Tidbits on August 15, 2005
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

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

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

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

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

Music: Good Morning Beautiful --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/beauty.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  

Audio:  Say it Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches --- http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/sayitplain/index.html 

First-Person Narratives of the American South http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/

Sounds like America's lament in Iraq
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know:
Should I stay or should I go?

-- Song lyrics as performed by The Clash  

Al Qaeda Training Manual --- http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/trainingmanual.htm

From The Washington Post
A three-part series looks at the ways jihadists use the Internet and technology to spread their message.
Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations
Briton Used Internet As His Bully Pulpit

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

A Soldier's Funeral --- http://www.snopes.com/photos/military/kiehl.asp

Also see "Bedford Welcomes Its Boys" --- http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/28431.html

We should think more of doing well than feeling well, then we would end up feeling better.
Alessandro Manzoni

I wrote my name upon the sand,
And trusted it would stand for aye;
But, soon, alas! the refluent sea
Had washed my feeble lines away... ...

Horatio Alger

The Twelfth Annual Emperor's Awards
August 14, 2005: The Twelfth Annual Emperor's Awards. Guest commentary by Poor Elijah (Peter Berger) --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-14-05.htm

Our opening presentation spotlights efforts to rededicate schools to high standards.  This year we honor an institution of higher learning [Benedict College in Columbia, S.C] that saw fit to dismiss two professors for violating their university's "mandatory grade inflation policy."  The professors objected to the official formula that required counting effort as sixty percent of a [freshman] student's average, a proportion which resulted in C's for students whose highest actual score on anything was "less than forty."  This year's Distinguished Priorities Cross salutes Benedict's president for his pronouncement, "I don't think that's a bad thing [awarding 60% for effort]."

The Horatio Alger Silver Bootstrap celebrates effort as an essential component of learning.  Last year's nominees included Duke University for eliminating eight o'clock classes so "sleep-deprived" undergraduates could get more shuteye.  This year's Alger follows up on Duke's pioneering efforts by acknowledging the Princeton Review's advertisement for their Law School Admission Test preparation course, which boasted a young legal hopeful sporting a prominent bra strap and bandanna.  In the tradition of Blackstone and Justice Holmes, their "top five reasons" to take the June LSAT headlined, "You can sleep in.  It's on a Monday afternoon."

An ingenious middle school collects this year's Order of the Tempest in a Teacup.  Their revolutionary attendance policy "red flags" students for "intervention" after they've missed seven and fifteen days of school, a radical departure from the former thresholds of five and fifteen absentee days.  Understandably, this monumental achievement required the assistance and funding of no less than nine private, state, and federal agencies, including the office of the state's attorney, the social welfare department, regional police, health care providers, and the U.S. Department of Justice.  A Teacup goes to one and all.

Consistent with public education's post-1970s focus on everything but academics, Texas schools enacted a tough nutrition policy.  Officials amended the rules, however, to permit cupcakes for classroom birthday parties.  In affirming their view of the critical role of the home in scholastic achievement, officials justified the exception on the grounds that class parties provide an ideal "opportunity for parental involvement in the education of their children."  This visionary definition of parent involvement wins the inaugural June Cleaver Golden Bundt Pan Award.

It's never quiet on the education research front.  The Archimedes Eureka Honorarium hails the astounding discovery that "children who don't think they deserve their peers' attention" are "more likely to avoid social activities" that involve their peers.  Sharing the Eureka, and equally startling, was the earthshaking Gallup revelation that a majority of adolescents complain that they're "bored" at school.  "Tired" placed second, with students who "consume alcohol" inexplicably more bored and tired than students who don't consume alcohol.

In a related category, the And the Next Thing I Knew It Was Morning Award commends the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse for unveiling a "correlation between teen dating habits" and "substance abuse."  Apparently, teens who date and have sex are also more likely to drink and smoke.  Researchers described their findings as "striking," though one spokesperson acknowledged their conclusions were "things that most people's grandmothers already know."

The Whole Earth Medallion recognizes districts across the country that are reportedly "moving away from the traditional middle school and toward K-8 schools."  This innovation will "cushion the leap out of the elementary years," which coincidentally was the same rationale offered to justify formerly innovative middle schools when they were the innovation.  Paying homage to the recycled nature of school reform, the academy applauds the anointing of 1980s middle schools as an education "tradition" and 1930's K-8 schools as the new cutting edge.

The Boss Tweed Ethics Trophy wings its way to the heartland school district that paid summer school participants over one million dollars in bonuses.  In an apparent effort to penalize students who do what they're supposed to between September and June, kids who failed or were truant during the regular school year received seventy-five dollars a head for passing or just showing up the second time around.

Educators have tracked with alarm the decline of high school graduates math skills.  The Scarlett O'Hara Instructional Laurel lauds an Ivy League Excellence in Teaching professor and his novel proposal for teaching fractions in elementary school: "Don't."  His fractions-abstinence strategy might fall short when it comes to equipping students for the trigonometry that pipe-dreaming experts want all kids to take before they graduate, but it will perfectly position them for the remedial college math they'll have to take after they graduate.

The Ed Norton Trophy celebrates heroic efforts in the pursuit of excellence.  Following up on last year's recognition of New York City's school regulation prohibiting "red ink," the 2005 Norton toasts educators everywhere who have switched to correcting papers in purple.  In addition to being less "scary," psychologists testify that purple "mixes the authority of red with the serenity of blue."  Of course, purple is also less visible since it looks an awful lot like blue, the color most students write in.  Presumably this will further preserve students' self esteem by camouflaging their teachers' corrections.

Ordinarily competition is fierce for our final accolade, the coveted George Orwell Creative Use of Language Award.  This year, however, there was no competition.  The academy, unanimous in its judgment, presents its Orwell to a British educator for her call to abolish the word "fail" and replace it with "deferred success."  Employing this tactic more broadly would yield immeasurable benefits, instantly rendering war "deferred peace," poverty "deferred prosperity," and winter "deferred summer."

If that makes sense to you, award yourself an Emperor.  Poor Elijah figures we've each got at least one coming.

August 5, 2005 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Is it possible to scam the scammers?
Yes - read these exchanges by Brad Christensen, whose hobby it is to spoof the scammers.


Richard J. Campbell mailto:campbell@rio.edu 


Sharing professor of the week

My friend Jagdish Gangolly is an eclectic scholar rooted in the history of mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, ontology, economics, accounting and especially information systems.  His new blog will be worth tracking --- http://www.bloglines.com/blog/gangolly

August 13, 2005 message from gangolly@INFOTOC.COM

I have started a blog (seems to be the "cool" thing to do these days). I will only post stuff of my research or whatever I am thinking about regarding my research. It can be found at:


Thought some of you might be interested.


Firewall without hardware ---
ZoneAlarm 6.0.631.003

Federal Trade Commission (Then and Now) --- http://www.ftc.gov/index.html

Elderly Swindled by Web Scams
U.S. Senate hears testimony on Internet scams that cause senior citizens to lose millions of dollars --- http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=12946&hed=Elderly+Swindled+by+Web+Scams

Investors Warned About Online Accounts
The National Association of Securities Dealers on Thursday warned investors against using public Wi-Fi connections for accessing online accounts, saying that they pose additional risks of confidential information being stolen by cybercriminals.
"Investors Warned About Online Accounts," InformationWeek, July 28, 2005 --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=166403452

Dollar Average Investing:  Buy equal amounts when market is up or down
Li, and Torous present evidence that dollar cost averaging (investing equal amounts whether the market is up or down) works well according to academic theory of portfolio investing --- http://repositories.cdlib.org/anderson/fin/17-05/

Dollar Cost Averaging is a strategy for purchasing equity securities that is widely recommended by professional investment advisors and commentators, but which has been virtually ignored by academic theorists and textbook writers. In this paper we explore whether the strategy is but another instance of irrational behavior by individual investors, or whether it is an investment heuristic that has survival value in an environment in which security prices exhibit mean reversion behavior that has only belatedly been recognized by academic theorists. Our evidence supports the view that the individual investors who follow this strategy in purchasing individual stocks to add to an existing portfolio are better off than if they followed the 'rational' strategies traditionally recommended by academics.

A new book on conflict management in academe
Tenure denials. Budget cuts. Research misconduct. Sex harassment. Higher education has many potential flash points for conflict – some that arise at any major entity that has significant numbers of people, and others that are unique to the kind of work that goes on at institutions built on ideas. In more than 30 years as a college faculty member and administrator, culminating in 17 years as provost at Kansas State University, James R. Coffman encountered clashes and conflicts of all kinds, and saw situations handled well and not so well. In Work & Peace in Academe: Leveraging Time, Money, and Intellectual Energy Through Managing Conflict (Anker Publishing, 2005), he looks at the nature of conflict in higher education and offers advice about how institutions can benefit from “productive” conflict and minimize and manage the “unproductive” kind.
Doug Lederman, "‘Work & Peace in Academe’," Inside Higher Ed, August 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/careers/2005/08/02/coffman

Rankings of U.S. cities in terms of liberalism in voting --- http://votingresearch.org/USAliberalcities.doc

Early accounting was a knotty issue
South American Indian culture apparently used layers of knotted strings as a complicated ledger.

Two Harvard University researchers believe they have uncovered the meaning of a group of Incan khipus, cryptic assemblages of string and knots that were used by the South American civilization for record-keeping and perhaps even as a written language. Researchers have long known that some knot patterns represented a specific number. Archeologist Gary Urton and mathematician Carrie Brezine report today in the journal Science that computer analysis of 21 khipus showed how individual strings were combined into multilayered collections that were used as a kind of ledger.
Thomas H. Maugh, "Researchers Think They've Got the Incas' Numbers," Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2005 --- http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-khipu12aug12,1,6589325.story?coll=la-news-science&ctrack=1&cset=true

Jensen Comment:  I'm told that accounting tallies in Africa and other parts of the world preceded written language.  However, tallies alone did not permit aggregations such as accounting for such things as three goats plus sixty apples.   Modern accounting awaited a combination of the Arabic numbering ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numbers ) and a common valuation scheme for valuing heterogeneous items (e.g., gold equivalents or currency units) such that the values of goats and apples could be aggregated.  It is intriguing that Inca knot patterns were something more than simple tallies since patterns could depict different numbers and aggregations could possibly be achieved with "multilayered collections."

From Biology Professor Bob Blystone at Trinity University

To those of you who have kids at home just waiting for school to start again: (the kids that is, not you.)

The Science museum in San Jose, California has assembled a very nice web site about genetics. The site has a number of activities that would be perfect for middle school and high school students. You might even want to do some of activities yourself.


Perhaps the most ambitious involves the extraction of DNA from strawberries. It is a project that could be done at home with common materials found around the home. It takes a bit of preparation but it really works.

The site has a number of other activities that might arouse a spark of interest in science.

Just think, in two weeks we are back in gear again.

Bob Blystone

What can you do with four buttons on a mouse?
Pigs must be flying, because Apple has finally released a mouse with more than one button. Called the Mighty Mouse, the $49 USB device includes four buttons and a multidirectional Scroll Ball. It works with both Macs and PCs--though you lose some features when connected to the latter--and it's no more comfortable to use than older, one-button Apple mice. The Mighty Mouse bears Apple's trademark minimalist look. The touch-sensitive left and right buttons reside unmarked under the white plastic, so it takes a few minutes to get used to pressing down on them. All that protrudes on the top of the mouse is the tiny white multidirectional Scroll Ball, which doubles as a third mouse button.
Narasu Rebbapragada, "First Look: Apple's (Mostly) Mighty Mouse," The Washington Post, August 11, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/11/AR2005081101363.html?referrer=email

College and the Disabled Student
Nearly a third of young people with disabilities have taken at least some postsecondary classes within the first two years after they leave high school, according to a U.S. Education Department study released Thursday. The study finds that disabled students over all are less than half as likely as their peers to have attended college in the two years after high school, but the college-going rate varies greatly by type of disability: Students with hearing or visual impairments are as likely as nondisabled students to have done some postsecondary work. The report of the study, “After High School: A First Look at the Postschool Experiences of Youth With Disabilities,” was prepared by SRI International, a research group, for the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs. Its underlying purpose is to help gauge the success of federal laws and programs aimed at ensuring that elementary and secondary schools prepare young people with disabilities for later life. But along the way, the study provides some unusually in-depth data about a relatively little-studied group of college students. The study looked at a group of students who were in high school in 2001 and who had finished or left high school two years later.
Doug Lederman, "College and the Disabled Student," Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/29/disabled

Men and women seem to perceive pain in different ways. That may mean they sometimes need different pain-relief drugs
Males and females respond to pain differently, even as children. In most places, boys are expected to show a stiff upper lip when they get hurt, while in girls wailing is, well, girlie. In part, this difference is learnt—or, at least, reinforced by learning. But partly, it is innate. It is hard, for instance, to blame upbringing for the finding that boy and girl babies show different responses to pain six hours after birth, or that male rats are more long-suffering than females. It is also life-long. Ed Keogh of the University of Bath, in England, and his colleagues have found that women report feeling pain in more bodily areas than men, and also feel it more often over the course of their lives. Many researchers are therefore concluding that genetics underpins at least some of the difference, and that females really do feel pain more than males. Indeed, some go further. They think that the way men and women experience pain is not only quantitatively different, but qualitatively different, too. In other words, men's and women's brains process pain using different circuits. Some pain scientists therefore think it is only a matter of time before painkillers are formulated differently for men and women in order to account for this difference.
"Sex and drugs," The Economist, July 27, 2005 --- http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=4197761

Understanding Genetics --- http://www.thetech.org/exhibits/online/ugenetics/

Astrobiology Magazine --- http://www.astrobio.net/news/

New way to peek inside Earth
For the first time, researchers have detected tiny particles called geoneutrinos coming from deep within the Earth. The discovery is expected to shed light, almost literally, on the contents and processes of the planet's insides.
Robert Roy Brit, "New way to peek inside Earth:  Researchers discover tiny particles from deep within planet," MSNBC, July 27, 2005 --- http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8727977/

Stoic Warriors (Military History)
In "Stoic Warriors," Nancy Sherman traces the origins of what we consider soldierlike, reaching back to ancient philosophers like Seneca and Aristotle and finding echoes of their moral view in later writers, like Emerson, Stephen Crane and even Adm. James Stockdale, whose memoirs of his years in a Vietnam prisoner-of-war camp cite Epictetus as an ethical guide. The essence of soldierliness is a Stoic ideal, as Ms. Sherman explains: discipline, endurance, a can-do spirit, a stiff upper lip. But she is at pains to show, in wonderfully clear prose, that Stoicism is filled with subtleties and nuance. It does not, for instance, deny the rightness of just anger but warns against its self-maiming effects. The key is not the absence of emotion but its control, especially in outward expression. It is better, in the Stoic view, that "outer conduct matches inner virtue," but when a matching proves impossible "the appropriate outer expression itself is ethically important."
"Bookmarks," The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2005; Page W8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112252402112898434,00.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal
STOIC WARRIORS By Nancy Sherman (Oxford, 242 pages, $26)

From U.K.'s Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol
Social Science Information Gateway

Browse by Subject Map of the SOSIG sections

Business and Management



Environmental Science

European Studies


Government Policy




Research Tools and Methods

Social Welfare



Women's Studies

Bob Jensen's threads on learning technologies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Cornell's James Joyce Collection --- http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/joyce/

Ruling Sets Off Tug of War Over Private Property
In California and Texas, legislators have proposed constitutional amendments, while at least a dozen other states and some cities are floating similar changes designed to rein in the power to take property. But at the same time, the ruling has emboldened some cities to take property for development plans on private land. Here in Santa Cruz, for example, city officials started legal action this month to seize a parcel of family-owned land that holds a restaurant with a high Zagat rating, two other businesses and a conspicuous hole in the ground and force a sale to a developer who plans to build 54 condominiums. Far from clarifying government's ability to take private property, the 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision has set up a summer of scrutiny over a power that has been regularly used but little-discussed for decades.
Timothy Egan, "Ruling Sets Off Tug of War Over Private Property," The New York Times, July 30, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/NYTjuly30

The Loser's Curse: Overconfidence vs. Market Efficiency in the National Football League
Using archival data on draft-day trades, player performance and compensation, we compare the market value of draft picks with the historical value of drafted players. We find that top draft picks are overvalued in a manner that is inconsistent with rational expectations and efficient markets and consistent with psychological research.
Cade Massey and Richard Thaler. "The Loser's Curse: Overconfidence vs. Market Efficiency in the National Football League," Draft, Working paper ---

Too much of a good thing
Forwarded by Jagdish Gangolly

Monks run out of the world's best beer Thu Aug 11, 2005 01:44 PM ET http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=9350226&src=eDialog/GetContent 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Monks at a Belgian abbey have been forced to stop selling their famous beer after it was voted the best in the world and was promptly sold out.

The abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in western Belgium is home to some 30 Cistercian and Trappist monks who lead a life of seclusion, prayer, manual labor -- and beer-brewing.

A survey of thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 countries on the RateBeer Web site (www.ratebeer.com) in June rated the Westvleteren 12 beer as the world's best.

But the abbey only has a limited brewing capacity, and was not able to cope with the beer's sudden popularity.

"Our shop is closed because all our beer has been sold out," said a message on the abbey's answering machine, which it calls the "beer phone."

And the abbey has no intention of boosting its capacity to satisfy market demand.

"We are not brewers, we are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks," the father abbot said on the abbey's Web site.

Monk Mark Bode told De Morgen daily: "Outsiders don't understand why we are not raising production. But for us life in the abbey comes first, not the brewery."

From Jim Mahar's Blog on July 28 and 29, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Financial history/trivia from the 1600s and 1700s

How profitable was the spice trade? VERY! If (and this is a big if) the ships made it back safely. In 1618 it was estimated that 3000 tons of spices were bought in what is now India and the surrounding area. The spices cost about £91,000. By the time they reached the eastern Mediterranean they were worth almost £800,000! So it is easy to see why trading companies were so important.

In 1633 speculation in tulip bulbs was rampant in the Netherlands. It is reported that one "�collector"� (dare I say investor?) pays 1000 pounds of cheese, 12 sheep, a bed, and a suit for a single tulip bulb. (Online sources suggest that a single bulb cost upwards of $40,000.) In 1636 the tulip "�bubble"� burst.

Talk about your weird financial contracts! In 1641 the Japanese threw out most European trading firms because on religious grounds. However, the Dutch East India Company have no missionaries and are allowed to stay on the conditions that "�company officers visit Edo once a year, turn somersaults in the street, spit on the Cross, and pay rent in peppercorns."�

In 1642 the Massachusetts Colony initiated a usury law at 10%, in 1693 this rate was lowered to 6%.

In 1656 shares of the Dutch East India Company "�plummet on the Amsterdam Exchange and many investors are ruined. Among them is Rembrandt van Rijn [yes that Rembrandt!] who is declared bankrupt." Mmm, diversification needed maybe?

Lloyds of London was started as a means of sharing the risk of shipping. The company was started at Edward Lloyd's Coffee House.

In 1690 commodity rice futures were selling in Japan

In 1693 King William III of England raised money for the operation of the government by selling £1,000,000 of 10% annuities.

The Bank of England was chartered in 1694. It was based loosely on the Bank of Amsterdam which got its start in 1609.

The London Stock Exchange was started in 1698

I had so much fun with the 1600s, I decided to go on to the 1700s. Enjoy!

Some more financial history/trivia. This is from the 1700s. I think it is worthwhile to note how some things really do not chnage that much. Indeed that is a major reason why I love history so much.

In 1703 England and Portugal reach an agreement to jointly lower tariffs in order to increase trade. (Methuen Treaty)

In 1716 John Law (who was wanted for murder and had taken refuge in France) persuades the French Government to allow him to open the Banque Royale. His famous quote from this time: “ Wealth depends on commerce and commerce depends on circulation (of money).”

By 1720 the South Sea Bubble collapsed. Shares fell nearly 70% in a course of a few months.

In 1729 Benjamin Franklin publishes “A modern Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency.”

In 1733 Britain passed the Molasses Act. It raised taxes on molasses from Non-British West Indies. Liike most taxes, this tax resulted in changes in behavior. By 1763 approximately 80% of molasses was smuggled into the colonies.

In 1765, the Stamp Act is enacted. It sets off protests centered in Boston. Most likely not coincidentally, Boston is suffering through a serious economic downturn.

In 1773 Britain lowered taxes on tea shipped into Britain but not on that shipped into the colonies. This gave British tea exporters a virtual monopoly but angered colonialists. The Act ended up sparking the most famous tax revolt of all time: the Boston Tea Party. At the Tea Party, an estimated £9,650 (or roughly equivalent of the annual income of 200 common laborers) was destroyed.

By 1775, a growing spirit of independence in the American Colonies leads to boycott of British goods. American imports from Britain drop an estimated 90%! Cite

In 1789 Benjamin Franklin writes “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Incidentally, Franklin dies in 1790.

In 1799 Britain imposed its first income tax. The tax was remarkable similar to current income taxes. It was for 10% for incomes over £200 but allowed deductions for “children, insurance, repairs to property, and tithes.”

Quotes, dates and events from The People's Chronology by James Trager. It is one of my all time favorites. Covers history from 3 million BC to the present in largely bullet form. It may have some mistakes, but it sure is interesting! Definitely recommended!

From Jim Mahar's Blog on July 25, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Radio Economics

If you have not been introduced yet to podcasting (I would describe it as audio blogging), check our RadioEconomics.

Dr. James Reese of the University of South Carolina Upstate has started a cool site that plays interviews of various economists (and soon financeprofessors ;) as well.

Radio Economics

You can listen on your IPOD or on any computer.

Recent interviews include Skip Saur, James Hamilton, John Palmer, and others.

Idiot Alert:  Stolen Car Driven to Court
Alleged felons accused of driving a stolen car to court. Two Bowling Green men who drove to their trial at the Butler County Courthouse in Morgantown not only were convicted, but were arrested again when the trial was over. Authorities say Terry Hunt, 39, and Justin Hawkins, 24, were accused of driving to the courthouse Tuesday in a stolen car. Hunt and Hawkins had driven a 2005 BMW to the courthouse to attend their jury trial on arson and fraudulent insurance acts. After the discovery of the stolen vehicle, police searched the residence of the two in Bowling Green and...
"Stolen Car Driven to Court," Cincinnati Channel 19, July 29, 2005 ---

Pork has never been juicier in Washington DC:  Reagan would've vetoed this one
"Capitol Hill Blowout," The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2005; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112259923405699494,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

The bill is all about "jobs, jobs, jobs," declared Mr. Hastert, and he's right if he's referring to the Members' re-election prospects. The House version alone contained 3,700 special earmarks, doled out liberally across state and party lines.

Democrat Jim Clyburn retained another $25 million for his famous "Bridge to Nowhere," a project in rural South Carolina that has already sucked up $34 million in federal funds. The California delegation secured $1.4 billion for more than 479 projects, including $2.5 million for freeway landscaping. And ranking Transportation Committee Democrat James Oberstar snatched more than $14 million for Duluth, Minnesota, including $3.2 million for an extension of the longest paved recreational path in the nation.

Next to this highway extravagance, the energy bill seems almost a bargain at an estimated $66 billion or so. Minor highlights here include the repeal of a Depression-era law (Puhca) that will open up electricity sector investment; new reliability standards for the national power grid; more federal authority to settle sitting disputes over much-needed natural gas terminals; and an inventory of offshore oil and gas resources that may someday encourage more exploration.

We can also say this for the bill: It doesn't pick energy winners or losers. Everyone who produces so much as a kilowatt-hour is a winner in this subsidy-fest of tax credits and new federal mandates. There's $550 million for forest biomass, $100 million for hydroelectric production, and $1.8 billion for "clean coal." There are subsidies for wind, solar, nuclear and (despite $60 oil) even for oil and gas.

Most egregious is the gigantic transfer of wealth from car drivers to Midwest corn farmers (and Archer-Daniels-Midland) via a new 7.5-billion-gallon-a-year ethanol mandate, which will raise gas prices by as much as a dime a gallon on the East and West coasts. Oh, and don't forget the $15 billion (a 155% increase) in federal home heating subsidies, $100 million for "fuel cell" school buses, and $6 million for a government program to encourage people to ride their bikes -- presumably along Mr. Oberstar's newly paved trail.

All of this points up the bill's underlying mortal failing, which is that it abandons the lesson of the 1980s that the best way to ensure abundant energy supplies is to let the price system work. At least the House-Senate conferees dropped a Senate provision that would have mandated that 10% of all electricity come from "renewable" sources by 2020, regardless of supply and demand. Although in return for killing this, the House had to drop its liability protection for producers of MTBE, a gas additive that Congress itself mandated in 1990 but now wants to feed to the trial bar.

Continued in article

"Has the GOP Lost Its Soul?" by Mark Tapscott, Townhall.com, August 13, 2005 --- http://www.townhall.com/columnists/marktapscott/printmt20050813.shtml

Despite the GOP majority and its promises, federal spending – including wasteful pork barrel projects – has skyrocketed to record levels, especially as President Bush won the White House in 2000, the GOP kept the House and regained the Senate in 2002 and Bush gained re-election in 2004.

Federal outlays are going up so fast that in 2004 for the first time since World War II Washington spent more than $21,000 per household but collected only about $18,000 in revenue, causing budget deficits to explode. The rate of increase in spending was faster only during the “guns and butter” era of the Vietnam War and LBJ’s Great Society programs, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Simply put, the GOP majority has been spending federal tax dollars like drunken sailors since 2001, increasing outlays by an average of 7.25 percent annually. Inflation increased by a mere 2.0 percent average in those same years.

Bush has basically stepped aside, not once exercising his veto, compared to 78 vetoes by Reagan, who had to deal with powerful Democrat majorities in the House throughout his White House years.

Having a president who won’t veto unleashes the big spenders. That transportation bill that Bush accepted and Young stuffed contained more than 6,500 “earmarks’ – i.e. pork barrel projects. Reagan vetoed a 1987 transportation bill with a mere 152 projects.

Continued in article

Might be OK for British TV, but in the U.S. it should be called unwanted littering
The ever-increasing density of computer chips has opened up the possibility of countless technological breakthroughs -- from an online catalogue of all the world's great art to monitoring global weather patterns. Oh, and why not also create a PC-like device that will record everything on TV automatically? At least that's the idea behind a challenge issued in the research and development labs at the BBC, which has led to the unveiling of a prototype personal video recorder (PVR), called Promise TV, that successfully recorded and stored all the shows running for a week on all 12 channels in the UK.
Eric Hellweg, "What's (not) on the Telly?" MIT's Technology Review, July 29, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/07/wo/wo_072905hellweg.asp?trk=nl

Silicon Valley's Risky Complacency:  Innovation is not a birthright
The Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs emerging over the horizon take nothing for granted. Their sense of urgency is shaped in part by history, but also by the future. If they rely on wage-rate differentials as a source of competitive advantage, that will be a shaky foundation to build on. Already, software-development work is being sent offshore from centers like Bangalore to countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam, where wages are even lower than in India. Intensifying competition for skilled labor within more advanced centers like Bangalore is also deepening a sense of urgency. Wages for skilled programmers and project managers are rising by as much as 25% per year in Bangalore, and employee-turnover rates are increasing as well.
John Hagel and John Seely Brown, "Silicon Valley's Risky Complacency:  Innovation is not a birthright -- it requires continuous effort to renew and reinvigorate, something startups in China and India understand," Business Week, July 28, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2005/tc20050728_4517.htm?campaign_id=nws_techn_jul29&link_position=link1

Shopping for Colleges Online
It will come as no shock that high school students spend a lot of time online. But a new survey of juniors suggests that they have mixed feelings about using colleges’ Web sites to pick places to apply. For instance, 56 percent of those surveyed said that they prefer looking at a college Web site to reading a brochure that comes in the mail. But while only 44 percent of all juniors prefer viewbooks to Web sites, that number rises 49 percent for students with A averages.
Scott Jaschik, "Shopping for Colleges Online," Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/29/admissions

Shopping for Romance online
As their explosive growth fades like the bloom of new love, online personals sites turn to more sophisticated technology or niche markets to keep the romance alive.
Randy Dotinga, "Dating Sites Rekindle the Flame," Wired News, July 29, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/ebiz/0,1272,68330,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

Luring in the unskilled suckers/addicts
Casinos hunger for a better understanding of players. In particular, they want information that will help them refine how often, and to whom, they dole out "comps"--a sort of casino currency redeemable for treats like free hotel rooms, dinners, and drinks. This calculation requires two primary pieces of information: how much a given player is wagering, and--for blackjack and some other card games--how skilled that player is.
David Talbot, "The Digital Pit Boss," MIT's Technology Review, August 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/issue/brief_boss.asp?trk=nl

Soon we will have more people broadcasting than their are people willing to pay attention to it
It wasn't so long ago that publishing a Web log (blog) required some Web programming skills. Then along came Blogger, software that made blogging easy enough for the masses. Blogger became so popular that Google bought it in 2003. Substitute "podcast" for "blog" in the preceding sentences, and you'll understand the vision behind the new Web-based podcasting tools developed by Odeo, a San Francisco startup launched by Blogger cocreator Evan Williams and his former neighbor, Noah Glass. Podcasting, for the uninitiated, is the hot independent-media trend of 2005; amateur broadcasters record their own news shows, commentary, or interviews on whatever subjects they choose and put the audio files on the Web. Anyone with an Apple iPod or other digital music player can subscribe to the shows and download and listen to them. Unfortunately, being a podcaster has, until lately, also meant being an expert in digital recording and mixing.

"Summer Stuff," MIT's Technology Review, August 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/issue/review_summer.asp?trk=nl

University of Wisconsin professor gets jail for giving child sex material
A UW-Madison professor arrested while trying to meet a 14-year-old Greendale boy last March will spend 30 days in jail for sending the boy sexually explicit material. Lewis Keith Cohen, 60, pleaded no contest and was found guilty Wednesday of a felony charge of exposing a child to harmful material. As part of a plea deal, felony charges of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime and child enticement, each of which carried a sentence of up to 25 years, were dropped.
Steven Elbow, "UW prof gets jail for giving child sex material," The Capital Times, July 28, 2005 --- http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories//index.php?ntid=48538&ntpid=2

Maine to Vote on Repealing Gay Rights Law
Voters will decide in November whether to repeal Maine's newly enacted gay rights law, the state's chief elections officer said Thursday after qualifying the measure for the ballot. The declaration by Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap sets into motion what will be the latest in a series of battles at the ballot box over over gay marriage around the country.
Glenn Adams, Yahoo News, July 28, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050729/ap_on_re_us/maine_gay_rights

Say it Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches ---  http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/sayitplain/index.html 

Color Lovers
COLOURlovers: a place to view, rate and review some lovely colours & palettes. the idea is to create a place of color inspiration where a designer of any sort can see new and lovely colours... find out what colors are hot, what work well in other uses... and simply make some love with colour. there are currently 852 lovers sharing 3,063 colours in 778 palettes. lovers have scored the lovely colours & palettes 24,453 times and left 2,063 comments.
Colour Lovers ---  http://www.colourlovers.com/ 

The Cultures and History of America: The Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress --- http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/kislak/kislak-home.html

First-Person Narratives of the American South http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/

The Number of Minority-Owned Businesses Expand
The Census Bureau reports that the number of minority and women-owned businesses have increased over a five year period between 1997 and 2002. Their Survey of Business Owners reveals that the total number of businesses increased at a rate of 10 percent or about 2 million. Minority and women-owned businesses have grown at an increasing rate. The number of businesses owned by Asians grew by 24 percent while African-Americans minority businesses grew by 45 percent. Hispanic minority businesses grew by 31 percent. Businesses owned by women increased by 20 percent to 6.5 million over the five-year period. The Census Bureau revealed the survey results at the National Urban League’s annual meeting. “There have to be economies of scales to provide services competitively with other companies and minority-owned companies have to grow to compete,” said Marc H. Morial, the president of the National Urban League.
"The Number of Minority-Owned Businesses Expands," AccountingWeb, August 1, 2005 ---

You won't believe this:  The new large accounting firm
On Monday, August 1, 2005, H&R Block, Inc. announced it will buy the tax and business services division of American Express in a $220 million deal. If the sale goes through, the combined business is projected to have annual revenues of $1 billion, catapulting the Kansas City, Missouri-based company best known for its tax preparation services into the Number Five slot among the nation’s accounting firms. The deal would also add 2,500 employees to H&R Block’s RSM McGlandrey Business Services division, according to Forbes. The Associated Press reports that the deal requires approval from the U.S. Department of Justice and should be complete by September 30, 2005.
AccountingWeb, August 2, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101153

Whistleblowers pay a heavy price
While whistleblowers are protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the financial and emotional toll remains alarmingly high. Just ask David Windhauser, the former controller for Trane, the heating and cooling company. He was the first person to receive a U.S. Department of Labor order requiring his former employer to rehire him under Sarbanes-Oxley. He complained in 2003 that managers were committing fraud by recording fake expenses on financial statements. He was fired one month later. He and his wife, Jeanne, then filed a Sarbanes-Oxley complaint.
AccountingWeb, August 3, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101155

Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#WhistleBlowing

Forwarded on August 4, 2005 by susie.gonzalez@trinity.edu

This article, "Colleges Face Larger Audit Bills and Fewer Options as Number of Big Accounting Firms Shrinks ," is available online at this address:


This article will be available to non-subscribers of The Chronicle for up to five days after it is e-mailed.

The article is always available to Chronicle subscribers at this address:


From The Washington Post on August 12, 2005

South Korean police say a 28-year-old South Korean man died of exhaustion in an Internet cafe after playing computer games non-stop for 49 hours. What game was he playing?

A. Age of Empires II
B. America's Army
C. Lords of EverQuest
D. Starcraft

It's hard to teach dogs not to trick
"Financial Statements Study Finds Problems," AccountingWeb, August 3, 2005 ---

RateFinancials has released the results of a two-year study that finds companies still take liberties in reporting their financials. In these overtly regulatory times, balance sheets and income statements still aren’t transparent even when prepared following generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP) standards that provide management with broad discretion at times. Although these statement inaccuracies may not violate GAAP standards, the company’s financial health may not be accurately reflected for intelligent investors and shareholders in clearly worded descriptions. RateFinancials is an independent research firm based in New York. The study found several disturbing facts among the Standard & Poor’s 500 companies it examined. It found that:

Nearly 33 percent do not report their companies’ financial conditions accurately.

64 percent reported inaccurate pension information.

75 percent engaged in some kind of off-balance sheet financing.

28 percent employed aggressive revenue techniques. An audit committee should be aware of what can be done to further ensure the accuracy of their company’s financial statements. GAAP standards aren’t perfect by any means and Sarbanes-Oxley is a mighty sword f

Which country has the highest fertility rates?  France, United States, Brazil, China, or South Korea?
Answer --- Seven Articles on the State of American Society  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/StateOfSociety.pdf

Association for Student Judicial Affairs (ASJA) Law and Policy Report Database is updated! Articles from 2001 - 2005

July 28, message from David Tuttle

I forward this as the second part of series that I posted last week. I think this is it. I can't remember exactly why I posted the first one - it seems so long ago, but wanted to follow-up for the few of you who enjoyed the first one. I think this will be all.

David M. Tuttle
Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life
Trinity University
One Trinity Place #40 San Antonio, TX 78212-7200


Department of Justice is Attempting to Keep KPMG Alive
"Cases Referred in KPMG Case," AccountingWeb, August 5, 2005 ---

The investigation and possible prosecution of KPMG has been the focus of a larger investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into abusive tax shelters sold to corporate taxpayers and wealthy individuals by accounting firms, banks, and law firms. There are now signs that DOJ is working toward a decision. DOJ found that KPMG sold four types of overly aggressive tax shelters to over 350 people between 1997 and 2001 that brought in $214 million in fees according to the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. These shelters cost the Government around $1.4 billion in unpaid taxes.

The firm has been cooperating with the government and issued a statement in June implicating their “wrongful conduct” and “full responsibility” by their former partners. They also pledged further cooperation in the case. They have initiated corporate reforms to ensure this situation will not occur again.

The Washington Post has reported that up to 20 ex-KPMG partners may be facing prosecution for their roles in selling the shelters. Other firms implicated in government documents include a law firm now called Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and Deutsche Bank according to the New York Times.

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

A letter from my cousin Mark Jensen who ended his career in Minnesota in order to help the people of Africa

Institute of Agriculture Tumaini University It is becoming a reality. The Mgongo farm will have four demonstration plots going in December of 2005. The Institute will also have demonstration plots at Mpanga farm and Lulanzi Farm. We will be starting a farmstead (for security of stored equipment and harvest) at the Mpanga farm along with the beginning of a Rice Project.The Institute is an outreach project of the University of Minnesota, Sokoine University and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). We will be receiving research information and technical help with our projects but no financial aid. Our goal is to increase the food production in the Region of Iringa so they can feed themselves plus have extra to market.

We need your help in several ways. Prayer support which I know my family is so good at because of your prayer support for me during my two major surgeries and three chemo sessions of four plus months each and now a clean bill of health so we will be leaving on September 19th.

We also need people to help in running the Institute both here and in Iringa.

We also need financial support demonstration plots will cost $1000 plus each ( 12 to start with), farmstead buildings of $2000 each (need 4 by December) and initiate rice project if possible $20,000 plus. All monies (large or small amounts are greatly appreciated) go to the projects and none for administration or salaries. A sincere thank you to all that have already given to the Institute.

Our Jensen roots are rural so we feel it is a natural fit for us to help the poor in rural Iringa. For tax deductible reasons checks can be made out to SPAS (Saint Paul Area Synod) Institute of Agriculture ATTN: Myrna and addressed to me. Please pass on to family, friends and anyone else you feel may have an interest in this project.

Mark and Terry Jensen

Mark Jensen,
Director Institute of Agricultural Development
TUMAINI UNIVERSITY, Iringa (Tanzania, Africa)
13025 Dahlia Circle #208
Eden Prairie, MN 55344 USA

E-mail: mtjensens@earthlink.net 
Phone: 952-829-5326 Cell: 952-270-6498