Tidbits on May 16, 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
Security threats and hoaxes ---
Music for the Quiet of Summer: Killin
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
A man with no dreams, no illusions and
no ideals would be a monster, a wild boar with a degree in pure mathematics.
Fabrizio De André
Only cultured people like learning;
ignoramuses prefer to teach.
Edouard Le Berquier
Some time back, I reported a study that concluded small amounts of alcohol
aided cognition in older women. But alcohol may be more problematic in
younger women than in men.
Young women aged 16 to 24 are particularly prone to
binge drinking, with 49 per cent cramming their weekly consumption of alcohol
into one to three days.
Shan Ross, "Women drinkers more prone to brain damage," The Scotsman, May
16, 2005 ---
• Alcohol consumption among women in the UK
highest in Europe
• German brain scan study found women
especially vulnerable to binge drinking
• Police say 'ladette' culture has been growing
over the past 20 years
"We know that women metabolise alcohol differently from men and absorb it
into their bodies more quickly" - Srabani Sen, chief executive of Alcohol
Story in full
ALCOHOL is much more likely to damage women’s brains than men’s, new
research published yesterday has warned.
The findings will be of serious concern to alcohol
abuse campaigners and health professionals faced with a culture where binge
drinking among females is ever more prevalent.
Alcohol consumption among women in the UK is
already the highest in Europe and a recent report predicted it is set to
surge over the next five years - possibly even overtaking the amount
consumed by men.
Continued in article
Incredible Interactive Graphics
May 15, 2005 message from Denise Nitterhouse (Condor)
Today's (Sun 5/15/05) online New York Times
has the most amazing interactive graphics I've ever seen, as well as
interesting socio-economic content, in "Class Matters". Worth checking out,
you may have to register. Hope the link works
- NATIONAL - Class Matters: Shadowy Lines That
Still Divide A new series begins with an overview of the role social
class plays in America today. NYTimes.com has interactive graphics that
help you see where you fit in the American population, and that take a
closer look at income mobility, public opinion and the intersection of
income and education. Also, a forum to share your thoughts.
Denise Nitterhouse, MBA, DBA
School of Accountancy & Management Information Systems
1 East Jackson Boulevard,
Chicago, IL 60604 email@example.com
A Possible Incredible Mistake by Newsweek Magazine
"Newsweek Says Article on Quran Might Have Contained Errors," by Joe
Hagan and Sara Schaeffer-Munoz, The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2005;
Page B2 ---
Newsweek magazine yesterday said a report it had
published two weeks ago that helped spark fatal riots in Afghanistan might
have contained errors.
The article, printed in the May 9 issue, reported
that "sources" had told the magazine that interrogators at the U.S.
detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a Quran down a toilet
to rattle Muslim detainees. The item, written by reporters Michael Isikoff
and John Barry, added that the findings would appear in a coming report by
the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the prison. The
magazine also reported that investigators probing abuses at the Cuban
detention center had confirmed "infractions alleged in internal FBI emails
that surfaced late last year."
The report inflamed Muslims in the Middle East and
parts of Asia, sparking protests where marchers carried Newsweek. There were
large protests in Indonesia and Gaza, and in Afghanistan protests led to
riots in which a reported 16 people were killed.
In an editor's letter and an article published
today, the magazine said parts of its original report were flawed. Newsweek
said its original anonymous source recently said he isn't sure that the
Quran allegation is actually in the report, and that it might just be a
story told by former detainees.
Though Newsweek sent a copy of the item to a
Pentagon official before it appeared, the official, who didn't raise
questions about the allegation, might not have had detailed knowledge of
what was in the report, the magazine said.
Continued in article
SEC Finds Retirement-Fund Issues
A government examination of retirement-fund consulting
uncovered significant conflicts of interest between consulting firms and the
money managers they recommend to clients, according to people familiar with the
matter. A months-long study to be released today by the Securities and Exchange
Commission is expected to confirm what regulators have long suspected: the
existence of undisclosed financial ties between consultants and money-management
firms that can influence the recommendations consultants make to their
Deborah Solomon, "SEC Finds Retirement-Fund Issues," The Wall Street Journal,
May 16, 2005; Page C3 ---
Bob Jensen's thread on "The Pension Fund Consulting Racket" are at
An Annual Report on American Journalism ---
Best of Photojournalism 2005
Enron's useless code of ethics
David C. Farrell held up a half-inch-thick document
titled " Enron Code of Ethics 2000," and stared across a table at four
colleagues sitting in a conference room at Sun Microsystems' campus-style office
complex here in Silicon Valley. "I wave this around at meetings to make a
point," Mr. Farrell said. "It's not enough just to write a code of ethics. The
management and the people who work at a company have to lead by example. We call
it 'the tone at the top.' "
Harry Hurt III, "Drop That Ledger! This Is the Compliance Officer," The New
York Times, May 15, 2005 ---
Alexis de Tocqueville may have the last laugh when it comes to predicting
accurately the course of history
2005 marks the bicentenary of the birth of one of 19th
century Europe’s most insightful political thinkers. Less well-known than Marx,
Alexis de Tocqueville may have the last laugh when it comes to predicting
accurately the course of history. This is especially true when it comes to
understanding some of “Old” Europe’s current economic and political malaises.
Tocqueville himself was a study in contrasts: a nobleman who embraced the ideals
of 1789 despite the Revolution’s guillotining of members of his family; a
self-proclaimed liberal who abhorred 19th century French liberalism’s rabid
anti-clericalism; a practicing Catholic who admitted his faith was undermined by
reading Enlightenment thinkers. Perhaps because of these tensions Tocqueville
saw things that others of his time could not. Tocqueville is best remembered for
his Democracy in America, a book that sought to explain the free society that
had taken root in North America to the Europe of his time. Tocqueville did not,
however, write as a detached observer. He was anxious to help European societies
transition to the democratic arrangements he considered inevitable, without
experiencing the death and dictatorship endured by France during its Revolution.
All of Tocqueville’s writings repay careful reading. Yet it is his concerns
about democracy’s future that are most relevant to Europe today-especially old
Europe. This particularly concerns Tocqueville’s warnings regarding what he
Samuel Gregg, "Old Europe’s New Despotism," Action Institute, May 11,
Interactive science learning activities from Depaul University
Welcome to a unique genre of education materials. Paper
Plate Education is an initiative to reduce complex notions to simple paper plate
explanations. This website promotes innovative hands-on Activities that you can
experience across a range of interests, at varying degrees of complexity, and at
a low price—all with common paper plates.
Paper Plate Education ---
Retaking the Universities
Nevertheless, as one looks around at academic life
these days, it is easy to conclude that corruption yields not only decay but
also opportunities. Think of the public convulsion that surrounded the episode
of Ward Churchill's invitation to speak at Hamilton College earlier this year.
The spectacle of a highly paid academic with a fabricated background comparing
the victims of 9/11 to a Nazi bureaucrat was too much. Mr. Churchill's fellow
academics endeavored--they are still endeavoring--to rally round. But the public
wasn't buying it. Such episodes, as Victor Davis Hanson noted in National Review
recently, were like "a torn scab revealing a festering sore beneath"
Roger Kimball, "Retaking the Universities A battle plan," Opinion Journal,
May 11, 2005 ---
"Untapped Potential : US Science and Technology Cooperation with the Islamic
World," by Michael A. Levi and Michael B. D'arcy, Brookings Institute, March
Academics return to Iran
Before the 1979 revolution in Iran, the country’s ties
to American higher education were extensive. Thousands of Iranian students
enrolled at American colleges. And American researchers maintained numerous
long-term projects in Iran, studying its archaeology, history, faiths, and
languages. For 25 years after the revolution, ties between academics in the two
countries were negligible. In the last year, however, contacts have started to
resume. The presidents of Oberlin College, the University of California at
Davis, and the American University in Cairo all went to Iran to discuss exchange
efforts in the last year — and their visits are believed to be the first by
American college presidents since 1979.
Scott Jaschik, "Return to Iran," Inside Higher Ed, May 16, 2005 ---
The new Mobile 365 service
So, for instance, when a college student who is a
Verizon Wireless customer sends a text message to the cell phone of a friend who
uses Cingular Wireless -- "Happy hour in 20 minutes," perhaps -- Mobile 365
makes sure the information is delivered. The company picks up the message from
one network, routes it to the other, tracks the billing information for both
carriers and charges a small fee for each transaction. Before Mobile 365, text
messaging between carriers had been more limited -- not impossible, but
constrained by a patchwork of policies and technologies employed by different
carriers. Mobile 365 isn't the only vehicle for messages that move between the
different cell phone services. But it has captured nearly 80 percent of the
Ellen McCarthy, "A New Medium For Their Text Messages," The Washington Post,
May 12, 2005 ---
The Consecrated Heretic
On newstands now — or at least the ones with a decent
selection of foreign periodicals — you can find a special number of Le Magazine
littéraire devoted entirely to Jean-Paul Sartre. Last month was the 25th
anniversary of the grand funeral procession in Paris that drew 50,000 people out
into the spring rain to see him off. (It was the last great demonstration of the
1960s generation, as people said at the time.) And next month marks the
centennial of his birth. He was “the conscience of his times,” the cover
announces. That is certainly arguable. It tends to equate denunciation with
ethical critique. The man who declared, in 1952, that Soviet citizens enjoyed
perfect freedom to criticize their government should probably be Exhibit A for
any demonstration that sometimes contrarianism is not enough. But what is not in
doubt – to judge by the rest of issue – is that Sartre was the most-photographed
philosopher in history. Scott McLemee, "The Consecrated Heretic,"
Inside Higher Ed, May 12, 2005 ---
"A Dean's Life Part II," by C.S. James (pseudonym), Inside Higher Ed,
May 12, 2005 ---
I am sorry I cannot be at Professor Meany’s final
exam tonight. Do to the fact that I’m working tonight, because my boss keeps
changing my work Schedule. This is probably because I was dating his
daughter then dumped her for a rich Blonde. I need the money because I have
none to pay for school. So any of the days I missed, I was working not
goofing off. Professor Meany doesn’t understand. He is going to flunk me.
Since I’m on probation, that means I’ll be expelled. Once again I’m very
Sorry Sir. Can you help me get back in school?
Perform research but to generate “evidence” favoring theories promoted by
In a mere couple of decades, science has been
turned on its head. We now have whole richly endowed academic departments whose
function is not to perform research but to generate “evidence” favouring
theories promoted by eco-theologians in government and bureaucracy. If you have
been given millions of dollars to investigate fairies at the bottom of the
garden, and have created a large department with mouths to feed, are you going
to turn round and say “There aren’t any”?
Nigel Hawkes, "Number of the Month," Number Watch, January 2005 ---
Update on alleged censorship ---
Give us your sick yearning for free medical services
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued
final guidance Monday that sets up a system for reimbursement. Lawmakers set
aside $1 billion over four years for the program, created by Medicare
legislation passed in 2003. For hospitals in border states, the additional money
can mean the difference between running a profitable business or an unprofitable
one, said Don May, vice president of policy for the American Hospital
"U.S. to pay medical bills for illegal immigrants," CNN, May 10, 2005 ---
DARPA Says Funding to Universities Rising, Not Falling
The Pentagon has not cut funds for university studies
of fundamental science and technology in favor of projects with more of an
immediate impact to the military, the director of the Defense Department's
research agency said Thursday. The statement countered criticism from computer
scientists who complained their funding from the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency has been reduced at the same time the agency seems to be
focusing more on near-term research projects. In the past, military-funded basic
research at universities has led -- eventually -- to the Internet, databases and
other new computer technologies. Critics fear that the military's shift from
"blue sky" research would undermine the nation's technological leadership.
"There has been no decision to divert resources," DARPA Director Tony Tether
said in prepared testimony before the House Science Committee in Washington,
D.C. The congressional hearing was prompted by the scientists' complaints and
reports that the National Science Foundation has seen a sharp increase in grant
Matthew Fordahl, "DARPA Says Funding to Universities Rising, Not Falling," MIT's
Technology Review, May 13, 2005 ---
China overtook the United States as the world's leading consumer of most
industrial raw materials
Over the past year, China overtook the United States as
the world's leading consumer of most industrial raw materials, and replaced
Japan as the world's second-largest consumer of oil. This enormous thirst for
raw materials is changing the direction of Chinese foreign policy and military
strategy, and comes with considerable risks.
David Hale, "China's Insatiable Appetite," The Wall Street Journal, May
12, 2005 ---
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan defended the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan defended the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act that Congress passed after a series of corporate accounting
scandals, saying he is surprised that a law enacted so "rapidly" has "functioned
as well as it has." Delivering a commencement address at the University of
Pennsylvania's Wharton School yesterday, Mr. Greenspan said the 2002 law
"importantly reinforced the principle that ... corporate managers should be
working on behalf of shareholders to allocate business resources to their
David Wessel, "Corporate Overhauls Are Proving To Be Effective, Greenspan Says,"
The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2005; Page C3 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on reforms are at
Trivia from The Washington Post on May 11, 2005
What, you don't have a blog? According to one
blog expert, how many people currently write online journals?
Why can't credit rating companies be more like eBay?
Why, then, are the credit reporting agencies reviled,
while systems like eBay are widely admired? The answer has to do with the
architecture in which our digital doubles roam. Commercial data vendors are
stubbornly clinging to their early-20th-century origins as card files full of
private dope, compiled to keep a local merchant from trusting a deadbeat. In
those days, data vendors had no contract or relationship with the people on whom
they compiled reports - and they still don't. Credit agencies are hostile to
consumers who want to know what's being said about them. Negative information
can go unnoticed for years until it suddenly results in punishment from a lender
or retailer. There is little chance to challenge bad comments, even if the
original report is inaccurate. On eBay, by contrast, when you get a black mark
you immediately know who gave it to you and why. The news that feedback has been
posted arrives by email. The design of the system acknowledges that both
parties, reporter and reported-upon, share an interest in the data. Although
feedback disputes are common, eBay has made itself a transparent broker, rather
than a bureau of evil rumors.
Gary Wolf, "The New Multiple Personality Disorder," Wired News, May 2005
Bob Jensen's threads on FICO rating and other credit agency frustrations are at
Pain and Brain and Sex Differences
Today, patients undergoing surgery get painkillers
in a standard dosage mainly determined by body weight. But "there may be a point
in time when we may be able to tell which patient responds to which type of pain
medicine," said Dr. Sunny Anand, director of the Pain Neurobiology Laboratory at
Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. A patient could get a regimen of
painkillers that will take into account his or her age, sex and pain threshold,
and compensate for any side effects or possible predisposition to addiction. "I
don't think it's science fiction," Anand said. "Within the next five years we
will be there." There has already been some progress in understanding the
genetic basis of pain. One of the primary areas of discovery has been the most
fundamental: the difference between men and women. Many scientists believe that
male and female brains differ in architecture, and consequently, "some of the
genetic differences that create sex brain differences may make pain
vulnerability different," said Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer, director of the pediatric
pain program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.
Andrew Chang, "Painkillers Designed Especially for You?" ABC News, May
11, 2005 ---
Two links forwarded by Dick Wolff
Welcome to the Longevity Game! See how your lifestyle can affect you in the
years to come by answering just 12 quick questions. Your expected age will show
in the tabulator in the upper left corner. Keep in mind your answers may
increase, decrease, or have no affect on your expected age ---
Passing of Generation
This is beautiful and touching. It loads fast and the music is lovely. It will
take a few minutes to scroll through it though.
Oh! Oh!: Byrd's LaSalle University was in Mandeville, La.
At the Fort Worth school district, colleagues refer to
district employee Michael J. Byrd as "Dr. Byrd." The intervention specialist,
who helps families in crisis, also has received a $600 annual doctoral stipend
every year since 2002, when he informed the district that he earned his doctoral
degree in psychology, district records show. But now, Dr. Byrd has been demoted
to Mr. Byrd. Byrd, 44, of Fort Worth received his degree from LaSalle
University. But not from the well-known LaSalle University in Philadelphia.
Rather, Byrd's LaSalle University was in Mandeville, La. There is no connection
between the two institutions.
Fort Worth Star Telegram, May 16, 2005
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills (including a logo infringement suit won
by Trinity University) are at
He wished he was an Oscar Meyer Weiner
May 12, 2005 message from Douglas Ziegenfuss
A week ago on May 5, 2005, (page 5), The Virginian
-Pilot (published in Norfolk, Virginia) had an AP article detailing the life
of Meinhardt Raabe, 89, who played the Munchkin Coroner in the Wizard of Oz.
According to the article, Raabe's tenacity and ability to speak German
landed him a job as an accountant with the Oscar Meyer Company. He worked
there for three decades and in addition to being an accountant, he also
traveled in the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.
Douglas E. Ziegenfuss
Professor and Chair, Department of Accounting
Room 2157 Constant Hall
Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0229
Scientific Expeditions from the Field Museum ---
Also see NASA's Destination Earth ---
Mexicans are willing to take jobs "that not even blacks want to do?"
Mexican President Vicente Fox came under fire yesterday
for saying Mexicans were willing to take jobs "that not even blacks want to do
in the United States." "There's no doubt that the Mexican men and women — full
of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work — are doing the work that not even
blacks want to do in the United States," Fox told a meeting of the Texas-Mexico
Frozen Food Council in Puerto Vallarta on Friday. Fox's remark came a day after
Mexico announced it would formally protest recent U.S. immigration reforms,
including the decision...
New York Post, May 15, 2005 ---
Is Bill Cosby Right?
Michael Eric Dyson’s tour for his book, Is
Bill Cosby Right? (Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost its Mind?) has
been busting out all over radio and TV in the past few weeks. In fact there’s
been lots of talk about Bill Cosby’s remarks concerning declining morality and
poor behavior stemming from a lack of parental responsibility that’s holding
black kids back. Mr. Cosby laments the lifestyle of young blacks; from their
dress, to their music, their views on sex, their language and their moral ethos
in general. He believes that it is the fault of black parents for not checking
more closely on the lives of their children and in this he comes close to the
Lisa Fabrizio, "The Peter Pan Generation," Chron Watch, May 15, 2005 ---
Who's Preying on Your Grandparents?
Back in February, Jose and Gloria Aquino received a
flier in the mail inviting them to a free seminar on one of their favorite
topics: protecting their financial assets. As retirees, they were always on the
lookout for safe investment strategies as well as tips on how to make sure they
didn't outlive their savings. Besides, the flier promised a free lunch for
anyone attending the workshop, so what did they have to lose? Potentially
plenty, they would soon discover.
Gretchen Morgenson, "Who's Preying on Your Grandparents?" The New York Times,
May 15, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on investment advisor frauds are at
What is a Chimera?
While the mythical Chimera is the stuff of fantasy,
researchers across the country are developing their own real-life chimeras --
animals that are bred to incorporate the cells of other animals or humans -- in
an effort to better study human diseases or to create more viable organs for
people needing transplants. But as scientists continue to create more varied
chimeras -- especially those that have some amount of human brain matter --
questions continue to rise from ethicists, religious groups, and even other
biomedical researchers, about the types of limitations that should be set on the
Karen Epper Hoffman, "The Laws of Man and Beast," MIT's Technology Review,
May 12, 2005 ---
Why could they do so much better in a one-room school house in the old
The failure rate for eighth-graders on a test that
measures students' knowledge of basic history and government has climbed
steadily from 62% in the 2001-02 school year, to 76% in 2002-03 and 81% in
2003-04. Top educrats who testified offered conflicting reasons for the drop in
scores. Elise Abegg, the department's social studies czar, said some schools
were spending too much time teaching students how to read and do math out of
fear that they would be labeled a "failing school" under the federal No Child
Left Behind law. But J.C. Brizard, the department's executive director for high
schools, said the real problem was that the 60-question standardized test
requires that students be able to read and understand the questions - something
he said many cannot do. "They have trouble comprehending what they are reading,"
Joe Williams, "Duh! 81% of kids fail test: Social studies trips up
8th-graders," New York Daily News, May 11, 2005 ---
It doesn't take much to be in the Top Ten
"Hillsborough High School in Tampa earned a D grade
from the state last year," reports the St. Petersburg Times. "And under federal
standards, it fell far short." But there's good news (emphasis in original): "On
Monday, Newsweek magazine named it the 10th best high school in the country. In
the country." Well, at least Hillsborough students can be thankful they don't go
to the 11th-best school--or, even more so, that they don't live in New York
City. As best we can tell, the city's highest-ranking school in the Newsweek
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7723397/site/newsweek/page/5/ is Cardozo
High in the Queens neighborhood of Bayside, which finishes at No. 471.
Opinion Journal, May 11, 2005
The creation of a global database of human genetic variation and
associated anthropological data
(language, social customs, etc.)
Explore your own genetic journey with Dr. Spencer Wells. DNA analysis includes a
depiction of your ancient ancestors and an interactive map tracing your genetic
lineage around the world and through the ages.
The Genographic Project ---
Yearning to Breathe Free
The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus (from the University of Miami)
National Academy of Public Administration
The National Academy of Public Administration is an
independent, non-partisan organization chartered by Congress to assist federal,
state, and local governments in improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and
accountability. For more than 35 years, the Academy has met the challenge of
cultivating excellence in the management and administration of government
Corporate Concierge Business Model
Reardon sells a subscription-based Web platform that
allows corporations to consolidate and procure a number of services at lower
costs, including those for airplane tickets, hotels, restaurants, and
conferencing. The company is positioning itself as a "corporate concierge,"
helping companies efficiently and inexpensively satisfy their everyday needs --
from sending a package to buying paper clips. At launch, in February 2004, the
company was able to boast a number of significant clients: Cingular, Genesys,
JDS Uniphase, Motorola, and Warner Music. It's impressive, but remember that the
company has been around for five years and we’d expect it to have at least a
handful of solid clients at this point
"Corporate Concierge," MIT's Technology Review, May 11, 2005 ---
Center for Labor Research and Education (focus is on southern California) ---
Two elected trustees at Dartmouth vow to keep faculty
members focused on teaching rather than research
Peter Robinson, one of the victors, is
a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His
platform called for promoting free speech on campus, keeping
faculty members focused on teaching rather than research,
improving an athletic program that he said was “sunk in
mediocrity,” and ending programs that require fraternity members
to attend “inclusivity” seminars. A former speechwriter for
President Reagan, Robinson wrote to alumni: “After watching the
fortieth chief executive of the United States stand up to the
Kremlin, I’d be perfectly happy to stand up to the bureaucracy
Stu Gettleman, "Renegade Trustees at Dartmouth," Inside
Higher Ed, May 13, 2005 ---
Blog ridicules and harasses students and faculty members
St. Lawrence University is trying to
force disclosure of the names of bloggers behind a site they say
ridicules and harasses students and faculty members. The blog
Back Our Campus!, which says it is
“dedicated to fighting the right-wing assault” on the
university, posts often raging criticisms of administrative
policy and of students in conservative groups, and other faculty
members and students they consider conservative. The university
filed a lawsuit in federal court in January alleging that the
blog unlawfully used, and altered, copyrighted photographs. One
picture of President Daniel Sullivan, gleaned from the
university’s Web site, was spruced up with a bottle of gin and
two bare-breasted women. The pictures have been removed, but the
David Epstein, "Cloaked in Cyberspace," Inside Higher Ed,
May 13, 2005 ---
An innovative method of accounting for employee stock options.
The question is whether employees take a hit and how much the hit becomes if
they must eventually exercise options at less than full market value. Of
course the company might issue more options to them to make up the difference
which it seems to me defeats the purpose somewhat.
When the new rules regarding the expensing of options
go into effect over the next year, technology firms, like Cisco Systems Inc.,
will be among the hardest hit. Billions of dollars are stake in Silicon Valley
with its high concentration of technology firms. But unlike other firms that are
scrambling to meet the new requirements in the next fiscal year, Cisco is
seeking approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an
innovative method of accounting for employee stock options. The new method was
proposed to the SEC by Cisco in March, 2005, an anonymous source told
MarketWatch. The plan calls for Cisco to sell a small number of option-backed
securities through an investment bank each time the company issues stock options
to employees. The securities, which would be available only to large
institutional investors, would carry the same terms and restrictions as employee
stock options. These securities would be priced using the same Dutch method used
by Google, Inc. for its initial stock sale last year, however, the restrictions
are expected to reduce the value of the securities. Cisco would account for
options issued at the same time at the same price as the securities, rather than
at the price as it would be set under current rules. It is anticipated that
since the price would be lower the dent made in earnings by expensing the
options would also be reduced. “In order to get an accurate valuations for stock
option valuation, Cisco is working on a market instrument that would match the
same attributes of an employee stock option,” Cisco said in a statement to
MarketWatch on Thursday. “We are awaiting guidance from regulators on this
instrument.” In response to a reporter’s question, William Donaldson, chairman
of the SEC said: “I think it’s a very interesting approach.”
"Cisco Proposes Option for Options," AccountingWeb, May 13, 2005 ---
As you may recall, Cisco and other companies in the past have taken a
tremendous advantage of a discrepancy between GAAP rules and tax rules prior to
the revised FAS 123 due to be implemented next year.
When the options are exercised there is cash foregone rather than a cash outlay.
The company simply issues stock for cash at the exercise price and foregoes the
intrinsic value (the difference between the market value and the exercise
price). In spite of fact that cash never flows for intrinsic value of employee
stock options, Cisco has enjoyed a tremendous tax break (millions in some years
and over a billion in at least one other year) in tax deductions for the cash
foregone. In other words, a company like Cisco might report over $1 billion in
net profit to shareholders and a net loss to the IRS when requesting a a large
tax refund. The revised FAS 123 eliminates the intrinsic method of GAAP
accounting for stock options and forces fair value to be expensed at the time of
vesting. Now Cisco is proposing a method of reducing the reported “fair value.”
Bob Jensen’s threads and illustrations of employee stock option accounting
are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm
The following Tidbits were
forwarded by my secretary, Debbie Bowling, on May 13, 2005
Debbie is helping me with Tidbits this summer.
U.S. Plans Antitrust Suit Over
In a widening push
to promote price competition in sales of residential real estate, government
antitrust enforcers are preparing to sue the National Association of Realtors,
alleging that its policies will illegally restrict discounting of sales
commissions and put online competitors at a disadvantage. The move, the latest
effort by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission aimed at
protecting buyers and sellers of homes, could help take some of the sting from
high real-estate costs. It comes as a hot housing market has caused prices to
surge, sharply boosting income for brokers and sales agents, whose commissions
typically amount to 5% to 6% of the sale price.
JOHN R. WILKE
and JAMES R. HAGERTY,
Antitrust Suit Over Real-Estate Listings,"
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 9, 2005; Page A1
SEC Judge Jolts Electric-Power
Ruling Against AEP's 2000 Merger With
Texas Firm Dusts Off Depression-Era Utility Law
A Securities and
Exchange Commission hearing judge's recent decision challenging the legality of
a $6.6 billion utility merger has sent a shudder through the U.S. electric-power
industry, which is worried that a largely ignored Depression-era law limiting
big utility mergers is back from the dead. On May 3, an administrative law judge
at the SEC issued a decision concluding that the acquisition by Ohio's
American Electric Power Co. of Central & South
West Corp. of Texas -- which created the U.S.'s most sweeping utility company in
June 2000 -- violated a key provision of a 1935 law. Specifically,
Administrative Law Judge Robert G. Mahony found that the merged company didn't
constitute an integrated-utility system operating in a "single area or region,"
as the U.S.'s Public Utility Holding Company Act requires. Instead, he concluded
that the utility, stretching from Virginia to Michigan to Texas and spanning 11
states, operates over at least four distinct regions. It is unclear what the
SEC's remedy might be, but it is likely that hearings on the merger will be
held. ---The Public Utility Holding Company Act remains one of the most
important pieces of utility legislation ever passed by Congress. It was created
shortly after the 1929 stock-market crash exposed the financial chicanery and
self dealing that had become rampant in the electric-power industry, which at
the time was controlled by a handful of gigantic power trusts. The 1935 act
broke up the trusts and restricted future mergers. For years, those provisions
pretty much confined mergers to nearby utilities.
"SEC Judge Jolts
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL,
May 9, 2005; Page B2
Times Panel Proposes Steps to Build Credibility
In order to build readers' confidence, an internal
committee at The
New York Times has
recommended taking a variety of steps, including having senior editors write
more regularly about the workings of the paper, tracking errors in a systematic
way and responding more assertively to the paper's critics. ...The committee,
which was charged last fall by Bill Keller, the executive editor, with examining
how the paper could increase readers' trust, said there was "an immense amount
that we can do to improve our journalism." ... It also said The Times had
discussed plagiarism-detection with Lexis-Nexis, which was working with
iThenticate, a firm that develops detection software for use in academia. Once
the software is refined, the committee said, The Times should use it when
plausible suspicions are raised.
KATHARINE Q. SEELYE, "Times Panel Proposes Steps to Build Credibility,"
THE NEW YORK TIMES BUSINESS, May 9, 2005
Firefox Develops Security Holes
Firefox seems to be heading Internet Explorer's way
with security research company Secunia stating on its website that two
vulnerabilities found in the popular browser can be exploited to conduct
cross-site scripting attacks and compromise a user's system. ... According to
from being executed in context of another URL in the history list. This can be
exploited to execute arbitrary HTML and script code in a user's browser session
in context of an arbitrary site. ... It seems that input passed to the "IconURL"
parameter in "InstallTrigger.install" is not properly verified before being
A temporary solution has been added to the sites "update.mozilla.org" and "addons.mozilla.org"
where requests are redirected to "do-not-add.mozilla.org". ...This will stop the
publicly available exploit code using a combination of the vulnerabilities to
execute arbitrary code in the default settings of Firefox.
Develops Security Holes,"
Free Republic, Posted on 05/09/2005 7:00:15 AM
Top IT Challenge: Paying for It
Finance remains the top issue for information
technology in higher education, according to an annual
survey of institutions by
Educause. But security issues are becoming more and more important. Since 2000,
Educause has conducted a poll of institutions — typically answered by chief
information officers — about their priorities and about the issues they think
have the potential to become more important. Finance has consistently been a top
ranked issue, and was the No. 1 answer this year and last to the question of the
issue that must be resolved to assure the institution’s strategic success. The
CIO’s ranked the following as the top 10 issues for their institution’s success:
- Funding IT
- Security and information management
- Administrative information systems
- Strategic planning
- Infrastructure management
- Faculty development, support and training
- E-learning, distributed teaching and learning
- Governance and leadership for IT
- Enterprise-level portals
- Web systems and services
Scott Jaschik "Top
IT Challenge: Paying for It," Inside Higher ED, May 9, 2005
Time Travelers Welcome at MIT
If John Titor was at the
Time Traveler Convention last Saturday night at MIT, he kept a low profile.
Titor, the notorious internet discussion group member who
claims to be from the year 2036, was among those invited to the
convention, where any time traveler would have
been ushered in as an honored guest. The convention, which drew more than 400
people from our present time period, was held at MIT's storied East Campus
dormitory. It featured an MIT rock band, called the Hong Kong Regulars, and
hilarious lectures by MIT physics professors. The profs were treated like pop
stars by attendees fascinated by the possibility of traveling back in time.
Mark Baard, "Time Travelers Welcome at MIT,"
Wired News, 02:00 AM May. 09, 2005 PT
Hedge Funds Hit Rocky Stretch As Field
Becomes More Crowded
Hedge funds, the
large private investment pools that have exploded in popularity this decade,
have hit their most challenging performance stretch in at least a year, raising
questions about whether their growth may be slowing and what that could mean for
global stock and bond markets. ... Hedge-fund managers make most of their profit
from their investment gains, typically claiming a hefty 20%. Without any gains,
some funds could quickly lose key employees or assets, if investors start
demanding their money back. Some investors and hedge-fund veterans wonder
whether the industry is poised for a slowdown after years of runaway growth.
"My question is how many hedge funds
will pack it in," says Marc Freed, a managing director at Lyster Watson & Co.,
which invests in dozens of hedge funds on behalf of both individual and
institutional clients. Mr. Freed notes that those funds that lost in April may
have trouble making up those losses in a challenging market. That will be a key
test. Similar scares appeared in the spring of 2003 and 2004, but were overcome.
Some industry experts say the difference now is that interest rates are higher
and many hedge funds themselves are relatively newer, with limited experience.
GREGORY ZUCKERMAN and HENNY SENDER Staff Reporters,
"Hedge Funds Hit Rocky Stretch As Field Becomes More
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL,
May 10, 2005; Page A1
Swartz Says He Was Unaware
Forgiven Loans Weren't on W-2
Mark H. Swartz,
Tyco International Ltd.'s
former chief financial officer, testified Monday that he first learned in summer
2002 that millions of dollars in loan forgiveness he received in 1999 weren't
included on his W-2 tax form for that year. Prosecutors have
alleged Messrs. Kozlowski and Swartz improperly granted more than $37 million in
loan forgiveness to themselves as a bonus in 1999 without approval of Tyco's
board of directors or its compensation committee. Mr. Swartz, 44 years old, and
Mr. Kozlowski, 58, are on trial in New York State Supreme Court, facing charges
of grand larceny, securities fraud and other crimes in connection with giant
bonuses and other compensation they received while working as Tyco's top
executives. They each face up to 25 years in prison on the most serious charge
of grand larceny. They have denied wrongdoing. Their first trial ended in a
mistrial last year.
CHAD BRAY, "Swartz Says He Was Unaware Forgiven Loans
Weren't on W-2,"
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES,
May 10, 2005; Page C2
Internet Attack Called Broad and Long Lasting by
The incident seemed
alarming enough: a breach of a
Cisco Systems network in
which an intruder seized programming instructions for many of the computers that
control the flow of the Internet. Now federal officials and computer security
investigators have acknowledged that the Cisco break-in last year was only part
of a more extensive operation - involving a single intruder or a small band,
apparently based in Europe - in which thousands of computer systems were
similarly penetrated. ... Investigators in the United States and Europe say they
have spent almost a year pursuing the case involving attacks on computer systems
serving the American military, NASA and research laboratories.
The case remains under investigation. But attention
is focused on a 16-year-old in Uppsala, Sweden, who was charged in March with
breaking into university computers in his hometown. Investigators in the
American break-ins ultimately traced the intrusions back to the Uppsala
university network. The F.B.I. and the Swedish police said they were working
together on the case, and one F.B.I. official said efforts in Britain and other
countries were aimed at identifying accomplices. "As a result of recent actions"
by law enforcement, an F.B.I. statement said, "the criminal activity appears to
JOHN MARKOFF and
"Internet Attack Called
Broad and Long Lasting by Investigators," The New York Times,
Published: May 10, 2005
Nokia to Set Specs for Mobile TV Handsets
Nokia Corp. will release technical details about
its mobile TV system to help service providers offer customers the possibility
of watching television on their handsets, with commercial TV services expected
to begin in 2006. The technology has been piloted in several countries,
including Finland where Nokia last month joined major TV companies and mobile
service providers to enable 500 test users in the Helsinki region to watch
international television broadcasts and tune in to radio programs on their
phones. ... In earlier research, Nokia said people like to watch mobile TV in
cars and public places, such as cafes. Watching TV on handsets was also common
at home and in workplaces, with test users mostly interested in news, weather,
sports, current affairs and entertainment.
MATTI HUUHTANEN, "Nokia to Set Specs for Mobile TV Handsets," The
Washington Post," Tuesday, May 10, 2005; 7:54 AM
Eat Fat to Lose Fat
Diets too low in fat may
be responsible for stubborn bulges on bellies, thighs and butts, according to a
new study. Dieters trying slim down by following extremely low-fat diets may be
causing the exact opposite results, according to new research from the
University of Washington at St. Louis. Eating at least small amounts of dietary
fats, such as fish oils, might be a better way to kick-start fat-burning, say
Extremes of diet are sometimes unwise,
because a balanced diet may be critical for providing certain dietary signals
that allow you to respond appropriately to stresses, and one of those stresses
is eating too much," said Dr. Clay Semenkovich, a professor of medicine, cell
biology and physiology at the University of Washington and co-author of the
study. ... The scientists also tried a second approach to kick-start the
fat-burning process in the genetically engineered mice. They gave the mice a
drug -- a stronger version of human triglyceride-lowering medications that go by
the trade names
Tricor. The drug the
researchers used, as well as those available on the market now, activate a
protein called PPAR-alpha, which extracts energy from carbohydrates and fats.
Researchers already knew that fat activates the protein, but the study proved
that PPAR-alpha specifically needs new fats to do its job.
Semenkovich and his colleagues were surprised by
Kristen Philipkoski, "Eat Fat to Lose Fat,"
02:00 AM May. 10, 2005
TidBits May 11, 2005
United Air Wins Right to Default on Its Employee Pension Plans
United Airlines, which is operating in bankruptcy
protection, received court permission yesterday to terminate its four employee
pension plans, setting off the largest pension default in the three decades that
the government has guaranteed pensions. ... The ruling releases United, a unit
of the UAL Corporation, from $3.2 billion in pension obligations over the next
five years. The federal agency that guarantees pensions, the Pension Benefit
will assume responsibility for the plans, which cover about 134,000 people. Some
retirees could see sharply lower pension payments as a result; others will see
little change in benefits, depending on a variety of factors. Some retirees at
US Airways, which has terminated its plans, have seen benefits drop by as much
as 50 percent. Analysts have predicted that if United won its case, there could
be a domino effect as other airlines are forced to seek bankruptcy protection to
bring their pension costs down to United's levels.
United plans to switch its current employees from
traditional retirement programs, which are called defined-benefit plans, to
defined-contribution plans like 401(k) programs. The federal pension agency will
assume responsibility for United's plans, which cover about 134,000 workers.
MICHELINE MAYNARD, "United Air Wins Right to Default on Its Employee
Pension Plans," The New York Times, Published: May 11, 2005
Tenure and Promotion Goes Crazy
Let’s begin with a riddle: When is Purdue
University to be preferred over Harvard? You might guess that there is an
agriculture or engineering program at Purdue that Harvard cannot match. But we
had something less rational in mind: namely, the annual spring ritual in which
department heads seek outside letters of evaluation for faculty members being
considered for tenure and promotion. A few years ago, a friend of ours who
played that role at a large public university experienced a little more than the
usual level of frustration. Like many higher education administrators, the
provost at this university had announced that outside letters evaluating
candidates for tenure had to be from “peer” institutions. It is standard, though
far from rational, for administrators to insist that outside letter writers must
come from schools at least as good, but the short-lived pasha at this university
added a less common caveat: the letters should not be from either lessor or
greater institutions. Based on the institutional categories used at the time,
there were 32 public research universities sharing the institution’s rank. They
were to be the only acceptable sources of evaluation letters. Letters from Ivy
League universities or distinguished liberal arts colleges would not do. In a
choice between Purdue and Harvard, you’d best choose Purdue. ...
Our own universities are hardly unique in employing
such practices. Precisely because they are so common across the academy, the
time has come for a national meditation on the procedures commonly associated
with promotion and tenure. We begin with letters of recommendation because they
are one of the more conspicuous and egregious components of a system in dire
need of an overhaul. That’s what we want to advocate here: a reform of the
practices associated with awarding tenure and promotion to younger faculty and
an equally serious reform of the procedures employed in promoting tenured
associate professors to the rank of professor.
We are told that a faculty member at a liberal arts
college will not understand the standards at a major research institution. Of
course that is complete nonsense. The standards at major schools are well known.
Anyone actively participating in the profession will fully understand the
criteria for tenure at the best institutions. It’s the standards at the other
end of the spectrum — at small colleges with modest or largely nonexistent
expectations for publication — that are often mysterious.
Cary Nelson and Stephen Watt
"Tenure and Promotion Goes Crazy," Inside Higher Ed, May 11, 2005;
read rest of the article at:
Mercifully Light Microsoft Patch Tuesday
Today's monthly security update from Microsoft amounted to
just one security
patch for the Windows operating system. It's a nice respite from
last month's deluge of patches, when Microsoft dumped a total of eight fixes
-- five of them "critical" -- to plug 18 different holes in its software.
Microsoft rated today's patch "important," which generally means hackers could
use it to break into vulnerable computers, but that at least some action on the
part of the victim would be required. The problem also is mainly resident in
certain versions of Windows 2000, which is mostly used by
businesses. The problem does appear to affect users of Windows98, Windows SE and
Windows ME, but those users may be out of luck: Microsoft no longer offers
support or patches for non-critical security flaws in those operating systems.
As always, free patches are available from Microsoft's
Windows Update Web site (except
for Windows 98, Windows 98SE, and Windows ME users in this case.)
Brian Krebs on Computer Security, "Mercifully Light Microsoft Patch Tuesday,"
The Washington Post, Posted at 03:35 PM ET, 05/10/2005
Human poop banned from meeting
Human poop banned from meeting: A man dressed up as
a giant piece of faeces has been refused entry to a government meeting in
Canada. James Skwarok arrived as 'Mr Floatie' to represent POOP, People Opposed
to Outfall Pollution, reports Canada.com. But the cross-party meeting in
Victoria-Beacon Hill refused him entry. Skwarok said he wanted to protest
against the daily dumping of 120 million litres of raw sewage into the Pacific
ocean. He said he was "a little bummed out" by the politicians' refusal to meet
him and that British Columbia province should look good for the 2010 Olympics if
it didn't want to get a "brown medal".
poop banned from meeting," Free Republic, Posted on
05/11/2005 7:00:31 AM
End of Debbie's module
Some old and some new accounting humor forwarded by
A businessman was interviewing applicants for the position of divisional
manager. He devised a simple test to select the most suitable person for the
job. He asked each applicant the question, "What is two and two?" The first
interviewee was a journalist. His answer was "twenty-two."
The second applicant was an engineer. He pulled out a calculator and
showed the answer to be between 3.999 and 4.001.
The next person was a lawyer. He stated that in the case of Jenkins v.
Commr of Stamp Duties (Qld), two and two was proven to be four.
The last applicant was an accountant. The business man asked him, "How
much is two and two?"
The accountant to be got up from his chair, went over to the door, closed
it then came back and sat down. He leaned across the desk and said in a low
"How much do you want it to be?" He got the job.
What's the definition of an accountant?
Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't
What's the definition of a good tax accountant?
Someone who has a loophole named after him.
What's an extroverted accountant?
One who looks at your shoes while they talking to you instead of his own.
Why did the auditor cross the road?
Because he looked in the file and that's what they did last year.
There are three kinds of accountants in the world. Those who can count
and those who can't.
An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor.
"Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night."
"Have you tried counting sheep?"
"That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying
to find it"
Comprehending Accountants - Take One
Two accountancy students were walking across campus when one said, "Where
did you get such a great bike?" The second accountant replied, "Well, I was
walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode
up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes
and said, "Take what you want." The second accountant nodded
approvingly,"Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."
Comprehending Accountants - Take Two
An architect, an artist and an accountant were discussing whether it was
better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.
The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid
foundation for an enduring relationship.
The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion
and mystery he found there.
The accountant said, "I like both."
The accountant replied "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they
will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go
to the office and get some work done."
Comprehending Accountants - Take Three
To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the accountant, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor are at
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: firstname.lastname@example.org