Tidbits on September 14, 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/

25 Hottest Urban Legends (in other words hoaxes) --- http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp




Music
Some first rate jazz samples --- http://www.jazzonline.com/

Some Miles Davis samplers --- http://www.milesdavis.com/music.htm

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

Martin Scorsese's new feature-length documentary of Bob Dylan's Early Days
Bob Dylan fans are being treated to a multimedia bonanza celebrating the early days of the enigmatic singer-songwriter's long career. Two albums arrive today: "Live at the Gaslight 1962" (Starbucks), the official release of an oft-bootlegged concert performance recorded in Greenwich Village when Mr. Dylan was 21 years old; and "No Direction Home: The Soundtrack -- The Bootleg Series Vol. 7" (Columbia), a collection of rare performances, some of which appear in "No Direction Home," Martin Scorsese's new feature-length documentary of Mr. Dylan's early career. The Scorsese film, which includes excerpts from the most comprehensive interview Mr. Dylan has done in some two decades, will be available on DVD on Sept. 20, prior to its broadcast on PBS's "American Masters" series on Sept. 26 and 27.
Jim Fusilli, "Do Look Back: Celebrating Bob Dylan's Early Days, Long Time Gone," The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2005; Page D7 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112535119468825990,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Great photographs
Nature Photographs --- http://www.naturephotographers.net/

Wild Things Photography --- http://www.wildthingsphotography.com/detected.php?page=&pass=

A few Large Format landscape photographs --- http://www.largeformatphotography.info/qtluong/

Mt. Everest --- http://everestphotos.net/

A walk through rural Pennsylvania --- http://www.durhamtownship.com/June0105.2.html

Professional Photographers of America --- http://www.ppa.com/splash.cfm

Some great shots comparing high end cameras --- http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/

Facial halves taken of the same person at different ages --- http://www.bobbyneeladams.com/age.html

Brain tumor removal photos --- http://www.flickr.com/photos/woodcreeper/sets/598206/




Katrina Updates and Editorializing by Bob Jensen

InterCall is providing free conference calling through Salvation Army aid stations to Katrina victims.   They  can also receive assistance through InterCall’s CrisisConnect service --- http://www.crisisconnect.net/


Message forwarded by Michael Lawrence on September 13, 2005

Please, help us get the word out about this web site ( www.katrinareferrals.org  so individuals and agencies can access the XNET Connect Service.

The XNET CONNECT SERVICE is a great tool for individuals and agencies alike. It is easy, just type in a word that describes your needs and a list of agencies with detailed information will appear. If a program is missing, you can access our 'Bulletin Board Service' and post messages and information about new programs to be included in the XNET CONNECT SERVICE updates. It is a Win-Win situation!

Thank you for your support.

Ben Amor
Executive Director


I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
Christopher Reeve

Trinity University professors offered to make room in 240 courses and accommodate late entry Katrina victims.  To date, 18 victims have taken advantage of these offers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/BrazilKatrina.pdf

What brings tears to my eyes the thousands of dollars and hours of time our students are devoting to helping thousands of other victims in the San Antonio shelters.  Sports teams and student organizations are busing to these shelters to work nights.  There are a lot of unsung heroes and many of them might be the helpers of victims in your courses.  Please be tolerant if they are a bit tired and bleary eyed in class.

Trinity faculty and administrators have taken an active role in national efforts of relief.  But Trinity is not unique here.  Colleges and universities and school districts around the world are pitching in along with so many cities, business firms, churches, charitable organizations, and many others.  Bravo to you all!

A small group of college leaders, however, does have a sense of how it feels. These are academics who have led colleges through natural disasters. Members of this group, which no one wants to join, stress that their colleagues in New Orleans have it worse than they did. But they also want their counterparts on the Gulf Coast to know that a college can experience seemingly total catastrophe and come back strong.
Scott Jaschik, "Recovery From Disaster," Inside Higher Ed, September 13, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/13/recovery



Over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for corps civil works projects than any other state . . ..
Michael Barone (See below)

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.
Winston Churchill

What the American people have seen in this incredible disparity in which those people who had cars and money got out, and those people who were impoverished died.
Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/bminiter/?id=110007250

Jensen Comment: 
From the 2004 Census in New Orleans, there are 130,896 persons below the poverty line living in New Orleans.  That is an extremely high proportion of this city's total residents.  However, to date, only 279 deaths are reported for Louisiana, and not all of them were poor or residents of New Orleans.  And 102,202 residents are recorded by the Census Bureau as having one or more serious disabilities ---
http://snipurl.com/NewOrleansCensus
 

It would seem, Senator Kennedy, that we've witnessed a miracle that not more of New Orleans' poor and disabled were killed given the incompetence of city and state officials and police in taking immediate actions to prevent Katrina deaths.
 

"Reported Katrina Deaths, State by State," Yahoo News, September 12, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/katrina_death_toll_glance

Hurricane Katrina death tolls reported by state and local officials as of Monday

ALABAMA: 2

FLORIDA: 14

GEORGIA: 2

LOUISIANA: 279 (this was raised to 423 on the morning of September 14)

MISSISSIPPI: 218

TOTAL: 515 (this was raised to 659 on the morning of September 14)


The Captain abandons ship. 
Nagin pulled up stakes and moved his family to Dallas. The Dallas Morning News reports that Nagin has already bought a house in the city, and enrolled his daughter in school. Mayor says New Orleans now bankrupt.
"Dallas Digs (Nagin moves to Dallas)" --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,169194,00.html

Jensen Comment
After my somewhat negative comments about Mayor Nagin in my September 12 edition of Tidbits, a couple of Katrina victims contacted me in order to express what they think are the viewpoints of many New Orleans residents.  They believe that Nagin is a popular mayor because he fights corruption.  If true, this is rare in Louisiana politics.  Secondly, they think almost no victims without cars would have boarded the yellow school buses even if it had been convenient to do so when Nagin was broadcasting that all residents should evacuate New Orleans.  The major problem is the long history of false alarms that the levees might break.  Second, many residents were more complacent after Katrina was downgraded below a Category 5 storm.  ABC evening news even falsely (and I'm certain innocently) broadcast a claim that the levees held when in fact they had broken.  Third residents refusing to evacuate thought a more imminent threat was the looting of their vacant homes and apartments.  Fourth, there is the psychology of control.  A family evacuating in their own car has considerable control over destiny.  If that family ends up in poor accommodations, the family simply loads into the car and moves on.  A family boarding a bus to some unknown shelter has no control over destiny.  If a bused family ends up in bad accommodations it is stuck and must beg to be relocated.  Going to the local Super Dome makes more sense if you assume you will be free to leave immediately after the hurricane passes over.

One thing is certain.  Nagin is a former businessman and his inexperience with politics shows.  It is a very bad public relations for the Mayor of New Orleans to purchase a new home as far away as Dallas, Texas at the same time he's declaring New Orleans bankrupt.  His political image would be greatly enhanced if he'd rented a suburban New Orleans home as close as possible to the flooded city with promises of tending to business in efforts to restore New Orleans.  Secondly, it was a very bad political move to publicly support vacations for Las Vegas holidays for over 400 police and firefighters.  I suspect this cost the city something before declaring bankruptcy.  Even if it didn't cost a dime courtesy of Las Vegas hotels, it damaged public relations for Nagin to openly support police and firefighters going to luxury hotels while many of the 400,000 refugees were sleeping on shelter floors and sharing bathrooms with hundreds of strangers.

The report below is an example of how difficult it is to judge Mayor Nagin.  Before Katrina he might be praised for fighting a conflict of interest among some Tulane University faculty.  On the other hand, it might also look like he was simply trying to steer contracts to friends of city hall.  You be the judge!
Why did N.O. officials reject a federal grant? --- http://www.businessreport.com/newsDetail.cfm?aid=156

 


Why did Governor Blanco block the Red Cross early on?
The problem with this entire fiasco is that it began and grew geometrically on the local and state level. Had Governor Blanco allowed FEMA's representative agency, the American Red Cross, to give aid in the first place to those who would ultimately be trapped for days in the Superdome, many problems could have been averted.
Sher Zieve, "Blanco's Blocks Caused Bedlam," The Post Chronicle, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.postchronicle.com/commentary/article_212573.shtml 


Over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

And all this sexual harassment training while actual rapes are taking place throughout the lawless city of New Orleans

"Blame Aplenty," by Michael Barone, US News & World Report, September 19, 2005 --- http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/articles/050919/19barone.htm

A team of Indiana firefighters, volunteering to help rescue victims of Katrina, went to Atlanta, where Federal Emergency Management Agency staffers told them that their job was to hand out fliers and that their first task was to attend a multi-hour course on sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity. This is, astonishingly, standard operating procedure at FEMA. And in other parts of the federal government: Former CIA agent Robert Baer writes in his recent book how in Central Asia he asked headquarters to send someone who spoke Afghan languages, and Langley offered to send a four-member sexual harassment team instead. These are perhaps things to keep in mind when it comes time to assess the response to Katrina. Government is a clumsy instrument.

Even so, it is possible to spot some clear mistakes. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin should have ordered an evacuation on the Saturday, not the Sunday, before the hurricane, which, as predicted, came on Monday. Nagin made an even greater mistake by not following the city's emergency plan and using the 200-plus school buses to evacuate the elderly, infirm, and infants who had no other way of getting out of the city. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's state department of homeland security should not have blocked the Red Cross from bringing water, food, and sanitary facilities to the people in the Superdome. I don't doubt that Nagin and Blanco wanted to do what was best for their city and state, and I would not want to have to shoulder the responsibility they had. But, alas, they made mistakes.

Bum rap.
As for President George W. Bush, he probably should have left his Texas ranch a day earlier, and he might well have made a mistake in appointing Michael Brown, a man with little previous experience in emergency management, as head of FEMA. At week's end, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff named Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who has such experience, to take Brown's place directing the post-Katrina relief effort. The president, despite his well-known loyalty to longtime friends and aides, recognized his mistake, pulled Brown back to Washington, and put in a man who knows how to do the job.

But it's a bum rap to say that Bush left New Orleans unprepared for the flood. New Orleans has been engineered to withstand a Category 3 hurricane, as the result of decisions taken by many federal, state, and local administrations over many years; Katrina was a Category 4. But the Army Corps of Engineers hasn't been shortchanging Louisiana. As Michael Grunwald wrote in the Washington Post last week, "Over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large. Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate." So there have been mistakes all round, some made by single individuals in moments of crisis, some by many people over the course of many years.

Continued in article
 


CBS News, Howard Dean, and some black leaders report that  the "Bush Team" conspires against blacks? 

"Bush Team Conspired Against Blacks, Activists Charge," by Nathan Burchfiel, CBS News, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=\Politics\archive\200509\POL20050912a.html

Several black civil rights leaders are accusing the federal government of conspiring against poor African Americans in the aftermath of the flooding in New Orleans. But one of those hurling the charges, comedian and political activist Dick Gregory, on Friday refused to say what, if anything, he has personally contributed to the relief effort.

Gregory, who had just visited evacuees at the Houston Astrodome and the city's convention center, said he was able offer the flood victims something else besides money and food.

"I'm a hero in America, so just to go there and touch them, means a lot to them. [That] means more than taking them to the Red Cross and giving them food," Gregory told Cybercast News Service. Gregory did not reply to the question about whether he had made a personal donation. Listen to audio of Dick Gregory --- http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=\Politics\archive\200509\POL20050912a.html

Jesse Jackson fears black evacuees will be overlooked when it comes to federal aid and future jobs --- http://www.wlbt.com/global/story.asp?s=3835051&ClientType=Printable
Jensen Comment:  Jackson may be correct about this.  Given that many victims will voluntarily disappear from the shelters before learning about opportunities and the fact that historically over half the citizens in the U.S. that are eligible for food stamps (virtually cash equivalents) do not pick them up, there may be good reason for Reverend Jackson's fears.

Race was a factor in the death toll from Hurricane Katrina, Howard Dean told members of the National Baptist Convention of America on Wednesday at the group’s annual meeting.
Howard Dean --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9247380/
Jensen Comment:  I think this should be fairly obvious that there is a higher probability that the hundreds of people who died were mostly non-white since only 28% of the residents of New Orleans were white.  In the 2004 Census, there were only 135,946 whites among 484,674 total residents of New Orleans.  Only a very small percentage of the 348,728 non-white  residents are reported as dying from Katrina winds and floods (423 total Louisiana deaths of all races reported as of September 14).  Is it surprising then that the death toll probably has a much smaller proportion of whites than other races?  This would have happened with random selection of 423 people out of the 484,674 even if all the dead were from New Orleans.

What I don't like is the implication by politicians and black activists that all non-whites in New Orleans were below the poverty line.  In 2004, there were 130,896 persons of all races below the poverty line.  Even if they were all non-white, this leaves 217,832 (62%) above the poverty line.  The percentage is higher if you eliminate the whites living below the poverty line.

Where race enters in most in any major U.S. city, is that whites comprise a much higher proportion of residents in suburbs outside the city itself.  Reasons for this have been studied for decades by sociologists and other scholars.  Racism is undoubtedly a huge factor.  But many non-whites have been moving into those suburbs in recent years in every city.  Progress has been made in civil rights, but we still have a long way to go in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.  Activists need to keep pressuring us, but they should do so in a credible manner.


And then there are the blessed poor that really deserve all that we can give and more!
Canesha Blackman didn't even think to open the zippered bag she found outside a city building one day last month. The 24-year-old homeless woman just went back inside and turned it in, then returned to the task of scraping up enough change to take the bus to her job at a Checkers restaurant. It turned out the bag belonged to a Polk County sheriff's detective and held $800 in cash. Deputy Sandy Scherer had driven off with the bag on the hood of her car. Subsequent events have changed the life of Blackman, a single mother with five children ranging in age from 6 years to 6 months, as a rather innocuous good deed has prompted a flood of goodwill from all over. Scherer went to the Salvation Army homeless shelter where Blackman and her children were living to say thanks. A reporter for the local newspaper, the Ledger, got wind of what happened and printed a story. From there it took off, with donations and offers of other help pouring in. Weeks later it's still happening.
"Woman's act of honesty inspires more kindness," The St. Petersburg Times, September 11, 2005 --- http://www.sptimes.com/2005/09/11/State/Woman_s_act_of_honest.shtml


Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it, and then move on.
Bob Newhart

Absurd free speech from the left side of the world that may be helping GOP win elections
Violence is so intertwined with male sexuality that military pilots watch porn movies before they go out on sorties. The war in Afghanistan could not possibly offer a chance to liberate women from their oppressors, since it would simply expose women to yet another set of oppressors, in the gender feminists’ view.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, --- http://class.csueastbay.edu/ethnicstudies/Roxanne_Dunbar-Ortiz.php
Jensen Comment:  I wonder if
Professor Dunbar-Ortiz researched current Afgan women before asserting as a fact that their life is no better now than under the Taliban that would not even allow women to become educated to a point of being able to read and write.  I'll just bet Professor  Dunbar-Ortiz never did a simple Google search to find http://www.rawa.org/ (a site that would have been banned by the Taliban under threat of execution).

Professor Dunbar-Ortiz has a regular column at http://www.counterpunch.org/
The cavalry sent into the wild west of New Orleans had orders to pen in the starving black population that had been abandoned in order to protect property. It is not a sad or shameful day for the United States; it is a typical day in the United States for the poor, magnified.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz --- http://www.counterpunch.org/dunbar09072005.html
Jensen Comment:  Thousands upon thousands of victims in New Orleans are refusing to leave when given stern warnings and ample opportunities to be transported to welcoming shelters.  Many of the Katrina victims are poor but they were hardly "starving" before or after Katrina flooded New Orleans.  Out of the 326,000 black residents in New Orleans, what proportion actually starved to death each year Professor Dunbar-Ortiz?  I have a pharmacist friend in San Antonio who is working actively to coordinate city-wide prescriptions for a large number of Katrina victims.  She says that many of the victims' health problems stem from being overweight and/or from having poor diets high in fat, sugared sodas, and alcohol.  And virtually all school children before Katrina could get free meals in their schools.  An abnormally high percentage the adult victims have diabetes, and this is entirely the fault of the President of the United States.

One Doctor's Hurricane Relief Efforts
All News: From WebMD Health -- September 9, 2005

 

Tank Fills for Bush Bashers --- http://www.bestoftheblogs.com/ and http://www.thenation.com/ with the blogs at http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut?bid=7
Jensen Comment:  Thus far most of the hate fuel at the above sites is poured on the Bush rather than on the failures of Louisiana officials, especially the mayor who did not use his hundreds city busses to evacuate thousands of poor people while he was demanding that  people with cars to evacuate New Orleans.  Directing hate at Bush for Iraq is one thing, but I think the the above sites would have more credibility if they weren't so obvious about using the Katrina disaster as a Bush bashing political opportunity.  It's not much an opportunity for them, however, since they're mostly preaching to a choir of long-time Bush haters.

How can the media and professors achieve greater credibility?
You probably observed that I quote a lot from both The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and The New York Times (NYT).  Both have credibility in spite of their opposing biases on the editorial pages.  The WSJ is unapologetic in its biases for financial institutions and business enterprises.  And yet the WSJ is the best place to look for damning criticism of particular accounting firms, financial institutions, and corporations.  CEOs live in fear of WSJ reporters.  For example, when Enron was riding high, before the Watkins memo, WSJ reporters did some very clever investigations and wrote articles that commenced the slide of Enron share prices (particularly dogged reporters named John Emshwiller and Jonathan Weil).  The NYT sometimes has editorials that make me want to vomit.  But the Business Section of the NYT is one of the best places to go for balanced coverage of business and finance news.  

Usually, there's nothing wrong with admitting your biases to the public or your students.  What's wrong is to let these biases unbalance your coverage and a willingness to admit when the side you favor is wrong when it appears to you that it is wrong or when the side you oppose is being unfairly blamed.  And it is also wrong to categorize people as either being only right or left.  For example, I lean to the right in terms of economics and business and taxes, but I'm 100% behind birth control, abortion, stem cell research, minority/gay rights, gay marriage, career helpers for mothers, and Darwin.  I'm opposed to affirmative action in competition for jobs and college admissions, but I favor very liberal funding supplements and strict drug enforcement of K-12 schools in poorer school districts.  I think we should provide economic incentives not to have children in the face of worldwide exponential population explosion and ineffective immigration controls.
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://snipurl.com/9wu3

I think the U.S. government and its military have made monumental strategic errors since 9/11.  But it's absurd to characterize the U.S. as a mean-intentioned Evil Empire.  I think diversity includes hiring some economic conservatives in most academic departments where political viewpoints may matter, and I think Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh are just as dangerous as one-sided liberals like Professor Dunbar-Ortiz and the others mentioned at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm

I generally distrust our main television networks because those like NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN pretend to be objective when their biases are overwhelming after witnessing an event like Katrina.  Fox has opposing conservative biases, but Fox admits its biases up front and does not pretend to be unbiased.  Nothing would be wrong with CNN if it simply declared its liberal biases and became more like Fox at the other end of the spectrum.  It's the pretense of objectivity that is so hypocritical.

An example of my above point
Lauer and Couric each tried repeatedly to focus on the NEGATIVE while interviewing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and New Orleans Police Chief, but both responded POSITIVELY.
"Katie and Matt glum-faced on (the NBC) Today Show after being upstaged by optimistic disaster "victims", Free Republic, September 8, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1480048/posts


Admittedly some major news organizations just got it honestly wrong after the levees broke in New Orleans
But in the hours immediately following the storm, some news organizations seemed to play down the damage in New Orleans. Introducing "World News Tonight" on Aug. 29, anchor Charles Gibson said: "In New Orleans, entire neighborhoods are underwater, but the levees held. The nightmare scenario of an entire city underwater did not happen." A spokeswoman for ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co., had no comment.
Joe Hagan and Joseph T. Hallinan, "Why Levee Breaches In New Orleans Were Late-Breaking News," The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2005; Page B1 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112649152397237699,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


Scammers 'Donate' to Katrina Relief Effort (Sickening)
At one point in my monitoring of the chat conversations, however, it became clear that several fraudsters fancied themselves modern-day Robin Hoods; at least two individuals on the chat channel began posting copies of receipts they had garnered for donating to the American Red Cross's Hurricane Katrina relief fund - using their victims' credit card and billing addresses. Following a posting that contained a female victim's name, address, credit card number (referred to merely as "cc" in the following snipped conversation), came the notice that the scammers had donated $250 with this woman's account, and another amount using the Visa card of a Chicago man. (The names of the scammers have been changed for readbility and because the non-standard characters in them messed up the HTML formatting of this page).
Brian Krebs, "Scammers 'Donate' to Katrina Relief Effort," The Washington Post, September 13, 2005 --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2005/09/scammers_donate.html?referrer=email
Jensen Comment:  Krebs reports the actual messages.


Please just drop the billions off on the edge of town and leave the rest up to the New Orleans City Council
Underscoring tensions over who will control the agenda for the reconstruction of New Orleans, city leaders vented frustration that the federal government already has issued large contracts for initial cleanup and rebuilding without input from local leaders . . . In comments yesterday, President Bush tried to assuage concerns that the federal government will dictate how New Orleans will be rebuilt. "My attitude is this: The people of New Orleans can design the vision; the people of New Orleans can lay out what New Orleans ought to look like in the future; and the federal government will help," he said as he concluded his visit to the city. "I think the best policy is one in which the federal government doesn't come down and say, 'Here's what your city will look like.'"
Jeff D. Opdyke and Christopher Cooper, "New Orleans Officials Criticize Cleanup, Rebuilding Contracts," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2005; Page B2 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112657884474138969,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


Some things you just should not volunteer for Katrina victims

Portions of a September 13, 2005 message from Professor XXXXX

Bob,

I would like to volunteer to "recover" the digital information found on hard drives in computers that have been damaged during Katrina.

We can perhaps get 12+ people to the source and protect that confidential information.

XXXXX

September 13, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Professor XXXXX,

If you like, I will post your message in my Tidbits Newsletter.

I suspect that your intentions are ethical and benevolent. However, it this day of litigation, no single individuals dare take on such responsibilities. There is great moral hazard here for unscrupulous people to falsely allege that their privacy was jeopardized with claims of massive monetary damages to themselves.

And there is another factor to consider. I have a very religious friend who "somehow" ended up with some pornography (not child porn) on his hard drive. With all good intentions, he hired a computer expert to clean out the spyware, Trojan horses, and pornography from his hard drive. The technician doing this copied the hard drive and violated confidentiality by reporting my friend to his employer and to his minister. My friend lost his job, but his minister and his wife have gratefully stood behind him.

What if you find a great deal of child porn on somebody's hard drive? I think you're obligated by law to report it. And in so doing you risk your physical and economic well being.

I just don't think any individual should do this type of thing unless contracted by the owner, and even then there is great risk to the technician.

Bob Jensen

September 13, 2005 reply from Jack Seward (Professor XXXXX)

Bob,

Words of wisdom from you and I just wanted to jump in and help, but your correct. I was thinking of attorneys and accountants who need to get their life back in order and that generally starts with the computers. I could not do it for the average individual because of the liability and risks and that's why I sent you the email because of your contacts. So do post it on your site if you see fit. Again the offer is to provide some help and I have people in the business who share my views. Your correct on finding Child Pornography and reporting that to the authorities, but my task would be to get the hard drive working....perhaps imaging to a new drive and I don't take anything or have any copies of anything and they will have to sign a hold harmless agreement. I would do no more or no less. Collectively the team would develop "best practices" for the situation and get things up and running.

BTW speaking of privacy, perhaps you would enjoy my attached - see article - published by the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal on use of ListServ and email etc.

And I'm still attempting to finish up my article with Alan Reinstein of Wayne U.

Jack

Jack Seward
jackseward@msn.com 
NYC 917-450-9328




We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
Bertha Calloway

The Pending Collapse of the United States
Actually I'm down on President Bush for reasons other than those tiresome criticisms repeated ad nauseam in the liberal media links cited above.  My criticism is that he never uses his veto pen to bring economic sanity to a spendthrift legislature.  I think he hails from the Texas Chicken Ranch (I mean one where real chickens were hatched).

Presidential elections have become so close in our politically divided nation that it is necessary to promise everything to everybody at the expense of future generations.  Bush, and his father before him and Clinton in between, allowed Congress to build mountains of national debt and, what is even worse, entitlement burdens of future generations.  For political reasons Bush did not veto the totally disastrous Medicare Drug Plan. 

Canada (yes Michael Moore) and possibly Russia might survive liberal entitlements because these huge nations have relatively few people owning enormous land masses of vast natural resources per capita.  Overpopulated nations like Brazil, India, and China will eventually emerge as winners because entitlements are totally infeasible due to having too many people relative to natural resources.  It's the highly populated developed nations like the U.S., Japan, and European Union that are already doomed by their entitlements contracted during prosperity --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm 

 

$62 billion request for emergency Katrina relief
With almost no debate and with precious few provisions for oversight, Congress has passed President Bush's mammoth $62 billion request for emergency Katrina relief. House Speaker Denny Hastert says the final total will "probably [be] under the cost of the highway bill" that Congress passed last month with a price tag of $286.4 billion.
"Hey, Big Spender FDR and Truman made cuts when crises demanded it. Why won't Bush?" Opinion Journal, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110007246
 

Flashback:  The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2001
As it struggled with the loss of many of its own employees, the insurance industry also is facing what is certainly the largest man-made and possibly the largest-ever disaster it has faced, with the price tag estimated at more than $10 billion.

 

After the actual 9/11 settlements we have the following as of November 2004:

"9/11 Victims Compensation Averaged 3.1 Million Each," TalkLeft.com, November 8, 2004 --- http://talkleft.com/new_archives/008679.html

A new report by the Rand Institute for Social Justice says that victims of the 9/11 attacks received a total of $31.2 billion in compensation, averaging out to 3.1 million per victim.

Insurers paid 51 percent of the overall total, or about $19.6 billion. The government distributed $15.8 billion, or 42 percent, and charities paid $2.7 billion, or 7 percent.

"Victims" does not refer only to family members of those killed. It also covers businesses, emergency workers, first responders, and

displaced residents, workers who lost their jobs, and those who suffered emotional problems or were exposed to environmental dangers.

Businesses received 61% of the total amount largely due to having  insurance coverage.  In terms of U.S. insurance coverage, there's an enormous difference between fire versus flood disasters.

Jensen Comment: 
Katrina will be more costly than 9/11.  But Katrina victims will get nowhere near the settlements that 9/11 victims got for a number of reasons.  It appears that the Katrina death toll will be far less than projected --- hundreds rather than tens of thousands estimated early on by Louisiana officials.  The generous 9/11 settlements from the government were paid out in lieu of suing the airlines whose planes were hijacked on 9/11.  With over 3,000 such lawsuits pending just for deaths alone, the airline industry might have collapsed and, thereby, destroyed passenger, mail, cargo, and other essentials in commerce. 

What is "fair" is not always what takes place in life as other victims such as the Oklahoma City bombing victims can attest to after staring in utter disbelief at the subsequent multi-million settlements to 9/11 victims.  In the Oklahoma City case there was no private enterprises (like airlines) with vast resources that could be sued for negligence.  If all victims of bombing and natural disasters receive entitlements of  multi-million settlements, the U.S. will sink much sooner in its tax burdens and national debt.

What's the real cost of Katrina?
Katrina will be the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history in terms of providing shelter, food, education, medical care, and living allowances to nearly 400,000 refugees who must wait for many months (years?) for their homes, jobs, schools, hospitals, and lives to be restored.  And there is the immense cost of rebuilding New Orleans below sea level so it can withstand future Category 5 storms. 

And there's a new Super Duper Dome to build so the Saints can come marching home.

The lion's share of Katrina damage is being paid for by the Federal government, corporate donations, benevolent private individuals, school districts and host cities, insurance companies, and gifts of one sort of another from foreign nations.  Unfortunately much of this benevolence, especially Federal tax dollars, will  eventually will be wasted on the rusted and corrupt political machines in Louisiana.  Linda Kidwell sent the link to http://www.cq.com/public/20050912_homeland.html

The Great Depression topped Katrina, but what happened following the Crash of 1929 can hardly be called a natural disaster, although there were droughts and dust bowls that complicated agriculture in the 1930s.  We learned from previous economic mistakes and poor erosion controls, thereby turning some of our worst troubles into successes.  I suspect that we will learn from the Katrina disaster about how to better deal with natural and man-made disasters. 

What we may never learn is how to save the developed countries like the U.S. from their own economic successes and inclinations to go ever deeper into national debt with the best of intentions of entitling the current generation of super rich, rich, so-so rich, middle class at all levels, and our poor who really aren't yet starving in the United States.  Everybody, I mean all of us, in one way or another is sucking on the grand tetons of government.

I hope that Michael Moore one day conducts in-depth research rather than provide superficial documentaries lamenting why U.S. welfare differs from Canadian welfare.  I hope he one day grasps how entitlements as well as world policing will impoverish future generations throughout the United States.  High taxation drags the economy down, and soaring debt in lieu of high taxes plus unfunded entitlements are a time bombs far worse than any bombs in Osama's most vicious daydreams. 

But I do thank you Senator Kennedy for my generous Medicare with drug benefits that I will enjoy for the remainder of my life if I don't live too long.  Next year is a good year to become a senior citizen!  I fear for those who are less than forty years of age, and am really glad that I'm not one of them.  I was a child of the 1950s, and life as been good to me since nobody pulled the red levers (that send up mushroom shaped clouds) during the Cold War. 




I believe I have found the missing link between animals and civilized man. It is us.
Konrad Lorenz

In the past I've stressed the need for replication in research --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#AcademicsVersusProfession

This is an example of one of those very interesting studies in need of replication on a wider scale with real investors making real portfolio decisions.

"Brain Regions Blamed for Bad Investment Ideas:  Risky vs. Safe Investment Mistakes May Spring From Different Brain Regions," by Jennifer Warner, WebMD, August 31, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/article/110/109839.htm

A new discovery may help explain where boneheaded investment ideas and get- rich-quick schemes come from.

Researchers say two different brain regions may be involved in making risky vs. conservative investment mistakes, a finding that may eventually help economists build better models of people's investment behavior.

"Overall, these findings suggest that risk-seeking choices (such as gambling at a casino) and risk-averse choices (such as buying insurance) may be driven by two distinct [brain regions]," write Camelia Kuhnen of the Stanford University School of Business and colleagues in the Sept. 1 issue of Neuron.

They say activating either of these two areas can lead to a shift in risk preferences, which may explain why casinos surround their guests with reward cues, such as inexpensive food, free liquor, surprise gifts, and potential jackpot prizes.

This anticipation of reward stimulates the risk-seeking area of the brain and may increase the likelihood of individuals switching from conservative, risk-aversion investment behavior to risky investment behavior. A similar story in reverse may also apply to marketing strategies used by insurance companies.

Where Bad Investment Ideas Come From

In the study, researchers used brain imaging to analyze brain region activity in a group of adult volunteers who were asked to make investment decisions between two stocks and a bond by pressing a button.

Before each session, researchers told the participants they would receive a percentage of the cash that they made by investing or would lose cash from their participation fee if they were not successful.

Continued in article


September 8, 2005 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

BRAINS, MINDS & MEDIA: JOURNAL OF NEW MEDIA IN NEURAL AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND EDUCATION, a free, open-access, peer-reviewed online journal, has begun publication. Included in the first issue are reports on two projects: CELEST: The Center of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science, and Technology and the GENESIS Project. The papers are now online at
http://www.brains-minds-media.org/current .

Brains, Minds & Media [ISSN 1861-1680] is published by the Department of Neurobiology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany; tel: 49-521-106-5570; fax: 49-521-106-6038; email: editors@brains-minds-media.org ; Web: http://www.brains-minds-media.org/ .


Fraud Beat:  Insider Trading by Somebody Who's Already a Billionaire

"Oracle's Chief in Agreement to Settle Insider Trading Lawsuit," by Jonathan D. Glater,  The New York Times, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/12/technology/12oracle.html

Lawrence J. Ellison, chief executive of Oracle, has reached a tentative agreement under which he would pay $100 million to charity to resolve a lawsuit charging that he engaged in insider trading in 2001, a lawyer involved in the case said.

The unusual settlement, which requires the approval of Oracle's board and could still break down, would be one of the largest payments made to resolve a shareholder suit of this kind, known as a derivative lawsuit. Typically in derivative lawsuits, damages are paid directly to the company. Under the terms of the settlement, Mr. Ellison would designate the charity and the payments, to be made over five years, would be paid in the name of Oracle. It is unclear whether the payments would be tax-deductible by Mr. Ellison.

The lawsuit charged that Mr. Ellison, known for his brash and combative pronouncements, sold almost $900 million of shares ahead of news that Oracle would not meet its expected earnings target. The same amount of stock, after the announcement, was worth slightly more than half as much.

According to the court docket for the case, which was filed in Superior Court in San Mateo, Calif., a hearing on the settlement - which requires court approval - is scheduled for Sept. 26. Under the terms of the agreement, the lawyers who brought the case for shareholders would receive about $22.5 million, separate from the $100 million payment.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on Rotten to the Core are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm


Danger:  What if everybody uses the same formula? 
Banker David Li's computerized financial formula has fueled explosive growth in the credit derivatives market. Now, hundreds of billions of dollars ride on variations of the model every day.  When a credit agency downgraded General Motors Corp.'s debt in May, the auto maker's securities sank. But it wasn't just holders of GM shares and bonds who felt the pain. Like the proverbial flap of a butterfly's wings rippling into a tornado, GM's woes caused hedge funds around the world to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in other investments on behalf of wealthy individuals, institutions like university endowments -- and, via pension funds, regular folk.
Mark Whitehouse, "How a Formula Ignited Market That Burned Some Big Investors:  Credit Derivatives Got a Boost From Clever Pricing Model; Hedge Funds Misused It Inspiration," The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112649094075137685,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Bob Jensen's threads on credit derivatives are under the C-Terms at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#C-Terms


The Case for Goliath
The policy conclusion is that the U.S. should seize every chance to make global institutions more effective. Conventional wisdom, piece No. 2: The U.S. has no serious military or economic rival, but this may not endure forever. As Michael Mandelbaum argues in his forthcoming book, "The Case for Goliath," the U.S. underpins global prosperity by providing a global currency, secure shipping lanes and a host of other public goods; it's scary to think what might happen if the U.S. lost the ability to perform this function. The policy conclusion is the same.
Sebastian Mallaby, "Missed Opportunity,"  The Washington Post, Reprinted in The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112655605038138390,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


The UN Gang
Pedro Sanjuan's "The UN Gang" (Doubleday, 202 pages, $24.95) tries to explain why. In 1984, Vice President George H.W. Bush nominated Mr. Sanjuan to be the director of political affairs in the U.N. Secretariat, the massive administrative core of the institution. Mr. Sanjuan's real job was to spy on the Soviet spies working for the secretary-general. This was not an easy task: "I was one against 274 of them at the time of my arrival." "The UN Gang" is Mr. Sanjuan's memoir of his U.N. experience. It does not present a pretty picture of the United Nations -- or, by the end of the book, of the author himself.
Daniel Drezner, "The Asylum on the East River," The Wall Street Journal,  September 13, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112656041861538488,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


A Literature Research Topic Generator (I'm not sure how original these are, but I found them very interesting) --- http://people.brandeis.edu/~sravana/lit_topics.html

Whitecraft Writer's Resource Center --- http://www.writecraftweb.com/

Chicago Manual of Style http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org

English Tests --- http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/tests

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


Gay and Black Glossary --- http://mindprod.com/ggloss/rhenquist.html


Jensen Comment:  I use GoToMyPC all  the time for running my desktop computer in Texas from my retirement  home in New Hampshire.

GoToMyPC Security White Paper by Citrix Online, A Division of Citrix Systems, Inc. --- http://whitepaper.informationweek.com/search/index/cmpinformationweek/sol_summary/71805/CMPInformationWeek/71805


"Make love and not war" may be a dead end strategy
Pygmy chimpanzees known as "jungle hippies" for resolving conflict through sex rather than fighting are hurtling towards extinction faster than any other primate, experts said yesterday. Bonobos, gentle creatures found only in the remote war-torn forests of Congo, live in strictly matriarchal families and neither kill nor fight over territory. They also pair off for sex at the slightest hint of danger, stress or friction, earning them their hippy nicknames for "making love not war". They are among man's closest relatives and face the prospect of being the first great ape to be wiped from the planet.
Mike Pflanz, "'Pacifist' chimps face extinction within a generation," NewsTelegraph, September 8, 2005 --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/08/wbono08.xml

Actually, the bonobos' evolutionary descendants, Homo woodstockus, have already been wiped out except for a few specimens in captivity, their ecosystem invaded by the predatory Homo deaniacus, commonly known as the Angry Left.
Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, September 9, 2005


Women Now Practicing Defensive Drinking
My mom always told me to be careful when you're out," Hurt said as she sipped a Long Island iced tea and celebrated her 23rd birthday with friends at a Chicago bar recently. Hurt is part of a generation of young female drinkers who have absorbed the methods of protecting themselves and their friends during a night on the town. A decade after so-called daterape drugs first made headlines and the threat of spiked drinks swept conversations in bars and clubs across the country, the ways of young women drinking in America have changed. A whole generation has been taught to drink defensively, to watch their glasses like they would watch their purses.
Bill Glauber, "Women Now Practicing Defensive Drinking," TheLedger, September 7, 2005  --- http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050907/NEWS/509070303/1021


Want a Hedge Fund? Here's Your Homework
IF you're thinking about investing in a hedge fund, how can you steer clear of the likes of the Bayou Group, the recently imploded hedge fund company and brokerage firm run by Samuel Israel III? Unfortunately, getting information about individual hedge funds isn't easy. While hedge funds have generally had positive returns, experts point out that some of them can be big money losers - and that this makes the decision to invest in any single fund a very risky business. A variety of databases provide information about hedge funds, but they are by no means infallible, and in any case many of them are often unavailable to the average investor.
Geraldine Fabrikant, "Want a Hedge Fund? Here's Your Homework," The New York Times, September 11, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/business/yourmoney/11hedg.html

Note that the term "hedge" as in the oxyomoron "hedge fund" is misleading since investors are not assured of hedges for risk.  Bob Jensen's threads on hedge funds are under the H-terms at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#H-Terms


Growing Gender Gap in College Enrollments
By 2014, American colleges are expected to enroll 19.5 million students, up 17 percent from 2002. Increases should be particularly notable for women, full-time students, and professional-school students. Those predictions come from “Projections of Education Statistics to 2014,” the latest version of an annual report from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics that examines trends for the decade ahead. The report covers enrollments at all levels of education and uses data about high school graduates, enrollment patterns in higher education, and other figures to project totals. The statistics experts who prepare the report acknowledge the uncertainties of predicting the future and so produce three versions of their projections, suggesting the greatest confidence in the middle figures (which are those cited in this article).
Scott Jaschik, "Growing Gender Gap," Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/12/projections

Also see "Mutual interdependence of men and women" --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-28-05.htm

              "Gender Gap in Publishing" --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/06/publishing 


Faith and Health, Part II
Facing a lawsuit charging it with intermingling church and state, the University of Minnesota has dropped plans to offer a set of courses on the intersection of faith and health.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin nonprofit group, had sued the university in March, saying that its involvement in the Minnesota Faith Health Consortium, a partnership with Luther Seminary, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and Fairview Health Services, a health care organization, entangled the public institution inappropriately with the promotion of religion. Among the group’s goals, according to its Web site, were increasing understanding of the links between religious faith and health, and “enhancing leadership capacity to link faith and health.”
Doug Lederman, "Faith and Health, Part II," Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/12/minn


Faith, Racism, Gender, and Katrina
"Teaching a Disaster," by Anthea Butler, Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/09/12/butler

New Orleans is also home to a large number of African American Catholics, in part because of the Code Noir that required slaves to be baptized into the Catholic church within 30 days of purchase in Louisiana. The dead that slip into the view of the camera also conjure up images of religious belief and meaning. Newscasters hoping to exploit the cultural angle have invoked voodoo, a large part of the religious and social lore of New Orleans, improperly. The images of people fleeing, of family members trying to reconnect, all bring to mind the Freedmen’s Bureau, post-Civil War, and the endless newspaper advertisements during the Reconstruction period to find loved ones. More than a century later, their counterparts are on Internet lists of missing family on the Red Cross and various news outlets. How best to bring all of these issues and images together for students to see the connections?

In order to provide a touch point for students to discuss these issues, I am using many of the current images alongside historical images of slave ships, with descriptions of the conditions that slaves lived in prior to arriving in the port of New Orleans. In the weeks following, I will revisit the issue of the cultural losses that have occurred in New Orleans by talking about the development of religious life and culture of both African Americans and the free Creole population of New Orleans. Whether its food, jazz music, religious beliefs or Mardi Gras, African American culture and religion permeate these iconic images of New Orleans. Finally, the great migration of African Americans out of New Orleans is strangely reminiscent to the Great migration, which provided religious renewal to cities like Chicago and Detroit. One wonders if the same will occur with the New Orleanians taking their African based cultural identities with them. Fundamental to all of these is race, class, and gender. The historic hesitancy to come to the aid of African American populations because of the confluence of these constructs is core to the understanding of the tragedy unfolding in New Orleans and the gulf coast region affected by Katrina.

Continued in article



Varying generation improvements in education

The children of recent immigrants are much more likely to earn college degrees than are their parents, and successive generations are likely to do even better. But Mexican American immigrants — while still showing significant progress from generation to generation — lag behind other groups, according to a new
report based on data from California.  The report is significant because California, the nation’s most populous state, has a population in which more than half of people aged 13 through 24 have at least one foreign-born parent. And much data that educators have used historically to compare the progress of differing groups has focused on race and ethnicity, not family immigration history. The study was conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Scott Jaschik, "Generational Improvements," Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/12/immigrant

Barriers to a ‘Seamless’ K-16 System
While state policy makers and educators have ramped up their rhetoric about creating a seamless system of “K-16″ education, a report to be released today suggests that states’ nascent efforts to actually do so are often impeded by the state’s own structures and policies.
Doug Lederman, "Barriers to a ‘Seamless’ K-16 System," Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/12/k16
Jensen Comment:  One problem is that officials along with society in general in the U.S. place too much stress on college education.  The U.S. should follow Europe's lead in both motivating and rewarding more students to enter skilled trades where there are far more shortages than in college graduates.
 


What happened to the black freshmen in the University of Kentucky?
The number of black freshmen enrolling at the University of Kentucky this fall is down 40 percent from last year, the Associated Press reported. Kentucky officials attributed the drop in part to an increase in the minimum ACT score required for admission.
Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/12/qt
 

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.
Henry Ford

The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and range. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates. With the increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion to the devaluation of the world of men. Labour produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity -- and does so in the proportion in which it produces commodities generally.
Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844) --- http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/marx.html

Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History --- http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/intellect.html


Are you moving overseas?
The 2004 Jobs Act rewrote the tax and reporting rules for U.S. citizens and foreign residents moving overseas. Here are planning suggestions for this new environment --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/sep2005/lifson.htm

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation


Better Cancer Detection
While much of that research has focused on protein biomarkers, some of the first molecular tests to arrive on the market may be ones that look instead at a phenomenon called DNA methylation. A few small biotech companies, some partnered with major pharmaceutical companies like Johnson and Johnson and Roche, say their first DNA methylation-based tests for prostate cancer could be available next year. DNA methylation occurs when methyl groups--carbon atoms surrounded by three hydrogen atoms each--attach to a gene without changing its actual sequence. Methylation can alter a gene's behavior by, for instance, turning it off, and aberrant patterns of methylation are involved in almost all types of cancer. What's more, abnormal methylation happens early on in the disease process, which makes it "a highly promising biomarker for cancer," says Stephen Baylin, an oncology professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Researchers have so far identified some 40 to 50 genes whose methylation patterns play a role in the development of cancer.
Corie Lok, "Better Cancer Detection," MIT's Technology Review, October 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/10/issue/forward_cancer.asp?trk=nl


How Companies Can Restore a Tarnished Image
Martha Stewart, accounting firm KPMG, insurance broker Marsh & McLennan, and Merck, manufacturer of the troubled painkiller Vioxx, are among the most recent examples of companies that face the challenge of restoring damaged reputations. How best to do that? According to Wharton faculty and others, companies that acknowledge they have problems and launch communication programs to repair tarnished reputations stand the best chance of rehabilitation. And the worst way? Hide the problem, lie or appeal only to special interest constituencies.
"Brand Rehab: How Companies Can Restore a Tarnished Image," Wharton, September 8, 2005 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1279


Ask Jeeves And Spyware
The quickest way to tarnish an Internet brand is to have it associated with spyware. So it's no wonder that Ask Jeeves is scrambling to defend itself against the decision of two anti-spyware vendors to flag the search engine's web browser toolbars. It's not that Ask Jeeves is distributing spyware. No one is accusing it of that. But according to Sunbelt Software and Facetime, partners of the company are not being upfront in distributing the Ask Jeeves programs to consumers.
InternetWeek Newsletter, September 13, 2005


Microsoft Blasts Massachusetts' New XML Policy
Even as millions of dollars worth of Office business hangs in the balance, Microsoft says it will not support the OpenDocument format likely to be adopted by the state of Massachusetts this month as its standard XML format.  Microsoft is lashing out against a revised IT policy planned by Massachusetts that would kill the use of Office in state agencies unless the company adopts the OpenDocument file format. According to a proposed plan distributed by the state's Information Technology Division on Wednesday, only two document formats – Open Document and Adobe's PDF – will be acceptable for state use in the future. The OpenDocument format, which was ratified in May by Oasis, is supported by OpenOffice, an open source Office suite, and in Sun's StarOffice, which is owned by Sun Microsystems. "Desktop software that supports OpenDocument and PDF in the future is acceptable; Microsoft's proprietary XML formats are not," Eric Kriss, Secretary of Administration & Finance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, told CRN during an telephone interview Friday.
Paula Rooney, "Microsoft Blasts Massachusetts' New XML Policy," InformationWeek, September 2, 2005 ---
 

Microsoft Appeals EU's Open-Source Ruling ---
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170700979

Court Documents: Microsoft's Ballmer Vowed To 'Kill' Google In Obscenity-Laden, Chair-Throwing Rant --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170700381

Ex-Exec Kai-Fu Lee Accuses Microsoft Of Incompetence ---
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170700911
Jensen Comment:  This comes as no surprise to most computer scientists.

Microsoft's chairman (Gates) sits down for a talk about the company's new approach to business software, the shortage of computer-science grads, and more.
Aaron Ricadela,  InformationWeek, September 7, 2005 ---
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170701119

Gates Lays Out Strategy For Building Better Business Software  

Gates declares role-based revolution  --- http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/index.php?p=1815&tag=nl.e539

Ballmer: Microsoft Needs To Work Harder To Woo Midsize Businesses --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170701280

Microsoft Fights Piracy In China, Linux Wins ---
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170700943


Great Comparisons of Tax Software
"Tax Software Makes the Grade, by Stanley Zarowin, Journal of Accountancy, September 2005, pp. 48-60 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/sep2005/zarowin.htm

 
When asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the 13 tax software products in the survey this year, the 3,156 AICPA Tax Section members who responded to the survey came up with a combined average score of 4.23 (out of a perfect 5.00), a significant gain from last year’s 4.03. In addition to the eight packages rated last year, three new products received the minimum required 10 responses from our CPA respondents. (For details about all the vendors in the survey, see exhibit 1; for a complete scorecard on the satisfaction grades, see exhibit 2; and for technical details about the products, see exhibit 6.)

Tied for first place in the overall-satisfaction category, with ratings of 4.46, were Intuit’s highly popular Lacerte and the much smaller Dunphy System’s Tax Software for the Professional. Lacerte inched up from last year’s 4.32 rating; since Dunphy was not in last year’s survey, it has no year-ago rating. Tied for second place with 4.44 were Drake Software and Taxware System’s Taxware Tax Preparation; both are new to the survey this year.

Continued in detail in the article

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

September 7, 2005 reply from Kurt Wilner

Dear Professor Jensen, I feel kinda cheated that your post didn't look beyond the 'big boys' surveyed by the AICPA. In my case, I jumped from Lacerte the year after Intuit bought it -- and jacked its fees up majorly -- to ATX, which seems to serve a huge base of "small practices" such as my own. ATX makes the grade in 'The CPA Journal" and other mags; so I wonder why it's neglected by your own cite -- which, in general, I prize for its independence from commercial trends. Could you comment further upon this, please?

Sincerely yours,

Kurt Wilner


Do Yahoo and Google fund sypware?
September 7, 2005 message from Richard Campbell

See: http://www.benedelman.org/news/083105-1.html 

Richard J. Campbell
mailto:campbell@rio.edu 


Photograph restoration --- http://retouchpro.com/tutorials/


Conservation Book Repair:  A Training Manual --- http://www.library.state.ak.us/hist/conman.html


Another Win for Ward Churchill
A University of Colorado misconduct committee has rejected a set of allegations that were made against Ward Churchill by the family of his late ex-wife. Churchill is once again claiming that he has won a victory, but the most serious charges against him remain alive. Churchill, an ethnic studies professor at the university’s Boulder campus, has been under investigation since a furor arose over controversial statements he made . . .
"Another (Short-Term?) Win for Ward Churchill," Inside Higher Ed, September 8, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/08/churchill

Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyChurchill.htm


White Collar Hell
Right now, business is the most popular undergraduate major in America, largely because young people believe it will lead to wealth or at least security. I want them to rethink that decision, or at least do some hard thinking about what uses they would like apply their business skills to. There’s not much by way of individual guidance in Bait and Switch, but I do want to get people thinking more about corporate domination, not only of the economy, but of our psyches. Generally speaking, the corporations have us by the short hairs wherever you look, and of course, one source of their grip is the idea that they are the only or the major source of jobs. I’m asking, what kind of jobs — back-breaking low-wage jobs as in Nickel and Dimed, or transient, better-paid jobs that seem to depend heavily on one’s ability to be a suck-up, as in Bait and Switch?
Barbara Ehrenreich in an interview with Scott McLemee, "White-Collar Hell," Inside Higher Ed, September 9, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/09/08/mclemee
 

I wonder what Ehrenreich (see above) would have to say about Sherron?

"She tried too hard to be one of the boys"
Time Magazine's Foul-Mouthed 2002 Person of the Year

Sherron (Smith) Watkins was the Enron executive credited with blowing the whistle about Andy Fastow's illegal SPE dealings.  She sent her now famous letter to both CEO Ken Lay and to the Andersen auditors where she'd been employed before coming to Enron.  She was eventually named one of Time Magazine's 2002 "Persons of the Year" --- http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2002/

From Kurt Eichenwald's Conspiracy of Fools:  A True Study, (Broadway Books, 2005, pp. 95-96).

Sherron Smith flipped through the pages of an investment presentation, her face tightening in disgust.

A former accountant, Smith had worked at Enron since October 1993, when she was hired to manage JEDI, Enron's joint venture with Calpers. At first she had enjoyed Enron and her boss, Andy Fastow, who struck her as energetic and dynamic, with occasional touches of thoughtfulness. But over time, Fastow's shortcomings as a manager had alienated her. That year he had even failed to show up at the semiannual Performance Review Committee meeting, where managers pushed to get bonuses and promotions for their staff. As a result, Smith had come away with a disappointing fourteen-thousand-dollar bonus and a simmering anger toward Fastow. She had even considered quitting.

Then, salvation. Fastow moved to retail. Rick Causey, Skilling's favorite accountant, took over, and her world brightened. Causey was a friendly, doughy man who had already promised to get raises for Smith and her colleagues. The change rekindled her good feelings for Enron.

Her job, put simply, was to act as JEDI's gatekeeper. Executives around Enron were always looking for JEDI to invest in their deals. But too many proposals were fanciful--badly thought out, badly structured, or just plain bad.

When deal makers made a sloppy presentation to Smith, she savaged them. She delighted in shocking people with uncomfortable truths--about anything at all, including herself. The knock on Smith was that she tried too hard to be one of the boys--so long as the boys were truck drivers and longshoremen. Her foul mouth at meetings was legendary, and this day, no one expected to be any different.

Smith closed up the presentation, staring hard across the table at the executives who brought it to her.

"What the fuck is this?" she snorted. "This thing looks like a circle jerk to me."

Smirks all around. Sherron was just being Sherron.

"Sherron, I know you've got strong opinions, but there's a lot of value--," one of the executives began.

"Oh, come on, Smith interrupted. "Let's not sit around blowing each other, okay?"

One side of the table, a couple of Smith's colleagues, Shirley Hudler and Bill Brown, listened to the exchange and winced. They respected Smith but thought her salty approach to business discussions damaged her.

Oh, God, Sherron, Hudler thought. Shut up.

The deal team pushed hard for Smith to change her mind. Smith countered with responses about the problems with the transaction; her arguments were strong. The case for doing the deal crumpled.

Smith quashed another proposal--but, as always, at a price. Her colleagues whispered that her coarse language was undermining her credibility, that her penchant for one-upmanship was giving her the reputation as someone who wouldn't listen. If she didn't stop, if she didn't learn how to play nice in a corporate setting, if she didn't learn to be more of a team player, they had no doubt that Sherron Smith's future at Enron would be bleak.

None of her colleagues could have imagined that Smith would be one of Enron's few executives to emerge from the company in high stead, known worldwide under her then-married name as Sherron Watkins, the Enron whistle-blower.

Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron implosion and the Andersen explosion are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm


It's Official:  The EU has officially recognized the Irish language
The European Union has a single currency, but what about a single language? Since its inception, the EU has made each member state’s language one of its official tongues. Recently, even Irish, spoken at home by only a tiny minority, was granted full official status.
Abram De Swaan, "GLOBALISATION: Europe’s English-speaking peoples," Daily Times, September 11, 2005 --- http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_11-9-2005_pg3_6


Al Franken lies about money intended for children that was illegally diverted?
A month ago Al Franken claimed ignorance of the transfers. "I didn't know anything about this until late last week," he told Air America listeners on Aug. 8. The network's brass echoed this: Air America CEO Danny Goldberg told the New York Sun this week that the "on-air talent" has "never had any responsibility for this loan." This seemed plausible at the time, since no one expects the talent to be arranging finances, so in our Aug. 3 editorial on the subject we gave Mr. Franken a pass . . . Mr. Franken's signature appears on a page stamped by State of New York Notary Public Wallis Northworth in which Mr. Northworth attests that Mr. Franken signed the document in his presence. Claims that Mr. Franken was unaware of the particulars fly in the face of a clause in the document that states each signatory "has read this Agreement and understands its terms." Mr. Franken has made a career playing gotcha. The scandal involves the funnelling of tax dollars intended for children to fund a failing partisan radio venture. His prevarications look much like what he criticizes in others.
"Al Franken, explain this one," The Washington Times, September 11, 2005 ---
http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20050910-110431-4205r.htm


AACSB to fight MBA program rankings in the media

A report on the controversial paper by Harry DeAngelo,  Linda DeAngelo, and Jerry Zimmerman now appears in an AACSB report at   http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/enewsline/Vol-4/Issue-8/lead-story.asp

The study precedes an upcoming AACSB International report that calls for the media to change the way it assigns rankings to business degree granting institutions. The AACSB document, to be released in September, calls the ranking methods used by BusinessWeek, Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, and other media outlets flawed because of inconsistent and unverified data, which confuses rather than helps the consumer.

The AECM threads on this topic are available (scroll down) at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q3.htm#083105


Criminal trials driven by "stories rather than theories
Sadakat Kadri, a criminal defense lawyer who has studied and practiced in both Britain and the U.S., now gives us "The Trial" (Random House, 459 pages, $29.95), a colorful work of popular history that ranges across the centuries from the familiar (Scopes, Nuremberg, O.J.) to the obscure: e.g., Sir Edward Coke's 1603 prosecution of Sir Walter Raleigh for treason and Clarence Darrow's 1926 defense of Henry Sweet, a 22-year-old black student in Detroit charged with shooting a member of a white mob besieging his brother's house. Mr. Kadri's aim is to assemble a history of the criminal trial that is driven by "stories rather than theories." Such an approach allows him to indulge a penchant for the grotesque, the extreme and the ribald without quite losing sight of the bigger picture -- the difficulty of reconciling the cause of truth-finding with the imperatives of ritual and drama.
Walter Olson, "Justice Served, Sometimes," The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2005; Page D10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112612976198834474,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


HERMANN HESSE (History) --- http://www.gss.ucsb.edu/projects/hesse/




OEDILF The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form --- http://www.oedilf.com/db/Lim.php

101 Ways to Get Fired From Your Job ---
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0975400606/ref=sib_dp_pt/104-6521692-7751965#reader-page


Tongue Twisters --- http://www.contestcen.com/tongue.htm


Forwarded by Paula

An Amish woman was driving her buggy to town when a highway patrol officer stopped her. "I'm not going to cite you," said the officer. "I just wanted to warn you that the reflector on the back of your buggy is broken and it could be dangerous."

"I thank thee", replied the Amish lady. "I shall have my husband repair it as soon as I return home."

"Also," said the officer, "I noticed one of your reins to your horse is wrapped around his testicles. Some people might consider this cruelty to animals, so you should have your husband check that too."

"Again I thank thee. I shall have my husband check both when I get home."

True to her word, when the Amish lady got home she told her husband about the broken reflector, and he said he would put a new one on immediately.

"Also," said the Amish woman, "the policeman said there was something wrong with the emergency brake."

Jensen Comment
I think we should consider the above type of emergency brake for President Bush and most members of Congress.




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