Tidbits on June 27, 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/


Radio Memories ---  http://radiomemories.libsyn.com/

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




CIA: The World Factbook 2005 http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for economic statistics are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for encyclopedias etc. are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


On June 26, 2005, Time Magazine announced an extensive cover feature on Abraham Lincoln --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1077267,00.html


The U.S. Social Security System may be insolvent in less than ten years
The recent annual report issued by the Social Security Board of Trustees demonstrates with undeniable clarity that Social Security faces a looming financial crisis. Worse still, the report shows Social Security's lurch toward insolvency has accelerated. In just a little more than a decade, Social Security will begin to run a deficit, the study shows. Deficits will continue and amplify every year well beyond the turn of the next century. Despite early protestations from many on Capitol Hill that "there is no crisis," few serious observers of the current state of Social Security hold out hope the system can survive as presently constructed.
Thomas R. Saving, "Social Security Insolvency Accelerating:   Study Says Crisis is much closer than previously believed," Heartland Institute, July 1, 2005 --- http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17329


International Freedom Center --- http://www.ifcwtc.org/index.html


Video Guide To Securing Your Computer

I wanted to call attention to a new resource on washingtonpost.com for people who need a little help getting started in securing their computers. We produced a series of "screencasts" or video guides demonstrating some of the basic steps users need to take to stay safe online, including brief primers on choosing and using firewall and anti-virus software, downloading and installing the latest Microsoft Windows patches, and taking advantage of free anti-spyware tools.

These videos are by no means definitive guides, but I hope they will be of some use to those who find themselves completely intimidated by computer security.
Brian Krebs, "ideo Guide To Securing Your Computer," The Washington Post --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2005/05/video_guide_to_.html?referrer=email

 


Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


RealNetworks Patch Fixes Four Critical Bugs

Real Networks, the company that makes the RealOne and RealPlayer multimedia players (and runs the Rhapsody music service), has issued a set of patches to fix at least four serious security problems in its various products.  Updates are available for versions of the company's software running on Windows, Mac and Linux. To find out which versions need patching, check out the above link. Instructions for finding out which version you are running and how to download the patches are available at that link as well.
Brian Krebs, "RealNetworks Patch Fixes Four Critical Bugs," The Washington Post --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2005/06/realplayer_patc.html?referrer=email

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


Don't fall for this Citibank phishing trip
June 24,

2005 message from Andrew Priest [a.priest@ECU.EDU.AU]

It is a phishing scam email. Get them most days. Sometimes I am amazed at the number of banks I have accounts with :-) The link in this one takes you to http://snipurl.com/CitiScam  which is a poor attempt at looking like the CTI website.

The actual CTI website is at https://web.da-us.citibank.com/cgi-bin/citifi/scripts/login2/login.jsp . Note the warning in the yellow box.

Regards Andrew

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


Do Capital One and J.C. Penney companies have any ethics?
Unwanted software slithered into Patti McMann's home computer over the Internet and unleashed an annoying barrage of pop-up ads that sometimes flashed on her screen faster than she could close them. Annoying, for sure. But the last straw came a year ago when the pop-ups began plugging such household names as J.C. Penney Co. and Capital One Financial Corp., companies McMann expected to know better. Didn't they realize that trying to reach people through spyware and its ad-delivering subset, called adware, would only alienate them?
Michael Gormley, "Major Advertisers Caught in Spyware Net," Associated Press, June 24, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050624/ap_on_hi_te/spyware_s_advertisers
Jensen Comment:  My wife got suspicious of several magazine subscription renewal charges from J.C. Penney, because she's never subscribed to any magazines via J.C. Penney.  When the magazines arrived she had been throwing them out for over a year along with other junk mail.  J.C. Penney willingly credited her for the previous year's undetected subscription charge.  But what was telling to me is that it appears J.C. Penney actually has a department set up to refund these charges if customers get suspicious.  Those that do not notice these unwanted billings probably go on paying year after year even though they never ordered these magazine subscriptions.  Where are the corporate ethics?

You can read more about the serious J.C. Penney  insurance scandals at http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/jcpenney.html


Advice for workers who get a poor performance evaluation report from their supervisors ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/business/yourmoney/26advi.html


First Aid Myths: Ignore These Summer 'Cures' ---
http://my.webmd.com/content/article/107/108508.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_01


Microsoft's RSS Move
You know a technology has moneymaking potential when Microsoft finally jumps in. Known for beating rivals with their own inventions, Gates & Co. have decided its time to make a move on RSS, the hot technology among geeks for distributing text, audio and video over the Internet. I say geeks, because readers, the desktop software that aggregates content published via RSS, or really simple syndication, hasn't made it to the mainstream. Because the average consumer doesn't know or care about RSS, it's the perfect time for Microsoft to muscle in and pretend to offer something "new and exciting" to the millions of consumers using Windows at home.
Editor's Note, Internet Week Newsletter, June 27, 2005

Bob Jensen's threads on RSS Rich Site Summary are under "RSS" at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#ResourceDescriptionFramework


The U.S. Supreme Court made a bad mistake on this one
"The question answered yesterday was: Can government profit by seizing the property of people of modest means and giving it to wealthy people who can pay more taxes than can be extracted from the original owners? The court answered yes... During oral arguments in February, Justice Antonin Scalia distilled the essence of New London's brazen claim: 'You can take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?... That is the logic of the opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer" -- Washington Post columnist George Will, writing on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling upholding a city's right to seize private property for the benefit of a private developer.
Opinion Journal, June 24, 2005

Also see http://www.reason.com/interviews/bullock.shtml


Exams can be great motivators
Criticism of objective tests of knowledge includes the oft-repeated claim that teachers "teach to" tests rather than teaching other, presumably more mind-enriching, stuff. But the criticism only works if you assume the self-discipline and information children learn while preparing for an exam is worthless - and why should that be? In fact, exams can be great motivators, encouraging students to absorb information and figure out how to apply it at maximum efficiency. About the only information I retain from physics and chemistry are the formulas I memorised for exams; I can still recite poetry learned for exams.
Miranda Devine, "Scam shows worth of exams," Sydney Morning Herald, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/06/25/1119321939099.html


Yahoo Shuts Many Chat Rooms As Minors Are Solicited for Sex
Yahoo Inc. shut down all its user-created chat rooms, after a Houston television station reported that some were being used to solicit minors for sex, and several companies withdrew advertising from Yahoo's site.
Jim Carlton and Chelsea Deweese, "Yahoo Shuts Many Chat Rooms As Minors Are Solicited for Sex," The Wall Street Journal,  June 24, 2005; Page B3 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111956614574768116,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


Does French 'Non' Hurt American Interests?
You report that the French "non" vote is a blow to U.S. interests since the proposed European Union constitution "was expected to strengthen a key U.S. foreign-policy ally and sometime partner in efforts to combat global terrorism and nuclear proliferation in countries such as Iran" ("A French 'No' Reminds Europe of Many Woes," page one, May 31). Which ally was that? The proposed E.U. constitution aimed to centralize European foreign policy, giving more power to such heroes of the battle against terrorism as French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and helping stifle the voices of Britain, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and our other actual allies. Given Mr. Chirac's comment to the new members of the E.U. when they disagreed with France over the liberation of Iraq that they weren't "well brought up" and should "shut up," it seems hard to see the French "non" as a blow to American interests.
Andrew P. Morriss.  Professor of Business Law & Regulation Case School of Law Cleveland "Does French 'Non' Hurt American Interests?" The Wall Street Journal, Non June 24, 2005; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111957543084468404,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion


German proverb: "Whose bread I eat his song I sing."

"Auditors: Too Few to Fail," by Joseph Nocera, The New York Times, June 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/business/25nocera.html

Yet the word now seems to be that the Justice Department will probably not indict the firm (KPMG). This is partly because KPMG has belatedly apologized, admitted the tax shelters were "unlawful," and cut adrift its former rising stars (and tried to shift the blame for the shelters to them). And it is working to come up with a deal with prosecutors that, however painful, will fall short of the death penalty.

But it's also because the government is afraid of further shrinking the number of major accounting firms. Remember when people used to say that the major money center banks were "too big to fail"- meaning that if they ever got in real trouble the government would have to somehow ensure their survival? It appears that with only four big accounting firms left, down from eight 16 years ago, there are now "too few to fail." How pathetic is that?

. . .

"What infuriates me about the accounting firms is the enormous power they have," said Howard Shilit, president of the Center for Financial Research and Analysis. "You just can't compel them to do things they ought to do. And the fewer firms there are, the more concentrated their power." To my mind, the biggest problem is the hardest to change - that accounting firms are paid by the same managements they are auditing. Nobody really thinks about changing this practice mainly because it's been that way forever. But, "it's the elephant in the room," said Alice Schroeder, a former staff member at the Financial Accounting Standards Board who later became a Wall Street analyst. In the memorable phrase of Warren E. Buffett's great friend and the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charles T. Munger - quoting a German proverb: "Whose bread I eat his song I sing."
 

June 26, 2005 reply from Denny Beresford [dberesford@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

Bob,

The author of this article has set up a "Forum" in which readers are encouraged to report their reactions to the issue of so few major accounting firms. It's at www.nytimes.com/business/columns . There are some very interesting comments already recorded - some of the suggestions might actually make sense.

Denny

The forum link is at http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/businesstechnology/accounting/index.html

June 27, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Some of the forum's replies are from nut cases.  But there are some good suggestions, particularly the suggestion about pooling of audit fees.  This would not eliminate the risk of a bad audit, but it does take the fee negotiation risk out of the picture.  The mako59 reply from a PwC CPA is well written.

Bob Jensen's threads on the two faces of KPMG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#KPMG

Bob Jensen's threads on the future of auditing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing


From Columbia University Teachers College
The Institute conducts research and evaluations, provides information services, and assists schools, community-based organizations, and parent school leaders in program development and evaluation, professional development, and parent education.
The Institute for Urban and Minority Education --- http://iume.tc.columbia.edu/


From the Scout Report on June 23, 2005
The Physics Department at Mississippi State University provides links to physics-related Java and Macromedia Shockwave Player simulations that have been created around the world. The modules are sorted into nine categories: measurements, math, mechanics, waves, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, light and optics, modern physics, and astronomy. The simulations are then further divided into subtopics so that users can easily locate helpful items. This website offers a great way for students to quickly obtain materials to assist in their physics studies.
Mississippi State University: Physics Simulations [Java, Macromedia Shockwave Player] http://webphysics.ph.msstate.edu/javamirror/ 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for science are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#050421Science%20and%20Medicine


The Power of Culture
Culture is an essential part of development cooperation, and should be equated with food certainty, for example, health and education. This assertion is the guideline for the event Beyond Diversity: Moving towards MDG no. 9 being organised by Hivos in Amsterdam on 2 June 2005. The event is being organised in recognition of the tenth birthday of the Hivos Culture Fund.
The Power of Culture, June 2005 --- http://www.powerofculture.nl/uk/index.html



The Dawn of a Legend
25 April 1915 is a date etched in Australia’s history. Its anniversary is commemorated across the country each year as ANZAC Day. To many this is Australia’s most important national day.In the morning of this day Australian troops made a landing on a hostile shore along the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. Some saw it as Australia’s “baptism of fire” and “the birth of nationhood”.
The Dawn of a Legend --- http://www.awm.gov.au/dawn/index.asp

Association of Hispanic Arts http://www.latinoarts.org/


Love them versus "land" them
"And will you be able to pay the property taxes in sickness and in health?"
As house prices increase, so does the speed of modern courtship. One in 10 adults would now consider buying with their girlfriend or boyfriend within the first six months of dating, a survey by Lloyds TSB discovered. More than three-quarters of the 1,885 adults questioned said they would commit to a joint purchase within the first year of their relationship. The age group most likely to put property over love was 25- to 34-year-olds. Six out of 10 said they would consider buying a property with their partner to get into the housing market. And women were more likely to do this than men.
Nina Goswami, "Good looks are important - but a new home comes first when picking a boyfriend," Sunday Telegraph, June 26, 2005 ---
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/06/26/nhouse26.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/06/26/ixnewstop.html 


Viva le rent free
The concept of "egalité" may be enshrined in the French constitution but, when it comes to free housing, some are proving more equal than others. Staff at the chateau, who range from directors to gardeners and maintenance workers, are housed in 200 coveted "grace-and-favour" apartments, which are considered the ultimate "job perk". Almost 200,000 politicians, civil servants and public sector workers benefit from free or low-rent accommodation in France. The perk is estimated to cost French taxpayers more than a billion euros a year and millions more in undeclared taxes, and it has become the focus of increasing public outrage about the squandering of state money. State prosecutors who have investigated the perk, which dates back to the 1940s, estimate that although its property portfolio could earn the state about €1.4 billion a year, rental income only totals €30 million (£19 million).
Kim Willsher, "French bureaucrats refuse to give up lavish free homes as economy wilts," Sunday Telegraph, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/06/26/wfran26.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/06/26/ixworld.html


The Consumer Price Index (CPI) isn't what it used to be
The answer has to do with the occasionally strange way the government produces the numbers that define our economic life - numbers on which vast sums are wagered every day. Until 1983, the bureau measured housing inflation by looking at what it cost to buy and own homes, considering factors like house prices, mortgage interest costs and property taxes. But given the shifts in interest rates and housing prices, those measures could show big bounces from month to month. Besides, homes are a strange hybrid of a consumable good and a long-term investment. As part of a long-running evaluation, the bureau wanted to "separate out the investment component from the consumption component" of the housing market, said Patrick C. Jackman, an economist at the bureau.
Daniel Gross, "How Home Prices Can Be Hot but Inflation Cool," The New York Times, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/business/yourmoney/26view.html


Gangs: A Threat to National Security
The seed network already exists to facilitate this organization. Gangs increasingly have international roots. Called "supergangs" by law enforcement officials, these gangs often rely on the network of associates outside the United States (often from their home country) for drugs and money laundering. The El Salvadorian gang Mara Salvatrucha — or MS-13 — has over 80,000 members in Central America and a rapidly rising presence in the United States. This makes our porous Southern border an easy target not only for drug smuggling, but human smuggling. Last year, the border patrol caught 1.2 million people trying to enter the United States. Many think they missed as much as four times that many, and international gangs have found human trafficking to be a potent source for income. Fees for illegal entry can reach as high as $40,000, depending on the nationality of the person being brought into the country.
Newt Gingrich, "Gangs: A Threat to National Security," Fox News, June 26, 2005 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160595,00.html




Snopes reports the following on the fabric fresher called Bounce --- http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/bounce.asp

Origins:
Classifying as "True" or "False" items which enumerate the many wonderful uses to which a particular household product can be put is always problematic, for a couple of reasons: Many household products will do at least a passable job in a variety of uses other than the ones for which they are primarily intended, so such claims are hardly remarkable or unique.

Products designed for particular uses are generally more effective at those tasks than other products put to non-intended uses. (That is, bug spray might clean glass just fine, but plain old window cleaner is better, cheaper, and safer for that purpose.) Many of the uses for Bounce brand fabric softener sheets listed above can be found on the Bounce web site and have to do with odor elimination. This is hardly surprising since Bounce is a scented fabric softener sheet, and just about any scented product can be used (with varying degrees of effectiveness) to mask ordinary household smells.

Nonetheless, one of our more intrepid readers tested most of the uses for Bounce listed above and reported the following mixed results:

Get rid of ants: It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them.
Totally did not work. My kitchen is right next to the back stoop, and we get a lot of ants around summer time. I must have stuffed every nook and cranny of my kitchen with Bounce sheets, but the suckers just crawled all over them and into the kitchen anyway. Orange Clean, I found, worked like a charm to not only safely disinfect my kitchen, but create a veritable ant Jonestown.

Musty book smells: It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.
Well, kinda. I have an old Bible that we don't open because it's so fragile. I stuck a couple of sheets in there and a few weeks later they smelled like . . . flowery Bible pages. I guess if a big household problem for you is a book smelling too "booky," then Bounce may be your solution. For me, it still smelled like a book, and I still didn't care that much.

Repels mosquitoes: Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.
Another totally didn't work. I went to Florida on vacation, and spent a lot of time horseback riding. I dislike mosquito bites, and that whole West Nile thing was going on, so I had a Bounce sheet tied around every belt loop. It looked kind of funky and cool, but didn't repel a mosquito worth a darn. My knees were COVERED in bumps. I'm thinking maybe the stupid sheets ATTRACTED the little bugs. Stupid Bounce.

Eliminates static electricity from your television screen.
Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling. Worked! I was so shocked. Then I remembered — a paper towel will do the same thing. On a test between two TVs in my home, the Bounce actually did about the same as plain old Windex on a paper towel.

Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of Bounce.
I don't have shower doors, but I did try it on my shower curtain. The scrubby feeling on the Bounce sheet actually helped in the scrubbing of some soap residue, but I wouldn't trade in my S.O.S. pad for it.

Freshen the air in your home. Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.
I have a chest of drawers that constantly makes my clothes smell like lumber. I tried this and it worked like a charm. My clothes not only stopped smelling like the Keith Brown, but if I put a sheet between individual pairs of nylons, they wouldn't stick together or get all tangled up. This is pretty cool.

Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.
I couldn't tell you, I can't sew anything without a machine, and I could tangle anything. This is tough to test — how do you tell human error from just natural thread tangling?

Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.
Same thing with the musty books. I never noticed my suitcases smelling like anything. They did smell a little flowery, but nothing to write home about.

Freshen the air in your car. Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.
That poor Bounce sheet got so smashed, stomped, spilled on and generally abused sitting on the floor beneath the seat that no fresh scent happened. I did stick one in the glove compartment, but it just kept getting in the way of my glove compartment stuff, and for what? A flowery smell? Buy a little pine tree and get over it.

Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food.
Totally did not work at all. Not only did I not feel completely comfortable washing things I eat off of with laundry stuff, but I did a side-by-side test. Two casseroles. One bounce sheet, one plain water. Water did the same as a Bounce sheet; that is, helped unstick the glued-on food, and so I'd say that the H2O weakened the bond between the food and the pan, not the Bounce.

Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.
Right. This made me feel like I was just throwing stuff away. I used it in the bathroom, and it kind of worked, but no better or worse than the aerosol can I keep in there and occasionally spritz in the trash.

Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.
No, it won't. I tried on my couch, and it just pushed them around. A lint roller works wonders, though.

Eliminate static electricity from venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.
See the bit about the TV.

Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.
Did not test.

Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.
This didn't work well for me. Five people keep all our dirty laundry centrally located in a big box in the laundry room. A few Bounce sheets mixed in did little to detox that area. However, I will say, for a small hamper it may just work.

Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight so they will smell better in the AM.
I am a Birkenstocks girl, and if you are in your bare feet in the same shoes everyday, they get to SMELL. I stuck a couple of Bounce sheets in my sandals, wrapped them in a plastic bag and waited overnight. Worked like a charm. Now, after a particularly hard day, I do the Bounce wrap treatment. Loved it

 




Forwarded by Betty Carper

Charles Schultz Philosophy

The following is the philosophy of the late Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Acheivements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." (Charles Schultz)




Forwarded by Dick Haar

Jacob, age 92, and Rebecca, age 89, living in Florida, are all excited about their decision to get married. They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding, and on the way they pass a drugstore. Jacob suggests they go in.

Jacob addresses the man behind the counter: "Are you the owner?"

The pharmacist answers, "Yes."

Jacob: "We're about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?"

Pharmacist: "Of course we do."

Jacob: "How about medicine for circulation?"

Pharmacist: "All kinds."

Jacob: "Medicine for rheumatism and scoliosis?"

Pharmacist: "Definitely."

Jacob: "How about Viagra?"

Pharmacist: "Of course."

Jacob: "Medicine for memory problems, arthritis, jaundice?"

Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety. The works."

Jacob: "What about vitamins, sleeping pills, Geritol, antidotes for Parkinson's disease?"

Pharmacist: "Absolutely."

Jacob: "You sell wheelchairs and walkers?"

Pharmacist: "All speeds and sizes."

Jacob: "Could we use this store as our Bridal Registry."


Forwarded by Dick Haar

A man owned a small farm in Iowa. The Iowa Wage & Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.

"I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.

"Well, there's my hired hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 a month plus room and board. Then there's the half-wit that works here about 18 hours a day. He makes $10 a week and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every week," replied the farmer.

"That's the guy I want to talk to; the half-wit," says the agent.

"That would be me," the farmer answered

 




Debbie Bowling added the following Tidbits (Thank you Debbie)

JUNE 20 TIDBITS

Scientists find early signs of Alzheimer's
Subtle change in a memory-making brain region seems to predict who will get Alzheimer's disease nine years before symptoms appear, scientists reported Sunday.

The finding is part of a wave of research aimed at early detection of the deadly dementia -- and one day perhaps even preventing it.

Researchers scanned the brains of middle-aged and older people while they were still healthy. They discovered that lower energy usage in a part of the brain called the hippocampus correctly signaled who would get Alzheimer's or a related memory impairment 85 percent of the time.

"We found the earliest predictor," said the lead researcher, Lisa Mosconi of New York University School of Medicine. "The hippocampus seems to be the very first region to be affected."

But it is too soon to offer Alzheimer's-predicting PET scans. The discovery must be confirmed. Also, there are serious ethical questions about how soon people should know that Alzheimer's is approaching when nothing yet can be done to forestall the disease....continued in article.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press, "Scientists find early signs of Alzheimer's," CNN.com, June 20, 2005, http://snipurl.com/alzh0620

 


Crackdown Puts Corporations, Executives in New Legal Peril
More Than Ever, Businesses Face Risk of Prosecution; Post-Enron, a Changed View...Companies Rush to Cooperate


Businesspeople and corporations are at greater risk of criminal liability than ever before.

A wave of corporate fraud starting with the 2001 collapse of Enron Corp. has led to potent new weapons for prosecutors such as stiffer financial penalties and prison terms. The Securities and Exchange Commission has more money and manpower to pursue civil-fraud cases.

Once rare, the threat of criminal indictment of corporations themselves has become more common as the Justice Department employs what are known as deferred-prosecution agreements. A list of blue-chip American companies have submitted to these pacts, including American International Group Inc., Monsanto Co. and Time Warner Inc. Under the arrangements, the government charges the company with criminal behavior but puts the prosecution on hold in exchange for a promise of reform. At an agreed-upon date, the potential charges expire. Since 2003, there have been at least eight such pacts.


Business wrongdoing, and the government's response, comes in waves. But this crackdown has gone further than any in the past. It has fundamentally changed the terms of engagement between the authorities and their corporate quarry....continued in article.
DEBORAH SOLOMON and ANNE MARIE SQUEO, "Crackdown Puts Corporations, Executives in New Legal Peril," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2005; Page A1, http://snipurl.com/corp0620

 


Google Plans Online-Payment Service
Google Inc. this year plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the Internet-search company diversify its revenue and may put it in competition with eBay Inc.'s PayPal unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Exact details of the search company's planned service aren't known. But the people familiar with the matter say it could have similarities with PayPal, which allows consumers to pay for purchases by funding electronic-payment accounts from their credit cards or checking accounts. Some consumers like PayPal for the security it offers, since it allows them to share their banking or credit-card numbers only with PayPal without having to divulge the information to merchants. Officials of Google and PayPal declined to comment....continued in article.
KEVIN J. DELANEY
and MYLENE MANGALINDAN, "
Google Plans Online-Payment Service," The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2005; Page B4, http://snipurl.com/goog0620


 

Billy Jack Is Ready to Fight the Good Fight Again

It has been more than 30 years, but Billy Jack is still plenty ticked off.

Back then, it was bigotry against Native Americans, trouble with the nuclear power industry and big bad government that made this screen hero explode in karate-fueled rage. At the time, the unlikely combination of rugged-loner heroics - all in defense of society's downtrodden and forgotten - and rough-edged filmmaking sparked a pop culture and box-office phenomenon.

Now the man who created and personified Billy Jack, Tom Laughlin - the writer, director, producer and actor - is determined to take on the establishment again, and his concerns are not so terribly different. Mr. Laughlin (and therefore Billy Jack) is angry about the war in Iraq and about the influence of big business in politics. And he still has a thing for the nuclear power industry....So Mr. Laughlin and Ms. Taylor are planning to bring their characters back to the big screen with a new $12 million sequel, raising money from individuals just as they did to make their films three decades ago.

In this new film, they say, they will take on social scourges like drugs, and power players like the religious right. They say they will also outline a way to end the current war and launch a political campaign for a third-party presidential candidate....continued in article.
SHARON WAXMAN, "Billy Jack Is Ready to Fight the Good Fight Again," The New York Times, June 20, 2005, http://snipurl.com/bj0620

 


Firms' Auditor Choices Dwindle

The reduction in the number of top-tier accounting firms, to the Big Four from five earlier this decade, is making it difficult for many large companies to change auditors, and the problem would expand if the Justice Department indicts KPMG LLP for selling allegedly abusive tax shelters, interviews with company executives and surveys show.

Intel Corp. is one of the many big companies now bumping up against the limitations. After using Ernst & Young LLP as its auditor for more than three decades, the semiconductor maker considered switching recently for a fresh look at its financials. But it stuck with Ernst after receiving proposals from the other Big Four firms: Deloitte & Touche LLP, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. That is because federal regulations bar the three other firms from serving as Intel's independent auditor unless they give up valuation, computer-software and other work they do for Intel.

"Because there are only a limited number of large multinational audit firms that do the kind of work that we need, if we were to switch audit firms, all sorts of dominos would fall," said Cary Klafter, corporate secretary at Intel....continued in article.
DIYA GULLAPALLI, "Firms' Auditor Choices Dwindle," The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/audit0621

 


Credit-Card Breach Tests Banking Industry's Defenses

 

A month after it was discovered that a hacker broke into the computer network of a company that processes card transactions for merchants, the breach now is testing the banking industry's defenses against card fraud -- and the public's patience for the secretive way it deals with the issue.

The nation's banking industry already is paying the price for more than 40 million credit and debit cards that may be exposed to fraudsters. That is because the burden of detecting fraudulent transactions -- and the costs associated with them -- lies largely with the financial institutions that issue those cards.

So far, no banks have indicated that they plan to broadly cancel accounts, reissue cards to customers or alert all cardholders whose accounts may be vulnerable -- in part because of the high cost of doing so. Instead, the financial institutions are bolstering internal fraud-monitoring programs and placing red flags on accounts that have been identified as being most exposed.

Several large card-issuing banks said they haven't yet seen any indications of widespread fraudulent activity tied to the latest in a string of computer security breaches.

"We informed the banks of all the accounts that are at risk, and which ones were accessed," MasterCard spokeswoman Sharon Gamsin said. "The next step is the banks'. It's now in their hands."

MasterCard said Friday that an unidentified person had broken into the computer network of CardSystems Solutions Inc., an Atlanta-based company that processes credit-card transactions for small- and midsize businesses. The intruder last month gained access to names, account numbers and card codes that are commonly used to commit card fraud.

MasterCard International Inc. said that more than 40 million cards branded by MasterCard, Visa USA Inc., American Express Co. and Discover, a unit of Morgan Stanley, had been compromised. Of those, MasterCard said 13.9 million of its cards had been exposed, with about 68,000 of those considered at a higher level of risk. Visa said 22 million cards had been compromised in the incident, which is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Yesterday, the nation's banks were scrambling to identify the accounts that may be at the highest level of risk from the attack. Washington Mutual Inc. in Seattle, one of the nation's biggest debit-card issuers, said it had closed some 1,400 accounts, reissued cards and notified those customers by telephone after being advised by Visa that those accounts were a "high risk" of fraud. Some of the accounts had already been closed, after being flagged by customers for suspected fraudulent use, a bank spokeswoman said.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the nation's largest card-issuer, said it was continuing to collect information about the accounts that may have been compromised in the hacking incident. "We're going through this as quickly as we can to see what, if anything, has happened with these accounts," a J.P. Morgan spokesman said.

Consumers aren't liable for unauthorized purchases and traditional merchants also aren't responsible for fraud if they adhere to card-authorization policies. That isn't the case for online merchants, however, who typically bear the brunt for fraudulent card purchases.

The banks' strategy for dealing with potential fraud has already unleashed an outcry from consumer advocates and legislators who say they aren't doing enough to prevent fraud and disclose information about such incidents to their customers. Indeed, rising consumer concern about data-theft fraud threatens to clash with the policies of many banks to keep quiet about what they do to monitor compromised accounts.

For example, Citigroup Inc., one of the nation's largest card issuers, has said only that it takes "appropriate actions" to detect and prevent fraud when informed of such breaches, and that it notifies some customers it thinks may be at risk. Spokeswoman Janis Tarter declined to discuss, for "security reasons," how Citigroup gauges whether customers are at risk, or how many customers whose accounts had been compromised in the latest breach had been informed.

Even getting a handle on how much fraud results from such data theft is hard to do. Credit-card associations report that overall fraud has been declining steadily for years, as better systems are constructed for blocking fraudulent charges. Last year, credit-card issuers lost $788.3 million to fraud, down from $882.5 million in 2003, according to the Nilson Report, which tracks the credit-card industry. But Visa and MasterCard don't break out the level of fraud due to data theft. And card-issuing banks typically don't disclose losses due to credit-card fraud.

In the end, banks often conclude that it is more expensive to replace compromised cards than to step up account monitoring and absorb fraud losses when they occur. Visa estimates that when breaches do happen, only 2% of the exposed cards end up with any fraudulent charges on them.

And with the cost of issuing new cards estimated at between $10 and $20 apiece, including customer service, it could be cheaper for banks to leave such cards activated, says Julie Fergeson vice president of eFunds Corp., which offers fraud-protection technology for merchants. Other industry estimates put the cost of notifying customers by mail of a potential security threat at as much as $2 a letter.

Washington lawyer Thomas Vartanian, who advises financial institutions about credit-card fraud and identity theft, contends that the string of recent disclosures of security breaches is partly a function of the rise of online retailing, which has increased the flow of online data for hackers to steal.

In addition, he said, financial institutions and regulators are becoming more sensitive to disclosure responsibilities. A California law that went into effect in 2003 mandates the disclosure of security breaches if information such as Social Security numbers or bank-account information is "acquired" by an unauthorized person, so long as the disclosure doesn't compromise an investigation. In March, federal regulators issued "guidance" to banks to notify customers about security breaches "that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to the customer."
ROBIN SIDEL and MITCHELL PACELLE, "Credit-Card Breach Tests Banking Industry's Defenses," The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/ccbrch0621


Retirement Plans Get New Safeguards

 

In response to a wave of lawsuits, a growing number of companies are hiring outside consultants to oversee the handling of company stock held in employee retirement plans.

These independent fiduciaries are taking the place of company executives who have traditionally monitored the company-stock component of those plans on behalf of the employees. In the post-Enron Corp. era, companies are concerned about employees who may be loading up on company stock in their retirement plans -- and who don't have the time or skills necessary to keep tabs on the stock on their own.

A range of companies such as many of the airlines and insurance firm Aon Corp. have moved to outside experts. Running the retirement plans is a growing business for trust companies and others, including U.S. Trust Corp., State Street Corp. and Fiduciary Counselors Inc. U.S. Trust, for instance, today handles fiduciary duties for a dozen 401(k) plans with combined assets of nearly $4 billion. Five years ago, the firm, a unit of Charles Schwab Corp., had no 401(k) plans in its fiduciary-services business....continued in article.
JEFF D. OPDYKE, "Retirement Plans Get New Safeguards," The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/retire0621

 


Dial-Up Internet Going the Way of Rotary Phones

For years, Michelle Phillips, a real estate agent in Indianapolis, drove to her office at odd hours just to check her e-mail messages and search Web sites on her company's high-speed Internet lines because her dial-up connection at home was too slow.

"At home, I can do laundry, take a shower and wash dishes while the computer is logging onto the Internet," she said with a laugh.

Now she can pocket the gas money. This month, she signed up for a promotional offer from SBC Communications: introductory broadband service for $14.95 a month, or nearly $10 less than what she paid for a dial-up account with AOL. To qualify, she had to sign a one-year contract and have an SBC phone line.

Ms. Phillips is among the seven million Americans expected to drop their slow Internet connections this year for high-speed lines, which are as much as 100 times as fast and are always on. As recently as six months ago, a majority of Americans were using dial-up connections at home. In the first quarter of this year, broadband connections for the first time overtook dial-up.

SBC's deep discount - $5 below its lowest previous offer, and among the cheapest on the market - is just the latest strategy in the broadband wars....continued in article.
KEN BELSON, "Dial-Up Internet Going the Way of Rotary Phones," The New York Times, June 21, 2005, http://snipurl.com/dlup0621


TIDBITS JUNE 23

NYSE to Pursue Growth Options Beyond Stocks


The Big Board plans to consider expanding into international markets, options and other derivatives to compete in an increasingly competitive and consolidating industry, Chief Executive Officer John Thain said.

The New York Stock Exchange chief's comments, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, reflect a new global reality for the markets where securities are traded. Technological advances that have made electronic trading more reliable and efficient are fueling a shakeout, as increasingly sophisticated customers demand quicker and less expensive trades on a wide variety of securities going far beyond stocks and as regulators scrutinize what brokerage houses charge investors.

That means the real estate that exchanges traditionally have provided traders who oversee the buying and selling of securities has become less important than spending on reliable, fast technology that can match buyers and sellers without human intervention....continued in article.
AARON LUCCHETTI and DAVID REILLY, "NYSE to Pursue Growth Options Beyond Stocks," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2005; Page C1, http://snipurl.com/nyse0623

 


Donating Stock to a Charity


ASK PERSONAL JOURNAL

Q: I want to donate shares of stock that I've accumulated over 30 years. How do I give only the shares I bought 30 years ago, which have a much lower cost basis than those acquired more recently?
Thomas Borst, Levittown, N.Y.

A: When you give stock that has been held long term, you can get a tax deduction for the fair market value of the stock -- plus avoid paying the capital gains if you had sold the stock. If you have the certificates for the shares, all you have to do is transfer them to the charity. If your stock records are kept electronically at a brokerage house, check whether the firm has segregated the shares by cost basis and specify which shares to donate. If the firm has "mushed all the shares together," it will be tough to segregate the low-basis shares so your cost basis might instead be an average over the 30 years, says New York lawyer Brit L. Geiger.
Rachel Emma Silverman, "Donating Stock to a Charity," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2005; Page D1, http://snipurl.com/dntstk0623

 


A Dizzying Array of Options for Using the Web on Cellphones


As the market for cellular phone service matures, the wireless industry is counting on creating and filling a new need: data services that allow phones to receive e-mail, navigate the Web and download games, music and video.

But many wireless data plans are a smorgasbord of options that can leave customers bewildered.

"That is one of my biggest gripes with the wireless carriers," said Peter Rojas, editor in chief of Engadget, a Web log devoted to consumer electronics. "They are doing a really terrible job of communicating wireless data to their subscribers."

While several wireless companies have simplified their offerings, choosing the right plan means weighing several considerations: the amount of data you plan to download, the speed of the network, the type of phone you use, and the Web sites you plan to visit....continued in article.
SANDEEP JUNNARKAR, "A Dizzying Array of Options for Using the Web on Cellphones," The New York Times," June 23, 2005, http://snipurl.com/wbcel0623

 


Appliances Wipe Out Blackouts
If someday your TV stays on during a heat wave, you may have your dryer and dishwasher to thank. T
he Department of Energy is developing technologies to avert electrical grid failures such as the blackout of August 2003, including household appliances that temporarily reduce their power consumption. The devices switch off when they detect a power disruption on the electricity grid. Energy officials say the devices could save consumers billions of dollars by reducing the need to build new power stations....continued in article.
John Gartner, "Appliances Wipe Out Blackouts," Wired News, 02:00 AM Jun. 22, 2005 PT, http://snipurl.com/appl0623

 




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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
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