Tidbits on April 27, 2005
Jensen at Trinity
Fraud Updates ---
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
Campaign for Trinity University --- http://www.trinity.edu/departments/public_relations/case_statement/index.htm
Music: Games People Play
(especially these days) Turn up your speakers ---
Who says you can't write poems while wearing a green eyeshade? Neal Hannon who
is better known as one of the
XBRL accounting experts. But he also writes poetry. To read
some of Neal's
poems, go to his poetry blog at
You can read more about Neal Hannon at
How good are newer cell phones that automatically convert speech into
Phone makers have tried to solve this (cell
phone text entry) problem by squeezing little keyboards
into the bodies of some phones. But these keyboards usually make phones bigger
and bulkier than normal, and often show up only on costlier models, like the
Treo or BlackBerry. This week, my assistant Katie Boehret and I tested a new
phone that attempts to solve the text-entry problem in a novel way that doesn't
involve typing, and can be used on a small, inexpensive phone with just a
numerical keypad. This new phone lets you dictate your text messages by just
speaking into the phone. The Samsung p207, $79.99 with a two-year contract from
Cingular Wireless, has built-in "speech-to-text" technology: It turns what you
say into text on the screen. This technology, called VoiceMode, was created by a
small Massachusetts company called VoiceSignal Technologies Inc. If it works
properly, VoiceMode should make composing a text message as simple as dictating
a voice-mail message. Unfortunately, it doesn't work very well. In our tests,
the system made so many errors requiring tedious corrections that it might have
been faster for us to peck out our messages the old-fashioned way -- especially
if we used the abbreviations and shorthand phrases so common among
Walter Mossberg, "A Phone That Takes Dictation: Testing Voice-to-Text Function,"
The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2005; Page D4 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on speech recognition are at
Astounding new hope for treatment of Alzheimer's disease
The first attempt at gene therapy for Alzheimer's
Disease patients has appeared to significantly delay worsening of the disease in
a few people who have tested it so far. According to scientists on Sunday, far
more research is needed to see if the experimental treatment - which requires a
form of brain surgery - really helps. But if the approach pans out, researchers
say, delivering protective substances, called growth factors, into a diseased
brain holds the potential to rescue some dying brain cells.
"Gene therapy cure for Alzheimer's?" Aljazeera, April 25, 2005 ---
On the leading edge of biology and economics: The economics of
The hope seems to be that biological research will finally help economists make
sense of irrationality
The idea that understanding the brain can inform
economics is controversial but not new; for 20 years, behavioral economists have
argued that psychology should have a greater influence on the development of
economic models. What is new is the use of technology: economists, like other
researchers, now have at their disposal powerful tools for observing the brain
at work. The most popular tool, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI),
has been around since the late 1980s; but only in the past few years has it been
used to study decision-making, which is the crux of economic theory. The result
is the emerging field of “neuroeconomics.” A flurry of recent papers in
scientific and economic journals—reviewed in the Journal of Economic Literature
by Caltech economics professor Colin Camerer and colleagues—shows how
researchers are using the neural basis of decision-making to develop new
economic models. At the January meeting of the American Economic Association,
the world’s largest economics conference, the neuroeconomics sessions were
reportedly standing room only. The hope seems to be that biological research
will finally help economists make sense of irrationality. Take recent
brain-imaging experiments by Princeton University psychologist Samuel McClure.
In the journal Science, McClure and colleagues report that when subjects choose
short-term monetary rewards, different regions of the brain are active than when
they choose long-term ones. People don’t “discount” future rewards according to
a simple scheme, as many economists have suggested. It seems the brain actually
makes short-term and long-term forecasts in different ways. The challenge for
economists lies in translating this sort of scientific insight into, say,
predictive models of how people plan purchases or make retirement fund
Gregory T. Huang, "The Economics of Brains," MIT's Technology Review, May
Beware of Counterfeit U.S. Postal Money Orders
In the last six months, the F.B.I. and postal
inspectors say, international forgers - mostly in Nigeria, but also in Ghana and
Eastern Europe - appear to have turned new attention to the United States postal
money order. More than 3,700 counterfeit postal money orders were intercepted
from October to December, exceeding the total for the previous 12 months,
according to postal inspectors. Moreover, 160 arrests have been made in the
United States since October in cases where people have been suspected of
knowingly receiving fraudulent postal money orders or trying to cash them, Paul
Krenn, a spokesman for the United States Postal Inspection Service, said.
Tom Zeller Jr., "Authorities Note Surge in Online Fraud Involving Money Orders,"
The New York Times, April 26, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer fraud are at
Tune into technology: Watch for this Digital Duo show that's
happily returning to PBS
Happily, the departure was temporary. Tomorrow at 7:30
p.m. the program, renamed "PC World's Digital Duo," returns to KCTS with the
first of 26 gadget-packed half-hour episodes and a dynamic new co-host, former
Seattle Weekly technology columnist Angela Gunn. Already the show has been
picked up in public-TV markets covering more than 60 percent of the U.S.
Paul Andrews, "New "Digital Duo" is dynamic blend of fun, credibility,"
Seattle Times, April 25, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: I always liked the Digital Duo better than
Computer Chronicles when both were carried (usually back-to-back) on PBS
stations. The Digital Duo was never afraid to point out the bad and
absolutely stupid features of new hardware and software. They definitely
took a customer's perspective, whereas Computer Chronicles generally was
on the side of the vendor, although Computer Chronicles was better about
having the vendors demo new products. I video taped many of both shows and
it's fun to go back and watch the struggle we used to have with almost every
product when technology was new and often did not work. Times are better
today in spite of the dark cloud of security that moved in during the later
FREE MUSIC DOWNLOADS
FREE MUSIC DOWNLOADS!!! Wow!
Double Wow! And to top it off, many of the DRM-free music
tracks are from popular artists, including music not
available on their CDs. I'm not sure how recently this new
Amazon section was made available, but it appears that they
still have some link bugs to work out.
If you want to sidestep Amazon's deep linking, Jesse Andrews
Amazon Music Helper script --
based on mozdev.org's
Firefox plug-in -- that converts Amazon's MP3 links into
direct download links (via
Alexander Grundner, "Amazon Now Offering Free Music
Jensen Comment: Grundner makes this sound a whole lot
better than it is up to this point in time. A lot of
the promised free stuff just isn't available, at least not
Outstanding new healthy eating site from the U.S. Department of
The federal government deserves praise for launching an appetizing Web site to
guide Americans toward healthier eating habits. As for the unwired half of
America? Let them eat cake.
Robert MacMillan, "You Are What You Click," Washington Post, April 20,
The great USDA site is at
size doesn't fit all. MyPyramid Plan can
help you choose the foods and amounts that
are right for you. For a quick estimate of
what and how much you need to eat, enter
your age, sex, and activity level in the
MyPyramid Plan box.
For a detailed assessment of your food
intake and physical activity level, click on
Use the advice "Inside MyPyramid" to help
- Make smart
choices from every food group,
- Find your
balance between food and physical
- Get the most
nutrition out of your calories.
Digital tests of personality: A Myers-Briggs for
the digital age.
recent Random Access
referenced a study that concluded you can tell a lot about
someone's personality by
analyzing the playlists on his or her iPod
Not long after that, I found myself
standing at a red light in midtown Manhattan noticing that
nearly everyone around me had white wires winding from their
ears into their pockets.
It was then that it occurred to me that the study
was right. I was looking at little white devices that held
the key to what makes these people click. And that is where
the iPod goes beyond cool and into profound. It's a less
accurate -- but more interesting -- tool for psychological
analysis -- a
Myers-Briggs for the
Robert MacMillen, "
Your Personality, Digitally," Washington Post
, April 18,
Botnets and phishing on your computer at this very moment: Link forwarded
by Jagdish Gangolly
Know your Enemy: Tracking Botnets: Using honeynets to learn more about
The Honeynet Project & Research Alliance
Last Modified: 13 March 2005
Honeypots are a well known technique for
discovering the tools, tactics, and motives of attackers. In this paper we
look at a special kind of threat: the individuals and organizations who run
botnets. A botnet is a network of compromised machines that can be remotely
controlled by an attacker. Due to their immense size (tens of thousands of
systems can be linked together), they pose a severe threat to the community.
With the help of honeynets we can observe the people who run botnets - a
task that is difficult using other techniques. Due to the wealth of data
logged, it is possible to reconstruct the actions of attackers, the tools
they use, and study them in detail. In this paper we take a closer look at
botnets, common attack techniques, and the individuals involved.
You can read more about bots at
New AAUP survey on faculty salaries
The AAUP’s survey on faculty salaries — released every
spring — also includes institution-by-institution breakdowns that are widely
compared by faculty members. At the bottom of this article are lists of the best
paying private universities (Rockefeller University is on top); public
universities (University of California at Los Angeles); liberal arts colleges
(Wellesley) and community colleges (Westchester Community College). AAUP
officials caution, however, against reading too much into individual
comparisons. The cost of living varies widely in the United States, and many
colleges have large gaps in what they pay faculty members in certain
disciplines, so the averages tell only part of the story . . .
The complete AAUP report and more information about the
salary survey are available on the association’s
The AAUP survey does not provide breakdowns by discipline,
but a recent
study by the College and University Professional
Association for Human Resources found that the highest average salaries were in
law, engineering and business. Scott Jaschik, "Pay for
Professors," Inside Higher Ed, April 25, 2005 ---
Average Salaries at Doctoral Institutions, 2004-5
Why did the rich Mughals, Aztecs and Incas evolve into poor civilizations
Mr. Acemoglu is the recipient of the American Economic
Association's John Bates Clark medal, given every two years to the nation's best
economist under the age of 40. Mr. Acemoglu, 37 years old, is a professor at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The medal has been a good predictor of
future Nobel prize winners -- of the 29 economists who have won the award since
1947, 11 went on to win Nobel awards later in life, including Paul Samuelson,
Milton Friedman and Joseph Stiglitz. With a detailed eye on long stretches of
economic history, Mr. Acemoglu has written several papers arguing that a
nation's political and social institutions play the key role in guiding its
economic destiny. In one paper he detailed how civilizations that were rich
compared with the rest of the world in 1500 -- such as the Mughals, Aztecs and
Incas -- evolved into poor countries today, a point that contradicts the idea
that geography is destiny. Instead, he says, differing political institutions
set up by colonial powers in places like North America, South America and
Africa, set the very different economic courses traveled by countries in these
Jon E. Hilsenrath, "MIT's Acemoglu Wins a Top Medal In Economics," The Wall
Street Journal, April 25, 2005; Page A2 ---
Princeton University alumni protest a pending faculty
Word that he is up for a job at
Princeton has led some alumni there to urge the university not
to hire him. The controversy comes at a time when Princeton is
also receiving pressure over the tenure bid of a junior
professor who studies the Middle East and is seen as taking
positions more sympathetic to the West than do many scholars in
the field. On Friday, The Daily Princetonian
reported that alumni are contacting
the university to oppose Khalidi’s candidacy for an endowed
chair at the university. The newspaper quoted Arlene Pedovitch,
interim director of the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton, as
saying “Some Princeton alumni are very concerned about the
possibility of Princeton University hiring an individual who has
a political agenda rather than a scholarly approach to history.”
"Middle East Wars Hit Princeton," Inside Higher Ed
25, 2005 ---
The union acted on the request of Palestinian academics
Britain’s primary faculty union, the
Association of University Teachers, announced a boycott Friday
of two Israeli universities: Haifa University and Bar-Ilan
The union acted on the request of Palestinian academics, and the
action was promptly criticized by Jewish students and faculty
members in Britain.
Inside Higher Ed
, April 25, 2005 ---
Professors claim that attacks on them in the U.S. were deliberately
orchestrated by government of Israel
According to Massad, Columbia's Middle East studies
classes are threatened by a vast right-wing campaign cleverly “engineered to
cancel out” freedom of thought. Moreover, at the center of recent attacks on
those who disagree with U.S. and Israeli foreign policies lies not a concern for
truth or classroom decorum and balance, but academic freedom—“and specifically
scholarship on Palestine.” These witch hunters, Massad says, want us to “live
the life of servitude to the state power, as technocrats and as ideologues.”
Academic freedom for Massad is being able to freedom to teach without challenge
that “Established scholarship enumerates all [Israel's] racist flaws and
institutional racist practices” which he says render the Jewish state “a racist
state by law.” But any disagreement, Massad says, can be safely discarded as
Zionist ideology, part of the conspiracy “propped up by the likes of
Campus-Watch, the David Project, and the ADL [Anti-Defamation League],” who
“make it...their business to attack scholarly criticisms of Israeli policy.”
Failing to discard studies by “Israel's apologists” amounts to “shutting down
the educational process in favor of religious theories of creationism.”
Evidently America can learn from Palestinian society’s principled anti-racism
and passion for historical truth. Tariq Ali then spoke and took the conspiracy
mania fully over the edge. He sees “what is taking place on the campuses as part
of the larger and wider project which was initiated by the Sharon government,
soon before they went into Jenin [in March 2002] in the big attempt to crush the
intifada.” The decision to persecute the poor academics “was made in Israel,”
then “circulated” to Israeli embassies, which somehow made it happen worldwide.
The Elders of Zion must be working overtime.
Alyssa A. Lappen, "Columbia's Anti-Jewish Conspiracy Theorist,"
FrontPageMagazine, April 25, 2005 ---
"David Horowitz’s War on Rational Discourse," by Graham Larkin, Inside
Higher Ed, April 25, 2005 ---
Graham Larkin is a humanities fellow at Stanford University, where he teaches in
the Department of Art and Art History.
It has been heartening to witness the
recent runaway success of Princeton emeritus Harry G.
Frankfurt’s latest book,
On Bullshit. First
published as an essay in 1988,
Frankfurt’s splendid study is largely an effort to
distinguish between lies and bullshit. A liar, Frankfurt
notes, acknowledges truth-systems yet tries to pass off
information that is not true. “Someone who lies and someone
who tells the truth,” he tells us, “are playing on opposite
sides, so to speak, in the same game.” The bullshitter, by
contrast, fails to really acknowledge the validity of any
truth-claims or truth-systems.
The author concludes that “the fact
about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting
to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we
are not to know that he wants us to believe something he
supposes to be false. The fact about himself that the
bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the
truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to
him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is
neither to report the truth nor to conceal it.”
When applying Frankfurt’s useful
distinction, we need, at the very least, to recognize that
if something about a particular piece of bullshit happens to
be true this does not make it any less bullshit, and that
lies and bullshit are by no means mutually exclusive.
Enter L.A. tabloid editor David
Horowitz, liar extraordinaire and author of the incomparable
bullshitting manual The Art of Political War and Other
Radical Pursuits (Spence Publishing, 2000). This book,
applauded by Karl Rove,
promulgates a political endgame in which brute force
triumphs over any notions of intelligence, truth or fair
play. The author contends that “[y]ou cannot cripple an
opponent by outwitting him in a political debate. You can
only do it by following Lenin’s injunction: ‘In political
conflicts, the goal is not to refute your opponent’s
argument, but to wipe him from the face of the earth.’ ”
Continued in the article
Is this academic freedom in action? Is there any basis for trying to
convince students that the New World Order (that Evil Empire with George
Bush and Israel at the helm) really has plans in place
to "depopulate the earth" with weapons of mass destruction?
Jane Christensen is an outspoken professor with little backing for her
outrageous claims: Should her university allow her to preach these things her courses as part of the curriculum plan?
"Web site stirs up criticism," by Natalie Jordan, Rocky Mount Telegram,
April 23, 2005 ---
Tom Betts, chairman of N.C. Wesleyan's board of
trustees, said he thinks the material on the Web site is offensive, but
defended the professor's right to display it.
"I find what's on her Web site to be distasteful
and despicable, and I disagree with everything on it. In the most polite of
terms, it is disgraceful," Betts said. "However, this is America, and
academic freedom and free speech is what sets us apart from the rest of the
world. And I believe and hope most people will see this Web site for what it
is — the opinions of a very, very far left person. And any sensible person
would see this as a joke — a very bad joke.
"Everyone has an opinion, and hearing all sides and
drawing one's own conclusions is what college is about. And the last thing
we need to do is tell somebody how to think. That's why we have elections."
Megalinks in Political Science, by Jane T. Christensen Associate Professor of
Political Science North Carolina Wesleyan College ---
NWO PLANS TO DEPOPULATE THE EARTH
Mossad Planning Another Attack in US
of Mass Destruction)
THE ISRAELI CONNECTION TO 9/11
Targetted Kills in US
US Arms Israel with NUKES
POL 495 9/11
The Road to Tyranny
This is the course the neo-nazis love to hate.
Online version will be available to everyone in the country in spring 2006.
See you there!
She and Robert W. Jensen and Ward
Churchill sound a lot alike with their "Evil Empire" rants ---
What is global warming? Is it real or theoretical?
Elizabeth Kolbert travelled from Alaska to Greenland, visiting the laboratories
of top scientists to get to the heart of the debate over global warming. In this
week’s magazine, she publishes the first of a three-part series on climate
change, which she discusses here with Amy Davidson.
"What is global warming? Is it real, or theoretical?" The New Yorker,
April 18, 2005 ---
Vanishing glaciers: Antarctica's big melt ---
What’s the state of open-access science publishing today?
Depending on who’s counting, 95 percent of research
papers in the life sciences are still locked up by the big commercial
publishers—Elsevier, Springer, and the rest. It’s ludicrous at a time when the
Internet has pushed the actual cost of distributing a research paper close to
zero . . . Scientific publishing is a $10 billion global business, growing 10
percent a year. They’re not going to let go without a fight. The Association of
American Publishers has hired [former congressperson] Pat Schroeder as its
president and chief lobbyist—the queen of darkness. They went up to Capitol Hill
and said we were socializing scientific publishing. NIH knows where its purse
Spencer Reiss, "Science Wants to Be Free," MIT's Technology Magazine, May 2006
Jensen Comment: We looked for the enemy and according to Pogo "he is us."
In an instant scientific papers could be posted free to everybody at Web sites,
and scientific associations could set up refereeing processes that work much
like the way refereeing works to day. In fact the refereeing process
itself could even become more open and subject the research findings to a
broader audience of critics. The problem is that reputations, tenure, and
performance rewards are currently built upon the "elitist rankings" of journals
where professors publish. The enemy is the system itself that cannot break
the bindings of tradition.
Bob Jensen's threads on the pricing frauds of those "queens of darkness" are
Over 140 colleges have some type of "student managed fund" in finance that
allows students to manage a small portion of their college's endowment fund.
Trinity University has such a program under the direction of Phil Cooley.
Penn State, however, has taken this idea to a whole new level by forming a
company called the Nittany Lion Fund that competes with Wall Street in
attracting outside investors.
Investors have placed more than $2.2 million into the
hands of students at Pennsylvania State University's Smeal College of Business
in University Park. The Nitany Lion Fund, an investment portfolio designed
to achieve long-term captial growth for investors is structured as a limited
liability company with investor dollars. The investment strategy is
focused on undervalued companies with a minimum market capitalization of $800
BizEd from the AACSB, May/June 2005, Page 16.
Here's a most laudable way to teach investing to children:
Grandparents might consider this as a model
If business schools want to
encourage more minorities to enter business careers, they might
take note of the Ariel Community Academy, a unique program
designed by Ariel Capital Management. Through a
partnership between Ariel and the Chicago-based investment firm
John Nuveen & Company, the Academy grants each incomeing
first-grade class at the William Shakespeare Elementary School
an investment portfolio of $20,000. The two companies then
help the children follow that money in the stock market through
their eighth-grade graduation. (The accumulated
wealth then goes toward their college education.)
"The littlest Investors," BizED from the AACSB, May/June
2005, Page 20.
African American women must fix behavior or risk death from AIDS
Nearly three-quarters of America's new cases of HIV,
the virus that causes AIDS, are African-American women. Black women between 25
and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than white women of the
same age. It is one of the most underreported news stories of this new decade,
and sadly, more women will die before we pay attention. Black women and their
sexuality are the focus of Wyatt's research since she conducted the first study
of black women's sexuality in 1980. A professor and associate director of the
AIDS Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, she included
4,000-5,000 women ages 18-80 in her research for "Stolen Women: Reclaiming Our
Sexuality, Taking Back Our Lives" (Wiley, $12.95).
Rochelle Riley, "Black women must fix behavior or risk death from AIDS,"
Jewish World Review, April 22, 2005 ---
A Group at Princeton Where 'No' Means 'Entirely No'
Yet another alternate sexual lifestyle is being
promoted by a group of Princeton undergraduates: one of chastity and abstinence
outside of marriage. Members of the Anscombe Society maintain that campus life
has become so drenched in sexuality, from the flavored condoms handed out by a
resident adviser to the social pressure of the hook-up scene, that Princeton
needs a voice arguing for traditional sexual values. Traditional, at least, from
the days before their parents went to college.
Iver Peterson, "A Group at Princeton Where 'No' Means 'Entirely No'," The New
York Times, April 18, 2005 ---
A good friend is someone from whom we do not keep
secrets, and who nevertheless appreciates us.
Originality is undetected plagiarism.
William R. Inge
Free electronic version of The Art of Writing ---
Free electronic version of Tom Sawyer ---
Other free electronic books ---
It pays to play fair and provide great and creative service
Google Profits Up 477% ---
eBay Inc.'s profit to jump 28 percent ---
Yahoo Inc. and Intel Corp. both reported strong
first quarter earnings ---
Any idea how many great IT companies are rooted in some way in Stanford
I don't know the answer, but they include Intel (e.g., Ted Hoff), Cisco, HP,
Yahoo, and Google. There are others that I can't think of off the top of
Tidbit from the Washington Post on April 22, 2005
Cisco was founded in December 1984 in
Menlo Park, California, by a small group of technologists from Stanford
University. In what year did it pass $1 billion in annual revenue?
New hope for many blind people
Stanford physicists and eye doctors have teamed up to
design a retinal prosthesis system that could someday bring artificial vision to
those blinded by retinal degeneration.
From the Stanford University alumni newsletter on Aprill 22, 2005 ---
How to turn past crimes into current cash: Hop from town to town
with a scarlet letter on your chest
Ohio Town Trying To Raise $20,000 LOVELAND, Ohio --
Sheriff Department Web sites let Ohioans pinpoint exact locations where sexual
offenders are living in relation to their homes. One Ohio community is taking a
unique approach to making their neighborhood safer, NBC 4 reported. Residents in
Loveland said they wanted safer streets and were willing to take matters into
their own hands to get a sexual offender out of their neighborhood. They were
willing to pay to make him go away. Residents in the upscale Cincinnati suburb
are pooling their money to pay a sex offender nearly $20,000 to move.
"Community Willing To Pay Sex Offender To Go Away," NBC Columbus, April
21, 2005 ---
When she's pretending to be on her cell phone, she simply doesn't want to
listen to you
You know all those annoying people who talk into
their cell phones as if you weren't standing right next to them? It turns out
that many of them aren't really talking to anybody. The New York Times recently
described research at Rutgers University as well as the Ethics and Public Policy
Center that found that a great number of cell phone users are faking it. A
number of people make fake phone calls on their cell phones just for the benefit
of those around them. Someone who's late for work may enter the office talking
to "an important client" to cover her tardiness. Others pretend they get a call
when they don't want to talk to someone who's standing right in front of them.
Not surprisingly, some of those big deals you hear people negotiate on the phone
are just done to impress those within earshot. Men will pretend to be on a call
as they walk over to hit on a woman. Women will pretend to be on a call to avoid
getting hit on by men.
"Faking It," CBS News, April 20, 2005 ---
China Risks Creating Its Own Worst Nightmare: Bush presidency has
neglected the great strategic challenge of the future
China's violent verbal assault on Japan does not spin
out of the past but out of the future. Complaints about war crimes and history
books are so many fig leaves. The driving force in this dangerous dispute is
power politics in Asia. The anger the two nations display as they demand
apologies that neither will make is a clear expression of the rebalancing of
power throughout Asia that is occurring as China ascends, Japan responds and
India shrewdly reaps benefits from the clash of the two other Asian titans.
Tomorrow is suddenly now. Sustained mutterings from policy pundits that the Bush
presidency has neglected the great strategic challenge of the future -- power
relationships in Asia -- are made flesh by the accelerating triangular
competition for global influence.
Jim Hoagland, "China Risks Creating Its Own Worst Nightmare," Washington Post,
April 21, 2005 ---
Good Samaritans beware
A 24-year-old Macomb County woman has been charged with
filing a false police report for reporting that she was raped after getting a
flat tire on Interstate 696 in suburban Detroit . . . Police say Zerzycki
told them on April 6 that she got a flat tire driving east about 1 a.m. on
I-696. She said a man changed the flat, then raped her in her car. She later
admitted it did not happen, police say.
"Woman accused of lying in I-696 rape claim," Mlive.com, April 22, 2005
Be careful about the content of any email message sent on your company's
Trespass lawsuits stemming from unsolicited, anonymous
e-mail are not viable claims under California law, some First Amendment experts
say. But businesses still file such actions, largely to determine the authors’
identities via subpoenas to Internet service providers. "They are a ruse to
unmask somebody voicing an opinion they don’t agree with," says Megan E. Gray, a
Washington, D.C., lawyer. "They have no intention of taking [these cases] to
trial." Shearman & Sterling sees things differently. Last month, the law firm
filed a trespass and breach of contract action in San Francisco Superior Court
involving an e-mail sent to a staff manager’s Shearman.com account. The
communication forwarded a post about the manager from Craigslist.org, an online
community billboard. The writing, since removed, was posted on the site’s "rants
and raves" section. Filed as a "Jane Doe" action, the lawsuit alleges the sender
is a current or recent Shearman employee who was under contract to use the
firm’s computers only for legitimate business purposes. "The e-mail was hateful
and racist, and sending it was a verbal assault of one of our staff members,"
says Shearman partner Stephen D. Hibbard, who filed the lawsuit March 25.
Shearman & Sterling LLP v. Jane Doe 1, CGC-05-439829.
Stephanie Francis Ward, "LAW FIRM FILES A COMPLAINT FOR ‘HATEFUL’ E-MAIL:
Some First Amendment Experts Find Such Claims Not Viable," ABA Journal,
April 22, 2005 ---
Equitable trial: E&Y fights for its future
In one of the biggest court cases in British accounting
history, Ernst & Young battles it out with life assurance firm, Equitable Life,
at London's High Court. At stake? The future of the Big Four firm. Equitable
Life's £2bn lawsuit against Ernst & Young, its former auditors, kicked off on
Monday 11 April, 2005. Equitable is suing E&Y for alleged negligence in the
overseeing of its accounts in the late 1990s. As well as explaining their cases
in court, both parties submitted written explanations of their case. Here, you
can read Equitable's claim against the Big Four firm, and E&Y's furious
"Equitable trial: E&Y fights for its future," Financial Director, April
26, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the legal woes of E&Y ---
Large CPA firms are in a settlement mood
Deloitte & Touche LLP is expected to announce today it
will pay a $50 million fine to settle Securities and Exchange Commission civil
charges that it failed to prevent massive fraud at cable company Adelphia
Communications Corp. In another case, the now-largely defunct accounting firm
Arthur Andersen LLP agreed to a $65 million settlement in a class-action suit by
investors in WorldCom Inc. over losses from stocks and bonds of the
once-highflying telecommunications company now known as MCI Inc. These follow a
$22.4 million settlement the SEC reached last week with KPMG LLP related to its
audits of Xerox Corp. from 1997 through 2000, and a $48 million settlement by
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP last month to end class-action litigation over its
audit of Safety-Kleen Corp., an industrial-waste-services company that filed for
bankruptcy-court protection in 2000.
Diya Gullapalli, "Deloitte to Be Latest to Settle In Accounting Scandals,"
The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2005; Page A3 ---
There are of course other suits that are not settled.
Bob Jensen's threads on the legal woes of large auditing firms are at
Adelphia Communications Corp. agreed to a $715 million settlement
Adelphia Communications Corp. agreed to a $715 million
settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange
Commission to resolve claims stemming from the corporate looting and
accounting-fraud scandal that toppled the country's fifth-largest
Peter Grant and Deborah Solomon," "Adelphia to Pay $715 Million In 3-Way
Settlement," The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2005, Page A3 ---
But $715 only goes a small way in replacing the billions lost by creditors
The family that founded the Adelphia Communications Corporation, the big cable
operator, will forfeit almost its entire fortune (I think about $1.5
billion) to the company to pay for a $715 million fund to
compensate investors who lost money when the company collapsed, the government
Geraldine Fabrikant, "Rigas Family to Cede Assets to Adelphia," The New York
Times, April 26, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud are at
EU and U.S. Agree to Align Corporate-Accounting Rules
Friday's accord broke through the acrimony of the past
few years between the U.S. and EU on financial regulation. The EU has been upset
about its companies having to respect tough U.S. corporate-governance rules
under the Sarbanes-Oxley reforms, and the U.S. has criticized Europe for being
slack in its willingness to fight terror financing and other issues.
John W. Miller, "EU and U.S. Agree to Align Corporate-Accounting Rules," The
Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2005; Page C4 ---
Derivatives; 2. Derivatives; and 3. Derivatives!”
Dennis Beresford quoting the Director of the SEC back in about 1993 when asked
what the three major issues were that the FASB should be working on for a new
accounting standard (which ultimately became FAS 133).
Accounting for Derivative Financial Instruments is the Big Dispute in
Accounting Rule Harmonization
The S.E.C. said it expected about 300 companies,
primarily European, to file annual reports in 2006 that use international
standards, which are now required in Australia and in the European Union. While
Australian companies must follow all international rules, the European
Commission gave European companies permission to opt out of complying with major
parts of a rule concerning derivative securities. Donald T. Nicolaisen, the
S.E.C.'s chief accountant, said on Friday that the S.E.C. would require any
company that opted out to disclose what its results would have been under the
full rule. And, he added, if the opt-out were still in force by the time the
S.E.C. accepted international standards, "my guess is we would require a
reconciliation" before would accepting such a company's filing. The S.E.C.'s
road map was laid out last week in an article by Mr. Nicolaisen in the Journal
of International Law and Business from Northwestern University. He said in the
article that both American and international accounting rules "have their place
in U.S. capital markets" and that efforts toward convergence of the rules should
Floyd Norris, "Europe Welcomes Accounting Plan; U.S. Remains a Bit Wary," The
New York Times, April 22, 2005 ---
Microsoft Comes Under Fire for Reversal on Gay Rights Bill
The Microsoft Corporation, at the forefront of
corporate gay rights for decades, is coming under fire from gay rights groups,
politicians and its own employees for withdrawing its support for a state bill
that would have barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Many of the critics accused the company of bowing to pressure from a prominent
evangelical church in Redmond, Wash., located a few blocks from Microsoft's
sprawling headquarters. The bill, or similar versions of it, has been introduced
repeatedly over three decades; it failed by one vote Thursday in the State
Senate. Gay rights advocates denounced Microsoft, which had supported the bill
for the last two years, for abandoning their cause. Blogs and online chat rooms
were buzzing on Thursday with accusations that the company, which has offered
benefits to same-sex partners for years, had given in to the Christian right.
Sarah Kershaw, "Microsoft Comes Under Fire for Reversal on Gay Rights Bill,"
The New York Times, April 22, 2005 ---
Religious Tolerance or Lack Thereof at the Air Force Academy
According to recent news reports, the U.S. Air Force
Academy, which is just now recovering from one series of scandals involving
harassment (and worse) directed at female cadets and another involving underage
drinking, now finds itself embroiled in yet another case of questionable
behavior. In the last few years there have been some 55 complaints of religious
bias at the Academy. Johnny Whitaker, an Academy spokesperson said that some of
the complaints involved religious slurs, while others involved proselytizing in
inappropriate places. He went on to say that "there have been cases of
maliciousness, mean-spiritedness and attacking or baiting someone over
religion." And, last year the Air Force Academy football coach, Fisher DeBerry,
was called to task for promoting Christianity to his players with a locker room
banner that included the lines "I am a Christian first and last.... I am a
member of Team Jesus Christ." DeBerry removed the banner, but is considering
continuing team prayers after football games next season -- but this time
without reference to a specific religion.
Mark H. Shapiro, "Tolerance or Lack Thereof at the Air Force Academy," The
Irascible Professor, April 22, 2005 ---
Finger finding woman is fingered by police
The woman who claimed she found a finger in her bowl of
Wendy's chili last month has been arrested, the latest twist in a bizarre case
about how the 1 1/2-inch finger tip ended up in a bowl of fast food. Anna Ayala
was taken into custody late Thursday at her Las Vegas home. She was arrested on
a warrant alleging grand larceny and attempted grand larceny, Las Vegas Police
Sgt. Chris Jones said. Authorities said would not provide further details until
a news conference Friday afternoon in San Jose, Calif. -- the city where Ayala
claimed she bit down on the finger in a mouthful of her steamy stew.
"Woman in Wendy's Finger Case Is Arrested," The New York Times, April 22,
Could you give up television and movies?
But it seems like the right book to be
reading now, during national
TV Turnoff Week.
Not because the unnamed European professor in Toussaint’s book
is an example of what happens to someone who succumbs to the
tube. Quite the contrary: Television is a book about how pride
in not watching can render you even more obsessed. The narrator
(sounding a little like Trilling) announces that he seldom
turned the box on: “Apart from major sporting events, which I
always watched with pleasure, and of course the news and the
occasional election-night special, I never watched much of
anything on television.” He says he avoided seeing movies there,
for the same reason he never read books in Braille. “Although I
never tried it,” he continues, “I was always quite sure I could
give up watching television anytime, just like that, without
suffering in the least, without suffering the slightest ill
effect — in short, that there was no way I could be considered
Scott McLemee, "The Plug-In Drug," Inside Higher Ed
April 26, 2005 ---
Reporter asked to resign from The New York Times after article
The Los Angeles Times asked embattled staff writer Eric
Slater for his resignation Monday following an investigation into his story
about Chico's Greek system, the reporter said. The request came from Times
Managing Editor Dean Baquet and others during a Monday morning meeting, Slater
told the Enterprise-Record. Slater declined to comment on the specifics of the
Times' request or his response, but did say he has retained the services of a
Melissa Daugherty, "Reporter asked to leave Times," ChicoER, April 19,
Duke and Pace researchers shed light on corporate tax
A study by researchers from Duke University and Pace
University found that use of corporate tax shelters not only allows
organizations to avoid billions of dollars in annual tax payments, it may also
help companies artificially enhance their attractiveness to investors by
reducing levels of debt. The study also explores some commonly used tax shelters
and the characteristics of firms that have employed these shelters. Finance
professors John R. Graham of Duke's Fuqua School of Business and Alan L. Tucker
of Pace's Lubin School of Business collected the largest known sample of tax
shelters utilized by corporations during the past 25 years.
"Duke and Pace researchers shed light on corporate tax shelters," Lubin,
December 22, 2004 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on taxation are at
Class-Rank Plan Faces Trouble in Texas
Critics say the influx of top-10-percent students at
the University of Texas--and to a lesser extent, at Texas A&M University at
College Station, the state's other flagship institution--risks crowding out
other qualified students, especially graduates of academically competitive high
schools who did not rank in the top of their class. They point to SAT scores for
freshmen at the Austin campus as cause for alarm, noting that in both 2003 and
2004, students outside the top 10 percent outscored their higher-ranking
classmates on the test. "There is great concern expressed to me by alumni about
the dumbing down of the University of Texas," says State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, a
San Antonio Republican who has introduced a bill to eliminate the law. But
supporters of the class-rank plan say standardized exams are a poor predictor of
college success. Top-10-percent students at UT-Austin have consistently
outperformed their peers academically, they say, and their retention and
graduation rates are higher as well.
Karen Fischer, "Class-Rank Plan Faces Trouble in Texas: Lauded by Bush,
gurantee of college admission (for the top 10% of each high school's graduates)
is now being challenged," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 22, Page
Can Black Studies Be Saved?
Shelby Steele, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution,
takes an even more critical view. To his mind, universities never had a
legitimate reason for establishing black-studies programs."It was a bogus concept from the beginning because it was an idea grounded in
politics, not in a particular methodology," he says. "These programs are
dying of their own inertia because they've had 30 or 40 years to show us a
serious academic program, and they've failed."
Robin Wilson, "Can Black Studies Be Saved?," Chronicle of Higher Education,
April 22, 2005, Page A9.
Decision due on whether government can seize Social Security benefits for
delinquent student loans
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether
the federal government should be permitted to seize a portion of the Social
Security benefits of borrowers more than 10 years after they defaulted on their
student loans. The court will try to adjudicate conflicting language between the
Higher Education Act and a 1982 law on debt collection, with many millions of
dollars in student loan debt at stake. In its term that begins next October, the
court will review a July 2004 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit in Lockhart v. U.S. (04-881), a case that was brought in 2002 by a
Washington State man named James Lockhart.
Doug Lederman, "Court to Rule on Delinquent Debt," Inside Higher Ed,
April 26, 2005 ---
Flashback on a wonderful but failed effort
The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 1977
The government plans to switch highway speed-limit
signs to the metric system in late 1978. Under the tentative highway
administration plan, the federally mandated 55 miles-an-hour speed limit would
be converted to 90 kilometers an hour on road signs.
From the Washington Post on April 19, 2005
Game Informer, a magazine covering the
video game industry, has a circulation of just more than 2 million people.
According to Advertising Age, it has more readers than all of the following
publications except one. Which is it?
Martha Stewart Living
Lawyer-Accountant Porn Team: Or is that the Briefs and Books team?
Criminal defense attorney Ronald S. Miller does more
than file briefs he also takes them off. Miller has spent days in front of
a judge and nights in front of a camera as Don Hollywood, a porn star. His wife,
a former accountant, is also a porn star. "My whole life, I've been one of those
people who sees the wet paint sign and has to go up and touch it to see if it's
wet," said the 56-year-old Miller. "I want to experience everything, try
"L.A. Attorney Moonlights As a Porn Star," ABC News, April 21, 2005 ---
Speaking of metaphors, the New York Press's Matt Taibbi--fleetingly notorious
for a highly unfunny piece a few weeks back about the impending death of the
pope--is back doing the one thing he does well--making fun of the New York
Times' Thomas Friedman for his dreadful use of metaphors. From Taibbi's review
of Friedman's new book, The World Is Flat.
Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by
accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his
metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an
anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in
reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The
difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad
writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired,
uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's
guaranteed, every single time. He never misses. . . . Predictably, Friedman
spends the rest of his huge book piling one insane image on top of the other, so
that by the end--and I'm not joking here--we are meant to understand that the
flat world is a giant ice-cream sundae that is more beef than sizzle, in which
everyone can fit his hose into his fire hydrant, and in which most but not all
of us are covered with a mostly good special sauce.
Opinion Journal, April 21, 2005
Forwarded by Barb Hessel
YOU LEXOPHILES (LOVERS OF WORDS)
01. A bicycle can't stand alone because it is two-tired.
02. What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway).
03. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
04. A backward poet writes inverse.
05. In democracy it's your vote that counts; In feudalism, it's your count that
07. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
08. If you don't pay your exorcist you get repossessed.
09. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
10. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat minor.
11. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
12. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
13. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum
14. You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
15. Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.
16. He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
17. Every calendar's days are numbered.
18. A lot of money is tainted. 'Taint yours and 'taint mine.
19. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
20. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
21. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
22. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
23. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
24. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
25. Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
26. When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she'd dye.
27. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
28. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
29. Acupuncture is a jab well done.
30. Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.
were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large
number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Fraud Updates ---
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