Tidbits on October 3, 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 (hoaxes) --- http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp 


In the past I've provided links to various types of music available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Imagine All the People --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/imagine.htm
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.

Louisiana probably has as much jazz history as anywhere else in the world
Louisiana State Museum Jazz Collection --- http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/JAZ/Pages/home.html

Browse Collection Images by Title
Click here to automatically search for all audio recordings.

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See terms in this collection by:

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



Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Image Gallery
See the Gallery at http://www.balloonfiesta.com/

A Heavenly Craft: The Woodcut in Early Printed Books --- http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/heavenlycraft/

Metropolitan Museum of Art --- http://www.metmuseum.org/

From the Met:  The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult --- http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={B927CD20-71AD-4986-B346-66AE99B96BA4

Alas, poor ghost. Just in time for Halloween, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has mounted a fascinating exhibition, "The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult" (through Dec. 31). In 120 historic photographs, ghosts hover benignly behind Victorian worthies, tables levitate and ectoplasm weirdly streams by the yard from entranced noses, mouths and even belly-buttons. These manifestations, some hilariously crude, were between 1860 and World War II.
Barrymore Laurence Scherer, "Haunted Pictures," The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2005; Page D12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112785693817653694,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Ding! Dong!  The witch ain't dead
Has your witch taken a tax deduction for training fees?

Dutch witches may deduct the cost of their training in spells, magic potions and healing against tax, a court in the Netherlands ruled. The court, in the city of Leeuwaarden, confirmed a ruling by tax authorities that a woman's costs related to her 366-day course to become a certified witch are tax deductible, according to the Web site of the court, which made its ruling on Sept. 26.
Free Republic, September 28, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1492786/posts

Go often to the house of your friend for weeds soon choke up the unused path.
Scandinavian proverb as quoted in a recent email message from Mickey Kavanagh
I suspect this includes email messages in modern times.

Traipsing down a flower-strewn path unpricked by the thorns of reason.
Author unknown (at least not known to me) as quoted by Jeff Flake in reference to Congressional spending before Katrina

"Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated"
After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA - Beron doesn't remember his name - came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.

200 reported in the media, but in reality only 6 bodies found at Dome; 4 at Convention Center
By Brian Thevenot and Gordon Russell
The Times-Picayune, September 26, 2005 ---

"I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalls the doctor saying.

The real total was six, Beron said.

Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice. State health department officials in charge of body recovery put the official death count at the Dome at 10, but Beron said the other four bodies were found in the street near the Dome, not inside it. Both sources said no one had been killed inside.

At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies were recovered, despites reports of corpses piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, said health and law enforcement officials.

That the nation's front-line emergency management believed the body count would resemble that of a bloody battle in a war is but one of scores of examples of myths about the Dome and the Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the media and even some of New Orleans' top officials, including the mayor and police superintendent. As the fog of warlike conditions in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath has cleared, the vast majority of reported atrocities committed by evacuees have turned out to be false, or at least unsupported by any evidence, according to key military, law enforcement, medical and civilian officials in positions to know.

Continued in article

Katrina:  Did the media "talk truth to power" or did they fall victim to every "nutso yarn?"
Yet Hurricane Dan (Rather) professed himself delighted with his successors. "They took us there to the hurricane," he told Larry. "They put the facts in front of us and, very important, they sucked up their guts and talked truth to power." 

Er, no.

The facts they put in front of us were wrong, and they didn't talk truth to power. They talked to goofs in power, like New Orleans' Mayor Nagin and Police Chief Compass, and uncritically fell for every nutso yarn they were peddled. The media swallowed more bilge than if they'd been lying down with their mouths open as the levee collapsed. Ten thousand dead! Widespread rape and murder! A 7-year-old gang-raped and then throat-slashed! It was great stuff -- and none of it happened. No gang-raped 7-year-olds. None.
Mark Steyn, "Media deserve blame for New Orleans debacle," Chicago Sun-Times, October 2, 2005 --- http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn02.html

What are the so-called "commonly agreed upon facts" in the media?
I direct a journalism school known for its support of the First Amendment, which we celebrate annually with speeches and case studies. As such, I am a source on free press issues. Reporters contact me about such cases as the Ward Churchill fiasco at the University of Colorado, asking if his “little Eichmanns” depiction of 9/11 victims is protected speech — perhaps speech that should protected by me. I deflect those calls, believing such controversies are less about free speech and more about a media culture that values opinion more than fact.  . . . David Mindich, author of Just the Facts and Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don’t Follow the News, says journalists have to compete now with shows like “Fear Factor” and “Friends” and so are overemphasizing humor, conflict and sex. Mindich, chair of the journalism and mass communication department at Saint Michael’s College, believes that the power of fact has diminished in this media universe. “One of the most powerful things about journalism itself is that it can communicate to a large audience and then we can have discussions about facts and where the facts bring us; but if we no longer are paying attention, then the facts don’t have the same weight. In the absence of fact opinion becomes more powerful. It’s not only the journalists themselves; it’s the culture apart from the news that has abandoned political discourse based on commonly agreed upon facts.” In our day, points and counterpoints may be passionate but often also uninformed and usually accusatory. Who wants to participate in a media spectacle where audience and other sources, rather than the reporters, instinctively go for the jugular? Too often in this environment, the only people willing to speak out — to contribute to the social debate — are those with special interests or with nothing to lose and celebrity to gain.
Michael Bugeja, "The Media World as It Is," Inside Higher Ed, October 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/10/03/bugeja

The New Silent Majority

Sources who can explain the complex issues of our era, including biotechnology and bioterrorism, often opt out of the social debate. This includes scientists at our best universities. They see the media world as it is … and so have refrained from commenting on it. Increasingly the new silent majority will not go public with their facts or informed perspectives because, they realize, they will be pilloried for doing so by the omnipresent fear-mongers and sensationalists who provide a diet of conflict and provocation in the media.

And that creates a crisis for the First Amendment, which exists because the founders believed that truth would rise to the top — providing people could read. That is also why education is associated with free speech and why, for generations, equal access to education has been an issue in our country and continues to be in our time. Education and information are requisite in a republic where we elect our representatives; to downsize or cut allocations for either puts the country at risk. Society is experiencing the consequences of cuts to the classroom and the newsroom, and we are getting the governments that we deserve, including blue vs. red states in a divided, point/counterpoint electorate.

What will become of journalism in this perplexing milieu? What happens when profit rather than truth rises to the top? According to David Mindich, “When profit trumps truth, journalism values are diluted, and then people start to wonder about the value of journalism in the first place.” Without facts, he says, people “start to forget the purpose of the First Amendment and then that, in turn, weakens journalism, and it’s a downward spiral from there.”

The only one way to stop the spiral is through re-investment in journalism and education. As for me, a journalism educator, my highest priority is training students for the media environment that used to exist, the one concerned about fact holding government accountable — no matter what the cost. Sooner or later, there will be a place again for fact-gathering journalists. There will be a tipping point when profit plummets for lack of newsroom personnel and technology fails to provide the fix. That day is coming quickly for newspapers publishers, in particular, who are struggling to compete online without realizing there are no competitors on front doors and welcome mats of American homes, their erstwhile domain. They will realize that the best way to attract new readers is to hire more reporters and place them where citizens can see them on the scene as witness, disseminating verifiable truths of the day.

Terrorists in Gaza and Indonesia have their own interpretation of what constitutes "victory."
PS:  My definition of terrorism is any deliberate destruction of totally innocent and non-threatening targets.
But the renewed love affair with Bali looks to be at an end. The director of the Tourism and Risk Management Centre, Dr Jeff Wilks, warned the latest (October 1) terrorist outrage would mean more Australians looking elsewhere for their holidays. "Once you can forgive, twice maybe you can understand but if it keeps happening you've got to be concerned about your own safety," he said of the bombings. "I'm sure that there are people who want to continue to visit and support the locals and because it's a lovely location ... but people must wonder how long this will continue. "There is the danger that permanent damage has been done to the reputation of the destination." Dr Wilks said the expected tourism downturn would also hit locals who depended on international tourism which provided between 65 and 70 per cent of the island's gross domestic product. Meanwhile airlines and travel agents were bracing themselves this week for cancellations and postponements. The Australian Government has maintained its warning to people today to defer non-essential travel to the island.
Chris Herde, "Bombing to test travelers resolve,"  News.com, October 3, 2005 --- http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,16791056-29277,00.html
Also see http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,16793495^661,00.html

Jensen Comment:  If terrorists are seeking to stop the flow of Western tourists into Indonesia and most of Africa, they are succeeding.  This is unfortunate because it probably does more economic damage (it's now economic disaster in Bali) to our friends and supporters in those nations than it does to the "victors."  It also discourages efforts of developed nations to fight the war on poverty in those nations.  We shouldn't let terrorism win so easily but declaring this and making it happen are two entirely different things.

Who was the featured speaker at Princeton University's Celebration of the 75th Anniversary Of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs?

Condoleezza Rice's message to those who worry that greater freedom of choice in the
Middle East will only liberate and empower extremism
There are those who worry that greater freedom of choice in the Middle East will only liberate and empower extremism. In fact, the opposite is true: A political culture of transparency and openness is not one in which extremist beliefs can ultimately thrive. Extremism is most dangerous when it lurks in the dark and hides underground. When there is no political space for individuals to advance their interests and redress their grievances, then they retreat into the shadows to grow ever more radical and divorced from reality. We saw the result of that on September 11th and now we must work to advance democratic reform throughout the greater Middle East. Now, to support democratic aspirations, we must be serious about the universal appeal of certain basic rights. When given a truly free choice, human beings will choose liberty over oppression; the right to own property over random search and seizure. Human beings will choose the natural right to life over the constant fear of death. And human beings will choose to be ruled by the consent of the governed, not by the coercion of the state; by the rule of law, not the whim of rulers. These principles should be the source of justice in every society and the basis for peace between all states.
Condoleezza Rice, Princeton University's Celebration of the 75th Anniversary Of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, September 30, 2005 --- http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2005/54176.htm

Question (The answer will surprise you!  Hint:  It's not the U.S.)
What two Western nations are being blamed by Iran for the latest bombings in Iran?

Answer:  Canada and the U.K.
In an unexpected turn of events, the Chief Prosecutor of Iran’s south-western province of Khuzestan accused Canada and the United Kingdom on Friday of supporting and training individuals that carried out a spate of bombings in the provincial capital of Ahwaz in June. Seyyed Khalil Akbar al-Sadat, speaking at a gathering of the chief prosecutors of the country’s 30 provinces, said, “The Khuzestan bombers were in contact with Britain and Canada and were being backed by them”.
"Iran blames Canada, UK for carrying out June bombings," Iran Focus, September 30, 2005 --- http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3866

"The dark side of faith:  Too much religion may be a dangerous thing," by Rosa Brooks, The Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2005 --- http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-brooks1oct01,0,3034570.story?track=hpmostemailedlink

Too much religion may be a dangerous thing
This is the implication of a study reported in the current issue of the Journal of Religion and Society, a publication of Creighton University's Center for the Study of Religion. The study, by evolutionary scientist Gregory S. Paul, looks at the correlation between levels of "popular religiosity" and various "quantifiable societal health" indicators in 18 prosperous democracies, including the United States.

Paul ranked societies based on the percentage of their population expressing absolute belief in God, the frequency of prayer reported by their citizens and their frequency of attendance at religious services. He then correlated this with data on rates of homicide, sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, abortion and child mortality.

He found that the most religious democracies exhibited substantially higher degrees of social dysfunction than societies with larger percentages of atheists and agnostics. Of the nations studied, the U.S. — which has by far the largest percentage of people who take the Bible literally and express absolute belief in God (and the lowest percentage of atheists and agnostics) — also has by far the highest levels of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

This conclusion will come as no surprise to those who have long gnashed their teeth in frustration while listening to right-wing evangelical claims that secular liberals are weak on "values." Paul's study confirms globally what is already evident in the U.S.: When it comes to "values," if you look at facts rather than mere rhetoric, the substantially more secular blue states routinely leave the Bible Belt red states in the dust.

Murder rates? Six of the seven states with the highest 2003 homicide rates were "red" in the 2004 elections (Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina), while the deep blue Northeastern states had murder rates well below the national average. Infant mortality rates? Highest in the South and Southwest; lowest in New England. Divorce rates? Marriages break up far more in red states than in blue. Teen pregnancy rates? The same.

Of course, the red/blue divide is only an imperfect proxy for levels of religiosity. And while Paul's study found that the correlation between high degrees of religiosity and high degrees of social dysfunction appears robust, it could be that high levels of social dysfunction fuel religiosity, rather than the other way around.

Although correlation is not causation, Paul's study offers much food for thought. At a minimum, his findings suggest that contrary to popular belief, lack of religiosity does societies no particular harm. This should offer ammunition to those who maintain that religious belief is a purely private matter and that government should remain neutral, not only among religions but also between religion and lack of religion. It should also give a boost to critics of "faith-based" social services and abstinence-only disease and pregnancy prevention programs.

Continued in article

"Study says belief in God may contribute to society's dysfunctions," by Julia Limb, ABC Australia, September 25, 2005 --- http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1470370.htm

There's a new twist to the evolution versus creationism debate. A new study from America suggests that widespread belief in God may contribute to the dysfunctions of a society.

The author, Gregory Paul, is an American dinosaur palaeontologist, who has used data from the International Social Survey Program, Interpol, and other research bodies, to compare murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy between religious and secular prosperous democracies.

The paper appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Religion and Society, which is published by a Catholic University in the United States.

And Gregory Paul says the US is the world's only prosperous democracy where these social indicators are still high.

Julia Limb reports.

JULIA LIMB: Gregory S. Paul is an independent researcher better known for his study of dinosaurs than as a social researcher.

But the author, who lives in Baltimore in the United States, says his interest in evolutionary science prompted him to look at whether there was any link between the religiosity of a society and how well that society functioned.

Gregory Paul.

GREGORY PAUL: Being a palaeontologist, I've for many years had to deal with the issue of creationism verus evolutionary science in this country.

The United States is pretty much the only prosperous democracy where religion is still highly popular, with about two-thirds of the population absolutely believing in God, and creationism being very popular in among half of society.

In all the other prosperous democracies religion is much less popular now and evolution is highly accepted. So it's an issue, it's a problem I had to deal with.

Continued in article

What will be the new tenure models for humanities departments in universities?
There are some new clues!

The group announced the creation of a national commission — to be led by Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Syracuse University, and Steven D. Lavine, president of the California Institute of the Arts — that will develop new ways to evaluate faculty members in the arts and humanities. Members of the panel include other presidents, as well as deans and professors. The group hopes to produce models that deans and departments could use, to keep rigor high while also recognizing different forms of work.“What we are going to do is come up with creative ways to evaluate excellence in public scholarship,” Cantor said in an interview. “Scholarship may be presented in venues different from our normal scholarly venues, and we need to evaluate it. It might be an arts journalist publishing in media outlets, or someone doing a K-12 curriculum, or someone doing something creative online.”
Scott Jaschik, "New Approach to Tenure," Inside Higher Ed, October 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/03/public

What two prestigious business schools have been dropped from the international ranking process by a leading publisher?  Why were they dropped?

These business schools are very prestigious.  The publisher is well known, although as business school ratings go, The Economist rankings are probably not as important in the U.S. market as those in US News, Business Week, Forbes, and the WSJ.

When the Economist Intelligence Unit published its annual ranking of business schools late last month, readers may have been surprised by the absence of Harvard Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. No, the schools hadn’t suffered a precipitious decline in quality that dropped the perennial top performers out of the top 10 – they had been excluded from the survey entirely, because of what the Economist cited as a lack of cooperation on the two schools’ part (though school officials prefer to characterize it differently).
Doug Lederman, "Battling Over B-School Rankings," Inside Higher Ed, October 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/03/rank

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 these business school controversies are available (scroll down) at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q3.htm#083105

Has the controversy over President Summers hurt Harvard's endowment?

That's hard to answer on a relative scale, but Harvard's endowment just topped a whopping $25 billion and is well in front of every other institution of higher education --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/03/qt

Bravo!  Tune into the return of the Digital Duo

I am really glad to see the Digital Duo return to PBS television.  Back in the 1990s I loved this show as a helper to those of us struggling to learn new computing and networking technologies.  The most important attribute of this show is the willingness of the Duo to criticize the products or services that they are evaluating.  The Duo is consumer-oriented.  Unlike its counterpart Computer Chronicles, the Digital Duo show is probably not especially popular among vendors who supply technology  products and services.  PC World seems to be sponsoring the Duo these days, but the PBS shows are commercial free and as critical as ever when vendors are poorly designing things and/or giving poor service.  I think they tell it like it is!

The main site for the Digital Duo http://www.pcworld.com/digitalduo/index/0,00.asp
The Digital Duo is the independent, irreverent video review of all things digital. Hosted by Stephen Manes and Angela Gunn. More about PC World's Digital Duo  --- http://www.pcworld.com/digitalduo/aboutd2/0,00.asp

The Duo's weekly shows are probably listed in your television guide for your local PBS channel.  I suggest you record each show and then save the recordings that you think will be helpful to your students or your family in the future.

Local PBS station listings (you can enter your zip code) are given at http://www.pcworld.com/digitalduo/listings/0,00.asp

One of the features that I watched this weekend featured free access to credit reports.  The Duo pointed out how the majority of the sites that now offer free credit reports should be avoided.  They recommended using https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
I think this is good advice, but I have some other recommendations (such as paying for FICO scores) at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#CreditReports

I kept some Digital Duo recommendations from the 1990s at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob4.htm
Just do a word search for "Duo".

The Web is good business for some companies
WebMD Stock Rises Rapidly After IPO ---

Exploring the causes of and signs of depression
WebMD, http://my.webmd.com/content/article/106/108338.htm?z=1727_81000_2211_hv_05

Jensen Comment
Weight loss is one of the possible signs of depression.  But it is also a possible sign of Alzheimer's disease.  The advantage of the latter illness is that you forget you're depressed.

How do some doctors turn a $70 Profit from a $30 Test?
Hint:  This is one of the reasons Medicare and Medicaid are wasting so much money.

It works like this: A doctor sends a patient sample to an outside lab for testing. The lab charges the doctor a discounted price -- say, $30 for a skin biopsy. The doctor then gets reimbursed by the patient's insurer for a much higher amount, say $100. The difference, $70, is profit for the doctor.
David Armstrong, "How Some Doctors Turn a $79 Profit From a $30 Test:  Physician Groups Add Markup To Work Done by Others," The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112804161950856333,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

If we are really concerned about academic standards, then we should apply those standards uniformly to the University of Phoenix and the major universities now listed in the Top 25 NCAA Division 1 football, basketball, and baseball rankings.

Battle Over Academic Standards Weighs On For-Profit Colleges
Now Congress appears poised to pass legislation that favors the for-profits, a group of heavily marketed schools that are often owned by publicly traded companies. Traditional colleges -- the public and private nonprofit institutions from the Ivy League to state universities that long have formed the backbone of U.S. higher education -- are fighting the changes. The traditional colleges question the rigor of many of these newer rivals, which offer degrees in such subjects as auto repair and massage therapy but have also branched out into business and other courses of study. The eight regional associations that have long set standards for traditional colleges recognize only a few of the thousands of for-profit colleges. These gatekeepers evaluate everything from the faculty's level of preparedness to the quality of libraries. Meanwhile, some for-profit graduates have been left with heavy debts and unfulfilled goals.
John Hechinger, "Battle Over Academic Standards Weighs On For-Profit Colleges:  Many Traditional Schools Don't Accept Degrees; Congress Ponders New Law," The Wall Street Journal,  September 30, 2005; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112804419660556426,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Jensen Comment
I remind readers that there is a definitional definitional difference between the commercialization of colleges and the corporate (or for-profit) colleges.  Commercialization of not-for-profit colleges is in many ways a much more serious (at least much bigger) problem as is noted by former Harvard President Derek Bok --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q3.htm#EducationCommercialization

The debate is really not over distance versus non-distance education except from the standpoint where both non-profit (even Harvard) and for-profit (notably the University of Phoenix) might try to cut costs and use distance education as a cash cow.  Bok lists this as one of his three most serious problems with the commercialization of non-profit universities.  For example, the 100,000 online students at the University of Wisconsin provide a serious source of revenue.

The so-called corporate model is simply a form of ownership that allows newer colleges and training schools to raise equity capital for financing new operations.  I personally don't think the model is necessarily bad per se.  Some corporate universities are quite rigorous and prestigious.  These typically are affiliated with prestigious corporations and consulting firms that help draw quality students into the programs.  The problem is that most for-profit schools are newer institutions that do not have established reputations required for drawing top students.  A university can never have academic respect without quality students.  In spite of Jay Leno's continued snide remarks about community college students, some of these students have great abilities and become outstanding students.  Jay now has dug himself into a hole on this one by ignoring appeals from community colleges to cease and desist.

My bottom line advice is to be careful about definitions.  Commercialization is an enormous problem for academic standards, curricula, and program growth/decline in not-for-profit as well as for-profit colleges.  So is the problem of academic standards when full-time basketball players from UCLA sue the university after four years because they still can't read.

If we are really concerned about academic standards, then we should apply those standards uniformly to the University of Phoenix and the major universities now listed in the Top 25 NCAA Division 1 football, basketball, and baseball rankings.

My added comments on this are at  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q3.htm#EducationCommercialization

Community colleges are upset with Jay Leno
Leno had perturbed leaders of two-year colleges with his occasional cracks and gibes questioning the intelligence of those who’ve attended the institutions, and by ignoring letters they’d written urging him to stop. So in June, Young, president of Ohio’s Northwest State Community College, hit upon an idea: inviting (daring?) Leno to hop on one of his Harley-Davidsons and ride with the motorcycle-driving Young while talking about community colleges. The comedian (or, more likely, his publicists) ignored that invitation, too, and so last month, the college announced that Young and some of her aides would head out to Hollywood, where Leno tapes “The Tonight Show,” on a seven-day swing in which they would also tout the crucial role that two-year institutions in preparing workers and educating lifelong learners.
Doug Lederman, "Letting Leno Have It (Gently)," Inside Higher Ed, September 29, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/29/leno

And then there are academic standards for prestigious awards in the academy

"Shaky Science at Harvard," The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2005; Page W11 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112804508792456461,00.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal

Why is the Harvard School of Public Health bestowing its most prestigious award on Erin Brockovich? The dean of the school, Barry Bloom, says that it is "for her efforts on behalf of all of us, and especially the residents of Hinckley, California, whose health was adversely affected by toxic substances dumped by a utility company."

That certainly is the movie version (made in 2000) of the case in which California's PG&E utility company paid a $333 million settlement in 1996 after a lawsuit launched by the firm where Ms. Brockovich worked. Then, as now, she claimed that Chromium 6 in the local water supply had sickened the inhabitants of Hinckley -- even the "bunnies" -- with results ranging from nosebleeds to cancer and death.

Yet the dean of the Harvard School of Public Health presumably does not rely solely on Hollywood for factual information about environmental poisoning. And so far the scientific literature reveals no studies that back up claims about the sickening effects of Chromium 6 in the water of Hinckley or any other town. Indeed, the infamous lawsuit -- which never endured the rigors of a trial -- is regarded in serious circles as a classic example of junk science. With this particular award, the Harvard School's reputation for sound science is hovering over the Dumpster.

So why Erin? Observers in the fund-raising field have noticed that the Julius B. Richmond Award -- the one she will receive on Oct. 18 -- will be given during the annual conference of the school's Leadership Council, whose members include many big donors. The school's Web site regularly cites their generosity, announcing, for instance, that "Bugs Baer, AB '54, MBA '58, and his wife Joan, have established a Charitable Remainder Trust of more than $1 million at HSPH for unrestricted use."

Among other things, the annual meeting is a way to honor past donors and greet potential future ones. Indeed, the event's program says that " Leadership Council members will be invited to join with faculty to examine our plans and ideas. And you will be asked to consider how you can be most helpful to the School in the future." Ka-ching!

So one answer to "Why Erin?" could be that some at Harvard see her as a celebrity magnet whose pizzazzy presence may attract a few participants who might otherwise have skipped the affair. But what about the donors who will be boycotting the meeting, like the president of the American Council on Science and Health, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan? She and others on the Leadership Council's long roster of health experts know the truth about Ms. Brockovich's "science." As a sidebar, we note that the list of people who have received the top honor given by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health contains no pop icons or dubious achievers.

Some might argue that Erin Brockovich-Ellis (her married name since 1999) doesn't have to be accurate or even honest in her tort allegations because she is performing the higher service of raising "awareness" about corporate environmental poisoning. With luck, no captains of industry who still are contemplating big gifts to Harvard will stray onto her radar. Yet the public-health school's Web site does say that donor Baer, for instance, "has a particular interest in vaccine research and development." Watch out.

Price Increases Sharpest at Public Colleges
The cost of attending a public four-year institution rose by 22 percent between 2001-2 and 2004-5 and tuition and fees for in-state students at the institutions grew by 33 percent, more than for any other sector of higher education, according to a U.S. Education Department report issued Thursday. The study, “Postsecondary Institutions in the United States: Fall 2004 and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2003–04,” is released annually by the National Center for Education Statistics. It contains a wealth of data on the number of colleges and universities in the United States, how much it cost to attend them, and how many degrees they awarded and to whom, among other things.
Doug Lederman, "Price Increases Sharpest at Public Colleges," Inside Higher Ed, September 30, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/30/nces


Where can researchers obtain information about auditor fees?

A popular source is the database at Audit Analytics.  The entries in this database are extracted from proxy statements of companies --- http://www.auditanalytics.com/

There is much more about audit services at the above site.  The site is not a free site for most database items.

You can find out more about fees and professional service providers at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm

September 29, 2005 message from Richard Newmark [richard.newmark@PHDUH.COM]

I have been using the Windows Briefcase as the sync application and I now am using a Giga Bank 4GB portable USB drive. The drive is the size of two thumb drives an cost about $130.

Using windows briefcase is very easy. You create a briefcase on your portable media using myComputer or Windows Explorer. Then, you drag all of the files/folders that you want to synchronize. When you want to sync your folders/files, just open up the briefcase and select the sync icon in myComputer or windows explorer.

The only problem that I have found with briefcase is that it creates a design version for your Access databases which means that you can only make alterations to the database structure in the design version and in the other version, you can only update data.

Overall, it works well if you remember to actually synchronize on a regular basis.

Richard Newmark Director,
School of Acctg. and Computer Info. Systems
Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business
2004 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winners
University of Northern Colorado
Campus Box 128 Kepner Hall, 2090G
Greeley, Colorado 80639
(970) 351-1213 (801)858-9335 fax

http://student1.mcb.unco.edu/phduh     http://PhDuh.com 

Big Easy is (was?) the "easiest" place for murder
The Big Easy became the country's murder capital. "For New Orleans to have a murder rate that is on par with New York City's, our city would have to record only 36 murders per year," the report found. "This is 221 fewer murders than the 257 murders recorded in 2002."
Opinion Journal, September 28, 2005
Added Note:  Civil service rules may make it impossible to terminate New Orleans police officers who deserted their posts.
What would happen if our military had the same bureaucratic restrictions.  National defense would become a disgrace.

Dan Rather still claims Bush is most certainly a deserter --- http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/54213.htm

Has she talked to any women who lived under the Taliban regime?
As for Sheehan, she said of McCain, "He is a warmonger, and I'm not." A warmonger McCain may be, but we'll take a warmonger over a hatemonger any day of the week. And come to think of it, Sheehan has described al Qaeda terrorists as "freedom fighters,"
Opinion Journal, September 28, 2005
Jensen Comment:  I would ask what "freedoms" the al Qaeda "freedom fighters" are fighting for?  Doesn't Sheehan realize that women are not even allowed to learn to read and write under strict fundamentalist Islamic rules?  See http://www.rawa.org/ (a site that would have been banned by the Taliban under threat of execution).

Of course, Sheehan has the right to state her opinion in a country she believes shouldn't be defended. We who disagree with her statements, we who believe this country deserves our thanks, love and willingness to defend it, also have the right to express our views. Speak up, America.
"Cindy Sheehan's Shameful Rhetoric," by Ed Koch (former Mayor of NYC and former member of Congress), Newsmax, September 28, 2005 --- http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/9/27/215028.shtml

A somewhat surprising message about buying parts for an old Dell Computer

September 28, 2005 message from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

I had a very strange experience with Dell Computer Corporation and I was wondering if anyone else had a similar experience.

Last week I called Dell to order a replacement CPU fan for 4-year old Dell, which is out of warranty. The fan is getting noisy. The fan cost $14.95.

Here is the first strange event: the person I placed the order with actually called me back in the afternoon to tell me my order shipped. I was pleasantly surprised, particularly since I choose the cheapest shipping rate.

But today was really weird: somebody called me from Dell and asked me if I had installed the fan and if I had any problems or questions—or needed help with anything else.

Gee, is it the 1950s again? Are all gas stations going to become full-service gas stations again?

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8372


September 30, 2005 message from John Schatzel [JSchatzel@STONEHILL.EDU]

I thought I read somewhere that Apple will make a boxed version of their OS available for the Intel platform. Actually, I hope it will run on an AMD processor because they are generally just as good as Intel's (some feel their 64 bit CPUs are much better) and usually 30-40% cheaper. I built my last desktop computer for about $700 (a year ago) using an AMD processor and if the Apple OS were available, I would have purchased one for sure. The new Apple OSX is a gorgeous GUI with a rock solid UNIX foundation. It provides the 3D look and functionality that Windows Vista is trying to copy (and is still many months away). I am also considering buying an iPod, which I can use to record my classes and create PodCasts. The Mac OS likes ITunes a little better as well so yes I think it's a good time to be dabbling with the Mac. I also had to make a Mac version of TechTutor(tm) (a series of technology tutorials, which I use in my accounting systems classes) available on the Mac and will probably have to do the same thing with Real Audit(tm) and my CPA Exam Emulator (the emulator is available for free btw from http://realaudit.com  ) Apple computers also receive the highest grades in customer satisfaction so they must be doing something right :)

John Schatzel

September 28, 2005 message from Roger Debreceny [roger@DEBRECENY.COM]

Things on the XBRL scene in the US are beginning to hot up a bit. The letter referred to in the following posting to http://www.xbrl.org/us/  is at http://tinyurl.com/b73xp 


XBRL-US communication with SEC Chairman Cox

As has been reported in the business press, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox has approached the XBRL consortium with an invitation to provide comments on the state of XBRL, the SEC's XBRL voluntary filing program, and the measures necessary for the success of both. XBRL-US is very pleased with this outreach by Chairman Cox, and has written a response to his questions. With his permission, the response letter is made available <http://www.xbrl.org/us/us/XBRL%20Letter%20to%20Chairman%20Cox%20-%209%2022% 2005s.pdf> here.

Roger Debreceny
School of Accountancy
College of Business Administration
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
2404 Maile Way Honolulu, HI 96822,
USA Office phone: +1 (808) 956 8545 Cell phone: +1 (808) 393 1352 Fax: +1 (808) 956 9888

roger@debreceny.com     rogersd@hawaii.edu      www.debreceny.com

Jensen Comment:  I snipped the Cox link to http://snipurl.com/XBRLletter 

September 28, 2005 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@BONACKERS.COM]

After giving up on the free Google Desktop Search, I still needed a way to find things on my hard drive. So I downloaded X1 Desktop Search from http://www.x1.com/  and installed it. I had first looked at a demo two or three years ago, but it is the first time that I was willing to pay for a quality product. The indexing was completed very fast, and as I get better with the boolean searches it is easy to find and open the things I'm looking for. OCR and indexing on scanned document images would be nice, but I suspect that the overhead cost for getting that would be too high.

This is way better than the free product for a high volume desktop, so I've gladly paid for it.

It is practically invisible until you call it up onscreen, and the only time I've noticed it pulling resources is during system shutdown or opening a thumbnail search preview in a largish file. What's a few seconds wait while it highlights the search terms in a 2.5MB file.

Scott Bonacker,
CPA Springfield, Missouri

Bob Jensen's desktop search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#WebDesktop

New Database of Undergraduate Research

September 28, 2005 message from Peter Noteboom [peter.noteboom@ugresearch.org]

I am a recent graduate of Dartmouth College and am working with other young alumni to promote a new non-profit, online database of undergraduate research ( www.ugresearch.org ). The database is a compilation of undergraduate honors theses and other high quality independent research from colleges around the country. You can learn more about the website by going to: http://www.ugresearch.org/about.php 

Currently, most undergraduate research never leaves the campus on which it is written and academia has no means of accessing the work. Existing databases, such as Trinity's Digital Commons, are limited to a few schools and most schools are not willing to pay the large fee BE Press requires to manage their content. This new database will fill a gap in the research universe by providing the first comprehensive database of high-level undergraduate academic work. By having students manage their own metadata, much like wiki pages, the non-profit database costs relatively little to operate. The database allows students and faculty to access and download digital copies of the papers of interest.

We are contacting Professors in hopes of enlisting their support in informing past and future thesis writers about the new academic opportunity. I hope you will inform your recent alumni and current honors students about the website. Let me know if you have any questions about the project.

Thanks and best wishes,

Peter Noteboom

My strained scale tells me I'm not in trouble yet:  Unexplained Loss Of Weight Is Tied To Alzheimer's
Unexplained weight loss over time appears to be strongly linked to older adults' risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study. The study, by researchers at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago, looked at changes in body mass index -- a body-fat composition measure that uses height and weight -- in older Catholic clergy. The study's findings, which will be published in today's edition of the journal Neurology, are the first to associate a decline in body mass index, or BMI, with the eventual onset of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys memory, thinking and the ability to carry out daily activities, affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer's Association. "People with Alzheimer's disease are known to lose weight and body mass after they have the disease," said Dallas W. Anderson, the program director for population studies in the dementias of aging branch of the National Institute of Aging, a unit of NIH.
"Unexplained Loss Of Weight Is Tied To Alzheimer's," September 27, 2005; Page B5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112775776190452266,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Beam the pounds off Scottie:  Zapping Away Fat With Ultrasound
Want to get rid of those problem thighs over lunch? It sounds too good to be true, but nonsurgical fat removal may be the next big thing in cosmetic procedures. One experimental treatment, known as noninvasive body contouring, involves focused ultrasound waves that target that "impossible to diet away" fat found on the hips, thighs, and stomach. There is no incision, each session lasts about an hour, and patients can go right back to work after a treatment.
Salynn Boyles, "Zapping Away Fat With Ultrasound:  New Nonsurgical Procedure May Be Available Within a Year," WebMD, September 25, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/112/110454.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_03

Thanked him for doing what he did and for keeping us safe and free
When Delta Flight 1880 landed late Saturday at Logan International Airport, the pilot went on the intercom to make a request of the passengers preparing to grab their carry-on bags: Sit for a moment and honor a fallen soldier. ''The pilot said, 'We have a hero on this flight and sadly, he isn't with us, but his mother is escorting his remains,' " said Barbara Bell, sister of Sergeant Pierre A. Raymond, 28, an Army reservist from Lawrence who died Tuesday in Germany after being wounded in Iraq. The normal bustle of an emptying airplane immediately ceased, she said. ''He went on to say that 'a sergeant from the Army is escorting them as well', and then [the pilot] thanked him for doing what he did and for keeping us safe and free."
"Passengers aboard plane salute fallen 'hero'," The Boston Globe, September 26, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/FallenHero

"Most war casualties white, report says," by Tony Perry, The Seattle Times, September 25, 2005 --- http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002519115_wardead25.html

The majority of soldiers and Marines killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were young, white, enlisted personnel from active-duty units, according to a study released Friday by the federal Government Accountability Office.

The demographic study involved 1,841 service personnel who were killed and 12,658 who were wounded, as of May 28.

Whites, who constitute 67 percent of the active-duty and reserve forces, accounted for 71 percent of the fatalities. Blacks are 17 percent of the overall force and were 9 percent of the fatalities. Hispanics are 9 percent of the force and were 10 percent of the fatalities.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are 3 percent of the force and were 3 percent of the fatalities. American Indian/Alaskan Natives are 1 percent in each category. The race of the remaining fatalities was listed as "multiple or unknown."

For whites, the percentage of deaths was the lowest since the Defense Department began keeping such statistics. In Korea, 80 percent of fatalities were white, in Vietnam, 86 percent, and in the Persian Gulf War, 76 percent.

Continued in article

A review of a new book called The Right War by Gary Rosen
It's no secret that conservatives have divided ferociously over the decision to go to war to topple Saddam. The dispute was evident early on, when the national security adviser to the first President Bush, Adm. Brent Scowcroft, published an article in this newspaper attacking the foreign policy of his former boss's son, the second President Bush -- and also of his own favorite protégé, Condoleezza Rice. The divisions haven't healed since. Lining up behind Adm. Scowcroft is a battalion of former ambassadors and uniformed military men, of Republican lobbyists and business executives. And cheering them on is a small but noisy coterie of neo-isolationist writers who have effectively depicted George W. Bush's foreign policy as the work of a cabal of secretive "neoconservatives."
David Frum, "Divided They Stand," The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2005; Page D12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112785807528353725,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

"Ivory Cower University presidents have lost their dignity.," by Victor Davis Hanson, The Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007319

Whether or not you agreed with them, university presidents used to be dignified figures on the American scene. They often were distinguished scholars, capable of bringing their own brand of independent thinking to bear on the operation and reform of their institutions. Above all, they took seriously the university's mission to seek and transmit the Truth, and thereby to strengthen the free society that made such inquiry possible.

But it has been a long time since Woodrow Wilson (at Princeton), Robert Hutchens (at Chicago) or James Bryant Conant (at Harvard) set the tone for American campuses. Over the past year, four university presidents have been in the news--from Harvard; the University of California, Santa Cruz; the University of Colorado; and the University of California, Berkeley. In each case, the curtains have briefly parted, allowing the public to glimpse the campus wizards working the levers behind the scenes, and confirming that something has gone terribly wrong at our best public and private universities.

Hypocrisy, faddishness, arrogance and intellectual cowardice are among the ailments of the American university today, and it is hard to say whether even a great president could save higher education from its now institutionalized vices. Amid the variety of scandals afflicting the campuses, the one constant is how the rhetoric of "diversity" trumps almost all other considerations--and how race and gender can be manipulated by either the college president or the faculty in ways that have nothing to do with educating America's youth, but everything to do with personal aggrandizement in an increasingly archaic and unexamined enclave.

Continued in the article

Successful collegiate ‘leadership’ is a shared responsibility
Strong leadership is the other element that the 12 institutions had in common, according to the AASCU study. The authors make it clear that they’re not talking about the kind of flashy, surface-deep leadership that tends to bring chief executives attention in higher education and elsewhere (though the presidents of these institutions don’t necessarily lack charisma, the report says). “What tended to set leadership apart for visiting teams at these institutions were two qualities that were less spectacular, but perhaps more effective. First, ‘leadership’ is a shared responsibility — occurring at all levels and deeply embedded in the way the institution works as an organization on a day-to-day basis. Second, the particular presidential qualities needed to build and sustain the culture and organizational processes observed at study campuses are more about listening than talking, and more about consistent personal modeling of a particular collective vision than about spectacular public performances.”
Doug Lederman, "Student Success at Public Colleges," Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/27/retain 

College presidents are elusive, misunderstood, and/or mystified
No single individual in a college or university is more important than the president. And yet no figure is more elusive, misunderstood, or mystified. For starters, most students can get through four years at an institution — depending upon its size — without so much as seeing the president (apart perhaps from each year’s obligatory orientation appearance). Most faculty can get through an entire career without one personal chat.
Tony Caesar, "The President and the World," Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/09/26/caesar

No surprise:  Most college employees paid more for health insurance last year
Most college employees paid more for health insurance last year than they did the year before, and most colleges also paid more for the coverage they provide, according to data released Monday in Orlando at the annual meeting of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
Scott Jaschik, "Paying More for Benefits," Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/27/benefits

A new gizmo is on its way from Japan

But like I said, I'm not aware of anything like that actually existing--and if you are, could you please send me order information? In the meantime, I'm going to have to content myself with some of the actual bizarre announcements of late, including a cell-phone TV from Japan that also includes a camera and that can be used as a digital wallet to pay for stuff. This gizmo isn't yet available yet, and it's a good thing. I'm going to need time to prepare myself to be able to talk on the phone, watch TV, snap photos, and pay for my pizza at the same time. I don't know about you, but my brain's multitasking chip has been failing a bit lately--I can walk and chew gum simultaneously, but I can't walk and chew gum and think at the same time anymore. Been there, done that. Need to rest.
InformationWeek Daily, September 29, 2005

At Tulane hardball is no longer a sport

Tulane Plays Hardball to Keep Students and Tuition Fees;
Sabbaticals Get Postponed 'Looters' Go After Professors

A week after escaping his flooded New Orleans campus in a dump truck, Tulane University President Scott Cowen stood in shorts and days-old stubble before his team of deans and administrators in a Houston hotel. Holding a red marker up to an easel board, he asked them to list problems facing the school. There are plenty. Students are scattered around the country with some withholding tuition checks. The medical school's 325 doctors have no billing system to collect their fees. Some of the university's most prestigious research -- including the world's longest-running study of heart disease in children -- is in shambles.
June Kronholz and Stefan Fatsis, "After Hurricane, Tulane University Struggles to Survive," The Wall Street Journal,  September 28, 2005; Page A1 ---

Tulane desperate for law student revenue in the wake of Katrina
“If you all are going to have an institution around to award you a degree that is worth the paper it is written on, Tulane needs to bring back in the spring both most of its normal revenues and most of its students,” read the letter from Gary Roberts, deputy dean of the law school.
David Epstein, "Ordered Back to Louisiana," Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/27/tulane

Tulane announced its reopening plan at http://www.tulane.edu/spring06/semesterplan.html

Since his alleged meeting with Farrakhan, Mayor Nagin has had no public comment on the Nation of Islam chief's claim that his city's levees were deliberately blown up by whites --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1492765/posts

The Do-Not-Call List is a sham shame!
After Two Years and One Million Complaints, Only Six Federal Fines Have Been Issued
Two years after the National Do Not Call Registry took effect -- and with more than 100 million numbers enrolled -- dinner-time conversations are still being interrupted by telemarketing calls. Regulators say the system is working, but a recent random survey (by telephone) by the Customer Care Alliance, a Virginia-based consortium of three customer-relations consultants, found that 51% of registered consumers say they're still getting calls they think the list is supposed to block. Lois Greisman, the Federal Trade Commission official in charge of the registry, says the agency receives a "steady flow" of between 1,000 and 2,000 complaints about telemarketers every day.
Christopher Conkey, "Do-Not-Call Lists Under Fire," The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112785978695153775,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

What can you do when the telemarketers call?

Leave this script by the phone --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#Telemarketing

September 28, 2005 reply from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU]


I can't speak to the consumers' side of this matter. However, I can tell you that MCI has dramatically curtailed its telephonic solicitations based on the do-not-call laws. Literally thousands of call center employees have been laid off in the past few years based on the new restrictions. I had signed up for the do-not-call lists well before I became involved with MCI and I can honestly say that I don't recall ever receiving a business solicitation since then. I do receive plenty of calls from non-profit organizations that generally aren't covered by the regulations.

It would be interesting for some very smart researcher to study what economic effects the do-not-call laws have caused.

Denny Beresford

September 28, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

It may be like an audit that is far more effective as a preventative (fear being audited) than the reality of its effectiveness when an actual audit takes place.

Thanks for the information.


September 28, 2005 reply from Roberts, John [JohnRoberts@SJRCC.EDU]

I too have the same problem with junk faxes. I have found that unlike spam, calling the 800 number does take your number off of that fax sender’s list. However, it doesn’t take long before they get it again from another supplier and you start getting faxes from them again. They don’t seem to screen new numbers from old numbers that have been requested to be removed.

You might want to try a company located at http://www.faxrecoverysystems.com/  I read an article recently about them and they seem to be on the up and up and have received payment (meaning settlements) from senders of junk faxes, and they even give you part of the settlement. I haven’t taken the time yet to enroll with them but I think I will. Nothing ventured, nothing lost.

John C. Roberts, Jr.
Saint Johns River Community College
283 College Drive
Orange Park, FL 32065
Phone (904) 276-6816
FAX (904) 276-6888
Suncom 890-6816


Would you really want to give these teachers more salary and benefits?
Seniors are on their own this fall at College Park High School. After more than a year of contentious contract negotiations, teachers at the Pleasant Hill high school are refusing to write letters of recommendation for college-bound students. "I am very sad, very concerned and yes, very angry," said parent Susan Wood, her voice shaking with emotion as she addressed the school board Tuesday night. "The teachers at College Park have now resolved to write no letters of recommendation and do no club advising, after-school tutoring, chaperone dances, athletic functions. All of this is very negatively impacting my daughter and her classmates."
"Teachers won't pen letters for youths," Contra Costa Times, September 29, 2005 ---

And in the U.K. would you want to pay these teachers even one farthing
They’ve also removed science from the school curriculum. New regulations just announced by the Blair government, and taking effect next year, will allow students to bypass the hard sciences in favor of courses deemed “relevant.”
"No Science Please," The American Thinker, September 29, 2005 --- 

Maybe Domenico Grasso would be happier in the U.K.
Smoking Grasso:  Is It Time to Dumb Down or Shut Down Engineering Colleges?

With the return of students to campuses this month comes annual hand wringing over the lack of diversity in our science and engineering classes. The United States is at a 14-year low in the percentage of women (16.3 percent) and African Americans (7.1 percent) enrolling in engineering programs. An engineering student body that is composed largely of white males is problematic not only because of its narrow design perspective, but also because failing to recruit from large segments of the population means the number of new engineers we produce falls well short of our potential. Although this is not a new problem, it is becoming ever more urgent. We are faced with an engineering juggernaut emanating from India and China, with more than 10 Asian engineers graduating for every one in the United States. Educated at great institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology or Tshingua University, these engineers are every bit as technically competent as their American counterparts. So here we sit at the beginning of the 21st century, in the most technologically advanced nation on the planet, with a comparatively small supply of home grown engineers, facing an explosion of technical mental horsepower overseas . . . If we do, our progeny stand a fighting chance of having a life worth living. And by giving engineering a larger, more socially relevant framework, expanding it beyond the narrow world of algorithms, the field should prove more attractive to women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups.
Domenico Grasso, "Is It Time to Shut Down Engineering Colleges?" Inside Higher Ed, September 23, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/09/23/grasso
Jensen Comment:  Grasso's proposal to take the hard technical courses out of engineering curricula for the sake of diversity hardly gives me comfort in his vision of future "engineering" graduates.  Let's dumb down our engineers so they can compete better with Asians and Indians?  Give us a break! If we want more diversity lets try harder to get improve the skills and motivation of diverse inputs into the programs rather than dumb down the programs themselve.

Evolutionary Tools Help Unlock Origins of Ancient Languages
The key to understanding how languages evolved may lie in their structure, not their vocabularies, a new report suggests. Findings published today in the journal Science indicate that a linguistic technique that borrows some features from evolutionary biology tools can unlock secrets of languages more than 10,000 years old.
"Evolutionary Tools Help Unlock Origins of Ancient Languages," Scientific American, September 23, 2005 --- http://sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=00074F10-365F-1333-B65F83414B7F0000

The Lawsuit That Sank New Orleans
All this was reported in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 9. The reactions of environmental advocates and federal agencies show why we would be a lot safer if the federal government did a lot less. Speaking for environmentalists, the Center for Progressive Reform called the charges in the Los Angeles Times "pure fiction" because the judge stopped construction only until the Corps prepared a satisfactory environmental analysis. The Corps instead dropped the barrier in favor of levees that were less controversial, but which failed. So, the Center argues, fault lies with the Corps' bumbling rather than with the environmentalist lawsuit. That's not fair. The Corps cannot stop a project, conduct a lengthy study, go back to court, and then be sure it can pick up where it left off. Large federal projects ordinarily cannot proceed unless executives and legislatures at several levels of government agree on the same course of action at the same time. That's why litigation delay can kill necessary projects. However responsibility is apportioned, but for the lawsuit, New Orleans would have had the hurricane barrier.
David Schoenbrod, "The Lawsuit That Sank New Orleans," The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2005; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112769984088951774,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

Why most non-urban colleges have trouble reaching a critical mass of African Americans

"What Black Applicants Want," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/09/26/black

The ACT study is also tracking where these black students enrolled and how they are doing in college. Hovland said that one significant finding suggested another way of looking at the issue of critical mass. Many experts have talked about this issue to suggest that black students are less likely to enroll at colleges without large black populations. But the ACT is finding that a key factor may be that black students avoid campuses that are overwhelmingly white, but may be attracted to campuses that are more diverse.

For example, only 3,587 of the black students studied enrolled at the 544 colleges where white enrollment makes up at least 91 percent of the student body. The average per college at those institutions is fewer than 7 students in the freshman class. Colleges with smaller proportions of white students did much better. There are 542 colleges where white enrollment is between 81 and 90 percent of the student body and they enrolled 16,415 black freshmen in 2004, or an average of 30. The average rises to nearly 50 black students for institutions where white enrollment is between 71 and 80 percent.

Some of the findings suggest that certain institutions — especially rural institutions — may have a difficult time getting a critical mass of black students. Black students say that they want urban institutions, and that’s where they enroll.

Hovland said that the ACT found that 55 percent of black students who take the ACT live in large metropolitan areas (compared to 39 percent of white test takers). Of black students who live in such areas, 55 percent end up at a college in a large metropolitan area, compared to 39 percent of white test takers who live in such localities.

The ACT has also been studying retention rates of its test takers and is finding that black retention lags behind the rates for students of other racial groups.

Spyware:  A flawed system for distributing online advertising?

Spyware and adware are not just the products of malicious code writers trying to make a buck off illicit businesses. The unwanted software that sneaks on to people's computers is very much a part of a flawed system for distributing online advertising. Freelance writer Christopher Heun on today's InternetWeek takes a look at the scourge of the Web, and describes how even reputable companies like Yahoo can get caught in the spyware web. The problem, according to Heun, is how the company placing an ad eventually loses control of how it appears, as it moves through an agency, distributors and distributors' affiliates. Before you know it, the advertisement becomes a pop-up ad.
InternetWeek Newsletter on September 26, 2005

"Crime rate for 2004 stays at 30-year low," CNN, September 25, 2005 --- http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/25/crime.rate.ap/index.html

Since 1993, violent crime as measured by victim surveys has fallen by 57 percent and property crime by 50 percent. That has included a 9 percent drop in violent crime from 2001-2002 to 2003-2004.

The 2004 violent crime rate -- assault, sexual assault and armed robbery -- was 21.4 victims for every 1,000 people age 12 and older. That amounts to about one violent crime victim for every 47 U.S. residents.

By comparison, there were 22.6 violent crime victims per 1,000 people in 2003. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said the difference between the rates in 2003 and 2004 was statistically insignificant.

Murder is not counted because the bureau's study is based on statements by crime victims. In a separate report based on preliminary police data, the FBI found a 3.6 percent drop between 2003 and 2004 -- from 16,500 to 15,910. Chicago was largely responsible for the decrease.

The survey put the rate for property crimes of burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft in 2004 at 161 for every 1,000 people, compared with 163 the year before.

Many explanations have been advanced for decline in violent crime, including the record prison population of more than 2 million people, the addition of 100,000 police officers since the mid-1990s and even a deterrent effect that terrorism might have had on street crime.

"Success has 1,000 fathers," said Mark A.R. Kleiman, an expert on crime control policy who teaches at UCLA.

Kleiman said the victim survey probably does not take sufficient account of a growing problem with gang violence that has been widely reported across the country. The leveling off of the crime rate also should be viewed as disappointing, he said.

"My sense is that complacency is not justified. This rate means we're down to about twice the level of crime when I was growing up in the 1950s," he said.

Continued in article

For reasons, I more willing to by into the Freakonomics explanation.

I've written about Freakonomics before, but here's the illustration that got Bill Bennet in trouble!
Back in 1999, Mr. Levitt (actually Dr. Leavitt from the University of Chicago) was trying to figure out why crime rates had fallen so dramatically in the previous decade. He was struck by the fact that crime began falling nationwide just 18 years after the Supreme Court effectively legalized abortion. He was struck harder by the fact that in five states crime began falling three years earlier than it did everywhere else. These were exactly the five states that had legalized abortion three years before Roe v. Wade. Did crime fall because hundreds of thousands of prospective criminals had been aborted? Once again, the pattern by itself is not conclusive, but once again Mr. Levitt piles pattern on pattern until the evidence overwhelms you. The bottom line? Legalized abortion was the single biggest factor in bringing the crime wave of the 1980s to a screeching halt. Mr. Levitt repeatedly reminds us that economics is about what is true, not what ought to be true. To this reviewer's considerable delight, he cheerfully violates this principle at the end of the abortion discussion by daring to address the question of whether abortion ought to be legal or, more precisely, whether the effect on crime rates is a sufficient reason to legalize abortion. He doesn't pretend to settle the matter, but in just a few pages he constructs exactly the right framework for thinking about it and then leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions. Economists, ever wary of devaluing their currency, tend to be stinting in their praise. I therefore tried hard to find something in this book that I could complain about. But I give up. Criticizing "Freakonomics" would be like criticizing a hot fudge sundae. I had briefly planned to gripe about the occasional long and pointless anecdotes, but I changed my mind. Sure, we get six pages on the Chicago graduate student who barely escaped with his life after his adviser sent him into the housing projects with a clipboard to survey residents on how they feel about being black and poor. Sure, there is no real point to the story. But a story that good doesn't need a point.
Steven Landsberg,
"When Numbers Solve a Mystery Meet the economist who figured out that legal abortion was behind dropping crime rates," Opinion Journal, April 13, 2005 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110006550
Jensen Comment:  you can read more about Leavitt's great Freakonomics book at http://snipurl.com/Freakonomics
I apologize that my recommendation of this book is a repeat from former Tidbits.

Another CEO looter:  Will it ever end?
Vinod Gupta, a high- living CEO pal and fundraiser to the Clintons, is being accused of looting his company's coffers and using shareholder money to fund his lavish lifestyle. Gupta, the CEO of InfoUSA, an Omaha, Neb.-based database company, is coming under fire from investors, including Cardinal Capital, the Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund whose last target was newspaper baron Conrad Black, for a variety of alleged offenses, including funneling InfoUSA funds through private companies he controls to pay for things such as jet travel, a fancy yacht and a...
Tim Arango, "Clinton Pal Eyballed," The New York Post, October 2, 2005 --- http://www.nypost.com/business/54506.htm 

Jensen Comment:  White collar criminals commit crimes because it pays even if they get caught.  See Question Number 1 at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm

September 27, 2005 message from Allen Vautier [VautierA@CWU.EDU]

BBC-Worldservice has an ongoing program called "Analysis". The current continuing theme has posed the question: "Who runs your world?"

Today's show focuses on "Accountants", and concludes that, in spite of our bean-counter, gray-suit image, when it comes to accountants, don't judge by appearances.

The audio is about 15 minutes long.

Allen Vautier
Central Washingon University

Sex Workers Seeking to Form Union
Sex workers in Kyonggi Province are organizing to negotiate working conditions with employers and said they may press the authorities to recognize their minted group as a union. Their action is likely to trigger a heated debate over the tightening approach on the sex trade by the government, which has been strengthening its crackdown not only on women selling sex but also on men who buy it. According to civil rights-advocates, 220 sex workers employed by brothels in Pyongtaek, Kyonggi Province, organized a group to represent their rights and reached a collective labor agreement with their employers earlier this month. The sex workers negotiated their working conditions, including working hours, leave, disciplinary measures and wages.
Kim Tong-hyung, "Sex Workers Seeking to Form Union," The Korea Times, September 26, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/SexStrike

Homegrown in Europe:  Generation Jihad
Rootless and restive, young Muslims in Europe are increasingly turning to religious extremism. An inside look at the threat of homegrown militants. Since 9/11, the Bush Administration has argued that the best way to prevent further attacks by al-Qaeda and its sympathizers is to fight Islamic extremists on their turf, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, before they make it to the West. But among Europeans, the suicide bombings in London on July 7 of this year, which were carried out by four British citizens, shattered any lingering illusions that the threat can be kept from their shores. In a videotaped message released last week on al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, claimed responsibility for the London attacks--the first public acknowledgment that the bombers may have received support and assistance from al- Qaeda operatives. In Europe the message was a chilling reminder that the enemy is within. Jihadist networks are increasingly drawing on a pool of young Muslims living in cities all over Europe--including many who were born and raised in the affluence and openness of the West, products of the very democracies they are determined to attack.
Bill Powell, "Generation Jihad," Time Magazine, September 25, 2005 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1109334,00.html

IFRS and U.S. GAAP Comparison Book Coming Soon (Comparing international and U.S. accounting standards)
The International Accounting Standard Committee Foundation (IASCF) will soon release IFRS/U.S. GAAP Comparison, a comprehensive financial reporting reference work that compares and contrasts the requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and U.S. GAAP. This is the only work that reviews in detail the main differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP. It also provides full cross-references to the primary authoritative sources in the respective financial reporting regimes. For publication details visit www.iasb.org .
"IFRS and U.S. GAAP Comparison Book Coming Soon." SmartPros, September 22, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x49840.xml

From The Washington Post on September 23, 2005

Roughly 50 million advanced "smartphones" are in use, providing mobile access to the Internet and e-mail. That's approximately how much of the global mobile phone market?

A. 33 percent
B. 23 percent
C. 13 percent
D. 3 percent

From The Washington Post on September 27, 2005

Many digital shutterbugs are turning to a distinctly old-school solution: the local discount store. What portion of July visitors to the retail giant Wal-Mart's Web site used its digital photo service?

A. More than half
B. One-third
C. One-fifth
D. One-tenth

Technology Woes in 1928

The Wall Street Journal Flashback, September 29, 1928
Rapid development of talking pictures has thrown Hollywood into a physical and mental upheaval. Uncertainty rules not only among the stars, but other high-priced personnel including the caption writers who are not sure they have a fraction of a job left.

The Wall Street Journa
l Flashback, October 3, 1949
The U.S. officials in charge of burying gold at Fort Knox are wondering whether the yellow flood that streams our way from abroad will slowly swell in volume now that the price is up. The American Treasury still stands ready to pay out $35 for every ounce of the stuff.

FASB to Create Investor Task Force
"Investors aren't engaged" in the FASB's decision making, said Don Young, a FASB board member who helped champion the creation of the new task force. At present, "companies are telling us" how they think accounting standards will affect investors who own their shares, but the FASB wants to hear from those investors directly. "We want to go to the direct users of financial statements who are placing the money and get more feedback," FASB Chairman Bob Herz said. "We're open to listening to them and anyone else who has constructive advice."
Diya Gullapalli, "FASB to Create Investor Task Force:  Asset-Management Firms To Be Involved in Effort To Speed Up Rule Making," The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2005; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112796072436155479,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

Jensen Comment:  CPA firms and their corporate clients are quick to respond to any FASB exposure draft or other proposal.  Responses from investors and academe are much more sparse.  The new Investor Task Force will attempt to gain more response from investors.  Next we need an academic task force and more appeals like we heard from Dennis Beresford at the 2005 annual meetings of the American Accounting Association in San Francisco.

Bob Jensen's history of accounting standard setting is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#MethodsForSetting

Thailand's Intensifying Insurgency
More than 1,000 people have died in almost daily violence in southern Thailand since January of last year. That death toll dwarfs the casualty count even in nearby Indonesia where high-profile attacks, such as the Bali bombings that killed 202 people in 2002, attract more attention but are far less frequent. That's at least partly because Indonesian authorities have moved decisively against JI since the Bali bombing, arresting many of its leaders and severely disrupting the terrorist group's organizational structure. In Thailand, by contrast, authorities are still groping to discover who they are dealing with -- and the extent of outside involvement. Pictures posted on an al Qaeda Web site of the large number of Muslim casualties during two incidents last year, when Thai forces were widely accused of overreacting, are evidence of the terror group's eagerness to exploit the conflict. And al Qaeda training videos seized from a Muslim religious school in southern Thailand earlier this year suggest insurgents are trying to emulate its tactics. On Friday, an exiled spokesman for one of the rebel groups, the Pattani United Liberation Organization, warned that "fighters from Indonesia and Arab countries" might soon join the insurgency.
"Thailand's Intensifying Insurgency," The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112768229387251436,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Blogs jamming the information highway
Search engine giant Google, in fact, recently launched a blog-search tool to track which blogs people are reading, presumably to start gathering information on what people look for in blogs. There isn't any way to make hay with that information yet, and none of Google's competitors have announced such a capability yet, but expect news on that front soon. For businesses, the blogging craze continues to be a conundrum. Personal blogs and social networking provide users a way to circumvent the commercial side of the Web while finding information of common interest. And in the same anarchistic fashion as early Internet users, it provides employees a way sound off and potentially leak confidential information. By the same token, all this blogging activity could shed new light on how consumers use the Web and open up new commercial opportunities. What are the chances of that? Drop me an e-mail to let me know what you think.

InternetWeek Newsletter, September 29, 2005

New search tool from Google:  Putting order into the wild west of the blogosphere
It's tough to make money in a chaotic environment, and things don't get more rough-and-tumble then in today's blogosphere. The universe of blogs has everything from little Johnny's web diary to serious journalism and corporate marketing. Nevertheless, there's money to be made, and Google is taking the first step to finding that pot of gold. The Mountain View, Calif., company has launched a blog-search tool that looks to bring order to the unruly blogosphere. Experts say some blogs, such as those doing credible work in journalism and commentary, are beginning to show commercial potential. The problem, however, is to find and categorize them, which is something Google does better than anyone.
InternetWeek Newsletter, September 15, 2005

Also see http://www.internetweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=170703264

Google's blog search tool is at http://blogsearch.google.com/

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs and blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog

September 26, 2005 message from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

The Equitable Life law suit against Ernst &Young has been dismissed. This multi-billion dollar suit originally had the potential to wipe out E&Y UK. Some columnists speculated that it ahd the potential to bring down E&Y worldwide.

"Equitable's claim against Ernst & Young was centered on the accountant's alleged failure to inform the then board about the extent of the mutual's financial problems.

However, Equitable decided to abandon the case after lawyers pointed out there was a good chance the former directors would not have acted differently had Ernst & Young given different advice."


Bob Jensen's threads in E&Y legal woes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Ernst

Western Trails: An Online Journey (History) --- http://www.cdpheritage.org/westerntrails/index.html

The logic of this scholar eludes me, especially the first versus last wording highlighted below:
THE United States is “America” to most people. But that word refers to the continent. When applied to the United States, it is better spelled with a “k,” as in “swastika.”  . . . The United States is not a nice place for non-whites and dollar-poor people to visit even in the best of times. You don't really want to live there--not if you think there's more to life than McDonald's, a gas-guzzling car, Mickey Mouse prancing around Disneyland, and indulging one's earthly appetites at the cost of one's dignity and self-respect. But I confess: I've visited the United States several times to see relatives, and even briefly lived there during arguably better times. . . . But the scramble to visit and live in the United States continues because the poverty rampant in the United States world order (800 million people go to bed hungry daily) drives millions from their countries to look for opportunities abroad--especially in the United States. . .
Luis V. Teodoro, "Visiting ‘Amerika’," inq7.net, September 30, 2005 ---

Jensen Comment: 

I guess what he's trying to say is that McDonald's food is "especially" better than starving, but that McDonald's should not be the source of food if you have sufficient resources to eat (and otherwise be sustained) outside the United States.  I don't think Teodoro realizes that McDonalds is successful because its food is chosen by millions of people who have other choices around the world, including places as far away as Moscow.

Although strictly anecdotal, one email message came my way from a physician who took the time and trouble to distribute water bottles and high quality deli food packs to the poorest of the women and children who were refuges of Katrina.  What discouraged him was the frequent, and sometimes rude, ingratitude that these were not Coke bottles, Big Macs, and fries instead of water and turkey/ham sandwiches and veggie bags. I guess many of them greatly prefer McDonald's Happy Meal to a healthier meal.

The U.S. has millions of non-white immigrants who came to this country because they were looking for and found it to be a land of opportunity if you're willing to learn, acquire skills, and work productively.  We've plenty of evidence of this among our non-whites!  There is racism and great disparities of wealth in literally every nation of the world, including nations that are almost entirely non-white but have a great deal of tribal viciousness.  Luis Teodoro fails to mention the considerable wealth differences, elitism, and tribal discriminations in his own nation --- the Philippines. 

I think millions (billions?) of non-whites want to "especially" choose the U.S. over other nations when dreaming of emigrating, because the U.S. affords exceptional opportunities to emigrating non-whites as well as whites.  Not all those who arrive realize the American Dream, but there are sufficient numbers to keep the Dream going.  Racism lies in the hearts of many white and non-white individuals, and I doubt that any higher education system or free press in the world has strived harder than us to change those hideous preconceptions.  We're far from perfect, but where is there perfection in the real world?  All we can do is keep trying!

Let me ask you this Professor Teodero.  If we should send thousands of our poorest and uneducated white families to the Philippines, what are their chances of encountering no discrimination and of failing to achieve the Philippines' Dream?  Or if we send our poorest non-white Katrina victims to your country, what are they're prospects?

Web 2.0 versus Web 1.0
Companies that survived and prospered after the dot-com bust, including Yahoo, Google, Amazon.com, and eBay, weren't just smarter than the companies that went bust. Their business model was fundamentally different. In the Web 1.0, the user was consuming content created by someone else. In Web 2.0, the content is created by the user. 1.0 is an "architecture of consumption," and "read-only," the Web 2.0 is "architecture of participation," O'Reilly said. On the old Web, the user is the audience; in the new Web, the user is participant. "In Web 1.0, everybody was trying to build 'walled gardens,' find ways to keep sites 'sticky,' keep people in," O'Reilly said. The Web 2.0 is about pushing content -- and users -- out to find, explore, and organize interesting and useful things elsewhere on the Web. For example, the Flickr photo-sharing sites provides a platform to allow users to publish photos to other sites. Now, at this point in the podcast I'm getting very excited, because I'd written about this stuff a few weeks earlier. I called it "user-created content". I said: "You want to know where the big money is coming from on the Internet nowadays? Look in the mirror. Online businesses are increasingly finding revenue in capturing content from users like you. Companies are making money by providing tools and services that let you write stuff, take pictures, organize your information, and publish it to the Web." I cited as examples: blogs and the companies that make the software and services to publish blogs; photo-sharing services like Flickr, community-bookmarking services like del.icio.us, online organization services like Backpack, and social-networking services like LinkedIn and Orkut.
InformationWeek Daily Newsletter, October 3, 2005

What's your reason for having a lousy Website? 
Is lack of formal refereeing a reason to discourage members of the academy from sharing on Websites?

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with one of the top young researchers (with an endowed chair) in accounting at a leading university.  This person is currently publishing in top journals at a very high rate for any  professor in our discipline.  Expecting him to apologize for his terrible Website (which only has is resume), I thought he would understandably claim that he just did not have the time to:  (1) Keep posting items to be shared with the world and (2) handle the volume of email and telephone communications that result from having a popular Website.

Instead this leading researcher claimed that academic Websites were dysfunctional and that the only legitimate way to share was in refereed journals. 

Most of the vast amount of material that I now share at my Website is not refereed formally.  However, there is refereeing of sorts, possibly better and formal refereeing by one or two peers because thousands of peers throughout the world sometimes take the trouble to point out my Website errors and/or make suggestions for improvements.  In literally countless instances I ask for permission to post their replies in my Web documents.  I think these replies, including criticisms, add great value. 

When was the last time you ever saw a referee's report on an article published in a journal?  When was the last time you were afforded an opportunity to reply or comment on a published article?  Virtually all the top accounting research journals do not publish critical commentaries on prior articles, at least not not in the past few decades.  Richard Sensing pointed out that The Accounting Review invites commentaries, but later he admitted that this top journal had not published one since 1997 and that was a rare occasion.  All top accounting journals refuse to publish replication studies which to me seems absurd.

So what's the real reason you have such a lousy Website?
I've published over 80 articles in refereed journals.  And I maintain an enormous Website that I try to keep up to date daily.  If I had to choose the hardest thing I do, it's maintaining a Website.  The real reason you probably have a lousy Website is that it's probably way too much work. 

Why might you change your mind?

I hope you will take the two messages below in their intended context.  I'm sharing these private message not to glorify myself.  Rather I hope they might inspire other members of the academy to develop helpful Websites and to be active participants on listservs among their peers.

In the spirit of encouraging others to share their work on Websites available to the world, I am publishing the following two private communications.

October 1, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen


It's messages like the one below that make sharing worthwhile. I only wish more members of the academy would come to realize that whatever we share comes back with compounded interest.

Equally satisfying are messages from unknown students (including those in China, Africa, and even Arab countries in the Middle East) who learned about my Website from their professors. This is doubly satisfying because it indirectly implies that the professors themselves got something shared and are, in turn, sharing it for that far-reaching goal of having multiplier effects.

I think the AECM and CPA-L have been a way for various scholars to have multiplier effects in the academy and sometimes even in practice. My response here is on behalf of all the sharing scholars on the AECM. I've learned a great deal from them!

It was a long, long time ago when we met. I'm so glad that you've been true to your profession and strived to make a difference with so many students over the years.

Keep the faith and know that until I go completely gaga that I will continue to share at my Website.

You can do me a favor by letting me know that there are signs that I'm really too gaga to carry on. I don't want to be like one of my very dear (emeritus) friends at Trinity who's now senile and doesn't know it when he makes absurd claims campus almost daily whenever he can corner a listener.

But I loved your reply that seems to tell me I'm not there yet.

Bob Jensen


September 30, 2005 message from Professor XXXXX

Quote from Bob Jensen:  "Do think its too long to wait until May for me to retire?"

No, it will be way too soon. You could not possibly remember me, but I crossed social paths with you years ago when I was an assistant at the University of YYYYY. I left the country for a year and subsequently have been at ZZZZZ University for 15+ years. Unlike Trinity, we are under-endowed and faculty are overworked--but, even if I had all the time in the world, I do not have your brilliance and could never come close to any of your accomplishments. What I know would not fill your little finger. But it struck me that you might enjoy knowing how much I have valued you. In my syllabi, I always provide a short list of my favorite links--and your site is always included. I have frequently used your statement (properly attributed) that the shortest route to the executive board room is through the auditing path. In spite of the blots on the reputations of accountants (especially recently), that is most likely a valid statement still.

Most recently, via the CPA-L out of Loyola.edu, I routinely visit your tidbits. Just this week I read (most of) your Enron quiz and answers. I am always struck by the shear volume of your production, but also the practicality of it and your seeming down-to-earthness. Whether you are or not is not relevant--because my only real acquaintance is cyber--and, regardless of the media, you are one of my all time heros.

I want to thank you for the way you have contributed to my accounting knowledge which I always share with my students. I hope to retire in two years, and I pray that you will continue to be interested in your site until then. Your retirement will be a profound loss to more academics that you probably realize.



See what a little sharing can bring in return!

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