Tidbits on October 21, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
My links on Medicare drug plan
options are at
Under no circumstance should anybody sign up for a plan
with a stranger over the telephone even if that person claims to be a Medicare
representative or a licensed insurance agent who phoned out of the blue.
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
other universities is at
Bob Jensen's home page is
Lists of Bests ---
Security threats and hoaxes ---
25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) ---
Heart Attack Coughing (it's a hoax
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 ---
Skeleton Man Street Dance (video and audio) ---
Melancholy Melodies from Halloween, Alaska ---
Poetry with music in the background (see the left side of the
page) --- http://robert21.com/
Some nice folk duets ---
Joe Dimico (starts right up) ---
What's Filk Music?
A Filk Song Sampler Amanda Kelly and Trent Urness perform three tunes, recorded
in Urness' bedroom: 'Romulan Pirate' 'Underwater Zombies' 'Potential Vampire'
Scroll down and look left.
Lost Soul Midi Files ---
Bob Jensen's Hope: Hope Has Place ---
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the
page and turn it on.
Enya's home page is at
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
From the Congo: Photos of 'Last Place on Earth' (with audio) ---
U.S. Navy Blue Angels (click on Gallery) ---
American Mile Markers ---
Tate Collection: Carousel (history, modern art) ---
Bob Jensen's threads on art museums are at
The East Asian (Art) Collection ---
Norman Koren Photographs ---
The Visual Record ---
Click on UK Nights ---
Archive of Soldier's Photos (some are graphic) ---
Katinka Matson's Flowers ---
On October 10, 1935, Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin's opera about black
life in the South Carolina town of Charleston at the turn of the century,
made its Broadway debut ---
Since 2003, thousands have taken part in the StoryCorps oral history
project, describing their lives and history ---
About StoryCorps ---
Carve (draw) your own Halloween pumpkin face ---
Skeleton Man Street Dance ---
New Orleans Missing Persons List ---
October 20, 2005 from Steve Tucker (a retired professor of Health Care
This Medicare RX thing is just too complicated, isn't it? Two pieces of
information in your emails might need some elaboration: I understand that
people have until May 15, '06 to sign up "without penalty" (so Dec. 15th
isn't a real deadline) and this does not take the place of the alphabet set
of Medicare Supplement options -- it just makes two of the options obsolete.
Hope this is helpful.
The booklet I got from Medicare stated that penalties might be imposed after
December 31, 2005.
Bob Jensen's threads, advice, and warnings on the very confusing new
Medicare drug plan are at
American Library Association (a great place for scholars) ---
Internet FAQ Archives ---
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
Meet an honest boss (audio)---
“Experiment and take intellectual risks,” Hennessy
said. “Challenge yourself with courses in disciplines that are new to you. And
should you occasionally not succeed, do not become disillusioned.
The only people
I know who have succeeded at everything they have undertaken are those who have
been timid in setting their goals.”
Stanford President John Hennessey, "Embrace your opportunities, Hennessy tells
Class of 2009 in welcome remarks," Stanford Report, September 21, 2005 ---
The universe does not have laws -- it has habits,
and habits can be broken.
Aaron Konstam has this at the bottom of his email messages. Apparently it
is an old saying from an unknown author ---
The foreigner is within us. And when we flee from or
struggle against the foreigner, we are fighting our own unconscious.
Julia Kristeva (1941) is a famous
Bulgarian philosopher, psychoanalyst, feminist, and, most recently, novelist,
who has been living in France since the middle of the 1960s. Her works have an
important place in post-structuralist thought...
The British Empire was created as a by-product of
generations of desperate Englishmen roaming the world in search of a decent
Work is life, you know, and without it, there's
nothing but fear and insecurity.
John Lennon. as quoted by Mark Shapiro at
Breaking news about a new drug that reduces risk of breast cancer by 50%
A drug that targets a specific type of breast
cancer is about to dramatically change the way doctors treat breast cancer,
according to two major new studies. The combined results show that the drug
Herceptin cuts the risk of breast cancer recurrence in half among women with
tumors that are HER2-positive. HER2-positive tumors produce more HER2 protein,
which is linked with more aggressive forms of the disease and a higher risk of
breast cancer death.
Jennifer Warner, "Targeted Drug May Change Breast Cancer Care: Study Shows
Herceptin Reduces Risk of Cancer Recurrence by 50%," WebMD, October 19,
Other universities will want to move into this
Breaking news about a new communications partnering between Stanford and Apple
Through its iPod player and the iTunes Web site
through which it sells individual songs, Apple has helped to change the way
music is distributed. The company has grand ambitions to do the same with other
kinds of content in fields like higher education, and it took another step in
that direction Thursday with
Stanford University’s announcement
that it would make a range of audio content available to its alumni and others
Stanford on iTunes
emerged from the longstanding collaboration between the university and Apple,
which is based nearby, according to Scott Stocker, director of Web
communications at Stanford.
Doug Lederman, "The Sounds of Stanford, via the iPod," Inside Higher Ed, October
21, 2005 ---
Great electronic "books" from the University of Texas and Princeton
Dante Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise (a
multimedia learning experience) ---
Also see Princeton University's contribution (in Italian or English) ---
Princeton's versions have both lectures and multimedia!
The Online Books Page from the University of Pennsylvania ---
Bob Jensen's threads on electronic literature are at
Gravity Probe-B data collection ends: Was Einstein correct?
Almost 90 years after Einstein postulated his general
theory of relativity—our current theory of gravity—scientists have finally
finished collecting the data that will put this theory to an experimental test.
For the past 17 months, NASA's Gravity Probe-B (GP-B) satellite has been
orbiting the Earth using four ultra-precise gyroscopes, about a million times
better than the finest navigational gyroscopes, to generate the data required
for this unprecedented test. As planned, the helium that cooled the experiment
and powered its micro-thrusters has run out, ending the data-collection and
final instrument calibration phase of the experiment. All the data—50 weeks'
worth—has been downloaded from the spacecraft and relayed to computers in the
GP-B Mission Operations Center at Stanford University, where GP-B scientists
have begun the final painstaking task of data analysis and validation. Was
Einstein correct? They won't know for another 15 months, when the analysis has
been completed, but physicists around the world are eagerly awaiting the
Bob Kahn, "Gravity Probe-B data collection ends: Was Einstein correct?" Stanford
Report, September 21, 2005 ---
Dishmaking Machine: What a clever idea in dishware and energy
MIT Media Lab's Counter Intelligence Group, which
develops innovative kitchen designs, has created a machine that makes dishes on
demand and recycles them after diners have finished a meal. The dishes are made
from food-grade, nontoxic acrylic wafers, which are shaped into cups, bowls and
plates when heated, then resume their original wafer shape when they are
reheated and pressed. Designed by MIT grad student Leonardo Bonanni, the
DishMaker frees space in dish cabinets and reduces landfill trash. It also uses
less energy to recycle dishes than factories use to make them. And, because the
machine can produce up to 150 items, a dinner host would never be short of table
settings when unexpected guests arrive: Cooks can select the number of place
settings needed using a simple push-button control panel. The prototype
DishMaker is the size of a standard dishwasher, and uses the heating element of
a toaster oven to shape the items. To recycle the dishes, it heats them to about
300 degrees Fahrenheit to soften the acrylic, then a press restores them to
wafers for easy stacking.
Kim Zetter, "Machine Makes Dishes on Demand," Wired News,
October 12, 2005 ---
It’s not just that respect for the awesome majesty
of the law is now largely pro forma. Rather, in important regards the whole
edifice has been gutted; before long, there won’t even be any nails holding the
"Law and Ordure." by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, October
20, 2005 ---
In The Law in Shambles — just published in
the Prickly Paradigm series, distributed by the University of Chicago Press
— Thomas Geoghegan offers an incisive criticism, from the left, of the idea
that the expression “rule of law” is at all appropriate to the way we live
now. His booklet is conversational, wide-ranging, and absolutely terrifying.
It deserves a wide readership.
In saying that Geoghegan’s perspective comes “from
the left,” I’ve made room for misunderstandings that should be cleared up
right away. First of all, he’s not denouncing the whole concept of rule of
law as a more or less streamlined way of carrying out the “golden rule” of
capitalism, that he with the gold makes the rules. (That’s the paleo-Marxist
position. Some of the International Socialist Organization activists on your
campus might make this argument.) Nor is Geoghegan criticizing actually
existing constitutional democracy (as we might call it) from the vantage
point of some “original position” of fairness, A Theory of Justice-style.
The author is a labor lawyer (though he has also
been a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin). He’s arguing from his own
court cases, and from perceived trends — not from first principles. He once
loved the work of John Rawls, and the dream is not quite dead; but really,
that was a long time ago. “Ever since he wrote that book,” Geoghegan says,
“it’s as if someone with a voodoo doll put a hex on his whole approach.”
No, Geoghegan’s criticism is less abstract, more
crunchy. It’s not just that respect for the awesome majesty of the law is
now largely pro forma. Rather, in important regards the whole edifice has
been gutted; before long, there won’t even be any nails holding the facade
The increasingly robust and strident contempt for
the judiciary expressed by the American right is only part of it, if the
most bewildering for anybody who remembers the old conservative motto of
“law and order.” Now the emphasis is just on order, plain and simple. And
not in the sense conveyed by Jack Webb’s no-nonsense demeanor on Dragnet.
More like Joseph de Maistre’s rhapsody over the hangman’s role as
cornerstone of civilization.
Which is worrisome, no doubt about it. But
Geoghegan is more concerned about the low-key, day-to-day degradations of
the rule of law. Consider, for example, the case of the rat turds. Geoghegan
worked on a brief on behalf of workers who had lost their jobs when a
chicken-processing plant shut down — suing on their behalf under the Worker
Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires that a
factory owner give employees 60 days notice that a plant will be shut down.
To this, the chicken-processing guy had a ready answer: He had been shut
down by the Department of Agriculture for health-code violations — an
unforeseen contingency, he said.
He had an argument, says Geoghegan: “Yes, he may
have done bad things, and let rats run wild, and let rats shit on the
chicken meat. And yes, it is even true that the inspectors of the Department
of Agriculture gave him ‘write-ups.’ But here is the issue: Was it
reasonable for the owner to foresee that the DOA would enforce its own
regulation?” After all, everybody in the business knows that you get the
write-up and pay the fine.
Continued in article
Many colleges pride themselves in not accepting transfer credit or
limiting transfer credit from distance education courses and from for-profit
colleges. Legislation is now pending that will likely eliminate this
discretion for colleges for many colleges.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Government
Accountability Office issued
report backing those claims — sort
of. The report said that some colleges reported that they
rejected transfer credit based solely on the kind of
accreditation a student’s original college has. And the report
recommended the Congress bar this practice — a ban that
for-profit colleges have been wanting for some time, and that
both the House of Representatives and the Senate versions of a
bill to renew the Higher Education Act would put in place.But at
the same time, the GAO report didn’t offer evidence that the
problem is widespread. And the GAO report listed a number of
efforts by accreditors and states to deal with the problem
without federal legislation.
Scott Jaschik, "Demanding Credit," Inside Higher Ed
October 19, 2005 ---
Mostly the crocked get crocked Down Under
"Opportunistic crocs snap at boozers," Sunday Times (South
Africa), October 19, 2005 ---
SYDNEY - Almost one in three people
bitten by deadly saltwater crocodiles in Australia had been
drinking alcohol before the animal attacked, new research
An Australian review of unprovoked
crocodile attacks on humans between 1971 and 2004 found that
29 percent of the 62 attacks had involved some alcohol
consumption by the victim.
"About one-third of the people who
had been attacked had actually been drinking alcohol," study
co-author Charlie Manolis said.
"But it doesn't mean they were ...
(drunk) when they fell into the river - although it did
Manolis said the research found
that crocodiles were opportunistic predators and that when
people took risks while in their habitat, they sometimes
paid the ultimate price.
"Sometimes when people do drink
they throw caution to the wind," he said.
The study, published in the
US-based Wilderness Medical Society journal, found that
fatal attacks had remained roughly stable at about two per
year since the 1970s.
"But the number of non-fatal
attacks has increased markedly," Manolis said.
Non-fatal attacks increased sharply
from about 0.1 per year between 1971 and 1980 to 3.3 per
year from 2001 to 2004, according to the study.
Continued in article
Students should seek every
avenue other than credit cards to finance tuition
In the latest sign of spiraling higher
education costs, the College Board reported yesterday that college
tuition and fees rose from a year ago at twice the rate of inflation. In
its annual survey on college pricing and financial aid, the nonprofit
education group also found that students are relying more heavily on
student loans rather than outright grants. This marks a worrisome trend
since rising interest rates have made borrowing more expensive. As a
result, a college degree will cost thousands of dollars more in interest
expenses after graduation.
College Board tuition report.)
John Hechinger, "College Tuition Costs Increase At Twice the Rate of
Inflation: Many Students Are Relying More Heavily on Loans; A
Quarter Use Credit Cards," The Wall Street Journal, October 19,
2005; Page D3 ---
You can also find details and tables showing how financial aid increases
are lagging behind tuition rates at
Bob Jensen's threads on how to get screwed using credit cards are at
Paying more tuition (see the above module) for less homework
The End of Homework, a popular source, depicts homework as an obstacle to
"taking back our home lives" because it "sets parent against child," presumably
when kids don't feel like doing it. Homework opponents propose bizarrely that we
"raise whole children" and "preserve family time" by "extending school hours."
They also call for a ban on homework on the equally mind-boggling grounds that
it's unfair to students who don't do it. When the National Education
Association's monthly magazine hosted a homework debate, one cited teacher urged
"doing away with homework" because when some students don't do it, part of the
class isn't ready for the next day's lesson. Of course, if you don't assign any
homework, and nobody does it, then everybody isn't ready for the next day's
lesson. Unless, that is, the teacher slows the whole course down and teaches
less. Believe it or not, advocates justify this position with the dubious claim
that it promotes education equity, meaning presumably that everybody's equally
Peter Berger, "The Virtues of Work.," The Irascible Professor, October
18, 2005 ---
Darwinian Poetry (I didn't find any of the poems intelligently designed)
Getting into Georgia's "Boutique"
Tiny Terry College of Business (University of Georgia)
is seeking risk-takers -- but ones with some humility. In return, the school
offers generous financial aid
"Getting into Georgia's 'Boutique'," Business Week, October 11, 2005 ---
If you like political speculation and rumor, read this one
After a Washington Post story suggesting that Vice
President Dick Cheney’s office is involved in the Plame-CIA investigation,
rumors are flying around Washington that Cheney might step aside – and be
replaced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "If that should happen, there
will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated – another
brilliant Machiavellian move by the VP,” a White House insider told Paul Bedard
of U.S. News & World Report. Some observers are whispering that the driving
force behind the Rice-for-Cheney scenario is political pundit Dick Morris’ new
book "Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race.”
"Rumor: Cheney to Resign; Rice as V.P.," NewsMax, October 19, 2005
1-800-Free411 Telephone Directory Assistance ---
This is a free phone directory (if you're on a telephone), but I only
recently got it to work.. Last weekend it just would not work for
me. But by the middle of the day on October 17, a recorded female voice
asked me to speak the city and state. Then a live voice came on (faintly)
and asked for the name of the party I wanted to phone. The service found
the correct number and dialed it automatically for me. I didn't get any
advertising this first time I tried it, but I suspect there is some sort of
advertising since the site above solicits advertisers.
Of course if you're on the Web, a better alternative is to probably use one
of the many free phone number search services such as Switchboard ---
There are also various yellow page search services such as those listed at
But I don't know of any other "Ernestines" out there who will give you free
phone numbers over the telephone other than
1-800-Free411 (if you catch it when it is working).
The Wall Street Journal Flashback, October 19, 1982
Some of the most influential traders in the commodity futures
pits are squat, gray boxes that spit out numbers and graphs.
They're computers, and they're moving the markets as never
before. Computers will probably grow in influence.
Those without shelter will die when winter comes to Kashmir.
BALAKOT, Pakistan-administered Kashmir -- They are
still not even trying to extricate the dead. From under the rubble of collapsed
buildings, a gut-wrenching smell of decaying corpses now fills the town. The
rats have it good; the one I accidentally stepped upon was already fat. If there
is indeed a plan to clear the concrete rubble in and around the town, nobody
seems to have any clue. But the Balakotis are taking it in their stride -- nose
masks are everywhere.
Pervez Hoodbhoy, "Wanted: 10,000 Houses At Only $83 Each," The Wall Street
Journal, October 19, 2005; Page A12 ---
|The JofA asked historian Gary
John Previts to bring together a group of
prominent leaders to consider the accounting
profession’s recent past and its future.
Here are the observations of David M.
Walker, Olivia F. Kirtley, Bert N. Mitchell,
Don Kirk, J. Clarke Price, J. Michael Cook
and Previts himself.
The State of the
Centennial issue of the
Journal of Accountancy, October 2005 ---
Although the above article is appropriate for celebrating 100 years of
the Journal of Accountancy, I don't think enough attention is being
paid to either of the two following presentations at annual meetings of the
American Accounting Association:
"Accounting Professionalism --- They Just Don't Get It," by Art Wyatt,
Plenary Address, American Accounting Association Annual Meetings in Hawaii,
August 4, 2003 ---
"Accounting Professionalism --- We (Professors) Just Don't Get It,"
Luncheon Address, American Accounting Association Annual Meetings in San
Francisco, August 9, 2005 (I think this paper will soon be published).
Bob Jensen's threads on the state of the accounting profession are at
Bob Jensen's threads on the state of the accounting academy are at
Washington Post on October 19, 2005
Apple launched another incarnation of its iPod,
this time letting users download videos. During the announcement, what
television network said they would make episodes of two of their hit shows
available to users?
A Tour of Tomorrow’s Technology: Don’t let the future sneak up on you.
Journal of Accountancy, October 2005 ---
THINGS TO COME
Good as each
is, every current technology will be supplanted by
its successor in a surprisingly short time—and these
changes in turn will engender entirely new
technologies. Consider the following works in
progress that likely will make it to market sooner
than you think.
RFID, or radio
frequency identification, tags contain important
tracking and descriptive information about the
objects—for example, freight packages, vehicles or
pieces of luggage—to which they are attached. This
helps companies and government agencies better
perform a broad range of functions, from shipping
and inventory management to highway toll collection
and passenger baggage tracking. Word of these
advantages has encouraged a bevy of organizations to
emulate Wal-Mart’s well-publicized RFID
implementation. And now that EPCglobal, the RFID
industry trade group, has updated its electronic
product code (EPC) standard—the RFID version of the
bar code—software developers are working on more
powerful applications. Nearly every CPA will need to
understand this important technology.
over power lines (BPL) may bring high-speed Internet
access to every home. This new communications
technology was approved by the FCC late in 2004. It
offers ultrafast Internet services that outperform
current wire-based links by using modems that plug
into any electrical outlet. As new participants in
the broadband communications market, BPL companies
will help telephone and cable-TV companies improve
communications in many underserved U.S. markets.
Stratellites are high-altitude, lighter-than-air
ships being developed to provide a variety of
communications services. Floating in the
stratosphere at about 13 miles above the earth, they
hover over a particular location and relay radio
signals to and from the ground. Each airship
typically covers an area the size of Texas.
Stratellites can outperform satellites and are
cheaper to launch and maintain. Among other things,
they’ll offer telephone, paging and wireless
broadband services over large areas.
computing soon will become a reality. It consists of
linking the processing power and data storage
resources of many computers in networks dedicated to
fulfilling joint goals such as serving a community
of users. Grid computing will offer secure, reliable
access to huge quantities of shared computer power,
much as electrical utilities operate today. As a
result businesses and individuals will find owning
computer servers to be no more necessary than having
their own power generators.
security will vastly improve over the next decade.
Security tokens—small, key-like devices that fit
into a computer port—will replace passwords as the
means by which users identify themselves to a
system. Improvements in other areas—such as virus
prevention and antihacker measures—also are in the
works. The result will be simultaneous advances in
safety and convenience.
It is somewhat interesting to compare the
above with Bob Jensen's earlier answers to the following question:
What are the most significant changes expected in higher education by the Year
In the October 24, 2005 issue of Time
Magazine, the cover story is entitled "What's Next," pp. 67-86 ---
There are too many interviews to summarize here,
but I will quote from one article that especially caught my attention.
"Place Your Bets!" by Bill Saporito, Time Magazine, October 24, 2005, Page 70
The power of markets, it turns out, has something
to say about practically everything. We see it at work on Wall Street, which
absorbs the collected wisdom of millions of investors and expresses it as
stock prices. Prediction markets now let people bet on everything from
sports scores to election results to the expected capture of al-Qaeda bigwig
Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi. Some of the best of those online markets: the
Hollywood Stock Exchange, the Iowa Electronic Markets, Yahoo's Tech Buzz
Game and PublicGyan. InTrade, run by the Trade Exchange Network, an Irish
firm, cleared 50,000 contracts last month (including 10% odds that al-Zarqawi
will be caught in 2005). "There's a tremendous demand for prediction," says
Justin Wolfers, a markets expert at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton
School. "I can bet on the World Series or the next presidential election."
The driving force behind prediction markets is
something called information aggregation. Traditionally, it has been the
realm of professionals such as pollsters or weather forecasters or the CIA.
Those experts tend to be knowledgeable but are prone to certain limitations:
personal bias, groupthink, clashing personalities. "In companies, not only
are people afraid to get an answer, they are afraid of asking the question,"
says Emile Servan-Schreiber, CEO of NewsFutures Inc., which sells markets
programs to corporations. So a market can benefit from outsiders' views that
are reflected, in real time, in the form of prices. The dirty secret is that
markets are often as good as the experts at making predictions. The next
time the Federal Reserve meets to set interest rates, Wolfers says, Chairman
Alan Greenspan might be better served by having the governors bet on what
interest rates should be rather than go though their traditional number
The markets get into controversial ground when it
comes to security and terrorism. When the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency of the Defense Department developed such a market in July 2003,
called FutureMAP, as part of an even more controversial program once called
Total Information Awareness, it was equated with "betting on terrorism."
Congressional outrage squelched the project, but the fact is, betting on
terrorism actually makes sense. Consider the investigation just launched in
Washington over an apparent leak at the Department of Homeland Security in
which insiders seem to have tipped off relatives about an alleged threat to
the New York City subway system. Outrageous behavior? Perhaps. But get those
"insider traders" into a market, and everyone will have access to that
information. Insiders have a motivation--money, at the basest level--to
distribute their knowledge.
Markets are hard to beat and even harder to
manipulate. On Dec. 11, 2003, InTrade's contract on Saddam Hussein's capture
suddenly began to move. "We noticed that that contract started trading from
9 to 30 for no reason," says Mike Knesevitch, communications director.
"Something was happening." In fact, someone may well have been trading on
inside information. Two days later, Saddam was in custody.
In the near future, prediction and decision markets
are likely to extend their reach. At the University of Iowa, which created
the Iowa Electronic Markets, researchers are developing a prediction market
designed to forecast flu outbreaks, and their counterparts at the University
of Miami have organized the Hurricane Futures Market, where you can place
bets on where the spit will hit the fan. Corporations so far have tended to
focus on relatively low-value projects like predicting the next quarter's
sales. Google, for example, has been conducting an internal market to
predict project-completion and product-launch dates. But given the market
system's track record, corporations are about to move to bet-the-ranch-type
decisions. "We're about to have a Cambrian explosion of the technology,"
says Servan- Schreiber.
For individuals, markets are beginning to offer
potentially useful opportunities to hedge risk in their lives. Do you think
the real estate market is going to crash and take your house with it?
HedgeStreet.com lets you take a position on the median home price in a
number of large cities by matching your bet in a "hedgelet" against someone
with the opposite opinion. Similarly, you can hedge the price of gasoline,
mortgage rates or inflation rates. Wolfers believes that individuals will
ultimately be able to use markets to hedge everything, even their own
For government policymakers, the potential of
markets to support decision making is "humongous," says Bob Hahn, director
of the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. Will cutting taxes
raise the GDP? Congress can debate it. But if you establish a market for the
question, the answer will likely be superior to whatever one Congress
arrives at. You can bet on it.
"Accounting Education Changes Course:
Communication skills and real-world cases broaden the syllabus," by Randy Myers,
Journal of Accountancy, October 2005 ---
When will analog TV become history?
"Senate Bill Sets Spring 2009 Demise for
Analog Television," by Arshad Mohammed, The Washington Post, October 15,
The Digital Duo
provides some great advice about shifting to HDTV at
Higher Ed Commission Gets to Work
Whatever the cause, those attending Monday’s first
meeting of the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher
Education probably came away (perhaps to their surprise) feeling as if they had
seen the start of something significant. They witnessed thoughtful people
offering (mostly) cogent assessments about a very important topic, and it was
not uncommon to see the college officials, policy makers and others in the
audience nodding their heads in approval — or shaking them vehemently in
disagreement — after one comment or another. The conversation was, for the most
part, intelligent and serious. “A fascinating discussion,” Spellings pronounced
at a news conference afterward.
Doug Lederman, "Higher Ed Commission Gets to Work," Inside Higher Ed,
October 18, 2005 ---
U.S. Secretary of Education Appoints Trinity Professor to Commission on
the Future of Higher Education ---
540 or more examples of Nigerian fraud email messages that plague us daily
Update on Nigerian Fraud: At last a glimmer of hope
"Nigeria enlists Microsoft to fight 419 scammers Redmond will help detect and
prosecute net fraudsters," by Andy McCue, Silicon.com, October 14, 2005
Microsoft is to work with the Nigerian government
to help track down and prosecute criminals involved in 419 email scams and
other internet-based fraud originating from the African country.
Microsoft will provide technical expertise,
training and other security resources to Nigeria's Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is tasked with fighting cyber crime in the
Nigeria was initially slow to respond to the
problem of 419 email scammers operating in the country who were duping
innocent internet users out of thousands of pounds by promising a share of
the secret multimillion pound fortune of a deposed African dictator.
The EFCC is now at the forefront of that battle and
has arrested more than 1,000 people, brought 300 prosecutions and seized a
billion dollars in assets - but that has still only resulted in 17
convictions to date.
Speaking to silicon.com at the Nigerian Embassy in
London today, Nuhu Ribadu, executive chairman of the EFCC, said it is a
"painful" problem for Nigeria.
"Nigeria is one country where there are examples of
everything that is bad when it comes to technology," he said. "It's a big,
big problem for us. 419 scams are still the main problem but we are also
witnessing other problems such as credit card fraud and lottery scams as
well as the hacking and cloning of websites."
But Ribadu said that is now changing for the better
with new legislation that allows the government to prosecute anyone helping
to facilitate the scammers - from cyber café owners to ISPs.
He said: "We are also getting technology to help us
filter these scams at the cyber café level. We will go after anyone doing
this. The measures are starting to show. The scammers are moving out of the
country. Things are changing a lot and changing our lives."
Neil Holloway, president of Microsoft in Europe,
Middle East and Africa, said the agreement with the Nigerian government is
part of Microsoft's wider security strategy, which includes the rewards for
bringing prosecutions against virus writers.
Holloway acknowledged internet-based fraud is a
global problem but said Nigeria is an important battleground and added that
the partnership, which has been underway for six months, has already led to
the closure of three ISPs in Nigeria that were being used by scammers.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on similar frauds and fraud reporting alternatives are
Colleges have to pull their Sox up
Although the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 applied
to the governance of for-profit businesses, it is having a significant impact on
nonprofit governance, according to a report released Monday by Standard and
Poor’s. The report said that many nonprofit groups are reviewing their
governance systems and that states are increasing oversight.
Inside Higher Ed, October 18, 2005 ---
The majority of CPAs "are still ignorant about fraud
The majority of CPAs "are still ignorant about fraud," said Joseph Wells,
founder and chairman of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He
provided three reasons accountants are having trouble catching frauds ---
there are three reasons CPAs cannot catch all material misdeeds:
first is the dichotomy of fraud. "Trust is an essential element
of business -- and an essential element of fraud," he said.
"Absent trust, it is impossible to con anyone. But absent trust,
it is also impossible to conduct business."
Second, fraud is a crime without unique clues, making it easy to
miss. While it is hard to mistake a robbery, an embezzlement may
be marked merely by numbers that don't add up.
Finally, CPAs can only audit what is presented to them.
"Under-the-table deals, sham transactions and the like can be
easily concealed," Wells stated. "Holding CPAs to a standard
that requires them to detect all material fraud puts them in a
no-win situation and they know it. Still, auditors can certainly
do a much better job than they've done in the past."
pointed out that key insiders are often the first to divulge
corporate misdeeds. Sharron Watkins of Enron and Cynthia Cooper of
WorldCom are only the latest in a long line of employees tarred as
whistleblowers. But auditors typically react to these tips rather
than seeking them out in time to avoid major financial disasters.
"Accountants don't currently learn what motivates fraudulent
conduct, how to spot the signals, how to prevent fraud from
occurring and much more," said Wells. "As it stands now, auditors
are fighting a war without being taught how to recognize the enemy.
Until that changes, expect more heavy casualties."
Bob Jensen's fraud links are at
Beware of spyware or virus removal pop-ups that suddenly appear on your
computer. Sometimes the companies that do the damage are trying to get you
to pay to undo the damage they've just inflicted. These sources are
unethical and may be phishing for your credit card information if you fall for
their trap to buy removal software.
Spyware Update: What you need to know
"Spyware: What You Need to Know," by Kim Zetter, Wired News, October
17, 2005 ---
includes heavyweights like Microsoft, EarthLink and
Hewlett-Packard), says spyware is any application that
impairs "users' control over material changes that
affect their user experience, privacy or system
In plainer language, spyware
consists of a host of programs that you likely wouldn't
invite onto your computer if you knew what they would do
once they invaded your machine. They are primarily
software programs that can hijack your browser to send
you to an advertiser's page or track where you surf on
the internet so marketers can learn your interests and
feed you pop-up ads.
Is spyware the same as
viruses and Trojan horses?
Traditionally, viruses and
Trojan horses have been considered a different type of
malware, but the Anti-Spyware
Coalition is attempting to lump all malware together to
make it easier for lawmakers to legislate against it.
The coalition does not include
viruses in this category, but it does include Trojan
horses, which are usually installed on your machine
without your consent and sit in the background quietly
recording your keystrokes or sending copies of your
files to a remote intruder over the internet. Keystroke
loggers are generally not used by people who want to
market to you, but by people who are interested in data
like passwords or credit card numbers for financial gain
does spyware get onto my computer?
delivers pop-up ads often comes
hidden in free software downloads,
such as games or browser plug-ins or
toolbars. The makers of the software
generally contract with advertisers
to include a program in the download
to feed you ads or give the
advertiser information about you,
such as which sites you visit.
programs can also download
automatically to your computer
through websites you visit.
Generally, you have to do something
to install the program on your
machine, but that something can be
as simple as clicking a button that
says "Close" to shut a pop-up
window. This can activate an ActiveX
control that installs the spyware on
your machine. See below for tips on
how to prevent spyware from
infecting your computer.
will I know if I have spyware on my
notice an unusual number of pop-ups
appearing on your screen, even when
you don't go to the kinds of sites
that generally deliver lots of
pop-ups, such as gambling and porn
sites. If pop-ups appear on your
screen when you're offline, your
computer is probably infected. Or
you may find your browser homepage
has mysteriously changed.
need to wait for these signs,
however, to see if you're infected.
You can use a number of free
software tools to search your
computer for spyware, in the same
way that antivirus software scans
your hard disk for malicious code.
Be careful to use a reputable tool,
however. Some spyware masquerades as
anti-spyware scanning tools but
instead deposits spyware onto your
computer. Before downloading such a
tool, check sites like
known rogue sites and programs that
mimic helpful anti-spyware
. . .
I prevent spyware from getting on my
downloading shareware and
open e-mail attachments from
anyone you don't trust, and scan
attachments with an antivirus
tool before opening attachments
from people you do trust.
- Use a
spyware-monitoring tool like the
Spybot-Search & Destroy or
a free trial option) that can
help prevent spyware from
installing on your machine.
Consider using an alternative
browser such as Firefox or
Mozilla rather than Internet
Explorer. Spyware makers like to
exploit Internet Explorer to
download their wares to your
your browser's internet settings
to High, or set it so only
trusted sites are allowed to use
ActiveX controls and Java
applets and all others must ask
you for permission.
clicking buttons inside pop-up
windows that invite you to close
the window. Instead, close the
window by clicking on the X in
the corner of the window or by
putting your cursor on the upper
frame of the window where the
title of the web page resides
and hit Alt-F4. If you have a
firewall on your machine, such
as the free
you can set it to prevent
spyware from sending information
about you out to the internet.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on spyware are at
|Phishers are changing
When it comes to tracking phishers, the numbers
can be as slippery as the crooks themselves. A recent study by the Anti-Phishing
found that the
number of bogus emails trying to lure people to Web sites where
malicious code can be downloaded fell for the second straight month. But
rather than break out the champagne, security experts warn that the
numbers appear to reflect a change in tactics, and not a sign that
phishing is on the wane. Instead, it appears the latest dip in August is
tied to the trend of some phishers shifting to more sophisticated
tricks. While the amount of phisher-sent spam is dropping, the number of
phishing Web sites has actually increased, indicating the use of
multiple sites to host a single attack. In addition, phishers have
increased their use of sites hosting keylogger-installed Trojans that
exploit vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. In Augjust, the APWG found
that the number of sites with the password-stealing code increased by 4
percent from July, and 368 percent from April.
InformationWeek Newsletter, October 18, 2005
Bob Jensen's threads on phishing and pharming are at
What made so many animals die 41,000 years ago in North America?
"Supernova Storm Wiped Out Mammoths?" by Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News,
September 28, 2005 ---
A supernova blast 41,000 years ago started a deadly
chain of events that led to the extinction of mammoths and other animals in
North America, according to two scientists.
If their supernova theory gains acceptance, it
could explain why dozens of species on the continent became extinct 13,000
Mammoths and mastodons, both relatives of today's
elephants, mysteriously died out then, as did giant ground sloths, a
large-horned bison, a huge species of armadillo, saber-toothed cats, and
many other animals and plants.
Richard Firestone, a nuclear scientist at the U.S.
Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who formulated
the theory with geologist Allen West, told Discovery News that a key piece
of evidence for the supernova is a set of 34,000-year-old mammoth tusks
riddled with tiny craters.
The researchers believe that in the sequence of
events following the supernova, first, the iron-rich grains emitted from the
explosion shot into the tusks. Whatever caused the craters had to have been
traveling around 6,214 miles per second, and no other natural phenomenon
explains the damage, they said.
They think the supernova exploded 250 light-years
away from Earth, which would account for the 7,000-year delay before the
tusk grain pelting. It would have taken that long for the supernova
materials to have showered to Earth.
Then, 21,000 years after that event, the
researchers believe a comet-like formation from the supernova's debris blew
over North America and wreaked havoc.
Firestone said they think the formation created
superheated hurricanal winds in the atmosphere that rolled across North
America at 400 kilometers per hour (about 249 mph).
"The comet (-like event) was followed by a barrage
of hot particles. If that didn't kill all of the large animals, then the
immediate climate changes must have," said Firestone.
Firestone said smaller animals could have sought
shelter more readily, by going into caves or underground.
The findings were presented at last weekend's
"World of Elephants" international conference in Hot Springs, S.D.
In addition to the tusk evidence, the scientists
said arrowheads from North America's prehistoric Clovis culture, which went
extinct around 13,500-13,000 years ago, Icelandic marine sediment, as well
as sediment from nine 13,000-year-old sites in North America, contain
higher-than-normal amounts of radiation in the form of potassium-40 levels.
Potassium-40 is a radioactive isotope, meaning a
molecule that emits radiation.
Magnetic particles also were unearthed at the
sites. Analysis of these particles revealed they are rich in titanium, iron,
manganese, vanadium, rare-earth elements, thorium and uranium.
These elements all are common in moon rocks and
lunar meteorites, so the researchers think the materials provide additional
evidence that North America was bombarded 13,000 years ago by material
originating from space.
Luann Becker, a University of California at Santa
Barbara geologist, told Discovery News she was not surprised by the new
supernova theory, since extinction events have been linked to similar comet
or asteroid impacts before.
"What is exciting about Dr. Firestone's theory is
that it can be easily tested," Becker said, and indicated she hopes future
research will yield additional clues from North American and other sediment
The Road Ahead
The Road Ahead We assembled some of the smartest
people we know to identify the trends that are most likely to affect our future.
What we got was a fascinating discussion about religion, technology and politics
and why no one's golf scores seem to be getting any better.
"The Road Ahead, Time Magazine ---
5 New Things That Will Blow Your Mind, by Wilson Rothman, Time Magazine
The Future Of The Web
The Future Of The Web Speeding up Route 101 on a sunny October afternoon from
Mountain View, Calif., to San Francisco, InformationWeek reporters Aaron
Ricadela and Thomas Claburn hurried back to the office after hearing Google talk
up a new partnership with Sun Microsystems. With Ricadela at the wheel, Claburn
banged out a news story on his laptop. The reason for their rush: The next few
days were booked with press conferences and back--to--back meetings. Fifteen
conference--issued meals and 30 cups of coffee later, they provide the following
account. It describes a technology industry scrambling to understand-and
influence-the fundamental changes playing out on the World Wide Web.
"The Future Of The Web," InformationWeek, October 17, 2005 ---
|Online dating service fears
have become reality
People using online dating sites have a lot
more to worry about than whether the suitors are 10 years older than
their pictures. At least one industry analyst estimates that nearly 1 in
10 profiles are fake, often the work of scam artists looking to take
advantage of people looking for love. In today's
lead feature, freelancer Christopher Heun
takes a look at the dangers of online dating, and finds lots of examples
of scams, including women pretending to look for husbands and fraudsters
asking for help in getting cash from foreign bank accounts. Oftentimes,
scam artists will chat with their victims for months, even sending them
flowers and candy, to make them feel at ease before asking for money.
Newsletter, October 17, 2005
From The Washington Post on October 18, 2005
Which is the first country to allow its citizens
to vote over the Internet during national elections?
Phony login names with real passwords (for news site registrations that
are free but require logins)
Sometimes Web users can circumvent the process of
having to use a password at all. For Web surfers who don't want to register at
pesky news sites that want your e-mail address and demographic information, one
, is a clearinghouse for bogus accounts. It'll set you up with cheeky fake names
and passwords -- like "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "death_to_logons" -- that already
work on the site you're trying to access. Though Bugmenot.com is primarily a
handy way to avoid registering at a news site -- the site lists
washingtonpost.com as an offender -- it also pitches itself as a social movement
for those who find it annoying that such Web sites ask for personal information.
The site has a petition online, a protest "to demonstrate the pointless nature
of forced Web site registration schemes and the dubious demographic data they
Mike Musgrove, "Bypassing the Password Prompt," The Washington Post, October 16,
Jensen Comment: If you don't mind logging in with your real name and email
address, most news cites will remember your password and let you enter
automatically without having to log in at all. This works for me at the
WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, Sydney Morning Herald, etc.
One firm's response to the shortage of accounting graduates
"Accounting Firm Launches Tuition Reimbursement Program," SmartPros,
October 12, 2005 ---
The program provides students with two options to
help them reach the 150 credit hour requirement. Option one: students may
begin work at the firm in 2006 and Beers & Cutler will pay university
expenses (tuition, fees and books) while they go to school part-time to meet
eligibility requirements. Option two: students may remain in school
full-time and Beers & Cutler will pay university expenses (tuition, fees and
books) for additional course work to meet eligibility requirements. Students
may begin working at the firm in 2007.
In both instances, students who maintain a 'B'
average will be reimbursed for tuition, fees, and books upon completion of
their coursework. The program offers complete financial forgiveness after
three years of employment with the firm -- a third of the reimbursement is
forgiven after each year of employment. For those students who elect to go
work and attend school part-time, Beers & Cutler will support them by
providing work schedules that allow them to meet their school demands.
For students already eligible to take the CPA exam
in 2006, Beers & Cutler is offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus for joining Beers
& Cutler's full-time staff.
"Although accounting is becoming an increasingly
popular major, the profession is currently facing a shortage of qualified
people. We're addressing this issue by allowing top talent to get a head
start on their careers at no direct expense to them," said Ed Offterdinger,
Beers & Cutler managing partner.
Is the Video iPod a failure?
"Why It's Wrong To Predict Failure For The Video
IPodm" InformationWeek Newsletter, October 17, 2005
Web site called TVPredictions.com looks into its crystal ball and
concludes that the
video iPod will be a failure. Philip
Swann, president of TVPredictions, really hates the idea. In what
appears to be a press release, TVPredictions writes: "'The video
iPod will be Steve Jobs' folly,' Swann said. 'Americans will not
watch full-length videos--or perhaps even short music videos--on
2.5-inch screens on portable devices. It makes no sense.'"
Swann adds: "The video iPod was born from
arrogance. Apple has been so successful with the audio iPod that it
thinks it can't go wrong. But it will this time. This is an example
of a technology that is being launched only because it can be, not
because anybody wants it."
That's a risk that any vendor faces when it
innovates. Sometimes, the innovation is crazy. But sometimes, the
inventor has come out with something for which there's a lot of
pent-up demand that's invisible to everybody but the
inventor. It's those latter cases on which mighty business empires
are built. I mean, who the heck needs an oven that can cook food in
minutes with radiation? A box that displays moving pictures? A cheap
computer that sits on your desk? Nobody needed those things--until
they came out, when it turned out everyone needed them.
None of Swann's objections to the iPod
stands up to scrutiny. He says that people don't have time to watch
videos on their iPods, we're too busy for that. In fact, much of our
busy-ness involves waiting: at the grocery store, at Starbucks, at
the lunch counter, at the doctor's office, commuting to work on mass
transit, traveling by train. That time can be filled by watching
He says watching video on an iPod will be
an uncomfortable experience. That's true for existing movies and TV,
but there's a new generation of video emerging that's created
especially for the Internet.
For more of my
video iPod defense, see the
InformationWeek Weblog. Leave a comment there if you've got
something to say. My colleague Tom Claburn has
his own video iPod defense.
Can two "authors" agree to not cite each other?
The student newspaper and The St. Louis
reported that Father Biondi took
substantial portions of his homily last month to open the
academic year from the
homily given by the Rev. Stephen A.
Privett, president of the University of San Francisco, to open
the 2004-5 academic year at his institution. Saint Louis
University and the University of San Francisco are both Jesuit
institutions, which typically hold a special Mass of the Holy
Spirit to mark the beginning of an academic year. The
University News, the student newspaper, first broke the
story. Father Biondi told the paper that he and Father Privett
have an agreement to exchange homilies and to use them, and that
such exchanges are common among priests. Father Biondi declined
to talk to The Post-Dispatch for its article and a
spokeswoman for Saint Louis University said on Sunday that the
university would not discuss the matter. Father Privett, who
could not be reached for this article, confirmed to the The
Post-Dispatch that he traded homilies with Father Biondi and
said it was not the least bit unusual. “We are both university
presidents, we both have Masses of the Holy Spirit, and neither
one of us has an unending source of wisdom and knowledge,”
Father Privett told The Post-Dispatch. Father Privett
added that he had never used any of Father Biondi’s material as
his own, but that “for Larry to take some part of my homily to
use — I just don’t see that as unethical at all.”
Scott Jaschik, "Sharing or Plagiarizing?"
Inside Higher Ed
, October 17, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: I think this is plagiarism if faculty would have
such agreements when publishing papers or otherwise making
presentations. For example, suppose Professor X makes
Presentation X (authored by Professor X) and Presentation Y
(authored by Professor Y). Professor Y makes the same
presentations without disclosing that Presentation X was
authored by somebody else in a private sharing agreement.
When it comes to performance evaluation, both Professors X and Y
could thereby get credit for making two presentations when in
fact each of them only authored one presentation.
Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at
When will analog TV become history?
"Senate Bill Sets Spring 2009 Demise for
Analog Television," by Arshad Mohammed, The Washington Post, October 15,
The Wall Street Journal Flashback, October 18, 1937
Where once the steel-voiced business
executive barked his orders into drab but virile [black phones,]
he now is offered the eneffable luxury of desk sets whose
complexions run all the spectrum's full notes: mahogany, jade
green, Chinese red...
Will the last KPMG tax executive to leave please turn out the lights
The government added 10 defendants to its indictment in
the KPMG LLP tax-shelter investigation, including the Big Four accounting firm's
former chief financial officer, bringing the number of people charged in the
case to 19.
Johathan Weil and Kara Scannell, "Ten More KPMG Executives Indicted Over
Shelters," The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on KPMG's confessed criminality in this case are at
Trends in Crime Rates
"Rape Up, While Murders Down in 2004," by Mark Sherman, The Washington
Post, October 17, 2005 ---
Murders across the United States fell for the first
time in five years, while rapes increased slightly last year, the FBI
Overall, the number of violent crimes, which also
include aggravated assaults and robberies, fell by 1.2 percent last year.
Property crimes _ burglaries, larceny/theft and car theft _ dropped 1.1
percent in 2004, compared to 2003.
There were 16,137 murders in the United States in
2004, the last full year for which statistics are available. That was about
350 fewer than in 2003, according to the FBI data. The decrease is the first
since 1999, although smaller than what the FBI reported in June. Chicago was
largely responsible for the drop, recording 150 fewer murders in 2004 than
The number of rapes, however, has increased in
three of the past four years, according to the FBI data. In all, rapes
increased by .8 percent to 94,635 rapes, or about 750 more than in 2003.
Rapes are up nearly 5 percent since 2000, while
murders have increased by 3.5 percent, FBI data show.
At the same time, the rates of all violent crimes,
measured as the number of crimes for every 100,000 people, have dropped over
that same period. Indeed, the crime rate is at a 30-year low, government
data have shown.
Despite the historical trend, the FBI included a
"crime clock" in its report that shows a violent crime is committed every
23.1 seconds. A murder occurs roughly every half-hour, according to the
What's in a lifetime? Six weeks of sex versus 24 years in bed
Berlin: Germans spend on average six weeks of
their lives having sex, compared with two weeks devoted to religious activities,
a magazine reported. According to the magazine, Geo Wissen, the average German
spends 16 hours of his or her life enjoying an orgasm, far less than the six
months fumed away in traffic jams or the nine months spent doing the washing and
ironing. Sleeping was the major recreational activity: on average 24 years and
four months. The magazine based its report on life expectancy figures and data
from the office federal statistics office.
"Nocturnal activities in Germany," South Africa Sunday Times, October 17,
The South leads the nation in unwed births, which often ensure a
lifetime of poverty for mother, child
Southern states, including Georgia, often style
themselves as the last bastions of traditional family values that other parts of
the country abandoned long ago. Supposedly, this is still the kind of place
where Mom, Dad and the kids traipse to church on Sunday and then show up at
Grandmom's for chicken dinner. Unfortunately, the reality's a little different.
According to a new U.S. Census Bureau report — the first to offer a
state-by-state look at links between marriage, fertility and other
characteristics — the South leads the nation in unwed births.
"Trend spells trouble The South leads the nation in unwed births, which often
ensure a lifetime of poverty for mother, child," Atlanta Journal Constitution,
October 17, 2005 ---
Please spread this word among older folks
"Watchdogs Warn About Scams Alongside
Medicare Drug Benefit," by Kelly Greene, The Wall Street Journal, October
18, 2005; Page D2 ---
consumer watchdogs are bracing for the marketing scams likely to
spring up alongside the long-awaited Medicare drug benefit.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency
overseeing the new drug program, says it has enlisted help from
law-enforcement officials to investigate two possible scams in which
beneficiaries were asked for bank-card numbers and other personal
the plans starts Nov. 15, and coverage begins Jan. 1. Drug-plan
marketers are allowed to make calls to describe benefits and offers,
and to solicit requests for pre-enrollment information.
illegal for marketers of Medicare drug plans to visit your home
unless you invite them in advance, or to send you unsolicited
emails, says Deane Beebe, spokeswoman for the Medicare Rights
Center, a New York advocacy group. Although marketers can make
unsolicited phone calls, they aren't allowed to sign you up during
Several advocacy groups, including the
National Consumers League (www.fraud.org/tips/internet/medicare.htm),
are offering tips for protecting yourself from being victimized by a
Medicare-related scam. Among the tips:
Check the list
of Medicare-approved prescription plans by calling the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services at 800-633-4227. If you're contacted
by a plan that isn't on the list, it could be a scam.
Make sure the plan is licensed. Call your
state insurance department; there's a directory of these departments
personal information, such as Social Security or bank-account
numbers. Legitimate plans may ask for a Social Security number --
but not until you actually enroll. And they can't ask for your
credit-card or bank data unless you're arranging automatic payments.
No one can
enroll in a drug plan before Nov. 15, though the plans can start
advertising this month. If a plan asks for payment before that date,
it could be fraudulent.
Enrolling in a drug plan is voluntary. If
someone says you must join a plan to avoid losing your other
Medicare benefits, you're getting false information. For free
advice, call your State Health Insurance Program or your local area
agency on aging. For a state-by-state directory of state programs,
or call Medicare's hotline. To find your local aging agency, go to
or call 800-677-1116.
legitimate plans, advocates for Medicare recipients urge seniors to
study and compare several drug plans before choosing. "What
incentive does a salesperson have to inform a senior that a
competitor's plan might be better for them?" asks Shannon Benton,
executive director of the TREA Senior Citizens League, an
Alexandria, Va., advocacy group.
The Medicare Rights Center developed a flow
chart to help sort through drug-benefit options. To use it, go to
medicareinteractive.org/aarp, then click
on the yellow box on the right side of the screen labeled "New!
Medicare Drug Coverage Information."
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are
Note that the traditional Medicare Supplement Plans (A, B, F, J, etc) are going
to cease. The trusted place to start for information about new alternative
Have you written a blook yet?
From The Washington Post on October 17,
What is the online term for books that originate
from web logs?
Electronic Books and Journals
Who was Jack the Ripper?
THE MYSTERY OF RENNES-LE-CHATEAU ---
MYSTERIES is a database of unsolved and just plain
strange true (and supposedly true) occurrences; if only enough could be learned
about them, these may someday be solved. Who knows... maybe YOU know the
answers! This site is a sub-list of the ANOMALIES database, and contains
accounts of unexplained and unsolved puzzles and occurrences that do not appear
to call for paranormal solutions ---
BIZSTATS (financial analysis) ---
Field Guide to the U.S. Economy ---
Poetry with music in the background (see the left side of the page) ---
Poetry by William Butler Yeats ---
English Sonnets ---
The Walt Whitman Archive ---
Critical essays on Walt Whitman's poetry ---
Love to Learn site for poetry ---
Poets Online ---
Charles Bukowski - The Great Poet ---
Zbigniew Herbert's Poetry ---
Directories of Pseudonyms (Working Names) of Mystery and Suspense Writers ---
You can search either by real
names or by pseudonyms
Poet Drum Hadley: Back with 'Borderlands' ---
Three from Drum 'A Colt .45 and a Chile Queen' 'Alma of My Soul' 'Mist'
Scroll down and look left. (Not music, but interesting narration)
Bad Hemingway ---
Forwarded by Maria
An atheist was taking a walk through the woods.
"What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to
As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind
him. He turned to look. He saw a 7 foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as
fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw
the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and
the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to
pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his
left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.
At that instant the Atheist cried out: "Oh my God!"
Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone
upon the man, a voice came out of the sky: "You deny my existence for all of
these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic
accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count
you as a believer?"
The atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical
of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps
could you make the BEAR a Christian?"
"Very well," said the voice.
The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. Then the bear dropped his
right paw, brought both paws together and bowed his head and spoke: "Lord,
bless this food, which I am about to receive from Thy Holy
bounty, through Christ our Lord Amen."
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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: email@example.com