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 ---
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.
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 ---
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
Also see the No Significant Difference Phenomenon website
A book that can't stand two readings is not
worth even one.
José Luis Martín Descalzo (1930-1991) ---
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) ---
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
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 ---
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)
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
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 ---
"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 ---
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
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 ---
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!
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
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 ---
Improving the Lives of the Urban Poor ---
Columbia University Allows "America's Most Hated Professor" to Teach
""A Million Mogadishus" 101," by Chris Kulawik, Columbia Spectator,
February 6, 2006 ---
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
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
Continued in article
Racism: The University of Michigan Accused of Impeding Completion of
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,
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
Inside Higher Ed, February 6, 2006 ---
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,
With seniority and/or tenure, schools are not likely to weed
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 ---
"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 ---
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)
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
"Microsoft founder too rich for tax computer to handle," PhysOrg,
February 2, 2006 ---
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
"93 killed in stampede for best seats at TV game show," Sydney Morning
Herald, February 5, 2006 ---
America's Least Wanted
U.S. Senate ---
Podcast Lectures from Stanford University
Stanford on iTunes ---
Bob Jensen's threads on podcasting are at
(including a link to the innovative podcasting from Purdue University)
From WebMD ---
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 ---
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 ---
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,
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
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
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 ---
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
In early 2006, gold is around $570 per ounce. While equity markets have
almost trippled since 1994, gold chugs ahead much more slowly.
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 ---
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 ---
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
Birthday Calculator ---
Will Phil and Wendy Gramm forever go unpunished in the Enron
Enron trial unfolds, it's depressing that Phil and
Wendy Gramm, the company's political enablers, are going unpunished and
Robert Scheer, "Enron's Enablers " The Nation, February 1, 2006 ---
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
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
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
Bob Jensen's updates on frauds are at
How to Fight Global Crime and Corruption
International (News, Tools, etc.) ---
Bob Jensen's threads on fraud reporting are at
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud are at
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 ---
If you don't like the way cars drive themselves, stay off the
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 ---
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
Gregg Keiser, "Apple Hit With iPod Hearing Loss Lawsuit," InformationWeek,
February 2, 2006 ---
"Words help us see and talk," PhysOrg, January 31, 2006 ---
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
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
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
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 ---
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
Inside Higher Ed, January 31, 2006 ---
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 ---
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
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
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.
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
Differences between "popular teacher" versus "master teacher" versus
"mastery learning" versus "master educator" ---
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
The Pew/Internet study is at
"FDA Approves Inhalable Insulin," Wired News, January 30,
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,
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.
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
options have appeared
to support such needs.
MacFixIt hosts perhaps
the most comprehensive list of incompatible
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
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.
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
January 26, 2006 reply from Jagdish S. Gangolly
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
January 26 reply from Bob Jensen
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
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
Two Questions Answered by Walt Mossberg ---
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 ---
"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
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
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
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
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 ---
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
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
Leslie Walker, "When It Comes to Blogs, There Aren't
Enough Words," The Washington Post
, January 30,
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?
Chicago in 1972
New York in 1992
Los Angeles in 1957
St. Louis in 1945
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression ---
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
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 ---
Hands-off executives like Ken Lay may face better odds of getting away
"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 ---
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
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
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
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
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 ---
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
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
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.
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
Anton Caputo, "How badly was the Big Easy polluted? San Antonio
Express-News, February 6, 2006 ---
"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 ---
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."
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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
Do you know what the e-mail said?
Okay, just wondering; I didn't get one either.