New Bookmarks
Year 2005 Quarter 2:  April 1 - June 30 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 
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/.

Choose a Date Below for Additions to the Bookmarks File

June 30, 2005     June 15, 2005       

May 31, 2005     May 12, 2005       

April 30, 2005     April 12, 2005 

 

June 30, 2005

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on June 30, 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/.

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
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/ 




For Quotations/Tidbits of the Week go to Quotations and Tidbits

For Humor of the Week go to Humor 

For Fraud Updates go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

For my Tidbits Directory go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsDirectory.htm

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 


Kim Zetter. "ID Theft: What You Need to Know," Wired News, June 29, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,68032,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_8

What should I do if my wallet or purse is lost or stolen?

Immediately contact all three credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion -- and have them place a fraud alert on your account. This means that companies issuing new credit accounts in your name will have to call you to obtain permission first. The alert will last for 90 days only. You can extend the alert to seven years, but only if you've been a victim of identity theft and can provide a police report.

Equifax: 1.800.525.6285

Experian: 1.888.397.3742

TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289

In addition to contacting the credit reporting agencies, you should file a police report if your property was stolen. Close any accounts that you think may have been compromised by the loss or theft. The FTC provides more information and a chart to tick off steps you should take.

What can I do to prevent myself from becoming a victim?

There isn't really anything you can do to prevent identity theft. As long as Social Security numbers are used for purposes other than Social Security, you are at risk of having your identity stolen any time someone has access to documents that carry your number and other personal data. There are, however, things you can do to lower your risk of becoming a victim.

  • Review monthly financial statements carefully for fraudulent activity.
  • Request a free copy of your credit report from a credit-reporting agency once a year to examine it for fraudulent activity. A new law requiring credit reporting agencies to provide a free annual report goes into effect nationwide in September. Until then, it's in effect only in western and Midwestern states. The credit report will show who requested access to your credit record. Look for requests from companies you haven't done business with and tell credit-reporting agencies if you see credit accounts that you didn't open or debts you didn't incur. Check to see that your name and address are correct.
  • Don't give your Social Security number to any business that doesn't really need it.
  • Cross shred sensitive documents. Thieves have been known to piece together strips of paper that are shredded only once. Cross-shredders double-shred documents.
  • Shred pre-approved credit-card offers before tossing them in the garbage.
  • Don't store sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and passwords, on home computers or handheld devices.
  • Install a firewall and anti-virus software on your computer and keep the virus definitions up to date to prevent viruses and Trojan horses from infecting your computer and feeding personal information back to hackers.
  • Don't fall for phishing scams. Phishing occurs when someone sends you an e-mail purporting to be from your bank or other company you do business with and requesting you to update your account information.
  • Use specially designed software programs to clean data from your computer before you sell or discard it. Simply deleting files will not remove data from the memory.
  • Don't carry any documents in your wallet that have your Social Security number on them, including your medical card or military ID, on days when you don't need the card.
  • Opt-out when your bank or other financial institution requests permission to share information about you with other businesses.
  • Close all credit-card accounts except the one or two that you really need.
  • If you are an identity theft victim and live in one of ten states, including California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maine, Texas, Vermont or Washington, consider placing a "freeze" on your credit report so that no one can access it without your permission. More than 20 additional states are considering passing similar legislation. Creditors need to look at your report before granting you credit. By freezing your report, it will prevent unauthorized people from seeing your personal data and it will prevent creditors from opening a new credit account in your name for an impostor. Some states only let victims of identity theft freeze their records. Other states allow anyone to freeze their record. The State Public Interest Research Groups maintains a list of states with freeze laws.

Bob Jensen's guides on how to report fraud --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

Bob Jensen's helpers on identity theft --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


"Adobe PDF Patch Plugs Data Leak Threat," by Brian Krebs, The Washington Post, June 20, 2005 --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2005/06/adobe_pdf_patch.html?referrer=email

According to Adobe, the latest version gets rid of a fairly serious security flaw. By convincing a target to download a specially crafted PDF document, attackers could "discover the existence of local files," -- i.e., read documents on the victim's computer. Adobe says that threat is minimized because the attacker would have to know the exact name and location of the files he was searching for to be able to leverage the security flaw.

Anyway, you can update using the automatic updater bundled with Adobe, or visit Adobe's download site to install the fix manually. Adobe says it is working on a fix for Mac users. If any Mac users are concerned about this vulnerability, this page has instructions on how to disable Javascript in Adobe.

By the way, if you browse the Web using Mozilla's Firefox Web browser and have always had trouble loading PDF documents, you might consider following the advice here to fix the problem. Just scroll down to the question in the FAQ that reads "Why do Adobe pdf files load slowly in Windows?" For the longest time I put off researching a tweak for this problem. Mozilla says it's because Adobe Reader for Windows loads lots of unused plugins on startup.

Bob Jensen's helpers for computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection




"Homeowners Should Know Tax Implications," AccountingWeb, June 17, 2005 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101013

Homeowners enjoy generally favorable tax treatment when they sell their principal residence, thanks to a 1997 tax code change that eliminates taxes on capital gains. But experts say that not everyone wins under the law, and it pays to be savvy about all the tax implications associated with buying and selling. Now that some economists are warning of a possible cooling in housing prices, it's as important as ever to be aware of what the laws mean to you.

First, some statistics. According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median price for an existing home was $206,000 in April, which was up 15 percent from April 2004, when it was $179,000, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The top economist for mortgage giant Fannie Mae, David Berson, predicts housing prices rising by about 6.5 to 7 percent in 2005, but there is “a chance” of regional declines in homes sales in 2006, he said at a press briefing.

Now for the tax rules. Some tips from Tom Herman of the Wall Street Journal:

Generally, if you sell your primary residence, and you've lived there for at least two years, you don't have to pay taxes on up to $500,000 of gain if you're married and filing jointly. An example provided by the Journal: Suppose you and your spouse bought your first home in the mid-1990s, have lived in it ever since, and your cost basis is $100,000. This year, you sell it for $600,000. Because of the 1997 law, you typically wouldn't owe any capital-gains taxes because your profit didn't exceed the maximum exclusion of $500,000. (The maximum exclusion for single taxpayers is $250,000.)

Using the same home as an example, if you sell for $1.1 million, no capital-gains taxes would be owned on $500,000 of your $1 million gain, but the other $500,000 would be taxable.

Most people benefit from the 1997 rules, but some don't because they can no longer defer capital gains by buying another primary residence. The so-called “rollover” provision was eliminated when the 1997 rules were put in place.

If you are a single person who netted a gain of $400,000 in a house sale and bought a new home right away for more than that, say $600,000, you could have deferred capital gains under the old rules because the gains were “rolled over” into the new home. Current law says you would owe capital gains tax on $150,000 - the amount over the maximum $250,000 single-person exclusion.

Some tax planners urge clients who are looking at gains that are above the exclusion amount to consider also selling assets that have lost money. Martin Nissenbaum, national director of personal income-tax planning at Ernst & Young in New York, told the Journal that the losses can then be used to offset some or all of the gain on home sale.

Conferring with a tax professional is always a good idea, considering the huge range of tax incentives, credits and rules out there.

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation


Taxes for online purchases will soon be "unavoidable"
Online shoppers could be forgiven for overlooking a California court ruling last month that might end the tax-free joyride they've been enjoying on the information superhighway.The appeals court ruling said megabookstore Borders Inc. had to pay $167,000 in taxes that it owed based on Internet sales from 1998 and 1999. The reasons are complicated and experts disagree on the results. Looking at the big picture, however, it appears that somehow, sometime in the future, most people who buy things online will pay taxes.
Robert MacMillan, "An Unavoidable Tax," The Washington Post, June 20, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/UnavoidableTax


Online Pricing
University of Pennsylvania professor Joseph Turow calls this "the evolution of a culture of suspicion. From airlines to supermarkets, from banks to Web sites, American consumers increasingly believe they are being spied on and manipulated. But they continue to trade in the marketplace because they feel powerless to do anything about it." His article on the subject appeared in Sunday's Outlook section.
Joseph Turow, "Online Pricing," The Washington Post, June 20, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/OnlinePricing


Tax-friendly versus Tax-unfriendly states in  2005 --- http://money.cnn.com/2005/04/08/real_estate/tax_friendly/index.htm

Top honors go to the tax-friendly states of Alaska, New Hampshire and Delaware.

Most unfriendly? Maine, New York, D.C.

Every year, the Tax Foundation measures the total tax bill for each state, creating a list of the most – and least – tax-friendly states in the country.

See the full list here. And see more state rankings based on income tax, sales tax, property tax and tax breaks for retirees.

In creating its rankings, the Tax Foundation measures as a percentage of per capita income what residents pay in income, property, sales and other personal taxes levied at the state and local levels. It also factors in the portion of business taxes passed along to state residents through higher prices, lower wages or lower profits.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research group that advocates, among other things, tax simplification.

 


Academic Career Advice From Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution, June 20, 2005  --- http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2005/06/simple_career_a.html

Simple advice for academic publishing

Last week I gave a talk on career and publishing advice to a cross-disciplinary audience of graduate students.  Here were my major points:

1. You can improve your time management.  Do you want to or not?

2. Get something done every day.  Few academics fail from not getting enough done each day.  Many fail from living many days with zero output.

3. Figure out what is your core required achievement at this point in time -- writing, building a data set, whatever -- and do it first thing in the day no matter what.  I am not the kind of cultural relativist who thinks that many people work best late at night.

4. Buy a book of stamps and use it.  You would be amazed how many people write pieces but never submit and thus never learn how to publish. 

5. The returns to quality are higher than you think, and they are rising rapidly.  Lower-tier journals and presses are becoming worth less and less.  Often it is the author certifying the lower-tier journal, rather than vice versa.

6. If you get careless, sloppy, or downright outrageous referee reports, it is probably your fault.  You didn't give the editor or referees enough incentive to care about your piece.  So respond to such reports constructively with a plan for self-improvement, don't blame the messenger, even when the messenger stinks.  Your piece probably stinks too.

7. Start now.  Recall the tombstone epitaph "It is later than you think."  Darth Sidious got this one right.

8. Care about what you are doing.  This is ultimately your best ally.

Here is a good article on academic book publishing and how it is changing.

Posted by Tyler Cowen on June 19, 2005 at 06:36 AM in Education | Permalink

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A new illustration of "satisficing" (a term phrased by early researchers of decision theory at Carnegie Mellon University)

"So-So Results With Technology," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, June 17, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/17/tech

College administrators love to boast about how their institutions are national leaders in all kinds of ways. But when it comes to technology systems used for colleges’ many business operations, very few people claim to be leaders. Most, in fact, seem to think their systems aren’t so great.

That is the chief finding of a survey of college chief information officials, released Thursday by Educause.

The CIOs were asked, in a series of business categories, whether the systems they had in place put their institutions at risk, were adequate, satisfactory, make their colleges leaders, or made the colleges exemplars. Generally, “adequate” and “satisfactory” were the most common answers, with relatively few institutions seeming to feel that their systems were at a point of crisis, and even fewer feeling that their systems were anything to rave about.

For instance, in the category of “developing budgets,” 61.6 percent of those responding said that their systems were adequate, while 9.7 percent said that they were at risk. Only 1.4 percent thought that their institutions had systems that were exemplars. Similarly, in the category of “tracking budgets and expenditures,” only 1.4 percent saw their institutions as exemplars while 11.3 percent saw their institutions as being at risk.

The study organizes business functions into various categories. In the area of human resources, functional areas that received relatively high “at risk” ratings included managing positions (18.2 percent), recording time and attendance (16.7 percent), managing compensation (14.1 percent) and recruiting employees (12.9 percent). An area with atypically strong satisfaction is payroll, where only 1.3 percent saw their institutions at risk and 8.4 percent saw their institutions as leaders.

In student services, areas with high “at risk” responses included auditing degree completion (20.6 percent) and managing events (20.2 percent). Maintaining grades was a function with high satisfaction, with only 0.7 percent seeing their institutions at risk, and 15.9 percent seeing their institutions as leaders.

Grants management is a category causing consistently high worry among CIOs. More than 20 percent considered their systems “at risk” in the areas of tracking proposals, preparing proposals and reporting time spent on grants management.

So why are so many colleges less than thrilled with the technology that they pay so much to buy, license and maintain? The Educause report attributes this to concept of “satisficing,” which holds that decision makers in certain situations will decide to stick with technology is “good enough” because the costs of getting optimal performance are too high.

Continued in article


Evaluating Faculty at the University of Tennessee
Jan R. Williams, "Faculty Evaluation: Lessons Learned," AACSB eNewsline --- http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/enewsline/Vol-4/Issue-6/dc-janwilliams.asp


From The Scout Report on June 23, 2005

Adium X 0.82 http://www.adiumx.com/ 

For better or worse, more people enjoy copious amounts of online messaging while at work, at play, or just out at the beach. Adium X 0.82 is one such device that enables this particular form of social communication. It happens to function as a multiple protocol instant-messaging client, and it includes support for AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Trepia, and Napster. With the program, users can manage multiple conversations and also maintain a presence on multiple services simultaneously. This version of Adium is compatible with Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later.

Bob Jensen's threads on resources are http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/newfaculty.htm#Resources


From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review, June 24, 2005

TITLE: SEC Weighs a 'Big Three' World
REPORTERS: Deborah Solomon and Diya Gullapalli
DATE: Jun 22, 2005
PAGE: C1 LINK:
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111939468387765810,00.html
TOPICS: Auditing, Auditing Services, Auditor Changes, Auditor Independence, Personal Taxation, Public Accounting, Regulation, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Securities and Exchange Commission, Tax Shelters

SUMMARY: As described in the related article, Justice Department officials are debating whether to seek an indictment of KPMG from a criminal case built by Federal prosecutors for the firm's sale of what the prosecutors consider to be abusive tax shelters. The Justice Department is concerned about competitiveness of the audit profession if KPMG collapses as did Arthur Andersen and only three large firms are left. As described in the main article covered in this review, the SEC already is considering relaxing some of the auditor independence rules because of the difficulties in implementing them with only four large firm auditing most publicly-traded companies.

QUESTIONS:
1.) What auditor independence rules have been implemented as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley? Hint: to help answer this question, you may refer to the AICPA's summary of this Act available at http://www.aicpa.org/info/sarbanes_oxley_summary.htm

2.) What steps has the SEC taken to relax some standards for firms switching auditors? When did the SEC institute these allowances? What trade-offs do you think the commissioners considered in making these allowances to relax the standards?

3.) Why is the SEC again concerned about what actions it may have to take to allow for firms to switch auditors?

4.) What is the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board? What role can this entity play in establishing public policy because of the concerns with the shrinking number of large public accounting firms?

5.) Refer to the related article. For what reason might KPMG LLP be indicted? Does this potential indictment have anything to do with the audit services provided by this firm?

6.) How is the potential indictment affecting all aspects of KPMG's practice regardless of the culpability of the firm's audit partners? How do you think this potential indictment affects all firm employees' perception of the need for control procedures over the firms' activities in all practice areas?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

--- RELATED ARTICLE ---
TITLE: KPMG Faces Indictment Risk on Tax Shelters
REPORTER: John. R. Wilke
PAGE: A1
ISSUE: Jun 16, 2005
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111888827431261200,00.html

Bob Jensen's threads on the two faces of KPMG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#KPMG

Bob Jensen's threads on the future of auditing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing


German proverb: "Whose bread I eat his song I sing."

"Auditors: Too Few to Fail," by Joseph Nocera, The New York Times, June 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/25nocera.html

Yet the word now seems to be that the Justice Department will probably not indict the firm (KPMG). This is partly because KPMG has belatedly apologized, admitted the tax shelters were "unlawful," and cut adrift its former rising stars (and tried to shift the blame for the shelters to them). And it is working to come up with a deal with prosecutors that, however painful, will fall short of the death penalty.

But it's also because the government is afraid of further shrinking the number of major accounting firms. Remember when people used to say that the major money center banks were "too big to fail"- meaning that if they ever got in real trouble the government would have to somehow ensure their survival? It appears that with only four big accounting firms left, down from eight 16 years ago, there are now "too few to fail." How pathetic is that?

. . .

"What infuriates me about the accounting firms is the enormous power they have," said Howard Shilit, president of the Center for Financial Research and Analysis. "You just can't compel them to do things they ought to do. And the fewer firms there are, the more concentrated their power." To my mind, the biggest problem is the hardest to change - that accounting firms are paid by the same managements they are auditing. Nobody really thinks about changing this practice mainly because it's been that way forever. But, "it's the elephant in the room," said Alice Schroeder, a former staff member at the Financial Accounting Standards Board who later became a Wall Street analyst. In the memorable phrase of Warren E. Buffett's great friend and the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charles T. Munger - quoting a German proverb: "Whose bread I eat his song I sing."
 

June 26, 2005 reply from Denny Beresford [dberesford@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

Bob,

The author of this article has set up a "Forum" in which readers are encouraged to report their reactions to the issue of so few major accounting firms. It's at www.nytimes.com/business/columns . There are some very interesting comments already recorded - some of the suggestions might actually make sense.

Denny

The forum link is at http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/businesstechnology/accounting/index.html

June 27, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Some of the forum's replies are from nut cases.  But there are some good suggestions, particularly the suggestion about pooling of audit fees.  This would not eliminate the risk of a bad audit, but it does take the fee negotiation risk out of the picture.  The mako59 reply from a PwC CPA is well written.

Bob Jensen's threads on the two faces of KPMG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#KPMG

Bob Jensen's threads on the future of auditing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing


From Jim Mahar's Blog on June 27, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
Jay Ritter finds that shareholder returns are negatively correlated with economic growth.
In his words:
 
"... does economic growth benefit stockholders? This article argues on both theoretical and empirical grounds that the answer is no. Empirically, there is a cross-sectional correlation of –0.37 for the compounded real return on equities and the compounded growth rate of real per capita GDP for 16 countries over the 1900-2002 period."

"I am not arguing that economic growth is bad. There is ample evidence that people who live in countries with higher incomes have longer life spans, lower infant mortality, etc. Real wages are higher. But although consumers and workers may benefit from economic growth, the owners of capital do not necessarily benefit."
Later:
 
"This article argues that limited historical data on stock returns are not a constraint, since these data are irrelevant for estimating future returns, whether in emerging markets or developed countries. This point has been made before, although possibly not as explicitly, in Fama and French (2002) and Siegel (2002), among other places. Of greater originality, this article argues that not only is the past irrelevant, but to a large extent knowledge of the future real growth rate for an economy is also irrelevant."

"I argue that only three pieces of information are needed for estimating future equity returns. The first is the current P/E ratio, although earnings must be smoothed to adjust for business cycle fluctuations. The second is the fraction of corporate profits that will be paid out to shareholders via share repurchases and dividends, rather than accruing to managers or blockholders when corporate governance problems exist. The third is the probability of catastrophic loss, i.e., the chance that “normal” profits are a biased measure of expected profits because of “default” due to hyperinflation, revolution, nuclear war, etc. This third point is the
survivorship bias issue, applied to the future."
 
A few other highlights:
 
"I believe that the large stock price effects associated with recessions are partly due to higher risk aversion at the bottom of a recession, but also due partly to an irrational overreaction."
 

A nice summary of XBRL --- http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=11168

Talking Points XBRL IS WINNING SUPPORTERS

XBRL is an XML-based standard for analysis, exchange and reporting of financially oriented business information. Its initial use will be to meet mandates for financial reporting and analysis. Any organization that is familiar with XML is already much of the way there. Everything that needs to be done can be done outside the ERP and GL systems in middleware. The SEC is fueling interest in XBRL, although its official position is pointedly neutral. Using XBRL is voluntary, but that may change soon.

Meet the new addition to the XML family, XBRL. eXensible Business Reporting Language represents another derivative of XML and promises to streamline the integration of business reports and automate the corresponding financial and business analysis. Although the initial uses of XBRL focus on financial reports that must be sent to the FDIC and SEC, it can be applied to almost any category of business reporting. XBRL also is being used in Europe to meet financial reporting mandates.

“XBRL represents a significant advance, but don’t expect it to change things overnight,” says Robert Kugel, VP and research director at Ventana Research. To start, XBRL “makes it easier to deal with financial numbers,” he explains. Therefore, the initial uses of XBRL for mandated financial reporting and the accompanying analysis of those reports represent only the beginning of what the technology can do.

Ultimately, “XBRL has the potential to unleash a lot of creativity,” Kugel says. For example, it would enable the business analysis of the parties in a supply chain or the state of particular markets. These types of analysis are not practical today, as data has to be culled manually, normalized and re-input into spreadsheets or other analytical applications.

Adopting XBRL, however, shouldn’t be a burden. Any organization that is familiar with XML is already much of the way there. All that’s needed is to pick up the appropriate industry-specific schema and adopt some simple maintenance tools. Companies don’t even have to change their existing financial applications. “Virtually everything that needs to be done can be done outside the ERP and GL systems in middleware,” says Walter Hamscher, vice chair, XBRL International. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. “How much you spend depends on how much value you want,” Hamscher continues.

It’s not only the data Simply put, XBRL is an XML-based standard for the analysis, exchange and reporting of financially oriented business information. XBRL International ( www.XBRL.org ) freely licenses the XBRL standard and framework as a specification for structuring and representing information in business reports so it may be extracted and processed automatically by XBRL-aware applications.

Specifically, XBRL defines data-formatting conventions and vocabularies for marking up and describing business report data, such as sales or net assets. Like XML, it is tag based. Descriptions in the form of tags or labels are attached to the various pieces of business data. These tags describe the particular piece of data in terms of an agreed-upon vocabulary. That vocabulary is referred to as an XBRL taxonomy, the specific schema tags. The taxonomy performs a function similar to the document type definition used with XML, although it is more detailed than the DTD.

XBRL then employs XML’s XML Linking Language (XLink) capability to further extend the taxonomy definitions. “XBRL is not just data but semantics—about what the data means. XLink is how you specify the semantics,” says Hugh Wallis, an independent consultant for XBRL International.

Once the organization has the appropriate taxonomy, it can enable its reports for XBRL. From there, organizations can more easily use and share data from the reports within the organization and between organizations. XBRL-aware applications can take advantage of the high level of specificity and self-describing nature of the tags to automatically process the information for purposes of reporting and analysis. XBRL is independent of any hardware platform, software operating system, programming language or accounting standard, as noted in a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report titled “XBRL: Improving Business Reporting Through Standardization.”

Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL


Low long-term interest rates persist even in the face of powerful factors that should drive them up: why?

"The 'Conundrum' Explained," by Roger C. Altman, The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111931620512664812,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

The first part of this article is not quoted here

What is uncommon is for developing regions to run positive international accounts. Historically, they have grown rapidly and consumed foreign capital on a net basis. But today the opposite is true. Remarkably, Latin America, China, Africa and the Middle East are in surplus, as shown in the chart nearby.

By definition, such unprecedented foreign liquidity must be invested, and more of such capital usually flows into fixed income instruments than equities. Believe it or not, comparable rates outside the U.S. are even lower than ours. Economic growth is so anemic in Europe and Japan, for example, that the yield on Japan's 10-year government bond is 1.3%, while the 10-year German Bund is at 3.3%. At the margin, therefore, the highest returns are realized on American bonds. That is why this excess foreign liquidity has nowhere else to go.

This is the one aspect of our overall financial picture which is both new and carries significant impact. On that basis, it is a more likely explanation of the conundrum than either a misguided bond market or an incorrect consensus economic forecast.

The final question is whether this unprecedented phenomenon will continue to suppress U.S. long-term interest rates. The logical answer is yes -- but not indefinitely. At some point, foreign investors' holdings of dollar-based assets will rise beyond any prudent standard of diversification. They will then, at minimum, stop adding to these holdings. If nothing else changes in the interim, that will end our interest-rate honeymoon.


Summary of Tidbits from June 15-June 29, 2005
The entire Tidbits Directory is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsdirectory.htm

Music: Games People Play --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/house.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




If you're going to borrow money to buy a home, better to borrow in Florida than North Dakota.
While the media tends to quote national averages on mortgage rates, in fact rates vary widely from state to state -- over time and on any given day. On June 8, the highest rate on a 30-year-fixed mortgage was 6.79% in West Virginia, and the lowest rate was 4.89% in Georgia, according to Bankrate.com.
Steven Sloan, "Want a Good Mortgage Rate? It May Depend on Your State," The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2005; Page D2 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111816047825153017,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Advice about mortgages from Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek, June 6, 2005, Page 41.

For great tips on mortgages, visit Guttentag's (a professor at Wharton) site --- http://www.mtgprofessor.com/

For quick quotes, check eloan.com --- http://www.eloan.com/

Ignore the "cheap loan" promises in your e-mail . . . Spammers merely collect names to sell to lenders --- or worse, pry for personal information.

Bob Jensen's threads on Internet frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

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


Help for victims of investment fraud --- http://www.helpforinvestors.org/
Think you're a victim of investment fraud? Want to check out your financial adviser? Need to report identity theft? A new streamlined Web site from the Alliance for Investor Education, www.helpforinvestors.org, provides direct links to the right government agencies, regulators, and trade groups.
Lauren Young, "A Tool for Investors in Distress:  The new Web site from the Alliance for Investor Education offers lots of help, including for those who may have been duped," Business Week, June 15, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jun2005/nf20050615_4371_db035.htm?chan=tc
Bob Jensen's helpers for victims of various types of fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm


Sharing Professor of the Week
Trinity University's Geology Professor Glenn Kroeger --- http://www.trinity.edu/gkroeger/

Specialties: Geophysics, Seismology, Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems

Courses:

Projects:


Women Often Discover Their Business Talent After Kids Are Raised
In addition, it often takes women longer to believe in themselves enough to seek jobs in which they wield power. "By their 40s and 50s, after observing a few male bosses, women finally begin to say to themselves, 'These guys aren't any smarter than I am,' " says Ms. Liswood. Yet few big corporations are flexible enough to take advantage of women's life cycles by, for example, giving them flexible schedules when they are raising young children and promotion opportunities when they are older. A lot of middle-age women have found their own solution: launching their own businesses. There are 10.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing 19.1 million people, and two out of three of the new businesses being launched are women-owned. "A lot of these women have worked for big corporations, but at 40 or so when a lot are still stuck in middle management they start thinking, 'I can have more influence and a bigger piece of the pie doing it on my own,' " says Marsha Firestone, founder of the Women Presidents' Organization. The average age of the group's members is 49.
Carol Hymowitz, "Women Often Discover Their Business Talent After Kids Are Raised," The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111870963411258724,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


Mind on Fire
A new biography of Empson has come out recently (or rather, the first of two volumes of a biography, which might just be overdoing it). So that might be part of what’s stirred up the memory. But there is also the fact that I’m at the early stage of writing a book — and at the other extreme from anything resembling the monotonous lucidity Burke describes. Each fact, each idea, every dim intuition seems to connect to all the others. At times this is exciting. The brain blazes; hours of concentration prove effortless. And sometimes it’s a pain in the ass. The problem being that you cannot write a book out of a pure intuition of possible linkages. (Not unless you are a novelist, or the author of one of those fictions of cohesive personal identity known as a memoir.) For a work of nonfiction prose, you have to gather a lot of information — and then control it. So it’s disconcerting to find that your ideas are swarming without a center They keep running to the bookshelves to prove themselves. And if it turns out — as I’m finding it often does — that no scholar has written anything on some topic absolutely essential to the project, then a kind of panicky weariness kicks in. It feels like being obliged to reinvent the wheel without knowing what a circle looks like.
Scott McLemee, "Mind on Fire," Inside Higher Ed, June 14 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/14/mclemee


Stem Cells Get Brainy
Scientists induce certain mice brain cells, which are also stem cells, to multiply. The discovery could spell good news for fighting diseases like Parkinson's and Huntington's.
"Stem Cells Get Brainy," Wired News, June 13, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,67843,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_9


Staying divorced is bad for health
Coining a new term, "marital biography," to denote your entire lifelong experience with marriage, divorce and remarriage, the study's co-authors, University of Chicago's Linda Waite and Duke University's Mary Elizabeth Hughes, will show how that history has a cumulative effect on health. Indeed, your marital biography has an even bigger impact on long-term health than whether you are married or divorced at any particular time. The longer you spend in a divorced or widowed state, the higher the likelihood of heart or lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and difficulties with mobility, such as walking or climbing stairs, according to the 2005 study of 8,652 people age 51 to 61. The research, funded by the National Institute on Aging, will be presented a week from today at a Dallas conference of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization.
"Another Argument for Marriage: How Divorce Can Put Your Health at Risk," The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2005, Page D1 ---  http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111888263357661063,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


Testing a disposable camcorder
Disposable photo cameras have been around for years and have carved out a healthy niche in the overall photography market. But nobody has come up with a disposable video camcorder -- until now. Last week, a one-time-use, digital video camera made by Pure Digital Technologies Inc. of San Francisco went on sale in selected drugstores across the nation. Although it's not yet available in Northern California, pending a regional distribution deal, the company hopes to have it on local store shelves by the end of the summer. Retailing for $30, the pocket-sized digital camcorder stores only 20 minutes' worth of video and won't produce the same quality shots that owners of more expensive digital camcorders have come to expect.
Benny Evangelista, "Testing out disposable camcorder: S.F. firm makes it easy to e-mail clips made on tiny device," San Francisco Chronicle,  June 13, 2005 ---
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/13/BUGO0D5OEG28.DTL&type=tech


Advocate for women in higher education
On June 1, Judith S. White became the new executive director of Higher Education Resource Services, known by the acronym HERS, which runs a series of leadership development programs for women in academe.White, who held a series of administrative positions at Duke University, recently discussed her new position and the outlook for women in higher education.
"Advocate for Women," Inside Higher Ed, June 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/careers/2005/06/16/white

Are you a prosumer?
Prosumers are passionate about the technology they use for their creative pursuits. ''How much time do you have?" replies Dr. Cyril Mazansky, when asked about his equipment. Mazansky is a radiologist who is also a devoted nature photographer. ''I could happily talk to you about this all afternoon." For technology companies, they're tough customers, more sophisticated and demanding than garden-variety consumers, but less experienced and free-spending than professionals. The word ''prosumer" was coined in 1979 by the futurist Alvin Toffler. Initially, it referred to an individual who would be involved in designing the things she purchased (a mash-up of the words ''producer" and ''consumer.") These days, the term more often refers to a segment of users midway between consumers and professionals. This kind of prosumer doesn't necessarily earn money by making music, videos, or photos, but is still willing to invest in more serious hardware and software than the typical dabbler, and spend more time using it.
Scott Kirsner, "Are you a prosumer? Take this hand quiz," Boston Globe, June 13, 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2005/06/13/are_you_a_prosumer_take_this_hand_quiz/ 


Are you a prosumer?
The Maryland Department of Health says results from a federally funded study underscore the need for targeted HIV prevention programs, especially for gay black men in Baltimore. The research was a risk-behavior study of Baltimore-area men who have sex with men. The study reveals that one-third the participants are infected with the disease. But half of the African American study participants are HIV positive. The study was conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health between June 2004 and April.
"Study Finds High Rates of HIV Among Gay Men," ABC News, June 15, 2005 --- http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0605/236070.html


Phonic Ear's Front Row Active Learning System
FDA Clears Phonic Ear Active Learning Systems for Classroom Communication Phonic Ear has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for medical devices that improve speech intelligibility in classrooms for hearing impaired and normal-hearing children and adolescents. This clearance designates Phonic Ear's Front Row Active Learning Systems design, which clarifies and amplifies a teachers' voice, as a safe and effective means for improving speech intelligibility. Phonic Ear is the first and only wireless technology developer to earn this clearance for these systems. In addition to improving children's listening skills, Front Row Active Learning Systems could also be a relief on school budgets: U.S. schools may lose as much as $2.5 billion annually in sick leave for teachers with vocal problems, according to the University of Iowa's National Center for Voice and Speech.
T.H.E. Newsletter on June 15, 2005

For the full story, visit http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/050608/85337.html?.v=1 


Search the deep (password protected) Web
Yahoo said it had begun testing a service that lets users search information on password-protected subscription sites such as LexisNexis, known as the "deep Web." The move comes as Yahoo (YHOO), Google (GOOG) and Ask Jeeves (ASKJ) rush to give web searchers access to ever more information -- from books, blogs and scholarly journals to news, products, images and video. The service, called Yahoo Search Subscriptions, allows users to search multiple online subscription content sources and the web from a single search box. Users can see content from the sites they subscribe to, while nonsubscribers have the option of paying to see it. Content providers, for their part, get access to the vast audience of web search users.
"Surfing the Deep Web," Wired News, June 16, 2005 ---
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,67883,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_7

Also see http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/050616/165255.html?.v=1

The Yahoo Search Subscriptions site is at http://search.yahoo.com/subscriptions

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm


Online Classroom Network Set to Launch Major Chinese-English LanguageLearning Portal
ePALS Classroom Exchange will launch a Chinese-English Language and Learning Portal in September, enabling its 103,000 global classrooms to connect with Chinese schools in a teacher-supervised online environment. Initially, the focus will be on matching 60,000 English-speaking K-12 schools in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland with schools in China, allowing Chinese teachers and students to practice English language skills while English-speaking schools learn Chinese history, culture, and, language. The company will integrate basic Chinese and English language learning tools into the portal as well as the company's proprietary school-safe, multi-lingual e-mail and eMentoring tools to power the collaboration between classrooms.
T.H.E. Newsletter on June 15, 2005

For the full story, visit http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050606/nym103.html?.v=10 


Upgrading teacher education programs
Teacher preparation programs have taken a pounding in recent years, from legislators concerned about the dearth of teachers being produced and policy makers who view the programs as outdated and unwilling to change. In 1998, the last time Congress adopted legislation to extend the Higher Education Act, teachers’ colleges (and, in turn, higher education leaders viewed as defending them) were lambasted by Rep. George Miller (D-Cal.), who accused them of turning out poorly prepared instructors. He won passage of new standards and reporting requirements designed to measure, state by state, the quality of teacher training programs. Seeking to shift from defense to offense, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education played host Wednesday to a briefing on Capitol Hill aimed at “debunking the myths” that teacher training programs are lethargic and ("We’re not grandma’s normal school any more,” as the group’s executive director, Sharon P. Robinson, put it) and at introducing its own draft legislation for the teacher training portion of the Higher Education Act, which Congress is once again preparing to renew.
Doug Lederman, "Playing Offense, Not Defense," Inside Higher Ed, June 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/16/teachered


Upgrading 'community' college learning
For many low-income students, the gateway to higher education is through urban community colleges. But many of those students have received poor educations in high school, and have a good chance of getting stuck in remedial courses and never graduating. Some community colleges are experimenting with new approaches to educating these students, but there are few examples of concrete evidence of how successful those approaches are. This week, however, a study is being released that suggests that the use of “learning communities” can have a significant impact on the success of students who need the most help.
Scott Jaschik, "Keeping Students Enrolled," Inside Higher Ed, June 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/16/cc


PLATO Orion Standards and Curriculum Integrator
Largest Idaho District Selects PLATO Orion for Standards-Based Teaching Initiative PLATO Learning Inc. announced it has been awarded a $454,000 agreement with Idaho's Meridian Joint School District for a districtwide implementation of PLATO Orion Standards and Curriculum Integrator. PLATO Orion is an integrated instructional management system that supports the continuous improvement and data-driven decision-making processes of educational organizations. At the district level, it helps curriculum specialists identify standards and objectives for each grade and allows administrators to identify gaps in standards coverage within existing materials and lesson plans. At the building level, teachers use PLATO Orion to access, create, and use formative assessments to identify students' strengths and weaknesses and then identify and assign aligned resources, including PLATO Instructional Solutions, lessons plans, textbooks, and Web sites for individualized instruction.
T.H.E. Newsletter on June 15, 2005

For the full story, visit http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/050609/95097.html?.v=1 

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of computer-based course management systems are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm


Especially note how to unlock retail codes
I agree with most of the advice below except for advice to buy custom made shoes if you have rather standard-made feet.  Note that in some cases below I quoted only the caption and not the text under that caption.

"Unlocking the Special Codes," The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111871443117158844,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

From tuition discounts to estate planning to special codes that unlock retail deals, here are some other techniques for saving time and money.

Don't pay full price for a Broadway theater ticket.

 Web sites to check out include BroadwayBox.com, TheaterMania.com and Playbill.com.

 Focus on home renovations that enhance resale value:
 
 

 Don't pay full price for college

   
Ask for a discount. Hungry for the brightest students, many of the country's stronger universities are actively discounting tuition. These rebates, which can be thousands of dollars, aren't coming from endowments or government grants.

 

 The only way to lose weight is to cut calories:
 

 Timing is everything when it comes to finding cheaper airfares:
 

 It also is possible to get deals online by using special retail codes:
 

Just go to one of the following Web sites: naughtycodes.com, currentcodes.com, dealhunting.com or discountcodes.com. Scroll down the menu to find stores, then enter the store's discount code to complete a purchase.

Another approach is simply buying something online and then signing up for special promotions and email alerts. Some of these deals can be found on bargain-hunter sites such as DealHunting.com, ShoppersResource.com and QuickToClick.com.

 

 Consider a living trust:
 

Assets in a living trust go directly to heirs designated by the trust and avoid probate, saving you legal expenses. If you own homes in two states and want to avoid probate in one of the states, you can put that home in a living trust. Be sure the cost of setting up trusts, and revising them as situations change, doesn't exceed the legal fees and taxes you are trying to avoid.

 Buy custom-made shoes:
 

For men, a leather rounded-toe Oxford lace-up with hand-sewn welting is the most comfortable shoe there is. That is because welting -- where a strip of material is hand-stitched between the sole and the upper part of the shoe -- is essential for enhancing flexibility.

It also makes the shoe easier to repair, since cobblers can easily rip and replace, compared to ready-made shoes with glued and molded soles directly attached to the upper. If you can't afford custom-made shoes, buy ready-made shoes elsewhere and bring them into the store to have welting put in. This costs about a third of the price of a handmade pair.

 When ordering cocktails, ask for premium tequila but don't bother with expensive vodka:
 
The most common way people waste money on booze is by asking for super-high-end vodkas when ordering a mixed drink, as the subtle qualities of ultra-premium vodka get washed out by fruity mixers. Save the good stuff for straight-up with a twist. By contrast, the average consumer acts like a cheapskate when it comes to ordering tequila -- yet spending the extra money can make all the difference in a margarita. What you want: a brand with 100% blue agave.

Findings that led Duke to drop supplying students with iPods for course use
"Duke Analyzes iPod Project," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, June 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/16/ipod

Among the findings:
  • More than 600 students were in courses using the iPods each semester of the academic year that just concluded.
  • Use was greatest among foreign language and music courses, although a range of disciplines used the devices.
  • While audio playback was the initial focus of most of those involved, students and faculty reported the greatest interest in digital recording.
  • The effort was hurt by a lack of systems for bulk purchases of mp3 audio content for academic use.
  • There are many “inherent limitations” in the iPod, such as the lack of instructor tools for combining text and audio.
  • Some recordings made with the iPod were not of high enough quality for academic use.
  • The project resulted in increased collaboration among faculty members and technology officials at the university, and the publicity about the project led to more collaborations with other institutions

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


New accounting curriculum at a leading accounting program in the U.S.
Professors at Kansas State University College of Business Administration are spearheading a campaign to emphasize the importance of ethics in business education. The call to support Uniform Accountancy Rules 5-1 and 5-2 as effort to prevent future corporate ethics scandals, has been endorsed by more than 200 ethicists, business professionals, two conference boards and, of course, fellow professors.  “The accounting profession, especially the large firms, see a need and have expressed support for ethics courses as part of the accounting curriculum,” says Dann Fisher, associate professor of accounting and the Deloitte Touche Faculty Fellow at Kansas State University. “The resistance expressed by the academic community is what I find disconcerting. In general, accounting faculty appear to be unwilling to change and, at the same time, bitter that an external body would attempt to force them to change curriculum. Regardless of the reasons, the status quo is unacceptable.”
"Professors Call for New Accounting Curriculum Mandate," AccountingWeb, June 10, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100995



KPMG could face criminal charges for obstruction of justice and the sale of abusive tax shelters
Federal prosecutors have built a criminal case against KPMG LLP for obstruction of justice and the sale of abusive tax shelters, igniting a debate among top Justice Department officials over whether to seek an indictment -- at the risk of killing one of the four remaining big accounting firms. Federal prosecutors and KPMG's lawyers are now locked in high-wire negotiations that could decide the fate of the firm, according to lawyers briefed on the case. Under unwritten Justice Department policy, companies facing possible criminal charges often are permitted to plead their case to higher-ups in the department. These officials are expected to take into account the strength of evidence in the case -- the culmination of a long-running investigation -- and any mitigating factors, as well as broader policy issues posed by the possible loss of the firm. A KPMG lawyer declined to comment. The chief spokesman for the firm, George Ledwith, said yesterday that "we have continued to cooperate fully" with investigators. He declined to discuss any other aspect of the case.
John R. Wilke, "KPMG Faces Indictment Risk On Tax Shelters:  Justice Officials Debate Whether to Pursue Case; Fears of 'Andersen Scenario'," The Wall Street Journal,  June 16, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111888827431261200,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

KPMG Addresses Ex-Partners Unlawful Conduct
The specter of felled Arthur Andersen LLP hovers in federal prosecutors' calculations as they negotiate with another accounting titan, KPMG, over sales of dubious tax shelters. The Big Four accounting firm acknowledged Thursday that there was unlawful conduct by some former KPMG partners and said it takes ''full responsibility'' for the violations as it cooperates with the Justice Department's investigation. Deals allowing companies to avoid criminal prosecution are becoming an increasingly attractive alternative for the Justice Department and a clear option in the KPMG case. Just Wednesday, the government announced a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in which the drugmaker agreed to pay $300 million to defer prosecution related to its fraudulent manipulation of sales and income, in exchange for its cooperation and meeting certain terms. The Justice Department has been investigating KPMG and some former executives for promoting the tax shelters from 1996 through 2002 for wealthy individuals. The shelters allegedly abused the tax laws and yielded big fees for KPMG while costing the government as much as $1.4 billion in lost revenue, The Wall Street Journal reported in Thursday's editions.
"KPMG Addresses Ex-Partners Unlawful Conduct," The New York Times, June 16, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-KPMG-Investigation.html?


KPMG Apologizes for Tax Shelters
Seeking to stave off possible federal criminal charges that it promoted improper tax shelters and obstructed probes into them, KPMG LLP acknowledged that former partners had acted illegally and apologized. "KPMG takes full responsibility for the unlawful conduct by former KPMG partners during that period, and we deeply regret that it occurred," the firm said in a statement issued yesterday. The public contrition has been common with other firms and companies under legal pressure, but it hasn't been with KPMG. It came after The Wall Street Journal reported that Justice Department officials were debating whether to indict the firm, and it marks a reversal. The firm for years used aggressive litigation tactics that set it apart from the three other Big Four accounting firms, which moved more quickly to resolve allegations that they peddled improper tax shelters. KPMG's past uncompromising stance is at the heart of a possible obstruction charge, a person familiar with the matter said.
Kara Scannell, "KPMG Apologizes for Tax Shelters," The Wall Street Journal,  June 17, 2005; Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111896597467162114,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


Bob Jensen's threads on KPMG's scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#KPMG


J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle a lawsuit filed by investors in Enron
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle a lawsuit filed by investors in Enron, according to the Associated Press. The decision by the third largest bank in the United States comes just four days after Citigroup said it would pay $2 billion to settle the claims against it in the shareholder lawsuit, which is led by the University of California’s Board of Regents.
"Another Enron Settlement," Inside Higher Ed, June 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/15/qt

Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron scandal are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm


Watergate:  The known and the hushed up conspiracies
Watergate involved two conspiracies. The first, now ancient history, was the botched cover-up of a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, in which President Nixon was briefly complicit. But we now know there was a far larger and more successful conspiracy involving the FBI's No. 2, to rifle confidential files, to help The Washington Post bring down a president who had topped its enemies list since Joe McCarthy had gone to his grave.
Patrick J. Buchanan, "Watergate: The Great Myth of American Journalism," Human Events Online, June 10, 2005 --- http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=7706


Music: Whiskey Bar --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/whiskeybar.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




June 18, 2005 message from Bob Blystone

The web site below produced by the University of British Columbia reminds one of those beautiful flowers.

http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/potd/

Each day they post a flower of the day and provide information for the subject flower. The photos can be quite stunning and I have the urge to print the pictures and put them up on the wall. The photos are archived so one can look back on previous selections.

Reply from Bob Jensen

It's been a cold and wet summer in the White Mountains.  Nevertheless, our lupine fields have been nice.

 

 


We all get heavier as we get older because, there's a lot more information in our heads. That's my story and I’m sticking to it.
Garfield

Proving that I am right would be admitting that I could be wrong.
Pierre Caron de Beaumarchais


Check the charges on your MasterCard billings (this may also affect Discover,Visa, and American Express to a lesser extent).  I recommend changing your credit card numbers the same as if you lost each credit card.  You can do so using the phone number on the back of each card.  It may take a week or two to get your new cards, so I suggest that you wait until you get your new MasterCard before ordering new numbers on your other cards.
MasterCard International reported yesterday that more than 40 million credit card accounts of all brands might have been exposed to fraud through a computer security breach at a payment processing company, perhaps the largest case of stolen consumer data to date.
Eric Dash and Tom Zeller, Jr., "MasterCard Says 40 Million Files Are Put at Risk," The New York Times, June 18, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/nytJune18


Using Your Cell Phone Anywhere in the World --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/travel/19prac.html


Compact Cameras Get Faster, Smarter, Thinner ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/10/AR2005061001350.html?referrer=email


Review of a sociologist's book Damned Lies and Statistics:  How Numbers Confuse Public Issues --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/more_damned_lies_and_statistics.htm

Self-evidently a sequel to Best’s previous book, it continues a formula that was successful in providing an accessible account of some more of the numerical misdemeanours of modern society. Coming from a sociologist, this is again a remarkably readable and even grammatical work (he knows, for example that data is a plural word). The formula of avoiding anything but the most superficial calculation has the advantage of appealing to a wide audience, but occasionally it creates problems of circumlocution and fuzziness. On the other hand, in the Best tradition, there are many concise bons mots that neatly encapsulate a truth; such as crime waves are not so much patterns of criminal behaviour as they are patterns in media coverage.

There is apt coverage of the modern urge to attach numbers where they cannot possibly apply, such as the quality of teaching. On the whole sociological jargon is avoided, with occasional lapses, though the avoidance of naming some important concepts tends to lead to their being lost in the verbiage. The post hoc fallacy, for example, gets buried in an anecdote about breast implants, and it is too important for that. Sometimes the simplification is positively misleading. We have, for example, “cherry-picking (sometimes called data-dredging)”. These concepts are not equivalent, though they often exist together.

These are, however, rather pedantic quibbles, and the book is very successful in achieving its aim of warning ordinary intelligent people of the dangers of believing the numbers that they read. It is one of the tragedies of modern Anglo-Saxon society that the majority of such readers are almost uniformly innumerate. The approach here is to classify various numbers in the chapter headings (missing numbers, confusing numbers, scary numbers, authoritative numbers, magical numbers and contentious numbers).  There is a final optimistic chapter called Towards statistical numeracy, which highlights some of the resources to be found in the Number Watch links.

Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues, by Joel Best, University of California Press, 2004, ISBN 0 520 23830 3


How Schools Cheat From underreporting violence to inflating graduation rates to fudging test scores, educators are lying to the American public --- http://www.reason.com/0506/fe.ls.how.shtml


Listen to the classics:  Download audio books from the NY Public Library
The New York Public Library announced Monday that it is making 700 books _ from classics to current best sellers _ available to members in digital audio form for downloading onto PCs, CD players and portable listening devices.
"N.Y. Public Library Starts Digital Library," The Washington Post, June 13, 2005 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/13/AR2005061301093.html?referrer=email

Bob Jensen's helpers when searching for Searching for Audio Books, Clips, Lectures, Speeches, and Books are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#Audio


I haven't tried this but Snopes says it won't work --- http://www.snopes.com/autos/techno/keyless.asp

Urban Legend:  How to unlock your car using a cell phone

Have you locked the keys in the car? If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are home, call someone at home on your cell phone and ask them to get your car keys.

Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the other person at home press the unlock button on your keys while holding it near the phone on their end.

Your car will unlock. It will save someone from having to drive your keys

to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk this way!) 


540 or more examples of Nigerian fraud email messages that plague us daily --- http://www.potifos.com/fraud/

 Bob Jensen's threads on these and similar fruads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm


The MSN new toolbar's Windows Desktop Search feature is better than Google's Desktop Search toolbar
Windows won't have integrated desktop search until the fall of 2006, and IE won't have built-in tabbed browsing until this summer. But Microsoft has just released a free product that adds both features to Windows computers. These add-on versions of desktop search and tabbed browsing aren't as good as their built-in counterparts, but they get the basic job done. Microsoft's new, free utility goes by the ridiculously long name of MSN Search Toolbar With Windows Desktop Search, and it can be downloaded at http://toolbar.msn.com/  . When you download the toolbar, it adds a new row of icons and drop-down menus to the IE browser. Many of these are aimed at driving users to other MSN products, like its Hotmail email service. But you can also use the toolbar to turn on tabbed browsing and to perform desktop searches . . . The MSN toolbar's Windows Desktop Search feature is better. It beats the most popular add-in desktop search product for Windows, Google Desktop Search, but it's slower and more cumbersome than the integrated search in Apple's new operating system.
Walter Mossberg, " Free Microsoft Stopgap Offers Tabbed Browsing And Desktop Searching," The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2005 --- http://ptech.wsj.com/ptech.html

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm


Are Business Schools Failing the World
JEFFREY E. GARTEN, 58, who is stepping down after 10 years as dean of the Yale School of Management, says he does not think American business schools are doing a good enough job. Here are excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Garten, who became the dean after a career on Wall Street specializing in debt restructuring abroad and a stint as under secretary of commerce for international trade . . . It's extremely difficult to figure out what to teach in a two-year course, to reflect today's realities, let alone what the world will look like 10 or 20 years from now when the graduates reach their stride in terms of their careers.
William J. Holstein, "Are Business Schools Failing the World?" The New York Times, June 19, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/business/yourmoney/19advi.html

June 19, 2005 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU]

AECMers also might like to read the article "How Business Schools lost their way" by Warren Bennis and James O'Toole in the may 2005 issue of HBR. Fascinating. It makes many of the same points as the Garten interview.

A far more potent article ("Bad management theories are destroying good management practices") is the one by Sumantra Ghoshal of the London Business School, published postumously in the Journal "Academy of Management Learning & Education" a few months ago. If I had my way, this would be a required reading for all B-school faculty.

Paul Williams also has an article "A Social view on accounting ethics" in Research on Accounting Ethics that expresses similar views.

I would draw the following sequence of events (I am caricaturing below, but there is a good dose of truth nevertheless):

Stage 1: It is my understanding that B-schools sprung out of Economics departments because of their emphasis on non-business aspects of economics and the lack of tolerance of non-traditional/innovative interdisciplinary research of great value in business (real world is not stove-piped) -- look for example at the pathbreaking Columbia dissertation of William Cooper (Revisions to the theory of the firm") that was turned down (if my memory is right), but subsequently published in a reputed economics journal.

Stage 2: Separation from the economics departments got the B-schools autonomy, and the so-called "clinical" faculty were very much a part of the community. While this arrangement was ideal, the problem was the desperate need of the B Schools for academic respectability and credibility. The pendulum swung again in stage 3.

Stage 3: To gain academic respectability, B schools went back to their "roots" stove-piped research. In fact much of the research in B schools today, in my opinion, could be done far more efficiently with far greater quality control, in the traditional departments across the campus. Also, clinical faculty are looked upon often as necessary evil to be tolerated because they give us a modicum of credibility in the business world. Looks like the pendulum may be swinging again.

I have lived through all three of the stages above. When I was an undergraduate, we were taught most courses by "clinical" faculty (accounting by practicing chartered accountants, actuarial subjects by practicing actuaries, law courses by practicing barristers/solicitors; I was surprised to discover that even my statistics instructor ran a small-scale production shop). Early in graduate school, I was taught Operations Research by practitioners from ICI and BAT, MIS by an engineer at Honeywell, Production Management by one from Exide Batteries, Personnel management by one from Alcan subsidiary,... However, as I progressed through my graduate education I saw less and less of them until they almost completely disappeared, at least for the graduate students.

To be frank, this has affected accounting far more than some other areas in Bschools (specially in Finance where the interactions between the academia and the industry are strong). In my humble opinion, the main reason for this is that the real world is, of necessity, normative (the only reason in business to understand a mousetrap is to be able to build a better one, in the academia it seems to be to contemplate the navel), whereas in accounting academia we have given normative research a bum rap. Consequently there is little substantive interaction between the academia and the profession except on a social basis.

Respectfully submitted,

Jagdish


Pay for Internet purchases using the new Google electronic-payment service
Google Inc. this year plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the Internet-search company diversify its revenue and may put it in competition with eBay Inc.'s PayPal unit, according to people familiar with the matter.
Kevin J. Delaney and Mylene Mangalindan, "Google Plans Online-Payment Service:  New Business May Diversify Revenue Stream, Compete With eBay's PayPal Arm," The Wall Street Journal,  June 20, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111905141149263168,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


A lavish looter will have to take some time off from spending his hundreds of millions of booty
L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International, and his top lieutenant were convicted yesterday on fraud, conspiracy and grand larceny charges, bringing an end to a three-year-long case that came to symbolize an era of corporate greed and scandal.  The four-month-long trial was the second time Mr. Kozlowski and Mr. Swartz were tried on charges of stealing $150 million from Tyco - a conglomerate whose products range from security systems to health care - and reaping $430 million more by covertly selling company shares while '"artificially inflating" the value of the stock
Andrew Ross Sorkin, "Ex-Chief and Aide Guilty of Looting Millions at Tyco," The New York Times, June 18, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/TycoVerdict 


Another review of Freakonomics
"A Romp Through Theories More Fanciful Than Freaky," by Roger Lowenstein, The New York Times, June 19, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/business/yourmoney/19shelf.html

The authors show the dangers in the crack trade by pointing out that the fatality rate for street dealers is greater than that of inmates on death row in Texas; they demonstrate the power of information, and the way the Internet has eroded the pricing power of automobile dealers, by recounting how a quite unrelated network (the Ku Klux Klan) was done in by an infiltrator who broadcast the group's secrets.

The book is only barely about economics, freakish or otherwise, and even when the authors venture into a standard tutorial, such as one about how supply and demand influence wages, they do so with delightful and unexpected curveballs. Thus, they observe, "The typical prostitute earns more than the typical architect." This is less surprising than it might appear. Working conditions limit the supply of prostitutes and, as for demand, the authors mischievously observe that "an architect is more likely to hire a prostitute than vice versa."

Their protestation notwithstanding, "Freakonomics" does have a unifying theme, which is the power of incentives to explain, and perhaps to predict, behavior. The authors clearly tilt against the one-dimensional theory, so dear to orthodox economists, that people are always motivated solely by maximizing their wealth. Rather, they side with the up-and-coming behavioralist school, which sees people's motivations as more nuanced and polydimensional.

Continued in article


Cognitive Science ePrint Search Engine --- http://cogprints.org/

Welcome to CogPrints, an electronic archive for self-archive papers in any area of Psychology, neuroscience, and Linguistics, and many areas of Computer Science (e.g., artificial intelligence, robotics, vison, learning, speech, neural networks), Philosophy (e.g., mind, language, knowledge, science, logic), Biology (e.g., ethology, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, behaviour genetics, evolutionary theory), Medicine (e.g., Psychiatry, Neurology, human genetics, Imaging), Anthropology (e.g., primatology, cognitive ethnology, archeology, paleontology), as well as any other portions of the physical, social and mathematical sciences that are pertinent to the study of cognition.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm


From Nine to Nine:  Technology is far from labor saving
A new report says advances in technology, particularly in the mobile variety, will result in more Americans working longer hours. This cannot be promising for people who already confuse the words "job" and "life."
Robert MacMillan, "Workin' 9 to 9," The Washington Post, June 16, 2005 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/16/AR2005061600801.html?referrer=email 


Comics Looking to Spread A Little (free) Laughter on the Web ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/15/AR2005061502251.html?referrer=email


Evaluating Faculty at the University of Tennessee

Jan R. Williams, "Faculty Evaluation: Lessons Learned," AACSB eNewsline --- http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/enewsline/Vol-4/Issue-6/dc-janwilliams.asp


No relief for relief efforts:  Import tariffs discourage disaster relief and the spirit of giving
New Delhi: Oxfam has had to pay $US1 million ($1.3 million) in customs duty to the Sri Lankan Government for importing 25 four-wheel-drive vehicles to help victims of the tsunami. The sum was levied by customs in Colombo, which has refused to grant tax exemptions to non-governmental organisations working to repair damage caused by the Boxing Day disaster, which killed at least 31,000 people in the country. The Indian-made Mahindra vehicles, essential to negotiate damaged roads and rough tracks, were stuck in port at Colombo for almost a month as officials of the British charity completed the small mountain of paperwork required to release them. Customs charged $US5000 demurrage for every day they stood idle. Oxfam said it had "no choice" but to pay the 300 per cent import tax or face further delays to its relief operation.
"Sri Lanka charges Oxfam $1.3m to bring in jeeps," Sydney Morning Herald, June 18, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/06/17/1118869095366.html


College grads enter an encouraging job market
But compared with recent years, America's 1.35 million new college graduates are having an easier time of it. “It's been a good job market for grads,” says John Challenger, CEO of the global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “[It's] up 13 percent over last year. The last three years have been very rough.”
Kevin Tibbles, "College grads enter an encouraging job market:  Things are looking up, if you know where to look," MSNBC, June 17, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8259716/

 


The future of textbooks?
From Jim Mahar's blog on June 16, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

The future of text books?
Megginson and Smart
Introdcution to Corporate Finance--Companion Site

Wow.
I think we may have a glimpse into the future of text books with this one. It is the new Introduction to Corporate Finance by William Megginson and Scott Smart.

From videos for most topics, to interviews, to powerpoint, to a student study guide, to excel help...just a total integration of a text and a web site! Well done!

At St. Bonaventure we have adopted the text for the fall semester and the book actually has made me excited to be teaching an introductory course! It is that good!!

BTW Before I get accused of selling out, let me say I get zero for this plug. I have met each author at conferences but do not really know either of them. And like any first edition book there may be some errors, but that said, this is the future of college text books!

Check out some of the online material here. More material is available with book purchase.

June 18 reply from Robert Holmes Glendale College [rcholmes@GLENDALE.CC.CA.US]

I chose not to submit my personal information in return for a look at the material, but just a look at the resources was enough to tell me they are extensive. How much time do we expect our students will spend each week on a course? What do we think they should do with that time? Attending class, reading the text, looking at Powepoint, working Excel problems, reviewing the answers to the problems, looking at resources in the Resource Integration Guide, writing papers, taking notes, "learning"/memorizing the notes. Does looking at a lot of different things produce learning? Is it efficient? I look forward to hearing about how many of these resources are actually used, and if they produce more learning.

June 19, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Robert,

What gets used depends heavily on the quality of the materials. I've found little use for many of the supplements that accompany the most accounting textbooks because the supplements are generally cheap shots and over-hyped crap, including the videos and many of the PowerPoint shows. One major publisher, for example, has PowerPoint with audio that simply reads the PowerPoint captions. The videos sometimes are only company PR blurbs that have little or nothing to add to accounting study.

I'm told by insiders that what gets spent on quality supplements really depends upon market size, and accounting is not really a big market relative to mathematics, basic science, economics, and other courses required that are part of the core for virtually all college students.

I think what Jim was trying to say was that the Megginson and Smart textbook is the first finance text that had real money spent on supplements. I'm still waiting to see the first accounting textbook that has real money spent on Web supplements.

Bob Jensen

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


Rethinking Mathematics
Rethinking Schools: Spring 2005:   Rethinking Mathematics (with special emphasis on math education of urban African Americans) ---  http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/19_03/19_03.shtml


Images of farm machine history --- http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/feature/mccormick/
The McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection includes hundreds of thousands of images dating from the 1840s through the 1980s. The images were created by and for Cyrus McCormick and his family, the McCormick companies, and the International Harvester Company. They document agriculture, rural life, industrial labor, advertising, small towns, transportation, and the agricultural machinery, truck and construction equipment industries.

Bob Jensen's threads on history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History

June 17, 2005 reply from Paula Ward

The same/related (?) website has a fantastic collection of manuscripts, one of which is the Lyman Copeland Draper Manuscript Collection: The collection as a whole covers primarily the period between the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 (ca. 1755-1815). The geographic concentration is on what Draper and his contemporaries called the "Trans-Allegheny West," which included the western Carolinas and Virginia, some portions of Georgia and Alabama, the entire Ohio River valley, and parts of the Mississippi River valley.

I forget how many volumes and rolls of microfilm make up the Draper Manuscript Collection, but it is huge. A very small portion of it is available on the website. As luck would have it, the portion available on the website includes information about a member of my family (Benjamin Kelley/Kelly) who was captured, along with Daniel Boone, by the Shawnee Indians in 1778 at the Blue Licks in Kentucky:

Document AJ-150: Recollections on Capture by the Shawnee, 1778 - Jackson's Recollections as recorded by Lyman Copeland Draper (14 pages on microfilm):

http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cgi-bin/docviewer.exe?CISOROOT=/aj&CISOPTR=17869&CISOSHOW=17854

 

All this and more at The Wisconsin Historical Society's American Journeys: Eyewitness Accounts of Early American Exploration and Settlement http://www.americanjourneys.org/index.asp

 


Expressions of Faith (Religion) ---  http://www.collectbritain.co.uk/galleries/faith/


A new version of Camtasia includes the ability to feed video camera footage into your videos of computer screen images.  Other new features are described at http://www.techsmith.com/products/studio/comingsoon.asp

Bob Jensen's tutorials using Camtasia and tutorials explaining how to use Camtasia to create video lectures are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm


Ten years of the Louvre online (art history)
Musee du Louvre --- http://www.louvre.fr/

Bob Jensen's threads on art history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History


Hedge Funds Are Growing: Is This Good or Bad?
When the ratings agencies downgraded General Motors debt to junk status in early May, a chill shot through the $1 trillion hedge fund industry. How many of these secretive investment pools for the rich and sophisticated would be caught on the wrong side of a GM bond bet? In the end, the GM bond bomb was a dud. Hedge funds were not as exposed as many had thought. But the scare did help fuel the growing debate about hedge funds. Are they a benefit to the financial markets, or a menace? Should they be allowed to continue operating in their free-wheeling style, or should they be reined in by new requirements, such as a move to make them register as investment advisors with the Securities and Exchange Commission?
"Hedge Funds Are Growing: Is This Good or Bad?" Knowledge@wharton,  June 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1225     

German Chancellor's Call for Global Regulations to Curb Hedge Funds
Germany and the United States are parting company again, this time over Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's call for international regulations to govern hedge funds. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, speaking here Thursday at the end of a five-country European tour, said the United States opposed "heavy-handed" curbs on markets. He said that he was not familiar with the German proposals, but left little doubt about how Washington would react. "I think we ought to be very careful about heavy-handed regulation of markets because it stymies financial innovation," Mr. Snow said after a news conference here to sum up his visit. Noting that the Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed that hedge funds be required to register themselves, he said he preferred the "light touch rather than the heavy regulatory burden."
Mark Landler, "U.S. Balks at German Chancellor's Call for Global Regulations to Curb Hedge Funds," The New York Times, June 17, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/17/business/worldbusiness/17hedge.html?

Bob Jensen's definitions and discussions of hedge funds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#HedgeFunds


Question
What is PC World's choice for the best product of 2005?

Answer
The 100 Best Products of 2005," PC World, June 17, 2005 --- http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,120763,00.asp


Blog Navigation Software
Blog Navigator is a new program that makes it easy to read blogs on the Internet. It integrates into various blog search engines and can automatically determine RSS feeds from within properly coded websites.
Blog Navigator 1.2 http://www.stardock.com/products/blognavigator/

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs and Weblogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog


What do our names mean?  (this is about as serious as astrology) --- http://www.paulsadowski.com/Numbers.asp


This article has a long quotation from the transcript of the 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde

"Not So Wilde," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, June 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/16/mclemee
(This article has a long quotation from the transcript of the trial of Oscar Wilde.)

In any case, the hold of Wilde’s case on the public mind was — and still is — a matter of his grand transgression. It bears scarcely any resemblance to the fascination evoked by Michael Jackson, who embodies something quite different: regression. His retreat to a childlike state appears to be so complete as to prove almost unimaginable, except, perhaps, to a psychiatrist.

Freud wrote of a neverending struggle between the pleasure principle (the ruling passion of the infant’s world) and the reality principle (which obliges us to sustain a certain amount of repression, since the world is not particularly friendly to our immediate urges).

Wilde was the most eloquent defender that the pleasure principle ever had: His aesthetic doctrine held that we ought to transform daily life into a kind of art, and so regain a kind of childlike wonder and creativity, free from pedestrian distractions.

Like all such utopian visions, this one tends to founder on the problem that someone will, after all, need to clean up. The drama of Michael Jackson’s trial came from its proof that — even with millions of dollars and a staff of housekeepers to keep it at bay — the reality principle does have a way of reasserting itself.

And now that the trial is over, perhaps it’s appropriate to recall the paradoxical question Wilde once asked someone about a mutual friend: “When you are alone with him, does he take off his face and reveal his mask?”

Continued in the article


What college students going to pot at the highest rates?
Boulder, Colo., and Boston lead the nation in marijuana use, according to a study released Thursday. The lowest use was reported in northwestern Iowa and southern Texas. For the first time, the government looked at the use of drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and various other substances, legal as well as illegal, by region rather than by state. In Boston, the home of Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern and several other colleges, 12.2 percent reported using marijuana in the previous 30 days. In Boulder County, the home of the University of Colorado, 10.3 percent reported using marijuana during those 30...
"Boulder, Boston Lead Nation In Marijuana Use Young, Active People Will Experiment More With At-Risk Behavior,
Doctor Says," The Denver Channel, June 17, 2005 --- http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/4620681/detail.html


Farm Subsidies Use "Creative Accounting"
The United States and the European Union are using “creative accounting” to mask the huge subsidy payments they are making to their farmers, undermining international talks, according to Oxfam. Oxfam, the British aid agency, said rich countries had promised to eliminate export subsidies by 2016, but they are encouraging farmers, through subsidies, to produce excess goods and dump them on the world market, the Associated Press reported.
"Farm Subsidies Use 'Creative Accounting'," AccountingWeb, June 16, 2005 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101009


Brazilian crop boom threatens U.S. farms
It's a farmer's wonderland, where the fecund soil can be had for as little as $200 a sun-drenched acre and a Maryland-sized chunk of land is cleared each year for cotton, corn, soybean and cattle farms. Agriculture is booming in Brazil, and U.S. farmers are taking notice. Buffeted by high production costs, low market prices and the World Trade Organization, Americans increasingly look to low-cost, low-wage Brazil for economic survival.
"Brazilian crop boom threatens U.S. farms," Arizona Daily Star, May 22, 2005 --- http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/news/76261.php


Social Security: Bad for the Democrats Why are liberals supporting an illiberal system? --- http://www.reason.com/hod/bo061305.shtml


Accounting Rules So Plentiful "It's Nuts"
There are perhaps 2,000 accounting rules and standards that, when written out, possibly exceed the U.S. tax code in length. Yet, there are only the Ten Commandments. So Bob Herz, chairman of the rule-setting Financial Accounting Standards Board, is asked this: How come there are 2,000 rules to prepare a financial statement but only 10 for eternal salvation? "It is nuts," Herz allows. "But you're not going to get it down to ten commandments because the transactions are so complicated. . . . And the people on the front lines, the companies and their auditors, are saying: 'Give me principles, but tell me exactly what to do; I don't want to be second-guessed.' " Nonetheless, the FASB (pronounced, by accounting insiders, as "FAZ-bee") is embarking on efforts to simplify and codify accounting rules while improving them and integrating them with international standards.
"Accounting Rules So Plentiful 'It's Nuts' ; Standards Board Takes on Tough Job to Simplify, Codify," SmartPros, June 8, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x48525.xml

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


Orange Prize for Fiction
The story of a woman who bears a child she loathes, only to watch him become a teenage high-school killer, has won The Economist's chief fiction reviewer, Lionel Shriver, one of Britain's most prestigious literary awards, the £30,000 ($55,000) Orange prize for fiction by women. Ms Shriver's existing agent, and nearly a dozen others, turned down “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (Perennial, Serpent's Tail) before Kim Witherspoon in New York took it on and it was published in April 2003. An unflinching examination of the darker side of parenthood, the book became a lightning rod for debate and a word-of-mouth hit on both sides of the Atlantic after another writer, Amy Hempel, and a determined group of like-minded fans began to recommend it to friends and other readers. Who says hand-selling doesn't work?
"Orange Prize for Fiction," The Economist, June 9, 2005 ---
http://www.economist.com/books/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4055082




This is hairy
Alan Horner has had the pleasure of his wife's long hair for 12 years. He washes it three times a week and caresses it constantly. Kusmuryarti Horner's nearly 6-foot locks stretch down her spine and extend longer than her 5-foot-1 frame. But now Kusmuryarti, 31, is going to let down her brown hair, cut it off, pack it up and sell it on eBay. The Horners hope the money they make on her auctioned mane will help them put a down payment on their first home.
Tanya Caldwell, "Wellington woman to sell hair on eBay in hopes of earning down payment for home," Sun-Sentinel, June 17, 2005 --- http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-phair17jun17,0,284410.story?track=mostemailedlink


Signs forwarded by Auntie Bev

In a Veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes Sit! Stay!"

At an Optometrist's Office "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

In a Podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."

On a Septic Tank Truck in Oregon: Yesterday's Meals on Wheels

On a Septic Tank Truck sign: "We're #1 in the #2 business." 

At a Proctologist's door "To expedite your visit please back in."

On a Plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."

On a Plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.."

Pizza Shop Slogan: "7 days without pizza makes one weak."

At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout."

On a Plastic Surgeon's Office door: "Hello. Can we pick your nose?"

At a Towing Company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."

On an Electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts." 

In a Nonsmoking Area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

On a Maternity Room door: "Push. Push. Push."

On a Taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff"

On a Fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive."

At a Car Dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."< /SPAN>

Outside a Muffler Shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."

At the Electric Company: "We would be "de-lighted" if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."

In a Restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry, Come on in and get fed up." 

In the front yard of a Funeral Home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."

At a Propane Filling Station, "Thank heaven for little grills."

And don't forget the sign at a Chicago Radiator Shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."




Debbie Bowling provided the following tidbits

TIDBITS WEEK OF MAY 31

Boom in Alberta Oil Sands Fuels Pipeline Dreams
As Routes Reach Capacity, Race Is On to Link Fields To West Coast and China
FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta -- Canada, with its vast oil-sands resource, is gearing up to export more crude oil than ever before. But with Canada's pipelines just about full, the burgeoning oil-sands industry is running into a bottleneck.

That has touched off a new race: to build massive, expensive pipelines that will carry expanding oil production from this isolated region in northern Alberta hundreds of miles over mountains and forests to the Pacific Coast and major oil-thirsty markets, especially China and the U.S. West Coast.

The winner among the pipeline companies could have the best chance to tap new markets and sign up customers. The companies could also establish themselves as intermediaries between Canada's burgeoning oil-sands region and Chinese energy companies, which have been seeking reserves world-wide to meet that nation's surging energy needs.

Last month, Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, Alberta, signed an agreement to share the costs of building a 2.5 billion Canadian dollar, or about US$2 billion, pipeline, called the Gateway Pipeline, with China state oil company PetroChina Co. Terasen Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the only company already operating an oil pipeline from Alberta to Canada's West Coast, has proposed a rival C$2 billion plan to expand the existing pipeline and plans a second, new line.

The companies also plan projects along their more traditional routes to the U.S. market through the northern Midwest. But the westbound projects, which would open up new markets for oil sands, promise to be at the same time more lucrative and potentially more difficult. The pipeline companies already are negotiating with Native American bands for land-use rights, gearing up for the expense and technical complexities of the big projects and facing the concerns of environmentalists.

"We're very concerned about the pace and extent of oil-sands development. All aspects of the environment are becoming stressed because of cumulative impact," says Chris Severson Baker, a spokesman for the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environmental group.

Oil sands are gritty deposits of tar-like bitumen, and Canada's deposits are now recognized as the biggest source of crude oil outside Saudi Arabia. Extracting and processing sticky bitumen is much more expensive than producing and refining conventional crude, but global supply concerns have pushed crude prices to about $50 a barrel and made bitumen projects more economically viable.

Producers have announced plans to invest some C$80 billion in development of Alberta's oil sands, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in Calgary, and they expect to double production to about two million barrels a day from oil sands by roughly the end of this decade. Some of the world's biggest energy companies are involved, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group.

Enbridge wants to build a new pipeline from northern Alberta to a proposed deep-water tanker terminal at Prince Rupert or Kitimat, on the northern British Columbia coast. Either port could accommodate the massive oil tankers with capacities exceeding 250,000 metric tons, or roughly 1.6 million barrels, to ship to China.

Under its agreement with Enbridge, PetroChina will commit to renting pipeline capacity for 200,000 barrels of oil a day, or half of the Gateway Pipeline's total capacity, which would effectively underwrite half the project's costs. Enbridge has also said it is willing to sell up to a 49% interest in Gateway to one or more equity partners.

Enbridge Vice President Richard Sandahl said his company and PetroChina are in talks to firm up terms of their agreement, which might include PetroChina acquiring a minority stake in the project. "It wasn't an easy commitment for the Chinese to make, but diversification and security of oil supply are priority issues to them," he said.

Enbridge President and Chief Executive Patrick D. Daniel said three years of preliminary discussions with landowners, including Native American groups, along the proposed pipeline's route haven't raised any insurmountable issues. Nonetheless, evidence of the land-access difficulties facing pipeline projects was brought starkly into focus earlier this month when a group of major energy companies abruptly halted preconstruction work on a northern natural-gas pipeline, due in part to lack of progress on reaching agreements with aboriginal groups.

Andrew George, lands and resources director of the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, says the five northern British Columbia native clans that his organization represents want to be involved in detailed consultations on Enbridge's pipeline project "from the get-go, at a strategic level, when the big decisions are made." He said the group has held only preliminary talks with Enbridge.

Terasen's pipeline project, to expand its TransMountain Pipe Line from Alberta to Vancouver, is set to begin next year. The expansion would take pipeline capacity to 300,000 barrels a day by the end of 2008 from 225,000, and to as much as 850,000 barrels a day in potential future project stages. Because the Vancouver oil terminal can't handle very large crude tankers, most of the additional Canadian oil shipments would initially go to California or the U.S. Pacific Northwest on small vessels. Later the company would build a second line to Prince Rupert or Kitimat, to accommodate oil exports to Asia.
TAMSIN CARLISLE, "Boom in Alberta Oil Sands Fuels Pipeline Dreams," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2005; Page A2, http://snipurl.com/oil0531

 

Tires Get An Expiration Date
Drivers who know to check tires for worn treads and low air pressure now have something else to worry about: vintage.

Ford Motor Co., in a move roiling the tire industry, has started urging consumers to replace tires after six years. The car maker says its research shows that tires "degrade over time, even when they are not being used." That means even pristine-looking spares that have never left the trunk should be pitched after a half-dozen years.

That's a radical concept in the staid U.S. tire business, which insists there's no scientific evidence to support a "use by" date for tires. It would also surprise most motorists, who are taught that a tire's lifespan is measured mainly by tread depth. The tire industry says that tires are safe as long as the tread depth is a minimum of 1/16th of an inch, no matter what the age, and there are no visible cuts, signs of uneven wear, bulges or excessive cracking. Other trouble signs are if tires create vibration or excessive noise.

"Tires are not milk," says Daniel Zielinski, a spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the tire industry's main trade group.

For many consumers, the issue never comes up, since passenger-car tires last an average of 44,000 miles -- meaning they are usually replaced before hitting the six-year mark. But many people simply assume that unused spare tires -- even those that are a decade old -- are as durable as brand-new tires, and sometimes use those spares as full-time replacements for the regular tires. Classic-car buffs and others who drive only infrequently could also be affected by the latest research.

In its new stance on tire safety, Ford is getting some support from other researchers. Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc., an auto-safety research firm working with lawyers who are preparing lawsuits arising from accidents thought to be linked to aging tires, says older tires are a road hazard. Mr. Kane's group has collected a list of 70 accidents involving older tires, which resulted in 52 deaths and 50 serious injuries.

In a sense, the U.S. car industry is just catching up to global standards. Many European car makers as well as Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. have long warned drivers, including those who buy their cars in the U.S., that tires are perishable. Many of them also use a six-year threshold for the age of a tire.

DaimlerChrysler AG has already adopted a position parallel to Ford. The car maker's Mercedes division had been telling drivers that tires last only six years. But starting last fall, the Chrysler group began including such a warning in 2005 owner's manuals. "We did do some research and we found that's just a pretty safe and steady guideline," says Curtrise Garner, a Chrysler spokeswoman, adding that "it's a recommendation, not a must-do."

Other car makers are also taking up this question, and some are reaching a different conclusion than Ford. General Motors Corp. spokesman Alan Adler says GM has discussed the aging issue, but doesn't have any research that supports a move to such a guideline. "We're not joining in the six-years-is-the-magic-number thing right now," he says.

The age of tires already appears on tires, but as part of a lengthy code that is difficult for average consumers to decipher. To find the age of a tire, look for the letters DOT on the sidewall (indicating compliance with applicable safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation). Adjacent to these letters is the tire's serial number, which is a combination of up to 12 numbers and letters. The last characters are numbers that identify the week and year of manufacture. For example, 1504 means the fifteenth week of the year 2004.

Not only are the numbers difficult to interpret, but they can be hard to locate: The numbers are printed on only one side of the tire, which sometimes is the one facing inward when the tire is mounted on a wheel.

Ford's new stance on tire aging is a direct outgrowth of the Firestone tire recall that began in August 2000. That episode involved Firestone tires failing suddenly, mostly on Ford Explorers, leading to a wave of deadly crashes. The crashes sparked a series of lawsuits, including monetary and personal-injury claims, some of which are pending.

Ford's new position won't affect those lawsuits. But it could play a role in future legal action. Some attorneys who have sued over the Firestone case are now mounting cases that focus on tire age.

John Baldwin, a Ford materials scientist who studied the root cause of the Firestone problems and has spearheaded the car maker's continuing research on tire aging, says Ford's intention is to develop a test to help prevent another Firestone-type debacle. He says Ford's research into the Firestone problem showed that as tires age, the chemistry of the rubber changes as oxygen migrates through the carcass of the tire. This leads to a weakening of the internal structure that can result in tire failures. Driving in hot climates or frequent heavy loading of vehicles speeds this aging process, he says.

In April, Ford posted a warning on its Web site saying that "tires generally should be replaced after six years of normal service." The company also plans to include similar wording in owner's manuals starting with the 2006 model year.

Firestone spokeswoman Christine Karbowiak says the company can't comment on Ford's new recommendation, because it hasn't seen Ford's research.

Tire makers certainly don't want to see the six-year rule become any more deeply ingrained. While it might seem that putting a limit on the lifespan of tires would be a boon to tire makers, who would presumably sell more tires, the costs and complications it could create are considerable. Among other things, the industry is worried about the logistical problems that would arise if customers suddenly started demanding only the "freshest" tires. In some cases, tires take months to move through distribution channels from factories -- through wholesalers, and then on to retail outlets.

"We don't have any data to support an expiration date [for tires]," says Mr. Zielinski of the RMA. He agrees that age can be a factor in tire performance, but says it shouldn't be used as the sole reason to determine that a tire is no longer usable.

Mr. Zielinski says Ford went public with its position without sharing its research with the tire association or individual tire makers. Ford, in turn, says that it presented its research in trade publications and at a series of public forums, including a technical meeting of the rubber division of the American Chemical Society in San Antonio, Texas, two weeks ago. Ford has also given its research to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is developing a test to simulate the effects of aging on tires.

Ford's test involves putting inflated tires into an oven for weeks at a time. The tires are then taken out and studied to see, among other things, how well the layers of rubber hold together.

Strategic Research wants tires to be labeled more clearly with the date they were produced, so consumers can better identify older tires and, ultimately, an explicit expiration date.
TIMOTHY AEPPEL, "Tires Get An Expiration Date," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/tires0531

 

Long-Dormant Threat Surfaces: Deaths From Hepatitis C Are Expected to Jump
In the coming decade, thousands of baby boomers will get sick from a virus they unknowingly contracted years ago.

Some 8,000 to 10,000 people die each year from complications related to hepatitis C, the leading cause of chronic liver disease and liver transplants. The virus is spread through contact with contaminated blood, usually from dirty needles or, less often, unprotected sex. The symptoms can include jaundice, abdominal pain and nausea.

In recent decades the number of new hepatitis C infections in the U.S. has plummeted -- falling 90% since 1989, the result of improved screening of the blood supply and less sharing of needles by drug users.

But the number of deaths related to hepatitis C is expected to triple in the next 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's because symptoms lie fallow for decades after infection. Many of the people getting sick today contracted the virus from the mid-1960s through the 1980s, when infection rates skyrocketed. Infectious-disease experts say their patients are mainly baby boomers who probably caught the virus from risky behavior in their youth.

"The majority of my patients experimented with drugs during the '60s and '70s and now work on Wall Street," says Robert S. Brown Jr., medical director for the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation at New York Presbyterian Hospital. In fact, two-thirds of people with hepatitis C are white, male baby boomers who live above the poverty line, according to the CDC.

As many as four million people in the U.S. have been infected with hepatitis C, and world-wide 130 million people have the virus. About 20% clear the virus without the help of drugs. But most people carry the virus for years without knowing it -- delaying treatment and possibly risking infecting others.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 60% of hepatitis C patients acquired the virus by sharing dirty needles and syringes while doing drugs. Another 15% got the virus through unprotected sex, and 10% have been infected through blood transfusions that occurred before 1992 when a test for the virus was developed. Although rare, especially in the U.S., hepatitis C can be transmitted through contaminated devices used for tattoos, body piercing and manicures. There have also been outbreaks in hospitals when infection-control procedures failed.

Current drug treatments have made major strides in the past decade, but still work on only about 50% of those suffering from chronic hepatitis C. The treatment goal is to reduce the amount of virus in the blood in order to prevent cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.

Roche Holding AG of Basel, Switzerland, is the market leader in treating hepatitis C, followed by Schering-Plough Corp. of Kenilworth, N.J. Both companies market a combination therapy using the antiviral drug ribavirin and pegylated interferons, which are proteins that boost the immune system. The treatment is no fun: Patients endure weekly injections and daily pills for 48 weeks with flu-like side effects.

Promising new treatments that may benefit more patients and have fewer side effects are on the horizon. Two small biotech companies, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., both of Cambridge, Mass., have drug trials under way, though treatments probably won't be available to patients for several years. Earlier this month, Indenix announced that in a small clinical trial, its drug -- either alone or combined with currently available treatments -- slashed the level of hepatitis C virus in the blood in most patients. Vertex announced results earlier this month from a preliminary trial involving 34 patients: Five of the participants tested negative for the hepatitis C virus within two weeks of beginning treatment.

Hepatitis C is just one among a several hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A, B, D and E. Hepatitis A is very contagious and is spread via contaminated water and food. But it can be prevented with a vaccine and isn't life threatening. Hepatitis B can also be prevented with a vaccine. It is similar to C, though it is more contagious and more likely to be transmitted sexually. Hepatitis D and E are very rare in the U.S.

There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. The virus was discovered only in 1989, and it wasn't until 1992 that a blood test was developed to detect it. The CDC says that 80% of those infected never have symptoms. In later stages of the disease, the virus can lead to cirrhosis, a buildup of scar tissue that blocks blood flow through the organ. At this stage, many patients need a liver transplant to survive.

In March 2001, Larkin Fowler was working in mergers and acquisitions for J.P. Morgan when he learned through a blood test required to join a gym at work and a subsequent doctor's visit that he had hepatitis C.

Mr. Fowler, now 35, believes he was infected either in 1989 or 1998. In 1989, he and some fellow college fraternity members went on a road trip to a football game. "A few too many cocktails and the next thing you know we all had frat tattoos," says Mr. Fowler. In 1998, he broke his leg while traveling in Bora Bora and received several shots in a hospital there. Mr. Fowler thinks it is more likely he was infected by a dirty needle while receiving medical care in Bora Bora.

Mr. Fowler completed his treatment in May 2002. He would take his weekly injections on Friday mornings and by the evening often be in bed with a high fever and chills. But the treatment worked and he has since been free of the virus.
PAUL DAVIES, "Long-Dormant Threat Surfaces: Deaths From Hepatitis C Are Expected to Jump," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/hepc0531

 

Despite Vow, Drug Makers Still Withhold Data
When the drug industry came under fire last summer for failing to disclose poor results from studies of antidepressants, major drug makers promised to provide more information about their research on new medicines. But nearly a year later, crucial facts about many clinical trials remain hidden, scientists independent of the companies say.

Within the drug industry, companies are sharply divided about how much information to reveal, both about new studies and completed studies for drugs already being sold. The split is unusual in the industry, where companies generally take similar stands on regulatory issues.

Eli Lilly and some other companies have posted hundreds of trial results on the Web and pledged to disclose all results for all drugs they sell. But other drug makers, including Merck and Pfizer, release less information and are reluctant to add more, citing competitive pressures.

As a result, doctors and patients lack critical information about important drugs, academic researchers say, and the companies can hide negative trial results by refusing to publish studies, or by cherry-picking and highlighting the most favorable data from studies they do publish.

"There are a lot of public statements from drug companies saying that they support the registration of clinical trials or the dissemination of trial results, but the devil is in the details," said Dr. Deborah Zarin, director of clinicaltrials.gov, a Web site financed by the National Institutes of Health that tracks many studies.

Journal editors and academic scientists have pressed big drug makers to release more information about their studies for years. But the calls for more disclosure grew stronger after reports last year that several companies had failed to publish studies that showed their antidepressants worked no better than placebos.

In August, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a suit by Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general, alleging that Glaxo had hidden results from trials showing that its antidepressant Paxil might increase suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. At a House hearing in September, Republican and Democratic lawmakers excoriated executives from several top companies, including Pfizer and Wyeth, for hiding study results. In response, many companies promised to do better.

At the same time, Merck and Pfizer have been criticized for failing to disclose until this year clinical trial results that indicated that cox-2 painkillers like Vioxx might be dangerous to the heart.

Drug makers test their medicines in thousands of trials each year, and federal laws require the disclosure of all trials and trial results to the F.D.A. While too complex for many patients to understand, the trial results are useful to doctors and academic scientists, who use them to compare drugs and look for clues to possible side effects. But companies are not required to disclose trial results to scientists or the public.

Some scientists and lawmakers say new rules are needed, and a bill that would require the companies to provide more data was introduced in the Senate in February. So far no hearings have been scheduled on the legislation. The bill's prospects are uncertain, said a co-sponsor, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut.

The drug makers have been criticized both for failing to provide advance notice of clinical trials before they begin and for refusing to publish completed trial results for medicines that are already being sold.

The two issues are related, because companies cannot easily hide the results of trials that have been disclosed in advance, said Dr. Alan Breier, chief medical officer of Lilly, the company that has gone furthest in disclosing results.

"You're registering a trial - at some point, the results have got to show up," Dr. Breier said. He added that disclosing trial results was important both to give doctors and patients as much information as possible and to improve the industry's reputation, which has been damaged by several recent withdrawals of high-profile drugs.

"Fundamentally, what we're doing is in the interest of patients, and I think that that is the winning model, for academia, for industry and for the future," he said.

In September, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry lobbying group known as PhRMA, said it would create a site for companies to post the results of completed trials. Then, under pressure from the editors of medical journals, the major drug companies in January agreed to expand the number of trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov, the N.I.H. site, which was originally created so patients with life-threatening diseases could find out about clinical trials.

But Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, three of the six largest drug companies, have met the letter but not the spirit of that agreement, Dr. Zarin said.

The three companies have filed only vague descriptions of many studies, often failing even to name the drugs under investigation, Dr. Zarin said. For example, Merck describes one trial as a "one-year study of an investigational drug in obese patients."

Drug names are crucial, because the clinicaltrials.gov registry is designed in part to prevent companies from conducting several trials of a drug, then publicizing the trials with positive results while hiding the negative ones. If the descriptions do not include drug names, it is hard to tell how many times a drug has been studied.

"If you're a systematic reviewer trying to understand all the results for a particular drug, you might never know," Dr. Zarin said. "You don't know whether you're seeing the one positive result and not the four negative results - you don't have context."

Pfizer, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline say that they disclose their largest trials, which determine whether a drug will be approved. Though they would not discuss their policies in detail, executives and press representatives at the companies said generally that disclosing too much information about early-stage trials might reveal business or scientific secrets.

Rick Koenig, a spokesman for Glaxo, said the company understood the concerns about disclosure and planned to add more information to clinicaltrials.gov. He declined to be more specific, saying Glaxo and other companies were discussing the issue with regulators and medical journal editors.

In contrast, Lilly has registered all but its smallest trials at clinicaltrials.gov. Dr. Breier of Lilly said the company believed that it could protect its intellectual property and still increase the amount of information it released.

Lilly has also posted the results of many completed studies to clinicalstudyresults.org, the Web site created last September by PhRMA. That site now contains some information on nearly 80 drugs that are already on the market. Both Lilly and Glaxo have posted detailed summaries of hundreds of studies.

Pfizer, on the other hand, has posted only a few, and Merck has posted none.

All the companies were meeting the group's guidelines for the site, said Dr. Alan Goldhammer, associate vice president for regulatory affairs at PhRMA. The lobbying group requires only that its members post a notice that a trial has been completed and a link to a published study or a summary of an unpublished study, he said. Studies completed before October 2002 are exempt from the requirements, and PhRMA has not set penalties for companies that do not comply.

"We're seeing pretty regular posting on a weekly basis, and as best we can assess right now, things are on track for meeting the goal we and our members set for ourselves," Dr. Goldhammer said.

The continued gaps in disclosure have caused some lawmakers to call for new federal laws. The bill introduced in February by Mr. Dodd and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, would convert clinicaltrials.gov into a national registry for both new trials and results and impose civil penalties of up to $10,000 a day for companies that hide trial data. But Mr. Dodd said that the chances the bill would pass in this Congress were even at best.

"I haven't had that pat on the back saying, 'This is a great idea, let's get going on this as fast as we can,' " Mr. Dodd said.

Dr. David Fassler, a psychiatry professor at the University of Vermont and a longtime proponent of more disclosure, said that trial reporting had improved in the last two years. But he said that a central federally run site, as opposed to the current mix of government and industry efforts, was the only long-term solution.
ALEX BERENSON "Despite Vow, Drug Makers Still Withhold Data," The New York Times, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/drgdta0531

 

Recalling When Flying Was an Elegant Affair
AS business travel picks up, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have created advertising campaigns to promote their business-class service to American executives.

Virgin Atlantic's $4.5 million campaign focuses on the carrier's 16 daily flights out of its nine gateways in the United States. Each flight has been given a name that evokes the romance and elegance of travel in years past and is described on new Web sites - one for each flight - and in ads in regional editions of national magazines.

British Airways' $15 million campaign, which starts tomorrow, emphasizes its flight attendants' ability to anticipate a customer's needs. The carrier offers some 40 daily flights out of 19 American cities. It is British Airways' first campaign created specifically for the United States business travel market since the summer of 2000.

For both airlines, the stakes are high: trans-Atlantic traffic originating in the United States generates 40 percent of Virgin Atlantic's total revenue, while half of all United States revenue comes from business-class passengers.

Almost two-thirds of British Airways' profit comes from its trans-Atlantic flights, while business-class sales generate about a third of its North American revenue. And business-class travel, which weakened after the burst of the technology bubble and plummeted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, continues to strengthen. British Airways said its business- and first-class traffic worldwide rose 1.7 percent in March and 13.3 percent in April.

The timing of the two campaigns is significant: Virgin Atlantic's advertising coincides with the final phasing in of its improved "Upper Class," or business class, service. The airline began offering this service in late 2003, and plans to make it available on all trans-Atlantic flights by the end of the year. The service includes an upgraded seat, meals, in-flight entertainment, and on-board spa and beauty treatments.

Mike Powell, an airline analyst with Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in London, said British Airways' campaign was intended in part to respond to Virgin Atlantic's effort to win a greater share of the lucrative business travel market.

"British Airways is well aware of the fact that it doesn't have the market-leading trans-Atlantic business-class product," he said. "It's trying to keep up with Virgin."

A British Airways spokeswoman said the carrier was expected to announce plans next year "for new seats in business class." It was British Airways that first introduced a business-class flat bed in 2000, an innovation that has been widely copied.

Both airlines' campaigns are also meant to counter increased trans-Atlantic service by United States airlines, Mr. Powell said. Domestic airlines will increase their trans-Atlantic capacity by 7 percent summer, while European airlines will increase theirs by only 3 percent, according to Airline Business, a trade publication.

"British Airways and Virgin want to make sure the additional capacity doesn't mean they lose premium market share," Mr. Powell said. "They want to remind U.S. passengers there's a far better product in the market" than that offered by American airlines, which he said were "unable to invest in new aircraft and on-board products."

Virgin Atlantic's campaign, created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, is running in regional editions of magazines like Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler and Newsweek. The agency designed a two-page, black-and-white spread and boarding-card insert with flight details for 8 of its 16 flights.

The concept of naming flights is meant to restore the "romance and elegance" of an earlier era of travel, when flights were also named, said Jeff Steinhour, a managing partner at Crispin Porter & Bogusky. The service out of Washington, D.C., is called "the diplomat," while its daytime flight out of Newark is called "the wide-eye."

"We wanted to inject personality into individual flights," Mr. Steinhour said.

To that end, the flights' Web sites show films that describe each flight experience and provide details of meals and entertainment offered on each.

The British Airways campaign, created by the New York office of M&C Saatchi, with an online component by agency.com, a unit of the Omnicom Group, is running in magazines and on television, billboards and the Internet.

The TV ad - which will appear on the Golf Channel, Bravo, Fox News and elsewhere - depicts a businessman reclining, in his New York office, in a British Airways business-class seat. Invisible hands give him a glass of champagne, canapés and a tissue to clean his glasses when he starts to wipe them with his tie.

A magazine ad - running in publications like Forbes, The New Yorker and The Economist - shows two limousine drivers in an airport terminal, holding signs with the names of their arriving passengers and standing next to a man clad in white. He is holding a white terry-cloth robe and a sign with the name of a passenger - and is waiting to provide spa services.

The tagline on all the ads is: "Business class is different on British Airways."

With this advertising, the airline has gone beyond promoting its business-class flat beds, the focus of all recent campaigns geared to business travelers. Instead, the campaign stresses that the airline anticipates "what our customers look for when they travel," said Elizabeth Weisser, British Airways' vice president of marketing for North America. "An enormous number of other carriers have come into the marketplace with flat-bed-type products similar to ours, and as a result, it was important for us to differentiate ourselves."

J. Grant Caplan, a corporate travel management consultant based in Houston, said the campaigns represented the British airlines' chance "to help defeat companies like US Airways that are on the edge, or to help further weaken other carriers like United and American."

Mr. Caplan predicted American business travelers could switch to either British Airways or Virgin if the airlines can shake their interest in their frequent flier programs. It will be easier to convert executives whose employers do not control their travel-buying decisions as well as infrequent travelers, who are not as vested in loyalty programs, he said.
JANE L. LEVERE, "Recalling When Flying Was an Elegant Affair," The New York Times, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/fly0531

 

Up and Down on Tuition
Conventional wisdom has it that tuition rates will go up every year at private colleges by a little more than the rate of inflation. Some colleges struggling for enrollment will cut rates every now and then, but the norm is a steady increase — but not too much in any one year. This year, many leading private colleges are announcing increases in the 4-5 percent range.

Two private institutions this year, however, have prepared for substantial changes in tuition policy for the next academic year. The University of Richmond, which aspires to join the top ranks for private colleges, is increasing total charges by 27 percent for freshmen, to $40,510, effectively ending a longstanding policy of being thousands of dollars less expensive than its competitors. (Current students will face only a 5 percent increase and their base will be grandfathered while they are students.) Roosevelt University, a Chicago institution that serves many nontraditional students, is cutting tuition — and linking the cut to how many courses a student takes, so that students have an incentive to take more courses and to graduate sooner.

Data from the admissions and registration cycles just completed suggest that both colleges are achieving some of the financial and academic goals of their unconventional tuition policies. Richmond has commitments from a comparably sized freshman class for the fall, despite its huge tuition increase. And Roosevelt students have signed up for more courses in the fall than in previous semesters. Officials at the two colleges say that their experiences suggest the extent to which price does and does not influence student choices.

Price Insensitivity at Richmond

William E. Cooper, the president at Richmond, says he realizes that his university’s cost increase “superficially seems outrageous.” But he said that he became convinced that Richmond “was about $7,000 underpriced” and that the additional revenue would allow for more financial aid and improvements in facilities and academic programs. “We could dink around with this and ramp it up a little each year, but we decided it was better to bite the bullet, to realign this and stay in place, rather than looking confused.”

But what of student choices, and the widespread public and political fear that high prices discourage students? With certain student segments, that’s flat out false, Cooper says. Richmond found, he said, that it was losing students to more expensive institutions and enrolling students whose parents were willing to spend more than Richmond was charging.

“We were leaving money on the table,” Cooper says. “We had all these people with a kid at Dartmouth or a kid at Syracuse, and a kid here, and we were the cheap school.”

Cooper also rejects the idea that a low price can be a recruiting tool. He acknowledges that Richmond probably picked up a few students over the years who might have been too wealthy to qualify for financial aid at a Duke or Vanderbilt or Emory, but who were attracted by the lower prices at Richmond. “The question is, are they going to be there for us in the future” as alumni donors? Cooper says. “They are too finely tuned to the financial,” he says.

The results of the first admissions cycle suggest to Cooper that the tuition increase worked. Final numbers will shift a bit as Richmond gains or loses a few students due to other colleges’ wait list decisions. But right now, 770 students have paid deposits to enroll as freshmen in the fall, the same number as last year. Applications were down (to 5,779, from a record 6,236). So the admissions rate rose (to 47 percent from 40 percent) and the yield — the percentage of admitted students who enroll — was down a bit (to 28 percent from 31 percent). Minority enrollments appear down slightly, to 12 percent from 13 percent.

But Cooper points out that measures of academic quality didn’t change. Last year, the middle 50 percent of SAT scores was 1250-1390 and the average high school grade-point average was 3.52, and figures from this year’s admitted class suggest that the figures will be almost identical.

“There was bound to be a one-year shakeout,” Cooper says of the drop in the number of applications, but the class entering is not only as smart as the previous class, but appears to have many families that can afford Richmond’s new rates and want to pay them.

“One of the strong philosophical bents of this change was the price insensitivity of people who really care about higher education,” Cooper says. “Just like people buy the best cappuccino maker if they really care, so with higher education. If you really care, a couple thousand bucks isn’t in the decision maker and that’s the student and family we want.”

Price and Graduation Rates at Roosevelt

At Roosevelt, the students aren’t necessarily buying a lot of cappuccino makers. And enrollments have been healthy for the institution, at about 7,500 head count, with 60 percent of students as undergraduates, many of them working adults.

Mary E. Hendry, vice president for enrollment and student services, says that the university’s problem is with graduation rates. Currently only about 40 percent of students graduate within six years, and the university would like to raise that proportion to 50 percent.

Hendry says that it is better for students and the university if they move through the academic programs at a brisker pace. “We decided to use tuition to encourage them to take more so they would graduate within four years,” she says.

Historically, Roosevelt has charged tuition on a per-credit basis, and for next year, the per-credit figure will go up 7.3 percent, to $755. But the university is setting special fees to discourage students from taking almost enough courses to graduate on time, and to encourage them to instead take enough to earn their degrees.

Students taking 12 credits a semester will be charged at a rate that would equal $14,180 for a year, an increase of 10.2 percent over last year’s per-credit rate. But those who take 15 credits will be charged the exact same amount for a year of courses, a decrease of 11.8 percent in what students would have paid last year. (Students who take 16 credits will pay a little more, but will also be paying 11.8 percent than in previous years.)

Typically, students register for about 30,000 credit hours in a semester at Roosevelt. For the fall, the first semester under the new plan, it appears that there will be an increase of 1,000 credit hours — while enrollment is holding steady.

“I think this shows that we are reaching students,” says Hendry. “We can use these policies to change graduation rates over the long run.”
Scott Jaschik "Up and Down on Tuition," Inside Higher Ed, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/tuition0531

 

Arthur Andersen conviction overturned
The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm for destroying Enron Corp.-related documents before the energy giant's collapse.

In a unanimous opinion, justices said the former Big Five accounting firm's June 2002 conviction was improper.

The court said the jury instructions at trial were too vague and broad for jurors to determine correctly whether Andersen obstructed justice.

"The jury instructions here were flawed in important respects," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court.

The ruling is a setback for the Bush administration, which made prosecution of white-collar criminals a high priority following accounting scandals at major corporations.

After Enron's 2001 collapse, the Justice Department went after Andersen first.

Enron crashed in December 2001, putting more than 5,000 employees out of work, just six weeks after the energy company revealed massive losses and writedowns.

Subsequently, as the Securities and Exchange Commission began looking into Enron's convoluted finances, Andersen put in practice a policy calling for destroying unneeded documentation.

Government attorneys argued that Andersen should be held responsible for instructing its employees to "undertake an unprecedented campaign of document destruction."
"Arthur Andersen conviction overturned," Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Posted: 10:28 AM EDT (1428 GMT) , CNN.com, http://snipurl.com/aa0531

 

Photo from playboy-themed party grabs alumni's attention
Photo From Playboy-Themed Party Grabs Alumni's Attention Female High School Seniors Show Up Wearing Skimpy Lingerie

HOUSTON -- A racy photo from a high school party with a Playboy theme has sent alumni of the school into shock, Houston television station KPRC reported.

Some Memorial High School alumni told the station the so-called "Playboy Party" went too far, saying the theme was too hot for teens. However, students who attended the party disagree, saying it was all clean fun.

"It doesn't put off the best impression. It doesn't make me want my kids to go there," 1994 Memorial High graduate Sabra Boone said.

Boon said senior men throw a theme party that is not sanctioned by the school. This year's theme was the Playboy mansion.

Parents are upset after a Playboy-themed party that had girls dressing in revealing outfits.

While one student, who asked not to be identified, told the station a dress code for the party was not established, some of the girls showed up in skimpy lingerie.

Boone, along with other alumni, said she received a picture from the party in an e-mail.

"Everyone is shocked," Boone said.

One parent, whose son attended the party, told the station the senior boys tried hard to throw a fun, safe party, explaining it was held at a private venue with chaperones and police. Attendees were required to sign waivers promising not to drink alcohol.

Boone said girls wore formals to a similar party she attended during her senior year. She told the station she is disappointed in Memorial High School's 2005 senior class.

"Regardless, the girls are hardly wearing any clothes. I just couldn't believe their parents would let them out of the house like that," Boone said.
by tuffydoodle "Photo from playboy-themed party grabs alumni's attention," Free Republic, May 24, 2005 http://snipurl.com/grdprty0531
 

'Deep Throat' Is Identified
Magazine Article Identifies Watergate Source
After more than 30 years of silence, the most famous anonymous source in American history, Deep Throat, has identified himself to a reporter at Vanity Fair.

W. Mark Felt, 91, an assistant director at the FBI in the 1970s, has told reporter John D. O'Connor that he is "the man known as Deep Throat."

O'Connor told ABC News in an interview today that Felt had for years thought he was a dishonorable man for talking to Bob Woodward, a reporter for The Washington Post during Watergate. Woodward's coverage of the scandal, written with Carl Bernstein, led to the resignation of President Nixon.

"Mark wants the public respect, and wants to be known as a good man," O'Connor said. "He's very proud of the bureau, he's very proud of the FBI. He now knows he is a hero."

The identity of Deep Throat, the source for details about Nixon's Watergate cover-up, has been called the best-kept secret in the history of Washington D.C., or at least in the history of politics and journalism. Only four people were said to know the source's identity: Woodward; Bernstein; Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of the Post; and, of course, Deep Throat himself.

Both Bradlee and Bernstein have refused to confirm to ABC News that Felt is Deep Throat.

Woodward would also neither confirm nor deny the report.

"There's a principle involved here," he told ABC News. He and Bernstein promised not to reveal Deep Throat's identity until the source dies.

Despite years of feelings of negativity and ambivalence, O'Connor said, Felt's family has helped him realize that "he is a hero" and "that it is good what he did."

In his 1979 book, "The FBI Pyramid: From the Inside," Felt flat-out denied that he was the famous source.

"I would have done better," Felt told The Hartford Courant in 1999. "I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"

Best-Kept Secret

Throughout the years, politicians and journalists have guessed at Deep Throat's identity.

Contenders included Gen. Al Haig, who was a popular choice for a long time, especially when he was running for president in 1988. Haig was Nixon's chief of staff and secretary of state under President Reagan.

Woodward finally said publicly that Haig was not Deep Throat. Other contenders mentioned frequently, besides Felt, included Henry Kissinger; CIA officials Cord Meyer and William E. Colby; and FBI officials L. Patrick Gray, Charles W. Bates and Robert Kunkel.

In "All the President's Men," the 1974 movie of the Watergate scandal, Woodward and Bernstein described their source as holding an extremely sensitive position in the executive branch.

The source was dubbed "Deep Throat" by Post managing editor Howard Simons after the notorious porn film.
Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures, "'Deep Throat' Is Identified," ABC News, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/DT0531

 


TIDBITS JUNE 1, 2005

Andersen Decision Is Bittersweet For Ex-Workers
When former Arthur Andersen LLP senior manager Bill Strathmann heard that the Supreme Court had overturned Andersen's criminal conviction yesterday, he immediately relayed the news to his wife, father, brother and friends. On an email chain including 17 former Andersen partners and employees from Andersen's old Tysons Corner, Va., office, terms like "three years too late," "vindication" and "unbelievable" were sprinkled throughout.

While the damage has been done, Mr. Strathmann, now chief executive of a nonprofit organization, said, "this decision is still good for the legacy of Arthur Andersen."

In chat rooms, Web logs and emails yesterday, many former employees voiced similar opinions about the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to overturn the 2002 criminal conviction of Andersen tied to its botched audits of Enron Corp. The court ruled that jurors used too loose a standard of culpability against the once-venerable accounting firm. Still, the Supreme Court's decision isn't likely to revive Arthur Andersen -- or help former partners pull out their remaining capital any time soon.

The firm lost its license to practice in Texas and some other states shortly after its June 2002 conviction, and by the fall of 2002 had surrendered the rest of its licenses. Today, Andersen has fewer than 200 employees, down from 85,000 world-wide before its fall. Most work to wrap up lawsuits pending against the firm.

The accounting debacles at Enron and WorldCom Inc., another Andersen client, have permanently etched a negative perception of the firm in many people's minds. Among the most vivid images: Workers in Andersen's Houston office shredding tons of documents connected to long-valuable client Enron; or, months later, the news of WorldCom's collapse into bankruptcy from an $11 billion accounting fraud, the nation's largest.

Still, the decision marks a win to some former employees. In her Web log, Mary Trigiani, a communications consultant in San Francisco who previously wrote speeches for Andersen executives, typed yesterday: "This is an enormous vindication of the majority of the people who embodied the vision and values of the venerable organization -- but not of the few managers who enabled Andersen's destruction."

In some ways, "a stigma has been lifted," said Marc Andersen, a former Andersen partner who organized a 1,000-person rally in Washington in 2002 to protest the Justice Department indictment.

For many, the ruling is bittersweet. Douglas J. DeRito, a former partner in Andersen's Atlanta office, saw his career derailed. He had invested $500,000 in the firm, where he worked for eight years, to buy his partnership stake. "I've been through over two years of hell," said Mr. DeRito, now an executive director with a small Atlanta firm. "We Andersen partners worked a significant amount of our professional careers to get to the level of partner," and then "the Justice Department took the carpet out from under us." Andersen had about 1,700 partners in the U.S., some of whom had invested as much as $3 million.

Because of a mountain of litigation for the blowups at Enron and WorldCom, the pickings remain slim for ex-partners. A stipulation in a recent $65 million settlement with investors of WorldCom (now MCI Inc.) provides that the plaintiffs will receive 20% of any money remaining in Andersen's coffers after other cases are settled. The Supreme Court's decision seemingly does little to improve Andersen's standing in cases where the firm is being sued for negligent audit work.

"Clearly the firm failed," said Barry Melancon, president of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Andersen. The vindication is only that "the firm as a whole is not guilty in this situation."
DIYA GULLAPALLI, "Andersen Decision Is Bittersweet For Ex-Workers," The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2005; Page A6, http://snipurl.com/aa20601

 

A New Low Price For Broadband
SBC to Offer High-Speed Internet Service for $14.95 a Month; Rivals Face Pressure to Follow
In an aggressive move to cut the cost of high-speed Internet access, the nation's second-largest phone company plans to start charging $14.95 a month for new customers -- making broadband service less expensive than some dial-up plans.

The move by SBC Communications Inc., announced today, may compel competitors to follow suit. Cable companies currently dominate the high-speed business, but typically charge considerably more for the service, often $40 or more a month. The basic broadband plan at cable giant Comcast Corp. for instance, is $42.95. Traditionally, cable companies justify those prices by the fact that their connections are among the fastest available -- as much as triple the speed of a high-speed connection provided by a phone company like SBC. (Even the slowest broadband connection is roughly 25 times as fast as dial-up.)

Analysts say SBC's move marks the first time broadband service has been broadly offered at a significantly less expensive rate than AOL's dial-up service. More than half of the 77 million U.S. households with Internet access still use dial-up connections, such as Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, which charges $23.90 per month.

The SBC price cut comes as the telecom industry is confronting sharply increased competition from cable-TV companies and Internet start-ups. In addition, fast-changing technologies, such as inexpensive Internet-based telephone services, are undercutting their traditional phone business. Telcom companies have also seen a sharp decline of their traditional local-phone business, as customers have begun using cellphones and email. The industry has responded so far by consolidating, triggering $150 billion of mergers and acquisitions in the past 18 months.

Cable companies officials said yesterday that they don't need to respond to price cuts by the phone companies because they say cable broadband service is faster and more efficient than telephone broadband service. "If price were the only thing that mattered to everyone, we'd all be driving Yugos," says a spokesman for Cox Communications Inc., the country's third-largest cable operator. (DSL service is basically a souped-up phone line, whereas cable broadband is transmitted over the cable-TV network, which has higher capacity than copper phone lines.)

But some analysts say the cable industry may soon be forced to respond. "As broadband reaches deeper into the mass market, the service needs to appeal to more price-sensitive customers," says Craig Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

SBC's offer is open to subscribers of the company's local phone service in its 13-state service area, which includes California, Texas and Connecticut. To be eligible, customers must sign up for the plan online at www.sbc.com. SBC was already offering some of the lowest cost broadband service available among large cable and telephone companies, at $19.95 a month.

With its price cut, SBC is essentially in a land-grab mode, leaving the company more concerned with adding customers than increasing broadband profitability. SBC declines to say whether its broadband operations are profitable.

The company is seeking to broaden its base of 5.6 million subscribers to its high-speed service, known as digital subscriber line, or DSL. Signing up for DSL doesn't require that a customer have a second phone line. However, in most cases it does require users to have at least one phone-line subscription.

SBC's $14.95 offer isn't a temporary promotion, the company says. Frequently, rivals have offered similarly low prices, but mainly as temporary promotions that expired after a period of time.

Special Promotions

There are 34.5 million broadband subscribers nationwide, a figure that analysts expect will nearly double in the next four years.

The telecom companies have steadily lowered prices on broadband service in the past two years, sometimes through special promotions, in hopes of catching up to cable providers, which were the first to offer broadband and maintain a substantial edge over DSL providers. Currently, there are more than 21.1 million cable-broadband subscribers, compared with about roughly 15 million DSL subscribers, though estimates vary.

The phone companies' tactic seems to be working. In the first quarter of this year, of the 2.6 million new broadband subscribers, 192,655 more turned to DSL over cable, according to Leichtman Research Group Inc., a media-markets research firm based in Durham, N.C.

Television and Gaming

Broadband is all the more important for phone companies such as SBC because new services that they are beginning to offer, such as television and gaming, are increasingly going to run over the companies' broadband networks. The more broadband customers phone companies have, the more additional services they can sell to them down the road, the logic goes. For instance, SBC is getting into the TV business in direct competition with cable companies. Phone companies without large numbers of broadband subscribers could find themselves without a sizable market for new products and services.

"We're trying to expand the market for broadband as much as we can," says Ed Cholerton, an SBC vice president of consumer marketing for broadband.
DIONNE SEARCEY, "A New Low Price For Broadband," The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/brdbnd0601

 

The New Post 9/11 Graduates -- Standing up for Patriotism
Memorial Day has several different meanings for Americans. For some, we were spending a weekend reflecting, reminiscing and reminding ourselves about the sacrifices our family members, neighbors, and fellow Americans made as soldiers for our nation. At the same time, many of us were also focusing our attention on our children, nieces, nephews and for many, our grandchildren who are preparing themselves to take the final walk across their high school or college graduation stage.

One of the questions these new graduates have to be pondering has to be "what nation and world are we graduating into"? For young people it has to be fraught with some sense of peril. These post 9/11 graduates are inheriting a nation that lived through the most vicious attack on our nation since that horrible day of December 7th, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed without warning and without provocation.

This horrible event from so long ago can certainly be a guide for the young graduates of today. I point purposely to this past Memorial Day weekend, because it is at this time that families typically gather around and share some very special moments with parents, grandparents and a host of family and friends who pour through the family photos to point out perhaps their now aged warriors of World War II. Perhaps they point to an uncle or grandparent who did not return home to his native soil and now lies buried in a U.S. cemetery on foreign soil

Perhaps, the family visited their local cemetery where their father or uncle or even aunt or grandmother now lies buried, a former soldier who served, who fought, and who sacrificed for their nation, because it was the right thing to do...because it was the American thing to do.

Perhaps they visited a hospital with the soon to be graduate and sat on the side of the bed with an aging grandparent or father who was a soldier in the fox hole or perhaps a pilot or a tail gunner in one of the flying fortresses from the Second World War. The parent's son or daughter may have sat quietly and listened to stories spun from long buried memories of acts of bravery, mixed with a little bit of fear, but a whole lot of courage. Maybe the young adult son stood up and just as he was getting ready to leave his hospital room, he turned and saluted his grandfather, and thanked him for his gift to our nation, to his community and to his family.

Your daughter may have asked the question at the backyard barbeque on Memorial Day, "What about women? " as she passed the photos of the women in the family who also sacrificed during those tumultuous war years. What did Grandmother Christina or Aunt Cynthia do when they were a Wave or a WAC during World War II? In listening she probably learned that perhaps the times her grandmother grew up in were not much different from the times now as she is about to step across the graduation.

These young high school and college graduates also remember hearing an American President make a steely firm declaration about dealing with those who were responsible for bringing terror to our home shores. They saw a determined President Bush seem to echo the words from another generation...and spoken by another American President. The emotions of patriotism ran high then on December 8, 1941, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said to a joint Session of Congress:

"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us."

Those graduates of 1945 heard those words and many by the tens of thousands left high school or college and answered the call to make those who attacked America pay for their treachery.

Sixty years later, the soon to be graduates are remembering the fateful remarks from President Bush as he too addressed the American public and comforted and rallied a nation that was also the victim of an air attack.

President Bush as President Roosevelt before him also addressed the nation, " Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

Some of our greatest moments have been acts of courage for which no one could have ever prepared.

We cannot know every turn this battle will take. Yet we know our cause is just and our ultimate victory is assured. We will, no doubt, face new challenges. But we have our marching orders: My fellow Americans, let's roll. "

So you see, the young people in America from two different generations share a common thread. That is the common thread of freedom and of patriotism. These young people who you may have thought were not listening or paying attention to you as you pored through those photo albums and pointed out the family members in uniform who smiled back through the ages at you... were listening

These young graduates are, according to a recent CBS report, ditching over three decades of "Me'ism" and sensing a true obligation to give something back to their nation. So this post 9/11 generation is listening to the clarion call beating loudly within their own heart for helping their nation.

These young people are pausing to examine what exactly their obligation is to improving, to bettering, to protecting and to standing up for advancing our nation, and that is honorable and commendable.

They are not doing what others have done before...holding their hand outstretched and asking..."How much are you going to pay me first."

Hopefully those narrow self-absorbed Neanderthals are dying off in America. You know the ones, and hopefully you didn't raise one. These are the selfish non-patriots...who merely turn their head and leave the seriousness of defending the nation and making the world free for Democracy to "those patsies and saps" because it is after all...someone else's' job.

But that's fine, because like Revolutionary War hero Samuel Adams said: "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Patriotism is making a comeback with the post-9/11 graduates and they like their grandparents before them may truly become the next Greatest Generation.
Kevin Fobbs, "The New Post 9/11 Graduates -- Standing up for Patriotism," Free Republic, June 1, 2005, http://snipurl.com/grads0601

 

Can Rev. Al be Limbaugh's air apparent?
Could there be any odder couple than Rush Limbaugh and Al Sharpton? Not if I have anything to do with it.

Last week - after Matrix Media announced a deal for Sharpton to host a "Limbaugh of the Left"-type talk radio show - the conservative radio star said he'll think about mentoring the minister in the finer points of the medium.

Yesterday, Sharpton contacted me to say he's eager to accept the sort-of offer to (as Limbaugh put it on his own show Friday) "let [Sharpton] guest-host the program for, like, 30 minutes at a time while I am sitting here critiquing him."

Sharpton told me: "I was a little surprised, but I'm willing to take him up on his speculative offer. I think it would be interesting. It would be something that both of us can learn from. He can learn some of the thoughts of the left, and I can learn some of the techniques of the right. Let's see if he's serious."
(Excerpt) Read more at
nydailynews.com ...

Pikamax, "Can Rev. Al be Limbaugh's air apparent?," Free Republic, 06/01/2005, http://snipurl.com/rlal0601

 

[The article below reads just like "Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand---Debbie]

Dairy gets squeezed by the feds
In its 85 years of existence, Smith Brothers Dairy in Kent has survived all manner of misfortune and mistakes.

There was the Depression, when milk sales plummeted. There were cow-killing floods. There were modern times, when it appeared the old-fashioned idea of fresh milk delivered to the doorstep had died.

And there was the crackdown when society realized cow manure could be as toxic to fish as anything produced at a nuclear plant.

"None of that compares to this," says Alexis Smith Koester, 60, dairy president and granddaughter of the founder, Ben Smith. "This is the biggest threat we've ever faced."

She's talking about the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed new rules that could force Smith Brothers to either give up half its business or close up shop entirely, Koester says.

What are the feds trying to stop? They're trying to keep Smith Brothers Dairy from selling its milk for less.

And we call this a capitalist country.

The dairy, which is small enough that the president answered the phone when I called, is being punished for doing too much too well.

For 75 years, milk has been heavily regulated by price and marketing controls.

People who know more about it than I do say the system works well. It protects those who own only one part of the milk business — say, a farmer with cows but no milk-processing plant — from being gouged by big agribusinesses.

But Smith Brothers has always been exempt from these regulations because it is so independent. It does it all. It is one of only 11 dairies left in the Northwest that raise and milk the cows as well as pasteurize and bottle the milk.

Its business model is so antiquated that most dairies like it long since went under.

Smith Brothers survived by discovering that what was old is new again. Home delivery of milk is hot. Especially if people know who owns the cows so there's a guarantee no growth hormones were used.

Remarkably, Smith Brothers now delivers milk to 40,000 homes in and around Seattle, the most in its history. And it is so efficient it does so at the same or lower prices you get in many stores.

Yet the feds, backed by the biggest dairy processors in the West, want to force Smith Brothers and other do-it-yourself dairies to sell through the government-regulated system. They say this will help the small farmers who already sell milk to big processors.

But Smith Brothers, no milk monopoly with just 1 percent of the market, would have to pay subsidies to its competitors that exceed the dairy's yearly profit. Or it would have to break up its business, and no longer provide its unique cow-to-carton-to-doorstep service.

So what we have is the government, prodded by large corporations, saying it is helping small family farms by destroying one of our most successful small family farms.

Come to think of it, I guess that is American-style capitalism after all.
Danny Westneat, "Dairy gets squeezed by the feds," Free Republic (from The Seattle Times), June 3, 2005, http://snipurl.com/dairy0601
 

BMG Cracks Piracy Whip 
NEW YORK -- As part of its mounting U.S. rollout of content-enhanced and copy-protected CDs, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is testing technology solutions that bar consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs.

Since March the company has released at least 10 commercial titles -- more than 1 million discs in total -- featuring technology from U.K. anti-piracy specialist First4Internet that allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies.

The concept is known as "sterile burning." And in the eyes of Sony BMG executives, the initiative is central to the industry's efforts to curb casual CD burning.

"The casual piracy, the school yard piracy, is a huge issue for us," says Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business for Sony BMG. "Two-thirds of all piracy comes from ripping and burning CDs, which is why making the CD a secure format is of the utmost importance."

Names of specific titles carrying the technology were not disclosed. The effort is not specific to First4Internet. Other Sony BMG partners are expected to begin commercial trials of sterile burning within the next month.

To date, most copy protection and other digital rights management-based solutions that allow for burning have not included secure burning.

Early copy-protected discs as well as all Digital Rights Management-protected files sold through online retailers like iTunes, Napster and others offer burning of tracks into unprotected WAV files. Those burned CDs can then be ripped back onto a personal computer minus a DRM wrapper and converted into MP3 files.

Under the new solution, tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format. The DRM embedded on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied.

"The secure burning solution is the sensible way forward," First4Internet CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith says. "Most consumers accept that making a copy for personal use is really what they want it for. The industry is keen to make sure that is not abused by making copies for other people that would otherwise go buy a CD."

As with other copy-protected discs, albums featuring XCP, or extended copy protection, will allow for three copies to be made.

However, Sony BMG has said it is not locked into the number of copies. The label is looking to offer consumers a fair-use replication of rights enjoyed on existing CDs.

A key concern with copy-protection efforts remains compatibility.

It is a sticking point at Sony BMG and other labels as they look to increase the number of copy-protected CDs they push into the market.

Among the biggest headaches: Secure burning means that iPod users do not have any means of transferring tracks to their device, because Apple Computer has yet to license its FairPlay DRM for use on copy-protected discs.

As for more basic CD player compatibility issues, Gilliat-Smith says the discs are compliant with Sony Philips CD specifications and should therefore play in all conventional CD players.

The moves with First4Internet are part of a larger copy-protection push by Sony BMG that also includes SunnComm and its MediaMax technology.

To date, SunnComm has been the music giant's primary partner on commercial releases -- including Velvet Revolver's Contraband and Anthony Hamilton's solo album. In all, more than 5.5 million content-enhanced and protected discs have been shipped featuring SunnComm technology.

First4Internet's XCP has been used previously on prerelease CDs only. Sony BMG is the first to commercially deploy XCP.

First4Internet's other clients -- which include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI -- are using XCP for prerelease material.

Sony BMG expects that by year's end a substantial number of its U.S. releases will employ either MediaMax or XCP. All copy-protected solutions will include such extras as photo galleries, enhanced liner notes and links to other features.
Reuters, "BMG Cracks Piracy Whip," Wired News, 03:00 PM May. 31, 2005 PT, http://snipurl.com/bmg0601

 

Taking a Load Off While You Drive
As you pack your bags to hit the road this weekend, don't forget the swimsuit, sun block and driving directions. And hit the loo before you buckle up because record numbers of Americans will be right there with you heading out on vacation. Or you could do as some Brits do and pack a portable toilet to use in the car.

Two British engineers have invented the Indipod, an inflatable in-car toilet powered by a cigarette lighter. After plugging into the car's lighter, the bubble toilet or "private sanitary sanctuary" inflates to an area about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide and is sufficient to accommodate two people. When not in use, the portable toilet folds away into a bag the size of a suitcase and weighs 22 pounds.

"We are on the road a lot and built one for ourselves and actually used it as we were developing it," said James Shippen, inventor and co-founder of the Indipod. Their 15 prototypes led to the masterpiece, which works best in SUVs or minivans.

End to Long Bathroom Queues

Launched last November in Britain, the toilet-on-the-go is available online for $376, not including shipping.

"Originally in the United States, we sold these for people with medical conditions like Chron's disease," Shippen said, "but a lot of families are inquiring about them now."

Chron's disease is a progressive, inflammatory disease of the bowel. The most common symptoms are diarrhea and pain, which means unpredictable and frequent pit stops.

But getting to a satisfactory pit stop on the road can be a trying experience for anyone. Hygiene in run-down, badly lit truck stops leaves a lot to be desired along the nation's busy highways. Most women's facilities have endless lines and the smelly stalls have most people gasping for fresh air as they zip up.

So if you are on the go this summer, the Indipod Web site claims there's no need to twist yourself in knots counting down the miles before finding relief, "the Indipod will keep you on course."

Don't Let Your Bladder Do the Driving

With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of the summer driving season, motorists may be complaining about rising prices at the pump but it's not keeping them home. AAA estimates that approximately 31.1 million travelers (84 percent of all holiday travelers) expect to travel by motor vehicle this weekend, a 2.2 percent increase from the 30.5 million who drove a year ago.

Overall, 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a slight increase from a year ago. Shippen hopes to find some new customers among these driving droves.

"There's usually a giggle factor when people hear about our loo but often those same people become our customers saying, 'I could use one of those,' " said Shippen, remarking on the numerous "dirty" jokes he's gotten about the toilet-on-the-go.

The unit doesn't come with a seat belt so Shippen advises hitting the brakes and parking before you "unload." In 30 seconds, your loo's hygiene bubble inflates and you climb in. The others in the car cannot see you.

An air fan supposedly keeps bathroom noises and odors sealed in but air fresheners may also be a good investment. If the long road beckons and you want to stay on course, the Indipod can handle eight visitors in one day or one person for eight days or two people for four days.

Road-Tested and Approved

Shippen and co-founder Barbara May road tested their invention themselves recently by driving across Europe from north to south.

"We traveled 2,200 miles in just over a week and never left the car at all," he said.

Food and their trusty toilet got them from Scotland to the boot of Italy. They stopped at gas stations to fill up their tank and at campsites to "de-fuel" their Indipod.

The duo plans to test their car "port-a-pottie" in the wide expanse of the United States this year by driving cross-country from New York to San Diego.

Their car port-a-pottie will certainly get lots of use, although it may discourage any notion of car-pooling. And before hitting the road with the Indipod, there is one more critical item to remember to take along -- toilet paper.
CHARLOTTE SECTOR, "Taking a Load Off While You Drive," ABC News (Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures), May. 27, 2005, http://snipurl.com/load0601


Music: Standing Outside the Fire --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/fire.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  

 




The Bible teaches us to love our enemies as much as our friends. Probably, because they are the same persons.
Vittorio De Sica

The point is not to humanize war but to abolish it.
Albert Einstein


Latest research on the prevention of migraines ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/20/books/20almo.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1119277109-CQDv0S+2I88Z5Qgo+mTT1w


Tax-friendly versus Tax-unfriendly states in 2005 --- http://money.cnn.com/2005/04/08/real_estate/tax_friendly/index.htm

Top honors go to the tax-friendly states of Alaska, New Hampshire and Delaware.

Most unfriendly? Maine, New York, D.C.

Every year, the Tax Foundation measures the total tax bill for each state, creating a list of the most – and least – tax-friendly states in the country.

See the full list here. And see more state rankings based on income tax, sales tax, property tax and tax breaks for retirees.

In creating its rankings, the Tax Foundation measures as a percentage of per capita income what residents pay in income, property, sales and other personal taxes levied at the state and local levels. It also factors in the portion of business taxes passed along to state residents through higher prices, lower wages or lower profits.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research group that advocates, among other things, tax simplification.


Sleepless in Seattle University:  The high cost of gourmet caffeine addiction
Lim’s ideas led to the creation of a Web site (completely independent of Seattle University) that allows people to determine the long-term financial impact of their coffee habits. Gourmet coffee can cost people thousands of dollars a year, an expense that goes up if you factor in interest on student loans, which already tops six figures for plenty of graduate and professional students.
Scott Jaschik, "Do You Really Need That Latte?" Inside Higher Ed, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/21/coffee
See Erika Lim's site at http://www.hughchou.org/calc/coffee.cgi



In protest of the phony hearings on education in Kansas
Dr. Miller is a professor of biology at Brown University, a co-author of widely used high school and college biology texts, an ardent advocate of the teaching of evolution - and a person of faith. In another of his books, "Finding Darwin's God," he not only outlines the scientific failings of creationism and its doctrinal cousin, "intelligent design," but also tells how he reconciles his faith in God with his faith in science.  But Dr. Miller declined to testify. And he was not alone. Mainstream scientists, even those who have long urged researchers to speak with a louder voice in public debates, stayed away from Kansas.  In general, they offered two reasons for the decision: that the outcome of the hearings was a foregone conclusion, and that participating in them would only strengthen the idea in some minds that there was a serious debate in science about the power of the theory of evolution. "We on the science side of things strong-armed the Kansas hearings because we realized this was not a scientific exchange, it was a political show trial," said Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, which promotes the teaching of evolution. "We are never going to solve it by throwing science at it."
Cornelia Dean, "Opting Out in the Debate on Evolution," The New York Times, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/science/21evo.html

China's lingering muffled silence of state censorship
It is the sort of horrific case that in many countries would be a national scandal but in China has disappeared into the muffled silence of state censorship. That silence matches the silence at the heart of the case: the fact that students considered a teacher so powerful that they did not dare speak out.
Jim Yardley, "Rape in China: A 3-Month-Long Nightmare for 26 Schoolgirls," The New York Times, June 21, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ChinaRape


LA Times experiment in non-censorship lasts less than two days
A Los Angeles Times experiment in opinion journalism lasted just two days before the paper was forced to shut it down Sunday morning after some readers repeatedly posted obscene photos.
Alicia C. Shepard, "Postings of Obscene Photos End Free-Form Editorial Experiment," The New York Times, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/business/media/21paper.html 


Admission of guilt will be costly for KPMG and its tax clients
The admission last week by the big accounting firm KPMG of "unlawful conduct" in selling tax shelters may help shield the firm from criminal indictment, but it heightens its vulnerability to costly civil litigation. KPMG's acknowledgment, in which it said it "takes full responsibility" and "deeply regrets" tax shelter abuses, may also undermine some fellow corporate defendants in civil lawsuits: businesses that worked with the accounting firm to sell and operate the tax shelters and that now potentially face hundreds of millions of dollars in claims.
Jeff Bailey and Lynnley Browning, "KPMG May Dodge One Bullet, Only to Face Another," The New York Times, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/business/21kpmg.html

Bob Jensen's threads on the two faces of KPMG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#KPMG


Big Four Audit Firms Are Chided in Britain
A new auditing regulator in Britain said yesterday that it had found problems in some audits conducted by the Big Four accounting firms, reflecting a failure to apply proper procedures. It said it had discovered two audited companies that it believed had not complied with all rules. "The firms are capable of doing very good audits," Paul George, director of the Professional Oversight Board for Accountancy, said yesterday in a telephone interview. "But we identify some areas where they are not applying their procedures and practices across all audits."
Floyd Norris, "Big Four Audit Firms Are Chided in Britain," The New York Times, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/business/worldbusiness/21audit.html


The Decline of Socialism in America
Many people know that (James) Weinstein’s book The Decline of Socialism in America, 1912-1925 (first published in 1967 and reprinted by Rutgers University Press in 1984) started out as his dissertation. After all this time, it remains a landmark work in the scholarship on U.S. radicalism. But only this weekend, in talking with a mutual friend, did I learn that he never actually bothered to get the Ph.D.  While hospitalized with brain cancer, Jimmy gave a series of interviews to Miles Harvey, an author and former managing editor at In These Times. The body of reminscences is now being transcribed, and will join the collection of the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University.
Scott McLemee, "Ambiguous Legacy," Inside Higher Ed, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/21/mclemee


In Chess, Masters Again Fight Machines
But, rather than being the final word in the battle of man vs. machine, the Kasparov-Deep Blue match spurred the competition. More grandmasters are taking up the challenge posed by computers.
Dylan Loeb McClain, " In Chess, Masters Again Fight Machines," The New York Times, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/arts/21mast.html


Rumplestiltskin is running out of straw:  Tech companies are hoarding gold and not replacing the straw that is spun into gold
That cash hoard is likely to grow this year, as companies take advantage of a one-time federal tax break that will allow them to repatriate billions of dollars in overseas earnings. FIXED-INCOME MENTALITY. The trouble is, few tech companies are doing anything exciting with all that loot. Many chief executives are using their funds sparingly. Several years after the tech bust ended, they're still unnerved by weak revenue growth and a stagnant stock market. So they're playing it safe, behaving like well-off retirees who clip coupons and live off the interest of their nest eggs. With the tech downturn still fresh in their minds, relatively few business leaders have regained the sense of boldness that goes hand in hand with making advances in new technologies, products, and markets. "If tech companies were going to do something big with their cash, they would have done it already," says Pip Coburn, tech strategist at UBS.
Steve Rosenbush, "Tech's Idle Billions:  The sector's companies are minting money. Now they need to start spending some to create new technologies, products, and markets," Business Week, June 21, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/IdleCash


June 22, 2005 distance education message from [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

I just spent four days with around 350 accounting faculty at PwC University for Faculty, which took place at the Harrison Conference Center & Hotel in Plainsboro, NJ. The learning activities really took me out of my comfort zone, and I learned a lot. I was teaching online while I was there (there were internet connections in the rooms), and I posted my takeaways each night on the discussion boards.

See http://www.business.uconn.edu/users/adunbar/PwC_University_for_Faculty-2005.pdf 

I edited my postings for this summary. The typos just had to go; at least I tried to get rid of them. ;-) I hope PwC offers this opportunity for faculty next summer. If you have the opportunity to attend, go!

Amy Dunbar
University of Connecticut
School of Business
Accounting Department
2100 Hillside Road, Unit 1041
Storrs, CT 06269-1041

Jensen Comment:  Amy is a veteran online teacher for the University of Connecticut --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book01q4.htm#Dunbar


Breakthrough Isolating Embryo-quality Stem Cells From Blood
Professor Josef Käs and Dr Jochen Guck from the University of Leipzig have developed a procedure that can extract and isolate embryo-quality stem cells from adult blood for the first time. This new technique could unlock the stem cell revolution and stimulate a boom in medical research using stem cells. Stem cells are cells which have not yet differentiated into specialised tissues such as skin, brain or muscle. They promise a new class of regenerative medicine, which could repair apparently permanent damage such as heart disease or Parkinson’s. The cells are currently taken from aborted human foetuses, an issue which has led to controversy and opposition in many parts of the world. Any alternative source, such as voluntary adult donations, could spark a boom in new cures.
"Breakthrough Isolating Embryo-quality Stem Cells From Blood," Science Daily, June 19, 2005 --- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050619115816.htm


Postdoctoral Mentoring Program
Research can be unforgiving in its time consumption, but well rounded faculty members also teach, design courses, and mentor students. In order to help multidimensional faculty members, Lawrence University began a pilot program to mold postdoctoral fellows for successful careers. This month, the university announced its selection of the first eight Lawrence Fellows in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, who will begin the two-year program next fall. Not all of the details are worked out, but the program will seek to supply the fellows with plenty of mentoring to aid their teaching and course design, and will require them to be mentors to undergraduates along the way. While many research universities have postdoctoral fellows, Lawrence officials see their program as significant for its scope — from the music conservatory to the physics department — within a primarily undergraduate liberal arts institution. And Lawrence is bringing in an administrator to study the new program and make adjustments as needed so the eager young professors can have tailor-made training.
David Epstein, "Faculty Farm Team," Inside Higher Ed, June 20, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/20/lawrence


The University of Missouri at Kansas City has placed on administrative leave a dean who admitted plagiarizing portions of a commencement speach, reported the Associated Press.
Inside Higher Ed, June 20, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/20/qt


Wisconsin colleges to be blocked from prescribing or dispensing an emergency contraception pill
The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill last week that would bar student health centers on all University of Wisconsin campuses from advertising, prescribing or dispensing an emergency contraception pill. The “morning after” pill, which is designed for women to take when condoms break or other forms of birth control somehow fail, provides a very high dose of progestin that prevents ovulation or fertilization, effectively ending any possibility of a pregnancy.
Doug Lederman, "Taking Aim at Student Sex," Inside Higher Ed, June 20, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/20/morning


Competition dwindles among international auditing firms
Intel Corp. is one of the many big companies now bumping up against the limitations. After using Ernst & Young LLP as its auditor for more than three decades, the semiconductor maker considered switching recently for a fresh look at its financials. But it stuck with Ernst after receiving proposals from the other Big Four firms: Deloitte & Touche LLP, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. That is because federal regulations bar the three other firms from serving as Intel's independent auditor unless they give up valuation, computer-software and other work they do for Intel. "Because there are only a limited number of large multinational audit firms that do the kind of work that we need, if we were to switch audit firms, all sorts of dominos would fall," said Cary Klafter, corporate secretary at Intel.
Diya Gullapalli, "Firms' Auditor Choices Dwindle," The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page C1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111931731386164848,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 


From Jim Mahar's blog on June 18, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

A look around at a few blogs I have not done one of these look around pieces in a while, so why not?

Freakonomics has an update on the discussion from the book on real estate agents. If you have not read/ristened to the book, in the book Levitt points out a study that finds that real estate agents behave differently when selling their own homes than when they are selling homes for clients. SHOCK! It now seems that the National Association of Realtors is upset. (SHOCK!)^2

Cafe Hayek directs us to a great Thomas Sowell article on Free trade and the Smoot-Hawley tariff.

The Marginal Revolution has an interesting article on musician Shayan, who is selling shares in himself. Uh, ok. At what point will the SEC halt it?

SportsEconomist has a cool piece on public vs. private financing of stadiums. Short version public financing is generally not good. The Sports Economist

FreeMoney Finance points to an article about the difficulty that Muslim homebuyers face when it comes to mortgages. (if you want more on this, check out my Islamic Finance Page.)

PFblog reports that there are now an estimated 7.7 million millionaires. (warning, you have to look through all the ads to find the story!)

Kimsnider's Investment Intelligence touts the benefits of laddered bond portfolios.


One review of the new book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, by Bernard Goldberg (HarperCollins, ISBN: 0060761288) --- http://snipurl.com/Goldberg

No preaching. No pontificating. Just some uncommon sense about the things that have made this country great -- and the culprits who are screwing it up.

Bernard Goldberg takes dead aim at the America Bashers (the cultural elites who look down their snobby noses at "ordinary" Americans) ... the Hollywood Blowhards (incredibly ditzy celebrities who think they're smart just because they're famous) ... the TV Schlockmeisters (including the one whose show has been compared to a churning mass of maggots devouring rotten meat) ... the Intellectual Thugs (bigwigs at some of our best colleges, whose views run the gamut from left wing to far left wing) ... and many more.

Goldberg names names, counting down the villains in his rogues' gallery from 100 all the way to 1 -- and, yes, you-know-who is number 37. Some supposedly "serious" journalists also made the list, including the journalist-diva who sold out her integrity and hosted one of the dumbest hours in the history of network television news. And there are those famous miscreants who have made America a nastier place than it ought to be -- a far more selfish, vulgar, and cynical place.

But Goldberg doesn't just round up the usual suspects we have come to know and detest. He also exposes some of the people who operate away from the limelight but still manage to pull a lot of strings and do all sorts of harm to our culture. Most of all, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America is about a country where as long as anything goes, as one of the good guys in the book puts it, sooner or later everything will go.


Exposing doctors who peddle snake oil
Klatz and Goldman first sued Olshansky and Perls last fall, but the case was dismissed in the spring, according to Olshansky. The new case is a modified version of the original. Olshansky said he has received strong personal support from many colleagues, and that he will not stop speaking out. “We will not be intimidated,” he said. “This is the pursuit of a scientific issue by scientists. I am a professor of public health and that’s part of what I do. I will continue to speak freely for the rest of my life.”
"Anti-Aging Doctors Sue Professors," Inside Higher Ed, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/21/suit


Civil War Era Grips Tintype Rebel
During the Civil War, tintype photography was a cheap, popular method of portraiture for common Americans and soldiers. In fact, Abraham Lincoln produced gem-sized tintype pins for his 1860 presidential campaign. For years, Coffer made his living taking wet-plate photographs of Civil War re-enactors and people on the street, whom he'd dress in 19th-century clothing. Coffer would sell a 5- by 7-inch portrait for "a mere $15." "The market would stand for no higher price," wrote Coffer in response to several questions sent by postal mail.
Alison Strayhan, "Civil War Era Grips Tintype Rebel," Wired News, June 14, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,67838,00.html


China's lingering muffled silence of state censorship
It is the sort of horrific case that in many countries would be a national scandal but in China has disappeared into the muffled silence of state censorship. That silence matches the silence at the heart of the case: the fact that students considered a teacher so powerful that they did not dare speak out.
Jim Yardley, "Rape in China: A 3-Month-Long Nightmare for 26 Schoolgirls," The New York Times, June 21, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ChinaRape


The gap between poor and rich in the U.S. has widened over the past 30 years
The gap between poor and rich in the U.S. has widened over the past 30 years. But people born to modest circumstances are no more likely to rise above their parents' station. The divergent fates of Mr. Hall and his stepson -- and others in this blue-collar city -- illustrate why it can be hard to move up. Industrial jobs that offered steady escalators of advancement for workers, even if they were only high-school graduates, are vanishing in America. In their place are service-economy jobs with fewer ways up. Unions are scarcer and temporary work more common. In newer service jobs that have come to dominate the U.S. economy, a college diploma is increasingly the prerequisite to a good wage. While increased access to college has been a powerful force for mobility, the share of workers with college degrees remains a minority. Moreover, getting a degree is closely correlated with having parents who themselves went to college.
Greg Ip, "As Economy Shifts, A New Generation Fights to Keep Up:  In Milwaukee, Factories Close And Skills, Not Seniority, Are Key to Advancement," The Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111939582597865857,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


Major TV Networks (except for Fox) Boycotted 'Hospital Bomber' Story
That only one network would air incredible footage of the seizure of a ticking human-bomb, just moments before she tried to murder hospital patients, means this story was not simply ignored by the mainstream media - it was boycotted by the mainstream media. Since nearly every aspect of this remarkable story contradicts everything the mainstream media has been trying to tell us about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they just opted for the easiest way to handle it - denying it ever happened.
"Bauer: Major TV Networks Boycotted 'Hospital Bomber' Story," Arutz Sheva, June 22, 2005 --- http://www.arutzsheva.com/news.php3?id=84394

Also see http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1428321/posts


Stranger than fiction
Forwarded by Barb Hessel (from Fox News)

Lions Save African Girl From Abductors --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160265,00.html


Also stranger than fiction
M’Mburugu had a machete in one hand but dropped that to thrust his fist down the leopard’s mouth. He gradually managed to pull out the animal’s tongue, leaving it in its death-throes. “It let out a blood-curdling snarl that made the birds stop chirping,” he told the daily Standard newspaper of how the leopard came at him and knocked him over. The leopard sank its teeth into the farmer’s wrist and mauled him with its claws. “A voice, which must have come from God, whispered to me to drop the panga (machete) and thrust my hand in its wide-open mouth. I obeyed,” M’Mburugu said.
"Kenyan, 73, kills leopard with bare hands," MSNBC, June 22, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8317484/


Music: Sugar Shack --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/shack.htm  

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




The press does not want to inform the reader but to persuade him he's being informed.
Nicolás Dávila

Citigroup's criminal behavior is so far-flung and ambidextrous it seems to be part of the profit structure.
William Greider

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.
Charles M. Schulz


What banks are not telling us following the hacking of 50 million credit card numbers
Consumer advocates said credit card customers have been denied crucial information in the wake of a recent data breach, as some major banks are declining to tell cardholders whether their account may have been accessed by hackers . . . Within 24 hours of last week's news of the breach, a new version of an Internet scam was circulating on the Web. In an e-mail forged to look as if it had come from MasterCard, recipients were urged to log in to a counterfeited MasterCard site and enter their account information.
Mike Musgrove, "Cardholders Kept in Dark After Breach Some Banks Decline to Tell Customers Whether Accounts Were Compromised," The Washington Post, June 23, 2005 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/22/AR2005062202037.html?referrer=email
Jensen Comment:  I changed all of the account numbers on my credit cards.  I suggest that you do the same.


Consumer Health Websites
"Consumer Reports WebWatch, an arm of the Consumers Union publishing empire, has begun rating the 20 most-trafficked health information Web sites. The ratings -- posted on a new early release Web site,
http://www.healthratings.org / , that was undergoing evident birthing pains last week-- were produced in collaboration with the Health Improvement Institute (HII), a Bethesda-based nonprofit."
Leslie Walker, "Consumer Health Websites," The Washington Post, June 21, 2005 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2005/06/20/DI2005062001043.html?referrer=email


This is a good article
Arthritis is crippling more people, but there are nine key ways to beat the pain --- http://www.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/050627/27arthritis.htm


June 23, 2005 message from Richard Campbell

I thought the following multimedia presentation may be of interest to many on the list - The presentation itself was created using Articulate's Presenter.

http://www.presenternet.com/robingood/player.html?slide=1 

Richard J. Campbell mailto:campbell@rio.edu 

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


MSN Search introduces Spoof, a tool to let you create funny search results about a friend, family member, or co-worker. When you're done, you can send the page to the target or anyone else you think might get a laugh out of it. --- http://www.msnsearchspoof.com/index.aspx


Your phone company is lobbying to prevent competition
SBC Communications Inc., the dominant phone company in Texas, and other big phone companies say that cities should not be allowed to subsidize high-speed Internet connections -- even in areas where the companies don't yet offer the service. Since January, lawmakers in at least 14 states and the U.S. Congress have introduced bills to restrict local governments' ability to fill the gap.
Jesse Crucker and Li Yuan, "Phone Giants Are Lobbying Hard To Block Towns' Wireless Plans:  As Cities Try to Build Networks, SBC and Other Companies Say It's Unfair Competition," The Wall Street Journal,  June 23, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111948429964367053,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


A poem by Mary Fister for those who must endure long and formal faculty meetings --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/24/fister


I have to disagree with John Wilson on this one
In what may be the worst decision for college student rights in the history of the federal judiciary, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit this week turned back the clock a half-century and reinstated the old discredited doctrines of in loco parentis and administrative authoritarianism. In Hosty v. Carter, the Seventh Circuit ruled by a 7-4 majority that administrators at public colleges have total control over subsidized student newspapers. But the scope of the decision is breathtaking, since the reasoning of the case applies to any student organization receiving student fees. Student newspapers, speakers and even campus protests could now be subject to the whim of administrative approval.
John K. Wilson, "The Case of the Censored Newspaper," Inside Higher Ed, June 24, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/24/wilson
Jensen Comment:  I have to disagree to John Wilson on this one.  Students sometimes become overzealous and cause embarrassments that spill over to the entire college community such as the doctoring of a photograph of in the student newspaper at Middlebury College that made one of the Middlebury's invited speakers look like Adolph Hitler.  There are also issues of slander, obscenity, and political/religious insensitivity that can run totally out of control.  Owners of newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post have censorship controls.  Why shouldn't colleges be afforded the same controls? The Los Angeles Times recently experimented with an uncensored Wiki blog that lasted only two days because it became obscene.  Censorship versus academic freedom is not a black and white issue due to risks of slander and obscenity. 


ATM Fees Keep Moving Higher
Not only are banks charging their own customers more if they use another bank's ATMs, but they're also charging higher fees for other banks' customers who use their machines. This spring, the average fee a bank charges a customer for using another bank's ATM hit a record $1.35, up from $1.29 last fall, according to Bankrate.com's Checking Account Pricing Study. Meanwhile, the average costs that ATM owners are charging noncustomers who use their machines -- also known as "surcharges" or "foreign ATM fees" -- rose to $1.40 from $1.37.
Jane J. Kim, "ATM Fees Keep Moving Higher:  Banks Increase Charges To Capture Revenue Lost As Credit-Card Use Rises," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2005; Page D2 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111948478481267067,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


New survey reveals salaries for Management Accountants rising
Top management accountants and finance professionals pulled ahead of public accountants in both average salary and total compensation in 2004 as the new auditing requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act took effect. Public accounting, which held the top spot in 2003, fell to 6th place last year with management accountants and finance professionals rising to first and second place, according to the findings of the 16th annual salary survey conducted by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Salaries and compensation were found to be higher for professionals holding a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential only ($97,908), than for those with a Certified Public Accountant credential ($93,104) alone. Professionals holding both certifications had the highest earnings of all ($105,155), and those with neither certification had the lowest ($79,763).
Andrew Priest, "New Survey reveals salaries for Management Accountants Rising," AccountingEducation.com, June 18, 2005 --- http://accountingeducation.com/news/news6298.html
Note the the link to the IMA site is incorrect in the above article.  The correct link is http://www.imanet.org/ima/index.asp

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


Best product designs according to Business Week --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/toc/05_27/B39410527design.htm

Many of the winning entries from this year's competition for Industrial Design Excellence Awards spring from a close observation of the customer

Online Extra: Top Designers

Online Extra: Top Corporate Winners

Online Extra: The Catalyst Awards

Online Extra: An Interactive Guide to the Winners, Past and Present

Online Extra: Annual Design Awards 2005 Slide Show

Consumer Goods
These products have personality and listen to what users want

Design Strategy
Design can provide a tactical advantage by delivering a powerful brand message

Disruptive Design
Creative destruction can transform markets, from footwear to musical instruments

Brand Extension
Good design can also be an image enhancer and bring new life to existing brands

Asian Design
Coming up with signature looks has worked wonders for countries throughout the region

European Design
The Continent is pulling ahead by virtue of elegance and elan (?)

Catalyst Award Winners
Fine design, dandy sales: These products get the prize for also adding to the bottom line


Trivia (well maybe not so trivial) from The Washington Post on June 21, 2005

IBM just opened its fifth software development center in India and announced plans to hire 1,000 programmers for the new center by the end of 2005. How many people does the company currently employ in India at its four other centers?

A. 230,000
B. 23,000
C. 2,300
D. 230
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.


Apple Computer Inc.'s CEO Steve Jobs says which college class helped him set Macintosh apart from competitors?

A. Anthropology
B. Calligraphy
C. Greek
D. History


MIT's DSpace Explained
In 1978, Loren Kohnfelder invented digital certificates while working on his MIT undergraduate thesis. Today, digital certificates are widely used to distribute the public keys that are the basis of the Internet's encryption system. This is important stuff! But when I tried to find an online copy of Kohnfelder's 1978 manuscript, I came up blank. According to the MIT Libraries' catalog, there were just two copies in the system: a microfiche somewhere in Barker Engineering Library, and a "noncirculating" copy in the Institute Archives . . . DSpace is a long-term, searchable digital archive. It creates unchanging URLs for stored materials and automatically backs up one institution's archives to another's. Today, DSpace is being used by 79 institutions, with more on the way. But as my little story about Kohnfelder's thesis demonstrates, archiving data is only half the problem. In order to be useful, archives must also enable researchers to find what they are looking for. Sending e-mail to the author worked for me, but it's not a good solution for the masses. Long-term funding is another problem that DSpace needs to solve. "The libraries are seeking ways of stabilizing support for DSpace to make it easier to sustain as it gets bigger over time," says MacKenzie Smith, the Libraries' associate director for technology. Today, development on the DSpace system is funded by short-term grants. That's great for doing research, but it's not a good model for a facility that's destined to be the long-term memory of the Institute's research output. Says Smith: "We need to know how to support an operation like this in very lean times."
Simson Garfinkel, "MIT's DSpace Explained," MIT's Technology Review, July 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/07/issue/feature_mit.asp?trk=nl

Bob Jensen's threads on "OKI, DSpace, and SAKAI" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


Investing and borrowing news and commentaries
Blogosphere from Yahoo Finance --- http://biz.yahoo.com/special/blog05.html


For professors who abuse classrooms for personal viewpoints
David Horowitz isn’t mentioned by name in a two-page statement being released today by 26 higher education organizations. But the statement, on “academic rights and responsibilities,” is a response to Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights,” which many professors view as an assault on their rights. Organizers of the statement being issued today say that it was an effort to state publicly that academe is not monolithic ideologically and that colleges can — without the government — deal with professors (a distinct few, according to most academic leaders) who punish students for their views. Organizers hoped the statement would deflate the movement in state legislatures and Congress to enact the Academic Bill of Rights. Horowitz called the statement “a major victory” for his campaign and said that it opened up the possibility that he would work directly with colleges on remaining differences of opinion, rather than seeking legislation.
Scott Jaschik, "Detente With David Horowitz," Inside Higher Ed, June 23, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/23/statement


"Locating Bourdieu," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, June 23, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/23/mclemee

He was especially sharp (some thought brutal) in analyzing the French academic world. At the same time, he did very well in that system; very well indeed. He was critical of the way some scholars used expertise in one field to leverage themselves into positions of influence having no connection with their training or particular field of confidence. It could make him sound like a scold. At the same time, it often felt like Bourdieu might be criticizing his own temptation to become an oracle.

In the course of my own untutored reading of Bourdieu over the years, there came a moment when the complexity of his arguments and the aggressiveness of his insights suddenly felt like manifestations of a personality that was angry on the surface, and terribly disappointed somewhere underneath. His tone registered an acute (even an excruciating) ambivalence toward intellectual life in general and the educational system in particular.

Stray references in his work revealed glimpses of Bourdieu as a “scholarship boy” from a family that was both rural and lower-middle class. You learned that he had trained to be a philosopher in the best school in the country. Yet there was also the element of refusal in even his most theoretical work — an almost indignant rejection of the role of Master Thinker (played to perfection in his youth by Jean-Paul Sartre) in the name of empirical sociological research.

There is now a fairly enormous secondary literature on Bourdieu in English. Of the half-dozen or so books on him that I’ve read in the past few years, one has made an especially strong impression, Deborah Reed-Danahay’s recent study Locating Bourdieu (Indiana University Press, 2005). Without reducing his work to memoir, she nonetheless fleshes out the autobiographical overtones of Bourdieu’s major concepts and research projects. (My only complaint about the book is that it wasn’t published 10 years ago: Although it is a monograph on his work rather than an introductory survey, it would also be a very good place for the new reader of Bourdieu to start.)

Continued in article


From the Carnegie Foundation News and Announcements in June 2005
 

Documentary Examines the Quality of Higher Education in America
Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk, a new documentary produced by Carnegie visiting scholar John Merrow premiers June 23 on PBS (check local listings). The documentary follows 30 students and teachers, as it explores the road between admissions and graduation—a route that is no longer linear. Going beyond what Americans believe about the college experience, Declining by Degrees exposes the disappointment, disorientation and deflation that so many college students feel, and the struggles they face, regardless of the schools they choose to attend.

Visit the Declining by Degrees Web site »


 

Seek Simplicity . . . and Distrust It
In a recent Education Week commentary, Carnegie President Lee S. Shulman argues for "a more evidence-based strategy for crafting our education policies" while acknowledging that this course "does not bypass the need for interpretation and judgment."

Read the commentary, "Seek Simplicity . . . and Distrust It."

 


The Risk Return Tradeoff in the Long-Run: 1836-2003
The risk–return tradeoff is fundamental to finance. However, while many asset pricing models imply a positive relationship between the risk premium on the market portfolio and the variance of its return, previous studies find the empirical relationship is weak at best. In sharp contrast, this study, demonstrates that the weak empirical relationship is an artifact of the small sample nature of the available data, as an extremely large number of time-series observations is required to precisely estimate this relationship. To maximize the available time-series, I employ the nearly two century history of US equity market returns from Schwert (1990), exploring the empirical risk-return tradeoff for a variety of specifications that allow for asymmetric volatility, regime-switching, and additional factors associated with intertemporal (ICAPM) hedging demands. Similar to studies that use the more recent US equity price history, conditional market volatility in the historical data is persistent and displays strong asymmetric relationships to return innovations. Further, the conditional correlation between stock and bond markets is closely related to periods of documented financial crises. Finally, in contrast to evidence based upon the recent US experience, the estimated relationship between risk and return is positive and statistically significant across every specification considered.
Christian T. Lundblad, "The Risk Return Tradeoff in the Long-Run: 1836-2003," SSRN Working Papers, October 2004 --- http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=671324


Daniel Patrick Moynihan once called this "thievery"
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint are calling for legislation to bring an immediate halt to the ongoing political raid on the surplus payroll taxes collected by Social Security. Congress now spends that cash on current programs--from cotton subsidies, to defense, to the Dr. Seuss Museum. Every day that Congress fails to act, another $200 million is spent rather than being saved for future retirement. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once called this "thievery," and if corporate America were engaged in this type of accounting fraud Eliot Spitzer would be hauling CEOs to jail.
"A Surplus Idea Congress should give workers back their extra Social Security taxes," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006860


Iron Mike has metal fatigue
Mike Tyson's role model Sonny Liston once said that someday, "they will write a blues song just for fighters. It'll be with slow guitar, soft trumpet, and a bell." Strum that guitar and ring that bell for Mr. Tyson: His 20-year boxing career ended June 11, when he refused to come out for the seventh round in his bout against journeyman Kevin McBride.
Gordon Marino, "Requiem for a Heavyweight," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111948308793267019,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Also see http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/050627ta_talk_remnick


What is elastin?
In the quest to replace failed or injured body parts, fabricating them out of one of the most durable materials in the body -- elastin -- makes a lot of sense. Today, Dr. Ken Gregory, director of the Oregon Medical Laser Center at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, OR, is using the material to engineer all kinds of quasi-natural structures: blood vessels, patches for internal injuries, replacement ear drums, bladders, and more.
David Wolman, "Natural Healing," MIT's Technology Review, June 21, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/06/wo/wo_062105wolman.asp?trk=nl



Taxes for online purchases will soon be "unavoidable"

Online shoppers could be forgiven for overlooking a California court ruling last month that might end the tax-free joyride they've been enjoying on the information superhighway.The appeals court ruling said megabookstore Borders Inc. had to pay $167,000 in taxes that it owed based on Internet sales from 1998 and 1999. The reasons are complicated and experts disagree on the results. Looking at the big picture, however, it appears that somehow, sometime in the future, most people who buy things online will pay taxes.
Robert MacMillan, "An Unavoidable Tax," The Washington Post, June 20, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/UnavoidableTax
 

"In Defense of Steroids:  Jose Canseco’s surprisingly sensible case for juice," by Aaron Steinberg, Reason Magazine, June 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/0506/cr.as.in.shtml

How Baseball Got Big, by Jose Canseco, New York: Regan Books, 304 pages, $25.95

On March 17, former baseball star Jose Canseco told the House Committee on Government Reform exactly what it wanted to hear. The pressure to win, he said, drives pros to steroids and subsequently pushes steroids on kids. “The time has come,” he said, “to send a message to America, especially the youth, that these actions, while attractive at first, may tarnish and harm you later.”

That isn’t exactly the message he sent with his recent pro-steroid tell-all, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ’Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big. And while his new tune may sound more responsible to legislators’ ears, it’s actually too bad that the former A’s slugger turned his back on his own book. Beyond the typical sports memoir material— Lamborghinis, encounters with Madonna, growing up Latino in baseball—Canseco’s book makes a rare and sustained argument in favor of steroids (and substances often used in conjunction with steroids, such as human growth hormone). Coming at a time of full-blown moral panic, with grandstanding senators trampling athletes’ privacy rights and the media blaming steroids for everything from brain cancer to suicide, Canseco’s position was a welcome one. It’s a shame he didn’t have the guts to stick with it.

 


Firms Ranked on Ethical Behavior
Engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. topped Business Ethics Magazine's annual survey of the "100 Best Corporate Citizens," a ranking of leading ethical performers on the Russell 1000 Index of publicly listed U.S. companies. The survey, published in the magazine's Spring 2005 edition, has gained national recognition as an indicator of best practices in the area of corporate social responsibility. Cited as a world leader in emissions reductions, Columbus, Ind.-based Cummins has made the list for the past six years. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. of Waterbury, Vt., received the second-highest rating, hailed as "a pioneer in helping struggling coffee growers by paying them fair trade prices." Property casualty insurers St. Paul Travelers Companies was ranked third in recognition of its community service.
"Firms Ranked on Ethical Behavior," SmartPros, June 17, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x48608.xml


June 23, 2005 message from eNewsletter@as411.com

Top Stories...
* Ex-PeopleSoft Co-President Takes New Job
* Blackbaud NetCommunity Delivers Revolutionary Online/Offline Synchronization in Latest Version of Web Site Management Solution
* AXS-One Enters Into Agreement for $6.75 Million Investment With Institutional Investors, Management and Board Members

Other News...
* Dexter + Chaney To Showcase Newest Version Of Its ForeFront® Construction Management Software At Neca Show 2005
* Sage Software Showcases Abra HRMS with New Multiple Database Support and Outsourced Payroll Offerings at SHRM 2005
* Sage Software Launches Peachtree by Sage Premium Accounting 2006 for Manufacturing and Peachtree by Sage Premium Accounting 2006 for Distribution
* Ultimate Software Honored Nationally as One of the Best Places to Work
* City of Durham, North Carolina Selects MUNIS(R) Software From Tyler Technologies to Modernize Operations
* Oracle Enhances JD Edwards World for Improved Compliance and Self-Service Operations
* Oracle Helping SAP Customers to Get 'OFF SAP'
* Epicor Unveils Enhanced Epicor(R) iScala Collaborative ERP Solution at HITEC 2005
* Hargray Communications Group Chooses Epicor(R)
* Epicor(R) Gives Red Bull Racing Wings
* Blackbaud Announces Enhanced Integrated Version of Campus-Wide Solution
* AXS-One Launches Electronic Records Compliance Information Center (ERCIC)
* SYSPRO Named “ISV of the Year” at VAR Business 500 Awards
* First TCO Studay To Look At Integrating CRM And ERP Solutions Puts NetSuite In The Winner Column


Click Here to learn more:
http://www.as411.com/AcctSoftware.nsf/nlv/06222005?Edit&s=2

 


You must read the fine print!
Royally Screwed:  I recall that the same thing happened when people signed up for health club memberships and owed monthly payments on health clubs that no longer existed

With the lure of 30 to 60 percent savings, Vogan signed up with New Jersey-based NorVergence Inc. and even insured the small red box as required. He paid $435 a month to rent the box and an additional $13 for services, including unlimited long distance.Last summer NorVergence filed for bankruptcy, and customers like Vogan, who owns a home remodeling firm in Silver Spring, found that their troubles went far beyond the loss of phone service. They discovered they were obligated to keep paying rent on the boxes to third parties, which had bought the rental contracts from NorVergence.
Dina ElBoghdady, "Promised Savings, They Rented the Boxes And Now They're Really Paying for It:  NorVergence Went Bankrupt; Customers Still Owe," The Washington Post,  June 20, 2005; Page D01 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/19/AR2005061900662.html?referrer=email


Radio Memories ---  http://radiomemories.libsyn.com/

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




CIA: The World Factbook 2005 http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for economic statistics are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for encyclopedias etc. are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


On June 26, 2005, Time Magazine announced an extensive cover feature on Abraham Lincoln --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1077267,00.html


The U.S. Social Security System may be insolvent in less than ten years
The recent annual report issued by the Social Security Board of Trustees demonstrates with undeniable clarity that Social Security faces a looming financial crisis. Worse still, the report shows Social Security's lurch toward insolvency has accelerated. In just a little more than a decade, Social Security will begin to run a deficit, the study shows. Deficits will continue and amplify every year well beyond the turn of the next century. Despite early protestations from many on Capitol Hill that "there is no crisis," few serious observers of the current state of Social Security hold out hope the system can survive as presently constructed.
Thomas R. Saving, "Social Security Insolvency Accelerating:   Study Says Crisis is much closer than previously believed," Heartland Institute, July 1, 2005 --- http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17329


International Freedom Center --- http://www.ifcwtc.org/index.html


Video Guide To Securing Your Computer

I wanted to call attention to a new resource on washingtonpost.com for people who need a little help getting started in securing their computers. We produced a series of "screencasts" or video guides demonstrating some of the basic steps users need to take to stay safe online, including brief primers on choosing and using firewall and anti-virus software, downloading and installing the latest Microsoft Windows patches, and taking advantage of free anti-spyware tools.

These videos are by no means definitive guides, but I hope they will be of some use to those who find themselves completely intimidated by computer security.
Brian Krebs, "ideo Guide To Securing Your Computer," The Washington Post --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2005/05/video_guide_to_.html?referrer=email

 


Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


RealNetworks Patch Fixes Four Critical Bugs

Real Networks, the company that makes the RealOne and RealPlayer multimedia players (and runs the Rhapsody music service), has issued a set of patches to fix at least four serious security problems in its various products.  Updates are available for versions of the company's software running on Windows, Mac and Linux. To find out which versions need patching, check out the above link. Instructions for finding out which version you are running and how to download the patches are available at that link as well.
Brian Krebs, "RealNetworks Patch Fixes Four Critical Bugs," The Washington Post --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2005/06/realplayer_patc.html?referrer=email

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


Don't fall for this Citibank phishing trip
June 24,

2005 message from Andrew Priest [a.priest@ECU.EDU.AU]

It is a phishing scam email. Get them most days. Sometimes I am amazed at the number of banks I have accounts with :-) The link in this one takes you to http://snipurl.com/CitiScam  which is a poor attempt at looking like the CTI website.

The actual CTI website is at https://web.da-us.citibank.com/cgi-bin/citifi/scripts/login2/login.jsp . Note the warning in the yellow box.

Regards Andrew

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


Do Capital One and J.C. Penney companies have any ethics?
Unwanted software slithered into Patti McMann's home computer over the Internet and unleashed an annoying barrage of pop-up ads that sometimes flashed on her screen faster than she could close them. Annoying, for sure. But the last straw came a year ago when the pop-ups began plugging such household names as J.C. Penney Co. and Capital One Financial Corp., companies McMann expected to know better. Didn't they realize that trying to reach people through spyware and its ad-delivering subset, called adware, would only alienate them?
Michael Gormley, "Major Advertisers Caught in Spyware Net," Associated Press, June 24, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050624/ap_on_hi_te/spyware_s_advertisers
Jensen Comment:  My wife got suspicious of several magazine subscription renewal charges from J.C. Penney, because she's never subscribed to any magazines via J.C. Penney.  When the magazines arrived she had been throwing them out for over a year along with other junk mail.  J.C. Penney willingly credited her for the previous year's undetected subscription charge.  But what was telling to me is that it appears J.C. Penney actually has a department set up to refund these charges if customers get suspicious.  Those that do not notice these unwanted billings probably go on paying year after year even though they never ordered these magazine subscriptions.  Where are the corporate ethics?

You can read more about the serious J.C. Penney  insurance scandals at http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/jcpenney.html


Advice for workers who get a poor performance evaluation report from their supervisors ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/business/yourmoney/26advi.html


First Aid Myths: Ignore These Summer 'Cures' ---
http://my.webmd.com/content/article/107/108508.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_01


Microsoft's RSS Move
You know a technology has moneymaking potential when Microsoft finally jumps in. Known for beating rivals with their own inventions, Gates & Co. have decided its time to make a move on RSS, the hot technology among geeks for distributing text, audio and video over the Internet. I say geeks, because readers, the desktop software that aggregates content published via RSS, or really simple syndication, hasn't made it to the mainstream. Because the average consumer doesn't know or care about RSS, it's the perfect time for Microsoft to muscle in and pretend to offer something "new and exciting" to the millions of consumers using Windows at home.
Editor's Note, Internet Week Newsletter, June 27, 2005

Bob Jensen's threads on RSS Rich Site Summary are under "RSS" at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#ResourceDescriptionFramework


The U.S. Supreme Court made a bad mistake on this one
"The question answered yesterday was: Can government profit by seizing the property of people of modest means and giving it to wealthy people who can pay more taxes than can be extracted from the original owners? The court answered yes... During oral arguments in February, Justice Antonin Scalia distilled the essence of New London's brazen claim: 'You can take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?... That is the logic of the opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer" -- Washington Post columnist George Will, writing on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling upholding a city's right to seize private property for the benefit of a private developer.
Opinion Journal, June 24, 2005

Also see http://www.reason.com/interviews/bullock.shtml


Exams can be great motivators
Criticism of objective tests of knowledge includes the oft-repeated claim that teachers "teach to" tests rather than teaching other, presumably more mind-enriching, stuff. But the criticism only works if you assume the self-discipline and information children learn while preparing for an exam is worthless - and why should that be? In fact, exams can be great motivators, encouraging students to absorb information and figure out how to apply it at maximum efficiency. About the only information I retain from physics and chemistry are the formulas I memorised for exams; I can still recite poetry learned for exams.
Miranda Devine, "Scam shows worth of exams," Sydney Morning Herald, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/06/25/1119321939099.html


Yahoo Shuts Many Chat Rooms As Minors Are Solicited for Sex
Yahoo Inc. shut down all its user-created chat rooms, after a Houston television station reported that some were being used to solicit minors for sex, and several companies withdrew advertising from Yahoo's site.
Jim Carlton and Chelsea Deweese, "Yahoo Shuts Many Chat Rooms As Minors Are Solicited for Sex," The Wall Street Journal,  June 24, 2005; Page B3 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111956614574768116,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


Does French 'Non' Hurt American Interests?
You report that the French "non" vote is a blow to U.S. interests since the proposed European Union constitution "was expected to strengthen a key U.S. foreign-policy ally and sometime partner in efforts to combat global terrorism and nuclear proliferation in countries such as Iran" ("A French 'No' Reminds Europe of Many Woes," page one, May 31). Which ally was that? The proposed E.U. constitution aimed to centralize European foreign policy, giving more power to such heroes of the battle against terrorism as French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and helping stifle the voices of Britain, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and our other actual allies. Given Mr. Chirac's comment to the new members of the E.U. when they disagreed with France over the liberation of Iraq that they weren't "well brought up" and should "shut up," it seems hard to see the French "non" as a blow to American interests.
Andrew P. Morriss.  Professor of Business Law & Regulation Case School of Law Cleveland "Does French 'Non' Hurt American Interests?" The Wall Street Journal, Non June 24, 2005; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111957543084468404,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion


German proverb: "Whose bread I eat his song I sing."

"Auditors: Too Few to Fail," by Joseph Nocera, The New York Times, June 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/25nocera.html

Yet the word now seems to be that the Justice Department will probably not indict the firm (KPMG). This is partly because KPMG has belatedly apologized, admitted the tax shelters were "unlawful," and cut adrift its former rising stars (and tried to shift the blame for the shelters to them). And it is working to come up with a deal with prosecutors that, however painful, will fall short of the death penalty.

But it's also because the government is afraid of further shrinking the number of major accounting firms. Remember when people used to say that the major money center banks were "too big to fail"- meaning that if they ever got in real trouble the government would have to somehow ensure their survival? It appears that with only four big accounting firms left, down from eight 16 years ago, there are now "too few to fail." How pathetic is that?

. . .

"What infuriates me about the accounting firms is the enormous power they have," said Howard Shilit, president of the Center for Financial Research and Analysis. "You just can't compel them to do things they ought to do. And the fewer firms there are, the more concentrated their power." To my mind, the biggest problem is the hardest to change - that accounting firms are paid by the same managements they are auditing. Nobody really thinks about changing this practice mainly because it's been that way forever. But, "it's the elephant in the room," said Alice Schroeder, a former staff member at the Financial Accounting Standards Board who later became a Wall Street analyst. In the memorable phrase of Warren E. Buffett's great friend and the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charles T. Munger - quoting a German proverb: "Whose bread I eat his song I sing."
 

June 26, 2005 reply from Denny Beresford [dberesford@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

Bob,

The author of this article has set up a "Forum" in which readers are encouraged to report their reactions to the issue of so few major accounting firms. It's at www.nytimes.com/business/columns . There are some very interesting comments already recorded - some of the suggestions might actually make sense.

Denny

The forum link is at http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/businesstechnology/accounting/index.html

June 27, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Some of the forum's replies are from nut cases.  But there are some good suggestions, particularly the suggestion about pooling of audit fees.  This would not eliminate the risk of a bad audit, but it does take the fee negotiation risk out of the picture.  The mako59 reply from a PwC CPA is well written.

Bob Jensen's threads on the two faces of KPMG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#KPMG

Bob Jensen's threads on the future of auditing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing


From Columbia University Teachers College
The Institute conducts research and evaluations, provides information services, and assists schools, community-based organizations, and parent school leaders in program development and evaluation, professional development, and parent education.
The Institute for Urban and Minority Education --- http://iume.tc.columbia.edu/


From the Scout Report on June 23, 2005
The Physics Department at Mississippi State University provides links to physics-related Java and Macromedia Shockwave Player simulations that have been created around the world. The modules are sorted into nine categories: measurements, math, mechanics, waves, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, light and optics, modern physics, and astronomy. The simulations are then further divided into subtopics so that users can easily locate helpful items. This website offers a great way for students to quickly obtain materials to assist in their physics studies.
Mississippi State University: Physics Simulations [Java, Macromedia Shockwave Player] http://webphysics.ph.msstate.edu/javamirror/ 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for science are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#050421Science%20and%20Medicine


The Power of Culture
Culture is an essential part of development cooperation, and should be equated with food certainty, for example, health and education. This assertion is the guideline for the event Beyond Diversity: Moving towards MDG no. 9 being organised by Hivos in Amsterdam on 2 June 2005. The event is being organised in recognition of the tenth birthday of the Hivos Culture Fund.
The Power of Culture, June 2005 --- http://www.powerofculture.nl/uk/index.html



The Dawn of a Legend
25 April 1915 is a date etched in Australia’s history. Its anniversary is commemorated across the country each year as ANZAC Day. To many this is Australia’s most important national day.In the morning of this day Australian troops made a landing on a hostile shore along the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. Some saw it as Australia’s “baptism of fire” and “the birth of nationhood”.
The Dawn of a Legend --- http://www.awm.gov.au/dawn/index.asp

Association of Hispanic Arts http://www.latinoarts.org/


Love them versus "land" them
"And will you be able to pay the property taxes in sickness and in health?"
As house prices increase, so does the speed of modern courtship. One in 10 adults would now consider buying with their girlfriend or boyfriend within the first six months of dating, a survey by Lloyds TSB discovered. More than three-quarters of the 1,885 adults questioned said they would commit to a joint purchase within the first year of their relationship. The age group most likely to put property over love was 25- to 34-year-olds. Six out of 10 said they would consider buying a property with their partner to get into the housing market. And women were more likely to do this than men.
Nina Goswami, "Good looks are important - but a new home comes first when picking a boyfriend," Sunday Telegraph, June 26, 2005 ---
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/06/26/nhouse26.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/06/26/ixnewstop.html 


Viva le rent free
The concept of "egalité" may be enshrined in the French constitution but, when it comes to free housing, some are proving more equal than others. Staff at the chateau, who range from directors to gardeners and maintenance workers, are housed in 200 coveted "grace-and-favour" apartments, which are considered the ultimate "job perk". Almost 200,000 politicians, civil servants and public sector workers benefit from free or low-rent accommodation in France. The perk is estimated to cost French taxpayers more than a billion euros a year and millions more in undeclared taxes, and it has become the focus of increasing public outrage about the squandering of state money. State prosecutors who have investigated the perk, which dates back to the 1940s, estimate that although its property portfolio could earn the state about €1.4 billion a year, rental income only totals €30 million (£19 million).
Kim Willsher, "French bureaucrats refuse to give up lavish free homes as economy wilts," Sunday Telegraph, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/06/26/wfran26.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/06/26/ixworld.html


The Consumer Price Index (CPI) isn't what it used to be
The answer has to do with the occasionally strange way the government produces the numbers that define our economic life - numbers on which vast sums are wagered every day. Until 1983, the bureau measured housing inflation by looking at what it cost to buy and own homes, considering factors like house prices, mortgage interest costs and property taxes. But given the shifts in interest rates and housing prices, those measures could show big bounces from month to month. Besides, homes are a strange hybrid of a consumable good and a long-term investment. As part of a long-running evaluation, the bureau wanted to "separate out the investment component from the consumption component" of the housing market, said Patrick C. Jackman, an economist at the bureau.
Daniel Gross, "How Home Prices Can Be Hot but Inflation Cool," The New York Times, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/business/yourmoney/26view.html


Gangs: A Threat to National Security
The seed network already exists to facilitate this organization. Gangs increasingly have international roots. Called "supergangs" by law enforcement officials, these gangs often rely on the network of associates outside the United States (often from their home country) for drugs and money laundering. The El Salvadorian gang Mara Salvatrucha — or MS-13 — has over 80,000 members in Central America and a rapidly rising presence in the United States. This makes our porous Southern border an easy target not only for drug smuggling, but human smuggling. Last year, the border patrol caught 1.2 million people trying to enter the United States. Many think they missed as much as four times that many, and international gangs have found human trafficking to be a potent source for income. Fees for illegal entry can reach as high as $40,000, depending on the nationality of the person being brought into the country.
Newt Gingrich, "Gangs: A Threat to National Security," Fox News, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160595,00.html




Snopes reports the following on the fabric fresher called Bounce --- http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/bounce.asp

Origins:
Classifying as "True" or "False" items which enumerate the many wonderful uses to which a particular household product can be put is always problematic, for a couple of reasons: Many household products will do at least a passable job in a variety of uses other than the ones for which they are primarily intended, so such claims are hardly remarkable or unique.

Products designed for particular uses are generally more effective at those tasks than other products put to non-intended uses. (That is, bug spray might clean glass just fine, but plain old window cleaner is better, cheaper, and safer for that purpose.) Many of the uses for Bounce brand fabric softener sheets listed above can be found on the Bounce web site and have to do with odor elimination. This is hardly surprising since Bounce is a scented fabric softener sheet, and just about any scented product can be used (with varying degrees of effectiveness) to mask ordinary household smells.

Nonetheless, one of our more intrepid readers tested most of the uses for Bounce listed above and reported the following mixed results:

Get rid of ants: It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them.
Totally did not work. My kitchen is right next to the back stoop, and we get a lot of ants around summer time. I must have stuffed every nook and cranny of my kitchen with Bounce sheets, but the suckers just crawled all over them and into the kitchen anyway. Orange Clean, I found, worked like a charm to not only safely disinfect my kitchen, but create a veritable ant Jonestown.

Musty book smells: It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.
Well, kinda. I have an old Bible that we don't open because it's so fragile. I stuck a couple of sheets in there and a few weeks later they smelled like . . . flowery Bible pages. I guess if a big household problem for you is a book smelling too "booky," then Bounce may be your solution. For me, it still smelled like a book, and I still didn't care that much.

Repels mosquitoes: Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.
Another totally didn't work. I went to Florida on vacation, and spent a lot of time horseback riding. I dislike mosquito bites, and that whole West Nile thing was going on, so I had a Bounce sheet tied around every belt loop. It looked kind of funky and cool, but didn't repel a mosquito worth a darn. My knees were COVERED in bumps. I'm thinking maybe the stupid sheets ATTRACTED the little bugs. Stupid Bounce.

Eliminates static electricity from your television screen.
Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling. Worked! I was so shocked. Then I remembered — a paper towel will do the same thing. On a test between two TVs in my home, the Bounce actually did about the same as plain old Windex on a paper towel.

Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of Bounce.
I don't have shower doors, but I did try it on my shower curtain. The scrubby feeling on the Bounce sheet actually helped in the scrubbing of some soap residue, but I wouldn't trade in my S.O.S. pad for it.

Freshen the air in your home. Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.
I have a chest of drawers that constantly makes my clothes smell like lumber. I tried this and it worked like a charm. My clothes not only stopped smelling like the Keith Brown, but if I put a sheet between individual pairs of nylons, they wouldn't stick together or get all tangled up. This is pretty cool.

Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.
I couldn't tell you, I can't sew anything without a machine, and I could tangle anything. This is tough to test — how do you tell human error from just natural thread tangling?

Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.
Same thing with the musty books. I never noticed my suitcases smelling like anything. They did smell a little flowery, but nothing to write home about.

Freshen the air in your car. Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.
That poor Bounce sheet got so smashed, stomped, spilled on and generally abused sitting on the floor beneath the seat that no fresh scent happened. I did stick one in the glove compartment, but it just kept getting in the way of my glove compartment stuff, and for what? A flowery smell? Buy a little pine tree and get over it.

Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food.
Totally did not work at all. Not only did I not feel completely comfortable washing things I eat off of with laundry stuff, but I did a side-by-side test. Two casseroles. One bounce sheet, one plain water. Water did the same as a Bounce sheet; that is, helped unstick the glued-on food, and so I'd say that the H2O weakened the bond between the food and the pan, not the Bounce.

Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.
Right. This made me feel like I was just throwing stuff away. I used it in the bathroom, and it kind of worked, but no better or worse than the aerosol can I keep in there and occasionally spritz in the trash.

Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.
No, it won't. I tried on my couch, and it just pushed them around. A lint roller works wonders, though.

Eliminate static electricity from venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.
See the bit about the TV.

Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.
Did not test.

Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.
This didn't work well for me. Five people keep all our dirty laundry centrally located in a big box in the laundry room. A few Bounce sheets mixed in did little to detox that area. However, I will say, for a small hamper it may just work.

Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight so they will smell better in the AM.
I am a Birkenstocks girl, and if you are in your bare feet in the same shoes everyday, they get to SMELL. I stuck a couple of Bounce sheets in my sandals, wrapped them in a plastic bag and waited overnight. Worked like a charm. Now, after a particularly hard day, I do the Bounce wrap treatment. Loved it

 




Forwarded by Betty Carper

Charles Schultz Philosophy

The following is the philosophy of the late Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Acheivements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." (Charles Schultz)




Forwarded by Dick Haar

Jacob, age 92, and Rebecca, age 89, living in Florida, are all excited about their decision to get married. They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding, and on the way they pass a drugstore. Jacob suggests they go in.

Jacob addresses the man behind the counter: "Are you the owner?"

The pharmacist answers, "Yes."

Jacob: "We're about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?"

Pharmacist: "Of course we do."

Jacob: "How about medicine for circulation?"

Pharmacist: "All kinds."

Jacob: "Medicine for rheumatism and scoliosis?"

Pharmacist: "Definitely."

Jacob: "How about Viagra?"

Pharmacist: "Of course."

Jacob: "Medicine for memory problems, arthritis, jaundice?"

Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety. The works."

Jacob: "What about vitamins, sleeping pills, Geritol, antidotes for Parkinson's disease?"

Pharmacist: "Absolutely."

Jacob: "You sell wheelchairs and walkers?"

Pharmacist: "All speeds and sizes."

Jacob: "Could we use this store as our Bridal Registry."


Forwarded by Dick Haar

A man owned a small farm in Iowa. The Iowa Wage & Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.

"I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.

"Well, there's my hired hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 a month plus room and board. Then there's the half-wit that works here about 18 hours a day. He makes $10 a week and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every week," replied the farmer.

"That's the guy I want to talk to; the half-wit," says the agent.

"That would be me," the farmer answered

 




Debbie Bowling added the following Tidbits (Thank you Debbie)

JUNE 20 TIDBITS

Scientists find early signs of Alzheimer's
Subtle change in a memory-making brain region seems to predict who will get Alzheimer's disease nine years before symptoms appear, scientists reported Sunday.

The finding is part of a wave of research aimed at early detection of the deadly dementia -- and one day perhaps even preventing it.

Researchers scanned the brains of middle-aged and older people while they were still healthy. They discovered that lower energy usage in a part of the brain called the hippocampus correctly signaled who would get Alzheimer's or a related memory impairment 85 percent of the time.

"We found the earliest predictor," said the lead researcher, Lisa Mosconi of New York University School of Medicine. "The hippocampus seems to be the very first region to be affected."

But it is too soon to offer Alzheimer's-predicting PET scans. The discovery must be confirmed. Also, there are serious ethical questions about how soon people should know that Alzheimer's is approaching when nothing yet can be done to forestall the disease....continued in article.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press, "Scientists find early signs of Alzheimer's," CNN.com, June 20, 2005, http://snipurl.com/alzh0620

 


Crackdown Puts Corporations, Executives in New Legal Peril
More Than Ever, Businesses Face Risk of Prosecution; Post-Enron, a Changed View...Companies Rush to Cooperate


Businesspeople and corporations are at greater risk of criminal liability than ever before.

A wave of corporate fraud starting with the 2001 collapse of Enron Corp. has led to potent new weapons for prosecutors such as stiffer financial penalties and prison terms. The Securities and Exchange Commission has more money and manpower to pursue civil-fraud cases.

Once rare, the threat of criminal indictment of corporations themselves has become more common as the Justice Department employs what are known as deferred-prosecution agreements. A list of blue-chip American companies have submitted to these pacts, including American International Group Inc., Monsanto Co. and Time Warner Inc. Under the arrangements, the government charges the company with criminal behavior but puts the prosecution on hold in exchange for a promise of reform. At an agreed-upon date, the potential charges expire. Since 2003, there have been at least eight such pacts.


Business wrongdoing, and the government's response, comes in waves. But this crackdown has gone further than any in the past. It has fundamentally changed the terms of engagement between the authorities and their corporate quarry....continued in article.
DEBORAH SOLOMON and ANNE MARIE SQUEO, "Crackdown Puts Corporations, Executives in New Legal Peril," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2005; Page A1, http://snipurl.com/corp0620

 


Google Plans Online-Payment Service
Google Inc. this year plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the Internet-search company diversify its revenue and may put it in competition with eBay Inc.'s PayPal unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Exact details of the search company's planned service aren't known. But the people familiar with the matter say it could have similarities with PayPal, which allows consumers to pay for purchases by funding electronic-payment accounts from their credit cards or checking accounts. Some consumers like PayPal for the security it offers, since it allows them to share their banking or credit-card numbers only with PayPal without having to divulge the information to merchants. Officials of Google and PayPal declined to comment....continued in article.
KEVIN J. DELANEY
and MYLENE MANGALINDAN, "
Google Plans Online-Payment Service," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2005; Page B4, http://snipurl.com/goog0620


 

Billy Jack Is Ready to Fight the Good Fight Again

It has been more than 30 years, but Billy Jack is still plenty ticked off.

Back then, it was bigotry against Native Americans, trouble with the nuclear power industry and big bad government that made this screen hero explode in karate-fueled rage. At the time, the unlikely combination of rugged-loner heroics - all in defense of society's downtrodden and forgotten - and rough-edged filmmaking sparked a pop culture and box-office phenomenon.

Now the man who created and personified Billy Jack, Tom Laughlin - the writer, director, producer and actor - is determined to take on the establishment again, and his concerns are not so terribly different. Mr. Laughlin (and therefore Billy Jack) is angry about the war in Iraq and about the influence of big business in politics. And he still has a thing for the nuclear power industry....So Mr. Laughlin and Ms. Taylor are planning to bring their characters back to the big screen with a new $12 million sequel, raising money from individuals just as they did to make their films three decades ago.

In this new film, they say, they will take on social scourges like drugs, and power players like the religious right. They say they will also outline a way to end the current war and launch a political campaign for a third-party presidential candidate....continued in article.
SHARON WAXMAN, "Billy Jack Is Ready to Fight the Good Fight Again," The New York Times, June 20, 2005, http://snipurl.com/bj0620

 


Firms' Auditor Choices Dwindle

The reduction in the number of top-tier accounting firms, to the Big Four from five earlier this decade, is making it difficult for many large companies to change auditors, and the problem would expand if the Justice Department indicts KPMG LLP for selling allegedly abusive tax shelters, interviews with company executives and surveys show.

Intel Corp. is one of the many big companies now bumping up against the limitations. After using Ernst & Young LLP as its auditor for more than three decades, the semiconductor maker considered switching recently for a fresh look at its financials. But it stuck with Ernst after receiving proposals from the other Big Four firms: Deloitte & Touche LLP, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. That is because federal regulations bar the three other firms from serving as Intel's independent auditor unless they give up valuation, computer-software and other work they do for Intel.

"Because there are only a limited number of large multinational audit firms that do the kind of work that we need, if we were to switch audit firms, all sorts of dominos would fall," said Cary Klafter, corporate secretary at Intel....continued in article.
DIYA GULLAPALLI, "Firms' Auditor Choices Dwindle," The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/audit0621

 


Credit-Card Breach Tests Banking Industry's Defenses

 

A month after it was discovered that a hacker broke into the computer network of a company that processes card transactions for merchants, the breach now is testing the banking industry's defenses against card fraud -- and the public's patience for the secretive way it deals with the issue.

The nation's banking industry already is paying the price for more than 40 million credit and debit cards that may be exposed to fraudsters. That is because the burden of detecting fraudulent transactions -- and the costs associated with them -- lies largely with the financial institutions that issue those cards.

So far, no banks have indicated that they plan to broadly cancel accounts, reissue cards to customers or alert all cardholders whose accounts may be vulnerable -- in part because of the high cost of doing so. Instead, the financial institutions are bolstering internal fraud-monitoring programs and placing red flags on accounts that have been identified as being most exposed.

Several large card-issuing banks said they haven't yet seen any indications of widespread fraudulent activity tied to the latest in a string of computer security breaches.

"We informed the banks of all the accounts that are at risk, and which ones were accessed," MasterCard spokeswoman Sharon Gamsin said. "The next step is the banks'. It's now in their hands."

MasterCard said Friday that an unidentified person had broken into the computer network of CardSystems Solutions Inc., an Atlanta-based company that processes credit-card transactions for small- and midsize businesses. The intruder last month gained access to names, account numbers and card codes that are commonly used to commit card fraud.

MasterCard International Inc. said that more than 40 million cards branded by MasterCard, Visa USA Inc., American Express Co. and Discover, a unit of Morgan Stanley, had been compromised. Of those, MasterCard said 13.9 million of its cards had been exposed, with about 68,000 of those considered at a higher level of risk. Visa said 22 million cards had been compromised in the incident, which is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Yesterday, the nation's banks were scrambling to identify the accounts that may be at the highest level of risk from the attack. Washington Mutual Inc. in Seattle, one of the nation's biggest debit-card issuers, said it had closed some 1,400 accounts, reissued cards and notified those customers by telephone after being advised by Visa that those accounts were a "high risk" of fraud. Some of the accounts had already been closed, after being flagged by customers for suspected fraudulent use, a bank spokeswoman said.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the nation's largest card-issuer, said it was continuing to collect information about the accounts that may have been compromised in the hacking incident. "We're going through this as quickly as we can to see what, if anything, has happened with these accounts," a J.P. Morgan spokesman said.

Consumers aren't liable for unauthorized purchases and traditional merchants also aren't responsible for fraud if they adhere to card-authorization policies. That isn't the case for online merchants, however, who typically bear the brunt for fraudulent card purchases.

The banks' strategy for dealing with potential fraud has already unleashed an outcry from consumer advocates and legislators who say they aren't doing enough to prevent fraud and disclose information about such incidents to their customers. Indeed, rising consumer concern about data-theft fraud threatens to clash with the policies of many banks to keep quiet about what they do to monitor compromised accounts.

For example, Citigroup Inc., one of the nation's largest card issuers, has said only that it takes "appropriate actions" to detect and prevent fraud when informed of such breaches, and that it notifies some customers it thinks may be at risk. Spokeswoman Janis Tarter declined to discuss, for "security reasons," how Citigroup gauges whether customers are at risk, or how many customers whose accounts had been compromised in the latest breach had been informed.

Even getting a handle on how much fraud results from such data theft is hard to do. Credit-card associations report that overall fraud has been declining steadily for years, as better systems are constructed for blocking fraudulent charges. Last year, credit-card issuers lost $788.3 million to fraud, down from $882.5 million in 2003, according to the Nilson Report, which tracks the credit-card industry. But Visa and MasterCard don't break out the level of fraud due to data theft. And card-issuing banks typically don't disclose losses due to credit-card fraud.

In the end, banks often conclude that it is more expensive to replace compromised cards than to step up account monitoring and absorb fraud losses when they occur. Visa estimates that when breaches do happen, only 2% of the exposed cards end up with any fraudulent charges on them.

And with the cost of issuing new cards estimated at between $10 and $20 apiece, including customer service, it could be cheaper for banks to leave such cards activated, says Julie Fergeson vice president of eFunds Corp., which offers fraud-protection technology for merchants. Other industry estimates put the cost of notifying customers by mail of a potential security threat at as much as $2 a letter.

Washington lawyer Thomas Vartanian, who advises financial institutions about credit-card fraud and identity theft, contends that the string of recent disclosures of security breaches is partly a function of the rise of online retailing, which has increased the flow of online data for hackers to steal.

In addition, he said, financial institutions and regulators are becoming more sensitive to disclosure responsibilities. A California law that went into effect in 2003 mandates the disclosure of security breaches if information such as Social Security numbers or bank-account information is "acquired" by an unauthorized person, so long as the disclosure doesn't compromise an investigation. In March, federal regulators issued "guidance" to banks to notify customers about security breaches "that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to the customer."
ROBIN SIDEL and MITCHELL PACELLE, "Credit-Card Breach Tests Banking Industry's Defenses," The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/ccbrch0621


Retirement Plans Get New Safeguards

 

In response to a wave of lawsuits, a growing number of companies are hiring outside consultants to oversee the handling of company stock held in employee retirement plans.

These independent fiduciaries are taking the place of company executives who have traditionally monitored the company-stock component of those plans on behalf of the employees. In the post-Enron Corp. era, companies are concerned about employees who may be loading up on company stock in their retirement plans -- and who don't have the time or skills necessary to keep tabs on the stock on their own.

A range of companies such as many of the airlines and insurance firm Aon Corp. have moved to outside experts. Running the retirement plans is a growing business for trust companies and others, including U.S. Trust Corp., State Street Corp. and Fiduciary Counselors Inc. U.S. Trust, for instance, today handles fiduciary duties for a dozen 401(k) plans with combined assets of nearly $4 billion. Five years ago, the firm, a unit of Charles Schwab Corp., had no 401(k) plans in its fiduciary-services business....continued in article.
JEFF D. OPDYKE, "Retirement Plans Get New Safeguards," The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/retire0621

 


Dial-Up Internet Going the Way of Rotary Phones

For years, Michelle Phillips, a real estate agent in Indianapolis, drove to her office at odd hours just to check her e-mail messages and search Web sites on her company's high-speed Internet lines because her dial-up connection at home was too slow.

"At home, I can do laundry, take a shower and wash dishes while the computer is logging onto the Internet," she said with a laugh.

Now she can pocket the gas money. This month, she signed up for a promotional offer from SBC Communications: introductory broadband service for $14.95 a month, or nearly $10 less than what she paid for a dial-up account with AOL. To qualify, she had to sign a one-year contract and have an SBC phone line.

Ms. Phillips is among the seven million Americans expected to drop their slow Internet connections this year for high-speed lines, which are as much as 100 times as fast and are always on. As recently as six months ago, a majority of Americans were using dial-up connections at home. In the first quarter of this year, broadband connections for the first time overtook dial-up.

SBC's deep discount - $5 below its lowest previous offer, and among the cheapest on the market - is just the latest strategy in the broadband wars....continued in article.
KEN BELSON, "Dial-Up Internet Going the Way of Rotary Phones," The New York Times, June 21, 2005, http://snipurl.com/dlup0621


TIDBITS JUNE 23

NYSE to Pursue Growth Options Beyond Stocks


The Big Board plans to consider expanding into international markets, options and other derivatives to compete in an increasingly competitive and consolidating industry, Chief Executive Officer John Thain said.

The New York Stock Exchange chief's comments, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, reflect a new global reality for the markets where securities are traded. Technological advances that have made electronic trading more reliable and efficient are fueling a shakeout, as increasingly sophisticated customers demand quicker and less expensive trades on a wide variety of securities going far beyond stocks and as regulators scrutinize what brokerage houses charge investors.

That means the real estate that exchanges traditionally have provided traders who oversee the buying and selling of securities has become less important than spending on reliable, fast technology that can match buyers and sellers without human intervention....continued in article.
AARON LUCCHETTI and DAVID REILLY, "NYSE to Pursue Growth Options Beyond Stocks," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/nyse0623

 


Donating Stock to a Charity


ASK PERSONAL JOURNAL

Q: I want to donate shares of stock that I've accumulated over 30 years. How do I give only the shares I bought 30 years ago, which have a much lower cost basis than those acquired more recently?
Thomas Borst, Levittown, N.Y.

A: When you give stock that has been held long term, you can get a tax deduction for the fair market value of the stock -- plus avoid paying the capital gains if you had sold the stock. If you have the certificates for the shares, all you have to do is transfer them to the charity. If your stock records are kept electronically at a brokerage house, check whether the firm has segregated the shares by cost basis and specify which shares to donate. If the firm has "mushed all the shares together," it will be tough to segregate the low-basis shares so your cost basis might instead be an average over the 30 years, says New York lawyer Brit L. Geiger.
Rachel Emma Silverman, "Donating Stock to a Charity," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/dntstk0623

 


A Dizzying Array of Options for Using the Web on Cellphones


As the market for cellular phone service matures, the wireless industry is counting on creating and filling a new need: data services that allow phones to receive e-mail, navigate the Web and download games, music and video.

But many wireless data plans are a smorgasbord of options that can leave customers bewildered.

"That is one of my biggest gripes with the wireless carriers," said Peter Rojas, editor in chief of Engadget, a Web log devoted to consumer electronics. "They are doing a really terrible job of communicating wireless data to their subscribers."

While several wireless companies have simplified their offerings, choosing the right plan means weighing several considerations: the amount of data you plan to download, the speed of the network, the type of phone you use, and the Web sites you plan to visit....continued in article.
SANDEEP JUNNARKAR, "A Dizzying Array of Options for Using the Web on Cellphones," The New York Times," June 23, 2005, http://snipurl.com/wbcel0623

 


Appliances Wipe Out Blackouts
If someday your TV stays on during a heat wave, you may have your dryer and dishwasher to thank. T
he Department of Energy is developing technologies to avert electrical grid failures such as the blackout of August 2003, including household appliances that temporarily reduce their power consumption. The devices switch off when they detect a power disruption on the electricity grid. Energy officials say the devices could save consumers billions of dollars by reducing the need to build new power stations....continued in article.
John Gartner, "Appliances Wipe Out Blackouts," Wired News, 02:00 AM Jun. 22, 2005 PT, http://snipurl.com/appl0623


Music:  Paint the Sky With Stars --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/paint.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Steve Jobs, addressing the Class of 2005 at the 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005 at Stanford University
Listen to the full address via streaming audio 

Banish Bad Breath --- http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/22/107277?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_01
Jensen Comment:  Now if Beano really worked as claimed the world would have more fresh air.


Faculty Salaries:  What happened to the economic theory of prices and supply and demand?
Why do aerospace engineering professors make a little more money than classics professors at some public universities, and a whole lot more at others?The answer, according to a study by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, to be published in the Economics of Education Review, is that faculty members in departments that are perceived as being higher quality get paid more.
David Epstein, "What They Earn Across the Quad," Inside Higher Ed, June 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/27/salaries


The largest private university in the world is growing at an accelerating pace
The Apollo Group, owner of the University of Phoenix, announced Tuesday that its profit in the third quarter of its current fiscal year rose by 40 percent over the comparable period a year ago. Enrollments at Phoenix and Apollo’s other institutions rose by 23 percent, to 295,500 students, and online enrollments climbed by 41 percent from the third quarter last year.
Doug Lederman, "Quick Takes," Inside Higher Ed, June 29, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/29/qt


UConn Finds Rootkit in Hacked Server
The University of Connecticut has detected a rootkit on one of its servers, almost two years after the stealth program was placed there by malicious hackers. The rootkit was found on a server that contains names, social security numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers and addresses for most of the university's 72,000 students, staff and faculty, university officials confirmed Monday.
Ryan Naraine, "UConn Finds Rootkit in Hacked Server," eWeek, June 27, 2005 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1831947,00.asp


Another bad decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court
In a major setback for proponents of the legal rights of journalists, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear the case of two reporters who have refused to cooperate with a grand-jury investigation into an alleged government leak that exposed the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency operative.
Joe Hagan, "Two Reporters Now Face Prison For Contempt," The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2005; Page B1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111988135319170428,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Jensen Comment:  In a free world, the first lines of defense against fraud and corruption are freedom media and whistle blower protections.  The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a hard blow to these lines of defense.

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

Bob,

Rootkits are the sysadmins' worst nightmare. They have been popular in the unix world for a long time, but now getting quite popular in the windows world. Since it was undetected for nearly two years, I am assuming that the infected systems were windows ones (unix sysadmins have been a lot more careful for a long time).

Rootkits are not really very difficult to manufacture. A good source of information is the following source:

Hidden Backdoors, Trojan Horses and Rootkit Tools in a Windows Environment http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles/Hidden_Backdoors_Trojan_Horses_and_Rootkit_Tools_in_a_Windows_Environment.html 

Jagdish

 


It's like banning vehicles to rid ourselves of drunk drivers:  Yet another bad U.S. Supreme Court decision
In a case with huge implications for the media and technology industries, but narrower ones for higher education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that entertainment companies can sue commercial providers of file sharing programs for copyright infringement. The court’s decision in MGM Studios v. Grokster, which provided endless fodder for law professors and other experts on intellectual property law on Monday, is directly relevant for colleges and universities mainly because students have been major consumers of the movies and music that the entertainment studios have accused the file sharing companies, like Grokster, of permitting to be downloaded illegally.
Doug Lederman, "Supreme Court Rules Against File Sharing Companies," Inside Higher Ed," June 20, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/28/supreme

Also see http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,68018,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1


June 28, 2005
Peru State College, a state-supported Nebraska college, is
now offering six of its bachelor’s degree programs and one master’s degree online --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/28/new

Bob Jensen's threads on online education and training programs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm


Just another of those many banking system rip offs
Forty-two members of the Republican rank and file in the House sent a powerful message to their leaders last week when they joined with Democrats and voted to close an outrageous loophole that allows lenders to skim billions of dollars from loans that should be going to needy college students. At issue is a special category of student loans for which the government guarantees lenders a gargantuan return of 9.5 percent, even though the prevailing rate charged to students is lower than 3.5 percent. The loans, backed by tax-exempt bonds, were created in the 1980's, when interest rates were high, to keep lenders in the college loan business. Congress tried to phase out the high-interest loans in 1993, when rates declined and federal subsidies were no longer needed. But the lenders have contrived a series of bookkeeping tricks that have kept the system going, despite damning reports by the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Budget Office and outside advocacy groups. More recently, the House Republican leadership has seemed determined to keep the gravy train running for the banking industry.
"Ending the College Loan Giveaway," The New York Times, June 29, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/29/opinion/29wed2.html


What's the Indian solution?  India's economic growth outpaces even China
In the long run, India will overtake China in economic growth owing to home-grown entrepreneurship, stronger infrastructure to support private enterprise and companies which compete internationally with global firms, a media report has claimed. The report, written by Yasheng Huang, associate professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tarun Khanna, a professor at Harvard Business School, say that India was superior in utilising its resources, thus contributing to economic performance.
"India's economy set to surpass China," rediff.com, June 29, 2005 --- http://inhome.rediff.com/money/2005/jun/29india1.htm


What's the Irish solution?  Ireland's economic growth outpaces the rest of Europe
Here's something you probably didn't know: Ireland today is the richest country in the European Union after Luxembourg. Yes, the country that for hundreds of years was best known for emigration, tragic poets, famines, civil wars and leprechauns today has a per capita G.D.P. higher than that of Germany, France and Britain. How Ireland went from the sick man of Europe to the rich man in less than a generation is an amazing story. It tells you a lot about Europe today: all the innovation is happening on the periphery by those countries embracing globalization in their own ways - Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe - while those following the French-German social model are suffering high unemployment and low growth.  Ireland's turnaround began in the late 1960's when the government made secondary education free, enabling a lot more working-class kids to get a high school or technical degree. As a result, when Ireland joined the E.U. in 1973, it was able to draw on a much more educated work force. By the mid-1980's, though, Ireland had reaped the initial benefits of E.U. membership - subsidies to build better infrastructure and a big market to sell into. But it still did not have enough competitive products to sell, because of years of protectionism and fiscal mismanagement. The country was going broke, and most college grads were emigrating. "We went on a borrowing, spending and taxing spree, and that nearly drove us under," said Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney. "It was because we nearly went under that we got the courage to change."
Thomas L. Friedman, "The End of the Rainbow E-Mail This Printer-Friendly," The New York Times, June 29, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/29/opinion/29friedman.html


What's the Russian wrong-way solution?
Russia is gradually sinking into the abyss of facism. Its seeds have been sown by those in power and are now shooting forth in society. The Kremlin, using the patriotic feelings of its own subjects, has created a political force with a name vivid and dear to every Russian's heart - Rodina, or Motherland. This organization, with the support of President Vladimir Putin's administration, has not only gained access to all mass media (television, radio, and newspapers), but surpassed the 5 per cent barrier and made it into the State Duma.
Ruslan Linkov, "Fascist Tendencies at High Levels of Power," St. Petersburg Times, June 28, 2005 --- http://www.sptimes.ru/archive/times/1082/opinion/o_16150.htm


"Meme, Mine," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, June 28, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/28/mclemee

Ex post facto, it does seem obvious. After all “intellectual” doesn’t count for much, product-placement-wise. In the American vernacular, it is a word usually accompanied by such modifiers as “pseudo” and “so-called” (just as the sea in Homer is always described as “wine-dark").
No doubt the Google algorithm, if tweaked a bit more, will one day lead you right to the personals ads for the New York Review of Books. For now, at least, the offers for a carnal carnival cruise are gone.

Meanwhile, Inside Higher Ed has now launched a page with a running list of Intellectual Affairs columns from February to the present. It has more than three dozen items, so far — an assortment of essays, interviews, causeries, feuilletons, and uncategorizable thumbsuckers ... all in one central location, suitable for bookmarking.

It’s also worth mentioning that Inside Higher Ed itself now offers RSS and XML feeds. (The editors are too busy or diffident to announce this, but some public notice of it is overdue.) To sign up, go to the home page and look for the buttons at the bottom.

This might also be a good time to invite readers to submit tips for Intellectual Affairs — your thoughts on subjects to cover, books to examine, arguments to follow, people to interview. This column will strive, in coming months, to be equal parts Dennis Diderot and Walter Winchell. Your brilliant insights, unconfirmed hunches, and unsubstantiated hearsay are more than welcome. (Of course, that means I’ll have to go confirm and substantiate them, but such is the nature of the gig.) Direct your mail here.


Bloggers will love TagCloud
Now, many bloggers are turning to a new service called TagCloud that lets them cherry-pick articles in RSS feeds by key words -- or tags -- that appear in those feeds. The blogger selects the RSS feeds he or she wants to use, and also selects tags. When a reader clicks on a tag, a list of links to articles from the feeds containing the chosen keyword appears. The larger the tag appears onscreen, the more articles are listed.
Daniel Terdiman, "RSS Service Eases Bloggers' Pain," Wired News, June 27, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,67989,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_8

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

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs and blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog


Zap that TV Commercal:  Networks Rush to Keep Advertisers
The traditional TV commercial, which generates billions of dollars in ad revenue for TV networks every year, is under assault. Technology has made it easier for viewers to zap through ads, prompting some big advertisers to scale back the money they put into TV commercials. Anxious to stop advertisers from defecting to other media, TV networks are scrambling for new ways to lure marketing dollars. Working in the networks' favor is that advertisers haven't given up on television. Some, increasingly prodded by networks, are turning to product placement -- paying for their products to be prominently featured in TV shows. But creative considerations can limit these opportunities.
Brian Steinberg, "Networks Rush to Keep Advertisers," The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111982541172769835,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


First Amendment Furor
Some books are destined to set off controversy. The University of California Press has such a volume in Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, slated for release in August. The book argues that supporters of Israel prevent human rights abuses by that country from getting the attention they deserve, in part by calling those who raise such issues anti-Semites. That thesis would be controversial from most authors, but the book in question is by Norman G. Finkelstein, a political scientist at DePaul University who has enraged Jewish groups by questioning the role of the Holocaust and with consistently harsh criticism of Israel.Even before the release of Beyond Chutzpah, the book has set off a broader debate over the First Amendment. An article published Friday by The Nation charges that Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who is attacked in the book and who has been a critic of Finkelstein, tried to get the California press to call off publication.
Scott Jaschik, "First Amendment Furor," Inside Higher Ed, June 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/27/dershowitz 

Seismic communication among animals
Scientists have long known that seismic communication is common in small animals, including spiders, scorpions, insects and a few vertebrate species, such as white-lipped frogs, kangaroo rats and golden moles. Seismic sensitivity also has been observed in elephant seals—huge marine mammals not related to elephants. But O'Connell-Rodwell was the first to suggest that a large land animal is capable of sending and receiving vibrational messages. "A lot of research has been done showing that small animals use seismic signals to find mates, locate prey and establish territories," she notes. "But there have only been a few studies focusing on the ability of large mammals to communicate through the ground." Her insights generated international media attention after the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami disaster in Asia, following reports that trained elephants in Thailand had become agitated and fled to higher ground before the devastating wave struck, thus saving their own lives and those of the tourists riding on their backs. Because earthquakes and tsunamis generate low-frequency waves, O'Connell-Rodwell and other elephant experts have begun to explore the possibility that the Thai elephants were responding to these powerful events. "Elephants may be able to sense the environment better than we realize," she says, pointing to earlier studies showing that elephants will sometimes move toward distant thunderstorms. "When it rains in Angola, elephants 100 miles away in Etosha National Park start to move north in search of water. It could be that they are sensing underground vibrations generated by thunder."
Mark Schwartz, "Looking for earth-shaking clues to elephant communication," Stanford Report, June 1, 2005 ---
 http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june1/elephant-052505.html


What is the best way to publish your book?
The two men fought a celebrated judicial duel before the French king — a fight to the death with lance, sword and dagger that also decided the lady’s fate. The affair was still controversial in France at the time I stumbled on the story, and many original documents survived, but no one had ever written a full-length account. Fascinated by the story, I started researching it and eventually began work on a book. I also began talking with editors, literary agents, and even people connected to the film industry. At one point, I registered some material with the Writers Guild of America to protect my intellectual property. The book was represented briefly by a well-known Hollywood talent agency — until the firm reorganized and my agent left, orphaning the project. Other literary agents read the proposal and sample chapters, only to turn the project down. Editors at highly respected trade houses read my material but politely rejected it, or hesitated indefinitely. An editor at a leading university press told me my book had “little commercial potential,” while an editor at another top academic press read my proposal and offered me a contract right over the phone. Disappointed with the book’s commercial fortunes so far, I was nearly ready to accept the offer. But around this time a very good literary agency took on the partly completed book, and within three days of putting it on the market they sold it at auction to a division of Random House. Foreign rights sales soon followed, and the deal notice in Publishers Weekly brought new film interest. The book was published last October, became a History Book Club selection, and was featured on NPR’s “Weekend Edition.” After its January release in Britain, it was serialized on BBC Radio 4’s “Book of the Week.” A BBC television documentary is now in the works.
Eric Jager, "Crossing Over," Inside Higher Ed, June 29, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/29/jager


Reinsurance Accounting Has Fresh Anomaly
Unum says its outside auditor, Ernst & Young LLP, approved its accounting for the Unum transactions. A Tennessee insurance regulator confirms that officials there signed off on the accounting, and Linnea Olsen, Unum's director of investor relations, says Massachusetts insurance regulators, who oversee one of the Unum units involved, also approved the arrangement. A representative of the Massachusetts insurance regulator declined comment on the matter . . . The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which helps state regulators develop and coordinate insurance rules, says while accounting guidelines for life insurers like UnumProvident and property-and-casualty companies like National Indemnity might differ in some ways, they shouldn't lead to one party treating a contract as risk-transfer reinsurance and the other recording it as a low- or no-risk deposit transaction. Both sets of guidelines are based on generally accepted accounting principles and "have very similar principles for risk transfer," says Scott Holeman, a spokesman for the NAIC. For Unum, the three contracts were executed at a crucial time: In the second quarter of 2004, when the transactions were announced, Unum's stock was struggling amid declining earnings and unfavorable Wall Street coverage. In May of that year, Standard & Poor's downgraded Unum's credit rating, citing problems with Unum's risk controls and other practices that "led to significant reserve charges and asset impairments."  Under the contracts, Unum paid National Indemnity $707 million in cash and recorded a "reserve credit" of $522 million as well as $141 million in tax and other benefits, according to a document that Unum presented to analysts in spring 2004. Unum's net cost: $44 million. Unum initially would get "maximum payments" from the reinsurer of $783 million, with the reinsurer's "maximum risk limit" growing to "approximately $2.6 billion over time," the document states.  So why would National Indemnity book the pacts as deposits from Unum rather than as a liability that could grow over time? As of Dec. 31, National Indemnity's filings with state regulators showed a total of $733.2 million as a deposit. Each party may have judged the risk of the contracts differently. Some analysts also note that reinsurance buyers and sellers have different motivations to start with. A buyer typically wants the benefits of reinsurance accounting, which include reducing claims liabilities and offsetting losses with reinsurance proceeds. Meanwhile, reinsurance accounting can have its downside for sellers, because it requires them to book up front the estimated cost of claims under the policy.
Karen Richardson and Gregory Zuckerman, "Reinsurance Accounting Has Fresh Anomaly," The Wall Street Journal,  June 28, 2005; Page C3 ---
 http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111992201318671196,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 
Jensen Comment:  The FASB is currently looking into gaps in GAAP regarding reinsurance accounting, especially ploys for off-balance sheet financing.


Hi Deborah,

The trick is to register your dog rather than yourself, although lie a little about the dog’s age so it does not appear to be less than 18.

Actually I registered years ago and did not keep up with the latest requests. Thanks for the update.

You may receive advertisements, although my dog is registered with a lot of newspapers and does not seem to get too many advertisements in addition to all the Nigerian-type solicitations that arrive just for being online.

Bob Jensen

From: Deborah XXXXX
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 11:13 AM
To: Jensen, Robert
Subject: The June 27, 2005 edition of Tidbits

Bob,

I've been a reader of your postings for many years. You obviously spend a lot of time on these offerings, and I probably should have written you sooner to let you know how much I enjoy reading what you put out here.

This is the first time I have come across something on the Tidbits list that has made me stop and worry about reading on. Actually it isn't you or the topic you listed, but the steps necessary to read the article you pointed out.

The clip is printed below, but basically it requires the reader to fill out a free registration/subscription form to get access to the news article. I don't suppose you have seen the registration form, or have read the "terms and conditions" lately. Most of us don't take the time to read these carefully or think about what that info is going to be used for someday down the road. While we would think that the New York Times would be a safe website, the information they require for registration is extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.

In this current example, NYTIMES.COM demands that you give them your year of birth, your occupation and your salary level. Seems harmless enough by itself. But if you read the terms and then the privacy statements, you will find that they share this information with advertisers. Have you been asked by another site to provide the month you were born? What about a site that asks for just the day of the month by itself? If you merge databases, or use data mining you can put all this together and generate a very complete financial profile.

BTW, they also tell the reader that the terms of use can be changed at any time. The site doesn't have to tell you via email or other notification that the terms have changed. All they have to do is post the change in the terms message. Any time you use their site, you are automatically accepting and agreeing to any changes that have been made to the terms of use. Even if you never actually see them or had reason to suspect they might have changed.

Okay, so maybe this is a bit of over reaction. But what would you think if the same website also disclosed that their third party advertisers are placing clear gifs on the pages you are looking at in your browser? Since this term was new to me, and I was curious I located the following about clear gifs. Web Bug FAQ http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Marketing/web_bug.html  It sounds like (to a non-computer programmer like me) any information that is on your computer is accessible to these clear gifs.

The idea of newspapers permitting their advertisers to use the clear gifs on innocent (and unprepared) readers makes me a bit queasy. Bob, your threads on Fraud and Ethics are excellent, but they just go to prove that Business Ethics is really a fiction, and Fraud is a basic business tool. Do you think it might be possible to generate a thread to help educate us on how to avoid this new minefield of spies and thieves called clear gifs?

Regards,

Deborah XXXXX

 


Arizona State University pushes into China
ASU has spent the last few weeks participating with the world's most populous country in a whirlwind of events designed to share knowledge between the United States and China. From bringing pictures of research on Mars to sharing ideas on University planning and business education, ASU and China seem to be forming a potent pair. But more importantly, recent partnerships could mark the beginning of a long-term, economically sound relationship between China and the West.
"University's reach spreading farther East:  From Mars research to university planning, ASU officials are using homegrown ideas to develop stronger ties with China," Web@Devil, June 28, 2005 ---  http://www.asuwebdevil.com/issues/2005/06/28/specialreports/693327   


Can a real Indian's lack of support for Ward Churchill affect a tenure decision?  It's a bit more complicated than that, but that's part of the story
The case of William C. Bradford isn’t quite what it seems, but it has riled up plenty of people in Indiana . . . The university says he’s doing great work — it recently awarded him a special fellowship. But he’s job hunting, and whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on who you ask. Bradford says that past reviews were unanimously positive, and that his troubles began because his views didn’t match people’s expectations. Bradford is a member of the Chiricahua Apache tribe and as such is one of about 15 law professors nationwide who are American Indians. Much of his legal scholarship concerns Indian law and he describes his views as “radical,” saying that he calls for land illegally taken from Indians to be returned to them, and for Indian tribes to be treated more like nations. But Bradford is not a fan of Ward Churchill, the controversial University of Colorado professor and Native American activist. And Bradford says that professors turned against him when he refused to sign a petition supporting Churchill. “The presumption was that I’ve got to sign this thing because I’m an Indian, but I can’t do that,” he says. “I’m the anti-Ward Churchill. I’m a patriot. My ancestors were caged up by this country, but I love this country. It’s the place where we have the greatest freedom on earth.”
Scott Jaschik, "‘Not the Right Kind of Indian’," Inside Higher Ed, June 28, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/28/indiana


U.S. Pushes Broad Investigation Into Milberg Weiss Law Firm
Federal prosecutors are investigating one of the nation's most aggressive class-action law firms, Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, for alleged fraud, conspiracy and kickbacks in scores of securities lawsuits, and could seek criminal charges against the firm itself and its principals. The three-year investigation focuses on allegations that the New York-based firm routinely made secret, illegal payments to plaintiffs who appeared on securities class-action lawsuits brought by the firm, according to court documents and lawyers close to the case. A grand jury in Los Angeles convened last October has been hearing evidence of alleged illegal payments in dozens of suits filed against oil, biotechnology, drug and chemical companies during the past 20 years, the lawyers close to the case said.
John R. Wilke, "U.S. Pushes Broad Investigation Into Milberg Weiss Law Firm," The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2005, Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111983956022470148,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

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




Humor

Forwarded by Debbie

You Know You're From San Antonio When...

You know exactly how to get to the "Ghost Tracks" from anywhere in town.

You think "pro-choice" means flour or corn tortillas.

You've never been to the Alamo.

You think a health drink is a Margarita without salt.

You think being able to read the Taco Cabana menu makes you bilingual.

You used to live in a neighborhood you wouldn't even drive through now.

There has been a road crew on your street since before the Alamodome was built.

You still call Crossroads Mall... "Wonderland".

You've been to Midget Mansion.

You know all about the "Dancing Diablo" and the "Donkey Lady" bridge.

You know that Wheatley and Brackenridge is the same school.

You remember the Captain Gus show.

Your subwoofer has twice the value of your car.

You have three rodeo outfits but never have been on a horse

You're an expert with the brake pedal, but you have no idea what a blinker is.

Your idea of culture is wearing a Hard Rock T-shirt.

You think the last supper was at Mi Tierra restaurant.

You do your grocery shopping at a flea market.

You think local politicians are crooks, but you still do not vote.

You have a "Selena Lives" bumper sticker on your car.

You care if San Antonio is in the "national spotlight".

A formal occasion is getting a glass with your longneck.

You believe Tacos, barbecue, tequila, and beer are the four basic food groups.

You rented Pulp Fiction to escape the everyday violence of the city.

You think wearing bows in your hair will get you a husband.

Your White mother learned how to make Tamales & Menudo from your neighbors.

You know the "real" definition of FIESTA is "stay home if at all possible".

You have ordered Mexican food at a Chinese restaurant.

You had breakfast tacos at Taco Cabana on Christmas morning.

You remember the Joske's Christmas display.

You remember when JC Penney's had a restaurant.

You remember hamburgers from Whopper Burger.

You're elementary field trip was to the ButterCrust Bakery.


Signs forwarded by Auntie Bev

In a Veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes Sit! Stay!"

At an Optometrist's Office "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

In a Podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."

On a Septic Tank Truck in Oregon: Yesterday's Meals on Wheels

On a Septic Tank Truck sign: "We're #1 in the #2 business." 

At a Proctologist's door "To expedite your visit please back in."

On a Plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."

On a Plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.."

Pizza Shop Slogan: "7 days without pizza makes one weak."

At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout."

On a Plastic Surgeon's Office door: "Hello. Can we pick your nose?"

At a Towing Company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."

On an Electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts." 

In a Nonsmoking Area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

On a Maternity Room door: "Push. Push. Push."

On a Taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff"

On a Fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive."

At a Car Dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."< /SPAN>

Outside a Muffler Shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."

At the Electric Company: "We would be "de-lighted" if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."

In a Restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry, Come on in and get fed up." 

In the front yard of a Funeral Home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."

At a Propane Filling Station, "Thank heaven for little grills."

And don't forget the sign at a Chicago Radiator Shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."


Forwarded by Betty Carper

A grandmother was pushing her little grandchild around Wal- Mart in a buggy. Each time she put something in the basket she would say, "And here's something for you, Diploma." or "This will make a cute little outfit for you, Diploma." and so on.

Eventually a bewildered shopper who'd heard all this finally asked, "Why do you keep calling your grandchild Diploma?"

The grandmother replied, "I sent my daughter to college and this is what she came home with!"


Butt jiggle is just another way of waving goodbye.
Maxine

Few women admit their age;  Few men act it.
Maxine


Forwarded by Dick Haar

BBQ: A Real Man's Cooking It's the only type of cooking a real man will do. When a man volunteers to do the BBQ, the following chain of events are put into motion:

1) The woman buys the food.
2) The woman makes the salad, vegetables, and dessert.
3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill -- beer in hand. Here comes the important part .
4) THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL. More routine....
5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation. Important again .
7) THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN. More routine.....
8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes. And most of all .
10) Everyone PRAISES the man and THANKS him for his cooking efforts.
11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women!


Forwarded by Paula

The Pentagon announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite
fighting unit called the : 

                     
U . S .  REDNECK SPECIAL FORCES (USRSF).

   These North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri,
   Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Tennessee boys will be dropped 
   into Iraq
 and have been given only the following facts about Terrorists:

         1. The season opened today.
         2. There is no limit.
         3. They taste just like chicken.
         4. They don't like beer, pickups, country music or Jesus.
         5. They are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the death of Dale Earnhardt.

    This mess in Iraq should be over IN A WEEK.


Forwarded by Paula

You may or may not be old enough to remember this from the very early 50s from one of the Bud Abbott/Lou Costello black and white films from that era. The tirade just went on and on until Abbott finally hit Costello up beside the head and stopped it. I had forgotten how funny those guys really were. Hope you get as big a kick out of it as I did!

Costello What’s life?

Abbott A magazine.

Costello How much does it cost?

Abbott Ten cents.

Costello Only got a nickel.

Abbott That’s tough.

Costello What’s tough?

Abbott Life

Costello What’s life?

Abbott A magazine.

Costello How much does it cost?

Abbott Ten cents.

Costello Only got a nickel.

Abbott That’s tough.

Costello What’s tough?

Abbott Life

Costello What’s life?

Abbott A magazine.

Costello How much does it cost?


Forwarded by Dick Haar

Jacob, age 92, and Rebecca, age 89, living in Florida, are all excited about their decision to get married. They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding, and on the way they pass a drugstore. Jacob suggests they go in.

Jacob addresses the man behind the counter: "Are you the owner?"

The pharmacist answers, "Yes."

Jacob: "We're about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?"

Pharmacist: "Of course we do."

Jacob: "How about medicine for circulation?"

Pharmacist: "All kinds."

Jacob: "Medicine for rheumatism and scoliosis?"

Pharmacist: "Definitely."

Jacob: "How about Viagra?"

Pharmacist: "Of course."

Jacob: "Medicine for memory problems, arthritis, jaundice?"

Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety. The works."

Jacob: "What about vitamins, sleeping pills, Geritol, antidotes for Parkinson's disease?"

Pharmacist: "Absolutely."

Jacob: "You sell wheelchairs and walkers?"

Pharmacist: "All speeds and sizes."

Jacob: "Could we use this store as our Bridal Registry."


Forwarded by Dick Haar

A man owned a small farm in Iowa. The Iowa Wage & Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.

"I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.

"Well, there's my hired hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 a month plus room and board. Then there's the half-wit that works here about 18 hours a day. He makes $10 a week and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every week," replied the farmer.

"That's the guy I want to talk to; the half-wit," says the agent.

"That would be me," the farmer answered


Forwarded by Dick Haar

A man calls home to his wife and says, "Honey I have been asked to go fishing up in Canada with my boss &several of his friends. We'll be gone for a week. This is a good opportunity for me to get that promotion I've been wanting so could you please pack enough clothes for a week and set out my rod and tackle box? We're leaving from the office &I will swing by the house to pick mythings up."

"Oh! Please pack my new blue silk pajamas."

The wife thinks this sounds a bit fishy but being the good wife she does exactly what her husband asked.

The following weekend he came home a little tired but otherwise looking good. The wife welcomes him home and asks if he caught many fish?

He says, "Yes! Lots of Walleye, some Blue gill, and a few Pike. But why didn't you pack my new blue silk pajamas like I asked you to do?

You'll love the answer....

>>

>>

>>

 The wife replies, "I did, they're in your tackle box."


Forwarded by Dennis Beresford

All I Want for Father's Day Is a Defense Team

Outlook Bob Brody

19 June 2005 The Washington Post Copyright 2005, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved

"We've voted to audit you, Daddy," my daughter announced one recent Saturday morning over breakfast.

"Really?" I answered absently.

"You've overstated your earnings three quarters in a row," said Caroline, a fourth-grader and regular CNBC viewer.

"In looking at recent expenditures, we've noticed some disturbing irregularities," added my son, Michael, a seventh-grader who prefers to scour the stock market tables in the newspaper. "To wit, those cases of Lafitte Rothschild 1952 in the garage -- financed, apparently, by our 529 accounts."

"The upshot is, you're cutting corners, Daddy," Caroline said. "Shareholder confidence is dropping fast. Your corporate reputation is running on fumes."

"Yeah," Michael said, "We're really concerned about the outlook for Q2."

"Okay, kids," I said. "Look, I may have committed a few indiscretions here and there. Maybe I invested a bit too much capital in extending the backyard deck into the next county. But . . . "

"Actually, Daddy," Caroline said prosecutorially, "the abuses appear to be systemic."

"Are you saying what I think you're saying?" I asked, now dimly aware that my authority as the family chairman and chief executive officer was under attack.

"Yes. We suspect you're cooking the books, Daddy," Caroline said. "And it's our job as senior management, before worse comes to worst, to blow the whistle."

"Just remember, Dad," Michael added. "In life, you have addition and subtraction. All the rest is just conversation."

"Listen, I'm no accountant," I said. "You should go talk to Mom."

"But Mom told us to ask you," Michael said.

"No," I said, "she's the CFO. She cuts all the checks."

"But you told us the buck stops with you, Daddy," Caroline said.

"No, pumpkin," I said. "Daddy was just being figurative there."

"But the aw-shucks defense has already failed to pass muster in courtrooms nationwide," Michael pointed out. Could this be? I wondered, breaking into a cold sweat and hyperventilating. Could my kids muster enough votes on the family board of directors to engineer my ouster from the organization?

I needed time to think. I retreated to my home office, where my wife found me. She must have read the look on my face. "Believe me, dear, nobody ever wanted it to come to this," she said with a forgiving smile. "Now, please stop shredding those documents and come finish your eggs before they get cold."

I should have seen this coming. Of late, fathers have gotten embroiled in household accounting scandals involving everything from sham subsidiaries to offshore accounts. In Fairfield, Conn., a 12-year-old girl reported that her father, an otherwise loving senior vice president in marketing, had siphoned her earnings from Girl Scout cookies into buying a DVD player for his lawn mower. Indeed, a study found that since 2002, fiscal fraud perpetrated by fathers against families has risen an alarming 27 percent. The species of father we might term the Imperial Dad, so long flying high, had fallen prey to hubris.

In the aftermath of that traumatic Saturday morning, my family placed me on probation pending further investigation. Caroline formed an audit committee to impose internal controls. Michael urged me to retain an attorney in case the family opted to file a class-action suit against me. My wife warned me she'd invited Eliot Spitzer to step in ("Just to have a look around," she said).

In the wake of this mutiny, my family implemented certain procedures for me to follow. I'm now required to bring home notarized receipts for everything, including coffee and handouts to panhandlers. On advice of counsel, I decline to make any comment in conversation at home that could be interpreted as an untrue statement or material omission because anything I say to family can and will be used against me.

The crackdown on the Imperial Dad is bound to widen. It's probably only a matter of time before more children take allegations of fatherly fraud to the Justice Department and seek protection under the Juvenile Whistleblower Act. Autocratic fathers taking out the garbage will be surrounded by SWAT teams, led off in handcuffs and taken downtown for perp walks. Congressional hearings may look into whether the American father is any longer fit to govern. A special regulatory agency may be created to issue stricter Dad Guidelines.

The Imperial Dad will ultimately devolve into the Janitorial Dad. The Janitorial Dad will sign and certify any and all financial statements, and switch to taking public transportation to work. He will spend much more time reporting on his activities than actually engaging in any. He will, in effect, do windows.

Meantime, here's some guidance for fathers. Act humble around your family, even if you're faking it. Defer to your wife and children on all major business decisions, even if inconvenient. Above all, bide your time until the marketplace swings the pendulum back in your direction.

Author's e-mail: Bobbrody@hotmail.com 

Bob Brody is a New York City public relations executive and essayist. His wife and children regard him largely as a vendor.


Forwarded by Betty Carper

Charles Schultz Philosophy

The following is the philosophy of the late Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Acheivements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." (Charles Schultz)

 




And that's the way it was on June 30, 2005 with a little help from my friends.

 

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

 

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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June 15, 2005

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on June 15, 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/.

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
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/ 




For Quotations/Tidbits of the Week go to Quotations and Tidbits 

For Humor of the Week go to Humor 


For Fraud Updates go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


For my Tidbits Directory go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsDirectory.htm

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 




"The State Of Internet Security," by Fahmida Y. Rashid, Forbes, June 14, 2005 --- http://www.forbes.com/technology/2005/06/14/verisign-internet-security-cx_fr_0614verisign.html

E-mails from Nigeria asking for your help in transferring money. Important information about compromised bank accounts.

While the scams that daily flood our e-mail in-boxes show no signs of abating, there is some good news for the users who have to sort through them all. So says VeriSign (nasdaq: VRSN - news - people ), in its latest "State of Internet Security" address covering the first three months of 2005.

Phishing attacks--the attempted theft of information such as user names, passwords or credit-card numbers--are increasingly more sophisticated, VeriSign said. But the company, which lives by the sale of computer security software, says phishing attacks are less profitable than they used to be, and of shorter duration, since affected companies work with Internet service providers to shut down sites capturing the information.

Pharming, also known as DNS spoofing because it fools the domain-name system, is an alternative technique that tries to direct users to a fake Web site even when the correct address is entered into a browser. "It's as if you looked up a number in the phone book," says Phillip Hallam-Baker, a Web security expert at Verisign, "but someone somehow changed the number, managed to swap the phone book on you."

VeriSign's report lists ways to lock down DNS infrastructure to shut down pharming. It encourages administrators to upgrade their DNS software and to install cryptography solutions. Hallam-Baker feels that pharming attacks that depend on cached information could be eliminated fairly easily. Pharming attacks infrastructure, so the company in charge of that segment could prevent further attacks by upgrading necessary components.

Continued in article

Links to the ISIB report are given at
http://www.verisign.com/verisign-inc/news-and-events/news-archive/us-news-2005/page_030922.html

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection

 




Eight years ago the accounting faculty at Baylor University tore down the stovepipes between traditional accounting core classes (financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, accounting information systems, and auditing) to achieve integrated coverage across a three-semester sequence. Projects and case studies are used to link relational topics in each of the five subject areas.

From Accounting Education News, June 9, 2005 --- http://accountingeducation.com/news/news6250.html

Title: BAYLOR CPA EXAM SCORES BEAT OUT OTHER TEXAS SCHOOLS
Source: PR Newswire
Country: United States
Date: 09 June 2005
Contributor: Andrew Priest Web:
http://www.newswise.com/ 

When it comes to the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, Baylor University's Accounting graduates out-scored their counterparts at other Texas schools, according to data released by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy detailing the results of the January-March 2005 exam. Further comment from Baylor in our full news item.

"When you look at the programs that had more than 20 people sit for the exam, Baylor leads the pack with a combined average 65.3% pass rate across the test sections," said Terry Maness, Dean of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. The CPA exam consists of four sections.

Eight years ago the accounting faculty at Baylor University tore down the stovepipes between traditional accounting core classes (financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, accounting information systems, and auditing) to achieve integrated coverage across a three-semester sequence. Projects and case studies are used to link relational topics in each of the five subject areas.

"These results demonstrate the quality of our program," said Dr. Charles Davis, chair of the Accounting & Business Law department. "Our grads have consistently earned the distinction of being in the list of top ten scorers on the CPA exam historically. I'm very proud of them."

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm


Technology sites from Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, June 2005 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jun2005/news_web.htm

 
TECHNOLOGY SITES

Check Out Check 21
www.aicpa.org/financialliteracy
The AICPA Financial Literacy Resource Center has added a section to its Web site about the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21). The Web site discusses the act’s implications for auditors and businesses, and provides links to the Federal Reserve Board’s “Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act” Web page and implementation information, two frequently-asked-questions sections and a consumer guide.

A Site With Byte
www.freebyte.com
CPAs and IT managers will want to bookmark this Smart Stop loaded with links to free accounting, antispam and backup software, currency and document converters, mortgage calculators, computing and financial glossaries and Web browsers. There are online dictionaries in English as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish. There’s also free clipart, fonts and photos that CPAs can use for marketing brochures, and everyone can take a break in the Jokes and Humor and Free Games sections.

Figure for Free
www.calculator.com
Sure, you already have mortgage, percentage, scientific and standard e-calculators. This site offers calculators for car leases, fractions, graphing, and home equity and general loans, plus converters for currency, international time, temperature and units of measure. There’s also a link to the tax-preparation-service calculator site www.internet-taxprep.com with tools CPAs can use to calculate investments, mortgage refinancing and Roth IRA returns for clients. Other resources include current and archived tax news, a 2005 tax guide and information about a free online tax-filing program.

Tech Talk
www.itmweb.com
CITPs and other information technology professionals can find resources here on IT capital spending, department budgets and salary ranges. Download the demo software, read book reviews or subscribe to the free monthly IT e-zine and newsletter. Technology Articles has tips on making your e-mails sound more professional and improving your project team management skills, while the Job Listing Centers invite employers to post open positions. IT White Paper Spotlight offers documents on subjects from artificial intelligence to knowledge management.

Painless Projects
www.ittoolkit.com
Looking for more efficient ways to manage IT procedures and roll out new technology? Then register for a free membership at this e-stop to access information on managing IT operations and receive a monthly e-mail reporting on the latest task management resources. Members can download planning checklists, mission and scope statement templates and white papers on IT process improvements.

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob4.htm

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


June 2, 2005 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

ARE INSTRUCTORS ESSENTIAL?

"In the commercial sector, learner-content interaction is often seen as the only essential learning transaction, with instructors viewed as a cost rather than a necessity." With courseware software, online discussion tools, and instructional designers performing many tasks related to instruction, what is left for instructors to do? This question was recently discussed in a Sloan-C forum. In "Are Instructors Essential?" (SLOAN-C VIEW, vol. 4, issue 5, May 2005, pp. 5-6), forum participants cited many roles for instructors, including:

-- Meaning makers: "explaining how and why information is important, helping learners integrate disparate content and make sense of it so that information can become 'knowledge and maybe even wisdom'"

-- Growth agents: "pushing [learners] . . . 'beyond their level of comfort and into areas of improvement'"

-- People builders: "instructors serve as a bridge—in some situations, the only bridge—between learners and the society in which they seek a place"

The article is online at http://www.aln.org/publications/view/v4n5/blended4.htm 

Sloan-C View: Perspectives in Quality Online Education [ISSN: 1541-2806] is published by the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C). For more information, contact: Sloan Center for OnLine Education (SCOLE), Olin College of Engineering and Babson College, Olin Way, Needham MA 02492-1245 USA; tel: 781-292-2524; fax: 781-292-2505; email: publisher@sloan-c.org; Web: http://www.sloan-c.org/.

Sloan-C is a consortium of institutions and organizations committed "to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines." Sloan-C is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


SYNCHRONOUS COLLABORATION TOOLS

"Most of us experience more satisfying interactions when we can see and hear each other in the same space and at the same time. While online interactions support flexibility and convenience, synchronicity provides for more efficient and natural interaction." In "Designing for the Virtual Interactive Classroom" (CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY, vol. 8, no. 9, May 2005, pp. 20, 22-3), Judith V. Boettcher reviews several synchronous collaboration tools used for Web or video conferencing, interactive classrooms, and screen sharing. She presents several scenarios and which tools are most appropriate for each situation. The article is online at http://www.campus-technology.com/article.asp?id=11046 

Campus Technology [ISSN: 1089-5914] is a monthly publication focusing exclusively on the use of technology across all areas of higher education. Subscriptions to the print version are free to qualified U.S. subscribers. For more information, contact: Campus Technology, 101communications LLC, 9121 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 USA; tel: 818-734-1520; fax: 818-734-1522; Web:
http://www.campus-technology.com/


SIMULATION SOFTWARE AND PHYSICAL COLLABORATION

Laboratory dissections provide opportunities not only for subject-matter learning, but also opportunities for cooperative learning. In "Virtual Dissection and Physical Collaboration" (FIRST MONDAY, vol. 10, no. 5, May 2005), Kenneth R. Fleischmann uses the example of dissection simulation software to illustrate how such educational tools can limit a student's learning experience. By focusing on human–computer interaction rather than human–human interaction, the software leaves out the socialization component that is part of traditional lab practice. Until these tools are redesigned to encourage collaboration, Fleischmann gives suggestions for adapting these tools to provide more interaction among students. The paper is available online at http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_5/fleischmann/index.html 

First Monday [ISSN 1396-0466] is an online, peer-reviewed journal whose aim is to publish original articles about the Internet and the global information infrastructure. It is published in cooperation with the University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago. For more information, contact: First Monday, c/o Edward Valauskas, Chief Editor, PO Box 87636, Chicago IL 60680-0636 USA; email: ejv@uic.edu; Web: http://firstmonday.dk/.

For more thoughts on educational software, see also:

"Next-Generation Educational Software: Why We Need It & 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, pp. 26-8, 30-4, 36, 38, 40 42-3 http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0521.pdf


Infobits subscriber Arun-Kumar Tripathi (tripathi@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de ) recommends his article in a recent issue of UBIQUITY:

"Reflections on Challenges to the Goal of Invisible Computing" Ubiquity: An ACM IT Magazine and Forum, vol. 6, issue 17, May 17 - May 24, 2005 http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/views/v6i17_tripathi.html


Patricia Keefe, "The Shoot Horses Don't They?" June 10, 2005 --- InformationWeek Daily [InfoWeek@update.informationweek.com]

Never underestimate the tenacity, perseverance, and will to live of doomed IT projects and their guardians.

This week, United Airlines finally gave up on its nightmare of a baggage-handling system. That application has been a perennial problem since its launch at the opening of the new Denver airport 10 years ago. The FBI's recently killed Virtual Case File system--another candidate in the running for longest-lived IT disaster--also was big in the news this week. Another example of a bottomless money pit of an IT project would be Ford Motor's five-year Everest Web-purchasing project, which was abandoned in August last year after the automaker spent what was widely estimated to be as much $400 million. Ford has bigger issues to focus on right now, but Everest was a monumental disappointment. I'm sure you can probably think of some other examples, and not just in IT.

It's hard to fathom why--given what we know about how unwieldy these multiyear, multimillion-dollar projects are--companies still giddily launch these death stars. Never mind that technology and standards are changing at a faster and faster pace. Or the likelihood that what's current or the hot trend in the first two years of a multiyear project may be obsolete or passe by the end of its development cycle. What about the 10-year projects? Many corporate strategic plans are done in five-year cycles. What if that strategy is seriously revised in the sixth year of the project cycle? What if the backers of the project or key team members move on midstream? None of this bodes well--for the company or for the IT department.

What these kinds of projects in general, and the United, Ford, and FBI projects in particular, all have in common is less obvious than it might appear. You can be sure these projects were painstakingly researched and planned, kicked off with big budget commitments, high hopes, and the best of intentions.

But my guess is that amid all the intense planning designed to ensure success, somebody forgot to plan for failure. You know what happens. People, technology, and situations all change. Any one of which separately or together can spell doom for your project, which can be survivable if you know what to watch for, and you know what to do when it happens. Knowing when, and how to gracefully disengage from a project, is just as critical as knowing how to successfully complete one. But nobody ever talks about that.

The United and FBI stories brought to mind my fascinating conversation last fall with Gopal Kapur, president of the Center for Project Management, a consulting firm in San Ramon, Calif.

Continued in article


"New Rule: Accounting Changes to Be Charged to Past Periods," SmartPros, June 3, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x48482.xml

Say goodbye to many of those charges for the "cumulative effect" of accounting changes that investors are used to seeing at the bottom of earnings statements.
 
And say hello to "retrospective application."

The Financial Accounting Standards Board said Wednesday that beginning next year, companies that make a voluntary change in their accounting must apply the change retrospectively - revising past earnings to reflect the effect in each period, rather than taking a single charge against current earnings. In other words, instead of a $1 billion charge today, a company might reduce 2004 earnings by $600 million and 2003 earnings by $400 million.

"It's quite a significant change," said Robert Willens, an accounting expert at Lehman Brothers.

In part, the aim is to provide investors with more precise and consistent year-to-year earnings information. Pat McConnell, a Bear Stearns & Co. accounting expert, said applying an accounting change's effect to prior years will make it easier for investors to analyze year-to-year trends in earnings.

The move is also part of a broader effort by FASB to bring U.S. accounting standards closer to those used abroad, and improve the comparability of financial reporting between companies in different countries.

FASB's international counterpart, the International Accounting Standards Board, already has a rule requiring certain accounting changes to be reported retrospectively.

Some observers are concerned that investors will confuse the revisions to past earnings with earnings restatements, which they aren't. Restatements stem from error or fraud, not simple accounting changes.

Colleen Sayther Cunningham, the president and chief executive of Financial Executives International, a group of finance officials, said at a conference at Baruch College last month that it could be hard for investors to differentiate between the two.

Willens said in an interview that while some might confuse the two types of revisions, that's not a reason not to make the move.

The move will take effect in 2006, though companies with fiscal years that start earlier than that can apply it earlier if they choose.

-- Michael Rapoport (Dow Jones Newswires)

 


From The Wall Street Journal's Accounting Weekly Review on June 3, 2005

TITLE: SEC, Heal Thyself: Tighten Controls, GAO Says in Audit
REPORTER: Siobhan Hughes
DATE: May 27, 2005
PAGE: A6
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111715362178944673,00.html 
TOPICS: Audit Report, Auditing, Governmental Accounting, Internal Controls, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Securities and Exchange Commission

SUMMARY: Add the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) "..to the growing list of institutions disclosing weaknesses in financial controls..."

QUESTIONS:
1.) Summarize the Sarbanes-Oxley requirements regarding internal controls and reporting on them. (Hint: you may find it helpful to review the AICPA's summary of the impact of this law on the accounting profession at http://www.aicpa.org/info/Sarbanes-Oxley2002.asp 

2.) Who audits the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and issued this report? Why is the SEC audit not done by a public accounting firm? What is the function of the entity that performed the SEC's audit?

3.) Why is it important that the SEC comply with these requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act? In your answer, comment on public companies' concerns with this law.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

 


Grant Thornton Battles Its Image

"No. 5 Accounting Firm Struggles To Attract Major Audit Clients, Despite Misfortunes of Big Four," by Diya Gullapolli. The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2005; Page C1 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111828015713654985,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 

For the 373 partners of Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S.'s No. 5 accounting firm by revenue, these should be heady times. Revenue climbed about 30% last year to $635 million, and the firm picked up more than 1,000 new clients.

Only one thing is missing: large, publicly held audit clients. For 2004, Grant Thornton served as the independent auditor for just one Fortune 500 company, W.W. Grainger Inc. That's down from two during 2003, before Countrywide Financial Corp. switched to KPMG LLP, the smallest of the Big Four with $4.1 billion of revenue. Then, in March, Grant Thornton Chief Executive Officer Ed Nusbaum got the bad news. Grainger was switching to Ernst & Young LLP.

"There's this perception that somehow the Big Four are better than we are, and that's just simply not true," Mr. Nusbaum says. "It's a very difficult perception issue that has to be broken."

If ever the opportunity seemed ripe to shatter that image, it would be now. The corporate-accounting scandals of the past four years have damaged the Big Four's reputations, class-action lawyers are suing them over billions in shareholder losses, and criminal probes are pending over some of their tax-shelter sales.

Instead, even though Grant has tried its hardest with an elaborate marketing plan, the Big Four's grip on the audits of the world's largest companies keeps tightening. KPMG, Ernst, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Deloitte & Touche LLP now audit all but about a dozen of the companies in the Fortune 500.

Many investors and corporate executives complain that the accounting industry has become too concentrated, leaving companies with too few choices for the important job of auditing. But the obstacles are many for Grant and other second-tier firms as they seek to move up.

First, there is size, a reason cited by Grainger and Countrywide in their moves: Grant's roughly 3,900 staffers stacked up against about 18,300 at KPMG last year. Then, too, the smaller firms aren't without their own warts: They face lawsuits over allegedly botched audits and some of their tax-shelter sales also are under federal scrutiny.

Most notably, Grant's former Italian arm, Grant Thornton SpA, made headlines in recent years as an auditor for dairy company Parmalat SpA, which filed for bankruptcy-court protection amid $18.5 billion in missing funds. Grant says it, too, was a victim of the fraud.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Gran Thornton's lawsuit troubles are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#GrantThornton


"The Practitioner-Professor Link," by Bonita K. Peterson, Christie W. Johnson, Gil W. Crain, and Scott J. Miller, Journal of Accountancy, June 2006 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jun2005/kramer.htm


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
PERIODIC FEEDBACK FROM PRACTITIONERS to faculty about the strengths and weaknesses of their graduates and their program can help to positively influence the accounting profession.

CPAs ALSO CAN INSPIRE STUDENTS’ education by providing internship opportunities for accounting students, or serving as a guest speaker in class.

MEMBERSHIP ON A UNIVERSITY’S ACCOUNTING advisory council permits a CPA to interact with faculty on a regular basis and directly affect the accounting curriculum.

SERVING AS A “PROFESSOR FOR A DAY” is another way a CPA can promote the profession to accounting students and answer any questions they have.

CPAs CAN SUPPORT STUDENTS’ PROFESSIONAL development by providing advice on proper business attire and tips for preparing resumes, and conducting mock interviews.

CPAs CAN SHARE EXPERIENCES with a professor to cowrite an instructional case study for a journal, which can reach countless students in classrooms across the world.

ORGANIZING OR CONTRIBUTING to an accounting education fund at the university can help fund a variety of educational purposes, such as student scholarships and travel expenses to professional meetings.

PARTICIPATION BY PRACTITIONERS in the education of today’s accounting students is a win-win-win situation for students, CPAs and faculty.

Bob Jensen's threads on Accounting Research versus the Accountancy Profession are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#AcademicsVersusProfession

 


June 2, 2005 message from Paul Pacter (HK - Hong Kong) [paupacter@DELOITTE.COM.HK]

Both the SEC (US) and CESR (Europe) have issued guidance on disclosure of non-GAAP financial information:

SEC: http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/33-8176.htm  This is a final rule. There was some further guidance here: http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/33-8216.htm 

CESR: It is a consultation paper, comment deadline 11 July 2005: http://www.cesr-eu.org/  then click "Consultations" or download the paper here: http://www.iasplus.com/europe/0505cesrnongaap.pdf 

Paul Pacter

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


Business helpers from Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, June 2005 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jun2005/news_web.htm

Guides for Employers
www.hr-guide.com
CPA firm owners and/or human resources managers can find many useful links to incentive plans, job evaluations, performance appraisals, and staffing and training and development information. There are links to articles on avoiding sexual harassment claims and accommodating the disabled, as well as sample benefit and salary surveys and demos of HR software.

www.winningworkplaces.org
Visitors can read articles on workplace discrimination and recruitment, research studies on women of color in corporate management and tool kits on creating diversity in the workplace and other topics at this Web stop. Users can subscribe to the free newsletter Winning Workplace Ideas from the Forum link on the home page.

www.whenworkworks.org
This site, which focuses on 21st century office trends, offers case studies and tips on employee retention and flexible work schedules, a communication checklist for workers, suggestions for implementing flex-work programs and research findings.

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


June 6, 2005 message from Neal Hannon [nhannon@COX.NET]

When I introduce students to XML, I always send them to www.w3schools.com , and ask them to read the XML tutorial and take the 20 question quiz at the end of the session. In a lab environment, I allow the students to continue to take the quiz until they achieve a score of 100%. The session introduces the basic concepts of XML such as looking at XML as a method of applying context to content. The lab also serves as the bridge for discussions about other XML family markup languages, including XBRL.

For a general overview of XML, try XML: A Manager's Guide (2nd Edition) by Kevin Dick, available at amazon.com starting at just over $5.00 for the book in used condition. Regarding XBRL, there will be new books published by the end of this year that will be focused on bringing XBRL to the classroom. Watch XBRL-Public, a free yahoo group listserv (groups.yahoo.com) for announcements of courseware offerings.

Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL


"EDGAR Online, Business Objects Provide XBRL-Enabled Solutions," AccountingWeb, June 3, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100968

AccountingWEB.com - Jun-3-2005 - EDGAR® Online®, Inc. and Business Objects announced on Wednesday, June 2, the signing of a new technology partnership in which the companies will conduct joint sales, marketing and development activities. The partnership provides an integrated solution enabling joint customers to easily and quickly obtain and use financial data. Customers of the new partnership will be able to access financial data in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), a royalty free, open specification using XML-based data tags to describe financial data in business reports and databases.

EDGAR Online’s I-Metrix suite of SXBRL products enables financial analysts, auditors and investors to analyze financial statement data of all companies reporting financials to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The partnership agreement with Business Objects allows EDGAR Online to market its I-Metrix suite of XBRL products to the more than 30,000 customers worldwide of Business Objects.

“We are extremely pleased that Business Objects has chosen to work with EDGAR Online. The combination of Business Objects’ business intelligence platform and the EDGAR Online I Metrix suite of XBRL products will help our joint customers benefit from the access to standards-based corporate financial data,” says Susan Strausberg, EDGAR Online President and CEO.

Jon Dorrington, Business Objects’ vice president of alliances agrees, stating “The ability to access financial information is very important to our customers. The integration of our industry-leading BI platform with EDGAR Online’s I-Metrix suite will enable joint customers to more easily access and analyze their financial data to improve performance.”

Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL


What is "markdown money?"
Saks Inc., facing an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into the improper collection of allowances from its vendors, disclosed an additional internal investigation into its practices. The additional probe will determine whether Saks's luxury chain, Saks Fifth Avenue, wrongfully collected from its vendors "chargebacks," or fees for failing to comply with Saks's logistics, transportation or billing policies. The internal investigation also will review when "markdown money" was recorded. Markdown money is the sum vendors pay retailers to compensate stores when merchandise doesn't sell and has to go on sale, or be "marked down."
Ellen Byron, "Saks Studies Booking of Allowances:  Retailer Reviews Accounts Of Such Revenue Up to '05, Amid an SEC Investigation," The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005; Page B10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111801216304651275,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

June 6, 2005 reply from Elliot Kamlet SUNY Account [ekamlet@BINGHAMTON.EDU]

I've seen companies set up all kinds of allowances. Generally, they book the full sale amount and then allow for reductions in sales. Certainly, a high level of returns is nothing new - for instance magazine and book distributors have such a low direct production cost they prefer to oversell and take back or credit the returns from the retailer.

June 6, 2005 reply from Speer, Derek [d.speer@AUCKLAND.AC.NZ]

Bob

I suggest that this is more akin to setting up a Provision for Repairs under Warranty. From experience vendors know that some will occur, although they don'y know which products will be affected nor the timing.

Derek Speer
The University of Auckland, New Zealand

 


June 3, 2005 message from James L. Morrison [morrison@unc.edu]

The June/July 2005 issue of Innovate is now available at http://www.innovateonline.info 

Innovate is a peer-reviewed, bimonthly e-journal published as a public service by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. It features creative practices and cutting-edge research on the use of information technology to enhance education.

James Shimabukuro opens the issue with a thought-provoking essay arguing that once advanced technologies have fully liberated us from the constraints of time and place, students will turn not to a single teacher, but to a partnership of learning advisors, paraprofessional monitors, and peer tutors to reach their academic goals. Marc Prensky contents that cell phones, which are portable, powerful, and already in the hands of millions of students, are well equipped to assist student development once educators grasp their significance as learning tools.

Like cell phones, weblogs have obvious social uses and less appreciated educational applications. Drawing on pedagogical theory and personal practice, Stuart Glogoff documents the ways in which blogging can build community, enhance knowledge construction, and increase interactivity in both online and hybrid courses.

New technology tools and practices are exciting on their own, but making them work within Web-based course management systems is often a challenge. Kay Wijekumar focuses on the best ways to design and conduct an online course with such constraints--and proposes software changes that would make CMSs more effective and user friendly. Lyn Barnes, Sheila Scutter, and Janette Young follow with a description of a pilot study using screen recording and compression software to reinforce key content in online courses.

Ellen Cohn and Bernard Hibbitts reexamine the traditional definition of public service and question its division from teaching and research. They also argue that service can be just as valuable online as in person.

David Baucus and Melissa Baucus shift our attention to the corporate world. They review the history of corporate universities--unique, quickly evolving environments dedicated to fast, effective learning--and reflect on the evolution of technological innovations that serve educational and business needs.

Stephen Downes concludes the issue with a review of Connexions, a Rice University Web site where educators can create learning objects, instructors can assemble them into modules and courses, and visitors can learn from the resulting resources.

Please forward this announcement to appropriate mailing lists and to colleagues who want to use IT tools to advance their work.

Many thanks.

Jim ----
James L. Morrison Editor-in-Chief, Innovate
http://www.innovateonline.info 
Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership UNC-Chapel Hill http://horizon.unc.edu 

 


June 5, 2005 message from Jack Seward [JackSeward@msn.com]

Bob,

You may enjoy reading the article below.

Regards,

Jack

Jack Seward New York City 917-450-9328 Fax: 212-656-1486

Jack Seward was featured in the cover story of Accounting Today, "Bring 'em back intact! Computer forensics can retrieve info you may not even know exists" by Stuart Khan (June 6-19, 2005).

[Excerpts taken from story] The problem is a familiar one, but the solution is new... The phenomenon is computer forensics - the application of computer investigation and analysis techniques in the interest of determining potential legal evidence that might be sought in a wide range of computer crime or misuse, including theft of trade secrets, destruction of intellectual property and fraud. Computer specialists can draw on an array of methods for discovering data that reside in a computer, or recovering deleted, encrypted or damaged file information.

Few people today know how to do it and many [accountants] don't really understand it. Yet it is vital in today's forensics. The bottom line is that computer forensics gives the accountants the ability to retrieve things in an astounding way...

[Interview with Jack Seward - please see full article]

According to Jack Seward, an expert on e-discovery and finding hidden assets, there has been a prolific rise in corporate and personal complexity that demands computer forensic solutions. "This complexity is a product of electronic communications and commerce, with the spider web of personal and corporate data integration the common thread."

Seward pointed out that the growth in the use of computer forensics has been unbelievable. "There is no magic pill in computer forensics; just the regimen necessary for the discovery of the trail left behind by digital fraudsters who are performing at the best of their game. I had a great conversation with the national director of forensics for one of the Big Four regarding this very point. We reminisced how, 10 years ago, a case would involve a few computer hard drives. Now, a case is often hundreds of hard drives, numerous servers and tape archives. Bottom line? From the top of this mountain there is no end in sight for computer forensics technology. After all, 92 percent of all information created is in digital form; computer forensics is here to stay."

Seward noted that digital or computer forensics has proven itself in commercial litigation, discovering theft of intellectual property and uncovering accounting frauds. "Does any business not have electronic books and records or e-mail?"

He said that electronic data discovery in litigation is practically mandatory. "The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are currently in the process of being amended to include numerous provisions for electronic data discovery. That's not to say e-discovery is not now being used - just that it's about to become the law of the land."

Seward also noted that the computer forensics cases he sees are extremely varied and include collection of judgments after discovery of hidden assets found on hard drives, business valuations, discovery of hidden financial information, examination of e-mail history, electronic data discovery in commercial litigation, recovery of deleted books and records, recovery of corrupt database files, and recovery of print files for use in commercial litigation.

Seward related a fraud case that was slightly atypical. "It is not often that a case goes to trial when computer forensic evidence is used to support the allegations contained in the court papers," he said. "This case was about greed, and the plaintiff attempting to collect on a promissory note that was not owed. In a jury-waiver trial that lasted 16 full trial days and 18 witnesses, the opposition lost in the trial court and again before the appeals court. Perhaps one of the more difficult things to do in court is to argue and prove you do not owe the money (after you acknowledge its receipt) and you signed a promissory note. That is prima facie grounds, and in court, you can get ready to count, one, two, three strikes, you lose. However, the client alleged an accord and satisfaction of the promissory note. The client borrows the money from the plaintiff, but the client was owed a similar amount from the plaintiff's corporation. The court found that the plaintiff and client reached an accord and satisfaction and the promissory note has been satisfied because of third-party trial testimony related to the computer forensic evidence. The computer forensic evidence was overwhelming against the plaintiff's attempt to collect on the already satisfied promissory note and the court awarded the client his legal fees."

Seward said that the computer forensic evidence showed that the plaintiff caused his corporation to remove the accounting entry for the accord and satisfaction (which had taken place more than a year prior to the filing of he lawsuit) three days before his scheduled deposition. "At the deposition, the plaintiff produced the altered financial statements of the plaintiff's corporation showing the amount was due the client, in an attempt to prove that no accord and satisfaction had been made."

In short, he said that the electronic database containing the books and records of the plaintiff's corporation was recovered from a laptop. As is often the case, the database was encrypted, but the password was decrypted in less than a minute during the computer forensic investigation.

"The plaintiff identified the monthly financial statements showing the mount owed the client as being the original and correct under oath at trial. At trial, the controller for the plaintiff's corporation and the CPA modified their deposition testimony when shown the computer forensic evidence. They then both testified the plaintiff's corporation books were altered to show the money was owed to the client and this was done after the filing of the lawsuit."


Quotations and Tidbits from June 1-14, 2005
The entire Tidbits Directory is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsdirectory.htm

Music for the quiet of summer:  Always --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/always.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




Without warning and out of the blue, my colleague Petrea Sandlin (the Director of Trinity University's Accounting Program) showed up on our front porch on Monday afternoon. She and her daughter and a wheel chair bound friend drove over 5,000 miles through Canada to get this far east into the White Mountains. They are doing well in spite of the cold and wet weather that they encountered most of their trip.  The weather was mostly rotten this May.

Their next stop along the way was to be with some friends in the Green Mountains of Vermont, that liberal state a few miles west of our back deck. Petrea plans to be back in her office in about a week.


My Barber is from the "Old School"
My barber's name is Paul.  He has a basement shop on the main street of a village called Woodsville in western New Hampshire. He does not take reservations and you simply allow for the possibility that you must wait your turn.  While you wait you may  browse through back issues of only magazine that Paul commenced subscribing to in in 1952 --- The National Geographic.   Paul opened this barber shop over a half century ago by charging fifty cents for a haircut.  Today the charge is only $9.00 which is less than most barbers charge these days.  We're lucky to have Paul in a nearby village since most New Hampshire villages no longer have a barber shop.

Paul says he's from the "old school."  When I asked him what it meant by "old school," he proudly explained as follows.  "It means coming to work six days of every week, fifty one weeks of every year, for 53 years in succession.  It means standing on your feet cutting hair from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day except from 12:00 to 12:45 noon when he goes home for a simple lunch break.  It means coming to work in rain, shine, or snow even if he feels lousy.  It means making small talk with old friends and total strangers.  It means discussing the weather over and over each hour of each day of each week of each year.  It means proudly displaying a yellowed barber college diploma alongside the mirror in front of the barber chair.  It means enjoying very simple things in life and earning every penny that it costs to have these things."

I think I know why old Paul has subscribed so many years to The National Geographic.  Without leaving Woodsville's main street, Paul manages to visit virtually every site on the planet and sometimes beyond the planet earth.  In the quiet lull between customers, when he can take the load off his feet, Paul time travels to Tibet or Paris or Saturn when he opens up one of his worn copies of The National Geographic.  He time travels instantly without the hassles of airports, burning sun, pouring rain, insects, lost luggage, noise, thefts, and bad food.  And he can return most any time he gets an urge to see the sites over and over again. 

Yesterday, Paul apologetically explained that he might not be in his shop for a few days beginning June 14.  His wife of 53 years will be having a heart bypass surgery.  Being at her side more important than opening his shop even if he is from the "old school."  I hope they have copies of The National Geographic in the waiting room down in the Hitchcock Center at the Dartmouth Medical School.

God bless all the older folks from "the old school."


Flashback to the Year 1900 in The Ladies Home Journal
Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today. Liquid-air refrigerators will keep great quantities of food fresh for long intervals. Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of today. They will make what is now known as cavalry charges. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of a bath. Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of...
"What in the World Will the Future Bring, " PBS, June 1, 2005 --- http://pbskids.org/wayback/tech1900/snapshot.html




"The Fastest, Easiest Way to Transfer Files," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2005; Page B5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111767035411148779,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Q: What is the fastest and easiest way to transfer files and programs when switching to a new computer? It will be from a Windows PC to a Windows PC and I have stored a lot of music in Musicmatch that I want to transfer over.

A: The fastest and easiest way is to use a special "migration" program, which transfers files in bulk via a cable that connects the two machines. When I last tested these, the best was Detto's IntelliMover, which costs $50. More information is at www.detto.com .

However, IntelliMover transfers only data files, including music and settings. It doesn't move over programs, such as Musicmatch itself. The only program I've tested that does that is Alohabob PC Relocator Ultra, by Eisenworld ( www.eisenworld.com ). It costs $70, and it also transfers files and settings. In addition, it can move over some, though not all, programs.


"Losing a Rental-Car Key," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111749978324446653,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

The Problem: You lost the key for a rental car.

The Solution: The rise of sophisticated security features on keys has made this an expensive predicament. Some big rental agencies no longer keep spares on hand, and they may charge you hundreds of dollars to make a new key.

Call the rental company's roadside-assistance hotline to report the problem, and find out what your options are. You may get lucky with an agency that still keeps spares, or can get you a new rental car free of charge.

Then do some comparative price-shopping on your own. If you're a member of AAA, you may be entitled to a free tow and up to $100 off the cost of a duplicate key. Alternatively, some 24-hour locksmiths can travel to your car and cut a new key on the spot for less than the agency charges.

One other note: If the lost key is due to another person's mistake, the rental agency may not hold you responsible for the costs.

Jensen Comment:  I had a spare key cut for my Jeep Cherokee in a hardware store.  The spare key would unlock the door and start the engine.  But the engine would not keep running with the spare key in the ignition.  Hence, if I lock my main key in the car, my spare key is useful.  But if I lose my main key, my spare key is not any help.


Fun Facts About Higher Education
Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/02/condition

For those with a little less time to browse, the department also released The Condition of Education in Brief 2005 --- http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2005095


There may be a worm in your future
A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University have created a robotic device that moves much like a slug or earthworm -- and it could ultimately become the ideal tool to help doctors perform colonoscopies.
Karen Epper Hoffman, "Learning to Crawl," MIT's Technology Review, May 31, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/wo/wo_053105hoffman.asp?trk=nl


Western liberalism proving to be only idea left standing
The French and Dutch rebuffs of the European Union constitution will soon be followed by other rejections. Millions of proud, educated Europeans are tired of being told by unelected grandees that the mess they see is really abstract art. The E.U. constitution — and its promise of a new Europe — supposedly offered a corrective to the Anglo-American strain of Western civilization. More government, higher taxes, richer entitlements, pacifism, statism and atheism would make a more humane and powerful new continent of over 400 million to outpace a retrograde United States. Instead, Europe faces a declining population, unassimilated minorities, low growth, high unemployment and an inability to defend itself, either militarily or morally. Somehow the directorate of the European Union has figured out how to have too few citizens while having too many of them out of work. The only question that remains is just how low will the 100,000 bureaucrats of the European Union go in shrieking to their defiant electorates as they stampede for the exits. In fact, 2005 is a culmination of dying ideas. Despite the boasts and threats, almost every political alternative to Western liberalism over the last quarter-century is crashing or already in flames. China's red-hot economy — something like America's of 1870, before unionization, environmentalism and federal regulation — shows just how dead communism is. Will Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba go out with a bang or a whimper? If North Korea's nutty communiqués, Hugo Chavez's shouting about oil boycotts and Castro's harangues sound desperate, it's because they all are.
Victor Davis Hanson, "Western liberalism proving to be only idea left standing," Jewish World Review, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0605/hanson060205.php3


If you don't trust me, smell my new oxytocin cologne
Can you bottle trust? The answer, it seems, is yes. Researchers have produced a potion that, when sniffed, makes people more likely to give their cash to someone to look after. A Swiss-led research team tested their creation on volunteers playing an investment game for real money. When they inhaled the nasal spray, investors were more likely to hand over money to a trustee, knowing that, although they could make a hefty profit, they could also lose everything if the trustee decided not to give any of the money back. The potion's magic ingredient is oxytocin, a chemical that is produced naturally in the brain. Its production is triggered by a range of stimuli, including sex and breastfeeding, and it is known to be important in the formation of social ties, such as mating pairs and parent-offspring bonds. It is perhaps no surprise that the compound has been nicknamed the 'love hormone'. Experts think that oxytocin exerts its range of effects by boosting some social behaviours: it may encourage animals or people to overcome their natural wariness when faced with a risky situation. The theory argues that people only decide to trust each other - when forming a sexual or business relationship, for example - when the brain's oxytocin production is boosted.
Michael Hopkin, "Trust in a bottle:  Nasal spray makes people more likely to place faith in another person," Nature, June 1, 2005 --- http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050531/full/050531-4.html


What's a podcaster?
When Steve Jobs announced on May 22 that the next version of Apple's music software and store iTunes -- due within 60 days -- would feature support for podcasting, the nascent community of Internet-broadcast show creators was all atwitter. And for good reason: Apple's announced support will be a signal event for the technology, propelling it from a hobbyist's pursuit to a medium that less tech-savvy people might explore and enjoy.
Eric Hellweg, "Pdcasters Tune Into Apple," MIT's Technology Review, May 26, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/wo/wo_052605hellweg.asp?trk=nl


The Decline of Affirmative Action
Starting around 1995, the percentage of colleges that considered students’ minority status in admissions decisions fell dramatically — so dramatically that it appears to have gone beyond those states where court rulings or constitutional amendments barred the use of racial preferences. That finding comes from research being prepared for publication by two sociologists at the University of California at Davis. Eric Grodsky, an assistant professor there, and Demetra Kalogrides, a graduate student, were able to document the shifts by obtaining results from the College Board of a survey it does annually on college admissions practices.
Scott Jaschik, "The Decline of Affirmative Action," Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/02/survey


Up in Smoke:  U.S. 'War on Drugs' Really War on Marijuana
The federal government spends about $35 billion a year on the "war on drugs," largely to prosecute marijuana users – but it's fighting a losing battle. While the number of marijuana arrests has risen sharply since the early 1990s, the crackdown has done little to curtail the demand for the drug. Police make about 700,000 marijuana-related arrests each year, accounting for almost half of all drug arrests. Pot busts peaked at 755,186 in 2003 – nearly twice the number of arrests in 1993. While marijuana arrests rose 113 percent from 1990 to 2002, arrests for other drugs increased only 10...
"U.S. 'War on Drugs' Really War on Marijuana," NewsMax.com, May 31, 2005 --- http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/5/31/120014.shtml


Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough Ignored
Scientists at Australia's Griffith University have engineered a breakthrough in the field of adult stem cell research that's so significant, say experts, that it could render the debate over embryonic stem cell research moot. The results of the four year research project showed that olfactory stem cells can be turned into heart cells, brain cells, nerve cells, indeed almost any kind of cell in the body, without the problems of rejection or tumors forming, a common side effect with embryonic stem cells.
"Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough Ignored," NewsMax, May 30, 2005 --- http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/5/30/84930.shtml


Love in the Land of Na
For the true commitment-phobe, living among the Na people in southwestern China would be paradise. The Na are the only known society that completely shuns marriage. Instead, says Stephanie Coontz in her new book, "Marriage, a History," brothers help sisters raise the children they conceive through casual sex with nonfamily members (incest is strictly taboo). Will we all be like the Na in the future? With divorce and illegitimacy rates still high, the institution of marriage seems headed for obsolescence in much of the world. Coontz, a family historian at Evergreen State College in Washington, doesn't proclaim the extinction of marriage, but she does argue that dramatic changes in family life over the past 30 years represent an unprecedented social revolution—and there's no turning back. The only hope is accepting these changes and figuring out how to work with them. The decline of marriage "doesn't have to spell catastrophe," Coontz says. "We can make marriages better and make nonmarriages work as well."
"What's Love Got to Do With It? Everything:   In a new book, a marriage historian says romance wrecked family stability," Barbara Kantrowitz, MSNBC, June 1, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8017908/site/newsweek/


It's a Wiki, Wiki World
As the old techie saying goes, it's not a bug, it's a feature. Wikipedia is a free open-source encyclopedia, which basically means that anyone can log on and add to or edit it. And they do. It has a stunning 1.5 million entries in 76 languages—and counting. Academics are upset by what they see as info anarchy. (An Encyclopaedia Britannica editor once compared Wikipedia to a public toilet seat because you don't know who used it last.) Loyal Wikipedians argue that collaboration improves articles over time, just as free open-source software like Linux and Firefox is more robust than for-profit competitors because thousands of amateur programmers get to look at the code and suggest changes. It's the same principle that New Yorker writer James Surowiecki asserted in his best seller The Wisdom of Crowds: large groups of people are inherently smarter than an élite few. Wikipedia is in the vanguard of a whole wave of wikis built on that idea. A wiki is a deceptively simple piece of software (little more than five lines of computer code) that you can download for free and use to make a website that can be edited by anyone you like. Need to solve a thorny business problem overnight and all members of your team are in different time zones? Start a wiki. In Silicon Valley, at least, wiki culture has already taken root. "A lot of corporations are using wikis without top management even knowing it," says John Seely Brown, the legendary former chief scientist at Xerox PARC. "It's a bottom-up phenomenon. The CIO may not get it, but the people actually doing the work see the need for them."
Chris Taylor, "It's a Wiki, Wiki World:  Want to add your 2¢ to an encyclopedia? Join the crowd," Time Magazine, June 2005 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1066904,00.html
Bob Jensen's threads on the Wiki and Wikipedia are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Wiki


When Violence Comes To Campus Once Havens of Tolerance
For millions of Iraqis, it's a familiar concern. The country has been facing its most deadly spasm of violence in a year: last month alone, attacks killed more than 600 Iraqis, many of them Shi'ites targeted by Sunni jihadis bent on sowing civil war. The country's universities have long served as the bulwark of Iraq's secular society, refuges from the sectarian strife that threatens to rip the country apart. But now violence has come to the campuses. A rocket attack on an engineering college in the heart of Baghdad two weeks ago killed two students and injured 17 others. Bombs have been found at several colleges, leading many universities to institute full-body searches at their gates. Radical religious groups have infiltrated many student bodies, intimidating students and teachers alike. Some prominent Iraqis say the surge in extremism on campus holds grave portents for Iraq. "Once this poison enters the campus and infects the minds of our young people," says Mohammad Jaffer al-Samarrai, a geography professor in Baghdad, "then all hope is lost for society."
Aparisim Ghosh, "When Violence Comes To Campus Once havens of tolerance:   Iraq's universities are becoming battlefields in an escalating civil war," Time Magazine, June 6, 2005 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1066902,00.html


The Neal Boortz Commencement Speech
No, this speech has never been delivered at a college or a university. It was written to protest the fact that such an invitation has never been offered! It has only been delivered on my radio show, printed in my book "The Terrible Truth About Liberals" and produced on a limited edition CD. The irony is that this commencement speech has been more widely distributed, and has been the subject of more comment than any commencement speech that actually has been delivered at any college or university in the past 50 years.
"The Neal Boortz Commencement Speech," http://boortz.com/more/commencement.html


Framingham Selectmen Censor Speech Against Illegal Aliens
Thursday night the Board of Selectmen voted and approved a measure to keep outspoken critics of illegal immigration from airing their concerns during the Citizen's Participation segment of the selectmen meetings. Joseph and Jim Rizoli periodically have brought to the attention of the board of selectmen the issue of how illegal immigration has negatively affected the schools and hospitals in Framingham, a town where as much as 70% of the estimated 20,000 recent immigrants from Latin American countries are here illegally. For airing their concerns, they have been labelled as "haters" and "xenophobes".
"Framingham Selectmen Censor Speech Against Illegal Aliens," MassNews.com, May 30, 2005 --- http://massnews.com/2005_editions/5_may/52705_framingham_censors.htm


Thow shalt not blog in Iran
The Unicode breakthrough helped ignite massive growth in Internet readership in Iran. "There were all these journalists who didn't have a venue, and all these readers who missed the reformist papers." By last year, 5 million Iranians were using the Internet in the nation of 69 million, and an estimated 100,000 blogs. The standard fare for Iranian blogs is similar to what you find in the US - dating, fashion, movies, and music, plus some politics and information age theorizing. But like Levi's in Khrushchev's Russia, such quotidian matters contain the seeds of revolution, Derakhshan says. Maybe that's why the blog spring was crushed. At first, "the clerics didn't really understand what they were," he says, so they didn't bother shutting them down. But last June the Iranian judiciary put in place a more sophisticated filtering system that blocks Iranian access to political Web sites and blogs. (Derakhshan's traffic immediately dropped by half.) Then in September, officials got serious, arresting, interrogating, and even jailing some of the country's bloggers, according to human rights groups. Two of those writers, Mojtaba Saminejad and Mohammad Reza Nasab Abdolahi, remain in prison.
"Blog Spring," Wired Magazine, June 2006 ---
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.06/posts.html?pg=6?tw=wn_tophead_1


I've not watched the Jay Leno Show for a very long time.  It's stuff like this on his show that makes me want to miss his show forever more --- http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2670176?htv=12&htv=12


We became teachers to profess ideals and despise having to grub for a living
I know a man who teaches at a branch campus of one of the largest state universities in the country. He hates it. One reason: his colleagues. Not only do many of them lack his professional seriousness or scholarly aspirations. Some have other jobs on the side, in real estate or auto dealerships. He tells of a few people who have worked out deals with the English department to steer students their way who write about difficulties with housing or cars. Academe, one of thy names is money. Not officially of course. For public consumption, we faculty members — tenured or adjunct — accept our salaries in the name of our responsibilities to our students or our dedication to our discipline. Of course we all deserve more money, although not as much as football coaches, who deserve less, and don’t get us started on overpaid administrators. But we did not become teachers to make money. We became teachers to profess ideals. Result? We are baffled with the vulgar particulars of what we do make, ranging from the starting salary we command or the pay raise we receive upon promotion to — well, to what, exactly? In fact, aside from the special case of merit pay, the only money virtually all of us make is represented by our respective salaries. This is why we are so reluctant to disclose them. This is also why anybody who actually tries to make additional money, much as my above friend’s colleagues, makes us so uneasy, to say the least.
Terry Caesar, "Filthy Lucre," Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/01/caesar


Tidbits forwarded by my secretary, Debbie Bowling

Graduation gown marks four generations of learning
CARLISLE, Pennsylvania (AP) -- As Amanda Crowley crossed the stage to receive her Dickinson College diploma, she carried a major branch of her family tree inside her 95-year-old graduation gown.

Crowley's great-grandmother bought the wool gown for her own commencement at Wellesley College in 1910 and passed it down to each of her children as they graduated, an effort meant to save money during the Great Depression.

Her act of thrift has since evolved into a family tradition, transforming the garment into a scholarly family heirloom. It has now traveled around the country and survived being worn by four generations of college alumni.

To mark each occasion, white fabric tape with each graduate's name, alma mater, and year of graduation is sewn inside the gown. Crowley, who received a bachelor of arts degree Sunday, became the 22nd family member to experience this rite of passage.

The 21-year-old was honored to keep up the tradition, especially since her grandmother, Mary Lee Brooks, who wore it for her Wellesley College graduation in 1936, suffers from Parkinson's disease and was unable to attend Dickinson's commencement.

"I felt like she was here. That in and of itself really made the day for me," said Crowley, of Goldens Bridge, New York, about 40 miles north of New York City. "It definitely was a lot to bear, to have my family history on my back, but it's a great feeling."

It all began with Bertha Cottrell Lee, who was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, as a member of a middle-class family that valued higher education, according to Crowley's mother, Lynda Crowley.

Lee studied botany at Wellesley, but also had an active social life, as evidenced by a number of dance cards, calling cards and invitations to faculty teas that Lynda Crowley has preserved in a scrapbook she recently compiled on the gown.

Within a year or two after graduation, Lee married a chiropractor and started her own family. Money was tight as each of her three children graduated from college in the late 1930's, so she loaned her gown to each of them and began the practice of stitching the names inside.

Since then, it has traveled as far north as the University of Maine and as far south as Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And a few family members had the privilege of wearing it again upon earning graduate degrees.

Lynda Crowley said she didn't feel terribly sentimental about wearing the gown to her 1971 graduation from Connecticut College, where she earned a religion degree, and did so mainly to please her mother and grandmother.

But more recently, she has noticed that her children, nieces and nephews are very interested in participating in the tradition.

"It wasn't until this generation that it became an honor. The kids fight over it now," she said.
The Associated Press, "Graduation gown marks four generations of learning," Tuesday, May 24, 2005, http://snipurl.com/gradgwn0525

 

University Presses Challenge Google
How long is a snippet? That is one of more than a dozen questions directed at Google Inc. this week by the executive director of the Association of American University Presses, the trade group representing university presses. At issue is whether Google Print for Libraries, the company's plan to digitize the collections of some of the country's major university libraries, infringes the copyrights of the authors of many books in those collections. The program will allow users to search the contents of books, displaying context-specific "snippets" of the texts of copyrighted works.

In a letter to Google dated Friday, the details of which were first reported by BusinessWeek on Monday, Peter Givler, executive director of the press association, said that Google Print for Libraries "appears to involve systematic infringement of copyright on a massive scale." Mr. Givler said the service has "the potential for serious financial damage" to the members of the press association, a collection of largely not-for-profit businesses that typically produce and sell scholarly works of nonfiction that have relatively little commercial potential. In a statement, Google said that it has an "active dialogue with all of our publishing partners," adding that it protects the copyright holders by allowing users of Google Print to view only a few short sentences of protected text.
EDWARD WYATT, "University Presses Challenge Google," The New York Times, Published: May 25, 2005, http://snipurl.com/upres0525

 

'POSTER' BOYS FOR STUPIDITY
A Brooklyn suspect in two livery-cab stickups redefined stupid yesterday when he walked into a police station to check on his arrested partner-in-crime — and found himself standing in front of his own wanted poster. It took only a split-second for the stunned cops at the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg to slap the cuffs on 20-year-old Awiey "Chucky" Hernandez, whose picture was captured by a cab-cam during one of the duo's alleged robberies.

"There's a wanted poster with their pictures, right there," said an incredulous Sgt. Norman Horowitz, of the 90th Precinct Detective Squad. "[The poster] was a couple of feet away. Obviously he did not notice it, but we did."

Hernandez's bungle began when he went to the station house to inquire about his cohort — 18-year-old Huquan "Guns" Gavin, the man whose face appeared next to his on the wanted poster.

Horowitz was baffled why Hernandez would mingle with cops after the "wanted" flier had been distributed throughout the neighborhood.

"I can't understand how he can walk into a station house knowing very well what they did, and their picture was plastered all over the [neighborhood]," Horowitz said.
ERIKA MARTINEZ, "'POSTER' BOYS FOR STUPIDITY," Free Republic (from the New York Post), Posted on 05/25/2005, http://snipurl.com/stpd0525
 

Paying for Health Care in the Emeritus Years
Fidelity Investments and Aetna announced a new program Tuesday in which employees at a consortium of colleges will have the chance to create special retirement accounts to pay for health care.

The Emeriti Program will be open to employees at the members of Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions, a consortium of colleges that aims for more clout in negotiating with benefits companies by combining the employees of their institutions. Most of the 29 members are private liberal arts colleges, although scores of other institutions are considering joining, and membership will not be restricted to certain types of colleges.

Under the program, employers and employees could make voluntary contributions to special accounts with the employer contributions not taxed. The funds are then invested, and upon retirement, employees can select among several insurance plans to supplement their Medicare coverage. Besides paying for the supplemental coverage, the accounts can also be used to pay for some out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by either Medicare or the additional health insurance.

The sponsors of the new program — which they say is the only one of its kind — say that they based it on research by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that found that many faculty members are worried about paying for post-retirement health care, and that faculty members whose institutions have generous post-retirement health benefits retire earlier than those at other institutions.

Barbara Perry, vice president for marketing at Emeriti, said that the program was a “strategic benefit” that colleges would find valuable in recruiting and retaining faculty talent. She said that the specifics of each program — such as contribution sizes — would be determined at the campus level.

“Once you join the program as a college, you adapt it for your institution,” she said. Perry added that while Emeriti was started with an emphasis on liberal arts colleges, she did not see any reason that the benefit would be less attractive at other institutions. “This is a universal issue and institutions of all sizes are expressing interest.”

Andy Brantley, incoming chief executive officer of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, called Emeriti “an interesting concept” because many colleges either can’t afford to pay for retiree health insurance or worry about the rising costs of such benefits. An approach like Emeriti “changes the dynamic” in that the college makes a contribution, but isn’t forced to pay unknown costs at some point down the road when insurance costs skyrocket, he said. As a result, he said, some colleges that do nothing on health benefits for retirees may find it viable to do something.

A spokeswoman for TIAA-CREF said that the issue of retiree health care costs was “one of a number we are looking at,” but that “we are more focused on the retirement savings side of the business.”
Scott Jaschik "Paying for Health Care in the Emeritus Years," Inside Higher Ed, May 25, 2005, http://snipurl.com/emerti525

 

Smell of Grapefruit Helps Women Look Younger
A new study shows that the fruity aroma from grapefruit may be able to shave years off a woman's appearance.
 

Eau de grapefruit, anyone? Don't snicker: A new study shows that the fruity aroma from grapefruit may be able to shave years off your appearance.

There's a lot of prejudice against older people in our society, says researcher Alan B. Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. "A lot of it is related to how we look and how we talk. So we looked at the concept of smell.

"In the presence of the smell of pink grapefruit, women appear to be six years younger than their real age," says Hirsch.

It sure beats Botox or cosmetic surgery, he tells WebMD.

Hirsch has made a career out of smelling things -- all sorts of things. A few years ago he found that banana, green apple, and peppermint aromas can help you lose weight.

"We've also done studies on odors and sexual arousal and found a positive effect," he says.

Reporting here Monday at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Hirsch says he recently "came to the idea of aging."

Sadly, of the three aromas studied, only grapefruit did the trick: Grape and cucumber odor had no effect on age perception whatsoever, he says.

An Overpowering Sense of Smell

For the study, 37 men and women were asked to estimate the age of a series of models in photographs while wearing masks that were infused with the various aromas and then again while wearing a regular surgical mask.

Overall, the grapefruit aroma made the participants think the models were about three years younger than they really were, Hirsch says.

But when Hirsch broke the experiment down by sex, the picture changed.

"When women were wearing the mask, there was no perceptible change in age," he says. "But for men wearing the mask, women looked six years younger."

Smell fishy? Not so, says Duke University's Marian Butterfeld, MD, MPH, chairwoman of the committee that chose which studies would be presented at the meeting.

The findings are "intriguing," she tells WebMD, and in line with other research that shows sex differences in the sense of smell.

Hirsch offers up several explanations for the phenomena. It could be that the aroma simply makes people happy and that happy people judge others in a better light, he says.

More likely, Hirsch says, is that the grapefruit aroma induced a smell memory-nostalgic effect. Another possibility is that the grapefruit aroma could have sexually aroused the men, clouding their judgment, or even could have acted as a stress buster, he says.

Butterfeld says further study is warranted.
Smell of Grapefruit Helps Women Look Younger," WebMd Health, http://snipurl.com/grpfrt0525

 

College Board Plans Changes to AP Courses
College Board Plans Changes to Popular Advanced Placement Courses Amid Concerns Over Depth of Study
The College Board, which administers Advanced Placement courses and the SAT, is quietly mapping out changes to some of its flagship programs amid concerns that they cover too much content and don't allow for in-depth study.

A team of researchers at the University of Oregon in Eugene is leading a re-examination of AP courses in U.S. history, biology, chemistry, physics, European history, world history and environmental science.

The courses are designed to let high school students test out of entry-level courses in college. Nationwide, AP participation is booming, with one in five high school students taking an AP course and exam last year, up from 16 percent in 2000.

Research has shown that scoring well on an AP test is a strong predictor of college success, and the Bush administration has made the increasing participation in AP courses a source of pride, especially among minorities.

But the current model for shaping AP courses through a broad survey of the curriculum of college classes in a particular subject "doesn't help us address the concern that AP courses require too much content coverage," said Trevor Packer, Advanced Placement executive director.

"We recognize that simply having a course that requires a teacher to cover a lot of content is not the same as the best-level college course, in which teachers are facilitating in-depth study," Packer said.

Over the next year, staff members at the University of Oregon's Center for Education Policy Research will recruit 2,500 college faculty members in the seven subjects at about 100 schools across the country to detail the material they're teaching to college freshmen.

Researchers will then identify college courses in each of those subjects to serve as a "best practices" teaching model for AP high school classes.

Packer said this will be the first time the nonprofit College Board has tried to single out the best courses in the field to use as a model for AP course development.

Eventually, plans call for putting all 34 of AP's courses through the "best practices" model, said University of Oregon Professor David Conley.

Packer said changes spurred by the work done by Conley's team could come to AP courses by the 2008-2009 school year, allowing enough time for textbook and lab materials to be updated.

AP tests in the seven subjects would evolve too, he said.

Conley said he could foresee even greater changes to AP courses in the future; perhaps someday AP tests will include work samples done in the classroom for college admissions offices to review, he said.

Additionally, Conley's team has just finished analyzing the College Board's standards for math and science testing, asking faculty who teach entry-level math and science courses at 350 schools to compare their teaching to what is being asked of students taking tests such as the SAT and the PSAT. A similar analysis of English standards begins this fall.

Eventually, the plan could be for SAT-takers to get not just their test scores back from the College Board, but also information about what specific areas they need to improve upon to be considered college-ready, Conley said.
JULIA SILVERMAN Associated Press Writer, "College Board Plans Changes to AP Courses," ABC News, May 25, 2005, http://snipurl.com/ap0525

 


TIDBITS MAY 27, 2005

The Secret Passages In CIA's Backyard Draw Mystery Lovers
'Da Vinci Code' Has Many Trying to Decipher Secret Of the Kryptos Sculpture
ANGLEY, Va. -- The big mystery at the Central Intelligence Agency, sitting in a sunny corner of the headquarters courtyard, begins this way: "EMUFPHZLRFAXYUSDJKZLDKRNSHGNFIVJ."

That's the first line of the Kryptos sculpture, a 10-foot-tall, S-shaped copper scroll perforated with 3-inch-high letters spelling out words in code. Completed 15 years ago, Kryptos, which is Greek for "hidden," at first attracted interest mainly from government code breakers who quietly deciphered the easier parts without announcing their findings publicly.

Now, many mystery lovers around the world have joined members of the national-security establishment in trying to crack the rest. So far, neither amateurs nor pros have been able to do it.

The latest scramble was set off by "The Da Vinci Code," the thriller about a modern-day search for the Holy Grail. On the book's dust jacket, author Dan Brown placed clues that hint at Kryptos's significance. The main one is a set of geographic coordinates that roughly locate the sculpture. (One of the coordinates is off slightly, for reasons that Mr. Brown so far has kept secret.) A game at www.thedavincicode.com1 suggests that Kryptos is a clue to the subject of Mr. Brown's as-yet-unpublished next novel, "The Solomon Key."

Gary Phillips, 27 years old, a Michigan computer programmer, started researching Kryptos last year, hours after learning about its Da Vinci Code connection. "Once it pulls you in, you just can't stop thinking about it," he says. Eventually, Mr. Phillips says, he let a struggling software business go under and took a construction job so he would have more time for solving Kryptos.

The quest to solve the fourth and final passage of Kryptos's message has spawned several Web sites -- including Mr. Phillips's -- as well as an online discussion group that has more than 500 members. The discussion group was founded by Gary Warzin, who heads Audiophile Systems Ltd. in Indianapolis. He became fascinated with Kryptos after visiting the CIA in 2001. But after months of trying to crack the code on his own, Mr. Warzin -- whose other hobbies include escaping from straitjackets -- decided he needed help.

Kryptos devotees are intrigued by the three passages that have been deciphered so far. They appear to offer clues to solving the sculpture's fourth passage, and possibly to locating something buried.

Sculptor James Sanborn, Kryptos's creator, says he wrote or adapted all three. The first reads, "Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlusion." Jim Gillogly, a California computer researcher believed to be the first person outside the intelligence world to solve the first three parts, came up with the translation, which includes the deliberate misspelling of the word illusion.

The second passage, more suggestive, reads in part, "It was totally invisible. How's that possible? They used the Earth's magnetic field. The information was gathered and transmitted undergruund to an unknown location. Does Langley know about this? They should: it's buried out there somewhere." That passage is followed by geographic coordinates that suggest a location elsewhere on the CIA campus.

The third decoded passage is based on a diary entry by archaeologist Howard Carter, on the day in 1922 when he discovered the tomb of the ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamen. It reads in part, "With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left-hand corner. And then, widening the hole a little, I inserted the candle and peered in. The hot air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker, but presently details of the room within emerged from the mist. Can you see anything?" Mr. Sanborn confirms that the translations are accurate.

In addition to deliberate misspellings, there are letters slightly higher than others on the same line. Other possible clues are contained in smaller parts of the work scattered around the CIA grounds. Made of red granite and sheets of copper, these are tattooed with Morse code that spells out phrases like "virtually invisible" and "t is your position." In addition, a compass needle carved onto one of the rocks is pulled off due north by a lodestone that Mr. Sanborn placed nearby.

Those poring over the puzzle these days are thought to include national-security workers as well as retirees, computer-game players and cryptogram fans. Some devotees believe Kryptos holds profound significance as a portal into the wisdom of the ancients.

More typical is Jennifer Bennett, a 27-year-old puzzle aficionado who works as a poker-room supervisor near Seattle. She came across the Kryptos mystery last year while on maternity leave, as she searched for online games to play. Now back at work, she still spends an hour a day on Kryptos after her children have gone to bed. Like most would-be code breakers, she relies on pencil and paper.

Others, like Mr. Gillogly, the California code breaker, are partial to computers. Semiretired, he spent 30 years at the Rand Corp., then had his own software business. He estimates that his computers have tried at least 100 billion possible solutions to the fourth passage over the years. His main computer these days, he says, is a 1.7 GHz laptop with a Pentium 4 processor.

Experts say the fourth passage -- known to insiders as "K4" -- is written in a more complex and difficult code than the first three, one designed to mask patterns of recurring letters that code breakers look for.

Efforts at finding a solution have grown increasingly elaborate. Elonka Dunin, an executive at St. Louis computer-game company Simutronics, has hunted down other encoded sculptures by Mr. Sanborn in search of recurring themes. Some, like researcher Chris Hanson, who runs a company that makes software for constructing 3D landscape models, have mapped the CIA's headquarters or built virtual replicas of Kryptos.

Mr. Sanborn has grown uncomfortable with some of the attention his work is getting, particularly from those who see religious overtones. "I don't want my work manipulated in such a way that its meaning is somehow transformed," the Kryptos sculptor says. He dismisses any religious connotations or allusions to beliefs of the ancients.

A spokeswoman for Dan Brown referred questions to Doubleday, his publisher, explaining that he's at work on his new novel and "incommunicado." A spokesman for Doubleday declined to comment.

Mr. Sanborn, who lives and works in Washington, burnished his reputation with Kryptos. He has exhibited around the world, including at the Hirshhorn Museum and Corcoran Gallery of Art. His more recent work has focused on the early development of atomic weapons, employing actual equipment from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

He had no formal training in cryptography when he created Kryptos, but worked with a retired CIA official, Ed Scheidt, who was starting up an encryption-software business, TecSec Inc. Mr. Sanborn says he withheld the full solution to the puzzle from Mr. Scheidt, as well as from the CIA itself. An agency spokesman says he isn't aware of anyone having solved the fourth passage.

Despite the struggles of would-be code breakers, Mr. Sanborn insists the puzzle can be solved, and teases them by saying that one clue overlooked so far is sitting in plain view. "The most obvious key to the sculpture, nobody has picked up on."
JOHN D. MCKINNON , "The Secret Passages In CIA's Backyard Draw Mystery Lovers," The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2005; Page A1, http://snipurl.com/code0527

 

Plan to Gather Student Data Draws Fire
As the Senate moves to complete the spending bill for the Higher Education Act next month, a growing number of organizations concerned about privacy rights are fighting a Department of Education plan that would require colleges and universities to place personal information on individual students into a national database maintained by the government.

If included in the spending measure, the plan would radically change current practice by requiring schools to provide personal information on all students, not just those receiving federal aid.

Submissions would include every student's name and Social Security number, along with sex; date of birth; home address; race; ethnicity; names of every college course begun and completed; attendance records; and financial aid information.

Such detailed information is now provided only for students receiving federal aid, giving the department only a partial picture of higher education nationwide. The new approach, department officials say, would not only complete the picture but also help track students who take uncommon paths toward a degree.

"Forty percent of students now enroll in more than one institution at some point during their progress to a degree," said Grover Whitehurst, director of the department's Institute of Education Sciences, which devised the plan. "The only way to accurately account for students who stop out, drop out, graduate at a later date or transfer out is with a system that tracks individual students across and within post-secondary institutions."

It is not clear whether the proposal has enough momentum - or even a sponsor - to be added by the Senate. The House version did not include the plan, and Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has spoken against it.

Concerned that the plan could emerge through the Senate, opponents are trying to kill it before it gains any traction.

"Our belief is that the department, itself, is both unconstitutional and a relic of the last century that should not exist, let alone create new databases," said Michael Ostrolenk, education policy director for two conservative groups, EdWatch and Eagle Forum. "I don't trust the government with databases with private information on citizens."

Jim Dempsey, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said: "Once a database is created for one purpose, regardless how genuine or legitimate it is, it's very, very hard to prevent it from being used for law enforcement or intelligence purposes. If the F.B.I. comes calling, it almost doesn't matter what the privacy policy is. They'll get the information they want."

Indeed, the feasibility report permits the attorney general and the Department of Justice to gain access to the database "in order to fight terrorism." Backers of the proposal, while acknowledging the privacy concerns, say that the benefits of having more information about students outweigh the risks, especially for lawmakers who oversee federal aid programs.
MICHAEL JANOFSKY "Plan to Gather Student Data Draws Fire," The New York Times, May 27, 2005, http://snipurl.com/dtabse0527

 

Vietnam vets’ poet laureate dies, Steve Mason, 65, had been battling cancer
Steve Mason, poet laureate of the Vietnam Veterans of America, died Wednesday at his home in Ashland, surrounded by friends and family. He was 65. He had been battling cancer.

No service is planned. Arrangements will be handled by Memory Gardens Mortuary, Medford.

A former Army captain and decorated veteran, Mason moved back to Ashland last year after living there earlier and then being away for several years.

He is the author of three books of poetry: "Johnny’s Song" (1986), "Warrior for Peace" (1988) and "The Human Being — A Warrior’s Journey Toward Peace and Mutual Healing" (1990).

His poem "The Wall Within" was delivered at the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., 1984 and read into the Congressional Record the same year.

Mason’s poems mix plain-spoken declarations of feeling and startling metaphors with a stream-of-consciousness style and the rhythms of everyday speech.

Mason’s poem "The Wall Within" begins like this:

Most real men/ hanging tough/ in their early forties/ would like the rest of us to think/ they could really handle one more war/ and two more women./ But I know better./ You have no more lies to tell./ I have no more dreams to believe.

He wrote on an old Underwood typewriter, often completing a poem in a single sitting.

Whatever came out, he said, was the poem. He didn’t re-write.

"Johnny’s Song" had a first printing of 35,000, an almost unheard of number for a book of poetry.

He co-wrote "Moths and Violets," a volume of love poems published in 1974.

Mason came home from Vietnam in 1967. Although he said he had no drug or alcohol problems, he blamed post-traumatic stress disorder for the breakup of his marriage a year later. He once said the trauma of war is "like an elephant on your nose."

Mason’s friends held a poetry event for him in September at Stage Works in Ashland. Actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and others read from his work, and proceeds were given to a group that helps veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Borges, "Vietnam vets’ poet laureate dies, Steve Mason, 65, had been battling cancer," Free Republic, May 27, 2005, http://snipurl.com/poet0527
 

Survey: Northeast has dumbest drivers
Test shows 1 in 10 licensed U.S. drivers don't know basic rules. In the East, 20 percent fail quiz.
When faced with a written test, similar to ones given to beginning drivers applying for licenses, one in ten drivers couldn't get a passing score, according to a study commissioned by GMAC Insurance.

The GMAC Insurance National Driver's Test found that nearly 20 million Americans, or about 1 in 10 drivers, would fail a state driver's test if they had to take one today. GMAC Insurance is part of General Motors' finance subsidiary, GMAC.

More than 5,000 licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 65 were administered a 20-question written test designed to measure basic knowledge about traffic laws and safety. They were also surveyed about their general driving habits.

Drivers in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states did worst. Twenty percent of test-takers failed there.

The state of Rhode Island leads the nation in driver cluelessness, according to the survey. The average test score there was 77, just eight points above a failing grade.

Those in neighboring Massachusetts were second worst and New Jersey, third worst.

Northwestern states had the most knowledgeable drivers. In those states, just one to three percent failed the test. Oregon and Washington drivers knew the rules of the road best. In Oregon, the average test score was 89.

According to the study, many drivers find basic practices, such as merging and interpreting road signs, difficult.

For instance, one out of five drivers doesn't know that a pedestrian in a crosswalk has the right of way, and one out of three drivers speeds up to make a yellow light, even when pedestrians are present, the study said.

Drivers not only lack basic road knowledge, but exhibit dangerous driving behavior as well.

"As a nation of drivers, we've made little progress in the past 10 years to curb some of the most dangerous driving behaviors, including drinking and driving and speeding," said Susan Ferguson, senior vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

One out of 10 drivers regularly exceeds the speed limit by 11 or more miles per hour, with drivers aged between 18 and 24 years showing the greatest propensity for speeding, the study said.

Speeding increases both the likelihood of an accident and the severity of the crash, the company added, citing research from IIHS.

Younger drivers are the most likely to fail a written driving test while those between the ages of 50 and 64 are the most likely to pass.

Scores for 48 states and Washington, D.C.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money), "Survey: Northeast has dumbest drivers," CNN.com, May 27, 2005, http://www.cnn.com/2005/AUTOS/05/26/drivers_study/index.html

Boom in Alberta Oil Sands Fuels Pipeline Dreams
As Routes Reach Capacity, Race Is On to Link Fields To West Coast and China
FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta -- Canada, with its vast oil-sands resource, is gearing up to export more crude oil than ever before. But with Canada's pipelines just about full, the burgeoning oil-sands industry is running into a bottleneck.

That has touched off a new race: to build massive, expensive pipelines that will carry expanding oil production from this isolated region in northern Alberta hundreds of miles over mountains and forests to the Pacific Coast and major oil-thirsty markets, especially China and the U.S. West Coast.

The winner among the pipeline companies could have the best chance to tap new markets and sign up customers. The companies could also establish themselves as intermediaries between Canada's burgeoning oil-sands region and Chinese energy companies, which have been seeking reserves world-wide to meet that nation's surging energy needs.

Last month, Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, Alberta, signed an agreement to share the costs of building a 2.5 billion Canadian dollar, or about US$2 billion, pipeline, called the Gateway Pipeline, with China state oil company PetroChina Co. Terasen Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the only company already operating an oil pipeline from Alberta to Canada's West Coast, has proposed a rival C$2 billion plan to expand the existing pipeline and plans a second, new line.

The companies also plan projects along their more traditional routes to the U.S. market through the northern Midwest. But the westbound projects, which would open up new markets for oil sands, promise to be at the same time more lucrative and potentially more difficult. The pipeline companies already are negotiating with Native American bands for land-use rights, gearing up for the expense and technical complexities of the big projects and facing the concerns of environmentalists.

"We're very concerned about the pace and extent of oil-sands development. All aspects of the environment are becoming stressed because of cumulative impact," says Chris Severson Baker, a spokesman for the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environmental group.

Oil sands are gritty deposits of tar-like bitumen, and Canada's deposits are now recognized as the biggest source of crude oil outside Saudi Arabia. Extracting and processing sticky bitumen is much more expensive than producing and refining conventional crude, but global supply concerns have pushed crude prices to about $50 a barrel and made bitumen projects more economically viable.

Producers have announced plans to invest some C$80 billion in development of Alberta's oil sands, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in Calgary, and they expect to double production to about two million barrels a day from oil sands by roughly the end of this decade. Some of the world's biggest energy companies are involved, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group.

Enbridge wants to build a new pipeline from northern Alberta to a proposed deep-water tanker terminal at Prince Rupert or Kitimat, on the northern British Columbia coast. Either port could accommodate the massive oil tankers with capacities exceeding 250,000 metric tons, or roughly 1.6 million barrels, to ship to China.

Under its agreement with Enbridge, PetroChina will commit to renting pipeline capacity for 200,000 barrels of oil a day, or half of the Gateway Pipeline's total capacity, which would effectively underwrite half the project's costs. Enbridge has also said it is willing to sell up to a 49% interest in Gateway to one or more equity partners.

Enbridge Vice President Richard Sandahl said his company and PetroChina are in talks to firm up terms of their agreement, which might include PetroChina acquiring a minority stake in the project. "It wasn't an easy commitment for the Chinese to make, but diversification and security of oil supply are priority issues to them," he said.

Enbridge President and Chief Executive Patrick D. Daniel said three years of preliminary discussions with landowners, including Native American groups, along the proposed pipeline's route haven't raised any insurmountable issues. Nonetheless, evidence of the land-access difficulties facing pipeline projects was brought starkly into focus earlier this month when a group of major energy companies abruptly halted preconstruction work on a northern natural-gas pipeline, due in part to lack of progress on reaching agreements with aboriginal groups.

Andrew George, lands and resources director of the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, says the five northern British Columbia native clans that his organization represents want to be involved in detailed consultations on Enbridge's pipeline project "from the get-go, at a strategic level, when the big decisions are made." He said the group has held only preliminary talks with Enbridge.

Terasen's pipeline project, to expand its TransMountain Pipe Line from Alberta to Vancouver, is set to begin next year. The expansion would take pipeline capacity to 300,000 barrels a day by the end of 2008 from 225,000, and to as much as 850,000 barrels a day in potential future project stages. Because the Vancouver oil terminal can't handle very large crude tankers, most of the additional Canadian oil shipments would initially go to California or the U.S. Pacific Northwest on small vessels. Later the company would build a second line to Prince Rupert or Kitimat, to accommodate oil exports to Asia.
TAMSIN CARLISLE, "Boom in Alberta Oil Sands Fuels Pipeline Dreams," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2005; Page A2, http://snipurl.com/oil0531

 

Tires Get An Expiration Date
Drivers who know to check tires for worn treads and low air pressure now have something else to worry about: vintage.

Ford Motor Co., in a move roiling the tire industry, has started urging consumers to replace tires after six years. The car maker says its research shows that tires "degrade over time, even when they are not being used." That means even pristine-looking spares that have never left the trunk should be pitched after a half-dozen years.

That's a radical concept in the staid U.S. tire business, which insists there's no scientific evidence to support a "use by" date for tires. It would also surprise most motorists, who are taught that a tire's lifespan is measured mainly by tread depth. The tire industry says that tires are safe as long as the tread depth is a minimum of 1/16th of an inch, no matter what the age, and there are no visible cuts, signs of uneven wear, bulges or excessive cracking. Other trouble signs are if tires create vibration or excessive noise.

"Tires are not milk," says Daniel Zielinski, a spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the tire industry's main trade group.

For many consumers, the issue never comes up, since passenger-car tires last an average of 44,000 miles -- meaning they are usually replaced before hitting the six-year mark. But many people simply assume that unused spare tires -- even those that are a decade old -- are as durable as brand-new tires, and sometimes use those spares as full-time replacements for the regular tires. Classic-car buffs and others who drive only infrequently could also be affected by the latest research.

In its new stance on tire safety, Ford is getting some support from other researchers. Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc., an auto-safety research firm working with lawyers who are preparing lawsuits arising from accidents thought to be linked to aging tires, says older tires are a road hazard. Mr. Kane's group has collected a list of 70 accidents involving older tires, which resulted in 52 deaths and 50 serious injuries.

In a sense, the U.S. car industry is just catching up to global standards. Many European car makers as well as Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. have long warned drivers, including those who buy their cars in the U.S., that tires are perishable. Many of them also use a six-year threshold for the age of a tire.

DaimlerChrysler AG has already adopted a position parallel to Ford. The car maker's Mercedes division had been telling drivers that tires last only six years. But starting last fall, the Chrysler group began including such a warning in 2005 owner's manuals. "We did do some research and we found that's just a pretty safe and steady guideline," says Curtrise Garner, a Chrysler spokeswoman, adding that "it's a recommendation, not a must-do."

Other car makers are also taking up this question, and some are reaching a different conclusion than Ford. General Motors Corp. spokesman Alan Adler says GM has discussed the aging issue, but doesn't have any research that supports a move to such a guideline. "We're not joining in the six-years-is-the-magic-number thing right now," he says.

The age of tires already appears on tires, but as part of a lengthy code that is difficult for average consumers to decipher. To find the age of a tire, look for the letters DOT on the sidewall (indicating compliance with applicable safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation). Adjacent to these letters is the tire's serial number, which is a combination of up to 12 numbers and letters. The last characters are numbers that identify the week and year of manufacture. For example, 1504 means the fifteenth week of the year 2004.

Not only are the numbers difficult to interpret, but they can be hard to locate: The numbers are printed on only one side of the tire, which sometimes is the one facing inward when the tire is mounted on a wheel.

Ford's new stance on tire aging is a direct outgrowth of the Firestone tire recall that began in August 2000. That episode involved Firestone tires failing suddenly, mostly on Ford Explorers, leading to a wave of deadly crashes. The crashes sparked a series of lawsuits, including monetary and personal-injury claims, some of which are pending.

Ford's new position won't affect those lawsuits. But it could play a role in future legal action. Some attorneys who have sued over the Firestone case are now mounting cases that focus on tire age.

John Baldwin, a Ford materials scientist who studied the root cause of the Firestone problems and has spearheaded the car maker's continuing research on tire aging, says Ford's intention is to develop a test to help prevent another Firestone-type debacle. He says Ford's research into the Firestone problem showed that as tires age, the chemistry of the rubber changes as oxygen migrates through the carcass of the tire. This leads to a weakening of the internal structure that can result in tire failures. Driving in hot climates or frequent heavy loading of vehicles speeds this aging process, he says.

In April, Ford posted a warning on its Web site saying that "tires generally should be replaced after six years of normal service." The company also plans to include similar wording in owner's manuals starting with the 2006 model year.

Firestone spokeswoman Christine Karbowiak says the company can't comment on Ford's new recommendation, because it hasn't seen Ford's research.

Tire makers certainly don't want to see the six-year rule become any more deeply ingrained. While it might seem that putting a limit on the lifespan of tires would be a boon to tire makers, who would presumably sell more tires, the costs and complications it could create are considerable. Among other things, the industry is worried about the logistical problems that would arise if customers suddenly started demanding only the "freshest" tires. In some cases, tires take months to move through distribution channels from factories -- through wholesalers, and then on to retail outlets.

"We don't have any data to support an expiration date [for tires]," says Mr. Zielinski of the RMA. He agrees that age can be a factor in tire performance, but says it shouldn't be used as the sole reason to determine that a tire is no longer usable.

Mr. Zielinski says Ford went public with its position without sharing its research with the tire association or individual tire makers. Ford, in turn, says that it presented its research in trade publications and at a series of public forums, including a technical meeting of the rubber division of the American Chemical Society in San Antonio, Texas, two weeks ago. Ford has also given its research to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is developing a test to simulate the effects of aging on tires.

Ford's test involves putting inflated tires into an oven for weeks at a time. The tires are then taken out and studied to see, among other things, how well the layers of rubber hold together.

Strategic Research wants tires to be labeled more clearly with the date they were produced, so consumers can better identify older tires and, ultimately, an explicit expiration date.
TIMOTHY AEPPEL, "Tires Get An Expiration Date," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/tires0531

 

Long-Dormant Threat Surfaces: Deaths From Hepatitis C Are Expected to Jump
In the coming decade, thousands of baby boomers will get sick from a virus they unknowingly contracted years ago.

Some 8,000 to 10,000 people die each year from complications related to hepatitis C, the leading cause of chronic liver disease and liver transplants. The virus is spread through contact with contaminated blood, usually from dirty needles or, less often, unprotected sex. The symptoms can include jaundice, abdominal pain and nausea.

In recent decades the number of new hepatitis C infections in the U.S. has plummeted -- falling 90% since 1989, the result of improved screening of the blood supply and less sharing of needles by drug users.

But the number of deaths related to hepatitis C is expected to triple in the next 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's because symptoms lie fallow for decades after infection. Many of the people getting sick today contracted the virus from the mid-1960s through the 1980s, when infection rates skyrocketed. Infectious-disease experts say their patients are mainly baby boomers who probably caught the virus from risky behavior in their youth.

"The majority of my patients experimented with drugs during the '60s and '70s and now work on Wall Street," says Robert S. Brown Jr., medical director for the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation at New York Presbyterian Hospital. In fact, two-thirds of people with hepatitis C are white, male baby boomers who live above the poverty line, according to the CDC.

As many as four million people in the U.S. have been infected with hepatitis C, and world-wide 130 million people have the virus. About 20% clear the virus without the help of drugs. But most people carry the virus for years without knowing it -- delaying treatment and possibly risking infecting others.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 60% of hepatitis C patients acquired the virus by sharing dirty needles and syringes while doing drugs. Another 15% got the virus through unprotected sex, and 10% have been infected through blood transfusions that occurred before 1992 when a test for the virus was developed. Although rare, especially in the U.S., hepatitis C can be transmitted through contaminated devices used for tattoos, body piercing and manicures. There have also been outbreaks in hospitals when infection-control procedures failed.

Current drug treatments have made major strides in the past decade, but still work on only about 50% of those suffering from chronic hepatitis C. The treatment goal is to reduce the amount of virus in the blood in order to prevent cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.

Roche Holding AG of Basel, Switzerland, is the market leader in treating hepatitis C, followed by Schering-Plough Corp. of Kenilworth, N.J. Both companies market a combination therapy using the antiviral drug ribavirin and pegylated interferons, which are proteins that boost the immune system. The treatment is no fun: Patients endure weekly injections and daily pills for 48 weeks with flu-like side effects.

Promising new treatments that may benefit more patients and have fewer side effects are on the horizon. Two small biotech companies, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., both of Cambridge, Mass., have drug trials under way, though treatments probably won't be available to patients for several years. Earlier this month, Indenix announced that in a small clinical trial, its drug -- either alone or combined with currently available treatments -- slashed the level of hepatitis C virus in the blood in most patients. Vertex announced results earlier this month from a preliminary trial involving 34 patients: Five of the participants tested negative for the hepatitis C virus within two weeks of beginning treatment.

Hepatitis C is just one among a several hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A, B, D and E. Hepatitis A is very contagious and is spread via contaminated water and food. But it can be prevented with a vaccine and isn't life threatening. Hepatitis B can also be prevented with a vaccine. It is similar to C, though it is more contagious and more likely to be transmitted sexually. Hepatitis D and E are very rare in the U.S.

There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. The virus was discovered only in 1989, and it wasn't until 1992 that a blood test was developed to detect it. The CDC says that 80% of those infected never have symptoms. In later stages of the disease, the virus can lead to cirrhosis, a buildup of scar tissue that blocks blood flow through the organ. At this stage, many patients need a liver transplant to survive.

In March 2001, Larkin Fowler was working in mergers and acquisitions for J.P. Morgan when he learned through a blood test required to join a gym at work and a subsequent doctor's visit that he had hepatitis C.

Mr. Fowler, now 35, believes he was infected either in 1989 or 1998. In 1989, he and some fellow college fraternity members went on a road trip to a football game. "A few too many cocktails and the next thing you know we all had frat tattoos," says Mr. Fowler. In 1998, he broke his leg while traveling in Bora Bora and received several shots in a hospital there. Mr. Fowler thinks it is more likely he was infected by a dirty needle while receiving medical care in Bora Bora.

Mr. Fowler completed his treatment in May 2002. He would take his weekly injections on Friday mornings and by the evening often be in bed with a high fever and chills. But the treatment worked and he has since been free of the virus.
PAUL DAVIES, "Long-Dormant Threat Surfaces: Deaths From Hepatitis C Are Expected to Jump," The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/hepc0531

 

Despite Vow, Drug Makers Still Withhold Data
When the drug industry came under fire last summer for failing to disclose poor results from studies of antidepressants, major drug makers promised to provide more information about their research on new medicines. But nearly a year later, crucial facts about many clinical trials remain hidden, scientists independent of the companies say.

Within the drug industry, companies are sharply divided about how much information to reveal, both about new studies and completed studies for drugs already being sold. The split is unusual in the industry, where companies generally take similar stands on regulatory issues.

Eli Lilly and some other companies have posted hundreds of trial results on the Web and pledged to disclose all results for all drugs they sell. But other drug makers, including Merck and Pfizer, release less information and are reluctant to add more, citing competitive pressures.

As a result, doctors and patients lack critical information about important drugs, academic researchers say, and the companies can hide negative trial results by refusing to publish studies, or by cherry-picking and highlighting the most favorable data from studies they do publish.

"There are a lot of public statements from drug companies saying that they support the registration of clinical trials or the dissemination of trial results, but the devil is in the details," said Dr. Deborah Zarin, director of clinicaltrials.gov, a Web site financed by the National Institutes of Health that tracks many studies.

Journal editors and academic scientists have pressed big drug makers to release more information about their studies for years. But the calls for more disclosure grew stronger after reports last year that several companies had failed to publish studies that showed their antidepressants worked no better than placebos.

In August, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a suit by Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general, alleging that Glaxo had hidden results from trials showing that its antidepressant Paxil might increase suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. At a House hearing in September, Republican and Democratic lawmakers excoriated executives from several top companies, including Pfizer and Wyeth, for hiding study results. In response, many companies promised to do better.

At the same time, Merck and Pfizer have been criticized for failing to disclose until this year clinical trial results that indicated that cox-2 painkillers like Vioxx might be dangerous to the heart.

Drug makers test their medicines in thousands of trials each year, and federal laws require the disclosure of all trials and trial results to the F.D.A. While too complex for many patients to understand, the trial results are useful to doctors and academic scientists, who use them to compare drugs and look for clues to possible side effects. But companies are not required to disclose trial results to scientists or the public.

Some scientists and lawmakers say new rules are needed, and a bill that would require the companies to provide more data was introduced in the Senate in February. So far no hearings have been scheduled on the legislation. The bill's prospects are uncertain, said a co-sponsor, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut.

The drug makers have been criticized both for failing to provide advance notice of clinical trials before they begin and for refusing to publish completed trial results for medicines that are already being sold.

The two issues are related, because companies cannot easily hide the results of trials that have been disclosed in advance, said Dr. Alan Breier, chief medical officer of Lilly, the company that has gone furthest in disclosing results.

"You're registering a trial - at some point, the results have got to show up," Dr. Breier said. He added that disclosing trial results was important both to give doctors and patients as much information as possible and to improve the industry's reputation, which has been damaged by several recent withdrawals of high-profile drugs.

"Fundamentally, what we're doing is in the interest of patients, and I think that that is the winning model, for academia, for industry and for the future," he said.

In September, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry lobbying group known as PhRMA, said it would create a site for companies to post the results of completed trials. Then, under pressure from the editors of medical journals, the major drug companies in January agreed to expand the number of trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov, the N.I.H. site, which was originally created so patients with life-threatening diseases could find out about clinical trials.

But Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, three of the six largest drug companies, have met the letter but not the spirit of that agreement, Dr. Zarin said.

The three companies have filed only vague descriptions of many studies, often failing even to name the drugs under investigation, Dr. Zarin said. For example, Merck describes one trial as a "one-year study of an investigational drug in obese patients."

Drug names are crucial, because the clinicaltrials.gov registry is designed in part to prevent companies from conducting several trials of a drug, then publicizing the trials with positive results while hiding the negative ones. If the descriptions do not include drug names, it is hard to tell how many times a drug has been studied.

"If you're a systematic reviewer trying to understand all the results for a particular drug, you might never know," Dr. Zarin said. "You don't know whether you're seeing the one positive result and not the four negative results - you don't have context."

Pfizer, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline say that they disclose their largest trials, which determine whether a drug will be approved. Though they would not discuss their policies in detail, executives and press representatives at the companies said generally that disclosing too much information about early-stage trials might reveal business or scientific secrets.

Rick Koenig, a spokesman for Glaxo, said the company understood the concerns about disclosure and planned to add more information to clinicaltrials.gov. He declined to be more specific, saying Glaxo and other companies were discussing the issue with regulators and medical journal editors.

In contrast, Lilly has registered all but its smallest trials at clinicaltrials.gov. Dr. Breier of Lilly said the company believed that it could protect its intellectual property and still increase the amount of information it released.

Lilly has also posted the results of many completed studies to clinicalstudyresults.org, the Web site created last September by PhRMA. That site now contains some information on nearly 80 drugs that are already on the market. Both Lilly and Glaxo have posted detailed summaries of hundreds of studies.

Pfizer, on the other hand, has posted only a few, and Merck has posted none.

All the companies were meeting the group's guidelines for the site, said Dr. Alan Goldhammer, associate vice president for regulatory affairs at PhRMA. The lobbying group requires only that its members post a notice that a trial has been completed and a link to a published study or a summary of an unpublished study, he said. Studies completed before October 2002 are exempt from the requirements, and PhRMA has not set penalties for companies that do not comply.

"We're seeing pretty regular posting on a weekly basis, and as best we can assess right now, things are on track for meeting the goal we and our members set for ourselves," Dr. Goldhammer said.

The continued gaps in disclosure have caused some lawmakers to call for new federal laws. The bill introduced in February by Mr. Dodd and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, would convert clinicaltrials.gov into a national registry for both new trials and results and impose civil penalties of up to $10,000 a day for companies that hide trial data. But Mr. Dodd said that the chances the bill would pass in this Congress were even at best.

"I haven't had that pat on the back saying, 'This is a great idea, let's get going on this as fast as we can,' " Mr. Dodd said.

Dr. David Fassler, a psychiatry professor at the University of Vermont and a longtime proponent of more disclosure, said that trial reporting had improved in the last two years. But he said that a central federally run site, as opposed to the current mix of government and industry efforts, was the only long-term solution.
ALEX BERENSON "Despite Vow, Drug Makers Still Withhold Data," The New York Times, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/drgdta0531

 

Recalling When Flying Was an Elegant Affair
AS business travel picks up, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have created advertising campaigns to promote their business-class service to American executives.

Virgin Atlantic's $4.5 million campaign focuses on the carrier's 16 daily flights out of its nine gateways in the United States. Each flight has been given a name that evokes the romance and elegance of travel in years past and is described on new Web sites - one for each flight - and in ads in regional editions of national magazines.

British Airways' $15 million campaign, which starts tomorrow, emphasizes its flight attendants' ability to anticipate a customer's needs. The carrier offers some 40 daily flights out of 19 American cities. It is British Airways' first campaign created specifically for the United States business travel market since the summer of 2000.

For both airlines, the stakes are high: trans-Atlantic traffic originating in the United States generates 40 percent of Virgin Atlantic's total revenue, while half of all United States revenue comes from business-class passengers.

Almost two-thirds of British Airways' profit comes from its trans-Atlantic flights, while business-class sales generate about a third of its North American revenue. And business-class travel, which weakened after the burst of the technology bubble and plummeted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, continues to strengthen. British Airways said its business- and first-class traffic worldwide rose 1.7 percent in March and 13.3 percent in April.

The timing of the two campaigns is significant: Virgin Atlantic's advertising coincides with the final phasing in of its improved "Upper Class," or business class, service. The airline began offering this service in late 2003, and plans to make it available on all trans-Atlantic flights by the end of the year. The service includes an upgraded seat, meals, in-flight entertainment, and on-board spa and beauty treatments.

Mike Powell, an airline analyst with Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in London, said British Airways' campaign was intended in part to respond to Virgin Atlantic's effort to win a greater share of the lucrative business travel market.

"British Airways is well aware of the fact that it doesn't have the market-leading trans-Atlantic business-class product," he said. "It's trying to keep up with Virgin."

A British Airways spokeswoman said the carrier was expected to announce plans next year "for new seats in business class." It was British Airways that first introduced a business-class flat bed in 2000, an innovation that has been widely copied.

Both airlines' campaigns are also meant to counter increased trans-Atlantic service by United States airlines, Mr. Powell said. Domestic airlines will increase their trans-Atlantic capacity by 7 percent summer, while European airlines will increase theirs by only 3 percent, according to Airline Business, a trade publication.

"British Airways and Virgin want to make sure the additional capacity doesn't mean they lose premium market share," Mr. Powell said. "They want to remind U.S. passengers there's a far better product in the market" than that offered by American airlines, which he said were "unable to invest in new aircraft and on-board products."

Virgin Atlantic's campaign, created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, is running in regional editions of magazines like Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler and Newsweek. The agency designed a two-page, black-and-white spread and boarding-card insert with flight details for 8 of its 16 flights.

The concept of naming flights is meant to restore the "romance and elegance" of an earlier era of travel, when flights were also named, said Jeff Steinhour, a managing partner at Crispin Porter & Bogusky. The service out of Washington, D.C., is called "the diplomat," while its daytime flight out of Newark is called "the wide-eye."

"We wanted to inject personality into individual flights," Mr. Steinhour said.

To that end, the flights' Web sites show films that describe each flight experience and provide details of meals and entertainment offered on each.

The British Airways campaign, created by the New York office of M&C Saatchi, with an online component by agency.com, a unit of the Omnicom Group, is running in magazines and on television, billboards and the Internet.

The TV ad - which will appear on the Golf Channel, Bravo, Fox News and elsewhere - depicts a businessman reclining, in his New York office, in a British Airways business-class seat. Invisible hands give him a glass of champagne, canapés and a tissue to clean his glasses when he starts to wipe them with his tie.

A magazine ad - running in publications like Forbes, The New Yorker and The Economist - shows two limousine drivers in an airport terminal, holding signs with the names of their arriving passengers and standing next to a man clad in white. He is holding a white terry-cloth robe and a sign with the name of a passenger - and is waiting to provide spa services.

The tagline on all the ads is: "Business class is different on British Airways."

With this advertising, the airline has gone beyond promoting its business-class flat beds, the focus of all recent campaigns geared to business travelers. Instead, the campaign stresses that the airline anticipates "what our customers look for when they travel," said Elizabeth Weisser, British Airways' vice president of marketing for North America. "An enormous number of other carriers have come into the marketplace with flat-bed-type products similar to ours, and as a result, it was important for us to differentiate ourselves."

J. Grant Caplan, a corporate travel management consultant based in Houston, said the campaigns represented the British airlines' chance "to help defeat companies like US Airways that are on the edge, or to help further weaken other carriers like United and American."

Mr. Caplan predicted American business travelers could switch to either British Airways or Virgin if the airlines can shake their interest in their frequent flier programs. It will be easier to convert executives whose employers do not control their travel-buying decisions as well as infrequent travelers, who are not as vested in loyalty programs, he said.
JANE L. LEVERE, "Recalling When Flying Was an Elegant Affair," The New York Times, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/fly0531

 

Up and Down on Tuition
Conventional wisdom has it that tuition rates will go up every year at private colleges by a little more than the rate of inflation. Some colleges struggling for enrollment will cut rates every now and then, but the norm is a steady increase — but not too much in any one year. This year, many leading private colleges are announcing increases in the 4-5 percent range.

Two private institutions this year, however, have prepared for substantial changes in tuition policy for the next academic year. The University of Richmond, which aspires to join the top ranks for private colleges, is increasing total charges by 27 percent for freshmen, to $40,510, effectively ending a longstanding policy of being thousands of dollars less expensive than its competitors. (Current students will face only a 5 percent increase and their base will be grandfathered while they are students.) Roosevelt University, a Chicago institution that serves many nontraditional students, is cutting tuition — and linking the cut to how many courses a student takes, so that students have an incentive to take more courses and to graduate sooner.

Data from the admissions and registration cycles just completed suggest that both colleges are achieving some of the financial and academic goals of their unconventional tuition policies. Richmond has commitments from a comparably sized freshman class for the fall, despite its huge tuition increase. And Roosevelt students have signed up for more courses in the fall than in previous semesters. Officials at the two colleges say that their experiences suggest the extent to which price does and does not influence student choices.

Price Insensitivity at Richmond

William E. Cooper, the president at Richmond, says he realizes that his university’s cost increase “superficially seems outrageous.” But he said that he became convinced that Richmond “was about $7,000 underpriced” and that the additional revenue would allow for more financial aid and improvements in facilities and academic programs. “We could dink around with this and ramp it up a little each year, but we decided it was better to bite the bullet, to realign this and stay in place, rather than looking confused.”

But what of student choices, and the widespread public and political fear that high prices discourage students? With certain student segments, that’s flat out false, Cooper says. Richmond found, he said, that it was losing students to more expensive institutions and enrolling students whose parents were willing to spend more than Richmond was charging.

“We were leaving money on the table,” Cooper says. “We had all these people with a kid at Dartmouth or a kid at Syracuse, and a kid here, and we were the cheap school.”

Cooper also rejects the idea that a low price can be a recruiting tool. He acknowledges that Richmond probably picked up a few students over the years who might have been too wealthy to qualify for financial aid at a Duke or Vanderbilt or Emory, but who were attracted by the lower prices at Richmond. “The question is, are they going to be there for us in the future” as alumni donors? Cooper says. “They are too finely tuned to the financial,” he says.

The results of the first admissions cycle suggest to Cooper that the tuition increase worked. Final numbers will shift a bit as Richmond gains or loses a few students due to other colleges’ wait list decisions. But right now, 770 students have paid deposits to enroll as freshmen in the fall, the same number as last year. Applications were down (to 5,779, from a record 6,236). So the admissions rate rose (to 47 percent from 40 percent) and the yield — the percentage of admitted students who enroll — was down a bit (to 28 percent from 31 percent). Minority enrollments appear down slightly, to 12 percent from 13 percent.

But Cooper points out that measures of academic quality didn’t change. Last year, the middle 50 percent of SAT scores was 1250-1390 and the average high school grade-point average was 3.52, and figures from this year’s admitted class suggest that the figures will be almost identical.

“There was bound to be a one-year shakeout,” Cooper says of the drop in the number of applications, but the class entering is not only as smart as the previous class, but appears to have many families that can afford Richmond’s new rates and want to pay them.

“One of the strong philosophical bents of this change was the price insensitivity of people who really care about higher education,” Cooper says. “Just like people buy the best cappuccino maker if they really care, so with higher education. If you really care, a couple thousand bucks isn’t in the decision maker and that’s the student and family we want.”

Price and Graduation Rates at Roosevelt

At Roosevelt, the students aren’t necessarily buying a lot of cappuccino makers. And enrollments have been healthy for the institution, at about 7,500 head count, with 60 percent of students as undergraduates, many of them working adults.

Mary E. Hendry, vice president for enrollment and student services, says that the university’s problem is with graduation rates. Currently only about 40 percent of students graduate within six years, and the university would like to raise that proportion to 50 percent.

Hendry says that it is better for students and the university if they move through the academic programs at a brisker pace. “We decided to use tuition to encourage them to take more so they would graduate within four years,” she says.

Historically, Roosevelt has charged tuition on a per-credit basis, and for next year, the per-credit figure will go up 7.3 percent, to $755. But the university is setting special fees to discourage students from taking almost enough courses to graduate on time, and to encourage them to instead take enough to earn their degrees.

Students taking 12 credits a semester will be charged at a rate that would equal $14,180 for a year, an increase of 10.2 percent over last year’s per-credit rate. But those who take 15 credits will be charged the exact same amount for a year of courses, a decrease of 11.8 percent in what students would have paid last year. (Students who take 16 credits will pay a little more, but will also be paying 11.8 percent than in previous years.)

Typically, students register for about 30,000 credit hours in a semester at Roosevelt. For the fall, the first semester under the new plan, it appears that there will be an increase of 1,000 credit hours — while enrollment is holding steady.

“I think this shows that we are reaching students,” says Hendry. “We can use these policies to change graduation rates over the long run.”
Scott Jaschik "Up and Down on Tuition," Inside Higher Ed, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/tuition0531

 

Arthur Andersen conviction overturned
The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm for destroying Enron Corp.-related documents before the energy giant's collapse.

In a unanimous opinion, justices said the former Big Five accounting firm's June 2002 conviction was improper.

The court said the jury instructions at trial were too vague and broad for jurors to determine correctly whether Andersen obstructed justice.

"The jury instructions here were flawed in important respects," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court.

The ruling is a setback for the Bush administration, which made prosecution of white-collar criminals a high priority following accounting scandals at major corporations.

After Enron's 2001 collapse, the Justice Department went after Andersen first.

Enron crashed in December 2001, putting more than 5,000 employees out of work, just six weeks after the energy company revealed massive losses and writedowns.

Subsequently, as the Securities and Exchange Commission began looking into Enron's convoluted finances, Andersen put in practice a policy calling for destroying unneeded documentation.

Government attorneys argued that Andersen should be held responsible for instructing its employees to "undertake an unprecedented campaign of document destruction."
"Arthur Andersen conviction overturned," Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Posted: 10:28 AM EDT (1428 GMT) , CNN.com, http://snipurl.com/aa0531

 

Photo from playboy-themed party grabs alumni's attention
Photo From Playboy-Themed Party Grabs Alumni's Attention Female High School Seniors Show Up Wearing Skimpy Lingerie

HOUSTON -- A racy photo from a high school party with a Playboy theme has sent alumni of the school into shock, Houston television station KPRC reported.

Some Memorial High School alumni told the station the so-called "Playboy Party" went too far, saying the theme was too hot for teens. However, students who attended the party disagree, saying it was all clean fun.

"It doesn't put off the best impression. It doesn't make me want my kids to go there," 1994 Memorial High graduate Sabra Boone said.

Boon said senior men throw a theme party that is not sanctioned by the school. This year's theme was the Playboy mansion.

Parents are upset after a Playboy-themed party that had girls dressing in revealing outfits.

While one student, who asked not to be identified, told the station a dress code for the party was not established, some of the girls showed up in skimpy lingerie.

Boone, along with other alumni, said she received a picture from the party in an e-mail.

"Everyone is shocked," Boone said.

One parent, whose son attended the party, told the station the senior boys tried hard to throw a fun, safe party, explaining it was held at a private venue with chaperones and police. Attendees were required to sign waivers promising not to drink alcohol.

Boone said girls wore formals to a similar party she attended during her senior year. She told the station she is disappointed in Memorial High School's 2005 senior class.

"Regardless, the girls are hardly wearing any clothes. I just couldn't believe their parents would let them out of the house like that," Boone said.
by tuffydoodle "Photo from playboy-themed party grabs alumni's attention," Free Republic, May 24, 2005 http://snipurl.com/grdprty0531
 

'Deep Throat' Is Identified
Magazine Article Identifies Watergate Source
After more than 30 years of silence, the most famous anonymous source in American history, Deep Throat, has identified himself to a reporter at Vanity Fair.

W. Mark Felt, 91, an assistant director at the FBI in the 1970s, has told reporter John D. O'Connor that he is "the man known as Deep Throat."

O'Connor told ABC News in an interview today that Felt had for years thought he was a dishonorable man for talking to Bob Woodward, a reporter for The Washington Post during Watergate. Woodward's coverage of the scandal, written with Carl Bernstein, led to the resignation of President Nixon.

"Mark wants the public respect, and wants to be known as a good man," O'Connor said. "He's very proud of the bureau, he's very proud of the FBI. He now knows he is a hero."

The identity of Deep Throat, the source for details about Nixon's Watergate cover-up, has been called the best-kept secret in the history of Washington D.C., or at least in the history of politics and journalism. Only four people were said to know the source's identity: Woodward; Bernstein; Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of the Post; and, of course, Deep Throat himself.

Both Bradlee and Bernstein have refused to confirm to ABC News that Felt is Deep Throat.

Woodward would also neither confirm nor deny the report.

"There's a principle involved here," he told ABC News. He and Bernstein promised not to reveal Deep Throat's identity until the source dies.

Despite years of feelings of negativity and ambivalence, O'Connor said, Felt's family has helped him realize that "he is a hero" and "that it is good what he did."

In his 1979 book, "The FBI Pyramid: From the Inside," Felt flat-out denied that he was the famous source.

"I would have done better," Felt told The Hartford Courant in 1999. "I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"

Best-Kept Secret

Throughout the years, politicians and journalists have guessed at Deep Throat's identity.

Contenders included Gen. Al Haig, who was a popular choice for a long time, especially when he was running for president in 1988. Haig was Nixon's chief of staff and secretary of state under President Reagan.

Woodward finally said publicly that Haig was not Deep Throat. Other contenders mentioned frequently, besides Felt, included Henry Kissinger; CIA officials Cord Meyer and William E. Colby; and FBI officials L. Patrick Gray, Charles W. Bates and Robert Kunkel.

In "All the President's Men," the 1974 movie of the Watergate scandal, Woodward and Bernstein described their source as holding an extremely sensitive position in the executive branch.

The source was dubbed "Deep Throat" by Post managing editor Howard Simons after the notorious porn film.
Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures, "'Deep Throat' Is Identified," ABC News, May 31, 2005, http://snipurl.com/DT0531

 


TIDBITS JUNE 1, 2005

Andersen Decision Is Bittersweet For Ex-Workers
When former Arthur Andersen LLP senior manager Bill Strathmann heard that the Supreme Court had overturned Andersen's criminal conviction yesterday, he immediately relayed the news to his wife, father, brother and friends. On an email chain including 17 former Andersen partners and employees from Andersen's old Tysons Corner, Va., office, terms like "three years too late," "vindication" and "unbelievable" were sprinkled throughout.

While the damage has been done, Mr. Strathmann, now chief executive of a nonprofit organization, said, "this decision is still good for the legacy of Arthur Andersen."

In chat rooms, Web logs and emails yesterday, many former employees voiced similar opinions about the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to overturn the 2002 criminal conviction of Andersen tied to its botched audits of Enron Corp. The court ruled that jurors used too loose a standard of culpability against the once-venerable accounting firm. Still, the Supreme Court's decision isn't likely to revive Arthur Andersen -- or help former partners pull out their remaining capital any time soon.

The firm lost its license to practice in Texas and some other states shortly after its June 2002 conviction, and by the fall of 2002 had surrendered the rest of its licenses. Today, Andersen has fewer than 200 employees, down from 85,000 world-wide before its fall. Most work to wrap up lawsuits pending against the firm.

The accounting debacles at Enron and WorldCom Inc., another Andersen client, have permanently etched a negative perception of the firm in many people's minds. Among the most vivid images: Workers in Andersen's Houston office shredding tons of documents connected to long-valuable client Enron; or, months later, the news of WorldCom's collapse into bankruptcy from an $11 billion accounting fraud, the nation's largest.

Still, the decision marks a win to some former employees. In her Web log, Mary Trigiani, a communications consultant in San Francisco who previously wrote speeches for Andersen executives, typed yesterday: "This is an enormous vindication of the majority of the people who embodied the vision and values of the venerable organization -- but not of the few managers who enabled Andersen's destruction."

In some ways, "a stigma has been lifted," said Marc Andersen, a former Andersen partner who organized a 1,000-person rally in Washington in 2002 to protest the Justice Department indictment.

For many, the ruling is bittersweet. Douglas J. DeRito, a former partner in Andersen's Atlanta office, saw his career derailed. He had invested $500,000 in the firm, where he worked for eight years, to buy his partnership stake. "I've been through over two years of hell," said Mr. DeRito, now an executive director with a small Atlanta firm. "We Andersen partners worked a significant amount of our professional careers to get to the level of partner," and then "the Justice Department took the carpet out from under us." Andersen had about 1,700 partners in the U.S., some of whom had invested as much as $3 million.

Because of a mountain of litigation for the blowups at Enron and WorldCom, the pickings remain slim for ex-partners. A stipulation in a recent $65 million settlement with investors of WorldCom (now MCI Inc.) provides that the plaintiffs will receive 20% of any money remaining in Andersen's coffers after other cases are settled. The Supreme Court's decision seemingly does little to improve Andersen's standing in cases where the firm is being sued for negligent audit work.

"Clearly the firm failed," said Barry Melancon, president of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Andersen. The vindication is only that "the firm as a whole is not guilty in this situation."
DIYA GULLAPALLI, "Andersen Decision Is Bittersweet For Ex-Workers," The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2005; Page A6, http://snipurl.com/aa20601

 

A New Low Price For Broadband
SBC to Offer High-Speed Internet Service for $14.95 a Month; Rivals Face Pressure to Follow
In an aggressive move to cut the cost of high-speed Internet access, the nation's second-largest phone company plans to start charging $14.95 a month for new customers -- making broadband service less expensive than some dial-up plans.

The move by SBC Communications Inc., announced today, may compel competitors to follow suit. Cable companies currently dominate the high-speed business, but typically charge considerably more for the service, often $40 or more a month. The basic broadband plan at cable giant Comcast Corp. for instance, is $42.95. Traditionally, cable companies justify those prices by the fact that their connections are among the fastest available -- as much as triple the speed of a high-speed connection provided by a phone company like SBC. (Even the slowest broadband connection is roughly 25 times as fast as dial-up.)

Analysts say SBC's move marks the first time broadband service has been broadly offered at a significantly less expensive rate than AOL's dial-up service. More than half of the 77 million U.S. households with Internet access still use dial-up connections, such as Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, which charges $23.90 per month.

The SBC price cut comes as the telecom industry is confronting sharply increased competition from cable-TV companies and Internet start-ups. In addition, fast-changing technologies, such as inexpensive Internet-based telephone services, are undercutting their traditional phone business. Telcom companies have also seen a sharp decline of their traditional local-phone business, as customers have begun using cellphones and email. The industry has responded so far by consolidating, triggering $150 billion of mergers and acquisitions in the past 18 months.

Cable companies officials said yesterday that they don't need to respond to price cuts by the phone companies because they say cable broadband service is faster and more efficient than telephone broadband service. "If price were the only thing that mattered to everyone, we'd all be driving Yugos," says a spokesman for Cox Communications Inc., the country's third-largest cable operator. (DSL service is basically a souped-up phone line, whereas cable broadband is transmitted over the cable-TV network, which has higher capacity than copper phone lines.)

But some analysts say the cable industry may soon be forced to respond. "As broadband reaches deeper into the mass market, the service needs to appeal to more price-sensitive customers," says Craig Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

SBC's offer is open to subscribers of the company's local phone service in its 13-state service area, which includes California, Texas and Connecticut. To be eligible, customers must sign up for the plan online at www.sbc.com. SBC was already offering some of the lowest cost broadband service available among large cable and telephone companies, at $19.95 a month.

With its price cut, SBC is essentially in a land-grab mode, leaving the company more concerned with adding customers than increasing broadband profitability. SBC declines to say whether its broadband operations are profitable.

The company is seeking to broaden its base of 5.6 million subscribers to its high-speed service, known as digital subscriber line, or DSL. Signing up for DSL doesn't require that a customer have a second phone line. However, in most cases it does require users to have at least one phone-line subscription.

SBC's $14.95 offer isn't a temporary promotion, the company says. Frequently, rivals have offered similarly low prices, but mainly as temporary promotions that expired after a period of time.

Special Promotions

There are 34.5 million broadband subscribers nationwide, a figure that analysts expect will nearly double in the next four years.

The telecom companies have steadily lowered prices on broadband service in the past two years, sometimes through special promotions, in hopes of catching up to cable providers, which were the first to offer broadband and maintain a substantial edge over DSL providers. Currently, there are more than 21.1 million cable-broadband subscribers, compared with about roughly 15 million DSL subscribers, though estimates vary.

The phone companies' tactic seems to be working. In the first quarter of this year, of the 2.6 million new broadband subscribers, 192,655 more turned to DSL over cable, according to Leichtman Research Group Inc., a media-markets research firm based in Durham, N.C.

Television and Gaming

Broadband is all the more important for phone companies such as SBC because new services that they are beginning to offer, such as television and gaming, are increasingly going to run over the companies' broadband networks. The more broadband customers phone companies have, the more additional services they can sell to them down the road, the logic goes. For instance, SBC is getting into the TV business in direct competition with cable companies. Phone companies without large numbers of broadband subscribers could find themselves without a sizable market for new products and services.

"We're trying to expand the market for broadband as much as we can," says Ed Cholerton, an SBC vice president of consumer marketing for broadband.
DIONNE SEARCEY, "A New Low Price For Broadband," The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/brdbnd0601

 

The New Post 9/11 Graduates -- Standing up for Patriotism
Memorial Day has several different meanings for Americans. For some, we were spending a weekend reflecting, reminiscing and reminding ourselves about the sacrifices our family members, neighbors, and fellow Americans made as soldiers for our nation. At the same time, many of us were also focusing our attention on our children, nieces, nephews and for many, our grandchildren who are preparing themselves to take the final walk across their high school or college graduation stage.

One of the questions these new graduates have to be pondering has to be "what nation and world are we graduating into"? For young people it has to be fraught with some sense of peril. These post 9/11 graduates are inheriting a nation that lived through the most vicious attack on our nation since that horrible day of December 7th, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed without warning and without provocation.

This horrible event from so long ago can certainly be a guide for the young graduates of today. I point purposely to this past Memorial Day weekend, because it is at this time that families typically gather around and share some very special moments with parents, grandparents and a host of family and friends who pour through the family photos to point out perhaps their now aged warriors of World War II. Perhaps they point to an uncle or grandparent who did not return home to his native soil and now lies buried in a U.S. cemetery on foreign soil

Perhaps, the family visited their local cemetery where their father or uncle or even aunt or grandmother now lies buried, a former soldier who served, who fought, and who sacrificed for their nation, because it was the right thing to do...because it was the American thing to do.

Perhaps they visited a hospital with the soon to be graduate and sat on the side of the bed with an aging grandparent or father who was a soldier in the fox hole or perhaps a pilot or a tail gunner in one of the flying fortresses from the Second World War. The parent's son or daughter may have sat quietly and listened to stories spun from long buried memories of acts of bravery, mixed with a little bit of fear, but a whole lot of courage. Maybe the young adult son stood up and just as he was getting ready to leave his hospital room, he turned and saluted his grandfather, and thanked him for his gift to our nation, to his community and to his family.

Your daughter may have asked the question at the backyard barbeque on Memorial Day, "What about women? " as she passed the photos of the women in the family who also sacrificed during those tumultuous war years. What did Grandmother Christina or Aunt Cynthia do when they were a Wave or a WAC during World War II? In listening she probably learned that perhaps the times her grandmother grew up in were not much different from the times now as she is about to step across the graduation.

These young high school and college graduates also remember hearing an American President make a steely firm declaration about dealing with those who were responsible for bringing terror to our home shores. They saw a determined President Bush seem to echo the words from another generation...and spoken by another American President. The emotions of patriotism ran high then on December 8, 1941, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said to a joint Session of Congress:

"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us."

Those graduates of 1945 heard those words and many by the tens of thousands left high school or college and answered the call to make those who attacked America pay for their treachery.

Sixty years later, the soon to be graduates are remembering the fateful remarks from President Bush as he too addressed the American public and comforted and rallied a nation that was also the victim of an air attack.

President Bush as President Roosevelt before him also addressed the nation, " Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

Some of our greatest moments have been acts of courage for which no one could have ever prepared.

We cannot know every turn this battle will take. Yet we know our cause is just and our ultimate victory is assured. We will, no doubt, face new challenges. But we have our marching orders: My fellow Americans, let's roll. "

So you see, the young people in America from two different generations share a common thread. That is the common thread of freedom and of patriotism. These young people who you may have thought were not listening or paying attention to you as you pored through those photo albums and pointed out the family members in uniform who smiled back through the ages at you... were listening

These young graduates are, according to a recent CBS report, ditching over three decades of "Me'ism" and sensing a true obligation to give something back to their nation. So this post 9/11 generation is listening to the clarion call beating loudly within their own heart for helping their nation.

These young people are pausing to examine what exactly their obligation is to improving, to bettering, to protecting and to standing up for advancing our nation, and that is honorable and commendable.

They are not doing what others have done before...holding their hand outstretched and asking..."How much are you going to pay me first."

Hopefully those narrow self-absorbed Neanderthals are dying off in America. You know the ones, and hopefully you didn't raise one. These are the selfish non-patriots...who merely turn their head and leave the seriousness of defending the nation and making the world free for Democracy to "those patsies and saps" because it is after all...someone else's' job.

But that's fine, because like Revolutionary War hero Samuel Adams said: "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Patriotism is making a comeback with the post-9/11 graduates and they like their grandparents before them may truly become the next Greatest Generation.
Kevin Fobbs, "The New Post 9/11 Graduates -- Standing up for Patriotism," Free Republic, June 1, 2005, http://snipurl.com/grads0601

 

Can Rev. Al be Limbaugh's air apparent?
Could there be any odder couple than Rush Limbaugh and Al Sharpton? Not if I have anything to do with it.

Last week - after Matrix Media announced a deal for Sharpton to host a "Limbaugh of the Left"-type talk radio show - the conservative radio star said he'll think about mentoring the minister in the finer points of the medium.

Yesterday, Sharpton contacted me to say he's eager to accept the sort-of offer to (as Limbaugh put it on his own show Friday) "let [Sharpton] guest-host the program for, like, 30 minutes at a time while I am sitting here critiquing him."

Sharpton told me: "I was a little surprised, but I'm willing to take him up on his speculative offer. I think it would be interesting. It would be something that both of us can learn from. He can learn some of the thoughts of the left, and I can learn some of the techniques of the right. Let's see if he's serious."
(Excerpt) Read more at
nydailynews.com ...

Pikamax, "Can Rev. Al be Limbaugh's air apparent?," Free Republic, 06/01/2005, http://snipurl.com/rlal0601

 

[The article below reads just like "Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand---Debbie]

Dairy gets squeezed by the feds
In its 85 years of existence, Smith Brothers Dairy in Kent has survived all manner of misfortune and mistakes.

There was the Depression, when milk sales plummeted. There were cow-killing floods. There were modern times, when it appeared the old-fashioned idea of fresh milk delivered to the doorstep had died.

And there was the crackdown when society realized cow manure could be as toxic to fish as anything produced at a nuclear plant.

"None of that compares to this," says Alexis Smith Koester, 60, dairy president and granddaughter of the founder, Ben Smith. "This is the biggest threat we've ever faced."

She's talking about the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed new rules that could force Smith Brothers to either give up half its business or close up shop entirely, Koester says.

What are the feds trying to stop? They're trying to keep Smith Brothers Dairy from selling its milk for less.

And we call this a capitalist country.

The dairy, which is small enough that the president answered the phone when I called, is being punished for doing too much too well.

For 75 years, milk has been heavily regulated by price and marketing controls.

People who know more about it than I do say the system works well. It protects those who own only one part of the milk business — say, a farmer with cows but no milk-processing plant — from being gouged by big agribusinesses.

But Smith Brothers has always been exempt from these regulations because it is so independent. It does it all. It is one of only 11 dairies left in the Northwest that raise and milk the cows as well as pasteurize and bottle the milk.

Its business model is so antiquated that most dairies like it long since went under.

Smith Brothers survived by discovering that what was old is new again. Home delivery of milk is hot. Especially if people know who owns the cows so there's a guarantee no growth hormones were used.

Remarkably, Smith Brothers now delivers milk to 40,000 homes in and around Seattle, the most in its history. And it is so efficient it does so at the same or lower prices you get in many stores.

Yet the feds, backed by the biggest dairy processors in the West, want to force Smith Brothers and other do-it-yourself dairies to sell through the government-regulated system. They say this will help the small farmers who already sell milk to big processors.

But Smith Brothers, no milk monopoly with just 1 percent of the market, would have to pay subsidies to its competitors that exceed the dairy's yearly profit. Or it would have to break up its business, and no longer provide its unique cow-to-carton-to-doorstep service.

So what we have is the government, prodded by large corporations, saying it is helping small family farms by destroying one of our most successful small family farms.

Come to think of it, I guess that is American-style capitalism after all.
Danny Westneat, "Dairy gets squeezed by the feds," Free Republic (from The Seattle Times), June 3, 2005, http://snipurl.com/dairy0601
 

BMG Cracks Piracy Whip 
NEW YORK -- As part of its mounting U.S. rollout of content-enhanced and copy-protected CDs, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is testing technology solutions that bar consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs.

Since March the company has released at least 10 commercial titles -- more than 1 million discs in total -- featuring technology from U.K. anti-piracy specialist First4Internet that allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies.

The concept is known as "sterile burning." And in the eyes of Sony BMG executives, the initiative is central to the industry's efforts to curb casual CD burning.

"The casual piracy, the school yard piracy, is a huge issue for us," says Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business for Sony BMG. "Two-thirds of all piracy comes from ripping and burning CDs, which is why making the CD a secure format is of the utmost importance."

Names of specific titles carrying the technology were not disclosed. The effort is not specific to First4Internet. Other Sony BMG partners are expected to begin commercial trials of sterile burning within the next month.

To date, most copy protection and other digital rights management-based solutions that allow for burning have not included secure burning.

Early copy-protected discs as well as all Digital Rights Management-protected files sold through online retailers like iTunes, Napster and others offer burning of tracks into unprotected WAV files. Those burned CDs can then be ripped back onto a personal computer minus a DRM wrapper and converted into MP3 files.

Under the new solution, tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format. The DRM embedded on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied.

"The secure burning solution is the sensible way forward," First4Internet CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith says. "Most consumers accept that making a copy for personal use is really what they want it for. The industry is keen to make sure that is not abused by making copies for other people that would otherwise go buy a CD."

As with other copy-protected discs, albums featuring XCP, or extended copy protection, will allow for three copies to be made.

However, Sony BMG has said it is not locked into the number of copies. The label is looking to offer consumers a fair-use replication of rights enjoyed on existing CDs.

A key concern with copy-protection efforts remains compatibility.

It is a sticking point at Sony BMG and other labels as they look to increase the number of copy-protected CDs they push into the market.

Among the biggest headaches: Secure burning means that iPod users do not have any means of transferring tracks to their device, because Apple Computer has yet to license its FairPlay DRM for use on copy-protected discs.

As for more basic CD player compatibility issues, Gilliat-Smith says the discs are compliant with Sony Philips CD specifications and should therefore play in all conventional CD players.

The moves with First4Internet are part of a larger copy-protection push by Sony BMG that also includes SunnComm and its MediaMax technology.

To date, SunnComm has been the music giant's primary partner on commercial releases -- including Velvet Revolver's Contraband and Anthony Hamilton's solo album. In all, more than 5.5 million content-enhanced and protected discs have been shipped featuring SunnComm technology.

First4Internet's XCP has been used previously on prerelease CDs only. Sony BMG is the first to commercially deploy XCP.

First4Internet's other clients -- which include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI -- are using XCP for prerelease material.

Sony BMG expects that by year's end a substantial number of its U.S. releases will employ either MediaMax or XCP. All copy-protected solutions will include such extras as photo galleries, enhanced liner notes and links to other features.
Reuters, "BMG Cracks Piracy Whip," Wired News, 03:00 PM May. 31, 2005 PT, http://snipurl.com/bmg0601

 

Taking a Load Off While You Drive
As you pack your bags to hit the road this weekend, don't forget the swimsuit, sun block and driving directions. And hit the loo before you buckle up because record numbers of Americans will be right there with you heading out on vacation. Or you could do as some Brits do and pack a portable toilet to use in the car.

Two British engineers have invented the Indipod, an inflatable in-car toilet powered by a cigarette lighter. After plugging into the car's lighter, the bubble toilet or "private sanitary sanctuary" inflates to an area about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide and is sufficient to accommodate two people. When not in use, the portable toilet folds away into a bag the size of a suitcase and weighs 22 pounds.

"We are on the road a lot and built one for ourselves and actually used it as we were developing it," said James Shippen, inventor and co-founder of the Indipod. Their 15 prototypes led to the masterpiece, which works best in SUVs or minivans.

End to Long Bathroom Queues

Launched last November in Britain, the toilet-on-the-go is available online for $376, not including shipping.

"Originally in the United States, we sold these for people with medical conditions like Chron's disease," Shippen said, "but a lot of families are inquiring about them now."

Chron's disease is a progressive, inflammatory disease of the bowel. The most common symptoms are diarrhea and pain, which means unpredictable and frequent pit stops.

But getting to a satisfactory pit stop on the road can be a trying experience for anyone. Hygiene in run-down, badly lit truck stops leaves a lot to be desired along the nation's busy highways. Most women's facilities have endless lines and the smelly stalls have most people gasping for fresh air as they zip up.

So if you are on the go this summer, the Indipod Web site claims there's no need to twist yourself in knots counting down the miles before finding relief, "the Indipod will keep you on course."

Don't Let Your Bladder Do the Driving

With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of the summer driving season, motorists may be complaining about rising prices at the pump but it's not keeping them home. AAA estimates that approximately 31.1 million travelers (84 percent of all holiday travelers) expect to travel by motor vehicle this weekend, a 2.2 percent increase from the 30.5 million who drove a year ago.

Overall, 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a slight increase from a year ago. Shippen hopes to find some new customers among these driving droves.

"There's usually a giggle factor when people hear about our loo but often those same people become our customers saying, 'I could use one of those,' " said Shippen, remarking on the numerous "dirty" jokes he's gotten about the toilet-on-the-go.

The unit doesn't come with a seat belt so Shippen advises hitting the brakes and parking before you "unload." In 30 seconds, your loo's hygiene bubble inflates and you climb in. The others in the car cannot see you.

An air fan supposedly keeps bathroom noises and odors sealed in but air fresheners may also be a good investment. If the long road beckons and you want to stay on course, the Indipod can handle eight visitors in one day or one person for eight days or two people for four days.

Road-Tested and Approved

Shippen and co-founder Barbara May road tested their invention themselves recently by driving across Europe from north to south.

"We traveled 2,200 miles in just over a week and never left the car at all," he said.

Food and their trusty toilet got them from Scotland to the boot of Italy. They stopped at gas stations to fill up their tank and at campsites to "de-fuel" their Indipod.

The duo plans to test their car "port-a-pottie" in the wide expanse of the United States this year by driving cross-country from New York to San Diego.

Their car port-a-pottie will certainly get lots of use, although it may discourage any notion of car-pooling. And before hitting the road with the Indipod, there is one more critical item to remember to take along -- toilet paper.
CHARLOTTE SECTOR, "Taking a Load Off While You Drive," ABC News (Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures), May. 27, 2005, http://snipurl.com/load0601

 




Forwarded by a guy who's old enough for this cruise

Boy have I got the best investment for you!! Just read on.

 

About 2 years ago my wife and I were on a cruise through the western Mediterranean aboard a Princess liner. At dinner we noticed an elderly lady sitting alone along the rail of the grand stairway in the main dining room. I also noticed that all the staff, ships officers, waiters, busboys, etc., all seemed very familiar with this lady. I asked our waiter who the lady was, expecting to be told she owned the line, but he said he only knew that she had been on board for the last four cruises, back to back As we left the dining room one evening I caught her eye and stopped to say hello. We chatted and I said, "I understand you've been on this ; ship for the last four cruises". She replied, "Yes, that's true." I stated, "I don't understand" and she replied, without a pause, "It's cheaper than a nursing home". So, there will be no nursing home in my future. When I get old and feeble, I am going to get on a Princess Cruise Ship. The average cost for a nursing home is $200 per day. I have checked on reservations at Princess and I can get a long term discount and senior discount price of $135 per day. That leaves $65 a day for: 1. Gratuities which will only be $10 per day. 2. I will have as many as 10 meals a day if I can waddle to the restaurant, or I can have room service (which means I can have breakfast in bed every day of the week).

3. Princess has as many as three swimming pools, a workout room, free washers and dryers, and shows every night. 4. They have free toothpaste and razors, and free soap and shampoo. 5. They will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you. 6. I will get to meet new people every 7 or 14 days. 7. T.V. broken? Light bulb need changing? Need to have the mattress replaced? No Problem! They will fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience. 8. Clean sheets and towels every day, and you don't even have to ask for them. 9. If you fall in the nursing home and break a hip you are on Medicare; if you fall and break a hip on the Princess ship they will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life. Now hold on for the best! Do you want to see South America, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, A sia, or name where you want to go? Princess will have a ship ready to go. So don't look for me in a nursing home, just call shore to ship.

PS And don't forget, when you die, they just dump you over the side at no charge.

Music:  Daddy's Hands --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/hands.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




What to know and do when you suspect fraud --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jun2005/wells.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud reporting --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm


Women with big butts may live longer
Curvy women are more likely to live longer than their slimmer counterparts, researchers have found. Institute of Preventative Medicine in Copenhagen researchers found those with wider hips also appeared to be protected against heart conditions. Women with a hip measurement smaller than 40 inches, or a size 14 would not have this protection, they said.
"Curvier women 'will live longer'," BBC News, June 3, 2005 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4606011.stm


Warning to Internet Shoppers:  Toss Your Cookies
Internet shoppers who want the best prices should delete cookies as often as possible. That's because the less online merchants know about you, the less likely they'll be able to figure out how much you're willing to pay. According to a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, most consumers don't know that online retailers will charge different prices to different people for the same product. Merchants call it "price customization." I call it "get it anyway you can." See the story at http://update.internetweek.com/cgi-bin4/DM/y/hoLC0GMPWZ0G4X0DRXQ0EK


Diabetic Blood Testing:  Relief From Pin-Pricking May Be at Hand
Ron Nagar and Benny Pesach, the founders of Glucon, Inc., have created a watch-like device that reads blood glucose levels without the need to stick, poke, or prick the skin. Based on photo-acoustics research first done at Tel Aviv University in Israel, their device uses lasers, ultrasound, and advanced software algorithms to get a reading that is as efficient and accurate as pin-prick tests. And, says Glucon's CEO, Dan Goldberger, it won't be any more costly than testing kits, which today average between $1,500 and $2,000 per year for a patient.
Sam Jaffe, "Relief From Pin-Pricking May Be at Hand," MIT's Technology Review, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/06/wo/wo_060205jaffe.asp

Also see http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/06/wo/wo_060205jaffe.asp?trk=nl


Tiny tots are surfing the Web before learning to read
Before they can even read, almost one in four children in nursery school is learning a skill that even some adults have yet to master: using the internet. Twenty-three percent of children in nursery school -- kids age 3, 4 or 5 -- have gone online, according to the Education Department. By kindergarten, 32 percent have used the internet, typically under adult supervision.
"Pre-Schoolers Play Online," Wired News, June 4, 2005 ---
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,67746,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_8


Over a third of U.S. families are not putting enough funds aside to educate their children
Retirement Reality Check, survey of 1,604 people with household incomes of $35,000 or more, Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, Ill., www.allstate.com , 2005.


Stem cells from fetuses can repair cardiac damage
The Institute of Regenerative Medicine in Barbados is convinced that stem cells from fetuses can repair cardiac damage
"A Boost for Broken Hearts?" Business Week, June 13, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_24/b3937009_mz001.htm


The porn princess wins a calculated gamble for $1,000,000,000
In 1998 a California porn princess commissioned a 25-year-old Indian computer wiz to write a piece of software. Trained as a lawyer, Ruth Parasol had made a small fortune in online pornography after starting, according to legend, with a couple of sex phone lines given to her by her father as an unorthodox teenage birthday present. She had sold all her porn interests and it was time to invest the proceeds. Online gambling was the new buzz and she found a friend of a friend, Anurag Dikshit, a computer engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, to create a programme for casino games such as roulette. The extraordinary result of that meeting was seen yesterday when PartyGaming, the company they created, announced plans to float on the London stock market. Its PartyPoker website is the dominant force in the explosive online poker market and the business will be valued at up to $10bn, or a shade over £5bn - only a little less than Marks & Spencer, or the combined value of British Airways and EMI.
Nils Pratley, "The porn princess, the Indian computer whizz and the poker bet that made $10bn," The Guardian, June 3, 2005 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/news/0,12597,1498367,00.html?gusrc=rss


How to do your taxes for free
Everything you always wanted to know about form 1040 but were afraid to ask from Taxes In-Depth --- http://www.taxesindepth.com/

The IRS processed 224.4 million tax returns for the fiscal year 2004 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jun2005/tax_ex2.htm

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation


GAO: Underfunded Corporate Pensions 'Severe and Widespread'
Massive failures of defined-benefit pension plans, shortfalls in pensions for state employees and the debts plaguing the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. are sparking worries about the security of retirement benefits. Troubled United Airlines recently received court approval to dump four pension plans, with a shortfall of $9.8 billion, onto the PBGC. The PBGC, a government-sponsored insurance agency of sorts, is funded by premiums paid by companies, and it is now facing a $23.3 billion deficit of its own. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the congressional watchdog agency, stated in a new report that underfunding of pension plans grew from $39 billion in 2000 to more than $450 billion by September 2004, the Associated Press reported.
"GAO: Underfunded Corporate Pensions 'Severe and Widespread'," AccountingWeb, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100960 


Of Metaphors and Moving Vans
Nietzsche somewhere remarks that a scholar will end up consulting about 200 books in the course of a day’s work. This was not (if memory serves) a compliment to academic industriousness. Trying to track down the quotation just now, I find the typical Nietzschean attitude summed up in The Genealogy of Morals: “The proficiency of our finest scholars, their heedless industry, their heads smoking day and night, their very craftsmanship – how often the real meaning of all this lies in the desire to keep something hidden from oneself!” Well, be that as it may, one thing is clear. If you pull down that many books and don’t reshelve them immediately, you will definitely start losing things in the clutter. And photocopies or JSTOR printouts only make the problem exponentially worse. The situation is no less hopeless for a mere freelance essayist. I would like, for example, to order some Chinese food from a particularly good restaurant, but the menu is probably somewhere underneath a large pile of books and articles about Paul Ricoeur. Does this reflect an ascetic imperative? Is it proof of “the desire to keep something hidden from oneself”? What would it mean just to throw the whole pile into a cardboard box and stash it under my desk for a while? (And furthermore: Is there room?).
Scott McLemee, "Of Metaphors and Moving Vans," Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/02/mclemee


Ricoeur III
Last week, Margaret Soltan published a recollection of Paul Ricoeur at her blog, University Diaries. He was, she noted, “Unfailingly intellectually serious. No thigh-slapping, I can tell you that.” The one exception was his delight in “a convoluted story he told about being in Greece and seeing all these trucks that had METAPHOR written on them (this was a seminar on metaphor). How could this be? Then he figured it out! They were moving vans — metaphor is Greek for among other things, to carry! He laughed with wild abandon at this.”Then, parenthetically, she apologizes if her memory has played tricks on her. It didn’t. In the memoir portion of Paul Ricoeur: His Life and His Work (University of Chicago, 1996), Charles E. Reagan describes a visit with the philosopher in 1974, when he had just finished writing The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-Disciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning in Language (University of Toronto Press, 1978).
Scott McLemee, "Of Metaphors and Moving Vans," Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/02/mclemee
You can find Ricoeur I and II at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q2.htm#Ricoeur


Grade Inflation and Abdication
Over the last generation, most colleges and universities have experienced considerable grade inflation. Much lamented by traditionalists and explained away or minimized by more permissive faculty, the phenomenon presents itself both as an increase in students’ grade point averages at graduation as well as an increase in high grades and a decrease in low grades recorded for individual courses. More prevalent in humanities and social science than in science and math courses and in elite private institutions than in public institutions, discussion about grade inflation generates a great deal of heat, if not always as much light. While the debate on the moral virtues of any particular form of grade distribution fascinates as cultural artifact, the variability of grading standards has a more practical consequence. As grades increasingly reflect an idiosyncratic and locally defined performance levels, their value for outside consumers of university products declines. Who knows what an “A” in American History means? Is the A student one of the top 10 percent in the class or one of the top 50 percent? Fuzziness in grading reflects a general fuzziness in defining clearly what we teach our students and what we expect of them. When asked to defend our grading practices by external observers — parents, employers, graduate schools, or professional schools — our answers tend toward a vague if earnest exposition on the complexity of learning, the motivational differences in evaluation techniques, and the pedagogical value of learning over grading. All of this may well be true in some abstract sense, but our consumers find our explanations unpersuasive and on occasion misleading.
John V. Lombardi, "Grade Inflation and Abdication," Inside Higher Ed, June 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/03/lombardi
Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation


Where are the men in college?
For about a decade now, educators have been noticing — and worrying about — a growing gender gap among college students, 57 percent of whom are female. Among high-school seniors, women are more likely to have the ambition to go to college, to enroll, and then to do well, according to Education Department data. But much of the attention of those concerned about these figures has focused on subsets of the undergraduate population where the gender gap showed up most quickly and most dramatically. Community colleges have reported severe gender gaps for years, which is consistent with studies showing that the gap in college-going rates is greatest among low-income students. The gender gap is quite large among black students, leading to significant gender gaps at historically black colleges, and in black enrollments at other institutions. And liberal arts colleges have struggled with the issue for years, with all sorts of theories about why men prefer to go elsewhere.
Scott Jaschick, "Gender Gap at Flagships," Inside Higher Ed, June 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/03/gender


The Stem-Cell Also-Ran: America
These overseas triumphs are a reminder that restrictions on federal funding for stem-cell research in the U.S., as well as many state and federal threats to ban much of the research, are hindering the pace of research in America. As part of an ongoing lobbying effort, 37 university presidents and chancellors sent Congress a letter on May 23, arguing that progress in foreign labs is "an indication that U.S. scientists are being hobbled in their pursuit of cures and therapies using this promising research."
Jon Carey, "The Stem-Cell Also-Ran: America The Bush Administration's restrictions on U.S. research will inflict major pain down the road as other countries keep advancing," Business Week, May 27, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/AlsoRan


Biotechnology has finally come of age
This declaration may bring to mind the hype that has swirled around biotech so many times in the past. But a growing number of scientists and industry executives say today's enthusiasm is based on a new reality: Drugs actually exist. There are 230 medicines and related products created from biotech techniques. Last year alone, the Food & Drug Administration approved 20 biotech drugs, among them treatments for insomnia, multiple sclerosis, severe pain, chronic kidney disease, incontinence, mouth sores, and cancer. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development estimates that at least 50 of 250 biotech drugs currently in late-stage clinical trials should win FDA approval, a success rate almost three times better than the pharma industry standard. "This is all a continuum of discoveries that started in the early 1980s," says Joseph Schlessinger, chairman of the pharmacology department at Yale School of Medicine and a co-founder of Sugen, the company that created Sutent. "We are now in a golden age of drug discovery."
"Biotech, Finally Yes, the business remains risky, but medical progress is stunning," Business Week Cover Story, June 13, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/BiotechJune13


Pros and cons of naming a class valedictorian
"BEST IN CLASS," by Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, June 6, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/050606fa_fact


Brown Recluse spider bites:  I won't vouch for this, but you may want to know about
"Finally, a very effective, natural, drug free product specifically designed to heal Brown Recluse spider bites" --- http://www.brown-recluse.com/ 


Those less-than-honest bankers
With help from Bank of America Corp., two Texas entrepreneurs sheltered more than $100 million from U.S. taxes on this small island between Ireland and England for more than a decade. Now the bank is under scrutiny in connection with possible securities and money-laundering violations involving its work with the two, Sam and Charles Wyly, and possibly other wealthy clients seeking to help shelter their fortunes from taxes. The Wylys are a pair of famously entrepreneurial brothers in their 70s who made billions in software and retail businesses.
Glenn R. Simpson, "Government Probes Tax Shelters Used to Shield Stock-Option Gains," The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111776598624150196,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


The European Disease
The French unemployment rate has hovered around 10% for nearly a decade, and almost half of the jobless have been out of work for at least a year. If the U.S. had an unemployment rate as high as France, there would be about six million more non-working Americans -- the equivalent of placing every worker in Michigan on the jobless rolls. Our point here isn't to engage in gratuitous French-bashing. The truth is that the economic anemia afflicting France has become the standard bill of health to varying degrees in virtually all of the nations of Old Europe, particularly Germany and Italy. Once upon a time the intellectual elites in Europe and the U.S. trumpeted the economic accomplishments of European social welfare state policies. Today the conclusion is nearly inescapable that this economic model simply doesn't work to create jobs, wealth or dynamism.
"The European Disease," The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2005; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111775897564249985,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

Also see "Who's Laughing Now?" --- http://www.reason.com/re/060105.shtml


PwC'a auditors either ignored or missed the warning signs of accounting fraud at AIG
For years, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP gave a clean bill of financial health to American International Group Inc., only to watch the insurance giant disclose a long list of accounting problems this spring. But in checking for trouble, PwC might have asked the audit committee of AIG's board of directors, which is supposed to supervise the outside accountant's work. For two years, the committee said that it couldn't vouch for AIG's accounting. In 2001 and 2002, the five-member directors committee, which included such figures as former U.S. trade representative Carla A. Hills and, in 2002, former National Association of Securities Dealers chairman and chief executive Frank G. Zarb, reported in an annual corporate filing that the committee's oversight did "not provide an independent basis to determine that management has maintained appropriate accounting and financial reporting principles." Further, the committee said, it couldn't assure that the audit had been carried out according to normal standards or even that PwC was in fact "independent." While the distancing statement by the audit committee is not unprecedented, the AIG committee's statement is one of the strongest he has seen, said Itzhak Sharav, an accounting professor at Columbia University. "Their statement, the phrasing, all of it seems to be to get the reader to understand that they're going out of their way to emphasize the possibility of problems that are undisclosed and undiscovered, and they want no part of it." Language in audit committee reports ran the gamut . . .
"Accountants Missed AIG Group's Red Flags," SmartPros, May 31, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x48436.xml
Bob Jensen's threads on PwC's legal problems are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#PwC


Much suggests that Andersen's reputation was destroyed before the original obstruction of justice verdict
Andersen was already losing major clients who feared that having Andersen as an auditor was raising the cost of capital due to Andersen's reputation for incompetent audits.

A look at the Andersen Verdict First the news announcement from Jim Mahar's blog on June 1, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

From the NY Times --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/01/business/01bizcourt.html?

"WASHINGTON, May 31 - With a brief, pointed and unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned Arthur Andersen's conviction for shredding Enron accounting documents as that company was collapsing in one of the nation's biggest corporate scandals."

From The BBC --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4596949.stm

"Chief Justice William H Rehnquist said the instructions were too vague for the jurors to decide correctly whether Andersen had obstructed justice."

While much has been being made of the Supreme Court's ruling, it will have little affect on the company.

From the New York Times: Justices Reject Auditor Verdict in Enron Scandal --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/01/business/01bizcourt.html?dlbk

"But the decision represents little more than a Pyrrhic victory for Andersen, which lost its clients after being indicted on obstruction of justice charges and has no chance of returning as a viable enterprise. The accounting firm has shrunk from 28,000 employees in the United States to a skeleton crew of 200"

Much evidence suggests that the auditors' reputation was destroyed before the court verdict (see Chaney-Philipich (2002), Callen-Morel, Godbey-Mahar (2004) and many others who both found that Andersen audited firms suffered as Andersen's reputation fall in the aftermath of the Enron debacle.

For instance from Godbey-Mahar paper (in Research in Finance 2004) --- http://snipurl.com/AndersenUpdate

"Both long-term and short-term event-studies were used to examine the effects on implied volatility, of events that were deemed as damaging to Andersen'�s reputation. The results of all of the tests yield strong evidence that ....that auditor reputation plays an important role in reducing information asymmetries between investors and the audited firm." Which is to say, while we can feel bad that the jury supposedly got the case wrong, it is unlikely to have made much difference. Even prior to the trial, most firms had dropped Andersen as their auditor and the market was penalizing firms who used Andersen.

What does matter however is how this ruling will affect future cases. Again from the NY Times --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/01/business/01assess.html?dlbk

"...in truth the Supreme Court's judgment simply underscores the significance of a rule in white-collar cases: a jury cannot properly convict without first being required to conclude that a defendant had intended to engage in wrongdoing."

Bob Jensen's threads on the implosion of Andersen are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm


Would you rather work with a jerk or a likable fool?
It is a universal dilemma. What to do with the jerk at work, the person who is so disliked by their colleagues that no one wants to work with them? The traditional answer is to tolerate them if they are at least half-competent—on the grounds that competent jerks can be trained to be otherwise, while much-loved bunglers cannot. An article in the latest issue of the Harvard Business Review suggests that such an approach seriously underestimates the value of being liked. In a study of over 10,000 work relationships at five very different organisations, Tiziana Casciaro and Miguel Sousa Lobo, academics at Harvard Business School and the Fuqua School of Business respectively, found that (given the choice) people consistently and overwhelmingly prefer to work with a “lovable fool” than with a competent jerk.
"Wise enough to play the fool?" The Economist, June 2, 2005 ---
http://www.economist.com/business/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4033731


Drawing uncovered of 'Nazi nuke'
Historians working in Germany and the US claim to have found a 60-year-old diagram showing a Nazi nuclear bomb. It is the only known drawing of a "nuke" made by Nazi experts and appears in a report held by a private archive. The researchers who brought it to light say the drawing is a rough schematic and does not imply the Nazis built, or were close to building, an atomic bomb. But a detail in the report hints some Nazi scientists may have been closer to that goal than was previously believed. The Nazis were far away from a 'classic' atomic bomb. But they hoped to combine a 'mini-nuke' with a rocket 
"Drawing uncovered of 'Nazi nuke'," BBC News, June 1, 2005 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4598955.stm


Air Force Academy Leader Admits Religious Intolerance at School
He (Superintendent of the Air Force Academy) said he had admonished the academy's No. 2 commander, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, a born-again Christian, for sending an e-mail message promoting the National Day of Prayer. "We sat down and said, 'This is not right,' and he acknowledged that," General Rosa said, adding that there had been other incidents that crossed the line. "Perception is reality. We don't have respect."
"Air Force Academy Leader Admits Religious Intolerance at School," The New York Times, June 4, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/04/national/04airforce.html


"Would You, Could You, Should You Blog?" by Eva M. Lang, Journal of Accountancy, June 2005 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jun2005/lang.htm


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
BLOGS (SHORT FOR WEB LOGS) are an information-sharing tool with many business possibilities. They offer commentary on a variety of topics with links to Web sites or other online resources. Low operating costs make blogging a great marketing and knowledge management option for small firms.

A BLOG TYPICALLY IS TEXT WITH few graphics. It can be created with blogging software that is free and simple to use. A basic blog requires no special technical skills.

BESIDES HELPING TO PUBLICIZE A FIRM and showcase its niche specialties, blogs can allow everyone in the firm to share information quickly or to track sales leads.

FIRMS CAN USE INTERNAL KNOWLEDGE BLOGS to help current employees work more efficiently and to get new hires up to speed quickly. As a repository of “institutional memory,” knowledge blogs can remind current employees of policies and procedures, link to documents employees need to read and document best practices. Team members can enter remarks to create a record of actions and decisions.

SO FAR THERE ARE ONLY A FEW accounting blogs. Most CPA blogs cover tax topics but there are a few in niche areas such as estate planning, business valuation and Sarbanes-Oxley.

TO CREATE A BLOG A FIRM WILL NEED TO select a blog publisher, create an account and start adding content. Bloggers must scrupulously adhere to the golden rule of blogging: “Thou must update frequently.” The door is wide open to new and innovative uses of this technology for accounting firms.

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs and blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog


Music:  For Erika If You Ever Leave Me --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/if.htm

Dolly Parton sings "The PMS Blues" --- (http://www.badgirl1.com/PMS.htm)

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




The digital living room --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1212


Are Ashkenazi Jews smarter than the rest of us?
The idea that some ethnic groups may, on average, be more intelligent than others is one of those hypotheses that dare not speak its name. But Gregory Cochran, a noted scientific iconoclast, is prepared to say it anyway. He is that rare bird, a scientist who works independently of any institution. He helped popularise the idea that some diseases not previously thought to have a bacterial cause were actually infections, which ruffled many scientific feathers when it was first suggested. And more controversially still, he has suggested that homosexuality is caused by an infection. Even he, however, might tremble at the thought of what he is about to do. Together with Jason Hardy and Henry Harpending, of the University of Utah, he is publishing, in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Biosocial Science, a paper which not only suggests that one group of humanity is more intelligent than the others, but explains the process that has brought this about. The group in question are Ashkenazi Jews. The process is natural selection.
"Natural Genius," The Economist, June 2, 2005 --- http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=4032638


Black and Latino enrollment would tank, while white enrollments would hardly be affected
What if the Supreme Court had banned affirmative action? What if colleges moved away from the use of affirmative action on their own? A new study by two Princeton University researchers uses admissions data from elite colleges to portray what would happen in such a world without affirmative action. In short, black and Latino enrollment would tank, while white enrollments would hardly be affected. The big winners would be Asian applicants, who appear to face “disaffirmative action” right now. They would pick up about four out of five spots lost by black and Latino applicants. The study was conducted by Thomas Espenshade, a professor of sociology at Princeton, and Chang Chung, a senior staff member in the university’s Office of Population Research. The study will appear in the June issue of Social Science Quarterly.
Scott Jaschik, "Demographic Dislocation," Inside Higher Ed, June 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/07/affirm


I can go almost as fast when somebody yells out that dinner is ready
Scientists at the Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico have accelerated a small plate from zero to 76,000 mph in less than a second. The speed of the thrust was a new record for Sandia’s “Z Machine” – not only the fastest gun in the West, but in the world, too. The Z Machine is now able to propel small plates at 34 kilometers a second, faster than the 30 kilometers per second that Earth travels through space in its orbit about the Sun. That’s 50 times faster than a rifle bullet, and three times the velocity needed to...
"Gun Play: Inside Look at the Outer Planets," Space.com, June 7, 2005 --- http://www.space.com/astronotes/astronotes.html


Florida A&M receives a gift that keeps on taking
A Florida newspaper has revealed a highly unusual gift to Florida A&M University — in which the donor of an endowed chair ended up holding the position he paid to create. The St. Petersburg Times reported that Shirley Cunningham Jr., a Kentucky lawyer, gave Florida A&M $1 million to endow a chair in the law school in 2001. Under a state matching program, Florida then provided $750,000 for the chair. According to the newspaper, Cunningham was then hired to fill the chair and paid a salary of $100,000 a year — even though the newspaper said Florida A&M officials could find no evidence that Cunningham performed any work for the salary.
Scott Jaschik, "Donor Reportedly Endowed a Chair — and Filled It," Inside Higher Ed, June 8, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/08/famu


Advice about mortgages from Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek, June 6, 2005, Page 41.

For great tips on mortgages, visit Guttentag's (a professor at Wharton) site --- http://www.mtgprofessor.com/

For quick quotes, check eloan.com --- http://www.eloan.com/

Ignore the "cheap loan" promises in your e-mail . . . Spammers merely collect names to sell to lenders --- or worse, pry for personal information.

Bob Jensen's threads on Internet frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

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


Now you can easily share your expertise on the Web
The world is full of self-proclaimed experts, but not all of them are publishing online -- yet. A San Francisco-area entrepreneur hopes to change that with a new wiki that's open to the world.
Joanna Glassner, "Wiki Targets How-To Buffs," Wired News, June 8, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,67765,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

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


Microsoft, Lenovo unveil new pen-based Tablet PC
China's Lenovo Group Ltd. <0992.HK>, which bought IBM's personal computer business last month, unveiled its first pen-based computer on Monday, which runs Microsoft Corp.'s <MSFT.O> Tablet PC version of Windows. The world's largest software maker said that the debut of the laptop computer, the ThinkPad X41, will help to broaden the market for the portable computers to business users.
"Microsoft, Lenovo unveil new pen-based Tablet PC," Reuters, The Washington Post, June 7, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/07/AR2005060700120.html?referrer=email


His Decade of Chasing Skilling
A New York businessman wants to question Jeffrey Skilling under oath, insisting that the ex-Enron chief executive was at the center of a scheme that robbed him of hundreds of millions of dollars in the 1990s.
John Emshwiller, "His Decade of Chasing Skilling:  Bernard Glatzer, From the Bronx, Dogs Enron Ex-CEO for Deposition; His Lawsuit Helps Raise Questions," The Wall Street Journal,   June 7, 2005; Page C1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111810792577952529,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing


Mental Illness Said to Affect One-Quarter of Americans
More Americans are seeking treatment for mental illnesses than ever before, but most of them fail to get adequate care, according to a major new government study. In the once-a-decade report funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that one-quarter of Americans had a psychiatric disorder in the year prior to the survey, and 40% of them sought treatment, up from just 25% who sought treatment in the previous report a decade ago. The report, which is intended to provide a national snapshot of the most commonly occurring mental illnesses, covered conditions ranging from obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder to depression and bipolar disorder. (Rarer conditions such as schizophrenia, which is believed to affect just 1% of the population, weren't included.)
Leila Abboud, "Mental Illness Said to Affect One-Quarter of Americans:  NIH Report Cites Problems With Adequate Treatment; A Debate Over Definitions," The Wall Street Journal,   June 7, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111807563692851889,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Also see http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/106/108372.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_03


Could Rosacea Be Causing Your Skin Problem?

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise ---
http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/22/107727.htm?z=1727_00000_2002_hv_06

Rosacea Causes

Rosacea's Effect on Your Skin

Check Your Symptoms


Updates on diploma mills
Office of Postsecondary Education  --- http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/index.html?src=mr
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill


Bristol-Myers to pay $300 million to settle an accounting scandal
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is expected to pay about $300 million to settle a criminal investigation by the Justice Department into its alleged accounting manipulations from several years ago, people familiar with the situation said. As part of the settlement, longtime board member James D. Robinson III is expected to become chairman, according to a person familiar with the situation. Current Chairman and Chief Executive Peter R. Dolan would retain the CEO title.
Paul Davies et al., "Bristol-Myers Expected to Pay $300 Million to Settle Probe," The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111801100540351254,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
The independent auditing firm of PwC insisted on an earnings restatement for the year 2002.

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


Interactive Human Migration Map --- http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/realeve/interactive/migration.html

Human Migration Simulation
Early humans migrating from Africa carried small genetic differences like so much flotsam in an ocean current. Today’s studies give only a snapshot of where that genetic baggage came to rest without revealing the tides that brought it there. Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have devised a model for pinpointing where mutations first appeared, providing a new way to trace the migratory path of our earliest ancestors. The study was led by Luca Cavalli-Sforza, PhD, emeritus professor of genetics, who has spent most of his career tracking the evolution of modern humans. Much of his current work involves following mutations in the Y chromosome, which is passed exclusively from father to son, as humans migrated from Africa and spread to the rest of the world during the past 50,000 years. These mutations, most of which cause no physical change, tend to appear at a constant rate, providing a genetic timer. For example, if a population has 10 mutations after 50,000 years of evolution from the common ancestor in Africa, then the fifth mutation probably arose 25,000 years ago. But where was the population located at that time? Until now genetics hasn’t had an answer.
"HUMAN MIGRATION TRACKED IN STANFORD COMPUTER SIMULATION," January 21, 2004 --- http://mednews.stanford.edu/releases/2004/january/migration.htm


Insurance, Life Expectancy and the Cost of Firearm Deaths in the U.S.
While the U.S. operates the most expensive health care system in the world, its citizens are neither healthier nor live longer than citizens in other countries. In addition, while the U.S. is considered among the safest countries in the world, deaths from gunshot wounds are staggeringly high. In 2000, the U.S. recorded close to 11,000 firearm homicides. The European Union reported fewer than 1,300 firearm homicides for the same year. In Japan, the number was 22. Jean Lemaire, professor of insurance and actuarial science at Wharton, argues that these facts should be looked at in tandem. In a recent paper, Lemaire works through the medical and financial impact of firearms on American society.
Knowledge@Wharton, June 1-14, 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/
The complete paper is at http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1214


Question:
What has been one of the most massive, if not these most massive, fraud in the history of the U.S.?

Answer:
The attorney/physician rip off on phony asbestos health damage claims. 

"Diagnosing for Dollars A court battle over silicosis shines a harsh light on mass medical screeners—the same people whose diagnoses have cost asbestos defendants billions," by Roger Parloff, Fortune, June 13, 2005, pp. 96-110 --- http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,1066756,00.html

How, then, to account for this: Of 8,629 people diagnosed with silicosis now suing in federal court in Corpus Christi, 5,174—or 60%—are "asbestos retreads," i.e., people who have previously filed claims for asbestos-related disease.

That anomaly turns out to be just one of many in the Corpus Christi case that sorely challenge medical explanation. At a hearing in February, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack characterized the evidence before her as raising "great red flags of fraud," and a federal grand jury in Manhattan is now looking into the situation, according to two people who have been subpoenaed.

The real importance of those proceedings, however, is not what they reveal about possible fraud in silica litigation but what they suggest about a possible fraud of vastly greater dimensions. It's one that may have been afflicting asbestos litigation for almost 20 years, resulting in billions of dollars of payments to claimants who weren't sick and to the attorneys who represented them. Asbestos litigation—the original mass tort—has bankrupted more than 60 companies and is expected to eventually cost defendants and their insurers more than $200 billion, of which $70 billion has already been paid.

The odor around asbestosis diagnosis has been so foul for so long that by 1999, professor Lester Brickman of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law was referring to asbestos litigation as a "massively fraudulent enterprise." At the request of his defamation lawyer, Brickman says, he toned that down to "massive, specious claiming"

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's working paper on the history of fraud in the U.S. is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm


The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) --- http://www.ihmc.us/index.php

The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) was established in 1990 as an interdisciplinary research unit of the University of West Florida. Since that time, IHMC has grown into one of the nation's premier research institutes with more than 115 researchers and staff investigating a broad range of topics related to understanding cognition in both humans and machines with a particular emphasis on building computational tools to leverage and amplify human cognitive and perceptual capacities.

In a broader context, much of the research effort at IHMC is focused on what has become known as human-centered computing. This emerging concept represents a significant shift in thinking about intelligent machines and, indeed, about information technology in general. Human-centered computing embodies a “systems view,” in which human thought and action and technological systems are seen as inextricably linked and equally important aspects of analysis, design, and evaluation. This framework is focused less on stand-alone exemplars of mechanical cognitive talent, and is concerned more with computational aids designed to amplify human cognitive and perceptual abilities. Essentially these are cognitive prostheses, computational systems that leverage and extend human intellectual capacities, just as eyeglasses are a sort of ocular prosthesis. The prostheses metaphor implies the importance of designing systems that fit the human and machine components together in ways that synergistically exploit their respective strengths and mitigate their respective weaknesses.


Financial Aid Rules for College Change, and Families Pay More
Taken together, these changes, some based on overly optimistic predictions of inflation, have required families to count a greater share of their incomes and assets toward college expenses before becoming eligible for financial aid. As a consequence, tens of thousands of low-income students will no longer be eligible for federal grants; middle-class families are digging deeper into their savings; and some colleges are putting up their own money to make up the difference.
Greg Winter, "Financial Aid Rules for College Change, and Families Pay More," The New York Times, June 6, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/06/education/06aid.html?


Whatever Happened to Polio? http://americanhistory.si.edu/polio/


Better blue than red
Those who teach in the elementary schools now are cautioned to use colors other than red when grading papers, because according to these experts students find red marks on papers too stressful. In a recent CBS News report, Joseph Foriska, who is the principal of Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA said "the color is everything." "You could hold up a paper that says 'Great work!' and it won't even matter if it is written in red." Foriska apparently feels that messages written in red on a student's paper come across as somehow derogatory or demeaning. He is not alone in this movement towards a more politically correct hue for grading papers. These days teachers across the country are ditching their red pens in favor of blue or purple tones, which are perceived to be less threatening.
Mark Shapiro, "Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today," The Irascible Professor, June 4, 2005 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-06-04-05.htm


Multimedia Encyclopedia of Chicago History --- http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/
Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History


New public versus private debt?
Have you ever wondered why some firms issue convertible debt privately whereas other firms choose to issue their debt publicly? Well wonder no more! Devrim Yaman has answered at least the majority of our questions in her Bquest article. Information story explains public vs private choice and the answer? Where information asymmetry problems are great, firms choose private placements. Which is what I think we would have suspected, but now we also have some empirical evidence --- http://www.westga.edu/~bquest/2005/choice.pdf
As quoted from Jim Mahar's blog on June 7, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/


Social responsibility investing at TIAA-CREF
TIAA-CREF announced last week that it had created a senior level position to oversee “socially responsible” investing and hired a well-respected official to fill it. The pension giant, which has faced a campaign from some of the academics who participate in its funds to use criteria of social and corporate responsibility to guide more of its investments, hired Amy Muska O’Brien as its director of social investing. She will both oversee the company’s Social Choice Account, which it created in 1990, and promote other kinds of socially conscious investing within TIAA-CREF.
Doug Lederman, "TIAA-CREF Gets Social," Inside Higher Ed, June 8, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/08/tiaa


Learning U.S. history with EASE from Michigan State University --- http://www.easehistory.org/
 

EASE History is a rich learning environment that supports the learning of US history. Over 600 videos and photographs are currently available in EASE History.

EASE History has three entry points: Historical Events, Campaign Ads, and Core Values. Learn about US History through the prism of US presidential campaign ads, better understand the complexities of campaign issues and their historical context by looking at historical events, and explore the meanings of core values by examining how these values have been applied in both historical events and campaign ads. Three learning modes, single and multiple theme searches, and resources support the comparing and contrasting of historical cases. EASE History's goal is to support experience acceleration- to help learners think more like historians.

Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History


June 9, 2005 message from L.J. Urbano - CityTownInfo.com [citytowninfo@citytowninfo.com]

I noticed that your web site links to useful reference resources so I am writing to let you know about a new reference site that may be of interest to you and your site visitors.

CityTownInfo.com ( http://www.citytowninfo.com/  ) is a collection of information on U.S. cities and towns. The site includes almanac-like reference data, property statistics, local weather reports, links to the official city web sites and maps for about 3500 cities. The site also includes a summary article on about 50 major cities.

The site will be continually improved. We have plans for adding info on local schools, airports, libraries, and places of worship over the coming weeks. We’re open to suggestion on other information you might find appropriate for this site.

If you believe that CityTownInfo.com may be valuable to those who visit your web site, then we ask that you consider adding a link from trinity.edu.

I added the above link to the following sites:

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/sanantonio.htm

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Travel




I added the following Tidbits collected by Debbie Bowling

Macromedia to Build Broader Platform
Macromedia Inc. said it is building a broader technology offering around its Web graphics and video software, highlighting the strategy behind the company's recent agreement to be acquired by Adobe Systems Inc. Macromedia, based in San Francisco, is expected to announce new capabilities of its Flash software, a multimedia "player" that is installed on most personal computers, as well as on many mobile phones and other devices. In addition, Macromedia is disclosing details of its expanding Flash "platform," a collection of products that already accounts for more than half of the company's revenue.
Dow Jones Newswires, "Macromedia to Build Broader Platform," The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005; Page B2, http://snipurl.com/macro0606

 

For Morgan Stanley, Difficult Task Lies Ahead
Morgan Stanley's attempt to repair its image got a boost with news that Donald Kempf, the securities firm's embattled general counsel, is retiring. The more difficult task -- finding someone capable of overhauling the division -- lies ahead.

Mr. Kempf's retirement, announced Friday, comes in the wake of a number of regulatory and legal dustups under the 68-year-old general counsel's watch since he arrived from Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 1999. The most recent black eye: a $1.45 billion judgment against Morgan Stanley in a Florida fraud case brought by billionaire financier Ronald Perelman.

Mr. Kempf's exit gives Morgan Stanley the chance to bring in a high-profile outsider. The company is focused on luring a high-level former regulator who could burnish Morgan Stanley's legal reputation. Already, Morgan Stanley in early May hired David Heleniak, a prominent corporate deals lawyer and gave him oversight of the general counsel's office, among other things. Morgan Stanley is expected to name a successor to Mr. Kempf in a matter of weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"Building a different culture is an extraordinarily difficult task and changing one person like Mr. Kempf may be a step in the right direction but it is not a fundamental reform," said Henry Hu, a corporate- and securities-law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Shoring up the legal group is just one of the challenges facing Morgan Stanley and its chief executive, Philip Purcell. Mr. Purcell is under attack from alumni shareholders who are calling for his ouster and a breakup of the company. The rancor followed a top-level management shuffling this year that irked many old and former Morgan Stanley hands.

The tumult at Morgan Stanley has surprised many on Wall Street. For years, Morgan Stanley, one of the world's most highly regarded securities firms, prided itself on stable leadership and orderly management successions. It avoided scandals and regulatory scraps that damaged a number of big rivals in the 1990s, including Salomon Brothers, Prudential Securities Inc. and Kidder Peabody & Co.

Mr. Kempf, a long-time friend of Mr. Purcell, established a hard-nosed legal reputation, reflecting his background as a fierce litigator. It is a style that sometimes didn't serve him on Wall Street, where companies often opt to quietly settle cases rather than fight with regulators.

Along with paying $125 million to settle charges of faulty stock research, Morgan Stanley was stung by regulators for other infractions. In 2002, Morgan Stanley, along with five others, paid regulators $8.25 million for violating rules requiring securities firms to retain emails for three years, in case the messages are needed for investigations or disputes. Last July, it was one of three companies fined $250,000 each for failing to hand over documents in cases involving investor complaints. Not long after, it agreed to pay $2.2 million to regulators for delays in disclosing 1,800 complaints and incidents of misconduct. The company didn't admit or deny wrongdoing in these actions. "Hands down they are the most combative firm on Wall Street," says Miami lawyer Mark Raymond, who has represented numerous investors against the company.

A Morgan Stanley spokesman said the company settled "many more" cases under Mr. Kempf than it has fought.

In recent years, Morgan Stanley has tried to mend fences with legal foes. In 2004, it brought in New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's former lieutenant, Eric Dinallo, to help in that effort.

But it was the Perelman case, more than rocky dealings with regulators, that spelled the end of Mr. Kempf's career. Mr. Perelman's lawsuit, which claimed Morgan Stanley had fraudulently misled him on a deal, was initially considered no more than a nuisance. Early in 2003, the legal department, headed by Mr. Kempf, suggested that the firm consider settling the suit for $20 million despite its view, which the investment banking division shared at the time, that the suit had no merit. On that basis, the investment banking division was reluctant to support a settlement.

In the end, the merits of the case didn't matter. Instead, Morgan Stanley's legal team, under Mr. Kempf, so badly botched the discovery process -- the production of documents important to the case -- that the trial judge became infuriated. The judge entered a default judgment, saying the jury had to assume that Morgan Stanley had defrauded Mr. Perelman when they advised on a deal involving one of Mr. Perelman's companies.

Mr. Kempf, who moved to Florida to deal with the fallout from the Perelman case, had dinner with Mr. Purcell Thursday night in New York to discuss his departure, according to a person familiar with the matter. He expected to stay around until the end of the year to ensure an orderly transition, this person said.
SUSANNE CRAIG, (Ann Davis contributed to this article), "For Morgan Stanley, Difficult Task Lies Ahead," The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/morst0606

 

Life After Donaldson
COMMENTARY

The resignation of SEC Chairman William Donaldson and the nomination of Chris Cox as the new chairman could not come at a more propitious moment. We are also witnessing the imminent departure of influential pro-regulation Commissioner Harvey Goldschmid and the continued presence of the two commissioners who understand that too much, or wrongheaded, regulation can easily impede business efficiency and impoverish investors. Various efforts are now well underway to correct some of the profound errors of recent corporate legal history....continued in article.
HENRY MANNE, "Life After Donaldson," The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005; Page A10, http://snipurl.com/don0606
 

Washington Mutual to Buy Providian for $6.45 Billion
Washington Mutual, the nation's largest savings and loan, announced today that it would buy the Providian Financial Corporation in a $6.45 billion deal that will expand its credit card offerings to highly profitable low- and middle-income customers.

The cash-and-stock transaction is the latest step in Washington Mutual's plans to rapidly expand its branch network outside the Pacific Northwest to more than 2,000 outlets across the country. It should also help expand and diversify its consumer banking offerings. Providian will become Washington Mutual's fourth major business unit and will operate under current management out of its San Francisco headquarters.

Washington Mutual, which is based in Seattle, said it expected the acquisition to add to its earnings within a year once the deal is completed by the end of 2005.

"The transaction provides Providian shareholders financially attractive terms while allowing us to take the card business to the next level," said Joseph Saunders, Providian's chairman and chief executive. "Washington Mutual's size and resources will allow us to operate with a lower cost structure and greater efficiency."

Under the terms of the agreement, Providian stockholders will receive 0.45 Washington Mutual shares for each of their Providian shares, paid 89 percent in stock and 11 percent in cash. Based on Friday's closing price, the implied per-share purchase price is $18.71, the company said.

Providian cardholders should expect no change in their accounts, policies, or payment procedures, the companies said.
ERIC DASH "Washington Mutual to Buy Providian for $6.45 Billion," The New York Times, Published: June 6, 2005, http://snipurl.com/wamu0606

 

Apple Plans to Switch From I.B.M. to Intel for Chips
SAN FRANCISCO, June 5 - Steven P. Jobs is preparing to take an unprecedented gamble by abandoning Apple Computer's 14-year commitment to chips developed by I.B.M. and Motorola in favor of Intel processors for his Macintosh computers, industry executives informed of the decision said Sunday.

The move is a chesslike gambit in a broader industry turf war that pits the traditional personal computer industry against an emerging world of consumer electronics focused on the digital home.

"This is a seismic shift in the world of personal computing and consumer electronics," said Richard Doherty, president of the Envisioneering Group, a Seaford, N.Y., computer and consumer electronics industry consulting firm. "It is bound to rock the industry, but it will also be a phenomenal engineering challenge for Apple."...continued in article.
JOHN MARKOFF and STEVE LOHR "Apple Plans to Switch From I.B.M. to Intel for Chips," The New York Times, June 6, 2005, http://snipurl.com/apt0606

Women Are Keen to Shop Online. Merchants Are Eager to Oblige.
INTERNET merchants are starting to pay more attention to the group chiefly responsible for propping up the industry's growth: women.

While online sales growth has slowed in categories traditionally dominated by male buyers, like computer hardware and software, sales of cosmetics, fragrances, home goods and other items typically aimed at female shoppers have soared.

"We've seen this trend coming for a few years, but now we're actually seeing the numbers come in," said Carrie Johnson, an analyst with Forrester Research and the author of a report on online sales that was issued late last month by Shop.org, an industry trade group.

According to the report, sales of cosmetics and fragrances grew 58 percent last year, while sales of health and beauty products and home goods jumped by more than 33 percent over the previous year. Sales of computer hardware and software grew just 13 percent. Over all, online commerce sales increased 24 percent.

Ms. Johnson and other analysts attribute the trend to the increasing online experience of women, who were slower than men to embrace the Internet but are now increasingly relying on it to buy goods. Additionally, online merchants are developing new features and services for women shoppers that would be difficult to replicate offline.

Take the Lands' End Swim Finder feature, introduced this spring. The service lets women choose swimsuits that "enhance or de-emphasize" certain body areas, allowing a shopper to see a version of the suit on a three-dimensional likeness of her body.

According to Ed Whitehead, the chief marketing officer of Lands' End, which is a division of Sears, the feature demonstrates how online retailers are changing the way they sell to women.

"This channel has always been very transactional," Mr. Whitehead said. "You can go online and check out, but it hasn't given you any kind of experience. We had a few tools like that, but we really didn't talk about them."

Mr. Whitehead said customer research helped the company understand just how much women hate shopping for swimsuits. "It's a horrifying experience," he said, citing problems such as "poorly lit rooms, children or husbands in tow" and a shortage of sales clerks in many stores.

Mr. Whitehead would not quantify how much the Swim Finder service has helped business, saying only that sales are "fantastic right now." Those sales, he added, have been followed by fewer returns and customer service calls than past swimsuit sales, because women are more likely to be satisfied with their purchases.

According to a report released last week by the research and consulting firms ForeSee Results and FGI Research, such online sales features could be making a difference with female shoppers.

The firms surveyed customers of the 40 most popular online retailers and found that on a 100-point scale, women were more satisfied than men with online shopping. Overall satisfaction scores were 85 for women and 80 for men in 2004.

According to Ms. Johnson, of Forrester, that satisfaction level does not extend to an important subset of women - those age 35 and younger. Ms. Johnson said that in a recent Forrester survey, of the 28 percent of North Americans who have not shopped online, those 35 and younger showed some of the strongest resistance to online shopping. Among other things, young women objected to high shipping costs and to waiting for items to be delivered. Also, 23 percent of the group did not have credit or debit cards - more than twice the online average.

Online retailers can ill afford to let young women stray, because women make a vast majority of purchasing decisions once they have families. "Most retailers focus on young men, but they're already sold on online shopping," Ms. Johnson said.

Ms. Johnson said that as retailers seek more efficient ways to sell, they risk losing sight of merchandising elements that women might appreciate. The Web is "not focused enough on the experience of shopping - nothing flashy, just engaging people in a way that makes them feel comfortable, loyal and satisfied," she said.

Felix Carbullido, who oversees Gap.com, said such an effort involved a delicate balance. "We're not walking away from convenience, but we definitely want to capture more of the emotional side of the shopping experience," he said.

To do that, Mr. Carbullido said Gap.com had more aggressively expanded its editorial features, including tips on dressing for various occasions. The site has also enhanced its swimsuit-assistant feature to allow women to see how a suit looks on a model, and from behind. In addition, the site last month upgraded a feature helping women choose the right bra to go with some clothing.

The prevalence of high-speed Internet connections also helps the site market to women more effectively, Mr. Carbullido said, because it can offer things like music downloads. In a recently completed promotion, Gap.com visitors could download a free song from the singer Joss Stone - a promotion that was particularly successful with the site's younger users.

For Amazon.com, whose practices are closely watched and often imitated, an emotionally engaging shopping experience is, simply enough, one that is convenient and cheap.

Among the site's most recent additions are categories aimed at women shoppers, like gourmet food and wedding merchandise. Ms. Johnson, of Forrester, pointed to the wedding category, in particular, as a departure for Amazon, in that it is rife with editorial features, video and photography aimed at appealing to women shoppers.

But according to Kathy Savitt, a vice president at Amazon, the wedding section is different from other Amazon categories because its users require more coaching about how to outfit a household, for instance, than other users, and not because the site is shifting its philosophy on how to reach women.

"We've tried to appeal to things we think both men and women like, which are low prices, convenience and selection," Ms. Savitt said. "Those are very gender-agnostic marketing points. Women prefer low prices and great selection over marketing gimmicks any day."
BOB TEDESCHI  (E-Commerce Report), "Women Are Keen to Shop Online. Merchants Are Eager to Oblige," The New York Times, June 6, 2005, http://snipurl.com/wmnsh0606
 

US couple fights Red Sea pirates (Yemeni pirates successfully routed by middle-aged couple)
An American couple who fought off Yemenite pirates during a Red Sea crossing in March swaggered into Ashkelon this weekend bearing the story of their daring escape on the high seas.

Joseph L. Barry III's and Carol Martini's journey on their private yacht began in 1999 from their quiet, north Boston suburb. But the couple's swashbuckling skills were put to the test when they and another American couple found themselves the victims of modern-day pirates.

Over the past seven years, the Red Sea crossing has become dangerous for private boats. Yemenite pirates found they could loot and pillage the luxury yachts to their hearts content, due to a lax Coast Guard presence in the area, say Israeli authorities.

According to what the couple told Israeli authorities on their arrival here, Barry and Martini had teamed up with another American couple to make the trip across the Red Sea. On the evening of March 6, the couples were making their way toward the coast of Yemen. It was sunset when they approached two small, wooden fishing ships commonly used in the area. Suddenly men with guns sprung up from the boats and began firing at them....continued in article.
Sheera Claire Frankel, "US couple fights Red Sea pirates (Yemeni pirates successfully routed by middle-aged couple)," Free Republic, Posted on 06/06/2005 6:45:33 AM PDT by ToveL, http://snipurl.com/pirat0606
 

Choices at Harvard
This weekend saw signs of change at Harvard University — and evidence for why the president may well survive the controversy over his statements about women and science.

On Friday, the university named Theda Skocpol as the next dean of its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, is a notable choice for several reasons. She has been a harsh critic of Lawrence H. Summers, the university’s president, on a number of issues, including his management style and Harvard’s treatment of women. And Skocpol is one of the few Harvard professors ever to win tenure and prominence at the university after first being denied tenure and having to go through a messy and sometimes public grievance process.

If Skocpol’s appointment is a sign that Harvard’s leaders are reaching out to faculty critics, Summers also received welcome news Saturday with the release of a poll of Harvard alumni indicating that most want him to stay on as president — even if they disagree with what he said about women....continued in article.
Scott Jaschik, "Choices at Harvard," Inside Higher Ed, June 6, 2005, http://snipurl.com/chhar0606


J&J's New Device For Spine Surgery Raises Questions
Artificial Disk Aims to Help Body's Natural Movement; Some See Risk if It Slips
'Big Money Riding on This'

It sounds like an excellent answer for persistent back pain: an artificial disk, placed between the bones of the spine, that helps the body move naturally. After decades of research by doctors, Johnson & Johnson became the first to market an artificial disk in the U.S. last October, and surgeons are flocking to a J&J training center in Cincinnati to learn how to implant it.

Now a vigorous debate has emerged among doctors about the durability of the J&J device and its effectiveness compared with older "fusion" surgery, in which the bones of the spine are fused together. Some surgeons are predicting that a wave of patients will suffer complications over the next 10 to 15 years and need to have the device, called Charité, removed. That's particularly worrisome because the surgery to take it out can be dangerous -- more so, they say, than the repairs when fusion surgery goes wrong....continued in article.
RHONDA L. RUNDLE and SCOTT HENSLEY, "J&J's New Device For Spine Surgery Raises Questions," The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2005; Page A1, http://snipurl.com/jj0607

 

Life on the Go Means Eating on the Run, And a Lot of Spilling
For Detergent Makers, Food In Car Is a Perfect Storm For New Stain Removers
On weekday mornings, Julie Formwalt piles into the car with her two kids, Megan, 4 years old, and Luke, 16 months. She hands them some breakfast, usually a muffin, a Pop-Tart or a banana. Then she drops them off at day care and rushes to her job as a real-estate lawyer in Kansas City, Mo.

There, she often pays a price for all that convenient on-the-go food she has given little Luke. "The crumbs and jelly on his hands end up on my shoulder, and sometimes I don't even notice it until I'm at the office," she says.

A nation of snackers has become a nation of stainers. Americans are eating more and more of their meals outside the home, often while they're doing something else. The food industry has adapted to -- and helped create -- these new eating habits. One-handed snacks, like Yoplait's Go-Gurt and Campbell's Soup at Hand have given more choices to people eating in the car, at soccer practice and on the way to work. They have also created new ways to make a mess -- and new ways of coping, both homespun and commercial.

Resourceful consumers have adopted stain-avoidance tactics. To keep up with her hectic schedule, Ann Keeling, a public-relations executive in Cincinnati, occasionally eats in the car. To avoid dropping food on her clothes, she keeps a towel under the seat that she can throw across her lap to protect her suits. If she does get a stain on the way to a meeting, she puts some water on the towel and blots.

Thom McKee, a real-estate developer in Marriottsville, Md., has been more careful after one bad experience in which he showed up for a job interview with dried egg yolk on his tie. He had tried to eat an Egg McMuffin in the car on the way. He dabbed the stain with a napkin, but it didn't come out. Though he was offered the job anyway, "it made the whole thing a lot more stressful, and I ruined my tie."...continued in article.
SARAH ELLISON, "Life on the Go Means Eating on the Run, And a Lot of Spilling," The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2005; Page A1, http://snipurl.com/spill0607

 

A Better Robot, With Help From Roaches
Garnet Hertz, a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine has given a roach a car.

The idea, he says, is to take a novel approach to the problem of robotic navigation. In the past, robots have not been particularly adroit; getting from Point A to Point B can be arduous, and navigation systems cumbersome and complex.

Mr. Hertz, a Fulbright scholar from Canada, was inspired by robotics pioneers like Rodney Brooks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have suggested that robot intelligence should resemble that of roaches and other insects that react quickly and instinctively to their environment.

Mr. Hertz said the project extended work in biological mimicry, but added: "It's a little bit of a joke. It's meant to say, 'If all this bio-inspired stuff is so great, why don't you just use the biology and cut to the chase?' "

He uses the Madagascar hissing cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa, which can grow as big as a mouse. In the summer of 2004, he built a three-wheeled cart that rises about knee high. Atop the aluminum structure sits a modified computer trackball pointer, with a Ping-Pong ball in place of the usual trackball, which is heavier.

The roach - he currently maintains a stable of four - rides on top of the trackball. As it scampers, the robot moves in the direction the roach would travel if it were on the ground; a Velcro patch and harness keep it in place.

Mr. Hertz also made use of the fact that roaches don't like light - something easily confirmed by turning on the kitchen light at 2 a.m. In the device, the insect is enclosed by a semicircle of lights. Individual lights turn on when the device approaches nearby objects; in theory, the roach, in trying to avoid light, avoids the obstacles, as well.

But biology is less predictable than technology. Sometimes a roach appears perfectly happy to sit motionless on the ball for minutes at a time. Some roaches ignore the lights. And once in a while some of them, he believes, seem to enjoy bumping the cart into walls.

Mr. Hertz orders his roaches online and feeds them organic lettuce and canned dog food.

It is not the first time that an artist has combined the biological with the mechanical. But Mr. Hertz's roaches seem to have an eerie appeal, and they have become geek heroes. He has displayed the roachmobile at technology conferences, and his roaches have been written up in a new do-it-yourself tech magazine, Make.

He said that Robo-roach was conceived as a project for his master's in fine arts thesis. He calls it "dialogical," a term for works created to spark discussion.

In an unpublished essay, Mr. Hertz said he hoped the project would inspire "discussion about the biological versus computational, fears about technology and nature, a future filled with biohybrid robots, and a recollection of the narrative of the cyborg."

As opposed to, simply, "Eeew."
JOHN SCHWARTZ "A Better Robot, With Help From Roaches," The New York Times, June 7, 2005, http://snipurl.com/roborch0607

 

Microsoft Ordered to Pay Inventor $8.9 Million in Patent Case
Microsoft was told by a jury to pay a Guatemalan inventor $8.96 million for infringing a patent that links its Access and Excel programs through a single spreadsheet.

The jury, in United States District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., ruled that Microsoft had used technology patented by Carlos Amado in some versions of Access, said Vincent Belusko, a lawyer for Mr. Amado.

A Microsoft spokeswoman, Stacy Drake, said the company was reviewing the verdict and considering an appeal.

"While today's verdict is disappointing, we are pleased that the jury rejected Mr. Amado's large damage claims," Ms. Drake said. "We continue to contend there was no infringement of any kind."

The verdict covers damages from March 1997 through July 31, 2003, Mr. Belusko said. Judge David Carter will next determine whether Microsoft owes further damages from Aug. 1, 2003, to the present. Mr. Amado had sought as much as $400 million.

Mr. Amado developed the program in 1990 and approached Microsoft to sell the technology to the company in 1992. Microsoft declined, and in 1995 came out with the application in its software programs, Mr. Belusko said.
By BLOOMBERG NEWS, "Microsoft Ordered to Pay Inventor $8.9 Million in Patent Case," The New York Times, http://snipurl.com/ptcse0607

 

Stalking a Killer That Lurks a Few Feet Offshore
When people think about natural hazards, they usually think about tornadoes or hurricanes or earthquakes. But there is another natural hazard that takes more lives in an average year in the United States than any of those - rip currents.

Each year in American waters, rip currents pull about 100 panicked swimmers to their deaths. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, lifeguards pull out at least 70,000 Americans from the surf each year, 80 percent from rip currents....continued in article.
CORNELIA DEAN "Stalking a Killer That Lurks a Few Feet Offshore," The New York Times, http://snipurl.com/tides0607

 

Al Gore Receives Webby Award for Lifetime Achievement
Webby winners last night included Tyler Morgan, 19, of Amarillo, Tex. for best personal Web site and former Vice President Al Gore, who may not have invented the Internet but did receive a lifetime achievement award.

Five Words of Wisdom Each From the Web's Winning Sites

One of the more charming idiosyncrasies of the Webby Awards, the annual awards for achievement in Web creation, is that recipients get five words, and five words only, to make their acceptance speeches.

So after a night full of award innuendos and one-line haiku at Gotham Hall in Manhattan, the 550 people in attendance were wondering how Al Gore, the former vice president, would respond to his lifetime achievement award.

He did not disappoint.

"Please don't recount this vote," he said. The place went nuts....continued in article.
DAVID CARR "Al Gore Receives Webby Award for Lifetime Achievement," Published: June 7, 2005, http://snipurl.com/alg0607

 

Some Immigrants Are Offering Social Security Numbers for Rent
TLALCHAPA, Mexico - Gerardo Luviano is looking for somebody to rent his Social Security number.

Mr. Luviano, 39, obtained legal residence in the United States almost 20 years ago. But these days, back in Mexico, teaching beekeeping at the local high school in this hot, dusty town in the southwestern part of the country, Mr. Luviano is not using his Social Security number. So he is looking for an illegal immigrant in the United States to use it for him - providing a little cash along the way.

"I've almost managed to contact somebody to lend my number to," Mr. Luviano said. "My brother in California has a friend who has crops and has people that need one."

Mr. Luviano's pending transaction is merely a blip in a shadowy yet vibrant underground market. Virtually undetected by American authorities, operating below the radar in immigrant communities from coast to coast, a secondary trade in identities has emerged straddling both sides of the Mexico-United States border....continued in article.
EDUARDO PORTER "Some Immigrants Are Offering Social Security Numbers for Rent," The New York Times, June 7, 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/07/business/07immigrant.html

 

Johnson's Watergate (NRO)
Interesting read I thought we'd all enjoy. LBJ makes Nixon look like a saint. Johnson’s “Watergate” LBJ vs. Goldwater. By Lee Edwards
 

It was a political scandal of unprecedented proportions: the deliberate, systematic, and illegal misuse of the FBI and the CIA by the White House in a presidential campaign. The massive black-bag operations, bordering on the unconstitutional and therefore calling for impeachment, were personally approved by the president. They included planting a CIA spy in his opponent's campaign committee, wiretaps on his opponent's top political aides, illegal FBI checks, and the bugging of his opponent's campaign airplane.

The president? Lyndon B. Johnson. The target? Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate....continued in article.
slowhand520 "Johnson's Watergate," Free Republic, June 7, 2005, http://snipurl.com/joh0607

 

Pitt Drops Sponsorship of Semester at Sea
The University of Pittsburgh dropped its sponsorship of the Semester at Sea program, citing concerns about safety months after startled students were tossed around by a huge wave in the Pacific.

The nonprofit Institute for Shipboard Education, which operates the program, responded with a lawsuit against the university Friday, saying the pullout violates Pitt's contract and may cause irreparable harm to the floating, study-abroad program.

In January, a 50-foot wave temporarily disabled a Semester at Sea ship, injuring two crew members and tossing hundreds of people around. The ship, the Explorer, had 990 people aboard, including nearly 700 students. It later limped into Honolulu Harbor for repairs...continued in article.
Associated Press, "Pitt Drops Sponsorship of Semester at Sea," ABC News, June 7, 2005, http://snipurl.com/sas0607


Toshiba Develops Recordable High-Def DVDs
Toshiba Says It Has Developed the Technology to Mass-Produce Recordable High-Definition DVDs
Japan's Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday that it has developed the technology to mass-produce recordable high-definition DVDs.

The advance is the latest step in a heated global race to establish a world standard for the next-generation of optical disks, which are expected to offer sharper images than current DVDs.

Toshiba said the new technology, developed jointly with Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co. and Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories Inc., will enable the manufacture of single-recording HD-DVD disks with 15-gigabyte storage capacity.

Disc manufacturers, currently producing recordable DVD disks, will only have to make minor modifications to be able to produce the new higher-definition kind, Toshiba said.

Optical disc makers Hitachi Maxell Ltd. and Mitsubishi Kagaku said they will market the new HD-DVD-R discs next spring, when Toshiba plans to launch HD-DVD recorders.

In the battle for a high-definition successor to DVDs, there are two technologies competing to become the world standard.

Toshiba leads a group that backs the HD-DVD format, while Sony Corp. leads a rival group promoting the Blu-ray Disc format.

Blu-ray have more capacity with 50 gigabytes compared to 30 gigabytes for HD-DVD read-only disks, but proponents of HD-DVD say their format is cheaper to make because the production method is similar to current DVDs.
The Associated Press, "Toshiba Develops Recordable High-Def DVDs," ABC News, June 8, 2005, http://snipurl.com/hidef0608

 

After Huge Wave, University Withdraws From Semester at Sea
The University of Pittsburgh dropped its sponsorship of the Semester at Sea program, citing concerns about safety, months after students were tossed around by a huge wave in the Pacific Ocean.

The nonprofit Institute for Shipboard Education, which operates the program, responded with a suit against the university, saying the pullout violates the school's contract and may cause irreparable harm to the study-abroad program.

In January, a 50-foot wave temporarily disabled the Semester at Sea ship Explorer, injuring two crew members and tossing hundreds of people around. The ship had 990 people aboard, including nearly 700 students. It later limped into Honolulu Harbor for repairs.

In a letter to John Tymitz, the institute's chief executive, University of Pittsburgh Provost James Maher named several factors, including unresolved issues regarding the deaths of five participants in a bus accident during an India trip in 1996.

Mr. Maher also wrote that the university was concerned with the ship used in the winter voyage and the program's decision to visit Kenya this year despite a State Department travel advisory.

"We found ourselves in the position of a frustrated spouse who has tried to keep the marriage going but in the end has to accept that it's over," university spokesman Robert Hill said.

Mr. Tymitz didn't immediately return a call for comment yesterday.

Students from hundreds of colleges attend Semester at Sea, but the program has been sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh for more than 20 years, and the Institute for Shipboard Education is based there.

The program was founded in California in 1963 as the University of the Seven Seas.
Copyright © 2005 Associated Press, "After Huge Wave, University Withdraws From Semester at Sea," The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2005; Page D12, http://snipurl.com/wave0608

 

Student discovers calculator flaw
Calculators recalled by Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments is replacing thousands of calculators issued to students in Virginia after a sixth-grader discovered that pressing a certain two keys converts decimals into fractions.

That would have given students an unfair advantage on Virginia's standardized tests, which require youngsters to know how to make such conversions with pencil and paper.

At the request of the state education department two years ago, Texas Instruments had disabled the decimal-to-fraction key and left it blank on calculators intended for middle school students.

But in January, Dakota Brown, a 12-year-old at Carver Middle School in suburban Richmond's Chesterfield County, figured out that by pressing two other keys on his state-approved TI-30 Xa SE VA, he could change decimals into fractions anyway.

"His fellow students were so proud of him and congratulatory. They thought it was really, really cool. They didn't call him a nerd or anything," said Michael Bolling, a school official in Chesterfield County. The county had more than 11,000 of the calculators recalled.

Texas Instruments recalled the calculators and is replacing them. TI had no immediate comment Tuesday.

Initial estimates the company provided the state indicated 160,000 calculators were to be replaced, but the exact number is unclear, education department officials said,

Calls to the boy's school and his parents to arrange an interview with the youngster were not immediately returned. But Chesterfield County school officials held a low-key ceremony to honor him, and Texas Instruments sent him a graphing calculator, "which he loved," said Lois Williams, the state administrator in charge of middle-school math.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. "Student discovers calculator flaw," CNN.com, June 8, 2005, http://snipurl.com/calc0608

 


Airliner dodges driver at Cyprus airport
Cyprus international airport operations were disrupted when a man drove a car under parked planes and forced a taxiing airliner to change course to avoid a collision, authorities said.

A chase to catch the driver, identified as a 30-year-old Greek, disrupted airport traffic on Wednesday night.

Control tower workers raised the alarm after seeing a car speeding under parked aircraft at Larnaca airport on Cyprus's southeast coast.

A Cyprus Airways jet which had just landed had to change course to avoid collision. "The car was heading straight for us," the pilot said.

The man was being questioned by police, who suspect he was fleeing after being caught taking biscuits from a nearby bakery.
Reuters, "Airliner dodges driver at Cyprus airport," IWon News, June 9, 2005, http://snipurl.com/alcr0609

 

You Don't Bother Me, Black Fly, Say Fans Of 'Jaws on Wings'
They have been called "winged assassins," "kamikaze wretches" and "jaws on wings." Their bites can cause bloody welts, violent allergies, and fever with swollen lymph nodes, nausea and vomiting.

But in this Vermont village of about 400, black flies are a cause for celebration. Adamant's annual Black Fly Festival, held in early May in anticipation of the bugs' emergence, featured antenna-wearing children, a poet reading his verse about a "Taoist mountain recluse" smashing "the little black fly into the hairs on his dirty brown arm," and a "black-fly pie" baking contest. The winning entry had blood-red strawberry filling, a fly-mimicking sprinkling of chocolate chips, and pink sauce that looked like calamine lotion....continued in article.
RACHEL ZIMMERMAN, "You Don't Bother Me, Black Fly, Say Fans Of 'Jaws on Wings'," The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2005; Page A1, http://snipurl.com/blkfly0609

 

Grant Thornton Battles Its Image
No. 5 Accounting Firm Struggles To Attract Major Audit Clients, Despite Misfortunes of Big Four
For the 373 partners of Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S.'s No. 5 accounting firm by revenue, these should be heady times. Revenue climbed about 30% last year to $635 million, and the firm picked up more than 1,000 new clients.

Only one thing is missing: large, publicly held audit clients. For 2004, Grant Thornton served as the independent auditor for just one Fortune 500 company, W.W. Grainger Inc. That's down from two during 2003, before Countrywide Financial Corp. switched to KPMG LLP, the smallest of the Big Four with $4.1 billion of revenue. Then, in March, Grant Thornton Chief Executive Officer Ed Nusbaum got the bad news. Grainger was switching to Ernst & Young LLP....continued in article.
DIYA GULLAPALLI, "Grant Thornton Battles Its Image," The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/grnt0609

 

The Scramble to Protect Personal Data
Perhaps more than most corporations, Citigroup knows the perils of moving personal data.

In February last year, a magnetic tape with information on about 120,000 Japanese customers of its Citibank division disappeared while being shipped by truck from a data management center in Singapore. The tape held names, addresses, account numbers and balances. It has never turned up.

And this week the company revealed that it had happened again - this time the loss of an entire box of tapes in the care of the United Parcel Service, with personal information on nearly four million American customers....continued in article.
TOM ZELLER Jr., "The Scramble to Protect Personal Data," The New York Times, June 9, 2005, http://snipurl.com/prtdta0609

 

Another One Bites the Dust
Wayne State University’s Board of Governor’s voted unanimously Wednesday to close the College of Urban, Labor and Metroplitan Affairs — a move that critics say symbolizes a national trend of universities disengaging from low-income students.

The University of Minnesota is expected later this week to vote eliminate a college that helps non-traditional students. And other urban institutions, like Temple University and the University of Cincinnati, have recently raised admissions standards that were once quite welcoming to students in local areas...continued in article.
David Epstein "Another One Bites the Dust," Inside Higher Ed, June 9, 2005, http://snipurl.com/dst0609

 




Bob Jensen's June 14, 2005 Tidbits

Music: White Mountains --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/whitemtn.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Fly over the earth:  Choose your location
Forwarded by Paula

TerraFly http://terrafly.fiu.edu/ 

TerraFly changes the way you view your world. Simply enter an address, and our system will put you at the controls of a bird's view aerial imagery to explore your digital earth.


Milton Friedman at Age 92
Friedman calls Social Security, created by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, a Ponzi game
"Friedman's 'heresy' hits mainstream Private Social Security accounts were his idea," by Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle, June 5, 2005 --- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/06/05/ING9QD1E5Q1.DTL

San Francisco seems an unlikely home for the man who in 1962 first proposed the privatization of Social Security.

Asked why he dwells in liberalism's den, Milton Friedman, 92, the Nobel laureate economist and father of modern conservatism, didn't skip a beat.

"Not much competition here," he quipped.

"The people I see in the Safeway don't go around yelling, 'I'm a left wing Democrat,' even if they are," he said. "This is a very nice city to live in."

Living atop Nob Hill for the past 28 years with his wife and collaborator, Rose, who fell in love with the city as a young woman, Friedman is considered perhaps the most influential economist since John Maynard Keynes.

Keynes, the British economist whose ideas propelled the New Deal, was to Republicans what Friedman, son of poor Jewish Brooklyn immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is to Democrats: a font of heresy.

It was Friedman who in 1962, with the publication of "Capitalism and Freedom," first proposed the abolition of Social Security, not because it was going bankrupt, but because he considered it immoral.

"We may wish to help poor people," he wrote. "Is there any justification for helping people whether they are poor or not because they happen to be a certain age?"

President Bush's proposal to incorporate private accounts in the giant retirement program is easily traced to Friedman.

"He's the originator of it and all the discussion can be traced back to him," said the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner, a leading advocate of partial privatization.

"I've always been opposed to Social Security," Friedman said in a recent interview at his home in San Francisco. "I think it's a very unethical program. "

Friedman's work clearly influenced Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, now the chief intellectual force behind privatization, said Thomas Saving, a recent Social Security trustee. Feldstein, often mentioned as a likely candidate to replace Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, cites Friedman in his article on the subject in the American Economic Review.

"He's the guy who got people asking the question," Saving said, "because at the time it was a question you couldn't ask."

The late Arizona Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater, whom Friedman advised, found that out in 1964 when he suggested during his presidential campaign that Social Security be made voluntary.

Goldwater was pilloried, not only by editorial pages but his own party. He lost in a landslide to Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, who went on to create Medicare, the big health care program for the elderly, in 1965.

Friedman calls Social Security, created by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, a Ponzi game.

Charles Ponzi was the 1920s Boston swindler who collected money from "investors" to whom he paid out large "profits" from the proceeds of later investors. The scheme inevitably collapses when there are not enough new entrants to pay earlier ones.

That Social Security operates on a similar basis is not really in dispute. Paul Samuelson, who won his Nobel Prize in economics six years before Friedman and shared a Newsweek column with him in the 1960s, called Social Security "a Ponzi scheme that works."

"The beauty about social insurance is that it is actuarially unsound," Samuelson wrote in an oft-quoted 1967 column. "Everyone who reaches retirement age is given benefit privileges that far exceed anything he has paid in ... A growing nation is the greatest Ponzi game ever contrived."

Today, 38 years after Samuelson wrote this, the number of people collecting benefits is about to rise steeply as Baby Boomers retire, reversing the flow of the system's finances. And it is Friedman's intellectual framework that now reigns at the White House.

"Everybody goes around talking about the problems created by the declining number of workers per retiree," he said. "How come life insurance companies aren't in any problem?"

The question is quintessential Friedman: simple, accessible and formidable.

Life insurance companies take premium payments and invest them in factories and buildings and other income-producing assets, Friedman said. These accumulate in a growing fund that can then pay benefits. Social Security, by contrast, operates pay-as-you-go, collecting payroll taxes from workers that immediately go to pay retirees.

The biggest misconception about the program, he argues, is that workers believe it works like insurance, with the government depositing taxes in a trust fund.

"I've always thought it disgraceful that the government should be essentially lying about what it was doing," he said.

"How did you ever get the Democrats, who supposedly were in favor of progressive taxation, to pass a tax that is biased against low-income people - - which is on income up to a maximum and no more?" he asked, referring to the $90,000 ceiling on which Social Security taxes are levied. "Only by clothing it in this idea that it's not really a tax, it's an insurance payment."

Asked why, if Social Security is so terrible, it is the most popular government program in American history, Friedman replied, "Well, because why does a Ponzi game work? It's easy to understand why it's popular. So far, on the average, retirees have gotten more out of the system than they put into it. "

What about the fact that Social Security has reduced poverty among the elderly?

"Well," he replied, "what it has done is transfer a lot of income from the young to the old. It is certainly true it has made the old people of the United States the best treated old people in the world."

But why is that a bad thing? "Oh," he replied. "It's not a bad thing for them, but what about the young?"

Friedman supported Bush's first-term candidacy, but he is more accurately libertarian than conservative and not a reliable Bush ally.

Progress in his goal of rolling back the role of government, he said, is "being greatly threatened, unfortunately, by this notion that the U.S. has a mission to promote democracy around the world," a big Bush objective.

"War is a friend of the state," Friedman said. It is always expensive, requiring higher taxes, and, "In time of war, government will take powers and do things that it would not ordinarily do."

He also said it was no coincidence that budget surpluses appeared during the Clinton administration, when a Democratic president faced a Republican Congress.

"There were no big spending programs during the Clinton administration," he said. "As a result, government spending tended to stay down, the economy grew like mad, taxes went up, spending did not, and lo and behold, the deficit was turned into a surplus."

The problem now, he said, is that Republicans control both ends of Washington.

"There's no question if we're holding down spending, a Democratic president and a Republican House and Senate is the proper combination."

He calls himself an innate optimist, despite the unpopularity of many of his ideas.

When he moved to San Francisco in the 1970s, the city was debating rent control, he recalled. So he wrote a letter to The Chronicle saying, "Anybody who has examined the evidence about the effects of rent control, and still votes for it, is either a knave or a fool."

What happened? "They immediately passed it," he laughed.


Microsoft CEO Warns of Internet Dangers
Computer users, beware. The head of the world's largest software company worries that consumers who make Internet purchases have become too complacent about the risks of financial fraud and stolen identity. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with The Associated Press that a calm period without significant Internet attacks has lulled computer users, even older Web surfers who traditionally have been more anxious than teenagers about their online safety.
Ted Bridis, "Microsoft CEO Warns of Internet Dangers," The Washington Post, June 10, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/09/AR2005060901362.html?referrer=email


Temples in Europe preceded those in Egypt by 2,000 years
More than 150 large temples, constructed between 4800 BCE and 4600 BCE, have been unearthed in fields and cities in Germany, Austria and Slovakia, predating the pyramids in Egypt by about 2000 years, the newspaper revealed on Friday.
"Europe's oldest civilisation is found," Aljazeera, June 11, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D005B986-02DF-4D20-8846-C9CD580710FD.htm 

 


"Modelling the brain:  Grey matter, blue matter," The Economist, June 9, 2005 --- http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=4054975

In a real brain, a neocortical column is a cylindrical element about a third of a millimetre in diameter and three millimetres long, containing some 10,000 nerve cells. It is these columns, arranged side by side like the cells of a honeycomb, which make up the famous “grey matter” that has become a shorthand for human intelligence. The Blue Gene/L supercomputer that will be used for the simulation consists of enough independent processors for each to be programmed to emulate an individual nerve cell in a column.

The EPFL's contribution to the Blue Brain Project, as it has inevitably been dubbed, will be to create a digital description of how the columns behave. Its Brain Mind Institute has what is generally regarded as the world's most extensive set of data on the machinations of the neocortex—the columns' natural habitat and the part of the brain responsible for learning, memory, language and complex thought. This database will provide the raw material for the simulation. Biologists and computer scientists will then collaborate to connect the artificial nerve cells up in a way that mimics nature. They will do so by assigning electrical properties to them, and telling them how to communicate with each other and how they should modify their connections with one another depending on their activity.

That will be no mean feat. Even a single nerve cell is complicated, not least because each one has about 10,000 connections with others. And nerve cells come in great variety—relying, for example, on different chemical transmitters to carry messages across those connections. Eventually, however, a digital representation of an entire column should emerge.

Continued in article


An evolutionary speculation on why men kill and abuse
Reply to a negative book review by David M. Buss Professor, Head Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology Department of Psychology University of Texas Austin, Texas
Contrary to Ms. Begley's assertions, the book in no way seeks "a 'scientific' validation for killing women." Rather, the book proposes an evolution-based theory of why people kill in a variety of circumstances, including to prevent being killed, to protect one's family from injury, rape or death, to eliminate a sexual rival, to secure sexual access to a competitor's mate and to prevent an interloper from poaching on one's own mate. The book's theory is based on sound evolutionary biology, anchored in the clear logic of reproductive competition. Adaptations for within-species killing exist in hundreds of other species, and there is no reason to believe that humans are exempt.
"Murder Most Foul . . . and Evolutionary," The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2005; Page A9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111837187163756230,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

The controversial book by David M. Bass is entitled The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill by David Buss --- http://www.socioweb.com/sociology-books/book/1594200432/

The book has a negative review by Sharon Begley ("Science Journal: Theory Men Are Wired to Kill Straying Mates Is Offensive and Wrong," Marketplace, May 20)


Murdering Women For "Honor"
Today we are witnessing the globalization of honor killing, as the West has become the perpetual scene of immigrant Arab women being murdered by their immigrant families. A distinguished panel joins us today to discuss what causes this violence against women, how it is directly connected to the terror war, and why the Western Left is so deafeningly silent about a mass crime that violates one of its supposed sacred values . . .
Jamie Glazov, "Symposium: Murdering Women For 'Honor'," FrontPageMagazine.com, June 10, 2005 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18370


It's becoming a Wiki World:  Write and re-write editorials in the LA Times
This week, the newspaper, will introduce an online feature called "wikitorials," as a way for readers to engage in an online dialogue with the paper. The model is based on "Wikipedia," the Web's free-content encyclopedia that is edited by online contributors. "We'll have some editorials where you can go online and edit an editorial to your satisfaction," Mr. Martinez said. "We are going to do that with selected editorials initially. We don't know how this is going to turn out. It's all about finding new ways to allow readers to interact with us in the age of the Web."
Alicia C. Shepard, "Upheaval on Los Angeles Times Editorial Pages," The New York Times, June 13, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/13/business/media/13lat.html

By ALICIA C. SHEPARD Published: June 13, 2005

 


Tech trivia from The Washington Post, June 13, 2005

Internet media company Yahoo will quit charging fees for which service on its U.S. site?

A. Auctions
B. Maps
C. Personal Ads
D. Webmail
 


Spotted: a new trend called plagio-riffing
Students are growing lazier about the whole process of copying, not even bothering to change fonts in a cut-and-paste excerpt or otherwise disguise their tracks. When asked why he inserted an entire page printed in Black Forest Gothic in a paper written in Courier, a student in freshman composition expressed surprise: “If you start changing things, that’s cheating, right?” The path of least resistance continues, often refreshingly low-tech. A Psychology 200 instructor reported a student handing in a Xerox of an article with the author’s name whited out and her own inserted. “I did the best I could,” confessed the student. “I didn’t have my laptop with me, and I was in a hurry.” . . . Spotted: a new trend called plagio-riffing, where students get together and mix and match five or more papers into one by sampling and lifting choice paragraphs to the beat of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” (plagiarized from “He’s So Fine”).
David Galef, "Report from the Academic Committee on Plagiarism," Inside Higher Ed, June 10, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/06/10/galef

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


Designed by real scientists
The National Academies' new website for educators is intended to help hinder religious activists who want U.S. schools to downplay Darwin.
Amit Asaravala, "Group Creates Pro-Evolution Site," Wired News, June 10, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,67813,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6
The site is at http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/


Business schools put their SOX on
Of course, not everyone has been so happy with Sarbanes-Oxley. Companies have complained that they have spent millions of dollars meeting the law's requirements. In March, Financial Executives International, a trade association for chief financial officers and other executives, estimated that the legislation cost big companies an average of $4.36 million, a 39 percent increase from the group's previous estimate in July 2004. The trade association's voluntary survey included 217 companies with average revenue of $5 billion a year. But there is a swath of the Washington area economy that has benefited from the new law. They include business schools, such as George Mason University's, which has revamped its curriculum and seen student interest in accounting courses increase, as well as software and service companies like Approva and Consul.
Elissa Silverman, "Reining In Risk Turns Into Big Business:  Sarbanes-Oxley Creates Winners," The Washington Post, June 13, 2005; Page D01 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/12/AR2005061201010.html?referrer=email 

 


For the love of research
SRI is known in Silicon Valley mostly as the birthplace of the mouse -- as far as it's known at all. Most people don't know that SRI International also developed the first system to electronically sort checks. It created the first fax machine. And it has been responsible for major innovations in everything from less invasive surgery to robotics. The history of the venerable Silicon Valley research institute has been captured in a book called ``A Heritage of Innovation: SRI's First Half Century,'' just published by SRI. Written by former computer science researcher Don Nielson, the book describes many of the accomplishments -- and some of the challenges -- of the former Stanford Research Institute, one of the last remaining pure research organizations in the United States.
Therese Poletti, "For the love of research:   EX-SRI COMPUTER SCIENTIST TELLS STORY OF LOW-PROFILE INSTITUTE, Mercury News, June 9, 2005 --- http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/local/11853303.htm


He who Laffers last, laughs last
"Real Tax Cuts Have Curves," by Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2005; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111862100030657555,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Now we have overpowering confirming evidence from the Bush tax cuts of May 2003. The jewel of the Bush economic plan was the reduction in tax rates on dividends from 39.6% to 15% and on capital gains from 20% to 15%. These sharp cuts in the double tax on capital investment were intended to reverse the 2000-01 stock market crash, which had liquidated some $6 trillion in American household wealth, and to inspire a revival in business capital investment, which had also collapsed during the recession. The tax cuts were narrowly enacted despite the usual indignant primal screams from the greed and envy lobby about "tax cuts for the super rich."

Last week the Congressional Budget Office released its latest report on tax revenue collections. The numbers are an eye-popping vindication of the Laffer Curve and the Bush tax cut's real economic value. Federal tax revenues have surged in the first eight months of this fiscal year by $187 billion. This represents a 15.4% rise in federal tax receipts over 2004. Individual and corporate income tax receipts have exploded like a cap let off a geyser, up 30% in the two years since the tax cut. Once again, tax rate cuts have created a virtuous chain reaction of higher economic growth, more jobs, higher corporate profits, and finally more tax receipts.

This Laffer Curve effect has also created a revenue windfall for states and cities. As the economic expansion has plowed forward, and in some regions of the country accelerated, state tax receipts have climbed 7.5% this year already. Perhaps the most remarkable story from around the nation comes from the perpetually indebted New York City, which suddenly finds itself more than $3 billion IN SURPLUS thanks to an unexpected gush in revenues. Many of President Bush's critics foolishly predicted that states and localities would be victims of the Bush tax cut gamble.

Continued in the article


Anti-euro backlash is ricocheting up
In Italy, an anti-euro backlash is ricocheting up and down the peninsula as the country sinks deeper into a recession. Consumers, businesspeople and some politicians now bemoan a currency they claim has left them poorer and less competitive. Earlier this month, the welfare minister, Roberto Maroni, called for a referendum to bring back the lira. The daily newspaper of his party, the Northern League, has just begun rendering prices in euros and lira in its news columns, even though the lira no longer exists. The euro-bashing isn't confined to Italy. A poll for Stern magazine this month found that 56% of Germans want the mark back. The mounting dissatisfaction is another blow to the authority of the EU. The 25-member union was pitched into confusion two weeks ago by the rejection by French and Dutch voters of a proposed new constitution for the union. Underpinning those votes and the grousing over the euro are deep anxieties about slow growth, high unemployment and the future of Europe's generous welfare states.
Gabriel Kahn and Marcus Walker, "With Italy in the Doldrums, Many Point Fingers at the Euro," The Wall Street Journal,  June 13, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111861330098357388,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


In Canada you can't get pain relief even if you can afford to pay for it privately --- Until now
Let's hope Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy were sitting down when they heard the news of the latest bombshell Supreme Court ruling. From the Supreme Court of Canada, that is. That high court issued an opinion last Thursday saying, in effect, that Canada's vaunted public health-care system produces intolerable inequality. Call it the hip that changed health-care history. When George Zeliotis of Quebec was told in 1997 that he would have to wait a year for a replacement for his painful, arthritic hip, he did what every Canadian who's been put on a waiting list does: He got mad. He got even madder when he learned it was against the law to pay for a replacement privately. But instead of heading south to a hospital in Boston or Cleveland, as many Canadians already do, he teamed up to file a lawsuit with Jacques Chaoulli, a Montreal doctor. The duo lost in two provincial courts before their win last week. The court's decision strikes down a Quebec law banning private medical insurance and is bound to upend similar laws in other provinces. Canada is the only nation other than Cuba and North Korea that bans private health insurance, according to Sally Pipes, head of the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco and author of a recent book on Canada's health-care system
"Unsocialized Medicine A landmark ruling exposes Canada's health-care inequity," Opinion Journal, June 13, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006813


The World of Sharks --- http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/sharks.asp


A great historical Website from the Maine Historical Society
Once you have visited Maine, it is most certainly not a place that you will soon forget. This website is designed to make sure longtime residents and visitors alike will not forget this tranquil state, as it brings together a very wide range of historical documents and memories from around the state. The site itself was created by the Maine Historical Society, and is supported by monies from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and several other partners. Within the site, visitors can search for historical items and documents, view thematic online exhibits, and learn about how the site may be used effectively in classroom settings. One particularly fine exhibit is the one that offers some visual documentation of rural Aroostook County around the year 1900. In this exhibit, visitors can experience the dense forests and rugged terrain that dominate the landscape of this part of Maine.
The Scout Report, January 10, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ScoutMaine
The site is at http://www.mainememory.net/
Bob Jensen's threads on history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History


Innovative applications of Google maps
Tracking sexual predators in Florida. Guiding travelers to the cheapest gas nationwide. Pinpointing $1,500 studio apartments for rent in Manhattan. Geeks, tinkerers and innovators are crashing the Google party, having discovered how to tinker with the search engine's mapping service to graphically illustrate vital information that might otherwise be ignored, overlooked or not perceived as clearly. "It's such a beautiful way to look at what could be a dense amount of information," said Tara Calishain, editor of Research Buzz and co-author of "Google Hacks," a book that offers tips on how to get the most out of the Web's most popular search engine. Yahoo and other sites also offer maps, but Google's four-month-old mapping service is more easily accessible and manipulated by outsiders, the tinkerers say. As it turns out, Google charts each point on its maps by latitude and longitude - that's how Google can produce.
"Google Maps Make Demographics Come Alive," Forbes, June 8, 2005 --- http://www.forbes.com/technology/ebusiness/feeds/ap/2005/06/08/ap2083551.html
Also see http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/06/ap/ap_060905.asp?trk=nl
 

Google Maps (including satellite photo options) are at http://maps.google.com/

Bob Jensen's threads on maps are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#Travel


Institute of Chicago presents Art Explorer
An early innovator in the digitization of artwork (its CD of art images "With Open Eyes" was published in 1995), the Art Institute of Chicago presents Art Explorer, an interactive website where visitors can search for art, save selections into scrapbooks with notes, and share the scrapbooks with friends and students. Art Explorer focuses on the Art Institute's Impressionist and Postimpressionist collections, and includes original artworks, as well as additional resources, including texts, video clips, artist biographies, activities, and games. For example, a search on the artist Georges Seurat retrieves eight artworks, and 42 resources, including a biographical text about Camille Pissaro, one of Seurat's contemporaries, a classroom exercise on color mixing based on Seurat's pointillist style, and a Postimpressionist bibliography, compiled by the Art Institute's Museum Education Department. The scrapbook at http://www.artic.edu/artexplorer/viewbook.php?vbook=rylnqtvhyaqm is based on this search.
The Scout Report, January 10, 2005 --- http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2005/scout-050610-geninterest.php#2
The site is at http://www.artic.edu/artexplorer/
Bob Jensen's threads on art museums are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History


Roadcasting: A Potential Mesh Network Killer App
The concept was created by a team of five students at Carnegie Mellon University. Their Human-Computer Interaction Institute Masters Program project, which was sponsored by General Motors, according to a company spokeswoman, combines three hot areas: ad hoc (mesh) computer networks, personalized digital music, and open-source software development. While the hardware elements -- the network devices, the touch-screen interface, and the stereo component -- have yet to be created, the working software application is currently being picked over by open-source enthusiasts around the world. The most straightforward use for the software enables people to create their own personal radio stations -- playlists -- and store them on an in-car stereo hard drive. The real innovation, though, comes from what happens once a playlist is created. While a driver is listening to music from his or her choices, the songs will be broadcast and available for reception by any other car with a roadcast-equipped car stereo. So, if a driver gets bored with a personal playlist, the software's collaborative filtering capabilities will automatically scan the airwaves looking for other roadcast stations that match the driver's stated preferences, and return any matching available stations. Listeners can search by bands, genres, and song titles, and skip through other users' radio stations to find music they want to hear.
Eric Hellweg, "Roadcasting: A Potential Mesh Network Killer App," MIT's Technology Review, June 10, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/articles/05/06/wo/wo_061005hellweg.asp?trk=nl 


Ancient Versus Modern Arms Control Agreements
The tapestry depicts elephants striding among Roman legionnaires and their foes. The placard explains, "One of the best-known ancient arms control agreements was negotiated between Rome and Carthage following Scipio Africanus's victory over Hannibal in the Battle of Zama in 202 B.C. This treaty required the Carthaginians to surrender all their war elephants." Museum visitors, then, are told that thermonuclear bombs and the battle elephants from the classical world are analogous examples of weapons systems that were regulated by the mutual agreement of warring groups. "Society has always placed limits on the ability of one side to wage war on another," the sign claims.
Mark Williams, "On Display: the Unthinkable," MIT's Technology Magazine, July 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/articles/05/07/issue/review_display.asp?trk=nl


Finally a corporate board acts to end a fraud
The abrupt notice of termination given last week to the head of MassMutual Financial Group, one of the nation's largest financial companies, came after a board investigation concluded he had engaged in an improper pattern of self-dealing and abuse of power, according to people familiar with the probe. The probe made several allegations against former Chairman and Chief Executive Robert J. O'Connell, among them that he inflated the value of a special retirement account by tens of millions of dollars, bought a company-owned condominium at a below-market price and interfered in efforts to discipline his son and son-in-law, who worked at MassMutual, said people familiar with the probe.
James Bandler and Joann S. Lublin, "MassMutual Board Fired CEO On Finding 'Willful Malfeasance'," The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2005; Page A1 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111836461879356053,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

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




Humor

Forwarded by a guy who's old enough for this cruise

Boy have I got the best investment for you!! Just read on.

About 2 years ago my wife and I were on a cruise through the western Mediterranean aboard a Princess liner. At dinner we noticed an elderly lady sitting alone along the rail of the grand stairway in the main dining room. I also noticed that all the staff, ships officers, waiters, busboys, etc., all seemed very familiar with this lady. I asked our waiter who the lady was, expecting to be told she owned the line, but he said he only knew that she had been on board for the last four cruises, back to back As we left the dining room one evening I caught her eye and stopped to say hello. We chatted and I said, "I understand you've been on this ; ship for the last four cruises". She replied, "Yes, that's true." I stated, "I don't understand" and she replied, without a pause, "It's cheaper than a nursing home". So, there will be no nursing home in my future. When I get old and feeble, I am going to get on a Princess Cruise Ship. The average cost for a nursing home is $200 per day. I have checked on reservations at Princess and I can get a long term discount and senior discount price of $135 per day. That leaves $65 a day for: 1. Gratuities which will only be $10 per day. 2. I will have as many as 10 meals a day if I can waddle to the restaurant, or I can have room service (which means I can have breakfast in bed every day of the week).

3. Princess has as many as three swimming pools, a workout room, free washers and dryers, and shows every night. 4. They have free toothpaste and razors, and free soap and shampoo. 5. They will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you. 6. I will get to meet new people every 7 or 14 days. 7. T.V. broken? Light bulb need changing? Need to have the mattress replaced? No Problem! They will fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience. 8. Clean sheets and towels every day, and you don't even have to ask for them. 9. If you fall in the nursing home and break a hip you are on Medicare; if you fall and break a hip on the Princess ship they will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life. Now hold on for the best! Do you want to see South America, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, A sia, or name where you want to go? Princess will have a ship ready to go. So don't look for me in a nursing home, just call shore to ship.

PS And don't forget, when you die, they just dump you over the side at no charge.


Forwarded by Auntie Be

This was the pilot on her airplane!

Forwarded by Dick Haar

I watched an ant climb a blade of grass this morning. When he reached the top, his weight bent the blade down to the ground. Then, twisting his thorax with insectile precision, he grabbed a hold of the next blade.

In this manner, he traveled across the lawn, covering as much distance vertically as he did horizontally, which both amused and delighted me.

And then, all at once, I had what is sometimes called an "epiphany"; a moment of heightened awareness in which every- thing becomes crystal clear.

Yes, hunched over that ant on my hands and knees, I suddenly knew what I had to do... Quit drinking before noon.


Forwarded by Dick Haar

TO GOD - FROM THE DOG:

Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the "Chrysler Eagle" the "Chrysler Beagle"?

Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember - to be a good dog.

1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

3 I will not munch on "leftovers" in the kitty litter box, although they are tasty.

4. The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.

5. The sofa is not a 'face towel'... neither are Mom and Dad's laps.

6. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

7. My head does not belong in the refrigerator.

8. I will not bite the officer's hand when he reaches in for Mom's driver's license and registration.

9. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.

10. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying "hello".

11. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.

12. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.

13. I will not throw up in the car.

14. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.

15. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch when we have company.

16. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

And, finally. My last question . . .

Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?


Forwarded by Barb Hessel

Why English Teachers Die Young
Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays

01. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

02. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

03. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

04. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room temperature Canadian beef.

05. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

06. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

07. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

08. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge free ATM.

09. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it.


Forwarded by Paula

This is a test for us "old" kids! The answers are printed below, but don't you cheat.

READY????? Here we go!

01. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, Who was that masked man? Invariably, someone would answer, "I don't know, but he left this behind." What did he leave behind?____________

02. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in early 1964, we all watched them on The __________________ Show.

03. "Get your kicks, ___________________."

04. "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed___________________."

05. "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ________________."

06. After the Twist, The Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, we "danced" under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the "_____________."

07. "N_E_S_T_L_E_S", Nestle's makes the very best _______________."

08. Satchmo was America's "Ambassador of Goodwill." Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was _________________.

09. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? _______________

10. Red Skelton's hobo character was named __________________ and Red always ended his television show by saying, "Good Night, and "_______________".

11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam War did so by burning their____________.

12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the VW. What other names did it go by? ____________ & _______________.

13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, "the day the music died." This was a tribute to ___________________.

14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it. It was called ___________________.

15. One of the big fads of the late 50's and 60's was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the________________

Scroll Down

ANSWER S: 01. The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet. 02. The Ed Sullivan Show 03. On Route 66 04. To protect the innocent. 05. The Lion sleeps tonight 06. The limbo 07. Chocolate 08. Louis Armstrong 09. The Timex watch 10. Freddy, The Freeloader, and "Good Night, and may God Bless." 11. Draft cards (Bras were also burned.) 12. Beetle or Bug 13. Buddy Holly 14. Sputnik 15. Hula hoop


Forwarded by Dick Haar

Because I'm a man, when the car isn't running very well, I will pop the hood and stare at the engine as if I know what I'm looking at. If another man shows up, one of us will say to the other, "I used to be able to fix these things, but now with all these computers and everything, I wouldn't know where to start." We will then drink beer and break wind as a form of Holy Communion.

Because I'm a man, when I catch a cold, I need someone to bring me soup and take care of me while I lie in bed and moan. You're a woman. You never get as sick as I do, so for you this isn't a problem.

Because I'm a man, I can be relied upon to purchase basic groceries at the store, like milk or bread. I cannot be expected to find exotic items like "cumin" or "tofu." For all I know, these are the same thing. And never, under any circumstances, expect me to pick up anything for which "feminine hygiene product" is a euphemism. (F.Y.I. guys cumin is a spice and not a bodily function)

Because I'm a man, when one of our appliances stops working, I will insist on taking it apart, despite evidence that this will just cost me twice as much, once the repair person gets here and has to put it back together.

Because I'm a man, I must hold the television remote control in my hand while I watch TV. If the thing has been misplaced, I may miss a whole show looking for it (though one time I was able to survive by holding a calculator)...applies to engineers mainly.

Because I'm a man, there is no need to ask me what I'm thinking about. The answer is always either sex, cars or football. I have to make up something else when you ask, so don't ask.

Because I'm a man, I do not want to visit your mother, or have your mother come visit us, or talk to her when she calls, or think about her any more than I have to. Whatever you got her for Mother's Day is okay; I don't need to see it. And don't forget to pick up something for my mother too.

Because I'm a man, you don't have to ask me if I liked the movie. Chances are, if you're crying at the end of it, I didn't.... and if you are feeling amorous afterwards...then I will certainly at least remember the name and recommend it to others.

Because I'm a man, I think what you're wearing is fine. I thought what you were wearing five minutes ago was fine, too. Either pair of shoes is fine. With the belt or without it, looks fine. Your hair is fine. You look fine. Can we just go now?

Because I'm a man, and this is, after all, the year 2005, I will share equally in the housework. You just do the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the vacuuming, and the dishes, and I'll do the rest... like looking for my socks, or like wandering around in the garden with a beer wondering what to do.

 


Forwarded by John Dallair (You may have to be from San Antonio to appreciate this one)

Here's an interesting little bit of history that you might not have been aware of so I thought I'd pass it on to you. Here 'tis!

Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England.

In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.

This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost.

The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.

The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.

WHAT!!!! You expected something educational?




And that's the way it was on June 15, 2005 with a little help from my friends.

 

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

 

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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May 31, 2005

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on May 31, 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/.

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

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
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/ 




For Quotations/Tidbits of the Week go to Quotations and Tidbits

For Humor of the Week go to Humor


For Fraud Updates go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


For my Tidbits Directory go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsDirectory.htm

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 




"A New Lifeline for Palms? PalmOne is hoping to revive demand with LifeDrive, which has large storage, easy data transfer, and fancy media capabilities," Business Week, May 19, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/PalmNew

Sales of Palms and other personal digital assistants (PDAs) that do not double as phones have been on the decline for several years amid stiffening competition from versatile cell phones, BlackBerrys, and palmOne's own Treo. Now, palmOne (PLMO ) is taking advantage of new storage technologies and software in an effort to breathe fresh life into the stagnant category.

The goal is to get the handheld out of its contacts-and-calendar rut and emphasize media capabilities that today's phones can't touch. The $499 LifeDrive is the first Palm to incorporate a hard drive, boosting storage capacity to 4 gigabytes. That's a huge leap up from the 256 megabytes in palmOne's Tungsten T5 -- even if you account for insertable memory cards that hold as much 2 gb. At least as important, new software on the LifeDrive lets you manage files efficiently and move data easily between the Palm and a PC.

The LifeDrive uses HotSync, part of every Palm ever made, to keep info such as contacts and calendar synchronized with Microsoft Outlook or the Palm Desktop software. But other files can be moved between the Palm and a Windows PC just by dragging them to the LifeDrive Manager folder on either the handheld or the computer. The next time the LifeDrive is connected, the files are automatically transferred. (On Macs, you must use a cruder method that treats the Palm as an external hard drive.) You can connect to a computer using a USB cable, Bluetooth wireless, or Wi-Fi -- if you don't mind setting up network sync.

MUSIC-PLAYER FLAWS. So what can you do with all that storage? Of course, you can use it to carry critical files from your computer, but a USB memory key is a lot handier and, at about $100 for a 1-gb model, a lot cheaper. LifeDrive is a better choice if you need to transport massive amounts of data. And the bright 2 11/14-by-3 11/14-inch screen makes it a good way to carry and display your photos.

If your camera, like most others, uses SD memory, you can transfer pictures just by inserting the card into the LifeDrive's slot. The LifeDrive also is good at showing videos, especially those formatted to fill its 320-by-480-pixel display.

The LifeDrive can hold as much music as an iPod Mini, but unfortunately it falls short as a music player. It doesn't provide iPod-like automatic music sync between device and desktop. Despite all that screen space, it doesn't display album covers. Out of the box, it handles only the mp3 format and cannot play songs purchased or rented through subscription. But an upgrade to handle protected Windows Media music is due soon.

Continued in article


May 13, 2005 message from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

I just stumbled across http://www.questia.com 

Does anyone on this list use it?

David Albrecht

Bob Jensen's links to electronic books and journals are at http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=77436573


 "Scholarly Journals' Premier Status Is Diluted by Web:  More Research Is Free Online Amid Spurt of Start-Ups; Publishers' Profits at Risk A Revolt on UC's Campuses." by Bernard Wysocki Jr., The Wall Street Journal," May 23, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111680539102640247,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

The 10-campus University of California system has emerged as a hotbed of insurgency against this $5 billion global market. Faculty members are competing against publishers with free or inexpensive journals of their own. Two UC scientists organized a world-wide boycott against a unit of Reed Elsevier -- the Anglo-Dutch giant that publishes 1,800 periodicals -- protesting its fees. The UC administration itself has jumped into the fray. It's urging scholars to deposit working papers and monographs into a free database in addition to submitting them for publication elsewhere. It has also battled with publishers, including nonprofits, to lower prices.

"We have to take back control from the publishers," says Daniel Greenstein, associate vice provost for the UC system, which spends $30 million a year on scholarly periodicals.

The clash between academics and publishers was exacerbated last year when the taxpayer-funded National Institutes of Health proposed that articles resulting from NIH grants be made available free online. That prompted protests from Reed Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons Inc. and several nonprofit publishers such as the American Diabetes Association, which argued such a move would hurt their businesses.

The NIH retreated and in February made the program voluntary. It now asks authors to post on an NIH Web site any articles based on NIH grants within 12 months of publication.

The debate comes at a time when it's easier than ever to find scholarly articles by using simple Internet tools such as Google. In late 2004, Google Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., launched Google Scholar, a free service that can search for peer-reviewed articles as well as theses, abstracts and other scholarly material, much of it in scientific fields.

Traditional publishers argue that the expensive process of selecting and editing journals is a necessary filter to help scholars sift through vast amounts of research. The nonprofit publisher of the prestigious Science magazine makes content available free after 12 months. Other publishers note that with a combination of free abstracts, free distribution to the developing world and public-library subscriptions, much of the globe already has access to what they produce.

"The vast majority -- 90% of researchers in the world -- have access online to our material," says Karen Hunter, senior vice president at Elsevier, the science and medical division of Reed Elsevier that publishes the company's journals. Elsevier's scholarly journals bring in about $1.6 billion in annual revenue with an operating-profit margin of about 30%.

Publishers have been entrenched in academia for decades. One big concern, the U.K.'s Taylor & Francis Group, now part of T&F Informa PLC, was founded in the 18th century. The venerable nonprofit Science was founded in the 1880s by Thomas Edison. The industry became firmly established in the 1950s and 1960s in the wake of the Soviet space program, whose success spurred a wave of scientific publishing.

Although learned societies such as the American Physical Society hold sway at the top of the prestige pyramid, commercial publishers have created a second tier, producing thousands of niche periodicals from Addictive Behaviors to Zoology, both Elsevier titles. Scholars are generally grateful that publishers take the risk of starting new titles, which often take years to break even.

The publishers' prestige derives from the rigorous system of peer review, in which a journal's editorial board will select experts in a field to vet articles. At some top scholarly journals, less than 10% of submitted articles make it into a publication. In turn, the peer-review system lends authority to a scholar's work, and has long been a springboard to academic advancement.

Aaron Edlin, a UC Berkeley professor of law and economics, is a co-founder of Berkeley Electronic Press, publisher of 25 online scholarly journals. His playbook is simple: undercut giant rivals with lower prices -- around $300 -- faster turnaround and Internet-only distribution. Yet when Dr. Edlin helped write a paper on game theory recently, he submitted it to the competition, the Journal of Economic Theory, published by Elsevier.

The reason: Professor Edlin's co-author on the paper is striving to win tenure at the California Institute of Technology and needs exposure in big-name journals. "He thought it was important. I respected his decision," says Prof. Edlin.

The peer-review system has many defenders. "There's too much stuff out there, and we are all way too busy," says Lee Miller, a retired professor of ecology at Cornell University and editor emeritus of the nonprofit journal Ecology, published by the Ecological Society of America. "Anything that saves you time and leads you to the most important work is helpful."

In the 1990s, the commercial industry consolidated. The biggest publishers began buying or building new journals and raising prices. That edifice only began to be challenged with the rise of the Internet, which cut distribution costs and triggered a wave of experimentation in what is called "open access" publishing.

In London, a for-profit startup called BioMed Central publishes more than 100 scholarly journals available free to the public via the Internet. BioMed Central charges individual authors a processing charge of about $850 but doesn't charge it for authors affiliated with member institutions. BioMed Central says it has 527 institutional members, including British and American universities, which pay between $1,700 and $8,600 a year to belong.

In the U.S. a powerful open-access advocate has been Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate, former UC scholar and former NIH director. He's now head of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He co-founded Public Library of Science with Berkeley's Dr. Eisen, backed by a $9 million grant from a private foundation. Charging authors a fee of $1,500, the group launched its first peer-reviewed journal, PLoS Biology, in 2003, and also distributes its contents free on the Internet.

In the late 1990s, Dr. Eisen was studying the yeast genome, a booming field that has a large overlap with the human genome and 200 journals publishing related research. He wanted all these journal articles freely available at his fingertips, an impossible request because many are behind subscription barriers.

Some scholars think publishing should operate like the Linux computer operating system, where programmers build on each other's work in an ongoing, collaborative project. In the scholarly realm, a database called arXiv -- pronounced "archive," as if the "x" were the Greek letter "chi" -- has become a repository of scholarship in the physics field. It's owned and operated by Cornell University and partially supported by the National Science Foundation. If the UC administration has its way, something like that would be the norm throughout academia.

To experienced publishers, much of the open-access talk seems naive. "A lot of this is self-righteous talk," says Alan Leshner, executive publisher of Science and chief executive of its nonprofit parent, the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He says giving away content isn't a viable business model because of the tremendous costs of putting out reputable journals.

He notes that Science gets 12,000 submissions and publishes 800 articles a year on a $10 million editorial budget. That averages more than $10,000 per published article, a high number because of the costs associated with handling the unusually large number of submissions the journal receives. Industry experts say typical per-article costs are between $3,000 and $4,000.

If open access takes off, information will flow faster, but publishers will make less money. Among those who would be hurt is Reed Elsevier. Sami Kassab, analyst at investment house Exane BNP Paribas in London, estimates that such a movement could sharply cut the company's profit margin on periodicals to between 10% and 15% of revenue, from the current 30% or more.

Currently, the open-access movement makes up between 1% and 2% of the market, experts say. While that number seems small, the concept is assuming an important role channeling academic discontent.

"There's a lot of sentiment that work is being taken advantage of by the commercial publishers," says Alessandro Lizzeri, associate professor of economics at New York University and editor of Elsevier's Journal of Economic Theory. He says that while editors get little compensation for their work, authors and reviewers -- aside from prestige -- usually get nothing or just a nominal fee.

Prof. Lizzeri says that two of the 40 members of his editorial board resigned recently because the journal isn't free to readers. "If half the board resigns I'm in trouble," he says.

These rumblings hit the University of California early on. In October 2003, faculty members made a rare display of solidarity with the university administration. Two scientists at the University of California at San Francisco staged a protest over a $91,000 bill from Elsevier's Cell Press unit for one year's access to six biology journals. The two professors called for a world-wide boycott, urging fellow scholars at UC and beyond to refuse to serve as authors, editors or peer reviewers at the six periodicals in question.

Their timing couldn't have been better for the university administration, which was just about to begin negotiations with the Reed Elsevier unit over a new contract. In the late 1990s, all UC campuses had banded together into a single buying consortium. In 2002, the university hired Dr. Greenstein, a history professor turned expert on digital libraries. With the state of California's budget crisis forcing him to trim library spending to $62 million a year, Dr. Greenstein wanted to take a hard line.

"It was the opening shot, really, in struggling head-on with this world of scientific publishing," says Keith Yamamoto, executive vice dean at UCSF medical school and one of the boycott's leaders.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on scholarly journal publication fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals


"Simplified Classics? Educators Are Divided," by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111680107167640163,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Can kids with reading problems find satisfaction in retold versions of such classics as "Treasure Island" and "Little Women?"

Barnes & Noble Inc.'s Sterling Publishing unit has launched a new line of 10 literary classics that appeal to both those who struggle to read and to avid younger students whose reading skills aren't quite strong enough to let them master "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in its original. The books, which have been retold using simpler words, have been surprisingly hot sellers, so much so that they are already in their fifth printing.

Priced at $4.95 each, the books have already sold about 533,000 copies. "There's a large world of people with disabilities who can't appreciate the classics because the books are too difficult," says Barnes & Noble's CEO Steve Riggio, whose daughter has Down syndrome. There are currently 613,000 copies of the series in print. Nine more are planned next year.

The books have won praise of a number of educators. Peggy Charren, a visiting scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an advocate for higher quality children's media, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, said she has read several of the books. "I was worried because they are truncated, but they're terrific," she said. "For some kids with reading problems, picture books may be as far as they get. But when they can make sense out of symbols on the page, you want them to have to the option of reading something wonderful, like a classic."

Jeffrey Goldstein, a psychologist at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands who specializes in children and media, said he thinks the series is a useful way of making the classics accessible to kids who might otherwise not be able to read them. "It's extraordinarily important for children to feel that they have access to literature," said Mr. Goldstein. "As a teacher you want children to enjoy reading and feel connected to other people who have read these books." The substitution of contemporary shorter words for 19th-century English words is less important than the fact that kids are being exposed to classic literature that their parents might have read, he added.

But several schools that teach kids with reading disabilities say they're emphasizing classics in the original text and won't be buying copies for their classrooms.

One academic institution says kids with reading issues may do better with the originals. "Just because you have reading problems doesn't mean you can't appreciate complex thought and complex language," says Maureen Sweeney, assistant head and director of admissions of the Windward School, an independent nonprofit school in White Plains, N.Y., for children who have language-based learning disabilities. Ms. Sweeney said such students can be taught to read in a multisensory program that includes books-on-tape. "We don't want a watered-down curriculum," she said.

Continued in article


May 15 reply about how to find information about privately-owned corporations

I think US Census Bureau data is a good source for certain US corporation characteristics.

For example, this Census site, http://www.census.gov/epcd/susb/2001/us/US--.HTM , gives 2001 firm numbers information (firm definition available at site).

From this Census site, http://www.census.gov/csd/sbo/ , you can find results of Census survey programs for characterizing business owners.

And, at this Census site, http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/smallbus.html , you can get numbers on 1997 US businesses in various legal categories. (Subsequent data probably will not differ much in terms of percentages).

Depending on exactly what you are looking for, Census business data could very well give you the answer.

Richard Torian
www.informationforaccountants.com


"AIG Probes Bring First Charges:  New York Suit Accuses Insurer, Greenberg and Ex-Finance Chief Of Manipulating Firm's Results," by Ian McDonald and Theo Francis, The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2005; Page C1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111712238633844135,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 

In the first formal charges to come

In the first formal charges to come from the probes of American International Group Inc.'s accounting, New York state authorities sued AIG, former Chairman Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg and the insurance company's former chief financial officer, painting a picture of widespread accounting gimmickry aimed at duping regulators and investors.

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the New York State Insurance Department alleged that AIG engaged in "sham transactions," hid losses and created false income. On one occasion, Mr. Greenberg even laughed at a joke about one of the alleged maneuvers, the civil lawsuit says.

The goal, the suit contends, was to exaggerate the strength of the company's core underwriting business, propping up the price of one of the nation's most widely held stocks.

AIG shares rose 3% yesterday after the lawsuit was announced, as investors saw that the charges were civil, not criminal, though a criminal investigation of individuals continues. AIG is the world's biggest publicly traded seller of property-casualty insurance to companies and is the largest life insurer in the U.S., as measured by premiums.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on insurance company frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm




A Tribute to Earl Beatty

One of my good friends in San Antonio did not survive a lung transplant surgery.  His long-time friend named Charles Downey, wrote the following tribute.

May 13, 2005 message from Charles Downey [downeyc@plasticsurgery.com]

Earl Beatty was a real landmark in my life. For those of you who don't know me, let me introduce myself: In the last 35 years, since I crossed paths with Earl, I have at various times, been a book author, a magazine writer and a syndicated journalist distributed by the L.A. Times and the N.Y. Times and others like Playboy and Reader's Digest. My stuff has been, and is being, read on five of the seven continents. (I just can't sell Africa and there are no paying publications in Antartica.) I've made my living doing one form or another of writing since 1970, thanks to Earl Beatty.

So it was with the greatest sadness I learned of his passing. Earl was an absolute turning point in my life -he gave me a job in journalism when I was a rank amateur and really didn't know a thing about the work except you got to sit down during your shift. To make the scenario even more unlikely, our unit's basic work was in intelligence and was linked to NSA and other spook organizations tied into the most secret machinations of the Cold War. Needless to say, our colleagues normally did not publish newspapers.

It was 1967 and I was two years into a four-year assignment that was basically a way to dodge Vietnam. I enlisted for Europe but the duty was miserable; I worked rotating shifts in an Army version of a Western Union outfit that carried intercepts and other intelligence picked out of the air from the Warsaw Pact nations. Some of the traffic made your hair stand on end like one torn message I once repaired that reported a Russian invasion fleet off the coast of Virginia. Of course, that report thankfully turned out to be bogus but from where I sat, it looked like most of the world was going to end and soon.

Being desperate, I dreamed up a scenario to start a unit newspaper. And it eventually landed on Earl's desk in Frankfurt, Germany, at the European headquarters of the U.S. Army Security Agency. There, I met Earl's clerk-typist Art Dworken - who as luck would have it had a degree in journalism --and we set to work, winging it as we went.

After five months, we hit on something that was like winning a huge lottery on the same day you learn an unknown uncle just left you a million bucks.

I can still see the following scene. It's one of the most gratifying - and unforgettable -- moments in my life, one I will carry with me until my own demise. On a quiet, dreary day in February, 1968, the normally placid Earl ran out of his office with tears streaming down his face, crying "We won! We won!" Our make-it-as-you newspaper won the top prize - WORLDWIDE, no less, in the judging contests for 1968's Army newspapers. We three were astounded on three counts: One, we did even not know the prizes and judging existed. Two, a somebody unknown to us then and to this very day entered us into the judging and, three, Art and I - with Earl's approval -- were basically shooting from the hip as we went along, hoping against hope that the Army would not find us out and send us back to some form of real soldiering (READ: live in a tent.)

I think it all leads back to Earl seeing something in both Art and me which we could not see in ourselves. (I sure wish he would have told us what, exactly, it was!) Consequently, he supported almost every off-the-wall and unconventional thing we did and frequently used his rank to run interference, blocking by-the-book Army lunkheads who insisted real soldiers wrote nothing but orders and that an spook unit should publish nothing short of K.P. lists.

In the face of all that, Earl was kind, understanding, cheerful, encouraging and, occasionally, full of compliments. He got mad at me only once when I, as usual, dodged a 5 a.m. alert. (Alerts were called to practice what we would do -- besides shivering in our unshined boots -- in case the Ruskies charged across in their tanks.) Later, he angrily asked how I had missed the alert although all the lower ranks in the office showed. I smarted off with a "Sorry, couldn't find my parachute" remark and he became so angry, he got red in the face. I also remember how he and Linda delighted in Art's and my company although there were rules, both written and unwritten, about fraternization wherein officers should never socialize with enlisted men. Earl made sure Art and I got tickets to the swankest place in Frankfurt for New Year's Eve, 1969, even though the whole headquarters officer core showed up and looked down their noses at the site of a field grade officer in the company of two Sp5's. Nonetheless, we had a ball.

I have a lot of wonderful memories of Earl.

I remember him explaining what it was like for an airborne trooper to roll across the side of the ship while jumping from an otherwise perfectly good airplane and what his first tour in Vietnam was like; I remember him first explaining what Air America really was and thinking, what a shame I could not write a movie script about it. (For those of you who don't know, Air America was the C.I.A's personal airlines.) Of course, the nations against which we spied are long gone and the movie about Air America with Mel Gibson and Robert Downey, Jr. turned out far better and funnier than any script I could have penned but, hey, at least they got some of my name into it.) Of course, the memories about my too short time with Earl Beatty will live on.

More than once, when life has gotten complicated, I have wished that I could relive those days again.

R.I.P., Earl. We won't see the likes of you again.


From Associated Colleges of the South (ACS)

TRANSFORMATIONS: CALL FOR PAPERS FOR SUMMER 2005 ISSUE

Transformations, Volume III, Issue #1 (Summer, 2005) will be dedicated to the theme of collaboration. This theme encompasses collaborations both within and beyond the institution. A particular area of interest is alliances among faculty, librarians and technologists, and formal or informal organizational structures that promote relationships among these constituencies. How has the "merged organization" promoted (or not) meaningful collaboration on liberal arts campuses? Have consortial organizations changed the way colleagues work together? What are the lessons we can learn from successful collaborations? Have they (or should they have) changed the way we work in liberal arts colleges?

We welcome papers from technologists, librarians, faculty and administrators addressing these topics. For more information and a listing of authors guidelines, please see
http://www.colleges.org/transformations/index.php?q=node/view/31  .

Deadline for submission is May 31, 2005.

Please send submissions to the co-editors, Bob Johnson (Rhodes Colleges), johnsonb@rhodes.edu and Terry Metz (Wheaton College), tmetz@wheatoncollege.edu


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

The Color Test

Try this! It's tougher than you first expect! I promise you you'll take it more than once!

http://www.njagyouth.org/colortest.swf


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Here is a math   puzzle sure to blow your mind!  
Personally I would like to know who came up with this and why he/she is not running the country! 
 


>1. Grab a calculator. (you
can't do this one in your head)
>2. Key in the first 3 digits of your phone number (NOT area code)
>
3. Multiply by 80
>
4. Add 1
>
5. Multiply by 250
>
6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number
>
7. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again.
>8. Subtract 250
>
9. Divide by 2 

>Do you recognize the answer?


"What Will SAP Do Next? The software maker is talking partnerships, says analyst Bruce Richardson, who sees being "ubiquitous as Microsoft" as the chief goal," Business Week, May 18, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/SAPnext

Few technology analysts have followed German software titan SAP (SAP ) as long as Bruce Richardson has. In 1991, he attended its first major U.S. conference, a small affair in New Orleans. At the time, SAP was a $300 million business selling software big companies used for such functions as inventory management and financial planning.

During the conference in New Orleans, SAP introduced what was then a revolutionary concept called client/server computing. The idea, courtesy of the software gurus at SAP, was actually fairly simple: Big corporations could replace their mainframes with new software that took advantage of increasingly powerful PCs connected to server computers.

By 1996, SAP had grown into a $1 billion company. Today, it's pushing $10 billion in annual sales and ranks as the world's third-largest independent software maker, behind Microsoft (MSFT ) and Oracle (ORCL ). Richardson, the chief research officer at the tech consulting company AMR Research, was at another SAP conference, on May 17 in Boston, where he took a break from meetings with company executives to talk with BusinessWeek Online Technology Editor Jim Kerstetter. The following are edited excerpts of their interview:

Q: So, I understand you met with the top four execs at SAP. What did they have to say?

A: It was widely expected that they would announce their Salesforce.com (CRM ) killer. But they decided to stay on message about their enterprise services architecture. They're talking about Hewlett-Packard (HPQ ) building some sort of appliance to do unbelievably fast analytics. They're talking about a partnership with Cisco (CSCO ) to build networking equipment optimized to work with SAP. And they're talking about several other partners.

But until you have the details on what's in the box, it's difficult to say more specifically what they will be doing. Really, this was about SAP showing their enterprise services strategy, and that it's on track.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on ERP processes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245glosap.htm


Journal of Derivatives Accounting ,Vol. 2, No. 1 (March 2005) --- http://www.worldscinet.com/jda/02/0201/S02198681050201.html

ARTICLES
DIVERGENT FAS-133 AND IAS-39 INTEREST RATE RISK HEDGE EFFECTIVENESS: PROBLEM AND REMEDIES
JAMES N. BODURTHA, JR.
1
EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF EFFECTS OF SFAS NO. 133 ON DERIVATIVE USE AND EARNINGS SMOOTHING
WEI LI and WILLIAM W. STAMMERJOHAN
15
EVALUATION OF HEDGE EFFECTIVENESS TESTS
ANGELIKA C. HAILER and SIEGFRIED M. RUMP
31
VALUING EMPLOYEE STOCK OPTIONS WITH EXOGENOUS AND ENDOGENOUS EARLY EXERCISE
YAN WU and ROBERT A. JONES
53
STRUCTURAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SEMIANNUAL AND ANNUAL SWAP RATES
DAVINDER K. MALHOTRA, MUKESH CHAUDHRY and VIVEK BHARGAVA
63
PRICING CAC 40 INDEX OPTIONS WITH STOCHASTIC VOLATILITY
SOFIANE ABOURA
77
OPERATING LEVERAGE AND THE INTERACTION BETWEEN ABANDONMENT OPTIONS AND EXOTIC HEDGING
KIT PONG WONG
87
EMPLOYEE STOCK OPTIONS IN JAPAN: DETERMINANTS OF THEIR ISSUANCE, THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT ON CORPORATE PROFITS, AND THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH STOCK PRICES
KIYOHITO UTSUNOMIYA
97
INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE
TRANSITION WITHOUT TEARS: A FIVE-POINT PLAN FOR IFRS DISCLOSURE FROM STANDARD & POOR'S RATINGS SERVICES
SUE HARDING, ARNAUD DE TOYTOT, EMMANUEL DUBOIS-PELERIN, ROB JONES and MARIA LEMOS
111
BOOK REVIEW
Book Review: "Derivatives Accounting and Risk Management: Key Concepts and the Impact of IAS 39", Edited by Hyun Song Shin
Mamouda Mbemap

Bob Jensen's free tutorials and videos on Derivatives Accounting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm




Quotations from editions of Tidbits May 16-May 30, 2005
The entire Tidbits Directory is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsdirectory.htm

Music for the Quiet of Summer: Killin Time --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/time.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  

A man with no dreams, no illusions and no ideals would be a monster, a wild boar with a degree in pure mathematics.
Fabrizio De André

Only cultured people like learning; ignoramuses prefer to teach.
Edouard Le Berquier




Some time back, I reported a study that concluded small amounts of alcohol aided cognition in older women.  But alcohol may be more problematic in younger women than in men.
Young women aged 16 to 24 are particularly prone to binge drinking, with 49 per cent cramming their weekly consumption of alcohol into one to three days.
Shan Ross, "Women drinkers more prone to brain damage," The Scotsman, May 16, 2005 --- http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=532052005

Key points

• Alcohol consumption among women in the UK highest in Europe

• German brain scan study found women especially vulnerable to binge drinking

• Police say 'ladette' culture has been growing over the past 20 years

Key quote
"We know that women metabolise alcohol differently from men and absorb it into their bodies more quickly" - Srabani Sen, chief executive of Alcohol Concern

Story in full
ALCOHOL is much more likely to damage women’s brains than men’s, new research published yesterday has warned.

The findings will be of serious concern to alcohol abuse campaigners and health professionals faced with a culture where binge drinking among females is ever more prevalent.

Alcohol consumption among women in the UK is already the highest in Europe and a recent report predicted it is set to surge over the next five years - possibly even overtaking the amount consumed by men.

Continued in article


Incredible Interactive Graphics
May 15, 2005 message from Denise Nitterhouse (Condor) [dnitterh@CONDOR.DEPAUL.EDU]

Today's (Sun 5/15/05) online New York Times has the most amazing interactive graphics I've ever seen, as well as interesting socio-economic content, in "Class Matters". Worth checking out, you may have to register. Hope the link works

- NATIONAL - Class Matters: Shadowy Lines That Still Divide A new series begins with an overview of the role social class plays in America today. NYTimes.com has interactive graphics that help you see where you fit in the American population, and that take a closer look at income mobility, public opinion and the intersection of income and education. Also, a forum to share your thoughts. http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/index.html?th&emc=th 

Denise Nitterhouse, MBA, DBA
School of Accountancy & Management Information Systems
DePaul University
1 East Jackson Boulevard,
Chicago, IL 60604 dnitterh@depaul.edu  


A Possible Incredible Mistake by Newsweek Magazine

"Newsweek Says Article on Quran Might Have Contained Errors," by Joe Hagan and Sara Schaeffer-Munoz, The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2005; Page B2 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111620043495334176,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Newsweek magazine yesterday said a report it had published two weeks ago that helped spark fatal riots in Afghanistan might have contained errors.

The article, printed in the May 9 issue, reported that "sources" had told the magazine that interrogators at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a Quran down a toilet to rattle Muslim detainees. The item, written by reporters Michael Isikoff and John Barry, added that the findings would appear in a coming report by the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the prison. The magazine also reported that investigators probing abuses at the Cuban detention center had confirmed "infractions alleged in internal FBI emails that surfaced late last year."

The report inflamed Muslims in the Middle East and parts of Asia, sparking protests where marchers carried Newsweek. There were large protests in Indonesia and Gaza, and in Afghanistan protests led to riots in which a reported 16 people were killed.

In an editor's letter and an article published today, the magazine said parts of its original report were flawed. Newsweek said its original anonymous source recently said he isn't sure that the Quran allegation is actually in the report, and that it might just be a story told by former detainees.

Though Newsweek sent a copy of the item to a Pentagon official before it appeared, the official, who didn't raise questions about the allegation, might not have had detailed knowledge of what was in the report, the magazine said.

Continued in article
 


SEC Finds Retirement-Fund Issues
A government examination of retirement-fund consulting uncovered significant conflicts of interest between consulting firms and the money managers they recommend to clients, according to people familiar with the matter. A months-long study to be released today by the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to confirm what regulators have long suspected: the existence of undisclosed financial ties between consultants and money-management firms that can influence the recommendations consultants make to their retirement-fund clients.
Deborah Solomon, "SEC Finds Retirement-Fund Issues," The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2005; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111620205687434194,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

Bob Jensen's thread on "The Pension Fund Consulting Racket" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#PensionFundConsulting


An Annual Report on American Journalism --- http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2005/index.asp


Best of Photojournalism 2005
 http://www.nppa.org/competitions/best_of_still_photojournalism/2005/photography/winners/


Enron's useless code of ethics
David C. Farrell held up a half-inch-thick document titled " Enron Code of Ethics 2000," and stared across a table at four colleagues sitting in a conference room at Sun Microsystems' campus-style office complex here in Silicon Valley. "I wave this around at meetings to make a point," Mr. Farrell said. "It's not enough just to write a code of ethics. The management and the people who work at a company have to lead by example. We call it 'the tone at the top.' "
Harry Hurt III, "Drop That Ledger! This Is the Compliance Officer," The New York Times, May 15, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/business/yourmoney/15comply.html 


Alexis de Tocqueville may have the last laugh when it comes to predicting accurately the course of history
2005 marks the bicentenary of the birth of one of 19th century Europe’s most insightful political thinkers. Less well-known than Marx, Alexis de Tocqueville may have the last laugh when it comes to predicting accurately the course of history. This is especially true when it comes to understanding some of “Old” Europe’s current economic and political malaises. Tocqueville himself was a study in contrasts: a nobleman who embraced the ideals of 1789 despite the Revolution’s guillotining of members of his family; a self-proclaimed liberal who abhorred 19th century French liberalism’s rabid anti-clericalism; a practicing Catholic who admitted his faith was undermined by reading Enlightenment thinkers. Perhaps because of these tensions Tocqueville saw things that others of his time could not. Tocqueville is best remembered for his Democracy in America, a book that sought to explain the free society that had taken root in North America to the Europe of his time. Tocqueville did not, however, write as a detached observer. He was anxious to help European societies transition to the democratic arrangements he considered inevitable, without experiencing the death and dictatorship endured by France during its Revolution. All of Tocqueville’s writings repay careful reading. Yet it is his concerns about democracy’s future that are most relevant to Europe today-especially old Europe. This particularly concerns Tocqueville’s warnings regarding what he called “soft-despotism.
Samuel Gregg, "Old Europe’s New Despotism," Action Institute, May 11, 2005 ---
http://www.acton.org/ppolicy/comment/article.php?id=267


Interactive science learning activities from Depaul University
Welcome to a unique genre of education materials. Paper Plate Education is an initiative to reduce complex notions to simple paper plate explanations. This website promotes innovative hands-on Activities that you can experience across a range of interests, at varying degrees of complexity, and at a low price—all with common paper plates.
Paper Plate Education --- http://analyzer.depaul.edu/paperplate/


Retaking the Universities
Nevertheless, as one looks around at academic life these days, it is easy to conclude that corruption yields not only decay but also opportunities. Think of the public convulsion that surrounded the episode of Ward Churchill's invitation to speak at Hamilton College earlier this year. The spectacle of a highly paid academic with a fabricated background comparing the victims of 9/11 to a Nazi bureaucrat was too much. Mr. Churchill's fellow academics endeavored--they are still endeavoring--to rally round. But the public wasn't buying it. Such episodes, as Victor Davis Hanson noted in National Review recently, were like "a torn scab revealing a festering sore beneath"
Roger Kimball, "Retaking the Universities A battle plan," Opinion Journal, May 11, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006673


"Untapped Potential : US Science and Technology Cooperation with the Islamic World," by Michael A. Levi and Michael B. D'arcy, Brookings Institute, March 2005 --- http://brookings.edu/fp/saban/analysis/darcy20050419.pdf


Academics return to Iran
Before the 1979 revolution in Iran, the country’s ties to American higher education were extensive. Thousands of Iranian students enrolled at American colleges. And American researchers maintained numerous long-term projects in Iran, studying its archaeology, history, faiths, and languages. For 25 years after the revolution, ties between academics in the two countries were negligible. In the last year, however, contacts have started to resume. The presidents of Oberlin College, the University of California at Davis, and the American University in Cairo all went to Iran to discuss exchange efforts in the last year — and their visits are believed to be the first by American college presidents since 1979.
Scott Jaschik, "Return to Iran," Inside Higher Ed, May 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/16/iran



The American Political Science Association has joined the groups that are criticizing Britain’s largest union of faculty members for announcing a boycott of two Israeli universities. Facing growing opposition, the union is reconsidering the boycott.
Inside Higher Ed, May 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/16/qt
 

The new Mobile 365 service
So, for instance, when a college student who is a Verizon Wireless customer sends a text message to the cell phone of a friend who uses Cingular Wireless -- "Happy hour in 20 minutes," perhaps -- Mobile 365 makes sure the information is delivered. The company picks up the message from one network, routes it to the other, tracks the billing information for both carriers and charges a small fee for each transaction. Before Mobile 365, text messaging between carriers had been more limited -- not impossible, but constrained by a patchwork of policies and technologies employed by different carriers. Mobile 365 isn't the only vehicle for messages that move between the different cell phone services. But it has captured nearly 80 percent of the market.
Ellen McCarthy, "A New Medium For Their Text Messages," The Washington Post, May 12, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/11/AR2005051102088.html 


The Consecrated Heretic
On newstands now — or at least the ones with a decent selection of foreign periodicals — you can find a special number of Le Magazine littéraire devoted entirely to Jean-Paul Sartre. Last month was the 25th anniversary of the grand funeral procession in Paris that drew 50,000 people out into the spring rain to see him off. (It was the last great demonstration of the 1960s generation, as people said at the time.) And next month marks the centennial of his birth. He was “the conscience of his times,” the cover announces. That is certainly arguable. It tends to equate denunciation with ethical critique. The man who declared, in 1952, that Soviet citizens enjoyed perfect freedom to criticize their government should probably be Exhibit A for any demonstration that sometimes contrarianism is not enough. But what is not in doubt – to judge by the rest of issue – is that Sartre was the most-photographed philosopher in history. Scott McLemee, "The Consecrated Heretic," Inside Higher Ed, May 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/05/12/mclemee


"A Dean's Life Part II," by C.S. James (pseudonym), Inside Higher Ed, May 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/careers/2005/05/12/dean

Dear Dean,

I am sorry I cannot be at Professor Meany’s final exam tonight. Do to the fact that I’m working tonight, because my boss keeps changing my work Schedule. This is probably because I was dating his daughter then dumped her for a rich Blonde. I need the money because I have none to pay for school. So any of the days I missed, I was working not goofing off. Professor Meany doesn’t understand. He is going to flunk me. Since I’m on probation, that means I’ll be expelled. Once again I’m very Sorry Sir. Can you help me get back in school?


Perform research but to generate “evidence” favoring theories promoted by eco-theologians
In a mere couple of decades, science has been turned on its head. We now have whole richly endowed academic departments whose function is not to perform research but to generate “evidence” favouring theories promoted by eco-theologians in government and bureaucracy. If you have been given millions of dollars to investigate fairies at the bottom of the garden, and have created a large department with mouths to feed, are you going to turn round and say “There aren’t any”?
Nigel Hawkes, "Number of the Month," Number Watch, January 2005 ---
http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2005 January.htm
Update on alleged censorship --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2005 May.htm


Give us your sick yearning for free medical services
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued final guidance Monday that sets up a system for reimbursement. Lawmakers set aside $1 billion over four years for the program, created by Medicare legislation passed in 2003. For hospitals in border states, the additional money can mean the difference between running a profitable business or an unprofitable one, said Don May, vice president of policy for the American Hospital Association.
"U.S. to pay medical bills for illegal immigrants," CNN, May 10, 2005 --- http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/10/heallth.illegal.ap/index.html


DARPA Says Funding to Universities Rising, Not Falling
The Pentagon has not cut funds for university studies of fundamental science and technology in favor of projects with more of an immediate impact to the military, the director of the Defense Department's research agency said Thursday. The statement countered criticism from computer scientists who complained their funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been reduced at the same time the agency seems to be focusing more on near-term research projects. In the past, military-funded basic research at universities has led -- eventually -- to the Internet, databases and other new computer technologies. Critics fear that the military's shift from "blue sky" research would undermine the nation's technological leadership. "There has been no decision to divert resources," DARPA Director Tony Tether said in prepared testimony before the House Science Committee in Washington, D.C. The congressional hearing was prompted by the scientists' complaints and reports that the National Science Foundation has seen a sharp increase in grant requests.
Matthew Fordahl, "DARPA Says Funding to Universities Rising, Not Falling," MIT's Technology Review, May 13, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/ap/ap_3051305.asp?trk=nl


China overtook the United States as the world's leading consumer of most industrial raw materials
Over the past year, China overtook the United States as the world's leading consumer of most industrial raw materials, and replaced Japan as the world's second-largest consumer of oil. This enormous thirst for raw materials is changing the direction of Chinese foreign policy and military strategy, and comes with considerable risks.
David Hale, "China's Insatiable Appetite," The Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2005 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111584745686530941,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan defended the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan defended the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that Congress passed after a series of corporate accounting scandals, saying he is surprised that a law enacted so "rapidly" has "functioned as well as it has." Delivering a commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School yesterday, Mr. Greenspan said the 2002 law "importantly reinforced the principle that ... corporate managers should be working on behalf of shareholders to allocate business resources to their optimum use."
David Wessel, "Corporate Overhauls Are Proving To Be Effective, Greenspan Says," The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2005; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111616543499633916,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

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


Trivia from The Washington Post on May 11, 2005

What, you don't have a blog? According to one blog expert, how many people currently write online journals?

A. 8 million
B. 4 million
C. 800,000
D. 400,000


Why can't credit rating companies be more like eBay?
Why, then, are the credit reporting agencies reviled, while systems like eBay are widely admired? The answer has to do with the architecture in which our digital doubles roam. Commercial data vendors are stubbornly clinging to their early-20th-century origins as card files full of private dope, compiled to keep a local merchant from trusting a deadbeat. In those days, data vendors had no contract or relationship with the people on whom they compiled reports - and they still don't. Credit agencies are hostile to consumers who want to know what's being said about them. Negative information can go unnoticed for years until it suddenly results in punishment from a lender or retailer. There is little chance to challenge bad comments, even if the original report is inaccurate. On eBay, by contrast, when you get a black mark you immediately know who gave it to you and why. The news that feedback has been posted arrives by email. The design of the system acknowledges that both parties, reporter and reported-upon, share an interest in the data. Although feedback disputes are common, eBay has made itself a transparent broker, rather than a bureau of evil rumors.
Gary Wolf, "The New Multiple Personality Disorder," Wired News, May 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/start.html?pg=2?tw=wn_tophead_8
Bob Jensen's threads on FICO rating and other credit agency frustrations are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO


Pain and Brain and Sex Differences
Today, patients undergoing surgery get painkillers in a standard dosage mainly determined by body weight. But "there may be a point in time when we may be able to tell which patient responds to which type of pain medicine," said Dr. Sunny Anand, director of the Pain Neurobiology Laboratory at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. A patient could get a regimen of painkillers that will take into account his or her age, sex and pain threshold, and compensate for any side effects or possible predisposition to addiction. "I don't think it's science fiction," Anand said. "Within the next five years we will be there." There has already been some progress in understanding the genetic basis of pain. One of the primary areas of discovery has been the most fundamental: the difference between men and women. Many scientists believe that male and female brains differ in architecture, and consequently, "some of the genetic differences that create sex brain differences may make pain vulnerability different," said Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer, director of the pediatric pain program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.
Andrew Chang, "Painkillers Designed Especially for You?" ABC News, May 11, 2005 --- http://abcnews.go.com/Health/PainManagement/story?id=694929&page=1


Two links forwarded by Dick Wolff

Longevity Game
Welcome to the Longevity Game! See how your lifestyle can affect you in the years to come by answering just 12 quick questions. Your expected age will show in the tabulator in the upper left corner. Keep in mind your answers may increase, decrease, or have no affect on your expected age
--- http://www.nmfn.com/tnetwork/longevity_game_popup.html


Passing of Generation
This is beautiful and touching. It loads fast and the music is lovely. It will take a few minutes to scroll through it though. http://www.wtv-zone.com/Mary/PASSINGOFGENERATION.HTML 


Oh! Oh!:  Byrd's LaSalle University was in Mandeville, La.
At the Fort Worth school district, colleagues refer to district employee Michael J. Byrd as "Dr. Byrd." The intervention specialist, who helps families in crisis, also has received a $600 annual doctoral stipend every year since 2002, when he informed the district that he earned his doctoral degree in psychology, district records show. But now, Dr. Byrd has been demoted to Mr. Byrd. Byrd, 44, of Fort Worth received his degree from LaSalle University. But not from the well-known LaSalle University in Philadelphia. Rather, Byrd's LaSalle University was in Mandeville, La. There is no connection between the two institutions.
Fort Worth Star Telegram, May 16, 2005

Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills (including a logo infringement suit won by Trinity University) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill


He wished he was an Oscar Meyer Weiner

May 12, 2005 message from Douglas Ziegenfuss [dziegenf@ODU.EDU]

A week ago on May 5, 2005, (page 5), The Virginian -Pilot (published in Norfolk, Virginia) had an AP article detailing the life of Meinhardt Raabe, 89, who played the Munchkin Coroner in the Wizard of Oz. According to the article, Raabe's tenacity and ability to speak German landed him a job as an accountant with the Oscar Meyer Company. He worked there for three decades and in addition to being an accountant, he also traveled in the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.

Douglas E. Ziegenfuss
Professor and Chair, Department of Accounting
Room 2157 Constant Hall
Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0229


Scientific Expeditions from the Field Museum --- http://www.fieldmuseum.org/expeditions/interactive_main_content.html

Also see NASA's Destination Earth ---  http://www.earth.nasa.gov/flash_top.html


Mexicans are willing to take jobs "that not even blacks want to do?"
Mexican President Vicente Fox came under fire yesterday for saying Mexicans were willing to take jobs "that not even blacks want to do in the United States." "There's no doubt that the Mexican men and women — full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work — are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States," Fox told a meeting of the Texas-Mexico Frozen Food Council in Puerto Vallarta on Friday. Fox's remark came a day after Mexico announced it would formally protest recent U.S. immigration reforms, including the decision...
New York Post, May 15, 2005 --- http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/44081.htm

 


Is Bill Cosby Right?
Michael Eric Dyson’s tour for his book, Is Bill Cosby Right? (Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost its Mind?) has been busting out all over radio and TV in the past few weeks. In fact there’s been lots of talk about Bill Cosby’s remarks concerning declining morality and poor behavior stemming from a lack of parental responsibility that’s holding black kids back. Mr. Cosby laments the lifestyle of young blacks; from their dress, to their music, their views on sex, their language and their moral ethos in general. He believes that it is the fault of black parents for not checking more closely on the lives of their children and in this he comes close to the mark.
Lisa Fabrizio, "The Peter Pan Generation," Chron Watch, May 15, 2005 --- http://www.chronwatch.com/content/contentDisplay.asp?aid=14575 


Who's Preying on Your Grandparents?
Back in February, Jose and Gloria Aquino received a flier in the mail inviting them to a free seminar on one of their favorite topics: protecting their financial assets. As retirees, they were always on the lookout for safe investment strategies as well as tips on how to make sure they didn't outlive their savings. Besides, the flier promised a free lunch for anyone attending the workshop, so what did they have to lose? Potentially plenty, they would soon discover.
Gretchen Morgenson, "Who's Preying on Your Grandparents?" The New York Times, May 15, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/business/yourmoney/15vict.html?

Bob Jensen's threads on investment advisor frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm


What is a Chimera?
While the mythical Chimera is the stuff of fantasy, researchers across the country are developing their own real-life chimeras -- animals that are bred to incorporate the cells of other animals or humans -- in an effort to better study human diseases or to create more viable organs for people needing transplants. But as scientists continue to create more varied chimeras -- especially those that have some amount of human brain matter -- questions continue to rise from ethicists, religious groups, and even other biomedical researchers, about the types of limitations that should be set on the scientific community.
Karen Epper Hoffman, "The Laws of Man and Beast," MIT's Technology Review, May 12, 2005 ---
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/wo/wo_051105hoffman.asp?trk=nl


Why could they do so much better in a one-room school house in the old days?
The failure rate for eighth-graders on a test that measures students' knowledge of basic history and government has climbed steadily from 62% in the 2001-02 school year, to 76% in 2002-03 and 81% in 2003-04. Top educrats who testified offered conflicting reasons for the drop in scores. Elise Abegg, the department's social studies czar, said some schools were spending too much time teaching students how to read and do math out of fear that they would be labeled a "failing school" under the federal No Child Left Behind law. But J.C. Brizard, the department's executive director for high schools, said the real problem was that the 60-question standardized test requires that students be able to read and understand the questions - something he said many cannot do. "They have trouble comprehending what they are reading," Brizard said.
Joe Williams, "Duh! 81% of kids fail test:  Social studies trips up 8th-graders," New York Daily News, May 11, 2005 --- http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/308139p-263646c.html


It doesn't take much to be in the Top Ten
"Hillsborough High School in Tampa earned a D grade from the state last year," reports the St. Petersburg Times. "And under federal standards, it fell far short." But there's good news (emphasis in original): "On Monday, Newsweek magazine named it the 10th best high school in the country. In the country." Well, at least Hillsborough students can be thankful they don't go to the 11th-best school--or, even more so, that they don't live in New York City. As best we can tell, the city's highest-ranking school in the Newsweek list http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7723397/site/newsweek/page/5/  is Cardozo High in the Queens neighborhood of Bayside, which finishes at No. 471.
Opinion Journal, May 11, 2005


The creation of a global database of human genetic variation and associated anthropological data
(language, social customs, etc.)

Explore your own genetic journey with Dr. Spencer Wells. DNA analysis includes a depiction of your ancient ancestors and an interactive map tracing your genetic lineage around the world and through the ages.

The Genographic Project --- http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/


Yearning to Breathe Free
The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus (from the University of Miami) --- http://balseros.miami.edu/


National Academy of Public Administration
The National Academy of Public Administration is an independent, non-partisan organization chartered by Congress to assist federal, state, and local governments in improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability. For more than 35 years, the Academy has met the challenge of cultivating excellence in the management and administration of government agencies --- http://www.napawash.org/about_academy/index.html


Corporate Concierge Business Model
Reardon sells a subscription-based Web platform that allows corporations to consolidate and procure a number of services at lower costs, including those for airplane tickets, hotels, restaurants, and conferencing. The company is positioning itself as a "corporate concierge," helping companies efficiently and inexpensively satisfy their everyday needs -- from sending a package to buying paper clips. At launch, in February 2004, the company was able to boast a number of significant clients: Cingular, Genesys, JDS Uniphase, Motorola, and Warner Music. It's impressive, but remember that the company has been around for five years and we’d expect it to have at least a handful of solid clients at this point
"Corporate Concierge," MIT's Technology Review, May 11, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/wo/wo_051105madden.asp?trk=nl


Center for Labor Research and Education (focus is on southern California) --- http://www.labor.ucla.edu/


Two elected trustees at Dartmouth vow to keep faculty members focused on teaching rather than research
Peter Robinson, one of the victors, is a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His platform called for promoting free speech on campus, keeping faculty members focused on teaching rather than research, improving an athletic program that he said was “sunk in mediocrity,” and ending programs that require fraternity members to attend “inclusivity” seminars. A former speechwriter for President Reagan, Robinson wrote to alumni: “After watching the fortieth chief executive of the United States stand up to the Kremlin, I’d be perfectly happy to stand up to the bureaucracy in Hanover.
Stu Gettleman, "Renegade Trustees at Dartmouth," Inside Higher Ed, May 13, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/13/dartmouth
 

Blog ridicules and harasses students and faculty members
St. Lawrence University is trying to force disclosure of the names of bloggers behind a site they say ridicules and harasses students and faculty members. The blog Take Back Our Campus!, which says it is “dedicated to fighting the right-wing assault” on the university, posts often raging criticisms of administrative policy and of students in conservative groups, and other faculty members and students they consider conservative. The university filed a lawsuit in federal court in January alleging that the blog unlawfully used, and altered, copyrighted photographs. One picture of President Daniel Sullivan, gleaned from the university’s Web site, was spruced up with a bottle of gin and two bare-breasted women. The pictures have been removed, but the conflict continues.
David Epstein, "Cloaked in Cyberspace," Inside Higher Ed, May 13, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/13/lawrence


An innovative method of accounting for employee stock options. 
The question is whether employees take a hit and how much the hit becomes if they must eventually exercise options at less than full market value.  Of course the company might issue more options to them to make up the difference which it seems to me defeats the purpose somewhat.

When the new rules regarding the expensing of options go into effect over the next year, technology firms, like Cisco Systems Inc., will be among the hardest hit. Billions of dollars are stake in Silicon Valley with its high concentration of technology firms. But unlike other firms that are scrambling to meet the new requirements in the next fiscal year, Cisco is seeking approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an innovative method of accounting for employee stock options. The new method was proposed to the SEC by Cisco in March, 2005, an anonymous source told MarketWatch. The plan calls for Cisco to sell a small number of option-backed securities through an investment bank each time the company issues stock options to employees. The securities, which would be available only to large institutional investors, would carry the same terms and restrictions as employee stock options. These securities would be priced using the same Dutch method used by Google, Inc. for its initial stock sale last year, however, the restrictions are expected to reduce the value of the securities. Cisco would account for options issued at the same time at the same price as the securities, rather than at the price as it would be set under current rules. It is anticipated that since the price would be lower the dent made in earnings by expensing the options would also be reduced. “In order to get an accurate valuations for stock option valuation, Cisco is working on a market instrument that would match the same attributes of an employee stock option,” Cisco said in a statement to MarketWatch on Thursday. “We are awaiting guidance from regulators on this instrument.” In response to a reporter’s question, William Donaldson, chairman of the SEC said: “I think it’s a very interesting approach.”
"Cisco Proposes Option for Options," AccountingWeb, May 13, 2005 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100901 

As you may recall, Cisco and other companies in the past have taken a tremendous advantage of a discrepancy between GAAP rules and tax rules prior to the revised FAS 123 due to be implemented next year.
When the options are exercised there is cash foregone rather than a cash outlay. The company simply issues stock for cash at the exercise price and foregoes the intrinsic value (the difference between the market value and the exercise price). In spite of fact that cash never flows for intrinsic value of employee stock options, Cisco has enjoyed a tremendous tax break (millions in some years and over a billion in at least one other year) in tax deductions for the cash foregone.  In other words, a company like Cisco might report over $1 billion in net profit to shareholders and a net loss to the IRS when requesting a a large tax refund.  The revised FAS 123 eliminates the intrinsic method of GAAP accounting for stock options and forces fair value to be expensed at the time of vesting.  Now Cisco is proposing a method of reducing the reported “fair value.”

Bob Jensen’s threads and illustrations of employee stock option accounting are at  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm




The following Tidbits were forwarded by my secretary, Debbie Bowling, on May 13, 2005
Debbie is helping me with Tidbits this summer.


U.S. Plans Antitrust Suit Over Real-Estate Listings
In a widening push to promote price competition in sales of residential real estate, government antitrust enforcers are preparing to sue the National Association of Realtors, alleging that its policies will illegally restrict discounting of sales commissions and put online competitors at a disadvantage. The move, the latest effort by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission aimed at protecting buyers and sellers of homes, could help take some of the sting from high real-estate costs. It comes as a hot housing market has caused prices to surge, sharply boosting income for brokers and sales agents, whose commissions typically amount to 5% to 6% of the sale price.
JOHN R. WILKE and JAMES R. HAGERTY, "
U.S. Plans Antitrust Suit Over Real-Estate Listings,"  THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 9, 2005; Page A1 --- http://snipurl.com/Antitrust
 

SEC Judge Jolts Electric-Power Industry
Ruling Against AEP's 2000 Merger With Texas Firm Dusts Off Depression-Era Utility Law
A Securities and Exchange Commission hearing judge's recent decision challenging the legality of a $6.6 billion utility merger has sent a shudder through the U.S. electric-power industry, which is worried that a largely ignored Depression-era law limiting big utility mergers is back from the dead. On May 3, an administrative law judge at the SEC issued a decision concluding that the acquisition by Ohio's American Electric Power Co. of Central & South West Corp. of Texas -- which created the U.S.'s most sweeping utility company in June 2000 -- violated a key provision of a 1935 law. Specifically, Administrative Law Judge Robert G. Mahony found that the merged company didn't constitute an integrated-utility system operating in a "single area or region," as the U.S.'s Public Utility Holding Company Act requires. Instead, he concluded that the utility, stretching from Virginia to Michigan to Texas and spanning 11 states, operates over at least four distinct regions. It is unclear what the SEC's remedy might be, but it is likely that hearings on the merger will be held. ---The Public Utility Holding Company Act remains one of the most important pieces of utility legislation ever passed by Congress. It was created shortly after the 1929 stock-market crash exposed the financial chicanery and self dealing that had become rampant in the electric-power industry, which at the time was controlled by a handful of gigantic power trusts. The 1935 act broke up the trusts and restricted future mergers. For years, those provisions pretty much confined mergers to nearby utilities.
REBECCA SMITH, "
SEC Judge Jolts Electric-Power Industry," THE WALL STREET JOURNAL,  May 9, 2005; Page B2
http://snipurl.com/wsjmark0509


Times Panel Proposes Steps to Build Credibility
In order to build readers' confidence, an internal committee at The New York Times has recommended taking a variety of steps, including having senior editors write more regularly about the workings of the paper, tracking errors in a systematic way and responding more assertively to the paper's critics. ...The committee, which was charged last fall by Bill Keller, the executive editor, with examining how the paper could increase readers' trust, said there was "an immense amount that we can do to improve our journalism." ... It also said The Times had discussed plagiarism-detection with Lexis-Nexis, which was working with iThenticate, a firm that develops detection software for use in academia. Once the software is refined, the committee said, The Times should use it when plausible suspicions are raised.
KATHARINE Q. SEELYE, "Times Panel Proposes Steps to Build Credibility," THE NEW YORK TIMES BUSINESS, May 9, 2005
http://snipurl.com/nyt0509


Firefox Develops Security Holes
Firefox seems to be heading Internet Explorer's way with security research company Secunia stating on its website that two vulnerabilities found in the popular browser can be exploited to conduct cross-site scripting attacks and compromise a user's system. ... According to Secunia the problem is that "IFRAME" JavaScript URLs are not properly protected from being executed in context of another URL in the history list. This can be exploited to execute arbitrary HTML and script code in a user's browser session in context of an arbitrary site. ... It seems that input passed to the "IconURL" parameter in "InstallTrigger.install" is not properly verified before being used. This can be exploited to execute arbitrary JavaScript code with escalated privileges via a specially crafted JavaScript URL.
A temporary solution has been added to the sites "update.mozilla.org" and "addons.mozilla.org" where requests are redirected to "do-not-add.mozilla.org". ...This will stop the publicly available exploit code using a combination of the vulnerabilities to execute arbitrary code in the default settings of Firefox.

By holymoly, "Firefox Develops Security Holes," Free Republic, Posted on 05/09/2005 7:00:15 AM PDT
http://snipurl.com/firefox0509


Top IT Challenge: Paying for It
Finance remains the top issue for information technology in higher education, according to an annual survey of institutions by Educause. But security issues are becoming more and more important. Since 2000, Educause has conducted a poll of institutions — typically answered by chief information officers — about their priorities and about the issues they think have the potential to become more important. Finance has consistently been a top ranked issue, and was the No. 1 answer this year and last to the question of the issue that must be resolved to assure the institution’s strategic success. The CIO’s ranked the following as the top 10 issues for their institution’s success:

Scott Jaschik "Top IT Challenge: Paying for It," Inside Higher ED, May 9, 2005
http://snipurl.com/findit0509

 


Time Travelers Welcome at MIT
If John Titor was at the Time Traveler Convention last Saturday night at MIT, he kept a low profile.
Titor, the notorious internet discussion group member who claims to be from the year 2036, was among those invited to the convention, where any time traveler would have been ushered in as an honored guest. The convention, which drew more than 400 people from our present time period, was held at MIT's storied East Campus dormitory. It featured an MIT rock band, called the Hong Kong Regulars, and hilarious lectures by MIT physics professors. The profs were treated like pop stars by attendees fascinated by the possibility of traveling back in time.
By Mark Baard, "Time Travelers Welcome at MIT," Wired News, 02:00 AM May. 09, 2005 PT
http://snipurl.com/topit0509


Hedge Funds Hit Rocky Stretch As Field Becomes More Crowded
Hedge funds, the large private investment pools that have exploded in popularity this decade, have hit their most challenging performance stretch in at least a year, raising questions about whether their growth may be slowing and what that could mean for global stock and bond markets. ... Hedge-fund managers make most of their profit from their investment gains, typically claiming a hefty 20%. Without any gains, some funds could quickly lose key employees or assets, if investors start demanding their money back. Some investors and hedge-fund veterans wonder whether the industry is poised for a slowdown after years of runaway growth.
 

"My question is how many hedge funds will pack it in," says Marc Freed, a managing director at Lyster Watson & Co., which invests in dozens of hedge funds on behalf of both individual and institutional clients. Mr. Freed notes that those funds that lost in April may have trouble making up those losses in a challenging market. That will be a key test. Similar scares appeared in the spring of 2003 and 2004, but were overcome. Some industry experts say the difference now is that interest rates are higher and many hedge funds themselves are relatively newer, with limited experience.
GREGORY ZUCKERMAN and HENNY SENDER Staff Reporters, "Hedge Funds Hit Rocky Stretch As Field Becomes More Crowded," THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 10, 2005; Page A1
http://snipurl.com/rocky0510


Swartz Says He Was Unaware Forgiven Loans Weren't on W-2
Mark H. Swartz, Tyco International Ltd.'s former chief financial officer, testified Monday that he first learned in summer 2002 that millions of dollars in loan forgiveness he received in 1999 weren't included on his W-2 tax form for that year. Prosecutors have alleged Messrs. Kozlowski and Swartz improperly granted more than $37 million in loan forgiveness to themselves as a bonus in 1999 without approval of Tyco's board of directors or its compensation committee. Mr. Swartz, 44 years old, and Mr. Kozlowski, 58, are on trial in New York State Supreme Court, facing charges of grand larceny, securities fraud and other crimes in connection with giant bonuses and other compensation they received while working as Tyco's top executives. They each face up to 25 years in prison on the most serious charge of grand larceny. They have denied wrongdoing. Their first trial ended in a mistrial last year.
CHAD BRAY, "Swartz Says He Was Unaware Forgiven Loans Weren't on W-2," DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, May 10, 2005; Page C2
http://snipurl.com/swartz0510
 


Internet Attack Called Broad and Long Lasting by Investigators
The incident seemed alarming enough: a breach of a Cisco Systems network in which an intruder seized programming instructions for many of the computers that control the flow of the Internet. Now federal officials and computer security investigators have acknowledged that the Cisco break-in last year was only part of a more extensive operation - involving a single intruder or a small band, apparently based in Europe - in which thousands of computer systems were similarly penetrated. ... Investigators in the United States and Europe say they have spent almost a year pursuing the case involving attacks on computer systems serving the American military, NASA and research laboratories.

The case remains under investigation. But attention is focus