Tidbits on February 7, 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

Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans --- http://www.doctormacro.com/Galleries.htm
This site has scanned photographs and generous movie clips.  The quality is good and the works are classified by both movie titles and leading performers.  Most of the selections are from the earlier days of film. There are also movie summaries and links.

Yiddish for Dick and Jane --- http://www.vidlit.com/yidlit/

The Library of Congress Webcasts --- http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/index.php

Hillary Can't Wait --- http://www.michaelhodges.com/missing.html


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 Janie
The Rose --- http://jbreck.com/LadyInBlack.html

(You may have to turn your speakers up a bit for this one.)

From Jesse
The Twelfth of Never
--- http://www.jessiesweb.com/12thnever.htm
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.

From NPR
Live Concert Selections --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4627437

From Janie
My Cup Has Overflowed --- http://jbreck.com/sendingallmylove.html

From Janie
I Wept --- http://jbreck.com/IWept.html

From Janie
Thank Heaven for Little Girls --- http://jbreck.com/SweetHeart.html

Rock From NPR
The Montreal Sound? Rock et Roulez --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5176473
(Scroll down for the samples)

Jazz from NPR
Jae Sinnett, Drumming Up Interest in Jazz --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5176440
(Scroll down for the samples)

 


Photographs and Art

National Geographic Photo Galleries --- http://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/

Coretta Scott King Photos From Time Magazine --- http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/2006/coretta_king/index.html

West Bank Photos from Time Magazine --- http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/2006/riot_settlers/index.html

Other Current Photos from Time Magazine --- http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/

Richard Ehrlic (Landscape) Photography --- http://ehrlichphotography.com/

Caroline Young's Classical Oriental Paintings --- http://www.carolineyoung.com/index.htm

SDC (Britain's one and only museum of colour) --- http://www.sdc.org.uk/museum/mus.htm

From NPR
Capturing New York in Photographs ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5175188
Scroll down for the samples)

Central Park --- http://www.centralpark.com/ 

Photographs of Workhouses --- http://www.workhouses.org.uk/

Bo Bartlett Paintings --- http://www.bobartlettart.com/

Niko Henrchon Comics and Illustrations --- http://www.nikohenrichon.com/

Interactive Drawing --- http://www.jonkuta.com/play/

Doodle of the Day (many probably came from faculty meetings)--- http://www.doodleoftheday.co.uk/

Early Office Museum --- http://www.officemuseum.com/exhibits.htm

1920s Transit Posters --- http://www.chicago-l.org/ads/1920sPosters/


 


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

Anne Boleyn (English History) ---  http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/boleyn.html

The British Library: Listen to Nature [Audio] http://www.bl.uk/listentonature

The Mistery of Edwin Drood  by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) --- http://snipurl.com/drood

Yahoo Education References  --- http://education.yahoo.com/reference/bartlett/

Dictionary Encyclopedia Thesaurus World Factbook
Spanish Dictionary Quotations Anatomy Conversion Calculator

Wikiquote (quotations) --- http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Main_Page

Faisal.com Quotations --- http://www.faisal.com/quotes/a.html





The Underlying Philosophy of a Veteran Accounting Researcher
Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.

Douglas Adams

Consider, for example, data released by the U.S. Department of Education, which estimate that twenty-three percent of preschoolers have used the Internet "before they can even read." This makes preschoolers "the largest group of new users," a distinction which thrills the Department's technology overseer. She's especially pleased that "young students don't differentiate between the face-to-face world and the Internet world." . . . The fact is that two years and $34 million worth of laptops later, Maine's math scores improved only slightly, while writing, reading, and science scores either dropped or didn't change. A University of Chicago report found "no evidence" that the Internet has "any measurable effect on student achievement." An extensive German study concluded that students who use computers at school several times a week actually perform "sizably and statistically worse" as a result. That's because computers and the Internet commonly distract students from the task of learning.
Peter Berger, "The Silicon Bullet," The Irascible Professor, February 5, 2006 ---
http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-02-05-06.htm
Jensen Comment
At the same time, there's no evidence that keeping technology out of the hands of children improves learning (unless they are very, very young).
Bob Jensen's threads on "No Significant Differences" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm
Also see the No Significant Difference Phenomenon website http://www.nosignificantdifference.org/ 

A book that can't stand two readings is not worth even one.
José Luis Martín Descalzo (1930-1991) ---
http://snipurl.com/descalzo

When we are ill we realise that we do not exist alone but chained to a different domain, from which we are separated by an abyss, which doesn't know us and by which it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body.
Marcel Proust (1871-1922) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Proust

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
Edward Abbey (sounds a lot like a saying from John Kerry)

It's not the American people who are addicted to oil. It's this Administration who is addicted to oil.
John Kerry commenting on the President's latest State of the Union Address
Please clarify your remarks Senator Kerry. Isn't this Administration is the cause of all addictions and sin on earth?

More black Americans are in prison than in college.
John Kerry, Opinion Journal, February 2, 2006
Jensen Comment: This claim actually originated with Jesse Jackson, and John Kerry probably blames it all on the GOP. You must remember that black males in prison range in age from teenagers to nearly 100 years old, most of whom are outside the typical age for attending college. You must also remember that there were 2,135,901inmates of all races and genders in state and federal prisons at the end of 2004 with a U.S. population approaching 300 million people. At year end 2004 there were 3,218 black male prison inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,220 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 463 white male inmates per 100,000 white males --- http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm
That means that slightly over 3% of black males in the U.S. are in prison. I think that the proportion of college age black males who are attending college is much higher than 3%. Just goes to show you how you can lie with statistics. Democrats, Republicans, and independent college professors are very good at telling whoppers backed by "statistics."

I understand my time has expired.
Ted Kennedy as quoted in Opinion Journal, February 1, 2006

Some sad news --- NBC has canceled the show The West Wing
You know things are bad when even fictional Democrats aren't doing well.

Jay Leno as quoted in Time Magazine, February 6, 2006, Page 18

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
Winston Churchill
as quoted in a recent email message from Pat Doherty 

Good things come to those who wait. (while watching others fight over the females)
Author Unknown
And by sticking together for millions of years, neither one of them got the girl they were both after
The winner was probably a little wimp hiding behind a rock for the right moment

In 1962, workers in Nebraska stumbled upon the intact remains of two giant Ice-Age mammoths, their tusks locked together. Four decades later, the unique fossils will finally go on public display.
Sarah McCammon, "A Mammoth Death Match Preserved for the Ages," NPR, January 27, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5173078

"My Favorite Things"
I quoted wonderful old age version of this song, in  a previous edition of New Bookmarks, of the old age lyrics of a song supposedly sung by Julie Andrews on stage. I did not discover until recently that Julie really did not perform this on stage --- http://www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/andrews.asp 
I still love the lyrics. It would be great if she really did perform it in the future. The fact that her voice has deteriorated with age would only make it more effective with these new (old?) lyrics.

 




Flint Versus San Antonio:  This is something you won't find at Michael Moore's Website
Is it job loss in the auto industry or merely job migration from Michigan to the South?

Long-time industrial strongholds such as Michigan are losing manufacturing jobs as the U.S.'s auto industry struggles to compete. But massive job cuts by Detroit have overshadowed an important change in U.S. manufacturing. Asian and European auto companies, looking for skilled workers to make complex products, have created nearly enough new jobs in the U.S. to make up the difference.
Norihiko Shirouzu, "As Detroit Slashes Car Jobs, Southern Towns Pick Up Slack:  Overseas Firms Pour In Seeking Commitment to Education And High-Skill Workers Osceola's Charter-School Spat," The Wall Street Journal,  February 1, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113876525094261839.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Jensen Comment
A new Toyota truck factory will soon commence in San Antonio. As Michigan cities like Flint and Detroit become GM and Ford junk yards, we have to ask the question why auto manufacturers are not buying up cheap real estate in Flint or Detroit for their new factories.

Could it be Michigan's tax structure?
Could it be quality of the labor force?
Could it be the cost of labor differential between states?
Could it be that the the quality of schools in Flint and Detroit destroy incentives for families to move to these cities?

In fairness, Toyota is seriously considering building a new engine factory somewhere in Michigan, although I would be surprised if it ends up in Flint or Detroit. I find it sad that Michael Moore seems more concerned these days with Bush bashing than he is with helping to save the down and out in decaying Michigan cities. Roger and Me seems to be losing out to the Cindy and Me Bush bashing. One thing is absolutely certain --- Michael and Cindy will win. Bush and Cheney will never be re-elected in 2008. It's also virtually certain that Detroit and Flint will remain as major cities in the U.S. with the worst poverty statistics in 2008.

Come on Michael!  http://www.michaelmoore.com/
Rather than continue to be only a destructionist high priest in a billed cap, please help us with some really innovative and seriously constructive ideas about how to revive Detroit and Flint. Why not run for Mayor in Detroit? Or better yet why not use your multimillions of dollars to invest in a Moore Mobeel factory in downtown Flint? In retrospect, Roger and Me was dysfunctional to saving Flint. Now it's time to make amends with a positive Flint and Me production.
 


Why not in Michigan?
"GM May Reinvest in Maryland Factory Would Build Components for Hybrid Vehicles," by Sholnn Freeman and Amy Joyce, The Washington Post, February 1, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/GMmaryland
 


Improving the Lives of the Urban Poor --- http://snipurl.com/UrbanPoor
 


Columbia University Allows "America's Most Hated Professor" to Teach

""A Million Mogadishus" 101," by Chris Kulawik, Columbia Spectator, February 6, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21153

It’s funny how Columbia works: call for the deaths of 18 million Americans, get your own lecture.

He’s known as “the most hated professor in America,” and yes, not surprisingly, he’s a Columbian. Three years ago, at a faculty anti-war teach-in, assistant professor of anthropology Nicholas De Genova remarked, “U.S. flags are the emblem of the invading war machine in Iraq today. The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military.”

Amazingly, these remarks were overshadowed by his now-historic comment, a call for “a million Mogadishus,” a horrible tragedy in which 18 American servicemen whose lives ended brutally during an ambush. A year before that, protesting West Bank occupation at an earlier “teach-in” (with all of this protesting, one wonders when he has the time to teach), he quickly set the precedent for such idiotic comments: “The heritage of the victims of the Holocaust belongs to the Palestinian people. The state of Israel,” he stated, “has no claim to the heritage of the Holocaust. The heritage of the oppressed belongs to the oppressed—not the oppressor.”

Even members of Columbia's leftist establishment rushed to denounce De Genova. University Provost Alan Brinkley called the anti-military comments “abhorrent,” and University President Lee Bollinger labeled them “shocking and horrific.” Professor Eric Foner topped them all with “idiotic.” Incidentally, this also represents the first time I’ve found myself in agreement with the triumvirate. Yet, despite individual denouncements, the administration, according to author Quin Hillyer, had “not decided to collectively rebuke De Genova’s remarks, probably due to concerns of trampling on free speech.” Needless to say, the administration took no disciplinary action. Never during this whole ordeal did the administration move to protect Columbia vets and servicemen and women whom De Genova wished dead. Despite how troubling it is that “academic freedom” has been perverted to include violent, radical, anti-American hate speech which openly advocates the murder of American citizens, it gets worse. Not only was De Genova allowed to remain on the faculty, but three years later, Columbia gave him his own bully pulpit—a graduate lecture: the Metaphysics of Anti-terrorism.

Under the auspices of the anthropology department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, De Genova plans to apply his expertise in “transnational urban conjunctural spaces that link the U.S. and Latin America” to the nuanced social, legal, political, and economic issues that define America following Sept. 11, 2001. Now, if a respected scholar wanted to investigate the “metaphysics” of America after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and present his findings...Fine. But who in his right mind would expect a scholarly and objective analysis when the professor rants and raves about killing members of the imperialist “war machine”? Who would expect an equally critical analysis when the professor openly calls the United States a Homeland Security State but uses derogatory quotes when he writes on the course syllabus (a copy of which I have obtained) about the struggle against terror that is “improbably against outright ‘evil’ and nefarious but ever-elusive transnational networks of ‘evildoers,’ and also variously against ‘barbarism’ and ‘savagery’”? His twisted logic holds America as the true source of evil in the world; those who cut off the heads of aid workers, blow up buses filled with women and children, or take schoolchildren hostage are merely misconstrued freedom fighters.

The reading list further distinguishes the class as a weekly forum to rip into American policies under some pathetic facade of education. Coupled with the 33 “historical texts” from the Bush administration, nine documents from the Project for the New American Century, and four chapters from two Michelle Malkin books, there is a litany of biased readings, including Lost Liberties: Ashcroft and the Assault on Personal Freedom, The European Witch-Craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, The War on Human Rights, The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, and my personal favorite, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire Building. All of these books seek to label and define our present state as some totalitarian wreck. There’s no doubt in my mind that De Genova approaches the issue with preconceived and unwavering opinions—opinions which have tainted the reading list and the class as a whole, ruining any opportunity for the objective classroom environment that every student deserves.

Continued in article


Racism: The University of Michigan Accused of Impeding Completion of Doctoral Degrees
A group of black graduate students at the University of Michigan filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights last week, alleging that the university aggressively recruits black students, but then discourages them from completing Ph.D.’s.
David Epstein, "Held Back at Michigan?" Inside Higher Ed, February 6, 2006 ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/06/michigan


Kimberly Sams can no longer "hoot" as a cheerleader,
but she still gives a hoot about getting kicked off the squad
A former cheerleader at East Tennessee State University says that she was kicked off the squad when officials found out she had a job at Hooters (Restaurant).
Inside Higher Ed, February 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/06/qt


A Gay Football Super Bowl Hero Who Was 'Alone in the Trenches'
Esera Tuaolo toiled for many years as a 300-pound defensive lineman in the ultra-macho National Football League. He played in the Super Bowl. Sometimes he sang the national anthem before the game. All the while he was hiding a secret from teammates: his sexual orientation. He tells Liane Hansen about his memoir of the experience: Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL.
"A Gay Football Player, 'Alone in the Trenches'," NPR, February 5, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5190140


With seniority and/or tenure, schools are not likely to weed
out teachers who are time-servers and non-performers

Principals have no real incentives to weed out the time-servers and non-performers. They have no motivation to rock the boat. There is no pressure of competition in the public sector; most parents are trapped, feeling they must wear the dud teacher. There is no performance-based remuneration for principals or teachers, so nothing is lost or gained by confronting the non-performers. And there is no stomach to fight the NSW Teachers Federation. Industrial relations concerns rather than professional ethics have dominated thinking about bad teachers.
"When it's teacher who must do better," Sydney Morning Herald, February 4, 2006 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2006/02/03/1138958909403.html
 


"The Politics of Science:  Are politicians giving us the right prescriptions? Audio and video of the Smith Family Foundation debate, by Ronald Bailey, Chris Mooney, Wesley J. Smith, and Nicholas Wade, Reason Magazine, February 2, 2006 ---
http://www.reason.com/hod/rb020106.shtml

Earlier this month, Reason's science correspondent Ronald Bailey squared off against Seed correspondent Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith for a debate on the unsavory entanglement of politics and science, sponsored by the Donald and Paula Smith Family Foundation. New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade moderated.

 


The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate technology, led them into it in the first place.
Douglas Adams (I think John Howland at Trinity University might have said this first)

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the world's richest man, said the tax office in the US has to store his financial data on a special computer because his fortune is so vast.

"Microsoft founder too rich for tax computer to handle," PhysOrg, February 2, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news10481.html
 


93 killed in stampede for best seats at TV game show
Like tens of thousands of others mostly from depressed urban communities, Mrs Marasigan and six of her relatives went to watch the Wowowee show for a chance to win cash prizes and secure a better life.
"93 killed in stampede for best seats at TV game show," Sydney Morning Herald, February 5, 2006 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2006/02/04/1138958944829.html
 


America's Least Wanted
U.S. Senate --- http://www.senate.gov/
 


Podcast Lectures from Stanford University
Stanford on iTunes --- http://itunes.stanford.edu/index.html

Bob Jensen's threads on podcasting are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#ResourceDescriptionFramework
(including a link to the innovative podcasting from Purdue University)
 


From WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/

 


Sarbanes-Oxley vs. the Free Press
What isn’t widely understood is the role that may have been played by a law that most people don’t associate with free press issues, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the wake of the Enron scandal, along with related crackdowns on corporations.
John Berlau, "Sarbanes-Oxley vs. the Free Press:  How the government used business regulations to strong-arm the media,"  Reason Magazine, January 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/0601/fe.jb.sarbanes.shtml
 


The confusing and inconsistent politics of country and folk music

"The One On the Right Was On the Left... The political puzzle of country music," by Jesse Walker, Reason Magazine, January 16, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links011606.shtml

The surprise tour of last year—a surprise, that is, to anyone whose worldview froze around 1970—was the series of concerts Bob Dylan did with Merle Haggard. In the last big culture war, Dylan was the guy who sang "You fasten the triggers/For the others to fire/Then you set back and watch/When the death count gets higher." Hag had a snappy number where he "read about some squirrelly guy who claims that he just don't believe in fightin'/And I wonder just how long the rest of us can count on bein' free." Put them together, and you get—

Apparently, you get kismet. In Rednecks & Bluenecks, an engaging expedition into the politics of country music, Entertainment Weekly's Chris Willman watches the pair play a date in Los Angeles. When Haggard asks everyone to sing along with his vintage hit for hippie-hating hardhats, "Okie from Muskogee," more than a few fans do, and "the singer reacts with mock alarm: 'This is Bob Dylan's audience! You're not supposed to be smoking—I mean singing—along with that!'"

Even in 1970, Dylan was alienating his fan base with an album filled with pop-country covers; Haggard, meanwhile, had just written "Irma Jackson," an ode to a thwarted interracial romance. But if the singers don't fall on opposite sides of the so-called culture war, it wouldn't be entirely accurate to suggest they're sitting on the same side either. Like most people, they don't really fit into any rigid camp. Dylan has had an uneasy relationship with the left since he moved away from protest songs in the early '60s, and he sounded downright reactionary on 1979's brimstone-filled Slow Train Coming; in the liner notes to one '90s CD, the man who introduced the Beatles to marijuana declared, "give me a thousand acres of tractable land & all the gang members that exist & you'll see the Authentic alternative lifestyle, the Agrarian one." Conservative hero Haggard has a history of singing Guthriesque songs about economic hard times, and more recently he's taken to praising hemp and speaking out against the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, and the Bush administration. (In Rednecks & Bluenecks, he declares the president one of "the top three assholes of all time," right next to Hitler and Nixon.) But he's a populist, not a liberal, and is as hard to pigeonhole as Dylan is: In "Where's All the Freedom," one of two antiwar songs on his most recent album, he includes "can't show the Ten Commandments anymore" in a litany of lost liberties.


Thousands apply for jobs at new Wal-Mart
Eighteen months after the Chicago City Council torpedoed a South Side Wal-Mart, 24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits. The new Wal-Mart at 2500 W. 95th is one block west of Western Avenue, the city boundary. Of 25,000 job applicants, all but 500 listed Chicago addresses, said John Bisio, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart.
Leslie Baldacci, "Thousands apply for jobs at new Wal-Mart," Chicago Sun-Times, January 26, 2006 --- http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-walmart26.html
Jensen Comment
The Wal-Mart parking lots in western New Hampshire are a sea of green (the color of Vermont license plates).  A lot of good it did for the economy of Vermont to virtually ban new construction of Wal-Mart stores. The ban sure did help the economy of New Hampshire. A Super Wal-mart will soon be constructed in tiny Woodsville, NH with all those Vermont shoppers just across the river.
 


Gold versus Equity

Gold prices have plunged to four-month lows, as investors have fled a market that a short time ago seemed set to soar. Prices dropped $12.30 an ounce to $454.20. The metal in December climbed above $500 an ounce for the first time since 1983.
The Wall Street Journal Flashback, February 1, 1988

Jensen Comment
In early 2006, gold is around $570 per ounce. While equity markets have almost trippled since 1994, gold chugs ahead much more slowly.

The Wall Street Journal Flashback, February 3, 1994
The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back, gaining 11.53, or 0.29%, to 3975.54 -- less than three points from its all-time high of 3978.36 and back within striking distance of 4000. The Nasdaq climbed to 799.57 -- less than a point from its all-time high.

 


"US shuts down Australian-based computer piracy ring," PhysOrg, February 4, 2006 ---
http://physorg.com/news10551.html
 


How many former executives are planned, as of February 4, to testify against Skilling and Lay?
In all, some 30 people have copped pleas in the Enron debacle, and about half of them will testify against Messrs. Skilling and Lay. This suggests to us that the justice system has been doing its job the right way here. It has taken the government time to build its case against the men at the top, but they are now standing trial. Despite allegations of preferential treatment or leniency, individuals have been indicted and tried, or are being tried.
"Enron and Consequences The system has held individuals responsible, as it should," The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/hottopic/?id=110007924
Jensen Comment
What galls me about this trial is the defense by Skilling and Lay that ventures they created were highly profitable, especially the energy trading side of the business. Actually most ventures were losers and badly managed, including the massive losses in trading derivative financial instruments and the laughable water plant venture managed by Rebecca Mack. Not so funny is the billion dollar loss in Mack's power plant construction in India. Enron by any measure was badly managed company. See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm
 


Birthday Calculator --- http://www.paulsadowski.com/birthday.asp
 


Will  Phil and Wendy Gramm forever go unpunished in the Enron scandal?
Enron trial unfolds, it's depressing that Phil and Wendy Gramm, the company's political enablers, are going unpunished and uncriticized.
Robert Scheer, "Enron's Enablers " The Nation, February 1, 2006 ---
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060213/scheer0201

Back in 1993, when Enron was an upstart energy trader and Wendy Gramm occupied the position of chair of the CFTC, she granted the company, the biggest contributor to her husband's political campaigns, a very valuable ruling exempting its trading in futures contracts from federal government regulation.

She resigned her position six days later, not surprising given that she was a political appointee and Bill Clinton had just defeated her boss, the first President Bush. Five weeks after her resignation, she was appointed to Enron's board of directors, where she served on the delinquent audit committee until the collapse of the company.

There was perfect quid pro quo symmetry to Wendy Gramm's lucrative career: Bush appoints her to a government position where she secures Enron's profit margin; Lay, a close friend and political contributor to Bush, then takes care of her nicely once she leaves her government post.

Although she holds a doctorate in economics and often is cited as an expert on the deregulation policies she so ardently champions, Gramm insists that while serving on the audit committee she was ignorant of the corporation's accounting machinations. Despite her myopia, or because of it, she was rewarded with more than $1 million in compensation.

A similar claim of ignorance of Enron's shenanigans is the defense of her husband, who received $260,000 in campaign contributions from Enron before he pushed through legislation exempting companies like Enron from energy trading regulation.

"This act," Public Citizen noted, "allowed Enron to operate an unregulated power auction--EnronOnline--that quickly gained control over a significant share of California's electricity and natural gas market."

The gaming of the California market, documented in grotesque detail in the e-mails of Enron traders, led to stalled elevators, hospitals without power and an enormous debt inflicted on the state's taxpayers. It was only after the uproar over California's rolling blackouts, which Enron helped engineer, that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finally re-imposed regulatory control--and thereby began the ultimate unraveling of Enron's massive pyramid of fraud.

Bob Jensen over the years has written quite a lot about Wendy Gramm --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#EnronLinks

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


How to Fight Global Crime and Corruption

Transparency International (News, Tools, etc.) --- http://www.transparency.org/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud reporting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

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

 


The cell phone offers an interesting alternative to the $100 laptop; however, the numbers don't add up.
The $100 laptop project, first announced at last year's Davos gathering, aims to distribute seven million computers featuring open-source software, mesh-networking capabilities, and a hand-crank shaft for power, beginning in fall 2006. Meanwhile, although Microsoft hasn't announced any products for this rest-of-world market, at the consumer electronics show last month in Las Vegas, Bill Gates demonstrated a mockup of a cell phone that included ports for a keyboard and an external monitor. And at this year's Davos meeting, Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief technical officer, told the New York Times that he and Bill Gates believed the best way to bring the advances of the digital age to poorer parts of the world was with cell phones. "Everyone is going to have a cell phone," Mundie said in the Times interview. "We have a lot of concerns about the sustainability of [the laptop] approach."
Eric Hellweg, "The Laptop vs. Cell Phone Debate," MIT's Technology Review, February 3, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16279,294,p1.html
 


If you don't like the way cars drive themselves, stay off the sidewalks
The car’s auto-pilot capability is based on two main components: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS). ACC is a radar sensor placed behind the Honda badge at the front of the car. It scans ahead to look out for other vehicles, responding to the result by reducing or increasing the car’s speed accordingly. LKAS, a camera placed next to the rear-view mirror, monitors the white lines along motorways and dual carriageways, using the received data to control the car’s steering.
"New Honda Accord drives itself," PhysOrg, February 1, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news10428.html
 


Apple Hit With iPod Hearing Loss Lawsuit
A Louisiana man filed a lawsuit this week claiming that Apple's iPod can cause hearing loss. The suit, submitted to a San Jose, Calif. federal court on behalf of John Kiel Patterson of Louisiana, seeks class-action status, asks for unspecified damages, and demands that Apple Computer update the iPod software so the portable music players can't blast tunes at more than 100 decibels. Hard on the heels of experts saying that the use of earbud-style headphone like those bundled with iPods can lead to hearing loss, Patterson's suit charges Apple with not advising users of a safe listening volume, nor including a meter on the devices to monitor decibel levels.
Gregg Keiser, "Apple Hit With iPod Hearing Loss Lawsuit," InformationWeek, February 2, 2006 --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=178601009


"Words help us see and talk," PhysOrg, January 31, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news10413.html

The language we speak affects half of what we see, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago.

Scholars have long debated whether our native language affects how we perceive reality — and whether speakers of different languages might therefore see the world differently. The idea that language affects perception is controversial, and results have conflicted. A paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports the idea — but with a twist. The paper suggests that language affects perception in the right half of the visual field, but much less, if at all, in the left half. The paper, “Whorf Hypothesis is Supported in the Right Visual Field but not in the Left,” by Aubrey Gilbert, Terry Regier, Paul Kay, and Richard Ivry — is the first to propose that language may shape just half of our visual world.

Terry Regier is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. Gilbert is a graduate student in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley. Kay is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and a senior research scientist at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley. Ivry is a Professor of Psychology, director of UC Berkeley's Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.

This finding is suggested by the organization of the brain, the researchers say. Language function is processed predominantly in the left hemisphere of the brain, which receives visual information directly from the right visual field. “So it would make sense for the language processes of the left hemisphere to influence perception more in the right half of the visual field than in the left half”, said Terry Regier of the University of Chicago, who proposed the idea behind the study.

The team confirmed the hypothesis, through experiments designed and conducted in Richard Ivry’s lab at the University of California, Berkeley. “We were thrilled to find this sort of effect and are very interested in investigating it further,” said Gilbert, the lead author on the study. The hypothesis was confirmed in experiments that tested Berkeley undergraduates, and also in an experiment that tested a patient whose hemispheres had been surgically separated. “The evening I first reviewed the split-brain patient data I called people at home in my excitement to share the findings,” said Gilbert.

Many of the distinctions made in English do not appear in other languages, and vice versa. For instance, English uses two different words for the colors blue and green, while many other languages — such as Tarahumara, an indigenous language of Mexico — instead use a single color term that covers shades of both blue and green. An earlier study by Paul Kay and colleagues had shown that speakers of English and Tarahumara perceive colors differently: English speakers found blues and greens to be more distinct from each other than speakers of Tarahumara did, as if the English “green” / “blue” linguistic distinction sharpened the perceptual difference between the colors themselves. The present study essentially repeated the English part of that earlier test, but also made sure that colors were presented to either the right or the left half of the visual field — something the earlier study hadn’t done — so as to test whether language influences the right half of our visual world more than the left half, as predicted by brain organization.

Continued in article


"The Downside of Photo-Storage Sites:  Failure to Log On, Buy Prints Can Lead to Loss of Pictures; Wife 'On the Verge of Tears'," by William M. Bulkeley, The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113875190806261512.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Online photo-storage sites have proliferated in recent years, many of them offering "free" and "unlimited" photo archiving.

But the sites are increasingly determined to make money in other ways -- and some users may not realize their photos are at risk. Many are requiring users to purchase products, charging other fees, or setting conditions to ensure that customers gaze at ads. If users don't follow the conditions for service -- often disclosed only in the fine print -- their photographs could wind up getting deleted.

Eastman Kodak Co.'s chairman, Antonio Perez, signaled the industry's posture toward free storage when he told an investors conference on Monday that Kodak's online Easyshare Gallery last year quietly added an option in which consumers can pay $2.49 a month for storage if they want to avoid a rule that mandates an annual purchase from the site. "Consumers have the attitude that everything should be free," he said, indicating that was unreasonable.

Continued in article


Oxford is making it a legal contract that you must try to learn if you sign up for a course
The University of Oxford has decided to require new students to sign contracts pledging to attend lectures and do other necessary work, The Times of London reported. The contracts are designed to prevent lawsuits, which are becoming increasingly common in British higher education.
Inside Higher Ed, January 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/01/31/qt
 


How To Fight RateMyProfessors.com:  The cure for bad information is better information

"How To Fight RateMyProfessors.com," by James D. Miller, Inside Higher Ed, January 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/01/31/miller

There’s a lot of unhappiness among college faculty members about RateMyProfessors.com, a Web site containing student ratings of professors. Many college students use it to help pick their classes. Unfortunately, the site’s evaluations are usually drawn from a small and biased sample of students. But since students usually don’t have access to higher-quality data, the students are rational to use RateMyProfessors.com. Colleges, however, should eliminate students’ reliance on RateMyProfessors.com by publishing college-administered student evaluations.

Bad information flourishes when good information is suppressed. RateMyProfessors.com allows students to label a professor as “hot,” gives prominence to how easy a professor is and allows students to publish obnoxious and irrelevant comments about their teachers. When colleges withhold their own internally administered student evaluations from students, they have the effect of colleges’ boosting the importance of RateMyProfessors.com.

That’s not to say that student evaluations of professors are perfect; far from it. Students sometimes punish professors for being tough graders, for assigning relatively large amounts of work or even for wearing unfashionable clothes. So it’s not illogical for some colleges to prefer that students not see evaluations of professors. RateMyProfessors.com, however, has eliminated this option.

Most colleges already administer high-quality student evaluations of professors and they should release these data so students could make more intelligent class choices.

Not publishing college-administered evaluations might be unfair to many professors. For example, a student wishing to damage her untenured professor’s career might do more harm through posting a negative review on RateMyProfessors.com than by giving her professor bad marks on the official college-administered student evaluations. RateMyProfessors.com has only a few evaluations for many professors. On this Web site, therefore, one student can have a huge impact on a professor’s averages

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's thread on teaching evaluations and grade inflation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation

Differences between "popular teacher" versus "master teacher" versus "mastery learning" versus "master educator" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#Teaching
 


Millions are seeking advice on the Internet
K.C. Jones, "About 60 million Americans say the Internet played an important or crucial role in making a major decision in two years before being polled," InternetWeek, January http://internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177104387

The Pew/Internet study is at http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/172/report_display.asp
 


"FDA Approves Inhalable Insulin," Wired News, January 30, 2006 ---
http://www.wired.com/news/wireservice/0,70110-0.html?tw=wn_index_6


Intel Inside (the Mac)
Bottom line: If you need to do critical work and want maximum performance today, get a G5-based computer.

"Intel Macs: Wait or Buy Now?" by Pete Mortensen, Wired News, January 26, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70086-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_4

These are some of the questions Mac users are asking.

I've been in the market for a new Mac forever -- should I buy an Intel Mac today?

That depends on your priorities: Do you want to stay current or use a machine capable of running every program you use? Longtime Mac users went through a similar transition in 1994, and it took years for the Mac experience on a PowerPC machine to equal that found on older hardware. This switch should proceed more quickly and less painfully, now that software updates over the internet are the norm and the chips involved are so much faster.

What kinds of problems crop up with a new processor?

A platform is made of software as much as it is hardware, and most applications for Mac OS X are not written for Intel machines. Most applications that run in OS X Tiger are able to run on Intel hardware via an emulation layer called Rosetta, but there are a few exceptions, spelled out in Apple's Universal Binary Programming Guidelines.

Applications that require a G5 processor or extensive AltiVec support don't run, including Apple's own Pro applications Aperture, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. Java-based applications compiled for PowerPC chips are broken, such as file-sharing client LimeWire; and so are any applications requiring the Classic compatibility environment, including out-of-date but still popular versions of FrameMaker and QuarkXPress. A few emulation options have appeared to support such needs. MacFixIt hosts perhaps the most comprehensive list of incompatible applications.

Do Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Quark and other Pro applications run on the new machines?

They do, but not optimally. Though Apple has touted its newest offerings as two to four times as fast as their predecessors, that applies to native programs only. Microsoft announced it will update Office soon for better Rosetta compatibility, with a conversion to Intel code coming later. Jobs demoed Photoshop at Macworld, but conceded that the application's performance is worse under Rosetta than the speeds offered by older PowerPC hardware.

Adobe has not announced a time line for upgrades to its Creative Suite software. Quark is currently offering Intel-native software with QuarkXPress 7, but it's presently beta software and unsuited to a professional environment. Apple promises it will have its Pro applications -- Final Cut Pro, Aperture and Logic Pro -- ready to run in March for a $50 "crossgrade" fee. The programs currently won't install on Intel hardware. Regular updates of Intel-native applications appear on this list. Bottom line: If you need to do critical work and want maximum performance today, get a G5-based computer.

Jensen Comment
I'm glad I waited so long, but I intend to make the G5 plunge in June. I'm just sick and tired of Microsoft's empty promises to rid us of viruses and spyware.

January 26, 2006 reply from Jagdish S. Gangolly [gangolly@INFOTOC.COM]

I am in the process of switching from Windows to Mac myself. I find the Macs a pleasure to work with. They also seem a bit lighter (laptops) than PC laptops. They are aesthetically pleasing and very stylish in appearance. The monitors are also a lot more gentle on the eyes. I have found their keyboards to be a bit annoying, but that's because I have been used to the PC keyboards.

If you are a unix command line freak like me, you'll love macs. You get the same operating systems on laptop and the servers.

Jagdish

January 26 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Jagdish,

I might add that none of us will probably be switching to Macs like it's either a Mac or a PC for us. I plan to use the Mac for my Web browsing and multimedia work.

However, when it comes to having to work with MS Office files, I will rev up my Windows laptop. But I will try to minimize my Windows exposure to the risks on the Web that are virtually no risks to Macs. The computer that I operate remotely back on campus after I retire will still be a PC due to Trinity University's system and willingness to keep my PC ensconced in computing center.

By the way, Mac laptops are light and easy to move about. The G5, however, is a tank without wheels. It is not a machine to move about the house.

Bob Jensen

 


Two Questions Answered by Walt Mossberg --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html

Q: In your recent review of the new Apple iMac that uses Intel chips, you briefly said it couldn't run the Windows operating system out of the box. Can you elaborate on why that is, and whether Windows will be able to run on this computer eventually?

Q: Can you tell me how to transfer the Internet Explorer "Favorite" Web site addresses from my laptop computer to my desktop computer? Both computers are Windows XP.

 

Q: Can you tell me how to transfer the Internet Explorer "Favorite" Web site addresses from my laptop computer to my desktop computer? Both computers are Windows XP.

A: Just go to the "Import and Export" command in the File menu of Internet Explorer on the laptop -- the machine with the Favorites you want to copy. Select "Export Favorites," and follow the prompts to save your Favorites as a file. You can name it anything you like, and I suggest you save it to your desktop or some other place where you can find it quickly.

Next, copy this file to the desktop computer -- the one you want to populate with your Favorites. In Internet Explorer on this second computer, again click on "Import and Export" in the File menu, only this time, select "Import Favorites." Specify the file you copied over from the first computer, and all the Favorites it contains should now be on the second machine.


Q: In your recent review of the new Apple iMac that uses Intel chips, you briefly said it couldn't run the Windows operating system out of the box. Can you elaborate on why that is, and whether Windows will be able to run on this computer eventually?

A: Apple is now using the same chips in this Macintosh that are used in Windows computers, and it says it won't do anything to stop people from running Windows on these machines. But you can't just go to the store, buy a copy of Windows XP, and install it on these new Macs.

That's because Apple is using some advanced hardware, besides the Intel chips, that differs from what's typical on Windows machines. This hardware, which helps the computer to start up, is called EFI and is approved by Intel. But it isn't recognized by Windows XP. Microsoft says the forthcoming new version of Windows, called Vista, will recognize the new EFI start-up hardware when it comes out later this year. But nobody is guaranteeing that Vista will run out of the box on the Intel-based Macs, as there may be other peculiarities of the new Macs that it can't handle.

In addition, Microsoft's Virtual PC product, which allowed Windows to run -- slowly -- on the old Macs by mimicking an Intel chip, doesn't work on the new machines. It would seem that such a program shouldn't be necessary on the Intel-based Macs, or at least should be simple to create. But Microsoft says revising it for the new machines would be a big, time-consuming job.

However, I wouldn't be surprised to see some other company come up with an add-on product that would allow the new Intel-based Macs to run Windows, or Windows programs, at fast speeds, long before the arrival of Vista or any new version of Virtual PC.

With such a product, you might be able to choose to start up an Intel-based Mac in either Windows or the Mac operating system; or run Windows in a window inside the Mac operating system; or run Windows programs in the Mac operating system, without running Windows itself.

Q: I have purchased a substantial amount of music online through services such as MSN and Yahoo that sell files in the protected WMA format. Is there any way to convert this music so it plays on an iPod?

A: There is a way, but it's time-consuming and tedious. You'd have to burn all your copy-protected WMA files (the ones you bought from MSN and Yahoo) to audio CDs -- the kind that play in standard CD players -- and then re-import them into Apple's iTunes software as MP3s or nonprotected AAC files, manually filling in the tag information.

The iPod can play MP3 files fine, as well as a number of other formats, like nonprotected AAC files. And iTunes can convert nonprotected WMA files to MP3s for use in the iPod. But iTunes can't convert copy-protected WMAs, and the iPod can't play them.

 


"Google: Beyond Good and Evil:  With its "Don't be evil" motto, the search giant strives to be the choirboy of corporate America. The problem: good and evil are in the eye of the beholder," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, January 30, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16210,308,p1.html

"Don't be evil." It's the mantra that search giant Google adopted almost ten years ago, when it decided to take on Yahoo and others in the search wars. Today, its strategy and technology appear to have won. Everyone uses Google. It's the de facto leader in search -- indeed, "Google" has become the verb for the act of searching on the Internet.

Yet nowadays, everyone seems to have a gripe, or at least a grumble, about Google.

Like any large business -- and, make no mistake, with its nearly $52 billion market cap and $7 billion in cash reserves, the Mountain View, CA-based company is one of the largest media entities in the world -- Google has sometimes come under criticism. In Google's case, the complaints are often about the very practices that have made it such a valuable online tool, such as the way it scans the e-mail messages of Gmail users in order to serve up relevant ads.

But as the company has extended its ambitions into so many parts of the digital world -- from comparison shopping to blogging and video downloads -- it's finding itself more and more frequently at the center of much larger political and ethical debates -- and under attack from all sides.

Google's decision last week to launch a specialized version of its services in China -- minus blogging and e-mail tools, not to mention search results that Chinese government officials might deem subversive -- may be most damaging to its do-gooder image.

Not surprisingly, Google gained the backing of other companies, such as Microsoft, who would also like to bring information services to China, and who see acceding to censorship as a lesser evil.

But it was doused in criticism from human rights groups. Amnesty International called the move "the latest in a string of examples of global Internet companies caving in to pressure from the Chinese government." Reporters Without Borders said the launch of Google.cn was "a black day for freedom of expression in China." Some observers have even called for a Google divestment campaign. "Everyone who cares about the free-flow of information, about democracy in China, in fact about democracy anywhere, should start selling their Google stock," writes novelist, screenwriter, and blogger Roger L. Simon.

How quickly things change. Just a week earlier, Google was winning plaudits from civil libertarians for not caving in to demands for data on users' search behaviors from the U.S. Department of Justice, which wants to use the data to revive a 1998 online pornography law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Federal officials, who are preparing to defend the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act in a federal court in Pennsylvania, say they need records of a week's worth of Google search queries and 1 million random Web addresses in order to show that minors have easy access to Internet porn.)

Yet even that decision by Google led to public-relations problems, since many Internet users were surprised and angered when they learned from coverage of the dispute that Google keeps records of old searches, and that these searches could conceivably be traced back to an individual's computer.

Continued in article


"Blindfolding Big Brother, Sort of: Jeff Jonas is an IBM engineer who specializes in software that infuses powerful search technology with anonymity," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, January 30, 2006 ---  http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16209,300,p1.html

In 1983, entrepreneur Jeff Jonas founded Systems Research and Development (SRD), a firm that provided software to identify people and determine who was in their circle of friends. In the early 1990s, the company moved to Las Vegas, where it worked on security software for casinos. Then, in January 2005, IBM acquired SRD and Jonas became chief scientist in the company's Entity Analytic Solutions group.

His newest technology, which allows entities such as government agencies to match an individual found in one database to that same person in another database, is getting a lot of attention from governments, banks, health-care providers, and, of course, privacy advocates. Jonas claims that his technology is as good at protecting privacy as it as at finding important information.

Continued in article


Evans blogs advice from behind bars on death row
Vernon Lee Evans Jr. -- amateur advice columnist and convicted murderer -- is scheduled to die next month by lethal injection. He is one of the very few death row inmates to have a blog and, activists say, perhaps the only condemned man worldwide to use a blog to take questions from readers.
Eric Rich, "A Death Row Blogger's Advice for Life," The Washington Post, January 27, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/WPdeathRow



Finalists in Blog Contest
Okay, Web fans, it's time for new lingo to help us get a grip on the vast self-publishing landscape known as the blogosphere. Blogs vary so much that they cry out for pithy names to describe each of their many genres.Stop by the Web site of the 2006 Bloggies ( http://2006.bloggies.com/ ) to get an idea of what we're talking about. More than 100 blogs have been selected as finalists for the best in Weblog publishing in 30 categories. Voting is open to the public through Tuesday; winners will be announced in mid-March.
Leslie Walker, "When It Comes to Blogs, There Aren't Enough Words," The Washington Post, January 30, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/WPJan30
 


The Wall Street Journal
Flashback, January 31, 1952
Crowell-Collier's American Magazine is up a dime, to 35 cents a copy. Fawcett will boost its Motion Picture & Television, now ten cents, to 15 cents. Publishers contend climbing costs of labor, paper, printing and transportation are forcing revenues down.
 

From The Washington Post on January 30, 2006

Where and when was the first cellular phone introduced in the United States?

A. Chicago in 1972
B. New York in 1992
C. Los Angeles in 1957
D. St. Louis in 1945


National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression --- http://www.narsad.org/


Personalizing Depression Drugs
People diagnosed with clinical depression face a rough road to recovery. Many spend weeks, months, or even years trying different antidepressants in hopes of finding the right medication -- one that cures their depression without insomnia, headaches, or other side effects. Now two new kinds of genetic tests, one already available and one several years away, could help doctors and patients avoid this wearisome process.
Emily Singer, "Personalizing Depression Drugs:  New genetic tests can help doctors select the best medication for each patient," MIT's Technology Review, January 27, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16206,304,p1.html 

 


Hands-off executives like Ken Lay may face better odds of getting away with crime

"White-Collar Crime: Who Does Time? Corporate criminals are punished more harshly today than in the '80s, but hands-off executives may still face better odds," Business Week, February 6, 2006 --- http://snipurl.com/BWFeb6

Does corporate crime pay? The record can seem pretty arbitrary. Tyco International Ltd.'s (TYC ) L. Dennis Kozlowski and WorldCom Inc.'s Bernie Ebbers got hammered for their misdeeds. But plenty of other corporate and financial titans at companies engaged in chicanery have come away only mildly bruised. Michael Milken, the embodiment of an earlier generation of scandals, served less than two years and left prison in 1992 with a fortune of roughly $500 million. Banker Frank Quattrone, a key figure in the more recent brouhaha over allocation of initial public offerings, faces 18 months and will keep much of the $200 million he made in the late 1990s.

Some beat the rap altogether. HealthSouth Corp.'s (HLSH ) Richard M. Scrushy, acquitted of charges he directed a $2.7 billion fraud, remains one of the largest shareholders of the chain of rehabilitation centers. A host of others at scandal-wracked companies, such as Global Crossing Ltd. (GLBC ) founder Gary Winnick, pocketed millions from stock sales and faced no criminal or civil charges at all.

As haphazard as these outcomes may appear, there are rules of thumb to keep in mind as the trial of Enron Corp.'s Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling gets under way in Houston. Here are a few:

MORE PUNISHING TIMES
Generally speaking, convicted corporate figures get punished more harshly today than they did in the late '80s and early '90s. Milken, now-defunct Drexel Burnham Lambert's king of high-interest "junk" bonds, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud in 1990 in exchange for a 10-year sentence, later reduced to 22 months for good behavior and cooperation with prosecutors. A defendant of his notoriety would not get off as lightly today, according to veteran prosecutors.

Federal sentencing guidelines, which weren't in effect when Milken's crimes took place, have ratcheted up the penalties for white-collar offenders, particularly where huge shareholder losses are involved. Attitudes have also changed. Public outrage over Milken's stock-manipulation schemes was relatively muted because the victims were primarily companies and faceless institutional investors. By the late 1990s, however, roughly half of American households had piled into the stock market, according to the Investment Company Institute, many through retirement plans. When the bubble burst in 2000, legions saw their brokerage accounts and 401(k) balances dip sharply. As it became clear that fraud lay behind some of the biggest corporate collapses, a large constituency demanded severe consequences, says Ira Lee Sorkin, a former prosecutor and official with the Securities & Exchange Commission now in private practice. "Middle America lost a lot of money, which has led to cries for tougher enforcement to put the scoundrels away," he says.

Financial penalties have become stiffer, too. Convicted in July of orchestrating the $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom, onetime billionaire Ebbers has little left to his name after settling with regulators, shareholders, and his former company. Adelphia Communications Corp. (ADELO ) founder and ex-CEO John J. Rigas, who received a 15-year sentence on fraud and conspiracy charges related to the looting of the cable-TV provider, faces a similar financial fate. He is appealing.

GREED ISN'T A CRIME
Many companies played accounting games during the 1990s boom. But neither greed, dubious bookkeeping, nor suspiciously timed trading are necessarily criminal. Prosecutors must demonstrate not only that an action violated a specific law but also that the executive intentionally committed the bad act. "The evidence is very rarely black and white, and the law is often amorphous," says Steven R. Peikin, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice.

Ebbers and Winnick played similar roles as evangelists of the telecom boom, and both racked up huge stock gains before their companies crumpled. But while Ebbers will likely report to federal prison in Yazoo City, Miss., if he loses his appeal, Winnick hasn't been charged with a crime. The difference: The scam at WorldCom -- pretending that everyday expenses were capital investments, which artificially boosted earnings -- unmistakably violated accounting standards and securities law. Global Crossing did swaps of fiber-optic network capacity that made it look stronger financially than it was. But the swaps weren't clearly illegal.

Winnick had another big advantage: Unlike Ebbers, he wasn't his company's chief executive. As co-chairman of Global Crossing's board, Winnick persuaded investigators that he wasn't personally enmeshed in the company's problems. Enron's Lay, who served as both chairman and CEO at various times, is expected to attempt a similar defense.

Quattrone, a star banker at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSR ), helped dole out hot IPO shares to favored clients and supervised analysts who allegedly boosted wobbly Internet companies. But these practices, distasteful as they are to many, didn't lead to charges because they didn't violate any law. He was convicted of obstructing justice and witness tampering for suggesting, after learning of a grand jury probe, that workers tidy up their e-mail. He is appealing.

DEAL OR ROLL THE DICE
Some of the hit-or-miss feel of white-collar justice stems from the defendant's dicey choice of pleading vs. facing a jury. Given the difficulties of proving complex frauds, prosecutors typically try to strike deals with midlevel executives to build cases against the top bosses. The difference in sentencing can be huge. Compare the five years WorldCom CFO Scott D. Sullivan got for helping prosecutors nail his boss with the 25 that Ebbers might serve.

But juries can exonerate as well as convict. Last summer, Scrushy fended off charges that he was at the center of the accounting fraud that permeated HealthSouth. Prosecutors thought they had a strong case, based on testimony from five former HealthSouth chief financial officers, who all pleaded guilty and implicated Scrushy. But his team poked holes in their testimony, and he played his hometown advantage shrewdly. He drew visible support from black pastors in Birmingham, whose presence as courtroom spectators may have impressed some members of the predominantly black jury. "The world may have thought he'd be convicted, as they now think Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling will be," says Robert Morvillo, a New York defense lawyer. "But trials take on a life of their own."

Bob Jensen's threads on why white collar crime pays are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays


U.S. Legislators Still Want to Maintain Their Pork Farms by Resisting Transparency in Reporting

"Cured Pork," The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2006; Page A8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113840679474258777.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Democrats insist they can do a better job than Republicans of protecting taxpayers from parochial spending on Capitol Hill. And it's hard to imagine they could do worse. The number of special-interest earmarks inserted into spending bills has quadrupled in five years to 14,000, and the price tag has more than doubled -- to $27.1 billion last year.

Defenders of pork-barrel projects contend they are a trivial expense in a $2.6 trillion budget. Sadly, that's true, but it speaks volumes about the culture of overspending in Washington that $27,100,000,000 is dismissed as a rounding error. Unfathomably large spending bills, with hundreds upon hundreds of pages of line-item expenditures, have become normal budgeting practice in Congress. In this environment, $10 million giveaways start to seem like loose change.

So what can be done, apart from denying Congress the money in the first place by keeping taxes low? Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona and Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain have one good idea, which is to bring more transparency to earmarking. They would require that every earmark be specifically included in the text of the legislation Congress is voting on. We'd also like to see a requirement that every earmark list its main Congressional sponsor and its purpose (other than to re-elect the Member).

Appropriators who control the spending process complain that this transparency would make the legislative process "unwieldy," which would only be a good thing. The potential for embarrassment might deter Members from inserting the pork at all. And if they go ahead anyway, the sight of Dr. Coburn exposing these projects on the Senate floor would be both good theater and politically hygienic.

If Republicans were smart -- notice the subjunctive -- they'd go much further and pledge a pork moratorium for the rest of the year. This "zero tolerance for earmarks" idea is modeled after the famous "broken windows" concept of fighting crime by cleaning up petty vandalism. If Members can't abuse the process on small items, they might be less willing to do it on entitlements as well.

Continued in article


January 30, 2006 message from Dennis Beresford

Bob,

Yesterday's New York Times books section included an ad for a book, "Chasing Daylight" by Eugene O'Kelly. He was CEO of KPMG when in early 2005 he was diagnosed with a fast moving cancer. The book covers the 100 or so days between that diagnosis and his death. The subtitle is "How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life."

The Amazon reviews are quite favorable and I plan to read the book as soon as I can. I thought this was something you'd like to mention in your Bookmarks or otherwise.

Denny

 


How badly was the New Orleans polluted?
Regulators insist that despite a few hot spots, the nightmare of a city awash in toxic pollution hasn't happened. Tom Harris, an administrator with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, said only 40 of 800 samples he has reviewed showed levels of contaminants above potentially unsafe levels. Those tests have prompted Harris' agency and the federal Environmental Protection Agency to conclude the city suffers "generally no unacceptable long-term health risks directly attributable to environmental contamination resulting from the storms." That claim has enraged environmental groups, who accuse regulators of soft-peddling the hazards. They fear potential long-term health dangers will be lost amid the overwhelming number of short-term problems facing the city. They want to see the city cleaned up now.
Anton Caputo, "How badly was the Big Easy polluted? San Antonio Express-News, February 6, 2006 --- http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA020506.01A.Contamination.34ba0e8.html


"LAST CALL...A fond farewell to Earl Abel's Restaurant in San Antonio," by Mimi Swartz, Texas Monthly, February 2006

Earl Abel's was never about the food. Some would argue that the San Antonio landmark's take-out fried chicken was among the best in the solar system or that its diabetes-inducing pies, seductively displayed on mirrored shelves behind the counter, had no peers. But over time, in its long-standing niche on Broadway at a significant nexus between democratic San Antonio and the fancier adjoining communities of Terrell Hills, Alamo Heights, and Olmos Park, Earl Abel's grew into a haven for anyone who walked into its dark, windowless, but strangely cozy interior. That rare brand of comfort is why the announcement of the 73-year-old enterprise's mid-March closing--it is to be replaced by a luxury high-rise--is an occasion for significant grief among current and former locals.

If you grew up anywhere near Earl Abel's, as I did, you marked the stages of your life there. You changed, but it didn't: Whether it was l965, 1985, or 2005, you dined alongside soldiers from Fort Sam, office workers on their way downtown, bejeweled North Side socialites, high school kids and Trinity University students just waking up or just considering the idea of going to bed, and a smattering of people--old, lonely, dispossessed, confused--who had nowhere else to go and were always welcomed, at first by Earl himself, later by his widow, Lorena, and finally, by a phalanx of waitresses (now waitpersons) who knew you, your fiancé, your kids, and eventually your arthritis.

 


Down and Out in Beverly Hills
The Los Angeles area may have the nation's largest population of homeless people... and thousands have moved away from the dangers of the inner city to much more affluent areas.
Mandalit del Barco, "Many L.A. Homeless Seek Affluent Areas," NPR, January 26, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5173512
Jensen Comment
Envision them waving to the tour buses that take tourists to view the homes of the movie stars. Think of the signs they might hold up such as "Lost my GM Pension" or "Will Act for Food."
 


Stateline.org  --- http://www.stateline.org 

Funded entirely by The Pew Charitable Trusts as a public service, Stateline.org has published online every weekday except holidays since Jan. 25, 1999.

This Web site, staffed entirely by professional journalists, was originally envisioned primarily as a resource for newsmen and newswomen who cover state government. Using computer technology as a delivery vehicle, we proposed to arm these news-gatherers with timely tips and research material on state policy innovations and trends, enabling them to make their reporting more informative and useful to consumers. This, we believed, would help nourish public debate of important state-level issues such as healthcare, tax and budget policy, the environment, welfare reform and other issues that in recent years have not gotten the media attention they deserve.

But our readership has grown far beyond our original target audience and now includes thousands of state officials, students of state government and ordinary citizens who want to keep track of what's going on in their state capitol and in other states throughout the country.

Stateline.org is an independent element of the Pew Research Center and is based in Washington, DC. In addition to our online news gathering activities, we periodically publish printed reference materials that are free for the asking, including a State of the States report released every January. We also sponsor professional development conferences and workshops for the news media, including the annual conference of CapitolBeat, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. For further information, email editor@stateline.org or contact us at 202-419-4470.
 




Now I Lay Me Down to Study,
 I Pray the Lord I Won't Go Nutty.

If I Should Fail to Learn this Junk,
I Pray the Lord I Will Not Flunk.

But If I Do, Don't Pity Me at All,
Just Lay My Bones In the Study Hall.

Tell My Prof I Did My Best,
Then Pile My Books upon My Chest.

Now I Lay Me Down to Rest,
And Pray I'll Pass Tomorrow's Test.

If I Should Die Before I Wake,
That's One less Test I'll Have to Take.

Author Unknown


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behavior that was going on. So God called one of the angels and sent the angel to Earth.

When she returned, she told God, "Yes, it is bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not."

God thought for a moment and said, "Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion."

So God called another angel and sent him to earth for a time too. When the angel returned he went to God and said, "Yes, it's true The earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good."

God was not pleased. So He decided to e-mail the 5% who were being good, because he wanted to encourage them...give them a little something to help them keep going.

Do you know what the e-mail said?

??????????????????????

Okay, just wondering; I didn't get one either.


 




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