basch, president of the National Council for Research on Women.

Harvard President Lawrence Summers' observations that women may be under-represented among scientists because of "innate differences" between the genders have already generated a good deal of discussion. This Perspective, published previously in the San Francisco Chronicle, offers information from NCRW's 2001 report on the participation of women and girls in the sciences and calls for a more "constructive discourse" around this serious problem.


Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online ---  http://www.biographi.ca/EN/index.html 


From The Wall Street Journal Weekly Accounting Review on March 4, 2005

TITLE: Executives Find Restricted Stock Pays Dividends from the Get-Go 
REPORTER: Phyllis Plitch 
DATE: Feb 28, 2005 
PAGE: C3 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110955473657465520,00.html  
TOPICS: Compensation, Disclosure Requirements, Dividends, Financial Accounting, Accounting

SUMMARY: While "restricted stock generally requires continued employment...[and] employees don't have ownership rights on the shares until several years after they are awarded...executives are getting paid dividends on their restricted stock before it has vested." Disclosures of executive compensation often exclude these dividend payments.

QUESTIONS: 
1.) What is restricted stock? Why is restricted stock used as a form of executive compensation?

2.) What does the author say companies indicate as reasons for paying dividends on restricted stock?

3.) How is it possible that executives may receive dividends on stocks they never end up owning?

4.) Paul Hodgson, a researcher in executive compensation, estimates that some companies reinvest the dividends for executives holding restricted stock. How does this alleviate the concerns raised in this article?

5.) Prepare summary journal entries, without dollar amounts, made by companies that award dividends on restricted stock and then require the dividends to be reinvested.

6.) Compare the results of the transactions described in question 6 to the results of a stock dividend, explaining both similarities and differences. Do you think that these two transactions are perceived differently by stockholders?

7.) As stated in the article, ""Dividends are additional compensation and should be disclosed as exactly that.'" Are dividends on restricted stock paid to executives included in compensation expense in the income statement? Support your answer.

8.) What disclosures are required regarding dividend payments? How can analysts and investors "crunch the numbers" using these disclosures to determine dividends received by executives on restricted stock if disclosure of that amount is not made under compensation disclosures?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

"Executives Find Restricted Stock Pays Dividends From the Get-Go," by Phyllis Plitch, The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2005, Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110955473657465520,00.html 

Here's a deal any investor would love: You receive dividends on stock you may never own.

Sound far-fetched? That is exactly what is happening for many executives reaping dividend payments on restricted stock, a popular form of compensation.

Restricted stock generally requires continued employment, and most forms are so-called time-vested shares, meaning the employees don't have ownership rights on the shares until several years after they are awarded. But in many cases executives are getting paid dividends on their restricted stock before it has vested.

What critics find vexing is that investors can find this information only in the footnotes of securities filings. Even then, they have to numbers-crunch to figure out how much executives are getting from the arrangement, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Take Altria Group Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Louis C. Camilleri. The tobacco company last year raised its quarterly dividend to 73 cents from 68 cents. Mr. Camilleri, in turn, earned more than $1.5 million in dividends on 450,000 unvested restricted shares held at the end of 2003 and an additional 125,000-share tranche granted in January 2004. The company declined to comment.

In footnoting the explanation that dividends are paid on unvested shares -- and not breaking out the exact dollar amount -- companies say they are adhering to disclosure rules, because nothing more is explicitly required. But questions about dividend disclosures are coming to the surface as the Securities and Exchange Commission considers requiring companies to be more open about compensation.

Alan Beller, who heads the SEC's division of corporation finance, recently issued a stark warning to companies that even current rules require them to include in proxies all compensation for the highest-paid executives.

"Restricted shares are pure compensation," says Paul Hodgson, senior research associate in executive and board compensation at the Corporate Library, a corporate-governance research firm that often takes a hard line on compensation. "Dividends are additional compensation and should be disclosed as exactly that."

Companies paying the dividend generally declined to comment on the rationale behind the practice. Several stressed that executives have to pay taxes on the dividends at their ordinary tax rate. But because an executive could leave before these shares vest, "it's better to defer the dividends until vesting," says Ira Kay, national director of compensation consulting at Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

Mr. Hodgson estimates that 90% of U.S. publicly traded companies award dividends on restricted stock, with 85% of those awarding the payments at the time the regular dividend is paid and the remaining 15% reinvesting the dividends.

Bob Jensen's threads on compensation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm 


Center for Applied Linguistics --- http://www.cal.org/ 


Why Business People Speak Like Idiots
Here's the kind of guff that we've all had about enough of (and if you've already had more than enough, feel free to skip ahead): "Technological innovation, globalization, complex regulation and increased accountability at the senior management and board level have all combined to significantly change the landscape of risk management today. To help address these issues, our security professionals deliver services to address the various elements of security and trust associated with communicating, transacting and accessing in this environment."

Why Business People Speak Like Idiots (Free Press, 175 pages, $22) aims to put prose like that -- especially the spoken version of it -- out of its misery. Good idea.
Barbara Wallraff, "Assessing the Parameters Of Issue-Driven Discourse," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005, Page D9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110964096311766617,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

The authors -- Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway and Jon Warshawsky -- positioned themselves to write this book by developing software called Bullfighter in 2003, when all three worked at Deloitte Consulting. The computer program scoured business documents for snippets of unlovely jargon and suggested plain-English replacements. More of a gizmo than a killer app, Bullfighter was nonetheless a hit.

But business jargon, like a flu virus, keeps mutating. It's not enough to zap "bleeding edge," "frictionless," "results-driven" and other such words and phrases, one by one. The real goal is to avoid jargon instinctively, in the moment. Software can't help with this. To achieve the larger goal, you have to use your head. Another good idea.

So, the book's argument goes, if you can avoid four "traps" -- being obscure, being anonymous, overpromising and being tedious -- you'll knock 'em dead. "Why Business People Speak Like Idiots" follows its own advice. It's blunt, lively and chockablock with personality.

A sidebar in the "Tedium Trap" section is headed: "And This Is Interesting Because?" A chapter title in the "Anonymity Trap" section reads: "Pick Up the Damn Phone." A brief, ironic discussion of "The Secret Magic Miracle Cure Answer" leads into the final, summing-up chapter, which promises: "There is an amazing opportunity for you to rise above your peers, further your career, sell your ideas, and get what you want just by being yourself."

Hmmm. Can we talk about that last claim? If only it were so easy. If only speaking like a brilliant person, or giving a presentation like one, were as easy as this book wants us to believe. One problem is that to follow the book's advice you have to be a certain kind of person, someone a lot like the authors themselves -- breezy, confident, quick on your feet and more prone to swearing than anyone in this newspaper is allowed to be. It also helps to be enthusiastic about your subject.

But if you aren't naturally breezy, confident and enthusiastic, there doesn't seem to be much you can do about it. Referring to all of us, the authors observe: "On the weekend, we take off the corporate mask and speak in a real, compelling voice. And people listen." They suggest we follow such a course in the office as well. Is it possible, however, that the reason people listen to us on the weekend is that we're not talking about work?

Then, too, suppose you are breezy, confident, etc. Forgive me, but just having that personality style doesn't make you competent. The authors urge people to apologize when they fall short. Richard Clarke famously did, the authors note ("Your government failed you...and I failed you"), and so did Warren Buffett ("I was dead wrong"). We love these guys for such candor. But do we really want to hear heartfelt apologies from our boss, our colleagues, our assistants, our consultants, the IT department, the receptionist, the cleaning staff and the man who delivers lunch? Not me. I want them to have nothing much to apologize for because they do their jobs right.

Ultimately, "Why Business People Speak Like Idiots" has it backward. In my experience, the commonest problem with business language is that it tells you more about the speaker (or writer) than that person intended to share. People don't necessarily think things through or feel unconflicted enthusiasm for what they're working on. Not everyone has a personality with broad appeal. Not everyone knows what he's doing. A speaker's failure to convey his true essence is rarely the problem. More often the problem is the speaker's essence itself or else an uneasy relationship between that essence and the business at hand.

The problem with the "guff" at the start of this review, for instance, is that it's glib, fluffy and even dopey, no? ("To help address these issues, our security professionals deliver services to address the various elements of security...." Aw, c'mon!) As it happens, the example comes from the Web site of Deloitte Consulting, where two of the three authors still work.

Continued in article


March 2, 2005 message from Barbara Scofield [scofield@GSM.UDALLAS.EDU

I am in the midst of changing my teaching materials for Intermediate Accounting for share-based compensation for the new rules of SFAS 123R, and I need feedback on what FASB means by valuing stock appreciation rights at fair value. I don't see that the standard ever actually says that SARs have the same fair value as equivalent stock options (although I may have missed comments confirming or disconfirming this in the 250+ pages), but that is my conclusion at this time.

I'm having students download free options value calculators for this unit and have linked to http://www.trader-soft.com/download.html . Any evaluation of this calculator or suggestions for another source?

March 2, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Barbara,

Valuation of SARs --- http://www.nceo.org/library/phantom_stock.html

So from the time the grant is made until the award is paid out, the company records the value of the percentage of the promised shares or increase in the value of the shares, pro-rated over the term of the award. In each year, the value is adjusted to reflect the additional pro-rata share of the award the employee has earned, plus or minus any adjustments to value arising from the rise of fall in share price. Unlike accounting for variable award stock options, where a charge is amortized only over a vesting period, with phantom stock and SARs, the charge builds up during the vesting period, then after vesting all additional stock price increases are taken as they occur. when the vesting is triggered by a performance event, such as a profit target. In this case, the company must estimate the expected amount earned based on progress towards the target. The accounting treatment is more complicated if the vesting occurs gradually. Now each tranche of vested awards is treated as a separate award. Appreciation is allocated to each award pro-rata to time over which it is earned.

 

*********************

Option Value Calculator Dangers

You probably can use an options value calculator in your course. However, keep in mind the following (with respect to the Black-Scholes model) that appears at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm

But then the BS model doesn't work too well anyway since employees tend to value uncapped options much lower than BS model estimates (mostly out of fear that their options will tank). They will accordingly reduce their estimates of value even lower if the options have caps. I leave it up to you to explain to students why options with seven year expiration dates have lower value than traditional ten year dates, which in turn will result in higher corporate earnings per share if seven year expirations are used. Hint: It all has to do with that time value component of option value.

"Stock-Option Plans Get Revised to Meet New Rule," by Linlling Wei, The Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2004, Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110435344663812226,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

Companies are giving their stock-option plans makeovers.

In preparation for an accounting mandate that they treat employee stock options as an expense, companies are slashing option grants, replacing garden-variety options with various forms of stock compensation or tweaking the features of standard options.

"Most companies are looking at 'what are the alternatives?' " said Judy Thorp, national partner in charge of the compensation and benefits practice at KPMG.

One move under consideration, pay specialists say, is to cap the potential gain an employee or an executive can get from cashing in options. Tech Data Corp., for instance, already has won shareholder approval to issue such "maximum-value" stock options. Applera Corp. recently asked shareholders to vote on a similar proposal. Officials at both companies weren't available for comment.

A cap can make options less costly to companies than traditional options. It also "eliminates a concern of some investors that the open-ended nature of a traditional option could result in windfall gains for employees or executives," said Carl Weinberg, a compensation expert in the human-resources practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Stock options give recipients the right to buy their companies' shares at a fixed price within a certain period. They pay off only if the stock price rises, unlike stock grants that companies have long had to count as expenses. Employees, compensation experts say, tend to exercise their options well before the rights expire, which typically occurs 10 years after the grant date.

Stock options grew in popularity during the 1990s. About 14 million American workers -- or 13% of the work force in the private sector -- hold options, according to professors at Rutgers University and Harvard University.

Under the new Financial Accounting Standards Board rule, companies will have to deduct the value of stock options from profits, beginning in mid-2005. The options are valued when they are issued, and companies spread the cost out over the vesting period. Technology companies -- heavy issuers of options -- could continue to lobby Congress to derail the rule, but analysts see little chance of congressional intervention.

Some companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and insurer Progressive Corp., have stopped granting stock options altogether. Instead, they make grants of restricted stock, or shares that recipients can't sell for a set period. Because they provide a more certain payoff, companies usually can dole out fewer such shares. It is also easier for companies to value these shares.

Other companies, like SBC Communications Inc., are turning to stock grants that are paid out only when specific financial or operational targets are met. Shareholders favor such "performance shares" as a way to align compensation more closely with investors' interests. Microsoft Corp. has decided to give its top 600 managers shares tied to the company's performance.

Shareholders of Intel Corp., meanwhile, have approved a new option plan that, among other changes, requires employees to exercise options in seven years instead of 10. At aluminum company Alcoa Inc., new stock options will have a six-year lifespan instead of 10 years. Options with shorter lives have a lower value.

Bob Jensen


Part of a message received from a friend on March 1, 2005

Dear XXXXX

Thank you for your email, and for your consideration of our request to support PAA. The alumni association does receive a percentage of the total amount of charges submitted by our alumni who use the card. We are precluded by contractual arrangements from disclosing the percentages or amount but I can tell you that this is a significant revenue source for the alumni association.

The revenue from this program is used in a variety of ways to support the programs and services offered to our alumni and members. These funds help support our outreach efforts such as alumni clubs, student recruitment events, Purdue on the Road events. In addition these funds help support the Faculty Incentive Grant program to assist in faculty development, Diversity Grants to support diverse programming efforts and Legacy events that highlight Purdue students whose parents are graduates of Purdue as well.

In addition to the financial support is another way to market Purdue throughout the world. Every time someone pulls the card out of their wallet they are marketing Purdue for us.

I am more than happy to answer any further questions you might have and thank you for your email. It is very important for our alumni to be informed about our programs and I appreciate your thoughtful questions.

Best wishes,

Todd

YYYYY
Purdue University

Jensen Comment
One of my friends forwarded the above message.  It reflects what is commonplace now among alumni associations of colleges.  These associations promote a particular credit card company and receive revenue for this service on purchases of alumni and students.  I suspect it is not unethical as long as alumni and students are aware of all facts in the situation.  The letter above does not mention that alumni associations generally forward more than names and addresses to credit card companies and possibly other vendors.  I have some concerns when they forward social security numbers without express written consent for alumni.  I also have concerns when alumni are not aware of how or who is receiving confidential information from alumni associations.

I have written previously about this general practice at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO 
I think the credit card companies want the social security numbers of all alumni and students so that FICO ratings can be investigated before inviting an alumnus or student to apply for a University of ZZZZZ  credit card.


Invasive Plant Atlas of New England http://invasives.eeb.uconn.edu/ipane/ 


March 16, 2005 message from Barry Rice [BRice@LOYOLA.EDU

I received this from a former student and would appreciate suggestions for answering him.

Thanks, 

Barry Rice 
AECM List Owner 

Hi Professor Rice... 
I took an accounting class of yours several years ago to get into the MSF program at Loyola. I work on the fixed income side of wealth management here at Mercantile. I have always struggled with accounting and one of my new duties is to track cash flows and market values for some accounts. Is there a mutual fund accounting text book (or something similar) that might be able to help me? The more specific to fixed income the better. Any assistance you could give me would be great. Thanks for your help...

March 16, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Barry,

I don't know of any textbook that does a good job on mutual fund accounting.

This is a tough topic because it is so hard to get at some of the elements needed for accounting. For example expense ratios are easy to obtain but brokerage fees sometimes buried and hard to find. I recommend starting with the SEC's mutual fund cost calculator --- http://www.sec.gov/investor/tools/mfcc/mfcc-int.htm 

It is important to understand how mutual funds work. A pretty good overview is at http://biz.yahoo.com/funds/basics.html 

For the broader picture, go to http://dir.yahoo.com/business_and_economy/finance_and_investment/mutual_funds/ 

One of the best known software packages is Captool Professional Investor (free demo available) --- http://www.wallstreetsoftware.com/newindex.html 

Tax accounting overview --- http://registeredrep.com/mag/finance_tax_crazy/ 

A summary of various software systems is available at http://www.finance-links.net/s_mutual-fund-accounting-software.html 

Although this is not an accounting article per se, there is quite a lot of useful information related to basic accounting of mutual fund investments at http://www.worldbank.org/html/dec/Publications/Workpapers/wps2000series/wps2099/wps2099.pdf  
The snipped link is http://snipurl.com/WorldBankMF 

Trust accounting DVD --- http://www.picturecompany.com/Trusts/tableContents.htm 

Bill Cogdell's tidbits of investing advice --- http://www.midland.edu/cogdell/setb.html 


"Accounting Firms Hiring Thousands of '05 Grads," SmartPros, February 23, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x47148.xml 

Feb. 23, 2005 (SmartPros) — The job market for 2005 college graduates is predicted to be the best since 2000, according to Michigan State University's annual Recruiting Trends survey. The top employers include several accounting and consulting firms.

The survey respondents are ranked according to the projected number of hires from college recruiting for the Class of 2005. The top 20 employers, followed by their projected number of hires, are:

1 - Enterprise Rent-A-Car--7,000 
2 - PricewaterhouseCoopers--3,170
3 - Ernst & Young LLP--2,900 
4 - Lockheed Martin--2,863 
5 - KPMG--2,240 
6 - Sodexho, Inc.--2,050 
7 - Fairfax County Public Schools--1,600 
8 - Accenture--1,540 
9 - Northrop Grumman--1,266 
10 - United States Customs & Border Protection--1,200 
11 - Target--1,127 
12 - United States Air Force--1,095 
13 - Raytheon Company--1,000 
14 - Microsoft--970 
15 - JPMorgan Chase--810 
16 - Procter & Gamble--569 
17 - Liberty Mutual--545 
18 - Grant Thornton--500 
19 - Bank of America--413 
20 - United States Air Force Personnel Center/DPKR--400

According to the survey, economic sectors showing strength this year include: retail, wholesale, transportation (not including airlines), health services, entertainment and real estate.

February 28, 2005 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

Bob,

One can describe the reason for Accenture's needs for accountants in ONE word: outsourcing.

The following is from www.accenture.com  webpage:

Outsourcing

Application Outsourcing 


Business Process Outsourcing Accenture Finance Solutions-Accenture HR Services-Accenture

 Learning-Accenture Procurement Solutions-Accenture Business Services for Utilities-Accenture eDemocracy Services-Navitaire-Accenture Insurance Services 


Infrastructure Outsourcing

Jagdish S. Gangolly, 
Associate Professor 
School of Business & NY State Center for Information Forensics & Assurance 
State University of New York at Albany BA 365C, 
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222 
email:
j.gangolly@albany.edu 

March 1, 2005 messages from Bob Jensen and Chuck Johnson

I hope Professor Johnson doesn’t mind if I share this with you. I suspect this is partly conjecture on his part, but it is somewhat more than conjecture. His reasoning makes sense to me. Apparently Enterprise has a different business model than other car rental firms.

There may be some fast food chains with similar models.

Note that he also points out a possible error in defining what is an “accounting graduate.” This also makes sense to me, although Enterprise may have requirements for more accounting courses than the average business graduate. I might add that this could be the case for some of the other non-accounting firms in the list of the Top 20.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Kenneth Johnson [mailto:kjohnson@GeorgiaSouthern.edu]  
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 10:25 AM 
To: Jensen, Robert 
Subject: Re: Accounting Firms Hiring Thousands

Bob,

FYI, EnterpriesRent-a-Car's hiring of so many college graduates is driven by the firm's basic business model. Enterprise has thousands of small offices. When business volume at a particular location reaches a certain point a new office is created a few miles away. The way I understand it, each new hire does everything, from: taking reservations, serving customers, picking up and dropping off customers, and even washing cars. Their favorite hire is a graduate of modest academic achievement but with lots of extracurricular activities and good people skills. I learned all of this from a strategic management textbook I taught out of a few years ago; Enterprise was a side-bar mini-case.

BTW, the way I read it, the 7,000 figure cited in the 2000 Michigan State University's annual Recruiting Trends survey was total college graduates, not just accountants.

Thanks for the constant stream of interesting stuff.

Chuck Johnson

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers  




Quotations of the Week
Archives of Tidits:  Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm


Yet another hit on women
Why so few women chess masters? America's top female player ponders the question.
But Ms. Polgar is not someone who sees the two sexes as the same. "I think women are built differently and approach life very differently," she told me. And in a 2002 column for ChessCafe.com, she took on what might now be called the Lawrence Summers question. "If we talk about pure abilities and skills, I believe there should be no reason why women cannot play as well as men," Ms. Polgar wrote, but she went on to list various reasons that more female players have not reached chess's highest ranks -- among them their biological clocks, narrower opportunities to compete, cultural and gender bias, and the fact that "for years, women have set much lower standards" for themselves in chess than men. "If you do not put in the same work, you can't compete at the same level," she said then
Barbara D. Phillips, "Envoy From the Sport of Kings And Queens, Bishops, Knights," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005; Page D9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110964485701166720,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Gasp!  When those pharaoh ants come marching in
Researchers say if you see ants in the house, then they should be taken into consideration if anyone has breathing problems.  Many insects (including cockroaches) have been reported to contribute to respiratory problems. Now, the pharaoh ant joins the ranks of suspect insects.  The tiny, yellow pharaoh ant came from the tropics but can now be found just about everywhere, having been carried throughout the inhabited world, say the researchers. The ants live indoors for warmth.  "Pharaoh ants nest in secluded spots and favor temperatures between 80-86 degrees Fahrenheit," according to the University of Nebraska web site.  "These ants are frequent house invaders, often found around kitchen and bathroom faucets where they obtain water."  Researchers Cheol-Woo Kim, MD, PhD, and colleagues found that pharaoh ants were responsible for asthma in two middle-aged women . . . 
Miranda Hitti, "Ants Can Cause Asthma, Allergies," WebMDHealth, February 25, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/article/101/106095.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_tn_01 
Jensen Comment:  We owned a home in San Antonio for 20 years.  Every winter something triggered the march of the Pharaoh ants.  It only happened for a few days each winter, but they were almost microscopic and became so thick that they almost looked like running water on counters and sinks.  Ant traps in kitchen and bathroom electrical outlets helped somewhat, but I think it was mostly a matter of the ants marching to their own tunes that turned them on and off.. My wife was a vigorous Pharaoh fighter.  Fortunately, none of us noticed any breathing difficulties arising from the march of the Pharaohs.  


Audio interviews with familiar news anchors are online (who competed for an amazing 21 years)
Also highlights some funny bloopers.  And then there's Rev. Sharpton alleging that the Nation of Islam in the U.S. has nothing to do with Islam.

This week in the magazine, Ken Auletta profiles Dan Rather on the eve of his departure from the “CBS Evening News.” On October 2, 2004, Auletta moderated a panel discussion with Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings, in the Celeste Bartos Forum of the New York Public Library, as part of the sixth annual New Yorker Festival. Here, in three parts, is a recording of that conversation. 
"The Three Anchors," The New Yorker, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.newyorker.com/online/covers/index.ssf?050307onco_covers_gallery 

Listen to part one of the conversation.

Listen to part two of the conversation.

Listen to part three of the conversation.


This statistic surprised me:  Fear of the outside versus reality of the inside
Suicides outnumber homicides in the United States, and some 90 percent of people who kill themselves suffer from a diagnosable and preventable problem such as depression, a top mental health official said Monday.  Charles Curie, who heads the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said suicides in the United States run at about 80 a day or more than 29,000 a year, three for each two homicides.
"Suicides Outnumber Homicides," CBS News, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/01/health/main677132.shtml 


Say what?  "If you construct a career raging against the system, you can’t stop raging just because the system has accepted you."
“To live outside the law, you must be honest.” Thompson, like a lot of people in the sixties and seventies, interpreted Dylan’s famous apothegm to mean that in order to be honest you must live outside the law. By the time the fallacy in this reading became obvious, his persona, thanks in part to the Uncle Duke figure in Garry Trudeau’s comic strip, but largely because of his own efforts, was engraved in pop-culture stone. It’s an occupational hazard: if you construct a career raging against the system, you can’t stop raging just because the system has accepted you, or has ceased to care or to pay attention. The anger needs someplace to go. At its best, in the Nixon era, Thompson’s anger, in writing, was a beautiful thing, fearless and funny and, after all, not wrong about the shabbiness and hypocrisy of American officialdom. It belonged to a time when journalists believed that fearlessness and humor and honesty could make a difference; and it’s sad to be reminded that the time in which such a faith was possible has probably passed.
Louis Menand, "Believer," The New Yorker, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/index.ssf?050307ta_talk_menand 


Now it's almost certain there'll be a remake of the movie about the Hole in the Wall Gang 
(remember Butch and Sundance and their Hole in the Wall Gang )

Two Turkish prison inmates who drilled a nine centimetre (3.6 inch) aperture between their cells, enabling them to have sexual relations in prison that produced a child, received four-month sentences for damaging public property.
Weird News, February 28, 2005 --- http://weird-news.news.designerz.com/ 
Jensen Comment:  These two murderers were convicted of planting a bomb in a public market.  Prison guards should've been  more suspicious of how Kadriye Fikret Oget could her hat on her cell's cement wall.


From MIT:  Technology Review Index
Technology Review, of course, is all about the future, and the companies and people involved in the innovation that will get us there. It is in that spirit that we introduce the Technology Review Index, which includes the TR Large-Cap 100 and its sibling, the TR Small-Cap 50. Developed in conjunction with Standard and Poors, these global equity indices will serve as our own in-house gauge of the pulse of innovation at 150 of the worlds most important public companies.  Our two indices will track both the most powerful innovators and the up-and-comers in the 10 most innovative industries of the global economy. The performance of these indices will be updated daily on our online platform at www.technologyreview.com/TRIndex .
Duff McDonald, 'Introducing the Technology Review Index," MIT's Technology Review, March 2005 --- http://www2.technologyreview.com/articles/05/02/trindex/tri_mcdonald021105.asp 


There are no facts, but only interpretations.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 


Sarbanes Oxley Blues
What the business world now calls SOX is a law passed that forces auditing firms to provide better audits at a substantially increased cost to their clients.  We now have a new song that is not exactly a celebration of SOX.

From: Mike Kennelley [mailto:MKennell@jbu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 8:24 AM
To: escribne@nmsu.edu
Subject: Sarbanes-Oxley Blues

If you haven't heard this one, turn on those speakers and enjoy . . . 

http://www.headwatersmb.com/content/audio_02.html


Pull your SOX up boss (remember Marlon Brando in Teahouse of the August Moon)
More than 500 public companies have reported deficiencies with their internal accounting controls under a controversial new federal rule -- a figure sure to feed the continuing debate about the cost and usefulness of recent efforts to strengthen corporate governance.  To backers, the volume of disclosures demonstrates that the new rule, part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-accountability law, is pushing a lot of U.S. companies into line. But business groups complain that it's costing them a lot of money and effort to turn up deficiencies that in most cases are inconsequential.
Deborah Solomon, "Accounting Rule Exposes Problems But Draws Complaints About Costs," The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971840422767575,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 
Bob Jensen's threads on reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm 


UNC student badly beaten:  Hate crime
Police say an attack on a gay student who was beaten by a gang of six or seven men was a hate crime, but no witnesses have come forward to help investigators. The victim suffered broken bones but wasn't hospitalized, police said. His attackers, described as six or seven white males around the age of 20, have not been identified. The student was walking alone around 2 a.m. Friday near the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets when he was taunted by the group of ...
"Police: UNC student's beating a hate crime," News-Record, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.news-record.com/news/now/uncbeating_030105.htm 


Big Spenders Managing Our 50 States
The longer a Republican stays in office the more likely he will be a big spender.  The rankings cover all of a governor's time in office. George Pataki's B would drop to a C without his first term, when he slashed New York taxes. He has since increased spending so much that a huge tax increase passed over his veto. If Bill Owens were judged just by his recent attempts to alter Colorado's tax limitation law, he would not be considered A material. Florida's Jeb Bush, who earned an A two years ago, has slipped to a B after endorsing more bloated budgets. Finally, we'll note the bipartisan nature of Cato's F students: Republican Bob Taft of Ohio and Democrat Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania.
"Grading the Governors," The Wall Street Journal,  March 1, 2005; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110964266317966659,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
Jensen Comment:  This article ranks and grades all 50 governors.  Rick Perry from Texas comes in at Rank 12 with a B grade.  The two F grades are assigned to Ed Rendell (Pennsylvania) and Bob Taft (Ohio).  The Girlie Boy from La La Land heads the list with an A grade.


And this is where the "Big Spenders" get a lot of your money (but not in New Hampshire --- hip hip hooray)
The 2004 Sales Tax Rate Report released by Vertex Inc., shows the average sales tax rate in 2004 reached a record high of 8.587 percent, up from 8.5336 percent in 2003. This increase completes a four- year upward trend in the average sales tax rate that began in 1999 when the average rate was 8.231 percent. "Local jurisdictions continue to function with less federal and state funding and look to sales tax rate increases as one method to help fill the gap for local program financing," says Diana DiBello, Director of Tax at Vertex. "The high number of tax decreases are tied mainly to election year politics but were not enough to lower the overall effective tax rate."
"Average Combined Sales Tax Rate Reaches Record Level," AccountingWeb, February 24, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100573 


But those of us in New Hampshire aren't "tickled" by this report
A study conducted by Tickle Inc., an online career assessment testing company, has found workers in the Northeast fall far below other regions in many key areas of job satisfaction. Survey results show overall job happiness is strongly tied to a healthy work-life balance and strong company leadership. New England falls far below the national average in both categories, while the Midwest and South lead the country in both areas. Tickle's study also found that women maintain a healthier work-life balance than men and are therefore more satisfied in their jobs.
"Study Reveals Midwest and South Offer Best Work-Life Balance," AccountingWeb, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100562 
Jensen Comment


Hurricane winds recycling the snow:
Those in New Hampshire aren't especially "tickled" by the Mt. Washington weather review for March 1
(sure glad I'm teaching in Texas at the moment)

Snow came in later then expected, with the first flake falling just after one this morning. I didn't actually observe the first flake, for it brought many wind blown friends. Temperatures have been varying all night, ranging from two to twelve degrees. Winds from the East are driving snow through every crack of the building, though I think that is the only point of accumulation. At last observation, I didn't see any of this snow actually sitting on the observation deck, as hurricane force winds have escorted it off the summit, though I'm not worried. We'll reacquaint ourselves soon enough, once the winds shift back to our prevailing west to northwest direction, blowing the snow from one end of the mountain, back to the other.
March 1, 2005 summit report --- http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/index.php 


Entitlements Endings to the Western World
The U.K., like the rest of the developed world, has a pension-funding crisis. A pay-as-you-go system that was easy and cheap to finance when there were lots of workers and fewer retirees than now -- with shorter life expectancies -- is groaning under the strain as fewer workers support more retirees for longer.  Luckily for Britain, it has a couple of things going for it that its neighbors on the Continent can only wish for. The most important is extensive private, funded pension systems that still support many British workers in retirement. For these workers, contributions made to a defined-benefits pension system over the years have been invested on their behalf, and when they retire they will draw, in theory, a fixed sum based on their salary before retirement.  We say "in theory" because the British defined-benefit funds have come under considerable strain themselves of late. Post-bubble lethargy in the stock market is partly to blame, but a major culprit is one of Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown's stealth tax hikes since Labour took office in 1997. In his first budget in 1997, the chancellor eliminated a 20% tax credit that pension funds enjoyed on dividends paid to the funds.

"Wrong-Way Tories," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110962946093366264,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
Bob Jensen's unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


Days of AK-47s:  Are revolutions a permanent way of life in Africa?
It is a surprise when some states collapse. But the gradual unwinding of Nigeria is happening in a very public manner. The collapse of this giant -- the continent's most populous state, whose 137 million citizens account for approximately 20% of all people south of the Sahara -- may soon be the most pressing issue in Africa.  President Olusegun Obasanjo was first elected in 1999 as Nigeria transitioned to multiparty democracy after the disastrous five-year rule of Gen. Sani Abacha. He won another term in 2003 in elections that had numerous irregularities and remain a source of bitterness. Mr. Obasanjo has also had to confront Nigeria's disastrous economic decline and its extraordinary corruption. Although he retains a good reputation in the West -- in part due to U.S. and European fears that highlighting Nigeria's many problems will only undermine a leader with good intentions -- he has often been indecisive in the face of threats to the very fabric of the country.
Jeffrey Herbst, "The Ticking Time Bomb That's Nigeria," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963165703166333,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


How to keep people poor for a longer period of time
The annual budget speech in India has typically been more than an accounting statement. It is seen as the government's all-encompassing reform program for the year. Ideally then, this year's budget speech should have stressed the need to reduce the inordinately large role of government in the country's economic sphere. It could have included measures such as liberalizing limits on foreign direct investment, increasing the pace of privatization and deregulating the labor market.  However, given India's political climate, there was never much prospect of such a free-market agenda. The Congress-led coalition government is reliant on communist parties to remain in power. And last year's surprise national election results have, for some strange reason, weakened the faith of India's political class in good economics.
Ruchir Sharma, "Keeping Out Bad Ideas in India," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963215352066349,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Remember that you heard this first from the LA Daily News on February 27, 2005
Marriage Is About More Than Sexuality
Los Angeles Daily News, Feb. 27


Oestrogen and progesterone:  Small sample, big result
Looking at 62 women - half taking the combined pill, oestrogen and progesterone - researchers found that those on the pill had twice the incidence of depressive symptoms as those not taking it. None of the women had a history of depression.  Levels of depression were assessed by each woman and an interviewer at two-month intervals. The women on the pill had a depression rating of 17.6, compared with 9.8 in the others.  "To our surprise, on re-interview we found that women who were on the pill had higher levels of depression than women who were not on the pill, and it was significantly higher," said the director of The Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Jayashri Kulkarni. She said a larger study would investigate the effects of the type of pill, duration of use and dosage levels.
Amanda Dunn, "Depression emerges as the pill's downside," Sydney Morning Herald, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/02/28/1109546799438.html 


Why Business People Speak Like Idiots
Here's the kind of guff that we've all had about enough of (and if you've already had more than enough, feel free to skip ahead): "Technological innovation, globalization, complex regulation and increased accountability at the senior management and board level have all combined to significantly change the landscape of risk management today. To help address these issues, our security professionals deliver services to address the various elements of security and trust associated with communicating, transacting and accessing in this environment."

Why Business People Speak Like Idiots (Free Press, 175 pages, $22) aims to put prose like that -- especially the spoken version of it -- out of its misery. Good idea.
Barbara Wallraff, "Assessing the Parameters Of Issue-Driven Discourse," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005, Page D9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110964096311766617,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Newt Gingrich (a professor turned politician)  thinks it's time to get rid of tenure
I'm  glad he didn't have tenure while in Congress?

According to a report on The National Review's Web site, Gingrich on Friday said that the Ward Churchill controversy shows that "you don't need tenure in this country anyway." Gingrich said that there are "75 whacked-out foundations that would hire him for life." More broadly, Gingrich reportedly told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute: "We ought to say to campuses, it's over. We should say to state legislatures, why are you making us pay for this? Boards of regents are artificial constructs of state law. Tenure is an artificial social construct. Tenure did not exist before the 20th century, and we had free speech before then. You could introduce a bill that says, proof that you're anti-American is grounds for dismissal." There are lots of arguments about tenure, of course, and plenty of critics of the tenure system are not seeking to squelch controversial ideas. Some younger scholars see tenure protecting professorial deadwood in jobs they covet. Princeton's president, Shirley Tilghman, once published an article (which she disavowed after getting her current job) suggesting that the tenure system hurt female academics because of the overlap in scholars' lives between the period for winning tenure and having children. But Gingrich's statement that free speech existed prior to tenure is worth examining.
Scott Jaschik, "Ward & Newt & Tenure," Inside Higer Ed, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/ward_newt_tenure 

And if you want to learn more about the future (in his dreams) President of the United States, the place to begin is as follows:
Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract for America, by Newt Gingrich (Regnery Publishing, 320 pp., $27.95)


Student selection and pricing structure of higher education
One confusing thing about the higher education industry is the conflict between social goals and economic choices. The trend toward universal access to higher education has led to the notion that everyone should be able to find a route into higher education that matches interest, preference, ability and economic circumstance. This in turn has focused attention on the student selection and pricing structure of higher education, a topic of infinite interest, controversy, and confusion.

John V. Lombardi, "Reality Check Who Gets In, What It Costs," Inside Higher Ed, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/reality_check__2 


Might be better to let the bag sag
Already wondering about how to fit into that bathing suit? Thinking about an extreme diet? Think again.
Barry Wolcott, MD, "Extreme Weight Loss," WebMDHealth --- http://my.webmd.com/content/article/89/100184.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_td_01 

There is also a bipolar disorder questionnaire at http://my.webmd.com/webmd_today/home/default 


BrainGate
Nagle, 25, is the first patient in a controversial clinical trial that seeks to prove brain-computer interfaces can return function to people paralyzed by injury or disease. His BCI is the most sophisticated ever tested on a human being, the culmination of two decades of research in neural recording and decoding. A Foxborough, Massachusetts-based company called Cyberkinetics built the system, named BrainGate.
Richard Martin, "Mind Control," Wired Magazine, March 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/brain.html?tw=wn_tophead_5 


Primary care versus specialty care
Quad/Graphics has organized health care by using primary-care physicians for navigating and negotiating both illness and the health-care system for their employees ("Radical Surgery: One Cure for High Health Costs," WSJ, page one, Feb. 11). This contrasts to our present dominant health-care system driven by a physician-payment system that uses Current Procedural Terminology codes for episodic encounters.  Paying for episodic encounters makes sense for specialty care but not for continuity of care where intimate knowledge of patients is the primary goal as an essential of care. Our health-care system needs a physician-payment system that integrates both functions. The results as reported strongly suggest that Quad/Graphics has put in place a workable and prototypic model. If this holds true, the task becomes how to generalize this to others: the young, the old, the unemployed, the uninsured and the underinsured.
John C. Peirce, M.D., M.A., M.S., "Physicians Who Negotiate Illness and Health System," The Wall Street Journal,  February 28, 2005; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110955954467465621,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 
Jensen Comment:  You can read about Current Procedural Terminology at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/3113.html 


AIDS antiviral therapies
As a group, AIDS antiviral therapies have extended lives of individual patients by as much as 15 years, for a collective two million years of life saved in the U.S. since such drugs came into use in the late 1980s, said Rochelle Walensky of Harvard Medical School. She said her study with co-workers at Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yale, Cornell and Boston University represents "an underestimate" of the drugs' benefit.  Despite more than 20 drugs on the market and many more in the pipeline, far too few patients are now able to access needed treatment, U.S. health statisticians said Friday.
Marilyn Chase, "AIDS Scientists Cite Modest Gains," The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2005, Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110955131006765463,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 

Also see "New Therapies Boost AIDS Arsenal," Wired News, February 26, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,66731,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6 


Having an 800 pound gorilla living next door can be unsettling
That Southeast Asians -- above all the Vietnamese and the Indonesians -- would regard China's rise with a weary eye is to be expected. Vietnam has historically feared domination by its former overseer. Indonesia has always suspected that China would use the large and successful ethnic Chinese community as a fifth column. Singapore is leery, too.  But in the past few months China has managed to alienate its Northeastern neighbors as well. Even South Korea -- where the fascination with things Chinese was growing apace with economic dependency -- has been put off by a series of mishandled events. Chinese security goons raided and broke up a press conference in Beijing by a group of South Korean parliamentarians last month. Later, brushing aside a plea from Seoul, China sent back to North Korea a poor, 72-year-old South Korean POW from the 1950-53 war who had managed to escape after decades in the gulag.  And, of course, China's claim that a chunk of North Korea is historically Chinese has not gone down well at all. Some South Korean intellectuals are beginning to ponder how salutary China's rise is for the long-term health of the Korean nation.
Michael gonzalez, "Fear and Loathing in East Asia," The Wall Street Journal,  February 28, 2005; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110954572850965312,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 


Praise the Lord
Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who heads a body overseeing international accounting-standards setters, rejected calls by the European Union for a greater say in how these rules are crafted.  Speaking in Brussels before a group that advises the European Commission on accounting issues, Mr. Volcker said representation on the International Accounting Standards Board, the body that crafts the rules, shouldn't be based on "national, political or sectoral interests."
David Reilly, "Volcker Rejects EU Plan for IASB," The Wall Street Journal, Page February 28, Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110954949853865424,00.html?mod=home%5Fwhats%5Fnews%5Fus 


The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.
Anatole France

Think Bloomingdales:  A victory for New York City
Bowing to intense pressure from neighborhood and labor groups, a real estate developer has just given up plans to include a Wal-Mart store in a mall in Queens, thereby blocking Wal-Mart's plan to open its first store in New York City. In the eyes of Wal-Mart's detractors, the Arkansas-based chain embodies the worst kind of economic exploitation: it pays its 1.2 million American workers an average of only $9.68 an hour, doesn't provide most of them with health insurance, keeps out unions, has a checkered history on labor law and turns main streets into ghost towns by sucking business away...
Robert B. Reich, "Don't Blame Wal-Mart," The New York Times, February 28, 2005
Jensen Comment:  Vermont has also banned Wal-Mart, which is one of the reasons why the roadways are clogged with stuffed green-license-plate cars and trucks returning home from New Hampshire.  Why don't Vermonters stay home and shop in their own villages' stores?


What happened to "stretch suits" now that I need them?
The man of the house is spending more money on his wardrobe. This spring, men will be able to pick from broadened selections of red, black and brown candy-striped shirts, and many stores will offer the new stretch suits.
Flashback, The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 1963
Jensen comment:  No mention is made that beads and sandals were also popular in 1963


A bit of history:  Who were our allies in the WW II era?
France was not an ally, for the Vichy government of France aligned with its German occupiers. Germany was not an ally, for it was an enemy, and Hitler intended to set up a Thousand Year Reich in Europe. Japan was not an ally, for it was intent on owning and controlling all of Asia. Japan and Germany had long-term ideas of invading Canada and Mexico, and then the United States over the north and south borders, after they had settled control of Asia and Europe.  America's allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and Russia, and that was about it. There were no other countries of any size or military significance with the will and ability to contribute much of anything to the effort to defeat Hitler's Germany and Japan, and prevent the global dominance of Nazism. And we had to send millions of tons of arms, munitions, and war supplies to Russia, England, and the Canadians, Aussies, Irish, and Scots, because none of them could produce all they needed for themselves.
Forwarded by Dick Haar, February 28, 2005
Jensen:  During the ensuing Cold War era and for the Gulf War, we had a few more allies, some of whom were former enemies.


And he awoke to a mess
I have this uncle, Rip Van Garver, who just woke up after sleeping for 30 years. Some people think he slept so long because he was exhausted from working so hard as a political activist during the '60s and early '70s. Personally, I just think he found a comfy pillow. Regardless, here's the transcript of our first conversation: Me: Uncle Rip, how are you feeling? Rip: I'm okay. But I really need to brush my teeth. What year is it? Me: 2005. Rip: Wow. I've got a library book I better return pronto. So, nobody blew up the world. I...
Lloyd Garver, "Caught Napping? Jewish World Review, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0205/garver1.asp 


This does not mean that eating it will make you live longer
Ancient Chinese craftsmen used a secret ingredient to keep their structures standing through the centuries: sticky rice.  The legend that rice porridge was used in mortar to make robust ramparts is believed to have been verified by archaeological research in the north-western province of Shaanxi, the state news agency Xinhua reported.  During maintenance work on the city wall of the provincial capital, Xi'an, workers found plaster remnants on ancient bricks were hard to remove.  A chemical test showed the mortar reacted the same as glutinous rice.
"Stick around," Sydney Morning Herald, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/02/28/1109546800854.html 


"Morally Bankrupt," The New Republic, February 25, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/TNRbankruptcy 

We are beginning to wonder if the debate over Social Security privatization is a mere GOP diversionary tactic: Get Democrats to commit all their resources to a knockdown drag-out over retirement benefits, then quickly ram through a host of items off the business lobby's wish list. Exhibit A is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act--the latest name for a bill that Congress has been rejecting since the late '90s--which the Judiciary Committee approved last week and looks set for passage in the coming weeks.

Bankruptcy laws are supposed to balance the interests of creditors with debtors as well as balance society's interest in encouraging people to take risks (such as taking out a loan to start a business) with its interest in ensuring that the risks they take are not foolish ones (such as borrowing money to play the ponies). U.S. bankruptcy laws have generally done a good job of striking this balance and have thus contributed to an economy that is among the most entrepreneurial in the world. What's more, they have codified a progressive and long-standing American value: the belief in second chances.

By these measures, the bankruptcy bill is a catastrophe. Under the current system, bankruptcy courts have broad discretion to decide who can file for Chapter 7, which allows debtors to erase their obligations after forfeiting a state-determined percentage of their remaining assets, and Chapter 13, which requires strict repayment according to court-ordered schedules. Judges base their decisions as much on why the debt was accrued as on income; this way people who come into debt through no fault of their own can get a fresh start, while a judge can decide that a careless gambler must pay what he owes. But the new bill would replace judicial discretion with a means test on household income--those above a certain level would be forced to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy--dismantling the system's ability to discriminate among worthy and unworthy debtors.

Continued in the article


Loss of a Great Economist to a Fire
The world lost a great economist last week, when David F. Bradford succumbed to injuries suffered in a fire. David was the father of modern consumption tax philosophy, and the most important contributor of the last few decades to serious thinking about fundamental tax reform.  When people think of replacing the income tax with a consumption tax that can achieve whatever level of progressivity one prefers, they think of two main models. The first, sometimes called a consumed income tax, structurally resembles our present system for taxing individuals, except that people get unlimited savings accounts, like IRAs, contributions to which may be deducted while withdrawals are taxed. During his time at the Treasury Department in the 1970s, David developed what is still by far the best prototype for such a system: the so-called "Blueprints" cash flow tax that he discussed in detail in his landmark study, "Blueprints for Tax Reform."  The other main prototype, involving a business-level as well as an individual-level tax, has as its best-known exemplar the Hall-Rabushka flat tax (after the economists Robert Hall and Alvin Rabushka), which I believe David helped inspire. He then used the flat tax as a starting point for developing what he called the "X-tax," a better-designed version that could be more progressive than the flat tax, if desired, and that did a better job of handling problems such as transition from the existing income tax and rate changes between taxable years.
Daniel Shaviro, "David Bradford," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005, Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110964406044966694,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Part of a message received from a friend on March 1, 2005
This is a letter that friend received from a top administrator at Purdue University.  I assume PAA stands for the Purdue Alumni Association.

Dear XXXXX,

Thank you for your email, and for your consideration of our request to support PAA. The alumni association does receive a percentage of the total amount of charges submitted by our alumni who use the card. We are precluded by contractual arrangements from disclosing the percentages or amount but I can tell you that this is a significant revenue source for the alumni association.

The revenue from this program is used in a variety of ways to support the programs and services offered to our alumni and members. These funds help support our outreach efforts such as alumni clubs, student recruitment events, Purdue on the Road events. In addition these funds help support the Faculty Incentive Grant program to assist in faculty development, Diversity Grants to support diverse programming efforts and Legacy events that highlight Purdue students whose parents are graduates of Purdue as well.

In addition to the financial support is another way to market Purdue throughout the world. Every time someone pulls the card out of their wallet they are marketing Purdue for us.

I am more than happy to answer any further questions you might have and thank you for your email. It is very important for our alumni to be informed about our programs and I appreciate your thoughtful questions.

Best wishes,

YYYYY
Purdue University
 

Jensen Comment
One of my friends forwarded the above message.  It reflects what is commonplace now among alumni associations of colleges.  These associations promote a particular credit card company and receive revenue for this service on purchases of alumni and students.  I suspect it is not unethical as long as alumni and students are aware of all facts in the situation.  The letter above does not mention that alumni associations generally forward more than names and addresses to credit card companies and possibly other vendors.  I have some concerns when they forward social security numbers without express written consent for alumni.  I also have concerns when alumni are not aware of how or who is receiving confidential information from alumni associations.

I have written previously about this general practice at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO 
I think the credit card companies want the home addresses and social security numbers of all alumni and students so that FICO ratings can be investigated before inviting an alumnus or student to apply for a University of ZZZZZ  credit card.


An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
Benjamin Franklin as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-03-03-05.htm 


Barry Cushing passed away on March 1, 2004.
It is a great sadness to me, because Barry was once one of my doctoral students. I am grateful for our last evening together in Orlando last August. Barry led an exemplary life as an accounting educator/researcher and as a human being. This is a great loss.
His Web page is at http://home.business.utah.edu/~actbec/ 


I love it and use it all the time.  If some module has it wrong, users can easily fix it up themselves.
Jimmy Wales wanted to build a free encyclopedia on the internet. So he raised an army of amateurs and created the self-organizing, self-repairing, hyper-addictive library of the future called Wikipedia --- http://www.wikipedia.org/ 
Daniel H. Pink, "The Book Stops Here," Wired Magazine, March 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/wiki.html?tw=wn_tophead_4 
Jensen Comment:  When I tried adding my own modules., Jimmy wrote back (seriously) that he liked the material didn't have enough hard drive to put up my long modules.  He thought I was just too verbose.  Can you believe that?  (Don't answer, please.)
Now I'm even more grateful for the generosity of Information Technology Services (ITS) at Trinity University and my good friends with big servers in the Computer Science Department.  Please get well and hurry back Gerald Pitts.
(I operate out of more than one server here at Trinity.  And please, no jokes about hogs from Iowa.)


No, surely not in my case
In the early '90s, psychiatrists and clinicians were beginning to hear of a new medical term, "internet addiction." At first, this was met with a lot of skepticism and denial, however, it became evident that the more people logged on to cyberspace, the more they got hooked.  The 10 Symptoms You Need To Watch Out For:
AskMen.com --- http://www.askmen.com/fashion/body_and_mind/16_better_living.html  

This report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, authored by Lee Rainie and John Horrigan, takes a critical look at how the Web has mainstreamed into our lives, which is certainly the case in my life.
Internet: The Mainstreaming of Online Life ---  http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/Internet_Status_2005.pdf


Beware of your tax preparer:  Just say no to loans based upon anticipated tax refunds
A refund-anticipation loan is a bank loan, short-term borrowing based on the amount you expect from your federal tax refund. It is also a popular marketing tool for the big tax-preparation companies, appealing especially to people living from paycheck to paycheck.  In some limited circumstances, refund-anticipation loans can be beneficial. But for most people, "they're completely unnecessary, an extremely expensive drain on expected refund money," said Jean Ann Fox, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America.  "It's money out of the pockets of the working poor," Fox said.  The federation and the National Consumer Law Center have been leading the campaign against refund-anticipation loans for several years, with some success. Fees have dropped and disclosures have improved.  But that doesn't change the fact that these so-called instant refunds, with interest rates to make usurers blush, are an expensive way to get use of your own money for a few extra days.
Kevin G. Demarrais, "Quick cash back comes at a cost:   Have a bit of patience, and enjoy your whole tax refund," Houston Chronicle, February 27, 2005 --- http://www.chron.com/CDA/umstory.mpl/business/3058554 
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm 


Just another settlement day at Merrill Lynch
Bucking a spate of previous rulings favorable to the securities industry, arbitrators ordered Merrill Lynch & Co. to pay a Florida couple more than $1 million for failing to disclose that its analysts had conflicts of interest in recommending stocks.

Jed Horowitz, "Merrill Ordered to Pay 2 Clients Over Analyst Conflicts on Stocks," The Wall Street Journal,  March 1, 2005; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110962110354266151,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 
Jensen Comment:  Merrill Lynch has one of the worst fraud records on Wall Street.  Eliot Spitzer once claimed he had enough smoking guns to bring down Merrill Lynch if he chose to do so.  You can read more by searching for "Merrill" at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm 


FTC Annual Fraud Report
The FTC of the US has released its Annual Fraud Report, in which, among other things, it reports an increase in identity theft, amounting to losses of as much as $548 million in the US alone.
FTC: Identity theft, online scams rose in '04 - Computerworld
Gerald Trite's Business Blog, February 17, 2005 --- http://www.zorba.ca/blog.html 

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

FTC helpers if suspect someone else has become you --- http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/idtsummary.pdf 

FTC helpers in getting your credit report and FICO score --- http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/index.html 

FTC consumer warnings --- http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer.htm 


Does employee blogging activity pose a threat to enterprise security? According to Alyn Hockey, director of research at Clearswift, it does, and on two fronts.  "Blogging has definitely emerged as a potential security threat," Hockey says. "Especially when practiced by disgruntled or malicious employees. But simple carelessness is also a factor. They don't necessarily have to have bad intentions to do some damage to a company's brand and reputation."
John K. Waters, "Blogging: New threat to enterprise security?" ADT Newsletter, March 3, 2005 --- http://newsletters.101com.com/sdg/n.asp?pc=HWEB03&nl=23,38,44,36 
Bob Jensen's threads on blogging are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog 


Blame it on us baby boomers!
Alan's implying that I'm going to be collecting more than you working stiffs can afford.  
Common now, you can work harder than you've been working:  Push that barge and lift that bail

"I fear that we may have already committed more physical resources to the baby-boom generation in its retirement years than our economy has the capacity to deliver. If existing promises need to be changed, those changes should be made sooner rather than later. We owe future retirees as much time as possible to adjust their plans for work, saving, and retirement spending. They need to ensure that their personal resources, along with what they expect to receive from the government, will be sufficient to meet their retirement goals.
Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan Economic outlook and current fiscal issues Before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives March 2, 2005

My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


Once again, blame it on us baby boomers!
Bodiford experienced what many Americans may soon face: a shortage of physicians that makes it hard to find convenient, quality health care. The shortage will worsen as 79 million baby boomers reach retirement age and demand more medical care unless the nation starts producing more doctors, according to several new studies.  The country needs to train 3,000 to 10,000 more physicians a year — up from the current 25,000 — to meet the growing medical needs of an aging, wealthy nation, the studies say. Because it takes 10 years to train a doctor, the nation will have a shortage of 85,000 to 200,000 doctors in 2020 unless action is taken soon.  The predictions of a doctor shortage represent an abrupt about-face for the medical profession. For the past quarter-century, the American Medical Association and other industry groups have predicted a glut of doctors and worked to limit the number of new physicians. In 1994, the Journal of the American Medical Association predicted a surplus of 165,000 doctors by 2000.
"Medical miscalculation creates doctor shortage," USA Today, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050303/1a_cover03.art.htm 


Note to AARP:  Australians seem to like their form of private account social security
Clare says the people least likely to shift are those in industry or public defined benefit funds, where many receive above the super guarantee from their employers plus other benefits.  People who are happy with their fund and elect to keep it when they change jobs will be among the main drivers of choice. That is, they will exercise choice by rejecting their new employer's default fund. With about 20 per cent of the workforce changing jobs each year, this is a significant group.
"A switch in time," Sydney Morning Herald, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/01/1109546861995.html 


Robin Square Tape
Comedian Robin Williams said it all when he walked on stage with a piece of white tape over his mouth.  Williams was to have performed a song lampooning conservative critic James Dobson, whose group had criticised cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants for appearing in a video it branded "pro-homosexual." . . . Marc Shaiman, who wrote Williams' original routine, said he decided to withdraw the material after ABC raised objections that would have led to him re-writing 11 of 36 lines. ABC declined to comment.
"Censorship at Oscars irks many," Aljazeera, March 1. 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/AA763FF7-03FC-40F4-AD8C-53A449F3CE5C.htm 


Phoenix, Oregon Citizen Square Tapes
In wake of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich's ban on state employees speaking to two Baltimore Sun staffers and an Ohio mayor's prohibition on city employees speaking to the local Business Journal, a small town Oregon mayor has announced that all media contact with town officials or employees must be made through her office.
"Another Government Official Bans Contact with Press," Editor and Publisher, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000825822 


We would hate to have Senator Byrd be remembered as a champion of minority rights movement
At 9:51 on the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd completed an address that he had begun fourteen hours and thirteen minutes earlier. The subject was the pending Civil Rights Act of 1964, a measure that occupied the Senate for fifty-seven working days, including six Saturdays. A day earlier, Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey, the bill's manager, concluded he had the sixty-seven votes required at that time to end the debate. . . . Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the thirty-seven years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure.
"Civil Rights Filibuster Ended," U.S. Senate, June 10, 1964 --- http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Civil_Rights_Filibuster_Ended.htm 

There's that N-word again
A pair of Jewish groups accused Sen. Robert Byrd on Wednesday of making an outrageous and reprehensible comparison between Adolf Hitler's Nazis and a Senate GOP plan to block Democrats from filibustering. A GOP senator called for Byrd to retract his remarks. Byrd spokesman Tom Gavin denied that Byrd, D-W.Va., had compared Republicans to Hitler. He said that instead, the reference to Nazis in a Senate speech on Tuesday was meant to underscore that the past should not be ignored....
Alan Fram, "GOP Jewish Group Critizes Byrd's Remarks," MyWay, March 2, 2005 --- http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050303/D88J6OG00.html 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed outrage at the remarks of West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who suggested that some Republican tactics on judicial nominations were similar to Adolf Hitler's use of power in Nazi Germany. In remarks from the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Byrd compared a Senate rule cutting off debate on nominations to Hitler's use of constitutional means to push legislation through the German Reichstag at the start of the Nazi era. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement: "It is hideous, outrageous and offensive for Senator Byrd to...
"Senator's Hitler Comparison on Judicial Nominees 'Offensive and Insensitive'," Anti-Defamation League, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.adl.org/PresRele/HolNa_52/4660_52.htm 

Jensen Advice:  
"Dear Senator Byrd, Refrain from the N-word.  Please call Republican Senators Little Eichmans!"


Like it or not, military bashing has a downside
CNN saw its prime-time ratings drop sharply in February, falling further behind Fox News. CNN's ratings dipped 16 percent overall and 21 percent in prime time during February, according to Nielsen Media Research, as some of the cable news channel's biggest stars lost viewers. Fox News was the only one among the four cable news networks to post ratings gains during the month. Fox News is owned by News Corp., which is The Post's parent company. In 2002, Fox News surpassed CNN in the ratings and has been the leader ever since. Fox saw its ratings...
"CNN Sinking in Fox Hole," New York Post, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.nypost.com/business/22209.htm 
Also see http://www.variety.com/VR1117918742.html 


Paint the red states blue:  John's going to learn from Republicans
Democratic vice presidential candidate and former senator John Edwards will be among visiting fellows at Harvard University's Institute of Politics this spring, the school announced yesterday. Edwards, 51, of North Carolina ran for the Democratic nomination for president before being chosen as U.S. Sen. John Kerry's running mate last year. He will join U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) and Michael Deaver, international vice chairman of Edelman Worldwide and former deputy chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan. Typically, visiting fellows meet with various student groups to discuss topical issues and their experiences in public and...
"Ex-Kerry running mate to join Harvard as fellow," Boston Herald, March 3, 2005 --- http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=71250 


A not so pleased Walt Mossberg
So, I've been looking for a simple, reasonably priced product that includes all the hardware and software needed to do these tasks, and can be easily operated by mere mortals. I thought I'd found it when I came across a seemingly simple $49 gadget from ADS Technologies called Instant Music -- a small white box specifically built to turn LPs and tape cassettes into digital files.
Walter Mossbert, "Digitizing Your LPs and Tapes:  ADS Gadget Falls Short In Converting Old Music; The Jim Croce Test," The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971919612167604,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 


Would  beleaguered Vermont taxpayers also vote for raising taxes to fund their own Vermont Guard?
Fifty-two communities in Vermont are, in effect, determining their own foreign policy today — voting on a referendum that would urge state leaders to stop sending the state's National Guard (search) troops to war. The resolution would also ask President Bush to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. The issue was raised across the state at Vermont's annual Town Meeting Day (search), where residents usually gather to vote on local issues. But the Washington Times reports that the referendum is part of a growing anti-war sentiment across the state including in Brattleboro, Vermont, where officials removed the phrase "freedom is...

Brit Hume, Fox News, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,149189,00.html 


Holy Scary!  The manual on how to end civilized civilizations 
Doesn't Bin Laden get it?  He's also educating his enemies if and when he or his cohorts cease power.  
Nobody can be secure from this type of terrorism among fanatics on any side of a dispute.

In the year since the September 11 attacks, few more chilling documents have emerged than "Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants," a how-to terrorism manual that investigators believe has been used by followers of Osama bin Laden.  The 180-page volume, seized from the Manchester, England home of a bin Laden disciple, offers jihad members guidance on subjects such as assassination, forging documents, and preparing poisons in its 18 chapters. The terrorism manual was placed into evidence last year by prosecutors during the federal trial of four men accused of involvement in the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (the below English translation was also placed in evidence). All four defendants were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
"Bin Laden's Terrorism Bible," The Smoking Gun --- http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/jihadmanual.html 

While TSG has previously published small excerpts from this terror bible, we now present the entire document, a remarkable window into bin Laden's network of cold-blooded fanatics.

Title, Opening Pages, And Introduction (11 pages)

First Lesson: General Introduction (4 pages)

Second Lesson: Necessary Qualifications And Characteristics For The Organization's Member (7 pages)

Third Lesson: Counterfeit Currency And Forged Documents (3 pages)

Fourth Lesson: Organization Military Bases "Apartments-Hiding Places" (4 pages)

Fifth Lesson: Means of Communication And Transportation (15 pages)

Sixth Lesson: Training (3 pages)

Seventh Lesson: Weapons: Measures Related To Buying And Transporting Them (5 pages)

Eighth Lesson: Member Safety (5 pages)

Ninth Lesson: Security Plan (12 pages)

Tenth Lesson: Special Tactical Operations (7 pages)

Eleventh Lesson: Espionage (1) Information-Gathering Using Open Methods (10 pages)

Twelfth Lesson: Espionage (2) Information-Gathering Using Covert Methods (15 pages)

Thirteenth Lesson: Secret Writing And Ciphers And Codes (17 pages)

Fourteenth Lesson: Kidnapping And Assassinations Using Rifles And Pistols (23 pages)

Fifteenth Lesson: Explosives (13 pages)

Sixteenth Lesson: Assassinations Using Poisons And Cold Steel (8 pages)

Seventeenth Lesson: Interrogation And Investigation (15 pages)

Eighteenth Lesson: Prisons And Detention Centers (2 pages)


Another scary sign of the times
Juvenile offenders were infrequent arrivals to Texas' death row until the 1990s, when escalating juvenile violence and a new breed of young killer prompted a severe reaction from the criminal justice system. Only four Texas juvenile offenders were executed for crimes committed in the 1970s. Ditto for the 1980s, though one inmate from that decade remains on death row. The turbulent 1990s saw a different story. An explosion of juvenile crime, including a huge increase in juvenile homicides, brought the gloves off. Most juvenile offenders currently on Texas' death row — 25 of 28 — committed their crimes in that...
Mike Tolson, Houston Chronicle, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1354194/posts 

The gangs of New York are getting younger and younger. Concerned prosecutors across the city are warning that the city's violent street toughs are recruiting a new generation of baby-faced followers. The rise of teen gangs was highlighted this month by the shooting death of Bronx football star Fernando Correa, who had refused to join a local gang. But across the city, children younger than 10 are being forced to choose sides, prosecutors and law enforcement sources told the Daily News. "It's been building. There are rumblings in the elementary schools," said a law enforcement source. "Everybody says they're wanna-bes....
Elizabeth Hayes, "Nine-year-olds forced into gangs:  Elementary schools now in the clutches as toughs extend recruiting," New York Daily News, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/284825p-243953c.html 


Engine Out Over the North Pole
A British Airways 747 that flew from Los Angeles to England after one of its four engines failed during takeoff has set off a controversy over the risk of flying 10 hours with a dead engine.  Passengers heard the pops, and people on the ground saw sparks flying out from beneath the wing. A British Airways 747 had an engine fail during takeoff in Los Angeles 10 days ago.  But instead of returning to the airport to land, Flight 268 continued on across the U.S, up near the North Pole, across the Atlantic -- all the way to England.  The flight, with 351 passengers on board, didn't quite make it to London, its scheduled destination. It eventually made an emergency landing in Manchester, England, setting off a controversy over the risk of flying 10 hours with a dead engine hanging under the wing.
"Crossing the Atlantic With a Dead Engine," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005, Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963519929666421,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 


Perish the Thought:  I think foundations should be diverting more money away from universities and into schools like this.  It's time to get more serious about the future of many young people who can fill the biggest labor voids in America.
Students have flocked for years to the College of Lake County in Grayslake to tinker with refrigerators, learn how to repair cars and hone their accounting skills.  But now, thanks to a new $36.4 million state-of-the-art technology building, they're doing it with some of the latest technology available, including high-tech equipment that can scan car computers.  "We're teaching them the systems they're going to need when they go out and work," said Lourdene Huhra, dean of the business division. "Our equipment is as good as the equipment they'll use on the job."  The building opened in mid-January and is designed to provide a central location for programs offered by the college's business and engineering, math and physical science divisions.
"College rolls out high-tech facility," Chicago Tribune, February 27, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/TribFeb27 


Would you please repeat what you just said
Ear-wax-removal kits claim to soften excessive ear wax if you place three to five drops of the carbamide peroxide solution in your ear twice daily for as many as four days. But listen up: That ear-wax-removal kit you can buy over-the-counter could cause more problems than it solves. . . I don't believe in self-irrigation," says Stephen Epstein, an ear specialist who runs the Ear Center in Wheaton, Md. The removal kits require a consumer to perform a "relatively blind procedure," since a person can't see exactly what he's doing, he says. Moreover, he says, if an infection ensues, you might end up needing two or three visits to the doctor and a course of antibiotics. Dr. Epstein says he sees three to five people a month who have tried the kits with poor results. Sometimes, the solutions irritate the ear canal, causing itching or inflammation. At worst, the wax could run deeper into the ear, leaving residue on the eardrum.
Gintautas Dumcius, "Removing Wax From Your Ears," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005; Page D6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963135300766318,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 
Jensen Comment:  The article goes on to report that not all experts agree with Stephen Epstein.


After the adverse publicity, I wonder if his speaking fees have increased or decreased?
Administrators (University of Wisconsin --- Whitewater) wrestled with the decision to host Churchill, as Hamilton and several other schools canceled appearances. It was decided to go forward as planned only when it was determined that the event could be held safely, and after an exchange of letters with Churchill in which he said he expected to be paid his $4,000 honorarium even if the event was shelved, and that he would use some of the money to come and speak on another occasion to those who wanted to hear him.
"Wisconsin university prepares for Churchill," Rocky Mountain News, March 1, 2005 ---  http://rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_3584230,00.html  
Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyChurchill.htm 

I've been invited to speak at hundreds of universities, but no university has ever paid me as much as $4,000. (Sigh!)  Just as of late, as fate would have it, I'm beginning to envision  little eichmans in the accounting profession.  I also know a couple of auditors who resemble Rudolf Hess.


It would help if you put it on your passport
. . . we identify as “totalitarian radicals,” “anti-American radicals,” “leftists,” “moderate leftists” and “affective leftists.”  (The latter includes mostly entertainment figures whose politics are emotionally rather than intellectually based in a way I will get to below.) We have arranged the grid this way, even though we think it feeds certain illusions, to accommodate those who expressed anguish over the grid in its original format where there were no such...
"Defining the Left," y David Horowitz, FrontPageMagazine.com, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=17190 


Treading softly but surely on pros in college sports:  Many more basket weaving diplomas expected
College sports programs tiptoed Monday into an uncertain new world of academic accountability, as the National Collegiate Athletic Association unveiled a complex system for monitoring the classroom progress of Division I athletes and gave the public its first glimpse at how individual colleges fared under the new standards.  The system could eventually punish institutions that fail to keep their athletes moving toward a degree. But no penalties are attached to this first year's reports, and the NCAA has modified the system in recent weeks in ways that delay or soften the potential blows against sports programs.
Doug Lederman, "New Way to Keep Score," Inside Higher Ed, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/new_way_to_keep_score 


Not treading so softly on college athletics:  Sometimes you can't even pay to have an article published
As a student in a new investigative journalism course at Rutgers University last fall, Fraidy Reiss dove headlong into the assignment to write two articles exploring subjects at the university. Her first piece, about Rutgers's system for evaluating teachers, was the lead story in the student-run Daily Targum one day last October.  For her second article, Reiss explored a set of programs and services available only to Rutgers athletes, including special sections of a communications course, financed by an alumnus, and a bevy of tutors and monitors to help athletes with their work and make sure they go to class, among others.  The instructor in the investigative journalism course worked with her on the article, as did student editors at The Targum, which helps sponsor the class. The article garnered an A+ grade in the course, and Targum editors spent weeks trying to help her shape the piece for publication, and paid $250 to cover the costs of an open records request she filed for reports on athletes' grades.  But this month, the newspaper's editors told Reiss that they would not run the article, saying it was too one-sidedly critical of the sports program. Frustrated, Reiss decided (with the help of an alumnus critical of the Scarlet Knight sports program) to try to publish the article as an advertisement in The Daily Targum. But last week, the newspaper rejected the ad, too.
Doug Ledgerman, "Hitting Too Close to Home," Inside Higher Ed, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/hitting_too_close_to_home 
Jensen Comment:  The Targum and university officials are  probably adding fuel to the fire.  By rejecting both the article and the advertisement, the rejection publicity itself will motivate every student to read the article.  Furthermore, folks around the world will be eagerly awaiting when this article when and if it appears on the Web.  


Say what?  Another victim of television and Viagra
Britain's big pub companies are trying to reinvent the traditional British pub, best known for its fireplace, bad food and warm beer. The reason: Britons are drinking less beer these days, and even less at the pub.  To further entice post-office customers, the Case offers a $1 discount on coffee or tea if they linger in the pub. To beef up the offer, Mr. Senior last year spent about $3,200 on a professional coffee machine. "I told him he was mad to spend that," Mrs. Senior says. Yet, coffee sales have since jumped to about $380 a week from about $100 previously, she says. "We've got to sell everything we can," Mr. Senior says. "If you want an ice cream or a hot chocolate, we've got to be able to supply it. There are very few places left where you can sell beer full stop."
Jensen Comment:  The pubs are becoming after-hours post offices and mini-marts.  I think I preferred the old-style dark and quiet pubs with charcoal burning fireplaces, cockney accents, and bad food.


Mum's the Word:  I bet they still whisper to their mistresses and friends on Wall Street
Fewer U.S. companies are offering earnings guidance to investors and analysts, a survey found. Just 55% of firms offered guidance last year, down from 72% in 2003.  Those Providing Forecasts Fell Last Year to 55% From 72%; Drawback for Smaller Investors?
Gregory Zuckerman, "CEOs Turn Mum About Projecting Earnings," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110964376210666684,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 


Mum's not the word in Blog land
Some eight million Americans now publish blogs and 32 million people read them, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. What began as a form of public diary-keeping has become an important supplement to a business's online strategy: Blogs can connect with consumers on a personal level -- and keep them visiting a company's Web site regularly.
Riva Richmond, "Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005; Page B8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963746474866537,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 
Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs and blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog 


Optic nerve hypoplasia
Opthalmologists are baffled by the rising prevalence of a rare condition called optic nerve hypoplasia, which can cause visual impairment or total blindness in babies.  "It used to be so rare that people would trade slides of the few known cases," says Michael Brodsky, a pediatric neuro-ophthalmologist at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Since the 1970s, however, diagnoses of optic nerve hypoplasia have escalated. Dr. Borchert says he alone has seen at least 500 victims, and he estimates there are thousands of cases nationwide. Hard numbers on children who are blind or visually impaired are difficult to obtain. But, says Dr. Brodsky, "these cases are now filling up our clinics."
Kevin Helliker, "Pediatric Puzzle: A Sharp Increase In Infant Vision Problem Baffles Doctors," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963006386166280,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 


Just think of the interest that's piling up at $2,877 per hour each 24 hours of each of seven days of every week
U.S. authorities announced one of the largest individual criminal tax cases ever, accusing a Washington telecommunications businessman of failing to pay about $210 million in taxes.  A federal grand jury in Washington returned a 12-count indictment last Wednesday under seal that charged Walter Anderson, 51 years old, with a plan to evade federal and District of Columbia taxes.  Mr. Anderson was arrested Saturday at Washington Dulles International Airport after he stepped off a flight from London.  The indictment alleges Mr. Anderson earned nearly $450 million through investments and offshore operations that he established to make it appear as if he wasn't personally earning the money, the Justice Department said.
"Man Is Accused Of $210 Million Tax Evasion," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005, Page D2 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963908825166585,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 


What has life expectancy risen to in the United States?
Life expectancy in the U.S. climbed to a record in 2003, as deaths from heart disease and cancer declined.  According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, average life expectancy rose to 77.6 years in 2003 from 77.3 years in 2002.
Jennifer Corbett Dooren, "Americans' Life Expectancy Rose to Record High in 2003," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110963558261366439,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 
Jensen Comment:  Medicare has significantly extended the life expectancy of a citizen in the U.S. while it significantly lowers the expected life of the United States itself.
Bob Jensen's unfinished essay on entitlements is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm 


War Shortages
General Motors Corp. will offer to repurchase new cars bought by dealers from its five divisions. This is to reduce the "wild" trading that might result if dealers had to reduce stocks involuntarily and prevent cars from falling into "bootlegger" hands.
The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 1942 


The Vioxx fallout hits multiple sclerosis patients.
Tysabri had received accelerated approval from the FDA just three months ago because clinical trials had shown it to be twice as effective as alternative therapies in preventing flare-ups of MS, which is a degenerative and eventually fatal disease. Tysabri is also easier to take than alternative treatments, and tolerated by a subset of MS patients who can't take the others at all.  But for the indefinite future everyone will have to do without because two of the thousands of patients who've received Tysabri developed a rare neurological disorder. Those two patients happened to also be on another immuno-suppressive MS treatment called Avonex. There is no reason to believe that Tysabri has caused this disorder when used alone.  There's plenty of blame to go around here, starting with the trial lawyers and their climate of fear. Congressmen who demagogue about non-existent FDA safety "lapses" aren't much better. But we're also disappointed with CEOs who imagine they're doing patients and shareholders a favor with such rash decisions. In retrospect, Merck CEO Ray Gilmartin only strengthened the hand of the lawyers by withdrawing Vioxx when the FDA would have been content with relabeling.
"Drug Twilight Zone," The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972765984167851,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


New oxymoron:  Hungarian wedding
"Most Hungarian Adults Single for the First Time in History, Report," Weird News, March 1, 3005 --- http://snipurl.com/HungarianWeddings 


Hungarians should seek out marriage proposal consulting that seems to lead to more nuptials in the U.S.
This is just the sort of anxiety that sends men hot-footing off to companies such as the Massachusetts website 2propose.com, run by Paul Alden, a former wedding photographer.  Like its rivals, such as anexclusiveengagement.com or anamazingproposal.com, the site offers a range of services, from 100 proposal concepts for $US9.99 ($12.70) to a more expensive tailored service in which proposal co-ordinators sort out a specific plan and arrange it all.  Ideas in the basic package include painting "Marry me" on bowls at a bowling alley, hiring out the Magic Kingdom Rose Garden at Disneyland and getting yourself delivered to your beloved's door inside a box.  Some of the 3000 people who register on the site each month opt for something far more elaborate, says Alden. He mentions a man who arranged for a fake television crew to ambush him and his girlfriend as they took a carriage around Central Park and then "film" him going down on one knee.  Another client remembered his girlfriend being upset at not being able to land near a beautiful waterfall in Hawaii as they flew over in a helicopter on holiday. Alden's company tracked down the only pilot licensed to land at the spot. He brought them down, produced a picnic and, when they got back to the airport, the couple were taken by limo to a restaurant where they were serenaded by a violinist. Total cost: about $US3750, not including the air fares to Hawaii.
"Popping the question goes professional," Sydney Morning Herald, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/02/1109700540627.html 


Let's hope that single parents in Hungary don't go by way of those in the U.K.
The reasons for this moral decline are as clear as the aforementioned statistics are bleak. As James Bartholomew argues in his recent book "The Welfare State We're In" (Politico's, 2004), the blame rests squarely on the growth of the welfare state, which has removed personal responsibility in large areas of people's lives and substituted dependency on the state and the rule of the bureaucrat. The state is complicit in the breakdown of the family; consider Mr. Bartholomew's example of how the state has promoted single-parent families by taxing married couples -- and abolishing the marriage allowance -- while giving increasing amounts of money to single parents.  No wonder, then, that from 1972 to 1992 the proportion of children living with a lone parent tripled to 21% from 7%. The link with rising crime is reflected in one shaming statistic: One-third of the people in U.K. prisons spent time in an orphanage at some time in their childhood. One prison governor, on being asked how many of the inmates had formerly been taken into foster care, replied: "Nearly all of them."  Indeed, the collapse of the traditional nuclear family has hit the poorest classes quite disproportionately, with nearly a quarter of girls whose fathers were unskilled workers becoming teenage mothers, mostly outside marriage. Divorces have risen sevenfold since 1960, and these also have been much more common among the poor.
Russell Lewis, "Unruly Britannia," The Wall Street Journal (Europe), March 3, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110980295622868708,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


What giant search engine turned ten years old?  It's almost reached puberty.
Which web powerhouse was started by two Stanford geeks as a simple search page with a silly name and became the biggest thing on the internet? Nope, not Google. Try again. The invisible giant turns 10.  Still, the adulation must rankle the folks at a certain company (Google) just down the road in Silicon Valley - another search engine founded by two precocious Stanford grads with a cute name, colorful logo, and simple homepage. The indignity is all the greater when you consider Yahoo!'s numbers: 165 million registered users, 345 million unique visitors a month, $49 billion market cap, and a 62 per­cent increase in revenue last quarter, bringing 2004 total revenue to $3.6 billion. Yahoo! makes more money and has more patents, services, and users than Google; it even has its own yodel. Given its recent blowout financial results and the expected continued explosion of online advertising, Yahoo! may very well be the most valuable business on the Web. And yet, as Jerry Yang and David Filo's startup celebrates its 10th anniversary March 2, Yahoo! is the biggest consumer Internet company you may almost never think about.
"The UnGoogle (Yes, Yahoo!)," Wired Magazine, March 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/yahoo.html?tw=wn_tophead_4 


Hero cat finds a home in Bangor --- now it has to learn English
A little Iraqi has a new home in Maine. H.P. the cat was adopted by National Guard troopers serving with the 152nd Field Artillery Battalion. Spc. Jesse Cote said the cat was starving and toothless when they found it. But the GI's were able to nurse H.P. back to health. The cat ate and slept with the soldiers and even helped them. Cote said H.P. would be the first to react to mortar fire and was their warning of incoming.
"Iraqi Cat Who Helped U.S. Troops Finds American Home," ClickOnDetroit, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.clickondetroit.com/family/4241748/detail.html 


One woman's solution to long-term care
The 82-year-old Marin County woman cannot walk and says she has no place to go, so she has remained planted in a hospital bed at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center for the past year.  Despite every effort by Kaiser officials to get her out, Nome has refused to leave or pay the $3,090 a day that the hospital charges to put her up. She said she will continue squatting at Kaiser until a place is found in Marin where she can live and get the treatment she requires.  "When you pay Kaiser insurance month after month for 50 years like I have, you expect to be treated like a good patient and a human being," Nome said the other day from her hospital bed. "If I had known that Kaiser would take me for only a couple of days and then would expect my family to take care of me, I would have paid my family what I paid for insurance."
Peter Fimrite, "OVERSTAYING HER WELCOME Disgruntled patient hasn't budged from hospital for a year," The San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 2005 --- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/03/01/MNG76BII1M1.DTL 


One home invasion intruder put away for life
Chelsea (Alabama, Shelby County) man shoots armed intruder to death after being tied The Associated Press An armed, masked intruder was shot to death by a Chelsea man who managed to free himself after he was tied up and his wife held at gunpoint during a robbery in their home, Shelby County authorities said. Sheriff Chris Curry said a female accomplice was arrested while attempting to flee the scene. Sheriff's officers did not immediately release the name of the man who killed the intruder during the home invasion about 2 a.m. Sunday. The suspected burglar...
Birmingham Times, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1353390/posts 


This might replace one-sheet teaching evaluations
What you say or do when teaching, you may be on Candid Camera or student Web sites

Brick Township school officials might ban cell phones after a student's phone cam videotaped a teacher's outburst. Students said the teacher began yelling when students failed to show respect to the national anthem. The tape was posted on several independent Web sites.
"Teacher's Outburst Caught On Camera Student Shoots Teacher On Cell Phone Camera," NBC, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.nbc10.com/news/4245196/detail.html 


The Heavier Side
Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, the Father of Cybernetics
, by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman. Basic Books, 423 pages, $27.50.  

It is hardly the greatest scientific mystery of the 20th century, but it is a riddle just the same: why did Norbert Wiener - gray eminence of gray matter, inventor of cybernetics, founding theorist of the information age - abandon his closest young colleagues just as they were about to embark on an exciting new collaboration on the workings of the brain?
Cornelia Dean, "A Brilliant Mind and an Anguished Life," The New York Times, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/01/science/01book.html
Jensen Comment:  

Jensen Comment:  Now the Lighter Side
Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), US mathematician. The archetype of the genius and absent-minded professor.

http://dalido.narod.ru/NW/NW-quote5.html 

http://snipurl.com/WeinerTime

http://people.cornellcollege.edu/ltabak/publications/articles/wiener.html 

http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Wiener_Norbert.html 

http://www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes/Wiener.html 

http://www.anvari.org/shortjoke/Science_Humor/199.html 

http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=9224 

http://www.angelfire.com/co/1x137/cybros.html 

The list actually seems endless


Female assistant professors earn on average 91 percent of what their male counterparts earn.
Scott Jaschick quoting a report by Yale graduate students, "Larry Summers Isn't Alone," Inside Higher Ed, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/larry_summers_isn_t_alone 
Jensen Comment:  I didn't investigate the 91 percent claim, but I suspect this is just one more way of using statistics to mislead.  Graduate students of Yale should be above such an unethical tactic.  My guess is the following:  Salaries and benefits of new hires of females are probably as high or higher than salaries and benefits of male hires in all respective disciplines.  I really doubt that there is gender discrimination within any discipline.  Even within the highest paying disciplines, such as computer science, I suspect that all women hired in Ivy League schools are getting no less than their male counterparts at the assistant professor level.  

The discrepancy in pay arises between disciplines, not between men versus women.  Some disciplines have a much higher supply of applicants making it possible (although many do not view as politically correct) to land top assistant professors at lower salaries.  In other disciplines such as computer science, the number of male and female applicants is so small and so competitive that higher offers must be made to land a top candidate, female or male.  In the discipline of accountancy, my guess is that there is a much higher proportion of female PhD graduates than in computer science.  These females are getting assistant professor offers equivalent to their male counterparts, and those offers are higher than in most other disciplines because there are so few male and female accountancy doctoral students across the world.  

I would be shocked of there is serious  gender discrimination at the hiring level in major universities.  Reasons why there are so many doctoral graduates in some disciplines and such a shortage in others are very complex.  I suspect many find accounting and computer science more boring even if the pay is better.  I do know of several professors of accounting who got doctoral degrees in other areas (e.g., one in German Literature and several in Economics) who admitted to me that, after discovering both the hiring opportunities and salary differentials, they earned a second doctoral degree in accountancy.  Of course there are some other accounting professors who for one reason or another are now teaching in other disciplines.

I might add that within the "broad" profession of accountancy the same type of gender pay differentials arise.  But the difference lies within the type of accountancy (such as clerical versus ERP auditing) rather than gender bias per se.  A top ERP auditor is going to get a better offer than a clerk whether that auditor is male or female.

March 1, 2005 reply from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@DARTMOUTH.EDU

A competing hypothesis that is similar to yours in spirit is that if more experienced faculty earn more and the percentage of female hires is increasing over time, the same 91% figure could be true even though after controlling for both discipline and experience, men and women have the same level of earnings.

The study, which is at:

http://www.yaleunions.org/geso/reports/Ivy.pdf 

reports an unconditional mean of 91%, which controls for neither discipline nor experience. However, it reports similar disparities when controlling for rank (full, associate, assistant), so I suspect that controlling for experience wouldn't change the analysis much.

As for your comment, "Graduate students of Yale should be above such an unethical tactic.", I strive to avoid attributing to malice anything that ineptitude can also explain.

Richard C. Sansing 
Associate Professor of Business Administration 
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth 100 Tuck Hall 
email: Richard.C.Sansing@dartmouth.edu 


"Accounting Firms Hiring Thousands of '05 Grads," SmartPros, February 23, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x47148.xml 

Feb. 23, 2005 (SmartPros) — The job market for 2005 college graduates is predicted to be the best since 2000, according to Michigan State University's annual Recruiting Trends survey. The top employers include several accounting and consulting firms.

The survey respondents are ranked according to the projected number of hires from college recruiting for the Class of 2005. The top 20 employers, followed by their projected number of hires, are:

1 - Enterprise Rent-A-Car--7,000 
2 - PricewaterhouseCoopers--3,170
3 - Ernst & Young LLP--2,900 
4 - Lockheed Martin--2,863 
5 - KPMG--2,240 
6 - Sodexho, Inc.--2,050 
7 - Fairfax County Public Schools--1,600 
8 - Accenture--1,540 
9 - Northrop Grumman--1,266 
10 - United States Customs & Border Protection--1,200 
11 - Target--1,127 
12 - United States Air Force--1,095 
13 - Raytheon Company--1,000 
14 - Microsoft--970 
15 - JPMorgan Chase--810 
16 - Procter & Gamble--569 
17 - Liberty Mutual--545 
18 - Grant Thornton--500 
19 - Bank of America--413 
20 - United States Air Force Personnel Center/DPKR--400

According to the survey, economic sectors showing strength this year include: retail, wholesale, transportation (not including airlines), health services, entertainment and real estate.

February 28, 2005 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

Bob,

One can describe the reason for Accenture's needs for accountants in ONE word: outsourcing.

The following is from www.accenture.com  webpage:

Outsourcing

Application Outsourcing 


Business Process Outsourcing Accenture Finance Solutions-Accenture HR Services-Accenture

 Learning-Accenture Procurement Solutions-Accenture Business Services for Utilities-Accenture eDemocracy Services-Navitaire-Accenture Insurance Services 


Infrastructure Outsourcing

Jagdish S. Gangolly, 
Associate Professor 
School of Business & NY State Center for Information Forensics & Assurance 
State University of New York at Albany BA 365C, 
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222 
email:
j.gangolly@albany.edu 

March 1, 2005 messages from Bob Jensen and Chuck Johnson

I hope Professor Johnson doesn’t mind if I share this with you. I suspect this is partly conjecture on his part, but it is somewhat more than conjecture. His reasoning makes sense to me. Apparently Enterprise has a different business model than other car rental firms.

There may be some fast food chains with similar models.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Kenneth Johnson [mailto:kjohnson@GeorgiaSouthern.edu]  
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 10:25 AM 
To: Jensen, Robert 
Subject: Re: Accounting Firms Hiring Thousands

Bob,

FYI, EnterpriesRent-a-Car's hiring of so many college graduates is driven by the firm's basic business model. Enterprise has thousands of small offices. When business volume at a particular location reaches a certain point a new office is created a few miles away. The way I understand it, each new hire does everything, from: taking reservations, serving customers, picking up and dropping off customers, and even washing cars. Their favorite hire is a graduate of modest academic achievement but with lots of extracurricular activities and good people skills. I learned all of this from a strategic management textbook I taught out of a few years ago; Enterprise was a side-bar mini-case.

BTW, the way I read it, the 7,000 figure cited in the 2000 Michigan State University's annual Recruiting Trends survey was total college graduates, not just accountants.

Thanks for the constant stream of interesting stuff.

Chuck Johnson

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers  


We only have the happiness we have given.
Édouard Pailleron
Jensen Comment:  Misery is another thing entirely.


Proposal for Teaching Only and Imported Universities
Proposals by the federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, to create greater diversity, specialisation and competition within the university sector are radical, even revolutionary. Given the present unsatisfactory situation, this is no bad thing. Dr Nelson's suggestions - heresies, say some - would redefine and broaden the term "university". Universities could be either teaching-only or research-intensive institutions, the way would be cleared for more private and small universities, including some specialising in a single discipline or vocation (for example law or medicine or hospitality), and overseas universities would be encouraged to establish Australian campuses. This would require the Commonwealth and the states to agree to big changes in the present protocols that oblige universities to offer at least three disciplines and to undertake both teaching and research.
"Dr Nelson's daring new prescription," Sydney Morning Herald, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/06/1110044262150.html 


The real embarrassment will be when it fits
Stanford University:  Transplanting human brain cells into mice

It will look like any ordinary mouse, but for US scientists a tiny animal threatens to ignite a profound ethical dilemma.  In one of the most controversial scientific projects conceived, a group of university researchers in California's Silicon Valley is preparing to create a mouse whose brain will be composed entirely of human cells.  Researchers at Stanford University have already succeeded in breeding mice with brains that are 1 per cent human cells. In the next stage they plan to use stem cells from aborted human foetuses to create an animal whose brain cells are 100 per cent human.  Professor Irving Weissman, who heads the university's Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology, believes the mice could produce a breakthrough in understanding how stem cells might lead to a cure for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.  The group is waiting for a key US Government sponsored report, due this month, that will decide how much science can blur the distinction between man and beast.
"Mouse will have brain of human," Sydney Morning Herald, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/06/1110044258297.html 


Canadian researchers add new meaning to "giving the finger."
The length of a man’s fingers can reveal how physically aggressive he is, according to new research.  The shorter the index finger is compared to the ring finger, the more boisterous he will be, University of Alberta researchers said.  But the same was not true for verbal aggression or hostile behaviours, they told the journal Biological Psychology after studying 300 people’s fingers. The trend is thought to be linked to testosterone exposure in the womb.  There is known to be a direct correlation between finger lengths and the amount of the male hormone testosterone that a baby is exposed to in the womb. In women, the two fingers are usually almost equal in length, as measured from the crease nearest the palm to the fingertip. In men, the ring finger tends to be longer than the index.  Other studies looking at finger length have suggested that, in men, a long ring finger and symmetrical hands are an indication of fertility, and women with a longer index finger are more likely to be fertile.  One study found boys with shorter ring fingers tended to be at greatest risk of a heart attack in early adulthood, which was linked to testosterone levels.
"Short index finger shows men are as hard as nails," Scotsman, March 4, 2005 --- http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=239982005 


I thought March was a brilliant poet, especially his narrative verse in The Wild Party (which I longingly referred to over four decades when the urge to be a narrative poet whispered at me.  March always reminded me that I did not have the talent for narrative verse, and I humbly returned to writing about accountancy).
I suspect most of my literary friends will scoff at March's works, and for them I inserted the above module.

If you were looking for a young man with a great literary life in front of him in 1928, you'd have been hard-pressed to find a better candidate than 29-year-old Joseph Moncure March. His narrative in verse The Wild Party, a tale of Manhattan hedonism and the tragic hipsters who indulge in it, had been published that spring in a limited edition, achieving an immediate following and brisk sales. (A musical adaptation will open this month at the Fitzgerald Theater). The book even got banned briefly in Boston, bringing March something every writer craves—a prominent but not damaging censorship battle.
Tim Cavanaugh, "After the Party," Rake Magazine, March 2005 --- http://www.rakemag.com/coals/detail.asp?catID=58&itemID=20510 
Jensen Comment:  Cavanaugh says March had a "half-brilliant career," which I guess is not all that unique in either literary or scientific circles.  By the way, I don't think you can download a free copy of The Wild Party online.  The fact that it was briefly banned in Boston in 1928 shows how times have changed in society.


New Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes (Previously known as “noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (NIDDM))
A popular treatment for sleep apnea may also help people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Feb. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers found that treating sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) not only helped the 25 participants sleep better, but also significantly reduced their blood sugar (or glucose) levels when administered for at least four hours a day. Lower glucose levels can help reduce a diabetic's risk of developing late-stage complications including cardiovascular and kidney disease.
"A Sleep Treatment's Dual Benefits," MSNBC, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7077622/site/newsweek/ 
Jensen Comment:  Type 2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic among adults.  It is important to test for it regularly and aggressively follow physician diet, exercise, and drug plans.  Otherwise it can lead to blindness, sexual malfunction, loss of limbs, and death.

Tips to Help You Sleep from MSNBC on March 3 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7077618/site/newsweek/ 


Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa:  Beyond Capitalism
The other night, upon accepting the 2005 Irving Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute, a bastion of inside-the-Beltway conservatism, the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa gave a speech extolling liberalism. Not, he hastened to explain, the contemporary American version, but liberalism in its older sense, an outlook predicated on "tolerance and respect for others," the basic elements of which are "political democracy, the market economy, and the defense of individual interests over those of the state."  This liberalism, which requires private property, free markets, and the rule of law, has little in common with the statist mutation that goes by that name in the U.S. One of classical liberalism's central insights, Vargas Llosa noted, is that "freedom is a single, unified concept. Political and economic liberties are as inseparable as the two sides of a medal." By contrast, self-styled liberals in the U.S. tend to view economic liberty with indifference, if not hostility, leaving its defense to conservatives.
Jacob Sullum "Free to B&B," ReasonOnLine, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/sullum/030405.shtml 

"Confessions of a Liberal," by Mario Vargas Llosa, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.aei.org/news/newsID.22053,filter.all/news_detail.asp 

Because liberalism is not an ideology, that is, a dogmatic lay religion, but rather an open, evolving doctrine that yields to reality instead of trying to force reality to do the yielding, there are diverse tendencies and profound discrepancies among liberals. With regard to religion, gay marriage, abortion and such, liberals like me, who are agnostics as well as supporters of the separation between church and state and defenders of the decriminalization of abortion and gay marriage, are sometimes harshly criticized by other liberals who have opposite views on these issues. These discrepancies are healthy and useful because they do not violate the basic precepts of liberalism, which are political democracy, the market economy and the defense of individual interests over those of the state.

For example, there are liberals who believe that economics is the field through which all problems are resolved and that the free market is the panacea for everything from poverty to unemployment, marginalization and social exclusion. These liberals, true living algorithms, have sometimes generated more damage to the cause of freedom than did the Marxists, the first champions of the absurd thesis that the economy is the driving force of the history of nations and the basis of civilization. It simply is not true. Ideas and culture are what differentiate civilization from barbarism, not the economy. The economy by itself, without the support of ideas and culture, may produce optimal results on paper, but it does not give purpose to the lives of people; it does not offer individuals reasons to resist adversity and stand united with compassion or allow them to live in an environment permeated in humanity. It is culture, a body of shared ideas, beliefs and customs--among which religion may be included of course--that gives warmth and life to democracy and permits the market economy, with its competitive, cold mathematics of awarding success and punishing failure, to avoid degenerating into a Darwinian battle in which, as Isaiah Berlin put it, “liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.” The free market is the best mechanism in existence for producing riches and, if well complemented with other institutions and uses of democratic culture, launches the material progress of a nation to the spectacular heights with which we are familiar. But it is also a relentless instrument, which, without the spiritual and intellectual component that culture represents, can reduce life to a ferocious, selfish struggle in which only the fittest survive.

. . . 

Then it will not be necessary to talk about freedom because it will be the air that we breathe and because we will all truly be free. Ludwig von Mises’ ideal of a universal culture infused with respect for the law and human rights will have become a reality.

Continued in the article


The writings of Francis Fukuyama closely parallel the above message by Mario Vargas Llosa
The distant origins of the present volume lie in an article entitled “The End of History?” which I wrote for the journal The National Interest in the summer of 1989. In it, I argued that a remarkable consensus concerning the legitimacy of liberal democracy as a system of government had emerged throughout the world over the past few years, as it conquered rival ideologies like hereditary monarchy, fascism, and most recently communism. More than that, however, I argued that liberal democracy may constitute the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government,” and as such constituted the “end of history.” That is, while earlier forms of government were characterised by grave defects and irrationalities that led to their eventual collapse, liberal democracy was arguably free from such fundamental internal contradictions. This was not to say that today’s stable democracies, like the United States, France, or Switzerland, were not without injustice or serious social problems. But these problems were ones of incomplete implementation of the twin principles of liberty and equality on which modern democracy is founded, rather than of flaws in the principles themselves. While some present-day countries might fail to achieve stable liberal democracy, and others might lapse back into other, more primitive forms of rule like theocracy or military dictatorship, the ideal of liberal democracy could not be improved on.

Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, 1992 --- http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/fukuyama.htm 
Jensen Comment:  I recently saw mention made a lecture by Fukuyama at the University of Chicago that had the title something to the the effect "Fifteen Years After the End of History."  I used Fukuyama's original "End of History" book years ago in a First Year Seminar.


Slavery Lives On
A ceremony during which at least 7000 men, women and children in Niger in West Africa were to be freed from slavery has been cancelled at the last minute by the Government.  The BBC News website quoted a spokesman for the Government's human rights commission as saying Saturday's planned ceremony had been cancelled because slavery did not exist in Niger. The Government had been a co-sponsor of the event.  In a country where at least 43,000 people are thought to be slaves, the practice was made illegal only last May. A new law made owning slaves punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
"Thousands of slaves see their chance of freedom slip away," Sydney Morning Herald, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/06/1110044260807.html 
Jensen Comment:  It will be interesting to see if and when this law is ever enforced.


United Nations (read that United Nepotism)
The Biggest Scam in History

The U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal is the biggest scam in the history of humanitarian aid. And it's Kofi Annan's fault. 
Claudia Rosett, "Blame Game, The New Republic, February 16, 2005 --- https://ssl.tnr.com/p/docsub.mhtml?i=20050221&s=rosett022105

What a complicated web we weave:  Proud Canada Company Linked to U.N. Oil for Food Scandal
But the Fox News story wasn’t prompted by an announcement from Power of some billion-dollar takeover or the appointment of a new senior executive. It was something altogether different: the revelation that the man handpicked by the UN secretary general last April to probe the UN’s scandalized Oil-for-Food program, Paul Volcker, had not disclosed to the UN that he was a paid adviser to Power Corp., a story which had originally been broken by a small, independent Toronto newspaper, the Canada Free Press. Why did the highest-rated cable channel in the U.S. care? Because the more that Americans came to know about Oil-for-Food, which has been called the largest corruption scandal in history, the more the name of this little-known Montreal firm kept popping up. And the more links that seemed to emerge between Power Corp. and individuals or organizations involved in the Oil-for-Food scandal, the more Fox News and other news outlets sniffing around this story began to ask questions about who, exactly, this Power Corp. is. And, they wanted to know, what, if anything, did Power have to do with a scandal in which companies around the world took bribes to help a murderous dictator scam billions of dollars in humanitarian aid out of the UN while his people suffered and starved?
Kevin Steel, "How Montreal's Power Corp. found itself caught up in the biggest fiasco in UN history," Canada Free Press, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.canadafreepress.com/2005/cover030505.htm 
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 


Moral Hazard:  Should the media pay criminals for interviews?
The BBC's board of governors have rebuffed a call by culture secretary Tessa Jowell to investigate the corporation's controversial decision to pay £4,500 for an interview with the convicted burglar shot by Tony Martin. Ms Jowell said she understood the "disquiet and unease" caused by the reported payment, which has been attacked by politicians from all sides and described by the lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, as "disgusting".
John Plunkett, "BBC governors won't investigate burglar payment row," Guardian, March 7, 2005 --- http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1432251,00.html 


Separate but equal?
Black boys may have to be taught in separate classes from their white peers to help them do better at school, according to the race relations watchdog.  "If the only way to break through the wall of attitude that surrounds black boys is to teach them separately for some subjects, then we should be ready for that," he said. "A tough new strategy would compel black fathers to be responsible fathers.  "If they can't be bothered to turn up for parents' evening, should they expect automatic access to their sons?"
"Call for separate classes for black boys," Guardian, March 7, 2005 --- http://education.guardian.co.uk/racism/story/0,10795,1432149,00.html 


Purge of conservatives at Colorado University?
Mitchell taught at the Hallett Diversity Program for 24 straight semesters. That is, until he made the colossal error of actually presenting a (gasp!) diverse opinion, quoting respected conservative black intellectual Thomas Sowell in a discussion about affirmative action.  Sitting 5 feet from a pink triangle that read "Hate-Free Zone," the progressive head of the department berated Mitchell, calling him a racist.  "That would have come as a surprise to my black children," explains Mitchell, who has nine kids, as of last count, two of them adopted African-Americans.  People say liberals run the university. I wish they did," Mitchell says. "Most liberals understand the need for intellectual diversity. It's the radical left that kills you."  So Churchill may play the part, but Mitchell is the true dissenter at CU.  Why did he stay this long?  "I stay to create enthusiasm and love for history," Mitchell says. " And I am successful at that. I love the classroom, and I love my students."  Once, president Hoffman promised increased intellectual diversity at CU - not a purge of conservatives.  Another promise broken.
David Harsanyi, "A CU prof deserving of sympathy," Denver Post, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~31908~2748616,00.html 

Also see "Heretics in the Academy?:  On campuses across the country, conservative professors face a sea of hostility and ideological bias," by Jennifer Jacobson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A8-A11.


Fighting a conservative virus in the Cal student body
Fighting for the right to be right Political affiliation jeopardizes conservative student's office The intolerant atmosphere that conservatives at Cal face has, once again, been blatantly demonstrated by our elected officials. Judicial Council nominee Amaris White appeared before the ASUC Senate last Wednesday, for her confirmation hearing. After the Senators voted in favor of White’s appointment, they found out about her conservative affiliation. This prompted senators who had confirmed her to seek a reversal in their decision. As elected officials, it is the ASUC's responsibility to represent the student body and as such must allow Amaris White to serve on...
Amaury Gallais and Andrew R. Quinio. "Fighting for the right to be right Political affiliation jeopardizes conservative student's office," California Patriot, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/browse 


This would never happen at Cal
Conservative students at the University of Texas at Austin planned to pass out cookies and cake Wednesday to celebrate Texas Independence Day. But rumors that they were planning another activity -- a "hunt" for illegal aliens -- led hundreds of students to protest.  In January, the University of North Texas chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas held just such an event. Some students wore orange shirts that said "Illegal Immigrant" on one side and "Catch Me If U Can" on the other. Other students chased them and those who "caught" an immigrant won prizes. The state chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas posted photos of the event on its Web site.
Scott Jaschik, "The Latest in Conservative Political Theater," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/the_latest_in_conservative_political_theater 
Jensen Comment:  Sounds more like a vigilante group than a student group.  The Young Conservatives of Texas Web site is at http://www.yct.org/ 


March 3, 2005  message from Tristin McHugh

Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 6:29 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert 
Subject: protest songs of the sixties

Dear Dr. Richard Jensen:

Hello my name is Tristin McHugh an eighth grader at Diablo View Middle School Clayton, California. In my Core class I'm doing a big research project on protest songs of the sixties, and what led up to it. If you could please send me some information on this subject that would be great.

The Vietnam War and songs really interest me, so if you can send me stuff, that's awesome, but if you can't, that's OK, too.

Thank you for your time and efforts.

Sincerely, 
Tristin McHugh

March 4, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Here are a few to look at (not all are from the 1960s):

http://www.brownielocks.com/sixtieswarsongs.html  
The music is great to listen to in some of these, especially Written on the Wind

http://www.lib.virginia.edu/small/exhibits/music/protest.html

http://www.brownielocks.com/sixtieswarsongs.html 

You might be interested in my essay at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm

Hope this helps,
Bob Jensen


A great site for young people:  In 1928 it was for farm children.  Now it's for all children of the world.
FFA is a positive example of what works in education.  The National FFA Organization is a dynamic youth organization that changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success  Today, almost half-a-million student members are engaged in a wide range of agricultural education activities, leading to more than 300 professional career opportunities. Student success remains the primary mission of FFA.
The National FFA Organization --- http://www.ffa.org/ 


A great site for old people (while it lasts for free online)
Business Week's Free Video on Aging --- http://businessweek.feedroom.com/iframeset.jsp?ord=656106 
Scientists are exploring ways to extend life and slow aging 
Catherine Arnst, "Forever Young," Business Week, March 4, 2005

There are other video modules on current news headlines at http://businessweek.feedroom.com/iframeset.jsp?ord=271262 


I keep telling you that you should listen to Norwegians
An economics textbook by James D. Gwartney and Richard L. Stroup cites the interesting case of drunk driving in Norway, "the country that has the toughest drunk-driving laws in the Western world. Drinking a single can of beer before driving can put a first offender in jail for a minimum sentence of three weeks. These drivers lose their licenses for up to two years and often get stiff fines as well. Repeat offenders are treated even more harshly. These laws are far more Draconian than those of the United States. And the results?  "1. One out of three Norwegians arrives at parties in a taxi, while nearly all Americans drive their own cars. 2. One out of 10 Norwegian party-goers spends the night at the host's home; Americans seldom do. 3. In Norway, 78% of drivers totally avoid drinking at parties, compared to only 17% of American drivers."
K. Ravi Nair (an economics professor), "Sober Norway, Land Of the Safe Driver," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005 -- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972852841667887,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 
Jensen Comment:  And here's the best ploy of the Norseman male on the date:  "Is it all right if I stay over?  Otherwise I might have to spend three weeks in jail and lose my driving license."  

Which brings me to my favorite Ole and Lena yoke:

Ole was talking with his brother Sven, who lived next door, when Sven said, "Ya know Ole, you and Lena should really get some new curtains." 

"Vhy's dat?" Ole asked. 

"Vel last night I saw you and Lena, vel ... doing you know .. in bed." 

Ole thought for awhile, then said, "Ha-ha Sven, da yoke's on you! I vasn't even home last night!  I been in Stavanger."

For Sven, Ole, and Lena stories, try the following:
       http://www.newnorth.net/~bmorren/olelena.html  (with music)


Q: Is it true that if credit-card disputes go longer than 60 days, they must be resolved in favor of the card holder?
A: Card issuers must adhere to certain procedures when resolving disputes or the card holder automatically wins, but an exact 60-day time limit isn't one of them. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, the creditor must acknowledge a card holder's letter pointing out a billing error within 30 days and either fix the bill or tell the customer why the bill is correct within two billing cycles and not longer than 90 days. During this period, the issuer also cannot release damaging information about the card holder to another creditor or credit bureaus. If the issuer fails to follow the rules, it loses the right to collect the disputed amount, and related finance charges, up to $50, even if the bill was correct.
Currie Smith," Credit-Card Disputes, The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2005; Page D1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110981567203569105,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 
Jensen Comment:  For more information on the Fair Credit Billing Act go to http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcb/fcb.pdf 


How to Fix The Tort System
Does this mean there's no case against the tort system? Not at all. Just that the strongest evidence of plaintiffs' lawyer misconduct doesn't rest on broad economic data. Rather, the real crisis lies in the proliferation of specific types of bogus cases -- ones in which nobody has been injured, no malfeasance has occurred, or regulators have already taken care of the problem. Despite their claims of being selfless safety advocates, plaintiffs' attorneys in 2005 are analogous to chief executives in 1999: Most of the players are making an honest living. But an unacceptably high percentage of them are stretching the rules.  BusinessWeek's four-part solution to the problem is based on a set of pragmatic principles, with some parallels to those being used to clean up Corporate America. Like CEOs, lawyers should, first of all, be paid for performance. They shouldn't be allowed to take home multimillion-dollar paychecks if clients get pennies. Second, they shouldn't be able to cash in when they're merely piling on to government crackdowns. Third: When attorneys break the rules, the punishment should sting. These days, lawyers who file frivolous suits barely get their wrists slapped. These simple reforms would eliminate the most abusive cases while preserving the rights of victims. In the rare cases where they did not go far enough, such as asbestos, a far more radical change -- exiting the courts altogether -- may work better.

"How to Fix The Tort System," Business Week (Four-Part Series), March 14, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_11/b3924601.htm?campaign_id=nws_insdr_mar4&link_position=link1 

low percentage of people who truly benefit from class actions
The single most scandalous thing about the American tort system is the low percentage of people who truly benefit from class actions. It's no mystery why this happens. Defendants want to keep redemption rates low -- and many plaintiffs' lawyers don't care. Their fees are set when deals are signed and pegged to a high theoretical number of claimants. And judges are way too busy to bird-dog settled disputes. This distorted set of incentives produces unintelligible award notices buried deep in newspapers, burdensome forms to fill out, and short claim periods.  Solution: Reverse the economics of class-action settlements. Plaintiffs' lawyers should be paid after victims collect their money -- not before. This would have two benefits. First, it would make lawyers more aggressive about getting the word out to class members. Second, and more important, it would filter out a high percentage of the system's silliest claims. One of the main reasons people don't bother to collect class-action benefits is that they don't perceive any injury in the first place.

"Pay for Performance," Business Week (Four-Part Series), March 14, 2005 --- 
 http://images.businessweek.com/ss/05/03/reform/index_01.htm 


Why not ask me?  I've got theories on everything
"We are nowhere close to an accurate, purely physical theory of everything," Penrose told Nature earlier this year.  Indeed, Penrose's newly published 1,099-page treatise -- The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe -- expends little ink ruminating over what is not known. Rather, The Road to Reality is as rigorous and exhaustive a map to the "theory of nearly everything" as a reader could hope to find today.
Mark Anderson, "Penrose: The Answer's Not 42," Wired News, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,66751,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2 


Bob and Jennie:  We've got almost all the symptoms
In the early '90s, psychiatrists and clinicians were beginning to hear of a new medical term, "internet addiction." At first, this was met with a lot of skepticism and denial, however, it became evident that the more people logged on to cyberspace, the more they got hooked.The 10 Symptoms You Need To Watch Out For:
AskMen.com --- http://www.askmen.com/fashion/body_and_mind/16_better_living.html


What professions perhaps have the most inside (economic) track to legislators in the U.S.?
The center found that the number of legislators and their spouses employed in education--including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and educational associations--was exceeded only by the number of legislators and their spouses employed in the legal system.  In higher education, about 7 percent of legislators or their spouses were affiliated in some way with an institution or organization.  The study found that one-third of lawmakers who had a personal stake in higher education also sat on their legislature's education committee.  Leah Rush, the center's director of state projects, says lawmakers often cite state ethics laws in saying that the public is protected from conflicts of interest.  But this report "takes the window dressing off of these ethics laws," she says.
Joseph Gidjuis, "Sudy Questions Economic Ties Between Colleges and State Lawmakers," The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 8, 2005,  Page A26.


This university's piggie-lobbyist went to market, this ...
The investment seems to be paying off. In the NIH budget article, for instance, the reporters noted that Congress actually doubled the NIH's funding between 1999 and 2003. Similarly, according to the College Board's Trends in Student Aid 2004, total inflation-adjusted federal student aid—which ultimately ends up in the pockets of colleges and universities—more than doubled between the 1993-94 and 2003-04 academic years, totaling more than $81 billion in 2003-04.  The most direct payoff, however, has been in higher education "pork"—projects earmarked for specific schools rather than awarded through competitive grants—which, according to the Chronicle, rose from $296 million in 1996 to over $2 billion in 2003. How do colleges and universities get such projects? "Members of Congress...choose recipients...based on their own judgments, often after lobbying by the colleges seeking the money," according to the newspaper.
"Pork U., "Higher ed's scramble for federal cash," ReasonOnLine, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/hod/nm030105.shtml 
Jensen Comment:  Read what Ohio University economist Richard Vedder has to say in Going Broke By Degree: Why College Costs Too Much


Only the winners decide what were war crimes.
Gary Wills


Japanese reactionaries are using the "abduction issue"?
A spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland in a statement Saturday scathingly denounced the moves of the Japanese reactionaries to institute the "Day of Tok Islet" and the remarks of the Japanese ambassador to south Korea that Tok islet belongs to Japan as a very dangerous behavior fully revealing their brigandish nature and shameless ambition for territorial expansion and a heinous move to seize part of the inalienable territory of Korea. He said: The Japanese reactionaries have become so brazenfaced as to make a claim to Tok Islet, while insisting that it belongs to Japan. This is a rash act which can be committed only by the political gangsters and rogues who are utterly indifferent to history and international law. We can never allow the Japanese reactionaries to insult the Korean nation and grab part of the inalienable land of Korea. All Koreans should wage a more resolute struggle to shatter Japan's moves to grab the islet and force it to apologize and compensate for its past crimes. Japan would be well advised to properly understand the ever mounting anti-Japanese sentiment of the Korean nation and its bitter hatred, stop acting rashly and discontinue at once its brigandish moves to grab the islet.
"Japan's Ambition for Territorial Expansion Assailed," North Korea News, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2005/200503/news03/07.htm#8 


The ACLU wants crosses removed from all government property, but firmly draws a line on cemeteries and, I assume, museums.  If exceptions are to me made who should decide where to draw the line --- http://www.aclu.org/info/info.cfm?ID=14684&c=248#3_8 
In the grand scheme of things, I think this is one of those things that is out of perspective given all the problems of the world.

Remove religious monuments from public property:  Is it the name of religion or history?
When the epic was done, DeMille went into publicity overdrive. He funded the Fraternal Order of Eagles' promotion of Ten Commandments displays. One of the monuments landed on the grounds of the Texas capitol where -- fast forward -- a homeless lawyer happened upon it and took his protest all the way to the US Supreme Court.  The tale of the Texas monument was one of two Ten Commandment cases heard Wednesday. The other was about the framed copies of the biblical Decalogue placed in some Kentucky courthouses. The Supremes will have to decide whether putting the commandments in public spaces amounts to a state endorsement of religion, or whether it is merely an acknowledgment of their historic influence on the law.  In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, ''I bet that 90 percent of the American people believe in the Ten Commandments, and 85 percent couldn't tell you what they all are."  The whole Ten Commandments furor is fueled by religious conservatives and then handed to lawyers who offer a secular defense. In this case, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott defended the 6-foot stone bearing the words ''I am the Lord thy God" by saying it was just one presence in a ''museum-like" setting filled with homages to other ''historical influences." Kentucky's Matthew Staver defended the displays that were meant to illustrate ''America's Christian heritage" by saying they were merely a part of an historic tableau.  The historic cover story for a religious message tells you just what sort of a mess we are in. As Douglas Laycock of the University of Texas Law School says, ''The court has said that the government cannot endorse religion, and the government keeps doing it anyway. Then religious groups are forced to defend it in court by saying it isn't religion at all -- it's about the foundations of American law or it's an historical landmark."

Ellen Goodman, "Monuments to God or history?" Boston Globe, March 6, 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/03/06/monuments_to_god_or_history/ 


Keeping church and state separate in public schools may not be easy
Muslims want to ensure their children grow up with values Six Islamic groups, accounting for 70% of Germany's Muslims, plan to unite under one umbrella to push for having Islam taught in public schools. The groups want to ensure that Islam can be taught in German in public schools to better integrate children and prevent misinterpretations. It is vital to resolve this problem and ensure that Islam is enrolled in school curriculums, said Nadeem Elyas, president of the central council of Muslims, one of the groups. "If we don't, the next...
"German Muslims want Islam in class," Aljazeera, March 2, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/719395FB-338E-4C18-8B03-2B70789FDBA3.htm 


U.S. Population Explosion
The 1970 U.S. Census placed America's population at about 200 million people. Shortly thereafter, the bipartisan Rockefeller Commission issued a report that concluded that there would be no public benefit to further U.S. population growth. In the ensuing 35 years, U.S. population has swelled by 50 percent and we stand on the brink of surpassing 300 million people. How did this astounding population explosion occur? A new study published by the Federation for...
"Immigration Drives Rapid U.S. Population Growth," FairUS, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.fairus.org/media/media.cfm?id=2638&c=34 


Bad science frightening the poor:  Better to let them continue to be hungry and maybe starve?
Activists are again trying to frighten poor people in developing countries by claiming the U.S. is poisoning them with genetically modified food. Never mind that 280 million Americans have been eating biotech-enhanced crops for nearly a decade with zero evidence that it has caused anyone so much as a sniffle or a bellyache.
Ronald Bailey, "Attack of the Killer Crops? Activists still trying to scare poor farmers with bad science," ReasonOnLine, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/rb/rb030205.shtml 

Brazil Passes Law Allowing Crops With Modified Genes
After months of delays and heated debate, legislators passed a biotechnology law late Wednesday night by a vote of 352 to 60. The bill had pitted farmers and scientists against environmental and religious groups. Besides lifting a longstanding ban on the sale and planting of gene-altered seeds, the legislation also clears the way for research involving human embryonic stem cells that have been frozen for at least three years
Todd Benson, "Brazil Passes Law Allowing Crops With Modified Genes," The New York Times, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/business/worldbusiness/04gene.html 
Jensen Comment:  I also hope Brazil launches a major stem cell research initiative since the U.S. is dragging its Republican feet.


An entirely new definition of bankruptcy:  What you don't know about a pending bill might hurt you
"Most of the credit cards that end up in bankruptcy proceedings have already made a profit for the companies that issued them," said Robert R. Weed, a Virginia bankruptcy lawyer and onetime aide to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.  "That's because people are paying so many fees that they've already paid more than was originally borrowed," he said.  In addition, some experts say, the changes proposed in the Senate bill would fundamentally alter long-standing American legal policy on debt. Under bankruptcy laws as they have existed for more than a century, creditors can seize almost all of a bankrupt debtor's assets, but they cannot lay claim to future earnings.  The proposed law, by preventing many debtors from seeking bankruptcy protection, would compel financially insolvent borrowers to continue trying to pay off the old debts almost indefinitely . . . Debate about the bill continued Thursday, with the Republican-controlled Senate refusing to limit consumer interest rates to 30%. The vote was a bipartisan 74 to 24 to kill a proposed amendment by Sen. Mark Dayton (news, bio, voting record) (D-Minn.). Senate passage of the bill is expected next week.
Peter G. Gosselin, "Credit Card Firms Won as Users Lost," The Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/LAtimesMarch4 
Bob Jensen Comment:  I think bankruptcy has been abused by rip off artists and the law needs to be changed.  This pending bill, which most likely will pass, however got high jacked by the rip off artists called credit card companies.

 

Surprise! Surprise!  Fat butts are always more protected in Washington DC.
The bankruptcy legislation being debated by the Senate is intended to make it harder for people to walk away from their credit card and other debts. But legal specialists say the proposed law leaves open an increasingly popular loophole that lets wealthy people protect substantial assets from creditors even after filing for bankruptcy.  The loophole involves the use of so-called asset protection trusts. For years, wealthy people looking to keep their money out of the reach of domestic creditors have set up these trusts offshore. But since 1997, lawmakers in five states - Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, Rhode Island and Utah - have passed legislation exempting assets held domestically in such trusts from the federal bankruptcy code. People who want to establish trusts do not have to reside the five states; they need only set their trust up through an institution in one of them.
Gretchen Morenson, "Proposed Law on Bankruptcy Has Loophole," The New York Times, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/business/02bankrupt.html 


Bob Jensen's threads on credit card company dirty secrets are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO 


This isn't corny:  Poets v. U. of Iowa Press
The University of Iowa is known for its Writers' Workshop, so it's no surprise that the University of Iowa Press builds on that literary reputation with annual prizes for poetry and short fiction.  In recent weeks, an anonymous Web site has begun a campaign against the press, arguing that it favors entries with connections to the university. The Web site, Poetry, calls itself "the poetry watchdog" and boasts of its role "exposing the fraudulent 'contests,' tracking the sycophants, naming names."  The Web site is urging poets to send letters to consumer advocates, state officials and the university's president, and to lawyers who might help with a class action lawsuit (based on Foetry's view that participants are duped into paying the $20 entry fee, unaware that they may have little chance of winning if they don't have Iowa ties).  At the Iowa Press, officials are astonished to find themselves under attack by an army of poets and poetry fans -- most of them anonymous.
Scott Jaschik, "Poets v. U. of Iowa Press," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://insidehighered.com/insider/poets_v_u_of_iowa_press 


Dark clouds move in over Auburn's sensational football season
But when black educators at Auburn and black legislators in Montgomery didn't like the answers they received to questions about those who lost their jobs, matters deteriorated. Alabama's black legislative caucus has called for black athletes to boycott the university, with a leader of the boycott effort calling Auburn "one of the most racist universities in the world."  And the Rev. Al Sharpton is now getting involved, saying that he will mobilize his supporters to back the boycott of a university with "a history of blatant discriminatory practices."  All of this activity is taking place as the university released a long-awaited report on efforts to promote diversity. And that report follows a letter from black faculty and students leaders demanding that the president do more to recruit and retain minority students and faculty members. The general feeling among many black scholars is that Auburn is terrified of the boycott, suggesting that some of the university's leaders are more concerned about black people who can hold a ball than those who hold doctorates.
Scott Jaschik, "Race, Sports and Professors," Inside Higher Ed, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/race_sports_and_professors 


Raising the bar for a free education
In an effort to outdo its rivals, Yale University said yesterday that it would no longer require parents earning less than $45,000 a year to pay anything toward their children's educations.  Harvard announced a similar program last year, freeing parents who earn $40,000 or less from paying anything, and the change helped raise its applications to record levels. Several of Yale's other competitors, including Princeton, have taken a slightly different approach by no longer requiring loans for low-income students, and they also believe the move helped increase applications.
Greg Winter, "Yale Cuts Expenses for Poor in a Move to Beat," The New York Times, March 4, 2005 ---  http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/education/04yale.html 

Also see http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/yale_plays_catch_up_on_financial_aid 

But this does not solve our larger problem:  What about the ones who don't go on to school?
Job Sprawl and the Spatial Mismatch between Blacks and Jobs ---  http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20050214_jobsprawl.pdf 


New technologies for the deaf and blind
The isolated world of deaf-blind impaired people is slowly being cracked open by new devices, from hockey pucks that rattle to beds that shake sleepers awake. And an age-old technique - the eyes and ears of others who intervene to help them communicate - is also being used to greater effect. "Just so many opportunities have opened because of intervention," says Sayer, who lives in Winnipeg. Many people like her need interveners "to be able to go out, even leave their homes - to do our shopping," she said
Eric Shackleton, "Isolated world of deaf-blind being cracked open by new technologies," Canadian Press, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.canada.com/technology/news/story.html?id=d1bc4012-08f4-4a3f-aca3-04401dbb07d7 


Mysterious mental abilities
"Mirror neurons promise to do for neuroscience what DNA did for biology," neurobiologist V.S. Ramachandran of the University of California, San Diego, has written, explaining "a host of mental abilities that have remained mysterious."

Sharon Begley, "How Mirror Neurons Help Us to Empathize, Really Feel Others' Pain," The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2004, Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110989327130070064,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 


When you really need to think, sniff the roses
New research suggests people with synesthesia may be better problem solvers. Tasting sounds and smelling colors could be good for cognition.  Neuroscientists think the condition occurs because certain regions of the brain "cross-activate" at the same time. So the tone perception center, for example, may be linked with the taste perception center. And studying synesthetes is giving clues to the working of the brain, one of the most complex structures in the universe.  "Synesthesia shows how many variations in normal brain function are possible," said Michaela Esslen, of the department of neuropsychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Rowan Hooper, "Rainbow Coalition of the Brain," Wired News, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,66770,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_5 


Brain Tissue Bank
A brain tissue bank that will allow researchers to study sudden deaths from a variety of causes is to open in Edinburgh.  During a two-year project starting on Wednesday, a group of researchers are to collect healthy and diseased tissue samples that will help them study drug abuse, epilepsy, severe asthma, cot death and suicide and other conditions.
"UK home to first brain bank," Aljazeera, March 2, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ADEEA091-EFB7-4093-844D-7620460E05FB.htm 
Jensen Comment:  There may be a technical problem with defining a "healthy" brain when you consider alcohol usage, aging differentials (male vs. female), etc.  However, researchers will apparently identify "healthy" by some definition in contrast to "severe" abnormalities.


Please don't put Nancy Soderberg's brain tissue under the "healthy" category of the Brain Bank
There's always hope that this might not work.  
(with reference to positive change in the Middle East while the Republicans are still in power.)
Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" featuring Jon Stewart" March 1, 2005
This clip might eventually be available at http://www.comedycentral.com/tv_shows/thedailyshowwithjonstewart/videos_corr.jhtml?p=stewart 
Jensen's Comment:  This is a Comedy Central show, but if you watch the segment you have to believe she's serious.  Even Jon Stewart buried his head in his hands and tried to hide.

Clinton aide Nancy Soderberg is the author of The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471656836.html " (foreword by Bill Clinton, blurb by Madeleine Albright)


Oh No!  How can there be tantalizing signs of change before Bush departs in 2008?
There's always hope that this might work. 

The Arab world is beginning to show tantalising signs of change. But it is too early to talk of a year of revolutions, as the three prime exhibits being used to make the case for democracy—Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine—are in many ways special cases.
"Something stirs," The Economist, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3722882 


Is it possible for a "dim-bulb" to turn into shining light?  
Nick Gillespie was right to pooh-pooh the view that "[a]t every step of his career, [George W.] Bush has been written off as a lightweight and a loser, a dim bulb whose grasp exceeds his reach and whose I.Q. is stuck somewhere in the high double digits." I once referred to him as a "cretin," and the laugh is surely on me, though this was in the context of a successful endorsement. Like Ronald Reagan in Eastern Europe, Bush has shown in the Middle East that simple, indeed simplistic, ideas can go a long way when expressing the frustration and anger of populations afflicted with tyrannies refusing to accord them even minimal respect.
Michael Young, "Free at Last?  Some Arabs welcome American democratic browbeating," ReasonOnLine, February 24, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links022405.shtml 


Arab reforms must come from within
Some argue that introducing political reform to the Arab world is not a choice but an imperative given that Arab governments are interested in bringing their nations up to speed with the rest of the world.
  Amr Musa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, tells Aljazeera.net in an exclusive interview that reforms must come from within.
Aljazeera, March 2, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/967715B8-276C-4708-AC08-7FD102E13BA7.htm 


First estimate $400 billion, Revised estimate $1.2 trillion:  Where were the accountants?
The administration's last official ten-year cost projection—that the new Medicare law would cost $534 billion over ten years—was deservedly controversial. The administration hid the estimate while publicly touting a much lower estimate ($400 billion). Thus most observers were suspicious when the president's budget was released last week.  The latest estimate, which projected the cost of just the drug benefit, was much higher: $1.2 trillion over 10 years. This is not directly comparable to the previous projection, for a number of reasons. First, it is a gross figure that does not include offsets that will accrue to the Treasury. Accounting for these brings the 10-year cost projection for the drug benefit to a net $725 billion.
"A Billion Here, a Billion There:  Fuzzy math on the Medicare prescription drug benefit," ReasonOnLine, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/hod/mc022805.shtml 
My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


The Medicaid Diet Plan for all 50 States
State governors ended their winter meeting without resolving differences with the Bush administration over how to curb spending on Medicaid.  Many governors said they support some facets of the Bush plan to revamp the joint federal-state health-care program for the poor -- especially proposals to give states greater ability to provide slimmer benefits to some Medicaid recipients and charge them higher co-payments when they go to the doctor or fill a prescription.
Sarah Lueck, "Governors Balk at Medicaid Plan," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110969167792867064,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 


Add this one "One Time Incident Warnings" highlighted recently by Janet Jackson, Ward Churchill and Lawrence Summers.  (Michael Jackson doesn't count since he's allegedly a repeat offender.)
But just a few weeks later, more than 300,000 people have signed the petition, which reads, in part, "We, the undersigned, are disgusted with Ashlee Simpson's horrible singing and hereby ask her to stop." Decker has given numerous interviews, and has even gone on national television to discuss her Web site,
( http://www.StopAshlee.com ).  Being an Ashlee Simpson non-fan has become a full-time job for Decker. "I was not expecting anywhere near this," says Decker, 18, who lives in New York City. "It's crazy. "Ever since Simpson's disastrous appearance on "Saturday Night Live" late last year, she has been the focus of a bunch of controversy--and criticism. On the show, she was caught lip-syncing on camera, something she blamed first on her band, then on acid-reflux disease. And in an incident almost as famous, she was booed during her performance in January at the Orange Bowl.
"Forgive and forget? Ashlee Simpson's blame game enrages some, makes others shrug." Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/chi-0502280305mar01,1,2778714.story?coll=chi-techtopheds-hed 


Who's Bible is it?
There are several questions that might occur to anyone who opens a Bible. How, for instance, did its separate books come to be written? Who decided to put them together? And why do Catholics and Protestants have different Bibles? Although Jews and Christians believe their collections of Scripture to be inspired -- in other words, ultimately composed -- by God, a great deal of human industry clearly went into them. How are we to measure this human element and account for it? It is such questions that Jaroslav Pelikan sets out to answer in "Whose Bible Is It?" (Viking, 274 pages, $24.95), an engaging and highly readable survey of biblical scholarship that tells a fascinating and complex story.
George Sim Johnston, "The Battle of the Book," The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page D9


Capitalism roaring in a former communist-leaning nation
There is growing acceptance of India as a successful high-growth story. Growth has steadily accelerated from 1980 onwards. And this has been achieved simultaneously with nearly 60 years of faithful adherence to democratic norms and traditions. The enshrining of democratic principles in a newly independent country might have involved some initial "fixed costs." But democracy is the only legitimate and stable foundation for a society. India, having paid those "fixed costs," now appears to be reaping the dividends.
P. Chidambaram, "A Passage to Prosperity," The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2005, Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110989798197470243,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


The Vioxx fallout hits multiple sclerosis patients.
Tysabri had received accelerated approval from the FDA just three months ago because clinical trials had shown it to be twice as effective as alternative therapies in preventing flare-ups of MS, which is a degenerative and eventually fatal disease. Tysabri is also easier to take than alternative treatments, and tolerated by a subset of MS patients who can't take the others at all.  But for the indefinite future everyone will have to do without because two of the thousands of patients who've received Tysabri developed a rare neurological disorder. Those two patients happened to also be on another immuno-suppressive MS treatment called Avonex. There is no reason to believe that Tysabri has caused this disorder when used alone.  There's plenty of blame to go around here, starting with the trial lawyers and their climate of fear. Congressmen who demagogue about non-existent FDA safety "lapses" aren't much better. But we're also disappointed with CEOs who imagine they're doing patients and shareholders a favor with such rash decisions. In retrospect, Merck CEO Ray Gilmartin only strengthened the hand of the lawyers by withdrawing Vioxx when the FDA would have been content with relabeling.
"Drug Twilight Zone," The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972765984167851,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Confidential Privileges of Bloggers?
If the court, in Santa Clara County, rules that bloggers are journalists, the privilege of keeping news sources confidential will be applied to a large new group of people, perhaps to the point that it may be hard for courts in the future to countenance its extension to anyone.  "It's very serious stuff," said Brad Friedman, who describes himself as an investigative blogger (his site is bradblog.com). "Are they bloggers because they only publish online? I think you have to look at what folks are doing. And if they're reporting, then they're reporters."
Jonathan Glater, "At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?," The New York Times, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/07/technology/07blog.html 


All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than animals that know nothing.
Maurice Maeterlinck

Pavlov's Welfare State
It is stunning that anyone could continue to claim that Europe still sets the global standard for social justice when 19 million people across the EU are unemployed. Instead of facing the reality of globalization, many so-called social leaders prefer to impose an intolerable burden on Europe's young by encouraging governments to run unsustainable budget deficits in the futile hope of a painless Keynesian recovery. These self-styled social missionaries are in fact ideologically bound to the 19th-century industrial age. While there may have been a time when working less, vacationing more, retiring earlier and demanding higher pay irrespective of economic realities was justified, today we urgently need a more contemporary notion of what constitutes good social policy.
Ann Mettler, "Pavlov's Welfare State," The Wall Street Journal,  March 3, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110980327751868732,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


A Tale of Two Models
In practice, for at least three decades now, the net adjustment has invariably been one way -- in favor of labor. This is how the intricate system of entitlements of European welfare states has gradually been built up. Translated into moral terms, "social justice" was being done. No one thought of asking whether social justice can cut both ways and if it could, why it always cuts only one way.  As was to be expected, reality in due course caught up with the European model, causing it increasingly to backfire in the face of the politicians who still pretended to steer it. Above all else, the model radically stifles the demand for labor, generating a seemingly incurable, endemic unemployment that for years has stuck at around 10% in the major euro-zone economies that still believe in the model, while it is only 4%-5% in Britain and other European users of the rival "liberal" model.  This is a fact even French politicians recognize, although they refuse to accept responsibility for it. It does not, in itself, warrant an article in The Wall Street Journal. But it has intriguing implications that perhaps do, for they have not so far been openly discussed.  Built-in unemployment around 10% is caused by two features of the European model. One is the weight of vast schemes of social insurance financed via payroll taxes, whose cost is greater than their value to the insured wage-earner. Hence the cost of wages exceeds their value and the demand for labor stays chronically deficient.  The other, perhaps less powerful, cause is job protection. Labor laws, meaning well, make the shedding of labor so difficult and expensive that employers are afraid of taking the risk of hiring. They either resort to short fixed-term jobs or just make do with the staff they have. Both these features of the European model -- social insurance and job protection -- are, of course, meant to favor labor over capital. But in practice, they do the exact opposite.
Anthony De Jasay, "A Tale of Two Models," The Wall Street Journal (Europe), March 2, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971966576567617,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
Jensen Comment:  It's against the law to throw live bodies overboard to save lives --- http://www.cise.ufl.edu/class/cgs3065/reginavdudley.html 

-Dudley and Stephens 1884 –unwillingness to recognize starvation of group as justification or excuse for murder of one to save the larger group. –Can’t be a justification because it is not morally right to take a life to save yours or even a group? –Can’t be an excuse either because it is just too difficult to calculate who should live and die and would set dangerous precedent? So pass the buck to the executive authorities re the exercise of mercy and keep the law “pure” as an expression of human morality?
"CRIMINAL LAW (ESAU) OUTLINE #18:  SECTION SIX: DEFENCES: JUSITIFICATIONS AND EXCUSES --- http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/law/Courses/esau/criminal/chap18.html 
Jensen Comment:  But creating unemployment in one sector to the betterment of other sectors is not really the same as extermination of the unlucky sector.  The problem of today is one of redeploying the other sector, and that's no easy problem since the age and abilities of the troubled sector usually become huge hurdles in redeployment.  There are no easy answers here, but something has to be done to save a sinking ship.


Who get hurt worst in building tariff walls:  In the short term it's the poorest nations of the world
Restrictive standards simply protect some producers at the expense of others and the most likely to be hit in the case of coffee are the very poorest producers in Africa and Asia. . . The European Union is amongst the worst organisations in this regard. In protecting our own farmers with subsidies of about $2 a day for keeping a cow we are harming third world farmers who have to live on less than that.
Ian Whyte, "Myths of Fairtrade goods hurt the poorest," The Scotsman, March 2, 2005 --- http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=228722005 


Waiting for Godot:  Waiting and Waiting and Waiting
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was conveniently out of the country when the news hit yesterday that that the country's unemployment figure rose to over 5.2 million, or 12.6%, a new post-war record. One would have to go back to 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, to find more Germans out of work.  In the past, Europe's left has had two prescriptions for low growth: cheap money and deficit spending. But the European Central Bank's mandate is to preserve price stability. Besides, with real interest rates around zero and inflation right at its 2% target, the ECB is doing already enough to boost the economy. And though some in Mr. Schröder's Social Democratic party want a government investment program, New Deal-type policies have been largely discredited in Germany.  What really needs to be done -- cutting taxes and red tape and making the labor market more flexible -- has been discussed ad nauseam in the German media. Why is it then not being done? Simply because of a lack of political courage. Tackling issues such as Germany's iron rules on dismissals would pit the chancellor against those 38 million who still have a job in order to help those nine million without work. Better to blame the malaise on exogenous factors, such as euro strength or high oil prices, and promise a better tomorrow via overly optimistic growth forecasts that need constant downward revisions.
"Waiting for Godot," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971818698567568,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


And while we're on the subject of sinking ships
There's an obscure branch of mathematics known as "catastrophe theory," which looks at how a small perturbation in a previously stable system can suddenly produce dramatic change. A classic example of the theory is the way a bridge, after bearing immense weight for many years, can suddenly collapse because of a new stress.  We are now watching a glorious catastrophe take place in the Middle East. The old system that had looked so stable is ripping apart, with each beam pulling another down as it falls. The sudden stress that produced the catastrophe was the American invasion of Iraq two years ago. But the Arab power structure has been rotting. And what's bringing it down is public anger.
David Ignatius, " 'Glorious Catastrophe' in the Middle East,"  The Washington Post,  March 2, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971872291267585,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Let's get rid of the International Monetary Fund:  Lend to deadbeats at your own risk
This week the jury came in. The completion of the Argentine bond restructuring offer, executed without the intermediation of the fund, makes the case that the SRDM is more an invention of an overgrown bureaucracy in search of a mission than a necessary addition to the world financial system.  Indeed, the Argentine restructuring is good ammo for those who want to close the fund: 30 years after the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement and the end of the balance-of-payments crises under a gold exchange standard, the IMF can still find no meaningful role other than as a political slush fund for the G-7 major industrial nations.
Mary Anastasia O'Grady, "Argentina's Lessons for Global Creditors," The Wall Street Journal,  March 4, 2005; Page A15 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110989847475270265,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Not much profit from looking inward
GE expects to get as much as 60% of its revenue growth from developing countries over the next decade, Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt said in the company's annual report, making a major shift from the past decade.  After nearly four years of reshaping the company through $60 billion in acquisitions of financing, water treatment, security systems, bioscience businesses and a movie studio, Mr. Immelt said in his letter to shareholders, "we have prepared to make our own growth in a slow-growth, more volatile world."
Kathryn Kranhold, "GE Pins Hopes on Emerging Markets:  Strategy Is Major Shift From Reliance on the West; Big Rivals Echo Approach," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005; Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972499521267783,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

A week after President Bush toured Europe to try to patch up the tattered trans-Atlantic relationship, the American car industry is embarking on its own charm offensive. Whether Detroit will make more headway than Washington is anybody's guess.  Cadillac, a unit of General Motors, and the Dodge unit of DaimlerChrysler unveiled new cars at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday that they hope will lead a fresh push into the European market.
"Europe, Meet Cadillac and Dodge," The New York Times, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/business/worldbusiness/02car.html 


Who's the Randroid of this outfit?
Referring to the followers of Ayn Rand as "Randroids"  was probably not the nicest way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the author's birth. But it was positively kind by contrast with the really strange honor being paid to her soon by her devotees. They are all set to publish a volume that will document, at great length, how Rand coped with a private, and fairly humiliating, part of her life.
Scott McLemee, "This, That and the Other Thing,"  Inside Higher Ed, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/intellectual_affairs__9 


Things are looking up
At The Cloud Appreciation Society we love clouds, we're not ashamed to say it and we've had enough of people moaning about them. Read our manifesto and see how we are fighting the banality of ‘blue-sky thinking’. If you agree with what we stand for, then join the society for free and receive your very own official membership certificate and badge.  March's Cloud of the Month is the stratus – a cloud that can prove more of a challenge to appreciate than any of the others.
The Cloud Appreciation Society --- http://www.cloudappreciationsociety.org/ 


Rentals are much cheaper than during the past two decades
A village which was submerged 35 years ago in northern Portugual has reemerged due to the worst drought in recent decades  ... 
"Drought Causes Sunken Portuguese Village to Reemerge," Designerz, March 3, 2005 --- http://science.news.designerz.com/drought-causes-sunken-portuguese-village-to-reemerge.html?d20050303 


Why does one case in the U.S. get so much more publicity than this?
More than 60 alleged paedophiles go on trial in Angers, France, in one of the country's biggest court cases.
"Child sex trial opens in France," BBC News, March 3, 2005 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4313747.stm 


Not a happy time for the academy.
University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman announced Monday that she is resigning amid a football recruiting scandal and a national controversy over an activist professor who had compared victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to a Nazi.  Hoffman, who has been president for five years, told the Board of Regents in a letter that her resignation is effective June 30 or whenever the board names a successor.
SI.com, March 7, 2005  --- http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/football/ncaa/03/07/cu.hoffman.ap/index.html?cnn=yes 

Hoffman said last week that Churchill would not be fired if the review turns up only inflammatory comments, not misconduct.

The furor over Churchill erupted in January after he was invited to speak at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Campus officials discovered an essay and follow-up book by Churchill in which he said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a response to a history of American abuses abroad, particularly against indigenous peoples.

Among other things, he said those killed in the trade center were "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who organized Nazi plans to exterminate Jews. The college canceled Churchill's appearance, citing death threats and concerns about security.

Jensen Comment:  A review of Ward Churchill's speeches and writings is being conducted to determine if the professor overstepped his boundaries of academic freedom and whether that should be grounds for dismissal.  

Purge of conservatives at Colorado University?
Mitchell taught at the Hallett Diversity Program for 24 straight semesters. That is, until he made the colossal error of actually presenting a (gasp!) diverse opinion, quoting respected conservative black intellectual Thomas Sowell in a discussion about affirmative action.  Sitting 5 feet from a pink triangle that read "Hate-Free Zone," the progressive head of the department berated Mitchell, calling him a racist.  "That would have come as a surprise to my black children," explains Mitchell, who has nine kids, as of last count, two of them adopted African-Americans.  People say liberals run the university. I wish they did," Mitchell says. "Most liberals understand the need for intellectual diversity. It's the radical left that kills you."  So Churchill may play the part, but Mitchell is the true dissenter at CU.  Why did he stay this long?  "I stay to create enthusiasm and love for history," Mitchell says. " And I am successful at that. I love the classroom, and I love my students."  Once, president Hoffman promised increased intellectual diversity at CU - not a purge of conservatives.  Another promise broken.
David Harsanyi, "A CU prof deserving of sympathy," Denver Post, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~31908~2748616,00.html 

Also see "Heretics in the Academy?:  On campuses across the country, conservative professors face a sea of hostility and ideological bias," by Jennifer Jacobson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A8-A11.

Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyChurchill.htm 


We need to make better choices.
And we like to know that our seafood choice is the best one we can make for a healthy marine environment.  Our oceans are in crisis.  We need to make better choices.
"Best Fish Guide," Forest & Bird, http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/bestfishguide/index.asp 


From the left side of the world:  Rural people of the south
This site provides access to 1800 of approximately 12,000 images from the Ulmann Photograph Collection. The images were scanned prior to the development of local standards and information provided about each image is sketchy and sometimes inaccurate. Staff from Special Collections and University Archives are in the process of reviewing the images and correcting information.
The Doris Ulmann Photograph Collection http://libweb.uoregon.edu/catdept/digcol/ulmann/index.html 


I like the way these films are categorized with a short commentary accompanying each title.  There is a religious bias in these selections and in the commentaries.
"Colson's List of 50 Insightful Films," Prison Fellowship, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.pfm.org/Content/ContentGroups/BreakPoint/Columns/At_the_Movies/Other_dates1/Colson_s_List_of_50_Insightful_Films.htm


Some interesting tips on day-to-day living 
"Everyday Cheapskate," Jewish World Review --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/cheapskate1.asp 


"The 10 greatest rock'n'roll myths:  From strange deaths to blood transfusions and dubious fish-related practices, it's time to debunk the tallest tales." by Graeme Thomson, Gurardian, February 20, 2005 --- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0,13887,1415153,00.html 


"The Climate Debate: When Science Serves the State," by N. Joseph Potts, Ludwig von Mises Institute, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?Id=1755 

United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) sponsors adoption of the Kyoto Protocol by most industrialized nations around the world, with estimated costs of legally binding compliance estimated at over $150 billion per year. The chief promotional artifact in the proceedings, the "hockey stick" historical temperature chart of IPCC Third Scientific Assessment Chapter Lead Author Michael Mann , is shown to be based on a computer program that produces hockey sticks from over 99 percent of ten thousand samples of random noise fed to it. Stephen McIntyre, retired Canadian minerals consultant, demonstrates numerous other defects and distortions in both the data and statistical methodology, ultimately the subject of a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal of February 14 and a follow-up editorial on February 18.

Anyone sent to jail on that last one? That biggest one, by far? No.

Any charges? No, and none anticipated.

Lawsuits? None yet (possible reason: too many plaintiffs).

Any bankruptcies? Certainly not of the IPCC, nor of the tax-funded agencies that paid for the research that culminated in the hockey stick.

What about the auditor? There is no auditor. No audits? No, except for the self-funded undertaking of McIntyre and partner Ross McKitrick, and Dr. Mann has cut them and apparently everyone else off from further information on the mysterious process that "proved" an episode of global warming in the Twentieth Century and pointed to human activity as the guilty party.

Congressional action? Well, the US Senate has declined to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but that’s about it.

Government investigation? Despite the fact that the US government funded eleven out of the twelve "Funded Proposals" cited in Dr. Mann’s curriculum vitae , it neither conducts audits of the results reported nor requires that information be made available to others for conducting audits at their own expense and initiative.

But the Kyoto Protocol remains in force and legally binding.

Government and science have found each other, and the spawn of this marriage look set to destroy global wealth on a scale that will render the greatest of history’s wars trivial by comparison. The ultimate outrage of all this is that the people who are subjected to the ravages of the wrong-headed policies promoted by these self-seekers are taxed to pay for the production of this junk science to begin with.


 Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Malcolm S. Forbes
All too often some of us probably clutter the open mind.


Now you should probably download Google's free Desktop Search for finding documents within your own computer.  The product has emerged from Beta testing with more new features.  But first read about security and then decide.
While the beta only indexed Microsoft Outlook e-mail and Internet Explorer Web browsing history, the latest release also can search e-mail from the Mozilla Thunderbird and Netscape clients and browsing history from the Firefox and Netscape browsers, Google announced.  To make more desktop data searchable, the latest release adds indexing support for the full text of PDFs to existing support for Microsoft Office formats. It also indexes the metadata of video, images and audio, such as titles or artist information.  To make more desktop data searchable, the latest release adds indexing support for the full text of PDFs to existing support for Microsoft Office formats. It also indexes the metadata of video, images and audio, such as titles or artist information.  "With regard to users, we have tens of thousands of applications and file types they want to search," said Nikhil Bhatla, a Google product manager. "We've addressed the top requests and most popular applications, and the best way to address [this] is by making desktop search available for developers to write plug-ins
Matt Hicks, "Google Moves Desktop Search Out of Beta," eWeek, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1772568,00.asp 

You can read more about security at http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1735080,00.asp 

I downloaded a free version of the program from http://desktop.google.com/ 

Yahoo also has a desktop search program, but I don't think it is as sophisticated as the new one from Google.  You can read more about this at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm 

 


Did you know there is battle raging between neo-Malthusians and Cornucopians?
Jared Diamond, a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, tells the story of the Greenland Norse in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, published earlier this year, and asks, Why did the colonists raise cattle at all? His answer is depressing: because in Scandinavia, cows were proof of wealth. Diamonds thesis, traced from Easter Island to modern Los Angeles, is that environmental strategies that work for a society at one time and place may be maladapted when circumstances change. If people wont adopt new strategies, if their environment is fragile and deteriorates, their society collapses.  Diamond is famous for an earlier book, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies, which won the Pulitzer Prize by arguing that European civilization triumphed through geographical luck. Collapse has become a sensation, too. But at 575 pages, Collapse is long, life is short, and most commentators have grappled not so much with the book itself as with shadows of the book in particular, with a simplistic summary Diamond published in the New York Times on New Years Day, 2005, titled "The Ends of the World as We Know Them."  Environmentalists liked the summary and, therefore, Collapse, because they thought it served the cause; likening our own time to the periods preceding previous historical collapses, Diamond declared, "We can't continue to deplete our own resources as well as those of much of the rest of the world." Conservative commentators have been uniformly hostile to what they think the book is about; they complain that Diamond does not understand "the tragedy of the commons "that is, the phenomenon whereby commonly shared resources are undervalued and, very frequently, ruined by those who use them. In short, Collapse has been drafted into the battle between neo-Malthusians, who believe our economic life is wickedly destructive and must be constrained by governments, and Cornucopians, who think wealth can grow indefinitely and who adore the unfettered power of markets.
Jason Pontin, "Lets Go Dutch, MIT's Technology Review, April 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/04/issue/editor.asp?trk=nl 


Differences among nations loom far larger than you might have imagined
Each country reveals its own preoccupations, usually born out of its peculiar history and current circumstances. Leave it to the Dutch, for example, to pour computer modeling resources into the management of water and soilendeavors without which the Netherlands very existence would be imperiled. The United States has measured the value of R&D projects largely by their potential for adding to the nervous nations power to fight wars and defend against terrorist attack. In Germany, home of the worlds first superhighways and some of its most storied carmakers, its no surprise to see projects aimed at making driving safer and smarter.  In all, our reporters identified more than two dozen emerging technologies or ideas about innovation as vital to the futures of these seven countries. But even those innovations that most directly address urgent regional needs prove to have application for the entire planet.
Herb Brody (editor), "What Matters Most Depends On Where You Are," MIT's Technology Review, April 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/04/issue/feature_gp.asp?trk=nl 


One Theory on WMDs
Russia Moved Iraqi WMD Charles R. Smith Thursday, March 3, 2005 Moscow Moved Weapons to Syria and Lebanon According to a former top Bush administration official, Russian special forces teams moved weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq to Syria. "I am absolutely sure that Russian Spetsnatz units moved WMD out of Iraq before the war," stated John Shaw, the former deputy undersecretary for international technology security. Story Continues Below According to Shaw, Russian units hid Saddam's arsenal inside Syria and in Lebanon's Bekka valley. "While in Iraq I uncovered detailed information that Spetsnatz units shredded records and moved all...
Newsmax, March 5, 2005 ---  http://www.newsmax.com/  


Using Google for Identity Theft
Teams of hackers surfed the Web at Seattle University yesterday, harvesting Social Security and credit card numbers like a farmer cutting wheat. In less than an hour, they found millions of names, birth dates and numbers -- cyberburglar tools for the crime of identity theft -- using just one, familiar Internet search engine: Google. But these were the good guys -- members of a somewhat secretive organization of computer security pros, forensic cybercops, prosecutors and federal agents called Agora. The group decided to lift the curtain of secrecy for a day to sound a warning about the dangers of "Google...
Paul Shukovsky, " 'Good guys' show just how easy it is to steal ID Elite teams of computer gurus hack into Google and find loads of credit card numbers and sensitive information," Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 5, 2005 --- http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/214663_googlehack05.html 


The Selling of the Curriculum?
Through a family foundation, they created the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a research organization that regularly releases studies that criticize colleges in North Carolina for lack of rigor, too much excitement over trendy disciplines and wasting taxpayer funds. Pope publications mix serious analysis with a lot of mocking -- and individual faculty members are frequently the target.  So when faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill heard that the Pope family was talking to administrators about a multi-year grant to support study of Western civilization, many were upset. Seventy-one faculty members signed an open letter in The Daily Tar Heel complaining that the negotiations have been conducted secretly, in a manner that is "disrespectful to the faculty," and urging that the talks be suspended.  Bernadette Gray-Little, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the lead negotiator over the proposed gift, did not respond to a request for an interview. But in a letter to The Daily Tar Heel, she said that the proposed Pope grant has received more public discussion and more faculty input than similar grants. And she insisted that there were no unusual conditions attached.
Scott Jaschick, "The Selling of the Curriculum?" Inside Higher Ed, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/the_selling_of_the_curriculum 


India truly realizes the importance of education
The Indira Ghandi National University in India now has 1 million students. Twenty percent of all Indian students are in distance education programs, and the Indian policy is to raise that to 40 percent. So this is a different kind of phenomenon, far from the phenomenon of online learning. I don't mean innovation isn't like that. People do things, and then they discover the consequences were not exactly what they expected.

THE STANFORD UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING http://ctl.stanford.edu (as forwarded to me by Jagdish Gangolly)


When bashing the French, a few things should be kept in mind
France has a glorious military tradition and has troops serving in the field in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Africa and Haiti. In Kosovo, 3,000 French soldiers are deployed side by side with 1,800 American soldiers; in Afghanistan, our forces are also operating side by side as are our ships in the Gulf of Oman and reconnaissance aircraft in Djibouti. Our intelligence services and special forces also cooperate closely and appreciate working together.  France is a driving force in European integration and in strengthening European defense. It is encouraging its partners to do more and better in assuming their responsibilities for security issues in Europe and the world. It is making an exceptional effort regarding its own defense budget.
Michele Alliot-Marie, "Let Us Be Partners," The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111024396859873017,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


The word "f__king" doesn't mean anything.  It's just a figure of speech.
Martin Lawrence in the movie Bad Boys II --- http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/badboys2/site/ 
Jensen Comment:  Maybe so.  It was used in nearly every third line of dialog in this movie, is not in my desk dictionary, and turns me off whether I hear it in a movie or when spoken by students and faculty (yes faculty) on campus.  The Web definitions include "sexual intercourse," "informal intensifier," and a "colloquial intensifier."  But it was used in Bad Boys II so often that it didn't intensify anything.  When used in a great movie called Human Stain, it was used very infrequently and did indeed  intensify.  The problem with youth today is that they don't understand the role of linguistic intensifiers.  I blame a major part of this on Hollywood's failure to understand the same thing.  In general, it's use degrades the speaker and his/her audience.


This is probably overkill, but I do support the idea of being to selectively order cable channels
While their announcement has outraged the telecommunications industry and civil libertarians, most observers believe their idea stands little chance of progressing through Congress. More intriguing, however, is the possibility that the cable and satellite indecency news will resurrect the issue of offering consumers a la carte options for selecting cable channels.  The brouhaha began on Tuesday, when Senator Ted Stevens, (R-Alaska), head of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, declared that he wanted to apply the same standards of decency that govern the content of over-the-air television and radio to pay cable and satellite television.  "I think we have the same power to deal with cable as over-the-air" broadcasters, he told the National Association of Broadcasters, according to several wire reports. "There has to be some standard of decency."  On Wednesday, Stevens got support from the other side of the Hill when House Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed with him.
Eric Hellweg "Indecent Proposal," MIT's Technology Review, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/03/wo/wo_hellweg030405.asp 


One in five teens and adults in the U.S. have genital herpes.
Do our students know this?  The rise in "hanging out" sometimes leads to oral sex without intercourse.
Unsuspecting ways to get genital herpes and, by the way, experts say it will never go away

Most people know that women can get genital herpes from unprotected intercourse. After all, it affects one in five teens and adults. But receiving oral sex is also a significant risk. Oral sex can transmit HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores, and can cause genital herpes.  Research shows that women who receive oral sex are nine times as likely to get genital herpes.  Women should be sure that their partners are not showing any sign of a cold sore. Early signs include a small area of tingling or numbness in the lips -- even without a visible sore. This is a sign that the virus is active and can be transmitted.
Brunilda Narario, "Genital Herpes From a Surprising Place," WebMDHealth, March 5, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/article/101/106359.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_td_01 


She says the undergraduates are eager for sex but don't know much about it
She went on to get a master's degree in human sexuality education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in sexology from Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia, with a thesis on women's first experiences of sexual intercourse and the implications of this for sex education. She later became head of Curtin's sexology program, where she launched a master of forensic sexology, and although she's now moved to Bond, she still supervises some postgraduate students there.  In her books and on her website, she habitually refers to herself as Dr Gabrielle, or Gabrielle Morrissey PhD, presumably to reassure readers that, despite all the references to peckers and boobs, she is a serious academic.  Still, she has had her share of awkward moments. In the acknowledgments in Urge, she writes: "Dad, please skip over the oral sex chapter, please, please."  "I don't think he did," she sighs over the phone from her home in Brunswick Heads, near Byron Bay
"Under Covers," Sydney Morning Herald, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/03/1109700593110.html 


All health plans should at least be as good as Medicare on preventative maintenance
The new year brought changes in Medicare benefits: a one-time "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam, cardiovascular screening, and diabetes screening -- all part of a new emphasis on prevention and early detection, all designed to provide seniors with better care and a higher quality of life. In addition, there will be more changes in drug coverage. How will this affect you? Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD, joined us on Jan. 25 to answer your questions about Medicare coverage
"Medicare Update 2005," WebMDHealth, January 25, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/chat_transcripts/1/105396.htm?z=1728_00000_0007_qp_02 


Hitler's A-Bomb:  So close and yet (fortunately) so far
Adolf Hitler had the atom bomb first but it was too primitive and ungainly for aerial deployment, says a new book that indicates the race to split the atom was much closer than is believed.  Nazi scientists carried out tests of what would now be called a dirty nuclear device in the waning days of World War II, writes Rainer Karlsch, a German historian, in his book Hitler's Bomb, to be be published this month.  Concentration camp inmates were used as human guinea pigs and "several hundred" died in the tests, conducted on the Baltic Sea island of Rugen and at an inland test in wooded hill country about 100 kilometres south of Berlin in 1944 and early 1945.
Ernest Gill, "Hitler won atomic bomb race, but couldn't drop it," Sydney Morning Herald, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/04/1109700677446.html 



Academic Leadership Awards
The Carnegie Corporation of New York on Friday awarded the first three of its new $500,000 "Academic Leadership Awards" to the presidents of Carnegie Mellon  (Jared L. Cohon) and Northwestern Universities (Henry S. Bienen) and the University of Chicago (Don M. Randel).The awards, designed to honor campus chief executives who have "demonstrated an abiding commitment to liberal arts and who have initiated and supported curricular innovations," go to the presidents "for their academic priorities."

"Grants for Presidents," Inside Higher Ed, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/quick_takes_grants_for_presidents_frat_charges_pay_cutback 
 


Most of the "luxuries" are on the not-for-profit campuses
For-profit institutions also try to maximize their revenue. But in addition to maximizing revenue, for-profit schools want to minimize their expenses. That's why they don't have any football stadiums or massage therapists. Simply, maximum revenue and minimum expenses yield maximum profit.  That does not mean, as their critics suggest, that they will necessarily exploit their students. The only way for-profit schools can maximize their revenue, after all, is by bringing in as many students as possible. They can't, therefore, reduce expenses to any point below which they can provide the education students are willing to pay for. Kirp's discussion of DeVry helps confirm this. "Instruction is more intense than in most community colleges and regional universities ... and it is often better as well." Moreover, "graduates do get hired ... DeVry's proudest boast has been that within six months of graduation, 95 percent of graduates are working, and not behind the McDonald's counter but at jobs with a future."  Are for-profit schools perfect? Hardly. As their critics regularly point out, for-profit education's past is checkered by scams and frauds. And it still has troublemakers. In January, "60 Minutes" aired an expose on questionable practices at Career Education Corporation, which runs 82 for-profit campuses. But general hostility to for-profit education, its past, and the ongoing scrutiny it receives as a result force for-profit schools to police themselves.
Neal McCluskey, "Don’t Blame the Market," Inside Higher Ed, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/don_t_blame_the_market 


Some major IT acronymns:  How many can you define? --- Webopedia --- http://www.webopedia.com/ 

  1. OEM
  2. RAID
  3. VPN
  4. OSI Model
  5. phishing
  6. Telnet
  7. MAC address
  8. API
  9. VGA
  10. DVI
  11. ODBC
  12. DNS
  13. router
  14. ASIC
  15. Token Ring


More important, which newer ones are left out like RFT or RFIT or RFID --- http://availabletechnologies.pnl.gov/securityelectronics/rftags.stm 

Will Viagra's RFID tags will play Bolero and old Sinatra recordings?

In an effort to combat drug counterfeiting and protect patients, Pfizer has announced a new initiative to use radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that will enable wholesalers and pharmacies to authenticate all Viagra sold in the United States.
"Viagra tablets will soon have small radio frequency tags," News-Medical-Net --- http://www.news-medical.net/?id=6324 
Jensen Comment:  I was thinking of an antenna joke and decided against it.


PhD:  Purchased higher Degree
The dean of administration at the College of the Ozarks has resigned, a year after he was enmeshed in a controversy involving the legitimacy of his doctoral degree, the News-Leader of Springfield, Mo., reported Thursday. College officials declined to comment on the resignation of Larry Cockrum, the newspaper reported.
Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/quick_takes_epa_fine_a_dean_resigns 
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill 


Hush up Bill!  She's first got to worry about being re-elected to the U. S. Senate from a blue state
Maybe it's natural for Bill Clinton to be bragging on his wife's chances to become the next president, but some of his friends wish that he'd just shut up.They say that Bubba's cheering is distracting from Hillary's efforts to show that she isn't an old style liberal.'It's counterproductive,' says one insider, 'at a time when she's quietly building a voting record that is closer to Sen. John McCain than Ted Kennedy.'
"Shushing Bubba," U.S. News and World Report, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/050314/whispers/14whisplead_2.htm 


Mohamed Khodr's Opinion of the Mayor of London
No politician has ever had the courage to pen such a column although many have privately expressed your sentiments. Those, like me, who do write on such matters are excluded from the mainstream press and thus toil in the world of virtual reality, the internet. The world agrees with you but is too cowardly to speak out. I wholeheartedly pray that your courage has opened the door for others to overcome their "Anti-Semitic" fears and do justice to the suffering of the Palestinians, victims of the Sykes-Picot, Balfour Declaration, the Cold War, Zionism, the Holocaust, and the surrender of American foreign policy to the "elite Zionist experts" in Washington D.C. who understand the "Arab/Muslim" mind given America's naiveté and ignorance..
Mohamed Khodr, "To Ken Livingstone, With Gratitude, Love and Admiration," Aljazeerah, March 5, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/aljazeerahMarch5 
Jensen Comment:  Ken Livingstone is the Mayor of London --- http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/mayorbiog.jsp 


Take that Larry Summers:  IT's a woman's world
Women seem to be giving men a run for their money in every profession today. This holds true even in the technology sector, which was till recently dominated by the male fraternity. In fact, technology seems to be creating new-age careers for women in sectors ranging from the number-crunching banking to the research-oriented medicine. Says Jayanthi Sivaswami, associate professor, International Institute of Information Technology (Hyderabad), "Around 31 per cent of the workforce in India today constitutes of women, of which 19 per cent are in the IT sector." Sivaswami was speaking at a panel discussion on 'Technology enables new-age careers...
"IT's a woman's world," Rediff, March 5, 2005 --- http://us.rediff.com/money/2005/mar/05woman.htm 


Lessons From the Edge
Much of traditional academe doesn't know what to make of for-profit higher education. Is it to be emulated or feared? Gary A. Berg, dean of extended education at California State University Channel Islands, studied the sector -- and received extensive access to University of Phoenix administrators and faculty members. The result is Lessons From the Edge: For-Profit and Nontraditional Higher Education in America, recently published as part of the American Council on Education/Praeger Series on Higher Education.  The article contains Berg's answers to some questions about his research and his book:
Scott Jaschik, "Lessons From the Edge," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/lessons_from_the_edge 
 

How have for-profit higher education changed traditional universities? 
I think they have probably accelerated a general trend, rather than changed the course in American higher education at this point. Central components of the for-profit model such as increased use of part-time faculty, intensive formats, standardization, distributed and distance learning formats, an emphasis on assessment are all increasingly used in traditional universities. For-profits have come to symbolize the great transformation that is occurring in higher education, but are not the sole cause.

Gary A. Berg, "Lessons From the Edge," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/lessons_from_the_edge 


Distance education is easier to assess
Yet assessing quality may be easier with an electronic course, Patrick said, because so many measures can be tracked, including the number of times students and teacher interact. That's not as transparent in a traditional class, she said, because "the door is shut."

"Distance learning becoming part of school life," CNN, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/03/03/distance.education.ap/index.html 
Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 
Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm 


It's too darn easy to alter the letter F into B?  With artistic talent, why Photo Shop it into an A?
. . .many mentioned the ease of altering report cards and transcripts using desktop publishing software like Adobe Photoshop, which allows students to capture a school's seal off its Web site and paste it into a file to create an official-looking document.  One administrator told of a student who was caught forging his report card when the nearby Kinko's called the school to report that a student had left a copy of his grades on the copier. One principal said he had heard of students forging transcripts with generic-embossed seals to avoid paying for official transcripts.
Jensen Harrumph:  Students are really taking a chance on getting caught for artfully doctoring the transcript of their dreams.  In fact that's really stupid.  Why not order a professionally generated transcript from Back Alley Press? ---  http://www.backalleypress.com/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mill frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill 


Q: If I am considering buying a new laptop, should I wait until the new 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking standard is available? If I purchase a laptop now, should I buy one with an external wireless card so I can easily upgrade to the new standard later?
A: If you need a new laptop now, I wouldn't wait, even though the new "n" flavor of Wi-Fi promises to be faster and to have much better range than the current "a," "b," and "g" versions. I have no idea when the "n" standard will make it into the marketplace, since it's still in the hands of a standards committee, and such bodies tend to move slowly.  I would also note that the new standard is almost certain to be backwards-compatible with the current wireless chips sold as internal equipment on today's laptops. So it isn't as if a laptop purchased now with built-in Wi-Fi will be useless when the new standard emerges. In fact, based on my testing of the so-called pre-N Wi-Fi gear made by Belkin, some of the new standard's range and speed improvements will still be attainable, even with older chips in your laptop.
Walter Mossberg, "Waiting for Wireless," The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2005, Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110980770284968899,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 


Q: I am ready to leave Hotmail and switch to another free mail service. I tried to set up a Google "Gmail" account, but was unable to find any sign-up page on their Web site. What are my best choices for setting up a new free e-mail account?
A: At the moment, Gmail is available only to new users who have been invited to join by existing members. That's why you couldn't simply sign up. The main attraction of Gmail is that it offers one gigabyte of mail storage free, a huge amount for an online e-mail service. So, if you know somebody who is a Gmail user, you might try to get invited.  Overall, I prefer Yahoo Mail among the free online competitors. I find it's easy to navigate, reliable, and packed with useful features. And, for a modest $20 a year, you can boost your Yahoo mail storage to two gigabytes from the standard 250 megabytes, and get some other added services as well.
Walter Mossberg, "Q&A," The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2005, Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110980770284968899,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 


Say what?  NHL games might become intramural sports matches if purchased by a bottom feeder
Wall Street buyout firm part of joint proposal made to owners. National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly invited Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan International to make a 30-minute presentation to league owners on Tuesday. TORONTO - A Wall Street buyout firm and a sports advisory company reportedly made a joint proposal to buy all 30 NHL teams for as much as $3.5 billion. Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan International, both based in Boston, made the offer in a 30-minute presentation to NHL owners on Tuesday in New York, sources told the Toronto Star and The...
"Report: $3.5 billion offer to buy all NHL teams," MSNBC, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7073831/ 


Drug Warning:  Note that Asian-Americans are specifically targeted
The cholesterol drug Crestor is being relabeled to add a warning that starter doses should be reduced in Asian-Americans and some other patients.

"Warning for Cholesterol Drug," The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2005, Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110979071346968482,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 


Q: What are the most commonly cited cases in law?
A:  See Yale Law School's "The Curiae Project" at http://curiae.law.yale.edu/ 

 
Most Commonly Cited Cases
 
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Lochner v. New York (1904)
Hammer v. Dagenhart (1917)
NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937)
Brown v. Board of Education I (1954)
Baker v. Carr (1962)
-> view complete rankings...
Most Frequently Viewed Cases
 
Brown v. Board of Education I (1954)
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
San Antonio Independent School Dist. v. Rodriguez (1973)
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
Brown v. Board of Education II (1955)
NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937)
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Lochner v. New York (1904)
Schenck v. United States (1919)

If you’re looking for an extreme example of bad ethics in your courses, this is it!
But some of the latest in hunting tech pushes the ethical envelope, and some states are outlawing high-tech innovations that game managers feel give hunters an undue advantage.  A San Antonio entrepreneur recently created an uproar with a Web site, www.live-shot.com , that aims to allow hunters to shoot exotic game animals or feral pigs on his private hunting ranch by remote control, with the click of a mouse, from anywhere in the world.  "The idea of sitting at a computer screen playing a video game and activating a remote controlled firearm to shoot an animal is not hunting," said Kirby Brown, executive director of the Texas Wildlife Association, a hunters' group. "It's off the ethical charts."
Jeff Bernard, "In Hunting, Tech Pushes Envelope of What's Ethical," MIT's Technology Review, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/03/ap/ap_2030405.asp?trk=nl 
Jensen Comment:  This is even worse than hunting wolves or other wild game with aircraft.  Not only is it not sporting, it can become a tool for terrorists.  Lee Harvey Oswald could've been in Siberia on November 22, 1963 if this technology was available.  I realize that the Air Force can do this now, but I don't think there's a USAF Live-Shot Web site.  The popular “smoking gun” in court just went up in smoke.


Accounting usually gets them in the end
Remember the SCO mouse that roared when suing IBM and Linux

SCO says it missed the filing deadline over issues relating to the accounting of its common stock and equity compensation plan. As a result of adjustments to its accounting, SCO will be restating its earnings for the first three quarters of 2004, BusinessWeek has learned. While the restatements won't change its net loss or cash balance for that year, they are likely to reduce its cash position by $500,000 or more in fiscal year 2005, says an insider. . . What once looked like a mortal threat to Linux appears to be fading. As a result, the suit has become a nonfactor in corporate buying decisions. "I can't imagine how this will go anywhere," says Alex Dietz, chief information officer at Acxiom, a Little Rock consumer-data-analysis company that uses Linux.
"A Linux Nemesis on the Rocks SCO's lawsuit is floundering -- and now the struggling software company faces regulators' scrutiny and questions about its management," Business Week, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2005/tc2005033_4497_tc119.htm 
Jensen Comments
The independent auditor for SCO is KPMG.
A SCO Versus IBM Website is at http://sco.iwethey.org/ 


The Anti-PHishing Working Group is an international association dedicated to the elimination of fraud and identity theft on the internet from phishing, pharming and spoofing. Their site contains up-to-date reports on the extent of such activities.Anti-Phishing Working Group
From Gerald Trite's Blog, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.zorba.ca/blog.html 
Bob Jensen's threads on phishing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#Phishing 


Social Security is a lot more than FDR envisioned when he started a national pension plan
But the program has a multitude of other objectives, moving money every which way. An essential reason for the decline in old-age poverty, for example, is that older generations - which paid lower payroll taxes - have received transfers from younger generations, who have paid higher taxes to get the same or even lower levels of benefits.  Social Security aims to protect women who stay out of the work force to raise children, offering spousal and survivor benefits that depend on the earnings of the working spouse. And the program's disability insurance favors workers in tougher jobs, mainly at the lower end of the income spectrum.  Social Security's income redistribution includes some unintended quirks. Survivor benefits are regressive, favoring people whose spouses were high earners. And the nation's changing demographics have created a patchwork of winners and losers that, to some extent, has overridden the system's original purpose of favoring the poor.  That's because Social Security is more generous to people who have more time to collect benefits, like women, who are expected to live three years longer than men, on average, after retirement, and whites, who, after reaching 65, are expected to live a year and a half longer than blacks.
Eduardo Porter, "Who Wins in a New Social Security?" The New York Times, March 6, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/06/business/yourmoney/06view.html 


When you gotta go, you don't gotta go
Do we not? The trouble is, if we have, why do I not remember a student ever leaving the classroom to go to the bathroom during my own college years? (Much less sleeping or eating.) Once during graduate school I remember a student was asked to leave, because he would not stop talking to the person next to him. He left immediately. The rest of us could not have been more shocked than if he had got up suddenly and squatted in front of his chair.  During my more than 30 subsequent years as a professor I remember a few students pleading bodily necessity in asking permission to leave. The first was a male, who basked in his boldness after he asked. I told him, "sure, you can go, but don't come back." Then it seemed he didn't have to go so urgently after all. I insisted, saying that I couldn't live with either his urethra or his anus on my conscience. The rest of the class laughed. Those were the days.
Terry Caesar, "Purely Academic Going to the Bathroom," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/purely_academic 


Lifestyle Changes:  What hotel rooms do you like best (in terms of rooms rather than settings)?
In fact, the room isn't in a hotel at all. It's one of seven test guest rooms that sit unused, night after night, in the depths of Marriott International Inc.'s headquarters.  The rooms are part of Marriott's effort to capitalize on a decade of research and tens of millions of dollars to figure out what guests want.  They also illustrate how hotel operators are catering to a new generation of travelers whose trips are equal parts work and play, and who more than ever yearn for the comforts of home even when they're thousands of miles away.
"Building a better hotel room," Boston Globe, March 6, 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2005/03/06/building_a_better_hotel_room/ 
Jensen Comment:  I thought the whole point was to make hotel rooms dreary and uncomfortable so that guests spend more time in the stores, bars, restaurants, and conference meetings where it's easier to sleep.

Why not just model the rooms after the world's most expensive hotel (or so we're told by Barb Hessel) --- http://www.dagbladet.no/ 


One woman's take on Martha before she served her time
The characters in your trial (who rather acted as character witnesses) may seem uniquely rotten, as if Lady Luck heaped all the putrid apples in your aproned lap. Not true. Open any psychology textbook; you'll find profiles of each and every one, which means you'll meet them all again. Repeatedly. As long, that is, as you're You (a Forbes-listed, high-society kitchen Picasso) and people are People (parasitic ass-kissers hoping your ilk will choke to death on a drumstick). Forgive me—my cynicism is indelicate. But judging from your megalomaniac fibbing (yes, yes, I know, the investigation was petty in light of the mighty Martha brand name), and genuine horror at the Lilliputians who dared rat you out (the only one-woman conglomerate in human history!)...well, your judgment seems a little off.
Elizabeth Koch, "Martha On the Inside:  Jailhouse advice for the domestic diva," ReasonOnLine, October 7, 2004 --- http://www.reason.com/martha/oct7.shtml 


Now schools need to hire guards for the bathrooms as well as teachers
A couple filed a lawsuit Friday against the Anchorage School District, saying their 6-year-old son was sexually assaulted by a classmate after the boys were left unattended in a school bathroom. The lawsuit seeks damages and changes to district policies regarding how students and staff are trained to handle sexual assaults and how students are monitored. The lawsuit doesn't name the family or the child's school, to protect confidentiality, said attorney Dennis Maloney, who is representing the plaintiffs. The district has 40 days to respond to the lawsuit. "I will not dispute the fact the incident occurred," Superintendent...
"Parents sue school district over rape of 6-year-old," Juneau Empire, March 6, 2005 --- http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/030605/sta_20050306008.shtml 


Modern Day Bullies
Cyberbullies, mostly ages 9 to 14, are using the anonymity of the Web to mete out pain without witnessing the consequences. The problem — aggravated by widespread use of wireless devices such as cellphones and BlackBerrys — is especially prevalent in affluent suburbs, where high-speed Internet use is high and kids are technically adept, says Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.org, an online safety group.  “Some kids can't wait to get home so they can continue taunting,” says Aftab, who is also an Internet lawyer.  “Maybe we need to protect kids from one another online as much as we shield them from dangerous adults.”  Often, the social cruelties escape the notice of schools, which focus on problems on campus, and of parents, who are unaware of what their kids are doing online.
Jon Swartz, "Schoolyard bullies get nastier online:  Hurtful messages can hit kids anytime, anywhere," USA Today, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050307/1a_cover07.art.htm 


Small Business Helpers from Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, March 2005 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2005/news_web.htm 

Food for Thought
www.businessownersideacafe.com
“A fun approach to serious business” is the tag line here, with lively graphics and laid-back narrative that punch up its material. The Small Biz Tax Center helps clarify IRS tax and recordkeeping requirements and gives tips for start-up business owners. The CyberSchmooz “lobby” opens onto message forums on e-commerce, marketing and working at home. The Your Biz section includes a “fridge” full of business forms, e-mail protocols, marketing tips and even yoga instructions.

Small Company, Big Resources
www.allbusiness.com
From forms for consulting and confidentiality agreements to advice on sales and marketing or using the Internet, this Web stop offers guidance to CPAs who advise start-ups and small businesses. The Business Plans section has articles such as “Common Business Plan Mistakes for Startup Companies,” while the Small Business Advice section provides tax basics. Users also can tap into an FAQ section or a business glossary or sign up for a free e-newsletter.

A Dear Abby for Small Business
www.score.org
Since first listed here in June 2003, this site has added resources to its Business Toolbox section including a gallery of downloadable templates for bank loan applications, business plans and sales forecasts, as well as expanded links to such small business topics as finance, franchising and international trade. The Learning Center has a list of tips for business planning, marketing, public relations and office management.

Bob Jensen's small business helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness 


I wasn't sure if I was reading about a resort or a diversity-optimized college campus on the Oregon coast
FOR REASONS OF HEALTH & SAFETY OCEAN HAVEN CANNOT ACCOMMODATE SMOKERS, PETS, FOLKS TRAVELING IN A HUMMER, OR FOLKS WHO VOTED FOR BUSH & HIS NATURE DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES
Ocean Haven on the Oregon Coast --- http://oceanhaven.com/htmls/practices.html 
And for those living guest, I think you have to take your own sewage back home where it belongs.


Jokes from night TV --- http://www.newsmax.com/liners.shtml 
Jay Leno says "Hillary would make a good president but not a good intern."


These are sources you might look at when tracking the resignation of the president of Colorado University and the saga of Ward Churchill and his little eichmans:

CBS4 Denver --- http://news4colorado.com/cuscandal 

She says it's the budget rather than her bad boys
The president of the University of Colorado, Elizabeth Hoffman, resigned Monday after struggling with a football recruiting scandal and a firestorm over a professor who likened some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis . . . She said in a telephone interview that the Churchill case was not the impetus for her resignation, but that it had become a distraction that was hindering her ability to address what she called a more serious problem, a budget crisis at the university over a shortage of state financing.  "It was becoming increasingly difficult to be strong on the issues that were important in the long run because it kept coming back to questions about me," Dr. Hoffman said, "so I decided I had to take my future, my job, off the table." Dr. Hoffman, 58, was named the university's president on Sept. 1, 2000, after serving as provost at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kirk Johnson, "University President Resigns at Colorado Amid Turmoil," The New York Times, March 8, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/08/national/08colorado.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyChurchill.htm 


Egads!  Is this what you call filling in where schools fail?
The College Board will administer its revised college-admissions test to thousands of high-school juniors for the first time on Saturday, and the test has generated a bonanza of new study aids. "The new SAT has led to a flurry of new products because all publishers are starting new -- there's a new thing to compete over," says Justin Kestler, a founder of SparkNotes LLC, a division of Borders Group Inc.  Adds Jon Zeitlin, manager of college-prep programs for Kaplan Inc., a unit of Washington Post Co.: "We've been on a product-creation jag for months."  Test-prep giant Princeton Review Inc., which isn't affiliated with Princeton University, has developed software that delivers test questions, including critical-reading passages, to cellphone screens -- then grades the answers and sends the results home to Mom and Dad. Its chief competitor Kaplan has software for a cellphone or a Palm device: Order up easy, medium or hard questions in reading, writing or math.  Texas Instruments Inc. is programming all of its latest graphing calculators with SAT math and vocabulary drills. And SparkNotes has its test-prep eye on the ubiquitous iPod. "We're trying to figure out how to do it in audio," says Mr. Kestler. "It's the next big killer application."
June Kronholz, "To Tackle New SAT, Perhaps You Need A New Study Device:  Test-Prep CDs, Puzzles, Cellphone Software Hit A June Market of Nonreaders," The Wall Street Journal, March 8. 2005, Page A1  --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111024562510773081,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Jensen Comment
College admission tests serve many purposes, not the least of which is to guide students into what to learn in school.  One of the failings of our schools and the college tests is the failure to test and motivate students toward understanding personal finance.  Why is this important?  Personal finances are a major cause of suicide and divorce.  Sometimes I don't think teachers really are concerned about the tragedies of life that affect nearly all people later in life from the very poor to the very rich.  Our graduates mess of their lives because they mess up their personal finances and/or allow themselves to be screwed by credit card companies, finance companies, brokers, financial advisors, and banks (yes and banks).

Please read the following:
"Survey: Students Not Taught Basic Finance," Ben Feller, SmartPros, March 7, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x47289.xml 

And then look at the following:

March 4, 2005 message from a staff member at Trinity University

Think of the many people whose lives might be saved and whose marriages might be more successful if they understood the basics of who to keep out of digging themselves into financial holes and how to stop digging once they're in those holes.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dirty tricks of credit card companies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO 


Free credit report offers seem to flood the Internet these days. Most companies claiming to give you a free credit report are really looking to sell you something in the long run, such as a credit monitoring service or identity-fraud protection.

So, stop surfing around online for a free credit report, most of the offers you will find are not really free. If you do not qualify for a free credit report, you are still better going straight to the actual credit bureaus and just paying the $8 that a credit report costs. Knowing what your credit file says about you is priceless.
"Free Credit Report Offers... Are They Really Free? - Consumer Alert," AccountingWeb, March 3, 2005 ---  http://www.accountingweb.com/item/100593 

Free credit report offers seem to flood the Internet these days. Most companies claiming to give you a free credit report are really looking to sell you something in the long run, such as a credit monitoring service or identity-fraud protection. Once you purchase the service, you will be given a copy of your credit report, usually from just one of the major credit bureaus. Since there are three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax), you will not see the complete picture if you do not receive a report from each one.

Other websites that sell credit reports are resellers for the real credit bureaus and exist to make a profit. Some of these websites are very useful if you intend to pay, and are very convenient as a centralized place to obtain a 3-in-1 report with a personalized account that you can return to at anytime to order more reports; however, you will not receive anything for free.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 you are entitled to a free credit report if your application for credit, insurance or employment is denied because of information provided by a credit reporting agency (CRA). The company that you applied to must provide you with a denial notice which will contain the name, address, and phone number of the CRA that was used. You must request your report within 60 days of receiving the notice of the action. In addition, you are entitled to one free report a year if (1) you are unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days, (2) you are on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate because of fraud.

Residents of Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont already have a right to one free report per bureau each year because of laws enacted by those states. However, a new Federal provision enacted in 2003, grants access to free credit reports to all consumers in every state.

Free Annual Credit Reports Available to Everyone

According to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, every consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year. The final rule on this Act issued by the Federal Trade Commission in June 2004, provides for a centralized source from which consumers can obtain their credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus.

The centralized source is becoming available in cumulative stages, over a period of nine months, rolling-out from west. The rollout began in December 2004 and will be complete by September 1, 2005. Western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) became eligible on December 1, 2004;

Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) will become eligible on March 1, 2005; Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas ) will become eligible on June 1, 2005; Eastern states (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia), Puerto Rico, and all U.S. territories will become eligible on September 1, 2005.

So, stop surfing around online for a free credit report, most of the offers you will find are not really free. If you do not qualify for a free credit report, you are still better going straight to the actual credit bureaus and just paying the $8 that a credit report costs. Knowing what your credit file says about you is priceless.

You can read more about free credit reports at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/ycr_free_reports.htm 

I agree with the habit of spending within one’s means.  But there still is a question of stupid spending within one’s means.  For example, should families really spend extra for an entirely new car even if they can make the payments?  And do they understand the car’s financing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudDealers.htm


It is dangerous to be right when the established authorities are wrong
Voltaire



My Snow Bird
After 18 inches of new snow on March 8 and enormous winds, the drifts in our driveway were ten feet or higher.  Ed Clough had to plow three times each day to keep up with it.  The snow subsided on March 9, but Erika was in a lonely whiteout due to the winds on I-93 when she went down to Manchester on March 9.  She took off on March 10 and should be in San Antonio by noon.   Here's a March 9, 2005 weather summary from Mt. Washington where most of the snow blows off the summit --- http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/today.html 

  Conditions at 5:00 a.m. on March 9  
    Weather: Light snow with blowing snow and freezing fog  
    Temperature: -20°   Visibility: 25 feet  
    Wind Chill Index: -60°F   Relative Humidity: 100%  
    Wind: Northwest at 94 gusting to 105 MPH   Station Pressure: 22.57" and rising  
    Ground Conditions: 13" of snow and ice  

Since he lives in a humble home (without running water when he was a child) within walking distance of our retirement home, I just had to brag about Bode
Winning races or crashing through fences, charming the hordes of kids in Europe who adore him or peevishly dismissing the ski journalists who annoy him, astounding veteran skiers with his otherworldly skills or infuriating his coaches with his bullheadedness, Bode Miller has arrived on top of the skiing world.
David Leon Moore, "Brash American poised to win skiing crown:   Bode Miller's style wows fans, puts elusive title in reach," USA Today, March 9, 2005 Page 1A --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050309/1a_cover09.art.htm 

Also see "Breaking down the points race," USA Today, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050309/pointsbox.art.htm 

American Bode Miller and Austrian Benjamin Raich are battling to win the men's World Cup overall title. Entering Thursday's downhill, Miller has a 52-point lead over his archrival:

 

Bode Miller Place Points
Overall 1st 1,348
Downhill 2nd 538
Slalom 19th 100
Giant slalom 3rd 340
Super-G 2nd 370
Benjamin Raich
Overall 2nd 1,296
Downhill 28th 93
Slalom 1st 502
Giant slalom 1st 363
Super-G 5th 238

 


Forget Ward Churchill:  An A- term paper topic can get you kicked out of graduate school
Supporting corporal punishment is one thing; advocating it is another, as Mr. McConnell recently learned. Studying for a graduate teaching degree at Le Moyne College, he wrote in a paper last fall that "corporal punishment has a place in the classroom." His teacher gave the paper an A-minus and wrote, "Interesting ideas - I've shared these with Dr. Leogrande," referring to Cathy Leogrande, who oversaw the college's graduate program.  Unknown to Mr. McConnell, his view of discipline became a subject of discussion among Le Moyne officials. Five days before the spring semester began in January, Mr. McConnell learned that he had been dismissed from Le Moyne, a Jesuit college.
Patrick E. Healy, "College Expels Student Who Advocated Corporal Punishment," The New York Times, March 10, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/10/nyregion/10paddle.html 


How not to raise kids in the modern age
Flagstaff, Ariz., is a clean and safe mountain town where most people partake in mentally and physically healthy activities far from the glaring fluorescent lights of Wal-Mart. The behavior illustrated in your page-one article "Attention, Shoppers: Bored College Kids Competing in Aisle 6" (Feb. 23) isn't representative of the values of most residents of Flagstaff or my generation. Concerned elders write about the problem with kids and cynicism these days. When my kid says, "Mom, I'm bored! What should I do?" I won't reply, "Well, honey, why don't you and your friends go play in Wal-Mart." Children need something more to live for, something beautiful to believe in. Is there anything left in this society to value besides production and consumption?
"Don't Mall Children's Need for the Beautiful," The Wall Street Journal,  March 10, 2005; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111042348170375543,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 
My Answer:  Take away the computer/television and make them sit alone or together at home or in the yard until they get so bored they have to use their own imaginations.  What's wrong with having to overcome boredom on your own?

The USA's children live in an increasingly heavy stew of media, spending about 6½ hours a day mostly watching TV, using computers and enjoying other electronic activities. And they are spending relatively little time reading or doing homework, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey reported Wednesday.
Marilyn Elias, "Electronic world swallows up kids' time, study finds Children plugged in about 6½ hours a day," USA Today, page 1A --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050310/1a_bottomstrip10.art.htm 


Maybe this is the result of the Wal-Mart Kid Generation:  
What are the odds a ninth grader will graduate from college on schedule?

Other countries are doing a better job, the report says. Fifteen countries have higher graduation rates from high school than does the United States, where the rate is 73 percent. At the higher education level, countries like China and India are making significant progress in educating thousands of scientists and engineers at a time that many programs at American colleges struggle to find qualified applicants.  The report identifies other key problems:  4 of 10 college students fail to graduate within six years. One-fourth of low-income students in the top quartile of academic ability and preparation fail to enroll in college within two years of their graduation from high school. While the percentages of minority and low-income students who enroll in higher education is increasing, a majority of minority students fail to graduate.
"A Nation's Colleges at Risk," Inside Higher Ed, March 10, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/a_nation_s_colleges_at_risk 

In a graphic called "Our Leaky Educational Pipeline," the report notes that for every 100 9th graders:

  • 68 graduate from high school on time.
  • 40 enroll immediately in college after graduation.
  • 27 are still enrolled for their sophomore year.
  • 18 graduate from college on time.

“Opt-Out” Disclosures in Pre-Screened Credit Card Offers
I had a couple of inquiries about "The Effectiveness of “Opt-Out” Disclosures in Pre-Screened Credit Card Offers."  You will find these at various sites (do a Google search on Opt-Out Disclosures).  So I went to the FTC site, a site that I implicitly trust on issues of deception and fraud, and found a report at http://www.ftc.gov/reports/prescreen/040927optoutdiscprecreenrpt.pdf 
The bottom line is that these opt-out alternatives are far from being perfectly effective and the layered notice approach is probably the most effective.   I would not give out privacy information to any sites that I do not know are legitimate in this era of ID theft.

Bob Jensen's threads on consumer fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm 
The best site on consumer fraud is the FTC site at http://www.ftc.gov 


I'm generally not in favor of long-term care insurance, but you should make up your own mind independently of the pitch you get from a financial planner or salesperson who make a lot of money selling you the contract.
Depending on where you live, it can be more. (See state rankings here.) Compute the cost of a nursing-home stay -- the average is about 2.4 years -- with the help of calculators at Web sites such as Smartmoney.com (smartmoney.com/insurance/longtermcare/) and Long Term Care Quote (ltcq.net). If your assets won't cover bills, or could leave a spouse struggling financially, long-term insurance may be the right choice for you.
"Buying Long-Term-Care Insurance," The Wall Street Journal,  March 10, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111042232368775507,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 
Jensen Comment:  The first move should be to carefully read http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/services/apact/apact05.htm 
Then seriously think about setting aside your own fund for this purpose and leave out the middle person fees.


It's probably too soon to tell about effectiveness of identity theft insurance.
Last year, Allstate Corp. began offering identity-theft insurance in Texas and a few other states as a $30 rider on its homeowner and renter policies. The spadework is contracted out to Kroll Inc., a risk-consulting company. "We take a lot of the work of identity restoration off the shoulders of victims," says Troy Allen, vice president for fraud solutions at Kroll. "It's very time-consuming and difficult and frustrating."
"ID stolen? Call a privacy gumshoe," The Christian Science Monitor, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0309/p12s01-stin.html 
Jensen Comment:  First read the document at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2004/11/041104coninfosysprivimpassess.pdf 
Then take a look at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft 


Now is the time to think about a new kind of computer mouse
As you can see, the PRO acts as a base for your keyboard with the rollerbar and buttons about an inch from the space bar. Since the bottom of the keyboard is intended to be flush with the docking station, you'll need to have the common, straight-edged keyboard to fit snugly. Fancy, curved keyboards need not apply here, since you'd have to stretch your thumbs an extra distance, which defeats the purpose. With your keyboard docked, you can rest your hands on the PRO's rubber wrist pads while controlling your cursor with the rollerbar that spins up and down, and slides left and right. The rollerbar can also act as a left click when pressed down gently. Below the rollerbar are your buttons and a scrolling wheel.
Jeremy Atkinson, "The Ergonomic-Friendly RollerMousePRO," Extreme Tech, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,1772699,00.asp 
Jensen Comment:  The second page of this review has some good pictures.


Newer treatments for epilepsy
Science has dispelled many myths about epilepsy -- most importantly the myth that people with epilepsy will always suffer seizures. In fact, with treatment, between 70% and 80% of people with epilepsy are seizure free for at least two years.
WebMDHealth --- http://my.webmd.com/content/article/98/104690.htm?z=1728_81000_4259_qp_06 


 

Arab Americans
Think About It:  They worked hard to get to America, and they worked hard once they got here

About 41% of Arab residents have a college degree, compared with 24% of other US residents, the Census Bureau said in its first detailed socio-economic report on the nation's Arab population.   About 64% of residents with Egyptian ancestry had a college degree, the highest among Arab groups, followed by Lebanese (39%) and Palestinians (38%).
"Census finds Arabs integrated in US," Aljazeera, March 9, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E7CF4D8B-C5AE-4555-9460-082846467131.htm 
Jensen Comment:  Some Arab residents are our leading university teachers and researchers.  Others are probably not give a chance to perform at they're very best.  If they apply for work, let's try to look beyond their long and sometimes strange sounding names.

 


I didn't want to "forget" this one
In the medical journal Neurology, Bennett and colleagues describe 180 elderly Catholic clergy, participants in the Religious Orders Study of ageing and dementia who agreed to annual mental tests beginning in 1993 and brain autopsy when they died.  At the time of death, 37 had mild cognitive impairment, 83 had dementia, and 60 had no cognitive difficulties.  Of the 37 with mild cognitive impairment, 23 showed brain pathology consistent with probable or definite Alzheimer's disease, and 12 had areas of brain tissue due to loss of blood supply, the investigators report.  Moreover, even among the 60 individuals without cognitive impairment, 28 showed evidence of probable or definite Alzheimer's disease.
"Mental decline linked to Alzheimer's," Aljazeera, March 9, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E9079052-FFAD-480D-AE48-661887A88699.htm 


Mount Holyoke Dumps the SAT
Mount Holyoke College, which decided in 2001 to make the SAT optional, is finding very little difference in academic performance between students who provided their test scores and those who didn't.  The women's liberal arts college is in the midst of one of the most extensive studies to date about the impact of dropping the SAT -- a research project financed with $290,000 from the Mellon Foundation.  While the study isn't complete, the college is releasing some preliminary results. So far, Mount Holyoke has found that there is a difference of 0.1 point in the grade-point average of those who do and do not submit SAT scores. That is equivalent to approximately one letter grade in one course over a year of study.  Those results are encouraging to Mount Holyoke officials about their decision in 2001.
Scott Jaschik, "Not Missing the SAT," Inside Higher Ed March 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/not_missing_the_sat 
Jensen Comment:
These results differ from the experiences of the University of Texas system where grades and test scores differ greatly between secondary schools.   Perhaps Mount Holyoke is not getting applications from students in the poorer school districts.  See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book04q4.htm#60Minutes 

For a more general discussion of a "Fair Test" see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#AdmissionTesting 


It can be expensive to tease about gays
After years of legal fights, a former administrator at New York University has won a $2 million jury award in a case in which he charged the institution with anti-gay bias.  Mark A. Taylor was director of external affairs at NYU's medical school in 1994, when a biography of Leonard Bernstein, by Humphrey Burton, identified Taylor as the last love in the late composer's life. According to Taylor, the book was passed around the office, with passages about him marked. He also said that Peter Ferrara, a colleague, called him a "pansy" and made jokes about his sexuality.  Subsequently, Ferrara was promoted to become Taylor's boss and in 1997, Taylor's job was eliminated. The university attributed the elimination to a reorganization. Taylor sued for job discrimination.  Prior to losing his job, Taylor was "repeatedly humiliated with malicious and petty gossip and no one at NYU stepped in to do anything," said Michael G. O'Neil, his lawyer. "My client went from being well regarded and respected to being a laughingstock."  The jury that heard the case awarded Taylor $300,000 in back pay, $700,000 for lost future pay, and $1 million for his pain and suffering. O'Neil said that Taylor needed the money after finding it difficult to obtain good jobs after he lost his post at NYU.
Scott Jaschik, "$2 Million in Anti-Gay Bias Case," Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/2_million_in_anti_gay_bias_case 


Summers time in the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association has become the latest group to take on Harvard's president -- releasing a statement Tuesday stating that there "is substantial research that provides clear and compelling evidence that women, like men, flourish in science, just as in other occupational pursuits, when they are given the opportunity and a supportive environment." . . . "For example, objectively assessed math and scientific ability differences between males and females have changed substantially over the past three decades. In the United States they have become non-significant and in some other countries, the United Kingdom, for example, girls' performance exceeds that of boys at all levels of schooling," the sociologists said. "That gender differences in these abilities have shifted so substantially over such a short period of time makes it impossible for biological changes to have been influential. This period, however, was one in which girls' access to school courses, counselor encouragement, career opportunities, and role models changed (and improved) significantly -- but not their biology."
Scott Jaschik, "Sociology Lecture for Summers," Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/sociology_lecture_for_summers 

March 10, 2005 message from Paul Williams
Mostly on the subject of hacking into the Harvard Business School's admission records to check on admission status, but a bit more on Lawrence of Absurdia.

Not so long as there are 57 credits whose content teaches that ethical considerations are for the weak-minded. Harvard is being a bit hypocritical. It certainly hasn't resisted the creation of a culture of success where the pressure to get into the "best" schools is so intense that hacking into the records to find out what your status is is probably the least of the sins being committed by people frantic to get into an elite school. Duke University, to its eternal credit, forgave one of its more famous students for breaking into the office of the dean of the law school (the old fashioned way of hacking) to get an early read on the results of final exams. He later went on to become president of the United States. Think what might have happened had Duke kicked him out of the law school (said with tongue firmly in cheek). 

Not to resurrect the Larry Summers debate, but Boston Magazine has just published an article, "Lawrence of Absurdia" available at http://www.bostonmagazine.com/ArticleDisplay.php?id=517  that speculates from Summers past behavior that he might suffer from Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism.


Why Women Leave I.T. 
Women represent nearly half the workers in the U.S. -- 46.6 percent. However, they always have been underrepresented in I.T. Even more discouraging is the fact that the percentage of women working in I.T. jobs is not growing but dropping. That is bad news indeed for employers seeking hard-to-find technical candidates and the women who might otherwise fill those well-paying jobs. "Skill obsolescence is the number one issue for I.T. workers," Professor Deb Armstrong of the University of Arkansas told NewsFactor. And it turns out, according to a study by Armstrong and her colleagues, that certain facts of women's lives make staying ahead of the game harder than it is for men.
Kimberly Hill, "Why Women Leave I.T.," NewsFactor Network, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_title=Why-Women-Leave-I-T-&story_id=31000 


Have you run out of ideas for gifts?  Here's the possible answer to your dilemma.
Sure, a computing purse and scarf set may seem like the stuff of science fiction. But these devices, part of next generation of wearable computers, could become commonplace within a few years. Unit shipments of such wearable computers -- purses, watches, shirts -- should rise from 261,000 last year to 1.39 million in 2008, according to the tech research firm IDC.
Olga Kharif, "Wearable Computers You Can Slip Into The latest generation of these ever-smarter garments look like ordinary clothes, not something only a cyborg would don," Business Week, March 8, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2005/tc2005038_5955_tc119.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on ubiquitous computing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ubiquit.htm 


Takes more than getting rid of pets:  This is especially troublesome in inner cities up north like NYC and Chicago
"These data confirm that cockroach allergen is the primary contributor to childhood asthma in inner-city home environments," added Kenneth Olden, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which helped fund the study.  "However, general cleaning practices, proven extermination techniques and consistent maintenance methods can bring these allergen levels under control."Cockroaches produce allergic reactions from their saliva, fecal material, secretions and cast off skin.
"Allergy study: Roaches worse than furry pets," CNN, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/conditions/03/09/roaches.allergens.reut/index.html 


Researchers identify a protein critical for achieving pregnancy. As the first such discovery, the finding could lead to non-hormonal contraception or male infertility treatments.
Kristen Philipkoski, "Sperm Protein Seals the Deal," Wired News, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,66837,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6 


In some academic performance evaluations, service now receives a small weighting of less than 10% when compared to what the university considers the big drivers of success:  Research and Teaching.
Pursuing academic engagement necessitates radically rethinking "service" and "knowledge," finding innovative mechanisms to organize and leverage academe's intellectual capital to transform lives for the benefit of society. It requires us to acknowledge that a university's collective wisdom is among its most precious assets -- anchored to, but not in competition with, basic research and disciplinary knowledge -- and that part of the significance of such wisdom is tied to its use.  While redefining and implementing more robust notions of service and knowledge will be arduous, the payoff could be enormous. Fortunately, there is a movement afoot at many public research institutions across the nation, a movement to bring higher education out of the 19th into the 21st century. With rising tuition, limited access to the nation's best universities, and increasingly complex social problems, many recognize that the need for public institutions to find meaningful ways to serve the citizens of their states is more important than ever. Universities must fulfill a social compact with their states.  At my own institution, the University of Texas at Austin, a critical mass of faculty embrace this compact: academics best described as "intellectual entrepreneurs," citizen-scholars supplying more than narrow, theoretical disciplinary knowledge. They exemplify academic engagement, taking to heart the ethical obligation to contribute to society, to both discover and put to work knowledge that makes a difference.
Richard A. Cherwitz, "Intellectual Entrepreneurship: The New Social Compact By," Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/intellectual_entrepreneurship_the_new_social_compact 


Scholastic Notes on Your Computer:  Have you thought about speaking out while you are studying or reading?
For some doctors, the prospect of trading in their paper-based patient files for electronic-medical-record systems means big changes in their work, and they and their staffs can't afford the initial slowdown as they learn to enter and deal with digitized patient information. But what if speech-recognition technology was good enough to actually understand and digitize not just a doctor's words to include in medical records, but the medical lingo held in them? A startup tech vendor led by George Newstrom, the former secretary of technology for Virginia under Gov. Mark Warner, is making plans for such technology to be one of the many tools for getting more doctors using electronic records.
"Voice-Technology Startup Aims To Get Doctors Using E-Records," Information Week, March 8, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/SpeakUp 


Virus threat to mobile phones 
A new mobile phone software virus started spreading this week via messages containing photos and sounds, the first of its kind and a threat to cellphones globally, data security firms said Tuesday.  The Commwarrior. A virus tries to replicate itself by sending multimedia messages to people on the phone's contacts list, and also tries to do the same via Bluetooth wireless connections with other devices, eventually draining the battery.
"New virus found in phone messaging," CNN, March 8, 2005 --- http://money.cnn.com/2005/03/08/technology/personaltech/mobile_virus.reut/index.htm 


Little Red Riding Hood doesn't know it's the really big bad wolf
As the Social Security debate heats up, it pays to watch the political sleight-of-hand. The latest gimmick to emerge, cleverly marketed as a potential bipartisan compromise and "victory" for the White House, is the notion of "add-on" personal investment accounts.  Under President Bush's proposal, individuals would be able to divert part of their payroll taxes into personal accounts that they would own. That idea is apparently too shocking for many in Congress and the AARP, however, so instead they're proposing new accounts that would be financed by other tax revenue -- that is, by other taxpayers. In short, they want to create a new entitlement to "add" to all the old ones. If this is what is going to count as Social Security "reform," count us out.
" 'Adding-On' Entitlements," The Wall Street Journal,  March 9, 2005; Page A20 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111033447404774285,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 

Sound farfetched? 
Imagine a government that has stopped providing national defense, halted criminal prosecutions, canceled mail delivery and abandoned its highways and parklands. This government, in fact, does nothing but write benefit checks and pay interest on its debts — and still runs an annual deficit.  Sound farfetched?  Actually, that prospect is just three decades off if U.S. government benefit programs grow at current rates and the size of government relative to the economy stays constant.  Social Security is partly to blame for this dire outlook. Without changes, its costs will rise from about 20% of federal spending to 30% in the next 25 years.  But by far the biggest culprit is the exploding cost of health care, particularly Medicare, the government's insurance program for seniors. Medicare has grown 23-fold in the past three decades, from $13 billion in 1975 to $295 billion this year. It is on a trajectory that will soon rocket it past Social Security to the upper stratosphere of unaffordability. In 25 years, it will rise from 13% of federal spending to almost 40%.  As a problem for the U.S. economy and future retirees, exploding health care costs dwarf Social Security. By focusing exclusively on the latter, President Bush is overlooking the bigger problem. This is akin to getting a car tuned up when its transmission is shot and its engine has locked up.
"Medicare's mounting troubles dwarf Social Security's woes:   Washington ignores bigger problem of exploding health care costs," USA Today, March 9, 2005, Page 10A --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050309/edit09.art.htm 

My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


Tired of teaching?  Write and essay and fire it off to the Board of Trustees
The University of Colorado's review of Ward Churchill's scholarship has been delayed, perhaps until Monday, partly to allow lawyers time to craft a buyout offer, according to a person close to the process. The original March 3 deadline for the Churchill review has been pushed back twice now as a three-member committee of CU administrators wrestles with his writings, including an essay comparing some 9/11 victims to Nazi Adolf Eichmann. Tuesday, Churchill's attorney, David Lane, said he is "not at liberty" to discuss any talks he might have had with the university on a buyout proposal. He said again, however,...
Dave Curtin, "CU delays Churchill review," Denver Post, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~53~2751963,00.html 
Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyChurchill.htm 


Where's Chief Churchill?
Claims of Indian heritage aren't rare these days, particularly in the South, where laws and attitudes stigmatizing nonwhites have waned. In polls, more than 40% of Southerners now say they have an Indian ancestor. In fact, says John Shelton Reed, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, white Southerners are likelier to claim an Indian than a Confederate forebear. But the Apalachee stand out because of their hidden epic of survival -- and because of the modest couple who have brought them to light.
Tony Horwitz, "Apalachee Tribe, Missing for Centuries, Comes Out of Hiding:  The Indians' Tragic History Is Documented by Chief; A Push for Recognition," The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111032889711474126,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

 


Doctors have the millennia-old Hippocratic Oath. Pharmacists, mathematicians and even football coaches all have codes of ethics.  Not investment bankers.
Investment banking is a vexing area to police. Bankers sit in the crucible of the economy: doling out loans; hammering out contracts; and counseling companies on the sensitive topics of mergers and acquisitions, among other things.  It is in these areas that ethical lapses can occur, with bankers using confidential information from one client to benefit another, or failing to fully outline the drawbacks of a particular transaction to guarantee a big payday. Many on Wall Street say the vast majority of bankers are ethical ones, but nearly all will admit they can lose or win fees based on how far they are willing to go.  Given the million of dollars in profits that also can be personally earned from one or two banking transactions, the "pressure on behavior is sometimes too great to bear," writes Gerald Rosenfeld, chief executive officer of investment bank Rothschild North America, in the book.  Instead of trying to create a rule for every ethical permutation, a potential code "should have basic principles with respect to who you're accountable to, and what your priorities are between yourself, your client and your regulators," says Mr. Rohatyn, the former managing director of investment bank Lazard who now heads his own firm, Rohatyn Associates.  "It's really something that has to be embedded in an organization all the way up and down," he says. "Ultimately, it has to be instinctive."  When asked, some of Wall Street's leading investment banks say they welcome the idea of a code. For now, the list of supporters includes Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group's Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs Group, J.P. Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.  Since it is now simply a vague recommendation, exactly what it would contain remains to be seen. But a code could include principles for handling conflicts of interest, behavioral guidelines for dealing with clients and competitors, and some recognition of a banker's duty to society at large.  Writing such a code could face an uphill fight. Deep in the trenches, some Wall Street bankers displayed an instinctive skepticism.
Dennis K. Berman, "Does Wall Street Finally Need An Ethics Code?," The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111040943044975189,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 
Jensen Comment:  Lawyers have codes of ethics;  Just goes to prove that it takes more than a codification.


Flashback
The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2000

Knocking aside valuation, interest-rate and psychological barriers like tenpins, the Nasdaq Composite Index rolled through the 5000 mark yesterday. It is a crowning milestone in investors' unprecedented love affair with technology stocks.

January 9, 2005 --- Nasdaq Composite Index =  1525  (and rolling much slower)


Top 10 Corporate Hate Sites
To honor these quixotic champions, we spent hours trawling the Web looking for the very best corporate hate sites. After checking out more than 100 sites with names like dontflycontinentalairlines.com and fordlemon.com, we rated the best of them on a scale from one to five in six different categories: ease of use, frequency of updates, number of posts, hostility level (angrier is better), relevance, and entertainment value (Hey! Angry and funny!).
Charles Wolrich, "Top Corporate Hate Web Sites," Forbes, March 8, 2005 --- http://www.forbes.com/technology/2005/03/07/cx_cw_0308hate.html 

And the best of the worst is built on a cracked foundation
KB Homes KBhomesucks.com --- http://www.kbhomesucks.com/ 
(Complete with videos)

No pay is our way
PayPal Sucks, aka No PayPal, is an anti paypal site to expose the nightmare of doing business "the paypal way."
PayPal (part of eBay) Paypalsucks.com --- http://www.paypalsucks.com/ 

I wouldn't shake these hands
Allstate Insurance Allstateinsurancesucks.com --- http://www.allstateinsurancesucks.com/ 
DOI data helps rank Allstate as # 2 Bad Faith Insurer

Under the new name of Microsuck
After four years of being known primarly as [ahem]Microsoft.com, the flagship site of the Microsoft Eradication Society now sports a new, slightly more family-friendly name: Microsuck. And if you've come here expecting the old Microsuck website, we regret to inform you that it is no more. After laying dormant for a while, the previous owners offered it for sale to us. We couldn't resist.

Microsoft MS-Eradication.org --- http://www.ms-eradication.org/ 
Microsuck --- http://www.ms-eradication.org/newsite.shtml 

Bad ingredients in your financial happy meal
You'll also learn why the posters refer to American Express's (known as Threadneedle in Europe, United Kingdom (UK)) financial plans as a financial plan Happy Meal. Just like McDonald's Happy Meal, AEFA's financial plan happy meal always consists of the same items: Annuity, VUL, AXP Funds, and disability insurance.
American Express Amexsux.com --- http://www.amexsux.com/ 

This is really a complaint forum with links to complaint forums for other large chains of stores
Wal-Mart WalMart-Blows.com --- http://walmart-blows.com/ 

Among the claims:  50% of the bills are incorrect (I've got some myself so I believe it)
Verizon Verizonpathetic.com --- http://www.verizonpathetic.com/ 

October 20, 1998 to the present:  Complaints = 4,911; Replies = 66
UAL (parent of United Airlines) Untied.com --- http://www.untied.com/ 

Inside look
Ever wondered why your packages arrive at your door step crunched, smashed, broken, snapped and crushed?  You've probably never been inside a UPS facility and witnessed the package smashing first-hand. You've probably never watched a truck get unloaded, where the packages are thrown out the back door onto the conveyor belts and then thrown into the back door of another truck. But I have.
United Parcel Service UnitedPackageSmashers.com --- http://www.unitedpackagesmashers.com/ 
Jensen Comment:  We have a lot of package shipments, and I’ve had more damaged parcels from the USPO.

There was a tenth site that went dark about the time this article was published


It's called the CNN Gag Order, but somebody's not listening
Tuesday morning's editorial meeting included a warning to employees not to leak complaints about the network. TVNewser has obtained an excerpt from the editorial meeting notes, as they are sent by Sue Bunda: "Jon [Klein] started the meeting by reminding everyone that the editorial meeting is sacrosanct....what is said in this meeting should not be leaked outside the company. He reminded everyone that leaking will get a person fired if they are caught...Jon has an open door and called the idea of leaking complaints foolish when any employee can approach him in person, on the phone, via email. He is...
"TVNewser Post Provokes Warning To CNN Employees: 'What Is Said In This Meeting Should Not Be Leaked Outside The Co.'," MidiaBistro, March 9, 2005 ---  http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/ 


It's called the former Rutgers Gag Order
Amid a barrage of criticism, Rutgers University on Tuesday reversed an earlier decision restricting students in an investigative journalism course from exploring topics at the university.  John Pavlik, chairman of the journalism and media studies department, had mandated in January that students in the Investigative and In Depth Reporting class at Rutgers limit their work to off-campus subjects. He had made that decision, in part, because of complaints from colleagues and officials in other departments about some of the articles students in the course had written, including one on alleged special treatment of athletes that The Daily Targum, Rutgers's student newspaper, had declined to publish.  Inside Higher Ed's article last week on the Rutgers controversy prompted a barrage of criticism of the department's decision. One local newspaper columnist blasted the decision in a column called "The Sting of Rutgers Censorship." Officials at Temple and Columbia Universities challenged Pavlik's contention that Rutgers was following their lead in barring journalism students from writing about on-campus issues.  And the Society of Professional Journalists said last week that it would set up a fact finding panel to explore the issue.
Doug Lederman, "Reversing Course at Rutgers," Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/reversing_course_at_rutgers 


Customer vs. Bank of America
According to a report in The Register, Joe Lopez, a small businessman from Florida, alleges that Bank of America was negligent because it failed to protect his account from compromise through known risks. He regularly used the bank's online services to send and receive money from the U.S. and Latin America, but last April he discovered an unauthorized wire transfer for $90,348 sent to a bank in Latvia. When he became aware of the fraud, he notified the police, and when the Secret Service performed a forensic examination of his PCs, they uncovered an infection by a Trojan called Coreflood.
Donald Smith, "Customer vs. Bank of America: Who's to blame?"  Search Security, February 25, 2005 --- http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/columnItem/0,294698,sid14_gci1062440,00.html 


What are the best foods to serve a burglar?
Police say thieves often cannot resist tucking into a snack after breaking into a home, and traces of saliva on the food remains can yield a telltale signature of the criminal's DNA.  A handful of hungry crooks have been caught and jailed this way over the past decade, a phenomenon that has prompted curious scientists to wonder which foods may yield the best saliva sample.  Forensic researchers Heather Zarsky and Ismail Sebetan of the National University in La Jolla, California, organised a dinner party for 13 people, the British weekly New Scientist reports.
"A bite can bait a burglar," Aljazeera, March 10, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/9030541B-1315-4C3D-A9E9-FFA489043776.htm 

The menu
On the menu were pizza, corn on the cob, chicken wings, ribs, chocolates, cheese, apples and carrots.


Just another day on the Merrill Lynch fraud beat
Merrill Lynch & Co. was fined a total of $13.5 million by regulators for failing to supervise four brokers in New Jersey who helped a hedge fund rapidly trade in and out of mutual funds and variable annuity investment accounts to the detriment of other investors.  Three brokers in Merrill's Fort Lee office and one with lesser responsibility in another New Jersey branch allegedly helped hedge fund Millennium Partners LP rapidly trade in and out of 521 mutual funds and 40 variable annuity accounts despite policies at Merrill and some of the funds to discourage such trading, known as market timing, the regulators said. Merrill fired three of the brokers in October 2003.
Jed Horowitz, "Merrill Fined In Market-Timing Case:  Firm to Pay $13.5 Million; 4 Accused of Rapid Trading To Aid Millennium Partners," The Wall Street Journal,  March 9, 2005; Page C15 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111029865794273529,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 

Bucking a spate of previous rulings favorable to the securities industry, arbitrators ordered Merrill Lynch & Co. to pay a Florida couple more than $1 million for failing to disclose that its analysts had conflicts of interest in recommending stocks.
Jed Horowitz, "Merrill Ordered to Pay 2 Clients Over Analyst Conflicts on Stocks," The Wall Street Journal,  March 1, 2005; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110962110354266151,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 
Jensen Comment:  Merrill Lynch has one of the worst fraud records on Wall Street.  Eliot Spitzer once claimed he had enough smoking guns to bring down Merrill Lynch if he chose to do so.  You can read more by searching for "Merrill" at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm 


Hacking Harvard:  No fair peeking
Harvard Business School will reject 119 applicants who followed a hacker's instructions and peeked into the school's admission site to see if they had been accepted, the school's dean said.  "This behavior is unethical at best -- a serious breach of trust that cannot be countered by rationalization," Kim Clark said in a statement Monday. "Any applicant found to have done so will not be admitted to this school."
"Harvard Rejects Applicants Who Peeked into Admissions Computer," MIT's Technology Review, March 8, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/03/ap/ap_030805.asp?trk=nl 


It started out as just a few malcontents in third world countries, but now the threat has hit the big time. Phishing joins numbers running, drug smuggling and currency fraud as yet another tool of organized crime.
Phishing, which first appeared more than 10 years ago, has grown from humble roots to become the international electronic crime of choice for amateurs and professionals alike.  In its simplest form, phishing involves sending out fake e-mail messages that ask recipients to enter personal information, such as bank account numbers, PINs or credit card numbers, into forms on Web sites that are designed to mimic bank or e-commerce sites.
Dennis Fisher, "Phishing Is Big Business," eWeek, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1772523,00.asp 

 

Bob Jensen's threads on phishing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#Phishing 

 


Question
"What can be done to prevent, postpone, or correct the vision loss at early stages of cataracts?"

 

Answer
For otherwise healthy people, limiting sun exposure, wearing UV blocking eyewear, and consuming a balanced diet rich in antioxidants are probably the wisest ways to help prevent or delay cataracts.
"Dr. Lloyds Guide to Better Eye Care," WebMDHealth --- http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/15/96152.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_td_01 

 


Take the power from the Supreme Court and give it back to the House of Commons
Mother of Slain RCMP Officer: “It’s Time to take our Liberal Attitude to Task” RED DEER, Alberta, March 7, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The mother of one of the four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers who were shot dead during a drug bust in Alberta Thursday, spoke to the media Saturday with a powerful message for Prime Minister Paul Martin. “It is time that our government take a stand on evil,” Colleen Myrol said Friday from in front of her home in Red Deer, Alberta. “The man who murdered our son and brother was a person who was deeply disturbed and...“Prime Minister Paul Martin, we depend on you and we expect you to change the laws and give the courts real power,” she said. “Give the power back to the police. Take the power from the Supreme Court and give it back to the House of Commons. We are a good country. Brock knew that. He loved the RCMP and all it stood for.”
"Mother of Slain RCMP Officer: 'It’s Time to take our Liberal Attitude to Task'," Life Site, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/mar/05030703.html 
 


Outsourcing may not be the best way to save money
A new Gartner Study shows that Outsourcing may not be the best way to save money. In fact, 80% of the companies that outsource to save money will fail to do so. Of course, there might be other valid efficiency based reasons to outsource. Gartner: Outsourcing costs more than in-house | CNET News.com
From Jerry Trites' blog on March 9, 2005 --- http://www.zorba.ca/blog.html 
See http://news.com.com/Gartner+Outsourcing+costs+more+than+in-house/2100-1022_3-5600485.html?tag=nefd.pop 

 


The following add appealing to spring break students appeared in Business Week's MBA Express, March 9, 2005


South Padre Island, Texas. Located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast south of San Antonio, the island offers great fishing, windsurfing, and sun-bathing. Throw out your line in the Gulf, and you just might reel in an 800-pound marlin or wahoo.

Jensen Comment:  I don't think spring breakers are casting out for fish.


Possible new assurance service clients for CPA firms
A number of major international charities are opening their doors for the first time to outside inspectors, allowing them to certify that donations are spent as advertised.  The charities say they hope thorough inspections and a new industry seal of approval will assuage public fears of donations being misused. The nonprofits are also trying to keep ahead of a movement in Congress to impose regulations on the fast-growing but largely unsupervised world of nongovernmental organizations.
Michael M. Phillips, "Big Charities Pursue Certification To Quell Fears of Funding Abuses," The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111033202546074217,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Bob Jensen's threads on charity frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#CharityFrauds

You can read more about assurance services at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#AssuranceServices 

 


Big Brother really is watching you 
The man marched down the street in daylight, armed with a paintball rifle that had been converted to shoot with lethal force. He
then blasted a newly installed camera in hopes of freeing the drug-ridden neighborhood from police surveillance. But the shooter's image was saved on the camera's hard drive. "All it did was get him arrested," chuckled New Orleans' chief technology officer, Greg Meffert. "The camera immediately notified the police and tracked him until he was caught." And when they got him, they found he was wanted on a murder arrant.
Mary Foster, "N. Orleans Installing Surveillance Cameras," SFGate, March 8, 2005 --- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/03/08/national/a110248S39.DTL 


 

Rape Protest in Pakistan
Thousands of women rallied in eastern Pakistan on Monday to demand justice and protection for a woman who said she was gang-raped at the direction of a village council, after a court ordered the release of her alleged attackers. The victim, Mukhtar Mai, also attended the rally in Multan, a major city in the eastern province of Punjab. Waving signs and chanting, the demonstrators, many of them from nearby villages, joined the rally. Organizer Farzana Bari said more than 3,000 women were at the event. "We will fight for justice for Mukhtar Mai," the women chanted during...
Kansas City Star, March 8, 2005

 


 

Don't toot your own horn in France
But that's not the way the musicians' unions in Germany and France see it. Mr. Mertens of the Deutsche Orchestervereinigung, or German orchestra union, says people like Mr. Hartung are engaging in "unfair competition" that "jeopardizes European jobs." According to this view, orchestra directors bringing in low-wage East European musicians to play to West European crowds are exploitative profiteers who are mistreating their workers and harming their West European counterparts at the same time. In other words, putting on a tour in small towns that can't afford a French opera company and giving work to eager musicians from the east is a lose-lose proposition.
Brian M. Carney, "Show Stopper," The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111031869846473836,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

 


 

Where's Jane?
No one will be asking "Where's Jane?" in a few weeks, when her autobiography, "My Life So Far," arrives with the kind of fiercely controlled, all-fronts media campaign politicians can only dream of. Her publisher, Random House, will not release the book to reporters or critics in advance, . . . Yet her influence on the popular culture has been so enormous that it would be foolish to dismiss her as just another actress trying for a comeback; after all, she has set a path American society has followed more than once. Her political activism, unusual for a movie star in the 70's, is now so common she seems like the template for contemporary celebrity. Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Arnold Schwarzenegger might have had very different careers without her. Today only the most bubble-headed pop stars are expected not to comment on world events.
Caryn James, "Where's Jane Fonda? On Yet Another Journey," The New York Times,  March 8, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/08/movies/08fond.html 

 


 

Don't crowd her
The Monterey Aquarium's popular great white shark is now a killer, having taken down one of its Outer Bay tank-mates two weeks ago and inflicting a 5-inch gash in the tail of another soupfin shark on Monday. But aquarium officials believe the 88-pound, well-fed white shark wasn't hunting its neighbors -- only reflexively chomping when it was startled by an accidental collision with the slower-swimming sharks. There are no plans to move the female great white, although officials may relocate two remaining soupfin sharks to avoid potential clashes in the million-gallon tank. "The white shark and the soupfins are tending...
Alan Gathright, "Aquarium attack called accident Great white shark chomped on tail of its tank-mate," San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2005 --- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/03/09/BAGG1BMH9B1.DTL 

 


 

Would donating the land to the Feds really serve their purpose?
The Mount Soledad cross must go, the San Diego City Council said yesterday. The 16-year saga of whether the cross would stay on public land in La Jolla came to an emotional conclusion last night as the council voted 5-3 to reject a last-ditch effort to keep it in place. The vote capped a six-hour public hearing that attracted 350 people, most of them Christians who urged the council to donate the cross and surrounding land to the federal government so it possibly could remain where it has stood since 1954. But the cross now must be moved to comply...
Matthew T. Hall, "No clemency for cross," The San Diego Union Tribune, March 9, 2005 --- http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050309/news_7n9cross.html 
 



Hissy fits and real progress
Susan Estrich is playing a dog-eared victim card and in doing so reveals herself as well behind her curves. Three-fourths of American women between 25 to 34 are in the workforce, up from half in 1975. A report by the World Future Society finds that Generation Xers and their younger counterparts in the millennial generation toil in a workplace that is all but "gender-blind." Fully 57 percent of American college students are women.  The old-boy school of the entrepreneurial world has given way to the "new girl" school, with women more and more starting their own shops and companies. Life insurance companies sell more policies to women than to men. As women continue to draw on experience and education, they're accelerating their numbers in upper management, too. Top salaries for women are not yet as high as those for men, but women's salaries have been rising faster in America for 30 years. Trends suggest that the average woman's income may exceed that of the average man within a generation.
Suzanne Fields, "Hissy fits and real progress," Jewish World Review, March 10, 2005 --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/fields031005.asp 


Forwarded by Debbie Bowling

Hackers commandeered a database owned by information industry giant Lexis Nexis, gaining access to the personal files of as many as 32,000 people, company officials said Wednesday.  Federal and company investigators were looking into the breach at Seisint, which was recently acquired by Lexis Nexis and includes millions of personal files for use by such customers as police and legal professionals.
Ellen Simon, "U.S. Citizens' Data Possibly Compromised," ABC News, March 9, 2005 --- http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=565298 


Eight hours in bed, seven for sleep, one for ____________ (think of something that will help you sleep more soundly such as reading accounting books, watching TV commercials, ?)
Seven hours of sleep is plenty for most people. Much more than that isn't good for you. In fact, people who regularly sleep more than eight hours a night tend to die sooner.  A bit less won't hurt you. But less than five hours' sleep, night after night, takes a toll.  Sleeping late once in a while won't hurt. Neither will getting too little sleep every so often. But don't make a habit of it. Sleeping well is as important to your health as eating well.
"What's a Good Night's Sleep?," WebMDHealth, March 9, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/article/71/81370.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_td_01 


March 9, 2005 message from Paula
Just wanted to let you know that the new Homeland Security Bill has passed. Things will be different now and Internet surfing will be tracked by what the FBI calls a "non-intrusive method." The FBI says you will not notice anything different.
For a demonstration, click on the link below...

Homeland Security --- http://users.chartertn.net/tonytemplin/FBI_eyes/ 


Church Versus State
A federal appeals court in Washington endorsed the use of federal AmeriCorps money to place young teachers in religious schools. The decision reversed a lower court judge who said the program crossed the constitutional line separating church and state.  The AmeriCorps program trains participants, offers them $4,725 in financial aid and has them teach needy children in secular and religious schools. The participants fulfill a service requirement of 1,700 hours by teaching secular subjects, though they may also teach religious courses. The American Jewish Congress, which brought the case, argued that federal money was being used improperly to pay for teaching Christian values.
"Appeals court reverses ruling on AmeriCorps," USA Today, March 9, 2005, Page 8A --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050309/a_capcol09.art.htm 

 


This concerns a hilarious essay generating site noted by David Albrecht.
Message from Charlie Betts [cbetts@COLLEGE.DTCC.EDU

His web site ( http://radioworldwide.gospelcom.net/essaygenerator/ ) does more than generate funny essays. Among other things it also has a proverb generator. I tried the word "accounting" several times and got the following responses (among others)

"An accounting in time saves nine." 
"No use crying over spilt accounting." 
"Two wrongs do not make an accounting." 
"Better the accounting you know than the accounting you don't."

The last one is my favorite and can be taken several ways, but I'm not sure how original it is. I think I've heard it used before as an argument against the acceptance of International Accounting Standards and against almost any accounting change proposed by the FASB.

Charlie Betts 
"America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete does in a whole week." Evan Esar (or at least some professional athletes)

Charles M. Betts DTCC, 
Terry Campus 
100 Campus Drive 
Dover DE 19904
cbetts@college.dtcc.edu  


Forwarded by Auntie Bev
What me mudder said vs. what me fadder said --- http://txc.net.au/~mapie/memudder.htm 


Cleaning Up Corporate Japan
Is Japan Inc. finally moving toward more responsible corporate governance? After last week's arrest of Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, owner of the country's major railway, hotel and resort conglomerate Seibu group, there's at least reason to believe that the government is finally demanding more accountability from its corporate leaders.  Mr. Tsutsumi, former chairman of Seibu railway and its holding company, Kokudo, was arrested on Thursday on charges of insider trading and falsification of documents. While his guilt of these charges is still to be determined, the Japanese press has not held back from criticizing the politically influential Mr. Tsutsumi and his business empire, portraying them as powerful symbols of corporate Japan's lack of transparency and disregard for shareholder interests.
"Cleaning Up Corporate Japan," The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111040748350775119,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

Bob Jensen's rotten to the core threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm 


Forwarded by Don Mathis
The National Consumer Law Center placed an emphasis on divorce as a primary causal factor in their testimony before Congress in 1998: the average bankruptcy occurs “because of the convergence of consumer debt, job loss and divorce ... when a family splits up, the pressure of running a household with less total income is impossible.” They also cite downsizing, economic dislocation, income disruptions and underemployment as major factors.  The President of Easton Bank and Trust Company not only emphasized the problem of divorce in his congressional testimony, but also pointed out the real reason why banks want bankruptcy reform in the first place: “The industry has long understood, and since 1997, testified before both the House and Senate that many factors such as divorce, lack of health insurance etc. all play a role in causing bankruptcy. We cannot and would not underwrite for these types of factors—can you imagine if on the credit application, we asked about such matters?”
Robert R. Usher, "Mensnewsdaily.com," March 9, 2005 --- http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/archive/u-v/usher/2005/usher030905.htm 


"How Banks Pretty Up The Profit Picture:   Playing with loan-loss reserves can produce deceiving earnings," Business Week, February 21, 2005 --- http://yahoo.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_08/b3921110_mz020.htm 

Last year the banks had an easy way to juice their profits. All they had to do was allocate a little less money to loan-loss reserves -- the money they set aside to cover bad debt. As the economy has improved and defaults have slowed, many decided they didn't need as much in reserve as they did in 2003, and presto, their earnings per share would rise a few cents.

But investors who assume the profits are humming and decide to buy bank stocks could be in for a shock. In 2005 many banks won't have this profit source. Some have already pared loan-loss reserves as much as they reasonably can, analysts say. "A lot of banks may do this from time to time to meet estimates," says Brian Shullaw, senior research analyst at SNL Financial in Charlottesville, Va.

The trouble with whittling away the reserves is that as banks write more loans, they will have to replenish the reserves. Plus, if credit conditions worsen as economic growth slows and interest rates rise, they will need to set aside even more, eating further into profits.

Do a little digging, and the current numbers don't look so great. Detroit's Comerica Inc. (CMA ) had one of the largest drops in its loan-loss reserves relative to total assets, according to a study of large banks' fourth-quarter earnings done by SNL for BusinessWeek. Not only did Comerica fail to add money in the fourth quarter, it also extracted $21 million from the pot. That gave it an extra $98 million in income, or 57 cents a share, that it didn't have last year. The bank beat analysts' earnings estimates by 10 cents. Comerica Chief Credit Officer Dale Greene says muted loan growth, coupled with major improvement in credit quality, justify the move.

Others, such as Citigroup (C ), garnered a few extra cents from replenishing reserves by a smaller amount than before. But it was enough to help them beat analysts' earnings estimates by a penny or two. Citi Chief Financial Officer Sallie L. Krawcheck said in a Jan. 20 conference call that the reserving process was done in mid-quarter based on a mathematical formula. She noted: "We as a company work very hard to systematize the process around rigorous analytics."

Of course, banks can't just shift funds around willy-nilly. Accounting rules dictate that they have to justify decreases in loan-loss allowances, for example by citing substantial improvement in credit trends. This past quarter, a bevy of bank earnings releases cited fewer nonperforming loans, improving asset quality, and a stronger underlying global economy as reasons for smaller loan-loss provisions. Bill Lewis, leader of the U.S. banking practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, notes that subjectivity is often involved, but "most banks, in light of heightened regulatory scrutiny, are more precise in their estimation methodologies today than they have been in the past."

Maybe so, but even if the decreases in reserves are perfectly justifiable, there are still problems with this common industry practice. Besides cutting reserves to the core, banks "are increasing the cyclicality of earnings," says Richard Bove, a banking analyst at Punk, Ziegel & Co. "When bad times come, you know they are going to be increasing the size of the reserves." Already, Citi's Krawcheck has warned analysts not to expect substantial reductions in provisions in the future.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on banking misdeeds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm 


March 16 --- Happy St. Urho Day
Some say the truth is stranger than fiction. They obviously have never heard about St. Urho, (pronounced oorlho) the patron ''saint'' of Finland.  Not to be outdone by St. Patrick's Day celebrations on March 17, St. Urho's Day is celebrated the day before, giving participants an additional 24 hours to pursue the fun. While cynics may claim the holiday is bogus, most folks good-naturedly join in the festivities. Although St. Urho's Day originated in Minnesota, every state in the union recognizes St. Urho's Day.  As with most legends, the origins of St. Urho's Day are unclear, and details of his reputed heroics freely change in the telling. There is a traditional story and more modern versions, but by most accounts, the holiday has been celebrated for only about 50 years. To add ''authenticity'' to the tale, a statue of St. Urho stands in Menahga, Minn. He holds a pitchfork with a giant grasshopper impaled in its tines and a plaque below recounts this bizarre folk tale:  A long, long time ago, before the last glacial period when the climate was warmer, wild grapes grew in profusion in the country known as Finland. Archaeologists made this discovery by studying scratches on the bones of giant bears that once roamed Northern Europe. The Finnish farmers were threatened by a plague of grasshoppers  Our brave young hero, St. Urho, came to the rescue, waved his pitchfork and in a loud, threatening voice, commanded the grasshoppers, ''Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, menetaalta hiiten'' which in English loosely translates to ''Grasshopper, grasshopper, get outta here, now.'' And like St. Patrick, who is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland, St. Urho banished the grasshoppers from the vineyards of Finland and saved the country from ruin.
Kathy Antoniotti "St. Urho Day, fact or fiction," McCall.com, March 14, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/StUrho 


Some college songs to sing on St. Orho Day
"March Madness," by Mark J. Drozdowski, March 11, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/march_madness 

I also noticed that some songs reference other schools. Penn mentions Harvard's and Yale's colors, while neighboring Swarthmore, in its memorable "Hip, Hip, Hip, for Old Swarthmore," adds Cornell and Haverford to the mix. Lafayette promises to "dig Lehigh's grave both wide and deep, wide and deep," and "put tombstones at her head and feet, head and feet."  But Illinois manages to offend the most with this ballad:

     Don't send my boy to Harvard, a dying mother said,
     Don't send my boy to Michigan, I'd rather he were dead.
     But send my boy to Illinois, 'tis better than Cornell,
     and rather than Chicago, I would see my boy in hell.

Many songs reveal their age. Cal Tech implores its football team to "smash the line of our old enemy," yet no longer fields a football team. The only things they smash these days are atoms. Harvard students still play "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard" even though the university now enrolls more women than men.  


The Academic Bill of Rights Poster Child Can't Be Found
A criminology course at the University of Northern Colorado is the setting for one of David Horowitz's favorite stories.  As he tells it, a required essay on a mid-term exam was for students to "explain why George Bush is a war criminal." A student submitted an essay on why Saddam Hussein was a war criminal and she received an F.  But a number of blogs and columns have noted in recent days that neither the student nor the professor can be found. Links set up from Horowitz's writings on the subject to Colorado legislative hearings where he says the incident was discussed feature no discussion of the incident.  Mano Singham, director of Case Western Reserve University's Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education, spent some trying to track down the course and the student, and wrote about the experience for The Plain Dealer, finding no evidence of any such incident at the university in question or in Colorado legislative records.  "So does this mysterious professor actually exist? Did this incident actually happen? It is hard to say no for certain, since that involves proving a negative. But there are some characteristics of urban legends that this story shares, in particular the absence of details (names, places, dates) that enable one to pin it down to anything concrete," Singham wrote. "Given that Horowitz and his group have shown no scruples in the past about naming people in academia that they dislike, their sudden coyness in this particular case is a little surprising."  Many professors believe that the "Academic Bill of Rights," proposed by Horowitz and his supporters in many state legislatures, would encourage harassment of professors and monitoring of their views. But Horowitz has repeatedly justified the legislation by pointing to examples -- like the alleged Northern Colorado student -- to say that legislation is needed.  A good compilation of the online discussions and evidence in the case was posted Friday on the blog Cliopatria by Jonathan Dresner, an assistant professor of East Asian history at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Dresner found it "particularly odd" that "Horowitz's own site has links which appear to be citations but which go to hearings in which the testimony in question clearly doesn't appear."
Scott Jaschik, "The Poster Child Who Can't Be Found," Inside Higher Ed, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/the_poster_child_who_can_t_be_found 

Because while a Northern Colorado spokeswoman acknowledged Monday that a complaint had been filed, she also said that the test question was not the one described by Horowitz, the grade was not an F, and there were clearly non-political reasons for whatever grade was given. And the professor who has been held up as an example of out-of-control liberal academics? In an interview last night, he said that he's a registered Republican.  In addition, the university was able to directly refute other statements made by Horowitz supporters. For instance, Students for Academic Freedom, a group that backs Horowitz, on Monday posted an articleon its Web site (which was then widely posted by conservatives on other Web sites) with the headline "University of Northern Colorado Story Confirmed." The article, among other things, said that the professor in the course had been unable to produce any copies of the test questions. But the university has had the test the entire time -- and the question isn't the way it has been described by Horowitz.
Scott Jaschik, "Tattered Poster Child," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/tattered_poster_child 


APR (Academic Performance Rate)
Just another NCAA sham that allows big-bucks schools to ignore top athlete scholarship

We should perhaps celebrate any change in popular culture that appears to support academic success, even if the motives of the NCAA focus more on commercial viability than academic integrity. At the same time, we should always recognize the fundamental conflict that exists between the all-too-human demand for competitive sports excellence that drives the NCAA and the less visible and less intense requirement that our students be students, even when they serve athletics, a concern of faculty and many other observers. Some institutions, more interested in the competition than the student, will likely find ways to evade much of this legislation through soft courses and majors, overly zealous academic advising and similar maneuvers. At the same time, a few of the semi-pro players in high school may decide that they should skip the collegiate experience altogether.  One thing is for sure, the NCAA franchising operation will continue its highly compensated, cautious and commercially successful management of the entertainment quality of the college sports enterprise, and the academics will find a way to adjust.
John V. Lombardi, "Reality Check," Inside Higher Ed, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/reality_check__3 

Now if we could only have the same success in the male NFL, NBA, NHL, and professional baseball.
But even as they increasingly look to play in the WNBA, college women tend to view professional basketball not as a final destination, but as one component of a life that will continue beyond the court. It doesn't pay big, so many female athletes play for the love of the sport and as a way to fund graduate or medical school.
Amy Merrick, "Stepping Stone," The Wall Street Journal,  March 14, 2005; Page R8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111038775601474739,00.html?mod=todays_us_the_journal_report 


An 83-year history project at Princeton University
In 1943, Princeton University decided to publish the complete papers of Thomas Jefferson. Compiling his notes and letters in chronological order and publishing them in bound volumes, the Papers of Thomas Jefferson project now is up to Jefferson's 1801 inauguration, with eight years of his presidency and 25 years of his life still ahead.  The project is taking so long that Monticello, Jefferson's Virginia estate, has taken over editing the papers from the third president's retirement years. Still, the two teams say they won't wrap up the project until perhaps 2026, taking 83 years, which is as long as Jefferson lived . . . It certainly wasn't supposed to take this long. A congressional commission, at the height of World War II, proposed publishing Jefferson's papers and hired Julian Boyd, a Princeton historian, as the first editor. Mr. Boyd, who brought the project to New Jersey, predicted it would take 15 or 20 years.  But "he had no idea how many documents would be assembled" -- 70,000 photocopies from 900 libraries and collections, says Barbara Oberg, the current editor, who arrived seven years ago in the middle of Vol. 28, just as the project was reaching the end of Jefferson's term as secretary of state.
June Kronholz, "Why a Life's Work Is Taking Princeton So Long to Document:  Unfinished Jefferson Project Is Now in Its 63rd Year; Yale's Ben Franklin Slog," The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2005; Page A1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111085059678779477,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 


Bye Bye Hank!
At the helm of American International Group Inc., Maurice Greenberg was under mounting pressure. Regulators were applying increasing heat over a transaction AIG did with a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a deal they considered possibly misleading to AIG investors.  Mr. Greenberg, known as Hank, resisted the pressure with the same tenacity he displayed in nearly four decades running what has become the world's largest insurer. But then, in the past week, came the tipping point. The regulators -- relying on nearly 1,000 pages of e-mails and phone-call records -- gave AIG's independent directors an analysis providing new details of the deal and Mr. Greenberg's role in it. And some of that was in conflict with or missing from his statements on the matter.
Monica Langley and Theo Francis, "How Investigations of AIG Led To Retirement of Longtime CEO:  Spitzer's and SEC's Close Look At Big Trove of Documents Put Pressure on the Chief Greenberg: 'I'll Get Going Now'," The Wall Street Journal,  March 15, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084108330679173,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Also from The New York Times --- • Video: The Times's Gretchen Morgenson

How did AIG use insurance contracts to sell accounting fraud?
Steven Gluckstern and Michael Palm figured out how to minimize insurers' risk and give customers an accounting edge and a tax break: Multiyear contracts in which the premiums covered most if not all of the potential losses -- but refunded much of the unclaimed money at the end of the contract.  Buyers loved the policies because they could offset losses with loan-like proceeds without disclosing liabilities that would muddy their bottom lines. And the premiums were tax deductible.  Such policies became among the industry's hottest products. Now, two decades later, they are the focus of multiple state and federal investigations into companies suspected of using them to manipulate earnings. And this week, those probes helped topple Mr. Greenberg as chief executive, although he will remain chairman. His company sold one policy later declared a sham by federal authorities and itself bought another -- now the focus of intense scrutiny -- from Berkshire Hathaway Inc., where Messrs. Gluckstern and Palm got their start.  "If used improperly, these contracts can enable a company to conceal the bottom-line impact of a loss and thus misrepresent its financial results," says the Securities and Exchange Commission's Mark Schonfeld, who is overseeing the agency's probe of such policies as the head of its Northeast office.
Ianthe Jeanne Dugan and Theo Francis, "How a Hot Insurance Product Burned AIG:  An Unlikely Duo's New Approach Called 'Finite Risk Insurance' Was a Hit -- Until Inquiries Began," The Wall Street Journal,  March 15, 2005; Page C1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084339061279243,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 
Bob Jensen's threads on "rotten to the core" insurance rackets can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm#MutualFunds 


Symptoms include "excessive and sometimes fraudulent risks
Add to the growing number of recently diagnosed diseases in America the Icarus Syndrome. This malady, discovered by a law professor, is said to affect corporations in particular. The symptoms include "excessive and sometimes fraudulent risks." The disease has attacked corporate America not only in our own scandal-plagued times but, it seems, since about 1873.  Icarus in the Boardroom (Oxford University Press, 250 pages, $25) is an attempt to alert public-health officials, so to speak, to the dangers of this contagion. David Skeel, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, labels all sorts of apparently admirable traits -- "self-confidence, visionary insight, the ability to think outside the box" -- as potential Icaran qualities, full of danger. They "may spur entrepreneurs to take misguided risks," he writes, "in the belief that everything they touch will eventually turn to gold." Fortunately, he offers a number of cures, ranging from small doses of regulation to massive doses of regulation.  And little wonder. What is most interesting about "Icarus in the Boardroom" is the vast divide it reveals -- between American lawyers who study corporations and, well, everybody else. Following common sense and economic logic, most people view corporate risk-taking and corporate fraud as different things: Fraud involves lying; risk-taking does not. As in the case of Enron and WorldCom, fraudulent executives often misstate how much risk their investors will assume.  For academic lawyers such as Mr. Skeel, however, it seems that risk-taking and fraud are points on a continuum. Risk-taking quickly fades into "excessive" risk-taking, which then morphs into fraud. Mr. Skeel never says just how we are to distinguish acceptable risks from the excessive and fraudulent kind. Apparently, though, lawmakers and regulators will figure out a formula, for it falls to them, in Mr. Skeel's view, "to prevent risk-taking that edges toward market manipulation or fraud."
Jonathan R. Macey, "A Risky Proposition," The Wall Street Journal,  March 15, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111083993718979142,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudrotten.htm 


I think Philip Bennett should move to China and try out that nation's free speech and democratic realities
"I don't think US should be the leader of the world . . . I think China is the best place in the world to be an American journalist right now." Philip Bennett, Editor of Washington Post  --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200503/10/print20050310_176350.html 

The People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese communist dictatorship, announced today that it would merge with the Washington Post, to publish "an accurate newspaper of global significance called The Wa-Po Daily."  Washington Post Managing Editor Philip Bennett will oversee news-gathering operations for The Wa-Po Daily, under the guidance of "an unnamed committee of Chinese truth advocates."  The first hints of the media marriage emerged from an interview Mr. Bennett granted to People's Daily correspondent Yong Tang, in which the veteran American newsman drew no moral distinction between the Chinese and American expressions of democracy and accused the Bush administration of lying and limiting freedom of the press.
Scott Ott, "Chinese Daily-Washington Post Merger Boosts Credibility," Scrapple Face, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.scrappleface.com/MT/archives/002112.html 

China's Communist Party maintains its monopoly on political power by delivering benefits to its 1.3 billion people, in line with governments worldwide. It also guards its turf jealously by ensuring that watchful party officials sit in every corner of society deemed a potential threat to that monopoly. This entails everything from "officially sanctioned" religious organizations and political parties to sports groups, chambers of commerce, university departments and farm collectives.  Groups viewed as a threat are quickly batted down, as seen with official crackdowns on Tibetan monks, Falun Gong practitioners, separatist Muslims in the country's west and Internet essayists. A recently published list of banned gatherings, which included an amateur singing club, a pigeon lovers group and a dozen people holding a ceremony to bless a new building, shows how jittery the party can be.  Police, cybercops and vaguely worded national security laws are among the bluntest weapons in the party's arsenal. At least as effective are the demotions and other subtle threats that engender self-censorship.  Communist leaders have read their history and are well aware that as least as many Chinese dynasties have fallen to internal rot, complacency and corruption as to barbarian threats beyond the Great Wall.  That's where the Hu and Wen campaign for enhanced discipline comes in. With 68 million members, or an all-time high of 5.2% of China's population, the Communist Party is bloated and increasingly unfocused.
Mark Magnier, "Flip Side to Fame in China," Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ChinaMarch14 


Question
What is the latest, often illegal, craze on campus?

Answer
Serious Gambling
For Michael Sandberg, it started a few years ago with nickel-and-dime games among friends. But last fall, he says, it became the source of a six-figure income and an alternative to law school.Mr. Sandberg's is an extreme example of a gambling revolution on the nation's college campuses. Mr. Sandberg calls it an explosion, one spurred by televised poker championships and a proliferation of Web sites that offer online poker games.  Experts say the evidence of gambling's popularity on campus is hard to miss. In December, for example, a sorority at Columbia held its first, 80-player poker tournament with a $10 buy-in, a minimum amount required to play, while the University of North Carolina held its first tournament, a 175-player competition, in October. Both games filled up and had waiting lists. At the University of Pennsylvania, private games are advertised every night in a campus e-mail list.
Jonathan Cheng, "Ante Up at Dear Old Princeton: Online Poker Is a Campus Draw," The New York Times, March 14, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/CampusGambling 


The Great Game
This analysis of chess history synthesized in my mind with my extensive experience of playing against computers. For over 50 years, back to the earliest days of computing, chess has been recognized as a unique cognitive battleground. The world watched my matches with "Deep Blue," "Fritz," and "Junior" as man-versus-machine competitions and a way to see how computers "think." To me they were also helpful in revealing how humans make decisions. These computers looked at millions of positions per second, weighing each one to find the mathematically best moves. And yet a human, seeing just two or three positions per second, but guided by intuition and experience, could compete with the mighty machines.  The nature of the decision-making process is little explored and I have become fascinated with the possibility of using my expertise to illuminate these questions. I am currently working on a book on how life imitates chess, that will be released this fall in America by Penguin. It examines the unique formulae people use in thinking and problem-solving. For example, the way hope and doubt affect how we process information, or the way we perform in a crisis. I hope it will also serve as a guide to improving these processes.  Over the past several years I have made a number of speeches on the topic of chess themes in life, particularly in business thinking and strategy. The response has been overwhelming and enlightening and I am extracting a number of valuable parallels. For example: the difference between tactics and strategy; how to train your intuition; and maintaining creativity in an era of analysis. In particular, the topic of intuition is intriguing. When I analyzed a 1894 world championship game between Lasker and Wilhelm Steinitz, I also looked at their post-game analysis and the comments of other top players of the day. They all made more mistakes in analysis than the players had made during the game! The intuitive decisions of the players during the game were correct in most cases, and more often so than when they had all the time in the world to analyze later.
Gary Kasparov, "The Great Game," The Wall Street Journal,  March 14, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111076463398178318,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

I believe my talents and experience can be useful in the political realm. There is something to be said for a chess player's ability to see the whole board. Many politicians are so focused on one problem, or a single aspect of a problem, that they remain unaware that solving it may require action on something that appears unrelated. It is natural for a chess player, by contrast, to look at the big picture. Zbigniew Brzezinski recently wrote on geopolitics as "The Grand Chessboard" and the analogy persists in many ways. There is no single solution to a chess game; you must consider every factor to produce a complete strategic solution.  Like everyone, I am dismayed by the long list of problems facing the world today. I am more concerned about the even longer list of proposed solutions and how many of them are considered by their proponents to be exclusive. Instead of looking at the whole board, they are focusing too narrowly and as a result devise narrow solutions. Our leaders must be able to think more ambitiously.
Gary Kasparov, "The Great Game," The Wall Street Journal,  March 14, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111076463398178318,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Number of people who read the paper online now surpasses the number who buy the print edition
Consumers are willing to spend millions of dollars on the Web when it comes to music services like iTunes and gaming sites like Xbox Live. But when it comes to online news, they are happy to read it but loath to pay for it.  Newspaper Web sites have been so popular that at some newspapers, including The New York Times, the number of people who read the paper online now surpasses the number who buy the print edition.  This migration of readers is beginning to transform the newspaper industry. Advertising revenue from online sites is booming and, while it accounts for only 2 percent or 3 percent of most newspapers' overall revenues, it is the fastest-growing source of revenue. And newspaper executives are watching anxiously as the number of online readers grows while the number of print readers declines.
Katherine Q. Seelye, "Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?" The New York Times, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/14/business/media/14paper.html


Bush administration's gradual, flexible strategy for reconstructing Afghanistan 
One man's journey from feared warlord to bland bureaucrat illustrates how the U.S. has adopted a gradual, flexible strategy for reconstructing Afghanistan since ousting the Taliban government in 2001.  Mr. Khan has made the journey from feared warlord to bland bureaucrat thanks to the Bush administration's gradual, flexible strategy for reconstructing Afghanistan since ousting the Taliban government in 2001. Rather than trying to force radical change overnight, the U.S. has been patient. It has avoided confrontations with tribal elders and warlords -- letting them until recently keep their private militias and weapons and even paying the salaries of their fighters -- while building a credible central government in Kabul.  The strategy has meant that reconstruction here slogs ahead at a slow pace. But it has also helped contain support for the insurgency still being waged by remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
David S. Cloud, "Afghan Warlords Slowly Come In From the Cold," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2005, Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111077025608878404,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 
Jensen Comment:  Now if we could only think of a way for Afghans to make a sustainable living outside of opium production.


Fraudulent Health Clinics and Doctors:  What happened to ethics?
A group of health clinics and doctors paid thousands of people across the U.S. to undergo unnecessary surgery so they could defraud insurers out of tens of millions of dollars, a lawsuit alleges.  Twelve Blue Cross and Blue Shield health-insurance plans sued a group of Southern California health-care clinics, physicians and others they say are involved in the elaborate scheme.  The scope of the alleged fraud is vast. The insurers claim the clinics paid recruiters to enlist patients in 47 states, then transported the people to California where they underwent unnecessary and sometimes dangerous outpatient procedures.
"Blue Cross Groups Sue Clinics, Doctors, Claiming Insurance Fraud," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111076460482378314,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 
Bob Jensen's threads on medical and drug company frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#PhysiciansAndDrugCompanies 


Amazon Pays $27.5 Million To Settle Securities Suit
Amazon.com Inc. disclosed Friday it has agreed to pay $27.5 million to settle an investor lawsuit alleging securities violations by its officers and directors.  According to its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Seattle-based Internet retailer said it reached a settlement with plaintiffs lawyers in March. The company expects most, if not all, of the settlement will funded by its insurers.  The complaint was filed by stock and bond holders in August 2003. It alleges that Amazon officers and directors made false or misleading statements from Oct. 29, 1998, through Oct. 23, 2001, about the company's business, financial condition and future prospects, among other things.
"Amazon Pays $27.5 Million To Settle Securities Suit," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2005, Page B9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111054778856777083,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


So which is it? Highly sensitive to the value of the dollar, or not?
Many economic commentators argue that the trade deficit somehow results from low saving and the federal budget deficit. But reducing the budget deficit can't really help the trade deficit. To shrink the budget deficit, the government must either spend less or tax more, withdrawing demand from the U.S. economy. Purchases of all goods, foreign and domestic, would fall. Since imports make up only about 15% of GDP, the biggest decline of purchases would be domestic, resulting in only a marginal decline in imports relative to the drop in GDP.  Trying to increase household saving (i.e., reduce consumer spending) would help no more. To meaningfully lessen the trade deficit by saving, Americans would need to focus their spending reductions specifically on foreign goods -- highly unlikely in a nation with 85% of its spending on domestic goods and services.  Nor does the dollar need to fall -- and the trade deficit doesn't necessarily fall when the dollar does. Analysts who criticize low saving and the budget gap also often admit the dollar is undervalued in purchasing power, yet they say it must fall further to alleviate the trade deficit. But for a weak dollar to have any impact on imports, the amount of imports must fall by more than the dollar does.  If the dollar falls by 20% and the number of goods imported falls by 20%, the sum of dollars sent abroad remains the same: Americans purchase fewer imported goods, but spend more on the ones they do buy. Not one new U.S. job is created, while prices rise for American consumers and businesses. Oddly, if demand for imports is relatively inflexible, the trade deficit actually increases with a weaker dollar; Americans just pay more for the same goods. Unless imports fall disproportionately more than the dollar (or exports rise), a lower exchange rate will help neither our trade deficit nor our employment.  Increased exports do help both the trade deficit and U.S. employment, but a weaker dollar is a mixed blessing for U.S. exporters. While it makes completed American goods cost less abroad, the cost of production may rise when they include foreign parts or materials.  Stronger Asian currencies would be no more likely to significantly reduce the trade deficit, given the large differences in wage costs. American manufacturers might find that a 20% decline in the dollar wouldn't lead them to switch purchase of parts from Asian to U.S. suppliers, if the ones from Asia cost 40% less today. The cost of U.S. imports, and U.S. exports using those same parts, would just rise.  The key question is how much aggregate purchases of both U.S. imports and exports might change with the dollar. If imports fall in pace with the dollar and exports rise, the trade deficit would shrink with a lower dollar. But if purchases are less elastic -- if people and businesses continue to buy roughly the same amounts of foreign goods and services even as dollar prices change -- the trade deficit could actually be reduced by a stronger dollar.

So which is it? Highly sensitive to the value of the dollar, or not?  Not -- at least not enough.
Frank and Dan Newman, "Trade Deficit Trickery," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2005; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111076511677178324,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Written at an introductory and somewhat humorous level
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ECONOMICS: Artful Approaches to the Dismal Science
by E Ray Canterbery (Florida State University) ---  http://www.worldscibooks.com/economics/4079.html 

A Brief History of Economics illustrates how the ideas of the great economists not only influenced societies but were themselves shaped by their cultural milieu. Understanding the economists' visions — lucidly and vividly unveiled by Canterbery — allows readers to place economics within a broader community of ideas. Magically, the author links Adam Smith to Isaac Newton's idea of an orderly universe, F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby to Thorstein Veblen, John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath to the Great Depression, and Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities to Reaganomics.

Often humorous, Canterbery's easy style will make the student's first foray into economics lively and relevant. Readers will dismiss "dismal" from the science.
Contents:

  • Feudalism and the Evolution of Economic Society
  • Adam Smith's Great Vision
  • Bentham and Malthus: The Hedonist and the "Pastor"
  • The Distribution of Income: Ricardo versus Malthus
  • The Cold Water of Poverty and the Heat of John Stuart Mill's Passions
  • Karl Marx
  • Alfred Marshall: The Great Victorian
  • Thorstein Veblen Takes on the American Captains of Industry
  • The Jazz Age: Aftermath of War and Prelude to Depression
  • John Maynard Keynes and the Great Depression
  • The Many Modern Keynesians
  • The Monetarists and the New Classicals Deepen the Counterrevolution
  • Economic Growth and Technology: Schumpeter and Capitalism's Motion
  • The Many Faces of Capitalism: Galbraith, Heilbroner, and the Institutionalists
  • The Rise of the Casino Economy
  • The Global Economy
  • Climbing the Economist's Mountain to High Theory
  • The Future of Economics

This is a more technical and humorless introduction to economics
ECONOMICS WITH CALCULUS by Michael C Lovell (Wesleyan University, USA) --- 
http://www.worldscibooks.com/economics/5523.html
 

This textbook provides a calculus-based introduction to economics. Students blessed with a working knowledge of the calculus will find that this text facilitates their study of the basic analytical framework of economics. The textbook examines a wide range of micro and macro topics, including prices and markets, equity versus efficiency, Rawls versus Bentham, accounting and the theory of the firm, optimal lot size and just in time, monopoly and competition, exchange rates and the balance of payments, inflation and unemployment, fiscal and monetary policy, IS-LM analysis, aggregate demand and supply, speculation and rational expectations, growth and development, exhaustible resources and over-fishing. While the content is similar to that of conventional introductory economics textbook, the assumption that the reader knows and enjoys the calculus distinguishes this book from the traditional text.
Contents:

  • Production Possibilities
  • Supply and Demand: Where do Prices come from?
  • Maximizing Satisfaction
  • The Business Enterprise: Theory of the Firm
  • Market Structure
  • Distribution: Who Gets What?
  • Monitoring Economic Performance
  • GDP Accounting and the Multiplier
  • Money, Prices and Output
  • Dynamics, Expectations and Inflation
  • Growth and Development

The Capital Structure Conundrum
FOCUS ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT by Ivan K Cohen (Richmond University, UK)

Focus on Financial Management by Ivan Cohen offers a concise, enthusiastic and highly focused approach to introducing finance to both undergraduates and MBAs. It closely integrates practical applications and the underlying financial concepts so that the reader gets a clear picture of theory and how it can be applied in practice.

The book has been carefully crafted and classroom-tested to provide an easy-to-read textbook that will engage the student and instructor alike. It has been designed to be used by students of business, finance and economics, and is equally accessible to students in other areas, such as engineering. It requires no preliminary knowledge of finance.
Contents:

  • Introducing Finance
  • The Financial Environment
  • Value: Finance Foundations
  • Sources of Finance: Debt
  • Sources of Finance: Equity
  • Investment Appraisal: Capital Budgeting, Investment Appraisal: Risk
  • The Cost of Capital
  • The Capital Structure Conundrum
  • Extending the Focus: Some Applications

I think Harvard overreacted
At 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2, a visitor to an online forum posted instructions for exploiting some sloppy Web page coding at ApplyYourself.com, a company based in Fairfax, Va., that, among other things, handles applications for some of the country's most elite business schools, including Harvard Business School.  "I know everyone is getting more and more anxious to check status of their apps to HBS, given their black box," wrote the individual, known only as "brookbond," referring to applications to Harvard Business School. Harvard's decisions are to go out on March 30. "So I looked around their site and found a way. Here are the steps."  Precisely 119 Harvard applicants followed those steps, which required them to log in to their application accounts with the school and, using some creative copying and pasting from the Web page's source code (something any Web surfer is free to do), create an address that would access their application decision - if one had been made.  About 100 applicants to other business schools at M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, Dartmouth and Duke, which also use the ApplyYourself.com service, made use of the recipe as well. Some applicants saw rejection letters. Others saw nothing. . . . But many online commenters (NYT spelling error) thought the ethics of the incident were more nuanced.  "I might feel differently if I knew that the applicants were aware that they were breaking the rules," Edward W. Felten, a professor of computer science at Princeton University, wrote in his Web log. "But I'm not sure that an applicant, on being told that his letter was already on the Web and could be accessed by constructing a particular U.R.L., would necessarily conclude that accessing it was against the rules." . . . Mr. Henderson is still awaiting word from a couple of other schools and, in the meantime, has poured his disdain for Harvard into a line of T-shirts that seek to "Free the HBS 119." He said three of the shirts had been sold as of Saturday. 
Tom Zeller Jr., "Not Yet in Business School, and Already Flunking Ethics," The New York Times, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/14/technology/14harvard.html 


Bad PR for the UAW:  The union should worry more about similar behavior of its own members
The UAW no longer will allow Marine reservists who work out of a base in Detroit to park at the Solidarity House lot if they have foreign cars or display pro-Bush bumper stickers. Marines driven out of UAW lot The union says Marines in foreign cars, displaying Bush stickers unwelcome. By Eric Mayne / The Detroit News Comment on this story Send this story to a friend Get Home Delivery DETROIT -- The United Auto Workers says Marine reservists should show a little more semper fi if they want to use the union's parking lot. The Marine Corps motto means "always faithful," but the union says some reservists working out of a base on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit have been decidedly unfaithful to their fellow Americans by driving import cars and trucks.  So the UAW International will no longer allow members of the 1st Battalion 24th Marines to park at Solidarity House if they are driving foreign cars or displaying pro-President Bush bumper stickers.
Free Republic, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1362379/posts 
While we are at war, I think this is bad PR to deny marines what would otherwise be a courtesy if they just drove American cars (which probably has over 50% foreign components anyway).  Besides, some "foreign" vehicles like Toyota trucks are built in both the U.S. and Japan.  

Update on March 16, 2005
Facing intense criticism, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger reversed his decision to ban Marine Corps reservists driving foreign cars or displaying pro-President Bush bumper stickers from parking at the union's Solidarity House headquarters in Detroit.  "I made the wrong call on the parking issue, and I have notified the Marine Corps that all reservists are welcome to park at Solidarity House as they have for the past 10 years," Gettelfinger said in a statement.
"Marines snub UAW olive branch:  Reservists will park elsewhere, although union admits mistake banning nonunion cars, Bush stickers," Detroit News, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0503/15/A01-117640.htm 


If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia. 
Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer as quoted by Matt Labash in "Welcome to Canada," The Great White Waste of Time, 03/21/2005, Volume 010, Issue 25 --- http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/349tpijp.asp 


The prospects of oil prices dropping back below $40 per barrel now appear to be running neck and neck with Michael Jackson getting Babysitter of The Year Award.  Delta Air Lines, which up until this latest spurt in fuel prices was heading out of the financial woods, has warned that it may not have sufficient liquidity to meet its needs in 2005. Translating that: they're running out of cash. Reason: skyrocketing fuel costs are draining the airline's coffers. Fast. Delta is just the first to sound the alarm.
The Boyd Group, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.aviationplanning.com/asrc1.htm 


The Bush Train Wreck
One of my favorite George Bush malapropisms is from the 2000 election campaign: "They have miscalculated me as a leader." He meant, of course, that people had miscalculated if they thought he was not a leader.The president's difficulties with off-the-cuff speech have led to all sorts of assumptions about his intellectual confusion and worse. But there is nothing confused about this president's agenda. At this point in his presidency, he has fielded the most focused agenda in modern times, to great effect. His success rate in major policy activities is nothing less than astounding. No wonder he has never vetoed...

Bryan D. Jones, "The Bush Train Wreck," The Seattle Times, March 13, 2005 --- http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002205731_sundaybryan13.html 


By distributing adult films, corporations like DirecTV and Marriott essentially pay porn actors to have sex
The accused Upper East Side madam says she should get a slide — because big companies promote prostitution all the time and are never prosecuted. By distributing adult films, corporations like DirecTV and Marriott essentially pay porn actors to have sex, no less so than a pimp or madam pays a prostitute to have sex with a john, the millionaire reasons. If those companies aren't prosecuted, she says, neither should she be. The legal argument has been filed on behalf of Jenny Paulino, 44, arrested in December after a raid on her alleged American Beauties escort service and brothel at...
Laura Italiano, "Alleged Madam's 'Firm' Defense," The New York Post, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/41079.htm 


Setting a bad example for its students:  Plagiarized from Alabama A&M University
A federal judge on Friday blocked the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools from revoking the accreditation of Edward Waters College while the institution pursues a due process lawsuit against the association.  In December, the regional accrediting group said that it had revoked the Florida college's accreditation, citing documents Edward Waters officials had submitted to the association that appeared to have been plagiarized from Alabama A&M University, another historically black institution.
Doug Lederman, "Staying Alive," Inside Higher Ed, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/staying_alive 
Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm 


The Arab press makes more sense sometimes than the European press
However, it is unfathomable to think that the Pentagon would have ordered a deliberate assassination of a Western reporter under such high-profile circumstances.  While the idea of the Italian government funding the insurgency and further supporting the new cottage industry of kidnapping runs counter to US policy in Iraq, in this instance the money had apparently already been paid.  In other words, there was nothing to be gained by attacking the Italian rescue vehicle.  And as events have proven, in terms of public relations and international politics, the Americans stood to lose everything by doing so since Italy is one of the few European members of US President George Bush's "coalition of the willing" with a tangible troop commitment of some 3000 soldiers in Iraq.  The attack against Sgrena has only re-ignited the strong anti-war and anti-American sentiments which existed in Italy, and Prime Minister Berlusconi will be hard-pressed by public protests to bring home the Italian contingent.
Scott Taylor, "Hostage bungle: Chaos, not conspiracy," Aljazeera, March 10, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/9F3D082E-919F-4C0E-AD2E-7541EC22B048.htm 


Remember the oil crisis back when Jimmy Carter was president of the U.S.
The nation has a hidden treasure that could help Americans painlessly weather the interruption of oil from Iran. It is an underground cache of 80 million barrels that the Energy Department has been stowing away in empty salt caverns on the Gulf Coast.
The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 1979


March 17 --- Erin go Braugh

Definitions http://www.faqfarm.com/Q/What_does_'Erin_go_braugh'_mean 

Music --- http://www.ireland-information.com/irishmusic/eringobragh.shtml 

Screen savers --- http://twilightbridge.ezthemes.com/pcenhance/ss/spotlight.phtml?St.PatricksDay 

Games etc. --- http://groups.msn.com/FriendsofIrishMusicandCraic/stpatricksdaygamestoplay.msnw 


When are you justified in lying?
I posed your questions to our ethics professor, Rick Shreve. He would apply the standards presented in Sissela Bok's book, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life and conclude that "Bob's" lies did not satisfy any of the three criteria that Bok provides for a justifiable lie. [In brief, they are: A white lie "That's a nice tie you have on today"; a lie in a setting in which lying is an accepted norm "That's my final offer"; or a setting in which one could justify physical violence to attain the same ends that the lie attains.]
Jensen Comment:  The above quotation was Richard Sansing's (Dartmouth) email reply on the AECM to a scenario (too long to print here) involving a lie.  "The name "Bob" is a hypothetical person and has nothing to do with the Bob as in Jensen.  I have a somewhat more legal take on lying.  As in most legal disputes, I apply the test of damages.  Who is hurt by the lie and by how much?  For example, suppose a 20-year old student has both a fake ID (for partying purposes) and a genuine ID (for driving purposes) and that the genuine ID gets lost on a trip.  Using the fake ID to board an aircraft simply to avoid the delay (and possible ticket cost) of waiting for for a replacement of the lost genuine ID card benefits the student without any real harm to anybody else if it is relatively certain no security personnel might be sanctioned (a big if).  On domestic flights at the present time, the chances having to show the ID after boarding the aircraft are very nearly zero.  Of course there is the risk of getting caught when first showing the fake ID, but this may be a risk the student feels is justified in these circumstances.  Using the fake ID to drink in a bar, on the other hand, could harm the owner of the bar (e.g., by causing the loss of a liquor license).  Thus lying to simply avoid the cost and delay of boarding an aircraft differs from lying to drink alcohol.   This runs into the dilemma of the categorical imperative of Kant's moral order on whether the justification in the case of one student boarding an aircraft at one time should extended to universal law for all travelers.  Clearly a universal law justifying commonplace fake IDs would be self defeating.  And thus I am faced with a dilemma of rare versus commonplace (universal law) use of fake IDs to board aircraft merely due to the loss of a genuine ID.  There are no simple answers, but I personally still apply the legal test in a case-by-case situation.  I personally believe in situational ethics.  "Who could possibly be hurt in this instance and by how much?"  It's very difficult to apply universal law in all circumstances.  For example, the law "thou shall not kill" in my mind does not apply in absolutely all circumstances such as in the case of shooting a hostage taker just prior to his killing of scores of school children.  You can read more about Kant's moral order at http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5i.htm 


PhDs really are brainier 
The brain imaging showed that in older adults taking memory tests, more years of education were associated with more active frontal lobes -- the opposite of what happened in young adults. The researchers believe that education strengthens the ability to "call in the reserves" of mental prowess found in that part of the brain.
Scott Jaschik, "The Payoff for Those Long Years Earning a Ph.D.," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/the_payoff_for_those_long_years_earning_a_ph_d 


Most top college basketball players are not brainier
The Knight panel, which since 1989 has been pushing changes aimed at restoring integrity to big-time college sports, has proposed that teams be disqualified from NCAA championship play if they failed to graduate at least half of their athletes within six years of enrolling.  The panel's study found that 42 of the 65 teams that qualified for this year's tournament would fail to meet that standard, based on the latest four-year graduation rates submitted by the institutions -- and many fared much worse. Twenty of the 65 graduated less than 30 percent of their players, and 11 of 65 graduated less than 20 percent.
Doug Lederman, "March Badness," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/march_badness 


Domestic Partner Benefits Becoming Commonplace in Corporate America
It seems corporate America is more concerned about recruiting and retaining talented employees than it is about the lifestyle choices those employees make outside of work. Charlotte Observer reported that more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 companies are now offering health benefits to same-sex couples, even as national debate on the issue rages on.  According to a recent survey conducted by Robert Half Management, 1,400 CFOs, ranked "recruiting and retaining qualified staff" as the third top priority for success in 2005, just behind "growing revenue" and "controlling expenses," the Observer reported.  Duke Energy, a conservative utility based in the South, found that offering domestic partner benefits "has been shown to aid in both attracting and retaining employees," Duke Chairman and CEO Paul Anderson said in a news release last week.
"Domestic Partner Benefits Becoming Commonplace in Corporate America," AccountingWeb, March 10, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100654 


European National Heath:  three of four people with high cholesterol were not receiving a statin
Prof. Oliver Schoeffski, chair for health management at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, found severe undertreatment of many illnesses across Europe, including in Germany. For instance, three of four people with high cholesterol were not receiving a statin.  According Dr. James Cleeman, coordinator of the National Cholesterol Educational Program in the U.S., statins are cost effective even at $100 a month because heart disease costs "hundreds of billions of dollars." Treatment for high cholesterol demonstrates how Germany fails to balance lower cost with better treatment. Some 1.8 million Germans take Pfizer's Lipitor, sold there as Sortis. Numerous studies have demonstrated that Sortis lowers cholesterol and thereby reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, even among high-risk populations suffering from diabetes and hypertension.
Doug Bandow, "Saving Pfennige, Costing Lives," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111092651697380405,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Europeans Jumping Ship
In fact, more Europeans are now taking the dramatic step of emigrating than at any time since the 1950s. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics recently produced a study showing that the country was facing a new problem: mass emigration of white middle-class families. It seems Holland is losing nearly 50,000 middle-class citizens a year.  This Dutch exodus is mirrored by developments in countries like Germany and France. In Germany, middle-class emigration has risen by nearly 30% in the past few years, from 100,000 in 2001 to 127,000 in 2003. This "white flight" partly explains why, in 2003, the total German population shrank for the first time since the end of World War II. The number of French men and women living in the U.K., which is closer to the American Dream than the European Model, has grown exponentially in the last decade, from 100,000 registered migrants in the mid-1990s to more than 300,000 last year.
Joshua Livestro, "The Heidi Dream," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111092673665780414,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Spring thaw thins the ice for Harvard's president
After weeks of simmering discontent over the leadership style of the president of Harvard, Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will consider a resolution of a lack of confidence in him at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday (I think today).   It will also consider a statement expressing the faculty's regret over Dr. Summers's remarks about women in science at a January conference, as well as "aspects of the president's managerial approach," which many faculty members call autocratic and stifling of open discussion.  The statement says that the faculty "appreciates the president's stated intent to address these issues" and that it intends to be collegial as well as assert its role in governance . . . Several faculty members said they did not expect the vote of no confidence to pass. "I think President Summers has shown a great willingness to think about his leadership style and to try to adapt and take into account areas where a number of people had some concerns," said Lawrence F. Katz, a professor of economics and a longtime supporter of Dr. Summers.
Sara Rimer, "Harvard Faculty Voting Tuesday on Confidence in President," The New York Times, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/15/education/15harvard.html 

Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers suffered an unexpected blow to his already rocky tenure last night, as faculty at the elite institution's largest teaching unit voted in favor of a motion expressing no confidence in his leadership.  During the latest of several such meetings, Harvard's arts-and-sciences faculty attending voted 218 to 185 in favor of a resolution stating simply: "The faculty lacks confidence in the leadership of Lawrence H. Summers." Eighteen faculty members abstained from the vote. Under university rules, the proposition needed the votes of a majority of faculty attending the meeting to pass . . . The vote of no confidence, believed to be the first in Harvard's history, comes at a time when Mr. Summers appeared to be making headway in his efforts to tamp down the turmoil that erupted in January after the former Treasury secretary told a conference on work-force diversity that innate gender differences could help explain why fewer women achieve high-level academic careers in science and math.  Those comments led presidents of other leading universities to speak out against his views. On campus, the turmoil quickly spread to involve an array of complaints ranging from faculty input on major university decisions to Mr. Summers's disputes with Cornel West, a prominent African-American professor who eventually left Harvard for Princeton University.  The referendum on Mr. Summers's leadership was largely symbolic, because only the university's governing board, the Harvard Corporation, has the power to remove the president, and it has issued a statement of support for him. Members of the secretive board couldn't be reached for comment, and a Harvard spokesman said the corporation didn't have any additional comment.
Robert Tomsho and John Hechinger, "Harvard President Is Given a Vote Of No Confidence," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005; Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111091360378480164,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Also see http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/16/education/16harvard.html

Also see http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/lost_confidence 


Liberal faculty versus students at Harvard:  Summers Garners Applause At Mather
Five hours after receiving a stern censure from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), University President Lawrence H. Summers received a round of applause from undergraduates in Mather House last night. Summers arrived nearly 30 minutes late to the Mather event, but House Master Sandra Naddaff nonetheless welcomed the president with open arms, a glass of Diet Coke, and a fresh slice of cheese pizza. “I could use some sustenance,” Summers said. “I’ve had a long day—and I’m not going to talk about that.”  Instead, Summers launched into a wide-ranging talk outlining his overarching vision for the future of the University—leaving little doubt that, despite calls for his resignation, the president is in it for the long haul.  Battling back yawns at the beginning of his speech, Summers shed his suit jacket—and his look of fatigue—as he reiterated his call for curricular reforms aimed at bolstering the quality of undergraduate science instruction.  But Summers also sought to defuse criticism that he prioritizes the hard sciences over the humanities. Historically, he said, Harvard has been “more successful in training people and developing skills in the humanities...than we have been in the sciences.”  “The sense is not that science is more important at all,” Summers said. “It’s an area where we have a longer way to go.”
Daniel J. Hemel, "Summers Garners Applause At Mather," The Crimson, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.thecrimson.com/today/article506467.html

How well do senior faculty know students?
A chorus of [students] complained about the poor quality of academic advising and a lack of interaction between students and tenured professors.

When Summers asked the crowd whether “two senior faculty know you well,” barely a quarter of students raised their hands.  “There are a surprising number of students who would like to have more contact with senior faculty—and a surprising number of senior faculty who would like to have more contact with students,” Summers observed.  After the hour-long conversation, students praised Summers’ openness.  “I think he was receptive to student concerns,” said Rita Parai ’07. H. Francis Song ’06 added that Summers “showed more sensitivity to students’ needs than I expected.”
Daniel J. Hemel, "Summers Garners Applause At Mather," The Crimson, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.thecrimson.com/today/article506467.html

I think the vote of no confidence in Lawrence Summers is a wonderful thing. Harvard continues to discredit itself with the American public. The faculty is trapped. If Summers resigns, this extraordinary example of political correctness will come back to haunt Harvard, and the entire academy, for years. But if Summers hangs on, the faculty itself will have been humiliated--checked by the very fact of public scrutiny. Either way, Harvard is tearing itself apart. So long as the public simply writes of [sic] the academy, the mice can play. But the intense public scrutiny in this case puts the captains of political correctness into a no-win situation. Like the closely watched Susan Estrich fiasco, this battle is doing lasting damage to the cultural left. As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Stanley Kurtz, The National Review, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_03_13_corner-archive.asp#058358 


I wonder if it was a statue of Larry Summers?
Fairbanks' largest ice sculpture came tumbling down late Sunday night with a ground-shaking crash that was heard but not seen. The Fox Icescraper, the 150-foot tall tower of ice built by John Reeves next to the Steese Highway eight miles north of Fairbanks, collapsed at around 10:45 p.m. after developing a significant lean over the weekend. "It woke me up out of a dead sleep," said Ben Ballard, . . .
Tim Mowrey"Fox ice tower falls," Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.news-miner.com/Stories/0,1413,113~7244~2763420,00.html 


Sex and Character
There are many great books. And of weird books, the number is countless. Yet, paradoxically enough, there are not that many great weird books.  Sex and Character by Otto Weininger is one of them. The appearance next month of a definitive English translation, published by Indiana University Press, is a major cultural event - one that is, arguably, at least several decades overdue.   First published in Vienna in 1903, Sex and Character is the product of a tortured genius. Or at least the work of someone remarkably devoted to playing that role. The author was 23 years old when it appeared. In its first incarnation, the book was Weininger's dissertation -- a more or less scientific account of the physiology of gender differences.  In revising it, Weininger created a mixture of psychological introspection, neo-Kantian epistemology, and Nietzschean cultural criticism, along with a heavy dose of  anti-feminist polemic. Toward the end of the book, Weininger seasoned the stew with a few dashes of anti-Semitic vitrol. Then, a few months after seeing the manuscript through the press, he went to the house where Beethoven died and killed himself. This did not hurt sales. And it sure did clinch the "tortured" part. The double impact of Weininger's work and his suicide created a sensation, and not just in Austria. The list of Weininger's admirers reads like a survey course in Western culture from the early 20th century. The most perfunctory roundup would include James Joyce, Karl Kraus, Robert Musil, Arnold Schoenberg, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.   An unsigned English version of Sex and Character appeared in 1906, prepared by someone whose qualifications for the job evidently boiled down to possessing (1) a German dictionary and (2) the willingness, when necessary, to hazard a guess. The title page proclaimed this an "Authorized Translation" -- though it's still not clear who, if anyone, authorized it, and in any case the English edition omits whole sections of the original text. Ludwig Wittgenstein called the 1906 translation "beastly." But it is the one we monolingual Europhiles have had to rely on for almost a century. (Excerpts from it are available online, who knows why.) 
Scott McClemee,  "Sex and the Single Genius," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/intellectual_affairs__12 


India swings on the Laffer curve
Its economy is growing at a rapid rate, the Mumbai stock market is performing well, tax revenues are flowing steadily into New Delhi, and the government is now planning to compete with Beijing in contracting for oil supplies to feed India's growing appetite for energy.  How did this most unexpected rags-to-riches story come about?  One clear reason can be found in a headline in Bloomberg's financial network on 11 January 2005, over a story by Andy Mukherjee writing from Singapore:  "India's Tax Plan May Again Bet on Laffer Curve."  I was most pleased to read that Finance Minister P Chidambaram is hinting at a "massive" change in the country's tax system, slashing tax rates on personal and corporate incomes in a second gamble on "the Laffer Curve", which Chidambaram mentions by name as an idea he has embraced with enthusiasm.
Jude Waniski, "India swings on the Laffer curve," Aljazeera, March 7, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/19C56AC9-1B19-4096-9068-79F9A2C8CDB5.htm 

You can read more about the Laffer curve at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve 

Also see http://www.vistech.net/users/rsturge/laffercu.html 


Do you really believe he won't ever drink again?
Having a vanity plate the reads "TIPSY" may not be such a good idea after all. Josiah Johnson, of Argusville, N.D., is in trouble for drunken driving. He figures his TIPSY plate might have tipped off the deputy who busted him. Police say Johnson had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit after he left a sports bar in Moorhead. Johnson said the TIPSY plate was meant to describe the way an old Jeep rode, and he kept the plate when he got a Chevy Silverado. Johnson said he has learned his lesson and will never drink and drive again.
"TIPSY License Plate Owner Pulled Over For Drunken Driving," ClickOnDetroit, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/4289598/detail.html 


Open Season on Kittie Cats:  Give granny a shotgun so she can kill Sylvester before he gets Tweety Bird
Wisconsin is considering allowing the hunting of cats. Not cougars or mountain lions or tigers on the loose but putty-tats: Sylvester the cat. Morris the cat. Garfield. The aim is to prevent the mass-killing of birds by cats, mostly of the feral — i.e., wild — variety. In other words, some people want to give granny a shotgun so she can kill Sylvester before he gets Tweety Bird.
Jonah Goldberg, "First, kill the cats," Jewish World Review, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/jonah031605.asp 


Social Networking:  What is "The Facebook" for college students?
They say it's lonely at the top. But David J. Skorton, the president of the University of Iowa, has a nice support group -- 994 strong, and growing every day.  Skorton has a profile in "The Facebook," an online "social network" service that students nationwide have flocked to since it was started last year. The Facebook, like Friendster and similar services, lets participants set up profiles of themselves and link those profiles to their friends' profiles, their friends' friends' profiles, etc. The Facebook focuses on college students, and is open only to participants with e-mail addresses at the growing number of colleges that are part of the network.  Most students use Facebook for fun, to organize parties, find dates or stay in touch with friends. Participants' profiles display their friends in the system, so it's easy to see who is well connected on a given campus. Skorton was encouraged to sign up by two of those who are now among his nearly 1,000 friends: Lindsay Schutte, president of the student government at Iowa, and Josh Skorton, the president's son and a student at Stanford.
Scott Jaschik, "A President With a Lot of Friends," Inside Higher Ed, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/a_president_with_a_lot_of_friends 


Would you like an order of fries with your government education loan?
The seven campuses of the Business Career Training Institute shut down at the end of last week, leaving students confused and regulators angry in Oregon and Washington State.  BCTI, as it was known, promoted itself as a school to prepare people for jobs in the technology industry. But state officials questioned whether it was doing that.  An Oregon investigation found that the BCTI advertising was misleading and that many of the graduates who found jobs -- after paying more than $20,000, typically with federal student loans, for the program -- ended up in the fast food industry or in other positions unrelated to the supposed training.
Scott Jaschick, "Trade School Chain Shuts Down," Inside Higher Ed, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/trade_school_chain_shuts_down 
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mill frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill 


So much for the new SAT being "new"
Some students apparently felt lucky Saturday. One of the final practice essay questions used by the Princeton Review test prep service, in the weeks leading up to the SAT, was about whether majority rule is always correct -- the topic that was on the actual test. A spokeswoman for the Princeton Review said some parents were concerned that their children might have somehow had access to the test in advance, and called Princeton Review on Monday, only to be told that the test materials the service uses are "really accurate."  The Princeton Review spokeswoman also said that about 70 percent of the test questions were "recycled" from a 2002 test. "So much for the new SAT being 'new,' " she said.
Scott Jaschik, "Multiple Choice," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/multiple_choice 


Statistical Snapshot
The report, Postsecondary Institutions in the United States: Fall 2003 and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2002-03, is among the studies that the department's National Center for Education Statistics releases each year that, taken together, provide a statistical portrait of higher education. This study focuses on how many institutions there are (and what kind), what they charge, and how many degrees and certificates they award.
Doug Lederman, "Statistical Snapshot," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/statistical_snapshot 


Say what?  A new word "wedgied" into Webster's Dictionary
Wedgie, a teenager's locker-room nightmare, has made it into the dictionary. Webster's New World College Dictionary based in Cleveland said wedgie was among its new additions to its latest edition. The new edition will carry this listing: wedgie: noun. a prank in which the victim's undershorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between the buttocks. The dictionary also carries the tradition wedgie definition of a type of shoe. "`Wedgie' was always a part of the high school terminology that you sort of never thought about later," said Editor in Chief...
"'Wedgie' Added to Webster's Dictionary," Washington Times, March 15, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/wedgieMarch15 


The European Commission has a "chronically sordid" accounting system
The European Commission has a "chronically sordid" accounting system and is still unable to keep track of the EU's £73billion budget after a decade of financial scandals, according to a top EU insider.  An internal email obtained by The Telegraph paints an ugly picture of an autocratic body with an "incestuous esprit de corps" that uses its bureaucratic muscle to "trash" any official who dares to question its methods.  It said the Budget Directorate was in "persistent denial of the real nature and depth of problems" it faced, choosing "cavity filling solutions where root canals were called for".  The note was written by the former director-general of the commission's Internal Audit Service, Jules Muis, who retired last year after attempting to spearhead the EU's reform drive.  He said the Budget fiefdom relied on non-qualified accountants to manage funds, allowing it to "get away with" practices that breached its own laws. It operated a "perverse incentive structure" that rewarded staff if "they managed not to discover financial malfeasance".
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "EC's 'sordid accounting' damned in email from top auditor," The Daily Telegraph, March 15, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ECaccounting


Kansas Abortion Clinics Fight Data Request
Two Kansas clinics are opposing efforts by the state's attorney general to obtain the medical records of more than 80 women who received late-term abortions in 2003. The attorney general, Phill Kline, has argued that he is looking for evidence of child rape and violations of a state law restricting abortions performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy. But clinic supporters contend Kline is on a fishing expedition that invades patients' privacy and is making a calculated effort to hamper the clinics from performing abortions. Kline's push for medical records, backed by a judicial subpoena, is the strongest move yet by...
Peter Slevin, "Kansas Abortion Clinics Fight Data Request:   Criminal Inquiries Trump Issues of Privacy, State Says," Washington Post, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35009-2005Mar14.html 


Say what?  "Israelis are "legitimate targets" for Palestinian terrorists"
Police have decided not to charge a controversial Muslim leader under Canada's hate-crime laws for suggesting on a television talk show last fall that all adult Israelis are "legitimate targets" for Palestinian terrorists. Investigators with Halton Region police said that while the comments by Dr. Mohamed Elmasry "were described by many as [a] hate crime," they did not meet the legal definition. "Although the comments would be considered distasteful to many, in this context they do not constitute a criminal offence," police said in a news release. "The comments were made during a free-flowing discussion between subject-matter experts who were...
Chris Wattie "Saying Israelis are 'legitimate targets' not a hate crime police: Elmasry talk show case," National Post, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=845a6d55-2da6-47d7-a1fe-9a17610b62a8 


Bad Grades for Teacher Education in America's Universities
American colleges and universities do such a poor job of training the nation's future teachers and school administrators that 9 of every 10 principals consider the graduates unprepared for what awaits them in the classroom, a new survey has found.  Nearly half the elementary- and secondary-school principals surveyed said the curriculums at schools of education, whether graduate or undergraduate, lacked academic rigor and were outdated, at times using materials decades older than the children whom teachers are now instructing. Beyond that, more than 80 percent of principals said the education schools were too detached from what went on at local elementary and high schools, a factor that made for a rift between educational theory and practice.  "I thought there were problems in the field," said Arthur E. Levine, president of Teachers College at Columbia University, who is to release the findings in a report today. "But I didn't realize the depth of the problems."  In the report, Dr. Levine - who when interviewed described the program at his own school as strong but "absolutely not" ideal - said he and other experts who worked on the study had focused their efforts on finding education schools capable of producing excellent principals, superintendents and other administrators. They found none in the entire country.
Greg Winter, "Study Finds Poor Performance by Nation's Education Schools," The New York Times, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/15/education/15teach.html


Freezing Out Identity Theft
In an effort to combat the rapidly escalating outbreak of identity-theft crimes, a handful of states including California and Texas have passed legislation that allows consumers to put a "security freeze" on their credit history.  Some 20 other states this year have considered or are considering adopting similar laws, which make it nearly impossible for criminals to use stolen information to open bogus new accounts. The measures are so effective because once frozen, a merchant is unable to review an applicant's credit history. Lacking such information, most companies refuse to open a new account, greatly devaluing stolen personal data. . . Currently, federal law does allow consumers to put a fraud "alert" on their files. If an alert pops up when someone applies for credit, the bank or merchant is supposed to try to verify an individual's identity. But the alert doesn't close off this access to credit histories. Instead, it merely warns the cellphone store or the credit-card issuer to take extra care with any new customer using a particular name.  No federal law gives all consumers the right to freeze their credit entirely, which keeps merchants from being able to look at it at all. (Companies with a pre-existing relationship with someone can generally still get access to their frozen credit files.)
Jennifer Saranow and Ron Lieber, "Freezing Out Identity Theft:  Potent State Laws Let Consumers Bar Access to Credit Reports, But Not Without Headaches," The Wall Street Journal,   March 15, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084275620679216,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 

Texas law is limited
But in some states, legislators are fighting identity theft by proposing laws that give consumers the right to lock up their credit files with a security freeze. A security freeze lets you decide who gets to see your credit record, which prevents thieves from obtaining credit using your identity.  Texas has enacted such a law, but only for consumers who have already been victimized by identity theft. SB 100 would expand that right so that all consumers could look up their credit files with a security freeze.
Consumers Union --- http://snipurl.com/SecurityFreezeTexas 

Instructions for filing a security freeze in Texas are at http://www.law.uh.edu/peopleslawyer/SecurityFreeze.html 

Also see http://www.idtheftcenter.org/vg124.shtml 

Bob Jensen's threads on identity theft are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft 


Fidel's Fortune
He didn't make it into the billionaire category, but Fidel Castro nonetheless earned an honorable mention on Forbes magazine's annual list of the World's Richest People out this month. And why not? With a net worth of $550 million, this is one bit of media recognition that El Jefe actually deserves.  According to Forbes, the Cuban leader committed to "socialism or death" has made a killing from a "web of state-owned businesses" -- all of which have no competition in the worker's paradise. Castro's most profitable operations include a convention center, a retail conglomerate and a company called Medicuba that sells pharmaceuticals made on the island, reports the magazine. Not mentioned are Cuba's biggest exports -- seafood, tobacco, sugar and nickel -- which, as El Maximo Lider of the communist regime, Fidel naturally benefits from too.
"Fidel's Fortune," The Wall Street Journal,  March 15, 2005; Page A20 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084691636579380,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 


20th century's most influential practitioner of the horror story
For a man who didn't believe in the afterlife, H.P. Lovecraft sure is having a remarkable one. Few people had heard of him when he died at the age of 46 on this date in 1937, and fewer still had read the stories he sold to tacky pulp magazines. Nowadays, however, Stephen King and just about everybody else in the know recognizes him as the 20th century's most influential practitioner of the horror story -- a claim he arguably clinched last month with the publication of his best works in a definitive edition.
John J. Miller, "H.P. Lovecraft: 68 Years Dead And More Influential Than Ever," The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084042433479156,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 

Jensen Comment:  The online works of H.P. Lovecraft are at http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/ 


Big Amazon has the patent for watching you
That's one key feature, anyway, of a system Amazon has invented to gather clues about customers' gift-giving habits in order to suggest future gifts and reminders. The company was granted a patent last week for the system, which also profiles gift recipients and guesses their age, birthday and gender.  Amazon says it hasn't put the "systems and methods" covered by the patent to use, so it isn't monitoring customer review pages yet. But that fact gives little comfort to consumer advocates, who have hounded Amazon for years over its customer-profiling practices.
Alorie Gilbert, "Privacy advocates frown on Amazon snooping plan, CNET News, March 14, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/deu7 


Jews vs. Catholics in the stem cell debate
Monday night at dinner, I ask Austriaco if he sees a Catholic-Jewish difference on these questions. He does, particularly among theologians. Jews follow diffuse commentary, he says; Catholics follow streamlined authority. Jews trust intuition; Catholics trust reason. "You don't have as clear a definition of boundaries as we have," he observes. This is why Catholics have an easier time getting over the yuck factor. "We say, 'Yeah, it looks yucky.' But I'm a molecular biologist. We make tumors in the lab all the time. For a Catholic, if I can articulate what I'm doing, it's not yucky."
William Saletan "Oi Vitae:  Jews vs. Catholics in the stem cell debate," Slate, March 7, 2005 --- http://slate.msn.com/id/2114733/ 


How to lie with statistics:  The Washington Post does it this way
In yet another example of biased Washington Post reporting (my partner Pat Hynes rightly skewered Mike Allen's "Tom DeLay's issues have GOP Worried" story earlier), their latest poll showing bad news for President Bush's Social Security reform plan is a joke. So, as we have so many times before we're going to show you how the MSM - in this case The Washington Post presents data in a misleading way so that it fit their desired outcome. Nowhere has this been more true than in the recent polls about Social Secruity, and the latest Post poll is yet another striking...First, take a look at the nature of the respondents. It's 1,001 "randomly selected adults" (much the same tactic used by the fraudulent New York Times and AP polls on Social Security which we exposed) . That's the extent of the Post's description of respondents. Nowhere is mentioned how many of the respondents were even "registered voters" (let alone likely ones), the party identification of the voters, their ages, geographical location or income levels. All of those factors would have an impact on the outcome of the poll.  Thus, there is no way for the reader to know if this is a "rigged" sample made up of ardent liberal from the northeast, or if it reflects a true opinion of the American people. One thing is certain - it sure doesn't give the reader an actual idea of what the ELECTORATE might do to lawmakers who support or oppose the plan, given that statistically between 30-40% of the "adult" respondents don't even vote in Presidential elections. The number of non-voters in this poll will be even higher in the 2006 elections.
"Calling "Bulls**t" On The Washington Post, Pt. II-We Skewer Yet Another MSM Poll," Ankle Biting Pundits, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.anklebitingpundits.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1253&mode=nested&order=1&thold=0 


Europeans Grow More Intolerant of Immigrants
Europeans are becoming more intolerant of immigrants and one in five want them sent home, a study released Tuesday by the European Union racism watchdog showed. The study, based on pan-EU opinion surveys between 1997 and 2003, found a significant increase in support for the view that there were limits to a so-called multicultural society. There was also a significant increase in the minority of people who supported repatriating immigrants, to 20 percent, the study said, without providing the scale of either increase. "The European Union is confronted with intolerance and discriminatory attitudes toward minorities and migrants," Beate Winkler, head...
Marcus Kabel, "Europeans Grow More Intolerant of Immigrants-Study," Reuters, March 15, 2005 --- http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&ncid=721&e=4&u=/nm/20050315/wl_nm/rights_europe_dc 


Diverse positions among worshippers having the same God
The leadership of the Presbyterian Church recently decided to encourage its governing body to promote divestment from companies that do business with Israel. Shortly thereafter, the Anglican church, the Lutheran church and the World Council of Churches (WCC, with 347 member denominations world-wide) followed suit with the explanation that divestment "(is) a new way to work for peace, by looking at ways to not participate economically in illegal activities related to the Israeli occupation." (1) These churches are among those often referred to as "mainline" churches.  The most problematic issue of this new “mainline” posture is that it is clearly intended to support the Arab terror war against Israel; and to justify that support, church spokespersons make use of false information about the conflict.  A review of factual information about the conflict and the nature of divestment reveals that the mainline churches have stood up in favor of a process that is illegal, irrational, immoral, biased against Israel and in favor of Israel’s enemies, and consciously oblivious to the transparent lies of divestment proponents. Moreover, by supporting divestment, they ignore the real threats of global terrorism which seeks, among other things, the destruction of all other forms of religion in the world, including Christianity. The mainline churches' stand, therefore, is quite literally self-destructive.
David Meir-Levi, "Mainline Christian Anti-Semitism," Front Page Magazine, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=17308 


Diverse positions among worshippers having the same Allah
Throughout the West, Muslims are making new and assertive demands, and in some cases challenging the very premises of European and North American life. How to respond? Here is a general rule: Offer full rights — but turn down demands for special privileges. By way of example, note two current Canadian controversies. The first concerns the establishment of voluntary Shar'i (Islamic law) courts in Ontario. This idea is promoted by the usual Islamist groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Canada and the Canadian Islamic Congress. It is most prominently opposed by Muslim women's groups, led by Homa Arjomand, who fear that the Islamic courts, despite their voluntary nature, will be used to repress women's rights.
Daniel Pipes, "Which privileges for Islam?" Jewish World Review, March 15, 2005 --- http://jewishworldreview.com/0305/pipes2005_03_15.php3 


Forwarded by Debbie Bowling
Scientists discover green tea's cancer-fighter Spanish and British scientists have discovered how green tea helps to prevent certain types of cancer.
http://g.msn.com/0MNBUS00/2?http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7187847&&CM=EmailThis&CE=1


Elders with shaky hands can have a steady mouse
IBM is expected to unveil the product today, a mouse adapter that filters out the shaking movements of the hand to enable a user to navigate a PC screen more smoothly.  The device is plugged between the mouse and the PC and works like the stabilization systems found in many camcorders.
Benjamin Pimentel, "Helping hand for those with shaky hands IBM to unveil mouse adapter to steady cursor," San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/03/14/BUGCIBO7E01.DTL&type=tech 


Adding pasted notes to Web pages
In 2001, Microsoft bought Web page markup technology from a company called E-Quill but hasn't incorporated any of its features into Internet Explorer. The iMarkup toolbar, which debuted to rave reviews in 2000, hasn't gotten much buzz since. You can still get iMarkup—a 30-day trial is free and it costs $39.95 if you want to keep it after that. One screenshot says it all: You can highlight parts of a page, post sticky notes, draw freehand, and insert arrows, links, file attachments, and sound bites. Taking notes on the Slate home page won't change what other surfers see. But when you revisit the page, iMarkup will remember what you wrote and slap your notes atop the live site. In one simple step, you can e-mail your annotations (or a screenshot of your annotations) to a friend. Using a free iMarkup plug-in, they can then view your notes overlaid atop the live site.
Paul Boutin, "The new technique that will change blogging forever," Slate, March 15, 2005 --- http://slate.msn.com/id/2114791/ 


Family of Slain Protester Sues Caterpillar
The parents of a 23-year-old activist killed while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home is suing Caterpillar Inc., the company that made the bulldozer that ran over her.  The federal lawsuit, which lawyers said would be filed here Tuesday, alleges that Caterpillar violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger people.
Elizabeth M. Gillespie, "Family of Slain Protester Sues Caterpillar," Guardian, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4867950,00.html 


An what if the El Paso company outsources its New Jersey contracts?
New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill this week that would ban all state contract work from being performed outside the country. Acting Governor Richard Codey is expected to sign the measure, which would be the first of its kind in the U.S. and no doubt bring joy to the hearts of CNN's Lou Dobbs ("Outsourcing America") and protectionists everywhere . . . And all for a measure that is bound to end up costing more local jobs than it protects. If the state contractor's costs rise because it has to dismiss its low-cost overseas workforce, it will either have to drop the state contract, accept lower profits, or lay off other workers. As an alternative, a state contractor who can't use workers in India would still be able to outsource jobs to workers in a more business-friendly state like Texas. Can someone explain why New Jersey taxpayers should feel so much better about paying more to hire workers in El Paso as opposed to paying less to hire them in Bangalore?
"Outsourcing New Jersey," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111093749293380715,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.
Mahatma Gandhi




The United Nations celebrates International Women's Day --- http://www.un.org/events/women/iwd/2005/ 


From UCLA:  Archive of American Folk Medicine --- http://www.folkmed.ucla.edu/ 


Nations from Europe to Eastern Asia are on a fast track to pass the United States in scientific excellence and technological innovation.
For more than half a century, the United States has led the world in scientific discovery and innovation. It has been a beacon, drawing the best scientists to its educational institutions, industries and laboratories from around the globe. However, in today’s rapidly evolving competitive world, the United States can no longer take its supremacy for granted. Nations from Europe to Eastern Asia are on a fast track to pass the United States in scientific excellence and technological innovation. The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation has developed a set of benchmarks to assess the international standing of the United States in science and technology. These benchmarks in education, the science and engineering (S&E) workforce, scientific knowledge, innovation, investment and high-tech economic output reveal troubling trends across the research and development (R&D) spectrum. The United States still leads the world in research and discovery, but our advantage is rapidly eroding, and our global competitors may soon overtake us.
"THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY: IS THE UNITED STATES LOSING ITS COMPETITIVE EDGE?" THE TASK FOR C E ON THE FUTUR E OF AME R I CAN INNOVAT ION, February `6, 2005 --- http://www.futureofinnovation.org/PDF/Benchmarks.pdf 


Reinvigorating the Humanities: Enhancing Research and Education on Campus and Beyond
Association of American Universities --- http://www.aau.edu/
Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities (AAU) initially consisted of the fourteen universities that offered the Ph.D. degree. Currently their number includes 60 American universities and two Canadian universities. The AAU's overall mission is to develop national policy positions of primary relevance to academic research and graduate and professional education. Of course, the organization's work also extends to other germane areas, including timely discussion of undergraduate education. On the AAU site, visitors can learn about the organization's most recent work, read about its positions on intellectual property issues, and peruse the latest AAU newsletters. The section of the site dedicated to internally produced reports will be of great interest to some, as it contains helpful work on such topics as "Reinvigorating the Humanities: Enhancing Research and Education on Campus and Beyond"

Quoted from the Scout Report on March 17. 2005 

Defining a new role for the humanities in the university and in society
More recently, the humanities have been caught in a conflict between over-simplified aristocratic and democratic notions of liberal arts education. Under the former, the liberal arts are viewed as being distinctly not useful; under the latter, they are seen as providing ideas of value to all citizens. Indeed, scholars and university administrators need to bear in mind the value of the humanities in the education of all of a university’s students, the usefulness of this knowledge in the professional lives of those students, and society’s need for a common base of understanding and an educated citizenry. Recently, those closely involved with the humanities —scholars, university administrators, academic society officials, and others—have begun separate reexaminations of established traditions and expectations, leading perhaps to defining a new role for the humanities in the university and in society. This report is intended to further prompt that reexamination of the humanities on university campuses, to identify steps that some institutions already have taken, and to propose future action.
I quoted the above from the Executive Summary at http://www.aau.edu/issues/ExecSumm.pdf 
You can get more details from http://www.aau.edu/issues/humanities.cfm 

Reinvigorating the Humanities: Enhancing Research and Education on Campus and Beyond - pdf - April 22, 2004
 http://www.aau.edu/issues/humanities.cfm  
 
  • Note: This report can be downloaded in its entirety -- which could take considerable time -- or by selecting individual sections below.

Reinvigorating the Humanities by downloadable section:

  • Executive Summary and Table of         Contents - pdf
  • Part I: The Role and Status of the         Humanities at AAU Universities - pdf
  • Part II: Recommendations and Ongoing         Activities at AAU Universities - pdf
  • Part III: Appendicies
              small arrow  Additional Examples -
    pdf
              small arrow  The Humanities Support                 Infrastructure -
    pdf
              small arrow  University of Toronto's                 Humanities Campaign -
    pdf
              small arrow  AAM Position Statement on                 University Museums and                 Collections -
    pdf
              small arrow  References -
    pdf

     
  • Index - pdf

 


University of California researchers surveyed thousands of faculty members throughout the system’s campuses on the number of hours they spent providing care of any sort for their families. They previously released general data confirming conventional wisdom: that women have more care burdens than men.  But additional data presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Higher Education compared hours spent on care by male and female faculty members of the same age groups, and with the same status of being a parent or not being one.  The following table shows that while gaps are minimal between men and women without children, they are significant for men and women with children:

Hours Spent on Family Care, by Age

Democragraphic group Under 34 34-38 38-42 42-46
Women with children 37 43 38 34
Men with children 25 21 23 19
Women without children   6 10   7   8
Men without children   8   7   7 10

Marc Goulden, a researcher for the University of California, said that the data pointed to a shortcoming of many policies adopted by colleges to help parents. The policies tend to focus on the time demands on new parents, but ignore the reality that time demands are as great or greater when kids start to grow up as when they are babies.
Scott Jaschik, "Unequal Burden," Inside Higher Ed, March 21, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/21/care 


Breakthrough in adult (as opposed to embryonic) stem cell research
Experiments have shown adult stem cells isolated from the olfactory mucosa have the ability to develop into many different cell types if they are given the right chemical or cellular environment," explains Mackay-Sim.  New nerve cells, glial cells, liver cells, heart cells, muscle cells -- all were grown in a dish from stem cells from the human nose. Establishing the versatility of these adult stem cells was in itself a significant scientific achievement, but the Griffith University team's experiments also uncovered a raft of additional advantages.  For starters, such cells are easily harvested. The research team's doctor, prominent Brisbane ear, nose and throat specialist Chris Perry, was able to extract them from consenting patients - and later from the scientists themselves - by simply spraying the inside of the nose with a local anaesthetic and then removing a sample no bigger than a grain of pepper.  The harvested stem cells were not only readily available but proved to be astonishingly easy to grow in the laboratory, with millions of them forming within weeks. Down the track, once all the required trials are carried out - which could take at least another five years - it might well be possible for a healthy person to have his olfactory stem cells harvested, a mildly uncomfortable process that takes barely 10 minutes, grown in a lab and then frozen for injection years later into -- to give just one example -- the withered muscles of a heart after a heart attack.
Wayne Smith, "Sweet Smell of Success," The Australian, March 22, 2005 --- http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12616654^28737,00.html 


More nonprofit colleges may be purchased by for-profit institutions
Sean Gallagher, a senior analyst at Eduventures, which does research on the education industry for investors and colleges, said he is not surprised to see an institution like Saint Mary’s turn to a place like Regis to take over adult education programs. “Higher education is scalable and larger providers have a huge advantage in marketing and online education,” he said.  “It’s just very difficult to develop a curriculum and manage and market it” in adult education, when you are a small college, Gallagher said.  Eduventures — which counts both Regis and Phoenix among its clients — has predicted that more nonprofit colleges may be purchased by for-profit institutions. That happened this month when Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit higher education company, bought the Franciscan University of the Prairies.  But he said the same factors that prompt that prediction may also apply to places like Regis that are big enough to compete with the larger for-profit institutions.  Officials at Saint Mary’s said they were drawn to Regis because it is a nonprofit institution. And Husson, the Regis administrator, said that the university’s traditional emphasis on values and ethics shapes all its programs.
Scott Jaschik, "How to Compete," Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/18/regis 
Bob Jensen's threads on distance education programs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm 


Neil J. Salkind, a professor and a book agent, offers advice on how to get a publisher interested --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/03/21/salkind 


What is the current bid for the solutions manual and test bank of your chosen textbook?
Wiley officials declined to release the names of those who were sued. But they said that settlements have been reached with students at Arizona State, Northeastern, Pennsylvania State and Wayne State Universities; the Universities of Florida and Wisconsin at Madison; and several University of California campuses.  “This is a new form of cheating and copyright violation with a Malthusian growth cycle,” said Roy S. Kaufman, legal director of Wiley. Students somehow obtain the materials, copy them and then distribute several copies, which are in turn copied and sold, he said.  Even with Wiley’s efforts of the past few months, sales of the materials are rampant, he said.  On eBay, you can find these materials by searching for “solutions manual;” there are choices of texts in many fields and from many publishers. Science and engineering fields seem to be particularly hot sellers, with bids for the materials related to many books standing at more than $100.
Scott Jaschik, "A New Form of Cheating," Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/18/cheating 


Vietnam Chronicles:  Separating Fact from Fiction
The Vietnam War suffered famously from such home-front confusion, and from policy confusion too. Thus "Vietnam Chronicles" (Texas Tech University Press, 917 pages, $50) is especially welcome -- for what it tells us about Vietnam, of course, but also for what is says about the myth-making and misperceptions that surround any war. The book consists primarily of recently declassified transcriptions of the weekly intelligence updates at U.S. military headquarters in Saigon -- officially, at Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).
James Schlesinger, "Where Myth Trumped Truth,"  March 18, 2005; Page W6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110094318983000,00.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal 


Surge in undocumented immigrants
The nation's undocumented immigrant population surged to 10.3 million last year, spurred largely since 2000 by the arrivals of unauthorized Mexicans in the United States, a report being released Monday says.  The population of undocumented residents in the United States increased by about 23 percent from 8.4 million in the four-year period ending last March, according to the analysis of government data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a private research group.  That equates to a net increase of roughly 485,000 per year between 2000 and 2004. The estimate was derived by subtracting the number of unauthorized immigrants who leave the United States, die or acquire legal status from the number of new undocumented immigrants that arrive each year.  The prospect of better job opportunities in the United States than in their native countries remains a powerful lure for many immigrants, said Pew center director Roberto Suro, pointing to a reason often cited by other researchers.
Genaro C. Armas, Associated Press, March 21, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/immigrantsMarch21 

Civil rights and immigrant activists say a handful of bills in the Legislature unfairly target foreign nationals, but sponsors of the legislation claim they're just trying to slow the flow of illegal immigrants into Tennessee.  One proposed law would require drivers license exams be given only in English, and another would deny public benefits such as TennCare and driving certificates to foreign nationals. One bill would prohibit immigrants from getting any state government services if they cannot show they're in the country legally.
WBIR, March 21, 2005 --- http://www.wbir.com/news/news.aspx?provider=KNS&storyid=24208 


Iraqi Business Women's Association
I am explaining all of this so you, the reader, may understand how brave a woman like Tammy is. Tammy, of course, is an alias. She is Iraqi.  Tammy is President of the Iraqi Business Women Association (IBWA). The objective of the association is to assist Iraqi women in realizing their ambitions. Iraqi women (who live within the "red zone") are trained how to start and run their own business. They learn how to use the computer, how to type resumes, speak better English and so much more. It is a non-profit organization founded in 2003.  I had my first meeting with Tammy a few weeks ago. She went through tremendous circumstances just to meet me. The purpose of the meeting was to find out more about her organization and in what ways I could help.  We decided what they could use the most is proved and solid advice from American women. Real women in real jobs. Real women in real businesses. Real women in real careers. Giving them the opportunity for their minds to be opened to the plethora of opportunities awaiting them, possibilities of being: doctors, lawyers, store owners, restaurateurs, owning and operating manufacturing plants, salons, distributorships,...and doesn't the list goes on?
William D. Hodges, "Iraqi Business Women's Association," Free Republic, March 21, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1367174/posts 
Jensen Comment:  Many Iraqi's, men and women, are being especially brave in their efforts to bring a new freedom and a new economy to Iraq.


Corruption Scandal in France
Senior allies of President Jacques Chirac -- including four former ministers -- were among nearly 50 people who appeared in court in Paris at the start of one of France's biggest ever political corruption trials.  A total of 47 defendants -- including politicians, party officials, and representatives of some of France's biggest building companies -- are accused of fixing public works contracts in the Paris region in order to obtain illegal party funding.  One of several financial scandals to come to light from Chirac's long tenure to 1995 as mayor of Paris, the affair centres on kickbacks worth more than 70 million euros (93 million dollars) allegedly paid by the building firms in order to secure bids to renovate secondary schools around the capital.  Under a secret arrangement that lasted from 1989 to 1997, companies funnelled back two percent of the money paid by the regional Ile-de-France council, with 1.2 percent going to Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR) and its ally the Republican party (PR), and 0.8 percent going to the Socialists (PS), according to the prosecution.
"Chirac allies among 47 accused in major French corruption trial," AFP, March 21, 2005 --- http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1511&e=5&u=/afp/20050321/wl_afp/francejusticepolitics_050321142150 

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 


Texas lawmaker proposes ban on cheerleading since it is contradictory to sexual abstinence
"It's just too sexually oriented, you know, the way they're shaking their behinds and going on, breaking it down," said Edwards, a 26-year veteran of the Texas House. "And then we say to them, 'don't get involved in sex unless it's marriage or love, it's dangerous out there' and yet the teachers and directors are helping them go through those kind of gyrations."  Under Edwards' bill, if a school district knowingly permits such a performance, funds from the state would be reduced in an amount to be determined by the education commissioner.
April Castro, "Lawmaker Seeks to End 'Sexy' Cheerleading," Washington Times, March 18, 2005 --- http://ap.washingtontimes.com/dynamic/stories/S/SUGGESTIVE_CHEERLEADING?SITE=DCTMS&SECTION=HOME 


The Psychology Department:  Where the hard and the soft sciences overlap is still pretty soft
For all its flaws, neuroimaging is here to stay. No self-respecting psych department can afford to forgo it. Of the dozen or so new faculty members recently hired by his department, says Phillip Shaver, chairman of psychology at the University of California, Davis, 10 use primarily neuroimaging. Economists, political scientists and sociologists are not far behind. As with all powerful tools, let the user beware.
Sharon Begley, "While Brain Imaging Offers New Knowledge, It Can Be an Illusion," The Wall Street Journal,  March 18, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110678590183261,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 


Accounting to the rescue
Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea has offshore oil and gas fields and related pipelines it is currently developing with international partners, led by BP. Central Asia's Kyrgyzstan depends on gold mines, the largest of which is owned by Canadian-based Centerra Gold, for about 10% of its GDP. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has financed these projects and is among the international and local entities encouraging greater transparency and improved governance in state and private enterprise across the region.  These two young states are at the vanguard of a fledgling movement among poor nations with valuable hydrocarbon and mineral wealth to publish the revenues received from their multinational partners. It is much hoped that greater transparency and accountability in the resource sector will enhance reform in other aspects of these countries' transition to market economies based in well-functioning democracies.  Revenue reporting is vital in combating corruption and what is known as the "resource curse." Many countries seemingly blessed with oil, gas, precious metals and minerals and other high-value nonrenewable resources have suffered macroeconomic destabilization from huge and rapid inflows of resource revenues, particularly for oil and gas. Some governments have squandered such revenues. This is easily done when taxes and royalties paid to government by mining and logging companies are not reported publicly via the legislature as would be normal in developed democracies.  Experience shows that citizens of such countries can end up worse off than previous generations when corrupt elites use the revenues to stifle necessary reforms, to suppress dissent and to promote their own ethnic groups and cronies. The result, as seen in parts of Africa in particular, can be civil unrest, even outright war.
Jean Lemierre, "Beating the 'Resource Curse' With Transparency," The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2005, http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110016176782969,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
Bob Jensen's threads on revenue reporting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/eitf01.htm 


The condition of large tails in the distribution is known as leptokurtosis.
I bet you really wanted to know this about return distributions:  This means that there are more frequent large negative outliers than there are large positive outliers.
Return distributions can be described by what are known as "moments" of the distribution. Most market participants understand the first two moments of a distribution: they identify the mean and variance of the distribution. Often in finance, it is assumed that the returns to financial assets follow a normal, or bell-shaped, distribution. However, this is not the case for credit-risky assets. Credit-risky assets are typically exposed to significant downside risk associated with credit downgrades, defaults, and bankruptcies. This downside risk can be described in terms of kurtosis and skewness. Kurtosis is a term used to describe the general condition that the probability mass associated with the tails of a return distribution, otherwise known as "outlier events," is different from that of a normal distribution. The condition of large tails in the distribution is known as leptokurtosis. This means that the tails of the distribution have a greater concentration of mass (more outlier events) than what would be expected if the returns were symmetrically distributed under a normal distribution. The skew of a distribution is also measured relative to a normal distribution. A normal distribution has no skew--its returns are symmetrically distributed around the mean return. A negative skew to a distribution indicates a bias towards downside exposure. This means that there are more frequent large negative outliers than there are large positive outliers. This indicates a return profile biased towards large negative returns.
Mark J.P. Anson, Frank J. Fabozzi, Moorad Chaudhry, and Ren-Raw Chen, Credit Derivatives:  Instruments, Applications, and Pricing, (Wiley, 2003, ISBN: 047146600X, Page 15)


Question
What do you ask (newly admitted MBAs to the Sloan School at MIT) students to do before they get to campus? 
Answer
We have an admit Web site, where the school loads different information for incoming students. We offer advice on many aspects of the program -- from recommended business attire to summer reading material. We have them fill out Meyers-Briggs and Career Leader self-assessment tests, and we review them in a day-long seminar during orientation.
"What Sets Sloan MBAs Apart:  Career Development Director Jacqueline Wilbur hails MIT's B-school grads for their intelligence and quirky individuality," Business Week, March 16, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/SloanNewMBAs 


I won't raise my glass to this one!
Alcohol consumption accounted for 1,715 deaths among traditional-age college students in 2001, according to a study released Thursday by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  That represents an increase of about 6 percent (after being adjusted for the rise in the number of college-age people) from the 1,575 alcohol-related deaths three years earlier, in 1998, according to the study, which was published in the latest edition of the Annual Review of Public Health.  The study also found a sharp rise in the proportion of students aged 18 to 24 who acknowledged driving drunk, to 31.4 percent in 2001 from 26.5 percent in 1998. That represents an increase in the number of students who drove drunk over that three-year period to 2.8 million, from 2.3 million.
Doug Lederman, "Death by Drinking," Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/18/alcohol 


The minority pool among GMAT takers is just not big enough
Like Murphy, most of the latest round of B-school applicants are now receiving acceptance -- or rejection -- letters for this fall. And as the offers go out, the level of minority enrollment is a pressing concern for administrators at top schools. Enrollment of Asian Americans is strong, at around 15% to 25% for top MBA programs. But overall enrollment of under-represented minorities -- African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans -- has remained flat at about 10% at accredited business schools, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business."OUTDATED TERM." That figure is way below those groups' share of the population. Recruiting African Americans, who comprise 12% of the U.S. population and only about 7% of the U.S. B-school student body, is particularly difficult. Although the number of nonwhites taking the GMAT has steadily increased in recent years, the number of African Americans taking the exam dropped slightly in 2003, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council. And some B-school insiders fear the effort to correct the balance is about to get even more difficult.
Francesca Di Meglio, "Building a Fire Under the Melting Pot:  Top B-schools are doing their best to boost the number of minority applicants. Trouble is, there just aren't enough to go around," Business Week, March 16, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/MeltingPot 


Goodnight, Peter. Goodnight, Tom. Goodnight, Dan.
Until Ted Turner ruined it. The networks' business model never had room in its schedule for long-form news coverage. By the time Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw retired, they were Lears in a dying kingdom, overrun by barbarian talk-show hosts and Internet bloggers.  Are we better off? The political diversity the networks ludicrously refused to admit as a problem is now everywhere. Cable, notably FOX, has democratized and leveled the opinion field. For all the pious right-mindedness that gushed out of the three networks, Barbara Walters and Lesley Stahl never had a snowball's chance of sitting in those anchor chairs, while now most of cable's anchors seem to be women.  In the golden age of the network Anchorman, TV news was often pompous, wrong and yes, waaay too liberal. But for all this, it brought -- it forced -- the world's most liberal standard of free speech and discussion into some rather dark and closed places. It was about this time that the United Nations -- chockablock with dictators -- started holding conferences on America's "cultural imperialism." In no small part, they meant Dan, Peter and Tom and their probing camera armies.  This week, when grand images poured out of Lebanon of a million people massed against an occupier, it was reported by whichever cable anchor was on shift that hour. News itself rules the kingdom now, so there's no longer much call for an Anchorman Chronicles. Goodnight, Peter. Goodnight, Tom. Goodnight, Dan.
Daniel Henninger, "Lifting Anchor: The Last Chronicle Of Dan Rather," The Wall Street Journal,  March 18, 2005; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110324952483100,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Former Ernst & Young Tax Advisors:  Caught in the Middle of a Post-Sarbanes Client Tug-a-War
Carolyn Campbell says she decided it was time to leave accounting firm Ernst & Young when she realized she would have to build a new client base largely from scratch if she stayed.  Ms. Campbell, 35 years old, is an accountant whose specialty is advising large companies on local and state taxes. For most of her career, the Big Four firm's audit clients supplied the bulk of her work. But those jobs are harder to come by. Amid concerns of conflicts of interest, more public companies are cutting back on giving other, lucrative "nonauditing" assignments to their independent auditors amid concerns of conflicts of interest. That means less work for consultants employed by Big Four firms. In some cases, Ms. Campbell says, Ernst told her that longtime audit clients were off-limits ... So in October Ms. Campbell, an 11-year Ernst veteran, left her position in Houston as a senior tax manager to work for Alvarez & Marsal LLC, a consulting firm that doesn't do audits. "I think I had a better opportunity working for a nonaccounting firm," she says.  Now she is one of 13 former Ernst consultants at the center of a lawsuit that Ernst filed last month in a New York state court in Manhattan, accusing Alvarez & Marsal of raiding its tax and real-estate divisions' personnel, poaching its clients, interfering with its business and misappropriating confidential information.  Alvarez says it hasn't engaged in any improper conduct and argues that the suit is a sign of the accounting industry's struggle to adjust to the post-Enron Corp. world.
Jonathan Weil, "In Post-Enron World, Accounting Firms Fight Over the Pieces," The Wall Street Journal,  March 18, 2005,  Page C1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111109239427082751,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 
Bob Jensen's threads on auditor independence and professionalism are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Professionalism 


The new Foucault Society
The Foucault Society is involved in the study and application of Michel Foucault's ideas within a contemporary context and to open up a discourse to the widest possible audience.  The Society's new website serves as a resource for information, news, and events. It is designed to serve as a means of exchanging ideas about the works of Michel Foucault.
 Foucault Society --- http://www.foucaultsociety.org/

I dream of the intellectual destroyer of evidence and universalities, the one who, in the inertias and constraints of the present, locates and marks the weak points, the openings, the lines of power, who incessantly displaces himself, doesn't know exactly where he is heading nor what he'll think tomorrow because he is too attentive to the present.
Michel Foucault, "The End of the Monarchy of Sex" from Foucault Live: Interviews, 1966-1984, tr. John Johnston, ed. Sylvere Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1989), p. 155.


The English have been watching too much U.S. television:  Take a flying leap in legal lotto
A teenage criminal who received £567,000 in compensation after falling through a roof while trespassing boasted about his wealth yesterday, saying that he was looking forward to buying "a few houses and a flash car".   I deserve this money and I don't care what anybody says about me," he said. "I'm going to buy a big house so I have a place to live with me mum when she gets out of jail. I might buy a few houses - I'll buy whatever I want." He added: "The papers just call me a yob and a thug because I've been done for robbery and assault but those were just silly stupid little things, like.  "I want to spend my money the way I want without people interfering and I want to have a prosperous future."
Peter Zimonjic, "I'll buy houses and a flash car, says yob awarded £567,000, Telegraph-News, March 2, 2005 --- http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/03/20/nyob20.xml


The United Nations celebrates International Women's Day --- http://www.un.org/events/women/iwd/2005/ 


From UCLA:  Archive of American Folk Medicine --- http://www.folkmed.ucla.edu/ 


Nations from Europe to Eastern Asia are on a fast track to pass the United States in scientific excellence and technological innovation.
For more than half a century, the United States has led the world in scientific discovery and innovation. It has been a beacon, drawing the best scientists to its educational institutions, industries and laboratories from around the globe. However, in today’s rapidly evolving competitive world, the United States can no longer take its supremacy for granted. Nations from Europe to Eastern Asia are on a fast track to pass the United States in scientific excellence and technological innovation. The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation has developed a set of benchmarks to assess the international standing of the United States in science and technology. These benchmarks in education, the science and engineering (S&E) workforce, scientific knowledge, innovation, investment and high-tech economic output reveal troubling trends across the research and development (R&D) spectrum. The United States still leads the world in research and discovery, but our advantage is rapidly eroding, and our global competitors may soon overtake us.
"THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY: IS THE UNITED STATES LOSING ITS COMPETITIVE EDGE?" THE TASK FOR C E ON THE FUTUR E OF AME R I CAN INNOVAT ION, February `6, 2005 --- http://www.futureofinnovation.org/PDF/Benchmarks.pdf 


Reinvigorating the Humanities: Enhancing Research and Education on Campus and Beyond
Association of American Universities --- http://www.aau.edu/
Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities (AAU) initially consisted of the fourteen universities that offered the Ph.D. degree. Currently their number includes 60 American universities and two Canadian universities. The AAU's overall mission is to develop national policy positions of primary relevance to academic research and graduate and professional education. Of course, the organization's work also extends to other germane areas, including timely discussion of undergraduate education. On the AAU site, visitors can learn about the organization's most recent work, read about its positions on intellectual property issues, and peruse the latest AAU newsletters. The section of the site dedicated to internally produced reports will be of great interest to some, as it contains helpful work on such topics as "Reinvigorating the Humanities: Enhancing Research and Education on Campus and Beyond"

Quoted from the Scout Report on March 17. 2005 

Defining a new role for the humanities in the university and in society
More recently, the humanities have been caught in a conflict between over-simplified aristocratic and democratic notions of liberal arts education. Under the former, the liberal arts are viewed as being distinctly not useful; under the latter, they are seen as providing ideas of value to all citizens. Indeed, scholars and university administrators need to bear in mind the value of the humanities in the education of all of a university’s students, the usefulness of this knowledge in the professional lives of those students, and society’s need for a common base of understanding and an educated citizenry. Recently, those closely involved with the humanities —scholars, university administrators, academic society officials, and others—have begun separate reexaminations of established traditions and expectations, leading perhaps to defining a new role for the humanities in the university and in society. This report is intended to further prompt that reexamination of the humanities on university campuses, to identify steps that some institutions already have taken, and to propose future action.
I quoted the above from the Executive Summary at http://www.aau.edu/issues/ExecSumm.pdf 
You can get more details from http://www.aau.edu/issues/humanities.cfm 

Reinvigorating the Humanities: Enhancing Research and Education on Campus and Beyond - pdf - April 22, 2004
 http://www.aau.edu/issues/humanities.cfm  
 
  • Note: This report can be downloaded in its entirety -- which could take considerable time -- or by selecting individual sections below.

Reinvigorating the Humanities by downloadable section:

  • Executive Summary and Table of         Contents - pdf
  • Part I: The Role and Status of the         Humanities at AAU Universities - pdf
  • Part II: Recommendations and Ongoing         Activities at AAU Universities - pdf
  • Part III: Appendicies
              small arrow  Additional Examples - pdf
              small arrow  The Humanities Support                 Infrastructure - pdf
              small arrow  University of Toronto's                 Humanities Campaign - pdf
              small arrow  AAM Position Statement on                 University Museums and                 Collections - pdf
              small arrow  References - pdf

     
  • Index - pdf

 


University of California researchers surveyed thousands of faculty members throughout the system’s campuses on the number of hours they spent providing care of any sort for their families. They previously released general data confirming conventional wisdom: that women have more care burdens than men.  But additional data presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Higher Education compared hours spent on care by male and female faculty members of the same age groups, and with the same status of being a parent or not being one.  The following table shows that while gaps are minimal between men and women without children, they are significant for men and women with children:

Hours Spent on Family Care, by Age

Democragraphic group Under 34 34-38 38-42 42-46
Women with children 37 43 38 34
Men with children 25 21 23 19
Women without children   6 10   7   8
Men without children   8   7   7 10

Marc Goulden, a researcher for the University of California, said that the data pointed to a shortcoming of many policies adopted by colleges to help parents. The policies tend to focus on the time demands on new parents, but ignore the reality that time demands are as great or greater when kids start to grow up as when they are babies.
Scott Jaschik, "Unequal Burden," Inside Higher Ed, March 21, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/21/care 


Breakthrough in adult (as opposed to embryonic) stem cell research
Experiments have shown adult stem cells isolated from the olfactory mucosa have the ability to develop into many different cell types if they are given the right chemical or cellular environment," explains Mackay-Sim.  New nerve cells, glial cells, liver cells, heart cells, muscle cells -- all were grown in a dish from stem cells from the human nose. Establishing the versatility of these adult stem cells was in itself a significant scientific achievement, but the Griffith University team's experiments also uncovered a raft of additional advantages.  For starters, such cells are easily harvested. The research team's doctor, prominent Brisbane ear, nose and throat specialist Chris Perry, was able to extract them from consenting patients - and later from the scientists themselves - by simply spraying the inside of the nose with a local anaesthetic and then removing a sample no bigger than a grain of pepper.  The harvested stem cells were not only readily available but proved to be astonishingly easy to grow in the laboratory, with millions of them forming within weeks. Down the track, once all the required trials are carried out - which could take at least another five years - it might well be possible for a healthy person to have his olfactory stem cells harvested, a mildly uncomfortable process that takes barely 10 minutes, grown in a lab and then frozen for injection years later into -- to give just one example -- the withered muscles of a heart after a heart attack.
Wayne Smith, "Sweet Smell of Success," The Australian, March 22, 2005 --- http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12616654^28737,00.html 


More nonprofit colleges may be purchased by for-profit institutions
Sean Gallagher, a senior analyst at Eduventures, which does research on the education industry for investors and colleges, said he is not surprised to see an institution like Saint Mary’s turn to a place like Regis to take over adult education programs. “Higher education is scalable and larger providers have a huge advantage in marketing and online education,” he said.  “It’s just very difficult to develop a curriculum and manage and market it” in adult education, when you are a small college, Gallagher said.  Eduventures — which counts both Regis and Phoenix among its clients — has predicted that more nonprofit colleges may be purchased by for-profit institutions. That happened this month when Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit higher education company, bought the Franciscan University of the Prairies.  But he said the same factors that prompt that prediction may also apply to places like Regis that are big enough to compete with the larger for-profit institutions.  Officials at Saint Mary’s said they were drawn to Regis because it is a nonprofit institution. And Husson, the Regis administrator, said that the university’s traditional emphasis on values and ethics shapes all its programs.
Scott Jaschik, "How to Compete," Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/18/regis 
Bob Jensen's threads on distance education programs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm 


Neil J. Salkind, a professor and a book agent, offers advice on how to get a publisher interested --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/03/21/salkind 


What is the current bid for the solutions manual and test bank of your chosen textbook?
Wiley officials declined to release the names of those who were sued. But they said that settlements have been reached with students at Arizona State, Northeastern, Pennsylvania State and Wayne State Universities; the Universities of Florida and Wisconsin at Madison; and several University of California campuses.  “This is a new form of cheating and copyright violation with a Malthusian growth cycle,” said Roy S. Kaufman, legal director of Wiley. Students somehow obtain the materials, copy them and then distribute several copies, which are in turn copied and sold, he said.  Even with Wiley’s efforts of the past few months, sales of the materials are rampant, he said.  On eBay, you can find these materials by searching for “solutions manual;” there are choices of texts in many fields and from many publishers. Science and engineering fields seem to be particularly hot sellers, with bids for the materials related to many books standing at more than $100.
Scott Jaschik, "A New Form of Cheating," Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/18/cheating 


Vietnam Chronicles:  Separating Fact from Fiction
The Vietnam War suffered famously from such home-front confusion, and from policy confusion too. Thus "Vietnam Chronicles" (Texas Tech University Press, 917 pages, $50) is especially welcome -- for what it tells us about Vietnam, of course, but also for what is says about the myth-making and misperceptions that surround any war. The book consists primarily of recently declassified transcriptions of the weekly intelligence updates at U.S. military headquarters in Saigon -- officially, at Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).
James Schlesinger, "Where Myth Trumped Truth,"  March 18, 2005; Page W6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110094318983000,00.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal 


Surge in undocumented immigrants
The nation's undocumented immigrant population surged to 10.3 million last year, spurred largely since 2000 by the arrivals of unauthorized Mexicans in the United States, a report being released Monday says.  The population of undocumented residents in the United States increased by about 23 percent from 8.4 million in the four-year period ending last March, according to the analysis of government data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a private research group.  That equates to a net increase of roughly 485,000 per year between 2000 and 2004. The estimate was derived by subtracting the number of unauthorized immigrants who leave the United States, die or acquire legal status from the number of new undocumented immigrants that arrive each year.  The prospect of better job opportunities in the United States than in their native countries remains a powerful lure for many immigrants, said Pew center director Roberto Suro, pointing to a reason often cited by other researchers.
Genaro C. Armas, Associated Press, March 21, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/immigrantsMarch21 

Civil rights and immigrant activists say a handful of bills in the Legislature unfairly target foreign nationals, but sponsors of the legislation claim they're just trying to slow the flow of illegal immigrants into Tennessee.  One proposed law would require drivers license exams be given only in English, and another would deny public benefits such as TennCare and driving certificates to foreign nationals. One bill would prohibit immigrants from getting any state government services if they cannot show they're in the country legally.
WBIR, March 21, 2005 --- http://www.wbir.com/news/news.aspx?provider=KNS&storyid=24208 


Iraqi Business Women's Association
I am explaining all of this so you, the reader, may understand how brave a woman like Tammy is. Tammy, of course, is an alias. She is Iraqi.  Tammy is President of the Iraqi Business Women Association (IBWA). The objective of the association is to assist Iraqi women in realizing their ambitions. Iraqi women (who live within the "red zone") are trained how to start and run their own business. They learn how to use the computer, how to type resumes, speak better English and so much more. It is a non-profit organization founded in 2003.  I had my first meeting with Tammy a few weeks ago. She went through tremendous circumstances just to meet me. The purpose of the meeting was to find out more about her organization and in what ways I could help.  We decided what they could use the most is proved and solid advice from American women. Real women in real jobs. Real women in real businesses. Real women in real careers. Giving them the opportunity for their minds to be opened to the plethora of opportunities awaiting them, possibilities of being: doctors, lawyers, store owners, restaurateurs, owning and operating manufacturing plants, salons, distributorships,...and doesn't the list goes on?
William D. Hodges, "Iraqi Business Women's Association," Free Republic, March 21, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1367174/posts 
Jensen Comment:  Many Iraqi's, men and women, are being especially brave in their efforts to bring a new freedom and a new economy to Iraq.


Corruption Scandal in France
Senior allies of President Jacques Chirac -- including four former ministers -- were among nearly 50 people who appeared in court in Paris at the start of one of France's biggest ever political corruption trials.  A total of 47 defendants -- including politicians, party officials, and representatives of some of France's biggest building companies -- are accused of fixing public works contracts in the Paris region in order to obtain illegal party funding.  One of several financial scandals to come to light from Chirac's long tenure to 1995 as mayor of Paris, the affair centres on kickbacks worth more than 70 million euros (93 million dollars) allegedly paid by the building firms in order to secure bids to renovate secondary schools around the capital.  Under a secret arrangement that lasted from 1989 to 1997, companies funnelled back two percent of the money paid by the regional Ile-de-France council, with 1.2 percent going to Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR) and its ally the Republican party (PR), and 0.8 percent going to the Socialists (PS), according to the prosecution.
"Chirac allies among 47 accused in major French corruption trial," AFP, March 21, 2005 --- http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1511&e=5&u=/afp/20050321/wl_afp/francejusticepolitics_050321142150 

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 


Texas lawmaker proposes ban on cheerleading since it is contradictory to sexual abstinence
"It's just too sexually oriented, you know, the way they're shaking their behinds and going on, breaking it down," said Edwards, a 26-year veteran of the Texas House. "And then we say to them, 'don't get involved in sex unless it's marriage or love, it's dangerous out there' and yet the teachers and directors are helping them go through those kind of gyrations."  Under Edwards' bill, if a school district knowingly permits such a performance, funds from the state would be reduced in an amount to be determined by the education commissioner.
April Castro, "Lawmaker Seeks to End 'Sexy' Cheerleading," Washington Times, March 18, 2005 --- http://ap.washingtontimes.com/dynamic/stories/S/SUGGESTIVE_CHEERLEADING?SITE=DCTMS&SECTION=HOME 


The Psychology Department:  Where the hard and the soft sciences overlap is still pretty soft
For all its flaws, neuroimaging is here to stay. No self-respecting psych department can afford to forgo it. Of the dozen or so new faculty members recently hired by his department, says Phillip Shaver, chairman of psychology at the University of California, Davis, 10 use primarily neuroimaging. Economists, political scientists and sociologists are not far behind. As with all powerful tools, let the user beware.
Sharon Begley, "While Brain Imaging Offers New Knowledge, It Can Be an Illusion," The Wall Street Journal,  March 18, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110678590183261,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 


Accounting to the rescue
Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea has offshore oil and gas fields and related pipelines it is currently developing with international partners, led by BP. Central Asia's Kyrgyzstan depends on gold mines, the largest of which is owned by Canadian-based Centerra Gold, for about 10% of its GDP. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has financed these projects and is among the international and local entities encouraging greater transparency and improved governance in state and private enterprise across the region.  These two young states are at the vanguard of a fledgling movement among poor nations with valuable hydrocarbon and mineral wealth to publish the revenues received from their multinational partners. It is much hoped that greater transparency and accountability in the resource sector will enhance reform in other aspects of these countries' transition to market economies based in well-functioning democracies.  Revenue reporting is vital in combating corruption and what is known as the "resource curse." Many countries seemingly blessed with oil, gas, precious metals and minerals and other high-value nonrenewable resources have suffered macroeconomic destabilization from huge and rapid inflows of resource revenues, particularly for oil and gas. Some governments have squandered such revenues. This is easily done when taxes and royalties paid to government by mining and logging companies are not reported publicly via the legislature as would be normal in developed democracies.  Experience shows that citizens of such countries can end up worse off than previous generations when corrupt elites use the revenues to stifle necessary reforms, to suppress dissent and to promote their own ethnic groups and cronies. The result, as seen in parts of Africa in particular, can be civil unrest, even outright war.
Jean Lemierre, "Beating the 'Resource Curse' With Transparency," The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2005, http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110016176782969,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
Bob Jensen's threads on revenue reporting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/eitf01.htm 


The condition of large tails in the distribution is known as leptokurtosis.
I bet you really wanted to know this about return distributions:  This means that there are more frequent large negative outliers than there are large positive outliers.
Return distributions can be described by what are known as "moments" of the distribution. Most market participants understand the first two moments of a distribution: they identify the mean and variance of the distribution. Often in finance, it is assumed that the returns to financial assets follow a normal, or bell-shaped, distribution. However, this is not the case for credit-risky assets. Credit-risky assets are typically exposed to significant downside risk associated with credit downgrades, defaults, and bankruptcies. This downside risk can be described in terms of kurtosis and skewness. Kurtosis is a term used to describe the general condition that the probability mass associated with the tails of a return distribution, otherwise known as "outlier events," is different from that of a normal distribution. The condition of large tails in the distribution is known as leptokurtosis. This means that the tails of the distribution have a greater concentration of mass (more outlier events) than what would be expected if the returns were symmetrically distributed under a normal distribution. The skew of a distribution is also measured relative to a normal distribution. A normal distribution has no skew--its returns are symmetrically distributed around the mean return. A negative skew to a distribution indicates a bias towards downside exposure. This means that there are more frequent large negative outliers than there are large positive outliers. This indicates a return profile biased towards large negative returns.
Mark J.P. Anson, Frank J. Fabozzi, Moorad Chaudhry, and Ren-Raw Chen, Credit Derivatives:  Instruments, Applications, and Pricing, (Wiley, 2003, ISBN: 047146600X, Page 15)


Question
What do you ask (newly admitted MBAs to the Sloan School at MIT) students to do before they get to campus? 
Answer
We have an admit Web site, where the school loads different information for incoming students. We offer advice on many aspects of the program -- from recommended business attire to summer reading material. We have them fill out Meyers-Briggs and Career Leader self-assessment tests, and we review them in a day-long seminar during orientation.
"What Sets Sloan MBAs Apart:  Career Development Director Jacqueline Wilbur hails MIT's B-school grads for their intelligence and quirky individuality," Business Week, March 16, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/SloanNewMBAs 


I won't raise my glass to this one!
Alcohol consumption accounted for 1,715 deaths among traditional-age college students in 2001, according to a study released Thursday by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  That represents an increase of about 6 percent (after being adjusted for the rise in the number of college-age people) from the 1,575 alcohol-related deaths three years earlier, in 1998, according to the study, which was published in the latest edition of the Annual Review of Public Health.  The study also found a sharp rise in the proportion of students aged 18 to 24 who acknowledged driving drunk, to 31.4 percent in 2001 from 26.5 percent in 1998. That represents an increase in the number of students who drove drunk over that three-year period to 2.8 million, from 2.3 million.
Doug Lederman, "Death by Drinking," Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/18/alcohol 


The minority pool among GMAT takers is just not big enough
Like Murphy, most of the latest round of B-school applicants are now receiving acceptance -- or rejection -- letters for this fall. And as the offers go out, the level of minority enrollment is a pressing concern for administrators at top schools. Enrollment of Asian Americans is strong, at around 15% to 25% for top MBA programs. But overall enrollment of under-represented minorities -- African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans -- has remained flat at about 10% at accredited business schools, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business."OUTDATED TERM." That figure is way below those groups' share of the population. Recruiting African Americans, who comprise 12% of the U.S. population and only about 7% of the U.S. B-school student body, is particularly difficult. Although the number of nonwhites taking the GMAT has steadily increased in recent years, the number of African Americans taking the exam dropped slightly in 2003, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council. And some B-school insiders fear the effort to correct the balance is about to get even more difficult.
Francesca Di Meglio, "Building a Fire Under the Melting Pot:  Top B-schools are doing their best to boost the number of minority applicants. Trouble is, there just aren't enough to go around," Business Week, March 16, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/MeltingPot 


Goodnight, Peter. Goodnight, Tom. Goodnight, Dan.
Until Ted Turner ruined it. The networks' business model never had room in its schedule for long-form news coverage. By the time Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw retired, they were Lears in a dying kingdom, overrun by barbarian talk-show hosts and Internet bloggers.  Are we better off? The political diversity the networks ludicrously refused to admit as a problem is now everywhere. Cable, notably FOX, has democratized and leveled the opinion field. For all the pious right-mindedness that gushed out of the three networks, Barbara Walters and Lesley Stahl never had a snowball's chance of sitting in those anchor chairs, while now most of cable's anchors seem to be women.  In the golden age of the network Anchorman, TV news was often pompous, wrong and yes, waaay too liberal. But for all this, it brought -- it forced -- the world's most liberal standard of free speech and discussion into some rather dark and closed places. It was about this time that the United Nations -- chockablock with dictators -- started holding conferences on America's "cultural imperialism." In no small part, they meant Dan, Peter and Tom and their probing camera armies.  This week, when grand images poured out of Lebanon of a million people massed against an occupier, it was reported by whichever cable anchor was on shift that hour. News itself rules the kingdom now, so there's no longer much call for an Anchorman Chronicles. Goodnight, Peter. Goodnight, Tom. Goodnight, Dan.
Daniel Henninger, "Lifting Anchor: The Last Chronicle Of Dan Rather," The Wall Street Journal,  March 18, 2005; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111110324952483100,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Former Ernst & Young Tax Advisors:  Caught in the Middle of a Post-Sarbanes Client Tug-a-War
Carolyn Campbell says she decided it was time to leave accounting firm Ernst & Young when she realized she would have to build a new client base largely from scratch if she stayed.  Ms. Campbell, 35 years old, is an accountant whose specialty is advising large companies on local and state taxes. For most of her career, the Big Four firm's audit clients supplied the bulk of her work. But those jobs are harder to come by. Amid concerns of conflicts of interest, more public companies are cutting back on giving other, lucrative "nonauditing" assignments to their independent auditors amid concerns of conflicts of interest. That means less work for consultants employed by Big Four firms. In some cases, Ms. Campbell says, Ernst told her that longtime audit clients were off-limits ... So in October Ms. Campbell, an 11-year Ernst veteran, left her position in Houston as a senior tax manager to work for Alvarez & Marsal LLC, a consulting firm that doesn't do audits. "I think I had a better opportunity working for a nonaccounting firm," she says.  Now she is one of 13 former Ernst consultants at the center of a lawsuit that Ernst filed last month in a New York state court in Manhattan, accusing Alvarez & Marsal of raiding its tax and real-estate divisions' personnel, poaching its clients, interfering with its business and misappropriating confidential information.  Alvarez says it hasn't engaged in any improper conduct and argues that the suit is a sign of the accounting industry's struggle to adjust to the post-Enron Corp. world.
Jonathan Weil, "In Post-Enron World, Accounting Firms Fight Over the Pieces," The Wall Street Journal,  March 18, 2005,  Page C1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111109239427082751,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 
Bob Jensen's threads on auditor independence and professionalism are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Professionalism 


The new Foucault Society
The Foucault Society is involved in the study and application of Michel Foucault's ideas within a contemporary context and to open up a discourse to the widest possible audience.  The Society's new website serves as a resource for information, news, and events. It is designed to serve as a means of exchanging ideas about the works of Michel Foucault.
 Foucault Society --- http://www.foucaultsociety.org/

I dream of the intellectual destroyer of evidence and universalities, the one who, in the inertias and constraints of the present, locates and marks the weak points, the openings, the lines of power, who incessantly displaces himself, doesn't know exactly where he is heading nor what he'll think tomorrow because he is too attentive to the present.
Michel Foucault, "The End of the Monarchy of Sex" from Foucault Live: Interviews, 1966-1984, tr. John Johnston, ed. Sylvere Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1989), p. 155.


The English have been watching too much U.S. television:  Take a flying leap in legal lotto
A teenage criminal who received £567,000 in compensation after falling through a roof while trespassing boasted about his wealth yesterday, saying that he was looking forward to buying "a few houses and a flash car".   I deserve this money and I don't care what anybody says about me," he said. "I'm going to buy a big house so I have a place to live with me mum when she gets out of jail. I might buy a few houses - I'll buy whatever I want." He added: "The papers just call me a yob and a thug because I've been done for robbery and assault but those were just silly stupid little things, like.  "I want to spend my money the way I want without people interfering and I want to have a prosperous future."
Peter Zimonjic, "I'll buy houses and a flash car, says yob awarded £567,000, Telegraph-News, March 2, 2005 --- http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/03/20/nyob20.xml


It is easy to ask questions about technology; it is more difficult to ask the right questions. Only by asking the right question will we get the right answer.
Diana Oblinger --- http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm05/erm05211.asp




This is a nice and concise software review for creating Web pages and Web sites

Click here to view the Comparison Chart. (pdf) ---
http://i.cmpnet.com/techlearning/archives/2005/03/05.03.Reviews_chart%20only.pdf


New Cell Phone Virus
Two weeks ago, antivirus companies discovered CommWarrior, the first significant mobile-phone worm to be released "in the wild." The previous phone viruses you might have heard about were all pretty harmless. Cabir, which also made the news last month, uses Bluetooth to hop from one phone to others physically nearby. As Slate explained, that technique limits the virus's ability to spread quickly—for Cabir to propagate, it has to be within 30 feet of a vulnerable Bluetooth phone. CommWarrior is far more contagious. When it invades your phone, the worm rifles through your contacts list and mails a copy of itself to victims as a "multimedia message." That's a classic social-engineering trick: When a message comes from a friend, you're much more likely to open it and get infected. Besides passing itself along to the next guy, CommWarrior doesn't do much. The virus' only payload is a flashing message—"OTMOP03KAM HET!"—that translates as "No to brain-deads!" in Russian.
Clive Thompson, "The Perfect Worm: Coming soon, a cell-phone virus that will wreck your life,"  Slate, March 22, 2005 --- http://slate.msn.com/id/2115118/

 


Is your university missing out on an opportunity for a $1,000,000 science teacher?
Because the emphasis of the Hughes awards is on programs that could be spread nationally, the impact may be seen soon on campuses without their own “million dollar professors.” And if you missed out last time, there’s a chance to join that elite group. The institute is now
accepting nominations for a second group of awards — again, up to 20 people will receive $1 million.  For a good example of how $1 million can change things, talk to Jo Handelsman, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. With her grant, she is focusing on two projects, both of which involve evangelizing on new approaches to science education that will be felt far from Madison. One project involves changing how graduate students and postdocs learn to teach, so that they start their careers with better techniques than they experienced as undergraduates. The other project involves an intense Madison seminar over the summer to help teams of professors learn to revamp their introductory biology courses.
Scott Jaschik, "A Scientific (Teaching) Revolution," Inside Higher Ed, March 23, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/23/hughes

Education lags technology:  "The enemy is us"
Meanwhile, we’ve reached a critical juncture in our institutional commitments to educational technology. Advances in networking and software design finally allow educators to do far more than merely automate the traditional lecture course. Over the last several years, higher education leaders have outfitted their campuses with fat pipelines and high-speed connectivity. Increasingly, their students come to campus equipped with the latest in commercially available PCs and laptops. Hard drives are bigger, graphics accelerators speed up 3D image display, and faster processing chips simulate real-world physics with relative ease.
Marilyn M. Lombardi, "Standing on the Plateau," EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 40, no. 2 (March/April 2005): 68–69 --- http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm05/erm0528.asp


Education in the distant future
I believe we are headed to a more individualized and learner-centered model of higher education. I envision students having a voluminous menu of postsecondary education options and mixing and matching among these options throughout their adult lives. I see the combination of brain research and software development producing learning materials and pedagogical methods geared to each student’s learning style. And I suspect the profusion of learners choosing among the plentitude of postsecondary options, each offering education in its own fashion, will cause those of us in higher education to deemphasize degrees in favor of competencies. At the same time, I worry that colleges and universities will be left out of these changes because our governance processes are so slow and the new technologies represent such a sharp departure from the notion of the personalized education of the ideal college—described in 1871 by U.S. President (and Williams College alumnus) James A. Garfield as having Mark Hopkins, the nineteenth-century president of Williams College, on one end of a log and a student on the other.
Arthur Levine, "All That Glitters," EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 40, no. 2 (March/April 2005): 8–9 --- http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm05/erm0525.asp


Educators should place a higher priority on interdisciplinary perspectives
In 1981, Boyer, who was then president of the Carnegie Foundation, and Levine, who would become president of Teacher's College at Columbia University, argued that educators place a higher priority on interdisciplinary perspectives and move to more holistic teaching methods. They asserted that intellectual and social forces were pushing faculty to become narrowly committed to their core disciplines at the expense of undergraduate education.
Rita Jordan, Professor and Head, Department of Management, U.S. Air Force Academy, AACSB eNewsline --- http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/enewsline/Vol-4/Issue-3/dc-jordan.asp 


Some accounting professors may want to dust off their old green eyeshades
"We beg, we borrow, we steal, we grovel, we scour the world" to find accountants with five-plus years of experience in public accounting, says Mark Friedman, New York-based managing director and head of U.S. experienced recruitment at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Hiring across the board at the firm is running nearly 30% above the levels of last year, he says.   Recruiters estimate that pay is up 10% or more. The base salary for a junior partner with 10 to 12 years' experience, one recruiter says, is $500,000. Experienced team leaders can command 20% more than a year ago, as can those with expertise in forensic accounting, in which accountants look for financial missteps and figure out how to fix what went wrong.
Suzanne McGee, "CPA Recruitment Intensifies As Accounting Rules Evolve," The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2005; Page B6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111145137773485691,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Bob Jensen’s threads on accountancy careers are at


"Next-Generation Educational Software: Why We Need It and a Research Agenda for Getting It," by Andries van Dam, Sascha Becker, and Rosemary Michelle Simpson, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 40, no. 2 (March/April 2005): 26–43 --- http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm05/erm0521.asp

The dream of universal access to high-quality, personalized educational content that is available both synchronously and asynchronously remains unrealized. For more than four decades, it has been said that information technology would be a key enabling technology for making this dream a reality by providing the ability to produce compelling and individualized content, the means for delivering it, and effective feedback and assessment mechanisms. Although IT has certainly had some impact, it has become a cliché to note that education is the last field to take systematic advantage of IT. There have been some notable successes of innovative software (e.g., the graphing calculator, the Geometer’s Sketchpad, and the World Wide Web as an information-storage and -delivery vehicle), but we continue to teach—and students continue to learn—in ways that are virtually unchanged since the invention of the blackboard.

There are many widely accepted reasons for the lack of dramatic improvement:

  • Inadequate investment in appropriate research and development of authoring tools and new forms of content
  • Inadequate investment in the creation of new dynamic and interactive content that takes proper advantage of digital hypermedia and simulation capabilities (as opposed to repurposed print content) at all educational levels and across the spectrum of disciplines
  • Inadequate investment in appropriate IT deployment in schools (e.g., although PCs are available in K-12, there are too few of them, they are underpowered, and they have little content beyond traditional “drill-and-kill” computer-aided instruction, or CAI; at the postsecondary level there is more availability of computers and software, plus routine use of the Internet, but still a dearth of innovative content that leverages the power of the medium)
  • Inadequate support for teacher education in IT tools and techniques and for the incorporation of IT-based content into the curriculum
  • The general conservatism of educational institutions

Despite this disappointing record, we remain optimistic. The dramatic advances in hardware technology, especially during the last decade, provide extraordinary new capabilities, and the desire to “do something” to address the need for lifelong, on-demand learning is finally being widely recognized. The ubiquity and accessibility of the Internet has given rise to a new kind of learning community and environment, one that was predicted by Tim Berners-Lee in his 1995 address to the MIT/Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium1 and that John Seely Brown elaborated into the rich notion of a learning ecology in his seminal article “Growing Up Digital: How the Web Changes Work, Education, and the Ways People Learn.”2 There is great hope that this emergent learning environment will in time pervade all organizations, binding learners and teachers together in informal, ever-changing, adaptive learning communities.

Here we will first recapitulate some well-known technology . . . 

Continued in article


There is an apparent disconnect between the culture of library organizations and that of Net Gen students
The University of Southern California’s Leavey Library logged 1.4 million visits last year.1 That remarkable statistic illustrates how much a library can become part of campus life if it is designed with genuine understanding of the needs of Net Generation (Net Gen) students. This understanding relates not just to the physical facility of the library but to all of the things that a library encompasses: content, access, enduring collections, and services. Libraries have been adjusting their collections, services, and environments to the digital world for at least 20 years. Even prior to ubiquitous use of the Internet, libraries were using technology for access to scholarly databases, for circulation systems, and for online catalogs. With the explosion of Internet technology, libraries incorporated a wide array of digital content resources into their offerings; updated the network, wiring, and wireless infrastructures of their buildings; and designed new virtual and in-person services. However, technology has resulted in more modernization than transformation. There is an apparent disconnect between the culture of library organizations and that of Net Gen students. This chapter will explore how libraries might better adapt to the needs of Net Gen students in a number of specific areas.
"Net Generation Students and Libraries," by Joan K. Lippencott,  EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 40, no. 2 (March/April 2005)
 


You can forward your own slang
A monster online dictionary of the rich colourful language we call slang... all from a British perspective, with new slang added every month. If you are unable to immediately find the term you are looking for, try the slang search. A short essay giving an outline of the parameters of this site and brief information on slang can be accessed on the introduction page ---  http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/index.htm
(Forwarded by David Coy)


Reducing pollution is a priority in China
A solar-energy collecting tube invented by a professor at Tsinghua University could make solar power more practical. The glass vacuum heat collector has an aluminum nitride coating that absorbs solar energy. Each of the coating’s multiple layers absorbs a different wavelength of light, turning it into heat. The collector can capture 50 to 60 percent of incoming solar energy, which can then be used to heat water or air. Tsinghua has applied for more than 30 patents on the device, which is already offered commercially in China, Switzerland, Japan, and Germany.  In another energy efficiency project, the research group for clean-energy automobiles at the College of ­Automotive Engineering at Shanghai Tongji University is developing what it calls the “Chunhui” (or “Spring Sunlight”) series of cars, which have independent electric drives for each of their four wheels. The Chunhui cars are powered by lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel cells; their only emission is water vapor.
Elsie Chan, "China," MIT's Technology Review, April 2005 --- http://www2.technologyreview.com/articles/05/04/issue/feature_gp_china.asp?trk=nl

Also see "Nuclear Power Is the Answer To China's Energy Needs ," by Canice Chan, The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111144723579485592,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


Just another day on the fraud beat
The Securities and Exchange Commission slapped Time Warner Inc. with a $300 million fine, its second-biggest fine in history, and issued a stinging rebuke of the company's conduct, capping a three-year investigation into accounting practices at the media titan . . . The SEC yesterday filed a complaint against Time Warner, at the same time it announced the settlement, that charged Time Warner with overstating online advertising revenue and the number of AOL's Internet subscribers, as well as aiding and abetting three other securities frauds. It also charged Time Warner with violating a cease-and-desist order against the America Online division issued in 2000.  "Some of the misconduct occurred while the ink on a prior commission cease-and-desist order was barely dry," said SEC Director of Enforcement Stephen M. Cutler in a statement. "Such an institutional failure calls for strong sanctions."
Julia Angwin, "SEC Fines Time Warner $300 Million," The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2005; Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111142076929485150,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
Bob Jensen's threads on revenue accounting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/eitf01.htm


Median GMAT scores in accredited institutions --- http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/enewsline/Vol-4/Issue-3/dd-mediangmatchart.asp 


It may no longer be based solely on merit at Cal:  Top finalists may not get scholarhips
Faculty committee at the University of California says that the way the National Merit Scholarship Program chooses winners is unfair and that its practice of giving scholarships regardless of need is "contrary to U.C. standards and philosophy."  Eligibility for merit scholarships is determined solely by scores on the Preliminary SAT exam, formally the PSAT/NMSQT. Of more than 1.3 million 11th-grade students who take the exam each year, about 16,000 are chosen as Merit semifinalists. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a nonprofit company in Evanston, Ill., then uses student essays, high school records, recommendations from school principals and scores from a second test, the SAT, to reduce the pool to 15,000 finalists.
Karen W. Arenson, "Faculty Panel at Cal Faults Way to Pick Merit Scholars," The New York Times, March 22, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/22/education/22merit.html?oref=login


From the land of the not-so-free
Yet another battle in the ongoing war between Chinese authorities and Internet freedoms has culminated with Beijing's Tsinghua University online-discussion forum being closed to non-students. Off-campus users, such as alumni, made up a large portion of the site's visitors, so the decision's impact will not be small. But this incident just shows once again that Chinese netizens will not be easily defeated.  What is most notable about this recent repression attempt has been the Chinese reaction: The restriction of Tsinghua's forum has been followed by reports of protests, both virtual and real. Messages protesting the closing off of the forum have spread through the Chinese blogosphere, and there are photos circulating on the Internet that claim to be of protests by Tsinghua students.
"Another Chinese Internet Battle," The Wall Street Journal,  March 23, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111153019822086799,00.html?mod=opinion%5Fmain%5Feurope%5Fasia


Tax craziness in Michigan
The better course would be for Michigan legislators to approve tax cuts for manufacturers, dump the job-destroying tax hikes, and balance the state budget with spending restraint. Better yet, they could finish the job that was started under previous Governor John Engler of phasing down, and eventually phasing out, the SBT.   In the meantime, there's a perverse logic in Ms. Granholm's belief that her plan will create new jobs by cutting taxes on the industries that are laying off workers and raising taxes on the professional service industries that actually are hiring them. The Granholm plan may well keep Michigan Number One -- in high taxes, business relocations, and job losses.

"Michigan Is for Taxers," The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2005; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111153958769787116,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion


Tune in digitally at MSU
The campus radio station at Michigan State University now broadcasts digital, high-definition signals, making it one of the first university stations to use the emerging technology. Currently there are about 200 primarily commercial stations around the United States broadcasting high-definition signals, which are much clearer than analog signals. High-definition receivers are finding their way into homes and cars, and major broadcasting companies are reportedly considering upgrading another 1,500 stations to use digital transmitters. Digital transmissions also add a data component that can include information such as song title or cover art from a song’s album. Gary A. Reid, general manager of Michigan State’s station, said he looks forward to experimenting with the data signal to learn what uses might be appropriate or valuable to the community, such as campus news, sports scores, or weather. Michigan State bought the digital transmitter when its analog transmitter was failing, and Reid said the digital transmitter, which cost $90,000, cost only about $20,000 more than a comparable analog unit.
Chronicle of Higher Education --- http://chronicle.com/prm/weekly/v51/i15/15a03102.htm
Also see http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm05/erm0524.asp


The French will be utterly exhausted
After weeks of angry debate and street protests, French lawmakers effectively dismantled the country's 35-hour workweek by voting to allow employers to increase working hours.  The National Assembly yesterday approved a bill permitting employers to negotiate deals with staff to increase working time by 220 hours a year in return for better pay. The bill effectively clears the way for the gradual erosion of the 35-hour week, a flagship policy of the former Socialist-led government that gave many people more time off but added to concerns about France's declining competitiveness.
Associated Press, "French No Longer Entitled to 35-Hour Workweek," The Wall Street Journal,  March 23, 2005; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111150639516786335,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


Forget steroid abuse among athletes:  The bad addiction is donuts
Miami Heat star Shaquille O'Neal will testify before a Congressional committee investigating rumors of widespread doughnut abuse in the National Basketball Association, the chairman of the committee confirmed today.  With a new study showing that 200 out of 426 NBA players are overweight, the probe into doughnut abuse is "long overdue" said Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.
Andy Borowitz, "Krispy Kreme calls government hearings a ‘witch-hunt’," Jewish World Review, March 23, 2005 --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0305/borowitz032305.php3


Not so carefully researched
Begin with the simplest errors of fact. The aggregate value of global trade was not $4 billion when President Clinton took office; it was $4 trillion, according to the OECD. The Palestinians have not had "several" prime ministers since 2003; they've had two. Richard Perle has never been a member of the Bush administration. The Iraqi National Museum was not significantly looted in April 2003; Britain's leftist Guardian newspaper put paid to that legend in 2003. Israelis did not support the dovish Geneva Accords by 53.3%; the actual figure was 31%, while a plurality of 38% opposed them. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 not 1989. Trivia, really, but when Ms. Soderberg snickers about how candidate Bush struggled through a foreign-policy pop quiz in 2000, one is compelled to snicker back.   Next are larger, but equally basic, errors of analysis. "It is now believed that [Abu Musab] Zarqawi operates independently, and even in competition with bin Laden." She must have missed Zarqawi's declaration of fealty to Osama bin Laden in October. (Bin Laden certainly noticed it: He recently ordered Zarqawi to widen the scope of his efforts beyond Iraq.) "While [Ahmed] Chalabi was popular in certain powerful circles in Washington, he had virtually no support in Iraq." Funny, then, that Mr. Chalabi did well enough in January's elections to be in serious contention for the premiership. "The war in Iraq drew the Bush administration's focus away from Afghanistan during the critical two years following the overthrow of the Taliban, making the job there infinitely harder." Infinitely? Ten million Afghan voters missed that nuance.

Brett Stephens' review of The Superpower Myth, by Nancy Soderberg (John Wiley & Sons, 404 pages, $27.95), The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111144763489585598,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


Five children in critical condition with kidney failure may have picked up a rare infection at petting zoos, health officials said.
"State Probes Kidney Failure In Children After Petting Zoos," Local6.com, March 23, 2004 --- http://www.local6.com/news/4309606/detail.html


Put it in writing in the form of a living will or advance medical directive.
There is a lesson for all of us in the tragic Schiavo case: if you want to exclude politicians from the end-of-life decisions you and your family must make regarding a terminally-ill loved one or, as in the case of Terri Schiavo, a family member who has suffered a catastrophic accident; if you don't want to be used as a political cause celebre by political and religious organizations - express your end-of-life views to your family and loved ones and, better, put it in writing in the form of a living will or advance medical directive.
"ACLU of Florida Welcomes Judge Whittemore’s Ruling in the Schiavo Case," ACLU, March 22, 2005 --- http://www.aclu.org/Privacy/Privacy.cfm?ID=17800&c=27
Jensen Comment:  In spite of my not agreeing with the ACLU on some issues, this is good advice.  And it's important for all adults to declare their wishes at any age rather than wait until they are senior citizens.


Murder and Rape in the Name of Honor?
Known cases of murder and rape committed to protect a family's honour are on the rise across Europe, forcing police to explore the reasons behind such crimes and how to stop them, officials said  At a two-day conference in London, British police spearheaded a campaign to fight so-called honour-based violence, typically committed against women to protect a family's reputation. The problem is greatest in Islamic communities in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, but it has spread as families migrate, bringing their traditional values with them.
"Cases of 'honour crimes' on the rise across Europe: British police," Yahoo News, March 22, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050322/wl_uk_afp/britaincrimeislam


We will provide the sniper rifles and cannons to kill us
Fifteen years ago, Osama bin Laden sent one of his operatives to the United States to buy and bring back two-dozen .50-caliber rifles, a gun that can kill someone from over a mile away and even bring down an airplane.   In spite of all the recent efforts to curb terrorism, bin Laden could do the same thing today, because buying and shipping the world’s most powerful sniper rifle is not as difficult as you might think
Ed Bradley, "Buying Big Guns? No Big Deal," CBS Sixty Minutes, March 23, 2005 --- http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/18/60minutes/main681562.shtml


Make every word a hyperword?
A researcher at University College London wants to change the basic functioning of the Web, allowing readers of Web pages to change those pages—similar to wikis—and making every word a “hyperword.” The Liquid Information project is the brainchild of Frode Hegland, who is collaborating with Doug Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse. Hegland's vision of the Web is one in which consumers of content can also be producers of content. Users would be able to make connections, add links, and change the way information is presented. On an example page, Hegland has modified a CNN Web page such that users can hover over any word to display a menu of choices, including getting a definition of the word, performing a Google search for the word, and highlighting instances of the word in various colors. Hegland said that we need to replace the current Web, which consists of “handmade, one-way links” with what he calls “deep legibility” so that users can “make connections, explicit or otherwise.” Hegland conceded that a Web like the one he envisions would require smart users. But, he added, “people are pretty smart. The days of baby steps when everything is shown to users are over.”

Wired News --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,66382,00.html



Archives of Tidits:  Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

 




Humor of the Week

Forwarded by Paula

To commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, actress/vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall Julie for the benefit of the AARP.  One of the musical numbers she performed was "My Favorite Things" from the legendary movie "Sound Of Music."   
The lyrics of the song were deliberately changed for the entertainment of her "blue hair" audience.   
 Here are the lyrics she recited:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things..

Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache,
when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores.

Forwarded by Barb Hessel

A man, his wife, and his mother-in-law went on vacation to the Holy Land. While they were there the mother-in-law passed away. The undertaker told them, "You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here in the Holy Land for $150.00." 

The man thought about it for a minute and then told him he would just have her shipped home. 

The undertaker asked, "Why? Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your mother-in-law home, when it would be wonderful to spend only $150.00 to have her buried here?" 

The man said, "A man died here 2000 years ago, he was buried here and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can' t take that chance."


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

PARENT - Job Description

This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way, none of us would have done it!!!!

POSITION : Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma

Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa

JOB DESCRIPTION : 
Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES : 
The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION : 
None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE : 
None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION : 
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS : 
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.


Forwarded by Neal Hannon

(apologies to Sam Cooke)

Bernie’s “Wonderful World”

Don’t know much about ac-coun-ting 
Don’t know much about the SEC 
Don’t know much about the techie stuff 
Don’t know what an adjusting entry is for

But I do know one and one is two 
And I just want …to be with you 
What a wonderful world it would be

Don’t know much about the quarterlies 
Don’t know much about the finance team 
Don’t know much about missing billions 
Don’t know what an auditor’s report means

But I do know that I bought more stock 
Even when the price was sinking fast 
What a wonderful world it’s supposed to be

Now, I don’t claim to be an A student 
I just was trying to coach 
But maybe by being an A student baby 
I could win an appeal for me


Forwarded by Don Mathis

Very clever stuff...no doubt it was thought up by a bored engineer...

1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton

3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope

4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond

5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram

6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour= Knotfurlong

7. 365.25 days of drinking low calorie beer = 1 Lite year

8. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

9. Half a large intestine = 1 semicolon

10. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz

11. Basic unit of laryngitis - 1 hoarsepower

12. Shortest distance between two jokes - a straight line

13. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

14. 1 million phones = 1 megaphone

15. 1 million bicycles = 1 megacycles

16. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle

17. 2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds

18. 10 cards = 1 decacard

19. 52 cards = 1 deckacard

20. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 fig Newton

21. 1000 grams of wet socks = 1 literhosen

22. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche

23. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin

24. 10 rations = 1 decaration

25. 100 rations = 1 C-ration

26. 2 monograms = 1 diagram

*27. 4 dimes = 2 paradigms

28. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital = 1 I.V. League


Forwarded by Cindy

Jacques Chirac, the French Prime Minister, was   sitting in his office wondering what kind of   mischief he could perpetrate against the United   States when his telephone rang.   

"Hallo, Mr. Chirac!" a heavily accented voice said. "This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Sligo, Ireland. I am ringing to inform ya that we are officially declaring war on ya!" "Well, Paddy," Chirac replied, "this is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Paddy, after a moment's calculation, "there is meself, me cousin Sean, me next door neighbor Seamus, and the entire dart team from the pub. That makes eight!"

Chirac paused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have one hundred thousand men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Begorra!" said Paddy. "I'll have to ring ya back!"    

Sure enough, the next day, Paddy called again. "Mr.   Chirac, the war is still on. We have managed to get   us some infantry equipment!"    "And what equipment would that be, Paddy?" Chirac asked.

"Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's farm tractor." Chirac sighed, amused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to one hundred fifty thousand since we last spoke."

Saints preserve us!" said Paddy. "I'll have to get back to ya."

Sure enough, Paddy rang again the next day. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We've modified Jackie McLaughlin's ultra-light with a coople of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Pub have joined us as well!"

Chirac was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to two hundred thousand!"

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!" said Paddy. "Again I'll have to ring ya back."

Sure enough, Paddy called again the next day. "Top o' the mornin', Mr.Chirac! I am sorry to tell ya that we have had to call off the war."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Chirac. "Why the sudden change of heart?"     "Well," said Paddy, "we've all had a long chat over   a bunch of pints, and decided there's no foo-kin way   we can feed two hundred thousand prisoners."


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

THE CASTAWAYS

There were two men shipwrecked on this island. The minute they go on the island one of them started screaming and yelling, "We're going to die! We're going to die! There's no food! No Water! We're going to die!"

The second man was propped up against a palm tree and acting so calmly it drove the first man crazy.

"Don't you understand? We're going to die!

The second man replied, "You don't understand, I make $100,000 a week."

The first man looked at him quite dumbfounded and asked, "What difference does that make? We're on an island with no food and no water! We're going to DIE!"

The second man answered, "You just don't get it. I make a $100,000 a week and I tithe ten percent on that $100,000 a week. My pastor will find me!"


Fowarded by Paula

FOR ALL YOU LEXOPHILES (LOVERS OF WORDS) 

1. A bicycle can't stand alone because it is two-tired. 

2. What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.) 

3. Time flies like an arrow -- Fruit flies like a banana. (I think Groucho Marx said that one.) 

4. A backward poet writes inverse. 

5. In a democracy, it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your count that votes. 

6. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion. 

7. If you don't pay your exorcist you get repossessed. 

8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress. 

9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat minor. 

10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds. 

11. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered. 

12. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart. 

13. You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it. 

14. Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under. 

15. He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key. 

16. Every calendar's days are numbered. 

17. A lot of money is tainted. 'Taint yours and 'taint mine. 

18. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat. 

19. He had a photographic memory that was never developed. 

20. A plateau is a high form of flattery. 

21. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large. 

22. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end. 

23. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall. 

24. Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine. 

25. When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she'd dye. 

26. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis. 

27. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses. 

28. Acupuncture is a jab well done. 

29. Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.


Forwarded by Dick Haar

A MAN is at work one day when he notices that his co-worker is wearing an earring. This man knows his co-worker to be a normally conservative fellow and is curious about his sudden change in fashion sense.

The man walks up to him and says: "I didn't know you were into earrings."

"Don't make such a big deal, it's only an earring," he replies sheepishly.

His friend falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods him to say: "So, how long have you been wearing one?"

"Ever since my wife found it in my truck."


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

MONA LISA'S JEWISH MOTHER:
"This you call a smile, after all the money your father and I spent on braces?"

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS' JEWISH MOTHER:
"I don't care what you've discovered, you still could have written.'

MICHELANGELO'S JEWISH MOTHER:
"Why can't you paint on walls like other children? Do you know how hard it is to get that schmutz off of the ceiling?"

NAPOLEON'S JEWISH MOTHER (clean version):
"All right, if you're not hiding your report card inside your jacket, take your hand out of there and show me!"
Jensen Comment:  My former neighbor (Alma Short) in the country outside Tallahassee once found a note from her son in the mail box.  It read:  "Dear Momma, This is my report card.  Thanks for all you've done for me.  I've run away from home."

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S JEWISH MOTHER:
"Again with the hat! You can't wear a baseball cap like the other kids?"

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S JEWISH MOTHER:
"Next time I catch you throwing money across the Potomac, you can kiss your allowance good-bye!"

THOMAS EDISON'S JEWISH MOTHER:
"Of course I'm proud that you invented the electric light bulb. Now turn it off and go to sleep already!"

PAUL REVERE'S JEWISH MOTHER:
"I don't care where you think you have to go, young man, midnight is long past your bed-time!"

ALBERT EINSTEIN'S JEWISH MOTHER:
"But it's your senior photograph! Couldn't you have done something with your hair?"

MOSES' JEWISH MOTHER:
"That's a good story! Now tell me where you've really been for the last forty years!"

BILL CLINTON'S JEWISH MOTHER: 
"At least Monica was a nice Jewish girl!"


Forwarded by Barb Hessel

Flying Lutern Airlines

Velcome to da Lutern Airlines! Da latest air service to sprout up in Minnesnowta vit service to Visconsin, Nort Dah-kota and sometimes Sout Dah-kota.

Ve are a no-frills airline. We are all in da same boat on Lutern Air, vair flying is an uplifting experience, so velcome aboard. I am Lena Ingvist, yer flight attendant and stewardess, tew. As you know, dere is no first class on Lutern Airlines, airflight tew tousand tventy tew.

Meals are pot luck: rows one tru 6 ver to bring da lefsa; 7 tru 15, da salad, 16 tru 21, da main hot- dish, and 22-30 da rømmegrøt.

Ve vill be singing 99 bottles uv beer on da vall, so basses and tenors pleess sit in da rear of da aircraft, and remember everyvun is responsible for der own baggage. All fares are free-vil offering and the plane vil not land until da budget is met.

Direct yer attention to yer flight attendent who vill acqvaint yew wit da safety system aboard this Lutheran Tvin Yet 599.

"Okay, den listen up; I'm only gonna say dis vunce. In da event of sudden loss uv cabin pressure, I am frankly gonna be real surprised, so vill Captain Olson, becuz ve vill be flying right around 2 tousand feet, so loss of cabin pressure vud probly indicate the Second Coming or somting of dat nature, so I vuldn't bodder vit dem little masks on dem rubber tubes. Yer gonna have bigger tings to vorry about dan yust dat. Just stuff dose tings back up in der littl holes. Probly da masks fell out because of turbulence, which to be honest vit yew, ve've been flying at 2 tousand feet and dat is sort of like driving across a plowed field, but after a vile, you vill get used to it.

In da ewent of a vater landing, I'd say yust fergit it. Start saying Da Lord's prayer and yust hope you have time to git to da part about forgive us our sins as ve forgive dose who sint against us (vich some people say "tresspass against us", vich isn't right., but den, vat can ya dew?)

Use uf cell phones is strictly forbidden, not becuz dey interfere vit the planes navigational system, vich, by da vay, is "seat of the pants all da vay." No, cell phones is a pain in da wazoo, and if God had meant yew to use dem, he vould have put yer mout on da side of yer head, so stow dose suckers!

Ve're gonna start lunch, buffet style vit da coffee pot up front.  First, ve'll have da hymn sing; hymnals are in da seat pocket right  in front of yew. Don't take yers wit you ven you go or I am going to be real upset wit yew, and I ain't kiddin' eeder!"

 So lets say grace:

 "Come Lord Jesus, be our gest, and let dese gifts tew us be blest.
Fadder, Son and Holy Ghost,
May ve land in Dulut or pretty clos."

 Amen

 Tanks for flying Lutern Airlines, flight tew tousand tventy tew.


Forwarded by Dick Wolff 

Texas Versus Heaven --- http://www.houstonillini.org/a_texas_story.htm 
Doesn't mention a thing about home owners' insurance.


Forwarded by a friend

The Guys' Rules

At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down. Finally, the guys' side of the story.

We always hear "the rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note... these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!


In the U.S. St. Pat's day is a bigger deal than in Ireland

Forwarded by Dick Haar

 
McQuillan walked into a bar and ordered martini after martini, each time removing the olives and placing them in a jar.

When the jar was filled with olives and all the drinks consumed, the Irishman started to leave.

"S'cuse me", said a customer, who was puzzled over what McQuillan had done, "what was that all about?"

"Nothin', said the Irishman, "my wife just sent me out for a jar of olives!"

*******************************************************

An Irishman arrived at J.F.K. Airport and wandered around the terminal with tears streaming down his cheeks. An airline employee asked him if he was already homesick.

"No," replied the Irishman "I've lost all me luggage!"

"How'd that happen?"

"The cork fell out!" said the Irishman.

*****************************************************


An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut.

The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

***********************************************


Two Irishmen were sitting at a pub having beer and watching the brothel across the street.

They saw a Baptist minister walk into the brothel, and one of them said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see a man of the cloth goin' bad."

Then they saw a rabbi enter the brothel, and the other Irishman said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see that the Jews are fallin' victim to temptation as well."

Then they see a catholic priest enter the brothel, and one of the Irishmen said, "What a terrible pity...one of the girls must be dying.

*************************************

 Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean and Seamus, were stumbling home from the pub late one night and found themselves on the road which led past the old graveyard..

"Come have a look over here," says Paddy, "It's Michael O'Grady's grave, God bless his soul. He lived to the ripe old age of 87."

"That's nothing," says Sean, "here's one named Patrick O'Toole, it says here that he was 95 when he died."!

Just then, Seamus yells out, "Good God, here's a fella that got to be 145!"

"What was his name?" asks Paddy.

Seamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims,

"Miles, from Dublin."

***************************************************

Irish Predicament

Drunk Ole Mulvihill (From the Northern Irish Clan) staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional box, sits down but says nothing.

The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the Ole just sits there.

Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.

The drunk mumbles, "ain't no use knockin, there's no paper on this side either."

***************************************************

 
Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady's after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.

He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"

She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."

The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, did he have any last requests?"

She says, "That he did, Father..."

The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?"

She says, "He said, 'Please Mary, put down that damn gun!'

Forwarded by Paula

An Irishman by the name of O'Malley proposed to his girl on St. Patrick's Day. He gave her a ring with a synthetic diamond. The excited young lass showed it to her father, a jeweller. He took one look at it and saw it wasn't real. The young lass,on learning it wasn't real, returned to her future husband and protested vehemently about his cheapness.

"It was in honor of St. Patrick's Day," he smiled. "I gave you a sham rock."


Forwarded by Dick Haar

Colonoscopies... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male), while he was performing their colonoscopies:

1. "Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!"

2. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"

3. "Can you hear me NOW?"

4. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

5. "You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married."

6. "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"

7. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..."

8. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"

9. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!"

10. "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."

11. "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"

12. "God, Now I know why I am not gay."

And the best one of them all...

13. "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there!


Jokes from night TV --- http://www.newsmax.com/liners.shtml  


The Unofficial Dave Barry Website --- http://www.davebarry.com/gg/misccol.htm 
It's worth a look, believe me it's worth a look
.




And that's the way it was on March 22, 2005 with a little help from my friends.

 

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 

Jesse's Wonderful Music for Romantics (You have to scroll down to the titles) --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/

Free Harvard Classics --- http://www.bartleby.com/hc/
Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

 

I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor, Jim Mahar from St. Bonaventure University) --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/ 

 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for accounting newsletters are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#News 

News Headlines for Accounting from TheCycles.com --- http://www.thecycles.com/business/accounting 
An unbelievable number of other news headlines categories in TheCycles.com are at http://www.thecycles.com/ 

 

Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder --- http://www.umsl.edu/~anderson/accsites.htm

 

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://www.zorba.ca/bookmark.htm 

 

Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at http://www.iasplus.com/

The Finance Professor --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/about/aboutFP.html 

 

Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology --- http://ptech.wsj.com/

 

How stuff works --- http://www.howstuffworks.com/ 

 

Household and Other Heloise-Style Hints --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Hints 

 

Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/ 
Accompanying documentation can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/default1.htm and http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm 

 

Click on www.syllabus.com/radio/index.asp for a complete list of interviews with established leaders, creative thinkers and education technology experts in higher education from around the country.

 

Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu  

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March 1, 2005

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on March 1, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

For earlier editions of New Bookmark s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
This search engine may get you some hits from other professors at Trinity University included with Bob Jensen's documents, but this may be to your benefit.

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.  Think it over 
http://www.inlibertyandfreedom.com/Flash/Think_It_Over.swf

Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 

Pictures from the war ---  http://www.clermontyellow.accountsupport.com/flash/UntilThen.swf 
New pictures from the war --- http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/1291780/posts 
Also see some troops who'd rather be home <http://www.clermontyellow.accountsupport.com/flash/UntilThen.swf>

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take - but by the moments that take our breath away."
Big Mud Puddles and Sunny Yellow Dandelions 
(turn up your speakers)
http://members.shaw.ca/mcinnes-hume/mud_puddles__dandelions.htm




Quotations of the Week --- Click Here for Quotations

Humor of the Week --- Click Here for Humor 
(Includes 10 things Bob Jensen did that you have never done and probably never would do)

My threads on "Hypocrisy in Academia and the Media" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisy.htm 

My  “Evil Empire” essay --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm

My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm 




February 18, 2005 message from Joanne Tweed [ibridges@san.rr.com
Joanne is 76 years old!

Hi Bob,

America's seniors are being cheated of their life's savings by securities Broker/Dealers. 
SENIORS AGAINST SECURITIES FRAUD http://seniorsagainstsecuritiesfraud.com  offers supportive educational links and solutions. Please consider linking.

Most Sincerely,
Joanne Tweed

It's been proven, there is life after death
Identity theft isn't among the risks of medical treatment -- such as infection -- listed on the standard release form that patients sign. But there's evidence that identity thieves are starting to target medical patients. 
Kevin Helliker, "A New Medical Worry: Identity Thieves Find Ways To Target Hospital Patients," The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2005, Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110902598126260237,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 

Just this weekend, the University of Chicago Hospitals reported that a former employee had stolen identity information from as many as 85 patients. In recent years, rings of thieves stole the identities of more than 15 such patients in Iowa, 30 in Minnesota and nearly 50 in Indiana. During the past two years, the state of Michigan has prosecuted more than 20 cases involving medical-patient identity theft, many involving multiple victims, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says.

Hospital patients are vulnerable in part because they are unlikely to detect anything amiss. Some may never leave the hospital. A team of alleged identity thieves arrested in 2003 in New Jersey were targeting the terminally ill, according to police.

Continued in article

The institutions, which offer fraudulent degrees in exchange for cash and little or no academic work, crop up overnight and disappear nearly as fast, when consumer complaints rise or law enforcement officials catch the scent. State and federal lawmakers yearn to crack down on these "colleges," but because they're hard to define and hard to nail down, there's often little they can do.
"New Tools to Take On Diploma Mills:  Regulating diploma mills is a little like herding cats," Inside Higher Ed, February 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/new_tools_to_take_on_diploma_mills 
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill 

"Few companies have to tell when identity thieves strike:  Consumers don't learn they're in danger — until the bills arrive," USA Today, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050228/edit28x.art.htm 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 246,570 identity theft complaints last year, and the problem actually is much worse: 9.9 million people (about one in every 30 Americans) were victims of identity theft in a one-year period starting in spring 2002, according to an FTC survey. Thieves use the data to get credit cards, pilfer bank accounts and take over identities for future thefts.

Several factors give them the upper hand:

•Companies hide break-ins. Many companies react as ChoicePoint did initially. They keep quiet after computers are hacked, fearing lawsuits and damaged reputations.

•Police are busy elsewhere. Local police are often reluctant to pursue cases. The amounts, while large to an individual, seem small compared with other monetary crimes. Often the consumer lives in one state, the thief in another. Federal authorities can act, but only about 1 in 700 cases of identity theft resulted in a federal arrest in 2002, according to Avivah Litan, a cybercrime expert with the Gartner research firm.

•Oversight is weak. Identity theft is a relatively new crime and, outside of California, governments haven't yet geared up to address it. The rising industry of data brokers has little oversight, and rules for financial institutions aren't up to the task.

The good news is that the ChoicePoint breach is prompting several states, including Georgia, New Hampshire, New York and Texas, to consider bills patterned on the California notification law. Several U.S. senators are pushing a federal law.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on identity theft and phishing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection 

Bob Jensen's threads on Identity Theft --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft




Cheers!
Forbes, February 10, 2005,  has a slide show on the top foods to fight depression --- http://www.forbes.com/home/health/2005/02/10/cx_mh_0210health_ls.html 
The article is by Amanda Schupak and Matthew Herper and is based on a new study from Harvard's McLean Hospital

As with any diet recommendations, it pays to read the warnings, especially with respect to the sugar products that might cheer you up (certainly in my case) while they also shorten your life (knowing that can be depressing).  Here is a listing of the Top Five Antidepressant Foods in rank order, but you should go to the Forbes slide show or better yet the Harvard study and read the fine print.

  1. Molasses --- like sugar beets, molasses is high in uridine that can increase cytidine (whatever?) levels in the brain.
  2. Salmon (especially wild salmon) --- omega-3 fatty acids
  3. Sugar beets --- like molasses can increase cytidine levels in the brain.
  4. Tofu or soy mild --- amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids
  5. Walnuts --- source of alpha linolenic acid (whatever?)

You can read more of the details in "Do Some Foods Battle Depression?" by Miranda Hitti, February 10, 2005 ---  http://my.webmd.com/content/article/100/105789.htm?printing=true 
She concludes as follows:

If you suspect that you are depressed, seek professional help. Diet may be one piece of the puzzle, but depression is too serious to handle on your own. An abundance of help is available, from diet and exercise to medication and counseling. All you have to do is ask.


I repeat a popular module from the February 20, 2005 edition of New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q1.htm#022005 

Forbes Magazine has a slide show on the ten "Best Age-Defying Foods."  However, it is a frustrating slide show because of distracting advertising pop-ups.  I endured the frustration in order to provide you with a list of the "best" foods.  

For serving sizes and suggestions for preparation, you must watch the slide show or go to the original JAFC study (which I don't think is online.)

This listing was ranked in order by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in December 2004.

  1. Small red beans
  2. Blueberries
  3. Red kidney beans
  4. Pinto beans
  5. Cranberries
  6. Artichoke hearts
  7. Blackberries
  8. Dried prunes
  9. Raspberries
  10. Strawberries

You can read Vanessa Gisquet's commentary on why these help keep you young at http://www.forbes.com/home/health/2005/02/02/cx_vg_0202feat_ls.html 


Surprise! Surprise!  Texans are the big losers!
I honestly think there's more than weather to blame, especially after you factor in relatively low labor costs north of the Rio Grande.

"The Most Expensive States To Insure Your Home 2005," Sara Clemence, Forbes, February 25, 2005  --- http://www.forbes.com/home/realestate/2005/02/25/cx_sc_0225home.html 

Texas is tops--at least when it comes to homeowners' insurance costs.

You might guess that California, where houses go skidding down mountains, are torched by wildfires or get rattled by earthquakes, would be the most expensive place to insure a house. Or Florida, which was hammered by no fewer than four major hurricanes last year.

But in Florida, the most recent data available from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shows that the average homeowners' premium was $786 in 2002. The average in Texas was 58% higher. California didn't even make the top ten.

The hitch? In those damage- and destruction-prone states, earthquake, hurricane and flood insurance policies are sold separately, and not factored into the ranking. Yet in other states, more mundane weather events can create actuarial nightmares.

Several years ago, when Bob Hunter left Northern Virginia to become Commissioner of Insurance in Texas, he found that his insurance bill had doubled even though he'd bought a similar home.

"Since I was commissioner, I asked [the company] to produce the data underlying the rates," Hunter says. "The thing that was really different was hail and wind. The risk of natural disaster was much greater. That caused maybe 90% of the difference in the rates, between Northern Virginia and Austin."

Weather is a major factor in determining the cost--and cost range--of homeowners' insurance, says Don Griffin, a vice president at Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), a trade association whose members write about 40% of the property and casualty insurance policies in the United States.

"Insurance is really based on looking at the past," says Griffin. When determining premiums, insurers look at claim trends on a broad basis, such as state and regional levels, and as closely as a ZIP code or even a street. Companies then begin with an average price for premiums, depending on how expensive it has been to fill claims in a location.

If you have a wood-framed house in an area without fire coverage, you will pay more than someone who lives in a brick house next to the fire station, Griffin explains. But, brick doesn't respond well to earthquakes, tending to crack and crumble, so near the San Andreas Fault the potential damage would be greater.

The cost of real estate and rebuilding are also taken into account, which is one reason insurance is more expensive in cities than in rural areas (though that probably doesn't hold true if you live on a barrier island).

"If building material is in short supply or there isn't an abundance of skilled labor, that's going to factor in," says Kip Diggs, spokesman for Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm Insurance, the largest home insurance underwriter in the country.

In general, homeowners' insurance costs are leveling off, says Loretta Worters, spokeswoman for the New York-based Insurance Information Institute.

One reason is that people are maintaining their homes better, she says. Mold damage claims haven't been as costly as insurers had predicted.

Bob Hunter, who is now director of insurance for Consumer Federation of America (CFA), points out that for years premiums had increased at around the annual inflation rate. According to CFA, in 2001 homeowners' insurance rates went up by a median 7%, and in 2002 by a median 13%. Reasons include dropping interest rates and a stock market slump, he says. Both mean it's harder for insurance companies to make money on their investments.

The increases dropped back down last year, to around 4% or 5%, says Hunter. "This year we're talking back around inflation."

But if you live in Texas, Florida or any of the states with the expensive homeowners' premiums, don't start packing your bags for Wisconsin--the state with the least expensive premiums--just yet. Not every resident has to pay at the top rate. Plenty depends on how elaborate a policy you choose, and even where you live within a particular state. In Oregon, costs are similar whether you're in Portland or Coos Bay, Hunter says. In Maryland, State Farm charges nearly twice as much in Montgomery County, which butts against Washington, D.C., as in Frederick County, which is one county north. Other companies have different premium scales in the same area.

"Insurance companies do charge very significantly different prices," Hunter says. "You can easily pay 50% more if you go to the wrong company."

That's why it pays to shop around and do some background research. Most states have free insurance-buyers' guides, and the NAIC offers complaint ratios, as well as licensing and financial information for different companies on its Web site ( http://www.naic.org/ ). Besides that, you don't necessarily get what you pay for.

"Our research shows that you don't have to pay more to get good service," Hunter says. "Some of the least-expensive companies have the best service."


Homicide Rates Nationally and Internationally

Question
If you exclude nations at war, what nations have the highest versus the lowest homicide rates?
What European nation has the highest (lowest) homicide rate?
What states in the United States have the highest homicide rates.

Answers
In spite of hearing a lot about murder rates in large U.S. cites (mostly in the blue states politically), the highest murder rates are in the southern states according the the FBI.--- http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/sh20031119ar01p1.htm 

Other answers are given at Gun Site on October 18, 2003 --- http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvinco.html 

International Homicide Rate Table (Death rates are per 100,000)

 
Country Year Population Total Homicide Firearm Homicide Non-Gun Homicide % Households With Guns
South Africa 1995 41,465,000 75.30 26.60 48.70 n/a 
Colombia 1996 37,500,000 64.60 50.60 14.00 n/a 
Estonia 1994 1,499,257 28.21 8.07 20.14 n/a 
Brazil 1993 160,737,000 19.04 10.58 8.46 n/a 
Mexico 1994 90,011,259 17.58 9.88 7.70 n/a 
Philippines 1996 72,000,000 16.20 3.50 12.70 n/a 
Taiwan1 1996 21,979,444 8.12 0.97 7.15 n/a 
N. Ireland 1994 1,641,711 6.09 5.24 0.85 8.4
United States2 1999 272,691,000 5.70 3.72 1.98 39.0
Argentina 1994 34,179,000 4.51 2.11 2.40 n/a 
Hungary 1994 10,245,677 3.53 0.23 3.30 n/a 
Finland3 1994 5,088,333 3.24 0.86 2.38 23.2
Portugal 1994 5,138,600 2.98 1.28 1.70 n/a 
Mauritius 1993 1,062,810 2.35 0 2.35 n/a 
Israel 1993 5,261,700 2.32 0.72 1.60 n/a 
Italy 1992 56,764,854 2.25 1.66 0.59 16.0
Scotland 1994 5,132,400 2.24 0.19 2.05 4.7
Canada 1992 28,120,065 2.16 0.76 1.40 29.1
Slovenia 1994 1,989,477 2.01 0.35 1.66 n/a 
Australia 1994 17,838,401 1.86 0.44 1.42 19.4
Singapore 1994 2,930,200 1.71 0.07 1.64 n/a 
South Korea 1994 44,453,179 1.62 0.04 1.58 n/a 
New Zealand 1993 3,458,850 1.47 0.17 1.30 22.3
Belgium 1990 9,967,387 1.41 0.60 0.81 16.6
England/Wales4 1997 51,429,000 1.41 0.11 1.30 4.7
Switzerland5 1994 7,021,000 1.32 0.58 0.74 27.2
Sweden 1993 8,718,571 1.30 0.18 1.12 15.1
Denmark 1993 5,189,378 1.21 0.23 0.98 n/a 
Austria 1994 8,029,717 1.17 0.42 0.75 n/a 
Germany6 1994 81,338,093 1.17 0.22 0.95 8.9
Greece 1994 10,426,289 1.14 0.59 0.55 n/a 
France 1994 57,915,450 1.12 0.44 0.68 22.6
Netherlands 1994 15,382,830 1.11 0.36 0.75 1.9
Kuwait 1995 1,684,529 1.01 0.36 0.65 n/a 
Norway 1993 4,324,815 0.97 0.30 0.67 32.0
Spain 1993 39,086,079 0.95 0.21 0.74 13.1
Japan 1994 124,069,000 0.62 0.02 0.60 n/a 
Ireland 1991 3,525,719 0.62 0.03 0.59 n/a 
Country Year Population Total Homicide Firearm Homicide Non-Gun Homicide % Households With Guns

Notes:

  1. Number of homicides: Ministry of Interior, National Police Administration (link not always active), Taiwan.
    Population: As of April 1999, Government Information Office, Taiwan.
    Gun Homicides: Central News Agency, Taipei, November 23, 1997.
  2. Total homicide rate and firearm homicide rates are from FBI Uniform Crime Report(1999).
  3. The United Nations International Study on Firearm Regulation reports Finland's gun ownership rate at 50% of households.
  4. Percent households with guns includes all army personnel.
  5. Percent households with guns excludes East Germany.

Sources:

Homicide data for Colombia, Philippines, and South Africa are from the United Nations International Study on Firearm Regulation .

Population figures for Colombia, Philippines, and South Africa are estimates based on UN data.

Data for the remainder of the countries, except as noted above: International Journal of Epidemiology 1998:27:216.

Column "% Households With Firearms": Can Med Assoc J, Killias, M (1993), except United States (Gallup [2000] and Harris [2001] polls.)

Note:
Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Mauritius, Slovenia, Portugal, and South Korea are classified as upper-middle-income countries by the World Bank. GunCite does not know the classification for Colombia, South Africa and the Philippines. The remainder are considered high-income countries.


We're hot stuff!

Accenture is a consulting firm that dramatically broke away from Andersen long before Andersen imploded.  I found it interesting that Accenture is now in the Top 20 in terms of hiring needs for accounting graduates.  Deloitte is not in the Top 20 in spite of getting some new huge audits such as Fannie Mae.

I also found it interesting how so many other non-accounting firms have such great needs for accounting graduates.  The top employers include several accounting and consulting firms, and the number one hiring company is a surprise to me.  Does each accountant oversee a single car? 

"Accounting Firms Hiring Thousands of '05 Grads," SmartPros, February 23, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x47148.xml 

Feb. 23, 2005 (SmartPros) — The job market for 2005 college graduates is predicted to be the best since 2000, according to Michigan State University's annual Recruiting Trends survey. The top employers include several accounting and consulting firms.

The survey respondents are ranked according to the projected number of hires from college recruiting for the Class of 2005. The top 20 employers, followed by their projected number of hires, are:

1 - Enterprise Rent-A-Car--7,000 
2 - PricewaterhouseCoopers--3,170 

3 - Ernst & Young LLP--2,900 
4 - Lockheed Martin--2,863 
5 - KPMG--2,240 
6 - Sodexho, Inc.--2,050 
7 - Fairfax County Public Schools--1,600 
8 - Accenture--1,540 
9 - Northrop Grumman--1,266 
10 - United States Customs & Border Protection--1,200 
11 - Target--1,127 
12 - United States Air Force--1,095 
13 - Raytheon Company--1,000 
14 - Microsoft--970 
15 - JPMorgan Chase--810 
16 - Procter & Gamble--569 
17 - Liberty Mutual--545 
18 - Grant Thornton--500 
19 - Bank of America--413 
20 - United States Air Force Personnel Center/DPKR--400

According to the survey, economic sectors showing strength this year include: retail, wholesale, transportation (not including airlines), health services, entertainment and real estate.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers  


A new way to teach math:  But does it add up?
A group of disadvantaged Bay Area high school students who learned mathematics by discussing open-ended problems in mixed-ability groups outperformed wealthier teenagers placed in tracked, traditional classes, according to a new School of Education study.

"How urban high schoolers got math." by Lisa Trei, Stanford Alumni Newsletter, February 2, 2005 --- http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/february2/boaler-020205.html 

A group of disadvantaged Bay Area high school students who learned mathematics by discussing open-ended problems in mixed-ability groups outperformed wealthier teenagers placed in tracked, traditional classes, according to a new School of Education study. Their performance on state-mandated tests, however, was less encouraging.
Jo Boaler, an associate professor of education, followed about 700 students in three Bay Area high schools from 1999 to 2004 as they studied mathematics from 9th through 12th grade. Boaler, a specialist in mathematics education, wanted to learn how different teaching methods affected student learning. The National Science Foundation supported the five-year project.
 
The results surprised Boaler. Students from a school called "Railside," a pseudonym for an urban school with a 77 percent Latino, African American and Asian/Pacific Islander population, entered freshman year achieving at significantly lower levels in mathematics than students at the other two Bay Area schools, according to the study's tests. These more affluent schools included "Hilltop," the pseudonym for a rural school with a half white, half Latino population, and "Greendale," a school in a coastal community with an almost all-white student body. Unlike Railside, where teachers had designed a reform-oriented program, students at Hilltop and Greendale were placed in tracked classes mostly using conventional teaching methods involving demonstration and individual practice, she said.
Within two years, Boaler said, Railside students were "significantly outperforming" the students at the other two schools in tests designed by the study. By junior year, 54 percent of Railside students said they enjoyed math "all or most of the time," compared to 29 percent of students at the other schools, she said. Furthermore, although white students at Railside performed at higher levels than Latinos at the start of freshman year, this disparity disappeared by the end of sophomore year.
 
The study found no gender differences in performance in any of the tests the students took at any level. Female students made up half of the advanced classes at Hilltop, 48 percent at Greendale and 59 percent at Railside. By 12th grade, 41 percent of all Railside students were taking calculus, Boaler said, compared with about 27 percent of seniors at the other two schools.
 
Keith Devlin, a consulting professor in mathematics, said the study's results do not surprise him. "Good teaching is not just about teaching the tools, but teaching students how to use the tools," he said. "Learning math is about developing our mental capacity to a point [that] when faced with a new problem involving mathematical thinking, we know how to go about solving it. You can't get away from drill, rote and practice, but then you have to develop the skills for using the tools well."
 
Boaler attributes Railside's success to reform-oriented instruction and teachers dedicated to promoting equity. "The more [teachers] opened up the ways of being mathematical, the more kids were able to contribute," she said. "Put simply, when there are many ways to be successful, many more students are successful."
Boaler noted the results include a caveat: Although Railside students performed well on the study's tests as well as end-of-year exams administered by the high school district, they fared relatively poorly on the state's standardized tests.
 
"Indeed, the performance of the Railside students on the state tests is closer to the schools decided by the state to be 'similar schools' in demographics than it is to the other more wealthy schools in our study," Boaler wrote in a paper delivered last July at the International Conference on Mathematical Education. "This phenomenon speaks more to the biased nature of the tests than it does to any inadequacy in the students' understanding, in my view."
Boaler argues that the state tests gauge English-language comprehension as much as mathematical competency. "The tests use complicated terminology, terms that kids have never heard of and, when you put them into schools like this one with [English] language learners and minority kids, they don't do well," she said. "For example, kids came out of these tests asking, 'What's a soufflé?'"
 
Brad Osgood, a professor of electrical engineering with a courtesy appointment in education, does not question Boaler's results. However, he added, if the study's findings do not match up with the state's, each party may have to find middle ground. "You need technical skills, there's no doubt about that," he said. "But no curriculum is a replacement for inspired teaching. If this helps teachers get excited, that's a good thing."
In Boaler's view, the greatest outcome is that Railside's teaching methods are leaving lasting results. Out of 105 seniors interviewed at the end of the study, all said they wanted to pursue mathematics courses in college—compared with 67 percent of the students who learned traditional math. In addition, 39 percent of Railside students said they planned a future in mathematics compared with just 5 percent of those from the other schools. "The mathematics teachers at Railside achieved something important that many other teachers could learn from—they gave students from disadvantaged backgrounds a great chance of success in life and taught them to love mathematics," she said. "That's very important because there is a critical shortage of people who are mathematically qualified."
 
How Railside succeeded
According to the study, Railside students succeeded for a variety of reasons:
  • Students of mixed abilities were placed in classes together. While Hilltop and Greendale split students into algebra, remedial algebra and geometry, Railside placed all incoming students into heterogeneous algebra classes. 
  • The teachers used an approach designed at Stanford called "complex instruction," to ensure that group work succeeded while countering social and academic status differences. "What you [often] see in schools in California is a lot of group work that doesn't work well—one student does all the work and the others sit there," Boaler said. That did not happen at Railside. 
  • The teachers created working environments where many dimensions of mathematical work were valued, allowing for several possible paths to a solution. Students were given several ways to contribute to solving problems. In addition to achieving high grades for correct answers, they were graded for asking good questions, rephrasing problems, explaining ideas, being logical, justifying methods and bringing different perspectives to a problem. 
  • Railside uses block scheduling, developing 90-minute-long lessons for courses that last half a school year instead of a full academic year with hour-long classes. In most U.S. high schools, Boaler explained, math courses take one year, beginning with algebra, followed by geometry, advanced algebra and pre-calculus. If students fail at any point they are knocked out of that sequence and have to retake a course, which limits their options before graduating. In contrast, Railside students can take two mathematics classes a year if they want to.
"This organizational decision has a profound impact upon the students' opportunities to take higher-level mathematics courses," Boaler said. "[It's] part of the reason that significantly more students at Railside took advanced-level classes than students at the other two schools."

Continued in article


Mozart won't make you smarter
Scientists have discredited claims that listening to classical music enhances intelligence, yet the pursuit of this so-called "Mozart effect" has exploded over the years, says Chip Heath, PhD '91, an associate professor of organizational behavior

"Dubious 'Mozart Effect' remains music to many Americans' ears," by Marina Krakovsky, Stanford Alumni Newsletter, February 2, 2005 --- http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/february2/mozart-020205.html 

Scientists have discredited claims that listening to classical music enhances intelligence, yet this so-called "Mozart Effect" has actually exploded in popularity over the years.

So says Chip Heath, an associate professor of organizational behavior who has systematically tracked the evolution of this scientific legend. What's more, Heath and his colleague, Swiss psychologist Adrian Bangerter, found that the Mozart Effect received the most newspaper mentions in those U.S. states with the weakest educational systems—giving tentative support to the previously untested notion that rumors and legends grow in response to public anxiety.

"When we traced the Mozart Effect back to the source [the 1993 Nature journal report titled 'Music and Spatial Task Performance'], we found this idea achieved astounding success," says Heath. The researchers found far more newspaper articles about that study than about any other Nature report published around the same time. And as the finding spread through lay culture over the years, it got watered down and grossly distorted. "People were less and less likely to talk about the Mozart Effect in the context of college students who were the participants in the original study, and they were more likely to talk about it with respect to babies—even though there's no scientific research linking music and intelligence in infants," says Heath, who analyzed hundreds of relevant newspaper articles published between 1993 and 2001.

Not only had babies never been studied, but the original 1993 experiment had found only a modest and temporary IQ increase in college students performing a specific kind of task while listening to a Mozart sonata. And even that finding was proved suspect after a 1999 review showed that over a dozen subsequent studies failed to verify the 1993 result. While many newspapers did report this blow to the Mozart Effect, the legend continued to spread—overgeneralizations and all. For example, Heath cites a 2001 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that refers to "numerous studies on the Mozart Effect and how it helps elementary students, high school students, and even infants increase mental performance." In truth, none of these groups had been studied, says Heath.

So why did the Mozart Effect take such a powerful hold in popular culture, particularly in reference to babies and children? Heath and Bangerter surmised that the purported effect tapped into a particularly American anxiety about early childhood education. (Bangerter, who was doing research in Stanford's psychology department during the study, had been struck by Americans' obsession with their kids' education. For example, he saw that a preschool near the Stanford campus had the purposeful name "Knowledge Beginnings," whereas a preschool near a university in Switzerland was called "Vanilla-Strawberry." The latter made no lofty claims about its educational goals.) Concern about education was so great, in fact, that several U.S. states actually passed laws requiring state-subsidized childcare centers to play classical music or giving all new mothers a classical music CD in the hospital.

To test their hypothesis that the legend of the Mozart Effect grew in response to anxiety about children's education, Heath and Bangerter compared different U.S. states' levels of media interest in the Mozart Effect with each state's educational problems (as measured by test scores and teacher salaries). Sure enough, they found that in states with the most problematic educational systems (such as Georgia and Florida), newspapers gave the most coverage to the Mozart Effect.

"Problems attract solutions," explains Heath, and people grappling with complex problems tend to grasp for solutions, even ones that aren't necessarily credible. "They can be highly distorted, bogus things like the Mozart Effect," says Heath, adding that similar patterns occur in our culture's fixation on fad diets and facile business frameworks.

Heath's analysis also found that spikes in media interest generally corresponded to events outside of science—particularly state legislation and two pop psychology books, The Mozart Effect and The Mozart Effect for Children.

Lest Heath's own findings spawn overgeneralizations, he's quick to point out that the Mozart Effect is a particular type of legend. "The Mozart Effect points out a solution, whereas urban legends point out a problem." The prevailing but untested thinking about urban legends holds that they spread by tapping into public anxiety. But Heath says that even if the Mozart Effect succeeded by suggesting a solution to an anxiety, it's not clear why legends that create anxiety would spread. Why, for example, would people circulate stories about rat meat in KFC meals or about the perils of flashing your headlights at motorists driving without their lights on. "I'm still skeptical about the anxiety approach to urban legends," he cautions.

Continued in article


"Creative Accounting for Medicaid," by Sarah Lueck, The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2005, Page A4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110920698133662704,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Bush Budget Proposal Targets Loopholes That States Use to Garner More Federal Funds 

When the nation's governors go to the White House on Monday, they are likely to deliver a blunt message to President Bush: Keep your hands off our Medicaid loopholes.

In his latest budget request, Mr. Bush took aim at an array of strategies that he says states use to improperly inflate their Medicaid costs and thus qualify for more federal matching funds for the state-federal health program for the poor. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt called the tactics, long a source of friction between Washington and the states, the "seven harmful habits of highly desperate states." By outlawing many of them, the administration figures, it could save $40 billion over 10 years in the fast-growing program.

But the states are fighting back and their governors will make their case in the coming White House meeting during their conference in Washington. Carol Herrmann, who is head of Alabama's Medicaid program and considered one of the most effective state officials in procuring federal funds, says states' use of creative accounting methods, "is exactly what all of us do when we do our income taxes every year: We looked at the law and used the law to our advantage." In Alabama, she says, the extra federal funds have been spent on better prenatal care for poor women -- care that couldn't be provided if the funds disappeared.

Officials in other states agree. The maneuvers used by some states to draw down more federal dollars often are hatched by the most ingenious and entrepreneurial people in state government, the equivalent of Wall Street investment bankers. They pursue new ways to raise money -- not because it fattens their salaries but because it pumps federal taxpayers' money into the Medicaid systems in their states.

 


February 27, 2005 message from Barry Rice [BRice@LOYOLA.EDU
(In regards to the role of PwC in ensuring the integrity of voting outcomes in the Oscar voting outcomes in Hollywood)

Denny, et al-

This reminds me of a story I shared with my students for many years. When I was moving to Baltimore in 1967, I interviewed with all six of the Big Eight firms that had offices here at the time. I received offers from all six (they needed staff badly!) and wanted to make an objective decision. Therefore, I prepared a spreadsheet with the names of the firms at the top and criteria for selection down the side. I rated each firm on each point, added up the score and Price Waterhouse came out on top, so I accepted their offer.

The way this relates to the Oscars is that deep down, I always wondered if I subconsciously biased the ratings so that PW would come out on top. Reason: It was the only Big Eight CPA firm name that the folks (including my parents) in my little home town of 300 in southwestern Virginia might have known. Why would they know PW? Because of the Academy Awards! Guess I'll never know the truth. But my three years experience with PW was invaluable to me in the classroom.

Another reason I look forward to tonight's broadcast is to see how they hide the fact that the Kodak Theatre is in the middle of a shopping mall in Hollywood! My wife and I took a tour of the theatre in November of 2003. It was quite educational. And, while they would not let us take pictures inside, I have posted six we took at www.barryrice.com/hollywood . The one with the Polo Ralph Lauren banner makes the point best that the red carpet will pass through the shopping center and up the steps to the theatre. Ah, showbiz!

Barry Rice AECM List Owner

E. Barry Rice Director, Instructional Services 
Emeritus Accounting Professor 
Loyola College in Maryland 

BRice@Loyola.edu  


Make Interactive Web Pages Out of Excel Spreadsheets

You can make an interactive Web page out of your Excel page quickly and easily using alternatives that are already in Excel, although users may be required to use Internet Explorer rather than other browsers.  

One of the main advantages is that users of your spreadsheets do not have to take as many security risks (especially the risks of being infected with nasty macro viruses) that plague downloading of Excel files.  I will talk about how to make interactive Web pages in the bottom half of this message.

I will begin with a message from Richard Campbell describing his use of the new Excelsius software.  I’ve not used this software as of yet.  Richard has not yet answered my question about whether browsers other than IE can read Excelsius.  I assume that they can.

February 18, 2005 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU

Excelsius is a software program that turns Microsoft Excel files into interactive charts and simulations. It is available at www.infommersion.com. These tutorials are based on the "Quickstart" tutorial that Infommersion has on their website.

I thought the best way to learn Excelsius would be to create a series of Flash-enabled set of tutorials based on your Quickstart pdf file.

Please look at the following links and let me know what you think.

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius01.htm

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius02.htm

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius03.htm

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius04.htm

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius05.htm

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius06.htm

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius07.htm

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsius03/excelsius08.htm

Here is the final Excelsius-output from that tutorial.

http://www.virtualpublishing.net/excelsiusqs/excelsiusqs.html

I also own the accountingebooks.com web site.

Thanks.

Richard J. Campbell
mailto:campbell@rio.edu

February 18, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Looks great Richard. Thank you for telling us about this software.

Question Will Excelcious run on any browser? If so, it has an edge over Excel's built in interactive (DHTML) web page options.

I might remind readers that some interactivity is available from Excel itself, and it's quite easy to use.

My tutorial on this is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/dhtml/excel01.htm 

My video tutorial is the ExcelDHTML.wmv file at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5342/ 

One drawback of the interactive version that Microsoft built into Excel is that it will not run in all browsers. In fact, I'm not certain that it will run in any browser other than Internet Explorer.

I assume Excelcious will run on most browsers.

Bob Jensen


Most of you, including me are not into music theory.  However, most of you have musician friends who might want to know about this clever site.

I've had feedback from several faculty in Trinity University 's Music Department who reported back that they liked this site.

Musictheory.net --- http://www.musictheory.net/ 
This was started by a high school senior.


February 17, 2005 message from Bob Jensen

I call your attention to Page 4 of the Spring 2005 newsletter called “The Accounting Educator” from the Teaching and Curriculum Section of the American Accounting Association --- http://aaahq.org/TeachCurr/newsletters/index.htm 

The current Chair (Tomas Calderon) has a piece about “reflection” which is nice to reflect upon. There are abstracts of papers in other journals that relate to education, and an assortment of teaching cases.

Marinus Bouman has a nice piece entitled “Using Technology To Integrate Accounting Into The Business Curriculum.” Interestingly, the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas no longer has courses in Principles of Accounting (or Marketing or Finance). You should read Bouman’s article to find out what took the place of these principles courses in a daring curriculum experiment.

Since I teach accounting theory, I found Bob Clusky’s paper “Where’s Accounting Theory) quite interesting. Even more than AIS, “Accounting Theory” is a phrase still in search of a definition.

Tim Fogerty has a piece on Distance Education. It is somewhat negative in tone, but Tim seems to sigh that the march forward is inevitable and the current boundries of education from one program or one institution will evaporate as students seek courses and modules from anywhere in the world. I might take issue with some of his conclusions such as testing and/or assessment, but this is not the time or the place for that. See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 

There is much, much more of interest in this 32 page newsletter. Go to http://aaahq.org/TeachCurr/newsletters/index.htm 

Page 4 describes a forum to be headed up by Tim Fogarty (Case Western) and Call for Papers in which the last paragraph reads as follows:

******************************* 
Issues in Accounting Education, in conjunction with the Teaching & Curriculum Section of the AAA has asked me to edit a dedicated forum with an expected publication date of Spring 2006. I would like to extend an opportunity to accounting educators to submit essays for this issue. Proposed pieces for inclusion should be 25 pages (double spaced) or less. Submissions will be peer-reviewed with an emphasis on clarity and strength of ideas. The deadline for the first drafts is March 1, 2005. There would also be an opportunity to discuss these ideas in a CPE session at the AAA meeting in San Francisco. 
*****************************

Bravo to Thomas, Tim, and other volunteers who are continuing the momentum of this essential section of the AAA! This is the lifeblood of why we are in this profession.

Bob Jensen

February 17, 2005 message from Bob Jensen

Note the following paragraph that I wrote in my previous message:

*********************
Marinus Bouman has a nice piece entitled “Using Technology To Integrate Accounting Into The Business Curriculum.”  Interestingly, the
Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas no longer has courses in Principles of Accounting (or Marketing or Finance).  You should read Bouman’s article to find out what took the place of these principles courses in a daring curriculum experiment.
*******************

 The simulation pedagogy used in the "Business Foundations" course at the Walton College seems to be quite related to the BAM pedagogy --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm#UVA000

The more I think about this, the more I think that the Walton College as evolved, I assume quite independently, into something quite similar to what Jack Wilson (a physicist) pioneered at Rensselaer well over a decade ago.  Core courses (such as physics) in the general curriculum at Rensselaer were taken from the curriculum and replaced with technology-based “studio” learning.  The University of Arkansas is doing something similar in relying upon technology when taking the core courses, such as Principles of Accounting, out of business education. 

The following is taken from http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Studio1

Studio classroom= An application of computer technology pioneered by Jack M. Wilson at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute for replacing large lecture courses with students working in pairs in front of computer screens where they interactively tackle problems and issues rather than listen to or passively watch lectures in front of a mass lecture section. The only lecture comes at the beginning and end of class where the instructor commences or wraps up the learning session. The "studio" is a combination lab and electronic classroom. 

 

Dr. Wilson now serves as the President of the University of Massachusetts system.  He had been serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Massachusetts System and is the founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UMassOnline,  the University of Massachusetts Virtual University.  As Vice president he was responsible for the coordination of the academic programs in research and teaching throughout the five campus system. As CEO of UMassOnline he worked with the five physical campuses, Amherst , Lowell , Boston , Worcester , and Dartmouth to provide online access to the programs of the University of Massachusetts

Jack Wilson was one of the early pioneers in education technologies and learning.  He is now CEO and founder of UMass Online .

Dr. Wilson, also known as an entrepreneur, was the Founder (along with Degerhan Usluel and Mark Bernstein), first President, and only Chairman of LearnLinc Corporation (now Mentergy), a supplier of software systems for corporate training to Fortune 1000 Corporations.  In early 2000. LearnLinc merged with Gilat Communications, (GICOF) which also acquired Allen Communication from the Times Mirror group.  The Gilat-Allen-LearnLinc combination forms a powerful "one stop shopping" resource for E*Learning that is now the Mentergy unit of Gilat Communications.  (The LearnLinc Story).

Dr Wilson was the J. Erik Jonsson '22 Distinguished Professor of Physics, Engineering Science, Information Technology, and Management and the Co-director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer .  After coming to Rensselaer in 1990, he served as the 

·    Dean of Undergraduate Education, 

·    Dean of Professional and Continuing Education, 

·    Interim Provost, 

·    Interim Dean of Faculty, and as the 

·    Founding Director of the Anderson Center for Innovation in Undergraduate Education.  

In these roles, Wilson led a campus wide process of interactive learning and restructuring of the educational program, known for the design of the Studio Classrooms, the growth of the Distributed Learning Program, the creation of the Faculty of Information Technology, and the initiation of the student mobile computing (universal networked laptop) initiative

The Studio Classrooms at Rensselaer replaced large sized core courses taught by traditional lecture pedagogy with student teams responsible largely for teaching themselves using computer-aided and interactive course materials --- http://www.rpi.edu/dept/NewsComm/WNCTW/ad7.html 

Welcome To Interactive Learning
Roll up your sleeves and take a seat in the
Rensselaer studio classroom. Classes of about 60 students are engaged at wired workstations - utilizing cutting edge tools like Web-based technologies, full-motion video, computer simulation, and other laboratory resources. An instructor and teaching assistant move from workstation to workstation observing and coaching. Notes are taken with a simple mouse click, as students download files and class materials onto their required laptops. It's an innovative blend of discussion and skill-building, high-tech inquiry and problem-solving - preparing scholars to succeed in the new business world. It's all part of Interactive Learning at Rensselaer .

More Studios Than Hollywood
Interactive Learning is more than just a concept at
Rensselaer ; it's a working reality. The approach has been infused throughout all of our undergraduate disciplines in more than 25 studio classrooms with more being built all the time. In the LITEC studio classroom, students build remote-controlled cars in a project-based, team environment. In the Circuits Studio, students develop and test their own circuits. The Collaborative Classroom, funded by the National Science Foundation, serves as a testbed for using computer technology to collaborate on design projects. At Rensselaer , knowledge and application are seamlessly intertwined.

Teaching How We Teach
Rensselaer 's revolutionary model for education has been talked about, honored, and emulated. We earned the first Pew Charitable Trust Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education and the first Boeing Outstanding Educator Award, among others. Last year, we were named to administer an $8.8 million Pew-funded program to bring educational innovation to other universities in this country: The Center for Academic Transformation. Literally hundreds of institutions have visited Rensselaer to learn how we teach.

No Stopping Now
Of course, the very thinking that enabled
Rensselaer to initiate Interactive Learning is the same mindset that keeps us pressing forward. Rensselaer 's Anderson Center for Innovation in Undergraduate Education was founded 11 years ago with the continuing mission of making Rensselaer a leader in innovative pedagogy. More recently, the Rensselaer Academy of Electronic Media has become the spawning ground for highly creative visualization software that enables students to learn scientific and engineering principles in ways never before possible. We continue to look for new and better methods to evolve education - meeting the present and future needs of our students, professors, and global businesses. Because solving real-world challenges is our mission and our passion.

For a summary short summary see http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/soe/cihe/newsletter/News15/text4.html . (See also Electronic classroom)


From the Scout Report on February 17, 2005

Commercialism in Education Research Unit --- http://www.asu.edu/educ/epsl/ceru.htm 

The Arizona State University’s College of Education has a distinguished record of conducting important research through its numerous research centers and institutes. One of these groups is the Commercialism in Education Research Unit (CERU), which was formerly located at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The CERU conducts research about commercial activities in schools, and its staff members are “guided by the belief that mixing commercial activities with public education raises fundamental issues of public policy, curriculum content, the proper relationship of educators to the students entrusted to them, and the values that the schools embody.” The CERU is directed by Professor Alex Molnar, and visitors to the site will want to look through the various sections dedicated to their publications and annual reports. Educational administrators and policy-makers will want to hone in on the resources area, which provides access to helpful information on current guidelines for commercial activities in schools and news about pending litigation in this arena.


MiniLyrics 3.3.137 http://www.philocode.com/minilyrics/index.htm 

No doubt there are many readers of the Scout Report who will find this little handy application quite useful, and more than a bit fun while at work or school. MiniLyrics 3.3.137 is a song lyrics viewer that displays the lyrics of the currently playing song timed with the music in a host of different media players, including Winamp, RealPlayer, iTunes, and Windows Media Player. The application also has some nice visual effects and has a song database that continues to expand daily. This version of MiniLyrics is compatible only with Microsoft Windows 2000 or newer.


February 24, 2005 message from Richard J. Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU

Camtasia is still very good, but a very good alternative / supplement is Macromedia's www.macromedia.com  Captivate (formerly Robodemo), which I used to record the Excelsius simulations that I posted to the list earlier. Captivate also allows Scorm / aicc compliant quiz capability. I posted a link earlier a quiz on Sarbanes-Oxley that was created in Captivate. The ability to create complex simulations is quite possible.

An advantage in using Camtasia is in recording full-motion screen capture video. Camtasia can record Webex live class presentations, whereas Captivate can not.

Captivate has the capability to create cross-platform demos. I am pretty sure you can generate Linux output. Camtasia has multiple output formats, but not Mac unless you have Ensharpen.

I have an idea for an audit simulation using Toolbook and Flash. If anybody has a sample audit case, I would be willing to create a proposal for the KPMG case proposal. Actually, it would be analogous to the "Auditing Alchemy" case of PWC. If anyone is interested contact me off-list.

Richard J. Campbell 
School of Business 
University of Rio Grande Rio Grande, OH 45674

Bob Jensen's tutorials on Camtasia are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm 


Harvard's Power Struggle

I will always remember the words of a rather autocratic president of a university who said:  "I don't manage people.  I manage their budgets."  I'll bet you didn't think that Larry Summers' troubles at Harvard had far more to do with accounting than with women in science.   (I say "had" because the media focus over his words about women have overtaken his real troubles.)

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on February 25, 2005

TITLE: Harvard Clash Pits Brusque Leader Against Faculty 
REPORTER: Robert Tomsho and John Hechinger 
DATE: Feb 18, 2005 
PAGE: A1 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110867816104958196,00.html  
TOPICS: Managerial Accounting

SUMMARY: The article describes reactions to Harvard President Larry Summers's comments made at a conference on workforce diversification. The article mentions other factors contributing to strife between President Summers and his faculty, including Harvard's Responsibility Center Management (and accounting) system.

QUESTIONS: 
1.) In what forum did Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers make his comments about different individuals' relative abilities with math and science disciplines? Would you characterize his statements as provocative, or something else? How would do you feel about the president of your college or university expressing pre-determined notions of your abilities based on your gender?

2.) How did the presidents of other Ivy League institutions react to President Summers's comments? Why must senior leaders of all organizations consider the impact of any public statement on those that he or she manages?

3.) In the article, the author expresses the view that faculty, department chairs, and deans at Harvard University are particularly powerful under their system of Responsibility Center Management, called "every tub on its own bottom" in the article. What is this system of management and accounting? (Hint: you may find a discussion of Harvard's system through a web search that should uncover the following site, among others: http://www.hno.harvard.edu/guide/underst/under2.html 

4.) How does this management and accounting system result in decentralization of power?

5.) Why do faculty members feel they should wield particular power in an academic setting? How does this view differ from attitudes in the corporate world? Why do some constituents feel that colleges and universities would be better off adopting some business attitudes and techniques?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island


"Attacking a Major Cause of Strokes," by Thomas M. Burton, The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2005, Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110902515366060203,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 

Less-Invasive Surgical Procedure Adds Option to Treatment Mix For Widespread Heart Problem

A new surgical procedure is showing promise in treating a potentially lethal heart-rhythm problem called atrial fibrillation.

Choosing the best course of treatment for atrial fibrillation, a heart flutter that afflicts 2.2 million Americans, has long been a medical quandary. Now, the emergence of the new procedure has the potential to alter the decision-making calculus for patients.

Atrial fibrillation persists without symptoms in some people, who often get diagnosed by chance after a routine EKG. Others suffer terribly, experiencing exhaustion, shortness of breath, sweating and even fainting spells. Still others find their discomfort comes and goes.

Symptoms or not, atrial fibrillation can be extremely dangerous. Over the years, blood pools in these people's hearts, forms clots and often can lead to devastating, even deadly, strokes. One-fifth or more of the nation's 700,000 strokes arise from this condition.

So far, the treatments available for atrial fibrillation, which is caused by misfiring electrical currents within the heart, have had significant drawbacks. Anticoagulant drugs to prevent strokes can cause dangerous bleeds. Open-heart surgery to redirect the aberrant electricity is highly effective, but it is major surgery and carries an estimated 2% death rate. A less-invasive procedure known as catheter ablation is simpler but may not be as effective as surgery.

The dilemma of which to choose is especially acute for younger patients in their 40s, 50s and 60s. They may not want to be on blood-thinning medications the rest of their lives, which can force them to give up active hobbies like skiing where they could be injured and suffer serious bleeding.

While surgery does cure most people, "would you actually open somebody's chest for that reason alone?" says University of Calgary cardiologist D. George Wyse.

The latest option holds promise for solving that dilemma, at least for many patients. The new operation, performed for the first time in the U.S. recently at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital by surgeon Patrick M. McCarthy, is a simpler version of the classic surgery for atrial fibrillation, known as a "Maze" procedure.

Dr. McCarthy says that while this alternative has no U.S. track record yet, experience in Europe suggests its success rate will rival that of traditional Maze surgery, at about 90%. Dr. McCarthy, one of the world's pre-eminent heart surgeons, was recruited last year from the Cleveland Clinic to head up Northwestern's fast-growing cardiac-surgery department.

Continued in article


Question
It was drilled (literally) into me in grade school that already was one word and all right was two words.  Increasingly, I'm seeing the word "alright."  Has this somehow become proper in English?

"Making Sure The Kids Are Alright," by Sarah Tilton, The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110868127889058337,00.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal 

Bob Jensen

February 21, 2005 reply from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Bob, for all the glitz and glimmer of technology, there is still a lot to be said for hardcopy ink-and-paper books.

I looked in my trusty Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, copyright 2001, and on page 41, I find an entry for “alright”, described as an adjective, an adverb, and an interjection. It’s definition is, and I quote, “disputed spelling of ALL RIGHT” (caps in original). There are also separate entries for “all-right”, and “all right”.

I was taught that any word appearing as an entry in a dictionary could legitimately be used in communication -- as opposed to illegitimate, but still effective, communication!

But I was also taught that there is a difference between legitimate communication and “proper English”. Proper English is what you use in English class when the teacher is grading you. Legitimate communication is probably good enough for almost (pun intended) everything else.

I see the word “tonite” used a lot in formal communication, and it does not have its own entry in the dictionary, although “nite” does. Also the word “gotta” has its own entry, as in “When you gotta go, you gotta go”. And finally, if you read the etymologies, you notice that a lot of words (albeit, alone, along, also, altogether, etc.) originated as “all” plus another word.

I guess these changes are what gives language it’s “life”, and makes us gray-hairs feel even older than our arthritis already (pun intended) does.

David R. Fordham
PBGH Faculty Fellow
James Madison University


History Channel: Audio and Video --- http://www.historychannel.com/broadband/ 
Bob Jensen's history links are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 


St. Petersburg 1900: A Photographic Travelogue --- http://www.alexanderpalace.org/petersburg1900/index.html 


Question
Are increased disclosure standards and transparency always a good thing if generating and attestation costs are ignored?

Answer
I generally think so, but Jim Mahar's blog raises some interesting points on February 17, 2005 --- 

Thursday, February 17, 2005

SSRN-Disclosure Standards and Market Efficiency: Evidence from Analysts' Forecasts by Hui Tong

SSRN-Disclosure Standards and Market Efficiency: Evidence from Analysts' Forecasts by Hui Tong:

Short version: increased transparency reduces need (and hence profitability) of analysts. Therefore following increased disclosure rules, the number of analysts falls. Overall the net effect of increased transparency rules is unclear.
The author "examine[s] the effect of transparency by focusing on the interaction between
public information availability and private information acquisition"

With this in mind, Tong examines what happens when countries adopt stricter disclosure requirements that increase transparency. Of course, you know my basic stance that transparency is good. But Tong makes me re-examine that position. My conclusion? Transparency is still good, but increasing transparency is not without its costs.

Longer version: Unintended consequences...often when one thing changes, other things (that at first were seen as unaffected) change as well. This is one danger of static analysis: we might overestimate the benefits of some change.

Hui Toing "examine[s] the effect of transparency by focusing on the interaction between
public information availability and private information acquisition"

Rather than using spreads (a transparency measure used by previous researchers), Tong " considers how international standards affect analysts forecasts of listed companies earnings, where the accuracy (dispersion) of these forecasts is used as a measure of information accuracy (dispersion)."

Tong finds "that disclosure standards enhance forecast accuracy directly but at the same time reduce the number of analysts per stock (the variable that serves as my proxy for private investments in information). The net effect of disclosure standards on forecast accuracy and dispersion thus ranges from weak to nonexistent"

That is really an important insight! But I maintain that increasing transparency is still good even if dispersion is not significantly increased, this same level is being achieved with fewer analysts (and hence lower costs--of course this assumes that the regulations that increased the transparency are not more costly than the cost of employing the analysts, but that topic will have to wait) .

Suggested Citation

Tong, Hui, "Disclosure Standards and Market Efficiency: Evidence from Analysts' Forecasts" (March 8, 2004). AFA 2005 Philadelphia Meetings. http://ssrn.com/abstract=641842

This is a good, albeit controversial, article that CEOs won't want to read.

"'SOX' It To Them," by Paul Schaafsma, Financial Engineering News --- http://www.fenews.com/fen41/law_and_fe/law_and_fe.html# 

Despite these and other drawbacks, with compliance around the corner the sky has not fallen. While admittedly expensive to implement, examination of some of the claims CEOs have made about the cost of compliance leaves one scratching his head. One publicly traded company with $300,000 in earnings estimated that it would cost $250,000 to comply and is therefore de-listing. Earnings of $300,000? What about the other costs of being a publicly traded company? Further, several companies with less than $4 billion in revenues have predicted that more than 20,000 staff hours are needed to comply; however, a well-respected company with more than $35 billion in revenues estimates it will need 5,000 staff hours to comply. Just what may have been going on before that now requires 20,000 hours to address? And with information technology consultants, law firms and accounting firms attacking the compliance issue as a business opportunity on par with Y2K, many companies are simply spending too much.

In addition to making companies more transparent and executives more accountable, many companies will reap additional benefits. For example, many companies have multiple business units with varying standards of financial reporting. Smart companies have used compliance as an opportunity to get a standardized financial reporting system in place across a company’s business units.

And like a residual benefit of the Y2K scare, many companies have updated and standardized their company’s finance software to help in the compliance process. In addition to minimizing the chance and therefore the costs of a compliance issue, the operational benefits of having standardized, updated financial software will accrue cost savings long into the future. Moreover, smart companies have used their need to update their financial reporting software as an opportunity to upgrade and standardize additional software, such as their ERP systems.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's thread on SOX are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm 


Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G8 Countries: 2004 Description: This report shows how the U.S. education system compares to other major industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom) in four areas: (1) the context of education; (2) preprimary and primary education; (3) secondary education; and (4) higher education. This report is an update of the 2002 G8 Report, and is part of a series to be published in alternate years.
"Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G8 Countries: 2004," --- http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2005021 

The report itself is 95 pages, so a lot of data and tables are not mentioned in this summary.

Question
What nation has the highest percentage of 18-29-year-olds enrolled in higher education?

Answer (see Page 10 of the report)
The U.S. with about 25% in 2001.  Females exceeded males in all nations except Germany.

I would have guessed a higher percentage college students in Education.  The Education numbers seem low to me except for Canada.  The study report below doesn't isolate business, but previous studies would indicate 20-25% buried in the 44% figure for the U.S.  In other nations, the business studies are often buried under economics and/or engineering.  

I will probably pull some other tidbits out of this report at a later time.


What We Study --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/what_we_study 

The United States leads major industrialized nations in the study of the social sciences, business and law. But Germany and Japan are ahead substantially in engineering.

Those are results from data released Friday by the National Center for Education Statistics. The report compares statistics from industrialized nations on all levels of education.

For higher education, one part of the report compares how many "first university degrees" gained by citizens in each country were awarded in various fields. Here are the results for 2001:

% of First Degrees in:

Canada

France

Germany

Italy

Japan

U.K.

U.S.

Social sciences, business and law

36

38

27

42

40

27

44

Humanities and arts

15

23

16

13

19

21

17

Science

12

18

11

  8

  3

21

11

Engineering

  8

12

20

18

19

11

  7

Education

14

  2

  9

  3

  6

  5

  8

Other

15

  8

17

16

13

16

13

The report also found that while the United States was a leader in terms of the number of foreign students enrolled, other nations exceeded the U.S. in terms of the percentage of enrolled students who were from other countries. Here are the numbers for 2001:

 

France

Germany

Italy

Japan

Russia

U.K.

U.S.

Foreign enr