Tidbits on October 28, 2005
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

A bit wintry in the White Mountains
Nor'easter buries Mount Washington

Mount Washington, New Hampshire, where bad weather is the norm, has had another 27 inches of snow. That makes 72 inches in the past week and a-half . . .

My links on Medicare drug plan options are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#Medicare
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 --- 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/.

Lists of Bests --- http://listsofbests.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

The three young musicians in Nickel Creek are known for their polished traditional bluegrass. But a new CD, Why Should the Fire Die?, takes a darker turn. Sean Watkins, Chris Thile and Sara Watkins visit with Debbie Elliott and play some of their music.
"Nickel Creek, Playing with 'Fire'," NPR, October 24, 2005 ---
For the free music downloads, scroll down and look left.

There's something sweetly familiar about the sound of the North Mississippi Allstars. The guitar-bass-and-drum trio's music recalls the feel-good Southern rock of the Allman Brothers from the 1970s, or the anthems of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
"North Mississippi Allstars' 'Electric Blue Watermelon'," NPR, October 24, 2005 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4968908
For the free music downloads, scroll down and look left.

The Unofficial Monty Python Website --- http://www.mwscomp.com/python.html
Note especially The Accountancy Shanty (some awe-inspiring music about accountants) at http://www.mwscomp.com/sound.html

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



Funny Signs (forwarded by Paula) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2005/FunnySigns.htm

See many more funny signs at http://www.funnysign.com/ 

Pavement Drawings (forwarded by Nancy Mills) --- http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/pave.htm

flickr --- http://www.flickr.com/photos/koranteng/17677910/

Pilot Whale Photographs --- http://search.msn.com/images/results.aspx?q=Pilot+whales&FORM=MSNHM1

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill (1874 1965)

If we want an end to ethnic conflict we have to invest less in war and more in the culture of peace.
Federico Mayor Zaragoza

How can you find the cost of colleges?

There are many sources, but one you might try is  http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/collegecost/collegeco

"The 10 most expensive colleges:  College tuition for freshmen is costly in many places, but nowhere more so than at these schools" by Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money, October 27, 2005 --- http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/27/pf/college/priciest_colleges/index.htm?cnn=yes

One thing I've learned over the years is that disabled students sometimes have a much greater appreciation for an opportunity to learn than the appreciation felt by many students who have no disabilities other than bad attitudes.

What is the Landmark Act?
What is the Landmark College and why is it the most expensive college in the U.S.?

"Reaching Students With Learning Disabilities," by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, October 25, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/25/landmark

According to a report by the American Council on Education, the number of full-time college freshmen with learning disabilities — dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactive disorder are among the most common — more than doubled in the decade leading up to 2000, to nearly 27,000.

Betit said the spike is because more of those students are being identified than in the past, and that, now that colleges are recognizing their own students with learning disabilities, it is time to learn more about educating them. A large part of Landmark’s intent is to use the grant to make information about teaching techniques available online, so teachers at colleges that do not cater only to students with learning disabilities can easily access information. If it works at the five partner colleges, Landmark hopes to share its wisdom more widely. “We’ll never be a big college,” Betit said. “But we want to share what we know.”

Many of the shared techniques will focus on expanding the available types of sensory input a student can use for learning. “I don’t know how many college classrooms have boxes of Legos” like Landmark classrooms, he said, noting that some students “are more tactile, and need to grasp an idea literally, rather than intellectually.”

But Betit said other colleges don’t necessarily need to go to Legos to better accommodate students with learning disabilities. He said sometimes easy adjustments, such as using more graphics, can help students who are visual learners. And other strategies that focus on basic skills that students with learning disabilities often have not developed — such as time management, and study skills — can benefit all of the students in a conventional college classroom.

One of the systems that Landmark uses, “master notebooks,” gives students a separate notebook for each course that is divided into sections like “ideas,” and “curriculum.” In the “notes” section, students use a two-column note-taking system that uses paper with a large left-hand margin, for students to organize major ideas of a course, and then they can fill in details pertaining to each idea on the right.

Betit encourages techniques as simple as a daily checklist to help teach time management. “Better time management is something all students can use,” he said, so it shouldn’t be difficult to incorporate into a conventional college classroom.

It isn’t clear yet exactly which new teaching methods will be carried out in classrooms beyond Landmark, but the partner colleges will start by educating their own employees. Charles Blocksidge, vice president of organizational development and the Frieda G. Shapira Center for Learning, which works with students with learning disabilities at Allegheny County, wants to adapt some of the training techniques of Landmark personnel to develop a training program for “our support services personnel,” he said, but also for faculty members.

Susan Trist, disabilities support coordinator at Western Nevada, said she works with around 100 students with learning disabilities, and hopes that, through contact with Landmark, she can be kept up to date on prevailing thought about teaching methods, “and especially on assistive technology,” she said. The students Trist works with are mixed in with other college students, and she will sometimes “have the exam read to them if they have a visual processing disorder, or get them textbooks on CD,” she said. Trist said she “is anxious to hear about” the techniques Landmark faculty use to accommodate students. “We need to start a community of people to share best practices,” she said.

The Landmark Disabilities Act is celebrated at http://www.eeoc.gov/press/7-27-99.html

The Landmark College site is at http://www.landmarkcollege.org/
Note that some accounting courses are available at Landmark College.

I might add the following from accounting education:
Sherry Mills and Cathleen Burns won the American Accounting Associations Innovation in Accounting Education Award by using a Lego project to teach cost accounting --- http://aaahq.org/awards/awrd6win.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on educating disabled students are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped


Why did MIT fire an associate professor?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Thursday that it has fired Luk Van Parijs as associate professor of biology after he admitted to fabricating and falsifying research data. The MIT statement said that no other members of Van Parijs’s team were involved in the misconduct, and that MIT was forwarding its findings to federal officials. Van Parijs was not available for comment, but he told The Boston Globe that he was “shocked at the timing and the manner in which MIT made the announcement.”
"MIT Fires Professor," Inside Higher Ed, October 28, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/28/qt

People continuing to fall for hurricane victim scams
If you see an e-mail this weekend asking you to donate to the victims of Hurricane Wilma, be careful. A scammer may be "phishing" in your e-mail inbox. "Phishing" scams, in which e-mails and Web sites made to look official are used to trick people out of their credit card numbers or other personal information, are on the rise. And with people continuing to fall victim and new opportunities to put a different face on the same scam -- the hurricane relief efforts among the latest -- it appears that phishing attacks are here to stay.
Mike Musgrove, "'Phishing' Keeps Luring Victims, The Washington Post, October 22, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/21/AR2005102102113.html?referrer=email

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

Time Magazine's picks for the all-time 100 best novels --- http://www.time.com/time/2005/100books/

Veterans History Project in the Library of Congress --- http://www.loc.gov/vets/about.html
The Veterans History Project relies on volunteers to collect and preserve stories of wartime service.

Financial Flashback
The Wall Street Journal, October 24, 1990
Money managers who invest with a global perspective favor cash and bonds anywhere but in the U.S., because of Saddam Hussin and tightening world-wide credit. Far down their list of favorites are stocks, anywhere. (In retrospect, Oct. 11 began the great bull market.)

A woman with remarkable courage
Rosa Parks, the dignified African American seamstress whose refusal to surrender a bus seat to a white man launched the modern civil rights movement and inspired generations of activists, died last night at her home in Detroit, the Wayne County medical examiner's office said. She was 92.
Patricia Sullivan, "Bus Ride Shook a Nation's Conscience," The Washington Post, October 25, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/24/AR2005102402053.html

Prankster students with remarkable lack of courage
By mid-October, the leaves on campus are turning, homecoming games are being celebrated, and — at any number of colleges — bigotry in one form or another hurts some students deeply. The campuses and the incidents vary from year to year, but like clockwork, you can’t reach this point in the academic year without flare-ups in which students have said or done things that left minority students (and many others) angry.
Scott Jaschik, "Dumb and Dumber," Inside Higher Ed, October 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/27/race

Talk about Dumb and Dumber
How can a judge who has no control over the state appropriation to a university dictate the minimum amount of pay raise for each faculty member in the university?

How can a state university "make promises" of pay raises before the state appropriations are known?

I don't know whether the judge or the University of Washington administrators are the dumbest in this dispute.  But I do know that the "solution" should never have been dictated in a court of law.

"Judge Orders Raises for U. of Washington Faculty," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/27/pay

If you tell faculty members that they can expect a raise, you’d better mean it.

That was the message that a state judge, Mary I. Yu, had for the University of Washington Tuesday, when she ruled that the university had an obligation to provide faculty members who received good reviews a raise of at least 2 percent in 2002-3. The university could owe its faculty members $12 million or more when the 2 percent is factored into the base pay for faculty members who received subsequent raises.

The suit by faculty members centered on an agreement between faculty leaders and administrators, codified in the handbook for professors. University officials said that state budget cuts that year made raises impossible.

Stephen K. Strong, the lawyer who represented the faculty members, said the case was simple. “The university made a promise. Whether they feel like following it or not is irrelevant.”

Judge Yu agreed. In her ruling, she noted that the agreement was in the faculty handbook and said, “The court cannot find any language that makes the merit salary increase contingent on funding.”

Norm Arkans, a spokesman for the university, said that officials were studying the decision and had not decided whether to appeal.

He said that the university always understood the agreement to apply only in cases where the state provided enough money. And Arkans stressed that faculty salaries have been the “top priority” of university leaders for some time. It was a “particularly wrenching decision” to skip the raises, he said, but the university would have had to “cannibalize itself” to have provided them.

Jensen Comment
Since Judge Yi mandated the $12 million raise, that presumably must be appropriated year after year since raises carry on for more than one year, I hope she will also mandate that the State of Washington legislature has no choice other than to provided a added appropriation to the University of Washington.  To me her ruling appears to be a violation of the separation of powers (court versus legislature) in her decision.  I doubt that it will stand up on appeal!

I might note that there is moral hazard here.  This could become a deliberate strategy of wedging out higher state appropriations from state legislatures.  If this ruling really set a precedent, university administrators could promise enormous pay raises in advance of legislative appropriations and then have state judges mandate the state legislatures must come up with more money or that students have to pay higher tuition rates by court order.  State colleges in all 50 states better think about this new ploy for getting higher revenues by mandates of the courts.

The high salary realities of the 1990s are over for U.S. IT workers
With another year of anemic 3% pay increases, it sure looks that way for the more than 14,000 IT workers who took part in Computerworld's 19th Annual Salary Survey. Now resigned to cost-of-living increases, most are finding consolation in slightly higher bonuses, a bit less work and overall lowered stress.
Stacey Collett, "Salary Survey: Are Skimpy Raises the New Normal?" Computer World, October 24, 2005 --- http://computerworld.com/careertopics/careers/story/0,10801,105612,00.html

Surprise! Surprise!  IT salaries are booming in India
Across India, tech industry analysts say salaries are going up quickly because demand for the workers is so high, but they worry about what that means for a country that is supposed to offer a cost advantage.The IT and the non-IT folks find common ground on one thing: Neither side can wait for the proposed highways, the toll roads, the metro system.
"Bangalore Dreams," The Washington Post --- http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/india2point0/2005/10/bangalore_dream.html?referrer=email

Meanwhile in the private sector there are some free lunches at Stanford
To a brief silence, and then thunderous applause at a staff-appreciation lunch, President John Hennessy announced Tuesday that all 11,000 full and part-time faculty and staff members will get a $250 bonus next month for their “tremendous effort,” which led to “a very successful year.” Now that the belt is a few holes looser, Stanford decided to spread a bit of the wealth with those who stayed the course. “We’ve been through a couple of tough years,” said Diane Peck, head of human resources at Stanford. “People have worked very hard and shown a tremendous commitment during those difficult periods.” The bonus was given across the board because the university wanted to stress that the upswing — Stanford trumped Harvard Univeristy in fund raising, according to university officials — was a team effort.
David Epstein, "Stanford’s Lucky Lunch," Inside Higher Ed, October 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/27/stanford


When being better at something is a sign of weakness:  Schizophrenics Better at Discerning Illusions
Optical illusions that fool most people don't seem to trick those who suffer from schizophrenia, concludes a study published in the latest issue of Current Biology. The success may actually be linked to a weakness in a brain mechanism called contextual processing, which is responsible for picking out relevant sensory information from the barrage of stimuli a person constantly experiences. If that's the case, it may explain why some schizophrenics misunderstand other people's actions in the context of a situation or feel paranoia or persecution. Because vision depends on low-level contextual processing, the researchers, led by Steven Dakin of University College London, devised an experiment to test a person's ability to discriminate one contrasting pattern from another. A disc filled in with a medium-contrast pattern was placed in the center of a larger disc that had a high-contrast pattern. When placed one on top of the other, the difference in contrast appears negligible, when it is really 40 percent. The researchers hypothesized that schizophrenics would not judge the center disc in context of the larger one and therefore not recognize the visual distraction that creates the illusion. In fact, 12 out 15 schizophrenics more accurately judged the contrast of the center disc than did a group of 20 participants who do not suffer from the illness.
"Schizophrenics Better at Discerning Illusions," Scientific American, October 26, 2005 ---

Paying for "good news" news rather than advertising
Call it pay for praise, greenbacks for good news, bucks for beneficial publicity. The Newark City Council has awarded the Newark Weekly News a $100,000 no-bid contract to publish positive news about the city. Howard Scott, who owns Newark Weekly News, pitched the idea to the city council, which unanimously approved the idea earlier this month. "Do we have critical reporters on staff? No. Do we have investigative reporters? No," Scott said. "Our niche is the good stuff. People have come to know it, and they love it."
"Newark Pays Paper to Print Only Good News," Yahoo News, October 24, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051025/ap_on_re_us/brf_good_news_only_1
Jensen Comment:  I think this idea should catch on.  Since the major newspapers are currently floundering with their current policy of publishing mostly sad news, perhaps they could make more money with good news.  Perhaps we might even see competitors crop up like The New York Good Times or The Washington Parget.

Microsoft will offer free online searches of book content
Microsoft Corp. is diving into the business of offering online searches of books and other writings, and says its approach aims to avoid the legal tussles met by rival Google Inc. The Redmond-based software giant said Tuesday that it will sidestep hot-button copyright issues for now by initially focusing mainly on books, academic materials and other publications that are in the public domain. Microsoft plans to initially work with an industry organization called the Open Content Alliance to let users search about 150,000 pieces of published material. A test version of the product is promised for next year. The alliance, whose participants also include top Internet portal Yahoo Inc., is working to make books and other offline content available online without raising the ire of publishers and authors. Danielle Tiedt, a general manager of search content acquisition with Microsoft's MSN online unit, said the company also is working with publishers and libraries on ways to eventually make more copyright material available for online searches. .. . The effort marks Microsoft's latest effort to play catch-up with Google on various search technologies ranging from basic Internet search to localized queries. But Google remains by the search leader by far, accounting for 45.1 percent of all U.S. Internet searches in September, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings. Microsoft's MSN Search ranked third, accounting for 11.7 percent of U.S. searches during the same period.
Allison Lynn, "Microsoft to Start Online Book Searches," The Washington Post, October 26, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102600473.html?referrer=email

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

Google Gives Peek at Classified Ad Service
Google Inc. has unintentionally provided a sneak peek at what appears to be a looming expansion into classified advertising _ a free service that might antagonize some of the Internet search engine's biggest customers, including online auctioneer eBay Inc. Screen shots of the experimental service, dubbed "Google Base," appeared on several Web sites Tuesday shortly after the legions of people who dissect the online search engine leader's every move discovered a link to a page inviting people to list things like a used car for sale, a party planning service and current events.
Michael Liedtke, "Google Gives Peek at Classified Ad Service," The Washington Post, October 26, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102600474.html?referrer=email

MSN rates the current most popular search terms versus MSN's recommended searches.  On October 26 these appeared as follows at

You may not want to run at a snail's pace, but you may want to remember at a snail's pace --- http://search.msn.com/news/results.aspx?q=Snail+memory&FORM=MSNHM1

Especially note http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=1246109

A clever illustration of tagged versus untagged data

October 26, 2005 message from Ed Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU]

When Neal says activity, he means it. I'll always remember the activity he included in an XBRL session at the Colloquium on Accounting Education. To demonstrate untagged data, he tossed a handful of hard candy at the audience, motivating us to brief but animated activity. Several minutes later, someone asked Neal to give another example of untagged data, so he reached into a pitcher of ice water and tossed a handful of ice at us.

One of the most successful pieces of software ever developed (but not invented by Microsoft) is its spreadsheet program Excel  The forthcoming new version of Excel will hold twenty times as much data --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101408

Does Exercise Worsen Asthma?
Exercise can trigger asthma symptoms, but that doesn't mean that people with asthma shouldn't exercise, a comprehensive new review shows. Researchers concluded that just like everyone else, people with asthma benefit from regular exercise. Asthmatics who exercised had better cardiopulmonary fitness, which meant they could take in more oxygen and transfer more air in and out of their lungs. "Most people with asthma can exercise just like other people, provided they take some precautions," researcher Felix S. Ram, MD, PhD, tells WebMD.
Saylynn Boyles, "Exercise Doesn't Worsen Asthma:  Review Finds Some Benefits, Little Harm," WebMD, October 21, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/114/111154.htm?z=1728_00000_1000_tn_06

Is Your Boss Making You Sick? (or dead?)
Researchers in Finland found that workers who felt they were being treated fairly had a much lower incidence of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in all Western societies. They tracked the 10-year incidence of heart disease in more than 6,400 male civil servants in London. Researchers found that men who felt they were treated fairly at work had a 30 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. "The evidence is becoming increasingly clear that stress, wherever it's coming from, is becoming hazardous to our health," said Dr. Bruce Spring, assistant professor at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
"Is Your Boss Making You Sick?" ABC News, October 26, 2005 ---

What is this thing called "Two-Factor Authentication?"

As reported in a story by my colleague Steven Marlin, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council is giving banks until the end of next year to implement two-factor authentication for online transactions. Right now, banks only use one-factor authentication: You go to the bank's Web site, enter in a logon and password, and you're in your account. With two-factor authentication, you'll need something else in addition to your password to get in. Generally speaking, that something else is a hardware token, such as a smart card or a gadget the size of a key fob that generates one-time passwords. (For a photo of one of those gadgets, follow the link in the previous story.) Some banks distribute a list of one-time passwords on a scratch-off card.
Mitch Wagner, InformationTechnology Newsletter, October 25, 2005

Why did the University of Missouri rename its basketball arena?

Answer (forwarded by Debbie Bowling)

"Wal-Mart heir returns degree amid cheating claims," iWon News, October 21, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/iWonOct21

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wal-Mart heiress Elizabeth Paige Laurie has surrendered her college degree following allegations that she cheated her way through the school.

The University of Southern California said in a statement that Laurie, 23, "voluntarily has surrendered her degree and returned her diploma to the university. She is not a graduate of USC."

The statement, dated September 30, said the university had ended its review of the allegations concerning Laurie.

Laurie's roommate, Elena Martinez, told a television show last year that she was paid $20,000 to write term papers and complete other assignments for the granddaughter of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton. Wal-Mart is the world's biggest retailer. The family could not be reached for comment.

Following the allegations, the University of Missouri renamed its basketball arena, which had been paid for in part by a $425 million donation from the Lauries and was to have been called "Paige Sports Arena."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on academic integrity are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm

No surprise here:  The UN is largely responsible for fraud
More than 4,500 companies took part in the United Nations oil-for-food program and more than half of them paid illegal surcharges and kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, according to the independent committee investigating the program. The country with the most companies involved in the program was Russia, followed by France, the committee says in a report to be released Thursday. The inquiry was led by Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. The findings are in the committee's fifth and final report, a document of more than 500 pages that will detail how outside companies from more than 60 countries were able to evade United Nations controls and make money for themselves as well as for the Hussein government. The new report studies the people outside Iraq who profited illicitly and how they did it. It will identify companies and individuals who took part, both deliberately and inadvertently, and will chronicle in detail the experience of 30 to 40 of them, the investigators said. In an interview, Mr. Volcker said that while he knew the naming of companies and the exposure of international "machinations" would draw attention, he hoped it would not obscure his committee's purpose in keeping the focus of their work on the need for United Nations reform. "In my mind," he said, "this part of our investigation, looking at the manipulation of the program outside the U.N., strongly reinforces the case that the U.N. itself carries a large part of this responsibility and needs reform.
Warren Hoge, "U.N. to Detail Kickbacks Paid for Iraq's Oil, The New York Times, October 26, 2005

Illegal Immigrants:  Europe Under Siege
One concerns a gang estimated to have smuggled 100,000 illegal immigrants, mainly Turkish Kurds, into Great Britain. These economic migrants paid between £3,000 and £5,000 to be transported via an elaborate and dangerous route. The Independent explains: “Their journeys lasted several weeks and involved safe houses, lorries with secret compartments and, in some cases, clandestine flights to airfields in the South-east.” A senior British police source commented that “It’s a tortuous journey, full of discomfort and danger, but they are determined to get here, given the particular attraction of London’s established Turkish community.”
Daniel Pipes, "Europe Under Siege," FrontPage Magazine, October 18, 2005 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19866

Don't forgive third world debt; allow creditors to make equity swaps
The plan I propose would be voluntary and does not ask foreign creditors to forgive a single dollar of debt. Instead, lenders would have the option of converting as much as 50% of the debt they are owed into equity in infrastructure and social projects in a debtor country. The projects would include profitable endeavors such as mining, energy exploration, power grids and hospitals. The creditor should pick what he wants. In return for the debt swap, the creditor would get an ownership stake and could earn profits that could far exceed the original value of the loan. For example, a $100 million stake in a booming timber market can be expected to yield $2-3 billion in returns within 10 years.
Jose De Venecia, "Swap Debt for Equity," The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB112975547727473522.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Steep co-payments tend to restrain drug spending. But critics argue they also reduce patients' compliance with recommended treatment, leading eventually to higher spending on health-care services as workers' health declines.
A national pharmacists group and GlaxoSmithKline PLC are seeking employers in 10 cities around the U.S. for an experiment in diabetes treatment that aims to improve patient health while reducing health-care costs. Participating employers would agree to waive co-payments on medicines that treat diabetes, to encourage their use. In doing so, the program would flout a trend toward shifting health-care costs to employees, in part through higher co-payments for medicines. Steep co-payments tend to restrain drug spending. But critics argue they also reduce patients' compliance with recommended treatment, leading eventually to higher spending on health-care services as workers' health declines.
Scott Hensley, "Cutting Costs for Diabetes Patients:  Experiment Seeks to Improve Health by Getting Employers To Waive Co-Payments," The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2005; Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113020650249878430.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

India opens relief camp, but waits for Pakistani visitors
India opened its first relief camp Tuesday for quake victims on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, but there were no visitors as Pakistan is yet to decide to let them cross over. The borders were opened up after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said that people from across the LoC could come over to help the victims of the devastating Oct 8 earthquake that killed over 50,000 people and left an estimated three million homeless in the bitter cold. At the relief camp here, food and medicines for victims from Pakistan-administered Kashmir were kept in readiness.
Chakan Da Bagh, "India opens relief camp, but waits for Pakistani visitors," Web India, October 25, 2005 --- http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=146180&cat=India

What do you suppose Bob Jensen is costing accounting departments across the world?

What Blogs Cost American Business
What Blogs Cost American Business In 2005, Employees Will Waste 551,000 Work Years Reading Them --- Blog this: U.S. workers in 2005 will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs. About 35 million workers -- one in four people in the labor force -- visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age's analysis. Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks -- bloggers essentially take a daily...
Bradley Johnson, "What Blogs Cost American Business, Ad Age, October 25, 2005 ---

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

Fighting Spyware
It's too early to break out the champagne, but it's possible that online marketing firms are slowly waking up to the dangers spyware presents to their industry. In today's lead feature, freelancer Christopher T. Heun takes a look at two large marketing firms that say they've gotten serious about fighting spyware and keeping their ads from distributors that download software without a computer user's consent.
Antone Gonsalves, "Fighting Spyware," InternetWeek Newsletter, October 26, 2005

Do Iraqi Businesses Have a Future?
When the Pentagon went shopping for seven armored cars for senior Iraqi policemen, U.S. officials turned to an Iraqi supplier to provide them with some hardened Mercedes-Benzes.
After spending nearly $1 million, here's what they got: Six vehicles with bad armor and run-down mechanics. They also were a little more than slightly used: The newest model was a 1996; the oldest a 1994. According to the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, the seventh auto is missing. In a report released Monday, the inspector general said the Pentagon couldn't get its money back because it did such a bad job negotiating the no-bid deal. In June, the Pentagon's Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq bought the seven Mercedes-Benzes for $135,000 each. They were supposed to include high-quality armor that could withstand high-velocity rifle shots. The sheet plates provided were something less. "The armoring of the vehicles appears to be of low standard and provides only limited safety to the occupants of the vehicle," the military command unit's own mechanics wrote, according to the inspector general's report. In addition, Pentagon mechanics found "inadequate suspensions, low-quality tires, low-quality brakes and unarmored electrical systems," the report said. The mechanics concluded that "the vehicles were not worth the money paid and to bring them up to required standards would have required an investment that exceeded the value of the vehicles."
Seth Borenstein, "Contract leaves Pentagon with poorly armored cars, little recourse," Yahoo News, October 24, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/krwashbureau/20051024/ts_krwashbureau/_usiraq_armoredcars 

Do American Manufacturers Have a Future?
But lately, the news about manufacturing has seemed particularly dismal. Since mid-2000, three million jobs have vanished. Overall corporate profitability has been strong, but manufacturing has, until recently, been a conspicuous exception.
Robert J. Samuelson, "Do American Manufacturers Have a Future?" The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB112967252910672375.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

GM possibly will avoid bankruptcy
Meanwhile, GM's 106,000 hourly employees continue to receive benefits that most American workers haven't seen in years, if ever, with little or no co-pays or even deductibles. This year the company's hourly workers will pay just 7% of their total health-care bill, compared with 27% for salaried workers; the corporate America average is 32%. GM CEO Rick Wagoner said Monday that salaried workers' cost share will rise to 31% in 2006
"Rip Van UAW:   The union decides to act before GM is in Chapter 11," The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB112968401847072673.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

GM's War for Survival Is Just Beginning
GM's big announcement on Monday of modest curbs on health care spending by unionized employees brings the company up to, oh, about 1995 in corporate America's attempt to wrestle into submission the consequences of its own foolish (tax-driven) decision to pay employees in health care rather than dollars.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., "GM's War for Survival Is Just Beginning," The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2005; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB112969031361372843.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

SEC instigates probe of General Motors' Accounting
General Motors Corp. said on Wednesday it had been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a probe into its accounting practices and other matters. It was the latest blow to the world's largest automaker, which is bleeding money from its core North American automotive operations and confronting its biggest financial crisis since a narrow brush with bankruptcy 13 years ago. GM said the subpoenas related to its financial reporting for pension and other post-employment benefits, and to transactions between the company and auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. (Other OTC:DPHIQ - news). They also relate to the SEC's interest in GM's recovery of various costs from suppliers and supplier price credits, and any obligations to fund pension and post-employment benefits costs related to Delphi's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, the company said in a statement.
"GM subpoenaed in accounting probe," The New York Times, October 26, 2005

The outside auditing firm for GM is Deloitte and Touche --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Deloitte

Kinda like when Wal-Mart commenced to sell groceries and grocery stores commenced to sell hardware
Nevertheless, publishers have been none too thrilled about retailers like Barnes & Noble encroaching on their territory by self-publishing a range of books, including classics by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Mark Twain. "The retailers have become publishers, so why can't publishers become retailers?" said Pat Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers trade group. "It's an experimental thing. Everyone's trying to figure out what the right thing to do is." Indeed, publishers are struggling along with many of their media and entertainment peers to adapt to evolving technology that is forcing them to rethink their business models. The issue has been a hot topic of conversation at the Frankfurt Book Fair being held this week. "The boundaries on publishing, retailing and distribution are getting blurred," said Makinson. "We can't rely any longer on the traditional assumption that we're a publisher, he's a retailer, we won't retail, he won't publish. We'll have to accommodate one another."
"Book Publishers as E-tailers," Wired News, October 20, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,69282,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6

Despite a slump in student satisfaction, executive programs generally remain a good investment,
at least so say Business Week's Louis Lavelle and Geoff Gloeck

BusinessWeek recently announced the surprising results of the 2005 Executive Education and EMBA rankings. Many new faces grace the top tiers. B-schools Editor Louis Lavelle and reporter Geoff Gloeckler recently shared insight about the rankings and fielded questions from BusinessWeek Online reporter Francesca Di Meglio and the online audience during a live chat event. Here's an edited transcript:

"Behind the Rankings," Business Week, http://snipurl.com/EMBArankings

Bob Jensen's threads on the controversies of business school rankings are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings
You can view BW's EMBA rankings at the above site.

Holy Fraud Batman
"Payouts Before the Fall: Refco Insiders Received $1 Billion in Cash ,"
SmartPros, October 21, 2005 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x50306.xml

Oct. 21, 2005 (International Herald Tribune) — In the year before Refco sold shares to the public and then made the fourth-largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, insiders at the company received more than $1 billion in cash, according to Refco's financial statements.

Also, one insider, Robert Trosten, received $45 million when he left his post as chief financial officer a year ago, according to an arbitration hearing this year.

Mystery still surrounds the collapse this month of Refco, a decades-old Wall Street firm that conducted billions of dollars in trades in commodities, currencies and U.S. Treasury securities for more than 200,000 client accounts last year. But investors and customers who are facing losses in Refco's bankruptcy will certainly want to understand how insiders could drain $1.124 billion from the company's coffers in the year or so leading up to its demise.

To some degree, the money that insiders took out is not surprising, given that Refco's executives sold a big stake in the company to Thomas H. Lee Partners, a private equity firm in Boston, in August 2004.

Most of the money that insiders received $1.057 billion was paid upon the completion of that deal. Two Refco insiders were on the receiving end of those payouts: Phillip Bennett, the former chief executive who has been charged with defrauding investors by concealing a $435 million loan he arranged with the firm, and Tone Grant, Refco's longtime chief executive before Bennett.

Bennett has denied the securities fraud charges but has declined to comment further. Grant could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Creditors of Refco will almost certainly try to recover what they can from payments made by the company to its top executives in the months leading up to its demise.

While compensation like salaries is typically not recoverable, payments made in the sale of a company or dividends paid to its owners are fair game if the company is insolvent, said Denis Cronin, a specialist in bankruptcy law at the New York firm Cronin & Vris.

The $1.057 billion came in two chunks, according to the Refco prospectus. First, Bennett and Grant appear to have shared in a $550 million cash payment in the transaction with Thomas Lee Partners. Then, Bennett appears to have received $507 million more from the deal.

Bennett did not cash out of Refco completely. At the time of the Lee deal, he agreed to roll over an equity stake in Refco worth $383 million, the prospectus said.

-- Gretchen Morgenson and Jenny Anderson, The New York Times

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

Bob Jensen's threads on the legal troubles of Grant Thornton are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#GrantThornton

"Mystery at Refco: How Could Such a Huge Debt Stay Hidden?," by Riva D. Atlas and Jonathan D. Glater, The New York Times,  October 24, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/24/business/24fund.html

Peter F. James had been working at Refco less than two months when he noticed something this summer that teams of accountants had apparently missed for years.

Mr. James, a recently hired employee in the controller's office, wondered why a larger-than-normal interest payment had been made to Refco on an outstanding loan made by the company. In August he started to ask questions, eventually taking his concerns to the chief financial officer, Gerald M. Sherer. The answers would lead to the departure of the chief executive and the rapid unraveling of the company that prompted its filing for bankruptcy protection last week.

"He's the hero in discovering this," a person close to the investigation said of Mr. James. "He just kept pushing." Mr. James declined to comment for this article.

Mr. James had been hired by Mr. Sherer, who himself came to Refco only in January, to help bolster the firm's financial operations. Mr. Sherer had alerted the board to problems with Refco's internal controls - the practices or systems for keeping records and preventing abuse or fraud. That weakness was disclosed in Refco's regulatory filings before its initial public offering in August.

Now, questions are mounting over why others - among them, the company's auditor (Grant Thornton) and the underwriters that took Refco public in August - never discovered what Mr. James did.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on Grant Thornton --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#GrantThornton

Microsoft's New Business Scorecard Manager:  Not Priced for Accounting Professors
Microsoft Corp. is stepping up its attack on a new software market -- the data-analysis programs offered by companies like Business Objects SA and Cognos Inc. The Redmond, Wash., company today is announcing plans to begin selling on Nov. 1 a program called Business Scorecard Manager that helps turn sales and customer data into report cards about portions of a company's business. The product, which runs on server systems, is designed to exchange data with other Microsoft programs such as its SQL Server database and parts of its Office suite of desktop programs, particularly the spreadsheet Excel. Scorecard Manager carries an estimated retail price of $5,000 a server, plus $175 for each PC user that makes use of the software. Microsoft officials say the price sharply undercuts rival products, part of a strategy designed to popularize such tools beyond the small number of trained analysts that typically use them.
Don Clark, "Microsoft Unveils Tool To Analyze Business Data," The Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113012059880677268.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Too Many Women Fall for Stereotypes Of Selves, Study Says
Yet Catalyst's study found that women are giving up important ground. Women said they are better at supporting and rewarding employees, and at the important tasks of problem solving, team building, mentoring, consulting and inspiring. But they also said men are better at networking, influencing upward and delegating. "Women as well as men perceive women leaders as better at caretaker behaviors and men as better at take-charge behaviors," says Ilene Lang, president of Catalyst. "These are perceptions, not the reality." But perceptions, we all know, strongly influence reality. After Ms. Lang reported the study's results to Catalyst's advisory board, one member described how the big consulting company at which she is a partner discovered how sex-role stereotypes influence employee performance ratings. After analyzing past reviews of managers, the company found that women who aren't considered "supportive" mentors got negative ratings, while nonsupportive men weren't at all badly judged. "Men aren't expected to be supportive, so they're not criticized when they aren't," says Ms. Lang. It's not surprising that women are rated as more effective leaders when they work in so-called feminine occupations, such as cosmetics or fashion companies, than when they are employed in a traditionally masculine industry such as steel. Respondents in Catalyst's study who had a female boss in a feminine occupation were likely to judge women as better problem solvers than men; but those with a female boss in a masculine occupation expressed profoundly negative views of women leaders. So, simply hiring more women into management positions isn't likely to eliminate stereotyping.
Carol Hymowitz, "Too Many Women Fall for Stereotypes Of Selves, Study Says," The Wall Street Journal,  October 24, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113010665961477048.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

From The Washington Post on October 24, 2005

What year are Senate Commerce Committee staffers proposing nationwide analog TV broadcasts will end?

A. 2007
B. 2008
C. 2009
D. 2010

7 Billion to Fix a Non-Problem
Colleges have been ever vigilant in recent years to make their computer networks secure from outside hackers. As a result, giving outside entities — like federal law enforcement officials — the ability to enter networks would be extremely complicated and require a huge expenditure on rewiring equipment throughout campuses. And that is what the Federal Communications Commission is ordering colleges and other entities to do.The rules issued by the FCC have infuriated college officials, who note that higher education would be spending billions of dollars to make it easier for wiretaps to be installed when there is no evidence that the government seeks wiretaps of college networks.
Scott Jaschik, "$7 Billion to Fix a Non-Problem," Inside Higher Ed, October 24, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/24/wiretap

Europe's Rift Threatens Trade
The EU appears increasingly divided between countries like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, countries that have smaller farm sectors and are eager to gain fresh markets for manufactured goods, and their southern neighbors, which are more dependent on industries that are less competitive globally, including agriculture. The Doha global trade talks are at a make-or-break juncture on agriculture issues, with little time left before trade ministers from 148 countries are due to meet in Hong Kong in December. The U.S. tabled a fresh offer to cut farm subsidies and tariffs two weeks ago, but since then Europe has failed to weigh in with fresh concessions of its own.
Marc Champion and Scott Miller, "Europe's Rift Threatens Trade:  Fate of Global Talks May Rest On Britain-France Dispute," The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2005; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113038306351280932.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Too much complexity and too many distractions on the dashboard
Why Look at the Road When There's So Much Going On Inside?

"Manufacturers spend a lot of time designing technology to put into their vehicles, but it seems little time is spent asking if it even needs to go into the vehicle in the first place," said David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and a leading researcher on distractions in the car. "Over the last 20 years, the car dashboard has become a lot more complex."
Jeffrey Salingo, "Why Look at the Road When There's So Much Going On Inside?" The New York Times, October 26, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/26/automobiles/autospecial/26selingo.html

Do managers use R&D to manage earnings?

From Jim Mahar's Blog on October 24, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

What an interesting paper!

As most anyone in industry will tell you, managers often play games with R&D spending. Whether it is for their own "pet projects" or to further some cause within the firm. Of course, this should not be surprising as no where are information assymetry probelms more severe than in R&D spending.

Bange, De Bondt, and Shrider now provide empirical evidence of this game playing with respect to managers trying to "manage" earnings. This is because R&D expenditures (for which there is much discretion as to the timing) lower earnings.

The authors find "find ample evidence suggesting that executives, on average, distort R&D investment decisions so that they may improve their chances of meeting analyst expectations."

This finding, which is based on firms with large R&D spending over the past two plus decades, is consistent with previous survey based work (for instance Graham, Harvey and Rajgopal’s (2004)).

VERY interesting and important work.

Cite: Bange, Mary M, Werner F.M. De Bondt, and David G. Shrider, FMA Working paper, 2005 --- http://www.fma.org/Chicago/Papers/WMD-text.pdf

Electronic Books and Journals

The Milton Reading Room from Dartmouth --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/contents/

Poets Graves --- http://www.americanpoems.com/

Electronic Poetry Center --- http://wings.buffalo.edu/epc/authors/

Starlight Cafe's Poetry Corner --- http://www.thestarlitecafe.com/

Arthur Rimbaud's Poems --- http://mag4.net/Rimbaud/indexe.html    

Bob Jensen's helpers for finding electronic books and journals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#ElectronicBooks

In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.
Theodore Roosevelt 1907

October 24, 2005 message from Lois Garza, Lois [lgarza@trinity.edu]

I am writing this to inform as many people as possible and hope that you will pass this information along to everyone that you know.

Just as I began to put air in the front tire on the passenger side of my car, I felt my car move and looked up (thinking that someone had possibly backed into my car) as I stood up a Hispanic male was running from my vehicle and jumped into what looked like a Tan 4 door Tahoe with darkly tinted windows and slammed the rear door and sped away. I looked into my car and realized that he had just stolen my purse. It happened in a matter of seconds and I was unable to get a license plate or a facial description of the person. I was able to call the police from inside the Exxon station located at Marbach and Loop 410. They arrived about 30 minutes later and took a report. The officer then asked if we wanted the car finger printed, we said yes and unfortunately waited about 2 1/2 hours. When the second officer arrived, she indicated that there were a few prints but they were smudged. They did take two prints off the outside of the car. She did inform us that they were unable to get any prints from inside the vehicle because the interior is textured.

The only good thing is that my car, house and work keys were not in my purse

I spoke with one of the gas station attendants who said that I was not the first person to have my purse stolen. He also informed me that there was a gentleman who had his vehicle stolen while he was putting air into the tires. Another woman turned her back on her car and someone reached in and stole her purse.

The first officer told me that you should never leave your vehicle unlocked, even if you are standing next to it. Even if you are getting gas, they can open the passenger side if your back is turned and get away in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, I learned the hard way and hopefully this will help in deterring the criminals who seek to steal what each of us has worked so very hard for.

Lois L. Garza
Trinity University
Conferences and Special Programs

The Unofficial Monty Python Website --- http://www.mwscomp.com/python.html
Note especially The Accountancy Shanty (audio) at http://www.mwscomp.com/sound.html

Budweiser Parrots http://www.metacafe.com/watch/25229/whazzup/

Are the squeaks coming from the wheels or the bones --- http://www.metacafe.com/watch/37347/oil_the_wheels/

How not to sell a waterbed --- http://www.metacafe.com/watch/37744/wet_experience/

Parachute Jump (Kinda Dumb, but click on Start each time) --- http://www.bassfiles.net/parachute.swf

Fun with horses (Speakers on, click on each horse from left to right) --- http://svt.se/hogafflahage/hogafflaHage_site/Kor/hestekor.swf

I'll bet they can't top this.
Sharp shooter video for Carl, Dick (retired), Glen, Gerald, and John at Trinity University --- http://www.unoriginal.co.uk/footage61_2.html

Funny Signs (forwarded by Paula) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2005/FunnySigns.htm

See many more funny signs at http://www.funnysign.com/ 

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