on April 8, 2005
Jensen at Trinity
For earlier editions of New
Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search
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/.
Bob Jensen's home page is
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Oh! Oh! I've been found out!
Doesn't it scare you, a world of ignoramuses with no
memory other than that of their computers?
Harold Irving Bloom
It may not be a good idea to open up Web greeting cards sent by your
Beware of Web postcards bearing greetings. That's the
advice from the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, which is warning about
e-mail messages that pose as Web postcards and then direct recipients to a Web
site that installs a Trojan horse proThe new attacks use sophisticated
social-engineering techniques to trick users into installing Trojan horse
remote-access programs that can fool antivirus and firewall software by
appearing to be authorized applications like Internet Relay Chat software,
according to the
Internet Storm Center (ISC).
"Web Postcards Hide Trojan Horse Programs: Instead of friendly greetings,
malicious software installs on your PC," PC World, April 5, 2005 ---
It's allegedly in the Koran: Scholar claims the United States will
cease to exist in 2007
Explaining his theory about the approaching extinction
of the US, the scholar went on to analyze many numbers and letters mentioned in
the Koran. He said a careful reading and analysis of words appearing in the
Opening and Yusuf suras show that the US will exist for only 231 years. How did
he reach that number? Silwadi said that by combing a number of suras hinting at
US sins he reached the numbers 1776 (the year the US achieved independence) and
231. He added the two numbers and the result was 2007, the year when the US is
expected to disappear.
Kgaked Abu Toameh, "Koran scholar: US will cease to exist in 2007," Jerusalem
Post, March 29, 2005 ---
What are suras and ayas? See
http://www.arches.uga.edu/~humayra/Koran syllabus 2003.html
Some evangelists are betting on their faith: I think maybe they've
"Most blessed of sons be Asher. Let him be favored by
his brothers and let him dip his foot in oil," Brown quotes from Moses's
blessing to one of the 12 Tribes of Israel in Deuteronomy 33:24. Standing next
to a 54-meter (177-ft)-high derrick at Kibbutz Maanit in northern Israel, Brown
said the passage indicated there is oil lying beneath the biblical territory of
the Tribe of Asher, where the agricultural community is located.
Geological surveys and an attempt by an Israeli-based
company to find oil at the same site 10 years ago, a venture he said was
abandoned for lack of funds, led Brown to pick the spot where new drilling will
begin this week. Brown said he raised money for "Project Joseph" from fellow
evangelical Christians in the United States. "From the investment standpoint,
they certainly hope to have a return of the money," he said. "But the basis of
it is Genesis, chapter 12." In that passage, God promises to shower blessings on
those who bless the "great nation" sired by the Hebrew patriarch Abraham.
Reuters, April 6, 2005 ---
Chili pepper may help you get out of bed in the morning
Injections of the active ingredient found in red-hot
chili peppers may produce lasting pain relief in people with knee
osteoarthritis.knee osteoarthritis. And injections of Botox, the popular
wrinkle-smoothing drug, may treat many painful ailments, say experts who
presented evidence at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society in Boston.
Denise Mann, "Chili Pepper, Botox Injections Help Ease Pain: Capsaicin
Injections Soothe Osteoarthritis; Botox Helps Many Types of Pain, WebMDhealth,
April 6, 2005 ---
Boy was he compensated for bad performance: I think his
parents should've cut back on his allowance
$51,600,000+ total compensation of John Antioco,
CEO of Blockbuster video chain in 2004
$1,250,000,000 net loss of Blockbuster video chain in 2004 that was accompanied
by a 47% decline in share prices.
Time Magazine, April 11, 2005, Page 16
Salary differentials among female college graduates on the
job in 2003
$43,656 among Asian American women
$41,066 among African American women
$37,761 among white American women
Time Magazine, April 11, 2005, Page 16
Jensen Comment: The lower mean for white women might be due in part to
size differentials in these groupings. There are many more white women
applying for jobs. It may also be due to other factors such as affirmative
action and the speculation that non-white women who finish college often had
more of a struggle and are, therefore, more motivated toward high job
performance. Always remember that the biggest liars of the world, outside
of accountants and lawyers, are statisticians.
The Female Early Life Career Crisis: Announcing a Webcast on this
You have likely seen the considerable attention the
press has given to the notion that large numbers of highly-qualified women are
opting out of mainstream careers. The recent coverage is spurred by a new
research study published in this month's Harvard Business Review. The research
was co-funded by Ernst & Young LLP, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, all
members of the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force, a private sector initiative that
is investigating this phenomenon. Now you can learn more about it from the
people who can provide an inside look: The co-authors of the report, Ernst &
Young's Carolyn Buck Luce and the Center for Work-Life Policy's Sylvia Ann
Hewlett, as well as Catalyst's Ilene H. Lange. The numbers reveal why this is a
critical topic: nearly four in 10 women with a graduate degree, professional
degree or high-honors undergraduate degree have left the workforce voluntarily.
As many as 93 percent of those who leave want to return to work, but only 74
percent find jobs, and just 40 percent return to full-time, professional jobs.
An especially worrying statistic for the business sector in an increasingly
tight labor market – none of these women want to return to their former
companies. Join Ernst & Young LLP for an innovative Thought Center Webcast that
will discuss what companies can do to keep talented women on the road to success
and offer ongoing support for them as they pursue their careers. Our panelists
will offer insights into practical steps employers can take to redefine the
workplace, including: Alternative “pathways to power” that provide less linear
career paths Flexible work arrangements that provide interesting, meaningful
work Ideas and insights into how companies can help women reclaim and sustain
ambition Elimination of "push" factors that can make women want to leave your
organization And much more!
Message from E&Y announcing the April 15, 2005 Webcast
The Female Midlife Crisis
The "midlife crisis" has long been thought of as
something that afflicts men and often involves expensive toys and second wives.
But the Wall Street Journal's Work & Family columnist, Sue Shellenbarger, says
that as gender roles change, women are increasingly experiencing their own
version of these upheavals. What follows is adapted from her new book, "The
Breaking Point: How Female Midlife Crisis Is Transforming Today's Women."
Sue Shellenbarger, "The Female Midlife Crisis: More Women Than Men Now
Report Upheaval by Age 50; The ATV Tipping Point," The Wall Street Journal,
April 7, 2005; Page D1
Jane Fonda's entire life was mostly a staged performance
When I was on the faculty of the University of Maine, the Bangor Daily News
made a big, daily, deal when Jane Fonda stayed in Bangor for several weeks
with her children in tow. I never met her, but our best friends had two
daughters on the Bangor High School swim team. Their swimming coach was
the reason Jane came to town. She worked every day trying to perfect the
dive that ultimately appeared near the end of one of my favorite films --- On
Golden Pond ---
Purportedly she was a very good mother and a very good person who was not at all
like the picture of her painted by the media.
Her new biography entitled My Life So Far (Random House) is amazingly
candid for an autobiography and really held my attention. What stands out
the most is the difference between her public persona and her inner reality.
Our image of Jane is that of a highly-talented, fiercely independent, and deeply
rooted anti-establishment female. She, however, portrays herself as a
rejected, insecure, naive, and flubbery woman whose public image arose out of
trying to mold herself to what the men in her life (famous father and three
tabloid husbands) wanted her to be. She wanted desperately to please them in
ways they wanted to be pleased. Her husbands, in turn, were enormously and
openly promiscuous and unfaithful while married to Jane. Her French
husband (Roger Vadim) wanted her to be a sex toy and she became remarkably good
at it, often in threesome romps with his prostitutes. Her second
husband (Tom Hayden) was a notorious anti-establishment politician who pushed
her four-square into the Viet Nam anti-war movement to a point where she became
known as the Hanoi Jane who played into the hands of the enemy propaganda
machine. She will never be forgiven by many military veterans who allege
that she aided and abetted the torture and killing of American prisoners of war.
Her third husband (Ted Turner) mostly wanted her bagged in his vast trophy
case. What is most interesting is what a highly atheist turned Christian
Jane Fonda has now become in the autumn of her life without a husband or any
other man in her private life. She's had botched face lifts and is
suffering from arthritis and is awaiting a hip transplant.
I recommend that you buy her book. The money is going to a good cause
for troubled young women.
Jane Fonda quotations from her book:
On her life-long, bulimia, obsession to be skinny
I remember (as a young girl) cutting out a magazine ad
that said with $2 and some box tops they would send you a special kind of gum
that had tapeworm eggs in it and when you chewed it the worms would hatch and
eat up all the food you consumed. It sounded like a splendid idea to me
--- a way to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.
Sometimes there were three of us, sometimes more (women in bed with
her and Vadim). Sometimes it was even I who did
the soliciting. So adept was I at burying my real feelings and
compartmentalizing myself that I eventually had myself convinced that I enjoyed
it. I'll tell you what I did enjoy: the mornings after, when Vadim
was gone and woman and I would linger over our coffee and talk. For me it
was a way to bring some humanity to the relationship, and antidote to
It is possible the Vietnamese had it all planned. I will never know.
If they did, can I really blame them? The buck stops here. If I was
used, I allowed it to happen . . . and I continue to pay a heavy price for it .
. . I realize that it's not just a U.S. citizen laughing and
clapping on a Vietnamese antiaircraft gun; I'm Henry Fonda's privileged
daughter who appears to be thumbing my nose at the country that provided me
these privileges. More than that, I am a woman which makes my sitting
there even more of a betrayal. A gender betrayal.
It was not encouraging (before her marriage to Ted Turner). Someone gave
me an article about his life that revealed he probably had a drinking problem.
Not what I needed --- again. A friend of one of his children whom I
happened to know told me he liked only younger women and if he was interested in
me, it would only be as a notch in his belt. Of course there were lots of
positives as well: his environmentalism, his global vision, his work for
The Real Jane
I didn't find something revealing about the real Jane in this most revealing
autobiography. Perhaps there is not a real Jane Fonda other than a woman
who succumbed to impulses in her life-long and always failing quest to be
accepted and loved. Money and fame do not always, or even usually, buy
happiness. She does seem much more content and happy in the autumn of her
life at a time when it is no longer necessary to mold herself to any one man.
Not so willing to forgive Jane Fonda
But that picture--dreadful as it was--was hardly the
only appalling thing about that trip and the truth is she probably was ready and
willing to shoot down American pilots. At the time she was in Hanoi, Fonda, for
all practical purposes, was a Communist herself. She was certainly rooting for
Ho Chi Minh's military to defeat the "imperialist" United States of America
involved in the supposedly "criminal" war against that lovely Red regime in the
north. She fully embraced Communists, communism and revolutionaries in 1972 and
way beyond that date. Her heroes were Black Panther thugs such as Huey Newton
and Red dictators such as Fidel Castro. We know of her revolutionary ardor
because she used to run off at the mouth about her views. The Detroit Free
Press, for instance, quotes her as saying in a Nov. 22,1969, Michigan State
University speech: "I would think that if you understood what communism was, you
would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become
Communist." That statement has been quoted for years (in HUMAN EVENTS among
other places) and has never been denied and is certainly not apologized for (or
explained away) in her new memoir. Here's another Fonda gem. On July 18,
1970, the People's World, the West Coast's Communist Party publication, carried
a telephone interview with Fonda in which she said: "To make the revolution in
the United States is a slow day by day job that requires patience and
discipline. It is the only way to make it. . . . All I know is that despite the
fact that I am one of the people who benefit from a capitalist society, I find
that any system which exploits other people cannot and should not exist."
Allan H. Ryskind , "Sorry, Jane, Apology Not Accepted," Online Human Events,
April 8, 2005
Up in my home in Sugar Hill, I'm thinking of replacing some of my maple
trees with palm trees
As temperatures rise and weather patterns become more
erratic, New England's maple trees are facing growing threats that may
eventually force syrup aficionados and leaf-peepers out of the region and into
Christa Farrand, "Climate change could sour US maple sugaring," The Christian
Science Monitor, April 6, 2005 ---
You will never hear the end of Bob Jensen: I plan to keep posting
daily Tidbits on my tombstone
If you want your tombstone to be about you, you'd
better speak up. Otherwise, whoever is in charge of picking out your marker
might decide to chisel something along the lines of: "Enough about him. Let me
tell you about me." Gravesites such as Mr. Astaire's are worth considering
because, with grave markers going high-tech, it's getting even more crucial for
us to articulate how we want to be memorialized. We have entered the age of
customized tombstones that can feature audio-taped messages from the deceased,
and laser-etched portraits of their pets or cars.
Jeff Zaslow, "Having a Say in Your Epitaph: The Challenge of High-Tech
Tombstones," The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2005; Page D1 ---
On Campus, Free Speech at Odds With Tax
On March 10, an event titled "Patriarchy Slam" was held
by the radical Feminist Action League in a room reserved by a second and
recognized student group. (The significance of this is that the free room was
used in violation of UNH policy.) Posters across the campus advertised the
meeting as a public event, with no indication of "Women Only."
Wendy McElroy, "On Campus, Free Speech at Odds With Tax Funding," Fox
News, April 07, 2005 ---
Confessions of a Politically Incorrect Professor
I am European and came to America in 2002, where I
teach at an elite Liberal Arts College. My native country is among the most
socialized in the world, with strong leftist parties, from democratic socialists
to outright communist. All across Europe the left – the far left, somewhere
between Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean – has a very strong political position,
as well as a clearly visible presence on university campuses. Despite my
European background I found myself deeply surprised by the political bias on
college campuses here in America. Left-wing bias is almost undetectable among
European college faculty compared to America’s academic institutions. The bias
that I have encountered has so many facets that I am still encountering new
Anonymous, "Confessions of a Politically Incorrect Professor,"
FrontPageMagazine.com. April 6, 2005 ---
At last there is a logical explanation why the academy is liberal:
Republicans are too anti-science to become good professors.
Republicans are too anti-science to become good
professors. That's the essence of Paul Krugman's recent New York Times column
explaining why there are so few Republican college professors. Of course, recent
events at Harvard indicate that it's the academic left that rejects science.
Harvard's President Larry Summers was castigated for suggesting that politically
incorrect science be conducted. Dr. Summers infamously suggested that
researchers consider the possibility that biology partially explains the dearth
of female science professors. For this comment, his Arts and Science faculty
passed a resolution expressing lack of confidence in him, and the presidents of
Stanford, MIT and Princeton published a letter saying that "speculation that
'innate differences' may be a significant cause of under representation by women
in science and engineering may rejuvenate old myths and reinforce negative
stereotypes and biases." So acting with the approval of their leftist faculties,
the presidents of Stanford, MIT and Princeton have condemned Larry Summers for
the crime of politically incorrect speculation. Nothing could possibly be more
anti-scientific then rejecting speculation.
James D. Miller, "Font Size: The Science Haters," Tech Central Station,
April 6, 2005 ---
Do we logically conclude that no member of the Republican party should be
allowed into the academy just in case self selection is not working well?
Claims that liberal bias keeps conservatives off
college faculties almost always focus on the humanities and social sciences,
where judgments about what constitutes good scholarship can seem subjective to
an outsider. But studies that find registered Republicans in the minority at
elite universities show that Republicans are almost as rare in hard sciences
like physics and in engineering departments as in softer fields. Why? One answer
is self-selection - the same sort of self-selection that leads Republicans to
outnumber Democrats four to one in the military. The sort of person who prefers
an academic career to the private sector is likely to be somewhat more liberal
than average, even in engineering.
Paul Krugman, "An Academic Question," The New York Times, April 5, 2005
Jensen Comment: I don't think it is fair to blame Republican professors
for the outrageous claims of the lunatic right any more than it is fair to blame
all Democratic professors for the lunatic fringe that applauds every time the U.S.
military loses in battle. My experience is that most professors of all
political persuasion pride themselves on individualism and academic pride that
sets it apart from dogma. Paul Krugman needs to learn how to back up his
claims with research.
These NASA scientists had to be liberal according to Paul Krugman's
Now top researchers at the US National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (Nasa) say the calcified clumps of primitive bacteria
lurking in its pools could provide important clues in their search for
extra-terrestrial life. The network of 170 cactus-ringed lagoons around the town
of Cuatro Cienegas have intrigued evolutionary biologists for decades because
their fish, snail and turtle species rival the Galapagos Islands in their
"Mexican lagoons intrigue Nasa," Aljazeera, April 5, 2005 ---
No self-respecting conservative scientist would publish this research:
But I like the findings from Down Under
But a new study shows that sex leads to faster
evolution. To demonstrate this, a team of scientists created a mutant strain of
yeast that, unlike normal yeast, was unable to divide into the sexual spores
that allow yeast to engage in sexual reproduction. Yeast can reproduce either
sexually or asexually. When testing this mutant strain in stress-free
conditions, the scientists found that it performed as well as normal yeast. In
more extreme conditions, however, the normal yeast grew faster than the asexual
mutants. This shows "unequivocally that sex allows for more rapid evolution,"
said Matthew Goddard of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of
Auckland in New Zealand. Goddard led the study, which is reported in this week's
issue of the science journal Nature.
Stefan Lovgren, "Sex Speeds Up Evolution, Study Finds," National Geographic
News, March 30, 2005 ---
Where are all the guys on each Canadian campus? (Similar disparities
are arising in the U.S.)
Where are all the guys on campus? If men outnumbered
women 515,000 to 375,000 in colleges, there'd be an uproar The Edmonton Journal
Fri 01 Apr 2005 Page: A18 Section: Opinion Byline: Lorne Gunter Of the 52
traditional bricks-and-mortar universities in Canada, only one has more male
students than female. Just one. Ontario's University of Waterloo has a
male-female ratio of 54 to 46, according to Maclean's magazine's 2005 Guide to
Canadian Universities. At all the rest -- every last one of them -- women
outnumber men. At Carleton University in Ottawa, it's nearly equal. The numbers
there reflect the...
Lorne Gunter, "Where are all the guys on campus?" Edmonton Journal, April
1, 2005 ---
Does Professor Orr really think our business education goal is to teach students how to "bust
Economics Professor Douglas Orr gave a short speech
highlighting some of the things that are happening in American universities.
“Almost every university in the United States has a school of business, and what
do they teach? They have got faculty members who teach how to bust unions. They
have faculty members who teach how to make your workers work harder for lower
wages, and if they protest, how do you suppress them. These things are taught in
every single business school in the United States, but then you ask the
question, how many of these schools teach how to organize a union? How many of
these schools teach how to organize resistance to oppression?” said Orr. He
continued by emphasizing what Professor Dean mentioned earlier. “What is going
on with Ward Churchill is the start of what we saw in the 1950s. It is a
systematic attempt to drive any voices of opposition out of the university in
this country; to give in an inch is to let them get started.”
Thomas Coghlan, "Rally draws hundreds for Ward Churchill," The Easterner,
March 28, 2005 ---
Jensen Question: Dear Professor Orr: I've been on the business
faculties of four universities. I've yet to see a course or even a course
module on "How to bust unions." Virtually all the courses I've seen are on how
to improve relationships between management and unions. Have you got a single
example of a business course in an AACSB-accredited university that teaches how
to bust unions?
Professor Orr denied my appeal to provide an example of one accredited
business education program or course that teaches how to bust up unions.
Bob Jensen's threads on the saga of Ward Churchill are at
GM is one tiny step from the junk pile and Ford is on its way
Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday cut General Motors
Corp.'s (GM.N) debt rating to a step above junk status, citing the world's
largest automaker's profit warning last month, and cautioned that it may
downgrade rival Ford Motor Co.
Reuters, The New York Times, April 6, 2005 ---
Just a few less calories may extend your life
Now, though, work done by Marc Hellerstein and his
colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that it may be
possible to have, as it were, your cake and eat it too. Or, at least, to eat 95%
of it. Their study, to be published in the American Journal of
Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests that significant gains in
longevity might be made by a mere 5% reduction in calorie intake. The study was
done on mice rather than people. But the ubiquity of previous
calorie-restriction results suggests the same outcome might well occur in other
species, possibly including humans. However, you would have to fast on alternate
days. Why caloric restriction extends the lifespan of any animal is
unclear, but much of the smart money backs the idea that it slows down cell
division by denying cells the resources they need to grow and proliferate. One
consequence of that slow-down would be to stymie the development of cancerous
"All you can't eat," The Economist, March 31, 2005 ---
How to select hospitals in your city/region compare (you choose the
criteria and the hospitals)?
When I compared San Antonio's Baptist Health System with the Methodist System, I
got some surprising results.
In a move to provide clear, unbiased information about
the quality of hospital care, Medicare is launching a Web-based database that
consumers can use to see for themselves how local institutions stack up against
each other. The Web site, Hospital Compare, went live late yesterday, offering
data on 17 widely accepted quality measures in treating heart attack, heart
failure and pneumonia. It shows how most of the nation's general hospitals
perform compared with state and national averages, as well as against their
peers. "This is another big step toward supporting and rewarding better quality,
rather than just paying more and supporting more services," says Mark McClellan,
a physician who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which
oversees federal health-care programs for seniors and low-income people. The
government "ends up paying more when a patient gets poor-quality care and is
readmitted" to the hospital, he added.
Rhonda L. Rundle, "Medicare Puts Data Comparing Hospitals Onto Public Web Site,"
The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005; Page B1 ---
The Hospital Care comparison site is at
I don't think academic freedom militants will rally behind
Warrior and well they should not
Warrior, a former professional wrestler
who goes by that single name, gave a lecture at the University
of Connecticut on Tuesday that degenerated into a shouting match
when he criticized gay people and made comments about needing a
while answering a question from an Iranian
student, according to an
article in The Daily Campus (free
Scott Jaschik, "Talk Degenerates at UConn," Inside Higher Ed
April 7, 2005 ---
The “vulgarity debate” among bloggers
debate” that broke out among Persian bloggers in
late 2003 (discussed in my last
) has no exact parallel in the
American scene. But as
pointed out last week, some of the same tensions
can be felt along the borders where blogging
intersects with established professions and
institutions of journalism and scholarship. And
no surprise, either: While Iranian academics and
writers were initially provoked by the bad
grammar and guesswork spelling that prevailed in
Weblogestan, the deeper issue is structural — a
divide that cuts through any culture.
Scott McLemee, "Of Blogs and Dialogues,"
Inside Higher Ed
, April 5, 2005 ---
Opinions of the best and the brightest young people
A sample of 40 exceptional students -- 10 of whom got
perfect scores on their SATs -- can't capture the talents or attitudes of all
1,600 students who entered the competition. It's an even blurrier reflection of
all the high schoolers around the country who seriously pursue science. But the
sample does show what's possible when gifted kids are nurtured by caring
parents, challenged by high expectations in school, encouraged to explore what
interests them, and given a chance to work with mentors at universities and U.S.
national laboratories. And by surveying the finalists, BusinessWeek was able to
glimpse how top-performing students would shape government science policies if
they were handed the opportunity . . . After all, most children aren't math
wizards, any more than they're musical prodigies. But that doesn't mean mediocre
performance is destiny. Schools need to foster more interest in science in the
lower grades. And middle-school teachers should toss tougher challenges at
girls, in particular. Greater emphasis should also be placed on mentors, the
students say, with colleges expanding outreach programs; and high schools with
no nearby university could form volunteer mentoring clubs staffed with their
best students and parents. Ultimately, America's educational system needs to pay
as much attention to bright students as it does to slow learners. That would
give more U.S. kids a better chance to stand tall in international comparisons.
And it just might help counteract the scientific illiteracy that threatens to
drag down the performance of American businesses.
"Meet The Best And Brightest: Forty gifted U.S. high school science
students told us what matters to them," Business Week, March 28, 2005 ---
Why do many investors prefer concentrated rather than diversified
It is always nice when research confirms what we had
theorized. For instance Ivkovich, Sialm, and Weisbenner show that when investors
take highly undiversified positions, they on average earn higher returns than
when they are diversified. However before you scrap all diversification theory,
these higher returns come at the expense of added risk. Why would investors hold
a "concentrated" portfolio? It could be because of fixed transaction costs or
because of information advantages, or because of what collectively could be
called behavioral reasons.
Jim Mahar commenting on "SSRN-Portfolio Concentration and the Performance of
Individual Investors," by Zoran Ivkovich, Clemens Sialm, and Scott Weisbenner ,
TheFinanceProfessor.com, April 5, 2005 ---
Should the Fed prick the bubbles?
There is always a debate as to the role of the Fed when
it comes to asset "bubbles." For instance, the Fed was criticized by many after
the internet bubble. What is the correct role? Hands off? Active
interventionist? Fed Governor Edward Gramlich gave his view to a "conference
hosted at Princeton University." His view? Basically hands off:
Jim Mahar, "What is the role of the Fed with respect to asset price bubbles?,
TheFinanceProfessor.com, April 2, 2005 ---
Nation’s humanities and social sciences departments suffer from a lack of
intellectual and programmatic diversity?
This “Selig Strategy” could also describe the academy’s
response to indications that the nation’s humanities and social sciences
departments suffer from a lack of intellectual and programmatic diversity. Calls
for outside inquiries have been denounced as violations of academic freedom,
while few if any signs exist that the very internal academic procedures that
created the problem can successfully resolve it. Instead of imitating baseball’s
strategy of trying to cover up relevant information, the academy should bring
transparency to the now-cloaked world of faculty hires and in-class instruction,
compiling and publicizing the necessary data, probably through college and
department Web sites. Such a response would allow the educational establishment
to employ the habits of the academic world, namely reasoned analysis through use
of hard evidence, to address (and, when false, disprove) specific allegations of
ideological bias. At the same time, the exposure associated with greater
transparency might deter those professors inclined to abuse their classroom
authority for indoctrination.
K.C. Johnson, "Transparency or a ‘Selig Strategy’?" Inside Higher Ed,
April 1, 2005 ---
Self selection versus discrimination: In any case there is little
evidence of efforts for diversity
Harvard’s facetious moniker, “The Kremlin on the
Charles,” may be more accurate than previously speculated, according to a report
released last week. The study, published in The Forum, an online social science
journal, concluded that discrimination may account for a reported dearth of
conservatives in academia. According to the study, 72 percent of professors at
U.S. universities identify themselves as liberal and just 15 percent as
conservative. At elite schools, the gap was more pronounced, with 87 percent of
faculty self-identifying as liberal and only 13 percent as conservative. The
study was based on a 1999 survey of 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year
schools . . . Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield ’53 says he is
not surprised by the report’s findings. “Conservatives have a hard time in
academia,” Mansfield said. “Just look at my department. There are fifty
professors, and two or three are Republicans. How is that possible?” But
Graduate School of Education professor Julie A. Reuben, who had not fully
examined the study, said she was skeptical of the argument that discrimination
is to blame for the weak conservative voice on campus. “I would have assumed
that there is a high degree of self-selection rather than discrimination,”
Sarah E.F. Milov, "Study Finds Academia May Favor Liberals," The Crimson
from Harvard University, April 7, 2005 ---
The lawyers always get the best part of the carrion or
control who gets the choice parts
What's received less notice is where Mr. Hevesi has
been steering the gargantuan legal fees associated with the
(WorldCom) settlements. According to the New York Sun,
which has been virtually alone in covering the matter, the state retirement fund
happens to be represented by law firms that have made very generous political
donations to the comptroller. Such activity isn't illegal, but as the Sun put it
in a March 7 editorial, "It's enough to tempt one to speculate that these
proceedings aren't so much about the rule of law as they are about enriching,
via fees, Mr. Hevesi's class-action lawyers, who are also major contributors to
the comptroller's campaign." There's also the question of whether Mr. Hevesi's
moonlighting as lead plaintiff in the WorldCom class action is in direct
conflict with his day job as trustee of the state pension fund. The New York
retirement fund never owned WorldCom bonds, the basis for the suit against
underwriters like J.P. Morgan. But it did own J.P. Morgan stock, as well as the
stock of several other underwriters named in the class action. Mr. Hevesi's
fiduciary responsibility as class representative is to get maximum recovery from
the underwriters. But to the extent that these large settlements harm investment
banks and drive down their stock price, the retirement fund suffers. The only
group that makes out no matter what are the comptroller's plaintiffs' bar pals.
That's something U.S. District Judge Denise Cote might want to consider before
signing off on Mr. Hevesi's latest settlement with J.P. Morgan, which could
generate more than $300 million in new trial-lawyer fees.
"Comptrolling Legal Authority," The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005
What caught my attention was his claim that, because of U.S.
taxes, Intel could build and operate a plant in "Europe" cheaper than in the
U.S. I find this hard to believe.
Otellini, who will become Intel's chief executive in
May, testified Thursday at a hearing of the President's Advisory Panel on
Federal Tax Reform that over the 10-year life of a modern chip factory, the
company would save $1 billion by placing the factory in Asia or Europe rather
than in the United States. He said Intel, the world's largest chip maker, would
make its decision this year. There would be some advantages to building in this
country, near Intel's other factories, Otellini said. But while trade barriers
and wage factors were significant issues in earlier decisions, taxes are now an
important consideration, he said.
John Markoff (article originally appeared in The New York Times), "Otellini
warns taxes could send plant overseas," CNET.com, March 29, 2005 ---
Earnings Management Deception
The 1999 bulletin also said that if accounting
practices were intentionally misleading "to impart a sense of increased earnings
power, a form of earnings management, then by definition amounts involved would
be considered material." AIG hinted some errors may have been intentional,
saying that certain transactions "appear to have been structured for the sole or
primary purpose of accomplishing a desired accounting result."
Jonathan Weil, "AIG's Admission Puts the Spotlight On Auditor PWC," The Wall
Street Journal, April 1, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on earnings management are at
Bob Jensen's threads on the AIG mess are at
The business of education
Some other higher education businesses are not seeing the same level of activity
as for-profit higher education, the report said. There were very few purchases
or mergers in the textbook or digital content industries. However, Eduventures
noted a strong investment year for companies that provide technology
infrastructure or software to colleges. Blackboard, for example, pulled off an
IPO, while Jenzabar had a $35 million investment package.
Scott Jaschik, "For-Profit Interest," Inside Higher Ed, April 1, 2005 ---
Does your university have a system for investigating medical insurance
Investigators found that Fortis erroneously used
occupation as a factor in determining small group insurance rates. Wisconsin
state law bars insurers from considering occupation in determining those rates,
although factors including age, sex and health of the group can be considered.
Excluding certain factors in setting rates helps insure more common rates and
smaller rate swings for small businesses, state regulators said. The amount that
was overbilled will be better known by early June, when Assurant must report a
more detailed account of the error to Wisconsin regulators, Susan Ezalarab,
director of the insurance commissioner’s Bureau of Market Regulations, told the
Business Journal of Milwaukee. Ezalarab declined to estimate how many customers
were affected, or how large Assurant’s reimbursement to those clients might be.
"Is Your Health Insurance Provider Overbilling You?" AccountingWeb, March
30, 2005 ---
Make the French drink more wine --- or else more dynamite!
French winegrowers have set off dynamite in government
offices to highlight their financial plight. Members of the radical CRAV
committee of winegrowers threw the explosives into a government agriculture
office in the southern town of Carcassonne, in France. France's wine sector,
which supports 75,000 jobs, is suffering from dwindling sales due to health
concerns and a campaign against drink driving. Exports have also fallen off due
to the weak dollar and competition from 'New World' wines. Producers say people
are now only drinking 58 litres per head, compared to 100 litres in the early
1960s. The government has promised 70 million euros in aid for embattled
winegrowers and 3.5 million euros to promote exports.
"Not Drinking Enough Wine," Sky News, April 1, 2005 ---
The brain's center of trust
The results suggest that a brain region called the
caudate nucleus lights up when it receives or computes data to make decisions
based on trust. The Baylor College of Medicine team based their findings on
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of volunteers playing a money game.
BBC News, April 1, 2005 ---
An Israeli Arab schoolboy has outshone Jewish
counterparts to grab a share of victory in a school quiz on the history of
Zionism and the creation of Israel. Rami Wated, 12, and Jewish teammate Guy
Gothertz clinched a joint first place with an all-Jewish pair after being
quizzed on the history of Jewish nationalism, said Kobby Barda, spokesman for
the city of Tel Aviv, which sponsored the contest. Wated was the only Arab among
the 12 finalists. His prize was a modest plaque. "Despite the fact that many did
not believe that I would win, I prepared well ... It doesn't matter if you are
Jewish or Arab, just as long as you can prepare properly," Wated said on
Wednesday. He is a pupil at an Israeli Arab state school where the curriculum on
Jewish history is limited compared with that offered in Jewish schools.
"Arab boy wins Israeli school quiz on Zionism," Reuters UK, April 6, 2005
Bush assassins' escape jail time
Oslo police officer Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said on
Tuesday that the "United States embassy did not want to press charges". As the
US election campaign was in full swing in late October 2004, the group Gatas
Parlament - whose name means "the parliament of the streets - called
for donations on the website
in order to pay anyone who succeeded in murdering
'Bush assassins' escape jail time," Aljazeera, March 31, 2005 ---
A Media Intelligence Failure
We'll need time to dig through the details in the
600-plus-page Robb-Silberman report on intelligence that was released yesterday.
But one important conclusion worth noting, even on a quick reading, is that the
report blows apart the myth that intelligence provided by Iraqi politician and
former exile Ahmed Chalabi suckered the U.S. into going to war. That myth was a
media and antiwar favorite last year, before the U.S. and Iraq elections, and
when all of Washington thought President Bush was a one-termer. CIA and State
Department sources peddled the idea that an Iraqi defector code-named
"Curveball" had planted bad information about Saddam's WMD. "Curveball" was
widely broadcast as an agent of Mr. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress,
with the not-so-subtle implication that his intelligence was used by the
Pentagon to deceive Mr. Bush into going to war.
"A Media Intelligence Failure," The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005,
Page A10 ---
When Bill Bennett listens, people talk
In just one year, Bennett - variously known as
America's "drug czar" or, if you're The New York Times, the nation's "leading
spokesman" of traditional values - has managed to land 116 markets, including 18
of the top 20. By comparison, Al Franken's "Air America," conceived as the
antidote to conservative talk radio and launched a week before Bennett's show,
airs in just over 50 markets.
Kathleen Parker, "When Bill Bennett listens, people talk," Town Hall,
April 6, 2005 ---
Nude Pix Put Cops In a Fix
Houston police officer Christopher Green, after
arresting a woman on suspicion of drunken driving, allegedly downloaded sexually
explicit pictures from her confiscated cell phone onto his PDA and then showed
them to several colleagues. Internal investigators have stepped in to examine
the situation and reports that Green's partner, George Miller, later called the
woman and asked her for a date. Both officers have been pulled from their usual
patrolling duties. "We're sort of waiting to see what's going to happen,"
Houston Police Officers' Union attorney Aaron Suder told the Houston Chronicle,
which broke the story Friday.
Libe Goad, "Nude Pix Put Cops In a Fix," eWeek, March 25, 2005 ---
Jensen Questions: Why was he looking in her cell phone in the first place?
Did he suspect a small flask was hidden there?
Citigroup Faces Gender-Bias Suit Over Assignments
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San
Francisco by one current and three former California employees of Smith Barney,
alleges that the brokerage firm discriminated against women when its "virtually
all-male branch management" assigned accounts to brokers. The complaint seeks
class-action status on behalf of all Smith Barney female brokers in the U.S., as
well as some former brokers, a total of about 5,000. If class-action status is
granted by the federal judge handling the case, it would raise the stakes for
Citigroup, which already is busy trying to resolve problems stemming from
several unrelated scandals. "These claims are entirely without merit," a
Citigroup spokeswoman said. She maintained that "significant initiatives"
undertaken in recent years had made Smith Barney one of the industry's "most
progressive" workplaces with respect to equal opportunities.
Mitchell Pacelle, "Citigroup Faces Gender-Bias Suit Over Assignments," The
Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005; Page C4 ---
Absurd quotes of the day: Interspecies marriage is on
A Loveland Republican on Thursday warned that same-sex
marriage could one day lead to interspecies marriage, if the state fails to ban
gay nuptials. "Where do you draw the line?" Rep. Jim Welker asked. "A year ago
in India, a woman married her dog." Welker's comments were made at a news
conference called by Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, to promote Lundberg's
proposal for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Jim Hughes, "Gay-marriage foe irks fellow lawmakers with "extreme" talk," Denver
Post, April 1, 2005,
Jim Mahar posted the following at his blog on March 31, 2005
A summary article on volatility
When I was looking at
,I stumbled upon this one by
Andersen, Bollerslev, Christoffersen, and Diebold
They provide a very interesting look at the volatility
forecasting. The piece is largely a summary article that
shows what has been done and the results. VERY good! It
is part of a forthcoming Handbook of Economic
Forecasting edited by Elliott, Granger, and Timmermann.
A warning: it is LONG! 114 pages.
The paper is also available through the
Andersen, Torben G., Bollerslev, Tim, Christoffersen,
Peter and Diebold, Francis X., "Volatility Forecasting"
(February 22, 2005). Penn Institute for Economic
Research (PIER), Research Paper Series http://ssrn.com/abstract=678861
Computers Obeying Brain Signals (forwarded by Debbie Bowling)
Researchers and volunteers around the world are taking
early steps toward a complex but straightforward technological goal: to use
electrical signals from the brain as instructions to computers and other
machines, allowing paralyzed people to communicate, move around and control
their environment literally without moving a muscle. Most dramatically, that
could help "locked-in" patients - those who've lost all muscle movement because
of conditions like Lou Gehrig's disease or brainstem strokes. Take a look at
what other people have accomplished lately with signals from their brains:
Malcolm Ritter, "Computers Obeying Brain Signals," IWON News, April 4,
Flashback on AIG Fraud (forwarded to me by Miklos Vasarhelyi
American International Group Inc. agreed to pay a $10
million fine to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that the
insurance company participated in an accounting fraud at Brightpoint Inc. The
SEC also alleged that New York-based American International, the world's largest
insurer by market value, failed to cooperate with its investigation. The SEC
charged Brightpoint with accounting fraud in a scheme to conceal losses by using
an AIG insurance policy. "AIG worked hand-in-hand with Brightpoint personnel to
custom-design a purported insurance policy that allowed Brightpoint to overstate
its earnings by a staggering 61 percent," said Wayne M. Carlin, director of
SEC's Northeast Regional Office in New York. Carlin said the transaction
amounted to a "round-trip" of cash from Brightpoint to AIG and back to
Brightpoint. In the past year, the SEC also has charged energy companies, such
as Reliant Resources Inc. and Reliant Energy Inc., in "round-trip" arrangements
that misled investors.
Reuters, "AIG Pays $10 Million Fine in Brightpoint Accounting Fraud," The New
York Times, September 11, 2003
You can read more about the recent AIG scandals at
You can read more about round tripping at
I have a longer quotation on this article at the above link. You can also
read about Enron's round trips to the plate.
Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may no longer be
A Palestinian legislator has warned that a genuine
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may no longer be possible, due to
what he called Israel's wanton settlement expansion in the West Bank and East
Khalid Amayreh, "Fatah legislator paints bleak scenario," Aljazeera, April 6,
Ramallah, West Bank -- Palestinian leader Mahmoud
Abbas expressed satisfaction yesterday after U.S. President George W. Bush
warned Israel against expanding any of its settlements in the occupied
territories. Mr. Abbas called on Israel "to take rapid measures for the
implementation of the road map and to stop totally its construction of the wall
and settlements on the ground in order to create the necessary conditions to
relaunch the peace process."
"Abbas applauds U.S. stand against Israeli settlements," Globe and Mail,
April 7, 2005 ---
Palestine: The People and the Land ---
April 2005 report from the U.S. Department of Transportation ---
ON TIME D/
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES S/V/
SKYWEST AIRLINES S/
ATA AIRLINES S/
AMERICAN AIRLINES S/
UNITED AIRLINES S/
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES S/
AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES S/
CONTINENTAL AIRLINES S/
DELTA AIRLINES S/
NORTHWEST AIRLINES S/
AMERICA WEST AIRLINES S/
EXPRESSJET AIRLINES S/
ALASKA AIRLINES S/
JETBLUE AIRWAYS S/
AIRTRAN AIRWAYS S/
ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST AIRLINES S/
Forwarded by Aaron Konstam
* Vanity plate seen on a California car:.. WAS HIS
* Wealthy folks miss one of life's greatest thrills: making that last car
* You heard about the new Govt. bonds? The new Newt Gingrich bond has no
maturity, The Dole bond has no interest, and the Clinton bond has no principle.
* If I save the whales, where do I keep them?
* In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: IT GOES ON.
* If you can't keep a secret, then you don't need to know it.
* When your dreams turn to dust, then it's time to vacuum.
* If you want the world to beat a path to your door try taking a nap on a
* Quote from the boss: "I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was going to
blame it on you."
* I thought I'd try Computer Dating. Tomorrow night I'm meeting someone named
* My son told his teacher he didn't understand how the Indians served popcorn
to the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving when they didn't have microwaves back
* Why hate yourself in the morning? Sleep till noon.
* When computer cryptography is outlawed, bay! bhgynfrt jywq odrt.
* I need someone to refresh my memory. How many cars are allowed through an
intersection after the light turns red? Is it 3 or 5?
* What did the instructor at the school for suicidal terrorists say to his
students? "Watch closely. I'm only going to do this once!"
* Sometimes the garbage disposal Gods demand the offering of a spoon.
* You think your highschool was tough? My highschool was so tough that when
the teacher asked, "What comes at the end of a sentence?" three guys said, "You
* How can we have a National Debt AND a budget surplus? If my plastic money
is maxed out at $10,000, that $100 in my wallet can hardly be considered a
* If idiots could fly, this place would be an airport.
For earlier editions of New
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search
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/.
Bob Jensen's home page
is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: email@example.com