Tidbits on April 11, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

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

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/.

Bob Jensen's home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

Campaign for Trinity University --- http://www.trinity.edu/departments/public_relations/case_statement/index.htm 

I receive a lot of requests on how to find safe prescription medications at the least expensive prices.
The correct link is http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#PhysiciansAndDrugCompanies
I also list three safe Canadian pharmacies where you will probably get your best deals for safe drugs.

Bravo Portland
Thousands lined Portland's Congress Street on Friday to cheer for the state's servicemen, its emergency workers and the NFL champion New England Patriots. Billed as the city's biggest ticker-tape parade, the event featured hundreds of soldiers, sailors and other members of the military marching in front of an enthusiastic crowd, estimated at 30,000. Onlookers bellowed excitedly as each contingent of soldiers paraded into view. The marchers were met by shredded paper, a multitude of small U.S. flags and signs that read: "Welcome Home Heroes" and "America Rocks!" Soldiers said they were overwhelmed by the response, calling it a tremendous show of pride and support.
David Hench, "30,000 cheer for their heroes," Portland Press Herald, April 8, 2005 --- http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/local/050409parade4.shtml

Pope John Paul II was a scholarly leader
Specialized knowledge is key to leadership along with general studies. While Wojtyla had two doctorates in his field, he also studied philosophy and literature and was also a playwright and a poet. If you were to take an hour-a-day reading up in your field and applying the knowledge, within a period of five years you would become an 'expert' within your field. People are hungering and thirsting for a leader with knowledge and experience.
From Insight of the Day forwarded by Debbie Bowling on April 8.

An interesting article about Pope John Paul II appears in The New Yorker
Karol Wojtyla, a poet, actor, and playwright, who had been a bishop in Poland for twenty years, was elected Pope by the College of Cardinals on October 16, 1978. Shortly afterward, Yuri Andropov, the head of Soviet intelligence, called the K.G.B.’s station chief in Warsaw and asked furiously, “How could you have allowed a citizen of a Socialist country to be elected Pope?” The Warsaw rezident, who, during his time in Poland, had developed a knowledge of at least the rudiments of Church procedure, reportedly told Andropov that he would do better to direct his inquiries to Rome

David Remnick, "JOHN PAUL II," The New Yorker, April 11, 2005 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/050411ta_talk_remnick

The distribution of the Catholic population varies widely from one geographic area of the world to another: the American continent is home to almost half the world's Catholics (28.4% of the total number of Catholics live in South America and 14% in Central and North America), while Europe accounts for 27.8% of the whole. Smaller numbers are found in Africa (11.5%), Asia (10.4%, almost all concentrated in the South-East) and Oceania (0.8%). The figures cited refer to 1998 and are essentially the same as the previous year's, while differing slightly from those of 1978. It is important to note the downward trend in the number of European Catholics and the upward trend in Africa and Asia.

This is quoted from http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm

Basic information on various religions:

Religion Date Founded Sacred Texts Membership % of World
Christianity 30 CE The Bible 2,015 million 33% (dropping) 5
Islam 622 CE Qur'an & Hadith 1,215 million 20% (growing) 5
No religion * No date None 925 million 15% (dropping) 5
Hinduism 1,500 BCE The Veda 786 million 13% (stable) 5
Buddhism 523 BCE The Tripitaka 362 million 6% (stable) 5
Atheists No date None 211 million 4%
Chinese folk rel. 270 BCE None 188 million 4%
New Asian rel. Various Various 106 million 2%
Tribal Religions, Animism Prehistory Oral tradition 91 million 2%
Other Various Various 19 million <1%
Judaism No consensus Torah, Talmud 18 million <1%
Sikhism 1500 CE Guru Granth Sahib 16 million <1%
Shamanists Prehistory Oral Tradition 12 million <1%
Spiritism     7 million <1%
Confucianism 520 BCE Lun Yu 5 million <1%
Baha'i Faith 1863 CE Most Holy Book 4 million <1%
Jainism 570 BCE Siddhanta, Pakrit 3 million <1%
Shinto 500 CE Kojiki, Nohon Shoki 3 million <1%
Wicca 800 BCE, 1940 CE None 500,000? <1%
Zoroastrianism No consensus Avesta 0.2 million <1%

Class action suits are troublesome, but often these are the only resort for bilked investors
You claim the lawyers are the only ones who make out. That's wrong. So far, despite the fact that that the issuer, WorldCom, is bankrupt, we have obtained settlements totaling $4.8 billion for bondholders and $1.2 billion for stockholders. That's the biggest settlement in history by far for bondholders and the second biggest for stockholders. These suits are about money and losses, but they are more about rebuilding confidence in the underlying values of our economic and political institutions.
Alan G. Hevesi, New York State Comptroller, "WorldCom's World Record Fraud," The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111292210015601586,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion
Bob Jensen's threads on the WorldCom scandal are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#WorldcomFraud

How difficult it is to digitally photograph some three dimensional items like tapestry
At imas, the brothers set about building a new series of computers of Chudnovskian design. The latest of these is a powerful machine of a type called a cluster of nodes. The brothers ordered the parts through the mail. It sits inside a framework made of metal closet racks and white plastic plumbing pipes, and the structure is covered with window screens—those parts of the machine came from Home Depot. The brothers refer to their computer cluster modestly as “nothing.” Alternatively, they call it “the Home Depot thing.” “To be honest, we really call it It,” Gregory explained. “This is because It doesn’t exactly have a name.” They became interested in using It to crack problems that had proved difficult, such as assembling large DNA sequences or making high-resolution 3-D images of works of art.
Richard Preston, "CAPTURING THE UNICORN:  How two mathematicians came to the aid of the Met," The New Yorker, April 11, 2005 --- http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/050411fa_fact

CBS:  Getting to the ambush early for good pictures
The video cameraman was wounded during a firefight in northeastern Mosul between U.S. troops and insurgents Tuesday. U.S. military officials said the man's camera held footage of a number of roadside bomb attacks against American troops, and they believe he was tipped off to those attacks. A U.S. military statement said troops believe the man "poses an imperative threat to coalition forces" and that he "will be processed as any other security detainee." CBS said the photographer was hired about three months ago, and it asked news organizations not to identify him.
"U.S. military suspects cameraman of being an insurgent," CNN, April 8, 2005 --- http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/04/08/iraq.main/index.html

Bravo MIT:  In the spirit of sharing in the academy:  Just proves once again that givers usually get in return
The gist is that four years into what was originally to be a 10-year, $100 million project, MIT has put nearly 1,000 of its 1,800 courses online, and is on track to finish the work of building the site by 2008 at a cost of $35 million. (The university is just beginning the work of estimating the costs of sustaining the OpenCourseWare project in a “steady state” once the buildout is finished, but expects, once the foundation money dries up, to absorb most of the annual costs in as its regular budget.) The site gets about 400,000 unique visits each month, or about 20,000 a day. The individual course pages contain items commonly available on other universities’ sites like syllabi and calendars, but also more unusual features like videotaped lectures, laboratory simulations, lecture notes (either provided by the instructor or taken by staff members of OpenCourseWare) and even exams — sometimes with answers. MIT “scrubs” the material to make sure that it either complies with its Creative Commons intellectual property license or is removed from the site.The university’s project has spawned sites in Spain and China that are providing native language versions of some MIT courses (with a third, still unendorsed by MIT, beginning in Taiwan, and another expected to be announced in Japan next month). 
Scott Jaschik, "Spreading the Wealth," Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/07/mit

Faculty participation in the MIT venture is voluntary, but about two-thirds of MIT professors have their courses online now. By offering to do much of the work for professors, the OpenCourseWare effort has managed to limit the time faculty members typically spend on getting materials for a course online to under five hours.

And peer pressure is building, Margulies says, not just to participate, but to bolster the look and content of their courses. “There has been a wholesale improvement of the materials,” she says. Some of that movement is driven by faculty members’ “own competitive pride of looking at what their colleagues are doing,” she said, and some results from other sources. “Students are asking faculty members why their courses aren’t up.”

Margulies gushes, and almost blushes, when she reads some of the ways users of the site have described it in e-mail messages to the OpenCourseWare staff: “Eighth wonder of the world,” “coolest thing on the Internet,” “worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize,” “like falling in love.”

“We’ve heard all of those hundreds of times,” Margulies says. “Well, except for ‘like falling in love’ — we’ve only gotten that one once. We’re a bit concerned about that person.”

It has also helped encourage dozens of other colleges in the United States and worldwide to join what Margulies calls “this new movement toward open sharing of knowledge and information.” Major efforts are under way at Utah State University, Foothill-DeAnza Community College District and Carnegie Mellon University, among others.

Bob Jensen's threads on the OCW, OKI,  and related initiatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Read some of the winning essays of applicants admitted to major graduate schools of business
You must be a paid subscriber to Business Week's MBA Insider  to access these essays.  Business Week now provides sample essays of students that were admitted to selected business schools at major universities --- http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/mbainsider/sample_essays.html
These are not limited to MBA programs in the United States.  For example, there are eight winning essays for admission to Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

I guess it's a free world but not necessarily free speech when it comes to criticizing your advertisers:  My guess is that the editor bought a lemon
General Motors said yesterday that it would stop advertising in The Los Angeles Times "until further notice." A G.M. spokeswoman characterized the decision as the culmination of a long-running dispute between the automaker and the newspaper over how G.M. is portrayed. "It involves news reporting, it involves opinion. It's pretty broad-based, and we've made our objections well known to The Times," the G.M. spokeswoman, Ryndee Carney, said. Ms. Carney would not cite specific instances of the editorial content that rankled G.M., but coverage of the company, particularly in recent car reviews, has been far from flattering. A headline on The Times's review of the Pontiac G6 on Wednesday said, "At General Motors, let the impeachment proceedings begin."
"G.M. to Halt Ads in The Los Angeles Times," The New York Times, April 8, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/business/media/08paper.html
Jensen Comment:  What is not clear is whether this applies to GM dealers.  My guess is that cutting out GM's corporate advertising will have little impact on the LA Times.  Cutting out the dealer advertising could be devastating on profits.

Update:  The loss per year to the newspaper may be upwards of $20 million per year --- http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000874567

Duke’s iPod Experiment Evolves
Last summer, in a move watched and copied in broad outline by several other institutions, Duke University gave iPods to all incoming freshmen, in the hope of stimulating technology use on the campus. Wednesday, based on the results of a preliminary review of the program, the university significantly
altered its approach, while declaring the iPod experiment over all to be a success. Instead of providing the digital audio and text devices to all freshmen, Duke will in the 2005-6 academic year make iPods available to undergraduates in any course for which Duke’s Center for Instructional Technology has approved the professors’ use of the devices. “This will enable faculty members who see uses for iPods in their courses to build them into their course plans with the assurance that all students, regardless of class, will have iPods available for their use,” Peter Lange, Duke’s provost, wrote in an e-mail message to faculty members announcing the change Wednesday. 
Doug Lederman, "Duke’s iPod Experiment Evolves," Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/07/ipod

Brawl at Brown Over Who Owns Research
Sean Ling, an associate professor of physics and the most outspoken critic of the policy, said it makes “inventors feel like slaves,” and that he may need to leave Brown if the new rules are put in place. The university says that the new policy is not anything unusual for higher education, and that the distinctions that professors are making between “university time” and their own time don’t reflect the realities of academe. Sabbaticals and vacations “are benefits of appointment at Brown,” so it is appropriate for the new policy to cover work performed during those periods, according to an FAQ the university released with the proposed policy.
Scott Jaschik, "Brawl at Brown Over Who Owns Research," Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/07/brown

Forget Big Brother: Now You Are Being Watched by Almost Anybody --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#BigBrother
You will learn some things I bet you were not aware of before you read David’s message.

Two sides to every story:  Professor Massad at Columbia University tells his side of the story
But he intends to stay on at the alma mater that hired him in 1999 as an assistant professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history (this semester he is teaching two seminars) and gain tenure in 2006-7. He is also seeking "protection" from the administration in order to reinstate his controversial course "Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies," the one nicknamed "Israel Is Racist" by detractors and crashed by hecklers who, because Professor Massad is a fan of free speech, are allowed to have their say. That was the 2002 class where Deena Shanker, a student he does not recall, says he threatened her with ejection after she asked him if Israeli troops issued warnings before bombing civilian areas, a claim the report found credible. "I have never asked any student to leave a class; I never lose my cool," he says. "I make it my business not to."
Robin Finn, "At the Center of an Academic Storm, a Lesson in Calm," The New York Times, April 8, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/nyregion/08lives.html?

But the conservative side is often disrupted with shouting and even pie in the face
David Horowitz was hit in the face with a pie Wednesday during a speech at Butler University. The attack was the third incident in the last 10 days in which a conservative speaker has been doused with food while trying to speak on a Midwestern campus.  William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, was hit in the face with a pie during a speech at Earlham College and Pat Buchanan, the former presidential candidate, had salad dressing thrown on him at Western Michigan University.
Scott Jaschik, "Speech Interrupted," Inside Higher Ed, April 8, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/08/speech

Falling further and further behind the Jetsons
These lackluster findings were consistent with middle school test results obtained after Maine gave laptops to every seventh and eighth grader in the state. Two years and thirty-four million dollars later, math scores improved slightly, while writing, reading, and science either dropped or didn't change. A University of Chicago study of the Internet's effect on California classrooms similarly found "no evidence" that Internet access had "any measurable effect on student achievement."
Peter Berrger. "Keeping Up With the Jetsons," The Irascible Professor, April8, 2005 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-04-08-05.htm
Jensen Comment:  I think that Peter misses the point here.  This is like saying that, with all new appliances in the kitchen, your spouse cooks no better than before.  Computers are a mere learning tool, and achievement is based upon learning results.  If computers are intended to promote greater proficiency then they might do so if used to their potential.  Just having the computers and/or using those computers on activities that do not particularly improve test scores will not lead to better test scores.  Achievement is more of a function of concentrating on the learning tasks with or without computers.  I addition, Peter fails to recognize that just learning how to use computers will make students better prepared for college and/or many types of careers in the modern age.  Students who can't use computers will find it harder to compete until they pick up computer skills.

Criminals are banding together to steal financial data from individual
Recent investigations of online identity-theft rings show a disturbing pattern emerging, law-enforcement officials say. Large groups of criminals are banding together to steal financial data from individuals, and then trade or sell that data on underground Internet sites. One such case involves Shadowcrew, an online marketplace for stolen credit-card and debit-card information that U.S. agents shut down. The Web site, with some 4,000 members, served as the backbone of an extensive criminal organization that traded at least 1.5 million stolen credit-card numbers and caused total losses in excess of $4 million, according to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Newark, N.J., in October.
Cassell Bryan-Low, "Identity Thieves Organize:  Investigators See New Pattern: Criminals Team Up to Sell Stolen Data Over the Internet," The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111282706284700137,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Bob Jensen's threads on Identity Theft --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft 

 There's good news about phishing: The growth of new attacks has slowed. But that's only because attackers are building more sophisticated traps and using advanced technology to perpetrate online fraud, researchers say.
Matt Hines, "Bigger phishes ready to spawn," CNet News, April 6, 2005 --- http://news.com.com/Bigger+phishes+ready+to+spawn/2100-7349_3-5656070.html?tag=nefd.lede
Bob Jensen's threads on phishing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#Phishing 

Online search engine leader Google has unveiled a new feature that will enable its users to zoom in on homes and businesses using satellite images, an advance that may raise privacy concerns as well as intensify the competitive pressures on its rivals.  The satellite technology, which Google began offering late Monday at maps.google.com, is part of the package that the Mountain View-based company acquired when it bought digital map maker Keyhole Corp. for an undisclosed amount nearly six months ago . . . This marks the first time since the deal closed that Google has offered free access to Keyhole's high-tech maps through its search engine. Users previously had to pay $29.95 to download a version of Keyhole's basic software package.
MSNBC News, April 5, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7394347
The Google Map site is at http://maps.google.com/

Note that you can read in U.S. postal zip code numbers in the Search box.  When the map comes up, also note the slider bar that lets you zoom in or out.  You can also use the arrow buttons to move up/down and right/left. 

Did you know you can simply read in a phone number at http://maps.google.com/
Then click on the satellite button.
This worked whenever I typed in home phone numbers of friends.  It did not work for my office phone number (took me to Coffeeville, Kansas) and obviously cannot work for unlisted and cell phone numbers.


Coverdell Education Savings Account or ES
Americans, in general, are not savers. Not even when the reason for saving is a good one: education. Uncle Sam has decided to try to encourage saving for education by renaming and revamping the education IRA. The new program is called a Coverdell Education Savings Account or ESA. It was created as an incentive to help students and their parents save for education expenses. Like the education IRA, an ESA is set up for a beneficiary under the age of 18. Any individual, including the beneficiary, can contribute to the ESA providing their modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $110,000 ($220,000 for those filing joint tax returns). Total annual contributions to an ESA cannot exceed $2,000, regardless of the number of ESAs created or the number of contributors. Contributions can be made up until the tax-filing deadline, April 15.
"New Name, Better Benefits for Education," AccountingWeb, April 4, 2005 ---

A quote from Katherine
After months of government investigations of financial-engineering products in the insurance industry, the nation's accounting rule makers said they will consider tightening standards that govern how companies account for their dealings with insurance companies. The Financial Accounting Standards Board yesterday voted unanimously to add a project to its agenda aimed at clarifying when contracts structured as insurance policies actually transfer risk from the policies' buyers, and when they don't. The FASB's decision is an acknowledgment that the current accounting rules for the insurance industry in many respects are porous. "We've got a specific problem that's been brought to our attention in which there are allegations that the accounting is not representationally faithful and not comparable," said Katherine Schipper, a member of the FASB, the private-sector body that sets generally accepted accounting principles. "So we need to craft a solution that addresses that specific set of allegations."
Diya Gullapalli, "FASB Weighs Its Finite-Risk Rules:  Accounting Body to Start By Defining 'Insurance Risk'; Changes Could Take Years, The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2005; Page C3
Bob Jensen's threads on the insurance industry accounting scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#MutualFunds

Audio broadcasts of FASB meetings are available to listeners for FREE via the Internet. Meetings also are available via your telephone on a pay-to-listen basis (see below). To access an FASB meeting for FREE via the Internet, click the link below to begin listening on your computer --- http://www.trz.cc/fasb/live.html

Accountability rules exist in Europe, but enforcement is weak (actually a joke in some instances)
American companies struggle to comply with the rules imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, some cast an envious look across the ocean, where European companies face a far gentler set of rules. In fact, calling many of them "rules" is deceptive. Such things as corporate disclosures about executive compensation or the state of internal controls, or even the makeup of boards, are typically governed by corporate codes that may be published by regulators but for which compliance is voluntary.
Floyd Norris, "Corporate Rules in Europe Have Been Flexible, but Change Is Coming," The New York Times, April 8, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/business/worldbusiness/08norris.html

Second Life is more than a game
As a massively multiplayer online game, many people think of
Second Life as little more than a virtual playground. But an increasing number of people and organizations are employing the game in applications that are useful for far more than entertainment. Second Life was crafted as an open-ended environment that would allow players to fly, drive fantastical vehicles, dress up in outlandish outfits and build just about anything they could imagine. The game's developers at San Francisco's Linden Lab, however, didn't expect it to be used as a way for business school students to test entrepreneurial talents or for abused children to rediscover social skills.
Daniel Terdiman, "Second Life Teaches Life Lessons," Wired News, April 6, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/games/0,2101,67142,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

$500 million of his own money
In an interview, Case said he has committed $500 million of his own money to the venture, which he hopes will succeed at refocusing the health care system so that it puts the interests of consumers first. He said the enormous inefficiencies in health care became glaringly clear to him through both personal experience -- as a patient, a parent and a sibling -- and through talks with Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and other experts.
 David A. Vise, "Case Seeks Health Care Revolution AOL Ex-Chief Puts Up $500 Million in Venture,"  Washington Post, April 5, 2005; Page E01 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26671-2005Apr4.html

Kiss and Tell
The two greatest postwar American novelists -- Vladimir Nabokov, a Russian exile, and Saul Bellow, a Montreal-born Jew -- were intellectual outsiders. Both mainlined the European novel of ideas into the veins of American literature and infused it with a coruscating, high-octane style. Mr. Bellow's prose is energetic and torrential; his voice learned and allusive. He thrived on chaos and loved contention, courted conflict and was inspired by personal cataclysm. It's fascinating to see how Mr. Bellow, married five times, sublimated his misery and portrayed his wives, from goddess to bitch, before and after they divorced him.
Jeffry Meyers, "He Thrived on Chaos," The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111283023742800223,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Also see "Bellow's Gift" at http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/04/07/mclemee

And from The New Yorker --- http://www.newyorker.com/archive/content/articles/050411fr_archive02

Letters of a great scientist
The author and physicist in this case are one and the same: Richard P. Feynman, the Nobel Prize laureate who, next to Albert Einstein, is one of the world's most recognizable scientists and one of the few whose written works have consistently made the best-seller lists.  His memoirs of his days with the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos and his lucid explanations of the mysteries of quantum electrodynamics have long appealed to readers beyond the pocket-protector set. But even Feynman's publisher, Basic Books, acknowledges that it is taking a risk this month in publishing "Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman," a collection of previously uncirculated personal letters.
Edward Wyatt, "The Scientist Is Gone, but Not His Book Tour," The New York Times, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/books/07feyn.html?

Higher Education and Trust
The American public understands that going to college helps individuals get ahead. But what the public doesn’t understand is that colleges help society as a whole, and that more people benefit than the graduates themselves. Convincing the public of that broader social benefit is the goal of a major national campaign that higher education leaders are planning. The Public Trust Initiative will involve efforts in every state and with every sector of higher education. The effort will feature both a national ad campaign and attempts to have colleges shift some of their communications with their own constituencies — students, parents, alumni, opinion leaders, taxpayers generally — away from messages about individual institutions and toward messages about higher education.
he Public Trust

Scott Jaschik, "The Public Trust," Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/07/trust

Bad tax advice comes with a price
Using civil injunctions and criminal indictments, the IRS and the Justice Department have focused on simple scams in which tax preparers have used fictitious deductions to get large refunds for clients, and on more complex schemes in which tax advisers have promoted business and charitable trusts to hide clients' income.  From Oct. 1, 2001, to Sept. 31, 2004, the IRS says it began 689 criminal investigations of tax preparers. Grand juries issued 291 indictments and prosecutors obtained 248 convictions during that period, the IRS says.  Since 2001, the Justice Department says it filed 129 civil cases seeking injunctions to stop tax preparers and scam promoters from conducting business. Federal judges issued injunctions or other court orders in 102 of those cases.
Tony Loci, "Bad tax advice comes with a price ," USA Today, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20050407/a_taxpreparers07.art.htm

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


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

Talentless clones she claims have taken over Hollywood
No sooner had Our Nicole Kidman launched her latest movie, The Interpreter, at the Sydney Opera House this week than her veteran former co-star, Lauren Bacall, launched another attack on the anorexic talentless clones she claims have taken over Hollywood. The 80-year-old Bacall told British magazine Radio
"Hollywood puts on its best faces," Sydney Morning Herald, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/04/06/1112489558995.html

TV audiences aren't interested in Miss America's talent
Miss America has lost her TV show, and now has to decide how much of her famous modesty she's willing to shed to get it back on the air. Organizers of the pageant are considering a number of plans to resuscitate the 85-year-old contest and bring it back to television this September. The mildest plans include tweaking the broadcast program slightly by eliminating the talent portion, which the ABC network had complained about before dropping the show in the aftermath of last year's disappointing ratings.
Ivor Peterson, "A Challenge for Miss America in Reality TV Era," The New York Times, April 9, 2005 -- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/09/nyregion/09pageant.html?

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 http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=7093

Bob Jensen's threads on Jane Fonda's new book are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2005/tidbits050408.htm

This one is at the end because the Larry Summers debate is growing boring
Harvard University’s president gave a speech Thursday night in which he endorsed and promoted much of the evidence about women and science that was hurled at him after he spoke on the topic in January. An account of last night’s talk in The Boston Globe said that he spoke at length about the bias against women in science and the impact this has. “This has been, as you can imagine, a period of substantial and intense immersion and education for me on the topics I have just been discussing,” The Globe quoted him as telling a group of students and professors. “I hope I have learned.”
Scott Jaschik, "The New Larry Summers on Women and Science," Inside Higher Ed, April 8, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/08/summers

Click on the pig whenever you are stressed! http://members.cox.net/ladysarakat/piggy.swf 

A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died."

Kenny replied "Well then, just give me my money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."

Kenny said, "OK then, just unload the donkey."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"

Kenny: "I'm going to raffle him off." Farmer: "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"

Kenny: "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he is dead."

A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"

Kenny: "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.00."

Farmer: "Didn't anyone complain?"

Kenny: "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back." - Kenny grew up and eventually became the chairman of Enron