Tidbits on May 6, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

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

Security threats and hoaxes --- http://www.trinity.edu/its/virus/


Music for the Summer Break: http://www.jessiesweb.com/blessing.htm

I will soon be taking a break from publishing Tidbits and New Bookmarks.  My wife is scheduled her eighth back surgery.  The two 18-inch rods that were bolted to spine in October never did work correctly and have been very painful.  Now these rods will be removed and replaced with more bone fusions.  I will be busy in our mountains helping her recover.  I leave Texas on May 12 after my last final examination.  I may have time for one or two more editions of Tidbits.

Pictures of Erika --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2005/ErikaBits.htm


Please check on your bank account --- http://www.scottstratten.com/movie.html


Update on the dirty secrets of academe:  Are we elitist and self-aggrandizing to a fault?
I’m glad to report that the full professor soon left the university, the book came out, I got tenure, was promoted, and life has been rosy ever since. But the professor’s elitist drivel still sticks in my craw because his snobbery runs so rampant in the academy today — as what I experienced with the dopey professor from the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature.
Stephen G. Bloom, "Hello Sy Hershman, Goodbye Bob Woodward," Inside Higher Ed, May 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/05/04/bloom3


Update on the dirty secrets of our credit card systems:  A hidden "tax" on those that pay by check or cash
Per-transaction "interchange" fees are a silent but very effective tax. And as card issuers continue down the perilous path of not charging their customers anything for the credit cards they use, the thirst for "tax money" becomes ever greater.But the real rub is that retailers will pass along the higher premium-card fees to all customers, including those who don't qualify for a credit card, let alone a premium card. Checks and cash still account for more than 50% of all retail payments, and the sad truth is that it is precisely those who can pay only by check or cash who are footing most of the bill for the costs of these cards. In most tax systems the wealthy pay most of the taxes; in this model, those who can't or don't use credit cards are paying for those who do qualify for them. Here's the real dirty secret of the card-issuing industry: Because card regulations demand that cardholders pay no more for goods and services than cash and check customers, the working poor are subsidizing the vacation points earned by America's top income classes.
"A Dirty Little Secret About Credit Cards," The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2005; Page A19 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111517843155624225,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

Bob Jensen's threads on "Dirty Secrets of Credit Card Companies and Credit Rating Agencies" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO


Why should you be taking daily doses of Vitamin B6?
High daily levels of vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of getting colon cancer by 58 percent, claims a new study from Harvard Medical School. The research, published in the May 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, builds on other studies that have already indicated a strong preventive effect from the vitamin. "There are several smaller studies that have found a protective effect from dietary intakes of B6," said lead researcher Esther K. Wei, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. However, "this is the first large study of women to look at blood levels of B6" and find a protective effect, she added.
Kathleen Doheny, "Vitamin B6 Cuts Colon Cancer Risk High daily intake reduced odds by 58 percent, study found," HealthDay, May 4, 2005 --- http://www.healthday.com/view.cfm?id=525506

The National Institute of Health has a great Website on recommended dosages and sources of vitamins.  The Table of Contents for Vitamin B6 is as follows at http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb6.asp

Vitamin B6: What is it?
What foods provide vitamin B6?
What is the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin B6 for adults?
When can a vitamin B6 deficiency occur?
What are some current issues and controversies about vitamin B6?
What is the relationship between vitamin B6, homocysteine, and heart disease?
What is the health risk of too much vitamin B6?
Selected Food Sources of vitamin B6
References
Reviewers

Jensen Comment: I think the connection between colon cancer and vitamin B6 was made after the above pages were written.


Tax incentives to buy hybrid cars --- http://www.autoblog.com/entry/7662346356845435/

A tax expert ( W. O. Mills III [wom@WOMILLS.COM] ) forwarded a link to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/tax_hybrid.shtml

May 6, 2005 reply from Deborah Johnson [vicjohn@SPRINTMAIL.COM]

An interesting link, which goes to support the hypothesis that the Federal Government is "confused".

The instructions indicate you claim the "clean fuel tax deduction" on the form 1040, in the section on "Tax, Credits and Payments". Then goes on to instruct you to write in on line 35. Line 35 on a form 1040 is the place you add up all the adjustments to gross income.

Deborah Johnson
Miami, FL


College Slogans (really)
Still others appear to need re-thinking. Bentley College says it’s “America’s Business University” and Mississippi College calls itself “A Christian University,” even though they’re both colleges. Bucknell University clarifies its standing as “A College-Like University.” Teens like the word “like.” Something seems missing in Berklee College of Music’s “Nothing Conservatory About It,” whereas Thiel College’s “Thiel Time” could be confused with “Miller Time” or “Tool Time.” Trinity Western University’s “Unwrap the Universe, Peel Back its Shroud” sounds vaguely obscene, as does the University of Richmond’s “Do it With Your Head.” Don’t The Sage Colleges and Quincy College send mixed messages with “Change Your Mind” and “Think Again"?
Mark J. Drozdowski, "Gaglines," Inside Higher Ed, May 6, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/05/06/drozdowski
Jensen Comment:  None seem to use more appropriate slogans like "Butts Off Here" or "Hangover Hell" or "Class Avoidance Time."


Book Slogans (well sort of anyway)
Name that famous book from just these phrases: "pagan harpooneers," "stricken whale," "ivory leg."

Name that famous book from just these phrases: "pagan harpooneers," "stricken whale," "ivory leg." Or how about this one: "old sport." Yes, it's Herman Melville's Moby Dick and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, respectively, but the words aren't just a game. They are Statistically Improbable Phrases, the result of a new Amazon.com feature that compares the text of hundreds of thousands of books to reveal an author's signature constructions. The haiku-like SIPs are not the only word toys on the site. Customers can also see the 100 most common words in a book. Penny pinchers -- or those with back problems -- can check stats on how many words a volume delivers per dollar or per ounce. (Bargain hunters will love the Penguin Classics edition of War and Peace that delivers 51,707 words per dollar.) Customers can also see how complicated the writing is (yes, post-structuralist Michel Foucault's prose is foggier than Immanuel Kant's), and how much education you need to understand a book. (To understand French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu, you'll need a second Ph.D.) While such services seem to have little value and have generated scant publicity, except from bibliophilic thrill seekers, web watchers say the madcap stats aren't just for kicks. Ray Singel, "Judging a Book by Its Contents," Wired News, May 5, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/ebiz/0,1272,67430,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

May 6, 2005 reply from Bender, Ruth [r.bender@CRANFIELD.AC.UK]

This is absolutely fascinating! I tried it on my own book (Corporate Financial Strategy) and took great issue with the results it brought up as SIPs - until I then did a search on those words in my Word text of the book and found that yes, I had used the phrases several times!

I can see hours of wasted time ahead as I test out all the core finance books and chose my course text by SIPs alone!

Dr Ruth Bender
Lecturer in Finance
Cranfield School of Management
Cranfield Bedfordshire MK43 0AL United Kingdom


From the University of Pennsylvania:  Eight Great Business Plans, But Only One Is the Winner
Ask anyone involved in the healthcare field -- doctors, insurers, drug makers, and certainly patients -- and they will tell you that the industry is in dire need of an overhaul. But chaos, which often precedes change, presents opportunities too.  Five of the eight teams in the Venture Finals of the 2005
Wharton Business Plan Competition see promise in the upheavals that are roiling the healthcare sector. These teams proposed businesses that would, among other things, help in the treatment of critical wounds, prevent drug abuse and test for serious illnesses such as breast cancer. The three remaining teams focused on information technology, offering plans to prevent Internet fraud, improve college fundraising and enhance "mission-critical" computing . . . The winner of the 2005 Venture Finals is FibrinX. Team members collected the $20,000 first prize as well as in-kind donations of accounting, legal and consulting services, and say they hope to turn their plan into a startup company after they graduate. "We have several different options we are looking at, but this is definitely top of mind," Gosalia said. They are already fishing for investors.
"Eight Great Business Plans, But Only One Is the Winner ... ," Knowledge@wharton --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1190


The high-tech political candidate in NYC
His proposals rely heavily on developing universal Wi-Fi and wiring the subways for cell phones. He looks to the model of open source as a way for the citizenry to identify, report and fix problems -- for example, he says it's a fine idea if New Yorkers could use cell-phone cameras to report potholes to the proper authorities. And he thinks it's a crime that the city's schools have to schedule students to visit the computers instead of offering them -- and their parents and teachers -- an internet connection 24/7, just like Fortune 500 companies do with their employees, customers and suppliers.
Adam L. Penenberg. "The Techno Candidate," Wired News, May 5, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,67427,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_4


From National Public Radio:  You can listen to the answers
Why should you avoid using the word "spacious" if you're trying to sell your house? What does Paul Feldman's bagel delivery business teach us about corporate corruption? Is there a way to bet on the horses and consistently win? Economist Steven Levitt shares some unconventional insight from his book, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.
NPR --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4625392

Also see "Cracking the Real Estate Code," by Steven Levitt ---
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/realestate.html?tw=wn_tophead_5


Fraud Hits Small Businesses the Hardest
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the most costly abuses occur in organizations with fewer than 100 employees. In its 2004 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the association reports that the average organization loses about 6 percent of its total annual revenue to fraud and abuse committed by its own employees. Take the case of Lorain National Bank in Ohio, where federal prosecutors have indicted a longtime accounting employee for allegedly taking more than $240,000, according to the Morning Journal newspaper of Lorain. Apparently acting alone, Mary Scaff of Vermilion is accused of taking $159,888 in deposits, intended for a bank customer's account, and diverting them to her own use. She also allegedly took $83,000 that was supposed to be used to pay postal expenses. ''Instead of paying for postage with these cashier's checks, the defendant wrote her own Visa account number on each check and mailed them as payments on her own personal account,'' the indictment said.
"Fraud Hits Small Businesses the Hardest," AccountingWeb, April 29, 2005 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100852
Jensen Comment: You can learn a great deal about fraud from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners --- http://www.cfenet.com/splash/
Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud.htm


Tips on aging wine at home:  Watch your ullage
One of the big challenges for red-wine drinkers is letting bottles age -- but not so much that they spoil. Daniel Duckhorn, president of Duckhorn winery in Napa Valley, checks the ullage, or air space between the bottom of the cork and the wine. Ullage increases as wines age; he opens the wine before the ullage drops below the bottle's neck. To preserve half-drunken bottles, some oenophiles use air pumps. But Mr. Duckhorn, who has been making wine for 25 years, prefers another method: He pours the remaining wine into a smaller bottle -- any bottle will do -- filling it right to the top. He puts a cap on it and sticks it in the refrigerator, which gives the wine a few extra days of life.
Joshua Lipton, "Winemaker's Bottle Tips," The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111516937377624053,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


Will it finally be goodbye to your incomprehensible phone bills?
More recently, Internet phone technology - also known as voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP - made inroads into businesses using heavy-duty equipment from companies like Cisco.Now, thanks to providers like Vonage and others, it has found its way into the home. The service is sometimes choppy, but costs are low and quality is satisfactory for routine calls. Moreover, Internet protocol lends itself to inexpensive videoconferencing as well, useful for informal video chats between friends or business associates.For those with high-speed connections, Internet calling and videoconferencing are finally taking off. And as their use grows, so does the selection of tools. The latest Apple operating system, released last week, incorporates improved tools for online video chatting. And this week a new offering from Motorola, the Ojo, offers Internet picture-phone ability without a computer.
Daniel Terdiman, "Internet Phones Arrive at Home (and Some Need No Computer)," The New York Times, May 5, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/NYTMay5

Here's one downside of Internet telephones (VoIP) I just bet you never thought about
The problem? Emergency 911 services are based on land-line technology that tells dispatchers where you're calling from, but VoIP technology is essentially blind to your geographical location and has to jump through hoops to find your local emergency grid. (For similar reasons, new wireless phones are required to have GPS locators in them.) This first made national headlines last month when the Houston Chronicle reported the case of city resident Joyce John, who tried and failed to get 911 on Vonage when two men shot her parents in an apparent home invasion. That case prompted a lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R).
Robert MacMillen, "VoIP Users Taking 911 Off the Map," Washington Post, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/05/AR2005050500588.html?referrer=email

 



 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


Did the Chinese beat Columbus to America?  Should our annual holiday be changed to Zheng Day?
Few history theories stir as much controversy as Gavin Menzies' idea that a legendary Chinese admiral discovered America, seven decades before European explorer Christopher Columbus. Menzies, author of the bestseller 1421: the Year China Discovered America, says Admiral Zheng He led a fleet of 30,000 men on board 300 ships to the American continent in the 15th century to expand China's influence during the Ming dynasty. Zheng, says Menzies, drew up maps later used by Columbus to reach America in 1492 while searching for a new route to India. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan also sailed with the help of Chinese-drawn maps in the 16th century, he adds.
"Did the Chinese discover America?" Aljazeera, May 4, 2005 ---
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E3AF58DB-9CAF-4F5F-81CD-1ED1BC8ECEBA.htm

Two new novels about China --- http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/articles/050509crbo_books


More harm than good in war on malaria?
About 350 million to 500 million people in more than 100 countries each year catch the disease, which can kill in hours, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN Children's Fund (Unicef) said in Tuesday's World Malaria Report 2005. Billed as the first global report, it follows a scathing editorial in The Lancet medical journal last month accusing an international partnership of more than 90 organisations and countries of failing to control malaria, saying they might have done more harm than good.
"Malaria fight faces hurdles in Africa," Aljazeera, May 4, 2005 ---
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/56E8F8AC-D466-4DF1-B7A9-65533F7367EA.htm


Walt Mossberg's tips on photo album viewing in "books"
Of course you can easily view your pictures in a slide show on a computer screen, or even on some iPod models. But for those who miss the feel of the old photo albums, there's a software product that aims to be the digital equivalent: FlipAlbum 6 Suite, by E-Book Systems. This $70 program offers a way to organize your photos into digital albums that look like actual books, with three-dimensional flipping pages and page-shuffling sound effects to accompany each flip. These albums can display your photos in various layouts, with annotations below each image, and you can set music to play along with your pictures. You can post your finished albums to the Web, email links to the Web site, or burn them to CD or DVD. My assistant Katie Boehret and I tested this software and found it to be a rather simple way to create attractive albums filled with digital photos. But the options for sharing your photo album, especially by burning it to a disc, were clumsy, limited and a little too techie for normal users. Katie used the software's three-step FlipAlbum Wizard to start her first album, which contained photos from a summer vacation with friends. This wizard instructed her to open the folder or album containing the photos that she wanted to use, and then to choose a page layout. She chose to show single photos on each page; the only other option the wizard offers is to display one image across both pages, centerfold-style. In step three, Katie chose "Vacation-Travel" as the book's theme from a list of 21 options -- including "Baby-Boy," "Family Moments" and "Dog" -- that dictate the "cover" design and certain organizational features.
Walter Mossberg, "Flipping Through a Virtual Photo Album:  Software Lets Users Create Electronic Scrapbooks; Tweaking the Page Layouts," The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2005; Page D4 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111515635058923702,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


Consumer Reports discloses reversed crash test ratings on some automobiles
Consumer Reports, whose auto ratings influence vehicle sales and resale prices, reinstated its recommendations on seven models it had pulled two months ago, and is changing the way it rates cars. The magazine, published by the nonprofit Consumers Union, will add a second level to how it recommends vehicles based solely on how they perform in crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the research arm of auto insurers. Two months ago, the magazine reversed itself on seven vehicles that it had just recommended in the annual April auto issue that was about to hit newsstands. The reason: side-impact crash test results from the Insurance Institute that came out the same weekend that Consumer Reports was releasing its new car recommendations. Of the 16 small cars tested in the institute's new round of tests, 14 of them failed, scoring the lowest "poor" rating.
Karen Lundegaard, "Consumer Reports Reinstates Recommendations It Had Pulled," The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2005; Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111516363840923900,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


One of the main reasons Bob Jensen chose to specialize in accounting for derivatives
Derivatives: Potential Benefits and Risk-Management Challenges
Perhaps the clearest evidence of the perceived benefits that derivatives have provided is their continued spectacular growth. As a consequence of the increasing demand for these products, the size of the global OTC derivatives markets, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), reached a notional principal value of $220 trillion in June 2004. Indeed, the growth rate of the OTC markets was more rapid in 2001-04 than over the previous three years. At the same time, the growth rate of exchange-traded derivatives exceeded the growth rate of OTC derivatives over 2001-04. Throughout the 1990s, the Chicago futures and options exchanges debated whether the growth of the OTC markets was good or bad for their markets. The data seem to have resolved that debate. In the United States, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 has permitted healthy competition between the exchanges and the OTC markets, and both sets of markets are reaping the benefits. The benefits are not limited to those that use derivatives. The use of a growing array of derivatives and the related application of more-sophisticated approaches to measuring and managing risk are key factors underpinning the greater resilience of our largest financial institutions, which was so evident during the credit cycle of 2001-02 and which seems to have persisted. Derivatives have permitted the unbundling of financial risks. Because risks can be unbundled, individual financial instruments now can be analyzed in terms of their common underlying risk factors, and risks can be managed on a portfolio basis. Partly because of the proposed Basel II capital requirements, the sophisticated risk-management approaches that derivatives have facilitated are being employed more widely and systematically in the banking and financial services industries.
"Remarks by Chairman Alan Greenspan Risk Transfer and Financial Stability To the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Forty-first Annual Conference on Bank Structure, Chicago, Illinois," May 5, 2005 --- http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2005/20050505/

Bob Jensen's multimedia tutorials on how to accounting for derivative financial instruments are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm

The rules for accounting for derivatives are a mess.  Much rework needs to be done, especially in accounting for macro hedges.


Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan issued a fresh call on Thursday for Congress to limit the multibillion-dollar holdings of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, warning that their huge debt could hurt U.S. financial markets.
"Greenspan Warns on Fannie and Freddie Again." The New York Times, May 5, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-Greenspan.html


I hesitated to ask what human behavior one might look for in a mouse (then I thought of Stuart Little)
In January, an informal ethics committee at Stanford University endorsed a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely made of human brain cells. Stem cell scientist Irving Weissman said his experiment could provide unparalleled insight into how the human brain develops and how degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson's progress. Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity. Just in case, Greely said, the committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.
Opinion Journal, May 2, 2005


An appellate court struck down FCC rules that require makers of TV sets to equip them with a "broadcast flag," technology that prevents digital signals from being copied more than one time.For more information, see:

http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111539047987326903,00.html

Unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise, this negates the following module:

You need to know this:  How will "being flagged" possibly change your life?
Aiming to prevent mass piracy of digital TV programs, especially over the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated a new copy-protection scheme called the "broadcast flag." The FCC's ruling, which goes into effect this July, lets you make a backup copy of flagged shows, but no further copies. The flag will be attached to "over the air" digital content--both network and local station programs, such as movies or prime-time series on NBC. Any device with a digital TV tuner can grab that content, whether it comes over an antenna or through a cable or satellite set-top box. The flag, basically a piece of code, will travel with any show that the broadcaster wants to protect.
"TV Limits Copies The FCC's new broadcast flag will restrict your ability to copy and share your favorite digital television shows and movies" PC World, June 2005 --- http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,120654,00.asp


Which welfare state will be the first to buckle under the strain of the pension and medical costs?
Who knew? Speculation about which welfare state will be the first to buckle under the strain of the pension and medical costs of aging populations usually focuses on European nations with declining birth rates and aging populations. Who knew the first to buckle would be General Motors, with Ford not far behind? GM is a car and truck company -- for the 74th consecutive year, the world's largest -- and has revenues greater than Arizona's gross state product. But GM's stock price is down 45% since a year ago; its market capitalization is smaller than Harley Davidson's. This is partly because GM is a welfare state. In 2003 GM's pension fund needed an infusion from the largest corporate debt offering in history. And the cost of providing health coverage for 1.1 million GM workers, retirees and dependents is estimated to be $5.6 billion this year. Their coverage is enviable -- at most, small co-payments for visits to doctors and for pharmaceuticals, but no deductibles or monthly premiums. GM says health expenditures -- $1,525 per car produced; there is more health care than steel in a GM vehicle's price tag -- are one of the main reasons it lost $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2005. Ford's profits fell 38%, and although Ford had forecast 2005 profits of $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion, it now probably will have a year's loss of $100 million to $200 million. All this while Toyota's sales are up 23% this year and Americans are buying cars and light trucks at a rate that would produce 2005 sales almost equal to the record of 17.4 million in 2000.
George Will, "GM Unwound,  The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111498863523021695,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

You can read a Wharton School take ("Car Trouble: Should We Recall the U.S. Auto Industry?") on this at
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1183

Do you suppose taxpayers will also have to pick up GM's pension expenses?
Doomsday precedent:  Give workers retirement plans and then pawn them off for taxpayers to pay the pensions.  Passing along these kinds of entitlements to taxpayers is another nail in the coffin of the United States.

"UAL (that's United Airlines) Reaches Pact To Hand Over Pensions to U.S.," by Susan Carey, The Wall Street Journal,  April 25, 2005; Page A2 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111419401664114663,00.html


Which major food industry will be the next to cave in due to environmental mismanagement?
New talks begin in Canada this week aimed at rescuing the world's fragile fish stocks. The simplest solution is tougher rules limiting fishing—but politicians have a way of caving to fishing lobbies.
"The tragedy of the commons, contd," The Economist, May 2, 2005 ---
http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3930586


And we thought Yao Ming (Houston Rockets) was big:  Adultery with a ten-foot tall woman
Meng Zhaoguo, a rural worker from northeast China's Wuchang city, says he was 29 years old when he broke his marital vows for the first and only time -- with a female extraterrestrial of unusually robust build. "She was three meters (10 feet) tall and had six fingers, but otherwise she looked completely like a human," he says of his close encounter with an alien species. "I told my wife all about it afterwards. She wasn't too angry." While few Chinese claim to have managed to get quite as intimate with an extraterrestrial as Meng, a growing number of people in the world's most populous nation believe in unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.
"Close encounters on rise as UFOs seize imagination of Chinese," Yahoo News, May 3, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050503/lf_afp/chinaufos_050503140800

The new writing tests that have been added to both the SAT and the ACT


A.    Are unlikely to predict success in college writing.
B.    Will send high school writing instruction in the wrong direction.
C.    Reward those who write “conventional truisms and platitudes about life.”
D.    All of the above.


Answer according to the National Council of Teachers of English, the answer is D. The council released an analysis of the new writing tests Tuesday, and it found little to like and much to dislike --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/04/writing


Every college is a success if there are enough criteria in the performance measurement system
In response to this political pressure, and to accommodate the many different kinds, types and characteristics of institutions, the accountability system usually ends up with 20, 30 or more accountability measures. No institution will do well on all of them, and every institution will do well on many of them, so in the end, all institutions will qualify as reasonably effective to very effective, and all will remain funded more or less as before. The lifecycle of this process is quite long and provides considerable opportunity for impassioned rhetoric about how well individual institutions serve their students and communities, how effective the research programs are in enhancing economic development, how valuable the public service activities enhance the state, and so on. At the end, when most participants have exhausted their energy and rhetoric, and when the accountability system has achieved stasis, everyone will declare a victory and the accountability impulse will go dormant for several years until rediscovered again.
John V. Lombardi, "Accountability, Improvement and Money," Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/05/03/lombardi 


Male Bashing
It's not surprising that male-bashing, that popular sport encouraged by everyone from outraged-at-the-president-of-Harvard audiences to Madison Avenue ad shops, has wormed its way down to the pre-pubescent/early-teen demographic ("Moving On: Girl Power as Boy Bashing," Personal Journal, April 21). What is surprising is the complete lack of outrage from men. As I was subjected to another in the endless string of men-as-complete-idiots television ads the other night, I commented to my wife that if an ad were similarly insulting to women, the hue and cry from the women's rights bunch would be deafening. As I pointed out, you never see a "Mom made the bathroom smell" ad. If we did, it would be the end of civilization as we know it.
Whit Sibley, "American Men Just Shrug as They Take a Bashing," The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111517864309724232,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

Similar concerns were raised in Australia
Crotch shot has blokes fuming at sexist ads.  A bureau statistician, Neale Apps, was at a loss to explain why Australian men had finally found their voice. "I can only think that they are no longer embarrassed about complaining," he said. Mr Apps noted that some ads attracted twice as many complaints from men as women.

Julian Lee, Sydney Morning Herald, January 3, 2004 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/01/02/1104601243209.html 
 

Also see similar criticisms of U.S. television and newspaper bias against men.
 The New York Times has been "breeding contempt for men" --- http://mensnewsdaily.com/archive/r/roberts/03/roberts062103.htm 
 

A controversial book by Warren Farrell entitled Why Men Earn More uses government wage data to show that the " pay gap” has become an ideological myth.  His latest controversial book is called The Myth of Male Power --- http://snipurl.com/MythOfMalePower 


Life in the Fast Lane of Auditing

"Take This Job and ... File It:  Burdened by Extra Work Created By the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, CPAs Leave the Big Four for Better Life," by Diya Gullapalli, The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2005; Page C1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111517138376224101,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

The Big Four accounting firms also face extra work created by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley securities-overhaul act, passed in the wake of the blowups at Enron Corp. and WorldCom (now MCI Inc.). At the same time, the pressure to get the job done right also comes from within: Faced with mounting litigation from the accounting debacles of earlier this decade, the Big Four can't afford many more mistakes.

Junior auditors, with three to five years' experience, long have done much of the grunt work in auditing publicly traded companies. They have always had the highest turnover at accounting firms -- as many as one in four quits annually at PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to a recent study it commissioned. Overall, nearly one in five accountants at large CPA firms left in 2003, up from 17% in 2002, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The AICPA expects that trend to continue this year.

To combat the problem, the Big Four are trying to move from a culture of overloading and underpaying youngsters to nurturing and better rewarding them.

They are hiring larger numbers of them, and offering bigger bonuses, more vacation and special referral fees. Ernst & Young LLP has started a concierge service to make restaurant reservations and pick up dry cleaning. Deloitte & Touche LLP holds "town hall meetings" to let junior employees vent gripes to senior partners. The big firms are more aggressive in dropping or turning down business, to hold down the workload, and they are pulling older staff from other departments, like tax-services, to help out.

"The profession has recognized that we have a lot of stress in the system, and we're doing a lot of things to execute against that," says Bob Moritz, a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Does this model still work?" asks Jim Walsh, a human-resources managing director for the firm. "It's a good question" that is under review there.


College does not prepare for real life
Perhaps we should stop and consider that a four-year college right out of high school isn't the right choice for everyone. Perhaps college isn't the place to "find yourself", especially to the tune of over 15 grand a year. A third of college students do not qualify for a degree in six years and just because you don't graduate, doesn't mean you don't have to pay back student loans. Since when is a college degree all that counts in the job market? The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics' estimates of the fastest-growing occupations between 2002 and 2012 show that six of the top 10 don't require bachelor's degrees. On the job training, vocational and technical degrees can lead to successful careers. Let's face it, for many occupations, a year of on the job training would prepare you much better then wading through philosophy, ethnic studies, astronomy and all those other gen eds that bog down students and stretch out our education to four years and beyond. Admittedly, much of the college education process is a product of our societal conceptions of what determines success and job preparedness. It is also a great ploy by the universities to reel in those middle class baby boomer dollars by convincing mom and dad that a pricey degree is the only thing separating their baby from comfy suburban bliss and destitution.
Amanda Hooper, "College does not prepare for real life," Bowling Green News, May 2, 2005 --- http://www.bgnews.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/05/02/4277e59318ec9


Monumental documentary the People's Century that spans 26 parts
People's Century is a monumental documentary series describing the 20th century. It was first shown on the BBC in 1999. It is a 26 part documentary each spanning one hour dealing with the major socio-economic, political climate and cultural movements that shaped the 20th century --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Century
Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History


A million here, a million there:  In college athletics it's real cash
While critics of big-time sports might look at the growing subsidies and see a runaway train, the NCAA’s president, Myles Brand, put a positive spin on the finding that colleges increased what they spent to subsidize sports programs. “Leaders at our member institutions determine the value athletics brings to their campus communities and fund it accordingly,” Brand said in a news release accompanying the report
Doug Lederman, "Sports, Spending and Subsidies," Inside Higher Ed, May 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/04/ncaa


A billion here, a billion there:  In accounting it is sometimes only on paper and not real cash
The American International Group, the embattled insurance giant, said last night that an in-depth examination of its operations had turned up additional accounting improprieties going back to 2000 that would reduce its net worth by $2.7 billion, or $1 billion more than it had previously estimated.
Gretchen Morgenson, "Giant Insurer Finds $1 Billion More in Flaws, The New York Times, May 2, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/02/business/02aig.html?
Also see the NYT article --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/02/business/02aig.html
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud in general are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud in the insurance industry are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

May 2, 2005 message from the former Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (Dennis Beresford)

Bob

If you haven't seen it already, today's Wall Street Journal includes an article about AIG's further accounting issues. Included is a link to the Company's statement on all of the various issues they have identified so far: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111501332683321968,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

Some of the new problems identified relate to accounting for derivatives. It appears, among other things, that the Company now believes it did not meet the criteria for hedge accounting and will have to record a $2.4 billion gain in income rather than deferring the effect. Of course, that will lead to an offsetting effect in a later year when the "hedged item" occurs.

Following in the footsteps of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AIG's statement about derivatives makes me wonder how many other large, complicated companies would find deficiencies in their accounting for derivatives if they were forced to have a critical outsider challenge what they are doing.

Denny

May 2, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

I did catch this one. What still gets to me is the fact that many of the fluctuations in the value of derivatives that don't qualify for hedge accounting (usually due to macro hedging) really are never realized in fluctuations in cash flows. I tend to sympathize with Fannie on this and hope that the FASB will eventually revise the standard on macro hedging.

Thanks,

Bob


What do we have auditors for?
Still, "at a certain point, if auditors can only find out about [improper accounting] if management tells them about it, then what do we have auditors for?" said Lynn E. Turner, a former SEC chief accountant and managing director of research for proxy-advisory concern Glass Lewis & Co. "The reason we have auditors is to give investors confidence that an outside third party has looked at them and found things that might turn out to be big errors."
Theo Francis and Diya Gullapalli, "Pricewaterhouse's Squeeze Play:  AIG Says It Misled Auditor, As Greenberg Cites Review Clearing Internal Controls," The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2005, Page C3 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111508622792022942,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing
Bob Jensen's threads on PwC are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#PwC 


Here's another example of how to mislead with statistics
"One measure of how children have tumbled as a priority in America is that in 1960 we ranked 12th in infant mortality among nations in the world, while now 40 nations have infant mortality rates better than ours or equal to it," writes Nicholas Kristof in yesterday's New York Times. We explained in January http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110006153 why these numbers are meaningless: In brief, American physicians make heroic efforts to save low-birthweight and premature babies, whom other countries don't even count as having been born.
Opinion Journal, May 2, 2005


Desk-top fusion may be possible after all
Physicists who meddle with cold fusion, like psychologists who dabble in the paranormal, are likely to be labelled quacks by their peers. This is due to an infamous incident in 1989 when Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann held a press conference to announce their discovery of nuclear fusion in what amounted to a test-tube full of water connected to a battery. In particular, they said that they were getting more energy out of the process than they put into it. Their result was instantly dubbed “cold fusion”, to contrast it with giant fusion-reactor experiments that attempt to reproduce the ultra-high temperatures found inside the sun. But when it failed to stand up to scrutiny, confusion—and eventually outrage—ensued. In 2002, history repeated itself as farce with the announcement by a group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee of fusion inside the bubbles that are produced by ultrasonic waves travelling through a liquid. This result passed the peer-review process, but was immediately attacked by another group—from the same laboratory—which claimed to find no such effect. There was a counterclaim by yet a third team last year, and a final verdict on “bubble fusion” is still not in. But most people have lost interest in the debate, assuming that anyone claiming to have observed fusion in a desktop experiment is a crank or a fraud. This attitude, however, may yet turn out to be mistaken. Desk-top fusion may be possible after all, according to an article published in this week's Nature by three researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Brian Naranjo, Jim Gimzewski and Seth Putterman have been meticulous in their experiment, and in particular in their measurement of one of the tell-tales of nuclear fusion, the production of neutrons. Their results have been peer-reviewed, and they make no wild claims of surplus energy being produced. Given past excesses, such caution is understandable. And it may indeed be the case that their technique, which involves banging together the nuclei of deuterium atoms (a heavy form of hydrogen) using a tiny crystal in a palm-sized vacuum chamber, will never provide a source of power. It could have some interesting applications, nonetheless.
"Honest!" The Economist, April 28, 2005 --- http://www.economist.com/science/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3909490


It was the largest fine ever imposed on an auditing firm
Deloitte & Touche LLP incurred the wrath of federal regulators Tuesday over public statements that appeared to shift the blame away from the auditing firm for failed audits of Adelphia Communications Corp. and Just for Feet Inc. Deborah Harrington, a Deloitte spokeswoman, said regulators requested that the firm revise the first press release it put out. The second release omitted some disputed statements. Deloitte, the U.S. accounting branch of Big Four accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Tuesday agreed to pay $50 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it failed to detect fraud at Adelphia. It was the largest fine ever imposed on an auditing firm.
"SEC Rebukes Deloitte on Adelphia Audit Spin," SmartPros, April 28, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x48015.xml
 

The largest bankruptcy case in the history of the world
Question What CPA auditing firm has the dubious honor of having been the auditor for the company that is now designated as the largest bankruptcy case in the history of the world?
 

Answer Deloitte Touche Tomatsu
Deloitte faces a potential $2 billion legal claim over audits of Forest Re, an aviation reinsurer that failed after 2001's terror attacks.

Bob Jensen's threads on Deloitte's legal woes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Deloitte


Enhance your PowerPoint shows
From the T.H.E. Newsletter on May 4, 2005

CrystalGraphics Inc., a developer and publisher of add-on products for Microsoft Office, has released PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Player and PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Content . The Video Backgrounds Player is a unique software product that plugs directly into Microsoft PowerPoint allowing users to select and insert full-screen moving backgrounds into their presentations quickly and effortlessly. It is also compatible with all of PowerPoint's animation tools and text-editing capabilities. Video Backgrounds Content is the perfect complement to the Video Backgrounds Player software. It features nine volumes that each include 25 unique background video clips optimized for use with PowerPoint so they can play back smoothly in real time on most Pentium III or higher PCs. The footage is royalty free, so you can use it as many times as you like in your presentations with no added cost.

For more, visit http://www.crystalgraphics.com

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


A New Photoshop Makes Retouching Reality (Somewhat) Easier
Adobe Photoshop, of course, is the world's most popular photo-editing software (for Mac and Windows). Every time a magazine pastes a movie star's head onto a different body for its cover, you can bet that Photoshop was involved. Such digital manipulation is so common that "Photoshop" has become a verb: "My ex-husband was on that trip, too, but I've Photoshopped him out of this shot." But even when no movie stars are decapitated, Photoshop's magic is at work all around you. Photoshop color-corrects, brightens, darkens, crops, sharpens or airbrushes imperfections from a huge percentage of the photographs you see every day, whether in ads, articles, movies or CD's, on Web sites or the covers of books. No wonder, then, that when Adobe releases a new version, as it did last week, photographers and designers sit up and take notice.
David Pogue, "A New Photoshop Makes Retouching Reality (Somewhat) Easier," The New York Times, May 5, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/05/technology/circuits/05pogue.html?


Real Networks' Rhapsody 3.0
In addition to a new user interface, the ability to manage music stored on your hard drive, and an offer that gives new subscribers 25 free streams per month, Rhapsody also boasts an important feature: subscription portability. This allows Rhapsody users (those willing to pay $15 per month, as opposed to the basic $10 per month fee) to move as many of the more than 1,000,000 subscription songs to their digital music players as will fit. But not every digital music device will play Rhapsody To Go music. In fact, very few will. In the best of circumstances, explaining this key fact to subscribers is a difficult task. When subscribers are angry and feel misled, the difficulty is compounded. Already, Real is facing a backlash on its message boards from angry consumers who believed the "To Go" plan meant they could port songs to their iPods -- something that is not allowed. Consumers were confused, it seems, by the fact that non-subscription downloads purchased from Rhapsody can be played on iPods, whereas subscription-based streaming songs cannot be moved to iPods.
Eric Hellweg, "You Can (Almost) Take it With," MIT's Technology Review,  May 2, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/wo/wo_050205hellweg.asp


From Jim Mahar's blog

Transfer Pricing A cool article on transfer pricing--no it is not an oxymoron!

Reichelstein, Baldenius, and Melumad look at transfer prices and remind us that transfer pricing, the price that firms charge for internal "purchases", is a balancing act between tax reduction strategies, internal controls, and incentives.

“What most people think about is transfer pricing as a tax optimization issue,” Reichelstein says. “Yet, transfer prices are management tools. They have an important function to facilitate decision-making, to tell certain regional or country managers what the value or price of some intermediate product is and use that information to maximize the profit of the company as a whole. That is the economic function of transfer pricing.”"

"The separate worlds of tax folk and management planning types “even splits the accountants,” he notes, and creates separate industries. “The tax accountants look on pricing as entirely a compliance issue,” he says. Meanwhile, management accounting consultants are preoccupied with transfer prices for both internal allocations and public reporting purposes." Very interesting! However, I am a bit less convinced that a weighted average solution is optimal, but hey, that is rather insignificant in the big picture.

Thanks to MBA Depot for pointing this one out to me!

A Stanford University GSB alumni review is provided at  http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0502/research_reichelstein_accounting.shtml



Wikipedia is a real-life Hitchhiker's Guide
It's too bad Douglas Adams wasn't able to see his vision brought to life. I don't mean the so-so movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'm talking about Wikipedia, the Web's own don't-panic guide to everything. The parallels between The Hitchhiker's Guide (as found in Adams' original BBC radio series and novels) and Wikipedia are so striking, it's a wonder that the author's rabid fans don't think he invented time travel. Since its editor was perennially out to lunch, the Guide was amended "by any passing stranger who happened to wander into the empty offices on an afternoon and saw something worth doing." This anonymous group effort ends up outselling Encyclopedia Galactica even though "it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate."
Paul Boutin, "Wikipedia is a real-life Hitchhiker's Guide: huge, nerdy, and imprecise," Slate, May 3, 2005 --- http://slate.msn.com/id/2117942
The link to Wikipedia is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

 


Ivory-billed Woodpecker
Those of you that were thrilled to learn that the ivory-billed woodpecker really is not extinct (as was previously thought) may want to learn more about this rare bird at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory-billed_Woodpecker


Also note the new entry for the Iceland Hotspot --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland_hotspot


Give us your best or give us your poor and minorities, that is the question big state universities face
Since he was hired to lead the University of Massachusetts flagship campus three years ago, John V. Lombardi has been busy laying plans to improve the university. He has expanded private fund-raising and plans to rebuild much of the campus. By boosting recruitment, he has increased the applicant pool by nearly 25 percent in hope of attracting more high-achieving students . . . Convinced they must act now or watch their public university drift from its mission, Bustamante and a small, tight-knit group of student leaders have launched a formal campaign, Take Back UMass, to ''return UMass to its legacy as an accessible and diverse public university," according to the group's website. This year, instead of working with administrators as is typical on many campuses, the UMass student government has staged a half-dozen noisy demonstrations to demand more diversity on campus and more support for minority students. Minority enrollment, which peaked in the mid-1990s, dropped off at the end of the decade and has been mostly flat since then. Students have blitzed legislators with angry letters and phone calls, and they organized a boycott of classes last month to protest a restructuring of student services.
Jenna Russell, "Students say UMass being too selective Goals at Amherst spur strong debate," Boston Globe, May 5, 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/05/05/students_say_umass_being_too_selective?pg=full
 


Australian Resolve
In Australia's case, the situation is made even worse by the antics of freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena. Ms. Sgrena, its worth recalling, is the left-wing journalist who sympathized with her kidnappers. She also lied about the speed of the car she was traveling in when American soldiers opened fire as it sped toward a nighttime roadblock, accidentally killing an Italian secret service officer accompanying her. Now Ms. Sgrena is doing the terrorist's dirty work again, urging ordinary Australians to respond to the Wood kidnapping by launching a campaign to bring their forces home from Iraq. But Australians seem to be made of sterner stuff. While some Filipinos protested to pressure Ms. Arroyo into giving way last summer, Australians don't appear to be following that example, or Ms. Sgrena's advice. In a general election seven months ago, they decisively rejected the troops-out option then championed by the opposition Labor Party, instead returning the government of Prime Minister John Howard with an increased majority. During the present crisis, not even Labor, now under the leadership of experienced statesman Kim Beazley, is advocating bringing the troops home or paying a ransom.
"Australian Resolve," The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111524301805925011,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


No more "best" students:  Many more seniors to get top honors
Over the years, Saratoga High School has tried to curb its competitive culture. The school does not publish an honor roll. It has slashed homework over breaks. It releases grade-point averages to students only on request. Yet, teachers say, too many students remain obsessed with their grades. So in another attempt to ease the pressure, Saratoga High announced it would change the way it chooses class valedictorians and salutatorians to allow more students to be honored. The announcement kicked off a furor in this affluent, well-educated community, with many fearful the school's highest achievers would be robbed of their due.
"Saratoga High trying to ease grade pressure (Educrat dumbing-down education alert!), San Jose Mercury News, May 4, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1396543/posts


How bad must it get before Germany gets a wake up call?
Franz Müntefering, chairman of the Social Democratic Party, stoked resentments in a bitter attack on private investors in German companies . . . German industrialists, academics and other politicians have roundly criticized Mr. Müntefering's attack, which seems calculated to shore up the leftist base of the Social Democrats before a crucial election on May 22 in North Rhine-Westphalia, a large and an economically troubled state. A prominent German-Jewish historian, Michael Wolffsohn, even detected a whiff of anti-Jewish sentiment in the list, which also included Blackstone, the New York private equity investment group, and Saban Capital, which is controlled by the Israeli-American billionaire, Haim Saban. Mr. Schröder has not joined in such attacks, and Social Democratic officials in North Rhine-Westphalia said it made no sense to put Wincor Nixdorf on a list of supposed victims.
Mark Landler, "Report to German Ruling Party Faults Overseas Investors," The New York Times, May 5, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/05/business/worldbusiness/05private.html

The debate raging in Germany is about whether the country is quite ready for this kind of capitalism rather than the more socially oriented Rhineland variety that is ailing, but not quite buried. Mr Müntefering is clear where he stands: “We want social market economy, not market economy pure.” But despite the populist bent to his rhetoric, not everyone supports his stance. Attending a rally on May 1st he was ritually pelted with eggs by trade unionists who are supposed to be his friends. Many people have told him in the past three weeks that what he wants just will not work any more, and that opportunistic foreign investors, far from being locusts, can be the reformer’s friend.
"Some German politicians want to blame international business and finance, not themselves, for the country’s sluggish economy," The Economist --- http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3954817 


The explosions came after this "suspicious item" was eaten
A concerned citizen spotted a male juvenile carrying a suspiciously concealed item into Marshall Junior High School early Thursday morning. Police were called. The school was locked down. Adjacent streets were closed and law officers were perched on roofs with weapons. The drama ended about two hours later when the suspicious item was identified: A 30-inch burrito, prepared as an extra-credit assignment and wrapped inside tinfoil and a white T-shirt. "I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," school Principal Diana Russell said after the mystery was solved.
Opinion Journal, May 2, 2005


Charles Colson (remember him?) questions:  "Does sex sell?"
The Reuters news service has looked into recent box-office numbers and come up with some intriguing results: Movies rated R for explicit sexual content do poorly in theaters. Their report states, “Last year, five of the top-10-grossing movies were PG. Of the top 25, only four were rated R. ‘Increasingly, if a movie is rated R,’ says producer John Goldwyn, ‘audiences won’t go.’” Movies advertised as being all about sex, like Closer and Kinsey, got great reviews, but they failed miserably at the box office. And last year was no anomaly. In his book Hollywood vs. America, Michael Medved tracked poor audience numbers for sexually explicit films all the way back to the sixties. Based on its own research, Reuters concluded, “The old adage ‘sex sells’ no longer applies to the movies. . . . As any theater owner will eagerly tell you, American audiences like their movies PG and PG-13, not R, and certainly not NC-17.” Yet we need to be careful not to read too much into these results, because the news isn’t all good. For one thing, neither PG nor PG-13 means what it used to anymore. There’s a lot more today that slips past the ratings board than ever before. While hardcore sex may not be selling, “vulgar, dumb, funny sex,” as Reuters puts it, is selling just fine, and to ever-younger audiences. Producer Peter Guber echoed Reuters’s thesis when he explained, “Sex inside a comedy candy-coats sex and allows the audience to feel comfortable. . . . Films can be sexy, but they can’t portray the [real] sexual intimacy most people [genuinely] crave. . . . The portrayal has to be violent or funny.”
Charles Colson, "Does Sex Sell? You Might Be Surprised," Prison Sell, May 2, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/SexSell




Happy Mother's Day

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby ........

Somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, "Normal," is history.

Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ...

Somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

Somebody said being a mother is boring ! ......

Somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.

Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your child will "turn out good."

Somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.

Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices .....

Somebody never came out the back door just in time to see her child hit a golf ball through the neighbor's kitchen window.

Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother.

Somebody never helped a fourth grader with her math.

Somebody said you can't love the fifth child as much as you love the first.

Somebody doesn't have five children.

Somebody said a mother can find all the answers to her child-rearing questions in the books .....

Somebody never had a child stuff beans up his nose or in his ears.

Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery ...

Somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten...

or on a plane headed for military "boot camp."

Somebody said a mother can do her job with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back ....

somebody never organized four giggling Brownies to sell cookies.

Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married

Somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.

Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home ....

Somebody never had grandchildren.

Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her ..... Somebody isn't a mother.




Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmark s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu