Tidbits on September 7, 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/

America us still the land of dreams for all races, creeds, and colors --- http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/LOD.htm

Hope Has Its Place --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/pity.htm

Great free listening from "HITS OF THE BLITZ" (Click on the MP3 downloads) ---
http://www.jilldaniels.com/MUSIC SAMPLES.htm

You can listen to some good folk songs here if you click around a bit --- http://www.davidrovics.com/

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

Governor Blanco (pronounce that Bunko) appears to have been more focused on securing federal funds
Before hurricane Katrina made landfall, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana appears to have been more focused on securing federal funds for post-hurricane relief than ensuring that necessary troops were deployed to carry search and rescue missions, deliver food and water, and protect the citizens of Louisiana against marauding street thugs. President Bush had offered the governor federal aid, including additional troops. He declared Louisiana a disaster area before Katrina arrived. To the dismay of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the governor told the president she wanted 24 hours to decide whether to accept the offer because Mr. Bush, as commander-in-chief, wanted control of the troops. Many of the governor's constituents died because of the delay.
"The governor procrastinates," The Washington Times, September 7, 2005 ---

Katrina victims that a fearful Governor Blanco (Bunko) attempts to avoid sheltering in Louisiana
As hurricane victims are being moved hundreds of miles from home, the president of the New Orleans City Council is demanding to know why Louisiana isn't housing more of them. Oliver Thomas says Louisiana has many government buildings and gymnasiums that could be made into shelters. But instead, he says people are being even more uprooted and sent to places like Texas and Georgia and Utah. Thomas believes exaggerated fears of violence have kept some Louisiana cities from offering more help. But the mayor of Baton Rouge says the problem is managing large crowds, that too many people in...
"Some leaders wonder why Louisiana isn't housing more, KLFY, September 4, 2005
Jensen Comment:  Once the flood water is drained and power is restored, the Gulf Coast will commence to rebuild.  One problem will be that many victims housed in other states will elect not to return home.  This will create labor shortages, tax revenue shortages, and critical delays in the rebuilding process.  In the long run, Louisiana would especially have been better off if it had sheltered more of its own victims.

Bravo Texas!
Texas purportedly is providing shelter and life support to over 250,000 victims, well over half the former population of New Orleans.
Listen to the NPR broadcast at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4831880  
Jensen Comment:  A very high proportion of these victims will never return to Louisiana to live.  Texas schools that were overcrowded before Katrina are now scrambling to put over 100,000 children in certified school systems.  The same can be said for strained employment, medical service, and criminal justice systems.  This is a storm surge of people that will be served as quickly as possible under the circumstances.  Many of these people have special needs that require special attention.  Bravo to Texans who've showed genuine caring and southern hospitality.

Too Much Too Late?  Maybe so, maybe not!
Now that the military is moving huge convoys of soldiers, concerns that too strong a military presence in space could cause accidents, crashes.
"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished as Today Show Now Frets Too Many Troops in New Orleans," Newsbusters, September 5, 2005 --- http://newsbusters.org/node/931
Jensen Comment:  Getting arsonists, looters, squatters and New Orleans police out of the many stores, homes, and hotel rooms may take a lot of troops.

They're not like the long-haul exhausted police and firefighters in NYC after 9/11
A day after two police suicides and the abrupt resignations or desertions of up to 200 police officers, defiant city officials on Sunday began offering five-day vacations - and even trips to Las Vegas - to the police, firefighters and city emergency workers and their families.
Joseph Treaster, "City to Offer Free Trips to Las Vegas for Officers," The New York Times, September 4, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/national/nationalspecial/05vegas.html

Firefighters and families get Las Vegas vacation LAS VEGAS Nearly a week after first seeing disaster and desperation, New Orleans firefighters and their families are on vacation, thanks to the city of Las Vegas. The City of Lights plans to host up to 400 police, firefighters and their families for short stays at a hotel-casino off the Las Vegas Strip. So far, 43 people have made the trip. One fire captain says he's looking forward to some rest and that anyone would be crazy to turn down an all-expenses paid-trip to Las Vegas.
"Firefighters and families get Las Vegas vacation," KLFY, September 5, 2005 --- http://www.klfy.com/

New Orleans Police:  Show the Boobs Your Breasts
"At one point, there were a load of girls on the roof of the hotel saying 'Can you help us?' and the policemen said 'Show us what you've got' and made signs for them to lift their T-shirts," he told the Liverpool Evening Echo. "When the girls refused, they said 'Fine' and motored off down the road in their boat." At one point he had to wade through filthy water to barricade the hotel doors against looters. He said the experience made him want to vomit.
"RESCUERS: 'LIFT YOUR TOPS'," Sky News --- http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-13431086,00.html?f=rss

"New Orleans police to be pulled off streets," Seattle Times, September 5, 2005 --- http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002472840_katrina05.html

Many of New Orleans' finest bravely did their jobs in the worst times of the crisis
Police killed several men who shot at Army contractors; helicopters divided the city into grids and searched for waving survivors; and officials warned that the recovery of the dead would be ghastly. One week after Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, the latest issue for rescuers is residents who still refuse to leave.
"Rescuers in New Orleans encounter violence, other obstacles," Houston Chronicle, September 5, 2005 --- http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/topstory/3339653

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 the FTC site at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/09/katrina.htm

Also see http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/110/109835.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_03

"Scammers Hit Web In Katrina's Wake," by Brian Krebs and Caroline E. Mayer, The Washington Post, September 1, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/31/AR2005083102574.html?referrer=email

Katrina bloggers shine --- http://www.internetweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=170102802

But communications networks failed the victims themselves ---

Many local communities housing victims (especially Houston, Dallas, 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.

Forwarded by Meredith Ruiz
Here’s a housing directory specifically for those fleeing the destruction: http://www.hurricanehousing.org 

September 2, 2005 Message from Jason Hardin

For those who might have trouble envisioning just how big a catastrophe this really is, this animation is revealing (and horrifying).


Disaster Map Wiki
Of all of the websites tracking the Katrina disaster, surely one of the most remarkable is Scipionus.com
 "A Disaster Map 'Wiki' Is Born," Wired News, September 2, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/hurricane/0,2904,68743,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

Instructions --- http://www.scipionus.com/

You can read more about Wiki technology at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Wiki

New Orleans warned long before Katrina.  This one hit it on the head in April 2005 --- http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/22040b4511b84010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html

Tulane and other regional colleges closed for Fall Semester
Tulane University canceled its fall semester Friday because of Hurricane Katrina and encouraged its students to take classes through others schools while the New Orleans university tries to clean up from the flooding. Several schools already have offered to take in displaced Gulf Coast college students - as many as 100,000 in the New Orleans area alone, according to the American Council on Education . . . Tulane President Scott Cowen, working from Houston, said the school of 8,000 undergraduates would accept credit from any regionally accredited university and was encouraging students to take courses they would otherwise be taking at Tulane. Cowen also said the school would work to keep its sports teams together and continuing to represent Tulane by relying on other schools for practice and playing facilities. "Our student-athletes are an integral part of this plan. We want our athletes to carry the torch, face, and name of Tulane University during this difficult time," he said. Marvalene Hughes, president of Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans, said she was planning further discussions with staff Friday night but was exploring a range of options and was not yet prepared to give up on the semester. "I don't give up that easily," said Hughes, who has been president for just two months and was staying with family in Alabama. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University in New Orleans, had been located and was safe after being out of touch for several days because of the hurricane, Hartle said. There was no immediate word from other colleges but Hartle said he expected most schools in New Orleans would be closed until at least January. Officials have said it will be months before the city is functioning again.
Justin Pope, "Tulane Cancels Fall Semester Because of Hurricane Katrina," Associated Press, September 2, 2005 --- http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBS4X485DE.html

Also see the update at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/06/katrina

Jensen Comment:  Imagine how difficult it is to try to pay salaries and wages in universities, business firms, and other organizations whose revenue streams have been shut off.  Many are continuing to somehow meet payrolls in order to retain their skilled and dedicated employees.  It will require massive aid to restore these systems to their former states. 

September 3, 2005 reply from Denny Beresford [DBeresford@TERRY.UGA.EDU]


FYI - Scott Cowen is an accounting professor by background. He spent many years at Case Western Reserve University in the accounting department and then as Dean of the business school. I think he has been President of Tulane for about 4-5 years. What a challenge he has in front of him!

Denny Beresford

Bravo to The University of Houston and its new Napoleonic Code

Scott Jaschik, "Law School in Exile," Inside Higher Ed, September 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/07/loyola

Much to their dismay, legal scholars at the University of Houston know quite a bit about flooding. 

In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison hit the campus hard, especially the law library, where more than 200,000 volumes were submerged under water and countless other materials were damaged or destroyed. So when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, law professors were ready to reach out and help their colleagues. And on Tuesday, the law school of Loyola University New Orleans announced that it would relocate for the fall semester to the University of Houston.
The University of Houston has agreed to find offices for Loyola law professors, open libraries and other facilities to students, turn over all classrooms to Loyola on Friday afternoons and weekends, as well as one large auditorium throughout the week. Several hundred of Loyola’s 800 law students are expected to start the fall semester in Houston soon, where they will be taught by a cadre of at least 20 Loyola professors.

Brian Bromberger, Loyola’s law dean, said that the idea for the relocation came from Seth Chandler, vice dean at Houston’s law school, and was immediately embraced with “incredible generosity” by others at Houston.

Generally, colleges in New Orleans are encouraging students to enroll elsewhere as visiting students and then to transfer those credits back when campuses re-open. Law schools in Louisiana are unusual, however, because much of Louisiana law is based on the Napoleonic Code. Many courses taught at the state’s law schools are thus not comparable to what would be taught in any other state.

Continued in article

500 frequent flyer miles for a $50 to qualified Katrina nonprofits
Two air carriers, United Airlines and American Airlines, are pledging one-time bonuses of 500 frequent-flier miles to reward members who donate at least $50 to certain nonprofits aiding the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Both airlines will recognize donations to the American Red Cross, which is coordinating relief efforts in the region. United also will honor gifts to AmeriCares and Operation USA. Donors who give to multiple charities will receive only one bonus. American's program ends Sept. 30, and United will honor donations made through October. To receive the miles, members must fax a copy of their donation receipt to the airline. Details are available on the airlines' Web sites.
Christina S.N. Lewis, "Donating Miles for Katrina Relief ," The Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2005; Page D7 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112596000555732126,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
Jensen Comment:  I don't have the details, but Southwest Airlines and possibly some other airlines are flying victims to out-of-state shelters.

The overwhelming majority of families in New Orleans filed 2004 income tax returns and paid income taxes
Please advise Katrina victims that they should possibly file amended 2004 tax returns to get refunds
The IRS free phone number for help is
The IRS Website for Katrina victims is at  --- http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=147085,00.html

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on September 2, 2005

TITLE: Hurricane Victims Can look Back In Claiming Losses on Tax Forms
REPORTER: Tom Herman
DATE: Aug 31, 2005
LINK: Print Only (Not online)
TOPICS: Personal Taxation, Tax Laws, Taxation

SUMMARY: Herman discusses issues in deciding when to take casualty losses; describes services and information packages available from the IRS, AICPA, FEMA and others; and identifies special relief measures undertaken by the IRS for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

1.) What is an amended tax return? On what form does one file such a return?

2.) What are casualty and theft losses? What are the deductions allowed for these losses on personal income tax returns, and to what limits are they subject?

3.) Given the disastrous results of Hurricane Katrina, how do you think this year's occurrences of casualty loss deductions on U.S. personal income tax returns will compare to last year? In your answer, comment on the limits to deducting casualty losses on personal income tax returns.

4.) What are the timing options available to victims of Hurricane Katrina in deciding when to deduct their casualty losses? What are the issues in making this decision? How did the president's decision in the wake of this disaster bring about this option for individual taxpayers devastated by the storm?

5.) Why does filing an amended 2004 tax return offer a more speedy result than other options available to taxpayers? How might this help Katrina's victims?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

The Red Cross has some guides for individuals and businesses --- http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/0,1082,0_605_,00.html

Prepare Financially

Financial Planning: A Guide for Disaster Preparedness — 2004 (Publication A5075)

Disaster Recovery: A Guide to Financial Issues — 2003 (Publication A5076)


From our friends around the world
European countries were on Thursday preparing to release emergency stockpiles of petrol as the US confirmed that some refineries hit by Hurricane Katrina would remain shut for several months.
Andrew Ward, "Europe on standby to send petrol to US," FTCom, September 1, 2005 --- http://news.ft.com/cms/s/baac872c-1b0c-11da-a117-00000e2511c8,_i_rssPage=80fdaff6-cbe5-11d7-81c6-0820abe49a01.html

More than 20 countries have offered to help the United States recover from Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane devastated New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast, killing hundreds and possibly thousands. The State Department said offers so far had come from Belgium, Canada, Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Britain, China, Australia, Jamaica, Honduras, Greece, Venezuela, the Organization of American States, NATO, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, South Korea, Israel...
Danielle George, "International Aid Offered To Help Overcome Katrina," AllHeadlineNews, September 1, 2005 --- http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/2251239720

Cuban President Fidel Castro offered Friday to help his longtime enemies to the north, the United States, by sending 1,100 doctors and medicines to treat the victims of hurricane Katrina. Some 100 doctors could board a flight to Houston, Texas, as soon as Friday and 1,000 could arrive Saturday and Sunday, Castro said in a radio and television address. Cuba would also send 26.4 tonnes of medicines. "Cuba is ready to help immediately," he said. "We offer concrete things: doctors to the site of the tragedy, which is exactly what is missing now."
IRB News --- http://www.iribnews.ir/front_en.asp?sec=front_en

Muslim organization with over fifty chapters, including those in Houston, Dallas and New Orleans, has teamed up with Islamic Relief USA, a U.N. NGO and member of the U.N. Economic and Social Council, with its offices in 30 countries. MAS and its Freedom Foundation will announce...
Muslim American Society --- http://www.masnet.org/pressroom_release.asp?id=2726

Meanwhile, Kuwait is donating $500 million worth of oil products and other humanitarian aid to the United States, KUNA reported on Sunday. "The humanitarian aid is oil products that the devastated (U.S.) states need in these circumstances, plus other humanitarian aid to lessen the devastation these three states have been subjected to," Kuwaiti Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah was quoted as saying.
Al Bawaba, September 4, 2005 --- http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/Kuwait/188475

Don't count on this Abu Musab
Al Qaeda group in Iraq, which is led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on Sunday praised in an Internet statement what it said was the "start of the collapse" of the United States after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina "Congratulations to the Islamic nation, to our sheikh Osama abu Abdullah (Osama bin Laden) and to sheikh Ayman Zawahiri (bin Laden's deputy) for the destruction of America, which is at the forefront of evil. It is the start of its collapse."
Al Bawaba, September 4, 2005 --- http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/Kuwait/188475

The media is slow to report success stories of those working so very hard and risking their own lives

Katrina created so many hurricane heroes, but we hardly hear about any of them. Start with the amazing Coast Guard rescue teams who dangled from the sky to pluck thousands to safety, gently cradling old women and terrified children hour after hour after hour, all through the night. In just a few days, they did more rescues than they normally do in a year, each one a test of skill and courage. Now ask yourself: How many interviews with these heroes have you heard?
Deborah Orin, "LET'S HEAR ABOUT THE HEROES," The New York Post, September 6, 2005 --- http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/52937.htm

Mississippi Power employees and outside crews were able to turn lights on in numerous parts of the company’s service area Thursday, three days after the region was slammed by Hurricane Katrina. “We were able to restore service to small pockets along the Coast and around Hattiesburg, which were among the hardest hit areas,” said Kurt Brautigam, company spokesman. “It was a real lift for everyone to see some visible signs of success.
"Mississippi Power Restoration Update – Day 4," Mississippi Power

Alabama Power Company Update #20: Sept. 2, 4:30 p.m. Friday, September 02, 2005 Birmingham – Alabama Power crews, assisted by utilities from at least 20 states and the District of Columbia, have restored power to 82 percent of customers statewide who were affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Alabama Power Company Update #20: Sept. 2 ---

Higher Education Clearing House on Katrina --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/08/21/katrina

In the Face of Catastrophe, Sites Offer Helping Hands ---

Technology Responds to Hurricane Katrina
The missive was posted at 10:19 a.m. CDT on Thursday, September 1, 2005, in the Lost and Found section of Craigslist's New Orleans page. According to Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist, their Lost and Found section typically has one or two posts a day. Now it's seeing hundreds of them. "On Tuesday [August 30], there were 712 posts," Buckmaster says. "The traffic [Wednesday] was on pace to double that." Even the site's Missed Connections and Women Seeking Men sections -- typically areas reserved for romance seekers -- have turned into search-and-rescue repositories scattered with notes of condolences and support. In fact, the entire Craigslist New Orleans site has become an eerie virtual facsimile of the missing-persons flyers that were found all over lower Manhattan after 9/11. All across the Internet, blogs and websites such as Craigslist are assisting with mobilizing relief -- and trying to make sense of the catastrophe unfolding in the Crescent City and along the entire Gulf Coast.
Eric Hellweg, "Technology Responds to Hurricane Katrina," MIT's Technology Review, September 2, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/09/wo/wo_0901hellweg.asp?trk=nl

Universities Hit by Katrina Tap Technologies To Stay Afloat ---

Also see http://www.wired.com/news/hurricane/0,2904,68725,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

And also http://www.wired.com/news/planet/0,2782,68720,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6

A Heightened Demand for Online Video --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/business/05drill.html

How Did This Happen?
The hurricane was the least of the surprises. Why a natural disaster became a man-made debacle--and what this catastrophe says about our rescue capabilities four years after 9/11.
Amanda Ripley, "How Did This Happen?" Time Magazine, September 4, 2005 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101331,00.html

Criminality beyond theft

There also are reports of criminality that goes far beyond theft. "We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten," New Orleans police chief Eddie Compass tells the Associated Press http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050902/ap_on_re_us/hurricane_katrina  . The Voice of America http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-09-01-voa51.cfm  tells of "roving gangs of armed delinquents who are sometimes interfering with the relief operations." In one case, across the Mississippi in Gretna, "Tenet Healthcare Corp. asked Louisiana state police to help evacuate Meadowcrest Hospital after armed bandits attempted to hijack a truck carrying food, water and drugs in the predawn hours on Thursday," the Chicago Tribune http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3335880  reports.
Opinion Journal, September 2, 2005

The meanest of our free media
Some parts of the media are turning the Katrina tragedy into a political opportunity to incite anarchy

Air America radio talk radio host Randi Rhodes repeatedly urged listeners in the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast to go out and loot, insisting the poor should be allowed to steal goods at will. The leftist host, who has sparked controversy in the past for advocating the assassination of President Bush, said hurricane victims should avoid discount centers such as Wal-Mart and focus their looting on higher-end stores in order to get good quality products, according to Ned Rice, a contributor to National Review Online's weblog "The Corner."
"Radio host urges poor to loot Randi Rhodes advises Gulf Coast listeners," WorldNetDaily, September 3, 2005 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46124

What constitutes re-primitivization?
In the Atlantic Monthly a few years back, Robert D. Kaplan went to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other failed jurisdictions of West Africa and concluded that many of the "citizens" of these "states," roaming the streets raping and killing, belonged to a phenomenon called "re-primitivized man." Anyone watching TV in recent days will have seen plenty of "re-primitivized man," not in Liberia or Somalia, but in Louisiana. Cops smashing the Wal-Mart DVD cabinet so they can get their share of the booty along with the rest of the looters, gangs firing on a children's hospital and on rescue helicopters, hurricane victims being raped in the New Orleans Convention Center. . . . If you're minded, as many of the world's anti-Americans are, to regard the United States as a depraved swamp, it was a grand old week: Mother Nature delivered the swamp, but plenty of natives supplied the depravity.
Mark Steyn, "Proof that nothing changed after Sept. 11," Chicago Sun Times, September 4, 2005 --- http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn04.html

Pork-Barrel Congress and the Levee Projects
President Bush hasn't vetoed a single (spending) bill. Questions about spending on these (Corps of Engineers) projects need to be asked, but the roles of all the participants need to be addressed. And those should come after the question of whether the proposed spending would have done any good in this particular instance.
James Naso, "Pork-Barrel Congress and the Levee Projects," The Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2005; Page A29 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112596134010232161,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

Mayor blames Governor
Frustrated and grieving, Mayor Ray Nagin on Sunday again ripped the painfully slow response of state and federal authorities to the plight of tens of thousands of stranded New Orleanians in the days following Hurricane Katrina, saying their inaction cost lives and caused needless misery. Nagin singled out Gov. Kathleen Blanco for criticism, saying that the governor had asked for 24 hours to think over a decision when time was a luxury that no one, especially refugees, had.
New Orleans Times-Picayune, September 4, 2005 ---

Former Louisiana Legislator Blames Governor and Mayor
The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his/her emergency operations center. The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin cannot claim that they were surprised by the extent of the damage and the need to evacuate so many people. Detailed written plans were already in place to evacuate more than a million people. The plans projected that 300,000 people would need transportation in the event of a hurricane like Katrina. If the plans had been implemented, thousands of lives would likely have been saved.
Bob Williams, "Blame Amid the Tragedy," The Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2005; Page A28 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112596602138332256,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

The Mayor blames bureaucracy, but the fact is that top federal officials were left out of loop
State and local officials did not inform top federal officials early on of the deaths and lack of food among hurricane victims in the Superdome or convention center, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday. Mr. Chertoff said neither he nor Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown was told of the deteriorating situation in New Orleans until Thursday night.
Audrey Hudson, "Top federal officials left out of loop," The Washington Times, September 5, 2005 --- http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20050905-120743-9482r.htm

Apart from insurance recoveries, Bush said he will seek up to $40 billion from Congress for the next phase of hurricane recovery, and the government may spend $200 billion caring for Katrina's victims ---

Louisiana political machine:  Showering organized/disorganized crime with tax dollars
September 6, 2005 message from Linda Kidwell, University of Wyoming [lkidwell@UWYO.EDU]

As someone who got her degree in Baton Rouge and then taught for three years in Shreveport, I am horrified, but somehow not surprised, by some of the unpreparedness, slow response, lack of leadership, and chaos we all saw last week. When I've seen the shock expressed by some in the media, I've thought they must never have left the French Quarter or the Garden District. The extreme poverty and desperation of the poor in New Orleans is well known to those who've explored Louisiana a bit.

This brings me to my point in the subject line. I am very concerned about the control over relief money. I trust the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to be very careful with their funds -- in fact my concern is not addressed toward any of the relief agencies. I am concerned over the huge amounts of federal money that will be headed there. Louisiana does not exactly have the best history of fiduciary responsibility, and I'd hate to think of the folks who were so incompetent on the front end having control in the aftermath. I hope the powers that be will appoint someone with a track record of integrity to oversee the spending of money, the selection of contract bids, and so on.

Where's Dan Kyle these days? He was a professor at LSU my first year there, then he became the Legislative Auditor for many years. He was even rumored to be in the top list of candidates last time the GAO needed a new head. In that time, he was excellent at sniffing out fraud, even when it was politically dangerous to do so. He knows the state well -- I'd like to see him called into action. I'm sure there are a few other folks knowledgeable about both Louisiana politics and keeping track of money. Maybe one of the displaced accounting faculty from Tulane, UNO, or elsewhere? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that such a person will be in place to make sure none of the funds so desperately needed go to places and people it shouldn't.

In the meantime, I'm thinking of friends like Bob Braun at Southeastern Louisiana University and praying they are okay. I'm sure many of you have friends at other impacted universities, and my prayers are with them as well.

Linda Kidwell

September 6, 2005 reply from Paul Williams


Louisiana politics won Robert Penn Warren a Pulitzer Prize for "fiction," and Broderick Crawford an academy award. Southern politics is the stuff of good stories -- you just can't make this stuff up.

Between a rock and a hard place:  Environmentalists are to blame in large measure
. . .  environmentalists may have prevented building floodgates that would have prevented the flooding from Hurricane Katrina. The 5-28-05 New Orleans Times-Picayune states, “Under the original plan, floodgate-type structures would have been built at the Rigolets and Chef Menteur passes to block storm surges from moving from the Gulf into Lake Pontchartrain. Those plans were abandoned after environmental advocates successfully sued to stop the projects as too damaging to the wetlands and the lake's ecosystem, Naomi said. Now the corps wants to take another look using more environmentally sensitive construction than was previously available.”
Michael P. Tremoglie, "Compassionate Liberalism Part II: Blaming the Iraq War and Tax Cuts for New Orleans Flooding," Men's Daily News, September 6, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1478361/posts

Greens vs. Levees
With all that has happened in the state, it’s understandable that the Louisiana chapter of the Sierra Club may not have updated its website. But when its members get around to it, they may want to change the wording of one item in particular. The site brags that the group is “working to keep the Atchafalaya Basin,” which adjoins the Mississippi River not far from New Orleans, “wet and wild.” . . . The Army Corps was planning to upgrade 303 miles of levees along the river in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. This was needed, a Corps spokesman told the Baton Rouge, La., newspaper The Advocate, because “a failure could wreak catastrophic consequences on Louisiana and Mississippi which the states would be decades in overcoming, if they overcame them at all.” But a suit filed by environmental groups at the U.S. District Court in New Orleans claimed the Corps had not looked at “the impact on bottomland hardwood wetlands.” The lawsuit stated, “Bottomland hardwood forests must be protected and restored if the Louisiana black bear is to survive as a species, and if we are to ensure continued support for source population of all birds breeding in the lower Mississippi River valley.” In addition to the Sierra Club, other parties to the suit were the group American Rivers, the Mississippi River Basin Alliance, and the Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi Wildlife Federations.
John Berlau , "Greens vs. Levees: Destructive river-management philosophy," National Review, September 8, 2005 ---

ACCOUNTING FOR (Financial) LOSSES FROM NATURAL DISASTERS --- http://accountingeducation.com/news/news6438.html

Too Good to Grade:  How can these students get into doctoral programs and law schools if their prestigious universities will not disclose grades and class rankings?  Why grade at all in this case?
Students at some top-ranked B-schools have a secret. It's something they can't share even if it means losing a job offer. It's one some have worked hard for and should be proud of, but instead they keep it to themselves. The secret is their grades.
At four of the nation's 10 most elite B-schools -- including Harvard, Stanford, and Chicago -- students have adopted policies that prohibit them or their schools from disclosing grades to recruiters. The idea is to reduce competitiveness and eliminate the risk associated with taking difficult courses. But critics say the only thing nondisclosure reduces is one of the most important lessons B-schools should teach: accountability (see BusinessWeek, 9/12/05, "Join the Real World, MBAs"). It's a debate that's flaring up on B-school campuses across the country. (For more on this topic, log on to our B-Schools Forum.)  And nowhere is it more intense than at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where students, faculty, and administrators have locked horns over a school-initiated proposal that would effectively end a decade of grade secrecy at BusinessWeek's No. 3-ranked B-school. It wouldn't undo disclosure rules but would recognize the top 25% of each class -- in effect outing everyone else. It was motivated, says Vice-Dean Anjani Jain in a recent Wharton Journal article, by the "disincentivizing effects" of grade nondisclosure, which he says faculty blame for lackluster academic performance and student disengagement.
"Campus Confidential:   Four top-tier B-schools don't disclose grades. Now that policy is under attack," Business Week, September 12, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/BWSept122
Jensen Comment:  Talk about moral hazard.  What if 90% of the applicants claim to be  straight A graduates at the very top of the class, and nobody can prove otherwise?

September 2, 2005 message from Denny Beresford [DBeresford@TERRY.UGA.EDU]


The impression I have (perhaps I'm misinformed) is that most MBA classes result in nearly all A's and B's to students. If that's the case, I wonder how much a grade point average really matters.

Denny Beresford

September 2, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

One of the schools, Stanford, in the 1970s lived with the Van Horn rule that dictated no more than 15% A grades in any MBA class.  I guess grade inflation has hit the top business schools.  Then again, maybe the students are just better than we were.

I added the following to my Tidbit on this:

Talk about moral hazard.  What if 90% of the applicants claim to be  straight A graduates at the very top of the class, and nobody can prove otherwise?

After your message Denny, I see that perhaps it's not moral hazard.  Maybe 90% of the students actually get A grades in these business schools, in which nearly 90% would graduate summa cum laude. 

What a joke!  It must be nice teaching students who never hammer you on teaching evaluations because you gave them a C or below.

The crucial quotation is "faculty blame for lackluster academic performance and student disengagement."  Isn't this a laugh if they all get A and B grades for "lackluster academic performance and student disengagement."

I think these top schools are simply catering to their customers!

 Bob Jensen

September 6, 2005 reply from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@DARTMOUTH.EDU]

At Tuck, we have a five tiered grading system: Honors, Satisfactory+, Satisfactory, Low Pass, Fail. Bounds are imposed on the maximum number of each type of grade that should be assigned. Typically I assign about 20% Honors, 40% Satisfactory+, and 40% Satisfactory. Low Pass grades are infrequent (perhaps a 2% rate) and Fail is rare (I have assigned one failing grade in my seven years here.)

Richard C. Sansing
Associate Professor of Business Administration
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
100 Tuck Hall Hanover, NH 03755

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm

Most asbestos lawsuits are probably phony, but the lawyers are wealthy
The other excitement was an extraordinary exchange between Judge Jack and trial lawyer Richard Laminack. (We reprint part of it nearby.) The judge had remanded most of the bogus silicosis suits to state court, but she kept one -- originally filed by Mr. Laminack's firm in her Texas jurisdiction. The "Alexander suit" includes about 100 plaintiffs who all claim to have silicosis. Yet Judge Jack's pretrial hearings helped discover that nearly 70% of these claimants had previously filed an asbestos claim. Experts testifying in Judge Jack's court had made clear that it is extremely rare for a person to have both asbestosis and silicosis. When Judge Jack brought this troubling fact up again in last week's hearing, Mr. Laminack shocked everyone by explaining that he doubts his clients ever had asbestosis. Put another way, so eager was Mr. Laminack to support the credibility of his silicosis claims that he admitted in federal court that he believed his clients had previously filed fraudulent asbestos claims. His admission is all the more notable because Mr. Laminack was indicting some of the lions of the asbestos bar -- Dickie Scruggs, for instance -- who (according to defense attorneys) were among those filing "Alexander" asbestos claims.
"Case of the Vanishing X-rays," The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2005; Page A8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112544438428727225,00.html?mod=opinion%5Fmain%5Freview%5Fand%5Foutlooks

Now I'm almost sorry San Antonio beat Detroit in the NBA playoffs
Detroit has surpassed Cleveland as the nation's most impoverished big city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Survey figures released Tuesday show 33.6 percent - more than one-third - of Detroit's residents lived at or below the federal poverty line in 2004, the largest percentage of any U.S. city of 250,000 or more people. The top five were Detroit; El Paso, Texas (28.8 percent); Miami (28.3 percent); Newark, N.J. (28.1 percent); and Atlanta (27.8 percent). Detroit has lost about half its population since a half-century ago. It is now the country's 11th largest city with just over 900,000 residents. Cleveland, which was No. 1 in 2003, dropped to No. 12 as the percentage of its residents living in poverty fell from 31.3 percent to 23.2 percent. The poverty threshold differs by the size and makeup of a household. A family of four with two children was considered living in poverty if their income was $19,157 or less. For a family of two with no children, it was $12,649. It was $9,060 for a person 65 or over who was living alone. Nearly half of Detroit's children under age 18 are impoverished, according to the survey. With 47.8 percent of its children living in poverty, Detroit trailed only Atlanta (48.1 percent) among the largest cities.
"Detroit now ranks as nation's poorest big city," Free Republic, August 31, 2005 ---

Jensen Comment:
New Orleans (before the Katrina disaster) in 2004 ranked low in household income at 62 out of 70 cities ranked.  However, well over half the families in New Orleans earned enough to pay income taxes on earnings.

The rankings for 2004 are at http://snipurl.com/ACS2004
The rankings for 2003 are at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Ranking/2003/R07T160.htm

See http://www.census.gov/acs/www/

Fact Finders are at http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en

Especially note the tables at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Profiles/Chg/2003/ACS/index.htm

New Orleans economic data are at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Profiles/Chg/2003/ACS/Tabular/380/38000US55603.htm

Help the environment and waste less in your locale --- http://www.eiae.org/

The Making of Modern Michigan http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/

Top 10 Reasons Loan Applications Are Rejected ---

ID Theft Protection Can Give You A False Sense Of Security --- http://realtytimes.com/82/PeabodySmithRealty

Free Online Accounting Textbooks

Many of you know Don Edwards, better known as "James Don."  Don gave me my first faculty job (Michigan State).  Don and his wife Clara are among my best friends in life.  Don served as Department Chair and/or Dean at the universities of Georgia, Minnesota, and Michigan State.  He's a noted business consultant and accounting historian.  He raised funds and guided more accounting professors to their doctoral degrees than any other administrator, some of whom are now our best known scholars, teachers, and researchers.

Don is the only accounting professor to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Paris.  For over five decades he loyally served the American Accounting Association.  He raised the funds and gave birth to the AAA's highly successful annual Doctoral Consortium.  He's a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame that lists some of his many accomplishments at http://fisher.osu.edu/acctmis/hall/members/edwards_j/index.html

Now in retirement in Athens, Georgia, Don fortunately has the health, wealth, and dedication to continue working on his textbooks. 

On September 5, Don sent me the following message concerning an accounting textbook that can now be downloaded FREE  by anybody in the world:

We now have the first Internet-based Financial Accounting textbook. Future textbooks will be Accounting Principles and Managerial Accounting released later this year. You may want to view this website:


All the best,

Don E.

And one more quote about Don (this one in 1997)
In the midst of an active session of the Georgia House of Representatives, all business ceased for the time being when Don entered the chamber. He was then asked to address the House. Later, a group of legislators and senators escorted him to the Govornor's office. The Democratic Govornor later accompanied the solid Republican Don Edwards to the U.S. Whitehouse for a luncheon. This was all in respect for what Don had accomplished for higher education in the State of Georgia.
See http://www.legis.state.ga.us/Legis/1997_98/leg/fulltext/hr738.htm 

September 6, 2005 reply from Cheryl Prachyl [cprachyl@UTA.EDU]

I’m not sure that Edwards had the first free on-line accounting text. There is also a free text available at www.principlesofaccounting.com . This site does not have any ads.

Cheryl L. Prachyl, Ph.D, CPA
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Accounting
Box 19468
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX 76019

The Association of American University Presses --- http://www.aaupnet.org/index.html

Is College Preparation for Life? Grads Weigh In
The study, which is based on a 2003 survey of 1992-93 bachelor’s degree recipients, offers an intriguing if slightly historical sense of how college and grad school look to a set of graduates as they peer back in time.The answers support many pieces of conventional wisdom about higher education — for instance, that a liberal arts degree doesn’t seem to prepare students as well for work and career as science and professional fields do, and that students at private colleges tend to value the quality of their undergraduate instruction more than those at public colleges — but raise doubt about some others.
Doug Lederman, "Is College Preparation for Life? Grads Weigh In," Inside Higher Ed, September 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/02/nces

Who would want the job of a college dean?

My recent service on a search committee for the dean of my university’s College of Education left me thinking about the future of these positions . . . Unless the job of dean of education is redefined into a doable set of tasks, the type of people we want to apply — people with integrity, a sense of balance, a sense of humor, a commitment to the well-being of students and children — are going to pass and stick to a faculty role. This would be a real tragedy for our field, as those are precisely the people we need to lead us into an uncertain future.
Russell Olwell, "The Job No One Wants," Inside Higher Ed, August 30, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/careers/2005/08/30/olwell


College Tuition Blues:  Flashback from The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal, September 2, 1959
American parents, who this month will be dispatching their offspring to colleges in record numbers, will face this hard fact of economic life: The cost of a college education still is climbing. Boston University is boosting tuition charges to $950 a year from $800.

College bans on certain types of speech become a "dangerous game"

"Playing a Dangerous Game," by Greg Lukianoff and Azhar Majeed, Inside Higher Ed, September 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/09/02/majeed 

Unfortunately, many colleges — eager to ban speech that administrators or students do not like — have latched onto the “threat” exception of the First Amendment to justify banning speech that is not actually threatening (as the term has been defined by the law) but instead is merely offensive to the listener. Redefining a “threat” as anything that offends is a dangerous game that discredits accusers, underestimates students’ ability to cope with ideas they dislike, and trivializes the seriousness of actual threats of violence.

The latest example of this disturbing trend comes from William Paterson University, a public university in New Jersey. Jihad Daniel, a master’s student and university employee, privately responded to a mass e-mail message sent by a professor, Arlene Holpp Scala, announcing a campus showing of Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House, a film Scala described as a “lesbian relationship story.” The e-mail provided a link so that recipients could contact Scala. In his response, Daniel, a devout Muslim, wrote, “Do not send me any mail about ‘Connie and Sally’ and ‘Adam and Steve.’ These are perversions. The absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned.” That is the entirety of his response. All too predictably on the contemporary campus, Scala brought charges against Daniel for making her “feel threatened at [her] place of work.” Showing complete disregard of the right to dissent protected under the First Amendment, the university found Daniel guilty of “discrimination” and “harassment.”

Scala’s reliance on the claim that she felt “threatened” is especially disturbing. Did she really fear that this 63-year-old man would harm her, just because they disagree about homosexuality? Yes, many people might find Daniels’ opinion offensive, but the expression of a religious opinion is hardly a threat.

Sadly, Daniel’s case is just one example of how threat allegations are abused on campus. For example, Ursula Monaco, a part-time student at Suffolk County Community College, on Long Island, was punished in 2003 for an e-mail message she accidentally sent to her professor in which she referred to the professor as a “cunt.” Even though that the e-mail was clearly addressed to someone else and that the First Amendment has no exception for even the c-word, Monaco was found guilty of both “harassment” and “intimidation.”

Continued in article

Norway's police shoot the least
A major survey of police weapon use in the Nordic region shows that Norway is the country where shots are most seldom fired, and that access to weapons means more shooting. The survey shows that, adjusted for population, shots are fired 13 times as often as in Norway and the number killed is ten times higher. In dangerous situations Norwegian police pull back, request arms and wait for reinforcements. Swedish police are far more often placed in self-defense situations where shots are fired under extreme stress and from close range.
Aftenposten, September 2, 2005 --- http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1106865.ece

Jensen Comment:  Actually Norway's police shoot the least because they are too late to stop the crime.  They're delayed waiting for taxi cabs.

In Norway, call the police a taxi before you dial 911
Area police have had their fleet of vehicles trimmed from two to one due to budget cuts, and have repeatedly had to ring a taxi when needing another car to respond to a call, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) reports. The mayor is so exasperated that he is considering donating a kick-sled to the force for the winter.
"Police forced to take taxis," Aftenposten, August 22, 2005 --- http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1100542.ece

College Withdraws Credits Awarded in Distance Education Scheme
Otterbein announced that it was revoking thousands of credits awarded to hundreds of Florida teachers, enabling some of them to receive certification, recertification or raises. The college also announced that it would donate the funds it received for the courses to a charity in Florida. The college’s involvement with the distance education programs in Florida was “inconsistent with the standards and integrity long associated with Otterbein,” said a statement from Thomas C. Morrison, chairman of the college’s board.
Scott Jaschik, "College Withdraws Credits Awarded in Distance Education Scheme," Inside Higher Ed, September 2, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/02/otterbein

Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill

Why (there's a good reason) Google requires its tremendous Gmail service to be by invitation only and how you can circumvent this process to get a fre Gmail account.

"Using Gmail Without an Invitation," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2005; Page B3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112553447911128576,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

There's no other major item most of us own that is as confusing, unpredictable and unreliable as our personal computers. Everybody has questions about them, and we aim to help.

Here are a few questions about computers I've received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. This week my mailbox contained questions about signing up for Gmail, iPod-to-computer transfers and switching your computer's power options.

If you have a question, send it to me at mossberg@wsj.com, and I may select it to be answered here in Mossberg's Mailbox.

Q: Your recent article mentioned that Google's new Google Talk instant-messaging service was available only to users of Google's Gmail email service. But Gmail isn't open for new sign-ups. How can I get onto Gmail?

A: You are correct that people can't just sign up for Gmail from their computers. There are two ways to get a Gmail account. You can receive an invitation from an existing member to sign up. Or, Google now allows anyone to join, provided you sign up using your cellphone and its SMS, or text-messaging, feature. Instructions for doing this are at: https://www.google.com/accounts/SmsMailSignup1 

I have tested this cellphone method, and found that it works fine. Once you sign up via your cellphone, you can use Gmail with your PC or Macintosh. You don't have to keep using your cellphone. Google says it requires the cellphone signup in order to thwart spammers who might want to use automated computer programs to obtain multiple Gmail accounts and use these accounts as a platform for sending millions of spam emails.

Q: I have my entire music library on my iPod, placed there using Apple's iTunes software on my main PC. Now, I want to move all the music to a second computer. But the iPod doesn't have the capability to synchronize music to a second computer, even using the Apple iTunes software. When I try, iTunes warns that it will overwrite my iPod with its own library, which, on this second computer, is empty. Is there a way to do this?

A: Yes. Apple did cripple iPod-to-computer transfers, in order to please the record industry, which feared the iPod might be used to copy music to the computers of people who hadn't purchased it, either from Apple's iTunes store or in the form of CDs. But many utility programs have been created to allow iPod-to-computer transfers.

I have tested two such programs, and found they work well. One, for Windows, is CopyPod, which costs $19.90, at copypod.ouvaton.org. The other, for the Macintosh, is iPodRip, at $15, from www.thelittleappfactory.com .

Q: To conserve power, my monitor shuts down automatically after five minutes or so of inactivity. This is OK most of the time, but if I want to leave a photo slide show running occasionally, I'd like to be able to override this feature. Can you tell me how? I'm running Windows XP.

A: The simplest way is to go into the computer's control panel and change the setting that turns off the monitor. Click on the Start button, then click on Control Panel. Then, open the panel called Power Options. (Depending on how your computer is set up, you may have to first click on the category called "Performance and Maintenance.")

Next, on the tab called Power Schemes, change the setting for "Turn off monitor" to "Never," or to a time period long enough for your slide show to play. Then, click "OK." To resume your typical five-minute turnoff, just go into this control panel again and change the setting back to "After 5 mins." If you play slide shows often enough that doing this each time would be a pain, keep the setting at a period lengthy enough to accommodate the slide shows.

If the slide show is triggered as a screen saver, rather than as a manual process, you should be able to use the Display control panel to start it after five minutes, instead of turning off the monitor, and then set the monitor to shut off, using the Power Options panel, at a later time, after the slide show has had a chance to run for a while.


"Phishers Sinking to New Lows:  Scammers Now Impersonate Small Financial Institutions," by Don Oldenburg, The Washington Post, August 25, 2005 ---

Protection against network ID theft using a key chain
With identity theft and other crimes on the rise, America Online and E-Trade have each taken a strategy from the corporate world to make customers feel safer. Both are inviting their users to try out a different way to log in to their sites. In addition to typing a user name and password, they can obtain a key-chain-sized token with a tiny screen that displays a new six-digit number every minute.
Mike Musgrove, "A New Key to Fighting Identity Theft," The Washington Post, August 28, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/27/AR2005082700227.html?referrer=email

Bob Jensen's threads on phishing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#Phishing

Baby to assume Ma's Name
As telecom giant SBC prepares to close its acquisition of AT&T , it might seem that the 120-year-old telecom brand is about to fade into history. Don't bet on it. SBC, which was spun off from AT&T amid the breakup of the Bell telephone system in 1984, will assume its former parent's name, BusinessWeek Online has learned. The plan, which is consistent with speculation that followed SBC's bid for AT&T earlier this year, reflects SBC's new national identity and its desire to market AT&T's Internet phone service to consumers around the country. And it gives SBC a marketing weapon to use against its rivals.
"So Long, AT&T? Not So Fast," Business Week, August 31, 2005 ---  http://snipurl.com/BabyNamedMa
Jensen Comment:  Accordingly San Antonio will be the new world headquarters for AT&T

Consumer Spending the American Way
U.S. consumers spent more than they earned in July for just the second time in the last 46 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Personal incomes increased 0.3% in July, while spending soared ahead by 1%. As a result, the personal savings rate tumbled to negative 0.6%, the lowest since monthly records began in 1959.
Rex Nutting, "U.S. savings rate falls below zero:   Inflation wipes out gains in personal," Market Watch, September 1, 2005 --- http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid={D09C8048-99F1-40E4-9805-16EDAB3834B0}&siteid=mktw

NSF Proposes Next-Generation Internet
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has proposed a next-generation Internet with built-in security and functionality that connects all kinds of devices, with the government agency challenging researchers to look at the Internet as a "clean slate."  Grant Gross, "NSF Proposes Next-Generation Internet," PC World, August 29, 2005 --- http://pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,122344,00.asp

Parting Words for VHS Tapes, Soon to Be Gone With the Rewind ---

Coffee may be good for your health
That morning cup of coffee may do more than just perk you up. A new study shows that coffee is the primary source of antioxidants for Americans. This finding may come as a surprise to some since scientists and nutrition experts usually tout fruits and vegetables as the best source of antioxidants – chemicals that prevent cellular damage. But, this study shows for the first time that Americans get most of their antioxidants from their daily fix of java. “Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source,” said study leader Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton. “Nothing else comes close.” And don’t worry if you can’t handle the full strength stuff – this study suggests that decaf provides similar antioxidant levels. This comes as good news for the nearly half of all Americans that depend on coffee for that morning pick-me-up.
Bjorn Carey, "Coffee: Does a Body Good?" Live Science, August 29, 2005 --- http://livescience.com/humanbiology/050829_coffee_health.html

Intelligent design may be harmful to your children
Intelligent design is not an argument of the same character as these controversies. It is not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one. It might be worth discussing in a class on the history of ideas, in a philosophy class on popular logical fallacies, or in a comparative religion class on origin myths from around the world. But it no more belongs in a biology class than alchemy belongs in a chemistry class, phlogiston in a physics class or the stork theory in a sex education class. In those cases, the demand for equal time for "both theories" would be ludicrous. Similarly, in a class on 20th-century European history, who would demand equal time for the theory that the Holocaust never happened? So, why are we so sure that intelligent design is not a real scientific theory, worthy of "both sides" treatment? Isn't that just our personal opinion? It is an opinion shared by the vast majority of professional biologists, but of course science does not proceed by majority vote among scientists. Why isn't creationism (or its incarnation as intelligent design) just another scientific controversy, as worthy of scientific debate as the dozen essay topics we listed above? Here's why. If ID really were a scientific theory, positive evidence for it, gathered through research, would fill peer-reviewed scientific journals. This doesn't happen. It isn't that editors refuse to publish ID research. There simply isn't any ID research to publish. Its advocates bypass normal scientific due process by appealing directly to the non-scientific public and - with great shrewdness - to the government officials they elect.

Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, "One side can be wrong:  Accepting 'intelligent design' in science classrooms would have disastrous consequences, warn," The Guardian, September 1, 2005 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1559743,00.html 

The landmark cases of the next five years won't concern civil rights or abortion but property rights.
Edwin Meese III

Electronic maps of legal precedents that offer at least some semblance of the Herculean panorama of law

"Statistical modelling:  The wisdom of Hercules," The Economist, August 25, 2005 --- http://economist.com/science/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4316174

IN A spate of wishful thinking, an American legal philosopher, Ronald Dworkin, once invented an imaginary but ideal judge, named Hercules, who had complete knowledge of every case ever decided. Hercules saw the law as a seamless web of past precedents, and could come to one right answer to decide any particular case. Of course, no actual judge possesses such a supernatural reasoning ability. Recently, though, scholars have built electronic maps of legal precedents that offer at least some semblance of the Herculean panorama of law.

One such map, of the network of links between United States Supreme Court cases, has been devised by Seth Chandler, professor of law at the University of Houston. Mr Chandler obtained some 26,000 opinions issued by the Supreme Court between the early 19th century and the present day. He treated each of these cases as a node and each citation from one case to another as a link. The result was a complicated web resembling a map of cities linked by dozens of airlines.

. . .

Related work, by James Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California at Davis, and Sangick Jeon, a political-science student at the same place, shows how Supreme Court jurisprudence has developed over time. As they report in a recently completed paper, they, too, constructed an electronic network of linked Supreme Court opinions, this time using the majority opinions gathered from about 30,000 cases issued between the late 18th century and today.

Dr Fowler's network treated links between nodes as directional arrows rather than simple lines. He did this by separating opinions into two types: authorities, which are cited by many other cases; and hubs, which cite many other opinions. Using linear algebra to calculate all the cases' authority and hub scores, Dr Fowler arrived at his list of most important cases. He then charted which cases were the most salient at each point in time.

Continued in article

"Testing the Flexibility Of Web-Based Calendars:  Two Offerings Allow You To Update, Share Schedules With Anyone, Anywhere," Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2005; Page D5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,the_mossberg_solution,00.html

So, for the past three months, my assistant Katie Boehret and I have been testing two Web-based organizer programs to see which one would replace Lotus. We tested a free organizer called AirSet by Airena Inc., as well as a $39.95 per year (after a free two-month trial) program called Trumba OneCalendar by Trumba Corp.

Each company set us up with our own password-protected calendars, and we quickly learned a few things. Because of the Internet's nature, we had to adjust to waiting a bit for Web pages to load before performing tasks such as viewing future months or dates to add appointments. The Web also prevented us from simply dragging and dropping appointments from one calendar square to another, like we did in Lotus. And of course, when the Internet isn't available, neither is my schedule.

Trumba is primarily a calendar, while AirSet is a broader service that includes a rich address book, automatic map links to meeting locations and a coming program that will work with mobile phones to access and update your calendar.

But we focused on the calendar features in each, as calendars are the most heavily used feature in most people's computer organizers. We didn't pick a winner because tastes in calendars can vary with work style. For us Trumba was better and easier, but for you, it might be AirSet. Both work well.

If you're hoping to transfer your currently used calendar over to either of these, both programs will automatically synchronize with Microsoft Outlook, and AirSet also syncs with Palm Desktop. But any other type of calendar can only be moved using a special file format and it won't synchronize perfectly.

Both programs also allow you to "publish," or share, your calendar with other people, using different colors to represent each colleague or family member. And each allows you to "subscribe" to other people's calendars, or to public calendars, like sports team or school schedules. The dates on such calendars are added to your own, and can be turned on or off.

New Accounting Software
EmeraldKey Technologies, Inc. introduced Envision Accounting Software for accounting and financial professionals last week. Envision Accounting Software provides a comprehensive solution to meet all business management needs, including financial accounting, project management, client management, time and expenses, billing, payroll, budgets/forecasts, real-time reporting and Web-enablement.
"Introducing Envision Accounting Software for Accounting & Financial Professionals," AccountingWeb, August 24, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101233

Bob Jensen's guides to accounting software are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#AccountingSoftware

Insurer Reveals What Doctors Really Charge
Aetna is the first major health insurer to publicly disclose the fees it negotiates with physicians. Some in the health-care industry say the move is likely to push more insurers to follow suit, which in turn would give a significant boost to consumer-driven health plans.
Vanessa Fuhrmans, "Insurer Reveals What Doctors Really Charge:  To Help People Compare Fees, Aetna Posts Some Online; A Potential Bargaining Tool," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112432102051916089,00.html?mod=article-outset-box

Here's a previous module in Tidbits
How do selected hospitals in your city/region compare (you choose the criteria and the hospitals)?
When I compared
San Antonio's Baptist Health System with the Methodist System, I got some surprising results.

 In a move to provide clear, unbiased information about the quality of hospital care, Medicare is launching a Web-based database that consumers can use to see for themselves how local institutions stack up against each other. The Web site, Hospital Compare, went live late yesterday, offering data on 17 widely accepted quality measures in treating heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. It shows how most of the nation's general hospitals perform compared with state and national averages, as well as against their peers. "This is another big step toward supporting and rewarding better quality, rather than just paying more and supporting more services," says Mark McClellan, a physician who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees federal health-care programs for seniors and low-income people. The government "ends up paying more when a patient gets poor-quality care and is readmitted" to the hospital, he added.
 Rhonda L. Rundle, "Medicare Puts Data Comparing Hospitals Onto Public Web Site," The Wall Street Journal,  April 1, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111231128175394880,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Mutual interdependence of men and women
One of the reasons for the failure of feminism to dislodge deeply held perceptions of male and female behaviour was its insistence that women were victims, and men powerful patriarchs, which made a travesty of ordinary people's experience of the mutual interdependence of men and women.

Rosalind Coward as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-28-05.htm

This commentary was motivated by the confluence of three events: the arrival in my campus mailbox of the annual Almanac Issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, the arrival of the Fall 2005 Calendar of Events for the Women's Center/Adult Reentry Center here at Krispy Kreme U. (Cal State Fullerton), and my noticing a recent story in The Times (the one published in the U.K.) by Carol Midgely that reviews a new book by Marian Salzman, Ira Matathia, and Ann O'Reilly entitled The Future of Men.

In 2000 the IP published a commentary, "Where have all the boys gone?", that highlighted the decline in the percentage of males attending college.  The following year he published a more extensive study in the Cal State Fullerton Senate Forum that showed that relative declines in male enrollment here at Cal State Fullerton were more severe for underrepresented minority males than they were for Asian and white males though for all ethnic groups including whites and Asians female students substantially outnumbered male students.

Unfortunately, this gender imbalance in favor of female students has not raised the same level of concern that the imbalance in favor of male students did a few decades ago.  A small number of articles have been written on the subject, and a few conference sessions have touched on the issue.  But, by and large, little action has been taken to address the issue.  For some reason, it seems to be politically incorrect to talk about the problems that male students have either at the K-12 level or in college.

The data from the 2005 edition of the Almanac confirm that female undergraduate enrollments continue to exceed male enrollments significantly.  Unfortunately, there is a lag between the gathering and the reporting of enrollment data at the national level, so the latest information available for enrollments by gender is for the Fall 2002 semester.  At that time females comprised 60.4% of the American Indian enrollment, 53.1% of the Asian enrollment, 64.2% of non-Hispanic Black enrollment, 57.9% of the Hispanic enrollment, and 56% of the non-Hispanic white enrollment.  These data combine information from students across the spectrum of higher education -- public and private universities and colleges as well as community colleges.

At the time the IP wrote the earlier articles, that data indicated that male undergraduates still had a higher persistence to graduation than females.  However, the latest data from the Almanac show that female persistence to graduation now is higher than that of males.  The six-year graduation rates for freshman entering four-year institutions in 1996  were 38.6% for American Indian females compared to 34.6% for American Indian males, 66.2% for Asian females compared to 58.7% for Asian males, 42.2% for non-Hispanic Black females compared to 32.3% for non-Hispanic Black males, 48.3% for Hispanic females compared to 40.6% for Hispanic males, and 60.1% for non-Hispanic white females compared to 53.9% for non-Hispanic white males.  It seems that not only have the college-going rates for males declined substantially over the past few decades;  but, that graduation rates for male college students now are declining as well.

Continued in article

How New Heart-Scanning Technology Could Save Your Life
Mike Fackelmann had no reason to think he had heart disease. Although his cholesterol was a touch on the high side, he had never experienced any chest pains and had just passed a stress test with flying colors. So last November, when a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Hospital asked the then 49-year-old registered nurse to help demonstrate an experimental new cardiac scanner, neither the physician nor Fackelmann expected to see anything out of the ordinary. The idea was simply to slide Fackelmann through the machine and show what finely detailed images of the heart it could produce.
"How New Heart-Scanning Technology Could Save Your Life:  More and more, doctors are diagnosing coronary disease without any invasive tests whatever, Time Magazine, August 28, 2005 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1098960,00.html 

Dirty politics:  Starving charter schools
One problem is that teachers unions use their political clout to weaken state charter laws or limit the ability to attend the schools. Some states cap charter enrollment (New Jersey), refuse to grant new charters to for-profit outfits (Connecticut), or restrict which official bodies can authorize charter school petitions (Arkansas and Georgia). But the worst tactic is simply to starve charter schools of money, says Chester Finn, who heads the Fordham Institute and is one of the study's authors. The funding gap ranges from a few hundred dollars to upward of $5,000 per student; the national average is $1,800, or 21% less money for charters than for a district school. For a typical 250-student charter, this translates into a $450,000 budget gap, or eight more teachers or an after-school program with tutors for a small school.
"Starving Charters," The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112527810666625231,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Jensen Comment:  A criticism of charter schools is that their students on a nationwide average do not score better than traditional pubic schools on standardized tests.  It should, however, be pointed out that charter schools are often serving as an alternative for minority/poor students in lousy public schools that typically are the lowest on these tests.

Collins is an unusual columnist, in that he not only notices what is going on, but he also remembers it. He is aware of the German Kyoto Hoax, for example, and the farce over the European stability pact, which exposed rule zero of the EU. Successful organisms learn from experience, but the leaders of the EU do not come into this category. The Russian Government is also heading for interesting times, having chosen to ignore its own scientists and attend instead to the bribes from the EU. Virtually none of them is going to reach the target, but will they pay the fines? It is all very well to argue that black is white (or, more aptly, red is green) in the debating chamber, and to convince yourselves that it is true, but when you choose to back your hunches with an economy-crushing system of fines you are likely to come up against that brick wall known as reality, the result being a bloody nose.The leaders of the old EU have lectured the world from their high podium and, intoxicated with the exuberance of their own high blown rhetoric, ignored the fact that the time comes when you have to deliver. They have wrecked their own economies with well-meaning environmental and social legislation and are genuinely surprised that others seem unwilling to follow them. With any luck they will soon be gone. Unfortunately for civilisation there is no such practical test for international organisations such as the UN IPCC and WHO. They can continue to peddle their snake oil, indulge in outrageous fraud and misdirection, safe in the knowledge that they will not be put to the test and that the taxpayer dollars will continue to roll in unimpeded.
John Brignell,
"A bit of a breakthrough," Number Watch, August 2005 --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2005 August.htm

From The Washington Post Technology Newsletter on September 1, 2005
Non-technology companies are out to transform the way Americans consume technology. What high-tech service is McDonald's NOT testing?

A. Digital photo printing
B. DVD rentals
C. Ring tone downloads
D. WiFi Internet access

Not the brightest light bulb
Waterbury police say a bank robbery was stymied because one of the robbers was afraid his electronic tracking ankle bracelet would alert his probation officer. Police say convicted rapist Delome Small had chosen a bank close to home to rob Tuesday because he worried the electronic tracker would go off if he was gone for too long. Police says Small choose The Bank of America on Cooke Street because he could quickly get back to the condominium where he lives with his mother. If away from home too long, his ankle bracelet would alert probation officers that he was out of bounds, and that would violate his probation for two 1999 sexual assault convictions. Police say small and an older brother did enter the bank Tuesday morning, but cut the robbery short because the cash drawers were locked and because Delome Small worried his tracking monitor would go off. They walked away empty-handed and are being held on $500,000 bond each.
"Bank robbery stymied by electronic angle bracelet," WTNH TV, September 1, 2005 --- http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=3792591

Humor:  There's nothing very humorous at this soon after Katrina.

Others have made a stab at it --- http://www.deezteez.com/hurricanehumor/

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

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/.

International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
        Upcoming international accounting conferences --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/events/index.cfm
        Thousands of journal abstracts --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/journals/index.cfm
Deloitte's International Accounting News --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
Association of International Accountants --- http://www.aia.org.uk/ 
WebCPA --- http://www.webcpa.com/
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Others --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm 

Richard Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/ 


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