Tidbits on September 2, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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
Bob Jensen's home page is
Security threats and hoaxes ---
Music: U.S. Army Band recordings ---
Patriotic concert band recordings ---
Jazz ensemble recordings ---
Small group recordings ---
Nice, but so, so sad!
Hear Marilyn Nelson read her poem "A Wreath for Emmett Till" ---
Not my favorites:
Q Magazine's Greatest 100 Albums of All Time ---
Guess what the worst one is (Hint: It's in Q Magazine's Top
Maxim Magazine's 30 Worst Albums of All Time ---
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
Please check on your bank account ---
The scammers (especially Web and telephone scammers) are already moving to get your cash
that you intended to help Katrina victims. For a discussion of how you can
really help legitimate agencies, go to
"Scammers Hit Web In Katrina's Wake," by Brian Krebs and Caroline E. Mayer,
The Washington Post, September 1, 2005 ---
Katrina bloggers shine ---
Many local communities housing victims (such as Houston and San Antonio) are
seeking funds and other aid to help those victims. Some of the local
banks, churches, newspapers, and TV stations have set up ways to channel that support.
Avoid door-to-door scammers.
Where will all the college students forced out by Katrina find new
Hurricane Katrina kicked students out of New Orleans
colleges, and institutions around the state and the country are welcoming them
with open arms. Meanwhile, the closed colleges in Louisiana must wait for a time
their students can return – and many hope that they will not have to abandon
David Epstein, "Finding New Homes or Temporary Home," Inside Higher Ed,
September 2, 2005 ---
Two brilliant explanations of what caused the catastrophic damages from
Were there rainbow flags whipping
about in Louisiana and Mississippi last week?
In 1998 the city
fathers of Orlando, Fla., decided to hang rainbow flags from lampposts in
honor of Disney World's "gay day." Zany televangelist Pat Robertson issued
an admonition: "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some
serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's
face if I were you." ---
Does Bobby, Jr. have any recollection of Galveston on September 8,
1900 when the world's horsepower was still energized by horses and not
Now we are all learning what it's like to reap the
whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence. . . . Our destructive addiction has
given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving
our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children
What is the next big thing about to be announced from Apple Corporation?
Apple Computer Inc. has a tradition of tightly
guarding its announcements, but the prevailing expectation among industry
observers is that the event will be the unveiling of a long-awaited cell phone
from Motorola Inc. that will contain built-in support for Apple's iTunes
software, with a connection to Apple's popular online music store.
Mike Musgrove, "Tech World Awaits Apple's Latest 'Surprise'," The
Washington Post, August 31, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: Be careful with this. You would not want the phone
to answer a call from your boss with a rendition of Johnnie Paycheck's "Take
This Job and Shove It."
From The Washington Post on August 31, 2005
When did DVD rentals surpass those of VHS tapes?
Photographs of the landscapes in the beautiful U.K. ---
Smithsonian images of North American Mammals ---
"The Fate of Africa" (PublicAffairs, 752 pages,
... is a heavy book, but it is light reading because it
is so unfashionably straightforward. Martin Meredith has written a narrative
history of modern Africa, devoid of pseudointellectual frills, gender discourse
or postcolonial angst. He takes each of the larger African countries and tells
you what happened there after independence. In chronological order. It is a joy.
Africa's rulers will hate it.
Robert Guest, "So Badly Misled," The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2005
Recolonizing Africa Radical Islam seeps into the neglected continent
For decades, sub-Saharan Africa has been treated as
nothing more than a dumping ground for humanitarian aid -- an instrument the
West occasionally employed to ease its collective guilt for slavery, colonialism
and its own prosperity, only to turn its attention elsewhere as soon as that
guilt was temporarily assuaged. This arrangement unfortunately obscured the
mechanism by which the West might truly have invested itself in the region's
well-being. The fact that the subcontinent is an important piece of the
international security framework, due primarily to the level of Islamist
penetration it has experienced, has yet to sink in.
David McCormack, "Recolonizing Africa," The Wall Street Journal, August
31, 2005 ---
"Pope Tells Catholics to Multiply," Agence France-Presse, September 1,
Current Population on Earth ---
Projected Population Growth (it's already out of control) ---
The Marriage Advantage — for Men
Male graduate students who have wives drop out less
frequently and finish their Ph.D.’s more quickly than their single counterparts.
Scott Jaschik, "The Marriage Advantage — for Men," Inside Higher Ed,
August 30, 2005 ---
Malcomb Gladwell on Tipping Points and Moral Hazard
home-run tipping-point notion is really quite fascinating. One of the things
that always interests me in sports is how extraordinarily sensitive athletic
performance is to social expectations. My favorite example is the four-minute
mile. For years, no one even comes close. Then Roger Bannister breaks the record
in 1954, and suddenly, everyone can break four minutes. Did runners get "better"
in 1954? Not really. They simply became aware that running four minutes was
possible. Same thing with baseball players and the Dominican Republic.
Dominicans are not "better" infielders than everyone else. But if you are a
nine-year-old kid playing in San Pedro de Macoris, you know that it's possible
to be a major leaguer, in a way that the same kid growing up in Maine does not.
When symbolic barriers are broken -- the first man from the Dominican Republic
to make the majors, the first person to break four minutes -- the context in
which we think of achievement changes dramatically.
Rob Neyer, "The interview: Malcolm Gladwell," ESPN Baseball, June 4, 2005
Jensen Comment: Malcomb Gladwell is a clever writer who spent about 10
years with The Washington Post and, since 1997, is a staff writer with
The New Yorker. One of his best known works is The Tipping Point
http://snipurl.com/TippingPoint . His latest contribution is in the
August 29, 2005 issue of The New Yorker where he laments the sad state of
health care insurance in America --- "THE MORAL-HAZARD MYTH The bad idea behind
our failed health-care system" ---
I think moral hazard is in fact a much more serious problem than he concludes,
but I like the way he writes about the problem. Gladwell often take angles
on things that are quite clever and is very articulate. I might not agree
with everything he writes, but I always like the way he writes it.
People without health insurance (in the U.S.) have
bad teeth because, if you're paying for everything out of your own pocket, going
to the dentist for a checkup seems like a luxury.
Malcomb Gladwell," The Terrible Tooth About America, The New Yorker ---
The British, of course, have socialized medicine,
which we guess explains why they have such great teeth.
Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, August 30, 2005
The Perpetual Health Care Crisis: There may be no public policy
solution to health care ---
Lives at Risk: Single-Payer National Health Insurance Around the World,
by John C. Goodman, Gerald L. Musgrave, and Devon M. Herrick, Lanham, Md.:
Rowan & Littlefield, 263 pages, $22.95
Miracle Cure: How to Solve America’s Health Care Crisis and Why Canada
Isn’t the Answer, by Sally C. Pipes, San Francisco: Pacific Research
Institute, 219 pages, $14.95
No more low riding cleavage teasers at Northwestern University
The new code asks students to keep midriffs
covered, and to leave items like tank tops, hats, athletic shorts, and tops with
spaghetti straps in the closet when they come to class. “In a professional
environment, and with professional education, we’re not only concentrating on
facts and didactic material, but professional behavior and appearance,” Wilson
said. She added that, so far, she has not seen anyone in the halls in open
defiance of the new code.
David Epstein, "Fashion Police," Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: What fun is navel jewelry if it can't be displayed?
Now if we could only require ear muffs, at least among the male students.
Or have I become a fuddy duddy in my advancing years?
Long lost 1948 speech in the files of the American Association for Higher
When the American Association for Higher Education shut
down this spring, many of its files went to Clara M. Lovett, its last president.
She recently found a speech given in 1948 at the annual meeting of the higher
education division of the National Education Association, which helped create
the AAHE. Lovett thought the speech — about challenges facing higher education
as the U.S. confronted the Cold War — had relevance today. With thanks to Lovett
for the find and to the NEA for permission to reprint the text, we offer the
following thoughts from an earlier generation.
Ernest O. Melby , "The Role of the University in Building World Peace,"
Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2005 ---
Is soy everything that's promised?
Soy is widely considered to be something of a medicinal
super food, touted as helping to prevent conditions as diverse as heart disease,
hot flashes, osteoporosis, kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease, and even cancer.
But a new government-sponsored review of soy research shows little to justify
the hype. An analysis of close to 200 soy studies conducted over the past two
decades showed only limited evidence of specific health benefits associated with
eating soy products or taking soy supplements.
Salynn Boyles, "Jury Still Out on Soy and Health," WebMD, August 25, 2005 ---
Newspaper fabricates series on Iraq
The Daily Egyptian, the student
newspaper at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale,
published a series of articles about the experiences of a young
girl whose father was a soldier in Iraq. While the articles
moved many students and faculty members, the girl and her father
both turned out to be fabrications. The Chicago Tribune
exposed the hoax when it investigated
reports of the father’s death. The student newspaper has
Inside Higher Ed
, August 29, 2005 ---
Texas A&M is investing millions of dollars to win the trust of minority
Tadesse, who graduated third in his class from the
nearly all-black Jack Yates High School in Houston, is part of Texas A&M's bold
effort to increase its minority enrollment without considering race in
admissions. The goal is a student body that reflects the diversity of Texas. The
state's second-largest university has invested millions of dollars to attract
students who didn't have the luxury of wealth or the best schools. The campaign
reversed a seven-year decline in the number of black and Hispanic freshmen last
fall, and the university is projecting big percentage increases again as classes
start today. Officials are pleased with the numbers, but realize that
recruitment is a first step. Retention is another. For years, a lower percentage
of black and Hispanic students have graduated within six years from Texas A&M
than their white classmates. The university is staking a lot on Tadesse, knowing
his success could help draw more minority students. He is resilient and earnest
and does not plan to leave without a bachelor's degree. "People change in
college because they haven't seen things in life," he said. "I feel right now
that I'm a grown man."
Mathew Tresaugue, "Deeply rooted in tradition, Texas A&M is investing millions
of dollars to win the trust of minority students," The Houston Chronicle, August
29, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: This initiative is above and beyond the huge influx of
minority students at Texas A&M and the University of Texas arising from having
to accept the top 10% of students from all public high schools in Texas
irrespective of admission test scores and grades.
Florida Colleges Note Fewer Black Students
As (Florida's) state college students begin
another fall term, many schools are reporting a decline in the percentage of
black students admitted to one of Florida's 11 public universities. That trend
has state Sen. Les Miller, D-Tampa, worried. As the Senate Democratic leader and
a member of Florida Caucus of Black State Legislators, Miller said he is among
those who questioned whether Gov. Jeb Bush's 1999 initiative to end race-based
university admissions would ultimately hurt minority students.
Lloyd Dunkelberger, "Colleges Note Fewer Black Students," TheLedger,
August 29, 2005 ---
Florida A&M Students Returning To a College in Turmoil
After a year of scandals, investigations and financial
difficulties at Florida A&M University, interim President Castell Bryant is
intent on restoring the school's respect. Since she took over the school in
January, Bryant has been faced with a slew of problems. The athletics program
conceded nearly 200 rules violations, two professors were collecting paychecks
while working full time out of state, the National Science Foundation
investigated misuse of grant money and more.
Brent Kallestad, "FAMU Students Returning To a College in Turmoil," TheLedger,
August 29, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on how credit card companies are cheating you are at
"Did Credit-Card Issuers Collude to Force Arbitration? by Carrick Mollenkamp,
The Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2005; Page C1 ---
Many of the largest U.S. credit-card companies
require customers to sign away their ability to take disputes to court and
instead settle disagreements in arbitration.
Now that practice itself is under attack in court.
A lawsuit filed recently in federal court in New York City alleges the
credit-card companies held secret meetings where they colluded to promote
arbitration, in violation of federal antitrust laws.
The complaint alleges that eight of the nation's
biggest card issuers -- Bank of America Corp., Capital One Financial Corp.,
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley's Discover unit, Citigroup Inc.,
MBNA Corp., Providian Financial Corp. and HSBC Holdings PLC of the United
Kingdom -- "combined, conspired and agreed to implement and/or maintain
Some of the banks named allegedly convened a group
in 1999 called the "Arbitration Coalition" or "Arbitration Group," the
The suit, which was filed last month and is seeking
class-action status, claims that bank representatives spoke or met at least
20 times from 1999 to 2003 to share experiences from arbitration as well as
advice on how to set up arbitration agreements with consumers that would
withstand challenges in court.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on how credit card companies are cheating you are at
"Applications Drop for 3rd Straight Year at M.B.A. Programs, Though
Some Business Schools See Upticks,"
The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 10, 2005 ---
U.S. Census Bureau definitions of income ---
Bob Jensen's links to accounting, finance, and economics glossaries ---
Amazon.com Nonprofit Innovation Award
Amazon.com, Inc. today announced the 10 nonprofit
organizations that are finalists for the Amazon.com Nonprofit Innovation Award.
This award is designed to recognize and reward nonprofits whose innovative
approaches and breakthrough solutions most effectively improve their communities
or the world at large. Amazon.com, in partnership with the Center for Social
Innovation at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a panel of
expert advisors, selected the 10 finalists. These organizations will be featured
on Amazon.com web site through September 30, 2005, and customers can vote for
their favorites by making contributions at
Stanford University Graduate School of Business Newsletter, July 19, 2005
"Lessons for Google in Netscape downfall: Search engine faces
similar obstacles to those that haunted Netscape. Chief among them: Microsoft,"
by Elizabeth Montalbano, Infoworld, August 10, 2005 ---
Study Finds Most States Get Short End of Tobacco Deals
A study by Stanford Professor Jeremy Bulow indicates 29
states would have been better off passing a $4 excise tax on a carton of
cigarettes rather than signing the multibillion-dollar tobacco settlement
"Study Finds Most States Get Short End of Tobacco Deals," AOL News,
August 6, 2005 ---
"The Power Of Us: Mass collaboration on the Internet is shaking up
business," Business Week, June 20, 2005 ---
Sharpe Point: Risk Gauge Is Misused
Past average experience may be a terrible predictor
of future performance
The so-called Sharpe Ratio has become a cornerstone of
modern finance, as investors have used it to help select money managers and
mutual funds. Now, many academics -- including Sharpe himself -- say the gauge
is being misused . . . The ratio is commonly
used -- "misused," Dr. Sharpe says -- for promotional purposes by hedge funds.
Bayou Management LLC, the Connecticut hedge-fund firm under investigation for
what authorities suspect may have been a massive fraud, touted its Sharpe Ratio
in marketing material. Investment consultants and companies that compile
hedge-fund data also use it, as does a new annual contest for the best hedge
funds in Asia, by a newsletter called AsiaHedge. "That is very disturbing," says
the 71-year-old Dr. Sharpe. Hedge funds, loosely regulated private investment
pools, often use complex strategies that are vulnerable to surprise events and
elude any simple formula for measuring risk. "Past
average experience may be a terrible predictor of future performance,"
Dr. Sharpe says.
Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, "Sharpe Point: Risk Gauge Is Misused,"
The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2005; Page
Bob Jensen's threads on valuation and risk are at
Good news and bad news in the recent SAT results
"SAT Math Scores Are Up," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 31,
This fall’s college freshmen were the last to take
the old SAT — and they did well on the mathematics portion, posting a
2-point gain, to an average of 520. Over the last 10 years, the average math
score increased by 14 points, a gain that College Board officials said was
significant and attributed to increases in the number of students taking
rigorous math courses in high school.
But the statistics released by the
College Board on Tuesday also had plenty of sobering news:
Verbal scores were flat. And over 10 years, verbal scores
increased by only 4 points, to an average of 508. In
addition, over the last 10 years gaps in performance levels
among members of ethnic and racial groups have grown. Over
the last decade, for example, the average score for Asian
Americans rose by 25 points on the SAT math test, while the
score for black increased by an average of 9 points. That
leaves the average for African American students, 431, at
149 points behind the Asian American average of 580.
The following table shows the
breakdowns on scores and gains by racial and ethnic groups.
SAT Average Scores and Gains, by
Race and Ethnicity, 2005
|Racial/ Ethnic Group
||% of SAT
Continued in the article
William and Mary joining Yale and some other universities
The College of William and Mary has announced a new
aid program that will cover all student costs for families with incomes of up to
$40,000. Under the
Gateway William and
Mary Program, students will not be asked to borrow
at all. William and Mary’s move follows those of other public universities, such
as the Universities of Michigan, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Virginia, to
increase aid packages for students from low-income families.
Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2005 ---
A highly innovative and interactive site for designing and building a home
or other building ---
If you download files often and are frustrated by download times, you may
be interested in the following software:
Download Accelerator Plus 7.5 ---
Why States Shouldn’t Accredit
If such a provision becomes law, we will see exactly
why some states refuse to recognize degrees issued under the authority of other
states: It is quite possible to be state-approved and a low-quality degree
provider.Which states allow poor institutions to be approved to issue degrees?
Here are the Seven Sorry Sisters: Alabama (split authority for assessing and
recognizing degrees), Hawaii (poor standards, excellent enforcement of what
little there is), Idaho (poor standards, split authority), Mississippi (poor
standards, political interference), Missouri (poor standards, political
interference), New Mexico (grandfathered some mystery degree suppliers) and of
course the now infamous Wyoming (poor standards, political indifference or
active support of poor schools).
n L. Contreras, "Why States Shouldn’t Accredit," Inside Higher Ed, August
30, 2005 ---
He should've just called her fluffy
Efforts to tackle soaring obesity rates in the US
have taken a knock after a doctor was censured for telling a patient she was
fat. Terry Bennett, of New Hampshire, told the woman her weight was harming her
health, that her husband was obese and would probably die before her, and, given
her weight, she would have problems finding another man. The doctor's comments
became public at the same time as a new report that said more than 119 million
Americans are now considered overweight or obese. The patient, who was reported
to have weighed about 110 kilograms and to have been suffering from diabetes,
was upset and reported Dr Bennett to state medical authorities. Her complaint,
filed about a year ago, was investigated by a panel of the New Hampshire Board
of Medicine, which recommended Dr Bennett be sent a confidential letter of
concern. The board rejected the suggestion in December and asked the
Attorney-General's office to investigate. Dr Bennett rejected that office's
proposal that he attend a medical education course and acknowledge he made a
mistake. "I told a fat woman she was obese," Dr Bennett said. "I told her, 'You
need to get on a program and peel off the weight that is going to kill you' ."
Trust for Americans' Health, an independent advocacy group that released this
week's report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2005,
says the nation has been let down by ineffective anti-obesity policies.
Francis Harris, "Doctor censured for telling patient she is dangerously fat,"
Sydney Morning Herald, August 27, 2005 ---
Epidemiologists are hot on the trail of the obesity pathogen
Watching the Detectives Epidemiologists are hot on the trail of the obesity
pathogen," by Jacob Sullum, Reason Magazine, August 26, 2005 ---
So much for blowing the whistle on Halliburton
A top Army contracting official who criticized a
large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq was
demoted Saturday for what the Army called poor job performance.
Erik Eckholm, "Army Contract Official Critical of Halliburton Pact Is Demoted,"
The New York Times, August 29, 2005 ---
Talk about conflicts of interest in auditing
Investors who are worried about the fate of the money
they turned over to the Bayou Group, a Connecticut firm that is under
investigation by federal and state authorities, will not be happy to learn that
there were close ties between the firm and the auditor of its hedge funds.
Public documents show that the chief financial officer and head of compliance
for the Bayou Group was also a principal in an accounting firm that audited the
hedge funds' books.
Gretchen Morgensen, "At Defunct Fund, Close Ties to Auditor," The New York
Times, August 29, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on auditor independence are at
"Who Killed PayPal? 'Consumer advocates' can make life miserable
for consumers," by Radley Balko, Reason Magazine, August/September, 2005
Jensen Comment: Actually PayPal is not dead. But its effort to be an
independent company, apart from eBay, was killed primarily by the banking
industry who used their favorite guns, in Washington, to block competition.
What is the most popular electronic supplement for successful textbooks?
Probably electronic test banks and homework assignments/solutions.
Automatic grading of homework and exams is becoming extremely popular.
"Text vs. Text vs. Text," by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, August
26, 2005 ---
The introductory economics textbook
business can be a lucrative one. Principles of Economics,
N. Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard
professor, brought an advance of $1.4 million in 1997, and
has since become common shelf material in college
intro texts have made professors rich. The new books, for
which only microeconomics portions have been unveiled so
far, are from authors on opposite ends of the political
spectrum. Krugman is famous for his anti-Bush tirades in
The New York Times, while Hubbard was on the Bush
administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, helping to
engineer tax cuts. For the most part, though, the content of
their books may not be startlingly different from each
other, or from the books already out there.
“It’s like adding Pepsi to the
shelf with Coca-Cola. You have more choices. You might have
Shasta and Canada Dry, too, but it’s mostly more of the
same,” said Fred Gottheil, an economics professor at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who teaches intro
courses and is the author of his own textbook,
Principles of Economics.
The book publishers, however, beg
to differ. They say the books are unique, from each other
and from other texts on the market. “Each chapter is going
to follow a real case of a real business,” said David
Hakensen, a spokesman for Prentice Hall, which published
Microeconomics, which Hubbard
wrote with Anthony P. O’Brien, an economics professor at
Economics, which he wrote with his
wife, Robin Wells, also a Princeton professor, “takes a
story-driven approach that focuses on real-world economics
at work,” according to the Worth Publishers Web site.
Both books will sell in the range
of $100, give or take $20 depending on the markup. Hakensen
noted that a digital, SafariX version of Hubbard’s text is
available. What about the Krugman competitor? “With Aplia,
students can use the digital book and professors can give
homework online,” said Craig Bleyer, publisher for economics
at Worth Publishers.
Some professors don’t think the
digital options really break new ground. “I’m on the bloody
Internet, on your screen answering questions,” Gottheil said
of an option to which book owners can log in for help via
video. “What’s Krugman going to do new, tell jokes? Unless
he comes on 3-D. Then, OK, he beat me.”
In fact, Krugman did show up in
person to the University of Pittsburgh last year, where
Shirley Cassing, an economics professor, was promised a
visit if she tried using his book during testing last year.
“It was so cool. He’s not very dynamic or flamboyant in
person,” she said, “but the sheer force of his ideas made it
engaging.” Cassing is a fan of Krugman’s book. “We’re all
familiar with his writing,” she added. “Even if you don’t
share his views, the writing in the book is still really
good, and there’s no obvious bias.”
Cassing said the Aplia option
allowed her to assign homework that is done online and
graded automatically to her 200 students. She credits that
for part of improved student performance over the past, when
she used Mankiw’s book and homework was essentially optional
because all 200 problem sets could not be graded.
Continued in article
Jensen Comment: Computer grading of essays will probably be the next
big utility offered by textbook publishers ---
Being an academic may make you ineligible to be the Chancellor of the
State University System
Six of the seven members have no professional
experience in higher education, though many serve on the board of governors that
oversees the (Florida) state's universities. Political allies of Gov.
Jeb Bush, including big GOP donors such as Fort
Lauderdale physician Zachariah P. Zachariah and St. Joe Corporation president
Peter Rummell, dominate the search committee. And Rummell, who chairs the search
committee, made it clear during the group's initial conference call Thursday
that an academic background is not especially critical for the new chancellor.
The qualifications drafted by Rummell for posting at the state's Web site seem
to favor a political background more than university experience: "The successful
candidate must possess significant demonstrated and proven effective leadership
experience -- specific experience in the state of Florida political and
educational environment being a plus -- that would prove beneficial for leading
the State University System."
"Academics for Universities' Chancellor?," TheLedger.com, August 28, 2005
God vs. Darwin: No Contest Natural selection debate gets even dumber
My brain/genes/hormones made me do it” catch-all excuse
The keynote address was given by renowned Harvard
University psychologist Steven Pinker, who described a neuromorality of personal
responsibility. In Pinker’s view, the worry that a biologically based
understanding of human behavior will turn into a “my brain/genes/hormones made
me do it” catch-all excuse stems from a basic fallacy: the assumption that bad
acts deserve to be punished only if they result from some fully autonomous “free
will” exempt from biological or other causation. How can we “salvage the core of
responsibility” without such mystical notions? For Pinker, the answer is to
shift the focus from the unanswerable question of whether an act was truly
“freely chosen” to whether the perpetrator has a normally functioning brain with
a normal response to the stimuli of reward and punishment.
Cathy Young, "Soul Survival: Is “the new neuromorality” a threat to
traditional views of right and wrong?" Reason Magazine, August/September
Extreme Measures: The Dark Visions and Bright Ideas of Francis Galton,
by Martin Brookes (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing,2005)
Galton’s eugenics dreams were adopted with singular
earnestness by others, most notoriously Nazi Germany. Less well remembered is
the extent to which eugenics also became a significant factor in the policies of
democratic nations such as the United States and Sweden. In the U.S., more than
60,000 people in 30 states received involuntary sterilizations under
eugenics-based laws in the early and mid 20th century; they included the
mentally ill or retarded, physically ill or disabled, and others deemed socially
inadequate. Eugenics also gave new impetus to immigration restrictions, racial
segregation, and bans on interracial marriage. Largely in reaction against
eugenics, the social sciences have veered sharply from biological and hereditary
explanations during the last half-century. Today Galton’s specter rises again,
as critics of biotechnology warn against a new era of eugenics it will
Kenneth Silber, "The First Eugenicist: Was Francis Galton wrong to want to
improve the human race?" Reason Magazine, July 2005 ---
Why are President Bush and the porn industry united against the proposed .xxx
Their conclusions are the same, but not their reasoning ---
Honey! I'm home.
"Oh hi dear! I'm glad you're home."
She then turned to the doll seated on her lap. "Hi,
honey," Shackelford said gently to Amazing Amanda, a blond, blue-eyed figure
bearing more than a remote likeness to its creator. "Hello, my name is Amanda,"
the doll replied as Shackelford smiled warmly at its rosy face. "We're going to
have the best time together," the doll promised. Amazing Amanda, scheduled for
release next month by Playmates Toys, is expected to cost $99, said Shackelford,
the chief executive of J. Shackelford & Associates, a product and marketing
company in Moorpark, Calif., that specializes in toys and children's
entertainment. At that price, the same as Apple's entry-level iPod Shuffle
digital music player, the 18-inch-tall doll promises -- right on the box it will
be sold in -- to "listen, speak and show emotion." Some analysts and buyers who
have seen Amanda say it represents an evolutionary leap from earlier talking
dolls like Chatty Cathy of the 1960s, a doll that cycled through a collection of
recorded phrases when a child pulled a cord in its back.
Michel Marriott, "A Doll That Can Recognize Voices, Identify Objects and Show
Emotion," The New York Times, August 25, 2005 ---
Iz tryN 2 dev mor neg cap
"I and Your," by David Orr, The New York Times, August 28, 2005 ---
It's a pity, then, that brilliant letters are about
as likely to be written by young poets today as odes to Psyche. This isn't
the fault of the poets. The letter has always been an awkwardly balanced
genre -- part practical necessity, part literary performance, part cowardly
way to break up with your girlfriend -- and advances in technology have made
the letter's modern incarnations smaller, faster, flatter and more
ephemeral. These qualities enhance the functional side of letter writing at
the expense of the casual, cloudlike accumulations of thought that often
lead to the most incandescent poetic observations. And let's face it, the
modern letter equivalent makes for a lousy read. Consider, for example, a
text message version of Keats's famous explanation of ''negative
capability'' (as originally set forth in a letter to his brothers, George
and Thomas, it's a kind of artistic disinterest):
JKEATS1: Iz tryN 2 dev mor neg cap
G&TKEATS: watz dat?
JKEATS1: dats bn N uncertainties -- misteries --
doubts w/o NE irritable reachN aftr fact & reasN : -)
There's nothing wrong with text messages -- they're
terrifically useful and often very funny -- but they 8nt Xactly gud 2 look
@. Even e-mail messages, which bear some resemblance to letters, are
probably too short (not to mention too easily disposable) to maintain the
letter's literary position.
So we're likely down to our last few poet
correspondents. Fortunately, as ''A Wild Perfection: The Selected Letters of
James Wright'' (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $40) demonstrates, it's a
formidable bunch. Wright, who died in 1980 at the age of 52, was born in the
industrial town of Martins Ferry, Ohio -- and as a poet, he never entirely
left it. Having graduated from Kenyon College with the assistance of the G.I.
Bill, Wright began his career as an earnest, tender, technically adroit
writer who embraced traditional forms, and he kept the earnestness, the
tenderness and the technical polish even after he largely abandoned
pentameter. Wright's letters (as chosen by his wife, Anne Wright, and
Saundra Rose Maley) trace his development from young, poor Army enlistee
scrambling for time to read Catullus (''he most deliciously soared upon his
physical and spiritual consciousness'') to famous midcareer writer communing
with fellow eminence Galway Kinnell (''I think you and I have always shared
something so deep as to be terribly difficult to welcome into words'').
Along the way are major correspondences with Donald Hall, Theodore Roethke,
James Dickey, Robert Bly and others.
Continued in article
Labor Day Thoughts: Democrats' new line of attack against the Bush
tax cut policies
Now that the economy has created some four million new
jobs over the past two years and the unemployment rate has fallen to a five-year
low, the left's jabs about the Bush "jobless recovery" have lost their sting. So
just in time for Labor Day, the Democrats' new line of attack against the Bush
tax cut policies is "stagnant wages." The union-funded Economic Policy Institute
alleges that wages are falling "at their fastest rate in 14 years."
Middle-income families are said to be trapped on an economic treadmill sprinting
ever faster just to avoid falling behind financially. Some critics have even
trotted out contorted statistics which suggest that workers have made almost no
income gains since the late "70s. It's a grim picture that suggests that the
best days of the American worker are behind us and that The Brady Bunch lived
better than Bart Simpson's family does today. But the reality is that the
economic well-being of the American family has never been better -- as measured
by income, consumption, and wealth (see nearby chart). And these gains have
continued over the past five years, despite the recession and stock-market crash
of 2000-01. The typical household today has a disposable income higher than any
other time in history, and when taking into account all forms of benefits that
workers now receive, compensation to workers is about 27% higher in real terms
than 25 years ago. Workers earn in less than four days a week what their parents
earned in five, and they make in three days on the job what their grandparents
earned in five.
Stephen Moore, "The Wages of Prosperity," The Wall Street Journal, August
29, 2005; Page A9 ---
Labor Day Thoughts: What Women Want
Why have these changes occurred? Interviews conducted
by sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas with more than 150
Philadelphia-area single mothers shed light on a dismal situation. Most of these
women express a strong desire to marry and view extramarital childbearing as
"second best." Yet almost all remained single. The authors' explanation:
Expectations for marriage have risen across the board. A house, a well-paying
job, and enough money for a nice wedding are now needed to tie the knot. But
wages at the bottom have stagnated or declined, so few of the unskilled can
afford to marry. The authors' message is clear: Out-of-wedlock childbearing is
simply a matter of money. Raise economic prospects and the problem will fix
itself. That objective is best addressed through government programs, not
individual or community reform.
Amy L. Wax, "What Women Want," The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2005; Page A8
Labor Day Thoughts: Casualties of the increase in minimum wage
barriers to entry
Buried within the good news in the recent U.S. job
creation report is one sobering statistic: Unemployment among America's
teenagers remains stubbornly high at 16%. Even more frustrating is that the
jobless rate for African-American teens is close to 33% -- higher than during
the Great Depression. To be sure, many of these teens aren't aggressively
searching for jobs, so the official statistics somewhat overstate the problem.
But what seems equally clear is that teens and unskilled workers face barriers
to entry when they attempt to join the job market for the first time. The
scandal here is that these barriers are created in large part by liberal
policymakers who claim to represent the best interests of unemployed workers.
"Job Slayers," The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2005; Page A8 ---
This is one tough way to stamp out a nation's drug abuse problem
Australian tourists visiting Bali's nightspots will
face random urine tests under an escalating anti-drugs crackdown on the
Indonesian holiday island. Bali police drug squad chief Bambang Sugiarto told
The Sun-Herald he would adopt the hardline tactic, controversially trialled in
recent raids on Jakarta clubs, to stamp out the drug trade.
Mark Forbes, "Random drug tests for Aussie tourists in Bali," Sydney Morning
Herald, August 28, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: We don't expect to see many professional baseball players
from the U.S. passing through Bali.
Medical lab in a suitcase
Acting swiftly and efficiently, a flight attendant
pulls a small device from the overhead compartment, takes a throat sample from
the ailing passenger, and identifies the virus as the influenza. On landing, all
the travelers are quarantined -- and the spread of the flu is thwarted. It's a
scenario that may become a reality in the not-too-distant future, thanks to a
group of researchers who've been working on ways to derive genetic information
from human DNA more efficiently. Furthermore, if combined with a wireless
network, it could track the spread of flu strains throughout the world.
Sarah J. Heim, "Lab on a Swab," MIT's Technology Review, August 29, 2005
Steinem on a Balance Between Nature and Nurture
So I no longer believe the conservative message that
children are naturally selfish and destructive creatures who need civilizing by
hierarchies or painful controls. On the contrary, I believe that hierarchy and
painful controls create destructive people. And I no longer believe the liberal
message that children are blank slates on which society can write anything. On
the contrary, I believe that a unique core self is born into every human being
-- the result of millennia of environment and heredity combined in an
unpredictable way that could never happen before or again. The truth is, we've
been seduced into asking the wrong question by those who hope that the social
order they want is inborn, or those who hope they can write the one they want on
our uniquely long human childhoods.
Gloria Steinem, "A Balance Between Nature and Nurture," NPR, August 22,
New Challenge to Evolution
A group of Christian schools sued the University of
California in federal court last week, charging that it engages in religious
discrimination by refusing to certify certain high school courses at religious
schools as meeting the system’s admissions requirements. The courses in
question teach alternatives to evolution, including creationism and “intelligent
design.” But the dispute goes beyond science to other courses taught from a
Scott Jaschik, "New Challenge to Evolution," Inside Higher Ed, August 29,
Southern Illinois University must recognize a Christian group
A federal appeals court has ordered Southern Illinois
University to recognize a Christian group — regardless of the fact that the
group’s procedures may violate other anti-bias rules at the campus. The ruling
granted an injunction that restored the recognition for the campus chapter of
the Christian Legal Society at the university’s Carbondale campus. The order by
a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was not
a final decision on the case. But the ruling — and a strongly worded dissent —
provide a good indication of the thinking of the appeals court on the debate
over religious groups at public colleges.
Scott Jaschik, "Conflicting Rights," Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2005 ---
Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis ---
Summer Fading, Hollywood Sees Fizzle: Telling it like it is
Multiples theories for the decline abound: a failure of
studio marketing, the rising price of gas, the lure of alternate entertainment,
even the prevalence of commercials and pesky cellphones inside once-sacrosanct
theaters. But many movie executives and industry experts are beginning to
conclude that something more fundamental is at work: Too many Hollywood movies
these days, they say, just are not good enough.
Sharon Waxman, "Summer Fading, Hollywood Sees Fizzle," The New York Times,
August 24, 2005 ---
Multimedia Evidence of Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
There's new evidence suggesting the majestic
ivory-billed woodpecker, once thought to be extinct, is indeed alive in eastern
Arkansas. Researchers have captured the sounds of bird calls and woodpecker
rapping that reinforces earlier videotaped evidence of the bird in flight.
Christopher Joyce, "Audio Evidence of Ivory-Billed Woodpecker," NPR,
August 25, 2005 ---
The ACLU is on guard against prayers
A Georgia county is being sued by the American
Civil Liberties Union over its pre-meeting prayers. The suit claims one prayer
at a recent Cobb County Commissioners' meeting ended "in the name of Jesus our
Savior," which phrase, according to the ACLU, puts the invocation in violation
of the Constitution of the United States. However, attorney Steve Crampton of
the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, protests that the Cobb
County officials' prayers are entirely legal, and the commission members have
the right to open meetings with prayers acknowledging Jesus if they so choose.
Allie Martin, Agape Press, August 26, 2005 ---
Huffing and puffing for more burley
For Speaks and thousands of other tobacco growers in
North Carolina, the nation's leading tobacco growing state, this is the first
year in decades without the quota. Congress approved a $10.1 billion buyout of
the Depression-era price support system last year, leaving most growers
wrestling with market forces for the first time. For some growers in central and
eastern parts of the state, it led to experiments with burley tobacco. Until
this year, about 70 percent of domestically grown burley has come from Kentucky.
"The tobacco companies use burley to enhance the taste of a cigarette," Speaks
said. "It's like baking a cake. You need flour and sugar and flavorings to get
just the right blend." The 2005 crop from Kentucky was expected to be the
smallest in nearly 80 years, the result of a loss of producers after the buyout
and a summer drought. That created a need that farmers elsewhere have rushed to
fill, said Blake Brown, who studies the economics of tobacco at North Carolina
State University. "With the buyout, it's now possible to grow tobacco anywhere
and whatever kind you want to grow," Brown said. "When the companies found out
they could not get the volume of burley they needed from states like Kentucky,
they went elsewhere. They also are looking at Mississippi and Illinois and some
Paul Nowell, "N.C. Farmers Experiment With Burley Tobacco," Yahoo News,
August 25, 2005 ---
Where are the hacksaws?
There are times in a Wal-Mart store when customers need
a little assistance from associates, but a request for help Tuesday by a
Pittsburg teenager wearing an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs had clerks calling
police. “He asked them for a hacksaw,” said Conway Police Lt. Joe Faia. It
turned out that Joha D. Turner, 18, had not escaped any official custody, but
was instead pulling a prank. But now he’s going to court next month to answer a
charge of disorderly conduct, after being freed on his own recognizance.
"Store prankster charged at Conway Wal-Mart," New Hampshire Union Leader,
August 26, 2005 ---
Web cartoonists face jail after leader's lampoon goes too far
ANYWHERE else in Europe, political cartoons would be
considered harmless satire, designed more to amuse than to undermine the State.
Not so in Belarus. When animated mini films featuring President Lukashenko
appeared on the internet, the KGB, the Belarussian security service, responded
immediately. It raided three apartments in Minsk, confiscated 12 computers and
interrogated Andrei Obuzov and Pavel Morozov, the two men who put the cartoons
on their website for five hours. Prosecutors have begun legal proceedings
against them and Oleg Minich, the creator of the cartoons, which could result in
jail sentences of five years.
Jeremy Page, "Web cartoonists face jail after leader's lampoon goes too far,"
TimesOnLine, August 24, 2005 ---
Putting hate for the U.S. on the line
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called the United
States the “most savage, cruel and murderous empire that has existed in the
history of the world. They cruelly entice our youth with designer clothes and
rock-and-roll music. They savagely flaunt their freedoms.” “Socialism is the
only path to save a world threatened by the abundance of U.S. capitalism,” said
Chavez. “Cuba is the model society. Castro has led his people away from Yankee
materialism to a socially just equality of poverty. Chavez warned the U.S. not
to mess with Venezuela. “We will resist imperialistic attempts to bring freedom
to our land,” said Chavez. “We will drown the Americans in our blood.”
John Semens, "U.S. Is the “Most Savage, Cruel and Murderous Empire” in World
History," The Arizona Conservative, August 26, 2005 ---
Ice cream funding of anti-war protestors
Their bills are being paid for by True Majority, a
non-profit set up by Ben Cohen -- of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream fame. Ben Cohen,
True Majority: "People are willing to listen to her and we want to do as much as
we can to make her voice heard." Cohen's group has teamed up with Berkeley based
MoveOn.org, an anti-Bush group co-founded by Joan Blades.
Mark Matthews, "PR Machine Behind Cindy Sheehan?" KGO-TV/DT, August 25,
If you believe this I've got some Arizona ocean front property for sale
The U.S. Forest Service admitted Wednesday to
making a "serious'' mistake that allowed 17 acres to be logged inside a rare
tree reserve as part of the salvage harvest of timber burned by the 2002 Biscuit
fire. The logging inside the 350-acre Babyfoot Lake Botanical Area, created in
1966 to protect Brewer spruce and other rare plant species on the Rogue
River-Siskiyou National Forest, was discovered last week by environmentalists
after the Fiddler timber sale was harvested and a forest closure intended to bar
protesters was lifted. Forest Service personnel mismarked the border of part of
the Fiddler timber sale next to the botanical area — though just who did it or
how it happened was not immediately clear, said Illinois Valley District Ranger
Pam Bode. Normally trees are marked with stapled tags and paint to show the
boundaries of timber sales and reserves within them. "It is the Forest Service's
intent to manage the Babyfoot Lake Botanical Area to minimize human intervention
in the ecological process,'' Bode said. "For us to have changed the ecology in
that area through removal of these dead trees is a serious error. And we will do
all we can to determine the best path to move forward from here.'' Barbara
Ullian, conservation director of the Siskiyou Project group that discovered the
damage, called for a formal investigation into the blunder and said it
demonstrated the importance of allowing the public to monitor logging operations
on national forests. "This is no small little slip across the border and a few
trees,'' Ullian said.
Jeff Barnard, "Forest Service admits error," Albany Democrat-Herald,
August 27, 2005 ---
Food for something other than thought
The August 25, 2005 Scout Report newsletter provided the following
links about food:
Colleges Begin to Embrace Fresh Food Movement Fresh Gets Invited to the Cool
Table [Free registration required]
Schools get smarter about food
Food for Thought
Bonnies’ college grub again rated the ickiest ---
Quick Tips to Packing a Safe Lunch
Regard the past, arrogant youth
THE new political correctness of the ratbag right
decrees that nobody must compare the unhappy result of the Vietnam war to the
wonderful march of democracy in Iraq. Anyone who mentions the word quagmire can
only be a pathetic baby boomer, dissolute and decrepit, pining for the bad old
days of moratorium demos, Whitlamism, bell-bottom pants, Jane Fonda, etc. This
view is trumpeted most loudly by the thirtysomething know-alls of the right-wing
blogosphere, whose ferocious enthusiasm for the Iraq war is matched only by
their reluctance to take part in it. (Perhaps they have other priorities, as
Dick Cheney once explained his decision not to enlist for Vietnam.)
Mike Carlton, "Regard the past, arrogant youth," Sydney Morning Herald,
August 27, 2005 ---
Who says accountants are boring?
I StumbledUpon this one!
Bob from Accounting (a hilarious diary that is not the the Bob as in Bob
Are you lonely,
single, tired of the dating scene? Do you want someone to help pay your
children's medical bills because your ex husband is a lazy out-of-work deadbeat?
If you're ready to be razzle-dazzled by the most eligible bachelor on the
internet, follow the link to
unofficial fan page and find out how you can make your dreams (and his) come
true. Or just email Bob
with a photo. Sorry ladies, only one entry per family.
Scenario Handbook 1 ---
Scenario Handbook 2 ---
More weird links
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
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
International Accounting News
(including the U.S.)
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Upcoming international accounting
Thousands of journal abstracts ---
Deloitte's International Accounting News ---
Association of International Accountants ---
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm
Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org