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 ---
InterCall is providing free conference calling through
Salvation Army aid stations to Katrina victims. They can also
receive assistance through InterCall’s CrisisConnect service ---
Message forwarded by Michael Lawrence on September 13,
Please, help us get the word out about this web
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.
I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds
strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. Christopher Reeve
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 ---
Over the five years of President Bush's administration,
Louisiana has received far more money for corps civil
works projects than any other state . . ..
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.
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 ---
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.
Hurricane Katrina death tolls reported by state and
local officials as of Monday
LOUISIANA: 279 (this was raised to 423 on the
morning of September 14)
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)" ---
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
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? ---
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,
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
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
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
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?
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.
Jesse Jackson fears black evacuees will be overlooked when it comes to
federal aid and future jobs ---
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 ---
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
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
"Woman's act of honesty inspires more kindness," The St. Petersburg Times,
September 11, 2005 ---
Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step
back from an event, deal with it, and then move on.
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.
Jensen Comment: I wonder if
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
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).
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.
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
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
Tank Fills for Bush Bashers ---
http://www.thenation.com/ with the blogs at
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) ---
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
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 ---
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
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 ---
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 ---
Some things you just should not volunteer for Katrina victims
Portions of a September 13, 2005 message from Professor XXXXX
I would like to volunteer to "recover" the digital
information found on hard drives in computers that have been damaged during
We can perhaps get 12+ people to the source and
protect that confidential information.
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
September 13, 2005 reply from Jack Seward (Professor XXXXX)
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.
We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the
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 ---
$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 ---
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
After the actual 9/11 settlements we have the following as of November 2004:
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.
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
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
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
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
I believe I have found the missing link
between animals and civilized man. It is us.
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
"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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
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 theMinnesota 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 ---
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
reportbased 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
Scott Jaschik, "Generational Improvements," Inside Higher Ed,
September 12, 2005 ---
Barriers to a ‘Seamless’ K-16 System While state policy
makers and educators have ramped up their
rhetoric about creating a seamless system of
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,
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 Pressreported. Kentucky
officials attributed the drop in part to an increase in the
minimum ACT score required for admission. Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2005 ---
A business that makes nothing but money is a poor
kind of business.
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) ---
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
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 ---
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 ---
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.
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?
Do Yahoo and Google fund sypware?
September 7, 2005 message from Richard Campbell
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 ---
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 ---
I wonder what Ehrenreich (see
have to say about Sherron?
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" ---
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
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.
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 ---
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 ---
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.
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 ---
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."
I think we should consider the above type of emergency brake for President Bush
and most members of Congress.