Tidbits on January 13, 2006
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

Bob Jensen's various threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
       (Also scroll down to the table at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ )

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/.

I really like the Digital Duo show that appears weekly once again on PBS.  I found that you can bring up prior shows (video) on your computer by going to http://www.pcworld.com/digitalduo/index/0,00.asp

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 

Stay up on the latest and the oldest hoaxes --- http://www.snopes.com/

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

Jay Leno's Free Photo Booth Video --- http://www.youtube.com/watch.php?v=vEWLwz6JRNE

Mona Lisa Smile Video ---

Bill O'Reilly's exchange with David Letterman on the Late Show --- http://www.billoreilly.com/site/preview?pid=3683

Free music downloads --- --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

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

From NPR
Free downloads from Broadway's longest running play (Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera)
Scroll down at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5146471

From NPR
Classical Music: 2005 and Beyond --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5076402
(Scroll down for the samples.)

From NPR
Songs from a Year of 'Music Lust' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5076321
(Scroll down for the samples.)

Jewish Rap from NPR
Singer Matisyahu, Keeping It Kosher --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4774427
(Scroll down for the samples.)

Two cool hacks let you grab tunes at will. Plus: MP3 goes surround (again). From the Wired News blog Monkey Bites.
"Hacks For Downloading Songs on MySpace," Wired News, January 4, 2006 --- http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/


Photographs and Art

Timeline of Art History (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art) --- http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/splash.htm

The Photography Channel --- http://www.everypicture.tv/

The Henry Ford Museum --- http://www.hfmgv.org/

African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pignozzi Collection --- http://www.nmafa.si.edu/exhibits/pigozzi/index.html

Luminarium --- http://www.luminarium.org/lumina.htm

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Electronic Literature Organization --- http://www.eliterature.org/ 

Hyper History Online --- http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/a.html

World History --- http://www.fsmitha.com/maps.html

Michelangelo --- http://www.michelangelo.com/buon/bio-index2.html

Bartleby's Great Books Online --- http://www.bartleby.com/titles/

Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection --- http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Business_bookshelf
Other free online textbooks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks  

From NPR
Iraq Soldier Describes War in Poetry (with audio) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5126583

Poetry Critical --- http://poetry.tetto.org/

Agatha Christie Game --- http://www.agathachristiegame.com/

Sherlock Holmes Society of London --- http://www.sherlock-holmes.org.uk/rd.php?radio_id=127

I need poetry to express what cannot be said.
José Hierro

I am part of all that I have found on my road.
Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, and justice.
Baruch De Spinoza (1632-1677)

Mr. Friedman, a Harvard economist, has written a hugely provocative book ("The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth") arguing that rapid growth is morally uplifting. "Economic growth -- meaning a rising standard of living for the clear majority of citizens -- more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy," he writes. Further, the opposite is true. Poor growth feeds prejudice, class conflict and anti-democratic tendencies.
Robert J. Samuelson, "Even Good Growth Can't Satisfy Welfare's Appetite," The Washington Post by way of The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2006 ---
But in China and elsewhere "Don't Drink the Water" ---
Jensen Comment
Although growth in modern times is essential to combat population explosion, poverty, and ignorance, it leads poets to lament  about "mindless materialism" that generally accompanies rapid economic growth.  We're witnessing this in India and China where young people are now craving the things we've taken for granted since World War II --- luxury cars, Hollywood-styled entertainment, fine cuisine, and travel to exotic places with palatial resorts.  Friedman argues, growth is also an engine for social mobility, diversity, and reduction of class conflicts as, say, when comparing Canada with virtually any poor nation of the world.  But there are exceptions in such places as the U.S. and France where a hard core poverty and race/class differences prevail in spite prosperity and economic growth since World War II.  Progress along these lines must be measured in centuries rather than decades.  Also differential growth rates in prosperous versus poor nations are breeding grounds for war that never seems to end such as in the Middle East.

If a country wants peace, it should prepare for war.
Sergei Ivanov, "Russia Must Be Strong," The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2006; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113695268001343534.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

"It's (John Murtha's appeal to cut and run from Iraq and avoid joining the military) damaging to recruiting; it's damaging to the morale of the troops who are deployed; and it's damaging to the morale of their families who believe in what they're doing to serve this country." (said General Peter Pace.) And such comments are damaging to the United States if they dissuade young people from joining the military, Pace added. "We have almost 300 million Americans who are being protected by 2.4 [million] volunteer active, Guard and Reserve members, [and] we must recruit to that force," he said. Pace said 18- and 19-year-olds "can get the wrong message" about the military when they hear respected leaders discourage military service. Military service is "very, very satisfying," and today's service members recognize the critical role they are playing in the country's defense, the top US military officer told Pentagon reporters today.
Jim Kouri, "Top General Peter Pace Strikes Back at John Murtha...Finally," Post Chronicle, Jan 7, 2006 --- http://www.postchronicle.com/news/security/article_2122963.shtml
Also see http://www.accessnorthga.com/articles/afullstory.asp?ID=99960

Some in the Government have accused me of confusing apples and oranges.  My response is, it's all fruit.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after being informed that she got caught trying to claim false credit for protest of a U.S. intelligence al-Qaeda operation when in fact the operation had not even been conceived when she wrote a letter.
As quoted by Joe Klein, "How to Stay Out of Power," Time Magazine, January 16, 2006. Page 29

... until the Democrats make clear that they will err on the side of aggressiveness in the war against al-Qaeda, they will probably not regain the majority in Congress or the country.
Joe Klein, "How to Stay Out of Power, Time Magazine, January 16, 2006. Page 29
Why Are We Fighting in Iraq? -
-- http://www.jperspective.com/2005/01/why-are-we-fighting-in-iraq.html

Politically Correct Views from the Extreme Left
Law school clinics weren't always incubators of left-wing advocacy. But once the Ford Foundation started disbursing $12 million in 1968 to persuade law schools to make clinics part of their curriculum, the enterprise turned into a political battering ram. Clinics came to embody a radical new conception that emerged in the 1960s -- the lawyer as social-change agent. Ford Foundation head McGeorge Bundy declared in 1966 that law "should be affirmatively and imaginatively used against all forms of injustice."

Heather MacDonald, "Clinical, Cynical," The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2006; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113695251460643531.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
The National Lawyers Guild endorses efforts to impeach Bush ---

Finally, it has started. People have begun to speak of impeaching President George W. Bush--not in hushed whispers but openly, in newspapers, on the Internet, in ordinary conversations and even in Congress. As a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, I believe they are right to do so.
Elizabeth Holtzman, "The Impeachment of George W. Bush," The Nation, January 11, 2006 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060130/holtzman

Barbara's Zeal to Impeach
If there was ever a time in history to impeach a President of the United States, it would be now. In my opinion, it is two years too late. We should have done this before the election to spare the country the misjudgment, the incompetence and the malfeasance of this administration. Let us remember that UN weapons inspectors asked for more time to search Iraq for WMDs. Two months into their search, the Director General of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that he found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons program since its elimination in the 1990s. And Saddam Hussein had begun to comply with the administration's demands. Why would you invade a country if there was still a chance for peace? Shouldn't war be an absolute last resort? We went to war because we were misled. And we should be angry because of the 2,000 American soldiers and the 200 armed coalition forces that have died. We should be livid because of the 15,000 American soldiers that have been horribly maimed and wounded. We should be disgusted because of the 30,000 innocent Iraqi civilians that have been killed and the 20,000 that are wounded after administration officials claimed that the US was going to liberate the Iraqi people.
Barbara Streisand on October 26, 2005 at her own Website --- http://barbrastreisand.com/statements.html

Politically Incorrect Views from the Extreme Right

Two Extreme Jewish Views on the War in Iraq

Is This The Democracy We Are Fighting For? by Barbara Streisand, January 13, 2006 --- http://barbrastreisand.com/statements.html

Why Are We Fighting in Iraq? --- http://www.jperspective.com/2005/01/why-are-we-fighting-in-iraq.html

"Saddam's Documents: What they tell us could save American lives today," The Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007809

It is almost an article of religious faith among opponents of the Iraq War that Iraq became a terrorist destination only after the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein. But what if that's false, and documents from Saddam's own regime show that his government trained thousands of Islamic terrorists at camps inside Iraq before the war?

Sounds like news to us, and that's exactly what is reported this week by Stephen Hayes in The Weekly Standard magazine. Yet the rest of the press has ignored the story, and for that matter the Bush Administration has also been dumb. The explanation for the latter may be that Mr. Hayes also scores the Administration for failing to do more to translate and analyze the trove of documents it's collected from the Saddam era.

Continued in article

All you have to do is open the message, nothing else
Microsoft's Newest Bug Could Be Awful, Researcher Says

Forget the WMF problems; the really big issue could be with the flaw in Outlook and Exchange that Microsoft disclosed on Tuesday. All that's required to exploit this is an e-mail message.
Gregg Keizer, "Microsoft's Newest Bug Could Be Awful, Researcher Says," InformationWeek, January 11, 2006 ---  http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.163111&articleID=175803695
"What I find bizarre is that there's still all this focus on the WMF [Windows Metafile] bug," said Mark Litchfield, the director of NGS Software, a U.K.-based security company, and one of the two researchers credited by Microsoft with the discovery of the TNEF (Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format) vulnerability.

"This one has massive financial implications if someone exploits it," Litchfield said.

The TNEF vulnerability, which Microsoft spelled out in the MS06-003 security bulletin, is a flaw in how Microsoft's Outlook client and older versions of its Exchange server software decode the TNEF MIME attachment. TNEF is used by Exchange and Outlook when sending and processing messages formatted as Rich Text Format (RTF), one of the formatting choices available to Outlook users.

"All that's required to exploit this is an e-mail message," said Litchfield. No user interaction is needed to compromise an Exchange 5.0, 5.5, or 2000 server; all that's necessary is to deliver a maliciously-crafted e-mail to the server.

It's that characteristic, as well as the ease with which an attack could spread, that has Litchfield so worried.

"You could take over an Exchange server with a single, simple e-mail," he said. "From there you could target all the clients accessing that server. You would 'own' any Outlook client that connects to that server. Then an attacker could grab the Outlook users' address books.

Continued in article

"Unknown Attacks: A Clear and Growing Danger,"  by Secure Computing, InformationWeek, January 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/UnknownAttacks 

More on security threats and hoaxes --- http://www.trinity.edu/its/virus/

"10 Critical Factors When Buying a New PC," by Fred Langa, InformationWeek January 9, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/PCfactors
Also see http://internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.163112&articleID=175803749

Probably the most critical factor is to move to a screaming "virus and spyware free" (well almost) Mac
While Apple had no choice but to move its notebooks and Macs to Intel processors, chief executive Steve Jobs added insult to injury to recent Mac buyers in touting the superior performance of the new machines over the company's older computers. Just imagine how you'd feel if you had bought a PowerBook G4 for a couple of grand, and then found out a few weeks later that a new machine for the same price is at least four times faster. Outside of diehard Mac lovers, I'm sure some of the people contributing to Apple's strong fourth quarter are wishing they bought Windows PCs instead.
Antone Gonsalves, InformationWeek Newsletter, January 12, 2006
See http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.163112&articleId=175803746
Also see http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16141,294,p1.html

Apple and Microsoft renew vows to keep Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) for Mac alive for five more years --- http://blog.wired.com/cultofmac/

Microsoft Corp. has stopped developing Windows Media Player for Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X, choosing instead to direct people to a third party that offers components for playing Windows Media files in Apple's QuickTime player. Media encoding specialist Telestream said in a statement released this week that Microsoft had agreed to distribute Windows Media components for QuickTime through the Nevada City, Calif., company's Flip4Mac technology. Flip4Mac enables Mac OS X users to play Windows Media video and audio directly within QuickTime.
Antone Gonsalves, "Microsoft Stops Developing Windows Media Player For the Mac," InternetWeek, January 12, 2006 ---

"Finding an Internet Phone Service," by Greear Cossitt, The Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113701839171644121.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Q: How can I find a cheap and reliable Internet phone service?

A: Voice over Internet protocol services may save you money, especially if you make many long-distance calls. With VOIP, calls are routed through the Internet. Depending on the plan, you either talk through the computer with a microphone or with a regular phone, using an adapter. Some services provide the equipment free. Monthly rates can vary from free (for calls to VOIP users) to up to $50 for unlimited calling and certain features. Overseas rates may cost extra, but are generally low. The number of VOIP services is quickly expanding, but popular ones include Vonage and SunRocket, which charge $14.99 and $9.95, respectively, for a basic service plan. To help find a reliable service, you can read customer reviews at whichvoip.com and cnet.com.


All those phony cough medicines:  Here's what's supposedly better

"Cold Comfort: Most Cough Medicines Don't Do a Thing -- Here's What Works," by Tara Parker Pope, The Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2006; Page D1 ---

Every year consumers spend billions on cough medicines, but a new report from the nation's top chest doctors says many of them don't work.

The finding was issued by the American College of Chest Physicians as part of its comprehensive guidelines for dealing with various forms of cough. The doctors group reviewed numerous medical studies evaluating cough preparations and concluded that many of the key ingredients in popular cough and cold medications simply

But there was good news as well. The group concluded that the ingredients found in certain older allergy medications and pain relievers are actually far more effective against cough, even though they aren't marketed as cough treatments.

Among other findings, the group concluded that the drug guaifenesin -- an expectorant found in popular brands such as Wyeth's Robitussin and Mucinex from Adams Respiratory Therapeutics in Chester, N.J. -- is ineffective in curbing cough caused by the common cold. The drug is supposed to work by thinning the mucus and making it easier to cough up phlegm. But among four studies evaluating guaifenesin compared with a placebo, two studies showed benefit while two showed no improvement. As a result, the panel concluded there isn't enough evidence to support its use to help cough caused by colds.

Continued in article

The Great Chinese Experiment China is betting its economic health on becoming a world leader in the sciences.
But will it succeed?

China is an economic catastrophe waiting to happen. China is poised to become the world's largest economy by 2025. Both these statements are true. They provide the context we must understand in order to evaluate rightly what the Chinese are attempting to do in the sciences.
Freeland Judson, "The Great Chinese Experiment China is betting its economic health on becoming a world leader in the sciences. But will it succeed?" MIT's Technology Review, December 2005/January 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16031,306,p1.html

This article was a feature story in Technology Review’s December 2005/January 2006 print issue. It has been divided into three parts for presentation online. This is part 1; part 2 appeared on Tuesday, January 10, and part 3 on Wednesday, January 11.

Part 2 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16127,306,p1.html

Part 3 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16130,306,p1.html


Will you get hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax?
The IRS has a new AMT helper site

The AMT Assistant from the IRS --- http://apps.irs.gov/app/amt/

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

The Importance of Being (an) Ernest (Historian)
In a paper for a panel at the AHA meeting, Estes said that his primary goal for his students is to have them act and think like historians, not like students in a history class. In a class of 55 — many of them “skeptical or even hostile to the notion that history has value” — how can you do this? Estes argued that one way is through the syllabus, which isn’t just a list, but provides context about the course, so that students are confronted with ideas, not just information, every time they look at the document.
"The Teaching Agenda," Inside Higher Ed, January 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/01/06/teaching

When was concrete first used to build harbors?

From about 3000 B.C.E., boats anchored in natural coves and bays. At Sidon, for example, the team found crustaceans typical of brackish lagoons in the cores, indicating that the bays were fairly sheltered. By about 1200 B.C.E., the Phoenicians began building artificial harbors, a period which corresponds to other archaeological evidence that ship traffic was increasing at that time. After the invention of concrete by the Romans around 300 B.C.E., sophisticated harbor engineering became possible, and the ports were at their height during the subsequent Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods, from 332 B.C.E. to about 1000 C.E. After that time, Tyre...
"Ancient Harbors Rise Again,"  By Michael Balter,  Science Magazine, January 9, 2006 --- http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/109/2

Linens, embroidery, metalwork, and ceramics--these are just some of the fine goods exported by the Phoenicians throughout the Mediterranean. The sea traders and colonizers were a major force in the ancient world from about 3000 B.C.E. to 538 B.C.E., yet their chief harbors, located at Sidon and Tyre in Lebanon, vanished from sight long ago. Now a team of geoarchaeologists claims to have discovered those key ports. The team, led by geoarchaeologists Nick Marriner and Christophe Morhange of the European Center for Research and Teaching of Environmental Geosciences in Aix-en-Provence, France, began working on the Lebanese coast in 1998. Sonar helped them find the margins of the harbors, and then deep coring unveiled the detailed life history of the ports. As the team reports in this month's issue of Geology, the harbors went through several phases.

From about 3000 B.C.E., boats anchored in natural coves and bays. At Sidon, for example, the team found crustaceans typical of brackish lagoons in the cores, indicating that the bays were fairly sheltered. By about 1200 B.C.E., the Phoenicians began building artificial harbors, a period which corresponds to other archaeological evidence that ship traffic was increasing at that time. After the invention of concrete by the Romans around 300 B.C.E., sophisticated harbor engineering became possible, and the ports were at their height during the subsequent Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods, from 332 B.C.E. to about 1000 C.E. After that time, Tyre and Sidon rapidly declined in importance, and the harbors were apparently abandoned: The coring shows that the beach began to become exposed, and the lagoon species of crustaceans gave way to species typical of unsheltered coastlines and open seas.

The Phoenicians had to work hard to keep their ports deep enough for ships to enter. In a companion study of Tyre's harbor, published in this month's issue of Quaternary Research, Marriner and Morhange report that the Phoenicians extensively dredged this port during the Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods. The dredging kept it from silting up as a result of intensified agriculture and construction on the mainland that caused greater soil erosion and runoff of sediments, especially in the Litani River. Even more silting, the researchers point out, was caused by the practice of using the harbor as a huge waste dump.

Continued in article

Biotechnology:  What is too much of a seemingly good thing?

"Soul Man:  Leon Kass sounds a warning about the perils of biotechnology," by Bret Stephens , The Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007782

But for Dr. Kass, the problem hardly ends there. "Let's assume," he proposes, "that you found some kind of steroid that was safe and produced no bad aftereffects. (Unlikely, but.) Let's assume they were legal. Let's assume everybody used it. I think the athletes would still be ashamed to be seen shooting up before they went to bat.

"That has something to do with the fact that what the activity purports to be is an activity of natural human gifts suitably cultivated by practice and effort. . . . I think we should curb [performance enhancers], but I think we need a better account of what it is athletics is really about and why, rightly understood, it's very much like all kinds of other human activities in which to flourish really means deeds that somehow flow in an uninterrupted way from our souls and bodies."

Or take the use of behavior-modifying psychotropic drugs: To what extent should they be prescribed to children not just to correct for abnormal behavior (as Ritalin corrects for attention deficit disorder or Prozac does for depression) but also to improve their performance? Parents generally want to give their kids an edge. But how would the widespread use of, say, concentration-enhancing stimulants by children affect their characters and the character of their childhood, even assuming those stimulants were safe and consistently effective?

"Artificial enhancement can certainly improve a child's abilities and performance," Dr. Kass wrote in "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness," one of the council's six major reports. (Read them at www.bioethics.gov.) "But it does so in a way that separates at least some element of that achievement from the effort of achieving. It may both rob the child of the edifying features of that effort and teach the child, by parental example, that high performance is to be achieved by artificial, even medical, means."

And then there is the matter of dramatically prolonging the average human lifespan. Already, mice have been genetically engineered to overproduce certain proteins, thereby extending their average lifespan by about a third; sooner or later, similar genetic manipulations will be safely and usefully available for larger mammals, including humans. The question that will confront us then, says Dr. Kass, "is what the hell is wrong with that?"

Dr. Kass is certainly aware that human longevity increased dramatically in the past century, mainly to good effect (although mostly as a result of declining infant and child mortality rates). He is also cognizant of the powerful case, intellectual as well as emotional and intuitive, in favor of prolonging lifespans even further: "If we lived healthily and our friends lived healthily indefinitely, we could earn more, learn more, see more and do more." He is also willing to acknowledge that potential socioeconomic consequences of much longer living--e.g., when does your fit-as-a-fiddle 130-year-old boss retire so you can take his place?--could be resolved in some satisfactory, sustainable way.

. . .

Dr. Kass rejects this. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he says, "are fundamental rights which the regime exists to safeguard. But they do not exhaust the things that Americans believe in. . . . People aspire to lead serious lives, they want to be taken seriously, they want to make something of their lives. They respond when there is illness. It's astonishing what the outpouring of human sympathy can do. On the basis of the calculation of utiles a lot of this stuff doesn't make any sense. . . . The very people who you want to say are content with contentment are the very ones who say 'My God, we don't want to go there!'"

It would be a comfort to know that the tide is not, in fact, sweeping us all "there." And, who knows: There may be no there there. But in refusing to discount the possibility that it is, or avert his eyes from what may yet await us, Dr. Kass has performed a national service. Somebody ought to thank him.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The problem with biotechnology and for that matter advancement in most any discipline is that what is good/bad for an individual may be bad/good for the whole (e.g., society in general).  Take, for example, advancements that allow parents to dictate the gender of each child born.  This may be good for the eventual wealth or happiness of an individual or family, but portends disaster for society as a whole as gender becomes terribly out of balance. 

Another problem is that advancement creates a more fragile society.  Nuclear fission seems like a good idea, but a side effect is that it threatens the life of every organism on the planet.  Electricity makes our lives more comfortable and efficient.  But when the power goes out life becomes suspended where cooled food cannot be preserved, airports are closed, traffic is uncontrolled, businesses must shut down, schools are closed, home temperatures cannot be controlled, water may be shut off, electronic transactions come to a halt, hospitals cannot run without electricity, etc.  Before we had electricity life carried on, but billions of lives would probably be lost today if electricity ended worldwide.  Our ways of coping without power have been destroyed by more than a century of growing dependency on it.  This applies in so many ways to other advancements such as antibiotics, farming with petrochemicals, motor vehicles, sewage systems, etc.

Why little girls like to torture Barbie Dolls
If you've caught your daughter mutilating her Barbie doll, microwaving her, or decapitating her, don't be disturbed - your girl is perfectly normal. Research published yesterday reveals that as girls grow up, they come to hate Barbie so much that many admit torturing and maiming the doll. The toy has become a "hate figure" among seven to 11-year-old girls, who regard Barbie as a "babyish" symbol of their earlier childhood. Researchers from the University of Bath questioned 100 youngsters about their attitudes to a range of branded products and found the iconic doll provoked the strongest reaction.
"Why little girls like to torture Barbie," Sydney Morning Herald, December 20, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/12/19/1134840796230.html

"Deloitte, Junior Achievement A Launch Ethics Essay Contest," SmartPros, January 6, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x51217.xml

Jan. 6, 2006 — JA Worldwide (Junior Achievement) and Deloitte & Touche USA LLP announced the launch of their second annual ethics essay contest, which awards one high school senior with a $5,000 college scholarship.

To enter, high school seniors must compose an original essay of 500 words or less, in response to an ethical dilemma posted on JA Worldwide’s Web site, located at www.ja.org . Entries must be submitted online and will be accepted until February 3.

The "ethical dilemma" for the essay contest involves a 17-year-old who finds she has been paid $100 more than the agreed-upon amount for her summer lawn-care services.

The winning essay will be selected by the JA Worldwide Blue Ribbon Panel on Ethics, which is comprised of corporate ethics officers and noted academicians. The essays will be judged on how well the student uses an ethical decision-making process in developing a response to the dilemma.

Continued in article.

Once again, the JA link is at http://www.ja.org/

Cynical Comment
It would be most interesting if somebody did an investigative study looking for plagiarism in the submissions.

The only methamphetamine "epidemic" appears to be on television crime shows
Today the National Institute on Drug Abuse released the latest results from its Monitoring the Future survey of students, and there is still hardly any evidence of the methamphetamine "epidemic" about which we've been hearing so much. In fact, there were statistically significant drops in lifetime use of meth among 10th- and 12th-graders between 2004 and 2005. Past-year and past-month use also fell in both grades. The only increase in meth use was among eighth-graders, with lifetime use rising from 2.5 percent to 3.1 percent, past-year use rising from 1.5 percent to 1.8 percent, and past-month use rising from 0.6 percent to 0.7 percent. None of these increases was statistically significant. As I've mentioned before, the picture is similar in surveys of adults: flat or falling use during the last several years. After seeing the latest numbers, I'm sure Congress will relent and let us have easy access to cold medicine.
"Still No Meth Epidemic," Reason Magazine, December 19, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/

Size Matters Brainwise
Brain size matters for intellectual ability and bigger is better, McMaster University researchers have found. It found bigger is better, but there are differences between women and men. In women, verbal intelligence was clearly correlated with brain size, accounting for 36 percent of the verbal IQ score. In men, this was true for right-handers only, indicating that brain asymmetry is a factor in men. Spatial intelligence was also correlated with brain size in women, but less strongly. In men, spatial ability was not related to overall brain size. These results suggest that women may use verbal strategies in spatial thinking, but that in men, verbal and spatial thinking are more distinct. It may be that the size or structure of the localized brain regions which underlie spatial skills in men is related to spatial intelligence, as was shown in previous research in Witelson's lab on the brain of Albert Einstein.
"Bigger brain size matters for intellectual ability," PhysOrg, December 22, 2005 --- http://physorg.com/news9307.html

From NPR
In a new installment of "Making a List," novelist and commentator Susan Straight talks about the books she likes to give to her students, her friends and acquaintances ---

Why CREF has done well with the Dow now hovering around $11,000

Flashback from The Wall Street Journal, January 12, 1987
Wall Street professionals were unexcited about the Dow Jones Industrial Average exceeding 2000 for the first time last week, but many have been surprised by the momentum and breadth of the New Year's rally. The average finished at a record every day last week.

Former Wal-Mart Top Executive Confesses to Fraud and Tax Evasion
Former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Vice Chairman Thomas Coughlin has agreed to plead guilty later this month to federal wire-fraud and tax-evasion charges, according to people familiar with the proposed plea agreement he has struck with prosecutors. The deal, if it holds, will bring down the curtain on a bizarre chapter in Wal-Mart's history. Mr. Coughlin, a Wal-Mart legend who was a protégé and former hunting buddy of founder Sam Walton, left the company early last year amid accusations that he misappropriated as much as $500,000 from Wal-Mart through fraudulent reimbursements and improper use of gift cards.
James Bandler, "Former No. 2 At Wal-Mart Set To Plead Guilty:  Thomas Coughlin to Admit To Fraud and Tax Evasion;
Protégé of Sam Walton, The Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113658501190440131.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Sarbanes-Oxley:  What is too much of a seemingly good thing?

"Class-Action Sarbox," The Wall Street Journal,  January 7, 2006; Page A6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113659722018040446.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

At first glance, the study from Stanford University and Cornerstone Research seems to be good news, noting that the number of class-action suits filed in 2005 dropped to 176 from 213 in 2004 -- a 17% decrease. Good-governance types are claiming this decline is a direct result of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley legislation working as intended, keeping companies on the straight and narrow.

Yet as any first-year Wall Street analyst knows, this minor legal reprieve is better attributed to last year's relatively stable stock market. Class-action suits arise out of booms and busts in equity markets: As share prices dive, plaintiffs' lawyers swarm. Yet with last year's stock market less volatile than at any point since 1996, the "strike suit" pickings were lean.

So what then accounts for those 176 suits? Try . . . Sarbanes-Oxley. It appears the tort bar is now using the law's strict financial-reporting requirements as its latest excuse to sue. A whopping 89% of the suits alleged misrepresentations in financial documents, while 82% claimed false forward-looking statements. Lawyers have certainly used financial documents as a reason to sue in the past, but this year's notable uptick in the number of suits filed that cite this cause of action suggests that the tort bar has found a whole new line of business.

The real news here is that lawyers managed to drum up so many results-related suits in a year when the stock market was stable and corporate earnings were strong. Just wait for the next economic downturn, when class-action lawyers will be able to exploit Sarbox's new "internal controls" documentation as a roadmap. Our guess is that we have only begun to discover the ways in which Sarbox will be a trial-bar bonanza.

Continued in article

Jensen Comments
A useful reference site from Cornerstone is at http://www.cornerstone.com/fram_res.html
A Stanford University Press Release is at http://securities.stanford.edu/scac_press/20060103_CR_SCAC.pdf
The Stanford University Law School Class Action Clearinghouse is at http://securities.stanford.edu/

Payback Time:  Now This Twit's in the Front of the Classroom
I think what has taken me back are the blank stares, heads on desks, and absentees in my classroom. As I struggle with teaching in ways I wasn’t expecting, I guess I’m a bit defensive and feeling sorry for myself. I sometimes think I don’t deserve what I’m getting, just as my undergraduate professors didn’t deserve what I gave. But it’s probably a good thing I’m thinking about my own bad behavior as an 18-to-20-year-old. The optimist battling these pessimistic feelings believes such memories might be a first step toward focusing on the students in this process, instead of myself. Like a transgressor at an AA meeting, I want to stand up and cleanse my soul, hopefully to get rid of the guilt I feel when I think of what I did to others, because now it’s happening to me. “Okay, okay, I get it,” I want to say to my professors of old. “I was a twit.”
Danna L. Walker, "Open Letter to My College Professors," Inside Higher Ed, January 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/01/06/walker 

"GASB Publishes Guide to Statement 44 on the Statistical Section," SmartPros, January 5, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x51205.xml

Jan. 5, 2006 — The Governmental Accounting Standard Board has published a guide to implementation of GASB Statement 44 on the Statistical Section.

The guide was prepared by GASB staff primarily to assist preparers and auditors of governmental financial statements and those that advise them as they implement the updated and expanded statistical section. The statistical section is the part of a state or local government's comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) that presents trend information for the last ten years about a government’s financial results, major revenue sources, outstanding debt, economic and demographic indicators, and operating activities.

The guide contains over 120 questions and answers on important aspects of Statement 44, including:

Presenting newly required information, such as net assets, changes in net assets, fund balance, and total outstanding debt. Identifying a government’s most significant own-source revenue and its overlapping governments. Calculating total direct rates, debt ratios, overlapping debt, and debt limit information. Obtaining and reporting demographic and economic information. Selecting appropriate trend information about government employees, operating indicators, and capital assets. The questions and answers are accompanied by more than 160 illustrations, including complete sample statistical sections, alternative formats, and optional schedules for nine types of governments -- local, county, and state general purpose governments, a school district, a library district, a public university, a water and sewer authority, an airport, and a retirement system. The Guide also includes a glossary, topical index, and the Standards section of Statement 44.

The guide can be ordered through www.gasb.org 

What states are soft on sex offenders?

'Factor' Investigation: Which States Are Soft on Sex Offenders? --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,162254,00.html

Where do American and Canadian tourists frequent for sex with children?

Enslaving kids --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/oreilly020204.asp

Ovarian Cancer Study Is Hailed
Pumping heavy doses of chemotherapy drugs right into the abdomen boosted survival of women with advanced ovarian cancer by 16 months in what experts call the first big advance in more than a decade against one of the most lethal cancers in women.

"Ovarian Cancer Study Is Hailed," The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2006; Page D6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113639854954237690.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 

"Hedge Funds With Losing Records to Liquidate," Bloomberg News by way of the New York Times, January 7, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/07/business/07hedge.html?oref=login 

Community-based Networks and Innovative Technologies --- http://propoor-ict.comunica.org/

In many instances, at least in urban areas, the communication needs of the poor are acknowledged and telephony markets – formal and informal – are emerging to serve them. However, rural areas and sparsely populated communities still tend to be underserved. The main obstacle is simple. Installation costs are often higher because of lack of developed infrastructure such as roads and electricity. Sparser populations and low levels of income mean that conventional approaches appear to be economically unattractive, whether for market-driven or more traditional public sector providers who are now unable to benefit from cross-subsidies to roll-out services.

The technology-development landscape is continuously evolving not only in terms of market dynamics and technology opportunities but also in terms of permitting new approaches to meeting the development and communication needs of the poor and under-served communities.

Did Enron change executive looting tendencies?
Despite an array of new and expensive laws and regulations that were adopted to tighten corporate oversight after the wave of scandals earlier in the decade, serious accounting problems continue to trouble publicly owned companies. In the last year, a record number have been forced to correct erroneous earnings statements, which often led to sharp stock declines. Moreover, for all the widespread criticism of high pay of executives at Enron and other companies that later proved derelict, studies show that there is still little overall correlation between the performance of many companies and the executive compensation set by their directors.
Stepen Labaton, "Four Years Later, Enron's Shadow Lingers as Change Comes Slowly," The New York Times, January 5, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/NYT0105

Bob Jensen's threads on executive compensation scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation

The National Research Council’s ratings claim to measure research quality, but they ignore some of the most important and cutting-edge fields

"The Great Mismatch," by Kermit L. Hall and Susan Herbst, Inside Higher Ed, January 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/01/05/hall

This fall the NRC released its new taxonomy, listing the fields that would be assessed and those that would not be studied. The new taxonomy reflects our worst fears for the assessment of Ph.D. programs: It fails to recognize a large number of thriving and vitally important fields where some of the most talented researchers in the world can be found. Among these fields are criminal justice, public administration and policy, social work, information science, gender studies, education, and public health. We have expressed our strong objections about these exclusions to Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and to Charlotte Kuh, study director for the NRC Assessment. We have received no response, and other academic leaders have been treated with the same disregard when they have challenged plans for the new assessment. Such behavior seems especially problematic given the importance of the NRC study for institutions and researchers.

Placing fields like gender studies and information studies in the new, nebulous “emerging fields” category — fields that will not be rated — does not solve the problem in the least, but simply steers important scholarly endeavors in a giant black box. The justification of the taxonomy boldly notes that “emerging areas of study may be transitory,” hence it is risky to evaluate them with the same rigor used for other fields. From what we can discern at least, information science, the study of race, of ethnicity, of sexuality, and gender have already emerged, and have profoundly changed the academy for the better. We imagine that scholars in these fields are not transitory in the least: A large number of them hold endowed chairs, run centers, manage departments, edit journals, lead foundations and run major institutions.

Continued in article

Counting rather than reading documents:  Don't we do this when granting tenure?

"Literature to Infinity," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, January 4, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/01/04/mclemee 

Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History is a weird and stimulating little book by Franco Moretti, a professor of English and comparative literature at Stanford University. It was published a few months ago by Verso. But observation suggests that its argument, or rather its notoriety, now has much wider circulation than the book itself. That isn’t, I think, a good thing, though it is certainly the way of the world.
In a few months, Princeton University Press will bring out the first volume of The Novel: History, Geography, and Culture a set of papers edited by Moretti, based on the research program that he sketches in Graphs, Maps, Trees. (The Princeton edition of The Novel is a much-abridged translation of a work running to five volumes in Italian.) Perhaps that will redefine how Moretti’s work is understood. But for now, its reputation is a hostage to somewhat lazy journalistic caricature — one mouthed, sometimes, even by people in literature departments.

What happened, it seems, is this: About two years ago, a prominent American newspaper devoted an article to Moretti’s work, announcing that he had launched a new wave of academic fashion by ignoring the content of novels and, instead, just counting them. Once, critics had practiced “close reading.” Moretti proposed what he called “distant reading.” Instead of looking at masterpieces, he and his students were preparing gigantic tables of data about how many books were published in the 19th century.

Continued in article

From Topless to Jobless
Morgan Stanley has fired a stock-research analyst and three sales staffers in the Wall Street firm's institutional-stock division after they accompanied one or more clients on a visit to an adult-entertainment club, according to people familiar with the matter. The firing of the staffers, all men, sent a message that exclusionary, male-only activities won't be tolerated at the firm, according to people familiar with the matter. In mid-2004, Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $54 million to settle a gender-discrimination case. As part of the settlement, Morgan Stanley denied wrongdoing but agreed to take additional steps to promote diversity and conduct antidiscrimination training.
"Morgan Stanley Fires Male Staffers For Strip-Club Trip," by Randall Smith, The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2006; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113642955212838313.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

Jensen Comment
My favorite source for investment banking scandals is Frank Partnoy.  His early books reveal how back in the 1990s Morgan Stanley and some other investment banks had some bizarre sexcapades, including bikini-clad women in their trading rooms --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#DerivativesFrauds

Who are the big criminals in Washington DC?  Gingrich ought to know!
"You can't have a corrupt lobbyist unless you have a corrupt member (of Congress) or a corrupt staff. This was a team effort," Gingrich told a Rotary Club lunch in Washington on Wednesday. He called for systematic changes to reduce the enormous financial advantages that incumbents have in congressional elections. As head of a conservative movement based on ethics concerns and promises to curb federal growth, Gingrich led the GOP in 1994 to its first House majority in 42 years. But he decided to resign in 1998 when Republicans lost seats a year after Gingrich himself was fined $300,000 for violating House rules barring the use of tax-exempt foundations for political purposes.
Michael J. Sniffen, "GOP Politicians Dump Abramoff Donations," Yahoo News, January 5, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060105/ap_on_go_pr_wh/abramoff_fallout

Also see http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200601040926.asp

Meanwhile in California
"Abramoff, clients gave thousands to California officials," Michael R. Blood, ModBee, January 5, 2006 --- http://www.modbee.com/state_wire/story/11655000p-12384299c.html

It's beginning to look like fraud and creative accounting at Delta Airlines
Creditors often have a hard time collecting from companies in bankruptcy, but a group of plane owners trying to retrieve three leased Boeing 767s claims Delta Air Lines is going too far. The aircraft owners, mostly investment banks such as Morgan Stanley and Natexis Banques Populaires SA of France, claimed in a court filing last week that Delta violated bankruptcy rules by disassembling the aircraft and storing the frames and engines in separate locations.
"Delta Air's Fight With Creditors Over Leased Jets Heads to Court," by Evan Perez, The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2006; Page A2 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113642163895438078.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Jensen Comments
This reminds me of a clever ploy used by car thieves in San Antonio.  One of the problems in stealing a car and then selling it in the U.S. in the vehicle's VIN number.  What some thieves purportedly do is steal a luxury car and separate the body from the drive train.  Then the body is abandoned where the police will find it.  The police (possibly in cahoots with the thieves) then sell the body at a public auction.  Keep in mind that the body has no engine or transmission.  The thieves then buy the body and thereby acquire a legitimate ownership of the VIN number.  Then they install the original drive train and sell the entire care for a handsome profit.

Accounting Issue:  The Bright Line Problem
I'll just bet these aircraft were carried as operating leases rather than capital leases since airlines tend to push to the edge of bright line rules of FAS 13.  How do you account for operating leases of assets that are disassembled for parts?

Bob Jensen's threads on how bright lines are used to hide debt with operating leases are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#Leases


Inmate Tax Refund Scams On the Rise:  What've they got to lose?
Inmates are filing false tax returns and scamming the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It’s a nationwide problem to the tune of $68 million from 18,000 prisoners, for the 2004 tax year alone. The Arizona Star reports that convicts are responsible for more than one-seventh of all false refunds nationally. The prisoners found to be filing false refunds avoid prosecution from state and federal officials since they are already behind bars, according to the Arizona Star. Criminal prosecution offers little payoff to authorities and its difficult to prove that any prisoner is actually the one who filed the return.
"Inmate Tax Refund Scams On the Rise," AccountingWeb, December 29, 2005 ---

"Abortion in the United States: A Snapshot,"  by Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish, NPR, January 4, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5126609 

Which Mobile Technologies Should You Bet On In 2006?
Unlike me, Dave Molta, of our sister magazine Network Computing, does know something about mobile technologies, and he has some predictions for which mobile technologies are likely to succeed in 2006. He likes 3G, RFID, and smart phones; thinks WiMax and municipal Wi-Fi will be disappointing; and is ambivalent about 802.11n. Even I could see the sense of public-access Wi-Fi. There was a great deal of hooray when the first coffee shops enabled Wi-Fi access for their customers, even more when the Starbucks chain rolled it out nationwide, with some skeptics grumbling that it was all a fad.
Mitch Wagner, InformationWeek Newsletter, January 9, 2006


A Fraud Financial Virus Inside McAfee, Inc.
The Securities and Exchange Commission on January 4, 2006 filed securities fraud charges against McAfee, Inc., formerly known as Network Associates, Inc., a Santa Clara, California-based manufacturer and supplier of computer security and antivirus tools. The Commission’s complaint alleges that, from the second quarter of 1998 through 2000, McAfee misled investors when it engaged in a fraudulent scheme to overstate its revenue and earnings by hundreds of millions of dollars. The complaint specifically alleges that, during the period 1998 through 2000, McAfee inflated its cumulative net revenues by $622 million and that, for 1998 alone, McAfee overstated revenues by $562 million, a misstatement of 131 percent. When the scheme began to unravel and McAfee announced, in December 2000, that it would miss its quarterly revenue projection by $190 million, the news slashed over $1 billion from McAfee’s market capitalization.
"SEC CHARGES MCAFEE, INC. WITH ACCOUNTING FRAUD; MCAFEE AGREES TO SETTLE AND PAY A $50 MILLION PENALTY," AccountingEducation.com, January 5, 2006 ---  http://accountingeducation.com/index.cfm?page=newsdetails&id=142111 

Windows: A Clear Danger to Birds
No one knows what birds see when they look out at the world, but one ornithologist is sure they don't see glass. Daniel Klem estimates that 1 billion birds are killed by flying into windows every year in the United States.
John Nielsen, "Windows: A Clear Danger to Birds," NPR, January 3, 2006 ---

Phone Companies Set Off A Battle Over Internet Fees
Phone companies hope to charge Google, Vonage and other Web firms for delivery of music and movies over their networks, setting the stage for a big battle.
"Phone Companies Set Off A Battle Over Internet Fees:  Content Providers May Face Charges for Fast Access; Billing the Consumer Twice?" by Dionne Searcey and Amy Schatz, The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2006; Page A1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113651664929039412.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Verizon Says Google, Microsoft Should Pay For Internet Apps
Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg didn't hold back during his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying companies that provide bandwidth-hogging Internet applications are going to have to share the cost of operating the broadband networks they use. The increasing number of consumers with high-speed Internet connections has brought an unprecedented opportunity for all Internet companies, not just Web portals. Companies like Vonage and Skype, which provide Internet telephony services, also gobble up bandwidth without even leaving a tip at the table.
Paul Kapustka, "Verizon Says Google, Microsoft Should Pay For Internet Apps," InternetWeek Newsletter, January 6, 2006

See http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.162578&articleId=175801788

Jensen Comment
It makes no sense to me to charge some sites like Google and Yahoo fees and then let millions of other sites go not pay a thing. There is also the added problem that millions of important sites lie outside the U.S.  For example, we can now access Google from a copycat site in eastern Europe.  The only fair alternative is to charge consumers of the services, which is what the Internet carriers are now doing.  Perhaps they will one day have to meter the usage much like users are billed for time spent on long distance calls.  But that will lead to a consumer backlash since we've become so accustomed to unlimited usage for a flat fee that is a good deal for users like me and a bad deal for occasional users who mainly use the Internet for e-mail.

Deloitte Settles With a a Japanese Audit Client for More Than $200 Million
Deloitte & Touche LLP has paid about $100 million to a Japanese insurer to settle litigation related to the collapse of a giant aviation reinsurance pool, bringing the total paid by Deloitte in the case to well more than $200 million in what has become one of the costliest-ever legal settlements for an auditing firm.
Mark Maremont and Miho Inada, "Deloitte Pays Insurers More Than $200 Million," The Wall Street Journal,  January 6, 2006; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113651878950639466.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

Bob Jensen's threads on Deloitte's legal woes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Deloitte

Tough Times Ahead for High Cost Cities Like Boston
News of Fidelity’s big job pullout prompted a phone conference yesterday between Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office and Fidelity. “We had some discussions,” Menino spokesman Seth Gitell said. Some were less restrained in lamenting the impact of Fidelity’s decision, calling it a troubling sign for a city and state economy beset with sky-high housing costs and regulatory red tape. Fidelity’s job shift comes after a recent announcement by longtime Hub tech powerhouse Teradyne that it will be leaving. Gillette, bought by Procter & Gamble earlier this year, is also shedding Boston jobs.
Scott Van Voorhis and Jay Fitzgerald, "No Fidelity to Hub: Up to 1,500 employees to exit," Boston Herald, January 6, 2006 --- http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=120124 

Tough Times Ahead for Humanities Curriculum Revision in Universities
Tenured professors are hysterical (a good "gendering" word) over the rise of the right on the campus, of students who aren't buying into lesbian literature, identity politics, deconstructionism, feminism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, Marxism, gay culturalism and all the other -isms that have dominated the curriculum for the generation since the '60s. Assumptions are under siege. One seminar, examining the image of professors in the media culture, asked the question: "Why Are They Saying Such Terrible Things about Us?" Why indeed? The profs have been difficult to take seriously since the New York Times published a list of their goofiest scholarly papers in 1989, including such intellectual gems as "Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl," and exposed the obfuscating jargon that was more like kitty litter than ideas, littering conversations with such phrases as "transgressive discourses," "systems of stratification" and "culturally over-determined structures of seeing." Not long afterward the New Criterion, a rigorously conservative intellectual journal edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball, bid "Farewell to the MLA." They argued that the "feminization" of the organization had left it prey to radical sexual philosophies like "gay studies" and "queer theory." The likes of Joseph Conrad and Willa Cather were reduced to the blather of pop psychology, anthropology, "gendering" and power relations.
Susanne Fields, "Queries for the 'queering' of academe," The Washington Times, January 5, 2006 --- http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20060104-085708-4561r.htm

Prosperity in America:  Not something the mainstream media wants to report

"Great American Dream Machine," by Stephen Moore and Lincoln Anderson, The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2005; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113513427028228173.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

New reports by the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board on the economic well-being of the typical American family reveal that over the past three decades, the vast majority of families have experienced a rapid growth in their income and wealth. Now that nearly six out of 10 households own stock and two out of three own their own homes, the average family -- for the first time ever -- has net worth (assets minus liabilities) of more than $100,000. Median family income has climbed to more than $54,000 a year.

Almost no one in the national media has taken notice of this good news, which has been camouflaged by a barrage of misleading and gloomy stories on "stagnant wages," "the growing income gap between rich and poor," "the disappearing middle class" and "rising poverty in America." The reality is that if the economic growth, employment and family-finances numbers get any better, the media will soon have to start calling this the "Clinton economy."

Continued in the article

Jensen Comment
What is sad is that some relatively high paying jobs go to imported workers because unemployed Americans choose not to get the skills and do those jobs.  My example here is teaching in inner city schools.  Many jobs are available that go unfilled unless foreign workers are brought into the U.S. to fill those jobs. What will be interesting is to see how many of those imported workers actually stay in the inner city schools for more than a few years.  Being American, unfortunately, often means "I don't have to do this anymore."

"Looking Abroad For A Few Good Teachers," by Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates ---

The Baltimore school system needed to try something new too. Each year administrators scramble to fill some 800 teacher vacancies. Statewide, Maryland requires 6,000 new teachers annually, but its colleges and universities produce just 2,500, and only the most altruistic of them choose to work in urban schools, where the challenges range from trying to raise low test scores to tending to students who are homeless or whose parents are on drugs. The No Child Left Behind Act, which requires schools to meet certain standards or risk losing federal funding, has intensified the need for good teachers in poor schools.

To find them, Baltimore and other school districts--in California, Florida and New York--have begun looking abroad for teachers to do the jobs they can't get enough locals to take on. After watching a presentation, at an education conference, on Filipino teachers working in other U.S. school districts, George Duque, human-resources manager for the Baltimore public schools, decided to give that approach a try. "We've always had difficulty getting teachers in math, science and special education," he says. "We would go on recruiting trips, and we could count on one hand the number of available teachers. And they were at a premium, so they could pick and choose. We thought that this might be a better source."

Duque was further encouraged by the success others had experienced with foreign teachers. New York City has recruited teachers from such countries as Austria, Canada and Spain for years. Three years ago, it began recruiting in the Philippines. Administrators in the city say only 10% of those recruits have left and 530 Filipino teachers are currently working in the city's schools. So last fall Duque took an 18-hour flight to Manila, courtesy of Avenida International Consultants (AIC), an agency that specializes in connecting U.S. schools with Filipino teachers. AIC put him up in a five-star hotel for five days and introduced him to a stream of experienced teachers eager to work in the U.S.

As with most immigrant workers, the financial incentive looms large for Filipino teachers who opt for the U.S. According to Ligaya Avenida, AIC's founder, a Filipino teacher earns from $9,000 to $12,000 a year. In Baltimore the average Filipino recruit makes $45,000 a year. Many Filipino teachers seeking to practice their craft in the U.S. shell out as much as $10,000 to recruiting agencies like AIC to secure interviews with American administrators and receive help with visas and other immigration documents. With some agencies, however, the teachers don't always get what they pay for. In fact, last year school officials in Texas, along with recruiters from a local agency, were charged with bilking Filipino hopefuls of cash and failing to find them jobs.

Continued in article

Problems with Firefox
A small percentage of Firefox users are reporting problems with the latest version of the open-source browser. Among the troubles reported by several hundred readers of InternetWeek and other CMP sites are high memory usage, high CPU usage, program freezes and lock-ups and more. Based on the reports, the number of people experiencing problems with Firefox 1.5 is well under 10 percent of all the people who have downloaded Mozilla's browser. But at 10 million downloads, even 5 percent would be enough users to raise the eyebrows of most vendors.
Antone Gonsalves, "Firefox Users Sound Off," InternetWeek Newsletter, December 21, 2005

Also see http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.161474&articleId=175007058

Mutual funds lowered their fees in 2004 under pressure from Eliot Spitzer
The median stock fund charged investors 1.45% of assets for expenses in 2004, Lipper says, down from 1.50% in 2003.The median stock fund charged investors 1.45% of assets for expenses in 2004, Lipper says, down from 1.50% in 2003. (Median means half charged more, half less.) Total expenses for sector funds declined more steeply, to 1.78% from 1.89%. The Lipper report pointed to the mutual fund trading scandal of 2003 as one reason for the reduction. Some fund companies, such as Janus and Putnam, were charged with allowing improper trading in some of their funds. They agreed to fee reductions in settlement agreements with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who led the investigation.
John Waggoner, "More funds lower fees after scandal in 2003," USA Today, December 14, 2005 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the mutual fund scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#MutualFunds

"Shortness of Breath---The New Heart Sign," WebMD, December 16, 2005 ---

"The Poop on Diarrhea Vaccine", Wired News, December 17, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,69865,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6

The Poop on Research Grants:  Are they cash losers in your university?
Indeed, for many academics, the success of a campus in acquiring federal funds serves as a primary indicator of quality and prestige. Many rankings systems, including the classifications developed by the author and colleagues published annually as The Top American Research Universities, rely heavily on a campus’s federal research expenditures when distinguishing among institutions. But those campuses in search of higher prestige among their peers must invest at an increasing rate to move up in the rankings, a process that may strain the budgets of institutions already challenged by reductions in state funding and growing resistance to increased student fees. People often imagine that the large amounts of federal grants received by competitive research universities represent a profit or at least a break-even proposition for the institutions. Not so, in almost all cases. A federal grant of $12.5 million will cost the university at least $17.5 million (or an additional $5 million) to do the research. Those who imagine that a college’s acquisition of a federal grant produces a profit, as would a business’s contract to supply the government with airplanes, may find the university’s intense competition over money-losing grants perplexing. Let’s look at the balance on this $12.5 million grant, and let’s assume that like many such grants it supports research over five years.
John V. Lombardi, "Paying for the Research Juggernaut," The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/12/15/lombardi

Putting Freud to the Test

"Imaging the Unconscious Functional magnetic resonance imaging could bring psychoanalysis into the 21st century," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, December 22, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16076,304,p1.html?trk=nl

One of Freud's theories held that after a traumatic event, people might unconsciously associate a normally benign stimulus, say, a friendly golden retriever, with a previously fearful event, such as getting bitten by a Rottweiler. This theory seems to be true in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Harmless sights and sounds, for instance, such as a bus traveling on down a street, can trigger a panic attack in someone with PTSD who was once involved in a bus crash. Furthermore, the sufferer may not be immediately able to pinpoint the cause of his or her anxiety attack.

Now scientists are using brain imaging techniques to explore how the unconscious fear signal may be turned up in people with PTSD and other anxiety disorders. To study the brain processes underlying anxiety, researchers use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure a person's brain activity while he or she looks at threatening signals, such as a picture of a fearful face. These frightening pictures will spark activity in the part of the brain known as the amygdala, which is part of the evolutionarily ancient brain involved in processing emotion and fear. To study the unconscious aspects of fear and anxiety, the researchers flash the ominous picture so quickly that subjects don't consciously notice it -- the brain reacts to the image, even though the person cannot determine whether or not they actually saw it.

Continued in article

Nations Ranked by the Index of Economic Freedom


"Wish They All Could Be Like Estonia," by Mary Anastasia O'Grady, The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2006; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113634132194337178.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 

The 2006 Index of Economic Freedom, published today by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, provides powerful clues. The annual report surveys 157 countries, grading property rights protection, the regulatory environment, tax rates, fiscal policy, government intervention in the economy, monetary policy, black markets and trade policy, assigning each a numerical rating. Each country falls into one of four categories: "free," "mostly free," "mostly unfree" and "repressed." The chart shows this year's results.


Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics


Brigette Bardot 71 Stella Stevens 68 Sophia Loren 71 Gina Lollobrigida 78 Deborah Kerr 94 Lena Horne 88 Kay Starr 83 Patti Page 78 Annette Funicello 63 Barbara Eden 71 Angie Dickenson 74 Doris Day 81 Joan Collins 72 Julie Christie 64 Leslie Caron 74 Carroll Baker 74 Ann-Margret 64 Debra Padget 72 Julie Andrews 70 Ursula Andress 69 Rita Moreno 74 Jean Simmons 76 Julie Newmar 72 Kim Novak 72 Jane Powell 76 Debbie Reynolds 73 Shirley Temple 77 Jane Russell 84 Kathryn Grayson 83 Esther Williams 82 Elke Sommer 65 Gale Storm 83 Jill St. John 65 Liz Taylor 73 Mamie Van Doren 74


Jensen Comment
The above list does not include their male counterparts, probably because they're all dead.

January 10, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

David, You did not mention that Phyllis Diller’s not changed much at all --- she’s 88 and the Plastic Surgeon Association’s Poster Woman --- http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Phyllis_Diller/

If it weren't for baseball, many kids wouldn't know what a millionaire looked like.
Phyllis Diller

My mother-in-law had a pain beneath her left breast. Turned out to be a trick knee.
Phyllis Diller

Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.
Phyllis Diller

Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?
Phyllis Diller

Just because I have rice on my clothes doesn't mean I've been to a wedding. A chinese man threw up on me.
Phyllis Diller

It's an ill wind that blows when you leave the hairdresser.
Phyllis Diller

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
Phyllis Diller

Whatever you may look like, marry a man your own age. As your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.
Phyllis Diller


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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